Archive for ‘Observations’

Final Finale

Well, it finally happened (some say it was long overdue) the beaches here in my part of Florida will close tonight at midnight. I spent my last afternoon walking on the white sand and stayed for my last beach sunset (for the time being).

The closure will be nearly impossible for authorities to enforce but I don’t intend to be one of the rule breakers, no matter how much I’ll miss my beach. There are other outdoor places on my list to visit. And now, I will have plenty of time to explore them since restaurants are also closing (or switching to takeout only).

I am fortunate in that I have no debt, some savings, and I live simply – so I am not as anxious as others. And I will be spending more time in nature which has a way of soothing my worries. I hope we all stay healthy and safe during this challenging time!

Shark!

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Shark Boat, Treasure Island, Florida March 2020

My favorite spot for happy hour overlooks John’s Pass, a channel that connects the Gulf of Mexico and Boca Ciega Bay. This place earned top billing in my book because not only are their prices reasonable and I can sit outside to watch the sunset but there is a pod of dolphins that cruises the channel. I guess you could say we’re all regulars here.

Last week was the first time I’ve seen a shark in these waters. Let’s hope it stays that way!

Bees of Spring

During my afternoon stroll at a nearby park I noticed a good many bees buzzing around this tree. My first thought was that perhaps there was an active hive inside. Upon closer inspection, I found instead that they were busy slurping up sap from holes in the trunk.

I presume the holes were drilled by a very efficient sapsucker, though I did not see one in the vicinity. Ever curious, I tried the fluid myself. I was not impressed by it, not surprisingly, it was primarily a tannic flavor.

I Have Seen the Chicken

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Chick with Her Chicken in the Bar, Treasure Island, Florida March 2020

I knew it was time to head home when I spotted this girl and her pet chicken in the local pub Saturday night. At first, I thought perhaps I’d had too much to drink and was merely seeing strange things (kind of like in the old Tom Waits song, “The Piano Has Been Drinking” – though I prefer the version by Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, give it a listen below). But nope, it wasn’t a weird vision, it was an actual live chicken. In the bar. Yep, time for me to go!

Night at the Dalí Museum

Earlier this week, after a tedious day of running errands, I decided to treat myself to some culture. I headed downtown to the Dalí Museum, which stays open late on Thursday evenings for a reduced price.

While I’m by no means an art aficionado, I am curious and certainly admire anyone’s ability to create. The Dalí exhibition I visited in Vienna after graduating from college left quite a lasting impression on me (and no, I’m not going to tell you how long ago that was). So, I was eager to explore this Dalí collection, the second largest in the world.

The museum presented his art in chronological order: from his early impressionist works, to his most well-known Surrealist ones, to his later exploration of religion and science in his Nuclear Mysticism phase.

I was entranced by the concept behind one of his recurring themes, the melting clock. As our tour guide explained, he depicted it that way since you can’t stop or hold onto time, it just slips (or melts) away.

An astute observation, which challenges me to think about what I’m doing with my time. I’m pretty content with most of my decisions overall, but it’s still good to stop and reconsider once in awhile. Never know where wisdom is going spring from, thank you Dalí!

 

03-13-2020 Update: A Dalí print, Purgatory Canto 24, was recently discovered at a thrift shop in North Carolina and sold for $1200. It makes me happy that the artwork was recognized and not accidentally cast aside.

Wolfgang Puck Cooking Demo

I was fortunate to get a last minute invite to attend the Wolfgang Puck Cooking Demo at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa this past Saturday. I barely made it in time since I worked during the day and hard to shower and then drive over an hour to get there.

It was well worth the rush, since the food was delicious and Wolfgang was surprisingly entertaining. My favorite dish was the seared beet and goat cheese salad, but the salmon and caviar pizza was also tasty. Though I’m not much of a sweet eater, the chocolate cake was a light and fluffy surprise.

Best part of all, I don’t think any item required over seven ingredients. The simple and unfussy preparation really let the flavors shine (plus, the recipes should be somewhat easy to replicate).

It was refreshing to hear Wolfgang talk so openly about his career. Several times in the early stages he was kicked out of kitchens and told he didn’t have the ability to make it. Thankfully, he’s a stubborn character and he obviously found a way to persevere in his chosen path. During the closing Q&A session he urged us all to “Stay Curious” as an antidote to aging. Cheers to that!

 

Music on the Bay

Shortly after moving here I became a member of the Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club. I had so many good experiences last year in Texas with the Parrot Heads of Port Aransas that I knew I wanted to continue with it.

The tagline of Parrot Head clubs is “Party with a Purpose” and they are a bunch of people that get together to enjoy music and raise money for charity. Last year’s Music on the Bay in Tampa raised over $62,000 for the local Shriner’s hospital, which is pretty impressive!

Unfortunately for me, I could only attend on Friday as I had to work the rest of the weekend but it was still a great event. I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite Trop Rock performers on stage again – I think they have as much fun as the audience (if not more)!

I just love Donny Brewer’s bluesy version of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville!

Throughout the day, lots of talent hopped on stage, including Paul Overstreet (he wrote Diggin’ Up Bones, among many other hits).

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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