Saturday, March 10, 2018

Annnd, we're moved in.

I'm back and hopefully on track now that we have actually moved in the house. What an endeavor for anyone moving. Doesn't seem to matter if it's a short distance or long, just a lot to handle.

We have company coming next week (Brett and Maria) and shortly thereafter Tiffany, Chris, and the girls are coming for a week (Penny's spring break - how funny that sounds but she is in 1st grade after all), followed by Heather and Brian for a short weekend trip down. It's a fabulous time of year here so thrilled we have so much company right away. The condo remains for sale with no buyer yet. Keeping fingers crossed it will happen soon. It's a cute place and all redone, we just wanted back in a house, and then there's the pool and grill thing...

A mass influx of tropical birds has been happening the last couple weeks. They gather at the different ponds hunting. I have given up the water view at the condo but happily my newly adjusted morning walk goes by 7 ponds. Gotta have that nature fix. We also have a small back yard past our pool that I can already tell is full of birds. Tis the kind of thing that makes me happy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Orchids, art, and moving soon

The house/condo craziness continues but I was able (due to previous scheduling)  to attend another 3 day watercolor workshop with my favorite teacher and now friend, Patty. It turned out to be a great distraction and I came up with a painting that meets my framing criteria. Wonderful to see a lot of the art crowd I've taken classes with there too. Patty has quite the draw even though she's moved to the "other side"- Orlando, and not back in Naples that often.

My orchids are in full bloom and I'm thrilled as I bought them last year. They bloomed for 3 months and then I cut the stems as instructed, and viola magnificent bloom a year later. I'll have to find a spot for them at the new house. Different light pattern will come into play.

Things are marching along nicely, and with any luck, we'll be in the new house in 10 days. Moving truck scheduled and all the fun that goes along with that. We're moving most of the furniture in the condo, leaving some for "staging" as it's for sale and no offers yet. Crazy process the whole buying and selling homes thing. Sending positive thoughts out to the universe for our buyers to show up soon.

Friday, February 9, 2018

House mania

Oh, my, what can I say - life is just chaotic leaving very little time to do other things, as in a post on the blog. But here I am with a slightly different theme than my usual litany of fun activities to do in Naples.

The condo is up for sale, lots of people looking, lots of great comments, but no offers yet. Anyone who's sold a place while still living in it knows what I mean when I say living in a fake perfect house is exhausting. The exception would be if your particular market is so "hot" that you can make up your own rules. My sister has informed me that Seattle is one of those. There, you put your house up for sale in whatever condition, have a couple of open houses and then, a single day is scheduled to take offers. You then sit on your throne and royally decree who wins the right to buy your house. Really.

This is most certainly not the case in Naples. I have been painting, scrubbing, organizing, and cleaning out every nook and cranny in this small place. Somehow it feels like my closets and cupboards have magically reproduced and there is no end to them. It all needs to be done for selling and for moving regardless. We close on the new house March 1, so time's a marching.

I'm not a newbie to this fun endeavor and had some tricks up my sleeve already, but sharing some new tips I have discovered this time around.

White vinegar- most of us know this is a good, natural, environmentally safe cleaner but I didn't know that it can take off hard water stains on shower floor tile with no effort, when other cleaners have no effect at all. Double thickness paper towels are put on the shower floor, saturate the towels with white vinegar and leave overnight for at least 8 hours. Wake up, squeeze out the towels and discard, and turn on the shower. All the crud goes right down the drain. Amazing. Only drawback is there is a lingering vinegar smell for a day (but that may be because I'm in a humid climate).

Baking soda - another multi purpose product. Make a paste with it, smear it on a glass cooktop and cover with a towel soaked in hot water and wrung out for 20 minutes. Most, if not all, of any burnt on food stains will loosen and you can scrub off.

I already knew to wrap a paintbrush in aluminum foil and store in the frig between painting sessions. Cleaning a brush each time you stop is enough to keep you from starting in the first place. The brush lasts a week or more without drying up. Heather, you know all about this. What fun we had...

And microfiber cloths are your friend. I assume everyone has them, but if you don't go buy them now. A pack is not expensive and they last forever, at least a bunch of years for me so far. I use them on everything and they don't streak.

So you can see where my head has been. Quite thrilling. The prospect of the new house is so exciting and I can't wait to move in but there's a lot to be done before that happens. I will be forced to focus on other things as I have another 3 day watercolor workshop coming up, given by my good friend Patty. I will put my brain on other things at least temporarily.

Thanks to all who are hanging in reading my lame and late posts...

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Alive and well in Naples

Yes, I am alive and well. For those who wondered where I've been, all I can say is changes are in play which are a fair logistic challenge and making my head spin. We have bought a house in Naples, a mile away from our condo, in the community that we have come to love, and are in that fun process of mountains of paperwork, inspections, etc. towards closing. In addition, I'm sprucing up the condo to get it ready to put on the market for sale, so I'm not sure if I'm coming or going at the moment. We are very excited about the house and can't wait to move in (early March). In the end, condo life is not really for us. I want privacy and more space, and Mark wants his pool and grilling. Yeah, I know, no surprise on that grilling thing. And no worry, Star Mountain is still in the picture as we plan to always have that. Naples is lovely, but our heart and soul are in those mountains...

So here I am, at least for the next few weeks, not doing all those things I love. Beach, writing, photography, watercolor painting... Tis okay, there's a wonderful goal to reach at the end.

We have made it out to some of our favorite restaurants and trying some new. You have to pay attention here, there are new restaurants that open every couple of weeks. We popped into a new ramen/asian place (Namba) nearby that's getting a lot of hype. The chef trained under Morimoto, the famous Iron Chef on Food network. Tiny little place but excellent ramen with the magical 17 hour broth. We'll be back of course.

The weather is lovely here, and along with the in season masses, are tropical birds of every type. They know when the fish are schooling as they should since its their food for survival, and lots of diving, splashing, honking, and squawking. Our lake is always a fun place to watch the activity. We are losing the water view by moving but drinks on the patio by the pool are a good substitute.

And finally fairly regular sightings of alligators. It's something to watch out for here. Mostly they stay away from people and don't actually eat that often, but nothing can be counted on. After all we can't have a conversation with them to find out what the heck is in their mind.
I'll try to get back to a better posting schedule. Just imagine me with a paintbrush (the wall kind) in one hand and a checkbook and pen in the other.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Naples in season, company, and brrr cold temps

Back to Naples to a completely different environment. White sand, not white snow. Traffic much increased and restaurants needing advance planning to get into. The massive cold that swept the country also trickled down to our tropics. No snow, but near freezing temps. My brother was in town for a visit and they were certainly troopers in the unexpected cold. It returned to normal warm temps on their last day - of course.

Great shelling maybe because of the weather and low tide
Some fine eating happening. Sushi Thai, Brio,  and a new experience: 21 Spices. Fabulous Indian food. We will go back for sure.

Sushi Thai
21 Spices
Naples Botanical Gardens visit - a must around here. It's a pretty amazing place with many distinct gardens dedicated to plants from many tropical climates. 170 acres and beautifully designed. Never get tired of it. They did have hurricane damage which doesn't show due to enormous restoration work. And yes preventative work had been done for the cold snap: all the orchids had been brought inside, and frost blankets were on some of the more sensitive plants. Still wonderful.

Saw a lot including a large alligator. He wasn't bothered by the people walking by in the least. And he was quite far away, no worries, just my long lens...

Fun reminder of a legendary Naples restaurant, sadly closed

Ending with their sweet covered butterfly garden. Monarchs in profusion and a lot of other species as well. I am a big butterfly fan.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Star Mt Christmas part 2

Back to post a few more pics from the holiday. It already seems like a month ago. We have made it back to Naples in time for the unusual chilliness in Florida and we're lucky as north of us has cities shut down over very unusual snow. We are fine but citrus farmers are sweating it out over near freezing temps.

Heather made it in and her nieces were thrilled along with the rest of us. Now Christmas seemed complete.
Now there's a modern dad for you...
Secret Stash of course, with bigass margaritas for some. Lisa joined us for a few days driving over from Santa Fe, and fun was had by all. Great visit!
Ice fishing at Blue Mesa - daring or crazy, not sure which
Some winter activities a happening. Drove by Blue Mesa on the way to Montrose to pick up Heather and a mob of ice fisherman were there. Brave people... Mark and Chris went skiing one day as well but no pics. Sledding on our driveway was the best way to give Penny and Jules a thrill. We made it up to the mountain to show the little girls around. They couldn't believe the ice sculptures.

Visited a great kid's museum up on the mountain. Lots of hands on activities to do inside when others are skiing.

Third Bowl 
No we couldn't miss Third Bowl even though it's winter. Hey, ice cream is good anytime...

Lots of pink sunrises in winter here
Saw very few animals while we were there but on our last day we were stopped by these - llamas on the loose. Not much we could do not knowing who they belonged to, so I snapped photos. Good thing this road is not heavily traveled. Bye, bye Star Mt. until May. It was fun.