Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Whale of a Time Here in Florida

One thing we did not experience last year here in Florida, and I was afraid we wouldn't experience this year either, was a sighting of a Right Whale which is a rare type of whale that migrates south every winter and goes right by the shore here in Ormond Beach. Well yesterday we were driving along the beach road when we came to an area where lots of people were parked and standing looking out into the sea. So we stopped and looked too, and low and behold we saw a couple of the Right Whales swimming by quite close to shore. You really could hardly see them, but when they were pointed out to us, we could see them. One of them blew out of its blowhole, and that was pretty exciting. I didn't get a picture, but here are a couple of websites to visit if you want to see pictures and get info about these creatures.

Another creature we have observed on our walks on the beach is a different kind of jelly fish. We researched it, and it is called a cannonball jelly fish. Here is a website to see pictures and to get info about it too.

We have really enjoyed being so close to the ocean and being able to enjoy all it has to offer whether it is just driving along the shoreline road or taking a nice walk on the beach. No swimming though because right now the water is about 55 degrees. Brrrr. It's a lot warmer in the summer. And we do NOT miss Iowa's winter weather one bit!!!!!!!!

Last Curry Meal at the Flea Market

One of our favorite places to eat while we were here was this Thai restaurant at the Daytona Beach Flea Market. They served the most delicious curry chicken dish I have ever eaten. Today we went there for the last time this year. We had to enjoy the dish one last time before we left. We will be leaving Wed. and will be heading for Tuscaloosa, AL to visit my sister, Kathy. We will also make a trek up to Birmingham to visit my niece, Jessica and her family. We are looking forward to that visit. Then we will be off to San Antonio, TX to stay with my sister, Susie, until it's safe to go back to Iowa which is about the middle of May. It might be June this year. Who knows.

Cruising on The Halifax River

Before we left FL, we wanted to take this luncheon cruise on the Halifax River which is the intercoastal waterway that goes right by Charlene's house. We were south of her place in the South Daytona Beach area. On the cruise we had a delicous lunch and narration about the area. It was very relaxing and informative, and we had great food. Here are Bob and Charlene in front of the paddle wheel boat. NOtice the paddle wheel in the back.

The dining room was decorated with a Victorian flair. There was a stage, and on some cruises they do have live music, but not on this one.

Another view of the paddle wheel.

There were a couple of draw bridges that had to go up so we could go by. I guess it's the equivalent of having to wait for a train to go by.

Some bridges were high enough so going under did not affect the traffic on the bridge.

Another view of the paddle wheel.

Here are some decorative bridge columns. Different marine life has been painted on them.

Manatees are often in the river here, but during the winter they go where it's a little warmer. There's a park called Blue Springs State Park and during the winter if you go to the park you will see hundreds of them. We went last year, but not this year. They are so cute.

For lunch, Bob and Charlene had delicious salmon, and I had Shrimp Creole. All the food was great. The water was calm, and the temp was about 70 with partly cloudy skies. Beautiful day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chris and Mabel Visit Florida

My good friend from Iowa, Chris, and her sister, Mabel, who lives in Ohio, came to Ormond Beach to visit me. They are currently visiting another one of their sisters at Jykell Island, GA. They decided to make a road trip to St. Augustine which is only about a 45 min. drive from Ormond so they decided to come on down. Ormond is adjacent to Daytona, and we just happened to drive by the track when we went to the huge flea market in Daytona. It was a beautiful day, and you can tell we were warm by what we are wearing. I think it was in the 60's.

We had a successful trip to the flea market. Chris bought a Mah Jong game, some blouses, and some other useful things while Mabel bought some jewelry and some nice T shirts for her sons.
I found another swan pin I had to buy. Afterwards we drove to a neat restaurant on the beach where we had a delightful lunch with a spectacular view as you can see.
This, too, could be Hawaii.

After lunch we drove all the way to the end of the barrier island on which Daytona and Ormond Beach are located. This area is called Ponce Inlet and there is a really neat lighthouse as you can see here.

Chris couldn't resist the call of the beach and decided to take a nice ride along the ocean. You can actually do this when the tide isn't too high.

View from inside the car. Those are sea gulls on the beach. They are not skiddish at all.

Sorry I didn't get any pictures of Mabel, but Chris did so she'll have to show us some of those pictures.
I loved having them come visit right here in sunny Florida.
Wish you were here too.

I Love Hawaii or Is This Florida?

Wouldn't this be a great place for a destination wedding? The tent and chairs in the back ground withstood a pretty good wind. Looks just like Hawaii, huh?

OOps the grass is brown because of the cold weather down here.

Croquet, anyone?

These were some views of a venue for weddings.

Beach Talk

There is a State Park near where Bob's sister, Charlene, lives so we decided to join an event that was listed as a "Beach Walk," but it was really a "Beach Talk." It was very interesting though. We just didn't do much walking, but we learned about the beach in this area.

As you can see by the picture this is a sea turtle area, and they are protected. The nesting season is March through Oct. so we haven't really seen any turtles. Too cold for them here now anyway. Believe it or not. This was the speaker. She has been with the park service for over 30 years and had lots of info for us.

Notice in the background, the yellow flag means caution for rip tides, etc., and the purple flag (yes it's purple) means there could be dangerous wildlife out in the ocean. We didn't see any thought. There are sharks and jellyfish. In fact we saw some pretty awesome jelly fish one day when we were walking along the beach. I hadn't seen any like them. I need to Google them to see what kind they were.

Notice we are dressed in spring like clothing because it was a beautiful day.

The sand on the beach here is a reddish color because there is a special rock called coquino rock that makes it that color. This could be Hawaii, couldn't it?

Here is a handful of sand. It's mostly made up on crushed sea shells.

There is even cactus here as well as other plants that I don't remember their names.

She's showing us a tiny shadow crab.

Here's the shadow crab close up. Isn't he cute?

After the beach talk we went across the street to another part of the park that had some more, but different plant life than on the beach. Here we are with the vegetation in the background. It was nice and shady here, but still very nice temp.

Here is our friend, Sandy, who went with us. She is originally from Chicago and now lives across the street from Charlene, Bob's sister. She is a good friend, neighbor, and "partner in crime" to Charlene.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside - Just Ask the Alligators

I know. I know. This isn't exactly the wintery view a lot of you see, but for us down here in FL, it was a big surprise to have to clean off the windshield this one morning. Actually it did look worse because Bob had already started scraping off the ice before I realized this was a Kodak moment. They did have wintery weather here for about a little more than a week, and the citrus crop has suffered. It was cold here even though it wasn't as bitterly cold as it is in the midwest. That's why we're in FL.

We went to a local park one morning when it was still a little chilly. They had a program about alligators who really aren't too happy in the cold weather. Anyway the park ranger provided a very entertaining program about alligators and brought a small one to show us and to have a hands on experience. Notice how people are dressed for the cold weather.

Here is the ranger. He had been working at an alligator park for 14 years and had lots of stories to share and lots of knowledge about the critters.

The alligator is in the bag waiting for his debut. Kept him calm and warmer.

Here they are. Good thing the cold weather makes the alligator a bit sluggish.

Other brave soles who were willing to hold the alligator. They were also trying to keep warm.

Bob decided to have the hands on experience. I was the designated photographer. That was all right with me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Report From Sunny Florida

We know the weather back home is frightful, but even though it's cold for here, we still enjoy the Florida weather. It has been in the 20's and 30's at night (that's with a + in front of it) and in the 40's to 60's during the day. I know that sounds nice and it is, but for Floridians, it's cold. We don't mind though.

Last Sunday we went to a wedding show just for fun. You go and pay a fee, and then you get to enjoy the free food and entertainment. It's one of those things you can do down here. While there, we met this lady, Louise Bai, who wrote about her life in China and her life as a citizen of Australia and her life married to an American. Anyway I did buy her book, and I'm reading it so it's pretty interesting to see what life was like for her. This is a picture of her. Oh notice the beautiful necklace, compliments of Gary and Rosemary. Thanks.

Here are Bob and Charlene waitng for the entertainment. Notice the cakes in the background.
One of the interesting displays was showing how to preserve your gown after you're married. I thought that was a good idea.

One day we all went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant that Charlene likes. Afterwards we hit the Russel Stover's outlet store to get samples. We had to take this picture because it is something we have done often.

Hope everyone is staying warm wherever they are, even if they're in Pasadena, CA to watch Alabama and Texas duke it out for 1st place. Oh that would be my brother, Gary, who is an alumnus of Alabama. But then there's my sister, Susie, who went to Texas, and she'll be in front of the TV cheering for Texas. About half my family will be rooting for Alabama, and half for Texas. We should call this game "Family Feud." Roll Tide and Hook 'Em Horns.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year and Blue Moon

For New Year's Eve, Bob, Charlene, and I designed and created our own party hats using very limited materials, pipecleaners, York mints and the packaging, and a black piece of material. Charlene decided to have a theme of the Statue of Liberty.

Bob's hat was entirely different. He calls it the "hot head" hat. The blades are there to cool him off.

Lucy went for the festive look showing off the York pattie so that people's mouths would water when they saw her hat.

Once in a "blue moon" you might see a swan with blue feathers eyeing Spam (a very popular food in Hawaii from Patsy in Hawaii) and Blue Moon beer in honor of the blue moon on New Year's Eve.

Brother and sister welcoming in the new year.

While we toasted the new year in with the Blue Moon beer, we also played the song, "Blue Moon," to add to the occasion.

The New Year's "firecrackers." Are we having fun, yet?

Definitely past his bed time.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!