Monday, October 11, 2021

Putting my Wrist to the Test

 Woo hoo! Taking my first spin on my bicycle this afternoon, I felt pretty darn good. Bruce, of course, is nervous, however that's his nature so not to be unexpected. For many, many years, my favorite exercise was a five mile ride most mornings because it allowed me to both ride and stop to take photographs. It was the best! Since moving here however, mostly my bike has collected dirt from the weekly parking lot blowing that spews dirt on anything sitting still. Earlier today Bruce cleaned it up in preparation for our CAMPING trip tomorrow. We are heading out in the morning to a campground just west of Tallahassee. Speaking of which, Florida State finally won a football game and looked good doing so, bringing me much joy. They have a week off to savor the win and hopefully get even better.

While Bruce was loading the kayak and sorting out the other equipment, I spent hours in the kitchen after struggling with menu ideas. Not that it is really hard but I so hate planning! In the end, I figured out some meals for four days but it does not come easily to me.

Yesterday, arriving at church, we discovered when we were on Park Avenue that it was the weekend of the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. Parking in the lot adjacent to church was at a premium, unlike most weeks when there are ample parking places as so many have not yet returned to church. Anyway, it brought back both good and bad memories. The photo below is an old one from the weekend that brought good memories.

This was back when I wore bangs and did not wear glasses full time. Perhaps I should bring those bangs back? Anyway, I had a marvelous show that year and was thrilled to return the following year. Unfortunately, the second year I was there, a monsoon came through forcing the show to close on Sunday after steady rain for eight hours kept crowds away on Saturday. Naturally I was heartbroken and never was accepted again. :(  Here is the link to that sad occasion that brought me to tears. 

Even though my selling days are over, I've never quit taking photographs because I love it so much. Anywhere I go, something speaks to me and my camera. Driving down Ferncreek the other day, I had to pull over to get a shot of this decorated house that claims they are still working on it. Pretty darn creative so far.

Another day I was coming home from somewhere and the light on this pretty red house was so good it begged to be photographed.

One day last week I returned to Demetree Park where the light was pretty fantastic as well. Temperatures are still pretty warm, but with the lower humidity, it is almost pleasant.

The chickens were out in full force, although not quite as noisy because it must have been too late for the rooster to be crowing as loud as I've heard before. It looks as if they have quite the variety.

Look what I came across. That little yellow duckling is hanging in there.

Isn't it a super sweet park that almost no one seems to know about? They have a tennis court, stocked fishing lake, fantastic playground and a basketball court. The most people I've seen there at one time is probably about ten and that might be a slight exaggeration. Every now and again you run across a Wood Stork.

I used to not appreciate them because of their prehistoric head, but I'm starting to like them and am always happy when one shows up when I am out and about. Perhaps there are those amongst you that did not know that when I had a business it was called, Out & About Photography. In the first photo in this post, the young lady in the plaid shirt was a UCF student who used to visit me at the market along with her friend Stephanie. Week after week they would come and say hello and I remember them trying to get me to make a Facebook page for my business. I always had a hard time with promoting my work and they were more than happy to help me out although I never took advantage of their kind offer. That was in the early days of social media and I will be the first to admit that I never imagined what an influence it would become.  As we sat at the bar for lunch at Prato, I found it so hard to imagine that a youngish woman was taking selfies, posing this way and that and not just one photo. Probably ten. I just don't get it which proves that I'm old and out of touch!

Mary had us over for dinner last Thursday and she is loving her open kitchen.

I was loving the blue cheese on this board, the fig not so much.

Mary is still waiting on a buyer for her other condo and we sincerely hope one turns up sooner, rather than later. She's going on a multi day kayaking trip and I bet, just when she has no mobile service, that a buyer shows up! Being a bird lover like myself, now I can text her when I see something interesting. By my count, we are up to about 15 ducks on the lake, including many Wood Ducks with the males in their full plumage.

I never take seeing them for granted because someone else has never had the pleasure of seeing a Wood Duck before. Isn't that the way? Living in Vancouver for that year, most people went about their business never even thinking that there are those, myself included, who were in awe of mountains, never having lived in their shadow before. Oh how I miss seeing them! Then again, most of those folks have never seen a WD which isn't quite a fair comparison, but you get my drift.

Before we planted them last year, I'd never seen an Arctic Snow plant before. This year, having been in the ground for a while, they are blooming very nicely. 

What I discovered on my inaugural bike ride is that my wrists take some pressure while holding the handles. When Lisa bid me adieu she reminded me to keep on working to get my wrist stronger which the bike riding might just help. We've not gone camping since the accidents, but I'm hoping my wrist is strong enough to be able to help put up the tent and, well, everything that camping requires. 

Time will tell won't it?

your friend,

Gail

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Graduation Day!

The day has finally come when I said goodbye to Lisa who has guided me through this long rehabilitation.

In this post from June 16, therapy was just beginning and who would have imagined that I would finally be released on October 6? Not me, for one. At any rate, reading back through that post reminds me of just how far I have come from those sad days when I was mostly useless. Not to mention, crying through my sessions! And while I still can't do some things, it is not her fault. Instead, it stems from my first break when they yanked on my arm to set it, doing damage at the same time. I now have a better understanding of why it was that I could not turn my hand over after the first break and that is because in the process of setting my arm, the bone adjacent to the radius, the ulna, was yanked upward, leaving me with an odd looking arm. In other words, my anatomy has been altered and not only just with eight screws and a plate in my arm. The good news is that I'm learning to live with the cards I've been dealt. Thanking her I gave her the pouches that I showed in this post and it seemed as if she was pretty pleased. 

In other awesome news, yesterday Fallon passed the boards for her Nurse Practitioners license!! She studied like crazy for months and it paid off in a big way. Needless to say, we are all pleased and proud of her accomplishment.

I promised more on Sebastian so here we go....

First off, have a look at the where we stayed.  (Could that futon cover be any uglier?)

If we were to come again, I'd have to bring my kettle as I am no fan of tea made from microwaved water. For whatever reason, it just doesn't cut it. There was a toaster which made making peanut butter toast easy enough. Here's the little dinette.

The "blackout" curtains could have been a bit stronger and the mattress a little bit softer, but those are minor complaints. All in all,  it was a perfect place to stay during a pandemic. Speaking of which, the cases are going down here while skyrocketing elsewhere. Isn't it amazing to think how this same virus has spread worldwide? Unreal!

Birds, sunrises, and fun restaurants, what more could you ask for?

There were plenty of pelicans as this is nearby. 

I was super delighted to find some Ruddy Turnstones on one of the docks.

If there was a post for a perch, a bird found it, in the case below, filled with Terns.

This same long dock is seen during the beautiful sunrise. Just wonderful to watch how darkness turns into light.

I love watching it come up over the horizon.

And so the day begins.

There is a lovely walk beside the river made even better by the presence of excellent restroom facilities. Adjacent to one of them were these very interesting and unique sculptures.

The gator was made from chains and the soldier and bird looked to be made from car parts?

Unlike anything I've ever seen before.  

Real birds! Starlings to be specific. Actually, I rarely see them either.

As well I noticed a restaurant across the street that caught my attention, Earls Hideaway.

Our final morning we had breakfast there and that was an experience I won't soon forget. Going to a biker bar for breakfast proved to be even more entertaining than I'd imagined. Who knew so many people are day drinkers beginning at 8 in the morning? Twenty, by my count. Before you imagine it was folks who work overnight, let me put that thought to rest. The bartender was gruff as could be, and when one of the patrons kept asking her for Fireball, she told him to shut up and drink his Bud.  The open windows allowing the river breezes to flow in was very pleasant. Adjacent to the building there is a huge sand bar with a giant stage. A sand bar on land? The night before I discovered when we visited Captain Hiram's, a famous local landmark, that a sand bar is a bar built on sand. Duh!

The food was mediocre at best, but they did have live entertainment.

Thinking back on it, if I recall correctly, they never once sang Margaritaville which was a relief. Actually we spent a good deal of time talking to the couple in the next booth who were visiting from the Villages, in town to see an act at Earl's Hideaway the next evening. :)

Before heading over there, I'd seen on the Google map that there was a pickleball complex near to where we were staying, so on the way home we found it and was it ever fantastic with covered picnic tables, restrooms, a wind sock and water fountains.

My plan was merely to work on my serve on a real pickleball court which I did, but soon another couple arrived and Bruce asked if they would like to play. Of course they would! Three games later and seriously hot and sweaty, we bid them goodbye and began the drive home, stopping first at the home where I lived for only two years while finishing high school. The area is mostly unrecognizable, as was the home where our father died.

Actually our home looks pretty much the same, but the brick house sits on what was once a huge empty lot that I mowed countless times on the riding Snapper mower.

Although the trip was short, it was packed with fun and I have to credit Lisa for getting me back to not quite pre-breaks, but close. Reading back to what I could not do then and what I can now, I am so grateful to have had her help.

Let the adventures begin!!

your friend,

Gail

Friday, October 1, 2021

A Short Trip

Some good news for those who come to this space for the photography. I've got some good ones for you today. In fact, although our little get away was short and sweet, so many photographic opportunities presented themselves, I'm going to be splitting this post over two entries. 

As happens far more often than I'd like to think, some of the best photographs happen by chance. Or so it seems. Scanning through the ones I took over 2 1/2 days, one of my favorites was taken on a rest break when we stopped at an airboat place on 1-92, located on the St. Johns River. Pulling over to get some iced tea out of the cooler, I was struck by how colorful the place is and the great big fluffy clouds, a sight sure to please one of my faithful readers. The one thing Karen misses about Florida, after moving to North Carolina, is the clouds.

Looking at the image, I kept thinking what a hard jigsaw puzzle it would make!

Bruce's friend Bob asked to borrow our tent for the week so that he could test it out because he's thinking of getting a new one. Furthermore, he wanted Bruce to meet him at the campground near Sebastian Inlet for some fishing. As that is quite a drive in the early morning, I suggested we go over for a couple of nights and I'd book a room in Melbourne Beach. Not so fast Gail! Rooms there were few and far between so we ended up booking on the other side of the Indian River in Sebastian. Not the most convenient as it is between two causeways, but it seemed like it would meet our needs in spite of the drive. The place we stayed is owned by a couple and it has only twelve little studio apartments.

The family lives on the third floor and aside from them and another couple, we had the place to ourselves. 

However, I am getting ahead of myself, so let's back up again.

We found the campground, just north of Sebastian Inlet State Park, a Brevard county owned very large campground on the water, called Long Point Park.

Bob was out fishing when we arrived which allowed us time to check it all out. Bruce spotted a little rabbit!

Almost all of the sites are situated on the water with large mangroves cut back to allow a kayak to slip into the river.

Situated on an island in the Indian River Lagoon, apparently it is the place to be if you like saltwater fishing, something Bruce had never done before. 

Ready to try his hand at a new type of fishing, particularly after we'd stopped to buy saltwater gear, that would have to wait for the morning.

For almost twenty miles we'd been driving alongside the ocean and not stopped. Finally we did and oh my goodness it was beautiful.

The view above is always one of my favorites when you get your first glimpse! Trudging up a short incline through the sand, you drop back down to this.

Normally I'd have jumped in because this time of year is absolute heaven at the beach, with drier air and not so blazing hot, however, seeing the rough surf I decided not to risk it. 

Can you say pelican alert? Plenty more to see later on.

Driving about nine miles down A1A, we turned onto the causeway that would take us back over to US1 where we turned right to head north again. Arriving at the Davis House Inn, our host checked us in, gave us the keys, and we moved in for two nights. One of the reasons I chose this place is because multiple restaurants were within walking distance. Our first waterside meal at Captain Butchers did not disappoint. Fresh shrimp and crab cakes for the win!

While I love the ocean, I'm just as happy to be on the river. In fact, I've often said, if we lived on the coast I think I'd prefer being on the river where everything is just a little closer. 

Later on we checked out the owners dock which is available for use by the guests. As well they have kayaks and bicycles and free parking. Who doesn't like free parking anyway? 

As you can see the river docks are quite long as we saw this seems to be the norm for whatever reason. There was a fantastic breeze off the water and I watched birds while Bruce fished.

I was to learn the following afternoon that there are multiple islands in the river in this area where birds love to congregate.

On the other side of the water is the Atlantic Ocean.

I was a wee bit nervous my first time on the long dock, don't ask me why! The Davis House Inn is across the street.

Bruce had an early morning wake up call so bedtime was about normal for us early to bed/early to rise folks. Driving in the dark is not his favorite, but sunrise was not too far off as he drove the 18 miles back to the campground. Have you noticed how the days are shrinking? As well, thinking about that mileage, for those of us living downtown, Walt Disney World is about 25 miles away putting this into perspective. Speaking of WDW, today is the 50th anniversary of the opening date! The front page of today's newspaper had the articles from that historic time in Orlando history.

Following his departure, I made some tea and went across the street to await sunrise. It did not disappoint.

Nothing like some brilliant sun rays to begin ones day, eh? 

Generally I can entertain myself, but while I did for part of the morning, what I was super stoked for was that the one friend that I had at Melbourne High School had seen my photo post on Instagram and immediately got in touch to plan a get-together! How crazy is that? Having not seen Peggy in 50 years, I was so looking forward to our time together, but first I had a few hours to kill.

There is no doubt you can imagine what I did, is there?

A wide sidewalk runs alongside the river for miles and I took advantage of exploring new surroundings for the first time in nearly a year. Above is what I'm thinking is called a Loggerhead Shrike, a bird I've never seen before. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic. The same held true when I walked on the city owned dock and well...

Yup, a brief dolphin sighting, one of the things I was most hoping to see. Later, while chatting with Bruce about this excitement, he burst my bubble telling me he saw about a dozen frolicking in the water near their boat. Lucky!

Upon my return, it was not too much longer when Peggy arrived to pick me up and take me to their home about six miles away. Oh my, was it a wonderful home, bursting at the seams with super cool decor and objects of art.

At every turn I was exclaiming my delight at, well, everything, from the wall art, to the gardens, to the pool. One of the things that so enthralled me was seeing so many pieces of needlepoint designed and executed by Peggy's mom.

Isn't it fantastic?? Peggy is a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast and sent me back to the Davis House Inn with loads of new puzzles that I will be sharing with anyone brave enough to tackle 1,000 piece puzzles. A few 500 piece ones will stay with yours truly for the time being. When I mentioned we'd stopped at the beach, she told me that a week ago the surf was such that it knocked her down, and she literally had to crawl out. That made me doubly glad that I'd not gone in! 

Gosh it was good to see her and meet her husband and my only regret was that our time together was too short as obligations called. Hopefully it will not be another fifty years...

There's more to the story but I'll save that for another post leaving you with plenty for now. Except, why not close with a Mockingbird, our Florida state bird?


Stay tuned for more...

your friend,

Gail

p.s. Do not ask me why I did not get a photo of Peggy...I have no good response.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Lesser Summer

Everyone feels the excitement in the air, or a better way to describe it might be, drier air because my friends, we have finally reached the date of what I like to call "lesser summer". Yup, in most parts of the country,  when late September arrives, it is called Autumn or Fall depending on where you come from, but around here when the weather app on your phone shows high 80's for the next ten days, well we know that lesser summer has arrived.  And not a moment too soon as far as I'm concerned! 

Having said that, after spending the better part of summer indoors, I should be the last person to complain. But with the changing seasons, I, too, have been changing. If you know me well, you know that I love watches, specifically the Skagen brand, and after not being comfortable with anything on my wrist for nearly six months, I've begun wearing my watches again, making me very happy indeed. As well, I've been getting out more such as Tuesday morning when I hopped in the MINI early to photograph the cows on Judge Road. Exciting stuff, eh? 

For me, I just like to document Orlando before it is completely covered in concrete. As you take this shortcut to the Beachline or airport, there is a large undeveloped piece of land on the North side of the road where cattle usually run free. Instead, the normal area is now for sale, and they seemed to have been moved to a new pasture.

Seemingly not for long though as this is also happening on that stretch of road.

Following that up with a stop in another pasture area on Conway Road where I came across two donkeys,

along with a small horse of some kind.

It was a little smaller than the donkeys, with a mane completely covering his face.  Any ideas?

Filing under the category of everything having a silver lining,  rain poured on the night of the Harvest Moon, however, with the big tree now gone, I saw it before dawn from the front porch.

Not that we like the tree being gone, but looking for the good in everything sure helps keep a person on the right track mentally.

Speaking of looking for good, there is nothing good to say about Neil dying from Covid last Friday.  While it is true vaccinated people are getting Covid, the chance of serious illness seems to be small as was the case with David who is now perfectly fine. Amazingly, Michelle remained virus free. Talking to Patti the other day I said, imagine this: "You and I are having a conversation on our front porch and you are perfectly healthy but unvaccinated. (she is) Three weeks later, after suffering horribly, you are dead." That was Neil in a nutshell. His family now joins 53,000 other Florida families mourning the loss of a loved one to Covid. For now the cases are going down, thank God, for how long is anyone's guess.

Not only am I now wearing a watch again, I am sewing as well. Because my left hand still is not perfect, some motions are difficult but, by now, we all remember the mantra...motion is lotion!

The dress making went smoothly enough, however my attempt at making a little pouch went awry. Quite a number of years ago, I came across an estate sale, while on my bicycle one day, that was a sewist dream come true. Especially if said sewist loves vintage anything. By golly, here is the post from 2014 detailing that find.  Remembering that I'd purchased a bunch of zippers, I found the perfect match for the estate sale Lily Pulitzer fabric. Woo hoo. The peacock blue zipper was far too long so I cut it to size. All going well so far, until, like a dummy, I unzipped it to make the other side of the pouch, pulling it right off the tape because I forgot there was no stop any longer!!!

For anyone who has a curious mind, here's a bit of history on the zipper, specifically Talon zippers, the above which was from 1970. Imagine, it was packaged for 51 years and then I went and ruined it!! Try as he might, Bruce could not get the tab back on. Boo hoo! Fortunately, thanks to the woman who collected more sewing supplies than anyone could ever use,  there are more zippers where that came from. 

Bruce has continued helping Mary this week, putting in shelves and hanging her beloved stained glass panels in her kitchen window that required him to scrape the popcorn ceiling off, followed by installing a piece of wood to screw into. How exciting that the existing window seat cushion matches them beautifully.

Yesterday morning Bruce and I went to Demetree Park where I feel very comfortable walking on the wide sidewalks that ring the small lake. In a nod to the changing season, the Cypress trees are beginning to change color.

It is a very quiet park with the lake one of the ones that the city of Orlando stocks with fish, thus, while I walked, Bruce tried his hand at a little fishing.

While standing on the dock I could see him waving me over and wondering what he wanted I moved as quickly as possible. Good call Mr. Peck.

In one backyard that abuts the park property, they have chickens and a very loud rooster.

As we were returning from a visit to the other small lake adjoining the property, we found more ducklings in standing water amongst the Cypress trees.

I had to wonder what that mother duck thinks of her lone yellow duckling. Isn't it a cutie? Of all things, returning to the car, I heard a bird noise, looked up and there was Pileated Woodpecker doing what woodpeckers do, this time on a telephone pole. 

Eventually it moved around the pole and I was able to witness how they hang on with pretty darn big feet and claws.

Because the weather was fine (!), we drove over to nearby Lake Underhill park, another stocked lake near Bill and Fallon's house. 

As young people we used to swim in this lake on hot summer days before air conditioning, not to mention the addition of a highway running right through it! Standing on one of the two docks, I saw some young Gallinules with their parents swimming in, what to our eye looked to be icky water. Darn folks for throwing trash in the lakes! This little one came across the floating bottle nosing it forward before swimming around it.

From there it was but a short drive to Joe Kittinger Park on Crystal Lake, a small park we've driven by countless times without visiting. 

In the shadows of the 408 highway, the park is a tribute to Viet Nam war veterans with this fighter plane having been used and piloted in Viet Nam by Colonel Joe Kittinger. As is so often the case, every place we visit has something new and unexpected, in this case loads and loads of dragonflies. Just as we were nearing the car to leave, several were perched in the bare trees. 

I've seen blue, pink and green dragonflies before, but never one like this. Thank you Google because now I know this one is called a Red Saddleback Dragonfly. Super neat, right? 

In other news, I've returned to pickleball wearing my old shoes that served me well before I bought the new pair that, well, we all know what happened while wearing them. David urged me to throw them in the dumpster right away, although since they are new I thought about donating them to Goodwill. Aghast, he said, "do you want to give someone else bad karma?" Perhaps he has a good point. 

This morning I played with these ladies who are graciously putting up with my new learning curve!

your friend,


Gail





















Putting my Wrist to the Test