Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Friday was our last day at Ocean Landings in Cocoa Beach.  With the upgrade to the ocean unit we had to leave on Saturday morning instead of Sunday.

Friday was kind of a lazy day.  It was soooooo hot that day, and no breeze at all.  As you looked out over the water there just seemed to be a thick haze all day long.  Grabbed a few pictures........ Even they looked to be more black and white than color.  Most of the week we enjoyed the beach weather - but Friday was so hot  and with no breeze even sitting on the balcony was not real enjoyable.

I actually started to pack things up on Friday afternoon and we actually gave some thought to heading back home that evening. We just walked across the street to Denny's for dinner again, relaxed and got a good night's sleep.   

I could not resist checking out the sunrise one last time before leaving.  So I was up before 6:00 a.m., and took my camera and cup of coffee outside.   It was a nice morning, still some heavy haze and you could tell it was going to be another real hot day. 

Rich was up early too, and by 7:57 a.m. we were packed, checked out and on the road home.  We stopped in Fort Pierce at the Waffle House for breakfast, filled the tank with gas and we were home shortly after 11:00.   Backed to our regular schedule again.........For me a quick trip to the grocery store so we had some food in the house at least for the next few days.

On Monday Nick and Tonyia came over.  On Sunday evening Rich and I took the chicken livers out of the fridge and wrapped them in nylon (from ladies stockings) as bait for Catfish.  Nick and Rich pulled out from the dock just after 6:00 a.m. to see if the Catfish were biting.  Tonyia and I poured another cup of coffee and played Mexican Train until the guys returned. And while taking a break and sitting on the lanai - this White Ibis stood just outside the screen and had a pretty long conversation with Tonyia!  The guys came back with  NO FISH!!!  Said they had a few bites but that was it.

I had taken some Crappie and Blue Gill out of the freezer and Tonyia took over the deep fryer for cooking. I tossed together some baked macaroni and cheese and some Italian bread and we enjoyed an early afternoon meal before they headed home.  

We'll start making plans now for our next trip to New York. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

A very long evening

That I thought would NEVER end.

After talking with the waitress at dinner the other night, she assured us we would enjoy the current entertainment, so  we went back to the room and made reservations for the Comedy Show.

Gregory's Restaurant has an room upstairs where on Thursday and Friday evening they bring in comedy acts from across the country.  We went to one probably 6 years or more ago, did not like it and so have hesitated to return.  I am not a prude - and I can handle off color jokes,  but this was a more than I had bargained for and I was a bit uncomfortable.  Seated in the second row, right in front of the stage, I was not about to leave and be totally embarrassed.      Jerry Harvey was the opening act and he was OK.  Janet Williams - send her back to Tennessee!!

Since we had eaten at Gregory's the night before we decided not to do their dinner menu, but instead just order from the bar menu.   My salad ($11 for a salad?) was good, but Rich said he would have preferred a couple of McDoubles to his gourmet burger!   Then you had to sit there and try to eat from these huge plates at this tiny "bistro" table in the most uncomfortable chairs!

Enough complaining!  


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cocoa Beach Today

It was before 6:00 when I awoke this morning.  I grabbed my camera and headed for the balcony.  Didn't even turn the coffee pot on!  It was just a few minutes later that I realized I had some time before sunrise when I opened the slider.............and to my very pleasant surprise......RICH was awake; he had turned the coffee pot on and was joining me for sunrise today.

Not quite as beautiful as it was the past few days - but watching it together made it extra special.

At 9:05 am this morning a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched a classified spacecraft payload for the US National Reconnaissance Office.  It was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.  Below the visitors here at the resort headed for the beach to watch.  Not quite as amazing as watching it at night, but it was pretty good, especially given how very very sunny it was today.

Tonight will be a late night.  We have reservations for the Comedy Show.  Doesn't start until 9:00 pm - so we made reservations for 8:00 for a late dinner.  So we did a small late lunch at the pool bar today and checked out the rest of the activities. DARN!  I should have had my hair braided!!  If they get enough people signed up - I just might go to the 4:30 Bingo.

The week is flying by..........

I slept in this morning!  Actually I slept in until Rich got up, which was still before 7:30.  However too late to catch Wednesday morning sunrise.   How quickly time passes when you're having fun.  Hard to believe that we left home five days ago!  

As we were walking around today I took the opportunity to catch some pictures of the resort.  Ocean Landings is located on Cocoa Beach, right on A1A.  The resort has five large buildings for stay, and while many of us are owners here, the resort is open to the public.  A little pricy, but they really have a lot to offer.  One building  has "hotel" type units and is two story.  There are two other two story buildings which are one bedroom units, with 2 bathrooms and small kitchen, much like an efficiency.  One of those building also has small balcony's or sitting areas that face the pool area.  Then there are two 5 story buildings called the Caribbean and Dream Buildings, that house one and two bedroom suites with full kitchens and an ocean front balcony.  We are staying in the Caribbean Building this year.

Lot's of amenities:  Below top row is the picnic pavilion complete with tables, grills and a small kitchen area with stoves/ovens for anyone who want to cook out.  The resort also has four tennis courts; two located adjacent to the pool and the other over the parking garage.  Tennis lessons are available. When Nate and Krystal visited us one year - we taped the tennis court with lines for pickleball!  There are two large pools.  The bottom left is the Terrace Pool and used more by adults than children.  On the bottom right is the other pool with a very nice hot tub in the far corner.  Also at the far end  is a pool bar that serves breakfast and lunch, beer and specialty drinks.   You can see taller buildings in the back of this picture.  We are staying in the "middle" building.

The other large building on site - new in just that last couple of years is the Centre at Ocean Landings.  This is where you check in.  There is a large banquet room ( where we went to the timeshare meeting the other day).  It has an activities center, a game room, a beautiful fitness center and a day spa where you can get your daily massage! The picture on the bottom left is of Lilly's Lounge, complete with happy hour every day where you can relax with your favorite beverage.  It also provides outdoor seating. 

And Wednesday evening we finally made it to Gregory's for dinner.  Gregory's Restaurant and Comedy Lounge is also located on site.    This is a beautiful Steak and Seafood Restaurant and a bit on the pricy side.  

We had an incredible dinner.  Rich ordered the Baked French Onion soup, and I had the soup of the day, a cream of asparagus with chopped crab meat.  Awesome!  Rich ordered the NY Strip Steak (only 12 oz tonight) and baked potato and I ordered the crab meat filled grilled shrimp and scallops with wild rice pilaf.   Mine was absolutely wonderful and Rich agreed when I shared.  He said his was very good - but the steak at Outback is still better.   The service was great and our waitress was the best.  After kidding with her about how good the garlic bread was, she wrapped us up a loaf along with a container of butter and gave it to us before we left.


We sat out on the balcony after we got back. Generally we look out across the water and watch for the cruise ships, fishing boats etc.  But tonight we had a visitor.  This little raccoon was searching for food below us, along the fence. 

I hate not having some of the comforts of the DVR.  We never watch anything on TV live, it's always recorded.  And tonight I was trying to watch the Rays Game AND the finale of American Idol at the same time!   I managed.

Tomorrow the shuttle goes up from Cape Canaveral and we have reservations at Gaucho's Comedy Club.

Tuesday in Cocoa Beach

Went to bed HAPPY last night after Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkowskiy took the MirrorBall Trophy on Dancing with the Stars!!!     Switched stations back and forth between this and The Voice.  While I really liked Jake Worthington ( only because I like Country Music better), I was glad to see Blues singer Josh Kaufman and Team Usher take the win!

Once again the day in Cocoa Beach started with watching the sunrise over the Atlantic.   Today was a bit more cloudy - but still breathtaking.  Wish Rich was there to share this with me!

It was morning coffee on the balcony and late morning we fixed Cheese Omelets and toast for breakfast.   It was another beautiful day as you can tell from the activity on the beach.  Morning walks, afternoon fishing, wave boards and kite flying!

We originally planned on using our gift certificate at Gregory's tonight, but because of some new construction here at the resort it was not opening until Wednesday.  So we walked down A1A a short distance to another of our favorite restaurants.   
 This is an Italian Pizzeria that we found about 4 years ago, and we make it a point to return here every time we come to Cocoa Beach.  Those of you who know Rich and his appetite will understand quickly why he loves this place so much.  I chose the salad and penne pasta tonight.  But check out the size of the Stromboli.  He always orders this or the Calzone, which is pretty much the same size.   Please note that the plate that holds this Stromboli is actually the size of a Pizza Tin. 

The waitress warned him that it was huge.  But since we have the oven back at the resort, Rich said he could take home leftovers.  RIGHT!  This is what he had left.

Probably a good thing that we had to walk back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 2 at the Resort

On Monday morning I awoke early.........very early.........about 5:45 a. m.  and turned on the coffee pot. Rich was still sleeping...........and trying to wake him this early was out of the question.  The blinds were pulled at the sliders, and I could see that it was nearing sunrise.  With coffee and camera in hand I made my way to the balcony.....  Off in the distance I could see that one of the Cruise Ships was making it's way to port.......I could see the lights shining across the water.  It wasn't much longer when the sun started to peak out.....................  What a beautiful sunrise.

That afternoon we had been invited (?) to a free lunch.......and to listen to a sales pitch on something called MVP..........Make Vacations Possible.   To make a long story short, the lunch was great, and we got a free 3 day 2 night cruise on a ship out of Palm Beach to the Bahamas, and a $25 gift certificate to Gregory's Restaurant which is located here at the Resort.  No we did not spend $9000 for another timeshare and discount trips and cruises. 

After a big lunch Gregory's was out of the question.  We went to one of our favorite little diners here on Cocoa Beach called The Sunrise Diner.  A little Greek Restaurant with a great menu.  Rich did the Country Fried Steak with fries and I did Shrimp and Slaw.  
Monday was the finals of Dancing with the Stars................ 

On to Cocoa Beach.

On Sunday morning - we were on the road by 9:30 and headed for the Ocean Landings Resort on Cocoa Beach, Fl.   We seldom rent out or exchange our week at this timeshare.  The location is great and the resort has a lot of amenities to offer.

This was going to be another LONG drive - about 3 hours.   Somewhere around Lake Worth we stopped for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  This has never been one of my favorite places to eat, but Rich really likes it.  Like most places these days, you can never just order simple eggs and toast and coffee.  You always have to get a "packaged" deal, or pay more to get a la carter. At Cracker Barrel, unless you get pancakes or waffles everything is Grits or Biscuits and Gravy....... neither of which we ever order!

Rich ordered the pancakes with cherry topping............Good but he wished they did NOT warm the topping - The Whip Cream just MELTS!!   I had the eggs in a basket.  I do not recommend them!     Needless to say the $3.99 breakfast at the Miami Grill the day before,  far surpassed the $20 plus breakfast for the two of us.  

Back on the road...............and finally we were in familiar we crossed the Indian River to Merritt Island and the Inter Coastal Waterway to A1A and Satellite Beach.   Heading north on A1A  between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach we passed Patrick Air Force Base.

It was early afternoon when we arrived at the Resort, and unfortunately our room was not yet available.  The annual Boat Races were taking place today, and we had hoped to be in our room, which faces the ocean, so that we could watch the race from there.  But by the time we got to our room the races were over..................too many people and too hot to stand on the beach.....and the view of the race was not that good.   

So while we waited for the room we wandered over to the International Palms Resort, just a few doors down from our hotel where the 29th Annual Beach Blast Car show was going on.  Lots of cool cars!

Below are a few of our favorites..... That yellow car is a 1932 Ford, 2 Window Coupe and bottom right Rich checks out the 1965 Mustang.  Brings back memories of the 1968 that he once had.  He always reminds me that I as the one who smashed the font end!  His was also a convertible.

More neat cars below.  How about that truck?  Maybe we should consider that for our next RV?    Or maybe we should get matching cars?  See the two on the bottom left?  Rich says mine is the one in the trunk!  Figures........

 And a few more............ Check out the top left.... with the dice on the mirror and a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes on the dash.  And that wagon reminds of some of the old beach movies we used to watch.  Also got Rich wishing he had never parted with his 1964 baby blue Galaxy 500 convertible.  That was "before" Donna. 

I have to share this  next picture.  Everyone who passed this had to stop and take a look.  

                                                                                                Don't think I've ever seen a Rubber tree this big. 

                                                                                              Saw this as we were walking the grounds at the car show. I couldn't get the whole thing on one picture, so I took a picture of the bottom AND the top of the tree. 

We were finally able to get into our room.  This year we upgraded from our poolside unit to a one bedroom ocean side room.  It is really really nice.  We had hoped to get one on a higher floor, but we still have a great view of the beach and the ocean. It's really much prettier than the pictures show.  King bed in the bedroom, full kitchen with electric stove, full refrigerator and dishwasher.

And this is the view from inside the sliding glass doors to the balcony.......

Sitting out that afternoon/evening we saw one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise ships and a Disney Ship leaving from Port Canaveral.  The kite flyers and those things that you ride on the water were out as well....................We face east - so we won't see the sun set.........but looking forward to the morning sun rise. 

Neither of us felt like going out any place special for dinner so we just walked across the street to Denny's, watched The Good Wife on TV and called it a day!

Day Two in Hollywood/Dania Beach

Saturday morning we slept in a little - probably after 8:30 when we finally got out of bed.  No coffee pot in the room, so I went downstairs to get a couple cups from the lobby, where they serve a continental breakfast each morning.   We decided to do a later breakfast and went back to the Miami Grill and Deli.  Prices for breakfast were reminiscent of Paul's Diner over in Wauchula!  Two eggs, home fries, bacon, ham or sausage and toast for $3.99.  

We still had a little time before having to head for the matinee session of Jai-Alai.  We stopped to talk with a couple and their baby who were sitting around the pool.  We chatted for quite a while and learned that they were from Germany (via Holland) and were considering moving to the USA.  They have a business (Employment Agency) in Germany, and one of the older daughters will take that over.  They want to open a business here.   One of their concerns was the school system here in the US -  they were a little discouraged after  checking out the schools near Miami finding them surrounded by High Fences and  they thought they would have to learn how to speak SPANISH!  Amazing!  Kind of embarrassing that that is the first impression that someone gets when they visit our country!  We introduced them to the Central and Gulf Coast areas of Florida.  They are going to check it out and promised to keep in touch with us! Hope they do.

Anyway - the matinee session of Jai-Alai started at 1:00.  We were introduced to Jai-Alai in CT when we lived there, and then went several days/week to the Tampa Jai-Alai here in Florida until they closed that fronton, and always went to the Dania location when we vacationed in Pompano or Ft. Lauderdale.  So it's been a long time................

The picture below is taken from the Dania Jai-Alai website and explains how the game is played.  It is truly exciting to watch!  You bet on the games just like you do at the dog or horse races: win, place, show, quinella, perfecta, trifecta, daily double and......they also have a superfecta where you have to pick the first four place winners, and a Pick Three which is picking the winner of three consecutive games.   For those of you who like the Casino - the fronton is currently in the first phase of a major expansion. It has already expanded to two floors and has 550 slot machines, a poker room, simulcast, a bistro and lounge, entertainement  etc......

The new season was just starting - so there was not a lot of statistical information available.  Without knowing the previous results and player stats, Rich will tell you that betting is no different than gambling.  So this weekend we would be gambling! 

We really liked that Miami Grill and Deli ............We went back there for dinner again between the matinee and evening games of Jai-Alai.   This time it was just a double burger for Rich and a Reuben for me.  But it was still delicious!   

Tomorrow - we will head for Cocoa Beach............

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lake Placid to Hollywood........

At exactly 12:32 p.m.,  we hit the button to close the garage door and we were on our way.........  Leaving Lake Placid, we headed south on SR 27.  This has to be one of the most boring drives!  All flat land.........nothing to see.  The speed limit is 65 miles/hour and we maintained that speed most of the way, except for maybe 2 small towns along the way.  About 117 miles later we merged on to I-75 towards Miami/Ft Lauderdale, I 595E and then 95 South where we arrived at our first destination; the Econo Lodge in Hollywood, Fl.  just a little bit after 3:00pm

The Econo Lodge is a little off the beaten path, and a very old building and we were a bit skeptical at first, but then pleasantly surprised.  The place is well maintained and clean, and for the price it would serve it's purpose for a couple of nights.  Still has the old TVs in the rooms, but it does have a small refrigerator and microwave and a free continental breakfast in the morning.   Our room was poolside. Nice area and very comfortable sitting out.

We had made no real plans for Friday, so we just relaxed after the drive.  Rich caught up on the stock  market, and we sat outside for a little bit.  We had not eaten since about 11:00 that morning, so we checked for places nearby for eating.  Adjacent to the hotel was the Miami Deli and Grill.   We scoped it out a little bit, and checked out the menu.  Looked like it might be pretty good, so we decided to give it a try.

An older building, you could tell it had been around a while. But the inside was clean and the people were very friendly.  It's one of those places where there is just TOO much to chose
from, but we both opted for spaghetti and meatballs and a cup of black coffee.  There were two ladies sitting at the table across from us that we struck up a conversation with.  They recommended the fish fry - and when it arrived at their table, it was HUGE.  Large piece of Talapia, 6 or 8 shrimp, french fries, slaw and corn on the cob......All for $10.

As we talked with them more we learned that like us, they were from upstate NY; the Buffalo area.  Mom was 92 years young and loved the Yankees and the Miami Heat.

I had read on-line about the Hollywood Broadwalk and asked for directions........and a little later we headed over to check it out.   It was really a cool evening - and the wind was pretty strong, but we headed out for the walk along the Oceanside anyway.   This beach broadwalk runs for 2 1/2 miles!

The following is taken from

"Nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami is Hollywood, a classic Florida beach town that's enchanted visitors since the 1920's,  Hollywood Beach features a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade called the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk that stretches nearly two and a half miles along the Atlantic.  Names one of America's Best Beach Boardwalks by Travel + Leisure Magazine, this brick-paved thoroughfare is a haven for joggers, bicyclists, roller-bladers and all who'd prefer to take in the action from the comfort of a one of the countless eateries and cafes along the way.  The easy ocean access and village-like feel make this a  can't miss destination with numerous highly-rated restaurants, small inns and hotels right on the broadwalk adding to its yesteryear charm.

We walked for quite a while - and made friends with the local "beagle" Daisy..........

 and saw this cute little house along the broadwalk for rent.....HMMMMM!  Looks nice.

Could this be our next vacation get-away?  Beautiful view of the ocean!

Somewhere along the way Rich managed to cut himself.  His arm was bleeding and the blood had spattered to his shirt and shorts.  We stopped at one of the local eateries to use the restroom, and Rich said that a very small piece of wire was in the cut, which he managed to pull out and then cover.

 We decided to head back to the room.  After that long walk, he had worked up an appetite again, so we stopped for 1/2 dozen chocolate cream filled donuts at Dunkin.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Mother's Day each year comes with mixed emotions.  For those of us who have lost our mother, like both Rich and I, even the day's leading to Mother's Day can be a bit painful at times.  There are commercials on TV and newspapers advertising the holiday..........and many times they are just a painful reminder of our loss.  

Most of the pictures that we have of Mama Benjamin, and Mama Strawn.......... are printed and in our photo albums.  But, the last time we visited New York State before Rich's mom passed I did get a picture of her, at the Nursing Home, with Rich and his brother Bob.  And thanks, brother Dave.... I've taken a few pictures of our Mom from your facebook page!  She is pictured with her NINE children.

Below the picture is a poem I found a while ago and think it's very fitting for today.  The author of this poem is unknown.

If Roses grow in Heaven, 
Lord please pick a bunch for me, 

Place them in my Mother's arms
and tell her they're from me. 

Tell her I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile, 
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile. 

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there's an ache within my heart
 that will never go away

But then we think of our own family and our son and daughter-in law, and the grand children, and amazingly Mother's Day becomes that festive holiday.    And so today we wish our very special daughter-in law, a very special Mom.................a very happy Mother's Day.  Like me, Crystal does not like to have her picture taken, but I did find one in the family archives!!!!  Love you Crystal. 

(picture from

And yesterday I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Dennis and the family!  Dennis NEVER forgets me on Mother's Day.  He's so very special; I'm so blessed, and I love him so much.

Happy Mother's Day to our family and friends who are Mothers or Step-Mothers celebrating today!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Enjoying friends and Mother Nature

It's been a while since we spent time with Nick and Tonyia, but last Saturday they invited us over for a cookout.  Had a great time.  The guys did there thing, while Tonyia and I played Mexican Train.  Two games; I won the first one - she won the second.  Nick did burgers with the works ( cheese, bacon, onion , lettuce, tomato).  I brought along a potato salad.  Guys had a beer.  Tonyia
and I a glass of wine.  We were the first to have dinner at their new park model.

Tonyia is making these twirling "things" to hand outside and I went home with one.  I LOVE it.  Have it hanging out back, and it not only looks great, it is keeping that annoying bird from pecking at our sliders every day!

She is making me one more for the front.  

On Monday - I had taken meat out of the freezer for dinner, but Nick called in the afternoon and asked if we could handle seeing them two days in a row.  They invited us to dinner at Red Lobster.  Actually they treated us to dinner as a thank you for helping them with the purchase of their new park model.  Dinner was EXCELLENT!  (Much better than what I had planned for home!)

The rest of the week was a series of doctor visits for both of us.  The annual check up and blood work!   A few recommendations from the doctor for both of us........and then the usual "follow-up visits before the end of the month.

This past week also brought some NEW visitors to our yard. We enjoy each and every morning,
sitting on the lanai, having our morning coffee.   And we are always amazed at the beauty of Mother Nature.    Well.............not so beautiful are the fresh water barnacles that have found a home on our boat house.  (fortunately NOT the boat).  Rich noticed these along the dock and the seawall.  I guess we are in store for some heavy duty scraping to get them off!

I'll leave that chore for Rich!

Throughout the week, we had some repeat visitors..........AND some new ones.    There is really no better entertainment.

The Black Bellied Whistling Ducks were back.........This time with quite a ruckus in the water!!

The Great Blue Heron...............perched atop our boathouse. 

This week was the first time that we saw any of Florida's Black Vultures.  But several of them found both ours and the neighbors yard a couple of days this week.   Can't believe I even managed to snap a picture of one of them "in flight"!

The Great Blue Heron and the White Ibis have been visitors to our backyard several times.  
But today was the first time that they both decided to visit us on the same day! 

Not only the same day.........but the same TIME of day.  One was walking in one direction, and the other in the opposite.  And they continued to walk until they actually passed......not looking in the other's direction!

An this week we had a NEW visitor.  The Limpkin.  According to All About Birds, the  Limpkin is: 
   An unusual bird of southern swamps and marshes, the Limpkin reaches the northern limits of its breeding range in Florida. There, it feeds almost exclusively on apple snails, which it extracts from their shells with its long bill. Its screaming cry is unmistakable and evocative.

And according to Wikepedia:  
This bird is easier to hear than see. Its common vocalization is a loud wild wail or scream[10][13] with some rattling quality, represented as "kwEEEeeer or klAAAar."[11] This call is most often given at night[13] and at dawn and dusk.[10] It has been used for jungle sound effects in Tarzan films[14] and for the hippogriff in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.[15] Other calls include "wooden clicking",[11] clucks,[13] and in alarm, a "piercing bihk, bihk...".[10]

And yes - we heard his scream!

We made plans to have Nate and Krystal visit us this weekend - but health issues, once again have prevented that from happening!!!!  We have not seen these two since we left The Villages, back in September, except to  babysit for Miss Ava one time.  Something always seems to prevent us from getting together...........and we really do miss spending time with them. 

This next week will be a few more doctor visits for us.......and then getting ready for our weekend in Dania (for Jai-Alai) and then on to Cocoa Beach for a week......... 

Our son is heading for San Juan, Puerto Rico for 4-5 days for work - so we'll keep an eye on Facebook pictures and updates!!!