TBT Lesson #68

Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 88th birthday. Pictured with her boys, Bettie Lou was fiercely protective of the family she loved.

In 2010, Bettie Lou passed away after battling the affects of Alzheimer’s for five years. This Saturday, her family will be walking in her memory in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If you would like to help Team B. Lou reach our goal of raising $1000.00 to help further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, click this link and donate today.




TBT Lesson #68: A mother’s love is unconditional.

Show Your Library Love

Have you noticed the red Library Lover signs sprouting throughout the county?


Unfortunately, the worth of our libraries is being attacked by the Marion County Commission and we, Library Lovers, need to show our support of this essential county service. Let the commissioners know that you value the Marion County Public Library, their staff and services. Contact commissioners, attend meetings and plant a Library Lover sign in your yard. (If you need help getting a sign, leave a comment and I’ll get you in touch with a member of the Friends of the Library.)

10. Provide genealogy help centers.
9. Access the online resources from the comfort of your home. Use the online catalog, reserve materials, and complete research by accessing one of the dozens of databases.
8. freegal provides more than a million songs that can be added to your music library at the rate of three songs a week
7. eAudio with One Click Digital
6. Special events offered for children, teens, and adults. Check the here for the calendar.
5. eBooks can be downloaded using Freading, Open Library, OverDrive and Project Gutenberg (more than a million titles)
4. Collection contains more than 549, 000 volumes.
3. Zinio lets you download over 100 electronic editions of popular magazines.
2. Open 7 days a week.
1. Best of all – it’s free!
And as a bonus, the building is decorated with mosaics illustrating the Dewey Decimal classifications as well as what makes Marion County special.

Can’t wait to post my signs tomorrow!

Updated Parrot Jungle

Located on the 20 acres that was formerly the tourist attraction, Parrot Jungle, is the hidden treasure of Pinecrest Gardens.


Always on the lookout for a peaceful place for a walk while on vacation, Pinecrest Gardens fits the bill. Along with the native palms and hardwoods, the garden is home to over 1000 species of exotic and tropical plants.


The winding nature trail passes through natural streams, sinkholes and caverns as well as past many of the cages from the old Parrot Jungle attraction.


With weekly markets as well as horticultural events, music festivals, and theater productions, Pinecrest Gardens has a full calendar.


And what’s a garden without a little art? In addition to the art that lives in the park, art shows and craft shows are regularly scheduled.


The most popular part of the park on the day we visited was the splash pad where dozens of young children played in the water. I love this spray on sunscreen machine. For a dollar, you can pull the trigger and spray on a little sun protection. I know my children would have been more agreeable to the sunscreen process with this fun contraption.


After about an hour walking through the shady garden, it was time to remount our bikes and continue on our ride through South Miami.


I’ll keep the calendar of Pinecrest Gardens events handy for our next trip to South Florida.




Go Fishing!

It’s easy to pass on a fishing trip. There are plenty of reasons:

  • I don’t eat fish.
  • I don’t like to get up early.
  • I don’t wait to handle worms or shiners or shrimp or other live bait.
  • I don’t ever catch anything.
  • I don’t have a rod or other equipment.
  • I don’t have a fishing license.
  • I don’t know how to cast.

I’m sure you can think of other reasons to add to the list, but fishing has very little to do with most of these excuses and each of the excuses can easily be remedied.

Fishing is about enjoying nature…the sky, the clouds, the birds, the water, an early morning sunrise, an afternoon sunset, maybe even a full moon. Fishing is about the quiet. Fishing is about camaraderie. Fishing can be about fish, but it doesn’t have to be about fish. Fishing should really be spelled R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N.

Of course, actually catching fish is quite a bonus, providing fodder for tall tales. Who knows, you may even get your picture on a Fishing Wall of Fame or in a future edition of Grandpa’s Fishing Book.

Need to relax? Go fishing.





It’s Grandparents’ Day: Send a Selfie

I’m unsure how Grandparents’ Day should be celebrated since no such day existed when I was growing up. In fact, it wasn’t until about ten or fifteen years ago that I even knew a day to recognize grandparents existed.

I remember when asking why there were so many adults eating in the cafeteria being told that the kindergarten classes were celebrating Grandparents’ Day. (You can always count on kindergarten teachers to recognize new holidays and find ways to teach their students to use their newly acquired writing skills to make cards.)

Then my parents started going to school with my nieces and nephews in early September for special events organized by their schools. Grandparents’ Day was an actual event listed on the calendar for the first Sunday in September following Labor Day.

My parents with all but two of their grandchildren.

I’m not sure grandparents are really looking for gifts on this occasion, but I’m sure they’d enjoy any excuse for contact from their grandchildren. So if you don’t see them in person today, drop a note in the mail, make a call, send a text or I’d like to see a new tradition started by my parents’ grandchildren…send a selfie…that guarantees up-to-date pictures of grandchildren will always be as easy to find as the cell phone.

Happy Grandparents’ Day!

Shamed by My Phone

A couple of years ago, I lost 25 pounds by exercising, watching my diet and using the app Lose It! to monitor my progress. Well, a few of those pounds have moved back to my waistline so I’ve been making an effort to get back to using Lose It! to track my eating and exercise habits.

After going on an eleven mile bike ride in the heat of a late August day, I received this message from my Lose It! app:


Thanks for the encouragement! Two days later after another eleven mile bike ride and a three mile walk, I turn on my phone to see:


I really felt like I’d accomplished something after riding almost 25 miles…in the rain. That’s 666 calories burned, even at a slow pace of 9.1 mph.


So how did Lose It! help me celebrate? With this message:


Apparently walking, bike riding and lawn work is not something to celebrate. The message is loud and clear. EAT LESS FOOD!


Yes, I’ve eaten Cheetos, cookies, and nachos. I’ve even consumed a couple of glasses of Coke. The latest message from my phone:


I think my phone just called me a Fred. I’ll keep exercising, but I need to do a better job with my diet…and I’m sure Lose It! won’t let me forget!


Time for a Rematch

I know many are happy that football season has finally arrived. Family members have already enjoyed the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat after only one week of play, but tonight will be interesting in our house.

That’s because tonight, for only the second time in football history, John and I will be cheering for different teams as the University of Miami travels to Florida Atlantic University for a “much anticipated” rematch. In 2013, the Canes and the Owls met for the first time and I offered some advice to the Canes…thought it should be reposted.


From August 29, 2013: I’ll have my eye on Friday night’s game. Usually you’ll find me cheering for the Miami Hurricanes, John’s alma mater, but tomorrow will be a different story since my alma mater, FAU, Florida Atlantic University, takes on the Hurricanes in their season opener…a first!

My closet is full of orange and green Hurricane attire, but tomorrow I’ll don my one and only red FAU shirt and cheer on the Owls, something I couldn’t do as a student since FAU’s 2001 inaugural season came over twenty years after my graduation.


Friday, for the first time we’ll be a house divided.

Recently, Emily (another Hurricane alum) sent an email entitled 40 Signs You’re a Miami Hurricane…a fun series of photos which bring Hurricane fans together.

Well, the Hurricanes aren’t the only ones with bragging rights in the state. In response I’ve put together a series of photos which bring Owl fans together.

Sure, Hurricanes flash the universal “U”, but Owl fans…including the President…show their “owl fingers”

FAU is the ONLY university in the state undefeated in Bowl Games with an all-time record of 2-0 and with the first bowl win coming in only the sixth season.

2008 Motor City Bowl

2007 New Orleans Bowl

And speaking of Bowl Games, the Owls were the ONLY Florida team to win a bowl game in 2007.

New Orleans Bowl: FAU 44 – Memphis 27
Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State 10 – UCF 3
Sun Bowl: Oregon 56 – USF 21
Music City Bowl: Kentucky 35 – FSU 28
Capital One Bowl: Michigan 41 – UF 35
And UM? Oh, they didn’t make it to a bowl game in 2007.
Like the Hurricanes, we hate this man too…so much so that we’ve never let him stand on the sidelines during a game.

And like the Hurricanes we love this man…he chose FAU over UM.

Finally, we have something the Hurricanes will never have…not at the Orange Bowl…not at Sun Life Stadium…FAU has a stadium on campus.

Friday will be a first. I’ll be cheering for the Hurricane’s opponent. May the best team win! (Ok, so FAU didn’t win the game in 2013. The final score FAU 6 – UM 34.)

Tonight’s a new season…may the best team win!

TBT Lesson #67

During his Ward-Highlands years, John dressed as Professor Character once a week for the school’s morning show. Kay, the school’s guidance counselor and a personal friend, developed the Mr. Rogers-like personality Professor Character to teach lessons on manners, common courtesy, respect, patriotism and other guiding principles in a fun way that all the students could relate to.

I’m pleased to say he’s retired this outfit but not these character traits.


TBT Lesson #67: You don’t need a special coat, hat or funky glasses to practice good character. Good character is something that’s always in fashion.

Chasing Clouds



The past several weeks I seem to be chasing clouds. Clouds at sunrise,


clouds at sunset,


clouds  at all times of the day.

More than once, I’ve pulled the car into a parking lot so I can get a better look and a picture of clouds.


I find it incredibly amazing how at every sunset, the sky is a different shade. No cloud is ever in the same place. Each day is a new masterpiece. A new wonder. A new memory. ~Sanober Khan


The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin


We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day. ~Gavin Pretor-Pinney


imageIf you’re a cloud lover like me, you may want to check out the website of the Cloud Appreciation Society and the photos of clouds posted by others “cloudophiles”.


Jupiter, Hillsboro and Cape Florida

In early August, we visited our fifteenth lighthouse of the year and completed another of our 15 in 15 bucket list items, but when we traveled to South Florida later in the month, we couldn’t just drive by the lighthouses at Jupiter Inlet, Hillsboro Inlet or Cape Florida.

None of these were first time visits. Nevertheless, all were worthy of another stop, especially since 2015 may be remembered as the year of the lighthouse.

First stop Jupiter.


Not only is there a lighthouse, but a museum, cafe and of course, a gift shop. It’s no easy task to take  a picture of this lighthouse from the museum grounds since it’s surrounded by large trees; but we climbed the embankment to the road and took pictures from the draw bridge leading to the inlet.


Then driving south on A1A we got the idea to take a walk on the beach for another view of the lighthouse. While we could see the lighthouse from the beach, it was really too far for a good picture. On the bright side, we ended up walking two miles on the beach…never a bad thing.


The next day a bike ride in Bill Baggs State Park led us to the Cape Florida Lighthouse.


My first visit to this lighthouse was in 2009 when we took some graduation pictures of Emily near the lighthouse on a very windy day, but John shared a story about nearly drowning at this park back in the ’70s so he has a long tradition at Cape Florida.


Finally, on the way home we took A1A north from Miami to Pompano Beach and Hillsboro Inlet. This is my home lighthouse since it could be seen from my high school home.


Many walks on the beach ended at Hillsboro inlet and days sailing with a neighbor took us past this familiar beacon.

imageEighteen lighthouses with a third of the year to go!