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Sarasota poet offers meditation on mourning a pet

For all those out there who love their dogs, Sarasota poet Arlene Klein recently republished a collection titled I Never Wanted to Say Goodbye: Gentle Words to Comfort Those Who Mourn the Loss of a Pet. Klein calls the book “a testament to the joy of living with pets and the sorrow of losing them.”

“The book is a collection of poems, written as a tribute to the dogs I loved and lost,” she writes. “Gentle words to comfort those who mourn the loss of a beloved pet. It touches the heart and is an inspiration to embrace every magical moment we share with our furry friends.”

Originally published in 1995, the book was nominated for a Dog Writers Association of America Maxwell award. Klein released a revised edition two years ago — she even got Betty White to write the foreword.

A portion of book sale proceeds goes to the Morris Animal Foundation for canine health studies.

Posted on August 5th, 2013 Comments (4)Comments RSS Feed

March Birds Herald Sing

A Crow and Mockingbird make strange fence-fellows near my house.

Several nights, I’ve slipped quietly from the house to stand in the yard and listen. My eyes wide and searching what I call the “forest” of oaks, practically holding my breath, and unable to resist smiling; but for the life of me …
Read the rest of this week’s Sense and the City column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune TICKET today

Posted on March 22nd, 2012 Comments Off on March Birds Herald SingComments RSS Feed

Raccoony kind of afternoon

Racoon begins climb to escape paparazzi.

.There’s a family of about four or five raccoons who live near me. A while back, they came into my carport, with about three or four additional friends or extended family members, and pretty much threw a party in the ‘port.

Raccoon escaping paparazzi.

As I looked out the kitchen window at them, one of them came right up to the door and stood on his hind legs and kind of waved his front paws at me beseechingly — I guess wanting food.

If raccoons could give someone the finger, I'm sure I would have been the recipient for disrupting his outing.

They start walking around the backyard most nights just before dusk. And I recently caught this one raccoon on camera as she – I think it’s the mother of the brood of youngsters – climbed up a tree.

Posted on February 19th, 2012 Comments (2)Comments RSS Feed

Dusk on a Sunday Evening

Sunday night. Sitting outside in the heat — beginning to abate somewhat. The heat that is. Me? I’m not abating at all. Waiting? Maybe. For something I’m not sure.

In the meantime, I have squirrels squirreling around. Coming closer for nuts. Closer, then rushing away. Closer, then running. Isn’t that the way life is. The way we all are?

Bromeliads are blooming. And I feel good. The heat. The singular beauty in front of me. The rodents at my feet. Boomer is at the window, licking his chops and wondering why I’m fraternizing with the enemy.

Friday night were the Perseids. I was watching around 4 a.m., from inside this time. Prone on my couch, the cool leather giving a reprieve to my skin. Looking out the tall windows toward the sky. The moon, on the other side of the horizon from when I saw it around 11 pm, subdued by the clouds but still illuminating … everything: my car in the drive, the shrubs, glinting off the bird bath.

Meteors flashing across a Sturgeon Moon sky.

I couldn’t see a one. But I knew they were there. Flying by on their way to somewhere. Whipping by in all their immediacy. Their urgency.

Make a wish. Quick. All the more reason if you can’t see them.

Posted on August 14th, 2011 Comments (43)Comments RSS Feed

Swimming at sunset

Tonight, like a dream. Swimming in the pool at the house I’m watching over for the summer … a man was out fishing in the low tide. He’d rowed up to the sandbar on a small kayak. He threw cast after cast but I never saw him catch anything. I swam. Under the wide open sky, no cage overhead to stop the pine needles from the nearby Australian pines from floating down every now and again.

osprey-in-treeNothing between me and sky and clouds and … my lovely osprey. How can a human be so in love? With a bird? But I am. I coo to him (or her) en francais, not caring what the neighbors think. I say, “Bonjour, ma petite. Ne cri pas. My honeybunch.” I’m like a looney-tune. I swim.

Remnants of something — a crab? — left off the side of the pool, where many crane-like, stork-like birds come to scout lizards or perhaps drink the water, one, crazily, even when I was swimming, ventured close.

Pelicans, seagulls, waterfowl of every kind, winging their way back to nests. The pool seems to be directly under their nightly flight path.

Luxuriating in the water. Watching the clouds and loving those moments when the osprey fly in so close over the pool that I feel I could reach them (and I pray they don’t drop any, um, thing … notably that fish in their talons). Every now and again, Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Osprey turns his head to look at me. “I’m not dinner,” I remind him. Their diet is 95% fish, you know. I looked it up.

It’s magic here. On the Intracoastal. Which I’d choose any day over a place on the beach.
I think a woman could find her best self here. Recall the woman she might have left behind while off searching for love and fortune. Recall the woman who isn’t afraid of never being married again. Who doesn’t mind, really, the uncertain future.

Recall the woman who doesn’t give a damn about anything else but the feeling of a light wind coming from the west wrapping around her bare skin as she steps out of the dreamy, warm, water. The air almost cool. The sun, now setting. The fisherman moving back toward his kayak.

It’s easy to do here: remembering who you were, liking who you are, and looking forward to who you yet will be. That’s the magic of this place.

Posted on July 14th, 2011 Comments (2)Comments RSS Feed

The Buck starts here

buck_poster2If you haven’t seen the new documentary, Buck — I highly recommend it. It sounds like it’s about the horse whisperer and the equine world, but it’s really about life and how our life circumstances do not have to dictate who and what we become. Well, that and also how to treat a horse … which is an awful like how you should treat a human.

Check it out —

Posted on June 28th, 2011 Comments Off on The Buck starts hereComments RSS Feed

Close enounters of the reptilian kind

An unusual sighting in the Coolidge backyard.

An unusual sighting in the Coolidge backyard.

A close encounter between feline and reptilian intruder.

A close encounter between feline and reptilian intruder.

Reptilian retreat.

Reptilian retreat.

Posted on June 21st, 2011 Comments (2)Comments RSS Feed

Reasons to avoid downtown Sarasota!

So, I was asked to go out the other night for dinner — to celebrate some good news I received earlier this week and my date asked me where I wanted to go. It was a toss-up for both of us between Caraguilo’s Restaurant on Palm Avenue (a favorite of mine for years) or another place not situated in downtown. It took less than a nanosecond for us to both say the name of the non-downtown restaurant — no cost for parking! It wasn’t a drawn-out decision, no big debate — just a no-brainer.

It’s not just paying for parking. Here are the two things that put the nail in the coffin for me as far as downtown goes:

“Those who choose downtown’s sidewalks and parks for their front yards deserve the same consideration as a gated community,” said Peter Fanning, president of the Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association. “We should be able to walk unmolested by catcalls, panhandling and unwanted approach.” Yup, you read it right. The downtown residents should have the experience of living in a gated community — hmmmm …. at taxpayer’s expense, I guess. We can pay for the parks and the pretty twinkling lights …. just don’t go downtown to enjoy them if you don’t live there! Source: SRQ Daily 6/8

Then I picked up the Pelican Press and read an article about how the Downtown Improvement District just decided to support the City Commission’s removal of the park benches at the Five Points park.

I absolutely won’t shop or eat downtown now as much as I can avoid it — which will be pretty much always. The meters were bad enough, but now to know that the folk who are supposed to be in charge of improving our downtown for all of us to enjoy are actually supporting this crazy bit of bench business — it’s too much. There are too many other places to go in Sarasota County.

I’d LOVE to hear how anyone else is experiencing the new meters, the park bench removal — wherever you fall on the issues, pro or con or somewhere in the middle — I invite you to post your comments here.

Posted on June 10th, 2011 Comments (6)Comments RSS Feed

Jeremy Wallace Looks into the Political Crystal Ball … this Saturday

Saturday — June 11 — local political insight provider/writer Jeremy Wallace (of the Sarasota Herald Tribune) will be speaking at the Laurel Oak Country Club talking about “What lies Ahead for 2012.”

wallace_jeremy1-150x135I like Wallace’s demeanor: serious but not too serious. And seriously informed about the rumblings and machinations of Florida politics.

If you haven’t read his blog, you might want to check it out at Political Insider. For more info about why Wallace is worth listening to, click here.

The event is hosted by the Democratic Club of Sarasota and includes lunch; program begins at noon. For reservations call 379-9233 or e-mail The cost for members is $23 and for non-members and walk-ins is $25

Posted on June 6th, 2011 Comments (2)Comments RSS Feed

Sarasota Magazine’s smashing soiree at Selby

Last night’s Sarasota Magazine Best of 2011 party on the great lawn of Selby Gardens was a smashing success. I’m not a big one for the social or party circuit, but this was the perfect party for me — en plein air, fun music, and a very relaxed and happy vibe. Even the 550-person crowd didn’t bother me because the event was spread out across the great stretch of lush greenery, banyan trees, and waterfront setting, and it was fun to people-watch the oodles of people dressed in everything from shorts to suits and colorful, hot-trending maxi dresses. (more…)

Posted on April 27th, 2011 Comments (5)Comments RSS Feed