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Casinos and Oreos and Gators – Oh My!

Merry Christmas Eve!

I’m supposed to be getting ready for holiday festivities and travel.  I’m supposed to be doing laundry so I actually have clean garments to sport in front of family and friends who aren’t accustomed to the grime-encrusted Katie I learned to be comfortable with while living in Costa Rica.  I’m supposed to be cleaning my house because I have this freakish NEED to come home to a clean house after I leave for a bit so I’m less tempted to just dump my crap all over the floor.  (And if someone were to break in while I’m gone, it would be so embarrassing for him to see what slobs we are.  Not that we have anything worth stealing.  Unless you like framed personal photos and broken electronics.)

So what am I doing instead?  Why, perusing Facebook, my favorite blogs, and writing this post, of course.  While sitting in front of the fire.  It’s too cold to work!


I miss Costa Rica.


I miss Florida.

Wine – I mean Whine.

Aside from the first rainy day, the weather was perfect in south Florida.  It was so nice to get out of the house and do some of my favorite things – things having anything to do with socializing with strangers I don’t need to impress, relaxing with an excellent draft while listing to live music (by the way, I definitely found a local Miami band whose sound I really enjoyed – Gluttonous Feast), tasting new kinds of food, and finding new appreciation for nature and the beauty that’s always surrounding us.

Oh, and I got to see Christmas with palm trees.

This is Gluttonous Feast.  Kinda jazzy, chill… pretty much perfect for my mood that night.

Gluttonous Feast

Took this photo with my phone.

We also hit the Hard Rock Casino.  My sister was so excited when she stuck $1 into a machine and $20 came out.  I was less thrilled when I stuck $5 in a machine and $0 came out.

But that didn’t stop me from playing the giant guitar.

I wasn’t as good as Gluttonous Feast.

But I think my favorite part of the entire trip was our visit to the Everglades National Park.

There were lots of turtles…

Everglades Turtle

And some really groovy birds…

And gators.

Oh yes, there were gators.

Grinning, sunbathing, apparently Florida sun-drunk gators who – thank God – were only too happy to pose for pictures without biting my face off.

Did I ever tell you that I used to catch alligators as part of my job when I worked for the Air Force in Georgia?  No?  Well I did.  But I’ll admit I felt a little less comfortable this time without any equipment or the people who did all the actual gator-catching work along with me (Hey guys, I know you read this sometimes!).

We couldn’t have asked for better weather to enjoy the trails and explore the park…

And pose for silly photo-ops.

Even though it was a little cool outside, we still made sure we hit the beach.

The beach had crack.

And we tested our athleticism by going kayaking.

We may or may not have knocked over a directional sign and gotten lost.

The park guide may or may not have had to get on his boat to come find us.

We may or may not have been covered in river muck.

But in the end, we emerged triumphant.

And only a little sore.

Before I left Florida, my sister took me to a bar and forced me to eat fried Oreos.

That’s right – Oreos battered and deep-fried and served with ice cream and a rich chocolate drizzle.  You know, because they weren’t rich enough.

Blurry picture taken with  my phone.

They were so gross.

But so good.

Much like I probably would have tasted to this gator.



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Angie Kern

Ah glorious sunshine, hasn’t stopped snowing or freezing raining in, well for friggin ever……We are definately getting a white Christmas this year! Have a Merry one chickie!!!!


I hope you’re staying warm, Ang! Let me know when you’re back on my side of the ocean. :)

Greg Lee

Glad to hear we made an impression on you with our gator wranglin’. Sure could have used you a couple of months ago when we tried to catch a really big gator and it proceeded to eat the truck. It ripped the bumper off and bent the door panel. Finally had to punt and call in the state alligator trapper to help.


Oh my!! Didn’t tie that one up very well, huh? That must have been freaky!!! I miss those days… :)


That picture of the Christmas tree next to palm trees is AWESOME. Loved it. The turtle was cute too. Did you name him? My family names everything. Fred is our go-to. :)


I was afraid if I named him I’d get all attached and the giant gator next to him would eat him and it just wouldn’t be good for anyone involved… Fred is a cute turtle name though. :)

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