When life gives you lemons...

Diane and I are going through something of a waiting period. It seems to be one of those waits in the hallway between one door closing and the next one opening. We are both confident the second door will open. It’s just that neither of us are really that into hallways. Or waiting.
While she was visiting Florida in July, the lemons on the tree in my back yard were growing larger, seemingly by the day. We chose one of the more mature lemons and determined that when it ripened, it would be the sign that the next phase of our life would be ready to start. It would signal that the second door through which we were intended to walk would open.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the lemonade...
Hurricane Irma rolled through Florida on September 10-11, wreaking havoc on virtually the entire state. (Note: See the link at the end if you would like to donate to Hurricane Irma or Harvey relief.) Families evacuated, vacations were cut short, homes and businesses were destroyed, even lives were …

Visiting Florida: A Tourist Guide

In 2016, more than 112 million people from all over the world visited the state of Florida. Most of these visitors went to place like Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Pensacola, the Florida Keys, and the Space Coast area of Melbourne, though some of them accidentally ended up in Jacksonville. But, hey...their tourist dollars count, too.
And this is no accident. The state spends upwards of $75 million dollars every year on the “Visit Florida” campaign to market the state as a tourist destination. According to Florida Governor Rick Scott, this expense is justified because of the estimated $109 billion in visitor spending that tourism brings. And as all Floridians know, Governor Scott wouldn’t ever play fast and loose with financial numbers (*cough*Columbia HCA Medicare and Medicaid Fraud*cough*).
But while the State of Florida does a good job of pimping Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, Jimmy Buffett, beaches, and all the fun in the sun activities Florida has to offer, they don’t do a very good job of in…

A Tale of Two Brothers

I never had any brothers.
I had a great brother-in-law and an incredible Father who grows even more incredible the older I get and the longer he’s gone (thus, the more I miss him). I have great male cousins, Uncles, a grandfather who thought (erroneously) that I hung the moon, and men friends who have been rocks when I needed it and a boot in the ass when I needed that. I even have what I can only refer to as a boyfriend-in-law (my sister’s boyfriend) who is another strong male presence in my life.
And don’t even get me started on my Sister I could live a thousand lifetimes and never begin to show my Sister how much I appreciate her. She is -- and this point is inarguable -- the greatest Sister in human history.
But I never had any brothers.
So why is this titled “A Tale of Two Brothers?”
Of the men I’ve had in my life, two of them stood out and are large reasons why I am alive today: Roger and Mike. Roger was a cousin and Mike was one of the closest friends I’ve ever had.
But both of them …

The Story of Teddy Rucksbag

Teddy Rucksbag loved to travel. Teddy was literally born to travel. Well, really more like “made” to travel since he was handcrafted in the mountains of India from fine goat leather and treated with natural oils before he was sent out into the world. So he wasn’t really born. But he still liked to travel. A lot.
As soon as he sprang to life, with the last stitch stitched and the last zipper zipped, Teddy traveled down the mountain, across the ocean, and to a strange and exotic land called “Florida” to meet his new family. Teddy’s new family was a handsome and kind man whom Teddy called “Shoulder,” a beautiful young princess named Lily, and two small, hairy people named Zoe and Charlie. Zoe and Charlie called the handsome and kind man “Lap” when he wasn’t around because whenever he came home and sat in Teddy’s cousin, Recliner, Zoe and Charlie would pile onto his lap. So they called him “Lap.” But Teddy called the man “Shoulder” because that was the part that Teddy grabbed onto whene…