Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On the Road Again; A New House with a View; Rudy's Travails; New Workshops

Well, 2016 has already provided us with three tumultuous months, but Suzanne, Rudy, Gretchen and I are on the road in our motor coach, again for just over six months and about 10,000 miles. We plan to visit 17 states, with Suzanne scheduled for 25 events so far - it seems the list grows weekly. You can find her schedule of events on her web site,  I apologize for not having blogged recently, but it's been insanely hectic...

Having moved about 30 times since leaving home for the Navy, I had always intended that our home on Little River Path would be my last. That intention remained valid for 8 years, longer than I had lived in any house since I was a kid. We were comfortable there, Suzanne had the house just the way she liked it, and Rudy and Gretchen loved chasing geckos on the lanai. The garage was even (relatively) in a modicum of disorder. But there was this itch to scratch... could we find a place with a better view? Colorado, Wyoming and Minnesota were out; I'm too old to shovel snow. Utah and Arizona? Nah, not enough trees. How about something closer? While on a bike ride, we saw a "For Sale" sign on a house here in The Villages with an amazing view, and only 5 miles away. Fast forward a few weeks, two contracts were signed and we were planning our move. Our new house is a bit larger and has a nice view of some old live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoidies). 

March also provided us with an unexpected crisis for our 11 year old long-haired Dachshund Rudy. An abnormal blood test following a 15% body weight loss and a prolonged upset tummy had us driving up to the E.R. of the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital. Two overnight stays and many tests later, Rudy was diagnosed with a probable severe food allergy, and is now on a hypoallergenic diet. No more regular treats, chicken or cheese, but after 2 weeks on his new diet, he is gaining weight and acting like his old self. 

Suzanne has been busy preparing several new workshops and presenting one to an Energy Meditation Group here in The Villages. She is also working on a DVD of her Your Emerging Soul workshop that will be available within the next month. My "paperwork drills", as we called them in the Navy, were mostly new mortgage and IRS tax form-related. (I am still praying for a flat tax; hope springs eternal with every election cycle). 

The last 14 days have been a whirlwind. We packed up our household goods, put them in storage for a week, cleaned the house, made some minor repairs, closed on our old house, lived in the coach for 8 nights at Grand Oaks (a local horse farm and carriage museum), moved into our new house, and started our road trip... there was even time to get a few hours sleep in that schedule, but anyone who knows My Lovely Bride knows that when she has a major task at hand (I think moving into a new house qualifies under that term), she can be focused like a laser beam. I remember the first night in the new house, when we got to bed around midnight, I woke up at 4:00 AM to find her up emptying boxes and filling closets. But I must now mention that my sanity in particular was saved during this move by our good friends Elizabeth, Bob and Jan. Elizabeth spent two days unpacking most of the kitchen boxes and refilling our cabinets, while Bob saved my aching back when he provided his wonderful F-350 truck for hauling mirrors and garage cabinets from Lowes, and helping me put one of the 189-lb. beasts together. 

The most important thing:  MLB is happy.  As we left our new home after sleeping only five nights in it, Suzanne said that she could feel the love that surrounds our new abode and is looking forward to sharing that love with all who enter it in the coming years.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pastafarians; Another Reality in a Raindrop? Y.E.S. Workshop; Dogs in Bags; A Villages Sweatshop; Saint Ty and His Guru

Every now and then you hear a word that sounds just like something you're familiar with, but then you realize it's not what you originally thought of... One recent example arose when I was listening to the radio (for Super-Techies, that's an antique box that sits on a shelf and transmits words and music from a speaker). I thought I had heard the word "Rastafarian", the term for members of an Abrahamic belief which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s. But no, what I heard was actually "Pastafarian", a parody of organized religion which started with a letter from an Oregon State University physics grad to the Kansas board of education protesting the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution. 

The author suggested that the universe was actually created by an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). Another of his arguments (supported by bar graphs) is that global warming is the direct effect of a reduction in the number of pirates sailing the Seven Seas. Pastafarianism/FSMism has now been recognized as a religion in Poland, The Netherlands and New Zealand (Sheree, you had better keep an eye on those folks), and a woman in Massachusetts even had her driver's license photo taken with her religious headgear in place... My Lovely Bride is shown here cooking pasta while wearing the particular headgear adopted by Pastafarians. (No, she is not going off the deep end, just modeling!)

Okay, shifting gears... we haven't had much rain recently here in Central Florida, but one day there were enough raindrops on our lanai screens to use my macro lens to get a real close-up of a drop of water, with the inverted image of our hedge residing inside. It's almost like there's a tiny world hidden in that raindrop... who knows, maybe there's another level of reality there?

Continuing on more serious spiritual topics, Suzanne presented her Your Emerging Soul workshop twice in the past two weeks, and each was S.R.O. and received extremely well by participants. She will be presenting this workshop again as part of her Unity Village Retreat 24-26 June in Lee's Summit, Missouri (outside Kansas City). See her web site for more information.


Attendees for the Y.E.S. workshop traveled from far and wide; Irene Vouvalides and three friends drove down from Hilton Head, and several others flew in from Dallas, Connecticut, St. Louis and Pennsylvania.

The weather here in Central Florida has been spectacular, with warm, dry, sunny days and cool nights. Our Pack has gotten out for several forest hikes; here we see My Lovely Bride with our sweet little Gretchen (AKA Ten Pounds of Fighting Fury) riding in her backpack. It is always funny when we pass other hikers and then point out our Dachshunds riding comfortably on our backs. 

This particular hike was near Inverness, FL, on the Citrus Loop in Withlacoochee State Forest's Citrus Wildlife Management Area (49,000 acres). I have backpacked here in previous years, and we found one tiny campsite that a thoughtful, friendly person had marked with a colorful wind wheel and a Welcome sign. Rudy (seen here in my backpack) wanted to spend the night (there were squirrels galore in these oak trees), but we hadn't brought tents and sleeping bags on this dayhike.

Those of you who may be wearing one of Suzanne's beautiful coin pendants (which she designed, by the way) may wonder if she uses overseas labor to make them. This photo taken of her sweatshop workers proves that there is no overseas or child labor involved, but I can vouch that they don't get union-mandated breaks, either. (Many thanks to Ruthie, Jan and Bob!)

Finally, I have to mention that one of the attendees at Suzanne's Y.E.S. workshop recognized the contributions that "That One's" long-suffering husband makes. Her comment, "Suzanne, I want to tell you that Ty is a saint... maybe we should call him Saint Ty!" I can't understand why, but many attendees laughed at this pronouncement. I saw the truth, if not the humor, in her obviously accurate comment. I explained all this to my spiritual adviser and guru after we got home, but all he had to say was "Ommm..."