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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Walk in Lettuce Lake Park

Yesterday, my son Brian, DIL Amy and kids took me on an outing to Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa. The weather was beautiful (for a change) and we had a lovely time walking along the board walk, looking for wildlife. It was pretty early in the morning and still a bit cool, so we didn't spy any big 'gators, but managed to see one little one.

Ashton and Kaiya had fun atop the tower over looking the lake......

and running along the boardwalk that took us through the park.

We found these three turtles sunning themselves on a log.....

while Brian caught this little lizard who hopped back and forth from Brian to Amy, delighting the kids to no end!

A fun time was had by all and we headed off to a Chinese Buffet for lunch.

I'm finding this is a time of "firsts" in my life without John. We did everything together and enjoyed our life immensely, whether it was something as mundane as grocery shopping or exciting as our annual trek up Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park.

I ventured out on my own a couple of days ago with a road trip to Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida. I hadn't driven much in the past 7 or 8 years and Heaven knows, the traffic in Maine is not nearly what one finds down here, so it was quite the adventure for me. But, I must find ways to fill the days and I can only go to the YMCA or read so much. Therefore, I gave myself a pep talk, took a deep breath and headed out onto the freeway!

Spanish Point was interesting from an archeological point of view, but I was hoping for more of a botanical garden type visit. The few colorful flowers I found were interesting, but no signs gave me a clue as to what they were. I plan on visiting the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota soon.

This "hammock" tree had a very interesting stump.

And this little green gecko was kind enough to sit still for a close up!

According to the literature, all building materials and supplies had to be brought in by boat in those days and the Point turned in to quite the spot for northern tourists looking for a respite from the cold winter days.

My next first was going to a restaurant for a meal by myself. It was quite the strange feeling, not having John sitting across from me asking "what are you going to have". I sat alone at the table, observing my fellow diners and feeling envy that they had someone with whom to share the experience and realizing that this was only one of a long line of many "firsts" upcoming in my life.

Again, another deep breath. Carrying on alone right now is the most difficult.

Life is Good, but sometimes quite unfair.

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Trip to Myakka State Park

Yesterday, my son, Brian, his wife Amy, my grandson, Ashton and granddaughter, Kaiya took me out to visit Myakka State Park.

We had a lovely time beginning with a picnic surrounded by a murder of crows who sat waiting expectantly for bits of sandwich to drop from the table. Needless to say, Ashton and Kaiya were quite accommodating, despite being warned not to feed the wildlife.

While on the nature walk, we spied lots of birds and other wildlife, but we were surprised to see this wild hog rooting around a bog.

Seven year old Ashton was very interested in the holes in the trees made by Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers.......

....and the different algae and lichen we found.

Some of the fungi looked familiar. I recall seeing lots of these in Maine.

Five year old Kaiya liked running along the path and sitting in trees while having her picture taken.

Ashton managed to get into this shot, as well.

And what's a nature walk in Florida without seeing a few alligators? We were not disappointed.

These fellas were HUGE! I couldn't believe there were people kayaking in the vicinity.

All in all, we had quite a lovely day with lots of exciting things to see and talk about.

Thank you, Brian and Amy for including me in your Saturday adventure.

Life is Good.

Hugs, Grandma Giddy

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Time will heal

Yesterday, five weeks had passed since I lost my beloved John. Time has not yet begun to heal the overwhelming sense of emptiness and heartache. Each day dawns with thoughts of him and the endless hours march by in agonizing slow motion. Some things have gotten better; I can now write about it without melting down into a teary mess, but the lump in my throat remains.

I was hoping that coming to Florida, as we had planned would help ease the pain, but it hasn't and I find myself second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking; why did I not see how serious his condition had become? Why did he not heed my constant pleas to have a thorough physical? Why was I not more insistent that he do so? Why was he so damned stubborn?

The questions continue to plague me, unfortunately, to no avail. What is done is done and cannot be undone. Try as I might, I cannot awaken from this nightmare. Down here in Florida, I constantly see happy, elderly couples and I wonder why, oh why, could we not have had a few more years together?

I know that this too, shall pass in time, things will get better and in the meantime, I need to focus on the wonderful memories we shared for the 45 years we were together even though those memories bring tears and more heartache right now.

I'm trying. Life is still good, just sad for the time being.

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where to Begin?

Last Tuesday afternoon, my dear soul mate, lover, best friend and husband of 45 years passed away unexpectedly, literally in my arms.

I am lost without him and inconsolable. My two sons are here helping me cope, and together, we have cried, laughed and regaled in fond memories of my dear, sweet, John,

I'm sure that in time, my Muse will return to me with fond memories and allow me to once again fill this blog with thoughts and pictures of our beloved Maine, but until then, I will sign off for a time to heal and spend time with my boys.

To those of you who still have your loved ones near, please hug them and tell them you love them every single day. Our time in this world is so very tenuous and the moments precious. Hold them close.

Sleep well, my Johnny Angel, til we meet again. I have loved you so desperately all these years.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I am always in awe of our winter sunsets, but tonight's truly left lacking for words! I looked up from the computer and saw the sun setting over Calf Island, grabbed my camera and stood on the deck clicking away.

the purples and pinks slowly morphed into golds and teals .......

and then burst forth into fire in the sky, raining the fire onto the cove's surface.

I stood on the deck, shivering in the cold, but too entranced to stop snapping photos. And, finally, the last of the golden rays dipped beneath the horizon, leaving a faint glow.

Words cannot describe the beauty nature provides us.

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy