Monthly Musings: 2022 November Catch-Up

Somehow I slipped off the writing ship after September… I kept montly notes, but just couldn’t bring myself to pound the keys in putting those words online. I might blame my preparing for our annual Florida trip… or maybe I was just plain lazy! Who knows… but I’m trying to climb back onboard before the year ends… and play catch-up!

Car was packed… just enough room for hubby to see through… and I’m sure it will be just as packed coming home. Not quite sure why, but it usually is! I always take my pillow… hubby didn’t, and we ended up buying two more pillows as he didn’t like the hotel pillows on this trip. And somehow, we can’t seem to travel without our “must haves” of coffee maker, toaster oven and more toilitries than we ever need… and I always bring a heating and ice pad. Now you can see why we travel so heavy! I think as we grow older… we seem to acquire more “must haves” that you can’t seem to live without… even while on vacation!

We left early enough on the 6th… first stopping for a breakfast sandwich before hitting the road… as our plan was to make Verona, Va. before the sun went down. Traffic was light on Sunday and running smooth, so we made it in great time, arriving by 4 o’clock that afternoon.

One of the first things hubby begins to notice, when traveling, are the many dead deer alongside the road… and he’s always counting. I began jotting down the counts by states… and this trip counts were… NY 2, PA 8, WVA 4, NC 11, SC 7, GA 3 and Florida 0… total 35! Odd to do… but it passes the time! There have been times when caught in very slow-moving traffic when I searched out license plates in looking for all 50 states… and I think we found them all!

The next morning we planned to only drive a short distance, stopping in Mount Airy, N.C… with the next day arriving early afternoon in Savannah. If you’ve never stopped there… it’s the hometown of Andy Griffith… and quite an interesting town. Plans quickly changed when more talk escalated of Hurricane Nicole arriving in South Florida on the very day we planned to leave Savannah. As I didn’t want any part of driving those last seven hours in pouring rain and wind, I cancelled our stay in Savannah and hubby drove almost 11 hours from N.C. to Royal Palm Beach, Florida; our hotel offered to accomodate us in our room three days early… what a relief! For most of the trip we had good weather, only hitting rain late in afternoon… and boy was it a relief when we exited I-95, finally heading to the hotel. Nothing worse than driving in rain… and in the dark. Hubby did all the driving… never complaining once, except for the occasional complaint on other drivers… driving ability!

November hurricanes are a rarity in the United States… with the last one, Hurricane Kate, hitting Florida in 1985.

We only had one day of rain after arriving, so we hunkered down in our hotel, hardly hearing anything unless we looked out. At least we were safe and off the road and not traveling. The granddaughters were not so patient in waiting for us to finally arrive at their house… only a short twenty minutes away.

I began following Isaiah Glen Shields on his walk across America (before leaving for Florida)… he was walking from the most western part of Washington state to reach the most north eastern part of Lubec, Maine. Isaiah arrived amidst cheers from family and friends… who arrived earlier to great him on Day 495 of his walk; He arrived on Nov. 11, 2022… walking a total of 8593 miles! I wonder how many pairs of shoes he walked through? And I always wanted to walk the Appalachian Trail… haha… in my dreams!

November is our choice of months to visit Florida… first to celebrate our son, Steve’s birthday, spend Thanksgiving with the family and an entire vacation week with the granddaughters. We surprised our son with a gift I know he’s had on his wish list… a pizza oven; after much research I went with the Ooni Karu which cooks with both wood and charcoal. Living in Florida will give him the opportunity to enjoy cooking pizza all year. I kept it a tight secret from almost everyone… as I had sent all the gifts to his mother in laws house… and she kept the gift a secret! He was definitely surprised!

Steve testing out the new pizza oven… nice to find a gift someone really loves! And… that was this gift!

You only see a quick glimpse of Mar-a-Lago as you crest Southern Boulavard bridge crossing into Palm Beach… it isn’t possible to drive inside to see the front… unless you want the secret service to greet you!

We took a ride by Mar-a-Lago on the morning of the 15th… the day President Trump was to make his announcement on if he would run for president again. As we began to cross the bridge alongside his residence, we saw much police presence along with a crowd of photographers lining up for glimpses of the back of Mar-a-Lago. As it is set behind much schrubbery and walls, you only see a quick glimpse of the property as you reach the top of the bridge. I’m not sure what they were hoping for unless they are there daily in hopes he walks the property. We drove along the beach area for awhile before returning back to our hotel. It was on the drive back when I had a nice surprise. As we approached the Palm Beach airport, hubby asked me what was the dark colored plane sitting near the back fence. I turned my camera toward there and was shocked when I saw Trump’s plane come into view. I don’t believe it was there when we rode by on the way down… so either he had just landed or was planning to leave soon. We travel by the airport several times when there and I’ve never seen it before.

What I wouldn’t give to actually go inside, but my son was lucky enought to have gone to his work Christmas party there a few years. I had asked him to take pictures and bring me a napkin, but they were told to take no photos inside or take anything… although I think my daughter in law managed to conceal a napkin in her purse. Photo: Town & Country Magazine:

In searching for a photo of Mar-a-Lago I discovered the history of this beautiful place. It was in 1973, upon the death of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather, that her mansion of 128 rooms in Palm Beach, was donated to the U. S. government. It was to be used as the “winter White House.” She had built Mar-a-Lago in 1927, at a cost of $7 million dollars. In 1981, the government returned Mar-a-Lago back to the Post Foundation as they felt the annual maintenance of over $1 million dollars was too high. It was then that Donald Trump offered to buy the property for $28 million, but his offer was turned down. Later the market slumped and he ended up with it at a bargain price of $10 million in 1985. What a bargain, as I can only imagine its worth today.

President Trump’s plane parked at the Palm Beach airport… our hotel was just up the street from here.

Granddaughter, Ana, is the crafty one, and this year we worked on creating a junk journal. Of course, she wanted to make it all in one day… but I tried teaching her that it takes time in deciding how to create… with no actual set rules. My husband often sat with Nina watching old movies like Them or Godzilla… with Nina asking on every scene… “what are they going to do now?” Ella often serenaded us across the table on her flute… it’s never far from her hands.

In between crafting with Ana, we worked on a couple chicken puzzles for my daughter in law. The girls might have found a few pieces, but they weren’t as dedicated in working as was hubby and Rose (daughter in law). My son, Steve and Rose, have amassed quite a few chickens in the past couple years… and three roosters… Diesel, Sunny and Sir Cockatoo… who serenaded us daily as we sat on the back porch moaning over where the puzzle pieces were hiding. Hubby mumbled daily that there were missing pieces… and there were none, but their newest puppy, Daisy, managed to find a couple on the floor and quickly left teeth markes; making me have to partially create a new piece.

The larger (1000 piece) chicken puzzle was a doozy to finish… so many chickens… so many “like” colors! While hubby and Rose worked diligently on the chickens, I worked on all the wordy names and phrases. We hoped to finish before leaving… and we did… thanks to Rose’s perserverence in completing those so-hard roosters! And, Yes… all the pieces were there! It was Rose, her mom Anna, and Nina who placed in the last piece! And, yes… Daisy managed to leave teeth marks, once again on a piece she discovered on the floor!

Thanksgiving in Florida is so different… so nice and warm (85)… allowing us to eat outside in their screened-in back porch. It was definitely a holiday meal… begining with soup, lasagna, followed by lemon sorbet to clean our pallet before filling our plates with turkey, two styles of stuffing, sweet potato souffle, fresh creamed corn (per son’s request), asparagus, broccoli rabe, twice-baked potatoes and cranberry sauce; the turkey was one of the best ever… so juicy and tender. I left the table more stuffed than the turkey… but it wasn’t over yet as desserts soon appeared… and I was too stuffed to even think to take photos, but there was apple, pumpkin and blueberry pies, cherry cheesecake, sweet potato pie, and Italian cookies… way more than anyone should even think about eating. Like I kept telling the granddaughters… my eyes were way bigger than my stomach, as I said yes to small slices of cherry cheesecake and sweet potato pie. I took two bites and asked my son to wap it up for me… ate it for breakfast the next morning. Even though I was still feeling full at breakfast… I just couldn’t resist it.

My granddaughter’s ready Ella, Ana and Nina by the Thanksgiving table… Ella is always eager to serenade us on her flute.

Christmas Eve for our granddaughters comes early when we visit… always the last Sunday before we leave. How lucky are they to enjoy two Christmas. Even though the girls are excited in opening gifts… it soon becomes very teary toward the end of the day. We celebrated with Steve making us pizza in his new pizza oven… he’s really getting the hang of pizza making! The worst part of our last day is when the tears begin… it’s not easy saying goodbye. I cry, the girls cry and we all become one big mess! It breaks my heart in giving them all a last hug, as in between the crying, they’re begging us to stay longer. This trip was almost three weeks in Florida.

Heading home seemed to be just as packed… I don’t understand why!

As we had to cancel our Savannah stop on the way down, we decided to stop for one day before heading home. Originally I had planned to go back through Georgia, but I’m finding it hard now since my mother died… no family home. I so miss mama’s hometown… but now it feels empty to me when I stop there. Maybe next year… as I so miss going there.

We took a cruise along the Savannah riverfront on the Georgia Queen riverboat, and we sailed under the Talmadge Memorial bridge… where we will say our final goodbye in heading home. If you watched the series Ozarks on Netflix, this was the boat used for their final scene at the end of the show.

The morning sunrise over Savanah seen from the Talmadge Memorial Bridge as we heading home.

This photo popped up in memories today… my husband and Ella, our first granddaughter. Time flies, as she turns 13 this year… seems like just yesterday we were rushing to the hospital to meet her!

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

More Monthly Musings can be read HERE.


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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This entry was posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Monthly Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Monthly Musings: 2022 November Catch-Up

  1. Anne Young says:

    I really enjoyed reading your November journal. The pizza oven looks superb.

    Liked by 1 person

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