Bones, Bones, Everywhere

Life jackets, blocks, and sails gathered in preparation for an afternoon sail, but the trampoline of the boat was covered with white debris. Upon closer inspection, the slivers of white littering the boat turned out to be bones…hundreds of pieces of bones.

No, it’s not a Halloween prank. The hawk that’s been perched atop the mast all weekend has been successfully snagging fish from the lake and then dropping the bones of its prey on the boat below. hawk

Please, Mr. Hawk, take your dinner elsewhere.

Weigh-in Wednesday: Week 44

jeansIt’s been a pretty tough week to find time for exercise and cooking. With Emily’s wedding less than two weeks away, there seem to be little tasks to be taken care of daily so that most nights conclude at a restaurant without much thought to the number of calories being consumed.

It’s easy to see how I gained so much weight over the years…too many meals with too little thought!

Despite my poor habits, I managed to gain no weight…something to celebrate!

In between other errands, I bought two pair of jeans this week. This usually isn’t a cause for celebration. I find buying jeans almost as discouraging as buying a bathing suit; but not this time. It felt good to find more than one pair that fit, and who would have thought I would buy a pair called “skinny jeans”?

Obviously, the definition of skinny has changed from the 1960s when the model Twiggy was associated with the word skinny; but nevertheless, I experienced success as I start purchasing clothes in smaller sizes. Even for someone who hates to shop, this made for a positive week.

Sunrise and the Gateway Arch

No, I didn’t go to St. Louis, but Meghan spent four days there for a conference last week and contends that St. Louis should be considered as a possible site of the most beautiful sunrise.


Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor
Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor

Meghan was surprised the first morning when she awoke and noticed a spectacular sunrise peaking through the arch from her ninth floor window of the Hyatt Regency. In fact, she set her alarm a little earlier the next morning so she could get outside to take some sunrise pictures.


Since I wrote about the sensational sunrises I’ve witnessed and photographed this year only a couple of days before her trip, she submitted her own pictures of the sunrise in St. Louis featuring the Gateway Arch.


She’s convinced me! Sunrise in St. Louis was much more spectacular that anything I observed in Florida. I’ll add it to the list of best places to watch the sunrise.StL4

Get Out, Stay Out, Call for Help

A display of antique fire trucks and equipment served as a fire safety reminder in Mount Dora last weekend. You may remember from your days in elementary school that October is fire safety month so the trucks lured children and their parents to the information tables where volunteers distributed pamphlets and materials to encourage families to take time to make their own fire safety plans.

I know it’s been a few years since you’ve drawn posters illustrating “Stop, Drop, and Roll” or “Make an Escape Plan” so I thought I’d remind you that now that you’re the adult, you need to take steps to insure you’re prepared in the case of fire.

It’s easy to think this is unnecessary. After all, you’ll never have a fire…but you know, that’s not something you can predict. My family didn’t think we’d ever watch helplessly as firefighters attempted to put out the fire in the apartment building we lived. A friend’s home was badly damaged when she was distracted and walked away from the french fries on the stove. In fact, I’ve known at least a half dozen families who’ve been affected by home fires, so it does happen.

Take some time this week to purchase batteries for your smoke detector so that when you set your clock back this weekend, you can also change the batteries in your smoke detector. Then make a plan. It doesn’t need to be elaborate…make an escape plan from every room and determine a meeting place to insure everyone is out of the house.

Make sure you follow the advice of the American Red Cross. In case of fire,







Gift Love

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Gift Love

I share a gift of love with you,

            Out of my woundedness.

Not need love that will be returned

            As a circle,

But a Gift love that forms an arch

            Never to return to me.

Is that what you did for me, God?

Did you give your gift of love with

            No expectation of return?

            Your gift of love –

            Your son on the cross

Not need love, but gift love

            Christ – a gift of love speaks

            To my spirit;

            “Father forgive them”

A love gift – out of your woundedness.IMG_0586

Remembering Marlin

In October 1997 the Florida Marlins set a record by reaching the World Series in only their fifth season. The underdog Marlins defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games in the first World Series ever held in the state of Florida.

The same week the Marlins upset the Indians, a golden retriever puppy joined our family. This adorable fur ball came to live with us unexpectantly. The girls picked out the female, runt of the litter for their granny, but when Granny decided a puppy would be too much to handle, it was too late…the girls had fallen in love with the underdog of the litter and so she joined our family.

Naming pets is not our strong suit. The dog adopted from the pound on the first Saturday in May was named K.D. since she joined us on the day of the Kentucky Derby. The black lab puppy we named manatee because its face resembled that of a sea cow. So what to name a golden retriever puppy? Marlin, of course! Named for the underdog Florida Marlin’s world championship baseball team that we cheered on throughout the month of October.IMG_0392

Watching the World Series brings back memories of our years with Marlin…a real champ!

A Dam Good Breakfast

damdiner1Before launching the boat on the Ockalawaha River for a trip to Lake Griffin, we stopped at the Dam Diner in Moss Bluff for breakfast. This turned out to be a great idea.

Biscuits and gravy have never been my idea of an appealing breakfast, but this seemed like the perfect Dam Diner breakfast so I ordered the half portion of biscuits and gravy with eggs and sausage. Good thing I ordered the half portion! The massive biscuit smothered in gravy was far more than any one person should eat, and I’m proud to say that while I enjoyed it, I only indulged in eating half of the half portion.damdiner2

The Dam Diner’s perfect for those who enjoy typical diner food. Large portions at reasonable prices. The diner is only open for breakfast and lunch with the exception of Friday evenings when The Dam Diner serves all you can eat fish or spaghetti dinners. Something we’ll be trying in the weeks to come.

Top Twelve Tom Hanks Movies

Last week we saw Captain Phillips, a movie based on the hijacking of an American container ship by Somali pirates. An intense two hour journey with the captain and crew keeps movie goers immersed in the action and exhausted.


Tom Hanks stars as the title character in Captain Phillips, but that wasn’t his only appearance on the big screen that night. In the trailers, Hanks stars as Walt Disney in the upcoming movie based on the making of Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks…one I’ll see in December.

Seeing him in two very different movies reminded me of the Hanks movies I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies:

Apollo 13


Road to Perdition

Toy Story

Sleepless in Seattle

Saving Private Ryan

Forest Gump


A League of Their Own

Charlie Wilson’s War

Catch Me If You Can

Turner and Hooch


I admit that I even enjoyed Joe Versus the Volcano and The Man With One Red Shoe. A movie with Tom Hanks…that’s one I want to see. Maybe I should plan to watch all of his movies in 2014. At one a week, I’ll be busy most of the year!

I know…somehow I’ve never seen The Green Mile. I need to make that a priority.



Weigh-in Wednesday: Week 43

Weigh daily.
Weigh daily.

Somehow I lost a half pound this week.

Despite eating out almost every day and some days eating out all three meals I managed to keep from blowing my weight loss plan.

The problem this week: Too much to do and too little time. This led to poor habits in both eating and exercising.

This explains how I gained so much weight over the years. Too much to do; too little time for too many years resulted in two to three extra pounds each year for about 30 years or about 60 extra pounds. I’m just lucky I was slender in my youth.

Now I start every day by stepping on the scale. Two or three pounds over the course of a year doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when that pattern repeats year after year, it’s a big problem.

I know my weight will fluctuate from one day to the next, but I also know the top limit of what’s acceptable. The ignorance is bliss model of old is no more. By weighing in every day, I’m able to hold myself accountable.

Four more to go!

Silver Springs State Park

It’s official. Silver Springs is the newest Florida State Park and last week I made my first visit. It was both exciting and disappointing.

Exciting  to be charged only $8 per car or $5 for a single person instead of an $8 parking fee in addition to the $30+ admission price of the former theme park. Exciting to see canoes and kayaks launching from the park. Exciting to eat a picnic lunch at the tables overlooking the spring. Exciting to watch the glass bottom boats continuing to cruise through the spring.

Disappointing that much of the park is blocked off and not accessible to the public. Disappointing to see how dilapidated the park has become…buildings, fences, former attractions literally falling apart. Disappointing that the ice cream parlor isn’t open since enjoying an ice cream cone while rocking and watching the glass bottom boats was a favorite activity at the park.

However, despite the many disappointments, I’m optimistic about the future of Silver Springs State Park. We spoke to Marty in the restaurant and she told us of the plans to expand the menu and add an ice cream parlor. We met the young man working the canoe and kayak rentals, and he told us of their goals to increase their services.

I need to be patient. The park had only come under state control about two weeks before our visit. It’s going to take some time to bring Silver Springs back to the popular attraction of yesteryear.