Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas magic has come and gone

Happy after Xmas! Major glitches here. Tried to post on my iPad and zilch happened. We are back in Miami as of last night and I have my trusty laptop to get the job done.

Snowglobe! Remember those?
Christmas was lovely and the little girls were amazingly well behaved in the midst of present s galore and anticipation of Santa's arrival. Heather hand delivered her special cinnamon rolls Christmas Eve day for Christmas morning breakfast. So nice since they (Heather and Jay) weren't even arriving until after we had breakfast.

All about the kiddos. Bike for Penny and a little teeny bike for Jules. To make this magic happen: Dads, an I'm sure Moms, putting together toys in the wee hours.

Oh sisters...

And there must be laughter...

And there must be pancakes...

Crazy warm weather in Virginia, then chilly and rainy, and now back in Miami which is flirting to break record high today - 84. Can't figure out what to wear when... Orange Bowl New Year's Eve and then back to Naples, although Mark is there every so briefly. On to CES - whee!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Almost Christmas time

Christmas tree in our Miami lobby
And here we are on the shortest day of the year: the winter solstice. For the U.S. 10:48 pm CST. I'm always thinking the 21st, not realizing that for some (say the UK) it's the 22nd. Anyway thank goodness for the days getting longer!

Early morning Miami walk
We drove over to Miami yesterday and fly to Virginia tomorrow for the Christmas holiday. Hurray for family get togethers and precious small children who spread the magic of the season. There are a large number of cruise ships at dock right now. Thinking holiday cruises are getting ready to start.

Been burning up the credit card and probably stressing the Amazon staff as I have relied heavily on their 2 day Prime shipping. Next up massive marathon wrapping, all those packages have gone ahead and landed at Tiffany's door.

Walking with the egret

It's snowing in Crested Butte as I write and more predicted every day for the next few. There's rejoicing for the ski mountain and I hope it continues. We plan on going for a couple of weeks in March so we don't miss the winter in entirety. I just have a hard time relating at the moment and Virginia is supposed to continue the crazy warm weather that the east coast is having through Christmas. We'll all celebrate whatever the conditions are. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

George Foreman and the world of Miami

Seems I spend every post lately with an apology for lateness. Sorry! This time not all me. My post was done and suddenly all disappeared, so had to redo.
Made it back to Naples for the weekend and our floors were done. They look great and I made good headway clearing out the layer of tile dust that was virtually all over every surface. Just part of it I'm afraid. Now onto part B, our bathroom.

George Foreman electric grill
Fun purchase of a thing many people already knew about. Where have we been? A George Foreman indoor/outdoor electric grill. The key word here is electric. Gas or charcoal grills are not allowed at our condo and anyone who knows Mark knows he's a big grill man who grills in all conditions. Well, he's currently opting out of the minus 20 Star Mt. conditions. Mark cooked lime chicken,tasting a bit different but good, and it cooked faster.  One meal so far, more experimenting coming up.

Not the party boat just Mark Cuban's little thing
Back to Miami for the week and the big company holiday party - on the large boat. I'll let you know how that goes. Preparty I've had to change to different shoes -wedges this time, spiky heels and boats do not mix...not sure dresses mix either, should be fun.

Miami Circle- ancient site covered
Expanded my Miami walk to off island. In the middle of downtown is an archaeological site called Miami Circle. Discovered in the late 90's when a developer started excavation for a new high rise. The perfect 38ft circle was found along with a ton of artifacts. It is believed to be a structure at least 1500 years old built by the Tequesta Indians. After protests and injunctions the high rise did not go up and it's now designated a national historic landmark.

Back of the church
Also on the walk came across a darling church surrounded by high rises. This church has a Christmas tree lot out front during the day which is whisked away to safety at dusk. Crazy times...

Brickell Park
Around the corner from the church is a little park that has the original mausoleum for the Brickell family, founders of Miami. Little jewels on the downtown streets.

Brickell Key Bridge
Here's a bit about the world of Miami:
Where, at a downtown location of of Florida's largest grocery store chain, noone knew what "salsa" was, and I'm talking Pace's here. We found it ourselves buried on a bottom shelf.
Where the local tv news channel has breaking news on the elections in Venezuela.
Where traffic jams occur everyday around the Dominican Republic consulate, and the Guatemalan consulate, and the motor bikes zip on around those of us stalled in cars.
Where "Hola" is the first word said no matter where you are.
Where women, of all ages and sizes, wear very short and very tight clothing. You go ladies...

View of our condo building
The holiday boat party did happen. Good times, good food, and no catastrophes with anyone's dress or shoes. We made slow circles around the Miami River which happens to be very close to our condo.

Hope everyone is getting some joy out of the season. Even though it's Florida, the wild elevated atmosphere of holiday preparations is very much here as elsewhere.  I have to work to push the anxious part of presents, etc. into the right perspective.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Miami and Thanksgiving

I am alive!  Apologies for the late post, life has been quite busy and a bit complicated. Hoping for calmer times, but that's probably not going to happen given the time of year.

Penny was anxious for things to start

Couple photos from our family Thanksgiving. You'll notice we had some missing people: Jules (down for her nap), Jay (sick poor thing), and Heather nicely stepped in to take a table shot for me. And in truth, Penny disappeared shortly after this for her nap. A fine meal was had with those of us present though.

Mark and I were there for the Walker tree decorating. The girls, Penny in particular, had that magical star look in their eyes while hanging up ornaments. Hurray for Xmas traditions.

This was a wonderful example of how you don't need to buy out the toy stores to have happy children. Cardboard car kept Penny and Jules mightily entertained. Wonderful insightful post about this very issue written by Tiffany on Tiffany and Becca's blog

We are in a whirlwind of travel right now. Miami, Virginia, back to Miami,and I threw in complication with a day trip to Naples.  I think we are Naples bound for the weekend. Our floors were being replaced at the condo this week, a big and messy job but almost complete they say.

Miami again next week for both of us. There's a company holiday party happening, in Miami style - on a boat. jes hora de fiesta!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hungry duck, cooking class, bass, and season is here

Wow, the people are arriving in big numbers from other states and other countries. A lot of languages are suddenly in the air. Traffic is building, restaurant reservations harder to come by, and parking anywhere is turning into an issue. Well it's season...we're not the only ones who know a good thing when we see it.

More cooking classes this time with Mark attending and two in one day. Mass immersion. A pasta class in the morning and a Mediterranean Moroccan style meal in the afternoon. Fun, messy, and some good recipes. Sur la Table rocks. Chef Mark enjoyed but didn't learn any new master techniques, knew all these.

It's been so hot here flirting with record high temps a number of days. Temperatures are supposed to rachet down this coming week to normal - mid 70's. We'll be up north for Thanksgiving and staying in Miami for the following week so won't see the lovely weather for a bit. (unless it flows over to Miami also) It's amazing how different the weather can be from coast to coast. In the meantime Crested Butte has been getting snow and the ski mountain opens for season this coming Wednesday. These extremes play with the  mind.

Hey there are fish in our canal! Large mouth bass and the first fish Mark has caught in the infrequent attempts outside our lanai. Kinda fun to walk a few steps out your back door and fish.

Projects abound around here. Planned the timing of our floor demolition to happen over the Thanksgiving holiday and the week beyond. Literally have to move out until its done. Having done a number of renovation home projects over the years, I can safely say they're a big fat pain, then you have short term memory loss and rave over the results. I would do well to remember that as this is part 1 of 2 (master shower next).

This is our new pet ugly duck. Fed him a couple of times and poof, he now comes multi times a day even though once in the morning is our limit. Since Mark takes conference calls out in the lanai when he's here, its a good thing that duck doesn't quack.

Wishes for safe travel and a wonderful Thanksgiving to everyone.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

White sand, swaying palm trees, and the birds

This week in Naples has zoomed by. Thanksgiving is looming and Christmas madness is peeking through here and there. Here in balmy Florida Xmas decorations went up in our community this week. Hard to swallow. The best part, and really the only part I should concentrate on, is that both occasions will mean we have family getting together.

Let's talk about our over 40 year old dieffenbachia plants, a very early anniversary gift from Mark, that we have taken with us literally everywhere we've lived, transported back and forth from summer and winter homes, even overnight fed-Xed once. Yes, I'm a teeny bit crazy where these plants are concerned. Realized last spring the two remaining plants were in a death spiral barely surviving yet another crackly dry, super cold winter and down to Florida they came to stay. The three, they reproduced another as I chopped and repotted a gangly one, live happily outside in our screened in lanai. and if they could speak they would shout, "We must stay here." Wish I'd thought to take a photo of the sad death rattle plants before we brought them down.

Beach bound again this week. It's my big nature fix here and five minutes away so I go quite often. And this visit also included a weird version of The Birds.

They gathered in the water in front of me and continued to grow in numbers until there were thousands. A feeding frenzy that went on for an hour without any movement elsewhere. Fishing boats showed up too to try their luck. And then a mass of seagulls plopped down in front of my chair to visit and watch the rest I guess. I felt as if I had a circus and parade just for me alone. You had to be there...

My osprey friend 
I continue to add activities here with yoga as the newest addition. I'm in "gentle" yoga class, plus restorative yoga, so you'd think it be easy, but it's some work for me. And I had to race out and buy a new mat and proper clothes. You know, the kind of pants that don't slide down and a top that stays put no matter what weird position you've got your torso, arms, and legs in. Gotta start somewhere...

my banyan tree walk
Much reading as usual happening, as well as some writing, more on that at a later date, and have to say quite excited about this book: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Tiffany did a review on it on her blog - and I'm loving it so far. All about creativity and she writes so darn well. Also just discovered the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Love his writing! He is long gone from us, died in 1926, but sounds so contemporary it's eerie. I'll leave you with a quote.

The only journey is the one within.
Rainer Maria Rilke