December 25, 2007: Christmas Day at My House
December 7-8, 2007: Fred's Retirement and Party
Return to Index for 2007

December 11-19, 2007
Our Trip to Fort Lauderdale


Tuesday, December 11: Traveling to Fort Lauderdale  

Back in September, I had made reservations to fly to Fort Lauderdale today and stay through the Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday, returning the following Wednesday. I have never actually seen the Boat Parade, and this year the route has been changed so that it comes right down the New River, right past the condo. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

In late October, when Fred decided that he would, indeed, retire from the greenhouses, and do so on December 7th, I quickly added another passenger to my existing reservation and we both began to look forward to our first trip together after Fred's retirement. Greg was kind enough to give us a lift to the airport this noon, and by 2:30 we were on our way to Florida.

I have flown back and forth to Florida about twenty times in the past two years, so it has gotten very routine. While I read and worked puzzles, Fred dozed or took pictures out the airplane window. I know that clouds and airplane wings get to be old hat after a while, but some of Fred's pictures were quite good, and I have put thumbnails for the best of them below. Click on each thumbnail to view the full-size picture:

Ron Drew picked us up at the airport and took us home, and then he and Jay returned to the condo so we could take them out to dinner at the Floridian on Las Olas.


Wednesday, December 12: Steve and Mario Visit Us  

Back when we were planning our trip down, our good friends, Steve Friedman and Mario Tarradell, said they'd also be down in Florida overlapping our time here. Both Steve and Mario are from Miami, and both have family there. They were planning on coming down a day before us and going home Sunday, the day after the Boat Parade. They had a family thing going their last night in Florida, so they would miss the Boat Parade, but we planned on seeing them from about noon on Wednesday until about noon the day after; they would drive up from Miami to spend some time with us.

We'd planned on giving them both a lift to the airport on Monday, but it turned out that Steve's grandmother took seriously ill the Friday before, so he made some last-minute flight arrangements to get to Florida early. That was unfortunate as he got into all kinds of difficulties with his original reservation. We spent quite a bit of time trying to get him to be able to return to Dallas with Mario on their original flight; we succeeded, but only at the cost of some hefty fees. Had Steve known about how airlines handle things, he probably could have gotten American to change his outbound flight for only a relatively small fee.

Anyway, the two of them arrived about noon on Wednesday, and we decided to go out immediately to walk along the Riverwalk to get some lunch. We left the condo and walked over to Las Olas, where Fred got a picture of Mario, Steve and I on Las Olas with downtown Fort Lauderdale in the background. We walked west down past the site of the old Hyde Park Market to pick up the Riverwalk, and we followed it around to Huizinga Park, which is just east of Andrews Avenue. I noticed that there was a sign for the Boat Parade coming up, so I got the group to pose under it; you can see that picture if you click here.

From there, we walked under the Andrews Avenue bridge to the Briny Irish Cafe and Pub where Fred and I have eaten a number of times before. It is right on the river and a great place to stop. A kindly gentleman from another group of people took a picture of the four of us at lunch, and I took a picture looking towards the New River of our group and the river. The Briny Irish Pub is almost over-decorated, with all manner of nautical items suspended from the ceiling, attached to the walls and sitting out front by the walkway. It makes for an interesting atmosphere and always provides a visual treat. Fred took a few pictures of these decorations, and I've put thumbnails for three of them below. Just click on the thumbnails to see the full-size images:

After having some lunch, we walked further along the river and crossed the FEC Railway tracks into Old Fort Lauderdale, just wandering around and exploring. We had talked about seeing a movie this evening, and Fred and I had already investigated the times for "Beowulf" which was showing 1n the Blockbuster IMAX Theatre in the Fort Lauderdale Science Center, so we walked over there so I could get the tickets ahead of time. On the way across the lawn in front of the Science Center and Museum, I just had to stop the group to get a picture of them beside some Fort Lauderdale Christmas decorations. After I picked up the tickets, we turned back towards the condo and walked through the trendy area near the museum, stopping in Riverfront Center to get some smoothies at Hagen Daz.

When we got back to Huizenga Park, we stopped to show Mario and Steve the user-controlled fountain that sits in the park near the intersection of Andrews and Las Olas. Nearby, there was a huge decorated Christmas tree, so Fred used it as a backdrop for a picture of Steve, myself and Mario, and I used it as a backdrop for my picture of Steve, Fred and Mario.

I have never been in Fort Lauderdale at Christmastime; the city does a very good job of decorating for the Holidays, as do many of the private buildings, stores and restaurants. In addition to twinkle lights in the trees all along Las Olas, each of the establishments along the street puts on their own display and only a very few are gaudy with most of them being tasteful and understated. Here are the decorations on the SunTrust Building and here are the decorations on the front of the Riverside Hotel.

Late in the afternoon, we went back to the IMAX Theatre to watch "Beowulf" in 3D. It was quite an experience. Afterwards, the four of us came back to the condo and sat down on the dock with our drinks. The docks were nicely decorated, but none of the pictures we took turned out well enough to include in this album. About seven-thirty we headed out to Ron Drew's house so he and Jay could been Steve and Mario and so that we could go out for dinner together.

Steve and Mario spent the night on the sofabed, and in the morning we went down to the Floridian for some breakfast before the guys left to head back to Miami and Fred and I headed out to do some shopping for the party I was planning for Saturday.


Saturday, December 15: John Evans Arrives  

Fred and I made a number of shopping trips Thursday and Friday, laying in supplies for the party. Mostly, we went out to the Sam's Club and the Wal-Mart Supercenter out north of Ron Drew. Dinner would be centered around meatballs, and would include salad, veggies and dip, chips and salsa and other noshes. It was Jay's birthday on Monday, so I picked up a cake and had it decorated.

We also did our usual beach thing (although it was a bit cool) and rode bikes a couple of times, but nothing so novel that we took any pictures. Yet another of our friends, John Evans, was in Florida for business and to visit his family up near Orlando, and we had long ago invited him to come in on Saturday for the Boat Parade. John arrived just before lunch on Saturday.

I wanted to get in a little time on the exercise bike, so since I wasn't hungry for lunch, Fred and John went out while I did my aerobics. About 90 minutes later, John and Fred came back, and Fred brought a couple of pictures he'd taken while they'd been out having lunch and walking around. One picture shows John at Stork's restaurant where he and Fred had lunch. Stork's is only a block away, they have good food, and there are plenty of places to sit outside by Las Olas or by the little canal there. They also walked along Las Olas after lunch, and Fred brought back this picture of John at the fountain in the courtyard of the old Blockbuster headquarters on Las Olas.

A little later in the afternoon, after I'd gotten everything cooking, we took advantage of the beautiful afternoon go to walk along the river for a bit. We'd hoped to see the boats staging themselves for the parade, but it turned out to be too early for that. We did see a large yacht docked in front of one of the new condominiums, though. As we walked along, we were admiring the Christmas decorations on some of the docked boats and some of the condominiums. Here at the 3rd Avenue bridge you can see some of the city's decorations. It seemed all very elegant and, unlike Dallas, understated. We walked down past Riverfront Center and on to the turning basin near the Performing Arts Center, but, alas, there were no boats to be seen.

Well, the walk was pretty pleasant anyway. On the way back, Fred got a good picture looking downriver past the Riverside Hotel towards our condo. When we got back, I had a lot of mixing and stirring to do, and had to start setting everything out. In the late afternoon, Fred did see some boats heading upriver to be part of the parade. This decorated yacht was a good example.


Saturday, December 15: The Boat Parade and Party  

The Pre-Parade Party  

Fred and I spent a good deal of time on Friday and today to shop for the stuff for our pre-parade gathering. We had salad and lots of munchies, and I cooked meatballs for something hot. And, of course, wine and frozen drinks were on tap. Most everyone arrived right on time about 5:30 and, as it turned out, parking was not the problem I thought it would be- nor was getting everyone their little ID bracelets. As people arrived, they got what they wanted to drink and we stood and sat around yakking. Most of the time, we were out on the balcony. To introduce everyone to you, I made a movie of everyone outside my condo on the balcony, and you can watch that movie using the player below.

In addition to the movie, we took some pictures of the group out on the balcony before dinner; Fred took one that you can see here and I took a similar one that you can see here. As the sun went down, everyone came inside to get something to eat before the parade started about 6:30. We'd put everything out on the counter, along with the items that everyone else brought, and had a mini-buffet. Here, sampling the buffet, are Ron Drew, Ron Smith and Jay. Also, here are partners John and Ron putting their plates together.

Along about six-thirty, it was time to head down to the dock, drinks in hand, to get seats for the parade. Ron Drew brought some folding chairs and I had a couple as well, so everyone had a chair to sit on. Earlier in the afternoon, I had come down and spread out some huge beach towels to cover our area, and I had also set up the chairs just after everyone arrived. So everything was all ready for us to occupy our prime viewing position for the parade. Before the parade started, I got Marv Hishmeh, whose family was sitting next to us, to take a picture of our group waiting for the parade to start.


The Fireworks Display  

Before the Boat Parade actually got started, we were treated to a fireworks show that seemed to be coming from someplace near the Administrative Center on the other side of the New River and about a half mile from us. We could see it very well, and we did try to take a few pictures, but with the low light and shutter delays, we were always missing the bursts.

So finally, Since the pictures weren't working out, Fred just decided to take a movie of the last part of the fireworks display.


The Christmas Boat Parade  

The three of us- myself, Fred and John Evans- took quite a number of pictures and movies during the parade. Getting night shots of brightly lit objects is not easy, and we didn't have the luxury of setting up tripods to steady things. For this reason, many of our pictures didn't turn out well and weren't worth putting in the photo album. The saving grace was that movies turned out quite a bit better, so there will be a lot of them here.

As I said, there were three of us taking pictures and movies, and with that many cameras trained on each boat of interest, we were able to get at least one good shot of each one, and usually a movie as well. So I am going to organize this section of pictures quite linearly (in the time sense) grouping all the pictures of each entrant in the parade together. I'll give you the best description that I can of the entrant, and then I'll put thumbnails for the good pictures just below that description. To the left of the descriptions and thumbnails, I will put players for any good movies we might have taken of that entrant. Some of the pictures and movies may duplicate each other, since three photographers were at work. Just click on the thumbnails to look at the full-size pictures and/or use the player(s) to watch the movies.

Here are the entrants we watched come down the New River:


Advanced Roofing Wild West Showboat aboard "Carrie B"
The first boat in the parade was sponsored by Advanced Roofing and had a western theme, with the sides done up as wild west storefronts and music and western dancing on the aft deck.



Publix, Marine Association of South Florida and Coca Cola Fireworks Showboat
The next entrant was not aboard a yacht but was rather a barge-like affair, and it was shooting off fireworks. It was extremely hard to capture on film.



Individual Kayaks
There was a separate category for kayaks and dinghys; many of them were not wildly decorated but some were cleverly done. Because they were so small, and gave off so little light, unless they came very close to the seawall in front of us it was difficult to get any kind of usable picture.



Edify/Vitaminwater Grand Marshal Showboat aboard "Grand Floridian"
This large yacht not only carried the Parade Grand Marshal, but it also set the theme for many of the boats that would follow. The theme was "Magical Movie Moments," and meant that following boats might take a single memorable movie as their overall theme. This yacht had some video screens along the sides showing classic scenes from memorable movies and also had Academy Award Music playing. The digital cameras did not do a good job of capturing the images on the video screens, unfortunately.



Patron Tequila aboard Sun Dream
Some of the entries were basically commercial advertising, and this was one boat of many. In this case, Patrol Tequila rented a large yacht named "Sun Dream" for the parade. I don't know how much it costs to rent a boat this size for a week or so, but it can't be cheap!



Miami Dolphins aboard "Caprice"
This entry was, apparently, celebrating the 1972 season of the Dolphins football team, during which it appears that they did not lose a game and won the Super Bowl. Not being a sports fan, I can't verify the accuracy of that, and am not even interested enough to go to the Internet to find out.



Seminole Tribe of Florida aboard "Biscayne Lady"
Here was one of the yachts that illustrated the theme of the parade this year- "Magical Movie Moments." This entry is commemorating the original movie of "King Kong."


Deco Drive/WSVN Ch 7 Showboat aboard "Venetian Lady"
Here is another entry yacht following the theme of the parade, this one commemorating the movie "The Wizard of Oz."



"Miss Trish"
This was one of the many private yachts (most of the other larger yachts are commercial or semi-commercial boats) in the parade. The picture John got wasn't very good, but there were dancers in white on the foredeck of the yacht.



Private Yachts "Linda C. Too" and "See Ya"
Here are a couple more private yachts very nicely decorated.

"Linda C. Too"

"See Ya"


Shake a Leg Miami presents Twelve Drummers Drumming
The "Shake a Leg Miami" group (which I can only assume is a dance or theatre troupe) was on a number of boats, all in a row. This one (23) had a bunch of modern- and native-costumed people banging away on all kinds of drums.


Some Individual Entries
All throughout the parade there were a good many private yachts that were decorated in various themes. Here are some of them.

Shake a Leg Miami/"Blew Bayou" (#22)

Shake a Leg Miami/"Blew Bayou" (#22)

"Bimini Twist" (#54)

"One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" (#60)

"AquaHolic" (#70)

Shake a Leg Miami/Sun-Sentinel- The Clowns (#24)

"Musette" (#40)


Shake a Leg Miami aboard "Hakuna Matata"
Although the picture of this decorated sport fisherman (26) is not a good one, the movie better shows off the boat's decoration.



Individual Entries
Here are some more of the individual entry boats.

"Acqua Vite" (#33)

"Step Up" (#35)

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere (#38)

"Out of Control" (#76)

A New Dawn (#95)


"Musette II"
This ship (entry 41) is one of the many daytime and dinner cruise boats that are usually docked a bit further north along the Riverwalk.


"Lady Lucille"
This is another of the large day/evening cruise boats that dock along the New River. It looked as if it had booked a ship full of people for entry in the boat parade and then dinner. That must be quite a rush, first doing the parade route and then dinner, and with everyone waving and cheering as you go.


The Ivan Piano Collection featuring Leehan Taylor aboard "Princess Lady"
"Princess Lady" is yet another of the day/night cruise boats available for parties that docks west along the river. Tonight, there was piano music and some well-dressed people dancing on the upper aft deck. These two movies Fred took of entry 43 are not the greatest, but they'll give you the idea.


Florida Panther's Ice Skating Rink aboard "Fish City Pride"
This boat (entry 44) actually had constructed a small ice skating rink on the top deck, and there were skaters twirling around on it.


Briny Pub aboard "Riverfront Cruise I"
This one (entry 45) was hard to miss. As you may have seen previously in this album, the Briny Pub originated up on Atlantic Ave. at Pompano Beach, but this year it took over a space on the river just west of the Andrews Street bridge, and it is a popular place to sit and eat riverside. We have been there quite a few times, especially since Shirttail Charlie's seems to be closed.


This entry (51) seemed to have a Polynesian theme.


"Miss Nancy Faye"
This large sailboat (52) was extremely well-decorated. I think the sailboat was at least a 70-footer, which would make it a large chunk of change. So I guess all the decorations were no big stretch, financially.


"It Wasn't Me"
This large sport fisherman (53) seemed to be an homage to Elvis, with some cage dancers on the fordeck and a huge Elvis (made out of one of those hot-air streetside advertising things that bend and straighten) playing his guitar.


Florida Follies aboard "Islander II"
I have no idea what the "Florida Follies" are unless they are some sort of theatre troupe, but the boat (entry 61) was nicely decorated.


Entry 64 was a smaller boat, but quite a bit of effort had gone into decorating it. It was about the bluest thing that came down the river all night.


Florida Ocean Sciences Institute, Inc. aboard "Pride"
"Jolly Hour"

Since the movie Fred took spans two entries, I'll put both of them together here. Entry 67, the Ocean Sciences Institute, had leaping dolphins as a theme for the decoration. Both the pictures below are of that entry as well. In the last part of the movie, you'll see entry 68, which took "Merry Christmas" (in many languages) as its theme.



"Mr. CJ"
This entry (74) was a small sport fisherman with a Santa Claus and great decoration.


"Il Signor Contento"
Water Taxi presents Island Discovery
Again, one of Fred's movies spans two entries, so I'll deal with them together. In the first movie, we begin with entry 77, a small cruiser with a snowman and Santa Claus. Then, towards the end of that first movie, we see entry 79 coming into view. All the rest of the movies and pictures are of the Water Taxi entry, which was quite well done.


Angel Flight "Merlin" Aircraft Barge for Mercy Flight Southeast
Entry 80 was from the Angel Flight organization, a group of private pilots with access to airplanes. They ferry ill people from one place to another for treatment, although they are not an emergency "Careflite" type of thing. Brad is a member of the organization and has contributed his time and his aircraft a number of times. The organization is supported by donations and by the generosity of its members.


"Lee's Way"
Entry 82 was a small sport fisherman. The decoration was not outstanding.



Entry 83 was a moderate sized cruiser, long and low. They'd erected some masts for the lights and all in all did a good job with the decorations.


Marine Max presents Jolly Roger
This large multi-purpose cruiser (84) was very nicely decorated with a pirate theme. I didn't quite get the significance of the time on the clock that was part of the decorations- about seven minutes before midnight- unless that's when someone walks the plank.


"Annie V"
"Mr. Bobb"

Again, we have a movie that spans two entries, so we'll take them together. Entry 85, "Annie V" makes her appearance at the first part of the second movie. It was a nice boat but the decorations were just OK. "Mr. Bobb," entry 86, was a large sport fisherman that was extremely well-decorated. There was music and lots and lots of lights strung all over the ship and high into the masts. I'd be surprised if this one didn't win in its category. All of the pictures, the first movie and the last part of the second movie are all devoted to this entry.


Ms. Christine with Big Mama
This entry, number 87, was a large trawler-type boat. The decorations were very good, but I couldn't quite figure out the point of the entry. The person on board was saying something about someone donating turkeys at Thanksgiving, so I can only assume it is some kind of charitable cause that is sponsoring the boat.


This boat, entry 88, was a moderate-sized sport fisherman and it had excellent decorations and music.


Seaworld/Landshark aboard "Tykhe"
Entry 89 was from Seaworld up in Orlando, and they were using this opportunity to advertise what I suppose is a new attraction. The decorations on the sport fisherman were OK but not outstanding.


"Quiet Place"
This entry (90) was a medium-sized cruiser done up in an homage to the movie "Happy Feet." The foredeck had been covered in what appeared to be snow, and there were kids in penguin suits dancing on it. Very well done, I thought.


This entry, number 91, was a sailboat, and the decorations on the boat itself were nothing really great. But the interesting thing was the continuous string of lights all the way up to the very top of the extremely tall mast; now that must have taken some work.


Noah's Ark aboard "Re Del Boca"
The first and third movies span two entries, so we'll take them both together. Entry 93, Noah's Ark, was a well decorated boat with all kinds of animals outlined in lights along the sides. You can see this entry in the picture and in the first part of the first and third movies. But the really funny entry, at least to me, was entry 94- which appears in the last part of the first and third movies and all of the second movie. I guess what struck me funny was the title of the website, which is particularly pertinent here in South Florida where the real estate market got so overheated and a lot of folks got in over their heads. Maybe I should go find out what the website does; maybe it helps rather than hurts.


A New Dawn
This small boat, entry 95, was very cleverly decorated as you can tell from the movie. Their "memorable movie" theme was "Titanic," and they'd constructed a replica of the ship cracking in two atop their boat. I thought the decoration, while not the most brilliant was certainly one of the most ingenious


Chabad Lubavitch aboard "Flamingo"
"Jungle Queen IV"

The first movie spans the last two boats in the parade, so they are together here. Entry 98, "Flamingo" was a large trawler-type boat, nicely decorated. But I have no idea who or what "Chabad Lubavitch" is. FLASH! Late-Breaking News! Well, the Internet was right at hand, so I looked up the term. Turns out to be a Jewish movement/philosophy that has something to do with encouraging moderation and tolerance. Not a bad idea at this time of year. You can see this entry at the first part of the first movie. The rest of that movie and the last movie that we took of the parade is The Jungle Queen- a Fort Lauderdale fixture for much longer than I've been coming down here. In it's fourth boat now, the Jungle Queen goes up/downriver three times a day, and it always toots the horn you will hear in the movie as it approaches the turn right by my condo. So I always know when it is coming by and can go out to wave at the passengers. Of course, they are looking at me sitting on the dock as if they are actually on a jungle cruise and I'm some form of exotic wildlife. If they only knew.


The Post-Parade Party for Jay's Birthday  

When the parade was over, everyone returned upstairs where a surprise awaited Jay Silbert. Ron had clued me in to Jay's birthday a few weeks ago, and Fred and I picked up a cake and guests brought cards, so when we got upstairs, I got the cake out and the group sang "Happy Birthday" to a pleasantly-surprised Jay. You can watch us using the player below:

Jay cut his cake and everyone, including Brent Whitley (who had just arrived from his shift at the hospital) had some. In a couple of candid shots, here are John, Ron and Ron having some cake, and here are John, Ron, Jay and John Evans sitting on the couch relaxing.

As I said, Brent Whitley arrived after the parade, so he spent some time getting a bit to eat as everyone relaxed with drink and conversation. Before Jack left, I made a movie of the party goings-on, and you can watch that movie with the player at left. The party wound down until about eleven-thirty, everyone but Brent, Fred, myself and John Evans (who would be spending the night before his flight home tomorrow) had gone. The party was a great success, I think, and the boat parade was a lot of fun. I look forward to doing the same thing next year.


Monday, December 17: A Walk to the Beach  

The South Canal  

We have been to Florida so many times that it become repetitive to describe many of the places we might visit (again) while we are here, and the walk from the condo to the beach and back is probably one of those. So I won't say much about the route, other than to show you the map at right of the first part of our walk. This part took us to the bridge over the South Canal just a block away on Las Olas. This bridge is right in front of Stork's Cafe, and we stopped to take a few pictures. One was of the condos above Stork's (north side of the bridge). Another was of the South Canal itself. Since the new building on the north side of the canal has been finished, they've been putting in a dock, and I think there will eventually be a small restaurant down there. Fred also got a picture of the tropical hibiscus already well-established on the side of one of the new buildings along the canal.


The Finger Isles  

The next part of our walk takes us down Las Olas past the Floridian Restaurant and the other businesses and then over a bridge spanning another canal and out into the Finger Isles. As I've described, these artificial islands that extend north and south from Las Olas are artificial, and each one is a single street running down the middle of the finger of land with a single row of very nice houses on either side. On the south side of Las Olas, you can just turn down any of the streets, each of which is guarded by gateposts (but no gates) with decorative figures atop them. On the north side of the street, you have to cross a bridge immediately after leaving Las Olas to get onto that island.

It was a beautiful afternoon as we walked along Las Olas, with Fred snapping pictures of the islands, the waterways between them and all the boats docked along the side of those waterways. We've seen lots of views of these boats before, but the area is so interesting that I've taken six of Fred's best pictures and included them here. There are thumbnails for these pictures below, and you can see any full-size picture by clicking on its thumbnail:


The Las Olas Bridge  

We continued walking in the afternoon sun towards the beach along Las Olas. Although it was just a bit cool in the shade, the sun felt very good. When we reached the bridge and had started up on the pedestrian walkway, the barriers came down and the drawbridge went up.

Even when the barriers are down, you can get high enough on the bridge (to the point marked by the yellow star on the aerial view at left) to get good views up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, and Fred took the opportunity offered by our having to wait to take a number of excellent pictures of the new construction happening all along the Fort Lauderdale Beach. He took eight or ten pictures, all looking in the general direction of the arrow on the aerial view of the bridge at the left, and each getting a different view of the dark blue Intracoastal and the new buildings glinting in the afternoon sun.

I have put thumbnails for five of the best of these pictures below. Click on each of them to view the full-size pictures that Fred took; they are all quite good.

That evening, we met Ron Drew and Jay for dinner at Catfish Dewey's and the all-you-can-eat fried shrimp.


Tuesday, December 18: We Visit Jack Fontaine  

When we saw Jack on Saturday night, he invited us to come up and have lunch with him on Tuesday at John Knox Village, the large retirement complex to which he moved about six months ago. We arrived at John Knox Village about eleven-thirty. Jack lives a highrise building on the grounds. The complex has three highrise buildings (about fifteen or sixteen stories each), plus a couple of two-storey buildings and a number of one-storey duplex bungalows and detached houses. In addition, there is an assisted-living building, a nursing home and an Alzheimer's unit and several dining rooms and other public special purpose buildings. It is a self-contained complex, and Jack moved there to ensure that he would never have to worry about something happening to him when he was by himself.

We went up to Jack's apartment on the 12th floor to meet him. I've been to visit him a couple of times, but this was Fred's first trip to his new home. Jack got a chance to give Fred the grand tour, but you have probably seen the pictures I took earlier in the Fall when I visited him. One thing that had been completed was Jack's kitchen, which had been a work in progress last time I was here. One of the best features of Jack's apartment is the enclosed balcony, that faces north. He has great views to the north and west, and he can see the ocean and the buildings of Pompano Beach to the northeast. When Jack's housekeeper arrived, he took us downstairs and across to one of the dining rooms.

The dining room Christmas tree was up, and Fred got Jack and I to pose beside it before we went into the dining room. The dining room is much like a restaurant; you can either serve yourself from a buffet-style affair or you can just sit down and be served, which is what Jack usually does. Here are Fred and Jack conversing while waiting for their salads to arrive. I've eaten with Jack before; the food is pretty good (better than at the Bentley Manor, I think) and the service is attentive. I am sure the residents like it. After lunch, Jack gave us a tour of the building where he lives, and I got this picture of Fred and Jack on the back patio of Jack's building.

We had a nice visit with Jack, and we left about two. While we were waiting for the elevators to go down, Fred took a movie out the windows of the elevator lobby, which is on the other side of the building from Jack. So, the windows look to the south towards downtown Fort Lauderdale. You can watch Fred's movie with the player at left.

We left the grounds by a different route, one that took us right past the rose gardens, and we stopped so that Fred could have a look through them. Right on the other side of the drive from the rose gardens is one of the many ponds. There is quite a bit of varied wildlife in and around the ponds, and Fred took a couple of pictures of some of these denizens. I am not sure what kind of waterfowl they were, but you can look at those pictures here and here.

We went back to the condo by way of Federal Highway, and when we got to the corner of Commercial and Federal, Fred had an opportunity to take a few pictures of a very interesting circular building that we have seen many times before. In the last few years, the building has been completely renovated, and now is much different than it used to be. We were stopped in traffic long enough for Fred to compose some pictures and use his zoom. I have put thumbnails for the pictures that Fred took of this unique building (now occupied by Citibank) below; click on them to view the full-size pictures:

Some frisbee throwing and dinner completed our last full day in Florida for this trip. On Wednesday, we walked the Riverwalk and took a bike ride to the beach before we had to leave for the airport at four. Ron Drew picked us up at the Enterprise car rental place and gave us a lift over to the airport for our six-thirty flight home.

December 25, 2007: Christmas Day at My House
December 7-8, 2007: Fred's Retirement and Party
Return to Index for 2007