Happy Friday to ya! And I have to ask, how much do you, personally, care that today is Friday the 13th? Hmm? Are you superstitious about such things? And if you are superstitious, which wins out; the fact that it's Friday - which everyone knows is the best day of the work week - or the fact that a 13th happens to have landed on a Friday? Ooooo decisions, decisions, decisions.
Personally, I am not superstitious. I know that some people are and I respect that. You feel what you feel and you believe what you believe. But fearing a black cat crossing my path? Nope, doesn't concern me at all. I might stop to pet the black cat, but I'm not afraid of it. The only concern I have about walking under an open ladder is that I could get hit with whatever the people on the ladder might drop. It 's not so much superstition as it is common sense.
If I spill salt (which means I have to clean it up) I'm certainly not going to throw more salt over my shoulder (which I will also have to clean up). That makes zero sense to me. A broken mirror means, once again, I'm cleaning it up, but it also means be careful that A) I must be careful to get ALL of the pieces, even those microscopic tiny ones that lurk and wait for bare feet to come along and B) be careful that I don't cut yourself while cleaning it up. But that's all that it means to me Oh, and I now must replace the mirror.
The idea of bad things coming in three's is funny. Why 3's specifically? Why not 4's or 2's or 328's? To my way to thinking, bad things do not come in threes any more than good things do. Things just happen. If you focus on the bad, all you will see is that bad. If you focus on the good, you will definitely see an uptick in good stuff all around you.
Here is another group of 3's that I will never understand the fear of: 666. Honestly, it's is only a powerful satanic number if you believe that it is. Otherwise, it's just 3 of the same numbers in a row, like perhaps an address. 666 North St. You could pick any other 3 letters or numbers and give that imaginary power too. 333! Nope nothing scary happened. Sounds like the area code to a telephone exchange. ZZZ! Nada. Zip. Sounds like a mosquito buzzing around when you say it out loud. It is neither scary nor mysterious. No powers at all. Oops, Wait a minute. I misspoke. What about AAA? Triple A, the people who come and rescue you when you have a flat tire or need a tow truck! Now there is some power!
The idea that having one particular part of a specific animal in your pocket brings you good luck is strange to me. A rabbits foot did not bring the rabbit luck, why would it bring you luck? And why the foot? Why not the tail or the ear or that cute little wiggly nose? Nope, not buying it. Literally.
I truly thought that the belief in superstition belonged to generations from long ago. I honestly supposed that our most recent generations were far less superstitious than previous ones. It seemed logical to me that younger people, who are far more technologically savvy than I, young people with the scientific world at their fingertips, would not fall for superstitious, silly, very very unscientific beliefs. But as it turns out I was dead wrong on that.
According to what I've been reading, my generation is far less superstitious than our parents and grandparents (and backwards from there) and also less superstitious than the generations that have come after us! WHAT? That's kind of crazy.
According to an article in "Medical News Today", "Billions of people in the United States and across the world are superstitious. A quarter of adults in the U.S. consider themselves to be so, and recent trends reveal that younger people are more superstitious than older adults. In fact, 70% of U.S. students rely on good luck charms for better academic performance."
I was so surprised to learn that. But now that I think about it for a minute, most airlines still do not have a 13th row. 80% of buildings around the world do not have a 13th floor. Hotels and hospitals rarely have a room 13. It's just a number folks. It doesn't have any more magical power than another other number. Really! I am shocked.
The Medical New article went on to say that beliefs in superstition, even when you are aware, that it cannot possibly be true, tend to relieve anxiety. That's odd but interesting.
A quote within the article suggests one possibility:
“I think life is a series of random coincidences and can’t be shaped by these strange little habits, but I guess it’s reassuring to believe you have some control over it — especially when there’s so much about our lives and society that we can’t change.”
Ok I will buy that. It's a control thing. Or the illusion of control at least. I do understand that desire for control. It's a crazy old world out there and sometimes I feel like a seashell or a bit of driftwood that is being tossed around by a giant wave. So yeah, a need to find a little bit of control, something to steer a better course, some bit of magic that will help me out would be awesome.
So whatever you believe, I believe that today, Friday the 13th 2022, is going to be an awesome day. And because I believe that it will be a great day, it really will be. It's the belief that gives it the power.
You go ahead and have whatever sort of Friday the 13th you prefer. I respect that.
Did you know that studies have concluded that the average American spend 5 years of their lives, waiting in line? Wow. I was surprised to read that, though I probably shouldn't have been.
I was thinking about this yesterday as I waited for the light to change on my way to the grocery store. It's kind of a funny thing that while I am not an especially patient person overall, I don't seem to have a problem waiting in line. Most of us have been queuing in one sort of line or another since primary school where we lined up to get on and off the bus, to leave the classroom for recess and, then very very quickly for fire drills.
Of course as a child, waiting patiently is a learned skill but we had plenty of practice learning it because it seemed that we were always waiting for something. The wait for Christmas Morning was eternal. Waiting for permission to leave the table after dinner wasn't quite as bad but waiting for a boring class to end really was interminable. We would fidget at our desks, eyes on that enormous class at the front of the room watching that stubborn second hand take it's jolly time (unintended pun) to move from one numeral to the next with a decisive "Click". We waited to take our turns during games, we waited for the weekend and we waited for summer break. We waved our hands in the air trying to get the teacher's attention when we wanted permission to speak and did the pee-pee dance waiting our turn for the bathroom.
And of course children wait with such anticipation be adults so that they can do as they please only to then be both shocked and disappointed to learn that that is not entirely the case. As adults, we are still always waiting. Biding our time is just another part of the human condition I suppose.
Gardeners wait for the perfect time of year to plant and then to harvest. Workers eagerly await their payday. Performers wait for their cue to go onstage. Teenagers wait for someone to call (or text nowadays I suppose) to ask them out. Interviewees wait to hear if they got the job. Worried parents of young drivers wait to hear that their kids got home safely each night.
We wait in traffic of course, at the gas station pump and in lines at the grocery store. You wait for someone to pull out in a busy parking lot and you wait your turn at the hot dog stand. A photographer patiently waits for the perfect shot and we wait for the return elevator. And lord knows we wait at the airport.
Clearly it's true. We spend a lot of time in lives, waiting for something or someone. There is a famous French play, by Samuel Beckett, "Waiting for Godot". I don't know if you've ever seen it. I have. I guess I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate it because it was one of the most boring plays I've ever seen. The worst of it being that "Godot" never actually shows up. At least not during the play. Maybe he is one of those people who are always late to everything.
You would think with all the waiting we do, that we would be better at it. You've seen the people in cars on the road that are determined to not have to wait. They zoom up in the breakdown lane to be closer to the front when faced with a line of cars. They incessantly beep at you while you are waiting for the old lady with a walker to cross in front of you. They pull out with anger and roar around you if you are going the actual speed limit on a narrow, winding, country road. Geez people, calm down!
Standing in line at the movies or the hardware ware store full grown adults wiggle and squirm like a 3 year old who needs to go potty. They jingle the change in their pockets, sigh very loudly and repeatedly, mutter and mumble under their breathe, hop from lane to lane hoping that a different lane might go faster, and they stand FAR too closely to the person in front of them.
To all of them I say, "Chill". You have been waiting for things your entire life. You should be a champion at it by now. Consider it a skill, an art form. In fact, "waiting" is expressed in all sorts of art.
In music: The Beach Boys, "Waiting for You"; Tom Petty, "The Waiting"; The Kinks, "Tired of Waiting for You" and The Flaming Lips, "Waiting for Superman" just to mention a few.
In paintings: "Waiting for His Return" by William Ladd Taylor; "Two Women at a Window" by Bartholome Murillo and "Awaiting the Suitor" by Gustave Leonard de Jonghe are several examples.
The theme shows up in dance, in theatre, in sculpture, in literature and real life, every single day of our lives. It seems that we are destined to always be waiting. It would serve us well to learn to be better at it.
For me it's kind of Zen. I'm nosy, I look in other people's carts to see what they are buying, I check out the ceiling, the floors and the contents of the impulse goods rack by the register. I read the covers of all of the magazines and check out what everybody around me is wearing. I day dream a little bit and make mental lists of other things, people and places. I might check my phone for messages or see if my shoe laces are still properly tied (often they are not).
Back in the day when I was standing in line with small children and/or babies, I was absolutely not bored. Children are never boring. Their behavior can fall anywhere from delightful to aggravating but they are never ever boring. So if there are little kids near me, I am definitely going to be entertained. I might strike up a conversation with the person behind me or in front of me. If there is musak going that I can actually hear (rare occasion to be fair) I might sing along quietly. Yeah, I confess, I'm that lady.
I guess the point here is that if you are going to spend as much as five years of your life waiting, you may as well embrace it. Find a way to not be the guy behind me in the grocery store yesterday jamming his cart into the backs of my legs in his impatience. Try to not be the girl who beepitybeepbeeped me while I waited for people to cross the street in front of me at the green light. Yes it was our green light. That does not mean I am allowed to run over people. The same girl also flipped me off as she squealed the car around me to get by nearly clipping the pedestrians as she zoomed past by the way. Do not be the cranky lady yelling at the cashier about the line being slow. I promise you, the cashier is already well aware of the long line and there is nothing she can do about it.
Learn to wait with patience, good humour and grace. And if you are feeling it, a little bit of silliness wouldn't go amiss.
How did you spend Mother's Day? Mine was just about perfect! Do you want to hear about it?
In our house, we celebrate people. And when it's your day to be celebrated, it usually takes more than one day to fit it all in. Mother's Day was no exception. It began on Saturday with a mystery trip. I was told to grab my camera as we set out, bright and early, but I had no idea where we were headed. I did notice that we were driving south. Interesting.
We headed down a highway that was sparsely populated, which is a nice change after the months of massive traffic that we've been having. As is our way, Tim and I chatted about this'n'that as we cruised along which usually keeps me fairly distracted. Still I couldn't help but notice that the sky was getting darker as we went. Since I had no idea where our destination was or what we were going to be doing, I wasn't especially concerned. And it also needs to be pointed out that here in Florida, a cloudy sky does not automatically mean rain just as a sunny sky does not automatically guarantee no rain. Yeah, it's a strange place. So anyway, the sky was looking like this:
Again, neither of us was especially concerned about the grey ominous looking sky. Even as we pulled in to the parking lot of our destination we were not worried. Our Destination? Deep Creek Preserve! Knowing my love of a great hike and an even better photo safari, Tim found a hiking spot that I had never heard of so that I could spend part of the day doing something I dearly love! Awwwww! That's perfect.
Except for the fact that pretty much as soon as we arrived, the sky opened up and it absolutely poured rain. Dang! It really looked like a terrific hiking/photography spot too. We just sat in the car for a little bit waiting to see if this was going to be one of Florida's famous 15 minutes of torrential rain and then nothing kind of rainstorms. It was not.
We sat watching the rain come down for a bit and then I asked, "Was there a Plan B?" Tim put the car into gear and said, "Plan B coming up!" Off we went. Another thing about Florida rain is that it is often very geographically specific. There have been days when it rains on the south end of the island but not the north (or vice versa) or on one side of the bridge and not the other. So the thought was that perhaps, this particular rain storm was here at Plan A, Deep Creek Park, but not at Plan B which was hiking the Pennington Audubon Trails a few miles away. Great idea!
Except that if anything, it was raining even harder there. Drat! Tim was ready, he had a Plan C as well! Awesome! So next we headed toward the Port Charlotte Beach Park another place I had never been. We were very excited we we arrived as, at last, it wasn't raining! Hurrah!
There were puddles, so had there had recently been some precipitation but there were peeks of blue sky here and there and we were encouraged. So this time, we got out, walked around a bit and enjoyed that lovely recent fresh rain fragrance. I grabbed my camera and got a few shots. There were some fishermen, a lovely long pier and board walk and a few birds! I began snapping away as we wandered around. We were having a lovely time while Tim kept an eye to the sky which still had a bit of that heavy dark look that might (or might not) mean something.
Just as I was saying that I thought the storm was moving off, I mean literally as the words were leaving my mouth, there was a terrific clap of thunder just above us and lightening strikes in several directions. We starred at each other for a second, then began laughing like lunatics as we ran for the car just before the rain started up again! LOLOLOL
Hiking idea shelved, we headed off to enjoy lunch in a place we both enjoy but rarely go. I can never remember the actual name so I refer to it as,' Wings and Rings and Things and Stuff ' but Tim knows what I mean. It's not a fancy place but the food is good. Kind of basic but consistently good. Tim loves their wings in particular. I am a fan of their burgers. On the rare occasion that I am in the mood for a burger, that's the one I'm usually thinking of. They never disappoint.
All in all, Saturday was a terrific adventure!
Sunday, Tim insisted that everything was about me. I had to make the choices of what to do. Really? Well hmmmm, the choices are endless. Let me think. So while I thought, Tim made a wonderful breakfast and then, at my choice, we went outside and power washed the exterior of the house and the courtyard. It looks so good now! Afterwards we were both very wet and a little dirty so my next thought was that I wanted to walk on the beach. I mean, what the heck, we were already wet and dirty.
Luckily it was a gorgeous day for beach walking. Sunny and breezing and perfect. We walked along the water's edge getting wetter with splash and covered in sand from the beach. It was awesome.
Eventually we went back home. Once we were cleaned up my next decision was that I wanted to find some dopey, girlie movie on TV and watch that. So we looked. And looked. And Looked! And honestly couldn't find one silly girlie romcom kind of film. I was thinking some old Audrey Hepburn or even Katherine Hepburn black and white film. Or maybe something a little newer (though still awhile back) a Meg Ryan or Kate Hudson kind of movie. Nope. I was about to give up as Tim scrolled through the possibilities when the X-Files suddenly appeared. What? Seriously, the Xfiles? I perked up. Dang I haven't seen an X-Files re-run in a Very Long Time.
Yeah that'll do. So we ordered pizza and watched X-files re-runs and talked to each of the kids ,which is always one of the best parts of the day. All in all, had an absolutely perfect Mother's Day Weekend Celebration!
Honestly, I cannot imagine it being much better than that.
Super Quick post today! Tim and I walked around Celery Fields this past weekend for a short time. We were on our way elsewhere and happened to drive past the beautiful preserve. Whcih means that stopping there was a rather quick and spontaneous decision. To be completely honest, we stopped because I needed a restroom and that one is always clean. Luckily I almost never travel without my camera and a tube of sunscreen anymore! I lubed up quickly, grabbed my camera and just about jumped out of the car.
I could hear the birds even through the closed car windows! So yeah, birds is mostly what I got. I didn't take a zillion photos (and I know you are thinking, "Thank Goodness" - heh) but I got a few. And here they are, birds first. Hope you enjoy!
We didn't walk very far (it's a good sized place and we only covered a small fraction of it) and we didn't stay long. Just long enough to stretch our legs a bit and some some things that felt photo worthy. Things like flowers and other botanicals:
And a few other critters but not one single butterfly or dragonfly. Oh there were plenty of them. In all the colours of the insect rainbow. But did I manage to get a photo of even one? Nope. Dang. However, I did get these guys:
Not too bad for a quick stop, eh?
I won't be posting tomorrow, so I will wish you a terrific weekend today! Hugs all 'round
Any idea what this is a photo of? It's my spiffy new phone! Woohoo!
I certainly had no intention of buying a new phone. Honest! But I was starting to have problems with the old one. It was little things at first like working very very VERY slowly. And of course, I blamed it on laggy internet service. Isn't that usually the culprit? Or, if I was hiking or we were in the car I would assume that we were just in a bad connective area. It was merely a minor inconvenience.
Then my phone began changing my mind on my behalf of what I was trying to do. For instance I might be looking up the address of a restaurant and my phone would say, "nope, you need the weather" and change over to the weather app. Wha??? Other times it would pop from whatever app I was using back to the main page at it's own whim. In other words, not normal cell phone behaviour.
But I didn't say anything about it to Tim (my in-house electronics and technology guru) for several reasons: #1 he's a busy guy and I hate to bother him with piddly things, #2 I was certain that whatever was wrong with the phone was my fault because I always assume that things are, #3 in the grander scheme of things it was not a big deal and #4 repair and replacement is expensive and I am always very financially anxious.
But finally one day I must have expressed some frustration where Tim could hear me so he decided to take a look. The first thing he did was to take the phone out of it's protective case.
Side bar: The protective case is ESSENTIAL. I drop things. About two minutes after getting my last phone I dropped it twice, one of the times face down, thereby cracking the screen. Thank goodness there was that clear plastic covering on it that held it together!
ANYWAY, as soon as the phone was out of that protective case I heard Tim say, "uhoh". That is never a good thing to hear. He showed me the problem:
Do you see how the back of the phone is lifting? That's because there is a bulge. There should be no bulge. The bulge is bad. Ok this is not something he can fix.
So because Tim is a very nice man, he immediately ordered a new one for me. It's basically the same as my old phone, just a newer model. It's slimmer and longer. The slimmer is nice because it's not quite as heavy but the longer is a bit of an issue because it doesn't fit quite so well in my pocket. That is when I'm wearing clothes that actually have pockets.
Another side bar: Why is it that girl-clothes have lousy pockets? And worse, sometimes no pockets at all? Who do I speak to about this? Who is in charge of deciding who gets pockets and who doesn't?
I'm certainly not going to quibble about whether or not my phone fits into the pockets that may or may not exist in whatever I'm wearing. I was exciting about having a new phone! Woohoo! But very concerned about having no protective cover. I was honestly afraid to even pick it up for fear that I would do what I often do and, unintentionally, drop it.
The few times I used it at all over those first couple of days, I mostly used the phone while it was laying safely on the counter. If I absolutely felt it necessary to bring it with me, I lifted it ever so carefully and slipped it into the purse pocket made especially for that purpose. And then of course reversed the process once we got back home.
Meanwhile, Tim also ordered a new protective cover for me. But this one is different. It's like a little book! Probably because of what happened last time (protective cover on back and sides so of course I dropped it face down!) the new cover truly encases it completely! And as a bonus it has little slots for whatever I choose to put in there. Cool! It looks like this:
I don't know if you can tell in the photos but it's navy blue so it goes with my purse which is awesome. Makes it look very intentional. I feel kind of fancy now. It's about the size of a small clutch purse so I can carry it easily and if I do ooops and drop it, the entire thing is completely covered and it's unlikely that I will do real damage. Whew!
On the other hand, it's now definitely too big for my pocket. The old phone "just" fit in the pocket of my hiking shorts. Dang! What options do I have now? Does that mean I have to take my purse with me when I hike? Coz that's not going to work for me at all. First of all it would probably ruin my purse (and I REALLY love my purse). Secondly, a purse would be seriously in the way, one more dang thing hanging from my shoulder and kind of stupid looking. Who hikes carrying a purse! Or do I have to just hold my phone in my hand?
What it probably meant was that I would be hiking without a phone even though I have already added the 'All Trails App' to it because this app has been a mile saver for Joy and I more than once while we are out on Photo Safari! BUT frankly it's more important for me to bring my camera and water bottle in a holder which has a long strap.
I find that I need at least one free hand while hiking. One to carry the camera and one free hand for moving vines and fronds out of the way, or grabbing onto trees as I slip/slide down a slope or for balance while crossing a stream on a log or slapping at mosquitos or ....... well you see what I mean. I definitely need one free hand. I cannot be carrying my phone even in it's new cutiecute case.
So when Tim saw that the new case does not fit in my pocket OR even in the zippy pocket of my water bottle carrier he ordered another case for me. It is similar to the blue one but a different colour with a design on it and has a long strap. I cannot show you a photo of that yet because it hasn't arrived. BUT it will be here this week and I am very excited! And I feel very spoiled. And Excited. I cannot wait for this new hiking phone holder to arrive!
Hard to believe I'm this excited waiting for something that is not a book. Usually I only get this kind of excited about something new to read. Although, in truth, it does kind of look like a little book so I guess it counts :)
Anyway, that's the newest thing going on here. How about at your house?
There are currently 50 states comprising the United States of America. And while I have seen many of those states, and lived in quite a few, somehow, we never lived in a state that housed the larger part of either side of my family. My mother's family were mostly in Maine and my father's family mostly in Michigan. While we spent time visiting both of those states, we never actually lived in either of them.
We did, however, live in a lot of other places. And of course since our copious travels were exclusively by car, we saw a great deal of this vast country. During those trips I learned that every state has something to offer, something worth seeing, something that makes it special. And I kept in mind at all time, that any of those places could be called to be our next home. Especially since, as a kid, I had zero input in what our next address was going to be. Instead, we just accepted the news and made the choice to find the good in the places we landed.
By the time I went to college, my immediate family was living in Connecticut and since it's cheaper to go to college in the same state that you live in, obviously I attended a Connecticut college. And so it naturally followed that I married there, had my children there and watched them grow up there. While there were many different actual addresses involved, all of them were in Connecticut, the Nutmeg State. (seriously, that's what it's called!) As far as I knew, I would be there for the rest of my life.
My sister, however, married a man in the Coast Guard and as any military family knows, there will be moving involved. I'm trying to think of all the different places she lived: Washington (state), Texas, Ohio.......is that it? All of them were far away and from the time she married (until now) the only time we saw each other was during her visits home.
And, I want to make this very clear, while we were always very close and I missed her, it felt perfectly normal in our weirdo family, to be far away from the people we loved. We had already had a lifetime of practice! Our relationship was primarily on the phone. We called each other often. If we had today's technology back then, we probably would have been Skyping and texting daily. We had No expectations that at some point in our lives we would be living in the same state again.
All of this comes up because word came down to me (via my sister) that one of my lovely readers, Maryellen you know who you are, wanted to know how on earth so much of our family ended up living here in the same general vicinity in Florida. Especially since we all came from somewhere else. Dang good question.
To date my sister and her beau live about a half hour away, both of her daughters live about an hour from me and then, of course, Tim and I are here as well. At one time, our parents lived here too. And none of us arrived at the same time. It's just crazy.
Joy and I were talking about it and she put together a little time line to help me out. It seems that her beau, Bob, already had a few rental houses down here in central Florida. He had purchased a very pretty lot on the beach in Englewood and built a house for himself also. It was just a winter home at that time. That was back in the early 1990's.
In 1999, Joy's oldest daughter, who was graduating college in Pennsylvania, accepted a job in Arcadia, Florida. So there you have it, the first full time resident in our family. Bob and Joy came down occasionally and for different lengths of time each visit.
Then in 2001, Joy's other daughter, who finished about a year and a half of college in Connecticut, decided that she needed a change of scenery and she also moved to Florida to live with her sister while she decided what to do with the rest of her life.
Coincidentally, later that same year, Joy and Bob decided to make Florida their home base and officially made the move down as well. They lived in a different town but within an hour of her kiddos.
Later that same year, I guess our parents decided that, well if you guys are going to go to Florida, we will too! It was a very spontaneous decision. So you see by 2001 most of my family was suddenly living in the same state as each other! It was a wild concept. The funniest part of it is that while flying home from another visit to Florida Family, I remember saying to Tim, I mean actually, literally saying these words "It's a great place to visit, but I would never want to live in Florida". HAHAHAHAHA That's so funny.
Tim and I, at that time were still in Connecticut. We flew down to visit now and again but our feet were firmly planted in New England's rocky soil. Our kids, on the other hand, were branching out. One at a time, they began to leave the nest and move, not just out of our home, but out of our state. Yikes! Still it's a normal, natural thing for your kids to create their own lives and we all adapted, we visited when we could and talked on the phone when we could not.
Then came the day when Tim accepted a job in Colorado and suddenly we were on the move again. And we found ourselves much farther away from my parents, my sister, my nieces and my kids. While they were all living in different states, they were at least all on the same coast. Quick and easy travel up and down the east coast. Going out to Colorado however was a slog. It was on nobody's way anywhere ever. And it was back to life as it was when I was a kid, only seeing family now and again on vacation. The biggest differences were that when we travelled to see them, we would fly (so much faster) and technology allowed us to be in even better contact on a regular basis.
But that was our life for ten or so years. We accepted it as our newest version of normal and life went on as life does. Until Tim's company did some major restructuring and WAY ahead of the pandemic, most of his people began working from home. His company has employees all over this big country of ours, except the South East part. Guess where we moved to next. Yup Florida. And here we still are.
Tim and I had long discussions about it actually. If we could live anywhere at all, and since he works from home, that is the case, we would probably choose the East Coast anyway. We love being close to the ocean. We already lived in Connecticut. Maine is beautiful but too cold. The mid-Atlantic is lovely and wow they really get hit with some bad storms year 'round. One of the worst ice storms I ever saw was in North Carolina in fact. We never really explored Georgia's coastline so I cannot speak to that. But here we are in Florida which is obviously where we are meant to be despite my earlier proclamation.
Maryellen, I hope that answers your question! ;)
I think I will kick off your happy weekend with one more Photo Safari Report. This week Joy and I tackled Deer Prairie Preserve, a place we have been quite a few times and therefore, assumed, that we knew it well. We did not bring a map and I no longer have the All Trails App on my phone (which was removed in an effort to make a little space as I seem to be running out!). As it turns out we do not know that particular Preserve quite as well as we thought.
This post will be rather short even though the hike ending up being rather long. I will call this the "We Shoulda Brought a Map" hike, coz we shoulda. I cannot honestly say that we were lost. We knew where we were. We were at the Deer Prairie Preserve........................................somewhere. It's a magnificent preserve with more than six thousand acres and 70 miles of trails! And the entire time we were somewhere inside that space. See? Not Lost! Just temporarily misplaced.
The problem is that we are curious. There we are hiking along, breathing that gorgeous early morning spring air, looking all around while traversing the, very familiar, main trail. And then we spy an interesting side trail. Ooooo, what do you suppose is down there? And that leads to a side trial off of a side trail which leads to another and........well..... you see the problem. We always start out remembering how many lefts and rights we took but after awhile, it gets a little confuzled.
At some point, we the sun gets higher in the sky and the temperature rises, suddenly we realize that it's been several hours and multiple miles and we are getting hot and tired. Which means it's time to turn back. And that's where the trouble starts. Was it three lefts and a right? Or three rights and a left? We are crazygirls. Obviously, eventually we did get back. And we were smart enough to bring water. Just not a map.
But we did see some pretty things along the way. You ready?
First of all, the water. This is one of the prettiest of all ponds. In fact, I don't think it's a pond, I think it's just a wide spot in a river. But don't quote me on that as I do not know it for fact. Whatever it is, it's beautiful:
Then of course, as always, there were birds. Because there is so much lush foliage, while we can hear the chirping little feathered fiends, we cannot always see them. But we know that they are up there in the sprills and the fronds laughing at us. Sometimes we can see the movement as they hoppity hop from branch to branch and then suddenly launch themselves like tiny rockets to another tree where they do the same dance. I got a few photos, but they are not particularly good ones. Still a bird is a bird:
There were a lot of butterflies and dragonflies all around us but I only got one photo of a butterfly, zero dragonflies and one unidentified bug. It seems that thistles are very popular with the insect crowd:
I do have a few other botanicals to show you. By now you are well aware of how much I love flowers!
Most of the trails are very long and very straight and thickly lined with trees. The largest percentage of those trees are old, noble, tall and straight But every once in awhile there are some unexpected curves in the road and some unexpected tree shapes. Of course they all catch my eye;
Other wildlife? Well there was a squirrel and a rabbit. I suppose that counts. I have no doubt that there were a LOT of other wild critters about but they are smart enough to be far away when humans are around.
The rest are just randos which are, of course, my favourites:
There you have it, the "We Shoulda Brought a Map" Photo Safari Report. Next time, we will remember to bring the dang map. We had a great (Very Long) hike, got some good exercise, decent photos and of course had the pleasure of each other's company, so it was a success in my eyes.
I wish you a Happy Weekend! Hugs all 'round.
I've always been a big fan of history. Not how it's taught in most schools of course because that is So Boring! A litany of memorized names/dates/places is excrutiatingly dull. But people are not dull, people are endlessly fascinating and history is about people.
While I will read, literally, anything with words, when I have a choice I always reach for some bit of historic fiction, basically fiction based on fact. Also love biographies, stories of time -travel, memoirs and just plain factual books about things and people of long ago. I love old buildings, old houses, old places that still carry the echoes of time.
One of the things we adore about where we live is that it is, relatively speaking, an historic town. While it's not even 100 years old (yet, it's coming up very soon) Venice has embraced and celebrated it's history and has done a fine job of preserving as much of it as possible. Still, what we are seeing quite often now are the older homes being torn down and brand new homes built in their place. It seems as if every week another old house disappears and Poof! In a very short time a brand spanking new house appears. It's like magic.
I do not begrudge the new owners the right to build the house of their dreams. Good for them. But at the same time, we are watching the vintage charm of the island slowly vanish, one bite at a time. And its very sad. BUT our city is trying. The powers that be in Venice are always working to find a way to be respectful of both the past and the future.
Recently Tim and I were in Sarasota and because we had no other plans at that moment, we parked the car, got out and walked around the older downtown part. It was absolutely delightful. Wonderful, older, quirky, interesting buildings for blocks.
Then just past some very odd destruction/construction, we stopped to admire one particular building and one of the shop owners came out to talk to us. According to her, the absolutely lovely building that her shop was in has been sold and will soon be torn down. Shocked, we asked why it couldn't just be fixed up. Well it turns out that since it's an older building, it's far out of current building code. And therefore, no insurance company will cover it. Rather than invest the money into bringing it up to code the new owner will simply tear it down and put up something new. I'm sure it is primarily a financial decision. It is most likely simply cheaper to replace than restore.
And that's what it would be a loving restoration rather than a renovation.
We did see one building where they were trying - and points for trying - to find a compromise. They tore down MOST of the building but kept the facade and were building a brand new modern building behind it. Somewhere along the line I suppose they will tie the two together.
Most of downtown Sarasota is now Giant Buildings that look very modern, very sleek, quite similar and, forgive me please this is just my opinion, soulless and boring.
This is a photo that I found online of Bayfront Sarasota. It's impressive for sure. But more and more of the city is looking like this:
And less and less of the city looks like this: By the way the building below is the home is John and Mabel Ringling (yes that Ringling).
I understand and completely agree that we cannot and should not save every old building. But there has to be a middle ground. The architecture of a city sets the tone. Once every charming (that word again), endearing, historic, quaint, older building is gone, the city completely changed and it's history is forgotten. And worse, once the memories of it are gone, it will be as if those people, and those events never existed. It will just be a footnote in some dusty, dull, schoolroom class listlessly memorized by children for a test. And once the test is taken, it will be forgotten.
That makes me very sad.
Since I do not live in Sarasota there is little that I can say or do about historic preservation, but I wish that somebody would while there is still time. And meanwhile, I love that I live in a city that loves and cares about it's past and at the same time, is looking to the future. And even better they are trying very hard to find a way to somehow meld the two seamlessly.
This may be the only flower that Joy and I saw on our last Photo Safari, which is unusual. It's a pretty one though :) One of the places we hike very frequently, Carlton Reserve, has this access point across the street from it's entrance, that we've eyed but never checked out until last week. Actually, come to think of it, I am not actually certain that it does belong to Carlton. But it belongs to somebody and it's across the street and there were trails soooooo we checked it out.
I will call this the Spring Fragrance Hike because that was the thing I noticed the most. I cannot really take a photo of a fragrance, which is a shame because it was delicious. I should be bottled. Even without flowers (or flowers that are readily seen) Spring smells so good.
Every season has a fragrance - even here where the temperatures are pleasant nearly every day of the year. And spring is the very best of all of the seasonal scents out there. The florals of course, but also the green, and more than that the new green. The baby leaves and the fledgling blossoms and bright green baby grasses coming up. The sun warmed soil and sea tinged air is different in spring than any other time of year and I cannot get enough of it. I find myself deep breathing as we walk instead of paying attention to my surroundings and finding things to take pictures of ;)
Oh never fear, I managed to get a few. We started out seeing a deer. They are always so pretty and delicate. And of course always remind me of Bambi.
We did see a few birds. The best was a flock of Cedar Wax Wings. Of course I had no idea what kind of bird they were but Joy did. She is a walking bird encyclopedia! They were hop hop hoping around within a tree, rarely pausing, and then all of a sudden the entire gang would raise up into the sky and, as a group doing this amazing synchronized flying, swoop around the sky. I was too busy marveling at the murmuration to get a photo of them flying but I did get one in a tree. Here are the birds:
Joy told me later that the cedar wax wings sometimes eat these certain kinds of berries and get, effectively, drunk on them which not only surprised me, but the mental image of drunken birds trying to do that synchronized flying cracked me up. Sorry. Lowbrow humour. (sill made me laugh)
We saw lots of butterflies but I only captured a few and yes, in case you are wondering, the second butterfly is indeed standing on dung. Horse poop to be specific. Sometimes nature is mysterious. Why on earth would a beautiful butterfly intentionally land on horse poo? I have no idea and the butterfly wasn't talking.
The rest of the photos could be best classified as Rando's I suppose. So here we go:
So that was it, the Spring Fragrance Hike with almost no flowers! Like I said, nature is mysterious. But awesome. Who knows what we will discover on our next photo safari!
As we all know, I have a complicated relationship with automobiles. I do not like driving at all and avoid it whenever possible, but I do know how to drive and at the very least, I drive once a week to the grocery store. Though truth be known, I would even walk there if it wasn't for the fact that my ice cream would melt on the way home.
Further I acknowledge how very small my world would be if I didn't have the means to get from Place A to Place B quickly and efficiently. (with someone else driving obviously) For example, we find ourselves going up to Sarasota with an unexpected frequency. It is the closest, "big" city to us so naturally it has more variety to offer by way of shopping, restaurants, entertainment and even medical needs. It's less than twenty miles away, which translates to roughly a half hour of driving given stop lights, bridges, speed limits and traffic. Thirty measly minutes. In a car. If I had to walk twenty miles it would take me, I don't know, three years or something? Actually it's more like 7 hours. So, there you go. I admit that driving in some cases just makes more sense.
But cars are expensive to purchase, expensive to maintain and are bureaucratically expensive (taxes, registration and so forth). AND they are complicated and moody. If one tiny thing is not quite to their satisfaction they get all snotty and refuse to perform. Which leads to yet another expense - taking them to the repair place to be worked on. And it's never small money, it's always Big Buckerooties.
In the olden days, before computers, cars were a lot easier to work on. It was a normal thing for people to change their own oil, adjust spark plugs and replace various belts and filters. Even I knew how to do a few things. But back then not only were the issues pretty straight forward, but there was room to work on the car. Some of them had engine compartments so big you could just about climb inside to fix it!
But now? Nope, it's small inside, very compact I think is the word. And it's all computerized and the tools are specialized and well, it's unusual now for most people to be able to work on their own cars. The first car I had that I couldn't fix was my Fiat. I bought it when I started college. The first thing that needed to be done on it was very small. A tiny thing. Something that anyone (including me) could do. Except, as it turned out, suddenly the tools I needed for the job, I did not have. Why? Because it required Metric Tools. I didn't have any metric tools. Nobody I knew had them. Nope. It had to go to the garage to be fixed. And that was the beginning of the end of me doing anything to any car I owned.
Which just makes the whole car-thing more mysterious, and complicated and the pain-in-the-assedness of it grew exponentially. As did the expense. So I'm sure you will understand when I explain that when I experienced a little car trouble recently, my first thought was a money panic.
I was on my way to the grocery store. It's not really very far away, maybe a mile? But again, multiple heavy bags of groceries, one of which most likely has ice cream in it, means driving and not walking. So there I am tooling merrily along the road. It's a pretty drive actually with lots of trees and flowers and pretty houses, and a meridian that has even more trees. As I approached the first big intersection the car began lugging.
I honestly do not know if that is the actual word for it or not, but that's what I call it. It was lurching forward and hesitating over and over again. Dang! The intersection was busy and I was rather hemmed in with parked cars on my right, another full lane of traffic to my left, cars ahead of and behind me. All I could think of to do was have one foot on the brake and one on the gas at the same time, nursing the car through the red light. (Of course it was a red light, isn't it always in that situation?)
Finally the light turned green and we moved ahead, the engine smoothed out and I'm thinking, "What the heck was that all about?" And that's when it quit. I mean it just stopped. Dang. I managed to guide it to the side of the road and there I sat, in the bicycle lane and the intersection of Harbour and Venetia. Dang. Immediately I went into money panic mode. I had no idea what was wrong but I was positive that whatever it was, it was going to cost a lot.
I tried to start the car again, if for no other reason than to put the windows down. It gets hot very quickly in a closed up car y'know. It would start for a split second and then quit again. Ratz. I waited 5 minutes and tried again. Over and over with no results. Finally I called Tim. It was his car before it was my car so maybe there was some sort of trick that he knew about that would snap it back to normal. But nope. It was time to call Triple A. That is why we have it after all, right?
So I called and we did the dance and the fellow on the other end of the line was very very nice. But ultimately the answer was that yes they would send a tow truck to take the car to the shop but that the wait time was about two hours. Two hours?? Dang! Well if that's what it is, then that's what it is. But I'm absolutely going to be waiting OUTSIDE of the car. I was pouring sweat and flushed bright red by that time. As I was stepping out of the car though, Tim pulled up behind me. Yay! I am saved!
He did some sort of magic and, eventually, managed to get the car started again. The engine sounded just fine, as if none of that other foolishness had happend. Therefore the decision was made to cancel the tow truck and Tim would follow me back home. The grocery shopping could wait. OK. I am on board with that. So I called Triple A back and I was put on hold. We waited (In Tim's nice cool car) for about fifteen minutes. Well it's is kind of crazy to just sit and wait on the side of the road, we decided, so instead we would stay on hold but go home because we were mere minutes away.
Tim had custody of my phone on hold (as he is capable of driving AND talking on the phone at the same time whereas I am barely capable of driving while I'm driving. We arrived home safely and with no other issues, still on hold buy the way and went back into the house. Tim handed me the phone, still on hold, and he went back into his office to get back to work.
It was probably a good 30 minutes or more of being on hold before I got somebody who, it turns out, was in Colorado. So they have to transfer me to Florida. GEEZ! Long story slightly shorter, eventually, I was able to talk to the right person and cancel the tow truck. Which also means cancelling the expense of a car repair. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.
The car seems to be fine now although every time I slide into the drivers seat I admit I have a little anxiety about whether or not we are going to arrive at our destination without any drama or not. We still have no idea what the problem was but whatever it was seems to have self-corrected. And that alone is kind of wierd. But self-correct is free and I'm all in favour of that.
Meanwhile, my relationship with automobiles remains...................................complicated.
The forest is full of muppets! No, no, no, that's just me being silly. But Joy and I were out on Photo Safari last Friday. It was a gorgeous day that, of course, started a wee bit darker and overcast than we preferred, but still a gloomy day in the forest is still better than a sunny day a lot of other places, right? We will call this report, the One Bluebird Report because that is my best photo from Friday.
That one really turned out well. Bluebirds are so pretty anyway that it's hard to take a bad photo of one but I am especially pleased with this one. We did see a few other birds but not many which was a surprise. Just wasn't a very "birdie" day I suppose. It happens.
It was early enough and overcast enough to make for some spooky tree and sky shots though. I like those. They are kind of moody and emo and well sometimes, it suits me. I'm not always sunshine and roses, y'know, just mostly. And it was fascinating to watch the forest around us change as the day went from dark and dreary to so very bright and happy :)
Most of my shots from that day ended up being botanicals. And the vast marjority of those are wildflowers and therefore I have no idea what their names are. Some of them are so teeny tiny that they are barely noticeable. Others are big and bold in in your face. But I love each and every one of them:
A few bugs:
And no rando's today!
As always it was a wonderful hike and a great time! Hope you enjoyed coming along on the One Bluebird Hike!
Behold, the Easter Cake! I know it's not traditional. But I don't care. It 's a damned fine cake and the decorations, while not fancy, are tasty and Easter coloured, so it counts!
Our Easter dinner was not traditional either. Ham or Lamb would be the more standard Easter Table fair, but I made a roast chicken. Untraditional, but excellent. We enjoyed it :) With green beans, mashed potatoes and biscuits, it was delightful.
Clearly in our family, we are not overly concerned with piddly little things like cultural traditions. We are our own family with our own traditions and mostly that means doing whatever we please. It might be the same thing year to year, or it might be completely different one holiday to the next. We might absolutely ignore a holiday or on the other hand we could play it up to the max.
Some holidays we are alone, just the two of us. Some holidays we have been travelling and yet other holdays we have spent with family and/or friends. There are no set rules with us. We could just as easily have had pizza or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as the roast chicken and it would still have been Easter. See that's the thing, regardless of what you do or what you eat or who you are with, it's still the Holiday. That part does not change.
We enjoyed the heck out of the day. We slept late, had a nice breakfast, relaxed and watched a little TV. Tim took a jaunt over to the Jetty for a bit after doing a few house projects and I vacuumed and washed the floors (something I have been intending to do all week and FINALLY got around to it). We put together our Easter Meal and and enjoyed our dessert afterwards.
We coloured no eggs, there was no hunt, no "Easter" decorations and while at one time there was Easter candy in the house, we both bought and ate that weeks ago. It was a perfectly lovely Easter Sunday for us. Maybe not your cuppa peeps, but it was perfect for us.
Hope yours was exactly what you wished it to be :)
I am starting to feel the need for a little more elbow room. It is getting a wee bit crowded around here. I took the above photo last month while looking across the channel from Venice to Nokomis (the next town north of us). And I remember thinking when I took the shot, "Yup that pretty much sums it all up".
Initially I thought it was just my own post pandemic adjustment. You know what I mean? During lock down and the subsequent however many months (years!) there were no crowds anywhere. If, for some reason, there were more than 3 or 4 people in any one spot, they all stood the mandated six feet apart which means, no crowds. In fact, the businesses that remained open set things up in such a way that there were limited numbers of people allowed in and never a hint of congestion in the aisles of the shops. Any gatherings were frowned upon so it was just the occasional glimpse of a one person walking their dog through a park all alone. I suppose I just got used to it. Which means that now that the restrictions have been lifted, we are , once again, seeing sights like this on a beach, and quite honestly, it is taking some getting used to.
I kept telling myself that I had just forgotten what it's like here, especially during season, which is effectively the winter months. And then of course I assumed that I was just going through the growing pains of re-adapting to being around larger groups of people again. Perhaps it was always like this and I had just forgotten.
However, it seems that my first instincts were correct. The numbers are in. There actually are more people here. A lot more. To be fair, yes, during the winter season, of course, there will always be a lot more people here. This is a seaside town and a damned adorable one too. Of course people want to vacation here, or even buy a second home and winter here. So the extra population during the cooler months, sure, I get that. But this is extra extra. According to an article I recently read, the seasonal population alone for Florida is up 20%.
And there then there is the upswing in year 'round people. Not just tourists and seasonals, but full timers like us. Apparently Florida is still attracting more new residents than any other state. Wow! These numbers are from the 2021 census figures. Records show that 220,890 new families moved to Florida from other states in the year ending July 1, 2021 which is an average of 605 people a day. Holy Cats! Everybody, shove over and make room!
I get it. I completely understand why so many people are moving to Florida. I mean, after all, six years ago (well one month shy of 6 years) we did the same thing. No state income taxes is kind of a big draw as is the weather. We only shovel sunshine here. Living near the ocean calls to a lot of people too. And Florida is a good sized state, it seems that there ought to be enough room for everybody, right? And it's a well known fact that the cost of living is cheaper here. Or at least it used to be.
Things change. Probably because so many people are moving to Florida housing costs are soaring and while we don't have heating bills to contend with as other parts of the country do, you better have a good hard working air condtioner because you are absolutely going to use the heck out of it. Supply Chain issues affected us just like every other state along with the rising cost of fuel and everything other dang thing that is raising the price of pretty much everything. What I'm saying is that that low cost of living that Floridians used to brag about, isn't so low anymore.
And you know how there is a need for employees in just about every business where ever you live? Yeah, we have that down here too. Not enough office staff, not enough clerical staff, not enough retail staff and absolutely not anywhere near enough restaurant staff. So let's combine that with way way way more people here. And what you now have is a serious need for more patience and understanding.
I heard somebody grumbling about how "You'd think that they would accomodate us better. Do they not want our business?" Geez folks. Of course they want your business. Everybody is just doing the best that they can. The roads are more crowded, the parking lots are more full, the shops are bursting at the seams and the wait lines at restaurants are longer than they are ever been.
It's the price of living in, or at least visiting Paradise. It seems that the word is out. Everybody wants their own piece of this Utopia and I certainly do not begrudge anyone their dream. Just try to remember that it's not just Your dream. That fantasy is shared by a LOT of other folks, I mean a LOT! No one person is any more important than another. Be patient, calm down, wait your turn. There is enough Florida to go around if you just take a breath and wait a beat.
As for me and the rest of the locals, we are waiting to see how small our small town gets once summer rolls around. Traditionally, we were always patient and willing to share our beautiful Venice with all of the visitors and winter dwellers and equally willing to wave goodbye in the spring when they went back home. Then we would be so happy to have our peaceful, quiet, charming little town back with no crowds on the beaches and no lines at the restaurants. '
Perhaps those days are gone forever. I guess we will find out soon enough.
Groovy! These pictures take me back quite about four decades! (Dang I'm old!)
The peace symbol, in whatever colour or design, was a big part of my teenaged years. We wore it on our shirts, in our jewelry and on our barrettes. You could see them inked on sneakers, embroidered on denim and painted on our faces and on buildings. We flashed those peace signs with our fingers in the air with the same ease that other might wave hello or goodbye. And we meant it too.
I think that as symbols go, the peace symbol is an esthetically pleasing one and I love what it stands for. Peace. What a great idea, a terrific goal, and a lovely wish to bestow on others.
But I never noticed, until just the other day that the hand sign for peace gas, the Vee points up:
but the other peace sign from my era has the vee pointing down:
Do you see it? Isn't that odd? They are opposite one another. I don't' know of any other symbols that mean the same thing but appear as the converse. Wierd! So of course I had to look it up.
Naturally! Was that even a question?
Soooo as it so happens, the hand sign for Peace actually began in World War II as a sign for Victory. It's a V. I get that. During the Anti-Vietnam War protests in the 1960's this sign was appropriated by an entire generation to instead indicate Peace. Kind of flipping it's meaning around. It was a crazy time.
On the other hand, the bisected circle with the upsidedown V in it, always stood for peace in a way. It was introduced by one Gerald Holtom in Britain as a symbol for those marching for Nuclear Disarmament. It's created from the flag semaphores representing the letters N and D (nuclear disarmament obviously). Mr. Holtom also reportedly said he was inspired by artist Francisco Goya's piece: "The third of May 1808" wherein a peasant stands distraught, arms at his side slightly out from his body and pointing downward in front of a firing squad (suggesting the upside down Vee shape). Yikes!
So I'm not wrong. One peace sign vee's upward and the other downward. Very Very unusual.
There are other peace signs of course. There is the traditional olive branch which dates way way back to something like 5th Century Greece. And then of course the dove is also a sign of peace which I suppose is even older since it's based on the Bible story of Noah's Ark. And speaking of the bible, some early Christians adopted the dove with an olive branch in it's beak as one of their signs. That's kind of sweet don't you think?
Sometimes the olive branch and/or dove are seen combined with a dagger or arrows as a peace and war kind of theme. Of course, that one is nearly always in someway governmental. No surprise there. Nor is the broken rifle as a sign of peace a shock. Even if you didn't speak the same language, offering someone a broken rifle clearly indicates that you have no ill intent. Or in other words, you offer peace. Nice.
I suppose waving a white flag is sort of a sign of peace. Generally it means surrender or indicates a desire for, at the very least, a truce. Which while it may not strictly mean Peace exactly, at the very least does not mean war.
There is also the lion and the lamb symbolism. It's a very old peace symbol and in fact is represented on one of the oldest coins ever minted, from around 800 BC, in Greece. It is another one taken from the bible, about predator and prey laying down together in peace. It's a lovely story on paper but in real life, I doubt that the outcome would be as nice. Still it is a legitimate symbol of peace.
There are other Peace symbols in other countries and cultures of course, such as the beautiful paper cranes from Japan and the white poppies from the UK. I think it's a beautiful thing that every country has a symbol for Peace, not just the words but a representational symbol. That says to me that most of us share that desire. We have dozens of different ways to express peace.
Now if we could only achieve it.
I have always said that am not into sports and further, that I have no competitive spirit. As it so happens, those were both bald faced lies. It turns out that it all depended upon the "sport".
Once I found cooking and baking competitions, I was all in. I mean, it's all there. It's a competition after all: a good sized group of people with the same basic knowledge, talent and training and in the end only one winner. They wear a "uniform" of sorts - usually an apron but still, they are all wearing it. The game is tough, it's tricky and any one teensy mistake can mean the end. People are eliminated from the game. AND it's physical. Oh yeah, don't' let anybody tell you any differently. These players get sweaty and out of breath, they are racing around top speed, crashing into each other and obstacles, they injure themselves and there are burns, blood and sometimes medics on the field. It gets exciting.
Just like any sport.
I am always impressed by the extensive knowledge of the cooks and bakers. I mean, I have a fair knowledge of cuisines. Even if I have never made something, I usually have an idea of what the dish is and how it is made But sometimes it's out there. When the moderator calls out what they have to make, occasionally I have to look it up. I remember one of the first ones I had no previous knowledge of was a Baltimore cake. Ok now you are making stuff up. Baltimore cake? Turns out it's a white cake with a fruit and nut filling. That was new to me. I love learning new stuff.
I heard one the other day that was also an addition to my knowledge pool. The challenge was a "Cookie Salad". A what now? Have you ever heard of it? I certainly had not. I like both cookies and salads but I just didn't see how they went together. As it so happens, it's more of a deconstructed trifle. I'm not sure where the name originated. The traditional one looks like this:
It seems to have originated in Minnesota and North Dakota and is very populated with children and at potlucks according to Wikipedia. Hmmmm.
At any rate, the competition involving "cookie salad" had two European bakers in the group, one from Italy and one from France. When they heard the name of what they were supposed to make, they both just stopped and starred at the host with blank looks on their faces. First time I've ever seen that happen and I cannot begin to tell you how much better it made me feel. Ok, good, it's not just me. The host had to explain to them what a cookie salad was. The gentleman from Italy smiled, shook his head and said softly, "Only in America". I laughed out loud.
And here is where the big tension comes in. The host throws out the name of the dish they are supposed to create and then tells them to put their own spin on it, sooooo make the dish but make it differently, gotcha. And then assigns each of them something specific that they have t include like perhaps a specific fruit and/or type of cookie and/or number of varieties of cookies that have to be included. Sometimes the assignment seems absolutely contrary to the dish. Like a dessert, baked dessert made with root vegetables. That was a thinker. The competitors are then given a ridiculously brief period of time to produce this dish. Naturally, since this particular game was the Spring Baking Competition, the dish also had to be decorated to represent spring. And above all, it must look and taste PERFECT!
As soon as the host says,"Begin" there is an explosion of activity. Everyone is racing around, flinging flour and sugar in every direction imaginable. The bakers are totally focused, they slam pans in and out of the oven, the giant mixing bowls are all going at the same time and it sounds like a freight yard.
The host calls out how much time they have left periodically and, unimaginably, the bakers kick into a yet higher gear. They stir so hard and so fast that I half expect the bowls to rise in the air. Somewhere in the last 15-30 minutes, the host calls a halt to instruct them on the "Twist"; one extra thing, that they totally did not know about or prepare for (how could you possibly?) that must be included in the dish. Some bakers are delighted, other are furious, but once again, they call upon their last bit of energy and creativity and as they near the finish line, panting, sweating, red faced, still they are proud of the amazing dish that they have miraculously created.
Now it's up to the judges. And that's when I hear at least one judge say in every dang game, "Your decorations look a little rushed..." Which is when I start yelling at the television, "Of course it's rushed you moron. You just asked them create something that takes at least 3 hours in 90 minutes!" Oh yeah, it gets interactive.
One by one, the competitors are eliminated and each level of the "battle" because let's face it, that's what this is, gets more and more difficult, the time constraints get more unrealistic, the twist gets twistier, the dish more obscure, the requirements more ridiculous. The expectation is higher and competition becomes more fierce and the tension in our living room is knife edged.
The funny part is, I honestly don't care who wins. I usually root for the underdog, just coz that's what I do, but as people get eliminated, the underdog continually changes so clearly I have no real allegiance.
Then at the end, once the winner has been announced, in the same way that ball players shake hands at the end of the game, the baking competitors usually give each other a hug. I love that.
So you see, there is my sport, my competitive fervor lives. It just resides in the kitchen. And at the end of this competition, this sport, you can sit down and eat the results. Yum.
For the first time in just shy of a month, Joy and I went out on a photo safari yesterday! YAYAYAYAY! So today, this is the It's Nice To Be Back Hike! Obviously, therefore, this is a photo safari report. And thank you to Joy for the photo at the top of the page :)
We did a relatively short local hike to kind of ease back into it. Which turned out to be a great plan because Curry Creek - the preserve we were hiking - was gorgeous. It was a beautiful morning, a little cloudy at first, a little breezy perhaps, but still a lovely springy sort of day.
We learned something yesterday. Well I suppose it's something that we always knewbut yesterday during our hike, we actually officially discussed it. Instinctively, whenever we stop to observe or take a photo of one thing, we also make it a point to really look around the place where we are stopped. Yes we got the photo we were after, but now what else is in the area? In this way, we often discover other things, photo worthy, that we probably would not have noticed if we weren't already stopped. (What is she talking about?)
Well for instance. We saw a dragonfly and stopped to see where it would land. Got that shot (yay)
And because we were already at a dead halt looking around, we saw the cutest little lady bug:
We probably would never have seen that itty bitty bug if we weren't already at a dead halt. And it kept happening over and over throughout the hike.
We might see a bird for instance (we saw many)
Which, in turn, helps us to notice some flowers, tiny delicate little blossoms that are easily over looked:
Of course there was also the caterpillar mine field to traverse. It's the time of year. Spring means caterpillars. And they practically carpetted the ground. I'm not joking. We took turns looking down on the trail. If one of us was close to treading on one, the other would yell out freeze: (That's Joy in state of Freeze to allow a caterpillar the right of way on the trail)
They caterpillars are adorable little critters, all furry and hungry and moving surprisingly fast:
Turns out that these particular caterpillars are of the echo moth. Which eventually will look like this:
Funny how such a brightly coloured caterpillar will turn into a relatively neutral coloured moth eh? Mother Nature is a funny girl.
What else did we see? Well, my goodness, the perserve itself of course with all the trees and trails and beautiful sky
Some seriously goofy squirrels:
The birds playing hide and seek:
Almost everything is now green green green. Well, almost everything. There's always those rebels;
I guess that kind of sums up most everything, except perhaps the rando file. You know how I feel about that one:
It's nice to be back :)
The above is a (poor quality) photo of my favourite spot on the sofa. And that is important because I am speaking out in favour of naps today. Yes I have recently discovered that I am strongly Pro Nap. And that is kind of a surprise for me because I was not raised in a nap-taking family. The only naps that were approved were if you were under the age of 5 or had a high fever which effectively rendered you unconscious. Otherwise, if the sun was up, you were expected to be up too. "Only lazy people sleep during the day, and this family is not lazy" was what I was raised to believe.
I come from a long line of very hard workers and there ain't nothin' wrong with that. In fact, a good work ethic should be applauded. And since that is the culture in which I was raised, it was a perfectly normal thing to always be productive, always be busy, always movin' and groovin', getting stuff done. Which isn't hard to do because there is always so much that needs to be done!
I remember when my boys were babies and then toddlers, which means constantly being sleep deprived, and hearing people tell me that I should sleep when they were sleeping. I thought that was hilarious. The only time I was really getting anything done was when they were sleeping. If I slept too, nothing would ever be accomplished. Besides, remember, in my family, if the sun is up, we are up and working. Crazy people and their crazy advice :) hah!
You know how it is when you have children and you work full time, it feels as if you are always racing around top speed. Weekdays were about basic survival, getting the kids off to school and yourselves out the door to work, running errands on lunch hours and on the way home and between chauffering kids from point A to point B. The weekends were crammed top to bottom with housework and yard work and kids stuff, Always rushing and running from one thing to another. There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done. Frankly, it's exhausting. Now add in being a chronic insomniac. Yeah. That's me. I have spent most of my life being tired. And honestly, after awhile, you just get used to it and it's a normal state of being. But even if there were the occasional quiet moment when I suppose I could have just laid down for a few moments to catch a few winks it would never have dawned on me to do so. In fact, if you had suggested it, I would have thought you were crazy. In our family, we work, remember? And if you are tired, well that's just how it is.
Fast Forward to now. The kids are long since grown and gone and out in the world with their own families. It's just Tim and I now. We don't even have any pets to be furry "children". Tim is still working full time but I am retired. My time is my own. Our house is small and doesn't require nearly as much time to take care of. Both Tim and I are fairly neat and clean people so nothing gets too dirty, or too messy, not really. I still don't sleep well, but taking nap never dawned on me as a solution. In my family we are workers, not sleepers! Even though I am no longer working with a house full of kids, I still manage to fill every moment of every day and feel useful and productive.
But about a year ago, maybe a little less, I noticed that every once in awhile, usually late afternoon, I would have maybe a half hour before it was time to start dinner and everything else on my gotta-do list was done. So I would sit down for a few minutes to read. I would grab a book, sit down on my favourite corner of the sofa and, with every intention of reading, promptly fall fast asleep, book in hand, still unopened.
The first time it happened, it really rattled me. I woke up disoriented. Dang! What the heck? My little snooze was brief. Not more than 15 or 20 minutes, plenty of time to still get dinner underway, but I still felt so incredibly guilty. Oh My Gracious! Red-faced, I leapt to my feet and hustled my bustle into the kitchen to get back to work. That's what we do in the daytime, we work!
I assumed it was an anomaly, a one-off. Was I getting sick perhaps? Did I have a fever? Nope. I was perfectly fine. Although I was mystified by why it happened, after awhile, I stopped berating myself over it and moved on. Until it happened again. And again.
Well as it turns out, nothing was going on. I was just tired. And my body was tired of being tired. So the instant I stopped, as soon as I stopped go go going all day, zooming around like a crazy person, the second I relaxed, my body said, "Enough! It's time to sleep." And so I did. I was guilt racked for the longest time. "Anyone who sleeps in the daytime is lazy" was what I heard in my head. My stupid head.
I'm over it now. Now, I adore naps. I embrace them. I invite them. My body is so much smarter than I am. It's so logical. If you are tired, you should sleep. It's a normal thing to sleep and if you aren't going to sleep at night (that part hasn't changed) then grab a few ZZ's whenever you can. It's sensible, it's logical, it's reasonable, it's rational, it's lovely.
I don't go to bed to sleep, I haven't gotten that far in my evolution. But I will lay down on the sofa, in my favourite spot, close my eyes and then as if someone flipped a switch, I am out like a light. It doesn't happen every day. It doesn't even happen every week. But every now and again, usually late afternoon, if there is nothing immediately needed of me for a little bit, I take advantage of a quiet moment and have a nap. And what's more, I no longer feel one smidgeon of guilt about it.
In our family we are hard workers. That's still true. I still work hard. But occasionally, when we are very tired, we also take naps. It's not a new family motto, just an amendment.
I made the mistake of reading the newspaper first thing this morning. Depressing is the first word that comes to mind. And I do not want to start a new month with depressing thoughts. I bet you don't want to do that either. So how about instead, I wish you a Great Weekend and a Happy April with some pictures of pretty things instead.
Here you go:
Ahhhh, I feel better now. Hope you do too.
Don't read the newspaper tomorrow, don't listen to the news, don't watch the news, don't discuss the news. Just have a one day moratorium on all media. You will feel much better, I promise.
Have a great weekend!
Well here we are, on the last day of March, which means that tomorrow is the first day of April and for lots of folks, the first day of Tornado Season. From reading the news I'm sure you have heard of the very desctructive tornado's that already happened near New Orleans. Their actual hurricane season technically begins in April so that particular tornado jumped the gun a bit.
Tornadoes are terrifying and very destructive and there's nothing we can do to stop them or even really accurately predict them. The best meteorologists can do is say that conditions are such that tornadoes are likely within a certain area. And then we, puny humans, have to make the best decisions that we can. Funny how powerless we can be. Humans! The top of the "food chain" and Mother Nature bests us over and over again.
As is my way, I thought it might be interesting to read up on tornadoes a bit. And I learnd a lot of things! For one, oddly, most of the collective information I found was between 10 and 20 years old. I'm sure that information is still being gathererd, I just didn't find the site with the most current info. And now that we know the info about I am about to spew here is a bit dusty and musty here we go.
First of all I wondered if there are any states that see zero tornadoes and, well, I found some conflicting info on that. One site said that Alaska has seen no tornadoes at all ever. Another site said that there have been four. Four! May as well be zero. So along that line very similarly is Rhode Island with only 20 in recorded weather history. Such a low number that some sites say zero. I was actually surprised about Rhode Island. It's so close to other states that I know have seen tornado activity I wonder why their number is so low? Maybe it's so small that tornadoes over look it?
On the low side also is Hawaii with 40 confirmed since 1950. But even lower is Vermont with only 1 recorded and New Hampshire registers an average of one a year. So if you are tornado phobic, I guess Vermont and New Hampshire would be the perfect places for you to live!
On the other end of the scale, Texas who is reknowned for doing things big, is the state with the most tornadoes. Of course it's a doggone big state so I suppose that has something to do with it, but between 1950 and 2011 a whopping 8,007 funnels have touched ground in the Lone Star State. Holy Cats!
Since it's a neighbor to Texas, it would be no surprising to learn that Oklahoma sees about 60 tornadoes a year, But Kansas and Florida both see more with Kansas clocking in close to 100 and Florida around 66. A lot of the tornadoes in Florida are spin off's from Hurricanes which we also see a lot of. But then, we have more land meeting water than most other states too, so I suppose that makes sense.
I thought it was interesting that tornadoes have been reported on every contient in the world EXCEPT Antartica. I guess the tornado cannot survive in the cold. The united states has more tornadoes than any country in the world, but also the US is bigger than most other countries so that must be taken into account. BUT the United States also sees stronger and more violent tornadoes than any other country. It's the perfect conditions created by the warm water currents of the gulf meeting the cold rocky mountain air that stir things up.
Here are a few other interesting tidbits that I learned about tornadoes: most tornadoes happen in the afternoon or evening between 4 and 9 pm., they most often occur in spring and summer, tornadoes can occur over water but then they are referred to as water spouts, and they are quirky and follow no particular path, hopping, skipping and jumping to one spot to another before disappearing entirely and couple of other words for tornado are Twister and Cyclone.
In it's typical unpredictable fashion, there was actually a tornado touchdown in Sarasota a couple of weeks ago. There was a little bit of structure damage and a tree that came down so I suppose it wasn't too bad. A surprise, but not as bad as it might have been.
Here's my feeling on it. There is very little in this world that we can actually control. Be smart, be prepared, have a plan but I, for one, cannot (and will not) live in a state of perpetual fear. Enjoy the good days and then hunker down and protect yourself (and your loved ones) as best you can when the bad days happen. This too shall pass.
Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Cyclones, Oh My!
I hear the collective groaning from my audience..."oh gawd, she's going to talk about books again!" heh. You know me so well. But it's not books, plural, but book, singular. One specific book. This one. Carnegie Treasures Cookbook. It's unlike any other cookbook I've ever seen and I have seen aplenty.
And now before I tell you anymore, I have to back up just a wee bit.
Perhaps you remember, about six months ago I was all aflutter about the book sale at my local library? In case you do not, the way it worked was, anyone interested showed up between the specific hours listed on the sale day with $5 in hand. For that measly five bucks the customer was given a good sized shopping bag (red and resuable yay!) and then was allowed to prowl the library book store and the tables in the lobby filling the bag to the tippity top. It was a VERY well attended event. The library staff was continually restocking shelves and restacking piles on the lobby tables because the books were gone in the blink of an eye.
There were so very many people, in fact, that "shopping" for books took a stout heart and the ability to take an elbow. Nobody was injuring anyone else on purpose, just there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement combined with very little space. I think we all came away with a few bruises.
Well, the event was apparantly, quite a success because here we are a mere six months later and already there has been a second library sale. It happened to be on a Saturday that was only a week after my surgery. I was torn. On the one hand, I love the idea of having an entire new bag of previously unread books - especially since I was still operating in a healing slo-mo kind of state but my stamina was very low and I was concerned about flying knees and elbows. Protect the Surgerical Area! Tim and I discussed it and we decided that IF we still wanted to go, we would go toward the end of the day. That way there would probably be fewer people.
It was a great plan. We arrived about an hour before it ended and we were about the only people there. Hurrah! We handed over our fiver, received our bag and hit the stacks. Except, the one thing I didn't think of, by the end of the day, there weren't very many books left. It was slim pickin's I tell ya. Dang. Oh well, then it shouldn't take very long to go through it, was my thought.
Tim carried the bag and we both perused and occasionally added a book. Ultimately we came away with about 2 dozen book. Not bad for 5 dollars! The Carnegie Book was a last minute addition. Tim spied it and while neither of us had ever even heard of it before it was a 'what the heck" kind of decision. Why not. We didn't even look inside. Just the word, "cookbook" on the cover was enough.
As it turns out, I am absolutely charmed by this book. I think "Unique" is the perfect descriptor. Published in 1984 and weighing in at a hefty full pound, even though it's missing it's paper cover and valued at around $60 bucks (I checked on Amazon), this book is indeed, a treasure.
First of all, the recipes are presented as part of a fixed menu. That's different. And very specifically, event menu's. Awesome! Here is an example:
Everything is there, the salad, the entree, the sides, the dessert and even the drink selection!
I chose this one at random. There were picnic menu's, fourth of July menu's and harvest time as events. There are regional menu's like the above but also Asian, Scottish and Middle Eastern. I noted Holiday menus as well as seasonal ideas. Brilliant idea!
Each menu comes with a descriptor, much like the waitstaff in a fine restaurant provides. I can almost hear them saying it:
They very kindly provide a photograph of the presentation of the meal which reminds me of my Jr High School Home EC teacher who always said that a meal must be a feast for the eye as well as the stomach. This is an enticing feast indeed (although to be fair if it were served in my house I can guarantee that it would NOT look like this):
All of this is followed by the recipes for each of the items on the menu (except the drinks of course). The recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow. Perfect!
And then, drum roll please, the absolutely coolest part of the entire book, artwork. What?? Yuppers. Serving as aa prelude to each menu is a photo of a beautiful and famous piece of art! For this particular one, we have a Georgia O'Keefe piece:
But as I flipped through I saw John Singer Sargeant, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassat and more. A Feast! Especially for an art lover such as myself.
Now I am going to be brutally honest. While I am positive that I am capable of making most, or perhaps even all, of the recipes in this book, the liklihood that I will make very many of them is fairly low. These are kind of high falutin' recipes. My palate is just not that sophisticated. Beets are fine. 'Beets in Caraway Cream', not so much. Chicken we like. 'Supremes of Chicken with Fresh Figs in Gin' does not not like something I will be serving. "Salmon Mouse" just sounds wrong to me. 'Bavarian Trout Soup?' ? (I'm trying to not gag at the thought)
However, 'Scandinavia Apple Cake'? That sounds yummy! And while 'Beef Braciola' sounds ambitious, it also could be a hit. 'Chilled Avocado soup' and 'Golden Potato Casserole' both sounds very possible. There are some recipes in there even for someone as picky and plebian as me.
You know what? Even if I never made a single recipe from this book, I'd still be glad that I had it on my shelf. Even if it's just for the eccentric nature of it. I am enjoying strolling through and will again and again for years to come.
Buying books at the library sale so far has been a crapshoot. It's like buying a "mystery box". You pay the money without having any idea what's in the box hoping it's at least worth what you paid. I think between both events, I have only kept a couple of the books. But then, I only keep the really good stuff. It's possible that a book is an enjoyable read and still not be a book I will keep. This particular haul was not as good (so far) as the first. I've only delved a half dozen books deep and thus far, none of them have been worth keeping. Two went into the GoodWill box within just a few pages! But this book, this one is a keeper. Totally worth the $5 investment.
Woohoo! This past Sunday was the Car Show in Venice. I love this event. With the exception of the past two years (pandemic, what ya gonna do?) the Antique Automobile Club has been having this event here since 1987 which is 30 something years. Don't make me do the math. I think this will have been our 3rd time attending.
It's an easy walk over from our house to show and it takes up a lot of space. I'm told that more than 250 cars were entered and 70 awards were given. Wow! It's always very well attended and this year even more than usual. But since it's an outside event, it doesn't feel quite so crowded as it otherwise night.
Now I will be honest, I don't know a V-8 from a Slant 6 and I don't even know what those terms mean. It's just words I've heard bandied about from car people. And I never really considered myself a "car person". Except for this show. I love the older cars. They had such style, such panache. I'm all about the little details and they have details for days:
I honestly never know what specific detail is going to be the thing that catches my attention. It might the the hood ornaments and/or fancy radiator cap. I do love those. I'm sorry that they are a thing of the past because the just are the bees knees:
Sometimes it's that front of the car. That grill, those lights, the colours, it's the whole package. And you know what they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I'm impressed:
It could be something as crazy as the steering wheel or the dashboard. Yeah, I know. I'm a little bit strange. (little bit?)
Maybe it's the tires? Why would a tire appeal to me? I don't know. I do not question my instincts I just follow them:
I could be a particularly snazzy paint job. Seriously, it could!
Is it the fins? Is it really? Am I that shallow?
Perhaps it's the trunk. And I finally learned why they call a trunk, a trunk. It was so obvious! And so literal!
Occasionally the thing that catches my eye and therefore my camera's eye are the little additions. The things that the owner adds just for fun:
Now and again, I have to admit, it's just the entire dang car. There are some that just appeal to me more than others, as a whole. Tim had a few favourites too:
I guess I got my fill of cartoon cars and super fun details and car talk. I'm good for while. But I am already looking forward to next year's car show.
After a gloomy and rainy yesterday, today is looking promising. It's much cooler and far less humid this morning. I am seeing patches of blue and bits of sunshine here and there. I have no appointments on my calendar, windows open all over the house, 3/4 of the coffee cake I made on Wednesday still remain uneaten, I have a remarkably short gotta-do list, a stack of unread books and the weekend before me. Life is good.
It doesn't take much to make me happy. Not to be too "Walden Pond" about it, but for me, there is a beauty and a truth in simplicity that is unapparelled. There is nothing wrong with a grand event or a resplendent moment but I can appreciate it best from afar. Those sorts of things are so far outside my comfort zone that it's kind of unimaginable to me. Some people shine in the spotlight, it's where they belong. They love the stage with all eyes on them and we love seeing them there. But me? Nope. Not even close. I am happiest when my life is uncomplicated and relatively quiet with no drama but a lot of laughter.
So whether you are center stage, in the audience or just walking past the theatre, I hope this weekend, you are in the place that makes you happiest.
Hugs all 'round.
A very quick post today just to celebrate spring. And you know what that means, right? We have jumped into the deep end of the floweredy time of year! Oh my gosh, everywhere you look is like being in a botanical garden!
Bougainvillea, hibiscus, bird of paradise oh yeah, all of the flowers one might associate with being tropical are fully involved. And then there's all the other things that I don't even know what are, but I love every dang petal of them. And although the photo above (which of part of my courtyard looking out) there the same shade flowers, I can only assure you that just about every colour of the rainbow is involved.
Of course that also makes this the sneezy time of year, but that's ok. I have lots of tissues. I'm a little sneezy, a little sleepy and therefore a little dopey (3 of the 7 dwarves!) but it's a small price to pay. I only have a few photos to share but enough to give you the general idea of what we get to enjoy on a daily basis,
Many of these pictures are from our own yard, but a few I took elsewhere. Doesn't matter. Pretty is pretty and we have an abundance of that. There was a ladybug on the mailbox yesterday when I went to bring in the post. I'm seeing more and more butterflies and bees. Every day something new bursts into bloom which kind of makes my heart burst into song.
All this and the beach too. Happy Spring Time!
Obviously, Joy and I haven't quite gotten back to our photo safari's yet and actually right this minute, she's out of town anyway. So I haven't had the opportunity to share with you the results of any of our hiking/photographing adventures.
So to fill that gap, I am offering up today the "Not a Photo Safari" and "Not a Hike" photo exhibition. Not long ago, Tim and I stopped by the Rookery just to see what was happening there. The what-ery, I hear you wondering? As it so happens, here in Venice (but off island) , tucked in behind the County Building and behind an RV park is an area dedicated to protecting local wildlife and educating visitors about said wildlife; in particular, birds. There is an official Audubon Welcome Center and a couple of lovely big ponds that have islands in the centers.
The ponds are surrounding by native, natural flora, which not only add to the beautiful environment but clearly are making big points with our feathered friends because they flock to the rookery. Flock, get it! What an awful pun. I should apologize, but I won't.
The rookery has recently undergone a lot of improvements so the bird population will only increase. And that is a good thing. The good folks at Aububon have even built special bat houses to help keep the insect population at bay. I have never seen it, but I have been told that if you arrive at dusk you can see the swarm (Is swarm the right word? I just checked. The correct word is colony) of bats emerging from their houses en masse and watch them flapping and flying out into the night in search of dinner. It sounds like quite an impressive sight but, I'm not sure if the awesomeness of having such a unique experience is fully outweighed by the ick factor. I'm sorry. I have no grievances with bats. I love that they eat bugs and I support their right to existence, but I'm also a little icked out by them.
Meanwhile, here are a few of the locals that we did get to view, and it's not all birds either:
The actual ponds and the fountain (and an alligator that I did not get a photo of) on the grounds bears noting as well:
We also headed up to the National Cemetery to 'visit' my dad. It may sound strange to you, but it is such a beautiful place, that when we have the time we also make it a point to just stroll the property. We were delighted and surprised to see all of the birdie visitors that were there. Oh and one tortoise:
It was a big day for birds!
So there you have it, the Not a Photo Safari. I'm sure that soon enough Joy and I will be back out there trekking through the underbrush, wandering off trail, getting lost and taking some photos of interesting and beautiful things!
This is what our beaches look like right now most of the time. Wall to wall people. I totally get why. The weather is gorgeous and well, it's the beach! Who doesn't love going to the beach? Especially when it's still very wintery where you live and you are on vacation, right? So quite honestly, even though it's just a few blocks away, while I often find myself driving or walking by the beach, right now, I'm not spending much time actually on the beach. Just too crowded for my taste. I will wait until it's either stormy, rainy, cloudy or too hot and humid for most folks. Those are my beach days. That's when I have the place pretty much to myself. I like that.
However, in the first week after my surgery when I not only wasn't allowed to do much, I didn't really feel like doing much either, but still I was starting to get cabin fever, we drove by the beach quite often. And when we could actually find a parking place (tricky this time of year which why it's awesome to live here so we can just walk over!) we made it a point to spend time at the jetty.
You know how being by the ocean is so very peaceful? I find that it's also very healing. Whether your injuries are inside or out, being by the water sometimes is just exactly what the doctor didn't prescribe (but should have)!!
It's always a beautiful place where you can watch the boats and the seabirds and there is that expansive feeling that comes with being able to see the horizon, that place where the water and the sky meet. We relished the tangy fragrance of the sea and listened to the water splash and then, suddenly, saw a dolphin breach. Now instead of just relaxing and breathing it all in, we were more alert.
Oh look, there's another, and another, and unbelievably, Another!
It was dolphin day! It's not at all unusual to see dolphins frolicking in our waters but on this day there weren't little groups or two or three. Nope, there were dozens. That's dozens with an "s" on the end. Oh my goodness! It was awesome! They seemed to be everywhere. Every time we thought we had seen them all, other's would pop up. It was a Dolphin Extravaganza!
It's hard to get a good dolphin picture. I never know where they are going to pop up next. And I never know what sort of shot to prepare for: is it going to be a slow and gentle breach or are they going to do that sillyfun twisting jump up into the air? Is there one? Two? More? I was surprised that we got as many photos as we did.
We sat and watched them for a very long time. And in fact, the dolphins were still having a grand old time when I pooped out and was ready to go back home. But what an exhilarating day!
We never know what we are going to find on a visit to the jetty. It's not like dolphins are on the clock. Some days we see none. On this particular day........so many! It was awesome and it was
exactly what I needed.
Just a few days later, we went over again, for the same reason, just finding a place to be that was outside of our four walls for a little bit. It was a completely different kind of ocean that day. It was grey and windy and wet so there were no dolphins. But on the other hand, there were some great waves:
Once again, exhilarating! The sound, the smell, the sight, the feel makes it a full sensory performance. It was also a lot less crowded. Not as many people are drawn to the water during a storm like we are and that is just fine with us!
It was just another wonderful and healing visit to the jetty. It is absolutely my kind of place.
They say that laughter is the best medicine and I won't argue the point. Laughter is pretty dang awesome, but a visit to the sea must come in at a close second. I know it made me feel better :)
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.