From The Home Office

How I Sprained My Knee

Last week, I told you how I sprained my knee but I couldn't tell you how. Now I can. You see, we were trying something out and, if we liked it, we were going to buy our adult children gift certificates for their Easter baskets... …

Sprained My Knee on a Romantic Getaway!

Richard and I escaped last weekend to Ybor City, Florida, which is known as "Tampa's Latin Quarter." We ate dinner at a Turkish restaurant. The food wasn't that impressive but the belly dancer was entertaining. The waiter told us the town would get more interesting as the evening went on. In his words, "The drunker they all get, the better it gets!" …

The Manatees!

We LOVE manatees! The first wild one we saw in Florida was in our very own backyard, the day we closed on this house. We've had a special affection for them ever since. There are three at the local museum and Max and Mason love visiting them. Last Sunday, we had cabin fever so we threw on shorts and t-shirts (it was 90 here!), and headed north on I-75. Just half an hour away is the Manatee Viewing Area in Apollo Beach... …

Run or Dye 5K

No, I did NOT run a 5K. Our son, Frank (age 21), did. Mason and I went with him and we had a wonderful time! I've never been to one and I somehow envisioned a couple hundred runners racing down a few downtown streets. I pictured myself sitting at the finish line to get Frank's picture as he broke through a yellow ribbon. I was SO wrong... …

Have You Ever Seen The Oddly Beautiful Roseate Spoonbill?!

Frank and I took off early one day this week, jumped in the kayak with our fishing poles, and paddled around the corner to the bay. Despite the tide moving quickly, we didn't get any bites - not even a nibble. However, Frank said we caught plenty of breeze and sunshine! The boats around us weren't having any luck either but the sea breeze was brisk, the air was warm, and the sun on the water was beautiful. We decided to do some exploring, paddling through a natural tunnel of sorts between the mangroves. When we emerged, we found a peaceful inlet with numerous very happy water birds of many colorful varieties. I was THRILLED to find a flock of my favorite birds, Roseate Spoonbills! …

Laptop Meltdown Leads to Day of Crafting!

I'm remaining pretty consistent with burning out a laptop about once every three years. I diligently back up my machine every single night and I double back up the accounting program info. On Saturday morning, my laptop started making a high-pitched whining sound. We figured out pretty quickly it was the fan. Since it was three years old, we decided to run to Best Buy for a new one rather than risk a meltdown during repair. Richard then spent the entire day (and several hours into the night) transferring all my programs and files. The result was I got the entire day off on Saturday... …

High Speed Chase!

High Speed Chase!

I had to run an errand yesterday morning. This is the high season here on Florida's gulf coast. We're overrun with snowbirds and we don't mind because their vacation dollars keep us from paying state income tax. During the high season, the traffic is pretty bad here so I was surprised when, pulling out of our neighborhood, there was no cars at all. I turned right, away from the island. About a mile up the road, I could see lots of flashing lights. No traffic was coming my way. They had the road closed down, and were forcing all the cars to turn around. I stopped at the light. My windows were open and a guy walking by asked, "What's going on down there?" I replied, "I have no idea!" …

Zach’s Got A Girlfriend!

Zach (age 27) has a new girlfriend! She's 29 years old, really friendly, and in advertising. We liked her immediately! …

Good News! Mason (age 7) is NOT a hoarder!

Good News! Mason (age 7) is NOT a hoarder!

Our neighborhood is having a garage sale soon and we definitely plan to participate. Last weekend, Mason asked me help him to clean out the closet. Yes, Mason is our first child who ever WANTED to clean out the closet! …

Frank’s Hospital Job Offer!

Frank (age 21) is in school, and wants to be a surgeon. He's been on the Dean's List since his first semester of college (he works very hard), is a waiter, and recently applied to volunteer at one of the local hospitals. On his first day at the hospital this week, he was offered a paying, part-time job in the surgery department! …

Colds and Devoted Pets

The rain and cold finally went away this week. It was 86 here yesterday! Unfortunately, Max and Mason both came down with a cold so they're stuck inside, sniffling, coughing, and drinking warm tea. Since I spoil them rotten when they're sick, I don't think they mind too much. The older kids say I'm going to turn them into little hypochondriacs. My response is, "I spoiled you, too, and you turned out just fine!" …

Food Poisoning For Mason

We haven't been going out to eat much lately. It's cold (definitely the coldest winter we've had since moving to Florida). It's rained more this winter than the previous two years. The boys have had a string of colds, like the rest of the kids in the country. Honestly, by the time the sun sets, I just can't bring myself to leave when it's so cozy inside. But, we did venture out on Sunday. We met Zach and his girlfriend for dinner at a steakhouse we really like... …

An Unknown Critter Is Living Here!

An Unknown Critter Is Living Here!

Ali was cleaning the bar area recently, and noticed droppings of some sort in a neat little pile in the corner. I assumed we had a rodent, and immediately chastised the cats for being lazy. I then picked up the phone, and called our organic exterminator. He said, "We don't do mammals." (Yes, those were his exact words.) He then referred me to another company. The next day, Joe, the mammal "and everything else" exterminator, showed up, and examined the droppings. He turned to me, and said, "That's no mouse, ma'am. Looks like you have a lizard, and quite a big one at that!" …

A Wedding!

Most of you remember Matt, who worked for us for years. He graduated from Columbia, and is now an actuary. He still does ebook conversions on a contract basis on the side. Well, Matt's getting married! …

My Banana Trees + Freezing Temperatures? Oh No!!

Like most of the country, we got that blast of cold air this week. I was very nervous about our banana trees. They are HUGE - far too large to cover with blankets. They were only about three feet tall when we bought them last spring. I still can't believe how fast they grow! They are now several feet wide and probably around 12 feet tall. They seem to have sprouted babies, too. Thankfully, we only got a slight freeze and the trees survived just fine... …

WHERE WILL I BE NEXT SATURDAY?

When we lived in Maine, I would always be stuck inside this time of year anyway, the house buried under a few feet of snow, the rhythmic sound of Richard's snow shovel outside (swish, swoosh....swish, swoosh), my feet bundled up in two or more pairs of socks, and a big, thick sweater wrapped around me. Sometimes, my fingers got so cold that I'd wear my fingerless mittens inside while typing each day. So, yes, while I still miss the snow at Christmastime, I don't any other time and I certainly don't miss that bone-jarring chill that would go on for weeks on end... …

QUIET TIME

The wrapping paper has been put in the recycling bin and the new toys from Santa are entertaining the children on their winter break. Richard and I are enjoying the peace and quiet...even though we have to work. …

HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS!

The halls are decked, the wrapping is done, and all that's left is the baking, which I'm tackling this weekend. Each year, I make the same four things... …

CHRISTMAS TREE UP, CHRISTMAS TREE DOWN!

We were finally able to round everybody up to go get the Christmas tree. Grampa picked out the perfect one and we raced home to decorate it. I cooked honey baked ham (with Justin's honey coating recipe), cheesy mashed potatoes, and fried okra while the children had fun hanging lights and ornaments. Just before bedtime, I filled up the tree stand to the rim with water. The next morning, I walked in the living room and, right in front of me, it came crashing down... …

Oh, Christmas Tree….Where Are You???

This is the longest we've ever gone in the season without putting up our tree. We usually have it up during the third week of November. Thanksgiving came late this year and, each year, it gets harder to organize everyone for a group outing... …

Abbreviated Issue

My family is in town for the week so this issue will be abbreviated. I only see my parents one time a year. :) This week's Masonism: When I was frustrated while preparing for relatives to arrive for the holiday (cleaning, etc.), Mason (age 7) walked up to me, put his hands on his hips, and said, What time of the month is it? Big hugs to all, Angela P.S. I want to follow you! ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy ANGELA ON FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/angela.hoy.750 ADVERTISEMENT WRITE YOUR MEMOIRS! WE'LL SHOW YOU HOW! HOW TO REMEMBER, WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR LIFE STORY! by Angela Hoy Using Angela's MEMORY TRIGGERS, recall memories that have been dormant for years, and record those memories in chronological order in your memory notebook. Using the memory notebook as your outline, write your autobiography! **Also works for biographies and memoirs.** …

Onslaught of Relatives!

Over the river and through the woods to OUR house they all come... …

Wedding Cake Assistant for a Day = High Blood Pressure!

Our daughter, Ali, is a pastry chef. She had a wedding cake job this week and the entire family pitched in. In the final hours, our kitchen looked like one of those crazy Food TV reality shows... …

Full House!

Ali and Justin are renting a home nearby and they recently discovered termites. The owner is bombing the house tent-style so Ali, Justin, and their pets are staying with us this week. I really enjoying having a full house and we're all having a great time...especially since they're doing most of the cooking. Ha ha. …

Boo!!

Boo!!

We survived our vacation and we're very happy to be back home. It was 37 degrees the morning we left Tennessee and the weather is now PERFECT in Florida! Our highs are in the low 80's and our lows are in the upper 50's. Aaaahhh!! In Maine, we had to wear two pairs of socks and mittens to go Trick or Treating. In Florida, you don't have to wear a heavy coat over your costume... …

On Vacation!

Well, our vacation cabin is acceptable but it's not great. Considering the amount of money we're paying, we expected something a bit nicer. Here's a list of the problems we've encountered... …

No Vacation Drama This year! I Insist!!!

We left Florida on Sunday morning and we'll be at our cabin in the Smoky Mountains tomorrow evening (I'm writing this on Monday). We are so excited! The one thing I miss most about Maine (aside from our dear friends there) is the fall foliage. Thankfully, we can find plenty of it each year in Tennessee. This is our third fall trip to Tennessee... …

Cavities! Ug!!

I took the boys to the dentist for their cleaning last week. Mason (age 7) has more cavities than all the other kids combined. While he brushes himself after breakfast and lunch, I personally brush and floss him every single night because he has had so many cavities. I was sure that this was the visit where the dentist would say, "Yea, Mason! No cavities!" I was dead wrong... …

First “Cold” Front!

Growing up in Texas, the first cold front of each season would bring a crisp breeze and lower humidity. Everyone would feel invigorated and it seemed the entire city was in an amazing mood, smiling and in celebratory spirits. When we lived in Maine, we didn't notice the cold fronts because it was usually cool anyway. Even during the summertime, the evenings were relatively cool and they would just get cooler as the season progressed. It wasn't anything like standing outside in Texas and feeling the temperature drop 10 or 20 degrees in a few seconds with a quick burst of wind. Last weekend, we got our first cold front of the season in Florida... …

Mason’s “Looth Tooth”

Mason's top two front teeth and two other bottom teeth have been loose for weeks. Despite our urging, he's been avoiding wiggling the front teeth because he "needs" them for his favorite veggie, corn on the cob. On our way home from dinner the other night, Mason suddenly yelled, "My tooth came out!" …

When You Drive Your Car into High Water…

Ali and I were out running errands with Max and Mason last weekend and, when we emerged from the craft store, the sunny, blue Florida sky had turned black. We had one more stop to make (the grocery store) and I was determined to get home before the sky opened up. We didn't make it. Not even close... …

Back to (Home)School!

Back to (Home)School!

Max and Mason have started another year of homeschooling! Yea!! This year, we're trying a few new things. For the past few years, I have created their curriculum each year. That is a LOT of work and this year I sought help. We found an online school that is flexible and very entertaining so we're going to try that for awhile to see how it goes... …

Part-time Chef / Part-time BookLocker Employee

Our daughter, Ali (age 22) holds two degrees, and is a pastry chef at a local restaurant. She also works for BookLocker part-time, assisting with a variety of things, from book formatting, to website updates, to bank reconciliations. We used to have her three days per week but, lately, her "other boss" has been demanding more of her time and expertise and she's now down to only two days a week with us. She won't let me call her other boss to complain. Ha ha. After all, cooking is her calling and she only works for us as a favor... …

“I want to grow my hair as long as mommy’s!”

While Max and Mason don't go "back to school" (homeschooling) until after Labor Day (we're on the old-fashioned schedule), the rest of the city started this week. On Monday, on my way to get the boys a haircut, I stopped behind a school bus, and couldn't help but notice that all the children who emerged had on new shoes. Adorable... …

Frank’s Turning 21!!

When I launched WritersWeekly so long ago, Frank was only five years old. Where have the years gone?! :) …

Trickery at the Airport!

Last weekend, Caleb (one of "our" kiddos who we took in a few years ago) flew into town for a couple of weeks. He wanted to surprise Max and Mason so we had an elaborate plan to trick them. We told them we were going to Tampa to see the sea creature exhibit at the MOSI Museum (that much was true). They didn't know about the pit stop we'd be making... …

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY

Yesterday, morning, I had to run an errand. I rarely drive anymore because Richard says my driving scares him. I have no idea why... …

Two Waterspouts = Huge Adrenaline Rush!!!

Two Waterspouts = Huge Adrenaline Rush!!!

On vacation last week, we had quite a thrill! As we were driving to dinner in Saddleback Key on our last night there, I was looking out the window and I couldn't believe my eyes! There was a waterspout... …

Deep Sea Fishing!

I am officially "on vacation" this week (in Key West) but I wanted to tell you about our deep sea fishing trip... …

Food, Fun, and Aqua Blue Seas!

We've had rain every day for over a week now. The garden is waterlogged, the pool is cold and neglected, and the children have cabin fever... …

No Pumpkins…But Lots of BEANS!!!

For those of you who've been reading for awhile, you know that we have, for years, had a family pumpkin growing contest. Now that we're settled in Florida, and have a new garden, we have been very busy planting, watering, and watching the fruits of our efforts end up on our dinner plates. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear pumpkins are very fond of Florida summers... …

It’s So Quiet in Here!!!

Max (11) and Mason (6) are attending a local summer day camp for two weeks. They've never been to a camp before and they are having a great time... …

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