Monday, August 20, 2018

The Tale of the Car

Happy 36th Anniversary to Us!

That means it's time for another wedding story. Since this year we started our morning by taking the van into the repair shop, I figured it would be appropriate to share the adventures we had with our car that first day of marriage.*

As you probably know, some people think it's fun to decorate the newlyweds' car. Wayne's not one of those people, and so rather than parking our car at the reception, and making it an easy target for a prank, he made arrangements to leave it in the driveway of one of my neighbors. When it was time to leave, someone drove us over.

Imagine his surprise (and mine) when this is what we discovered!

He wasn't very happy; fortunately, the fact that they left a bottle of sparkling cider mollified him a bit. Personally, I thought it was tastefully done and didn't really mind it, or at least I'm able to convince myself that it's a sign someone loves you. Although I'm not positive I'm remembering correctly (36 years is a long time!), I'm pretty sure we can credit his two younger brothers for this surprise.

Anyway, because of the toothpaste on the car, the first order of business the next day was to take it to a car wash. Isn't that a great memory for the start of a honeymoon?

*I was originally going to make a list of memories from past anniversaries, and maybe I still will, but that's taking more time than I thought it should. Last year I was going to just spotlight every 5th anniversary, and never got around to finishing that task. Looks like something needs to be added to my "finishers wanted" list!

Anniversary Staycation

Earlier this year Wayne decided he wanted to celebrate our anniversary at the Waldorf-Astoria in Boca Raton, otherwise known as the Boca Raton Resort and Club. Fortunately our anniversary is during the low season and we were able to find a decent (comparatively speaking) rate the weekend before our actual anniversary. It was kind of nice being to anticipate our little trip for several months, and we had a wonderful time when the day finally came. It may have been "low season" but it was still an absolutely gorgeous couple of days.

Our spacious room was on the 12th floor of the tower, with spectacular views.

Looking down we had a view of the pool, to the left was the intercoastal with the ocean in the distance, and to the right was a view of the western horizon. Zooming in we could see the skyline of Fort Lauderdale and even Miami.

After unpacking we did some exploring, first of the grounds which had some gorgeous plants like the Kapok Tree and Hanging Lobster Claw, also known as Heliconia rostrata. We also decided we quite like the King Alexander Palm trees; they're tall and skinny (see top left in picture below).

Heliconia rostrata
At most normal hotels, the regular room rate is all you have to pay. This isn't a normal hotel, so we were also required to pay a resort charge. That included a couple of "welcome drinks" at the Monkey Bar, so we figured we ought to get one. We haven't seen 8 ounce Coke and Sprite bottles in years, if ever. Aren't they cute? Then we did some exploring inside the building and found some gorgeous floral arrangements along with several little shops and restaurants.

There were sculptures all over the place, with signs that they were for sale, but without actual prices. We figure that means they're super expensive. How much do you think the full-size "jetty baby" (lower right above) costs if the 19-inch miniatures (see below) have a price tag of $20,500 each?

There are thirteen restaurants on site, and all of them looked wonderful. However, for dinner we decided on The Blue and enjoyed delicious food and a fantastic view. We don't always order the same thing when we eat out, but this time we did - seafood chowder, grilled scallops and sorbet. 

Sunrises coming up over the ocean horizon are prettier than sunsets, but the sky still put on a great show for us. Once the sun was down, the night view was spectacular, and the next morning we woke up to another beautiful day. We live in a gorgeous world.

I discovered my new camera fogs up when going from a very cold building to a warm, humid patio, but even then I still think this picture looks cool.

However, if you're patient and let it warm up slowly first, you can get clear pictures inside and outside.

For breakfast we decided to try the Sea Grill Restaurant at the sister property, the Boca Beach Resort. The "resort charge" included the shuttle bus and/or shuttle boat, but we wanted breakfast before the boat opened at 10 AM so took the bus. Delicious breakfast and beautiful view!


More exploring! Then back to the beach for a quick swim, this time using the shuttle boat, Mizner's Dream.


After eating lunch at the Beaches Restaurant, another delicious, but expensive meal, it was time to head home. We enjoyed making some great memories and are looking forward to the next 36 years together.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Finishing a Goal

Over five years ago I noted that our pedigree fan chart needed to be redone because the ink was fading. It actually made it onto my New Year's Resolution list year, but was still on it at the end of the year. Since this is a great conversation starter in our home, and has actually been commented upon several times in the past few weeks, I figured it was finally time to make it legible once again. Monday I took it down, used rubbing alcohol to erase the fading ink, and then I spent some time over the next few days rewriting all the names. Today I was able to rehang it. It didn't take nearly as long to do as I had anticipated. That often happens, so why do I keep procrastinating?

Now I guess I'll need to add filling in the blanks to next year's New Year's Resolutions list!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Halloween in July?

Halloween in July?

Not really, but so that he could help with a Mutual activity, Wayne requested a "Where's Waldo?" costume. Fortunately, our closets are fairly well stocked, there was a bit of wiggle room in the "Miscellaneous" budget category, and I could schedule in some craft time, so that his wish was able to be granted. I really do enjoy creating things, and now there is an additional alternative when Halloween actually does come around.

It's a short-sleeved red shirt (actually on sale at the craft store!) instead of a long-sleeved one, but this is a costume and we live in Florida. I just used a foam brush to paint free-handed white stripes on it (front and back, but not sleeves).

I figured that was enough so that worn with jeans the youth would know he was to represent Waldo. However, he requested a beanie as well. I adapted this pattern, and although it's a bit on the big side - because I used a large needle so it would work up quickly - it works. Basically, just crochet a circle of half-double crochet stitches, increasing each round until the "cap part" is made, then crochet additional rows with the same number of stitches until the desired length is reached. I started with white and switched to red when it looked good. Top with a pompom and you're done.

Now he wants round-rimmed glasses! Anyone know where to get those?** 
Next he'll be wanting a cane!!

**Found a pair of "Harry Potter" glasses at Target that did the job.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Florida Trail - Segment 1

Driving across Alligator Alley and through Big Cypress National Preserve last Saturday brought back memories of an earlier trip there, spring break in 2007. For that vacation we spent time camping and canoeing in Everglades National Park, but before we drove home, we took advantage of being in the area and Wayne started his quest to hike the Florida Trail.

Checking websites today (2018), it looks like "segment one" is no longer the beginning. Maybe that will change again in the future. However, it was in 2007, and on March 21st, accompanied by Jeff and Steven, and his trusty green hat, Wayne completed the first 8 of 1400 miles.

Signing in!

The obligatory "here we go" photo for Mom

And they're off!

My job (and Michelle kept me company) was to drop them off at the beginning and meet them several hours later at the Oasis Visitor Center off of Highway 41. We were told it would be an 8 hour hike. It's a good thing we went directly there because it only took them 3 hours! Normally the trail is through a swamp and you're hiking in ankle to knee deep water. However, that particular year there wasn't even any mud! The rangers at the visitor center were quite surprised when they checked in at the end.

This adventure was started before this blog, but it was continued after. So far progress has been made four more times:

Segment 2 - Spring Break 2009

Segment 3 - Spring Break 2010

Segment 4 - Spring Break 2012

Segment 5 (No blog post yet - it must have been a busy summer that year!)

In case you're interested in hiking any of this trail, here are some online resources to explore:

The Florida Trail Association

Florida Hikes!

One person's experience

Monday, July 16, 2018

Remembering the Build-a-Bear Factory

Technically, I guess it was called the Basic Brown Bear Factory, but the concept was the same as today's current Build-a-Bear stores, and it was the destination for the 1st Grade field trip when we lived in California. I was reminded of those field trips during our Sunday evening phone calls when one of our sons mentioned their experience with the pay-your-age promotion fiasco this week.

He didn't remember building his own bear when he was six, but I found the proof. Hooray for pictures! They also showed that some of my memories were not quite correct, but I have my story straight now.

I knew I had a picture of Jeff with baby Michelle and a teddy bear, but it wasn't Jeff's bear, it was Brad's. I didn't chaperone his field trip because I had a month old baby. However, two years later, I did chaperone Jeff's field trip, and it was a fun one.

Working the "stuffing" and "blow-drying" machines

Note: If the internet can be believed, Build-a-Bear was started in 1997 by a former employee of Basic Brown Bear. The original store near San Francisco couldn't compete with the growing mall chain and went out of business about ten years ago. So sad.