Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Orlando - Winter Park


Orlando

1/14/ - 1/21/2013

We went to VA to get John's coumadin levels checked and got a prescription. No food for hours, so had lunch again at Subway, bless them that they have some healthy choices. Stopped at Publix (a grocery store chain in Florida) and picked up some food. I called a CS man who lives in Clermont. I have been communicating with him. He has hosted many Rotary exchange students and it seemed we all had a lot in common. So Wednesday we will drive over to his house to visit.

Pretty calm day. Played on computer most of day. Went into the hot tub for a little while. Back in room for dinner. Watching some TV and then to bed. Trying to slow it all down.

Wednesday got up early and drove about 35 minutes to Clermont. Met Tom, the CS, and Robert, a friend of Tom's who is visiting from Denmark. Tom collects elephants and has hundred of them, from tiny to very large bigger than a Great Dane. It was neat to see them them, each different and made out of unique materials. Lots were made out of carved wood and they were so beautiful. Tom had a neat poster of the Berlin Wall and I told him that my son was born on the day the wall went down (11/9/89) and that I would have to get that poster for Robert.

Had some coffee and then Tom took all of us for a drive around his area. We drove down to Little Lake Harris, and had a tasty lunch at JB Boondocks, a cute restaurant that has boat docks, and you have the choice of eating inside or out.

Back in the car for some more touring.

Winery, dinner at Goomba's. Drove by an old abandoned mansion that has a sad history. Built in 1925, sold, foreclosed, estate sale in 2010, and now in litigation. One window in this mansion is open and I just feel so sad to know this place is being ruined. There was mortgage and reverse mortgage shenanigans involved, along with imprisonment of the elder law attorney who, along with her husband scammed the 90 year old owner. Howey Hills Mansion is a very sad story of scandalous actions by many people.

Woke up late, I did the wash, both clothes and hair today. The exciting life. Got dressed but was not able to motivate to do anything at all. Ate our left overs and watched TV. Nothing exciting today.

Friday, packed up the car and had company for dinner. It was so fun to cook dinner and have people over. Tom and Robert came over. I made Chili Relleno casserole, apple sauce, snacks of Doritos, hard salami, sliced baguette, and Robert brought over a brick of good blue cheese. We had Key Lime/Mango pie for dessert. It was way too sweet for me, but the guys gobbled it up. We just visited and had a good time.

Saturday we goofed and had a nice breakfast at the Egg & I.

We drove over the historic district on Park Avenue. An amazingly alive area, vibrant with upper scale shops and many wonderful restaurants, bakeries, ice cream and candy shops. We had fun seeing the area. I spotted a French bakery so we stopped in and had a late lunch/dinner that was delicious. Checked in to our hotel and just hung around our room and rested. At the hotel I saw 3 people in the elevator who had Clan Pollock shirts on and I asked what that meant. The lady told us they were here for the Central Florida Scottish Highland Games. We checked it out online and decided to go tomorrow since we are Clan Cameron ........ and I am also a Hamilton and Campbell.

Got up and went to the Games. Heard my beloved bagpipes, there was dancing, music, saw lots of great clan clothing, booths, food, and cool things for sale and then the Games. Something that really cracked us up totally was looking at some hand made wood mugs and seeing that they were from Plummer, Idaho. We had never been to the Games before and it was great fun watching the various competitions. They had stone throw, caber toss, sheaf toss (women), 56 weight for distance, and some others. We had a fun day seeing new and interesting things from our past culture.

Went to two lovely parks today both were on lakes. The first was the Kraft Azalea Gardens on Lake Maitland. This is one of the most special parks I've ever seen. We have visited hundred of parks and botanical gardens, but this one is just so different and magical. Huge trees, lovely lake, saw a turtle in the water, some mansions around the lake. Many pretty azaleas, but that was not the main theme of the park... it was just everything fit. The Spanish Moss, huge white birds flying into and perching in the trees. John and I both felt this was a special favorite park of ours.

Gave Robert a call to visit. He's doing good and trying to get his replacement passport ordered and his taxes done so he can come and join us in Florida and then go to Mexico with us. It was good talking with him.

At Eola Park, we had a teenager who was with her mom come up to us and say that she was in a photography class and had to have a picture of two people kissing. I said oh cool, we love to kiss, so John and I had a nice kiss in the park while she took our picture. Very different. Park was so nice and has a lovely walkway around the entire lake. They had swan boats you could rent, a beautiful fountain in the middle of the lake, cool birds around and some wonderful old oak trees. The trees are huge and have limbs that sometimes touch the ground. I was wishing I was a kid so I could climb the one tree I fell in love with. You could sit on the low branch and go up and down on it.

There were lots of homeless people in groups sitting in various areas of the park. It is such a sad testament to our economy and the bad shape it is in. Many of these people did not look like druggies, just people down on their luck. There were signs in the park that park closes at 12:01 and no one can lounge around on benches, or even store things in the park or they will be confiscated.

Left park and started looking for a place to eat. Nothing around the park, but driving John spotted a nice looking restaurant. We had to make a U-turn and head back. You could tell when you walked in that this would be expensive and it was. The place was lovely and right on Lake Blarney with a beautiful view. I could not even believe how good my food was. I had a prime rib beef dip and fries. They made their own ketchup that was great, and the horseradish sauce was out of this world. John had a wonderful hamburger he said one of the best he ever had and a nice barley salad. I savored every bite of my meal. It was a treat, but a meal we will definitely remember.

So back to the room, writing this blog, and to bed early so we can get to the VA tomorrow to check John's clotting time and head off down to the Florida Keys. We're staying on Long Key for four nights. Can't wait to see the Keys.................