Summing it Up...

Now, that I'm way on the wrong side of sixty, I feel that being true to self is important. "I yam, what I yam." Kindness and smiles are to be given away. Women are strong. Men are more vulnerable than we believe. Husbands may come and go...but one thing I know for sure is that I will NEVAH live without a corgi or coffee in my life if I can prevent it. Come piles of dog fur or hot water!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fresh Strawberries in December!

Today we met up with our Winnebago Club pals in Plant City, Florida. Plant City produces over three-quarters of the nation's midwinter strawberries and is world famous for its Strawberry Festival, held each winter. The shortcake at the Parksdale Farm Market is a real treat. The market is full of produce, plants, and other summery stuff, and jammed with people all winter long. They have loads of picnic tables to sit and eat their strawberry goodies, and a strawberry throne with crowns, wands, and other queenly accessories, used as props, for photo ops on your own.
Last night we met up with the Florida kids, and grandsons at Capogna's Dugout Restaurant, 1653 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd, Clearwater for salad and pizza. The walls are covered with sports memorabilia, and could be a mini baseball hall of fame. Al, the owner before he died, now his kids run it, was a very strong supporter of local sports. There's a wall honoring the Clearwater Tornadoes, football and baseball teams. David played as #64 in high school football. The Dugout was always a stop when(my kids and I) visited Florida from the late 70's through the mid-90's. Josh, I was sure thinking of you while we were there. Afterwards, we went to Largo City Park where they have a terrific playground, much loved if the number of parents and kids were any way to judge its popularity. The Christmas lights throughout the park lit as we walked the curvy paths around the grassy areas. Very pretty.
We, obviously, have strayed from our Weight Watcher program while down here, but we sure have enjoyed ourselves, and time has flown.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jim, catching up with old friends.

Jim has visited several old friends today, more tomorrow, then we'll meet up with folks who winter in Florida from the WIT-group in Plant City on Sunday for strawberries. (They are famous for shortcake this time of year, and we've listened to them talk about it for years.) Jim and son David went to see National Treasure tonight, the hottest movie in America right now. We have a box of oranges, lemons, grapefruit and an avocado the size of a small football, given to us by folks Jim has known for years, they have their own grove, numerous food plants and trees.
Our nephew-in-law, John, who lives here in Largo, lost his father early this morning. John, you have our deepest sympathy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family visits, Frenchy's and laundry....

Today Jim had a new alternator put into the Tracker, our tow car and I visited with Mom, and family in Largo. The sun felt good to sit in, and we were enjoying it.
Jim had a surprise up his sleeve when we left Largo...silly me thought we were going to Orange Blossom (now called Citrus Country, same place, same product, same crowds). But...we were headed for the beach and Frenchy's for fresh grouper and steamed veggies. The place was packed, we went to the original joint, not on the beach, there are three in that area my brother Mike told Jim. We sat in the bar, drank our h2o with lemon, and enjoyed the atmosphere. The servers are a no nonsense bunch, they're busy, time is money, and you better know what you want! It was easy, just say grouper. Then....we went to Orange Blossom, yah yeah, the name changed, but it's Orange Blossom to us for our sample of tangerine juice, watched the 12 minute video about the journey an orange makes to the consumer, and played tourist. We completed a week's worth of laundry after 9p.m., so are glad to call it a day. We're hoping to be able to use the pool at least once before we leave on the first, just to say we swam outside in December!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Playing Tourist today...

It was cooler today in Florida, and we headed south, across the Sunshine Skyway, into Bradenton, where Jim lived for a time, and his son David was born there. He was amazed by the many changes there, and recognized little. Then on to Anna Maria, where my family and I visited in 1965, our first trip to Florida. Not many people were on the beach. There were more sandpipers, pelicans diving for dinner, and seagulls than people. We stopped briefly then went on siteseeing. We stopped at the Sand Bar, right on the beach and had grilled grouper, and an amazing salad with a strawberry yogurt vinegrete, topped with mango chunks. While we enjoyed our meal, we could see 3 dolphin (porpoises, Jim called them) swim around, then dive down. Neat! We stopped along a causeway beachy area to walk the dogs, and they had a ball. Addie went to the water, got her feet wet, and approached a very calm white egret who slowly moved away. Other dogs came and went, and Jake only had eyes for the dogs, rather than the group of 30+ seagulls at the waters edge. They sniffed things that they don't find in landlocked Indiana, that's for sure. I found a perfect small conch shell, but something was still living in it, so back to the water it went.
Jim got to go down memory lane, revisiting areas he hadn't been to in decades. I got my feet in sand, and smelled gulf waters again. Cool day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tis' Christmas, even in Florida.

12/19: I finally had my first colonoscopy today (Merry Christmas April and Mom) and afterwards we started on our southern trip late, after 6pm. We found a Culver's, much to our delight, in Indy, and relished eating a butterburger again! We slept at the Camping World, south of Indy, which used to be Stout's, and "plugged in" for free for the night. (RV'ers will understand the significance of this!)
12/20: This morning, we shopped at Camping World, and almost successfully, used up our 100 bonus dollars from Jim's credit card. The snow pile on our roof had several "slush slides" as we went south on I-65 towards Louisville. We saw a tractor trailer hauling 3 Humvees, all in camaflogue, one with a machine gun turret in the center, and warning signs in Iraqi and English. I guess we know where that load will end up eventually. Unfortunately, we experienced a bumper to bumper rush hour gridlock in Nashville; people were being careless in the misty rain. We saw a bumper sticker that said, "What would Scooby Do?" Finally out of that mess, we pulled into a Cracker Barrel lot in Manchester, Tennessee, about 40 miles north of Chattanooga. This particular Cracker Barrel was the second store site to open in 1969.
12/21: We have Alabama's last tour CD ('03-'04) cranked up as we go through the misty mountains around Monteagle. Fireworks, rib joints and see Ruby Falls/Rock City signs mar the natural beauty of this area. Atlanta was a real bear. It took us hours to get through. Jim says no more traveling this close to major holidays! Georgia pines, peach groves, and cotton fields whizzed by as we finally, after a very long day, got to go the speed limit! Traffic was heavy all day and night. We re-grouped, and had supper at a Sonny's, our favorite BBQ place in the South, in Tifton, Georgia, then drove down to Lake City, Florida, later in the evening than we normally drive. We found another Cracker Barrel to park overnight, with palm trees, live oaks draped in spanish moss, and nice cushy grass for the dog paws. Everyone was happy to stop for the day! We always ask the manager for permission to park in their lot, no matter where we stay. So far, it's always been a "sure thing, go ahead y'all!"
12/22: People seem to decorate their cars for the holidays. We saw a reindeer yard ornament attached to the front of a SUV, sporting a blinking, red nose. A blue VW had reindeer antlers; the first of many cars with the same idea. Wreaths, window clings on the windows, semi's with red bows. Merry Christmas on the road.
12/23: We're settled into the RV park, and have enjoyed walking the dogs looking at all the lights in the palm trees, and on the parked rigs. We've seen family several times, luckily, they live about 2 blocks apart, making it very handy!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas came early!

First of all, these pictures are of lil' Emmy's first Christmas experience. Pretty sweet, huh?
And the news: The local Chamber of Commerce office called today to tell me that (I) won first prize in their Snowflake Jubilee, worth $295 dollars of gift certificates from 14 merchants in North Manchester. When I dropped off my 5 receipts from local stores as an entry; I told the gal that I never win anything. She said, those are the people that always win!! Wowsers!! Tomorrow I go claim my prize, and will have a photo taken for the town's newspaper.
What fun, and who knew that shopping locally would end up with so many perks??

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The weatherman was right......

The dogs wanted out around 4:20 a.m., but once I opened the back door, Addie changed her mind. Jake, who loves snow, tore out and started making tunnels. Addie, a much shorter legged corgi, doesn't like getting buried in snow before daybreak.It's pretty, I will say that, but oh my, there's 6 to 8 inches out there. We're supposed to be packing up the motor-home today and tomorrow to leave Thursday for Florida.....the sunshine state. It's 80 degrees in the Clearwater/Largo area, where our family is, and our reserved spot in an RV park. We have friends in Indy who planned on leaving today for the same area in Florida...bad timing. Oh well, fiddle-dee-dee, snow will enhance the season, and probably make school closures for the holiday a little earlier!
We had our Christmas gathering with Josh Friday night. Turkey, presents, and he brought his Gram's Christmas cookies. He's quite the baker, and treats his fellow employee's at the grocery store with large tins of candies, and an assortment of his baking. They love it, but he gets even more out of it than they do. He totally loves Christmas, and all that goes with it. Well, he does have some childhood trauma concerning Christmas trees. They always fell over, and we ended up literally tying them to window frames with wire and hooks! One year, we got lost on back roads bringing home our freshly cut tree, ended up crossing three county lines, before finding the right road home. By the time we got it decorated, it was past 2a.m., it fell over just as we stepped back to gaze at the beauty of it....Josh had reached his limit by then, and said, "throw the damn thing out," and went to bed. April and I redecorated, and fell on the floor, underneath it, looking at the lights in a daze. Crazy Christmas memories. Lordy, we've got a million of 'em. Somehow, the craziest ones all involved "decorating" the tree. Like I said, childhood trauma!!
Anyway~we leave for Florida in a few days, and hopefully will head home via North Carolina for an April and Emmy fix. We'll have to re-winterize the motor-home, but overall, it's better to drive it down so we can stay on the WW program, by cooking, rather than eating every meal out. No potty breaks needed, and dogs can play ball as we roll down the road. Afternoon Update: The wind finally died down, and our entire back yard is up to my knees. We went out to make paths (tunnels, really) for the corgi dogs. Addie must be a Florida dog at heart, but ol' Jake romped, sat in and dug under the white stuff with his nose.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Jim's emerging talents.

Jim made my Christmas gifts this year. He took a basket class at our local library, and made this super shopper basket, quite a feat for his first attempt at basketry. He also beaded the brightly lit Christmas tree (from a kit our Winnebago group we belong to sold.) He loves puzzles, and is somewhat a perfectionist, so this kind of stuff is right up his alley. The boy likes a challenge.
He's proud of his new found crafty side, and likes doing them enough to give it another go in January at the next library class. What a good Santa, huh?

Y'all come back now...

Y'all come back now...

Everyone is special, and counts!