Monday Will be Eight……

Birthdays on Mondays are awkward and the kids only get Sundays off in a regular week. Granddaughter will be eight on Monday and not surprisingly the celebration will be on Sunday, the 12th. I’m not sure what they’re doing as last year she chose to take a few friends to a park that features climbing type activities. Not rock wall climbing, more like netting and ropes.

There will also no doubt be posts of “how have eight years gone by?”, the inevitable question as children enter new phases. The other day I heard a new song on the radio although I didn’t catch the name. It’s the same theme as the one several years ago, “Don’t Blink’, where the old man being interviewed on his 100th birthday gave that advise to express how quickly we move through life events. Like many of us when we’re kids, it is the, “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to…….” – whatever it may be. I have had those times in my life that do seem to drag on and there are most assuredly people in particular situations who need to “get through to be in a better place”. As one of the aging Babyboomers and with several friends now in their late seventies/early eighties, there is the tendency to look back at an event and be surprised to realize the number of years that passed since then. I have half-a-dozen standard topics I do talks for and one is “Refining Your Bucket List”. A point that I make is there are some items you might need to factor in age as a “resource”. The example I use is you always wanted to go white water rafting in the Grand Canyon and learn to grow orchids. For most people, learning about orchids in their eighties will be more practical than white water rafting at that point. Yes, I know there are a lot of very active seniors, but I am talking about the average person.


Small Town Advantages…..

I’ve posted before about creating the town of Wallington, GA when I wrote the “Small Town” Quilting series. I used  four towns I’ve lived in or have visited extensively; one in Georgia, one in Louisiana, one in Maine, and here in South Florida. I threw in other things as needed for descriptions, plot, or character support.

Small towns are definitely not for everyone. E-commerce and all the on-line deliveries available now though has gone a long way to minimizing one of the big drawbacks which is limited access to goods. Then again, there is also the definition of “small”. Census data uses a range of less than 5,000 although less than 10,000 is referred to as well. For me, around 15-20,000 is more my comfort zone, which isn’t the kind of  “true small town” where literally everybody knows everybody. When I go back to visit Louisiana, my stops include the range of the very small place where my favorite aunt and cousins live to the larger university town, and of course I was going to the town where Daddy lived. There’s no one left there for me to visit although I may need to make another trip to take care of one lingering task.

Anyway, what prompted this post was I spent a frustrating part of yesterday morning trying to reach Social Security to get a piece of information about Daddy. Not surprisingly, he didn’t have an on-line account. Without getting into dreary detail, I was at that stage of raising my voice at the robot “help”. And yes, I had looked everywhere I could to try and send a query on-line. After my second round of calls attempting to get through, I  did finally get passed to wait for a representative. That went to a “we can’t accept any more calls today. Please call back at another time”, plus a couple of comments about how busy they are. I then had a thought and looked up the number to the actual office in the town where Daddy lived. I waited until afternoon and tried the main number once again just to be fair. No luck on even the first round of trying to get help. I then called the office and spoke with an actual human. He listened to my problem, looked up what I needed and will allegedly mail it to me today. No, he didn’t know Daddy – the town isn’t that small – yet he was sympathetic and was willing to help.

Gotten Behind Again and Other….

February is that oddly short month that tends to throw everyone off. Couple that with some extra items/tasks thrown in and it does seem to truly “fly by”. Anyway, it seems as if everyone decides to then schedule virtually everything else in March with hardly a day in the coming month without some event or needing to prepare for an event. This is Women’s History month which accounts for part of it. Then there are two major fundraisers for two different organizations – okay, technically three, but one of those sort of wraps it in with the Woman’s History angle.

We do have some awesome women around and it’s always good to celebrate Sisterhood. By that I mean the genuine kind; not the thin veneer slapped on to fit a specific occasion. I looked up some different quotes and hadn’t seen these two before. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie. Also, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand.

Quite some time ago, I did a post (maybe more than once) about how from my perspective genuine sisterhood includes understanding that choosing to be a “traditional mom” has a special place, too. I don’t dispute we appreciate Marie Curie’s accomplishments and Ayn Rand had a tremendous influence on me in my early twenties. Not everyone is going to be a groundbreaker/pioneer or famous. And not every woman actually has a choice to be a “stay at home” wife or mother instead of juggling job (or career) and family. To insist though that it “doesn’t count” unless you are juggling both is inappropriate. Shifting gears, I am also heartened to see when girls/young women look at IT and the trades as a path. This is still an area where women lag behind and we’ll see what the future brings with it.

Popular Music By Generation……..

Last night we had an event with Homestead Center for the Arts in what we call MuSe – Music Series. We started it several years ago and quite frankly, it may have run its course, but that’s not the point of this post. The band that the other committee member found was a local I wasn’t familiar with. We bring in different genres for MuSe and hadn’t done 60s-70s rock for a while. I had been told the lead singer was quite good and that was certainly true. The whole band was and the range of songs was extensive. Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, and others – all cover stuff so I don’t know if they do their own.

Anyway, a long time ago I made the comment about you know your age at the moment you say, “I just don’t get today’s music.” When Rap and Hip Hop came along, I didn’t care for it although I did understand the appeal. (The violence/profanity aspect was a whole different thing, but again, that’s not the point of the post.) I  don’t listen to the radio in general except in the car and yes, the primary stations are classic rock and country. I will admit some of the really old country is okay, although I don’t care for the common “twang” that was popular at the time. I’m the same way with my parents’ music of Big Band and while it’s good for a special event, that’s about it. When talking about  today’s music, the only reason I know any of the names is because they are often in the news. I have no idea who sings what and I’m sure some songs are good – I just don’t plan to try and find out.

Extra Busy Week…..

The days have been a bit extra jammed lately between helping a couple of people out more than usual added to the already generally full schedule. In fact, I am on my way shortly to cover an second piece for the community paper. This popped up late yesterday and it’s something Hubby would ordinarily cover. It’s an important infrastructure project that is part of a multi-phased program and he covered a critical first part not long ago. He had something else planned for today he couldn’t change and I had to juggle my day a bit to make it work. This happens to be what I call “no creativity required” because it really is a “who, what, where, when, how” piece. My one hope is they have some kind of written program or more detailed press release as there are likely to be at least a few people I am not familiar with and trying to properly identify them for the photos might be tricky. Anyway, that will take care of my piece for next week. I actually have a feel-good one I’m working on, but it isn’t time-sensitive. There are weeks when the editor needs something additional and this is the kind of piece that works well for that.

Continuing on in that vein, one of the reasons I am valuable to the paper is because I am always out and about in the community and run across – or am told – about these kinds of things. Naturally, I am occasionally approached with a topic/event that isn’t suitable, but as a community paper, highlighting local successes or events the public can share in is important. As I have noted in several posts, I have gone to assignments reluctantly, not aware of how heartwarming, uplifting, exciting, or just cool the story would turn out to be.

“You’ve Got A Friend”…..

I have posted before about attending concerts at our Seminole Theatre. We get some headliners and occasional one-tier up performers, but for musicians, it is primarily “tribute band/singers” those performers who play the music of a particular band or individual musician. All the ones we’ve attended have been quite good and last night was Sweet Baby James, a singer who does James Taylor songs. He was excellent and like many who do this, they devote a lot of study to the band/individual and often share those stories.

Last night was no exception as he saved, “Fire and Rain” and “You’ve Got A Friend”, to close out the show. What he shared was something I suppose was known back when the songs came out. James Taylor struggled with depression much of his life and when he was away in England making an important album, his dear friend “Suzanne” took her own life. Other friends agreed they should not tell him until his return because they were afraid he wouldn’t be able to cope with the news and focus on this important work. Thus the line in “Fire and Rain” of not knowing Suzanne was gone. It is an incredibly sad song with the other line of, “there’s been times when I could not find a friend”. He and Carole King were very close and apparently often shared band members as they were doing their albums. After hearing “Fire and Rain”, she wrote, “You’ve Got a Friend”, specifically for him to let him know he could always depend on her. He asked to be allowed to record it, and they both did so on their respective albums. Ironically, it was the only Number 1 hit he ever had although many of his songs did rank high on the charts.

There was a nice crowd for a Wednesday and everyone was impressed.

More Tech Troubles…..

Hubby was always a fan of Bill the Cat with his “Arrrrgh..” exclamation for various situations. I am definitely having an “Arrrrgh..” situation. Back on Christmas Eve I discovered my computer was failing. We did some workarounds and bought a new computer. Just as I was getting mostly used to the differences in it, my main printer died. Really? I mean really? Fine, replaced that the other day with the usual transition woes. I’m not even going to get into Monday’s frustration when we tried to run a hybrid Zoom meeting using my new computer. Let’s say there were multiple problems which we think have been resolved.

This morning – and at least this is the one day this week I could deal with this – my new, spiffy computer would not come on. I tried the usual before bothering Hubby who did have morning boat which meant he couldn’t help any more it if he couldn’t get it going. He had no luck either and I had a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. So pack up the computer and go see the Geeks after the meeting. Fortunately, a tech was available and even thought for about 20 minutes there was an easy fix. Not happening as it turned out, and worse, it could take 2 or 3 days. As with lots of people, I have become so dependent on the computer that 2 or 3 days is going to be really hard to deal with. Now, if Hubby can fix me up with his laptop again and if he didn’t erase my files from the external hard drive he set up for me a few weeks ago, that will be mostly workable.

While I have my small travel computer, for some odd reason, I can’t connect to wireless on it upstairs. That of course makes no sense, but it doesn’t much matter. He gets in a little earlier today than if he had afternoon boat and I will do my best to let him catch his breath a bit when he gets home before he tackles trying to get me a temporary fix. I also really hope the Geeks come through with.

Humming Bird Briefly……

One morning while the kids were here, daughter-in-law spotted a hummingbird. I though she was mistaken at first because we hadn’t seen one yet. We don’t have the feeder as out it became rather nasty sitting out over the summer and I’m not sure it’s properly cleaned or if it needs to be replaced. Anyway, she was correct and we all saw it (less Hubby who was teaching). The thing is though, that was the only time. We are still somewhat puzzled as to why the neighborhood barely a mile away has hummingbirds year-round and at least up until now, we have only the migratory ones Nov-April. Last year, the two we had actually spent as much time in the front yard as in back so we didn’t see them very often.

We do have lots of butterflies and bees as the flowering shrubs in back are densely planted and now do overlap with each other to make pretty much a continuing stretch along the back fence. I still don’t know the name of all of them, but we have the Chocolate Raspberry which are kind of a trumpet type blossom, the giant milkweed which has grown very large, then some kind of red blossom – there may actually be two different kinds, and a yellow one. There will be times when we have as many as half-a dozen butterflies flitting about and always a few. They are predominantly the zebras, monarchs, a small yellow I don’t know the name of, and three or four other varieties. The bees are constant throughout much of the day. Granddaughter was a little concerned and we explained they were just there to gather pollen and wouldn’t try to sting.

We will keep close watch for the humming bird and we do still have the flock of green parrots that come over about once a day as they roam between neighborhoods. We usually have two or three at a time and occasionally as many as a dozen. Even if we don’t happen to see them because of the angle they are at, they are easy to hear.

Gap During the “Whirl”….

The good new is the kids were not delayed by much this year with their flight. It does tend to be “a whirl” of activity when they’re here. Part of that though is to allow “Mom and Dad” to sleep in as granddaughter is the other “early bird” in the family. She usually gets up around 7:00 and joins me to give them an extra hour or so. Then it’s a real breakfast and off for an adventure. The kicker is trying to make sure the day’s adventure gets them back in time for a pool session, then manage whatever dinner plans we have. Yesterday was extra tricky as they decided to go a greater distance than usual to Shark Valley, one of the parts of the Everglades to the west. One of our neighbors was coming to dinner and Hubby had to go get my new computer. It did all work out without much time to spare. The pool conditions weren’t the most comfortable – water is at 84 with the heater on – it’s the air when you get out that makes it less than ideal. With granddaughter’s latest growth spurt and the max depth of the pool at five feet, she can now go one-third the length and it isn’t over her head. She still doesn’t want to put her face in the water, but is good with dog paddle and can make the length in that way. Mom and Dad provide the audience and we did set a 30-minute limit which went just a little longer.

Suvi for sushi and Thai food was Tuesday night and we did pork tenderloin and chicken with sides here last night. Today is date day for the kids and if they get stirring in time, we’ll drop them off at the movies where they will catch as early show and then have a leisurely lunch at Chefs on the Run. Granddaughter and I have our own adventure planned. Hubby is of course working although he will be home in the afternoon. He’ll make the run to Publix to finish provisioning for Saturday’s party as I once again will do pool time. He has been in the cold water for days now teaching so I want to give him this break.

Planning Adventures…..

I have grocery list from daughter-in-law now and granddaughter’s favorites haven’t changed much, so will do the rest of the provisioning Monday. Am still keeping fingers crossed they have no significant flight delays as last year was really bad and we lost almost two days of visiting. With the horse/farm experience locked into place, that leaves them with two days for adventure as a three-some and one “date day” which they usually choose for a movie. Traffic is so bad going into the Keys this time of year, they might pass on doing anything down there. On the other hand, if they can be on the road by a little before 11:00, it can be more manageable.

Anyway, granddaughter has never been to Monkey Jungle or Coral Castle, both great places the kids haven’t been to for a while either. They did Everglades Outpost Wildlife Refugee last year and the regular Alligator Farm the year prior so those probably aren’t on the list. Granddaughter may want some repeats though and we can play everything by ear. We have not yet checked out Heritage Market now they have their main building open and their new menu looks terrific. Their coffee is allegedly some of the best around as is the reputation of their ice cream and sorbet. It may make it onto the list for something. The threatened cold front is arriving and all we can do is hope the short duration followed by sun and the normal 80 degree weather does follow while they are here. As I have mentioned, it will mostly impact pool time. We have laid in hot chocolate which tends to be needed post-pool even when the temperature is better.

I’m still chipping away at the multiple domestic house-prep tasks to do. Linens are all swapped out and only a few things left to clean.