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I have been foiled in my attempts to write this blog. I admit that some of the roadblocks have been Annie-made, for sure. Like waiting until 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon to get out this week’s words. But I just haven’t felt light hearted enough to write. There it is. I have discovered  that whenever I come back from the Home-of-the-Free-and-the-Brave, I get a little melancholy, homesick, poor-me-ish. This is especially pronounced after I  have been hanging out with some of my fabulous family of which I have hundreds — all located in the US of A. So when I return to Oh Canada, I get this momentary, fleeting feeling of “Why the hell am I here?” It always causes the cats to roll their eyes and start yammering on about their Canadianism and how this is, indeed, a kinder and gentler place. And, what about health care, Ann? They usually end with an emphatic, unmoveable statement about their absolute refusal to move to any country that starts with an “U”. Their rants do not allow me to wallow for too long in my melancholy.

So after two days I have moved on from that temporary blip and decided to take control of this blog. Off I went to the Science-Fiction-and-All-Things-Fantasy room of my local library — my absolute favorite place to write. I must interject here that it is bloody hot and humid in Hogtown today. Most unpleasant — especially since we don’t have the breezes

A day at the Beach catching up on important reading.

Of Tampa nor is there a beach an hour away or even a swimming pool in the backyard. But, I was not to be put off. I was at the library by 2:30 p.m., took the elevator to the third floor and found my favorite room, dark and locked. Alas, I was forced down one floor to mingle with the newspaper readers, nap takers and movie watchers. That’s when the heat hit me. I asked the librarian if, perhaps, it was just me. She gave me a hopeless shrug and said that the libraries have not clicked the magic button yet to turn on the air conditioning. But I was not going to break my promise to myself to write, write, write. “Ann, go over there, find a table and write your blog.” I was determined. But then I discovered I had forgotten my mouse, computer glasses and bottle of water. I figured they were signs that I should come home, climb up to the loft and retrieve a fan. I absolutely refuse to turn on the air conditioner this early in May. I do have some principles, even if the cats think this particular one is rather useless — especially if you’re wearing fur.

This already-summer-heat was a shock to my system when I got off the plane on Thursday. Whatever happened to spring coming before summer? I swear that Tampa

Univ. of South Florida campus. Len is keeping good watch on his half of the sandwich as he takes this pic.

was not this hot, really. Or maybe I think that because I was living in the World of Air Conditioned Everywhere — except the beach, of course, but that had those lovely Gulf breezes to cool me down.But I don’t remember being bothered by the heat when Len and I were exploring owntown Tampa on foot — although

Hanging out on the Riverwalk alongside the Hillsboro River

Hanging out on the Riverwalk alongside the Hillsboro River

Len may have other recollections of my heat tolerance. I did get quite crabby a few times (More? All the time?) especially when my feet hurt and my knees just didn’t want to walk those extra blocks in Ybor City to get to the Columbia restaurant where I had a not very good salad (House Special) but a fabulous cold beer. Yum.




Drinking cold beer in the middle of the afternoon is perfectly fine when one is on vacation. At least I think so and so do my nephew, Pat, and Len — as long as it was a Yingling.

Len proving my point.

Len proving my point.

So here it is a whole week since I was sitting in the Oxford Exchange Book Fair with 34 other authors chatting with readers and Sunday-brunchers who brought their flutes of champagne with them to sip while they looked at books and talked to writers — all very civilized and Southern, I thought. I’ll be posting pictures and more details about the Book Fair on the  Mediterranean Journey website.

But I think the best part of this trip was getting to know the wonderful people my nephew and his wife are. I always knew they were special, but now, I have seen them in their workplace and home and neighborhood and I have a new respect for the good folks who they are. I would love to have the same chance to visit all of my nieces and nephews and find out who they are in this place of their lives. (Hmmm, was that a universal groan coming from south of the border at the thought of Auntie Annie coming to stay?) Not to worry — well at least not yet — the cats have promised havoc if that borrowed-red-suitcase comes into this house again.