Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone has a safe and very happy Thanksgiving. And don't knock yourself out while starting the Xmas shopping in those stores that are open later today. Craziness- can't handle it myself. Heading to our friends later for Thanksgiving dinner with my pecan tassies and a special cornbread sausage dressing from Mark. Tis all about the food.

26 inches of snow at Star Mt the last two weeks. WOW! Great start for ski season. I predict transition shock ,at least for me when we go back. I'm having a hard time packing warm clothes for Virginia as we fly tomorrow. Here we come Penny!

Orchid in the wild- it's the tropics here, no white stuff unless you count the sand.

Art class has started, a full one with 15 of us. So happy to be back with Patty Kane - talented artist and teacher that she is.

Went to a round of the LPGA tournament last weekend. Boy, those ladies can hit the ball a mile. Interesting that so many were wearing sun UV arm protection sleeves or using umbrellas. Quite a change from the tanning baby oil and iodine mixture of my teens. Terrible stuff of course, and we are all paying for it now. Breathed a sigh of relief as the dermatologist came up with nothing suspicious for my first all over check. Why did I wait so long? Procrastination and there IS NO dermatologist in the Gunnison area. A flaw in paradise definitely...

Take a look at this photo. I took it yesterday morning on my walk and didn't even notice an actual sea turtle heading to the water. I claim wild wind and waves as the excuse. Don't know the story here, it's way past the season for turtles to be around.

And this morning after a cold front came through (43 low), Mark and walked to the beach and saw an unusual sight- buzzards on the sand along with our sea birds. Why? There was a fish kill all up and down the beach, Mark had read it's from red tide and all the way up to Ft Myers beaches. It's a phenomenon that happens here from time to time. Nature...

I'll be back with Penny and family pictures!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Birds, books, otters, and Thanksgiving is coming

Time marching on and we're only a few days away from Thanksgiving. We will celebrate two Thanksgivings (shouldn't everyone ?), one here in Naples and one with the family - this time in Virginia.

Otter sightings. They are busy looking for breakfast fish and wondering who the heck I am.

The exotic birds are a plenty around here- beautiful, graceful, and strangely grating unmusical voices.

Book list and definitely the quantity is down. Somehow finding little time - between art class, tai chi, and the historical fiction class, time blows away.
Scandal takes a Holiday by Lindsey Davis (another great one in her ancient Roman detective series), the Love Artist by Jane Alison (class reading, great story of Ovid), and Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking; a memoir of food and longing by Anya Von Bremzen (Great book on her early life in Russia, some recipes, but really an exposé on politics, vodka, and hunger). Whew, crazy country.

And apparently I have a doppelgänger here in Naples. Twice now , I have been asked if I was so and so, or if I had been at whatever event. Hmmm, does everybody run into this?

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Fishing, dolphin, and sand between the toes

Ahh the beach life. Having way too much fun while a hefty snowstorm has hit Star Mt. 12 inches in fact. A reminder that we will go back for three snowy months of winter, so soaking up the sun while wearing flip flops.

Mark had great luck surf fishing yesterday. Pompano, Spanish mackerel, and lady fish caught in big numbers. Dolphin were all around and came in very close. Hoping he will keep some for eating next time.

Saw another movie, and have to say a big step down from the last two (Captain Phillips and Gravity). All is Lost starring Robert Redford. No dialogue and just a man and his sailboat in crisis. Meant for the small screen I think.
This is alligator Al. I see him a lot of mornings on the way to the boardwalk. Cuddly don't you think?

Ciao, bitte, bonjour, and more. I am so envious of all our bilingual visitors. They seamlessly go from intense conversations in their native language to unaccented good mornings to me as I walk by. Only took Latin (and what good did that do) and high school French, and that , as some can attest, has only gotten me into trouble when in France.

Early morning sunrise from our condo unretouched. It's not mountains but not shabby.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beach, golf, dolphins, and just fun

A little calmer here after the surprise weekend. Weather has been good and a cool front came through, though as an official "snowbird" not sure I was impressed. It dropped the temps 6 degrees. Ha, just slightly different back home... We've been here a month already- hard to believe.

My morning beach walk has become my nature fix in lieu of Star Mt. Great stuff - junior alligators, turtles, hosts of birds, and yesterday a dolphin sighting. They are fast movers and even with my fantastic camera, hard to catch.

I've been doing bits and pieces of things:Tai Chi class, watercolor painting,reading, reading, reading for the historical fiction class, and a little golf thrown in today. Alligators were around, but none so interested in Mark as last time.

Too much eating out was happening, a terrible problem, so a change of course was demanded. Dinners at home which has been nice. And we found fava beans which I adore, and made the dish pictured above. Fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, andouille sausage, cilantro, and of course the fava beans. Yummy... Had to buy yet another cast iron skillet. We cannot manage without one. This one will go home too even though we have two. Camping supplies I think. Yes I know, we have camped exactly one time each of the last two summers. We're gonna up the count I swear.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013


The most amazing thing happened on Friday. For my birthday, my daughters Heather and Tiffany flew down and surprised me. I mean REALLY surprised me; I opened the front door and had to sit down on the stairs speechless in shock. Mark and the girls had been plotting for two months and did an excellent job of fooling me. Fantastic weekend, already over sadly. They are in the air back to their busy lives. Fantastic out of this world birthday present for my 60th!!

My birthday dinner was superb, at our favourite French restaurant Escargot 41 with good friends Andrea and Andy. And Patrick (chef/owner) made a special longtime favourite of mine that is difficult to get outside of Paris: Tarte Tartin. Yummmmm.

Much fun at the beach. A fifty degree difference in temps for the girls coming from MD and VA, and much scrambling to pull out summer wear and flip flops (thank goodness Tiffany had summer maternity clothes from her first time!).

Condo is quite cute and close to everything, so we're finally going to settle down. Miss the girls already...

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Costumes, basketball, chameleon, and beach

And despite our protests the Halloween dress up did happen. I was inspired by one of our favourite shows and the party was fun too. This adult costume thing is amazingly different than when our girls were young (or we just weren't invited maybe).

Lots of packing up and driving, silliness really, before we ended in what is our final place till the end of the year. A two day stay in a darling one bedroom condo in old Naples courtesy of our friends Andy and Andrea, and then off for the weekend to Miami to stay with friends Brett and Maria. Whirlwind stuff. Boat ride,Miami Heat game, bonding with the new pet Gordo (who eats live crickets by the way), and hanging out on the magnificent patio.

We are back in the old community where our house was. So fun to walk to the beach. Had dragonflies flying all around, people fishing in the surf, and an alligator sighting right away.

People are definitely showing up from "up there". French, Italian, German wafts through the air. I walked by a sweet older gentleman crooning in Italian to his miniature dog the other morning. Crazy area this is, every exotic car known and then some, designer stores I only walk by, more restaurants than you can count, and endless sunny beach days. Not baadd....

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