Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve - Ringing in 2009

Jim and Jody in the spirit of 2009!

Today was a busy day - preparing for the New Years eve gathering at the park. The park is almost full tonight. It is quite an exclusive place where there are only about 30 sites. Many of them are on flat concrete slabs because they will best weather hurricanes and are the most effective for the big motor homes. There are Palm trees and Magnolias planted around the park and the grounds by the Marina are quite nice. I posted photos of the new site we have and it is great - room for two vehicles and the boat as well as the airstream next year. We are planning on making this our home base again next year but will do some travelling out from here - we are thinking .... some long trips and some not so long!

Today we were so excited because another Airstream (28 foot Safari) arrived!!! We met the owners from Texas: a retired exec from FED EX and her husband - not sure yet what he does since she and I were chatting non stop about what we do on the Internet etc etc...We will hear more tonight I am sure. Lots of interesting people on the road - we approve of their choice of trailer (:-) !!!


Mike (TN) and Steve (FL)

Charlie (the dog), Jane and Jim

Charlie, Jane, and her husband, Carl

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Amazing Sunset on the Gulf Coast

Today was another beautiful day here and the temperature rose to 75F under sunny skies. The Park is getting very busy indeed with about 2/3 of the sites available occupied. There are clearly families who will dissappear next week since the children will be going back to school. More snowbirds have arrived. We walked a long way today in the surf and found some rare shells on the beach that were just beautiful. My favorite is the "shark's eye" - a shell that looks like a huge snail...

Tomorrow is new years eve and there will be celebrations at the Wharf that include fireworks and a countdown to midnight. Both Pensacola and Mobile have special events going on. There will be live music and celebrating here at the park as well on the Marina side.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We Moved ! 150 feet !

We moved into a new site - bigger, more private, more trees and best of all closer to the beach!

My Grandchildren ! Xmas 2008

Payton (6) and Brooklyn (6 months) my little sweethearts!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunrise Out the Bedroom Window Got us Running ...

This morning was so beautiful that Richard and I had to get up early, "hitch" up the dogs and run with our cameras down to the beach - we were like children - so excited, we didn't want to miss it for anything and it was absolutely lovely...

We couldn't imagine anything more beautiful than the rising sun, the sound of the surf crashing on the shore and the cotton-light clouds that we knew would disappear by mid morning. For amateur photographers, the scenery here in the area is spectacular; not just the Gulf and it's bountiful beauty, but the marinas and yacht clubs, the wildlife and birds and the local personae...

I have to pinch myself now and again to realize this is late December and that I am no longer running in the rat race! Every new experience is gripping, every new encounter is interesting and there is no pressure to be here or there on some schedule, or to do this or that by a certain time. It is wonderful!

Let me describe the Airstream 34, how it functions and feels for us to be living in it... It is about 8 feet wide and 35 feet long and has eight large windows that open , awning style, allowing the breezes to float through the interior, even on a rainy day. There are two skylights that add to the bright and airy feel of the interior and three ceiling fans (two Fantastic Fans). Everything in the Airstream came through the one door, so replacing interior components will not be hard, once they wear out. There are 5 canvas awnings around the exterior, covering windows and the door side and one fixed awning over the panorama window of the front. They give the whole environment the feel of a french cafe - and the coffee here is always good!

Inside the Airstream the fixtures are oil rubbed bronze and the cabinets and their bases are real wood, hickory! No laminates for this domain - the Airstream is built to last. The interior has a yacht-like feel. The galley is well equipped but I am just learning to use the convection aspect of a convection microwave...there is a doorbell ! The two small steps out the door are easy for the dogs (and their owners) to manage. It is cozy inside - we have an entertainment centre that includes music, DVD and TV (two of them - rarely used) integrated into the interior with speakers hidden where you least expect it. There is a full bathroom where I can wash off the sea salt at the end of the day.

Tomorrow is another day and we can't wait for it....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Richard and I on the Beach - windy, foggy day!

Christmas in Perdido Key on the Gulf Coast and Fishing the Surf

Richard has been fishing a lot over the last few weeks so for those of you who like to fish I thought I would share a few photos and let you know what he uses for equipment, rigging and bait. If I have the terms a little wrong - forgive me!

Richard's fishing rod is a Shakespeare Ugly Stick BWS 1100 - 9 feet (2.74 meters)long. He also has a Penn Slammer rod that is 7 feet long. His reel is a Penn Spinning Reel 850 SSM. He uses two circle hooks about 10 incles apart and 10 inches from a 4 ounce pyramid sinker. Bait is shrimp bought at the local food stores.
The catch here is Pompano, Redfish, Sea Catfish and Whiting so far...
The area has lots of spots for fishing: on the beach, on the Gulf Intracoastal waterway, on the canals around the islands in both Florida and Alabama. Out of state residents need a fishing license that costs about $50 in Florida for the year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lille Jule Aften - Little Christmas Eve Dec 23rd

Today we drove North on Highway 59 and through some typical Alabama countryside. Trees and brush!

Along the way was a very beautifully decorated quaint country inn.

Today was 63 F and partly cloudy and very windy. The ocean was very wavy and there were two flags flying; the yellow caution flag and a dangerous marine wildlife flag (I am thinking "sharks!"). I didn't go in the water today!!!

I talked about seeing the Piggly Wiggly in one of my earlier posts and captured it today in digital format!

We drove up to the Outlet again today and Richard got ooodles of Hilfiger golf shirts - great prices and an online coupon brought the mark downs to 75 percent off !!! Unbelievable deals. We also went beyond there to the Camping world and saw big,big "you drive" motorhomes that were beautiful and much less expensive than our Airstream. The quality of the Airstream was clearly better though and we are very happy in it.

We have seen quite a few "don't feed the Aligator signs " but no aligators - Richard thinks they are hibernating! Hope so!! There have been flat fish and a ray down at the Marina side of the RV park and Pelicans fish there every day. We are missing you all and Richard and I both send our best wishes to you all for a happy , healthy and safe holiday season.

Tomorrow is devoted to fishing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas is Just 2 Days Away!

Yesterday and today and probably tomorrow we will have to have the furnace on to keep us toasty. A cold front moved in ! By Christmas eve it will be back to low 70's F and low 60's F at night. We are planning a day trip to the Beaches along the gulf coast further east of here, Pensacola, Walton and Destin beaches. At Destin beach there is a campground right on the beach and we want to check that out to see if it has full hook-ups - we may visit there in April when we leave here.

Richard was fishing the other day and caught two whiting fish in the surf. The conditions have to be just so to be able to get something in the surf - it keeps pounding on the line and pushing it back to you; small fish sometimes nibble on the bait; and sometimes the bigger fish run away with the bait, pole and all, and you lose your investment!

We are planning a trip to Camping World today for some RV supplies...and on the way we will stop in to the Tanger Outlet Malls - there is a coupon for 80% off at one of our favourite stores so we will check it out...This morning here is warmer than yesterday (about 50 F) but windy and overcast so not a great day for beachcombing!

This morning on FOX news I heard that 70,000 homes per month in the US are in complete foreclosure (meaning the residents have vacated) and that number is expected to keep rising...A sad situation for this time of year. There are so many vacation rental properties here and yesterday we met a couple from Nova Scotia who have rented a condo, steps from the beach for a reasonable rate.

Merry Christmas to all ! This is Lil Jul Aften (little Christmas eve) in Denmark!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Airstream in Alabama Nov 15 2008

Earlier threads from Snowbrds 2008

To Louise and Lisa Nov 11, 2008 at 6:04 pm

We arrived here at the flying j near Buffalo at about four thirty pm and ot the generator set up and some heat in the airstream. Biter and Ricky were cold but not frozen because we had given them hot water bottles and wrapped down comforters around their cages. Now they are warm and have found spots to sleep.
We are hoping to get into warmer ambient temps tomorrow reaching Columbus Ohio. I miss you both already and can't imagine going three months without seeing you both not to mention that I will miss Payton and Brooklyn lots too. Take care. I will email tomorrow night with the update. Love you. Mom

To Lisa, Derek, Payton and Brooklyn Nov 13th at 10:04 am. Enroute between Columbus and Cincinnati

We are away a little late today leaving the Flying J near Columbus Ohio at 9 50 am. Last night when we arrived at the Flying J there was a young man with a small truck and a load of old lumber taking up three RV lanes so there was no place for us to park. He came over to our truck as we were assessing what to do and said if you help me with this tie down I will move for you. I'm thinking "axe murderer?" And Richard said should I go and I sent him out of the safety of the cab with a "why not?". It turns out he was very spiritual and entertained Richard with tales of being reborn and Jesus, while Richard tried to get the tie down job done quick as he could (we were temporarily parked in a wonky way). We thought we would never be alone again and when I saw his sledge hammer (Rich said he did demolition). I thought we should be nice to him or the Airstream (we have to get Payton to name it) might have a big dent in the morning.
I am now dreaming of being by the sea and setting the table with the placemats that the girls made for us. I will send you a picture. Take care all. Love Mom/Grandma and Rich/Grandpa.

To Louise and Lisa Nov 13 3:43 pm More updates...

We are about an hours’ drive from where we are stopping tonight at the Tennessee Kentucky border and we are driving through some amazing scenery with fall colours like we had in September, bright sunshine and a temperature of 63• F. Kentucky has green, green, grass and rolling hills. We have seen horse and cattle ranches and many religious billboards that remind me of the Pedro signs near South of the Border. The driving has been generally very good with some pavement problems along highway I - 65. We are looking forward to a nice dinner tonight. We should be stopping tomorrow night in Birmingham Alabama. Love you lots. Let me know how things are there cause I miss you. Take care. LoveMom.

To Lisa, Louise, Tony – Bees the size of small birds - Nov 14, 2008 3:14 pm

Wow. The hornets in Alabama are huge !!! Good thing we are going to the coast. We are just north of Montgomery, Alabama where we are spending the night at the Tyson flying j. About 50 minutes of driving left today. We passed a bad accident about twenty minutes ago where a southbound transport truck lost control and ended up blocking the northbound lanes completely for traffic heading into Birmingham Alabama for miles and miles. It was at a dead stop with no end in sight. Luckily we missed the accidents after effects and are continuing on our way.
We will reach the gulf coast and Playa Del Rio tomorrow if all goes well Love Mom

To Payton from Reggie (the Peke) Nov 15th, 2008 9:53 am

Dear Payton
Well we are stuck here in Alabama of all places because of the wind of all things. I think there are alligators in Alabama but I am ready for them if they want to bully me ! I have Kung Fu moves that they may never have seen before. I learned them from the movie Kung Fu Panda that is out now. By the way did you hear there are only 1600 real Pandas left on the planet. That is too bad cause they are cute. Any way I wanted to tell you about the menu here in the Airstream (which I heard you are going to name soon). The first night I had fried chicken take out from the Flying J - not too bad but real greasy - Nana couldn’t eat it but I liked it. Rudy got fussy so we had to get a t bone for him the next night. Last night Richard brought in Meatballs on a long stick (can you picture that?) from the Flying J cafeteria and it’s pretty bad when a DOG won't eat it!!! I ate Ricky's cat food that night. This am Nana gave me some bacon and I loved it. Yesterday we saw lots of pretty colours on the trees but the nicest thing we saw was a beautiful K 9 police Dog with her police man friend. She was big and athletic looking - I think I'm in love! At the flying J in the night we had the door jam shut and Richie said something about lowering me down out the back window to go for help but thank goodness he was able to get us out. Biter has settled in real well - better than we thought but every now and again she disappears and Nana goes hunting for her. Under the chair? No! Beside the bed? No! Under the table? No! Can you guess where she goes to sleep? Love you and say hi to your Daddy and Mommy. We saw the Grand old Opry yesterday in Tennessee. There is a big shopping centre beside it for Nana ! KissesReggie

To Lisa - Holding tight this am. Near Montgomery, Alabama. Nov 15th 2008 9:53 am

The winds are a bit high so we are checking the Internet. We are on central time so an hour earlier than you. 9 30 am here and 10 30 am at your end. Will keep you posted when we arrive at final destination. Love u all. Mom.

To Louise and Lisa - First Day at Playa Del Rio - Nov 16th 9:48 am

Hello all We have been to the beach and gathered some shells. Rudy frolicked and Reggie looked like he was on the surface of the moon trudging along with the wind blowing his ears. It is sunny and not too warm yet. We are enjoying the peace of not having to be on the road. Call me when you want since it is included in my minutes! Always nice to hear from you. Love Mom.

Nov 18th 2008 the Kodak gallery of the Snowbird 2008 Florida edition...
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Nov 20th 2008 Started the Day with a Walk at the Beach To Louise ,Lisa, Tony

Hi there. After a nice day yesterday of exploring the beach drive out to the end of it I started today by walking the dogs and then when Reggie wimped out I went back to the gulf for a walk by myself. Only one shell this morning and it is already starting to get hot out. Supposed to get to 70 degrees F today(that's 20 C) but it feels like it could go hotter. Yesterday we discovered just about ten miles up the beach road in Alabama their Gulf Coast state park. It was beautiful there and the lots were huge only 400 per month for water sewer and hydro but no TV or WI FI. We would miss both. More the Internet than the TV. After December this place will be full all thirty sites taken up. Then it will seem very cramped since the lots are tiny. Next Thursday is American thanksgiving and there is a pot luck at the clubhouse beside the marina. We will likely participate to be sociable. There are about twelve rigs here now so it will be about 20 to 24 people. We have met many folks here at the park and two days ago an amazing rig pulled in with a show dogs sign in the window. They have 6 miniature pincers (sp?) Who leap three feet in the air confined in their hexagonal little pens when they see Rudy and Reggie. Its like six big Mexican jumping beans boing boing boing!!! I think they just want to be regular dogs and I am sure they are crated when inside their Bus. Take care all Love Christina

On Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 5:30 PM, hello all

Hey there. We are enjoying sunshine and 60 degrees that's about 16 C and the sea is a little angry today. The emerald-teal blue waves are crashing against the beach and the breakers are as far out as the horizon. It is - in a word - breathtaking... There is a beach party at the clubhouse tonight and a few more rigs have rolled in - this time from Texas. I think they are planning Thanksgiving week at the Beach. Our next door neighbour on one side is a very nice retired lady from Seattle who is travelling in her fifth wheel alone. She hasn't had it very long and her foot is in a cast because about the first week she had it she fell down the steps. That wouldn't happen as easily in the airstream. We are much lower to the ground. We have prepared spinach shells for the get together tonight. One of the couples is having an anniversary.We are determined to spend next week without shopping. I will let you know how that goes!!!Miss you all Love Mom/Christina.

Nov 25, 2008 10:52 AM Update from Florida

Hello all. We have had a great time since getting here. It is hard to believe it is two weeks today since we left Canada. Yesterday was very nice. We stayed at the campsite all day and enjoyed my birthday. We walked over to the beach and got soaked in the surf but it was fun. I got calls from all of you (and Fred, Peter and Chris too). I think Peter told Chris to call....:-). Today we started early and are headed over to a town called Milton to shop a little. This week is Thanksgiving here and everyone in the stores are gearing up for Black Friday shopping which starts midnight Thursday night. . I have too much stuff here so I will be bringing some home when I go in Feb. When you live in 350 or so square feet you need to be careful what you haul home!!!This afternoon it is supposed to the 74 F (23.3 C) and it is sunny again. The seas are rough. We are hoping to do a Deep Sea fishing cruise soon. All is well. Love Mom/Christina

Thanksgiving Day at Perdido Nov 27, 2008 9:30 am

Hello all Today is sunny again. Reggie and Rudy met two pugs today Kelly and Casey. The park is almost full today from people who want to spend the thanksgiving holiday at the Beach. Alabama schools have the whole week off. Wouldn't Payton love that? Bill the fisherman we met on the Beach who owns one of the Beach condos behind us, was trying to catch a fish for us yesterday but it was not meant to be. He and his family are headed back to Wisconsin tomorrow and will be back in January. He is lending Richard one of his surf rods while they are away and we will try to get some photos of Richard fishing and hopefully catching something. We had such a nice relaxing day yesterday and are hoping for another like it today. Except that Richard wants to so some Black Friday shopping at midnight at the Outlet mall. :-). The animals are in a good routine and we have had to go to clumping litter while away so that we can empty the bad litter three or four times a day. We are in such close proximity here that I Clorox all tables and counter tops regularly and before use as a precaution. Richard because he is allergic to the cats has to vacuum every day with my stick vac and every two to three with the shop vac. Such is our routine. Tuesday we were in the town that has Lambert's Throwed rolls restaurant and we were in a parking lot surrounded by grass so I said to Richard "might be good to walk the dogs here ... But be careful of that red mound because it could be fire ants!". He said he wished I had never read about fire ants - - guess I am a little worried about them every day. I laughed and said you are probably right and it is nothing but stay away from it anyway. After he put the dogs back beside me in the truck he said I will disturb it (the mound) and see. The mound was reddish sandy looking and looked like a kid had made it with a pail while building a sand castle. He took a soft hammer and pushed the top over. .... Nothing for a long few seconds and then ---what a commotion!!! Red fire ants all right and millions of them and mad as you know what!!! We got a video. I will send it later. Now we know what their mounds look like. For Rachel and Tony - my toe looks a lot better ... I would say it is in the sea for a half hour every day almost. That's all for now. Take care. Love Christina Xoxoxoxoxoxoo

To Payton from Reggie Nov 28, 2008 10:23 AM

Hi Payton First let me say I wish you were closer so that I could tell you my stories in person. I remember when we were lying on Nana and Richard's bed in the Airstream watching Wilbur the pig. I have that photo that Nana took of us on my wall (which is one of the low cupboards). Any way let me tell you the latest and see what you think....First, the other day I went with Nana and Richard down to the beach and I thought it would be like every other day but not this time!!! Bill the fisherman was down there and had caught a big fish so I had to wait around while Richard and Nana oooohd and aaahhhhddd over it. Anymore when they get chatting with someone and there is no dog to sniff I just lay down in the sand and chill out. So that was okay but then Nana said she wanted to "stick her toe in the sea"...okay I thought what's the harm in that. Then I felt her pulling at my leash and I was getting closer and closer to the waves....ooooooooopssss I went in, not over my head or anything but my belly and paws got real wet. "My toes don't need soaking" I squealed and pulled back up on dry land. I hope to never have a repeat performance of that!!!Second, as we were walking by the beach Nana said " oh look, 6 dolphins are playing in the water out there ". I half expected she might throw me out to "have some fun" with them. For all I know they could have been sharks.... Thirdly, for some reason Nana doesn't leave us in the Airstream when they shop so we have to go pee, then get in the truck, cuddle up in our blankets on the seats and go along. Well the other day Richard was going to accidentally walk us by a fire ant nest and Nana stopped him. There is a video on Facebook that Cassie could show you. And it was right near the restaurant where they throw rolls at you. Nana said she wants to eat there to get pictures for you. Well I have more to tell you about the park but my paws are sore from typing. Love you Reggie Schnoifs, ear whacks and sneezes. Xoxoxoxoxoxo

To Louise Lisa Tony Rachel Deanne- Perdido update Nov 29, 2008 11:59 AM

Well hi everyone! It is hard to believe that November is almost over. Next week is Louise's birthday and Brooklyn's six month birthday the same day! It would be nice to be there for sure....We did go to the outlets for Black Friday and it was a little wild there at midnight. There was an Alabama Police command centre set up in a trailer; there were mounted policemen and traffic cops were directing you to where you didn't want to go really...You would have thought it was middle of the day the Saturday before Christmas and not midnight. Richard got what he went for - a half price collectors edition Tommy Bahama silk shirt. It was Black with three embroidered fishing reels on the back. Real cool. Yesterday we spent a quiet day. I made a couple of videos for Payton and posted them to the Facebook site for her to see when she visits Cassie. Today there are many rigs leaving since the Thanksgiving week here is almost over. It will be nice to have fewer people here it just makes the park a little more private and secluded. Richard and I decided we like it here so much that we would book a site here (site number 2 nearer the ocean and more private) for the whole winter next year from mid November '09 to end April '10. We are hoping to also bring the boat along and on a calm day like today it would be great to get out on the water. The trip to Arizona and Quartzsite will have to wait another year. I saw 6 dolphins playing just about 100 yards off the shore the day before yesterday and they were a sight - a reminder that the seas are alive and we need to protect them. At the marina side here there are sting rays to be seen - although I havn't spotted one yet. The animals in our trailer mostly sleep all day. It must be the sea air and their ages. They seem quite settled, as are we. We seem to shop a lot but that is part of the discovery I guess. Not that we buy much. Today I need to find a hair clippers for me to cut Richard's hair and a salon for my haircut (I am thinking Walmart? Don't cringe Rachel !! :-) ). Tonight is a blues night at the clubhouse and Steve the singer will be back. Last night when I walked the dogs down there at about 9 it seemed like happy hour had gotten away from a few people - there was slurred speech and two little dogs tied to a pole while their owners partied were wound round each other and could only sit there and look at Reg and Rude - normally there is tail wagging, schnoiffing and the like.
When we go down to the clubhouse to be sociable we usually leave before 730 - probably a good thing. We've been watching the news here about the problems in India and this morning there was a piece on the 2000 jihadists that are roaming around Europe. Sobering thought. Well, as we enjoy the weather and think of you all we will count our blessings that everyone is safe and happy. Take care. Lots of love. Christina

Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2008 15:59:21
To: Lisa, Louise ,Tony , Rachel , Deanna
Subject: Hello from Florida.

Hi there everyone. We have been enjoying the sunshine in the day but at night it is chilly and the little furnace keeps us toasty. Richard bought a fishing rod so we could have two in the water. Nothing caught yet but we will try today for some Redfish. The doggies are having fun but there are far fewer dogs to visit with now since the thanksgiving vacation is over. There is a tiny geriatric miniature poodle -she is 17 - and she has fallen for Reggie but he is so afraid of her - she is really very tiny with spindly legs and always wears a different knit sweater and she looks like she would fall over if you blew on her. Usually she is trudging slowly along but when she sees Reggie there is a spring in her step and she even runs a little - sometimes it goes sideways but hey, she is over 100 in human years!!! We are going to books a million today to look for some magazines to read. It is our chapters equivalent here in the south. There was a Coleman store outlet near here too so if you know of any items for camping you want us to pick up for you we can check the prices for you and see how much better they are. I know Richard’s red Roadtrek barbecue is so much cheaper here. Yesterday we were sitting in front of the airstream and Suzy came quickly out of her trailer. A sweet potato had exploded in her microwave and fried it sending black smoke billowing about. In the aftermath Richard found the remains of the potato and it was charred black. I think that the microwave lost proper tune and fried itself. Quite dangerous really. Suzy's trailer is vintage 1990 or so so it has seen some miles. Richard removed the microwave and sent her off to Wallmart for a new one that would fit the hole left by this one. The funny thing is that she, and many Americans do not like Wallmart because of the lost American jobs to China. Richard said never mind that it will be your lowest cost choice for replacing the microwave. Of course it is too small for the hole and the bracket that keeps it from flying around when on the road so there is some mods to do to finish the job. She is alone so Richard may have to take care of it ... Richard loves Wallmart and has found fishing shirts by the dozen and really, really nice jeans for $9.99. The fishing tools at Wallmart are half the price compared to the Tackle shops so Wallmart is on our list for shopping pleasure. Speaking of shopping - we found our first Piggly Wiggly grocery store and I was remembering how Mother smiled every time she said she was going to Piggly Wiggly!!! We laughed at the thought of naming your store Piggly Wiggly! How funny it would sound to say you worked at Piggly Wiggly. There is a branch of the Royal Bank just up the road from us so now I wish I had put more cash in there because there are no fees at the atm with my bank card. That's all the news for now. Love you all!Mom/Grandma/Christina

Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 12:13:04 To: Louise, Lisa, Deanna, rachel, Peter, Tony Subject: Christina's Weather Chronicles.

Hello all. The county we are in is under a Tornado watch this morning until 8 am Central (9am EST). Since we have been in the States this is our second such event. At 6 am winds are 15 to 25 feet and the seas are 5 to 8 feet. Yesterday was the first Red Flag (high hazard) day on the beach. We were on the beach and it wasn't too bad but there were places where the sea had eroded a three foot bank in the sand. This storm has severe weather from the gulf coast up to northern Alabama and Georgia. Richard jokingly said we may end up in Myrtle Beach after all ;-). The lightning precedes the thunder right now by about 3 seconds which (if - recall right from childhood) means the worst of it right now is three miles away. The banner, now red, on our weather channel is accompanied by loud beeping and is now calling for possible penny sized hail and high winds possibly tornado. We are having an early coffee watching the weather. Will keep you posted. Love to all. Mom.

Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 18:22:14 To: Louise et al

Hello all. With the tornadic activity in the area yesterday and the snow headed our way from New Orleans I am wondering if our bid for a sunny, sandy, and green Christmas may be in peril!!! Today is rainy and wet. My christmas wreath red bits have "bled" into the white bits and Richard tells me I need to post another picture of it on Facebook !!! Ha ha it is a sorrier sight and looks like it has been in a vampire movie. We are hunkered down in our tiny abode again today and I am wishing I could run on the beach a little but it is so windy that I would need a sou'wester and wellies (boots). In the night I asked Richard if he thought that he could get the door to the Airstream open if the water was up three feet at the door. He laughed. :-). It is not that bad but funny what the imagination will conjure. We are thankfully expecting sun tomorrow. I have made a lunch of steamed red snapper with greens today and afterward we will go to see the Bond movie - we saw Transporter last time since we were five minutes late for Bond. Tomorrow night there is the Christmas Party at the clubhouse and we are attending. There are so few of us in the park right now that if you don't go you are missed. There is a gift exchange with a twist which I will explain after I have experienced it. We are bringing along a punch of cranberry and ginger ale for the two of us and anyone else who wants to share. That's all the news for now. We love to hear back too. Reggie and Rudy send their love to all but especially to Payton. Love Christina

Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 16:14:14 To: Louise et al

Hello all. We just got back from the marina at the park to get the pot luck contribution from the airstream. Jim (with two dogs) proposed to Jody (his girlfriend) on the pier with a banner flying by attached to a plane asking her the same question!!! It was fun. We got photos. She was surprised. I also got some group photos which I will post later. Tonight is the Christmas party so we are all going back later for dinner and the gift exchange. We walked by the beach for a long time today and gathered some beautiful post storm shells which we are going to send to Payton. More to come. Love to all. Christina/Grandma/Mom

A selection of photos to share...

Dec 16th 9 days to Christmas - to Louise, Lisa, Tony, Peter, Rachel, Deanna

Hello all. We are in warm but rainy weather today that should clear tomorrow. It will be 72 F today which is about 22 if I recall. Yesterday the Gulf was very wavy and not good for fishing at all. Richard tried but gave it up when the waves kept washing back the line. The Pelicans were happy since his bait was left for them. (I don't like it in the fridge!!!). We were laughing at ourselves a little yesterday because we changed the bedding and as we remade the bed Richard said "this bedroom is not too small" kind of out of the blue ... For those of you who have seen it - it is tiny with the queen bed in it there is not much room around it. You really don't notice until you need to make the bed and then you realize that you need to be able to lift the corners from a crouch - really hard for a person with a bad back!!! Glad I've been doing Louise's yoga moves since they help me move. I am still glad we have the Airsteam since it is the only rv rated for Hurricane force 2 - so like we used to say about Rachel when she was little "she is small but mighty!". We went back to the outlet mall yesterday and prices are now 70 percent off in some stores. There are hardly any people there. You can tell the US is in a recession. Grandma bought cute little dresses for Payton and Brooklyn and a gift for Derek and Mark. I had read an article in this months Oprah about the "simple living" movement gaining momentum with people now that times are tough and as I was looking at cute "things" to buy I thought about how unnecessary they were ! Good article for those who love to shop!!!There are only 8 RVs here in the park right now but it will be full in January. That will be interesting. Of the RVs here, 4 are full timers who do not have a fixed "home" to go to. While I could spend all year in the Airstream if it were parked in pretty places I would not want to give up the fixed address of some kind. Today we are off to get my hair cut. That is a mission!!!Take good care everyone. LoveGrandma/Mom/Christina

Dec 17th, 2008 - Foggy Day – To Louise, Lisa, Tony, Peter, Rachel, Deanna

Folks !Yesterday we managed to get my hair cut at Fantastic Sams and it came out okay. It is short and falls a little differently from when Andre does it but what a relief to have it done! We had lunch at the Lamberts Cafe in Foley home of the "throwed rolls". They come around with a cart of the biggest rolls you can imagine and if you answer yes please when they "holler" - THROOOOOOWWWWEDD ROOOLLLLSZZZ... You'd better be ready to catch!!! Then they come around with fried okra, black eyed peas, sauteed potato and onions, honey butter and Sourghum(whatever that is) hollering all the time the name of the contents of their big pot or bowl. If ya'll want some you make room on your plate and they slap out a spoonfull or two! There was more hollering at dinner than I have ever experienced. Then they bring your entree and you are looking at, not one but two huge chicken breasts that look like they came from turkey sized chickens ! Oh my goodness there was enough food for a famly of six!!! We brought two big styrofoam trays home when we left. We learned our lesson - if we go there again we order one dinner and two plates!!!Today we had a foggy day but were blessed with no rain. Richard and I went to the beach and there were so many shells washed up. I have to try to describe the water under the fog and sun. It was silver and emerald green at the same time - the colour of the old coke bottles of our youth - shimmering swells of water breaking on the shore in white cascades of sea foam. It is breathtaking , and a little unreal... The temperature today was 75 F (23 C). The one work camper couple left today. They were fired for not keeping the bathrooms up to the spotless standard the park holds. That was too bad. A new RV arrived from Calgary - the only other Canadians!!! All is well. Love to all. Christina/Mom/Grandma

Bellingrath Gardins, near Mobile Alabama

Mr. Bellingrath earned the family fortune by being the first coca cola distributor/bottling company in the state of Alabama. The home was built in 1935,on the Fowl River,with many acres of land,all landscaped into beautiful gardens. Suzy(my neighbour and I) toured the home, that was decorated for Christmas, and the gardens . The home itself, was an interesting experience with many porches and views of the river and comprised of 15 large rooms.Very elegant and replete with Southern charm.
We were very impressed with the magnificent gardens and the Christmas light displays that appeared around every turn and hup every slope. Everything that I describe here, was in led lights, of every color in the rainbow. There were candy canes, gingerbread men, toy trains, toy soldiers, drums, blocks, and Christmas packages, wrapped with red bows. Another section depicted the sea, blue wavy lights were overhead, and there were jellyfish, squid, fish, starfish, and more. As we walked along the garden path, every turn in the path, had a new view.
There was also a lake complete with 4 alligators,in lights. We saw a church, the nativity scene, and Christmas carolers. We also saw a dragon, Chinese lanterns, and fireworks. The next turn was a wonderful walk past tulips, poinsettias, roses, daffodils etc etc. Hopefully, you are getting the idea that this was an adventure VERY worthwhile and fun. I have to add, that it was also a fun day for me to spend time with Suzy, and we talked and laughed on our journey to and fro, while Richard stayed behind to go fishing!