Today, we began the day slowly. Well, that is to say, we left to go golfing pretty late (for us), around 11/11:30 a.m. or so. We did a round of 9 holes, then went home for lunch. Continue reading
Today, it was cooler. Around 14-16 degrees Celsius, for my friends up north. But it was alright, because I went for a run, which was good. After, I walked on the beach just a little bit, and acquired today’s list: Continue reading
Today, we met up with our hometown friends (yes, from Canada) for breakfast on the boardwalk. Continue reading
Well, today we arrived at our destination in Florida.
In keeping with my idea from last year, I’ll be letting you all in on the more notable things I find when walking on the beach. The purpose of this is clear: to give me a hobby and something to do after dark, as I’m staying with my parents in a relatively quiet area of retiree refuge of Florida (haha). Also, for those who may not have been to the ocean before, I hope it provides a channel through which you can vicariously live. Plus, some things are just plain awesomely wacky. To begin! Continue reading
Well, I’m back in Kingston, my vacation over. I have a bit of a tan, the weather isn’t bad, and I get to see my friends again. I miss Florida already, and my parents and sister too, of course. Everything went fine over here while I was gone; my kitty was well looked-after thanks to my friend Cyndi, and my landlord.
Before I forget, I should add a belated final list from the beach:
- 1 octopus. Not kidding! I think he was less than a foot in length, including tentacles, but it’s very strange to see one on the beach there.
- 1 perfect sand dollar. Considering the lack of seashells this year, and the lack even on that last day, this was a veritable Beautiful Blue, if you know what I mean. It was gorgeous, and absolutely perfect. I ended up accidentally breaking it (ahh, how beauty is fragile….. take note, boys haha), replacing batteries in my camera to capture my last sunset of the vacation….. but I got to enjoy its beauty while it lasted so I’m still happy about it. Plus, I have no idea how I would have transported it back home. haha.
- many ex-horseshoe crabs
- a lot of seaweed (the tubular kind as well) as it’d been windy for a couple days by then
- a few regular crabs including a tiny tiny one….. all ex-crabs, but still.
- 1 gorgeous setting Sun
Now that I’m home again, I’m trying to keep myself positive, but it’s a little hard when you’ve just gotten used to spending time with a family that keeps you constantly busy. I’m having to clean this place up as I’ve let it become a mess, I’m having to sort myself out for classes, and I’m having to finish my grad school applications….. none of which is that happy-making. I mean, I should be happy to further my education, but it’s a big change….. and though I’m a fan of new things, big changes are still a bit nerve-wracking. I’m also not looking forward to moving away from so many good friends I’ve made here. I’m not being all doomsdayish or anything; I doubt I’ll be a loner when I get there or anything, it just will be sad saying goodbye to people I’ve come to know so well. It’s not like high school, where there were maybe 4 or 5 close friends, and the rest merely casual friends. I’ve always been very selective about people I spend time with, and I guess my coming here happened to introduce me to people with more in common with me than back then. Okay, I’m being sappy, someone smack me upside the head. At least I’m being honest. This is the main reason I was a bit sad tonight. Much like my friend Andrew said, “I’m tired and a little sad, but not unhappy.” I agree, though for much different reasons. I hope you’re feeling better too, Andrew, if you’re reading this…..
Well, I’m just along for the ride. To quote a role model of mine, Jimmy Buffett, “If it doesn’t work out there’ll never be any doubt, that the pleasure was worth all the pain.” I was just searching for a good Jimmy quote to put in there (as I’m sure many of his would do just as well), and I found a quotations site that suggests other quotes you might like based on other people’s tastes….. anyway I just read this one and it made me laugh, but it’s true:
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”
— Neil Gaiman (English born American Novelist, Journalist, Screenwriter, Children’s author and Comics writer of American Gods, amongst many others, b.1960)
Anyway, funny how that was recommended for a Jimmy Buffett quote fan….. !
Something tells me to keep writing, so I guess I will. I’m not sure what I’m trying to get at here, and maybe I’m just rambling. Maybe I’ll explain why I’m such a fan of Jimmy Buffett.
Some call Jimmy a hedonist. Some call him a country singer in a perpetual midlife crisis. Some just call him Bubba. I call him inspiration. See, Jimmy lives the life a lot of us dream of living, and he somehow got there without unrivalled vocal talent — at least not like others in the business who don’t get 1/100th of the fame he does. It gives people like me hope. His two biggest talents (that I can tell), are as a businessman and a storyteller. If you’ve read any of his books, you’ll understand what I mean. The characters are typically searching for a way to a new life — to skirt conformity and glide along on the waves life created for us to surf on. There are a variety of social rejects met along the way, or “fruitcakes” as Jimmy affectionately calls them, who serve as reminders that life can be enjoyed in more ways that the typical. In fact, it’s clear he prefers this sort of company, since he, himself, is one of them. He’s the type to get mad at cinema concession stands for carrying jumbo-sized everything, but not his precious Junior Mints. He’s the type to give kudos to the guy rollerskating naked through a crosswalk in the middle of the week. Living life to the fullest seems to be his motto. He’s done quite well with his message; he’s a multi-millionaire, constantly one of the highest-grossing entertainers, and he’s got a fanbase quite possibly as devoted and passionate as the Rolling Stones’. It seems people like his message. Live life to the fullest. And hey, “if it doesn’t work out there’ll never be any doubt, that the pleasure was worth all the pain.”
For more on Jimmy:
- and my favourite: http://margaritaville.com/
(For anyone interested, the Jimmy quote I used is from the song “The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful”….. hehe)…..
First daily list of the New Year:
- 1 broken lighter
- 1 water bottle cap
- 1 screwdriver/auger
- several fishermen including one with iPod
- 3 ex-orange slices (the rinds), located in 3 different places on the beach
- 1 largely smooth beach shore — perfect to run on!
- 2 egrets
- the ridge was kinda there again today since the sand was sloping so drastically toward the water, but it was more of a slant today versus a high ridge
- 1 butterfly shell digging himself back down into the sand after having been washed ashore
- 0 horses haha
- if I’m gonna go that route, 0 UFOs….. haha….. I think my brain is tired…..
- 2 pennies! good way to start the year….. unless it was me who initially dropped them….. haha I don’t think so though.
- 1 group of warmly dressed tourists sitting in a huddle by the dunes….. it was quite windy and fairly cool comparatively — I, on the other hand, was wearing a sweater and shorts so I could still freely splash in the ocean — which was really really warm, especially relative to the air
- several beach walkers happy despite the somewhat crabby (hehe 😉 ) weather
- 1 chilly (and therefore wrapped in cloud blankets) sun
Last daily list of the year:
- 1 horse made of sand, large! he was actually there yesterday, and I can’t believe I forgot to include him. complete with grass (/seaweed) to eat, and a necklace (which we all know is essential for any self-respecting horse)
- cigarette butts (guhhh)
- 1 lighter
- 1 juicebox
- 2 ex-fishing lures — the rubber ones that look like bait fishies
- ex-lime wedges
- several jingles (a type of shell whose name I learned yesterday haha)
- several sand fleas in various states of disrepair
- Maddy! ……. and his friend/nemesis down the beach a bit
- a few sunray venus halves (little ones)
- 1 very swimmable ocean
- 1 moody but strong and gorgeous sun
Wow, what a day. Busier than usual. Let’s get down to business 😉
We woke up and had breaky out in the hot morning air on the balcony, then drove to the St. Pete’s market, which I’d never been to before. It was fairly small, but had a little bit of everything to offer. There was a barbecue selling hot dogs and turkey legs, just like I remember having years ago at Disney….. cooked up and served by a tall black man in a tux and top hat — what a sight! Since I didn’t spend much time on the beach, I’ll make this my daily list instead — the things I saw at the market:
- dogs! Everywhere, everyone brought their dogs. From lab puppies to full-grown malamutes to arm-dogs (little dogs carried around under an arm) to bulldogs and pugs. It was very cute to watch them meet each other, especially the little border collie (I think?) puppy who kept pawing the full-grown retriever’s face and trying to lick him…..
- 1 crêperie….. (I’ll get back to that point)
- all kinds of tropical fruit stands (calm down Mike haha)
- tropical plant stands (including pitcher plants which we sold at Riley’s and which came up recently when I was trying to figure out the tree at the golf course which had similar-looking flowers — how random to see it today! As a side note, pitcher plants are really neat, check them out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitcher_plant)
- 1 bamboo clothing stand (very soft material, believe it or not!)
- several variety stands (lotions, soaps, etc.) where I bought a really nice coconut papaya lotion
- 1 live band
- 1 cut flower stand (including the option to buy bird of paradise blooms for $2 a stalk, very cool!)
- several food stands (Jamaican, Caribbean, Italian options……)
- several various kinds of art stands (paintings/photos, fabrics, a place that sold personalized asian-themed name art in frames — the guy was there, working on a name as we watched on, incredulous….. unbelievable talent…..)
- several smoothie/juice stands making them fresh from the fruit
Well, that’s what I can remember now anyway. When my parents and I met up again, we organized ourselves into the appropriate lines and met up again when we had our respective lunch contributions — me: 2 apple cinnamon crêpes drizzled with a little sour cream, a bit of caramel and sprinkled sugar; my mom: a triangle of fresh brie and some brown bread (fresh round loaf, not the fake stuff haha); my dad: a turkey leg. We walked toward where we parked, and stopped in the park on the way to eat our strange but delicious picnic in the part shade of a palm tree, in sight of the harbour and all the beautiful boats. Wonderful. 🙂
We then reassembled in the car and drove to the end of the St. Pete’s pier, as I’d never been there either, and had a nice view of some fancy homes in the distance and the shoreline around the area. We went for a drive to see some of the expensive homes and I snapped some pics with my dad’s camera (I started with mine originally then started to wonder if I had, in fact, downloaded the ones I was deleting to the computer….. or not….. so I switched to his camera which we knew had plenty of memory)……. it always boggles my mind just how many of these opulent houses there are. Private yachts, private docks, private everything. Gorgeous to look at, kinda sickening to think about.
After that trip around the elegance, we drove a while to get to Fort DeSoto Park. For years, we’ve visited the several beaches in this southern tip of St. Petersburg, since it’s always been pretty much deserted and always had tons of sand dollars on the beach which are rare to find whole, except there. Anyway, in 2005, it was ranked the best beach in America, and since then has been BUSY. A shame for us, though I suppose others are now enjoying it too. I loved how we’d often pick a day that didn’t look to be too hot, we’d go there and spend hours walking the long shores and barely see a soul. It was always fun to explore the parts where the sand ended because there were inlets of shallow water, or dunes, or one year there were tons of tiny crabs scuttling everywhere and disappearing in their holes that peppered the dunes on one side……
I’m not sure if that’s still the same, because we didn’t get much of a chance to explore this time. Something really strange happened as we were driving through the park (see this site to get an idea why so much driving and so many different beach accesses are involved: http://fortdesoto.com/googlemap.php ) — we were aware of what appeared to be smoke low above the trees. We kept driving, observing this strange smoke that seemed to be coming off the water on one side of us…… we went through possibilities — fog? No, too brown/dark. A fire? Maybe, though it appears to be coming from a really big area….. Pollution? Far too visible. We couldn’t figure it out, so though it made us nervous we drove further to investigate. We got to the furthermost beach and still didn’t know what was going on, and didn’t see flocks of cars leaving (the parking lots were SO busy!), so we got out and trekked to the beach, where everything appeared to be normal — people throwing footballs, others tanning, kids playing in the water…… — except there was this intense fog coming in from the water that made it difficult to see 50 feet out, let alone the shoreline across the water. In fact, it was so dense, we could feel it like rain. Yet it was bright, and people were still wearing sunglasses. Very odd! We also had heard fog horns, but hadn’t put two and two together hahah…..
So, we decided we’d rather not stay at the beach that was foggy, and since the other one we’d passed hadn’t been, we went back there. Unfortunately, that one had also just been swamped with fog in that short time since, but we stayed anyway. We got ice creams (it was still quite warm out, even though it felt overcast, partially rainy, and windy), and walked to the end of that fishing pier, where people were catching lots of fish, including two huge ones I saw (called “bonitas” as we found out: http://www.rodnreel.com/gulffish/gulffish.asp?cmd=view&FishID=13 if you’re curious. Look though, common length: 2 feet! — and they really do live up to their name, they’re beautiful fish)…… my mom didn’t even walk the whole length of the pier because since it’s so exposed out there, it was getting quite windy and getting quite cool….. my dad’s hair looked wet by the time we walked back!
We went for a little bit of a walk along the beach too, and I found a few more augers/screwdrivers, but nothing overly exciting (though those few shells numbered more than anything I’ve found in 5 days of shelling here on our beach! It’s amazing that a spell of low winds means such a different beach landscape, though trust me I’m not complaining — the sand in the ocean is much nicer to walk on with fewer shells!). I managed to get my shorts wet, which normally wouldn’t have been a problem seeing as I was wearing my bikini underneath, however, we were going to dinner right after so I had to try to dry off in the car-ride there. We went to a restaurant on the way back and had their 99 cent fish fry meal. Yup, 99 cents for a full plate of fried fish, french fries, and coleslaw. We decided to share a piece of key lime pie for dessert (since we were far too full to have more than one piece between the three of us), and it cost more than 5 of our dinners would have! hahahha…… we were going to go on the free boat cruise the restaurant puts out daily, but they’d cancelled due to the fog, so we went home. I was kinda glad since I was tired by then, and still wet. 😆
Since we got back, I’ve been reading my Jimmy Buffett book (“Tales from Margaritaville”) which I realized was the precursor to the book I’ve already read of his….. so it’s kinda interesting to read it backwards. He’s a wonderfully entertaining storyteller. I’d love to meet him someday, or at the very least go to one of his concerts. His, and U2’s, are concerts I have to attend at some point in my life (hopefully sooner rather than later!). I’ve seen my favourite band +Live+ in concert a few times, so if I see them live again, it’d just be a bonus…… same with The Tea Party and Holly McNarland. So just the two left…..
Some more random things I saw today, and because I like lists:
- a field with many egrets, all facing the same way (normally you see one or two, so a field with probably over a dozen seemed a little strange)
- mimosa a.k.a. sensitive plant being sold as “ground cover” plants at the market….. how cool is that?! — for those who don’t know, mimosa looks kinda like a fern, but when you touch its leaves, they fold up defensively (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimosa if you’re curious)
- a man who looked like a short version of Samuel L. Jackson (complete with his signature hat) at the market
- the Don CeSar Hotel a.k.a. the Pink Hotel (see: http://www.doncesar.com/ for a great picture of how it really looks)
- another lovely beach on our drive back — rock beach on one side, with lots of broken shells — but the exciting kinds of shells: large, conchs and conch-types….. the kind you hold up to your ear to hear the ocean 😉 I’m sure we’ll be going back there on a nicer day though.
Okay, I’ve written a novel. I hope you guys are enjoying reading these….. mostly I’m documenting a lot of this so that in mid-February I can look back and relive a little paradise, but if you’re enjoying them too, feel free to say something in the comments section — just click on the name of any post and it’ll bring up the post and a comment box for ya. Anyway, I’m exhausted and have fought just to stay awake past 10! Amazing how the sun cures my insomnia 😉 Good night one and all!
Back again. Well, I’ve got new tan lines! In fact, my back is downright burnt. It would probably be crispy if I hadn’t put cream on it.
We went to Caddy’s tonight with our family friends to celebrate my mom’s birthday January 19th….. they won’t be here to celebrate on the day as their daughter is due to have her baby boy very soon, and they’ll be going back the day before me. Caddy’s is a beachfront restaurant in the truest sense of the term. It has indoor seating, then it has what appears to be an added-on section with wooden plank floors and picnic tables, and then it opens up onto the beach, where they have more tables. It’s a very fun place to go to see the sunset, because it’s busy-busy, and everyone is there to see the sun set and enjoy good food — so everyone is very happy. When the sun’s last sliver disappears into the water, everyone claps and cheers. It often has live music — I’m not sure if just on weekends, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s every night. 4 of the 5 of us had grouper sandwiches again — deeeeeelish! We enjoyed some extra entertainment as a few customers had brought their youngsters (couple month-olds and up), and we watched as some danced/jumped around to the music, and others worked on just standing up, and their interaction was very amusing. One little girl, probably 6 months old (though I’m terrible at guessing when they’re that small), was very interested in her surroundings. Another little girl went up to her and tried to get her to dance, which of course failed as she was too young….. then she’d jump around her and kiss her and try to hug her…… but the younger one would have none of it. The older girl would go in for a kiss on her cheek, and she’d intercept with her arm and push her away — it was hilarious. You just know she’s gonna be fighting off kissers for years 😉
Another funny thing happened when I went for a walk along the ocean while waiting for our food. I was just meandering as I do, looking at the shells, the water, around….. and I hear, “Excuse me miss!” I turn around and the man who is talking to me appears to be somewhat drunk (must be anyway!) and pauses, then comes up with this precious one: “….. are you an angel?” 😆 Oh man, I think. I hadn’t stopped walking luckily, so I carried on and just laughed and said no. He walked with me though and continued, “Are you sure? I was sure of it — I mean, the hair, [something I couldn’t hear, then another pause]….. I was certain you were an angel!” I laughed again, awkward as heck, said, “No, no, far from it, ha ha…..” and kept walking. He wished me a good day then continued talking but I couldn’t really hear at that point, and I was just grateful he didn’t follow me to my parents’ table….. now that would’ve been awkward. Ahh alcohol. Making people cheesy since…… well, forever I guess! haha 😛
I think it’s time for today’s daily list:
- FISHIES!!!! Everywhere. Seriously, I’d look a couple feet away from me and they’d be there. There were soooooooo many of them. Probably about 15-20 cms long, so not big or anything, but they were plentiful! Oh and there were little guys too…… more silvery. Maybe minnows 😀
- BIG FISHIES JUMPING!!!! I guess it’s spawning season, because I saw a group of large fish moving parallel to the shore, jumping straight out the water…… bringing those pictures of grizzly bears and spawning salmon to mind. These fish were probably….. oh geez I’m terrible at estimating…….. over a foot long I’d say, but as to how much over? Not sure. Anyway, they were big, you could cook them if you caught them. haha. That’s a good way to judge size in a fish — “Can you cook ’em? Yeah? Okay, big enough!”
- 2 crab legs…… little guys
- a few shells I’ve always called screwdrivers (actually called augers — yay, I can finally be accurate thanks to this new wonderful resource: http://www.shellmuseum.org/sanibel_shells_pictures6.html !!), including 1 cerith I think.
- a couple sunray venus halves, small ones
- Maddy! (and a group of tourists staring at him — I told them his name and how he’s the resident heron, and the teenage (?) girl in the group seemed really happy to find that out….. I saw them later on my walk back and she smiled enthusiastically at me haha 😀 )
- 1 busy beach
- 1 gorgeous (and burnnnnnnnnning) sun
Lately, my dad has been curious as to how cashews are harvested. Actually, I was too when he brought it up the other day. He just came in to ask me to look it up, and I thought I’d pass on the knowledge to anyone else curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew It grows on a cashew tree, beneath the “cashew apple”, which, itself, is harvested in some places for a variety of uses. The outer urushiol (new word, yay!), which is an oil found in the nut shell of the cashew fruit, causes skin reactions similar to poison ivy. Then the seed inside is processed, and that’s the nut we eventually enjoy. A lot of effort for one little nut! Kinda makes you appreciate them a bit more, eh? 🙂
There’s a lot of election talk around here, which is always interesting. I’m actually not being sarcastic either, even though people who know me know I’m not a big fan of politics. It’s just interesting to hear the propaganda, hear the propaganda’s analysis, hear about all the policies the candidates find important, hear the serious talks about how one word can mean the difference between a win and a loss…….. it’s such an intricate system, and can get so silly in my humble honest opinion. So many people get paid to talk and analyze and all their prattle could be essentially useless and embarrassing if they chose the wrong person to win. Then, of course, they say how some new factor had come in and whoops, turned the tables, not, of course, that the whole predicting thing was a farce to begin with……… oops, am I being too cynical again? Sorry. What I meant to focus on was how interesting it is to compare elections with lotteries. People buy in to one set of ideas/numbers, try to reason how those will be the best to win it all, and then as the numbers are called out, people start readjusting their bids, and start the excuses as to why they might not win……. and then at the end, they either win or lose. I’m not even sure that I agree with the main concept of Presidents and Prime Ministers. Can any one person really represent a country? Look at B ush. [I write his name like that to try and avoid having all those silly ads on the side referring to politics — that’s right, I really don’t like politics!!] The guy gets picked apart left, right, and centre, but he has a tough job, let’s not forget. I mean, the guy’s an ignoramus, but still. You have to be somewhat dull to be able to put up with all the chiding and nitpicking, and is that kind of person really what a country needs? ….. someone to go to the most important nations on Earth, and hold intellectual discussions? Just for a laugh, I’m going to include some Bushisms…… not to attack him (this is just supposed to be a musing on politics in general), but just for fun. Besides, he gets attacked enough anyway! This is courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushisms :
Beautifully put, Georgie. As a linguist, I appreciate all his many attempted contributions to the English dictionary. I wonder, how many speech-writers have stormed off the job during his term in office? I can just picture, some person, sitting, listening intently, and then — a Bushism! Head falls into hands, answers mother’s phone call insisting that no, it *wasn’t* actually written that way, and goes back to office to try once more to write a fail-proof speech. I joke, but it really is quite scary to put all a country’s eggs in one person’s basket, n’est-ce pas?
Forgive me if I seem a little unintelligible, or unintelligent for that matter, in this post. I’ve had a lot of sun today, and my brain is slowly taking stock of the fried brain cells and adjusting my output to reflect said loss. Wwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
As a testiment to the last statement, I actually had initially typed the similar variant: Wwwwwwwoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! but for some reason, this was deemed ‘not as accurate’ and was subsequently replaced. Do you notice I start to use a more eloquent manner of speech when I’m tired? This is due to repeated conditioning; often when I’m up late, I’m writing essays. Therefore, when I’m tired, my body thinks there’s an essay to be written. I’m frankly surprised I haven’t started speaking French or Spanish yet. Oh! I did say something in French up there, too! Haha, wow. Time to go, methinks. Have a good night everyone 🙂