Archive for ‘Observations’


If there’s anything I’ve learned in my two+ years living here, it’s that summertime weather in Florida is unpredictable. It will be sunny and hot and humid – that’s a given. But at any moment a storm could blow in. The thing that I’m the most concerned about is lightning.

Shortly after I moved here, a dad and his son were lounging on my favorite beach one sunny afternoon. They were struck by lightning, which killed the son and put the father in ICU. There was a distant storm far to the east that day. Here’s a PSA for you, did you know lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the storm?

As a result, I check the forecast first thing every morning, I have two weather apps on my phone, and I’ve signed up for severe weather alerts from Pinellas County. Even with all that information, I only truly know the weather when I step outside. And, as they say down here, if I don’t like it, I can wait 15 minutes.

The Passage of Time

I drove up to Ohio last month for my second cousin’s high school graduation party. The passage of time flabbergasts me, how in the world is Frankie old enough to head off to college? I definitely wanted to help celebrate that milestone, especially after a (non-voluntary) three year hiatus.

It was lovely to be back up in the farm country visiting with family, if a bit too brief. Hopefully it won’t be another three years before I return!

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.