Monday, March 15, 2010

It's been a long time...

since I posted here. Much water has gone under the bridge.

In a nutshell:
We received an offer for our Florida house which we accepted. Unfortunately, they were first time buyers and nervous as hell, and they drove us nearly around the bend. Up until the day before our 11/21/08 closing, we still weren't sure that they would close!

On Wednesday the 19th, the movers came. We'd received a reasonable estimate which was supposed to include a small but significant amount of packing - our dishes, pictures, lamps, clothes hanging in our closets. When they arrived - 7 hours later than promised - they were NOT prepared for ANY packing. The 5+ hours that followed were a nightmare of listening to their complaints and watching them pack things in jerry-rigged boxes because they didn't have the promised wardrobes, etc. It was horrendous. I'd tried to make clear that some of the items were to go to the house and some to the storage unit, but they paid no heed to my suggestions, and just tried to fit it all in. And to top it off the guys were thugs - really unpleasant, angry people who yelled at each other and complained and back-stabbed. I left on Friday morning, driving all the way with Chino and Roxy, and arriving completely exhausted, with the beginnings of a cold, to unseasonably cold weather!

The movers arrived Saturday morning an hour earlier than predicted - 8:00 a.m. It was freezing cold, in the single digits, and with a biting wind blowing. Anthony was still on the road from Columbia, where he had spent the night. It was determined that most of the stuff needed to go to the storage unit, we went there first. As I had feared, things that should have gone to the house were all mingled with storage-unit items. We had to look INTO unlabeled boxes (packed but not labeled by the movers) to figure out which was which. It took them 6 hours to unload, first into storage, and then at the house. I absolutely would NEVER recommend FATHER AND SONS MOVING to ANYONE! The fellow who gave me an estimate was completely inaccurate in describing what we wanted and the supplies we'd need, and even his co-workers were furious with him.

When they had finally driven off, we were left in our single-wide that was so jammed with boxes we could barely move from one end to another. I was feverish by then and feeling dreadful. But at least, the thugs were gone. I decided I could live with what was broken, and we could finally "relax." HA! With all those boxes everywhere, we couldn't relax. There was no PLACE to RELAX. But we were at least HOME in our new place. Thank heaven for small favors, as my mother used to say!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We have finally signed a contract and will close on the sale of our FL house on November 21st. HOORAY!!!! Between now and then, we are downsizing the S T U F F that has to be moved. I'm selling off music, furniture, and MY PIANO (my pal of 20 years, as sweet and warm today as it was then).

The mountains beckon. Maybe it was the three plus months I spent there this summer, but since my return, FL has not felt at all like home.

I will miss my students TERRIBLY. As Jennifer, who is a high school senior this year, said tearfully, "I've grown up with you!" 15-year-old, 6'3" Josiah is just starting to grow into his big bass voice. And Georgian-born Nanuka! They are family!

I have to go see the neurologist in Jax this morning - first time in nearly a year and a half. I will need a referral to someone in NC. It's been six and a half year since the terrible stroke. Now that I have been off the hormones since that time, I doubt I am stroke-prone anymore, but better safe than sorry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

REDUCED $35,000 - beautiful Florida home

We have reduced the asking price to $250,000. It is a beautiful, comfortable home with a 400+ square foot separate home studio. Please have a look at our LOVELY HOME!

My Signature Song

Summertime from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin

Gilbert and Sullivan clips

The hours creep on apace from HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan
Sorry her lot from HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Needing to remember to breathe....

Yes, that's right! We are moving! We are leaving Florida as soon as we can sell our house. I know, I know, the market is just horrible. But I am a believer in things happening when they are supposed to happen. SO, I believe that the house will sell, and we will get enough from the sale of 4069 Red Pine Lane that we can build a beautiful studio in Asheville, too!

Anth and I have come to LOVE the little trailer. This past trip the mountains were so clear and beautiful. At night it's so sweetly peaceful.

I will miss my students more than I can allow myself to feel. They are like an extended family to me, and I feel like the young ones are "my children", bless them all! I will miss my dear friends, too. Once we have a new studio, the Captain will feel complete up there. He loves the outdoors, as do I, but feels empty in the evening, when he would like to be listening to his favorite symphonies!

So, dear reader, if you are in need of a studio space, or know someone who is, please refer him or her to our website (link is above).

Leaving Florida!

We are selling our St. Augustine home! It's a lovely house with an superb detached studio with its own heat pump. For details, please see

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

At Home in Asheville

Well, the joke's on me! Because of Chino's need for daily meds, and Lucy's contrariness and wildness when someone tries to catch her, Anthony requested that I take Lucy, along with Chino. So I packed the car, caught and caged Chino, and spent 25 minutes trying to corral Lucy, while she growled, hissed and managed to elude me . Roxy watched, completely amused, terribly intrigued, and driving Lucy crazy by her presence.

Finally, I capitulated, called one of my teenage students to cat sit, and packed up Roxy. I think she knew that would happen all the time!

The cats rode pretty well. About 45 minutes into the trip Roxy decided she wanted her crate open. I opened it. She rode there for another 90 minutes, then climbed into the front seat and curled up under my knees. Chino, in typical "monkey see, monkey do" fashion, ultimately ended up in the same position on the passenger side. I had hoped to leave by 8:30 in the morning, but Mother was very slow getting dressed and packed. I know she is not feeling well, and is tired much of the time. When I compare this with our trip to the UK just 3 years ago, my heart aches. She will be 84 in September.

We finally left at 11:00, and because of the traffic didn't get here till after 4:00. We've been shopping, cooking and getting organized since we arrived on Saturday, and went to the Presbyterian Church on Sunday, a mother wished. I have contacted the local Christian Science churches for possible singing jobs. Asheville is out, but Hendersonville is a possibly. My one response to the vocal lessons ad decided my fees were too high. There may be more, who knows? I answered an ad for an English tutor, and will probably meet with the woman shortly. I have no idea how much to charge, though.

Anthony arrived on Monday, with my laptop!!!!! Yay! I don't know how I forgot it! And I sure missed it. Today, I opened a local bank account.

I finished my largest kimono canvas Monday night, and an Easter egg last night. They will reside here in Asheville.

Anth and Mother are leaving on Saturday morning, before I try the new colorist. Then I have Sunday to go to the Hendersonville CS church.

My buddy Linda arrives on Monday before lunch, and will stay till Wednesday. Daughter Sarah and her beau Bob arrive around noon on Friday and will stay till Monday. I have to go back south on Friday. Seems like a short stay.

So far, I have had no hiking time! Perhaps tomorrow morning while my mother is taking her shower!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Off to the Mountains!

I don't know why it is that whenever I am ready to head to NC, one of the cats needs medical attention! This time it was Chino. He started on Sunday to have accidents around the house - terrible diarrhea, which seemed to come on him in a rush, so he didn't have time to make it to the litterbox. After cleaning up four of these awful messes, I called the vet. He spent the night and she decided he had a Clostridium infection and started him on antibiotics. Poor baby. He does not like the pills and the loose stools are not completely gone, but I have to load him in the car and take him to Charleston. Say a little prayer, please. My mother would have great difficulty with him if he had an accident in her house. I worry that the stress of the trip is not going to help him either. I hope this okay to do. I can just imagine being on interstate 95 with Chino having diarrhea in his crate! Ugh!

I had planned to take Roxy, and have Anthony bring Chino, and leave Lucy at home with a pet sitter. We have not been able to contact any pet sitters. They seem to have vanished. Anthony is afraid to pick up Lucy, as she turns into a whirlwind with teeth and claws. So I am taking the poor little sick boy, Chino, and Lucy, because I can pick her up, though she protests and struggles. Doesn't all this sound pleasant? Now why is MY stomach feeling queasy!

The plan is for my mother and me (and the felines) to leave early tomorrow morning for Asheville. It's a slightly over 4 hour drive. I won't relax till we get there.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gardening in NC

I am quite anxious to put my green thumb to work in NC. I restrained myself last trip because I realize that the three weeks before I return would likely doom anything I put in. I'm longing to plant coneflowers and columbine,

lilacs and forsythia , and clematis vines. The propane tank has a trellis of sorts surrounding two sides and might be just the place for a clematis.

When we were there for our birthdays, many of the roses were in bloom - particularly the little red climbers! There were also white, pink, yellow and a lovely peachy pink one with fuschia-colored lips. I've never grown roses. Actually, I feel rather intimidated by them. The previous owners left some fungicide and other rose chemicals. Anybody out there have tips for me? I'm equally afraid of doing too much or too little!
When we were there in May the peonies were in bloom. I've always wanted peonies. I really love the possibilities. And did I mention the asparagus? We didn't harvest it in May because we had no working stove to cook it on. Now, in June, its feathery foliage waves in the breeze!

For the time being, all I can do is plan and dream. But these are pleasant dreams. What I prize most highly is the sweetness and lightness of the air. I'm not fooling myself that it won't be hot there in July and August, but compared with the heavy mantle that is the Florida's humidity and heat, it will be a relief.

three on the futon

three on the futon

5th Anniversary of the Stroke

Nearly 5 years ago, I suffered a stroke that left me with numbness and lack of coordination of my right hand and arm. For awhile, I could not speak normally, and I couldn't say my husband's name. With time and occupational and massage therapy, sensation began to return. My speech cleared up within the month. I relearned how to brush my teeth and hair, how to butter toast, how to handle a fork. I used a speech program on the computer for several months, because my right hand could not type. I am very grateful for the lessons I learned from this experience. After 5 years, a person is considered to be at no increased risk of having another CVA (cerebrovascular accident). That's my upcoming milestone!
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