Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Grands Update

These pictures of the Grands were taken in November.  I have been carrying them around in my wallet.  I thought I had better get them posted before I get a new set.  

Karmen Age 11

Jake - Age 9

As you can see they are both hockey players.  Jake has been playing since he was 3 and Karmen got interested in 2009.

I had to steal this picture of Taylor from her facebook page.  No more school pictures for my Pookeroo.  She is still recovering from her ski accident in December.  She now has a walking cast and has  been swimming and doing yoga for physio-therapy.  She reports that it is coming along fine.  She received her  registration card from the Alberta College of Paramedics.  It is now official.  She is now a registered Emergency Medical Responder.  That's our girl!!  We are so proud of her.

As soon as she is back on her feet she will be ready to hit the job market.  But first she will be recovering on the beaches of Cancun at the end of February.  Her boyfriend, Cam, bought them tickets for a week in the sun to celebrate Taylor's upcoming 20th birthday.  What a guy!!.  I am sure it will make rehab from the broken ankle much more enjoyable than the cold Alberta weather.

Love the Grands.  They are awesome and we are so proud of them all.  Can't get much better than that.

Until next time - safe travels.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Winter is Finally Here

I have not blogged much since we returned from Florida.  Has not been much to talk about.  The weather has been up and down and there has been virtually no snow.  I have been continuing my swim each morning but now I have to walk to the local community center instead of just out the door at Port Charlotte.   But I am getting used to having to share the pool with fifty or so others....back to reality!!  We do have a great local pool though which is only a block from our house.

A couple of weekends ago the weather was nice enough for Tom to give Big Mo a bath.

He hates to see a vehicle sitting in the driveway dirty!!

We finally got the hitch in the back of the truck this week.  A 20K Reese which should be more than adequate to tow Tara around this summer.

Saturday morning Stuart and Heajin  were in town to get an oil change on their car so they came by for brunch.  In the afternoon we headed out to Courtice for a surprise 68th birthday party for our friend Bob Burgess.  Their three daughters were there with their families, Val's sister and some other friends.  Most of the people we have met in the past and it was nice to see them again.  Happy Birthday Bob!!

Sunday we headed out to Tom's office in Mississauga again so I could finish scanning my photo albums to a thumb nail.  I am now finished all eight volumes and have them in the size that I can carry in the 5th.  The tomes will eventually end up on a shelf at Twyla's house.  These albums start as far back in the family history that I could go - 1801.  I have amalgamated all the old family pictures that have been handed down to me over the years, a family tree and lots of old family stories and then continued the story up to 2012 when I went from the albums to the blog.  This has been a project that I have been working on for 4 years.  It all started with a box of old pictures that were my Mom's.  I didn't know who many of the people in the pictures were.  I took them with me one time when I went to Saskatchewan and had my Aunt Helen go through them with me.  She was a great help with names, dates and stories.  She is gone now but I am so grateful to her for the help.  I can now pass this history to my Grands and they will know who these people are and the role they played in their world.  I hate to see history lost to the next generation.  I hope that someday their interest will be piqued like mine was and they find these books interesting.  And I hope I am still around to answer their questions.

On our way back from Mississauga we stopped in at Dave and Helen's for dinner.  Their son Craig was also their with his two little girls, Jordan (5) and Lauren (2 1/2).  They are really sweet kids and nice to be around.  So pleasant, polite and well behaved.  Good job Craig!!

This morning we woke up to winter.

Bob and Valerie were all set to head to Florida this morning but I think they will be delayed.  They are going down this year for 2 months.  Hope they have a great time and a safe journey.  For us - time to get out the snow shovels!!

Until next time - safe travels.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Marilyn Monroe

We headed off to Mississauga this afternoon to Tom's office.  I have been working on binders that includes all my pictures and stories.  I wanted to start to scan these so that I have a record of them.  The hard copies of these binders will eventually find a permanent home on a shelf at Twyla's house. I spent about four hours at the scanner/copier at the office.  Much faster than on my little scanner at home.  Two manuals down and six more to go on another day.

These two new office/condo buildings in Mississauga are known as the Marilyn Monroe buildings  I think they look like coke bottles.  What do you think?

I took the second picture from the window of Tom's office.  They are pretty neat looking.

We just finished a great steak dinner and are having a skype with John and Judy.  Nice to see them still enjoying the great Florida weather.  We have picked up our second Red Box movie for this evening.  We are hooked!!  Thanks Judy.

Until next time - safe travels.

Friday, 11 January 2013

A New Toy

Target is coming to our home town and our Zeller's store will be no longer.  Not much of a loss as far as I am concerned.  Zeller's sells a lot of junk, is cluttered and never, never has enough cashiers working.  I have never been a Zeller's shopper.  However today we thought we would take a walk through to see what was on sale with the stores immanent closing.  

The only thing that jumped off the shelf was a bean bag game.  We have seen these so many times while in the great USA, especially at tail gate parties at Nascar tracks.  Seems like everyone has a bean bag game.  It was on for half price so we snapped it up.  Will be a great addition to the 5'ers entertainment this summer.

Of course we had to try it out.  Since in southern Ontario we have crappy weather in January.  Today it is raining, damp and chilly.  Not much snow remaining after about 24 hours of rainy weather.  And sadly we don't have 80+ weather like our friends are enjoying in Florida.  So we can't play outside.  We had to play in our front entry way.

Best of 3----I am the loser of course.   But this is only the beginning. With a little practice I will rock!!

When we were in Florida we had many movie nights thanks to Judy's credit card and the Red Box.  I had never heard of the Red Box before. 

 We checked it out and there are two within about 6 km of our house.  Renting movies from the Red Box is sooo cheap.  $1.70 tax included.  How can you beat that!!!  So today I signed up and we picked up our first Red Box movie - Fire With Fire - with Bruce Willis.   Movie night tonight!!

Until next time - safe travels. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Not Soooo Bad

Yes we are home but the snow we expected was not here.  We did not have to shovel the driveway to get into the house.  The sun was out for part of the day today and the temperature rose to about 6 C. (about 42F).  Certainly not the 80+ they are having in Florida today but we will survive.  Canadians are a tough bunch.

Today was for getting caught up on the laundry, banking and grocery shopping.  Got to get all those fresh fruits and veggies stocked up.  Getting back to normal is also getting back to not eating the way you do on holidays. Need to drop those few pounds I found in Florida.

Not much exciting about the above and until I have some interesting events to report I will not be blogging.  Don't want to bore you guys too much.

Until next time - safe travels.

Back in Winter Wonderland

No that is NOT Winter Haven.  I didn't blog last night as I was too tired and depressed about being back in my shoes and socks!!!   But we are home safe and sound.  The house is still standing and the driveway doesn't have much snow on it. So we didn't have to break out the snow shovels. (yet)

Yesterday morning John made us a batch of pancakes for breakfast before he and Judy took us into Orlando to catch our flight home.   We arrived at the Orlando International and had to say goodbye to our good friends.

 They look like they are saying "yahoo - they are finally leaving!!!".  

We had a great time.  We saw and did lots of things. I think that having the dolphins playing around our kayaks was the icing on the cake.  It was a blast guys and we look forward to your return to Ontario in the spring. Hope you enjoy the rest of your winter in Florida.  We should be green with envy but will mostly be blue with the cold.  Keep those tans updated so you can show off to the lily whites when you get back.

Our flight home was quick and smooth thanks to my favorite airline - Westjet.  We even arrived a half hour early into Toronto Pearson.

Our son and daughter-in-law picked us up at the airport.  During the drive home we called our favorite Italian restaurant, Abruzzo, and ordered a pizza.  We picked it up on the way home and enjoyed pizza and a beer with Stu and Heajin before they headed home.  Tom headed off for his guitar lesson and I got the bags unpacked.

It is always nice to get home after a vacation.  We will break out the coats, boots, gloves and scarves and get acclimatized again.  Life will be back to normal.  Most likely I will be back to blogging only occasionally as life will also be back to boring.  But life is good.

Until next time - safe travels.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Rainy Day

Monday was a rainy day.  I guess it is better to have a crappy day to pack up and get ready to leave for home.  If it was a beautiful sunny day it would be harder.

Well the holiday is over and we have to pack up the house into the jeep and the trailer and get ready to head back up to Winter Haven.  Judy and I got our last swim and then sadly had to put away the swim suits.

 We dropped off the house key at the office and headed north.  We stopped at McDonald's along the way to buy a coffee and eat the lunch we had packed.  We arrived at the Hollinger winter residence and got everything unpacked again.  It is pretty amazing watching Judy find a spot for everything in their rv.  She sure has this rv living down to an art.

They decided to take us to the Florida's Natural visitor center to see the orange juice products and sample the juice.

You could smell the oranges in the air.  When you see the huge transports filled with oranges it makes you realize the number that are actually grown here.

We walked to an Italian restaurant for dinner this evening.  Italian restaurant by name but run by either Mexicans or Cubans.  It definitely had a Tex/Mex flavor but it was really good.

I didn't take time to post my blog last night as after dinner we got into the WII Sport.  I did okay at bowling but really suck at tennis!!.  Fun times for our last night in Florida.

Until next time - safe travels.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Count Down to Snow

Can you crawl out of bed, walk through your on-suite and step into a nice warm pool in the morning?  After tomorrow morning neither can I!!!  Crap.  This is our last day in this house.  Tomorrow we have to motor back up to Winter Haven.  I am so going to miss being able to have this early morning dip.

We spent the morning cleaning up the place and packing up much of our things.  Tom and John got the kayaks deflated and packed up.  They got the motorcycles and bikes into the trailer ready for the return trip to Winter Haven where John and Judy are spending their winter.

John got a bit of a cleaning up himself.  Judy gave him a buzz cut and a close shave.  He looks so much cooler!!  Nice job Judy.  She is a woman of many talents.

We had seen some water snakes the other day when we were kayaking.  But today we saw a Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake on the side of the road near the front of our house.  It had been run over by a car.  I had to take a picture so that I could check on the internet to be sure what kind of rattler it was.  This is what it  looks like when it doesn't have any tire tracks.

And with the tire tracks...not so pretty.

They will average 3 to 6 feet long but can be up to 8 feet long.  This one looked to be about 4 feet long.  They are highly venomous but will avoid people if it can.  The Eastern Diamondback is the largest of the rattlesnake family.  Just glad we didn't run into this fellow when he was slithering around near our house.

It was a really hot day today.  Maybe the hottest since we arrived...go figure!!  Tom had an afternoon dip in the pool to cool off.

 Then we got some action shots of John
It was a nice day to just relax and take life easy.  It has been a really busy couple of weeks but it has gone so quickly.   We had a tasty beer-can chicken for dinner this evening.  Still not sure if life could get any better.

Until next time - safe travels.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Siesta Beach

Another morning in the pool even though the sky was cloudy and air was cool this morning.  But we decided that we were getting short on time in the sunny south and there is a beach that is rated #1 in the USA.  Siesta Beach is about an hour north of where are and is just south of Sarasota.  We packed a picnic lunch and headed out.

Along the way we took a side trip which took us out on Casey Key Road which runs along one of the islands that run along the coast.  There is some pretty spectacular real estate along here.  They have the Gulf on the west side and the inter-coastal waters on the east side.  Can you imagine sitting on your deck on either side of your house and having a view of water?   The rich and famous maybe. They even have these really cute manatee mailboxes.

 This is one of the houses we saw  It is small compared to some.

One was for sale for $16,950,000.  It has 11 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms.  Pretty Shabby!!  This is a single family home!!

After looking at some of these incredible places we headed on to Siesta Beach.  I can see why this is rated the #1 beach in the USA.  It is long, wide, level and the sand is talcum powder soft.  We took a walk along the beach for a long way.  As we were walking along I noticed this fellow kayaking with his dog.  Pretty cool puppy!!
 My honey is looking pretty cool as always.
 As you can see the sun came out and it turned out to be a beautiful day to be at the beach.

We walked back to the parking lot where we had left the jeep and headed back south to home.  Along the way we had to stop for ice cream at a great little spot.  Then we stopped again to do some sandal shopping for Tom.  Then back home for a lovely steak dinner, a dip in the pool and another movie night.

Life is least for a couple more days.

Until next time - safe travels.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Fisherman's Village

Up this morning and into the pool.  Like I mentioned previously I could get used to this life.  Having a nice warm pool right outside your on-suite is pretty awesome.

After lunch we headed to Punta Gorda which is a bit south of us to visit Fisherman's Village.

There was a Military Museum located just in the front entrance.  It is run by veterans and the old fellows there were more than willing to chat and talk about their experiences.  It is a very small museum but loaded with things to look at and read.  Admission was free but we left a donation to help keep the place going.

Lots of shops to browse through along the mall.  Mostly touristy stuff just like you would find at any other tourist spot and very expensive.  No money changed hands there with the exception of a t-shirt that Judy found for herself.  But lots of great interesting things for your viewing pleasure,

Take a look at the shark that Judy caught during the afternoon.  Pretty impressive Judy.

She was good enough to let us have our pictures taken with her catch.  Now we can pretend it was ours!!

Just so you know Tom doesn't have a mohawk!!  Just a result of some breeze coming in off the water. But he does look pretty cute.

After we finished we headed to Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car City.

There are over 200 classic cars spanning 80 years in 99,000 square feet of showroom.   Rick Treworgy owns all the cars himself.  We read that he had run out of places to hold all his cars to he bought an old Warmart location and turned it into a museum.  Must have a pretty impressive bottom line.

 Just so you are aware prior to entering this car museum Judy and I baled out of the jeep at a Bealls Outlet Store and let the boys go to ogle the cars.  We found some bargains and the boys picked us after they had finished at the museum.  They said the museum was well worth the entry fee of $12.00 each (less a $1.00 coupon we had).

Bealls is much like Winner's in Canada.  If you have the time to look through the racks you will like it.  They have lots of name brand items at greatly reduced prices.

We headed home to finish off another great day with dinner and a movie.  Life is Good!!

Until next time - safe travels.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Kayaking with the Dolphins

This morning it was back into the pool to continue to try to fight the battle of the bulge.  Then it was off to Placida to the Grande Tours Kayak Center.  John and Judy brought along their blow up kayaks for the paddle.  Tom and I rented kayaks from the center.   With a map in hand we headed out into the wilds.  And man what a ride!!!

 As we headed out into the harbor we came across all these pelicans hanging out taking in the sunshine.
 We turned around the corner and this channel was in front of us.  This was to lead us to the mangrove tunnels. We had a map that was supposed to lead us through the tunnels and then back out into the open water.

 A result of the red tide was alot of dead fish in the water.  The vultures where also hanging out on the roof of this house waiting for lunch or relaxing after gorging themselves on the carrion.  These birds are really large and they are everywhere  Hundreds of them circling in the air also.  Felt like a scene out of "The Birds"

 We have entered the mangrove tunnels.  These are channels that travel throughout the mangrove forest.  Some of the channels were very narrow and quite hard to paddle.  We kept catching the paddles in the trees and roots of the mangroves.  There were plenty of dead and smelly fish in there also.   But they were pretty cool to paddle through.

We pulled out of the tunnels into the open water again.  We stopped and had our lunch in the kayaks as we all floated together.

 After lunch we paddled along the shore for awhile then headed back into the mangroves.  When we exited the mangroves the second time we were close to a couple of small islands.

I looked towards one island and thought I saw dolphins.  Not sure if they were dolphins or one of the big birds that were all over the water.  I headed across the water with my companions coming behind at full speed.  There were at least 5 dolphins in the area.  Two must have been juveniles as they were speeding around, flipping and playing like crazy..  They were so very awesome.  I didn't get much of a picture.  I tried but they surfaced, blew and dived so quickly it was hard to get a good shot  I only managed to get one dorsal fin.

So I had to borrow a picture from the internet.  

They seemed to be playing with us.  They kept circling around where we were sitting.  This was incredible and made my holiday unforgettable.  As we headed back to the docks we saw all these herons sitting in the trees on this island.

We docked and headed home for another dip in the pool before dinner.  What an incredible day.  Can they get any better?  Can't see how.

Until next time - safe travels.