Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Magic

Yes, fun was had and it all went by in a blur. Lovely Christmas and while it wasn't a white one, it still had all the special magic the holiday brings.

Gingerbread cookie time
You know raw dough is the best. I know, I know not recommended.
Serious creation happening
Gingerbread cookies. A long time family tradition that my mother started when we kids were small. A lot of decorating goes into these with every conceivable sprinkle. When our girls were small they too had a blast with the cookies, too much on one occasion, we used silver balls to decorate. Big mistake. They went everywhere except on the cookies. Do they even make those anymore?

S'more's in the fireplace - of course
Jules loves her Aunt Heather
 twirling - just because
another budding photographer in the family
As Christmas Eve day waned the energy levels increased to epic proportions
Christmas Eve was great. Hours of wrapping, gingerbread cookies, acrobatics with Aunt Heather, and general shenanigans.

Sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn for Santa's reindeer. A modern addition to Christmas Eve traditions.

A Nana & Granddaddy gift - musical piano pad - perhaps the parents are not as thrilled as the girls
The post gift opening explosion
Tenderloin Christmas dinner  
You'll notice Jules is missing for our Christmas dinner. The morning's excitement wore her out. Truth be told we all got a bit sleepy especially after all the food. Happy New Year to all and here's wishing for a splendid one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Heading to holiday magic in Virginia

Last post before heading up to DC. for Christmas. So excited to see the little girls being excited. Christmas is most definitely for the little ones. It's all magic to them⭐🔔🎄🎅

Florida has had record breaking hot while cold records are falling across the country. Naples just broke a 60 year old high at 87 this past week. We went to an outdoor wedding Saturday night and it was sweaty hot. Didn't stop people dancing the night away.

And back to Miami. In a practical sense this works the best for flying up north. Ft Myers used to have non-stops for what is just a two hour flight - they're few and far between now. The airlines are holding us captive...

A strange sight from the condo. A DirecTv blimp wandering by. Don't know about you but I haven't seen one in a long while and for sure not up close and personal. It stayed around for quite a while - no idea what for.

Peaceful balmy morning out. Very difficult to comprehend Star Mt. has had 22" of snow in the few days. They are rejoicing at the ski resort for sure. Absolutely no doubt it'll be a white Christmas for them.

The ship horn sounded and out I went on the balcony to watch a cruise ship depart. This one is headed for the Bahamas. Enchantment of the Seas - almost 1,000ft long holding 2500 passengers.They actually added 73 feet a few years ago, how you ask? Cut it in half, added the footage and put it back together  - really. How is that even possible...

The Miami Circle again. I pass it every day I walk in Miami. It's Miami's version of Stonehenge and ancient - 2,000 years old, some scientists say much older. The circle and post holes are very precise measuring the earth's path around the sun similar to an astronomical observatory. Tomorrow is actually the winter solstice and I will be passing by early morning. I think I'm going to acknowledge this in some way, seems too special a place not to.

Fun dinner out at an old favorite (chain that is) never been to the Miami Trulucks location. And we walked! There's an advantage to being in a high rise downtown. Adds some entertainment to the event and not too far only- 3/4 of a mile. Food was great I'm happy to say. We'll be back.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!🎅🎅🎅🎅🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Naples, Miami and back again

Apparently I'm going to be chronically late on posting until years end - fair warning. Of course I made up the schedule so does it count? Anyway, been in Naples, than Miami, and now back in Naples. Florida weather is balmy on both coasts although we spent a rare weekend in Miami where it rained virtually the whole time. I know ole man winter is visiting a lot of areas suddenly so no complaining here. Crested Butte has gotten a ton of snow the past couple of weeks making the locals quite happy. I've been in Florida just long enough to make snow seem quite unreal.

Met up with Mr. Turtle while walking (Naples)

Naples is strangely quiet, as in the calm before the storm. Lots of people (aka the snowbirds) come down in fall but then backtrack to their northern homes for the holidays. January is officially the start of the mad season which lasts through April. I'll enjoy the quiet while I can.

Rainbows happen everywhere it seems. A nice omen for the Xmas season, hopefully. I'm right in the middle of the holiday madness, order now, wrap later. Christmas in Virginia with those precious little girls Penny and Jules. 2 1/2 and 5 are great ages for the magic of Christmas!
Mark's holiday office party in Miami was a blazing success. Done in typical Miami fashion: high energy, blasting music, a lot of high fashion, and lots of multi culture food. We stayed up until midnight, quite late for us, but others were out until the wee hours of the morning. Cannot do that anymore.

We tried out Komodo, an Asian restaurant very close by to our condo. Yet another "cool" Miami place. We've been meaning to try this as it gets great reviews, but sadly, we thought it was overhyped and over priced. Good but not great. Maybe drinks and appetizers only next time...

My walk in Miami was enhanced with a special sighting of dolphins right by the sea wall. Three of them, of course too fast to whip out my camera and catch them. Just imagine...

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fun family Thanksgiving and balmy Miami

Oops, I'm finally back. Back in Miami after a lovely Thanksgiving in Virginia, soon to be in Naples. Yes, it does feel like I've suddenly dropped into an alternate life. It's slightly disorienting for me and Mark should feel more so. He's been in a marathon of travel - Puerto Rico, Chicago, and Philadelphia somehow blended in with our travel as well.

Penny and Jules at their own table
Looks like a huge group for Thanksgiving, and in fact it was a lot bigger than our normal. Chris's family came too. Lots of fun and a great excuse to get us all together, doesn't happen often.

All those turkey day activities - brining, piles of desserts, and just hanging out.

I continue to see amazing skies on my early walk. This part of the island is quiet and peaceful even with an amazing amount of people walking their dogs. All sizes and breeds, and all well behaved and on leash. Do the high rises somehow promote good doggie behavior?

Manny the Cat alive and well outside the Mandarin
Green Iguana - a junior as it was only 2 1/2 feet long
Creatures out and about as I walked. Manny and the iguana were in two different places which is a good thing for the iguana I think. Still small enough to be at risk from a predator. (Manny) They are an invasive species, strictly herbivores, and grow to 6ft long.

Japanese/Spanish fusion - run by Michelin Star Chef Ricardo Sanz
Brazilian Fire in the foreground, Tacos and Ceviche behind
Tucked back away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets are some amazing food vendors. I walked at a later time than normal and poof, magic food trucks. Anyone see the movie Chef? Love, love that movie which depicts Miami street food in part. It's a class above the rest. I'd already eaten otherwise I would have jumped at one of these.

Holiday fever abounds even in tropical Miami. We don't decorate as we'll go back up to Virginia for the holiday but it's around us anyway.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Boats, painting, golf, and salt lamps

Whoops, very overdue on posting. My schedule seems to be filling up with Very Important Things. Yoga, plein air painting,golf, and writing, oh yes, fun is being had. In the meantime, unseasonably warm temps at Crested Butte with little snow action and the slopes open next week.Snowmaking happening 24/7? Even a bear was seen wandering around Star Mt. Should be deep sleeping the winter away by now.

Florida's version of Christmas decorations are up. Actually went up the first of November. Whaaat....

Golf! A long time happening, especially for me - two years since I last played as it turns out. How did this happen? Happy to report Mark is not having any issues after reaching his six month mark following shoulder surgery. No problems participating in fishing or golfing, it's just finding the free time.

Friend Mary at serious work, none of this laying in the sun reading a book.
Plein air painting number one. It's great practice for me as I don't do this very often. Our group was scattered all over and this beach was a happening place at Bonita with lots of toys, music,and restaurant.

My newest obsession: Himalayan salt lamps. They are supposed to have many health benefits via generating negative ions. Helps allergies, deeper sleep,removing mold and bacteria from the air, higher alertness, and neutralizes the negative effects of electronic devices. Of course it doesn't replace being out in nature where massive amounts of negative ions are, but I say hey why not? Only drawback is you'll need multiples for different rooms. Ratio is 1 lb of salt cleans a 4x4 space. They are inexpensive though so I plan to purchase quite a few. Two so far. Mark gets the credit for this by the way. He read about it and then told me. Out of character right?

Another plein air group outing. This time at a harbor closer to what constitutes downtown Naples. Pretty location and plenty of things to paint. Nothing to show you for this outing as I only half finished a painting. I was distracted by a pastel demo by one of our group - that's a new media for me.

I'll more than likely be posting after Thanksgiving next. Travel up to Virginia to see the precious little girls along with our precious all grown up girls, A bigger group than usual with Chris's family too. Hurray for family get togethers!