Monday, February 22, 2010

Birds and boats

It was nice enough yesterday that we went to Ponce de Leon park for a few hours in the sun.  We did find that flying bugs are annoying, whether in Maine or Florida.  It is the time for "blind mosquitoes" as Mr. Bill calls them.  They are larger than black flies but just about as abundant.  One good thing about them...they don't bite. We sat near the seagrape bushes and the bugs were pretty thick.  While Mr. Bill spent some time on his beach towel, I moved onto the grass, thinking they would be less bothersome.  Wrong!  From there I moved to the edge of the sand, near the water.  There was enough of a breeze that they didn't bother me much after that.

We were able to enjoy three hours in the sun...reading, listening to our iTouches and just chillin'.  Mostly, it was nice to be in the sun and warm.  The park is located at the end of a canal which empties into Charlotte Harbor and yesterday boats were constantly going in and out.  Mr. Bill got photos of two of the nicer, larger boats.  Keep in mind that these boats are parked basically in the backyard of the owners because all the properties in this area back up to a canal and the properties are at least as nice as the boats.



And, a couple of bird photos because there are some funny birds around here and posts are more fun with pictures.
Not very attractive; I think it looks like a white vulture.

 (this one's for you, Greg)  Pelican

Remember this pretty bird from an earlier post?  Here's a group of friends.  I think it is a kind of tern but I'll find out for sure one of these days.  

We finished the day at the shelter.  We were the only two there and  tried to get all the dogs out for a short walk before the shelter closed at 5. 

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Sunday, February 21, 2010


Yesterday we spent the day at the North Port Feed Supply Country Market with our favorite dog from the shelter, Cheyenne.  We took her there to introduce the shelter to those not familiar with it, raise a little money for the shelter and maybe interest someone in rescuing a shelter dog.  We did not go in an attempt to get any particular dog adopted. 

She is such a great dog and I wondered how she ended up at the shelter.  She is seven years old, housebroken, crate trained, walks nicely on a leash and knows some commands.  How could anyone give up such a good dog.  As it turns out, her family moved and could not take her with them.  I like to think they were heart broken, I know I would have been.  

It was billed as a farmer's market but actually, rather than vegetables and such they had vendors with crafts, chickens, rabbits, goats and other assorted farm items.  They did have some vendors with hamburgers (which we didn't eat) and hot dogs (which were very yummy) and there was a live band.  The best of all, it was outside and the weather had warmed up; the sun actually came out.  

Another volunteer had taken a 1 1/2 year old Akita mix named Apollo.  I thought it was going to be an interesting day because Apollo can be quite a handful.  However, both dogs were very well behaved (except when Apollo peed on our cooler).  They were good with kids and uninterested in the farm animals, even the fowl.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting a chance to spend four hours with Cheyenne.

It's all Bill's fault!  He discovered her first.  I let him take any questionable dogs first, then giving me an idea of how they are on a leash.  I don't have any interest in being dragged off my feet by some big bully that doesn't behave well when outside.  Cheyenne would run from one side of her kennel to the other, acting wild.  She had a little sign on her kennel, drawn by a child, telling everyone that she acted wild inside but she is very mild mannered.  She is, in fact, perfect.  She never pulls unless she really has to go to the bathroom and enjoys sitting with you, just being loved.  She has a beautiful, expressive face.  We had started a routine of each walking four or five dogs in an hour and when one of us brought her out, we knew we were done.  We would sit together with her and give her some extra love and attention.  She liked to crawl up onto our laps and give us kisses.  It was hard to take her in when we needed to leave and sometimes I would ask for 5 more minutes...pleeeeeeese

We had her back to the shelter by 3ish, unloaded the crates, boxes, table and chairs that had been taken in two vehicles.  When we left we noticed a couple and their two children playing with Cheyenne in the fenced area where people can get to know a dog before they take one home.

When we went this afternoon, the first thing I did was check her was empty and her little sign was gone.  She went home with yesterday's family and the shelter staff said they were a good family.  I hope they have a big yard where she can roll around and scratch her back, which she loves.  I hope they give her a big, soft bed where she can spread out and soak up some sun.  I hope they take her for nice, long walks  so she can stay in good shape.  She was heavy when she arrived at the shelter but had lost weight and was nice and thin.  I hope they give her as much love as she would have had with us.

It's not a very good photo of me.  (I didn't know Bill was taking the picture but he says I should have known because I was looking right at him.   In my defense, he was pointing the camera in my direction but I thought he was playing around with the camera, trying to get everything just right and he would let me know when he was ready.) It doesn't really matter, this is the only photo of me and Cheyenne so it will do just fine.

Bittersweet...pleasure alloyed with pain  We are both happy that after 2 1/2 months, Cheyenne has found a new home.  I'm especially sad that it isn't with us.  

I promise to do my best not to fall in love with another shelter dog; at least not until we can actually have a dog.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Scary doll

When we visited the Old Opera House antique store and museum I found this little beauty scary doll.  This is a face that would scare the bejesus out of a small child if you ask me.  I'm sure it was lovingly made by someone but it looks like they sewed her face on in the dark.  Now that I think about it, it looks like she scared herself silly when she looked in the mirror. 


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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Arcadia, FL

Yesterday we drove 45 minutes in an Easterly direction to Arcadia.  We took the trip to drop off the blankets and toys we made for the little doggies.  Originally, we were going to turn them in on Saturday in Port Charlotte, but we are taking a dog to the North Port farmer's market instead.  We hope to take Cheyenne, our favorite dog, unless she gets adopted between now and then.  That would make us happy  ;o) and sad :o( at the same time.

Arcadia was heavily damaged during Hurricane Charley.  We had driven by there a few years ago on our way to Orlando.  We didn't see much reason to stop at the time as Bill was determined that we were going to eat breakfast at a Waffle House!  Just in case you are thinking the same...between Port Charlotte and Orlando, going Rt. 17 rather than the highway...there is NO Waffle House.  not any,zero, nada, zilch, none  We finally ate LUNCH in Winter Haven and it was not at a Waffle House.

After dropping off our donations, we parked and did some walking around the downtown area.  Either they did a marvelous job of rebuilding after the hurricane or there wasn't much damage to this area.  

Apparently, the best way to make a living in this area is to operate an antique store.  There must have been a dozen of them.  We did some window shopping (not much sense buying stuff we have to pack up and move home). We found this cute guy in front of, what else, a book store.


  This one makes me laugh because of the sign behind him.  The only reason you can read it is because he's open, too.

We did go into the Old Opera House and museum and were glad we did.

(nice photo Mr. Bill)

This building was built in 1906, used as an opera house, then a movie theater and now is an antique store and museum.  I found a lot of nice vintage fabric and a cool quilt all with reasonable prices but kept control of myself and left empty handed.

As you can see, there was a lot of stuff in this place and there were many, many rooms stuffed with stuff.


Across the street was an old movie theater and it's PINK!  I like the broken reflections in the windows.  I think it would make a cool art quilt.

and, I missed this little guy completely.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We're going to Disney World

Have you heard about "Give a day, Get a Disney day"?  Basically, you volunteer your time and Disney gives you a free ticket.  There are dozens of volunteer possibilities.  We are all about the animal shelter right now and decided that we would make doggie blankets and toys as our contribution.  

I purchased the seven yards of fleece on Friday and started cutting later in the day.  I cut strips, which Bill braided into toys using three different fabrics; one was a fish print, one was blue and one was yellow. (yeah, I know, I should have used a dog print but they didn't have any good ones with coordinating fabrics.)  My blankets required two pieces of fabric that were tied together on three sides with the final side being left open so that the little doggie can climb inside and snuggle if so desired.  Each blanket was only 1/2 yard of fabric...18x44 inches (approximately) so the dog has to be fairly small.  The shelter we were making them for only works with small breeds.  I could make them using a full yard on each side and it could be used by a larger dog although I think I would tie all sides rather than leaving one open.  The blankets all had a floral fabric on one side, two of them had yellow on the other side and two of them had pink.

We ended up with 4 blankets, 13 large toys and 27 small toys.  I did keep one of the small ones for our granddog...Ginger. 


We will get a voucher by email which we need to print for our free Disney day.  We did not bring a printer so hopefully we can go to the library and print them off there.  If not, we will have to go to plan B, which we don't have yet.   We should have plenty of time because I'm not going to Disney until it Warms Up.!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

HA! You CAN teach an old dog new tricks

Bill and I are making dog blankets and toys in order to earn two free tickets to Disney.  They are made of fleece, which I was able to get at Jo-ann fabrics today for 50% off.  I had to buy seven yards in order to make four blankets and 25 to 30 braids.
These are two of the fabrics used to make a blanket.  The picture is a little out of focus but the flower fabric is pretty fuzzy and looks a little blurry anyway.

Three fabrics are used for the braided toys.  Here are the three fabrics cut into 3" strips.

 Bill had no idea how to braid but he was willing to learn and turned out 6 toys in about an hour.  Yeah Bill; you learned a new trick.
He has about 30 more to make. I only have four blankets but they take a lot longer than each toy to complete.  
Here is our first night's production...
 This says it all and so it is.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Damn Thief!!!

Well, my day has been completely ruined.  I decided to check my SIS account to see whether or not a particular check had been cashed.  What I found was over $700 in charges to my account by some thieving bastard in CT.  Apparently the Stop & Shop is an easy target as 6 of the charges were to two different stores, each time for over $100.  I immediately put a block on my card, which means that I no longer have a debit card and will have to go back to cashing checks.  Thankfully, I have some checks with me.  I also called both of the stores involved and talked to the managers.  They will check tomorrow to see if they can get me any information.

What a pain in the butt.  I did not lose my card; I am sitting here looking at it.  Somehow my number was stolen and I have no idea how that happened.  It really pisses me off.  I don't usually ever check my account and I can't imagine how much they would have stolen over the next few days.  I guess the Universe was kind of watching out for me.

I was going to create a nice post with some new eagle photos but now I'm just not interested, sorry.  Tomorrow I will be buying flannel for the dog toys and blankets, at 50% off.  That's right after I talk to SIS, as well as the new ID theft program I signed up for last week.  Kind of odd that I didn't have any ID theft until after I signed up with an ID theft program...hmmmm  Bill is going to be braiding flannel for dog toys and I'll be tying knots along the fabric edges to make blankets (not the same piece of fabric, obviously).  I think it's kind of like the scarf Wendy made a few years ago. 

Because no post is complete without a picture, this is one of the plants blooming in the courtyard where we sometimes have coffee.

and this is a fountain we pass walking from the farmer's market to the coffee house 
The pictures aren't anything special; just little snippets of what it's like where we are.

Not sure how well I will sleep tonight but I know I have done everything I can about my card at this point and I know that the bastards can't use it to get anything more.  I hope what they end up getting is some jail time but I'm not terribly hopeful about that.  

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Peace River Wildlife Center

Two posts in one day!  It was quite cool today; we didn't do much today other than the usual...shelter, McD for a salad, walk along the river, coffee sitting on a swing by the river, SUPERBOWL.  I don't usually get excited about the Superbowl but I'm really glad that the Saints won.  Enough Payton Manning, time to move over.

Yesterday we went to the Ponce de Leon park to watch the Charlotte Harbor Regatta.  It was extremely windy and several of the boats were damaged due to the high winds.  We didn't see many sailboats but we did stop in and visit the wildlife center.  The birds there are being rehabilitated, if possible, but some of them stay there forever.  Many of them have wing damage due to fishing lines and some of them are missing a wing.  There are vultures and eagles, as well as different kinds of shore birds.  One of the areas is fenced in but is open on the top so that uninjured birds can fly in and out at will.  A large number of turkey vultures roost in the trees at night.

Here are a couple of photos taken by Mr. Bill...

(Snowy Egret?)
(wild birds stopping by for a visit)

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My "bright light"

For Christmas, Mr. Bill gave me a bendable "bright light".  It is a small light that attaches to the sewing machine and can be bent to shine on different areas of the sewing table.  Although I opened it at Christmas, I didn't put it in service.  Instead, I packed it up and brought it to Florida with me.  When I finally got the sweatshop set up, I unpacked it, plugged it in and...uh oh, it didn't work.  What?  How can that be?

He had ordered it from a website that I told him about - Patsy Thompson Designs.  Greg and Vanessa gave me some videos from this site a couple of years ago (or maybe last year).  It is a beautiful site, lots of eye candy and ideas that she willingly shares.  I sent her an email explaining the problem.  She responded very promptly letting me know that she would send me a new light which arrived in record time.  She asked me to use the priority box to return the defective light and she even refunded me the postage.  I have to say, she provided superior customer service and I would recommend her site and on-line store to anyone and everyone.  In this day and age, it is unusual that any business prides itself on providing customer service, it is more about the bottom it or shop elsewhere.  Patsy Thompson delivers!  

Here is my "bright light" in action with a section of the blooming 9-patch under the needle.  I'm wondering how I ever got any sewing done without it.  
Thank you Mr. Bill and thank you, Patsy Thompson.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

A beach day

Today was definitely NOT a beach day.  It was cloudy this morning with rain predicted.  Mr. Bill wanted to visit a cigar shop in Tampa so we decided it was a good day to take a ride.  It wasn't raining when we left but it was extremely windy.  We took Rt. 75 north following directions provided by the TomTom.  Unfortunately, one of the roads we were supposed to take was closed.  Uh Oh.  We drove in and through the Tampa airport, out the other side and finally got turned around.  The TomTom was happy when we got going the other direction and took us around the airport the second time.  It was a very circuitous route but we did end up in the right place approximately two hours after we left.

It was raining quite hard by the time we left.  We had talked about meandering our way back down Rt. 41 and maybe checking out some of the shops.  Well, we did come home 41 but it was pouring, along with thunder and lightening.  We didn't do any stopping, just slowly worked our way home through miserable weather.

Yesterday, however, was a different story.  We went to the shelter and walked some dogs; then spent some extra time with our favorite...Cheyenne.  This isn't a very good photo of her but she is a wonderful dog.  If we could figure out a way to get her home, she would be coming to live in Maine.  We have volunteered to take a dog to the AAA office in a couple of weeks and hope that we can take her.  We would be very happy if we could find her a new home.  She has been at the shelter since before Christmas, probably because she is older.

It was a beautiful day (nearly80*) so after the shelter we had lunch and headed to the beach.  Actually, we went to Ponce de Leon Park in Punta Gorda.  It isn't much to look at but there are a couple of pavilions with tables and a nice sandy beach overlooking the Peace River. There is also a nice boardwalk through some of the wooded area opposite the beach.  It is home of the Peace River Wildlife Center.  Mr. Bill and I had visited it once on an earlier trip but we didn't visit today.


The Charlotte Harbor Regatta is taking place this weekend so there were several sailboats in the river.  We spent the next couple of hours soaking up the sun, listening to our iTouches, taking short naps and feeling very lucky to be here.  We left there and went for a walk from Fishermen's Village to Gilchrist Park where there was a small group playing concertinas and banjos.  We stayed and listened for a few minutes; the music was very happy and bouncy and made me think of Wendy.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I didn't but now I do

For a number of years people have asked me "Do you color your hair?" and my answer has always been the same "No, I don't color my hair".  However, I do, admittedly, pay handsomely for someone else to color my hair.  So, I guess it's a question of semantics; kind of like what the definition of "is" is.  (Think Clinton)

Anyway, my hairdresser does a great job with my hair; unfortunately, she is in Maine and I am in Florida.  That can only mean one thing, I now have to color my own hair.  We did discuss this before I left and she gave me information about what to purchase in order to get something close to my regular color.

Today was the day.  It was cloudy and raining, so while Mr. Bill went book shopping, I colored.  I was very nervous, as I am with every first time I try anything.  That is precisely the reason that I'm not very creative...frozen with fear.  I think it went well.

Me, before.  This was the first photo Mr. Bill took with his new camera. 

This is the product I used...
 Clairol Perfect 10, 7.5A
Zip Zoom Macaroon
Me, after.  I think it turned out pretty well; what do you think? It's a little darker but will probably lighten some in the sun.  It was very easy and I won't be nearly as nervous next month.  Except next month I have to get it cut so that will be scary.

Since it continued to rain this afternoon, we went to see Avatar in 3D.  I LOVED IT!  I thought it was outstanding and totally enjoyed the entire movie.  Now I want to see a movie about how they made the movie.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Being thankful

I realize how lucky and blessed I am every single day.  Nightly, before falling asleep, I list at least 5 things I'm thankful for that day.  I never have trouble coming up with 5, sometimes I have trouble keeping it that short.  I'm regularly thankful for these...

*two beautiful, healthy, honest, responsible, compassionate children
*a granddaughter that makes me enjoy being a grandmother a gazillion times more than I would have thought possible
*a partner that loves me more than I deserve and treats me like the Queen I tell him I am, even though we both know that's not true ;o)
*my ability to spend the winter away from the cold and snow where I can be outside, in the sun nearly every day
*being healthy

Today I'm also very thankful that my closest friend, Su, goes home from the hospital tomorrow without requiring abdominal surgery ;o)  For her, that's a real blessing!

Since a post is boring without photos, here are a few...

I took a picture of Mr. Bill taking a picture of the eagles.

Although we have a large assortment of knives, none of them are worth a darn.  Mr. Bill, being a knife aficionado, picked out this assortment of new knives ar Marshalls.  Aren't they pretty?

Some new fabrics from Wal-mart.  Not the best quality but I'm thinking about some Valentine surprises and these are the perfect colors.

My new "bright light".  Mr. Bill gave it to me for Christmas, I packed it and brought it down here, it didn't work, I returned it, I got a new one, it works GREAT!

That's all for today, it was a quiet and cloudy with rain.  We got in some good exercise at the gym though.

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