My mother-in-law, Laura, turned 96 this week. Oh my, the stories she could tell you. With these hands, she swung a bat on a baseball team in the “League of her Own” era and rolled her way into the Bowlers Hall of Fame. Laura and her husband, Everett, also owned a local auto body paint store here in Sarasota for years (Pete’s Auto Paints) and she mixed thousands of gallons of paint!
My grandson Graham finds it easier to brush his teeth by looking at his reflection. And brushing his teeth is just one of his many ploys to stall his bedtime when Grandma is babysitting!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~ CS Lewis ~
A few years ago my mother was asked by a friend at her church if she would like to take art lessons. She said “I can’t draw a line” and her friend said yes you can. So three ladies paid another friend $15 each week to teach them how to draw. They would take turns at each other’s house. Each hostess was to provide wine and crackers. Mom was 78 when she started and she enjoyed this for four years until her hands and eyes began to fail her.
This Christmas scene was her first piece.
She made Easter cards from these flowers.
The lessons varied from flowers, to birds, a simple scene and a young boy. Here is some more of her work.
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo ~
Hmm… Winter Landscape – how am I suppose to show a typical wintery scene when I live on the sunny gulf coast of Sarasota, Florida??? I guess I’m just going to have to use some photos from when relatives came down to get out of their winter in January/February of this year. My cousin Don and his wife Juli came down from Minnesota. We took a drive down beautiful Casey Key and then enjoyed some sunshine at the North Jetty in Venice. I was amazed how many folks were just sitting in chairs along the banks of the Jetty. If we asked, I’d bet they’d say they were from Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York! Juli got her toes in the sand and then we did some shelling before heading for lunch under the tiki bar at Spanish Pointe in Osprey. What a great way to spend the afternoon with our northern cousins. Uncle Gene and his wife Edie came down for several weeks from Wisconsin. Edie wasn’t too steady on her feet, so we went to Turtle Beach at the south end of Siesta Key to take a look, but we didn’t walk it. And after stopping for dinner, Uncle Gene wanted to get some Florida postcards to send back up to snowy Bayfield Wisconsin.
“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.” ~ Albert Einstein on the Theory of Relativity ~
Have you ever heard of a Strider? This is a balance bike designed for children aged about 18 months to 5 years that encourages them to learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle. It has no pedals and the child would simply stride along, learning how to balance, lean, and steer as they go. Confidence builds quickly; there is little fear of falling because their feet are always on the ground.
And as confidence builds, some children may want to step up their experience. Sarasota is unique in that we have a dedicated Strider track next to the BMX track on the corner of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. I’ve heard it’s the best in the country.
One of my daughters and her family were coming down from Virginia for a quick trip to go to a family wedding. The only free time we had was Wednesday evening to Friday evening. As luck would have it, the practices are held at the BMX track on Thursday nights. I spoke to my friend Alice, co-owner of Haps Honda, because she has been an integral part of Sarasota BMX for over 30 years, and asked how I could get my grandson Ethan on the track. She told me that loaner bikes and helmets would be available at the track and that he just needed to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt. I checked with my daughter and it was a “go” – this was going to be the highlight of his trip!
We arrived on time so we could get as much of the experience as possible. Much of our family turned out to cheer him on and we were all so impressed with the track..
I was told that the BMX practice was from 6 to 8, but if the Striders arrive early, they can practice on the big track from 5 to 6. Well of course Ethan wanted to try that out too! We were here at the right place and the right time!
Our grandson approached the hill, took the ramp to the top, and paused. Before he made his descent, my husband heard him say “Whoa” in awe. And then he was off.
He rounded the embankment and kept going.
And we cheered and cheered, so proud of him.
One boy wanted him to wait up, but you don’t wait if you want to race!
My thanks to Alice Bixler for the Strider information and the opportunity to give my grandson and our family a wonderful memory of their visit.
This is the information I found on-line about the Sarasota BMX track:
Sarasota BMX has a dedicated Strider Track located next to the BMX track. Riders must have a USA BMX membership in order to ride on the track. We offer a One-Day-Free membership to all new riders so they can try out the track. The track is open on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6pm to 8pm for practice. Striders can practice on the BMX track from 5pm to 6pm. The practice fee is $3. Races are held on the 1st and 3rd Friday evening. Race fee is $5. Awards are giving to each rider. The USA BMX membership for one year costs $30 for Striders. With this membership the rider can ride at any BMX track in Florida and the USA. Strider racing is for children 1 yr to 5 yr. A child can stride on a Strider as soon as they learn to walk. Some have even learned to walk on a Strider. The Strider only weighs 6.7 lbs. light enough for the child to pick up and carry. There is never a need for a tricycle or training wheels. The child will learn to balance and goes directly to a pedal bike. For info call: Erma at 614-496-3999 also check us out on www.StriderBikes.com
“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” ~ Anon. ~
My nephew Steve had his wedding on Siesta Beach in June. As the wedding procession began, one of the guests decided that we were missing music. As the bride approached, the thoughtful guest held her I-phone up as it played the Wedding March.
Three little words my husband dreads: “I’ve been thinking…”
After one of many nights watching episode after episode of renovations on HGTV it dawned on me – “hey, there’s enough room in our bedroom to bump out my closet and turn it into a walk-in closet.” So the next morning I approached my husband, “Greg, I’ve been thinking..” He points to my temple and says “turn it off!” Ah, but it’s too late, the line has been cast and he’s taking the bait. He bargains, “I get half” and my friends side with me – “No, you can have up to a third.”
It’s decided that the project will start after our vacation. I know from experience that this will not be a weekend renovation. After my closet is emptied and all shelves and rods are removed, he is now ready for demolition. Out comes the long wall with two pairs of mirrored double doors and up comes the carpet and tacking strips.
It always gets worse before it gets better!
Next, wire for more lights, frame up the walls, frame up a door, and determine what to do with the a/c vent.
Measure twice, cut once. I marvel at what my husband can do. Next he drywalls, tapes, and sprays while I do my usual picking up. Finally I’m called upon to paint inside and out. Decisions are made for shelving and rods – heights, widths and how many (and how much closet will be relinquished to him).
Our carpet company is called out to re-lay carpet on the bedroom side of the walls and to lay new carpet in the closet. Greg is the first to move his clothes in.
A mirror is added to the back of the door – and then our neighbor presents me with a gift she made for our closet – a beautiful stained glass mirror! I tell her that’s too beautiful to be hidden in the closet. The mirror is now a cherished focal point on the new wall in the bedroom.
And I’m so happy with my new ‘favorite room” that I’m giving tours! Here is my Mom checking it out.
And now I look at the doors to the screened deck off of our bedroom, and I’ve been thinking…..
” It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here. ” ~ Anonymous ~
Our family in Virginia is interested in any activity involving flight, so it was no surprise when they invited us to go to the local Flying Circus AirShow when we were visiting in August. Every Sunday from May to October daring expert pilots perform stunts in vintage biplanes. The shows are modeled after “barnstorming” airshows that became popular between the two world wars. The pilots flew these airplanes in World War 1 and when they returned with their excitement and love of aviation this led to airshows in farmer’s field in small towns across the country. Before and after the shows they would offer rides to make money. The term “barnstorming” was coined because, when a storm hit during a show, everyone would hunker down in the barn.
Benches and chairs are lined up in front of the airfield, but many want to get right up to the fence to be as close as possible to the action.