No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Island of Misfit Toys

The Island of Misfit Toys

Photobucket India & Santa

Photobucket Key West Bight

December 18, 2008


Photobucket Council of Arts Holiday Party

Every year at Christmas I used to watch the stop-action animated holiday classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, being a red-headed kid, I identified with poor Rudolph’s plight but my favorite part was when Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius visited the Island of Misfit Toys. The island sanctuary that was home to defective and unwanted toys seemed far more interesting than the bigoted and boring “normal” world outside of the island. In fact thinking about it now, it seems logical that I would eventually be drawn to Key West where the likes of BirdFish, Misfit Dolly, King Moonracer and Spotted Elephant would be welcomed without a second thought.

Photobucket Spotted Elephant??



This island of misfits has been busy getting into the holiday spirit as holiday events continue to dominate the schedule. This past week we have attended a number of traditional Key West events including the Lighted Boat Parade, the SPCA’s Holiday Pet Expo and the Christmas Party for the Florida Keys Council of the Arts. We also managed to find time to slip in a visit to the monthly Friends of the Library book sale.

Photobucket Book Sale

Photobucket Todd & Lisa


The Lighted Boat parade is just what it sounds like, boats of all shapes and sizes go all out in decorating for the holidays then line up and parade into the Key West bight, passing the judges stand at the Schooner Wharf Bar. We always get all excited about attending before remembering upon arrival that it can get sorta boring as the boats often take a long time to navigate the bight. Thankfully the weather was good, it was a beautiful full moon and we always see friends among the large crowd gathered for the parade. We actually had more fun at a pre-parade get together at the home of our friends Eric & Betsy. The time we spent there was hands down more fun than the parade itself.

Photobucket Rosie & Mark

Photobucket Joanie

Photobucket Carrie & Brandy

The Holiday Pet Expo is great fun as well, this year was by far the most crowded as the weather was perfect and literally hundreds of dogs and their owners gathered to see Santa and play at the Dog Park. India had a great time, but some of our cats were somewhat jealous and demanded blog representation.

Photobucket Buddy

Photobucket Dia

Wednesday, December 17, 2008





December 17, 2008

Photobucket Tara & Michael

A couple of weeks ago, there was a full page article in the Sunday New York Times Arts section that hyped the burgeoning music scene in Miami. Tropical Bohemia was the term coined by the writer, Evelyn McDonnell to describe the up and coming scene that features bands such as the Spam Allstars, Awesome New Republic and Rachel Goodrich, who all frequent bars in Miami such as Churchill’s Pub and Tobacco Road.
She probably should have included the Green Parrot bar here in Key West, because they have been booking bands out of the Miami scene for years and now that they are about to break big on the National stage, we can only hope that they won’t abandon the places where the buzz started like the Parrot. Last weekend we had a visit from one of the better bands in the Tropical Bohemia movement, Suénalo.

Photobucket Green Parrot

Photobucket Green Parrot Street Painting

Hailing from Miami, the eight piece band fuses Afro-Cuban, Latin, Jazz, R&B, hip-hop and rock in a truly unique high energy sound that sends crowds into a frenzy. It was a nice break from the holiday mayhem to just head out to the Parrot and see some amazing live music, especially this time of year when the bar is populated with a largely local crowd.

Photobucket Nancy & Mark

Pink Floyd Cover by Suénalo.

In fact, we were fortunate to be out the same evening that our friend Tara was out celebrating her birthday, and a large posse of friends was out to join in the celebration. It was a fun, fun evening. There was an especially enjoyable cover of Pink Floyd (watch video above) that had the crowd jamming as they closed the first set.

Photobucket Tara, Renee & Bethany

Photobucket Kathy, Hutch, Sue & Robyn


If you get a chance you should check this band or any of the bands in the Miami music scene out before they get too big. In fact the danger is that they will become so big that they will stop playing places like the Parrot, at least you’ll be able to brag that you saw them back when they were playing small bars.

Photobucket Carla & Kathy

Photobucket Kathy & Gae

Photobucket La Te Da

NY Times Article

Suénalo website

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome Christmas

Welcome Christmas




December 14, 2008

Welcome Christmas, fah who rah-moose,
Wecome Christmas, dah who rah-moose
Christmas day will always be, Just so long as we have we


The holiday season in Key West is one of the busiest and most festive times of the year as the entire island community gets caught up in holiday fervor and residents go to great lengths to decorate their homes and attend the many, many holiday related parties and functions. We may have gotten a slightly late start, but our home is currently covered in Christmas lights and decorations and we have purchased a beautiful tree from the MARC House.

Photobucket Kathy at the MARC House

I have always believed that Key Westers go over the top in their holiday decorations to make up for the lack of such traditional winter hallmarks such as snow. I must admit when I first came here, I was astonished at the level of participation in the holidays. It still feels a little odd to see inflatable snowmen and Santa displays mixed in with Palm trees, dolphins and manatee decorations. The holiday spirit is alive and well in Key West.


It was extra special this year to share at least a portion of the holiday season with our good friends Kerry & Bruce who were here visiting from Colorado. They have returned to the comfy warmth of their wonderful Estes Park restaurant, The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern but it was great to be able to spend time with them during their visit.

Photobucket Bruce & Kerry

One of the many annual holiday traditions is a ride on the special Conch Train ride to see all the various holiday displays that are all over the island. Once again, we joined the parents and children from the Key West Preschool Coop on the train. It is always extra fun to see all the excited kids as they get all keyed up for the holidays.

Photobucket Tiffany, Logan, Brooks & Scott

Photobucket Tim, Tarah, Gryffyn, & Ursala

The weather was a little crisp, which actually added to the holiday feel of the ride and the hour long ride took us across much of the island and the myriad of amazingly decorated homes. Sadly it is difficult to capture the splendor of it in photographs, poor lighting and a moving train create near impossible conditions for decent photos. It did produce a few interesting images though.


Photobucket Kathy surveys the house.

Kathy & I spent a few evenings putting up lights ourselves, being on some of the train routes, it seemed the thing to do. We also made our Christmas tree purchase from the beautiful MARC (Monroe Association for Retarded Citizens) house plant store. They sell trees each year as a fundraiser to benefit the many services and programs that they provide to the disabled citizens of the county. Even if you never purchase a tree, it is worth a visit to the Christmas tree sale just to experience the intoxicating aroma of the frazier pines- it captures the holiday spirit just walking through the place.


MARC House