Friday, December 23, 2016

Salad Days

December 2016 - Kissimmee FL

We have been basking in the heat and sunshine for the last week.

The desk called and said they had checked us out and back in so all we had to do was get our door cards re-keyed. Most timeshares expect people to only stay for a week or less.
Saturday was much like a day at home, bacon and eggs for breakfast, blogging, reading. But it included pool time.
The deer stopped by late afternoon.

Cooked the first of the roasts from Costco, disappointed, it was cooked perfectly, medium rare, but it was tough. I decided the other beef would be a pot roast later in the week.

Sunday was football for John.

Monday John golfed and I did chores like laundry. We spent the afternoon at the pool.

Tuesday we headed out at 8:30 for the two hour drive to St. Augustine. It was drizzling as we drove north along with fog.

This is just the highlights there are many more detailed posts coming from this visit. There are the oldest----, churches, murals, golf, history!!

The weather doesn't improve as we get there. The sky is totally flat.

First stop the Golf Hall of Fame.

Keeping with the golf theme we go to Caddyshack for lunch.

Sad to say it didn't live up to the movie. It looks like a local sports bar, certainly not up to the standards of the World Golf Village.

John enjoyed his jambalaya and I opted for a hot dog.

Yikes! The relish was neon green!
The hot dog was lukewarm and heaped with ice cold condiments. As I started to eat I was getting the filling but the casing was so thick it couldn't be bitten through. I showed it to our server and we all agreed we had never quite seen a hot dog like that. She took it to show to her manager and my meal was removed from our bill.

It is downright cold out with a temperature of low 50s. We decide to check into our hotel, Hilton Bayfront. It is right on the bay and in the heart of the historic district. Perfect.
As we checked in we were told it is the smallest Hilton in North America and the second smallest in the world. Scotland has the honour of the smallest.

Lovely room with a balcony except it is freezing out!

The City of St. Augustine is the nation's oldest permanently occupied European settlement, having been founded by the Spanish in 1565.

We get our heavy coats out of the car and head out.
The San Marcos fort is almost across from us and we head there.

As the only extant 17th century military construction in the country and the oldest masonry fortress in the United States it is a prime example of the "bastion system" of fortification, the culmination of hundreds of years of military defense engineering.

We take a walk through the historic district which is great, full of shops, museums, restaurants.

We visited the oldest wooden school in America.

We head back to the hotel and divest ourselves of our coats and head to the bar for happy hour, BOGO.

We bundled up and headed out to dinner but Harry's, next door, had a 45 minute wait in the bitter cold, not happening.

So we ended up in the hotel dining room. John had a rib-eye steak and I had the osso bucco, John enjoyed his steak even though he said it was underseasoned and the meager fries. Mine was okay but also lacked any seasoning or gravy. My sweet potato fries were good but they lacked in quantity!

Wednesday we were promised sunshine and heat but it didn't happen. The area was lacking in breakfast places but we found and enjoyed The Bunnery.

It was packed when we walked in but I grabbed a booth as John place our order.

We then explored Flagler College.

We found a few churches along the way too.

We decide we've had enough of the cold, check out and get in the car. We make one last stop to the Fountain of Youth.

Somehow drinking from the Fountain didn't do anything for us, perhaps it takes a little longer? Or more likely, we both spit the water out it was so vile that it didn't have time to work.

John managed a photo of this white peacock! We've never seen one before.

The temperature slowly rises as we head south and it goes from 53F to 66F.

A stop at Whole Foods and then back to the condo.

Thursday John golfed at Falcon's Fire.

Friday we took a drive along International Drive to the Orlando Eye.



The Mandibles and loved it. Some reviewers thought it was heavy on the financial details but I enjoyed the easy to understand descriptions. Unfortunately, I also found that none of it was that far-fetched.

Not Working enjoyable and a very quick read, I finished it in a couple of hours. On the plus side, it is British.

However Claire is a superficial and shallow central character. I got nothing from reading this other than irritation at her turmoil. I just wanted to give her the proverbial kick in the pants.

Claire Flannery has just quit her office job, hoping to take some time to discover her real passion. The problem is, she’s not exactly sure how to go about finding it. Without the distractions of a regular routine, Claire confronts the best and worst parts of herself: the generous, attentive part that visits her grandmother for tea and cooks special meals for her boyfriend, Luke, and the part that she feels will never measure up and makes regrettable comments after too many glasses of wine. What emerges is a candid, moving portrait of a clear-eyed heroine trying to forge her own way, a wholly relatable character whose imperfections and uncanny observations highlight what makes us all different and yet inescapably linked.

The Girls in the Garden why are there so many books with The Girls in the title lately?
I was appalled by the behavior of these children, well, kids in their early teens. They were precocious, and just out of line. But it is the mothers I take issue with. Who allows a child to talk to them that way?
As far as the story goes, it was ok.

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.

Too Close to Home I'm not sure why I have avoided reading this Canadian author for so long. I have read his newspaper articles when he wrote for The Toronto Star.
It wasn't a riveting read but interesting story line.

In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a house only one door away, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. And you think to yourself: It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we’re next?

A real change of pace, Nixon's Darkest Secrets. Not quite pool reading but I will persevere. 

A veteran White House reporter reveals the 37th president was even more sinister & haunted than known. Nixon left the White House in 1974 in disgrace, but Americans never knew the full extent of his demons, deceptions, paranoia, prejudices, hatreds & chicanery. Calling on his work in covering Nixon, scores of interviews with congressmen, White House staffers & others close to him, & newly declassified documents & recordings, veteran journalist Fulsom sheds new light on Tricky Dick.


Saturday - roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and gravy cheesy cauliflower and roast potatoes
Sunday beef fajitas using up remainder of roast beef
Monday - chili
Tuesday - hotel steak and osso bucco
Wednesday - pork chops and colcannon
Thursday - pot roast
Friday - leftover pot roast

Wishing everyone all the best Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!


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  1. ../it's looking like a great time for the two of you.

  2. Happy whatever holidays you are celebrating this weekend. I can't believe you had to dig out your winter coats! Wow. That pizza looks particularly delicious.

  3. I have never been to St. Augustine but it's one of my husband's very favorite places and we are planning to visit soon. The history there is amazing and supposedly there's a ghost story about the fort so that always interests me. It doesn't look like you're eating the best though maybe not bad just not special? Enjoy your week and happy holidays!

  4. I was a child during our one trip down to Florida- we stopped in St. Augustine, and I still remember that fort.

  5. I've visited St. Augustine several times and always enjoyed exploring the fort and the old town area. I can skip the touristy attractions! Sounds like your dining experiences were disappointing and the Chamber of Commerce weather didn't materialize. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. Where are you headed next?

  6. I've always wanted to go to St. Augustine--but the only part of Florida I've been to is Disneyworld/Epcot (and that was decades ago!) We were tentatively planning a trip for this past October but it didn't pan out. Oh well, maybe next year!

  7. I'm surprised at a cold and foggy Florida- it's not how I think of it. So many interesting aspects to your week.

  8. Good morning and happy holidays! I haven't been to St Augustine in over10 years but I remember liking it.
    Your meals are great, except that hot dog, that was a weird experience.
    I can't wait to read The Mandibles and I agree with you about Not Working. That wasn't riveting at all.


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