First Light in Florida

The best reason for living in Florida is waking up before the sun is up, sipping my first cup of coffee out on the Lanai, soaking in the quiet, the pond tranquility, the fascinating, moving clouds, and the many hues displayed in the morning sky. Absolutely breathtaking! It’s like having a mini vacay before daylight.

Being an early riser these days, I often do this alone, but sometimes, like yesterday and this morning before work, Rich joined me. I’ve been snapping pics from my iPhone but I’ve dug out the regular camera and may be taking some photos using it next.

Once the sun was bright enough to blind us, we drove off to the beach and enjoyed a morning walk on the beach and then Rich got our “Margaritaville” beach chairs, and we sat on the beach, enjoying the smell, feel, and sounds of the ocean. Heaven!

Oh yes, and then we opened up the “Director’s Cut” from the latest Coppola shipment, celebrating the California birthday plans Rich has made for me.



California on the Outside, Florida on the Inside

The funny thing about our new community is that many of the homes have these California facades. From the front they remind me of many homes in California, from the Mid Century Modern to the Craftsman/Bungalow to the Mid Century Asian with eaves and curved driveways, similar to my childhood home.

In fact, my favorite home in the neighborhood is this one, which reminds me so much of my childhood home, including the color. I can see my basketball hoop hanging there in the driveway, and the gate to the backyard where my tether ball awaits. Granted, this house is a bit larger, but very similar to the house I grew up in. The floorplan, although different than my childhood home, is practically the same as my favorite vacation home in Orlando. California on the outside, Florida on the inside. CaliFloridian just like me.

I’ve often blogged big time about my feelings here on the blog but I’ve tried to restrain those feelings this tine around and archived most of the posts. But I decided to bring them back because it seems as if by being private, it didn’t really happen. And I never want to forget a thing about this big adventure that has happened and that we’ve shared together.


ToonTown in CaliFlorida

Our little street of new Craftsman homes kinda reminds me of ToonTown – I’ve dubbed our home the “Minnie Mouse” house and the neighbors house is “Mickey’s House.” It’s so cute I may have to write a story about it.

The development across the front of the house is very much traditional Florida, which reminds me of our Tampa Bay neighborhood, and the new development behind us reminds me of my Southern California childhood home with the curved driveways.

I would argue that this whole area is CaliFlorida – in all my times living in Florida (3), I’ve never felt so California. This weekend we discovered an amazing Mexican restaurant – as good or better than those in California – very authentically Mexico. One reviewer from California said the same thing. The “Mexican Margarita” was one of the best as were the Carnitas (Rich) and Carne Asada (Kathy) we had. We’ll be regulars for sure.

Yesterday while we were out shopping, we noticed two restaurants – Malibu Grill and another called San Diego Grill. Then, of course, there’s SoNapa restaurant. Housing developments and streets often have California names – this in stark contrast to what we found in Tampa Bay where mostly Midwesterners migrate to.

We’ve unpacked the essentials and have decorated for Christmas, although this year we only have a wreath on the front door for outside decorations. We found a new church with a really good priest last night and we’re starting to feel at home here.

“Minnie” House

“Mickey” House

“Mexican” Margarita (with Don Julio)

Chips and Salsa (no pics of the entrees – lol)

Craftsman Colors

Rich worked a short day on Thanksgiving Eve so we stopped by the house. Right away we noticed the shutters and doors (including garage door) had been painted. I find the Craftsman style and colors to be quite fascinating, opening up a whole new world to me, having grown up with the then new Mid-Century Modern, replacing the earlier California Bungalow.

I’m curious how we will furnish the inside – it seems every house calls for its own furnishings.

The funny thing is that the house seems to have two different facades – the rear seems more Florida contemporary than Craftsman. But if you look closely at the older homes in our little beach town, you see the original Craftsman.

Landscapers were working on the sprinkler system so I didn’t want to poke around too much but Rich did peek in and noticed the carpet had been installed. Still no appliances but that and window blinds are all that’s left to be done on the inside.

12 More Days in November

The train whistle keeps me company as I lie awake counting the days left in November. The screeching sirens that follow are a bit more jarring. They fade fade into the distance to be replaced by rap music blaring from car radios from revelers entering the gates returning home after closing time. Each day stretches beyond my limits but I remind myself that I will surely look back on this fondly.

JBs celebrated its full re-opening post Hurricane Irma on Saturday so we stopped by after our usual house tour. The A/C man was installing the A/C unit so when he left for an early lunch break, we peeked in the windows.

Door fixtures, toilets, porch lights, coach lights, driveway and sidewalks are the latest additions.

We managed to arrive early at JBs and sat outside as Canadian snow birds began arriving, boisterously greeting old friends.

I had my usual Salted Sea Dog with shrimp basket and Rich had his usual Rum Runner and clam basket, indulging ourselves on such an occasion.

It was a beautiful day and we strolled on the beach after lunch before heading back to Orlando.

6 Days til Thanksgiving

6 days til Thanksgiving, 2 weeks til December, the countdown is closing in on closing. The cats are screaming, we’re not sleeping, and I’m writing poetry every night (

i checked out the house after dropping Rich off at work and, of course, got busted by the construction manager. 🙂

The tile is done, the cabinets are in, the counters and sinks are in, the faucets are in, but whatever else is done inside we can’t see cuz it’s locked down. The sidewalks and driveway have been formed. Shutters have been hung and waiting to be painted. The garage door and front door will be painted, screens and gutters installed and landscaping. It’s getting down to the wire now and we’re running on empty.