Mr. Austerity and I have fallen in love with the beautiful central Florida gulf coast, and more specifically, Treasure Island, Florida. What a glorious, fabulous, relaxed, lovely little slice of paradise. We landed there accidentally several years back when we couldn’t stand one more horrible week in the frozen Ohio landscape, and we packed our bags, booked our flights and got out of dodge. Our first visit we stayed at an upscale hotel chain in a suite with a kitchen and free breakfasts and really liked it, but what we soon discovered is that Treasure Island is very much a ‘mom and pop’ beach. There are many ‘old Florida’ style motor inns that are maintained beautifully, painted those lovely pinks and yellows and orangy colors, and they are where we wanted to be. Although there are a sprinkling of chain restaurants on the island, most restaurants are local also, with the most wonderful melding of flavors made from the freshest of ingredients. It has a lively local music scene also, playing hits from our past. Mr. Austerity LOVES the mid century modern vibe of the place, so we go back as often as we can. And that started us thinking of ways that we could spend even more time there. So we are going to extend our visit next February to two weeks, which gives us alot more time to visit our favorite places, and explore some new places that we’ve not had time for before. And to make it more economical, we are going to drive down and back and rent a small apartment with a full kitchen. It is cute and in a good location but its kind of pricey. Unfortunately, until we can stay at least one month, we will have difficulty finding less expensive lodging; most of the rentals are long term. That will have to wait until I retire in a couple of years.
By the sad state of my blog the past few years, its pretty apparent that blogging slipped down the list of ‘what to do in my free time’. Actually, the truth is, when I started the blog I was in a position with a company that allowed me more than the typical amount of free time. I passed some of that time by drafting my blog posts and previewing them with my co-worker. Although I really liked that job and the people I worked with, I eventually changed companies and responsibilities, which left me with less time for blogging during the day. And even though I tried to make time in the evenings to continue with the blog, I found I was posting less and less frequently, until it slipped entirely off of my radar and lapsed into the black hole of un-tended blogs. Sadly enough, several of my favorite blogs slipped into that same hole around the same time, so not only was I not blogging, I wasn’t being motivated to blog by reading other blogs – that creative circle of life kind of thing that happens! About 6 months ago I started searching for a new hobby and decided to try quilting. I like to sew and I had inherited two beautiful quilt tops, so I became interested in learning how to finish them. I began researching quilting information online and oddly enough, that led me to vintage Sewing machine posts. One thing that seemed to be consistent is that quilters like vintage sewing machines to piece and quilt with. The more I researched the more interest I had in the machines and eventually I began to purchase a few at thrift stores, estate sales and local sale ads. I bought them in any condition and found I had a knack for restoring them to working condition – along with the help of Mr. Austerity. Together we would rewire them, unfreeze them, clean and oil them and replace their missing or broken parts. Its been alot of fun and I finally just this week re-sold one that I had restored. The older man who purchased it has a small auto repair shop and plans to use it to repair upholstery on the cars. No new sewing machine can do that job the way the vintage 1948 Singer 201-2 I sold him will do. He was so happy to get it and I was so happy to have been apart of picking it up out of an old barn where it had been for years (LOTS of years), and then sending it back out into the world on its new adventure. Corny I know, but I did feel like it was happy as it went out the door and home with him.
Well, actually it was a Jeep Rubicon 4 X 4, which technically is a car, but as I am finding out, is part of a whole sub culture of vehicles. Once you own a Jeep, and not just a Jeep, but more specifically, a Wrangler, you’re part of a club. Jeep Wrangler owners notice other’s Jeeps, admire your Jeep’s modifications and shoot you the ‘Jeep Wave’ when they pass you on the streets. Until I was notified that I was the winner of this vehicle, I was blithely unaware of this sub culture’s existence. I had never ridden in a Wrangler, had never off roaded, and frankly, never missed it. The fact that they are built in Toledo, went un-noticed by me. Cars were merely what ferried me from place to place; I didn’t have a ‘dream’ car, or dream about new cars, or give them a second thought. In fact, the car I was driving was a 16 year old Chevrolet Monte Carlo, that worked fine and suited my needs. And, I won it also. But I’ll leave that story for another blog post.
So you say, as does everyone that finds out I won my Jeep, how did you win it. Its kind of a cool story, so let me tell you. For four or five years, my father-in-law would buy each of his kids and their spouses a raffle ticket to Snowshoe’s Treasure on the Mountain (snowshoefoundation dot org). Some years we’d go over to their house and attend the raffle with them, and other years we’d watch the winners list online, with excitement and hope. The raffle is held over a 4 hour period, with prizes drawn about every 5 minutes, so there are lots of opportunities to win. Each year we had fun, but came away empty handed. Sadly, my father-in-law passed away a few weeks before the raffle. And, after the sadness of his passing and the things you have to take care of, on the day of the raffle we were not watching the winners list online. I don’t think either me or Mr. Austerity even realized that it was the raffle day. The raffle was on Saturday, and on Tuesday I had a message on my phone to call the Snowshoe Foundation about a win. At about the same time, Mr. Austerity remembered the raffle and checked the winners list and saw my number was listed. Interestingly enough, my mother-in-law had written names on our tickets to identify who had what number – and she had written my name right next to the Jeep Rubicon’s, on the prize list. Coincidence or something else? I’ll let you decide.
Mr. Austerity collects movies and he’s got a pretty large collection. Mainly he likes to collect Disney movies on VHS format. He has over 200 Disney films in his collection and he spends a lot of time at thrift stores sorting through the bins to find movies to add to it. His collection includes classic animated films, cartoons and features, nature films, live action films, and propaganda and marketing films produced during World War 2 to sell war bonds to fund the war and generate support for the war. He also loves to find obscure Disney titles that were distributed by Anchor Bay such as Watcher In The Woods and The Legend of Lobo. Which leads us to our latest pastime; B Movie Sunday. We’ve found a nice way to cap off the weekend and ease into the workweek by kicking back on Sunday evenings and enjoying B movies. It started a few weeks ago when he’d found a title called The Running Man, a 1987 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It had a promising premise and smart storyline, but cheap special effects and lame dialog were enough to qualifiy it in the B category. All in all, it was entertaining enough to hook us on this new pastime and send Mr. Austerity in search of more films like it, which was no problem at all for him. Trust me when I tell you the thrift store bins are full of them. I won’t recount all of the titles we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks. But one in particular is worth noting. It combines several of our favorite things, locations like Treasure Island Florida and Walt Disney World, a cast that includes Hulk Hogan and Mrs. Garrett (Edna Rae) from The Facts of Life and a stealth speed boat named Thunder. Combine all those, blend at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, and you get Thunder In Paradise! I won’t review the movie here because Mr. Austerity has published an excellent review on his social media and I’m going to steal that for my next post. All I’ll say is that the same cast and crew filmed a TV series of the same name that lasted for one season, and I cannot wait to watch it. Maybe we’ll start a new B TV series Sunday night sometime soon.
We were all together with Mr. Austerity’s family last week to honor the memories of such a wonderful person’s passing. I’m so thankful for his family and that I am able to be a part of it. His mom and dad are like parents to me and more than that, close friends. We spent so much free time hanging out with them when we were a young family. I’ll always cherish those memories. Its so comforting as a family to listen to the stories of how the person you love and respect impacted the lives of others. Those who attended the memorial shared with us so many of the kind and generous ways that our beloved dad/father-in-law/grandfather had touched their lives. He loved serving others and worked tirelessly in his community and even was elected to serve in their Silver haired legislature multiple terms; traveling to the state capital to draft and present bills that were adding into legislation.
All of a sudden I’m wasting wayyyy too much time watching random Periscope’s. I stumbled on the Periscope IPhone app when a Disney blogger was broadcasting the Magic Kingdom fireworks one evening. I really enjoyed watching the fireworks that night. Like I was there in person Live. BAM!! I was hooked. I don’t know if its just me but almost all of the Persicope’s are either at Disney or church. Two of my favorite things. Meaning there’s always something I want to watch. Oh and there’s also @Adamthewoo. Look it up, you won’t be sorry.
I like to listen to an audio Bible on my drive in to work and the last few days I’ve been captivated by the book of Esther. Its a short book, only 10 Chapters, and I can listen to the entire book during my 30 minute commute. I’ve quoted one of the most famous verses in that book in my blog title (Esther 4:14). I listened to it every morning for a whole week and every day as I listened questions were rolling through my brain. I kept intending to jot them down when I arrived at work for researching later; my mental notes fading quickly once the tasks of the workday clicked in. I finally set aside some time this weekend to begin what I’m hoping will be an in-depth study of this book. I’m not a Bible scholar by any stretch, I don’t have any commentaries or Hebrew/Greek study Bibles. I use my favorite translation of the Bible when I study, the New American Standard, which was a gift to me back in the early 80’s from my beloved mother-in-law. She gave my husband and I each a copy of The Open Bible, published by Thomas Nelson in 1979. The New American Standard translation, or NASB as its commonly called, was a revision of the American Standard Version first published in 1901, using as its basis the 1611 King James translation. The NASB translation project began in 1959 with a goal of incorporating modern ‘American’ English. It was first published in 1960 and the Bible I own was from a translation last updated in 1977. Interestingly, I have lost and found this Bible multiple times over the 30+ years I’ve owned it, sometimes it was missing for more than a year before it surfaced. Fortunately for me my husband’s exact copy was available to sub in during those times. His preference is the King James so he wasn’t as attached to his Open Bible, and didn’t mind me confiscating it. Because of those swap out periods, both copies have my notes in them; notes from my own personal study or notes I’ve taken during church or Bible study. Bible notes are a sort of diary or journal, they record seasons of life from a unique perspective. They also record things like long forgotten friend’s phone numbers, as mine does inside the front cover, and young children’s handwriting practice, as mine does on the last page. Needless to say, I do not EVER want to permanently lose these precious artifacts of my life’s history. Right now I’m again using my husband’s copy, but this time I know where my copy is. My sweet son wanted a Bible and when he moved into his own place, he took my Open Bible with him. I hope as he reads it, he learns more about the God who loves him, and also, as he reads my notes scribbled in margins and on blank sheets, he learns more about the momma who loves him too.