Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Hurray for Christmas, and all that it is and we hope it will be. There is nothing like a small child around for the magic of it all. Princess Penny was of course the center of everything. And, she didn't even understand the whole Santa thing - doesn't matter.

not sure, list for Santa?
Oh silly Grandaddy (aka Dadoe)
Snowflakes on Christmas Eve - close enough to the day. Lots of yummy appetizer food, just missing Heather and Jay. (they came over Christmas morning). And for the record, do not under any circumstances double a recipe for coffee cake from a 6" spring form pan to a 10" one. There's math involved here, but basically the round volume does not work... In dismay, Tiffany read the recipe reader comments after it went in the oven. Cooked and cooked it, watched it overflow, and thought  it was one for the trash, when Tiffany realized it had cooked through except the middle. Christmas morn and it tasted great!

Now this was fun -Animated "Twas the night before Christmas" book downloaded to Ipad. Crazy world we live in. This generation of kids should be the smartest ever. Oh, and Penny decided to buy something with a quick push of the button before going to bed. Only .99cents. Hmmm.

First present of the day for Penny was a hoot. Her first experience with ripping wrapping paper. A right of passage I'd say.

Is this the greatest photo or what! Courtesy Tiffany
Family coming together - the most important thing. I'd say the first Christmas at Tiffany and Chris's house was a great success. Hope everyone had a great one too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Alligators, birds,helicopter, and restaurants

Time is slipping through my hands like sand. We leave for Virginia Saturday - baby Penny!, and after Christmas we come back to Naples for only two days. The big drive back to Star Mt. is almost here! And lots of snow has dropped in the last 10 days. 4 feet on the ski mountain to be more accurate. Keep it up.

Made it down for our regular Everglades visit for the gators and birds. Lots of both this trip. Closeups of the gators courtesy of Mark. I would never get that close with my small lens. It's wild and crazy country there. Hunters with their gigantic swamp buggy rigs were out and about, as well as a water moccasin (alive ooh) in the road, and the only reason I point out these things is right in the middle of this, a woman with easel and paintbrush in hand was hard at work out in the dense bush. Talk about dedicated - or crazy, take your pick.

Santa at City Hall
Everglades City was destination on the way back for lunch. Florida funk is this little town. If you were staying there on vacation, it would to hang out, maybe fish and boat a little. Very slow pace there.

Lunch was at the famous Rod and Gun Restaurant founded in 1864, visited by endless famous people, including presidents, and Ernest Hemingway. We try to get down there once a year. Fresh, as you can get, fish and shrimp all dependent on the fishermen's success of the day. I actually ordered oysters, but none had come in yet.

One fun little extra was a small helicopter that was flying awfully close I thought, when it decided to land behind the restaurant. A group of guys just out for the day popped in for lunch. Hmm.

Angelina's wine cellar - two stories high
Lots of restaurant action still going on with a few still on the list. We'll see if we get to them all. A new one, Angelina's, was fantastic, gourmet Italian that's been here a few years. Equal to D.C. - really. Definitely will go back.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas mania and time rushing by too fast

Protected Woodstork
Just looked at the date of my last post, whoops, sorry, time just got away from me. This week had Mark traveling on business, monster rain, thunder and lightening storm Monday night that kept all of us in the vicinity awake,art class, movie and the endless Christmas shopping. Most of which done online, but some things just have to be done in person.

Delectable Norman Love chocolates
We fly to Virginia next Saturday for Xmas at Tiffany's. Should be fun! Heather and Jay are of course joining us for the festivities.  Gotta pull back out the long sleeves and jackets - poor me. Actually, its a little weird to have Christmas spirit in tropical Florida.Chilly would help and can't wait to get some Penny love.

White Pelican, another visitor seeking warmth
Art class has been a joy. Only one more to go - boo, but its definitely got me back painting everyday. Patty is a truly inspiring teacher and even the art center itself just lends to creativity. It's the Center for the Arts in Bonita Springs, a  little north of us.

Saw Anna Karenina at our great cushy leather seat theater down the street- and by myself. Definitely the right call, too stylized and melodramatic for Mark. Worth seeing for the luscious filming and gorgeous costumes, but a slight miss in my opinion.

Farmers Market
It's a race to see if we can get to all the places we intended to before its time to go. Why are we leaving balmy Naples at the end of the month anyway to go back to full on winter at Star Mountain? Simple, our condo is rented for three months starting beginning of January. Its been grand, but we'll be ready to go back, and they're finally getting some regular snow, at least on the ski mountain. Keep the white stuff coming!

And two books read: Our House in Arusha by Sara Tucker - great memoir of her earlier life in Africa with her new husband. This one actually came to me via Amazon recommendation and on the super cheap list. A winner. and Rhys Bowen latest in her spyness series, In Royal Blood. Always entertaining and fun.
Til next time, and remember to spread the love around, the world can be a very scary place these days...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sunrise, friends, wildlife, and Cuban food

Sunrise on my walk
As I sit in the lanai with my blooming flower pots (in December!), watching the turtles sunbathe on the rocks by the lake, I listen to a woman close by hidden by 6 foot hedges speak in her cell phone in lyrical Italian.

I want to send a ciao over to her. Can't though, it would probably scare her to death, in lieu of that, make her rethink everything she was just saying so loudly. Ciao is about it for me, so she's safe. I am amazed at the amount of different languages spoken around here. This small city certainly has a cosmopolitan feel. And it's not even full season yet. We'll be gone by then back to the place closest  our heart - Star Mountain.

Tommy Bahama with Joann, Gloria, and Joan
Some art class for me, some golf for Mark - our old club from Maryland has sent 35 guys down to Naples for the annual winter trip and Mark's invited. Some of the wives are down also, so I had a nice reunion lunch today.Ladies who lunch, wow, haven't been a member of that club in awhile.

Mark and I made it back to Fernandez the Bull - GREAT Cuban food since 1985.The yummy slow roasted pork recipe courtesy of Bunny came from this very restaurant. I didn't even know I liked Cuban food until a couple years ago.

We sit outside and watch the activity in the lake for cocktail hour before sunset. Ducks, turtles, anhingas, egrets, herons, and a mystery huge fish. Mark is dying over it as its at least two and a half feet long, and swims by leisurely every night. He thinks it looks like a small tarpon. He hasn't pulled out the rod yet, better get on it before we've run out of time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas lights and family pics

December, really, how can this be? And the madness begins - shopping, wrapping, decorating (well, not so much decorating in my case, we're not here over the holiday). Fun Florida Xmas lights, just a slight difference with this palm tree thing.

Time is going awfully fast while we're here with some golf, dinners out, movies (saw Lincoln - yet another great movie), art class, and Mark in and out on business trips. And the weather has been gorgeous 80degrees and sunny. What's not to like!

Penny liked Jay's choice of shirt
Love that baby!
Here are a couple pictures as promised from the family photo shoot. Ceri is a genius, making us look all warm and cozy, not frozen as we most definitely were.
And lastly, put out wishes for snow for Star Mt. and surrounding area. We hardly have any!