After this blog you won't have to hear any more about our time in Florida but it's such an awesomely cool, beautiful place that I don't know why you wouldn't want to. Hear about it that is.
When we left Tampa Bay we headed south to Paradise. I LOVE SW Florida more than all the rest of it put together. They call it Paradise with good reason. Even the slums are beautiful in their own way.
Cape Coral has over 400 miles of canals - more than Venice. About half of those canals lead out to the Gulf of Mexico and some of the most beautiful barrier islands in the world.
I miss our little boat trips SO much. But I have hundreds of memories of boating that I will cherish forever.
When we moved here to Colombia, we gave our boat to Bear and Winge - who now use it on the lakes around Manhattan, Kansas. We got to see it last week while we visited.
But I digress.
We stopped at Houlihan's and met some friends for dinner. I love their Chicken Chop Chop. The time went by way too fast but I'm so happy that Carol & Carl, Jeri & Jim, Karen & Dennis, Joni, and Joyce all took time to visit with us.
Here's a pix with Karen, Joni and I. They're both artists too. Actually all of the women present were.
Joni has a great shop on Fort Myers Beach where she sells her paintings of local scenes. Go visit when you get a chance. It's across the street, diagonally from McDonalds right after you cross the bridge.
We stayed with Vickie and Chris in their new home in the Cape and totally relaxed. They've just moved so Vickie was ready for a day to chill which is just what we did. After all the running I'd done for the past couple weeks I was ready too.
Vickie is an artist who paints and is dabbling with mixed media and sells her work mostly on Pine Island and a couple shops in Cape Coral. She is extremely talented!
All of my friends are. :)
One of my favorite paintings of hers is of three classy, nude women sitting around a table drinking coffee. Or maybe it was wine. The ladies have on their makeup, hats, shoes, stockings and jewelry - but nothing else -and you can tell they're having a little gossip session and telling secrets. It's marvelous and sold before I had a chance to snap a picture or I'd show you here.
Vickie's house makes me want to live there. She has vignettes set up that make you want to come in and spend some time.
The picture of the toucan, the Blood Lite sign and the furniture were all painted by her.
Her house reminds me of the Emporium mentioned in my last blog. I love it. The colors - the antiques and retro mix - are perfect.
And it's perfectly comfy.
That's their 821 pound doggie.
I'm not exaggerating too much there.
He, and yes his name is Sweet, and yes he is, fell in love with Jerry and they cuddled on the sofa the whole time we were there.
Jerry had no choice in the matter.
But the feeling was reciprocal.
After two nights there we hit the road again headed for our plane ride to Kansas City. We drove thru Alligator Alley and while I was sad to be leaving behind my awesome friends, I was getting really psyched about seeing my son, Bear and his wife - who is
Here's a cool picture I shot from the plane of what I think are sugar cane fields on the edge of the Everglades.
We arrived just after midnight to two happy kids and two tired parents! The first thing I saw when Bear took our stuff to our room was his gear...
It gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach but I will continue to believe that he will thrive in the Army. He's being deployed to Iraq for the second time next month and it's - oh - so - hard - to think about. I'll ask all of you again to pray for him - to pray for peace.
But in spite of deployment we had a great week.
Jerry and I got up early and looked for yard sales and I found books and clothes for Sophia, more junk jewelry and I don't remember what else but it was a satisfying morning.
There was a great Farmer's Market downtown old Manhattan where we picked up the BEST gingerbread cookies in the world. I'd make that a regular stop if we lived there.
Actually, it's a really lovely town. It's nestled in the Flint Hills (yeah - hills in Kansas - I know) and many of the buildings are made of limestone which I think they dig out of them thar hills. They're breathtakingly beautiful.
The kids had a birthday party to attend that night so Jerry and I got to hang out and chillax in front of the big screen tv. They have netflix so we had our choice of hundreds of movies to watch.
(I prefer to think of them as bull horns).
On Sunday, 10-10-10, we went on a hayride at the pumpkin patch where we each picked our own little pumpkin!
But to get to the patch, we had to go through the corn maze. We got smart real fast (actually it was after getting lost a couple times) and stayed at the rear of our little group so they could be the ones to make all the wrong turns.
But we made it out. And conquered four little punkins to boot.
They had a 'corn cannon' which we all took turns shooting. Winge and the boys did pretty good, but I was, of course, the best shot.
After holding our noses past the petting zoo and dust dogs (the wind was blowing lots of chaff and dust around where they were cooking hot dogs on a grill), we headed home and had a wonderful time watching tv and eating spaghetti.
The next day we carved pumpkins. I hadn't done that since I was a teenager. (Mine is supposed to be a vine with flowers). And yes, the kids bought an extra big one.
Are they cute or what?!?
I won't tell you what Bear named them even though it's funny - but a little disgusting.
Winge and I made a collaborative piece out of stuff I'd collected on the trip...
It's the beginning of a book that she'll work on while Bear is away in Iraq.
We ate out and shopped a lot, and just familied together. It was wonderful.
I want to go back.