A Herd Of Turtles & Very Large Hearts

Oh Baby It’s Cold Outside…Yes, even in Florida.  Due to a major dip in temperature, our sea turtles are experiencing  the second largest cold-stunning event in the Florida Panhandle since 2010, when approximately 1,800 sea turtles were rehabilitated. Sea turtles can become “cold stunned” — when their bodies go into shock due to frigid temperatures — when the waters get below 50 degrees in shallow bays and estuaries…..

Enter our Snowbird Heros….

Jann Gallager, retired officer for the Department of Natural Resourses, and a prominent and much loved member of the exclusive “Dog Walkin’ Furever Friends”,  assisted in rescuing over 850 “cold stunned” sea turtles here in Cape San Blas. Some of the sea turtles she rescued looked like they weighed more than she did!  Jann transported them approximately one and a quarter hours into the hands of Gulf World, in Panama Beach, FLA., where they are recovering in warm waters.  According to Gulf World, most of the turtles will recover within the week and returned to their waters – depending on the weather.  However, some have suffered pnuemonia and will require extra tlc.

Jann Gallager, retired officer for the Department of National Resources, and a prominent member of our Dog Walkin’ Furever Friends, assisted in rescuing over 850 cold stunned turtles.

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And our Jann wasn’t the only hero here in Barrier Dunes.  Retired Vet, Jan Masica, and an owner in Barrier Dunes, stated in her facebook post that “the  turtles were rescued by people walking the shorelines and either hand carried out or transported in sleds, kayaks, and tarps. There were also people out in kayaks gathering up the turtles that were floating in shallow waters”.  Jan was instrumental in gathering many “Snowbird” volunteers to aid in the rescue and transportation of these beloved Cape San Blas sea turtles.

Jan Masica, retired vet and owner here at Barrier Dunes was instrumental in gathering snowbird volunteers to assist in the rescue

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Now if that doesn’t warm your heart, I don’t know what will.

Back a few days upon our arrival and first beach walk.  It was a little cool..well, actually it was a lot cold! But we arrived at our second home and amazing beach.  Miles of “snow” white beaches, with very few people enjoying it except us Snowbirds and our pups!

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1st Beach Walk 2018-4

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Journey and Brody goofin around.  Nice height there, Journey!1st Beach Walk 2018-14

Forever Friends…1st Beach Walk 2018-8

Yes, that’s a Canadian Touque..1st Beach Walk 2018-9

Brody’s first dip1st Beach Walk 2018-19

A happy crew!1st Beach Walk 2018-31

And now for the necessities….Piggly Wiggly’s for groceries and The Dockside for our traditional Grouper Fingers…oh yeah!

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Can’t get enough seafood…Yummy shrimp donned our tableIMG_2470

and very tired pups after a wonderful day of sunshine, swimming and playing with their friendsIMG_4675IMG_8362

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And then enters Christine, Phil and Olive!

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While we wait…..

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And there swimming, of courseChristine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-7

Tam Tam with her ball…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-12

And goofin around…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-10And trying to dunk the turtle hero…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-15

and trying to make up with the turtle hero…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-14

And there they are!  Christine, Phil and Little Olive with her ball!Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-16

Can you think of a better welcoming???Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-17

True to form!  Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-22

After more than a year, we are reunited with our dear friends!Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-23

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One happy, wet puppy!Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-32

So there’s a story about milk and the way it’s packaged in Ontario, Alberta and ummm…now in Florida.  Bags vs Jugs.  Our dear new Ennismore neighbours, Mary and Jeff, swear by the jugs and have…ahem, made a little fun of our Ontario milk “bags”.  So, as seniors, let’s see how this fends for us trying to open the “jug”….IMG_6284.JPG

So what do you think?  Bag or Jug?  Regardless, we are dining on amazing grouper fingers made by our boys….YUM!

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Last but certainly not least, the ladies are dining out at Apalachicola’s Owl Cafe, (with shopping to follow!) while our men are golfing….our favorite place to eat!

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An amazing first week!  Now we wait for Claudio, Kimmy and Meca to join our clan this weekend!

Let me leave you with this….

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Life Is Good…..

 

Full Circle – We’re Baaaack, Cape San Blas(t)!

After one amazing New Years Eve “pub” party at Don & Lea’s and closing said pub at 3:30am, we set out for our Florida adventure, after a delicious Rowan breakfast @ 11:am, and headed to our first stop, Windsor.

And. It. Was. Cold!  -22C and that’s not with the windchill.  You know it’s cold outside when your feet can’t get warm in the car!  The drive was fine, the hotel..well that’s another story.  PM me if you want to know what hotel in Windsor NOT to book.  I’ll leave it at that.

Off we go in the morning around 7am, temperature is now -16C.  Still very cold?  Oh no…as we travelled SOUTH, the weather got colder.  Yes, right back down to -22C until we arrived at our next stop, Knoxville Tennessee.  We stopped at La Quinta Knoxville Papermill and I recommend this hotel.  It’s right off the I95, clean and the beds are very comfortable.  They’re dog friendly and the breakfast is yummy.  Now on to our final destination!IMG_4627

The temperature was still around -8C, cold, but nothing like the -22C temps that were consistent until Tennessee.

We watched as the temps creeped up to 8C as he headed into Florida.  When stopping at the Florida welcome centre to have our traditional cup of orange juice, the nice lady there asked where we were headed in Florida, as all roads were closed from Tallahassee to Jacksonville..due to a freak snow storm.  Accidents all over the roads!  Luckily we were headed to The Cape and the roads were dry, but sky overcast.  Just as we caught sight of Port St. Joe (the closest town to The Cape), the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly on the ocean.  I’ll take this as a sign…

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As we turned onto The Cape, Brody (who is a very quiet guy and doesn’t make much fuss) started crying and looking out the window, trying to alert his hooomans, that finally after being couped up in the car in this silly seat belt, he’s headed to his favorite place…Cape San Blas(t).  Where dogs can play on the beach and life is good.

We arrived at approximately 5pm and were greeted by our friends and most importantly in Brody’s world – his girl Tam Tam.  He was so happy to be here, I think he wore our his pal:-

After a fabulous dinner, totally cooked and presented by Trevor, joined by Nancy and Jannie, we headed to our Condo to a much needed rest.

Ahhhh….lovely nights sleep, awakened to thoughts of all the great memories we will make here with our friends, both furry and human.

The Cape awaits….

I’ll leave you with this…

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Life is good.

 

An Ode To 888 Douglas Avenue

33 odd years stockpiles a plethora of  many wonderful memories.  Some before my time, but special none the less.

With the sale of our home  at 888, we are eagerly anticipating the next chapter of our lives in our forever-together home.  But first, lets reminice……

888 was purchased by Mikey and Sandra (previous administration) as their first home purchase.  Mikey tells me that the budget was strict, as the numbers were  tight, like with most young and first time homeowners.  We can all relate to this scenario – especially the youth of today who need double incomes and sometimes multiple jobs to make ends meet.

The new buyers of 888 are a young British couple who are looking forward to starting their family here…which brings me to my first memory 16 odd years ago….Family…..

Mum, AKA Gwennie, “The Queen Mother”,  Nannie Wilks…one amazing woman.  And Ellie, Gwennie’s best friend and partner in crime, another facinating lady.  Which brings me to my first meeting of my then potential mother-in-law.  BUT!  First let’s step back just a couple of days before that meeting….

In the months prior, I met the MOST wonderful man in the entire world.  No seiously.  I’m sorry folks, but he’s all mine.   Our first “date”, which wasn’t really a date, Mikey spoke fondly about his mother and the love he had for her.   I was hooked from the start.  I always told my children:-

“marry a person who treats their mother with respect and love, as that’s how they will treat you”.  

In the coming months, Mikey prepared for his mother and Ellie’s annual visit.  The flag is flying to indicate the queen in residence!  They have arrived!  They are all settled in the back yard with their favorite drinks; the weather is warm, gardens in full bloom, the pool inviting.  Mikey tells them he’s coming to see me that night – the new lady in his life. They are delighted and looking forward to meeting me the next day.  As we had shared a bottle of wine that night, Mikey stays over (on the couch!) with the thought that Gwennie and Ellie will be fast asleep by the time he sneaks in at 6am to get ready for work. Fast forward to the next morning.  BIG MISTAKE.  He finds the two English beauties sitting at the diningroom table, in their nighties, with the telephone book open in search of the number for the police to report a missing person!

The call would have gone something like this….

“911 what is your emergency?”.  (Gwennie) “I’d like to report a missing person.  My son, Michael.  He’s 5’10, medium build and very handsome.  I should tell you that he’s met a new lady friend, went over there last night and hasn’t returned.  Oh yes, he’s 51 years old”

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After Mike sheepishly told me the tale of the ladies sleepless night, I felt a wee bit of pressure entering the backyard for my meeting with my future mother in law and her most protective best friend.  I needn’t worry, the visit was wonderful and thus the beginning of a wonderful relationship.

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And so, we became family……in 2004, Mike and I made it official.  We married in our backyard with our family and close friends witnessing our love and committment to one another.  It was a very casual wedding…the invitation requested that you come in your shorts, bathingsuits or whatever you felt the most comfortable.  My Fred Dad (I have two), Justice of the Peace was the officiant (how special is that?!).

0017a Gwennie, Ellie, Elise (Ellie’s daughter), Oliver(nephew)…AND Mike’s father, Les, all flew across the pond and attended.  What made our wedding so very special is that, for most of Les’ life he was plauged with agrophobia – the fear of the outdoors…so let’s delve into this story a bit more…

When we were in England that previous year, we announced our plans to marry.  Les had suffered minor strokes that year however, aquiring a form of dimensia diminished the Agrophobia!  YES!!  So, I asked Les if he would like to come to our wedding.  He was delighted.  I whipped him downstairs to the photography shop and we got his passport pics, ordered his birth certificate and booked his ticket!  When Mike saw his father being wheeled through the arrivals lounge at Pearson, the tears in my soon to be husband’s eyes told the story of a fairytale come true.  In all the years Mike was in Canada, never did he even remotely envision his father being able to visit, let alone attend his wedding..

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Our Godson and two Grandsons provided me with a special delivery of trinkets attached to flowers..each was a christmas ornament with pictures of our new family…they have gracefully adorn our Christmas tree every year since.

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Our daughter sang, while our son played the guitar…

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My sister was my Maid of Honour

0015We became family that day…The happiest day of my life

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Our favorite day of the year, the first Sunday in December is our Gingerbread House building party.  Mike and I celebrated our 15th year of hand making gingerbread houses for our family and special friends to decorate.

WE CALL OUR HOUSE THE “BREAD AND FISHES” HOUSE.  NO MATTER HOW MANY FRIENDS AND FAMILY GRACE OUR DOOR, THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM AND PLENTY OF FOOD

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Then there’s Blue Sants…a tradition born long before our children…

There is no one that is too old to sit on the knee of Blue Santa…

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T’was the night before Christmas….Blue Santa 2015 (26 of 128)

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ahhh…and who could possibly forget our Secret Santa Hedge?

It all began about 7 Christmas’ ago.  We returned from a trip South in the early days of December and low and behold, our hedge at the front of our home was garnished in the most beautiful decorations.  Someone had gone to great lengths decorating our hedge.  But who?  First person to come to mind is our little Disney Princess, Tina.

Gingerbread! (70 of 117) But no; she swore on our friendship it wasn’t her.  But who?  Neighbours?  They all pleaded not guilty.  But who?  The mailman, family?  But who?  We will never know.  So every year, we put the decorations back on the hedge and EVERY year, more magically appear!  Whomever you are Secret Santa, you have made our Christmases that much more special.  We have left a bag with the special decorations for the new owners of 888 who have promised to carry on the tradition.

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I love my birdies..as 888 backs onto a ravine, we have many, many visitors in our backyard

Friend, Amigo, Pengyou, Vriend, Sadiq, Ami, Freund, Vinur, Cara, Amico, Filos…

…over my 61 years, I have been blessed with many Friends.

And many of these friends are asking me where the heck my blog has gone.  Hmmm…See, I was thinking (always dangerous) that maybe I was inundating people with them, so decided to cut back.  However, what I’m hearing is that many of my dear friends like to read em!  So, I’ve got some catching up to do!

Here at Cape San Blas(t) our pack keeps growing!

from left to right (Mikey, Ken, Ruth, Susan, (Trevor is missing) Kim (Claudio is missing), Jann, Nancy, Christine, Phil, Michele, (Leslie is missing), Catharine (Pete is missing) and Megang1

Most of our new friends are snowbirds, however, some are also owners here – but ALL of them are dog people.   Many of our closest friendships have been through our dogs.  Most of you know that is how Mikey and I met…and he didn’t have a dog!

Here is Jan and her lovely family…. Jan is a fellow photographer and an owner here.  Jan blesses us with her wildlife photography, beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

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Here’s Carol and Andy…another very talented photographer and owner!

16129197_10158238754525454_910684649_o… we also have Catharine who wears many hats as a photographer and Professional Dog Trainer.

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and her hubby, Peter – who is a vet and with this pack, very handy!  feb-2-28ok, now your getting why I don’t need to take my camera out every day?

Suz & Trev…our dear friends…Love you both LOOONG time

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And then there’s Ken (who introduced Mikey and I) and Ruth..again dear long time friends

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Christine & Phil whom we met here last year!  Love you both LARGE

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Nancy Jean, we met last year and have visited back and forth from Michigan and Pickering this past year.. beautiful inside and out.16252024_10158255327495454_5423493161732891761_o

Jannie, our little leprechaun “shenanagator” we met last year and again visited back and forth to Michigan.. so thoughtful and giving16463191_10158319184150454_2523451866368014731_o

Kim and Claudio..we met them  here last year, but really got to know them this year.. Love you both

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Our fun Wisconsin friends that brought us some of their amazing CHEESE!

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Leslie..where did you go!?  I didn’t get to say good-bye to you.  So wonderful to have met you and I hope we can keep in touch!

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and here is a random friend that we met just today…

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So…you get the picture (no pun intended) right?  We got a lotta friends.. and they keep growing. If I’ve missed anyone, it’s cuz I haven’t got a good picture of you..so c’mon over and we’ll fix that.

Now to the point of this blog.  Like family, there are many types of friendships..acquaintences, old, new, casual, besties…When it comes to socializing here at the Cape, due to the size of our pack, many times we can’t do it all together.  But that doesn’t mean that we don’t try!

Merriam Webster defines friends as:

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So blessed to call you all my friends.

I’ll leave you with this:-

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Life IS Good……

Mad Dogs & Englishmen…

Although we do have Englishmen…there are definately no mad dogs here!

img_2707-editThe gang is almost complete..just waiting on Claudio –  who is currently playing at a waterpark..(he tests the rides after he builds em..currently testing one of the largest water features in Orlando).  So, if you can’t be retired, this is the next best thing!

As all of you know, it’s THAT day…Inauguration Day.  Don’t forget to turn your clocks back 300 years tonight.  Hard stop.  That’s all I have to say.

Back to The Cape..  It’s been amazingly warm here for January.  Temperatures above normal since we arrived.  Mostly mid to upper 70’s (24-28C ) and we’ll take it!  We have made even more friends..the pack keeps growing.  So, let me introduce them to you.  From left to right on the picture above…Me, Brody, Mikey, Ryder, Nancy, Trevor, Susan, (Tammi is hiding), Mecca, Kim, Jannie, Magical (Clover is snoozing at home)  Christine and Olive, Leslie is standing, Phil, Ken is standing behind him and Jackson is camera shy, River is hiding behind his human, Catherine, Echo also belongs to Catherine, Nancy and Journey and Ruth is standing behind them.

There will be a test.

This, my friends, is a puddle of puppies…how fun is that?  A little sandbar for them to safely play in.  No rip tides and no SHARKS..speak of which…

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Okay, Okay..all you smartypants that shouted from the hills this was photoshopped..you are right (dah).  However, just one day after the below antics of a truly mad Englishman, a siting of a 5 foot shark not 20 feet from shore was sighted.  We all know that we’re walking “Bait” instead of dogs a dusk, as Phil eloquently put it.  But we know the “Jaws” stars come out at that time.  But the sighting was the EXACT same time the NEXT day at the SAME spot just one day after the below antics:-

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Here’s where the “Mad Dog & Englishmen” come into play….blog-pics-21

“What was that that nibbled on my toe”?

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“I’m outta here…screw the man’s best friend thing”!  Run. Tammi. Run!blog-pics-28

Starring the (un) Mad Dogs and True Englishmen!blog-pics-3

Our beautiful Brody.  Thank you for taking us on vacation to the great Cape San Blas(t)!!

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..and then there’s Wine and in this case, Gin O’clock for the humans…Here is Kim muddling a yummy cucmber, lime, mint and gin drink!blog-pics

Fun at the Aplalachicola Oyster Fest.  BEST ever oysters and chowder…oh ya!

blog-pics-13blog-pics-14There’s Mr. Oysterman who scared the poopies out of most of the kids! “Hey little girl, you wants some candy”?  YIKES!

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Today, I will leave you with this….

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Thank you for an amazing 8 years Mr. President.  You will be missed.

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Life is Good………..

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad….

….lizard?  ME!

About a month ago, I had my very first night terror.  If any of you have experienced one, you will understand where it gets it tag line.  I awoke screaming and jumped on my poor hubby, Mikey telling him about the ‘lizards’ that were on my night table.  After Mikey assured me that I was dreaming, I went to the bathroom and then return to bed.  Turned on the nightlight to show him where the lizards were…..I remember all of this.  Mostly I remember how terrifying it was…which brings me to the beginning of this blog…

So, when we got to the condo in Florida, I went through and opened all the drapes and windows to let in the amazing warm air.  I fought with the curtains in the spare room and finally won the battle..I thought.  That was until a big bad LIZARD jumped out of the curtains and onto the sliding door screen.  I started screaming like a fool, calling Mikey who was watching Trevor fish in the backyard….They obviously were not either hearing me or decided not to respond and I stood there, staring at this creature and trying to figure out what to do.  If I left the room and the lizard wasn’t there when I returned, there wasn’t any way that I would have stayed in the condo for fear he would appear at any moment…So, I had a conversation with Mr. Lizard.  “Now, little buddy…I’m going to slowly close the sliding glass door and please, PLEASE don’t jump on me while doing this, or I will seriously have a heart attack.  Don’t worry, I will go and get help and set you free…just don’t jump on me..OKAY?”  I ran downstairs, still shaking and Mikey and Trevor – hero’s that they are, came upstairs and set that critter free….end of story….I hope.  I do still scan the wall and ceilings when going into any room.

On to happier moments…..The Garsides first beach walk!

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How happy is this boy???

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As well as Jackson’s humans!  Ken & Ruthfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-8

…this!

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HIM!  He who introduced me to my wonderful life….first-beach-walk-and-dinner-13

16 years ago, Ken introduced me to my amazing husband.  Here’s how it unfolded..

…Dog walking…..And Mikey didn’t have a dog.

You see, we had a tight knit group of close friends.  We all met dog walking.  Ken & sometimes Ruthie (Maggie) Dave (Neuman), Thom (Shadow), Steve (Duncan), Suz & Trev (Gemma & Tali) Donna (Zoey) and I (Dakota) met every night after work  and every weekend at either Greenwood or Claremont Conseration parks to walk our dogs.  Oh, those were the days.  We had so much fun together.  Singing Christmas Carols in the pitch black dark while walking through Greenwood.  Listening to Ken curse out poor Maggie, as she always took off just before we were finished our walkies. Watching the stars.  Listening to the rushing brooks. Watching the puppies play in all their glory.  Taking pictures.  We are all STILL close friends, although now all our sweet pups are running up there together in what we hope is just as much freedom and fun.  OK..I digress…

One day, Ken said to me “Robz, there is this really, really nice guy at work.  I’d like to introduce you.  You would be perfect together”.  I was a little gun shy, so put Kenny off for a few weeks.  When I received a phone call…from KEN!  Now, Ken is a man of few words (unless he’s trying to recall Maggie) so getting a call from him must not be good.  I brace myself.  “Robz, I’m telling you…you need to meet my friend, Mike, from work.  He’s such a wonderful man and I can see the two of you would hit it off”.  After twenty minutes of Ken convincing me that he wouldn’t be on the market long, I agreed to meet him. But not on a date.  On a dog walk. That way, I could check him out without any stress.  He came, we met and the rest is history.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Ken Garside.  I love my life.

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Friends…first-beach-walk-and-dinner-17

first-beach-walk-and-dinner-19Who always know when to draw a line in the sand…and never step over it.

first-beach-walk-and-dinner-21I’ll leave you with this….

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Life Is Good…..