dogs, fun, grandchildren, kids, life, memories, photography, travel, weather

Happy feet…

I last went north a year and a half ago for my granddaughter’s college graduation. Since I was heading that way I got a ‘since you are coming anyhow’ request from my son, could I head there (NY) first and stay with the kids for the weekend while they headed to FL for a wedding?  I was happy to do it.  But I didn’t anticipate that turning on the oven to heat up a slice of pizza and then noticing that the puppy had pooped on the foyer floor, would result in the smoke alarm going off during the poop clean up, which caused me to hurriedly flush said poop, causing the toilet to overflow… and my grandson to call down from upstairs, “Is everything alright down there, Mimi?” Eventually it was, with help from the kids..
I’m reliving that memory because my other take-away from that weekend was that I spent it freezing to death. At the end of May! So I went on a quest for warm slippers, and these were the only ones to be found, and they caused my daughter and granddaughter to roll their eyes at my fashion choices. I didn’t care, I think the only place I went during that visit that I didn’t wear them was the actual graduation itself.
Lucky for me I was straightening my closet and discovered them, just in time for them to save me from our current cold spell in FL. My friend Kathy said she’d have to dig deep to feel sorry for me while I suffered through our 50-something degree weather. So my fashion choices for the day are the slippers, jeans, and Charley’s huge #1 Pop Pop sweatshirt, which is the only sweatshirt I can put my hands on at the moment. The dogs think I look just fine, and they also think it’s time to go out…

life, photography, on closer examination, grandchildren, memories, fun, moments, life goes on, family

On the way…

We passed this pond every time we went to visit my son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Katie, for a lot of years.  And every time we did pass this pond it nearly took my breath away with how beautiful it was.  And if the dogs were with us, dogs being Zoe and Gleason for most of that time, and then Zoe and Ozzie, once we got to this pond Zoe knew for sure that we were going to their house and she could barely contain herself for the rest of the way.  Which wasn’t far, thank goodness.  But I never stopped to take a picture, I suppose I didn’t expect that heading to Mike’s house would one day be a 21 hour drive north.

After we bought our house with the pond in our back yard, and especially as we had only seen the place twice, plus the neighbor on the left side of our lake kept his yard like a park, I began to imagine that our pond looked like the pond on the way to Mike’s house.  Minus the fountain of course.  And alligators, no alligators in my pond, thank you very much.  But that pond never seems to have the algae that my pond does, I wonder how they keep that down?  At any rate it was a slight bit of disappointment when we settled on the house and I saw the pond again, and saw that it was much smaller, and quite a bit sadder, than the one on the way to Mike’s house.  Oh I love my pond, and I’m grateful to have it, especially after it dried up for a couple of years, but it would be nice…

So I recently found myself passing down this street again, and wishing that Mike still lived nearby, if only because I would have stopped in to use the bathroom.  But on the way home I stopped for pictures, since I don’t know when, or if, I’ll pass this way again…


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!

boats, fun, humor, life goes on, memories, moments, photography, sunset

Christmas Boat Parades…

In most circumstances a sunset photo is the grand finale of a photo shoot, but in this instance it was only the beginning.  I’ve been hearing announcements of boat parades being held in neighboring towns this week, and truth be told, I know they used to do them in Maryland also.  Now I wonder why I never went to one?  But I saw that members of the new photo group were going to the Dunedin boat parade on Saturday night, and I thought it was a good opportunity to join them.  And it’s a good thing I did because it took some finagling to get my camera set up to account for the lights, my lack of tripod, and the movement of the boats, so kudos and thanks to Kate for all her help.

There were lots of boats, large and small, and they paraded right in front of us for judging.  I was tickled by the crowd who cheered for them all no matter how simple or elaborate the decorations.  They even cheered for a guy on a paddle board with his dog, even though he wasn’t part of the parade.  And the police boat when it docked at it’s spot in the marina.  This is the exact area where we spent my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding weekend almost 20 years ago.  I could never have imagined where life would take me all these years later…


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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.


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


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…


fun, moments, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset

Lounging at the beach…

Surely you’ve seen these inflatable loungers online somewhere.  I know that I had, but I’m not sure where.  Just something that showed up on Facebook for some random reason maybe.  That lime green color is what made it stand out as the first thing I noticed when I got to Pine Island last night.  So I did my usual thing and took a sneak photo.  But then I remembered the tightrope walkers so I walked over to these two young people to ask them if the loungers are as comfy and easy to maneuver as they were advertised to be.  The were so friendly, and the gal hopped up and insisted that I sit in it.  I told her that if I did I’d surely be stuck, so she said she’d help me up.  Turns out it is comfy.  And they have taken them into the water and floated on them too.  Then I got a demo of how to fill them with air.  And yes, she helped me up, but I  could have just rolled out and onto my hands and knees to get up so I wouldn’t have been stuck forever.  What a fun idea.  I never asked if they’d blow away if they both had gotten up to take a swim.  I guess you could weigh them down.  What a nice young couple they were.


And of course there was a photo shoot going on while we were talking and waiting for the sunset.  Because it seems there always is.


Then when I was concentrating on the sunset another photographer beside me struck up a conversation.  She and her husband are full time RVers, and have been for 12 years now.  They had come to Spring Hill to check on her mother who had Alzheimer’s, and found that they couldn’t leave.  So they sold their campground in Maine and moved here.  After her mother died they weren’t sure what they wanted to do next, and mom’s house sold in one day, but that was during the real estate boom, so they were homeless, sort of. They heard of a camper that had been fixed up for someone who then couldn’t buy it, and that’s how they became RVers.  They also had lived on a sailboat at some point and said that they sailed it from FL to VT.  I said wait a minute, VT isn’t on the water.  They used the lock system!  What an interesting life.  I asked them to adopt me but they declined.  It seems the Pine Island never disappoints.


Next time I’m shooting a sunset and can’t decide if I want to include the clouds or the foreground I’ll try to remember to try a vertical panoramic shot on my phone.