Fall In Florida – October Recap

Sometimes writing a monthly recap reminds me that I have drifted off course, and sometimes it reassures me that all is well with my life plan. I don’t consciously set out to tick things off a list, or measure my life according to accomplishments and shortcomings, but I do have a tried and true blueprint for balance. That blueprint includes family, friends, exercise, healthy eating, me time, we time and making a contribution to community. This month was fairly balanced, but there were a few hiccups that disrupted my equilibrium for several days. All the good stuff in life and having things to look forward to help me rebound from disappointments and setbacks quickly and I am grateful for this beautiful time of life.

Time With Family and Friends

The signs of Fall are minimal to non-existent in South Florida, but we still enjoy celebrating the season and this month, we had a lot to celebrate.

Our daughter came for a visit at the end of the month to carve a pumpkin with her Dad. It has been their tradition for over twenty years. I made a big pot of chili and and we pretended it was cool outside.IMG_0258

We celebrated Malcolm’s mother’s 90th birthday on October 1st.  She is a constant reminder that unconditional love really does exist and we admire her joyful nature and independent spirit.

A dear friend turned 60 this month, and we celebrated his birthday in style – A limo ride with cocktails followed by dinner at a water side restaurant in Jupiter. Sixty only comes once, so why not indulge a little.

Malcolm and I spent a lot of time at the beach, walking, planning, escaping, re-energizing and taking pictures, of course. I took this photo with my Iphone while listening to Bon Jovi sing Hallelujah.  Talk about a Zenful moment!


Staying Busy and Active

The tennis season began last week. Monday’s are active with league play and practice is every Wednesday.  I usually pick up another game on Friday, so staying active this time of year is easy. This is my motley crew from last season.IMG_8803

I just finished reading “Where The Crawdad’s Sing” by Delia Owens. It is the story of a young girl growing up on her own in North Carolina swampland. If you like strong women stories with a touch of mystery, and a heaping helping of nature you will enjoy this read. book cover

This month I wrote a blog post for Min at Write of the Middle where I talked about how taking photographs create Zenful moments in my life. Thanks to all of  you who visited her blog and read what I had to say.

I wrote about life after 50,60 for Sam’s blog, “Loving the Fifty Something,” that posted today, the last day of October. The post is a candid look at our road to retirement. It is very gratifying and humbling to write for other bloggers and I appreciate the sense of community these ladies are helping to create.

I am not a gardener, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to play in the dirt, so I planted a bunch of Poppy seeds in these little peat cups and much to my surprise, they sprouted. Thanks Judy for the suggestion to plant seeds this way. Judy is a Master Gardener and writes a beautiful blog at New England Garden and Thread

When the sprouts get a little bigger I will transplant them to the yard. Hopefully by December or January I will have pretty red and orange blossoms – if the rabbits stay away.



I had a fender-binder, with Malcolm’s car, which resulted in a traffic citation, (in a parking lot). Price of the ticket and car repair $$$$ – Yikes! I turned in my leased car at the end of September and my daughter, who lives in the city, loaned me her car which she rarely drives. It has a convertible top and although not directly my fault, the hinge broke when I tried to put the top down. Another costly fix $$$. The granite installers broke a piece of counter top resulting in a two week delay for the kitchen remodel. And, last but not least, I had another small bout with heat exhaustion. All of these things happened within a four day period which put me into a bit of a funk. Being in a funk is basically a waste of time and in the scheme of life, these are minor issues so instead of wallowing, I treated myself to a big bowl of mac-n-cheese.

Looking Forward

We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving in Nantucket this year. It will be a late birthday celebration for MIL Nana and an early Christmas experience for the family. We have a family wedding to attend in Philadelphia two days before Thanksgiving, so Malcolm has planned a couple of days in advance of the wedding as well as several days after our Thanksgiving stay in Nantucket to explore.  Boston,MA, Newport, RI and Portsmouth NH are all on the agenda for a prelude to Christmas. I’ll be writing about our Christmas Joy Trip later in December.

We just booked a two week VRBO stay in Destin which is on the Gulf Coast of Florida. February is usually the time of year when we visit Jekyll Island, GA but we decided to change it up a bit this year. The Gulf Coast National Seashore and Fort Pickens are on our list of places to explore in that area. We will add a post about that trip to our Coastal Florida series sometime in March.

Malcolm is beginning to sketch out our May/June travel plans. We have decided on a cruise to Alaska followed by a train tour/road trip of the Canadian Rockies. This trip has been on our list for quite some time. Sue from Sizzling Toward Sixty wrote a wonderful post about finding perspective as she traversed the Columbia Icefield (which I hope to do in Canada) and Susan from Swooning Grace inspired us to move Alaska to the front of the list with this post – first hand travel accounts are just one more benefit of belonging to a blogging community. 

October was filled with a mix of joy and challenges and we are happy to be moving into November, the heart of the holiday season. We look forward to joyous times with friends and family, fewer unplanned expenses and hopefully, a finished kitchen!!

34 thoughts on “Fall In Florida – October Recap

  1. Suzanne, your October sounds wonderful, except for your hiccups of course. Any month you can spend time reading, enjoying family and friends, and staying active is a good month. Your future plans sound fun, especially the Alaska trip. We have wanted to return there ever since we took our RV in 2013. We all have to have a few hiccups now and then but why do they always happen at the same time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, your beautiful photographs were also an inspiration to make the Alaska trip. I know we can’t do it up close, like you did, but at least we will get to see the highlights. Regarding the hiccups, I’m almost glad they happened in a bunch instead of being spread out across the month. Every day for a week we asked ourselves “what next,” then it was done. Malcolm is still dealing with the convertible top and the kitchen is still not finished, but life marches on.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Suzanne, I’m so flattered that my photos were part of your inspiration to see Alaska. Thank you so much! You will see parts of Alaska that we weren’t able to get to by road. We have wanted to return ever since our RV journey six years ago so we are also going on an inside passage cruise next year! Ours is in July to celebrate a very special occasion. And as far as the hiccups go, we had a “what next” month earlier this year. Hope yours are all resolved soon.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Suzanne,
    Finally easing back into my blogging space after traveling south these past couple of weeks. We are finally (mostly) settled back into to our little FL place. Was tickled to hear that you are visiting my neck of the woods in New England over Thanksgiving. If you need some recommendations let me know!
    Read your post at Min’s blog…love the blogging friends that I have made. Sue’s perspective post got me thinking about Alaska, too. And with Donna and Erica on the island, Vancouver is definitely a destination as part of our cross-country trip next year.


    1. Nancy, welcome back to sunny Florida. Today will be the hottest Halloween on record!! I may take you up on your offer of recommendations while visiting New England. We have a pretty full schedule, but can always make time for more. We are very excited about the Alaska/Canada trip and have been researching post cruise options mostly, since the cruise is self-contained. Thanks to Sue’s post, Jasper is at the top of my list to spend a couple of days exploring the ice fields.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that zenful beach photo, Suzanne! I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing too, and I really enjoyed this book. Looks like you have some exciting travel plans brewing. An Alaskan cruise is on my wishlist to do one day too, after I get settled in my new post-working life. Take plenty of notes…LOL!!!


    1. You will soon be in the perfect place to take a cruise to Alaska almost effortlessly. We are still deciding on a departure city, Vancouver or Seattle, but it is looking more like Vancouver right now. I am moderating the book club discussion of Crawdads next week and it has been fun discovering how much of the story was inspired by the author’s professional background and early childhood memories. The saying ‘write what you know’ definitely applies.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne, Looks like you had a good October minus the hiccups. A sweet father-daughter pumpkin-carving tradition. That beach photo is gorgeous and planting poppies or any plant is therapeutic. Thank you for mentioning the book (add to my to read list) and a few blogs. I’ve been following Sue’s and Min’s blogs, actually met Sue IRL in September. Love your upcoming travel plans, too. The beaches in Destin are beautiful and the Canadian Rockies are majestic. You’ll have a wonderful time enjoying the scenery and taking photos.


    1. Natalie, if you have written about the Canadian Rockies please guide me to your post. You always do an excellent job of writing about your travels and I would love any recommendations you might pass on.By all means pick up a copy of the book. The author has written several non-fiction books about her studies of animals and nature, but this is her first fiction book. Very entertaining. Destin is stunning. I grew up very near there and know it well. We are excited about having an extended stay in February. The sunsets on the Gulf are amazing that time of year.


  5. Suzanne, I enjoyed this month recap…such a great idea to take stock of the good and also the bad moments. Happy 90th birthday to your MIL, I have also celebrated my birthday in October. Gorgeous beach photo, the cloudy skies looked very dramatic. What a lovely tradition of a father-daughter pumpkin carving time together. Amazing upcoming travel plans, I will be looking forward to follow along.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A lovely summary of a beautiful life, with beautiful photo as always, and a wonderful, perfect recap of all things, big and small, delightful, unexpected. Welcome to life, right? And life is so blessed when we have family, friends, our health, hobbies, and some chili and Mac n cheese! Touché!

    Plus, a big thank you for the ping back. My whole intention with that Alaskan blog was to capture the highs and lows, and hopefully help people as a result! I think I succeeded! Yay, that feels good 😁. Thanks for the support, Suzanne 😘

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Suzanne – I love your open, honest and candid style as well as your focus on gratitude. It definitely keeps me reading. I’m glad to hear that you were inspired by Sue’s and S.G’s recent travel posts. If you do take a cruise that stops in Vancouver or Vancouver Island — please let me know. I’d love to meet up. Wishing you an awesome November ahead!


    1. Thanks for the offer Donna, it is looking more and more like Vancouver as our departure city. The ship we want to sail leaves from there. We are just waiting for a price drop, so…. As to my style, I write what I live, and can’t control how people respond. Thank you for being appreciative. The thing about being part of a blogging community is that there is always a take-a-way in my daily reading, you just never know where it’s coming from – Sam,Sue, Beth, Donna, Nathalie, Patti, Terri, Janis,Joanne, Dan, the list goes on and I enjoy sifting through the gems of wisdom that you all have to offer; each different in your own way. Enjoy this first day of November. We had a small temperature drop overnight, so I can’t wait to get outside and play!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like your blueprint, Suzanne. It truly outlines the priorities in our life. You remind me of Stephen Covey and “putting first things first.” The good stuff does balance out the not so good stuff, and hopefully recover faster from the challenges. Wow, on the Zenful moment. The photo is exceptionally beautiful!

    I read both of the guest posts, Suzanne. Both, great posts and I added comments there. I enjoyed learning more about you and I appreciate some of life’s lessons you share with us.

    For you mac-n-cheese, for me, it would have been ice cream.

    I enjoyed reading Sue’s and Susan’s account of visiting Alaska. I look forward to following your journey. We used to live in the Yukon and often travelled to Alaska. Spectacular scenery! Onward to November:)


  9. Erica, I am a big fan of Steven Covey.His writings have persuaded my thinking about what is truly important in life. Thank you for reading Sue and Susan’s posts about Alaska. Just doing my part for the ‘community’ by sharing these beautiful ladies. And thanks so much for reading both guest posts. You are very generous with your time and support and I appreciate that very much. I have a confession – I had ice cream after the mac-n-cheese!! Truth! Be well and carry on….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Despite the glitches, October sounded like a great month. And, you have so many plans in the making! After we return from our current trip to Mexico, I’m not sure what we’ll do, but I guess I need to start planning. You’ll love Alaska; we took a cruise there a few years ago and were blown away by the majestic scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Suzanne, that Zenful sky! One of my favourite covers of Hallelujah is the one by K. D. Lang:

    Having spent most of my life in BC, I’ve been through the Columbia Icefields and the Canadian Rockies many times. The scenery is gorgeous, and I especially love the area around Banff. The inside passage from Vancouver to Prince Rupert is also spectacular, although I’ve never done an Alaska cruise yet.

    You have some great travel plans in your upcoming year.



  12. Good blueprint for balance. And then of course… shit happens. Just the normal unexpected unpredictable stuff that happens to all of us, throwing challenges. I always try to keep these in perspective by reminding myself that health is the utmost priority and if we have that, we can usually deal with the other stuff.

    Love your beach shot and the baby poppy seedlings. Poppies are probably my favourite flower of all times.

    Would love to travel to Alaska, it sounds like a magnificent trip. You certainly have lots of exciting plans… I wish we could plan so far in advance, but its just a strategy that doesn’t work so well for us.



    1. Ben’s work takes you to some amazing places, and you guys have done house sitting all over the world, so if you never traveled again I’d say you are way ahead of most of us. My hiccups were minor in the grand scheme of life, and I am grateful that it was short lived. Your street photography tells such beautiful stories. Keep them coming.


  13. A lot of ups and a few downs – which, in the scheme of things, is balanced, I suppose. Besides, there are few funks that can’t be solved with mac and cheese. I love love love that beach photo…and here’s to a happy & active November.


  14. Christie Hawkes

    You certainly had a busy month, Suzanne. I absolutely love the photo of the clouds at the beach. A zenful moment indeed. Sorry about the extra expenses this month. Those things do tend to happen in bunches. Hopefully, you’re done with that now. Happy November!


  15. I always enjoy other bloggers’ taking stock posts because our lives are all so different – but also the same. Sorry about your car accident and other small disasters – things like that always rattle my cage too. Sounds like you have some interesting things coming up – the Alaska/Rockies trip will certainly provide you with some great photo opportunities.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂


  16. Deb, almost everyone (30 of us) loved the book and had an opinion about everything, which I knew would be the challenge. I had a list of ‘themes’ prepared to guide us through the discussion; isolation, (both physical and emotional), family (natural and inherited) education (formal and non-formal learning), and society (the one she lived in which had a natural order of things, vs one that is altered by wealth and power) and victims and predators. We discussed the characters, themes and story line for over an hour (mostly under control). I rang my ‘teacher bell’ a couple of times and had to call out a couple of unruly speakers that were talking over others, but we got it together and everyone stayed on task to the end.

    The most lively debate was about Chase, and whether he was a ‘predator’ or a victim? A couple of people believed he was the true victim and that he “suffered” for his inability to break with societal expectations. Such BS! It is a fun book to talk. I hope you’ll have lunch with a friend who has read it. There are so many relevant themes to talk about and it is very revealing in terms of our own prejudices and attitudes. Great blog post material!! In the mean while, I would love to know what you thought of Chase!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.