Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting Closer

You know, I never really meant to write about our love story again because it is a well worn tale. Since writing my last post, I've thought of a gazillion other things I could have written instead of rehashing something you've already heard, but it seems as if while looking for that one photo I succumbed to nostalgia, letting it get the best of me!! Nonetheless, many thanks for both reading, and your well wishes.

There are some amongst you who are wondering how things are going with the Flagyl, and I am thrilled to report that not only do I have only three more days of it, but the applesauce method is working brilliantly.
I've gone through about a third of a jar of applesauce with my three times a day dose. So, I put it into the applesauce, slugging it down with some water, with good results, except for this time when I took so long taking the photograph, the pill started to flavor the applesauce! Aside from the no alcohol problem, (not even cough syrup!), there is the larger problem of the pill not actually working. Irene sent me a text the other evening, informing me that a scientist was on Fresh Air, interviewed by Terri Gross, of course, who explained that ONLY 20% of patients are actually cured using antibiotics!!! Naturally I had to listen, and was dismayed, to say the least. Last year I read that it is quite common to return, and now I know why that happens. Needless to say, I did not like what I heard, but at least I understand the problem a little better. So, at least for now, I am getting closer to being c-diff free.

Then too, the restaurant is getting closer to the finish line. I've been asked by many when is the opening date, and the answer to that question is, September 23.
Bruce worked both days over the weekend, while little Missy watched the Olympics, and weren't they wonderful? Except for the stupid Ryan Lochte incident. Everyone loves their technology, and for the most part, rightly so, however, this story so illustrates the point that things aren't what they used to be. Most of you already know how this all played out, with this blog post explaining the details further should you need a refresher. I understand breaking news and all, but the Australian reporter that tweeted an off hand remark from Lochte's Mother, probably because he wanted some glory for getting such a scoop, was just plain stupid. Had this been an earlier era, holes would have been poked in the story early on, and the whole thing would have never turned into such a big fat mess! Reporters have a hard job these days, but let's do a little research before posting a story please! In any case, the achievements of the athletes were astounding, and how about the Japan portion of the closing ceremonies? Fantastic stuff!!

You have seen the kitchen at the restaurant, and no doubt noticed that there is a whole lot of equipment. Well, with that equipment comes manuals, and one of the things B does for the chefs is put together a notebook of all of them, except that there were so many, and they were so thick, a special hole punch had to be used, which he located at Kinko's. Delighted to help, I went downtown to have it done, and just take a look at this cute street art I found while I was there.
Once again we are having a dry spell, meaning the humidity has been bearable, which in turn means I've been on my bicycle again. I do love the Moon visible in the morning sky.
Look who I saw...
There have been loads of birds in our yard, in spite of the new cat across the street who likes to come hunting. Just the other morning there were about eight Cardinals in the back yard, presumably a family.
In honor of National Bee day--
I'm reading reports of a bee shortage, however, in our garden, between the Lantana picture above, and the Spicy Jatropha, of which we have about twenty, including the tree with the Cardinal, we have more than I would like. Wanting some color in the back yard, when we were replanting, it never occurred to me that we would have so many bees! Of course we need bees, but when you are sitting at the patio table, loads of bees within arms reach is not ideal.

Naturally I've been working on something,
which is also getting closer to completion. I got the notion to do some hand quilting, and now I'm not entirely sure why! I totally forgot how progress is so slow. In any case, while hand sewing the binding on the baby quilt pictured above, I watched two documentaries. Not surprised are you? Poverty Inc. was one, and very thought provoking it is. Seems to me we are doing the same thing right here in our own country. Secondly I watched most of Sugar Coated which, while enlightening, seemed a tad heavy handed, something that I am always on the look out for while watching documentaries.  See it for yourself on Netflix.

The Olympics are over, but it won't be long now until college football begins...

Gail




Sunday, August 21, 2016

When We Were Young

Let me begin with thanks to Adele for my blog title today. Because we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary this week, I'd been thinking about writing about our early life, however, a title hadn't come to mind. Well, now it has. I know that most of you reading this blog, already know our story, however, it never hurts to revisit a love story, of which ours is one.
We've been together now for most of our lives, having begun our relationship when we were very young, like 12 years old young. Now I'm going to tell the story my way, but I bet if Bruce were to tell it, there would be a few different details. He swears I first caught his attention when I was in the 6th grade, so that would have made me about 10 or 11 years old, having started 1st grade at just 5 years old. My sister Carol and I went to a summer program at Lake Como Elementary, or so he tells me, and he thought I was pretty cute.

A few years later, while we were attending Howard Junior High, we met for real at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in their Youth Group.  As was super common back then, we began going "steady", but "broke up" a few months later. As to how we got back together in the 9th grade, I'm a little sketchy, but I do recall that the date was September 25, my Mom's birthday. That was convenient wasn't it? The year was 1968.

Because he lived only a few blocks away he became a fixture at our home. By then my brother Pat was in the Green Berets, making Bruce the only male in a sea of girls! Even then Bruce was so kind, a quality that has only gotten stronger as we have aged. If you can imagine, I was still a bed wetter back then, and when I finally got the nerve to tell him, he did not even flinch! My Dad had been commuting to Melbourne for nine years when, in the summer after 10th grade, he came home one day, announcing that we were leaving Orlando and moving to Melbourne. Well that was a blow, but somehow we managed, with me riding a Greyhound bus back to Orlando to visit him on some weekends. His Mom, bless her heart, even had a rubber sheet she put on the bed for me. Other weekends he would drive his VW bug over to Melbourne! Remember how expensive long distance calls used to be? He would save his tips from being a bus boy at the Robert Meyer Hotel restaurant to call me, sometimes from pay phones. In spite of the distance, our relationship never faltered.

Try as I might I could not find the one photo I have of us in the 9th grade, but here are a few of us when we were young...
Thinking hard about how couples get together, and stay together for that matter, I suppose the first attraction is how a person looks. Of course I have no experience to prove that other than our own, but I suspect it is true to some extent whatever your age. He was darn cute wasn't he?

Only about a month after graduating high school I high-tailed it back to Orlando to begin x-ray school at Winter Park Memorial Hospital. During my first year I lived with Maureen, and when she was tired of me, I moved in with Judy and Cris, newlyweds themselves! People often wonder why we married so young, but I wonder why we would have waited! Our plan was that once I graduated and began earning some money, we would make it all official. Unlike most couples today, we never lived together, and were darn anxious to do so.

Looking for these photos I came across the album for our 25th anniversary with pages devoted to various aspects of marriage including one page entitled "Our Story." Re-reading it, I had to chuckle that I wrote about Bruce asking my Dad for my hand in marriage. I wrote that TL grilled Bruce on how we was going to provide for me. Poor guy, because TL was not known for being either kind, or subtle!

I went looking for a wedding dress by myself at the now gone, but never forgotten, Jordan Marsh, the nicest department store in town. My parents were willing to pay $100 for a gown, and that's where I began my search. Somehow or other a gown had been left in the dressing room I chose, and that was the only one for me! The price was way too high, but I just had to have that dress.
On my hourly wage of $3.25 hr it took me a long time to pay them back!! The other receipts are for the veil AND our honeymoon night in St. Augustine!!! As a newly hired x-ray tech and a carpenter, we spent only one night there, but we made the most of it. I know some of you have heard this story before, but it's a good one so I'll write it down. Our first night of marriage, after the wedding and arriving in St. Augustine, all of the restaurants were closed at 9 PM, aside from McDonalds, which is where we ate. I so remember gazing at my wedding ring while asking Bruce if he thought anyone could tell we had just gotten married six hours earlier!

The rehearsal dinner was held at the Peck's home...
That would be my Mom up top, and Bruce's down below.  Here is one of us opening a wedding gift.
Amazing how similar our hair was!! So, back in those days it was a big deal to have a wedding announcement in the newspaper. This one is from the town in upstate New York where Bruce was born and lived until he was 6 years old.
I even have more that I won't bore you with, however, one even included minute details about my dress, which I still love btw! Pale pink, in case you are wondering.

Aside from the 25th anniversary album, most of the photos above are from our wedding album. How about these gifts??? I am so touched reading them. So amazing that the crew at Sea World, where Bruce worked as a carpenter building the Shamu stadium, gave us a bottle of champagne and SEVEN dollars.
That bottle of champagne, btw, blew up in the back seat of our VW fastback while we were touring around St. Augustine on foot!
Our reception, held at Grace Covenant, consisted of a receiving line, cake, and punch, and I'm not entirely sure what else. As well, I have no clue who took these candid snap shots, but I'm glad they did.

And so we began our life together, moving into our first apartment, then a second one, and within a year, our own home! These were our kids back in those days, Wally and Benny, or so I think...
I can still remember Bruce buying me that blouse for Christmas with me crying when I opened it! Another noteworthy thing about this photo is my watch...love interesting watches now, and it looks as if I loved them then.

Fast forward 43 years of wonderful married life together---Bruce worked super hard on our anniversary so we just ate at home. Bruce did, however, give me one of the sweetest cards ever, that friends on fb have already seen, but should you have missed it, here it is.
Cheryle and David just stopped by for a chat (B is at work), and we were taking about all manner of things, one of which is being satisfied with what you have leading to true happiness. Brilliant, right?

People often ask us the secret of our successful marriage, and sometimes I'm at a loss because we don't really have any secrets aside from the idea that we began our lives together believing it would always last, and it has. Plus, we are still crazy in love, and continue writing our love story every single day.

Till death do us part,

Gail

p.s. should you care to see the photos larger I believe you just click on them....

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Forced Abstinence

This morning Dr. Parillo called to give me the results of my last week's visit. I don't go easily to the doctor given my past history, however, having nearly two months of trouble finally convinced me that it was time to put aside my silliness and seek help. Well, it was just as I suspected---a return of C-diff, minus the colitis, or so I hope. I wrote about my previous saga here.

I don't know which is worse-- taking the antibiotic Flagyl, which is beyond horrible tasting, or no wine for two weeks. The truth is, both are bad. You may recall that drinking even a drop of alcohol while taking Flagyl will make a person violently ill so there is that. Furthermore, at least to me, taking a bitter pill three times a day for two weeks is torture. But then again, it is not chemo therapy which is something I will remind myself of in hopes that I can manage. Going through what I've been experiencing is another very powerful incentive. Now you know why, especially lately, I have been a serious homebody!!

Speaking of home, what do you think happened the day of this sunrise, which is foggy because of humidity on my lens?
Well. of course it rained and rained like mad! So crazy much, making up for last month's dry weather., the pool is now nearly overflowing!
I feel so bad for our new young neighbors next door because during Saturday's massive rain and wind, a huge tree limb, as in it covers about a third of their back yard and pool, fell, leaving them with some hard choices. Their insurance deductible is $2, 500! As well their patio furniture and the baby fence around the pool is damaged. I remember those days well when unexpected expenses occurred, and it is not a good feeling.  On a different note I finally was reimbursed for the sprinkler repair after making about ten phone calls. Grrr.....

Meanwhile, over at Bill and Fallon's home, Bill had spent most of the day tidying things up outside. So much for that following the storm. Lasting nearly an hour, it did stop with enough time for him to tidy up again, but that' s no fun is it? They were having a party to celebrate Fallon finishing her book work for nursing school. She has spent countless hours studying, and with that in her past, she will now begin doing all her clinical rotations at the hospital. Hurray for that, and hurray that she is number one in her class!

Longtime readers will remember how I struggled to keep Bill's pool looking decent. Well, these days it looks way more than decent!
We chatted, we played corn hole while David used his wrestling announcer voice, commenting on the matches, and Bill made a fire. Most of my photos were not fit for prime time, and the one below is just barely, but I do like Fallon's smile so I'm sharing it regardless.
Do you remember when people began using the word suck, as in this sucks, and that sucks? I do. My twins began using it ,and I was aghast, saying it sounded so vulgar. Well, I suppose you can get used to just about anything because I thought this sign, I saw posted in someone's yard, was fairly amusing.
Bruce removed the screen from my kitchen window for me so I could get some clearer shots of the birdies. Why didn't I remove it, you ask? It was stuck, or so it seemed to me! It is that time of the year when the birds are molting, looking somewhat bedraggled. I can't decide if this is two males, or a male and female Red Winged Blackbird.
Riding my bicycle over to Irene's yesterday morning, following our visit, I decided to ride a few extra blocks over to the nearby peacock neighborhood . Lo and behold, there were little ones!!!
Oh my goodness they are so cute!! Generally they are born in early July, making it a very pleasant surprise. There are a number of July babies roaming around as well.
Can you believe how lucky I was?

It appears as if the adult peacocks molt just like our song birds.
Look what else I saw recently!!
It has been quite some time since a Passion flower has made an appearance in a Camera Crazy post. These blooms never cease to amaze me!

As much as I don't want to, I'll leave you for now to go pick up my prescription along with some sort of food that might disguise the taste. Someone wrote about using applesauce to mask it, but now I'm wondering how something like sherbet or ice cream might work.....

Teetotaler for two weeks,

Gail

p.s. Here is something fun if you've got nothing better to do.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

An Unexpected Guest

On my way to take Graham to the airport, while driving on Judge Road, I noticed some yellow in a field adjacent to Palm Gardens. Well you can bet your sweet dollar that on the return journey home, I just had to check it out. Goodness gracious, two large patches of growing sunflowers!! A gentleman was watering giving me permission to traipse around. Explaining that the season was nearly over, he told me they grow them to sell to florists. There was a serious bee feast going on here:
Speaking of feasts, how about the Olympics?? For a sports fan such as myself it is a variable two week feast of amazing events and athletes. Did you hear the story of the Fiji rugby team? Incredible. If a story such as theirs does not bring a tear to your eye, I'm afraid your heart is way too cynical. Michael Phelps!! Katie Ledeky!!! Trampoline!! Handball!! Archery!! Women's soccer! :(

It has been more than fantastic, and for three nights I had someone besides Bruce, to share in that joy. Turns out Graham, the IT guy here from Vancouver booked an airbnb in a part of town that was not ideal. Arriving on Sunday evening, the first Uber driver said, "man, this is a bad part of town." Monday, same thing. Tuesday the same. Bruce dropped him off after their shared meal and repeated what Graham had already learned from the Uber drivers. He offered our guest room. He declined. For a few hours anyway. He arrived via Uber about 9:30 Tuesday night, staying until Friday late morning. Well he was at work with Bruce, but every night, following dinner out, we cheered on the Americans and the Canadians. Wednesday night, Linda and Colin joined us for dinner at Santiago Bodega.
Colin is Bruce's lifesaver, or in baseball terms, his closer. Thank God for Colin is what we have to say around these parts.

On our way there we stopped by Pulse for Graham to take photographs.
Not a day goes by that our newspaper does not have some story related to the shooting. For instance, today it is about a policeman, one of a small crew, that removed the bodies, leaving him with a case of PTSD. Very, very sad. Then too, I saw Nancy Pelosi visited the other day. People keep coming, leaving all manner of things.
It is hard to believe it has been two months already!

During the day I've been watching the Olympics while doing something I've not done for quite some time. I found the box of embroidery floss I'd been saving for years and years, and tied the quilt.
I should have left longer tails, however, not having done it for years, I'd forgotten that part. I did quilt it, but not heavily. Here's the back:
Before Graham left, I asked him to sit for a photo and unlike some folks, he was only too happy. He's had a lot of fun playing with these colored wooden balls Matt gave his Dad for Christmas, so he wanted to include them in the photo.
We had some good discussions during his visit, including one about vacations. He said, as a son of Filipino immigrants, he was always taught that "work was a vacation from poverty."  That's really quite a saying, isn't it? Bruce and I are all over it. It was nice having a 29 year old in the house. Waking up very cheerful every morning he would say to Bruce, "are you ready to go kick some ass?" He was. :)

It never hurts to put a dragonfly on the blog...
This morning, taking out the recycling, I watched a hawk fly into one of the 100 feet pine trees in our side yard.
I'm working on another quilt for someone (!), and it has not gone well so far. I'm struggling with the color choices and design. As such,  I told Brucer I was going for a bike ride to clear my head and see if I could puzzle it out.  Well, how about this for a surprise?
This house, my friends, is on the other end of Appleton!! One of the prettiest and most expensive houses in our neighborhood, previously the house was painted milk chocolate with an orange door. Now this! They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery don't they?

Not only did I see a house in the process of being painted just like ours, I came across a garage sale with fabric, one of which will add much to my new project!
Carrying a little money purse in my basket, for just this sort of thing, with little being the operative word here. Checking my purse, I told the woman all I had was $6, which was entirely true btw, she said fine, and off I went with a front heavy bicycle. Oh the surprises I find when I venture out. My big estate sale fabric haul,  from about two years ago, has nearly been used up, with two of the remaining pieces in the car just now. A woman I've met at church is seriously into retro fabrics, buying them on eBay and the like. Dated 1969, one of the pieces is the brightest pink you can imagine, with equally bright colored flowers in a pop art style, that was even a little too much for me, however, she is lots younger, so I'll look forward to see what she makes with it. That is one of the awesome things about sewing, making things with fabric that are all your own.

Talk about flying in the wild blue yonder...
Taking a break from my laughable attempt to imitate Katie Ledecky in our backyard pool, I watched a pair of Ospreys flying in circles until such time as one of them flew straight down into the lake at the end of our street. There were no flips involved, unlike the Olympic divers!

Ready for a new day,

Gail

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What a Difference Some Rain Makes

It has been raining once again, and to that I say hallelujah! The grass is no longer crispy, the plants are perky, and the pool is not only cooler, but fuller. Instead of the 93 degree water from a week or so ago, today, when I jumped in after a hot bike ride, I was almost chilly! Yup the temperature dropped eight degrees, which is considerable. Sunday morning we had an uninvited guest in the swimming pool.
Toads are not unheard of and so much better than Cuban Tree frogs. A week ago Sunday, the water level was at the bottom of the tile, so you can see there has been rain aplenty. Try as he might, Mr. Toad could not get out of the pool so I used the scooper to set him on the pool deck. You could not pay me to actually touch it! Doesn't it look like he's trying to get his land legs back?
Following church we ate lunch at Pepes Cafe in Hannibal Square. Oftentimes Bruce gets home either late, or tired, so lunch is a good option for us. Following multiple reviews, the beard is making a comeback. I had mentioned to Bruce that he looked a little like the guy who does the Dos Equis commercials when he had the beard a few weeks ago. Actually, Bruce is much cuter.
This article from the Washington Post tells the story of the rise and fall of the "Most Interesting Man in the World." Fascinating stuff.

You know how I always say that I write my blog to remember my life? Well, the truth is, it is not very often that I go back in time, but when I do read an old post, I am glad for it. This one, from about the same time last year, was full of goodies, not the least of which is that recipe I'm going to have to make again! Furthermore, I thought I'd already quit selling photography in early August, but apparently I thought wrong.

Pouring as I type. Trying to make up for July, or so it seems.

Cecila, whom I met at the estate sale, and by the way is named for an Uncle Cecil rather than the Simon and Garfunkle song, mentioned how much she loved my bird photos. So, just when you were getting sick of them, they disappeared. Well, I don't get sick of them, so let us have a look at a few of our "outdoor pets." Cardinals...the best.
The color is just so intense, you have to love it. Woodpeckers, on the other hand, are fairly prolific here which is both good and bad.
Neat to see, but very messy. Isn't it interesting how they do not sit on the perch, rather hang onto the feed holes? Then there are the little finches,  another favorite, or at least the colored ones are.
Saturday I had a nice long chat with Matthew who tells me their garden is a bird sanctuary. Plus, they have a fox who comes out early morning and dusk!!! A FOX in the middle of London!

Of late, the raptors that I love to photograph are either invisible in the dense tree foliage, or just plain not around. Returning from my ride today though, I did see an Osprey in my neighbor's pine tree that, by the time I removed my camera from the plastic bag, was taking off.
So, some people read the blog, or probably scan the blog, for the birds, whereas others are looking for weird stuff of which I have two photos in that ilk to share today. This display makes much more sense to me when it is July 4th weekend. Later than that, I don't get it.
Remember the house flippers? Below is one of their properties which is, in our view, one of the best. If you could have seen both the house and the yard before you, too, would be amazed. That said, the new owners moved in, hanging first the hammock, which looks terrific. What do you think of their new little fire circle? Bruce does not think much.
While chatting with Maureen last evening, she mentioned that the NYT carried an article about how the Olympics are outdated. Really? I know it will shock you to learn I stayed up until the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, which is gorgeous, to my way of thinking. That would be 12:30 AM!!! Here's what I think: this summer has been horrific for so many people around the world, why not share in the joy and spectacle that is the Olympics? And who else is going to remind you that the population of Nigeria is 181 million people? 181 million!!!

With so much bad news from every front, why not celebrate hard work, dedication, and families? Yup, it takes a family, or most of the time anyway, to make an elite athlete. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat....we've seen that already. Plus, as suspected, the media made Rio seem like a place to avoid, but from what I've seen, it is flat out both gorgeous, and interesting. In other words, a big city with both good parts and bad.

A lot of afternoons Bill calls to chat during his drive home from work. The first thing he usually asks is, "what am I doing"? I chuckle and say that I'm sewing. Same old, same old, according to him. :) I'm working on something small that I don't much like. Way outside my color preferences, but we shall see when it is complete.
In just a little while I'm heading over to Mary Lou's house to celebrate Irene's closing on her new house!! Won't be long now before she has a place to call her own here in Orlando. Plus, it is only about 2 miles from us. Awesome baby, awesome.

Writing instead of sewing,

Gail