Back from Tampa, been away 10 days, now to get back into the groove. First of all when I opened the door a kitten came running past me. My son, Adam added a family member and she is cute and a bundle of energy and affection. I forget how it is to have a young kitty since it’s been almost 19 years since we had one – boy are they active!  Sasha was 2 years old when we inherited her and she is mellow, mellow mellow, she moves like a tortoise most of the time. She moves so very slowly that Ringo pays absolutely no attention to her. In fact, Ringo looks through Sasha, she might as well be invisible.  But he is “eye’-ing that new kitten as she is so full of motion, and if you watch Ringo, “motion ” is what catches his eye!  So even though I am allowing Ringo access to the newest member of the family, it is supervised!    watch?v=PFxIFIx1Yl4
Sasha has wanted a friend since Frankie’s passing, we had looked at the pound, Humane Society and online at Petfinders before I left and the Pound is where we found this newest kitten. She’s about 2 months old, they even spayed her. The total cost pretty minimal, around $45. The hard part is navigating through all the faces and personalities. We saw an older male that we would have loved to have at the house,  If we didn’t have an alpha male already.
You look at all those animals and so many probably belonged to families and people who can no longer afford to take care of them and it breaks your heart. When reading the sheets that give you background on each animal at the Humane Society, you see how someone died, or had to go into a hospital, or nursing home and you know it has got to be depressing for the person who owned the pet for years not to know the fate of the animal they so loved. I have so much respect for those who can be foster care parents to an animal, it takes such commitment and love. My hats off to you out there, like Gail Nagan and so many others representing the local groups who take in so many many animals to care for their needs till they find a home – I thank them over and over!  The link up there is a  video of Sasha ‘generously’ offering her tail for Luna’s playing pleasure. She’s enjoying having a new friend, wonder if they will sleep together? As it was this morning, I woke to a thunderstorm and kitten walking on my head!
Now to the purpose of my Tampa visit, “Rockin’ First Birthday for my grand daughter, Iyla. I cannot believe that she is One already. Time again has outfoxed us, cheated again, the months are in fact a few days. I’m still convinced we live in a time warp. I noticed on television yesterday that a woman born today could live till the age of 107! And of course being a ‘naysayer’,  I will add that unless I am healthy I would not want that burden! That could mean 15-25 more years in a nursing home, who can afford that? I think about stuff like that, I really don’t want to be at the mercy of someone changing my dirty diapers, a baby is fine, but me, oh that seems utterly grotesque to have to wait for someone to come along to change me – wait, this is about a baby’s birthday, not about my diaper…

     I have never seen the newest trend of “smash cakes”, this is a cake that babies smash and eat at their first birthday. In my day we ate around the smashed piece if the baby happened to put it’s hand in the cake, not today, they get their own small cake and it was a beauty too, ( and I tasted it, it was damn good!)  Iyla did not quite know what to make of all the craziness around her. She never cried, but looked a bit overwhelmed.  Several times I had her crawling to my legs for me to hold her. Her best friend baby Justyce was ‘marathon’
crawling, she was all over the place. I think Iyla prefers a ride, she’s a smart one!
There were a number of babies and children there. In fact, they bought a big swimming pool for the younger kids to use and after they blew it up in the room, I told Aaron to keep it inside with the bag of balls in it – and boy did the kids love it. There was a huge pool outside already, so this gave the kids a place to really let off steam inside.  Leila had crafts for the kids to design and make their own t-shirts. She saw to it that they had their own picture backstage passes and gift bags with goodies and a pinata filled with candy.  She bought zebra colored balloons, blow up guitars and microphones, and decorated with a banner proclaiming, congrats to “Big Sister Iyla” so that everyone could tell Iyla will have a sibling in March next year.
We all ate well! Mark and Lynette brought over a huge seafood platter with crab legs and cracked crab claws and a huge platter of bread bowls and spinach dip so everyone was well fed besides the pizza and veggies and fruit! It was fun watching the little ones going crazy. We loaded up the cars and my truck that morning with all the things to be brought to the party at the clubhouse about 10 miles away. Leila’s car had died 2 days before in a Home Depot parkinglot and there was no time to even look at it. Then suddenly, with my truck all loaded, it would not start, dead dead dead! UT OH! Luckily we had Andrea and Adam with a car and Leila’s dad, Mark was there to pick up the slack!  Here’s the view, so we made it through the chaos.

We even had a dog in attendance – Jazzer, Mark and Lynette’s border collie came and got a great work out escaping children chasing it all over! And Justyce was in the lead! There she is in green with Iyla.
We are sure lucky to have Aaron, the next day he installed a new battery for me in like five minutes after getting it tested, and then went to Leila’s car where he took out the battery and alternator and replaced the bad alternator in about twenty minutes! He also went and changed a flat tire when Leila’s friend broke down on the road about 2 miles from the house. He saved us all a chunk of change! Glad he is so handy! He has a birthday  this Friday, how did he get so old? Thanks to my family for a wonderful party.  The setting was beautiful as the club house looks over the Gulf of Mexico in Apollo Beach,

  I have not walked on a beach in years. The clubhouse had steps down to the water ,  I ditched the shoes and walked on the sand and shells and let the water lap at my ankles, it felt so soothing, though the heat index was 105, so I didn’t stay out there long, (it was like being an ant under a mircoscope.) The heat and beating sun were way too hot. Oh, sure would be nice to have a home near the beach except for the hurricanes!

Yesterday upon leaving Riverview, the clouds were pouring rain, then toned down a bit, so figured I would hop on 75 and go home anyway. It was raining so hard on 75,  the lanes were blurred and the traffic at a standstill so I got off at the first exit and went back to Aaron and Leila’s for another hour and also checked the local channels Doppler radar. The radar is a great way to see what the storms are doing – it showed a very strong line right along the 1-4 route home. After an hour, I could see the rain was much lighter via the radar and so I left  and took some pics along the way back. The clouds were thick and just waiting to let loose in many places. Luckily for me, it only rained hard again in Plant City and that was only for about 5 minutes. If you understood my anxiety about being on the road like this, you know it takes me 4 bathroom stops to make it 110 miles, so imagine the double anxiety when it’s raining and trucks are hitting you with their excessive spray at 70 miles an hour – I was stressed, but would not like it if someone else were driving me either. Maybe one day   I’ll hit the lottery and then I will hire a chauffeur driven RV, bathroom on board, that’s the way I would roll!   Here’s the road:  

And to end here, I have to say it’s nice having a kitty sleeping on my lap. Luna has clown markings and it seems to go with her zany personality – adopt an animal if you are able, and if not, do a good deed for a local animal group or even Animal Services or the Humane Society, drop off something they need, towels, rags, food, litter, a check! Be a voice for those in need!









The girls gossip about what a “bad boy” Ringo is