From The Home Office

Kennel Cough

Ali and Justin recently decided to rescue (adopt) a new dog. They thought it would be a good idea to take their dog, Jax, along to the pound to see if he got along with any of the dogs they were interested in. When I heard they did that, I thought "uh oh." While they didn't get a new dog (yet), Jax did get a bad case of Kennel Cough... …

Winter Writing Contest and Winter Bird Watching!

When we lived up north, I always looked forward to the WritersWeekly Winter 24-Hour Short Story Contest because, while living in Bangor, Maine, in January, we were guaranteed a few feet of snow on the ground and weeks of cabin fever. During contest weekend, I was always enjoyed a break from the grind and some awesome entertainment in the form of stories flying in via email from participants. Living in Florida, I'm still excited despite the fact that it's going to be in the 80s on Saturday. (It's supposed to be 85 today!) …

Let’s Get Back to Writing!

I love Christmas but I am SO relieved it is over. One of my favorite pastimes is writing and holiday mayhem sends my muse into hiding. She is back, however, and begging to be let out to play... …

I Support the Reason for YOUR Season!

Boy, I sure am tired of people getting offended by the word Christmas, and Christmas decorations and the like. I am not Jewish yet I've never been offended by a Menorah, nor any other symbol or celebration of a religion to which I do not belong. To each his own, live and let live, and all that stuff. Why do people have to spew so much hatred this time of year? "Can we all just get along?" (R.I.P. Rodney King!) …

Preparing For A Full House

Ali and I are busy preparing the house for the influx of guests that will start arriving next week. Some of them will be staying at Ali's because we'll be filled to the brim here. It's all very exciting! Mason is counting the days, confirming his math with me each morning. ("Mom, it's 15 days now because yesterday it was 16, right?") …

Ack! Only 3 Weeks Left!

My Christmas shopping is done but I haven't wrapped even one gift yet. The boxes are just stacked up there in the corner, staring at me, day after day. I'm also starting to seriously doubt I'm going to finish the "Taj Mahal" (the gift I've been working on for my mom since April). …

Leftovers….Blech!

I gave in and threw out the Thanksgiving leftovers. After 5 days of turkey sandwiches and soggy stuffing, I just couldn't stomach any more. On Sunday, we had our annual "Hoy Holiday", where we go get our Christmas tree, put it up, and then eat pizza while watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It was so much fun! …

Over The River And…

My brother and his family are driving here from Key Biscayne this week and all the children will be here so we'll have a houseful! The best news is there will be three chefs in the house this year (Ali, Justin and Billy) so I don't have to do any cooking at all. I will, however, gladly do dishes as a trade-off... …

Christmas Shopping!

I am feeling much better since my surgery. My hemoglobin is creeping upward so my energy level is higher as well. I felt so good last weekend, in fact, that I started my Christmas shopping! It didn't take too much energy, though, since I was only doing it online. Heh... It was the best Sunday I've had in a long time. I sat in bed all day, shopping, watching movies, and also working on a gift I'm making for my mom. I'm calling it the Taj Majal and I'm starting to think it just might not get done in time for Christmas. If not, maybe I can finished it by next Mother's Day... …

Recovering

Last week, I shared the story of my surgery last week. I am very tired but feeling better. My hemoglobin level is still quite low, which explains the fatigue. I admit I'm getting very weary of phone calls from doctors offices that have bad news instead of good. :( …

Immediate Surgery!

PER LAST WEEK'S WARNING: If you're a guy, you should stop reading now. Seriously. Don't continue. If you have a queasy stomach, you should also turn back now. If you keep reading, you'll be sorry. Don't say I didn't warn you... …

Hospitalized While On Vacation

If you're a guy, you should stop reading now. Seriously. Don't continue. If you have a queasy stomach, you should also turn back now. If you keep reading, you'll be sorry. Don't say I didn't warn you! …

LOOKING FOR FALL!!!

Today, we're heading to Tennessee. We'll be spending a week in the mountains with some members of my family and we are SO excited. The one thing I miss the most about Maine (aside from our good friends there) is the Fall foliage. …

Our New Doctor Doesn’t Force Vaccines! Yea!

On a whim, I contacted a family practice here in town (not a pediatrician) and made an appointment for six of us to go in. I thought maybe if they realized we were bringing them a ton of business (for years to come!) they wouldn't force the vaccine issue. The doctor and I had a long talk and she agreed that more vaccines would definitely not be a good idea for our child. Since we homeschool, we are at far lower risk than the general population. She even admitted she does not get a flu shot each year. She said if you're healthy, well-nourished, and well-rested, your body is perfectly capable of fighting off the flu and most other illnesses. I was SO relieved!! …

Pumpkin Flashers and Horror Babies!

Pumpkin Flashers and Horror Babies!

We were SO excited on Monday because October had FINALLY arrived! We LOVE everything Halloween and we'd already decorated the inside of our house. Once October was here, we could set up all our offensive yard decorations, too! …

The Facts of Life are Hilarious!

After Mason (age 6) asked me two days in a row where babies come from, I could no longer avoid the inevitable. I pulled up a lovely (ahem) graphic of a uterus on the Internet, and explained in very basic terms about how the baby grows in there. But, that wasn't good enough for Mason. Tapping the pink uterus cartoon on my computer screen, he said, " But how does the baby get IN THERE?!" …

Our Money Pit

I've written before about all the problems we've encountered in our "new" house in Florida. Well, the fun continues! …

Fall Contest is This Weekend!

This weekend starts my favorite six weeks of the year! The Fall 24-Hour Short Story Contest is this Saturday and it always has swirling red, orange and yellow leaves, and crisp breeze, and, on occasion, something odd or creepy. Since Halloween is my favorite holiday (I get to display my horror doll collection), I absolutely LOVe reading the stories for the Fall contest! And, I get to start this weekend! …

School Days!

Max and Mason, who are homeschooled, started "school" this week. They were pretty happy when, on the first day, I let them do arts and crafts first. I gave them a box full of craft supplies, and said, "You have 30 minutes to make whatever you want." Holy cow, you'd think they'd both just won the lottery! They were so excited!! …

We Evacuated…and De-Evacuated

Since our house is only a few feet above sea level, and since Isaac was forecast to give us a 5-7 foot storm surge, late last week we packed up our important stuff, moved a bunch of it to storage, put the most important things in the RV, and returned home to elevate some of our furniture. We also unplugged electronics, and moved some boxes up to counters. We canceled our reservations at a campground in Georgia, which was Evacuation Plan A (Georgia was supposed to get it worse than the Bradenton, Florida area) and made a reservation at a campground in Kissimmee, Florida (Evacuation Plan B), just outside of Orlando... …

Isaac Is NOT Welcome Here!

Isaac Is NOT Welcome Here!

We're watching the forecast with a great deal of caution and a bit of worry. We already had Tropical Storm Debby so we think it's somebody else's turn to get a boatload of rain. ;) …

Caleb is Here!!!

Frank's friend, Caleb, who has been part of the family for years, is visiting for two weeks and we are having a blast! …

I Like Grass (in my yard!)

It seems all we've done since we moved into our new (circa. 1969 - so it's new to US) home in Florida is spend money on repairs. Now that the leaky part of the roof is fixed and the plumbing no longer backs up, we're getting some work done on the outside... …

My Brush with an Olympic Diving Contender

Ug!! I've spent four years waiting to watch the Olympic women's gymnastics and I was so excited on Tuesday because it was coming on at 8:00 p.m. After dinner, it was still too early so I was casually reading the day's news. I went to USAToday.com and discovered they'd done what many other news sites did NOT. They posted the results IN their headlines! There was NO spoiler alert warning! ARRRRGHHH!!! Well, that'll teach me to surf the Internet for the next couple of weeks! I'm also very excited about watching the diving. …

No Longer Raining in the Living Room!

The roofer found a 36-hour window between storms and quickly replaced the flat roof on the back of our house. Thankfully, it no longer rains in the living room! …

Feelin’ Just Fine!

Thanks to all who sent me get well wishes last week after my very minor out-patient surgery. I slept for most of that day and was feeling pretty good the next. I'm fully recovered now and off the antibiotics, which were making me feel a bit green. …

Abbreviated Issue

I had minor, out-patient surgery on Tuesday afternoon so this week's issue is abbreviated. Big hugs to all, Angela P.S. I want to "follow" you! ANGELA ON TWITTER @AngelaHoy ANGELA ON FACEBOOK ADVERTISEMENT 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.** …

Happy Birthday!!

We were going to send the issue out early (yesterday) but that didn't happen. It would have happened if the toilet and the shower hadn't backed up simultaneously, leading to much arm waving and head scratching and plunging (both toilet and shower). That led to an emergency call to the plumber, who came out, fixed it, and then showed me a nice catalog with brand new toilets that aren't rusted out and that don't use three gallons of water with every flush. Sold!! …

Flood and a Tornado! (+ pictures)

Late last week, when we were receiving enough gentle rain from Tropical Storm Debby to quench our drought, I told Richard, "This sure beats a Maine blizzard!" Three days later, I was singing a different tune. …

Pork Belly Fried in Duck Fat

All the kids came over for Father's Day with the exception of Zach. We are going to be in Port Charlotte this week for a dentist appointment so we'll be celebrating Father's Day with him then. Justin cooked burgers for us that consisted of Pork Belly fried in Duck Fat and served over ground beef and caramelized onions. It was DELICIOUS! Sssshhh! Don't tell our cardiologist! …

Waterspout!

Waterspout!

We had a humdinger of a storm last weekend. We were first alerted when the news flashed a warning that there was a waterspout offshore and that the front of the storm would arrive in exactly 17 minutes. After chuckling about our first waterspout, we put made sure everything was secure outside and then I put helmets on Max and Mason and gave one to Frank (age 19) in case he needed one, too. Laugh all you want but I keep their bike helmets handy after reading THIS STORY. …

The Rainy Season Has Begun!

Just in time for our vow to "stay at home and do nothing all summer", the rainy season has begun. It was sunny this morning but a storm developed just offshore at lunchtime and quickly moved inland. We enjoyed hearing the huge drops pounding on the roof. The "weather in motion" option on weather.com gave us the opportunity to show the boys, who are homeschooled, how quickly storms can erupt when the sea breeze picks up in the afternoon here. In a 15-minute span, the radar went from blue sky to a huge cell popping up on the screen. Very cool. …

MEMORIAL DAY POOL FUN!

On Memorial Day, we worked in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon. Richard spent most of the day in the kitchen and outside by the grill while I spent the afternoon in the pool with the kids, batting around a volleyball, tossing a Frisbee, and teaching Max and Mason how to play Marco Polo... …

SeaWorld!

Grampa is in town so Mason wanted to celebrate his birthday a month early with a trip to SeaWorld. It was a lot of fun and very educational for the boys. They got to feed sharks, feed and pet dolphins, learn about rescuing sea turtles and so much more! They both agreed that Sea World is WAY more fun than Disney World. There are more friends coming into town this week and then we're going to have a nice, quiet summer...or at least that's what we're aiming for. ;) …

I Love Seahorses!

Max (age 10) and Mason (age 5) got to go on three field trips this week! There are so many museums and other educational and natural attractions near our new house that we'll never run out of things do... …

Let the Tourist Season Begin!

We've only been in the new house for three weeks and we've already had one family visit from Maine. This weekend, two of our good friends from Wisconsin are arriving and, in about 10 days, Grampa is coming for a nice, long visit. The kids are SO excited! …

Hmmm…What’s Broken Now?

The house we just bought was built in 1969. I love old homes because they have so much character but, when an old house needs some upgrades, that can get pretty expensive... …

Oh, My Aching Back…

Most of the house is packed up and Richard rented a large U-Haul trailer and took two loads to the new house last weekend. They're all stacked up in the garage right now. The painters did a great job but we had to call another cleaning crew in. The first one didn't do a great job. The house looks super now so we're free to start moving furniture. Everybody is SO excited about moving the old piano one more time... …

Found a Loaded Gun in the New House

The house closing went off (almost) without a hitch and now we're the proud new owners of...a house that looks MUCH worse without furniture in it. Ha ha. When we first saw the property (two times), it looked awesome. After we closed on the house, we drove over to the now-empty home, walked in, and started poking around. It was FILTHY! Richard said, "Um, I think we paid too much." ;) …

Closing on the New House on Friday?

Barring unforeseen circumstances, we're scheduled to close on our new house this Friday. In the last 12 years, I'd forgotten what a pain in the you-know-what it is to buy a house and we're not planning on doing this ever again... …

Our Daughter’s New Attorney

For over a year now, we've been dealing with the aftermath of the accident on Valentine's Day, 2011 when our daughter and her boyfriend were in a head-on collision. The person who hit them had been dialing his cell phone when he crossed all the way over the center line. Both vehicles were going 45-50 when they hit. Ali's wrist was shattered and her boyfriend had three broken ribs, a broken leg, and more. Fast-forward 13 months. After months of good-faith negotiations on the victims' side, the insurance adjuster for the guilty driver told Ali's boyfriend that if he can't be a chef anymore because his leg is so badly injured, he "should just go be a greeter at Walmart." That was the last straw. Her boyfriend hired an attorney. This week, our daughter hired the same attorney... …

POOL’S OPEN!

It's in the upper 80's now and the boys are once again swimming every single day. The weather outside is warm but I think the water is still a bit chilly... …

PENCIL + SOLE OF FOOT = TRIP TO URGENT CARE CENTER

Max (age 10) is very creative, and is always using household items to make a variety of contraptions, as well as artwork. I give him free access to several boxes of my craft supplies and, of course, anything in the recycle bin is fair game. Last week, he made a medieval weapon by taping two plastic bottles together, and then taping freshly sharpened pencils all over it. It resembled a spiked ball - or a flail without the handle and chain. We praised his creativity and I told him to put his new "weapon" up on the top shelf in his room because it looked pretty dangerous. He didn't. A few minutes later, he came to me, and sheepishly said, "I have some pencil lead stuck in my foot..." …

Disney Again?!

I'm not a big fan of amusement parks (especially The Magic Kingdom) but I am excited about visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom. We're meeting Richard's sister and her family there later this week and Frank (age 19) is bringing his new girlfriend so we'll get to know her better. She'll be here all day on Wednesday with us while Frank is at school so I'm thinkin' that'll be a good time to pull out all the old photo albums. Heh... …

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