Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This small island, covering .2 square miles, is located in Matlacha Pass, an area east of Pine Island, just north of Ft. Myers.  We stumbled across it one day while traveling to Pine Island to explore.  We loved it immediately and vowed to return on another day. 

It is considered to be an "Old Florida" fishing village.  The main street is home to a number of brightly-colored buildings which include art galleries, boutiques, seafood restaurants, as well as traditional Florida cottages.
This was our favorite building because of the bright bubbles and the cool bike.  There was another bike with a beach umbrella attached.  We got there after lunch and didn't really have enough time to stroll around the town; however, we spent a little bit of time behind this building.  Unfortunately, photos were not allowed.  It was a psychedelic garden, full of bouquets made from blue bottles hung on posts.  The bottoms of the bottles were painted bright orange and with the sun hitting them, it was awesome.  There was a stage and chairs and all sorts of decorations, all painted bright colors.  It was very 60's.
They also have pretty things for sale.
Pretty frogs and salamanders for the garden.
Some fancy boots to give you happy feet.
How much are those doggies in the window?  I think they wished they were outside in the nice weather, not stuck inside looking out.

We didn't buy anything, even though there was lots to buy.  Well, actually, we did make one purchase.
We found this pretty building...  and guess what was inside...
We enjoyed a few minutes in the sun gobbling down a couple hundred calories.

You might think this little island is pronounced Mat.latch.uh BUT it's actually Mat.la.shay.  One source reports that the accent is on the first syllable and one reports that it is on the last syllable.  We don't know which is correct, but we do know the wrong way to pronounce it.  It's a very quaint little village and we will go back again.

Thanks for stopping by...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bill's Haiku

As we were sitting in our swing by the river yesterday, Bill came up with his first Haiku.

A day full of clouds
Graceful birds soaring above
Thunder approaches

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry.  It consists of three lines...the first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables and the third line has 5 again.  Follow this link for Haiku instruction.

Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Leishley Park

I thought I would create some posts about our favorite places.  Yesterday we spent the morning, as representatives of the shelter, at the Taste of Punta Gorda at Leishley Park.  I have blogged about the park previously but  have not shared the monument/sculpture titled Spirit of Punta Gorda.  This monument was dedicated in 2004 as a testiment to the strong people of Punta Gorda after Hurricane Charley. 

The phases of the moon section of the monument.

Prior to the hurricane, this park was here but other than a gazebo at the other end, the park was nothing more than an open space.  Since the hurricane, the park is home to a playground with a dancing waters fountain, a very nice restroom facility, a walking path that has many benches along the way, numerous "doggie poop bag" dispersers (this town is very dog friendly), the monument and a stage.  The path continues behind some new condos along the river to a fishing pier.  The Laishley Crab House is also here, overlooking a marina on the harbor.

Bill and I walk from Fishermen's Village, along the river, under the Rt. 41 bridges, to a bench near the monument (about 35 minutes; 2 miles) where we sit and relax for a few minutes before returning to FV and a well deserved coffee.  We took this walk with David and Paula during their visit.

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, March 26, 2010

For your consideration

Most of the people reading this know that we have become very involved with the local animal shelter.  We had started volunteering in Kennebunk before we moved to FL for the winter; however, between our schedules we didn't have a lot of time to spend there.  Since we have been in FL we have all the time in the world to spend at the shelter and we visit nearly every day, each spending time with our favorites but giving love and affection to all of them.

Due to the recent downturn in the economy, many more pets are ending up in local shelters.  Many are brought in by families that can no longer afford to keep them or have to move and cannot have a pet in the new location.  Many others are picked up as strays.  I have my own ideas on the "stray" pet problem.  Most of the strays arrive at the shelter in pretty good shape and obviously haven't been "homeless" for very long.  I believe that owners turn their pets loose, or dump them along the road because they are too embarrassed or nervous to bring them to the shelter.  Shame On Them!!  Whatever reason the pets end up at the shelter, they are taken care of by caring and devoted employees and volunteers.

Shelters provide bedding for their pets and many shelters provide beds.  However, because of the large number of incoming pets, there aren't enough beds to go around.  The Kuranda company of Annapolis, MD has a program where people buy beds and have them sent directly to any of hundreds of shelters.  The cost for a donated bed is discounted 30% off the regular price.

Can you donate a bed for a shelter pet?  If that's not something that interests you, and I understand that it doesn't interest everyone, can you tell friends or family that might be interested about the program?  It's easy.

Go to Kuranda's web site and click on "Donate a Bed".  You can choose from dozens of shelters, sorted alphabetically and also searchable by state.  When you've closed your shelter, the site will display what kind of beds the shelter has requested.  Buy a bed and the company will send it to the shelter of your choice.

There are other ways to help your local shelter...they can always use monetary donations but they can also use donations of old towels or bedding, collars, leashes or pet treats and toys.  Check out their web site where you can find "wish lists" of things that they need from pet food, cat litter even office supplies.  You would be surprised just how much your local shelter needs.

If you have gotten this far, I appreciate your reading my pitch for local animal shelters.

Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friendly faces

Although we have made some new acquaintances since we arrived 2+ months ago, we haven't really made any "friends".  We are friendly with the two woman that prepare our coffee at the Ornery Attitude coffee shop in the Fishermen's Village and of course, all the wonderful people that work and volunteer at the shelter.  But friends...not really.

This past week has found us visited by friendly faces.  First off, a former coworker, Brian and his girlfriend, Rachel were down visiting his parents.  They are staying just a few miles north of us.   We met last Sunday for lunch at Gators, a sports bar a few minutes from us.  The weather was nice enough to sit outside, although there was a cool wind blowing.  The food was adequate but nothing special and we won't go there again. 

After lunch we went to the shelter and introduced them to our favorite dogs.  Mr. Bill really enjoys Sirus (a big, white American bulldog), Baby (another big, white bulldog with a black eye patch), Roxanne (a black and white pointer mix who has been at the shelter since November) and Will (a brown pitbull terrier that can climb over the fences so has to be in a kennel with a "lid").  My favorites include Tigre (a white and brindled pitbull terrier with a coat like silk), Buddy (a small brindled pitbull) and Diamond (a beautiful black pitbull terrier with a white chest).  Diamond has been adopted since their visit and Buddy was supposed to go home but he was still there today.  You can see all of our doggies here.  From there we stopped at FV and had a cup of coffee outside in the sun.

It was a nice day and a nice visit.

Last week my former husband's brother, David and his wife, Paula came to say hello.  They arrived around noon on Thursday.  We started our visit by going to lunch across the bridge in PG.  I can't remember the name of the restaurant but they advertise the "best pressed cuban sandwiches" which the boys enjoyed and Mr. Bill says that's true.  I had a really good chicken salad sandwich and Paula had a wrap filled with cooked spinach and cheese.  She liked it so much that she got another one on Saturday.

We drove to Ponce de Leon Park so they could see one of the beach possibilities for the next day.  A visit to the wildlife center was enjoyed by all of us.  David, Mr. Bill and I watched one of the volunteers feed the pelicans and share some of his knowledge, which was very interesting.  Paula left early to sit on the beach for awhile.  We went to FV to check out the menu from one of the restaurants that we thought they would enjoy and stopped for a cup of coffee.  We left there and went for a walk along the river to Laishley Park.  They spotted the Laishley Crab House and after looking at the menu, decided they would like to have dinner there.  It was a 30 minute wait, just enough time to hustle back to the car and bring it back.  We got one of the "beepers" and dashed back to FV, jumped in the car and headed back.  Mr. Bill dropped Paula and me off while he and David parked the car.  The beeper went off just as Paula and I started up the stairs.  We were never sure if it was perfect timing or if we had finally gotten back in range.  They treated us to an excellent dinner and marvelous company.

On Friday the weather looked pretty good.  We stopped at the City Deli for sandwiches and drove north to Venice Beach.  There were quite a few people on the beach although there was a cool wind blowing.  Although Paula found us the "perfect" spot by the dunes, I was chilly and kept my fleece on but David and Paula seemed very comfortable.
We went for a walk to the jetty and back before returning home early so that Mr. Bill and I could go to the Rays vs Yankees game.

They went to dinner at Carrabbas while we went to one of the longest games I can remember.  The Yankees didn't send anyone whose name was familiar, except Jorge Posada.  We had standing room tickets so got there early in order to get a space on the rail above the Yankees bullpen.  We went to a game earlier in the week and nearly froze to death because a cold wind was blowing but the weather was warmer on this night.

Saturday brought temps near 80, finally!  Mr. Bill, David and I headed to Ft. Myers for a ballgame...Red Sox vs Orioles.  Again, we got there early and got great standing room spaces with a nice wide rail to lean on along the third base line.  

Paula enjoyed having the day to herself including a nap on the sand at Ponce de Leon Park.  We met near the park after the game.  She and David headed north to Tampa to visit more family; Mr. Bill and I headed to FV for a coffee by the river.  It was great to sit on our swing, basking in the sun with shorts and no need for a sweatshirt.

It was fun seeing friends and family from home.  It was also good to get back to our routine and see our doggies today.  It poured rain this afternoon so I started painting the lanai ceiling and Mr. Bill installed a new kitchen faucet.  It's fabulous!
Thank you very much, Mr. Bill...xoxoxo

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alligator hunting

Ha, made you want to read more, huh?  When I told Wendy that we had been alligator hunting there was a long pause before she said "Why?"  Actually, we went to visit a place called the 
Alligator Creek Preserve, adjacent to the 30,000+acre Charlotte Harbor State Park Preserve.  It was a sunny day, but cool so not really a beach day.

As it turned out, it wasn't really an alligator day either.  There are about 4 miles of hiking trails throughout the preserve.  Hiking is actually an over exaggeration; the trails were flat, carved out of the vegetation and a little muddy since it had recently rained.  We only saw a few other people on the 1.5 mile trail we chose. 

The first pond we came to was very murky, the perfect place for alligators, or so we thought.  None were to be seen even though there were "Don't Feed the Alligator" signs everywhere.  This bird was the best we could do.
Look closely, it's right in the middle of the photo.  We think it's an egret.  As it stands in the tall foliage it waves it's long neck back and forth, apparently imitating the movement of the surrounding plants.  It's fun to watch; kind of mesmerizing.  

We came across one other pond, very nice and blue (no photos, oops) but didn't see any alligators there either.  The only other wildlife we saw was a red-bellied woodpecker and Mr. Bill spotted the south end of an armidillo heading north.  Mr. Bill wasn't quite ready with the camera so there aren't any photos of these either.  The armidillo was moving quickly (that's what I was told) so there wasn't much of a chance for a photo anyway.  Luckily, we didn't see any snakes but as I'm told, they are very abundant and several are poisonous.

The parking area closed at 3 and we didn't arrive till 1 so we didn't do more than one trail but plan to return when we have more time.  On our way out we spotted this...
Mr. Bill's cousin's name is Mac so we thought this was kind of funny.  We are now aware of two buildings named after the McGoverns.  The Mac McGovern Pavilion at the Alligator Creek Preserve and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research located at MIT in Cambridge.  I didn't know I was getting involved with such a famous family.

Mr. Bill continues to play and learn about his new camera.  He insisted on taking photos of me; however, in the future I would appreciate it if he didn't use his super duper z00m lens to take my picture.  After all, I don't need to see all the age lines I'm trying desperately to ignore.
This wasn't the closest one but I didn't want to scare you.  It didn't help that the sun was right in my face, causing me to squint, creating more lines and shadows.
This is better but I think the camera adds 10 pounds!  In my mind I'm much thinner.  That's probably why every pair of pants I try on is waaay too small.   At least you can't see the lines.  I'm standing under a tree covered with Spanish Moss (the stuff hanging down).  It's not part of the tree but lives on the tree.  There's a really cool story about the moss which you can read here.

It was a fun and interesting afternoon, even with no alligators.

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Magical Day

On Wednesday we went to cash in on our free Disney visit.  We drove down on Tuesday afternoon after visiting the shelter.  I wanted to get the most out of our day so I wanted to be there when the gates opened at 9.  It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive and who wants to get up at 5ish, drive all that way, walk around Disney all day, then drive all the way home again.  Not me!  Bill found us a great place to stay for a really good price on Bookit.com.  

The Comfort Suites was located in Kissimmee just behind the Old Town amusement park and near many restaurants.  After checking in, we wandered around the park.  It was a fairly decent little park with some interesting rides.  One of them involved wearing a harness, lying on your stomach, being hauled up to the top of a huge tower (300') then being dropped toward a lake.  Yikes!!!  You obviously remained attached to a tether and ended up swinging back and forth above the lake.  I'm sure it felt like free falling; I'm also sure I would have lost my meals for the day.

One of the other ones involved sitting in a chair that was attached at the bottom of two large towers.  The tension was tightened, then let go and the chair went flying into the air and tilted backward.  That was another lunch loser if you ask me but they were both fun to watch.  We wandered around a little and ended up eating a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant.

We were up at 7, had a nice complimentary breakfast and were on our way a little after 9 (running a little late).  There was already quite a line of traffic and it took us at least 30 minutes to get through the gate ($14 to park, give me a break) and directed to a parking space...Grumpy 118.   There were over 11,500 parking spaces.  At $14 each...do the math...over $160,000 per day if they are all full!

From there we had to turn in our voucher and get our ticket, which is plastic like a credit card.  They also scan your fingerprint so that you can't transfer your ticket to someone else.  Very high tech.

It's difficult to tell but Cinderella's Castle is in the background.  I think we are looking good, don't you?  You can see a lake in the background, as well.  The Magic Kingdom is on the other side of the lake.  We took a boat across but the monorail is another option.

Although the park was busy, it wasn't crazy busy.  The longest wait we saw was 40 minutes.  After crossing the lake we took the train to the back side of the park and got off in Toontown Fair.  That's where we saw Mickey's House

Minnie's House   

and Donald's boat.
His clothes are drying on a line above the boat.  We took these photos while waiting in line to ride a small roller coaster (designed for kids but enjoyed by adults).

I think our first ride was the Mad Tea Party.  If you know me, you know that spinning is not my cup of tea  (haha, a little pun).  I spent my time on the ride with my eyes closed while Mr. Bill made us spin faster and faster and faster.  Yuck!  That was nearly my one and only ride.  Did you know?..."protein spill" is Disney speak for vomit.
We wandered back and forth through the park all day.  It used to be that as you walked around the park, the characters were walking around too.  You could stop anywhere and get a picture with them.  Not anymore...now you have to find them at specified locations and wait in line to take a photo.  For some reason, I thought that was kind of sad and took away some of the magic.  

We had lunch sitting by a lake with Cinderella's Castle across the bridge.  Two hot dogs, fries and cokes for only $18.  Can you imagine bringing your whole family?  I didn't tell you, admission to one park for one day is $79.  When the park opened in 1971, an adult admission was $3.50.
There aren't really a lot of rides in the Magic Kingdom, especially for adults.  We did go through the Haunted Mansion
and rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster, which was just our speed.  We didn't go on Space Mountain.  The wait was long and neither of us had much interest in it.

We had a great snack later in the afternoon.  I had a root beer float and Mr. Bill had a pineapple citrus float.  OMG, they were delicious, especially since we have been carefully watching our diets and haven't been eating sweets.

We finished up our magical day around 6:30.  We didn't stay to see the fireworks since that would have been another hour or so but the lights on Main Street were on when we left.
We rode the monorail back to the main entrance, waved good-bye to Mickey
rode the "people mover" back to Grumpy 118 and headed home.  It was a fun day, very relaxed, no agenda.  Just the way we like them.

Thanks for stopping by...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ask and you shall receive

I know it's been quite a while since I created a post and Wendy, in a very subtle way, did mention that she was craving an update, so here it is.  Just for you, beautiful girl.

First of all, an eagle update.  We have stopped by the nest a few times lately but nothing much has been happening.  Unfortunately, we learned that the baby eagle has died.  The paper reported that the father apparently shared some rancid food with the baby, nicknamed Yo-yo, and they both got sick.  Although the father was able to ward off the sickness, the baby was not strong enough and did not survive.  Bummer!  We assume that the parents will now leave the nest and the owls will take it over like they did last year. Hopefully, they will have another baby next winter and we can watch again. 

A Disney post next time, hopefully tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pretty, pretty

Mr. Bill seemed to think that if we actually ate dinner by 7 I could find the time to create a post, so here it is.  

To catch up...
Saturday we had volunteered to take a dog from the shelter to a Pet Day program at AAA.  They had lots of things planned including micro chipping, nail clipping, photos, etc.  It was cloudy with rain in the forecast.  We took Apollo, an Akita mix that can be a handful.  He was very good last week but not so much this week.  First of all, he had diarrhea!  Great way to start the day.  And, he was kind of hyper, getting hold of the leash or jacket, or whatever got near his mouth and not letting go.  We no sooner got everything set up and it started to rain, then the wind started blowing, then it got cold.  I mean cold!  47*  We were shivering, the dogs were shivering, the vendors set up in the parking lot were getting soaked.  It started at 10 and was canceled at 11:30.  Didn't have to tell us twice, we packed up and returned to the shelter, which was a mad house.  Apparently the full moon effects everyone.

We came home and took a little rest on the couch, right after we turned up the heat.  Later in the day we went to get a coffee and drove down to Ponce de Leon Park (PdLP) where the sun came out and it was a nice evening, although chilly.

Yesterday we went to the shelter where it continued to be crazy.  There were lots of people there walking dogs.  It seems that the weekends are the days when parents bring their kids to the shelter to play with the dogs.  That means that the dogs are w.i.r.e.d!!!  After walking several dogs each, Bill took Will (a red nosed pit that can jump out of his pen) and I took Buddy, a small brindled pit that's very cuddly and we spent some extra time with them in the sun.  It was a nice, quiet time for all of us.

Then Mr. Bill decided, that since we didn't walk at all the day before, we would walk extra.  We parked at Fishermen's Village (FV) and walked 2.5 miles to PdLP where we used the bathroom and had a rest before walking back.  It was a pleasant walk in a different direction.  We enjoyed coffee on our swing by the river before making a trip to the grocery store.

View of Charlotte Harbor from "our" swing

It was about 7 by the time we headed home from the grocery store.  Being so late allowed us to see this as we passed over the bridge between Punta Gorda and Charlotte harbor...


It was the most spectacular sunset I have seen in a long time.  Then, as we turned into our complex, we spotted this...

It was quite a show, I'm glad we didn't eat till late.

Thanks for stopping by...