This file contains all our news for
June 2005

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Hello from a wet/rainy Myrtle Beach!!

    Dale and I left Bradenton on 23 June and headed north to Myrtle Beach. We left our good friends Barbara & Steve Graham, and their daughter Lucy, at the condo. We drove down on the 10th of June; Dale left for BWI on the 15th, and the Grahams arrived on the 18th. We had a couple of nice sunshiney days and brought the boat out into the Gulf of Mexico, where we anchored just off Passage Key, north of Anna Maria Island. That's something I've been hoping to do for about a year, and it was great! We will definitely do it many times again in the future. Most of the Passage Key (Island) is under about 3 feet of water, making a huge white sandbar where people set up tables and chairs in the clear water and have a ball - a picnic, a swim, etc. Steve, Barbara and Lucy will enjoy another week in Florida before flying home to Cheltenhham, England on/about 02 July. We hope to visit them next year, and then onward to southern Italy to see old friends there once again.

    We drove Dale's Ford Explorer on this trip, and I had packed the rear with ten oleander bushes that I purchased at the Red Barn Farmer's Market on Sunday. They had dwarf oleanders, something I didn't know existed, and they really make a great effect when planted next to taller trees or bushes, since they only grow to a height of 3-4 feet. Of course Dale usually uses the back seat to snooze on these trips so she probably thought that I was really inconsiderate to take her space away BUT, "dear reader", little did she know that I had purchased a beautiful red PT Cruiser on E-Bay for her and she was about to find out that she'd have to DRIVE most of the way back to Myrtle Beach!

    Yessirree ... I told her that a guy in "The Villages"/Lady Lake, FL (just south of Ocala) was giving me some exotic plant cuttings for free. (Ho hum says she). So we made our little side trip, and arrived at the appointed address (beautiful home)! Dale was standing by the seven-car garage when the door opened automatically and displayed a shiny red car with a "Dale's PT Cruiser" sign on it. Her reaction? "Oh, his wife's name must be Dale too.... No....HEY...what did you do?" Of course I got pictures (see the Photo menu for June)! The shock gradually wore off as we took our sweet time, and she drove her little buggy the almost-500-miles-further-north to our place in Myrtle Beach.

    The next day we dropped in to see Chuck & Karen. Talk about timing! They had a friend who was looking for a used SUV, so we sold him the Explorer. Excellent, since we really didn't have room for an extra car here in Myrtle beach, and we planned to sell it or donate it to charity as soon as we got some time.

    I purchased three crepe myrtle trees today, and I've been drenched all day by the humidity/mugginess and heavy showers as I dug up large areas of my lawn to make room for them. I finally gave up at 6PM. It'll take two days for my clothes and sneakers to dry out. These are the bushes I mentioned in my 16 June "news' (below) that are specially grown and pruned so that anywhere from two to five or more branches/canes grow like tree trunks. I bought one each of these red, white and pink flowering tree clumps and am now digging out the grass where I will plant them along the street-side of the house. I'll plant the dwarf oleanders under them. In a month or so they should all be flowering and looking pretty! See the Photo menu for June!

    Best Buy had a small digital device that plays .mp3 and .wav files, and it included software that enables you to convert music from CDs or to directly input (and convert the format) from a record player, cassette player, radio, etc. It's only about two inches long, an inch wide, and an inch thick, but it has great sound. I'm using the software to convert her favorite CDs to .mp3 files, and then I download the folder (album) to her little device, using the Microsoft Explore program, just as if it was a little hard disk (e.g. removable disk K:\). Easy. Of course I can also play the .mp3 files on my computer. The next thing I'll do is see if I can write hundreds of songs in this .mp3 format to a CD, and see if her car CD player will play .mp3 format. If so, she can have all her favorite albums on a single CD.

    Tom & Sue Peterson will be visiting us next week (8-11 July) from their place in North Carolina. We're really looking forward to that. Hopefully all this rainy weather will be long gone!

Gotta Go!
Barry & Dale/Dad & Mom


Friday, 17 June 2005

It's ME again!

    Yesterday afternoon I wandered around Bradenton and Anna Maria Island, taking pictures (see Latest Photos menu item). It was the first time that I really noticed that all the crowds are gone! The "season" for visitors is during the winter months. It is very hot and, because of the lingering humidity from last week's Tropical Storm Arlene, muggy every day (90's!!! for the rest of the week). I don't mind at all, since I certainly don't wear a suit down here (or anywhere else anymore, for that matter ;-) Yes, my retirement days call for just shorts and a T-shirt! Plus the car has air conditioning so whenever it gets too muggy I just turn it on for a while. There are still plenty of people around, but the restaurants are not packed with overflowing customers, so one does not have to wait in line for a table anymore. Same for the local traffic. It is sparse, so we can drive straight through to where we want to go, unless it is rush hour and everyone is coming home from work (I don't get up early enough to see the morning rush hour ;-) We went to the movies last monday to see Star Wars III and there weren't more than 20 people in the entire multi-screen theater!

    I found a gas station today that priced regular gas for $2.09 a gallon (the gas stations nearer to the condo charge $2.17 for regular), so I filled up the two five-gallon cans I carry in the car and transferred the gas to the boat yesterday afternoon. I'll make another two runs to the gas station today and get a total of 20-22 gallons more. That should fill up the boat's 60 gallon tank and then I'll be ready to drive it wherever we want. Perhaps a trip under the Sunshine Skyway bridge this weekend!

Cheers !
Barry & Dale/Dad & Mom


Thursday, 16 June 2005


    Dale flew off to Baltimore yesterday and left me alone with Bandit (our cat) and all these gorgeous, Florida bathing beauties. Life is good. (sigh)

    Yes, Dale's up there in Maryland, primarily for Jessie's dance recital (friday), and visiting old friends. Steve & Barbara Graham, and daughter Lucy, will arrive from England this saturday evening, and Dale will fly back here the following monday. I've been puttering around with the boat, getting it ready to take everyone for a spin along the Intra-Coastal Waterway behind Anna Maria Island and out into the Gulf of Mexico. I need to make a few more trips to the local gas station to fill up my two 5 gallon gas tanks, and transfer the gas to the boat. Gas prices are quite high here in Florida, especially as you get closer to the waterfront, and prices at the docks are anywhere from $.50-$.75 higher per gallon than at the regular gas stations.

    Susan and Dany's wedding is getting closer! Before you know it, 10 September will be here! Susan sent us the first of a group of snapshots taken at a "shower" thrown by her girlfriends last week. I'll upload it to this web site in a few minutes, and will upload any more snapshots she sends me.

    Dale and I will return to Myrtle Beach next week (23rd or so) and stay there until mid August. We'll drive back here to Bradenton and get ready for our flight to Oahu on 21 August (from Tampa). Look forward to seeing Tracey's condo in Waikiki. She's already told me that she's going to put me to work on her condo upgrades.

    Just received an e-mail from one of our Myrtle Beach neighbors that there have been three or more break-ins of cars and houses in our neghborhood since we've been here in Florida. It might have been kids, since they are stealing the electronic openers to the back gate to our community. There are lots of kids from neighboring areas that like to drive unlicensed motorized vehicles (golf carts, scooters and motorcycles!) in our community because it's "gated", and the cops never bother to come in. That may now change, since the community association plans to ask them to pay more attention.

    It's been sunny and muggy here, with some thunderstorms during the late afternoon and evenings, ever since Tropical Storme Arlene swept through the area last friday. It gets better (less muggy) each day, but we still have forecasts of 20-30% chances of thunderstorms every day for the next week.

    On the trip down here I noticed that South Carolina has planted clumps of very colorful Crepe Myrtle "trees" in a zigzag pattern along Route 17's median. They have bright red or pink ("watermelon") colored flowers, just like the bushes I planted at our old house in Woodbine. Now I've seen many flowering Crepe Myrtle trees lining several boulevards here in Bradenton! The growers appear to have pruned Crepe Myrtle bushes so that only 4-5 canes ("tree trunks") were allowed to grow, and then they stripped branches off the lower part of the canes as they appeared, and it eventually grew into a tree clump 6-8 feet high. I saw some of these at the Surfside Lowes Home Improvement store before we left Myrtle beach. If they don't cost too much I'll buy some when we return and plant them on the street-side of the house, which is now just a wide lawn. I've also purchased ten dwarf pink oleander plants here in Bradenton, and will bring them back to Myrtle Beach and plant them under the Crepe Myrtles.

    We went to see Star Wars III on monday night. The movie's graphics are spectacular and the story line links up very well with the previous Star Wars movies. Great entertainment.

All the Best to Everyone!
Barry & Dale/Dad & Mom