Category Archives: Uncategorized

Silver Foxy?

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Well, for the first time I’ve now been called SILVER and FOXY LADY by the same person at the same time! Oh my, I just don’t what to think! Glad? Sad? Mad?

So here’s what happened : I took myself to lunch at 1 of the Chinese buffets that I regularly visit. Of course I was wearing lotsa green for St. Patrick’s Day! This particular restaurant has a nonchalant host & several ever-changing young waitresses that barely speak enough English to get by (to be expected around here in central Florida, the ‘tourist capital of the world‘). Most of the Guests were workmen or ‘old farts’ like me, many of us are also what I call ‘regulars’. Anyway, in comes this 30-ish couple. The woman’s shirt says “DON’T TALK TO ME, STAY AWAY” & the man’s says “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE”….so they sit in a booth & don’t even look up from their phones or seemingly pay any attention to each other or their surroundings (this is a buffet). Three other tables of Guests enter and are seated and brought drinks. The couple then notices this, and the woman says to the man “WTH do we gotta do to get waited on around here?” The man is looking irritated while some of the regulars & I are eyeing each other, just waiting to see what is gonna happen. The timid little Chinese waitress looks frightened, but our host is VERY protective of his girls….he walks over to her & tears off a page of her order book & places it + a pen on the table of the couple w/the rude t-shirts~~ for them to write down their own drink orders! I badly wanted to laugh! An old Veteran muttered something aloud that I won’t print. Then it made my my day when about 5 minutes later someone passed me & said “I love that shirt” but before I could respond, the “don’t talk to me” woman said “Thanks” but the man quickly and loudly said “I was talking to this SILVER FOXY LADY with the bright green M&Ms shirt, certainly not you!” At that point, everyone was laughing! ME? I was probably BEAMING!

Gas Thief

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I reckon now I’ve been a victim of yet another way to scam those who are ‘slower’ (handicapped, old folks, etc.) & I AM ANGRY!!!!

While she slept late on her day off, I thought I’d be nice & put some gas in my daughter’s truck and get it back home quickly before she’d even notice that we were gone. But all 12 of the gas pumps at the nearest station were occupied so I waited and patiently waited. Finally it was my turn, I pulled the vehicle into position, got outa the car & slowly (with my walker) made my way into the store. You see, for me this isn’t a simple or a quick task. It takes me awhile to get the walker out of the back seat and unfold it, so I dare not look around and make ‘eye contact’ with other folks that may be also waiting for gas. I do have sympathy for the person that decided to get in line behind me, tho, because he/she had the misfortune of awaiting a ‘slowpoke’ PLUS I do not use credit cards so I also needed to go into the convenience store and pre-pay with cash first. That also required a wait in another line inside the store because there were only 2 cash registers and 1 of the cashiers was being trained.

I gave the ‘new guy’ $40, told him $35 was for gas on pump 10….he completed that task. Then I handed him my lotto playslip, it was his 1st time using the lottery machine so the manager was teaching him. He asked me to look at it to make sure it’s right and it was. We thanked each other and I made the journey back to my car. I noticed that the pump said $5.57. Hmmm, I figured it hadn’t re-set from the previous customer so I put in the gas…..only $5.57!

So I made my way back into the store & I was PIS#*D! There happened to be to older guys outside that’d been just sitting on the ground talking, they heard me ranting so they came into the store and told us that whilst I was inside the store, 2 scooters came & quickly stole my gas & took off….so the $5.57 was what they didn’t need! I’d been the victim of a Gas Thief!! GRRRR! I tried to get restitution from the store. Guess what I was told? That there’s a sign on the door of the store (which there is) that clearly states that they’ll gladly assist the handicapped.So when I went back out 2 my car (I’m surprised the gas station didn’t blow up ‘coz there were probably flames coming outa my ears by now!), I noticed there’s also a ‘call for help’ button on the pump too. So guess what? From now on, I WILL go back to that same gas station, but I am surely going to wait till it’s DURING BUSY TIME. Then you had better believe that I WILL LAY ON that button & they can come out & do it for me!!!!

Favorite Lighthouse

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My daughter took me on a mini-vacation. She was supposed to be going westward for a couple of weeks with my brother and niece (her uncle and youngest cousin) but those plans fell through almost at the last minute. So instead of Disneyland & Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Death Valley, New Mexico, Arizona and the Grand Canyon….my daughter ended up staying home. She was able to ‘give back’ some of her vacation days but most had already been scheduled so she’s been having what she calls a ‘staycation’! We’ve been wandering around central Florida, doing too much shopping and not enough housework! But last night we got home from a little trip that culminated in what is ALWAYS a treat for me: a quick visit to my all-time very FAVORITE LIGHTHOUSE: in St. Augustine Beach!

We decided to get away from the theme parks for awhile and go to the beach. This is not uncommon for those folks whose jobs are at the local amusement parks! So we went to the Daytona Flea Market, which is only open on the 3 weekend days. We had our shopping goals in mind and did find exactly what we intended to buy. Then we stayed at a cutesy hotel in Daytona Beach Shores. We swam in their pool which, surprisingly, was identical to our own pool in our backyard except that ours is deeper & hasn’t quite the fancy filtering system (we wish it did!). We ate at some off-the-beaten-path & quaint and/or quirky restaurants because that’s what I like to do, especially while on vacation. I’m thinking that vacation means that my palate also oughta have a vacation from the normal restaurants, too. That usually means no fast-food and no restaurant chains. Mom-and-Pop diners, seafood places, waterfront pubs….these are what I am seeking!

When we left Daytona and headed north, driving along highway A1A, we didn’t get very far before my daughter wanted to stop alongside the road and walk along the beach again! So we stopped for an hour in Ormond Beach (we usually do!) for a walk. I had fun watching 8 seabirds skimming the surface, fishing. The synchronicity of their aerial acrobatics was awesome. My daughter totally missed it because she was engrossed in watching the bean-clams scurrying into the sand between each succession of waves coming ashore. She has been doing this for as long as I can remember (she’ll be 30 next month) and this makes me wish that my sons were with us too and that I could turn back the calendar approximately 2 decades! Soooo many of our best memories as a family with 3 young children are/were upon the Hawaiian and Floridian beaches!!!

We took a tour of the Whetstone chocolate factory in St. Augustine. That was a first for me, I’ve been on many tours (I am a Travel Agent, after all) but that was my first chocolate factory! It was interesting and they certainly DID give out free samples! (and I most certainly DIDN’T take my blood sugar reading last night!) We drove around the old part of town, like we always do. It’s fun to imagine how folks lived there when things were originally built and there weren’t any cars. The architecture is just so amazing that it’s difficult to look at everything at once while in a car; that’s why the walking tours really are the best idea if it’s your first time to visit. We used to live nearby, in Jacksonville Beach, so we’ve visited St. Augustine numerous times but every time we visit there’s something else that we choose for ‘next time’! Yesterday, my daughter exclaimed that her ‘next time’ visit will include the Pirate Museum. She doesn’t remember visiting when she was very young.

I enjoy lighthouses and try to visit every lighthouse I’m close to on any of my travels. However, the St. Augustine Light is the one that I’ve been to so many times that I’ve lost track! It’s very pretty. Lotsa folks confuse it with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina because of the striping design but the base and lightkeeper’s homes are not the same. There’s a small marina here also, and dozens of gnarly, crooked trees that my children always enjoyed. We used to bring our lunches and eat at the picnic area. I have good memories there. Even if we were passing through the area at night, we’d stop by (even tho it’s closed, of course) just to look. It’s great to see the light from that lighthouse sending out it’s beam from miles away, just as it’s supposed to. I know it’s ‘job’ is to warn the boats to stay away so that they won’t get too close….but it’s light also draws me to it, but then again I’m ON land! One night when we stopped at the lighthouse for a few minutes….we’d been at the theme parks in Orlando and were heading home to Jax Beach….I walked up to the fence as close to the lighthouse as I could get and looked up and I saw a girl in a white dress standing in the window. I was shocked! Who should I call? Somebody got locked in the lighthouse after closing! Oh my gosh! When I looked again, she wasn’t there. I kept looking and looking and didn’t see her anymore so we finally left, with me not knowing if I was seeing things or if the moon was somehow reflecting on something or what. A few years ago, I saw an episode of a TV show called ‘Ghosthunters’ and supposedly that lighthouse is the most haunted lighthouse that there is. It even scared those dudes on the TV show and I got a kick outa that! So the little girl in the white dress was a ghost, huh? Mystery solved! St. Augustine is the oldest town so there’s surely ghosts wandering around! Oh well, the St. Augustine Light is still my very very very FAVORITE LIGHTHOUSE and it was a great ending to our little vacation, thanks to my sweetie daughter!

Missing Daddy

ImageI’m sitting home by myself on Father’s Day, just reminiscing and MISSING DADDY. I had the best Daddio possible. I know that lotsa folks say that and I’m happy for them. I’m proud to call myself a ‘Daddy’s Girl’….always have been, always will be….even though 6 years ago my Daddy went to Heaven to live with the Lord and with his own parents.

I can hear a lawnmower outside. I hope that it’s not a father doing the work because this ought to be his special day! It reminds me of times that Daddy and my brother Alan would mow our 2-acre yard. I wasn’t allowed to use the riding lawnmower so I had to do the trimming with the clippers (and get the blisters!) just because of the ONE TIME that I actually did learn to use that mower, I accidentally lost control of the machine and shredded ALL of the bedsheets which were hanging on the clothesline! Oh well, my job took less time plus I got to plant and care for 16 rose bushes that I was very proud of!

I am the firstborn. The photo above is probably my very favorite because it shows the love in Daddy’s eyes so clearly. You see, in my father’s family there just weren’t many girl babies. They were few-and-far-between. Daddy had a bunch of brothers and just 1 sister that he barely remembered because he was 2 when she died. But she did have a son that’s a couple of years older than Daddy so he’s been kinda like another brother to him throughout his lifetime. My only girl cousin, at the time, was nearly 20 years older than me. My parents were sooooo sure that I was going to be a boy that they didn’t even have a name chosen for me! I got named after an actress that was on the cover of that particular week’s TV Guide, Jean Simmons!

Daddy and I didn’t always agree on things, he was stubborn and so am I. But now I see that my stubbornness mostly came from him. He was also wise, although at the time I didn’t usually think so. As time goes by, I find that somewhere along the way my own wisdom has increased with age. Surprisingly, it very much matches that of my father’s so long ago. He had also mellowed in his thinking by the time he was at the age that I am now, and I honestly do think that I am ‘still’ following in his footsteps. Come to think of it, so are my brothers. I reckon that’s what is meant by the word LEGACY! Rather large footprints to fill, but we each have also had our personal small adjustments to make along our own paths too. Daddy’s and Mama’s influences, however!

Whenever I have a problem or am worried about some issue, I often can search the old memory bank and come up with some scenario in the past that fits the situation and can recall how my Daddy handled it. That helps me now. Lotsa folks came to my father for help, whether it be for advice or for financial assistance, and he was willing to lend his guidance or whatever was needed for their particular need. I know that he got that compassion from HIS father, who was probably and quite possibly the KINDEST man that I ever knew. My Grandpa Harry had the largest funeral the town had ever had by that time, and folks regaled me with story after story after story of how he’d helped them during his lifetime even though he knew that he more-than-likely would never be repaid. I also learned that NOT ONE PERSON EVER heard my Grandfather gossip or say an unkind or bad word about anybody. To me, that’s amazing and I wish I could make that claim myself but I know that I fall short. Grandpa and Daddy were the very best male role models that a little girl could have had and I was extremely lucky that they were MINE! When I was young, it was fun to get to ride my bike down to Grandpa’s house to invite him for supper. He lived nearby and ate with us nearly every evening so Grandpa and Daddy were the 2 Heads-of-our-table! That’s the way it was at our house and I loved it!

So today, even though I am MISSING DADDY and Grandpa….I am feeling overwhelmingly blessed! I am fortunate that my Daddy loved me and that I was his first child. After all, I got to know him the longest! I just wish I could have some more hugs. Or better yet, to be able to climb up onto his lap like I did when I was a little girl and rest my head against his shoulder while Mama was in the kitchen and we were awaiting supper….oh my, I can almost smell those delicious aromas of Mama’s cooking now!

Grouchy Cranky

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Health scare this week and perhaps I might be feeling somewhat sorry for myself, but I DON’T CARE! My major disability is severe Vertigo/Imbalance/extreme Dizziness. That’s why I’m officially considered to be ‘handicapped’. Okay, I don’t like the label but I treat it as it is….just a stupid label. I’ve dealt with labels as my kiddies were growing up: ‘hyperactivity’, ‘ADHD’, ‘gifted’, ‘genius’, etc.. But all in all, I didn’t allow those labels to hinder my children to be treated any differently than other kids. Nor would I ever allow their teachers to do so either. So now that I’ve been LABELED, what a ‘pain-in-the-place-I-sit’ to go to the doctor and constantly keep finding out that there’s more additions to the list of medical maladies! I’m sick of it. I’ll give myself ‘labels’ instead: GROUCHY, CRANKY, DISGRUNTLED, PEEVED! Okay, that’s enough to make my point!

It seems to me that these doctors keep adding pills, while I was hoping to start lessening the amount of meds that I take daily. I’ve already conquered the asthma, YIPPEE!! I’ve not used the inhaler for more than a year, so I’m checking that off my list! I don’t think that I have sleep apnea anymore. I may snore a bit occasionally but no more breathing apparatus, no more waking up gasping, and my daughter hasn’t complained in many months (I do keep my bedroom door open). So I’m fairly confident that I can check that off, too! But now my Neurotologist has doubled dosage on one of my meds, another doc has doubled a dosage on another med plus added a med. A specialist is referring me to yet another specialist but I’ve not yet agreed because I’m stubborn! That specialist also is sending my lab results back to my Primary Care doc for adjustment of another med, I’m definitely not looking forward to another visit to my regular doc because last month she added another med too, grrrrrr! Plus I got sent to the Cardiologist for a ‘chemically-induced stress test’ because of an unusually abnormal EKG (lots and lotsa heart disease in my family); I thought that everything was fine since I’d NOT been called right away telling me of anything wrong. I went for my ‘follow-up’ appointment, and the Cardiologist had me scheduled for a Coronary CTA the very next day (2000+ images of the heart). So now I’m waiting, waiting, waiting. I’m NOT in a good mood and I’m having to stay home, right by my potty, drinking extraordinary amounts of liquid to get the iodine flushed outa my system so that I won’t have kidney problems to add to my list! Good grief!

Isn’t there a ‘Magic Formula’ to make me well again? Or something I can do have it all ‘taken back’? I’m just tired of pricking myself daily and checking my blood sugar. I’m tired of having to adjust my daily meals according to whatever those numbers were. I’m tired of having 2 arthritic knees that usually hurt so badly that I holler out in pain if I stand too long or walk much of a distance at all. I’m tired of being so dizzy during the first half of the day that I struggle to make it to the bathroom in time. Also, my dizziness has caused my walker to make lots of dents and nicks along the hallway of my daughter’s house from my bedroom to the kitchen. I’m tired of strange bruises that show up on my legs and arms and shoulders from bumping into things during these daily bouts of Vertigo. I’m tired of not being allowed to use knives or the stove for breakfast or lunch because it’s still too early in the day (being dizzy) and I might ‘hurt myself’ on the 4 or 5 days that I’m home alone. I’m tired of crying, usually late at night, when the searing hot ‘tinglies’ start to stab my feet in a hundred places because of the diabetic neuropathy. I’m tired of the numbness in my hands that takes over a few times daily and makes it so that I’m not even able to put on my own socks or can’t lift a jug off the shelf of the fridge. I’m tired of not having as much range-of-motion in my right arm because of the ever-growing pain in my right shoulder and am worrying how much longer I’ll have use of this arm because I am right-handed. I’m tired of having to depend upon another person. This sucks big-time.

Sometimes it’s ‘good to vent‘, or so I’m told. Tomorrow is another day; hopefully a good day. Or, in my case, at least I’m hoping that it’ll be a BETTER DAY! But for now….I’m gonna be GROUCHY & CRANKY and that’s all there is to it!

Make Lemonade

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What’s that old saying? Something about about Make lemonade when life gives you lemons’? I think it goes something like that, however, I can certainly think of several variations of the original version. In my own particular life there are oh-so-many different ones that it’d either make me laugh or cry if I decided to sit down and make a list. Or perhaps I could plant my own mini-orchard outa the assortment of fruits and nuts that my so-called LIFE has tossed at me! I’ve learned, mostly from the time-tested ‘trial-and-error method‘, to make all kinds of things from these fruits and nuts: juices, smoothies, jams, jellies, dried fruits, preserves, muffins and other baked goodies, and nut butters!

Of course, that’s just speaking literally. Lessons and growth make my ‘wisdom‘ increase with each passing year. Remembering my teenage years, I thought that my 50-ish Grandparents were OLD, although absolute gems! I enjoyed spending time with them. The little ‘bursts of knowledge’ that our parents liked to cleverly dole out didn’t quite have the same impact as that of sitting on the porch with Gramma (Mama’s Mother) or fishing off the dock in the early summer mornings at the lake cabin with Grandpa (Daddy’s Dad). Even though both of these grandparents lived quite nearby, I was lucky enough to have them as an almost-daily ‘constant’ in more than half my life. Luckily, my 3 children also got to know their Great-Gramma too until they were young teens; they weren’t fortunate enough to have met their Great-Grandpa (my Grandpa) but surely they will someday.

Now I’m the one that’s 50-ish and I haven’t any grandbabies yet. I very often wonder, since I am now disabled and have only been worsening these past few years, if I will be able to pass on any of MY WISDOM to that next generation!!?!? Like many parents, I usually feel that what advice I offer to my darling children is tolerated, but I soooo long for grandbabies to teach. It seems that when the kiddies are at the ‘tween stage’ throughout the younger teen years is a good time for the grandparents to teach them. Often that is the time that the youngsters aren’t feeling ‘understood’ by their own folks so the grandparents’ house is a good place to visit! I wanna be that REFUGE! But, alas, I feel that by that time for me it will have been too late as my illness has taken control more and more of my mind (IF I’m still here).

When I homeschooled my children throughout Middle School and High School, I had a rule that we’d never start the day on a ‘bad note’ or unhappy in any way! I always always ALWAYS found a way to ‘turn around’ a situation, small or large; hence learning to problem-solve. This was important for me to teach my children and wasn’t necessarily something that they would’ve learned in the regular school system. I wish more schools would do this and I wish more parents would do this. Our children oughta be taught to MAKE LEMONADE whenever they’re given lemons long before they allow their small ‘mole hills’ to grow into mountains!

April Fools!

ImageChildren always seem to have so much fun on April Fools Day. It’s a day of silliness and merriment that may or may not be much of a joy to teachers but at least the younger students have quite a bit of fun throughout the day. As the students get into the upper grades the tricks often get nastier and the pranks might not have the desired ‘end result’, sending some of the more devious students (who….me? couldn’t be!) to the Principal’s office for some explanation with hopes of avoiding detention.

Can we blame our parents? Oh yes, in my particular case, I certainly can! I grew up in a home that was fun-loving. Thanks to my Mama, my brothers and I knew joy, honesty, and happiness. Thanks to my Daddy, we knew about getting along with all kinda folks, laughing a lot, and when it was time for seriousness. Both of our parents took us to church, along with Gramma and Grandpa Joe, and that’s where we got a strong sense of a decent faith that’s loving but not overly-strict. My parents were the very best parents that God could possibly have chosen for me. They were Friendly, they were Happy, they were Cheerful….so was I. So AM I! But my Daddy and his friends could definitely play jokes on each other, usually much to the exasperation of my Mama! They always made it a point to ‘one-up’ each other too, so we never quite knew what to expect….except that we COULD expect something interesting!

When pregnant with my 1st child, I was asked permission to test a new kind of ultrasound for free. Of course I agreed, even though it meant that my bare belly was exposed to 8 OB/GYNs crowded around that table that I was lying upon while the technician slowly explained every step to all of these doctors (he was trying to make sales!). My own doctor announced that everything was A-OK during the ultrasound. I definitely wanted a boy but the baby’s legs were crossed and the sex couldn’t be determined so I had to wait until delivery to find that out. But my doctor said that the baby would be born on schedule….April 1st. OH NO! I told the doctor that I was NOT, under any circumstances, having an ‘April Fools’ baby! Eight doctors and an Ultrasound Technician/Salesman got quite a few chuckles outa that but I was serious. My own doctor patted my hand and told me that babies tend to have their own timetable and come out whenever they are ready! Well, he DIDN’T come out on April Fool’s Day and I was extremely glad about that. But he took 3 more weeks of making me wait for his debut so I should’ve suspected right away that this was going to be a child that was always gonna do things his own way!

It’s a lot of fun playing April Fools jokes on your kiddies when they’re little, and then pretending to be shocked and/or surprised at whatever they come up with when they ‘get you back’! Then when they start school, they’re getting a bit wiser to these tricks so I figured out that the best time to play my tricks on them was early in the morning before they’d really had much time to think about it. They weren’t fully awake until after breakfast so this was usually MY prime time for April Fools jokes. What fun we’d have during this one day each year. I sooooo enjoyed this and I’m sure that they did also. The only problem was: I’d get a great April Fools trick on each of my kids, and I’d get them first….but then they’d have the entire day away from me with time to think of a clever comeback!

Hibiscus Shadow

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I’m growing several pots of herbs upon my kitchen windowsill. Outside the window, every afternoon I get to watch a Sandhill Crane family feeding. They never notice me because I’m hidden behind the cover of 5 beautiful hibiscus bushes that are now taller than I. One bush doesn’t like to bloom, one bush provides up to 9 blooms daily, and the others give me from 4 to 7 blooms each and every day. When my daughter bought this house more than a year ago, we were excited to see how many different colors of hibiscus we’d be getting. Alas though, all of these are a bright pink, but they are all splendid double-blossoms! We also have a red hibiscus in the backyard.

I didn’t expect to get this much joy out of watching the crane couple and their baby. They come each day at the same time, about 15 to 20 minutes after the nearby Middle School has let forth it’s stream of students and those students have all made their way to their homes. Then a few moments later I hear them coming….their call almost sounds like the velociraptors from the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies but not as loud (or definitely not scary!) as they arrive to feed in our side yard from whatever has dropped from the trees. I peer through the window and through the bushes and watch them.

I have fun plucking a hibiscus and sticking it over & behind my ear like I used to do almost every day while living in Hawaii. As a student at Chaminade University in Honolulu, I lived in the dorm. The college is on the side of a mountain….most of my classes were on the 1st ‘level’, a few were on the 2nd ‘level’, and my dorm was quite a bit higher up the mountain. We had the most amazing vistas from Diamond Head to Waikiki, to all of Honolulu and Ala Moana Beach Park, to Pearl Harbor. God gave us the most spectacular sunsets every evening, which brought all the students out onto the lanais just to take a pause and watch the majesty of the best show of all! Amazing! It was so serene and well worth taking a break for! Anyway, coming up that mountain was extremely tiring and always left me breathless (and not the good kind). But in the mornings when I was hurrying to that 7 a.m. class, I’d be rushing (not a good idea in slippahs!) down that mountain via a well-worn ‘shortcut’ instead of the road….at the end of the trail I’d say a quick HELLO to the statue of Fr. Chaminade, then grab a hibiscus and enter the classroom! I usually was in my seat just as the Professor entered. What a life!

I was Hoosier-born and raised. I know that when this baby crane gets bigger, and he/she will do so at an amazingly fast rate, and when the weather up in the northern states warms enough for this year….then ‘my’ little Sandhill Crane family will be flying northward for the summer. My Indiana kin and friends always are happy to see the cranes return, as are we here in Florida. It’s something we share!

I look out my kitchen window and notice that the baby crane must be approximately a ‘teenager’ about now. Right now I’m living in central Florida. They’ll be going north soon, maybe even to Indiana! My gorgeous hibiscus flowers make me long for the Hawaii that I dearly miss! And it looks like it’s time to re-plant those herbs into the outside garden now.