Sunday, March 18, 2012

My How Time Flies!!!

Tom and I are 'back home again in Indiana'. Hard to believe that the 2 1/2 weeks are over already. This past week with Penny and Jerry Youngman flew!!! They were so gracious to welcome us from Sunday evening until Friday morning when we began our way back to Sanford.

We did so many things, it was difficult to select  which moments to blog  because my tendency is to tell all. As tough as it was:

Most mornings we would go to Sugden Park where they would walk 3 miles around a large pond. We were told that it didn't have alligators due to it being too deep and too cold. However.....

                                        and then this.....

             We waited for a long time for these guys to come. Three police cars even showed up to watch  the capture but "they were busy" so Penny, Jerry, Tom and I went back to the condo for lunch and upon our return, the gator was already in the back of the truck! Darn!!!

Cleaning up a bit, we ventured downtown Naples to see "Third Street On Canvas". Various artists were on the streets painting various "flavors" of Naples life. It was WONDERFUL!

             The weather was perfect, the city is full of beauty and we loved being there!

We were on the beach several times...sometimes during the day...sometimes the evening. Pure bliss!

One afternoon, we ventured in the perfect weather to Alligator Alley. Tom has a good zoom lens on his camera. The three pictures above and the two below are to his credit. What a guy!

                                  Check out these babies!!!

Here are two of my favorite people. They are the perfect hosts. I didn't even ask them how many times they have taken guests to see the gators and downtown Naples and to the beach and on and on.

Our last night in Naples just HAD to be Naples at night. We visited last year and had such a wonderful time. It was great being there again. Wonderful ambience!

On Friday morning, we had a wonderful breakfast together and then Tom and I headed out. I do all the driving because I get lost getting out of my driveway. I need Tom to tell me "where to go". He is nice about it. We knew that we had about 4 or 5 hours on the road and part of that drive was through bumper to bumper Orlando traffic. We did and it was!!! We arrived in Lake Mary and as soon as we were unpacked, we hit the pool. We then walked around the corner to the Tilted Kilt and had appetizers. OMG! We had enough food for 12 people!!! The portions were huge. Delicious!!!

Saturday was our last day and our last hotel. We were still in Lake Mary (due to it being so close to the airport for our early Sunday morning departure). At breakfast, the waitress told us that about 30 minutes away, in Winter Park, was an international Art Festival. It had 250 artists and thousands of people once a year and this was the weekend. Hopping into the car once again, we checked it out. Wow! Wow! Wow!

Tom is drooling over a globe within a metal hand that he doesn't have. He has about 150 globes in his office and would love to have this one. Sorry Tom. The artist is Michael Gard and of the hundreds of pieces of art at the festival, this was my favorite.

Well, as I said at the beginning, Tom and I are now home. We arrived to squeals of joy and many hugs and kisses as Brent, Layla and Marley had just gotten here from their church service. They knew we were coming. We had "love notes" on our pillow and they couldn't wait to have their "playmates" home. That made the best coming home present ever!!! Now, we can't wait to get our hands on the "other three"!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sunshine on my shoulders....

Sunshine makes me happy! We ventured to downtown Sarasota and walked the historic downtown. Lovely!

What a surprise to find this wonderful statue that I had only seen in photos! I'm so glad that Tom was anxious to see it up close.

It is only when you see Tom and me in the picture that you realize how large the statue really is! We also enjoyed walking the streets of historical downtown Sarasota.

Setting out again, we traveled to Ft. Myers. After locating our motel, we set out to meet my cousin Carol Ann and her hubby Dwight at the Gulf Coast Mall. We dined at the Miller Ale House.

Carol and DW live in Estro from January through March. It is always such a good time getting caught up with them.

The next morning, Tom and I explored down town Ft. Myers who happened to be having their "sidewalk sales/flea market".
Ohhhhh! The joy!

See the old tin toy typewriter and stove?
We then saw signs for the National Art Festival in Bonita Springs. There were so many wonderful artists!!! I could have taken this little girl home with me but couldn't afford it!

These art pieces were incredible! Each piece is made of a doughy mixture of boiled potato and plaster. The sculpting process is done with a piece of wood that resembles a large toothpick. The detail is incredible!!! 

The lion below was made of 14,000 welded nails. I've never seen anything like it.

The bear was made of 50,000 nails. (I can't even imagine counting the nails, let alone creating these creatures!)

Tom and I arrived at Penny and Jerry Youngman's condo on Sunday evening. We were so excited to see them. Here they are our neighbors and we have to come to Florida to be together. Are we nuts or what? Now...the bad news: they think that they will be moving to Kentucky in the near future. NOT HAPPY!!!

On Monday afternoon, we met Carol and DW for a catamaran ride. What a gorgeous afternoon!

Here is my captain...
After the ride, we met Penny and Jerry at Tin City for dinner.

What a good time!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Where AM I (completed)!

Tom and I have been in Florida for a week. I drive (due to severe directionality problems) so he gets to tell me "where to go"! Thank goodness he is nice about it. We travel to a city, visit parks, gardens, monuments, malls, beaches, villages, and then go to whatever motel we booked the day before. This is called Flying by the Seat of Our Pants. We have done quite well but we are both a little tired of changing motels daily.  We did spend two nights at the Bilmar Beach Resort and will spend two nights here in Bradenton and when we get to Fort Myers we will stay in the same hotel two nights in a row. Next week, we will stay with our dear neighbors, Penny and Gerry Youngman before heading back to Indiana. They will get a blog posting of their own.
Since it took 20 minutes for the above photo to download to this blog (with 29 to go out of a few hundred), I have to either give up with this blog or try again later. They wouldn't download last night or this morning so....consider yourself spared! There is sun, heat and adventure out there and we have things to do. Later today, I'll try again.
We visited the Florida Botanical Gardens in St. Petersburg (see the gorgeous purple flowers above) on Monday and then happened upon the Safety Harbor Church within the gardens.What got my attention was the wonderful sign on the front steps:
Being so old and empty and having wooden floors, there was a great echo when one sang. I know. I did it.

We arrived in Tampa in time for lunch. The temperatures were in the 70s and we sat here and ate. Such a gorgeous place! When I turned around, this is what I saw:
                                             And this:
These pictures are taken downtown Tampa near the Riverwalk.
Tampa was a beautiful city to visit but it was time to move on. We headed to Lakeland where we did some exploring before we went to our B&B. We found Frank Lloyd Wright's Florida Southern College. We are wondering if Frank was a short person since Tom had to be very careful of his head in several places.

"Watch your head!!!

The bell tower was beautiful against the blue sky!
We drove to downtown Lakeland and found a street that had several "creatures" made of car parts. They were totally unique! I took pictures of them all and chose these to show.

And then there were statues of beauty:

We took a walk around Lake Hollingsworth...well...Tom went all the way around (3 miles) and I went part way. (The temperature is in the 80's and will be all week.)
The tree (below) was huge! That's Tom waaaay down there!

We saw this true sign of spring...Mommy and her babies.

With our walk over and a chance to sit and read for a while, we drove into town to our Lake Morton B&B which had been built in 1928. Due to spring training, the place is booked for the month of March. They happened to have a room available. It felt good to have a lot of room. I kept thinking how my niece, Heather, would have loved the old place.

Our room was upstairs to the left.
Breakfast was charming.

Wednesday, after breakfast, we traveled to Bradenton. We visited the oldest remaining sugar plantation. Of course we picked a day that it was closed...never fails...but enjoyed peeking in the windows.

And from the side view below:

Moving on, we drove to the DeSoto National Memorial.

The view was so beautiful and warm. Tom checked out the garb that DeSoto would have likely worn. Talk about HEAVY!

 We then visited the Palmetto Historical Village. Below is Heritage Chapel.

My favorite building was The Schoolhouse (The Kindergarten Building). I had to take the picture through the window.

Being in Bradenton was a treat because I knew that my teacher friends (also retired from Jefferson) had just arrived this week to stay in Sarasota for the month. We met Terri Brunson, Kathy Robarge and their friend Janet (who happens to be the mother of Angie Miller who used to teach at Jeffeson!!!) . We met at Dry Dock Waterfront Grill for dinner and had such a fun time catching up. Twenty-nine years ago, I student taught for Kathy Robarge. She  became pregnant so I continued in her classroom for the next year before I moved to 1st grade. Kathy and I proceeded to retire together in 2005. What are the chances of that? Terri and I share a birthday (not the same year) and have always had such fun with that. We had to come to Florida to get together!

And then there is today. It's Thursday I think. We continued to check out the Bradenton/Sarasota area and drove up and down some of the Keys. When we saw a sign of interest, we would stop. Here are a few of the things that we saw:

...and then on to visit a "botanical garden" that really wasn't much of one.

Then, of course, there is the beach...always the beach. We have "floated" from one beach to another. There are many of course. We have done lots of walking. This is a good thing but there are always problems with walking a lot. These problems can be fixed if......

a person owns enough Band-Aids!!!
"Do I want to go shopping??? Of course! My feet are fine!!!"

"Now, remind me what town this is? What day is this? Where are we staying tonight? Who am I???"