Six Weeks of Sisters

I have two sisters and so does Bob. Bob and I have been married for over four decades, so that makes one sister per decade. As I write, I realize that this could get confusing to me when Bob and I reach our golden anniversary. I’m not planning on adding any more sisters at this point in my life, so I’m going to let it go. I won’t remember the inconsistency when that time arrives anyway.

You may be asking – what does one sister per decade mean? Do different sisters represent different decades? Do I have a point here? The answers are – no and no. For some reason I just found it interesting that the number four repeated itself in this fashion. And, in case you have one more question haunting you, I don’t have any interest in numerology either. I’m just a little strange. That probably answers your next question.

None of our sisters lives in Florida. I see my sisters fairly regularly, largely because my mom lives here, but it has been four years since I’ve seen Bob’s sisters. That is just plain wrong, but that’s life in the big city. (Actually, one lives in a small town, but that’s life there, too.)

When you get to spend time with all of these sisters in a six-week span, that’s something to celebrate. The first to arrive was my younger sister, Linda. She came in mid-March and you can read about our beach exploits here (and I don’t care what Bob says, it still counts as a sting operation). Being as she is my only younger sibling, I have that big-sister thing going with her. Interestingly, whenever I’ve been talking to Linda, Bob can tell as I slip into mixing up her name with my daughter Dena’s name. I guess that’s telling.

Mount Dora Segway Tour

Allow me to segue, or should I say segway, to Bob’s sisters. They live up north so just being outside in the Florida sunshine was a treat. We did a segway tour of nearby Mount Dora with them. Bob and I have done this tour before and even with my lack in the coordination department, I have no problem with this. All of their concerns about riding one quickly went out the window. They had a great time. Bob’s younger sister especially – I thought she was going to try to abscond with hers. She had the kid-on-Christmas-morning look on her face – pure joy.

My older sister and her daughter are here with us now. They are doing the full tourist thing. We just returned from the beach today. We have family with us for 12 days in April. When the last of them leave on Saturday, I have big plans for a nap.

Daytona Beach

But, these six weeks of sisters have been the best. You throw a niece, a daughter, four grandchildren and a dog into that family from out of town mix, and it just gets better, though a tad bit crazy and crowded. It’s family. It’s all good.

 

This is Post #25 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Garfield Invades the Coast of France

I’m always on the lookout for things washed up on the beach. I’ve lived in Florida for decades and the most interesting things that I’ve found are sharks’ teeth and seashells. I’ve found baby diapers and sunglasses, too, but I’ve never found a vintage 1980s Garfield telephone.

I’m fairly certain if Jim Davis’ Garfield could be coaxed to comment on the thirty-year-old problem of plastic Garfield phones washing up on the coast of France, he would blame it on Odie. You probably would have to bribe him with lasagna to get an answer out of him, too.

(image found on multiple sources)

Perhaps if there is a French equivalent to American-born Garfield, he would be better bribed with a croissant or possibly a quiche rather than bow to the Italian palate we Americans relish. Or maybe he’d prefer one of those yummy crepes you can purchase along the streets of Paris.

Regardless, I’m pretty sure Garfield wouldn’t care a crumb about this kind of litter, which has been showing up for three decades in France. He’d likely roll over and continue his nap with complete indifference to the people pouring over the sandy, rocky French coast cleaning up the Garfield mess.

If I were strolling along Daytona Beach, I should think I’d be rather shocked to dig at a little piece of orange plastic protruding from the sand and come face to face with Garfield. But to my knowledge no shipping crate full of the phones was ever lost on our shores like crashed onto the rocky coast of France. Yes, the mystery is solved. It only took thirty years.

I was amused at the serious comment made by Fabien Boileau, the Director of Ironise Marine Nature Park – “We will go there to recover the remains of the phones.”

Perhaps this is a matter of being lost in translation, but it sounds like a funeral will ensue after all remains are accounted for. I think it’s more likely that eBay will blow up with the famous feline-face phone. Again, if Garfield were to comment, I think it would be with nothing more than a yawn. As for me, I’m heading to the kitchen for a piece of lasagna.

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You’ll be hearing from me a lot in April as I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge – a challenge to post every day for the 30 days of April. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

Bazaar Beach Bumble Leads to Sting Operation

Friday was my mother’s 91st birthday. My younger sister, Linda, and I took her to her favorite place – the beach.

Through no fault of her own, Mom’s birthday falls during spring break and bike week. If you live in Florida, you avoid the beach like the Walmart on Black Friday, especially Daytona Beach, during this overlap of motorcycles, college students, and vacationing families. It’s just plain crazy, loud, and crowded.

For my mother’s part, she did not plan on being born in March. In fact, she was due in May. (I do think she may have preferred May. It’s quieter down here then.)

In keeping with the quiet celebration theme, we headed down back roads past the southern tip of New Smyrna Beach. Pastureland with signs pointing to pigs or fresh eggs for sale dotted the scenery. The roads were nearly deserted making for a relaxing drive.

My favorite sighting of the day was Phil. Phil the Knife Sharpening Guy was positioned at a prime intersection to attract bikers, spring-breakers, or anyone else who may need to sharpen their weapons and knives before arriving at the beach. It was a little disconcerting, but I’m going with the thought that fishermen need sharp knives.

Phil's Knife Sharpening

I should note that Phil did not pose for this picture and I did not ask his permission. He was on a corner of Hwy 44 and I was able to snap this from the opposite side of the road at a traffic light. I did google him though, and was surprised at his celebrity. Therefore, I don’t think he’d mind the publicity. He is known all over Florida and beyond for peddling his bike and trailer and sharpening knives of all kinds. He especially likes Bike Week.

With my writer’s mind at ease from picturing all kinds of daunting circumstances, I marvel at Phil’s ingenuity and work ethic, not to mention his ability to pull that rig of his, which he has been doing for about 30 years. I should have stopped and talked to him, but honestly he looked a little scary from a distance, plus I left all my knives at home.

But let me take you back to the beach – Bethune Beach, which is just south of NSB. It has a paved walking area which gives a great view of the sand and surf – just what Mom was hoping for. We took a stroll and then set up our chairs. It was a perfect day – mid-80s, sunny and a light breeze.

Mom encouraged Linda and me to go for a walk on the beach. You don’t say no to your mom on her birthday. Toes in the sand and the sun on a heavily sun-screened face is revitalizing. We were strolling along, enjoying being together and picking up the occasional seashell when it happened. A piercing, burning sensation in my foot. It was like one of Phil’s perfectly sharpened knives stuck me right in my toe.

We weren’t even in the water! I lifted my foot and there underneath it was a bee. A stupid honeybee. (No offense to the smart ones.) What in the world was he doing all alone on the sand? The entire thing was upsetting. It doesn’t even make for a good story. It could at least have been a sand shark (I assume they are named for lying low in the sand before pouncing). Even a jelly fish would have been more exciting.

I hobbled over to nearby stairs and examined my poor throbbing little toe. There was a stinger hanging out of it with bee innards dangling from that. Gross and ouch! Thankfully, I always have my tweezer-like fingernails on-hand (literally) so it was easily removed and the gross part scraped off with a seashell. We headed back to Mom walking in the 65-degree ocean water to dull the pain. It had been a while since I’d had a bee sting. I hurt quite a lot.

My sister told me that if I put wet tobacco on it that would dull the pain. She has never smoked, but she lives in Georgia and once when she had a bee sting someone had dosed her sting site with it and lo and behold it worked. So, we started looking for smokers – kind and generous ones who would help a fellow human in need.

Alas there were no smokers to be found, but Linda did come up with a discarded, half-smoked cigarette. Yes, it’s gross, but it was also an act of love to pick it up. We rinsed my foot and applied the damp tobacco. Funny, but damp tobacco or just about anything else short of chewed gum will not stick to the bottom of your foot. Gravity wins every time so I may never know the true medicinal properties of someone’s discarded cigarette.

When we got home from the beach, I decided to play Bob’s favorite game with him – the guess what game. I know that no matter how much he rolls his eyes, he loves it. So, I made him guess what stung me at the beach. He guessed bee right away. And he didn’t think this counted as an operation either. Not even applying old, wet tobacco can take away the sting of that.