It’s Been Way Too Long, Blogland


A few years ago, I really enjoyed blogging. And then I just…fell off the boat. So many things have happened since then.

Our beloved dog, Hannah, had to be put to sleep. My sweet grand baby, Kole, moved clear across the country with my oldest son and daughter-in-law/best friend. My middle son and his girlfriend – also the mother of my two granddaughters – split up, and he became a full time busker and van dweller, traveling all over the country with a little Chihuahua named “Killer”. My youngest son graduated from college and proposed to his lovely best friend. A few billion visits to Pinterest later, there was a gorgeous wedding in downtown Wilmington, complete with all of our family and friends, and they now both live and work in Wilmington. My step daughter graduated from high school, started college, failed to discuss any of the financing with my husband until after the fact, resulting in a painful and on-going rift.

Last year, my father, “Pa Bill” died after a two year battle with lung cancer. My Aunt JoAnn, dad’s sister, succumbed to bladder cancer. And my father-in-law, the indomitable Pete Ebert, gave up a lifelong fight against mental illness and the accompanying debilitating effects of long term lithium use.

My mother and her husband moved into my neighborhood, in fact, two doors down. My mother-in-law has been in and out of the hospital several times with a mysterious malady that comes and goes. My Uncle’s wife of 30 years up and left him high and dry and he relocated from sunny Florida, where he had moved to retire, to – tada! – my neighborhood. My stepfather, a.k.a. “Sweet Old Bob”, had heart surgery and survived against insurmountable odds.

We decided that our lives were way too lonely without a furry friend, so we found another Rottweiler breeder and bought  a  new puppy. This one has got her paws firmly attached to our hearts. Her name is Hattie, which means protector of the home in German, named after my great grandmother. Shortly after we brought her home, our 20 year old cat, Pixie, went to sleep for the last time.

Owning Hattie has been an adventure all unto itself. Her father is a schutzhund champion, so her high energy level has happily resulted in us making many new friends. We have an adorable couple who walk her for us on a regular basis and she goes to “Doggie Day Care”, where she has her own following and we get to share her glory with some wonderful ladies. Puppy training classes for her were a must, and we met one of the best, not to mention most entertaining dog trainers on the planet.

Several road trips in the corvette have happened. We have been to Key West to party with our best friends, Dunkirk Maryland to visit those friends, the Outer Banks, St. Augustine… several times…loved it!…,  Savannah, Myrtle Beach and Asheville to play a final round of golf with my Dad. We flew out to Seattle to visit our grandson and got to experience a whole different part of the country – not to mention our first long flight together. We discovered the beautiful mountains of Georgia and rented a few log cabins up there for a few – much needed – scenic getaways. We think we have discovered the place we want to call home when we are, someday, able to retire.

We bought mountain bikes and have started to introduce our old bodies to a new sport. And yes, I have taken a few rough tumbles. We traded our 15 year old SUV in for a big four wheel drive truck, so we can take Hattie camping on the beach this summer.

Some things have not changed. My husband and I still work the rotating shifts at our job and live for our seven day breaks. We are still  best friends and count every day together as a blessing. We still love to take millions of photos with our dueling cameras and bore all our family members with them. We still spend every day that its warm enough on Wrightsville Beach with a couple of Bloody Marys in our hands and our toes in the sand. Our bond of friendship with our “forever friends”,who we met through an online forum for step parents, has deepened and we hope that we all get to live closer one day.

I have made a few New Year’s resolutions and one of the top ones is to resume blogging. So, although this post is a tedious update and a conglomerate amount of stuff, I hope some of my old readers will re-connect with me and that I will connect with lots of new readers and friends in 2015!

Happy New Year, Y’all!

Birthday Wishes


My mother, long ago

This is my mother, at about age two.


This is my youngest grandchild, Isa. She is one year’s old today.

I have only seen her one time, when this picture was taken. I am one of the legions of grandparents across this country who are not part of their grandchildren’s lives. I think about her, and her sister, Freya, every single day.

And it hurts.

I hope you are well, sweet baby. I hope you know that you have my blood coursing through your veins. I hope to hold you again….someday.


I Heart Enjoying Life



Hey Y’all. This is my precious grandson, Kole, at Wrightsville Beach last month. His parents brought him home from Seattle, for their first visit back, since they moved last August.

He discovered a stick in the water, and his reaction reminds me that the world is still a fabulous, mind-blowing place! Through the eyes of a two-year old, we can really learn to enjoy life.

This week’s theme at I Heart Faces is “Enjoying Life.” I hope all of you are doing just that on this fine Independence Day!

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other faces, or to enter a photo of your own.

I Heart Pink in a Parade




The 2011 Azalea Festival Parade, held annually in Wilmington, North Carolina, had a plethora of pink in it. And for good reason, y’all; azalea’s come in all shades of pink.  Everyone was wearing it – even the clowns. This one, with his pink-mobile, his pink feathers and his pink poodle, really got into the spirit!

This week’s photo challenge theme at I Heart Faces is “Tickled Pink!” I think the expression on this clown’s face captures the emotion perfectly.

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other interesting hands, or to enter a photo of your own.


Our Rottweiler Love

This is our beautiful Hannah, who was a victim of hip dysplasia her entire life. On August 22nd of this year, we had the most difficult decision to make – to end her life. No longer able to walk,  no longer able to get to her water or food, we carried her into our vet’s office, laid her down on the floor and held her, until she drew her last trusting breath.

A proud, fierce (only in how much she loved), and loyal animal, she was part of our family and part of our hearts. She will be forever loved, forever remembered and forever missed.

This photo is for The Weekend in Black and White.

I Heart Hands on a Cruise



This week’s Photo Challenge on I Heart Faces is “Raise Your Hands.” It is not required to have a face in this week’s challenge.

I found that I had so many photos to choose from. Apparently, I like taking pictures of hands. I think they tell a story that is often hidden on a face. I snap a lot of candid, random shots of strangers. This is one I took a few years ago, when my husband took me on my first cruise for my 50th birthday.

We were enjoying our morning coffee out on our “private” balcony. But, as you know if you’ve ever been on a cruise, there is never any real privacy. All you have to do is peek around the partition and you can see and hear what your fellow cruisers are doing!


I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other interesting hands, or to enter a photo of your own





Kids Moved. Dog Died. Enough Said.

There’s a blog I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.


Saturday. The day you’re supposed to describe your life in Six Words. I can do this, I told myself. It’s been really hard to write about anything lately, but surely I can manage six words.

The thing is, my life has been turned upside-down the past few months. I’m not sure where it goes from here. I find myself, alternately, on the verge of a prayer and on the verge of despair. There are no road maps to go by anymore.

In July, (or was it June?) my oldest son, Kyle, and daughter-in-law/best friend I ever had, Erika, told me they were moving. Across the country, as in, on the other side of the world. With them, they took my precious grandson, Kole, who was just turning into a delightful little boy of almost two.

In August, the three of them boarded a plane that would take them to the opposite coast; Seattle, Washington. My husband and I went with them to the airport. The morning was a blur of putting things into the car, checking behind for last-minute items, taking things out of the car, holding onto Kole’s small hand while Mommy and Daddy got things organized at the airport, and a few brief minutes of standing in line.

A hurried kiss and a hug good-bye. Then, they were gone.

The drive home was precarious, trying to see through my tears. Jeff and I stood in the kitchen afterwards, for what seemed like hours, holding each other, reeling, crying.

Kole is the grandchild that was born on Thanksgiving two years ago. He is the grandchild that came to us just two months after our first grandchild, a beautiful girl, was re-located by her parents to Michigan. Kole, we decided, was a gift from God –  to us. A grand baby that we could pamper and love and teach to play golf and instill in him our love of the sea.

We were still staggering from the pain of this loss when our dog, a rottweiler named Hannah, began staggering herself. Eight years old and a victim of hip dysplasia, her limbs succumbed to years of pain and she stopped. When we saw her fall on her face, trying to take a step towards Jeff, we knew it was time.

And so, in August, we sent our proud, black, four-legged friend and protector to heaven. She was the child we could not have, our reason to get up on some days, always waiting for us with a “smile” and a wagging nub when we got home from working a twelve-hour shift.

On September first, another grandchild was born. A tiny girl with a tiny name; Isa. My middle son’s second child, she is here in the midst of, and in spite of, her parent’s rocky relationship and uncertain future. What should be a joyous event for a grandmother like me, is bittersweet. I am not welcome to call, to visit, to share in the joy. The pregnancy itself was kept secret from our family until my son finally said to me (about a month before she was born) “Mom, sit down. I have something to tell you.”

I do have a couple of minuscule photos of her on my cell phone, and a handful of recent photos of my oldest granddaughter, Freya. I haven’t seen her in a year. I know she has long blond hair and a gorgeous smile. But that’s about it.

I’m trying to take steps to accept these changes. It’s hard. Jeff and I spend a lot of hours at the beach, staring at the waves, wondering “why us?” I’ve booked a five-day trip to Seattle for next month.  I’m going to a counselor. I have seen a psychic. I talk to friends. I pray.

My psychic told me to write. She doesn’t know how hard this is. I don’t think anyone does.

But I’ve managed more than six words, and that’s a start.

I Heart Distance

Just two guys on the end of the pier, fishing and drinking Sun Drop. You can’t get any more southern than this, y’all!



This week’s theme on I Heart Faces is “From a Distance.” I wish this could be the theme every week. I would certainly have a lot of photos to choose from, since most of my photos are snapped from a distance, around my town and are often candid, random shots of strangers.

Because, let’s face it, it’s easier to take a photo of a stranger from several feet away.

I snapped this photo last summer on Johnny Mercer’s Fishing Pier in Wrightsville Beach, NC. The end of the pier is my favorites spot on this earth. I did not edit this photo at all – it is SOOTG (straight out of the camera!)

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other faces, or to enter a photo of your own.


Nothing says “Summer” like a day at the beach, y’all.

These photos were taken on Memorial Day at Wrightsville Beach, NC. My husband and I had the rare holiday off and decided to spend the morning in our beach chairs with a couple of  Bloody Marys and our camera. We had fun taking random photos of people of all sizes, shapes and descriptions just relaxing and hanging out at the beach.








This is for a meme called Summer Stock Sunday. It’s been gone for a while and I’ve missed it!

If you’d like to participate, post a picture of anything that says summer to you, and link back to Around the Island so that other folks can find you. Have fun with it, and take time to visit the other blogs to see what summer looks like all over the world.



The Uncomfortable Truth About Blogging

Blog: a place to have a voice and connect with others.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people blog. More specifically, why I blog. Or not.

The truth is, I have not been blogging, y’all. Oh sure, I have posted probably thousands of photos, with a few comments about them. I guess that makes me a “photo blogger.” But, I have not been posting my thoughts. And isn’t a true blog really about posting your thoughts?

When I actually examine this, I have not posted my thoughts since I started this blog. I have, here and there, shared a few personal things. But those type posts have been extremely rare. And as time goes by – rarer and rarer.

In January, I decided to join the WordPress Post a Day Challenge, and I did pretty good for a while. But then the wheels fell off and I found myself reverting back to taking the easy way out and just posting photos.

I ask myself, Why? Why is it so hard to write out something personal, and hit publish? There’s a myriad of reasons.

Fear. Fear that no one will want to read it. Fear of being ignored. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being criticized. Fear of making somebody mad. Fear of being laughed at. Fear of exposing a flaw, or a flawed relationship. Fear of being misunderstood.

And the biggest fear? Fear of humiliation. A fear that was instilled in me as a child, by family members who firmly believed (and taught) that our family did not hang out our dirty laundry – for all the world to see.

Then there’s time. Taking the time to write clearly means stealing time away from more worthy endeavors (folding laundry, paying bills, walking the dog, reading emails, and the big time waster – catching up on Facebook!) It takes time to sort out your thoughts, time to find the right words, time to edit it all into something more than verbal diarrhea.

Indecision. Not knowing what to write about. Or how to start it. Or whether to strive for informality, or humor, or clarity, or fluff, or substance. Do I want to entertain or inform? Vent or teach? Amuse or inspire? Should the post be short and to the point? Or long enough to engage the reader?

There are a handful of bloggers out there, who I admire very much, who write fearlessly. They share personal details about theirs lives and they bare their souls to the world. I want to be like them. I want to write something that is real, real enough to make you want to come back and read what I write tomorrow.

Real enough to make you want to laugh along with me, cry with me, and maybe share a few uncomfortable truths of your own.