TBT: 16 in 16 Jackson Browne

Last Saturday while awaiting the birth of Johnny, we were reminiscing about how we spent the same weekend in 2016.

January 16, 2016 was the date we checked off the first of our 16 in 16 adventures. We drove to Gainesville where we went to dinner and then on to the Phillips Center for a night of music performed by Jackson Browne.

During his two hours on stage, Jackson Browne sang and played music spanning his career of more than forty years to an enthusiastic, if not young, crowd. We happened to be surrounded by people we knew…parent’s of former students, former colleagues, friends from church, even though we went to the concert as a couple; and we all joked that we weren’t as old as those other concert goers. A great way to start off 2016.

Next week, as part of our 17 in 17, we’ll be attending a performance at the Phillips Center; but this year we’ll be at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Orlando. Instead of a concert, we’ll enjoy a performance of Wicked. Looks like 2017 is also off to a good start.


Revisiting Collect – One of My Favorite Apps

I’d been looking for an app which was both a journal and a way to collect photos, and I found it when I discovered Collect – Photo Journal. It’s been a great way to collect one or more photos everyday and write a brief description of the event. It’s a quick and easy diary on my phone.


After opening the app, you just click on the date and you get the option to either take a photo or open your photo library. If you decide to open the photo library, it opens to the pictures on your camera that were taken on the date selected on the calendar. Then it’s as simple as selecting the image to use. Add a title of up to 115 characters and if desired add tags to provide an easy way to group and find related pictures, and you can even add more detailed notes about an event.

With over 20,000 photos just hanging out on my phone, I’ve never had a hard time finding something to photograph, but with the addition of two little ones, Collect provides an easy way to save and organize these extra special images.

Of course, there are in app purchases that can be made to create videos from the daily photos or a creative pack to add designs and fonts and collages. I started with the $1.99 basic version, but after using it for two years, I’m ready to part with an additional $3.99 to try the extra features as well as to automatically back up to iCloud.


Collect would also be an effective way of participating in the Grateful 365 Project, a way to collect a photo and reflect on something positive every day.

Looking for a way to collect and organize your photos? Try Collect.

(Unfortunately, Collect is only available for iPhone so if you use a similar app for another device, I’d love to hear about it.)

Don’t forget the bikes

So when you get the call that it may be time to head to Jacksonville to meet your new grandchild, it’s important to have a list of items to take for an overnight stay.

sleep clothes
Kindle, iPad & chargers
gift & card


But in addition, don’t forget the bikes, locks, helmets and bike clothes.


Why pack bikes? Well, it’s not easy sitting in a hospital room all day with other visitors as well as a host of doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel. So instead of killing time in the lobby to give the new parents some space, we took a bike break.


Only 45 minutes away, Amelia Island State Park was the starting point for our ride on the Timucuan Trail passing through both Big Talbot Island State Park and Little Talbot Island State Park.


The trail passes through an area for bird watching and several short trails that lead to the beach.


The next time we ride this trail we need to pack a hammock like others we saw enjoying the beach. A good place to ride, read and relax.


Just over three months ago on October 5, we celebrated the birth of our first grandchild, Gracie Lou.

Johnny, born January 15, 2017.

On Sunday morning, we celebrated the arrival of another grandchild.


Sarah and Daniel welcomed John Daniel.


A short time after his birth, Johnny was busy posing for pictures.


Solo photos as well as ones taken with parents and grandparents.


And while she couldn’t be there to celebrate in person, Gracie cheered the news of a new cousin.


Can’t wait to get these two together. Another reason to celebrate.

Color Me Fall

It seems like everyone I know spent at least a few days in North Carolina or Tennessee immersed in the gold and orange leaves of fall. Since that wasn’t in the cards for us this year, we found our own Florida version of these same fall colors. First stop: Lake Jessup to slog through the mud to get a closeup look at the swamp sunflowers.


In every direction, more gold sunflowers.


Then we were surrounded by orange at St. Marks as the monarch butterflies migrated through the coast of northwest Florida.


The brilliant gold and orange of fall was evident almost every morning in November as the sun rose over the lake. And we even found signs of fall in the hammock at sunset or while enjoying an evening fire.
img_1400 img_1401

And who knew I’d be able to hug a little yellowjacket, complete with a tinge of orange hair.


I found plenty of fall colors without ever leaving Florida.

Turn It Off

Turn off the television, radio and disconnect from social media. There’s so many better ways to spend your time.

Time spent outdoors is always well spent.
  • Read a book or magazine. 
  • Exercise.
  • Take a walk or hike.
  • Bake a cake.
  • Be crafty.
  • Play a game.
  • Take a nap.
  • Write a letter or note and actually mail it.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Organize your photos…both physical and digital photos.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a movie.
The best thing about baking a cake…eating it!

It’s hard to believe there was a time when news was relegated to a couple of hours a day. The morning started with the local newspaper retrieved from the front porch and twelve hours later we were watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news in thirty minutes. It was a nightly ritual. Then in 1980 everything changed. Walter Cronkite announced his impending retirement and CNN started broadcasting news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It’s game time!

In order to attract viewers, news had to be sensationalized. After all, the goal was no longer to fill one thirty minute newscast, but 48 of these thirty minutes time slots. Breaking news. Breathless reporters. Interviews by telephone from eye witnesses. And in the quest to be the first to report, anything goes.

My first experience with this around the clock reporting was with the attempted assassination of President Reagan with the same footage cycled for hours, speculation about who was responsible and why, talking heads explaining the succession to the presidency, and worst of all, the erroneous reporting of the death of James Brady, White House Press Secretary. Other big stories like the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center attack warranted significant coverage, but most days stories that are barely newsworthy are magnified into major events…car chases, the O.J. Simpson trial, missing persons and celebrity gossip.

So many books. So little time.

Worst of all, political campaigns and legislative shenanigans have become unbearable due to this emphasis on non-news, and we don’t just have to deal with CNN, but HLN, Fox News, MSNBC, and dozens of other 24/7 news outlets.

And it’s not just television, but talk radio full of one made up crisis after another. Everything’s overblown and scary requiring outrage. We now live in a country filled with angry, anxious, enraged people who feel they are under attack.

Unfortunately, we as individuals have created this paranoia as much as has the media. Facebook, Twitter and other social media which were once seen as ways for people to stay connected with one another have instead served as personal outlets of rage. Social media can be a friendly place for baby animal cams, but it’s more often a platform for bullying.

Is it even possible to get a closet full of photos organized?
Is it even possible to get a closet full of photos organized?

With this said, I’ve reverted to pre 1980…a morning paper, a 30 minute nightly newscast, no Facebook, no Twitter. It’s time to turn it off.



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Bathing Beauty

In May of 1984, the fourth grade teachers at South Ocala Elementary presented us with a yellow striped bathing suit as a shower gift for a future “Yellowjacket”. A move across town and a change to another school meant none of our daughters attended South Ocala, but they did all wear the yellowjacket bathing suit. After looking for a picture of one of our girls in the suit I finally admitted it wasn’t going to happen.

img_0662I’d hoped to compare our new bathing beauty to either her mother or one of her aunts.


Oh well, while there’s no photographic evidence, I can assure you that each of girls looked just a cute as the 2016 Yellowjacket.


A day at the Magic Kingdom to celebrate her first month of life and then a little relaxation poolside. Our newest yellowjacket is quite a bathing beauty.

Grace…she’s amazing.

I’ve seen several people begging for pictures of puppies, kittens and other baby animals as relief to all the nastiness of political posts on social media.



While I don’t have any pictures that fit those categories, I thought pictures of sweet baby Grace would serve the same purpose.


Born on October 5th, just days before Hurricane Matthew, there’s nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby.


But Grace isn’t always so quiet. She has quite a personality.


I didn’t know it was possible for a three week old to have so many bows!


So far she’s been a good luck charm for the Lightning, but not so much for the Hurricanes.


Gracie Lou, she’s amazing!

It’s Moving Day

This is my kind of moving day. No boxes required, no clothes to pack, no furniture to lift and no back strain. From the comfort of our porch and our neighbors’ dock, we observed the moving of the Ma Barker house across Lake Weir this morning.


Before 8:00 boats began zipping across the lake to get an up close view of the house famous for being the location of the 1935 FBI shootout that killed gangsters, Ma Barker and her son. Other than the occasional reenactments, the house has remained in relative obscurity until it was announced that the house would be relocated across the lake at the county park at Carney Island.

Floating a nearly one hundred year old house across the lake on a barge has been big news the past couple of weeks. We’ve watched as the land has been cleared both at the house’s historical location as well as at the park. Large pontoons and heavy equipment have been new residents of Ocklawaha.

And then this morning, shortly after 9:00, right on schedule, the house began its journey to its new location. Along with a couple of helicopters and at least one drone, a fleet of about 50 boats, including a seaplane, provided a send off parade.


In less than an hour the famous house reached the shore of Carney Island ready for the next phase of the move on land to its final resting place where it will soon open to the public as a museum. Some question whether the move was worth nearly a quarter million dollars of tax payer money. I’m not sure, but on this beautiful fall day, it was a great distraction from all the political nonsense…a house with a story moving across the water bringing people together.


Early voting started this morning, and in just a few hours I’m going to mark my ballot and put this election behind me. While the Presidential election has consumed social media as well as radio and television, there are plenty of other races and issues that need our attention.

When I accessed a sample ballot on the website of the Marion County Supervisor of Elections, I admit that I found a couple of surprises. I was prepared to vote for U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative. I’ve researched the candidates for State Representative and Senator as well as Sheriff, Clerk of the Court and County Commissioner, but I’m in the dark when it comes to Soil and Water Conservation Seat…and this is important. Even Google failed to provide much information on the individuals seeking these positions. So much for an informed voter.

Did you know there are four Constitutional Amendments on the Florida ballot this year?

Amendment 1: Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice – This sounds like something every Floridian should support, BUT DON’T BE FOOLED. You may have seen the ads on TV touting this as a way to protect consumers’ energy choices, but Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente described this best as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The first clue that this is not in the best interest of consumers is the fact that it is financed by Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power, Exxon Mobile and the Koch Brothers. Their interest in solar power…money. They don’t want to lose consumers to solar and they certainly don’t want consumers to be able to sell the extra power they generate to neighbors or to the power companies. Instead, they’d want to just take any surplus and then profit from it. I can’t say this enough, don’t get fooled and VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1.

Amendments 2, 3 and 5 should also be researched prior to going to the polls. There is a lot of information on Amendment 2 regarding medical marijuana with plenty of pros and cons, but this isn’t really a tricky one, just something you need to decide which position you wish to support.

The big surprise for me was that there are two additional amendments on the ballot. Both of these relate to the reduction of property taxes for special groups of taxpayers. They both sound good, but remember, the more property owners eliminated from the tax rolls, the more tax required by the rest of us.

Meghan reminded me of the advice given by Scott Maxwell, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel: If an amendment is confusing or if you are just unsure: VOTE NO! If it’s really an important, the issue can appear of a future ballot. There’s no reason to add amendments to our state constitution just because it might be okay. This is good advice…be skeptical of all constitutional amendments. Vote No unless you are absolutely sure and as for Amendment 1 – Vote No!