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Wish for the New Millennium:
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy, and enough money to buy gifts!!

Thought for 2009:  
"One is not old until regrets take the place of dreams" - John Barrymore

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The End of an Era - Sandie's Last Christmas Letter

I published my first Christmas Letter somewhere around 1980 or ’81.  That first one was typed on a typewriter & copied on a Xerox machine.  I did it because the year before I had found myself writing all the same stuff over & over again in Xmas cards.  Several of my friends were somewhat offended that first year – Someone said, “What is this? A f*#king Form Letter?”  But I persisted and eventually they caught on, to the point that I began to receive them my self.  And so, it is with some regret (but not a lot ☺). That I announce - this is my last Christmas Letter.

There are reasons & I feel I must tell them, so here they are: 

However, I still like musing at times.  I already have a website where these musings are being collected so if you discover that you miss reading my pithy or pedantic or pitiful comments on my life & life in general, you are still welcome to do so at:  I will also continue the Christmas photo for a while longer as I like the interaction with a different friend/photographer each year and I like looking back at my dogs.

You’ll see, it won’t be any great loss.  Over the years I have tried to amuse you with my self-deprecating humor and/or venture into philosophical realms but I don’t think I was ever really that funny or that profound.  Only my dear friend Geri has remembered and quoted from one of my letters – the year was 1987 - I began the letter by announcing, “This year I had a hysterectomy and promptly blew up like a spayed bitch!”  Geri has always loved that opening and I reprint it again here for her amusement.

So, the end of the era of Sandie’s Christmas Letters begins with a parting wish that you follow my lead:  conserve paper (but mail something to keep postal workers employed)…be kind to your friends (& as tolerant as you can be to the rest of the human race)…don’t take yourself too seriously and Strive to Be Happy!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!     


December - This month has been filled with activities and interestingly none of the Christmas related...  On the 5th we celebrated the coming birth of Bridget's first baby with a shower.  Lots of great women having lots of fun together! Bridget5.JPG (275231 bytes) Bridget1.JPG (175259 bytes) Bridget2.JPG (185957 bytes) Bridget6.JPG (265228 bytes)

Next was a cocktail party at Marcia and Bills preceding a night at the Blueberry Patch.  The Blueberry patch is an interesting place - an outdoor ramble of various designs with a stage for live music.  Bill sat in with several musicians and demonstrated his versatility while the rest of us wandered around, drank and got the big picture.  The entire next weekend was given over to the celebration of Cindy's 50th birthday, which was very fitting because she gets short changed most years by her birthday coming so close to the Christmas holiday.  I must say she looked especially radiant, beautiful and happy all weekend and paced herself much better than I would have done - she never seemed hungover! Cindys Bday 001.jpg (231555 bytes)  Cindys Bday 009.jpg (266668 bytes) Cindys Bday 008.jpg (252596 bytes) We all chipped in and bought her a Bucs jersey with her name on it (it is Maurice Stovall's number) and being the Bucs fan she is, she loved it!

November - Well the weather finally cooled down for November and I was able to turn off the A/C.  This is always a happy time of year.  The City of St. Petersburg schedules lots of events in the parks and around town and people can walk around in lovely weather without risking heat stroke.  The events this month were all really fun!  Marcia, Bill Tim & I went to hear Dr John the Night Tripper at the Palladium Theater the first week.  The second week we all went to help Sheri with her Grand re-opening of her photo studio - Conan, Doug Kevin & I walked and we had a really great time both at the studio and afterward.  The third week was Marcia & Bill's Music party and it was a very super party!  Julie Conan and I went together and with the exception of Russ fainting and scaring us all - it was a really perfect evening.  The fourth week was Thanksgiving, of course, a what a feast it was!Thanksgiving 09.jpg (287356 bytes).  Randy cooked the turkey since Tim was in Binghamton with his family and it was a very proud bird Thanksgiving 09 004.jpg (185538 bytes)  Thanksgiving 09 002.jpg (307973 bytes)  The next day my darling Conan and his handsome brother drove away to Rochester... I will miss him a lot but I know he has made a good decision for himself and his future!  Sunday after Thanksgiving, several of us went to a whopping big brunch (as if we hadn't eaten enough at Thanksgiving) Doug, Kevin, Marcia, Bill Randy & I we had a great time and it was another lovely day.  Which bring to a close another delightful month! 

October - The Saturday morning market moved closer to downtown this month and i decided to try a new ground cover they were selling on the front parkway. It is a cousin of the peanut plant and has a cute yellow flower - I think this is finally going to give me a manageable look out there.  Aleth returned from France and we resumed out Saturday morning coffee ritual.  Then I flew to San Francisco for a visit with Dion (just in time for her birthday) and work the Oracle OpenWorld conference.  San Fran 09 009.jpg (199226 bytes)  I got to go to a great concert of Aerosmith, Roger Daltrey & 3 Dog Night  out at Treasure Island and i got to hang out with Diane and lots of other Oracle friends.  I arrived back home just in time to go to the Free Florida Orchestra concert in the park - another of those annual events that I love to attend and try not to miss.  This was followed by dinner with Claes (and Julie, Eric, Paula and Tom) who I hadn't seen in years.  He appears to be very happy and healthy and he and Paula have been traveling and doing crafts and loving their life in Spain.  Dinner & movie with Conan - the return of the French (Sylvie & Christine) prompted a dinner at Aleth's - and then there were the Monday night sunsets - We topped off the month with Halloween and I got to demo my Puss 'n' Boots costume... Halloween 09 039.jpg (277778 bytes)   Halloween 09 003a.jpg (125602 bytes) Halloween 09 031.jpg (247790 bytes)

September - This was a big party month with a Labor Day pool party and a children themed pool party to celebrate Jaeden's birthday.  The Labor Day party was especially fun because I got to see my old friend Savni and Jerry Naples also put in an appearance. There are many photos from these parties on Facebook for those of you who use it.  But speaking of FB, some of my friends seem to feel the need to update everyone on their slightest moves - I am seeing things like "Going to sleep now" and "I woke up this morning" - where will it all end, will I someday be treated to news of someone's joyful bowel movement?  I hope not.  In olden days folks believed the Earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it - now days it seems every person believes he/she is the center of the universe.  Am I too cynical? Probably.  FB is a fad and like most fads it will pass away eventually and having a healthy interest in your own life is a good thing - it is a "real possession" as the Desiderata says.

But to get back to September... I spent a lovely evening with Tim, Kevin & Doug at the McHaffey on night and then I flew to Las Vegas and spent a wonderful weekend with Susan.  I am feeling so positive about her these days. Anyway it was a good month and I feel as if I got a lot accomplished in the yard and with my friends - so here are a couple of photos for the recordIMG_1922.JPG (354695 bytes)  17-08-09 004.jpg (167901 bytes)  17-08-09 072.jpg (449870 bytes) Las Vegas 014.jpg (75881 bytes) Las Vegas 005.jpg (258729 bytes)

August - This was once my least favorite month...the sun and the days of August used to make me nuts, but no more.  This August was a piece of cake.  It was filled with birthdays galore - Marcia's and Sandra's and Knightly's, Jerry's and Geri's and I celebrated them all.  I visited the Kails and saw the new addition.

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Mister Knightly came along too and got to meet Bridget & Matt's new dog Luna.  I went to hear Joji Watters' violin & cello recital, and threw a small party for Mister knightly on his 3rd birthday (Sandra too)

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Marcia on her birthday - Joji Waters with violin - Mister Knightly on his 3rd birthday - Mister Knightly and Luna

In between the photo opportunities, I managed to avoid loosing my job (though others lost theirs) and managed not to gain any weight (and am now down 12 lbs from the New Year) - I kept up with my yard work and visited with my friends and didn't feel the old August pressure that once tormented me - I didn't even think it was too hot!


July -  The month began we me saying goodbye to Lena as she flew back to Sweden on the 1st...but then it was time for the annual 4th of July Party.  We had lots of fun and lots of people and a good time was had by all.  Here are a couple of pictures:

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July 4th will most likely be my last big party this year.  Once it was behind me, I began to think of more mundane matters like pruning my bougainvillea which takes two weekends to accomplish.  I also resumed other little house projects like fixing the back gate and repair of a plumbing leak - all boring and costly.  On the 15th I received word that my dear friend Sean LaRoche had passed away.  This was an expected death and I was glad that Sean was finally out of pain, However a few days later I learned of the death of my friend Paul's son, Chris - this was not expected and very sad as he was so young (40's) and a father of a young child.

Throughout the month the Monday night sunsets were a great solace to me.  I also did some nice intimate events like dinner with Marcia and Bill and a day at the pool with Randy and Hunter.  We haven't had any hurricanes in July but we did manage to get some rain, which we needed badly.  I'' leave this month with a couple of different but great sunsets

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June - This was a huge month!  It began with the removal of the cherry laurel that I have been hating for years and some purchases for the house that I will enjoy for years.  There was also birthday drinks with Chris Sylvia and sunsets on the beach with the gang and a fun evening playing Cranium at Amy's - all of which would have been enough for a normal month, but the last 2 weeks of June were also my vacation and the visit of My Friend Lena! IMG_1552.JPG (277095 bytes)  She came with a friend, Sophie, someone I didn't know but who proved to be very nice.  We managed to fill a short number of days with a fairly large amount of fun despite some very strange weather.  We began with the Mid-summer Solstice party which was a mix of my oldest  friends and a large part of the Herd I run with now.  Lena obliged me by leading the Swedish Mid summer dances though I later learned that after doing the leading for the whole town of Jokkmokk for some years, she had been looking forward to getting away from the job.  Still, this was a very different ambiance from Jokkmokk and she seemed to be having fun with it as you can see.

May 224.jpg (122550 bytes)  May 202.jpg (228469 bytes) May 215.jpg (442213 bytes)  May 221.jpg (320182 bytes)  Once we had recovered from the party, we made a visit to the Hunts in hopes of sailing but bad weather kept us off the water and we contented ourselves with a nature walk and a real Mexican dinner at Alverez Family Restaurant.  The next two days the girls belonged to Richard, who took them canoeing.  I took Mister Knightly to the beach (which he loves) and just relaxed around the house while they were gone.  There were dinners out and dinners in and we ate and ate well.  We did Monday beach therapy twice and got some nice weather for both and one fairly beautiful sunset. There were lots of sunsets and some good beach time all through the visit. May 059.jpg (190585 bytes) May 032.jpg (143172 bytes)  May 251.jpg (589241 bytes) We also went to brunch with Tim and Randy and we girls got to wear hats! May 149.jpg (910466 bytes)  I attempted to show Lena a bit of what the life I live is like but felt constrained by feeling I should be entertaining to Sophie - so I only subjected them to a few movies and neither of my favorite bars - I am hoping Lena will come back again by herself so we can have a real visit, or maybe when I next go there, but I also think it was good that she did not travel alone this time and that she had someone with whom to speak Swedish from time to time.

The entire visit was over too soon!  

May - the Merry Month of May - I began it with a business conference in Orlando.  I had fun and did some good business as well which is all that can be said in these situations.  The night following my return, Tim, Randy & I went to see Spinal Tap - Unwigged & Unplugged which was a great concert and a fun eveningMay  On the next Sunday I went to Ocala to see my old friend Sean LaRoche who is dying in a Hospice.  May 017.jpg (258200 bytes)  It was sad to see him so sick and thin, but his wit is still with him and we had a great visit - I also saw Dave Marsden who I knew slightly in the 70's - he was also in town to see Sean.

The following weekend was another super fun event called Tropical Heat Wave - 32 bands and 6 stages at the Cuban Club in TampaMay 010.jpg (307731 bytes) It was the weekend of Ed's birthday so we celebrated that too.May 022.jpg (283045 bytes) I got quite drunk and danced all night by myself and with several strangers.  I really had a fabulous time! Memorial Day Weekend I took it easy, worked around the house, went to the movies and had a calm but wonderful time with myself.  this was good because the last weekend of the month was both the May Babies party and Jacob Hunt's graduation party.  Hard to believe Jacob has gone from this Jacob.jpg (200234 bytes) To May 091.jpg (249435 bytes) but as you can see, though the angle has changed, I still look at him the same way!  Geri came in to spend the night on the 31st and we sat up debating the issues of the day until the month ended.  Another great May!

April - The jewel in the crown of spring in Florida!  I didn't have to put the A/C on - the mornings and evenings have been pleasantly cool and the days bright & sunny.  The downside is almost no rain.  I began the Month with Lysistrata at American Stage on April Fools Day with Sydni - a silly old Greek play with a great premise.  This was followed by the annual Easter Egg Coloring Party (the 17th Year)

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I had a hat so there was nothing to do but wear it for Easter!  Tim, Randy, Ed and I went to the Columbia at the Pier.

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My girlfriend, Diane came for a visit and we had as much fun as we could cram into a weekend and managed to see the Main Sail Arts Show in the process.

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The next week I had Lunch with Mary Lou, Dinner with Jack, Bill and Nancy and went to see Donna The Buffalo with the Hunts.  And as if that wasn't enough, the month ended with a trip to scenic Pella Iowa to speak at the Oracle Manufacturing Summit!
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March - Well, Folks, another fun filled month has ended - It began with lunch with Mary Lou, Tim and I and was quickly followed by Julie's Birthday/Salsa Dancing Party.  This was a very fun event with Fernando attempting to teach us Gringos to move our feet and shake our shoulders at the same time - most of us flunked this lesson.Mar09-12.JPG (223049 bytes) Mar09-9.JPG (274489 bytes) Mar09-5.JPG (278188 bytes)
                                                             Gringos attempt the Salsa

No sooner did I recover from that party than it was time for the Wearin' of the Green Party at Cindy's - photos exist but mostly of people I didn't even know... Armed with my hangover I took Mary Lou to the Museum of Fine Arts to see Art in Bloom and Tim's arrangement Mar09-13.JPG (256349 bytes)

Dion flew in for a visit - I think she had fun but it's so hard to know - she went to a wedding with her friend BC and out to dinner with Tim & Randy - we did some thrift shopping but didn't find anything that was cool (unless you count socks)  - I think she liked the pool and hot tub.  Mar09-6.JPG (257695 bytes)  Mar09-2.jpg (287078 bytes)

The day Dion flew away was also the Renaissance Fair - perhaps my favorite of the spring events!  We had Sheri & Jaeden with us so I wasn't the only kid - but if I didn't have the most fun I would be surprised. Mar09-15.jpg (84649 bytes) Mar09-11.JPG (214726 bytes) Mar09-14.JPG (247874 bytes) Mar09-10.JPG (421128 bytes)

Beach therapy on Monday nights continues - it is warming up - we celebrated Doug's birthday and we commemorated the passing of Cindy's Dad

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Cindy sings with the band @ sunset therapy       Doug's birthday sunset


February - This month could easily be subtitled "A Walk Down Memory Lane" because I reconnected with so many people from the past.  This walk is being facilitated by Facebook where I now find myself spending a bunch of time.  It all began on February 4th when I went to see James Lee Stanley perform at a house concert in Tampa.  I went to High School with Jim and had briefly represented him as an agent at the Blade Agency in the '80s.  I found him on Facebook.  At the concert were three more people for Maury HS, none of whom I actually recalled, but then there isn't too much of HS that I do remember... now I am in touch with several more HS alumni - whose names I recall, but little more.

Next came a wonderful Christmas gift from Tim & Randy - a trip to the Mchaffey Theater to see a show called Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, a very exotic blend of juggling, contortion and a variety of balancing and trapeze skills with fantasy costuming and some vocals... I loved the four Asian contortionists the best!

The following week it was time for my Christmas gift to the herd - another trip to Mchaffey, this time to see 1964 - The Tribute.  I was able to invite 14 people to join me and I make Wayne's World into a little bistro prior to the show for a quick pre-show supper.  It all worked out great.  We ate to the tunes of the Beatles and got our heads in the right place for the show, then we sang all the songs along with the band and boy were they perfectly in character.

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I only made it to the beach for sunset therapy once in February and while the sun did his best, the beach was cold

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Some friends from the dog park came to dinner and I ate my first veal - as I made osso bucco for Mari and Jack - later Jack and I enjoyed a roaring fire and got caught up on friends far and wide.

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The whole of February was also filled with non photographed events such as Saturday coffee with Aleth, an overnight visit from the Kails, a movie with Chris Sylvia as well as two more Tampa house concerts - Mic Maloney and Paul Geremia... and a pre-birthday dinner with Julie that ended up at Taste for Wine with Amy & Carol.  And every day, a trip with my love, Mister Knightly to the dog part - here he is showing off his jumping skills

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January - The year began well with a great party at Sandra's.
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The next event was a performance of CATS! - Tim and I went - I had never seen it before and was completely delighted by it, especially the big dance right before the intermission.  The following week was my birthday.  The guys said they wanted to take me to dinner, but when we got to the restaurant, there were a dozen more friends there to join us, so it was a party!
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Two days later, the big party for America took place, the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States!  I am going to wait at least 60 days before I comment on how I think he is doing... but my own private joke these days is:  Why aren't Democrats more in favor of tax cuts (like Republicans)?  Because they don't plan to pay them anyway.

The next big party was the Super Bowl party here at Grasshopper Bungalow.  Baby molly kept trying to use the remote, she is probably going to be a techie like her Dad!  
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Between parties I got to spend time with my girlfriends - Julie and I had dinner and Aleth, Bridgitte and I went to the movies, Sandra and I also went to a movie and I went to several movies by myself... as a result, I have seen almost all of the movies nominated for Academy Awards (only 2 more to go).  Here are my Oscar picks:  Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire - Best actor, Sean Penn in Milk, - Best Actress, Kate Winslett for The Reader - Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Tormei in The Wrestler - Best Supporting Actor, Heath Ledger in Batman, The Dark Knight.  

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Photo Album

 If you haven't already seen the photos of my Trip to Sweden at Mid summer 07 or Amsterdam 06 or the wine country of France 05 or my Millennium trip to Sweden or my 2002 trip to Scotland, you can see most of them in Places We Like.  

For a look back at 2008  click here

For a look back at 2007  click here

For a look back at 2006  click here

For a look back at 2005 click here

For a look back at 2004 Click Here

For a look back at  2003 Click here

For a look back at 2002 click here

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         Sandie                                                 Mister Knightly

Las Tres Amigas - The Thompson Street Tootsies
Want to see the ravages of time?  Here are Dion, Mary and I at Christmas (1998) and Easter(1974)!

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Sandie, Chris & Susan in Las Vegas                                                Randy, Tim & Ed
   ICOE - In Case of Emergency


Hello -

So you were out browsing the net and decided to stop in at our site...Welcome

As you can see it is about a girl and her dog.  We live in Florida.  The dog is a puppy and the girl is almost 9 in animal years.  You can contact us at this address:  Click

Here are some data:

    Travel (including camping)
    Books (except Best Sellers)
    Films (mostly classics)

    Dancing (Swing )
    Swimming (both kinds)
    Fishing (especially at night)


Life is Grand!

Mister Knightly and I wake each day with smiles on our faces. We strive to be happy without doing harm to anyone else in the process. This isn't very deep stuff, I know, but that's our philosophy and we're sticking to it! We hope you are enjoying your life. Send us an email and let us know what you think. As my dear friend Richard likes to quote,

"May the long-time sun shine upon you,
all love surround you
and the clear light within you, guide your way home"

                                          - The Incredible String Band


Vintage interiors