Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bloggy Book Club

May's Bloggy Book Club: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

Guest blogger, my daughter Rachel, reviews this month's selection.

First of all, I would like to apologize for not posting this at least 24 hours ago. I've been experiencing these annoyingly vivid flashbacks from middle school of my mother nagging me to finish my book reports. So...I've been distracted :) 

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes was a pleasant surprise. After reading the synopsis, I'll be honest, I didn't see what all the fuss was about...So what?!? It's another book about a mother with a past full of deception and secrets - The Memory Keeper's Daughter anyone?

However, this was my first Diane Chamberlain book. Wow. She writes with such eloquence and purpose. Prior to reading the book, I read one review that said Chamberlain does not develop her characters well in this book...I completely disagree. 

Not only do I know and adore CeeCee, Eve, Corinne, Jack, and Dru of The Secret Life, but I missed the characters when I finished the book. I was on the roller coaster with CeeCee when she made her life-altering decision. I felt her panic as the novel's conflict unfolded, as well as supported AND justified the horrific path she chose. I followed her down the road of unimaginable consequences. I felt sick for Eve when Tim's truth was revealed. I laughed when Dru defended her mother to Corinne's critical fiance ...For several nights, my poor husband had to fall asleep in bed with all the lights on because I didn't want to stop reading this book (I guess I could have invested in a book light...). I think I finished all 528 pages in less than a week. 

Although, I could continue to talk about this book all night (and I already have for one of my book clubs), I will just say that The Secret Life brings to light some great discussion topics - the importance of a mother/daughter relationship...and lack thereof...the repercussions of a young woman's choices, and ... capital punishment (!!). 

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes had me intrigued from the opening chapter and kept me captivated through to the last words. I will be reading more of Diane Chamberlain! 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Always Looking Up...

I just finished a great read that I highly recommend...Michael J Fox's Always Looking Up.
I am a fan of this guy so I guess it would not be surprising that I enjoyed his book...he is funny and charming whenever I see him in an interview or in any of his film work and I feel this comes across in his writing. He strikes me as someone who does not take himself seriously and I love that humble attitude.
The other quality I admire and one I have tried hard to acquire is the ability to disagree without being disagreeable...he is never mean spirited... even when others (Rush Limbaugh) are mean to him.
His most endearing quality however, is his optimistic spirit which I do not posses and his is evident throughout the book.

The cover states:
The last ten years, which is really the stuff of this book, began with such a loss: my retirement from Spin City. I found myself struggling with a strange new dynamic: the shifting of public and private personas. I had been Mike the actor, then Mike the actor with PD. Now was I just Mike with PD? Parkinson's had consumed my career and, in a sense, had become my career. But where did this all leave me? I had to build a new life when I was already pretty happy with the old one.
Always Looking Up is a memoir of this last decade, told through critical themes of Michael's life: work, politics, faith, and family. This book is a journey of self discovery and reinvention, and a testament to the consolations that protect him from the ravages of Parkinson's.

I think many of us with today's economy can relate to these themes...many of us feel we are standing on sinking sand even without having to experience a life threatening illness...there are so many uncertainties for many of us!
I think this book is also a testament to the saying..."We shall overcome!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

That Girl...Reads and Writes!

This will be my guest blogger for Bloggy Book Club on Sunday, May 31...My Daughter!
Bloggy Book Club hasn't really gone anywhere since I started it...well, it's really a membership of "one" ...Me! Rachel's book club that meets in real life just finished up The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain I am changing Bloggy Book Club a little and asking for guest bloggers who have read the book that I choose for that month. Rachel will be the first...she doesn't blog yet but that may change. She is an English major from UF and she loves to read!

So, if you have suggestions for June's Bloggy Book Club and you would like to guest blog or just have me link to your blog for June the 28th ...let me know!
This picture was taken in Orlando over the Memorial Day weekend...for more friday fotos visit Cute Candid Carrie!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Will the Sunshine Ever Come Back?

I am feeling a little bit sad. I think part of the problem is I am solar powered and the sun is missing from the Florida Sunshine which by the way is messing up the whole Florida tourist campaign of "Share the Sunshine" as frankly, there is none to share. I could share "Buckets of Rain" not just figuratively but literally..."Buckets of Rain!" It's hard to complain about something we have prayed so hard about because Florida has been in a 3 year drought but...seriously I can complain about anything! I have earned...and I do mean earned the nickname Eeyore...and I can crack my Hubby up by imitating this name sake.
But...Eeyore is a tiring character to even hurts my shoulders. We have all worked too hard, put too many to-dos on our calenders and most of all struggled with this economy! I am just tired and cranky...if I were a toddler... someone would put me to bed!
We have planned a trip to Austin, Texas in June and I will be grateful for the time is helpful for me to get-a-way when I feel this overwhelmed, also talking to a friend (Karyn...expect a phone call)...but mostly it's time to sit with God by the lake. I won't be talking...I will be listening!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

He's All Wet!

Hubby took this picture on Soppy wet Disney Day (aka My Birthday) he thought it was artistic...
Yeah...well, I love him, anyway! No special lens ... just a wet camera, wet camera man and a wet day! Happy Wordful Wednesday visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus for more artistic pictures!

Share A Little Sunshine!

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend...Thank you to everyone who has ever served and to their families that served with them! I know some of the sacrifice... as my Dad is a Vietnam Vet!
I watched Band of Brothers all day was on the History channel... we have never had anything but limited I have never seen this wonderful series that was an HBO production. It was at least 12 hours long...and worth every hour!

I stayed home this weekend and doggie watched for my children...I had Harley and Rocky for the long weekend while their Mom and Dad went to Orlando for the weekend. Then on Memorial Day I watched Jake while his parents went to Universal for the day...I love dogs and especially my children's dogs! My Hubby grilled shrimp for me and chicken for him on the grill...a great weekend!

I have heard on the news that California is going Bankrupt ...another crisis...Florida's economy is a mess here too...But we have a plan...we want all of you to come here and be a Tourist!!!
I had plans of adding a video but I can't get it to go on my blog....technical my middle name!
Anyway...visit here....Share a little Sunshine... When I first heard of this promotion by Visit Florida ...I thought they wanted me to invite all my friends to Florida and come stay with me!
Which by the way...if you live in Florida...happens anyway...BUT what they want you to do is email a video to your friends suggesting you come see being the state of Florida and we would like it if you brought your wallets! :) That's our plan...I guess California has not thought of "Sharing their sunshine!"
You could win something...if you live in the Continental United States!
Have a great Day!

PS. I am sure the Sunshine will come out any day now...and I will share it with you all!
Okay...Here's the video!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Disney on....Rain!

We went to Disney for my Birthday...if you go to and register you receive a certificate for one free pass on your actual birthday. Well, this year my birthday fell on the rainiest- day-of-the-year! But...I had fun...I went to the Haunted Mansion...still haunted! I went to Pirates of the Caribbean...and now Jack Sparrow is there...really cute! I saw a favorite and had lunch with a cute guy...not Hubby!
It was a great, soppy wet day!

Visit Cute Candid Carrie for more friday fotos

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here's What I am Thinking...

I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday who could feel sorry for herself but she does not seem to feel this way, she could be angry but again she does not act that way! Instead, we laughed for about an hour on the phone...thank you...dear friend it was a gift to me!
Life for many of us hasn't turned out the way we planned. We should be angry, many of the people who "talk" on TV!
I guess the people I know or at least those closest to me...did feel anger initially and then it turned to a more productive state of mind...acceptance...which I think has resulted in creative ideas!

My sister and her husband are both out of work...they are living off their savings...they have grown a garden and literally eat the fruits of their labor! My sister is someone I admire...she has not become a bitter person but rather still someone who has maintained her sense of humor.
She called me to chat and she said for the first time in her life she doesn't mind answering the phone and talking to telemarketers.

First Call...
"Yes" my sister answers.
"I see that you and your husband own your own home out right..."
"and that you have excellent credit!"
"Yes" my sister agrees...
"And do you also see that both my husband and I have lost our jobs!" my sister adds.
"Have a nice day, Mrs. Smith!" telemarketer replies before hanging up!

Second call...
Recorded message states "Are you tired living paycheck-to-paycheck?"

My sister stops listening and says she starts longing for the good old days when they did live paycheck-to-paycheck!

I am not making light of people's pain but my sister has not given up...she has a great sense of humor and I don't doubt she will find a job! I realize not everyone has family, friends and a support network...believe me I know as I volunteer once a month at a kitchen that feeds the homeless.

While I was in St. Augustine I met a woman named Joanne...obviously struggling...she had health issues and her family had fractured due to an argument and she does not attend church...she does not seem to have a support network of any kind!
But...she still had her sense of humor and she and I laughed together. I know I was important to her because I reminded her of the good... life still had to offer.
I am not suggesting you strike up a conversation with a stranger but if you know of someone who is hurting...please listen and make them really is the best medicine!
That's what I am thinking...

*not her real name....Duh?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordful Wednesdays

It's my birthday...well yesterday...we went to Disney World...and it rained all day...all day!

It was still a great day! Disney gives everyone a free day on their birthday...just go to to register.
When I checked in I was given a Birthday Pin...that said Happy Birthday Ronda...I wore it proudly...even in the rain! Disney people are the best...polite and kind...and all wished me a Happy Birthday!
I guess after turning 50 last year...I thought 51 would be anti-climatic...but it did not disappoint.

Disney has been so much a part of my life...I dated my Hubby there and our young family went there often! So even though it rained all day...Hubby and I had fun at Disney World's Magic Kingdom! Disney's wet pictures are for friday foto for Cute Candid Carrie...
but today is Angie's day... join her at Seven Clown Circus for Wordful Wednesdays...Here is the Cutest Boy in America helping me blow out my Birthday children gave me a Panini maker...YUM!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Take a Long Walk...

Everyone is under stress these days...I see it in our industry in Florida...not a lot of work and many people competing for the work there is. Physically working out at a gym is helpful but maybe that is not in your budget these take a long walk. Be present and in the moment...mindful of your breathing...I have noticed when I feel stressed...I tend to hold my breath! My Pilates instructor told me that is not good for your blood pressure...when you are think about things like your blood pressure!

While I was in St. Augustine I took some pictures of doorways and entry ways that I was a great long walk...I was present in the moment...besides a nice memory...I may frame some of these for collage on my dining room wall!

Nancy Pelosi...Please Shut Up!

Hey, Ms. Pelosi,

"I was wondering Nancy...May I call you Nancy? Listen, would you do all of us a favor...and just Shut up!"
I mean seriously, "Who do you think you are fooling? Okay, you say CIA lied...Uh, Yeah they did!
For God's sake they torture people...lying is nothing..."
I would like to believe with all my heart that if I was sitting in some boring meeting and some CIA guy said "Well, we have these Enhanced Interrogation Techniques we are going to use!" I am hoping and praying I would have said "WTF, (sorry Mom) does that mean, sir?"
Nancy... we all knew when you took impeachment "off the table" for George W. Bush were culpable!
We are all culpable...I am culpable...I knew CIA was doing this...All Americans knew CIA was doing this...very few people spoke out against my shame I did not!

I love to hear Christians discuss this...
These good Pro-Life, God loving Christians haven't said anything about torturing a human being! Many of these people want it illegal to burn an American flag...but torturing a suspected terrorist is okay!

First group of people led by George W. Bush say "America does not torture people!" That's just did not happen!
This reminds me of another president who said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"
So...George W. Bush is lying or like Bill Clinton he does not understand the question!? give George W. Bush all the credit in the world ...he has gone quietly home to Texas to write his memoirs, unlike others...

Then, we have the next group of people who are led by Dick Cheney... and He says.."Yes , we did it... but we saved a lot of we people's it's okay!" "The information that we tortured out of them...saved lives!"
These are my very favorite people...I love to listen to them...I love to listen to good people justifying human torture! If you don't say a word...just will break your heart into a million pieces but they just keep talking!

And...then Nancy...there is our and me...I watched you at the press meeting...watched you stammer and stutter! We, in our group, most assuredly do not want to talk about it! I wondered what I would say if I were in your place...and I don't know! knew it was happening...The House knew...Congress knew...America knew!
I wonder if you heard the rooster crow...
I did...

If I have offended any of you...I am sorry! This is my belongs to me...I should have spoke out much sooner!

PS. Nancy...I just heard the GOP would like you to apologise...
Please say your sorry for not being as good a liar as those boys are!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

friday foto...Saturday!

As you can see...I am a day late and more than a dollar short for friday has been that kind of week! Here is a fun carriage ride that we had with my youngest son and his fiancee in St. Augustine. This very sweet couple will be married November 21, 2009 and I could not be any happier!
I am busy cleaning, reading (always reading) and doing yucky paper work!!!
Have a great Saturday and visit Cute Candid Carrie for more friday fotos!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doctor's Orders ...Take a Laugh!

I think the importance of a sense of humor in life shouldn't be underestimated...seriously!
My Hubby has many qualities that I find sexy and endearing but he has a great sense of humor.
Someone who has the ability to make others laugh in a stressful time is so important. I have many of those people in my life...I married that kind of guy...granted a good deal of the stress I am under he has provided but he does make me laugh all the time! Most of my friends make me laugh and all of my children and their spouses have a great sense of humor! We like funny people which this story does not indicate at all... other than to suggest we were very tired!

Last evening...Hubby had a meeting to go to and I was not invited nor did I want to attend but I did make the drive back to St. Augustine with him...a three hour tour.
So...he suggested places to drop me off and I decided I wanted to go to Marshall's which even though they have very low prices (they do and no...I am not getting paid to say this) ...My Hubby was worried about me spending too much money! I am getting out of the car..
He says " Remember we are Broke..." and as I turn to look at him...thinking "Yeah...that was going to slip my mind"...he adds...
"...Back Mountain!"
I know he's cheesy but I can't believe he said it and I start laughing...
"I don't think that means what you think it means! I say
and "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"
I tell him adding..."I think you may want to see the movie before you tell people we are indeed Broke Back Mountain..."

So...we will never be on the comedy circuit but
"Who makes you laugh?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let Them Eat Chocolate Bread Pudding!!

This is my granddaughter showing some of my DNA...she is eating chocolate...big spoonfuls of Chocolate Bread Pudding with two scoops of ice cream!!! Yum-O!

When we were in St. Augustine at our favorite restaurant Harry's we ordered this for desert!!!

I highly recommend it and so does our sweet girl!

For more Wordful Wednesdays visit Angie!

Thinking About a Year of Blogging

It is coming up to a year of blogging for me...
I started when I turned act of bravery on my part! It was sort of like here it is...I have "nothing" to hide! The blog started with a ride on a Harley with a friend and a story about the cutest-boy-in-America and his absolute bravery!
As I look back...on my posts and what I have had to's really funny that any of you read this blog but yet you do...I have about 15 people who I have never met who regularly comment and genuinely seem to care about me and my family...Thank you!
I understand that caring as I care about you and your family too!
There were two bloggers who I enjoyed who have stopped blogging and I still miss them...they were more fun than TV or the news but then look at TV and the News!

We are finally home and grateful to be home...our family business will struggle like everyone else during this economic time...sometimes it is overwhelming...but God is wherever you go!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Friday Foto

My Grandchildren...
The Cutest-Girl-and-Boy-in-America!
Photo taken by Russ Robinson
For more Friday Fotos visit Cute Candid Carrie

I Tend To Look Down the Road... Too Much!

I am reading Always Looking Up...The Adventures of an Incredible Optimist by Michael J. Fox and it is very good so far, I am about a third of the way into it.
Apparently, there is a special tonight on TV about optimism featuring Michael J. Fox.

I know I am not an optimist...I am someone who perseveres... but I am not by nature an optimist.
I do admire optimists especially those who clearly have adversity and yet retain their optimism.
I am the kind of person who expects something to go wrong and I always seem to have contingency plans in place...for when it does occur. I have trouble not knowing what the future holds for me...but you can best believe I have imagined every scenario and what I would do!!

I am always exercising my faith...or should I say God is exercising my faith...because I am clearly not in control!
My son and daughter-in-law and our grandchildren came to stay with us...and I wanted to plan a perfect outing!
The cutest-boy-in-America was told about the carriage ride with the horse and he was so excited...and I was for him.
We did have a wonderful time, however when he and my Hubby were getting off the grandson fell backwards and hit his head on the road with a sickening thud that I keep hearing over and over in my head.
It was heartbreaking...
He cried and cried...he no longer wanted to pet the horse and I was so afraid he had a concussion!
It was out of my control...I silently prayed and continued to pray every two hours as I tried to wake him while he slept that night.
First...I am grateful to God that Carter is okay, and that his mother trusted me enough to let him sleep with me.
But my silent vigil with Carter and God turned out to be important to my faith...
I would gladly and willingly take any pain for my grandson but I do believe God uses adversity in our lives to draw us closer to him. I rarely handle adversity well...but I do learn about God's love for me!
He loves me...imperfect and all!
Thank you God for my Grandson's health and well being!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Pilates Teacher...Miss You!

I have not been to my Pilates class since coming to St. Augustine...
Maria my instructor/torturer sent me this email with her latest interview to remind me of the joy/pain!!!