Happy Mother’s Day!

by grace on May 10, 2020

That’s addressed to you, mom…but suddenly it’s already late afternoon on mother’s day and another day has gone by whoosh….

we bought a 25-lb bag of powdered skimmed milk a few weeks ago. i found it on some site that sells bulk stuff but there were some issues with the shipping because suddenly the site got overwhelmed with orders but a nice woman from the site actually called me on the phone to resolve the issues.

and here it is. i bought the ziploc bags and kevin measured the whole giant bag into these little baggies.

I know many people don’t like powdered milk but i think it’s a treat. it always makes me think of camping.

i’ve been doing a little yard work; on this day in april i was transplanting the final lilies into the fenced yard and after i dug up some of them i hurled the shovel over the fence. it landed like this and Riley found it to be quite interesting.

A relatively new bleeding heart – the biggest one i had got peed on by the cats so much that it died, but i have at least a couple of good–sized ones now. i love bleeding hearts.

These bluebells roamed over to the front of the house…

…from this other part of the front of the house. i don’t remember there being so many of them there before. We should try to think of doing something more with this piece of yard.

all the april rain toppled this lovely cherry tree over to the side in front. it’s sad because it’s one of the trees dad planted. it hadn’t been doing well for a few years and it was leaning precariously but still had quite a few blooms. but then, down.

I transplanted some tulips from the front of the house to the back but only two of them bloomed. i think i planted this one last year, but none of the others next to it bloomed. but this one just kept blooming and blooming, i think it stuck around for a whole month.

ha, all those hostas in back of it are about five times as big now. i’m hoping all the hostas in back will grow and cover up the weeds and grass which needs to be pulled around them.

here’s an historic photo; three cats all together. sweetie is way back there on the chair on the left. she’s getting more and more friendly; when i sat down on the couch to write this she jumped up and wanted to lie on my lap! a nice surprise, although she didn’t linger.

the other day Lester was scrabbling around on the chair and managed to get back behind the cushion and the cover. we could do with some new chairs.

Lovey! doing better and better all the time, even though she loves kevin and sometimes barely tolerates me. Kevin said that he and Les were upstairs with Lovey and that went pretty well. Les has ventured up there a few times and there has been no hissing at all. very promising.

I wish i’d been quick enough to capture this on video; one night sweetie was chasing her tail, around and around, there on the chair. darling!

after i went running one afternoon at the end of april these two geese were hanging out in front of the house, drinking from the puddles.

and this morning i looked out an upstairs window and a goose was standing up on the peak of the three-car garage. very funny.

and that wraps things up for april…

ok then,



at the start of april…

by grace on May 4, 2020

these two ducks were enjoying the bird seed scattered on the ground in back of the house.

Riley had no interest in them at all.

Kevin bought this remote for the upstairs TV. we probably won’t lose it. it’s funny, we’ve only ever had one TV, but he hooked up a small monitor that works as a TV.

Sometimes Kevin will watch something on it when hanging out with Lovey, but mostly it’s tuned to the bird show, which she loves to watch.

Here’s me, about to bravely venture into the grocery store at the beginning of April. I sure haven’t been out of the house much.

Lovey was watching from her window.

Kevin and I have been kayaking a few times already, and on this morning we paddled into Long Bay. This turtle was sunning itself on a rock.

A very very short video of the turtle.

Moon over the water.

the next morning, Wednesday April 8th, we made our first attempt at taking Lovey to the vet to be tested and given shots. We had to drop her off and wait in the car, and they said it’d take about a half hour.

But after only about 10 minutes a vet tech came outside shaking her head. Uh oh. It didn’t go well. Lovely bit the tech through her lead-lined gloves, and they couldn’t get her to cooperate in any way.

They gave us some gabapentin which would hopefully calm her enough for our next try and we made an appointment for the following week.

in the meantime, we had to take Riley in for his annual checkup and shots, and the vet had no problems with him. but when she called to report on Riley she asked “is he a grumpy cat?” I told her that Riley is the most gentle and mellow of cats, but clearly being at the vet without his humans was distressing to the poor fella.

Right now Riley is lying on his kitty tower in front of the window giving himself a bath. all the vet-trauma left his brain a long time ago.

the next week Kevin tried sprinkling a bit of the gabapentin onto Lovey’s food to see if she’d eat it. He was successful, so on Thursday April 16th he managed to get the contents of one and a half pills into her food and she ate it and then he didn’t have a problem getting her into her cage.

we were still apprehensive about her being compliant at the vet, but she did a great job. She doesn’t have any illnesses, she’s about two years old and weighs 9 pounds. We were so relieved at all this news!

She still lives in the upstairs guest bedroom but yesterday morning kevin closed off the other parts of the house where other kitties were and Lovey bravely walked downstairs. she didn’t stay down here for more than a few minutes, but she’s getting more brave. I’m still not her favorite person which means i need to spend more time upstairs with her.

She’s so cute…

Ok then,

Mrs. monday morning, oh no, it’s actually already afternoon, hughes.


Yeah, pretty lame that i’m just doing this now.

same excuse as before; it’s now 11:30 on this sunny friday morning and at least i’m out of my jammies, but only just. lots of time spent reading reading reading about the coronavirus; the latest news is that it could be here for 18 months to two years. oh boy. my biggest concern is that i get the sense that many americans think it’s almost over or some such nonsense. i’m so sad for the many people who will die because states are leaping ahead like crazy.

but maybe people will have sense to stay at home, no matter what their governor or other elected official might say.

everything seems fraught with an underlying sense of anxiety, at least that’s how i feel. plus what about all those poor people working in meatpacking plants, who are going to be forced to go back to work or lost their unemployment? and they keep saying that they’re going to have to euthanize the animals; i understand that it’s devastating to the farmers, but i feel bad for the animals because they end up dead either way.

but don’t we all?

yes. and on that happy note, here are my final photos of march.

march 19th, so many deer out in the circle.

darling lester, always a cheerful and calming influence.

Sweetie is getting more well-adjusted and happy by the minute. she regularly lies down on my lap or kevin’s and happily purrs while we pet her. she does have interactions with les paul and riley but it’s never more than a little batting, never hissing.

March 28th, so many white pelicans out on the water! i think they’re gone now.

Pelican in the background, daffodils blooming in the front.

Lovey, officially an inside cat! Kevin brought her into the screened porch on March 29th. things went ok for a while but because it’s a sliding door it was too easy for her to slip out when he opened it.

I can’t remember all the shenanigans that ensued, but i know that they included a stare-down with lester in the front hall. Lovey ended up in the upstairs guest room and she’s still happily living up there.

She almost immediately went through a personality change – instead of being constantly on alert, looking around for possible threats, she was so happy to stretch out on the floor and take a nap.

Kevin petter her as she purred and finally went to sleep…here’s a very short video of how lovely Lovey is.

It didn’t take long for somebody to be curious about what was going on in there. Surprisingly, it wasn’t lester, but instead Sweeie.

Since then, we’ve put a little block in the door so it remains open about an inch. Anybody can come up and they can sniff each other, but i that’s only happened once to my knowledge. On that first day Lovey let me pet her, too, but since then she’s become more aloof towards me. But that’s ok, we have nothing but time.

Last night when i visited her after kevin had gone to bed, she did lick some squeezy treat off my finger, so that was good.

Kevin hooked up a small TV up there and she gets to watch lots of bird videos, which she’s usually pretty interested in. It’s just so awesome that she loves and trusts Kevin so much. someday she’ll be integrated into the family, but like i said, it’ll be a while.

meanwhile, last photo of march – as I left mom’s house these two deer wanted to know why i was interrupting their cocktail hour.

And now it’s after noon and i have to get up and go for a run. a slow jog. if i manage to move every day it help stave off the crazy. a little bit, anyway.

i hope you’re staying sane and safe in these unnerving times.

ok then,



Final shots of Tampa

by grace on April 5, 2020

Update on life: Whew. Every single day, whew. I almost always end the day talking to bev and we share with each other things the other one might have missed, all the horrible stuff happening everywhere. We always end up giving a handful of heavy sighs, and then we laugh about the sighing because otherwise we’d cry. But the sun is shining and it’s a new day and we do what we can. which mostly involves staying at home.

Back to Florida – finally, this is my last post of our last day, Tuesday Feb. 25th.

Every day in Florida mom and i ate oatmeal at home. I’d made up little plastic bags of it so just had to add water and cook it every morning. I add flax, raisins, cinnamon ginger, and a couple other things to the mixture of regular oatmeal and steel-cut oats so it’s very nutritious. It’s based on a recipe that Kevin was making when we first met back in 2004.

It was nice to have a free and healthy breakfast every day, but on our last morning we splurged and went out for breakfast. It was a treat.

We had to leave our air b&b at 10:00. This is ridiculously early, earlier than i’ve ever even had to check out of a hotel. On their air b&b listing they claimed that checkout was at 11:00, but the house rules said we had to leave at 10:00 because a cleaning person came then to clean for the next guest. Ridiculous.

So we had to get up relatively early on Tuesday to get ready to vacate the premises. I went out back for a little bit.

First, here’s a photo of the river in back of our house. I think this might be an alligator but it was small and kind of far away.

Here’s one more video of the backyard, including a banana tree which i hadn’t noticed before.

This is a closer shot of that banana tree.

We managed to leave by 10:00 and headed down the street to the Seminole Heights General Store. I just looked them up on facebook and they’re still open for take out and delivery. I’m glad they haven’t closed for good, because it was a lovely place.

Here’s a quick video of the Seminole Heights General Store.

I had poached eggs on avocado toast. mmmm good.

I’m pretty sure this cool pelican wasn’t for sale, but even if it was i wouldn’t have been able to fit it in my suitcase. I had bought a smaller wooden pelican way back at our place in St. Pete. So my pelican collection is now up to two pelicans.

Such a cute place.

We took a short drive downtown and found parking at the very top of a parking garage. across the river is the University of Tampa and the dome of the Henry B. Plant museum.

It was a very warm day as we strolled along the Riverwalk. The only other riverwalk i’ve been on was the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas. I was there so many years ago but i remember it was filled with lots of restaurants, shops and hotels, and a lot of it was shady.

The Tampa Riverwalk is relatively new but i don’t think they’re going to have any shade added, but hopefully there will be more restaurants, etc.

mom was wearing jeans. I wore a skort and planned to change into leggings at the airport. I did my best to persuade mom to do something similar but she was adamant about wearing her jeans. i knew she’d get hot walking, and she did.

We go as far as the Tampa Convention Center and stopped in for a bit to sit down and cool off. the temperature was in the 80s.

We kept going a little further and turned the corner to see this big line of expensive yachts moored along the riverwalk.

We turned around and headed back and i saw these cool water bikes. i’d never heard of such a thing and it might be cool to own one. hmm, i have a feeling it wouldn’t be cheap. I just looked them up and found one for $1,500. Not cheap. but so cool!

Here are a few pelicans doing some fishing in the bay.

We wanted to get inside because it was so warm and decided to go to the Florida Museum of Photographic Art because it was on the way back.

It took us a while to find it, but we finally did. The current exhibition was of Langston Hughes…here’s a short bit about him from wikipedia:

He was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue”, which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue.”

The information about Hughes on Wikipedia is fascinating and since there’s so much free time nowadays, it wouldn’t hurt you to click and read about him in detail. He lived in Lincoln, IL for a while in high school.

The exhibit was about Hughes and his friendship with Griffith Davis, a journalist, photographer and diplomat.

The exhibit wasn’t very extensive, but i did find one interesting bit in a letter from Hughes to Davis. Dated Feb. 18, 1948, Hughes wrote to Davis from NYC, after he’d been on a speaking tour in the south. Here’s the fascinating part to me:

“This is not for publication, so do not spread it abroad, but it looks as though the American Legion is bent, bound, and determined to prevent my speaking for the Springfield, Illinois Urban League, on Thursday, March 11. The League seems determined to to through with it, so there might be material for a good picture story if there is a picket line thrown around the program by the reactionaries in Abraham Lincoln’s and Vachel Lindsay’s hometown, so maybe you might like to come down there with me and bring your camera. If so, let me know.”

I mean, of course where was (and is) so much prejudice in the world, but i was startled that he mentioned Springfield. I tried finding something out about Hughes’ visit to Springfield, but in my five-minute search i didn’t find anything.

The exhibit had lots of letters from Hughes to Davis and there were a few of Davis’ photos and articles, but like i said, it wasn’t a large exhibit.

There was another exhibit on another floor and i can’t tell you know what it was about, but when mom and i walked in we walked right back out again. All i remember is that it was something very dark and disturbing.

Here’s a view of the netting in the lobby of the building, which was mostly an office building.

We tried going into the nearby Tampa Museum of Art but the admission was twenty bucks i think and we decided it wasn’t worth it because we weren’t really interested.

By this time it was after 2:00 and our plane was going to leave at 6:50. I wanted to get to the aiport two hours early so we wouldn’t have to rush, and we drove down to Bayshore Blvd with all the huge mansions overlooking the bay. The neighborhood all around there was very upscale and we searched for a place to have lunch, but it got later and i decided we should just go to the airport really early.

because i’d paid for a full tank of gas at the car rental place i wanted to drain the tank before getting back. we almost did – the “range” down there on the lower left shows that by the time we pulled into the airport parking garage we could have only driven six more miles before running out of gas.

It all seems very anticlimactic to me, but that’s really ok. we returned the car and were able to check our bags when we first entered the very first terminal, and had two easy rides on the trams back to the southwest terminal.

we both chose a meal; mom had a burger and i treated myself to a big middle-eastern peda thing but i got chicken instead of lamb and it was dry but i didn’t care because by then i was starving.

We waited around a while for the plane but i never felt bored waiting. on our flight back we sat near the front of the plane so we could get off quickly, get our bags and get on the road. i watched the wonderful movie “judy on my ipad.” I barely finished it by the time the plane landed. What a good movie, and i’d like to see it on our big TV sometime.

The plane landed on time and we go off quickly but then had to wait a long time for our bags. when they finally arrived, somebody had broken the handle on my lovely, relatively new suitcase. i asked a southwest employee about it and she said to go to the claims office. i went in and the woman gave me a $100 voucher to apply to another flight. that seemed ok at the time, but it expires in a year and i wasn’t planning on flying anyway, but now of course i’m sure i won’t. the worst thing is that the woman took forever to type the info into her computer and spent time having conversations with other employees who came into the office and when we finally got out of there it seemed like we’d waited forever.

it’s all relative of course and especially now. the ride home was ok and it was wonderful to be back to kevin and the kitties.

Now i remember that the lovely young woman who sat between mom and me on the plane wiped down her tray and everything with a sanitary wipe, and she offered one to mom and me and we did the same. she was from puerto rico but had moved to a small town near st. louis, and was going back to puerto rico to sell her child-care business. her husband and daughter were still in st. louis.

and now i hope she managed to get out of puerto rico and back to her family.

it’s unthinkable about how much life has changed since our trip. Last night Bev told me that she read about a woman going on a plane recently to see somebody and she was the lone passenger. I read about Hong Kong’s Cathay Airlines, that usually had 100,000 people a day and yesterday only 538 flew. How many airlines will permanently close? not to mention everything else in the world.

so much to worry about, which is why it’s good to try to focus on good things in life. and it’s good to exercise, which i’m about to do right now.

I don’t have any posts at all from march yet, and i’m sure i have some photos of our kitties plus lovey who is living up in our front bedroom for now.




final photos from the Plant Museum

March 23, 2020

Ok, i want one of these fabulous planters. Here are more photos from the Plant Museum, which used to be the Tampa Bay Hotel a long time ago. This is the afternoon of Fri. Feb. 21st. I think that this odd-looking setttee/planter was something that the Plants claimed to come from…Marie Antoinette? I think they […]

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Downtown St. Petersburg

March 13, 2020

Wednesday, Feb. 19th – The morning started out with another good run. i didn’t take as many photos, except i took a bunch of these birds when i first set out. Jim said they’re Ibis. Just hanging out in somebody’s yard. meanwhile, back at home – our outside cat, Lovey, was super affectionate and playful […]

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February 23, 2020

So…it’s Sunday morning here in sunny Florida and mom and I are going to be headed to the beach in a while. But here are some pictures of the darling kitties who I miss quite a bit! of course I really miss Kevin, but at least we get to talk on the phone every day! […]

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