December 27, 2009


My trip to Ft. Myers last Wednesday had me bringing Ashley & Carolena home from the hospital. Nary a gift in the car so the scurry began that afternoon with a visit to Edison Mall. I don't like that mall much....I think I am spoiled by the ones in Clearwater/Tampa. Christmas Eve, Zane and I spent a few hours together shopping at Toys R Us and other stores and then I visited a favorite shopping spot, Bell Tower Shopppes, in the afternoon. Marathon wrapping session later all the gifts were wrapped and under the tree.

Christmas morning dawned early (well not really dawn yet) as Kyle came into my room about 3:30 in the morning whispering that Santa had been and gone and left a bunch of "stuff". I made him get back in bed and wait until 5:30. Right on the dot he tells me it's time to get up and "that went by fast". All the noise woke Todd and then they work mama & daddy. We exchanged gifts here and then I was off to Paige & Phil's house to open presents with them. So much fun watching the kids enjoy their Santa gifts. So glad I have 4 little ones to visit on Christmas. So much fun to see Christmas all new through their eyes. BTW, for all my Gator pals, Todd got a Gator football outfit from Santa. Can I just tell you how cute he looks?

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner prepared by Paige. In fact we had the leftovers here at the Long house last night. Paige, Ashley and I had a fun afternoon shopping at Coconut Pointe. It was nice not to have to worry about cooking........I was really tired. Thank you Paige :)

Ashley had her hernia repair surgery today and I think it was a little more than she had expected. She is really sore and has gone to bed for the night and I hope she can rest well. But all went well with the surgery and the doc feels it is a permanent "fix". Kevin took Miss C to St.Pete today for a follow up check and an echo. The fluid is almost GONE and they are backing off some of her meds. Thank the good Lord. So all is all a day of good reports.

Looking forward to the long weekend to celebrate a brand new year 2010. Here's hoping that this coming year will bring health and prosperity to all my family and friends.

December 4, 2009

Quiet Water in December

I am in the Keys this weekend and as always it feels good to be home. The trip down tonight was uneventful and I am glad I am going to be here instead of Clearwater this weekend. The weather here is WARM. When I left Clearwater today the outside temp was 64 degrees and it was raining. When I arrived here @ 9:30 pm it was 79 degrees and there is a full moon and lots of stars in a clear sky. Love it!!!

This is a bittersweet weekend for me in that it was 12 years ago this weekend that Eddie and I came home here for the last time. He died that weekend. Even though I still miss him every day I can always be thankful that he was here when he died in the place on earth that he loved the most. I do regret that our girls were not here but having said that I am also thankful they do not have the scary memories from that night. It took me a long time to get past those memories. That's the bitter part of bittersweet.

The sweet is that I love being here. It is home for me. When I am here I can feel Eddie's spirit everywhere. At first after he died I was not sure how I would feel coming down here .... most especially when I was by myself. I have found I feel safe and at peace. I love sharing our home with family and friends.

I feel in my heart that Eddie is out there somewhere looking out for us.

AND, as always this is the SEC Championship game weekend. GO GATORS!!

November 7, 2009

This time of year...........

For the past few years I have gotten so very blue at the first hint of cooler weather. It would just all of a sudden hit me in the gut. Maybe when I was walking out of the office building at the end of the day, or maybe when I got to the apartment, walking for exercise, or maybe at Quietwater. The hit was never predictable. Finally I have figured it out. The cool weather is a precursor to the month of December. There are so many joyous things about this time of year that I concentrate on them really hard but the blues sneak in no matter.

Someone once told my oldest daughter that her daddy would not want her to be sad that he is no longer here with us. She responded by saying......he most certainly would want me to miss him. I feel the same way. It has been almost 12 years since Ed died in December 1997 and there are days when I ache from the hurt of missing him. I have to think the more a person touches your life the more you miss them when they are gone.

Here are some things I appreciated about Eddie:
1. He was a kind man. Especially a soft touch when it came to kids
2. He was an honest man
3. He made me laugh at his antics as much as he embarassed me at times
4. He made life fun and an adventure
5. He encouraged me to reach for my goals
6. He was a good daddy to our girls
7. He was passsionate about football which I have always enjoyed
8. He tolerated my love of cats
9. He just held my hand when sadness or frightening things came into my life
10. He kept me grounded (at least most of the time)
11. He learned to love my Alabama family as much as they loved him
12. He arranged private lessons for me to learn to scuba dive
13. He taught me about boats
14. He made it possible for us to travel and see so many places
15. He had the dream that became Quiet Water
16. He loved me

I hope with all my heart that he knew these things. I think he did. We always had a good laugh when we teased that we met and got married so young that it was a good thing we liked each other when we grew up.

My promise to his memory is that I will make sure all our grands will hear stories about him and see pictures so that they will have some idea what a good person he was. He would have loved all our grands and spoiled them rotten given half a chance. I just so wish he could have lived to see Ashley and Paige find the wonderful men in their lives. He would have loved Kevin & Phil and they would have enjoyed knowing him.

The holiday season is here again and it will be the 13th Christmas without Ed. That blows me away sometimes. At times it seems only yesterday I had to say goodbye. But I have said all that to say this: I know I am blessed. I count those blessings every day. With life comes happiness, sadness and all the emotions in between. That's what makes it life. If I had never loved then I would never have felt so sad to lose that love but then I would never have had the joy. So, even if the holidays are bittersweet it is still my favorite time of the year.

September 29, 2009

It's Been A While

It's been a very busy, hectic few months to say the least. I was traveling a lot until just before Carolena was born and have been trying to lend as much help to Ashley & Kevin as I can since August 19th when our little cutie pie made her debut. Amidst all the doings we celebrated two birthdays: Kyle and Paige are both Virgo babies. So far I think our family has managed to keep daily life as normal as possible all around. Paige, Phil and I are always sitting on ready when/if help is needed at the Long house. So far Carolena has been surprising "balanced" and was able to come home after only a week at ACH. I know Ashley and Kevin are under major stress and my heart hurts for them but when I look at that sweet baby girl I just melt. Counting blessings:
1. Carolena was born and didn't have to have immediate surgery
2. She came home after only 1 week in the hospital (no one expected it so soon...)
Aunt Paige shopped and stocked up the nursery for the homecomeing
Uncle PG came over and set up the co-sleeper so our little angel would have a
place to sleep
3. Ashley is doing well and healing (getting skinnier every day!)
4. Kyle & Todd just love their baby sister and I can already tell they are going to
be WAY over protective of her
5. Ashley got to be home for the boys' first day of their new school
6. Ashley got to be home for Kyle's birthday/ Paige's birthday
7. Neighbors and friends have been wonderful....sending over food so that no one
has to worry about preparing dinner
8. Carolena is doing the pooper thing so it looks like her intestinal problem is at
least stable. There will be surgery for that sooner than later :( But it's
necessary and she will be in good hands
9. Support and prayers from family/friends (and many others even though they don't
know us personally) has given us strength
10. Having God on our side to watch over my newest angel as well as her family. He
promised that he would not give us more than we can handle. He will be there
at our side always.

Note to my kids: I am so blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. It's the hard times that test us. With love and patience we will endure. I thank God every day for all of you.

July 6, 2009

Addendum to Fort D Trip

How in the world could I not include the final day of our visit? All the McCann kids were down at GGs until late afternoon when they left to go to swim practice and whatever else they had to do. Kyle loved hanging out with Micah and Aaron; Todd decided Gracie was his and Jasmine was icing on the cake and Zane just fell in love with Callie.

We all went out to Aunt Janet's/Uncle Steve's for a visit. The boys all love going out there where they can run around while we sit outside and watch them. Most of the puppies had to stay in the house while we were there....Todd is still really afraid of dogs and it is easier to separate them.

The boys ended up falling into (and then jumping into) the little kiddie pool that J keeps for the dogs to drink from. No swimsuits.........just shorts and T-shirts. The big boys had to travel back to Fort D naked with beach towels wrapped around them. Zane did not get as wet but was a dirty little kid nonetheless. Had to do some laundry when we got back to GG's house. Boys got a bath and stuff in the ears before they could eat dinner. They went to sleep almost before they got in bed.

I got stung by what we can only speculate was a hornet?? GG says that wasps don't leave stingers behind and Mr. Willie did find one in my face. So, I took benedryl and GG applied a soda paste to my face and I passed out on the couch....benedryl makes me really sleepy. I think the sting triggered an allergic reaction that caused me to have laryngitis BUT the face is OK....I just can't talk really well right now.

FUN WAS HAD BY ALL.............Uncle Steve you are a bad influence but they do all love you and of course they love the Kubota rides!!

Pappi and the Boyz

What a great trip to Alabama. My 3 traveling companions could not have been better travelers. Many people thought I was crazy to take a 5 year old, 4 year old and 19 month old on a long trip.....all at one time but hey, they just don't know what precious angels my boys can be.

We arrived late on Saturday and got a good night's sleep. Sunday it was church day and we got to see lots of friends and family and I got to show of my little guys. There were 3 trips to Montgomery while we were there: We visited Aunt Linda in the hospital before she was moved back to CH; visited Aunt Ellen/Uncle Tommy W....she made homemade strawberry ice cream...yummy..and Todd grazed his way through all the fruit in the refrigerator; then I took G'daddy back up for a doctor visit.

On the way back from seeing Aunt Ellen we stopped @ Publix to pick up some groceries so we were late, late getting back to Fort D. I didn't want to let them go to sleep so I was telling them about the time I lived in Montgomery, where I worked, where I went to school, the Air Force base, etc. During a little break in my tour guide program Kyle leans up and says "Pappi, are you talking to yourself???" After I stopped laughing I continued my tour guide speech. Further down the road Todd tells me his stomach is asking for junk food (apparently he was hungry). They crack me up!! We marked the heights of all the boys on THE DOOR and all of them have grown many inches since the last time they were measured. Not sure who is going to inherit that door but it will always be treasured.

Zane warmed up to GG by day two and let her rock him to sleep a couple of nights. He gave GG'daddy kisses good night and would tell him "nite nite". Everyone loved his antics and they found out what a sweet little boy he is. He had a couple of displays of temper but we all just laughed at him and he would end up laughing with us.

I really miss them tonight and find myself listening for them. I hope my big kids really do understand how much it means to me that I get to take their little ones on these trips. We have such a good time and I love the one on one time with them. Can't wait until the next trip!!

June 18, 2009

Is it really mid-June already??

The first six months of 2009 has just flown by. It has been crazy busy at work and I have been traveling a bit with trips to Fort Lauderdale, Chicago and Dallas to visit clients. Was able to work in one trip home to the Keys for 4 days which was just plain relaxing and I look forward to my next trip south. And lots of trips to Fort Myers to visit the kids.

Todd is now 4 years old and such a big boy with a new bike that he can ride with no training wheels! Kyle is out of school for the summer and is going to get to do some fun things but other days will be completely bored spending time with the parents at work. Zane is 18 months old and is saying so many words. He has also learned some sign language to help us understand what he is trying to convey. I am taking the 3 of them with me to Alabama in a week or so. We are going to visit the GGs for a few days. Thank you mamas and daddys for letting me have the kiddos for the trip. These trips are so special to me....and so much fun.

Bad storms have moved through the Bay area the last couple of days. Fortunately, we have not had the bad lightning or hail where I live but we could use some of the rain. It is so dry here and there is a big brushfire up north of us which has the air all smokey. Apparently it was caused by a lightning strike.

Tomorrow is going to be jeans day at work for me. I have had to wear business dress 3days this week for client meetings so I need to be comfortable tomorrow to get organized and get some of the backlog cleared out. Probably has to work Saturday as well to try to get everything done before my big trip.

May 25, 2009

Relaxed and Rested

There is nothing like a weekend @ QW to rejuvenate my spirits and to calm my soul. Boy did I need both of those things right now. It has been a wonderful stay and I hate to leave tomorrow but am already looking forward to the next time I can travel home. There will be visitors on a pretty steady basis starting in a couple of weeks so I wanted to make sure all is in order down here. The porch furniture needed some attention and the couch covers all got washed and repaired yesterday. Probably will have to recover the cushions before too long but will wait until after storm season passes. Sounds like there has been miserable weather up in Pinellas county this weekend so I am doubly glad to be on the island. Coco Plum has not been completely repaved after the sewers were put in so it is kinda bumpy coming down to Avenue K or L where the repaving has been done. The tide was way low yesterday when I walked on the beach and really high this morning.....but not in the yard thank goodness. Just the normal high tides. Water offshore yesterday, both the ocean and Florida Bay was smooth as glass so I wished that Sook had been running. Gotta get the little girl worked on so she can take us out to the reef and sandbar. Still beautiful weather down here, lots o fluffy clouds, but there were storms all around last night. The lightning was spectacular, and all the better, since it was a distance away. I love to watch it as long as it is not sitting right on top of where I am. By for now.

May 20, 2009

End of May

Can you believe it? We are only a few days from Hurricane season 2009. Where has the time gone in this year? It is true that time flies when you are having fun AND when you are just plain busy. Work is so busy this time of year and seems to get more so every year.

We are going to have another member in our family in a little over 2 months and we are excited but anxious because our little one has a very serious heart issue. Fortunately, because of tests done early on, my kids know (at least to the extent they can know) the challenges they are looking at with their baby daughter. As someone reminded me today, girls are strong, we endure much and we are fighters.

The cats that reside with me are now officially porch kitties. After the mess I came home to on Mother's Day I realized I have had enough. Nothing I do has done anything to make them stop using the carpet as their personal potty. It is soooooo nice to have a cleaner place when I come in from wherever........and I no longer have to cover the furniture to keep them from ruining it. No more closing doors to isolate cats to a certain room. I HAVE MY HOUSE BACK!!! and it feels so good. I think they are now content to be outside. Oreo fell off the porch once (I am on the 2nd story) so I put chicken wire across the rails to keep her from leaning too far over and falling off again. Shug has settled in OK.....Oreo howled in protest for a couple of days, well, maybe a week, but has stopped that now. They now have easy access to the lizards that frequent the porch and can look out at the squirrels and the dogs who walk in the wooded area behind the apartment building.

Looking forward to spending a few days @ Quietwater this weekend. Relaxation at it's finest.

March 1, 2009's cold!!!

It has been a wonderful weekend here in Clearwater. Ashley, Kevin and the two oldest grands came up Friday night to spend the weekend with me. Saturday dawned as a beautiful day and we went out to the beach to have lunch @ Frenchy's. It was great as usual. The boys enjoyed walking on the beach after lunch. Ashley enjoyed introducing them to really pretty white sand. After lunch we drove around to some of the places Ashley would know and then visited with Tina, Eric, their kiddos and her mom, Carrie. The boys enjoyed playing in the backyard with Kai and then we all went to Casa Tina to celebrate Tina's birthday. (Tina is the young friend who created my name........Pappi.) Back home and the boys crashed about 8:00. I don't think they moved again until they woke up early Sunday morning.

Sunday the weather had turned gray, cloudy, rainy and COLD. I made beignets for breakfast and they were yummy. It's been a while since I have made these favorites from New Orleans. Left about 11:30 to visit more friends. We started @ Connie's house. She,Portia, Cole and Gary joined us for lunch. It was so much fun catching up and letting the little boys get acquainted. Afterwards we drove to Ozona and made a stop at the Vincentis home. Just love their is much like an art gallery!

The Longs left about 5:30 to return to Fort Myers and have arrived safely. It has been a great weekend for me and I hope they enjoyed their visit as much as I enjoyed having them here. Unfortunately for me I don't have my little "heaters" to keep me warm tonight. I treasure these years when the little ones love to cuddle. They grow out of that all too soon.

February 17, 2009


I spent my 3 day weekend (never, ever have had President's Day as a holiday before....a holiday in!) in Fort Myers. On Saturday night I babysat all 3 of my little grands while their mamas and papas spent some alone time for Valentine's Day. Since I decided we were all going to sleep in the same room I had to strategize the "going to bed" process. First I put little Z down in the pack-n-play and he dropped off to sleep. In the meantime Kyle and Todd were watching a movie in "mama's" bed. Todd fell asleep so I picked him up and put him in my bedroom. Kyle continued to watch the movie until he finally said "Pappi I need to go to bed now........." so I took him off to the sleeping room. Amazingly enough we all slept very well. No one stirred until Todd fell off the bed about 3:00 am. I got up and took Todd to the bathroom and checked him for goose eggs on the head or broken arms/legs. All was well and we went back to the room, climbed back in beside Kyle and fell back to sleep. I can tell you it was so much fun to have all 3 of the boys together. They played and had so much fun.

On Sunday I got the great news (from Ashley & Kevin) that we are going to have another baby in the family come August. What a wonderful surprise. Boy am I glad I opted for the CX-9 instead of the CX-7. With 4 baby seats the car is full now!

Monday was a holiday for Kyle so it worked out well that I was in Fort Myers. He, Todd and I had a fun day. We made a run to Costco first thing to pick up some "stuff" and then met Ashley & Kevin at the "Sun / Fork" aka First Watch for lunch. (Has anyone besides my grandson actually noticed the logo is a sun over a fork?....not me) After lunch we went to the park for a while and then home so Todd could take a nap. Kyle rested, played video games and he and I made hot chocolate while Todd slept. Once Todd was awake we spent some time outside in the race cars until Ashley got home. She stayed outside with us for a while and then made a fantastic pork chop dish for dinner.

I hated to leave but will be going back down on Thursday night. Kyle's school has Grandparent's Day on Friday. I get to go back to school...!!!

February 9, 2009

Artshow Weekend in Fort Myers

It was my weekend to stay with Paige, PG and Zane. Paige made a great dish on Friday night that hit the spot as I was HUNGRY when I arrived. Saturday Zane had a birthday party to attend (his friend Hayden is now 1 year old too...) so I went to the artshow with Ashley, Kyle and Todd. Lots of people which is great for the artists. The weather was just perfect for being outside.

Now, if you have ever been to an artshow with 5 & 3 year old boys you will understand me when I say they were bored once they figured out that Pappi & Mama wanted to actually walk along and stop and gawk at everything. Given the number of people sometimes it took a little bit to manuever your way into the booth. Sooo...they decided this should be a little like the State Fair in that eating would help with the boredom. They wanted to eat something at every food booth, then they were thirsty and then hungry again. Finally Ashley got them some ice cream cones, chocolate.....our favorite. Kyle does well with a cone but Todd not so much. He eats the ice cream out of the cone with his fingers which makes a huge mess on the boy. They did get to visit the kid's arts & craft tents and they had fun making some artwork for us. We didn't make them stay much longer after that....had mercy and took them home.

Zane and I spent Saturday night together while Mama and Papa went to Cape Coral for Bike Night. We had a great time and I think M & P did as well. They even stopped on the way back for a late sushi dinner.

(Secret: my big kids don't know just how much I LOVE taking care of the little ones while they take a break with a date night....shhhh)

Sunday I was back at the artshow with Paige, PG and Zane. Still crowds of people but we had a great time walking around and checking out all the booths. I saw some things I missed the first time around. Not many pottery booths this year which was disappointing as that is my favorite craft. I think I might have to take some classes on pottery making one of these days. We thought Zane might go to sleep as it was nap time but oh no, he would have missed too much. Sleepy boy got to take a nap when we got back home.

It was a wonderful weekend. The trip back last night was uneventful and the traffic was almost non-existent so it was quick. It's always good to spend time with my family.

February 2, 2009


My little guys are growing up so fast. They seem to grow inches and put on pounds between every visit. I had the pleasure of taking care of Zane last Thursday night while mama and papa attended the Eagles concert in Tampa. Then I was in Fort Myers this past weekend and spent time with Kyle, Todd and Zane.

Kyle is 5 years old and a smart little boy. He seems to just absorb everything he hears/sees. He needs to know how everything works. He is now riding his two wheel bike all by himself. The last hurdle was learning to take off by himself but he mastered that on Sunday. What fun to watch him....he was so excited.

Todd is 3-1/2 years old and he is just the sweetest little boy. He grabs your heart and will not release it. He still likes to cuddle and when it's naptime he will crawl up by you and go to sleep. He still loves his blanket when it's time for sleep. He and I had fun with his skateboard on Sunday. Of course he rode it and I held his hands so he wouldn't crash and burn.....he started doing wheelies before we finished.

Baby Zane is now almost 14 months old and weighs in at 25 lbs. He is walking (at times almost running) and is delighted that he can now reach up on tables and grab things he could not before. He loves to play peek-a-boo and have his tummy tickled. Smiles and laughs all the time. He gives me sweet hugs when I pick him up. It's so much fun watching babies as they learn. He is a sweet baby boy.

It seems that it was yesterday that Kyle was born and now I have 3 grands to love. They keep me young with all the laughter and fun they bring to my life. I am blessed to have these little guys.

January 26, 2009

Response to Tags

25 Things About Me:
1. I think I was named after a baby on a radio soap opera show
2. My first pet that I remember was a white dog named Cookie
3. I once watched my mama (the sharp shooter) shoot a rooster's head off when he chased me in the yard
4. I am extremely proud of my daughters
5. I am shy and I don't meet people easily
6. I am not as sweet as I used to be
7. I love the men that my daughters have chosen to be part of their lives
8. I am blessed to have 3 of the most special, precious little grandsons ever
9. I am a reformed nail biter -still bite the cuticles some
10. I have found that I have an inner strength unknown to me for years
11. My mama and daddy have been married for 65 each other!
12. I tend to name my cars and form attachments to them (I still miss my Sassy!)
13. I met Ed on a blind date and fell in love at first sight
14. While I was babysitting my sister Laura when she was an infant she fell off the bed she was sleeping on and I thought she was dead....I think I was 15 years old
15. I love my sisters and my brother - as we get older we seem to grow closer
16. I love shoes and have way too many in my closet
17. The most important job I have held in my life is being a mama and grandmama/insurance agent is my sideline
18. I learned to scuba dive even though I don't swim well
19. I found my oldest daughter's name in Seventeen magazine many years before she was born...Teena Paige was a line of clothes and I loved the name Paige. Ashley was supposed to be Aubrey Danielle but Ed nixed it and she became Ashley Ellen instead
20. My Keys yard is overrun with iguanas......grrrr
21. I love boating, most especially in the Keys and Fort Myers with my kids
22. My goal for 2009 is to exercise more, more, more
23. My cat Oreo snores really loud
24. I value my friends - good girlfriends (including sisters) cannot be replaced
25. I miss Ed every day of my life and I think I always will /he gave me wings

January 11, 2009


So glad it is today and not last Sunday this time. The nasty little bug I caught managed to hang on for several days after I made I made it back to Clearwater from the Keys. It took until Friday for me to even think about real food. There is a good chance that I will never eat another pretzel or drink Gingerale ever again. I can report that I feel 100% today and have even managed to put away Christmas decorations, clean out closets, clean the apartment and iron some clothes this weekend. Considering I have not been home one weekend for the past 6 weeks the cleaning and laundry was way overdue.

The Gators are National Champions again!!! I can't remember ever seeing a better football game and have never seen a better championship game. The Gators & OU were so evenly matched that it was nip and tuck the whole way. Tim Tebow announced today he will be staying for another year so with that news and not losing anyone off the defense we should have a good team next year.

I missed seeing my kids this weekend. After I spend so much time with them it's hard when I don't see them at least once a week. I feel so fortunate to be able to visit with them so often so I can't complain.

Happy 65th Birtday Eddie. It would have been a good day for you and we would have had a great party. I miss you every day .....

January 3, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End......

We were saddened a couple of days ago to hear that Rob Squires had died. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease 5 years ago and had fought the good fight to continue life for as long as he could. My prayers are with his family. I have gone through the sadness of losing a spouse but I can't imagine the heartache of losing a child. I am truly blessed in that I still have both of my parents and all of my siblings. We all loved Rob and will miss him.

My little Sook has engine problems and will probably need a new one....can't see throwing good money after bad. Would rather save up for a new engine that will last me a good long time. My thanks to Kevin for trying so hard to find a solution. Yesterday was not the first time we have had a tow in the Keys but it is the first time for Sook!

Then to top it off, last night Bama lost the Sugar Bowl to Utah. It was as if they did not even prepare for the game. I was so disappointed that they did not make a better showing. At least most of the other SEC teams have won so far. Just South Carolina and Alabama have not. BUMMER!!!

But having said all the above, putting all in perspective, we need to all be thankful for our families every single day that we have them in our lives. Boats can be repaired. There will be other bowl games. But our loved ones just can't be replaced and are forever gone from us except for the memories.

God bless all who read this post and Happy New Year 2009!