Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It's Been Raining so Much, no Wonder it's Growing!

  It is starting to look like a real item.  I am about to join under the armscye (arm hole) and be able to just knit in the round and not have to remember if I have to do a p2tog or a p2tog tbl when I come to a decrease.  You also can't tell yet, but I'm doing something fancy with the body lace pattern.  You are going to have to wait until I get farther along before I tell you what it is.

   This is Tank's little friend who he stalked through various parts of the house.  At one point he was staring at the pile of cans we have near our food shelves, then he wouldn't leave the area around the stove.  I heard a big commotion from him in the living room/dining room area and wondered if his friend had come out of hiding.  I was trying to figure out how to catch him/her while also trying to make sure Tank didn't do too much damage.  It was good for me that I had recently clipped Tank's claws.
  Little Squeak had managed to crawl into Bill's crate of papers while Tank was distracted.  I quickly dumped everything out of the donation box I had and leaned the crate into it.  This little guy/gal fell out and I was able to move them without Tank knowing what had happened.
  I don't know if Tank did anything to cause their back legs to become non-functional, but that is how I found him/her.  Part of me wanted to keep Little Squeak, but I knew a lot of reasons not to.  You can't really explain to the animal that you are going to take care of it and not eat it.  Tank would have also figured out where I was keeping it at some point and become obsessed trying to "play" with it.  So I put him/her outside and I hope the best for them.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

FL Day 8: Back to The Train & Day 9: Home Again

DAY 8:
  We stayed at a hotel about half an hour away from the train station.  We slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, lounged around the room some, and still made it to check in before they officially opened.
  I asked about upgrading to a sleeper again since it was so nice the first time.  We had been told that sometimes there are last minute cancellations and you can sometimes get one.  We did not get it, but we were the last coach car before the sleeper cars, so that should count for something.  Our car attendant kept warning us that he was new and had only been doing it for 2 months.
  The train still has 15 people cars, but has 30 vehicle cars this time.  There are 246 cars and 10 motorcycles, which four of those are BMWs.  It is going to take even longer than the previous 1.5 hours to get the motorcycles off.
  Bill fell asleep while they were coupling the train back together and the guy across the isle from us kept muttering "Oh God" every time Bill snored.  He then said something about snoring but I didn't catch all of it.  I found it amusing.

  The dinner menu between the sleeper cars and the coach cars are a bit different.  I really wanted to try something on the sleeper menu, but didn't get to.  Maybe someday.
  We did get to sit with new people this time.  We talked with a couple who were heading back to their up-state NY home and had 7 hours of driving after they got off the train.

  Bill convinced me to play Gin with him after dinner.  I've never played before but I seemed to pick it you quickly since I won a few games.  I even won two games with a single hand each.
  I had seen another knitter in the train terminal, but I didn't see her again on the train itself.



DAY 9:
  The neck pillow helped a lot but I didn't get the best sleep.  The rocking of the train was nice.  It didn't help that our seat was one of the ones with an exterior light still on.  I also heard our friend grumbling that he couldn't even sleep near 'That Guy' and that he 'hoped he woke up bright eyed and ready to drive.'  The worst part for this poor guy was when the guy in front of us started snoring and then the lady in front of him joined in at some point in the night.  His wife had no problems sleeping through it all.
  I also learned a fun fact.  If the door to the bathroom is perpendicular to the motion of the train and the door wiggles, the rocking of the train will unlock it for you.

  We once again got in early.  This time it was at 7:37am.  The employees at this station arrive a little earlier, so we could start getting off the train at 8:15am instead of 8:30am like on the other side.  Still not sure why they are so proud of getting us in early if it doesn't actually benefit us at all.  The dining car closes breakfast at the same time, no matter when we get in, so it doesn't help that section of crew.
  The motorcycles were unloaded soon after the 40 priority cars, so that was a nice surprise.  Bill helped to get some of the bikes off for anyone who might have been struggling a bit to get the wheel out of the scoop or back it over the ledge to get it onto the ramp to the parking lot.
  Bill asked me on the way home if I wanted to go do Rolling Thunder but I felt too tired.  I wanted to get home and unpack everything and deal with the mess I left when I was trying to decide what bag would fit everything I would want to be able to easily grab for the hotels when we only stayed one night.
  Time to go do that and get some more knitting to ease back into normal life again.

Friday, May 25, 2018

FL Day 6: The Theme Is Pizza & FL Day 7: We Become Loners

DAY 6:
  We got started around 9am again because we were worried the rain might catch us.  There was a moment of sprinkling, but nothing to really make note of.
  The nicer weather let us get a much nicer video of the 7 Mile Bridge.  It was a long ride and we didn't get to have lunch until 3pm, but we all made it in one piece.

  We passed this place and it sounded like the best option nearby.  Bill and I split the white pizza and it was so good.

  Bill and Glenn wanted to meet up with someone at 26° Brewing Company.  I liked the sign they had out front that said they were dog friendly to friendly dogs.  There was a fluffy one there wanting to say Hi to everyone who walked in.
  They didn't have food there, but the food truck Pizzaiolo's was sitting out front in case anyone needed any food.  We got a pizza and some wings from them.  It was a good way to end the night.



DAY 7:
  The rest of the group wanted to get moving around 7am because they were nervous about the rain delaying them too many times and then missing the train.  They also wanted the handy excuse that if they got there really early that they could stop in at the Harley store.  I did not like that idea and since we were heading in another direction we did not go with them.  Bill saw them off but I was asleep when they left.
  We did some thinking on what we could do before meeting some friends and the Kennedy Space Center sounded like the most unique option.  There was also the option to go to the zoo, but I thought the space center sounded more interesting.  On the way I even did a little Geocaching.

  It was definitely cool.  I liked that the center was also involved with the wildlife.  Sea turtles use their beach to lay eggs.
  It was really informative, but not in a boring way.  There is a bus ride that takes you around the launch pads and where they build the space vehicles.  I liked seeing the different space suits through time.
  I wanted to look at everything and we ended up staying later than Bill had thought we would.  It really is an all day event.

  Mary mentioned meeting at City Walk to get dinner.  Bill and I pictured it as being some shopping area or some city street near the park.  Nope, it was in Orlando Park and we got to go through security to get there.  That was unexpected and very crowded.  Neither of us are big on Amusement Parks.
  We met at Margaritaville and I finally got to get the grouper my mom kept telling me to try.  It was pretty good but at one point they decided that the music wasn't loud enough and that they needed to turn it up.  The whole place was a bit too loud to easily just hang out and talk.
  Before too long we had to go our separate ways so they could catch their bus back to their hotel and we could get to ours.  Bill and I got some beverages at the local gas station before falling over into bed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

FL Day 5: Kitties!

  Turns out I had partied way too hard yesterday and had to take it easy this morning.  I drank a lot of water and watched some TV while Bill was at breakfast.
 We had two things in mind to go see today but decided to stop here at Martin Hellings House where the Woman's Club meets.  It was a small tour because we only looked around the bottom floor.  We also got some history on the area.  One of the things we learned is why the buildings have metal roofs.  They were also putting together backpacks with school supplies for kids who need them.  It was pretty cool.

  We saw a bunch of roosters and a few chickens on our way to Mile Marker 0.  They have such pretty feathers and it seems weird to see so many in such a populated area.  We might also have an answer on why the chicken crosses the road.

  We didn't get any Mile Marker 0 stickers, but we did get some pictures of the sign where US 1 begins.

  I knew I wanted to go to the Hemingway House so I could see the cats.

   My mom said that they don't let you near the cats, but that seems to have changed.

   You can pet them as much as they would like, but you are not allowed to try and pick them up.

  I took pictures and petted as many cats as I could.  One didn't want to be petted but wanted to play.

   A few others slept through getting a pet and some were all for it.

  There was a long line to get your picture with the marker at the Southern Most Point in the US.  I didn't feel the need to have a picture of myself in front of it, so Bill and I waited until we could take a picture of it without any people.  I took too long spending time with the cats so even though we had planned on meeting people here, they had already moved on.

  Glenn mention a place that was recommended to him to get really good conch fritters.  It turns out that DJ's Clam Shack was even on TV.  They were really good and had big chunks of pepper in them.  I was told that the lobster roll was also amazing and totally worth the price.

  We then stopped in at Key West Distilling and tried some of their items.  I only really liked one and Bill got it.  I'm sure the rest would be good mixed with something.

  Bill grabbed a pizza to go from Angelina's Pizzeria and we went back to the hotel to rest a little before we were going to meet up with everyone.  He said it was pretty good pizza and I did think that it looked good.

  We did another stop at Hog's Breath to see someone that Glenn knew and then we decided to stop in at Wet Willie's on the way to where we were going to have dinner and catch the game.  They are alcoholic slushies and are pretty good.

  It is a good fight when a hockey game breaks out.  I had another smoked mahi dip and was too tired to stay the whole game.  I barely caught one bus back to the hotel but luckily there was one too after that Bill caught.
  I had wanted to get some knitting done, but I was way too tired.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

FL Day 4: We Found The Bars

  I finally got my eggs!  I ended up with more than I thought I would.  I asked for two eggs worth and ended up with what looked more like four eggs to me.

  The lobby had these cool looking stools.  There was also a spot light on them so you couldn't miss the fake gold fish.

  Some of the guys went for a quick ride around the town while the rest of us puttered around the hotel.  Around 10:25am a helicopter kept making passes around the other buildings near us.  They were also on their side a lot, so I don't know if that means they were looking for someone or what.

  We hopped on the shuttle and headed down town.  We managed to find a Harley Davidson shop and spent some money.

  The plan had been to go down one side of Duvall St and then back up the other, but Glenn and Trish saw Hog's Breath Saloon and the plan went out the window.  They had spicy Bloody Mary's with pickled green beans.

  After a bit more wondering we found the end of Duvall St and the "selfiest point" in Key West.  I got green olives in my Bloody Mary this time.  I took a bunch of pictures of boats while we waited for people there.
  Around one we left and headed to Capt. Tony's Saloon since we had heard good things.

  It turns out they don't have any food, but there was another dog for me to pet.  A girl there also said that I had a nice smile.

  This was across the street and a local said it was good.

  I got the fried avocado bowl with black beans and it was awesome.  We also had a wide range of weather while we were here.  It started raining soon after settled in and then was super sunny.

  They had the option to try both Kermit's Key Lime Pie(right) and Key West Key Lime Company(left) pies.  Kermit's is more like what I'm used to at home and Key West was more airy and a tiny bit more tart.  I liked both a lot more than the one I had last night.

  Since our bellies were full we swung back by Capt. Tony's Saloon.  I got their Capt. Tony's Amber and it was quite good.

  We finally make it to Sloppy Joe's!  The guy performing was from Maryland, oddly enough.  He was pretty good and I had no complaints about him.

  I found a kindred spirit at Green Parrot.  There was a pigeon snagging any of the free popcorn people dropped.  Loves popcorn, eats food other people don't want?  Sounds just like me.

  Our next stop was the White Tarpon where I got a Key Lime Martini.  It was really good.  We then headed back to Sunset Pier to see if the clouds had parted enough for us to catch the sunset.  All the tables were taken but I kind of inserted myself between two smaller groups so I could try and take some pictures.
  We then headed back to the Hotel and hung around the Tiki Bar before calling it a night.

FL Day 3: A Few Keys

  We decided that we were going to have kickstands up at 9am and we actually did it.  There was a great debate about if we should or should not wear rain gear.  Most of us said that we probably won't need it and would just end up sweaty from it.

  We stopped at Mile Marker 88 for lunch and I got the watermelon mojito and the Cuban Sandwich.  I looked at the Islamorada Fish Sandwich, but my mom suggested the Cuban Sandwich.  I got mine with the Key Lime Hollandaise.
  Then there was more talk on if we would need rain gear or not.  Some people put on a jacket but not everyone put on their full rain gear.  Bill and I still didn't put in our liners.
  We were having fun going over the bridge/road that connects the Keys when the first downpour started.  By the time we could find a spot to stop we had managed to get through the worst of it and only had a bit of drizzle to deal with.  The plan had been to be to make one more bar stop before the hotel, but most of the group wanted to just push through and get there.
  It didn't take too long before we were all dry again and even saw some sun and blue sky.  We had a pretty good view as we went over the 7 Mile Bridge.
  Unfortunately when we saw Key West, we also saw a line of dark and angry clouds.  It wouldn't have been too bad if it was a warm rain, but that down pour was cold and hurt.  We pulled into a tiny hotel and the lady at the front desk asked if anyone needed a towel.  Another couple had ducked in there before us with their dog.  He was nice and I got to pet him.
  Once it let up a little we found out that we were only 13 miles from our hotel and decided to make a run for it.  We got hit by another cold hard rain and then had to deal with "puddles" ranging from the standard few inches up to two feet.  Some of the cars weren't even slowing down and splashing us.
  The hotel parking lot even had some rivers/ponds to deal with.  After everyone came in wet and grumpy the guy at the front desk told us that we could not leave the bikes in the overhang, even though we left space for cars to pass by, and had to move them to the motorcycle parking lot.  I made sloshing sounds as I took our stuff up stairs.

  When you blow dry your socks from the inside it makes it look like there are feet in there.  I found it way too funny and it helped me to be less grumpy.

  So beautiful looking.  At least it waited until we were inside before it got worse.  The original plan was to take the shuttle into town to get dinner, but everyone was tired of dealing with the rain, so we just took over the second seating area of the restaurant.
  I got the homemade conch chowder and key lime pie.  When our waiter was asked if the chowder was creamy, he said yes, but it was really tomato based.  It was still good, but I was a tiny bit disappointed.

  The pie was really thick, like a softened white chocolate.  It had an even balance between sweet and tart.  It was really good and Trish and I made a plan to try a bunch of different Key Lime pies while we are here and decide which one we liked best.

Monday, May 21, 2018

FL Day 2: Ahead of Schedule

  I actually slept pretty well once I figured how to lay right and not feel as jostled by the train movement.  I would get used to the train rocking in one way just to have it change right before I drifted off.  My bed was firmer but cooler while Bill's was softer but warmer.
  We were really booking it last night because at 6am we got an announcement from the conductor that we would be arriving at the Station at 7:30am and then would have to wait until 8:30am when the station crew arrived and could start the process so we could get off the train.

  I actually had a bit of breakfast, and that is not normal for me.  I had a mini bagel (not pictured) and some tea.  There was also the option to have some cereal with mini milks to go into it.  They also brought butter, jelly, and cream cheese for the mini bagels.  I was hoping to get some eggs, but that was not an option.
  While we waited at the station it rained really hard then would back off enough to give us some hope, only to pour again.  The motorcycles were the last ones off and it was only raining slightly when they got pulled off.  We met up under the overhang and re-packed everything in a nice dry space.  On our trip down to Pompano Beach we didn't really get rained on even though the weather guessers said there was a 90% chance of rain all day.  It would drizzle on us long enough to make sure we were thoroughly damp, then nothing long enough for us to dry out, and then repeat.
  When we were rolling into town there was a group of three people just hanging out on the front lawn.  One was kind of half-heartedly waving at us, but when I waved back they got excited.  They were enthusiastically waving and yelling Hi to us.  It was great.
  We got in to the hotel and met up with the rest of our group.  I saw some interesting places on the way and I was really hoping we would stop in at Brendan's Sports Pub because it was almost right next to the hotel.  Since no one else could decide if we were going to go somewhere far or within walking distance I mentioned it.  Since it was so close everyone liked the idea.  I made sure to get the Smoked Fish Dip because my friend Mary kept mentioning that I would like that.

  We talked about how on the train they played Hearts for three hours and so they had to have a repeat performance tonight with one of the rest of our group.  The girls were off to the side talking and hanging out.  It was a good night but I wish we were going to be around a bit longer because the menu of Dandee Donuts looks awesome.

  There was a great meeting of the minds to determine our route for tomorrow.  The larger road was close to the city, so we figured that would be slower than if we took a road we found on the map that goes by the Everglades Wildlife Management Area.  Trish and I thought it sounded like it might be more fun to go by that, but the commitee had to talk it over.