Saturday, May 26, 2012

Advice From the Ocean

Be shore of yourself.

Come out of your shell !

(My sister Kelly on Honeymoon Island, Florida)

Take time to relax & coast.
(New friend Gina with her beach cruiser ala Lily Pulitzer on Englewood Beach, Florida)

Avoid pier pressure.

Sea life's beauty.

Don't get tide down.

(Credit:  Mary Engelbriet)
Make Waves!

Thank you to Your True Nature for this wonderful advice.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May you always have a shell (perferably a junonia) in your pocket & sand between your toes ~ a Beachcomber Blessing

It's time to shuck off those sneakers, take off those Tom's, & kick off those flip flops.  Summertime is here and it's time to go barefoot.  Being a Renaissance woman with some redneck inclinations - going barefoot is  a regular event for me. I love the feel of soft grass under my bare feet.  I like the feel of sand between my toes even better.  One of my shell sistahs has the best of both worlds.  She can kick off her flip flops and head to to her local beach - Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, Florida any time she wants. Congratulations Carla on finding your first junonia.

(Credit:  Carla Barone)
 Barefoot Beach is located on Bonita Beach
 just north of Naples, Florida.

(Credit:  Carla Barone)
You'd be sporting an ear-to-ear grin too if you'd
 have found this rare highly-prized junonia.
 My shell sistah Carla from Bonita Springs
has just joined the elite club of junonia finders.

(Credit:  Carla Barone)
Carla's treasure tray.  Not a bad day, right?

Friday, May 18, 2012

I don't really try to predict what can and will happen with things. Sometimes you think something's gonna be a huge success, and it isn't. And sometimes you pay no attention to something whatsoever, and God just makes it into everything. - Donna Summer

It's Raining Shells!  Hallelujah!!  The rain that rolled over Englewood on Wednesday night rattled some pretty shells loose that washed up Thursday afternoon.

The turtles have started arriving. The yellow stakes are placed on fresh turtle nests each morning as the local turtle patrol make their way up the beach looking for recent turtle tracks.  This seemed like a popular spot.  

I had a newbie sheller with me.  Green Pea hollered that she had found a "pretty Shell".  She scored a perfect lion's paw.
My beach buddy was on the look-out for shark's teeth and had to switch brain grooves to spot shells instead.
Our 2 best finds of the afternoon - a juvenile horse conch  & a lion's paw  (3 inches from top to bottom)
Manasota Key is the kitchen sink of shelling.  You find lots of shark's teeth, fossils, shells, & beach bling.
We chillax'd on a bench to watch the boats sail by.
Thinking of singer Donna Summer who passed away from cancer Thursday morning.  She has a beach house just a mile up the road.  Donna had been a local on Manasota Key for several years.  RIP Donna.
All the fotos were taken with my iPhone 4S.

My finds of the afternoon.  I call this a Manasota Key starter kit -  Shells, shark's teeth, fossils, drift shell fragments, & flotsam.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso

(Credit:  Royal Palm Marina)
The winner of the 2010 Seawall Art Competition at Royal Palm Marina in Englewood, Florida was local artist Diana Davidson.  Her mural will be the only section not painted over for the 2012 contest.

I am certain that Englewood has more artists per capita than any other gulf coast town in SWFL. We do have our fair share of doctors, lawyers, teachers,  realtor's, construction guys (who double as fishing guides),  retail workers & restaurant people but most of them are artists in their spare time.  We have an art centeran Artists Alliancean artist's retreat.  Englewood abounds in local shops & galleries that carry the work of area artists. Painting virtuosos will add their creative magic to anything in Englewood that stands still long enough.  If it has aesthetic potential some would-be artist will beautify or decorate it with their imaginative skills.  No bench, outside business wall, or even seawall is safe from the creative energies of the Englewood artist community.

Armed with brushes, paint, & sunscreen, local artists are gearing up to attack the Royal Palm Marina's seawalls again. All the current murals on the seawall that surround Zeke's Bayside Bar & Grill (located at the marina) are being covered up with a fresh coat of marine primer.  The lone survivor is the winner of their last mural competition which leaves 16 mural spaces to be re-painted. (There are currently 4 spaces left)

 The Seawall Art Competition starts on Memorial Day (May 28th) with the final judging being held on July 8th. Even if you are not a fully functioning artist on the outside surely there is an inner artist you can embrace & bring to the festivities. If you day trip to Englewood between Memorial Day & 4th of July this summer regardless of your  itinerary-or lack thereof- you will eventually end up at Zeke's Bayside.  Just follow the glowing rays of the sunset, the sounds of live music, & smell of tasty fish tacos. No charge for the art.
My family enjoying a sunset supper at Zeke's.

Nice sea breeze & the sunset.

Every evening the sunset draws the mobile home park residents
 next door to their makeshift Mallory Square.
(Credit:  Royal Palm Marina)

The wonderful thing about sunsets is if you missed one today there is always another one scheduled for tomorrow.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Beach Friendz - A guide to navigate your social options at the beach

There are lots of reasons to go to the beach.  It's not all about beach combing, shelling, & looking for sharks teeth.  There is crystal blue water to immerse yourself into, sugary-white sand to lay on, & birds of all kinds to watch.  And speaking of watching - the people watching is unparalleled at the beach.  Maybe because they have on less clothes than the people-watching at the mall (well, not always).  When I'm not hiking up the beach in search of beachy treasures I can be found relaxing under the shade of my umbrella and checking out the parade of humanity that finds their way to the seashore. Come on.  You know you do it too.

Beach Kidz

As you make your way on to the beach it is imperative that you scope out the terrain for any Dugger-esque families in the area.  I love kids but on the beach they become a whirling dervish of sand, rocks, & beach toys. They are fun to watch from a distance.

Sun Worshipperz

No spf 45 here. Tanners are actually good neighbors at the beach because they do not move. From time to time they will flip over to grill the other side.  They make a good landmark to find your spot again because they remain fixed on their chaise lounger soaking up the rays.

Beach Petz

I stay away from dog designated beaches.  I love that there are pet-friendly beaches where doggies can go & play with wild abandon but those beaches smell like....well wet dog. No matter how much the sand is pooper-scoopered the odor lingers on. Remember, dogs don't dry off with a beach towel.  Getting into the trajectory of a dog shaking himself dry ranks right up there with a kid holding a super soaker squirt gun. Run.

Fishermenz & Sharks tooth hunterz

A lovely stroll up the seaside can be like an obstacle course on a busy beach day.  As you are trying to avoid a sharks tooth hunter digging a 3 foot hole to find the big megalodon, one fails to see the fisherman with 3 poles jammed into pvc pipe holders lining the sand. As the mono filament line wraps around your head you make a slick Houdini move to free yourself from his fishing line & sudden injury. 

Teenage Gurlfrenz

Oh Heck No!  At my age I try not to stand too close to anyone this young or this thin.

The Junonia Finderz

Just keep it to yourself when you find that coveted big jay.  Oh who am I kidding! Scream, yell, jump up & down, do cartwheels, & high-5 everyone in sight.  It is a shellabration - even for a 1/2 of a junonia.

The Beach Warriorz

Every beach comber needs at least one beach warrior on their shell sistah line-up.  The beach warrior has extra batteries, a stocked cooler, & a beach cart to tote everything in.  The beach warrior is ready to beach it rain or shine, hot or cold, potties or no potties.  The beach warrior doesn't bat an eye when you tell her the lowest tide of the year is a 3 am.  She's there with bells on. (You know who you are)

The Beach Loverz

This person loves the feel of sand between their toes. Shells or no shells any day you get to walk on the beach is a great day. They love the sound & smell of the salty waves as they roll in.  They don't sweat the small stuff.  And they know - all the above is small stuff.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I guess the definition of a lunatic is a man surrounded by them. ~ Ezra Pound

About once a year the moon makes it's closest approach to the earth called the "perigee moon".  Rachel of  Life As I See  It  blog took this foto in her Englewood, Fl backyard.

The biggest and brightest full moon of the year paid us a visit last Saturday night.  Our celestial neighbor passed a little closer to Earth than normal sending all of us who are sensitive to gravitational pull into a little tizzy.   Don't we all feel just a tad cuckoo around a full moon? 

 My dad was a paramedic for 30 years. He was  full of stories of all the crazy things that happened and looney tunes people that showed up during a full moon on his shift. Maternity nurses swear more births happen on a full moon. During my customer service career at a big box home improvement store I can personally vouch that every off-balance person from 20 miles around showed up at the front desk with some outlandish tale of customer service woe on the full moon. There is actually hard & fast scientific studies to back up the effects of a full moon.

Some people are just sensitive to gravitational pull.  That's not always a bad thing.  Every good beachcomber  should have a little lunatic in them.  I can feel the full moon pulling me to the ocean especially when I look at the tide charts and see a red line of minus low tides. There are always two sides to every coin.  A good beachcomber channels all that lunacy into a positive direction.

The full moon makes the low tide noticeably lower.

This is what a super moon low tide looks like. Friends from Chicago saw the minus .05 low tide on Little Hickory for themselves.

Author/blogger of all things sandy & salty Dave McRee aka The Florida BeachHunter celebrated Cinco de Mayo by driving over the Sunshine Skyway to get this amazing shot of the super moon over the Tampa Bay shipping lanes.

The minus low tide caused by a super moon's extra ummph on Barefoot Beach.  Photo was taken  by Shell Sistah Carla who lives on Bonita Beach.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

“...I want first of all - in fact, as an end to these other desires - to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints -to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony...” ― From Chapter 2 "Channeled Whelk" of "Gift from the Sea" Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Channeled whelk found on
 Anastasia State Park, Florida
 after Hurricane Irene.

My all-time favorite book is Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I picked up my first copy for .50 cents at a thrift store 20 years ago.  This modern day classic of wise meditations on the different stages of life - youth & age, love & marriage, solitude, peace, & contentment was penned on the beaches of Captiva back in 1955.  As the wife of a national hero and an  international celebrity Anne Morrow Lindbergh was struggling with all the same issues we as woman (& men) ask ourselves today. How do I reconcile my most deeply personal needs with obligations to family, friends, lovers, and work?  

April has been a challenging month for me to say the least.  Starting with my husband's heart attack on April 1st & moving on to my mother's stroke on April 11th (her 75th birthday) the stress of dealing with loved ones in life or death situations was almost overwhelming.  There were prescriptions to fill, follow-up appointments to be made, people to feed, bathe, & keep on their scheduled meds. A family reunion had been in the works for 4 months and the decision was made not to cancel.  All my brothers & sisters came together from Ohio, Tennessee, & Alabama to spend a week together for the first time in 12 years.  I've also been baby-sitting my grand-nephew while his regular childcare is out-of-town.  It seems the dog is a tad stressed out because she has had stomach issues for 2 days.  I'm not fishing for sympathy and I do have a point.

All the things we believe about handling stress and  trusting God are just theory until we actually have to do the stuff.  I can read motivational books, listen to Dr. Phil, Oprah, Joel Osteen all day long about handling adversity  but until I have to actually walk the walk it's just words.  I believe all of our lives are sacred.  We don't have a work life & home life & our spirituality - it's all sacred.  God wants to give us his peace in every situation we deal with from fixing breakfast to washing laundry to our job, kids, marriage.  When the pressure comes at us from the outside - God's peace from the inside is an equalizing pressure.  I'd be fibbing if I said I wasn't doing the happy dance because April is over. But this was the month that I leaned on my heavenly Father like never before.  All my theories are true.  He is the most faithful person I have ever met. 

My brothers & sisters together in Florida for the first time in 12 years.

Mom/GeeGee on the left had a stroke on April 11.  She was enjoying the pool.

The Stud Hubbs is recovering nicely from his heart  attack.