Friday, May 18, 2018

The Past Two Weeks

The time has just flown by since we arrived back on NJ. Daughter Kristen and I have been going to the gym just about every morning...she joined, and I get to go as her guest. It feels good to move.

Our son in law, Anthony, graduated last week from Stockton College with his Bachelors of Science degree in Chemistry. We are very proud of him!
Here he is with my daughter, Emily, and their two daughters, Quinn and Eve.

I finished my Hearts Band.
And wove a short one I’m calling Tiny Circles, using a little rigid heddle from V√§vkompaniet.


Bob and I went to the movies to see Black Panther this week. I had seen it with Catherine in March but Bob never saw it. He enjoyed it, as I knew he would!

Other than that, we are dealing with the weather. It started raining last Saturday here and has rained daily since then. We hear it should clear up by next Friday. Ugh. I remember reading my great grandmother’s diary where one day’s entry said only “Rain. Rain, rain, rain.”

I know how she felt.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Back to NJ

This has been a traveling week, for sure! We left Punta Gorda, FL on Monday morning, and it is now Saturday afternoon as we are pulling into our spot in NJ for the next couple of months or so. That’s 1445 miles in five days of driving. We tried to keep the mileage closer to 200 miles a day rather than 300, and we accomplished that for the most part, with the exception of our first day which was over 300 miles. Sometimes you have to go a little farther to get to a campground.

On Tuesday we pulled into Little Tallapoosa Park in Carrollton, GA. We really like this little county park. It boasts pull through wooded sites, full hookups with 50 amp service, horse trails for the equine set, and even a splash pad for little ones. But the big draw for us was our good friends, Mike and Retha, who were there for the week. We haven’t seen them in a year and a half,  and it was so good to see them again even though it was a short visit. We hung out at their campsite with their seven Japanese Chins, and were even treated to a yummy Chinese food dinner at a local restaurant. Bob and I are really hoping we don’t go another 18 months without seeing them again.
The rest of our trip was uneventful (a good thing!) but traveling every day gets tiring. So why did we do it? We miss the kids and grandkids too much to dilly-dally on our last part of the trip.

We look forward to visiting with family and taking the grandchildren on a camping trip this summer. And seeing friends, too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sisters Weekend

There’s not much better than having a Sisters Weekend, in my book. Bob and I drove to Punta Gorda after we left Fort Wilderness and camped not too far from our sister Wendy’s condo. Bob and Auggie hung back at the campground while I joined my siblings for a fun filled four days.
Wendy’s condo is within walking distance to a marina where we admired all the yachts moored there.

We lunched at a nearby restaurant that featured seafood but also had a yummy Portobello burger for Gail and me.
It was such fun to visit local consignment shops, looking for furniture for the condo. And on Saturday we went to a street fair, meandering through little stores and outdoor booths. Afterwards we lounged by the pool, and in the evenings we reminisced about our childhood together, making new memories as we did so.
On Sunday Bob took our photo as we prepared to return to our homes...Cheryl in Massachusetts and Gail in Texas. It was a lovely weekend!


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Out With Friends

My friend Ellen and her husband Chuck moved to Florida a couple of years ago and, since we’re in the neighborhood, we made plans to get together yesterday.
And what a day we had! After oohing and ahhing over their lovely home set right on a lake, we were taken to the local weaving center in our friends’ development. This place has looms galore as well as classes for those who want to learn to weave. It was a major factor in Ellen’s choice to live here.
After a great lunch of Mexican food we headed over to Fort DeSoto where Auggie got to romp by the sea off leash and make new friends. The fort has a beautiful dog beach. Just look at him mugging for the camera.
It was a wonderful day and we plan on returning to visit next time we are in the area. Thanks Ellen and Chuck!!

For the next few days I’ll be hanging with my sisters for a Sisters’ Weekend. Good times!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Keys to the Kingdom Tour

The tour we took on Monday was the cherry on the sundae for us, and even Bob, who has been to Walt Disney World many times, was wowed by it. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom an hour before the park opened and were amazed that other people were there already even though no rides were running and shops were still closed.
Our tour guide, Emilia, was very engaging and kept us interested the whole five hours.
We came away very impressed with the details built into this park. For example, in Liberty Square there is a path down the center of the walkway that indicates the trench where the townsfolk would toss the contents of their chamberpots.
This Liberty Bell is made from the same mold as the original bell (in Philadelphia.)
The Haunted Mansion ride looks so different outside from the one in Disneyland because it is set in Liberty Square while in Disneyland it is found in New Orleans Square, each building fitting into the architecture of the region.
We went backstage (sorry, no photos were allowed!) to see what was behind and under the attractions. There is a tunnel system under the streets of WDW where the cast members (there are no “employees” of WDW, only “cast members”) move from one area to another, get dressed, eat lunch, and move supplies and trash. The tunnels were actually built first, then the park was built on top.

Some other facts we learned:
The Beast’s Castle Is about 10 feet tall, to give the illusion that it is far off in the distance.
The boats on the Jungle Cruise are on a track and the boat captains only control the speed.
There are drivers inside the floats that parade down Main Street.
There is a suite of rooms inside Cinderella’s Castle that are only used by V.I.P.s and contest winners, and very few people (including cast members) are allowed to even visit those rooms.
The Magic Kingdom is designed to be like a theater production. The signs on the shop windows are the credits, there are scene changes when you walk from one land to another where suddenly you no longer hear the music from the land you have left behind. Trees and buildings block the other lands so you won’t see Cinderella’s Castle in Tomorrowland, for example.

If you ever have the chance to take this tour, do it! It’s well worth it!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

On Friday we visited the Animal Kingdom. What a fun park!



We started out by taking the Kilimanjaro Safari, seeing lots of animals (real this time, not animatronic like at the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise.)

We wandered around the world of Pandora and saw amazing sights. So well done. The scale of these scenes is so huge that photos don’t do them justice. Our ride on Avarar Flight of Passage was an intense virtual reality ride that you have to see to believe. Even though I don’t think any ride is worth a 2 hour wait, apparently many people thought it was worth it. We used our second Fast Pass of the day to ride on it.

Disney has outdone itself in creating little worlds within this park.
When we saw the Expedition Everest rider decided to pass on it, even though we could have skipped the lines. If you look closely you can see the line of roller coaster rides making their ascent. And what goes up, must come down. Nope. Not for us.

A very fun day.

Hollywood Studios


On Saturday we went to Hollywood Studios which was somewhat of a letdown after the other three parks. There really wasn’t much there for us. It seemed to be mainly shopping (really, how much Disney stuff do you need?) and restaurants, with rides thrown in. We had passes to Star Tours which was a big disappointment after Soarin’ and Avatar rides. Very short and far too much build-up for what the ride was. But it was a lovely day, I’m glad we saw the park, and Auggie was glad we returned earlier than usual!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Epcot

I really liked this park.
The Flower and Garden Show was going on and the displays were amazing.



I was entranced by the different country exhibits.





It was a very hot day, however, and even though the flower displays held up, we started to wilt. We had Fast Passes to Soarin’ Around the World which we really enjoyed although we almost missed it. Had we arrived even one minute later we would have lost our Fast Pass, and there was almost a 2 hour wait without one. This was a great ride. Disney seems to be using virtual reality rides a lot, and I for one am a fan. They are thrilling without feeling dangerous.

Between our ride, however, and our dinner reservation, we had six hours to kill. We left the park and rode on the Monorail before returning.
View of the entrance to the park from the Monorail.
Finally, we decided to walk over to the Coral Reef Restauraunt and ask if we could move our reservation up. And they were happy to do that! Probably the fact that 4:30 is not an ideal dining time for most people made it easier for them to fit us in!
Our table overlooked the giant fish tank, with sharks, skates, and stingrays swimming past us. The food was excellent, too. There was exactly ONE vegan entree, a Tempura Cauliflower dish with baby potatoes, soy sausage crumble, and baby spinach and it was yummy. Bob had the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese and enjoyed it as well.