Sandie & Mister Knightly @ Home


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!!


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Past History:

2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

Thought for 2017: 

"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood."

-   Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The Christmas Letter 2017 - It was early Christmas Eve Morning and there was a dense fog, so no visible sunrise.  Mister Knightly and I set out for a walk around Crescent lake to commune with the ducks and geese and the other water fowl.  A small flock was sitting in the lake staring in the direction of the sunrise waiting and then, at the moment it should have appeared, they turned and proceeded about their business.  They knew it was up.  As we continued to walk the mists and the shadows made the lake  seem very Arthurian and then I saw a beautiful tree, and I think I fell in love.  Not love at first sight, because I have walk past that tree many times before, but love nonetheless.  We shall see how things progress between us as the seasons unfold.

I have fallen so far out of love with the government and the leadership in this country that I no longer find any part of it even to Like. So I have decided that while I will act to redress these dislikes I have, I will not allow them to foster anxieties, fears or hatreds in my heart but will direct my own attention elsewhere.  In refocusing in this way I can foster my own gratitude and happiness in the deep assurance that as the Desiderata says, "Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should."

I have begun a new chapter in my life with this move to 915.  I can already see that it will be filled with challenges that will try my patience and create anxiety and frustration.  I must strive to maintain perspective when this happens.  Mister Knightly will be 12  next birthday and I must strive to spend more quality time with him; more ball throwing and long walks, the stuff dogs like.  As I stood at the edge of Crescent Lake I recalled Arthur's farewell speech and spoke the words aloud to the ducks below us.  This made me realize how wonderful classic literature has been to me with its ability to enhance life down through the years and i am resolved to do some rereading of favorites in the year ahead.  I have also noticed a growing tendency in myself to be snarky and I must resist it.  Sarcasm comes to me naturally or has over the years but snarky need not be allowed to trend any further.  So I am resolved to try to be a better person: maintain perspective, cultivate patience, spend more quality time with Mister K, reread some classics, avoid making snarky remarks and eat better foods.  I wish anyone reading this a very Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful 2018


November / December - I returned from Greece via a day in Heraklion followed by another day in Athens, where I revisited the Acropolis.  and then, once home, I was into moving and moving and moving.  I moved almost everything that wasn't to heavy to lift in a boat bag and many nights I went to bed aching in every bone of my body... I enjoyed Thanksgiving with Marcia & Bill and didn't miss cooking a bit.  I closed on Dec 15th and went into contractor mode fixing 915 up.  Christmas Eve was spent with Tim, Randy and Ed but there had been some doubt as Randy's Mom went for a surgery earlier in the week, but she came through it just fine.  Diane came into town after Christmas and we held a Memorial for Paul David at Caddys and as I write it is almost New Years and I think I have a cold coming on... 

October - So Grasshopper Bungalow is sold!  It only took 2 days!  A nice couple of kids in their early 30's will be my new neighbors.  Then we began the inspections and continued the giving away of stuff until it was time for me to leave for Crete where I spend the last half of the month.  There is no way to explain how wonderful Crete was for me.  It was  a stiff wind that blew all worry and care away from me.  I felt a sense of adventure that I need very badly and I had many varied and excellent conversations with people whose experiences differ from my own and so enable them to show me perspectives I might not otherwise have seen.  I saw antiquities that also help to put this little life of mine in perspective too.  And I feel as if I came close to making new friends - friends I hope will come to Florida and continue the conversations.  I will post some photos but nothing can capture the wonder and happiness I felt during those weeks...


September - I spent the entire month of September giving stuff away and I did pretty well - some stuff went to neighbors, some to charity but I feel a great deal lighter from the exercise.  I tented the 915 house and Gracie went into boarding and Paul into Assisted Living...the end of an era.  Then we got tapped by Hurricane Irma.  I say tapped because she was Cat 3 heading up the west coast but dropped to Cat one and took a bit of a right turn to avoid Tampa Bay.  Not that she didn't do damage. The Kellers sheltered here and then went back home just as my power blew the morning after the storm... it was out for 5 days and I felt like a miner at night reading in a head lamp.  But I ate well, finishing off the frozen soft shelled crabs in the freezer which had defrosted.  My TV was the only casualty it seems my flat screen is filled with small light bulbs which now shine through all my movies and shows... I'll need to replace it eventually but for now I am getting used to it...

  I decided to put Grasshopper Bungalow on the market October 1st and spent all the rest of the month working long days to get it in tip top condition for showing.  Meanwhile I had the walls and floors at 915 painted and refinished.  I had a lovely evening at Passe Grille with Linda, Birgitte and Paul T. so the month wasn't all work.

August - For a change, August was an easy month filled with taking care of Gracie and making plans for the future... getting the ducks to line up in rows.  Jim and I had some beach walks and I threw a birthday pool party for Sandra Bruen, but other wise it was a non-event.  I began downsizing and I can honestly say I made some progress which continues into September.  I did no drawing.  My heart just wasn't into it. 

July - July began with a small pool party.  Jim and Jeff came over and we played pool ball and grilled brats.  I was an easy day and then we walked down to the Vinoy for the fireworks.  The following Monday I began a new weekly event of walking the beach early in teh AM and having a breakfast at Caddy's.  It was a little mini morning vacation and one that I want to continue if there is no rain.  I'm not working so i have been able to put in time drawing and painting.  I'm still not any good but I sometimes think I am improving.  On the 16th I joined Tim, Randy, Sandra, Marcia, and Bill to see the play Marie Antoinette at Free Fall Theater... it was interesting but the lead seemed to think she should be played as a Jewish Princess/Valley Girl... oh well, perhaps.  If you'd asked me at the beginning of the month how my neighbor, Paul was doing I would have said GREAT! But on the 17th he took a series of falls, fractured his femur and has been in the hospital ever since.  His health has been up and down ever since and I have decided that he cannot continue to live next door alone.  His family will need to move him to a nursing home or assisted living.  I will be caring for his dog for some time while they look for a new home for her.  It is a sad situation and it isn't made easier by Paul's stubborn and aggressive self centered behavior.  What this means for me is that I will finally be able to sell my house and move over to Paul's and begin my retirement in earnest.  I had a lovely dinner with Marcia, Bill and David on the 20th and then had a sort of pick up pool party with my neighbors Mary & Dave on the Saturday.  The following week Conan came down to see to Paul and I got to spend some great time with him... it is too long between visits with that guy.  He is a true favorite person.  The weather all month was rainy so I only got in two beach walks but I kept busy with drawing, reading and movies (with Gary, Barbara and Joan).  Snooty the Manatee died in an accident too...very sad.  I am so very glad i went to see him again in the spring.

June -  I usually take to whole month of June off from the spice shop, but this year it appears it will be the whole summer - sales are slow and they can't afford me even part time... I worry about the store!  our stock boy and my long time friend, Hunter graduated from High School!  I attended a party to celebrate on the 3rd.  very nice event...  On the 6th i treated a co-worker, Willow to the Opera, Tales of Hoffman, long, but very good!  Then it was time for the long awaited trip to Flagler Beach to see the Kails.  Mister Knightly likes the Kails, but he really loves the ocean.  We had three good days by the sea with big surf.  The waves really knocked him about but he was game and wanted to give it him all.  I can see he is getting older now (he will be 11 in August) and it is sad, but I am getting older too and if we both can stay healthy we should be able to enjoy the years ahead.  Of course while I was away my A/C decided to freeze up!  The rest of the month was filled with painting water colors and lunching around... Marcia and I did lunch in Gulfport and went to the Tuesday Market.  Sydni and I did coffee on her birthday, Susan Hunt and I did lunch and shopping and then there was lunch with Runelle, the widow of my gym friend, Jack Bowman.  On the Solstice the A&W gang came over for dinner and a swim, but we ended up just talking so, no swim.


May - Whew!  May is a jam-packed month of things to do.  While I ended April with a birthday celebration on the 30th for the May Babes, it was really only the beginning... but first there was a Thank You dinner for Jim, Jeff, Paul and Diane at the Casual Clam.  It was Diane's last night in town and I needed to thank the guys for dog sitting while we were out at the beach.  That weekend the whole gang went to see Hairspray by American Stage in the Park.  I never saw the movie or play so it was a first time for me - it was was a Christmas gift from Tim & Randy.  Plans to celebrate Ed's birthday at he beach got moved around because he caught something but finally took place - unfortunately it wasn't much of a sunset.  Susan Hunt and I made time to do lunch in St Pete and do a bit of thrift shopping.  The little dog, Piper came to stay while Troy went to Key West (he is Diane's grand-dog)  Gracie hated it so much she tried to eat her and ended up biting me in the tit!  I had a meeting with Hills Travel in an attempt to get an early start on my trip to Russia in 2018 and then there was a dinner for Randy's birthday.  Hunter came for half a day and we worked hard on Paul's yard and now have it looking pretty good.  Marcia and Bill adopted a rescue dog and took a bunch of us to see End of the Rainbow at Free Fall Theater and then home to meet her for a taco dinner..,. a very lovely treat!  And I decided to try to go without a drink all month.  Didn't succeed but did pretty well... had a cold beer after the day of yard work as it was perhaps the last nice day to sit on my porch and have it until fall... and had another drink on Memorial Day.  lost about 4 lbs.  And I now know that I drink when I am bored or angry... otherwise I can leave it alone.


April - I was afraid that April would be very hot... and I did have to put on the A/C more than in previous Aprils but in the end we had enough cool, nice weather to declare that Spring was still here.  And it was a busy month.  On the 1st I was out in Straub Park before dawn to set up for an exhibit during a 5K Fitness Run... the following day it was out for brunch with Marcia and her girl friends at Cassis and then on to the MFA for Art in Bloom!  Paul's garden cam to an end and mostly so did mine... I have been working hard at the gym but I have also been eating out more and my weight is up as a result.  On the 15th I went to an all day birthday party for Evey, Maddie, Tim Riddle and Kail in Orlando and the next day drove home for Easter Brunch with Jim Miller.  After Easter, Diane blew into town with her friend Paula and we all went to Marcia's big music party which was very nice.  Susan hunt and I made a pilgrimage to Bradenton so I could visit Snooty the Manatee again... I would be sad if he had passed before I saw him again.  On the 27th & 28th Diane and I stayed out at the beach on the inter-coastal so we could party and not have to drive ourselves home.  Dinner with Tim & Randy at Caddy's the first night and then dinner at the Pearl the following night, where, again, I definitely overate. The month ended with a dinner party for Bill, Marcia, Tim, Randy & Ed at my house followed by a show at Straz Center called Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man.

March - March was my Spring!  The Days were mild and the nights were cool and a light breeze seemed to fill the air every day.  We are in a drought so the mosquitoes were nowhere to be found and I practically lived on my front porch.  My hair is getting long and so I went in for a trim to shape it up.  The mild days allowed me to wear it long but I will have it up when the temperatures get high.  I went to see Geri's cousin in the play, Red Velvet with Jim Miller.  I was an early curtian and we both worked that day so we picnicked in the parking lot before the play and went for dessert downtown after the show.  It was a nice evening.  My buddy Kail had a heart attack and scared the crap out of us  but has improved since and seems to be ok now.  Doug & I went to see David Bromberg again and enjoyed his show.  Susan Hunt fell and tore some ligaments in her foot so I went down to have lunch with her - and finally got to have the oysters I'd been craving for weeks.  Caught up with Tommy at the A&W to hear Backtrack Blues Band but had a horrible hangover the next day even though I only drank 2 beers - I may have to give up craft beer.  As the month drew to a close I learned that I have a chance to win the gym Final Four pool (I'm in the top 5) which would give me bragging rights good for a year... but when b-ball ends, baseball starts and it will run on forever or at least it will feel that way.  Had lunch with Barb & Gary Keller, Joan B and Don C and then we all went to see the Kellers new condo which was really lovely.

February - The month began well with a big Super Bowl party  here.  22 people and a ton of food - the wrong team won but it was a great game and a terrific half time show.  Work was slow all month, I was worried the tourists had decided to visit another city but toward the end of the month they started to return.  I saw robins this year.  They are only in town a short while and I have been missing them in past years but not this time.  I had coffee dates with Sydni and Aleth at different times and enjoyed the conversations.  I worked hard at the gym after the party to loose all the weight I'd put on from the cruise, the holidays, my birthday and the goes on easy and comes off slow.  But toward the month's end I had some very sad news - my dear friend, Mona Lindberg passed peacefully into history, I will miss her and hold her in my thoughts.

   Mona Lindberg           

January - Another year begins... it will be my 70th.

 Only it was a fun and easy birthday...  Big 0 birthdays make you look both backward and forward.  What have you done with those years, what is there yet that you can do, and have you achieved what you think you should have achieved with your life... you know, the Big questions?  When the number is 50 you feel that is a respectable number of years to have lived and you can speak with some authority on things.  At 60 you realize that youth has slipped away and maturity is about to do the same.  In the last year, year 69, I saw so many celebrities of my age die, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Patty Duke, etc. mortality was on my mind.  Mortality and Maturity were governing my thoughts... I spurned a younger man's attentions because I felt too old... And then it was 2017 and suddenly it all went away.  The weight of all those years lifted and I felt 28 again!  So now I am looking forward to doing things I want to do and having fun and not taking things too seriously... in a way I am now a "short timer"... I don't want aggravation, or stress or anger in my life.  I don't know how long I have left, but I want to try to live as if each day is my last and I want to have fun doing it.  And I resolve to try... and to eat more fruit too ;-)

  There were many fine meals with friends and there was some dancing though not nearly enough, and there were sunsets and best of all there was Susan to help me celebrate day & night.  We had a lovely time together, talking and walking and being girlfriends together as well as family.  

But then it was time for her to fly home and for me to get back to my daily life and two days after my birthday there was the swearing in of President Trump.  I resolved to try to give him the chance his followers never gave President Obama and now 12 days later I am still trying but he and Mr Bannon are making it very hard for me every single day!