Home Sweet Home

Two years ago I would never believe that I would feel that I wanted to be home so much.  I felt that the world was our oyster and that while we would spend significant time in our southern home there were other places to go visit and explore too.  I was thinking of my “other” home was just a base to travel from.  Now I feel totally different.

Last week I went on a cruise with my friend Sandi that left from Boston and went to Bermuda.  Unfortunately it was also the week that several hurricanes either just went through or were still passing in the Atlantic.  Personally, I loved the weather.  I have no problem with high waves, rocking ships and rain.  Suits my mood on most days however it was coupled with boredom.  I felt trapped.  The room was SO small and I felt cramped from the moment I stepped inside.  Thank goodness for the balcony!  The ship hallways were maze like and narrow and I felt like a rat in a maze every time I ventured out of my room.  Would I find my way back on this ship that is decorated so dully? (Apparently they didn’t want to look like the Vegas styled Carnival ships that are their competition … frankly I prefer some colour and lights to my vacation rather than boring beige.)

The food on the ship was wonderful, the entertainment was excellent but there was not a lot to do.  I tried to read but I felt guilty that I wasn’t DOING more.  Apparently I don’t vacation well. By Wednesday I was pacing the decks of the ship while the wind howled and the sea spray would soak me.  I came home with a wicked cold.

Between now and the end of the year I have 2 more vacations booked.  I have one week in Cancun and 3 weeks in Florida and I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it.  I want to stay home and get my house in order so that I can build outwards.  I need to make this a safe, clean, organized haven for me so that I can venture out.  I feel like I’m doing it backwards.  Unfortunately I can’t cancel these trips so I’ll make the best of it and start 2018 out with a  resolution of less holidays until my “to do” list is complete.

That .. and I miss these two crazy kittens.  IMG_7151

Another Ending

I no longer own a piece of paradise in Florida.  It sold a few days ago.  I know it was the right thing to do … to sell it … but it still has taken another piece of my heart.

John loved our condo.  He worked so hard making it perfect for us.  He laid the floors, painted the walls, put the trim up, designed the kitchen and built me a beautiful craft area.  It was our dream that beginning October 2016 we would spend our “semi-retirement” there.  I knew he was happy sitting out on the lanai looking out at the golfers and palm trees reading his book and he knew I’d keep busy working on various crafts.  I planned to knit, sew, draw and paint there.  Over the past 9 years we slowly moved all this stuff down there so we’d have lots to do while we were there.  Then life changed everything.


(John’s chair and view from his chair)

It just wasn’t the same for me there without John.  My friends Don & Tena took such good care of me, inviting me out almost every day, but it doesn’t fill the void.  I could see John in every corner, I could hear his voice and I could almost feel him there.  But instead of feeling comfort I just felt lonely and empty.  I wanted to be home with my children.

I have been home a week now.  It is been a hard week for me because I need to work on filing an estate return for John in order to get my funds for the sale of the condo. It means I have to go through all the paperwork of his death again.  I spent one day (the day I had to pick up a death certificate from the Purolator office) in tears.  It was almost like I lost John all over again.

I know people think I am strong but I’m not.  John kept telling me I was strong and I could get through this but I think he was wrong.  I go to bed every single night thinking I’m one day closer to when I’ll see John again.  Cross another day off the calendar.  Another one down … how many left? I need to get everything in order first, the house, the business and my estate so that the children are taken care of when I die.

Happy Anniversary

It would have been my 35th anniversary today.  John and I planned to spend the entire month of October celebrating in Hawaii.  We made such wonderful plans, a week on Oahu, a week on the Big Island, a week on Kauai and a week cruising all of the islands.  Instead I am in Florida wishing with my whole heart that I could have one more hug, one more kiss, one more moment with the man I loved.

I’m sure everyone feels their wedding day was special or unusual but I felt mine really was.  The night before we were married John put his back out scraping a plate after dinner (I think that was the last time he helped clear the table).  He could barely move on our wedding day (which is why he looks so stiff in our wedding photos).

We were to be married at City Hall at 3 pm.  Around noon his brother (our best man) called and said he could no longer be our best man.  He said he couldn’t do it in good conscience because he felt our marriage was wrong.  John had been married before and had two children from his first marriage.  John was shattered.  It was bad enough that one brother just refused to attend the wedding and now his other brother would no longer be our best man.  Fortunately my brother agreed to step in.  It was, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship between my brother and John.

Even with all this family turmoil John and I were incredibly happy on our wedding day.  My family loved John and accepted him into the fold. John and I had many happy years together and our family grew.  As I said before we had a daughter and a son and the two daughters from his first marriage spent a great deal of time with us. (The oldest actually moved in with us when she was 14 and stayed with us until she finished college and the next one lived with us for almost ten years while she was an adult.)

But suddenly things were not so perfect.  John changed drastically and our relationship suffered.  I don’t want to concentrate on it here as it is in the past and I feel it has to do with his undiagnosed diabetes.  Whenever John’s sugar levels were high he would be quite difficult to be with and once he was diagnosed we knew how to handle it.  But there was a period of 4 to 5 years where our relationship suffered because of it.  Once he got his diabetes under control we decided to reconcile.  For our 25th anniversary we decided to show the world we were united and we renewed our vows on a pirate ship out on the gulf of Mexico.  For the next ten years (until his illness) we were incredibly happy together.


John and I weren’t just married; we were in business together.  This meant we spent more time together than most couples.  We were an extension of each other and that was wonderful.  I would drive John crazy when I’d finish sentences for him but it just showed me how in sync we were together.  There were times I was in Florida and he was back home but we would talk several times a day on the telephone and we shared everything with each other.  We were a team.

Today I celebrate the time we did have together.  Every moment, every smile, every kiss, every tear, every laugh … every second we spent together.  I was very lucky to find my soul mate.  Many people go through their entire lives looking and never find them.  He was and still is my happiness.




Northern Girls oh The Way They Kiss …

I had to come back up north for a few days and I am still shivering. I left sunny Florida on Monday, travelling through the sunshine to southern Georgia. The fields reminded me of winter … acres and acres of cotton in full bloom blanketed the southern part of the state. Travelling north through northern Georgia and Tennessee there were snow flurries. It made me feel nostalgic and I wanted to come home and get ready for Christmas. By Ohio there was snow in the fields. Each time I got out of the car to pump gas or to eat I got chilled to the bone. I can hardly wait to head back south.

I have never liked the cold. I remember when I was a kid my dad would build me an ice rink in the backyard. He would stand out there for hours watering it. He would take me out to teach me to skate but I would be so cold and I just wanted back inside. He finally gave up by the time I was eight or so (but the neighbourhood kids loved the rink). I did love going sledding with my brother. He hated taking me but I loved the feeling of racing down the hill. I may have been cold but I have always loved speed. Even today when I am tense or upset I like going to a ride in the car … driving as fast as I can!

Winter hasn’t even started and I already am tired of it. Decorating for the holiday season will keep me warm but immediately after the holiday I’m heading south!

Bucket List

I have decided this is a good time to start my bucket lost. I have already crossed off many things on my bucket list (such as touching Uluru) so this is for moving forward. This post will constantly evolve and be updated. Once I complete an item I will bold it and continue working on my list until I die.

My list is (in no particular order):

Learn a new language. For some reason I have always wanted to learn Italian or Spanish. I would like to be able to have a casual conversation in another language.

I would like to take cooking lessons, either in person or online, so I can make extraordinary meals.

I want to start a cookbook blog of favourite family recipes.

I would like to learn how to play chess. This will help my brain as I age.

I want to learn CPR.

I would like to see a real iceberg.

I would like to visit the British Museum.

I would like to go to the Dali Museum.

I have ALWAYS wanted to write a book.

I would like to fly a kite.

I would like to take art lessons. I would like to know how to paint or draw.

I want to take photography lessons and learn how to use Photoshop.

I would like to read 25 of the top novels of all time.

I want to see a live volcano.

I want to visit Key West.

I would like to go to Holland and see where my father was born.

I want to be proud of something I create in fused glass.

I would like to drive through Nappa Valley.

I would like to visit New Orleans.

I would like to visit England, see the historical sites like castles, Stonehenge etc.

I would like to take a bus tour of Italy.

I would like to photograph the Loch Ness monster.

I would like to learn how to knit.

I want to finish Adam’s Christmas stocking.

Sunny and Blue

Over the past few days I’ve felt a bit blue even though I am in my own little piece of paradise. This has caused me to break one of my resolutions .. to blog daily. So I am back on track.

Yesterday, in order to change my mood, I went to the Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida. What a beautiful place! I took photos of flowers, trees, fruit and wetlands. I even saw a black racer snake and didn’t freak out! Perhaps I am getting used to living in Florida.

The Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida are beautiful and has FREE admission. It covers over 30 acres and includes a historical village with over 28 buildings from the 19th century. In January I am going to spend time there photographing and exploring the area.

Mother Mother Ocean

I love water. When I was young I had a canoe and small sailboat and I spent hours at the cottage on the water. As I got older I started coming to Florida. For a few years we had a condo on the Gulf of Mexico. I would watch the waves and dream of the ocean. I wanted to sail on the water, feel the spray on my face and watch the dolphins play in the wake.

I will never have an ocean-going sailboat but I have been on a cruise ship. I know it is not the same, but I have spent hours on the balcony watching the water. It is like heaven to me.

Today I touched heaven again. Tourist heaven, but heaven nonetheless. I went on a tug boat out onto the Gulf of Mexico to look for dolphins with my son and his girlfriend. I loved the motion of the boat, the sun on my face and smell of the salt water. Within the first few minutes of the trip I spotted a solitary dolphin. The boat headed out to the Gulf to see if we could find any other dolphins. Gulf was choppy so the spray was fierce and waves lapped into the boat. We came back to the intercoastal and found the original dolphin. The dolphin played in the wake of the boat. Watching him play filled me with such a feeling of joy and peace.

Tonight I hope to dream of the ocean.