Hello, Welcome to Julie Beach Blogging
(I call it ‘Beach Professional. This is about as formal as I get in my job.)
I decided to start a blog about my life at the beach, specifically my life out at my family’s condo in Indian Shores, Florida.
I come out here quite often as I do manage it for my mother, the owner.
Indian Shores is located along the Gulf Coast of Florida, we are a chain of islands that stretch from Clearwater to St. John’s Pass with lots of drawbridges connecting them. Our condo is located between the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway directly behind us. However, we are across the street from the beach. The actual beach itself is only about 80 yards away, with the ocean being 120 yards away, so we are very close to it.
One thing that I wanted to do here was to photograph this blog entirely with my Olympus camera.
Why? Just because I want to.
(That was my original intent. However, there is a mixture of several cameras that I’m using for this post. I didn’t always have my Olympus camera with me.)
Julie out at the Condo
I think this will be fun and I hope you think so too. My condo life isn’t all that exciting as you are about to find out.
I love living in Florida, I love the beach and I especially love this condo. I’ve been managing the place since January 2004 so I decided to start this blog on January 2017.
Incidentally, I photographed this beautiful day at our beach back in September 2016 with my Olympus camera.
Thank you for joining me, I hope you will stay awhile.
My Beach Condo Blogging
When I’m not on the beach then I’m here.
Blog Posts Start Right Here
May 20, 2017
To the Condo
With the Hayden’s checking out today, I am headed back out to the condo for a few days to get it ready for my mother and brother Ben, arriving on the 23rd. While they are here they are going to look for new carpet for the condo.
Headed Out to the Condo
(DICK) is a hint about what I have planned for July 4th. 🙂
I’m very excited about it too! Stay tuned!
If you notice you can see my “lunch” in the photo as well.
I realize that it doesn’t look all that appetizing to you. Rice crackers with peanut butter, but I adore peanut butter and I’ll eat it on anything so this is excellent to me. Also I am trying to shed a few pounds before July 4th.
I had also run my errand to Publix to buy my “usual’s” on my way out to the condo.
But Gordon and Brodie had a request that I run by Winn Dixie to stock up on our Yum Yum Stix. We adore them! And Winn Dixie is the only place we can find them. I bought 15 boxes! Cleaned them out!
I love these things!
I had been craving them for the past two weeks and I found some at Publix. Now I am crunching on these instead of my rice crackers with peanut butter, which I shouldn’t be doing. Oh, well.
The Contents of my Winn Dixie Cart
Beach mats to keep in the car, some nice festive Aloha ware to entertain with on our lanai, and 15 boxes of Yum Yum Stix. Perfect!
Now it’s on my way to the condo…….
(Thought I would take a peek at the back docks since I’ve unloaded the car.)
Oooh, Look at the Dock! They are building it back up and it’s looking pretty good.
All the mangroves that you see are not Quiet Waters property. They are the property of Florida and we are required to look after them and take care of this area as a nature preserve.
And here is my treasure! An Areca Palm husk(?) I found laying on the ground. I really don’t know the exact name for it, but it sheds on the palm trees. I am going to keep this and take it home to make something out of it.
Stay tuned for the finished result.
A Note About the new Back Docks:
One thing that I have discovered about the Condo Association Board is that the owner’s always seem to have major work done to the Quiet Waters building or grounds during the spring and summer when they aren’t down here. Most of the owner’s that have condo’s at Quiet Waters tend to live up north. They start to flock down to Florida in November and stay until April, then they head back home. So if any major work needs to be done they seem to schedule it when they aren’t down here. To me that just isn’t right. Why do any of this work during our tourist season? Seeing as how we have such mild winter’s here we can have work done year round, yet most work seems to be done during the spring and summer. That is the selfishness of the condo owner’s. They don’t want to be inconvenienced, yet they certainly don’t mind if others are.
Most of the owner’s have about 6 months at Quiet Waters, most of our tourists have one to three weeks. So by all means, let’s inconvenience the tourists.
I will add that in some cases the owner’s cannot pick and choose the dates and times of some of the repairs and renovations, but during the times that they can, they never schedule the work when they are in Florida.
Unpacking the Car
Now I just need to get everything up to the condo and then I am all set for the next few days.
Dinner tonight is leftover Chinese from the Asian Store.
I am only out here for 4 days but they are always glorious. Granted, there is some work involved in doing all the laundry, and getting the place ready for my mother and brother, but it is also a lot of “me” time that I enjoy. I especially love the foods I bring out with me to eat. Here is my second favorite thing to eat when I am alone. And by “alone” I don’t mean “alone.” I mean ‘by myself.’ 🙂
Baked Goat Cheese with Olive Oil, Red Peppercorns, and fresh Thyme
This is so easy to make and so delicious. Just take a ramekin and cut up some goat cheese into chunks, pour a little bit of olive oil over it and add some peppercorns. Red preferably. Now bake in the oven on about 300 for 15 minutes until it melts a little.
Then when you remove it from the oven sprinkle some fresh thyme in it and serve on crackers or bread. I’ve got the whole wheat variety here. I also added some green olives, almonds, marinated artichoke hearts, and some leftover pasta salad with some basil leaves and olives.
I love the little snacky foods for dinner.
May 8, – 13, 2017
The Rest of the Week to Myself
(Gordon left yesterday to head home to take care of the dogs and I am out here for the rest of the week until I check in our yearly renters from Ohio for a week.)
(Looks like they are starting the new dock early.)
A New Dock
The removal of our docks was supposed to take place in the month of June. So I alerted my renters in order to be prepared. Then all of a sudden, they started work in May. That really threw my May renters into a spin as they were not expecting it. Neither was I!
How Quickly They Removed Our Dock
Hard to believe that Gordon was just fishing out here a few days prior.
Here come the new deck materials.
With our Hawaiian Weekend over with, I knew that I couldn’t get everything home in my car so Gordon swung by after work to take a load home in his car on Thursday.
My Secret Agent Man
A Closet In A Closet
But now it’s time for me to pack the owner’s closet up before I leave and the Hayden’s arrive.
Can I pack, or WHAT?
That is a packed closet from bottom to top!
Time to go. But driving home I saw this:
The Pineapple Shack
Oh yeah, I’ll let you in front of me!
May 7, 2017
Greek on the Beach
At this writing we had finished a weekend of shooting our Hawaiian food fun and we decided to grab some Greek take out and have a nice sunset picnic on our beach. We brought with us a bottle of Greek wine that we had purchased two years prior in Tarpon Springs, along with some of Gordon’s Greek bread that he had made a few days earlier.
Sunday Night Sunset Beach Picnic
The BEST Greek Bread
We love our beach. I’ve only seen it crowded a few times a year.
Below, someone had made this great sandcastle and I love the way the sun was reflecting off of the water as the sun was going down.
Could that be Helms Deep?
Earlier that day……
The Back of Quiet Waters Along the Intracoastal Waterway
Gordon decided to get in a little bit more fishing time and made a lovely friend. And no, I’m not talking about that man standing there. I’m referring to the sweet little Black Crowned Night Heron.
He stayed with Gordon the entire time he was there.
I love these photos I took of this beauty.
No zoom lens here. I was just two feet away from it.
May 5, 2017
Once Again, Headed Back Out to the Condo
Me, Selfie Attempt, and Selfie Success
(At least the dogs look cute in the background.)
I am headed back out to the condo for a week. Again, taking a car full. This time our theme will be Hawaiian. I did do some careful planning and packing and shopping. This week, and weekend, should be really good!
And once again, here we go with a full car. Though not as full as the last time.
I’m taking lots of my orchids with me for our Hawaiian themed week.
I did run by Publix for a few items. And yes, those are lottery tickets you see in my purse, below. 🙂
Do I ever win? NO! 🙁
My Car is Loaded
The Back Seat
Food, Hawaiian Props, and Toilet Paper
I really did buy this beautiful vanda orchid at Publix.
I hope I get it to the condo in good shape. It is lovely and will be perfect for our week.
Look at all those vanda orchid tentacles!
I also brought from home some of my flora and fauna.
My orchids from home will do very well here with our Hawaiian week.
Just dumping everything wherever I can.
Gordon left the condo in pretty good shape.
Brought the rice cooker from home as well.
I did make it to the condo with this beauty intact.
No where to hang it but the hook the calendar is on.
Now it’s just a matter of unpacking, unloading, and getting things set up and ready.
What a Mess!
Where will we keep all of our “props” for this weekend?
Wherever we can!
Bags, and Bags, and Bags, of Goodies
Now I have just a few days to get everything set up before Gordon comes back out here and we shoot our Hawaiian weekend.
I think I will stop it here. I’ll be bringing our beautiful Hawaiian weekend of food and fun to the Hawaiian blog post. But for now I will leave you. Until then,
P.S. After an exhaustive day, I woke up to this. A Moonset. Or whatever you call it. But it was nice.
The In Between
Alice in Wonderland
My Alice in Wonderland Movies
When I was blogging in the post below this one, I failed to mention my Alice planning that I was doing out at the condo at that time. Granted, we had already implemented our Alice in Wonderland Easter, but the planning that I did was to think about how I would do the write ups, when I do get around to it.
Being out at the condo, especially when I am alone is when inspiration always hits me. Why wouldn’t it? I have a lovely ocean view everyday. Seeing the waves crash, hearing the ocean and smelling that salt air, ah…… just perfect!
I am known for taking my projects out to the condo with me to work on. But I also take out trinkets of whatever project that I’ve already finished working on to give me inspiration to do the writing that I need to.
This time I took out my Alice DVD’s, some flowers in a vintage milk glass vase, and my Alice with a saucer and something decorative to place her on.
I did notice something interesting about this old Disney, Alice in Wonderland, made in 1951, a lot of the “action” in the movie took place on the left of the screen. Movie’s now don’t do that. You see, a person’s eye goes from center, to right. Most people don’t even look to the left of the screen. That is generally where “insignificant” characters end up on the big screen now. You place your prime character in the center, with the next most important character to that scene, on the right. All this before marketing to a targeted audience began.
Regardless, I do bring my movies out to the condo with me along with a few trinkets to get me in that mood to do some blogging.
At this writing I haven’t finished my Alice in Wonderland Easter write up but I will get to it eventually. The condo is a great place for me to do my writing, or blogging. It just gets me in the creative mood.
P.S. I have updated the April 24, 2017 blog post below.
April 24, 2017
A Week at the Condo
Me, Getting Ready to Leave for Indian Shores
(And yes, wearing the same thing I wore last time I went out there.)
On April 22, I loaded my car and left for the condo to stay a week. The last time Gordon and I were out here was on April 8, to get the condo ready for renters coming in that day. They stayed two weeks and left Saturday to head home. Now comes MY SPRING CONDO BREAK! That’s right! There is usually a lull in renters at this time so I take the time for myself to head out to Indian Shores to just enjoy it all by myself. I get in lots and lots of ME TIME!
Brodie right, working on his car as Gordon looks on.
It’s nice having a mechanic in the family. But the one thing about Gordon and Brodie is that they can fix anything. We never have to call repairmen, or have to worry about those things. They aren’t necessarily trained, it’s just in their DNA.
I always look forward to coming out to the condo for several reasons. First, the weather is generally perfect for us locals. What is comfortable for vacationing people from up north, is usually very cold for us! And what is comfortable for us, is usually too hot for them! So April/May is generally good beach weather for us. Not too hot, not too cold, just right!
MY CAR IS FULL!!!
No matter how full your car may be, always make sure that you have plenty of room in the driver’s seat. Clutter will just cause you to have an accident.
I realize that I am once again, loaded down, however, I am also carting a lot of condo laundry back with me, in addition to my things for the week.
I’m usually lucky to get out of the house by noon, then I’ve got my last minute errands to run before I get on my way.
My car is so full that I can’t even see out my rear view mirror, luckily I have my other mirrors to guide me.
Gordon moving his car so that I can get on my way.
Funny, I always seem to park here, with the tree obstructing the name. Huh?
I never run in for very much, just a few things that I can’t buy at the commissary on base. Also, they do have the prettiest flowers for very cheap prices that I like to take out to the condo with me. Some of these will be used for our Greek feast that we will be working on.
There is Always Room for Something Pretty
I found this BEAUTIFUL Medinilla Magnitica plant with lovely blooms!
It is originally from The Philippines. I do love exotic flora and fauna.
Bottom line, I had to have it and I just FOUND room to put it. 🙂
Next Stop: GAS!
I’m not going to get very far on 1/4 of a tank, so time to fill up.
I do have a fun shopping errand that I want to do.
Next up: Tuesday Morning
I LOVE Tuesday Morning!
This store is one of my most favorites. I can get the nicest and cutest things for such cheap prices, AND I DID!
I crammed everything in the car as best I could and now I am on my way out to the condo.
I brought my lunch with me, an egg salad sandwich. Funny, but I forget to bring something to drink. I have NEVER forgotten to bring a drink. Guess I’m getting old and forgetful. I did have some ice cubes in my cooler that I sucked on when I got thirsty.
So after an hour and half of driving time…….
Now it’s over the drawbridge, and there is the sign! Indian Shores!
It took 3 and 1/2 loads to get everything up to the condo on the concierge cart.
The people that vacated the condo left everything in such good shape. I always love those kind of renters. I have even met and talked with a couple that were already renting in the building but weren’t happy with their unit. We struck up a conversation in the elevator and I showed them our condo. They liked it and would like to rent from me for next year. Always nice to meet new renters, especially those that I like when I first meet them.
I did a lot of work when I arrived. Cleaning, unpacking, settling in. I was exhausted when I went to bed that first night. When I tried to get online to take care of some condo business my first night here, I discovered that I couldn’t access the internet. So I called tech support, A.K.A. Gordon, and he came out the next day to get everything set up for me. He did stop off at Best Buy and bought a 50 foot ethernet cable to hook up from my computer to the internet box. NOW, I have internet. Oddly we just can’t get my computer to work any other way. My two tablets work just fine, but not my computer. We assume there must be some insignificant button that we need to turn on, but can’t figure out how to do it.
So Gordon drove out to the condo the following day, Sunday, and hooked everything up for me.
Although his computer worked just fine out here.
Gordon Trying to Figure out My Computer
My Condo Food
My first night here for dinner was just a French bread pizza. Something simple and easy to cook that I enjoy eating and that doesn’t take a lot of time and effort on my part. But my second night of food is much more fun, with more effort. Although not much effort.
Roasted Garlic, Sundried Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese
(Oh, how do you like my Medinilla Magnitica? I bought it at Publix, it is from the Philippines. I do love it and I am going to enjoy it until I ultimately kill it from ignorance or neglect.)
With Whole Wheat Italian Bread
I realize that I feature this meal quite a bit, but it is a regular with me when I am out here at the condo alone.
I happen to love cooking for ONE!
Here I Added Some Stuffed Pasta Shells
(Leftovers, that I brought from home.)
I’ll eat the roasted garlic meal two nights in a row, then if there are any leftovers I will put them onto a pizza or some Naan and eat the ingredients in an entirely different way. This is healthy eating so eat up!
People that eat these foods tend to live a long, healthy life.
My Medinilla Magitica
To me plants are like food. Food fuels me so that I am strong on the inside. Flowers fuel me in a different way. They awaken a part of me that needs beauty and inspiration. They fuel that. Bringing them out here with me to the beach only enhances that. When I am at home I am so distracted by all the work of cleaning a house, washing dishes, cooking, taking care of dogs, a fish, ourselves….
But when I am out at the condo everything I do out here is for me. There are no distractions, only attractions. I only have myself to take care of so my focus is on the flowers I bring out here with me. Or the flowers I pick at the beach and bring back to the condo with me. Or the seashells, or sunsets, it’s all for me! When I am out here I am the most important person in the world. Well, at least in my imagination. I can do what I want, and live as I please. So for this one week, I am queen of the world! 🙂
Oh and just to reiterate, Gordon is out here a lot with me when we can find someone to take care of our dogs. But when we can’t, then we take turns coming out here alone when the condo isn’t being rented. This is part of our payment for doing all the managing, cleaning, and repairs and shopping for it.
My Beach Inspiration
Pretty beach towels, books, bags, and flowers.
(All of this puts me in the mood for blogging and I get great ideas when I’m our here alone with just my thoughts.)
We have a beach view from our condo but we are across the street from the beach. The good news is that we have the Intracoastal Waterway directly behind our building. Our back docks are very nice with some good fishing, not to mention seeing dolphins swim by, also a manatee has been spotted here and there.
I made a friend at the beach.
Our Back Docks Along the Intracoastal Waterway
That’s Gordon Fishing
Because we live on the Intracoastal Waterway side we also have access to the beach that is across the street. The beach side residents do not have access to the Intracoastal Waterway like we do. So even though we are across the street from the beach, we have the better deal than they do.
After a lovely day at the beach I have usually worked up an appetite. Here is another favorite meal of mine to eat while I’m out at the condo alone, turkey/veggie burger with the works, and baked beans. I may add some potato salad or deviled eggs…. A favorite indulgence of mine is to dip my Ruffles into the baked beans and eat them like a dip. But, that’s just me. 🙂
I really don’t eat that much when I am out here alone. So this is always a good weight loss opportunity for me. I bring lots of fruits, salads, almonds, cranberry juice, whole wheat this and that, peanut butter, my sugar free chocolates that I crave every now and then…..
I also love sandwiches. Below is my Salsalito turkey and Provolone cheese with lettuce and tomato and our homemade corn relish. And yes, those are dill pickle chips and dill pickles on top. I never claim to be a perfectionist in my eating. There is junk every now and then.
These are the foods that I eat and enjoy when I am alone. But not to worry, Gordon is coming out here to join me for the weekend and we are doing it up grand with a Greek spread. Can’t wait!
Gordon and Tim Fishing on our Back Docks
This is along the Intracoastal Waterway
Gordon and Tim Fishing
We refer to Tim as the Quiet Waters Concierge. He is the nicest and friendliest person you could ever know. He comes down with his parents every year for about 8 months. Everyone knows Tim. 🙂
Both Gordon and Tim practice ‘Catch and Release.’ We just like to identify the fish we catch and then we throw them back. At any given year Tim catches a good 250 fish while he’s down here. He always holds the record. 🙂
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Gordon came out for the weekend seeing as how Brodie was at home to watch the dogs. It was a lot of fun we had a big Greek food weekend planned. We tend to treat the condo kitchen as a “set.” Somewhere where we can bring all of our things out here and get everything set up to do our cooking, decorating, photography, creativity….
But unfortunately we then have to tear the set apart when we finish and take it all back home. Which is usually why my car is so full when I come out here, and when I leave.
But for this weekend it was all about the Greek food.
This entire Greek weekend cooking is centered around this postcard I bought two years ago in Tarpon Springs for a Greek Salad.
At this writing I have not yet worked on our Greek food blog page to add this new material. That will come as I have time and in some cases, when I’m in the mood to do it. 🙂 When I say that some new project will make it to our website “soon.” Soon to me can be weeks, months, or even years. There is no definition for “soon.” I see it as all up to interpretation.
Our Greek Food Weekend
The Greek Food Condo Kitchen “Set”
Gordon Making Greek Bread
This was so very easy and delicious!
This Greek Shrimp w/ Feta is Excellent
This is the best shrimp that Gordon and I had ever eaten. Can’t wait to do the write-up.
Eaten at Sunset on the Gulf
Although hard to see, there is an ocean out there.
This food write up will make it to our Greek food blog post. But for now, the weekend is over, I’m packing my car up to head home on this Sunday, April 30, 2017.
My No Make up Day
(P.S. I have many a “no make up” day when I am out at the beach.)
I’m leaving to get home and take care of the dogs but Gordon is staying until Wednesday. I’ll be back out here on Friday, May 5th. Then we will have a Hawaiian weekend of food and fun. Yamas! And Shaka!!
April 8, 2017
Back Out To The Condo
(Although some would find our day to day life boring, that is life. I do love the day to day regularity of repetition.)
Saturday April 8, 2017. It was that time again. Time to head out to the condo because our winter renter’s were checking out and headed home to Wisconsin, and our new renters were checking in for two weeks. Sometimes I love driving out to the condo, other times I don’t enjoy it much. But this time Gordon was going with me and we were going to knock out the cleaning of the condo, check in the new people renting, then do some of our favorite shopping before heading home.
Out the Door Early
We live on the other side of Tampa so we have a good hour and a half drive out to the condo from our home. We try and leave early in order to get out there at a good time. Breakfast is usually a Canadian Bacon and Egg on Whole Wheat English Muffin in the car on the way over. I tend to throw out the cheese that comes with it as I don’t care for it. Gordon usually adds Swiss cheese to his. I guess it’s our very own “McDonald’s Drive In” sans the McDonald’s.
As Usual The Car is Full
I usually have a haul that I take out to the condo but this time I am also taking things out to restock the “Owner’s Closet” with my usual treats. And, you can still see my car stick to prop up my trunk. I see no reason to have something fixed when I can improvise it myself. That’s just me though.
Gordon and Julie in the Car
Gordon did the driving while I rode shotgun. I love it when he drives and I get to look through my books and magazines.
I found both of these books at thrift stores. One of the drink books had these two great recipes included. Who knows? Maybe we might make the recipes some day. I love looking through books and magazines whenever possible.
The thrift stores where I find most of these old books I buy, always seem to have little bits of hand written notes in them, recipes, shopping lists, bookmarks….. I LOVE IT! I also love that the little old ladies that manage the thrift stores leave them in and don’t throw them away. To me it’s like finding a little treasure on the beach, except I find them in books.
Ah. We are at the condo and time to get it ready for the people checking in.
After a few hours of furious cleaning…….
Time for Lunch
I prefer to bring my own food. I don’t like to depend on some fast food restaurant to feed me. I prefer to do that myself. Less fat, less calories, less Julie. 🙂
I tend to eat light for lunch and then just a regular dinner.
Although this may look rather plain to you, there is nothing wrong with plain. Cucumber and carrot sandwiches, veggie crackers with cream cheese spread, black grapes and a banana. Healthy, filling, and tasty.
Although I didn’t photograph it, we stopped off at Home Depot for a few things. As you can see, the car is full!
We have our lovely red roses in the very back.
Along with a lot of condo laundry for me to take home and deal with.
(Interestingly enough, my nurse practitioner, who makes a hell of a lot more money than I do, has always wanted to do what I do, as in manage a family owned beach condo. She’s always talking about it whenever I see her. I do get to meet people from all over the world and because I do everything myself, and they tend to be repeat renter’s, then we get to know each other very well. If my renter’s are good to me and the condo, then I’m good to them and I give discounts and I even let some special renters from the U.K. use our beach umbrellas and chairs because they can’t bring that stuff over here. It’s nice because you tend to develop good relationships with them.)
NOTE: The best renter’s in the world are from The Netherlands, Canada, and the U.K.
American’s are my worst!
I also bought a few other lovely things….
MD Oriental Market
One of our favorite stores that we love to visit while in the area.
Gordon Shopping for Lunch Containers, Me, Just Shopping….
Love the Sign Above me, Can you Read it?
Food at the Asian Supermarket is so much cheaper than at our regular supermarkets.
(This is where we will buy our dill for our summer dill pickles. It’s so cheap!)
But, what is Bam Bam BTW?
Gordon Investigating the Seaweed
Broccoli Without the Stalk
Here is a perfect example of what the ethnic food stores do for you that the major grocery stores don’t. If you were to buy this at a grocery store there would be a large stalk attached to it. But, at the local ethnic stores they chop it off. Less weight, less price.
That’s how it works. They bring a better price to you, the consumer.
The Beautiful Money Trees
Left, Bamboo, Right, Coconut. Cool, huh?
I love the packaging at left. Just look at it! I would buy it based on that alone!
Watermelon and Dragon Fruit
Jackfruit, to the Left
Look how HUGE it is? Compared to what Gordon is Holding. We do love Jackfruit!
Gordon had a great idea that we could pickle this beautiful Thai Eggplant.
Buying Barbeque Pork for Dinner
The Contents of our Grocery Cart
And Now for the Packed Car
Check out our backseat of my car! Fully Loaded!
On the way home!
Till Next Time!
P.S. What I am really trying to convey here by posting our ‘boring’ day’s routine going out to the condo is that this is our life on many a Saturday throughout the year. But there is nothing wrong with boring. Most people won’t watch a movie that has ‘too much talking’ in it. Or if something isn’t being ‘destroyed or blown up’ then they get bored and move on. But day to day life IS boring! Well, actually, to me it isn’t boring, it just means that things are going according to plan and that’s how I like it.
I do believe in jazzing my day up here and there to make it more fun. For example, putting more thought into my lunch I will be eating, or choosing something pretty to carry it in. Or using the opportunity to catch up on some reading while I take a break. And even deciding to wear something comfortable, yet something I feel nice in.
I also believe in rewarding ourselves by stopping off at some favorite stores after we’ve done some work. Selecting something nice to take home for dinner, or even stopping off at a new restaurant on the way home, for dinner.
I just think it’s those little things that we do each and every day that make the repetition of life more enjoyable.
The Red Cone Caper
(This happened in August 2016)
Meet Fancy, Not her Real Name
Before I introduce you to Fancy, I wanted to set the stage for this. This is a photo that Gordon took of Fancy back in August, 2016. She is one of the condo owner’s in our building where my mother owns a condo, that I manage and rent out. Fancy has always had an obsession with the parking underneath the building. It started several years ago when my brother Ben was living in my mother’s condo for a year. Fancy didn’t like it that Ben would park underneath the building, even though he had every legal right to, so she complained to the condo association, and even at times would “spit” on his car.
That’s right. I said, “spit.”
Fancy even wanted assigned parking spaces for owner’s, but that was voted down as Florida law prohibits assigned spaces. Also Florida law extends to tenants, and well as owner’s, the same right’s. For example, if an owner has the right to park underneath the building, and rents the condo out to another, the renter’s are also allowed the same privilege as the owner.
A few years ago the condo association owner’s decided to create a “bluff” and spray painted on all the parking spaces underneath the building, “Reserved.” Illegal? Yes. But we are talking about very selfish individuals here. So when the parking lot was repainted the “reserved” markings were painted over. I would also tell everyone that I rented to not to let these condo owner’s in the building to bully them. I would let my renter’s know that they have rights, protected by Florida law, and not to let people like Fancy bully them around. You are allowed to park anywhere you like. You are allowed the same right’s as my mother, the owner.
We noticed throughout the summer of 2016 that whenever we would arrive out at the condo that a red cone seemed to mark off a spot right by the mailboxes. It was there every time I would arrive out at the condo. I also noticed that if that red cone wasn’t there, that Fancy was parked in that spot. That is when we put it together…..
Fancy decided to take it upon herself to ‘cone off’ a parking spot by the mail boxes, underneath the building, just for her!
Illegal? Yes! So, Gordon happened upon her removing her cone, (photo above), and took a photo of her removing it and pulling into “Her Illegally Reserved Spot”.
Of course she was busted! Had to remove her cone, according to Florida law, and now it is first come, first served, as it should be.
Another senior bully brought down! Now about a million more to go!
Do NOT be fooled by these old people here in Florida! It is said that the biggest bullies in America are seniors in Florida. I can attest to this as being true! Until next time,
Headed out to the Condo for 10 Days
My car in my driveway.
This is how loaded down my car is for my 10 days out at the condo.
Yes, that is a stick holding up my trunk. The spring doesn’t always work.
It’s called, improvising!
I’m headed out to the condo for a few reasons. I do manage it and therefore I have responsibilities in preparing it for our long term winter renters from Wisconsin. There are carpets to be cleaned, repairs to be made, and tons of spring cleaning to do. And yes, I clean it! I am not above getting my hands dirty and doing it myself. In the past when we had a rental agency managing it they employed their own cleaning service. Things were always going missing and the thing is, you don’t know whether it was the renters or the cleaners that would take things. Ever since I started taking over all duties and management, we have had very few things missing. Also, if I manage it, and clean it, then I control it, and I can use it whenever I want to, provided it isn’t being rented, by ME!
Part of my payment for managing the condo is that I can use it quite a bit throughout the year.
If I were to turn over the management to a rental agency then we would go back to the same old thing that we weren’t happy with, also I would have to end up paying them various fees just so I could use it for free, i.e. paperwork fee and cleaning fee. So if I were to want to stay out at the condo I would have to ask the rental agency if it were available, then plop down about $200.00 just to use my mother’s condo for free. So I just manage it myself with all the responsibilities that come with it. It works out better that way. And besides, my mother rests easy knowing that I am taking care of everything.
I am a Landlady of sorts, and I like it!
But, Back to my Car
I NEVER Travel Light!
I don’t even know the meaning of the word.
What you are looking at above is the backseat of my car.
That’s Monk and Sugar’s car seat and the rest are my necessities.
Food, Clothing, Books, Laptop, Tablets, Supplies, and Projects
(I’ll get to the “projects” part in a bit.)
My dirty car filled with lots of goodies.
I am taking with me 3 of my beautiful orchid plants and my anthurium. I don’t always do this but the orchids were in bloom and I knew that by the time I got back home they would be back to looking like a stick. So I brought them with me so that I can enjoy them.
As loaded down as I am I do have a few errands to run before I get out to the condo.
I have to run in Publix just to pick up a few extras for my condo stay. Won’t take me long.
My Shopping Cart
Hummas, Mini-Naan’s, 2 Whole Wheat Baquette’s, 1 French baquette, Pasta Salad, Chicken Salad, Small Assorted Fruits, some Lentil Crispy Things that I like to snack on, and my WATERMELON!!
I do love WATERMELON!
Oh yeah, and Lottery Tickets
Just because I am stupid! Let’s face it, it’s the poor man’s tax.
(NOTE: Didn’t win lottery. Surprise, surprise!) 🙁
Now I have to somehow find room for my new purchases in my car.
Oh, and yes, those are Ruffles. They must have been hiding in the cart when I took the photo. 🙂
Next it’s on to the bank to make a deposit.
I know, does anyone obscure their gauges the way I do? Once I get to the bank I’ll be able to see again.
My Credit Union
I hope they don’t find my photographing the drive through suspicious. 🙂
Now We are on our Way
On the highway and headed to Indian Shores. It takes me about 90 minutes to get there from my house, sometimes longer if there is traffic. Look at beautiful downtown Tampa!
My Car Lunch
Although you may not think my peanut butter sandwich on the best whole wheat seeded bread, and barbeque kettle chips to be special, to me it is my perfect lunch. And one that I have often. I prefer to take food with me instead of relying on whatever eating establishments I may come across.
Ooh! How about some music? What about Sinead O’Conner?
I LOVE this song!
I don’t wanna be no man’s woman,
I’ve other work I want to get done,
I haven’t traveled this far to become.
No man’s woman,
No man’s woman.
You are so beautiful and brave Sinead!
Oh, O.K., back on the road, Julie.
Now we see the ocean. Driving over one of the many beautiful bridges on my way out to the Gulf Shore beaches.
Headed Toward St. Petersburg
Driving Over The Drawbridge to Indian Shores
That is the Intracoastal Waterway I am driving over.
Turn Right Toward Indian Rocks Once Over the Drawbridge
Oh, I almost forgot. I did stop off at a drug store right before the drawbridge. Bought some Florastor and found some sugar free Red Vines! Woo-Hoo! I was asked if I had a discount card with them? I proudly produced it. That is when I was informed that the drug store I was in was Walgreens, NOT CVS. Oh, my very first “senior moment”. I’m sure they get a lot of them here in Florida. So, oh well!
(Actually, I do have a few “senior moments”, that is between you and me.)
(Before I even got in the car I had this bag opened and eating them.)
When our son Brodie first saw the condo, and the Quiet Waters building, and Gulf Blvd., he said it reminded him of Bikini Bottom, from Spongebob Squarepants. And it does!
Arrival at Quiet Waters Condominiums
Found a parking spot underneath the building. That is my car.
I got the concierge cart and I’m loading it with all my things to take up to the condo.
My cooler and orchids/anthuriums.
I can stroll this up myself.
Inside the Condo
I brought everything up and dumped it where I could.
Now it’s time for me to get to work. I always bring shorts with me and change into them.
Same top, different bottom.
So after this big day so far just getting over here, now I have to clean an entire condo before I can settle in, or mostly anyway.
My Refrigerator Food
First thing to put away.
This is my food for the next 10 days. The refrigerated food, anyway.
I just hope I brought enough garlic!
My Freezer Foods
You know, I always seem to loose weight when I am out at the condo by myself. I don’t naturally eat a lot of foods. My weakness is when I am around my children with their pizzas and nachos, or Gordon’s spicy brats sausages and pork loins. I really don’t tend to eat that much so being out at the condo by myself is a great weight loss opportunity for me. Which I do take advantage of.
I tend to eat very good, and pretty healthy.
Eating for One
My first night here I just had a small veggie pizza. By dinner time I am usually exhausted and don’t have the energy to make much of an effort in the kitchen. But by my second night I am ready for something special, and here it is:
My Roasted Garlic with Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes in olive oil, Feta Cheese, Fresh Parsley on Whole Wheat Seeded Bread
If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know this is a big favorite of mine.
I highly advise that you make it a favorite of yours as it is very healthy and delicious!
Fresh parsley not only aids in digestion, but fresh herbs help prevent certain cancers.
Also I’ve got my sea salt almonds I snack on.
I’ve started buying my garlic cloves from Publix where it has been marinating in olive oil with some spicy peppers for flavor. It’s just easier on me this way. I used to buy the whole garlic and slice off the top, baking in the oven, etc. But I’m just a bit more about convenience now. After all, my time is worth something and I don’t always have a lot of time.
I usually drain the oil from two of the garlic containers and dump it out in the sink. Then place the garlic cloves into a small baking dish. I then add a few tablespoons of my favorite margarine to the garlic cloves. Bake on 350 for about an hour, stirring every 10 – 15, then for the last 15 minutes I add the red peppers until they are all done.
You can’t cook both the garlic and the peppers together for the same amount of time, the peppers would burn long before the garlic is ready.
I love to eat these on a whole wheat bread that I’ve sliced almost all the way through the loaf, then covered in my favorite light margarine, baked in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, then I turn the oven off, and the broiler on, and cook an additional minute or so, just to brown the top.
When the bread is ready just slice it and add your feta, sundried tomatoes, fresh parsley, and the garlic and peppers, and you have a very nice dinner for one, or two.
People who eat like this tend to be on the slender side and the healthy side as well.
I always have my red wine at night also.
Red wine is loaded with anti-axidents, and red wine can even help you lose weight. So drink up!
Here are More Examples of My Condo Foods
I Call These My Jar Foods
I adore marinated artichoke hearts on crackers or eaten on little toasts.
I also adore this Harry and David Merlot Laced Artichoke.
It is honestly the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Well, ONE of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
I also love to make these little toasts to eat with my spreads and some bruschetta’s.
I just slice a baguette into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces, spread with my favorite light margarine, then sprinkle with some garlic salt and Parmesan cheese. It may not be the best quality Parmesan, but I store it in the condo owner’s closet for when I’m out here.
Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes then turn the oven off, then the broil on, and just broil until they become a little golden brown.
They are perfect, tasty and sturdy enough to handle my runny jar foods.
Next: What I do With My Leftover’s
I love this Amy’s Roasted Veggie Pizza, but every pizza that you buy frozen at your grocery store always requires a bit of jazzing up. So my leftovers work perfect here.
Straight Outta the Box
Granted, not the most appetizing frozen pizza but just wait until I add my leftovers.
Leftover marinated artichoke hearts, Harry and David’s Merlot Laced Artichokes, garlic cloves, red peppers, and feta cheese.
Sprinkle some of your garlic salt on top of it.
Bake in the oven according to package directions.
I promise, you will like it.
NOTE: These foods aren’t about eating something fancy and elaborate, these are the foods that I eat when I am alone. They are healthy, tasty and I lose weight eating them.
p.s. I don’t eat the whole pizza, but I do eat half of it.
When I snack it’s usually just a handful of something here and there. I don’t eat a lot for lunch, I usually just snack on a few things. But when I want a “snack” I choose one of these.
I realize that I did buy Ruffles Potato Chips on my way out here to the condo. Those are to be eaten with my veggie burger and baked beans for a dinner out here. I do have a weakness for them as I love to eat them with baked beans. 🙂
So no, I’m not a hypocrite.
I do eat fattening things sometimes, just not very often, and if I do then I just have a bite or two.
I arrived on Thursday but Gordon came out on Saturday to spend the day with me AND………
Clean the carpets.
(I told you we were ‘spring cleaning’.)
He even went ahead and bought the machine and attachments. So at least now we don’t have to keep renting one from Home Depot.
It is a cold, wet, rainy day today. No sunshine. So what better day to spend the time cleaning carpets?
Our Very Gray Overcast Day
You can see how windy it is.
The wind is even blowing all the chairs around the balcony.
Which is why we have all plastic chairs and tables out here. If they were metal or anything else more sturdy, the wind would blow them into the glass and break or crack it. So we have to buy these cheap plastic chairs that the sun does weaken and they will eventually break themselves, while we just keep on replacing them. Endless cycle.
Our Huge Parking Lot
We are pretty much the last building of condo’s in Indian Shores that has a big parking lot, most don’t anymore.
The Messy Condo Kitchen
The anthurium I brought with me from home, just to enjoy looking at it. My Florida naval oranges, my bananas, and some lemons for a recipe project I am going to work on while out here.
I do eat a banana once a day, otherwise I get cramps in my feet and calves. Bananas are a natural muscle relaxer.
With the Carpets Cleaned it’s Time to get Out and go Somewhere
Let’s do some shopping and then grab dinner on the way back.
Yeah, right there! Let’s go to the Oriental Market!
We LOVE this market!
It’s so huge! Much larger than the one out where we live.
The prices are much cheaper than you will find at your local grocery stores. They may not carry everything that the major grocery stores have, but they do carry quite a bit so they are worth a visit. Fruits, veggies, fish, meats, rice, we all eat those whether we are Asian or not.
Here Gordon is retrieving a table that I want. And no, it’s not a footstool, it’s a table. 🙂
I want the bigger one. I think it will be great to take to the beach with us. Or to use in our house, or lanai. I like it! It’s so light too. I could carry it with my pinky finger.
I have to say that the people here are so nice and polite to us. Nicer than the people at the store we go to back home. So nice and friendly!
Anyway, we grabbed take out from their restaurant inside the market and headed back to the condo.
Chinese Take Out for Dinner!
Gordon has to get back home to take care of Monk and Sugar, but he’ll be back out here with me tomorrow.
The Freezing Pugsicles, Monk and Sugar
January 8, 2017
Gordon Turns 52
Happy Birthday Gordon!
“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”
Gordon came back out to the condo to spend his birthday out here with me.
He gets a Spongebob cake.
p.s. I made the tray many years ago for Brodie. Spongebob was big in our house from the time we lived in Hawaii, through Maryland, and Florida.
It may be a prettier day than yesterday but it is also a colder day than yesterday. Temps in the 40’s. Nothing to do outside, too miserable.
But, seeing as how it is Gordon’s birthday, and we haven’t yet seen Rogue One, why don’t we go?
O.k., so let’s go!
The drive from the condo is lovely. Driving alongside the Intracoastal Waterway is beautiful!
Although it’s too cold today, normally we would see lots of boats driving by, occasionally some dolphins, and lots of beautiful birds.
Crossing Another Drawbridge on our Way to Largo
Cast of Rogue One
Gordon and I in the movie theater waiting for it to start.
And yes, that is a large popcorn, no butter though.
The popcorn is pretty much my lunch. If I am going to a theater knowing full well that I will be getting popcorn, then I don’t eat lunch to allow for it.
Rogue One was such a great movie. I loved the cast! I loved the characters! I just hate that SPOILER ALERT, they all died!
They were all so good together that you just wanted to see them in more movies. But alas, that is not meant to be as their mission ended here, and then Princess Leia, Luke, and Han take the reigns for Episode 4.
Well, after that great movie it’s time to leave and hey, how about stopping off at Crabby Bill’s and grabbing dinner on the way home? It is Gordon’s birthday after all. Neither of us feel like cooking anything.
Let’s stop off in the Gift Shop and see if they have anything new. Then onto the bar to order our dinner then take it back to the condo. I’m not really hungry for dinner yet seeing as how I ate all that popcorn.
Crabby Bill’s is where mainly the local’s go, and some tourists too.
It is a big staple in Indian Rocks.
While I was out at the condo I did make some Hum Lum Sun Prunes on the condo balcony.
These were a specialty in Hawaii when we lived there. I wanted to recreate them at our beach condo.
Whenever I am out at the condo for any length of time I do tend to take out with me some recipes to make or projects to work on for our website.
When the Prunes were Ready….
We decided to go on a sunset picnic.
We have a beautiful beach here on Indian Shores. Every chance we get we love to view our sunsets and have some sort of picnic.
Here we had a lovely evening of pu-pu’s on our beach.
The wine was a gift from a friend who’s family has their own vineyard, makes their own wine, but does not sell it.
They give it to friends.
It was delicious!
Some of our Dirty Garden Martini in a Jar, and our Hum Lum Sun Prunes
Delicious Mustard/Raspberry Dip and Pretzels
Sunset on the Beach
The Sunset Is Here
Ahh. Doesn’t get any better than this.
Happy New Year!
Julie and Gordon
Happy Birthday to Gordon!
His Spongebob Squarepants Birthday Cake
A Great Way to End the Day!
Actually, the best way to end the day is Gordon acting silly and making me laugh.
And Cue the One Arm Pushup!
With the weekend over and Gordon back at home, I’m still out at the condo until I check in our long term winter renters. So I have a few more precious days alone until they arrive.
I am a big movie buff and I tend to lug a ton of my DVD’s with me. No Bluray in the condo and because I am out here so much I still buy DVD’s. For some reason every January I like watching The Saint with Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue. It has everything that I like. Mystery, suspense, action, romance, herion, hero, adventure…. And also lots of talking! Yes, talking! Something that actors used to do in movies before it turned into all that endless fighting.
The Saint starring Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue
I like a plot where there is dialog and actual conversations. Figuring things out, using our brains, you know, THINKING!
Most of my favorite movies are not big block busters. But my favorite movies have something special that you just don’t see in movies in this day. Granted, there are a few out there that are good, but I rarely get excited about a new movie that comes out. So I find myself watching old movies because they are kind of like old friends, they make me feel good.
I will confess something here to you. I will put in a movie in the morning and it will play all day. Oh, I won’t watch it. I will hear it playing in the background. And when it gets to a certain point then I rewind it and start it again. I do this often with my favorite movies. I doubt I have seen an ending in years, decades even, it’s not about that. It’s about having the ‘comfort movie’ playing in the background. Kind of like a fireplace.
With all my work, projects, and fun over with, it’s time to check in our renter’s. This is always a sad time for me because it’s time for me to head home and I won’t be out here until mid April. As sad as I am to drive away and head home, I’m also relieved that I won’t have these condo responsibilities for the next few months. I can work on projects at home, work on my website, be creative, get back on my treadmill, and just be a homebody for the next few months.
Like I said, you will probably find my life boring, but I love it!