Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just some photos ..

Lots of sunset photos I guess ... comments I get tell me sunset photos are good .. so here's a few more.  As with everything else, some are better than ever, but I haven't seen a bad one yet!  This was taken a couple evenings ago at "Snooks Bayside" in Key Largo.  It was a very cloudy evening so it made for an interesting sunset (or lack thereof).  About 10 minutes after I took this photo the clouds were so beautiful and pink but there was a body in the way by the time I turned the camera back on.  Below are two more from the same place, same evening.

The next three were taken last night from our "campground" here at the Elks.

Moving on from sunsets are a few pictures I took the other day at the "Ocean View" motel and bar/restuarant in Islamorada (this is the place where we took great pictures of how we spent Chirstmas 2007 down here).  It is one of our favorite place to go in these parts ~ they are very dog friendly, the have a terrific outside seating area, a pool that the restaurant patrons can use (we haven't), a playground area for kids, a dock a bit down from the restuarant where the picture below was taken of Sir playing in the water surrounded by mangroves!

We are winding down around here - leaving on Sunday so Saturday will be spent cleaning the coach, loading and securing the bikes in the trailer and a few other things in preparation.  As I'd mentioned before it is bittersweet to be leaving here.  We had sort of planned to stay in Texas next winter for a couple months but are rethinking that "plan".  We have had another great stay here and still have things we want to do and see.  We shall see ~ as most people know, we aren't so good at making plans and keeping them!

Rick is out on his bike ~ I'd planned on going but it seemed best I stay close to home for a while, so hopefully we'll get out together tomorrow and for a couple hours Saturday morning.  We are parking cars here at the Lodge this evening for a Conservation Commission event after which we will go out to dinner - man these $50. lunches and $100. dinners are truly catching up with us ~ as in waist lines!  I said to Rick the other day, when we leave here and get back to our "normal" eating habits it will be like we got a huge raise we'll be saving so much money!  We have been very out of control down here!

Guess that's all for now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Fish Song

Not much doing with us these days ~ kind of winding down our stay here in the Keys ... bittersweet that it is.  Rick and I are both looking forward to getting back on the road but hate to leave this beautiful place and the beautiful weather.  Remember how concerned I was seven weeks ago about staying here for six weeks and the thought of getting bored?  Well that didn't happen, maybe because I lost about three of those weeks being sick but whatever the reason, I never got bored!

Above is a video Trisha sent me last night of Connor performing "The Fish Song" he learned at school ... I laughed so hard I peed my pants (too much information you say!) and my back was killing me.  Hope y'all find it even half as entertaining as I did!  I do have some sunset photos to post but I'll do it "later" on a different post.  Also, Rick pointed out to me the other day that I've been very lax with the picassa albums!  My bad ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Back to "normal"?

I think ~ knock on wood (what is the meaning/purpose/signifcance/origin of that saying anyway?).  So, I seem to be just about there to "normal" or as close as I'm capable of being!

On with the post, below is a picture of Vovo, Vovo (Portugeuse for grandmother and grandfather, but I can not get the proper accent marks inserted) (Roy and Betty ~ Bethie's parents), Grampa Rick and Tracey .... hanging out in the Keys waiting for the baby to arrive in New Hampster (about three weeks from now, but I'm sure Bethie would say now would be fine!).  Roy and Betty are spending the winter in Delray Beach which is about 100 miles from us.  They headed down to Key West yesterday for a couple days, and we all had lunch together yesterday.  A very enjoyable time with very enjoyable people. 
Below is more big news from these parts ..... yup I was initiated last night!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some sights from Tavernier and Plantation Key

So that you know I am still capable (well, maybe) of posting ... here are some pictures from the area ... sorry, kind of boring I know, but like I've mentioned we haven't been doing much!  And these are in NO particular order for sure.

Above is looking from the empty space next to us (pretty close sites huh!) at us and the water (aka Arlo's playground)  It's close isn't it!
Above, is what Sir can do to a coconut he finds in the water ... boredom has set in for him too I guess.
Some of the beautiful bougainvillea that is so prevalent in these parts.  That particular one went up the stairs and was woven through the railing on the right side of the porch.
Another of the "fun" things in these parts is mailboxes ... we noticed it, um obviously, when we were first down here seven or eight years ago.  Above is a dolphin.
Here is an iguana - apparently he was injured in some way.  We were driving down this road so Rick could see the "airport" (which was really a grass strip and a house with a plane under it.  Anyway, there were three people standing next to this guy and I hadn't seen one this large (three feet or so) so I got out to do a couple photos - the people said one of his eyes was bleeding (I didn't confirm it!).  But when we went by it again the people had left and the iguana was heading to the trees - after having eaten the lettuce they left for him!
More of the pretty flora in these parts (above and below)

More mailboxes - this time mommy and baby manatee above and single below (what a crummy picture huh!!)  WOW where did the color go?).
Not to mention a seahorse.

Birds outside the Cuban cafe - above is a bunch (five I think) pelicans in the water and a Great White Heron (??) on the fish cleaning table!  I have no clue what the guy below is but I liked his yellow eye and beak.  
The gorgeous landscaping and fountain outside what seems to be my home away from home ~ Mariner's Hospital.

I know I know

It's been a while since I posted.  We haven't been doing anything to post about ~ I had my "procedure" on Friday, so that day and the previous day were lost.  There at least has been a diagnosis - diverticulosis (not diverticulitis) - but nothing has changed (other than new meds and some dietary changes, and we are waiting for the biopsy results) and I still feel stuck to the coach  like glue.  I guess that's another reason I haven't posted ~ seems all I do is whine these days!

We had gone out one evening last week and I got some decent photos to post but they seem to have vanished into thin air!  So we'll have to repeat that stop this week, cause there were some good shots (well, I thought they were).  I'd also like to get out and take some photos of the beautiful bougainvilleas and hibiscus around here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday - the hump day ... (no Frick not that song you used to sing)

It's just been a kind of "lay low" week for me ... not doing much, afraid to venture too far from home etc.  Doctors appt. on Monday, he wanted the procedure that was scheduled for the 22nd done sooner so it will be done on Friday ;-(  I will be damned glad when it's done and we have answers.  In the meantime, Rick and I did go out to dinner tonight to a local Italian place (my favorite) that I found on ~ if you don't know about this site you really and truly should check it out - if, of course you like to eat out and save money (save even more by signing up to get their email offers such as $25.00 gift certificates for $2.00 ... I'm serious).  I don't remember how I first discovered it but, man oh man, it is a great resource for discount dining at some terrific restaurants.

I did ride my bicycle a couple miles down the road today to the Wild Bird Center ~ Candy, you would LOVE this place.  With my issues, the smell really, really got to me, but it was interesting and I wish I'd felt better.  I will surely go back ... it was a very peaceful place, particularly at the far end of the self guided tour when it ended at the water ....

Other than that it wasn't much of a day around here ~ Rick went out on his bike for a while while I hung close by and read (been reading a book every week or so).  Then I took Sir back down to the beach area here (not much beach on the Keys ... no sandy beaches unless they are man made ... because of the coral reefs).  When Rick came home Sir and I were down there for the third time today and Rick grabbed the camera ~ a delightful change for HIM to be behind it clicking away!

That spot on the water (in the photo below) is Sir.  When we used to do water play it was either with his "wilson" (aka soccer ball) or a tennis ball (wishing his pal Casey were here playing with him), his latest thing is rocks ... the water here in the Keys is very very shallow and he has discovered that he can "dig" for rocks ~ well sometimes he picks up a coconut or two.  It is pretty funny to watch him - he really gets into it - going under water and everything.  Wish I could figure out how to post videos here!
Isn't the one below so funny with that rudder (tail place) sticking up, not to mention the drool from both sides of his jowls (Yes, Auntie Mary he is a knucklehead isn't he)!

Rick took him down to the end of the pier/jetty here for a photo op ... Didn't they do great!

And below is looking back at the "campground" from the beach area in the first couple shots.  We are the third coach from the left - next to the one with the flag.  Rick hasn't been able to launch his American Flag because we are a bit too far back into the trees.  We will have to move to dump our "black tank" (probably) before we are scheduled to leave here on February first, so after the move the flag will be up.  
We've been talking with family back in New England over the last couple days ... in fact my sister Candy told me tonight that it was five below in Crown Point, NY when we spoke around 7:30 ... darn guys you're so welcome to catch a flight and join us down here.  It was cooler today than it's been (thankfully) around 70, and last night as well as tonight and fore casted the next few nights will be high 50's - perfect sleeping weather.

Sunday will be the annual "Peck Party" when my family gets together for a once a year celebration (unless there is a wedding or other occasion during the year which would change it to a more than one time a year) ... Rick and I will miss being there again this year, but I was so happy to celebrate the fun event in October. Please take pictures to send to me.  I love you guys and miss you like crazy.

Hopefully, I will get back into a better blogging mode next week after all my stuff is over with and we have answers, medications and solutions.  Hang in there with me pals. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm vertical

UGH what a week.  I'm finally vertical and moving off the club soda (with occasional yogurt) diet.  Lost a little weight through this (certainly not a bad thing, just not a fun way to do it!).  Doctors appointment Monday, then outpatient procedure on the 22nd!  Delightful ;-(

Anyway, I mentioned in my last, very brief post about Bubba Gump and the Great chefs ...

Every few nights or so the "group" of us 12 or so "campers" here at the Lodge get together at the "tiki" down at the water to watch the sunset.  Sunset watching in the Keys is a major event.  Well after the sunset we all stayed down there and chatted and whatever.  There is one gentleman here who is quite an outdoors man - fishing, killing animals in Alaska for food, all sorts of outdoor kinds of things (not Rick nor my thing for sure, but it works for this man) ~ well when it got dark Lee came down to go shrimping.  I'd never even considered how this is done, other than Run Forrest Run ....  In these parts (probably anywhere, but what do I know about it) a "sport shrimper" goes out with a flashlight and a net.  I learned how to shrimp ~ sorry no pictures (you know my issue with night photos to begin with, not to mention the camera was back in the coach).  When you shine the light in the water the shrimps eyes glow and you put the net in and the rest is history.

This gentleman brought down a pot of shrimp he'd cook up from the previous nights catch.  In fact Rick thought perhaps this was how I got so sick, but I didn't have any of them and besides that, it had nothing to do with food poisoning.

Now for the Great Chefs part of the blog .....

I think most people have read that one of the most fun parts of this journey has been volunteering at Lodges we've stayed at (if it is a friendly Lodge).  Well the day we arrived here Rick signed me (us) up to cook a pasta dinner (for 35, then it changed to 50) during an auction the Lodge was having on the 7th of January.  Unfortunately as it turned out my hospital stint was Monday night (into Tuesday) and the dinner was Wednesday.  Yeah, I was not in great shape for it .... but check this out ....

Here is himself, stirring the sauce.

And herself stirring the sauce.  My stomach wasn't really too happy about me tasting the sauce to figure what it needed, and Rick was certainly able to taste it but he couldn't really tell me add more basil or oregano or whatever because he didn't know - he could tell me yeah it's good or not so much.  It did seem to all work out however, and we served 63 that night (not to mention a few to the auction volunteers) pasta, salad, garlic bread and pie or ice cream for desert.

Below are just a few random photos I took yesterday and today ~ it's good to be back among the living these days.  I don't know, however, if people really want to see these warm, sunny pictures (especially those dealing with snow up to their butts and freezing temperatures).   Some input would be greatly appreciated here!

The two photos above were taken in Key Largo and Islamorada respectively.  The one below was taken from our "front yard".  I so wished these boats had had their sails up.  Mind you I am not a boat person at all (unless it can carry 4000 people and you can eat and play on it 24 hours a day), but I thought this was kind of pretty and peaceful looking.
Rick came in from walking Sir a while ago and was telling me that while we were out today, during the sunset celebration here, a couple of the people saw two flares go up.  They called the Coast Guard and watched as the Coast Guard was dispatched (is that the correct terminology Chester?) to see what the flares were all about.  Well, the host here is a kayak guide, among other things, and he realized that the Coast Guard wasn't in the correct area so he got his GPS out and called back and guided the Coasties to the "scene" where a boat was having an issue of some sort.  So, our host is a "hero"!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ya just gots to be patient with the patient

I had some great posts working but alas .... to the emergency room we went late yesterday afternoon after another down day ~ yeah I had rallied and was "way better" ... after being poked prodded, dye injected, scanned and getting home at 2:45 this morning I don't feel real creative - give me a couple days and you shall read about Bubba Gump and the Great Chefs .... hopefully it will be worth your wait!

Oh yeah ... "ulcerative colitis" (which will now involve more dyes, poking and to say the least prodding) .... still don't know what the three week bout was - still waiting for those results .... what the hell is going on anyway ... I want to be and feel like "my old self" again.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Saturday ride ...

On the bikes took us to Alabama Jacks on Biscayne Bay ..... how much fun we had eating conch fritters (it has become an obsession of mine now) and fish sandwiches and people watching.  But as you can see, the surroundings aren't so bad either ... I am just loving all these mangrove swamps.  The road this place is on has water on both sides and a large high bridge (that yes we did ride over - aren't you so proud of us Jonathan!)  We came into Jacks from the east side so we never connected to route one on the west but this was the only building we ever saw on this road - and is it really a building?  It actually floats on two barges, so does that make it a boat or a building?  Hmmmmm.....

On Saturday and Sunday they have entertainment - a "C&W" band - Moelicious you would have loved it!  The photo above and one below show you how good the people watching is ~ she is 77 years old, has ten children and I don't know how many grandchildren (and perhaps great grandchildren) and she is a dancing machine - above she has on her tap shoes, below she's got her "cowgirl" boots!  What a hoot she was.  She told us she usually comes to Jacks on Sunday because on Saturday she works in her garden but she wanted to dance two days this weekend!  In the photo above you can just barely see the matching garter on her right leg - trust me when I tell you there were dollar bills tucked in that garter!  I can't wait to go back next week!

Today while Rick was napping I rode my bicycle down to the grocery store for a couple things and on the way back the Goodyear Blimp was headed south - of course, once again, I didn't have the camera with me.  When I got home it was headed north so I did get a couple "decent" shots of it.  I imagine it was in Miami covering THE football game ...

Friday, January 2, 2009

some randomness

We haven't been doing much for the last week - mostly "laying low".  Rick's been out on his bike a few times, I was out for a while one day.  I finally decided enough was enough with this feeling like crap and the cold that won't leave so I went to the doctor ~ three prescriptions and four tubes of blood later I can at least stay vertical for most of the day!  Now if I can just get  off the club soda diet!

So with all that said, here are some photos .......
We take Sir to a boat launch about eight miles down the road to play - there are four other dogs here so it's easier for him to be down there.  Above is from the ramp - what is the white bird?  A white flamingo???  Who knows!  Check out the para sailor (yellow smiley face way up high where the birdies fly) yeah that may be our next adventure ~ well maybe in a couple weeks!  Below is a larger view of said bird (you may also be able to see the para sail rope if you can enlarge it - I don't really remember).

Above is the other side of the boat launch ramp.  Rick has Sir but you can't see him.  I think Rick is getting ready to throw the ball our for Arlo to swim to.  Boats tie up to that dock area and go into the bar (The Caribbean Club where part of Humphrey Bogart's Key Largo was filmed) behind us.

Below is the same spot - different day.  This one was on New Years day - those boats are all tied together - from spending New Years Eve out there watching the fire works that were all along the shore.  Several places cancelled, tho I guess because of the wind.  I wouldn't know first hand ~ I was sound asleep by 10:00 PM.

Above a view of one of the gorgeous sunsets down here.  I took this right next to our door.

The one above as well as below were taken looking south  from the balcony of a lovely restaurant we found in Key Largo the other day call Beachfront (oddly enough).  Great food, fabulous view ... As you can see the artists love working here!
The one below is from the same spot but looking north.

Himself walking back to the car after Sir's swimming adventure (Sir is in the car with me)
Larger view of the tied boats.  

Sir has taken to standing/sitting on picnic tables.  Not sure what the heck this new trend is all about but he seems to think it gives him a better view (who knows)!

A hibiscus in bloom.  I saw some beautiful yellow ones today when I was on my bicycle but didn't have the camera with me.  There are also beautiful bougainvillea in bloom here now ... in about five beautiful colors.