Hello World!

Welcome to La-Di-Da Ladies.  Meet Socks, one of our three cats.  He’s a rescue cat, previously a barnyard mouser, but now enjoys a luxurious lifestyle as an indoor cat.  Here he is on an outing in the yard, enjoying the green grass.  I’m not sure if he is squinting because the sun is in his […]

Life on the River


Flights Around the World

The Symphony Guild in Daytona Beach, FL has an annual fundraiser called the Art of Dining showcasing innovative, creative, and original tabletops prepared by area clubs, decorators, florists, and individuals.  This is one table I and 2 friends from the Garden Club of Spruce Creek Fly-In Community put together using our personal china, crystal, and […]

Garden Paradise

This is a photo of our front yard Koi pond at our previous home in Boca Raton, FL.  It was featured on an HGTV special program “Water Gardens” back in 2002.  The beautiful orange and white butterfly Koi in the center of the photo was my favorite, we named her “Lady”.  You can still see […]

Today's Quote:

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.

James Dent

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Alligators In Our Yard!


You have to look real close, but the gator is resting behind the sago palm and the water’s edge.  Needless to say, I too these photos from inside the house and did not go out to get a closer inspection.

The Alligator Trapper caught “the big one” which was 12 foot plus.  Here he is taking him away in his little boat.  Hooray!


Ahhhh, the joys of living on the river, or is there danger lurking in the shallows?  Just thought ya’ll would find the attached photos interesting of our alligator visitors, yes, plural alligators.

There have always been gators floating and swimming past our yard and dock since we have been here, but they typically don’t bother anything or anyone.  However, recently a couple of our neighbor’s dogs were playing in the shallows off of our yard (our yard is not bulk headed like the ones on either side of us) as we were sitting down to watch the evening news when Bob spotted one of the gators (the large one) making a bee-line for the dogs and moving at a very past pace.  I ran out the back door and called to Missy, one of the dogs.  Luckily she is very obedient and came out of the water immediately and ran up on the yard.  The black dog from one street over followed her.  The gator came to a dead stop in the water, about 6 feet from where the dogs were playing.  We figure they had about a few seconds left before attack.

After contacting the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (on the Alligator Hotline), they issued us a case number then issued a permit to the alligator trapper assigned to our area.  He came out the next night and chased “the big one” from the end of our dock, across the river, and into the forest preserve, but couldn’t catch him.  We had gone to Jacksonville or Saturday for our anniversary and to do some shopping.  It just so happened that just as we arrived home, the gator trapper called to see if we had seen any sight of the gator.  As I was telling him that we had not seen him for a couple of days I looked out the window and lo and behold, a gator was sunning himself on our back lawn.  YIKES!

The trapper came about 30 minutes later but by then the gator had gone into the water.  He set a bait hook at the end of our dock and told me to keep an eye on it and call me when the bait had been taken.  YIKES again!  It is very interesting that they put a big hunk of chicken or turkey on a big hook suspended by a long metal pole off the dock.  Attached to the hook is a rope with plastic floaters, like a bait jug and liter bottles from soft drinks at intervals along the rope.  That way when the gator takes the bait and swims off, they just follow where the line of bottles are.  Think of the scene from “Jaws” where they attach the large yellow barrels to the harpoon that they try to catch the shark with.

The bait was still there at 9:00 that night from what I could see from the patio deck, but the trapper said not to come out at night with flashlights to check the trap, just in case the gator was lurking near by.  You think I would go out there at night?  NOOOOOOO!

But at early light at 6:30 the next morning I could see that the bait was gone and I called the trapper.  He came out ASAP and scoured the shoreline of the river in his boat then finally found the gator across the river deep in a cedar creek shoal.  He had to call in reinforcements as his boat was too small to drag him out.  I spoke to him by cell phone and he said the gator was already dead, apparently they swallow the hook and that’s all I will say about that.

The trapper was kind enough to bring the gator across the river so that I could get photos of it, but he had to hurry and get it to shore once it gets out in the sunlight.  The trapper said this was a 12 foot plus gator, and that this was “the big one” that he chased the other night, and the one that most probably came after the neighbor’s dogs.

Page 2 of the story:  The gator you see in the yard he said was only a 7 to 9 footer, based on the photos I took, but was feeling at home enough to come up on shore to relax and sun himself, so he would need to go as well.  I called the Alligator Hotline again and added one more gator to the permit, as the trapper said he was only allowed to catch the one gator on the permit.  So we will be gator hunting again very soon!

Well, so much for excitement in sunny Florida!

Spring Is In The Air & It’s Azalea Time!

Spring is in the air, and it’s azalea time in the San Mateo and Palatka areas.  The azaleas are particularly beautiful this year and we had a mild winter, and the warm weather came early.  As you know, we have been re-landscaping the church gardens.  Here is a look at the gardens in their current state.  We have a collection of mature azaleas that have been here for many years, and we boast 7 different colors.  I would have to say, they are more beautiful than Ravine Gardens, which is a State Park here in Palatka that hosts an Azalea Festival the 1st weekend of March each year, but I might be a bit biased.  Here’s a stroll around the grounds and see the beauty here!





Re-Landscaping the Church Gardens

We belong to a tiny historic Church here in NE Florida.  A lot of the members are descendants from the original founders back from 1892.  It’s a little Norman Rockwell looking church with a great “family” congregation and a super Pastor.  During my winter hiatus I worked on re-landscaping the gardens around the Church.  The majority of the plantings around the Church are azaleas, so I wanted to be sure that these were saved, fertilized, and properly watered.  The techniques used in this application could be applied anywhere, especially at your home and garden.

Attached are some “before” and “after” photos which really tell the story better than any words I could say.  What they say is true, a picture is worth a thousand words.  But I will try to break down the steps I took in getting the gardens back up to looking as they should look to give glory to the Lord.

First I had to remove all the old plants that had either died or were in the process of dying.  Then came the weeding.  Oh my, the weeding took some time and hard work.  You want to first spray as many of the weeds with Roundup and let it sit about a week to give the weeds time to die off .  This will make it slightly (and only slightly) easier to pull the weeds.  A lot of the weeds in the open area could be pulled up with the use of a garden hoe.  That way you can get down to the roots.  Weeds that were closer to the existing plants had to be pulled by hand individually.

 While the weeding was going on, another member of the Church (my new best friend Ron) was reworking the sprinkler system.  Since this Church has been there for 120 years, I’m not sure when the sprinkler system was installed, but I can tell you it must have been a really long time ago.  There is no electrical outlet on the outside of the building so therefore, there is no automatic sprinkler controls.  I asked the Building & Grounds Chairman where were the valves to turn on the sprinklers.  He showed me a cluster of 6 foot tall Canna Lilies on the side of the Church.  The valves and the valve box were buried under the Canna Lilies.  Does that tell you how long it had been since the sprinklers had been turned on?  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of the location and condition of the valve box, but basically, the valves were below ground level.  The valves were also leaking, so the valve box would be partially full of water and mud, and whatever else.  In order to turn the valves on, which were 2 zones the east and west side of the church, I had to wear long rubber gloves and stick my hand down in the muck to accomplish my task.  Also, you had to kneel down on the ground with a rubber pad just to get down to the valves.  Needless to say, this was not an ideal situation.

Enter Ron, the Super Sprinkler Man of the church.  You’ve heard of Super Man, well we have a Super Sprinkler Man!  First Ron had to dig up that 6 foot tall stand of Canna Lilies.  What a job that was!  Then several of the heads and pipes were broken.  Those he replaced (he was real good with the pvc pipe and all the materials that went along with sprinkler repair).  Needless to say, a lot of the sprinkler heads were not the correct type for that area of the garden.  So a lot of new sprinkler heads were bought to replace along the garden area; then they all had to be adjusted so that they would water the plants without getting too much water on the building or the sidewalks.

Another issue Ron had to address is that the flower bed that ran along the front handicap ramp had the sprinkler lines running right down the center.  The plants, which were Indian Hawthorns, were placed between the sprinklers and the sidewalk, causing the bush to hang out over the sidewalk.  Plus, they were planted in an unusual way, kind of bunched upped together.  Ron dug a trench along the ramp, and with the use of some 90 degree “L” connectors, he moved the sprinkler line along the ramp so that we could add side strip sprinkler heads and the plants could then be planted down the center and have room to grow in either direction.  The sprinkler heads would then water just the plants and not the sidewalk.  We first tried transplanting the Indian Hawthorns, but since they were not in the best condition when we transplanted them, they were looking a little sickly, so I replaced them with dwarf azaleas to tie in with the rest of the landscaping.  These were the only Indian Hawthorns on the property, so they really didn’t go with the rest of the scheme.  Unfortunately, we were both so busy working on this project and the weeding, I did not get photos of every step.  But I think you can get an idea from the before and after photos.

Super Sprinkler Man Ron also had to dig up the valves and move them both up above ground.  He also added a water spicket so that we could attach a hose or fill a bucket with water.  Ron also added mulch and a stepping stone to make the area look real nice and function the best.  How great that is now that when I come to water the plants, all I have to do is drive up, jump out of the van, turn on one zone, and I can go back home for about 45 minutes, then come back and turn on the second zone and repeat the procedure.  THANKS RON!  One day we hope to have an automatic control, but this works fine for now.  I go over twice a week to water the plants and it is so quick and easy now.  Good thing we only live about 4 minutes from the Church!


Buying new plants to replace those that had died, or to lay out a whole new garden was the next step.  There was a grouping of plumbagos in the back between the 2 air conditioning units.  Now there seemed to be some tension about me pulling up those plumbagos.  I’m not really sure what the sentimentality of it all was, perhaps someone planted them many years ago, but they were not being tended to nor were they being watered (see sprinkler info above).  When I did try to get some kind of shaped to them, the limbs literally crumbled in my hands like freeze dried space food.

The Pastor was hoping to have a butterfly garden for the children.  Naturally I thought that the space between the 2 air conditioning units in the back of the church would be the perfect place for such a garden, since the children’s Sunday School building was right behind the church building, and this garden area was between the two.  Well I have to tell you there were many tense moments prior to me digging up those dead plumbagos, so I had to be sure I had enough plants to put in their place once they were gone and it all had to be done on the same day so that there was no blank spot in the garden.

Since it was the end of the season I was able to get some real bargains at the local home improvement store.  The church does not really have a budget item set aside for landscaping other than the grass mowing and edging.  So this was going to have to be donated plants.  I was able to find chrysanthemums, blue daze, and Boston ferns at 99 cents each!  Then I brought some lantana from my garden, bought some heather, azaleas, gardenias, and cape honeysuckle at regular price, and it all worked out quite well, if I do say so myself.  The Pastor’s wife Betty Jane also brought in a lot of plants from her garden, a type of lily with long fronds as well as mondo grass.


It’s amazing what a few new plants and about 100 bags of mulch will do for the garden!


We live in a rural community, and the little towns around here sometimes have a “city wide” yard sale.  I wanted some type of trellis to put the honeysuckle vine on to block the view of the A/C units, but the trellises I saw at garden shops were so expensive.  I went to one of these small town yard sales looking for a trellis.  Low and behold, the last booth that I came to at the very end of the yard sale area there was this metal head board and foot board, painted black with vining leaves on it for $15.  SOLD!  I brought them back, and even though they don’t cover up all the A/C units, once the honeysuckle vines begins to grow, hopefully you will notice the flowers and not the A/C units.

Since there is a large area of white clapboard behind the church, I thought if we had a red crepe myrtle tree in the center of the garden, when the red blooms were drooping down, I felt it would somewhat symbolizes Jesus’ hanging on the cross with his red blood.  I know that may or may not appeal to a lot of folks, but since this was a historic church, I thought symbolism might be the right thing to do.  Since it was the winter we have to wait for spring for a crepe myrtle, so in the meantime, I placed a bird feeder on a shepher’s hook and boy, the little birds and a family of Cardinals really like it!

Back Again After a Short Break

Dear Family, Friends, Subscribers, and Visitors,

I’ve been remiss in not posting very much since Thanksgiving of 2011, and I know you have wondered where the “Hot Flashes in the Pan” videos have been.  You will be glad to know that I will be focused more on bringing all types of new information, articles, videos, photos, and a whole new array of projects in 2012.  I took  a short hiatus to work over at my Church, tend to our business of forensic work, went through the holidays, preparing the taxes for the IRS submission, etc.

Featured on my blog will be some of the projects I worked on at the Church which can be applied to all other situations & locations, including your home.  My husband and I also put together a website for the church which I think is pretty phenomenal, if I do say so myself.  It’s a tiny little church, about 80 members, but you just can’t imagine all the things that this little congregation does and gets accomplished.  If you would like, please go to the site:  www.sanmateopresbyterianchurch.com and see all the events, activities, projects, and everything that this church does.  The previous church that we were members of has over 1,200 members, and they don’t do or accomplish anywhere near what our little San Mateo church accomplishes.  Hope you enjoy seeing our “little” church.

I thank you for your patience and understanding while I was away, and really appreciate you keeping up with my blog.  So get ready for a New Year, 2012 will be an fun, exciting, & beautiful time for us all!

Yours very truly,


Shepherd in a Manger

Shepherd Dog in a Manger

Shepherd Dog in a Manger


Found on the Internet / Facebook:

A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard.
During the night, someone came across this.
An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort.
No one had the heart to send him away so he was there all night.
We should all have the good sense of this dog and curl up in Jesus’ lap from time to time.
This is too sweet not to share.
No one mentioned that the dog breed is a “shepherd!”

Thanksgiving Day 2011

Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.  Authors:  Ray Stannard Baker – David Grayson


November 11, 2011 News of the Day No Comments



Veterans Day is a time to honor all those who have sacrificed

for something bigger than themselves:

the safety and freedom of America.


Creative Pumpkins – Part 2 – HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I had planned to send a few new photos each day, but my computer internet router crashed over the weekend, so I have to catch up now.  Since tonight is Halloween Night, I am sending the rest of the photos now to get you “in the mood”.  A friend of ours sent me photos of a lot of different, very creative, pumpkin carvings via email.  I don’t know who did the carvings, or where they came from.  Also there is a market showing a lot of carved pumpkins, but I don’t know the name or location of the market.  ENJOY!









Creative Pumpkins – Part 1

A friend of ours sent me photos of a lot of different, very creative, pumpkin carvings via email.  I don’t know who did the carvings, or where they came from.  Also there is a market showing a lot of carved pumpkins, but I don’t know the name or location of the market.  Since Halloween is in 4 more days, I thought I would send you a few different photos each day to get you “in the mood”.  ENJOY!


Holy Smoke, You’re Awesome Day!

From one gorgeous gal to another ……. Today is National ‘HOLY SMOKE, YOU’RE AWESOME’ Day!  Just thought you would enjoy some cute signs sent to me via email from a friend of ours.  It’s GREAT to be a woman, lady, and especially a “La-Di-Da Lady”!









Cooking Tip of the Day: Use Rubber Gloves

Whenever you are cooking with raw meet, particularly chicken, I find it easy and sanitary to use a pair of disposable gloves when handling the raw meat.  When you are finished with the raw meat, then you can take the gloves off, throw them in the trash, and continue cooking with your vegetables or whatever other ingredients are in your dish.  This will alleviate the cross-contamination of the meat, fish, or poultry juices with any of the rest of your ingredients.

I find that you can usually get the best price on these gloves at one of those big box stores.  They usually come in a double box pak, so they will last you a pretty long time.  I also use them when I’m cutting up onions, peppers, or any other type of food that I don’t want to smell up my hands, or get raw meat, poultry, or fish juices on.

You know, I have been doing this for years, and just the other day Nate Berkus has one of those “celebrity chefs” on his show doing a cooking lesson and she talked about this very same thing.  I thought GEEEZ, I’ve been doing that for years!  Maybe somehow she telepathically got my message (you never know!).

Cooking Tip of the Day: Adding Beans

If you want to increase the portion of a ground meat base that you are making, whether it’s beef, turkey, pork, etc. and do it economically and healthy, try adding some beans to the mixture.  You can use dry beans that you cooked, even left over cooked beans will work.  The easiest method for me is to add beans that are in the can already prepared.  You can used pinto, black bean, kidney beans, white beans, or whichever are your favorites.  If you don’t want to make your meat mixture more on the dry side, then be sure and drain the liquid from the can beans.  If you want to have a little “gravy” in your meat mixture, then leave the liquid and pour in the whole can.

By adding beans, you not only expand the dish to feed more people, which is great if you have a large family or are cooking for a family gathering or party, but you also add the healthy benefits of fiber and antioxidants from the beans.  It also add texture to your meat base.  Then you can use the meat base mixture for spaghetti sauce, tacos, enchiladas, meat pies, etc.


Cooking Tip of the Day: Be Creative with Herbs

Sweet Basil Blooming

Sweet Basil Blooming

Whether you have an herb garden, or if you buy herbs at the store, don’t be afraid to be creative with your herbs.  On my patio I have growing Sweet Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Mint, and Sage.  Even though a recipe may call for one particular type of herb, let’s say you don’t have that type of herb, then use another type.  What I like to do is clip a sprig of each type of herb I have, wash it thoroughly, take off the leaves, and chop all the different types of herbs together.  You would be surprised the melody of flavors that come from preparing a meal that way.

One dish that I prepare uses the cod fish fillets that I get frozen at the big box store such as Costco.  After defrosting, I put the fillets in a small skillet (1 fillet per person usually) with a little bit of olive oil (about a teaspoon or so) and then I chop up a mixture of all my herbs and sprinkle the chopped herbs on top of the fish fillets and cover so the fish will steam cook for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and flaky when you use a fork.

Another great idea for the “herb mixture” is to make a salad using whatever type of garden greens you like.  I usually use a mixture of Romaine and Red Leaf lettuce, maybe some cucumber, carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc.  Then I add the “herb mixture” and toss it thoroughly.  Then try not using any salad dressing, maybe just a squirt of lemon or lime, maybe a small dash of olive oil.  You will be amazed at how flavorful your salad is.  You can taste all the individual herbs, your taste buds will thank you for such an aromatic explosion of flavors.  And you will save a lot of calories by not using a heavy, creamy salad dressing!  Try it once and you will change the way you have salads.




Bar Code

Bar Code

Let’s go for Made in America!!  ALWAYS READ THE LABELS ON THE FOODS YOU BUY–NO MATTER WHAT THE FRONT OF THE BOX OR PACKAGE SAYS, TURN IT OVER AND READ THE BACK–CAREFULLY!  With all the food and pet products now coming from China, it is best to make sure you read label at the grocery store and especially Walmart when buying food products.  Many products no longer show where they were made, only give where the distributor is located.  It is important to read the bar code to track it’s origin.

How to read Bar Codes …. interesting!  This may be useful to know when grocery shopping, if it’s a concern to you. GREAT WAY TO “BUY USA & CANADA ” AND NOT FROM CHINA!!  The whole world is concerned about China-made “black hearted goods”.  Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China?

If the first 3 digits of the barcode are 690, 691, or 692, the product is MADE IN CHINA.  471 is made in Taiwan.  This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to educate ourselves.

Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products “Made In China” so they don’t show from which country it is made.  However, you may now refer to the bar code  — remember if the first 3 digits are:

690, 691, 692 — Made In China

00 – 09 — Made in the USA & Canada

30 – 37 — Made in France

40 – 44  — Made in Germany

471 — Made in Taiwan

49 — Made in Japan

50 — Made in the UK

Please buy USA and Canadian made by watching for “0” at the beginning of the number.  We need every boost we can get!  If the government won’t help us, we must help ourselves.


Tale of the Missing Socks

September 17, 2011 Critter Corner, Home Charms 1 Comment
Penelope Resting with her Socks & Toys

Penelope Resting with her Socks & Toys

My cat Penelope wears socks.  Yes, you heard correctly, socks.  She’s a little over 15 years old now and has arthritis in her back legs.  This causes her to be a little unsteady when using the litter box.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes after she tinkles she looses her balance and steps in the clump of wet litter.

Before we discovered the “sock solution” she would get the clumping litter stuck on her foot, her fur, and between her toes.  Of course we were worried that she might lick the wet litter to clean herself and it would get clumped up in her stomach, but miraculously we did not see her do that.  She cleans herself everywhere else, but she did not seem to want to mess with that wet litter on her foot.

But of course we were also worried that the tinkle would infect her foot if we didn’t get it off right away.  So under the water spigot she would go, at least her foot would go, and of course she did not like that.  It was a two person job, myself and my husband, but if he wasn’t around, it was a real tough job to get that foot clean, but somehow we always prevailed.

One day an idea came to me to get baby socks and put them on her feet.  That way when a sock got soiled (she usually only soiled one at a time) we simply slipped it off and replaced it with a clean sock.  I measured her foot from toe to ankle, and then up her leg.  As luck would have it, Walmart had a package of cotton baby socks with the exact measurement!  A third of the package were white with little purple hearts, one third with purple stripes, and one third all purple.  It’s interesting that the heart socks fit perfectly, and the striped and purple socks seemed to be a bit larger, so they slip sometimes.  Therefore I try to keep the heart ones washed and ready to go.

Penelope's New Socks

Penelope's New Socks

Penelope took to them right away.  They didn’t seem to bother her, she didn’t try to shake them off, and she walks just the way she always has with them on.  Of course her walk is a little funny with that arthritis situation going on.

As I mentioned before, I try to use the heart ones, so after washing them I started to loose one at a time.  I knew how many I put in the washing machine, but when I took them out, one would be missing.  This happened 3 times.  I looked and looked, both in the washer and the dryer (they are both front loaders) and I couldn’t find where they could have been swallowed up by the washer.

After the loss of the 3rd sock, I realized that putting them loose in the washer was not going to work, and I didn’t want to loose any more of the heart socks because those are the ones that fit Penelope best.  Then I came across a small mesh zipper bag that I had in my hosiery drawer.  Since I don’t wear pantyhose very often anymore, I had completely forgotten about that little mesh bag.  Well, that did the trick.  By putting the little socks in the mesh bag, they would no longer get loose in the washer.  This is something ladies with babies might want to try also with their small washables, as I am sure you have probably found missing socks and so forth when they were put in loose into the washer.

The Socks the Washer Gobbled Up

The Socks the Washer Gobbled Up

One day a week or two back when I was pulling out the wash to put in the dryer, one of the socks fell on the floor, mingled in with the fresh wash.  Well it was totally gray with mold/mildew and we threw it in the trash.  But I looked again and the only place where there was an opening was where the water came out, and I couldn’t imagine how it would have gone in there.

Then today, after doing a load of towels, another sock fell to the floor, all grey with mold/mildew again.  This time I was determined to find where that missing sock came from.  I looked and looked then I leaned against the rubber casing that went around the outer rim of the door opening to the front loader.  I thought that rubber was attached to the metal housing that the drum fit into.  But it is NOT.  Upon pushing down further on the rubber gasket, I could see inside a rim that went around the drum housing, and there was the third sock!  Just lying there in all its glory!  Upon further inspection, I realize this must be some type of lint filter for the washer, as there was other fragments of lint mashed in along the side, which was easy to clean out, now that I know the rubber gasket opens up!  Of course we threw these two socks away also, since washing all the mildew might not all come out, and we wouldn’t want that to go onto Penelope’s feet.

So the moral of this story is, if you loose a small article of clothing in your front loading washer, then push down the rubber gasket around the door opening and look for that cavity below it, you might be surprised what you find.

Pets and the Joy They Bring

September 16, 2011 Critter Corner 1 Comment
Socks the Cat

Socks the Cat

Having a pet, be it a cat, dog, bird, fish, horse, pig, or whatever furry creature you relate to, is a positive and healthy experience.  Studies have proven that they can extend our lives, lower our blood pressure, and pretty much make us feel good all over because they give us unconditional love.

You may be surprised to learn that well over half of the United States households have at least one pet (studies show 63% or it may be even more).  A total of 75 million dogs and 85 million cats are owned in the United States (Cats Rule!)  And you can just imagine how many households around the world have not only one pet, but often times many more.

Studies have shown that pets help lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, reduce stress, fight depression, and lower health care costs for their owners.  It has been found that pet owners tend to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-pet owners.  The service animals provide an invaluable service to their human companions by helping to give them independence, warn them of seizures, and give them comfort in light of their trying times and disabilities.

Pets also help their owners by providing them with a greater psychological stability.  A pet’s affection helps its owner when facing trauma or adversity, and help to foster a sense of total security.

Our Beloved Little Gracie

Our Beloved Little Gracie

When my mother-in-law’s health was failing, we had gotten her a cat whose name was Gracie Allen Burns, Gracie for short.  Gracie would lay next to my mother-in-law purring softly and gently nudging up against her for hours at a time.  Gracie brought her so much comfort and joy all the way up to the end of her time.  My father-in-law then gave Gracie to my husband and me, and we loved her so very much.  Sadly she developed a very aggressive type of cancer a few years later.  The vet gave her treatments to try and save her, but her little body just couldn’t fight all the aggression the disease took from her, and we lost her a short time later.

Many nursing home, assisted living and other such facilities are now allowing animals such as cats and dogs to live among their residents, as it gives them peace and comfort.

Have you ever read the book “Making Rounds with Oscar” by David Dosa, M.D.  It is the story of “the extraordinary gift of an ordinary cat” that was the resident of a nursing care / hospice facility.  Oscar brought much comfort to the residents and was always a friend when someone needed that extra purr.  The unusual thing about Oscar is that he knew when it was someone’s time to leave this earth and travel on to their heavenly place with God.  Oscar would go to the patient’s room and stay with that person until the end.  Many would think this would be a scary thing, having Oscar show up, but the families sited in the book said it brought them comfort knowing their loved one was not alone at that special time.

Sweet Penelope

Sweet Penelope

The companion of a pet usually helps people feel better about themselves, reducing feeling of stress, anxiety, and loneliness.  Pets also improve our health by promoting a more active lifestyle.  We not only receive the health benefits from walking or running with a pet (Most likely a dog, but I have seen people walking their cats on a leash.  Mine however would never cooperate with this effort, unless I carried them or rode them around in their stroller.  Yes, I did say their stroller).  We also put forth energy while we feed, groom, and care for our pets.  I know our cats certainly have my husband and myself trained very well in these efforts.

There is significant evidence that pets help develop stronger social skills in children.  Often, a child will turn to its pet for comfort in stressful situations.  Children usually speak to and interact with their pets, helping them develop the skills needed for interactions with other children.  Sharing in the necessary everday responsibilities of caring for a pet has proven to raise self-esteem and feelings of competence in children of all ages.

Take for instance all the work that is done with autistic children and other children that are disabled or are high risk individuals and horses and other farm animals.  There are many programs around the country that are very successful in bringing out the true love of a child and an animal, and the relationship they feel when being around and caring for that animal.  I saw a news article on TV the other night that focused on a group out west somewhere that took in abused horses, then they had children who had also been abused who came out and helped care for the horses.  It was a win-win situation in that both the horse and the child both felt better not only physically but emotionally as well.

Silly Yoda Cat

Silly Yoda Cat

There are so many animals, however, that are discarded like yesterday’s news.  And in a country as caring and helpful as we are, this should not be.  So if you are thinking of getting a pet of your own, or getting a furry friend for the pet or pets you already have, please consider adopting from a shelter.  There are many shelters out there:  all cities and towns would have a Humane Society shelter, and you can find many “no kill” shelters out there as well.  If you are looking for a specific breed, check the internet and there are breed rescue groups all over the country, just type in the breed you are looking for with animal rescue group.  This will lead you to several sites, many of which can pinpoint the rescue group in your area by simply typing in your zip code.  Also check your local pet store such as Petco and Pet Supermarket as they will typically be working with no kill shelters and rescue groups and have animal adoption days sometimes every Saturday, or at least once a month, and some even keep some of the animals available for adoption at their store full time.  So get on the internet and look to see what is most available to you, visit your local animal shelter or pet adoption event and find that perfect furry companion.  You will save a life of not only the animal, but quite possibly even your own.  You won’t regret it!

Can’t Afford a Porsche? Buy the $900 Jeans Instead

My husband is a big car buff, and for the past 45 + years he has worked in the automotive field in one way or another.  So he thought this would be an interesting article to pass along to my readers that I am reprinting from the internet that was written for USA Today by Chris Woodyard.  Enjoy!
Sep 08, 2011
By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY 

Always dream of owning a pair of Porsches? If that goal is a little out of your price range, than considering own a pair of the jeans instead.

Porsche Design specializes in jackets and jeans — but they don’t come cheap
Porsche Design is showing off its latest styles tonight at a swanky, invitation-only event at its boutique in Beverly Hills. A pair of Porsche jeans will run you $390 to $590 unless you want the “celebrity edition.” That will cost $900.

Of course, “Fashion’s Night Out” wouldn’t be complete without at least one celebrity. In this case, it’s Kaley Cuoco from TV’s Big Bang Theory.

Porsche Design’s fashion collection includes a new denim line. The label, which apparently has a dotted-line relationship to the famous German automaker, says its autumn/winter season 2011 is its most extensive ever as it expands into women’s wear, especially jeans. At $900 a copy, we’d expand, too.

Still, it’s cheaper than a Panamera.

Marineland, St. Augustine, FL

Marineland of Florida

From Wikipedia, the free enclyclopedia.
(We live about 45 minutes from this fascinating place, but have only recently had the opportunity to visit.  This article printed from Wikipedia tells about the history of the original Marineland.  No it is not the flashy Disney World mega attraction, but a quiet, peaceful retreat to see the beautiful dolphins and learn a lot about them as well as other sea creatures, a bit of “Old Florida”.  Marineland teaches conservation and educates the public on the world of the sea and the magnificent creatures that inhabit that part of our globe.  Hope you too get to visit one day.) 
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)
Marine Studios

Marineland of Florida is located in Florida



Location: Marineland, Florida
Coordinates: 29°40′6″N 81°12′46″W / 29.66833°N 81.21278°W / 29.66833; -81.21278Coordinates: 29°40′6″N 81°12′46″W / 29.66833°N 81.21278°W / 29.66833; -81.21278
Built: 1937[2]
Architect: John Walter Wood and M.F. Hasbrouch[2]
Architectural style: Moderne style[2]
Governing body: Georgia Aquarium
NRHP Reference#: 86000831[1]
Added to NRHP: 01986-04-14 April 14, 1986

Dolphin Show

Dolphin Show

Dolphin Show

Marineland of Florida (usually just called Marineland), one of Florida‘s first marine mammal parks, is billed as “the world’s first oceanarium“. Marineland functions as an entertainment and swim-with-the-dolphins facility, and re-opened to the public on March 4, 2006 (charging the original 1938 admission price of one dollar).

On the first day of 2011, the park was purchased by the Georgia Aquarium for a reported 9.1 million dollars.[3] The seller was Jim Jacoby, an Atlanta developer and member of the Georgia Aquarium board of directors, who bought the park in 2004 and redeveloped it.


Marineland was first conceived by W. Douglas Burden, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Sherman Pratt and Ilya Tolstoy as an oceanarium that could be used to film marine life. A site was selected on the Atlantic Ocean south of St. Augustine, eventually known as the town of Marineland. The site of Marineland is within a 20,000-acre (81 km2) grant given to London barrister Levett Blackborne in 1767. The well-connected Blackborne, grandson of Sir Richard Levett, Lord Mayor of London, never settled his grant (nor even visited Florida), and eventually Blackborne’s plantation was regranted to John Graham, a Georgia Loyalist fleeing the Revolutionary War.[4] Ultimately, the land that is today Marineland was broken up over the years into smaller parcels.

Financing and construction presented challenges as Marineland was the first attempt at capturing and sustaining sea creatures. These challenges were overcome. Construction and engineering was carried out Arthur Franklin Perry Co. of Jacksonville. On June 23, 1938, “Marine Studios” (the name “Marineland of Florida” would later be adopted) began operations with its main attraction as a bottlenose dolphin. Unexpectedly, over 20,000 tourists clogged Highway A1A to visit the new attraction. For many decades Marineland consisted of not only the oceanariums but several amenities including a motel (Marine Village Court, Marineland Motel and Quality Inn/Marineland); Dolphin Restaurant and Moby Dick Lounge; Periwinkle Snack Bar and Sandpiper Snack Bar; Marineland Marina; plus fruit shop and gift shop; and a pier at the north end of the facility. A Texaco service station was adjacent to the Periwinkle Snack Bar and Greyhound Bus Lines stopped regularly during its St. Augustine to Daytona Beach run.

The total property area consisted of 125 acres sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Originally planned for the St. Augustine area, residents of that community did not look favorably on the attraction being located there; thus the new site south of Matanzas Inlet was chosen.

Having the grandson of Leo Tolstoy involved in the project helped Marineland become a very fashionable destination in its early days, prompting writers Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, John Dos Passos, and Ernest Hemingway to visit Moby Dick’s Bar located there. Ms. Rawlings was married to Norton Baskin who at one time (1950s/early 1960s) was the operator/manager of the Dolphin Restaurant/Moby Dick Lounge. The park’s facilities were very popular with tourists and also used for numerous movies, including Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Revenge of the Creature (1955). Trained dolphins became an additional attraction in the early 1950s as Marineland became one of Florida’s major attractions, attracting over 900,000 visitors per year with peak attendance in the mid-1970s The opening of Walt Disney World Resort in 1971 giving a major boost to the attraction’s annual attendance. However, Sea World’s entry into the Florida market eventually had a very negative impact on Marineland from the late 1970s through the 2009. Many publications unfortunately note the peak attendance at 300,000 which is erroneous. The break-even admission point was 400,000 even during the 1950s.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney who was the major stockholder of the private company opted to sell the marine park in the mid-1980s to a group of St. Augustine businessmen. With declining attendance the norm, the group was unable to meet its loan payments and the attraction was again put on the market. Ownership change was the norm from that point.

Eventually, the maintenance demands of the old park became too costly for the real estate investment group who owned it at that time. The facility began to sink into disrepair as the owners desperately sought a buyer. Finally, through a convoluted deal involving junk bonds, the property was sold. The buyers planned to build time-share condominiums on most of the ocean hammock land but were unable to bring the plan to fruition. This effort resulted in bankruptcy for the buyers. In addition, the already-strapped oceanarium had been reconfigured as a non-profit foundation as part of the sale and was responsible for its own sustenance as well as repayment of the bond issue. Needed monies were not invested in repairs, and the shabby condition of the park offended even the most loyal fans. With no direct ownership, no funding, and the financial burden of bond interest payments, employees were left to cope with equipment failures, no marketing, loss of credit, bounced paychecks, government inspections and the custodianship of the marine mammals, fish and birds. During this era, many devoted individuals and businesses contributed materials and services to help employees keep the place going. In the end, the foundation repaid the bondholders pennies on the dollar, a large part of Marineland’s dolphin population was sold off to Orlando, and the current owner came in and picked up the pieces.

Hurricanes Floyd and Irene in 1999 forced the park to close for two months. In 2003, all of the park buildings west of Highway A1A were demolished leaving only the original structures along the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004, the park closed completely for renovations, and re-opened on March 4, 2006.

During the renovations the original 1938 Circular Oceanarium (400,000 gallons) and Rectangular Oceanarium (450,000 gallons) were demolished. The age of the Dolphin Show at Marineland is now over as the park reopened as a hands on educational facility. Future plans for the area include a condo development on former park lands. The rest of the old Marineland property wound up in the hands of Flagler County and now make up the River to the Sea Preserve one of the County’s many parks.

With a gift from Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney of slightly more than 3 acres (1.2 ha) of land together his donation of about half of the total constructions costs, on January 30, 1974, the University of Florida opened the Whitney Marine Laboratory adjacent to Marineland. This laboratory’s purpose was the experimental study of marine animals but was separate from the lab that was once operated by Marineland. Marine Studios through its Research Facility contributed greatly to the understanding of porpoises from 1938 thanks to Arthur McBride, Forrest Woods and other marine biologists. The staff at Marineland was a “first responder” for hundreds of whale strandings along the southeastern Atlantic Coast during its existence.

Marineland had three bottlenose dolphins born at the newly constructed Dolphin Conservation center in July 2008. Two of them were males and one was female. The calves were named in November 2008.

In January 2011, Marineland was sold yet again and is currently being operated as a subsidiary of the Georgia Aquarium.


  1. ^ “National Register of Historical Places – Florida (Fla.), Flagler County”. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 1986. http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/FL/Flagler/state.html. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c “Marine Studios”. Florida Heritage Tourism Interactive Catalog. Florida’s Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. http://www.flheritage.com/services/sites/fht/record_t.cfm?ID=272&type=c&index=18. Retrieved 17 August 2007. [dead link]
  3. ^ Ruggieri, Melissa (3 January 2011). “Georgia Aquarium buys Florida’s Marineland”. ajc.com. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. http://www.ajc.com/business/georgia-aquarium-buys-floridas-794147.html. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  4. ^ “Town of Marineland Sustainable Tourism Comprehensive Plan Element”. law.ufl.edu. University of Florida Conservation Clinic. http://www.law.ufl.edu/conservation/pdf/marineland.pdf. Retrieved 4 January 2010.

Breakfast on the River

Here are some photos of the assortment of water birds that come for breakfast in the morning on the dock.





Pet Parade in Palatka!

Oh Boy, lots of things that I like!

Oh Boy, lots of things that I like!

Only in Palatka would you expect to see a Pet Parade inside a Tractor Supply store!

Oh Boy, a bag full of goodies!

Oh Boy, a bag full of goodies!

OK, you've been a good girl!

OK, you've been a good girl!

Can I have that please Momma?

Can I have that please Momma?

When my husband and I arrived at the Humane Society of Northeast Florida Pet Event this past Saturday, we knew there was to be a Pet Parade.  We saw several dogs and puppies, and one goat dressed as a ballerina.  We also saw 2 magnificent horses giving folks a ride down a tree-lined shady grassy area, as it was extremely hot that day. 

Imagine our surprise when the parade coordinator started to line up the animals and the 2 horses got right into place, the beautiful paint leading the parade, and the wonderful brown bringing up the rear (pardon the pun).  The goat was second in the procession, prancing proudly in her pink tutu outfit.  The puppies and dogs followed.  The parade entered the store and proceeded down the right hand main aisle all the way back to the rear of the store, went over a couple of aisles and returned back to the front by the left hand main aisle.  It was a real treat for those who came to see the event, and for the shoppers that were in for a big surprise to be shopping along side a horse!  The paint really seemed to be in her element leading the parade, the brown however looked a bit aprhensive about what all the hoopla was about.

Hot Flashes in the Pan YouTube Videos

Hot Flashes in the Pan YouTube Videos

Critter Corner

Alligators In Our Yard!

July 17, 2012

  You have to look real close, but the gator is resting behind the sago palm and the water’s edge.  Needless to say, I too these photos from inside the house and did not go out to get a closer inspection. The Alligator Trapper caught “the big one” which was 12 foot plus.  Here he […]

Back Again After a Short Break

February 2, 2012

Dear Family, Friends, Subscribers, and Visitors, I’ve been remiss in not posting very much since Thanksgiving of 2011, and I know you have wondered where the “Hot Flashes in the Pan” videos have been.  You will be glad to know that I will be focused more on bringing all types of new information, articles, videos, […]

Shepherd in a Manger

November 20, 2011

  Found on the Internet / Facebook: A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard. During the night, someone came across this. An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort. No one had the heart to send him away so he was there […]

Tale of the Missing Socks

September 17, 2011

My cat Penelope wears socks.  Yes, you heard correctly, socks.  She’s a little over 15 years old now and has arthritis in her back legs.  This causes her to be a little unsteady when using the litter box.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes after she tinkles she looses her balance and steps in the clump of […]

Pets and the Joy They Bring

September 16, 2011

Having a pet, be it a cat, dog, bird, fish, horse, pig, or whatever furry creature you relate to, is a positive and healthy experience.  Studies have proven that they can extend our lives, lower our blood pressure, and pretty much make us feel good all over because they give us unconditional love. You may […]