No Big Celebration This Year…..

Although the City does a really nice Fourth of July celebration nearby, I’m not going this year and not sure if Hubby will go shoot the fireworks as he has done in the past. We’re also not inviting the neighbors over, but we haven’t done that for a few years anyway since we’d been attending the big City celebration instead.

We do have hamburgers planned and will time that for early if Hubby does go to shoot the fireworks. He was supposed to work all day and the class was cancelled which is part of why he isn’t certain yet of what he’ll do. I don’t think he’s gotten a text from the paper about it, but that could be because they assume he’ll be there. Anyway, we’ll see how the day goes.

I enjoy the big event with what is usually plenty of rousing music and people dressed in a variety of red, white, and blue. They have fun activities for the kids, too. The “melting heat” of early July in South Florida can be managed with appropriate hydration – especially making sure to have a water in between the nice cold beers. The jammed traffic in trying to get home is mostly what I don’t have the energy for this year. We can see the high-shooting fireworks from the house and in general, we actually see three different displays as Florida City does one as well and if the sky is clear, we can catch the one from Key Largo. There are usually multiple families who do a lot of fireworks in this and surrounding neighborhoods, too. Not sure what the kids are planning up in Northern Virginia as they had a week-long trip to Maine recently and their month-long summer intensive dance session starts tomorrow. I suspect they’ll stay in and watch specials on TV.

Such A Long Gap……

I think things may be stabilizing a bit although that doesn’t mean less busy. Among the issues for the past week-plus was a potential problem that required two extra optometry visits. Let me start by saying I’ve been fortunate to have anything other than the occasional painful stye. I do spend a lot of time on the computer and right after Memorial Day I was experiencing what seemed to be shorter times between when I would need a break from looking at the screen and my left eye watering. I wasn’t experiencing any pain. I overdue my annual exam and took that as a sign. The optometrist I’ve seen for years has really cut back her time and I had the new doctor; a very pleasant young lady. They have the type of machines now where your eyes are scanned and photographed from all sorts of angles. Nothing unusual showed up and my prescription didn’t even need to be changed.  The doc gave me mild steroid eye drops for a week with a follow-up. The drops seemed to help and when I returned, she did notice a small cyst in my lower left lid, although I was still not experiencing pain. However, that’s outside their expertise and I was referred to a specialist. Great, just what I needed along with everything else. In not wanting to travel to Kendall, I had to delay the appointment for when the specialist would be in Homestead. It isn’t that I was overly concerned so much as it was I also couldn’t take a chance.

Fortunately, other than the waiting time to be seen being frustratingly long and mild dilation being involved, the cyst is small enough it should resolve without further treatment. (Obviously I let her know if that changes). I was very glad, but there was a different aspect that surprised me. She noted I had some crusting on my left eyelash I hadn’t thought was unusual. She then explained I should wash my eyelashes 3-4 times a week with baby shampoo. Say what? Apparently this is commonplace and having now purchased baby shampoo for the first time in decades, we’ll see how it works.

Another Memory Stirred….

Last week I attended/covered/sponsored the annual Chamber of Commerce Ladies of Legacy Luncheon. As usual, it was quite a line-up with four panelists and the moderator, topped by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County (first female). The Mayor of course could only stay for a short time and spoke about her “journey into leadership” before the moderator posed questions to the panelists. They represented a mix of profit, non-profit, and government.

Not surprisingly, in listening to them, another memory was stirred about my days of “being the first female to…..” As I have posted before, while I held seven such positions over the course of my career, the first most significant from a “ground-breaking one” was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. That’s because it was a huge installation with a long history and therefore, when I took command of the large maintenance company (right around 300 personnel), it gained a lot of attention. We would also periodically be visited by different general officers, who were almost always unaccustomed to a female being in this position. Not to say they disagreed with it; merely it was a surprise. One time, it was a three-star general I think and during the course of discussion he asked something like, “How long did it take your people to accept you as the commander?” Now, based on his tone and body language, I understood he was actually curious; not trying to put me down. I said something along the lines of, “Not long, sir, everyone got used to it pretty quickly.” We went on through the tour and about an hour after I returned to my office, the Colonel (who was the rank about my direct boss, the Lieutenant Colonel) called me personally to make sure I wasn’t disturbed by the General’s question. I knew the Colonel had been supportive of my selection from the beginning and I assured him everything was fine. It was, however, another interesting moment of “affirmation”.

Memorial Day Traditions…

I had hoped to get a May dive in, but it looks like that isn’t going to happen. With two different events to participant in on Saturday and two to cover today for the paper, the timing was going to be really tight. Getting away tomorrow meant juggling lots of things and turning my stories into the paper later than I like. On the other hand, it was doable.

Memorial Day, however, is also immensely popular for diving and Hubby is in the midst of  7 or 8 day stretch of teaching. The boats have been crowded and the simple fact is, the spaces really do need to go to clients. So, I’ll pass for tomorrow and take care of my long to-do list. Maybe, maybe I can mange June although at the moment, it seems to already be filling up.

Anyway, my morning started with the Veterans of Foreign Wars having their ceremony at the local cemetery where volunteers take small flags and stick them into the ground of veterans’ graves. We did have rain for a while although people still turned out and Mother Nature did relent before the speech parts were completed so the movement among the graves could be done in sunshine.

The noontime event shifted to the American Legion where the Boy Scout Troop they sponsor has the flag retirement ceremony. This is where the flags are cut and burned in accordance with established protocol. They do this two or three times and year and people can bring their old flags at any time to be stored until a ceremony is held.

Under the circumstances, we haven’t invited anyone over for dinner tonight which will be burgers. We have some corn on the cob in the freezer we need to use, too, and that’s a nice traditional Memorial Day food. Oh shoot, I just realized I forgot to pick up an apple pie. Ah well, I can make the claim we didn’t need dessert.

A Sports Weekend….

One of our “community support” activities Sunday was attend the ribbon cutting for the Homestead Football Club; the semi-pro soccer club we now have. What we didn’t know  was the Mayor also attended another “sports debut”. Here’s that part from his FB post. “This weekend saw a showcasing of two new athletic opportunities for the youth of our community.The LuMaDe Girls Beach Volleyball League held a public event at the sports complex following a day of tournament play among 15 teams. The gym at the former YMCA site is their “home field” and I am certain in the coming years, we will see some of these young ladies compete in the Olympics.” (Then he talked about the FC)

When he was telling us about volleyball while we waited to go onto the field for the Football Club ribbon cutting, I was reminded of school volleyball where at my height, playing the net was certainly not good. I was good at setting up though and could manage a decent serve. Soccer was not in our schools back then although I suppose they might have had it in other parts of the country. It was popular by the time Dustin came along, but the one time when I managed to get my act together and take him at maybe age five for open registration, it didn’t go well. It was one of those situations where he seemed to be maybe the only kid who hadn’t tried the game before and I wasn’t any help. He said he wasn’t interested in going back and I didn’t press him. When we moved to Maryland, he played Little League baseball for a while with his friends. Karate was what he took to later rather than team sports.

Anyway, having more sports opportunities for all ages is good and there is a plan to increase the number of soccer fields here as they can’t currently accommodate all the teams that want to play.


Triple Booked Again…..

I genuinely do try to not schedule more than two events in a single day, but there are times when things converge. In the case of tomorrow, the third event popped up while we were on our trip and even if I had known prior to leaving I would have been committed anyway. The day will begin at 10:30 a.m. as the longest event (an annual one) I always cover in a dual role. It is somewhat related to Homestead Center for the Arts and I write the article for the paper. I will then dash home to change clothes to run by another annual event; Military Appreciation Day. Hubby is very much involved in that one and will be at the venue part of this afternoon for set-up and all day tomorrow through closing. The time on that means he can’t attend the third event which is part of the housing area we live in. That is close by though and I would ordinarily walk to it, but my plan is to drive because as soon as it’s over, I will go to Krab Kingz where I will order take-out for dinner.

Although we had discussed doing a slow cooker meal, the back-and-forth timing is likely to be a bit tricky, so carry-out will be easier and we haven’t had seafood yet this week. As I think I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had this “plus-up” of seafood places and the Krab Kingz is the one run by a very lovely couple who were the first in place. We have tried the other two which are more sit-down and therefore have a certain type of appeal. I do like to support Krab Kingz though and this will work out well.

Texas Trip, Day 2……

The second day of driving went as smoothly as these trips can. We were able to time looping around New Orleans and through Baton Rouge to avoid peak traffic. We didn’t encounter any rain and inevitable construction zones weren’t too bad. For anyone who has never been to Houston, it is like every major city. While we weren’t at peak time, there was lots of traffic and a few spots of slow with a little stop-and-go.

My sister actually lives in Bellaire which is an old established small town basically engulfed as Houston expanded. They have their own police force and I don’t know what all else is independent, but lots of mature trees – especially oaks are seen throughout the neighborhoods. My sister and her husband did like many and purchased a modest ranch house for the express purpose of tearing it down and building large to where there is limited yard compared to house. The original type houses are still around although the others are far more common.

Today will be spent with Hubby and brother-in-law going off on a couple of errands and my sister taking me to one of the last shoe shops in town that carries a variety of size 4.5’s. As I have posted before, I can generally wear a 5 in sandals (in the limited of those I can find), but it’s different for close-toe shoes. I am literally down to one pair of flats. The intent today is pick up a couple of pair and once I have a brand that fits, I can then order on-line as needed. We’ll do lunch somewhere, too and tonight we’re going to a nearby enjoyable steakhouse. It is Texas after all.

Of Cars and Trucks…..

A recent conversation reminded me of one of those amusing aspects when I was in the advanced stage of pregnancy. My first husband and I were solidly with him as a General Motors guy and me as Ford with Dodge close second. Now I actually had one of the first RX-7’s brought into Clarksville, TN when we married. That was because many of us singles had sports cars and while I would have gone for another Mustang; being a “first” with the RX-7 was too hard to resist. Anyway, my husband had a Corvette and I don’t recall how many he’d had prior to that. The point is a distinct lack of cargo space in either car and we did buy a house. With a house you have to do things and my husband was quite handy. That means hauling stuff like bags of mulch, etc., Being newly wed I surprised him when I sacrificed my RX-7 and swapped it out for a Chevy Silverado truck for him. While I didn’t derive any particular pleasure in driving the Corvette, he had it for the weekends.

As I think I’ve posted in the past, I became unexpectedly pregnant early in the marriage and that was all fine and good. I never had any sort of physical problems – no morning sickness or anything serious.  I did deal with the  minor issues like I couldn’t eat certain foods due to getting heartburn more easily. Anyone who is familiar with a Corvette knows it sits low and in the last part of my pregnancy my belly was of course much bigger and, I “carried the baby high”. (Note: wives’ tale said that meant it was a boy and that did turn out to be true). So, trying to get into and out of the Corvette became extremely difficult. Not that climbing in and out of the truck was much better, however, there was a handle on the door and the running board. So here I am at eight months pregnant now driving a big truck while my husband had his Corvette back. In truth, we knew we would need a family car (that was before they had extended cabs options to allow for a “back seat” in trucks). Not long before son made his appearance, my husband decided he did like having a truck and traded out the Corvette for a Buick Electra.

Tricky Weather….

My hopes for going diving yesterday had already been disrupted because I had to schedule a meeting instead. The weather was going to be a bit tricky anyway and sure enough, they had to cancel the trip. I felt badly for everyone who could have gone and much of yesterday afternoon it did look as if we were going to get rain . We didn’t, but apparently the front simply slowed down as we’ve been having rain for a while now, to include thunder.

Hubby had decided it wasn’t going to rain and put water in the pool yesterday so I’m not sure if we caused it. We had a breakfast event this morning and after we returned, he got his gear together to head for the Everglades hoping for lightning shots and birds. I think I have explained before I do have a level of concern with the whole photographing lightning even though he does have some pretty spectacular shots. He did take a workshop where they emphasized all the safety measures to take. I don’t quite get the fascination, but he’s by no means the only one in the Camera Club who enjoys it. They do have a app for their phones that provides distance and I guess direction for lightning that’s within ten miles. (I think that’s how it’s set.) It all seems a bit odd to me, but I also think when he did his last camera lens upgrade, he may have gotten one that does better in the rain. It does do better in low light since he has to shoot nighttime events and I may be only imagining the rain part. Ah well, here’s hoping it passes before I leave. I do keep an umbrella in the vehicle as everything from light drizzle to torrential downpours are known to happen when they say, “isolated, scattered showers”.

Talk About Long Friendships…..

BFF may be a fairly recent term, but many Babyboomers have at least one friendship they can date back to decades. It may have started in elementary/middle/high school or like one friend of mine when we met at Fort McClellan going through WAC (Woman’s Army Corps) training. In some places, it can go back to simply being raised as neighbors.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman contacted the paper and said her mother and another woman have been friends for a long time and both are coming up on their 100th birthdays. Oh yes, that’s the kind of community story we always love to share.

The editor was hoping we could get both women together, but that was going to be difficult so Hubby and I arranged to go see the mother and daughter that called and then go over about fifteen minutes away to see the other mom and daughter. Both women were in remarkably good shape and the first one had her pack of cigarettes on the table. Interestingly both originally came from Ohio, and met their respective husbands in college. The friendship began in 1954 and is going strong. They don’t see each other as much today with it being more difficult to get around. Over the years, they both lost their husbands and each a son. There are, however, the surviving children and lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The second woman lives on what is basically a “family complex” of 40 acres and when they have their Sunday dinners, 20-25 are usually involved. As we were leaving there, her daughter confided her mother insisted on putting her pack of cigarettes out of sight for the interview; that coffee and cigarettes were still her daily habit.

This is a really long link and I’ve given the important points, but the photos are nice. You probably have to cut and paste since I don’t know if a link shows up when I publish the post: