Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frosty stuff and longer days

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas - it goes by in a blur!  We had roast turkey on the grill and Mark used the "turkey cannon" that I had ordered after hearing about it from George (my brother). It is a little scary looking (see below) but does the same kind of job as the beer can chicken concept. Hopefully you know about that, if not, it's all over the internet, and makes great chicken.  Anyway, it was a hit and we'll use it in the future. Somebody was clever - hope they have a patent...

I know weather has been crazy up north and I shouldn't complain, so I won't, or maybe a teeny bit. We are not supposed to get cold and definitely not have freezing temps, but here we went again, and again I went out to cover the tender flowers with sheets. Broke a record last night evidently.  A big warm up begins, just in time for the girls & guys to fly down almost 80 degrees to bring in the new year. Hurray!

Wild wind at the beach - I don't think volleyball was going to happen... And look and the white stuff (aka frost) on the boardwalk. People freaking out around here...

Another sighting of one of the otters. Not sure where the rest of the family is, but this one sure moves fast.

So isn't it great the days are getting longer again?  I'm always excited when the solstice happens, granted it's only added seconds - but still.  In Naples it's 16 seconds today and at Star Mt. it's 28. They're an hour shorter in daylight right now - they're working to catch up. It does make a difference where you're located.
Finished book #63 A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. It's the second in a series and the second one I've read of hers - fun read. She's the Canadian author who writes homey (if that's possible) murder mysteries set in Canada. Even though it's fiction, there are true facts sprinkled throughout.I'm learning all kinds of Canadian facts I didn't know. Did you know that they celebrate Thanksgiving (I didn't) and it's on the second Monday in October.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Have been having so much fun saying Merry Christmas to anyone & everyone. It seems that the PC "Happy Holidays" is on it's way out. Perfect strangers in stores and on the phone have been saying it to me and what a happy thing. For me, it' a lovely phrase to denote love of family, peace and goodwill toward all. Even if you don't celebrate, surely that's okay...

Nice beach walk this morning on Christmas Eve day. A tad chilly, but someone was out waterskiing and a family was suiting up in life jackets to use the canoes our foundation provides for paddling through the inlet. Not the snowflake weather everyone hopes for, but nice. Mark finally talked to Walter (who watches our house at Star Mt.) and he said 3 feet of big,wet heavy snow has fallen on the house in the last 5 days. Whoo.

We went to St. George & Dragon restaurant with our good friends Andy & Andrea for a holiday dinner. This is a restaurant I started going to over 40 years ago. Ooops, that was a stab in the spot where I think I'm still young. Yes I was a kid, but still - anyway, this old style, men needing jackets, great food, normally pitch as black restaurant is a sentimental place for all four of us. My grandparents and Andrea's mother went there frequently for many years. We hadn't been in forever, but the food is still great (prime rib and snapper to die for), and specially lit up for the holidays.
Book update: #61 Comforts of a Muddy Saturday by Alexander McCall Smith (part of a series set in Scotland) really enjoy them all and #62 Must You Go by Antonia Fraser. Her memoirs of life with her famous playwright & screenwriter husband Harold Pinter (he died two years ago and she's a prolific historical writer) Very engrossing... And people are asking - one was hardback and one was on the Kindle. I jump from one to other - common behavior? don't know...

Merry Christmas everyone. Be safe, be happy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday cheer

What a contrast -Star Mt. is being pommelled by snow (Crested Butte has gotten 24" in the last 48 hrs alone and 12" a day for the next two is predicted) and here in Naples we bask in the 70's. Thought I'd share some Florida Christmas light pics. Definitely a unique flavor...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Brrr and small creatures

Goodness, time is flying by. Everybody ready for the holidays?  It still doesn't seem very holidayish here, but I'm bound and determined to be happy fa la la anyway... Look at the empty beach, mine all mine...

Crazy weather here, had to use all my extra sheets to cover the flowers for frost protection. Not supposed to ever get to that magic 32 around here, but we did. When I brought the sheets back in and went to put them in the wash, a surprise for me. Big 3 inch spider, obviously not happy to see me either. Out she went back to the yard. I looked her up and she is a orbweaver (great name) and yes, definitely the female (males of this species are teeny weeny) and in case you were worried - non -poisonous.

Gorgeous weather back (78) and I am enjoying before it dips again (possibly Christmas). The cold weather affected even the shell life. There were thousands of conchs littering the beach this morning. All alive and thrown up on the sand after going into their version of hypothermia. And yes I like to "save" things, but I'd need a dozer machine to pick all these up. Feast for the birds.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beach, books, and mulch

Up, down, up, down go the temps. Last two days were warm and we marched to the beach with towels, sunscreen, & Kindle, of course, this morning to enjoy (after the walk to the beach - I know, sounds a little weird).  And yes, we did enjoy, with only a few other people, until the wind kicked up. After a nice lunch at the inside beach cafe, made our way home.

Crazy looking guy out there today. Did you guess what he's doing? This was the most serious metal detector I've ever seen. He seemed to be finding a lot of things too, but had a practiced one hand swoop into his pocket before anyone could see a thing. (maybe all those nickels & dimes the kids drop?)

Aaah, the life - the yard crew showed up today with mountains of bags of mulch for our neighborhood yards. I better not get too used to this, no crew of any kind shows up at Star Mt. It's a bunch of sweat, blood, and tears from Mark & Gretchen.
Finished book #60. A memoir from a member of an infamous British family in the early 20th century - maybe you've heard of - the Mitford family. Crazy, wild, and fascinating. I will read more. This was Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford. This is not the sister who was friends with Hitler, although it is the sister who spent her life regretting that she had the chance to shoot Hitler and didn't arrange it. (she was a young teenager - I don't really think it was possible).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December marches on

So Christmas madness is upon me.  Except it's working the fingers to the bone online instead of running around stores. How crazy the world has become! Our first Xmas all separate - just a tad apprehensive on how that's going to feel, but, a few days later the girls & guys will be down for New Years which should be lots of fun. I'm putting in an order for normal temps then (70's). They are definitely not right now -it's 20 degrees below normal - quite chilly for here. Here are the happy sea birds and it looks warm - but it's not! I think they're huddled together to block the wind.

Finished #58 on the Kindle - another freebie! The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin. Absolutely fascinating - he was an amazing man who never stopped inventing, creating, and performing political miracles. Should have paid more attention in school to him... Finished another "regular" book #59 -the ongoing series by Lynda S. Robinson: Murder at the Feast of Rejoicing. So enjoyable - the Ancient Egyptian murder stories. I realize that sounds a bit odd - it's just pretend murder okay...

One of our resident baby alligators.  They are all currently hiding below the surface of the water waiting for it to get warm again. Supposedly they only eat once a week anyway, so can have a little snooze in the mud...
The battle continues to get our small repairs done. Hammering is going on as I write in the other room, from the bathroom tile guy. It took many days for someone to show up, but hurray progress!  Of course the job has turned into a slightly bigger (and more expensive) one than first thought. When ripping apart things the rule is you will find more damage to be repaired always.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nature's gifts

A little chilly here - jacket needed for beach walk. And a little quiet - lots of people are elsewhere until the holidays. It was pretty much solitary me to discover the amazing gift that appeared on the sand. Dozens and dozens of sand dollars of all sizes that the waves had deposited everywhere. On my path were at least 75 and I stuffed my pocket with as many as it would hold. Wow, doesn't that mean good luck or something, maybe winning the lottery? Of course I'd have to actually buy a lottery ticket for that to happen...

spider waiting for breakfast
Finished my second Kindle book. I love this thing! There's something almost magical about finding a book online, pushing one button, and poof, 10 seconds later it's available to read. And the hundreds and hundreds of free books (classics mostly) make it even more fun (thank you Heather for the hint!) Anyway, part of that classic list - book #57: A Traveler in Wartime by Winston Churchill (not the famous one preceded by "Sir"- yes, mistake of mine). However, very interesting view of WWI from an American journalist. Weird to read that everyone thought this was the war to end all wars - had an urge to whisper - look out, number II is coming...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The trip north

Back after a whirlwind trip north for the Thanksgiving holiday. Slight mental shift - take off shorts and flip flops and put on long pants, sweater, and make sure to take coat, scarf, & gloves. Brrr. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful time and our Thanksgiving meal was fabulous due to Tiffany's baking and Heather's cooking & pumpkin pie. It's all about family - we don't see them enough... Hope everyone's holiday was a good one!

Tiffany and Chris's Elmo

Baker par excellence Tiffany at work
 We also got our pet fix in. 2 big labs at some friends, 5 cats (yes!) at Heather & Jay's (although we only saw 3), and Tiffany and Chris's 2 (cats). Hats off to everybody - they're all darling but work.
Happy December  to all! How, how did it get to be the last month of the year? I would say it must be my age that makes it seem as if times flies by ever faster, but I hear this from all ages. A hidden plot?