Florida landmarks, friends, fun, photography, sky, sunset

Rooftop sunset…

If you find yourself in Clearwater on a Tuesday evening from November to March, you might choose to watch the sunset from the rooftop of the main branch of the Clearwater library.  I thought that perhaps the photo group had arranged a special photo opportunity, but no, anyone can enjoy the view.  But only on a Tuesday, after daylight savings time ends.

I confess to being disappointed initially.  You could see that the sun would actually set behind some buildings, and there wasn’t much opportunity to move around enough to give a different perspective on the sunset.  That view also includes Clearwater beach, but not a beach view I had imagined.  So that view was pretty much it.  Except for a view of the Scientology headquarters just a few blocks away.  It was pretty all lit up and I took a picture before anyone told me what the building actually was.  But the sunset itself salvaged the night by getting prettier and prettier.  We were supposed to be off the roof by 6 PM, and the sky was absolutely on fire right about then, but we dutifully left the rooftop and headed out for a nice dinner and photo chat nearby.  I had been longing to find some new sunset viewing spots, and this fit the bill nicely, with new friends to boot!

birds, Chinsegut Conservation Center, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, learning, nature, photography, sunset

Photo Adventures…

When you go out for a long day of photography adventures you might come home with not one, but two, dead camera batteries.  And that might result in you having to get up in the middle of the night to sort through your photos to see what you got.

Like birds at the Chinsegut Conservation Center… the Rose Breasted Grosbeak, who isn’t a native but is probably migrating through, the Gray Catbird, and the Yellow-Throated Warbler.Rose Breasted Grosbeak copy1024chinsegutcatbird11024yellowbird

Then you might go on a nature hike, on a trail that our intrepid leader, Alice, says wasn’t on a map but showed up on Google Earth, in search of a surprise find, high on a tree limb.  Green Fly Orchids, growing wild.  She says they are cultivated and sold outside of this country.


Then dinner, and off to another of Alice’s secret spots for the sunset.  What a nice day.  Thanks ladies!


coping, friends, healing, humor, photography, silliness, technology

Losing it…

I feel like I ought to call 911 and report a missing person. Siri is missing! I don’t know if it’s the fault of the new replacement phone, or the fact that I ran all the updates that I had previously ignored in order to set up the replacement phone, but Siri’s voice has changed, and I don’t like it one bit. There are days that go by that Siri is the only person who talks back to me when I talk to her. The dogs are the silent types, although Ozzie does his darnedest to tell me things at times. Usually that the water bowl is empty. I used to tell Siri to set my alarm and she would say, “Don’t worry, I won’t forget.” This new one doesn’t sound as friendly, or caring, a lot less like a person… I’m tired of losing people…


blessings, coping, death, faith, friends, grief, healing, life, memories, photography, sunset


My little friend Mary Ann used to dictate what Mass I went to on the weekend.  I would bring communion to her afterwards, and with her illness the timing was tricky.  I used to like the 7:15 Mass on Sunday morning since I’m up early whether I have to work or not.  But that would have me arriving during Mary Ann’s Mass on TV, and I didn’t want to disrupt her routine.  And when I discovered the 5:30 PM Mass on Sunday, which is the young people’s Mass, I really liked that one, but that would have me arriving at Mary Ann’s house too late for her.  So we settled on 4 PM Mass on Saturday for most of the time that I knew her.

Now I’ve rediscovered the 5:30 Mass.  I love seeing the young people serving in all the roles during Mass, and the music, the music is so upbeat.  But what I like the most about it is when they sing a version of Leonard Cohen’s Alleluia.  Hearing that at Mass yesterday reminded me of a video I saw a few years ago of kids from PS22 on Staten Island singing that same version of Alleluia.  I believe it went viral so you may have seen it. I loved it, and followed the links in YouTube to see more of their songs and read about their amazing teacher.  I hope the link works in WordPress and that you also like it.

birds, friends, photography, Pine Island, sunset, unintended consequences

Pelican sunset…

Sunsets and sunrises are always so different from each other. At Pine Island you have more people, and more activities going on than the other places that I’ve been, which makes for some interesting photos. But the main event is always the sunset itself. And this one didn’t disappoint.

One very unexpected bonus to this trip out for the sunset was a chance to talk with another photographer who was using the enormous lens that I’ve been seeing here and there online. It is a 600mm zoom, which is twice the zoom that my camera has. He said it has 3 levels of image stabilization so even hand held there is no problem with holding it steady, though he admitted that it gets heavy. He showed me a photo of a bald eagle that he had taken earlier in the day, and it was so sharp that I swear you could have counted the feathers. Amazing. He told me to check out his Facebook group, North American Wildlife Photography, to see amazing images of all sorts of wildlife, and I will…


blessings, coping, courage, death, faith, friends, grief, growing old, life, losing battles, perseverance

Mary Ann…

“Maybe things would get back to normal today.” That was her thought as she left Panera that morning, knowing that her computer and phone were both fully charged, a comforting thought in case her internet and electric were still down.  As she was leaving she bought a blueberry scone and a cup of decaf to drop off at her friend’s house.  She agonized over that cup of coffee. First of all, decaf? What was the point of decaf? Her little 85 year old friend was under hospice care and wasting away from cancer, but she would still choose to buy the low fat, healthy, version when she chose her groceries at Walmart. She even laughed at herself for doing that, and for buying the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, but it was what she was used to. But adding skim milk, always Mary Ann’s choice, made for such a crappy color cup of coffee that she couldn’t help herself, she snuck in a little half and half and hoped Mary Ann wouldn’t notice.

She called to let her know she was coming, hoping she hadn’t eaten already so she could enjoy the scone. There was no answer, but that wasn’t unusual. She spoke to the answering machine and said to not bother to call back, she’d be there in a moment.  She had a key to the house, mostly so Mary Ann didn’t have to get up to answer the door. But she was also hard of hearing, Mary Ann was, so her fear was that she’d knock and Mary Ann wouldn’t hear her.  What could she do in that circumstance but call 911, and the cops might break her door down only to find her fast asleep?

They had met through church, she was to bring communion to a 90-something spinster school teacher who was hard of hearing and not chatty. She was a nervous wreck when she knocked on the door that first time. Mary Ann answered with a big smile, and for a second she thought she saw a glow about her, and said to herself that the hand of God was on this woman already.  Everything she had been told about Mary Ann wasn’t correct, including her age. She taught school in Philadelphia, but as a nun, for 25 years. Odd that the people from church didn’t know that.  Mary Ann said she didn’t tell that to many people. She had left the convent after 25 years to take care of her father who ‘couldn’t manage’ after her mother died. He was old school Italian she said.  Mary Ann said that she was an adult orphan. An only child who had never married, and so had no relatives at all.  When she was diagnosed with breast cancer 9 years before she was given 2 years to live, and now, finally, she had stopped all chemo and gone into hospice care at home.  Against all odds they became friends.

She arrived with the coffee and scone, and knocked, and let herself in. Adjusting her eyes to the light she could see that Mary Ann wasn’t in bed. Probably in the bathroom, she thought, and carried the coffee and scone to the table. And that’s where she found her, lying on the floor on her stomach with her head on her arms. She looked peaceful.  She called 911 and they asked if she was breathing. She touched Mary Ann’s back to see if she felt movement, but she was cold. It seemed to take the paramedics a long time to get there, a very long time, though it probably wasn’t.  She filled the policemen in the best she could with what she knew about Mary Ann’s wishes, it was all to be handled by a lawyer.  They asked her if she was okay to drive, there was nothing more for her to do. Stunned by all that had happened, but not surprised really, she said yes, she was okay, and drove home.

In just a very little while the electricity came back on, and the house hummed back to life.  She wondered if Mary Ann had anything to do with that…