For those of you that have been asking how life is in the warm sunny state of Florida for this Northerner girl, blogging is the easiest way to respond. First know that those down here call me a Northern, inspite of the fact I have lived in Nashville for 16 years! I guess, in Floridians mind that is not the south.
When we first moved in, we found out quickly, we have a neighbor much like Mrs. Kravitz on the Bewitched show. Ours is named Wally. He is a very likeable fellow but makes it his responsibility to fill us in on everything not limited to but including:
· If we pull our trash cans in off the curb and see others, we are to pull theirs up at the same time, as that is the “neighborly” thing to do
· Our dog, since over 100 lbs. should be wearing a horse saddle
· Instructions on how often the grass should be cut, how things should be planted
· We must get Direct TV so he can get $25.00 off his next bill!
· The bugs on the front of our car have been there for two days and need to be cleaned
In driving around the area, trying to get familiar with the roads, we have discovered our GPS is also unfamiliar with this area of Florida. Apparently the woman inside our navigation system has blonde roots or prefers the scenic route. She frequently takes lunch breaks and leaves us in a lurch.
We quickly discovered, Florida is the one place everyone makes U turns, and I mean do mean everywhere. Turn signals must not be mandatory or break easily and are never fixed as u turns are down with relatively no warning and at the most inopportune times. Imagine, driving down the road, and all of the sudden, in the left-hand lane, the car directly infront of you hits its breaks and makes a u turn in the middle of a double sides highway. Welcome to Florida! Roads aren’t marked well and either are locations, stores, or restaurants. I constantly miss the turn off for Starbucks. That is downright sinful! So u turns it is, we have begun to conform to the norm.
I am enjoying seeing all the tropical plants I use to only see on television and on occasional vacations to the beach. Palm trees are everywhere, lining many streets. Drivers are not good-natured when I stop the car though to snap an occasional picture of one to text a friend so I have had to refrain doing so. And our neighbors, they are removing their large palm trees from their yard. As they do, they are gleeful about it and I am sad. Apparently these trees, once large, are a nuisance and yet, I am new to the area and love them. Slowly but surely, I fear the large ones will disappear from our neighborhood.
One of the most bizarre things I have seen in our neighborhood is pots of plants literally lying on the ground as landscaping! Some folks put the pots half in the soil. I found this silly looking so took it upon myself to take two of ours that were left like that on our newer home to transplant in the ground. Now, as they are quickly dying, I took the time to ask neighbors why they keep them potted. Now I learn it is because it allows the water to be held in the pots much better than the sandy soil to keep the plants from dying. I come home and look at my dying plants and say lesson learned. Wally peeps out the window at me shaking his head and laughing.
Our lanai, also called a Florida room is much like a sunroom in the North. We had no idea, if the door is left open long, those strange reptiles found in the south can find their way in. Baby lizards called salamanders and yes, even last night, frogs. One night, two were found in it and we fought over who was going to catch the critters. I think we would have left them there with the door propped open but our fear was that Charley would eat them. It is preferably though to mice in the house in the north.
We lucked out that we are located within ten houses of the doggie park. Charley is overjoyed. However, wow, every time he is taken outside to go to the bathroom, he is pulling at that lead as if there is no tomorrow to walk down there until we give in and off we go to appease him. And wouldn’t you know it is right by the last hole of the golf course so carts seem to go by frequently getting him all riled up. The good part of this is he comes home exhausted. My arm is pulled half out of the socket too.
Oh we also have had a bout or two of poop in our new home! Strange huh when the HOA insists everyone pick up their dog’s poop. We thought so too until we learned coyotes are located here too. And we then learned what their waste looks like and found it was that. Disgusting huh, it somehow landed in our living room. So now, we are on guard for their stuff in our yard. I am hoping they don’t like oranges as there is a nice orange tree in our backyard.
We have both been busy, my husband and I working on things fixing up the house, putting our touches on everything. Constantly we are asked how is the beach? We want to say, “What beach, are there beaches here?” We really need to take a break and start doing more things Florida is known for. Home Depot is everywhere and even in Florida it looks exactly the same.
Interesting bit of trivia we learned regarding the county we live in Pascoe County. This is the nudist capital county in the United States. Clothing is optional in many areas. Isn’t that nice to know? Perhaps when my grandchildren come down, I should be certain I know where those areas are at!
While painting our rocking chairs green, one neighbor was extremely friendly. Ed. He drove his golf cart right up through our yard to the garage to chat with me. As he watched me he kept commenting on how good a painter I was and how much I seemed to enjoy it. That should have been my cue, but no red flag went off.
He then went on to tell me where he lives in the community, towards the front where a huge Buddha is out in the front yard. I told Big Ed I would never have known that. He goes on to tell me Buddha needs very badly to be repainted. Okay, here I sensed what was coming. He told me he can’t handle painting Buddha. It hurts his back too much to bend over. He went on saying he would pay someone to paint it, “Hey why not you?”
I got out of it but have decided, from here on out when painting I need to look more in pain when I do outside work if Ed is around. He is a sweetheart but I don’t see Buddha in my future!
And so she dances….
Every grandmother dreams that her granddaughter will have all her dreams come true. Every grandma wants her granddaughter’s life to be picture perfect from start to finish, so it was on Dec. 1st 2007 with Ava Alysee Glasmeier, my second oldest grandchild, only granddaughter.
She was born perfect, all five toes and fingers on each hand and foot. She had no health issues at birth, an adorable smile, a perfect shaped head and a loving mommy and daddy. She grew and progressed according to all the norms set by pediatricians all those growth charts new parents go by, and grandparents follow closely too.
But her little life, with the passage of time, has seen its own little set of challenges but not one has set her back. She has seen her daddy work very hard to get not one but two dental practices thriving. Two brotherswere born and then diagnosed with autism. This meant Ava had to be extra loving and caring to both her brothers. It also made her diligently watch her mommy make more sacrifices than most moms to care for both boys and balance that with a marriage and her, Ava’s needs. This has not always been easy, not on any of them, but no one complains in the household and they fully embrace their lifestyle and each other.
All through this there remains this happy good natured little girl just as perfect in Grandma’s eyes as can be. Never has she varied from the little newborn, the toddler and the now second-grader that is smiling, cracking me up with personality plus.
When Ava first went into school and she found she had a few challenges there. She approached each with spirit and fiestiness and her can doattitude just like she does everything else in her life. Not much gets my granddaughter down in the dumps, not for long anyways. She is too up on life, if there is such a thing as being too positive! Her spirit soars, Ava makes lemonade somehow without lemons.
When her mother put her in dance classes, she laughed with excitement. As soon as Ava could walk it seems she was twirling, bypassing walking to dancing. I can still hear her mom asking to stop dancing all around the house! Actually Ava danced anywhere, she did not care who was around. She was the little girl with free abandonment, with her movement and her ability to let you know what she was thinking. So refreshing in a world full of repression where families forbid each other to say what their feelings truly are and people criticize each other for not saying “the right thing.” Ava is being raised to speak her mind, respectfully and being allowed to be herself at all times, uniquely her.
It is amazing how someone so young can feel so free from the world’scritical eyes. This young girl could care less what you think of her dancing, of her family too. She loves them dearly, loves dancing and enjoys life. She doesn’t want what others have; she is satisfied with what God has given her. This young girl can care less what others think and dance.
Too often people don’t listen to children. Too often adults think children are expendable and that they are the teachers, they impart knowledge to children. It is often times forgotten there is a child in all of us and we lose touch with that innocence we once had, that ability to dream, to be free and yes, to even dance. Being with Ava is a lesson in letting go, in being grateful for what you have and in living passionately without caring what others think.
With a love of being free to express her inner spirit and fire, yes my granddaughter loves to dance. She likes moving her body and does it well. Ava is unlike most people I know, children or adults. She has no fear or concern whether her dancing is the best or perfect. She does the best she can do and that pleases her. Her love and passion is what matters when she steps on the stage. She is doing something fun, that makes her smile and gives her joy. The lesson in life she can teach us all is life live with choices that give you that, joy, smiles and laughter. Don’t worry what others think, let them wallow in their own worries, you concentrate on your passion, your dance in life.
My granddaughter roots others on with a sincerity I seldom see in others. Most little girls are jealous of other people that dance better and watch with sorta of a nasty undertone of envy. Not my Ava, she watches with song in her heart and pure adoration. Yes, she acts proud of their accomplishments. She says to me “Grandma watch how great she is!” with as much glee in her voice as she can muster! She continues to improve and tries to get better but seems to evaluate her progress on herself.
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder and reality does not exist. We simply try to strive for it though shouldn’t. Grandparents are given the luxury of sitting back and being permitted to call their grandkids beyond reproach, damn near perfect and thus it is with my dear Ava. My granddaughter comes pretty darn close.
Being able to accept others and cheer them on without a thread of jealous is a gift. She has that. Living your life without being confined by thejudgment of others is a blessing. This blessing shows that a life may be guided by passion and confidence given by God and family is a hallmark of someone who will succeed in always finding happiness at the end of the road. Having compassion for others innately inside yourself and continually exhibiting it is a true sign of someone who understands actions speak louder than words. Success means nothing if not shared. My granddaughter, even at her tender age, is truly caring for her two younger brothers already and carries that compassion over to those that she meets that are hurting. I don’t just believe I know the signs are there, she will set the world on fire. But I also believe you can. As long as you are never afraid to close your eyes, throw back your head and dance, nomatter who is watching!
And so she continues to dances, even in the darkness of her bedroom, when no one is watching with the same joy on her face as she has on the stage…..