Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting ready to launch...trivia

I may have mentioned over time that we are very close with our neighbors...the evidence is right here! Bud, in the camo is a marine who will shortly be stationed in Georgia, way closer to home and his very best buddy, Wayne, who appears to be slipping Bud the tongue. He isn't really...just hamming it up. Miss these young men and miss seeing Alex with these two.

Went to Bradenton yesterday to visit Irma, a former Gannett colleague and a friend of several years. We had a great lunch and she even took me to Aldi's...yes, they are starting to move into Florida and I am praying they soon come to Ft. Myers to give Publix some much needed competition.

In Bradenton, there had been a sand carving contest and this huge recycling piece was just spectacular. The event was long over...very few people on the beach so we were able to get up close and personal with the art.

Getting old is really a bitch. All of a sudden you realize that you put the same photo on your blog twice in as many days. Sorry about that. Was thinking today as I get ready to leave that I often find myself thinking I need a know, they add so much to one's life. Today, for example, I really needed my back scratched, right in that "not possible to reach" part of your back. The solution? Use a plastic long spoon and then quickly wash it while groaning at how yucky that was to use a spoon! And I always have to change my jewelry when I travel...from gold to silver. Less flashy and where I visit, this is a good thing. However, my gold bracelet doesn't catch or release one issue. Solution? Borrow a man! So, needed a man but got over it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nothing special...just life

I went out walking the other morning and this group of birds was marching straight down our the time I retrieved my camera, they were under the neighbor's orange tree pecking away. Another wonderful morning in Florida.
Annie sent this photo of David, Alex's uncle and Alex. I suggested the kid needed a shave and he said it is "No shave November." He will shave on 1 December....guess when in the wilderness, one behaves like he is in the wild. Annie and David hosted a huge dinner and Alex went, making a corn souffle as his contribution.

Now, these guys are not so special. We have these huge vultures that sun themselves every morning atop our home and our neighbors' houses. Near the canal, they watch for food and they scritch as they move across our roof...a bit spooky at 6 a.m. if one isn't expecting noise up there.
Today, while walking, I met Jer, not Jerry, Jer. He was having a "moment" and was lying next to the sidewalk, almost hidden under the bushes. These "moments" make him fall and sometimes, he passes out...he thought he had done that today. But, it is Saturday and most everyone walks M-F, so Jer was happy to see someone walking by the golf course. I helped him up and to his house...he didn't want me to call 911 but said he thought he might call his daughter to come sit with him. He was shaking badly and very unsteady...does anyone else have weird happenings while doing the mundane? Poor guy...wife died a few years ago and his dog died last year. He asked me to look for him another day...I wondered, "Where exactly should I look for him next? In the mangroves?" Hoping the old guy is OK.
Had a gift card with $5 left on it after shopping...gave the $5 to the sales clerk and she grinned from ear to ear. With her discount, she can buy a nice gift for her daughter. How do people pay for someone's groceries who is in line behind them? I am liking the pay it forward concept quite a bit.
Today was a bit tedious...starting to pack for Yemen. Thankfully, I looked again at their weather...all of a sudden 68F as a high and 32 as the low. Not like I can layer and take clothing off because I need to be covered up. Hassan said he would take me to see some sites of interest in Sana'a. Can't wait.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks....

Happy Thanksgiving! Late fall and many of you are already experiencing heavy rain and snow...we here, in sunny Florida, are enjoying the flowers, flowering shrubs and the fruit laden trees. 85 today and I actually turned the air conditioning on again...yup, the end of November.
This morning, I went out for my daily walk and this group of birds was casually walking directly down our they were out for their walk. By the time I went and got my camera, they had moved on to one of the homes on our street and were pecking away. Yes, that is an orange tree.

Today was a very special day. I have never celebrated Thanksgiving so alone and yet, with so many people. I talked and emailed friends and family and while my Hospice volunteering was cancelled, I had much to do around the house and then, this afternoon, I went to Ann's house to share dinner with her, her two sons, a daughter in law and her parents. We ate the best food ever. Ann is originally from Peru and her daughter in law and her mom are from Colombia. I enjoyed speaking Spanish with Gladis, Natalia's mom and we talked about how much I enjoyed her country and the time I spent in Medellin. She couldn't believe I attended a cabalgata which is a huge festival with hundreds of horses outfitted elegantly and ridden by incredibly well outfitted riders, many of whom play music and sing. I was reminded of all of the great Colombian foods I miss: Sancocho; Arepas; Bandeja Paisa and more. Surprisingly, Gladis had me say, "Bandeja Paisa" for her gringo husband, Jeff and he didn't hear the difference. She is someone I would like to get to know better...she and Jeff were great fun.
I missed my family but enjoyed seeing their family. Ann's sons and my sons (that would be Alex, Pat and Chris) would have loved the football, the laughing and the ribbing. Made me miss home and was so happy to be AT home.

I mentioned to Ann that I cannot sit down at such a beautifully appointed table, topped with ten or twelve different dishes and not think of the poor and what they had to eat today. Makes me very thankful indeed for all that I have.

On another note, my neighbor, Shirley and I were walking and she mentioned the Thai couple who built a home on the street behind ours. They are building a great garden and she mentioned that they brought her some jack fruit chips...ate a few last night and very tasty. And they also shared loofah with know those pieces of hard stuff you wash your back with? Well, apparently, when green and unripe, you can eat them. Gotta try it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Can't believe I havent' written in a month...trying to figure out what I have been doing. A lot of nothing, mostly. I have been volunteering for Hospice and enjoying that very much...finding I am not going to the nursing homes. I miss taking Chica with me...folks really could care less if I visit or talk with them, but with Chica in hand, smiles are immediate and even those with dementia enjoy snuggling and hugging her. Miss my doggies.

I have also had to adjust to living alone which I have decided to accept (no other choice) but I do not like it at all. Not liking going to bed alone and definitely hate coming into the house with no doggie at the door to greet me with unconditional love.

Spending about six hours per week in various Spanish classes and enjoying that quite a bit. Wishing that all the students were really at the "advanced" level so the class would move along more quickly but the other adults in the class come from diverse walks of life and that adds to the interest. Beginning to get comfortable with the Spanish again and have had several Hospice pick ups/sitting assignments in Spanish speaking homes so have had real life practice again.

Made plans to take McKenzie, Logan and Addison to Guatemala in February for about 9 days, of which five will be spent in language classes for about 5 hours per day. We will stay with host families and hopefully Mt. Picaya will be erupting or threatening to erupt so the kids can climb their first volcano. Lots to see and hoping to take in some ruins, churches, good food and take in some cultural events, including some outdoor dancing and music. The kids will love it. The Reicken Foundation has a library, I was told with some books newly written in the Mayan language, which we will try to see while there. Have to get in touch with Paul Guggenheim and set that up.

I am taking Stanley with me to Yemen...I think he will get new clothing and most likely will be renamed "Abdulkareem" which seems appropriate. Can't wait to share Yemen with the classroom of kids in Alabama and I am also to call in on Skype to Addison's classroom. This reminds me I need to get that set up with the teacher...don't know her/his name, email or Skype name. What did we do for communication before Facebook, Twitter, email and PC Call and Skype?

Photos coming...since I haven't been travelling, I haven't taken many but I did get a few birds the other day and will post them soon.

hugs to you all