Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Music to my ears...

Someone asked me not too long ago about what music I listen to when I take my morning walks. 

When I first started developing my walking (and biking) habit, it was 2000 and I was newly retired.  I wanted to physically embed all the seasons of living in St. Louis into my soul so I started walking from 3-5 days a week all year around.  I walked to the B52s, Anya, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Buffett...you get the picture.

When we moved to Florida in '01, I still wore my ear plugs and a small tape player in a waist pouch but when we moved to Tarpon Springs, I stopped listening to other people's music and started listening to a different music entirely and that has made a big difference.

I generally walk between 5-7 days a week and between 2.5-5 miles a day depending on the weather and my mood.  Wed. -Friday, E drops me off at Tarpon Tavern on our way home from taking our granddaughter to school.  And the music begins.  Other days, I walk anywhere.

I love walking through our small but lively down town.  Paris, our friend who manages our favorite restaurant, always starts my walk with a hello when she sees me. The woman who sweeps the sidewalk in front of the oldest (and only ) department store greets me with a cheery hello and so do any other merchants who are setting up in front of their stores.  The hellos to me are like the flutes in a huge orchestra, fun and lively.

I cross Alt. 19 and head towards Spring Bayou and, as I walk around the rim, besides the greetings exchanged, I hear the rhythmic slap slap of the water against the sea wall...pure bass!

I head one of two ways from there but both are on side streets shaded and the sounds are soft and muted and soothing.  The rubbing of the leaves of the trees as a breeze passes through, the bark of a dog and the shush of the owner...each contributes to the song in a way.

My next part of the journey is down Athens where the clink of worry beads and the melodic Greek of the older men sitting outside of the tavernas resonates til I turn the corner onto the Sponge Docks.  There the hurry and scurry of the shop keepers setting up their wares moves my feet at a faster pace.  And the best note of all comes from the sponge boat captain and the men working the boats with their " Hello, lovely lady"...now, they are being kind but the flattery does not hit a false note with me.

I travel for a short while down Alt. 19, passing over the Anclote and the song of the tide is an ever constant.  I've had mostly nice horn accompaniments from passing cars and the swish swish swish of the traffic speeds up my step once again.  Around the corner, down the street and I am home.

So, do I listen to music when I walk? Oh, yes.  And the sweetest music of all... that of my town.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Graduation Day...at last

Last Saturday was a momentous milestone in our family.  Our son in law, Chris, graduated from USF's school of Engineering.  It has been a long road and I am not sure how the kids have done it and as well as they have.  Chris has been working full time (4 ten hour days plus over time when he could), taking 2 classes a semester, sometimes 3, taking care of the twins and their sister on Mondays and Tues (or we did when he had class) and finding time to be a good husband, father and friend.  Kristen works full time, takes the boys to and from her school for pre K and had the evenings Chris had class and Sat. when he worked.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and, in this case, it took a bunch of friends and family to make this day possible.  Kristen and Chris are blessed in that their friends, Vicki, NeNe (what the boys names Manena) and Lisa who came to their aid. 

This was such a wonderful day for all of us.  Congrats to you, dear son in law.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eight years ago tomorrow...

my honey and I ended one adventure in our lives and began another.  We sold our home we had built together in Ft. Myers, Fl and moved a bit north to be closer to our kids.  We bought a house in Tarpon Springs, Fl and proceeded to make it a home.  While we miss our wonderful neighbors and friends in Ft. Myers, we have found a place to call our own...we love this town.

We have gone from not knowing anyone in the area but our kids and their friends to having upwards of 40 people at our annual holiday party every December.  We are both essentially small town people though we spent most of our lives prior to retirement living on the outskirts of bustling St. Louis, Mo.  Tarpon Springs is our kind of town.  We can walk or bike to all but one of our doctors, have found our favorite groceries, watering holes and eateries, have gotten to know the owners and staff and feel we belong.

We stay as busy or as idle as we choose and will have more time soon when our granddaughter starts pre K 3/4 at a school closer to her mother's.  The twins will be in kindergarten at their mom's school and our son in law, Chris, graduates this Sat. with his engineering degree from USF.  We will then proceed to spoil the Grands even more than we do now and be the 'back up' care for workshop days and illnesses rather than care givers.  We will miss seeing the Grands on a daily basis but we have some great plans to fill the time:  an anniversary trip to New Orleans, a few weeks at the beach and a cruise with our friends, Bill and Jo (who also love our little village enough to buy a condo and be "Spongers" for several months...Spongers is the name of our high school sports teams).

We love the diversity of our town.  There is a Jamaican Jerk restaurant, tons of Greek ones, and Italian one and more and our favorite, Tarpon Tavern, where we are greeted like family.  Our down town is straight out of a 50s tv show...small boutiques, a bank, a meat market, antique shops and more and our Sponge Docks...straight out of a Grecian quay.  We have 2 beaches, several lovely parks, the Anclote River and a big lake along with the bayous. 

I know I sound like a Chamber of Commerce ad for Tarpon Springs...lol.  Not to mislead, this rich, vibrant place we are so proud to call home is not perfect but it is our Paradise.  

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

There went Peter Cotton Tale (who looked a bit like Papa).

The Wed. before Easter, Kristen brought the 3 Grands over to dye Easter eggs here.  Chris had class until ten and all 3 Grands and their mama were on Spring Break.  So were we! lol.  While E and I helped two of the Grands dye eggs after dinner, Mama bathed a 3rd. and so we rotated til bath time and eggs were done.

On Sunday, after church, the Grands, their mama and daddy came over to our house for Easter brunch.  While Papa put the finishing touches on our meal, the Grands and the rest of us had our Easter Egg hunt.  Papa...er, ah, Peter Cotton Tale, had filled plastic eggs with pennies and baskets were waiting when the hunt was done.

Peter Cotton Tail left Legos for the boys and a princess magnetic "paper doll" for Leighton in their baskets along with a chocolate bunny each and jelly beans, which Leighton adored...hers, and her brothers!

And then there is our little Diva in the darling outfit Auntie NeNe gave her!

And a few random shots ....

I hope you all had a lovely Easter as well.

Friday, April 03, 2015

A Few Thoughts on Aging

 A recent spill on my bike has caused me to be a bit more reflective of my aging.  I'll be 68 in a few weeks and, in September, E will turn 70.  Neither of us feel  we are old but our bodies daily remind us we are.

  We have the usual aging signs: odd sleep, aches and pains and developing arthritis and forgetfulness.  We have done what we can to take care of these while maintaining our quality of life.  And we have a wonderful life we want to maintain. E has an appointment with a back specialist and has a follow up with his heart doctor in an effort to improve his mobility which has decreased significantly this past year. 

Until this spill, for me, aging has been more superficial.  I look down at my hands and wonder what old lady switched hers with mine.  Age spots appear and grow, it takes me longer to cover the ones on my face and my hair...more wire and dry no matter what I use on it. 

This spill has left me with a knee that is black and blue and missing a sizable amount of skin, a sprained or jammed finger and a palm also missing some skin and an aching shoulder.  But, most of all, the spill was a wake up call about my mortality.  We go through life thinking not me, I'm fine and I'll be able to walk, bike, run, etc. forever.  Many seniors do and, once I heal, I'll start my morning walks again.  I need to think about my bike, which I love.  Perhaps it is time to trade it for a 3 wheeler, not necessarily a trike and perhaps I am overreacting and perhaps not.

I don't feel my age, not inside and not in the way I perceive myself. But, it does take me longer to recover from colds, injuries such as the ones from my spill, and longer to get myself in gear.  I've given in to the afternoon Nana naps which I fought for eons.  I can't keep up with the Grands the way I did even a year or so ago. 

I believe a reality check is a good thing.  I was riding my bike fast trying to get my speed up for short periods of time and BOOM! I hit a hose across a sidewalk the wrong way...bike went one way leaving me skidding across the sidewalk and into the wet grass the other way.  I think my dignity was hurt more than my body parts...lol. 

With all the cancer in my family, I have tried (sometimes not succeeding) to live each day fully and full steam ahead.  Perhaps I can still do that but a slightly less 'damn the torpedoes' approach. 

Off to (figuratively) lick my wounds, apply more antiseptic and ice and take it easy for a couple of days.

My new favorite song:  When I Grow Up I Want to be an Old Lady...'cause I am!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Bikes of Tarpon Springs

As many of you know, I am a morning walker and, lately, during the course of my walks through my town of Tarpon Springs, I have noticed a phenomena occurring...whimsically decorated bikes all around town!

The first one I saw was down on the Sponge Docks outside of the Sponge Diver tee shirt store.  I had just gotten off the sponge diver boat with my 4 year old grandson, Landon and we both noticed this fun bike all "sponged" up.
 I assumed this unique repurposing had been done by the shop as they also sell sponges along with their clothing and wonderful tee shirts. 

A couple of weeks later, walking through town with my friend, Jo, we spotted the "computerized" bike outside a computer repair shop on Tarpon Ave.  This one has a small plaque that read, Tarpon Tom, which is a wonderful resale and bike repair shop in town on Alt. 19.  This is where I take my bike.  (pardon my partial thumb obliterating the handle bars which were key boards!)

A few days later, Jo and I spotted these on Tarpon Ave. during our morning walk.

Today, my husband dropped me off at Meres for my morning walk and, as I went up Tarpon Ave off the Trail, I spotted this one with a small sign reading Neptune Cyclery Shop which is located next to Toula's Trail Side Cafe on Safford. 

I don't know who started these but they are truly a wonderful addition to our already whimsical little town.  So kudos to those creating these wonders and keep up the good work, please.

Monday, February 23, 2015

If I were the Pres....

Some one recently posted on Facebook, what would one do if he/she were the President of the U.S. and I thought about it long and hard

And if I were the President, this is what I would do

1.  no child or elderly person would be without food, shelter or medical treatment and care (this is a humanitarian and (for those who keep posting how "Christian" they are, what Christ proclaimed!

2. I would bring our fighting troops home and put them to work (at a higher wage, btw) rebuilding our infrastructures that need refrubishing.

(side bar here: who do we think we are that we can impose our democratic beliefs on nations that have existed eons before ours...let them deal with their problems and let us divert our money to ours)

3.  Pay our educators more than a babysitter and establish boards of teachers who regulate their peers.  Stop letting legislators regulate what they know nothing about.

4.  Workfare, not Welfare...educate and provide a cushion while it is happening.  How can we expect anyone to rise above their standards when we provide money but no training or training but no child care or any of the above.  Want to live in subsidized housing,  sign up for classes to move out!

5.  I would not give money or subsidies or tax breaks to any company that out sources...I would double their taxes and watch how our economy flourishes

6.  I would limit the amount of money that could be spent on any political campaign.  It would be begin at local and, of course (because I am not stupid) accelerate to presidential).   BUT,  for every dollar ANY donation, any expense, any anything went over that amount, no matter who it came from or how it was justified, the candidate had to contribute 2x that amount to education (and no charter schools!)

7.  NO privation of public education...these tax dollars are paid by the residents and, if they don't go to the local schools, but go to privately owned charter schools, the residents loose

8.  If politicians are not doing their jobs, they need to be remanded.
9.  Federal and state senators and reps need to be in the same health plan that they "approve"  for their constituents, and nothing better  (what's good for the goose is good for the gander)

10.  If I want it to be, I'll live it

So, perhaps I should be Queen rather than just the Pres...ya think?