Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mrs. B's Top Ten Thankfuls Four: My Friends

There's that saying that you can't pick your family but you can pick your friends; friends are the family you wish you had.  I can't say this is true for me as I'm pretty lucky in my family BUT I will say that I've been really, really blessed in the friendships I've had throughout my life.  And, as another saying goes, (paraphrasing here), people come into your life for a reason, a season, or forever.  So goes my friendships.

My forever friends.  Oh, my; whatever would I do without them?  There's only a small handful of them and each person is as different as could possibly be from the others.  Perhaps this reflects how they speak and relate to different aspects of my personality or life style.  Perhaps this is also why these friendships, although always there, have waxed and waned over the years depending on what happens to be going on in each of our lives.  In any case, I do know this.  We may disagree on things; maybe even some fairly important things.  We may have differing views on politics and religion, opposing opinions on societal issues and extremely varied personal interests; however what we do have in common is the bond of memory; all of the times we've shared over the years (good and bad); these tie us firmly together; and, I'm betting, it would take something unfathomable to ever sever these ties.  Regardless of what happens to be going on in each of our lives, if I were to sound the bell; to raise the alarm; to scream "HELP ME!" they would come in a heartbeat.  As I would for them.  The reason for this is quite simply that we have been around each other long enough to know that we are good people.  We've seen each other in trying times, in happy times; sometimes in situations that seemed impossible to ever weather.  I found this quote on friendship that aptly sums up how I feel about my forever friends:  "No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth". (Robert Southey).

My seasonal friends are ones who figured very prominently in my life for a period of time but who, for whatever reason, I no longer keep in touch with or, if I do, it's just on occasion (or on Facebook).  Like most people, this category is where the majority of my friendships fall.  Whether a long season (e.g., several years) or shorter, these friends are ones with whom I shared an intense and immediate connection usually relating to a specific place I lived, a school I went to, a place I visited or job I held; sometimes perhaps a relationship I (or someone I am close to) was in.  When I think back on these friendships, I recognize that each one helped me to grow in a particular aspect of my life; to develop in a much needed area.  Although I don't see much of them (if at all), I'm fairly certain that, if circumstances were such that we were to reconnect, there would be another great season of friendship; maybe like a warm Indian Summer.

My reason friends; ah; most of them I have no idea where they are now and likely I'll never see them again.  Truly, these were not friendships meant to last over the long haul but there was a purpose to them; in fact, a very specific purpose. The nature of these friendships; the reasons for them, are far too personal for me to scribe here, as I would imagine they would be for everyone.  Some might say these people were Angels sent to guide; others might quote, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears".

As I close on this topic, I think of another category of friends, and that is new friends.  Over the past year or so, I've made several new friends; some are neighbors, some are from church and others I've met recently in my travels.  When I look back years from now, where will these new friends be? 

Only time will tell but whatever happens, I'll be thankful for having known them.

Mrs. B

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day

To ALL of the veterans in my life.
Thank you.

Mr. Sr. B Circa 1949
Miss you, FIL :-(

Mrs. B

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Freedom of the Seas Review

We had a great time on Freedom despite the fact we barely avoided a major storm (Hurricane Sandy).  
Here is my review of our cruise; (more) pictures to follow soon!

Mrs. B

Friday, September 14, 2012

Top Ten Thankfuls: Three

I'm back, finally, with the third in this series.  I'm not sure where time goes, but, it goes somewhere; hiding in a very good spot as I cannot manage to find it these days.  

It seemed as though The B's were settling into a somewhat ho-hum late summer/early fall with not much to do other than the usual.  

Then, lo and behold, a minor mishap befell Mr. B about ten days ago; he slipped while attempting to climb up a muddy bank at a State Park in Indiana.  

How?  Well, we were in Indiana for a family reunion and, one day, took off on an excursion with my cousin, his wife and their kids plus my uncle and aunt.  We went tubing!  Yes, it was a lot of fun, until someone got hurt and ended up in a cone.  Whoops.  Sorry, it wasn't our dog Lucy this time,it was Mr. B.  Right.  A SLING.  He ended up in a sling.  

Bottom line; he broke his upper right arm.  The specialist thinks his rotator cuff is ok, but, we won't know until they can do an MRI, which won't be for some weeks yet.  In the meantime, he has to keep his arm totally isolated and will be in the sling for at least a month, if not six weeks, in order for the break to mend. Oh, did I mention that he's RIGHT-handed?  Sigh.  Thankfully, though, it's not Tax Busy Season and, other than a few minor things, we've been able to manage fine with me doing just about everything that he can't do right now.  And, as time passes, he's able to help a bit (even running our stik-vac in the am for me is a HUGE help, I'm finding).

Anyway, as I've gone through these days, I have found myself thinking over and over about the subject of this post's thankful:

I Am Thankful For My Health
Although I'm fast approaching 50, I am in good health, pretty decent shape, at a more than acceptable weight, and, as I'm finding, I am strong.  Of course, some of this is due to my habits, habits I developed beginning in my mid twenties and continuing on to the present.  I eat fairly well, I stopped smoking eight years ago (and even when I was still smoking, I'd call it "occasional" or "social").  I do imbibe in alcohol but do my best to keep an eye on how much I consume and consider it pretty much my only vice (if you don't consider bubble gum a vice).  I am very disciplined about exercising and don't look too bad for my age if I do say so.  Of course, I realize I have to keep at it/step it up, which I routinely do; but this, also, must be balanced with a dose of "what the heck" from time to time.  

All of this I can control, however.  What I am REALLY thankful for are my genes as I seem to have been blessed with overall good health, as in, lifetime (to date).  I am rarely sick, and when I am, it's typically some sort of allergy thing.  In fact, my allergies, which I only developed after moving to NC in 2004, are about the only thing really "wrong" with me, if you don't count extreme myopia and having had several root canals/crowns. And, I guess I don't count these things since they are both easily corrected and, in the case of my teeth, were totally preventable in the first place (my teeth aren't bad, I just had a lazy period that lasted seven years where, for reasons unknown even to me, I stopped going to the dentist).  Anyway, my teeth are not fundamentally damaged.  My eyes, well, I'd love to have vision correction surgery but I'm told my retinas are too thin.  So, I wear contact lenses.  No biggie.

Anything that ever goes wrong with me never lasts long.  I've never been laid up for days and days; certainly never weeks and weeks.  I don't have any ongoing chronic issues.  I have no food allergies, I don't get migraines, heck, I hardly even get a headache (now that my heavy duty drinking days are behind me).  

Even more fundamental.  I am not blind or deaf, nor am I mute.  I have use of all of my limbs and extremities.  I don't have heart problems, back trouble, an easily upset stomach, or issues with my kidneys or bowels.  I don't have shortness of breath.  I can tolerate heat and cold if need be.  My skin's in pretty good shape, as is my hair.  Oh, and maybe the most important thing, I'm fairly confident my mind's ok!  Yeah, maybe I forget stuff from time to time; then again, maybe I forget it on purpose.

As I age, I realize more and more how lucky I am.  Yes, I know; I cannot say with any certainty that I WON'T have some issue later on down the line, but, I think I have a pretty firm foundation so hopefully there won't be too much crumbling.

The minor things that trouble me; the aforementioned eyesight, occasional expensive trip to the dentist, seasonal allergies; plus leg cramps from time to time, the usual creakiness and aches in joints every once in awhile and symptoms resulting from menopause, are PEANUTS compared to what I've seen others go through.

I'm thankful, thankful, thankful.  Yes, I am.

Mrs. B

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. B!!!!!

Yes, it's Mr. B's birthday.  Typical of him, he's in his office working away.  The middle of the week; stuff to get done and all.  However, it IS a special day and we'll celebrate later on.  Also, we plan on eating out at an Italian restaurant he likes Saturday night.

Happy Birthday, Caro Mio.  Ti Amo Per Sempre!

Mrs. B

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is Cursive Writing Obsolete?

Not too long ago, I entered into a conversation with the lady who was doing my pedicure.  Turns out she is just about done with her degree of Elementary Education and was telling me about the various internships she’d had and the process she was about to embark on to secure a full-time teaching position. Naturally, I inquired as to what grade she wanted to teach. She told me that she was interested in 3rd or 4th grade because at this age, she felt the children were old enough to really enjoy being at school and learning but not yet at that God-awful stage of the know-it-all pre-hormone raging Tween. 

As we were talking, I remembered that I’d read something not too long before that it was very likely that children would no longer be taught cursive writing, at least as part of the required curriculum.  I asked her about this and she acknowledged that it appeared this was indeed the direction the Florida public school system was headed.

I’ve thought quite a bit about this since and, although I understand why, with the reality of people relying on emails, social media and text messaging to communicate with one another, cursive writing is no longer really necessary, I’m still not sure I entirely agree with its dismissal.  Here’s why.

A person’s handwriting is unique to them.  I doubt that there could be any two people with the exact same handwriting.  Whether the letters are flowery and flowing or small and cramped, precisely formed or all over the place, elegant or sloppy, legible or not; handwriting is a person’s signature.  If a sample of handwriting from people who have figured prominently in my life were put in front of me, I’m fairly confident I’d be able to correctly match each sample with each individual.  And, like other things associated with people I’ve loved, catching sight of a departed dear one’s handwriting can instantly bring that person back to me, if only for as long as it takes me to read what they’d written.  I’ve run across many people who have said they treasure letters from grandparents, parents, siblings, spouses, children; that it brings them comfort to see their handwriting.

Aside from personal reasons, a more practical one for reconsidering doing away with the practice of learning cursive is that in learning to write cursive, one also learns how to read it.  The pedicure lady told me that, when her teenaged niece received a birthday card from an older female relative with a handwritten note inside, she handed the card to her aunt and said, “I can’t read this.  What does it say?” 

Ok, ok, those who know yours truly might always say this about MY handwriting; in fact, there are only a handful of people in my life who can actually read it (my Father recently told me he’s come to call my handwriting “cursing” instead of “cursive” because he curses the entire time he’s trying to decipher it), but, I do think I’m sort of an exception rather than the norm.

There are millions and millions of historical documents, letters, journals, logs, etc.,  that are in cursive.  If future generations cannot understand them, we’re going to need an entire new occupation for those few who can decipher cursive!  Yes, yes; if we continue to go the way we’re going there will eventually be no more cursive, but, still.  We’d best get busy with the translation, then.  And what about all of the museums whose various exhibits contain placards of snippets of original letters or journal entries or, or, or?  Will the museum curators have to be able to stand ready to translate?

So, then, these are two reasons; personal signature and the ability to read historical documents.  Are these sufficient to continue with the practice of teaching cursive?  Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, there were, obviously, subjects taught in grade school hundreds of years ago (or maybe even just 50 years ago) that, by nature of scholastical and sociological evolution, became obsolete and would be totally ridiculous to teach in this day and age.  It could be that cursive is just another of these subjects. 

There is another excellent point that eliminating cursive frees up the teachers (and students) to focus on more important and relevant studies (I personally think that, sooner or later, there will be a subject centering entirely on how to effectively figure out a new cell phone!)

Perhaps there will eventually be an elective offered, either in high school or college (or both); a class in cursive writing that someone can take instead of, say, home economics, auto shop, choir, or French.

Who knows what will eventually befall cursive writing.  After thinking this through as I wrote this entry, I am sort of on the fence as I can truly see both sides of the argument. 

What does everyone out there in Blog-Land think?

As for my own writings; my diaries and journals, my secrets are safe, regardless!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Top Ten Thankfuls: Two

Following on the heels of being thankful for my parents (and definitely intertwined) comes this post's thankful.

I Am Thankful For A Wonderful Childhood
Lately, I've been spending quite a bit of time with a huge box of old family photos that my mom loaned me so that I could scan them into the computer and put them on disks so each of my siblings (and my mom and dad) would have them.  I'm really glad that I'm doing this, not just because some of the pictures are aging and otherwise might be eventually lost, but also as it's providing me with a very enjoyable trip down memory lane.  

I just finished scanning in 1983, which was the year my younger sister Kathy graduated from high school.  That summer, she I and moved out of the family home into a small one bedroom apartment near San Diego State University where we both were attending college.  I was nineteen, she was eighteen, and while there were definitely trying times ahead of both of us, I can see now that we'd flown from a very loving and supportive coop.  Later that year, our mom and dad and two younger brothers moved to the LA-area; leaving Kathy and I to truly fend for ourselves.  Thankfully, we had a firm foundation.

The memories these pictures I am working with evoke are 99% happy memories.  Those that are not, such as seeing a snapshot of my Uncle Bill, knowing that he was tragically killed  shortly after the picture was taken when he was 18 years old; or one of my Grandpa looking sad, confused and bereft in a nursing home where he lived out his last years suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, are ones that every person has in some form or another.  Other memories that may not have been so happy while they were going on, like the time I got into a lot of trouble for doing something potentially (but unknowingly) illegal when I was in fourth or fifth grade or the (thankfully) brief stint when we lived in Lexington, KY; I now view as vital to the development of my personal character.  And, in hindsight, Kentucky wasn't ALL that bad since we were closer to my Father and step mom and other extended family during those nine months, plus my sixth grade year spent in the Lexington school system is when I really learned how to learn.

When I think back on my childhood; from infancy (where I obviously must infer from the look on my face in those early pictures that I was happy) to when I left home in August of 1983 (technically an adult but still a teenager at 19), I find "good stuff"!  Such as, grandparents, cousins, family gatherings, tradition, birthday parties, Christmas presents, road trips, new adventures, brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors, effective school teachers and interesting classes, scouts, sports, swimming pools, cherished pets, family fun, a bit of a jet-setting lifestyle, best friends forever, dating, boyfriends, accomplishment, high school graduation; well, you get the picture!

Perhaps I was lucky that I lived during an age where kids were expected to go to school, do their homework when they got home from school, but were then turned out to have whatever fun with whatever friend that they could squeeze in those few hours before the dinner bell rang.  Summer evenings were the best; we'd stay out until dark playing in the safe environment of our cul de sac; football, Frisbee, softball, roller skating, skate boarding, or even a board game spread out on someone's driveway.  And then there were long afternoons floating around in our swimming pool, getting a tan, eating watermelon, gossiping with my sister and my friends.  Later, we took bus rides (that took seemingly forever) down to one of San Diego's many lovely beaches.    Of course, how great was is that I grew up in San Diego?  Pretty darn terrific.  

Yet, as much as I loved California, I also relished the times I'd fly "back East" to visit with my Father and step mom as there was an equal amount of excitement and adventure to be had in those months as well.  We'd go on road trips to visit my grandparents on their farm in upstate NY; sometimes we'd take other trips to other destinations as well; including a memorable journey to an amusement park in TN.  Sticking around wherever they  lived wasn't any bad shakes either as there was always something cool to do in Lafayette, Boston or Cleveland.  When I was sixteen, I experienced one of the singular most memorable summers of my life with a trip to England with Father and Margot and then my BFF coming to spend the rest of the summer with us in the Boston area (ah...but this is likely to end up on the Top Ten Events Of My Life So Far List!)

Before it appears that why WOULDN'T I have loved this childhood because everything was all fun and games, I should and will stress that I had my share of discipline, requirements, restrictions, rules, chores, obligations, responsibilities, onerous tasks, hard work, lots of studying, the usual teen aged drama, pimples, unrequited crushes on unattainable boys, missing my Father, missing my mother, missing my friends, not getting what I wanted, getting yelled at, etc., etc. BUT this is all part of childhood, is it not?

In the end, what those niggling issues did is simply enhance the sweetness of the rest of it.  And, things didn't have to be extravagant to be wonderful.  The quieter times spent with family celebrating a birthday; or making a elaborate French dinner together, dressing up in our roles of waiter or maid; or playing unending games of Euchre or Gin; or sneaking in to see an R-Rated movie with my sister and our friends; or my senior prom. The list goes on longer than the pictures would if I were to line them up end to end.

If I seem to be gushing a bit, I am.  But, I won't apologize for being thankful for such  a blessing, or the fact I was  able to  share  it with so many people; parents, siblings, friends and loved ones, who were, and who remain, dear to me.

Mrs. B

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Thankfuls: One

Not too long ago, my sister was challenged with coming up with the Top Ten Highlights of her life.  This got me to thinking about mine.  And, as I pondered  what they might be, I realized that I wanted to make a distinction between Highlights and what I am most Thankful for.  To me, the former are events while the later are what has contributed most significantly to my life to date; to making me ME.

So, this seems like a great thing to Blog about!  My Top Ten Thankfuls!

I Am Thankful For My Parents
My gratitude and thankfulness to my parents, all four of my parents, is the very first thing I thought of.  Without them, I'd be nowhere; or, rather, not where I am now; which is a pretty darn good place to be. 

I've said it before and I'll proclaim it to the end; although divorce can be rough on some kids, especially those whose parents are not sensitive to the impact it has on their children, my parents handled it right.  My Father and mom made a pact to never talk bad about the other one in front of us or to manipulate our emotions.  And, they never did.  I never felt as though I had to chose between my Father and my mom; who to love, who to want to be the most like, who to obey, who to want to be with.  And, believe me, as with all divorces, my Father and my mom had plenty of things to be irritated with each other about so it's not as though they went skipping hand in hand through the process.  They just KNEW it would be best for my sister and I to be courteous and respectful to one another and to work together to raise us; which both left no bones about the fact we couldn't play one off the other and taught me that taking the high road is usually the best thing to do.  Because of their example, I have difficulty comprehending why it has to be any other way for other families in like circumstances.

Both of them remarried soon after their divorce; first my mom, then my Father.  I'm grateful that they did so as certainly, had we had several years to forge routines and patterns with them as single parents, it might have been more trying to meld together new families.  As it was, it seemed, well, seamless to me.  Yes, I was a small child, but I was also extremely observant and sensitive to what was going on around me.  And, as far as I'm concerned, I hit the big time jackpot with stepparents.  Another thing to be grateful to my Father and mom about; they chose their new partners wisely. Over time (and it didn't take too long), I basically stopped thinking about the fact my parents were divorced and I had a stepfather and a stepmother.  The four of them were my parents.  That's it.

As I grew up and experienced a bit of life, I began to comprehend how thankful I  was that I had four intelligent, loving, hardworking and decent people raising me.  And, how wonderful it was that they each brought something unique and special to "the party".  Now that I am almost fifty and have been around the block a time or two, I can look back and see at which point one of them, maybe more than one, was always there during the difficult times, trying times, sad times, joyful times, happy times of my life.  I can also confidently state that they each became my FRIEND. What luck!

I've lost one of my dear parents now and as such, have thought a bit on the next stages in the Circle of Life.  It should go without saying that there is a reason why we don't know what's going to happen before it does; we couldn't bear it.  However, whatever happens, when it happens, I'll be equipped to get through it.  

I've got my parents to thank for this as well.

Mrs. B


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jam-Packed Last Few Weeks!

What have I been up to?  Here is a recap:

We left town on Friday June 8th to begin our trek to North Carolina for our combo business-vacation trip.  We spent the several days prior to our departure in the usual frenzy of preparations plus dealing with last minute vet visits and minor home equipment malfunction.  The vet visit was simply the Little Kids's annual exam/shots.  They were not overly happy about being crammed into the cat carriers; all three of them shrieked the entire way to the office.  Thankfully, it isn't that far away.  I was surprised at their weight.  I was expecting higher numbers, especially for Mr. Turkey Man Apollo.  But, they'd actually LOST a few ounces from last year.  Ares was 10.4, Apollo 9.6 and Athena 7.8.  Our vet wasn't concerned; he said they were a "perfect weight" for their size.  He also pointed out that they are likely still getting quite a bit of exercise (boy, are they).

The equipment in question was our pool pump motor. It crapped out on us so we had it replaced with a energy efficient one.  Problem was, said pump wouldn't run the water fall on its low setting.  Bottom line; it wasn't figured out by the time we left but it was by the time we got back!

We drove separate cars up to Ocala where we were staying with Mom B. for one night (and dropping Lucy off to spend the time with Grandma).  There must be something about driving our Ford Escape on I-75 to and from Ocala with both Mark and Lucy in the car as, similar to what happened last summer, the Ford was hit by a UFO.  It dropped down onto the hood (leaving a nice dent and gash in the paint), then, flew up onto the windshield cracking it and taking out one of the wipers. Obviously the most important thing is that no one was hurt.  The insurance agency was called that afternoon and we'll get the windshield replaced (for free as that is Florida law) but will have to decide what we want to do about the minor cosmetic flaws.  Since the Ford is almost 7 years old, we may elect to do nothing.  Heck, I couldn't hardly tell, anyway (funny how one's perspective changes over the years; before, I'd never be able to tolerate having a less than perfect car).

After enjoying a nice evening in Ocala, we left B&E Saturday for our drive to Pittsboro, NC.  How nice to leave one family house and arrive at another!  The drive was uneventful and we made it there in less than 10 hours.  Unfortunately my mom wasn't feeling that great when we arrived as she'd been bit by a tick was was recovering from tick disease.  Thankfully the antibiotics kicked in and she was doing much better the following day.

Over the course of the next 10 or so days, Mark met with several of his NC business clients while mom and I goofed around doing our usual mom and daughter thing of shopping, going out for lunch, drinking wine, and talking.  When the four of us were together, we played a lot of cards.  Note to self.  Don't allow Dad and Mark to be Euchre partners ever again.

Some of the other fun things we did while there were having dinner with Cailyn two nights, going to a Bulls game (they lost but it was still great to be back at the DBAP!), meeting up with Jon, Shannon and their girls for dinner that same night, and having a mini-family reunion at mom and dad's the day before Father's Day.  The family picture posted here 

was taken that afternoon by Analee.  It was her idea for all of us to coordinate with the various shades of blue.  I think the picture turned out great.  We even left a space for our  missing sisters, nephews and niece.    Unfortunately, the majority of the folks in said picture ended up with countless chigger bites.  Inexplicably, my mom and I were the only ones who didn't get one single bite; well,  I have a guess as to why; we put SO much body lotion, body sprays, hair spray, etc., on, we probably sent the chiggers screaming in the opposite direction.

Mark and I visited our rental property one morning.  In general, the place looks great although we were perplexed why the tenant took down three of the smoke detectors.  A bit of a hassle occurred later when we got a call from the property management people advising us that the tenant was locked out of the house.  Huh?  Turns out a) the guy who came to let us in was supposed to stay with us, not leave us with the key to lock up and take with us and that was the only key they had; b) Mark locked the door leading from the kitchen into the garage and c) the tenant is in the habit of leaving that unlocked and not taking her key with her.  So, she was locked out, her dog was locked in, and she wasn't very happy about it.  I'm guessing she'll not be leaving the house without a key in future.  What if the power goes off and the garage door won't open?  Anyway, the property management representative met me out in front of the DPAP to get the key.  They also told me they'd sent the tenant a letter advising her she needed to put the smoke detectors back up.

One evening we took a client of Mark's out to dinner.  His name is Terry and I've blogged about him before as he is 95% blind and surely an inspiration.  He chose a place called "The Melting Pot" which neither of us were terribly thrilled about going to because it was quite a distance and it seemed a bit hot out to eat a pot of melted cheese, but we decided the best thing to do was to humor him.  As it turned out, it was a very interesting evening.  First off, he misplaced his cigarettes and went wandering around in search of a place to buy some.  As he's fairly independent, he didn't want Mark going with him.  As the two of us sat there in the restaurant for well over 20 minutes waiting for him while eating all of the fondue he'd raved about, Mark finally decided he'd better go in search of him.  He found him in front of a nearby hotel waiting for an employee who'd agreed to go buy him the cigarettes. Now, here's the amusing thing.  Turns out the smokes were in the backseat of our car all along.  Goes to show that when a blind men tells you he left his cigarettes at home, you'd be wise to check and make sure.  Duh.

Anyway, between the time it took to drive to the restaurant, eat, and drive Terry back home, he was with us over 4 1/2 hours.  I don't think he stopped talking from the moment he got in the car until the moment he got out (and he talked another 1/2 hour when Mark went back the next day to give him his lost pack of cigarettes).  What does this mean?  He's LONELY.  And, although we were a bit tired of his chattering, it was a very small thing for us to do.

As for the restaurant, it was a big rip-off as far as I'm concerned.  The total bill was almost $150.

My mom and I met a few of my former neighbors for lunch at PF Chang's one afternoon.  This was a much better deal!  And, it was great to catch up on the old Ravenstone neighborhood gossip.  We'd driven by our old house a few days before.  It looked ok; maintained and all, but no personal touches.  Sorta sterile and lonely.  I'm really glad we got out of that neighborhood, though.  It looked even more run down than ever.  The neighbors will be coming to visit us here in Florida the first week of October.

Mark and I left NC last Tuesday morning to begin the drive back to FL.  Luckily, we had enough time to stop for two nights in Charleston and stay at our favorite place, The Vendue Inn PLUS eat at two of our favorite restaurants, Slightly North of Broad and Fulton Five.  Additionally, we FINALLY made it over to Ft. Sumter (it only took us five times in Charleston to get this done!)  We were blessed with great weather while in Charleston and thoroughly enjoyed our brief mini vacation.

Back on to Ocala last Thursday to spend another night with Mom B. and pick up Lucy.  We made it home early afternoon Friday to find that our cats were all in fine form (even if they had somewhat wrecked the place).  In addition to getting the house in order, sorting through mail, paying bills, going grocery shopping and all of that jazz, we got to deal with the lovely Tropical Storm Debby (she's just about got her butt out of Dodge but, man, what a lot of wind, rain and debris!)

Finally, yours truly had minor surgery today to remove a cyst-sac.  Yuck, I know.  But, better to do this then let it swell up again.  The procedure itself was not bad; the thinking about it was not so positive, though.  Now I'm ok if a little sore and tender but nothing that a nice stiff martini won't take care of.

So, now you are all caught up on me.

Mrs. B

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!!!!

To all the fathers in my life, past and present.  But, most especially to:

Mr. Sr. B (gone but never forgotten).
My Mr. B

Mrs. B

Thursday, May 31, 2012

About Ares

Is single-minded in his adoration of and obsession with Pete.
Is aptly named.  We wonder; had we called him Twinkle Toes, would he be friendlier?
The Mighty Gecko Hunter.
Can easily jump more than ½ way up the side of the lanai cage (not that he is supposed to!)
Has been in the pool more than any of the other pets (swims quite well, too!)
Snorts and wheezes when he’s happy; hence his nickname “Wheezie”.
Marks calls him Butthead.
Has amazing balance.  Used to rail-walk on the balustrade at our old house.
Eats all of the time.  He weighs more than Lily and is seriously gaining on Pete.
Loves his Little Blue Mousie.
Interestingly enough (given his somewhat unfriendly nature) he’s the only one of our cats who appears to really like Lucy.
Is a quite striking looking cat; silvery, dove-colored, elongated face. 
Constantly tussling with his little brother and sister.
Whines at the door when he wants to go out.  Will not shut up until we let him out.
Is King of the Rubber Maid Storage Box (loves to sit and/or lay on top of it when he’s outside).
Surprisingly enough, he likes to cuddle at nighttime.
Enjoys being brushed but always tries to chew on the grooming blanket.
Has a knack for pissing Lily off.
He and Mr. B don’t get along so much; he’s coming to terms with me.
We’re not sure WHY we adopted him but now it wouldn’t be the same around here without him.
Our Warrior.
Mrs. B

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crazy Time of Late!

Ok, so, what the heck, right?  Where have I been? 
The last week or so was a total blur.  It started on Cinco de Mayo; Mr. B and I were enjoying our evening martini (no, we forwent both a margarita and a mint julep (it was also Derby Day) for our traditional Bombay Sapphires) when my little brother called, worried that he'd had two missed calls from my mom and dad and one from our brother.  Well, I hadn't heard anything so I told him not to fret about it.  
Famous last words. A few moments later, he called back to report that our dad (who had recently had hip replacement surgery) was back in the ER after experiencing chest pain/breathing problems.  My brother told me he and his wife were leaving immediately to be with my mom (and dad) at the hospital.  

LONG story short.  After many phone calls back and forth with  him and my mom and after my dad ended up having a major heart attack right there in the ER (a great place to be for these types of things), Mr. B and I decided I should leave the next day to drive up to NC to help out however I could.  Drive?  Well, I thought about flying but by the time we got all of that worked out, it'd be just as easy to drive and so that is what I did.

I left at noon and made it to Waltersboro SC (not a very exciting place for a single traveler, BTW).  When I travel by myself, I always stay in a "better" hotel.  Meaning, not a Motel Six or Red Roof Inn but a place that has interior doors to the rooms.  This time I was at a Holiday Inn Express and it was surely nice enough other than there wasn't much around for dinner purposes.  I ended up eating a salad from McDonald's in my room and drinking a few beers I'd thought to throw into my cooler.

I was up B&E Monday for the remainder of my drive to NC.  I left around 6:30 am and after roughly five hours of additional driving, made it to the hospital in Chapel Hill.  

By the time I arrived, much of the excitement was over.  Dad was in the cardiac critical care unit waiting for a few additional tests and scans.  Turns out the culprit, meaning, what caused the heart attack, was a bunch of blood clots that formed in his heart as a result of him a) going off his blood thinners in preparation for his hip replacement surgery and b) having to be on coagulates for the same reason.  He'd been back on the blood thinners a few days but apparently the damage had been done.  Frankly, I thought this was all rather scary.  Someone with a known heart issue with a pretty much rest of live need to take blood thinners has to go off them for another surgery and yet no one advised them of this risk?  I know my dad would have still opted for the hip replacement surgery, but, both of them would have been much more on alert for this life threatening side effect.  My mom told me that when dad first started complaining of discomfort in his chest, she wasn't really worried, initially, because his heart monitor wasn't doing anything strange.  Well, it wasn't because this problem had nothing to do with his device/ his heart rhythms.  But for the grace of God, is all I have to say about what could have happened.

Anyway, the doctors (a slew of them with the one in charge looking like he was all of 25) wanted to ensure there were no more blood clots lurking in any other places.  Plus, of course, they had to get his heart stabilized (at the point the device was freaking out a bit trying to get back to normal), his heart rate down, blood pressure up, medications in order, etc., etc.  So, dad stayed in that unit until the following day, Tuesday, when they moved him to the regular cardiac unit on the same floor.  

The doctor told my mom there was likely little to no permanent damage to his heart and that his heart is very strong. What did I tell you about my dad in the piece I wrote about him a few posts ago?  He never gives up.  He is determined.  He was up and about (using a walker because of the hip replacement) almost right away.  Good appetite and antsy to get the heck out of there.  

They released him late morning on Wednesday and by that evening, the three of us were sitting around the dinner table enjoying a meal together.  

He had an appointment with his regular cardiologist Friday so I waited to leave until we knew he had the all clear from her, which he received.  She told him to proceed with his rehab for his hip, after which he'd need to enter into cardiac rehab (a lot of the stuff he already knows but she told him a refresher would be a good idea).  I left Saturday morning right before his first appointment with his physical therapist.

I drove until my eyes started to blur and ended up in Lake City, FL.  A great exit.  Lots of hotels, restaurants and a Starbucks to boot.  This time I landed at a Holiday Inn which had its own bar and restaurant so I didn't have to drive around finding something to eat.  I wandered down to the bar to order some food to take back up to my room (buffalo chicken salad).  While waiting for the food, I had a drink and chatted with the couple sitting in the bar and the (lady) bartender.  Talk about a small world, and this is what I mean by that.  The couple were talking about his health issues (I overheard).  He'd recently had hip replacement surgery.  After he recovered, they went on a cruise (their first).  A few days after the cruise,he had a heart attack.  Why?  Blood clots due to, well, you know why.  After talking some more, we discovered us three gals were all 48 years old.  You know what?  That's just weird, isn't it?

Anyway, I made it home safely by noon on Mother's Day.  My MIL was there (unfortunately I'd missed most of her visit) and my dear husband was prepared to make us both a special Mother's Day meal.  
I was happy to be able to go help my mom and dad out.  And, frankly, once we knew dad was going to be ok, it wasn't all doom and gloom.  My brother was in the hospital with us a lot (he'd been there pretty much since the get-go) and he came home with us every night to regroup, chit-chat, socialize, eat dinner and relax.  I was able to (briefly) see my other brother and also my step-daughter for an hour or so over a coffee at Starbucks after getting her new phone at Verizon (I'd had to get mine the day before, unexpectedly, but, such is life).

Mom and I cooked a few dinners together; I cleaned up and did the dishes, just like old times.  I can't remember the last time my mom actually let me do anything in the kitchen.  This was sorta nice.

I came home to a bit of craziness because I somehow picked up a Trojan virus on my laptop.  I'm so careful but these things do manage to sneak in.  It took all of Monday and well into the night for the AVG folks to get it fixed.  Thankfully, all is ok but I know had it not been, it would not have been the end of the world.

So, here it is Friday and I'm still feeling a bit discombobulated but I'm thankful to be home and that all is well.  Mark and I celebrated our 7th anniversary Wednesday; a bit quiet, just a dinner out, but, quiet is ok.

Now.  Onwards and upwards to the rest of May!

Mrs. B

Monday, May 14, 2012

Well Duh

Apparently, I had to download the app!

Testing uploading pictures.  If I did it correctly, there should be a picture of my mom and dad's dog.

Mrs. B

Hello From My New Phone!

I was able to figure it out. Now if only I can get the Swyping down!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lucy, Flea and Poetry

I recently took Lucy to visit my Father. When we arrived, we discovered that he'd bought Lucy a new toy, named Flea. Boy, does Lucy love Flea! Lucy mailed Grandfather a thank-you card, complete with this picture and this poem:


I love Flea!

Flea loves me!

Flea’s the best pal

That ever could be!

I like to play rough

But Flea’s so tough

Flea never says

“That’s Enough!”

Flea doesn’t mind the pool

Flea’s ok with my slobbery drool

Flea tolerates it all

Flea is so cool!

Flea’s body’s fat but that’s not a bother

Since he’s got six legs, he simply flies farther

Yeah, Flea’s great but mostly ‘cause

I got Flea from Grandfather

Lucy H. B

Today, Lucy received this response in an email:

i was up all the night
getting wording just right
to answer, honestly,
your note about flea.
as dark became dawn
and i muffled a yawn
i tried to compose
some elegant prose
and somehow respond
to my favorite blond.
i hope you and flea
share great revelry
you give me much glee;
you're top dog with me!
grandfather h...with help of timmy timmy and porter.

Fun, fun!

Mrs. B

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Dad

My dad had planned hip replacement surgery today.  It's been a long time coming, let me tell you.  It was originally scheduled for late 2010 but he had other health complications at the time that made the surgery impossible.  The surgery was  rescheduled for 2011, but then my mom had a serious health issue that had to be addressed first.  So, finally, today was the day.

Dad, in true dad fashion, was ready to go.  He'd done his part; kept his weight down, exercised as much as he could, continued on with life even though he really was in dreadful pain.  They were here in Florida until early April doing their best to enjoy their retirement in the sun but, of course, always with this pain in the background.

Anyway, even though this is a very common procedure now a days, it's still unnerving and scary when someone you love goes under the knife.  For me in particular, having lost my step-mother last year and just recently my father-in-law, I was pretty skittish today.  I prayed; I asked my church to pray also, and I felt a lot better but still and again, I wasn't totally relaxed until my brother sent me a message just before 2:00 that dad was out of surgery, he'd done great and there were no complications.

While sitting here earlier today thinking about my dad; thinking about everything over the past almost 45 years, I wrote this little piece.

Love you, dad.

Mrs. B

My Dad
Made me crowns from chewing gum wrappers
Took me on bike rides with me sitting behind him holding on for dear life
Liked to listen to me read out loud from my Laura Ingalls Wilder books
Helped me with my stamp collection
Carried me everywhere for three weeks when I had a case of trench foot
Taught me how to keep score at San Diego Padre base ball games
Let us have a cat even though he really didn’t like cats
Was a firm but fair disciplinarian
Knew the importance of staying at a motel with a pool
Taught me how to pitch a softball and coached my team for several years
Was never too tired at the end of the day to help me with my homework
Forgave me when I dropped a tent trailer on his hand
Was the only person brave enough not to give up on teaching me how to drive
Rebuilt the engine of my 1968 Karman Ghia (even though he’d told me when I bought it to take it back)
Was a hard task master but always provided cold beer and good food at the end of a hard day of physical labor
Because my older sister inherited my mom’s, he built me the most beautiful cherry Hope Chest (as well as other handmade items)
Makes a killer margarita
Taught me to never underestimate the power of curry; especially in egg salad
Although he doesn’t always know what to say in times of trouble, he’s always there in times of trouble
Is man enough to allow himself to be called Pop-Pops
Let me sleep in while he walked my dog
Never gives up