Some folks live a few houses down from parents, others escape to the other side of the world.
I spent last weekend with most of my Orlando/Winter Park family.
My dad’s side.
It’s funny how the cousins I remember running around with on Christmas Eve as a child, are now older responsible folks.
Moms, dads, stockbrokers, pilots, doctors, business owners, lawyers, bankers, salesmen, CPAs, writers *me* — and the like.
We laughed. We shared. Well, I shared and listened. You see, these folks get to see each other all the time and I don’t. And for some of the time I was lost in the Land of How Did So Much Time Pass So Quickly?
At midnight this New Years when 2015 rang in, my immediate family made a toast. The new year is for Family.
In the midst of this selfie, constantly checking my emails culture, we — okay I — pledged to value our little unit in this vast swirling rock in the universe.
Yeah. My children thought my little toast lame but nothing is more important than supporting each other and loving each other — whether thick or thin.
And don’t get me started on how I died running in 80 degree Central Florida temps last weekend.
Pooh on this getting old thing.
Wish I had more photos to show but I was concentrating on concentrating on . . . family.
What are your thoughts about 2015?
Stream of Consciousness Sunday.
Our prompt: Family Traditions.
I sit here in a large medical center.
My childhood nuclear family.
Dad in the bed — my sister and my mother and me.
Guess we had lots of family traditions together.
Lots of which we have discussed the past few days.
Tons of picnics, tons of millage in the car going to Gator games, the mountains of North Carolina and honestly, my brain’s too foggy right now to remember much under the pressure of the ticking clock.
This floated by the window today.
I’m glad I’m here.
I had a great family growing up.
Not everyone can say that I guess.
* * *
A little back story — my father has been in the hospital since Thanksgiving battling lots of things mainly a bad respiratory infection. At almost 86, his body seems determined to stay ill.
A photo for the month.
A picture that sums up what this September has been for our family.
One only has to look at today’s date, the 11th, to realize how powerful one photograph can be.
A last trip of the summer to the beach left me with this image.
Sand and water and sky.
There were lots of photos with my loved one sitting in beach chairs enjoying good wine and food.
Like paper dolls, I could cut and paste images of my sister, my daughter, my mother and I into this background of the surf and water. Having conversations, eating a few too many chips and laughing at even the littlest of things as the evening wore on.
I like this empty vista. A beach set to tip toward fall. You can tell by looking at her, she is thinking that it is time to start slowing down and relax a bit after the bustle of the summer crowd — preparing for the raw of winter.
But I won’t chose that picture. I’ll select this one.
A few Saturdays ago, we went to see my son at college.
After the game, the players come back on the field and family and friends get to say hi.
My son passed me and walked out with his father. Then I saw his two siblings running after him. I grabbed my camera to get a photo — but I was running late, probably after messing around trying to get the perfect Instagram shot of the scoreboard. Good grief.
This is what I got.
It makes me happy.
Linking up with Galit and Alison for Memories Captured.
Come join. What’s your photo memory of September?
He’s been gone far too long.
Here one day then completely AWOL the next.
Am I the only one who is getting a bit concerned?
This is messing with my world.
Not only do the rest of them seem unconcerned, it’s like they’ve covered over his things like the cats paw-up clay in mounds over their dirt in the litter box.
The more the rest of them tidy up — the more they stir up.
I smell him everywhere.
Not as strong, for sure. They must sense it too?
I recline on the sofa in front of the television.
I lie on the bed.
I sprawl on the bathroom tile.
I walk into the kitchen and get something to eat. Sometimes.
Every now and the I take a joust at the furry dumbbells who never have grasped the idea of a spirited game of tag.
Stuck up bitches.
Maybe I need to talk with someone? A professional.
No one around here but me seems to give a flying flip that one of the pack is lost.
Even Lassie won’t return my texts.
* * *
My son’s been away at college a few weeks now and our dog hasn’t been the same.
I got to wondering what must be going through his doggy mind.
Have you ever encountered a depressed pet?
Linking up over at the Speakeasy and the community of coolio bloggers at Yeah Write.
I can’t play the piano a lick.
But I can do the beach.
So that’s where I am right now.
A girls’ weekend celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday with my sister, my daughter and of course, me mum.
We had an awesome late afternoon on the beach.
I steamed shrimp and fried hush puppies for dinner. My sister made cole slaw and the most awesome-ish cocktail sauce ever.
And over dinner we started talking about the owners of this house.
The McFall House where Rear Admiral McFall retired.
His four grandchildren now own the spread and one of them happens to be neighbors to my sister.
They graciously let us rent it for the weekend.
But I just thought Woo because beach. Then we started talking about the Admiral.
He was the first person to EVER successfully make it in a plane catapulted off a warship. There had been other attempts but McFall was the first to do it.
Luckily he didn’t live up to his name.
A graduate of the Naval Academy, he later served as its athletic director.
He was commander of the USS Hornet when it was sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea.
And here’s the cool part. His final tour was as commander of the Jacksonville Navel Air Station.
While there he entertained dignitaries such as Bob Hope, Bull Halsey (another Admiral that I didn’t know but my mum — the 80 year old one knew all about) and a then Senator from Missouri Harry Truman in this house.
That’s when Mom said, “Have you seen the top of that piano? It’s scuffed and got glass rings all over it.”
Piano? I’d been in the place for six hours and not even noticed the piano.
Rear Admiral McFall. I noticed him on the wall.
But right under him was a piano.
A water-marked piano that held highballs of history-makers while Harry Truman played the Missouri Waltz.
How cool is that?
“Hannah,” I said to my piano playing daughter, “You’ve got to play on the piano Harry Truman played.”
“What? I don’t know anything to play?” was her sullen reply.
After cleaning up the kitchen mess with Sister, the more I thought about it. Darn it. Why wouldn’t someone want to play that piano?
I can play that piano.
So I put my highball on the beast.
Okay, it’s a glass of chardonnay. I’m a girl. What can I say?
And I played the one song I know how to play.
But I played.
I drank a toast with the spirit of Hope, Halsey and Truman, all the while apologizing for my inability to play the piano.
And my lack of respectability in choice of a drink.
I’ve gotten pretty good at loading the kids up and heading south down Interstate 75 to Florida.
We had a few days to spare this week, so I took off to check-in on the parents.
My parents are of the age I need to stop in and see how they are navigating life on their own.
This is hard because:
A. They are my parents for Pete’s sake. The people who always told me “no”(and I obeyed) and the only persons in the world I had fear of disapproving.
B. I’m a week away from dropping my first born off at college.
A bit fragile at the moment.
This was picked up about Valdosta.
I also bought the two young’uns some strawberry smoothie concoction. Something I never do.
As stated eariler, I’m fragile and an overly the soft-touch at moment.
This marker always brings a smile to my face.
My favorite sign on all of Florida’s I-75.
I remember when above mentioned co-pilot was about six. We stopped at the same rest area.
Once we got in the bathrooms I noticed she was looking under the doors in all the long line of stalls.
Then it dawned on me, she was looking for those deadly serpents.
I’ve never seen a snake there. An alligator or two — but never a snake.
What was the scariest beast you encountered in an interstate rest area?
The non-human kind, I mean.
I like hot.
Dripping with sweat and sticky with salty residue, I prefer to walk outdoors without worry about a sweater or mittens.
I love swimming. Especially outdoors. In oceans and lakes possible only when the air temperature is warm and heavy.
Picking a photo to link up with Galit this month, how could I not choose the water? And my non-scheduled, non-fighting in this photo, brown as berry children.
These are the images that will play in my head when pressing skies turn grey and weary. When the wind becomes cold and fussy.
Summer vacation will only last a few more weeks around here.
And yesterday with my bored children starting their Christmas wish books — their term, not mine —
What is left of your summer vacay?
On the quest to find affordable family fun things to do we hit Bear Hollow in Athens.
Well, we did find a bear.
Lot of other animals.
For a free zoo with obviously not a lot of deep pocket donors — there were a lot of animals to see.
A shy turkey.
Then a man came out with a nice silky bag.
I got to stroke him.
Very, very nice.
All-in-all a great day.
Till I figured out my phone was missing and I raced back up to Athens to search.
Sometimes the animals (although in cages) have it pretty good.
What is a fun free day in your town?
I peered over the backseat of the car at the hospital entrance.
My mom lowered into the car carrying a white bundle with a pink face.
“Thank you Mommy for the beautiful baby.”
Ten days before turning three and that’s one of my first memories.
My sister grew up to be a CPA, lifer cheerleader, VP of Zeta Tau Alpha at UF, Spelling Bee finalist of Orange County.
I was the dreamer, journal-er. The opposite of her natural organizing skills.
The birthday card I bought yesterday lies beside me on the kitchen counter.
* * *
Today is my sister’s birthday.
I was trying to find a picture of us even though the last time together was spring break.
This is all I could find.
We went tubing for my birthday last July. That is her profile. And Betsy, a friend.
I was further upstream trying to keep track of a seven year old who loved getting on and off his raft.
* * *
She is a wonderful mother of two boys. A great wife to a great guy she met at Florida.
She works from home using her accounting mastermind.
I get confused with automatic bill pay...
She is coming to visit next week.
And I’m taking that camera everywhere we go.
I arrived at St. George Island, Florida yesterday afternoon.
A little more than 24 hours later we were told we had to leave.
Debby Does the Gulf and decided to head straight for our vacation spot.
Then we saw this go by our house.
We had been without power all day.
At 4:40 p.m., my mother-in-law came in and said that we had 20 minutes to evacuate.
It’s amazing how fast you can pack when motivated.
Everyone needed gas.
Riding along Apalachicola Bay.
Trying to think positive that we would find a gas station that had power and gasoline before I hit “E.”
Well, we made it to Tallahassee.
Debby didn’t get the best of our clan.
Though I am a little peeved that both trips to the beach this summer have been complete washouts.
What about you? Did Debby douse your week of fun?