Written by Captain Mary on Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. The traditional meaning holds no importance to me. I have found that the meaning of Thanksgiving is so much more than re-playing a historical event.
I anticipate the day each year whether it is my turn to cook or not. A chance, no, an opportunity, no, an honor to be able to look into the eyes of my sisters, brother, children, grandchildren, Dad and other members of the family and friends. To touch them and talk with them, we replay our happiest times in our lives. It is a time for me to remember the love this holiday brings to me.
For my family and friends that can't make the event, they are still thought of, we talk about the past Thanksgivings and the year in review. It is a time to sit around the dinner table and be a family. I remember that the dinner table when I was growing up, was the place where we would catch up on the events of the day and, of course, get the advice from the parents about life and the right thing to do. Thanksgiving was always the time I remember as a gathering of family and friends. We talk so much, it's a wonder we ever slow our mouths enough to eat anything. I love the walks between entrees to work off some of the stuffing, not the turkey stuffing but the people stuffing.
The days before Thanksgiving are full of kitchen gathering and helping each other. Enjoying the phone calls with each other making the arrangements for our ultimate meeting on Thanksgiving Day.
This year I missed my children and grandchildren, rotating between me and their father, I miss the young kids running around and the filling of their plates. The kids eyes so big and their plates so full, because they want to taste everything.
Anytime I am with my family and friends is a holiday, I love to watch their smiles and hear the stories, a time to catch up and feel love.
I wish everyday was Thanksgiving Day.


Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(made from old Christmas dress)




Each Memory Bear is handcrafted from your re-claimed materials.

Prices vary according to the material, some fabrics must be lined and require additional expense.

We do not wash your material in order to preserve the memory.
A $20 deposit is required with your order.

(made from baby blanket)

We offer one size bear, 18".

Prices range from $50 and up, depending on the material.

After receiving your material, we will call or E-mail you with a quote.

Please allow 2 weeks for completion of your Bear. (Except for Holiday orders, allow additional time).

for shipping address & information.
Standard shipping & insurance is $10.00 additional.

We also have already constructed Bears, at discounts, check our website to see what is available.

We offer quantity discounts, please let us know how many LADY BEARS you would like.

LADY BEARS are not infant safe unless requested.

We offer music boxes for an additional $10.00. (Great for Holiday Gifts)

Each Bear requires approximately 1 yard of fabric.

We are happy to create a bear from just about anything, wedding dresses, curtains, baby blanket, kids soccer uniforms, grandpa's old fishing shirt,

grandma's favorite house dress, old pillows, sheets, bedspreads, jeans, Christmas dresses, the list is endless....

Lady Bear's are soft and cuddly, crafted to cherish your memory for a long time.

Let your imagination be the guide.


Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I guess fighting "City Hall," is not always a loosing battle. My prior story
BEING NEIGHBORLY , will explain the topic if you didn't read this post. Instead of going over the whole thing again, the great news is "My Neighbor," won her battle and they reinstated her exemptions and her assessment is back to where it needs to be. Her bill went from $4,000. to under $900. I would say that was worth fighting for. She still has more work to do.
Being Neighborly really paid off, according to the paperwork, they processed everything the same day as the hearing. This must be a miracle of some kind, it goes to show you do catch more flies with honey. I tell you what, we poured honey all over it.
When you think about it, the people we have to work with are just like me and you, working stiffs. They pay taxes just like the rest of us. I am certain they are over-worked and under-paid like the rest of us. The last year encountered a lot of problems, they took Homestead Exemptions from 90,000 people in Miami. I imagine what they were hoping for is that people would just pay the inflated bills, but that back fired on them. Most people fought the system and it ended up costing the taxpayers in mediation and court cost to re-instate all those tax bills. The people at the top of the food chain don't give the American public enough credit, we don't sit back and take it anymore. If you find yourself in this predicament, don't hesitate to shoot me a line, I am just about an expert by now. It took 10 months to resolve this problem, but in the meanwhile my neighbor was not charged late fees or penalties while her case was pending.
So, if you ever think "City Hall," is too big, just think again, and always remember they work for us not the other way around. Always be kind to the people that are helping you, it could be your neighbor!


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, September 10, 2010

Mention a "Memory Bear" and not too many people know exactly what that is. Monica is starting a new business just in time for Christmas.
What is a "Memory Bear", well, it's a stuffed toy made out of a blanket your little one carried around for years and you can't seem to part with it, but it is stuffed in the closet somewhere. Well, drag it out for re-purposing, and watch the smiles. No kids, well what about Grandpa's flannel shirt he always wore when he took you fishing, you could give it to Grandpa as a memory of your time together. Maybe someone passed and you want a happy way to remember them forever. How about that christening outfit that is now so yellow and is stashed under a bunch of junk in the closet. How about that outfit you wore on your trip to the Islands on your honeymoon, your wedding dress, your kids soccer jersey they out-grew. Got a cap and gown from graduation, what a great memory, let Monica make you a cuddly memory. There are so many special times that can be remembered, what better than having a Cuddly Memory Bear by Monica.


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, September 03, 2010

My neighbors have been here since the beginning of time. I have one of my neighbors who recently left town for a time to have surgery and recovery time to N.C.. In the meantime she had her mail forwarded to her N.C. address. While home in Miami the mail arrived that had that letter about your Homestead Exemptions, you know the one, it says if these exemptions are correct do nothing. The government has this letter set up to not forward anywhere. As you might guess the letter was returned to the Exemption Board and they immediately removed her exemptions, not only did they do that but they changed her assessed value as if the home was repurchased by a new owner. The name of the deed did not change, and according to the rules, if the home is no longer your homestead they can only increase the assessed value ten percent. Lets do the math, it went from 84,000 to 172,00. My math skills may not be perfect, but that doesn't seem to add up.
In her horror, Lilly, contacted me and we began to try to fix this problem. First, we make our way to the government office to try to correct the problem. Lilly did not have enough identification to correct the problem. So, we schedule a hearing with the Adjustment Board, now that ten months has passed, the date for the hearing is here.
Time to go Downtown, I won't even get into the logistics, that's another story. At the Government Center we sit before three people, one was a magistrate, and two others with the administration of Exemption, or something like that. Before we entered the room, I had to instruct Lilly, who was in tears, to keep calm and be nice. Lilly was a wreck, trying to live on her retirement of 13,000 a year is hard enough, but to tell her that she has to pay 4,000 in taxes just sent her over the edge. I can't image what it would be like to be over 80 years old and living in her home for almost 50 years, and the government tells you "this is not your home anymore". She was devastated. Lilly started to ramble on, not realizing that the board had already restored 2 of her 3 exemptions. I got it, so we were more than half way through the process, now we had to restore the assessed value of the home back to 2008 prices. I have always believe that there are no problems without solutions. So, I had to speak up and tell the board that we don't have the identification that they require, instead of discussing why Lilly does not have it, I said lets find a solutions. The board began to brainstorm, and one of the ladies suggested a special form. We began the paperwork with the help of the board. One of ladies took us down stairs to have the forms notarized, after I filled them out, she sent us to record the documents. After hours of paperwork, I told Lilly that we are going back to the board and bringing the paperwork to the Assessment board, this completes the process. I mentioned to all who helped me and Lilly that this was "Help a Neighbor Day", the response to this was wonderful, we became know as the "Good Neighbors".
Our driver Max, and neighbor got us home, pulling up to my house Lilly turns around and says to me give me a call, I shouted "No way, its the end of Help a Neighbor Day, now Piss off a Neighbor, begins", of course I was kidding.
I was so happy to report that everyone that we encountered in our Downtown adventure was wonderful, it all started because I instructed my neighbors to be nice. The old saying you catch more flies with honey, is sooooooo true.


Written by Captain Mary on Monday, August 23, 2010

I have been missing something in my life for awhile. At first I thought it might be a man, but I brushed that thought right out of my head. This past week I have been around my grandchildren, swimming, diving and just having them around. I noticed that instead of sitting on the couch I have been doing things.
I have accomplish more this week of things I have been putting off than ever. Instead of being occupied with the children around I find myself motivated. I finished a purse I promised a friend. I have been working on a blanket, made out of Crown Royal bags. I organised and went through stuff for the garage sale, cleaned my dresser and repaired clothing. Cleaned out my fish pond and so many other things. I hope to keep motivated because it seems I eat and smoke less.
This week work seemed to pick up a bit, and I hope to continue, the best way to do that is to have the little ones around me. They are full of energy and it gives my life a kick start. Not to mention I am around lots of love. I have such a great family and they are what keeps my life going.


Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lobstermania is here. I call it Rookie Season, that is what they call "Mini Season", a time for people to go out and dive for Spiny Lobster. The mini season is a chance for all the Rookies to go out and crash their boats and drown their dive buddies.
This is the time of the year we stay close to port. The crazies are out, the people who go out with experience are few and they are probably clenching their fists every time a rookie zooms by in their boat.
People think that this is the only time to catch lobster, in fact the season is open for months from August to April. I can't manage to see the need for a mini season, there is plenty of time during the year to catch these elusive critters. My advice is to be careful and stay safe anytime you go out on the water.
I love being out on the water and catching fish, yet my enthusiasm is limited when it comes to the bug looking creature, to me they taste the same no matter how they are prepared. Not to mention it is a chance for the Marine Patrol, and every other official to pull you over and board your boat, check your catch. The worst part is they won't leave until they find something wrong, so be certain, you have you whistle and safety equipment up to date. I know from experience, it doesn't matter what you are doing anymore you get pulled over for any or no reason. Homeland security detained us for a long time while they checked our identification. Like we look like a flotilla.


Written by Captain Mary on Monday, May 10, 2010

If you are not familiar with Murphy's Law I will explain. Murphy's Law is, everything can go wrong, will go wrong.
Yesterday was our annual Mothers' Day Fishing Trip. On the boat was myself, Monica, my daughter, and my son, Jason, who was our official boat handler.
The day started out with getting the boat ready to head to the marina for launch. We have been going out on Mother's Day for so many years, I can't remember how many years we have been doing this. The amazing part of Mother's Day boating is that no matter what the weather prediction is, the day is always perfect. It's probably the only time that the marina is not packed with boaters.
We arrive at the marina, without a problem, launch the boat, back up and head out the channel, heading toward the ocean. Of course, we didn't know that Murphy was on the boat. Putting the throttle down, I notice nothing happened. We are idling down the channel and decide when we get out the channel we will anchor the boat and examine the problem. It appeared that Murphy was on two other boats that day also, along with us, a couple other boats were making repairs. A brief inspection of the throttle connections show that everything is intact, yet still no acceleration! We then remove the cowling over the engine and take a look under the hood. We then decide that the cable is broken. Most people at that point would head back to the marina and home. We are definitely stubborn boaters, why can't we engineer a way to make the throttle work manually? With some leader wire, electrical connectors, piece of rubber tubing, and a cardboard roll, we made a throttle. Now we are able to go forward to our fishing adventure. With Jason on throttle and me at the wheel we continue through Stiltleville to the ocean. We begin trolling and enjoying the day, watching bottle nose dolphins at play. Hours go by without a bite. We notice a sailfish jumping and head in it's direction, when suddenly Murphy shows up again.
A bird, which has to be a relative of the Doe Doe bird, dives down and grabs the bait. A stroke of luck and the Albatross lets go. We frantically pull the lines in until the birds fly off. Wouldn't you know it, the bird makes another dive and gets hooked. First catch of the day! Now, we have to pull in the bird and unhook it. These are large birds, and while pulling him in he kept going under water. Fearing we would drown the thing, we had to take our time. Finally getting the bird along the side of the boat, Jason, throws me a rag and says to put it over the birds head. The poor bird was yelling in fear, he was hooked pretty good, the end of the hook was coming out of his eye socket. His snapping bill and flapping wings, made grabbing him a bit tricky. I grabbed the bird around the neck and brought him on the deck, where the surgery began. Jason tried to cut the hook, but Murphy was on the boat, none of the tools we had was effective in cutting the hook. Our only option was to carefully remove the hook, we had to work quickly to avoid stress to the bird. It took some twisting, but we removed the hook without damaging the eye or any part of the bird. Monica stood watching and almost getting sick, thinking we were going to pop its eye out on the deck. Handing the bird over to Monica for the release, she carefully put him over the side. The Albatross flew away, looking like he was no worse for the wear.
Deciding at that point we would just do a little bottom fishing. Checking the electronics, I notice that they are not working, oh Murphy is back. Well, we have to do this the old fashioned way. One small problem is that we don't have a compass, Jason did have his I-Phone, which has a compass app.
One more problem foiled. We had a great time fishing up grunts and small groupers. It was time to head in, without a GPS, using landmarks and experience of the area. Monica was on the throttle, which took a bit of work to get it smooth. In the meantime we all got a bit a whiplash, Monica laughed so hard she was nearly in tears. After a bit of work we managed to find the marina and get home. We got enough fish for a fish sandwich. As much of the day was full of problems, we had a great day and laughed so hard. A beautiful day on calm seas is so wonderful for the soul.


Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, April 29, 2010

My ride started out innocent enough. I am doing a little renovation on my bathroom. What I want to do is go as "Green" as possible on my Reno. My bathroom has a gray toilet and sink, which doesn't really match anything. So, I was looking to replace my toilet with a white one. I located a "Home for Humanity Restore," and then called my sister to let her know what I was doing. Since my sissy lives in Key Largo, I would sneak in a visit. My sister told me that she can get me a toilet from a recent Reno, from the Lions Club. After getting off work, and watching a litter of kittens being born I head toward the Florida Keys.
Making my leisurely drive, I cross the county line and begin noticing information signs. The sign said, "Drug Enforcement Check Point Ahead." "What!" I said to myself. I continue driving and notice police everywhere, pulling drivers over randomly. "Can this be true?" Have I crossed the border into a communist country? Do people know their rights, or are they being detained unlawfully, because they don't know. Are we rolling income for the government, is there a short fall somewhere and now we just pull over and pay. Does this sound like a nation of rights and freedom?
On my way out of town I stopped at a convenient store for a coffee. The parking lot and the store was full of police. After a few minutes they cleared out of the store, I couldn't help asking the cashier what was going on. The cashier didn't reply, instead the other customers standing in line jumped in on my comment. A couple of guys had been detained and commented that the police can do anything they want! Me and another gentleman told the guys that legally they cannot search your vehicle, without probable cause or your permission. The guys didn't know they had the right to say no! The police intimidated them into submission, to allow the search. I can't believe how the government is taking advantage of travelers. These poor guys weren't even on the rode, they were at a restaurant and in the end they got a ticket for too dark tinting. That is a ruse that is commonly used. Instead of concern with our safety and freedom, the police are taking advantage of us and finding different ways to make money from travelers.
I am just sick over this, how bad is it going to get before we put out foot down. I was hoping to get pulled over and be able to exhort my rights. Enough is enough. If this pisses you off let me know.


Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, April 07, 2010

...if only for a moment. I was lucky enough to be invited to an Antique Car Show, by my good friends, Ralph & Carolyn. They were showing 3 beautiful cars in the show. A Buick Skylark, a Cadillac, and what I see as the, "Untouchables," car, I could envision Elliot Ness in the front seat, pursuing Al Capone.
Due to the value of the vehicles, someone must literally stand by the cars at all times. The car that I was honored to stand by was the Buick Skylark, bright red, convertible.

The best part about standing by, has to be all the stories that I heard. People would come by and remember what they were doing in the 50's. Perhaps a story about their grandparents taking drives in that exact model.

Everyone was full of smiles, except for the owners of the cars. The frantic, last minute preparations, were full of stress.The judges would soon be on their way. I watched car owners come by and examine the Buick, then return to their car to polish something they missed.

Everyone was so respectful to the cars, as if they were made of all gold and precious. The cars were so perfect to my eyes, yet, I would hear people talking about things like the color or type of bolts and washers.

Time for judging was here. The judges were very thorough, they examined the car, inside, outside, and underneath. I was watching the expressions on their faces, at the same time wondering what they were thinking. After a little palaver, one of the judges came to me and said, "We all agree that this car is #1." Of course, I smiled from ear to ear.

The day continued, and what a perfect day it was. I would have to wait on the results, although, I knew that the Buick was getting a first place in its class.

Later in the week, I visited my friends,Ralph & Carolyn, only for them to tell me what I already knew. All the cars they entered in the Antique Car Show, got first place in their category.

As I remembered walking around these magnificent works of art, I thought about the time that things were simple. I imagined myself in the days gone past on a leisurely drive to no where. Driving was something people did for pleasure and a time for family fun. My step back in time was a memory that will always make me smile.


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, April 02, 2010

I have always enjoyed art, all kinds. For a few months I have sponsored an Art Class for homeschooling. For the past two classes we have focused on an Easter theme. We started with blown eggs, the first part of the project led to red faces and scrambled eggs all over the place. For this group the standard decorated egg just wouldn't do. Shy-Anne, my granddaughter, suggested a Lady Bug; after her suggestion, the ideas grew into creations full of imagination.
The first class concluded with a Penguin, a Bride, Zebra, Bandit, and, of course, a Lady Bug.
The second session of the Easter Egg decorating class, concluded with more imagination than the first. We ended up with more adorable characters; A Bumble Bee, Graffiti egg, a Groom, a Sea Turtle and an Easter Bunny.
I can't describe in words the great work the class did without showing photos. I think that this project, had to be the most fun for me.
We have done some amazing projects, beaded animals, Aboriginal painted boxes, home-made paper, that we made into Valentines. I hope that I can come up with more ideas to capture the imagination of these children.


Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What the hell does that mean? I make ends meet by doing odd jobs. I reinvent myself every chance I get.
The other evening I was relaxing in my favorite chair, when the phone began to ring, it was 10:30 in the evening. When I get calls that late in the evening, I panic just a little. To my surprise it was a lady calling from Utah, she got my name from one of my customers. She asked, "if I could do her a big favor", her dog sitter was unable to work on Friday and Saturday. So, I agreed to help. The favor was a bit unusual, she wanted me to sleep with her four dogs. If that wasn't crazy enough, she also requested that I sleep in her bed with the dogs, and love them up. I think that this request has to be the most unusual to date.
I completed the job, even though it was extremely odd, never meeting this mysterious woman, it was time to get paid. I am certain that she was desperate to let someone she didn't know in her home, not to mention in her bed. Still, I have not met this woman in person, she calls and says that my payment will be under the door mat.
I wonder how far pet owners will go to take care of their animals. Whatever that may be, it is good for me, job security.