Tuesday, May 9, 2017

When 7000 miles apart...

well, birthdays have to look a bit like this.



Go Enjoy Florida

We are entering our 9th month of separation due to this tour for Chris's work. He and I Skype 98% of days, rarely missing for guests or the odd work/school function. Most days, we average 1-3 hours. Somehow, we never tire of talking or seeing each other, though many people comment that our practice is unusual.  It makes me feel our transition back to one household will be smoother and makes our time feel shared.

Often, he comments that he can let me go, so I can do things or that I should "go enjoy Florida". It is difficult to really enjoy it here, because he isn't here. I know... sappy, but true. I think of it kind of like when we are on a road trip. I don't want to go to sleep, because I don't want him to do all the work. If I sent him daily pics of the ocean or neglected Skype time to head to the beach, it'd feel like fluffing a fat pillow and going to sleep while he is driving.
Today he wasn't feeling well and after an hour of Skype, he said his frequent phrase, "go enjoy Florida".  For some reason, it struck a chord today. We are under 90 days until the next move (it is Dallas, BTW), and that feeling of a to-do or to-see list is boiling to the surface. 

(the hand pic hold the teeniest needfish- the black squiggle, far rt/ a Valentini puffer baby center under shadow)

With two hours to spare before bus stop pickup, I headed to Sunset Beach and recharged. While most sat on the beach or swam, I walked in knee deep backwaters, along tide lines and mangrove roots, between sea grass and waves... and felt like a girl in her element.

So on the agenda- new dip nets with some old buckets, maybe tote along the snorkels and masks and bring the girls out this weekend. The cove was a plethora of fish fry of all species, many so young they were unclassifiable to me. I scooped baby Valentini and box puffers in my hands, needle fish smaller than I'd ever seen who swam among the tiny grasses for camouflage. I enjoyed a hand held closer look and then released them back to the waves. Whelks wiggled in sand. Sailfin mollies danced for their girls, dorsal fins flared high. A barracuda came in for an easy meal, as mullet flopped on the surface.

The sea is my sanity, nature is air to my lungs.  It always amazes me how 30 minutes can do so much. To say I will miss this beautiful place...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sunken Gardens

Last weekend, the girls and I visited Sunken Gardens in St. Pete. It was an impromptu trip on a Groupon deal. 
They were having a small orchid show... of course we need another couple plants to try to relocate at the end of summer ;)
My Canon came out of hiding... for about half an hour, until the temps got hot enough to melt young minds and cause uncivilized tendencies. 
But hey, at least it it came out for a bit. 
(one kid enjoys photos more than the other these days)
 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Out of the Darkness Walk

We met friends today in Tampa, at Al Lopez Park, to take part in the 7th Annual Out of the Darkness Walk by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. There were 10 great reasons to walk here, but other great reasons to walk were remembering loved ones who have left this world too soon... our Debbie, Sarah, Jacob, military and first responders who were friends of friends. Children watching and learning and embracing exercise and feeling love around them were other reasons, as well as supporting our extended family of friends and loved ones.
We walked for Sarah today, with so many who loved her. Her mother and I worked together oh so many years ago here in Tampa. We watched her grow from belly to beautiful young lady on Christmas cards through these many years. 

Happily, there were more smiling moments than tearful ones, though those came too. It was a park full of love and support, many still freshly raw from the loss of loved one. Speeches brought memories to my mind and heart that years have helped to dull. To all those who've lost, for any reason, please do know that time does help to ease your grief or change it in some way... even though it may not feel possible right now.
Bubbles blew on the wind, everyone was adorned with beads... each color representing a different connection (a child, a sibling, a military/first responder, a friend, a parent, a loved one, a personal struggle). Choosing which beads, and realizing we would wear several, was the most nose tingling, eye burning moment.

When you see so many who are hurting and their care, it reconfirms that suicide is not a selfless act, it is not because of how someone was raised, not because of how alone someone was, but because of a disease and how someone had a moment that no one but they could control. We cannot change it, no matter how many ways we wish we could. We survive, we remember, we appreciate and we continue to live... because our lost ones want us to and because many still here need us to carry on.
Please talk, share, care... you will be surprised how many people share in your feelings, similar experiences, fears, loss and grief.

BE KIND. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. BE KIND. Always.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fox Squirrel Farm, Florida

We had a Sunday with no plans and cool weather, so hopped in the van for an hour road trip east to Fox Squirrel Farm in Plant City. Open windows for the first time last night and this morning had us thinking of pumpkins, corn mazes and fall outings!
The corn maze wasn't a CORN maze, but instead sorgham, but still fun (and a cheap way to entertain people for hours). Please do not try to tell a farm girl from IL that this is corn, LOL. The girls also took a try at roping cattle, pumped duckies down a chute (they loved and worked well together) and spent what felt like an hour making sand bottles (sorry Papa, know yours from Jordan are in the mail!).  We also had a wagon ride through the old mossy oak pasture and gorged on Hawaiian ice and kettle corn before grabbing some fresh Florida honey for breakfast tomorrow.
The zinnias reminded me of both Grandpa Wilbur and our little Maltese farmer neighbor's fields. There's no way to ever beat IL pumpkin fields... especially when these were on pallets, but they are still so pretty to see. The varieties of beautiful gourds always win the prize in my book!!
To top off our outing, we stopped in Seffner to see some great friends, whose home we'd not been to in 15+ years. Their lake, dogs, activities, bird classification and food kept us all busy and happy for hours. So good to be back in Florida, and especially nice to catch up with old friends. We'll be back out this way in the spring to pick fresh strawberries and blueberries!!