Archive for ‘Observations’

Feels Like Forever

For a number of reasons, I am very thankful that I don’t have to do a lot of driving here in Florida. Number one is probably just plain safety, Florida has some of the worst accident rates in the country. Their auto insurance rates reflect those statistics, I am now paying double what I paid previously (and I’ve lived in three different states recently: Texas, Oregon, and Arizona). I almost fell out of my chair when I received the quote – ouch!

The other reason has to do with the traffic signals. To the best of my knowledge Florida doesn’t utilize smart signals (that sense traffic, or lack thereof) and they have the longest greens I’ve ever seen. Which can be a good thing if you’re on that side of the light but sitting at reds feels like a sort of slow torture (especially for little, ol’ impatient me).

I am happy to know that I am not the only one who feels this way, as evidenced by this gif that I discovered recently. Note: it’s not mine and I don’t know who to give credit to but someone deserves a shout out for it!

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Treasures from the Sea

I participated in our local beach cleanup yesterday morning with 13 other hardy souls who braved the chilly temps (it was 48° when we started out). It is interesting to walk the drift line after a storm has blown through, I never know what I’ll find. Especially after one that riled up the surf as much as this last one did.

This time it was a lot of stuff that is usually firmly anchored to the sea floor: from sponges, sea whip, and soft corals to man-made objects such as crab pots (not pictured), split tires, and buoys.

It was a lovely morning on the beach plus, I scored a few treasures: a beach towel, three sand dollars, four pennies, two hair ties, a fishing lure, a can koozie, and two pairs of sunglasses (though one pair was a bit small for me).

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Vintage Florida

When scouting Treasure Island as a potential home base back in December I was charmed by the low-slung, retro motels that lined Gulf Boulevard. It was a pleasant reprieve after the towering condos and crowded beaches of Sarasota. Many of them have been converted into efficiencies that snowbirds from Canada (and other northern climes) rent out by the week or month.

As I wander past, I enjoy watching the clientele as they play shuffleboard, use the barbecue area, and gather for happy hour by the small pools. Thankfully, many of the beach motels have retained their spunk and sass (as evidenced by their signs).

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Considering the beach is only a block away, that’s not a whole lotta love!

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C’mon, admit it!

Skim Boarding

After a few chilly, gray, and drizzly days it was nice to get out on the beach again. While waiting for sunset I was entertained by this enthusiastic group of skim boarders. The Gulf Coast of Florida doesn’t have great waves for surfing but the small bend in the coast near my house creates just enough action for skim boarding.

Wintery Skies

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Treasure Island Afternoon, Florida January 2020

Every once in awhile the weather decides to remind Floridians, that yes, winter is a season and yes, winter is cold (full disclosure: cold down here means anything under 60 degrees).

As these “seasonal disturbances” blow through and interrupt our sunshine state of mind they create some rather striking designs in the firmament. And though I have to put on extra clothing for my afternoon ramble, I really have nothing to complain about. After all, I’m still living near the beach!

Sunset Salutation

Every Sunday afternoon a drum circle forms on the beach near me. I’m not sure how  or when it started but it is now a local tradition where everyone is welcome. Don’t have a drum? Use a tin can, old pot, or five gallon bucket. Can’t play a percussion instrument but still want to participate? Go ahead and hula hoop, belly dance, juggle, blow bubbles, or just move with the flow of the music.

Just want to relax and watch? Bring a blanket or chair and your favorite beverage. Really, anything goes. The circle ebbs and flows for the two hours leading up to the main event. As the sun dips into the water everyone turns to the west and cheers. It’s a great way to celebrate the end of week. Yet another reason why I really like it here!

 

 

In Honor of…

National Squirrel Appreciation Day I present some of my favorite photos of these furry bundles of energy.

I have a few shots that deserve extra special attention, like this series I snapped in 2010 of a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel squeezing into his hole in the high country of New Mexico (someone had been preparing for a long winter):

Or this one in Portland, Oregon back in 2012 who was clearly laughing at my attempt to photograph it:

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And my all time favorite, from Rocky Mountain National Park in 2010:

Crazy Squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis)

Love them or despise them, you have to admit, they are characters!

High Flyers

As per usual, I spent a few hours on the beach yesterday afternoon. The beach was crowded with people attending the Treasure Island Kite Festival. It was a perfect day for it – warm, sunny, and breezy. The festival continues today and while the breeze is still present the temperatures have dropped and the sun is obscured by clouds which are due to drop rain any minute now.

While I enjoy the pretty colors and interesting designs, I confess I’ve never really been all that into kites. That said, I was mesmerized by the synchronized kite flying team.