Saturday, April 25, 2015

Boats, palm trees, skyscrapers, and lovely food

Miaaaaami. Oh boy. Quite a place, fast moving, completely bilingual, skyscrapers everywhere.

Mark's been making the trek across alligator alley, and I hopped aboard for this week. It's an early start and many are with us for the couple hour pencil straight shot across. Nary an alligator sighting, at least for me.

I had a goal and that took up most of the time we were there. While Mark was working I was searching, searching for the perfect condo so Mark will not be living out of a motel. Success I think, we're still in the middle of the paperwork, offer, counter offer, but if it works, a lovely place which I'll post about later.

No shopping, no pool time, but some lovely dinners happened. Wonderful dinner with friends Brett and Maria at Il Gabbiano, then to a happening Peruvian restaurant Coya, which was fantastic, and then a sweet Spanish restaurant La Gamba near our hotel in Coconut Grove. Squid ink paella! The food in Miami is international and excellent.

Our hotel restaurant at breakfast. Pretty nice I think. Mark's office is very nice as well, and I was happy to have a peek into the building and the area. I am left with a strong urge to learn Spanish, It looks and feels necessary.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Palm trees, otters, bald eagles, and busyness

Quite the peaceful scene above, right? It's a tad more hectic than that around here for the humans. Mark traveling all over, and I, just trying to get some stuff done around here - repairs, renovations, a bit of furniture replacement, and research on apartments in Miami for Mark.

Saw a crazy sight while walking one morning. A bald eagle closer that I've ever seen, a mere six feet away in a tree. I didn't realize what was keeping it in the tree as I, the crazy lady below, snapped, snapped, snapped with the camera. I turned my head and a rabbit was in the road, a goner via a car -breakfast calling. Don't know if it was male or female - they both have white heads. Trivia fact for you.

Mark was traveling again this week, Miami (normal) and then LA. We reconnected on Thursday although I think I'm going to have to start calling in or putting myself on his calendar. He is quite the busy guy these days. I did get to drive the "new" car while he was away. A gently used, in perfect condition E55 AMG purchased from good friends down here. Um, there's a reason the brake and accelerator pedals are covered in metal. It's faaasstt.....and turns like a dream. Indy 500 here we come. Just kidding, just kidding.

They're baackk! After a no show last fall, the river otters are back. Frolicking in and out of the water up and down our canal. Seemingly the happiest of creatures.

The hibiscus plants are doing well and the solo tomato plant has teeny tomatoes starting. Things just grow like weeds here, there's gotta be some benefit to this hot sticky climate. It's been summer like temps since we got here, definitely above normal. And back home we just had a pretty hefty snowfall - 8 inches, which is also fairly unusual.

Made it back to one of our favorite lunch spots -Texas Tony's Barbecue Shack, a reward after running errands. Did we need an excuse? It's always quiet when we go, but we hear it's one giant noisy party at night. The first photo is of their huge smoker room. Good stuff.

endangered Wood Stork
Next post will be after Miami trek next week. I'm going over with Mark to see his new office and marathon seeing apartments with my new best friend, Mark K. the realtor. Leaning towards highrise overlooking the water. We'll see.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Florida and the long sunny days

I'm taking a deep breath and trying to settle in, Mark, on the other hand, is on the move. Miami, Puerto Rico, and California next week. Ha, let the craziness commence.

Immediate planting happened, at least in pots. We are green starved. Love cooking with fresh herbs. I'm trying a tomato plant as you see and couldn't pass up those gorgeous hibiscus plants.

Speaking of plants, I now have organic veggies from a  local farm available right in our neighborhood. Sign up on Fridays,pickup Mondays. I'm excited but already am searching for recipes for things I don't usually eat - radishes being one. They certainly are pretty.

Hard to see, but those are fish nests in the water. They're in every water way - hundreds of them, and I can only imagine the soon to be explosion of baby fish.

If you don't get out early to exercise, to beat what's been unseasonable heat, you are dodging lots of humanity. The plethora of people walking, jogging, bicycles just because, and bicycles with people loaded up with tennis gear going full speed ahead to their game, as in not watching at all where they are going.

Art class has started which I'm thrilled about. A lot of old regulars who, like me, follow Patty around. She is a terrific inspired teacher.

Pool entrance
Our neighborhood is still quite busy and the pool a big attraction. Waiting to see how long it takes to quiet down, and the beach as well. Haven't made it yet but did order a single clamp on umbrella for a beach chair so I can go at a whim and paint. Gotta love that Amazon. Poof and here it was.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Naples and life is a'changing

We've made it to Naples after a three long day car trip. We wouldn't have done it that way, air travel preferred, but we had so much stuff to bring, a lot of which is going to stay.

The wide sweeping vistas of Texxxxxaaaaas
The trip was all on target, no crazy delays or incidents. We met our Star Mt. neighbor and friend Glenn at the restaurant of choice, McBride's Steakhouse, in Wichita Falls, TX (he has a house near there), and proceeded on to second day destination Spanish Ft., AL for our Oyster House fix. Yup, on the road that long and it becomes all about the food...

Mojito and Paella
Naples is still in the throes of season madness. It's close to the end, but still crowds everywhere. We couldn't get into one of our all time favorites Sushi Thai our arrival night,or even find a parking space in the vicinity, so a close second had to suffice - Fernandez the Bull. Mark pronounced his paella very good, but we know it wasn't as good as his - for those of you who've had it!

And so onto the grand announcement: Mark has taken a job that's Miami based. He says he has time and energy to take on another big job. COO for The Retail Outsource, part of TROC parent company. It's owned by a good friend of ours and this working together conversation has been going on for years.Okay then, I say go for it!

He will commute from Naples to Miami via Alligator alley Hwy, a straight shot from west coast to east. Out Monday back Thursdays. And Star Mt. is not going away, never fear. I will go back for the summer and Mark will come and go as his schedule permits. We have of course company scheduled to visit. Life should be interesting...

So here we are until mid June and the weather is fine. Nests of fish eggs are in the lake, turtles swimming around, actually traffic stopped dead this morning to let a snapper turtle saunter across the road. In a land of giant contrasts to Star Mt. I do see some similarity - turtle stopping here and deer stopping there. It may be mud encrusted trucks there and pristine Bentleys here, but hey it still counts.