Posted in Comp'ny, Family, Randomness

Am I lucky, or WOT!

Mom n meMy 89-year-old mother stayed with me this winter. She arrived the day after Christmas to get out of the bitter cold winter of northern Michigan for a bit. She bought an open-ended ticket, and so her one-month plan turned into a three-month plan, with her return flight the last day of March.

I feel so lucky and blest to have had this time with her. She is so easy to have around, always pleasant, never grouchy. She would sleep until 9:00 or so, then make her way into the kitchen for her first cup of coffee, the “nectar of the gods!” She would sit at the table and read one of her many Danielle Steele books and perhaps have a piece of toast. She may enjoy that for an hour before she would get herself moving to get ready for the day. And I was so happy that finally, after how many years raising 11 kids and constantly doing for others, her day would consist of reading, playing bridge on her laptop, doing crossword puzzles, or knitting, with the occasional stroll around the cul de sac in the afternoon. For months she would exclaim how guilty she felt about how lazy she was until I finally insisted that had to stop. There is no guilt in Florida! At night she would watch and re-watch her all-time favorite TV show, Downton Abbey, and if she remembered, there was always the DVD of Phantom of the Opera that she watched – last count, eight times – without ever tiring of it.IMG_0711

In the past several months we saw the full moon rise over the ocean, we ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ soaring in an open cockpit biplane over St. Augustine and the Atlantic; the site of her smiling face so close to mine is forever etched in my memory. We have enjoyed the on-stage Broadway musical productions of Phantom and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; we would have the songs constantly playing round in our heads, and we would spontaneously start humming one of the melodies, then start singing together, one of us remembering the lines the other didn’t. We spotted the slow moving manatees at Blue Spring and enjoyed the giant kites flying over Flagler Beach. We watched in amazement as six kite surfers joined forces with Mother Nature on the ocean and in the air. We took drives through “Old Florida,” where I loved hearing her exclamations of the beauty of this area and how very glad she was that I found this ‘well-kept secret.’  She would tell me daily how happy she was for me, how much she loved it here.

Her hearing is going. She’s quite forgetful. But she loved to tell stories of the old days, and I have to admit I’d heard several I’d not heard before. My friends who had lost their own moms wanted to visit with her; perhaps she gave them a little of their own for a brief moment. I knew when I came home from work I would hear, “Here comes Tilly the toiler,” and when she’d say goodnight, she’d always add, “God bless you,” just as she did every night when we were kids. I tuck all these things away in my memory knowing I will need to pull them out one day in the not too distant future.

I never was able to get her to Marineland to feed the dolphins; the weather did not cooperate.  She said she wanted to see a sunrise, even though I reminded her that it wouldn’t wait until 10:00 to come up.  But I so loved seeing her sit happily at the end of my couch, engrossed in Ms. Steele’s latest book or one of her many crossword puzzles, looking lovely and comfortable, while I felt like the luckiest girl alive.


Posted in Comp'ny, Family & Friends, Florida Fun

Short but sweet

Whenever my Sarah plans a visit with me, I approach it the same way I approach P_20140427_095313_1 (Medium)anything that can change: Make a plan, but don’t plan on it. And while we sort of laugh at that fact, we both know it’s true, and we’re both okay with it. So when she told me months ago that she wanted to come down in April, I said, “Sure!” And then I didn’t hold my breath. But after inviting her daughter Emma and Em’s boyfriend, Jamee, I thought it just might happen. And it did!

Thursday night to Sunday isn’t a very long visit, but we seemed to pack a lot into that short time. We went all over beautiful historic St. Augustine, seeing Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! (very cool), riding the trolley, shopping up and down St. George St, and enjoying a wonderful lunch at an outdoor cafe. Friday night was dinner al fresco at The Golden LionSaturday found us at the beach for hours and hours having a great time in and out of the water. Emma and Jamee were a happy and welcome addition to the fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Em all grown up. Thom had eager boogie-boarders in Emma and Jamee, and the two of them took to it like old pros.

Sunday, of course, came too soon, but even those couple of days with my BFF was just what I needed to get me through to August when I’ll see her again.

Posted in Comp'ny, Family & Friends, Florida Fun

Welcome any time!

It was so wonderful to have my mom spend last month with us. She’s 87 now, thoughAt Cherie Down Park if you ask her, she’d say she feels like she’s in her 60s or so. She likes to say that fish and company smell after three days, but I beg to differ. Perhaps some company smells after three days, but not my mother. She’s the easiest, most pleasant person to have in any home. Here’s how she spent her days:

She’d wake up around 9:00 a.m., laze a bit and then shuffle on out around 9:30-10:00 in her bathrobe and slippers for her morning coffee, her “Nectar of the gods!”  She’d have a piece of raisin or peanut butter toast, a small glass of milk, and then she’d sit and read the paper, maybe start on a crossword puzzle.  She’d then exclaim how lazy she is and how guilty she feels not being dressed yet.

If she spent more than an hour getting ready for the day, it was because she had to shower. When that was done, she’d come out to the living room and drop into the chair and bemoan how hard it is and what a pain it is to get all clean.  (I was never sure if she was just kidding or if it really wore her out. I’m thinking it really wears her out! She’s 87!!)

She’d find her book that she’s read at least three times or a crossword puzzle or P_20140129_211507perhaps her knitting, settle herself in the chair, and then she would proceed to entertain herself. She’d glance at whatever was on tv, she’d visit with whomever was in the room, and she’d have to pat and talk to the dogs as they begged for her attention. She’d snack here and there but wouldn’t eat much. If you found the living room empty, it was because she was in front of her laptop playing – and winning – at bridge. If you asked if she wanted to go to the store or for a drive, she’d happily oblige saying, “Just point me where I’m going.” After dinner (God bless the cook!) she’d watch tv, do her crosswords, reminisce a bit, tell me I worked too hard.

Once she had her bedtime snack of peanut butter and honey toast with milk, and after she told you how spoiled she was, we would say our goodnights, and I would hear the echo of my childhood in her quiet, “God bless you.”

She’d tell you how lovely your home is, your town, your partner, your dogs, and how happy she is for you.

My mother has a gracious and joyful spirit. She remembers mostly the good and happy times, and she loves to relive them. She repeats herself often, forgets what you’ve told her and needs to be reminded of your grandkids’ names. But she is all the things I hope to be when I’m her age: Happy, grateful, kind, loving, non-judgmental, sweet.

And welcome any time.  [portfolio-gallery include=2737]

Posted in Comp'ny, Family & Friends, Florida Fun


June 1 to June 5 2013 was really fun! Kevanna (Kevin and Savanna) finally came for a visit, and we all had a great time! Thom and I love to go to the beach, and we love to boogie-board. But that doesn’t mean everybody does. And sometimes we have to remember that just because we like it, we can’t just assume our guests will enjoy it as well. We get some pretty good-sized waves here, and the rip current can be pretty intimidating. We’ve been playing in the waves for a while now, so we tend to forget how scary they can be. Plus, if you’re little, like Savanna, well, the waves are even larger. But off we went, hoping against hope they’d love it as much as we do.


What a great time we all had! We ate in, we ate out, we visited an IMAX theater and explored St. Augustine, we sunbathed and enjoyed coffee on the lanai. But best of all we played in the ocean as much as we could. Kevin took right to it. Savanna struggled with a too-big board, but once we found her the right size, she went at it like a pro. We all got rolled around in the surf a bit, especially Savanna (ouch!), but she was a great sport and went fearlessly back at it.

It all went too fast, but they’ve promised to come back. And we’re holding them to it!

Here’s more photos of fun! [portfolio-gallery include=2261]