What the Peck???

 If ever there were an example of how unpredictable it is using the mail instead of online for bill paying, my recent experience is all the evidence one would need to make such a case.  Holy moly! It is hard to remember why I decided to write a check for my car tag renewal because it was so long ago. Dropping it in the mailbox seemed like a good idea at the time. 

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

My birthday came and went, as did the last day that my tag sticker was valid, and still nothing. Day after day I checked the mail. Finally, on the 11th of January, the sticker arrived.  Checking my canceled checks I learned that it was written on December 15. One would have thought with the tag office but two miles away things would have gone smoother, however, one would have thought wrong. Never again.

That said, there are folks who either don't have access or don't have the skill set to navigate this digital world and that makes me sad. There should be room in this new world for both kinds of folks in my humble opinion. 

Back to the action, albeit weeks ago!

To date this winter has been colder than in recent memory. The windows are often covered with moisture of humidity because it is ever-present in the state of Florida, one reason people often remark how the temperature in Florida feels colder than in some of the Northern states.

When we went to the Orlando Wetlands Park with Jonathan and Alissa, the sky was bright blue and slightly chilly.

About a week later we made the same trip with Matt and Tom and the weather conditions were just the opposite. A dense fog covered the landscape as we made our way down SR 50 towards Christmas, Florida.

The previous week:

Nearly the same location a week later: 

It's easy to see from the photos above which atmospheric conditions are favored by most. Do you agree? They are scanning the water for alligator a favorite activity when Tom comes to town. Note the vultures atop all of the palm stubs.

Our wish was granted and we saw an astonishing amount of alligators on this second visit, say 30 or so, many along the shoreline. This big group is wary, although in our experience, they leave folks alone if you leave them alone.

Particularly on the road they call Alligator Alley. See below. 

I was super delighted to spot a Green Heron,

and while disappointed not to see the huge numbers of Tree Swallows this time, we did see a huge number of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks who were doing just that, en masse.

One of these days they are going to finish that building, or so one would hope.

Here's how Bruce managed to take the Christmas tree up to the front of the property for disposal. He's a clever fellow--that he is.

Because both Matt and Tom are very busy with their jobs, relaxing was in order while they were visiting. Tom finds doing very difficult jigsaw puzzles relaxing and so I let him do all of the hard ones that people have given me. I do know my limits!

If you can imagine, and perhaps there are some who can, he completed not one, but TWO 1,000 piece puzzles during the few days they were here. The only bit of help he received was near the end of puzzle number two as he wanted to make sure it was completed before they returned to London. 

We continued our December job of shopping well in to January, going to IKEA along with REI where we went to pick up the jacket we'd ordered Matthew for Christmas. Additionally, we picked Matt's brain for a little interior decorating suggestions which were promptly implemented. What a difference changing the direction of a room rug can do for a room!! Sort of like changing the orientation of the kitchen table which, I must say, has been life changing. The wall art Bruce moved around, while not life changing, has been a welcome change. My suggestion to you, should you be in the market for a small change in your environment, is to have a friend or family member take a look around your place and perhaps they will see things that you don't. In the end, we didn't buy anything new, just rearranged what was here. 

As well, we have a new internet provider after Matthew set it all up. They came last Thursday and while it seemed to go faster, that is until Sunday morning when we woke up and there was no connection. After some online tweaks, speaking with someone was the next step. He suggested we trade in the modem that was installed only three days prior. Once Bruce unplugged it, he discovered that it was used which was confirmed by the Spectrum employee when we traded it in for a new one. 

And so we are entering a new world of internet speed. 

One day we stopped here for lunch.

While waiting on our street food orders, I popped across the road to check out some of the street art, including this one.

The large boat reads, "the good life" while the text beside the woman on the other side says, "the best is yet to come." While I do hope our good life does not crash into shore, the idea of the best is yet to come is wildly appealing. How about you? Are you down for that?

Just before the London lads left (say that a few times fast), our beautiful tree began shedding leaves at an alarming rate. I mean there was, in the words of Matthew, a leafy carpet, and while we know it has done so in the past, this time it just feels more extreme.

So, here's how full it was mid December,

Sadly, this is what it looks like now. I will report that the rate of loss has slowed, thank goodness!

We are very much hoping that it is an annual thing, much like the arrival of the Robins.

On the 5th of January we once again became empty nesters, also an annual thing! 

While they did not complain, there is a lot in the newspaper these days about how the new international terminal has not been as well received as the powers that be had hoped. Apparently, there is far too much walking and from what I read, their response was, so what? Hmmm.....

Long after their departure I am going to be getting a lot of use out of this very fun visor, purchased while they were shopping at Track Shack. 

Speaking of pickleball...who me? 

Not only did Matt and Tom give me the visor, I received something from all of the family. Below I am sporting a new skort from David and Michelle, new shoes from Bill and Fallon, and a ball holder from Jonathan and Alissa.

The ever-changing winter weather as evidenced by my outfits! Thinking about the kids dressing me, the  cap is one that Matt knit for me some years ago, so while wearing the above getup, I always think of our wonderful family. We are  most definitely making gift giving easier on them! 

Amongst all of the gift giving, along came my birthday and everyone had to think of something else to give. While this towel is far from true, Michelle gave me something to aspire to!

Oh yeah baby....peace, love and pickleball!!

Let's go!!

your friend,


p.s. The title refers to a t-shirt that we saw on a lady at the wetlands. Tom promptly suggested it for my first blog title of the new year, but it seems more fitting now, as in what the peck have you been doing not blogging for ten days??

p.p.s. I've sad it so many times before but having a blog is wonderful in so many ways. Good memories can be relived and sometimes sad ones too. While looking for something, I came across this super important post from 2014. Not only does it detail something life-changing, there's a photo that could fit into this post nicely. Don't miss it!!