If any of you are old enough, do you remember the old Doublemint Chewing Gum ads? "Double your pleasure, Double your fun..... Two Mints In One."? Well similarly this post will be two hikes in one blog post! Late last week I hiked on two consecutive days, once with Tim and once with Joy. Both were awesome! We will call these Photo Safaris the "Doublemint Hikes". There was nothing minty about either by the way.
Tim likes to find new places to explore so we found ourselves at Weeden Island Preserve on Thursday. It's an interesting place just on it's own and has been, at one time or another, a movie studio, an airport, a speakeasy (!!) and a private residence. The crumbling remains of the tiny airport building is still there:
We heard loads of birds and actually saw quite a few: Here is the list as best as we can both recall of the birds that we saw:
This is the one bird picture that I actually got (sigh):
There was a big tower to climb, so ofcourse we did. From the top we could see, not only water, but three different cities: Tampa, St Petersberg and Clearwater. Very Cool:
There were, seemingly, miles of boardwalk through the mangroves, which are always amazing. And along the way we saw some very cool stuff including a spider that was easily as big as my hand! Somehow, no matter how I tried I couldn't get a photo of the spider but I got her reflection in the railing. Did manage to capture a couple of photogenic lizards : )
And toward the end there was a big old gopher tortoise! Awesome!
It was a terrific hike and it's always fun to do something a little different.
Of course there's nothing wrong with hiking a place we've been before either and that happened on Friday with Joy. We headed back to Carlton Reserve and we were not disappointed. The early morning light was beautiful. Of course, it always is:
And, as always, we found some pretty botanicals. The water drops were especially nice on some of them:
We saw so many dragonflies and butterflies. And I actually miraculously captured few of them:
And this hike, I even managed to get some birds! Another miracle!
Two, Two, Two hikes in One! And both of them were absolutely awesome!
Hope you enjoyed the Doublemint Hikes. Get ready for a surprise post later this week! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it)
I'm back! How has everyone been? What's new and exciting?
We've had a lot of company over the past few weeks which has been awesome! There is nothing quite like seeing your own town through the eyes of someone else.
We showed off the best parts of our town: places like the beach, tree-canopied streets, parks, historic homes and adorable downtowns. We ate at great restaurants, checked out interesting shops, took long walks and spent a lot of time just talking and laughing. The weather cooperated and was absolutely lovely the entire time. I baked, of course. If nothing else I will always offer guests tasty treats!
Of course, we were lucky to also have perfect guests: Thoughtful, funny, gracious and both interested and interesting! We are forever grateful to anyone who is willing to spend their very precious vacation time hauling themselves all the heck the way to Florida to see us! We are so happy that they came!
Frankly, these days, my hat is off to anyone willing to drive endless highway hours battling road construction, bad drivers, mercurial weather and recalcitrant automobiles. All guests deserve rewards for endurance! The least we can do as hosts is to make our visitors as comfortable as possible.
Worse in my opinion is flying. In fact, I think right now the only thing good I can say about air travel is that it is faster than any other mode of travel. The entire experience is expensive, inconvenient and unpleasant. But I suppose until Scotty really can Beam Us Up, travelling by plane is going to be the best we can do.
Speaking of airplanes, yesterday Tim and I went to a museum we had never visited before, the Military Heritage Museum.
It was a fascinating places filled with information, memorabilia and loads of volunteers ready, willing and able to ask questions and share terrific information. Most of what was there was not new to either of us as we are both interested in history. And there was a lot of history there as every U.S. involved war/police action/conflict/official skirmish from the Revolutionary War right straight through to the present day was represented.
The coolest part was that this museum has some interactive stuff! For instance Tim was able to sit in a flight simulator and "fly" a plane with a real life pilot right at his side talking him through. His instructor was very impressed with him. (I was too!):
As I watched I couldn't help but think of Snoopy and his endless "aeroplane" battles with the Red Baron. heeheehee
So anyway, that's mostly what we've been up to lately. Enjoying our guests to the absolute Max and then discovering this museum ourselves yesterday. We are just having way too much fun.
Today it's back to the museum for me. And life begins to settle back into what passes for "normal". Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Nice to be back though. Hugs all 'round
The above photo has nothing to do with my little mini-post today by the way. Tim and I were down at the jetty over the weekend and to our surprise, it was very splashy! Happened to be lucky enough to get this pretty good shot so I'm sharing it ;)
I know that you don't know this but we've had a lot of wonderful company the past few weeks and enjoyed every single minute of it. (Tim and Christina, you know who you are) AND we have more company company coming later this week and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about our next round of visitors :) Squeeeee!~
It seems that I have yet more very full days of stuff going on right now and therefore I am going to take the rest of this week off from posting. We all saw how little I have been posting lately anyway, which is mostly because I've been just barely squeezing it into my cup overfloweth schedule. Sorry about that. I decided that rather than continue to add ONE MORE THING to this week, I'm going to just step away until Next Week and then we'll catch up!
Meanwhile, have a terrific week, be safe, have fun and I'll see you soon!!
Hugs all 'round
I was reading a very interesting (at least to me) article about the "Interview" experience. It's been awhile since I last had to undergo the experience of being interviewed to be fair, but there were some rather unusual interview experiences throughout my life that were not easily forgotten. I'm sure we all have stories about them!
The entire interview experience, especially early on in our careers, is borderline terrifying. Stepping into the unknown is always scary and seriously: I don't' know these people, I am unfamiliar with this place, I don't know what they are thinking, I dont' know what they expect of me!! Then it's the sudden lack of confidence: am I up to the task? can I do this? am I dressed appropriately? am I babbling like an idiot? have I had a sudden attack of stupid?
It can be nerve wracking! According to the article I read, we all feel pretty much the same way walking in the door to an interview They referred to at as a "universal experience". Kind of nice to know. Misery loves company and all that.
In the article I read, however, one of the things they focused on was some new interview trend that frankly does not impress me. Amidst all of the many questions that the interviewee is asked, sometimes now, suddenly the interviewer throws in an oddball question that is designed, (honestly), to knock the interviewee off kilter.
Something like, "If you were any animal, which animal would you be". What???? I can see asking that of a kindergarten class as a way to get to know the kids and their personalities and kind of break the ice. But in an interview for a job, that sounds wildly off base. My mind was racing when I read that part. What animal would I have said?
I have been described as a bunny rabbit of a girl and a lady bug before. And one of my favourite animals is a cat but I'm not sure any of those answers would make me sounds like a prime candidate for ANY job. Think about it. Rabbits are skittish creatures, ladybugs fly away and cats are notoriously lazy. None of those descriptors sounds like, Yes Let's Hire Her!
Another crazy interview question was, "What colour best represents you?" Again, What the what? What colour? Is this arts and crafts class or a JOB interview! Perhaps they are hoping to see how creative the interviewee is or how quickly they think on their feet. But it did get me wondering, what colour best represents me. I've been mulling it over since I read the article several days ago and I still have no idea.
I am a happy person so maybe yellow? But I like things to be calm and serene so maybe blue? And then there is a penchant for light so perhaps white is the better choice? I suspect that there is no ONE colour that properly represents any one person. Question overruled!
But that did get my bizarro brain wandering down other similar paths tho. What about states? There are already official state animals, for Florida it happens to be the panther. And state flower is an orange blossom . Is there a state colour? As it turns out...nope.
So I wondered what that would be. I suppose it could be blue for the water and the sky. There is a ton of both here. So many shades of blue and every single one of them is gorgeous!
Or yellow like the sun, after all we are known as the Sunshine State:
Or maybe orange! Who doesn't associate Florida with Oranges? But it's also orange for the sunsets. They are pretty spectacular:
Actually, now that I'm really giving it some thought, I think that the colour that best represents Florida is green. There is so much greenery, it's year 'round and it's everywhere! Lush, Verdant, Abundant, Flourishing, Thriving, and All Year 'round Florida is green.
It's not just the palm trees that everyone associates with such a tropical climate, though they are aplenty, it's also the pine trees (did you know that we have them?) and my favourites, the Live Oak which, unlike the trees in other places, is never without her leaves. There are citrus trees, avocado trees, mangrove and gum trees. Trees I have no idea what the name is and they are legion.
Shrubs ? Yeah, we got 'em. Some flower, some don't. All of them are luxurious and full bodied and green. Flowers? Naturally and they have blooms in a rainbow of colours but the stem and leaves are green. Grasses for sure, both wild and tamed, green and green. Weeds, oh yeah, lots of weeds, all of them some shade of green.
So this started out with an article about the Interview Process and how it's changed a bit since my day and I'm ending with a proposal for an official state colour and voting that Florida's colour be green. I have no doubt that there are those who would argue the point and that's just fine. I like a good intellectual exchange or ideas. Bring it on!
And employers, please, stop with the really stupid interview questions.
Nothing really big to talk about today, but there are a few small, related things. Or at least semi-related. Isn't that most of life though? I believe that the majority of our life is a collection of little moments, small pleasures and tiny treats. This is more of that :)
Let's see, I suppose the first thing is that we got a new freezer for the utility room! Yay! You may (or may not) recall that a few months back our old utility room fridge/freezer died. With no warning at all it went from fully functioning to zero functioning and no amount of threats or coaxing would get it going again. Dang. Frustrating! Especially since it was less than 4 years old! Grrrrr. Did not get our money's worth out of that particular appliance! Drat.
Luckily we discovered that it had crapped out before it ruined everything inside. And by everything I mostly mean what was in the freezer because, as it turned out, that was mostly what we used it for, the freezer compartment. So somehow we managed to stuff the contents of the 2nd freezer compartment in the utility room into the primary freezer compartment in the kitchen. It was a very tight squeeze. Then I cleaned the non-working appliance thoroughly and we on about our lives without giving replacing it much thought. Let's see how much we REALLLLY need the second one.
As it turns out, it's not absolutely Essential to our existence, but it is nice to have. And since we realized that we primarily used it for it's freezing ability, once it was replaced we determined that we would buy only a freezer. Because we are smart consumers, we tend to shop the sales. And when we find a great sale, doesn't it make sense to buy more than one of whatever the item is? Of course it does! So for example, if our local Farm Market is selling huge bags of chicken legs for $3.00 (not per pound....per bag!!!!) Of course we are buying that. And at least two. And putting them right into the freezer! Things like that.
And when I bake (which is often as we know) with a freezer, I have the option of making more than one loaf of something or making double batches of whatever and putting the rest in the freezer for.....I don't know what occasion but those occasions happen! And becoz I have goodies in the freezer, we are prepared!
Sooooo, as I was saying, we are smart consumers and shop the sales. And that means for appliances too. Tim found a Terrific deal on utility room (actually they said garage) freezers but it had to be ordered before a particular date. We talked it over and decided to go for it. The day it was delivered (and they took away the old fridge/freezer thank goodness) we woohoo'd all over the place. And once it was colded up, I moved over EVERYTHING in the kitchen fridge/freezer to the new freezer (except ice packs) and, and, and, it was almost laughable. Great Big stand up freezer with maybe 5 items in it. And one of the items was a bag of banana nut muffins. LOLOL So we've been slowly adding to the frozen larder as great sales turn up.
Meanwhile, it occurred to me that since we have that big old freezer with all that extra space, perhaps a good idea would be to get some ice trays. We go through a LOT of ice every day just the two of us. If there is anyone else at the house who wants ice in the drinks, we will clean out the ice maker completely! Tim agreed that it was a great idea and applied himself to the task of researching the subject. Researching ice trays never dawned on me, by the way. I assumed that we would stop in a target at some point and pick up a couple of ordinary ice trays and that would be the end of it. I was wrong.
A couple of days later several packages showed up via Amazon at the door. Voila! Tim says with a big old smile on his face. Ice Trays! All sorts of ice trays! And I began to laugh and I couldn't stop for awhile. Why? Because these aren't ordinary ice trays. Of course not! Some of these trays make HUGE ice shapes. Some of them make tiny ice. Well everything is in some short of shape. But I mean not run of the mill ice shapes. It was a hilarious surprise.
While I was beside myself laughing, Tim told me to count my lucky stars because he considered getting ice in the shape of trucks or stars or cats and instead settled on these. And I was off again, laughing so much that my face hurt afterwards.
So the new ice trays: Some are spheres..great big ones and when the tray is over filled and some of the edges come out with the sphere, they look like the planet Saturn! Some are tiny spheres...those look more like the former planet, Pluto. Some are GIANT SQUARES! You could hurt somebody with one of those if you threw it! And then there are my favourites that are teensy hex shapes and the trays look like blue honey combs. They are my favourites becoz I have always had the terrible habit of eating ice. These are Perfect for that! I can fill a tiny shot glass with a bunch of them and slowly munch on them while doing another task.
Here's the ice cubes? Well some are cubes...what do you call the ones that aren't cubes? I mean generically not specifically. Thoughts?
And here are my favourite little baby hex ice cubes in their usual home, the shot glass:
I have no idea how many of those I go through in a day. I don't want to count. It's probably embarrassing.
And then there is the last new thing. It involves lights.
More than 7 years ago now, we had just moved into this house and the very first thing we did, I mean Very First Thing was to have the kitchen reno'd. And that of course, included new kitchen lights. We requested a line of can lights down the galley with under cabinet lights, plus several pendants over the peninsula, one over the sink and a fixture over the table. Tim and I like LOTS of light. So our builder accomodated all of our requests. Yay! We still love the fixture over the table and matching pendants but the can lights never really seemed to give the amount of light we wanted.
But you know how it is, you deal. It was still WAY more light than when we bought the house so, we made do. But more and more often, while cooking/baking I found myself turning on every dang light in the kitchen, including undercabinet lights and that little light under the microwave (it's over the stove) and still wishing we had more. As time went on, suddenly one day the can lights at the far end of the kitchen by the pantry and the utility room door went out. And suddenly there was this black hole at the end of the kitchen . Oooo Scary! And less than ideal.
So, last weekend Tim replaced all of the can lights with brighter white lighting and oh my gosh the difference is incredible! The first thing I said to him was, "Holy Cats! I could do surgery in here now!" It's awesome! I can see everything! (including the dirt, sad to say - a great deal of cleaning happened immediately aftewards...once again, embarassing). It's Awesome! We still just cannot get over the difference between the gloom zone that used to be the kitchen used to be and the light bright happy place that it is now.
It really is the little things :)
Wishing you a bright light happy day and an even better weekend!
hugs all 'round.
I am starting this Photo Safari Report off with 3 shots of the same thing, just different perspectives: close up, not so close up and farther away. It's an eagles nest! If you've never seen one before you just cannot imagine how BIG they are until you realize that you can still see it from quite a distance away.
I started with the eagle's nest because this hike caused some serious cricks in the neck for Joy and I. It seemed as if most of what we saw required looking UP. So I am calling this one this TipTop Hike. Soooo many of my photos required focusing on the tippy top of things :)
Things like Hawks. We saw more hawks in this one hike than in multiple hikes put together! It was crazy. Every time we turned around, look there's another hawk! And of course they are always way up......somewhere. Maybe they were having a convention? Or maybe it was just one hawk, zooming from one place to another as we hiked along? Honestly have no idea. I do know that I took a ton of hawk photos. Here are a few:
Of course we didn't only take pictures of hawks. That would be silly. And boring. Nope we took lots of other photos too. But again, many of them were of creatures that were sitting way up high. And not all of them were birds!
Thank goodness not everything was up high. Right around the time we were getting dizzy from constantly looking up, we would look down and see things worth happy snapping that didn't have us craving a chiropractor afterwards!
As always, I seem to be drawn to botannicals, partly because they are so pretty, but also because they are easier photography subjects. They tend to hold still. I value that highly!
Finally just before we come to the end of the TipTop Hike, I have a few randos to share with you. I have no explanation of why these things appeal to me, but they do and so here they are:
Hope you enjoyed the TipTop Hike ! We sure did, even though it was a literal pain in the neck. teehee. Have an absolutely Glorious Day!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.