Monday, April 8, 2013


I wrote a blog post some time ago about downsizing or rightsizing and I'm here to tell you we did the right thing and right-sized. Now my husband and I can communicate without yelling across the multiple rooms although we still do yell at times. Everybody does. LOL And we have close neighbors so we have to keep it to a minimum which we have not had a problem with since neither of us are confrontational.

We have a fantastic view of the lake with a water fountain in the middle and all of the rooms face the lake so we have great views from all our rooms. The biggest decision we had to make was where to put everything from the large house. After a large moving sale and a hefty donation to the Red Cross we brought what was left and fit it in. Had another Goodwill donation and we are all set.

It's a close and intimate feeling when the verticals are closed for the evening but we've adjusted to it--it wasn't very hard. When I'm in the kitchen and the phone rings its four steps to pick it up. Doing laundry is the easiest. The laundry room is outside the bedroom door so I usually sort everything into piles in the bedroom and then carry the individual loads to the washer. In a matter of hours, all-small-loads laundry is completed.

Two bedrooms and two baths accommodates all our needs and then some. In the 2nd bedroom which we dubbed the 'den' we have a corner for travel. It's helped us decide on what we really wanted to keep. Two bookcases full of books and photo albums, a credenza loaded down with electronics and a large desk. We take turns using the desk and it's worked out great.

Because we're in closer proximity to each other we've become closer to each other. It's been kind of like a second honeymoon when we shared all our dreams and wishes. So many of them have been filled or come true, i.e. two children, moving into a bigger house, etc. that we've had to make new ones and the dreaming and wishing for the rest of our lives has taken on a whole new meaning. We've decided we want to travel and our goals have changed.

We no longer want to update the kitchen at the older house, we already have it in the smaller place. We want to save any and all extra money for a trip of our lifetime. Another goal, wish or dream that will come true.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


We live on a lake with a water fountain that runs all the time. It is great to hear it first thing in the morning with the first cup of coffee, but after awhile, like mid day, we are so over it. But we love to listen to the ducks that claim this lake their own.

Their "quack, quack, quack" every now and then sounds like someone laughing and it's brings a smile to our faces. The other day we were sitting out on the screened in patio listening to the birds and ducks, and watching squirrels scurry from tree to tree when we noticed that  there are only eight ducks in the lake, four couples swimming along in different directions. Usually there are many more.

We were reminded that it is finally spring and with spring brings new births, not just for plants and animals but for us as well. Hopefully, we'll be renewed in our love of life this spring and it will continue throughout a joyful summer, fall, and winter again.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finally our visit to Sponge Docks

After living in Florida, in the same county for 33 years, we finally made a visit to Tarpon Springs Sponge docks. It was a great day with friends on Saturday and a great adventure. We walked where many have walked in the past along the docks and all the shops. We were even able to do some Easter shopping avoiding a trip to the Mall.

We got our grandson, Caden, a shirt with a pirate and crossed swords embroidered on the front. When you put it on and go out in the sun the entire shirt is covered, front and back, with skulls and crossed swords, the pirates emblem or logo. It was a big hit.

We got our grand-daughter, Alexis, a really cute multifaceted glass stoned bracelet with all the right colors. It also was a big hit and she wore it all day.

We had a great Easter day on Sunday at our son's; a big ham dinner with all the trimmings, pineapple upside down cake and cheesecake for dessert and then the Easter egg hunt. It was so relaxing and fun to watch everybody forget their troubles for a short span of time and really have some fun.

Grief-Catching Up With Me

I come from a relatively large family with seven aunts and uncles on both my mothers side and my fathers side of the family and too many cousins to remember. They are all beginning to age and I live approximately 2000 miles away from them enjoying the Florida mild winters and sunshine while they continue to suffer the northeast's brutal winter cold and snow.

Shortly before Thanksgiving I was notified that one of my favorite aunt's had passed away. She was favorite for a number of reasons one of which was that she was my Dad's sister married to my Mom's brother. My mother's brother passed away a couple days before Christmas 30 some years ago from Hodgkins Disease and my aunt never remarried. They had five children together, two girls and three boys. The two girls look a lot like my sisters and me. The boys not so much. I have great memories from long ago of staying at their house overnight on a Saturday night while our Dad's went to the car races. We would play dress up and games and eat popcorn. I still keep in touch with my cousins but more so since their mother died a few days before Thanksgiving. The holidays are a terrible time to grieve, more so than any other time it seems, especially for this family.

Another favorite aunt was laid to rest today and due to distance and expense I could not attend the formalities that go along with death. She was always a favorite because she was the oldest on my Dad's side of the family and everyone called her "Sis'. If you wanted to know anything about another family member you would call Aunt Sis and she would always know and let you know what to do. She was married three times, fifty years to her second husband and only four years to her last one. She and her second husband would always take me to the out of town or 'away' high school football games until I got my license and could drive myself and some friends. My uncle always had a quarter for me no matter how old I got. My aunt would tell me all kinds of childhood stories about my Dad. I remember the one about my Dad trying to fly off the chicken coop, fell and broke his little finger. His finger never did straighten out after that short fall.

On March 11 my Dad's been gone ten years already. I think of him everyday and all his idiosyncrasies that were his alone. I can's say I grieve for him, I've passed that stage, but I grieve for everyone who still has to go through the grieving process for a parent or a child or any loved one.

The loss of a loved one is something you never get over, you just figure out a way to go on without that person in your life, and remembering the many  good times.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Buying A New Car

The agony, the decisions, the wheels! Car shopping is all of these things and so much more. I think most women envision a car as transportation from place one to place two. A man, or my husband, looks at a car as so much more. They/he looks at the leather wrapped steering wheel; I didn't even know they made one of those. The outsize appearance is just as important as everything under the hood and in the cabin. The details of the engine and the new features of the overall car went directly over my head, in one ear and out the other. Sure I like a new car but I made that decision with the first glance.

Researching safety issues and recalls is apparently vitally important, along with numerous test drives at various dealerships. After many hours spent researching and studying, it became time to make the final decision.  We finally decided and knew the make and model of the car but the big decision now ended up being the color of the exterior and the interior.

So after probably a month of research, many discussions, test drives, etc. we ended up with the same car we had previously except for a different color and a different year,  otherwise the same in every other way.

Was it worth the extra steps in research and time spent making a decision? Who knows? But it sure smells good.

Friday, March 22, 2013


I haven't felt well for the last week or so. Terrible headache that blurred my vision and made me nauseous. I couldn't even read a book my vision was so bad. I had to make the pages huge on my computer and iPad to read email and Facebook. Oh, yes! I found time for emails and a way to read Facebook and 'Like' alot of things.  Lots of time!

What I couldn't find time to do was write, something I normally find time to do every day. I just could not get motivated and my wip is a very good story if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Last Saturday my husband and I visited with some friends nearby and went out for lunch in Tarpon Springs, FL. Mind you, we have lived in Florida from Pennsylvania for almost 33 years and have never visited Tarpon Springs or its infamous sponge docks.

We had lunch at a small eclectic, antiquated cafe named Zante Cafeano on one of the streets off the beaten path of the main part of town. The atmosphere was delectable with real smells coming from the just-like-at-home kitchen and dining tables snuggled against antique sideboards, etc., loaded with collectibles. One such sideboard held every kind of camera imaginable and it was hard to look with our eyes instead of our hands.

It's a family owned and operated restaurant so, of course, we were met by the young son, I would guess between 9-11 years old, who seated us in one of the comfortable dining tables, gave us menus and brought our drink order. The dining table had fresh linens: a tablecloth, placemats and napkins matching the print on the cushions on the seat of each chair. (Similar to some tea houses I visited.)

We had been warned that it takes a while to receive your meal once the order is placed because each item is made to order at the time it was taken. We ordered appetizers of Bruscetta to warm us up while we waited for our meals to be prepared. We were first served a warm, buttery, garlic fresh-from-the oven dinner roll and thought this was the Bruscetta, just prepared a little differently. In another fifteen minutes we were served a hoagie roll, sliced down the middle, spread with oil and garlic, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and oregano, fresh from the oven. Our Bruscetta had been served.

It was delicious. While we were waiting for our main course we wondered through the cafe looking at the various collections, some modern but most of them were older. Some were still in there original boxes, others had been hardily played with.

Our main course soon arrived and we all oohed and awed over the delicious scents surrounding us. We were amazed by the complimentary tastes. And even when we began to feel full it was hard to stop eating. It was so good. We asked for boxes to take home the remainder of our meals.

The weather was beautiful, a little breezy but perfect for a stroll down the middle of main street. Antiques shops of all kinds were located on both sides of the street and we soon found one that contained crystals and gemstones. We were all fascinated with what can be done from 100's of years old stones dug from mountain sides and from all around the world. We had to buy a couple of memorable pieces from this day.

Since two-three days have passed gone by, I am still thinking  about our marvelous day and now anxious I am to stroll the main streets again and see what other treasures are buried here. I think we may have stumbled upon a real gem in the rough.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I joined the local YMCA a few weeks ago and started attending a Muscular Strength and Range of Motion class. It's a varied workout which starts with getting warmed up while standing up, marching and then adding arms. Then you move onto using small free weights sitting and standing as well as a elastic cord in various exercises. The cool down again is done sitting down to begin with and ends with a couple standing exercises.

I've gone twice a week for the last two weeks and already I am feeling a difference. Since I have Fibromyalgia this is remarkable. My range of motion has improved and its easier to take a deep breath. My muscles also don't hurt so much. I feel like I can suck my stomach in more, I have more control over my body.

But the best part is that I have such a clear head when I'm done. For two hours a week I get to do something for me and totally forget all the troubles of the outside world and concentrate on me, lifting that arm, lifting that knee, holding the ball between my knees.

On the way home I feel like I can take on anything and I'm ready for the challenge. Now to get back to working on my current WIP with no title yet but it is a followup to Captured Heart and the setting is in Jackson, WY, in the shadows of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. You'll have to watch for it!

Monday, March 11, 2013


I have been writing most of my life, journaling, short stories and such. And I started scrapbooking in 1997. With two children I took a lot of pictures for special events, birthdays, graduation, etc. and kept them in cheap albums where they turned yellow and/or stuck to the cover. In 1997 I removed all the photos and put them in new archival and safe albums along with journaling for each page telling the story behind the picture. I loved doing it, my boys loved looking at it and even added notes to a page here or there where I had missed something.

I started when they were born and instead of them each having a baby book of their own they shared a family album. When my oldest son turned thirty I went back through our albums and made copies of pictures of him and his life for the first thirty years. I had kept sports articles from when he had participated in baseball, soccer and football and made them apart of the album along with report cards and annual school pictures, prom pictures and other lifetime achievements. He was thrilled with all the memorabilia and still goes through it every now and again and reminisces.

My other son turns 35 in May and I have yet to complete his album of his first thirty years but I have been steadfastly working on it since January and will have his first 35 years done in time. I am determined to do so. He has a son now and I'm sure he would love to share with him his school artwork, report cards as well as his overall lifetime achievements. He will see how much his son's actions and looks are similar to his and how many characteristics are the same.

When I scrapbook I feel like I'm writing a novel. The building of the character sketches are there for all to see, not tell, and are believable. A bad year is depicted in the report cards and artwork, more character building. And personality is fully developed in the many pictures of happy, mad, sad faces. The description is there in the journaling or the background of the picture. We've moved a number of times and they went to different schools, had different bedroom surroundings, etc. They love to go back and remember when we lived in a certain place and we had awful or wonderful neighbors,

I'm really working on two books at one time. The one I'm writing to publish and share and the one I'm scrapbooking to share and cherish for a lifetime and beyond.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Recently my husband and I decided to downsize from a 2300 square foot home  to a 1200 square foot gated community apartment home.  It was a huge decision and one we deliberated with care for quite some time. Our two sons, both grown with homes of their own, had been stopping by on Sundays to eat and/or swim at my request to keep the family close. Things started getting in the way, their wife's family functions, birthday parties, etc. Their frequency of Sunday visits slowly began to diminish to once a month, once every two months and soon we were contacting each other on FaceTime. Our decision was based on this as well as the empty nest syndrome that effects many when their children are grown and leave the nest.

We found ourselves in an empty house separated by walls and screaming from one side to the other to talk to each other. We didn't use half of the rooms that had always been filled with laughter and love throughout the years. We congregated on the family room with an open kitchen and the master bedroom. It became a burden to keep the entire house clean as well as all the outside maintenance with a salt pool and a large paved lanai.

To get to where we are today, we had to sort through everything, and I mean every nook and cranny in our house and packed only the necessities for the two of us along with a few holiday favorites. We had a moving sale and sold most of the furniture from the bedrooms, living room and extra baths, and lots of unused craft items. We gave the boys first dibs of course. We donated the rest to charity and were ready to move.

Instead  of a salt pool and a large screened in lanai that required daily maintenance, we now have a community pool which is maintenance free to us, a health club, valet trash (right at the front door), racquet ball courts, a dog park, (perfect for our little long-haired chihuahua, AJ), and a car wash. We have two bedrooms and two baths, a living/dining/kitchen combined, a screened-in patio and just the right size for the two of us.

We have just enough room for holiday dinners and special occasions but find we enjoy the majority of the time alone. We continue to stay in touch with the boys with visits to their homes or their infrequent visits to ours, and on occasion FaceTime.

Life is good and time is used much more efficiently for writing and scrapbooking instead of cleaning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Search book review and recommendation

Like many of you, I read vociferously and especially read Nora Roberts.  I have read most of her books and I'm currently reading The Search. It's about a woman who's expertise lies in training dogs to find cadavers and living victims. I admire how Nora 'lays' out the story from beginning to end, starting with something that may, at first, appear to be irrelevant to the book, such as in this book. It begins with a man and woman trying to get pregnant with their second child. A short time later they find their three year old boy missing and the kitchen door standing wide open. I could tell you lots more but don't want to spoil it for those of you who have not had the chance to read it yet.

I'm about half way through it and it has become a trilling page-turner for me. I find myself wondering about it while I'm doing my own writing. It's been a while since I have been this 'obsessed' with reading a good book. I can only hope the books I write are as tantalizing as this one.