Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No Promises

My Muse is still in mourning. No matter how much I try to goad her in to coming out from under her cloak, she peeks occasionally, but refuses to inspire me. Today, I have plied her with fresh vegetables from the garden, gently sauteed in olive oil, garlic and topped with a chiffonade of fresh, fragrant basil, and a few glasses of lovely Chardonnay. She is mellow. Perhaps now, we can allow the joy, the anguish and the hope to rise to the surface. We shall see, but no promises.

The past few months have been a frenzy of activity. I received a small sum of insurance money after H's passing and, coming from a financial background, I gave some serious thought to how I would best invest the sum of his gift. Given the state of the economy and the abysmal handling by both the current and past administrations, the stock market was absolutely out of the question. Banks at this time are under fire and aren't paying any decent amount of interest, so my leanings were toward real estate. With so many properties, unfortunately, under foreclosure at this time, I began looking to buy a rental property. My younger son, along with his wife and two children had decided to move here and were looking for a place to rent, sooooo, it seemed like the ideal time. DIL, found a candidate in my price range on the internet, and since I knew the realtor, I made an appointment to view the property. My eldest son, who was visiting at the time, came along to help check things out.

To make a long story short, I put in an offer and after a couple of counter offers by the bank, it was mine!

I have spent the past few months running back and forth, 20 miles each way from my home to the rental home. Each day, I would spend it there painting and generally improving the property. My son and family moved in early in July and we have been busy with the ongoing things that need our attention. All in all, the property was in good shape, but as with any property that has stood empty for any length of time, some deferred maintenance was to be expected. And....... it needs some landscaping!!! Right up my alley.

This week has been spent stacking firewood for the coming winter and, with the help of DIL, transplanting two lilac bushes and a huge spirea.

Tomorrow is my birthday, so I've been invited to come over for a celebratory lunch. H and I never celebrated our birthdays, so it will be fun to share it with my family.

Yesterday marked six months without my dearly beloved and I am inconsolable. Life without him is difficult. Even though I am busy with my projects and family, and as much as I love them, nothing can fill the bottomless cavern in my heart. People tell me this will pass but I know better; memories may fade, but they are always with one.

My Muse has indicated she is heading back to her hidey hole, so I will end this post with a smile, but heavy heart. and hope to post again soon.

My hugs to all my family, friends and blogger buddies! I wish you all a wonderful day and please, do not forget to tell your loved ones how very much they mean to you on a daily basis!

Life is one day at a time these days, but still good.

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, April 19, 2010

Of Firsts and Lasts

I'm finally back home and am so grateful to be here, surrounded by comforting, familiar things. It was nice to spend time with my family in Florida, however, to quote Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home", and home is where the heart is. I'm comfortable being in my own bed, cooking in my own pans, in my own kitchen, etc, etc, etc. I feel John's presence here and am comforted by that feeling.

Unfortunately, I am faced with many "firsts" and "lasts" here at home. Some of them are difficult, such as the first time I went to my knitting group and John was not there to pick me up on his way back from the grocery, or finding the last of the gumbo he made in the freezer and eating it. There are still so many firsts to come; birthdays, holidays, places we visited together, gatherings with our friends. I will survive, heartbroken though I may be.

There was much work to be done in the garden upon my return back home and, although I missed the annual few days when the crocus bloomed, I was pleased that the daffodils, hyacinth and primroses were blooming for me.

This was the only hyacinth the squirrels left for me!Even the insects are out enjoying the nice weather!

Froggy is keeping watch over the blooms

The PJM Rhododendron is just about to burst forth into bloom.....

and the hostas are peeking out, reaching for the warm sun.

My dear friends at Shirley's Yarn shop, where my knitting group, The Downeast Knitiots meets, greeted me back with open arms and hugs all around. What a great group they are. We laugh, cry, fuss and support each other better than any therapy group!

I've just helped Shirley get the yarn shop on Facebook, so if you'd like to become a "friend", just search Facebook for Shirley's yarns. They will be posting all their special sales there, so you can be one of the first to get the word!

My eldest son, Jason, is spending some time up here with me and we have converted the loft area of the garage into an artist's studio for him. Like his father, he is a talented artist, his artistic flair is found in many organic finds. He is currently working on painting masks, created from carved saw palmetto fronds. They are quite colorful and unique with each having their own individuality!

They remind me of wolves!

As I stated before, I'm so happy to be back in my own kitchen, preparing things I love to eat. My latest snack has been roasted red pepper hummus. I had been buying it in Florida, but at $3.99 a pop, I knew I could make the same thing for much less money, plus without all the preservatives.

I made it today and I must say, it tastes even better than store bought! If you want a good, healthful snack, I highly recommend this tasty, simple recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 Cup bean liquid
1/3 Cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 - 3/4 Cup Roasted Red Peppers

In food processor, combine beans, bean liquid, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil. Process til smooth. (this will take a while). Add peppers and garlic and process to desired consistency. Garnish with parsley and a few chopped peppers.

Life today is different, but still good.

Hugs, Giddy

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gasparilla State Park in Boca Grande

John and I had planned on returning to the beach we had visited in Boca Grande while we were down here visiting the children last June, so my next adventure was to do just that.

This morning, I once again took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and set forth with "Lola's" directions. Oh, I haven't mentioned Lola have I? She's the voice on my GPS, so named because whatever Lola says, we do and so far, she hasn't gotten us lost. So, having programmed Lola to get me to the beach in Boca Grande, I set out for my adventure du jour. I left around 8:15 and was surprised that the traffic was not as bad as I anticipated. It took about an hour to get there and when I arrived, I found I was the only soul on the beach as far as I could see in any direction.

and since there was no one there to snap a picture of me, I just got one of my shadow! Traveling alone has its disadvantages.

The weather had recently been stormy and the surf was just beginning to settle down so I was finding some incredible shells and other less savory finds......

This stone crab had just recently passed away as he was still intact and quite colorful among the shells. I actually poked him just to make sure he wasn't still alive.
This poor shore bird looked like the unfortunate victim of a shark attack as the only thing left of him was his head. Needless to say, I did not venture into the water!

I walked up and down the long length of the beach for about 3 hours, searching for large shells that were still intact and found quite a few. It was interesting to note that similar shells were to be found in certain places and not others.

Other than the great variety of shells, I'm afraid I find Florida beaches to be a bit boring. There's not much to see other than a huge expanse of water that slowly drops below the horizon.
I guess I just miss my rocky coastline in Maine.

I did find a few interesting things though. This lighthouse was at one end of the beach....

and this pier to nowhere seems to have been what was left after a hurricane blew through.

Again, since I had no one to take my picture, I just got creative and realized I had a setting on my camera that was "self portrait"

The clouds above also made for an interesting photo.

And, last but not least, when I got back, I unloaded my bounty from the shore.....

I think I might just make a little "faux" beach when I get back home!

Life was sunny today.

Hugs, Giddy