Adrift

At home in the water, this is good water.*  There’s joy in good water, in full immersion, diving down and surfacing.  With no time pressure and sunshine it’s  tactile and sensual and cleansing all at once.  With no time pressure you can emerge and air dry and get hot again. In you go, back to the water which beckons.

It sounds so cliche, but this is how I experience the joy of good water, on a leisurely summer day. It’s a simple and exhilarating pleasure.

Lately, I’m adrift. I have lost my voice here. I haven’t been happy to write; I haven’t quit but I’m on pause.  I suppose the voice will come back but it feels like that voice is changing.  Writing through it will make it happen.

*Bouvier Bay off Anchor Bay off Lake St. Clair, in Michigan.

Summer 2011

Macro Monday Water Droplets on Stems

I lay on the grass in my bathing suit and took these pictures. I suppose I’m captivated by all things tiny.

I like how I can see so many reflections in a minute water droplet.

But first, meet my Blood Lily. A bulb plant, buried several years ago, comes back annually, and each time, brings more blooms. I guess it spreads? The blooms are now in varying states of their life cycle.

the Blood Lily in bloom. it’s not a great picture but i wanted you to see what a Blood Lily looks like before I go into the world of macro.

the Blood Lily, unfurling.  i hope.

in all her glory: the Blood Lily’s profile.

droplet in Blood Lily. reflected in that droplet is the variegated Ginger plant behind me.  see?

moving on to Agapanthus leaves.

the stems of the Agapanthus had shimmering droplets i could not resist.

each stem has its own charm.

oh no, i’m not finished!

it’s a slender one.

twins?

My Blue Springs: A Love Story in Pictures

This was our third springs trip of the season; our first, to Blue Springs Park in Gilchrist County.  Everyone knows this is my favorite springs of all – so far.  I’ve been to many, and enjoyed most of them, but nothing compares to Blue.  It’s like my first springs-love; the one you never forget.  The one you remember for always with a special place in your heart.

There’s so much about this place that makes me happy, and I’m not the only one who loves it here.  Its natural beauty thrills me.  Its cool, clear waters invite me  every time.  Fins and mask in place, I dive deep over the vent, or swim down the spring run, through the underwater plant life where the freshwater fish live.  There’s life in that water, and some 24 million gallons of it burst forth from the aquifer every day.  Maybe more.  I know it’s a second-magnitude spring, which staggers me as I’d have thought it a first.  But whatever.  It’s a wonderful place to take the family as there’s something here for everyone.

Privately owned, well-kept in a rustic atmosphere, that’s what I love about this place. The sandy beach entrance.  The quarter mile boardwalk that follows the spring run to the Santa Fe River.  The canoes or kayaks you can rent if you want to head out and explore life along the river.  A few smaller springs on the property, my favorite being Naked Spring for its natural beauty and intimate feel.

The pictures tell the story here.

This little spring is called Naked Spring.  Backstory on Naked Spring is here. These pictures were taken from its small, floating dock. Most picturesque. Unfortunately, there was a guy standing on the dock when I approached. I lingered, hoping he’d leave, so I could enjoy just a few minutes there, alone with my camera.  No such luck.

Above, the quarter mile boardwalk that follows the spring run to the Santa Fe River.  Many times, I’ve swam in the run out to the river…and back. You need your fins for this as the current is definitely a challenge. Upside? You can stand up in the water if you’re tired!  It’s not deep.  I feel strong and invigorated when I make this swim.  Also, the water temp between the spring run and the river is markedly different.  You swim into the river and instantly it feels ten degrees warmer.  You hang out in the river for a while, swimming about and treading water (fins make it all so easy).  Then, you know you have to swim back.  It’s like someone’s turned the hot water off in your shower, the minute your body leaves the river and enters the spring run again.  Yowsa.  Keep moving, you’ll get used to it!

See how the current flows in the spring run?

Big Blue Springs: quiet.

Second Springs Visit of 2011: Ichetucknee River

Last week, we took a group of Japanese students and their teachers to see one of Florida’s most pristine rivers and popular natural attraction: the Ichetucknee River and two springs – the headspring and the Blue Hole.

The Japanese were guests of three families from our school, and were visiting the States for their participation in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.  Our Odyssey leader requested to host a ‘homestay’ team and we were matched with this lovely group from Japan.

The teachers were a husband and wife team, both older than average.  “Like grandfather,” the Japanese man told me.

He’ll be 71 this week.

The students are middle schoolers.

And they were all delightful.

The only real English speaking person was his wife, Mioko.  The families who hosted took them to the beach a few times, down to St. Augustine, to the Alligator Farm, shopping, boating, had pool parties, and played Kinect on the X-box. No English required!

I attended the parties, and of course, the trip to Ichetucknee, which I anticipated greatly.  I didn’t even bring my camera.  Gasp!  I snapped a couple of pics with iPhone, and that was it.  

Our Japanese guests paid for all our tubes and rafts.  We needed the tube center’s van to haul them to the park (usually we have them tied onto our cars and they just retrieve).  We had a quick picnic lunch and then it was off to the river.  Oh, after a long school year and a HOT week in Maryland, by the time we got to the river’s edge, I dove into that crystal clear 72 degree water, and the cares of a long school year melted away.  I  do love being in the water.

Since we’d chosen one large raft (I had two girls in my care), and a single tube for me, I brought my snorkel gear and fins down to the river, having a place to keep them if I decided to use them during the tubing float.  I made sure I had extra twine, for tying things (like my flip flops) onto the raft.  I put my fins on right away which was a smart move. We’d rented the large raft because one of the two girls thinks she “doesn’t want to touch the water”  in this lovely clear river. The two agreed to share the raft, while I’d take the tube.  Once we’ve been on the river for 20 minutes or so, it’s ‘abandon ship’, and Jeannie’s left to corral three (how did I end up with three?! ) tubes and the large raft,  and keep us moving as a group.  It’s easy to get ahead of your friends on the river, if one’s a tentative tuber. There is some effort (not much, certainly easy and do-able; but one can’t be completely passive) involved in keeping your tube or raft floating down the center of the river.  It’s easy to drift from side to side, and the riverbank is lined with trees and logs and all kinds of interesting nooks and crannies that I do prefer to enjoy from the center of the river.  But I don’t freak out if the tube drifts and I have to push off from the bank.  I just preferred to keep the flotilla moving down the center of the river, so I did have to do some ‘against the current’ swimming, to go back and help someone, or ‘steer’ the raft along while also holding onto tubes so they didn’t drift away. Thank goodness I was using fins for it made all my in-the-water helping out possible.    I tied my  tube to the mother ship (raft), and soon, I’d tied the other two tubes, as well.  Thus accomplished, our group  (by now we’d acquired a third girl!) was now free to enjoy the river or the tubes, and I only had to assist one thing instead of four!  Now, it’s all good.  I loved being in the water, swimming along with my fins, for a good part of our two hour float.  After a while I got out to drape myself over one of the tubes and let the river take me…oh, that’s SO nice.  This is what’s so great about the Ichetucknee River tubing experience. One can swim, snorkel or float; or one can rent a small tube with a bottom on it, with a head rest and arms – there are options at the various tube rental places that dot the highway close to Ichetucknee State Park.

The larger group of Japanese kids, other adults and kids from our school were having a blast floating and swimming and log-rolling (really!) for nearly two hours, until we reached the stopping point.  Then we drove out of the south entrance and seven miles around the park to the north entrance, where the headspring was located; the Blue Hole, a second spring, was about 1/4 walk into the woods.  It’s well worth it to see (and swim in, if you’re a swimmer) both of these springs, when you come to Ichetucknee. Why drive all this way and not visit the actual springs?    Each has a different environment, and a different swimming experience, if you have a mask or goggles and can view the underwater world.  The springs create clear, freshwater ‘lakes’ or ‘large swimming holes’  with a ‘boil’ or ‘vent’, and a fair amount of fish to look at too, if you’re snorkeling.  I watched underwater as the Japanese kids swam with gleeful abandon in the Blue Hole.

After another, last swim of the day in the Ichetucknee headspring, it was time to make the two-hour drive home.  The two girls in my car were asleep before I drove out of the park, and never stirred until I reached the neighborhood.

It was a good day.

Hello Summer, Thank Goodness You’re Here, or: My Year with Odyssey of the Mind.

It’s been a long school year and it’s nearly over. I’m calling it over though there are some (er, one) in this house who needs to study for finals (and stop watching the Cartoon Network).

In the meantime, I’ve been to the University of Maryland and back, escorting our state’s winning  Odyssey of the Mind team to the World Finals.  It was our first year as a team and we won first place at Regionals, so we went on to the State Competition in Orlando.  There, the team knocked it out of the park very early on competition day,  and I started to think they had a chance to make it Worlds (well, everyone calls it Worlds, so I will too).  We waited for the entire day’s competition to conclude and for that evening’s awards ceremony with my heart pounding.  I’ll be honest:  I had mixed feelings about going on to Worlds.  Worlds is a BIG time deal and would require so much more of my time, money, energy and emotion, when I was really quite ready for it to be over – for so many reasons.  I co-coached this team to do something meaningful for one of my children, who’d never expressed any interest in anything extra-curricular,  and it became a school-year-long thing that has a story of its own – there were so many ups and downs and issues and triumphs and tensions… You know, the usual.  Except I don’t usually get involved in such matters at school.  Well, this year, I decided I would.

The day of state competition wound down and all the competing teams from across Florida gathered in the arena on the campus of University of Central Florida for the closing awards ceremony.  Emotion ran high in our section, as honorable mentions were given and we were not among them. We all knew the kids had nailed the public part of the competition, but there is also a private challenge (Spontaneous problem-solving)  that’s not open for public viewing – just the team and the judges. The scoring system and the challenges are quite complex.  Finally, it was time to announce the second, and first place winners.  You know, they build anticipation by announcing the honorable mention winners, for each of the five problem categories, in four divisions.  Then they start over, and announce the second and first place winners. (It’s a long ceremony!)  Finally,  second place  winner in our problem category and division was announced, and it was not us.  My heart was in my throat and the entire team and coaches were poised on the edges of their seats.  Finally, it happened.  “… in first place, and going on to Worlds: St. Paul’s Catholic School in Jacksonville Beach, Florida!” and the team ran wildly (myself included, I admit it) onto the stage, slapping outstretched hands all along the ways.  What a moment!

The kids claimed their trophy with unbridled joy – especially one of our boys, who’d been on various Odyssey teams over the past four years, and had joined ours, this year.  Pictures were taken, hugs all around, and we returned to our seats to let it all sink in.  We were the first team from the Manatee Region (four counties) to ever send a team to World Finals.  We were rock stars.

A coaches’ meeting followed immediately after the awards ceremony and our blazing victory, where the reality of our win sank in.  The costs of going to Worlds was discussed.  A million other details were rolled out – and I felt awash in a sea of mixed feelings.  Certainly, exhilaration of the win was stunning, but the reality of cost, fundraising, logistics, and team unity, were also forefront in my mind.  We had a team member threaten to quit, twice prior, each time just before the important competition.  The reasons for quitting were essentially a lack of interest/commitment to the team and program on the part of the parents.  The coaches had made numerous concessions for this team member over the past several months.  I was weary of that part of the coaching job, which had drained me in particular.

We had a wonderful person at our school – the person who’d brought Odyssey of the Mind to our school several years ago, and had coached teams to the State level every time, but her team hadn’t won Regionals this year, sadly.  Still, she and two of her young team members drove the two and a half hours from Jacksonville to Orlando to support us (and watch as many of the competitions as possible to prep, already, for next year’s Odyssey of the Mind team!). When we won first place, she swooped in and worked her magic, organizing us around fundraising and in the end – after various car washes, hot dog lunches, bake sales, social mixer night for adults, and very generous contributions from our school’s PTA, the Dads’ Club, and the Knights of Columbus – we had enough money in the bank to make it happen.  Each of the kids’ cost of staying in the dorm on campus was covered.  Also, the cost of the dorm coach was covered.  Guess who the dorm coach was?  Yes.  Me.

We still had the dramatic wait while the recalcitrant team member made up her mind about whether or not to join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  (She decided to participate.)  We still had the usual resistance of that team member’s parents. While everyone pitched in washing cars and supporting fundraisers, they participated peripherally.

All of this happened, too, with very few weeks between the State win, and the start of Worlds, with a spring break holiday from school thrown in to make our fundraising even more challenging. But it all came together so well.  We decided that since we were going to Worlds, we might as well embrace the entire cultural experience.  We requested a to be a buddy team which meant that our kids (and coaches) would sort of be like American hosts to a team coming from another country (yes, teams from about 14 other countries journeyed from as far away as Asia, Russia, and Africa).  We requested a homestay team which meant that families from our school community would host, in their homes, members of an international team who’d traveled to the U.S. for Worlds, to give that team a days-long, regular American experience.

Our buddy team was a South Korean group of kids who were the same age as our team, competing in a different problem category.  Our homestay team was a Japanese team – again, the same ages as the kids on our team, and also competing in a different problem category.  Great, because we could cheer each other on and not worry about them as The Competition!

It was truly amazing.  There were 800 teams from about fifteen countries in the competition.  In our problem category alone, we were one of 66 teams.  The whole campus was filled with students and coaches and parents.  We stayed on campus five nights and when we arrived I learned we’d been assigned to a non-airconditioned dorm, with community bathrooms down the hall.  Just like my freshman year of college – redux!  Except this time, I had a single.  My cell, as I called it, was stark and hot.  They all were.  Naturally, Maryland was experiencing its first,and early, heat-and-humidity wave of the summer.  HOT in the dorms.

But awesome too.  The kids had a blast in the dorm, where the hall was co-ed and mostly filled with South Korean kids.  South Korea sent 22 teams to Worlds this year.  Everywhere we went we heard Korean being spoken.  We found our buddy team and learned to communicate through smiles and simple words, for while they performed their skit entirely in English, their English skills in conversation were quite limited.  Odyssey hired a U of Maryland Korean American student to interpret for them and it was through her that we conversed with our new friends.  But it’s amazing how much kids can learn to interact, nonverbally.  Playing Ninja became a favorite activity as games sprouted spontaneously everywhere: dorm lobbies, metro platforms, outside the ballpark.

We competed and did not win or place.  This time, I felt we’d finish in the middle of the pack, somewhere in the 30s of 66 teams, so I was happy to see we were 25th of 66 teams!  After watching so many other teams compete, I could sense we wouldn’t take top honors but that didn’t matter so much now:  we were at World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind.  We were mixing with bright and creative kids from all over the world.  And five hot nights in a dorm was exactly where we needed to be; not off campus in a nice hotel, separate from the moments that made the entire Odyssey experience so singular for them.  The nights in the dorm, horsing around with themselves and new friends.  ‘Pin trading’ – an strategic enterprise one can’t quite explain until you’ve experienced it – was going on all times during down times.  Every team would bring their own team/state Odyssey pins, and then start hunting for cool pins from other teams.  All these pins are attached to a towel, and the kids would plop down and lay out their towels and negotiate with their peers for the pins they coveted.

This is indeed the longest post I’ve ever written, and I doubt that anyone will actually read it.  I’m writing it to tell you of the amazing journey I’ve been on during the past few weeks, and to explain my bloggy absence!  I suppose I could go on and on but I’ve bored you enough, so I’ll try to wrap this up now.  I am writing this more for me, than anyone, I think.

We had a great time with our buddy team.  They showed up at our team’s performance with cute signs, to cheer us on.  By sheer luck or providence, we happened to eat lunch after we competed in an off-campus little restaurant whose owners were Korean.  I told them about Odyssey, and our buddy team, and asked him to write ‘good luck’ to them, in Hangul, the Korean language.  He thought about it, asked exactly what we wanted to convey, as the translation of ‘good luck’ varies in Korean.  He settled on a ‘do your best!’ message, which was the exact right sentiment, and printed the characters onto our poster board with a pink Sharpie (we planned to write our sign to them during lunch, and so we conveniently had the materials with us!).  The kids then wrote the rest of their message to our buddy team in English, and signed their names.  It was a great sign!  The buddy team loved it.  I was glad we were able to impress, and not merely copy what they’d surprised us with earlier in the day.

We wanted to do something special with them, so on Monday, Memorial Day, we treated them to a major league baseball game.  We took them to see the Washington Nationals play the Philadelphia Phillies in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.  It was awesome.  The boys and their coach (a male) loved it.  The girls, not so much, but they had fun and our seats were shaded the entire time, and for that I thanked God.  I couldn’t imagine sitting in that HOT sun and heat for nine innings. It was a Phillies crowd, despite the home stadium, and we all cheered for Nationals, who lost 5-4 (it was a good game!).

As a team, we were all over the University campus for events, competition, and activities, and we managed to take the metro into D.C. twice, en masse.  Yes, I did indeed don my bright yellow group tee shirt emblazoned with our school name, noting we were Odyssey state champs / World finalists and troop around Washington with our yellow-shirted pack.  Perfect for spotting everyone in a hurry, and count off the number of people in the group so we wouldn’t leave a kid inadvertently on the platform of the Metro or lose someone’s child in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.   I’m not usually one to travel in large groups, but I did it, and survived!  Had a great time, in fact.  There were moments…but in any venture, there are always moments.  I’d consider doing the coaching gig again, now that I’m experienced, and really know how to put together a team.  I’d have the team choose its members wisely: choose minds over friends, because a commitment to do this is a long-term one.  If a team member loses interest and decides it’s not so important anymore, it adds stress to the others.  The parents of the team members should also understand what their child is committing to doing.  I suppose I now have a greater understanding of a teacher’s experience, and how important the parent interaction/involvement can be.  I just have to say: if you’re a parent who’s a complainer or overly defensive of your child, tread carefully with the teacher.  They want to work with you…with being the operative word.  Teachers and coaches are human beings with feelings and I think that there’s probably a sort of line out there, different for all of us, that once crossed,  subtly changes things.  Perhaps it changes the way the teacher regards your child, and parents want what’s best for their child.   It’s good to pick one’s battles wisely.

Now that our team has been to Worlds, there’s been a lot of excited talk among the kids and everyone wants to join Odyssey.  I told my child, “You’re celebrities of the moment.  Odyssey is very cool, and fun, and a hard working, long-term group experience.  They need to understand that. They need to want to win and to put in the extra time it inherently requires as competition time approaches.”  Having seen the best of the best, I know what it takes to go the distance.  A new team forming with excitement at the beginning of a school year should truly understand Odyssey, and the creativity it affords kids, and understand that they do need to work to make it happen.  It helps if parents get it too, otherwise they inherently get sick of the long-term involvement and think nothing of leaving a team when months have already been invested in the effort.  It’s a wonderful thing to be involved in; I met so many Odyssey alumni who came up in the program and some who are still competing at the college level.

But now,  school is out, and summer is here, thank goodness. We’ll all have time to regroup and let our Worlds experience sink in, and fade away a bit, as the norms of summer livin’ take over.  No one’s more ready for this than I am.

Dancing in the Street

It was a busy weekend of covering our town’s 25th annual Dancin’ in the Streets party, and the Never Quit Beach Fest.

At Dancin’ in the Street,  local bands played their live music, there was a family-friendly area called the Kids’ Zone, artists and other vendors sold their wares, and alcohol was allowed on the approved streets to those who met the age qualification.  Lots and lots of people walked or came on their bikes; a smart idea for two reasons:

1.  Don’t drink and drive.

2. Parking is hard to find when there’s a huge crowd in the neighborhood!

It’s a street party that’s legendary in these parts and this year was its 25th anniversary.  You may see more pictures, and my micro-blogging all about our community by ‘liking’ our Facebook Page.  Please hop over and have a look, and like us too.  I want to break 1,000 fans and we’re four ‘likes’ away from that!

This is a video of a popular local band, the Boogie Freaks, rocking out to  happy crowd.

May Seventeen

Four years ago today, you died.

Although you had 52 years of a marriage that I observed as perfect, four children, many grandchildren, a life lived full circle – you didn’t live long enough to get old.

You were a month into your 74th year; still working, enjoying life, traveling.  You were still young.  I suppose I thought you’d live to be an old woman, like your mother did.

But if you had, who’d have taken care of you as tenderly as you assisted your own mother who, for many more years than I realized, did indeed need your constant support for the tasks of daily living so that she could remain ensconced in her own home, her nest, the place she preferred, above all?

Your daughters – my sister and me – live in different states. You would not have wanted to move from your home to either of ours had that  become necessary.   Or to some other place: a condo, a community.  I guess I’d envisioned me taking you on outings, the way you did with your mother, and we’d continue to enjoy our time together until we were both old.  That didn’t happen.

The illness that invaded came swiftly in March and you took your final earthly breath at about 7:45pm, four years ago today. I don’t think you worried; I think you were blessed with equal parts awareness and peacefulness, and your death came closer each day for the seven weeks of your final journey.

Of course, Dad was at your side every moment; standing ready as always  to meet your needs. To provide nourishment if you wanted it.  Comfort, that he was there.  He did not impede your journey to Christ by extraordinary means for he understood that you both knew that in dying we are born to eternal life.  He wanted that for you.  He just hoped it’d have happened about ten years later.  He pinned a lovely, fragrant gardenia onto the lapel of your suit as your body was there for our final goodbyes.  The ultimate tender gesture of a marriage between two people who took care of each other.

I think you had a good death, as far as death goes.  If we think about life in terms of what we believe as Christians,  then we have to be comforted by the promise of eternal life. And I am.

But I miss you.  Now, I’ve made Dad listen to me these past four years; listen to the vicissitudes of my own life, which, by the way, is not where I want it to be, the same as when you were living and comforting me about the same frustrations.  I want my mom to tell me that everything will be all right.  You were so good at gleaning the positive and going from there, and it’s helped me, truly.  I think there are many lessons you’ve taught me that have blossomed since you left.  Is that you? Helping me from Heaven?  Whatever it is, there are some days when I really understand what you’d been trying to say, and other days when I still want to cry and and complain and have my mother tell me it’s all going to work out just fine.

Your absence has been strange.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  I am thankful I wasn’t a child when you went, or even a very young adult.  I was lucky to have you for as long as I did…too many lose parents too young.  I can see you.  But I only experienced you once since you’ve been gone.   I think the lessons you tried to impart (and probably, frustratingly so, now that I think of it) are working…why do things take so long?!  Still, I want and need some reassurance from my mother, unreasonably childish, I know this, yet who else is there besides Dad who will indulge me?  I don’t want to bore him to tears; I think I might already have done that.

You’re in Heaven: can you predict the future?  How much longer until things will be the way we want them to be, Mom?  Can you visit me and tell me the future?

Of course, I’m kidding.  You were not superstitious nor am I.  You would have told me what was said at Peter’s funeral, something real, but without deadlines or timelines or promises of anything specific: “God is Good…All the Time.”

I Am Water…

…it’s part of who I am; I was born this way. Landlocked in Detroit, where I was raised, I lived for that one week of bliss, our summer vacation on the Lake Michigan Shore in South Haven.  When I say I lived for this single week, that’s not far from the actual truth. I daydreamed about it all year, and fantasized about how great it would be to really live in a coastal town – how lucky those people were. Did they look at that Lake every day and pinch themselves with glee? That vacation week was a singular moment in my childhood…and into young adulthood. Every year my Dad would tease us with, “who wants to stay another week?” and every year I almost believed that he’d throw caution to the wind and we’d just stay on for that second week. Never happened, of course. I hated packing up and going home.

When I was a grown up, my husband and I lucked into a relocation that took us to west Michigan and  lived in an awesome town on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Our home was in a neighborhood with that oh-so-coveted deeded beach access. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. This really was my dream, come true.

Then we moved here: to Atlantic Beach.  If I thought Grand Haven was heaven, I was ecstatic about settling in this warm weather coastal community just steps from the beach.  I love the beach (as if that hasn’t been patently obvious on this blog).  I’m constantly snapping photo upon photo, and video too.  I keep hearing my Dad’s voice, “Don’t photograph your life  – live it!”  Well, I guess this is how I live my life.  I get carried away with excitement, even after all this time, and out comes the camera… don’t even ask how many pictures are living on the hard drive, each of them elbowing the other out of way, vying for precious space.  I know I need to get in there with the delete key, but it’s hard decide which pictures go off into the ether, so I just put it off.

Since I’m happiest when I’m in or near the water, I recorded this little video and now I’ll share it with you:

Visit Florida

A long time ago, we visited Florida.  It was the Gulf side, Longboat Key, to be exact. It was January.  We wandered around St. Armand’s circle and I remember gazing longingly through the window of a realtor’s office, where listings of homes-for-sale were taped.  (Long before the days of Zillow – one of my fav real estate apps!)  I can remember the feeling of longing, of how great would it be if we actually lived here? but accepted it as a pipe dream.  We packed up and went back to the gray and snowy midwest and four more months of that weather, a day or two later.  We’re just not winter sports people.

Now, we’ve been here eleven years.  We love living at the beach.  Every single time I come across the walkway to the sands of ‘my beach’, it’s a different landscape.  And every time, I feel a glee of excitement that I get to live here.

This is yesterday.  I read my book for a while, then took a snooze.  A few of my son’s friends probably saw me, sacked out in my chair, as they were polite enough to say HI when they came out to the beach too.

I woke up to the tide nearly lapping at my back.  Hey, I didn’t snooze that long.  

What a great, great day it was yesterday.  Perfect temps, perfect water, pretty birds.  And I get to live here.

Macro Monday Agapanthus Again…and Shells

What can I say? I love the life cycle of these Agapanthus.  A neighbor gave them to me several years ago and I so enjoy watching them go from “pregnancy” in the springtime to seed in the fall.  Ever since I got the macro lens I’m just drawn to these plants.  Honestly, I’m not satisfied with these images. But – – it’s all right.  If I don’t practice I won’t improve.

I had to throw in a few shots of the shells I collected while on Sapelo Island.  That was so much fun.