In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NOAA Totally Failed With TS Debby!

I know y'all are used to me posting cheerful beach pictures and telling funny stories, but I'm pissed and need to ventilate. If you've been following me on Twitter you've seen me tweeting for several days about Tropical Storm Debby. I'm not pissed so much that She's causing such a mess here, I'm pissed that NOAA failed so horribly in predicting her path. Six days ago local weather people were predicting that She could come to Florida, but NOAA kept Her on a track to go west and hit La. or TX. 

As I watched the radar maps Saturday it was clear even to me She was going to hit Florida, but NOAA stuck to their predictions of her going west and missing us. And everyone always giving the most creditably to NOAA's predictions. So when Debbie decided to give Florida a big ol' hug, we weren't prepared. 

If we had warning that Debbie was coming here, the record number of sea turtle nests that had been laid this summer on Anna Maria Island could have been relocated and saved from the flooding and erosion our beaches have suffered in the past few days. By the time we realized how bad it was going to get, it was too late. And that is a damn shame! You can read about the sea turtle nests here. NOAA has to do better! 

Saturday and Sunday were miserable for us. Relentless torrential rains went on nonstop flooding neighborhoods, roads, and much of Anna Maria Island. And if that wasn't enough there have been numerous tornadoes in the area. Then Sunday night the winds started, gawd I hate the wind. 

This is what it looked like out my windows Monday morning and most of the day-

Finally Monday afternoon The National Weather Service issued this Tropical Storm warning for us. Too little too late.

Luckily, ROM and I have had no damage to our home or lost power, unlike so many in the area. A local news story about TS Debby and the damage She's done can be read here. I spent Monday running the sump pump to keep up with the rain water under our house, getting the dogs out for potty breaks between storm squalls, and trying to keep Isabella from losing her mind. I don't know how long a dog can go with out sleeping but I'm betting she broke some records this weekend.

The rains have let up this evening but the wind has been a bitch. Every 15 minutes or so it will gust, grab at the metal awnings on the back of the house and bang them loudly. I finally got a two hour nap this evening while ROM sat with Isabella, but I'm now up with her for yet another night. I just can't leave her sitting alone when she's so distressed. My presence doesn't seem to help that much, but I just can't leave her alone to go through this. Right now it's quiet and she's napping here by my desk, but there's more bands of rain heading our way soon.

Anyway, I just had to do some bitching about NOAA and the needless loss of all those sea turtle nests. Oops- I spoke too soon about it being quiet right now- here comes another squall line of rain- I can hear the wind blowing sheets of rain against the house right this moment. Here is a short video I took of the wind blowing the palm tree in my front yard this afternoon-

Friday, June 22, 2012

Palm Trees, Night Heron, and Hurricanes

The week started out so nice- sunny and an unexpected break from the high humidity. Yesterday the humidity started rise, winds picked up, and clouds rolled in bringing rain. I took these photos of the flowering palm tree in my yard yesterday morning before the rains arrived. Bees love these little yellow flowers and swarm around them up in the tree and those that have fallen on the ground. Makes it tricky taking the dogs in the yard while keeping them from stepping on the bees. 

See the pod that opened and released the flowers? Right now it's yellow like the flowers but it will later turn a rich dark brown color. There are so many decorative things you can do with them once they are dried out. I've even sculpted on them and turned them into wall hanging. I have a huge one I collected after the hurricanes of 2004 when so many trees were blown down.

But back to the stormy weather we're having... I went out last night about 1 a.m. to see if the clouds had cleared enough to see the Space Station as it passed over our area. It was too cloudy but I did see this yellow crowned night heron looking for a snack in the standing water left from the earlier storm. I'm guessing there were little frogs, toads and snails he was feasting on.  I couldn't get very close to him without scaring him off and due to the low light the photo isn't very good, but I loved how he was reflected in the standing water. I turned my flash on to get this photo which startled him and off he flew.

We had rain again today and they've predicted it's going to rain through the weekend. Drats- no sunny beach time. According to the weather reports tonight there's a high probability a hurricane could form in the Gulf. This is when we all hold our breath waiting to see if it forms and if it does, where it's going to hit.
This was the map on NOAA website with the following information:


So it looks like this will be a good weekend to go see a movie or shop, or both! I better check Isabella's meds, too, and make sure I have enough on hand to keep her from shaking to death. I hope your weekend will bring you better weather than we're going to have. If it does- get out there and enjoy it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Beach Baby, Beach Baby Give Me Your Hand...

...  give me somethin' that I can remember." Remember that old song? It came to mind when I watched these two old lovers walk out into the Gulf and back to shore again hand in hand every step of the way. By the look on his face it was clear that he sees the same girl he fell in love with many years ago. Doesn't your heart melt at the sight of old lovers? 

It was a perfect beach day...

The water was so calm...

A young woman lost in thought as she watched the slow, soft waves come in to gently lap at the shoreline

 A snowy egret put on a show dancing in the water...

For some it was a lazy Sunday to bask in the sun...

Lots of new sea turtle nests. Looks like this season is going to set record numbers  for sea turtle nesting which is fabulous news. 

While strolling the beach I found this barnacle encrusted shell. When I picked it up a long clawed hermit crab (different species than the hermit crabs you can buy in pet stores) crawled half way out. Of course by the time I got my camera from my bag he had retreated back into the shell.

    I waited and waited, but he would only peek out...

So I gave up and threw him back in water to carry on with his life. I found this photo of a long clawed crab on Google. I have no idea who is the photographer so can't give the person credit.  

And that was my Sunday at the beach. Life is good!

It Pays To Be Nice To Your Neighbors

Remember my search for a red pineapple plant after I fell in love with my neighbor's. Searched all the local nurseries and no one had a red pineapple. I found a nursery 80 miles away who had one but I didn't want to drive that far. So I had pretty much given up on getting one. 

My Neighbor's Red Pineapple

Yesterday I took my neighbor some succulent pups I had recently separated from the mother plants and potted them. He was thrilled to get them because he didn't have any of the type I gave him.  The later that afternoon when I got back from shopping I found this red pineapple loaded with pups on my lanai table. There was  note telling me to cut off the pups I wanted and to bring back the pineapple with the left over pups still attached. I squealed in delight like a little girl! Other gals are thrilled with new jewelry and designer shoes, not me. Just give me a showy unusual plant and I'm over the moon. 

 This is what it looked like before I started cutting on it. 

I had to wear leather gloves to handle the plant because the spines on the leaves are like razor blades.

I took the two larger pups at the bottom and one smaller one from the top
I did taste the pineapple after I cut the pups away. It tasted like regular pineapple just not quite as sweet- had a bit of a tang to it, but was really good.

Look at all the pups left on the top. Each number is a pup and there are more on the back of it, too.

Here are my pups ready to be planted. 

And here they are freshly planted in clay pots

With any luck they'll send out roots and become established. I've already promised @MsFran53 a pup when she moves down her next year.

And tomorrow will be beach day. Look for photos tomorrow evening... enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Party On The River & A Missed Anniversary

Last weekend we didn't make it to the island but we did go to a party at Tarpon Point Grill & Bar on the Manatee River last Saturday night. It was a going away party for a guy ROM works with who recently got married and is moving to England. Of course the subject of marriage came up in conversation and someone asked ROM how long we had been married. Imagine my mortification when ROM said our 28th anniversary had been the day before- I'd completely forgot it- damn! 

I'm so awful about not remembering dates. A couple of times I've actually forgotten my own birthday until someone calls to tell me happy birthday. He reminded me that he had told me weeks ago he was taking our anniversary off so we could spend the day on the beach, but some how it had slipped my mind when the day arrived. In my defense, it's not unusual for him to take a Sunday or Monday off so we can spend 3-day weekends together. Okay, I know that's no excuse but it's the best one I have. When I asked him why he hadn't said anything on the day of our anniversary and he said he waited to see if I would remember- the bastard got me! But I had a quick come back... I said since he had remembered it I wanted to know where in the hell was my anniversary gift! And he no answer for that-LOL But honestly just having a husband that still loves me enough after 28 years to want to spend time with me is gift enough. 

The Tarpon Point Grill is really a cool place right on the bank of the river.  It consists of three open sided tiki huts and another hut where the band plays. The menu is pretty basic but good- burgers, steaks and seafood. I think people come here not so much for the food but more for the party atmosphere. It is a fun place to party! And it's a great place for sunsets- look at the picture I got of the sun setting on the river. 

Here are some photos of the huts and seating in the beach area.

I've started writing the story about when ROM shot me, but it's far from done. Hopefully I'll get motivated this week to finish it, but as you all know I'm the queen of procrastination ...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sunset and Moonrise on The Beach...

As beautiful as the sunny days are on Anna Maria Island beaches, the evenings are truly stunning as the sun begins to set. Saturday night Mother Nature put on an amazing show. I have no idea why Blogger sometimes loads photos sideways or how to fix it. 

As the sun said goodnight and dropped below the western horizon, in the eastern sky the moon was rising...

And here is a short video of the evening's sunset...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We Made The Weekend Our Bitch!

And what a sweet bitch she was. This weekend was one of those times that makes you oh so glad just to be alive... perfect weather and not a thing that had to be done other than just enjoy the moment. 

We weren't the only ones  enjoying the weekend- boaters were out...

Swimmers enjoyed the warm water...

Frisbee games were played...

Kids zipped up and down the beach on skim boards...

Little girls shared secrets like girlfriends of any age do...

People took photos of each other to remember their day on the beach together...

And I walked and walked until I came to a collapsed jetty. I can't remember if it happened last year or the year before, but this is why they all are marked with "Stay Off". You just never know when something man made will lose the fight against the sea. Eventually the sea wins, always and without fail.

This little gull was feeling like king of the world sitting up there all alone...

That is until a snowy egret swooped in to claim the top spot...

And within the blink of an eye, there was a new king of the world.

After a few minutes the snowy egret abdicated the throne and it sat empty waiting for the next new bird in town to show off and stake a claim at the top

And then there was this...

At first I was worried he had drowned during high tide and just became visible as the tide had gone out.  I watched him and couldn't even see him breath. He was motionless...

But then he slightly lifted his head so I knew he was alive. What I really wanted to know was how he was going to get back up. I think it would have taken a crane to get me up if I had l been in that position for any length of time.

This was only part of our weekend in the beach. I have sunset photos and videos from Saturday night that I haven't edited yet... maybe tomorrow...