Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Second Birthday

Dinner last night was great. My cousin Erica, my mom, MIL, & Hubby all went to a terrific steak house and had a good time. Got some good photos of everyone except me. The one I am posting is a great one of Erica and Mom.

Erica told us funny stories about her two year old Sarah. They came over for a couple hours on my birthday and Sarah discovered my electric piano. I ended up finding and cleaning up my old Casio keyboard buried in the garage since I got the electric piano a couple Christmases ago and I gave it to Sarah. It's not quite a full-sized keyboard but it certainly more inclusive than the children's versions. Anyway, I played chopsticks for Sarah and I guess that word was not familiar to her so when she wanted to hear it again she asked her mom to play "bread sticks". How funny is that!

Spent much of yesterday and today working on a genealogy project. In 1994 I was in Arkansas and my mom helped me to inventory the Manning #1 Cemetery in Lawrence County. Now I am working on a project to find out exactly how all the occupants in the cemetery are related to each other. I have documented the relationship of about 80 so that's a huge start. Next time I go to that part of Arkansas I will have to take good headstone photos and submit them to another great project going on and that is the documentation of gravestone information before it is gone forever. Checkout the website at if you are interested.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

The War Is On!

We had a heck of a time getting Christmas lights on the house this year (I won't go into that now) but we finally had them up and running "someone" chewed thru them leaving exposed electrical wires! Jerry has done some splicing with electrical tape but I am still suspect. I've always been tolerant of the oppossums, squirrels, and fruit rats that try to cohabitate with us but when it comes to chewing anything electrical, the war is on - we'll soon be figuring out how to animal proof our house. Humm....I bet there is some family receipe for squirrel meat kicking around. LOL

As the world's worst photographer, I have borrowed these images.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I'm fifty today! I'm told it's nifty :)

I'm starting my "over the hill" birthday listening to my new iPod nano (thank you jerry) which is much more complicated than my simple old shuffle. Could it be because I'm 50 now? LOL. One thing is for certain, the new iPod has a screen so I pretty much need my reading glasses to work the thing! Right now it's winning the battle of technology but by this time next week, I'm sure I will have it down.

My plans for the big day are to go to lunch with my friend Christina and my cousin Erica. (I adore going to lunch with my female friends. Female luncheons are another thing I miss about living in Kodiak. Every Monday was Henry's and every Thursday was El Chicano.) This afternoon/evening Mom and I will do our traditional Friday night dinner but with a twist - we are going to an afternoon movie since I took the day off!
Tomorrow night is the offical family birthday celebration dinner. I picked a very nice steak restaurant in Dunedin called Spotto's. I usually prefer seafood but this place has amaizing food and, except for Christmas prime rib, I have been off meat and poultry for a couple weeks. Sometimes I have carnivour guilt. Well I guess it is time to start the day and water my orchids, paying special attention to my birthday orchids (thanks dad)!

Peace out. Vickie

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Meerkat Manor

We had a wonderful Christmas day at my mon's yesterday. Fabulous prime rib dinner with blackberry cobbler for dessert. Santa brough interesting gifts this year - a hubcap for Jerry's Scion XB and a Holga 120 camera for me. I figure a lousy camera for a lousy photographer might be a match made in heaven! But, the "gift that keeps on giving" is the DVD sets of season 1 & 2 of Meerkat Manor! I don't watch a lot of television but I did watch Flower and her family this season. I was so excited I stayed up way too late last night to watch 4 episodes but felt it when it was time to get up for work this morning. My Dad also watches the Meerkats and during the season we would talk every Friday night about the goings on of the Whiskers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's December 23rd already!

It's been a busy few days since last blog. Mom's birthday was the 19th and I ordered her flowers delivered at work after asking her specifically if she would be working on her birthday. At last minute she made a trip to Aunt Mary's (with Aunt Hellen) but I got a call from Sandy at her work thanking me for the flowers - she was covering mom's desk and enjoying them. It didn't dawn on me that meant someone read the card;) Next time I will sign with something risque! Thursday night was spent getting all those orchids back outside and watered. They should be much happier now.

Friday was shopping due to 11th hour notice from Ratbone Rescues that they needed a secret Santa to a little female that just came into rescue. Eventually I got the word Aunt Hellen's husband Les has landed (flew in fro Seattle) and Friday night dinner was on. Of course that meant a late night of packag wrapping. I mailed my packages yesterday (Saturday) - I don't recommend that. Last night we all (me, hubby, MIL) went to mom's for her birthday dinner. She chose to order in pizza instead of going out.

Mom, Hellen, Les, and my friend Christina are coming over this evening and we are going to cruise the streets looking at Christmas lights. People go all out here and I haven't been in a couple years. I guess it is popular because the weather is good for putting them and taking them down. We just do the traditional icicle lights off the eaves, wreaths on the doors, and a small display at outside entry to a snowman, alpine christmas tree, and poinsettia - all in the deep burgundy and hunter green colors.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Past

Driving to work today I realized it's almost Christmas! I began to think of the things I have yet to do before the big day and how busy we all are this time of year. I thought back to a quiet Christmas in 1989 when we lived in the Yupik Village of Aniak, Alaska. While I enjoy big family get togethers and seeing the relatives one only sees on holidays and at funerals, our quiet Christmas in Aniak was very special. It was just the two of us and at the time I may have felt a little left out not spending the day with others but it turned out to be very special.

We started the day with a quiche cooking in the oven while we opened presents. We made long-distance calls to wish our friends and family a Merry Christmas. Then we snuggled on the sofa and watched movies, snacked, and enjoyed the lights on the tree and the snowfall outside. That day was the most peaceful and intimate Christmas I've ever experienced. Later, we ended the day by cooking a seafood extravagnza of king crab, lobster tails, scallops, and shrimp.

This photo of me was taken on that very special Christmas day. And while I would prefer to spend Christmas with family and friends, I would not trade that day back in 1989 for ten "big" Christmases. I would like to include a photo of Jerry back then but, as the world's worst photographer, the photos I took of him weren't so hot :(


Monday, December 17, 2007

Frogs-0, Lizards-0, Rat Terriers-3

My plan to get my final paper written yesterday was a bust - I found more interesting things to do. That means that tonight I will be up late writing. Don't know why I do this to myself. I believe that I have had so many classes in a row without a break that I am just burned out on school. Each year as the holidays come I get very distracted from school. Luckily, graduation is in May.

Spoke to Dad last night. He finally made it home on a different flight from Dallas to Little Rock after he missed his connection due to delays leaving Tampa. I finished up Christmas things like the tree decorating and wrapping gifts. Took Marge shopping today and we had lunch at a German Deli. I scheduled the day off knowing that I would be to the wire on my final paper ;)

The big news around here is the weather. It got into the 40's last night. Jerry helped me bring over 70 orchids into the kitchen for protection. They probably didn't all need to come in but when you have 70 or so, it's hard to remember which ones perish at which temperature. Numerous frogs and lizards rode in with the orchids so the Rat Terriers were busy chasing harmless creatures around the house last night. Looks like the plants will have to stay in the house for a couple more days so it's not looking to good for the lizards and frogs. (Photo shows Eddie Ratbones the rat terrier who is willing to destroy orchids for a good lizard chase, and Chloe the diaper-wearing, evil chihuahua)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Leavin On A Jet Plane

Well, he's off. His flight should take off in about 4 minutes due to repeted delays. Poor guy - I know he is concerned about his connections but since there are also delays in Dallas, I'm thinking he will be fine. I wanted to get a good-bye photo for the blog but as the world's worst photographer, I forgot. I spent the last 15 minutes before we left getting new batteries in the digital and trying to remember how to download and remove the photos still on the camera from last May when we went to see the Space Shuttle launch. Dad is such an easy person to have around. I am really going to miss him and look forward to his return.
Polish food was a bust last night. Turns out they were written up favorably in the newspaper, have been running television ads, plus they had an Elvis inpersonator last night so the line to get in was so long it was outside of the building. Perhaps another time when the hoopla has worn down. It was great to see Aunt Hellen again and we had lots of laughs. My Dad hadn't seen her since Jan 1977.

I'm going to be spending the afternoon and evening working on a simulation for my Global Business Strategies class and then writing about it. I also need to pull out a ladder and decorate the top 2 ft of the Christmas tree and wrap presents. Hopefully I can sit on the screen porch amid my orchids and listen to NPR while I write. Tomorrow I take Marge (mother-in-law) Christmas shopping and finalize my paper. Tomorrow is the deadline for this last assignment because it is the last day of class until January! Yippee!

Wind blew so hard here last night that the sheets of galvanized metal Jerry had stacked agaisnt the house (they cover the windows in case of hurricane) blew over. Wow, that was a loud crashing sound for the middle of the night. It is still blowing today but not as bad. I took a photo of the white caps and leaning palms from the Courtney Campbell Causeway as I returned home from the airport. Of course as the world's worst photographer, I was unable to adaquetely capture what I saw.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Opening Day

Welcome to my first blog entry!

My Dad's visit is drawing to a close. He leaves tomorrow at noon. While we dread his departure, I undertand that he is anxious to return to his home in Dumas, Arkansas. We enjoyed the last month with him and especially appreciated spending Thanksgiving together. So many holidays in Alaska were spent away from family that every occassion spent with family is special. Eddie is going to miss his Papaw's continuous belly rubs.

Dad was able to spend a week down in Arcadia, FL visiting his only remaining sibling - Aunt Flossie. Dad made a quick trip last April to help Aunt Flossie celebrate her 90th birthday. We hoped to take her out for a birthday dinner but when we arrived (it's about two hours from our house in Clearwater to her house in Arcadia) she had not only made her own birthday cake but was preparing a dinner for 15 people!

Jerry is busy attaching icicle lights to our eaves and I am in the process of decorating the Christmas tree. We are picking up Jerry's mom in a couple hours and meeting my Mom and Aunt Hellen (yes, that is how it is spelled) at a Polish restaurant. None of us have ever been to a Polish restaurant so it took some talking to get everyone to agree but I've heard that Polish food is a well-kept secret. I'll let you know ;) I am looking forward to seeing my Aunt Hellen. She arrived at my mom's yesterday.

I talked my Dad into a surprize outing last night only telling him that we would be outside and would get a little exercise while having a good time. I took him to the St. Petersburg Shufflboard Club. They have a special hours of 7 - 11pm on Friday nights and since the temperature was perfect, I thought it would be a fun father-daughter activity. For the first time in 5 months, they were rained out! Too bad because a photographer/reporter from Southern Living magazine was there to take photos of the courts and people, all illuminated by the white Christmas lights.

Neighborhood Muscovy

Broke Wing So, back in March a mama Muscovy showed up with 14 ducklings in the pond across the street. These ponds are retention pond...