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!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Walking on seashells, one step ahead of the storm...

We headed to the island Sunday, hoping to get in a few hours of beach time before the predicted storm arrived. 

Even though it's been several weeks since Tropical Storm Debby blew through our area, I still haven't adjusted to the damage done to the beaches. The water is once again a clear turquoise color but large portions of the beach are still missing. There has been talk of replacing the sand but nothing has been done yet. Pssst.... now's not a good time to spend your hard earned money on an Anna Maria Island vacation. 

I can't imagine the tourists reactions when they arrive for their long awaited vacation only to find the powder white beaches are now a layer of coarse sand and crushed shells.  Walking barefoot on the beach is now like walking on broken glass. I heard a lot of "Ow ow ow! Ouch!" As people walked the beach. 

I didn't do much walking before I had to sit down and give my tender feet a break. I'm going to have to get a pair of plastic flip flops to wear when we walk the beach. My baby soft feet aren't up to walking on this crap. 

In fact we didn't see many people walking like we usually do. Most were in the water or sitting with books.

That storm we raced to the beach finally caught up with us. Dark heavy clouds began to roll in so we loaded up and headed home. 


And we just made it to the lanai when the sky opened up and the rain started.

Instead of spending the late afternoon on the beach, I worked in my studio room watching the wind make the palm tree dance and the rain run down the windows. Not a bad way to end the day, not bad at all...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Those Life Changing Moments...

Like most of you, I awoke to the news about the 71 people who were shot and the 12 that have died in the attack early Friday morning at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado. So many lives forever changed in a matter of minutes. When people entered the theater last night they had no clue their lives were about to change. For 12 people it would mean the end of their lives and over whelming grief for their families. For those that survived their wounds and even those spared physical harm, life will never be the same for them.   No one can go through an horrific experience like that without it having a lasting impact. 

I think most of us who are older have had life altering moments, of course nothing as horrific as the Aurora, Colorado victims, but life changing never the less. One that stands out in my memory is from my early 30's. I was newly married and my husband came down with a cold he couldn't shake. He stopped by the E.R, where a close friend of ours was a doctor. Our friend checked him over and decided to do a chest xray to see if he had pneumonia, gave him some meds and sent him home. Several days later our friend called to tell my husband that a spot had showed up on the xray and it looked serious, possibly lung cancer. More tests were done and we waited for results. The night before we were to get the results I remember we went to the movies to see E.T. to get our minds off what we might face the next day. 

The following day we sat in the doctor's office listening to him tell us that my husband had advanced lung cancer that had already metastasized to his brain and was terminal. In those few minutes our lives changed forever. He died before the end of the year, a few months shy of our first anniversary. In time I adjusted and built a new life, but it made me aware of how precious each minute is and how quickly our lives can change.

Now that we live in a senior community I see my neighbors go through these life changing moments. There was a gentleman down the street that took great pride in his yard and worked on it daily. One night after planting some new plants and appearing to feel fine, he quietly died in his sleep. He had no clue that day as he planted the bright red geraniums that he wouldn't live long enough to enjoy them. 

Then there was the darling couple that I would chat with daily when they took their evening golf cart rides around the community. He was frail, on constant oxygen and she was devoted to caring for him. The deep love between them could be seen by anyone. Then one day after not feeling well and having some tests done, she was told she had Lou Gehrig disease, not only changing her life but that of her husband, too.  She died at home in less than year after her diagnosis. She said her biggest regret was not being able to care for her beloved husband until his passing as she had planned. 

So what should we do- live in fear and dread of one of those life changing moments that can happen at any moment, those things we have no control over? Of course not! What we should do is appreciate and savor each moment, ignore the trivial irritations of daily life, and enjoy all the good things we have in our lives at this very moment. 

Don't over look the flowers in your life...  

...And take the time to pick up that interesting shell and appreciate it's unique beauty

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Sky Is Falling!

After yesterday's rain finally ended I got Boney Maroney Isabella to eat. Remember that old song- "I got a girl name of Boney Maroney. She's as skinny as a stick of macaroni"?  Nah, you're probably too young. Anyway, Isabella is never a good eater- just not all that interested in food, but during the summer rainy season it's hard to get her to eat anything. So I went to bed about 4 a.m. feeling good that she'd eaten, but awoke at 8 a.m. with her shaking the bed. Ugh... the storms were on their way back and Bella was shaking like she was coming off crack.  Not sure how she knows- if she feels the barometer pressure falling, fronts moving in or what- but she usually knows several hours before a storm arrives. Whatever set her off, it was hopeless trying to go back to sleep when the bed was shaking like a souped up magic fingers vibrating motel mattress (you're probably too young to remember those, too).

I jumped up, hurriedly got dressed and got the dogs out for their morning potty before it started raining. Actually the sun was out but I could see clouds starting to form. It didn't start raining until about 10, damn dog- we could have slept another couple hours before she had to get her freak on! Oh, and that food I felt so good about her eating? Evidently as soon as I had gone to sleep she went into the living room and threw it up- on the couch. Thank gawd I keep the furniture covered with quilts. 

From about 10 this morning, this is how our skies look-

I noticed we've gotten so much rain lately we now have mushrooms popping up in our yards. These were in the neighbor's yard.

Emmy doesn't care about no stinking rain. Oh hell no! And thunder? She barks at it. She has better things to worry about today... like how quickly can she kill and disembowel her new toy. She doesn't even have time to pose for photos-

And this is why there are seldom pictures of Emmy to show- her photos are always a blur of motion.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beads- My Crack

Oh oh! It's that time of year again...  Fire Mountain Gems yearly catalog arrived in the mail today. Mountain Gems beads are like crack for me- I can never have enough. I seriously lust after them. Much like Gollum I gaze at my stash of beads and call them "my precious".  I already have so many beads and vintage jewelry findings that I've been looking at bead storage cabinets on wheels so I can get them organized.

Have you ever tried making your own jewelry? If you haven't you should give it a try. Fire Mountain website has a section with instructions on beading and even video tutorials.  Check out the design section to see some beautiful creations and designs. And now I'm off to feed my habit and place an order for some new beads...

PS- I am not a paid spokesperson and receive no compensation for talking about Fire Mountain Beads.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Day On St. Armand's Circle

Real Old Man took this past week off work so we've been doing some of our favorite things- hanging at the beach, going out to eat and shopping.  One of our favorite places to shop is St. Armand's Circle. Love the art galleries, clothing boutiques, jewelry stores and restaurants.  The lush tropical landscaping and amazing statues make St. Armand's such a beautiful and unique place to shop. 

Yesterday, after making sure ROM had plenty of cash and our bank cards on him  we headed out to do some serious shopping at St. Armand's. Others may say they are visiting St. Armand's, but I have the photos to prove it-LOL (That's a joke for some of my friends on Twitter). 

And look @SweeetBea - the Columbia Restaurant! See, we were spelling it right all along! I had recently offered to take a Twitter "acquaintance" to eat here but she turned me down.  

We decided to eat at the Crab and Fin, one of our favorite places. The outdoor seating area is deeply shaded, and with the over head fans it was cool and comfortable even during the heat of the day. 

Such a lovely little place- even had a piano player providing pleasant background music as we dined, chatted and people watched.

Nothing better on a hot day than a plate of chilled sweet and delicious fresh shrimp.

And what should we see drive by as we were eating? The Ritz Carlton bus! The Twitter "acquaintance" I mentioned earlier said she was staying there on her recent visit to St. Armand's. I waved just in case she was on the bus, 'cause I'm friendly like that dontcha' know?   

One of my purchases was the outfit in the middle of the first photo and also two new mumus. You know I love my mumus!

And now I'm sitting here at home all comfy in the red mumu while enjoying some homemade ice cream ROM made this week. Life is good...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Parasailing and Beach Combing-

That nasty bitch TS Debbie may have taken all our beautiful white powder sand but it hasn't stopped people from enjoying the Gulf on the beach and in the air. Parasailing and beach combing are always popular pastimes.
There are so many interesting shells left in the path of Debby's rage. Piles of shells left in place of the sandy beach that got washed away.

But they hurt like hell to walk on! Re-nourishment of the beaches can't come quickly enough for me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Powdered Sugar Beaches Are No More

What a difference a couple of weeks and a tropical storm can make. Two weeks ago the Gulf water was crystal clear and the beaches were like white powdered sugar on Anna Maria Island. We ventured out to the island yesterday for the first time since TS Debby vacationed here for days on end. Debby lingered in our area like the tourists and snowbirds who are reluctant to leave and always over stay their welcome. Damn, that bitch was like the uninvited family with bratty kids who unexpectedly descends on you and leaves your home a broken mess when they leave. Not only were the turtle nests gone, large chunks of the beach were missing. Gone was the  sun sparkled clear Gulf water that was perfect for snorkeling. In its place was dark murky water. 

 Here are some photos comparing before the storm and after. The upper photo is what we found yesterday. The lower photo is what it looked like two weeks ago.

 Here is another comparison of before and after. The upper photo is the beach now and the lower one is from two weeks ago.  

Before Tropical Storm Debbie the beaches on Anna Maria Island were like white powdered sugar as seen in the photo above. First thing I'd do when arriving at the beach was to kick my shoes off. Now the powder white sand is gone and all that's left is a thin strip of coarse crushed shells which is quite uncomfortable to walk on... 


Sand dunes now look like this with sea oat roots exposed.

Some parts of the beach now have sharp drop offs carved into them. Notice the the strip of water in the right side of the photo- that used to be beach but now is a drop off trapping high tide water.

What used to be sand dunes that blended in with the beach now look like sharp angled cliffs.

This photo was taken by G. Jefferies, photographer for the Bradenton Herald newspaper.  You can see from the dark coloring of the pilings where they were previously buried in the sand. That's a helluva lot of sand to lose!

The beaches were recently renourished at the cost of millions of dollars. Now the state is broke so I don't know where the money will come from to redo the them again. I'm sure the island tourist trade is worried about what this will do to their businesses. It's just been in the last couple of years that tourism has picked back up after a serious slump. Just like the farmers of the Midwest, the island tourism trade is at the mercy of Mother Nature. But suc is life... on a positive note there was plenty of open parking spots at the beach, an abundance of amazing shells scattered on the beach, and we are finally out of drought mode.