Sunday, July 07, 2019

4th of July Celebration Still Making Memories

Image may contain: night.
Happy Interdependence Day!
Happy Anniversary Chris and Jim!

The 4th of July is a wonderful day for a wedding anniversary. It's kind of hard to forget the date. Here in the USA, it has special historical significance and pyrotechnic celebrations are held all over. We say those fireworks are for us!

We again live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where you can generally depend on temperatures in the high eighties (F) this time of year. Air Conditioning is required for comfortable living here and ours stopped blowing cold air on the 1st. I called service and they promised a tech on the 3rd. One night wasn't too bad. The second night was really warm. Then the tech didn't show all day. The prospect of a third hot night was not pleasant.

What do we do when Life gives us lemons? Make lemonade!

In a flash of inspiration, I booked a room for 2 nights at the same place on the beach where we stayed for our wedding on the same dates 21 years ago. They have air conditioning.

It's not called the Yankee Clipper any more. It's B Resort. We think that's weird but that B it's name.

Everything was fantastic, though. The reservations agent found us a good deal. Check in was smooth. The room was very comfortable. The WiFi was fast. We received drink tickets and the front desk gave us complimentary breakfast buffets after hearing our story and history.

Long back-story: Chris was the "Clipper Queen" back in her high school years. This was her beach hangout with friends. Years later, our relationship was sparked with our first kisses on a water taxi under a full moon in Fort Lauderdale.
Chris and I were married on a Water Taxi on the New River in Fort Lauderdale in 1998. It was a small informal affair with all local family and friends. It was hot then, too. A bunch of us got rooms at the Yankee Clipper hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach for a couple of nights as alcohol consumption was on the agenda.
The city puts on a beach party culminating in fireworks off the beach every 4th. The Clipper is a great place to see the show both then and now.
Traffic is ridiculous. It's great to just park and enjoy the stay.

The Wreck Bar makes a very good Mojito. The bar is notorious for the windows into the pool on the floor above. Patrons are regularly treated to an impromptu display of semi-nudity or other unusual aquatic activity. Nothing like that happened this time. I'm assured the statute of limitations has run out on our earlier visit.

We walked up A1A to Las Olas Blvd for lunch at the Quarterdeck and strolled back along the famous Fort Lauderdale Beach. The entire expanse of sand was full of partiers. There were stages for music and activities all the way back to the hotel.

We changed into swimsuits and hit the ocean for a swim. Perfect temps both water and air.
We tried the beach pool but it was actually too warm and the music pretty loud so we retreated back to the room.

Later, we headed down to the bar for a drink and snack before the fireworks scheduled to start at 9. I had a beach blanket to sit on and we enjoyed a great fireworks show.

Back at the room, I hung our breakfast order on the outside of the door and we crashed for the night.

We have a regular Zoom meeting with our networking group on Friday mornings. Room service breakfast arrived promptly at 8 and we were finishing up by our 8:30 video call.

The AC service place called right after our meeting saying the tech was on his way to our house. We had to scurry a little and get checked out and back home to meet the tech.
Our timing was perfect. He was at our gate just as we were turning the last corner before home.
The repairs were fairly quick and painle$$. We're back in business. Cool.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Do something you love - for me, it's scuba diving

There seems to be a lot of advice going around lately on how to lead a good life. I've been getting advertisements for an app called Fabulous - enhance your life. On top of the advice list is to Do Something You Love! I think I've got that down. In fact, I live my life by not doing anything unless I love it! I love learning about technology, I love teaching people about technology, I love writing, I love going for walks with Jim, I love traveling, I love creating content on websites, I love photography, I love presenting seminars with Jim (actually I love doing just about anything with Jim.) But number one on the list of things I do for no other reason besides the fact that I love it ... is scuba diving ... and it's something I do with Jim!

This week we went on a dive trip to Little Cayman Island. It was arranged by our dive club - UnderSea Adventurers, or USA Dive Club. We were here as part of a trip last year for our 20th wedding anniversary - that was on the dive boat the Cayman Aggressor. We dove all over the area, but I think my favorite dive sites were on Little Cayman, so when we heard about this club trip we signed right up.

If you've never been scuba diving, let me tell you about it. 

First of all, I'm talking about warm ocean water - someplace like the Caribbean or the South Pacific. That means you need the minimum of wetsuit coverage - just something to protect you from scratches and stings, but not confining. When you jump into the water, you are entering another world - literally. The undersea world is not a place where humans live, we are visitors and we need to open ourselves to the wonder of it all. But, before even looking around you can appreciate the soft touch of warm water and the buoyancy. It takes some experience to know how much lead weight you need to balance the buoyancy, but once you get it right the weightlessness is so cool. I've heard it said that dreams where you're flying indicate reaching a higher spiritual level. Well - dream no more! You can reach this level by going scuba diving!

Any yoga instructor will tell you, the key is to focus on your breath. When you're scuba diving, all you can hear is your breathing, whoosh as you breath in and bubbles when you breathe out. No distractions, just the meditation of breathing in and out.

Then there are the sights and experiences. I am a fan of walls, and Little Cayman has the best. It's an entire underwater park called Bloody Bay Wall and it has over 20 specific dive sites. Most of them incorporate the wall. This is where the bottom of the ocean just drops off. In Little Cayman, the wall drops off to several thousand feet. There are several places where there are canyons or tunnels from the reef to the wall. You're just swimming along the reef at about 30-50 feet, then you can enter a tunnel - feel a little spooky as you descend and wind your way through this narrow space, and then you come out the other side - into the abyss! I find it thrilling.
Chris in the Abyss

Jim took lots of video with his GoPro camera. Once it's on YouTube, I'll come back here and post a link.

Then there is the life. You know that space movies must get a lot of their inspiration for alien creatures from those we see in the depths. They are so different from us.
Grouper getting his teeth cleaned by cleaner shrimp and wrasse
Southern Stingray under a blanket of sand taking a nap
Up close and personal with a turtle

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May rally and home

For the first week of May we had an RV Rally in Georgia - SKP ACRE. They had about 70 RVs there. There were only a few seminar presenters - only one track - we really like that. It means that everyone who is interested in seminars comes to see us, there are no choices for each time slot. And the relatively small number of attendees means we got to know folks. Offering our one-on-one smartphone help desk let us get up close and personal. And, the rally provided many group meals so we got to know folks even more. And, many of the people here are folks we already knew. FUN.

While we were still at the rally in Georgia, we were scheduled to do a remote presentation for APCUG (Ass'n of Personal Computer User Groups) It was an online presentation and we were able to get it set up and working in our little camper van. Fortunately - both AT&T and Verizon service were pretty good so all worked well. We were told it would be available on YouTube soon, but it's not there yet. I will come back here and give the link when it's available. The topic was Google Photos: our 7 favorite features.

After the rally, we drove straight home. Time to catch up on web work, do our shows, and go to Toastmasters until time to go on our dive trip at the end of the month.
I visited Mom a couple of times too. She's still on Hospice, but she seems quite well.


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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April recap

When April began, we were in northern Florida, headed to Sarasota for a gig at the Sarasota Technology User Group. We made another stop at a Florida Springs along the way. This is Crystal River Three Sisters springs.

We got to Sarasota on Tuesday and our gig was on Wednesday, so we called Horseshoe Cove RV resort where we have stayed before and booked one night. Then we had plenty of time to get caught up on emails and get ready for our seminar.

The seminar ended about 8pm and we decided we were rested enough to just go on home. So we drove across Alligator Alley at night and got home a little after 11pm.

With nothing on our calendar for a while, we could relax, soak in our hot tub, have dinners with friends, enjoy the neighborhood, and do our YouTube shows.
Beautiful flowers in our neighbor's yard.

We also took the opportunity to attend our Earlybird Toastmasters club on Thursday mornings at 7am.

We did have one more gig at a Computer Club - Cascade Lakes in Boynton Beach.

Then, we had to be in Georgia for a rally for the first week of May - so we allowed enough time to stop off at Alex's in Melrose and join in for a family dinner at her sister's on the lake.

And that was it for April.
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Saturday, March 30, 2019

March recap

It's taken me till today to finish the blog posts for the New Zealand trip. Today is May 29 - we got back from New Zealand on Feb 28. That's 3 months to catch up :-(  My plan is to do just one post recapping each month so I can get up to date and tell you about what we're doing right now.
I still keep up the photo albums for each month because that is just so easy. So I can look back at the albums to see what we did in March. Here is the link to our March photo album.
We were actually quite busy. We were at home in the beginning of March, so we had our fully equipped studio to do our YouTube show - Episode 161 about how we remember our travels with photos, maps, and a blog. If you only watch one of our shows - this is the one! I think remembering travels is our signature topic. I just love our photos, maps, and blog and I love to teach others how to do it.
Episode 161:How to Remember your Travels with Photos, Maps, and a Blog

Next in March we attended our USA Dive Club meeting, and presented a seminar to a local computer club - Deerfield Beach Computer Club. Then we headed up to Georgia for the FMCA rally. We stopped to pick up Alex along the way and got to say hi to her friendly donkey. Alex helped us out at our table while we taught seminars. It was great to have her along - Thanks Alex!

We've presented our seminars at every FMCA convention since 2005 - at 2 per year, that comes to 29 rallies. We're feeling a bit old and a bit tired. We're now focused on being semi-retired and have decided not to go to the next convention. It's in Minot N Dakota and we have no plans of being anywhere near there in August. It's crazy to drive 2500 miles just to present a few seminars, and flying just doesn't seem right. Then it's just work - not fun. So, we've sent our regrets to FMCA. The next convention is in March 2020 in Tucson. That conflicts with a big dive trip that we've already booked to the Maldives. So we won't be doing that rally either. I expect their summer 2020 will be in the east somewhere so we could do that ... if they still want us.
We came back home to rest for the week in between the FMCA rally and the RVillage rally. We decided to splurge and upgrade our home Internet to Gigabit Fibre ... OH BOY! This will help us in our plan to focus more on our website to make our living rather than traveling to RV rallies.

We ended the month with the RVillage Rally 2.0. The signature event of this rally is gathering around the Firebirds at night. Firebirds are those tall metal sculptures that they fill with wood and light like a giant pot bellied stove. The weather was gorgeous so everyone was  out, musicians gathered everywhere and a good time was had by all. Of course, we still did our seminars and our Smartphone Help Desk services as well.

After that rally, we had a couple of days to enjoy a Florida State Park - Manatee Springs. Don't you just love the color of the water?

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