Thursday, December 9, 2010


So-although it has been very sunny and pretty the last few days, it's also been a little bit on the chilly side. In fact, the news is saying there have been some records broken for low temperatures so early in the winter. But let's get real - when we say chilly, we've still had a high of about 50 degrees each day even though it's been down into the 20's overnight. But it's amazing how different it is this year compared to last year - totally due to the sunshine! Last year we basically had rain almost continuously through the month of December, whereas this year I think we had cloudy skies just one day and no rain at all. And this weekend it's supposed to warm up again - into the 70's - with one more cold spell early next week. So - no complaints from US! It's kind of funny to see people down here, though - I went for an hour-and-a-half walk this afternoon with Brandi and I had on jeans and a fairly lighweight fleece jacket. I passed some guy out on the street who had on gloves and a hat and a heavy winter coat - come on, guys - it's not THAT cold! And Dave, of course, is still wearing shorts pretty much every day - but that's Dave!

So what have we done in the last few days...? Well, on Monday we took a drive down to Crystal River - about 45 minutes - and I did an AVA walk. I took Brandi with me and Dave brought his bike along and rode for a while, but he admitted that even for him it was pretty chilly so he ended up coming back to the car about a half hour before I was done walking. Crystal River is kind of a pretty little town, especially as you get closer to the Gulf. It's quite a bit bigger than Cedar Key but is still pretty undeveloped compared to going one hour further south and hitting the Tampa area. We would definitely consider staying in the Crystal River area for a few weeks if we could find a campground we liked. I DO love doing the AVA walks ( will be hearing that frequently!). I get my little stamp in my little book, and I follow a map around town and I get in a nice 10K walk - some of my favorite things to do!

On Tuesday we hung out during the day - I think I worked 9 hours that day on job costing! - but that night we went into Gainesville and saw The Fiddler On The Roof at the Philips performing arts center, which is affiliated with the University of Florida. It's a really nice center (not as nice as the Devos in Grand Rapids, of course!) and the performance was very good. Probably an 8 on a scale of 10. The guy performing the role of Teyve was excellent, but some of the other performers were a little weaker. But I love the music in Fiddler and had never had a chance to see it live, so I was very happy. Dave's probably not as fond of musicals as I am, but he's a good sport and is willing to drag along with me to pretty much whatever I buy tickets for (although I'm thinking ballet might be too much to expect). For us this was a pretty late night - I think it was almost midnight when we got to bed - that's about three hours past Dave's normal bedtime!

Yesterday (Wednesday) we took Brandi and went just a couple miles off the island to a State Park Nature Preserve - it's basically a huge parcel of Florida scrub which is protected and has a fairly elaborate trail system running through it. Dave can't walk much more than a mile before his left knee (the non-replaced one!) begins to give him a lot of pain, so we just took a short walk through the area primarily to check it out. But now that I've seen, I'll definitely bring Brandi back for more walks there. I got a map of the trails and of course got out my highlighter when we got home and highlighted the portion that we walked. As I walk additional parts of the trail system, I'll highlight them on my map too - I realize this might be weird to some people, but it's how I'm wired (...thanks, Mom!).

Anyway - I'm attaching few pictures today to show some of our normal day-to-day life here. One is a picture of my little workstation. If you can't tell, what it is is an old card table from home, with the back two legs unextended and just sitting on top of the dashboard on the passenger side. The front two legs have been cut to the right size to fit on the top of the "dog house" on the left and all the way to the floor on the right. I have my nifty calendar hanging from the sun visor and my plastic box with stuff like my stapler, pens, pads of paper etc sitting next to the monitor. (Thanks, Kerkstra, for the monitor and the keyboard - they make working a lot easier than just using the laptop itself. In fact, my monitor is sitting on top of the laptop.)
It might look pretty primitive but it gets the job done! I have a curtain that goes around the winter for nighttime that I pull to block the glare of the sun as needed, and I get to sit in the passenger seat and look out over the campground while I'm working. Not too shabby!

I'm also attaching pictures of each of the pets, showing the stressful life they live on the road. No need to say anything further about THESE pictures, is there? Good lord - I should have such an easy life! (And, Brenda and Glennda, I don't need ANY comments from either of you on this whole topic!)

And finally, I'm attaching two pictures taken off the little dock that's right behind us, looking out over the bayou (I guess that's what you'd call it). We are on the "inside curve" of the isalnd, closest to the mainland, whereas the other side of the island sits right on the Gulf of Mexico. Our side is dramatically impacted by the tides, which is SUCH a weird and strange phenomenon for us. We are really struggling to understand the tides and how to interpret the tide schedule. What makes it challenging is there are two high tides and two low tides each day, and every day they get later by about an hour. So, for example, if high tide today is at 2:30PM, tomorrow it's going to be around 3:30 and the next around 4:30. The two pictures look out over the water off our dock - one was taken at low tide and shows how it's basically a mud flat at that time, the other was taken at high tide - what a difference. For us, the challenge is that we want to put the kayaks in and paddle around in this area (as opposed to just going in on the other side of the island) but we have to be VERY careful that we don't get stranded out in the water during low tide - it would be impossible to get back up to our launch site. So we're trying to get it figured out, but we're thinking next week we'll definitely try to get out there - it would be fun to go on that side and paddle around all the little islands and inlets and stuff - as long as we don't get caught!

So - that's a quick update on life on Cedar Key. So... how much snow do you guys have at home right now????

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