Archive for Home Life

Another Summer Gone…

Summer is gone again.  Boom.  Just like that.  One day it’s hot as heck,  (it’s still hot as heck) and the next thing you know it’s cooler in the morning when you’re outside drinking your coffee.

I’m looking forward to:  outside fires, a cane boil, lots of stews in the crockpot, leaves falling, and crispy skies, Thanksgiving, football games, Christmas, being with friends and family and shivering happily by the fire.  Singing, laughing, dancing…

And I’m really going to miss my sister in law picking flowers and putting them in my kitchen window.  Here is her last creation…

Sil's Pick of the Day


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Tree Climber-Old Timer

Last night I tried to climb a tree. Something I haven’t done in years and shouldn’t have attempted at my age now.

There was a thunderstorm in Georgia and you could see the lightning in the distance. A wonderful breeze was blowing and I was out walking and I saw the cherry tree swaying…inviting me to climb up and enjoy the dance. I stood at the bottom of it and looked up. It’s not a very big tree, about 2 feet  or so around and the branches are big enough to support me. I reached up to try and grab the first branch and couldn’t. It would require shimmying to reach it.

When I was young I could hit a tree running full out and shimmy up it like a monkey. I swear. I was the best tree climber in the neighborhood bar none. I spent hours in trees. I had trees all over San M that I named and climbed. I was Jane looking for my Tarzan.

So in light of that, I figured it should still be a piece of cake even 30 or so years later. Kind of like riding a bike, you never forget, right? I have climbed trees off and on throughout the years but they’ve always been relatively easy to get into. I didn’t see a problem.

Huh. I jumped, grabbed the tree with my hands and put my feet on either side of the trunk to start my shimmy. Something popped in both the muscles on the insides of my legs and they gave away and I did a body smack into the tree. I should have stopped there but I was not daunted. I dug around in the dark in the garage (God forbid anyone see me doing this) until I found my tin pail that I use to wash the car. Tipped it over next to the tree and stood on it and was just able to reach that first branch. I grabbed it with one hand and tried the shimmy again. Those muscles that popped? They screamed at me this time – they tried to warn me but I was so close that I pushed them some more.

I hung there for about 3 minutes – okay – make it 30 seconds – and I could feel my arms trembling and my legs were shaking and I knew there was no way I was going to get my body up far enough to get to the next branch. I looked longingly into those branches above me and really wanted to get up there. I was astounded that I could not do it and disgusted with myself at the same time. I dropped the six feet – I mean – one foot – to the ground and my legs would not support me and I ended up on my hands and knees, really miserable.

I continued with my walk and vowed to try again another time. Soon. After my muscles quit hurting. After I do a few push ups and weight lifting. I’m even going to try and ride my bike more.

I know I can still do that.

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Is It…Could It Be…Spring?

How many of you have noticed the trees along the road putting out those tiny little shoots of green? The red maples and the purple what-ever-they-ares have been showing off for the past three weeks but I haven’t seen the usual greening of the trees. Until today. Through my filtered sunglasses that make the world rosier than it really is.

It’s getting downright gorgeous out there folks. You can almost hear the trees grunting to shoot out those little fuzzy leaves in different hues of green, gold, reds, yellows… It has been a tough winter for us Floridians, no doubt.

Below is a picture of a tree next to the garage. Now this is a beautiful tree but it also makes me miserable. We’re going to watch this tree and you’ll know what I mean. For now, suffice it to say, it’s grunting.

No leaves yet


Check these out. Now at one time this was a trio of whatever the heck kind of palm this is. We’ve had it here for oh…about four years? This is what is left. Kind of makes your heart ache, doesn’t it? One trunk has already gone and I’ve pulled it off, another trunk is all spongy and I’m not even sure about the third trunk. I hate to keep poking it.

Please Be Alive

Please Be Alive

Now here’s something sad…last year in March we planted three Foxtail Palms trying to spruce up the back yard for Lester and Marti’s wedding. They grew right through summer and were getting taller and prettier all the time. Until January. Remember that two weeks of 20-30 degree weather every night? Lovely, wasn’t it? We covered them in blankets stem to stern but it was hopeless. They’re dead. See the little wiggly things coming out of the trunk of this one? They all have it. Wood borers, we suspect. Chewing on that nice dead soft wood.

Notable note – As of today, according to Mr. John Gaughn on our weather station, it has been 92 days since we last saw temperatures above 80. Something for the record books. Who shives a git, I ask you. Just give us some warmer weather.

What Are Those Things?

What Are Those Things?

Wow.  The grass is dead and the weeds are coming in.  Great.  Stay tuned. I will take more pictures of these pitiful plants in a couple of weeks to see if there’s been any change. Oh. Except for the Fox Tails. They are coming out this weekend.

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The Winter of Our Discontent


If there is one thing most Floridians agree upon at this very moment is we are ready for the cold weather to cease and desist.  This has been the coldest winter in most folks’ memories.  

I get up this morning and walk outside and truthfully, it was cold, but it wasn’t THAT cold.  Kind of getting used to the high 40’s, low 50’s, you could say.  Well, I just went out to go to the Post Office – it is 10:30 a.m. and the temperature is 44.  That’s Fahrenheit, my dears.  44.  Wind blowing a gale, it was all I could do to get to my car and dive in.  Banged my head on the car door rail, felt my bad knee give, dumped half my purse when I slung it into the next seat.  Cussing and griping the whole time.  This kind of stuff just makes me grouchy. 

When the first hint of cold weather comes through Florida every year, I think most people are exhilarated by it.  Ah, at last!  A break from the heat!  We are still tanned from our summer days, perhaps just a bit burned out from the heat and we’re ready for some cooler weather!  We don’t mind because hey, in just a few days it will be warm again!   We pull out our “cold weather” clothes and revel in having something different to wear for a brief spell.  Everyone smiles when you see them – “Whew, bit brisk today, huh?” and we rub our hands together and do a little shiver but we’re still SMILING.  We’re still okay with it.  This will pass! 

When was our last 80 degree day here in north Florida?  Sometime back in December.  I don’t know the date, it doesn’t matter.  It feels like YEARS ago.  Heck, 80’s is a cool day for us! We love the 80’s especially if there is a nice tropical breeze to go along with it!  Even the 70’s are okay!  We love 70’s!  You can still wear your shorts and tank tops, you can still swim in the pool in the 70’s.  

It’s only March.  We have one more month folks.  One more.  April may be a bit of a bear this year but it’ll be April and April gives us hope.  At least, that’s what I’m looking forward to.  Sure, come June, July and August, I can guarantee you we’ll all be cussing the heat again and sweating but at least we can do it poolside or at the beach, right?    

I’m going back to my cave.  The one next to my friend Cheryl.  I know she’ll be out when the first hint of spring comes through.  Wake us up if it comes early. 

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A Perfect Day

Once in a while, you get a perfect day.  Yesterday was one of them.  I called my friend Judy, who does my taxes and we got together at 1:00 so we could get them done.  I get there and Judy, her mom and I sit down and eat delightful little crackers with different cheeses and chat.  Judy’s mother is so sweet and I love her so much.  I stopped into Publix and bought her a little pot of some kind of lilies with pretty flowers.  It’s so nice to have a “Mom” I can still give flowers to once in a while, you know?

We finish up our lunch and Judy and I get to the tax stuff.  It didn’t take long, she got us some money back (she is so good!) and we were ready to do something else.  The plan was to go visit my mothers grave and spif it up and come on back to her house and I’d go home.  But we veered off the track, like we usually do, and also went to where her family went to sprinkle her dad’s ashes in the river.  We wandered the roads through Arlington and gazed longingly and admiringly at the beautiful homes along the river.  We went to the Lions Club Park over off University.  There is a fishing pier and boat launch there.  The day had begun gloomy and cold and magically had turned sunny and almost warm.  The river was beautiful and we were both in a great mood just being out in the sun near the water.  We walked along the beach and talked.  Judy kept picking up trash and I had to keep helping her with it, haha. 

There is a nature trail next to the fishing area so we decided we would take that.  I armed us both with pepper spray – I had two in the car.  We took our beers and smokes and headed out for what we thought was going to be just a short walk.  It turned into a hike pretty quickly.  Between us laughing like fools over stuff and just enjoying the gorgeous day and the woodsy walk, it turned out we may have even done the whole trail and then some!  Judy kept walking towards the sun trying to stay in it, going through palmetto bushes which make me very nervous, like she had on snake boots and chaps.  I’m keeping a close eye the whole time and she is walking nonchalantly along and discovers this very neat little piece of beach with sand on it and a bench!  A tree had fallen over and the root system sticking up along the shoreline was absolutely incredible to see.  We both lamented we didn’t have our camera.  She said, “I have one on my phone!”  I said, “Do you know how to use it?”  She said, “Nooo…”  I said, “Well neither do I so we’re still out of luck.” 

I know when I’m licked.  A couple of beers and anything mechanical or technical is beyond my comprehension.  We said we’d come back again and get the pictures, but we both know that was an extra special day and the tide was perfect and pictures like that usually only happen once.  We hung out on the beach for a little while and then made our way back to the car.  Judy says to me, “Do you know who killed J.F.K.?”  and I slowly remembered the last name, then the middle name, but couldn’t get the first one.  Lee Harvey Oswald.  This led to who killed Abraham Lincoln and Robert Kennedy and John Lennon.  We were doing brain teasers.  Sometimes we do state capitals, this day we did murders.  Her clues were priceless.  You had to be there to see the clue for Sirhan Sirhan but trust me when I say it had us both falling out in the parking lot laughing so hard. 

We finally had to agree that it was time to get back and went to use the bathroom there and the doors were locked tight.  Two paper towels later behind the bathrooms and much, much, more laughing, we both agreed we were glad we DID NOT have a camera.   We slowly made our way back to her house.  We said our goodbyes and I drove home and smiled and giggled the whole way with joy at such a perfect day.  Spontaneous and unplanned! 

The perfect ending to this perfect day was that my husband was feeling much better from his cold and felt like having a few cups of cheer with me and we both played guitars (me mostly with my two chords I’m good at) and him doing lead and we actually sounded pretty good!  Or so we thought anyway, but it didn’t matter we had a blast.  We put in a Eric Clapton music DVD and listened and watched him and were in bed by 9:30.  Fuzzy and happy.

We really all need more days with good friends, sunshine, love and laughter.  I will remember this day for the rest of my life.  I will.

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Grandkids and Gourds


Little Ghosties

This past summer Tim grew gourds in the backyard.  When he planted the seeds he thought they were the types of gourds that are used for Purple Martin housing.  But they turned into the bottleneck gourds so we are just making bird houses out of them.  They grew in abundance and covered the back fence and were pretty in a messy kind of way.   

The grandkids came over this past weekend  – we’d been planning this for several weeks.  It’s been so darned cold or nasty outside that we only had a few ready.  Once you get them dried enough to hear the seeds shaking around like crazy, they need to be cleaned up.  Then you drill the hole in them and clean the insides.  Then each one must soak for 20 minutes in copper sulfate to kill bacteria, etc.  So we only had a few ready and I sure wish we’d had more because they were anxious to paint!! 

It was a perfect day for this because it was cloudy and rainy outside.  At least it was warm so between coats of paint we did go out and mess around.   They painted them and I hung them by their little strings in the laundry room on clothes hangers to dry.  Brightly colored gourds all lined up on the clothes rod dangling and swinging, bumping into each other, making funny noises, swapping paint spots.    Little ghosties. 

What’s funny about that is one weekend before Christmas I was painting up a bunch of them for gifts and hanging them in there to dry.  I didn’t notice that Rocksey wasn’t going in there at all.  That is where her food and water and bed are when we leave for work and she gets penned up for the day.  By Sunday afternoon I noticed she kept jumping up on the side of the tub and looking longingly (THAT should have been my FIRST clue) into the tub.  I walked by her later and saw her standing at the laundry room door staring at those gourds then eyeballing her water bowl.  She looked like she could use a drink.  (I recognized that look.) 

Then it hit me.  She’s scared to go in there!  I had about 8 lined up drying and to her I think they looked like little ghosties!  I picked her up and showed them to her and went “OOOOOOOO” and she about came unglued.  She had been fine while I was holding them to paint but she didn’t like them swaying around in her “room.”  So I moved them and the second I did, that poor little dog went in there and drank and drank and drank her water.  God, didn’t I feel bad.  Tim said he’d seen her standing in the doorway too looking in but didn’t know what to make of her. 

The kids worked on their gourds off and on all weekend, adding finishing touches and on Sunday Tim made a wooden stand to hang several of them on and took it to their house and put it in their backyard.  It turned out very pretty and the kids seemed very proud of themselves.  I know we were proud of them!  

I can’t wait to get more gourds ready for them to paint.  I want to hang them all over the yard and hope the birds use them for homes. 

 We’re also going to find out if birds like the color RED. 

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Trashcan Diving

Last night I had to go trashcan diving.  Now granted, it was our own trashcan, but it was still not what you’d call fun.  Worse yet, I did it twice. 

I am missing the glass top to a wonderful little ceramic pot that I use to make my tea.  It cost me a gracious plenty along with its set mates at a Princess House party I went to several years ago.  My niece gave the party and I really loved this cookware set because the handles are removable and you can go store them easily.  They have other great features too.

Anyway, I’ve lost the lid to my favorite one.  I made tea Saturday night in it while I was fixing turkey pot pie from the thank-you-Jesus-they’re-gone leftovers.  I had a few drinks along with it.   We watched the poor Gators get pretty well stomped by Alabama.  They deserved a few more drinks from me.  I made one too many phone calls that night, LOL.  We won’t go there but trust me, if I call you when I’ve had a few, just hang up on me, okay?

I get up Sunday and notice the tea bag on the back of the sink, no tea made, the pot in the sink, but no lid.  I wasn’t concerned at the moment.  Sunday came and went and while doing the supper dishes, I started seriously looking for the lid.  I could not find it anywhere.  I SEARCHED for 30 minutes.  Woke the hubby up and explained it to him.  He gets up and starts looking for it.  I resign myself to trash detail and pull on my warm clothes, dress my feet, and tromp down to get the big can from down by the road.  I look thru the bags on top and do not find it.  I figured this had just happened this weekend, right?  No need to go through the whole weeks worth of trash!  I take it back to the road, go back in the house, remove the heavy clothing and continue my search.

We searched some more and still no lid.  I am frustrated and suggest we just quit, it’ll turn up eventually, I know it’s not in the trash, and try and go about my business.  But the whole time my mind is churning trying to remember the last time I saw that lid.  Maybe it was before the weekend, maybe it really could be in the older trash in the bottom of that big, deep, dark, dank, nasty trashcan.  I pull my warm clothes back on, put on my sneakers again.  I go back and get the trashcan and pull it around to the back and turn on the bright lights and pull on my trusty rubber gloves.  THIS time I open and DIG through every darn bag in there and I still do not find my glass lid.  I was just so SURE, you know?   I did give up this time and I went in and took a shower after that nasty ordeal.  All of this was reminding me of other dumb things I’ve done.  Like put the bowl of tuna fish salad in the cupboard instead of the frig, then discover it a few weeks later.  Or wonder how the potholders got in the frig.  Or finding the dishcloth in the freezer.  I mean strange things happen around my house that I just can’t explain!

So there is a moral to this story but damned if I know what it is.

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