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Still on the Road

6:30, this evening, we will be attending the "celebration of life" event for Captain Matthew Stromberg at the Citrus Club downtown. Today would have been his 48th birthday, and come to think of it, the last time we were there we celebrated Bruce's 60th birthday with the twins. Not necessarily a contrast you'd like to highlight, but then again, this is life, which can be very messy indeed.

So today my thoughts are filled with remembrances of the five years they lived across the street from us. Our lives were closely intertwined in so many ways, from dog watching on their part, to house watching on ours. We commiserated on their addition, Bruce giving his expert advice, me putting in my two cents regarding the decorating. Love, life, fashion, food, decorating, family, child rearing, spirituality...all topics on our radar. Then, 18 months ago I helped them move, which come to think about it, was pretty dumb on my part. I should have said no--sorry, don't want you to move. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, I found them a realtor who sold their home a week after listing. Then again, I guess that is what friends are for isn't it?

One way that Angela influenced me was this bike riding kick I've been on for a few years. Me--when I start something, generally I stick with it. Angela--not so much. A few years ago she mentioned riding her bike around the neighborhood, specifically Southern Oaks across the street, to get the day off to a good start. Well, gee, why didn't I think of that before? An easy and enjoyable exercise seemed like just the ticket to me. After a few weeks of riding, her bike remained in garage once again. Me, I'm still at it most days.

So, with that in mind a few images I've taken lately on my daily bike rides. Pretty much, this time of year, the magnolias are blooming no more. Except for a few rogue blooms, one of which I had the pleasure of photographing, AND breathing in their sweet fragrance. Bonus points for a bee.
Before the big owl craze I only rode in Southern Oaks once a week or so because the truth is, it is almost too beautiful. Everything is pretty much perfect, so, after a while, it all seems to blend together. Not so in a neighborhood across Fern Creek, which as you've seen before, is full of surprises. And contradictions. How would you like having this out back?
No telling how expensive that boat is? You'd think it might be illegal to have something so high?

There are so many cats in that neighborhood as well, some sit still when I ride by, some stay put and just stare, as cats are wont to do.
While Bruce was building the Seasons 52 in Santa Monica, in the nearby hotel there is an art gallery he would frequent from time to time. On one occasion he purchased a photograph printed on metal featuring the LA traffic, as well as a City of Los Angeles manhole cover. I think ours are nicer though.
Living in Orlando most of my life, I tend to meet new people who in some way are connected to folks I've known for a long time. I may have mentioned meeting a lovely young mother who teaches at Blankner, and has two adorable little boys. Yup, I was out owl watching. Anyway, she lives in the cul-de-sac across from the Hills of Hill's Happy Hour. Joining us the other evening, along with her husband, I discovered he is great friends with the husband of one of our son Matt's best friends, Liza. The new friend Jen expressed an interest in getting to know Liza, so I took it upon myself to make sure both were attending the same event last night. I rode over to Jen's house to deliver the news that Liza would indeed be there. I know, you are lost by now, and I'm almost lost, and I'm writing it! Anyway, following our conversation, I took off, and while riding home I thought I'd go down Sweetbriar where the owls once amused, and amazed me, daily. Except, for the last three weeks I'd seen nary a sign of them. Well, they must have known I was missing them because lo and behold, there were two of them high in the oaks. Now that they are pretty much grown up I suppose the lower trees have no appeal. I got a shot of one of them looking down to say, hi!
 Still just as cute as a button! While I was standing there, no less than three different men, either stopped their bicycle, their car, or came outside to see. All three had seen neither hide nor hare of them either and were all pleased as punch at the sighting. Well, me too.

Heaven is sure to be on the minds of many attending either the dinner tonight, or the funeral service tomorrow. The only line I can remember from a children's song is, "heaven is a wonderful place."
May it be so.

Preparing myself for some tears,

Gail


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