adventure, childhood, photography, Pine Island, silliness, simple things, sky, unintended images

Widget’s tale…

After two cold, rainy, and entirely dreary days, it was almost startling to see some blue sky that afternoon, but still lots of clouds. Clouds that just might be lit up by the sunset. I hadn’t been out for the sunset at Pine Island in quite a few days, so off I went. I complained when the wind wasn’t there the other day, and the no-see-ums were there, well, the wind was back, in spades. The clouds had been blown almost entirely away and the seagulls kept taking to the air, and flying nowhere. They couldn’t make headway against that wind.

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And that wind, well, the seagulls weren’t the only ones who struggled with it. Don’t I always say that Pine Island never disappoints? That the people I meet are just as important to me as the sunsets? Well, we can now add elves to that list, or, one elf at least. His name is Widget, and he had quite the tale to tell…

Widgets mission
It seems he had been chosen by Santa for a very special mission, one that had taken him to Hawaii. It was hard work training those elf recruits, so before he left Hawaii he earned a chance to relax on the beach…Widget gets some sun

But then a huge gust of wind blew across the beach, and Widget found himself flying through the sky.  All he could see were all the seagulls who were also being blown in the wind with him.  He was flying and flying, and he was very scared, but mostly because he didn’t know if he would ever see his boy Jonah again.  He just wanted to go home.

Widget touches down

There were hardly any people on Pine Island on that cold and windy evening.  But lucky for him Jonah’s mommy was one of the people there on the beach, and we all saw him as he flew through the air, and landed with a thud, and we ran to see if he was okay.  He didn’t care that he was cold, or that he was covered with sand, he said he just wanted to go home.  And then he smiled…

Widget's selfie

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adventure, birds, boats, connections, finding my way, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, pelicans, photography, safety Harbor, sky, sunset

Safety Harbor Sunset…

In the interests of finding new and different places for photo ops, plus my social life could use a kick in the pants, I joined a big group of photographers for a shoot last night at Safety Harbor.  Drove through a very cute town with shops I would have loved to have had time to explore, maybe I’ll do that next time.  Actually we were having fun exploring and photographing birds, enough so that we very nearly missed the sunset all together.

An immature Black Crowned Night Heron, was a new bird to me.  Merlin says that the white tips on the feathers are what tells you it’s not a mature bird.  He posed like a champ.  As did the Downey Woodpecker, and there were lots of pelicans swimming alongside the pier.

1130nightheron1130downeywoodpecker1130pelicansBut we did turn our attention to the sunset in time to catch some pretty color in the sky.

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Even the walk past the boats in the marina on the way back to my car had me stopping for another couple of shots.

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But the real adventure came on the way home.  One of the group officials had suggested that I take a right out of the parking lot to avoid most of the congestion in the area on the way home, and he told me what street to take.  But I was still unsure so I asked my pal Siri to “direct me home”.   I always forget that when you do that you get a very close up map with the route highlighted in blue, but you can’t see even your next move coming up.  Or where you are or where you are going, just that blue line glowing in the dark.  And the road she had me on kept snaking to the right and the left, and reversing itself so that it seemed like you were going the wrong way.  I began to wonder who’s house she was taking me to, but, as always, she got me to the Suncoast Parkway and it was fine from then on.  All in all a fun adventure…

 

adventure, fences, natural wonders, on closer examination, special effects, sunset, technology, travel

Armchair traveling…

Have you been on Google Earth lately? Or ever? I went looking for that application on the computer so that I could look up my grandfather’s house for a blog post, and gone was the blue marble ikon I was looking for. I thought I’d somehow deleted the application, but no, it was there, now titled Google Earth Pro, with a gray and white ikon.

The ikon might be less colorful, but I was astounded at what I found when I typed in the address I was looking for. I was essentially a drone, flying over a very clear town, and zooming in so that I was standing in front of the house! A beautiful, full color, photograph of the house that, in this case, was well past it’s prime. And yes, it took a little maneuvering, and while you are ‘walking’ yourself to the actual address you just might make yourself a little sea sick, but so worth it. Maybe not if you are trying to hide, or on the ‘lam’, but for nosy people like me it was great!  Just this morning I visited the Vatican, the Acropolis, and the school where my granddaughter teaches in Bucharest. In the more famous places there are many, many photo links to click on to see the photos that other people have taken in that place and posted on the internet.

And then it hit me while I was at work today!  The Grand Canyon!  What better place to fly over!  Or down into. I’m thinking it has to be like wearing one of those flying squirrel suits and zooming on the air currents… from the comfort of my recliner of course. The tool bar at the top of the screen seems to allow you to save images, or record your ‘tour’. As I zoomed I stopped and took quick photos of my computer screen for you to see.  And kept the tools in the photos on purpose so you’ll know what the screen looks like if you decide to fly there, or anywhere else, for yourself and check it out. It really is a small world these days.

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adventure, childhood, dogs, fun, memories, old dogs new tricks, simple things

“An Ode To My Dog”

My sister has suggested that I write a post about our dog, Tag. The problem with that is that almost all the images I have of him, and there are many, exist only in my head. And this will be no short story. Tag

We got him from a farm on the outskirts of our town, picking him out of a big litter of puppies. I wanted a more colorfully marked female, but my mother chose Tag, who was curled up, sleeping in the food dish. I remember the flecks of food in his fur on the drive home. I have loved all my dogs, but in the 64 years since no other dog has ever come close to Tag. Because it was the days before leash laws Tag was free as a bird, and he followed me everywhere in my younger years. My mother said she never worried about me because of that.

He quite literally jumped through hoops for me.  Hula hoops. I had a mental image of somehow creating a flaming hoop for him to jump through, but never actually attempted to implement that particular fantasy, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to hold a flaming hula hoop. I made a rope harness for him to pull a wagon, and charged the neighborhood kids a penny for a ride. My success with Tag prompted the neighbors to hire me to train their dog, who paid absolutely no attention to me, so it was the student, not the teacher, who deserved the credit. Another plan of mine was to hitch Tag to the wagon, a kerchief around his neck with a shopping list and money tied inside, and send him to the little neighborhood market up the street. I was sure it would work. We lived with my grandfather in those days, in an Italian neighborhood, and though I didn’t speak the language, when my grandfather would slip me a couple of dollars go to the store and buy a box of dog biscuits to keep beside him for Tag, I knew what he wanted me to do.

When one of my uncles slipped me a dollar or two and I marched myself to the pet shop and bought a kitten, my mother wasn’t amused.  That that cat had kittens long before my mother thought to do anything to avoid it was quite the episode in my, and Tag’s, life.  He attended the birth, helping clean up the kittens as they were born.  My mother said he was a better mother than the cat was.  He would lay on the big cement back porch, with the kittens jumping on his slowly wagging tail.  When his tail would change directions the kittens would tumble off, only to jump back on.  I can see it so clearly, even now.

Tag would show up at school at recess to say hello. My mother said he’d be asleep on the porch and he’d suddenly leap to his feet and take off. She’d look at the clock and know where he went, and she also said that he was the only dog welcome at the school.  Or so I ‘remember’. Even I wonder about some of these memories some times.

When I got too old for Tag to follow me every day he would follow the older neighborhood handyman on his rounds. John was on foot, pulling a wagon full of his tools, and my father would see him and Tag all around the area. One day John was up on the roof of the barn-type structure behind the house next door, and Tag attempted to climb up the ladder to join him. He got halfway up and was stuck, leaving John equally stuck on the roof. My father, the fireman, had to come to their rescue. Eventually we moved across town, and Tag kept disappearing, only to be spotted by my father, back in the old neighborhood, still making the rounds with John.

In the 5th grade we were supposed to write our autobiography, my mother said that mine should have been titled, “An Ode To My Dog”. Little did she dream she’d name a blog post for me one day.

 

adventure, dogs, memories, nature, on closer examination, photography, travel

The Lure of the West…

It was 1991 when my husband decided that he wanted to take a trip ‘out west’, to see for himself the landscapes we used to see in the westerns on TV when we were kids. So he made a list of places to see on the trip, which included the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, the Rockies, and everything in between. It was my turn to try to impress upon a person who had grown up on the East Coast just how vast ‘the west’ really was. My introduction to this fact was when I was visiting my (now ex) in-laws in Colorado Springs and I got a brilliant idea for what we could do that day, we could go to the Grand Canyon! They laughed, and I felt silly, but to a New Englander when something is in the next state over it’s a day trip.

We got travel brochures from friends who had been to various places out west in the past, and lots of advice as to what to be sure to see. This was in the dark ages, before computers, and GPS, and even cell phones! My husband decided that what he wanted to see was all available in Colorado, so that’s where we headed. I had my new 35mm camera and I took lots and lots of pictures. It wasn’t hard to find 1 hour photo developing places, so we didn’t wait to get home to start enjoying our pictures, and I put them into an album, with notes, right away. Thankfully, since I can at least have some idea of where they were taken. But it is so frustrating to look at this album now, in this digital photo age. I want to pinch them open to see the details better, and adjust the exposure. I can see that some of them really would be great pictures… with some adjustments. Oh to be able to be there now and taking photos! I want a digital do-over!

 

We brought our dog, Nugget, with us on this trip.  We thought she was on her last legs at the time, but the Colorado air must have done her a world of good because she lived to be 18 years old.  She loved the trip, I took her picture once I noticed that she was always looking out the side of the car with the best view.