Yes it is, here in Florida at least, and I am determined to enjoy it. I look at the Weather Channel, check on Michigan, shake my head in commiseration over the snow-filled charts, say a little prayer over any family or friends that are driving in it, and relax. It is absolutely perfect here right now. It is George Washington’s Birthday, and a day to celebrate.
And we are celebrating our family, the original Strong family. On Monday my brother, two sisters, and spouses, plus a niece and husband, all gathered here for a potluck lunch. Dressed in our summer clothes even tho it is February, we are enjoying the sun with a little breeze. It is about 85 or so on our shady patio. We have come from different places, in order to all be together for our annual luncheon. It is the first time tho since the start of Covid so we are doubly grateful.

And in a way it is a miracle. The ages of this group range from 78-90 years of age. Despite our ages we are still mobile, still happy to be together in one place. We miss our brother in law after many years together but he is in our hearts today. But we rejoice in being together on this sunny occasion and look forward to continuing our visits each year. We exchange all of the news about our children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. The food is tremendous, as you would expect from experienced cooks.
And then everyone packs up their bags and heads for their destinations scattered around Florida. I know that in a few hours I will get text messages from everyone that they arrived safely. Our mother taught that lesson to all of us many years ago. Of course we had to call long distance then. How times have changed. But she also taught us that we are a family, we love each other and we stick together. The love of our parents has tied us all together. 💕



Can you believe it! We are back! Back in our winter home, in sunny Florida, although it is not sunny right now. It’s windy and only 70 degrees on a November afternoon and we are waiting on a tropical storm that has decided to come and visit us.
We have batched down the hatches, put away anything that is loose, and decided to wait it out right here in our home, hoping it won’t get too stormy. Having missed an earlier hurricane this year while we were still in Michigan, we were somewhat surprised to hear that the new storm is headed straight for us. By now we would be concerned about snow that will be forming up north.
But no. Here we are and it is so good to be here. This is the 11th year since we started heading south whenever the cold winds started blowing. And it has been a hectic year, illness and Covid attacked us, and yet we survived and flew on a big silver airplane to our destination.
But it always takes a while to adjust to all of the little things. Nothing seems to be put in its logical place anymore. I find myself looking for my favorite pan or dish and oops, suddenly I realize, no that is up north. When you pack up your essentials in two suitcases and two duffle bags and a carryon, and this is what you have for five months, you have to learn how to cope with it. And it is always good to have the quick service of Amazon delivering right to our door. We can do pickup at Walmart so easily. It is just amazing how many people use the pickup service here. We parked in number 18 this week because it was so busy. Up north it is more lightly used.
As a younger person I never could have imagined living our golden years in the way that we do now. Truly I have been blessed by my husband, our family, our friends, and of course by my IPad so that I can write. Life feels really great right now. See you all soon!

THE FALL of 2021


Fall has always been a special time of the year for me. When September rolls around the air actually begins to change, my spirit begins to rise, and I feel as if a new season and attitude has begun. In the early morning as I rise and head for my easy chair, carrying my newly made coffee carefully, I notice that it is getting light later and later each day. Lights need to be turned on in order to see my way clearly.

Fall always meant school to me. Books were my best friend. it was an ongoing disagreement between my mother and me as to how much time I spent reading. She didn’t mind me reading, that wasn’t it, but she did mind it happening when there were other things that needed doing. And reading all of the cereal boxes propped up along side of my cereal bowl instead of speaking really annoyed her. Reading my book while I was ironing pillowcases was another no no.

But getting caught reading with the family flashlight under the covers at night when she thought I was fast asleep was probably the one that got me grounded the most of all. We had a streetlight on a corner near my bedroom window and I would prop up my book there. Like I say, books were my best friend.

Fortunately I had cousins who loved to read also. We all begged for books for our birthdays, and traded them back and forth with each other. Memories of good times with each other still abide after so many years. There was no tv at that time, we couldn’t do anything on Sunday except church or a ride in our car. We did go for a lot of rides, to the lake, or to look at farmland in the country. And in September we went for color tours as the leaves turned in a brilliant fashion.

So here I am, it is September 10, 2021, it is bright and beautiful and I am still reading, probably more than anything else in my life. Hope you have enjoyed some reminiscing with me of another time and place. A long time ago someone asked me to describe myself, maybe 40 years ago or more, and i answered, ”I am a reader.” And now I can say, ”I am a writer.” what more can I say?



After reading “Still September” again this morning, it is about time for me to renew my spirits, thank about something pretty or fun to do, and write about the new pleasures showing up in my life! Looking back, I am happy that I survived September, but I don’t need to go thru that again for a while!
BECAUSE great things are happening or about to. I know that, it’s all in the mind, right, but my mind has been lifted up. The first thing is that three great older gentlemen, sent from a local store, have just installed our new living room carpet, hauled off the worn out one, and it feels so good on bare feet when I get up in the morning. It is soft and very plush and just beautiful. The old one was here when we bought the house ten years ago.
The second thing is that we did pickup at Walmart this morning and I’m back home with everything all put away. The young people loading our car are always friendly and helpful.
The third thing is that my old watch quit on Thursday, but on Friday Amazon showed up with my new one, a Timex, in my driveway, and I had enough points from a credit card to get it for free!
And I saved the best for last. On Wednesday, at 10:45 am, we are going to get our first COVID vaccine shot, right here in our park, in our car. There are a lot of older people waiting here in Florida, so I was happy to get the phone call. It has been quite a winter, colder than usual down here, but today it is perfect.
I hope that everyone reading this is feeling their spirits lifted up too. I will be happy when we can hug our family and friends again. We are tougher than we thought for, despite all of the ups and downs.



How can it still be September? Especially in 2020? It seems as if this year has been going on forever! Just finished looking thru the last few months of entries in my blog and it sounds like another world. The most important things in my life were making an occasional pie, going for daily walks, reading and enjoying my IPad. That was then, this is now.
Now we are in Michigan, it is fall, I am still doing the same things mostly, but none of it feels the same. We have become home bound, concerned about our health, cautious when we go out in public, wearing our masks, still reading, watching the world go by on our TV or IPads, and wondering how in the world we all got here. The world I grew up in seems to have disappeared somewhere. When I talk with other older friends they seem as bewildered as I do. It’s like all of the ideas and principles that we were taught are just words that have lost all of their meaning. Trust in anyone else seems to have evaporated.
I remember when the VietNam War was going on and someone read the Pentagon Papers in Congress. It was a huge shock to me. I couldn’t believe that our government would ever actually lie to us. We were so naive, we thought that we could all believe whatever was in the written word. From then on many people began to lose their faith in what they were told.
Now it seems that the country has come to the conclusion that they can’t trust anyone no matter who they are. And this is not a good thing for anyone, to become so cynical and untrusting.
There still are millions of good people out there, no matter where their sympathies lie. No one is perfect, but most people would still like to follow the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.”
I do believe this, I have to, or I could not face each day. I don’t want to waste any of the days that I still have coming to me. And it would be a waste to hate, no matter what.



IMG_0185.jpgOn a warm and sunny morning this week, in the midst of a chaotic day, I received one of the best presents I have had in a long time.
We had finally gone to Muskegon where we both enjoyed the services of our great beautician. Her name is Joyce and I have been under her care for twenty eight years now. I was so happy she hadn’t decided to retire yet. I have had her far longer than I have had a husband. So we left there and headed for Walmart in Whitehall to catch up on our shopping.
All went well, Bob loaded up the cart and I pushed it out to our car. On the way home we talked over the days events as we headed for Hart about twenty miles north. When we got home Bob headed for the trunk to get the bags, and me, well, I reached for my pretty purple cane. Oh oh, it wasn’t there. I had left it hanging on the side of the grocery cart in the Walmart parking lot. This is not the first time I have forgotten the darned thing by any means. I was Disgusted with myself, to put it mildly.
So I called the store, and they told me they had six canes there! I guess I am not the only one. We decided to take our afternoon nap and then we would go back the twenty miles to get it. So that is what we did. Bob never said a word about it, he is such a gem, but I felt badly that I had been careless.
But when we got to the store I went in and looked at the six canes but mine wasn’t there! I left them my name and phone number, hoping against hope but I knew it was probably a lost cause. But it was such a pretty cane.
On the way out the door there was an associate and she smiled and said “Can I help you?” I said to her, “ I was in the store earlier in the day and I left my cane behind” and right away she pointed to the sidewalk beside her and said “Here it is, it has been sitting here all day. Someone turned it in “ and there stood my beautiful purple cane, with a claw bottom, just waiting for me.
I couldn’t believe it. If she hadn’t spoken to me I would never have known because I had checked so thoroughly in the store.
So whoever is my guardian angel in the Whitehall area, I hope that you see this. Thank you so much! There really are good people around us and I feel like my spirit has been renewed.



DSCF0437On a wet and dreary Sunday afternoon in Michigan, sometimes it is difficult to gather up your long lost ambition long enough to make tracks for the kitchen, just to make a pie. Looking out the window I can see that the whole world seems to have turned green overnight. The lawn looks gorgeous, Bob has just finished the first go around with the riding mower, and spring has finally arrived. The maples are finally leafed out and it won’t be long before we can no longer see all of the lake. It looks as green as the pictures you see of Ireland in all of its glory.
But. I am here to bake a pie. A mincemeat pie, one of my lifetime favorites. It used to be that we bought little square packages of mincemeat. You had to add water to its consistency and cook it before you put it in the pie shell. The only time you could even buy it was just before Thanksgiving and then up until Christmas. But now mincemeat comes in a very heavy quart glass jar. It is a very pretty jar and I always think I should keep it because there must be something it would be useful for. It is relatively expensive to buy, $6-8 depending upon where you shop. But I splurge and buy three jars, knowing that when I get back from Florida next spring it won’t be available up here. Problem is after I buy it here, then I leave for the south and then I buy three more down there for the holidays. Who could have dreamed that I could spend so much on mincemeat? Just because I love the taste and it reminds me of a long ago time.
So I have now baked the pie. The house smells so good. But mincemeat pie tastes best when it is cold, so I must wait for another occasion. It is a big pie tin so I will cut it into eight pieces and that will be four times we can enjoy it. At this stage of our lives it is absolutely amazing what simple pleasures we can look forward to. Maybe next week I’ll make it Apple, I still have a few apples from last fall.
A beautiful green but soggy day here in Michigan, and I have enjoyed writing to you about our Mincemeat pie. Maybe it will put you in the mood to bake something too. Just think about how your house will smell when you do it!



photo of tiger and cub lying down on grass Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Pexels.com[/caption
Would you look at this! A new picture that I just downloaded from WordPress. My cup runneth over. Just received a notice that now a new free Photo Library is available to me.
They couldn’t have picked a better day for me. After watching all of the depressing news I just decided to come to my trusty laptop and see what I could find to cheer me up. The first thing I found was an article I wrote a short time ago about what makes me happy? I could hardly believe how upbeat I sounded at the time. I was about to copy that to cheer myself up when I saw the photo notice. So I pulled it up and when they asked for a subject, I put “Tigers”. Wow, hundreds of tigers, in every shape and color, popped up on the screen. Making up my mind just which one to chose was a hard thing to do. But Mama Tiger watching over her little one won out and so that is what I chose for this time.
Now that I know that I can go to this photo library any time I want to, it gives me the urge to start writing again. And it is about time. I can hardly remember a longer writers block than I have had the past several months.
So here we go. I shall continue to find photos that I love, and I hope that you will too. And just remember, like I have heard all my life, “This too shall pass.”

MARCH 14, 2020


Panasonic Misc 2012 570
Just finished reading from my Twitter feed a few minutes ago and there was the suggestion of someone who has lived thru a lot of stuff. “Write down what is happening to you right now because there will come a time when someone will ask you what this crazy time was like”. Sounds like a winner to me!
This morning, Saturday, we headed for our normal weekly visit to Walmart, here in Zephyrhills, FL. All week long I had been hearing all of the toilet paper stories, the empty shelves, cleaning supplies and so on, so I was pretty prepared for that. It was only 9:30 so we figured the stores wouldn’t be too busy yet. The parking lots didn’t seem too full so Bob dropped me off at the door and went to park.
Wrong! The store was full, full of people shopping, but there was just one major problem. It looked like a swarm of ants had been thru the place before I got there. Not one saltine cracker in the store, the soup had disappeared except for clam chowder, and even the detergent was sketchy. On a Saturday morning you expect to see full shelves because it is such a heavy shopping day. As the realization came to me that people had gone crazy over worrying about having enough to eat in their homes I began to take a couple of deep breaths. The whole thing reminded me of what it was like during the Second World War when things had to be rationed for the good of the country. I remembered seeing people who hoarded things in their basements out of sight because it was against the law.
The citizens who have used normal precautions in keeping their kitchens stocked are going to fare a lot better than the ones who were always running out of everything. What shocked me the most is how close to the edge the average person is when they are given a new situation and they react in a panicky manner to it. Common sense seems to fly out of the window.
Coming home from the store I breathed a sigh of relief as we rolled into our driveway. We are home safe and sound. But I am wondering how many snowbirds may decide to head back to the North a little earlier this year? How many may decide whether to fly or not? We are all going to have to use our common sense and remember we are in this together. In this way we will make the best decisions for our families in the days to come.



T IMG_0270Feb 13th, 2020, and I have been unable to stir up the energy that is required in order to write on my blog. It’s not like I haven’t thought about all of you, my favorite readers, wondering how the winter has treated you this past few months. But this has been the season for just getting thru it while pasting a smile on our faces.
It all started in December. We had gotten flu shots in Michigan in October and assumed that all would go well after that. Arriving in Florida in November we resumed our usual routine here in the sunshine and everything was going splendidly. Bob was looking forward to his pinochle games starting up and we put our daily walks on the agenda. But December arrived and we both started to do a lot of coughing, sneezing,and sniffling. Doctoring it up with the usual over the counter products, we grumbled and complained but none of it seemed to help at all. In fact it just got worse. Twice we visited the clinic hoping for relief, receiving shots, and antibiotics, but none of it helped. Finally I took Bob to the emergency room at Advent Health Hospital where he was admitted and stayed three days. But by this time he had done so much coughing and choking, especially with his asthma, that some damage had occurred in his throat. Even after we came home from the hospital the coughing continued. When he was sent for a checkup he was sent to a throat specialist. Now he is going to have a video taken of the vocal chords and then he will have 6-8 weeks of therapy because he has lost his voice, at least temporarily. Several of our children have been down here and a big help to us making it go a lot smoother.
We are both feeling some better now. Still some coughing, but nothing like it was. Bob and I are learning how to communicate with each other, but it is still pretty quiet in our house. He is taking a different medicine now, and it seems to be helping. Every once in a while he can say a few words and I can actually hear them. We are in good spirits mostly because we are very optimistic people to begin with. But it sure will be nice when I can hear him call me from the other end of the house! I will never complain about his hollering again! That’s a joke, my friend!