Thursday, May 31, 2012


My arrangement of letters above Raz Man's desk has house guests, pondering, arranging and re-arranging in their heads and trying to beat the clock and solve the puzzle.

All the letters are from old defunct or demolished buildings in and around the Tampa/St. Pete area...the A is for our surname and each letter is the first initial of me, boy child, girl child and DIL. I am missing the Raz Man's initial, but he is confident of his place in this family and can wait until an appropriate letter falls off an old cinema. Good thing I'm not that woman from 19 Kids and Counting TV show...I'd have 19 J's on my wall........and counting...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


It may be peony season in blogland, but I am officially besotted with frangipani---this beautiful yellow flower that grows prolifically in this Florida garden in both it's pink and yellow forms. It has the most amazing scent, almost a mix of floral and musky, that wafts through open windows and all around the garden when the wind blows. I've never encountered it before and was enlightened as to it's name by Grouchy who left a comment on a previous post. It is so delicious, I have set jars of it in the guest bedroom and bathrooms, office and on the living window sill mixed with a little bougainvillea for a particularly exuberant bouquet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The Florida house is slowly emerging. I'm a great believer in letting a house tell you what it needs. Even though this one keeps telling me it needs mirrors and dressers and lamps and things, I haven't found what I want yet in a second hand store. Eventually, the perfect things will pop up and fill in the gaps.

I did find this lovely old Persian rug...14' long and 4' wide. It found it's home in the master bedroom along with a curly-wurly iron candlestick.

My nephew and cousins left yesterday after a whirlwind of 4 days. My brother and his partner leave today. Delightful neighbors came for drinks yesterday bearing a handmade (by him) cheeseboard...We've beached it, had breakfast at the old hotel, dinner in the courtyard of Pia's in Gulfport, jetski'd, walked, outlet mall shopped and been to the Chuhuly museum. And talked until we are exhausted. Feels like I am catching up on the 50 years I missed with my cousin. For those of you who are recent followers, I found my father's family 56 years after he left them. 

And my cousin and I keep discovering we are so alike...little things we keep saying or's uncanny.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A 10" Crack

Sunlight swirls on the wall beside my Roost clock.

When I bought this lovely amber crock at a local St. Pete vintage shop, I was most disappointed when I went to pay for it. The fellow told me it had a 10" crack, and that it was noted on the other side of the tag. We looked inside and out, turning it over and around and both is us could not see even the tiniest crack in it. I decided it was still a nice strong piece, and he gave me a nice discount on it, since he was sure there had to be a hairline crack somewhere.

I brought it home, took off the price tag so I could give it a good wash, and noticed on the one side of the tag it said.  $18.00. and on the other side "10" Crock. I don't think the nice young lad had a clue what a crock was and assumed it said CRACK.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

St. Petersburg, Florida

I love St. Petersburg. We flew in yesterday and caught up on a bit of work, then had an early supper on a patio overlooking Tampa Bay. I spent a good part of my dinner being really nosy and watching a man giving directions on his cell phone to a woman he was meeting. He obviously didn't know her because he had to describe exactly which table he was at so she could find him. Upon her arrival it was obvious to all the fellow diners that she was his PAID DATE. People watching...always amusing.

Today, we did a little antiquing and then stocked up on groceries for our relatives arriving tonight and tomorrow. We are hoping for beach and paddle boarding weather all weekend. What a juxtaposition this house is from my suburban home near Toronto. Especially the yard. Back home, it neat and tidy and citified with an outdoor sectional sofa, dining area and brick patio. Here, it's a veritable jungle. So much so that I can't even get a shot of the front of this very pretty Monterey Style home because I have giant cacti, palm trees and goodness knows what else growing wild. Complete with lizards. Lots and lots of grey and black lizards running all over. Our neighbors brought their cat with them from Tennessee. He gained 5 pounds in one year eating lizard. One day, he just stopped. Must have had a bad meal.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Patio Lanterns

Lying on the hammock in the garden I can look right up at my patio umbrella which is currently FESTOONED with these great patio lanterns from IKEA. I'm generally not a big box store kinda gal, but I have to admit, both this massive white PARASOL and these solar powered lanterns caught my eye. They are made of nylon so they will last outdoors and they make the garden so pretty during the day and create a lovely soft glow at night. 

Sweet Mamma has made a remarkable recovery and is scheduled to leave hospital tomorrow and Foster Dog is apparently well settled in his new home in Upstate New York. He's probably going to spend weekends in the Hamptons. We're off tomorrow to Florida where we are hosting some of the LONG LOST FAMILY. Next post from the Sunshine State.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


4 little heads...they always face the same way
Her very presence causes much shrieking by Mamma Robin...she's not a birder though
Impossible to garden with Foster Boy around...always in the sprinkler.
Table will be full tonight with the kids and friends.
Filled a few pots

Notice how slim Foster Boy is now

I am full of the joys of Spring today as surgery for my Sweet Mamma went very well. Yesterday she was day 1 post op and the doctor asked her how she was. "I'm fine, I can't complain" she said. Which is amazing considering all she has been through. The doctors are amazed when they review her chart and see she was once classified as having "no brain function". I am hoping she will be home in a week. In the "nursing home" world you lose your room if you are missing for more than 30 days, so we are so happy she is doing so well.

Victoria day weekend is upon us and instead of heading north to cottage country, I stayed home to care for Mamma and do some gardening. I had 5 over-nighters on Wednesday and 5 tonight as Boy and Girl Child were off on a bit of an adventure with DIL, sisters and friend. I'm thinking now of what to cook for the troops for dinner. With this gorgeous weather, it will definitely be an outside meal this evening.

Foster Boy has a Meet and Greet with his new family today, and if all goes well, he will be heading to Upstate New York to live. He must have known it was his last night as this morning when I got up he was snoring away on the guest bed....a total no no in my house. A month ago when he arrived, he couldn't even get up the stairs, yet alone climb on the bed. A month of solid diet and exercise along with some arthritis meds, has given this boy a new lease on life. I know I will cry a bit saying good bye to him. He is a special dog.

Enjoy your Sunday and to all my Canadian readers, enjoy your Holiday Monday.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


 Had a little peek into the robin's nest this morning, and to my delight there are 4 babies. If I jiggled the tree a little the beaks all opened at the same time waiting for worms and grubs from mama bird. Unfortunately I couldn't jiggle the tree, operate my camera lens and balance on the edge of the chair at the same time, but I did manage to get a shot of the little foursome while mama shrieked at me from a distance while Hannah cat and Foster dog looked on with a vague curiosity.

Speaking of mama's, thank you all for your kind wishes regarding my Sweet Mamma who is to have surgery today anytime from 4 pm to midnight. She is considered to be quite high risk, so we are on pins and needles today waiting for it to all be over and her safely though the danger period. 
Thank you for your continued positive thoughts and support.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Photos from my Floating Feathers series.
The clouds lifted over the weekend, spilling sunshine on my newly planted garden and giving promise of a bright and cheery Mothers's Day. An early morning phone call from the nursing home indicating that Dear Mamma was being sent to Emergency, OVER WROTE the beautiful day. 

12 years ago my mother had what they call a CVA, other wise known as Cerebral Vascular Accident....a massive brain hemorrhage that left her in a coma for almost 2 weeks. Despite unplugging her TWICE from support, she rallied and emerged from her coma as a butterfly speaking the Queen's English (a weird stroke thing). Over the next 4 months, after being told she was not a candidate for rehab, we taught her to eat, propel a wheelchair, dial a phone, work the TV and live again. Albeit not the life she had...a new one wheelchair bound, with only the use of one arm and one leg and half a brain, a bit muddled at first, but brilliantly capable of taking on most of the responsibilities of the other half. And she has adapted and moved on with great courage and very little fuss.

What was supposed to be a day to splash her with love and recognition, turned into a horrible day for her. She is still in Emergency with a surgery booked for next Monday. The same annoyances of past hospitalization surfaced again, but this time we were more pro-active and vocal about our expectations. Being in a wheelchair somehow makes you very little and insignificant. I want to enable her to be as visible as a standing person. After "setting the tone" this morning, I am comfortable leaving her for a bit in the care of 2 of the most delightful young nurses....a total credit to their profession. In their capable hands and age defying compassion, they are allowing Mamma to retain what shreds of dignity she has remaining. And she is confidently prompting them with her lovely British accent.

Across the countryside a few hours away, the other "Granny" is failing to thrive in her new nursing home. Do we intervene and force certain supportive measures. Do we really know her will? 

The lives of the compromised elderly gets narrower and narrower, smaller and smaller, morselling down to tidbits of life as we know it with lower expectations and poorer quality. It's a juggling act to balance someone else's quality of LIFE.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In the Garden

It was one of the nicest days this Spring today and after breakfast out, we pottered the garden center and picked up a few bags of soil, pots and various plants. The robins nest has some chicks, but I couldn't peek in far enough to get a photo without upsetting Mamma. I found some lovely old looking clay planters at my local Fortino's...perfect for a succulent garden of Hens and Chicks as well as a pretty camelia tree with fragrant blossoms. Hannah Cat, Foster Dog and Raz Man all lounged on the lounge furniture while I putz'ed around filling pots and drinking coffee. A perfect way to spend a Saturday. Drinks on the patio of friends 2 doors down, and a final peek at Mamma Bird who is settled in for the night with the chicks.