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A Day on the River

Sunday night, as I was falling to sleep, I mulled over some blog post ideas. My intention was to blog, and then order in the morning, followed by a day watching sports until well past my bedtime. Bruce's mobile rang just as I was drifting off with his brother on the other end of the line inviting us to come over for Labor Day to see his new boat. Blog vs. boat ride?.....well, you've already figured out which choice was the winner.
How lovely is this view looking South on the St. John's River? I know, right?

Cris is a man of big dreams; having long wanted to live on the river, he made that happen. Next step was a pontoon boat which they christened a mere ten days ago, "Dreams Realized."It's easy to tell he is married to an English teacher with that name isn't it?
Seating 14, in both comfort and style, instead of the usual two pontoons, this one has three, allowing it to go pretty darn fast. Here's Captain Cris at the helm:
Our sister-in-law Judy invited her sister and two children, as well as a niece and great nephew to join us. Judy has always had the biggest, most infectious laugh:
Our initial trip in the morning after arriving around 10 was towards Sanford, then, later in the day, we went North, ending up just past Blue Springs at Hontoon Island State Park. Much of the waterway in the later direction is a manatee zone necessitating very slow travel. Here's a link to a blog post which covers two things at once, the manatees at Blue Springs, and the oddest funeral I've ever had the honor of attending! Although Bruce had never driven any kind of boat before, twice in one day he took the helm:
Initially we thought we'd be there for a couple of hours, which because of how relaxing it was, turned into about eight! Lovely way to end the summer, or perhaps better said, what's known as official summer. Around these parts, we've got at the very least five more weeks of serious heat, however, nothing quite like what Jonathan and Alissa are experiencing in Austin, where, at game kickoff time Saturday night, it was 98 degrees!

The last week has been a busy one, between two great market days, and preparing for this week's two events, I'm a little bit crazy. Furthermore, Friday night we invited Cheryl and David to dinner where at dinner kick off time it was more like 78 degrees. The hour before they were expected looked pretty iffy for rain, however, in the end, it never did a thing. The back yard looks so lovely when the torches are all lit:
On the far left, in the darkness it is hard to see my new "throne." Well, let's just look at it in the daylight, shall we?
Looking at the photograph, it looks like a little Sphinx on the top! This is seriously one of my best Big Lot finds ever! In the summer clearance area I found a box containing two of these little beauties and paid, drumroll please.......$4!!! Now that's what I call a super bargain! It's still way too sunny to use during the middle of the day, but later, just before sunset, it's fantastic.

One of the items on Friday night's menu was scalloped potatoes. Au gratin potatoes with cheese are what I make most, but in this instance, I wanted something both rich, and bland, to balance the chipotle peppers in the salad dressing I'd made earlier in the day. Although I checked the web I thought to myself, "self," why not just go to trusty Betty Crocker, who pretty much never fails me? This time was no exception--much simpler to prepare than some online recipes, and oh so tasty. For dessert I pulled the last of the sugar cookies out of the freezer, and from the way David ate them, I'm pretty sure he agreed with us on the super taste.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about another cooking adventure which has not a thing to do with a day on the river, so I'll quit now while I'm ahead.
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