Happy Holidays

Travelogue - January 1, 2006

Happy New Year!

Apologies: we did not get around to sending any Christmas or Hanukkah cards this year - instead, this missive comes with tardy but sincere Holiday Greetings to all.

We've been seeing new sights to report to you:

This photo exemplifies the bizarre holiday scenery here in Florida. No, that is not snow. It is beach sand. Those are not reindeer in the background: half are sea-gulls, the other half appears to be lint on the lens. And those are not Arctic ice fields in the distance; it is the Gulf of Mexico, and not an ice berg to be seen, imagine that!

Lest you make the common error - believing that "no snow" equals "no worries" - I must tell you that during the evening after this beach photo op, we were sucked dry by a blizzard of no-see-em's which apparently crept aboard as stowaways. But soon we were fine, just very itchy and slightly anemic.

For the holidays, we tied up at Rick's parent's house - as you can see, the decorations were very festive! Soon our blood iron levels (and glucose levels) returned to normal (and above, respectively). We had a jolly time - we stayed for about a week and a half, and enjoyed every minute:

We left Boca Grande, heading to Punta Gorda on the morning of December 23rd. We crossed Charlotte Harbor (that's a LOT of water), and after two breezy hours we came to Burnt Store Marina, where Don and Lu met us for the last leg of our cruise to their house.

The next three hours were a mix of cruising north through the Harbor and then chugging quietly and ever so slowly down the canals weaving through their neighborhood. It is a maze on the map and much farther by water than by land!

The cruise was chilly in the Harbor, but smooth enough we could all chat. The photo, above left, witnesses the beginning of what grew to be a beautiful friendship between Lu and Goldie.

During the holidays we did get a lot of work done, both on businesses and on the boat. One huge boat challenge: replacing the original fridge, which was on the fritz.

I suspect our boat may have been built around its refrigerator. Don and Rick labored to extract the unwieldy beast from its lair, wrestle it into submission, and bring it forth into the light of day.

It was no small task, but they made it a good time. The new fridge went in with nearly as much difficulty, but it functions and is terrific. Great job!

Goldie fell in love with Lu and with Rick's beautiful sister Louise... Rick fixed Don's hot tub... I got a set of drawings finished, printed, reproduced and snail-mailed... We went to midnight mass but then I blew my credit by telling an off-color joke to a priest... We rode bikes into town...

And the shocker of the season? You'll never guess, so I'll tell you: Karaoke. You heard me. We mixed it up with rock and classics and country, and wrapped up New Year's Eve with Auld Lang Syne, much to the joy of the neighbors I'm sure. It was a hoot!

I learned that karaoke as a participant is LOTS of fun - it's also much more difficult than it looks, so my hat is off to all you fearless karaoke contestants!

Right, the Singin' Seven: Uncle Arthur, Don and Pat; Aunt Roshni, Lu and Louise. Rick was resting his pipes.

Here's wishing you all a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Lots of love and good cheer -

Pat and Rick

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