Thought for 2007
"Blessed are they that can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused"

Mister Knightly is featured at the new web site for the North Shore Dog Park you can check him out and see his friends there.


xmas07-003.jpg (325307 bytes)

Hi All:

I have been referring to 2007 as The Year of the Reality Check and attempting to perform a ‘reality’ check on myself.  This is not as easy as you may think, for which of us can really see our selves clearly?  And even if you think you can, it is still just one opinion and as I have also been fond of saying this year:  Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.  Still it is hard to get a well-rounded set of opinions when you live with only Mister Knightly. 

Here I must digress to say that Mr. Elizabeth had to be put down this year – sad to say and hard to do, but he had developed some hygiene habits that finally became impossible to live with.  So now just Mister Knightly & I will carry on together.  But Knightly doesn’t give me a true view of myself, for if you see yourself only through the eyes of your dog, you will see someone who is perfect in every way, for that is how Mister Knightly sees me…and how I see him too… and that is hardly reality.

No, for a real reality check I only have one set of good critical eyes and they are mine – strangers & your friends are seldom as critical as you can be…even when they try – they can, however point you around blind corners if you listen closely to the way they tease you.  

The first and easiest thing to check was my physical appearance…and this check came from an outside source in December of last year – Jerry & I were in NYC sitting at one of my old Greenwich village haunts and I was chatting up the young bartended with stories of the Village in earlier days – when I said I had a milestone birthday coming up and this young guy, without a moments hesitation said “60?”.  Of course he was right but so many people had been telling me “you don’t look 60” that I was thinking he might say “50?”  However, the young aren’t fooled…friends who know you they can be kind and say you don’t look it…but a stranger just tries to make a good guess.  Next I decided to check my hair color – after all I hadn’t seen it in over 25 years…the photo above is pretty close to the real color – some blond left on the tips but the rest is the real me.  I think I like it and I am going to try to live with it going forward.  I have an idea that a woman of 60 shouldn’t necessarily look like a woman of 25…and despite her best efforts, rarely does.

My next big check was my life.  My summer vacation took me to Sweden for a month where I was welcomed into the bosom of two large and loving families and I reflected again on my decision not to have children…did I miss something there?  Yes.  But, did I make the right decision, I believe I did.  The other big part of Life is Love.  There I was lucky.  I have had the love of my good friend Richard for 39 years (and for 12 of those years in marriage) and I had the grand passionate “swept-away” kind of love with the Late Great Bob.  I don’t think there is another great love of either kind in my future and it doesn’t bother me.  I have become so set in my ways and so happy with my life in general that, in a way, I hope another love doesn’t come along…still I try not to be cynical about love…it is hard, but I try.

The last big check was my personality and the way I treat the world.  Here there is always room for improvement.  Despite the fact that I use less than 10% of my brain, my ego persists in thinking that I am smart…delusions of grandeur run in my family, so this may be a genetic delusion, but I see so many people that I think are just dumb and I read so many things that are done by these dumb people (socially, politically and even spiritually) that I often feel like I can’t relate to my fellow human beings.  My friend, Tim, has started to sign his emails this year with “Be kind, be happy” and this has had an effect on me.  I am trying to be kinder (I always strive to be happy) and hope to get better at it as the years go by…even to the dumb people.  I am also trying to keep focused on the here and now – not the daydreams and fantasy of how I could make my life different – this is my life, taking out the trash and sweeping the floor and walking the dog…I need to keep trying to make Art of it as best I can. I won’t get another chance.  I want to be accepting of things as they are and I’d like to be content – not easy when I read the papers or watch the news but I think that if you can effect change in your own life, perhaps it could ripple out into the rest of the world and if so this will be enough for me.  Of course I still pray for World Peace.

Now the Holidays are here.  I have looked back on a year of great friends, fun happenings and relatively good health.  I have missed seeing some friends– Jean Hynes & Valerie Knaust to name just two.  I thought I had lost the Wheelock-Taylors but was pleasantly surprised by a long letter from John this year.  And while I didn’t get to say a last good-bye to Brenda, she left one for me on my answering machine…  I resigned from my book club; I was finding it hard to read serious books – now I indulge myself in mysteries and fantasy.  I still manage to get together with my favorite Bookie, Mary Lou, each month for lunch and she keeps me filled in on the others.  My dear friend Mary got married and moved to the UK – I miss her a lot.  My job has really taken off in terms of work-load so I stay fairly busy which means I don’t have time to worry about a lot of other stuff; plus they gave me a nice raise this year - I must be doing something right.  All in all, I began the year with a whopping big 60th Birthday Bash that made it very pleasant to ease into a new decade…My month in Sweden was perfection itself – in one of my many fantasies, I move there!  So folks, I will be playing my yellow Ukulele into the New Year and singing off key, completely out of touch with reality, despite this check.  On balance this my 60th year of life has been just great – Life is Good!

I hope your year has been Great too!  I hope your families are doing well and that you are as happy as you can be.  I love you all.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Be Kind – Strive to Be Happy!
Sandie & Mister Knightly

November - I traveled to San Francisco to work the Oracle Convention and also to see my dear friend Dion.  Dion is looking great and seems to be enjoying life as much as I am.  We went to her office at the 3300 Bar and I got to say Hi to a lot of her friends, who all said, "Are you back again?"  We had a nice dinner and got to talk about what we've been doing, the kind of thing women do.  Then I was off to the Oracle show where I saw my buddy Diane and we did the same thing.  Mister knightly stayed with his friends Maggie and Jib while I was away and went to the beach and dug in their yard and had a great old time.   They are all three Labradoodles, and don't they know it.  Dave and Kay are real Saints to take another one into their house for a whole week.  I arrived back home to find Thanksgiving bearing down on us like a freight train.  Tim & Randy out did themselves this year.  DSC03933.JPG (578377 bytes) DSC03953.JPG (504648 bytes)  And the, you know, I went to the opera to see La Boheme and it was time to begin Christmas.

October - Another hot month - air conditioning running a lot - though I did try to turn it off whenever I thought I could stand it - it isn't so much the heat as it is the humidity...but isn't that what everyone says?  Almost makes you believe in global warming ;-).  There were lots of outdoor things to do however because fall is the time to get back outside in Florida.  First there was the very popular concert in the Park by the Florida Orchestra, complete with fireworks...this is a free event sponsored by Helen Torres and is a very nice evening every time - so far no rain has marred this event.  The next weekend was the Circus McGerkis - an old hippy fair that is making a comeback - it wasn't as much fun as years past however so it still has a way to come - it used to be lots of artists and home made crafts but now it is just resellers of stuff made in South America or somewhere - very few real home made things - and most over priced - a notable exception was my buddy Ed who had made his photos into note cards which were very nice.  The following weekend I drove up to Crystal River for the 40th wedding anniversary of Julie & Steve Pritchard - can you imagine?  40 years married!  It was an interesting party for me for two reasons - they live in a golf course community and it is very upscale and senior in age - all the men stood on one side of the pool and all the women sat together on the other side (reminded me of junior high school) and the other strange thing was that the party ended around 8:30PM...not exactly like my parties.  I finally remembered my niece's birthday in time to get a gift there - and it was a good one - she liked it, which of course made me very happy too.

At work the good news that I got a nice raise.  I asked and I was a beautiful thing.

September - A most average month.  I got out a bit, drinks with Beverly, lunch with Mary Lou and Tim, and sunset at Sunset Beach with the guys and a birthday party for Ingmar.  But really it was a very ordinary month.  My days have been full of work and some of the fall doctor's check ups that are an annual event... not much in the way of folks actually wanting to see me.

I did have one weekend that was entirely girlfriend intensive... The weekend of the beginning of Autumn.  I spoke to Lena twice in Sweden and to Karin on her birthday to sing to her in Swedish and then to Mary in England and then to Susan, the Pookie Niece.  that was a very special weekend with me calling and then being called in return... always nice.

I resigned from by book club this month.  Kind of sad but it had been on my mind for some time and then the September meeting got pushed to the 3rd week of the month, and well, I have a standing conference call that I run on the 3rd Wednesday of every month so it seemed like a sign that this was the month to do it.  We had a good run together and they really are a great bunch of women.  But I haven't been reading like I should and I don't feel like either changing or beating myself up for it... life is too short.

Mister Knightly and I muddle on together.  I am building him a page on MySpace - he needs some friends, so please go to an become one... I also have posted some of my videos there from Sweden... you might enjoy them.

August - Hot, Hot, Hot!  Almost makes you believe in Global Warming...Dogs were wilting at the dog park and all I wanted to do was float in the pool and work on my tan.  Had a late birthday lunch with Mary Lou - she turned 80 this year and just like me she still sees herself as 27 in her mind...  Saw my old friends Don and Jordan Goodman here in St Pete for a book signing at Haslam's for Don's book Summer of the Dragon - about his wild life adventures, especially the one where the alligator ate his entire forearm. It had been years since I'd seen them and It was so great to see that they hadn't changed much at all.  Sandra Bruen and her friend Marcia had birthdays and celebrated together - 60 and 70 respectively.  Steve and Julie Pritchard flew in and we had dinner together with the comedy team of Williams & Ree who were performing at the Vinoy for a Boat Show.

And then it was time for what I consider the event of the year... Mister Knightly celebrated his first birthday.  Of course it was a great excuse for a pool party...and of course there were photos taken... and here they are.

   DSC03848.JPG (324272 bytes)

DSC03842.JPG (234358 bytes)

And on a sad note...Mr. Elizabeth has departed the earth.  He was almost 13 years old and had developed a very bad habit of doing his #2 on the rug in front of my back door and then walking calmly out the dog door to the outside, leaving me a stinking mess to clean up.  Turns out this is somewhat common in older male cats.  I tried to correct his behavior but in the end I just couldn't live with it anymore.  My vet didn't give me any argument about it either.  Alas, a tough decision.  

E.jpg (170068 bytes)

July - Well I have spent the entire month of July getting used to being home again... and getting back in the swing of work.  After being away from me for a month, Mister Knightly is staying very close  us27-07.gif (729894 bytes)  Knightly2-7-07.gif (819614 bytes) He is still the cutest dog in the universe, but he is fighting a problem with fleas that neither Advantage or Frontline seem to be able to control for a month at a time.  As a result he is loosing hair and digging at himself a lot.   I feel sorry for him - salt water doesn't help either, though he has learned to love swimming at the beach.

It has been a rather quiet month - I had a fantastic massage (a birthday gift) at the Vinoy, met the guys for drinks at the beach one night, had a visit from my friend Sandra who had moved to Colorado, enjoyed a visit from "The French" in the persons of Christine, Sylvie and Victor, went to the Cool Art Show and will go to see Jordan perform at Tampa Bay Performing Arts center with the whole gang tomorrow night... oh, and I had a colonoscopy (not as bad as my dread of it).  Richard also came by to see the photos and videos of Sweden and I was able to give him the hat we got for him... he was thrilled with it and said he will wear it in the mountains. R-7-07.gif (682170 bytes) R2---7-07.gif (741896 bytes)

June - My month in Sweden... So much to say about this wonderful trip that I have given over pages to it.  Mister Knightly stayed with the wonderful Bob & Susan Hunt and their dog Shellie and he had a fine time.  Mr E. was babysat by my neighbor, Paul and I am sure he got lots of attention too.  But I think I had the best time with my two great friends Karin & Lena and their wonderful families...  As usual you can see my trip at Places We Like 

Karin                                                                   Lena



All in all May has been a good month - I leave for Sweden in 3 days and I have been packed for at least three weeks.  But before going we had to stop and have a May Pool Party to celebrate the birthdays of the men in my life.  It was a beautiful day with a fun group of people 
  the guys seem to think that Mister Knightly has been putting SunIn in his hair and it is true he is looking more blonde each month - takes after his Mom I guess
You have to admit, he is a handsome dog.

I am getting excited about my trip to Sweden  - I wake up in the middle of the night having a subconscious discussion with myself about silly things pertaining to the trip - one night I was planning to take a big bag of trail mix and was debating with myself about what to include in the mix.

Meanwhile I am still trying to get all the ducks lined up form my departure.  Mister Knightly will stay with the Hunts, which is a huge load off my mind - what would I do without Susan Hunt?  Finding someone to sit the house has been harder but I think one of my neighbors will help out.  

The month has moved along quickly with a Sushi party at Julie's where I caught up with a lot of folks I like but seldom see and supporting Jordan Stoval by watching him take 2nd place for Drama in a scholarship contest.  I took Ed to dinner for his birthday on Thursday - and Jerry took me out for a send off dinner even though I won't be leaving for a while yet.

I went for a consultation about my first colonoscopy and I am dreading this procedure.  On an up note here is a photo taken by Randy of Tim & I at the recent Green Thumb Festival

April - Today is April Fools Day - a favorite day of mine...perhaps because I am such a fool myself.  Last night we colored the traditional Easter Eggs at Russ & Jim's .  I wasn't at my best, having a bit of a hangover from the night before, when I hosted a little porch party for Paul, Aleth, Bill, Mary, Sandy and Reggie.  The Grand Prix is downtown this weekend and I didn't want to go near it, so I invited the gang to come to me...made a bit of a mistake with the Champagne and ended up under the my eggs aren't the best, but still cute and there are some of Russ' eggs here too.  We did tie dye, using old silk ties to make lovely intricate patterns this year and the results were a big success.  Here they are for your inspectionDSC02737.JPG (564726 bytes) 07 easter.jpg (90088 bytes)
Here we are on Easter Sunday in our bonnets.

Later this month I go to Las Vegas for work and Tim and Randy will come and live with Mister Knightly (and Mr. E) while I am gone.  Geri comes late in the month for a visit...just us girls... looking forward to that...  The MainSail Art show where I will continue to look for little gifts to take to Sweden...and The Green Thumb show.  American Stage has abandoned Shakespeare in the Park for "More Modern Fare in the Park", I am not sure if I want to go and support it... I want the Bard back!

Mister Knightly continues to grow and delight me... I feel that I can face growing old as long as he is with me. DSC02722.JPG (592875 bytes)  DSC02785.JPG (547593 bytes)
Mister Knightly fills my reading chair, unless he has to move over and make room for Mr. E...obviously no room is left for me.

March - The leaves are falling now and making a mess in my yard and pool... another week of leaves then two weeks of pollen and then I can get the pool ready for swimming in.  I bought a carpet for Wayne's World because I feel somewhat certain that when Mister Knightly learns what the pool is for he will be using it unsupervised and tracking water in at will... the tiles will be slick as ice, so a carpet is a necessity.

I hooked up with the Hunts to go see Toots and the Maytalls on the 9th and we had our selves a great time.  Jake came too and he is a teenager who is very easy to be around... Susan and I got in some extensive girl chat time too, so a good evening on all counts.  This past weekend the gang all went to the Renaissance Fair.  This is my favorite spring activity!  I could go several times.  It has everything I like - costumes, men in tights, acoustic music, kids playing and having fun, shopping, food and an excellent opportunity to drink beer in the sunshine.  Here we all are:

DSC02726.JPG (557730 bytes) 
2007RennFestival 038.jpg (106024 bytes) 2007RennFestival 036.jpg (102253 bytes)    2007RennFestival 112.jpg (75106 bytes)

February - It has been relatively cold here in Florida this February.  I have been trying to catch up on Movies I haven't seen before the Oscars next weekend.  Mister Knightly is growing up and will turn 6 months next week.  He is the very best puppy in the whole universe.  Loving, smart fun.  in short a bundle of delight.

he does insist on torturing the cat, but Mr. E does keep coming back for more.  February means Valentine's and Romance and thee was both this month.  I received roses and a Valentine's lunch from Tim & Randy which was very sweet, but the real romance came this past Sunday when 
Mary Smith became Mary Hughes.  wpe4.jpg (85852 bytes)  DSC02572a.jpg (112188 bytes)  It was a small wedding followed by an long dinner.  There was a lot of laughter and we all suspect they will be very happy together.  

January -   January began in NYC.  I went with my little buddy Gerry to New York to see some shows and go to some museums

DSC00285.JPG (569203 bytes)  Once back home all attention turned to my 60th Birthday party.  

DSC02453.JPG (601243 bytes)  There will  be lots of photos to show of this event and I will put them on this separate page - 60th Birthday Photos.