Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NPR tells it like it mostly is......

Thanks to old friend Mark.....not literally old you understand.....he's actually MUCH younger than us even tho we've known him since high school days when we were all in the same class.....Maybe he's younger because he married a MUCH younger woman who keeps him young. But I digress....................
Mark sent us a link to an NPR episode yesterday. You can read the abbreviated version or click on the link and listen to the 13 minutes. think it's a fairly good representation of this place. The picture shows how the golf courses suffered from the mind-numbing cold and freezing that was so pervasive this winter. ( Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration of the cold but it was miserable.) They over seed the fairways and greens with cold tolerant grasses so they stay green but everything else is just brown. It has finally started greening up with the warmer temps and abundant rain. Anyway, this place has been labeled with all sorts of discriptions.....Disney for adults, Stepford wives senior division, drinking the koolaide, company owned town. It's unique and hard to talk about without people's eyes glazing over. When we personally consider what our activity level would be like if we lived up north, there is no comparison. This place is vital, busy, very pretty and works for us.
However, sometimes the ugly comes out of the ponds. We were playing one of the newer courses the other day when we spied this crawling around the bank.

Usually, the marshalls warn the golfers about these but this time it was kind of a surprise when we looked over the hill. They say that if there is a body of water, there

will be an alligator in it. (those houses in the background are not in TV) Many of the retention ponds are connected by a pipes so they can transfer water for irrigation and the various pond inhabitants flow along from pond to pond. Spring is mating season for the alligators and we will see them more active and out and about. When they get too large, they are usually moved to somewhere else.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amelia Island

We are back home after our few days along the western coast of Florida. It was good to get back into the motorhome and 'camp' for a few days. We met some interesting Club members and some not so interesting Club members. And reinforced our opinion that karaoke is just not our thing. In fact, I will avoid it at all costs unless well fortified with fruit of the vine. We met one charming lady, in her 70's, who can count at least 70 countries on her list of travels. Last year she went to Tibet and took the high altitude train to get 16,000 ft. I doubt I would find it appealing. I really am a wimp in many ways.
When Becca and Krystal were here, they wore delightful cover ups over their swim suits. They were brightly flowered and said they were from Target. Then I remembered some of the magazine ads I had seen filled with flowery patterns. Target and Liberty of London have collaborated on many items, not only for women but ties, shirts and boxers for men.
We made a quick stop when I spied a Target along the road and I had to satisfy my curiosity.
The designs were fresh and colorful and of a nice quality fabric. I did a quick search of the racks to see what might be appropriate for the 'mature woman' but didn't find something just right.
I'm hoping they continue this partnership awhile longer. I was at a Liberty store when we were in London a few years ago. I didn't buy any fabric but did get an Elizabeth Bradley needlepoint kit that is still a WIP.

Meanwhile, back to our travels. We spent Thursday on Amelia Island. We had been there several years ago and downtown hasn't changed. Fernandina Beach is the delightful town, a historical district. There are several blocks of preserved homes, many with colorful paint and gingerbread.

Note the 3 carousel horses on the porch.

Along the water we spied this scene......a very fake shark but from a distance it added character to the docks.
In previous centuries, it was a haven for pirates and they have several along the streets.

But it's good to be home. The weather is superb.!!! I've been waiting for months for this. It's currently 9:30 pm and the doors are open and it feels perfect. Come see us before it gets hot.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Out and about

Isn't this a nice impressionistic seen from a CARWASH. And captured by
by the trusty iPhone. We headed north with our clean car and stopped at the Georgia Information Center and there to my big surprise, in full bloom, were daffodils. Not sure how they did that since I'm not sure it gets cold enough but they were a delight to my eyes. I do miss spring.
We headed over to St Simons's Island first. There were cotton plantations in the early days of settlement and the mighty oaks that lined the main roads are still evident. Many show signs of their very old age but you can imagine what it must have been like. The island itself has some exclusive enclaves and big homes and lovely golf courses but mostly it just looks like most developed areas.

We drove over a large dramatic bridge with views of the rivers and marshes that cover the intercoastal areas.

The we went to Jekyl Island. A smaller, more private area with a large historic district. In the early 1900's the wealthy wintered here in a large hotel (still operational) and in their 'cottages'. They have been preserved and restored. There are bike trails through out. The beach was lovely.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gone "camping"

On the road for a short trip. We joined The Villages RV Club, (200+ RV's) and signed up for a nearby jaunt to try it out. Yesterday, we loaded up and headed east to Jacksonville and the Flamingo Lake RV Resort. It is a very clean, large resort with many amenities.

We are backed in along the lake, just left of this post. It is a mile around the lake. Weather is nice, in the 70's yesterday and great for being out and about.

We headed into downtown to walk along the St John's riverfront and happened to catch the drawbridge going up . I never saw a large ship go thru so not sure why it was
elevating. There are river taxis available for crossing or going up and down the river.

I managed to find a yarn shop in the outskirts of the city. Believe it or not, in a community of 70,000 plus old people, there is only a Joann's or Walmart for yarn. And the pickings are slim to none. So I have not even bought a skein of sock yarn since a trip to Denver last fall. That record will have to stand. I touched all sorts of beautiful, colorful trendy yarns but only bought a book of patterns. That's restraint. Yarn is just so expensive. One skein of a particular Rowan brand, designed by Kaffe Fassett , was over $25 and it takes at least 5 for a cardigan. And one skein of nice, colorful sock yarn runs around $20.....for that you do get 2 sox but still, it's sometimes painful to just wear them around the house at that price. But whoever said knitting, or quilting, or sewing was done to save money.

Later in the day, we and 46 others from our group, met for dinner at Clark's Fish Camp. It was one of those ramshackle places that kind of expanded as it's popularity grew. The menu was huge and varied and besides the obvious, it had ostrich, many frog dishes, kangaroo, eel, snake (well, you get the idea...) I had angel hair and vegetables which was delicious but certainly not adventurous. Paul had stuffed flounder. One guy ordered the small prime rib. It was HUGE. About 3 inches thick and the size of a dinner plate and looked raw. He seemed to enjoy it altho I couldn't watch so really don't know. The place was very busy but the service was prompt and the food was perfect. A good find.

Sometimes, I just don't think......or stop and look.....or maybe I was in a hurry. Anyhow, we stopped at Costco last week and I went to pick up bottled water to use on this trip. We prefer not to drink the water when hooked up to campground sources altho it's mostly fine. I saw a large container of packaged water bottles and with difficulty, hoisted it into the cart, then the car and then the RV. Not once did I really LOOK at it.

When I did, I found that I had purchased 70 SMALL bottles of water. Very small. It's still water and we will recycle the containers but ........
Today, we will head up to St Simon's Island for some pleasant at 11.....or tomorrow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Catching up

Ok, so I've been a bit neglectful. I have a semblance of an excuse in that I need to use two computers to do the blog. I left my camera cord in Ct (and Jon will remember to bring it next month ) and have to use Paul's Sony computer in order to slip the card from my Sony camera into it to download the pictures and then I switch over to my laptop to document the daily doings of our life. Granted, it's not rocket science but just one more annoying step to take up precious time in my busy retirement life.

Isn't this a lovely view.....the Seven Sacred Pools in Maui where our Colorado family is headed today. Alex and Lizzie were destined to arrive here this weekend for Spring Break but after the breaking of the arms and the inability to golf and be active, their mother decided that she needed a respite as well and so they are off for sun and surf and a well needed pampering at the resort.
They generously invited us to join them. We thought long and hard about the option and then decided to give them much needed family time. Michael just returned from his 2nd trip to Australia and has been gone way too much so they will all relish the down time. Gratuitous tulip picture. They are now in the stores so I gather them up.

I think Spring is finally here. The azaleas are in full bloom everywhere. Temperatures are finally in the 70's even tho they should be in the 80's but we won't quibble.

On Saturday, we headed south early to beat the crowds at the 51st Winter Park Spring Sidewalk Art show. It was better than last year I thought. And because we were practically first, we had uncluttered views of the art. There were many indications that pictures were not allowed . I understand but would have loved to share many of my favorites.

I thought these were very well done. Large canvas reproductions of vintage photos with metal sculptures attached.

Last week we had very special visitors. Becca and her friend Krystal, came for Spring Break. Weather was cool but mostly sunny. They swam, they soaked, they explored and they made two old people very happy. Becca, in the pink, is a Freshman at Colorado State University at Fort Collins....Krystal is at Northern Colorado State at Greeley. We hope they'll come back soon.

Today we are off on an adventure.......well, nothing like Hawaii, but just a short get away.....stay tuned.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quick trip

We are back home. As Andy said when we told him we were leaving "Well that was short !" Indeed it was but it was a nice change of pace, a chance to reconnect and another reason to eat good food and have an early Birthday dinner in honor of MaryBeth. We went for dinner at a unique restaurant called Bluu. The menu was mostly sushi, pizza and hamburgers....a page of each. An interesting combination but done very well. A sample of the sushi which was declared 'very good.

And the boys received their chicken and blue fries in a '57 Chevy' that absolutely delighted and surprised them. I wish I had captured their expressions when the plates were presented.
We left Wednesday morning accompanied by a light overnight snowfall that lingered and made for beautiful views. We made our flight by 15 minutes and arrived home much faster than the trip north.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Things that make us happy.....

Because we haven't had enough of cold weather in Florida, we decided to drive North for 18 hours. After all, we're really used to wearing those sweaters and jeans and wooly jackets...and mittens. When Jon and Mary Beth came down a couple of weeks ago, the airlines were shut down due to the weather so they drove. Part of the incentive to do that was my impulsive "if you drive down, we'll drive the car back." They took us up on the offer and on Monday we headed out. We had plans to stop and do some lingering along the way but there's something about once on the road, it's almost easier to keep going. The ride was uneventful, the sun was out and aside from no scenery and tired behinds, it was fine.

At the end of the drive were some great rewards.
Andy getting ready for school.....
Mason enjoying his bagel.........

And a stop by Stew Leonards, the best grocery store ever. This bread is just amazing. The first day it is fresh and crusty. It is their most popular bread. But the next day it takes on a new look as toast, slathered in butter and covered with....
Sarabeth's Peach Apricot Legendary Spreadable Fruit. This is one of "Oprah's Favorites" and the combination of the bread, the butter and this spread makes me forget about the cold. I was going to take a picture of the presentation but I ate it instead.
We'll head home on Wednesday and hope for warmer days down there. In the meantime, we are loving these spring colors.