June 1 2007

Wow, time sure flies, doesn’t it?
I do try to keep this Blog thing going on the promised weekly basis, but alas, Life Gets in the Way, as I always say.
And before you know it, you’re late.
As I am with this entry.
But I have a good excuse, or rather excuses. First one is that...

earlier this month, I was in Key West, Florida.

Ah, yes, now you understand…

The last time I was there was in 1985, and before that, my honeymoon in 1983. So I expected to see a lot of changes—and, as in most places that run on tourism—not good changes. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Key West is still magical. And a whole lot of fun.  

Okay, I admit it, I have a Fear of Flying

Jeff (no need to explain who he is if you’re a regular here) and I flew first to Ft. Myers, and for me, that’s traumatic enough (though I’m getting better, really I am) but then, we had to hop on this nine-seat “puddle jumper” to the island. AGHH!


I mention this only because I’m very proud of myself. I stared into the face of fear, shook out those menacing thoughts of imminent death, started singing Gloria Gaynor’s ’70s disco hit, “I Will Survive” . . . First I was afraid, I was petrified . . . all the way there (a whole 20 minutes), and indeed lived to tell the tale!



Well, okay, so it wasn’t all that dramatic. There was never a point where the plane started going askew and I feared for my life (thank God) but flying is not in my comfort zone. I don’t like being up in the air, or the water (while I will swim occasionally, I keep my head above the water the entire time. Which is odd, considering I’m Aquarius - a water sign…). 


Anyway, we met my best friend, Nina, and boyfriend, Joe, there and, for the next four days, partied like it was 1999. Unfortunately, we woke up and it was 2007! Every part of our bodies hurt. Because in Key West, you walk everywhere - all day and all night - while visiting the numerous restaurants, bars, and of course Mallory Square (the place to see the quirkiest of performances, along with a great sunset (though to be perfectly honest, Lake Erie’s can rival theirs anytime). We must have put in 100 miles a day (well, it felt like it). I had blisters on my blisters! And yet, with all that walking, I still managed to gain weight (those Pina Coladas with dark rum floaters are just too good J). 


Clothing Optional?


When Jeff and I go out of town, we often stay at a Bed & Breakfast Inn. They are always, clean, quaint, and always operated by the nicest people (my favorite kind, as you know). And I guess, they’d have to be pretty tolerant to let perfect strangers stay in their homes.


So what better way to stay in Key West then to find a cute little Southern-style house among the palm trees. And when I discovered the Pilot House online and saw the beautiful little rooms they offer, I called immediately. That’s when I learned they offered even more.


“I just want to let you know,” the lady taking our reservations began, “that our pool area is clothing optional.”


“Oh, uh, okay,” was all I could mutter.


And yes, I did see some naked people, and no, I won’t tell you if my husband and I were among them, but I will say that they were all very nice and very discreet and we and our friends had a few good laughs (yes, at their expense). It was quite entertaining, and as usual, I was inspired to write about it. Just not too much . .  .


Books, Glorious Books!


Ironically, the book I chose to take with me (and for four days, I knew I’d only have time for one) was a book by Erica Jong. No, it wasn’t her bestselling novel, Fear of Flying, which became infamous in the1970s (for reasons I’ve no time to go into if you were born too late), but her memoir, Fear of Fifty. Now that I can identify with. And it really is a good read. And speaking of books, I wasn’t going to be in Key West and not check out the former home of one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway. I took the tour and saw where he wrote some of his greatest works, and even petted a couple of the cats that are direct descendents of his cats. It was all very cool (even at 85-degree heat) And I will try and include photos soon of many such interesting subjects). And because my designated writing time is running out, I’ll have more about my favorite authors (and local one too) and why I’m merely previewing this topic (Book Lovers - Stay Tuned!) 



Where "Papa" wrote



"Archibald" - one of the 60 cats that live in Hemingway's former residence


Another Excuse


To further explain my Blog absence, after that all-too-short vacation, I had to play catch up when I came back. Which means frantically meeting several writing deadlines in record time! This is never easy when you need to rely on quotations from people for your articles and they are sometimes hard to get a hold of, or are lax in returning your call, or, in the following case, so rude you actually wished you had a different job, like communicating with monkeys.


Case in Point:


Here We Go Again


Seems that Rudeness is becoming a theme of this Blog and that’s not a good thing. But I seem

to find this trait wherever I go and sometimes I just have to write about it to get it off my chest. Ok, here’s the story.


I’m working on this article for the Lake County Business Journal, and although I only plan to make a small mention of this particular business, I want to make sure I’ve got the right info, as most professional journalists will do (contrary to – apparently – popular belief).


And so I call and talk to this man who sounds rather snobbish and not the last bit interested in talking to me. After all, He Is The President of the Company! And me, I’m just a lowly writer struggling to make a living.


But I am a professional and do not let first impressions interfere. I ask him a couple of questions, then mention the little I managed to research on his company. Alas, there was one detail I had wrong (blame it on Google) so I said, “Well, I’m certainly glad I called, it’s why I feel it necessary to contact the person to verify, and (through our short conversation I could hear him sighing with boredom in the background) I’m so sorry if I caught you at a bad time. I just want to be accurate in my information. . .     


And do you know what this man said to me?


I quote: “Oh, yeah, you people always want to be accurate,” his voice dripping in sarcasm.




YOU PEOPLE?? Did I really hear him say, You People??




It was yet another mouth-dropping moment when I am sure that because of people like him (Him people?) the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Some people can be so mean for no reason! And a businessman, no less. He may deem himself smart enough to be President but apparently he’s not smart enough to realize that it often pays to be nice to “we people” who will be giving him free publicity. For heaven’s sakes!




Okay, Last Excuse . . .


These are Truly the Dog Days of Summer


We now have a little addition to our family. No, I am not a grandmother – something I’m certainly looking forward to – though not anytime soon (hear that kids?). 


We, the family who has had three cats in our lives: Tigger (mine from a previous marriage) Harley (a Christmas present for our poor pet-deprived children who Jeff insisted on naming after his favorite recreational vehicle), and Smokey (my mom’s cat who came to live with us after she passed away), now have a DOG.  


He’s a two-month-old Black Lab with floppy ears, huge, oh my really huge, paws (yeah, I know what’s coming), and a bladder apparently the size of an ant hole.


Cody and Jeff


This wasn’t my idea. Nor Jeff’s, to be fair. But when our 17-year-old came home telling us about her friend’s cute little puppies - and this one in particular, who she fell in love with - it was hard to say no (though in retrospect, I can’t remember why it was hard to say no).


And guess who gets to take care of this very cute, and very needy, puppy all day long when my daughter’s in school? (Oh just 6 more days! I’ve never been this excited about my kids being out of school!).


Cody (his name) must know I’m writing about him right now because he’s just moved from beside my feet to on top of my feet, his soft, warm, lovable snout caressing my toes. Ahhhh, so what if I have to take him out every 20 minutes and that this Blog is taking all day to write and I am not making any money?


Pets have a way of bringing such peace and love to our world.


Like Mastercard  - that’s Priceless. . . .    




So til next time,


Be Kind to Animals – and Journalists, too.


Please. Thank You.