Southern Living… am I cut out for this?

I have lived in Florida for almost 9 months now and I am still asking myself this question, am I really cut out for this?    It would have never crossed my mind to move to Florida, not because it is a terrible place to live or because I hate it, but I just would not have picked it on the map as a place to live.  This however is where my wonderful husband and his family is (who are great by the way)!   It is still quite an adjustment for me…  all the way across the country from my family, what I am used to and what I liked to do – “hobbies”.  That whole “home sick” thing is true. Now, I don’t literally get “sick” – nothing like that,  just miss it.  I don’t know many people who would be able move away from their families like I did.  I mean, I am capable of functioning without my family at my side but it does not mean I don’t really miss them! The reason that I can be away and the reason that I am is because I know how much I am loved… by both my family and my husband.  I am also confident that the two of us are our best together, a great team – wherever that may be.  This is what gave me the strength to go wherever we needed to go and be wherever is best for us.  Home with my family will always be there, it will always feel like home to me, but my husband and I have created our own home and it is where I truly belong… no matter what our address is – true home is where we are together.

So, back on track, this “southern living” stuff… I still don’t have a definite answer to that question… yet I am here – living!  I knew there would be a lot of new things… but never thought that there would be so many and as a matter of fact, I come up with more often!  To be honest, most everything is new.  There are things that I have gotten used to, things I have not, things I do not want to get used to and  things I just refuse to. You just don’t really realize how different areas around the country are from each other until you are actually in the midst of somewhere totally different from what you are used to.  It is probably good to get out and experience new places because it forces you to grow, suck it up and be challenged… ya know, stretch a little bit because after all… you really cannot “break”!

So… I kind of came up with a list of the things that are different or new to me about living in this very spot!  I have to emphasize that this list is not created to bash/make fun of or single people out but it may be quite enlightening for everyone… here and there and in between!

  • fried food is  the most common cooking method here…. fried anything and everything… frequently
  • fresh oysters – yes, I tried one and that is all I needed (or did not need actually). Needless to say, I did not like it!
  • “greens” – by this I mean turnip greens, “collards” etc.  I have never had these before.
  • coffee – as it is now, we have to drive at least 40+ miles to get a good cup of coffee… which is quite the commute to Starbucks. —> I will go ahead and say it – I am a Starbucks brat, true to the core. I jump for joy over a freshly brewed cup of coffee when we can get it.  What I consider good coffee is not the norm… I have heard people say “If it aint cheap, it aint good”… but I could not disagree more!
  • church is way way way different from what I am used to, believe it or not!
  • “the bed”…. this one was one I noticed from day one!  “I stayed in the bed all day”, rather than… I stayed in bed all day!
  • here the meals are called breakfast, dinner, supper rather than breakfast, lunch and dinner!
  • Sweet tea, sweet tea, sweet tea –> If you order sweet tea where I am from you will get unsweetened tea with some sugar packets on the side which can be very irritating because it is really  not the same!
  • People actually BUY pine-needles (or “pine-straw” as they say here) to put around their flower beds etc… I could not believe it!
  • It is hard to find spinach and/or spring mix at a “local” store but I got really excited last week when I went and happened to pass by the salad section and saw some of BOTH!
  • sentences often do not make sence to me…mainly because the wording is different like in this example… “You might could get a job at…”  (I understand this statement of course, it is just worded different)… but that is only the beginning! Sometimes I get asked questions and I have NO idea what I am being asked!
  •  words that end in “ing” are not completed… “Dumplins”, “Thanks-givin”, “nothin”, “workin”,  you wanna put this in your “savins or checkin’ account?” etc.
  • words that end in “ow” or “ows”  are pronounced with “er” or “ers”… shut them “winders”, can you play the “pianer” too?  How on earth do kids learn how to spell?  What they hear cannot help their ability to sound out words to spell them correctly!
  • “y’all”, “all y’all”
  • There are also many different “sayins” I have never ever heard and often need a translation:  “I’m hangin’ in there like a hair-n-a-biscuit” – that one  always makes me laugh.  Where I am from people do not use a lot of sayings, I guess they just say whatever it is
  • food like: boiled peanuts, creamed corn, field peas, potted meat, oysters, alligator, catfish and different kinds of stuff I have never eaten! What is so crazy though is that food I have eaten in abundance many people have either never heard of or never tasted!
  • people driving lawn mowers in town for transportation and even carrying passengers
  •  kids and adults barefoot in the local grocery store… or kids in just their underwear without evidence of baiting for a while
  • referring to a mans wife as “old lady” –> I have never heard this reference before I lived here!
  • I frequently get asked “Where did he get you from?”, “You are not from around here are you?”, “Where did he find you?”…. etc.  So it is obvious I am not from here and people can tell pretty quick and I am not even sure they like it.  This seems like a born here or raised here only kind of town, but that does not go for everyone! Most people are actually pretty nice, but maybe even too nice as I will get into in a little bit.
  • no mountains in view anywhere and therefore, no snow! I really miss definite seasons although I admit, I remember always feeling like winter lasted too long, and summer too short – now I feel like “summer” is too long!
  • Food does not last as long… it goes stale super quick if it is not sealed really tight and items spoil much much faster!
  • Cookies stay extra moist which is great for some kinds but it is hard to make some items dry or crumbly if desired
  • bread dough takes a lot longer to rise and will not gain as much volume
  • my hair is extra frizzy because of the humidity and if I take the time to straighten it, as soon as I walk out of the house it starts to wave and frizz!
  • no hiking, no mountain biking, no snowboarding
  • bugs, bugs bugs and more bugs in abundance, including cockroaches and fire ants which I hate!
  • snakes, need I say more
  • Lots of overgrowth and luscious weeds, vines, poison etc.  I now would  not mind a yard that has the problem of sage bushes, manzanita bushes and pine needles because at least you can see through them and they don’t overtake you in a few weeks!
  • swampy areas
  • alligators
  • ditches in everyone’s yard
  • clay roads
  • I miss the fresh mountain air and leaving the windows open all night to cool off the house.
  • poor cell reception
  • Thunderstorms are better here!
  • door to door sales-people, solicitors, people knocking on your door for about any reason – religion, something to sell or services to sell you or wondering if you have anything THEY could sell for money, or “we noticed a tree in your yard that we can cut down for you (for a large fee)” etc.  Needless to say I don’t answer the door ever unless it is our friends/family.
  • There is not much regular flour stocked in the stores, self-rising flour is more common, but further, no pastry flour, whole wheat flour or any other kind of flour I like to use…. nothing!
  • buttermilk is abundant in the stores –> this is stocked in stores pretty much all the time, but it is never seen in gallons, half would be the largest if even that size.
  • different cuts of meat, or should I say different “parts” of the animal are for sale at the store and seems to sell!
  • regular good ol’ butter is not a big seller and is much higher in price – more margarine and lard sold
  • There were no dates on the chicken the last time I went to the store (emphasis on the last time) and the guy working in the meat responded to me this way after I told him they were not dated: “ma’am, the meat was frozen before so it is all fine”,  So I asked when it was taken out of the freezer and when it was put on the shelf…he responed, “I don’t know, but maybe like 4 or 5 days ago we put it out, but it was in the freezer before so it is fine”…. then I said nothing because I had no words for him.  I know I sound stuck-up but I am serious about food safety and don’t understand a grocery store being anything BUT that.
  • The beach is awesome!!  It is fun to actually swim in it too – I am used to the ocean being only something you look at and maybe get your legs in… just maybe since it is bone chilling cold!
  • no lean beef sold locally, 80/20 is the highest meat to fat ratio
  • The produce section at the stores is pretty small and unclean in my opinion, as a matter of fact the whole store is dirty but there is always people shopping!
  • At church people refer to each other as “brother” or “sister”… brother Steve, Sister Sally.
  • people are generally polite as I have never heard as many, “yes ma’am “, “excuse me ma’am”, “after you ma’am” etc in my whole life as I have in the last few months, but on the other hand, I have also not had as many head nods and whistles either, which kind of makes me want to recant my last statement.
  • I miss being close to a big grocery store, nice department store, home decor/ supply store, national bank chain, garden center, pet store etc.
  • I have found it exceedingly common for people to ask you anything and everything they want here. Privacy is not respected or reserved for the individual to share (if they choose).  People freely give out their information (and others) to just about anyone and expect your information to be given in return. “Who is your momma and daddy?”  “How much money do you make?”, “What is your address?”, “Didn’t you do this or that…?”… that is only the start.  “How did you end up here?”  I am used to building relationships with people and slowly getting to know someone as you choose and they have not already heard everything about you before you actually meet them! There are so many people who come up to my husband and tell him all kinds of things about him (that has obviously been morphed through the vine) and he does not even know who they are! I am starting to get it too, aren’t you married to so and so and isn’t his daddy so and so who works at such and such and then the usual questions that follow… to be honest I really don’t like it and it makes me uncomfortable.
  • hot outside and freezing inside – I am not used to A/C all the time… we had to use it about as much as people need heat in the winter here… not much.    People think I am so weird when I bring my jacket along for inside 🙂
  • cockroaches INSIDE!! –> No we did not have these and I had never seen one in my life until I moved here and they are absolutely disgusting!
  • the bug man… he drives around the neighborhood and sprays, so crazy!
  • and more… these were just what came out off the top of my head!

Again, I am not trying to be negative, just stating the differences for me – it is so easy to list all the things that are different but they are not all bad!  People always ask me about where I am from and it is fun to talk about it and the differences Although many times I feel like an alien.  Do “your people” do this or that…  I don’t really know, but I sure do miss them all… “my people” or “my country” and some people even say!

I still don’t know if I can answer my question, but on first glance, the answer is probably no because it is just not the most ideal place for me, my interests etc. and judging by my list above it is just so different, but for now, it is where we are and therefore I am cut out for it because I can be!  I would be lying though if I said that I wanted to live here forever, because I don’t and that is very hard for people to understand and also for me to say/admit because I know that many people really do love it here and cannot imagine ever leaving and I am afraid of hurting feelings, but I can’t help but be honest about it.

Yes I can do it because this is home.

Happy Birthday Dad!

We have another very special birtday this month…

Happy Birthday to the BEST dad!


The sad part is that I can’t be there to celebrate… give him a birthday hug…  make him a very berry cobbler with extra “cobbler” … some yummy dark chocolate chip cookies with extra nuts… or sit with him and drink coffee outside Starbucks in the morning sun… or have some kind of adventure!  At least not this year!

here is to many many more years ahead…

many many  more adventures to be shared…

Happy Birthday Dad!

I am so thankful for you…

I love you…

and I miss you so much!


We have a birthday today!

Happy Birthday

 …to the most wonderful husband any woman could ever ask for or even dream of!

    1. He believes
    2. He loves me with all his heart
    3. He still pursues me
    4. He is strong
    5. He takes care of me
    6. He works hard
    7. He is smart
    8. He has great ideas
    9. He puts others first
    10. He is generous
    11. He leads me
    12. He always wants what is best
    13. He likes being outside
    14. He is so darn cute
    15. He is home to me
    16. He sees through to me
    17. He is careful with his words
    18. He makes me laugh lots everyday
    19. He needs me
    20. He lights up the room
    21. He is patient
    22. He enriches my life and those he is around
    23. He would rather eat what I cook
    24. He likes to surprise me
    25. He is always thinking of a better way to do something
    26. He dreams
    27. He sets goals
    28. He helps me blossom

why 28 you ask? hmmmmmmmmmm.   I know that I will have no trouble adding to it no matter how many years he racks up because he keeps getting better!  Here is to many many more years ahead and many more things I could have listed!

Pole Creek Mountain

One of our biggest, or should I say the biggest adventure of our time (always too short) in Colorado this year was hiking to the summit of Pole Creek Mountain, a beautiful unique mountain in the San Juan Mountain Range.  When we speak of the incredible view we have from the cabin, this is the very mountain we are referring to, but really…it is just the beginning of the beauty that surrounds us!  I have been to this area since before I was born (if we want to count that).  After all my time in Colorado, even after spending the last 2 summers in the presence of this mountain, this was my first time to the very top!  I have hiked and rode horses on Pole Creek Mountain many times but have never been to the summit… the tippy top!  Now that I have done it, I would really like to do this hike again in the future and even better would be with my husband along! He would love it I am positive… and I intend to sign in on that ledger once again!

On this particular day, the hiking crew consisted of my dad, brother, sister and I, and what a wonderful day we had together.  It was full of adventure, beauty, thrill, dare, challenge and just pain fun!  We crossed quite a bit of snow once we got above tree line  (often as deep as our hips)  and a snow bridge over fast-moving water which was quite thrilling, especially for my brother that broke it on the way back! Yikes! He recovered well and stayed safe and dry. The whole hike had beautiful views but the top was absolutely breathtaking and I did not want to come down for a long time.  The weather was super too which only helps! I have not organized all my pictures yet  but there are some below for you to check out!  If I get around to it I have a few others that show the summit well.

On a deeper note… as there is always some kind of lesson in things (at least for me) as I/we were while hiking along, one step at a time, I had a lot of time to think!  There was plenty of time to talk myself out of the hike if I had wanted to, but I had already made up my mind that I was “going to make it” before we even started out that day.  There were however a  few factors working (or trying to work) against me on this particular day…

  1. The hike itself, the terrain, snow and all that if we want to count that but it was well within my ability I believe – I mean, I made it after all!
  2. The altitude which can be a challenge before and even after proper “acclimation”. You see, I had arrived to the cabin just 3 days before (from sea-level) but I had decided before I even left Florida that the altitude was not going to defeat me no matter what adventures we got into.
  3. The non-joys of the dreaded “monthly cycle”… (yeah I know,  too much information for you and I apologize) of which for me is hardly even tolerable… I mean it is rare that I would normally be able to get out and walk a few steps, let alone hike all day… but again, I had already made up my mind that this would not ruin my week or any activity I wanted to accomplish.
  4. My hiking gear consisted of my hiking shoes,  camelback (which I have had since I was in highschool), a windbreaker/rain shield, sunglasses we found on the side of the river the day before, my mom’s pink hat she insisted I take,  and my headlamp incase it got dark… no hiking boots, gaiters, fancy gear or equipment… but I guess it is my style though and I like it, and it has worked so far!
  5. Half of me was missing – My husband did not get to come along which was sad. I operate the best with him around!

I had decided that it would not be a physical limitation (which really means mental I think) that would prevent me from reaching the top… it would be due to weather or impossible route or the like. All that may be odd, to you, but it works for me and it helped me on that day.  What I am getting at is that if I do not fill my head with undesirable thoughts or outcomes, I will have so much more room for excitement and be able to more clearly see the beauty and greatness in a day or activity.  Because I was not focused on how much hiking we had left, how tired my legs felt, my breathing or all the excuses I could have had to disqualify me for the hike I was free to just enjoy!  There were times I had thoughts enter my head about being tired for example but the faster I excused them, the sooner the enjoyment would come back!  I was able to dream of what adventure could be next rather than when the current one would end.  I also knew I could do it which also helps because I never questioned if I would be able “to make it” or not.  I make the hike sound so hard but it really was not bad… I can just see how if I would have been exhausted in my mind it would have worn me out physically too… I still had some energy to spare when we got home after our 3,500 elevation gain!

Although the hike was challenging for me, I know that I want to continue doing this… not just for the current trip but in the years and years to come.  I don’t see a line in my life that I will cross that would disqualify me from adventure.   My dad is someone who I look up to because I admire that he is still out doing things like this – planning and executing adventures… engaging in physical activity, adventure  beyond the normal Joe.  He has enough aches, pains, tears and patches to disqualify himself years ago from many things he still does… but he still presses on because he knows that the benefit he gets from his activity outweighs the pain that he feels. He is not one to accept that he is just “too old” to do this or that and quit.  I am so thankful that he is able to get out and enjoy life.  There are so many people his age (even younger) that cannot fully enjoy life because they have deemed themselves “too old for that”…  I know people my age that make comments like that too and it makes me sad!   I think about how many years I have left to live and enjoy and I want to enjoy them fully!  I do not plan on excusing myself anytime soon.

Take this as an encouragement for you to strive in whatever stage of life you are in and don’t accept defeat… always at least try! Defeat happens, but moreso when you do not try or give up before something is over. I’m not saying you have to summit mountains for adventure or to avoid defeat. Come up with your own adventures and always try – give it your best.  You never really know the outcome of something unless you don’t try!  If you don’t at least try, the outcome is already lined out for you.

Have a great day and keep it up!