Monday, July 27, 2009

Reporting live from CHA in Orlando Fl.

Pam and I drove over this morning with only a couple of u turns and missed turns. We arrived just in time to walk in with Sonia and Kip and meet up with Roz and Kelcey. I had a Claudine Helsmith (sp?) class: tons of techniques and I adore the Studio paints!

We are staying in a cute little house just outside of Disney with its own little pool. We are two to a room and have a kitchen and the works. Unfortunately, the house has dial up so we are sitting in the club house where we can get wireless.

I have a 7am class and a 7pm class tomorrow night and the floor opens tomorrow so will be walking that in between and may cruise on back to the house before Pam and I head over to the ACOT party.

G-a (owner of will arrive here later tonight and it will be good to see here! Our DT celebration is Wed. night and Kip is hosting a spaghetti supper for us all. Our Chris arrives tomorrow night and it has been a year since I've been able to hug on her so am looking forward to that!

Watch this space for updates from CHA! Love to all

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pam is in the house...

E and I got back into town around 9:30 yesterday morning and Rob was still here. He helped E unload the van while I did some clean up tasks. Our pool turned green in our absence so E has been working to get that cleaned up and hopefully we can swim this evening.

I picked Pam up around 11:30 complete with a Welcome to Paradise sign and my foam margarita hat complete with salt shaker and hibiscus flower. Thanks heavens no cameras were available as I am sure I was a sight! lol

After a slight detour (I call missed turns "taking the scenic route") we headed towards Tarpon Springs with a short stop at Ruban Rouge. Pam had been hearing about the store for eons and I wanted her to experience it first hand. A bunch of the Hilltop gals along with KnK gals (the boundaries here are very fluid and what are labels anyway, right?) were on lunch break from the awesome Tim Holtz classes that were going on so we got to chat with them also.

We put the top down on my midlife crisis car, Hot Mama, picked up E and headed out to show Pam the sights. Our first stop was Molly Goodhead's in Ozona (the little town where all the streets are zoned for golf carts!) so E and Pam could have their oyster shooters and I could get a frozen margarita. We shared some fried clams, calamari, grouper nuggets and oysters on the half shell. Yummmmmm! (except for the raw stuff which I do not do).

Next stop was Peggy O'Neal's in old town Palm Harbor for cold beer and a chance to catch some of the Rays vs Jays game on tv. We love the atmosphere in this Irish pub and wanted to share it with Pam.

Then it was on to Lime N Coconut which is a tiny, local place in Tarpon Springs near the Sponge Docks. There are painted bathtubs in front filled with plants and weathered shutters on the inside walls. I love this place and the food is great too.
A beer or two later, we moved on to supper at Rusty Bellies, sitting out on the dock on the water. We got an order of rock shrimp (my fave), onion straws and a steamer pot filled with shrimp, clams, oysters, crab legs, potatoes, corn, and mussels and it was terrific. Oh, and who moved the two marooned shrimp boats that leaned side to side in the river...they were so lovely there esp. during sunsets. Gone!

We came home to the lanai and a bottle (or 2 but who is counting)Robbler Vignole from Missoui...then toddled off to bed.

Today is a new day with new adventures....let the day begin!

Friday, July 24, 2009

How I spent my summer vacation by....

E and I packed this morning and then headed over to say goodbye to my sister. She is in recovery and i am sure will feel much better when the home nurse comes today and she can take a shower and get her hair washed. She gets the drain tube removed next Wed. and then she'll be able to get out and about.

We picked up Ga. tomatoes for everyone while we were out and I got some fun touristy goodies for a pal. When we got back to the resort, we all hit the pool and floated in the almost cool water for a couple of hours. Our friend, Chuck, wanted a tee shirt from Dixie Fish House, which still sells fresh seafood but not like when the feisty gal owned it. My sister didn't like the place which is now an open air bar and grill but the beer was just as cold there as it was at Smoking Oyster Bar where all ten of us went for lunch.

I liked Dixie Fish. It reminded me so very much of the old, beloved and now gone for many years, Timmy's Nook, on Captiva. My folks use to take me there when they first moved to Sanibel and the kids and I would visit from St. Louis. It was a tin roof over plank flooring, picnic tables covered with red plaid oilcloths and you could see the Gulf through the floor boards. The sea food was take it or leave it and so fresh it was almost still wiggling. They had a huge drink called a grog and I still remember my step dad daring me to drink one...I won that bet! My folks and I sat out on the deck that surrounded Timmy's Nook in old school desks, watched the stars twinkling above and told each other truths that can only be told in the dark (and after a So, Dixie Fish was a lot like Timmy's and brought back such wonderful memories. WHere Timmy's was is now the Green Flash. I resented that place for so long but took myself out to lunch there once when E was out of town and made my peace. The view is the same and memories only improve with time like fine lace.

E and I will get up early, shower and eat a quick breakfast and head on up the road tomorrow morning toward Tarpon Springs. It has been a great two weeks and we have so enjoyed the group theses past seven days. We have been so blessed with wonderful friends and family.

We miss you, Jadee, and the girls and you, Jill and Kelley, and will see you all next year...this year and last year were some of the very best we've all had down here...and we toasted to the working people today! Love to the missing members of Week 29!

Last Day...sigh.

Today is our last full day at the beach and, traditionally, it is a chill and hang out day. We are planning a seafood cookout tonight so, while the girls head to a shop called The Silver Witch to get our beachy charm for this summer for our charm bracelets, the guys will head to the seafood market across the bridge to shop for our supper.

Yesterday was so much fun. We had the boat out for a bit over four hours and saw manatee, dolphins, horseshoe crabs and rays during our ride out to Lover's Key. A couple of our gang used snorkel equipment and found some great shells. We all got far too much sun, of course but had such a good time.

Thursday has become our communal supper day. Everyone brings the left overs from the week and all of us share. We stake out the gazebo with the same oil cloth table cloths we've used for the past ten years and last night was great. Linda made gooey butter cake which we can not get down here. It is a St. Louis (or midwest thing) I guess like toasted ravioli, which we can't find down here so this was a great treat for us ex pats.

E is packing us up and I am trying to prepack some things for CHA. Pam flies in tomorrow morning and we'll hang out around Tarpon Springs for a couple of days and then head to Orlando on Monday. This is going to be great. Sonia found us a big house outside of Orlando...most of the DT will be together: Chris from Ill., Pam from Wisc., Kip and me along with the boss ladies, G-a and Sonia! We also have three guests of the company staying too: Roz, Kelcey and Jill. This should be a blast! We will miss you madly Deb and Amy and know we will toast you often and send you lots of pictures.

Sonia has done an incredible job of trying to coordinate ten of us arriving and departing at various times and my hat is off to her! Love ya BFF!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Update from the beach

I have had a lot of connection problems here at the resort. I think the router is not strong enough to reach our side of the building resulting in off and on and low internet ability. Hope I can get all this posted before I lose the connection again.

Sunday, after a day spent poolside and after supper, we headed to Parrot Key for some great music by Al Holland who was one of the original Platters. We were joined by my niece Jenny and her boyfriend Matt and a good time was had by all...even the two young 'uns who are staying with Kim and Jerry for the week.

Monday we also pooled and beached it and even swam out to the sandbar that is forming from the beach replenishment project. The evening passed with games and conversation.

Tues E and I walked down the beach for a wonderful breakfast at an outdoor cafe and during the afternoon, we all headed to Doc Ford's on the back bay for libations and snack. We got caught in a tropical downpour and were forced to remain there for happy hour and mojitos! Darn the luck! lol

Have been visiting my sister who, until yesterday, was still in the hospital. She is home now but still on a drain and pump which will be removed sometime next week. Thanks so much for all the good wishes and prayers. I've passed these on to her.

Wed. the guys 'donated' to the dogs at the dog track yesterday, the girls headed to the outlet mall and on to Sanibel and Captiva with lunch at Key Lime Bistro, one of my favorite places to dine as the entertainment, out door seating and the food are all top line.

We are off on a group adventure today. We've rented a pontoon boat and have a trip to Lover's Key scheduled with a picnic lunch, shelling and some Gulf swimming on the agenda. Tonight is our communal supper where everyone brings everything in their fridge and the guys all bbq for us. My niece and great niece are going to join us and I'll run over to my sisters inbetween.

Hope your days are sunny and good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Belated Friday and Sat post from the beach

We do a lot of grilling here at the beach much like we do at home. On Friday night, E grilled us pork chops, cilantro corn on the cob and I fixed a salad and all I can say is YUUMMMMMMM!

I took some pictures on our walk Sat. morning. We alternate walking north on the beach or south and this morning we headed north towards Time's Square. What we love about this beach is the amount of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Except for trips to town now to see my sister in the hospital (yes, she is still there as one of her lobes was leaking air and she had to go back on suction), we generally park the car and it seldom moves until time to go home. There is even a trolley that goes up and down the beach road to places farther than we care to walk.
This is a people friendly beach with no private/don't tresspass on our sand areas and the people watching is almost as good as an airport!

Our friends all arrived on Sat. and moved in to their units quickly and the fun began.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday

to my 'oldest' friend, Jo! Now we are the same age once again! Hope your day was a good one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Morning comes softy

I caught this dramatic cloud formation last night. You'd think with all that darkness, there would be some rain but nope! We all watched the dredger leave last night pushed to its new location by a tugboat and this morning the barge with the sand to renourish the beach is ready to go to work.

After breakfast we are off on our beach walk. We did about 2.5 miles yesterday and working up to a bit more we hope. We'll be heading in to town after breakfast to visit my sister and see how she is doing. We are going to a farmer's market on our way back here, followed by some pool time.

Hope you have a great day...Happy B'day to Linda and Barb!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morning Walk

We walked at about 8 this morning. There was a breeze off the Gulf and the sasnd fleas must have been sleeping 'cause we did not get a bite. The mornings here are a delight...the sun shimmering on the water, the gulls arguing on the shore, and the pelicans bobbing on the waves.

We have not yet seen the dolphins move from the south toward Sanibel but there is dredging going on in front of us for the beach replentishment so that may have interfered with their daily ritual.

If the new 'island' forms again tomorrow off shore here, E and I will paddle our way out to it and check out the shells that are thrown out of the dredgers.

And my sister is doing better today. When I left she had end upon end company, had been given a sleepy pill and was leaving for an xray. Thanks to all of you have sent prayers and good thoughts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


After a walk on the beach this morning, we staked out a table and chairs near the pool and read the morning away with some dips in the pool when the sun got a bit too warm. There was a nice breeze most of the morning so we didn't suffer too much.

We cleaned up and headed to the hospital to see how my sister was doing. The morphine she was given for the pain was making her sick so she was in transition between the two meds, hungry but couldn't keep anything down and not a particularly happy camper. We didn't stay too long and let her try to get some rest.

The internet connection here is iffy at best and I've been fighting it when I've tried to post so if I miss a day, that is the reason why.

We stopped on the way home at one of our favorite beach bars, Smoking Oyster Bar, for some shrimp and clams and then back to the resort for some r and r and a bit of laundry.

I am looking forward to stamp demo day at Owl and the Pussycat Stamp Store in town tomorrow. Sonia and I are meeting there and I'll stop off and see my sister on the way home. Til then, have a great day

P.S. Our unit is the 3rd. back from the beach and that lanai is often where I type up my blog as the connection seems to be a bit better there...and then there is the sound of the surf!

Monday, July 13, 2009

This is one of my favorite pictures from this past weekend. We were suppose to be arranged on Jill's stairs by age but I happen to know for a fact that Janet is years younger than Kip! lol.

We are just so damn cute I can hardly stand us. There is certainly something about feisty women over a certain age, ya know?

On a more serious and celebratory note, my sister underwent surgery for lung cancer today. The doctor told us she did well. He removed her upper right lobe and part of a lymph node for biopsy. He felt pretty good about getting it all but we won't know for sure until the results on the biopsy come back in a couple of days. If it spread, she will have to undergo let's hope it comes back that it has not.
From our family, we thank all of you have been sending good thoughts and prayers!

After a long day at the hospital with my sister's wonderful boyfriend, Dennis, E and I had a quick supper and a nice long walk on the beach with a lovely glass of vino. Poor E, he loaded and unloaded all our stuff and set us up at our time share two days ago and patiently waited with me today at the hospital all day...gotta love that man.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day One

Met up with Kip, Teri and Michele at the Tampa International Airport around 8:30 Friday morning and we headed up and away towards N.Carolina. Jill has asked several of us to join her for this weekend as a thank you for picking her up, giving her places to stay and trips back to the airport so she could attend HIlltop and KnKcrops in Florida. No thanks were necessary but we are sure enjoying our stay. We are joined today by Gerri-ann, Barb and Sonia.

We've had several surprises through out our day : Janet at the airport, flower bouquets for each of us and the hot pink stretch limo to fetch and carry us through the day. Our first stop was Archivers in Cary, N.C., where I dropped a couple of bucks and for lunch we dined at Ted's known for the buffalo burger. Janet and I shared one and some yummy veggies. We also had a chance to shop at Swoozies which I loved. We chatted away the afternoon and went out to supper to a darling little local place called Mama Mia's. The owner kissed our hands when we entered, gave us a tour of the backscenes and entertained us throughout the meal, which was wonderful.

Having coffee now with Jill and waiting for the rest of the crew to awaken.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Off and running

Will leave here for the airport in an hour or so and then on to N.Carolina with some of the gals. Next post from there!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

And the last tree...

and this one is for all those Wine Thirty lovers.

Lots of little stuff to take care of today. A few phone calls to make, some errands to run, packing my clothes for E to take to the beach, and some last minute cleaning to do and then we should be all set. We have a nice list for our favorite house sitter, my son Rob and the cats know him so all should be ok with them. They do pout when we leave and are firm in punishing us for our desertion when we return by ignoring us for a few hours. We've gotten use to how they react. Hope to get some scrapping in later in the week down at the beach when the afternoon rains start but most of all, looking forward to morning walks with my honey, long days of relaxing surf and pool side and a few cold libations at some of our favorite haunts. I'll have my lap top so watch this spot for updates!

And Sandy, had a great time yesterday...many thanks for hosting Film Club. I loved all your red, white and blue yummies! Pics to follow I hope as soon as I figure out how to get them off my

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

And now for a couple of the trees from the Christmas Store

Not quite sure how the pictures loaded but there should be two of the beer themed Christmas tree and three of the Starbucks (or coffee) one. Tomorrow I'll put up the wine one, dedicated to all those of you out there who have joined me on-line or IRL for Wine Thirty!

And, because I've had a couple of people ask, here is the contact info for the store...Robert's Christmas Wonderland/2951 Gulf to Bay, Clearwater Fl/727-797-1660/

Have fun!