Picture of the Month
December was a busy month. We had, in effect, two Christmas's. It seems we just could not get but a few common date for the combination of Jen & Andrew and Jeff , Lynne and their boys. So se had a "Christmas" dinner well before the 25th, and had a "Christmas morning gift opening" with Jen and Andrew so they could leave the next day.
We then had a Christmas Morning present opening on the actual 25th with Lynne, Jeff, Theo and Quinn.
Thrown somewhere in between we attended the Annual Christmas Boat Parade put on by the Banana River Sail & Power Squadron - which had me as Commander this year. Then following Christmas, Theo got to try out his new forms of transportation.
"Christmas" Dinner #1
A second one was the night before actual Christmas - the traditional shrimp, crab and such.
We had a great time with Jen And Andrew out at the Canaveral Wildlife Preserve
and National Seashore. Of Course - if you go there with us, you end up at Dixie Crossroads for rock shrimp.
Andrew and Jen then had to wrap presents that night -
the other Gillespie clan from Atlanta was due in the next day.
What a grand surprise - an edible Christmas present from out traveling companions, Pan and Charles - from Virginia.
And so out to the boat parade. We only had maybe 80 boats this year.
But they're beautiful when it gets dark
The actual Christmas Morning...........
Nana's little helper
Quinn's first Florida Christmas - a book & a drink - a REAL Gillespie
I'll take that!
Sadie the Supervisor
I'll take that one too!
Yep - a true Gillespie - got a book and I'll ignore everything else
Looks like everyone is slowing down
And there's Theo - in there somewhere
Off to new adventures
Very first push on the scooter
And his very own kayak! I think he's pretty happy
Father and Son
Trying to keep up with Theo - he did get so tired that Dad had to "tow" him in
Learning that cleaning is an important part of using
The next day, after shoe shopping, the small park in the shopping center
a croc for Theo, a fountain for Quinn
AND, because I'm so proud of them
I have to include a picture of just one of the eight Banana River Sail & Power Squadron members, Grover,
who "worked the bell" for the Salvation Army during Christmas Week.
We went on a river boat trip in France in November. We started in Paris, then down the Seine to Normandy and them back to Paris. We then were on our own for three days in Paris. We will put the pictures up on the Trip page as soon as we can. Until then, we have a few tastes of the trip below.
We went to the small town where Van Gogh lived the last 70 days of his life- Autour sur Oise. We were not prepared to see the actual places he painted. Imagine standing in the wheat field where he painted the famous Wheat Field with Crows. We stood in his terribly small dark bedroom.
and where he sat each evening to drink wine
We left with questions. Did he really attempt suicide? Where was he shot - both geographical location and on his body? Was he shot by someone else? Why did he take so long to get to the inn?
We visited any number of museums, this is from the D'Orsay. This museum was the giant railway station that was the base for the movie Hugo. Recognize the clock?
Of course the Louvre - Mona looked better in Washington when she visited the US.
And the Les Invalids, where we saw Napoleon's grave.
In Notre Dame I had to have a picture with St. Vincent
as I was in the Order of St. Vincent as an alter boy.
We were very touched by the proximity to St. Joan - Joan of Arc.
This church is a "must see". It looks as if it were a Viking Boat turned upside down.
While the exterior is not too attractive where just walking up to it,
the interior is breath taking. I could sit and look at it for hours.
It is non-denominational. The stained glass is from a much older church
which was destroyed. In preparation for the possible destruction,
the towns people buried the stained glass now installed in this new church.
The statue of St. Joan in her church
This is in a small garden just outside the church
On to Normandy. The province is famous in its own right for cheese, apples, apple juice and brandy,
among other things. However, we Americans, as well as the British and Canadians
think not of food, but the thousands of lives lost on D-Day.
A German bunker overlooking the beach.
Looking down the barrel of one of these killer guns
When visiting the cemetery (very many more pictures of other aspects of the US Cemetery
will be on the website travel page) we were given a rose to place as we will on any grave. I selected
this "Comrade in arms, Known but to God". There were far too many graves and too many with that inscription.
One view of the American Cemetery
And then there's OMAHA BEACH
Americans and French should NEVER forget that name
This is one of two large memorials. This one is on the sand of the beach,
centered on the line of attack. Jackie gives perspective to its size.
I collected sand from Omaha Beach.
I believe it to be sacred sand, indeed.
One of those rude, inhospitable French! (Can't you tell?)
What a grand lady - spoke little or no English, but communicated just fine.
Made lovely very tasty bread and pastries - have a beautiful small shop
Yep - the Eiffel Tower. We were pleased to see it having seen places -
a church in Chile and a Hotel on the Amazon - he had also built.
This was taken the last night we were on the Seine. The Liberty Statue, I understand, is the full scale model of the Stature of Liberty in New York. The boat stopped and held position for about 15 minutes so we could shoot hundreds of pictures. At night the Eiffel Tower is not only lighted, but every hour, on the hour, it "twitches or twinkles" for five minutes. I got a great "film" of the action.
Yep, another Road Trip with Uncle Billy. This time we went pretty much the length of the Pacific Highway. We will post the trip on our Travel Pages as soon as we can. Only there will you be able to see the entire 25 day trip and get the details. Below you will find just a few selected pictures.
We started the trip by imposing upon a friend we met in Turkey, Rosa Dubost. She lives in San Diego. In addition to getting soaking wet (details on the travel page), we were taken to Below C Level and Extraordinary Desserts for just one of our terrific meals. Seen below we went to the famous San Diego Zoo. We also went to the open air theater in the round in Balboa Park to see the best production of Richard III I've ever seen. If that wasn't enough, she taught me, hands-on, how to make chili relleno.
Off to Mission Capistrano to see the swallows -
long story here - but here's the nests on the mission
Off to many, many beaches. Where but at Venice Beach would you see these signs?
One beach access point was covered with blown sand.
Enjoying another beach - Pismo Beach
Beautiful ocean views
Watching otters opening sea urchins and clams with stone tools
Who goes on the Pacific Highway without stopping at Hearst Mansion?
Seals - been in this spot long enough to cause sand
to be blown behind them to make small dunes
More and more sea shores and beaches
Disappointed initially to see the fog as we crossed, but
sure made for some great pictures.!
For the first time in over five years, I don't have a "Picture of the Month" for this month.
I'll go back over the files and see if I missed some, and /or perhaps
just find a couple pictures I like and just stick them in here.......
Well, I FINALLY figured out how to download pictures from my "smart" phone. The afore mentioned phone was infinitely smarter than me. So I decided to place some of the pictures are, as you read above, I had no legitimate pictures for September. Here we go -
The very first picture taken by my smart phone.
I took it for my Uncle Billy because it had the two street names he would like - Bronson and Topeka.
Yes, the finger on he lens is mine.
Jackie and I went to Bok Towers in central Florida. The hill upon it was built is the highest in the state.
I have a number of other picture of this beautiful spot to add later.
These buildings are in Balboa Park. We went there because our friend Rosa
took us to the Globe Theater to see Richard III
Our Friend Rosa in her ushers uniform - look'n good!
Let's Party !!
OK, its Quinn's Birthday We're all (both sets of grandparents, aunts and my Atlanta cousins) preparing for a grand party. Preparations are being put in place by all
First, let's get cleaned up before guests arrive
Next, let's get a bit of exercise so we can take a good nap before the party
Eating leaves is good exercise
Now a bottle and full belly so a nap can commence
Nana does the honors and Isis supervises
Theo's friends are the majority of the guests, so he prepares a spider wed to trap them
He gets very enthusiastic assistance
THE cake - Theo did the lettering
Somehow he knows - "all this is mine!!"
I get the first taste - one finger full
Hey, this is pretty good - Hw about a fist full
All that sugar makes me thirsty
Enough milk - MORE CAKE!
This is what I call a great meal
Mom has had enough - second bath today
Clean up before presents
My first rocking chair - climbed in without problems the first attempt
The guys get together to figure out what's in the box
Nothing like having a brother and my cousins assisting with the gifts
The day ends with me in my PJ's and
Mom and Dad marking my second birthday on the door jamb.
We started what is going to be a very, very active summer with a week-long visit by Esti, Mike, Owen and my favorite Granddaughter, Sofia. Yep, Thing 1 and Thing 2 were the center of the next week.
One of the first things we did was visit the zoo.
Owen & Mom were the initial giraffe feeders.
And then off to the aviary to feed the birds.
Sofia is an old hand at keeping them happy,
but Owen isn't too certain this is his thing.
While there, Esti and Sofia took the opportunity
to tour the zoo with a 30 minute canoe ride.
Off to the beach the next morning. Because Sofia had surfing
lessons last visit, we bought a 8 foot long board for her to
attempt to re-establish her skills. This walk to the water is prettier than
many of her rides. Mike even jumped on!
Owen ignored the surf board - what's better than a bucket, shovel and sand?
Since we're surrounded by water, we went over to the Indian River Lagoon
to a spot where we often find conch shells and horseshoe crabs
Esti & Mike go searching
Wet, but no conchs or horseshoes!
We weren't the only things out in the shallows!
But Owen has sand, a bucket & a shovel -
What, me worry?
That evening its Owen, his tiger and his new zoo "dog".
The important thing is he's sitting in his Great Grandmother's rocker
from when she was a newly walking baby girl.
Next morning I finally got my "Sofia time". But only after two trips to the boat ramp
and home and a trip to Wal-Mart to get a damn battery. Two hours late,
but we got out long enough to get thoroughly sun burned.
That's CAPTAIN Sofia to you!
Her third fish of the day. We did 6 hours of fish'n, but only 5 minutes of catch'n.
Mmm, my fresh fish as an appetizer that night.
Owen and everyone's Buddy, Sadie
Well, Owen's first trip here he might
just possibly remember, seemed to work out pretty well.
This month's pictures are very unusual - they involve a single subject. Normally when a single subject is addressed, a separate page is made. In this case I thought a single monthly picture set might be best.
The occasion was visit by my sister Dorothy Anne and our great Nephew, Ashton. DA has been here before, but this was a series of firsts for Ashton - first plane flight, first in Atlantic Ocean, first manatee, first air boat, first alligator appetizer, first - well, a lot of things.
The pictures are all DA's. Even though I've put a much larger number on this month than ever before, DA hade over 500 to choose from - I could have added many, many more.
So ----- Here's Ashton!
I know, he looks 14, but he's a very healthy, solid 8 year old!
He fit in exceptionally well in our home - all the cats, (even Sophie!) loved him.
Off to the beach for the first time with DA. Was surprised at how warm the water was.
Found a heart shaped "shell"
Now we're off to a air boat ride - regardless of how he looked before
we left, he loved it.,
One of the pretty large alligators we saw.
That night off to a "Cracker" restaurant for a " play for tips" blue grass band, AND
a special, called the "Critter Special" appetizer - cat fish, frog legs and alligator.
Didn't like the cat fish, saw the feet on the frog legs and didn't want to taste them,
BUT - LOVED the alligator!
Stopped at DA's favorite ice cream shop MOO'S
Off to the zoo - got in a kayak ride
DA feeds the giraffe
Ashton feeds the birds - didn't care for them landing on his head and shoulders.
Strange animal for the Petting Zoo! Quite different from the alpaca, mini-goats and such.
Thunder storm that night- Ashton & I wade in the pool behind the house.
Ashton finds we have about two feet.
On the boat for a couple hour ride. Stopped at Honeymoon Island where DA
made a new friend. Followed her around and poked at her for over an hour!
Finally had to leave - Ashton was the new Captain
Went to the Florida Aquarium. DA got a number of great pictures.
The next day, off to Crystal River for a Swimming with the Manatees experience.
As DA had her experience a couple days before, I don't think she was
too impressed with the "experience".
The boat taking them to the manatees.
Aston just had to have a souvenir!
To the swimming pools - again!
To the beach - one last time
Last day - off to the Magic Kingdom
Ashton ready for the races
Finally, after 10 hours (ask Jackie how hot it was...) they saw
the nightly light parade.
And Good Bye to Disney - and leave for California the next morning.
Wonder if they slept on the airplane......
Loved having them here with us. Hope Ashton can come back for more.
Hope to have the entire Amazon page up soon.
Until then, look at the pictures provided by International Expeditions.
These are just a couple of our pictures from the Amazon trip -
Quinn at play - the swings, riding horses
and painted with Ladybugs
Theo's last night at the Magic Kingdom - tired much?
We didn't think someone his age would even recognize Donald Duck!
What a terrific March! We had circumstances which included a first visit to a Granddaughter's school to see a first rate role play, two once-in-a-life-time occurrences, and another opportunity to again prove our "timing is everything" theory.
First: Our Favorite Granddaughter invited us to see her as Amelia Earhart in the fifth grade presentation of the White House and their visitors. Each student picked a famous person and had to do complete research so that a group of parents could ask questions about their life. Not only did Sofia prepare well, she could answer any question about Amelia Earhart - and be very beautiful doing it. Look up picture of Earhart and see the resemblance!
Mom helps Sofia prepare.
There were four to six students at perhaps six different stations (White House rooms)
This was Sofia's group
Then we has Owen's FIRST BIRTHDAY
Birthday King Owen gets ready.
His cake, chocolate - as you will soon see
His first bite - finger full
He thinks his piece looks pretty good!
Yes - it was awful tasty!
And the next day - Owen's FIRST HAIRCUT!
Breakfast - last meal before the change
Memory picture - everyone waiting for the first cut
OK, he has his car seat, he has his barber, he has his long hair
Let's do this!
Hey, this isn't so bad
Hair cut isn't frightening and the car chair tastes good
The finished product - What a handsome guy!
And last - we again prove timing is everything. I taught an On the Water Course - students learn certain skills by doing them while on a boat - not a book. All students had been great, but one couple stood out with their sense of humor - and accents.
If I had not met them during this class I would not have had the chance to better know two simply wonderful people - Cate and Robin Vincent. They live in England; summering in Melbourne. Robin from France, Cate from the US.
We got together for a ride up to the Cape Canaveral Wildlife Refuge and the National Seashore.
Of course, I HAD to stop by Dixie Crossroads for Rock Shrimp!
And they found they liked them as much as we do -
They act just like newly-weds. Enjoying a short walk on the National Seashore.
Why were they in the On The Water class, you ask?
Well, as you see below, they have a lovely 100 plus year old barge in France they want to safely sail.
Ain't she sweet?
Lynne and Jeff have to now wait for Theo to have a school break before they can visit - so February was the first visit in quite a while.
While we wait on the beach for the rocket - that didn't
Of course, Quinn took over. Woke with a smile, played all day with a smile,
when tired, rather than cry, just babbled.
Theo was again terrific. He read to me a lot -
not only his books, but newspapers and books on my Nook.
Here he's playing Angry Birds on Jackie's Nook
Its was wonderful to see Theo and Quinn already playing together. Whenever Theo would walk in the room, Quinn would light up and follow him with his eyes.
Of course, he had to try to train Quinn to balance a ring on his head
Quinn seems to know he has Nana wrapped around his little finger
The girls and the kids The Gillespie boys
Tom and Dorothy finally made it back to Florida. As Tom is quite the bird watcher, we decided to go to the Federal preserve at Canaveral.
But first, as we do with all we take up to Canaveral, we stop at the tourist trap - Dixie Crossroads. Never yet have we had anyone not enjoy the rock shrimp.
The first bird we saw were a pair of Bald Eagles. Although nearly 1/2 mile away, we got a couple shots.
hundreds thousands of Coots!
And Rosette Spoonbills, wood Ducks and Raptors
even wood peckers
And things that don't fly
A walk of the National Seashore
Fittingly, the last picture we took on the reserve was the rare Scrub Jay