Wednesday, March 27, 2013


There is joy in the air, Peri is back!

It is true, he was NOT on walkabout, we are now sure. Peri has just returned.... thin, very weak, bedraggled, but alive.  The other happy vegan found him, wobbly on the beach. At first, he thought he was seeing things, but with a quick "Peri!" and a feeble responding "meow," he knew it was not a mirage, but the real deal.

He quickly scooped up Peri up, and with tears streaming, brought him inside for me to see. At first, I wondered why he had our gray cat Lemon in his arms, and was crying. I just kind of stood there, it really did not register with me at first. He said "Peri....." and that was all he could get out. Peri, weak but alive, was inside my living room.

The first call was to Peri's people parents, the second call was to the veterinarian. Peri was brought into the hospital as an emergency; he has been admitted as an in-patient. He is now stable, and will recover.

As quickly as the other animals exhibited their bizarre behaviors in his absence, is as quickly as they have stopped their oddities. If I wrote and explained all that was going on with his siblings, either you'd think we were crazy, or if you're a believer in those things (as we are)... you'd think it was incredible. What happened with the others IS incredible and not within the realm of our abilities to fully understand. As you know, although we never gave up all hope, we were far too close to the resolution that harm had fallen upon sweet Peri and he would not pass this way physically again. When we calculated the amount of time he'd been gone, we realized we were in double digit days, since we lose track of time easily with the nature of our work. It was actually only just upon waking this morning that we realized fully how long he has been gone.

Peri, sweet Peri. I cannot express the feeling of light I feel, and the exuberance surrounding us right now. And, it is even better because I know others will feel the same upon hearing this news.

Thank you to everyone for loving Peri. Thank you to everyone for loving animals. I've written it before, and will continue to write this as long as I can: animals are some of the best teachers we've been given. It is up to us to listen to them, love them, cherish them, and respect them.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Price of Love

Peri is gone.


This is not a walkabout, I can feel it, we all can feel it.

Peri is as much a part of this place as the air we breathe.

I can't write too much right now, it's just too hard. He's gone walkabout in the past, this you know. He always returned in a few short days. This time, no.

There has been a shift in the energy here, we felt it almost as soon as he was gone. If you don't believe in that sort of thing, that is your choice, but for us and others who know him, there is no denying it. This is not limited to just human observations... Peri's furry siblings have been the biggest bellwethers, and honestly that is what scares me the most. While I never want to give up hope, there are some things that seem undeniable. Animals vibrate on a different level. We are listening here, the message is there, despite our cries of denial and our refusal to give up hope.

It's funny how people come and go in our lives, same with animals. We never really know when our time is here done. If we ever knew it was the last hello or the last goodbye, would we do anything different, or not? Would our mind allow us the ability to really let them go anyway?

There are stories that are true about animals who disappear for a long time, and then simply reappear. Will I ever stop hoping that here, no of course not. Will his people parents, us here, and everyone else who loves him stop calling or stop looking, no of course not. When hope is lost, everything is lost.

Everywhere I look I see Peri. There is not a speck of Deer Run that he has not investigated and made his own. Everywhere, absolutely everywhere. I see him.

Peri is as important to me as anyone in my life I've ever been close to and loved. I haven't felt this much pain since I lost my father, it is that traumatic. Days go by, work goes on. We put our best face forward because that's what we're supposed to do, I guess.

Tears in the shower aren't really tears, they're just more water.

The price of love is pain, incredible pain. Somehow we love anyway.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

It's been over a week since we've met here together, how are you doing? We are ok.... a little tattered and torn, but no worse for the wear. Things move very quickly this time of year. Have you wondered what we've been up to? Let's see if I can remember some of the goings on...

Baking. LOTS of it. Here the oven is in overdrive. In fact, a new oven is coming my way... a nice BAKER'S oven. Never did I think I'd trade in my love of fashion, shoes, boots and jewelry for appliance catalogues and still get the same effect. Remarkably though I have. I get woozy when I see the slop sink nozzle of my dreams, get the giggles when I think about the next range hood that will be installed here, and practically died from joy when my new oven got ordered. I am constantly in the kitchen. Today I had a very weird occasion where my kitchen time wasn't as voluminous as usual. Once my chores were finished, I slipped on my sneaks and hit the road for my 4 miles. When that was over I took Pop out for some errands (see below), then came back here, but wasn't sure what to do. Not much baking to do (or so I thought). I went to lay down for a while to try for a nap. That was not meant to be because I'm preoccupied. See next paragraph.

Peri is on walkabout. This is pretty much all consuming for me. It's going to be 3 days since this newest adventure, and I am NOT happy, in fact I am quite miserable. All of the guests, neighbors, and Peri's parents are on the lookout. We are all going a bit nutty calling for him. I covered the entire road today during my run calling for him. Nothing. I covered half the beach, while the other happy vegan actually combed the entire beach, both ways. Nothing. I hear others calling, voices carried on the wind, "Peri, Peri, Peri!" Nothing. When I attempted to nap, I just couldn't because all I could think of was Peri, and then I'd get that pit in my stomach. I cannot tell you how many times I've been outside looking. He's very small, the world is so big.

I finally found time to sit in a stylist's chair for the first time in close to 6 months and get a dye job. When I left, I had celebrity silky smooth hair that smelled good, looked good, and took a few years off my looks overall (I really think so!) This has affirmed that I must find more time for myself, at the very least I will not neglect my hair again for so long. Things get away from me on high season, and since I stuff my hair in a hat or tie it up every day being around food all the time, there's not much worry if the hair has roots 5" long, is there? Well, I discovered there is a slight bit of concern, so I promised myself to be more attentive and force the time issue when it comes to hair -- especially since I also got the report that there were NO gray hairs lurking. Whee!

I have been working on a few new cooking recipes. This actually is more of a struggle for me than baking, since cooking is so not natural for me, nor do I really like to cook (did I just admit that?!) Yeah, it's true, cooking is not my thing. This is why I HAD to take lessons from a professional chef once we committed to buying this place. That, my friends, was worth every single penny. So, the new cooking plods along at a painfully slow pace, and I do not push myself the same way I do with new baking recipes.

The Blue Angels are in town.  NAS Key West Southernmost Air Show is all weekend long, this weekend. I've waited 18 months for this show. We are going, both days. I have my list of things to bring (chairs, sun umbrella, SPF, camera with 2 batteries and camcorder) I'm hoping I'll actually remember to consult my list this time. Last time I actually forgot to charge the camera the first day, talk about pitching a fit when the camera died after 2 clicks of the Angels. No one to blame but me. So, 2 fully charged batteries are coming with me, and 2 lenses too. Not sure why I'm worried so much... as per last time, I'm pretty sure I'll get about 600 photos of clear blue sky and not much more... they fly so fast.  If Peri was where he belonged, I would be jumping for joy about this weekend, but truth be told, I am very preoccupied with him. As much as I want to be at the show, I want to stay home and search for him, or wait for him to mysteriously appear as if he was never gone.

Today I spent some time with Pop. We ran a few errands together, and I took him to get his hair cut. Pop is turning 104 this coming week.  One hundred and four years old and still going strong. Since I'm doing one of his cakes ("chocolate cake, honey with a side of kisses!"), I think I'm going to decorate it with 104 flowers. I'm not sure about that yet, but that's my thought. If that is to be, I have to start the flowers this weekend. Between the air show and Peri's walkabout, I'm not sure how this will play out.  Here's a picture of Pop just after the haircut, my apologies to the stylist, I am so terrible with names... she's a very nice gal, and I LOVED the colors in her hair! 

Pop and friend, looking marvelous!

After Pop had his haircut finished, we made a few other stops through town picking things up and dropping things off. It was nice to spend some time with Pop instead of the drive to Marathon like we always do; a change of pace was good for him.

Aside from a few behind the scenes things which I PROMISE to tell you about in short order, I guess things are status quo, besides what I've written about. I hope to have some really nice photos from the Blue Angels shows, I'll do my best. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that we can fit in a tempeh reuben from Sugar Apple, although the timing might not work out this time around between the air show and the store hours.

Please hold good thoughts for the Mayor of Long Beach, Periwinkle, sweet Peri. Life is all wrong when he is not here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nooooooooooooo! Stuck on the Bridge!

It happens a few times every year.... I get stuck on the bridge. Which bridge? Did you really just ask me that?  THE bridge.  The 7 Mile Bridge. Woe is me, it was NOT a good Tuesday morning. Although, as is evidenced by the reason for the bridge closure, sadly others had a far worse Tuesday than I did.

As usual, I picked up Pop for the drive to Marathon as well as some food shopping for him. I planned on making a couple other brief stops while I was in town up there, but that all fell apart.  Remarkably, I was ahead of schedule on Tuesday. Pop ALWAYS is ahead of schedule, so I decided to leave about 15 minutes earlier. After we situated ourselves in the car, we began the usual idle chatter. Traffic was moving great, but pretty heavy (typical for this busy time of year).  Shortly into our trip across the 7 Mile Bridge, all cars in front of me slammed on the brakes, and we were all completely stopped. Within seconds, both Pop and I knew this was bad because NO traffic was coming across the bridge in the opposite direction.  After sitting for about 10 minutes, I told Pop we might have to turn around. He protested, something he rarely does about anything at all. I said let's wait another 15 minutes and see what happens.  As we settled in, the idle chatter got less and less.  Water terror girl stuck on bridge began to estimate the height of the span we were on at that point, the depth of the water below us, and all sorts of scenarios of what would happen when the bridge collapsed with me on it.

Since there was no opposing traffic, the bridge wasn't breathing much. Until the wind would kick. As the rolling of the bridge came and went, Pop would chime in with little "whoooeeeeee, feel that?" commentary, knowing full well that bridges and water are just not for me.  "Yes Pop, I feel that......"

This was our view for over 1 hour.
Stuck just before the hump.... the highest point on the bridge.
Just before the highest point to fall when the bridge collapses, with me on it. 

The extra 15 minutes passed.... no movement.

5 more minutes passed.  Nothing.

Check out the view in the side mirror.... traffic backed up as far as I could see.
Time to flick on the radio, maybe we can catch a bulletin?  Indeed, within 2 minutes we heard the airwaves telling us that there had been a terrible motorcycle wreck up the bridge, the span was closed in both directions and had been since "x" time earlier. So, now we had a reason for why the closure.

Anytime I hear of a wreck, I cringe. Any time I hear of a motorcycle wreck, my stomach rolls more than that bridge. There are no helmet laws in the State of Florida, and while many feel differently than I do, my feelings are if you're on a bike, wear a helmet if you value yourself at all. I used to do a bit of riding here and there, but it's been a long time for me. I no longer have a desire to get on a bike, ever although I understand the lure, I really do.  It's empowering. It's exhilarating. It feels so free. However, most places I go aren't really good places to ride; too many people. I personally never got on a bike without a helmet. There's lots of new, more modern, safety gear available, even vegan safety gear (Kevlar lined jeans!)  But, both Pop and I heard the report of "serious crash with head injuries, airlift required," and knew the rider most likely did not have a helmet. We later learned that indeed he was not wearing a helmet (not that we are assessing blame, please, never.... no, that is NOT what I am saying) and the rider perished. May his soul rest in peace.

Back to the the jam......

People were out of their cars, and looking over the bridge. Video cameras, and regular cameras were in everyone's hands. I had mine with me too, but there was no way I was getting out of that car, NO way.  After a VERY long time of being completely stopped, some cars began coming in the opposite direction. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, thinking "our turn will come soon."  All through this time, Pop would be the one to initiate most of the dialogue, and most of the time it was good natured ribbing of me--water terror girl, stuck on the bridge. Once some traffic began to pass us, it truly seemed like every other vehicle was a truck. Pop also observed this as the bridge sprung to life.... breathing up and down, up and down, up and down. That's also when Pop sprung to life with his assessments of all the truck traffic. As I muttered my feelings of "why didn't I stock this car with an emergency kit and a hammer to peck us out of when the bridge collapses?".... Pop's response was "honey, just pack snacks." I adore Pop, I don't remember what life was like before I knew him, and cannot imagine life without him.  He has a certain way of getting to the heart of the matter, like packing snacks, oh, and one of his other recommendations was "slippers, too."

Winnie the Pooh-ish words of wisdom.

After more than an hour of being stuck, we moved.  Slowly, and not all the way over, but we moved. And, I could SEE Marathon on the other side.  But, unfortunately, we again came to a complete stop, and this is where we landed:

Um, yeah, that sure LOOKS like a seam to me...

Ok, now this photo might not look to the average person as anything different than any other place on the bridge, but I am not the average person. I'm terrified of water.  And bridges.  Look closer.... see that line on the bridge? I assume it is a seam. Assessed by me as a weaker spot on the bridge, and as THE spot that bridge was certain to collapse under all the static weight it was under.  My span was certain to break free and end in the water, where I would be trapped because the electric windows would short out, I didn't have a hammer to peck us out, I couldn't swim anyway even if I did peck us out, and what was left of me would be shark food.

It's always interesting to be me, and Pop, stuck on the bridge.  Pop's assessment of the seam?  "You'll be knocked out anyway as soon as you hit the water" then something about the concrete from the other span landing on top of me, I would never know what hit me. I pointed out, yes I would, because he just told me ahead of time. Raucous laughter from Pop.  Sweaty palms on my end of things.

Eventually we made it over the bridge.  Traffic was a  nightmare all the way through town, and even all the way home. At least by the time I was heading back over the bridge with groceries in tow the flow was moving. It stopped completely again on my way back on to Big Pine, by then I was far away from the bridge.  We have 1 traffic light on my island, just 1 traffic light, yet it always backs up traffic when there's too much volume. The morning tragedy resulted in delays into the early afternoon in both directions. Truth be told, once I got off the bridge, I was ok, and more focused on what actually happened to cause the situation, and that kept things in better perspective for me. I cannot, however, help my anxieties when actually ON the bridge, so all bets are completely off until I'm free an clear of that living entity.

I decided to pitch all other stops and errands I had planned in town that day. Just get the food for Pop and get back home. No need to dodge the traffic backups trying to cross the highway back and forth between businesses, no, not for me.

Pop is getting a new car this weekend. A nice, comfortable, fuel efficient, modern car. And, most likely I'll be giving him a little gift of an emergency kit in that car... one with a hammer to peck us out in the event we find ourselves free falling off the 7 Mile Bridge. Pretty soon, instead of reminding Pop to buckle up when we depart his house, I'll be strapping on a life vest for each journey as well.

Pop definitely didn't know what he was getting himself into when he asked me to do this driving for him. I'm glad at least one of us finds my issues somewhat amusing.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gone Walkabout

More than ten days have lapsed since last we were together on this blog. What do I have to show for it, where have I been? Looking back over these last few days, I can honestly say I have no idea for the most part.

I got swallowed by my kitchen for days on end. As I slid down that vortex, I had epic highs and epic lows. I had a stack of recipes I wanted to try, and all of my new cookbooks came within the last week or so as well. Adding to that situation were the already existing stack of recipes I need to work through. I have worked with no less then 20 new recipes since I last posted. Of them, I would say roughly 5 are keepers. That's about average for me. Most people have no idea how much research and development goes into the food here, truth be told even I am constantly surprised by how much work it takes to get a recipe to the table in suitable form. One night this week after roughly 16 hours in the kitchen, I collapsed into bed. I decided to take 2 minutes to put lotion on my hands and arms, an innocent enough idea. I got back up and stumbled to the closet... found the bottle of lotion in the dark (too lazy to turn the light on), collapsed back into bed, flipped the lid and gave it a good squeeze.... only to have half a bottle of shower gel come flying out onto me, the cat, the blanket, and anything else within firing distance. Word: when looking for hand lotion and you're tired, don't be too lazy to turn the light on to confirm lotion is lotion, and not shower gel.

I made another epic discovery in the last week or so.... coconut bacon. I'm really late to the party on this one. How could this invention have arrived in the world without me knowing puzzles me. Apparently coconut bacon took the veg world by storm a year or two again, while I've been completely oblivious. Somehow I stumbled upon a mention of it on the internet last week and was intrigued, so I whipped up a batch. Instantly I was addicted, and I am not kidding. I have sprinkled coconut bacon into my oatmeal, onto my kale, over a sandwich, and into my quinoa. I made quiche with it, and tossed it into some scramble. I've baked with it, and sautéed with it. There is NOTHING you cannot do with coconut bacon. My life will never be the same!

I think more than anything though, what's happened here, actually what IS happening here, is that we are at a crossroads. There comes a time when you have to decide what is the best use of your time, this includes of course what we do for work. Both of us happy vegans are united in that feeling, and unfortunately that seems to mean that there will be things happening that neither of us really planned on. Yet, we are both optimistic that no matter how things are when we tumble out the other side, we will of course be dedicated to helping animals, living compassionately, and moving constantly in the direction of activism.

I really am a bit spent, I think that's my main reason for having gone walkabout on you. The other happy vegan and I have made some hard business decisions in the last week or so. It has not been pleasant. It's very rare that either of us here have regrets about things, especially when it comes to business and work. We thankfully share the same work ethic, and the same philosophy of "we can do it" if there's something either of us wants to accomplish. Yet, we've come to admit that sometimes the constant fight it takes to actually exist and "be" what we are here might not be the best use of our time and money. If things cannot be resolved realistically and economically, we've got to wonder why are we even doing what we're doing when there is so much more in the world that needs our attention, so much more that we can do.  And, so this is where we are as of now.

I never did well with change, it's a source of anxiety for me. But in the last 10 years or so, my life has been a series of constant changes so I've learned to adapt far better than in the past. Change is once again in the air. Being at a crossroads is never a perfect place to be, but once I've made a decision which path to take I find myself being able to regroup, refocus, and just do it. We've never been the type of people to roll over and be quiet about anything; don't bet on it now either.