Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Because We Could (Florida edition)

Today's been a pretty quiet day; I didn't get much done, but I guess that's okay. I did some knitting, saw some friends, all good things to do. Just not a lot of extra energy, which is a shame: I could use some of that. I hear it helps with getting things done, and it's pretty messy around here. Ah, well, two more days and it's the weekend.

Two more days and, oh, right, eight to fourteen inches of snow. Right now they're saying some will come in overnight tonight, but most will be over Thursday night into Friday. Great. Let me stick my fingers in my ears. La-la-la, I can't hear you. Let's pretend I'm still in Florida, shall we? Thank you, I think I will. Orange juice, raspberries, too much good food to detail, and my mama ... practically perfect.

My mother got me at the airport Monday, and we went to lunch, then ran a few errands on the way home. For dinner, we walked down to a place overlooking the beach. Sunset was not stellar, but still: Beach, sunset, December? I'll take it.
And clearly, so would a lot of other people.

Tuesday dawned overcast.
But there was consolation in the air.
For that matter, the ghost of Christmas Past was still around. Strictly speaking, the ghost of Five Christmases Past. Were you reading here five years ago? I mentioned in a blog post, on Christmas in 2008, that "the wreath smells wonderful." In fact, it smelled so good that after the holiday, my mother hung it up on the wall in the garage. And? I'll be damned if it doesn't still smell good, if you lean in.
Five years! Isn't that crazy? It's a zombie wreath. We may get a new one next year. (Bonus on that blog post, by the way: the first time I'd knit catnip mice. I couldn't have told you when it was, but now I know.)

For lunch on Tuesday, we decided that it was decent enough to eat lunch outside. If one can, after all... A little cloudy one way, more blue sky the other.
And off in the distance, sparkles on the water.
On the way home, we saw a Truly Nolen vehicle. I hadn't noticed the slogan before:
In the afternoon, we walked on the beach. Because we could, and it was Christmas Eve.
Really, as Arthur would say, It didn't suck. I mean, surfers are not the usual sight on this beach, but why not?
We opened a few presents, it being Christmas Eve, and we opened something else as well: project Find Alcohol For Me.
We'd been talking at lunch about how I've never come across anything alcoholic that I actually like the flavor of, but there are times (like after that drive home in the snow recently) when a relaxing drink might be just the thing, so we picked up a few kinds to try. I tried all three over the course of the week: that's Godiva chocolate liqueur, Bailey's with caramel, and regular Bailey's. I liked them more or less the same; to me, they have a pleasant flavor and then an odd kick of an after-effect, which made me give a little wheeze like Heen, the dog in Howl's Moving Castle (if you haven't seen the movie, or don't remember the dog, the sound is here). If the experiment proved nothing else, it gave my mother a good laugh at that. I'll probably pick up some little ones to have in the house for bad days. No danger of alcoholism here, though.

Back to Florida! On Wednesday, aka Christmas, after a lovely morning of presents (of which, given and gotten, I will go into another day), we drove over to Everglades City to take the boat tour. Just because we could. While we were waiting to go out, some other boaters went by, first a kayak and then a canoe. There may have been some uncertainty about which way to go, in the first case.

But the map says...
This guy was watching us go. Or at least, waiting for us to go.
Apparently the pole cracked when it was hit by lightning. Okay then.

And the cormorant, hanging out on lucky number seven.
It's a beautiful, peaceful place.
Not that I think "peaceful" when I see one of these. I can't remember now what kind of bird he is, though. Mum, is he an osprey, do you think? (Edited to add: she says yes, he is.)
Anyway. Beautiful. Peaceful.
And ... what's that over there?
No, over there.
Ah! Dolphin-y!
Yes, lots of them. I still haven't seen a manatee, but dolphins, yes. Seen them before, happy to see them again. They just seem to be having such a good time! They went around and under and behind the boat, a whole bunch of them, including young ones. Fun!
Finally, we moved on from that area, and from marine to avian life. See a few birds, there?
Closer...
Closer...
I love that one little black guy, looking around at the bigger white birds like, Who are you guys?
They are white pelicans, as it happens. Different breed from the pelicans you see all over. They migrate in (don't know from where).

I was also taken with the tall, thin type.
And that was the boat tour. We had a really underwhelming meal at the Rod & Gun Club (next time, we think we'll try somewhere else), then home for a lazy rest of the afternoon, with ham for dinner and home movies to watch. The best kind of time travel!

Thursday, with a cloudy day, we did a little outlet shopping (two sweaters at Chico's, as well as some dainty unmentionables at Hanes), and a stop in Walmart that had us in line behind a little guy with bug sneakers. Out of focus (he was swinging his feet), but cute!
We'd thought to go to the movies that night, but when we got there in what should have been plenty of time, it was sold out (well, one ticket left), so we had dinner elsewhere instead. Some fun shirts for sale, including this bargain:
Friday morning we went up to the other end of the beach, hoping to see more bird life, but there wasn't much to be seen. Oh, a few, always a few, but not as much as I'd hoped for. Next time.
This guy was looking for lunch the whole time we were there.
It's awfully pretty.
There was a bird across the way, too, looking rather Charles Addams-ish.
And it was bath-and-pose time for this one.
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
I've seen memorial benches in other places ... but not like this one.
Isn't that an interesting sight on the beach? No maintenance, of course.

We went to lunch from there, outside of course, and were very amused when a woman at the table behind us couldn't drink her wine out a plastic cup, and had to be brought a wine glass. Ma'am, do you realize you're sitting at what is essentially a picnic table?

A few hopeful birds tried to join us for lunch.
Time for one more walk on the beach Friday afternoon. Someone was homesick ... probably not.
There was a whole flock of birds, hanging out, shifting around when people got too close.
There was a man near us getting down low to shoot them closer to their level. I think he must have been zooming, too, because this is what I got that way. Eh.
The clouds opened in an interesting way, while we were walking back.
Overcast, but still beautiful.
The rest you know: I was supposed to fly back Saturday afternoon, it ended up being late-late Saturday/early Sunday instead, and I'm still tired. Still congested, too. Still, it was awesome.

Man, I have to get to bed!

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