Archive for ‘Observations’

Country in the Park

It’s officially Spring Break season down here. Our Pinellas County schools were off this past week but since the timing is different for other districts across the country, our beach towns will be busy for the next month.

My cousin Frankie arrived Saturday with four of her friends from college up in Michigan. Their timing was impeccable, that night the nearby city of Pinellas Park was hosting their 31st annual Country in the Park.

The free, family-friendly event featured a rodeo, pig races, food trucks, a craft marketplace, and live music. As always, the main attraction for me is the live music and I was not disappointed.

My friend Loretta and I arrived around four just as Pirate Flag, our local Kenny Chesney cover band, took the stage. I’ve seen them about a dozen times since moving here and they bring it every time. Not only do they put on a good show but they’re good people, too!

They were followed by Crossfire Creek, a rowdy country band from Clearwater (a bit further north up the coast from me). They did a great job prepping the crowd for the headliners, Lanco.

I appreciate a lot of different music, including some country but I was not at all familiar with Lanco. The college girls all knew the band and they met us at the stage right before the band started.

Lanco put on a fantastic show with excellent sound and an engaging stage presence. They even hopped off the stage and played a couple songs down in the middle of the crowd – very cool move!

And it turned out that I did know a couple of their songs, “Greatest Love Story” and “Born to Love You”. The girls were thrilled to catch a drum stick at the end and I scored them a set list from the stage. Definitely a great start to Spring Break!

Born to Love You – Lanco
Covering Travis Tritt’s It’s a Great Day to Be Alive
Greatest Love Story – Lanco

Pass-a-Grille Beach Stroll

Typically, I would not even attempt to visit this lovely beach area on a weekend during Spring Break. Traffic is a nightmare, parking nearly impossible to find, and if you do find a spot it is prohibitively expensive.

Luckily, there’s the SunRunner, a new transit line that zips people from downtown St. Pete out to St. Pete Beach. I live just a few blocks from one of the stops and I enjoy taking advantage of the service (especially since it’s free until September).

Thanks to a recent shift in the wind which pushed red tide offshore, it ended up being a lovely little beach day. Well, except for having to share it with all the tourists (though they do leave behind some interesting things). But as it turns out, if you walk far enough, you can get away from most of them.

Night at the Pier

I took advantage of an early evening downtown and wandered out on the St. Pete Pier. The completely redesigned structure opened in July 2020 with large public play spaces, multiple restaurants, a gift shop, an arts and crafts market space, and even an education center.

One of the visual highlights, is Bending Arc, an undulating net sculpture by local artist Janet Echelman. It is a bit unremarkable during the day, just a massive gray mesh that resembles a cast net. At night though, it is mesmerizing as colorful lights dance over the 180 miles of twine.

I do enjoy living here!

We All Do

Dry Tortugas, Florida November 2022

Winter and Spring are the busy seasons down here in my part of Florida. As such, many of the local parks and nonprofit organizations offer interesting outreach events.

In the past couple months I’ve attended several informative talks where I learned about horseshoe crabs, Florida panthers, rescuing seabirds, winter stargazing, the condition of the state’s many springs, and the status of Tampa Bay’s aquatic preserves.

Recently someone asked me why I care so much about the environment. The question dumbfounded me, how could I not care about it? I simply replied, “Because I live in it. We all do.”

Bedroom Toys

Westley is very particular about things. A personality trait we share (along with being headstrong, but I digress). An example, he prefers his litter mounded in one corner of his box. I smooth it into a uniform layer after I clean his box which he immediately “fixes” as soon as I’m done.

Another example, shortly after I adopted him, he decided that his shark and lanyard were bedroom toys. Not just bedroom toys but specifically, bed toys. If I toss either of them on the floor (or heaven forbid, into another room), he promptly retrieves it and brings it back onto the bed.

He’s certainly a character!