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There's No Place Like Home!

I have a dear friend, Jeri, who has offered her beautiful home in Naples to us several times.

This trip, we took her up on it and were fed like kings and generally...spoiled rotten. 

Her house is beautiful but I didn't get any pictures of the inside...or of Jim. But the pix above and the one below are of her gorgeous back yard.

Jim - her hubby - and Jeri both are great cooks and wow! did we eat there. I gained 5 pounds in Florida (amazed that's all it was) and think most of that came from Jeri and Jim's kitchen.

I didn't go out much in Naples, but totally enjoyed staying with them and just visiting with my friend.

Then it was across the Skyway Bridge

and off to St. Pete Beach

where I fell in love.

We used to have a little boat that we could putter around the islands in when we lived in Cape Coral

and NOTHING, NOWHERE beats the waters of SouthWest Florida...

but St Pete was also an area we did some boating in while we lived in Tampa...and it runs a close second.

We booked our room online the day before we headed to St Pete and had no idea of what we'd find but what a gem!

This motel was on the bay but they owned another property across the street on the beach and we were welcomed to use the facilities at both.

So for another three glorious days...we enjoyed St Pete Beach and our huge, fully equipped, perfectly clean, one bedroom apartment...

follow that bird

to the beach !

The hallway above led back to our private little world...

Standing outside our door.

This was taken from the living room window.

We got to meet Trish and Davida for lunch at Guppies in Indian Rocks Beach up the coast and LOved visiting with them...

Here's to great friends!
Since I had forced myself to take off my bathing suit for lunch, we did a teeny bit of shopping.

Actually, I don't think we would have stopped if Jerry hadn't seen the alligators...

They don't call him Gator Geezer for nuthin!

And then it was through Tampa with a quick stop at Mellow Mushroom for the best pizza in the world...

We were lucky to see Rocky - who is a Tampa icon. He dances around this area daily (USF) and delights everyone who sees him with his moves. 

We headed inland to stay with my brother and his family for the night in Orlando - love you Pages! - and then back to Fort Lauderdale to arrange weight in our two suitcases and prepare for the flight home.

It was a lovely trip and I totally enjoyed it, but it IS good to be home...

picture taken on the road from Cartagena to Barranquilla


I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends...

Okey Doke...

This is a continuation of our USA trip last week for anyone interested. :)

Really...I have almost 30K pictures in my photo program so...my blog is to help ME remember what, when and where.

We left Fort Myers Beach


and headed over to visit friends 

Lisa, Steve, Laurie, Pete, Stephanie, Jerry and me.

where Jerry used to work in grounds and maintenance at Lexington Country Club. Actually that picture was taken at a new restaurant/bar that the Lexington crowd likes to frequent.

As always, Laurie, his old boss, (in the white shirt) had the golf course in prime condition and the grounds looked spectacular. She gets standing ovations when she walks by the club house from the appreciative members and residents. 

Then it was off to Cape Coral 

to stay with my dear, crazy, funny, artist friend, Vicky and her hubby, Chris.  

She delivers for Edible Bouquets and her boss-lady sent one home with her for us to enjoy. And it was delicious!

Thank you very much Boss Lady!

We totally relaxed for three days and loved seeing her and her family!

Jerry and I visited Karen and Dennis on Friday and although it was short and sweet...it was a good visit. Jim and Ronnie also stopped by to say hi while we were there. Karen's been going through chemo so we didn't stay long. Thank God she's doing very well. 

I also stopped in to see my lovable mentor, Carol, who is a fabulous fiber artist and has just helped her daughter begin a new business called Kids Quilt Too! Check them out at...http://www.kidsquilttoo.org/

While I was visiting Carol, (her hubby had a boat charter and wasn't home) Jerry went to see his old buddy Bob - 

our old house

who lives down the street from our old house.


Guess what we did on Saturday morning?!?

Yep!!! Chris, Vicky, Jerry and I went to yard sales!!!


It was SO hard not to buy everything I saw.

Spirit Airlines reduced the limit for suitcases to 40 pounds...where it used to be hard enough at 50. So, I had to really watch what I purchased.

But I did get those angel wings that are on the Janice art doll from my last post. Actually, those wings are what got me started making them...because they needed a place to live.

I also bought lots of books. I love books and they just can't be bought here in Colombia. Well...in English at least. To order them from Amazon or where-ever costs an arm and a leg for shipping so it's a high priority item when I go to the States now.

And yard sales are a great place to buy them. :)

Jerry had an army back pack as his personal item. (Carry-ons now cost $20 if you register ahead, $30 if you don't). So, since there isn't a weight limit on the personal item thing - just needs to fit under the plane seat - we were able to pack it with about 20 books.

Woo Hoo!

Thank you Jerry. 

It was not an easy thing to tote around the airport. 

On Sunday afternoon, after a lovely brunch at Vicky's, we headed to Naples.

But more later...

It's Easter Sunday and I have company coming.

Happy Easter Ya'all!



The Page Sisters - Art Dolls Extraordinaire

I made Art Dolls yesterday!

These are the Page sisters, of which I am one.

The annie! doll's tag says... 

annie! always LoVeD a parade and would dress festively and then proudly wave the flag for all the world to see!

The Sandy doll's tag says...

Sometimes Sandy’s left foot would swell – due to her sedentary job…but she didn’t let that stop her from enjoying life and always dressing for success. It was just a little harder sometimes to find shoes that fit.

The Janice doll's tag says...

Janice was always willing to share her heart with everyone. It was too big for this earth – so she’s in heaven now. I miss her but she’s Very happy now.

 Oh what fun they were to make!!!

We Got Our Visas!

Jerry and I returned from the United States of America

- which I miss more than ever - 

last Monday after two weeks of buzzing around the state of Florida.

We had to go back to get our Visas so we could live legally in Colombia. 

The consulate does NOT make it easy, but with the help of my wonderful son-in-law, Pedro, a FANtastic business called Docurapid and Monica - who is most excellent at her job, we were issued our Visas the same day we applied!

We were told it could take 3-5 days but after waiting three weeks last year, and not being able to find much information ahead of time, we didn't really know how long to expect it to take to get the Visas, so I booked our flights for us to stay 2 weeks. 

And then did a lot of praying.

We flew out of Cartagena on Monday, which is about an hour and a half from the house, but much cheaper flights - so - worth the drive.

Our 'bus' driver was efficient and courteous and safe and we had a nice ride with two nuns in the seat in front of us. It was kind of cute to see them both take off their glasses before I snapped their pictures.

We talked to them the whole way - off and on - but neither spoke the others language so I didn't learn much about them.

I was scrapbooking (but that's another post) for the first time in my life, sort of, and just enjoyed the ride.

Jerry's like...is that camera in my face again...

We drove along the beautiful coastline - along the Caribbean - where I took just a couple pix...

This is the other side of the road - mountains in the background...

 These houses

Were next door to these condos

But, that's Cartagena.

And here's part of Cartagena from the air...

I think we're seeing Bocagrande in these pix...

So anyway, we flew in on Monday 

Jerry waiting for his bags to be searched (for the third time) (in Colombia).

and were greeted in the States - as always - with one of my favorite signs...

We visited the Consulate on Tuesday -

I took these pix from the upstairs balcony.
which is located in gorgeous downtown Coral Gables...

and were headed out of Miami that very same afternoon. 

Thank you Monica!

I noticed this trip that what people say about Miami is true. I didn't feel like I was out of Colombia until we left Coral Gables. 

We hit up the WalMart the first night we arrived for toothpaste and stuff (mainly Hershey nuggets) and everyone was speaking Spanish...even the cashiers. Same in the restaurants, somewhat in the hotel, gas stations, signs, billboards. It was amazing.

With no plan in mind for the next two days we headed over to the West coast...where we lived for those ten glorious years...and stayed on Fort Myers Beach for a couple nights. 

It was impromptu because we really thought we'd still be in Miami but we drove across - confident that we'd find a place to sleep.

We didn't know that the high schools were on Spring Break 

and every hotel on the beach that we stopped at said they only had one room left and it was gonna be $200 for the night. 

After five tries, we found the Shipwreck Motel across the street from the beach at the foot of the bridge.

 It doesn't look like much from the view above...

but tucked away behind the store...what an AWEsome place! 

excuse the mess please
I was delighted with our room - which included a kitchenette. (We didn't want it or need it, but it was nice to have).

It was clean, decorated with that beachy theme and oh so cute!

The staff was friendly, the pool pristine and I highly recommend it.

The next morning we walked on the beach before the crowd woke up...

I've never seen Times Square empty!

After lounging on the dock out back of the motel

we took a ride on the beach trolley and hopped off at the library to use the computer.

No phone, no computer with us.


After walking most of the way back and visiting this really cool gift shop...

we got to see - and have dinner (yum yum Greek salad) with - our friend, Joni,

who has a booming business on the beach where she sells her awesome painted creations. 

I'm SO happy to see you doing SO well Joni! 

I think it's totally cool that I was one of the first people who saw Joni's work back when she first started. She, Karen, Joan and I used to get together to paint. I always knew she had a great gift and it's proving to be just that.

After another restful, happy night, we headed to Fort Myers to meet friends but that's another post.