Life with Lo

Life with Lo

My niece Lauren was able to get an OT internship at Brook’s Rehab here in Palm Coast to finish up her Master’s program. Her mom and her sister Jessie drove down with her from Michigan in early May arriving Friday, and she was to start work (with no pay!) the following Monday. After getting her all set up in her room and bathroom, and after a couple fun days at the beach, she took her mom and sister to the airport to become part of our family, if only for a few months.

She took to Florida like she was born here. She figured out pretty quickly that on the two days she worked in Ormond Beach, she was out early enough to hit the gym, running on the treadmill while watching the ocean, then she’d head to the beach to work on her tan. She had two longer days in Palm Coast and one day in St. Augustine. She did homework at night, wrote and received letters, received care packages, went to the gym, and went to the beach either with us or without us as often as she could.

010-Great wave!Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see someone enjoy our area as much as I do. Lauren enjoyed the area! During her first month of boogie-boarding, every wave brought a woop and a squeal of delight.(See video below.) She was a natural!  She’d put her board, chair, and beach bag in her car when she left for work, and when she walked in the door at night, I could tell if she’d been to the ocean. She and Thom would go even if I didn’t feel like it. The only thing that might get her out of the water is when Thom would say, “Uh-oh…”  To her, that meant he saw something in the water that she didn’t want to know about.11226055_10153357187026763_8156102961527104427_n

My mom always says fish and company smell after three days. Not true. Lauren was a pleasure since day one. She has a wonderful disposition. She cooked, cleaned her area and patted the dogs.She’d watch tv with us, scrapbook on the table, or have coffee with us on the lanai. She’d say really funny things.  She is highly disciplined and would get herself to the gym even when she’d rather not. She bought her share of groceries, though we didn’t want her to. Her sense of humor and genuine surprise and delight were so much fun to experience.

She says she’d love to get a job down here. I can only hope. I understand why her mom and dad want her back home so badly. She is a wonderful young woman.

And I will miss her now that she’s gone.

 

 

My “rescue”

My “rescue”

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a cat person. I love the softness of them, the calmness, their purrs, their kneads, their attitude. Kittens are among the most entertaining baby animals I can think of (aside from, say, baby monkeys), and if there were a way to keep them little, I’d probably invest in it! My last cat had us for 15 years before she died of natural causes.

Sadie the day I rescued her

Sadie the day I rescued her

With Thom’s allergies, though, it’s the first time in my life I haven’t had a cat, and I do miss it. Instead, we have two dogs: Sadie, whom I rescued in 2005, and Doug, Thom’s rescue in 2013.

They say a rescued dog knows it’s rescued and is grateful. I don’t know about that. What I do know is that timid, sweet Sadie rescued me. And it is who am eternally grateful. She got me through a very difficult time in my life and shared my days at the shop where she received tons of love and belly rubs from my knitters. She doesn’t leave my side when I’m home. If I’m gone for several days, she won’t eat; she stays in her crate, desolate until I return. It’s been 10 years since we met. She has slowed down a bit. I see the beginnings of cataracts in her eyes when she looks at me. She spends most of her day sleeping while I’m at work. But when I walk in the door at night, she comes to greet me, tail wagging, sniffing all around to see where I’ve been all day. She stays nearby, follows me from room to room, nudges me for a stroke while I’m knitting and is currently laying at my feet. She is simply the sweetest animal. What you see in this photo is who she is. It is this face looking out from the newspaper that compelled me to go to the shelter that day where I fell in love and was rescued.

Hidden gems

Hidden gems

0404150920My friend Sarah made me this colorful pot years ago. It’s traveled with me from Michigan to Florida. We’ve planted several things in it since, and while not all were successful, some were and have been replanted in the ground. It currently sits outside our lanai waiting. At first, it held only the dirt left over from the previous dweller. Now that it’s spring, it’s becoming full of green, unidentified leaves waiting, perhaps, for another chance to grow something beautiful.

But Mother Nature had other ideas. While we were waiting, a pair of wrens (we think) created an amazing nest neatly tucked beneath the foliage in preparation for their springtime babies. We witnessed them taking turns bringing twigs, hair, and moss into the pot, taking their time to piece together a most beautiful little home.

And then we didn’t see them for days. We’d had a pretty heavy rainfall, and later when we checked, the pot looked flooded and we assumed the worst. unnamed

But this morning Thom saw them enter the top of the pot once more. And this is what we found:

I’m not sure why birds build nests so close to humans. Last year we found one in our garage under a lamp shade. The little birds had found a hole in the screen and decided to take advantage, perhaps, of being out of the weather.  I remember some robins had built a nest atop the garage door opener in my parents’ home. (They parked outside for several weeks, much to my dad’s chagrin.)

We will try not to disturb these hidden gems as they develop and hatch. God knows it’s hard enough to raise a family without adding noisy neighbors to the mix! We did tuck the pot under the eave to hopefully prevent it from filling with water during the next storm. That’s all we can do. Mother Nature will take care of the rest.

T’was the season!

T’was the season!

What a great holiday season we had this year! I typically find it hard to get into the Christmas spirit here in Florida as there is no prompting from the white stuff that would normally cover the Michigan ground this time of year to remind me daily of the season ahead. And all the neighborhood houses lit up with colorful Christmas lights and their lawns with inflatable snowmen are a little amusing without the icicles hanging from the roof tops. But this year was different.

This year my Meg decided to spend Christmas here, the first time in 6 years any of the kids have been with us for any holiday. She arrived a week before, which I was so excited about, because I had a special gift in mind for her. (Read more about that here.) She has a way of making any event more fun with her contagious energy, and this Christmas was no exception. We shopped the flea market, enjoyed the holiday lights in St. Augustine, played Christmas music non-stop, and even opened the required night-before-Christmas presents (matching jammies!) Christmas day found us 05busy preparing a traditional Christmas dinner complete with turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, rolls, green bean casserole, and PIE! And then my sister Molly and her entire family joined us for a wonderful Christmas afternoon and evening, where we ate, laughed, got to the beach for a beautiful sunset, then went back to the house for a crazy game around the table. I was so pleased they stayed as late as they did, as they had a long drive back to their hotel in Kissimmee. It made me realize how much I missed these gatherings, and I was grateful for all the photos from all the phones that were shared with everyone.

Now the tree and decorations are down, slowly the neighborhood is getting back to normal. The sun is shining and temperatures are hovering in the high 60’s to 70’s. My mother is here out of the cold of the north for a couple months. I’m back to work, and life continues. But I do love looking back on that day, that visit from family and the laughter that reassured me that some things just never change. Thank God.

Expect the expected

Expect the expected

My Meg has been complaining for years that she’s never been to Disney. All her friends have been to Disney, but not her. Perhaps while watching a Disney movie or seeing a Disney sign, she’ll still say, “I can’t believe I’ve never been to Disney!” Never mind that she was raised in Michigan, over a thousand miles away, and never mind that we only took ONE real family vacation in all their growing up. Never mind that at 31 she’s well aware that a trip to Disney costs an arm, a leg, and several gold bars. That’s not the point.  She’s 31 years old, and she’s never been to Disney.

 And so for her Christmas present this year, since she was going to be spending the holiday with us, I decided to take her to Disney. I’d heard about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which is a party inside the party that is already Magic Kingdom, and there’s limited tickets that cost slightly less than a regular park admission. But the park stays open until midnight, including rides, food, and all the extra fun.

 I was ridiculously excited while planning and anticipating the surprise. She would arrive in Florida the night of December the 17th, and the last day for the MVMCP (as it’s referred to online) was the 19th. Thankfully there were tickets still available, so I bought two (Thom declined the invite) and then started planning HOW to tell her. My thoughts were filled with those TV commercials where the kids are presented with their surprise and the little girl breaks down in a puddle of happy tears. I couldn’t WAIT!

 She finally arrived and the intervening day was filled with plans to go to the flea market, the beach, St. Augustine and more. I convincingly agreed to whatever she wanted to do, knowing in my mind that THE SURPRISE awaited! And then I started to question my plan to tell her.

 I’m very much like my mother when it comes to surprises or any kind of good news. She and I are the ones who jump around screaming when we learn of a new baby, a surprise visit, or any other joyful occasion. We get JOYFUL!  And I know she, like me, can’t seem to help it, and to try and stifle it is like trying to stifle a sneeze.  Similarly, at scary movies with ‘jump’ scenes, I’m in the fetal position and have, on occasion, strained muscles when startled. I guess I feel things a bit more intensely than the average Moe, much to the enjoyment of my boys.

 Meg isn’t like that. And I know that. And if I forget that, I have people to remind me, because invariably I will be disappointed in her very calm reaction to what I think is a great surprise. And so instead of waiting for her to get up the morning of the 19th and say to her, “Get dressed! We’re going to Disney!” and expecting that puddle…instead of that, I decided to use social media to surprise her.  And so I enlisted the help of SnapChat, a cute little app I’m not all that familiar with but that I figured would get her attention. I worked on it in the wee hours of the morning while laying in bed too excited to sleep. You only get a 10-second video, so there were several trials and mostly errors.  Finally on the morning of the 19th I went into her room, woke her up by climbing into bed with her and said, “Hey, I sent you my first SnapChat video. Check it out.”  The video went something like this,

                 “Meg!  Wake up! We’re going to DISNEY!!!  ♫ Merrrrry Christmaaas! ♫”

 Her slightly sluggish response was, “Why are we going to Disney?”  

  smiley