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Monday, December 17, 2012

Between Holidays

 I saw the advertisement for this one-night-only appearance of one of my favorite people...coincidentally, also one of my son's.  I have followed Leonard Cohen's poetry since college and, more recently, his poetic songs.   So, the day before his one-night performance in Detroit I started checking for tickets.  I was able to score a pair from a reseller of tickets unwanted, probably by a season ticket holder.
 My son was thrilled and I was more than happy to have someone to go with me to the concert.  I would never have gone alone and he knows Detroit so well!
Leonard did not disappoint.  He is in excellent shape for late in his 70s, jogging onstage, giving us a solid 4 hours of music with a short intermission and sprinting off-stage at the end after many encores.  Just amazing.

Another reason to come back was the holiday doings with the two granddaughters.  We have never missed a Christmas program and this wasn't the year to start.  They were so cute and the program was well put together and well rehearsed. I would so hate to miss a school Christmas program.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Feel like a Yoyo.

We made it back home for Thanksgiving but what was supposed to be a 2-week trip to see to his dad had turned into 6 weeks.

We stayed overnight in Knoxville, Tennessee at a familiar Days Inn where we stopped the last couple of years.  This would be unremarkable except for our weird wake-up call.  A few minutes after 6 AM we heard crowing.  Crowing?  In a motel? We first thought it was another guest's cell phone alarm, then maybe a guest's wake-up call.  Finally I got up and opened the curtain a bit...and there he was!
Kind of scrawny
An escapee?
 I never pretended to be a country girl and I swear, that was the first time I ever heard a real rooster crow.

The manager told us at breakfast that he had appeared out of the blue the morning before.  A road crew was also staying at the same Days Inn and one of them got a box and was going to take the rooster back to his farm the next day.
A Barn-Find?
This car appeared to be all original and in need of a little care.  He called it a "Barn Find" because that was the only way to explain something that old in this condition.  I can just imagine it lovingly restored and on show in a year or two.

We arrived home on Friday with the next Thursday being Thanksgiving.  We alternate years with the granddaughters' other grandparents and this was our year or we might not have even come home.

The "Tablescape" was basic because so much food had to be put on the table when the family finally sat down.
My Thanksgiving Table
Dishes from Home Goods, linens from Pier One
Ceramic pumpkins from Avon, flowers from Kroger

Scrapbook page of Thanksgiving

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My First Hurricane

We survived our first near-hurricane and have rather enjoyed the experience.

Saturday, as Sandy moved on up the coast, we went to Wabasso Beach to see what we could see.

The surf was up and a couple of surfers defied the order to stay out of the water.

Today, Sunday, it is supposed to be the big surfing day.  The surf is still supposed to be high but the winds less.

The beach has been eroded and the steps to the boardwalk full of debris.
Beach much sand brought in after Irene and now gone.
Surfing waves and "pipelines" were awesome!
Be warned!
You can't keep kids from having least they WERE supervised by adults.
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Witches, Goblins, and Surfers

Today was a day that I would most definitely not call boring.

First came a Halloween party at the Sundown, a restaurant where "Aunt Josie" goes dancing with friends every Thursday. I went with her a couple of weeks ago and thought the party would be fun.

I loved taking photos and no one seemed at all shy safely hidden in their costumes.  I feel absolutely young when I am with all of these merry senior citizens.
Angel Jo and Sister Irene
Front or back...
This is hilarious.
One person who usually sits at each table decorated for the party.
Another decorated table
Pretty and scary witch
Oh yes...a lot of dancing was done even if it was afternoon.
An impending hurricane doesn't keep diners off the deck.
Something about a tiki hut with Halloween decorations just isn't right with me.
Each of the two tour boats has a distinctive carving on the roof.
I think I like this one best.
The ships are safely in and didn't make their Thursday cruises.
Awesome swells!!! 
She is way too close to those waves!!!
Surfing?  Are you SERIOUS?
I guess these are the surfers who know what they are doing.
I was talking to a surfer on the boardwalk the others seemed to respect a lot.  He started by telling me to be sure to cover my lens between shots or I would find it covered with salt.  Then he told me that Sunday would be the best surfing day without the surface wind annoying us, and higher swells.  So I will get over there on Sunday to see.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy
I guess I should look at this unexpected trip South in October as a broadening experience.  I am not at all sure I wanted that to include a hurricane.  This is one projection, the popular one, and it shows some effects on the East coast where we are. 

A few years ago this area was hit directly by Jean and Irene, two hurricanes 22 days apart.  Our town sat in the eye-wall of one for just an hour or so, but 8 hours in the eye-wall of the other one.  There are still signs of the devastation, many years later.  I do NOT want to go through anything like that,  Thankfully, we were North at that time.  It doesn't look like this will be anything like those storms.  A little rain, wind and high surf is all expected.  I will take pictures and post them here.

Nature's Lessons

The first lesson yesterday came while I was swimming.  A rather small spider was balanced on the surface of the water, soon to drown.  I have nothing against spiders...they are great in the garden.  So I brought the noodle up under him.  He clung to it and I gently tapped him onto the patio.  Immediately, a small Anole darted out, grabbed the spider for his dinner and disappeared again.

Natures hard lesson.

Later that evening we were sitting in the approaching evening watching the sun go down and there was an alligator eye-ing us.
It was evening and a bit away so please pardon the fuzziness.  I don't WANT to go any closer!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Favorite Day!

One of my favorite places when we are in Florida is the Eau Gallie Super-Flea Market. 
You can get almost anything there in the huge covered facility.  Some vendors have tables and some have built stores within the building.  Some have been there for just years!  We noticed quite a few empty areas but, maybe when the other Snowbirds get here, they will be filled.  We don't know.  This is all new to us!
This is the "flea market" section of the center...used things...garage sale sale things.
This is looking the length of the main room.  Other aisles go off like a big letter E.
Entertainment was an Elvis who wasn't half bad in spite of the decorated sweat-suit.
This was one of his "finds" in Melbourne.  I would go back in a heartbeat!
It was mostly open-air, but that is appropriate in Florida!
Inside was decorated with old license plates and kitsch.
Back home with new purses, beads for my charm bracelet, some kitchen supplies, and my favorite...bifocal Polaroid sunglasses.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just a Day in Paradise

Glassy lake

 When I took my cup of Mocha-Mint coffee to the patio the lake was like glass.  There were no birds, again, but I knew patience might turn up something.  An occasional large fish jumped and disturbed the surface of the lake. When a wind ripples the lake we can't see such activity.

See what I mean?  Mirror with an occasional disturbance

I took a moment to admire the banana grove.
This is the time, when nothing seems to be happening, when I can most appreciate the variety of tropical plants.
This reminds me of my Japanese Brush Painting class in the 60s.  I love bamboo.
Now WHAT was that?

The lone ibis
 All the while I was outside I had the company of one lone male ibis.  I believe the black tail is mating plumage. He would shove that long beak down into the sandy lawn and often come up with something long and wiggly.  It could have been small lizards or something else but I have never seen earthworms here like we have up North.

I watched little ripples start in the lake and wondered since there was no disturbance on the surface of the swimming pool.  But, slowly, the rain made its way to us and just made the warm coffee better.  The Ibis retreated to the shelter of the hibiscus tree at the corner of the screen house where he has been off and on for days.  In the winter the "herd" of Ibises count between 12 and 20.  Maybe the mating feathers are a clue to this lone bird not running with a crowd...yet.

The starfruit is ready to pick...but not in the rain.
 The only sounds were the rain and the serenade of a mockingbird.  This one has a totally different song than the fellow around here the last two years.  DO they learn different arrangements of song?
This fellow has a very pleasing arrangements of "Mocking" songs.
The rain is getting harder and it is time to go inside.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Winter "Residents" Slowly Returning

Every winter since our first in 2003, we have watched a pair of Osprey.  In February of 2003 they built their first nest (as far as we could tell).  They both spent days and days bringing large twigs and pieces of plant life weaving a huge nest VERY high on the cell tower across the bay from us.

In 2004 they raised their second family in the same nest while we watched through binoculars.

In January 2005, after the hurricanes of September 2004, they rebuilt the nest and raised another family.

In 2006, a pair of Great Horned Owls grabbed the nest before the osprey could defend it and we watched a family of owls hatch, grow and fledge from the nest.  The owls never returned and in 2007 through 2012 the Osprey successfully raised two young each winter.

The Osprey have been here and nesting every year before we arrive (in January),  This year a family situation has us in Florida in October...a whole new ball game.  The first week we saw NO BIRDS!  None at all!!!  In the second week we started to see an occasional early migratory bird or three.  This included ONE Osprey.  The one Osprey flew once or twice near the nest but seemed busy fishing in our lake.

Osprey Pair at the Nest--can you see BOTH birds?

Finally, today, I saw both birds flying together and "screaming" (not as annoying as it sounds).  I took a few photos but it was hard to focus on them.  They went to the nest and flew around it.  Then I saw the female flip over and sort-of fly upside-down under the male and I knew they were mating.  I assume when we return in January there will be a nest of babies for us to watch again.

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Gabby Faye
Michigan, United States
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