Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards

I was at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards luncheon yesterday and there were six categories of business and individual awards presented. There was a nice crowd since the names of the nominees had been sent to people and the winners kept quiet until the presentations. As the Chair of the Committee said, it was difficult to choose among the nominees because so many of them were strong candidates. The key criteria was in working to help make the community a better place as well as carrying out whatever business was involved. In the case of the Citizen of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year, they were individuals whose service to the community included activity with multiple organizations. Not everyone is in a position to do volunteer work and for a lot of Baby Boomers, it is something we can choose to do in our semi-retired or second (third, etc.) career lives.

This year’s awardees were: Large Business of the Year was Keyes Realty; Small Business was Lumo Graphics; Non-Profit was WeCare; Agriculturist was Medora Krome; Volunteer of the Year was Pastor Brock Schiffer, and Citizen of the Year was Sharon Haxton. I know all the ones selected and many of the nominees, and it was indeed a tough choice. It was good to see everyone recognized and it was an effort on the part of people who nominated them to take the time to do so. These are the type of moments that bring a smile to your face.

Another Trip Down….

It was late when we returned home, but the extra day was important for us to have some time to talk with the kids about the big change coming into their lives. Our daughter-in-law is not having any complications – merely the usual inconveniences with pregnancy. She has another check-up next week and then we’ll lock in their annual visit here for New Year’s Eve. We’re truly hoping this time that we can fly them home on 2 January instead of New Year’s Day as we usually have to due to their work schedule.

We continued to have beautiful weather for the trip and no delays although the flight was completely full which was to be expected. It’s a popular time to fly whether you’re doing so for business or pleasure. Hubby did go on Saturday to the Mall with his camera and he spent about an hour in the Air and Space Museum. They are cleaning and/or repairing the Capitol, so the considerable amount of scaffolding around the building wasn’t quite the picturesque look he was going for. Ah well, he got some other nice shots that he’ll post to Facebook soon.

The next few days will be playing catch-up of course and I should make more headway on that list tomorrow.

A Busy Day……….

Notwithstanding the dense, honking Friday afternoon traffic that reminded us of why we don’t like the Washington, D.C. area, we have been graced with the beautiful fall weather that is a trait we enjoyed when we lived here. A number of the trees still have vividly colored leaves in orange, red, and gold. Halloween decorations abound and a long sleeve shirt is adequate.

My girlfriend and I allowed hubbies to do as they wished – her’s relaxing n front of TV with the newspaper spread around him and mine dropped off at the Metro to go down to the “Mall” in Washington with his camera. We then went to perform the obligatory weekend errands of domestic life before heading out to shop for new purse and have lunch. We caught up on everything before going to provision for the birthday dinner for our son.

I couldn’t find Newburg sauce so made a slight modification for shrimp and lobster in a lemon butter sauce in pastry shells, with roasted carrots as a side. Baked brie chunks with raspberry  wrapped in phyllo and two other French cheeses made up the appetizers. We didn’t have time to order a birthday cake ahead and instead picked up a small chocolate mousse cheesecake that was at least symbolic.

Despite the hand washing that would be required, we decided to bring out the china, crystal, and silver. After all, it really shouldn’t just sit in the cabinet all the time and it wasn’t going to be a late night. Not with expecting daughter-in-law having worked all   afternoon and dance performance for son scheduled for the next afternoon. We sent them on their way and chatted n the way that friends who have known each other for years do as we washed and dried dishes. One final glass of wine and then it was bedtime.

Killing a Flock of Birds With One Stone……..

Center for Ballet Arts Fall Show 2013

Center for Ballet Arts Fall Show 2013

The expression, not the actuality I suppose the airplane could run into a flock, but that would be a bad thing. House sitter is ensconced and we head out today to make a quick multi-purpose visit to the D.C. area. Our schedule prevented us from seeing son perform last year. As I have posted on several occasions, he is with the Bowen McCauley Dance Company (http://bmdc.org), but the couple that saw his talent and are responsible for setting him onto the path of professional dance are Bennett and Debbie Savage of the Fairfax Center for Ballet Arts and he teaches there.(http://www.thecenterforballetarts.com)

They have three main performances each year; the Fall Show featuring the older dancers, Nutcracker in a Nutshell, and the Spring Show that showcases all their classes to include some of the cutest Kinderballet students that you will ever see. Anyway, the Fall Show often coincides with son’s birthday and so it is this year. We also have some dear friends that we stay with when they are in town. Everything aligns this year and we will stay with our friends, have the kids come to their place for birthday dinner Saturday, attend the show Sunday, take care of a piece of business Monday and return on the evening flight. Hubby wants to spend some time tomorrow wandering around “the Mall” in DC, taking photos, too. A busy trip for sure, but it will be fun, too.

Mother Nature Will Have Her Way…..

I’ve posted before about the Homestead Center for the Arts (http://www.homesteadcenterforthearts.com) with the different organizations that promote and preserve arts and culture within the area. Last year in addition to the well-known Community Concerts, we added the Music Series (MuSe) events to provide another dimension of musical offerings that always include some sort of dining along with the music. We teamed with Homestead’s White Lion Café for Jazz in the Garden, then Blues in the Garden. We had two more events in other venues; one that had a dessert and wine bar option and one was a BYOB and snacks.

We intended to literally kick off a new season tomorrow with Bluegrass in the Garden and were looking forward to a lively evening. And then this very odd weather system moved in with threats of rain as well as rain today off and on that pretty much soaks the outdoor furniture. We were faced with either postponing or taking our chances. It’s never a good idea to second-guess Mother Nature, but we bit the bullet and decided to slide it to Thursday, November 20th. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Bluegrass in the Garden Reschedule for Thursday, 20 Nov 2014

Bluegrass in the Garden Reschedule for Thursday, 20 Nov 2014

About That Gecko………

Pillow Where The Gecko Was Resting

Pillow Where The Gecko Was Resting

No, not the cute one in insurance commercials. One of the realities in living in a temperate climate is that geckos are everywhere in multiple sizes. Most aren’t over about four inches long and the baby ones are about the size of your fingernail. The special pads on their feet enable them to cling to all sorts of surfaces, to include deftly scampering upside down on ceilings. They are symbolic of the tropics and while they don’t seem to eat mosquitos, they do consume a lot of bugs. If you have an aversion to geckos, living in this  area can be tough. On the other hand, if you have cats, that can be tough on the gecko population. In any case, there is a high probability that they will periodically wind up inside your house. So, the other day when I looked down on the floor and saw a gecko, it wasn’t a big surprise. He wasn’t close enough to a door for me to shoo him out and I was on my way to take care of something and explained to the gecko that it really would be in his best interest to find his way back outside. I didn’t see him for a couple of days and then lo and behold, he’d found his way into the bedroom. Now, trying to catch a gecko isn’t as easy as you might think and I didn’t have time to deal with it. I warned hubby when he came home that evening that it could be anywhere at that point. There’s nothing quite like reaching for an article of clothing and having a gecko scurry out from the pile.

We sit in the bed every morning having coffee and watching TV and I always put the decorative pillow behind my regular pillow. I usually leave it there during the day and remove it when I am getting ready for bed. Keeping the previous gecko sighting in mind, I gingerly pulled away the pillow and sure enough, the gecko was snoozing peacefully in the crease of the decorative pillow. Ah, a natural “net” if I could move quickly. I silently left the room and opened the door to the back yard so that I would be able to cover the distance between the bed and the door rapidly. All set! I executed the move perfectly and the gecko had barely raised his head to see what was going on before he was deposited outside. That took care of that until we get the next one. And in the spirit of such, pop over to my website and read the short story, A Gecko in the Umbrella.

 

Chia Seeds……

Okay, this is as much a question as a post. It seems as if not too long ago, flax seed was the big health thing and everyone was supposed to be eating them. I did try, but then when I read that if you cooked them, the nutritional “punch” was significantly diminished and just munching away on them wasn’t nearly like enjoying sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Now I’m being told that chia seeds are it; they’re more digestible and you can cook with them and still have the nutritional value. Of course, I’m still not certain as to what that value is supposed to be. I picked some up at the store and they are pretty easy to put in salad and don’t have much taste so they just sort of blend in with the ground pepper.

My real question is if I’m eating chia seeds, do I have to have my hair done up like a topiary? Can anybody out there enlighten me?

Speaking of Orchids….

The newest blooms on our white orchid

The newest blooms on our white orchid

As I have posted before, our luck with orchids has been definitely limited, and it is the beautiful one in front of the house that is flourishing. The two out back lost their blossoms and while we have been faithfully tending to them, I had secretly despaired that I had once again managed to screw this up. A few days before I left for my Louisiana trip, I saw the buds. Not just buds, but two stems worth this time. The blooms in fact opened while I was gone and even though I was worried with the wind yesterday, they seem to be hanging in there. That’s literally and figuratively speaking. The other, pinkish orchid hasn’t produced new bloom, but the leaves look healthy so I will hold out hope for it.

The East Everglades Orchid Society, one of the members within the Homestead Center for the Arts, is having their Orchid Show this coming Fri-Sun, and barring any unforeseen interference, we will definitely be there. Feeling more confident now with two that have survived our novice efforts, I think we will get two news ones and try them in the back yard tied to the traveler palms. We will be very clear when we are talking to the experts at the show about what we have to make sure we get the right variety.

You can see the details on their website http://www.orchidseeos.com/events.htm

Orchid in Our Front Yard

Orchid in Our Front Yard

 

Crystal in the Clouds……

I truly intended to post yesterday before we left for the Homestead book fair and that obviously didn’t happen. One of the many fun things about a book fair is when you meet other authors that you don’t know, and in this case it was the recent release of a family history book that took a very unexpected turn. Leonard Mowry of the Homestead pioneering Mowry family began to chronicle his family’s story and vague tales he had heard of his grandfather’s first wife led him down a different path. Cyrstal in the Clouds (Amazon.com has it) was the book that emerged, the fascinating capture of the woman who was the first known female parachutist in the area, a woman who broke multiple aviation records, a woman who was truly a pioneer in the sky.

I haven’t finished the book yet and we are planning to arrange to have it for sale in the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum soon. If you like 1920s-1940s history and especially tales of strong women who didn’t allow their gender to keep them from a dream, this is a book to consider.

It is also a point that I make in my presentation about capturing family history that you frequently don’t know where the research will lead you. It may be routine or you might uncover something very much different than you anticipate. Mr. Mowry certainly did.

 

About the New Novel……

Georgina's Grief, the new Chris Green novel

Georgina’s Grief, the new Chris Green novel

Okay, I haven’t posted Georgina’s Grief to the website yet with the full first chapter, but I will do that soon. It is available on Amazon.com and in Kindle format, and I will have it at the Homestead Book Fair Saturday in Losner Park from 1-5 p.m.  In the meantime, I’ll give you the basic story line.

Chris Green, the freelance underwater investigator, is back  in the Bahamas working on their Spanish Galleon treasure site. Their only paying passenger for this trip is Marty Gradeaux from New Orleans. Chris gets a call from Clay Roget in New Orleans with a very lucrative offer for a short-notice job that involves what seems to be an unusual amount of secrecy and the mention of possibly a second job. While her instincts are correct about the initial case, what she doesn’t expect is to also receive a visit from a police detective who works organized crime cases. Even though she is not personally involved, that takes her close to one of the lines that she doesn’t usually cross. Her new client assures her that the second case won’t include conversations with the police. On the other hand, he doesn’t know the secrets as to what happened fifteen years prior when a yacht disappeared with everyone of board. The short search for it was interrupted and what happened remained a mystery.

The “Georgina” of the book is Georgina Baker was only ten years old when her father, a rising rock star, was lost in the accident and her life plunged into ongoing tragedy. Now a young woman of almost twenty-five, she feels that if the yacht could at least be located, it might bring her some level of comfort. The truth of that night is known to only a few people, and one of them is determined that the secret will stay hidden.

For those who have read Shades of Truth, there is the similar element of the reader knows early on what happened, but not how the story unfolds or the twists built in to the plot.

And yes, this time, I was able to use one of hubby’s underwater photos for the cover. The colorful shot was taken on the wrecks in St Croix.