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Friends and Family

You would think with all this manual labor we've been engaging in that we would have no time to visit with friends and family, however, thankfully that is not true. Are we visiting a lot? Not as much as we would like would be one way to put it. But on those occasions when we do you can be sure that I take a few photographs of the proceedings, some good, some not so much.

The last time that we saw Annabelle, our great niece who lives in St. Paul, MN, she looked like this:
Well my how she has grown up! Our last meeting was a sad occasion, the death of my mother-in-law. This time, she, her Mamma, and her Nana, as Michele calls herself, came down to Florida to enjoy some heat and sunshine. They stayed at Judy and Cris's house on the St. John's River and we made the trip to DeBary to see them all. I could not wait to see those adorable eyes again. Except when we went outside she claimed the sun was TOO bright!
And of course it was pretty bright to someone who has endured a mostly gray, freezing cold Minnesota winter. After a time she adjusted, having so much fun on the boat, including getting to drive!
That's Aunt Judy helping her steer with Captain Cris keeping his eye on the river. Michele is Bruce's only sister and Cris is his only brother. Mallory, Annabelle's mom, is the best; it was such a pleasure to see the love between them. And not only does Annabelle love her Mommy, she is wild for Michele.
That is definitely not the best of Mallory, she's much cuter than this, however, getting all three ladies looking their best was not in the cards that day. We spent all day on the river, going as far as Silver Glen Springs where the water is crystal clear but COLD. Yours truly did not test those waters--way too much of a chicken.

It must have been Thursday night that we went to Cheryl and David's home for a going away party. Who was going away you ask? Catherine, that's who. Do you remember when I told you about airbnb and how C & D offer their home on that site. Well, Catherine, who lives on the Isle of Man has a brother who lives here whom she has been helping for the last several months, making all sorts of friends while she has been here. The Beatty's home is stunning, both inside and out. We ate poolside, making some new acquaintances during the evening.
We know both Pam, and Patty on the left of the picture, but Bill and Roxanne on the right were strangers when the night began. But, not for long. I was so surprised, after saying my full name, when the man asked me if I was Billy Peck's mom. It's been a long, long time since someone called him Billy, or so I thought. Apparently, and old Orlando folks will get this, they are all members of the Citrus Club, as is Katie, Cris and Judy's eldest daughter. Katy, in a throw back to their childhood, still calls her cousin Billy. So, what I meant by Orlandoans getting it, is that in spite of the millions who have moved into our area in the last thirty or so years, at it's heart, Orlando is still a small town. People know one another, or at least they do around our part of Orlando. Anyway, it was all good fun and I wish this photo had been better...
You recognize Bruce at the end of the table; he's talking to David who is the blurry lady in the white blouse sitting next to the blonde who is Catherine! Clear as mud, right?

While on one of my increasingly infrequent bike rides last week I stopped to see Pam and Glen's garden. Pam is the head of the garden volunteers at the Polasek where I both met her and volunteered for four years. Her gardening talents are abundantly evident surrounding her beautiful home.
Everywhere you look there are flowering plants, some I'm familiar with, most of them I am not. For a time, Pam's mom lived in the same condo complex as David, that is until she moved to assisted living. I told you it was a small town! The front gardens are stunning, caladiums, flax lilies, begonias, asiatic jasmine, all nestled under gigantic oak trees with hanging orchids. Surrounding the pool are flowers, flowers, and more flowers.
Glen was cleaning out some of the spent vegetables, and sweating, of course. It was already hot, hot, hot!
Now that i'm putting this together I realized that the dish Pam made for the party included some of Glen's home grown eggplant. Talk about eating local--we all live less than a mile from one another.

One of the reasons I quit volunteering was because it was just too darn slow for my liking. Sitting inside for three hours, with no one to talk to, was becoming mental torture. So, instead of being a tough girl like Pam is, I quit. She kept on going, expanding the outside volunteer program through the sheer force of her delightful personality. I can't remember everywhere she and Glen have lived, even though she's told me numerous times, but I do recall New Zealand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. That right there is enough to toughen anyone! Organizing field trips to nurseries around the state for the volunteers, she picked up this little beauty in, I think, Vero Beach? Don't quote me on that...
Isn't it adorable? With her connections in the plant world, she's going to see if someone might begin carrying it in Orlando.

So, you see, we mingle, every now and again.

Finally, in a family related manner, I was unprepared for yet another chapter in the pool saga. I had a notion yesterday to take my automatic pool cleaner over to Bill's for a few days to see how well it would work in his pool. Nice Mom that I am, it seemed like the thing to do. Except, when I opened the lid to the skimmer, where I would be placing the hose, look what was in there!!
A toad with a hitch hiking water bug hanging on to a ring that is supposed to go around the drain!! See that dark spot in the middle. That would be the drain, which pictured toad went zooming down when I turned on the pump!!!!! Then, if you can believe it, it came up in the basket by the pump! It was all very, very unsettling. Will this ever end? Of course it will, as everything eventually does. Like calling your son Billy for half of his life....

Texting Bill, I requested he remove the toad before I returned for yet another round in the pool war! "Will do Mom."

Bruce is still working at Angela's house. It is so weird, he's worked for two days now, and it's just not the same around here without him. Baxie is barking, so let me go see if he is indeed home--it is dinner time after all.
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