a second look, family, finding my way, photography, road trip, sunrise, sunset, Uncategorized

On to New England…

Obviously I’ve left the Nature Coast of Florida and am currently on a road trip, having made stops in Charleston, Pennsylvania, and now the Hudson Valley area of NY.  I seem to have brought the FL weather with me, it’s been hot!  At the last minute I was reading comments from friends and relatives about how cold it was up here, so I tossed every pair of jeans and several jackets into my suitcase.  But so far it’s been flip flop weather.  And today I’ll leave for New England, which is where I call ‘home’ when I’m in Florida and homesick.  Now I’m seeing beautiful pictures from my current home in the Tampa Bay Area and I know that I’ll be ready to go back when the time comes.  But not yet, I’ve barely begun.

The photo above is the sunset as seen from my son’s front porch a day or two ago, and captured with the iPhone.  This morning I was shocked to see this sky, again from the front porch as I let Ozzie out.  Mike’s house sits on a hill but there are tall trees to his east, so I walked down the driveway out into the cul de sac to try to see as much sky as possible.  Seems I roam the neighborhood in my pajamas everywhere I go…6-20sunriseNY16-20sunriseNY26-20sunriseNY36-20sunriseNY4

connections, family, finding my way, home, live and learn, memories, old dogs new tricks, photography, travel

Hit the road…

So a road trip was in order.  Why not, what was stopping me?  Well, there was the credit card that was coming in the mail since my post-church stop for gas resulted in my credit card being hacked.  How’s that for karma?  The bank shut my account down within a day, and it’s all ‘fixed’, but without even a hint of an attempt to discover who, or how, it happened.  Never pay at the pump was the take away from that conversation, walk into the station and pay, preferably using the chip.  Or cash.  I never have cash, and that would solve the gas station problem, but somehow cash seems less safe to carry around.  Did having a husband make these sorts of issues less of a threat?  Not really, but there was the illusion of being somehow protected.  Is it any wonder why I never ponder the larger issues of life when these every day issues can blow my mind?  Send me back under the covers to wait for something to change?   

And which road, for the road trip I mean?  Did you ever read ‘Blue Highways’, by William Least Heat Moon?  Wonderful book that instilled a wanderlust in me that’s been sitting on the back burner for years now.  Should I get on 95 and drive north at 70 mph, stopping only for the bare necessities?  Or should I travel the ‘blue highways’ on the map, stopping for photo ops, talking with strangers, hearing their stories?  I’m an excellent practitioner of the ‘rosy-glasses’ philosophy of life.  I have never been any good at anticipating the not-so-perfect consequences of any choice I’ve ever made.  So with that as my history I suppose it’s hopeless to expect myself to change at this late date.  And honestly, do I have many regrets over the choices I’ve made in my life?  No, things have turned out well enough for me, in spite of myself…6-12bluehighway

connections, family, friends, fun, healing, kids, life, life goes on, loneliness, moments, photography, sunrise


As I was leaving Bayport this morning a song came into my head, for obvious reasons.  “My bags are packed, I’m ready to go,” and when I got home I looked up the song to see how appropriate it actually was to my current situation.  And it isn’t appropriate since there is no jet plane involved, and no one to kiss goodbye.  The kissing part will come when I get there.  And feeling sad over leaving?  That will come when I get back on the road to come home.  In between there are lots of faces I want to see.  People I want to kiss.  And hugs, lots of hugs.  I think I miss hugs the most…6-12sunriseview

a second look, family, finding my way, friends, photography, technology, travel

Tidying up…

I may have been the last person in America to read this book,

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo

Sorry for the size of the text but I had no hope of remembering the title so I lifted it from Google.  I went on an organizational binge after my husband died.  His hobby, well, one of them, was collecting coins, and I was in fear that somehow I would throw away one or more of his treasures, so I had to go through all of his stuff immediately in order to prevent a disaster.  Part of me didn’t think I could make such a mistake, but he was secretive with his stuff so I wasn’t quite sure what to think.  I had asked him if there was any sort of inventory, if he had ever written instructions down in case something would happen to him.  But that was when we never dreamed anything would actually happen, and when he said that yes he had written out instructions I thought he was lying.  Fibbing.  And he was, and I let him.  And, to my relief really, after digging through his closet, which I not-so-affectionately called his ‘toss-in closet’, I found no coins in pockets or any other odd ball places.  They were all in the safe deposit box.  But I had to look, I had to know, I had to be sure.  The responsibility I felt for taking care of his stuff was quite overwhelming.

I mention this because in this book the author doesn’t believe in organization.  You don’t organize your stuff, you get rid of it.  Actually you thank each piece for it’s service, and then you get rid of it.  Hey, I didn’t write the book.  And I did get rid of a LOT of my own stuff after I read the book last year sometime, but I didn’t thank each piece of clothing before it got sent to Goodwill.  So by her standards all my prior efforts to organize Charley’s stuff and my stuff was for naught.

But the big take-away from the book, for me anyhow, is that I have faithfully used her method of folding and storing your clothes every day since.  I haven’t even been tempted to NOT use her method almost from day one.  In her method your things stack in drawers, and not only can you fit a ton of stuff into a small space, you can see everything perfectly.  There is no digging for the particular tee shirt or pants that you might be looking for.  My only cheat has been with my socks, that drawer still looks like a bomb went off in there.  Socks should be folded neatly together, and not turned one inside the other to keep a pair together.  That would cause them stress you see.  So she said anyhow.

But her method has proven itself to me again as I get ready for a pilgrimage of sorts, up north to visit with family and friends.  I’ve had lots of time to get ready this week, so I started transferring pants into the big travel bag I use when I have to bring a lot of stuff.  And, amazingly, I didn’t even use half the bag, so I added the shirts I wanted to bring, and it all fits!  I’ll be comfortable, although not prepared for a formal event, but since that hasn’t ever happened before I think I’ll be safe.  I used to always bring this bag plus it’s slightly smaller matching cousin on a big trip, but not this time…6-12socks.jpgI see fuzzy socks!  I should pack them too.  Last time this Floridian went north she just about froze to death…

birds, Cranes, family, Florida wildlife, nesting, perseverance, photography

If you’ve got ’em, flap ’em…

I was out and about yesterday before the sun was even up, so when I came home to relax I looked out back and found a surprise visitor on the lake, and, of course, I took some photos.  It was too early for the cranes just then, but I knew where to look for them. 4-19anhinga

This was only the second time that I’ve seen an Anhinga out on the lake.  I don’t think there is enough water here for them, so I think he was just taking a break as he traveled from one place to another.  I saw the dark shape and expected it to be the Little Blue Heron who sits there every day.  But you couldn’t miss that undulating neck that is very snake-like.  Seeing him was what got me out there.  And after a few pictures I decided to go see if I could find our cute new residents.

You might think that after last year’s chicks these new ones would fall into the category of old news, but they aren’t to me, and I hope they aren’t to you.  These two are bouncy little things.  When they realize that they’ve fallen behind they bounce along as they run to catch up.  They fall down, and pop back up, and are generally just too cute for words.  I loved the ‘nub’ flapping last year, and there is plenty of that going on this year too.  Do I sound like a proud grandma?  I feel like one…


I didn’t think that they minded me hovering and taking photos, but eventually  it seemed as if they should have headed back to the nest and I began to worry that I was the problem.  So I went home and sure enough they came back to the lake just a few minutes later.  It’s going to be hard to resist that closer-up photo op, but I’ll try not to bother them too much.  And when I do head out to find them I’ll try to remember bug spray, I was standing in fire ant territory when I took these photos!

adventure, boats, family, fun, grandchildren, kayaking, nature, photography

Down by the riverside…

I’ve been wanting to go kayaking for a while now.  I pictured quietly floating down the river and taking pictures with my iPhone.  That was what I had wished for, but what I never dared to wish for was someone to go with me, especially my grandson!  It will be easy I told him. It’s intuitive, I said.  And it was, for a little while.  When I saw him shift his weight towards one side of the kayak it seemed as if I had a lot of time to will the kayak not to tip over, but it did.  With a splash the water was full of floating shoes, and hats, and Spence was sputtering when he came up because he’d dropped his phone.  What wasn’t hanging around was his kayak, it was being carried by the (strong) current and I had to leave Spence there (did I mention that the water wasn’t too deep), while he looked for his phone, and I took off after the kayak.  It was a relief when he recovered the phone and after he’d determined that his waterproof phone was really waterproof, but that’s when he realized that his glasses were also among the missing.  So this story doesn’t have a happy ending since we never did find the glasses.  And of course that makes me feel badly, but still I have been laughing my head off over this all day.  I think I lost it when he snagged his shoe as it floated by.  I guess you had to be there.  I haven’t recovered yet, maybe he isn’t the only one who went off the deep end…3-30fishergirl3-30riverside13-30riverside23-30riverside33-30riverside43-30riverside53-30riverside63-30riverside73-30staghorn3-30Riverside83-30riverside9