Saturday, July 30, 2011

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

Right before the storm taken on my iPhone
The plan was throw a bathing suit on, grab a bottle of water, & my camera then head to the beach for a 6pm low tide.  It's been a long month of July.  First the hubbs was looking a little peaked.  The VA emergency room decided to keep him in the hospital just because he had a little heart attack - go figure.  I put 1,800 miles on my vehicle driving back & forth to the VA hospital which is 3 counties away for 9 days. Next, was a visit from my nephews (3 & 6) so their parents could cruise to Cozumel. GeeGee had not seen her grandsons in a year so it was decided to press on and not cancel.  It was a wonderful visit full of Thomas the Train & Cars 2 videos, swimming in the pool, & trying to figure out what we could beg the kids to eat that wasn't covered in chocolate or shaped like a nugget. So, I am bolting out the door for some much needed beach time to re-calibrate myself.

  It was looking a little stormy on my drive out across the causeway but I was in total denial. As I pulled into the parking lot I could hear & feel the rumble of thunder typical for a late afternoon July day in SWFL . Checking the weather app on my phone it showed a huge storm but it appeared to be moving over Manasota Key rather quickly. I decided to give it an hour and wait it out.  The best sharks teeth are always after a storm so I grabbed a bottle of water from my cooler, reclined my seat back, & prepared to wait the storm out. I had a front row seat to view all the beach-goers (who were also in denial about the storm because they waited way too long to leave) skeedaddling off the beach dragging umbrellas, coolers, & wailing kids to the safety of their cars. A cool wind  blew  shell dust up from the parking lot in curling mini-tornadoes announcing the pounding rain that was right behind it. As I sat in my truck watching the beauty of a summer storm & listening to the deluge hammer some crazy techno-reggae beat on the roof of my truck I thought to myself  "I couldn't have planned this". 

Forty-five minutes later the parking lot is empty except for me & a few other cars.  The rain is now just drizzling & the weather app shows all clear. I cross the parking lot to the beach which is now completely empty except for it's normal occupants of pelicans & gulls having a post-rain party over a school of bait fish.  I immediately started looking for sharks teeth.  The rain pounds the sand down and reveals some of the best sharks teeth on the surface of the sand. As I look up the beach I see not sharks teeth but a line of shells as far as the eye can see.  Manasota Key gets some shells but hardly ever like this.  My sharks tooth plan has just shifted to include shells.  As I walked about a mile out & back my cargo shorts became droopy drawers under the weight of my shell-stuffed pockets.  I hadn't planned for shells so I had not brought a bucket.  My camera had been left behind  as well so it's just another story I'll have to tell hoping folks don't think I'm exaggerating about my sharks tooth venture that mutated into a shelling bonanza.

I planned to collect sharks teeth but found shells as far as the eye could see instead. I went back the next day to take some pictures.

The surf line is loaded with the shell gravel that contains the sharks teeth

Chicoreus dilectus - lace murex
(A. Adams, 1855) 

Top left are fossil bones of some kind.
The storms always stirs things up & bring in the bigger teeth
After the storm
One plan you can count on - the sun will rise & set every day

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hau`oli la Hanau Shellbelle

SSSHHHHH! It's a surprise party.... a mermaid birthday surprise party!  I'm linking up with Mermaid Loui from Mountain Mermaid to celebrate a milestone birthday for fellow mermaid blogger of all things coastal & beachy - Rhonda of Shellbelle's Tiki Hut. Wishing Shellbelle warm sandy hugs on her birthday.  60 is really 40 with 20 years experience.

Karen & Rhonda (aka Shellbelle) on Sanibel 2010

If I would've been born 500 years ago I would have been perfectly fine being a hermit out in the boonies somewhere or a monk if it was an order that took a vow of silence.  I am perfectly happy all by myself.  I can go hours, even days just reading, walking the beach, or whatever introspection I can get myself into.  Then I remember....Oh crap, I have a husband that requires a relationship.  My family - mother, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, & in-laws, out-laws all need a word or two from me from time to time. I try to be a good girlfriend but it really is an effort for me. 

 Girlfriends want my time - phone calls, hanging out, doing stuff.  I can count the number of close girlfriends I have on one hand.  For me, it's quality not quantity. Over the years I have had lots of friends that stayed in my life for just a season. It was not  meant to be a life-long thing.  Kids, divorce, relocation, or some other life happening just caused whatever bonded us as friends in the first place to simply fizzle out.  Then there are the special ones like Rhonda that no matter what is happening in our lives our friendship transcends it and carries on.  We can go six months without spending any significant time together and we just pick up right where we left off without missing a beat. 

 Before Rhonda I only had friends who were just like me - the same politics, same spirituality, same world view. I never had a friend who was the total polar opposite...she doesn't eat like me, camp like me, shop like me or vote like me. (whispering) She's a Democrat. We have been friends for almost 20 years now and I am a better person for knowing her.  She has given me the gift of widening my horizons and learning to love people outside of my little box. One of  Rhonda's favorite authors is  Maya Angelou - so I'll let Maya share her insights & wisdom about being a woman of a certain age.

This could be the year you find that Junonia

Maya Angelou said  this:

'I've learned that no matter what  happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on,  and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've  learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the  way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day,  lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree  lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of  your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them  when they're gone from your  life.'

'I've  learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing  as making a life.'

'I've learned that  life sometimes gives you a second  chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't  go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands;  you need to be able to throw some things  back...'

'I've learned that whenever I  decide something with an open heart, I usually make  the right decision.'

'I've learned that  even when I have pains, I don't have to be  one.'

'I've learned that every day you  should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm  hug, or just a friendly pat on the  back....'

'I've learned that I still have  a lot to learn..'

'I've learned that  people will forget what you said, people will forget  what you did, but people will never forget how you  made them feel.' 

Shellbelle on Blind Pass - Sanibel 2010

Happy 60th Birthday My Friend!
As they say in the tropics:  "May your coconuts always hang higher than your grass skirt."

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm just saying....

No "Baby on Board" sticker here.  This is how we roll in Englewood, Florida.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Goodbye Earl Goodbye (Redux)

“Whether the weather be fine, Whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Whether the weather be hot, We'll weather the weather, Whatever the whether, Whether we like it or not”

The good news is rain has arrived in SWFL. There is a huge sucking sound as the parched ground soaks in the late afternoon showers. The trees & landscaping are greening up again.  The grass is green & growing.  The bad news is any outdoor activity has to be accomplished early in the day to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.  Lightning just takes all the fun out of the beach or open water.  Back to the good news - NW winds & summer storms bring in the shells! I am re-posting a shelling adventure from last summer where I took off for Sanibel without checking the weather forcast.  Duh! I did check the tide chart for the negative low tide but failed to see the tropical depression heading dead-on Sanibel. Kids - do not try this at home. I am a trained shelling professional. Only crazy people go shelling in a storm. Guilty.

Goodbye Earl Goodbye (originally posted 9/1/10)

Someone asked me  about Hurricane Earl today.  I didn't even know there was a storm out there. I work 50 hours a week. I watch very little tv. Unless they do a weather warning on HGTV I am clueless until my mother heads out to load up on batteries & bottled water.

 It's not that I don't care - I guess as a native-born Floridian you become used to the storms. Hurricanes are just what happens in the summer.  You just hope they don't happen to you.  That's why back in July when Tropical Depression # 5 was on top of Sanibel Island I had no idea. I had checked the tide charts not the weather.

  I got up at 4am loaded my visiting sister from Tennessee & niece Pookie into the truck and headed south for a day of shelling. Our first stop was  Little Hickory Beach which is southeast of Sanibel Island.  The sky was a tiny bit over cast.  There was a gorgeous rainbow over the beach and we got lots of pictures.  The shelling was ok but not the best so a vote was taken and it was unanimous to head to the mother ship - Sanibel.  
Pookie getting her shell on.   **Tip** The parking across the street is free with no time restrictions.

Sister from Tennessee at the end of the rainbow
As we are making the 20 minute drive up the coast to Sanibel causeway I get a call from the hubby. Did I know there was a Tropical Depression over us? "No" I replied. "The sky is beautiful except for - hey, what's all that black sky over Sanibel-way? Oh Honey, don't worry. It will blow over" (my glass is always half full) As we rounded the causeway it became apparent by the howling wind and pelting rain a storm was a definite possibility.  But a real sheller don't give her shell bucket up for no stinkin storm...onward ladies.
Gulfside City Park on Sanibel - I came to shell not surf

Pen shells - a dead give away of a storm
Our first stop was Gulfside City Park, usually a calm little beach but today the Gulf of Mexico was churning. The rain was squally and  the waves were so rough the high surf line was up to the walkway.  There were pen shells everywhere, a sure sign of stormy seas.  So we headed to Turner Beach at Blind Pass. Blind Pass is where Sanibel and Captiva come together and are separated by a pass that flows in and out twice a day. The tides leave a huge shell pile on the Captiva side of the jetty.  It's almost always a good spot for shelling.  We weren't disappointed.

 My  nutty little band of shellers went out in the storm and had a ball.  The waves were wacking down the shell wall and washing all the shells off so you could just pick out the goodies. As we shelled in the rain we  laughed at how crazy we probably looked to all the people taking shelter in their cars.  Yes, we were soaked and it actually got a little cold.  Our hands were all pruney from being wet for so long. 

Sister went home with some beautiful shells.
               Making memories.
Lots of fighting conchs, olives, & nice coral

All cleaned up

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poor Mermaid...not enough woman to love - too much fish to fry.- Nipsy Russell

What do this

and this

                            and this box have in common?                        

Do I have to state the obvious? One stormy beach day last December I picked up the curvaceous piece of coral and it was screaming mermaid mosaic to me. I am by no means an artist but I know enough about acrylic paints to be dangerous. I can hot glue with the best of them & I have the scars on my pinkies to prove it. I started getting a vision for my mermaid mosaic and as I found the right shells for her hair and tail I started throwing them in my old tin now known as "the mermaid box".  I've been yakking about this project for 9 months.  My creative energy works like that.  I have to verbalize it so I can mentally see it.  Well, it's time to either cut bait or fish so to speak.

  So, I have the inspiration piece - the bosom. I have all the shells for her other body parts - fish & humanoid.  I was just missing a canvas & frame of some sort. Enter big ugly 80's condo abstract picture for $4 bucks at the thrift store.  I applied 3 coats of white acrylic paint & that ugly design is a distant memory.  My creative energy is definitely churning. I still need to do some clean-up on the shells.  Also, I need to get the image in my head translated to the canvas for an outline to follow. After that it's all over but the gluing. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
The acrylic covered as well as more expensive Gesso.  The texture will work in my favor.

The back is sturdy enough for the weight of the shells and ready to hang.

I see fins, tail, & hair

Friday, July 1, 2011