Monday, October 29, 2018

A Change in Weather Part Two

According to my blog statistics, very few read my last post, thus, perhaps you are unaware that our weather has finally taken a turn for the better. Well now you know. Really nice, which is most welcome news to this gal. Maybe it was just last week that it finally dawned on me that we left Vancouver amidst their best weather, arriving in Florida just in time to experience the worst weather of the year. No wonder I was miserable! Now, I am not.

Nor is this handsome fellow who is soon to retire.
He's sporting that big smile because he is a happy camper, especially while sitting on the front porch, his favorite spot. Even more so having just found the new chairs which are way more comfortable than the ones we brought over from our home. He found the set at TJMAXX, sent me a photo and well, you see the results. He just finished bringing some power to that part of the porch and now, with a lamp, well, I imagine he'll be out here at all hours of the day and night. While he was away last week, I ordered some cushions and now it looks like this.
We had a chance to test it all out with guests on Friday night. Our sister Nancy has come down from Atlanta for a birthday week celebration and she's staying with Maureen to help her out. So, they came over, as did David and Michelle, and it was all good.

Here was that pile of books that I finished up last week. A new stack has replaced this one.
Of all things, when Matt called on Thursday afternoon, I was reading one of the new books, Tin Man by Sarah Winman. I mentioned it to him because the author lives in London. Well.....turns out he follows her partner on Instagram and because my hearing is poor, I might have missed some of this, but somehow, through the partner he learned of the wedding photographer he and Tom used for their wedding. Unreal, right? Super book, btw. I loaned it to Nancy and she devoured it.

I also finished the quilt, sewing the binding on by machine because when one gives a quilt away, one never knows how well the hand sewing will hold up.
Because we've had this break in the weather, I've been out on my bicycle, seeing what I can see. Many years ago, well, make that 8, Angela and I had an amazing adventure at this house which seems to be have changed owners since our previous visit. Even if you never click on any of the provided links in this blog, this one is worth your time! 
Another day I rode over to the cemetery to see if any of the raptors were around. One thing I've been seeing a bunch of are homes decorated for Halloween. This is one of my favorite houses any time of the year. Loads of these blow up guys, with about four not pictured.
So, there was not a raptor to be found, but there was this cute little bird sitting where the eagles love to perch.
One reason I'm using the above photo is to highlight the pine tree that has lost most of its' bark. I wonder why that happened? Here it is ground level.
Isn't that something? There was a largish piece of bark lying on the ground nearby that I photographed, and it interested me seeing all the tiny holes in the bark. Presumably insects?
If I didn't know better, from the looks of how precise the holes are, I'd have thought someone used an awl on the tree! The pond in the wetlands, adjacent to the cemetery, was almost completely covered in algae which happens when it is so hot. I was delighted to see a Cormorant hanging around.
What do you think of this Halloween decoration? Pretty cool, eh?
In a neighborhood behind Boone High School, I came across some more peacocks, this time in excellent light.
Aren't birds great? The intricacy of a peacock is just so fascinating. Speaking of Boone High, they are building a new auditorium using tilt up walls.
Pam was over, actually she arrived just as I'd finished talking to Matt. Here to show me a new quilt she's working on, that was but one of the topics we covered. Her Mom took a fall early last week, however, she seems to be made of steel, recovering nicely, which is saying a lot for a woman over 90 years old! She has less gray hair than her daughter pictured here beside her new Tesla. How cool is that roof?
Neither of us had a good explanation for how the glass looks red when wet.

Saturday night we met up with some folks at Tibby's in Altamonte Springs, a part of town we rarely go, and less so at night. Neither of us like driving at night, a common lament of older people. Anyway, Bill Petrey and his wife Lisa had come to town. Don't know who Bill is? You met him in this post about building the airport! They currently live in Naples and were up for the weekend, inviting a group of folks to have dinner and share old stories. Most of my photos did not turn out, but this one of Bill shows what a jolly fellow he is.
Yesterday afternoon, we arrived home to find Bill and Roxanne waiting for us to come home. Their mission was to invite us over for later. Sold! Deciding to make some cookies for the gathering, I settled on one that I discovered in the recipe purge from the previous weekend. Called, "Melt in Your Mouth" cookies, they turned out anything but pretty. In fact, they turned out downright ugly, and I wondered if I'd copied down the recipe incorrectly. I turned to Google, as one does, and I came across a very fascinating blog post about said cookies. Oh my!
Although I saw no reason that my cookies should look as they did, I took them anyway and surprisingly, they were much appreciated, in spite of their awful appearance.

While on the subject of eating, this afternoon I saw this scene where a Little Blue Heron was dining on a frog!
Whoa Nelly! Living lakeside has been even better than I'd imagined.
A fantastic sunrise, and on Friday night, the almost full moon rose over the lake, staining it with a silver trail.

The mundane and adventures, you will find it here. Tune in again.

your friend,

Gail

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Change in Weather

Had I known that writing about how awful the weather has been would make a difference, I would have mentioned it all of the time. Oh wait....I have done that, so much so, no doubt, you have been sick and tired of my complaining. First off, we got some rain, not long after I finished my last post. After months of daily rain, the plants are very accustomed to regular watering, so having no rain for days on end has put some stress on our landscape. Rain came tumbling down outside my bedroom window as I sewed.
Have you read any accounts of the ongoing suffering happening to folks in the Panhandle, Georgia, and North Carolina, following Hurricane Michael? What a mess on all fronts. The other day I took a walk through the "village" all the while admiring the huge oak trees to be found.
It is a wonder there are so many remaining as they must be quite old to be this size.
That said, I know some of them have been lost, or parts of them, just last year when Hurricane Irma came through Central Florida the most recent. We are settling down just fine to condo living with one reason being the beautiful landscaping that we enjoy without all of the maintenance. Now we are talking!
You might be tempted to think that I eat sweets most days of the week, and while sometimes that is true, rarely do I eat candy, preferring cookies most of all. That said, at this time of the year, aside from vegans, is it possible to resist candy corn? I think not. Bruce, when he finally got home from Calgary, after a long flight delay, was thrilled to find it, however, he complained that the edges between the layers weren't quite crisp enough. Are you sure this is Brachs, he kept asking? I went so far as to dig the empty bag out of the trash. :)
Saturday afternoon, while watching college football, I decided to tackle something I'd been thinking of doing for quite some time. (some pun, eh?)  Over the years, and as it turns out, a whole lot of years, I have accumulated lots of loose recipes, keeping them in folders, or as was the case in our home, stuffed into the corner of a kitchen cabinet. Beginning the purging task, I had no idea that it would be a trip down memory lane. Take this recipe, for example,
stained and ripped in two, I suspect I've kept it because it came from a woman, whose name I just can't dredge up, who was one of the techs while I was an x-ray student. In other words, it goes back nearly 50 years! This one I copied down into my recipe notebook, one I began several years ago and added to during our time in Vancouver. I'm not one for leaving an iPad on the counter for recipes, although I know it works well for some. Should I ever want to make the one below, it is readily available on the internet which is where I found it in.....
1991 (!), printed from one of our very first home computers!!!(sorry for poor quality photo) Anyone else remember Prodigy? I can still remember Matt encouraging me to buy it during a Costco shopping trip. At the time I had zero understanding of what Prodigy would do for us, but I agreed and the Pecks moved into the internet age. Who amongst you, realized how life would change so dramatically with the advent of home computing? Not me, for one. Life during a revolution is never smooth as we have all been privy to as we adjust in all ways to the technological revolution. Somewhat like a modern day Industrial Revolution which I am capitalizing as it is a recognized historic period. What will future historians write about our times?

I cut that activity short to make a huge pan of scalloped potatoes to take to the neighborhood Octoberfest party, held poolside/lakeside. David and Burch grilled the bratwurst,
while everyone gathered, bringing all manner of salads and treats. Then some big clouds rolled in and before long there was a short burst of showers, stopping as quickly as they began. Left behind though was this beautiful sunset.
It was a chance to meet new neighbors of all ages, including this woman Bruce was chatting with who is 90 years old and looks about 75!
A DJ kept the party going and it won't surprise my sons to know that their Mother got the dancing started. It's what I do.
The only problem was that it was hot as the dickens making me want to jump in!
Michelle is part of the committee that puts the parties on and she found this funny thing online. It's what she does.
This old lady took an Advil before bed thinking that three hours of dancing would do her knees in the next day. Seems to have worked. So while it was hot as the dickens during the party, Michelle told me that Sunday would be cooler. The earlier showers, apparently, were ushering in a "cold" front. While that seemed hard to imagine then, much to everyone's delight, we woke to a temperature not felt since May. Yup, it was below the 70 degree mark!!

Sunday, the weather was a dream come true with the daytime temperature only reaching the high 70's. And while I've never been fond of the hot weather, I think that returning home during the hottest months of the year has made it all the worse. Had we returned in say, the middle of May, I could have worked up to it.  No different really from how people feel in the North, waiting for Spring. Floridians LONG for cooler weather and it seems as if we might have that in our future. Checking the upcoming week's weather, there is not a 90 to be found. Thank goodness.

Following church, we had lunch at Dubsdread and when asked if we wanted to sit indoors or out, we were thrilled there was an outdoor table still available. It was perfect. On our way home, we drove over to Bill and Fallon's house to see a project he is working on. I did not hear the text come through saying they weren't home until we arrived. I beamed with pride though, thinking of all that they have accomplished to make this formerly PINK, somewhat run down house, a home.
This morning Bruce left, once again, for Canada to finalize his projects there.

I told him to give my love to Vancouver.

your friend,

Gail






Friday, October 19, 2018

Under the Florida Sun

Between my cold and the relentless heat, my outings have been few and far between. Is there such a thing as too much sunshine? I'm beginning to think so. I remember last year, about this time, when the rain began falling in Vancouver, a few people told me they welcomed it. Seriously? Indeed, they claimed they were tired of the sunny summer days and welcomed a little less light. Perhaps a little of that has rubbed off on me.
Remind me of this when it gets cold or rainy, will you?

Seriously, it has been in the low 90's for seemingly forever, with no relief even when the sun goes down. Still hot. The humidity is some lower, so at least that is something I can celebrate. Bruce, meanwhile has been in Calgary since Tuesday and will be returning very late tonight. When I complain, he keeps saying that it isn't so bad, and I wish I could agree with him.

Enough of my whining. Several family members could use your prayers, including our sister-in-law Judy who is facing some major surgery, Maureen is home for now and her future is up in the air, and Carol has a scan on Sunday to look for improvement following her latest treatment. Faced with all of this news, I was thinking the other day, while working on a quilt to give away,
that when we were young, phone calls would carry news of weddings or pregnancies, whereas now, it is mostly bad health news. Angela used to often talk about the seasons of life, and I guess this is what she meant. I wonder if I appreciated being young? Did the days with four young sons in the house pass too quickly for me to really appreciate  how good life could be? I hope not.

On the getting old front, Tuesday afternoon,  a woman named Debi came over to explain our Medicare options. Of all things, I met her at a table in Walgreens and liked her right off. And now to explain it to Bruce while he is home for the weekend.

While he was home last weekend, we went to Ikea on Saturday afternoon. Daunting, I know. That is one busy store. At any rate, we didn't get much, but one thing I came home with is this nice plant that I placed in our bathroom shower. The shade has been closed since we returned, but it looks nice with it open, doesn't it? I figured the plant could benefit from the extra light.
For now the bathroom will remain as we found it. The kitchen, on the other hand, is another story. Pam was over and talked me out of the green lower cabinets. I'm sure she is right. I managed to brave the heat and return all of the backsplash samples to three different stores. Who knew picking a backsplash could be so difficult? Not me, for one. I've decided to wait until the top is in and then choose, but it doesn't mean I am not still looking. Here are two I recently considered,
although why I even looked at one with red is beyond me. Here it is in green.
I suppose I looked at the first one because, to my eye, the countertop looks best with it. Of course, I really have no idea how the sink will look, so again, I must be patient. That sink is going to be something, or so I'm imagining. Now for it to come in, and then we can get this show on the road.

Pam and Sally invited me to see "A Star is Born" with them on Wednesday, however, I declined, fearing I would have a coughing fit in the theater. It is slowly improving, but when a fit comes on, look out! I have finally managed to sleep most of the night, so that's a big improvement. Have you seen the movie? Did you like it?

During Bruce's absence, I've been reading like crazy. Night before last I finished A Double Life by Flynn Berry. Ordinarily I don't read thrillers, but I liked this one. Before that I read a fun/crazy novel, A Terrible Country, by Keith Gessen. That one is set in Moscow and was eye opening to say the least.
Last night I began Sunburn, by Laura Lippman. As you know when I go to the library I just pick books off of the shelves, first by their cover. Oh wait, isn't there some rule about not judging a book by its' cover? I don't buy into that notion at all. I can tell a lot about a book by the cover. The inside jacket confirms, or denies, what the cover says to me. Usually, when I read a book that I've either never heard of, or don't know the author's work, I read reviews after finishing it.  Sometimes I agree, and sometimes not. A Double Life, for example, has mixed reviews, mostly from readers, some of whom found the plot and pacing confusing. I, on the other hand, thought the pacing was terrific. Why do we believe strangers anyway? I'm guilty of it often, but sometimes I try and imagine asking a random person, say in a store, what they thought about a book/movie, television show, take your pick, and await their comments. Could those comments persuade me either way? I doubt it.

Have you ever seen sorrel? I had not, but now we both have. Such a vibrant color!
Except now that I've looked into it, yes, I like to get my facts straight, although the sign at Clemons said sorrel, I wonder if it is really roselle? The later makes more sense to me. At any rate, whatever it is, the color is quite striking.

Yesterday, on my way home from buying a bathroom faucet at Lowes, I drove down the peacock street. A few weeks ago, when I did the same, the males had very little color, however, now the tails are in growth mode.
The peacocks have the run of the neighborhood, and it behooves drivers to take it slow. The color right now is super intense.
I spent a bunch of yesterday afternoon listening to This American Life podcasts while doing the quilting. About half of it is done, and I am not doing a very good job of it.
Must be the heat.

your friend,

Gail



Monday, October 15, 2018

Returning to Normal?

What is normal for us anyway? With so many recent changes in our lives, it is hard to say, but for now, not having a cough would be a good start. A horrible cough has lingered, although I am up and about in spite of some difficult nights sleeping. Isn't that the way, you are fine and dandy while upright, but oh, once you lay down, the coughing begins! The power of gravity, or so I assume, helps keep it at bay while standing or sitting. I'm trying not to listen to folks who've told me that the cough stays with you for weeks!

At least it did not keep Bruce up at night as he did not come home until Friday afternoon, having left on Sunday afternoon. Oh wait--he was up all night watching his workers complete their tasks. The good news there is that they are pretty much done with the Miami remodel, leaving only the job in Calgary to be completed. Preparing meals for one can be difficult as I'm sure many of you well know. One night, struggling to put a meal together, I had to resort to roasting some carrots for dinner as there was not a thing resembling a vegetable to be found in our home. I do not recommend trying the same, unless desperate of course, as these were awful.
That said, I still can't fully taste food. I was thinking, having experienced the no-taste thing for much of the week, how awful it would be to lose one's sense of taste. Aren't senses one of those things we take for granted until they are taken away? Then again it is easy to take our good health for granted too, isn't it?

Meanwhile, while I am all whiny about not feeling my best, our Florida neighbors in the Panhandle will not be returning to normal anytime soon following the destructive path of Hurricane Michael. Oh my gosh, what devastation. Periodically throughout the day that it came ashore, I would turn on the weather channel for updates. While I'm not sure what I was expecting, it seemed to me as if the coverage almost bordered on tabloidish, if I may be so bold as to use what is perhaps a made up word. Apparently there is a market for that kind of reporting, but I'm not it. There really are no words to describe how awful it must be in so many ways. The relentless heat we are still experiencing must be excruciating with no air conditioning. Then too, where do you begin the cleanup? An interesting story, from the NYT, of one one house that remained standing amongst the ruins.

One morning I drove over to Lake Eola Park for a walk around the lake, something that I'd yet to do since we've been home. After parking the car on Washington Street, I began my walk near the playgrounds, and more importantly the bathroom that I used to frequent every Sunday. These signs must have been around then, but I can't recall seeing them before. Not surprising with my memory! I thought they might interest some readers.
Maybe the print is too small for reading? Narrative continued here:
One bird that is oh so plentiful at Lake Eola are Mute Swans.
At one time we had some Tuxedo Swans, which I thought I was seeing from afar. Upon closer inspection, I'm not quite sure what this one would be called. Did it mate with a Muscovy Duck? Weird, isn't it?
The park was filled with pink flamingoes as this is Pink October. While I have great sympathy for those affected by breast cancer, isn't it time this campaign went away quietly? Is there anyone who is not aware that breast cancer exists? After all, there are far more deadly cancers that receive little, or no attention. I'm thinking pancreatic, or ovarian cancer, to name just two.
I continued my walk until I came to the spot that we called home for more Sundays than I can count. How we did the market, week after week, is beyond me.
Yesterday afternoon, following church, we strolled for a little bit through the Autumn Winter Park Art Festival, of course recalling the time when we were set up during a deluge, one time we had a terrific show, and one time I'd completely forgotten about.  At this show we saw some very fun,
and imaginative art.
That said, it was so blazing hot, not to mention we are not currently in the market for art, we cut our visit short, heading instead over to Luma for lunch and air conditioning. This starter, of roasted brussel sprouts on a sauce colored with beet juice was tasty, albeit stupid expensive ($15). Plus, that pink is a little weird looking, right? Pepto Bismol anyone?
 Driving home down Fern Creek we came across what is a new park to me,
apparently begun following the Pulse tragedy? Or so it would appear.
On the home front the Golden Rain tree along the lakefront has gone from shocking yellow, to bright coral.
As you see from the above, the Lake Pineloch shoreline has a white sandy beach, whereas our little lake is not nearly as tidy. But, we do have a plethora of wildlife, for which I'm most grateful. The other morning a Limpkin and Ibis were foraging,
while this big fat turtle was resting, presumably having swum across the lake, or so I imagine as I see them most mornings. Well, I just see the tip of their nose, but you get my drift.
Most evenings people gather at the big pool and on this Friday night, there was a good crowd, mostly women, which Bruce doesn't mind in the least. He's talking with Patsy Barr, the mother of one of my childhood friends. In fact, it was her daughter that took me to her church youth group where I got to know Bruce.     
 Have you noticed how the days are getting shorter?
Lots of things happening in our part of Orlando---new buildings going up, and old ones slated for change, including the Fort Gatlin shopping center at the corner of Orange and Gatlin. Seeing this happening Saturday afternoon was shocking in many ways, one of which I was startled to learn that there had once been a library branch there. Who knew?
And in other news, I saw a Black-Capped Chickadee on our feeder this morning. Returning to normal, maybe so, at least when it comes to feeding birds. :)

your friend,

Gail


Past, Present, and Future