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Florida from the International Space Station

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Movie Marathon – Food

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 62 Lo  45 -- We don’t get to go to many movies while on the move in the summer so we catch up on the new ones that come out while in Florida for the winter months, plus it gives us something to do. We saw two movies this past week.

The first was Unbroken.
















It's the true story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, an Olympics track star who joined the Army in WWII, crashed in his B-17 over the Pacific, endured 47 days marooned at sea only to be rescued by the Japanese, and survived brutal treatment as a POW for the rest of the war. Although the movie drags a little (we think most movies should be less than two hours), it's a very inspiring story and should have been one of the Best Picture nominations.

The other movie we saw was American Sniper, the story of Chris Kyle, the US navy Seal who is considered the greatest American sniper in history.
















The movie has received some criticism from some of the usual liberal whackos in Hollywood as "glorifying" the war. In our opinion nothing could be farther from the truth. We think it very accurately describes the horrible effects of war, especially the effect it has on the warriors after they return home. One thing is for sure, the movie is very popular; we were there for a weekday matinee and the theater was packed! Which illustrates the disconnect between what some in Hollywood think we should be watching, and what we actually want to watch. I think some of the criticism is because it was directed by Clint Eastwood, whose conservative views go against mainstream Hollywood. Sorry if I got a little political there. We both think American Sniper should win as Best Picture, and we're rooting for it. It's certainly one of our favorites. After the movie we went to Cody’s Original Roadhouse in Sebring for dinner. We got there early enough for the "early bird" special prices, so Jim had a steak and I had grilled salmon. Both were scrumptious!

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The place has a cool "roadhouse" atmosphere.
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While we were there we were flabbergasted to see an older couple come in, the gentleman in a wheelchair and his wife behind him pushing a baby carriage. At first we thought they were babysitting their grandchild for the evening, but when they got closer we saw there was a small dog in the baby carriage! What the...??!!

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I know public establishments have to accommodate service animals. But I always thought that meant seeing eye dogs. Apparently you can get a service permit for your dog (or just about any other animal) if you depend on it for "emotional support." It didn't particularly bother us, although as a rule we don't think a restaurant is the place to bring your dog. But it sure did cause a lot of stares.

Thursday evening we went over to the clubhouse to see The Crystal Cage and Ryan Show.














They’re a Canadian duo who sing and Joke around with the audience. She is a wonderful country singer who also sings pop and broadway style. Bryan, her fiancee, sings backup and plays the guitar and fiddle. It was a very enjoyable and fun show.

I cooked up the last two of our Blue Apron meals this past week. As you know, Blue Apron sends three meals at a time in a refrigerated box with all the ingredients. All you have to do is put them together and cook. Riiiight! They don't mention all the cutting, slicing, grating, dicing, and mixing that's required. I’m not a cook/kitchen person. My dinners tend to be simple, comfort food meals (which Jim loves, by the way), and I like to limit my "kitchen time" to 30-40 minutes max. These Blue Apron meals take an average of two hours to complete, which is more than I can handle, even with the wine I love to drink while I'm cooking. :) The first meal was Mexican-Style Rice and Beef Casserole. It's supposed to be for two people, but as you can see it makes a lot more than that. This is what was left AFTER we took our two servings.

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It was good, but like the other Blue Apron meals we've had, it wasn't anything special. The last meal was Chicken Mulligatawny Soup. It had coconut milk and lime as two of the ingredients. Who would have ever thought coconut milk and lime would go together? Here are some the other ingredients that went into it: Chicken thighs, basmati rice, kohirabi (?), carrot, red onion, lime, cilantro, raisins, ghee (?), coconut flakes and can of light coconut milk. Then there were the spices, which included ferugreek seeds, black mustard seeds, ground coriander, ginger, turmeric, madras curry power and cayenne pepper. And one of the things I had to do was "zest" a lime. I had to send Jim to the internet to find out what the heck that was. Whew, that's what I call gourmet cooking! Anyway, it's bye-bye Blue Apron. It was fun, but we're just not gourmets. It's back to meat and potatoes, and simple casseroles.

Last night (Friday) we had a cold front come through that brought storms with lots of wind and rain. Fortunately we planned ahead and brought in our awning. We’re going to be chilly again (60's during the day and 40's at night) for a few days. We're not complaining though. We'll take our weather over what the rest of the country is going through.

See you in a few days

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day Trips

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 76 Lo 59 -- On Monday we went to see Terri and Mike, who are work camping WP Franklin COE (Core of Engineer) Park in Alva, about 10 miles east of Ft. Myers. On the way to lunch at Culver's (yum!) we stopped at Manatee Park. We visited there a couple years ago but this time we saw a lot more manatees.

Terri, Jim and Mike
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Mike and Terri's park is near the WP Franklin Lock and Dam.
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The Caloosahatchee River runs from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. The Corps manages five locks along the 152 mile long Okeechobee Waterway.
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There was a small boat coming thru while we were there, so we got to see the lock in operation. One lady opened the gate on one end, then ran to the other end to open the other gate.
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Mike and Terri they showed us some banana trees near their RV. They were full of bananas, but they weren't rip yet.
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We headed to LaBelle to join Rick and Gail for dinner at the Log Cabin Barbecue.
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The food was excellent, including the free before-dinner soup and after-dinner ice cream. And it was great to see Rick and Gail again.

Terri, Gail, Rick, Dee, Jim, Mike
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We didn’t get back home in time for cards so we settled in for the evening.

Today (Wednesday) we went to Bradenton for Jim's appointment at the VA Clinic, which didn't take long at all. Since we drove an hour and a half to get there we thought we'd have some seafood for lunch. Using the Yelp app on his smart phone Jim found Kevin's Crab Shack. We both tried a fish we'd never heard of before called Basa. We both loved it!
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We got home in time to go to the potluck dinner at the clubhouse. It was the first one since all the snowbirds arrived so there were a lot more people.

See you in a few days.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wine and Cheese Party – Movie Day

(Avon Park, FL) Hi  72 Lo 57 -- On Friday we went to the wine and cheese party at the clubhouse. It's the first thing I sign up for every year. We have a great time and get to meet so many people we wouldn’t see otherwise.  (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

This pretty napkin tree was made by the lady sitting next to us at the table.
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The way the wine and cheese party works is they have long tables with separate areas for each state represented by the attendees. You sit in your home state area and bring some wine from your state. Each couple shares duty sitting at the table to discuss their wine as people walk by and sample it. Jim stayed with ours since he’s not a wine drinker. He's hoping for a Bourbon party some day.  :)

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Along with every kind of wine you can imagine, there were dozens of cheese trays and other finger foods.
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The room was packed.
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One of my favorites was gummy bears soaked in white lightning moonshine. They’re very good.
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Check out this wine opener.
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The party ran from 3 to 5pm, but I didn't last the entire two hours. I can’t hold my liquor like I use to. :)

Saturday we went to the movies with Rosemary and Lee to see Taken 3, starring Liam Neeson. We've seen the first two and enjoyed them. We also enjoyed this one, but you really have to check your brain at the door and just have fun with the over-the-top action.


After the movie we went to our favorite buffet, The Hibachi Grill. Tonight was the seafood buffet, which was excellent.

See you in a few days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's So Golden About the Golden Years?

(Avon Park, FL) 72 Lo 56 -- When we were in our 20’s we kept hearing about the "Golden Years" that are ahead when we retire. At the time we didn't think about all the medical issues we'd be dealing with. Today I finished up the routine medical appointments to take care of all my aches, pains, and ills of the past year. I now have cataract surgery scheduled for both eyes (each a week apart) in February. My knee is still holding up fine after I got a cortisone shot a few weeks ago, so no knee surgery for now. And my gall bladder was tested and checked out fine, so the official diagnosis for the pain I have after eating certain things is indigestion. I just have to watch what I eat and take an antacid when it flares up. Of course while I was there I was scheduled for a colonoscopy, so I have that to look forward to. Wasn't it John Wayne who said "growing old isn't for sissies"?

When we got home from a very long day in doctors' offices a FedEx box was on our step with our next three meals from Blue Apron. (We explained what Blue Apron is in a previous blog, which you can read here.) Tonight’s meal was Pastachio-Crusted Catfish with Clementine Salad, Israeli Couscous & Roasted Fennel. There are three items in that title that until now we couldn't identify. :)

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It was wonderful, and again we ate only half the serving that it made. It still took me two hours from prep time to eating time.

We are catching up on TV shows that we’ve recorded and I’m almost done with another crochet afghan.

See you in a few days.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Comedy Singing Act – Block Party - Movie Day

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 80  Lo 66 -- Thursday evening we went to our first show at the clubhouse. It was a comedy singing act with twin brothers called Spittin' Image. They sang songs from the 50's and 60’s and played guitar, mandolin, banjo, and harmonica. They mixed their songs with comedy routines, jokes, and some audience participation skits. It was definitely a very entertaining show and the audience (including us) loved it. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

Blain and Bryan, Spittin' Image
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Friday morning I had my massage. It looks like my favorite masseuse is quitting and going into a different line of work. She's working on getting someone else to take her clients. I also went to the arts and craft class where we voted on what projects we’re doing for the rest of the winter. All the different projects were laid out for us to look over before voting for our favorites.

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In the RV'ing world a common event is "happy hour" where folks get together at one rig around 5:00 to socialize. In retirement communities like here at Adelaide Shores they call it a "block party." It doesn't necessarily mean everyone lives on the same block, it's just a gathering of friends. Saturday afternoon we hosted our first block party. We had four couples over. They were all friends of ours but they didn't know each other, so it was a great way for them to get to know each other and make new friends. Everyone brought their own drinks and chairs, and snacks to share with the group. Two couples used to be full timers and are now living in a park model, and the other two couples are still living in an RV like us. We had a great time talking about life on the road, until it started getting cooler and everyone went home. It was quite a success and we hope to do it again.

Jim, Toni, David, Lee, Rosemary, Ken, Kathy, Vi, Kevin
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Jim at the food table.
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Today we went to see the movie The Gambler. It was the story of a college professor with a gambling problem who gets in some big financial trouble with shady loan sharks. Mark Wahlberg was really good in the leading role, but we really enjoyed watching John Goodman in a small role as an evil loan shark.



For those who are interested in my crochet projects, this is my first afghan with ripples. I’m not fond of that stitch so probably wont do it again. This afghan will go to the Project Linus.

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See you in a few days.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More Fancy Meals - Movie Day - Visit From Friends

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 73  Lo 51 -- I cooked up the second of our Blue Apron meals on Saturday night. It was pretty good this time. It still took me a couple hours to prepare it and another 25 minutes to bake, but we really like how it turned out. This one was Chicken and Wild Mushroom Casserole. All the ingredients are in individual packages and in the right amounts. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

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Just like the first meal we did, it ended up being a lot of food. We'll have a couple more meals from the leftovers.  This is a picture of the final dish.

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Tuesday night I made the last of the three meals in this shipment, Paella Style Shrimp and Rice. It took an hour for the preparation and another hour to cook it. It was good, but again we thought it should have more flavor. It was better after we added some salt. (And Jim added some Texas Pete hot sauce on his. But he puts that on a lot of things.)

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I’ll continue getting the meals for a while longer. But the jury's still out. Jim wants to try a couple of meals that include more meat.

On Sunday we went to see the movie "Wild." It was an excellent movie about a young woman (Reese Witherspoon, in a different role for her) who had a rocky life who was trying to "find herself" while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.



















Our car needed its 20,000 mile service, which includes an oil change. We took it to the Toyota dealer, where they were short handed and quite busy and ended up being a two-hour wait. We were ok with that (hey, we're retired). But when we got home Jim looked at the invoice and discovered they actually did the 15,000 mile service, which doesn't call for an oil change. He called them back and they apologized, but we now have to go back to get the oil changed. Sheesh!

I noticed on Facebook that our friends Paul and Jill are at an RV park in Frostproof, which is only 10 miles away. We met them in North Carolina just as we were starting our fulltime journey, and they became fulltimers about a year after us. They came over Tuesday for a visit. It was great catching up with them and we’re looking forward to seeing them again before they leave in March.

Paul and Jill
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See you in a few days.