Sunday, November 27, 2016

Family Time

Gosh, has it really been a whole week since last I wrote? Apparently so.

We've enjoyed a week of family time, beginning with Matt and Tom's arrival from London last Sunday evening. Once again I got the time mixed up so they had to wait at the airport a bit, but thankfully, the traffic was good, so not too, too long. When Matt tells me a time he means the time they should be at the curb, however, repeatedly I've forgotten that, assuming it means that is when they will land. Maybe next time I will get it right?

Earlier in the day we stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home from church, and I found the most beautiful irises to welcome them home.
Love, love, love irises in bloom!

In an effort to help them stay awake, after a stop at Chuy's on the way home from the airport, we watched a super funny rom-com, Man Up. Pay no attention to the reviews, and watch it should you be in need of a sweet movie with plenty of laughs!

Monday, after unpacking everything, Matt brought out some fabric pieces he bought for me while they were visiting Japan in April. Well who wouldn't want some fabric straight from Japan?
I promptly cut it up into squares, incorporating them in my latest quilt, which is finally all the way pieced, all 387 squares! They also brought home some decorative fabric panels that the Japanese apparently use in all manner of ways. Bruce is now using his as an additional sun blocker, something he sorely needs in the late afternoon!
Although the weather in London has not been too cold just yet, sunshine is often not to be found for many hours of the day. Thankfully, the whole week they were here there was abundant sunshine which Tom took advantage of every chance he got.
I was in serious need of a nature fix, so one morning, after my bike ride proved fruitless on the nature front, I hopped in the car and promptly drove over to Greenwood Cemetery as I'd seen folks post of facebook that the nest was once again active. Count me a lucky girl that I saw one immediately!
It is always a thrill to see such a beautiful bird in the wild. Soon, though, the eagle flew off, so I decided to visit our parent's graves, but before I got there I found myself driving along the back side of the nest, and lo and behold, the other one was on the nest!!
Wasn't I lucky? I thought you'd see it my way. :)

Much to my dismay, the headstones were a big fat mess, unlike most all of the stones in their vicinity. Not a pretty sight. Perhaps this all happened because Thanksgiving time is bittersweet for me and Bruce. No one who was there will ever forget the Thanksgiving day in 2003 when, while I was mashing the potatoes and most every part of the dinner was complete and ready for our full house, Bruce called from our Mom's condo saying she was in very poor condition, something which took me by surprise as I'd been over the night before until around 7 PM. Our niece Laura took over for me, and I went straight away to the condo, finding our Mom in a semi-coma. No need to go over the rest of the details, but just four days later she died in her own bed. Now you know.

Tuesday we set the table, and by Wednesday morning we were in full preparation mode for the big day. Matt made some roasted garlic, rosemary, and sun dried tomato, rolls which were delicious.
He's preparing the pan for this wonderful dough.
Tom went to work on the vegetables and the eggplant casserole he was making for our vegan guests. He is quite the spice master, knowing how best to use them all.
Because he needed the oven, after I removed the turkey, for roasting the cauliflower and brussel sprouts, not to mention the casserole, I tried something brand new, at least to me. Yup, cooking the dressing in a slow cooker actually works just fine.
Sadly we were missing quite a number of folks this year, meaning we all fit around the dining table, a first as far as I can remember.
You know what? My serving dishes were a big hit with everyone! Because I prefer candid shots, all pictured may not be thrilled with me, but please forgive me, as I prefer to picture real life! So, the yearbook was lots of fun, both the one I bought at the estate sale, and David's one from 1994, some 30 years apart. It is so fun looking at the clothing, cars pictured, as well as the make up of the student body. Then, the conversation turned to ancestry, what with our ancestry expert in the house. Before long, Matt found Pat and Maureen's father's ancestry before coming to America!
Remember when Apple came out with the iPad and people wondered how useful it would be? Now I wonder how we got along without it!

Friday was laundry day, along with the final clean up from the previous day, and mostly we rested after the previous two days of frantic activity. Because we have so much to be thankful for, we wanted to celebrate with our sons, and their loved ones at Earls, which we are also thankful for. Despite the challenges Bruce faces near the end of a job, it is a great company to work for. So we celebrated Matt and Tom being here, Fallon, only weeks away from graduating nursing school, and David and Michelle celebrated their eight wedding anniversary on Tuesday. We had a marvelous time, and another delicious meal.
If only Jonathan and Alissa were here we would be complete. They enjoyed a quiet day of food and football in Austin, a combination that works very well for them. :)

Matt and Tom left yesterday morning for Canada, spending the rest of the week there before returning to work in London. I spent a whole bunch of time, in between finishing my quilt, watching the last full day of college football, something you know I love doing. The highlight of the day was the fantastic performance by the Florida State Seminoles during their game with the Florida Gators. Maybe you have to live in Florida to appreciate it, but man, what a win by the Seminoles!

Following church, we ate lunch, grabbed our buckets and scrub brushes, and headed to Greenwood Cemetery to do something about those headstones.
As you can see, there is a lone headstone as soiled as Mom and Dad's. Mostly we scrubbed with soap and water, and although they don't look brand new, they look better, which makes me happy. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!
They were not the greatest parents by any stretch of the imagination, but they were far from the worst a person could have. I will be forever grateful that they gave me life, and really, that's enough for me. It is my choice as to what I make of the past, and my preference has always been to look forward, rather than bemoan how I was raised.

Family time is the most important part of our lives, far exceeding the events of the day, which are given to change. Make the most of it my friends because we only live once.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

An Engagement Party, A Birthday Party, and a Homecoming Too!

Earlier in the week I said to Mr. Bruce, we've got a busy weekend coming up. I guess so! You know how it is, nothing at all to do, and then a big cluster of great stuff happens.

Including this amazing event not mentioned in the title. What with all the venom I've seen posted on facebook regarding the election, I've been sorely tempted to just get rid of my account because, frankly, I don't need such nastiness in my life. But then I remember how something great comes from being on facebook, like learning you have a step cousin living only a few states away..namely Joelle who reached out to me because she thinks I look like our shared Grandfather. It must have been Thursday that a well wrapped, and I'm not kidding about that, package arrived in the day's mail. Inside there was this, which I do realize, now that I've uploaded the photos, is upside down! Use your imagination...
This my friends, is the ring that our Grandfather wore while working as a union aluminum worker in St. Louis! Can you imagine? This was from a time in history when the unions were big and powerful, so wearing the union ring was probably a sign of their strength in numbers. You and I both know how much I love family history and am such a nostalgia bug. I can't wait for my siblings to see this at Thanksgiving, and who knows, maybe one of them will remember it from all those years ago!

Look where I went on Friday afternoon? Say what?
During last Sunday's craft show a woman, named Gail btw, was looking for some photographs to give as small gifts to people who work for them. Do you have nine 8X10 prints in the same subject matter? Beach scenes, or flowers? Telling her I was pretty sure I had some at home and would bring them next week, turns out I DID not have that many of anything! At least in that size. :) Let us hope she actually buys them today.

Here's what fall looks like in Florida; who says we don't have fall color?
About a month ago I heard from Dana to save November 18 for an event. Well, that event turned out to be a celebration party for the engagement of her son Cole, and his sweet fiancee, Courtney.
Held at the Cheyenne Saloon, it was a lovely party. Before we left the house I mentioned to Bruce how thrilled I was that Cole met Courtney, a little minute of a young woman. That's an old saying that seems to fit her perfectly. She's here with her Mom looking adorable.
Cole, who we grew to love while he was managing the market, had a similar story to ours in that he had a long time girlfriend from school that everyone assumed would be married in a matter of time. Except, she was killed in a car accident about six years ago. Lindsay was her name, and she was like a daughter to Dana. As you can imagine, when a 20 something dies in a car accident, it is more than devastating.
We met Courtney early on in their relationship and just fell in love with her. She was in the same nursing program that Fallon is soon to graduate from. These days she's working as a pediatric nurse. Cole left the market about a year or so before we did, and that event alone probably contributed to our end as well.

Here's a little something that long time Orlandoans will get a kick out of. We knew only a handful of people at the party, so when that happens, you talk to strangers, or that is what we do.  Except this man turned out not to be a stranger at all.
It had been so many years since I saw him that I did not recognize him, but during our conversation it came out that he was a doctor. What kind, I asked? Emergency Room. Okay, where? Well he explained, I started my career at Mercy Hospital back in 1974. OH MY GOSH! The memories came flooding back from my time at Mercy Hospital, including being pregnant with Matt. We reminisced about the many gunshot wounds treated there which made me think that things haven't changed much in the last 40 years. In spite of everything the city has done to improve the area, violent crime remains pretty much the same. Some of my very favorite friends I met while working there back when I was just a young woman. :)

But that's not really why you should be interested in Jock Sneddon. If you are of a certain age, you no doubt have heard of the nightclub, JJ Whispers. So Jock was the first J, and Dana's dad John was the second!!!  Although we never went there, I suspect someone reading this has. Orlando is really, at it's heart, a very small town.

I've been making some Christmas gifts for the last two weeks, but now I'm making another patchwork quilt, this time in a controlled color palette which always starts with the cutting.
Last evening the old Darden gang gathered at Earls to celebrate Steve's birthday.
Barb, Steve's wife joked that they could do a punch list while we were there! Instead everyone marveled at how beautiful and complex the restaurant is. Steve and Bruce started at Darden about a year apart, and became fast friends. Needless to say it was a lot of fun.
Steve is one of the sweetest, most generous souls you could ever hope to meet. Barb is pretty darn great as well.

Which brings us to today when we will celebrate Matt and Tom's homecoming! In only a matter of hours, we will welcome them home to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tom, of course, will be a great help to me in the kitchen. Matt, of course, will be a great help to me in fixing all my technology. They work for their room and board. Just kidding my friends.

Enjoying the chill in the air,


Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Today, after all of this time, a title is eluding me....yikes! Is this the beginning of the end? Has the well run dry? Only time will tell. 😉

So, I am still giving some love to the new dishes that are adding some serious class to my cupboards and, come to think of it, every day of the week.
That would be the apple cake, which was tasty, but not so pretty. The truth is, taking it out of the bundt pan before it was ready, big chunks stayed in the pan and had to be sort of glued back in place with the glaze. Don't ever get the impression that everything I do works like a charm because it most definitely does not!! Now you can really see how cool the dishes are--two-toned for the win!

When last we met we were heading to set up for the craft fair.
Driving there I was not only thinking "what have I gotten myself into?", but I hoped that at least I could recoup the price of the dishes. Lo and behold, I did much better than that. It never occurred to me that I would have two tables, so after digging out my market tablecloth, it was so darn wrinkly that I brought another cloth to put over it, hoping to draw attention away from how dreadful it looked. Well, two tables it was, so I sent B out to the car to fetch the quilt for cover. Looked pretty good actually.
It didn't match the blue cloth you see in the background, but as it turns out, someone set up in front of that table anyway. I was not only able to meet some new folks, the reduction in my inventory which is still vast, was a welcome outcome. Some folks were set up outside under tents while a woman played music throughout, so it was actually nice.
After unloading we were slightly tired, so we plopped onto the couch and watched some television, including a Ken Burn's documentary called the Dust Bowl. Everyone should see this because if they did they would be mighty grateful in spite of the election results. Oh my goodness, how those folks survived is beyond me. It was showing on PBS here.
Not only did they survive eight years of drought and dust, but the following year they were invaded by HUGE swarms of grasshoppers!! Wow, did I go to bed feeling like I had not one thing in the world to complain about!

Monday while running up to Colonial Plaza, I finally pulled the car over to document the demolition of Bruce's elementary school, Lake Como. This is all that is left of the school where he learned to read and write.
It seems really weird that the play equipment is still standing...
Bruce tells the story about how we met at Lake Como during a summer program. He also claims that is where he fell in love with me. 💗💗 We were about 11 years old!!

Saint Mary Whited stopped by the house in my absence, bringing some super, super, cool decorator fabrics she'd bought at a yard sale. The poster was a gift.
As well she brought three big bags of thread which will go with me to Days for Girls later in the month. People often donate fabric, but thread is usually an afterthought. She's not really a saint, but I think she is!

This past Spring, Matt turned me on to a store called Uniqlo from Japan. I bought some dresses for the summer, and were they ever fantastic! When I learned that they were putting one of their stores at the newly re-done Disney Springs, I was anxious to see it for myself. Getting my wish yesterday, Bruce agreed to go and it turned out to be a very fun outing. Duh! I did not even get it that this was supposed to replicate a spring!
It is rare for us to go to any of the tourist locations, but I'm glad we made the trip if only to see what tourists see when they think they are going to Orlando! This Starbucks has a sign on the door, Starbucks Reserve...does that mean they serve wine as well?
The day started out a bit overcast and chilly and since B was wearing shorts and a polo shirt, he took the opportunity to buy a light jacket while we were in Uniqlo.
Two stories full of well made inexpensive clothing. Check it out!!

Continuing the Asian theme, we had a delicious, albeit expensive, lunch at Morimoto Asia. 
Iron Chef baby! The space is striking...
With seating upstairs looking down on the lower dining room. The curtains for the private dining space were killer pretty!
Sumptuous white with pale characters printed on them. The food, oh my! We did not get very adventurous, but the standards we chose were wonderful. My lo mien with chicken.
Whereas I am a big potato fan, Bruce loves rice, and this fried rice with sambal sauce was the best he'd ever eaten. The Japanese beer with ginger and green tea was great too! Perhaps I can persuade Tom to make some of that sauce when he and Matt are here next week for the holiday.
Which brings me to today when I went to do something not so fun. Cutting to the surgical site at my waist has not only not healed, but it is infected. No surprise what with the luck I've been having of late. The good news is that it is only a basal cell, so no big deal except it might come back. Today the plan was to cut a little more out because one of the margins on the previous sample were not clean, however, with the infection she said we should put it off for another two weeks so as not to spread it into a new incision. Normally she would have put me on an antibiotic, but with my history of c-diff, that's not such a good idea. It has been very sore, and after examining it today, she said there is a little area that has come apart, which doesn't surprise me one bit because I could feel it straining every time I had to bend my body. It is a bummer, but there are far worse things, like living in the Dust Bowl during the 1930's!!

Title suggestions welcome,


Sunday, November 13, 2016

And So it Goes

So, we got our wish...the election is over. I wish I could understand what protesting, vandalizing, and burning our flag can accomplish. On Veteran's Day, no less.
Some people will claim that the brave folks who served in our military fought for the right to burn the flag, but I suspect most of them never even considered the possibility when they were putting their lives on the line. Yeesh!

We have had the most gorgeous weather you can imagine with bright blue skies now that the humidity has gone down. I was out riding the other morning and the fragrance of a few scattered Magnolia blooms filled the air. It surprises me to no end when things bloom out of season.
Don't you find tree trunks interesting? I sure do. Especially the super smooth ones...very intriguing.
My route was through part of Southern Oaks and over into Cheryle's neighborhood. Well, how nice, I spotted an estate sale sign. Little did I know where that was going to lead.

The sale in question was in a interesting home on Lake Jennie Jewel, tucked away in the corner. Let's just say there were many surprises in store inside that brick home. Like a game room downstairs. Come to think of it, in those days it may have been called a Rumpus Room. Should you be young and reading this, don't say that I never introduced you to new/old terms! There was no basement but it was below ground level and what a room it was, complete with a pool table, full bar, and a poker corner with crazy neat wallpaper.
Don't ask me why I did not photograph the bar because I can't tell you but the wallpaper behind it was unreal as well.

Upstairs, in one of the bedrooms, there were all manner of things, including a bunch of these.
My sister-in-law Judy has told the story of our mutual Green Stamp Christmas more times than I can count. There was an actual Green Stamp store in Orlando where your filled books were used as currency. As to the Top Value stamps, I can't remember where you redeemed them. Actually, come to think of it, it seems to me that Winn Dixie gave out TV stamps, but what store gave out the Green Stamps, I can't recall. I must have been buying a lot of groceries back then because I had enough stamps to "buy" a small table and chairs for my boys to play at. I should find the photo of Matt playing at that same table with his Fuzzy Pumper Play Doh Barber Shop.
Walking through the rooms, it was such a step back in time. Owned by a Doctor, these folks had quite the lifestyle and it appeared to me as if they never threw a thing away. I noticed, as did these guys pictured, old Boone High School yearbooks. Picking up one I said, my brother should be in this one. Wrong year Gail. The next one, however, I struck gold finding both Maureen and Pat! I bought it for some Thanksgiving fun.
The fellow on the left is showing a picture of his Dad to the fellow on the right. Turns out man #2 had his Dad for a teacher!!

From there I went into the master bedroom, filled with more goodies from years gone by. The entire bed was covered with beautiful hats, one more amazing than the next.
Old Orlandoan's surely remember Dickson & Ives, a beautiful downtown department store.
Honestly, the hats were works of art. Then I raised my eyes to notice something that I really wanted. Oh my goodness, the set designers on Mad Men could not have dreamed this up.
On either side of the bed, I could not believe how awesome these ceramic lamps were. They were $75 a piece and I convinced myself that that was too much and really, where would I put them? Amazingly enough, when I went back into one of the other rooms, who should I find amongst the big crowd but Bruce! He'd stopped on his way home from work.

me: "Honey, come look at these!!"

Bruce: "If you want them, go ahead and get them."

me: " Really, how could we put them up with our ceilings?"

Bruce: "I'd find a way."

Yet, like a dummy, I passed and lived to regret it.

In another room, there was this poster, which in 1964 must have really been something!
Timely, right? It must have been the height of glamour circa 1964....not only Eva Gabor but a chance to win 2 Round Trip Tickets to Paris!! They may have been the same year President Johnson came to Orlando, staying at the Cherry Plaza Hotel which is now apartments located on Central Avenue. My booth at the market used to back up to that building!

I went home with nothing that day but I sure could not get those lights out of my head. Meanwhile, at home Mr. Bruce fashioned these for some of the men he worked with last weekend. Any idea what these are?
Hammer holders for a tool apron!! Several men were so wowed by how awesome Bruce's was and being the kindly fellow that he is, he decided to make them some. We'll be going to church in just a little bit and I suspect those men will be very surprised by his gift.

Saturday morning I made an apple cake, some of which I took down the street when I went to see Regina who is doing remarkably well. In fact, she is only using a cane these days!!
Count me surprised but not entirely shocked as she is one tough cookie for 80 years old!! During our conversation, the estate sale came up. She is a great lover of them as well. Convincing me to go back and get the darn lights, I agreed that I'd be so sorry if I did not.

Except when I returned they were gone. According to the workers, a man bought two of them and while doing so, they tried to convince him to by all four. Nope, he was nearly as dumb as me. He came back later to get the other two but they were gone. Seriously, I was so darn mad at myself as it is not everyday you come across such a unique find in pristine condition. I started to leave once again, walking towards the car, I thought, Gail, you kept looking at a set of dishes, don't be a fool twice. And that is the story of how I now am the owner of a set of 1950's dishes from Iroquois China.
We are talking a full set, including a gravy boat, two platters, divided dish, butter dish and all the rest that came with dish sets back in the day. My once colorful kitchen cabinet now looks cool and calm. I'm in love!!

There is a craft fair at church this morning and you know who is one of the participants. It runs until 3 this afternoon. My expectations are low but I guess that's how it's always been. Generally I was surprised by my results, so why not today?

Artist for a day,


p.s. the time has got away from me so no time to edit!!

You Just Never Know