Archive for ‘Observations’

Welcome to Summer

I have a joke for you on this wonderful summer solstice:

“What’s Irish and comes out in the summer?

Paddy O’Furniture!”

Yeah, I know, I won’t quit my day job. Weather-wise, the first day of summer means nothing to me since I live in Florida. It’s been hot and sunny for months now, the only difference is that hurricane season has officially begun. It kicked off earlier this month with Tropical Storm Alex, which thankfully passed well south of me.

I’ve collected a few memes for you that may help explain summer in Florida:

Seaside Decor

File this one under things I didn’t know I needed. Last week at a thrift store, the shell-filled handle of the plunger on the left caught my eye. I picked it up just to laugh at it, then I saw the price tag (under a dollar) and I knew I had to bring it home.

I mean, it’s quite fitting for my little house by the beach. I’m a big fan of functional art and as far as I know, it’s one of a kind. Of course, the more I think about this the more questions I have.

Who came up with this concept? Someone was just sitting on the toilet one day and thought, “You know what this world needs? Decorative plungers!” Is this product sold as-is or can you choose what to put in the handle? (Clearly, I have way too much time on my hands.)

You can see it for yourself when you come visit…if you’re lucky, I might even let you use it!

After Hours Fishing

Went out to the jetty at John’s Pass for a bit of fresh air after a long day at work on Monday. I was curious to see what effects the recent passing of Alex, our first tropical storm of the season, had on my favorite beach.

Thankfully, the brunt of it had passed well south of us, and we enjoyed a lovely weekend. Regardless, this type of disturbance tends to stir up the water in the gulf, which results in interesting detritus on our beaches.

Alex brought in lots of Sargassum (a floating, brown seaweed) and there were a number of fishermen out scooping up the clumps, looking for crabs, octopodes*, and other invertebrates. It’s easier to find them at night since their eyes have a reflective layer that produces “eyeshine” when exposed to light.

*And yes, this is the correct plural form of octopus. Even though octopi is commonly used, you can’t “Latinize” a Greek word.

Sticker Shock

I walked by this display last week and was completely taken aback by the prices. I thought to myself, there’s no way I’d pay that amount of money (not that I smoke or am even considering smoking). The moment reminded me of my Aunt Coralie.

As I recall the story, she used to smoke cigarettes back in the early 1960s. At the time she was working on a base in Berlin, Germany and she paid around 40 cents per pack at the PX. When she moved back to the states a few years later she discovered the price per pack was over a dollar. And that’s the day she quit smoking, cold turkey. Just like that.

She was definitely a strong-willed woman. I may not be the most frugal person in the world but I am careful with my money. Some of the credit for that goes to my aunt. Thanks Coralie!

Paddling My Hood

One of the many reasons to appreciate our long* summer days, there’s plenty of time to go for a quick paddle after work. And yes, I know, it isn’t technically summer yet – it just feels like it down here.

I’m fortunate that I can drop in right across the street from my house. I’m looking forward to more outings soon!

*Lucky me, the 13+ hours of daylight started earlier this month and will continue through the end of August.

Deceptively Calm

I love spending time at the beach near me and even though the Gulf of Mexico is much less dangerous than the (poorly-named) Pacific Ocean I still have a healthy respect for it.

Sadly, one of a group of swimmers who went out last evening remains unaccounted for. I spotted five rescue boats still searching for the man when I went for my sunset walk today, a full twenty four hours later.

Though it’s unlikely, I’m hoping for a positive outcome.

Drive South

Took a little road trip this past week, no set schedule, just wanted to getaway for a bit. So, to paraphrase the John Hiatt song, we hopped in the car and Drove South.

We toured Sanibel Island in the afternoon before catching a stunning sunset at the historic Naples Fishing Pier. It was such a lovely stroll that it made me wish there was one like that up here on Treasure Island.

Headed a bit further down the peninsula the next morning to explore the western side of the Everglades (I’d neglected this region during my visit back in 2019). We had the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk pretty much to ourselves. Well, there was some wildlife out there, not as much as I’d hoped but still a good time.

Afterwards we decided to check out Chokoloskee Island, (part of the infamous Ten Thousand Islands). Talk about a tiny fishing village at the end of the world! We stopped off for some refreshment at the Smallwood Store and were tempted by the Guava Cheese Pie. I’d never heard of it before but it was delicious, kind of like Key Lime Pie but less tart.

While sitting on the dock enjoying the view we met a new friend, a juvenile Brown Watersnake (Nerodia taxispilota). I kept a close eye on it while it slithered around (hey, in flip-flops my toes probably looked quite yummy).

The return trip took us through Everglades City, the Stone Crab Capital of the World. I’ve heard about this tasty treat since moving here so where better to actually try some? The meat was moist and decadent (and the claws were so colorful). Also tried their conch fritters, and they were the best I’ve ever eaten.

It was a long drive home but well worth it!