Friday, January 28, 2011

We Are More Than Mickey Mouse, You Know!

So many visitors to Florida either stick to the beaches or the theme parks and  miss the "real" Florida right under their noses.  Just a few scant miles from Mickey's kingdom is a small little Florida town called St. Cloud.

I grew very familiar with this sleepy (well, it used to be) little town after I met Mr. Tennis and started visiting his Gramps whose lakehouse sat on the unspoiled edge of the Alligator chain of lakes, on the outskirts of St. Cloud.

Gramps taking a dive off his dock.

 Mr. Tennis spent his 8th grade year living with Gramps and he remembers the stir and flurry of excitement the opening of a MacDonald's made in the quiet town of St. Cloud 1970s.  It was a little busier when I visited there before and after we got married, but not much.  I don't remember eating anywhere else after church, when visiting Gramps, than the Howard Johnson's by the turnpike.  It was always a treat to go out to Sunday breakfast with Gramps, but I think even he would agree that now the choices are more diverse and perhaps tastier.  But then again, Gramps wasn't going as much for the food as he was for the special attention the waitresses bestowed on their favorite patron.  One who ate there everyday....

All the years I visited Gramps in St. Cloud I had no idea there was a historical area where the original city-center for St. Cloud existed.  It wasn't until about 4 months ago when a friend took me there on a scavenger hunt for thrift stores and antique shops that I realized Gramps had been keeping a big secret from me and that there was more to this "snowbird haven" than Winn Dixie, fishing, boating, and of course, Howard Johnsons (which is sadly gone).

First of all, there are two old hotels! St. Cloud must have been quite the tourist mecca even BD (Before Disney for those not in "the know").  As I said Gramps' little lakehouse was situated on a chain of lakes and apparently the various lakes and all the recreational activities that went along with them were a large draw for visitors to the area.  We found this painted wall commemorating the old beach area and St. Cloud's heritage.

Another clever painting on a building showed the old St. Cloud Hotel.

When I panned my camera to the left, I found the St. Cloud hotel right in front of me. It now has a spa and bustling diner in it's interior.

Further along our walk amongst the many diverse and unique shops in this area we came across the "other hotel".  It's outer design has a western feel to it, but the interior was all old-time Florida.

See what I mean?

Can Mickey give you this?

Yes, that is an alligator skin.

The lobby was quite the throwback and had some contraptions that had us baffled.

Our best guess was something to do with paper - or, perhaps an industrial-strength wringer.  Any ideas?

Even the bathroom was cute.

And to the side of the lobby was a sweet parlor...

Nestled between the two wings of the Hunter Arms Hotel was a little restaurant where we had a bite for lunch, The Silver Lining Cafe. It was filled with various vintage dinette sets for seating.

They offered patio seating in warmer weather which is also situated between the two wings of the hotel.

Lovely vintage decor, wonderful food, and good friends.  What more can you ask for when you venture out and explore in your own backyard?

You know SueBee loved this lamp... so did the restaurant owner. She picked it up at an auction.  There are two in the restaurant..

Please visit  SueBee's blog  for her take on the day.  She will feature some shops and goodies that we saw while we were there.  One of the shop owners is even quite well-known, and deservedly so, in the blogosphere.

St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce.  Who knew!  I bet Gramps did!

Better yet, if you visit Central Florida to see "the mouse", take a day and see what else we have to offer!

 And stop in and see me too!

Boston Lady out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finnegan the Squirrel

I was sent this wonderful story and accompanying pictures via email last week and knew immediately I wanted to post it on my blog for Angela's Tuesday Show and Tail.

Enjoy the adorableness and wonder of our creatures, domestic and/or wild:

Debby Cantlon, who plans to release Finnegan, the young squirrel, back into the wild, bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her house.

When Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself with an unlikely nurse's aide: her pregnant Papillion, Mademoiselle Giselle.

Finnegan was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies..
Cantlon and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel's cage twice to her
own bedside before she gave birth.

Cantlon was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out and the inter-species bonding began.

Finnegan rides a puppy mosh pit of sorts, burrowing in for warmth after feeding,
eventually working his way beneath his new litter mates.

Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups.
Now, Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his 'siblings' in a mosh pit of puppies,

Finnegan and his new litter mates, five Papillion puppies, get along together as if they were meant to.

Finnegan makes himself at home with his new litter mates, nuzzling nose-to-nose for a nap after feeding.

And that's your Tuesday "aaaaaawwwwww" moment.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Courtesy of Mother Nature

Today we have beautiful weather in Orlando. In the 70s and sunny which means its "open window weather" in our house.

As I cranked open the family room window I saw some color in my backyard - right outside the window, actually.


The bushes have been here since we moved in 22 years ago.  I didn't know what they were the first few years because they never bloomed.

Then, Mother Nature brought us a series of hurricanes that thinned out the woods behind us that shade our yard.  That winter the Camillia bushes went crazy with blooms. 

They just needed some sun to bring out their best just like we humans sometimes do.

I clipped a few for in the house and their color isn't as vibrant in the indoor light, but still beautiful.

I also put together a little bunch to take over to Orlando Grandma.  I know they will remind her of some very dear family friends who are no longer with us.  They had beautiful gardens and I can remember Mrs. Cobb bringing me some of her Camillias and Gardenias when I first became engaged to Mr. Tennis.   The beauty of those flowers and their fragrance were only outshone by this lady's spectacular personality.  She truly lived in the sunshine of life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stanley = One Lucky Dog

A lot of people in our circle are familiar with Stanley the Greyhound.  He was adopted last spring by my son, The Writer and his GF, Sammy and came to live with them in their LA apartment.

Adopting any dog can be a great undertaking because they come from unknown backgrounds sometimes.  But usually it is a fulfilling experience, as it has been for Stanley and his new "parents".

Stanley and The Writer right after Stan's arrival at the apartment.

Stanley lived at a place called Hemopet  where retired racing Greyhounds would live while awaiting adoption.  While staying there they performed a very vital duty as blood donors.  Apparently Greyhounds are universal blood donors and provide much needed blood to Vet Clinics all over the country.

The Writer and Sammy made several visits to Hemopet and were carefully screened as potential "parents".  The people where Stanley lived carefully matched potential owners with the dogs taking into consideration many things: Dog's personality, Owners' personalities', living accomodations - apartment or house?, children present, other animals present and so on.

Sammy and The Writer were a good match with Mr. Stan as he is a low energy dog who didn't require someone with him all day while they were at work.  He IS a bit of a couch potato, but can move out when he wants to at the dog beach.

Stanley had several days of adjusting to his new space.  He had been housed in a pen and was at first uncomfortable with having the whole apartment at his disposal.  The Writer thoughtfully erected a fence in one area of the living room so Stanley could retreat there and feel safe.

Stanley his first day, not totally comfortable, hence the panting.

Eventually he felt comfortable and now joins the rest of the family on the couch. Oh, that's right, he allows the rest of the family to join him on his couch.

See how he's restraining his aunt, The Maven. Watch it girl, it's my couch!

There were many other everyday activities that Stan's new parents helped him adjust to:  stairclimbing - had to do that, they live on the second floor, getting in and out of a car, relaxing in the car, learning his new non-racing name, learning to come when called... learning to come when called....

Stanley has settled in very well thanks to the loving care he receives from Sammy and The Writer.

Sammy and Stanley in his new home. He is very huggable!

 He goes just about everywhere with them.

He is extremely well-behaved which is very good since he is a large 95 lb. Greyhound.  I mean just look at the size of his water bowl!  Can you say "horse"?

Yes, I'd say Stanley is quite comfortable in his new home...

Oh Stanley what's that?  I'm sorry, you want the covers pulled up?
No problem...

Stanley is linking to Angela's Tuesday's Show and Tail! Check it out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Sadie or, Does This Look Like a "Red Zone" Face to You??

She looks like a baby seal, an innocent...

Now here's the one we expect this sort of stuff from...

Picture a beautiful Florida day at the dog beach. The Bostons are frolicking with various dogs. Sweet Sadie is a tad more excited than usual and is chasing other dogs and even stealing their toys! It's usually the other way around but today she is so confident.

This is some old dog beach footage, but you get the idea (or maybe it proves another point, hmmmm..)

We've been there for over an hour and today Panda is sticking close to our chairs and Sadie is the social butterfly... Or bully would be a more apt description as she runs up to a leashed young Cavalier Spaniel...

Unfortunately, or fortunately, we do not have footage of "the incident".
The Spaniel panics when greeted and Sadie goes Mr. Hyde on her. Leashes are tangled jaws are opening and closing. Lots of crying and noise as Panda decides to lend an experienced paw, or should I say jaw, to the fray. Mr. Tennis and I seem to react in slow motion as we scramble from our beach chairs looking like totally inept pet owners. The vicious Bostons are hauled away by their harnesses while two very wet, yet unharmed spaniels are whisked away by scowling humans. Suddenly we are the scourge of the dog beach and leave in shame.

I guess the great and all knowing Mango, dog blogger extraordinaire, is right. Terriers are cracker. Even Sadie. This side of her hardly ever shows itself, but apparently even she can "go cracker". Thus this post will be our entry into the prestigious "Mango Minster 2011". Under the "Insane Cracker Dog" category. Take a look at the entries so far.

Boston Lady aside here:  There is something about leashed dogs at the dogs parks. Don't know if the leash creates a "territory" in the dog mind but I notice that when there is a fracas it usually involves a leashed dog. Anyone have similar experiences to this?

Yeah, look at this "red zone" girl now...

...where's that ferocity now???? Hmmmm Sadie????

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Even in January I Can Find Lovely Daisies

It's been pretty cold here in Orlando over the last six weeks or so and that's just how I like it!  However, a lot of our lovely vegetation and flowers get brown or die off in the frost and I begin to miss seeing some bright blooms and greenery.

Imagine my delight when I went to our local, reliable thrift store last week and made a double score.  As I came upon the item up on a shelf, I thought it was lovely, but didn't know exactly what it was.  But it was handpainted and so pretty that I decided to get it nevertheless.

And it was only $2.00.

I think it's unique, the paint job is well done and it perks me up during the less colorful months here in Florida. 

Today I was out with some friends and found a similar item and I asked them "what is this for do you think?"  They replied it was used to store a cheese wheel.  And of course I could see that right away after they said that.  Turned it over and the price was $45.00!  Now maybe mine wasn't an old one, but it looks old.  Or maybe because it was altered with it's dainty paint job that it brought down the price.  Doesn't matter to me, I like it!

What do YOU think?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beware Tim Tebow!

It's been pretty quiet around the Boston household this week since Miss Darcy has left us and gone back to college with the Maven. 

There were actually a few precious quiet moments when she was here, and we would wonder, "where is that Darcy"?  We finally figured out what she was doing when she was so suspiciously quiet.

She was watching Tim Tebow and his lawyers.

Can't you see Tim there in the Orange and Blue (yes, yes, we know he doesn't play for the Gators anymore, but he did when his aquatic counter-part joined the household).

He's always accompanied by one or both of his lawyers (you see them right?  In the pin-striped suits, of course!)

Oh, if only that glass wasn't there, right Darcy?

Hoping to link to Angela's Tuesday's Show and Tail.