Friday, March 25, 2016

Fun in Virginia with Penny and Jules

Warning, this post is completely and deliciously about my quick Virginia trip. Oh those little girls and it happened to be Jules 2nd birthday. The girls are 2 and 4 now and just pierce my heart with their sweetness and well, everything... The weather was chilly with snowflakes in the air at one point. Things are blooming away but this up and down with temps is common in March.

Lots of playing and pretend games afoot. And yes those are wings you see on my person. Didn't we always know I had magic wings?

First round of present opening. Tiffany and Chris very wisely spread this out over the day. Much easier for someone 2 to handle... These, for those who don't know, are characters from The Good Dinosaur, another wonderful animated Disney movie. Arlo and Spot, a dinosaur and human who become friends. Okay, okay absolutely ridiculous but cute.

Green smoothie break. Jules loves them, I mean races across the house when she hears the blender going. Penny will try but not her thing. Tiffany actually passed the smoothie habit on to Mark with an Xmas gift of smoothie recipe book. A new healthy habit.

The birthday cupcakes, beautifully decorated by Penny. And when they get too messy, use a fork.

Heather and Jay came to join the birthday celebration. So great to have them. Sadly we were only missing Mark. Work schedule came first.

The Heather/Jay gift was a big hit. A princess castle that is set up in a similar fashion to a tent with expandable poles. And can fit an adult when needed. That's Chris contorted inside putting those poles in place. Fun time had by all and zip, I'm back in Naples.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

White sand and balmy breezes

This is a quick post before I leave for a long weekend up to Virginia. To see the little girls - yippee! It was a very quick decision but it's amazing how you click a few buttons and you're committed. I'm apparently going to see some more white stuff, and I don't mean white sand. I thought I was done with that, as I'm sure everyone in that area is thinking also. Doesn't matter, I'll have fun anyway.

No owner appeared
Beach, beach, beach. I've had to go earlier and earlier to beat the crowds. Just starting to build when I took this.Okay, I guess I'll share....

Lots of talk of this being the most crazy season ever down here. Don't know if that's true but we certainly have felt the pressure of the crowds with traffic, parking, and restaurants. Real estate has gone wild, come on down and buy before it's gone seems to be the theme.

We're starting to plan out our remaining weeks as we leave May 1. As usual there are many places we haven't gotten too. This year there's a good excuse as Mark's work schedule dictates everything and he is a living tornado these days. Racking up those air miles. He will of course be back down in Florida after some recovery time post surgery. And maybe I'll be tagging along to offer assistance for some of this - tbd.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Cold to warm, coats to flipflops

We've made it back to Naples and trying to shake off the disorientation. It appears to be an ongoing thing we have to deal with, especially Mark. He didn't even last here 24hrs. Back to Miami, to Chicago, to Kansas City, and back late to Miami.  I will see him soon, I promise. Keeps thing hopping that's for sure.

A progression of photos from cold to tropical. A bit happened right after I posted last from Star Mt, at least in the wildlife dept. Inside with closed windows I could hear the bugling calls of the sandhill cranes arriving as an early sign of spring.  They don't stay but a short timeout as this is on their migratory path. Huge birds; 4 feet tall and a 7ft wingspan. And we had the first sightings of bluebirds, one of our couples who takes over the deck and builds a nest underneath, It's a massive white landscape out there still. I can never understand why they come back so early and what they're subsisting on.

And spring has sprung in Naples, although the signs are pretty subtle in this tropical land. Pollen is everywhere, and if you sit still long enough, it's going to be up your nose. The live oak and cypress trees have dropped a lot of leaves ready to burst out with new. Our lanai stays open much of the time now. Gorgeous weather, wonderful bird songs, turtles swimming, pelicans diving, pretty nice. We have fish nests at the edge of every bit of water around with a mother fish hovering above her eggs in each one.

And before we left, we had one ugly duck hanging around for a bread handout, and when we got back there were two. The second is either a female or a juvenile not sure, but they hang out together. we only feed them once a day in the morning but they stay, take naps in the bushes, in hope for more I guess.

Back into my routine I go. Art class, yoga,farmers market, and tai chi. Yup, its tough but somebody's got to do it.  The farmers market is a tiny one in our community center parking lot on Wednesdays, my yoga day. Today I bought vegies and this amazing local honey with seagrape nectar. Already had some on my yogurt and yum - very distinctive flavor. The owners only have 6 hives but they produce a lot. When not selling their honey, they're out talking to schools and other places educating the public about the need to stop using pesticides. It's killing the bee population and we've got to have these little guys for world food production.

And so the year marches on. We're here for two months and then back to Star Mt. There' ll be some juggling going on as Mark has shoulder surgery scheduled the beginning of May in Gunnison (marvelous head doctor for the U.S. Olympics team will do it) and then there's recovery. Oh boy recovery and I've bravely stepped forward to be nurse. So back and forth to Naples somehow at some point, and Mark will resume his normal travel schedule to Miami and everywhere at some point. Things are never dull...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dwindling days for snow fun

Oh my we only have three days left. How did this happen? No new snow at all this trip. Pretty amazing. Hope a good storm comes before the springbreakers!

There have been many bald eagle sightings but they're hard to catch on camera.Thank goodness I had my long lens. They are around for the winter and then off to Canada or Alaska. Still winter here folks. Lots of elk sightings too, they're all around just not on Star Mt. I still scratch my head over that one. Mamas will come back to have their babies in June right in our very woods. I plan to be here for that too - missed it last year.

We zipped up to Taylor Reservoir and yes, there were fishermen at the hog trough, and no, there were no ice fishermen at all. Odd. It was mild for up there, 10 degrees at the top. We've been up there when it was -13.

Burnpile! Winter is of course the safest time to do this and it took some work for the guys to get it started, but as you can see aflame it was. We're not allowed to burn on our individual property so this is on the common area for everyone to add to throughout the year.

Lots of snowshoeing but new animal tracks have been few and far between. My path is getting a little sloshy in the warm and clear blue sky weather, but enjoy it so much anyway. It's whisper quiet in the middle of those woods. I'm soaking it in for the reentry into crowded Naples space.

Made it to one our favorite restaurants - Soupcon in CB. That darling little restored cabin in an alley off the main road. Great gourmet food and well worth the pretty hefty cost. So sorry Heather you didn't make it! As she said, this was a trip not meant to be, at least for her this winter. She's now recovering from bronchitis.

We crammed in what we could. Had neighbors over for Mark's paella - yum and Mark did made it up one day to ski on the mountain. No cross country happened for either of us, he had tons of work commitments, and interestingly I had a bit of work of my own that took up time. Mine's unpaid and volunteer, who's the smart one here?

And that's the winter visit. I'll be back to you from tropical Naples next.