Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On to Star Mountain

It's farewell day. We've been running around like crazy people. Fabulous last dinner at our favorite french restaurant with friends. I even went for a dentist cleaning appt to hold me until we come back in Oct. Last walk to the south side beach yesterday, northside today. Bye alligator mommy & babies, bye beach.

We are taking the only tomatoes that ripened - see photo. Star Mountain is so high and the summer short, so I don't know if we'll be able to grow tomatoes there. I will do research of course. As soon as we get to Gunnison we have to pick up our order of baby aspen & pine at the forest service. Let the games begin!

We're looking forward to seeing family in Dallas & shopping (me) in Santa Fe for the house before we get there. We have packed the weirdest assortment of clothing imaginable. For hot, for cold, we will hit it all before the trip is over...

I don't know if I am savvy enough to post while travelling so probably the next post will be from Star Mt. HURRAY!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Farewells are a happening

Our visit with Tiffany & Chris is over, and wow, it went fast! We enjoyed having them and I think they had fun. Lots of pool time, beach, good restaurants and relaxation. Had a great dinner down at the beach. They close this restaurant the end of this week for summer renovations. We went just in time. Everything in Naples feels in reverse. Shortening hours, closing down, quieter streets for a time of year that gets hopping in other parts of the country.

And we leave Thurs not to come back until Oct. Long time! Going first to visit family in Dallas on the way (not really on the way) to CO. Makes it more of an adventure, not that we need that. It's all is an adventure.

Have to pull jeans, long sleeves, and jackets back out. Star Mt is very up & down in temps right now. 60 one day and 30 the next. We'll be starting up those roaring fires in the fireplace when we get there. CAN'T WAIT. We understand from Walter (the great guy who watches the house) that elk have been sighted and we are the only driveway with mounds of snow left on it. Hmmm, that part's not so great.

Found some decent shells to send home with Tiffany, including a huge sand dollar. It's much bigger than the ones we have collected at the house. A goodby present!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Everglades City & a few alligators

So much fun yesterday! We drove down to Everglades City and had lunch at the Rod & Gun Club. Sounds strange - yes? One of those old, old (1864)fishing hunting lodges with huge veranda, lots of stuffed animals, fish, & trophies on the walls. And, yes, Hemingway did visit, along with 5 presidents, and endless other famous people. Very fresh fish and gator. Yup, we had fried alligator as an appetizer. Tiffany & I thought it was a little chewy...

The other point of the trip was to see the giant piles of huge alligators that we always see in the area (Big Cypress Preserve) within a few feet of the dirt road. Hmmm...not so much. We weren't skunked, but only saw a fraction of the norm. Don't know where they all went, but clearly it has something to do with the massive amount of rain we had over the last 6 weeks. It's supposed to be the dry season. Sorry Tiff & Chris!

I'm going to fling up a lot more pictures than usual, so apologize in advance if they pop up in a weird visual.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Last Days of Fun

Okay, how is it that time was going sooo slowly here, and now going by faster than the speed of sound?? It's Sunday and we leave Thurs early A.M. Don't know how it happened... Anyway, along with planning the getaway, still, yes - still, house showings, we have Tiffany & Chris here. They came down to take a few days off and relax. We are so happy they could get down before we leave. You'll notice that Tiffany was still on her phone (work, work, work) as we were on the beach, but things have slowed to a more peaceful place since.

We went to champagne Friday at the Naples Grand Resort to further the relaxation cause. It's helpful that the resort is literally 2 miles from our house. Hmmm...we should have been there every Friday!

The photo is the mommy alligator (how maternal she looks). The update: we've seen 8 babies, and on our recent tram ride, the driver told us the original count was 14 last year.

We are on our way today down to the Everglades to take Tiffany & Chris on the alligator tour. I have absconded with Mark's camera since I had an unfortunate issue with mine. Took it to the beach, and now the lens won't open. (Think a speck or two of sand snuck in there) Woe is me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

8 Days & Counting

Whoa - 8 days until we leave! Now I'm panicking that I will forget to do or take something before then. And we just purchased a jeep. We will be bouncing across the country in it (really it seems to have a pretty comfortable ride considering) headed to Star Mt. See the photo - it's very cute & so clean. I can assure you that this will be the only time it will look like this. Star Mountain is not conducive to clean cars. The dirt roads instantly fling a layer all over everything.

It's getting quieter & quieter around here as people abort for the north. Not, unfortunately, with the house showings. Yes, I know I should be grateful people are still looking, but honestly, at least 55 showings & NOT ONE OFFER. For those who haven't seen it, really, really the house is very cute and in a great area. Oh, well, it's coming off the market soon and we'll decide whether to put it back on next season...

I have eyes peeled for the loose monkey wandering around Pelican Bay (our area). Picture and article in the paper this morning. Not native & full of disease and will bite -but - sooo cute. I don't think it tears up mail (a Mark childhood story in Dallas -believe it or not) so that's good...

Finished book #28 but really struggled with this one. Away by Amy Bloom. Lots of wonderful reviews on it, I just couldn't get into the main character, a Russian immigrant in the 1920's making her way in the U.S. after all her family is murdered in Russia. I think maybe my frame of mind just wanted silly or happy...

One more photo of the alligator babies. Mom was nowhere to be seen, a little unusual, and the most we've seen are 5 (this has 4 in it). I begin to think 5 are all that are left, hope not.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Winding Down

2 weeks before departure. It's going fast! We're cramming in things now to do before we leave. Saw Chicago in concert here at the Phil. It was a fabulous sold out one night performance. I heard one person say as we were leaving, "That's the liveliest audience I've ever seen at the Phil." You have to understand there's a lot of opera & symphony there, which has a tendency to be a lot of white -haired people. What am I saying? Okay, this audience was a lot of gray -haired people (same as the original members of Chicago). Lots younger. Well, we think we are anyway...

We served our dry aged beef to guests last night for the first time. We've only experimented on ourselves up until now. Success! We think they thoroughly enjoyed it. We already have another batch started since Tiffany & Chris are coming down for a few days and requested the very same. It's so easy to do everybody, no fuss, no mess, and very inexpensive compared to dry aged store prices (Whole Foods price currently $21.99 a lb - crazy!)

It's definitely getting quieter here which is nice after the madness of peak season. My walk to the beach this morning was peaceful. More alligator trivia - I went to the north side today (I switch between the north & south end)and there's a fence up by the water there too. Saw nothing but asked a security person why. Yup, it's another mommy alligator & babies. This one was around last year, just has moved away from the original location. Too much tram & human traffic I think...

Mark has made The Call to our homewatch guy in Colorado. Schedule the water, etc startup for Star Mountain! Hurray - can't believe the time is so close now. He told Mark that the mountains have pink snow on the peaks (as they did last year). It's red desert sand blowing over from Utah. Friendly state to state contact...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Babies

A mystery solved - the alligator that we see so many mornings ( the one that I discovered with friend Pam last year) is not a Charlie, but a Charlette? Last night we took friends to dinner at one of the beach restaurants and on the way there in the tram, the friendly driver told us that the orange fence (see photo for part of it) had been put up not to protect the many kids down for spring break but the 9 babies. BABIES? I said. Can you believe it, I walk there many times a week and saw not a one. Bingo, this morning there they were...we saw 5 not 9, but now I understand why the mother has been hanging out in the same place close to the bank. Survival rate for baby alligators is abysmal - hope these have better odds. You may have to click on the photos to see closer, my camera doesn't have a long zoom -it's only drawback -otherwise I love it.

Random item, if you need any knives sharpened, Sur La Table has a free special going on the month of April. Up to two are free. Since we'd recently purchased 2 Shun knives there on sale (Mark is very into this knife thing...hmmm) those didn't need it, but we had other brands. You can slice paper with them now, if we so need...

Finished book #27 - a crazy book that made all kinds of bestseller lists a couple of years ago. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. A novel about working in an office of an advertising agency which sounded very, very authentic. I'd forgotten how crazy office politics is/was. Miss it not so much...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easy Sunday

Active Sunday morning today. Mark went fishing on the beach at dawn and had success (caught 4 - trout & mackerel, didn't keep them though) and I weaved through another 10k race going on in our neighborhood on my walk. Met my neighbor walking her dog, who was soaking wet. It seems he & another neighborhood dog decided to jump in the deep canal behind our homes. Not a great idea as alligators have been sighted in there.

Took a photo of these baby ibis - don't see them on the beach that often. The adults are pure white and we've never seen any of these babies when they're teeny, newly hatched. The parents keep them hidden until they're almost adult size. Most of the white species of tropical birds here have spotted or completely dark colored babies. Easier to hide I guess.

And finished book #26 Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn. It's the second in a series, and I enjoyed this one as much as the first. I was sure the author was British, since this is a Victorian mystery novel, but was completely wrong. She is a 6th generation Texan, graduated from UTSA in San Antonio, now living in Virginia. Got me!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3 weeks to blastoff

As our countdown to Colorado continues (3 weeks), a funny thing happened this morning. Our little area made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Little area as in: Gunnison area, Taylor River, and Harmel's. Crazy! It's the fight between the fishermen & the rafters on private water. I tried to put a link on the blog to no avail. Do a search for Colorado rafters on Wall Street for the article - sorry!

Great spider on the beach this morning. Lots of families still here enjoying the sand and water and the days are filled with sunshine. Mark's tomato plant is finally going crazy with tomatoes. Not sure what we're doing with these - maybe taking green tomatoes with us?

Yellow pollen everywhere - and my head & nose know it. Antihistimine time for sure.

Had my last visit at the hair salon here before going back to the madeover house "salon" in Gunnison. The lure to CO is definitely not the amenities - it's all about nature. Whoo-hoo!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Whoo hoo, sun & fun!

Back after the holiday weekend. Boy, it was crazy here. It felt as if half the population of the U.S. showed up at little Naples' doorstep. Weather is finally normal (low 80's) so the beaches are jammed. The photo above is at 7AM - there are NEVER beach chairs set up then. The weather reporters (they love this stuff) just reported this was the coldest winter for Naples since 1942. Okay, okay I know everyone north DOES NOT CARE, just thought I'd present that small fact.

We went to the farmer's market Sat and bought a few things, but sadly, only one vendor had a sign out for myer lemons and the small basket was bare. Guess we're at the end of that. Hope you made great stuff with yours Tiffany!

Mark wanted to watch our newly purchased African Queen dvd, and naturally I jumped all over that. Classic of a lifetime! The story is still great, Humphrey Bogart won his only oscar for this (how can that be?),the special effects a little hokey (no digital Avatar capabilities then - 1951), and Katherine Hepburn was very sick through most of the filming in Africa (due to her stern position on no alcohol - drank water instead - yup, dysentary, along with most of the crew. Bogart and John Huston (director) were fine, due to sloshing alcohol down at any & every opportunity. Hmmm...lessons here?

Had a wonderful Easter dinner with friends at their club. A mile long buffet, and hadn't seen that much pastel in a very long time. Part of the whole experience.

Finished book #25 (Yes Lisa, it continues...) The Sunlight on the Garden by Elizabeth Speller. It was very good, her memoir which incorporated her life, her mother's, and grandmother's, all with apparently inherited depression tendencies. She grew up in England (yup, that again) and is my age, but that's about all the similarities between the two of us. Great writing, fascinating family, a little disturbing, but a happy ending (she's alive & kicking and just published a new novel). 4 stars from me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Spring & Easter!

All things crazy here with springbreak ongoing and Easter Sunday approaching. Walks to the beach in the morning are still quiet - families evidently are not up that early, and just had to share a photo with "our" alligator. He/she has been resting close to the bank, so a new orange barrier fence has been put by the sign to keep unwary tourists away. We're really good at trying to keep the people from doing harm to themselves in this country - maybe...

Finished book #24 Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth. It's his latest in a string of big time award winning writing. Interestingly, I thought it good but not great. Characters ran together, but the plot was great - Mesopotamia pre WWI with ancient tomb discovery etc. I'll try some of his others and see.

Had to put up this cartoon courtesy of Wall Street - it made me laugh. Somehow the photo may be sideways - I am clearly internet challenged so apologize upfront. I think I appreciate it more since I've had my new phone.Wow, it does amazing things, and I find myself checking it a LOT during the day. Remember this is from a person retired almost 3 years...

Last note bought Blindside dvd (yes, Chris, finally) and the first time ever fully restored African Queen. If you have not seen this movie it is a true classic and fabulous.

Happy Easter everyone!