Weekly photo challenge – motion

I had no idea what I was going to enter for this week’s theme. Then it became a gorgeous day.  Gorgeous enough to toss a basketball.  Two of my favorite people were doing just that and I grabbed my camera.  Click anywhere in the gallery to see larger photos:



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Weekly Photo Challenge – early bird

I’m usually up early and some early morning photos were on my mind when I saw the theme this week. Here’s my interpretation. Click anywhere on the gallery to see larger photos.

Sunrise, winter in Minnesota

Sunrise, winter in Minnesota


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Afloat

This week’s challenge is afloat and I chose three photos of boats floating in the same lake, taken at about the same angle but at different times of day and taken on different days.  The first photo is a boat that was passing by, the other two are hubby and kidlet in the canoe.


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Ephemeral

How about a bouquet of flowers?  They are so beautiful but their beauty only lasts a short time. This particular bouquet was given to me by my hubby for our 24th anniversary.  He gave them to me two days prior to the actual anniversary as I was leaving town two days afterwards.  Funny thing about this particular vase of flowers: he never tossed them out while I was gone for ten days!  Perhaps he left them there to remind him of me? That would be a nice sentiment wouldn’t it?  I’ll just hold onto that thought then :-)

Please click the link to view more fun entries for this week’s challenge or to enter yourself.  Enjoy!!



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memories from my mother’s life

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I just came back from closing up my mother’s apartment in Florida and moving her to Virginia to live with my sister.  I thought I’d create a post to collect some of the fond memories of that trip.

Memories of watching Fiddler on the Roof:  My mom is not able to sit still for very long. She sits in the lazyboy for 20-30 minutes then goes to lie down for the same amount of time.  Then 20-30 minutes later it’s back to the chair in the den. So the first night of playing this VHS (that we found in one of her drawers in the den;we watched it in two evenings) when she sat for nearly two hours, we knew she was enjoying it.  It’s one of her favorite movies and also one of mine and we both sang all the words to every song.  I even heard her humming a song from the movie in the middle of the night.  It was so nice to watch one of my favorite movies with my favorite mom, my favorite sister and my favorite girl.  It’s a memory I’m going to cherish my whole life.

Memories of all those photos!  Something else I apparently inherited is collecting photos.  I have many electronic versions of my photos. But mom grew up before the electronic era and has many, many photos,  which ended up being a positive experience in that we were all able to take a trip down memory lane through these photos. There were photos I had never seen before, like the two very fragile and ancient photos of my mother’s grandparents! I believe these are my maternal grandmother’s parents. There were many photos of the early years of her marriage to my father and many photos of the cute little boy who is my brother. I shared so many of these photos with my facebook friends and relatives. I even surprised my cousin with a photo of her mother that she had never seen. Yes indeed, a very fond memory of this trip is viewing my mother’s life from so many different perspectives through her photos.  Here are some that I took photos of:

Memories of her last lunch bunch lunch:  We were privileged to attend mom’s last lunch bunch gathering that she has been going to for many years. These were women she sang with, also the same women who won the lottery together.  Yes, it does happen!  They have met once a month for many years and pooled their money to play the lottery every week. In 2010 those numbers paid off! We planned our trip around this lunch so that we could go to the last one.  They order their food ahead so their meals arrive early then they sing “Heart of my heart” at the end. This time they started with “Auld Lang Syne” to Mom and some tears were shed. Then one of them said “let’s sing something happy now!” Here they are singing “Heart of my heart”:

Memories of hamburger and pimple: There are two words that every time my mother says them, it makes me laugh. So we had a bit of that again this trip. She says the word, I giggle, then she giggles. Happiness making.

Memories of “Nina, the elevator’s here!”:  In the mid 70s Mom took my sister and me to Hawaii for vacation. I don’t remember much about the trip but one of our favorite memories is this moment in time where Mom and I are waiting at the elevator at the hotel to go somewhere and Nina is nowhere to be found.  So we called down the hall “Nina, the elevator is here!” to try and hurry her along.  Mom still remembers that and I usually say it at some point when we’re all together, usually when we’re waiting on Nina for something.  It gets a big laugh every time.

Memories of my sister, the comforter:   We all have our many roles in life. One of my sister’s is that of comforter. One of mine is crying at the drop of a hat. As you can imagine, there were many emotional moments during this trip. The day Salvation Army came to take our donations of furniture and many boxes of household items, I went in a corner and started to cry. My daughter and my sister came to comfort me. It’s only fitting then that my sister becomes the caregiver and comforter of our mother for this next chapter in her life. I can’t express enough how grateful I am that my sister is able to do this.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


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Cheesecake Factory – Pembroke Pines, Florida

I just spent 10 days in Florida packing up my mother’s apartment with my sister and daughter.  Mom is nearly 92 and can no longer be on her own.  She is now living with my sister which gives me much comfort knowing she is no longer alone.  We had a most awesome team, my sister, my daughter, Mom’s aide and me.  We decided to keep Mom’s daytime aide so that we could concentrate on the sorting, tossing and packing and I’m so glad we did!  I am quite sure we would not have made the deadline if we hadn’t.  Merline was such a great help and we are all so thankful for the nearly three years of care she gave to Mom.  She was there the last day too and said “Well Goldie, do you have anything to say to me?” Mom said no.  “What?? You mean after almost three years you have nothing to say to me?” Then Mom said “I love you!!” So darn sweet.  We were truly blessed hiring Comfort Keepers and Merline.  I would not hesitate to hire them in the future.  We had such a good experience.

After I took Mom and my sister to the airport, my daughter and I had a few more things to take care of before we headed back home. I am writing this on our final night here in southern Florida from our hotel room.  And by the time you read this I will be on  my way home, finally.  We donated many  things to Salvation Army and the rest was picked up this morning by Hands on Property Services.  And I was so impressed with them.  I was given a quote over the phone and he ended up taking much more than what I told him I would have and he was going to charge me the same amount!  So I said “are you sure?” and then he added only $25 more!  Wow.  So if you’re in southern Florida and need junk removed, don’t hesitate to contact this company.  They were on time and just plain awesome.

So back to the restaurant review that is the title of this post.  My daughter and I decided to dine at the Cheesecake Factory in Pembroke Pines last night.  We had such a good meal that we decided to go back tonight!  Last night we both chose pasta dishes.  Miss M had the Four Cheese Pasta: Penne Pasta, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Romano and Parmesan Cheeses, Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil.  And I had the Garlic Noodles with shrimp:  Spaghettini, Fresh Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Parmesan in a Delicious Garlic Sauce.  I did not get photos of our meals but they were both fabulous!!  And there’s always room for dessert right? Heh, almost.  A friend had recommended the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake and said it was to die for so that’s what I had.  He was SO right!!  Miss M had the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, also very yummy!  But we could not finish them and took them back to the hotel with plastic forks.  We attempted to finish them later last night, however, they were just too rich!! So our desserts were finished in three sittings, the last one earlier today.


Tonight’s meal was equally delicious!!  Miss M had their Margherita Pizza: Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Sauce.  And I had the Grilled Steak Medallions from their Skinnylicious menu:  Certified Angus Beef® Served with Fresh Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes, Crushed Croutons, Mashed Potatoes and Madeira Wine Sauce.  Outstanding!!  I’m so impressed with the great selection, excellent food and service.  This time I got photos of our meals.  We chose to dine on the patio and had the perfect spot just outside the door where waiters were coming and going so every so often we felt a nice, cool wave of air mixed with the breeze of a warm, southern Florida evening.  It was perfect!

We were truly blessed and managed to get just about everything done by the deadlines.  We had one snag today with turning off the water. I didn’t realize that I had to do it in the apartment so Miss M and I went back to do that this afternoon however it was not to be.  For some reason, today the deadbolt would not budge.  We used it the entire time we were there.  Two nice gentlemen tried to help by spraying WD40 in the lock and then using a tool to try to pry the deadbolt out of the door jamb, to no avail.  One of them said he thought the pin broke.  The management company is going to get in there on Monday to turn off the water for us.  Thank goodness because I’m not sure I’d be able to sleep tonight.  Other than this last snag, everything went fairly well.  We had awesome people along the way, from the lovely folks at the UPS store to the funny guy at the U-Haul place, the awesome Salvation Army team who took many things that we donated and finally the great company that hauled away the damaged furniture that Salvation Army didn’t take.  And Mom is safe and happy in Virginia with my sister and her family.  Finally, I’d like to share a photo of Mom and Merline, her aide of nearly three years.  This was her last day in Florida.


Filed under Food, Restaurant reviews

Weekly Photo Challenge – Orange

“Orange you glad it’s photo challenge time?” Yes indeedy. I have lots of orange!  To see more entries or to enter the challenge yourself, click on this link.  From orange beets, to artwork, sunrises, sunsets, fall foliage, flowers and some food too, join me on my tour of orange photos from my collection:


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