5.30.2011

Floating

After going for a jog in the balmy evening heat (which wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected – the breeze was breezy and the “feels like 89” temperature noted online was an exaggeration) I decided to go for a swim.

Thankfully no one else here ever seems inclined to swim after dark, so the pool is generally mine.

There is magic in swimming at night. I highly recommend it. (But not at the beach – I think that’s when all the fishies eat. And the sharks.)

It’s cloudy tonight, so there aren’t any stars. But after swimming a lap or two, languidly pushing the water out of my path, I slowed to a stop in the middle. Reclined back in the water. And floated.

Floating is one of my favorite things in the world. (Easily pleased? Yes.)

The breeze was still breezing and it was so beautiful up in the tops of the oak trees, blowing the lengths of the thinnest branches wildly about, while barely moving the stockier limbs. What a view, looking straight up. I felt like the trees were waking up restless their restless souls right above me.

Back on the surface of the water where I hovered, one of my favorite phenomena (and one of my reasons for my fascination with floating) occurred. Do you know that feeling, where part of you is above water and part of you is below, and the line of the surface of the water around your body seems to be the most tangible thing in the world? Arms outstretched, palms upturned, let the surface of the water skim your fingertips. The feeling of the water line pulling away, and then fingertips re-emerging is so meditative. Try it.

(I went back to take a picture of the trees and got some odd looks from late-evening dog-walkers. Wandering around barefoot in my haphazardly selected post-swim clothes with a camera slung over my shoulder…I may have a reputation as an eccentric around here…being normal’s no fun though…)

5.28.2011

It's Saturday

After a hectic several months at my ‘day’ job (mostly 60+ hour weeks, with one solid 80 hour week in there) I finally have a weekend (a three day one, at that) that I don’t have to work.

And my Saturday has been…a Saturday. I feel so very refreshed right now.

Next step - deep breath. Sink into hammock.

I got up late (ahhhh) drank my coffee, cleaned my kitchen. First thing is my favorite time to clean my kitchen, which means I usually end the day with piles of dishes sitting on the counter. But…to each her own, right?

I went to Hibbs Farm & Garden for some organic potting soil. I have to say, when they closed the garden section at my Target I was upset, but I think it was really a blessing in disguise. I have this great garden center/nursery just down the road from me, but I’d always go to Target because I had to go there anyway. Got my potting soil (their selection is broader than just the MiracleGro I could find at Target), spied a very handsome man working there (I’ll have to go back more often!) and returned to my balcony.

Repotted mint bequeathed to me by my sister (so I can return her pot to her finally). Got three good plants out of it! Potted jade clippings from my parents to replace mine the squirrels massacred. Planted some more jasmine seeds (hope they weren’t too dry – I’ve had them for a while now…carried them around in my purse for a couple of weeks because I kept forgetting about them. Good thing they didn’t sprout in there!). Swept my balcony (long time coming) and swabbed pollen off as many surfaces as I could.

Finally picked up my package from Aquarian Bath at my apartment office. (Long hours mean the office is generally closed by the time I get home. One day I’ll have a house with a front door mat postmen can oh-so-subtly drape over my packages so that I don’t have to wait a week to retrieve them.)

Discovered pool is open again – woohoo! Summertime is here with a vengeance. (Why wouldn’t you re-marcite in the winter when people don’t want to swim?)

Went to the library down the road to continue reviewing/studying for the Arch History class I am teaching at the end of summer(!). No domestic distractions. And much quieter than the downtown branch. This one has a reading garden too (with lots of butterflies - a plus if you don’t find them creepy).

Finally went to the Fruitville Grove Market and discovered they have, not only yummy produce and breads and things, but also local eggs! I’ve been trying to find local eggs for a while. Success at last.

Enjoying a glass of truly fresh FL OJ, all the pulp included.

And about to sink into that hammock.

Happy Saturday to you.

(This guy has been with me for a while.)

5.27.2011

There she was...

I know, I seem to be stuck on mermaids lately. But yesterday I left work early (!) to head to a meeting (non-day-job-related!).

On the trek to the interstate I was pacing a truck. This was not unusual in itself, but I kept catching something in my peripheral vision when we’d pass by each other. As we slowed to a stop I leaned forward to look at the side of the trailer – Baitmaster. Ok. I like fishing but I’ll use whatever my bro-in-law brings along. He’s the one with the boat; I have no need to buy bait.

But just below the text there she was, perched on a hook with her green scales pulled modestly up around her bosoms.

Blonde hair and typical mermaid profile just like the one in my dreams, but ten times as big and not on ice.

I think she’s haunting me.

5.20.2011

For Love of Books

I love reading. I do. And I think reading is one of the most important activities for kids as their minds develop. I think it’s just as important to keep adult mind in shape. And I think storytelling is one of the strongest threads of community and society. Reading is a vital activity.

But…I have to admit something. I have a problem, and it just keeps growing. I cannot finish a book. Well not literally. I’ve finished plenty. But here’s a snapshot of my currents (I’ve reached varying points in all these books – some I’ve barely started, some I’ve almost finished, some I’ve read the same first four chapters over and over and can’t get any further – but I want to):

The Perfect House | Witold Rybczynski

La Vita Nuova | Dante

The Children’s Book | AS Byatt

New Science | Vico

Have Space Suit Will Travel | Robert Heinlein

The Door Into Summer | Robert Heinlein

The Olive Farm |Carol Drinkwater

French Women Don’t Get Fat | Mireille Guiliano

Animal Vegetable Miracle | Barbara Kingsolver

The Riverside Anthology of Children’s Literature

The Book of the City of Ladies | Christine de Pizan

Momus | Alberti

The Sacred and the Profane | Mircea Eliade

A Canticle for Leibowitz | Walter Miller

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | Douglas Adams

Hector and the Search for Happiness | Francoise Lelord

Beatrix Potter A Life in Nature | Linda Lear

The Conde Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys

The Omnivore’s Dilemma | Michael Pollan

The Odyssey | Homer

The Fable of the Bees | Bernard Mandeville

What are you reading these days?

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5.18.2011

Now I know my ABCs?

Hello. My name is Krystyna, and I...have forgotten one of my basic kindergarten lessons.
I was practicing my alphabet - to use the lettering on cards, not because I thought I actually needed practice with the general concept...
Turns out I was wrong. Upper case and lower case, I got to "S, T" and "s, t" and what comes next, boys and girls?
"Y,N,A"
"y"
I caught myself in the lowercase...
Now, I often end the word "within" with a "g" when I am typing (and writing) because my fingers are so used to that oft used combination of letters, but I've never messed up my alphabet before....
:)

5.09.2011

My friend, the moon

I wandered the beach on Sunday evening.

The water was like a silver velvet blanket creeping onto the shore. Oddly, it reminded me of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, with its thick luxurious waves rolling up onto the sand. And, like the cloak, it hides who-knows-what beneath, and is at times both reflective of mysterious moonlight and transparent to what is hidden below.

Wandering to – I gazed out at the breadth of the horizon, dodged fishing lines, picked up one perfect juvenile conch shell.

Wandering fro – I looked ahead, but down at the water at my feet, as I often do; I kept seeing something out of the corner of my eye, and turning around to try and catch the fleeting object in my sight. I must have look paranoid, as if I thought someone was following me. And then I figured it out – the MOON was following me, perfectly reflecting its silver sliver in the veil of water just behind my right heel. The thought of the moon following me made me laugh a little. I tossed my hair back, breathed in the luxurious air, and peeked one more time to make sure my little lunar friend was still coming with me.

(I don’t have good photo to illustrate the quality of the water that night. But I don’t think any photo ever quite does that kind of night justice. You need the air moving around you, the salt in your nose, the sound of the tide, and the touch of the sand beneath your feet, with the water lapping at your ankles.)

Dreaming under the sea

So my Weeki Wachee post described, I think, our day at the park sufficiently. But the magic of the mermaids is something else entirely.

I had several recurring dreams as a child and one of the less disturbing (though still weird) dreams involved a mermaid. No, I take that back – it was plain disturbing.

There was a fish shop that I used to go to with my mother when I was little and she was running errands. (This shop may have been purely an invention of my dream - I’ll have to check with her on this.) We’d stop by this fish shop, I believe just north of the US41 bridge over the Peace River (a pretty specific detail, but I still think this may have all been part of the dream world). The floor was white terrazzo, the air conditioning ran cold but humid, and there was, of course, the aroma of fish in the air. A bell rang and hit the storefront door as it opened and closed. I did not like eating fish until very recently, so the odor was unpleasant to me. I’d bide my time while my mother picked out her selections for dinners I would not eat. This was all normal, repetitive, everyday stuff. And then one day I peered into the freezer closest to the door, across from the register, to see the whole fish laid out on the crushed ice. I didn’t like eating the creatures but found them fun to look at. Dead on the ice. Thinking back on that, it seems a bit morbid, but I love fishing now and that’s what you do to them – lay them out on the ice….

One day something was different. Gray scales with green edges, hints of oranges, light glinting off the skins – yes, that was right. And lying horizontally along with all the other future-meals was a little mermaid. About two feet long. With full-grown human/mermaid proportions, scaled down to a length of about 24 inches. Her tail was green, the scales had gray edges. A sick dread set in my stomach and I turned around and found my mother thankfully ready to leave. I hurried out ahead of her.

I had this dream I don’t know how many times. Why is it that the weird, rock-in-the-stomach-forming dreams are the ones that always come back? Not the airy, happy, sparkly ones? Another of my recurring dreams came partially true one night – woke the whole house up with that one…but that’s a story for another day.

So…my early-on brushes with mermaids were a little…off, shall we say? But thankfully that did not prejudice me against the mythical beauty that normally surrounds these creatures.

5.07.2011

Fill in the blanks...

Following the lead of The Little Things We Do...
1. What I love most about my home is: my balcony - full of plants that surround my hammock. (Squirrels are NOT invited...though they keep showing up...)
2. I'm excited because: my little bro is graduating from Law School and I get to go take pictures of him dressed up in his cap & gown...and visit good old Gainesville. How I miss it there sometimes.
3. My preferred method for blowing off steam when I'm frustrated is: playing loud equally frustrated hard rock music and/or running.
4. Currently I am craving: the salty air of the beach. I'll have to make a stop there tomorrow.
5. The thing I love most about my mom is: she is THE person I call when I have a question about anything and she always has an answer. And she takes care of us (family)...I am "all grown up" indeed, but she's still my Mom.
6. If I was going to write a book about my life, the title would be: Jane of All Trades? (Jill of All Trades??) I have far too many interests and things to pursue; I can't manage to finish a book, let alone master one of my pursuits!
7. If I were to eat one thing for the rest of eternity it would be: sausage pizza. You've got all your four food groups there. Granted, if I ate sausage pizza for the rest of eternity I'd be pretty huge...