Tuesday, December 31, 2013


 We wish you abundant health, happiness and simple contentment in the new year.   And, of course, we wish happy trails to you!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lazy last day

Yesterday was our last day at 3015, our last day to open the blinds and find ourselves on the edge of the gulf.   We just wanted to hang around and soak up the atmosphere, even though it was cloudy and threatening most of the day.    

curly and straight



Lewis enjoys stretching out once he gets the couch to himself

We celebrated our last night at the beach with lobster for dinner.      

Thanks to the stellar cooperation between Mr. David's Packing and Moving Service and Mr. David's A #1 Limousine Service, we ( me, Judi, Lewis, Sasha, all our clothes, refrigerator and cupboard contents, poinsettas, orchid, remaining Christmas cookies, dog food, supplies and huge bed, toiletries, computer, and various sundry items) managed to make the trip back to Holiday Cove in one trip.     It was tight fit without an inch to spare, but we made it.    Beluga was overjoyed to see us again.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ca d'zan

Jesse and Erin needed to be at Tampa International Airport for a 5 p.m. flight back to Denver on Friday.      We decided to pack them up and then spend the rest of the day at John Ringling's winter home in Sarasota, Ca d'zan (House of John).     Three of us had seen it before, many years ago.   Erin hadn't and the whole campus had been completely renovated so we were all looking forward to our visit.     We toured the grounds, gardens, home and a peaceful James Turrell installation (skyspace) in the Ringling Museum.

 Ca d'zan's grounds were a bonus for us.  Huge specimen trees, ferns, shady paths leading to hidden gardens  and a lovely, fragrant rose garden

father and son test the strength of the Banyon tree's aerial roots

Oh Dave.....

Oh Jesse.....

so many lion statues

I won't bore you with all of them, but I was captivated by the statuary 


Antique Venetian Glass mirror reflecting the gilt coffered ceiling in the ballroom

marble toilet seat!

mahogany and 24 ct. gold bed
(only the best for Mr. Ringling!)

marble boat dock (or, I should say Yacht dock) on Sarasota Bay

sorry.....another stone lion

bamboo and palm lined path to a private glen

is he on his cell phone?

All too soon the day was over and we were putting Jesse and Erin on the plane headed for Denver.    Thanks guys, it was a wonderful visit.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Catching up, part 2

The morning of the day after Christmas, Erin made us beignets and Jesse brewed Cafe DuMonde coffee.     Neither of them had ever made either of these items, so it was a learning experience for all of us, but in the end we were very happy (and covered with powdered sugar!).    Actually, we gathered around the stove and drooled while Erin was trying to fry the little donuts and as soon as they were finished, we proceeded to gobble them down like little piggies.

the beignets never made it to the table

Judi brushes off her sugar coating

After all the goodies were devoured and the mess cleaned up, we headed to City Island for our afternoon cruise on the Mote Boat.

 I call it the Mote Boat because it is run by the Mote Marine Laboratory here in Sarasota.    The correct name for the boat ride is Sea Life Encounter.   We boarded the 35 (ish) foot covered pontoon boat for our 2 hour tour around Sarasota Bay.   The on board Naturalist talked about the marine and bird life to be seen,  the ecology of  the shallow bay and its creeks and streams.    The tour included a brief hike on Roberts Island, and a close up look at a seabird rookery,  then headed back out int Sarasota Bay to drag a net along the bottom.      They collected the contents of the net, put what they found into individual salt water containers and then passed them around for us to see.   The naturalist talked about what we were looking at, their habits, habitat, etc.    We saw a HUGE whelk, a sea horse, lots of different types of crabs and shrimp, a sea hare, a sea star, a tiny urchin, small fish, sponges and other things that I can't remember.    I didn't take any pictures of the creatures, there were too many people waiting to look and touch, sorry.

not a very good shot of brown pelicans nesting
(the boat was moving and people kept getting in front of me!)

part of the Sarasota skyline

this egret was so busy trying to attract a girlfriend  he didn't even notice us watching.....

a stubborn Osprey keeps trying to make a nest on top of the fire boat.
The firemen remove it every day, but the persistent bird won't be deterred.

Jesse and Erin listen

It was a good day.     After cocktails and sunset we had a really really good dinner at Rick's, a tiny French restaurant in a boring strip mall in Sarasota.    A hidden gem.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our time at Ca d'zan.