Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Note: While on the road, I tried to post this but the pictures didn't load. I didn't have time to fix it then so I deleted and re-posted it today with some revisions. My apologies to all and thanks to Jan who pointed out to me that once it's posted, it stays in the reader even if you delete.

As usual, we got off to a rocky start. Sleep deprived and packed like sardines into MHS’s truck, we set off at 4:30am last Tuesday. The original plan to leave the night before was scrapped upon the realization that we wouldn’t be ready to leave until 11:30pm. JackASS and I had one of those lovely little marital spats so it was a VERY quiet ride. There’s something about a roadtrip that drives his stress levels through the roof and I have little to no tolerance for it. (I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he is solely responsible for loading and securing the bike into the truck, packing D1’s three truckloads of STUFF into one truck and dealing with all the STUFF I require on a lengthy trip. What’s the big deal, right? Easy for me to say…) We were back on speaking terms and holding hands like the lovebirds we are by the time we arrived at my dad’s at around 9:00am. We placed D1’s dog into Daisy’s capable hands, had some refreshments and set off again on our trek to North Carolina. MHS had to drive the entire trip because the truck was packed so full and in such a way that if we moved the driver’s seat up so that my short little legs would reach the pedals, the whole tower of boxes would fall and we would never get them back into place to put the seat back again. I was elated because that meant I was able to read blogs on my blackberry, (which is still working beautifully on day 12) twitter, receive your well wishing comments by email, read a book, and nap felt really bad for him.

Doesn't this look cozy?

We reached our friend’s home in Charlotte around 5pm. Note to self: Plan trips to Charlotte to avoid rush hour traffic. The place is booming with new construction, new homes, shopping centers, and office buildings but the roads have not kept up with the pace of the city’s growth.

It was great to see our friends, who we will call the Half-Backs. Half-Back, is you’re not familiar with the term is used for people who originally lived up north, migrated to Florida for better weather and realized Paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and moved again, this time to North or South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, etc… which is…..half way back; hence Half-Backs. They have lived in NC about a year and a half and have a beautiful and very large home. Both travel extensively for business. I’m currently developing a plan with MHS that we could sell our home, move into theirs and as long as we’re careful and keep moving, they would never know we were there.

We weren’t the Half-Back’s only visitors, Mr. HB’s father and his girlfriend and were there visiting from Florida as well as their 20 year old son, Handsome. They also have a daughter who is D1’s age who lives with them. They grilled out and we had the most relaxing and wonderful time sitting outdoors in the cool evening, eating, drinking and catching up on the happenings in everyone’s lives. Then Cutie, their daughter, introduced me to Sweet Tea Vodka, apparently a South Carolina specialty. This caused a great deal of discussion about if it was tea flavored vodka or a mix of mostly tea with a little bit of vodka. I decided a taste test was in order. Cutie served me a large glass of the stuff and after one sip; I knew it was definitely sweet tea flavored vodka and NOT tea with a bit of vodka. However, I kept sipping and drank the whole glass. I think my knees wobbled a bit when I stood to leave. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a picture of the bottle for reference this post.

This is Handsome enjoying some of his mom's specialty: ice cream pudding.

Unbeknownst to me, Cutie made a call to D1 to tell her that she was giving me the 12oz. “taste test”. D1 was concerned knowing I normally stick to beer or wine. My, how the tables have turned. Aren’t they cute to worry about us!

The hour was getting late and we still had to travel another hour north to MHS’s brother’s, Hammerhead, where D1 is staying. It’s so hard to leave good friends when you know you won’t see them for quite awhile and you’ve only had a few hours to catch up. Alas, we had to leave.

Everyone was asleep when we arrived at Hammerhead’s. The next morning, I awoke early to visit with D1 while she got ready for school. Of course, I’ve seen her get ready for school for years but this was the first time knowing she was a teacher and not a student. Hammerhead left for work and D1 and my niece, Fireball, left for school. Fireball is a student at the school where D1 teaches. MHS and I ventured further north for a business luncheon where midlife crises were the topic of the day. And I thought it was just me.

We finished lunch just in time to make it back to visit D1’s last class of the day. It was fun to observe her in her professional element. I’m sure every mother and father would feel this way but we were really quite impressed by her teaching skills and the way she was able to control the classroom. She gave a quiz on weather and climate and insisted that MHS and I take it too. You’ll be happy to know that I passed the 6th grade social studies quiz with 100% but missed the bonus question. Oh, and MHS missed one but got the bonus question right, if you’re wondering. He will be so pleased when he finds out that I shared that with you.

This is D1's favorite student.

When the school day ended, we assisted D1 with her parent pick-up duties and then helped her redecorate her classroom. Fireball was at volleyball practice in the gymnasium. We were just kicking into high gear decorating and desk moving when a student came to the door announcing Fireball had been hurt during practice and D1’s presence was requested there. Moments later, upon our arrival in the gym, the coach told us, it didn’t look good and it was probably broken…..again. Fireball had this same injury last year during volleyball season and I’m told it happened the same way. Fireball is an amazing athlete but apparently a little slow in the “learning from your mistakes” department. Sorry, kiddo.

We got her home and resting comfortably. Once her dad was home, we left to take D1 out to dinner. We had a great time harassing the waiter in a way that only D1, (D2) and I can do. I think we embarrass MHS but he just smiles and remains silent. Did you know that in the state of North Carolina you can’t get a burger cooked anything less than medium-well? Some crazy law about wanting to protect the public from e coli. D1 winked at him and we got it Medium. It pays to have pretty daughters.

We left the next morning before Fireball had her doctor’s appointment. We found out later that it wasn't broken but ligament damage instead. She has been instructed to stay off it for a week and then be re-evaluated. We're all hoping and praying that she won't need surgery and will be able to play again before the season is over but that might just be wishful thinking.

Oh and they have this new, very cute puppy named Daisy. I wanted to put her in my suitcase.

Stay tuned for Roadtrip Part II.

Monday, September 22, 2008


MHS and I are hittin' the road. First stop Daddy's to rest a bit and drop off D1's dog. In the morning, we will leave for NC to see D1, friends and family. After that we will be moving on to our home town in Indiana for an annual festival that for us will be like a class reunion and family reunion all wrapped up into one. We are taking the bike and my camera with us so stay tuned. I predict some great blogging material on this trip. I will try to post as we go but I'm not sure what my internet options will be. Til we meet again……………..We are outtahere!


Our next door neighbors, the West family, (our neighbors to the west) have goats. Nanny goats, all of them. We live in a rural community where the lots are larger than usual and keeping the lawn in good shape can sometimes be a real pain in the butt chore. I think the idea of owning a goat developed from a need to lessen that chore. So goat shopping the West family went. They fell for a lovely little white nanny goat they called Hillary and a darling black billy goat they called Barack. (Do you think they are Democrats?) I need to mention here that the Wests were assured that the proper measures were taken with Barack that little goats, kids would not be a possibility. Arrangements were made, supplies were purchased but alas, the owner decided they did not want to part with Barack after all. So, Hillary came to live with the Wests all by herself.

Hillary was treated like a queen and much attention was given to her by the West family and the Smart Mouth family who found Hillary to be a great source of entertainment. But even with the star treatment, Hillary was lonely. She missed Barack and her other friends. So the West family decided to get another goat. This time, they decided on two instead of one and brought home a mother and daughter team named Daisy and Brownie, respectively. Hillary was thrilled………for about 5 minutes. You see, Daisy and Brownie are the mean girls of the goat world. They butt Hillary with their horns, rise up on their back legs and punch at her with their front hooves. They just don't like her at all. (I think they might be Republicans.)

Days turn into weeks and while Hillary still isn't able to make friends with her new yard-mates, all are learning to live together and no one is getting hurt. One day, Mr. West mentions to me that he thinks Hillary might be pregnant. It turns out that maybe Barack wasn't as fixed as they were told he was and while they hadn't had her checked out yet by the vet, things were looking like a new kid might be in their future.

Just a few days later, MHS is outside doing some work in the yard when he hears Mrs. West yelling. He looks her way and she yells, "Hey Harley Stud, you know anything about birthing a goat!" Now MHS is my hero and I always think he can do just about anything but assisting in the birth of a goat……I don't know about that.

It seems that Mrs. West was preparing to take the children to visit their grandparents and had just finished showering. With her hair in a towel, she ran outside to feed the goats before blow drying her hair. Imagine her complete shock to see an extra pair of legs hanging out of the back-side of Hillary. Mr. W was at work. She tried to reach him by phone but he was unavailable. That is when she came back outside and called out to MHS.

He came into the house to change from his flip-flops to his sneakers because EVERYONE knows you can't be birthin' no goat in flip-flops. He announced the event to the girls and me and we in turn put our sneakers on too. By the time we reached the West home, Hillary had taken care of the job all by herself and produced the most adorable little kid you've ever seen. She was almost an exact duplicate of her mother. She could stand up all by herself and fall down too. Too cute. We oooed and awwwwed for quite awhile. Eventually we had to pull ourselves away to let Hillary and Donkey (the name given by the West's #2 son…who had recently seen a Shrek movie) their much needed rest.

We've really enjoyed watching Donkey as she grows. Daisy and Brownie seem to tolerate her a little better than they do Hillary but they are still bullies to both of them. I've never liked mean girls and the stunts they pull but I have to say that while Hillary and Donkey are my favorites, Daisy and Brownie have a special place in my heart too. I guess even a bully can't be all bad.

This is Hillary. It was hard to get them to stand still for a picture because when we come to the fence, they are always fighting for attention and moving all around for a better position.

These are the bullies, Daisy and Brownie. Brownie is the brown one if you are wondering. *wink* They are not posing. I had some greenery in my hand and they were going to make sure they got it and Hillary and Donkey didn't.

This is my favorite: Donkey. Aren't her little horns cute? OK, you twisted my arm; I'll share another of Donkey:

The little darling eats my weeds. Don't you just love her?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So Grateful Sunday

While I am always grateful for the blessings mentioned here that make my life complete, today I am counting the simple joys in my life that add a little kick and make it interesting. (At least to me)

  1. Daddy. Today is his birthday.
  2. The sound of football on my TV. I just love having it on while I work around the house even if I can't sit and watch.
    Of course, if the Seminoles are playing, I'm planted up front and center. Even when it's not so good….like last night. …Sigh
  3. My new Blackberry Curve. Tried the Pearl, had trouble after 3 months, died after 5, replaced with refurbished Pearl and died again after 2 months. I'm on day 4 of the Curve. No problems yet. Yippie!
  4. My job. As much as I complain and am driven completely insane by it sometimes, I am blessed to have it and all the perks it allows me.
  5. Frozen custard. There is a place an hour north of where we live that serves this sinfully delicious treat. I guess I should also be grateful that it's so far away or weight loss might be an even bigger challenge.
  6. My Harley Stud's bike. I am really somewhat of a reluctant biker chick with a split personality (I wear pearls with my leather) but we have a lot of fun and are getting ready to leave for a trip soon.
  7. Country roads that curve, go over hills and into valleys. I get tired of the same old flat, straight roads in the area where I live. I love to venture north where the terrain has a little more character.
  8. Spinning. It's good for me. It challenges me. And it kicks my butt. (Should I be grateful for that?)
  9. Sugar snap peas. This is my new favorite snack.
  10. Walks on the beach. And I don't do it often enough. Maybe today…….yes, today.
For what things are you grateful today?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I made it to spin this morning on time. I chose a bike near the back because the people in the front are just so intense. A few more people filtered in after me but the class was only about half full. This didn't really seem to be a problem until the class started. The problem was that there was no one in front of me which for all intents and purposes meant I was the front row. Uh oh! I'm new to this spinning thing. I don't need to have the instructor having a beeline view of my posture, huffing and puffing, lack of proper form and the extra breaks necessary to keep me from having a stroke. I kept praying that more people would come as the class progressed. Where were the Barbies? Where were the athletes?

I did the best I could but to be honest, my best was not so good today. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't get up early enough to have breakfast or even coffee. Maybe it's because morning is not really when I'm at my peak performance. I'm much more energized in the afternoon. Maybe it just wasn't my day. But whatever it was, spin kicked my butt today.

As usual, the room was dark and the disco ball was spinning. My shoes, headband and sportsbra were glowing from the black light. This made it easy for me to spot myself in the mirror and observe my lack of good posture. Robin, the instructor, played lame (in my opinion) 80s music today. Is there anyone (besides Robin, apparently) who likes this stuff! Oh, gosh, I'm starting to sound like an old woman!

Now, Robin is an amazing specimen of a woman and normally her energy and stamina is enough to motivate me to work myself into a spinning frenzy. Today… not so much. I worked hard though, believe me. Once again, we peddled ourselves silly all while punching, reaching, climbing, rowing and then peddling one leg at a time. But today, I found myself mocking Robin in my head. At one point, she said something about getting ready to jump. I'm thinking, "Jump! There's no jumping in spinning!" (said in my head like the line in A League of Their Own). And dang if she didn't hear me because we didn't ever do anything that resembled jumping. This scared me because now I'm thinking Robin has super powers and can hear what I'm thinking. And my thoughts were not all that kind. I was cranky, unmotivated and just plain rebellious. Another problem was that as I mentioned earlier, she could see me clearly. So while she may not have been talking directly to me, it sure seemed like it. She kept saying things like, "Pull your stomach in.", " Straighten your posture.", " Move, move, MOVE!" and "Faster, faster!"

So now, I'm worried that with her apparent super powers she can hear my mental replies to her commands. I'm thinking things like, "Listen, here, skinny b*tch!" and "I AM moving, are you blind!" and "Maybe if you didn't have this lala music to a crappy beat, I might be more inclined to pump it up a little more".

The class concluded, I thanked Robin for a great class (because I'm polite like that) and walked out feeling a bit defeated.

I think I'm PMSing.

And to add insult to injury, I walked into MHS's office upon my return home and he said, "Man, you don't look good." Thanks, JackASS.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Daddy always said never to discuss politics or religion. "It's a good way to lose friends." That being said, here we go……

As our presidential election draws nearer, I am becoming more frustrated every day. I am not a political thinker. (A fact that will become more evident as you read further) As an American citizen, I appreciate the privilege and feel it my duty to cast my vote come November 4th. I have tried to do my homework but with each article I read, interview I watch, commercial I see, I am becoming more and more confused. I liken it somewhat to coming into the middle of a movie with a very complex plot. I feel like I just can't catch up. I'm missing half the story.

After careful consideration of all my options, I registered as a Democrat at the age of 18 because well….uh…..my parents were Democrats. However, I am not a loyal party member. I have always voted for the individual I felt would do the best job. (Sorry, Daddy) That decision has never been harder for me than it is in this presidential election.

Some random thoughts on the decision at hand:

  • I have no problem with an African-American president. If it's the right person, I wouldn't care if he or she had green skin with purple nose hairs. (It would be hard to take him or her seriously but wouldn't they look great in high-def?)
  • I have no problem with a woman president. I do however feel that it is an insult to the intelligence of American women to assume that we will vote for the McCain/Palin ticket simply because there is a woman on it.
  • I watched both the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Based on their speeches, I would vote for all of them. Senator McCain doesn't have the charisma of his running mate or either party on the opposition but still I heard his message and liked what I heard. The problem is that I don't believe any of it. I'm not saying they don't have good intentions. I just think that once in office, it becomes much harder to follow through on the promises made.
  • I think that when the parties spin their version of the "truth" and the media bites, we are left distracted, dazed and confused.
  • It bugs me when I hear people, friends even, say they will vote for one or the other based on one issue. I have Christian friends that will vote Republican only because of the pro-life position. Don't get me wrong, I AM a Christian and I am pro-life (personally) but we will leave that discussion for another day. My point here is how much of the president's job is centered on that stance? Does that mean I would be good presidential material? Now isn't that a scary thought!
  • I have other friends who will vote Republican because they are gun freaks enthusiasts. And here's where I'm at risk for losing friends on both sides. I believe we have a right to bear arms and MHS and I are regulars at the gun range. Never mind that in order to "bear my arms", in an emergency, I would have to find my cell, look up the safe combination, ask the "perp" (learned that on TV) to wait just a minute, open said safe, load the magazine into the gun and then …. Ready, aim……better run, Mr. Bad Guy. If you are said bad guy, this section was written for the purpose of entertainment only and in reality my "piece" is ready and with me at all times. And now I've lost half of you.
  • On the other hand, I believe that it was really too easy for us to obtain our guns. I have to assume if it was easy for us, it's easy for anyone including Mr. Bad Guy which is why you can't turn on the news without hearing about a drive-by shooting, robbery or some other sinister and devastating tragedy. So, clearly we need more restrictions. And there goes the other half.

Anyone still there? Anyone? Oh, there you are. Confused, just like me? Well, read on and maybe together, we can create world peace, conquer the world figure this out.

  • The Obama camp is all about change. Well, I'm all for that. I definitely don't want four or Heaven forbid, eight more years of the same. The question for me is; will things really change? And if so, will they be the right changes?
  • The Republicans want us to believe that John McCain is a better choice because of his military service and the fact that he was a prisoner of war. While I have great respect for his service to our country and the sacrifices he made for us; does that alone make him the best choice for president?
  • I have to say that I admire Sarah Palin for even entertaining the idea of being the VP. She is undoubtedly a better woman than me. She is just a few years younger than me, has a brand new baby and is running for office. I am quite certain that if I had a baby today, I would lay it down somewhere and forget where I put it. I am in awe. And I salute you, Sarah! (oops, make that Governor Palin!)

When D1 was 13, she told me that, "The problem with you, Mom, is that you want all the skies in your world to be blue all the time. Life just isn't like that." Well, isn't she just a little SMART MOUTH! So what if I'm a bit of a Pollyanna. I say, GOOD FOR ME! What the hell is wrong with that!

I want what I think everyone wants. Here are just a few of the blue skies I would like to see in my world:

  • Affordable healthcare
  • Outsourcing jobs to other countries stopped, incentives for industry to stay in this country thereby creating/keeping jobs here.
  • A college education available to every student that is willing to work for it.
  • Help the needy in a way that doesn't perpetuate the problem.
  • A strong military with good, strong leadership. (If this blog doesn't die today, I might just elaborate one day)
  • Economic RECOVERY (Well, duh)

I could go on but I think that I've probably said enough already to alienate most if not all of the readers of this blog. The blogosphere is full of posts with very definite opinions. So, I figure this is as good a place as any to get some much needed answers to my ever-growing list of questions. So, readers: I'm on the fence. Tell me why I should vote for your guy. Feel free to tear me down (gulp) or build me up (I can dream, can't I?) Or are you as confused as I am?

Go ahead. Make my day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


A week or so ago, I walked into the local supermarket and witnessed a little boy hopping onto the scales. He was very excited as he told his father, "Look, Daddy, I'm 40 pounds!" All I could think was "Oh my gawd! I have to lose a four year old!" Well, I'm pleased to say that after a change in diet and exercise, I now only have to lose a three year old.

It was about six weeks ago that I started this blog. I was mortified motivated by the proclamation of my physician that I was indeed no longer a spring chicken. After I recovered from the shock of that statement, I sat myself down and made a list of goals and then posted them on the internet for all the world to see, thinking that maybe this might help to keep me on track. So in the spirit of accountability, it's time to see just how far I've come.

The original goals listed were as follows:

  • Lose weight or grow taller – no luck on the growing taller but as of this morning, I have lost a total of 13lbs. (more than 25% of my weight loss goal)
  • Improve my fitness level – I've taken up spinning classes and I'm still trying to make it back to iron bodies. I find that while I have been working out at the gym independently for over 2 years, a drill sergeant instructor motivates me to work harder and challenge myself.
  • Lower my blood pressure – Turns out that the blood-pressure reading was most likely a false high brought on by the utter excitement (NOT) and anticipation of my lower-body inspection.
  • Eat a healthy diet and practice portion control – I started the South Beach Diet, (loosely) I stay in phase I because I never seem to make it thru the two weeks without cheating. If I wasn't losing weight, I would tighten up my restrictions but I prefer to be strict most of the time and have fun on the weekends. Almost daily, I visit Kalyn's Kitchen for recipe ideas.
  • Lose weight (I thought it might help to list this one twice - Sometimes I need a reminder, it's that mental pause thing.
  • Blog all about it – obviously.
  • Define myself as "at that age when……I am energetic, fit, healthy and lovin' life! – I may not be there yet but definitely working in the right direction! Step by step, I'm gettin' there.

I've learned a few things along this journey too:

  • Readers have told me that I inspire them with my little successes and determination.
  • I don't need chocolate as much as I thought I did. (At least most of the time)
  • Friendship is not about geography.
  • I can still be a foodie and make healthy, delicious dishes for my family.
  • When I go on a diet, MHS loses weight!
  • I really need to invest in a better, more supportive sports bra if I plan to continue to spin. You want your legs to go at the speed of light but not your uh, well, you know. It's not pretty. Recommendations, anyone?
  • The support and encouragement of friends and family is key to your success. So, friends, care to join me on this quest for fitness? It's more fun with buddies!

Monday, September 15, 2008


The state road that leads to our rural community is a scenic route. On the north side of the highway is a lushly landscaped golf course. The south side has an even more elaborate landscape that surrounds a gated country club community. It's really a sight to behold. But for all its glory, I miss the cows.

You see, when we first moved to this area, the view on our ride to and from home included cows on each side of the road. Sometimes the cows would be visible on one side of the road and over a small hill on the other side where you couldn't see them. It always seemed that if you could see cows on one side, they were missing from the other side. At one point, I had D1 and D2 convinced they were the same cows and they crossed the road while they were at school. They believed me until they tried to share this theory with friends. (That little devil in me keeps me from getting that mother of the year award every time.)

There was a really great sign at the beginning of the cow pasture. It was hand-painted and written in red. The sign read, "If you're gonna cross this field, you better be able to do it in 9.9 seconds because the bull can do it in 10." I loved that sign. No matter how many times I saw it, it always made me smile. A clear case of you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl. We've lived in South Florida for almost 28 years. It is a thriving metropolitan area. Two country kids from Indiana thought they found their little piece of country heaven when we found this neighborhood. But day by day and bit by bit it is disappearing. The roads are getting wider. The stores are getting bigger. Some call it progress. I say PROGRESS, SCHMOGRESS! I miss the cows.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So Grateful Sunday

I am blessed. Truly. And today I would like to take the time to count my blessings. I've declared today SO GRATEFUL SUNDAY. It might appear next week or I might forget all about it. But today I am counting my blessings.

Of course no blessing count would be complete without acknowledging my biggest and most cherished blessings: My Harley Stud, Daughters #1 and #2, my parents, my siblings, My Daisy, my inlaws (all of them), Mayzie and Pixie, my very large extended family and of course last but not least my friends. Those are a given.

While I am always grateful for the afore-mentioned blessings that make my life complete, today I am counting the simple joys in my life that add a little kick and make it interesting. (at least to me)

  1. The sound of my coffee maker. It has a built in grinder and sounds like a 747 is landing in the kitchen. I love it.
  2. The smell of fresh mown grass.
  3. My convertible. This is the best time of year for a top-down drive. (At least when there is not a hurricane brewing out there)
  4. The inlet. One of my favorite places to go. MHS knows if he wants to make me happy, he can take me there and all the stress just falls away into the water as I watch the boats come in and go out, count crabs on the rocks, and peer into the fisherman's buckets to see their catch of the day.
  5. My ipod. Oh, the places it can take me when I completely zone out and tune in.
  6. Blogging and the new friends it has given me.
  7. Cooking for friends and family. It's usually good too. But even when it's not, we always have a good time.
  8. My neighbors' nanny goats. They make me smile.
  9. Nanny Goats in Panties. She makes me laugh. Even though sometimes I have no idea what she is talking about. (Yeah, I did it. I ended a sentence in a preposition. I'm a rebel like that sometimes. But I'm Hoosier-born. It's in my blood)
  10. FSU football and the 2-0 stats we have so far this season. GO NOLES!

What are the blessings for which you are grateful today?

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

I would like to thank Thistle, whose post prompted me to create "So Grateful Sunday".

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I have been laboring over a post that will express my political opinion questions. It's just not coming together like I want it to. So instead of writing like I should be I was reading and I came upon a charming post about house guests. It brought back so many fond memories of my childhood that I decided to drop the political piece (for now) and write about something that doesn't make me so damn mad feel so frustrated.

I grew up in a small town in Indiana. My father's family had lived there for years. It was the kind of place where when you went to a friend's house and met their parents, they would tell you stories of how they knew your dad, uncle, grandma, aunt, cousin and on and on. It was a great way to grow up. It gave you a sense of who you are and where you came from. You knew your roots and felt grounded by them.

We never locked the doors to our house or our cars. Keys to the cars were left in an obvious place. My father wanted to be sure that if a friend or relative needed anything and we weren't home, they would be able to help themselves to whatever was needed. This resulted many times in my father needing something and having to drive all around town to find his borrowed tools, household items, etc…. Even so, the rule stood firm, you DON'T lock the doors.

Or course, the same open-door policy applied while we were home. People were always dropping in. When I think about how hectic my life is today, I think that is what I miss the most; the memories of an unplanned visit with a friend, chatting on the back porch with relatives, and unexpected guests for any meal, be it breakfast, dinner (aka lunch) and supper. (aka dinner)

You never came down to the table in the morning half-dressed because you never knew who was joining us for breakfast. My mother always prepared more food than we needed for just this reason. If for some reason she didn't have enough when a friend stopped by, she would subtly whisper to us, "FHB". This meant "Family hold back." and we knew to make sure we left enough food so that the guest would feel welcome and would get enough to eat.

Many periods of my childhood were spent with short or long-term house guests. Once, my brother's girlfriend, her sister and her sister's toddler son came to live with us for awhile. My cousin came to live with us during her senior year in high school for reasons that were never explained to me nor did I question them. It was the norm. And I loved it!

During a blizzard that brought the Midwest to a halt in 1977, I was a teenager. It was common in our area at that time for everyone to have a CB radio in their home and in their cars. I guess maybe the CB was a precursor to the internet? I don't know, I guess I've never thought about it that way. But I digress. During the blizzard, many stranded travelers were brought from the nearby interstate and highways into our school's gymnasium. There were pleas on the radio for volunteers to take families into their homes until the roads were cleared. My cousins got a great family of four and they all remained friends, visiting back and forth, long after the blizzard. I remember being so disappointed that by the time my dad went to the school, there was no one left. That was the kind of town it was. We never met a stranger. Everyone was a friend.

Most of my immediate family has moved from there but we still go back to visit on a fairly regular basis and I'm happy to say that not much has changed. Visitors still come a-callin'.

I have tried to create that same sort of feeling in my own home. Friends tell me that I've succeeded but I don't really think it's the same. Over the years, we've had many, many houseguests and I love it. Afterall, when you move to Florida, they will come. But I miss the drop-ins, the unexpected visit. I guess it doesn't help that we live in a rural area about ten miles from the nearest town. But what I miss most of all is just the time to sit and visit with friends and family. I have a friend in Orlando that invites me for the weekend to "porch sit". Porch sitting involves consuming massive amounts of wine and snacks while sitting on her patio talk, talk, talking until we can do it no more. These are times I cherish. They just don't happen often enough. How did we get to this place where every waking moment of our lives is scheduled? Tell me, do you long for the simpler life too? How do we get back there?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Political Funny for Your Entertainment

I'm working hard or is it hardly working on my next post but My Harley Stud wants me to join him for a business luncheon so off I go but in case you stop by and can't believe I still haven't posted something new, (Midlife Slices) here is a little something for your entertainment. Enjoy!

Click here: http://www.peteyandpetunia.com/VoteHere/VoteHere.htm

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I sing. I sing in the shower. I sing in the car. I sing along with the radio. I sing loud, I sing proud and I have no talent whatsoever. In fact, the first time D1 put two words together in a sentence, it was to say, “no sing”, as she put her hand over my mouth when I was singing her to sleep. (D2 thinks I sing beautifully by the way. She is a darling, sweet child OR she could be tone deaf OR she just knows on which side her bread is buttered.)

A few days ago, I was driving into town by myself. The CD player was blasting out some of my favorite tunes. I had the volume cranked up the way you do when you are in the car alone. I’m singing my heart out to Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. (The best one - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) As I’m slowing to a stop at a red light, I hear someone honking their horn. At first I didn’t think the horn was directed at me and I proceeded. Once stopped, I’m still singing and again I hear this horn. I look for the source of this interruption and find a big ole SUV beside me with a man behind the wheel waiving to me. I’m sure I had that “what the….” look on my face until I finally realized that it was my friend, who I will call the rocket scientist. (because he really is one) I smiled and waived back with that sheepish grin you get when you’ve been caught red-handed. I don’t know why I was so embarrassed but I was. I mean, everybody sings in the car, right?

Now, if my friend, RS, pays any attention to the drivel that his spouse, who I will call The Trophy Wife, and I dish out, he will know that I am famous for singing in the car with my daughters and usually have a hairbrush or a wire whisk as my substitute microphone. The Trophy Wife even bought me my very own travelling microphone just for this purpose. But I don’t think he pays that much attention to our chatter. So I’m left feeling embarrassed and wondering if I was the topic of conversation at the dinner table that evening.

Referring to my friend as The Trophy Wife is done with tongue in cheek. She is in fact beautiful and in great shape and looks like a trophy wife . And I hate her for it. Did I say that out loud? But seriously, she is a brilliant woman who is actually a mechanical engineer (perfect match for the rocket scientist)

So, friends, don’t leave me out here twisting in the wind. Tell me your embarrassing moments in your car. Come on, don’t be shy. I won’t tell a soul. Just between you and me. I promise.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I overslept this morning. Without an alarm clock, I usually will wake between 6:00 and 7:00am on weekends. I don't always get my lazy butt out of bed then but I'm awake. Last night before going to bed, I decided that I would once again try try to make the IRON BODIES class at 8:30am. I didn't bother to set my alarm. I knew that I would wake in time to make it there. Best laid plans.... So when I awoke at 8:10am (it's a 15-20 minute drive to the gym depending on traffic lights), I decided I would try the 9:30am spinning class.

Some of my friends and D1 have all told me that I should try the spinning class but to date, I've been intimidated. I am often trudging along on the elliptical machine which is located just outside of the spinning room. It's dark in there. It's loud. People come out of there looking like roadkill. I guess I was feeling a little adventurous today. Or maybe I just lost my mind!

I arrived a few minutes late. I checked with the very friendly woman at the front desk to see if the instructor is OK with late comers. She said, "oh, yeah, she's fine. Just go on in." With water bottle and towel in hand, I entered the classroom. Class was already in progress so it was dark. In my rush to get out of the house, I neglected to put in my contacts. (No animals or Palm Beachers were harmed on my journey to the gym. My eyesight isn't that bad. It's just the little compact cars that I have trouble seeing.) As I looked around my eyes began to adjust to the darkness. There were several stationery bikes (obviously), a disco ball, mirrors on the walls and the instructor was on a platform shouting out commands into her headset. I was able to make out a few empty bikes and immediately saw that the class was divided into groups. The Palm Beach Barbies were all in front with short shorts and sports bras showing off their beautiful bodies and even in the darkness, I could see they had great tans. The young and athletic group was in the middle. They looked very intense. The old broads were in the back. I quickly determined my place in the class, walked right up to the front, stripped off my tshirt, showing off my 6pack (ok, 12pack) abs and began to peddle like nobody's business. Just call me Barbie's friend, Midge. NOT!

I chose the bike in the back closest to me so that I could make a quick exit if necessary. A voice in the dark told me that bike was fine but the one on the other side of her had a cupholder for my waterbottle. Cupholders are a big thing with me. I will buy a car based on how many cupholders it has. Where was I, again? Oh yeah. Obviously I chose the bike with the cupholder but was quick to notice it was near the fire exit in case things got rough. Now, I don't know if you've ever been to a spinning class before but it is WOW! Like I said the class was already in progress so I just jumped on the bike and tried to keep up. I always wondered what the big deal was just riding a bike. Well, you stand up, sit down, do push ups, punch, row, dance all while you are peddling. The music is very motivating. It was a great mix of hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. At one point, there was an AC/DC song that's chorus sounded a lot like "f___ you, f___ you?" I didn't think that was really necessary. Afterall, I was doing my best. We went on to peddle with one leg at a time, then went back to the stand up, sit down, pushup only faster and in a combo. I like choreography. I can work with that.

The instructor, Robin, was great. I think she is near my age, give or take a few years but she looks FABULOUS! She is my new fitness role model! It was a great work-out. I think I actually enjoyed it. I worked really hard and really hope that I can walk tomorrow. I didn't keep up with the Barbies. I didn't keep up with the young athletes. I didn't really even keep up with the old broads (but it wasn't their first class) But I stayed to the end and worked my tail off. (I hope) I almost had fun. I thanked Robin for the class and walked out feeling like a new woman.

Friday, September 5, 2008


As I sit here at my desk today, it’s hard to get motivated. It’s Friday and I work from home on Fridays. A perk that makes my job much more bearable on days that make me question my career choice. My home office window looks out to my pool (which needs to be cleaned) and beyond that to my backyard (which needs to be mowed but is partially under water) and my citrus grove. (three cute little trees which need to be fertilized) What? Three trees do not make a grove? Hmm?

I’m usually a pretty cheap date, easily entertained and enjoy these simple pleasures in life. Having a window near my desk is important to me. But today the view is not so serene. Besides the reminder of chores listed that the view brings, it’s dark. It’s dreary. It’s raining. Not a lot but still raining. I was born and raised in the Midwest and as strange as it seems, this sort of day is usually a comfort to me. It’s my version of a snow day. The kind that makes you want to curl up with a great book, a cup of tea , get cozy and snuggle in. But not today. The television, radio and internet are all making it their business to inform me that there is storm out in the Atlantic and by most accounts is coming right for ME! OK, well not me personally. But that is how it feels. We’ve weathered these storms before. It’s not so bad. In fact, I have fond memories of coming out after a bad storm to meet my neighbors and making the decision to have a breakfast party, complete with eggs, bacon, toast, grits, cranberry juice and VODKA. No power, no problem. I cook with gas. Flushing a toilet, washing hands and taking a shower however, that’s a different story. We live in a rural area and our well pump is electric. But once the generator is up and going, no worries.

We are very fortunate and for that I am very grateful. We’ve never lost anything more than some roof shingles and our pool enclosure. The problem for me is not the storm itself, but the anxiety I feel before the storm about the possibilities of devastation. I feel guilty knowing that so many have lost so much during storms in the past and here I am feeling sorry for myself. I can’t help it. Logic plays no part in anxiety. The fear gets me in its clutches and won’t release me. I normally stay in denial until that is no longer a possibility. Shutters go up. Supplies must be purchased. Decisions to evacuate or stay put must be made. And the list goes on. This is the time when a margarita sounds really good but do I really want to be trashed when I might need to have my wits about me in a possible crisis. I’ll have to think about that one a bit……

I’m not alone. The anxiety affects all ages. I remember when we were preparing to evacuate for Francis a few years ago, D2 was insisting that she be able to take ALL her STUFF with her. We repeated numerous times that was NOT a possibility and so she refused to leave. Both MHS and BrainBuckets had to carry her to my car when it came time to leave. She sat beside me in the front seat with tears in her eyes, looked at me and said, “I hope you took a good look around because there’s going to be nothing left.” Once a drama queen, always a drama queen. Of course, that is not what happened and our home weathered that storm and many others since with minimal damage. But that fear still gets me every time.

I do NOT like IKE!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


All in all, it was a great weekend. My Harley Stud and I packed up the dogs and off to my Dad’s place at the lake we went. The drive is about four hours give or take a trip to the restroom. D2 drove over from school. It was great to see her but she was not feeling well. She had those nasty little white spots on her tonsils and a fever but never fear, SUPERMOM arrived with antibiotics and she is on the mend now.

While D2 slept most of Monday away on the couch in a drug-induced coma, MHS and I helped my dad and Daisy take care of fallen tree courtesy of my old friend Tropical Storm Fay. (Man, I just can’t lose that chick.) While MHS used the chainsaw to cut the tree into manageable pieces, Daisy, Dad and I hauled them to the burn pile or the wood pile according to my father’s instructions. We worked hard for about four hours and felt pretty good about ourselves and all we accomplished. I’m pretty sure that the workout came close to if not exceeded the IRON BODIES class that I just can’t seem to get back to.

I don’t really have much more to say as I’m feeling a bit puny myself right now. Instead I will share with you the reason why I enjoy our time at the lake soooooo much.

It is so peaceful here. I just love it!

My photography skills are lacking to say the least but I think you can still get an idea of how beautiful it is. (I could live without the spiders that come as big as your fist though)