Category Archives: trips

Wednesday Hodgepodge

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Hi Guys! Long time, no blog!! Glad to be back, here we go!

From this Side of the Pond

1. What’s something in your house you’d like to get rid of but can’t?

Well, they are not in our house, but just outside. I dislike our brick paver patio and path. The installer did not do a great job in the first place, they have moved a LOT, and I feel one should not have to weed their brick pavers. The reason I can’t get rid of them is simple. Honey does not want to. He clearly does not dislike them as much as I do, but I think he mainly would not like to pay to have more concrete poured. I console myself with the knowledge we will most likely be moving in the next few years.
2. When is the last time you experienced a sense of nostalgia? Elaborate.

Yesterday. The girls and I went to a thrift store in our area because we had a half off coo-pin, I always enjoy the music at this store and as we shopped the song Rock and Roll, Hoochie Coo came on and I told the Girls that song always reminded me of a movie they loved when they were younger, What A Girl Wants with Amanda Bynes. We had a laugh remembering her dad Colin Firth squeezing himself into old leather pants from his heyday, jamming out to that song on air guitar. Ah, good times 🙂
3. You’re only allowed three apps on your smart phone or tablet…which three do you keep?

Facebook, Words With Friends and Pinterest.
4. July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Who knew? Do you like blueberry muffins? If you were going to have a muffin would blueberry be your choice? What’s the last thing you baked?

I did not know! I do like blueberry muffins and it might be my choice depending on the other choices. It would definitely lose to a homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffin! The last thing I baked was a coconut pound cake on Father’s Day. It’s one of our family  favorites and it was yummy.
5. What’s the biggest way you’ve changed since you were a child? In what way are you still the same?

I have been sitting here thinking about this for quite a while. At first I though of silly ways I have changed, I no longer suck my thumb, I’m a lot taller! But I think the real answer is more that I was fairly insecure. There was some upset in my younger years that had ripple effects throughout my life. My parents divorced, there were remarriages, new families, old families with different dynamics, confusion with how things worked, uncertainty as to where I fit in, a longing for things to be different, general angst of youth mixed in for good measure. Fast forward about 45 years and I have felt secure for many, many years. I credit my Heavenly Father, and my sweet, wonderful, funny Honey and our family.

And I still love Laura Ingalls Wilder 🙂 Nothing new there!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I think I could be a better blogger if I would just stay home for about 5 minutes! I am leaving on my 4th trip this Saturday since the end of May! Virginia, South Haven, Michigan, Florida and next up, Washington state to see our now ONE YEAR OLD Grandgirl!

MoonPie had a birthday party and her Mama made her a yummy cake that she enjoyed very much!

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She was very willing to share.

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She is reminding me of her Daddy here!

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Happy Birthday Baby Girl, Grammy will see you soon!!!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Memorial Day Hootenanny 2018!

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Hi Guys, long time, no type! I had a delightful time down in Virginia with The Schmenkmans!! I left Detroit Metro Airport with my carryon packed inside my big suitcase, and landed at Dulles International a mere 53 minutes later. It actually took Schmenky longer to get to the airport from her house!

We began with lunch and a little shopping in Manassas, as we do. We discussed goals, a new black purse for her, shoes for me, as usual. And so it began!!!

One of the first places we ate was Spelunkers, in Front Royal!!! I have missed it so!  Delicious cheeseburgers and fries, get in ma belly!!!! I have got to get Honey there!

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So very juicy!

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The end result!

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We were greeted by Miss Miracle upon arriving on Sassy Cat Hill.

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Schmenky was so committed to finding a new pocketbook to replace her tattered, broken zippered Precious, that she threw it away! There was no choice but to find a new one. A moment of silence for Schmenky’s heavily worn handbag. The hunt was on.

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She brought out a red Tiganello beauty she had purchased thrifting one year, which did an admiral job, but it is red, and it does not go with everything. I am sensing familiar territory here 😉  On the bright side, she also found several super cute tops that she could wear with the red pocketbook! It was all good.

We Sweet Frog-ged around but this one in Warrenton was my favorite, it had my 2 favorite flavors, pomegranate AND Key Lime!!!!!!! With crushed waffle cone available, it was a happy day!

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Here are a few of the sassy cats. This is Kismet (aka the Lion King), who was much friendlier with me than he usually is, and Casey Lee Bumgartner who LOOOOOOVES the back of my head!!! I think he has a powerful attraction to Paul Mitchell hairspray, and he loves me up good!

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Poppet, our Precious, wobbly girl 🙂  She never changes, maybe sleeps a little bit more. She is my ever present lap buddy.

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Bitsey Bee, having a sun room nap.

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Schmenky and I enjoyed Spelunkers so much that we talked Mr C into joining us on Sunday afternoon. It was just as yummy the second go round. We really wanted their frozen custard, but alas, no room.

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Next stop, the new Han Solo movie! We all liked it a lot, I have no idea why the critics are dogging it! Honey and the Ab-Cat saw it in The Mitten and had the same favorable opinion. Not sure about the amount of money they expected to make, but pretty sure it did alright for any other movie that was not Star Wars. Give us a break!

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And then we went back to Spelunkers to have that ice cream!!!! No pictures but I am here to tell you it was heartily enjoyed!!!

This is the view out The Schmenkman’s front door. There is always so much green there, beautimous!

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Schmenk had this in her flower boxes, can’t remember what she called it but I am a fan. Like faincy clover.

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The natural arch down to the backside of their property and the chicken coop.

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All the interesting colored foliage.

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Backyard pond. The koi thought I had something for them besides an iPhone taking pictures!

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We cut hair early in the visit because we were both highly in need. It gave us more time for tweaking 🙂

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BOO for having to wait so long to get a haircut!!!

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Sassy haircuts: check!

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AND A SASSY NEW BLACK PURSE-CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!! She found a new Precious at Gabe’s, it’s a Sak and she was very happy!

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The morning routine, with helpers. Checking the stuff, Facebook, playing Words With Friends, Crushing the Candies, you know, the usual.

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The Schmenkman’s have a new sassy since I was last there, meet George Bailey! He found Schmenky on her walking trail. He is a lucky kitty-witty! He reminds me of our Seymour, a feisty, spicy, trouble causing, young boy catten! He lives to jump the others and just generally disrupt their apple carts. Sounds familiar.

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Personality plus, it is their saving grace.

I forgot my selfie stick, so we had to kick it old school and hold it. Before we knew it it was time to pack up all my purties, bargains, and random purchases and head back to Dulles. We had a great time, but once again faced the harsh reality that we are not the spry, all day shoppers we once were! And we are mostly just fine with the realization ❤

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We are SO glad to have each other! I thank the Lord that she answered an ad to work at Images Salon ALL those 30+ years ago so I could have her to love!!! I have known her longer than my kids!!!

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This was George Bailey’s favorite way to greet me, and it served as our goodbye. Loved meeting him!

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The Schmenkman’s are considering moving from Sassy Cat Hill to Sassy Cat Farm, location to be announced when found! So I felt like there was a very real possibility that I may never be on the Hill again 😦  So Schmenky graciously posed on the front porch of their home of many years. Bittersweet to be sure.

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One of my favorite purchases this year was a sassy cement kitty. It was fairly heavy and I was unsure I would have the room or weight allowance in my suitcase. Schmenk said she would bring it to me sometime when she came. I purchased plenty, but I did have some extra room in my carryon, so I packed it on in! I had also bought a salt rock nightlight for the Florida house, that I needed to take out of its box  for space purposes. I didn’t want it to get crushed, so I wrapped it in a bag and stuck it in the hallow inside of the cement cat, then covered the cat with some clothes for protection, and off we went. I wondered if that dang cat was going to get me searched. I went through security myself, all was well. My carryon went through and the gal spent a good bit of time looking at the X-ray, then pulled my bag off the conveyer. Another gal came and told me they were going to run it through again. I said OK, and thought my next move would be over with them to unzip my bag to be searched! I could tell when my bag was again stopped in the machine. Both gals were there looking and talking and one of them stood up and yelled “do you have a light up cat in there?” I laughed and said pretty close!!! They seemed proud of themselves for solving the mystery and passed me through 🙂

I was super glad they wanted us to check our bags at the gate, I wasn’t looking forward to lifting that cement laden carryon into the overhead compartment!!!!

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There she is! My Virginia Sassy cement kitty!!!!! And my BEE-you-tiful peonies from the bush my Mama gave me ❤

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Thanks for having me for the last 23 years Schmenky Catherine, love youuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!

Gun Range Mousey

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Last February Honey and Mousey went on a special trip. To the gun range! They had both been interested in trying it. They both said it was an interesting experience!  Isn’t she the cutest?

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Assuming the position.

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Honey said she was a good little shot too!

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I wanted to get this on the blob so I would remember the occasion!

Cascades

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Well, we finally did it. After many years of cutting bait, we actually fished. We jumped off the fence we had been sitting on. We took the plunge. After much looking, ruling in and out, narrowing down, and pondering our options, we bought a place in Florida!

It’s in Estero, between Ft. Myers and Naples, in a community called Cascades. We had discovered it some years ago and it had been rolling around in our minds ever since. It had several things we were looking for, 55 community, not a HUGE amount of homes, a GREAT pool (because we know how important that was to our kids!), and low HOA fees. All of those amenities kept us coming back to look even though the layout of the inside of the homes was not our favorite. We did put a bid in on a similar layout last year but let it go when the owners counter offered more than we wanted to pay.

We looked quite a bit at homes on every vacation for the last several years. We’ve stayed in Cape Coral for the last several years because it was so hard for Honey to find weekly rentals anywhere else around spring break. We ruled it out though, because it was too stinking far from the freeway and it seemed to take forever to get through Ft. Myers.This year, since Honey’s retirement is approaching, we knew we wanted something for next winter. We were actually in Cascades looking at open houses when Honey asked a realtor what the homes rented for. When we found out we would pay around $12,000 just to rent, we decided we may as well put that towards our own place!

We had narrowed things down to 2 spec homes in Ft. Myers, a new build also in Ft. Myers and this place in Estero. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

These are the pictures from the website. There is so much about the place that we love, and I will tell you about a few things we will change.

Love the wider plank wood floors, all the furniture comes with the place (also another thing that pushed us in this direction), and the white plantation shutters are throughout!

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The kitchen is pretty small and does not have a lot of cabinets. I have heard a rumor that Floridians eat out most of the time, so I am fairly certain Honey and I will make do with this.

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I was hoping that the counters would be ugly, chipped up formica in need of replacing, but unfortunately or fortunately, it is a very nice quartz that I cannot justify replacing just because I don’t want a step in the counter that faces the family room. I’d rather it was just a one level counter. Ah well. Honey was very pleased with the appliances 🙂

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Since this is not a load bearing wall, we could remove it and really open things up. The house we put a bid on last year had done it, so we know it looks very nice. The owners only had the small table you see here, and had changed the dining area to a sitting area.

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I’m pretty sure we are going to want that dining area back. Plus, we have other ideas for that back wall in the kitchen. Will let you in on those plans in another post!

The hall entry is where the leafy plant is, just so you can get your bearings. There is the sitting area that we will change. There are plenty of chairs in this house. Any one need a couple chairs? The door wall to the lanai is to the left of the striped chairs, and the doorway to the master bedroom is straight back.

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The view from the other direction:the hallway to the second bedroom, bath and den on the right, and the hall to the front door to the left of the fern-y plant. You can also see the laundry room as well, where the door to the garage is.

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Back to the master bedroom. Very thankful that is a king because Honey and I got one a couple years ago and we are NOT going back! Besides my Uncle Bob would probably like us to get our king sized foam mattress topper out of his spare bedroom. We bought it down here one trip, when the bed in the rental was so hard I thought it was going to cripple me before we left. I can live with every stick of the furniture, a very happy surprise! Some of these turnkey places were not such a great deal! They want you to pay for their….stuff, but then you would have to pay to have it carted away! And then purchase stuff you could live with.

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They were the original owners, so they have made updates all along. The bathroom was fairly recent, new cabinet and tile. I don’t care about any kind of tub, perhaps the grandkids will enjoy it 🙂

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There were a couple of things that need immediate attention. Painting the spare room is number one. Those walls are really more of a neon yellowish green. Maybe we can stick a chair in here, because we gots a lots of chairs! We may change this out to a king as well.

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I can live with this wallpaper for now. This looks Florida-ish to me ❤

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We were so happy to have a den! It made it easier to buy a two bedroom. We are still not certain if this will be big enough for the company we envision. I guess we will find out, you’re all invited down!!! Not at the same time though!!

A few more chairs for our chair collection! They are pretty comfy too! Will probably get some sort of pull out couch or a day bed, or some kind of thing to create more sleeping space.

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This is the door to our side entry front door, with the laundry and door to the garage to the right.

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Immediate project number two, removal of the pineapples. Even a plantation shutter in the laundry, how cute is that? This house also has the hurricane shutters on the outside. I think they are pleated and you just pull them closed.

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We first visited this house at an open house. The most complaints seemed to be the fact it was on a corner. The corner of two interior streets, not on a main, busier street. We looked at a couple of those. Much more traffic.

Side entry on the right.

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Our own twin baby palm tree! There are those hurricane shutters I was so terribly describing. They must lock in the middle.

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And the lanai. I love that there is already a ceiling fan out there! Because Mama needs a fan in every.single.room. That is the street beyond the hedge. I asked Honey if it bothered him that he would not have a water (ditch view, as we call them), he said it would not, because he is nosy and could watch the people walking by. Well alright then! I may have to get a robe if I plan on sitting out there early in the morning!

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The realtor told us that the owners had received approval to extend the lanai out to where the brick pavers end, that would double its size. We will totally do that. and then we can put a table and umbrella out there, which will increase entertaining possibilities. Too bad we can’t stick some of those many, comfy chairs out there.

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The hedge will probably be a casualty. Honey may even look into taking the lanai around the back too. We say that in a couple houses. Possibilities!

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There is the corner and the streets.

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The first thing that we liked about this community was the pool!!!!

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It starts with an indoor pool,

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and you go through the water cascading to the outside pool.

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So many pretty palm trees!

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It has a very nice clubhouse with activities and a library, exercise room, pickle ball and tennis courts, and lots of other things we may or may not be involved with. We had to have three character references before they would even let us move in. They take their character seriously down there!

We are very thankful to finally stop looking and we prayed that if it wasn’t what God had in mind for us than the deal would not go through. Honey felt confident it was within our budget, and the fact that it was turnkey meant we did not have the extra expense of furniture. We will probably head down there sometime this summer to take some household things down, and we will need to buy bedding, bath and kitchen things as well.

So there you have it, our new winter digs!

Second Week of Florida 2018

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We spent some time down in Naples with my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Bob. There was some eating and hanging out involved. One visit included a yummy rib dinner at Bricktops, and a visit with Girl Cousin Lindsay, her husband Rob B. and their sweet little baby girl, Bailey Bean. They are all known internationally as Team Levine!

Bailey Bean, who will now be called BB, was very interested in books. I bet she gets that from her Mama, who is also a book fan. Honey obliged her.

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Serious thoughts.

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With her Daddy, Rob B.

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And there’s Girl Cousin Lindsay! They are Team Levine!

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Hi BB!! ❤ ❤

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Grand-père, AKA Uncle Bob, and BB talking about animals. MOO.

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You’ve gotta be quick with her, she is moooooving on!

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Grand-mère, AKA Aunt Phyllis. In her heart she is French.

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BB came around for sugar at bedtime, she got more than that from Mousey!

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There was nuzzling and all around gittin’ her!!!!

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I think she liked it 🙂  And off to bed she went, without a peep!

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I have been asking my Uncle Bob, who is my Mother’s brother, to do an Ancestry.com DNA test for years now. I did one several years ago and was surprised by what was represented, but I thought it would be interesting to see what his would say. After all, mine had both of my parents DNA, whereas his would only reflect my Mother’s side.  After much discussion and prodding, I bought him one for Christmas, brought it down to him in Florida, and he graciously donated his spit and sent it off. Now we wait!

What I am most interested to find out is whether my one percent Jewish comes from their side!!! He has had many people ask him if he is Jewish, and even Aunt Phyllis is convinced that he is one of The Chosen People! She thinks he looks a little Bernie Madoff-ish. I just see Ummel Bob!

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We continued the eating, visiting, lounging, shopping, all liberally sprinkled with looking at houses, communities, spec homes and model homes. All beautiful and each had their own pros and cons.

We usually stay in Cape Coral because it’s hard to find weekly rentals down this way, most prefer monthly commitments or more at this time of year. Although Cape Coral has come a L.O.N.G. way since it was hit hard in the economic disaster of 10 years ago, it takes too long to get to the freeway and the traffic is horrific getting through to Ft. Myers, so we looked mostly in Ft. Meyers and Estero. We did go and look at a lovely Del Webb community in Ave Maria, about 40 minutes from Naples. The houses and prices were GREAT, but even Honey agreed that it was too far from….EVERYTHING.

We have rented homes from the same couple for the last 3 years. Every year they have had a new rental and we have been the first to stay at each! She told us that they had decided to move into the one we were staying at when we left. They liked the location and the double lot.

It sure had pretty views!

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It was a nice relaxing visit, and before we knew it we were packing to head home.

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As per usual, Honey had us there nice and early. That meant we had some time to amuse ourselves. We did right fine in that department.

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They lovin’.

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And then we started with the Snapchat. Oh.My.Word.

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I wish I could put a video on here because there was a goodie! Slapped that puppy up on Facebook.

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KITTIES!!! My favorite 🙂

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Abby collected us from the airport and we came home to a winter storm warning and dinner at Chip and Dip. I was sporting my sandals, so was a bit nippy.

Mousey’s lament the next day.

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But someone was mighty glad to see us and has sticketh closer than a brother ever since.

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Oh yes he has.

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It was a grand vacation!

First Week of Florida 2018

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Hi Guys, long time no type!! We had a delightful two weeks in The Sunshine State, soaking up the sun and warm weather! It was just Honey and I for the first week, then we were joined by Mousey on the second. The weather was stellar, the pool was warm and our view was quite Florida-ish!

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Honey got right to the fitchin’. Catch and release all the day long.

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We went to a little joint called Woody’s Waterside in St James City on Pine Island. There were some boats going by for Honey to watch.

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Loved this picture!

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One of my most favorite meals, some kind of smoked pork BBQ nachos. YUM! We enjoyed them so much we went back after Mousey arrived. They also raved about the fresh shrimp they had. DELISH!

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There’s my boyfriend, I like his face. ❤

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I made plans with my Aunt Phyllis to go with her to her BSF class in Naples.  I went with her a couple of years ago when they had an actual class down there, but now she is part of a satellite class that has it’s own discussion groups, but hears a streamed lecture from Ft. Myers. This was particularly interesting to me because our class in Wayne absorbed another class in our area, and they receive a streamed lecture at their location. So I felt like I experienced what they have every week! I know my Aunt is thankful to be able to attend class in Naples instead of driving all the way up to Ft. Myers. Traffic down there is a NIGHTMARE! It took Honey and I an hour and a half to get from Cape Coral to Naples!!!!!

While I was at BSF, Honey went to my Uncle Bob’s coffee group. There are about 7 or 8 guys and this gentleman was among them. His name is Brian McFarlane and he was, among other things, a hockey announcer in Canada, land of Honey’s birth.

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Bob had told Honey about him previously, and Honey knew who he was! Honey had the good fortune to sit right next to him as he told story after story! He said his father wrote a bunch of Hardy Boys mysteries, he regaled him with stories about Bobby Orr, Glen Hall, Eddie Shack, and Gordie Howe. He is in the hockey hall of fame and has been an author, songwriter, artist, announcer and has had a very interesting life. Honey enjoyed him thoroughly!

Every day Honey needed a picture to send to his buddy at work. He knew that in his absence, this fellow had to work with another guy. So he sent a text with a picture saying “I got to do/eat this, you get to work with *****” This was one of the pictures.

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And another.

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And this one. We stopped at a highly rated doughnut shop on the way to the airport to pick up Mousey. Apple fritters, Smore, Maple, Orange and a plain puffy one. They were good but I’m sorry, they can’t hold a candle to our own Tasty Boy in Flat Rock, MICHIGAN!!!!!

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I only eat Cheeto’s on vacation. Breakfast of Champions.

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The day after Mousey got there, Honey went fitchin’ with his buddy Bob, who retired from Ford 10 years ago. We had gone to dinner the week before with him and his wife Kay, and the guys made their plans right then.

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They did their best catching near Bokeelia. Red drum.

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Snook. Sounds like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t, I asked.

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We were happy to have Mouse-Ann with us! She likes to do all the things we do; eat, lounge, eat, shop, have ice cream, visit. And eat.

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She spent a goodish amount of time toasting herself on the dock. It’s times like this that she is sincerely jealous of her sister and brother’s ability to tan supremely easily. And neither one of them gives a RIP! She gives a RIP!

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She is a pleasure to have around! See my purty necklace? My Aunt Phyllis gave it to me after she and Uncle Bob went to Israel a year or so ago. I wear it proudly because, after all, I am ONE PERCENT Jewish!!!!!!! Doubly chosen!!!

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More tomorrow 🙂

Schnibbles

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I thought I was finished being sick when we last spoke, but alas, I was not. The other cold symptoms have left but I am still coughing. It feels like that could go on for a while. While my immune system was waging war with the virus, my ever present kidney infection decided to make its move and overrun the bladder territory. It is being crushed mercilessly by a 5 day course of Cipro.

Anyone else not a fan of the Cipro? I don’t like the way it makes me feel. Weak, headache, heart racing. Plus it came with 4 pages of side effect notes, which is alarming in itself. I guess it’s better than a reaction to Bactrim, but not by much.

Besides coughing, I have done a few things around here. I got a temporary crown. Apparently the second tooth from the back had 3 cracks, that were causing it to feel…insecure… while using it. I was glad the dentist could figure out which one it was because I was unsure if it was that one or its big brother behind it. It has probably had a filling in it for over 40 years, I guess it has fulfilled its purpose. I thank you for your service.

The gals in our house have all had their hairs done. The Ab-Cat is all chemically straightened for another 6 or so months, Mousey is heavily highlighted once again, and I have had my silver lining removed for another 6 weeks. I have one more client today and then I am ON VACATION for 2 weeks!!!!

Honey and I are heading to The Sunshine State for a little R and R, so attention to the blob could be spotty, or not. I make no guarantees in any direction. I have brought the suitcases up from the basement, gone to the library with Abby to check out some reading material, started an area on the kitchen table with things we need and add to it daily, and have a pile of clothing in the bedroom awaiting packing. It’s getting real!

We have had some warmer weather that has melted a goodish amount of Winter Storm Mateo, but I have to say, some of the roads in our town are not going to make it through this winter! I thought Warren was a horror, but Morton Taylor is an ABOMINATION!!!! The people in charge of such things should be ASHAMED of themselves!!!!!!! And don’t give me that garbage about it being the county’s responsibility, get that dumb truck out there with the tar pellets in it and fill in those TRENCHES!!!!!!! Good common sense, its like a war torn country out here!

In good news, I have lost 8 pounds on the Keto diet! I don’t think I will make my goal of 15 before we go on vacation, but HOORAY for 8!!!!! We have decided we will eat normal on our trip, but as Honey said, not go hog wild! I asked what that meant, he said we would not have ice cream twice a day. Not sure that was really a thing, but it must have happened a time or two to stick in his mind! All I can say is chicken pot pie, I’m coming for ya!!!!!!!

We have been watching The Olympics, or should I say DVR-ing them, because OH.MY.WORD. the commercials! So many commercials! We loved the snowboarding and are heavily invested in figure skating at the moment. Abby and I have been using the ever present commercial time to goggle old figure skaters we used to love! A lot of them are fairly active on social media, hi Scott Hamilton, Kristie Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan! Have not heard Honey mention hockey so I’m guessing that is not in high gear yet.

Have a pleasant Monday, I got stuffs to do!