Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The joys of family

Penny loves her Grandaddy
Lovely visit with the family for Thanksgiving. Wonderful turkey and all that accompanied it. Heather changed up the sacred mashed potato recipe to - drumroll please - Pioneer Woman's. Universal agreement best ever! And you can do it ahead.

I feel sooo relaxed after a big holiday dinner

 The historic Barney puppy and Miss Penny meeting went well. She did prefer that he not grab her feet or stick his face in hers, but they talked and worked it out.

little kitty action too

 Went on a couple Barney walks with Heather. He has a lot of energy. These views of the Bay are just down the block from Heather's house. Gorgeous!

Turned very cold and we had outdoor family photo session Sunday morning in Reston with Tiffany's terrific photographer Ceri. Penny was a trooper while the rest of us moaned and groaned and stamped feet to keep warm. I'll post pics when we get them.
One of Penny's favorite activities

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here we are again at that one day meal extravaganza - Thanksgiving. Profuse thanks for my family, friends, and most of all, my husband. A rare thing, a non-religious, non-political holiday. We have two this year, one at our lovely friends Andrea and Andy, and then what is now a multi year tradition - our family Saturday Thanksgiving. We fly up north tomorrow. The girls are doing giant piles of work for this, especially Heather, who hosts at her house. AND, there will be a historic meeting between Miss Penny and bouncy puppy Barney. Cross fingers on this one!

Ironically, one of our more recent food traditions (5 years) pecan tassies (if you don't know about them - they are to die for - Google the recipe) that Tiffany bakes, I am making also for today's dinner. Yum.

Eaten out at a new place - Seasons 52 (I believe a small chain) which boasts everything 475 calories or less, and since we've been on a sort of pre holiday health diet kick, it sounded like a good idea. Food was good, very fresh, interior very attractive and there's a huge menu. Will be going back.
Saw Argo at our wonderful reserved seating, plush leather chair movie theater that's 3 minutes away. Great, great movie for those who want to know.

our community pool (which we've never used - maybe this trip?)
Weather lovely here, mid 70's, and definitely enjoying this trip a LOT more than our trek down in Jan and Feb.

Wild turkeys at the LPGA tournament - run!
You'll have to click on and zoom on the above pic. Caught the turkeys as we were leaving. Weird timing so close to Thanksgiving. 
Hope everyone has a terrific day! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Palm trees and morning coffee by the lake

We're in the land of  perfect landscaping, exotic cars, more importantly clean cars, tropical birds, flowers in November, and palm trees swaying in the breeze.And let's not forget Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and every other store and restaurant imaginable (including major designer places, yes, well, those places I do not frequent  - can't imagine where I'd need a Dior dress in Gunnison). Quite a change from our Star Mountain area, which by the way, has only gotten a few inches of snow so far. NOT good, come on white stuff!

Endless condo improvements - this time replacing all the kitchen appliances. They were original, old, and one bit the dust - time. We have seasonal renters coming for 3 months starting in January. Lucky them, they get the benefit!

Our lanai is a lovely peaceful place to sit and have coffee in the morning. Tropical birds, ducks, turtles swimming by, fish splashing, but no alligator sightings yet. To be honest, the one and only time I've seen one here was right after we first bought. (7 years ago!)

banyan trees
Lush foliage everywhere. A place where the stop signs are landscaped. Okay, I know other places do this, you have to remember where I've just come from - dirt roads, with cow manure regularly plopped, coyote and fox hunting around our house...

And I've been very remiss in listing books read. Actually, no idea who looks or cares, but it's a great way for me to track my reading.
So in no particular order:
Eragon - Christopher Paolini
A Body in the Bathhouse - Lindsey Davis
Some Assembly Required - a Journal of my son's first son - Anne Lamott
After This - Alice McDermott
The Importance of Being Seven - Alexander McCall Smith
The Silver Pigs - Lindsey Davis
The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny

Consensus of above - highlights Eragon (great first book by a genius 15 year old, written 13 years ago - he has a series - I'm late getting into this I know.) The Silver Pigs - finally able to get a hold of this, the reissued first book written 20 years ago in a 15 book series, and all was fiction with the exception of Anne Lamott's book. I read many of hers, an excellent writer also giving writing advice, who's now a grandmother. Low on the list was Alice McDermott's book, of which I've also read many, - just didn't do it for me - below her usual standard I think.

Mark has been out on a business trip but back now, and we leave for Heather and Jay's in a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes Miss Penny (and Tiffany and Chris) will be there! This time flying - no more of that 2,000 plus miles driving until the end of December.
Off to see the LPGA tournament going on here. Another nice benefit...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Trip down to Naples

Our condo in Naples and that black blob is a bird - on the outside of the screen
Okay wow, we made it. Three days in the car leaving in a blowing snowstorm. Take care Star Mt.! We happily had an uneventful trip other than long, and the restaurant dinner plans held without even a blip for seating even though it was the weekend, and we were fully prepared for the long wait. Football interfered, or graced us, either way. First night was Friday, and high school games rule, and second night lots of people and then suddenly big drop off after the home state #1 ranked Alabama team lost. Oops...

Marched through our beloved mountains and others on the way out. No more mountains for awhile.

COTTON not snow - Texas, baby.
And you know what these are, makes the country go round
This country is so interesting - in landscape and people. Who has gone to all 50 states? Impressive whoever you are.

First dinner hurray McBride's in Wichita Falls, TX Great, great steak. And those are saddles up high.

swamp on the Atchafayala River
the Mighty Mississippi
Now we were in the deep south. More vowels than the rest of the world and good hearted people all over the place. This bridge was endless, and apparently covering the largest swamp in US. Louisiana between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

Hurry, hurry our second night restaurant was awaiting - The Original Oyster House in Mobile AL. On the water, many years in existence and GREAT seafood.

And we made it the first night in Naples to one our favorite sushi restaurants - Sushi Thai. So fresh and good - yeah.

Duck outside our condo relaxing
So here we be, well rather here I be, put Mark on a plane to St. Louis this morning for a business trip till Thursday. Oh, and give me some credit (or the camera) for most of those travel photos - took them in the car through the windows in motion.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Off to Naples and bye bye to Star Mt for awhile

Quick post to say we are adios, leaving super early in the am, now trying to beat the snowstorm that's coming. Great to have snow, but not so great to travel in it.

sunrise in the aspens
Very long trip but have two great restaurants to go for dinners on the way down. McBride's Steakhouse in Wichita Falls, TX and the Original Oyster House in Spanish Fort, AL. A reward for all that driving.

I will post from Naples, as I have in the past, even though it's not Star Mountain. Palm trees and alligators, just slightly different... 7 weeks will go fast especially with the holidays thrown in the middle. And oh yes, we will be flying up to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with the girls. Gotta do the family thing!