Saturday, December 27, 2014

Family time......

The weather cooperated for our arrival and then gifted   us with a lovely holiday scene.   

 The house is warm and inviting and filled with excited boys and grandmothers galore and granddad at the ready to help with the boy-toys.

Fat cats and yarn don't often mix too well.............

 Santa's cookies were made with care..............

  Wishing you all a bright beginning to another year, filled with  hope and love.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Over the rivers and through the woods...

Bright and early we headed north and after we call it a night at a HI Express, we will have covered over 700 miles towards Ct.     Traffic has been heavy but even worse going south.  
Weather is dry and cool and not too scenic this time of year.   
We'll chat again once we're not moving so fast and we've reached the Andy/Mason house.    ( first time I've done this on the iPhone).    And, cheapest gas we've seen is here in Va @ &2.17....

Friday, December 12, 2014

'Tis the season ..... be jolly !!     The annual neighborhood Christmas gathering was last night and a record number of Inner Circle friends gathered for a catered dinner with all the trimmings.    There were a lot of red sweaters plus Bob in his tropical Santa shirt.     From the left, Bob and Nina,  Freida and John.  

 This morning, the sunrise was worthy of an iPhone shot, thru the screen, because I'm too lazy to walk out onto the dew covered grass.   The old adage of "Red sky at morning ....   doesn't seem to apply here as the forecast is for sunny skies.

Only 2 weeks until we'll be celebrating the holidays with two excited boys.    Until then, there are  a few things needing attention  (the grout project is on hiatus) including some outdoor decor and some traditional baking.     Christmas cards may be New Year cards.  

But, I'd really rather spend my time on this.    I took a class on Fair Isle knitting and this  project has enough color to keep me interested in the finished  hat.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

One of our free amenities down here........

 On the 2nd day of launch efforts, we had this view of the huge rockets propelling the capsule skyward.    We are about an hour from the east coast but 90 min or so from Cape Canaveral.   There was heavy cloud cover and fog earlier but we got a bit of a break and we were able to see the brilliant plume as it rose fairly quickly.

 As it broke thru the 2nd layer, it was headed sharply east and we never saw it go higher.    Each rocket trajectory is different.    Smaller ones with satellites seem to go straight up...... The manned flights took a climb to the left and we could see the glow for quite a bit.     Apparently the crowds at the Cape only saw it briefly as it climbed into the clouds and it was totally obscured in the Orlando area so I guess we were in the right place......on our lanai !.....  in our PJ's !!

 Our local TV coverage is extensive and broadcasts are live for a few hours.    They keep the ubiquitous  scroll going for people's comments across the bottom.    One hapless person wrote and the station printed it...."God bless the astronauts on board......"  

The Season is fast approaching and I'm beginning the process.   It takes me awhile to get going and this is about all of the decorating that gets done around this house..... plus the Boy Scout wreath that will be coming via Andy's troop and will hang on the door.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Making memories.......

Hello again......!    Here's hoping you had a great Thanksgiving and time with family and friends.    We certainly did.     ( Bear with me, is not putting pictures where I want them)....

Early last Wed morning...very early,  we headed West and landed 3 hours later (according to my watch but not my body clock which said it was 6 hours later),in  San Francisco on a beautiful California day.     We picked up a car and headed south.      A slight diversion in my narrative......we are very connected and yes, even addicted to our devices..... especially now that I have my new phone....anyhow, we just  assumed that today's modern aircraft would have a source of power to plug into......but no, we were on an aging 757 that still had the drop down screens.   So, we practiced frugality and hoped for a connection in a rental car......not !    We checked several on the "Emerald Isle" and found none so we had to conserve even, there were no GPS units on the cars (which we knew before hand ) but now we had to use our phone GPS and we were running on low batteries.     We made it to a Panera Bread down the road, had lunch and got charged up.   How pathetic we are.  

Our destination was my sister's lovely home .    In celebration of their 50th Anniversary this month, Sandy and Tom were hosting a gathering at a waterfront hotel in Monterey......It was perfect in every way.

 We gathered in a private room.    The buffet was over the top.....It was fun to watch Nathan and Justin pick and choose .....  Nathan ate a lot of shrimp and enjoyed many  chocolate covered strawberries.

While we waited for our reservation, we enjoyed the terrace overlooking Monterey Bay.   What a 

picture perfect day.   

Of course the seagulls had to get in the picture ..... that's a yellow kayak protruding from his chest.   

 From the left, my brother Tom, my sister Maureen (she always carries a great handbag) , her friend Tom and my favorite relative standing in the middle.

 Unfortunately, all good times must be over too soon....we left the next morning, via Las Vegas and pulled into the driveway about 2 am.  (The shiny new SW plane had mood lighting and on board outlets.)      
We are back to our daily routines ..... the house has needed a few updates and Mr Fix-it has repaired the dishwasher, replaced the disposal, trimmed the palms ( we have a lawn service but they aren't allowed to climb ladders so only trim what they can reach ? )   and I am trying to enjoy my new hobby involving grout cleaning.  

Enjoy the last picture of cloud feathers  over Monterey Bay...........

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I love a new toy....

This is a test.   I'm using the Blogger app on my new phone.    It's a bit of a challenge.

Getting the pics in the order I want seems to be an exercise in futility.I've had the big iPhone 6 Plus for about 3 days and having fun figuring out the new features.  It is big.  But seems to be similar to the larger Samsungs.
I appreciate that this was a totally extravagant purchase.   Someone suggested that I could get this or some sparklies for our pending 51st.   It wasn't a hard choice.  
We're heading out tomorrow to say thanks for a great family.  
 I'm not taking a computer or camera  but I'm thinking that this pretty (as in pleasing to the touch and eyes) amazing device can do it all.   I think it's up to the challenge
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday with those you love.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

If appliances had eyes.............

Life is good.....  but it's not really blog worthy of late.    No beautiful mountains or golden aspens to show.    Yes, there are some pretty flowers but I'd have to change the lens to get a decent macro shot and I'm still busy fighting the gecko thing at a time.     

Jon captured  a frosty sunrise in Connecticut.

 The man of the house  is down and out with a head cold.    I made a trip to our NY deli to pick up some  hearty Jewish mother's  chicken soup for him.    He is feeling better so it must have been worth the trip.    
We've always read how world class athletes often train at higher altitude in order to increase  their red blood cells to carry more oxygen.    I think it has worked for us as well.     I am walking farther and farther with less effort and climbing the hills on the golf courses is much easier than I remember.    He said that he noticed he had more stamina at pickleball.    I'm not sure how long the effect lasts but we are appreciating those extra RBC's.

I have walked most everyday since we got back and I use Runkeeper on my phone to keep track of the distance and pace.    It also has  a little map of my I can find my way home I think.    Today, I did 4.86 mi in 100% humidity .    Very uncomfortable and then the front met the cold air of tomorrow and we had some serious storms and warnings.    Today it was 83 and tomorrow it is to be in the 30's in the morning.      

 I am still using my FITBIT which is a great motivator.     It gives me awards and smiley faces and calls me champ when I accomplish more than usual.   I have worn it daily since I got it about 8 months ago.    I'm not sure how it measures going up stairs.....we just have small hills here and no stairs so I discount that item.
My goal is 10,000 steps per day and I have reached 15,000 on occasion.    It makes me happy.  I read a blog of a younger (40ish) woman with kids who walks 15,000 a day but then, she IS a bit younger so I feel OK about my stats.          My mother walked .... and gardened.    I only walk and the plants have to fend for themselves.

I was searching thru the archives and found this GoPro video that Jon made awhile back...... appears that the video won't open on my phone or iPad.....but works on the computer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Houses don't do well when left alone.   They must get lonely and invite guests in from the outside.    Ask us how we know !!!!

The first sign was little droppings at the base of a picture and a mirror…..then there was the very desiccated frog under a piece of furniture.    And then, there was the very much alive large GECKO viewing the world from the wicker rocking chair…..inside .     I'm rather used to the quick nimble -footed lizards outside.    They are good at popping out when you least expect them.    They are good at catching insects and apparently, very prolific breeders.     But, I draw the line when they come inside.    I suspect they came in with the house-watchers….if a door was left open a crack, they will scurry in.   I have no idea where the frog came from.   I've heard of the geckos hanging out behind a frame, be it a mirror or picture and I think that's how we had the droppings below…..ugh !       The rocking chair got moved hastily outside , with Mr Gecko riding along.     The floors got a good cleaning and inspection and nothing else was found.      
As usual, the lanai was needing a good power washing.    At least twice a year, we tackle that ordeal.    I managed to annihilate a few with the power washer.     This year, there seems to be a large number of small ones…..less than an inch in size.   And I certainly don't want them growing to adult hood in my space.    So, today I resorted to my tried and true method of gecko extermination…….the old vacuum with the bag and long wand.     I can sneak up them and suck them up in a flash… hideout is safe from my eyes.    Last year I estimated that I scooped up about 35 in two days.    Today, I probably got 7 or 8 and I know of a couple more that evaded me.     I'll go on patrol again tomorrow.       Neighbors with cats don't have a problem……I prefer a vacuum.      

The weather is ideal right now and it would be lovely to open the french doors to the lanai and enjoy the breezes and views……but I'm not even tempted.   

I was out on an early walk this morning and saw myself  projected up the street……I love my Fitbit and I managed to meet my 10,000 step goal  for the day by 8:30.     It's very green and lush down here and the delightfully blue plumbago is in full bloom along with assorted colors of hibiscus.    

Other than waging a war and playing bad golf, there isn't much going on and that's just fine.   

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Over the rivers and thru the woods…..

We said 'see you later'  to our favorite places and peoples and headed East.    It took us 8 days to traverse Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia and into Florida.     We stopped in Denver to catch up with Lizzie and Becca and their parents.   We stopped an extra day near St Louis to let the winds blow and the snow fall ahead of us.    We stopped in Lexington to see Lillie (who has no idea how much her world will change when baby sister Nina arrives in a couple of weeks) and a good visit with Jan and Curt.   We stopped in Gaffney, SC for the annual maintenance on the Freightliner chassis and to visit with cousin Kathy and Paul's 99 year young Aunt Dorothy, so spry and involved.      We mustered our old selves and drove almost 600 miles in order to watch the beautiful moon rise over the house last night.   It is good to be home again…...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A hike of a different color

Yep, we've been hiking again, this time a few hours drive into Utah.  ( 4 to be exact ).    We joined the Cobble Creek Hiking Club for several days in Capitol Reef NP,.   The Castle dominates the skyline.  We weren't sure if we would drive over  due to some unwelcome bug I acquired for about 24 hours but we took our chance that I would be up to the challenge and headed over  to join this fun and active group.   

This is the "B" group.    Yes, I know that we actually look like an "A" group but they had already been on the trail for an hour and would go farther( 10 mi), climb higher and even do some rock scrambling.   The "Bees " enjoy the views, take more pictures, talk more, laugh more and find the path of least resistance.

 Dean and Diane were camped in the park and they became a welcome members of the Club.  He took a nice video at the top which I tried to add but so far no luck.

 Sometimes there were steps….these look benign but most of the time it was just irregular challenging boulders that required careful choice of footfalls…..even harder and trickier coming down.

 We were on slick rock and ill-defined trails so we always looked for the cairns to mark the way.   Or as we said,  "Where's Karen?"

Our group stopped at the Rim but the "A's"  made it to the Knobs at the top.  

 Looking down on the historic town of Fruita, developed by the Mormons and still a working orchard with original farm buildings …….. and fresh pies !   I was strong and didn't give in.    For all the walking, climbing, watching the calories and starting out with a bug, I lost a grand total of .2 lbs.   Depressing.!

 This is an area of serious geological history.    The expansive stretches of rock that we walked on looked like wind blown sand in areas and feather markings on others.    What looked like cow droppings in some parts ( no pics ) I now think they were  oyster fossils….I did learn something at the Visitors Center.

 At the end, there is a stream and it was tempting to soak the feet in it.    The temperatures were probably in the high 60's with a nice breeze.    Near 40 in the mornings.

The next day, a few of us headed out on the Scenic road for more sedate exploring combined with some long strolls on the canyon floor.     This is the Grand Wash where Butch Cassidy is said to have hung out and there is an arch named for him.

 The canyon walls have the distinctive varnish on them.

 The junipers are beautiful with their dusty bluish berries.   If you crush one, it smells just like Gin.!!

 This canyon has petroglyphs left from the Fremont area (about 1000 AD).

 In the late 1800's  this was a passage for the Morman pioneers thru the canyon and many left their signature behind.    Some mixed in with the petroglyphs.    But one ambitious group made a list of their party.    Can you see it high up on the canyon wall ?    It's easy to miss.   How did they do that?   I suspect they hung down on ropes.

 Sam Gifford had a home in Fruita that still exists and is where you buy the pies !

 Dean, Matt and Sue ( Ellen), to distinquish her from Sue, the photographer.

 More of the 'Pioneer Register"….

 Some of us decide to continue hiking upward towards another geological formation called the Tanks.  It was a lot of scrambling up and hanging on for dear life coming down.    This is Sue (Ellen )trying to find some footholds on the way to the canyon floor.

 Matt and Dean kept going but never did find the Tanks (shallow depressions holding water ) as the trail was not defined at all.

 The lizards are small and quick and besides deer, the only wildlife we saw.

 Arches down at our level.

 This area is prone to dangerous flash floods and water can get 16 feet deep.

 In the early 1900's, that gray layer was briefly mined for uranium.   It was felt that it had medicinal powers and they would wear the crushed substance in pouches around their neck to cure various ailments.    And I'll bet they didn't need lights at night either.

One of the original orchards …. the campground is located here as well and altho beautiful, it has no hookups.

We came back before the rest of the group in order to pack up the wagon , close down the ranch and start the trek east.   Altho about half of the hiking club heads south as well, we have many mixed feelings about leaving.   We feel like we really belong here and it just feels like home.     Florida is beautiful and warm and we miss the Scotts  but the mountains will always call us back.  
Stay tuned as we travel the by-ways once more ……