Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas and Kayaking

Thank you for your kind comments of my son, Tristan's, singing.  He does have a website:  If you would like to purchase his music, you can pay whatever you want for whatever you want.  Since he's 26, he doesn't always make my kind of music, but my favorite is called Oceans.  The train song, "Come With Me" was written in 2 days.  We won't find out if he wins until January 4.  (They must have to count all the votes by hand).  Anyway, we're proud of him.

I have waited until today to mention that Tuesday, the 4th, one day after we listed it, we had an offer on the house.  We are still negotiating, but hope we can tell you good news soon. 

Meanwhile we are getting ready for Christmas and planning our trip to North Carolina next week.  Like Howard and Linda, whom some of you might know, we are getting very brave.  We haven't made one reservation along the way to Texas when we leave on the 29th from Florida.  Mainly because we are trying to get there earlier than planned, and we don't know what the weather will be like.  Of course, our main concern is how long Gary wants to drive each day.  If there's not too much traffic, I might do some driving too.  We'll let you know how that pans out.

About two years ago, we got a gift card for Bonefish Grill, a terrific seafood restaurant chain.  We used some of it, but still had $40 left on it.  We checked and it was still useful, so we decided to try a Tuesday night, traditionally not a busy night.  Well we arrived a little early for us (6:15) and only had to wait about 10 minutes.  But the place was jammed.  Service was good, and we got soup, salad and two appetizers including tip for exactly $40!  [I love free food]  We then walked around the mall to work off some of those calories.  It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas, but it's 80 degrees.  That's OK with me.

While I had been cleaning the roof of the house last week, a dear neighbor of ours yelled up to me about coming over for drinks on the 14th.  I yelled back yes and we arrived on time at her house last Friday evening.  This has been a tradition for her every year, but the Christmas before we left, she mentioned that it would be her last.  However, something changed her mind, and we saw her old friends and caught up with her daughter, Noreen, and her three wonderful grandsons.   Thanks, Kathy!

This past Saturday was our Christmas day with our 6 grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law in St. Pete.  It started in Tampa and her husband's office where we needed a photo shoot of Michelle in an office setting for her website.  That took a couple hours, then Michelle and I ran to Publix for food and subs for lunch.  After lunch the kids opened their presents and were totally wowed.  I still can't tell you what they are becuase Christmas for all our family isn't over till Christmas, so you'll have to wait a little longer.  It was the first ever Christmas that we didn't have a huge turkey spread and tons of chaos.  It was perfect.  Low key, relaxed and the kids loved their gifts.  What more could you ask for?

Graham painting his pirate ship supervised by Henry

Today was another great day.  We had made plans with Terri and John Shea to go kayaking at the Robinson Preserve in Bradenton.  This is a 487-acre preserve undergoing a huge restoration process that is nearly finished. To date, numerous exotic invasive plants have been removed, effectively opening up the land for native plants. The preserve's new waterway system will help restore the tidal flow within the coastal habitats.

Robinson Preserve also features numerous recreational opportunities. Low-impact environmental activities include hiking and biking trails and canoe/kayak launches. Additional amenities include observation towers and platforms, picnic areas, and a visitors center.

A kind gentlement snapped our photo before our launch.

Most of the 3 hours [5 mile trip] was on open water, but at the end of the waterway, just through some mangroves, we came to Palma Sola Bay.

We had the wind at our back on our return trip, fortunately.  Mullet were jumping out of the water all around us, with roseate spoonbills, storks, osprey, hawks, egrets and ibis everywhere.  There were also bike-riders, rollerbladers, and dogwalkers along the paved paths and bridges.  Many people asked about our inflatable kayaks by SeaEagle.  That opened up a conversation between John and us about three years ago on the Myakka River on our maiden voyage in our SeaEagle.  We met on the river (among many alligators) when he asked about our boat, and that he wanted to get one, too.  I mentioned that we had heard about it on a blog, RV Dreams, and he had read that blog, too!  Were he and his wife, Terri going to the RV Dreams rally in South Carolina in the spring?  Yes!  Well, we saw them there just one week after we began full timing.  And we make it a point to get together to paddle when we're in Florida. 

At the take out, we had boat racks and a water hose to clean up our boats, we deflated them, tossed them in our vehicles and drove over to Panera for a relaxing lunch.  John and Terri are so excited to full-time, but are getting their ducks in a row, but it won't be long now.  I know we'll see them again and again. 

What another great day in the good life!


  1. Great post! Sounds like you've had quite an exciting December :)

    Have a safe trip to NC and Merry Christmas!

  2. Yep, you two are sure staying busy!! We're keeping toes and fingers crossed for successful negotiations:o))

    What a wonderful kayak trip. Nice to see the four of you out and enjoying this good life!!

    Safe Travels and Happy Trails.... Merry Christmas!!!