Monday, December 7, 2020

270 Days, An Election, Air Show, Rocket Launch, Doctor Visit, Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Covid

It has now been 270 days since we started our stay at Shelter Inn Place. Like with everyone else in the world it is getting old, but we are following the "better being safe than sorry" rule. We are happy we are in Florida where even in December we have weather that enables us to keep our doors and windows open, get outside to exercise and enjoy comfortable outdoor dining at many local eateries. That said, since Florida has lifted almost all Covid restrictions, we are not eating out as much and never indoors. Some good news now that it is December, hurricane season is over. While our friends in Louisiana got pounded this year we escaped with no big storms in our part of Florida. We only had to close our shutters once, so we were very happy.
On election day we once again worked the polls for team Biden - Harris. There was never a line of people where we worked so we felt safe being there.
Unfortunately, we did not get the results we wanted in Florida, but we still wanted to be part of the effort.
On Saturday, November 7th we got the news we had been waiting for when several news services called the election for Joe and Kamala. We are very sad that even a month after all the results are in the president still refuses to accept the FACT that he lost. I feel this is a dangerous time for our country.
During the first weekend of November the Stuart Air Show is held. On the Thursday prior to that we heard a very loud rumble as this jet flew very low over our place. It was practice for the weekend so we had several days of this.
There were a variety of acrobatic events and we could watch them from our place.
There were a number of different acrobatic teams.
It was amazing how low they flew over the city. Unfortunately, last year a plane crashed at the airport during practice, killing the pilot.
This fighter, with its afterburner glowing, was so low it set off our neighbor's security alarm.
Different jet. This one with two engines. Here is a link to a video of a jet hovering, something I did not know they could do.
Here is the link to a video of a jet coming over our place.
These four fighters performing as a team was very neat. Hopefully next year we will be able to go to the airport to get an up close look at all the planes.
On November 15th we saw the SpaceX launch watching from our yard. We are 100 miles from Cape Canaveral but it was still very neat. 
We could see it for several minutes as it went into orbit for the 27 hour trip to the International Space Station. We plan to go to the beach for a better look at some future launch.
We needed to get a doctor in Florida now that this is our home base. Cleveland Clinic has a new facility just a couple blocks from us, so that is the place we chose The great thing about the clinic is that we can go there for pretty much all our medical needs. Lab work, screenings and even an OBGYN, all in one place. We like our new doctor, but she sure is young. The tests we had done came back with great results. I have lost 16 pounds and lowered my cholesterol by nearly 20 points. The exercise and Nanc's cooking is doing the job for me. Of course, Nanc, who is much more health conscience than me, also had a good report. 
How does a 74 year old man celebrate his lower weight and cholesterol?  By going to Duffy's for a bacon cheese burger with a side of onion rings. It was wonderful, but it is a treat I will be eating much less often. 
How did Nanc celebrate? With a more sensible order of Ahi tuna and a side of steamed broccoli. I guess that is why she was able to run seven miles on her 70th birthday and I could only take a stroll on the beach. 
My birthday was on Thanksgiving day. We went to Hutchinson Island for a nice walk on the beach. In our part of Florida we can almost always find an uncrowded beach. There has been some big waves, so there is a lot of  beach erosion.
We found a few neat shells and some shark's teeth.
Enjoying the Florida sunshine on my birthday.
Last Thanksgiving our friends Joe and Kathy were here with us and Joe cooked a wonderful fish stew rather than the traditional turkey and stuffing. I guess it is now our new traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was fantastic!
This will be our first Christmas in our new place. We decided we have not had a big tree for 13 years so we will continue that tradition. We did put up a string of lights on the patio.......
.....and our little tree,  holiday flag and window candles that we displayed in Opus. Nanc has also put a few Christmas touches around the house so we are all ready for the holidays.
I do like condo living as the HOA takes care of all the grounds. I think the trimming of the palms is a once a year event.
This is why I'm glad it is someone else's job. I don't do tree climbing any more.
Our neighbor Hector took advantage of the trimming and collected the coconuts. He had this big machete to open them and save the milk. He shared one with us. Fresh coconut and its milk is great.

Really, this is the toilet and paper aisle at Target. Why do people do this? It is crazy to me!

It has been 33 days since our last post and the Covid numbers are growing at an unbelievable rate. The number of cases in the US has increased by 5,549,783 to 14,779,499 with the 7 day average of new cases more than doubling to nearly 196,000. The number of deaths has increased by 51,757 to 282,436 with the 7 day average increasing to 2,169. Why don't people understand that the longer we go without following the medical professionals' guidelines the longer the restrictions are going to be in place. All you are being asked to do is wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and stay out of big crowds. Hopefully, with the vaccine and a new administration modeling proper behavior this thing will be under control by spring.

With 2020 already being as bad as it has been, we have also suffered the loss of two of Nanc's siblings, Michelle lost her battle with cancer in January and Dave from heart disease this month.
Here is Nanc and here siblings a few years ago. Front are Michelle, Dave and Nancy; back are Karen, Marty and Judy. Judy and Nanc are the only two remaining.
In April of 2017 we all got together in Maryland for Michelle's birthday. This was the last time they were together. We are hoping 2021 is a much better year for everyone.

Monday, November 2, 2020

235 Days, Wildlife, Beach, Halloween, Anniversary, Voting and Covid

It is hard to believe we have been at Shelter Inn Place for 235 days. We have tried our best to limit our contact with people. We do our morning walks and runs five or six days a week so at least we are staying in shape. The weather here has finally gotten more fall like so we did the beach and enjoyed the fresh air. We know everyone in the world is in the same situation, but that does not make it easier not being able to do what we want to do.  
We continue to see a lot of wildlife right here in Lex Lakes. Here is an anhinga drying its wings. I saw another one in the lake with a fish in its bill and as it tried to toss it in the air to swallow it the fish escaped. 
I finally got to see the bobcat. It stopped and gave me a long look.....
....before taking off. It seems there are two bobcats in our community as Nanc said this one is bigger than the one she saw.
The temperatures got more comfortable so we hit the beach. As you can see we had no problem social distancing. I think most people picture Florida beaches crowded with hundreds of people. Our experience is that you can almost always find a quiet spot.
Nanc enjoying being out in the sun.
Making it an even better day I caught some fish. This pompano was the nicest.
Lex Lakes is not a 55 plus community so we prepared for trick or treaters. Our neighbor Morgan went all out.
We practiced covid protocols putting our candy on a table in the driveway. We only had four or five kids and then it started to rain. Typical of Florida weather, the shower only lasted a few minutes. 
That evening we celebrated our 51 anniversary with our favorite home cooked meal, linguine with clam sauce. Sure was a change from our big 50th celebration last year, but still a wonderful evening.
The full moon coming up with Mars shining brightly above it. It was the first Halloween full moon since 1944.
Of course we voted. Florida has greatly improved their voting system since the 2000 debacle. We signed up for mail in voting for the next four years. Our ballots arrived in early October so we were able to take our time checking out local candidates and the several ballot issues. 
We mailed our ballots and could then tract them on line. They were received in a couple days and a few days later they were counted. Unfortunately, many states don't count the mail in ballots until election day or after so I think election day results will be a long time coming in.
If you know me you know that I voted Biden / Harris. 
Go Blue!!!! 
We felt we needed to do more than just vote so we signed up with the Biden Harris campaign to be poll workers. It was outside and social distancing protocols were followed so we felt safe.
The poll we worked at was an early voting site in Fort Pierce. A big part of the day was the Free My Vote march to support people who have served time in jail to be allowed to vote. Florida residents overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the constitution to allow this, but the republican governor and legislature added that ALL fines and costs must also be paid. Problem is, in many cases the state does not know what people owe. We will also be working on election day.

Covid - 19
Like all sane people we continue to follow protocols of mask wearing, social distancing and washing our hands often. We have ventured out a few times for a late afternoon lunch at places with outdoor seating that were being safe. But since our governor put everything back to 100% we now only go to places that are interested in protecting both their customers and employees by keeping tables spread out.  We call ahead and if the place is not doing that we tell them we may see them next year. 
When I wrote the last post on September 29 there were 7,367,177 cases and 210,140 deaths. As I write this only 34 days later, cases are at 9,229,716 with 230,679 deaths, We have hit new daily highs several times. The last couple weeks it has really hit home with us as six people we know in three different states have tested positive.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

201 Days Elliott Museum

WOW, it is hard to believe we have been at Shelter Inn Place for 201 days. For most of that time we have limited our outings to grocery shopping with a couple trips to other stores. We have gone to the beach when it was not too hot. We did make a change in our routine this month when we decided we would be okay going out for a late lunch as long as we could sit outside and the places weren't crowded.
We are still in the Florida rainy season with either afternoon or morning showers, but almost never an all day rain. This past week on the first day of fall a "cold" front came through and lowered the humidity to a more comfortable level and dropped the temperatures from the mid 90's to the mid 80's. Other good weather news this week, there are NO storms brewing in the Atlantic, but hurricane season goes to the end of November.
We are still getting in our daily exercise and eating well. Nanc made some great shrimp tacos and I made margaritas. The meals at Shelter Inn Place continue to be healthy and delicious.
A big change in the local Lexington Lakes wildlife this month!!! We have a resident bobcat. This is a picture a neighbor captured. I have not seen it but Nanc has a couple times on her morning runs. 
Not a great picture but we also have a large family of raccoons living in the woods. Hopefully the fence will keep the alligators out;-)
The first time we ventured out other than shopping we visited the Elliott Museum. The original museum was built in 1961 by Harmon Elliott as a tribute to his father Sterling who was a prolific inventor. The current building, which opened in 2013, is described as A Work in Progress, with constantly changing exhibits. The biggest collection is the vintage vehicles.  
One of the most unusual exhibits is Wheels of Change. It is a three level rack system that holds over 50 cars. Cars can be retrieved with a robotic tray and brought down to this turntable to be displayed. This is the only one of its kind in the country. There was not a docent the day we were there to operate it for us but normally you can request that a car be brought down to enable you to get a better look. 
There are many one of a kind cars displayed here.
Part of the vehicle collection is in a gallery with facades of old downtown Stuart buildings on the walls.
If you are a car person the Elliott is a must see stop in Stuart.
Is it a boat? Is it a plane? Yes, it is both. It is a boat that was built from the fuel drop tank of a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk by retired Grumman employee Lawrence Regier. Lawrence was there the day we visited and was happy to tell us all about it. 
Many of Sterling Elliott's inventions dealt with improvements in bicycles and quadricycles. He also served as the president of the League of American Wheelmen.
Hugh Willoughby was the designer of the hydro-airplane pictured above. This is his pilot's license certificate from the National Aeronautic Association that was signed by Orville Wright. 
The General Store is a display of businesses from the late 1800's and early 1900's. There is an Apothecary Shop, Barber Shop, Ice Cream Soda Fountain, Post Office and more.
This hand-carved circus with 300+ figures was done by Bob Wyatt in the 1950's.
They have an exhibit of over 600 signed baseball cards and these game used bats. There are bats used by Josh Gibson, Ty Cobb, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente and other old time players.
Some of the art on display.
The changing exhibit hall had a great collection of British motorcycles. The Elliott offers a very nice eclectic collection of art and history for a small town museum. 
Our first dining out experience since March. After visiting the Elliott we went to Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House for a late lunch. We sat outside and the tables were well spaced so we felt comfortable.
Pink sky in morning.
Another week and another dining out experience. This time was Kyle G's, a place we had never tried. Here we had a table overlooking the Atlantic. The food was great and once again we felt comfortable that they were following all the correct Covid protocols. We sure enjoyed eating out, but are unsure what the future holds as our governor has called off all Covid restrictions and declared the state is open for business. Places will not be getting our business if they eliminate social distancing and other safety procedures. 
We went to check out the waves from Hurricane Teddy that was several hundred miles off  coast. Teddy caused high surf warnings from here in Martin County all the way to Cape Cod. Unfortunately the beach at Blowing Rock where holes in the rocks send the waves high in the air was closed. 
We were sad to see all these turtle egg shells on the beach. The high surf destroyed over a hundred nests on Jupiter and Hutchinson Islands. The good news is there were over 700 nest so many more survived.
Nanc has run the Great Race in Pittsburgh many times over the years when we are in WashPA at the end of September. Because of the pandemic the race this year was virtual. You could run anywhere and send your time in. She did a great job with the fastest time for her age and finished 169 out of 361 female. GREAT JOB!!!!!!!
While most people are doing what should be done to slow the spread of Covid there are way too many people who are like this. It is hard to believe with the case and death numbers we have in this country. Total cases in the world 33,689,344; US cases 7,376,177. We have 21.9 % with only 4% of the world's population.
Total deaths in the world 1,008,617; US deaths 210,140 We have 20.8%. 
     These numbers are so sad.