Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Visit to a Cattery

We've been thinking about getting another cat for a while.  Ed researched Cornish Rex catteries.  The best possibility turned out to be in South Florida.....guess where?  Port St. Lucie!  We visited Barmont Cattery recently. 

Bob, the owner, and Ed

Bob has these neat cat trees.  We took pictures so Ed can make some this summer.

Ed is interviewing a candidate named Blanche.

Bob also has some Persians. 
 What are you looking at, huh?

A Cornish kitten.  Bob has 4 litters now and a few more expecting.
We think Blanche will be a good match for Pepper.  She's a bit smaller, a contrasting color, a female (no more spraying males, please!), and is very friendly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lunch with Forever Friends

Monday was a great day and one I'd been looking forward to for some time.  We met friends from my scuba club for lunch at Sailfish Marina in Palm Beach.  

Sue Revie, Jerry and Kathy Millspaugh, and Russ and Julie Manhold and I first met in the Undersea Adventurers Dive Club in the early 1980's.
 Kathy, MaryMay, Sue, Jerry, Ed, Julie, Russ

It makes for a lively time to have 7 extroverts together who've been friends for so many years.  We discussed everything from Russ's skydiving experience last week in California, to the Millspaughs' grandchildren (the twins are 8 and the sister 11!), to Sue's passion for movies, to cameras, and of course some catching up on other dive buddies.  

The guys also discussed knives, camera details, tire sizes, rachetts, manifolds, and other "big-boy toy" topics. 
Ed had an appointment to see his oncologist on Tuesday so, rather than having to make the hour drive two days in a row, his doctor was able to see him Monday.  He started lunch, drove 4 miles to the doctor's office, and was back in less than an hour.  While he was gone, we talked about him....not really, Ed!  Everyone did agree that he is an interesting guy and they enjoy his company.  (I agree wholeheartedly!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's that neon-yellow tree?

Throughout the day we kept seeing these stunning, neon-yellow trees blooming.  They were all over the place.  Naturally, that was the first thing I looked up when we got back.
Yellow Tabebuia, often called "Yellow Tab"  is a wonderful small tree from Brazil. 

There are over 100 species with blooms starting near the first day of spring in South Florida. 

Its masses of yellow trumpet flowers catch everyone's eye.  Fort Myers has the best in the state. 
 Most of the trees we saw lost 100% of their leaves prior to blooming.   When the blooms finish, the foliage returns.
Tabebuias bloom best when they are neglected -- not irrigated.  They have no pests. 

The trunks are dark and gnarled, making them interesting to see, even after they lose their blooms.
(To learn how to pronounce "tabebuia" -- click here:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

From Port to Fort

Ed, George, Kay and I went from Port St. Lucie to Ft. Lauderdale today to visit Ed and George's sister, Lorraine Barkett and her hubby, Ray.  

They both salivated all the way down because she invited us for one of their favorite foods, Kibbe nayeh, which is sort of like steak tartare.  They especially enjoy it because Lorraine makes it like their mother did. 

Tom Barkett, Ray's brother, was up from Miami for this treat.  He brought fresh pita bread for everyone and a key lime pie to die for!  When we got home, we discovered he also included some luscious apricot paste in each bag with the pita.  

Kay, Lorraine and I shopped a bit at Marshall's while the guys watched some "bassettball".  It was a very pleasant day. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shopping for Slimming Attire

Mary May Angelil and Mary Kay Angelil (my sister-in-law here in Port St. Lucie) have had fun shopping this winter.  Kay always wears such cute clothes and has a good fashion sense.  Better yet, she'll give me an honest opinion.

My ?? high school class reunion is in August so it was Kay's assignment to find me something that made me look stylish, and more importantly, slim!  That was asking a lot, especially the "slim" part.  We spent a couple of hours in Macy's and finally came up with something simple that seems to work OK.

Now, I need shoes to go with my new duds so that gives us an excuse to go shopping again.  Woohoo!  We're all set for Thursday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Stork is Here

Ed saw another bird in our yard that has been identified as a Wood Stork.  He didn't realize until I cropped his photo what an ugly head this creature has.
Click on pic for a larger version.
  "...the Wood Stork is the only stork breeding in the United States. Its late winter breeding season is timed to the Florida dry season when its fish prey become concentrated in shrinking pools." 
"These waders feed on minnows in shallow water by using their bills to perform a rare and effective fishing technique. The stork opens its bill and sticks it into the water, then waits for the touch of an unfortunate fish that wanders too close. When it feels a fish, the stork can snap its bill shut in as little as 25 milliseconds—an incredibly quick reaction time matched by few other vertebrates."

Dave Birdman Clements, our official identifier, says he especially loves to see them in flight.  (This photo is from the web.)
Every time I think we've seen a sample of all the birds and animals from the preserve behind us, a different one shows up.  Ed saw a fox dart across our yard one evening.  It's like a free nature show right in our own back yard....such a deal!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Backyard Mary

Here's an update....
our backyard as of today.

Toast, Crumb-mee Toast

Why is it that every toaster in the store boasts that it makes perfect toast every time?  Then when you bring it home, your toast is too light, too dark or burnt.  Where, oh where, is the REAL perfect toaster?

Why is it that when you make toast, no matter how careful you are, you end up with toast crumbs all over the counter, the table and the floor?  And why is it that those crumbs seem to try to run away when you proceed to clean the counters, table, and floor?  Maybe I'll have to invent a crumb-less toast.  Any takers?

The end.
by Andy Rooney's niece

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen cabinets were a lovely color but looked like the previous owner might have painted them herself.  She did a good job painting around each and every hinge but the paint was worn off near the handles of the doors and it looked like there was only one coat of paint put on. 

It worked out well that she left part of a bucket of paint in the shed.  We took it to Lowe's and they were able to match it exactly -- it's called Pale Water.  I'm finding it difficult to show the color online -- it depends on your computer settings and mine as to how the color appears.  Anyway, you'll have to take my word for it, it's a pleasant, pale, mint green.

We hired John, a painter who had an ad in our Savanna Club newsletter.  Ed took off the doors and John picked them up the next morning, took them to his shop, spray painted and brought them back a few hours later.  What good luck -- the weather was warm, sunny and very dry -- perfect for paint to dry.

John's helper came and painted the cabinet ends, edges, etc.  
Ed put the the new hinges onto the doors that evening and Jason came back the next morning to help hang the doors.  With two of them working, they were able to avoid nicks or dings.
Switching to the high-gloss finish made for a nicer look and it will be easier to clean.  I might have skipped the new hinges but they really do make a difference. 
 Ah, nesting is fun when the results are this attractive!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Virginians or Floridians?

Several people have asked so I'll give you the high up on the low down or else the low down on the high up -- take your pick.

We will be here in Florida until the first part of May.  We'll head back to the homestead in Virginia and will be there until the leaves turn colors in the fall.

That will put us here in Florida more than six months of the year so on paper we'll be Floridians.  In fact, I just got my Florida driver's license today.  Ed got his a few weeks ago.

My heart is still Virginian but it's nice to also be Floridian again.  (In case you didn't know,  I taught in Ft. Lauderdale for 24 years.)  I think we have the best of both worlds!

p.s.  I see that it's 50 degrees with rain in the forecast in Virginia, with the nights still dropping into the 40s or 30s.  (If it's still that cold in May, we'll be delaying our journey home!)

Here it is 79 degrees with sunshine, light breezes and those puffy white clouds in the bright blue sky.  It's just heavenly!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bizarre Boxsprings

We found a "really good deal" on box springs but they squeaked.  We called the store and they brought us another one.  But the 2nd one got worse every night....they made so much noise that when one of us turned over, it woke the other one.  I couldn't sneak out to read or have a midnight snack because the bed made so much noise when I got out of or into it. 

So, we've bought something from a REAL store instead of a discount/consignment place.  When we took out the squeaky ones, the lining was loose at one end.  We looked inside and there WERE NO SPRINGS in there.  Ed has decided the noise was because the pieces of wood were nailed together and they should have also been glued.

You get what you pay for, right?

p.s.  It's soooo nice to get in bed and turn over without making a racket.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

RV Sold Today

Today was both a happy and sad day.....happy (and relieved) that we sold the RV.....sad to say good-bye to that chapter in our lives.

Debbie and Mark Uttley flew down from Windsor, Ontario yesterday, arriving last night about 8 p.m.  Even though it was dark, they wanted to at least see and go into the RV.

Debbie was nervous about buying something this big from the internet and had been worrying about things that I would have thought such as,  "What if we get there and it's not as the pictures showed?"   She said once she saw it, she slept like a baby.

Meanwhile, Mark lost sleep last night worrying about all the details and paperwork that had to be taken care of.  Buying an RV in the U.S. is complicated enough but taking it to another country entails unbelievable amounts of forms and papers.  

This morning they got a full tour and Mark drove it and checked some things.  He's a firefighter in Canada so is accustomed to driving large diesel firetrucks -- but you drive those FAST!  He'll soon get the hang of slowing down on curves and stopping gradually -- especially after things get slung around a few times.  Ed really got smoother on this as he drove but it took him a while.

We came back to the house to do paperwork.  Then Ed and Mark went over to the Homeowner's Office at one of the clubhouses.  They have a notary and will fax things for free.  Debbie and I joined them and I finally got to eat in the clubhouse restaurant.  We ate outside and it was perfect - sunny with a light breeze and about 80 degrees.
Turned out that Budget Rent-a-Car was right outside Savanna Club so returning their car was easy.  After a few pictures, they hit the road with plans to stop in Vero Beach for some fries from Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Ed's favorite place for fries EVER), then stay in Titusville at Willow Lakes RV Resort.

We say good-bye to our RV but enjoyed making new friends. We wish them well and hope they will experience many happy trails.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not a Common Bird - Glossy Ibis

We've seen this bird a few times and I finally got a picture of it.  Dave Clements, our bird expert, says it's a Glossy Ibis.  He also said it's not a common bird, which makes it all the more exciting. 

"A relative newcomer to North America, the Glossy Ibis first expanded its range along the Atlantic Coast in the early 19th century."

It was quite dramatic to see him pecking in the grass for insects but when I got my camera ready, he didn't do it again -- of course not.  They also eat fish, frogs and other water creatures.

I went out the side door and slipped around the corner of the house but he saw or heard me and away he went.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

First Easter in Our Florida Home

This is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life. --1 John 2:25 

Easter is a joy-filled day.  This phrase says it all,  "Christ Has Died, Christ Is Risen, Christ Will Come Again!"

It's even better when you can go to church and be with family.  Kay and George met us there.

Ed had decided he felt like cooking so we came to our house.  I made pickled eggs last weekend and made an Easter basket decoration for the centerpiece.  I even found sugar-free peeps for George.
Kay and George brought the dessert and cranberry sauce.  Ed did the rest.  He had ham, mashed potatoes, asparagus with Bearnaise sauce, beets, pea salad and Grands' biscuits.   Here are the cook watchers!
It was a lovely lunch and the first meal we've had in the Florida room.  We opened the windows and had a lovely breeze and a perfect temperature of about 80 degrees. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Relaxing in Recliners

 We've waited for what seems like a long time to get our recliners.  

This isn't an ad but just the way it is -- once you've had a Lazy Boy recliner, you don't want any other brand of chair.  My parents had them and this is the third pair that I've bought. 
Pepper is notorious for scratching furniture, in spite of weekly claw clipping.  We've used all sorts of products and methods but she's a normal cat -- she likes to scratch things beyond just her scratching posts and pads.  She especially loves nubby, textured fabrics, which eliminated half the fabrics choices that Lazy Boy has. We ended up with a striped fabric that everyone likes -- except for Pepper (Yay!)
Their sofas are also well made.  Ed liked this one because it is long and the seat is deep.  Short people have to use a pillow behind them if they want their feet to touch the floor.  

The sofa and recliner that came with the house have turned our Florida room into another peaceful place to relax. 
My shell and sewing area is very convenient.  
What a lovely day to read and relax.
We watched Alley Oop, "our" alligator all morning.  Now, there are about 6 turtles out there but their little heads don't make for very good photos.