Sunday, November 28, 2010

Contrary to Rumors - We're Still Alive and Kicking!!!

I guess I forgot over the past couple years how an office can turn into an all encompassing black hole and how work can become all consuming...the past six weeks have come as a rude reminder. Yes we are both back at work and that's why we haven't had time to blog - every time I thought about it (unfortunately which was usually at 3:00 am when I awoke in a cold panic regarding everything else I hadn't had time to do) I was too tired to think.....let alone start typing on a computer that has become all too much of an ever present appendage. Work for both of us has been absolutely off the wall crazy busy - guess that's what happens when you join start-ups or re-starts or whatever you want to call our respective companies. There always seems to be too much to do, not enough people to do it, and not enough money to do it with - ah the joys of a young company!! All that moaning aside - we're actually having a blast being back at work . Who said that??? - of course we'd rather still be cruising but once we made the decision to go back to work, at least we have wound up at very kewl companies!!! To offset the long hours and the stress are the intellectual challenges of being back running a business and making decisions that really matter - now I know what happy hour to hit or beer v wine are critical decisions but...... And to make things even better, in a week or two, my commute goes from 3 1/2 hours down to our office in Aventura to 10 minutes since my new office is located on the premises of the Kennedy Space Center - right next to the rocket garden!!! Sorry Doug - his commute remains at 45 minutes!

Just because we've been working our butts off doesn't mean we haven't had any fun though - and our cruising buddies are mostly to be thanked for that!! Tis the season for cruisers to migrate south - hurricane season is over (thank you Mother Nature for giving us such a benign one here in FL) and the butter is starting to harden up north so boats just seem to head the pointy end south to follow the warmth. First through town was September Song - Stephanie, Bob and the girls (Cassie and Godiva) who we traveled with for many months last year swung into our marina and stayed for about 10 days of fun and frivolity. We of course had to take them to all of our favorite places - the SandBar,
Lunch at the Sandbar
the Cocoa Beach Pier,
September Song and Gypsies in the Palace at the Cocoa Beach Pier
Beef O'Brady's and FishLips
FishLips for drinks and apps
for lots of cold drinks, good food and not so good music (have we mentioned we miss KW!)

Then Joe and Julia on Sea Pearl swung through and we had only a night with them but, although Doug had to fly to California for a few days, Bob, Stephanie and I made the most of it with dinner at the Roost!
Dinner with Joe and Julia from Sea Pearl
Back to the Pier with Bob and Stephanie
Back to the Cocoa Beach Pier
for some awesome people and surf watching as the waves were definitely kicking up - at the end of the pier you could feel it swaying as each wave hit!

Bob and I decided against heading out on our boogie boards given the size of the waves, the kickass undertow and let's be honest, the coldness of the water! Yes I know I used to swim in the waters of Maine in March, but I admit it, I am now a warm water wimp after several years in the aquamarine bath water of the Bahamas, the Keys and even FL in the summer!! Then it was on to provision - important things only like an Admiral Nelson run.
Finally it was time for dinner on Gypsies complete with a Bahamas key lime pie (here's your fork and pass it along - can you believe we ate the whole thing??),
squirt whip cream (Bob's favorite)
and cigars and rum on the flybridge!! Missed you Rena!
The next day was time for a final fling at FishLips over at the Canaveral Cruise Ship Basin under a gorgeous, warm FL sun where Bob a/k/a the hat man found a smashing bamboo hat to try on!!
It was so good to see you guys - we've missed you!! See you in Marathon next week!!
September Song Pulls out of the Marina

Next into town was Norm and Vicki on TideHiker and Todd and Brenda on Life's2Short - I had planned on getting back from Aventura in time for dinner with everyone, swallowed me! At least Doug got a chance to have pizza in Cocoa with everyone - and we got this great picture of everyone waving to me!!
Unfortunately I missed TideHiker (see you in Marathon this winter) but Life's2Short stayed in town long enough to spend a weekend with us. Back to FishLips,
FishLips with Todd and Brenda from Life's2Short
the Pier
Todd Tries to Escape from the Bar at the Cocoa Beach Pier
and Beef O'Bradys - beginning to see a trend....tons of fun hanging out with the Captain and the Admiral - thanks for hanging around long enough for me to see you guys...and thanks for the Eagles DVD Todd - it rocks!!! See you guys in St Pete this winter! (You may be catching on by now that all our cruising buddies have moved on to places warm for the winter - we plan on visiting all of them!!)

Before we knew it we were heading out to Sebring to spend Thanksgiving with our great friends from Kennebunkport, John and Francesca Spain. They have a wonderful house down here where they spend the winter which is only a couple hours from us here on Merritt Island. Not only was the food unbelievable (thanks Francesca)
John and Francesca, the Chefs
Doug Carves the Turkey While John and Francesca Continue Preparations
but we got to catch up, watch a great Pats game with fellow New England fans, hot tub and just spend time with great folks. Assuming we can get our heads out of our work butts long enough, we've got great plans to meet in Orlando for some park experiences and to head back to Sebring for golf weekends! Thanks for everything guys - can't wait to see you again!

So that about sums up life over the last month and a half - I can not even believe this week is December 1st!! Where did the Fall go I ask you - is it just me that missed it? Guess I shouldn't be too surprised since they've been playing Christmas carols in all the stores down here for the past 3 or 4 weeks - yikes! Time to decorate Gypsies....hope I do a better job than I did at decorating for Thanksgiving, or Halloween, etc.....which somehow never seemed to happen. As much as I'd love to decorate next weekend, we're off to Marathon - yeah Keys - to bring Bob and Stephanie's car to them so they have it for the winter. The fearsome foursome back together in the Keys - could get ugly folks so I won't promise pictures!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and keep smiling for the upcoming holiday season (no matter how annoying those Christmas carols become)!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

TropStock Rocked!!!

What an absolutely awesome weekend of sun, friends and unbelievably great music (a few coldies here and there didn't hurt either)!!! We just had one of those very rare, perfect weekends - the only issue is that it went by way too fast and we've got to wait a whole year for the Second Annual TropStock in the Village extravaganza!!
The Crowd at Trop Stock
Who knew sleepy little Cocoa could come up with such an amazing line-up of musicians and who knew Mother Nature would smile on us as she did (while we were cruising on our boat, MN always seemed to screw up our plans - maybe she's moved on to mess with someone else!!) Bob and Nancy - sorry you guys couldn't share it with us but there's always next year!

Saturday dawned bright and sunny and after a few boat chores (nothing too strenuous) - we headed off to the Riverfront Park to hear some music and soak up some rays. Armed with our concert chairs and high hopes, we set up our chairs in front of the awesome amphitheater stage and proceeded to groove to some music by Tropical Motivation
and Pyrates of the Coast. We watched some of the beach volleyball tournament and the official cornhole tournament - man, these guys and gals were good!! Who knew there are cornhole leagues - we just thought it was a way to pass time while waiting for our pork sliders and $1 beers at El Alamo in KW!!
Then it was back to our seats for our KW friends Scott Kirby and Dave Edmisten - as many times as we've seen those guys perform over the years, it still amazes me how good they really are and how much we love their music!
Scott Kirby and Dave Edmisten
Scott Signs CDs for his Adoring Fans
Some rocking pizza at Ryan's across the street and we were ready to party out with the final band for the night - Peter and Jim Mayer!!!!
Peter (left) and Jim (right) Mayer
Those guys along with their band (including a 20 year old fiddle/mandolin player who was unbelievable) had everyone dancing and screaming for more.
Peter Rocks with Maggie, the 20 Year Old Fiddle Player
Peter Does an Encore for the Crowd
Peter even came off the stage to join the huge conga line winding it's way around the park - now that's quite an entertainer (or a nut!) I'm sure Peter gets sick of it, but it's just too funny to see all the women in the crowd go crazy for him!! We overheard the guy behind us actually say that he loved when he and his wife saw Peter play because he knew he'd get lucky that just can't make this up!!!

Scott got us into the after party for all the musicians and I gotta say it was pretty cool hanging out with Scott and Dave, Peter, Jim and their band and Nadirah Shakoor!!!! That is until the bar opened up to the public and all the pirates from the pirate pub crawl invaded the party. Time to leave!!! Somehow (and we still aren't quite sure how this happened) it was back to Gypsies for a big nightcap party on the flybridge!! Before we knew it, we had Scott and Dave, Scott and Peter Mayer's marketing folks and believe it or not, Steve Huntington and JD Spradlin of Radio Margaritaville on Gypsies!!! Again - you can't make this stuff up!!! Steve runs the programming for RadioMargaritaville and DJs out of the New Orleans Margaritaville Cafe while JD DJ's in the Orlando Margaritaville - way cool guys and we all had a ball on Gypises until way past our bedtimes!! It's always great to hang with old friends and meet new ones sitting on the flybridge of Gypsies sipping some adult beverages and enjoying the peace and quiet of being on the water - what a way to wind up an awesome day! To protect the not so innocent, no pictures were taken of the after hours party or the ensuing party on Gypsies!!! although there was some drinking and dialing which in retrospect probably wasn't the best of ideas!!!

A little slow to get going on Sunday but we were off to TropStock by about 12:30 - ready for another day of sun and great music - it didn't disappoint. Captain Josh was playing as we arrived and then Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band rocked out the afternoon! How can you not like someone whose saying is "Booze is the duct tape of life?"
Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band
We had been given a Jim Morris CD from some friends we met in KW this winter and loved it, so it was a great afternoon - bare feet in the grass, coldies, scorching sun with a gentle sea breeze and live music - yippppeeee!!!! Could the afternoon get any better? Answer - you bet!!!! After Jim, came Doyle Grisham on the steel guitar (another member of Jimmy's band) and John Patti (aka Cabana Boy) on the steel drums - take me to the islands mon!!!!

Saving the best for last, Nadirah Shakoor and Outside Art took to the stage and treated us to an absolutely unbelievable evening!!! All I can say is that if you've never heard Nadirah (outside of Jimmy's concerts), you need to!!!! Not only does she have truly the most amazing singing voice I have ever heard, but the songs she sings are so positive, upbeat and empowering not just for women but for all people.
Nadirah Shakoor Rocks It for the Crowd
She sings of love, freedom, peace, pride and power and does it in a way that makes you want to stand up and yell "you go girl!!!!"
Nadirah Sings of Love, Freedom, Peace, Pride and Power
She and her brother Rasheed (who plays drums and bongos) played several poignant songs together which really made you think (when was the last time a musician made you think??)
Nadirah Sings, Accompanied by Her Brother, Rasheed, on the Bongos
Even though her songs were powerful, they had a beat to bring down the house or should I say the park. For an encore she came out into the crowd singing a song called Pride and had everyone on their feet.
Nadirah Sings "Pride" Down in the Crowd
Doug and I just looked at each other when it was over and said "WOW!!!!!" We have already been on her website to find out when we can see her again - not only is she an incredibly talented musician but her songs make you believe that she is an equally wonderful human being.

And then today, we rest - well not really. While Doug had to head off to work bright and early, I've been doing boat chores all day trying to get ready for the day I have to head back to work (Wednesday!!!!) No longer the woman of leisure, I'm trying to get all our errands done in anticipation of having no free time again!! We like our weekends way too much to have to do errands then - we'll figure it out I'm sure! All I can say is that TropStock was a great send-off into the working world - tough to beat a weekend like that!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Big News

Well I have officially lost my life of leisure and joined the ranks of the working stiffs - I have accepted a position as Vice President and General Counsel for a company named Sanswire, which is relocating their corporate offices to Orlando in the next couple weeks. Sanswire is a publicly traded bulletin board company that develops and markets lighter than air unmanned aerial vehicles. I met with several advisors to the company last week and then this week flew out to Colorado Springs to meet with the new CEO and Chairman of the Board who were attending the High Altitude and Near Space Conference which Sanswire was sponsoring (think lots of Air Force and Army Generals, NASA folks and assorted other military and scientific gurus - I fit right in.....haha) To say we all clicked would be an understatement!!! While there is an awful lot of work to be done, we all believe that based on the amazing technology the company has, we are in a unique position to really build something spectacular and save lots of lives along the way. Kind of cool to be doing something important rather than just making widgets or making money for people who already have too much!!! I fly off to Easton, MD (which we've actually been to before when cruising the Chesapeake which no one at Sanswire could believe!) this Wednesday to their facility to see a demo of the airship - how kewl!!! I am really excited about the opportunity and if you have to go back to work - this is a pretty cool gig!!! Doug is a little bummed at losing his "housewife" but I keep telling him, the second paycheck makes up for that!!! Plus its not like we won't continue to have lots and lots of fun!!!

Last weekend there was supposed to be this great International Sound and Flavor Festival down in Melbourne - always game to try something new and thinking good food and music, we figured why not so we hopped in the car and headed down. Well - it was an experience shall we say!! We first drove into this park where we thought it was supposed to be (there was even a sign at the entrance announcing the festival) and after driving around twice, all we came across was a pavilion with a very sad sounding country western band and some fat, bald, old guys flipping burgers. This couldn't be it, could it???? But yet there was nothing else around - so we got out just to make sure but from the looks of the crowd (think Elks club outing meets biker bar) and the fact I don't really consider burgers and dogs to be "international," we packed it in and headed out. On our way out about a mile down the road we actually saw a whole bunch of signs for the festival we'd been looking for and followed them to a field - OK here we go. Well not so much..... but at least they had beer and a couple booths selling gyros (which I guess are international although they looked slightly less than desirable) - other than that, really not so much!!! We went into the tent to hear the "international sound" and were greeted by an old scraggly looking guy playing a banjo singing christian folk songs. You just can't make this up!! YIKES - time to leave!!! So much for the festival - although they did have on display a very funny limousine!!!
Thinking we would eat and drink our way through a fun festival teeming with delicious international cuisine, we hadn't had lunch and by this time we were hungry!! So as we always do, we made the best of the afternoon by finding the Conch Key Grill and Tiki Bar which sits right on the ICW and is a great little funky bar!
Hurricanes are a big deal down here and the Conch Key has survived quite a few which they proclaim proudly from above the bar!!
Knock on big wood but so far we've had a quiet season down here in FL - maybe Mother Nature decided to give us a break for our first season down here (normally she's not that nice to us)!!! Mahi sandwiches and cold beers - we like this place - plus we found out you get free drinks on your birthdays and anniversaries!!! And Bimini is only 193 miles away!!!!

Last night to celebrate the new job (not really - we've had tickets for weeks), we hit the opening evening of The First Annual TropStock in the Village over at the Riverfront Park in Cocoa. We had wanted to see some of the afternoon music but Doug couldn't break free from work (even though he was working from the boat!!) - I hate when work interferes with our play time!!!! Oh well better late than never! TropStock is an unbelievable three day extravaganza of seriously good trop rock musicians - we're talking Scott Kirby, Peter Mayer and much of the rest of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band like Nadirah Shakoor, Doyle Grisham and Jim Mayer - can you believe it???? ALL in sleepy little Cocoa!!! What am I back in Key West?? We had a great evening sitting out on the grass at the park listening to first Jack Mosley, one of the great trop rock musicians whose music is played on radiomargaritaville and jimmydreamz as well as many other trop rock radio stations! Then it was Homemade Wine, a great tropical country jam band!! Playing trop rock to honky tonk country to Lynyrd Skynyrd, they had the crowd on their feet!! As the sun set and the stars came out, they lit up the stage with lights and great music - what a great way to spend an evening!!!

And we've still got two more days of great music to go - today we plan on bringing chairs for the afternoon/evening. The line-up includes Pyrates of the Coast, Tropical Motivations followed by our good friends Scott and Dave and then ending with Peter Mayer!!! Although my guess is our night won't end there - have we mentioned Scotty is in town!! There are also after hours parties in the pubs around Cocoa Village where other trop rock guys are playing!! Too fun! Then on Sunday we've got Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band, Doyle Grisham and then Nadirah!!!! Good thing I don't start work until Wednesday - think Monday will be a day of rest (sorry Doug!!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Can Call Me Captain....

Well maybe not quite yet but I did pass my Captain's license exam on Monday night - yipppppeeee!!! Now I just have to put together the application, letters of recommendation (any volunteers as to my character? no jokes please!) and take that drug test again....yes, I'm pretty sure I'll pass (know that there were those of you out there thinking it!) and then hopefully it will be official soon!!! We'll be a two Captain family since Doug got his last year - C squared - which is kind of ironic since we aren't cruising at the moment but settling into the work-a-day world (NEVER!!!) .

We've been having lots of fun down here on Merritt Island - the other weekend was absolutely gorgeous. While our friends back in New England are talking about closing up their pools, cold nights around bonfires and where'd the summer go, down here we are saying this time of year is SWEET!!!! It's still big-time beach weather but lots of the humidity of the summer has gone - now we're just enjoying the 80ish weather and with the absence of hurricanes impacting FL this year (knock loudly on wood!), we are thoroughly enjoying our decision to hang out down here post cruise!

We hit Cocoa Beach last Saturday with our books, beach chairs, boogie boards and brewskis to soak up some of that wonderful FL sun and ride some waves. Not sure if there are always waves on Cocoa Beach (it does claim to be the surfing capital of FL and sports the mother of all surfing stores in the 24 hour Ron Jon surf shop) or if it's just the progression of off-shore hurricanes which have kept us boogie boarders in huge waves and smiles. Down here the water is so beautiful too that you can actually spend time playing in the waves without your feet instantly becoming numb as they do in Maine - trust me, we still went swimming up there but each incursion into the water was short and painful!! Down here the water is so gorgeous, it's almost tough to get out....until the icy cold beverage calls out to you from your lounge chair!!! Really they do that down here - just another thing we like!

Sunday it was off to Universal Studios again for us - now for someone who was never an "amusement park person," I have to admit that Universal and Islands of Adventure are really, really cool!!! I think the last time I was at a park was in high school when we all hit Whalom Park with it's 3 rides!!! We were psyched to get in a day at the park after all the kids are back at school but where it is still warm enough to want to experience all the water rides. Mission Accomplished!!! (and we actually even mean it....not to mention a sore subject!) We waltzed into the Park which was much less crowded than over the summer and breezed right over to see Harry - we rode the forbidden journey ride twice and had a butterbeer before we saw any kind of lines at all!! Then it was off to the water rides - the Dudley Dooright Riprock Falls had always had a wait of at least an hour or more (can you say NOT!!!) but on Sunday there was no line at all!! What an awesome ride - close to my favorite but man do you get wet!!! We went from riding the Falls to the Bilge Rat ride across the way where you get equally as wet about 4 or 5 times - loving every moment of it! Finally it was time to dry out a sarcastic comments please. We hit the Jurassic Park ride and then dropped into the Hogs Head for a cool brew out on the sunny deck overlooking the park - way cool!! Finally on our way out of the park we had to try the Spiderman ride which we'd heard about and it rocked -so we'll be back!! Finally we headed to Universal to hit the Men in Black ride which Doug loves and then it was on to a sports bar to watch the Pats beat up on Cincinnati - got to tell you it was a near perfect day (see below)!!!

The only thing that didn't go according to plan was when a fellow park-goer stepped on my toe and caused major blood loss. OK - some background. I had a hurt right big toe for about a year and finally went to a doctor when we were in Aventura who gave me some drugs and healed it without having to amputate (but that's old news). A couple weeks ago I was heading down the stairs to our room without turning on a light, slipped and came down on my left big toe causing a major bloody blowout. OK not the smartest thing I've ever done....but then again, not the dumbest either I guess... Well - it was just starting to get better when we went on the Falls ride - Doug and I sat in the two seats in the back which left three seats in the front. Two women joined us and of course ignored the front seat, choosing the two right in front of us - I pulled back my feet to make sure they could get in but lo and behold doesn't the larger of the two (of course) step full force on my recovering toe (not my foot, not the side of my foot, not my little toe but full on the big toe!!!!) It of course popped like a watermelon as blood started squirting and my eyes started watering - nothing to do but sit and grin as by then we were strapped in and our ride was moving!! Do I seriously have the biggest toes ever??? What is it about them that seems to attract pain?? Do they look incomplete without a red sheen to them? Seriously!!! So anyway - once again no close toed shoes - I'm back to flip flops. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to the gym later this week when the swelling goes down!!

We kicked off this weekend at happy hour over at the Cocoa Beach pier - what a way to watch the sunset - $6 pitchers and a $3 plate of bbq ribs - yum!!!!
Saturday morning was filled with boat chores for Doug while I studied for my exam but by about noon we were done - all work and no play.....Off we went to scope out local sports bars for the Patriots game on Sunday and we found a great one - Beef O'Bradys!!!! It's named after our quarterback Tom terrific, the tv's were plentiful, the food was great and the beer was cold - works for me. Next we were off to the Brevard Zoo - what a great place for a small county zoo!!!! We walked around exhibits representing Africa, South America and Australian all afternoon scoping out jaguars,
cheetahs, giraffes, impalas,
Giraffe and Impala
a white rhinoceros,
and warty pigs!!
As much as it was really cool to see such magnificent animals, I have to admit, I love the little monkeys!!!
They are so cute - we saw squirrel monkeys,
pygmy marmosets
and lots of other cute little guys - some even had babies on their backs that were just tiny - I love their little faces!! And of course there were all kinds of amazing birds
Crested Caracara
Sandhill Crane
both in exhibits but also in the wild from different kinds of macaws (including a hyacinth macaw that could seriously talk to you in a conversation!!!!)
Hyacinth Macaw
Blue and Gold Macaw
Scarlett Macaws
to the roseate spoonbills and flamingos who are so cool

to bald eagles,
herons and all kinds of crazy looking guys!!!
There was even an open air aviary complete with flying foxes
and beautiful exotic birds - you are warned on entering to watch your heads (for any number of reasons!!!)

Before leaving we visited the petting zoo where Doug got up close and personal with the alpacas and pygmy goats
- we let the armidillos to themselves!! What an awesome little zoo to have in our backyard - there are so many treasures around here that make it so fun to explore.

Sunday was more studying, boat chores and then a wonderful football watching extravaganza all afternoon and evening - the only bummer was the Patriots failure to show up for the second half of their game against the much hated Jets!! Anybody, anybody but the Jets!!!! Think it may be a long season with our young defense! Other than that, we had a wonderful afternoon of being lounge lizards - much needed in anticipation of the exam on Monday night. But now that's over - have I said yipppppeeeee!!!! Next up - maybe there will be movement on the job front this week - don't want to jinx things but lots of activity and lots of cool stuff happening!! Keep you all posted!!