Friday, June 30, 2006

No more hole in the kayak.

We went kayak diving today. Oh Boy! Jim and me and Dick and Sue and uncle John. Uncle John is using my old kayak. I melted a hole in it a couple years ago (read the story) and didn't think it was repairable. I just left it with Dick while we were on the road and said, "if anyone thinks they can fix it, they can have it". John and Dick spent many hours and several types of patches, but they DID it! So, uncle John can go kayak diving with us now. The water temperature was wonderful. Probably 83, maybe 84. I could just wear my diveskin and was perfectly comfortable. Visibility wasn't great, but I've seen it worse. And, we certainly don't see the things we did in Fiji! But, it was kayak diving! My Favorite. And, one thing that Fort Lauderdale has that Fiji doesn't is my favorite fish .. the yellow-headed jawfish. Such an ugly name for a beautiful creature. I call it a spirit fish. It looks just like an angel to me. I could never get a good photo of one in the ocean ... they disappear very quickly into their holes. But, last weekend at Pennekamp park, I got a photo of one thru the glass of one of their aquariums. We did see one today. They're relatively rare, but, if you know where to look, I can almost always see at least one when we dive off Fort Lauderdale beach. We also saw lots of lobster today ... unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) it's not lobster season, so all we could do is look. We also saw a moray with a cleaning shrimp and a bunch of squid.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Scuba Diving in the Keys

Each spring, our Kayuba dive club arranges accommodations and boats to go diving in the keys for a weekend. Jim and I were happy to be able to make it this year. We reserved 3 2-bedroom condos at Ocean Pointe and we put 17 people all total with 11 divers. It was a very pleasant place to hang out, party, and get reacquainted with old friends. Here's the view out our condo window. Doesn't it look like that boat is floating in midair?! It was a beautiful day for diving - look at that glassy ocean! And, here I am underwater. We saw several VERY large grouper. And, plenty of tropical fish like this juvenile Angel fish. What a difference a day makes. Here's view from our room on Sunday morning. 7 of our divers still went out and said they actually had better dives than the day before.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Oh Boy, Clean and shiny

Maintenance jobs around a motorhome are nothing compared to that of a house. As we drove by a house where someone was mowing the lawn the other day, Jim said, "Now that's something I really miss!" ... Not! Still there certainly are maintenance jobs to be done. And, waxing a vehicle this size is a bit of a daunting task. I think it's been a good year since we've done it. Last weekend the day started out a bit gray, so I figured it would not be too hot, and we got to work! Notice how it really does look shiny on the side where Jim is working. No, it's NOT because he does a better job! The back and front of the motorhome are fiberglass and the sides are airplane aluminum. The aluminum gets real shiny - the fiberglass just gets clean. Maybe we should try the Vertglass that George uses?! Ms. Tioga's fiberglass is looking awfully shiny! We're off to the Keys this weekend with Kayuba dive club. We'll be staying at Ocean Pointe Suites and diving with Rainbow Reef. Oh Boy! Should be fun.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blogger Templates

Uh Oh .... Have you ever completely remodeled your house because you spilled a glass of wine on the carpet? You know what I mean. You spill the wine ... oooops. So, you get out the carpet cleaner and wipe it up, right? Then, you see that the cleaned spot looks SO different from the rest that you have to have the whole carpet cleaned. But, you've been meaning to replace that old carpet anyway, so you tear it up and you pick out some nice tile. Now the furniture doesn't go with the flooring anymore, and those curtains just have to go .... etc. etc. Well, that's what just happened to my Blog template. I was just playing around, and I mistakenly deleted some important part of the template. Well ... I couldn't see spending time and energy just to get back to the same old tired design! So, I went looking for a new template. I found one that I *kinda* liked at but, I would need to change the graphic and a few of the colors and, oops, why is it not aligning right now? And, where did the 'recent posts' go? Hah! I really hadn't intended to spend all night on learning how to modify templates. Now, it looks like I'll still be on it in the morning cuz it's past midnight and that's waaay past my bedtime. I'll get it to look right, don't you worry!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kayak against Cancer

Our dive club, Kayuba, puts on an annual event called Kayak Against Cancer. People sign up to kayak a certain course off the beach of Fort Lauderdale, and they collect donations for the American Cancer Society. Jim and I were very involved the first couple years of the event, then we've been gone for the last couple years. This is the 6th year, and it was a great event. First of all, it was a beautiful morning. Club members and other volunteers gathered at the put-in point on the beach at 6am! Here's Geri and me at the registration table. Here's Glenn. I believe he is always the top fundraiser. This year he said he didn't even solicit donations and still he brought in over $5,000! According to my count, we had 33 kayaks participating. A good turnout. Here's our intrepid event leader, Chuck, giving the participants a safety briefing. And, they're off! How wonderful to have calm seas. Contrast this to the last one where Jim and I were involved. Here's Chuck in 2003, giving the start signal. And the kayaks taking off. It's a very 'feel-good' event. Running the registration desk, I counted over $15,000 donated, and that doesn't count sponsorships and more donations I know were expected at the post-race party. We didn't go to the party because we had a family event at Jim's folk's house. Way to go! Kayak Against Cancer!

K A Y U B A ! ! !

Friday, June 16, 2006


Being in South Florida, you may think I'm referring to the temperature. After all, our air conditioner is running constantly just to keep the temperature under 90 in the coach. And, Jim was mighty sweaty when he had to replace some equipment on the roof. But, no .. I'm referring to the Miami Heat. The basketball team that's in the playoffs. Not only are they in the playoffs ... but, at the moment anyway, they're winning! Actually, they're tied 2-2, but since they started out 0-2, that sounds like winning to me! I haven't watched a basketball game since I was in high school, but, when our neighbors across the street said that we were invited to join them and watch the game with them and some other neighbors, we said, "sounds great!" And, Jim said, "Let me set up the projector and the big screen." Cool. In case you can't see it too well in the photo, that's a 5 foot screen with the basketball game being projected onto it. Home theatre, Campground Computer Style! I was also more interested in basketball today because I attended my Women's Executive Club luncheon and we had Katie Meier as our speaker. She's the coach of the woman's basketball team at University of Miami and she was a fabulous speaker. I wish I was young and tall, so I could be on her team! She sums up her philosophy of life, sports and leadership with the acronym DRIVE. D=Discipline, R=Respect, I=Intensity, V=Vision, E=Enthusiasm. I'm afraid, when I think of 'drive', all that applies to me is, "Where to?"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Storms and Videos

Tropical Storm Alberto headed way north of us. It didn't even threaten to become a hurricane until it was past our location. Then it calmed down rather than increased. We still got some nasty weather here today. And, it felt kinda 'hurricane-ish' because it poured rain and whipped wind for about 20 minutes. Then it was calm and dry for an hour or so. Then another 'band' of stormy weather. hmmmm ... makes me think about our plans. We *don't* want to be here in a hurricane. But, when do you make the decision to drive away? Sometimes it looks like a hurricane is heading here, only to turn further north. We know several stories of people who evacuated Fort Lauderdale, only to run into the hurricane further up the state. Florida is a long state. If they had stayed here, all would have been fine. And, if we leave in time to get all the way out of the state at the first warning of a hurricane - that's just way too much advance planning for me! Besides, we have more plans with family and friends. And, a lot more video editing to do with Mom. We'd like to stick around till late July. Mom and I are truly making progress in the video editing arena. She got the new version of Premiere Elements ... 2.0. She's captured 6 hours of video from her Bhutan trip and we've been working on learning the procedures to decide which clips to keep and how to organize and modify them to get a pleasing end product. You wouldn't believe how time-consuming this is. At the end of her Bhutan tapes, we discovered some video that she took of hurricane Wilma. We used Premiere Elements to put video into a movie and burn it to a DVD. That was actually pretty easy. Then, I spent all day today editing it down to a 2 minute video and figuring out the methods and procedures for compressing the video with Flash 8(the new version that I just bought) into something that you can view on the web. I think I got it. It's still an 8 megabyte file, but it 'progressively downloads'. Check it out by clicking on the image below.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hangin' Out

Jetlag from Fiji made the first week home a bit of a blur. It took us a full week to recover. Wide awake at 2 in the morning, and dead to the world at noon! It's a good thing we didn't have much going on! In fact, we don't really have anything going on until we're supposed to be at the FMCA convention in Charlotte, NC on August 14! So, here we are at Paradise Island. It's amazing that there are so many full sites. June in Florida. This park should be empty! We are still feeling the effects of hurricane Wilma last year. The local county parks, with RV sites, are closed to the public because they are housing people who lost their homes in the hurricane. And, there are still insurance adjusters and other hurricane related workers here. Jim is helping out in the office in exchange for free site rent. That, and the fact that we're not spending money on lots of gas to travel, means we get to live pretty cheap. That's a good thing. The bad thing is I'm getting 'homesick for the road'. I am using this 'fallow' time to catch up on some web-work on my list, and to learn as much about computer video editing as possible. I'm helping Mom edit some of her video, both underwater and of cool places like Bhutan. I'm also learning to use a new program I bought to make video tutorials on computer topics. My first test is an introduction to this weblog. Check it out with the links below. I know the photos get a little weird - I don't think it's meant to show that many photos that quickly. If you have any comments re: the pros and cons of the two versions below, I'd love to hear from you. Email me at Weblog Intro : Windows Media View format. Weblog Intro : Flash swf format.