Jillian here – hope everyone is doing fine. It’s already in the 90s here in sunny NW Florida. It doesn’t feel too bad when the wind is blowing, but man, inside the car is a whole ‘nother story– boiling hot. It’s amazing how much like an inferno (one without flames) it can get inside an auto. Aug and Sept are our two hottest months, so something to look forward to….NOPE!
I recently ordered a book when I saw the author on the Jeopardy quiz show as she intrigued me as a lawyer who wrote thrillers. I just finished reading it and it was okay except there was no one I liked in the whole book. I hate it when I don’t have someone to root for, don’t you? The protagonist was a lawyer and made some super bone-headed moves that even a first year law student knows they shouldn’t do. She was quite unlikeable as well– snobbish and a liar. But I kept reading, so clearly, something was appealing to me, right?
Like Laurie, I enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and watched some of the festivities online. What an amazing lady she is. Admirable.
The grandson had his last day of preschool summer party and I love, love this photo of him in the mini pool as all the other children were being dried off. It’s just pure joy!
Happy summer to my sweet Baboo as well as all of you!
Jillian here. Happy May. Sorry I missed April. For days before it was my day, I debated what to say and then when the day actually came, I still had nothing. Lol. I don’t have much today either. I’ve fallen into a terrible rut of work, home, work, home, work, ad infinitum. I gotta get out more. 🙂
Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the US. Hope all who celebrated had a nice one. Mr. C and I ate brunch with my parents at Cracker Barrel. My sister was sick so she didn’t make it. Mom always picks where we go, so off we went. We set 9:00 as the time hoping to miss the breakfast crowd and get there before the lunch bunch. Didn’t work out to plan as it was a fifty minute wait for a table. Good thing it was breezy and 67 degrees F (19 C). Sitting on the porch on rockers was nice. Mom doesn’t eat much these days, but she ate a ton yesterday. I told her that was the most I’d seen her eat in years and she said she knew but she was starving. I guess making her wait 50 minutes plus cooking time is the way to get her to eat more. 🙂
I got to face time with my older son and his family. When I got on, their dog, Primm, was across the room. I called out, “Hey, Miss Primm,” and she came running toward the screen. She let me chat with her a few minutes but ambled off when I couldn’t pet her.
Had a good conversation with them and watched grandson play a matching numbers game on his tablet. He said he wanted to come to my house and that made me happy for sure. Being only two years old and 7 hours away, I worry that he won’t know me and so when he asks to visit, that means a lot.
My younger son works for me and gave me a bath and body store gift card. He said his real gift was to finish all the backlog of filing on top of the cabinets (it’s been driving me bonkers). Imma gonna remind him of that about Thursday. Hehehe. 🙂
Jillian here. Happy March. I went on a little adventure last weekend to a conference in Orlando and got to spend some time with my son and his family. It was fun, but exhausting as the drive is always a pain- about 7 hours each way. AND when I stay at my son’s, since they took down the mattress in their guest room, they put up a blow up bed. And it tends to lose air in the night, so I have to keep turning on the motor to re-blow it up to the full air setting or it’s like trying to crawl out of a bowl of soup when I have to take my mid-night trips to the bathroom. LOL – so, good rest is hard to get. AND one time on the first night, in the dark, I turned the motor switch the wrong way and ended up flat on the cold, wood floor. That was insane, but at least I could get it back full of air in short order. 🙂 And then my hip hurt. Woe was me. 🙂
While my daughter-in-law was out with her mother’s group on Thursday night, my son, grandson and I went for ice cream to a place called Jeremiah’s. Their logo is a frog from the “Jeremiah was a bull frog” song- my son, the architect, is the designer for a number of them as they move from a regional company to expanding with franchises in a number of states, so I wanted to check them out as we don’t have them here.
The first morning I was there, when my grandson woke, the first thing he said was, “Where’s Nonna?” His mom told him I was in the kitchen. He said, “I want to see Nonna.” She said, “Let’s change your diaper first.” He said, “No. See Nonna first.” That made my heart sing. He’s a sweetie AND he likes me! 🙂
The hotel where I stayed one night during the conference has inside balconies and you can actually go out on them. There’s a rail but no safety measures. I was on the 7th floor. The lawyer in me was screaming inside at the risk factor there. LOL
While at the conference, I attended a dinner for the former state officers of the organization and the theme was Mardi Gras. We all got beads and masks so I took them home for my grandson. He had a blast with them- putting them on his mom, dad and me.
It was a great visit–too short– and I’m dragging my tailfeathers this week at work, but I wouldn’t trade sleep for time with these people I love.
Praying for the people in the Ukraine who are being bombed and losing loved ones while they live in terror. I can’t even imagine their fear and anxiety and grief.
Jillian here- Happy New Year- My Christmas was very nice—the son, DIL and grandson visited from the 23rd and left on the morning of the 29th, after a nice family dinner treat by my son for my birthday at one of my favorite places- The Tuscan Oven which is locally owned and they cook in an open flame beehive oven imported from Italy. Makes for some great pizza, breads and pasta. I’m attaching a picture of the grand- He’s growing to look more like a little boy than baby.
Our weather this time of year fluctuates wildly- December left us in the high 70s temperature-wise in the day and 60s at night. Then it went down into the 30s at night and 50s in the day for a few days. Then high 70s again for about 4 days. Now it’s back to 30s at night and 50s in the day. It’s no wonder we can’t figure out what to wear- besides layers, that is. 🙂
I had three ear infections in 2021 and my ear started hurting again a couple of weeks before Christmas. I decided to go to an ENT instead of my regular doctor since, clearly, this was becoming a chronic thing. Weirdly, I had a hard time finding one- first one I called, the number was disconnected; second one was pediatric only (even though website said all ages); third was referral only and first appointment available was March!; and the fourth, I was able to get an appointment—their website had no reviews, so I figured he was new.
When I got there, he def. was new as the place still smelled like fresh construction and one employee was putting together some desks. Other furniture was being delivered as well. Lots of fancy equipment as well—expensive! They did a CT scan of my head first thing and then asked me a ton of questions about my sinuses (!) and then the triage nurse asked if I’d been using nasal spray—I said, “I have an ear infection. I’d never think of nasal spray for that.” Her response? “It’s all connected.” When I told her I hated that stuff anyway as it goes down the throat and tastes terrible, she responded by squirting stuff into both my nostrils!! WHAT?!?
By the time the physician’s assistant came in, I WAS having breathing issues. That chick’s nasal spray clogged my right side. It was crazy. I was there for EARS! Actually just one ear… LOL
More fancy equipment was a big screen television and a camera the PA stuck in my ear – then all the glory of my inner ear was on the screen—it looked pretty disgusting. She said the right ear now had a fungal infection—the others had been bacterial and had never healed so it was now a fungus…I didn’t really understand haw that happens, but whatever, just fix me.
The PA had the doctor come in to verify that it was fungal to give me the right meds. He cleaned my ear out with another fancy piece of equipment and made a comment to the PA that I had eczema in the inside of my ear. Well, of course, I heard him say it since my ear was right there, so I asked if the fungal infection could cause that since I’ve never had eczema before. He was unbelievably arrogant and dismissive when he responded to me—I can’t say he answered my question because he didn’t—he spouted a bunch of nonsense saying I must be susceptible to yeast infections. He acted offended that I would ask a question of his royal highness. I did not like him at all. I’ve never had a yeast infection either—and how does that relate to eczema? Or my ear infection? It was totally bizarre!
As soon as the doctor left the room, the PA apologized for his behavior. She said he was rude and she was sorry. How odd is that? Even she noticed it –I didn’t even say a word about it and really, had not planned to. It seems he is more interested in sinus issues and allergies as the triage nurse had asked me about having a battery of allergy testing done (which also was not why I was there).
I got a prescription and a follow up visit set, but I’m not sure I want to return to Weirdsville even though I liked the PA. I can say this though, as a professional myself, he is not going to make it very far in this new endeavor of his (and be able to pay for all his fancy gadgets) unless he learns to be tolerant, kinder and more patient with the patients (LOL- see what I did there?).
Jillian here. Happy December. I thought I’d share about my tree topper today since I don’t have much else to say exciting — been having some stress at the day job and it’s time to put that aside and talk about something less legally intense. 🙂
In the fall of 1986, I was twenty-five and pregnant with my first child and had been a lawyer for a bit over two years. Back then, salaries weren’t that great. A beginning lawyer made from $18,000-$20,000 a year (which translates to around $43,000- 47,000.00 now with inflation). I had just started a new job with a firm (had previously done overflow work from another lawyer and did okay with that financially, but since I was pregnant, I wanted a more steady salary and benefits). I was making $24,000.00 a year there (about $58,000.00 in today’s money. I’m telling you all this to say that $35.00 for a tree topper was a lot of money in that time ($88.00 with inflation). 🙂
There was a cute shop down the street from the law firm where I worked that sold a variety of items. It’s now a lamp and lighting showroom, but back then, they carried lots of knick-knacks, household furnishings, soft goods and, at the holiday season, it was a wonderland of goodies.
In the first years of our marriage, we had an el-cheapo topper that was a circle with lights and shiny greenery around them. It flashed on and off and was a fun thing on our tree. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. 🙂
One day, on my lunch hour, I walked around this store and found this lovely Father Christmas who absolutely spoke to me. He looked nothing like our traditional Coca-Cola Santa Claus here in the USA, but he was beautiful and absolutely stole my heart. He’s wearing a silk coat with fur attached and his face, beard, and hands are beautiful porcelain. The toys in his pack are lovely, too–even a little Christmas tree peeking out. I fell in love at first sight. But he was $35.00. It seemed like too much to pay at the time, so I left.
But he was still speaking to me. He was calling my name down the highway and into my office… he was relentless…. so, there was nothing I could do. I had to go back the next day to buy him. He was happy, I was happy, and even the baby I was carrying seemed to approve. 🙂
Now, 35 years later, I still relish getting him out of the Christmas box every year and getting him on the tree. He still makes my heart happy–and at $1.00 per year net cost (so far), he’s been a great investment, right?
Jillian here. Happy November. I’ve been having a mixed month and a half. I went to two weddings and a memorial service for a colleague. I also had four friends lose their mothers in one week. That was a bit startling, to say the least. One of them, her mother had been ill with a second bout of cancer for a while and one of the others, her mom was 95 and hadn’t been doing well for a while. It was still kind of sad to lose them both in the same day—I knew both of those ladies well as one was my college roommates’ mom and the other was a colleague in Tallahassee’s mom who I often went to dinner with when I was over there. The other two, I didn’t know their moms, but they are special friends and my heart hurt for them.
My colleague who passed away was an excellent attorney and a very gentle soul. I know those two words don’t usually go together, but he truly was a gentle man. I never, in all the years I knew him, ever heard him raise his voice or get angry. He was kind and really had a great sense of humor. He loved to debate issues even to the point of taking the opposite side of what he believed himself just for fun and to add to the conversation. He called me at the beginning of September and we had a nice chat. He’d just come out of the hospital and had been in a diabetic coma. He never said he was ill other than that incident. I was shocked to learn in mid-October when they announced his memorial service that he died about a week after that phone call—pancreatic cancer. He’d been battling it for 11 months. It just goes to show your last conversation with someone could very well be the last one. I’ll treasure the fact that he called me to chat on that day and am grateful I was there to take the call. I also wonder if he was taking the time to say goodbye to people he thought of as friends as it was a very cheery call. But that was his personality so it didn’t seem odd.
On a happier note, I attended two weddings within a few weeks of each other. Each was outdoor and next to a lake. One was warm and one was cold- weather wise. One was a writer friend in Tallahassee. She had a horrific marriage in the past and I was so happy for her when she found love again with a man who clearly is kind and will take good care of her heart.
The other wedding was a great nephew’s. The girl he married is a sweet young lady and they seem very well matched. I think I posted here before about her bridal shower where they never cut the cake. The same thing happened at the wedding. They did the cake cutting part for pictures with them, but then never served it. It was crazy. My sister-in-law, the grandmother of the groom, finally went over and got some for the people at our table. Usually there is someone there to serve it—even the caterer would have been a good plan—except I’m not sure they would if they didn’t do the cake. It was one of those trendy naked cakes. When one of my friends saw the picture of the cake, she said, “I don’t know who did that cake but they need to get a refund. The person that iced it did a terrible job.” 🙂
I’m heading down this weekend to the grandson’s second birthday party. I’m glad my son and his wife plan them for two weeks before the actual day since he was born Thanksgiving week. Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times for Walt Disney World and, as they live in the same metro area as the parks, it’s a nightmare (traffic-wise) to go down there then.
Hope everyone has a great month. Here are a few pics of the weddings.
Hi Everyone! Sorry I’ve been AWOL for a while. I’ve just been finding it hard to find the motivation to write anything, let alone be creative. You see I lost my dear mum back in July and life just hasn’t been the same.
My mum had been terminally ill and was amazing all through it. She rarely complained, except about the hospital food and the woefully small TV on her hospital ward. Of course, courtesy of Covid, we couldn’t visit her, but we were able to zoom her every day. Her first question was always how we were all doing with lockdown and checking on the family dogs. Her next question was when we thought she would be able to leave hospital and get home and catch up on her soaps on a decent sized TV! When she finally did get home we filled the day with watching those soaps, playing gin rummy, reminiscing, and having our special morning coffee with a ‘naughy’ chocolate biscuit.
Since mum passed, I’ve been taking Vivvy to the woods a lot, remembering the times when mum would join us on our walks, steadfastly refusing to allow her limited mobility to stop her. I’ve been reflecting on how lucky I was to have a mum like her. Remembering things like the time when she queued in the rain all day while I was at school to get me a ticket to see The Beatles, to the times she scoured the shops to find the exact thing I wanted for Christmas, to the times she told me never to settle for anything less than what I really wanted.
She was very supportive of my writing and used to display copies of my book covers on the walls in her hallway. I often wondered what her elderly friends thought when they saw images of half-clad couples and man chests adorning the walls. I have a lovely memory of taking mum into the local W.H. Smith bookstore here in the UK on the release of one of my books, and having to stop her from buying up all the copies. Despite that I’d already given her a couple of author copies, she insisted on purchasing one and proceeded to tell everyone in the queue at the checkout that her daughter was the author of the book she was buying and how proud she was of me.
Mum loved her family, her friends, animals, her garden, shopping, Magnum ice cream, and Chuck Norris. I think she’d watched every episode ever made of Walker, Texas Ranger at least a half dozen times! The only thing she really hated was spiders, and the thought of being a burden to anyone. As if that were possible. Those last months I spent with her were amongst the most precious of my life, and I’ll miss her every day, but I’ll be forever grateful for having this very special lady as my mum.
Rest in peace, Mum, and I hope heaven has a really huge TV.
Good morning and happy August – Jillian here. An update on Hobbes first—He is back to this normal, crazy self and even though he can be a pill waking me up for food or to go on the porch in the wee hours of the morning, I’d rather have him like that than when he wasn’t feeling well. Serendipitously,, I met a vet tech who told me more horror stories about that 24 hour emergency vet place – including one where they did a full battery of tests on a dog where they said it was vomiting blood and the animal had serious issues. The truth? He bit his tongue and it was bleeding where the phlegm he was spitting was discolored. Reiterates my decision to never darken their door again.
Yesterday, I drove two hours each way to attend a bridal shower for a nephew’s bride-elect. It was a long trip, but worth it to see family I haven’t seen since February 2020 (the month before Covid lockdown). The shower itself was utterly unorganized and lasted forever. I was texting my niece that I could feel my hair getting grayer by the minute. 🙂
It was a lovely venue and the bridesmaids did a beautiful job on the decoration and food. They clearly had no clue about timing, though. It was supposed to be from 2-4 but they didn’t even tell people to eat until 2:45 and they never cut the cake! Here is what it looked like- I didn’t get a pic of it there, but this is a link to how it looked. Red Velvet Rose Cake! – CakeCentral.com They also didn’t start opening the presents until 3:55 pm. And she got a TON! So, my plans to get home before dark dissipated.
I really wanted some of that cake, but alas, it was not to be! The place was beautiful even though it was a barn in the middle of nowhere. Home – The Gilded Oaks My niece and I put the address in her GPS and we ended up driving down a road that went from pavement to gravel to red clay. I kept saying, “This cannot be the way.” We were laughing hysterically and the road got more and more narrow–I kept waiting for the dead end— or the banjos from Deliverance. 🙂 (We have a blast every time we get together—she is more like a sister to me—we’re only 6 years apart in age) and when we got there, we kept telling everyone about this road that was not really a road and they looked at us like we were crazy. When we left, we turned the opposite way from the way we came and guess what?? It was a paved road. All the way. 🙂
A cool thing they did was a flower bar. They had a variety of flowers in a large basket and each guest was allowed to make a bouquet to take with them. How fun was that? Sure wish I’d gotten a piece of cake though…..
July was a busy month and August looks to be busy, as well. It’s like everyone is trying to get stuff in before we have to hibernate again. I believe things are ramping up again with COVI-19, so I’m grateful to have chances to see family and friends before it gets any more dangerous.
I got to spend 4 days with my grandchildren while their parents took a vacay. Since the family had just returned from a family vacay, the kids were happy to just be home. We played games, went swimming and had lots of fun. And of course, hung out with Bo, the sweetest golden doodle I’ve ever met.
We went fishing twice. The mountain looks soooo bare after our record heat wave. Wow.
Our grandson got married. They had a parents-only wedding, so we weren’t there in person, but we’re very happy for them.
I have been using my outside office a lot and getting quite a bit of writing done. Or did, until my schedule caught up with me.
We celebrated my sister-in-law’s banner birthday and my baby brother’s retirement from the day job.
Good friends visited from out of state. And, most recently, our 12-year-old granddaughter spent a few days with us. We swam, went to our local wildlife park, and ate lots of birthday cake for her birthday.
Oh, and we took author pics. She and I are writing a book. Her ingenuity and imagination, my editing skills. It’s been fun to work together on it and, if it ever gets published, I figured we needed good pics to show off, right?
So, after a busy month, I rolled right into another busy one. I’m working hard to be careful and am grateful that almost all of my extended family has been vaccinated. But come September, I’ll probably be more than ready to isolate for a while. 🙂
I hope you’ve had a summer filled with laughter and hugs. Careful hugs. Enjoy this time while we have it. I’ll leave you with a quote from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann:
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And wether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Jillian here. Warning: this is long, so move on if you don’t have time. I won’t be offended. 🙂
A few weeks ago, Hobbes was lethargic and not eating on a Saturday evening. All day Sunday, he just laid in my bed and slept. He never surfaced to eat or anything. Of course, Mr. “I Need Treats All Day” had me worried but I chalked it up to his being tired from helping Mr. C in the yard on Saturday.
Monday, we all went to work, but when we got home, Hobbes wasn’t able to make a sound other than sounding like he was choking. He was also was making the cat vomit movements they do with their neck before puking, but nothing was coming out. He was clearly in distress.
#2 son and I thought he might have a stick or something in his throat and, rather than waiting until the next day to see his regular vet, we decided to go to the 24 hour emergency vet. I’d never been there before but know it cost $110.00 just to walk in the door. But this was Hobbes so I was ready for that.
The rules were you had to call from your car and then they tell you when to come in. Masks are required and only one human with the animal. We were the only ones to follow those rules as shall be seen….
When I got inside with him, they whisked him off. Before I could get checked in, this woman ran in with her daughter—no masks—and started screeching about her dog being kicked in the head by a horse. He looked alert so I was hopeful for him. They took her back to a room with her dog and her daughter. My son was sitting in the car because, rules….
While I was being checked in after the drama of the dog. A man and woman (no masks) came in holding a poodle in a towel and kept saying, “excuse me…our dog…”
I finally got in a room and the waiting began. The lady with the dog that got kicked in head was in room next to me. I could hear her sobbing and crying with her daughter and then a man who joined them. Meanwhile, my son still sat in the hot car—running the engine so he could use the air conditioner.
Finally, after an hour—which I get due to triage— the vet came in to talk to me. She talked 900 miles a second and I could barely keep up. She asked if I knew Hobbes has a heart murmur. Nope. Never heard that before. And that became her focus. Not that I thought he was choking or something.
She left and then they brought in a plan of treatment. It was an estimate of $1,500.00-$2,500.00. I just about had a heart attack myself. She had a long list of things she wanted to do and they required $1,900.00 down right then. The tech acted a bit peeved that I needed to call my husband. Then, the kicker? I had to sign and choose between 3 methods of resuscitation. 1. None, 2. Minimally invasive (for $500.00) or 3. Invasive ($1,000.00). At that point, I wanted to vomit or cry or both. To me, they prey on people who are worried about their pet. It was vile and manipulative—both the outrageous bill and the choosing resuscitation method. But, being worried about Hobbes, I left him there and chose the $500.00 resuscitation option—it was explained they need that in case they couldn’t get me if he was in distress.
As I was at the desk paying the “deposit” a vet tech came running in from the side door screaming she needed someone to help her resuscitate the huge dog she was carrying. She was yelling “STAT” and calling out a room number.
I almost went into melt down. This place was too much for me. And I was leaving poor Hobbes there. He’s not a big fan of noise or drama. So, worried about him and his health and traumatized myself, I left.
You can only call to check on your pet between 5 and 6 am or 4 to 5 pm. I set my alarm and called at 5:10 am to be told she wanted to observe him for the day and wanted to get the local animal cardiologist in to look at his tests. She said that $500.00 the cardiologist charges was within the “budget” they gave me the night before. I almost snorted at that. HER budget maybe. Not mine. I declined. She told me to call back at 4 pm to see if he was ready to go home.
So, I did. Had to call 3 times before I could get an answer. Finally got there to get him at 4:50 p.m. Called from car as I was still following the rules. The girl said, “Give me a few minutes.” I waited 5 minutes and then went in. She turned in her chair and in a voice like I was five years old, she barked, “I TOLD you to wait in your car.”
Stunned, I said, “No. You told me to give you a few minutes.”
She pointed to three people in lobby—none with masks—and said, “I have to wait on them first.”
“I just want to get my cat and go.”
“You’re getting a partial refund so go back to your car until I call you.” Again in that voice reserved for small, misbehaving children. And why were others allowed to sit in the lobby with no masks, but I had one on and had to go back to my car?
It took 20 minutes for her to call. There was more dog drama while I was getting my refund- the yelling and carrying on in that place was heartrending and stressful. The emergency vet prescribed heart pills and said he’d have to be on them the rest of his life. I left there with Hobbes at 5:55 pm. And I will never, ever, ever darken their doors again.
Three days later, he was still lethargic and not eating or using the litter box. His regular vet, at his follow up appointment, said he had no heart murmur and never had. She looked at the X-rays they took at the emergency vet and said he had fluid on the lungs and was probably nauseous. She gave him a shot for the nausea and some Lasix pills to get rid of the fluid. No need for the super expensive heart pills.
By the time we got home from the real vet, Hobbes was perky and hungry as a bear. He ate a lot and wanted to go outside. It took a few more days for him to be completely back to normal and his meow was the last to recover (he had been sounding like a frog, not a cat).
What did I learn from this? That, sadly, the 24 hour emergency room staff do not care about how they treat people, don’t care about following their own rules, will gouge people who are concerned about their animals and over test and over charge. And do not truly have the best interest of anyone but themselves at heart. While I didn’t like paying the amount of money they charged me, I am lucky I had the resources to do so. What about the people who don’t? How many animals does this place put down due to the financial constraints of some of the pet parents? How many people go way into debt for unnecessary tests to save their animal? I don’t want to know. All I know is, I won’t be returning there. Ever.