Wednesday, June 30, 2010

dog days of summer

The dog days of summer. Or perhaps I should say “the cat days of summer”. And who came up with the expression “dumb animals”? That term doesn’t apply to our cat Tammy. On a hot summer day she finds some shade (preferably on some nice cool cement steps), stretches out, relaxes, and “lazes”. She is a long hair cat and so she has this enormous fur coat that she has to wear during the summer. But the cat isn’t the only thing that is suffering from the heat and the glare of the summer sun.

The paint on the roof of Mary’s car has suffered also from years of exposure to the sunlight. Actually it was the plastic overcoat that they put on top of the paint that suffered. It started to blister and peel. A trip to Maaco auto body repair for repainting the roof took care of the problem. Now Mary moves her car from her sunny parking space to the shade of an oak tree (southern oak).

Once the sun goes down she moves the car back to its parking space. Since she doesn’t drive her car all that much (we usually take the pick-up truck), this moving of the car is good for the car. And today is another hot day so after parking the car in the shade it will be a good day to head to the air conditioned mall for some shopping. Going to the mall on a weekday is nice because they are not crowded with throngs of people. It makes for a very pleasant and casual style of shopping. Some times we will have lunch at the food court which is fun because there is such a wide selection of food (including chinese food). Have a pleasant day wherever you may be. Lew

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


This is the anhinga bird which has always fascinated me ever since I moved to Florida and first saw one in the everglades. I always thought that they were so majestic with their wings outstretched. Actually they spread their wings to dry after having dived into the water after a fish. Unfortunately the anhinga bird does not have any oil glands to secrete oil onto its feathers to repel the water like ducks have. So after a dive, their feathers are like our hair when we come out of a shower, all plastered down and stuck together. The bird has to find something to climb up onto to dry the feathers by spreading their wings to the air. This drying process usually takes about twenty minutes and during this time the bird is very vulnerable because it is unable to fly away until the feathers are dry. They are quite a sight to see and there was nothing like it in New York where I grew up. This anhinga bird lives in Lake Eola which is a public park in central Orlando. The fountain is the centerpiece of the park and is featured on many postcards.

Isn’t Orlando a grand place to live. Now I didn’t use a question mark at the end of the sentence because it really isn’t a question but a statement. Here I am living in paradise Orlando where people spend mega-dollars to come visit. By the way, Orlando is located in the center of the state of Florida, so any oil slicks that wash up on either the west coast or the east coast won’t affect us here in the central portion of the state. Orlando will be as pristine as ever. Have a magical day (Disney expression). Lew

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mt. Dora flea market

Here we are at the flea market in Mt. Dora. It is a nice flea market because it is covered, offering protection from the tropical monsoon rains and cooling of the air to offer some relief from the oppressive heat. This picture is of the section that is air conditioned (refrigeration) and so it is nice and cool in here. Like any flea market there is anything and everything that you are looking for and lots of stuff that I am not looking for but I buy on impulse because it catches my eye. For example, the Star Trek memorabilia in the picture below.

Even if I don’t buy the items, it is fun to look at them. Did you ever have a metal lunch box for your school lunch like the one in the picture when you were young? I did. Mine was a Roy Rogers lunch box. Mine also had a decorated thermos inside. I was proud as I could be of my Roy Rogers lunch box.

And then there were the kittens. Four adorable and extremely friendly, tame, loving kittens. The woman had four of them, three males and one female. The female is the one on the right peeking around the water bottle.

I count only three kittens! So where is the fourth? The woman is holding it to show how loving and affectionate they are. The kittens had an incredibly nice temperament. She said that someone had left them at her front door in a cage knowing that she would find homes for them. And what a good samaritan she was because here she was at the flea market trying to give them away to a good home.

Not all of the flea market was refrigerated. Only the one hallway. Most of the hallways had fans with misters spraying a fine mist in front of the fan.

You can see the mist around the fluorescent light.

The mist helps pretty much with cooling the air somewhat, but is no match to refrigeration. But in this summer rainforest jungle type heat, every little bit of cooling helps. Plus they had lots of these fans.

What a hodge-podge of stuff. So much to look at. A pleasant way to spend the day strolling down the aisles of wares. But it was good to get home to an air conditioned house. Time to go. Have a good day and try to stay cool with a nice cold drink. Lew

Sunday, June 27, 2010

lunar eclipse

This is my attempt at a picture of the moon during the lunar eclipse at 5:45 am this morning. My moon pictures can’t rival those of Seaside with the razzle dazzle fancy camera but I think that I can guess that the eclipse probably hasn’t begun yet. The earth’s shadow on the moon would slowly creep up from the bottom. I do see a slight darkening on the bottom but then I see it on the top of the moon also. I decided to wait a little bit and then take another look. I was worried that the high trees in the neighbors backyard might block the view.

My fears were right. The moon is not yet below the horizon but it is below the level of the trees and so my moon observations have come to an end. Maybe Seaside had better luck. I would have slept through the whole thing if Tammy the cat had not been meowing at the bedroom door to wake me up to let her go outside. She kept me company outside for a while but eventually got bored with the whole thing and decided to stroll away and find some adventures elsewhere.

Have a nice day. As for Mary and I, right after breakfast we are heading to a flea market in Mt. Dora. If you have ever read the book Alas Babylon by Pat Frank then you may already know that the author based the sci-fi novel in Mt. Dora. The author actually lived in a small community called Tangerine which is just a short distance south of Mt. Dora. Don’t the towns in Florida have colorful names? I wonder what crop they grew in the community called Tangerine? Hmmm! A citrus fruit? Even the name Mt. Dora brings back memories of the Andy Griffith show and Mayberry. Didn’t they refer to a nearby Mt. Dora in the television show? Try to stay cool on a hot summer day. I am sure that it is hot everywhere except for Logan, Utah where they still have some snow on the mountains. It’s true. I checked it out on the internet with webcams in Logan and I could see the snow. I am envious of the coolness but then come winter when I am grilling hamburgers on the barbeque grill outside in December, those people in Logan are waist deep in snow. And that goes for those yankees living in Long Island as well (except they are only knee deep in snow). Have a good day and enjoy life to its fullest. Lew

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

It is Father's Day and a time for celebration. My daughter got me a blue carnival glass dish with a pedestal. I like antique glass and use to collect it. It was shipped all the way from Utah and made it here in one piece. The blue color is a cobalt blue and blue is my favorite color.

These are the gifts that Mary got me. The main gift was a cordless phone. When we are both on our computers in the bedroom which has been converted to a computer room and the phone rings, it is a race to the other side of the house to get to the phone before the answering machine comes on. This phone will be kept right next to my computer so that if someone calls I can easily answer it. And if the call is for Mary, then I just hand her the phone since it is cordless. It is a Motorola and so it is a good phone. I didn't want one of those cheap brands because I was afraid that the tone quality might not be all that good. She also got me some sugar free Hawaiian Punch in different flavors. It reminds me of my childhood when I set up a Kool-Aid stand in front of the house that I grew up in New York.

I was the young entrepreneur who had dreams of selling kool-aid roadside to passing motorists. It was summer and it was hot. This seemed like a really good idea. I got a wooden crate and stood it on end. I made a sign and put it on the front of my wooden crate kool-aid stand. My kool-aid stand was right where the black car by the mail box is in the picture above. How many of us have had a kool-aid stand when we were very young? I must have been around 10 years old when I had mine. I enlisted the aid of Jimmy Benson from across the street to help with my kool-aid stand. We waited and waited and finally a car did stop and bought a glass of kool-aid for a nickel. I think that the man just did it to humor us. He was the only one who stopped. It was hot standing by the kool-aid stand and Jimmy Benson and I started sampling the kool-aid. It wasn't long before we had drank all of the kool-aid. My enterprise had flopped but at least I got to drink a lot of kool-aid which was fun.

But on a day like today I remember my own dad. I have very few pictures of him left.

This is my mom and dad when they came to visit me in Phoenix, Arizona. It was summer and the intense heat when he got off the plane was quite a shock to him. Back in those days at the airport when you disembarked from the plane, they would roll these metal steps on wheels up to the side of the plane and the passengers went down the steps to the tarmac. My dad had never been to Arizona and he enjoyed everything. We spent a lot of quality time together with me taking him out into the desert in my jeep to chase dust devils which are like mini tornados. He was a good father and a good provider. My mom was very devoted to him. Here on Father's Day, he is remembered and missed. Have a nice day and remember some of the good times that you may have had with your father. Lew

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lake Eola

Yesterday, Mary and I went to Lake Eola. There is a beautiful park surrounding the lake. As we walked from the street where we had parked our car the first thing that we encountered was a lovely fountain.

This is Mary next to the fountain.

I mentioned to Mary that I always found a fountain and the sound of the water very peaceful and soothing. And just look at the glitter of the sunlight on the ripples of the water. The water in this fountain was incredibly clear.

When I see a scene like this, it makes me grateful that I am here in Florida where these sights can be enjoyed year 'round (no snow). The large fountain is the centerpiece of the park.

Mary and I had lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Very trendy and yuppie. Mary had 10 large butterfly shrimp and I had a gyro sandwich which was very good. We had a choice of either french fries or a Greek salad. We were bad and both of us opted for the french fries instead of a nice healthy salad. But we made up for it by having diet cokes. We had a good time watching the people and two large black swans walk by on the sidewalk. They have both white swans and black swans here. We returned home to an air conditioned house to spend the rest of the day in nice cool comfort. Have a great day wherever you may be. Lew

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I thought that the shell of this snail was pretty because of its bands of colors. I watched him for a while and it is true about how slow they go. This one was climbing up the wall of the garage. But he wasn't the only one, there were many others.

Some things seem to relax me, like the song River of Dreams by Billie Joel. It is one of my favorites. The music video of this song which can be found on "you tube" is pretty good also. I can just listen to the song over and over and I never seem to tire of it.

Recently I had the pleasure of watching part of the movie Driving Miss Daisy. I have seen it a number of times before. I thought that Morgan Freeman was excellent in the movie. I had heard that he played the same role for years in the Broadway version of Driving Miss Daisy. No wonder he was so good in the role. Similar to Yul Brenner playing the king of Siam in the both the Broadway play and movie The King and I.

Last week Mary and I went to the movies to see the new movie Splice. It is a sci-fi movie about scientists doing human genetic engineering. Out of tradition I always get a popcorn and soda. But we have a coupon for a free popcorn and so we only have to pay for the soda. But being in a nice air conditioned movie theater on a hot, humid afternoon is just the place to be. When my parents first moved from New York to Miami, the heat bothered me terribly. At times when it got too hot to bear, I would go to a theater in downtown Miami called The Olympia.

It was one of those grand theaters that looked like a palace inside.

It was just so ornate. And only one screen, no multi-plex back then. Admission for the matinee was 25 cents (obviously this was a very long time ago, circa 1960).

It is hard to believe that this a movie theater and not the palace of Versailles in Paris. There was a sign outside the theater advertising that it was refrigerated and nice and cool inside. And it was. I would sit in the theater seat and relax as I got cooled down. I would spend the afternoon in cool comfort. And I usually fell asleep. But eventually I would have to leave the theater and go back into the tropical heat and humidity. But at least I had relief from the heat for a few hours. So if it gets too hot for you, just use that as an excuse to go to the movies. And don't forget the soda and popcorn. Lew

Monday, June 14, 2010

thermostat on the rise

This is our thermostat for our central air conditioning unit. You can see on the right that the temperature is set for 74 degrees. And on the left it shows that the temperature within the house is 74 degrees. That is as it should be. The temperature today is suppose to get up to 96 degrees. Now that is hot and it is only mid-June so far. If it is this hot now, what will it be like in August? I am definitely not looking forward to August. However, I am looking forward to September 1st as I do every year. It is still hot but it won’t get any hotter after that date and there will be a very gradual drop in the daily daytime highs after that. Sort of a downhill slide into the cooler weather. It is noontime and the temperature is starting to rise but Mary is outside lying on a chaise lounge reading a book. Me? I am inside where it is cool.

Well, not that cool. The temperature has risen above the set temperature by 3 degrees.

For about the past week, the air conditioner can’t seem to handle those high temperatures in the 90’s and the house temperature gradually climbs up above the temperature that we have on the thermostat. No matter what we have the thermostat set on, the temperature usually peaks at late afternoon. I think that I am becoming a believer in global warming as I do each summer. Today the inside house temperature peaked at 81 degrees even though the thermostat was set on 74 degrees. Think cool with a nice cool glass of iced tea filled with lots and lots of ice cubes. Be happy. Lew

Friday, June 11, 2010


Last week-end I visited the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. This shrine is vast and there is so much to see. What fascinated me was the detail in the colorful stained glass windows.

They are real stained glass and the colors are so vivid. This picture does not do justice to the colors because of limitations of my digital camera.

I spent quite a bit of time slowly going from one stained glass window to the next. There were numerous stained glass windows lining both sides of the shrine as well as elsewhere in the facility. Each window seems to tell a different story. It is really something to see. Have a nice day. Lew

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
-Mahatma Gandhi

I have tried in my life to follow these words but at times I find it difficult and I am not sure if I am successful. But I try, and it is my goal in life. Lew

oil spill

This is an onion that Mary planted. She took the very top portion of an onion and planted it. Can you see it? Here is a little help.

It looks to be doing pretty good.

I was thinking about that oil spill in the gulf. The oil is making its way down the west coast of Florida and will eventually reach Tampa which has a desalination plant to supply its fresh water. The sea water is pumped in from the ocean and through filtration, fresh water is created. I wonder if the oil will foul the filters in the plant. If they were to shut the plant down, where would the replacement fresh water come from? Would they ever be able to start the plant up again? A lot of questions and a lot of problems. Have a nice day. Lew

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

tasty cake

Mary made a white cake with cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting is very rich.

And to top it all off, she put some cherry pie filling sauce over the top of the pieces of the cake as we cut them. We did this because the cherry sauce had a tendency to run off the cake.

Tonight for supper we had Manwich sandwiches and potato salad on a bed of lettuce. The weather is getting warmer and Mary is trying to prepare summertime style meals with cold style salads such as the potato salad that we had tonight. She told me that we will be having macaroni salad and pasta salad and coleslaw with upcoming meals. The heat is making me a believer in global warming. I usually get up around 5:30 am and I miss stepping out the back door and feeling the crisp cool morning air on my face. Now the early morning air is very humid and warm. I know that the crisp cool air will return in November. But November is 5 months away plus the heat will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Today was lunch at an "all-you-can-eat" pizza buffet named Cici's. I started off with a nice salad, then on to the barbeque pizza (the concept may sound terrible but it is actually quite good) and then I finished up with apple crumb and brownie. We left the place stuffed. Plus we each had a coupon for a free soda so all we had to pay for was the buffet which was $4.99 each.

We stopped at the public library yesterday and checked out some of the movies on DVD. We will watch one of them tonight. We have been having some pretty good luck lately on getting good movies. Plus there is no charge for the movies from the library. One of the movies that we checked out was Public Enemy starring Leonardo DiCrappio. I believe that this movie showed in the theaters not that long ago. Checking out these movies on DVD from the public library for free is a really good deal. Be sure to visit your local library and do the same.

Here is hoping that everyone out there in "blog land" had an equally pleasant day. Lew