Thursday, December 11, 2014

Taking a breath

I've been plowing my way through my list and am almost done with Christmas shopping, and it's really too early to start cooking so this weekend is when I stop to take a breath.   Some years I've gone to the beach for a long weekend but this year my husband wanted to be there for the boat parade which meant having a party (since we have a spectacular view of the boats from our condo) and I just didn't want to add another activity to my schedule.   I put him on a plane to the beach this morning (he's going to throw the party by himself, chips and dip and beer.  It will be fine.) and then I finished up my last minute chores before I leave tomorrow for Yogaville . I think it will be the perfect interruption in my schedule.  As I explained to a friend, you have no decisions to make for the whole weekend as there are no shops, no restaurants, no activities from which to choose.  You get up to the sound of a violin, do meditation, hatha yoga, eat breakfast, attend a lecture (or not), eat lunch, rest/think/walk/read until you do meditation, hatha yoga and dinner.  After dinner we will have chanting and a short program on Integral Yoga and then it is quiet hours until we start it again the next morning.  It's nice to have this break in the busy.  So until Monday -

Om shanti,shanti,shanti

Friday, December 05, 2014

we end this miserable week with a spot of bitching

This has been cold, wet, miserable week in my part of the country and I have spent large parts of it driving back and forth to my father's house, in and out of his house, in and out of the grocery store, and in and out of appointments for him.  For reasons that I cannot fathom he decided that he wanted all of his routine appointments scheduled before the Christmas holidays so being the dutiful daughter I scheduled them for him as requested. Appointments begat additional appointments - a dental filling, a follow-up at the dermatologist, etc - until we had more than five appointments this week, some days more than one.  In addition, he usually has a ride to and from band practice but this week his friend was not going to the practice so I needed to squeeze that in, too.  Then we had the special "My TV isn't working" visits  - he'd pushed the wrong button - and the "my hearing aid needs batteries" and the "I need bananas" trips.

Today, Friday, was an eye doctor appointment (which begat a follow-up right when I was planning to be in Florida in January so I need to reschedule my trip), then after I returned him home I went to the grocery with his list in hand.  His list was short - apple cider.  I did my shopping and then stopped by his house with his cider.  I knew he would be disappointed since I couldn't find any fresh cider and bought a bottled cider.  I also bought him some egg nog since I know he likes it and since I knew the cider would be disappointing I wanted to do something to make up for it.  It was a fail on both counts. As I pulled the cider out of the bag and explained that the fresh cider was seasonal and apparently the season is over and this was the only cider they had at the store, he made a face and said "That's no good."  I said "I'm sorry.  This is all they had."  He said "That's not real cider".  I said "It isn't apple juice, it says cider on the label."  He said "I don't want it."   OK.  So I put it back into the bag to bring home.  Maybe I'll use it on Noche Buena as a non-alcoholic option.   Next, I said "I thought you might be disappointed in the cider so to make it up to you I bought you some egg nog.  I know you like egg nog."  His reply was "No."  "I said "I thought you liked cider."  and he replied "It's too early.  I don't want it."  So, back into the bag to come home with me. My husband might drink it or I might just pour it down the sink as I've always hated the stuff.  It never occurred to my father that he could have said "Thank you." and then he could pour it down the sink if he didn't want it.   Or that he could have been somewhat more gracious when it was pretty clear that I tried to do something nice, even if it fell a little off the mark.

Next we went through the mail and paid the bills.  As I was leaving I asked him what time he needed me to be back to take him to church tonight.  He said 6:20 pm.  and then I asked what time approximately he thought the program might be over and he said he'd call me.  I asked if he had any idea because I'd like to plan my dinner so as to not be interrupted to pick him up. If he had any idea I could schedule around that.   His response was "I'll call you."  So my Friday night is now not the tapas night my husband and I had planned but it is "waiting around on my father night".

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It was a wonderful wedding

Our family weekend in Miami for our niece's wedding was fabulous.  It's hard to not be great when we are all together and have an amazing 41st floor condo with a view of Miami and a spot of water view.  The AirBnb condo was everything as advertised and more and we had plenty of space to be together and large separate bedrooms for each couple.
View looking southwest
 After getting the kids from airports on Friday afternoon and evening we started Saturday with brunch at a nice place within walking distance of the condo. Then Charlie and the children went to visit Viscaya which is a familiy favorite.  Katie has always thought of it as a princess location and Daniel learned to walk during our tour on one visit.  Then back to the condo to prep for the wedding.

Transportation to the wedding was by Uber, my first Uber experience and it was wonderful.  We  got an Uber XL so all six of us could go together.  Much better than a taxi. Actually it is what taxis should be.  The taxi drivers should stop complaining and clean up their act.

Of course we had drama at the wedding.  What wedding would be complete without it?  The caterers had been running on Cuban time and the venue wasn't set up at the appointed hour. Everyone waited around the lobby of the building until they could get it sort of ready for us.  The bride was pissed and throwing a temper tantrum.  Of course, the delay did accommodate those guests who were also running on Cuban time.  The ceremony was short which was perfect because we couldn't understand the officiant in any language.  I actually understood more of his Spanish than English but some of us also thought maybe he was speaking Italian.  We guess they are officially married.

Then the reception!  The drinks flowed, the food was fabulous (although they get a fail on the passed hors d'oeuvres as there were too few, they were all on sticks, and they were generally weird) and the DANCING!  The DJ was great and everyone danced all night long.  Old people, young people, little kids loved the dancing.  One very nice touch was that surrounding the large dance floor were sofas so that the old people could rest or just sit on the sofas and still be part of the dancing and at the end of the evening all the children were asleep on the sofas. A great touch for both the young and old.  

The next day we had to continue to stoke up on Cuban food so we went to lunch at a local Cuban restaurant with some family.  This is a picture of my kids, kids partners, a great-niece and her fiance.  
my children are top and bottom center
A great time with the kids together and my children's partners experiencing the Cuban family.  A wonderful end to our weekend.  

Saturday, November 08, 2014

I'm in need of a list

Before retirement my entire life was driven by the calendar and deadlines - calendars for family, children and work, and work deadlines that hit daily, sometimes multiple times each day.  My retirement gift to myself was a watch with just hands, no numbers, since it would now be unnecessary to plan my schedules to the minute, but occasionally I find my life drifting a bit out of control and a list helps ground me.  So...,..,
1) Today/tonight - make potato casserole for Friendsgiving tonight Mashed potato casserole was good and very easy do-ahead.  Will make again for T-giving
2) Tomorrow - Daddy to church @ 10 am.  Breakfast to follow.  Maybe take him to Momma's Kitchen?  Nope, he's already objected to that.  After much discussion I fixed breakfast for us at home.  It was fine.
3) Monday - Daddy dermatologist appointment; stop by hearing aid people for new wax baskets
2) Tuesday - hair appointment, then off to threading lady.  Book Club in evening.Added some chores for Daddy in the afternoon.
3) Wednesday - morning eye appointment and pack for wedding. - DONE
4) Thursday - early flight to beach DONE
5) Friday - drive to Miami collecting children along the way Had nice lunch with girls in Ft Lauderdale at a restaurant on the beach.  
6) Saturday, Nov 15 - wedding - Great fun, LOTS of dancing.
7) Sunday -  lunch at Versaillles  Tried a new restaurant within walking distance of condo - Havana 1957.  Terrible waitress, good food
8) Monday - drive back to beach dropping children and husband at airports along the way DONE
9) Tuesday - day at beach - and condo meeting in the evening.  Charlie at home to take daddy out to dinner  Actually cold windy day and I spent it getting the car repaired for the trip home.
10) Wednesday - drive home from beach day#1  Done
11) Thursday - drive home from beach day#2   Done along with a stop at the pharmacy for refills and a trip to the commissary to shop for Thanksgiving
12) Friday - Daddy groceries and errands And took Daddy to his new activity at the Senior Center - a group discussion of Memories of New York City - which is held monthly.
13) Saturday, Nov 22 - Drive to Pennsylvania for family get-together with Charlie's uncle
14) Sunday - Daddy breakfast
15) Monday - shop for Thanksgiving and Daddy dermatologist appointment @ 3:15
16) Tuesday - day off????
17) Wednesday - set table, make sweet potatoes, etc.  Daddy to dentist @11 am
18) Thanksgiving dinner
19) Friday - neighborhood dessert
20) weekend? no activities?  YES!
21) Saturday, Dec 6 - cookie baking day with Clara
22) Dec 10 - send Noche Buena invites
23) Friday, Dec 12 - Sunday, Dec 14 - Yogaville weekend with Judy
24) Monday, Dec 15 - start planning/cooking for Noche Buena - invites must go out earlier?  Get that date on the calendar!
25)  Tuesday, Dec 16 - hair appointment @10:30

Also, need to coordinate Christmas plans with children and get plane tickets for them.  And I have completely ignored the need to decorate the house and put up a tree.  ARGHHHH.  And what about getting the leaves raked?  Why did Adelio return to Central America? (maybe it was the impossible immigration policies??????)  Oh, and I have to reschedule my dental appointment and reschedule daddy's dental appointment.   And I have three large, really large, knitting projects to finish before Christmas!  and maybe buy a few Christmas gifts, too! 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The quiet at the end...

This past week three friends were enjoying "beach week" with me.  I had some trepidation about having four women spend a full week together but it turned out to be great fun. Yes, we each had some annoying habits but it all worked out just fine.  At the beginning of the week I used my best Girl Scout Leader skills to establish rules and expectations.  They made a bit of fun of me at the time but I think it helped keep me from constantly explaining stuff and for them to understand that I really did want them to treat the condo as though they were at home and not to feel like a guest.   They mastered all the rules except for keeping food put away, counters clean and dishes in the dishwasher so I kept putting glasses into the dishwasher and wiping the counter. They would then rush in and say "Oh, I was going to get to that later."    Since I want to keep my home bug free, and in Florida that is no small accomplishment, "later" wasn't working for me, but everything else worked great.

We all have very different styles of enjoying ourselves but we seemed to make it work fine.  Friend #1, a much closer friend to me than the other two, is a beach, pool and sun worshiper.  She does not want to be inside if the sun is shining.  She has been here many times before so she was no worry to me.  Friend #2 didn't even own a bathing suit when she arrived.  After one day here we were in a little discount shop and she found a cute bathing suit so that she could go into the pool.  I think she felt that she was very daring! Friend #3 we have always though of as very adventurous and up for any activity and I found that she is not nearly as brave as she seems. No kayaking for her, even as a passenger in my two person kayak in a river with no current and so shallow I can stand up in it!  But she did help wash the kayaks when we were done.

Once everyone got the idea that we had only three planned activities - a trip to Historic Cocoa Village for shopping, a visit to Winter Park for the Morse Museum and lunch, and a massage for a totally relaxing experience - they settled into to enjoy the beach-pool-nap-read experience that is the beach. We had perfect weather and enjoyed drinks on the porch every night.

Our shopping trip was real boost to the local economy as Cocoa Village has a number of little boutique style stores that have very reasonable prices.  We each bought something special.   One friend traded in her baseball cap for a fabulous brimmed hat that makes her look adorable.  I got a fancy new top and bling-ey jewelry for the wedding I'm attending in a couple of weeks.  I think we all declared the day a success.  The Winter Park field trip is always a hit because no one ever expects a fabulous museum of Tiffany glass and other American crafts and pottery art in the middle of Central Florida.  It is fabulous place and if you are ever in the area is a must-see. The only activity that concerned me a bit was my plan for us all to get massages at the massage school.  To be licensed the students must perform a certain number of massages under supervision.  It's $25 for a one hour massage and you just can't beat it.  When you enter this concrete strip mall building you have no idea that they will have soft lights, relaxing spa music, and you will experience one of the best massages you'll ever hope to have.  One friend had never had a massage so I explained the entire process so she would feel comfortable.  When she emerged from her treatment room I could tell she absolutely loved it!  It made me happy that we all enjoyed it so much and I could tell from the comments afterward that they weren't sure they were going to like it going in.

When I dropped them at the airport last night I was sorry to see them go, but I am enjoying the quiet today and getting the house back in order.  We all said we'd like to do beach week again next year so that seems to be a good indication of a successful week.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oh, it's been a long time....

since I last updated.   I've been to SanDiego/LosAngeles for a fun wedding and visits with friends, to Las Vegas for a conference with my husband which confirmed all my thoughts about Las Vegas and now am heading to the beach.  In between I've made a million trips to the grocery for my father, mowed the lawn every week, done laundry continuously, and gotten lots done on two big knitting projects. 

This trip to the beach has trememdous potential, either for a great time or a disaster.  For one week of my trip I'm being joined by three friends.  One is a very close friend who has been to the beach with me many times and we have developed a great rhythm.  We basically are friendly roommates and don't feel like we have to do everything together all the time.   She feels comfortable rummaging through the pantry and refrigerator to find lunch and doesn't expect me to play hostess.  It's kind of like living with a sister.  I have not traveled with these two other friends except for short 2-3 day trips.   One of them is a total space cadet and the other talks incessantly.  I've tried to write out a couple of beach emails nicely giving them the lay-of-the-land on how this trip should operate, i.e. "breakfast cereal, muffins, coffee, etc will be available but you will need to serve yourself.   Lunch meat, bread, fruit etc will be in the fridge for you to find when you are hungry for lunch. We will share dinner duty so bring a favorite easy recipe."  Do I think they will do any of this?  No so I'm relying on friend #1 to set the tone and show them how to do it. And to tone down our talker I'm thinking of starting and ending my day with short yoga and meditation time and ask them to join me.  That should buy us all at least 45 minutes of quiet time. twice a day.  I'll let you know how it goes.  But any day at the beach makes me happy so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow when I'll get to put my feet in the sand.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


My plumbing experiences put me behind so now I need a list to help me get caught up.

1.  Call Harry to firm up LA plans so I can get better idea of date/time for Hearst Castle tickets.

2. Talk to children about plans for Miami wedding trip.  Who is coming and when so I can make house reservations for us all?

3.  Make Miami house reservations.

4.  Hostess gift for Jack and Susie - What to take that I can carry on an airplane?  Virginia peanuts, jams, and wine but that is heavy and takes a lot of space.  Or maybe that is fine because then I'll have space in the suitcase to go shopping in California.

5.  Send note to Florida Sharon welcoming her to the beach and letting her know  when I'll be down.

6.  Get Daddy Arena Stage tickets.

7.  Order yarn for Christmas gifts.  Hope I have to time to get them made.  At least I've selected patterns using chunky yarn!

8.  LA rental car reservation.