Trip to Florida, Part IV: The Miami Book Festival

(This is a four-part series. Click here to read Part I.)

After packing and saying our goodbyes to Jean and Vicki, Gilda and I drove south towards Alligator Alley. I was excited to be driving across Florida and to get a view of the everglades. My father, a civil engineer for the Army, had worked throughout South Florida on various projects before I was born. The names of towns were familiar to me because I had grown up listening to him talk about them.

Alligator Alley: on the side of the road.

While I felt as if I were home and had hopes of catching a glimpse of an alligator, Gilda’s husband Stu had warned her not to get out of the car because he’d been warned there were large snakes in the area. Gilda wasn’t sure what to do when I pulled over and asked her to take a photo of me by the water. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trip to Florida, Part III: An Honorary AlzAuthor

(This is a four-part series. Click here to read Part I.)

Gilda joined me in Naples on Thursday night. I had shared with Jean and Vicki how much I loved Gilda, that she was wise and funny, a delight to be with and a wonderful writer. They welcomed her at the condo and into the fold. I had also shared with Jean and Vicki how Gilda often talked about AlzAuthors in her writing classes.

Gilda had firsthand experience with Alzheimer’s. Several female members of her extended family have developed dementia. Gilda was also one of the few friends who had visited my mother during the last stage of her life. Jean named Gilda an “honorary” AlzAuthor.

Jean, Vicki and I toasting. Gilda took the photo.

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Trip to Florida, Part II, An Amazing Author Connection

(This is a four-part series. Click here to read Part I.)

Once I made the decision to go to Florida, I felt a magnetic pull through the next several weeks of preparations. Jean Lee of AlzAuthors stayed in touch and shared details about flying, car rentals, the weather in Naples and what to expect.

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Trip to Florida, Part I: An Inner Pull

(This is a 4-part series. Click here to read Part II.)

Just settling down after a whirlwind of activity … so much going on in November, much of it swirling around the eye of the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing. I suppose it should be no surprise that my poetry collection, The Beach Poems, was released in November, since it was a group of poems that came to me slowly after my mother’s death. The beach itself returned to me, a place I had almost forgotten; it surged back into my life carrying with it memories of my mother and deep pools of reflection.

The beach surged back into my life, bringing with it memories of my mother.

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The Changing Moods of Lake George

I’ve been at the lake for almost a week, just enough time to slip into the rhythm of a lake dweller. Someone who has forgotten the minutiae that occupied my mind before I arrived, someone who eats meals on the deck and no longer cares about washing my hair, someone who takes note of the wind and checks the surface of the lake each time I’m outside. Someone who cools off before dinner with a swim.

Here at Lake George the weather shifts from cool and windy to warm and sunny to damp and rainy within a few hours. Read the rest of this entry »


Seeing Double

 

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Two paints in one ring! A few day ago Sydney and Lauren-Kate had their first opportunity to ride together in a few weeks. It was a lovely sight!

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Riding Together

It’s been almost four months since we first brought horses back to the barn. While I’ve spent most of my life riding, training and taking care of horses, it’s been an exhilarating and fun experience sharing these amazing animals with my daughter. Sydney has always been an animal lover at heart, so falling in love and caring for horses came naturally to her. She listened and watched as I showed her how to do barn chores and was eager to take responsibility for them.

I started Sydney off with riding lessons on the lunge line, and she progressed quickly to lessons in the ring. (She had spent a week riding in Wyoming two years ago.)  About a month ago, Foxie showed signs of needing additional training, so I realized we would need another horse for Sydney to ride during this time. My friend Jo knew about April and put us in contact with her owner. April sounded like she might be the right horse for us. But April was stabled outside of Charleston, SC. It just so happened that our family had a beach trip planned, and on the way home we were able to stop in, meet April and take a short ride. (It was 100 degrees, so we kept the ride VERY short!)

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the sixteen-year-old girl who showed us April was the daughter of my old friend Deirdra. A week and a half later, Deirdra trailered April up to our place. This week, for the first time since Wyoming, Sydney and I have been able to ride together. It has been such a treat!

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Sydney getting ready for her first ride on April.

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Taking a break to say hello to Dad.

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I got to ride too! Having fun training Foxie.

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Joel took a photo of both of us feeling relaxed and happy on our horses.