Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Calm Christmas

Our Christmas was very calm this year.  Ed kept showing me various Christmas trees in the stores but I didn't summon the energy to put one up.   I did have my shell trees so that sufficed for this year.  
I made a centerpiece in craft club and put out a few nativity scenes.
I especially enjoyed using the snail-mail cards to decorate our dining room wall.  I claim to be an email-only card sender, but I really do like paper cards.
On Christmas eve, Ed and I ate at Perkins.  He sort of turns up his nose at Perkins (no atmosphere and not cheap) but he admitted that his patty melt was delicious and his fries were hot.  I always like the food there.

We went to the First Methodist Church, where we've been going on Sundays.  From 7:30-8:00 they had a handbell concert that was very enjoyable.  The service itself included scripture, reflections regarding the meaning of the Advent candles and lots of beautiful music.  We were surprised to discover it was almost 9:30 when we came out.  The communion took a while because there were about 500 people there.

On Christmas day we went to a friend's house here in Savanna Club.  Ellie is Italian and has been cooking for weeks.  Her house and table only holds 24 people and those 24 slots were filled.  When she found out that we were going out for Chinese food, she invited us for dessert.

On Christmas eve morning, Ellie called.  She's had a cancellation and asked if we'd like to come for the dinner, too.  I made a dessert (dump cake with cherries, pineapple, and nuts) which went over well.  We met a lot of new people and most of them live in Savanna Club.  All that homemade Italian food was delicious and Ellie made the best eggplant Parmesan that I've EVER tasted! I really enjoyed the party, the people and the food.

Ed's son, Steve and his family are coming on Monday.  We haven't seen Sean (6) since their visit to the farm last summer and are looking forward to the day.
Boys with their Toys
Some young folks in Grandmother/Aunt Mary's life will recognize this book.
p.s.  There is a freeze warning for tonight and Monday night.  This time I got smart and asked Ed to help me cover the plants.  It was so gusty that some sheets blew off during the afternoon.  We had to go out several times to add more bricks to hold them down.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Artist Visits & Cranes Show Up

Perhaps you remember me telling you about fixing Ed up with the art teacher from my school in 1997.   (Then Ed and I ended up together, but with her blessing.)  

That art teacher, Anita Orlando, and I have kept in touch.  I asked her if she would create a painting for our Florida house featuring our beloved Sandhill Cranes.

She came up from Ft.Lauderdale for 2 days to see the house and where her painting would go.  She didn't know it, but I also wanted to pick her brain for a few pointers of what, where and how to hang some art. 
Anita Orlando and MaryMay Angelil  2010
Anita was already planning the painting in her mind. During the course of the day, I took her around the loop road in the back part of Savanna Club.  We came upon a marshy area and there we saw lots of Sandhill Cranes.

We were so excited that we jumped out of the car like two crazy women.  Anita was taking pictures with her phone and I was using my camera.  She walked down onto the edge of the marsh almost wetting her shoes to get better photos.
(Click on photo for a larger view.)
There were 22 cranes, the most I've EVER seen at once!  
 We also had a chance to hear them "gobble".  Click here to see and hear a one minute clip of a mating dance with 2 sandhill cranes:
You can see the Savanna Preserve in the background above.  This savanna (a flat grassland of tropical or subtropical region) wraps around the back of the Savanna Club property.  Behind that is the St. Lucie River.
It was almost like the cranes were arranging themselves into nice poses!

A few cranes walked onto the bank, even closer to us.
The reflections made the scene all the more dramatic.
Finally it got too dark to see.  When we went back to the car we realized we were so excited that we'd left the car running and the doors open!

Anita says she's now revamping the painting in her mind.  I'm so looking forward to seeing it but she reminded me that an artist can't be rushed!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Delightful Dinner Dance

The American Jewish Friendship Club in our 55+ community, Savanna Club, had their holiday dinner dance last night.  It was a nice affair and we were pleased to be able to attend.
My sister-in-law, Kay, loaned me a fancy dress.  I was amazed that it fit!
Kay's lovely dress

Bobbie and Ron Steinberg, our new friends, have been most kind in inviting us to various activities.  We do enjoy their company.
There were about 170 people at the dinner.
Ed does "clean up" rather well, doesn't he?
This was one of the couples at our table.  Beverly and Thomas Danks been married 68 years!  They are taking dancing lessons and were on the dance floor most of the time!
Marj and Jim Roach were at our table.
Also at our table were Nancy and Paul.  They were high school sweethearts who married other people.  They've gotten back together in the last few years.....and obviously are enjoying life as sweethearts again!
No American Jewish party would be complete without the famous Hava Nagila (Let us Rejoice) dance.  This always lifts anyone's spirits whether you're dancing or watching.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saving the Lovely Landscaping

Monday night they called for freezing temperatures.  Sherry emailed that I should cover the new plants.  We had chosen ones that withstand the cold well, but these are young transplants.  I gathered all the sheets I could find and started just after lunch having no idea how much work I was in for.

The wind was whipping and I had to figure out something heavy to hold the sheets down.  My neighbor said bricks or stones were what he mostly used.  The only bricks we had were the ones that border our beds in the back of the house. 
Here's how the drill went:  
Put a sheet over a plant and try to cover 2 plants, if possible, because I knew I didn't have enough sheets.  Go around back and get a couple of bricks.  By the time I got back, the sheet had blown off.  Pick up the sheet and start over, placing bricks as I worked.  

Get another sheet and start covering another plant.  Glance behind me to discover there weren't enough bricks and the first sheet had half blown off the first plant.  Trudge around back to get more bricks for the first sheet.  Start over with the second sheet. 

It took a LOT of bricks to even begin to hold the sheets in place!  In hindsight, I realize I should have used my gardening wagon to get the bricks but who knew? 
Notice that part of the bricks in the border to this bed are gone - to hold down sheets.
Our neighbor across the street used blankets.

When I started, it was super cold so I wore a warm jacket.  By the time I came in, my T-shirt underneath  was soaking wet.  I surely got my exercise and I was exhausted!   I've always noticed that some people covered their plants but I had no clue how much effort it took.
I was sad to discover that even with being covered, many leaves turned brown.

On Wednesday came the fun of taking the sheets off.  They were half wet because the automatic sprinklers had run on Tuesday.  What to do, what to do?  There were 12 slightly dirty sheets - that would be quite a few loads of washing and drying.  Then, if another cold snap comes, I'll need them again and they'll get dirty.
I shook them well and hung them over the carport lattice to dry.  

The elastic around the fitted sheets didn't dry well so I did put a few in the dryer this evening.  Now they're neatly tucked away, ready for the next go-round.  They'll also be ready to use as dust covers when we leave in the spring.

I'll have to deal with returning the bricks to the back another day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lovely, Low-maintenance Landscaping

You've read about us having to get our live oak tree removed (we hated to but it was soooo messy and very near the house).  We called Showplace Landscaping from an ad in our Savanna Club Newsletter.  
Sherry and Her Husband, Doug.
The landscaper, Sherry, and I hit it off.  I was pleased that she "read" me and came up with the simplicity I was after.  I wanted plants that take minimal care and are hardy when cold weather comes.
They planted crotons in the back and arboricolas (also known as  Schefflera or dwarf umbrella trees) and jatropha plants that have a red flower most of the year in the front.
The crowning touch was a five foot robellini palm (also called a pygmy date palm or miniature date palm).

We've had our sprinkler system worked on and the guy to treat for chinch bugs is coming this week.  Between that and hiring Showplace Landscaping to mow our lawn and keep things pruned, fertilized, and weeded, we're going to have a showplace one of these days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ladies' Luncheons

One reason we liked the Savanna Club here in Florida is because it's a large community (1,900 homes) and that means there are a lot of clubs and activities.

Last Wednesday was the Women's Club luncheon that was held in the theater.  There were about 200 ladies there in their holiday finery.  There were round tables with 8 at each table. My new friend, Bobbie Steinberg saved a place for me at her table.  I met several new ladies in spite of the loud Christmas music -- but that was part of the festive atmosphere.  The food was good and it was nice to be served.

Thursday was my first meeting/luncheon with the Red Hatters.  I was pretty tired from Wednesday but I didn't want to miss anything (plus,I had already paid for my lunch!).  This was a group of about 25 ladies all decked out in their red hats with purple and red outfits.  I enjoyed meeting some new gals and look forward to getting to know them better.  

More about the Red Hat Society later.

Thursday afternoon was nap-time and Thursday night was early to bed.  No more luncheons this week, please!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Horrendous Hospital Bill

We knew it was coming and sure enough, it did -- the bill for my 13 nights in the hospital with Lymes disease.  I did sit down before I opened the envelope and that was a good thing.

The bill was a mere $25,000.00!  There also might be additional bills from radiologists, ER physicians, Pathology associates and more.   This is when I am thankful for health insurance.   I still owe a chunk but my Medicare Humana Gold PFFS (Private Fee for Service) plan takes care of the rest.

I knew it wouldn't be cheap but I had no clue it would be this much.  Wow, what would it have been if I'd had any surgery? 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lymes into Limeade

Being in the hospital for 13 nights in October with Lymes disease was not a fun experience.  There is one result, however, about which I am very happy.  

I'd been going to Weight Watchers (again) since July and had hit that common plateau with only 5 pounds to reach my goal.  (When you reach your goal, you get to go to the meetings for free.)

While in the hospital, when my large intestine stopped working, I had no food or drink for 5 days -- I was on an IV.  I lost about 15 pounds.  A few of those pounds are back but I am now a couple of pounds UNDER my goal weight!

So, this was one instance where my Lymes turned into limeade. 

One problem has arisen from my clothes are all too baggy.  I didn't realize how big this blouse was on me until I saw the photos from Thanksgiving.  But, I'm not complaining!!!  I know how to sew and will just get busy doing a few alterations.