Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzards Can be a Blessing

Photo above...Christmas morning - No, our son-in-law didn't put the plastic bag over his head, it only looks like he did.  He decided to give the bag a shake to open it up just as I snapped the photo.  Great timing!

It has been a most wonderful Christmas and what has made it so is the fact that my youngest daughter, Wendi, was able to spend it with us.  Normally she arrives just a few short days before December 25th and leaves on the 26th, scarcely staying a full week.  However this year was different, she was longing to get away from NY, NY for a while and she scheduled her trip from December 15th through the 25th, with her return flight booked on December 26th. 

Photo above...Grandchildren gathered around their gifts.

Photo above...My older daughter, Kathi, with her daughter Lexie.  Lexie just opened a gift of a sterling charm necklace, the charm is of a prancing pony, which Lexie loves.

On December 26th all flights departing for NY, after a certain hour, were cancelled, so Wendi ended up booking another flight for the afternoon of the 27th, unfortunately that flight would depart from Fort Myers about 84 miles south of us.  Just before noon on Monday, that flight too was cancelled .  Seems Wendi can't get a flight until Thursday as there is a backlog of passengers returning to NY and they will all have to wait for better weather conditions.

Though I'm delighted to have her here with us I've had to contain my glee as I know she is concerned about her job, returning home to complete things that need to be done and to take care of her beloved kitty cat, Mimi.  Undoubtedly Mimi is going to be more than a little miffed about being left in the hands of a kitty sitter and I imagine she will not be too understanding about the fact that planes do not fly into or out of blizzard conditions.
Meanwhile I continue to enjoy having Wendi here with us as it has been a truly wonderful 12 days of shopping with her, decorating, talking, shopping, doing crafts together (she embroiders and I make jewelry), shopping, fixing meals and cleaning up the dishes and ah ... did I mention shopping ?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home For Christmas

Yesterday my daughter Wendi, the youngest of my girls, came in from New York to spend Christmas with us.  It is lovely to have her home and rarely does she stay for such an extended visit.  Basically I intend to enjoy her being here which may mean that I’ll have to neglect my blog.  Sometimes we have to prioritize and, in this case, the time with my daughter is limited and therefore of great importance to me. 

Believe me when I say to you, my handful of faithful readers, that you will be on my mind during my absence.  Until my next post I wish you all well, I wish you the many joys and blessings of the season regardless of your religious denomination , and I wish you peace and prosperity.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Beginning To Feel ...

Before our Florida cold snap we had a forewarning that our weather was about to change, it came in the form of dense morning fog.  These photos were taken a few short weeks ago.
Photo above ... Looking out across our front yard.

Photo below ... Looking out across our back yard. 
Photo below ... Our poinsettia bush was just starting to show a tinge of red.  Here it is covered in dew drops from the heavy fog.

Photo above ... A better picture of the, not yet fully mature, poinsettia bracts.
Photo below...Dew drops on poinsettia bush. 

Photos below ... Amazing what a change a couple of weeks can make.  The red bracts of the poinsettias have gotten bigger and brighter.  This bush stands at almost 4 feet high and is covered in bright red poinsettias. Hope we can keep the frost from damaging this lovely display of Christmas red and green.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

UPDATE - - - Good News For The Holidays

As many of you may know, the company that my daughter Kathi worked for had been sold to another corporation and that corporation, in an attempt to balance the books, went through and down-sized its new acquisition. Like most buyouts the new company was not a local one nor did it have any knowledge of the people they would be letting go, theirs was strictly a numbers game and the higher salaried employees were at the top of the list of those to be dismissed. Kathi had work for NDC for a number of years and had become an intrigal part of the company. John McKay, her old boss at NDC, had been an ex Florida State Senator and was a founder of NDC. In the years that Kathi worked for NDC she impressed those she worked with and for.  Her boss and her peers thought well of her, respected her for her intelligence, work ethics, and her ability to learn quickly and adapt.

Soon after Kathi lost her job, John McKay called her to pass on information that he had put in a good word for her with District 58's new Representative, Jim Boyd. Jim Boyd's office had a position open and was looking for someone qualified to fill it, John McKay recommended Kathi for the position.

Boyd's office got in touch with Kathi almost immediately and scheduled an interview, it was as though this was meant to be. The interview was most successful, they were highly impressed with Kathi and her résumé and Kathi left the interview with a very positive feeling. Shortly after the interview they contacted her again to tell her that she had the job. Though the pay is less the job sounds interesting, she will have to go to Tallahassee for special training and she is delighted with her new job title "District Executive Secretary". Her daddy smiled when he heard and he commented; "Well as they always say; 'If you can't give them the money; give them a title.' "

Kathi is really excited about her new job and is looking forward to her up coming training session in Tallahassee. This is certainly a new direction in her career and it's nice to know that their Christmas won't be darkened by her being unemployed, or worries about paying bills or thoughts about having to sell her daughter's new horse, Scooby (this would have broken Lexie's heart).
Photo below...Lexie and Scooby BFF.

I also wish to thank all of you for your comments of concern and best wishes for our daughter, your caring thoughts were all appreciated and cherished. Thank you.
I've always been a believer that things happen for a reason, that our Creator knows which direction He wishes us to take and all we have to do is look for His signs and follow them. Of course sometimes His signs are very subtle, sometimes we don't see them and sometimes we choose not to see them, much to our detriment.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I know I should have blogged about this yesterday but believe me yesterday was something else starting with my daughter losing her job. The company she worked for had been sold and the new corporation decided to cut costs by cutting employees. However their timing sucks, why do this right before the holidays. When she went to work Monday it was like; "Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, oh btw, you're fired! Have a happy holiday."

On a lighter brighter side I did win a fantastic giveaway at The Beading Gem's Journal . If you're not familiar with this blog you really have to check it out. Pearl is a true pearl, she keeps her blog fresh and lively, you can find tutorials there for a number of interesting projects and if you are a jewelry maker/designer her blog is crammed full of ideas and inspiration to motivate us all. Even the non-jewelry makers in our fold will find her blog entertaining with cutting edge fashion, haute couture, and features on talented artist. Oh and did I mention she hosts many wonderful giveaways ?

This particular giveaway was unique in that it featured men's jewelry. Very masculine and yet very beautiful, so lovely in fact that a number of the ladies that entered the giveaway were considering keeping the jewelry for themselves ... I was one of them.

Thor's Hammer ... My prize, is cast from heavy pewter and hangs from a nice leather cord.  Pendant is about 1" x 1" and substantially thick.

Marc Murphy of Duncroft Masterworks  is a true artisan and his line of adornment for men is definitely not for the namby pamby, Marc's pieces are for Viking warriors, those guys who aren't afraid to get dirt under their fingernails or bust a knuckle working on a vintage car's old carburetor.

Please feel free to check out The Beading Gem's Journal and Mar's Duncroft Masterworks , I doubt that you'll be sorry that you did ... however you may regret that you didn't.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spread Your Wings And ... Dry

December is approaching faster than a jet airliner that's just inches from touching the tarmac. 
To say I've been distracted would be putting it mildly and I'm sure I'm not totally alone in feeling this way.  So today I'll keep it short with few words and two photos that I've taken of a local  bird called an Anhinga.  The Anhinga is an excellent fisher-bird but lacks the oil glands to keep its feathers dry therefore it needs to spread its wings after each dip to allow them to dry.

How are your preparations going for this wonderful, though at times frazzling, time of year ?  Have your shopping list all checked off?  Cards ready to be mailed?  Baking all done?  Tree up and house decorated? As for myself, all I can say is; "How I wish!" :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finding Life's Balance

Photos above ... Basically of the same area, one taken in deep morning fog the other in bright afternoon sunshine.  Like all things,  balance makes a major difference.

In my last post I was mulling over advice given by an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) guru who advocated total dedication and servitude to the god of Online Blessings and Success. Much of what was taught we’ve heard or read before on any number of websites or articles regarding the ins and outs of SEO but in this particular case, this particular guru actually preached that nothing else mattered. That if one was not willing to sacrifice their time with friends and family, moments to read a book (a book not related to SEO or anything regarding the Internet) or take in a movie, go to a child’s baseball game, spend time at the gym … in short give up their life … they would not become an online success. In their viewpoint success was measured only by being immersed in the Internet, being online 24/7. To this I had a problem and seems the majority of you agreed: there are things more important than success. Life is too short and too sweet to waste day after day staring at a computer monitor and everyone concurred that a healthy balance was necessary. Many had been or were rethinking their own over saturation with their many online presences. Some were cutting back, some were cutting out. Basically the consensus is we need to carefully balance the scales and what works for one is not a panacea for all.

Though the geniuses of SEO’s tell us that we need to cram the whole pie in our mouth in order to achieve online success the true secret is to not bite off more than you can chew. While the secret to life may be a deep mystery, one thing for certain is that it requires balance.
I wish you all a healthy balance to your life and may you have a Happy Thanksgiving ... preferably one spent around a table filled with delicious abundance and surrounded by those dearest to you … and NOT staring at the cold, unfeeling glow of one’s computer monitor. ; )

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's Life Worth ?

Photo above ... The Meditation Pond at Our Lady of the Angels church.  A place I perhaps need to visit again as I've much to think about.

Not long ago I began visiting a website that touted they had great SEO advice and by utilizing this information one could excel to top pages in searches.  With sagging sales at my etsy shop, lack of new followers to my blog and a need to acquire more in-depth knowledge on the care and feeding of SEO, I bit upon the opportunity.  The information was good though not any well kept secret known only to privy insiders.  I'd seen most of it before, just in a different context and in different words.

Today I revisited the site and a question was asked about what our pain-point was and so I commented:
"I think my biggest pain point is that it all takes far too much time to constantly be promoting and getting backlinks and keeping everything up-to-date and current … from blogging to facebook to websites. It leaves me with little time to create and even less time to just have a LIFE ! Maybe nothing truly worthwhile is easy but does one really have to sacrifice their life in order to be a success on the internet?"
The reply by the author of the website :

"Does one really have to sacrifice their life in order to be a success on the internet?


I'm having a difficult time with this summation and am questioning if the end really justify the means.  The whole idea of being a success on the Internet is to achieve a better lifestyle so  this contradiction has me torn.  Does the end truly justify the means?  Is it really worth the sacrifices of time, the forfeiture of one's life to gain monetary advantages?  I suppose that all businesses require an inordinate amount of time, devotion and self-sacrifice to grasp and sustain success.  Am I willing to sacrifice so much?  Life is far too short!  So what's the answer?

How do you feel about this and how much are you willing to do for and give up to be a success?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Photo above ... Our pantry is now refilled with a "Delirious" delicious snack.

A week ago this Monday, John and I trekked up to our Ellenton Premium Outlet Mall. Granted this is not a mall on the level of Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota but to us it is grand enough with its 220 shops.  Ellenton Outlet Mall is laid out like a small village with avenues meandering throughout the array of storefronts creating an atmosphere conducive to strolling and browsing, a very pleasant way to spend the majority of a day ... if one had nothing else on their agenda.

Our trip to Ellenton however had a purpose; John was out of Moose Munch.   In our home a cupboard bare of this caramelly, nutty goodness is a catastrophe.   Usually every few weeks or every couple of months Harry & David, the home of the Royal Rivera Pears, has its Moose Munch specials and so, with coupons in hand, we made our pilgrimage to our local Moose Munch Mecca: Harry & David.

Photo above ... John trying to decide which assortment of Moose Munch to purchase, no easy task as there are a number of different flavors to choose from.
Photo below (and at the top of this post)... Harry and David's Moose Munch.  If you're thinking it's just another brand of Crackerjacks you'd be mistaken, Moose Munch compared to our old childhood caramel corn snack is like comparing  14 karat gold to iron pyrite.

Photo above ... Inside Harry & David, yummys  cram every nook, corner and cranny in this wonderful little shop. 
Photo below ... It is a store I could spend hours in and I love the way things are merchandised. The combination of colors in their displays is wonderful and whimsical.  The red and yellow in this display really captured my attention.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The Crab Trap II is one restaurant we always go to when we are in the area of the Ellenton Outlet Mall ... which is just where we were this past Monday.

We enjoy the menu with it's vast variety, from Conch Fritters to Gator Fritters and lots of oddities in between, however we normally stick with the standard fare of stone crab, crab cakes, shrimp or fish.

Yes this sign is just outside of the Crab Trap, and yes the large pond does have a few gators in it and that's quite common in Florida.

The interior of the Crab Trap is very tropical with lots of bamboo, ceiling fans and sea shell light fixtures.

Cypress Knees are another oddity that was used in the Crab Trap decor.  These "knees" are usually seen protruding up out of the water in a swamp or bayou, their purpose is still a mystery.  Some botanist think they furnish the cypress trees with air or perhaps minerals.  Here they look like stalactites ...

... or stalagmites.

The main dinning area is built on 2 levels so there are a few steps to negotiate between the upper and lower dinning rooms.  By doing it this way the upper level can also enjoy the lovely views from the Crab Trap windows.

Someone got carried away with the lighting in this restaurant.  Pendants have shades of  weathered wood slates and there are chandeliers made of large cypress stumps that have been cleverly wired and lights attached.  Large sea shells have been made into wall sconces and then there are strings of Christmas lights draped everywhere.

But what I enjoy the most, as I munch on a delicious crab burger, is the view outside their windows .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I've seen this sign many times and many times I've wanted to photograph it but never had my Mickey Mouse camera with me.  This past Monday was different.  As we started to head out and make our way to the Ellenton Outlet Mall, about a 20 to 25 minute drive north of us, it dawned on me to get out of the car and go fetch my camera (Mickey Mouse though it may be). 
This one's for you Aly of AlyGator's Everywhere (a fantastic blog, by the way, for those unfamiliar with it).  This sign sits outside of one of my favorite restaurants, which I will blog about sometime in the near future.  Each time I see it  I think of Alyssa and how I'd like to post a photo of it with the words; "This One's For You Aly" ... maybe not better than a cold Bud on a hot day, but worth a smile.  : )
Photo above ... the pond behind the Crab Trap II.  In the early evening all the egrets in what seems to be a 20 mile radius, fly in and flock in these trees.  It is a very impressive sight to see.
Photo below ... self explanatory.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Sometimes the greatest gifts are the ones we least expect; the ones that come for no particular reason. 
Yesterday John, my darling hubby, went to the store to get a few things for dinner.  Upon arriving back home he called out; "Come see what I got!"   So I ventured into the kitchen where he proudly showed me a rolled chicken breast stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs and chopped garlic, along with a package of thin skirt steaks that we will marinate for the following day.  Okay, that should make us  two nice meals.  But then he exclaims; "Oh yes and one more thing that I didn't have room to carry in."  At this he leaves the kitchen and promptly returns with the most beautiful bouquet of exotic 2 tone, Colombian roses I have ever seen.  Why ?  "Just Because!"  Just because they were lovely; just because he knew I'd like them; just because he wanted to.  Boy am I the luckiest woman ... just because I've got the greatest man !
I'm no photographer but I've taken a few photos of my "Just Because" bouquet to share with all of you ... Just Because I think you are all the greatest too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mares are from Venus; Stallions are from Mars

Photo above - sign on Savannah's stall; one hip mare !
Scooby Doo, our granddaughter's horse, is being prepared for shows. Seems Scooby must have been through this course before as he seems to know what he is supposed to do, though at times he's reluctant to do so.
Photo above - Lexie with Scooby, preparing to practice their parade before the judge. Lexie tried to get Scooby to trot but he refused and with his ears slightly back, his way of pouting, he moped along sullenly. Turns out this practice session came during his normal "play time" and he longed to be in the pasture with his friends and rolling in the mound of clean, soft, white sand that our area of Florida is known for. Photo above - Lexie trying to get Scooby to stand square before parading him to the orange practice cone.
Photo below - He's sort of squared but he keeps looking over at my daughter as though to ask; "Do I have to do this ? When can I go play?" The other horse "enduring" this practice session is Banner, one of Scooby's stable-mates.

Photo below - Savannah, one of the residents of the stables where Scooby resides. She's a bit out of focus because I failed to set my camera for action shots and, well, horses don't stand still all the time.

Lately I've been having trouble with blogger and if anyone can advise me I'd much appreciate it. First I can't stay signed in, not even for a few seconds, as soon as I leave blogger and return I have to go through the whole sign in procedure. And yes, I cleared my cookie cache but that didn't help. I just reverted back to the Old Editor as with the latest edition of Editor I can only download one photo into my blog. In order to download another photo I have to get out of blogger, return, sign in again, and download one more photo. This has to be repeated for each photo. Today I gave up and went back to the old version of blogger editor. I'd be grateful for your suggestions as this frustration may be one of the reasons I've begun to slack off on my blogging. Fighting to place photos and, with the old editor, batteling with spacing that is constantly changing on me, getting booted out of sign in everytime I leave blogger ... Oh and then for awhile many of my blog comments came directly to my delete file of my email ... if this keeps up I just might throw in the towel and call it quits.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Initial of my True Love


Lately I've been off-line due to a hideous cold that has left me tired and fighting to regain my energy.  For those who've seen this as an opportunity to delete me from your followers list ... well ... c'est la vie. 
Back in the days of cavemen and dinosaurs I went to a friend's birthday party; the invitees, all young ladies, were not yet going steady, let alone engaged. We were a giggling bunch and all dreaming of our future prince charmings. There was a game we played that day; each girl was given a small apple and a vegetable peeler or paring knife, with the object of peeling the apple in as long and as thin a strip as possible. Once we each had our covetous apple peel spiral we were instructed to drop it over our shoulder and let it fall to the floor while reciting " Apple peel please reveal the initial of my true love". Perhaps it was wishful thinking but we would always see the initials of someone special in our apple peel pile. As for all those peeled apples ? Well I suppose my friend's mother ended up baking a lovely apple pie ... what a sneaky way of getting us to peel her apples for her.

Now step back about 3 weeks ago. I saw a recipe on another blog (thank you LanyardLady) for an apple crisp; the tender slices of juicy cooked apples topped with a crispy, crunchy crust of brown sugar and cinnamon truly looked delicious and I decided to try making it. So John and I headed to the store where I purchased a few nice Granny Smith, green, tart apples. Upon returning home I washed the apples and as I began to peel the first one I was jolted back to that day a million years ago; seeing my group of girl friends giggling over the initials of their true love revealed in apple peelings. Carefully I peeled, round and round and round ending up with one long continuous spiral. Since I am already married the formality of dropping it over my shoulder and onto the floor became irrelevant and instead I held the spiraling peel high above the kitchen sink and then ... released it. There in my sink was the initial of my one true love. Normally the last place I'd wish to photo would be the inside of my kitchen sink but as I peered at the apple peel it was so unmistakably clear that I had to get my camera and take a photo; otherwise no one would believe it.
 Photo above - The peel looks like a perfect cursive J, the first letter of my hubby's name, John.
Photo below - However when I looked closer I noticed that below the J was a perfect e, John's middle initial is e for Evan.  Yes coincidence but still very interesting.

Another silly game involving the apple was to take firm hold of the apple stem and  turn the apple, with each full rotation of the stem we would start through the alphabet ... a ... b ... c ... d etc.  At the letter where the stem finally breaks off would be the letter of one's furture boyfriend.  So while we girls were busy with frivilous games trying to foretell who our prince would ultimately be the boys had their own game that they played with the apple.  After eating the apple and left only with its core the boy would shout; "Apple core" to which someone replied; "Baltimore ... whose your friend?"  Someone would shout out a name of another boy in the group and then the apple eater would throw the apple core at that boy and shout out; "Not no more !"  Just one of the many ways that the sexes are different. LOL
Do you recall any cute little games or traditions such as these and if so please share them with me, I'd love to read them.
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