Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lunch on the River

The other day we visited Sanford, FL and went to a little restaurant along the St John's river. This is not a fancy place by any standard, but it is one of our favorite places to go in Central Florida. My sister, her husband, and his sister went with us. Below, my guy faces the camera. River view in background.

Below, my sister (on right), her hubby, and his sister. More river view in background.

This is not a chain restaurant. The food is simple and delicious. I am particularly fond of grouper, a fish that we don't have back home, but it has grown more expensive. Still, I splurged and had a grouper reubin. It may sound weird to some but it was excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to order it again.

The service is not the fastest, but the food is worth waiting for, especially when you're enjoying the breeze and the casual ambience, watching the boats, and are in good company. If you're ever near Sanford, stop in and try it. Shorts, sandles, and t-shirts are appropriate attire, although it was a cooler day when we were there and people dressed accordingly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Presidential Inauguration

I love to watch the inauguration of a U.S. President, and have watched, via TV, the inauguration of each President starting with JFK. Maybe it's because I majored in Government and Politics (and maybe too because as an employee of the Federal Govt in the D.C. area, we always got the day off!). I love the pageantry and the patriotism of the day. Whatever one's political views, the peaceful transition of power from one leader to another demonstrates again and again the strength of our Constitution. (Above: White House photo by Paul Morse.)

While the storm clouds gather
far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance
to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful
for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices
in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains
To the prairies,
To the ocean white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

This "unofficial national anthem" was written by Russian immigrant Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised in 1938. A 1938 recording by singer Kate Smith initially made the song a huge hit, and it remains well known to this day.
God bless the United States of America.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cold Weather?

Here in central Florida, where we are vacationing, people are complaining about the cold. It has been in the 30s at night and 60s during the day. But everything is relative -- look at the above photo from my son about the temperature back home this morning! Above, another picture from home. Our little pond is frozen solid. So I can take this "cold" weather here in Florida. After all, how much of a hardship is it to wear a long sleeved shirt and a sweater!
We will be returning home in a couple of weeks. Am hoping that temperatures will return to normal by the time we get there. I don't mind winter, but zero degrees is a bit much even for me!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Cat

Last year when we were in Florida, we started looking at the website of the Humane Society back home for another cat. We had lost our old cat, Amos, in Nov 07 and after grieving were thinking about getting a new pet. The Humane Society had a photo of a kitten named "Trouble." He was only eight months old when his previous owner left him there to be adopted. When we returned home, we visited him at the shelter, and also looked at cats in other shelters, but something about this cat called out to us, and we decided that, despite his name, he would join our family. The above photo is from the Humane Society's website in Jan 08.

We decided not to rename him, despite recommendations from friends, so he continues to be called "Trouble." (He also goes by "Fatcat" and"Bratcat.") He has been an endless source of amusement and entertainment.

The little kitten we adopted has grown into a "big dude," to use the words of our Veterinarian. Trouble likes to sit on his perch that we bought him, and look at the birds and squirrels that visit our trees and our deck.

He is a big cat, especially from a rear view!

He plays hard, but then he falls asleep at a moment's notice. His favorite sleeping place is in the box Cliff's new shoes came in. It is a tight fit.

It is not a great idea to get a cat who is the same color as your kitchen floor, especially when he likes to lie near wherever you are working.

He prefers scratching on furniture, but likes to lie on his scratching pad.

My son is taking care of "Trouble" while we are in Florida. We can't bring the cat with us because the Autotrain doesn't permit animals. We miss our dear pet very much.

Pets enrich our lives in so many ways. I know we would be poorer indeed without our feline companion.

To all pet lovers in "blogland." Joanie

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day 2009

I used to make New Year's resolutions, but every year they seemed to be the same: lose weight, get organized, etc., etc. It is hard to break this habit. This year I still have things I would like to achieve: practice music more; remember birthdays in time to send cards; continue downsizing; be more charitable; plant more flowers; be less impatient; be more expressive of feelings for family and friends.

Our lives don't always progress smoothly. As we age, health issues intrude on our hopes and plans. Coming to terms with the changes aging brings is not easy. In our minds, we are as young as ever, but the image in the mirror is of an older person. I find that I still have ambitions, but everything takes at least twice as long to accomplish (if, in fact, it can even be done). One can easily become depressed unless we focus on what is good -- we are alive, our minds are relatively alert, we can see (with glasses), we can hear (isn't closed captioning wonderful!), we can walk, we can remember (maybe not as quickly as before). We have some precious advantages: we have experience, and we are wiser as a result.
My mother used to say "old age isn't for sissies" and she was right, for sure!

I wish a wonderful 2009 to everyone, but especially those of us who can rightfully claim the moniker of "senior citizen."
Warmest wishes for the new year. Joanie