Tag Archives: Jillian

February!

Jillian here. Can you believe it’s February already? Wow. It’s crazy how one week just blurs into the next. It seems like it’s always Thursday (why can’t it always be Saturday? 🙂 )

My life has been kind of limited lately. Work (my paralegal was out almost the whole month of January, so I was doing her work and mine–with help from my legal assistant- but it was still a lot), home, and taking care of a family member both at home and in the hospital. I am tired and wish I could sleep for a month but that isn’t going to happen. 😦

Funny how life seems to come in spurts- hard times seem to add more hard times, don’t they? And conversely, good times seem to multiply to bring more joy. Not much balance in my life right now– there are lots of good things, but the three a.m. bugaboos are getting the best of me. I’ve never seen so much of the wee hours of the morning than I have the last two months.

I did get a chance to go to lunch with a group of friends yesterday. The seven of us had a lovely visit and it was a much needed balm to my soul. And I had Brunswick stew which is one of my favorite things in the world. I usually eat salad for lunch but I wanted to treat myself a little and indulged. It was so yummy!

Last Saturday, I also got to judge the county history fair here. That is always fun and seeing the projects of our students is educational and enlightening. The middle school winner was based on the Clotilda. The last slave ship to America which was illegal at the time and the owner ended up sinking it to cover his crime. This is about 40 miles from where I live. It’s a shameful part of history but the families who live in Africatown are determined to make sure no one forgets about it. It is a thriving community today with the descendants of those slaves.

There are ongoing dives to excavate the wreckage and I recommend this documentary on it.

Here’s a cool picture I took of the bankruptcy court flag on my way home one day- love the early moon rise, too.

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January Hijack by Hobbes

Hobbes here. Jillian is a bit stressed over a litany of things happening in her life so I told her I’d take over her post this month—actually, I hijacked it. 😀 I know I haven’t helped her out much lately other than to sit on her head in the mornings to wake her up, knock things off the table for her to pick up and constantly assist her in exercising by having her get up and down to open the door to let me out on the porch or back into the house. I’m pretty helpful that way. 

We’re in a new year now but man, did we have some adventure—well, I did—in December. 

It started the month the Sunday after that weekend they call Thanksgiving when the humans brought in the tree. I love, love the tree. I don’t know why they don’t leave it up all the time. They put this brown blanket under it and I love snoozing under the limbs with the scent of pine— or whatever that tree is—in my nose. Maybe a fir? Doesn’t matter. I love it. I never mess with the pretty baubles on it. I’m dignified like that. 

Wrapping boxes is another thing Jillian does while that tree is up. Don’t know why. It’s kind of a weird habit. She hides them under the tree like she thinks no one will see them there. She also gets a bit peeved at me while I help. I mean, she needs that tape and the scissors batted to the floor, right? And the pen she uses to write on sticky little sheets of paper is just so tempting. It rolls quite nicely. Biting the paper and sitting on it to cut it for her is also fun but she fusses at me to get off of it. Testy woman. 

The biggest adventure of the month was this small human coming to visit with his parents. He squealed every time he saw me and chased me. Little terror, he is. I tell ya. I’d get the nerve to venture out of hiding and, as soon as he spied me, he was after me. Crazy little human. He also couldn’t say Hobbes so he called me Bob. Bob? Oh the indignity. 

They stayed for what seemed forever but Jillian said was only seven days. God created the world in seven days but I bet his seven were more peaceful than mine even with all the work he was doing. 

Anyway, they eventually went home and I was able to enjoy free rein in the house again without living in fear of a tiny human chasing me and yelling, “Bob.”

Life is sort of back to normal now. They just took my tree outside after Epiphany so, I’m sad about that and about the brown blanket being back in that cabinet at the end of the hallway. 

Here’s a picture of me hiding on Jillian’s bed on my favorite blanket, with the door closed, so the Bob fanatic would leave me alone. 

Happy New Year to all. Hobbes

Merry Christmas Trees from The Richards-DAR House

Jillian here. Happy December. As some of you may know, I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. My ancestors on that side of the family came over in 1690. We’re from the Gresham family in England with Sir Thomas and Sir John as two of our illustrious ancestors– they contributed greatly to the City of London. My ancestor, another Thomas Gresham, fought in Washington’s Army in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the brave souls at Valley Forge.

This past weekend, 14 members of my DAR chapter in Pensacola rode over for the Christmas tour of the Richards-DAR House. It is a beautiful home built in 1860 for Captain Charles Richards, a sea captain. It is 10,000 square feet of gorgeousness. It has a Baccarat crystal chandelier in the dining room and another in a bedroom, Carrara marble fireplaces and a cantilevered stair case, among other treasures and items of beauty. It’s now owned and maintained by the four DAR chapters of the Mobile area.

Since there is so much there, I decided to focus my post on the Christmas trees in the house this time of year. So, I am attaching those pictures here. To find more about the house, click here.

We had cookies and lemonade in the courtyard after our tour and then lunch at a local seafood place. An all around fun day full of love of history, Christmas and the company of friends.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

November Madness and Music I’ve Become Obsessed With

Jillian here. Happy November. For those of us doing NaNoWriMo, we’re in the midst of the craziness right now. Last night, I accidently added a zero to my word count, so instead of 22,003, the website had me as 220,003, which is ludicrous. When I tried to fix it, it said I had like negative 199,000 words, so it has been even crazier trying to get it to register correctly now. It even has me as already winning it and that is certainly not true. 🙂 I confess, it is driving me bonkers! LOL

About two months ago, when I was watching an episode of Grantchester on PBS, Robson Green, who plays the detective, was walking around his office singing a little. Someone told me he used to sing with a partner and they were called Robson and Jerome. I had no idea even though I have loved Robson since he was in Wire in the Blood back in the early 2000s.

Of course, I had to find what he sang. You tube has a great selection of their songs and I have been obsessively listening while I work. One day recently, my son asked me who I was listening to and when I told him, he looked them up too. He recognized the Jerome guy from Game of Thrones. I only ever watched two episodes of that show as it didn’t appeal to me, but Jerome was also in Ripper Street which I did like. How cool is it that these guys are so talented? Acting and were also successful recording artists.

Here are links to a couple of songs: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

If I can Dream.

Update on the bathroom renovation: It’s going slower than the hubs wanted but he is still feeling effects of the cancer treatments and not moving as fast as he wants. He has to rest a lot and has been going to bed super early. I am not stressed about it, but he is. He has also done a few things 2-3 times as he isn’t happy with how he did it the first time or two. He has reset the shower base three times. He thinks he can live with it now. LOL

This week, we honor our veterans here in the US with Veteran’s Day and my friends in the UK have Remembrance Sunday as well. Happy Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks.

I’ll leave you with a picture I took in Rhode Island when my son lived there.

Remodel Project

Jillian here- Happy October. Bet you thought I’d do a post about my love for Halloween, didn’t you? Well, not today! LOL!

Last year, the hubs and I agreed to no Christmas presents for us since we don’t need “stuff” and, instead, we would remodel our small bathroom. Weirdly, in our house, the master bath only has one of those big sunken tubs with water jets and no shower so we have always taken our showers in the bathroom at the far end of the house. There is another bath that the boys use but we have always used this third one for ourselves for showers. It’s also one of the two rooms–the other is the laundry room–that we have never changed the flooring in (and we have owned this house since Oct, 2000). It’s an awful color, but when I suggested it was past time to tile it, Mr. C said he’d rather do the whole bathroom over. So, that was supposed to be our Christmas present to ourselves. Yes, 10 months ago…

Life took a turn with a cancer diagnosis for Mr. C in February and, as he planned to do the work himself, it had to wait for the procedures and treatments to be done and for him to feel better. He was lucky that he didn’t get too sick, but he was tired all the time and didn’t feel like doing much–which is totally acceptable and understandable.

So, today, we start. He is cutting up the tub and removing it. Here are the “before” shots. And I know, it looks like I need to clean, but I have put it off since we have D-day today. Will do some “afters” when it’s done. Wish me luck as he gets to be a bear when he is laying tile-and he is doing the whole shower wall and floor–he’s a def. perfectionist!! Which is good for the final product, but not so good for his mood while it’s happening. 🙂

Christmas in July? Well, Sort of….

Jillian here! Hope everyone is having a nice summer. It’s been wild weatherwise here. Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with over 111 heat index every day for a couple of weeks in June, then rainstorms with thunder and lightning all day, every day (dark as night at noon) for the end of June and first six days of July. As I write this, we’re back to more normal temps of around 85-90 and only small afternoon thunderstorms.

All this heat and rain misery made me decide to start reading a book I got at Christmas – It’s called The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries and is a collection of a ton of stories set at the festive season. Lots of favorite writers have set mysteries at Christmas and this book is chock-a-block. From Agatha Christie to Peter Lovesey, to Colin Dexter, Rex Stout, O. Henry, John Mortimer, Ellery Queen, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (and some new to me authors that I am digging), I am loving this set of stories. The pages are double-columned so its 640 pages is more like 1,280 pages– enough to keep me entertained for the month, I hope… Except I am almost to page 400 already and it’s only 8 days into the month. LOL

I am liking this collection of tales so much, I ordered The Big Book of Ghost Stories edited by this same gentleman. He has great taste in stories.

Here is the cover and the list of stories sorted into types. Hope you recognize some of your favorite writers, too. – I love the picture from the 1930s, don’t you?

June– Hot, Hot! SUMMER!!

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!

Two Weddings, Too Many Funerals

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. 

October! My Favorite!

Jillian here. October is my favorite month of the year. I’ve always loved it. When we lived in Virginia when I was in elementary school, we’d always drive up Skyline Drive in October to get pumpkins and fresh, cold apple cider—there was nothing like that fresh taste and Florida has nothing to compare with it. Not many leaves change color here—a few trees do- like maples— but most are evergreens like pine. I love the look of bare trees in the twilight of mornings or dusk as well as in the fog. Some trees here have leaves one day and are naked the next.

Why I love October: Orange is my favorite color, the smell of smoke in the air always brings back memories of fall leaf burning, pumpkins, Halloween is fun, and the new baking shows with the fall themes are delightful to watch (not so delightful for my cravings for chocolate though) 😀And it cools off a bit here—most years, it’s low 80s at beginning of the month and 70s by end of month.

Lat year, for NaNoWriMo, I wrote a story that was inspired by my great grandmother’s name and her tombstone. Weirdly, her tombstone has her names in the wrong order which is kind of wild—I can only imagine they didn’t have the money to fix it when it was made incorrectly. I’ve always loved her first name. Her name (in the correct order) was Sophronia Neal Akers Richardson. The story I wrote is a ghost story/mystery. I turned in the edits this week, so I hope to have it out soon. It will be published under my other name as my mysteries are under that name to keep them separate from the romance-driven tales.

Happy October to all. Get out and enjoy some reds, oranges, fall scents and even some ghosties!

Gnarly pumpkin I bought —so wicked looking

Emergency Vet? Or Preying on Vulnerable People?

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.