March 31st, 2017
Atchoo! Excuse me. Isn't this a pretty little picture? I took it in my backyard. The flowering thing is bougainvillea. I love the colour. Spring is so gorgeous here. Every day, it seems, that something new is blooming. Atchoo! excuse me! The very air seems perfumed. And the colours, oh my, from bright white to vivid reds and sweet lavenders and every colour in between. Nearly every, atchoo, excuse me, colour of the rainbow is represented, florally speaking.
When I walk around, my head spins like a top trying to see everything at once. Of course, I don't know most of their, Atchoo! names, excuse me, but I'm slowly learning. There is the one downside of this bounty of blossoms of course, atchoo! excuse me. The fine layer of green and gold pollen all over everything. Have to clean off any outside furniture before you sit down or your britches will be Atchoo! excuse me, stained of course.
Then there is that same layer of flower pollen schmutz all over the cars! I don't mind washing the, Atchoo, excuse me, cars far more often. I even kind of enjoy playing in the water outside (which, let's face it, is what it is) but my goodness! Atchoo, excuse me, it is becoming a daily chore. And the fact that the water sprayer in my car isn't working right now, means that every single time I need to drive somewhere, Atchoo! excuse me, I have to wash my windows first. Atchoo! excuse me. I don't believe my car has ever been quite this clean.
Really, it's just a minor inconvenience and a temporary one too. Spring won't last Atchoo! excuse me, forever after all. Soon enough, all this blossoming and pollen spewing will be done Atchoo! excuse me, and my car can return to it's usual filthy self. (only on the outside, the inside is always immaculate)
What's a little dusting of pollen when balance out by this fairy land of flowers? Atchoo! excuse me, it's like living in a botanic garden! So really, having to wash the cars more often, or being sure to wipe off lawn furniture before sitting down is a very minor thing. Atchoo! excuse me. I really cannot complain if that is the only downside. Atchoo! excuse me.
Well, perhaps there is that one other tiny little thing that goes along with living in this wonderful garden of a place. Atchoo,! excuse me. I think, now mind you, I am no medical expert, but perhaps, Atchoo! excuse me, I may have a mild, Atchoo! excuse me, slight, allergy thing going on. Atchoo! excuse me. But I'm sure, in time, I will adapt. Atchoo! Excuse me, right?
March 30th, 2017
My sister and I went shopping together yesterday. There were a few things she needed and it's just more fun to shop with someone like minded. I love shopping with someone else. Someone who will be kind, but honest, when you try on something unflattering, someone who will suggest that you try something you never would think of on your own but not demand that you consider it, someone to talk and giggle with the entire time and make an errand more fun. Maybe it's just a "girl-thing".
Regardless of whether or not that is true. One of the errands on her check list involved picking up a few things at the Clinique counter in Macy's. Apparently they were having a give-away because with her purchase came this cute little zippy bag chock full of freebies. And because she is probably the best sister ever, she gave the bag-o-goodies to me! Cool beans!
I don't happen to use Clinique products. Not because it's not a good product, understand, but mostly because I'm cheap. And also because I cannot drive all the hell the way to Sarasota to buy anew with needed. But I'm still tickled to bits over all my stuff. I have no idea what most of it even is, and I'm still happyhappy. I hope they have instructions!
There is just something about free stuff. Ever been to a Home and Garden Show? Nearly every both has free giveaways: those big plastic tote bags, yard sticks, lollipops, bottles of water, keychains, pens, do-dads and thingamajigs of every sort branded with a company name. That's why they give it out. Everyone walks away with a totebags full of free stuff. The intent is to garner new business, new customers for those companies. It must work, otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it, right? I don't think I have ever hired an electrician based on the information I got as a give-away magnet.
I was just checking the pencil-cup on my desk here. In it are two pens. One is for a Guarantee Company back in Colorado where we signed all the paperwork for the house we built. I don't know if they gave us the pen as we walked out the door or I accidentally walked off with it. (I hope it's the former - but it was nearly 11 years ago, I honestly do not recall) and the other is for a dentist here in Florida. I know that was a give-away at a Home Show we attended over the summer. In the end we selected a different dentist. I had forgotten about the pen until just now.
At the grocery store, I do take advantage of the buy one-get one offers if it's a product we use regularly. That always seems to be a good idea. Buy one jar of mustard and get another jar free. One for the pantry and one for the fridge. Yeah, I can do that one. Recently Tim and I were at an office supply store and one of the things we bought we mailing envelopes. I was going to buy one package, but it was buy two, get one. So we now have a life-time supply of mailing envelopes in the utility room taking up space. Not positive that was the best choice.
Anytime we shop at one of the warehouse stores, we debate. I'm good with toilet paper, papertowels and garbage bags. First of all, they aren't going to "go bad" before they are used and we kind of ear-marked room in the utility room for that stuff. Yup that shelf there would be perfect for paper products. We did the math, it is cheaper to buy that stuff in bulk. But jars of peaches by the case? Probably not. And given how much less space we have here, we almost never buy bulk anything. And it was a hard habit to quit. Back in Colorado we had not only an entire nearly empty basement, but also an extra freezer in the garage. Oh and a garage.
Of course that stuff isn't really free, just a smart buy. Whenever there is a new store opening, they have give-aways, parade marchers often throw free stuff into the crowds, and I understand that if you are a celebrity attending an awards show, there is quite the fancyschmancy swagbag handed out.
Well, I'm not a celebrity, but I have a generous sister. And once I figure out what Moisture Surge is or how to use "chubby stick sculpting contour", I will put it all to work. I hope there are you tube instructional videos!
Thanks Joy! I love my new toys :)
March 29th, 2017
Forgive my tardiness this morning. I was at the Farm Market again and lost track of time. It's not just the quality and variety of food that they offer, and both are amazing, it's just the sheer beauty of it all. My local farm market only purchases things grown within a 100 mile radius of their shop. How cool is that?
I have to admit that I don't even know what some of those things are in that photo, "Sour Soup", is that a fruit or a vegetable? "Mamey", I will have to look that one up, I've honestly never heard of it and would have no idea what to do with it. But I was tempted to purchase one anyway. "Gaura", the sign indicates that it's Thai so I imagine one would use it while cooking Thai food. Otherwise, not a clue. Isn't that just glorioius!
Before I even stepped one foot inside the store, I was rhapsodizing over the displays! I love being able to choose the precise fruit or vegetable that I want and not have to buy something pre-packaged and shrink wrapped. They are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
I linger over each bin trying to decide if this is something I absolutely have to buy. Afterall, realistically I cannot buy it all. I do not want to waste any of it, it's just too good, and we cannot eat all of it in one week's time. It's so hard to resist though.
I do not even make a list before I go anymore. I wait to see what is in the store first. I plan my meals around what they have to offer instead of the other way around. It's more fun, more interesting and more, well "zen" I suppose. I admit, occasionally I have to come home and look up something I've purchase to find out exactly what it is and how to prepare it. Those meals are always the most interesting.
Tomatillos and ginger and radish, Oh my! I cannot immediately think of any dish that would use all three at the same time, but then to be fair, I haven't looked in any of my cookbooks yet either. But aren't they beautiful?
I bought some beautiful golden beets, sugarsnap peas, zucchini and summer squash and salad vegetables galore. Then some grapes, pineapple, bananas and strawberries because you can have enough fruit. Though I was very tempted by this next fellow, because of his name. Jackfruit. That's just plain fun.
I'm getting hungry just looking at these photos. I'm going to put it all away now and then start planning some meals. I will definitely look up the names of the ones that are new to me and maybe next time they will come home.
I don't know if you ever get the chance to shop at a farm market instead of a grocery store. Don't get me wrong, I shop at grocery stores too. I just do not buy produce there. It's not ripe, it's unappetizing and has no fragrance. I cannot in good conscience buy any "fresh" produce that has no scent. Cereal yes, Laundry soap, yes, produce absolutely not! We eat so much more fruit and vegetables now, because of this place. So we are healthier, happier and more fun.
Happy Grocery Day to you! Try shopping in living colour!
March 28th, 2017
Found that I was missing a button on one of my best pair of shorts. Dang! That means I have to either throw them away or fix it. Okay they aren't the best shorts I own, but they really are one of my favourite pair. I've had them for at least ten years. They are loose and soft and comfy and only a little frayed around the edges. And it's just replacing a button after all. Oh dear. That means I am going to have to sew.
One of the truth in the universe types of basic Sam-knowledge is that I do not sew. I'm not the only person who claims that to be true. Everyone who has ever seen me attempt to sew agrees. Sam don't sew.
My 7th grade Home Ec teacher was one of the first people to say it out loud. In fact, she said it so loudly and clearly, that I was asked the leave the class and sent to art instead. I wasn't any better at art, but at least nobody got hurt and nothing got broken. It was an accident, we all agreed upon that. But still and all, a sewing machine was broken and my finger was bleeding so, art class.
But life happens and occasionally one is called upon to sew. I don't know why it is that I cannot sew. My sister can. She is a sewing wiz. When she has the time and space, she can sew rings around anyone. My Nana could sew. She could make anything out of anything else! Curtains from besheets? No problem. One kind of dress out of a different kind of dress without a pattern? In a flash. And all leftovers scraps into a quilt.
But somehow I did not get the sewing gene. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I approached this task.
First I sorted through my meager sewing box searching for supplies. Thread, check...replacement button, check, sewing needles, eventually, check. Bandaids...no check! Ack! Where are the bandaids? Every sewing box should be supplied with an ample supply of bandaids.
Well suffice it to say, that I got the job done. And with a minimum of bloodshed. The needle was threaded in under 15 minutes (a new world record!) and the button replaced. It's on fairly securely and ought to last at least a few washings before I have to do it again. And, I'm fairly certain that no one will look askance at the job done..... As long as they do not see the other side of the job. Do not look at the back of the button. I said, step away from the back of the button. Ratz. Too late. You looked. You saw it, didn't you?
(Sigh) I do not understand why this skill eludes me. This was a very basic thing. Everyone, man or woman, should know how to sew a simple stitch. Repair a hem, replace a button, very first level stuff. And yet, I do not seem to be able to do so.
Now real sewing, creating with needle and thread, now that is a skill. It's artistry. It's like magic to me. And I am in awe of anyone who can do it. A person who buys a dress knowing that the length is wrong, but says, "no worries, I can fix that" and then they do and it look amazing...well my hat is off to you! People who make gifts, "I saw you admiring that cute little apron, so I thought I would make one for you". That totally wows me. I could no more do that than I could fly to the moon.
I know I have abilities just as I know that sewing is not among them. But despite that fact; despite getting tossed out of home economics in the 7th grade; despite my Nana shaking her head at my sewing attempts; despite the snorts of laughter and finger pointings at my sad attempts; despite it all, I sewed that doggone button back on!!
It's not exactly Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon, or the invention of the lightbulb, but I'm proud of myself just the same. Just don't look at the back of the button. That's going to have to be the rule.
March 24th, 2017
Do you remember when all mail came by postal delivery to your house or apartment? The mailman who, with that huge leather bag slung over his shoulder like Santa Claus, walked up and down the streets helping us communicate with friends and family far away? Or maybe you lived in the country and your mail was delivered by a postoffice car or truck. It was a time when people wrote letters and postcards as way to stay connected? Phone calls were prohibitively expensive back then, especially long distance calls. It was a perfectly ordinary thing to sit down and write a letter. People owned pretty pens and stationary was a perfectly acceptable gift.
"The mail must go through!" was the motto of the Pony Express. "Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is the creed associated with the US Postal Service. Although not an official motto, it is inscribed on the James Farley Post Office in New York City facing Penn Station. The phrase was borrowed from the ancient Greek, Herodotus who was referring to the courier service of the even more ancient Persian Empire in 500 BC. Mail was a big deal back then. Suffice it to say, even nowadays with electronic mail, regular actual paper postal mail is still important to us.
It was one of the nice surprises when we moved here. Having our own personal, right-in-front-of-our-own-house postal mail receptacle. Where we lived in Colorado, the norm has come to be cluster boxes. While they do the job, sometimes it was a real pain to have to slog 17 houses up the street to our post box, remember which unit it was in and which box in which unit and then slog back. Especially annoying in rain or snow/ice. This is how they do cluster boxes on the island
While biking and walking around the island, I was surprised to see that not everyone had mailboxes out by the road for the drive-by postal delivery person. Some people still had the receptacle by the door type which tells me that there is at least one postal person who still walks a delivery route here. Do you remember that type of mailbox? It looks like this:
I should not have been surprised to see all the unique mailboxes here. The houses are all very different, why should the mailboxes be any different? Some people just are so terribly clever, they express themselves, they say a little something about who they are with their mailboxes. Like, maybe, I am an animal lover
Or maybe sometimes they say, "Flowers make me happy" or "I am a gardener" or maybe it's a dire warning, "Beware the flowers" I don't really know for sure, but I still liked seeing the many variations:
Others had more of a "beachy" or nautical theme. After all, look where we all live! Celebrate where you are, I suppose, is their thought, or maybe it's a consistency thing :
Some people are clearly more about security. Or maybe they have had problems with people knocking over their mailboxes in the past. Again, I'm just throwing ideas out there, but when there is a clear theme,I can only surmise. Solid, strong and safe, nobody is knocking these babies over. They are more like bunkers than mailboxes:
Sometimes, it's not about the mailbox itself. It is, apparently, more about the mailbox post. Perhaps the uniqueness is the material the post was created out of really caught my eye or maybe it's all about the design :
Some people seem to prefer a "rustic" look:
Others have a more futuristic leaning. These reminded me of the Jetsons. I'm not sure why:
And then there are the folks who are all about colour! These were probably the most fun. Toodling down the road seeing these just makes me smile. In a world of things that are all the same, ordinary, boring and bland, these are anything but:
And inevitably there are the people who want it all, uniqueness, futuristic and colourful. This was one of my favourites:
And, as always, there are traditionalists. Traditional, but still charming in their own way:
There were a few I could not categorize. One that was just adorable:
And another that is just the mac-daddy of all seaside mailboxes. Odes should be written to this one. It should be serenaded every night and confetti thrown at it daily:
In case you are wondering, ours is traditional, boring, plain with about a zillion reflectors on it. Our first mailbox was also traditional but pretty and within the first month, someone driveby'd it. Yup, they smashed it to smithereens taking out our mailbox and leaving behind their sideview mirror. Tim was so incensed that he swears if it happens again, ours will be the bunkerbox.
Hope you enjoyed this little celebration of all things postbox and that one day soon, instead of ads and bills you find something wonderful and unexpected in your mail receptacle regardless of what sort it is.
March 23rd, 2017
This is my hand. My left hand to be specific. It's not pretty, I know. All bony with big knuckles and crookedy fingers but hey, it's mine. Actually it looks very much like my Nana's hands. Which makes sense, genetics and all. But you probably have noticed something missing. Where are my pretty rings?
Well it's the oddest thing. A few months ago, I started developing a rash under my rings. It was very uncomfortable but I soldiered on until my fingers swelled badly from the irritation and I had to use the dishsoap method to get the ring off. Once finally free of the ring, I saw that the skin was raw, inflamed and there were horrid blisters not only on the area that was under the ring but where the ring rubbed against the pinky and middle finger as well. So I left the rings off until it healed and cleaned the ring really well. My thought was that something I was sensitive too had gotten trapped under the rings. Maybe some liquid soap or moisturizer?
Once healed to just looking a bit like dry skin, I tried wearing the rings again with an almost immediate reaction. Bizarre! So essentially I just stopped wearing the rings except for a few hours here and there on Occasions. Like when we renewed our vows, or gatherings when we are meeting new people, doctor appointments, etc. And each time the results are the same. Obviously the shorter the period of time the rings are worn, the less severe the reaction but still quite unpleasant.
I did a little research (naturally). Apparently it's not all that uncommon to suddenly develop a sensitivity to the metals in the ring. Nickel is the usual culprit, it seems. Gold is too soft on it's own so other metals are alloyed with it to make it hard enough to wear. But why would I suddenly develop a sensitivity to nickel? Well, environmental changes can effect how nickel affects me, or so I've read. The salt air, the strange Florida water, the humidity, etc....any of these or perhaps a combination of these things has caused this problem. Or so the first research revealed. And further, they claimed, there is nothing that can be done about it. Story over. The end.
Unsatisfied with that first bit of reading I continued to look. Another site claims that perhaps if I paint the inside of the rings with clear nail polish that creates a barrier between my skin and the metal. That might would work (although it would have to be re-applied frequently) on the wedding band, but the engagement ring would be a lot trickier. Look on the inside of any ring with multiple gemstones. There is actually very little metal touching the skin, just a perimeter of metal with the gemstones set into it. Hmmmm. The idea of starting down that longer repeater highway didn't wow me. And if it didn't work, how would I get the polish back off? Polish remover? What would that do to the metal? Any other options, I wondered?
Further research showed another possibility. By boiling the ring gently in a 2 part vinegar 1 part hydrogen peroxide solution for 30 minutes, allowing it to cool completely then thoroughly rinsing and cleaning with a new soft toothbrush is supposed to remove any trapped particles in microscopic holes/cracks/grooves in the metal and get rid of the cause of the irritation in the first place. Hmmmmmm. I use vinegar rinse to clean my glass things and it does make it sparkly, so I'm sure the diamonds will be superclean if I do this. But boiling sounds severe, which makes it kind of scary to consider. If I ruin my rings there is no going back.
Other articles state clearly that once the metal has broken down enough that the nickel salts are being released, there is nothing that can be done. The jewelry will always affect a person sensitive to nickel resulting in this nasty dermatitis. Well, that's not good!
Haven't decided what, if anything, to do. The rings represent something that is so important to me. My marriage! I have proudly worn that wedding band for more than 23 year now. The engagement ring actually came a few years later. We were not in the best position financially when we got married so I had to decide which was more important to me, a house or a ring. Well that was no contest, a house! Honestly, the wedding band was the important ring to me. The pretty sparkling diamonds that shine from an engagement ring were appealing but not essential. The wedding band was. It didn't feel like sacrifice at all.
Tim surprised me with the engagement ring a few years later when things were a little better for us in the money department. But I was delighted with his surprise and wore it every day. I put the diamond ring on in the morning and took it off at night, but the wedding band, I never removed. Maybe that's the problem. I have literally worn it out!
Well, for now, until I make some sort of decision, I will continue just not wearing either ring and allow my fingers to heal, once again. I'm not any less married with the rings in a box. Tim is no less important to me without them on. But I miss them. And it does make me a little bit sad.
If anyone has any other ideas than what I have already read, please do let me know!
March 22nd, 2017
When we were packing to move here, I was surprised to learn that I owned three swimsuits. When I finally completely unpacked four months later, I was surprised all over again.
Like many women, I've long had a very bad relationship with bathing suits which I keep trying to fix. Hence three suits. The one on the left I bought just prior to a vacation in Cancun. Fun and Sun and time in the water. Perfect for a bathing suit, damnit. The purchase was prompted by something I had read about a company that would create a suit to each persons exact measurements. I choose the style and the colour, duly recorded and sent off the requested inches taken both here and there and received this swimwear back. I think I may have worn it once with tremendous dissatisfaction. In fact, this suit may be the reason I do not like ordering anything I might wear without first trying it on.
The suit in the middle, was the one I bought just prior to the vacation to Hawaii. Tim announced that swimsuits were required. I think it came from a JC Penny store in Connecticut. (That's two moves ago) It was the first time they were selling tops and bottoms separately so a person could mix and match colours, prints and, more importantly, sizes. Turns out being able to try it on is not much of a help. The mirrors and the lighting in the dressing rooms are going to take the blame on this one. They are so collectively horrid that I had that suit on for a total of 30 seconds, just long enough to say, "okay comfortable" and took it right back off. I am naturally rather pale and that ghastly lighting makes me look as if I'd died several days ago and nobody told me. The mirrors, well, let me put it this way, I heard myself mutter in a dressing room once, "If they are going to use funhouse mirrors, they should at least use more flattering ones". I stand by that statement.
The suit on the right was given to me by a friend. She actually purchased it for herself and then decided that she didn't care for it. She kindly offered it to me. I added it to the collection. I really like the colour and the fit is probably the best of the three but there is still just too much of me hanging out there.
When we were in Hawaii, I bought a sarong. I love that thing. I have worn it over the third suit many times. I also somewhere along the line found a bathing suit cover-up that covers me top to toes. Love that too. And if all else fails, I will wear shorts over the bathing suit and throw a button down shirt, unbuttoned, over the top. I think I am defeating the purpose of a bathing suit.
The funny part is, I can swim. I enjoy swimming. The part I don't enjoy is wearing a bathing suit in public. See, there it is. The public. Maybe I'm shy? No that can't be right.
A long time ago, when I was much thinner than I am now but still unhappy with the way I looked, a friend suggested that we gather up the kids and go to the beach. I hesitated before answering. She asked what the problem was. I told her the truth, that, at that time, I didn't own a bathing suit and I'd have to just wear shorts. She offered me one of her suits. I declined, politely. She pushed a little and finally I told her that I just didn't like the way I looked in a bathing suit. She laughed really loud and once she finally got herself under control she asked me, "What makes you think anyone is looking at you?"
Everytime I wear a bathing suit in public now, I think of that question. What makes me think anyone is looking at me. Probably the fact that I'm always looking at other people. Not in a critical way, just in general. I am an unrepentant people watcher and always have been. I cannot be the only one.
Hard to believe but the first time I actually wore a bathing suit once we moved here to Florida, was very recently, in fact, while our first guests were here. I'm at the beach nearly every day, for heaven's sakes! First time in a bathing suit was four weeks ago. We have now lived here for nine months. Of course, I wore shorts and a button down, unbuttoned, over it but it still counts.
I am hopeful, that as I continue to grow older, someday I will no longer give a rats patootie. I will stop buying into the fashion magazine and silver screen garbage that teaches women to be dissatisfied with their looks, and I will, at long last, have moved on from every body criticism I've ever received and wear the damned swimsuit in public and not give it a second thought.
I may need to start campaigning for a pool.
March 21st, 2017
Don't know where you stand on the topic of jigsaw puzzles but over the weekend Tim and I finished this one. We stand firmly in the pro-puzzle camp. You already knew I was a nerd, now the rest of the secret is out, I'm a geek too. I originally bought this puzzle for a Thanksgiving activity since there was lots of family here. And we all worked on it that day but this is a 1,000 piece puzzle and the sky and roof were at least 1/3 of the pieces. Needless to say, it wasn't finished that day. The puzzle stayed on the table in the family room until I needed to dust the table even though I hated to do it, the puzzle went, unfinished, back into the box. It drove me crazy knowing that it wasn't completed before it was put away, which is why it came back out last week. I have to be honest, if Tim hadn't tackled hardest part, I would probably still be working on it.
Puzzles have been around, well probably since people have been around. Exercises of mental acuity are truly very good for us and jigsaw puzzles definitely will provide some brain work.
Jigsaw puzzles have only been around for a few hundred years or so. The first ones on record are from the mid 1700's. Back then they were made from maps that were pasted onto wood and then painstakingly cut into small pieces. Interestingly (to me) the first puzzle that I recall owning as a child was of a map and it was wooden. And no, I'm not quite 300 years old, it wasn't one of the originals, wiseguy.
If I remember correctly, mine was a Christmas gift. It was a wooden puzzle of the United States, all the states were different colours with little stars where the capitals were, the capitol city name printed in black. I loved that puzzle and was careful to not lose any pieces. In fact, I still had it when my own children were small. I believe they learned their US geography primarily through that puzzle. I still remember the three of them working on it together and the youngest referring to Minnesota as "Outtasoda".
MIddle son and his wife sent us the above puzzle as a Christmas Gift this year. He sent a photograph of us all together and sent it off to some company that makes photos into puzzles. Wow! What a great gift. Also a very difficult puzzle. One shirt, the sofa and the floor are all the same colour; the other three men are wearing blue shirts; all the women are wearing similarly coloured flowered dresses etc. Jigsaw puzzles also teach us great patience!
I think the issue some people have with jigsaw puzzles is the assumption that the only folks doing puzzles are people who have nothing else to do, sort of a last option activity. Dork-work in the vernacular. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When youngest son and his wife were here recently, they did three puzzles on top of all the other go, go, going that we did. In fact, they had a contest. Two puzzles of the same size, who will finish first?
The fact that one puzzle was missing a piece means that we will never know the answer to that question as the top puzzle cannot ever be finished.
Before they left on their most recent trip, my sister and I finished a really tricky puzzle. It wasn't very big but it was a hard one. The pressure was on because there was a time limitation on it. They had a date when they were hitting the road and by God, she was going to finish that puzzle. We did.
Youngest son also did this puzzle while they were visiting and finish it is one sitting. He has always been a bit of a show off. Also, clearly, a puzzle master. Even more impressive since he is a bit colour blind. Which means, I'm not quite certain how he is so good at puzzles. I primarily find the pieces I'm looking for by subtle colour variations. He must be finding them by shape?
When our friends from Colorado were here, she and I started a puzzle that we didn't have time to finish together before she left. She has mad puzzle skills and quite honestly, did most of the hard work. We finished it up for her (except for the two missing pieces of course) after they left because, well, it's just got to be done. Cannot walk away from an unfinished puzzle. Bad luck or something, I'm sure. And only just a tiny bit OCD.
When I was a teenager, a jigsaw puzzle was for most people, at best, a rainy day activity and even then if someone found out that a person voluntarily was doing puzzles they were endlessly teased. But since colouring is a traditionally childhood "toy" now redirected into an accepted and currently very popular adult activity, maybe jigsaw puzzles will soon have a re-emergence as well.
Puzzles are great fun, good brain activities and suitable for an individual or as a group of almost any size. They can be completed in one long sitting or worked on little by little over a long period of time. You can buy expensive puzzles or get them at the Dollar Store. I know of at least one catalogue, Bits & Pieces, that is wholly dedicated to puzzles. I think a lending library of puzzles is a terrific idea.
And the best part is that feeling of satisfaction when it's done. Ahhhhhh. Accomplishment, thy puzzle is sweet ;) Must be time to start a new one.
March 20th, 2017
Welcome to Lake Okeechobee, the 7th largest fresh water lake in the US. Yes, we intentionally went in search of it on Saturday. If you look at any map of Florida, it's one of the first things noticed. That massive bit of water down toward the everglades. And we wanted to see it for ourselves. So off we went.
It's rather shallow for a lake that huge, mostly no more than 8 to 10 feet deep, but lousy with fish which also means birds. Loads of birds. Naturally it attracts fisherpeople, fishing from the pier, from boats and even the riverbank. It's an incredibly large lake, about half the size of Rhode Island in fact so the above photo doesn't do it justice.
One of my favourite factoids about it are the names of some of the creeks and rivers that feed the lake: Istokpoga Creek, Kissimmee River and Caloosahatchee River for example. Those are just plain fun to say! Of course I looked them up. Okeechobee means "Big Water" . Istokpoga, interestingly means, "People have died there"; apparently at one time there were deadly whirlpools in that water. Maybe the people who named it couldn't swim? The meaning of Kissimee is still being debated amoungst the peole who debate those sorts of things and Caloosatachee was an Indian tribe. I could not find it meant anything in particular but in the past, I have found that most tribes names mean, "The People". So perhaps that it so again.
I have to admit to being a little disappointed. I cannot say exactly what we expected to see, but not what we saw. Due to flooding concerns, there has been an enormous embankment built around the entire perimeter of the Lake so you cannot actually see it from your car is you circumnavigate it. What you actually see is the embankment itself, and a lot of very small RV parks with names like "Brothers" (a hand lettered sign), "Lake Breeze" and "Silver Palms". There are occasionally some houses right up against that embankment, which is very trusting I'd say, and occasionally the road would swing wide and there would be evidence of a small town.
Sometimes the access point to the top of the embankment had a pretty little park at the base with bathrooms and covered pavilions, sometimes it just a parking lot and concrete stairs. I have read that there is an historic battlefield park somewhere on that Lake but we didn't find it. All around the top of the embankment surrounding the lake is a concrete pathway wide enough to bike or walk the entire circle. It gave me the feeling that I was walking around the rim of a teacup.
The nicest surprise we found was the outside town of Clewiston. We were driving through yet another rural area; cows, citrus groves and fields of......something. Now at least half of my heritage is farming so generally speaking when we pass a field that has something growing in it, I can tell what it is. But this was was a mystery.
Very clearly these were plowed fields, nice straight lines, good rich dark soil, but it looked like weeds growing. Not "weed", shame on you, I meant weeds, the stuff you pull out of the cracks of your patio or your flower garden. I just couldn't place what I was looking at, was it maybe that decorative grass that you see planted in a flower garden? Somebody must grow that stuff, maybe it's these guys?
Well we discussed possibilities for a ridiculous amount of time until we actually entered the city limits of Clewiston, whose nickname is "The Sweetest Town. Well that is intriguing. We drove a little further and found a Sugar Festival. The light dawned in both our minds and just like in the movies, Tim and I said it at the exact same time. It was sugarcane that was growing in those fields!!!
That festival has my name written all over it! Wish we had known about that earlier as it was toward the end of the day and we were already homeward bound in our thoughts. Another time though, I would like to go back and check out that festival.
I think Okeechobee has been seen however. Yup, as far as Okeechobee goes, I'm good.
March 17th, 2017
Looks like a giant pineapple doesn't it? That is what I thought too. So as soon as I returned from my walk yesterday, I looked it up and surprise, that is exactly what it is called. It is a Pineapple Palm! Yay! I was ridiculously pleased to learn this.
However, while on my walk, I did stop for a few minutes in Ponce de Leon park and I noticed that there is a statue there. Just one. A statue of a man. Wouldn't you think that if there is a statue of a man in a park which bears a man's name, that the statue would be a rendering of that man? Hmmmm I will let you judge:
I am pretty sure that is not Senior de Leon. I've never met the man but I have seen paintings of him. They look nothing like this. So what the heck happened here? Which came first the statue or the park name. Did they already have the park named and someone had a spare statue in their garage? Or did they already have the statue in the unnamed park and decided to name the park after the famous explorer of Florida and to heck with the statue? So this is category two. Things that look nothing like what they are named. Ponce de Leon park is indeed a tiny little park, but the statue, which is right next to the sign as you can see, has no relationship to the park name. That is so wrong
The last category, is well, here:
It's called a flat tire and it is a tire that is flat. And it's on my car. Third category. It's called what it is, damnit! Not sure how it happened. It's not like I drive very far, or through tack factories or construction sites, and as far as I know, I have not annoyed any secret agents or ninjas who would sabotage my car like in the movies. Since we've moved here I have had several mysterious car maladies like two dead batteries which still baffles me the swiss cheesed AC issue which is still unaddressed and now a flat tire. I think my car may be possessed.
Now that I think of it there is one more category.
4. Things whose names are not scientifically accurate but I don't care. It's a long name but that's okay. We saw the best example while on our last walk of the day. Sunset on the beach. I know that the sun doesn't actually set. But I also do not care.
Have a GREAT weekend everyone. And that is a name that is both accurate and makes me happy!
March 16th, 2017
The day after our almost-a-tornado, the sun was shining brightly, but the wind was still whipping around, reluctantly to give up. When I walked to the beach, I wasn't surprised to see the warning flags, it was windy enough that I expected the "dangerous water" sign of rip tides, but for the first time, I noticed two different red flags. Now to be fair, I can be fairly oblivious. It is entirely possible that everytime they have the rip-tide so-stay-out-of-the-water red flag out they actually fly two of them. It's possible. Like a danger exclamation point only in "flag speak". But I was curious so I walked closer to the lifeguard station to red the flag translation board posted on it's side.
The plain red flag apparently means High Hazard. I looked out over the water through the mess the wind was making of my hair, obscuring my vision and saw the choppy waves, lots of foam and was in complete agreement. Yup that could be considered hazardous for sure. The other flag, the one with the swimmer with the line through them, means "water closed to the public". So in other words, the two red flags mean, "Very Dangerous Ocean, We are Serious! Stay Out". Okeydokey then.
I looked up and down the beach and the very few people I observed were indeed staying out of the water. Then I looked back out over the water and saw this:
Maybe in the fine print there is something that says, "Very Dangerous Water. Everyone stay out of the ocean, except parasailers and possible surfers"
Oh stop it. I get it. Surfers and parasailers live for these waves. The slightest possibility of action and those adventurers have loaded their equipment into their vehicles and head to the water. And I'm not one of those liability worrywarts. I've not heard of any surfing or parasailing accidents since we've moved here. It's probably one of those sports that far more safe than it seems. In all honesty, it made me smile. For several reasons.
First, it looks exhilarating. Just watching it is a rush. I cannot imagine how fabulous it would be to actually be out there (and I never will. Remember me? Big Chicken) Secondly, it amazingly graceful and beautiful, almost like a dance so it's a pleasure to see. And Thirdly, the town, which posts those flags, also knows darned well that the surfers and parasailers are out there but chooses to not chase them out. I love that I live in a place where, although they are looking out for everyone's welfare, they also aren't trying to hyper-parent/police anyone.
The attitude is more, "Whatever". Hey, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and surfers gotta surf. And you can't surf without waves. We all understand that. I hope nothing ever changes it. It's part of the charm of living here, knowing on a windy day when the seabirds are hunkered down behind a sand dune
And palm fronds are all pointed in the same direction
Odds are good that Isahmael would have yelled to Captain Ahab, "Ahoy Captain, there be surfers..."
March 14th, 2017
"The Blizzard is coming, the blizzard is coming!" The cry went out across the land. Even places that don't have snow (i.e. Florida) heard about it. This was Big News! And of course, it gave me some concern. All of our kids live in New England. Other relatives are in New England. Old Friends live there too. Needless to say, last night, the Blizzard of 2017 was on our minds.
I checked the weather on the phone frequently for blizzard updates but I wasn't too concerned for a number of reasons. First, our kids are sensible, rational, reasonable people who make good decisions. Second, over the previous twenty-four hours, we had been in contact by phone, email, and/or text with all 3 of the boys who assured us that they and the girls were safe and had solid plans for riding it out. Whew!
Therefore, we were semi-settled in to watch a little DVR'd TV last night when suddenly, the house phone rang, which is unusual in and of itself, immediately followed by both of our cell phones started to clamor. Then there was this horrific emergency alert sound coming from multiple sources which made hearing on the phone next to impossible.
We ran to the phones, if for no other reason than to make that noise stop! And learned that:
We too were under weather assault. I had never heard of a "Code RED Weather warning" but it surely does sound scary doesn't it? We looked at each other a moment, then Tim turned the channel to local weather.
We were already prepared for rain and lots of it. That had already been predicted. And, as predicted, it was pouring. I opened the front door to listen for that freight train sound that I associate with tornados and only heard the rain pounding the heck out of everything outside. I shrugged, closed the door and went back inside. More alerts! Okay. I texted Joy.
She and Bob are temporarily living in their RV just down the road in Venice proper. Knowing how tornados feel about RV's, I wanted to be sure she knew about the alert. We texted back and forth a bit. She assured me that if they became more concerned they would drive to our house. Good.
I wracked my brain. I knew there were things I should be doing, tornado prep-wise, but it's been awhile. I filled pitchers with water. I think that's on the list. We discussed which room would be the safest to hide in. We opened a few windows to hear better. We watched weather news reports. And we listened hard.
The alert window closed without incident but it was exciting for awhile. I see no sign that any tornado touched the island anywhere, thank goodness, but I have to say that I am impressed with both the town's alert system and us. We were just a calm as could be.
Tim is a calm in an emergency kind of guy anyway. If you ever have any sort of emergency he is the fellow you want to have on hand because not only is he calm, but he always seems to know the right things to say and do. I'm calm but my brain seems to shut off. I really had to reach to remember the water thing.
I experienced an active tornado once in Connecticut that spun off from a hurricane. I watched it rip a tree right out of the ground in my yard before my very eyes. I remember the tornado alerts in Texas and listening to that wind that sounds as though a train is going to come right through the house. Tim and I both stood on the back patio in Colorado and watched tornados form in the sky and saw one of them dip down to the ground. It was a rather impressive whirling dervish, mostly brown and grey, that swayed from side to side chewing up everything in it's path. So we've seen a tornado or two before.
This was our first Florida tornado though probably not our last. And we are just fine and dandy. Nobody can escape the weather. It's out there. Whether it's drought, flood, mudslides, lightning, blizzards, tornados or hurricanes. Mother nature is going to do whatever she has a mind to do and, at least at this point, we have no control over her. Our job is to know what to do in the event of a weather emergency, stay calm and do it. Be smart and be safe.
The blizzard is still raging in New England and I will still keep an eye on the weather channel throughout the day. I'm sure I will check in with the kids now and again, just to be sure, doing my mom-thing. Even though, in my heart, I know that they are safe.
Meanwhile, I have plenty of pitchers of water still standing on my kitchen counter. I'm thinking, Kool-Aid?
Wherever you are today, please be smart, please be safe. And may the weather alerts be with you.
March 13th, 2017
The guest room is empty once again. All our guests are gone, back to their real lives. The house feels too big and very empty. It's all very sad. I am quite certain that the fact that's it's cloudy and gloomy and rainy today isn't a coincidence.
You've heard that old saying I'm sure that claims, "Fish and guests stink after 3 days". I'm thinking, if you believe that to be true, you haven't had the pleasure of the company of our guests.
We already miss them. Maybe that is an indication of how much we care about these people.
Anyone who has experienced their kids growing up and moving away gets it. It's the natural way of things. It's how it's supposed to happen with our children. Our job, as parents, is to create strong, capable, independent adults. When they can confidently grow up and move away and create their own lives without you, you know you have done your job well. Then when they choose to spend time with you, it's like a gift. It means, they not only love you, they like you too.
It's not exactly the same thing with close friends. That relationship was built with the intention of never leaving; never creating a life away from each other. But it happens that sometimes on or the other of you does move away. And if you can maintain that friendship at a long distance, now that is another accomplishment worthy of note!
And then, when you get together again for a visit, and it feels as if no time has passed? That is special.
So today is a thank you to our kids and our friends who just visited and have returned back home. Thank you. For Everything. Hope to see you again , very soon.
For anyone else considering visiting? Guest Room is empty, just sayin'
March 10th, 2017
test test test
March 09th, 2017
I'm afraid that, once again, blog issues.
Looks like this time it didn't transfer from blogsite to facebook at all. I'm sorry.
I will work on solving this over the weekend.
If you wish to see today's blog, it is, in it's entirety on the blogsite at:
again, my apologies
March 09th, 2017
**After yesterdays blog debacle, I promise from now on, I will be extra careful. I found the problem and I believe the issue is resolved. Once again, my apologies for the problems yesterday. Moving on.**
Earlier this week, Joy and I, in keeping with our promise to hike once each week, found yet another place to go. It's called "Celery Fields" because at one time, when Florida was far more agrarian, it was indeed fields of celery. Now it's a great place to walk and take photographs. There were roughly a zillion birds of all different sorts, but I leave those photos to Joy because well, she is incredibly good at it. I do see one bird in this picture though, roughly in the center. No idea what sort it is. She would know though. Hey Joy! What kind of bird is in this picture??
There was a lot to see in addition to the birds. They even had a hill to climb. I wish I had gotten a better photo of it but it didn't come out well enough to post. I'm reasonably certain that it is the highest point in Florida. There were people running up and down it, a few walking it and a few that, like me, considered it briefly and walked elsewhere.
One of my favourite spots was on a boardwalk built out over the water. There were all sorts of water plants, some blooming, and that sort of gardening to me is just exquisite. Always brings impressionist paintings to mind. Sometimes quite literally. Monet anyone?
As usual we walked, and talked and took our photographs and the time passed too quickly, as it always does. She and Bob are heading back to Connecticut for the next three weeks then when they return, it will only be for about 10 days before they are off to Yellowstone for another season of Ranger-ing and I will miss her.
What did we talk about? Well, everything I suppose. Our kids, our life-partners, the price of tea in China. That line from Alice in Wonderland comes to mind:
"The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of other things, of ships and sails and sealing wax, of cabbages and Kings"
That pretty much covers it. (I suspect that I am the Walrus)
It's just so easy to talk while you are walking along. Seeing the beauty in the world around you, just ordinary things that somehow strike a chord, kind of opens up my mind. Even if I'm walking by myself, I find new ideas, new thoughts, new perspectives while walking. If I have a problem to solve, I'm pretty sure I will find the solution while walking. When I'm writing, occasionally I find myself written into a corner, or the edge of a cliff or into a dark closet and if I take myself on a long walk, I always find the answer. I'm not sure if it's the physical exercise itself, in which case a good series of crunches would probably achieve the same result, but I think that's not it entirely. I think part of it is seeing the world outside ourselves.
Even just the local world. Walking down the same roads that I walk or bike every single day to get to the beach, I see different things each time. Every new thing I see sparks a new light in my mind. New lights, new thoughts, new ideas. And if I'm walking with someone else, I get to share their new lights too! Bonus!
And of course, I find more of these, each and every time:
Found another heart. Always do. And it makes me smile.
We are expecting another set of guests today. Exciting! And she, like me, is a walker. So we will walk and talk and spark new lights and it will be a terrific few days. I cannot wait until they walk through the door!
Since we are expecting guests, I am declaring a long weekend. See you again on Monday. Have a wonderful 3 days! Take a walk, have a talk, think some thoughts and then tell me about them! I can't wait to hear.
March 08th, 2017
Sorry about that folks. I'm not sure what happened, but all of my text from today's post just vanished! Like a magic trick! I'm not sure I can re-create it exactly, but I'm going to give it a shot. It started out with a photo of my half of our current closet situation. Well, most of my half of the closet. Something like this:
I was remarking that of the things most difficult to adapt to in our down-sized move, was the distinct change in clothing related storage. In Colorado, the house was more than twice the size of our current house and that was not just room sizes but also closet sizes. In the master bedroom of our previous home there was room for not just a bureau but also an oversized dresser in addition to a big walk-in closet. Plenty of space for everything and room to keep it all very well organized.
You know how I am about organization and general tidiness! Not sure you can tell, but there is a form of organization in this photo. Top level, from the left, sweaters, long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, short sleeves, sleeveless and then cami's. Bottom level, again from the left, skirts, shorts and then long pants. It's the best I can do with the space we now have.
Now we share a 5-drawer bureau and one normal sized closet. I try to keep my things on my own side, though I confess that occasionally some of my things migrate to Tim's side a bit. We did go through our clothes and got rid of some. But my solution was to use part of the guest room closet (sorry guests) and the other bedroom/now Tim's office closet (sorry Tim) for a few items.
I love looking at all the happy, cheery colour in my closet these days. There was a time when the only colours I wore were black, navy blue, dark brown or grey. I hated shopping and didn't care if what I purchased suited me or fit well. In fact, I preferred loose, baggy things. I was back then, the poster child for poor self esteem. There is a whole psychology behind it all naturally but that's a boring story. Suffice it to say that in recent years, I seem to have blossomed and I now own a veritable rainbow of colours! I recently bought a pair of orange shorts! Orange! And they look darned good too. I have not quite made my way to prints yet but I can occasionally manage a polka-dot or a stripe. And it pleases me to bits and pieces. Naturally I still shop clearance racks and sales with coupons. Some things never change!
I have an emotional attachment to my clothes. Shopping is now fun. It's an outing I usually share with close friends or family members. It's not just shopping, it's entertainment, it's bonding. And when I chose my outfit for the day, I am also remembering that good time with people I care most about. Sometimes it's a particularly special memory. The dress I wore when Tim and I renewed our vows recently, for example, was also the dress I wore the last time we went back to Colorado and I spent time with close friends and my work friends, all of whom are dear to me and I miss so much. I associate both of those important memories with that dress. I am not certain I will ever be able to get rid of that dress!
So given the parameters I currently have to work with, the clothes closet situation is fairly well controlled. The shoe situation on the other hand is completely out of hand. Currently I rotate my footwear with about a dozen different pair. 5 flats, 5 sandals and 2 pair of sneakers. So that's 12 pair of shoes in a space that will only hold 6, maximum, neatly. Therefore, at the moment, the floor on my side of the closet is a jumble of shoes. I've given up keeping them neatly. That is so not like me. And it bothers me. Every few days, I tidy them back up as best I can and in very short order, it's an unholy mess once again. This is not merely an embarrassment, it's a cry for help.
If you have any reasonable suggestions, and by reasonable I mean, do not suggest that I get rid of any of these shoes, I am all ears. Seriously. Help!!
Now I am eagerly awaiting your brilliant solutions and suggestions. And......go!
March 08th, 2017
March 07th, 2017
So here we are again! To continue to saga of our first official guests' visit. I think the only thing left to talk about is our visit to "The Parks" both Busch and Disney. It was so much fun! None of us had ever been to Busch Gardens but Hurley had done his research and found that there was a remote possibility that if we hustled our bustles and got their early enough, we could sign up to feed kangaroos. What's that? Feed Kangaroo's? Are you serious? Sign Us Up! So with that plan in mind, we arrived early and were lucky enough to be on the list of 10 people who get to hand feed critters!~
I've been a fan of kangaroos since my days with Captain Kangaroo. First of all, its a fun word to say. Second of all, I like their little faces. Thirdly, if we need a third reason, they are just so unlike any other animal I can think of! While we waited in the Kangaroo habitat, we observe them lounging, sleeping and occasionally hopping like mad. They are incredibly fast and amazingly soft. While Hurley and Jessie hand fed some more mature Kangaroos, Tim petted a few. As usual, animals just love him.
To our surprise, for the next part, they were invited into the enclosure. The gentleman in charge explained their mission and they all listened closely, even the kangaroo.
Then they were given the baby bottles and assigned their young charges. Suffice it to say that if even you have a young kangaroo that needs roo-sitting while you are away, I think these two would be terrific at the job.
I guess nobody was done feeding animals because we then moved outside to the duck pond and continued, both ducks and the birds that were jealous of the ducks being fed.
Ok! Everybody fed? Great. Time to move on. There were a lot of other animals there too of course, that we could not pet or feed. But we admired them anyway. We particularly liked the part where they were not in cages but in habitats. Here is a small sampling of the beautiful animals that we got to see.
Next up on the agenda were the rides which means you can count me out! Especially the rides that Tim, Hurley and Jessie like to go on. So I become the official holder of things. Which is fine with me. While they wait in long lines and go on the rides, I, holding hats, sunglasses and so forth, prowl through the little shops and indulge in some serious people watching, which is one of my favourite hobbies. Why don't I go on these rides, you ask? Well I get dizzy easily which is not fun. But also frankly, because I'm a big chicken. While other people see, Yay fun! I see........Yikes!
So The Busch Garden Day was seriously a lot of fun. It was not too crowded and the weather was good, the lines weren't very long and there was a little something for everyone. While we are still on a roll, another day we headed out to Disney World! Hollywood Studios, specifically.
Disney is an entirely different entity. It's certainly bigger, better known and therefore there are a lot more people and there are way more options of things to do. We walked in knowing these things and we were not disappointed. One of the things on Hurley and Jessie's list were seeing the characters. We saw a lot of them and they were fortunate enough to get their photos taken with many.
There were tons of rides and one of the things at Disney that I really appreciate is that there are rides that even I can go on. Nothing too wild and crazy, but still fun. Oh there are plenty of the other kinds too. They "fast-passed" a few of the long lines but others they just waited out and later on in the afternoon the line was much shorter.
And then there was shopping. Lots of different places to look around. And for some reason, everyone tried on mickey-ears. I don't quite remember why that seemed to be a good idea, but naturally I had to immortalize it. Some people were happier about it than others.
At the end of the day, we were tired and a little sunburnt, but we all had a great time. We stopped for dinner on the way home and talked about all the fun we had, laughed like lunatics and talked about what we will do the next time we go there.
And then all too soon, it was time for Hurley and Jessie to fly back to the cold winter in New York and their real lives. We had a great visit. Every day was loads of fun whether we ate out or in, went to a park or stayed home, slept on the beach or walked around town. If they had half as good a time as we did, they had a great vacation!
We hope the kids come to see us again soon and look very much forward to our next visitors!
Hope you enjoyed hearing all about it! (I had some random photos left over so .....) Maybe this will inspire you into wanting to be one of our guests??
March 06th, 2017
I'm back! How was your week? I hope you had a good one and I look forward to hearing about it. Did you miss me? If you recall, I took the week off because youngest son, Hurley and his wife Jessie came to visit. We had so much fun with these two...
We did fun stuff with them every day of their visit, or maybe just doing anything with them is fun (or both) because we are still smiling.
We started their visit out locally, just showing them our new home, new town and of course the beach. We did spend a lot of time on the beach. But then, I suspect that there are few folks who would opt out when the beach is so close! Jessie was more about, as she put it, "getting her tan on" and Hurley immediately was in the water.
But we all did spent time doing both sand and water and even did some serious watching as the waves crashed and the dolphins danced and found some perfect shells (one still occupied by a hermit crab - that one ultimately went back into the sea). And of course, we watched the sunsets.
I didn't get in the water or sunbath. Mostly I made beach art. Just two.
We also went to a local festival, just because it was happening and why not? Ate some carnival food, listened to the music of purple garbed doo-wop singers, walked around and watched Hurley climb a rock wall and ride a mechanical bull. Yes he did!
Of necessity we spent a lot of time in the car. One day, at their request, we drove down to Ft Meyers to check out the outlets. It was both the biggest and the prettiest outlet mall I've ever seen filled with fountains, little garden areas and to my delighted surprise their were musicians and singer here and there. Quite nice. We all did some shopping. Even Tim and I. The kids had us beat by a mile on that score though. They found some great deals on stuff they needed.
Jessie cooked for us one night. That girl is an amazing cook! We headed first to our local Farm Market, Detwilers, to purchase ingredients (and any trip to Detwilers is fun on it's own) and then when we got back she got to work. She made the prettiest and most unique coleslaw I've ever had and pulled chicken sandwiches that had garlic cloves slow cooked in these little slits she cut into the meat (so good) and then made, (I hope I spell this correctly) tostones which is a twice fried plantain. The photos are probably making you drool. Good!
We did a number of fun local things. For instance we visited an Exotic Car Museum where there are some famous vehicles on display like the Delorean from "Back to the Future" and the Mystery Machine from "Scooby Doo". There was also a Batmobile and a landcruiser from Star Wars amoung others.
And we each chose our favourite vehicle that when we win the lottery, we will buy for each other. Hey, it will happen. We promised!
Also played mini-golf with alligators! Not as dangerous as it sounds. There is a placed called Smugglers Cover that has a group (gang? mass? covey?) of alligators but they are off by themselves safely away from mini-golfers and only there to be admired. We played all 18 holes. Hurley even got a hole-in-one.
Some nights we stayed home and worked on jigsaw puzzles. Seriously I think we did 3 different ones during the visit. Another night was about old memories while perusing photo albums and two different times, we went to the beach late at night, in that special oceany kind of darkness to stargaze. That was awesome. Jessie said that she had never seen so many stars before. Thanks to phone apps, we even knew what we were looking at.
And of course we did the big parks. Of course! Isn't that the entire reason most people visit Florida? But you know what? This is starting to be a really long post so I think I will continue to tale tomorrow. Stay tuned for the rest of the story and yet more photographs tomorrow!
Hope to see you then!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.