Is this really food?

Eating breakfast has been a challenge the past two weeks. Since we are not accustomed to getting up early enough for a 25 minute drive to work, we’ve been more rushed than usual; and since we’ve had so many late nights due to extra events after regular school hours we’ve been getting home late and who’s had time to go to the grocery?

Thursday night we finally started home around 9:00 and since we were running on empty, we stopped at the Kangaroo to fill the gas tank and pick up something for breakfast.


I grabbed a bag of powdered sugar donuts and a gallon of milk. Problem solved.

However, when we opened the bag of donuts we noticed the “Expiration Date” listed on the flap. July 03, 2015? Really? Five weeks? How can donuts be good that long? Can they be considered food?

We ate the Donettes, but it may be time to start eating real food again.

TBT Lesson #52

It’s not easy for siblings to all get together as adults. No longer living in the same town, it takes real effort to meet up with brothers and sisters when working around job schedules and the demands of family.

Here four of five siblings gather for a holiday celebration in the big city of Ocklawaha. John’s dad and aunts pose for a rare group picture: Marian, Johnny, Anne Jo, and Pat. Not the complete crew since Bobby isn’t pictured, but a good start.

IMG_5824TBT Lesson #51: Cherish the times siblings get together. (And take a picture.)

Are you phubbing?

Phubbing –┬áto ignore (a person or one’s surroundings) when in a social situation by busying oneself with a phone or other mobile device

Sound familiar? Phubbing is a new word in my vocabulary, but it describes an activity I’ve noticed for about a dozen years.

And yes, I’ve exhibited phubbing behavior on occasion. There’s something about those digital devices that entice many, maybe most, of us to stare at their screens and interact with them…even when we’re in the same room with real live people.

But is it phubbing when everyone is playing the same game on their phone? That’s what was happening after dinner on Easter.

And this isn’t phubbing…two people interacting with one another and their phones sharing tips on using their devices.

IMG_7755My son-in-law, Jonathan, challenges friends to stack their phones in the center of the table when they go out to dinner, and the first one to touch their phone gets to pick up the tab. A good way to control phubbing.

In fact, he’s certain that I’d be the one paying if I’d take him up on this challenge. When I hear that ding, ding indicating a new text, I just can’t resist.

Buckle Up

Last night I heard on the news that mathematician John Nash (upon whose life the movie A Beautiful Mind was based) and his wife were killed in a car accident on their return from the airport in New Jersey. This report was very similar to one from February when CBS reporter Bob Simon was killed in a traffic accident in Manhattan. Three well known individuals dead riding in cars only miles from home. All three passengers in cabs or for-hire vehicles. None of these well-known victims were wearing seat belts.

Apparently that is not that unusual. While only about 10% of adults fail to buckle up in their own vehicles, nearly 65% ride in taxis unbuckled. Maybe it’s just a matter of being out of the usual routine. Maybe it’s because these vehicles are used for shorter commutes. Or maybe it’s about being in the back seat that give passengers a sense of security, but whatever the reason for justifying a ride without a seat belt, it’s a bad decision.

Using seat belts is not about following the law. It’s not about avoiding being ticketed. Seat belts are all about personal safety.

If you’re driving a car, buckle your seat belt.

If you’re a passenger in a car driven by a friend or family member, buckle your seat belt.

If you’re a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle, buckle your seat belt.

Even if you’re the passenger in a taxi, limousine or other vehicle for hire, buckle your seat belt.

It only makes sense to do something so simple that can have such a positive impact on making a ride in a car a safe one.

Buckle up…even in a cab.




It’s a Peachy Time of Year

Last year John received a peach tree as an end of the year thank you from the family of one of his students. He planted it in what he calls his orchard and we’ve watched it grow, bloom and then develop fruit this year.

We were more than a little surprised at the number of peaches growing on this young tree and yesterday picked one of the peaches for a taste test. And while the fruit is much smaller than what I’ve picked in the past, the sweet fruit was definitely ripe and ready to be eaten.


It’s time to find some recipes. Looks like we’ll be having a peachy week.

You can’t go wrong with No Cook Easy Peach Ice Cream.

Southern Living, July 2002

Or maybe we should try refreshing Peach Mojitos.

Cooking Light, June 2008

Peach Cake is more time consuming, but sounds delicious.

Food Network

And what could be easier than Grilled Peaches with Honey Balsamic Glaze? Especially, since I’m not the one grilling.

White on Rice Couple

How do pork chops topped with a little Peach Barbeque Sauce sound? Yummy!

Southern Living, June 2012

Why not combine blueberries and peaches, two Florida fruits ready to be picked this time of year and make Blueberry and Peach Cobbler?

Sarasota Magazine, May 2014

And this modified sugar cookie recipe looks like a tasty treat: Fresh-Peach Drop Cookies

I even found a salsa recipe. And since watermelons are being sold on every corner, it shouldn’t be a problem to find the ingredients for Watermelon-Peach Salsa with Tomatoes.

Southern Living, July 2011

Decisions. Decisions. What to make first?

4:45 Wake Up Call

Have you ever noticed that when the alarm goes off at 5:45 signaling the wake up call for work it seems much earlier than the 4:45 alarm set for a morning of fishing? Even the 3:00am alarm for an early flight is much more palatable than the one set to begin the usual Monday through Friday routine.

Maybe it’s the anticipation of what the day will bring.

From sunrises

IMG_8800to the soothing water

to the possibility of bringing home dinner.

Extra early alarms are the best.


TBT Lesson #51

During our annual family trips to Helen, Georgia, my Dad made it a tradition to take all of the grandchildren to the local amusement park for a day of fun. The day always included eating “fair food” and soaking one another on the bumper boats.

The kids played in the arcade and convinced Grandpa they need to test every ride at the park.

Joy? Fear? Boredom?

IMG_4385TBT Lesson #51: Amusement parks rides don’t elicit the same response from every child – to each his own.

Free Speech Wall

It may not be as impressive as the Jefferson Memorial perched on the tidal basin in Washington, D.C., but the Free Speech Monument located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson provides another fitting salute to one of our Founding Fathers.

imageWIth chalk provided, it’s hard to resist the temptation to write or draw something on the two-sided, 54 foot long slate wall.

On the day we wrote on the wall there were “words of wisdom” like:

Register to vote.

Don’t bite hamsters!

Have courage.

As well as lots of hearts, peace symbols, and people’s names. I didn’t see anything profound, but who

doesn’t love to write on a chalkboard. And I’m sure that on occasion more thought provoking messages appear.


Upon our return to the wall later that evening, we discovered that all messages had been erased as part of the weekly cleaning so of course new messages were scrawled on the wall.



And since this was the night before Steve and Katie’s wedding, Meghan added their hashtag:




Organize Your Important Papers

The last time we traded in a car, we spent more than an hour searching for the title, and I had to order a copy of my birth certificate from Indiana when I needed to renew my driver’s license. Both of these important documents were located where they should have been, in the file cabinet with all of our important papers, just filed in the wrong folders. Of course, part of the problem was the number of not so important papers stuffed in the file cabinet.

One of the best things about participating in the 40 day decluttering challenge and organizing to prepare for our move was the elimination of extra paper. Receipts, bank statements, warranties for items we no longer owned, tax returns from the 80s…over 50 pounds of paper taken to be shredded.

But while it’s necessary to eliminate the unnecessary paper, it’s essential to organize the stuff that really is important. After several unsuccessful attempts to tame the paperwork, I’ve finally settled on an organization plan. Keeping items in one of four places:

Safe-deposit box

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Wills and other estate-planning documents
  • Marriage license
  • Social security card
  • Vehicle titles
  • Life insurance policies

At Home File

  • Safe-deposit box inventory
  • Tax returns and all supporting documentation for seven years
  • Insurance policies
  • Household warranties and receipts
  • Everything relating to your house: records that show the purchase price as well as all receipts for home improvements. Keep for three years after selling.

Evernote (Digital File System)

  • All financial documents related to IRAs, 401(k)s or other investments
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Pay stubs and W-2 forms
  • Loan documents until the loan’s paid off
  • Vehicle records including the purchase receipts, maintenance and repair records for as long as you own vehicle
  • Receipts
  • Social Security statements

3×5 Card File

  • Record of accounts with mailing addresses, phone #s, account #s
  • Phone numbers of family members
  • Contact information for medical professionals

This card file is the most important of all. I can always find what I need even if there’s a power outage, or the Internet is down or should I lose my phone.

It’s not a fun task, but it sure feels good when it’s done. Organize your important papers.



Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your suggestions.



5 Down; 10 To Go

The summer of 1979 was one of great change. I graduated from FAU. John graduated from UM. We married in August, moved to Marion County and started our teaching careers. What a summer!

The past three months we’ve experienced a similar series of changes. After Sarah’s wedding in February, we’ve been preparing for another move as well as retirement. And although this time the move is only 20 miles instead of 300, we find ourselves moving into the same house where we started life as husband and wife.

We’ve been anticipating this move for close to a year, making it one of the events on our 15 in 15 list. And this past Wednesday with the help of our nephews, the final pieces of furniture were loaded and moved to our first home.

The past four days have been spent unpacking, organizing, meeting the cable technician and discarding more clothing, furniture and kitchen gadgets.

Yes, we’ve completed our move and are enjoying the change, but I’m looking forward to the next adventure on this year’s list…one that’s not as much work!