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.