Saturday, March 28, 2009
I got her home at 8:00 and Hanna called me at 8:29 to tell me her Dad had died. She sobbed into the phone so I just talked. I know I told her that her grandpa (whom she calls Dad) was in a place now where he could look out for her and that he would love her always. I told her she was hurting so bad right now because she loved her grandfather so much and would miss him. I told her what a great grandpa he was and what a great granddaughter she had been.
She will be fine, I know, but Bill and I were both just in a daze when we got off the phone. My heart goes out to her and her family who have suffered so many losses.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The party planning group; Jeni, JoJo, Charlene, Bill and me are meeting here Sunday to discuss all the details large and small. We should have everything taken care of by then. Whew...that will be a great feeling to have all that taken care of. Perhaps we will be able after Sunday;all the way up until party day.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
On the third Saturday of the month, Plant City has a car show. Bill and I picked Hanna up last night to take her to the show. We had a nice time though Hanna seemed kind of dazed. That's understandable when I went into her home to get her. More family members were there from Georgia and the house is packed with people. Her grandfather was awake and alert today. He said he got a good night's sleep last night for the first time since he got home from the hospital. His daughter's told me that every time someone comes down to see him, he perks up and does real good for a couple of days. I told them that they were doing a great thing for their dad by having his family come in like that and it's something they would never regret. I remember Bob, my brother, was the same way. He'd seem so sick during the week and when someone came to spend the weekend (which was every weekend); he'd be the life of the party. I think family and friends help make the last days better, no matter how hard it gets to have people there when you have so much to do to keep things going. Hanna's Mom's, twin sisters who are daughters to the grandfather, are doing such a wonderful job of caring for him. They have to keep working but they take separate shifts and when they aren't working they are taking care of him, Hanna, her brother, and the people coming in. They sure have a lot on their plate.
We went to the Whistle Stop Café for dinner downtown by the railroad tracks. Plant City was built along the railroad track which was vital to this area's development. Our highlight of the night I think was this little boy that was in the seat behind us. He wanted to see a train with his whole being. He just knew that he'd see one but his grandpa would tell him he couldn't count on it. Bill told him that at 8 o'clock he bet there would be a train. (He has inside information). This little guy was so excited he was busting at the seams. Hanna and I just thought he was too cute for words so we were just hoping it would come on time for him. It did. The little guy was beside himself as his grandpa took him to the track. He came over to Bill after the train left to tell him all about it. LOL He was just adorable, so full of excitement. Hanna even said she was excited because he was so excited. LOL
That was more fun than the car show.
We went to the train museum after dinner and that was pretty interesting looking at some of the old memorabilia there. All in all it was a nice day and I'm glad we got Hanna out for a few hours.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
I was surprised to find that I have been given the Sisterhood Award from Pamposh from Manila (http://wanderingpam.blogspot.com/2009/03/wow-blogging-has-never-been-so-much-fun.html)who gave the award to me for my Blog I'd Like to Say. (Yea!!!) Now I can give this award to five other bloggers.
I was further honored that this blog was nominated, along with two others, to be the featured blog on the Women's Blogger Directory. I'm asking you who read my blog to please cast your vote for me in the upper right hand corner of the blog: http://womens-blogger-directory.blogspot.com/2009/03/award-for-womens-blogger-directory.html. It would mean a lot to me.
I would love to hear from you, too, if you were able to vote for I'd Like to Say. Thanks to all of you who do read. I wish more would comment so I know you are there but I do get quite a few emails. Now I know Pamposh Dhar and others from around the world were reading. J Talk about a smile on my face. It's hard to wipe it off right now.
I LOVE that I have 7 followers now!!!!
We kept seeing patches of our yard dug up and couldn't figure out what critter could be causing the damage. This morning, new camera in hand, I spotted the critter. I'll say it's an armadillo but I sure thought I'd have to go West to see one. I know we have our own owl, raccoon, and now an armadillo. The owl is cute, so's the raccoon, this armadillo is just strange looking. LOL
I read that Florida armadillos are nine banded and aren't native but they make their home here and proliferate. I did not realize that the plugs out of my yard could be worse. The article said they could even undermine the structure of your home with their digging. YIKES!
Bill had mentioned trapping the critter and relocating him but I think, from the sounds of it, we need to call a professional who will relocate the armadillo where he can't do any harm. We'll see how this plays out. LOL I'm having visions of possums we had in the attic and one dying up there.....oh, my, we practically had to rebuild the house we lived in then! I still think of possums when I think of that house. This was a huge subdivision, too, not a country home. When the trapper came he ended up catching a whole family of possums. Yuk. Not a pretty sight.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Today I went to the Womens' Club for the annual luncheon and card party. I don't play cards. sigh A lot of them play bridge and really take it seriously. I don't take games seriously either. If I am going to PLAY a game, I want to PLAY. LOL
So, they had two tables set up for those of us who do not play cards and we played dominoes. The game is different than any I have played. I think they call it Mexican Dominoes or train or something. It was more fun than the regular game of dominoes.
Anyway, we tried to keep the noise down, we domino women, but it was impossible. We just like to live on the wild side.
We did make some money for scholarships though so it was all good. We gave eleven scholarships away last year so we are hoping for more this year.
I tried my new camera out and hope they turn out to be better than any others. :) Wishful thinking here.
I won a door prize, a painting by a well known artist in this area, Jossie. I'm happy about that.
Nothing got done around the house today, it was play day almost all day!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Bill and I went to see Hanna's grandfather today. I met two hospice nurses; one was leaving and one coming on. They more or less prepared us for what we would see. He was so yellow. They said his liver was shutting down. He talked to us for a few minutes and then we left because we didn't want to tire him. We talked to some of his family and also one of Hanna's Moms. We had brought a ham dinner over and they were setting that all up for those that were there. I would have stayed to help but there were so many people in that little house so we just took our leave. It was a sobering visit. I think we are very aware of how precious this life is. I don't need any reminders but I keep getting them just the same. This situation with Hanna's grandfather is just a shock to everyone because one day he was fine and the next day he's dying. Or so it seemed. That's what everyone looked like, as if they were shell shocked. I'm hoping that the dinner will last them a few days, maybe ham sandwiches tomorrow. I'm just not sure what people are doing to help. I told them to call or have Hanna call me if they need anything but that was too general I know. I may call back tomorrow and just ask one of her Mom's what she needs and maybe just drop things off from time to time. I remember when Brian died how important that was for us because we couldn't seem to get it together for so long. Sigh Life is tough some times. Mr. D, Hanna's grandfather, believes in God and a hereafter and he told Bill he was ready to go but he'd sure like to stay a while longer. I'm glad we got to speak to him while he was still talking. They were talking about calling the Dr and that he would likely increase the dosage of morphine because Mr. D is in so much pain and can't go as long between injections. He said it was his stomach that hurt him so bad. So very sad.
I may not need any reminders right now about how precious life is but I sure did need the reminder of how important the colonoscopy was. Boy, do I dread that, the prep for it. I would dread hurting like he is hurting more though so I think I'll just sing a song as I chug a lug that awful concoction and prepare for my next one. I'll just be thankful I'm getting the test.
It's hard to say how long Mr. D had cancer. It started in his colon but has spread throughout his body. He would never go to the Dr., that's why they really knew he was sick when he told him he wanted to see a Dr. this time for what he thought was the flu he just couldn't shake.
Everyone please get tested when you need to and go for those check-ups. Mr. D may be ready to go but his granddaughter and grandson are not ready to loose him, nor are the rest of the family. It's really not for us that we do those things, though I know it should be that, too.
( http://www.brighamandwomens.org/patient/healthmatters/colorectalscreening.aspx )
Jeni and JoJo came over to show the florist and bartender the house and grounds and to exchange ideas about how to set up and how to decorate for the party. The bartender (Spunky Spirits, like that name) was full of neat ideas and she will be making a specialty drink for the bride and groom called the "Fliperoney". LOL Jeni and Tom will choose what is in it and it will be served at the party. Tom's nickname is Flip because his last name is Filipkowski. Filipkowski and Roney combine for a Fliperoney.
I found out an interesting tidbit. Jeni's work friends call her Jeni Roney, not just Jeni. They like the way the name sounds. LOL Now they will have to call her Jeni unless they want to go through Jeni Filipkowski, which seems unlikely. LOL She is glad to be moving up the alphabet from R to F though. J
We don't want the bartender to be prominent in this so we are hoping that the caterer will have some incredible ideas and be more visible. We still have our fingers crossed on a caterer. Jeni and JoJo were meeting with Charlene yesterday afternoon about the catering choices and discussion on that. Jen and Jojo also went to the bakery to give them their ideas for the cake. Jeni wants non traditional and since the whole party will be a beach theme, they are taking my painting of the two person chair on the beach and using that as a theme for the party. It will be on their drinks and the cake top. They have an idea of rounds of blue wavy cupcakes under the top layer of my painting reproduction and that that will look like ocean waves. We will see.
Then the flower person came which was a friend of theirs from work ,Sheryl. Sheryl also had a lot of ideas and some money saving ones which I just loved. LOL She stayed with us for lunch. Bill had made a pot of soup (garbanzo bean) and I had sandwiches and then a St. Patty's green icing cake (raspberry with cream icing which was really good) and we just talked about the wedding and different things. It was a beautiful day and we ate out by the pool. These girls, er, women, work so hard and I'm glad this party will give them an opportunity to relax and help celebrate Jeni and Tom's wedding.
Things are really coming together. JoJo and Charlene are great planners and they have some great friends or friends who know people that really are helping out. One of the women brought up the subject of "what if it rains". Well, it just won't be allowed and if it does we will just have a lot of soaking wet people running around outside! Thankfully they won't ruin their best clothes because this is a beachy, very casual party. LOL
This meeting took a load off, seeing how organized they are (especially JoJo) and that we are getting good people in to do these jobs. Now, fingers still crossed about the caterer.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Hanna (Little Sister) called me to come get her. I talked to one of her Mom's (her two aunts are raising her) and found out her Grandfather, who Hanna calls her Dad, went to the Dr because he thought he had the flu. The diagnosis is last stage of colon cancer.
There's nothing they can do but make him comfortable. He has maybe two months to live. I went to pick her up and hospice has set everything up for him there but he looked so bad. Hospice is there 24 hours a day. I saw him a week ago and he looked fine and he was working in the garage building some shelves. This week he's dying.
I just played it by ear with Hanna. She is hurting I know. Her parents died when she was two and her grandpa is really the only Dad she has had. I told her we could have dinner here or go out to Brandon to meet Bill for dinner out. She wanted to see Bill and tell him about her Grandpa so we did. It was heartbreaking. She just hung onto Bill like she did me. She is usually more reserved with Bill. Bill asked her how her Grandpa was and she began to tell him what had happened and she finally laid her head down on the table like it was just too much. I told her she never had to talk about it unless she wanted to. I gave her ideas of what to say to people like, "This isn't a good time for me to talk about that, can we talk about something else". But she insisted she did want to finish the story about how they found out about her grandpa and she did. Oh, my. This is so hard on her but she really does understand what is happening and I think she is prepared as well as a nine year old can be. She said she understands that her Grandpa is old and he will die but she just wished that she could have some more time to talk to him. I didn't, of course, tell her that her Grandpa was younger than I am! I notified Big Brother/Big Sisters so they may be of help.
She kept saying what if something happens to my Mom's, what will I do, who will take care of me. I told her that her aunt's were very young to be Mom's and that it was unlikely that they would die for a very very long time. She understands that but I know this worries her. We made cards for her Grandfather and she took her painting home that she had entered into the Strawberry Festival so she was excited about getting back home to show everyone her work and give her grandpa the cards.
I kind of expect a call any time though. I do know that he is in a lot of pain right now if he's not sleeping.
His family is down from Georgia and I'm trying to imagine where they are all sleeping, but I know they belong to a big church and I'm thinking they are helping out.
I'll take a ham and some side dishes tomorrow and will find out how he is then. This little girl has had so many losses in her life. I feel so bad for her right now.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Something extraordinary happened to me today. I went to pick a painting up from the framers. SOHO sales a lot of creative things but in the back of the store they have a frame shop. I like it there because they are so helpful when I'm indecisive on color or mat or frame style. They will give there opinion and usually a very good, artistic one. I have been to frame shops who say, "it depends one what you like" if I ask them what THEY think about a choice I make. Well, duh, I do know it's up to me and my choice but I want another opinion, too, or I wouldn't ask. So, anyway, I got to know the women who work in the frame shop at SOHO. When I walked in to pick up my framed painting, I saw the Artist of the Month article about me BEAUTIFULLY framed and hanging there on this big wall as you approach the shop. Sherri, the framer said it was there gift to me, that they loved the article and wanted to frame it for me. It's beautiful. I was speechless (for probably the first time in...ever!). I had to walk away for a few minutes and go back. It's an expensive frame job, too. I am amazed that a store would do that for someone. Well, needless to say they have my loyalty forever. LOL
Thing is, Bill went to the Focus Magazine to get the original photo and article so we would have a clean copy, and I was going to have that framed anyway.
This day has me smiling, what a wonderful surprise.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The speaker was from the Tampa Extension Service and she talked on Conservation. she said a few things that I hadn't thought about or was unaware of.
For instance: Save water that runs in your shower (before it gets hot) in pails and water your plants with it.
Washing your dishes by hand takes more water than the dishwasher (this was news to me). Don't rinse dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, just scrape them good.
Buy appliances with an energy star on them.
Front door washer and dryers use less water and energy than top loading.
Insulate pipes., fix leaks, use low flow shower heads,
If you are leaving the house for even a few days, unplug everything
Even though you don't turn something on, just having them plugged in uses a bit of electricity.
Recycle phone books
Put a water bottle (Like the ones we carry around with us) in your plants upside down and it will water your plant sometimes for up to a week.
Trees help with air polution
ATM - If you indicate you do not want a receipt at the ATM, you are conserving paper
Wash you car at a car wash that recycles their water instead of at home.
Make sure toilets are low flow newer ones
Not much new to me but some were.
Karla, Jeni, and Jennifer. The shower began at 5p.m. in Karla's gorgeous home in Valrico. Jennifer, the other friend that was hosting the party, was playing bar tender in the room upstairs when we arrived. Karla has decorated the upstairs in a man's paradise of sports memorabilia, big screen TV, bar, and comfy leather couch facing the TV. The pool table was covered to allow for the appetizers.
Smells from the kitchen wafted up the stairs. Karla's Mom, Joni, is a wonderful cook, I had heard that, but I didn't know what a good cook Karla is. The food was wonderful!!! The house, when I entered looked very Italian style to me and when I mentioned that Jeni informed me that Karla IS Italian so that would explain that. LOL We spilled out onto her lanai and her beautiful pool area and just enjoyed the whole place so much.
Jeni and her friends wore their Channelside Bachelorette party clothes and they were all so stunning! Tom's Mom, Kay;his sister, Pam; and sister's daughter, Leah (photo below)were there and it was so nice to be together, just us women and catch up. It was such a joy to connect again with Jeni's friends. They are such wonderful women and I'm glad I know them. They are all special to me.
Jeni opened the gifts and then we ate cake. There were three cakes. One was incredible looking with strawberries and cream icing but two of them were incredibly strange and I won't go into that part but it appeared to be body parts and, though absolutely delicious, I tried not to look at what part I was eating. It was all so yummy though!!! The real shocker is that I heard Joni was the producer of these tasty treats! I didn't believe them though, Joni! It was only a rumor.
One really exasperating thing is that I was taking most of the photos with my camera that I had just got out of the shop (it was ruined in the rain in Costa Rica, fixed supposedly)and most of the shots are really blurry. The camera is under warranty and we took it back but it's so frustrating because these photos can't be replaced. They were terrible. I'm relying on others that took photos to have some good ones. I definitely have my camera issues. I'm going to start having a back up always! For now, I'll just live with those wonderful memories of a perfect night.
It was wonderful just watching Jeni and seeing her so happy.
The younger and livelier women then went downtown to Channelside to finish the party. We older fuddy-duddys headed home to bed. J
One more month until the wedding now. I sure hope I have a camera that works by then! Make that two! We will have photographers at the wedding party, thankfully.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I miss the Skywriters today but I'm thinking of the gifts they left behind. The best gift of all are the memories. I remember the writers about the house and on the porches, in the gazebo and riding in the golf cart, in the hot tub, and some in the cold pool, some walking back from their morning exercises; their faces in deep study as they hunched over computers or pad and pen, reading their poems aloud to us,their distinct voices, hugs, quiet times for work, laughter through the house, food smells from each unique cook, smiling faces, talks into the night, reciting poetry we liked, the choice of the perfect gardenia in honor of Lynne and her mom who loved them, all the little gifts of caring and sharing, and how we took our craft seriously. What a memory it all is and I cherish them all.
I think of Peggy in her ladybug pj's, Ann and Diane getting in from their walk; Ann with golf club in hand using as a walking stick and animal tamer. LOL
Diane leading our opening ceremony and reading to us what she wrote about us as a group for that occasion. That touched us all, and then she introduced us to a meditation she uses at the closing ceremony.
Ann giving a demonstration on different hand bound books she makes. Peggy and Diane brought chapbooks and showed how they differ and how they are alike and what award winners looked like. We read at night from those books and other poetry, sharing the ones that resonated with us.
Dolly brought in her Costa Rican coffee for everyone and also the coffee liquor and her sitting in the lotus position on the couch, working away. What's up with that anyway, my legs haven't been in that position since they gauged my age in months! Lynne passing out personalized wind-chimes (mine was lady bugs) and other gifts in a pretty gift bag. Peggy's flowers that were a lovely addition to our table and our closing ceremony.
Ann presenting her wonderful creation, a matchbox opening to present a poem about us. Precious indeed. Dolly showing us how to cut a mango just right so it comes out beautifully every time.
Diane brought two huge containers of her homemade oatmeal/raisin/cranberry/nut cookies that were out of this world. SOOOOOO good! The gifts of homemade dinners here presented to the rest of us each night. There were incredible meals of grilled salmon, chicken rotini, arroz con pollo, garbanzo bean soup. These were complete with beautiful and delicious salads and scrumptious desserts. Yum!
Bill listened to our poems, geared to someone who doesn't care for poetry. He critiqued each one in a valuable way to us, and choosing the ones that meant the most to him even though he doesn't like poetry (gasp). Bill was also a good tour guide and helper in things we needed to get or have done when we were hard at work. He got to know the Skywriters better and told me what he liked about each of them. He really DID know them after these 10 years we have been together.
We even had fun going to the grocery that first day. We ate at the Colonnade on Bayshore Blvd and the women treated Bill and I to a wonderful fish dinner overlooking the bay and Tampa.
We had strawberry shortcake for breakfast at Parkesdale Farms and then ate it again that night at St. Clement's booth at the Festival.
As our group got smaller when the retreat ended, those of us who walked around beautiful downtown Plant City in a few antique and gift shops ended up at the tea room for Plant City strawberry tea (of course) and donned the hats jprovided that transported Lynne, Peggy and I to a different era (English with a southern flair).
My artist of the month interview came out in the Focus magazine while THEY were here..woo-hoo. The timing was perfect.
I now have memories of us at the Strawberry Festival but with a twist..we almost froze sitting there watching Travis Tritt perform. We huddled together as we heard him sing T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
Seeing all the exhibits at the festival including the painting by my little sister, Hanna, and the three by me.
That's enough for now, many more memories, and others keep popping up. Something someone said that made us laugh or a photo op gone wrong, an offering of a poem written from the heart and given as a gift to us, gathering together for a common purpose, not the least of which is to bond more and to discover new ways to take our art and our lives just by being here as a group. (Like all that healthy eating going on here...I mean, what's up with that...but a little of it DID rub off on me because I'm thinking about it. LOL)
These are the images that come to me today as I think about our retreat. Much love and hugs to each of you who were here and became a part of this time and place: Thank you writer women Ann, Dolly, Peggy, Diane, and Lynne for making our second annual retreat a success.p>
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
We wake up over breakfast at Parkesdale Farms. Yep, it was strawberry shortcake for breakfast! I'm glad that the Skywriter women enjoyed Parkesdale as much as I do. We had huge strawberry shortcakes and walked around through produce and the beautiful,unusual flowers there. We also perused photos taken when President Obama and John McCain were through here to enjoy their shortcakes. J
We went by to see the car lot and visit with Bill and our manager, Larry. While we were there Carlos the postman came in. I'm glad the women got to meet Carlos. I always feel like I'm in a sit-com when he comes in. Carlos is always in a good mood and can he talk! LOL He's a fun guy to be around. Now when he and our driver/good friend, Darrell is there, too, it's all really hopeless. You are gonna laugh! Bill's office is very retro and I'm glad they got to see the Lone Ranger/old car/old toy room. LOL
Dolly and Diane left us before lunch. Diane drove here from Boca and Dolly had flown from Costa Rica to Diane's and made the trip with her. Diane's car is SO Diane. It's a mini-cooper convertible, bright yellow with John Lennon license plates. Love that car! Dolly's husband, George, flew in from Costa Rica and they will go on down to Sarasota to visit with some of Dolly's family and then on north to visit with George's brother so they are really making the rounds this trip to the states.
Peggy, Lynne and I went on to the historic downtown Plant City. We looked in some of the antique and gift shops but ended up at the Camellia Rose Tea Room. What fun we had. Hats were provided for our tea and we each donned them with delight. We felt transported to another era. LOL We couldn't stop laughing at each other in the hats but we really were impressed with how snazzy each looked in theirs. The lunch was delicious. Hot soup on this cold day was perfect and the sandwiches were incredible. We had a variety of finger sandwiches. This was English tea with a Southern flair. We tried to get the recipe for the chicken salad but we couldn't budge them in their determination to keep it a secret. Very unusual and very good. We had the Plant City Strawberry tea and just ooh and ahhed over everything. I love their gift shop, too, and we had fun perusing that. I think we all came out of there with some ideas and some gifts as well.
We decided we needed a rest after our trip downtown so we went home to relax a bit before we went to the Strawberry Festival. http://www.flstrawberryfestival.com\ I'm glad they were able to see this festival for the first time. We went to the free seats to see Travis Tritt perform and that was enjoyable even though we had to huddle up to keep warm. We also heard a gospel group perform in one of the tents that we all thought was very good. The funniest thing that happened is that they had this place where you could sit in dentist chairs and get your teeth whitened on the spot. Bill did it! We had fun teasing him about that, and took photos as well, of course. LOL
We saw Hanna's painting and my paintings, all three. I was interesting in seeing this year's winners to see what the judges were looking for. Sometimes it's hard to figure out, but this time it was obvious to me. So much excellent talent represented. I always enjoy seeing the arts and also the crafts and the food items that were judged and on display. The cake decoration display was fun to see as well as the quilting, needlework, knitting and crocheted things.
We came home and the two women prepared for their journey home from here to California. This house is going to be terribly quiet tomorrow and I will miss these women. What fun we have had writing and creating and getting closer as a group and individually. I think Bill and Lexi will miss them almost as much as I will. What a wonderful group of writers and friends. I am just delighted that now I will have memories of them being here at the house, the business, in the towns, and at the festival. Each of these women who are writers are a blessing.