Sweet Reminder

Mural, St. Petersburg, FL February 2023

I parked near this mural while working downtown today. It stopped me in my tracks since it was one of the first things Linda said to me when we met.

I was sitting at Gators during happy hour one evening, watching the sun set. I could tell she was upset when she sat down near me. After she ordered her drink (Tito’s and soda, as I recall), I glanced over and said, “I don’t mean to pry but whatever is going on, I’m sure you can handle it.”

She smiled through her tears, we started talking about life, and by the time the night was over, we were friends. That was three years ago, almost to the day.

Often Linda would call me up and say, “Sunshine, let’s go have fun!” She passed away unexpectedly four months later but we certainly made a lot of good memories during that time. ❤

Good Times!

I’m so very grateful for the friends who made my birthday week such a blast! Lisa, my friend since college (not going to talk about how long ago that was), flew over from Portland for the week.

We squeezed in as much exploring as possible: sunsets, dolphins, manatees, kayaking to Shell Key (thank you for the loaner, Katie), Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzans, belly dancing, live music, lots (and lots) of sunscreen, raccoons, the obligatory alligator, and, of course, a fun birthday celebration with Alyssa.

Sadly, Lisa had to leave before the Gasparilla concert yesterday but my friend Loretta came over and played pirate with me. It was an epic birthday week and now I need a little recovery time (after all, I’m not as young as I used to be).

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I found this juvenile Gafftopsail Catfish (Bagre marinus) while walking my beach last month (somehow I neglected to talk about this little guy earlier).

Just under 5″ long, this saltwater cat had recently left dad’s protection. Males of this species not only keep the eggs in their mouths while they incubate but even the fingerlings. Afterward they stay under his guardianship until 4-5″ long.

Though this small fish looked harmless I resisted the urge to pick it up with my bare hands. Instead, I carefully used my shoe to flip it back into the surf. Good thing too, since this species packs venomous spines in its fins.

Back in Business

Well, I’m a happy woman. I picked up my big lens today from the camera repair shop. It had been out of service since last August when I was caught in a downpour at Highlands Hammock State Park. Someone had a rain jacket but left it in her car when she set out on the 3 mile-loop trail, during rainy season, in Florida. Sigh.

Yes, I should’ve known better and trust me, it won’t happen again. Anyway, I stopped off at a park on my return trip today just to snap a few practice photos. It’s nice to be back in action!

DIY Cat Door

In usual cat fashion, Westley has taken over my entire house. However, all his special cat things are in the laundry room. For the first few weeks I kept the door slightly ajar so Westley could have easy access but installing a cat door was a definite necessity.

Instead of buying a small dog door I decided to get creative. For the flap, I cut the hinged lid off a storage container I picked up by the side of the road. For the closure, I used a piece of wooden cat art that I found at a thrift store.

It works and it’s Westley approved, so that’s good enough for me.