Monday, December 31, 2018

I'm ready for the new year to begin. I don't have a difficult time saying good-bye to the old and excited about what the new will bring.  This is also the way I greet each waking morning, rain or shine.  Christmas decorations came down when we arrived home from Florida. Yesterday was quite overcast but the temperatures reached a pleasant 58 degrees by 4 pm.  Today the tree is boxed, lights and decorations are back in their bags for Cliff to store  in the garage.  My 2019 seed catalogues were in my mailbox before Christmas and yesterday's delightful air sent me flipping through catalogue pages looking for new seeds to try. 

This morning I returned to the gym.  Did a half hour of Zumba and 15 minutes on the elliptical.  Felt so-o good to be normal again.  The down time in Florida did me good.  Made a lasagna and a lemon blueberry loaf yesterday.  Cliff is always looking for something to eat, especially in this dreary gloomy weather.  Today I made a creamy carrot soup topped with sauteed spinach and tomorrow I'll make the New Year's Day traditional slow-cooker  black-eyed pea with collard greens dish.  It's the New Year's Day staple in the American South.  The black-eyed peas represent coins and the greens represent money.  Today's temperature reached 61 degrees with winds gusting to 17 mph.  Things were banging and blowing around the porch. 

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.  We'll be sound asleep by 10 so don't expect a New Years text from us at midnight!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Last Friday we left the dreary rainy chilly mountains for the flat land in Rockledge, Florida to spend Christmas with Mark and Jen.  We always do the trek in two days staying in Valdosta heading south and Perry, GA heading back north.  Purchasing the Sunpass was the best money ever spent making the drive through Atlanta easier, quicker, and less stressful for Cliff.
Cliff with his Florida dogs,  Schroeder and Ember.  The dogs aren't really settled comfortably on a human's couch.  Cliff also has a pug,Toby, in Virginia.
Our weather was cool the first couple of evenings and days, breezy during most of the five-day visit, and high 70's during the last couple of days.  Sunday we visited Sledd's U-Pick Farm.  This time of year you can walk the sunflower maze and pick eggplant, cabbage, kale, peppers, broccoli, and a few other vegetable on her farm.  I just picked kale and broccoli to bring home.

Acres upon acres of happy sunflowers swaying in the breeze.
Mark cutting broccoli heads and kale for me.

Long rows of gorgeous cabbage.  I knew I couldn't transport all the vegetables home that I wanted to pick.  I was in heaven talking to the farmer who is a long-time friend of Jen's.  Next time we visit Jen and Mark in a different season, we'll go to her farm and pick different vegetables.  She has a large strawberry u-pick each spring but flooding rains this year ruined her whole strawberry crop.

After the farm we headed to Shiloh's in Titusville.
From the open deck at Shiloh's Restaurant we could see the NASA launch pad.  Many days the dolphins are visible but not while we were eating Sunday.  I do miss the inter-coastal waters and eating seafood outside.
Cliff, Schroeder, and Mark relaxing back home.
Mark and Jen just being Mark and Jen!

Christmas day was spent with Jen's family in Titusville.  I made my gluten-free brownies so I could have a dessert.  Jen made scalloped potatoes and other family members brought smoked turkey and other wonderful dishes.

Wednesday Jen and I went to Cocoa Village. Cliff visited friends back in Deltona and Mark went to work.  In all the years Cliff and I lived in Deltona, we never drove to Cocoa Village.  Really quaint little area.  So enjoyable.
Jen and I had lunch on the porch at Murdocks.  Thank goodness my aching muscles were healing from the concrete fall I took on December 1 because we walked all afternoon visiting shops and spending all afternoon outside.

On the way home from Cocoa Village we stopped at Total Wine, a huge warehouse of beer, wine, and liqueurs.
I enjoy the artsy labels even on the beer and stouts.  What a great job it would be to design such beautiful labels to help sell the product.

We left Thursday morning arriving home safely by noon today, Friday, dodging most of the torrential rains and flash flooding.  

Friday, December 7, 2018

A few years ago my neighbor up the road was grocery shopping in Ingles when she felt faint, melted onto the store floor, and was transported to the ER, checked out, and sent home.  Not knowing where this occurred or why she went to the ER, I saw her days later, asked how she was feeling and what happened.  With a serious face she said she fell off the bar stool.  I thought what a great response!  If I ever fall down, that's going to be my response.  Well, my opportunity came and went and I forgot to use that line.  Saturday evening during the clean-up at Station Twenty-five's Christmas party, I felt my right foot hit something as slippery as ice.  Both feet became air-borne with the body following.  One of the volunteers said I looked like the slow motion sometimes seen on TV.  My life raced before me, thinking in those seconds how to avoid breaking the fall with both wrists.  When I landed on the concrete floor my right hip felt the impact first, then the knee and shoulder.  Of course this happened in a room full of firefighters and medics so I had immediate medical attention.  I was able to sit up with help which was positive.  My body pain was so intense all Saturday night that I never slept.  Cliff supported me when I needed to make a 3 am bathroom visit.  Sunday I sat and iced my hip, knee, and shoulder for twenty minutes every four hours bringing some relief. I had no black and blue which surprised me. Monday evening my rheumatologist checked over my damaged goods and told me I would feel worse before getting better and prescribed two Motrin every eight hours.  He was right but I was able to sleep most of that night. Without looking at a clock, I know when it's close to two more Motrin.  I walk like Walter McCoy of the Real McCoys and going up and down steps is painful.  The doctor recommended continuing with my yoga...............gently stretching so the muscles don't stiffen from sitting in the recliner.  Wednesday was very slow yoga and today felt better.  I found out my ribs were bruised too when I sneezed.  Muscles take a long time to heal.  I know it's going to be some time before I return to Zumba dancing. Cliff's been a great help doing everything I can't do like vacuuming, cleaning, driving me into town and checking to see what I need.  I told the doctor that the party was dry and if I been celebrating with wine, my fall would have been more relaxed. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

This time of year leads me to the archive of my mother's handwritten letters.  She loved the holidays.  It was a family gathering time, a time for giving her home-baked wares to other, and a spiritual celebration.  While thumbing through my photo box of old letters looking for something dated in December, a January 1996 envelope caught my attention because it was thicker than other envelopes.  My mother often included newspaper article clippings that she wanted to share with me or Snoopy, For Better or Worse, Hagar the Horrible comic strips.  She also signed off "drink more vodka" at the end of her love letters.  My parents didn't drink wine or beer, let alone vodka. (I don't know where they got me.)  Tucked inside this thick envelope was included a clipping "Fig- and mango-flavored vodkas seem to be the wave of the future."  In Russia, where grain has been distilled into vodka for nearly 1,000 years, a flavored vodka ---- and they do flavor vodka in Russia----- cannot, by law, be labeled vodka.  That's why there are names like Limonnaya for lemon and Pertsovka for pepper on bottles of Stolichnaya, a Russian vodka that now comes in four flavors.  Pineapple-coconut-vanilla bean and fig and mango are a couple of flavored vodkas concocted by American master chef, Erik Blauberg.  Along the margin of this article, my mother penned......."This is what we need........more vodka."  Don't know what her fascination was with vodka, but anytime I see Grey Goose, Absolut, or Smirnoff, I smile and think of my mother. 

Tonight is Station 25's Christmas dinner at the Martins Creek Community Center where we everyone brings a covered dish or two.  We baked my brownies and make a big batch of cole slaw.  It's been raining for three days and we're thankful it was not snow.  Sunday is predicted to reach mid-sixties and be sunny!  We're counting on that prediction to be true because I need to get outside and finish putting up decorations.