Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Monday, May 31, 2010


If you close your eyes and remember this past winter...I know you don't want to go there, but stay with me... perhaps you will remember how we escaped from my front yard with the downed trees via canoe crossing two feet of snow as we left early for a week in sunny 'tropical' Florida.  And, naturally, once we got there, warm weather...well, not so much!  It was as cold as a Minnesota fall.  Six weeks later we left once again, this time with the grandkids and their parents, for another jaunt in an attempt at finding early summer and summer was still was being held hostage somewhere down near the equator.

Our first day at the beach late last March was really not so bad...just pretty windy but not enough to blow sand in your face. We tucked behind a sand dune and when I got up to go exploring I saw this 'person' on the other side of our dune in the shelter of another little sandy hill. It was NOT that cold.  I cannot fathom what on earth he was thinking if this was the necessary costume and attitude for him to spend a day at the beach.  He should have stayed back at the condo or hotel or saved money and stayed at his home up North...or PERHAPS he was here hiding from all of his family that were holding up back at the condo avoiding the wind.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I feel sorry for him.  (This isn't you, hiding from you know who, is it?)

(Remember our troops this Memorial Day weekend if you live in the great U.S.A.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Privilege Has Its Price

My grandchildren are very privileged and we will certainly reap the problems of that in years to come, but their joy is an immediate reward.  During our week in Long Boat Key, Florida, they went to the Seafood Fest for face painting and carnival rides; they went to a zoological garden to feed animals and watch a bird show; they challenged their parents at putt-putt golf, spent days at the pool and the beach, and did Disney World as only toddlers can.  They even spent an afternoon at the children's science museum--G-Whiz.  During 'down' times they watched videos, were read stories and we even squeezed in an Easter egg hunt!  Very different than my childhood vacations which usually consisted of reading comic books under the tree on the farm after I had finished my chores.  There are pros and cons to both life styles, I guess.

We are working hard to make this gal a nature lover. But, in all fairness, the flamingo birds were much taller than her!  She did get a kick out of their pretty 'pink' color which is her favorite, of course.  Below the lights of my life  are filling the moat to the castle with least attempting this challenge.

Above my little gal gossips about Ariel with Belle at Disney World.  If you don't know who Belle is, than you are definitely not a Fairy Tale aficionado and must get with the program.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Leaving Florida with a Few Questions

This is the view from the window of the condo where we stayed.  We did not get the (more) expensive ocean view side, but the view of the marina was nice.  The problem here is that for miles and miles and miles...what used to be marsh or scrub or wild land is now houses, all the way to the freeway inland!  With this kind of growth, what is to become of this state?  

After we unpacked we saw this sign on the back of the condo door.  We were scratching our heads because in the photo below THIS is where the sprinkler heads were....

What on earth does this mean?  Clearly they have some very tall tourists or some amazing rock star parties.

Well, Florida, you did not give us warm weather, but we will visit again soon with our grandchildren and I expect you to be on better behavior.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Florida Part

As I mentioned in the prior post our drive into Florida was challenging.  It seemed that the cold wet front followed us all the way to central Florida where we stopped to visit friends.  Our friends own one of the deepest (if not the deepest) spring in Florida and they live hidden down a dirt road.  Such a nice respite to be someplace that is 'almost' original Florida.  Lets hope that the powers that be (and they are strong powers) do not take away this spring.

A Deep Freshwater Spring.

We drove further south to visit the Naples botanical garden, but discovered that it was brand new and did not have much to offer. So what we really accomplished was donating funds so that it could grow to be more interesting in years to come.

The children's garden was fun and mostly complete and a good place to bring grandchildren some day...maybe.  Maybe I will meet Beverly or Onewoman with their lovely grandchildren running through this garden on a Florida afternoon.  It seems to be designed to fit all ages and includes a tree house, climbing nets, a water place and a large sand play area.

We also stopped at the Edison/Ford summer homes-museum and spent an afternoon walking around.  It is full of industrial inventions and shows the history of much of the industrialization in our country, so we could have spent all day except hubby had to stop and talk to Mrs. Edison.  She was quite an imposing woman, but then she would have to be, to be married to Thomas, wouldn't she?. (Hubby loved this trip since everywhere we stopped, he got to do most of the talking.)

I have just a few photos of the place where we stayed down south to follow and all my outdoor stuff on Florida gets posted 'you know where."

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Returned from my cool spring days visiting in Florida. Weather was in the high 40's to high 50's and only hit the 60's on one day. Thus the only beach pictures I have were taken through the window of a bar as we watched the setting sun on Shrove Tuesday at the touristy Ft. Myers Beach area. We are not the celebratory type, so we sneaked away to an odd little room off the bar and sat at a wobbly little table to quietly watch the sunset and left the old and young folks with the feathered hats and beads to the other end of the room.  The strong wind across the beach created little feathers of rainbow dust, which was fun to watch.  A few hardy souls in coats and hats walked the shore.  These photos are for Colleen who loves the beach as much as I and who would have put on her jacket and posed for me!

As to the title of this post, why am I bummed?  Well, it is not the weather because the odd cold spring in Florida is still better than winter here.  It is not the snow and downed trees that awaited my return because they had been somewhat cleared and we were actually able to drive right up to the house on our return.  It is not the bill that will come from the young men who removed (partially) the trees.  (It is not those politicos whose statements followed us on the radio where they were using the snowstorms to denigrate Al Gore and climate change...although, I do find it depressing that such ignorance about science exists in Congressmen and that whatever school system they went through did not educate them on the differences between weather and climate and how climate change is going to produce dramatic weather changes.  If it was all in jest, then I can hardly wait to see their second act when entire cities and villages drift into the sea.)

The actual reason I am so bummed is because my Canon Digital SLR, purchased in early 2007, died yesterday.  I have no idea what happened but it will not turn on.  Changed batteries, cleaned terminals, etc. and no luck.  I called a repair place about 70 miles up the road and they said it would cost a minimum of $255 AND would take 4-6 weeks as they send it away!  I don't know if I am more depressed about the cost or the loss of a camera for so long especally as spring gets here.  (I bit the bullet and sent the camera directly to Canon at the minimum cost of $215.)

I have a bunch of travel photos to work on, so that will keep me busy while I think or perhaps EXERCISE---now that would be novel!

My point and shoot which was my back up camera no longer focuses when the zoom is on as the focus mechanism is broken when I bumped the extended lens two weeks ago, so that is limited help.  When it rains it pours...but at least the rain is melting the snow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Greener Grass

We are back from the Tampa/St.Petersburg area in Florida. The tourist season is slow and the tourist beaches were not crowded. The daily to weekly rental places were busy, but the rental houses and condos were all empty.

We spent a Friday morning in St. Petersburg and were surprised to see the contrast in activity from our nearby city. The streets were quiet and parking was easy to find. Downtown Tampa was not much busier. Clearly the recession is here.

While we were happy to see many relatives from my husband's family we also were reminded about the difference in culture of the area. One of hubby's nephews is 55 and drives a florist truck for a living (his fourth career move) and another is living in subsidized housing at the age of 58 and has been drug and alcohol free finally for a year. Their children (adults) also seem to have no interest in anything other than hanging out while drifting from job to job.

The wife of one of the nephews brags that she has been a bartender at the same hotel bar for over 30 years. Several of the youngest are also divorced or working on their third marriage. None of this means they are terrible people. It is just a culture that my husband and I are not a part of. I do not denigrate this blue-color culture but the transient nature of the work means that no one really develops a skill...except for making drinks. It seems that the warmth and easy living of Florida does not encourage motivation to better oneself beyond a string of retail jobs. It was also a little bit of a surprise that the more successful members of the family did not cross the state to pay their respects.

You cannot pick your relatives and we all come from the same ancestral tree and they were all very polite.

This photo below is the famous Sunshine Bridge that crosses Tampa Bay. Many years ago a barge hit one of the supports to this bridge and it was shut down for some time.

Below is a photo I took in the park across the street from the art museum in the city. It turned out pretty balanced in composition and it actually might make a nice

Florida temperatures were in the 90's and the days were very humid and we spent much time searching for shade...even at the beach. It is good to get back to the 70 degree weather here and to try and catch up on blog reading.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Stream of Consciousness Tabor

March 28:

I was in a dark nightclub in a scuzy part of town (rereading this sounds like a Guy Noir skit). We took a cab because daughter and I were too scared to leave a car ANYWHERE IN THE AREA. Nightclub was filled with twenty and thirty-somethings. A very few were "over-medicated." Even though I was one with the beat once the band started, I kept thinking the little flecks of light on the floor and lower backs of people from the turning mirrored balls above was a toddler moving between the adults. Sort of a grandma reaction that took a while to shake. My daughter said the crowd was 'alternative' due to the facial hair and just a few with tattoos. The bouncer wore spiked wrist guards and looked so totally bored. He had that expression on his face that a parent has when he has just put the child in a time-out for the fifth time in an evening. Music was great even though the sound system was mediocre. My son introduced me to a chatty Kathy that was a total fan of the band. Said she was a "band-aid." Seemed to be totally jazzed about meeting my son's mom and sis. Please God, do not make this the final girlfriend!

Left the club after midnight and took a cab back to the car which we found had been towed! They towed it an hour before the meter expired, but have not been able to get justice on this to this day! The extra $100 fine did put a damper on the evening.

March 29:

A whiplash Saturday morning for this old head. Up early with toddler getting ready for a trip to a museum with another toddler friend to have an early celebration of grandson's third birthday. It was far more scary than the night before watching toddlers run beneath displays and climb upon metal chairs and benches. Then back for gift opening and homemade chocolate birthday cake which daughter and I had decorated with a PERFECT Lightning McQueen frosting graphic, if I do say so myself.

March 30:

Sunday was a second birthday celebration with the arrival of the other set of grandparents. While I would have loved to lie around in bed or watch cartoons with grandson, I escaped to the mall to give the grandparents one-on-one time and to give me some sanity time.

March 30, March 31, and April 1:

Took daughter and I three evenings to watch the movie "Rendition" which we had rented while both hubbys were on travel. ("
The story of an Egyptian, married to an American, picked up on the suspicion of links to terrorist organizations and shipped to a friendly (with US) Arab country for "enhanced interrogation.") We could only get blocks of 45 minutes free time before we both were ready to fall asleep. The Egyptian is kidnapped just after arrival in the U.S. from a business trip and the wife spends the rest of the movie in a panic trying to determine where he is.

April 2:

Hubby is arriving - finally - from Korea in the early evening. I get ready to meet him with a call the airport to confirm his flight arrival time. They tell me the arrival time is 30 minutes earlier than I had scheduled, so I tell daughter and rush to the airport. The flight has arrived by the time I get there and for some reason my cell phone is not working. I go ahead and park and head to baggage claim. Many of the passengers have gotten their bags and are leaving. I scan the crowd, but no hubby. I wait until just a few stragglers are left collecting their luggage. I go to the United desk and try to get information. The lady behind the desk is vague and suggests I just go home and wait for his call. (This Rendition movie is beginning to nag at my brain.) I decide to wait for the final flight from Korea which comes in a little later. So, I ask her if by any chance he is on that one. NOPE! I cannot get into my voicemail on my cell...geeze. I head to daughter's house.

I reach there at 9:30 and ask daughter to check her email on her blackberry since I do not have a computer at her house. She doesn't have any messages. She cannot get into my email with her little machine--probably javascripting block.

10:00 PM we get a call from Hubby who was caught in the major FAA/United cancellation of flights--guess I should have been watching the news instead of a movie. He and three others worked the desks at Pusan like a team and were able to get out of Korea that same evening. There were only 8 from his flight who made it out of Korea that night...he is pretty enterprising! The only problem is that he is now in New York and he lost one bag! He has a morning flight home scheduled.

April 3:

I get Hubby without incident and we rush down to the house to pack. We are heading for a week's vacation in Sarasota, Florida. Why the rush? We have to meet daughter and family at the Tampa airport in just two days and we are driving down---with more baby and toddler junk than is found at a Babies "R' Us sale in the two backseats along with two newly installed carseats. We work hard to squeeze in our two small suitcases and a few beach chairs while leaving room for two adults to sit in the back.

April 4-11:

A blur of beaches, aquariums and DisneyWorld. Forgetting the long lines at DisneyWorld, the expense of gas and the strange leg rash Hubby got from wading through seagrasses, methinks everyone should have this much fun in their old age.

April 14:

WE MAKE IT BACK HOME! Had a wonderful time and hope I can get my head in gear before heading back to work on Wednesday.