Memorial Day at Lake Griffin Isle

Today our park had a nice celebration for Memorial Day. Donna had fixed up the clubhouse; she had to do a lot of deep-cleaning first, but she likes to have things done right and is willing to put in the effort to accomplish it. She couldn't re-arrange the whole room, so she added decorations at the podium and along both walls.
Larry started the meeting by talking about the sacrifices our military has and are making, and how much we owe them. Then he recited "On Flanders Field" and played a recording of Taps. 
Next he introduced Congressman Daniel Webster, who spoke for a few minute before meeting with individuals for Q&A and pictures. 
 And then we had cake!

A Grand Day

This morning Randy dropped me off at the Grand Oaks for another horse show. This was the Orlando Dressage show, and as usual, the horses were gorgeous.
They were all perfectly groomed. The lovely dappled gray even wore dainty little ear covers!
This event isn't restricted by breed, so there were all types there. The big black horse with the long tail and leg feathers looked to me like he was at least part Frieshian.
His mane was neatly braided, but his hair is so long that it formed a long rat-tail that fell over his shoulder!
One horse that was part Frieshian and part Morgan was a stunning big gray beast. He was one of the biggest and figetiest there, and his rider had her hands full keeping him calm. 
A smaller horse was solid black, which is an amazing color; he was so dark that I couldn't get a good picture. 
But these horses didn't need dramatic colors to show off. The brown horses shone like silk, and moved like a wave. 
Wish I'd been up on one of these!
It wasn't long before Jaylene came by to pick me up. Then she drove out to pick up other ladies from our small church group - Ana, Michele and Erin - and we all spent the morning visiting antique shops, vintage shops and thrift shops. When we were too hungry to do any more shopping, we went to Ramshackle Cafe for lunch. Then we had time for one more thrift store - Goodwill - before calling it a day. And a mighty fine day it was! 

Rain, Rain, don't go away

It's been so dry in Florida; the water in our canal has dropped almost 2 feet. That's too low to take our boat through the canal so it's been docked. But recently, finally, at long last - the summer rains have started. It doesn't rain every day yet, but every little bit helps!

Smyrna Dog Park on the beach

Got the urge to see a beach again today, so we drove to Smyrna where there is a dog park on the beach. It's a small strip of beach, but still pretty nice. Shortly after we put up our umbrella, a couple with a big white pit bull settled down near us. That dog turned out to be totally relaxed and happy. But the brown pit bull that showed up next (with owners who didn't feel they needed to use a leash even though he wouldn't obey them) was less stable. He wasn't mean but he did want to be the alpha dog; he would to block the white dog when she wanted to get out of the water and he kept trying to mount her. She just ignored him but we didn't feel like seeing what his reaction to Shorty would be, so we kept away from them.  
But along the beach were several other dogs, happily running in the water and splashing around. 
Our dog, however, was not impressed. Why be in the water when there was a nice blanket under a shady umbrella, right next to the sandwich cooler? He did a little bit of swimming but he just didn't get the appeal; maybe a couple more trips will help. 

Sholom Park

Today Pete drove Donna and us to Ocala for a yard sale. That's a long way to go for a yard sale, but it was a community sale which sometimes means a lot of great stuff. First we stopped at a couple of yard sales in our neighborhood, then cruised up to Ocala. The community sale was pretty good, although instead of having everything in one central area, several apartments in the community had a few things out in front of their garage. Still, we did all right. We thought we would follow that up with a trip to Goodwill, but our Google search led us to a location with only a Goodwill drop-off truck. That did us no good!

So we went to Sholom Park. This is a gem of a private park, open to the public and dedicated to peaceful contemplation and nature. It was wonderful to walk quietly through it and enjoy the sights, scents and sounds. 
The main path that winds through the park is called the Labyrinth Path. 
Along the path are plaques with thoughtful comments which, in the context of this beautiful setting, seem entirely appropriate.
Although at one point Randy and Donna were mainly contemplating the structure of a small arbor, considering its appropriateness to a backyard or dock. 
My favorite arbor was the another one because it crowned with beautiful pink and white flowers, amazingly growing together in bunches. It looked like it was covered with little wedding bouquets.
On the other side of the road was a small bridge over a lake. There was a little machine which, for a quarter, dispensed a handful of fish food pellets. So naturally there were a couple dozen big, eager coy right there. 
Several turtles were competing with the coy for the nuggets. Our favorite was a couple who were always together. The larger turtle, who we assumed was a female, was only interested in eating, while the little one, who we assumed was a male, kept trying to get her attention. He would swim around to her head, stretch his little front legs straight out, and frantically wiggle his toes at her. She would ignore him, swim over to more food, and he would scoot around to do it again. We watched them for 5 minutes and kept laughing at the poor little guy. We're pretty sure this is a mating dance but he could not get his girlfriend "in the mood"! But he kept trying and trying; he probably needs to try again when the buffet is closed!
For our own lunch we went to The Lunchbox. I'd found this one on-line, attracted by the photo of a cheeseburger that came with glazed donuts instead of a bun. None of us were that adventurous today, but we sure enjoyed our food. Pete and Donna ordered the Blue Cheese Burger and the Big Kahuanna Burger, posed quickly for me,
then did the "married couple lunch shuffle", swapping out the bits that one person likes better than the other. 

Crêpe Class

Thursday Randy gave a Crêpe  Class for one of the Small Groups from our church. There were 13 people in attendance at one of the members' house in The Villages. The hosts were very helpful; they provided paper plates, moved their roll-around kitchen island into the sun-room and brought in teakwood tables from the patio. We needed it all for the equipment and food containers that Randy brought with him. 
They also strung up a wire overhead so Randy could hook up a small camera, which fed into a TV. This gave the guests a bird's-eye view of the cooking area. 
He started with plain wheat crêpes, so they could taste the actual crêpe without the competing flavors of fillings. Then he made a nice breakfast crêpe with sausage, egg and cheese. He followed that up with an amazing savory crêpe stuffed with salmon, cream cheese and capers. 
Next came the dessert crêpes, starting with my favorite, banana and nutella crêpes. I could eat these all day long, but this time I had to serve them to others! Then he fixed crêpes with fresh berries and home-made crème fraîche.
The penultimate offering was a banana split crêpe, with macerated strawberries, bananas and pineapple, topped with fresh whipped cream. And last but certainly not least was the Queen of crêpes, Crêpe Suzette. First Randy told the group about the history of Crêpe Suzette, then proceeded to make them for everyone to enjoy. It was a great class!

Yard work

We don't have enough projects going so, we are working on the yard. One of our goals is to get rid of the grass next to the house. Geckos are everywhere here and they don't bother me much, but I want them to stay outside. It will take awhile to surround the house with decorative rock, but we did get a start on it. 
I actually want to get rid of all of the grass. My first week here I got bit by everything imaginable while standing in our front yard, and decided right then that the grass will have to go. It's too hot to do everything at once, so I started with a spot to set a bench. Several cars driving by slowed way down. Maybe because it looked like I was digging a grave?
I got enough done to set up the bench, and several days later I took out another section of grass and rocked over it. This is not the final look, it's just a stage along the way. Eventually I will have all this grass gone!

Turtle Yoga

The wind blew a large chunk of a tree along our part of the canal. Sitting on the wood was a huge painted turtle, just drifting alone, sunning himself.
He kept stretching one or more feet out; this helps him get as much of the sun's heat as possible. 
But he looked like he was doing yoga!

the new normal

Shorty has almost quit eating dog food. Not sure why; the only way he eats it is if we feed it to him. We thought he would eat it eventually by himself, but he can ignore it for days.
On another front, while Shorty and Missy are not exactly friends, they are putting up with each other more. 
Shorty generally leaves her alone unless she gets near his food dish. Then he rushes at her. She doesn't let it bother her, but it bothers us. Missy puts up with him just fine.
It was a surprise, though, when she started sitting in the decorative bowl I keep on the coffee table. I don't mind; I like the bowl but I can't find a good use for it. This is as good as anything else!