Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015

I have been reading reflections on the year about to pass, 2015.

Some do not mourn its passing in any way, can't wait to slam the door on that one.  Others muse philosophically on the lessons learned over the past 365 days. Still others look forward, making prediction for the unfolding of 2016.

You other bloggers!  You make me wish I was clever and thoughtful and smart so I could sum up 2015 in an entertaining way.

Truth is--I can barely remember 2015.  Did it actually have 365 days?  Because it seemed a heck of a lot shorter than that.  I have some advice for 2016: Slow Down!

I spent the winter in Florida--did some volunteering, did a lot of yoga, did some writing.  Five months gone in a blur.  When I got back to Vermont, I noticed that my grandchildren, babies when I left, had grown.  I guess I really need to update those pictures on my sidebar.

I know I spent a lot of money, starting with the installation of a new furnace. Thinking about what I needed to update and repair in order to eventually (I was thinking spring of 2016) sell my house escalated into a whirlwind of activity with a long string of contracted electricians, chimney guys, plumbers, environmental engineers, and carpenters making their way through the house and relieving me of a sizable amount of cash.

My house sold in five days and then I found a new place to live.  I had to pack and downsize.  It was stressful, I do remember that, but I was happy with my new town house closer to town and with no large yard to mow.  I only spent six weeks there, so it is justifiable that that time seems pretty short.

I did not have the time nor the money to take my grandkids on much of a vacation, but we did make a couple small trips.  We went to Ausable Chasm, Lake Champlain (many, many times), and played a lot of soccer--enough so that my grandson has dreams of going to the FIFA World Cup someday.

My grandson eventually forgave me for selling the house.

My friends continued to sustain me throughout the year.  I know that I am truly grateful for family and friends, including blogger-world friends, who add so much to my life.  Florida friends, new friends, are great; and some will be enduring.  Long time friends are the best.

So that is the blur that was 2015.  Now I will have to contemplate the start of a new year.

Be safe, everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Smiling

I got concerned that I was getting just too blase (don't quite know how to tick that e,  but you know what I mean) about being near the beach.  I arrived on Tuesday.  Granted, I felt the need to sleep for practically two days but, still, it was Sunday and I had not been to the beach.

I had to fix that.  I slathered myself with extra sun block and went for a walk on Sunday afternoon.

The beach erosion continues to be in evidence, but there is still beach to walk on.
The beach was cobbled with shells and the waves were gentle, winter cool.  The sky was clear blue and a couple large herons fished from the shore.  There were many young families taking advantage of the entertainments of the sea shore.

I was struck by the number of people who smiled and greeted me along the way.

In particular, I carry the image of a small, dark-haired boy, maybe three or four years of age.  He gave me a distinctly three part smile--a small upturn of the lips, a wider smile, and then a full on grin that lit his entire face.  Wow!

I was blessed.

Perhaps it was the smile on my own face being reflected back to me.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Deck the halls...

I did some Christmas decorating here is Florida.
Paper trees I made.

Candle tree

Angels

 Fake palm tree filled with German bells that I made last year.

Pine cone I made out of an old                                    sweater.

And more angels.



One little guy I know will not be so impressed with my efforts.  I "ruin Christmas" by going to Florida where there is no snow.  I think that means I ruin Christmas by not being with him.  Moment of sadness...

Friday, December 18, 2015

Afternoon Tea and Cookies

It is quite a rainy day here in Florida.  I went out to run a few errands and now, mid afternoon, I am relaxing with a cup of fruity tea and two cookies.

These are my current favorite cookie:


I get them in Vermont at the small town market and at the Healthy Living store.

I was surprised to see them at the Amish market here in Venice because they have a large in-store bakery operation and offer very  good homemade style cookies.

These are Ginger Zingers and they are so delicious.  I snapped them right up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Then and Now

 The photo above was taken on December 14, 2014.  We had a lot of snow and it was pretty cold besides.  It served as a good reminder of why I like to leave Vermont in winter and head south with the rest of the snowbirds.

The next photo was taken outside my new Vermont town house on December 14, 2015.  The little garden area had been prepped for the winter, but I noticed that the rose bush had suddenly popped out green leaves.  It could be that the record will be broken for the warmest December on record and for the latest snowfall of at least one inch.

Wouldn't it be something to see roses bloom on Christmas!  El Nino at work disrupting the world's weather.

I left for Florida the next day all the same.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

JFK

Here I am at the airport waiting for my flight to Sarasota.  Oh, whoops!  I don't have a selfie to prove that statement.  I am sure I may have photo bombed someone else's though because the phone cameras are snapping all over the place.

There are two people who are not taking selfies besides me--one is sound asleep with a tiny little dog also sleeping on her chest and the other is softly playing the ukulele.  I am busy people watching.  Also bird watching as there are at least o half dozen sparrows flying around and scooping up dropped food crumbs.

I was in the cab and heading to the Burlington airport at 4 a.m. but I have had some coffee now so I am feeling somewhat functional.

I had the two grand kids for the weekend.  I also had my brother, sister, and brother-in-law for dinner on Sunday.

Before and after of the
promised crackers
grandson, granddaughter, brother, brother-in-law
(camera shy) and sister

Monday was the real treat for my grand kids.  I took them to do their Christmas shopping after we met my friend for a breakfast out.  This involved them missing a school day (bad former teacher!) and having to go to the University Mall.

They picked out presents for their mom.  I gave them each twenty dollars to buy a gift for the other.  Kristen was a little (or maybe alot) unsure abut Dane picking a good gift for her, but I was super impressed with the job he did.

He really looked and considered his options, clutching the $20 in his hand the whole time.  We went by Sephora in the middle of the JCPenney store.  He announced we were going to look in there because it was "the girliest place in the whole mall!"  A young salesgirl came up and asked if she could help.  She saw the money and asked Dane if that was his budget, then took him around making suggestions.  He kept track of prices and made his selections with great confidence.  He got his purchase gift wrapped.  It was so cute and I think his Sissy will be more than happy on Christmas morning.

Since their mom had to work, I drove them all the way home, 150 mile round trip.  I got home at 7 p.m. and had to clean the house before leaving so that 3:15 wake-up alarm was pretty darn rude.  But it was a fun weekend for sure.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Good-byes

I am making the rounds of good-byes to Vermont family and friends as I try to keep up with the details of getting ready for my snowbird flight to the southern clime.

Details include:
-notify the post office about mail forwarding (seems like I just did that.  oh, I did!)

-notify the bank and credit card company about travel plans

-arrange ride to airport

-are the bills paid for the month now?

-get some cash for travel

-make sure I have all the things I need to pack in my carry-on bag--computer, phone, chargers, my tax records, medications, my checkbook and credit cards

I do have a complete household in Florida so I really don't have to bring much, but the small list still contains some important stuff I wouldn't want to be without.  My son will be here at the Vermont place through the winter months so that takes some worry off my plate.  Although I did wonder about hiring someone to come in and dust and water plants once a month.

I have been doing this for ten years now.  Why do I always feel so frantic about it?

It is bittersweet.  I will miss family and friends here, but I also look forward to friends in Florida and those from home who will visit while I am there.  I really have a blessed life.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Crackers

My grandkids are coming for the weekend.  My daughter is being driven crazy by my grandson.  First he was devastated about my selling the house--where I had lived for his whole life.  Now he is wanting to move in with me (and prevent me from going to Florida which is too far away!).

I had already planned to have the brother who lives nearby and my sister and her husband for dinner on Sunday.  It will be a full house.

I have not decorated for Christmas so I thought the kids and I would spend some time viewing decorated places.  We have no snow yet, but lighted shops and houses look festive at night all the same.  And I got the idea to visit a nearby garden center from Linda Reeder.



For the dinner, I thought I would get the traditional British crackers to set at each place setting and add a bit of holiday spirit.  I was reading about the crackers and found that a party hat, a joke, and a sweet are included in a traditional one.  I may reconsider that plan after reading some of the jokes.

I also found instructions for making DIY crackers.  Way, way funnier than any of the jokes!  I am still laughing.  It may be way more impersonal, but I do know where I can buy crackers ready made and I can make that an errand to do with the kids as we check out Christmas decorations in town.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another peek inside the new place

Kitchen

Downstairs powder room

Dining room (painting by my mom)


My bedroom



Living room

I have put up some curtains and will do decorating of living room and spare bedroom next summer.  It is cozy but bright and I am enjoying the new place.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Worth a Read

The title is "I have Nothing New to Say," and you can read it here.  I urge you to do so.

The blog author knows better than most the terror of a shooting.  She was wounded during the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords in 2011 in Arizona.  Her young companion on that day was killed.

She has nothing new to say and I having nothing to add--except that this message needs to spread and be heard.

Amen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sheets

It is no secret that I have a bit of a thing about bed sheets.

When Mike and I rented places for the winter in Venice, Florida, I would usually last about 90 minutes before I was refolding all the sheets in the rental linen closets.  I would tell myself upon arrival that this was a compulsive behavior that I should conquer.  I would tell myself I would just fold sheets properly as I changed and washed them.  I would tell myself there were far better things to do with my time.  It never worked.   I always broke down and refolded the sheets and pillow cases.

There's an advantage to having my own place...I know the sheets will be fine upon my Florida arrival.

But I don't call myself obsessive.

Alphabetizing books, CDs, spices--that's only common sense. The sheet thing is just a kind of tic.

I am thinking about this now because I was helping my friend Ginnie with laundry last week.  Now, Ginnie is a perfectionist about many things...folding fitted sheets apparently is not one of those things though.

Gin, I hope I didn't offend you by grabbing that pathetic, rolled up sheet out of your hands.  I couldn't help myself.

And here is a video of how it is done: