Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Livin’ the dream

Aahhh, life is good.  No, actually, life is great!  If you follow this blog at all, you know that I have been blogging about my retirement since my first post in Feb. 08.  That seems like forever and yet it has arrived.  I retired from the fire department the middle of September and went to work for Lowe’s the first of October.  My last day with them was Dec. 31 and now I’m really retired, at least till May 1.

Bill and I moved the cat, Sassy, to stay with her foster mom on Monday, 1/4, packed the car with as much as it could possibly hold and drove away from our home in Maine of Thursday, 1/7.  We had a leisurely trip south, stopping for lunch with his sister in RI and staying the night with his SIL in VA.  We spent the second night in Savannah, GA and arrived at my condo in Port Charlotte, FL around 4:30 on Sat. 1/9.

The temps in FL were unusually cold, below freezing at night, and the temp in the condo upon our arrival was only 45*.  Yikes!  We promptly turned up the thermostat, which ran for the next four hours.  The natives have been freezing with the below normal temps but, although we had to wear jackets for the next several days, we don’t think it’s that bad.  It sure is better than the temps in Maine.

We have been out every day, buying this and that for the condo.  Bill had to fix the toilets, he hung up a small coat rack by the door, he put on new door locks.  Yesterday we bought a 6 foot table and set it up on the lanai for my sewing table.  I haven’t gotten the “sweatshop” up and running but it’s getting closer.  I packed two boxes full of fabrics and patterns with big plans to get lots of sewing done.

We have been walking every day and checked into joining a gym around the corner.  They have two locations and one of them has spinning classes, which excited us.  Tomorrow we start the South Beach Diet, again, so today we porked out on Mexican food and Fairytale Brownies.  We.are.bad…

In addition to posts about my sewing adventures, which have been few and far between lately, I will post notes and photos about the things we find while we are here.  There is so much that interests us, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Guess I’ll start with today.  We checked out our map and decided to head toward Garparilla Island.  We were very happy with that decision, it was beautiful.  We weren’t prepared for such a great day…no shorts, no sunscreen, no hats.  Oh well, we did think to pack a couple of chairs and limited ourselves to 20 minutes at the beach.

happy feet on Gasparilla Island

happy feet on Gasparilla Island

We drove to the end of the island to the Boca Grande lighthouse, built in 1890.   It experienced some damage during Hurricane Charlie but ultimately, survived very well.

Boca Grande lighthouse

We left out car in the parking lot and went for a nice walk along the only road to the end of the island.  We walked for 40 minutes, about 2 miles.

It was an awesome day, the temps are rising and we plan to be wearing shorts tomorrow.  Rain is predicted for the weekend so maybe, just maybe, I’ll get some sewing done.

I’m a very happy girl, livin’ the dream of being retired and spending the winter in Florida.  I am blessed ;o)

Thanks for stopping by…



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I was going to enter these in my previous post about “Fun at Camp” but decided it was already too long so I’m doing a separate list…

having my family around for an entire week

the blue pond

the bluer sky

the laughing of the loons

good food

reading as long as I want

playing games at the kitchen table from the 50’s (the table not the games)

sand between my toes

floating on the big yellow party float

having “pamma bananas” by the campfire

sleeping late every day

waking up to the birds

paddling the canoe around the pond and visiting “turtle rock”

watching the kids catch fish

seeing more stars than I thought possible

turtle heads popping up in the water

the inevitable trip to North Conway

playing miniature golf

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Another week at “Fun at Camp” has come and gone.  This year was a little different because Greg, Vanessa and Ella came and spent the entire week.  That meant a whole week enjoying my granddaughter.  She is getting so big and is walking, although tentatively.  She gets around so much faster crawling that I think she prefers speed over technique.

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Bill, Wendy and I arrived late Friday afternoon about 30 minutes before a horrendous thunderstorm struck the area.  It was very scary.  Lightening was striking everywhere around us.  Wendy was a little panicky because we didn’t have cell service and she was afraid something would happen and we would have no way of telling anyone we needed help.  Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary.  Neither of us liked it very much but Bill didn’t seem too shaken by the whole thing.

For the most part, the weather was good all week.  We were able to spend some time on the beach every day, even though it clouded up in the afternoon early in the week.  We took advantage of a cloudy day on Sunday and went to play miniature golf.  Well, it was cloudy when we left but was pouring by the time we called it quits somewhere around the 8th hole.  Everyone was drenched but that didn’t stop us from getting ice cream on the way home.

We spent time doing what we always do at camp…reading, floating, eating, relaxing, listening to the Red Sox (that can be a real downer sometimes, though).

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Fun at Camp 8.09 068

Speaking of mosquitoes.  We were warned that they were very numerous this summer.  That was a understatement!  They were awful.  Usually, when we sit around the campfire at night, there are a few mosquitoes.  However, this year they were swarming all day.  Even though it didn’t rain every afternoon when it got cloudy, we couldn’t go outside and just sit because we would be eaten alive.  The little kids are very tasty to the darn things…they were full of little red bites.  Ella got most of them on her face and Trevor got them around his ankles.  Even though we slathered them with all kinds of kid safe bug killer, they still got lots of bites.  Finally, by the end of the week and cooler temperatures, they subsided, which allowed us to sit by the lake and read.  The only good thing about them was the fact that they were small and slow.  If you spotted them landing on you they were easy to smack.

It was an entire week without internet, which felt a little strange.  Funny how quickly the computer, e-mail, Facebook, Google etc. have become a staple of our existence.

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten any sewing done lately.  After completing the hanging sleeve for the “Oriental Flower” I actually got a few inches sewn down.  I planned to work on it a little last night but by the time we spent about 10 hours, packing, cleaning, unpacking and putting away, I couldn’t keep my eyes open much past 9.  I had to return to work today so going to bed early was not a problem.

Bill and I traveled to North Conway one afternoon to pick up some staples at the grocery store.  We stopped at a great little quilt shop there.  Of course, we couldn’t leave without buying something.  Bill purchased a charm pack of Halloween fabrics so that I can make something to decorate Wendy’s apartment.

Spook Tacular charm park

I found some butterfly fabric which I have started to collect for a quilt for Vanessa.  It was on sale for $3.99/yd so I bought the end of the bolt, 2 3/4 yards, which I can use for the backing.  I also bought some bee fabric on sale to use for the backing of Wendy’s bee quilt, which I haven’t started but have all the fabric I need.

butterfly & bee fabrics

Now to make a decision on the pattern.  I want to make a scalloped edge which I have never done before and am thinking about some applique but that may mean that I don’t finish it for another several years.  That’s just too long.

I have 9 more shifts and 16 more days to work before retirement.  I’m getting excited.  I have an interview with Loews on Monday for a part-time position.  They are opening a new store in town so it would be perfect.  I’m crossing my fingers!

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My last parade

I have been making entries to keep track of the last time I do things at work before I retire.  Today I drove in the Fourth of July parade for the last time.  After weeks of rain, today dawned partly cloudy and dry.  There was a slight breeze and it felt good to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D for a change.  The parade started at 10 and moved from one end of Main Street to a park in the center of town.  The street was lined with tons of people, probably just happy to get outside without boots and coats in July.  Everyone smiles and waves.  Small town America at it’s best.

My Captain made a statement that made me realize how lucky I am to have my job in the fire service.  “If you drove a bread truck or a UPS truck or a gasoline tanker, would people line the streets and wait to see you so they could yell “hello” or wave?”  Probably not.  That actually brought a tear to my eye, making me realize how much I will miss my job when I leave.  I forget that sometimes and just get caught up in counting down the days (74 to be exact).  I am an incredibly lucky woman.  There aren’t that many people that get to drive a fire truck and get paid, let alone a woman.  People talk to their children, point and say “look, a woman is driving that truck”.  It makes me feel especially good when they are pointing that out to their little girls.  Hopefully that plants the seed that they can REALLY do anything they want when they grow up.

Here are a few other “lasts” that have taken place recently…actually, these were not only the last time but the first time, too.

I went to the air show at the local airport.  This was the 9th year but I had never attended before, either on duty or off.

I went to a call for water in the cellar.  When we arrived, there was an elderly woman flagging us down, clearly very upset.  As we parked the truck, she started waving and running to the back of the house.  Now, normally when that occurs, we go to the back of the house to find water running out the cellar steps or we look down the stairs and see 3 or 4 feet of water in the cellar.

When we got to the back of the house, there was no water.  I figured it must be farther into the cellar.  After following the distraught woman deep into the cellar, there still was no standing water.  What the heck?  She finally pointed to a wet spot on the floor, maybe the size of a saucer.  It wasn’t standing water, just a damp area.  Her upstairs toilet was running and the condensation had collected on the pipes and dripped onto the floor.  This was the first and last time I will respond to a call for water in the cellar only to find no water in the cellar.

The number of days continues to get shorter and although I’m ready to go, I have to admit, it is going to be harder than I thought.

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That is quite a title, huh?  We or rather Bill, has been planning a cookout for a month or so.  He has wanted to have one for several years and decided this was the year.  Soooo, we sent out some invitations to people we like…coworkers, family, friends, neighbors, etc.  Altogether there were about 40 people and most responded with “yes, we’ll be there.”

Last night was the night.  It has rained here for the better part of the month but yesterday it was sunny and warm, not humid and not…one…drop…of…rain!  The cookout started at 6.  The kids came, along with beautiful Ella.  She is pulling herself up now and says a few words.  She is just so cute!

There was tons of food…

misc 012misc 013

and everyone seemed to enjoy the new firepit.

enjoying the new firepit

While I was snapping this photo, Bill announced to everyone that this was a surprise birthday party for me, as I’m turning 60 on Monday.  It was a surprise to everyone except the kids.  It sure was a surprise to me.  Some of my friends had brought along a card or gift, but we exchange on our birthdays anyway.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I was very surprised.  I have said it before, Bill is an incredibly generous man.

My sister-in-law (actually x sil) brought me this beautiful basket.  We have remained close friends even after my divorce.

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misc 026Isn’t it beautiful?

Bill gave me a new iTouch.  I’m looking forward to playing with it.  One more thing to keep me entertained instead of quilting.  Oh no.

Greg and Vanessa gave me a $100 give certificate to the local quilt shop.  Oh my, what to buy, what to buy.  That was way too generous but I will spend it well.  I almost broke down and gave Greg his quilt, even though it doesn’t have a binding.  However, I held off.  I really want it to be done before I surprise him with it.

My former Captain brought me my favorite candy…non-pariels.  The joke was made…if these are non-pariels, what are pariels?  haha

It was a really nice evening.  After everyone left and the “kids” went to bed, Bill and I sat by the fire, alone, just enjoying the quiet.  It was a special night, with family and friends, good food, warm fire and No Rain.  What more could one ask for?

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Anyone reading this blog knows that I have sold my condo and moved into Bill’s house.  Finally, the closing took place on Thursday and was bittersweet.  I have mentioned in earlier posts that I hated to sell my little piece of the world but now that it’s over and done; I can look forward to retirement in the fall.

The garage looks only slightly better than it did in an earlier post and the sewing room looks worse.  It will probably be at least a couple of weeks before I get it cleaned up enough to get some sewing done.  That makes me grouchy.  Unfortunately, another post with no quilting news.  Oh wait!  I got Greg’s monkey quilt back for the LA quilter and it looks great.  Now to find the time and space to get the binding on.  He will be here for the weekend but he won’t be getting it this time; maybe before the summer ends.

It rained for most of the month of June, effectively cutting our short Maine summer even shorter.  GGRRR!  Many of the potted plants, along with those in the garden, are moldy and being eaten by slugs.  GGRRR!   The sun finally came out yesterday and I was able to shake some slug bait into the gardens.  Hopefully that will slow them down.

Bill has been wanting to have a cookout for the past several years and tonight is the night.  I am working all day but he recruited Wendy to help get things ready.  He is grilling steak tips and turkey tips, along with smoking some ribs.  There will be several salads plus whatever our guests decide to bring along.  I told everyone that all they really needed to bring was chairs and a beverage if they didn’t want beer or soda (pop for those of you west of the Mississippi).

We spent some time yesterday getting the yard in order and putting some lights up around the canopy.  The weather has cleared since our weeks of rain.  We had a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon but the evening was perfect.  I’m hoping for the same tonight.  It is not as hot today and the radar doesn’t show any storms approaching.

We have a nice firepit for a campfire and the yard is surrounded by torches, which we hope will keep the bugs down if they become a problem.

I’m not much for parties and look forward to it being over and everyone going home.  However, once I get home and everything falls into place, I will have a good time along with everyone else.

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My dad passed away more than 10 years ago. Admittedly, we weren’t very close.  We never shared those little talks that fathers and daughters share on television or in the movies.  To be perfectly honest, I was afraid of him.  I never wanted to make him mad at me so I just did what I was told and didn’t ask questions.  That has carried forward with me, making me somewhat of a rug in certain situations and relationships.

I don’t think I ever told him “thank you” for the time he spent in the Navy serving this country .  He crossed the equator and the international date line several times.  I have beautiful documents commemorating these occasions.  I don’t know much more about what he did then.  Once when going through some of his memorabilia, I came across the telegram he received advising him that his father had passed away.  I can only imagine how difficult it was for him to be out in the ocean somewhere, away from friends and family, receiving such news via telegram.

He is buried in the veteran’s cemetary in Denver, CO along with his brother, who died several years prior to him.

My photos are packed away as I prepare to make my move in the coming weeks.  Maybe when I’m settled I can find my favorite, him standing next to the lake with a big string of fish, and get it posted.

I know it’s late, but “Thank you, Dad, for the sacrifices you made in an effort to keep this country, our country, my country free.”  I miss you, I love you, I wish I had said it more often.

Thanks for stopping by…

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