Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Trouble with Lucy van Pelt

It seems for the last couple of years, people have been on this "you should be Lucy for Halloween" kick with me. I am a big Peanuts fan and always have been since I was young. My first dog was named "Snoopy". I have all sorts of Peanuts collectibles. I had a Snoopy lunchbox when I was in grade school. I was so upset when it broke on a field trip.

But Lucy? Lucy is not very nice. She steals the football so that Charlie Brown falls down. She is bossy and insists on being the "Christmas Queen". She calls Charlie Brown a "Blockhead". And when she is in her little Psychiatric Help booth, all she really cares about is the nickels. I'm hoping I'm not like Lucy.

But, I've spent the afternoon making a little Help 5 cents booth that will fit at my cube tomorrow. We'll see if people like working with Lucy when I won't answer a question unless they give me a nickel.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Secret Life of Kindle

The title sounds a little edgy, doesn't it? Not really intended, but this vacation I've taken my Kindle and read parts of 4 books. "Parts" is because I sometimes just want to read different types of writing, and NONE of the books I'm currently reading has "hooked" me. As a matter of fact, in one of them, Dixie Divas, the characters are so stupid I'm not sure I'll go back to it. Really? Find a dead body in your coat closet and not call the police?

What I've come to realize on this vacation is an unintended consequence of reading with Kindle, in that it is very private. I still like my Kindle and like that I won't be filling shelves with books in my home. I like its size and that it is easy to transport and carry around for the moments when I'm just waiting somewhere and I can always read. But, no one at Maggie Mae's diner can see what I'm reading.

Some may say that is okay, and given the trade-offs, I agree for now. But, I always thought my bookshelf told a little bit about me. You could see that I liked mysteries and Sophie Kinsella, that I kept my college art history books and was a counseling major. People who stayed at my house as guests or dog sitters often borrowed books or read them while they were there. They can't do that on my Kindle.

For now, I like that I have about 30 books in my purse. But, we'll see how it goes. I think I need a Kindle budget.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Last Florida Sunset

My last day in Florida was good. In the morning, I walked the beach. It was cold and still windy, but the sun was out. The high today was only 72, so that means when I was walking it was still in the 50s. I let the water run up on my feet. At first it seemed chilled, but then I realized it was warmer than the air.

The wind of the last few days washed up so many shells and other things on the beach. I have never seen so many shells. I also saw sponges (the real sea sponge kind), a crab trap, sand dollars, and unfortunately trash. Those darned plastic grocery bags. All of the news reports and news journal TV shows have said that we shouldn't use the plastic grocery bags because they end up in the ocean. I really wondered, how do they get there? I don't toss my trash on the side of the road or in the ocean. Who would do that? Someone does. Either they toss it off boats or leave it at the beach or something, because they are washing up on the beach. I'm really going to make an effort not to use those bags anymore.

I spent some time on the sun deck, because it was warm there. I did take a dip in the pool, but while the water was okay, the wind whipping across it was freezing. After 20 minutes of exercise, I got out and headed back to that sun deck to warm up. I fell asleep in the sun, but woke up in the shade. The sun moving was my sunburn control.

It is back to Indiana tomorrow. I know it is colder there. I am packed, the laundry is done, dishes washed, etc. Good night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Windy Day at Honeymoon Island

Today I had hope for sun. But again, as we know, hope is not a plan.

I pretty much knew that the morning was going to be gray and cloudy, so I headed out to Honeymoon Island State Park. I took the loop drive around the park and headed to the nature center. Did you know that they have rattlesnakes in Florida? I really always thought of those as western desert creatures, but there are signs at the entrance of the park that warn of the rattlesnakes. I'm wondering if they are truly native. I guess I should have asked at the nature center.

I was pretty much alone in the park today. Not many people there, and those who were there were disappointed. I originally had hopes of renting a bike and riding the 5 mile loop, but when I got out of my car and was pelted with sand, I realized that would not be a good idea. The waves were crashing in and the beach was empty, except for a few people who were trying to surf. Not a good day to be near that sand. It stung as it continually crashed against my skin. I watched for a while at a distance, but a soon gave up and headed for some lunch and a quiet place to read.

Still gray and cloudy at 2:00, so I did what I know...headed to find a movie theater. I saw "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt. I always loved baseball when I was younger, but at some point, the game became uninteresting. Maybe it is this story of "Moneyball" that did it, where the players were instructed to do whatever it takes statistically to get on base. Always take the first pitch, go with the odds to get a walk, etc. Maybe this was what "slowed the game" as everyone describes it. It was a good movie. I wonder if the system is still working.

And then the sun started to peak out around 6:00. I am hoping for a sunny day tomorrow, but the forecast says 73 degrees is the high. We'll see. I need to make the most of my last full day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winter and the CMA

Today's rainy day was spent at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Have you seen the movie Dolphin Tale? If not, you should!

Winter is the resident dolphin who lost her tail because she was caught in the line of a crab trap. She was fitted with a prosthetic tail, but doesn't wear it all the time. In the movie, there was part of the story line that gave the impression that if she did not wear the tail, she would eventually damage her spine and die, but since she did not have the tail on when I was there, or anytime I have looked on the web cam, I don't think it is a medical necessity.

There are 3 other dolphins that live there, Hope, Nicholas, and Panama. And there are many other animals as well. There was a whole pool of stingrays, that you were allowed to feed. I fed one and shared my other fish with a little boy standing next to me so that he could feed a stingray as well. It is a funny sensation, feeding the stingray. You hold the fish between your two fingers and the stingray kind of swims over your hand and sucks it up through their mouth which is on the bottom of their body. It is a weird feeling.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fighting through the Clouds

According to last weekend's forecast, today was supposed to be my best day in the Florida sun. I guess the tropical storm brewing in the Gulf didn't watch this weekend's news. It has been cloudy all day and rain is expected tomorrow.

I did some shopping, went out for a great lunch, and still went for a swim in the afternoon. I think I still got a little sun, but maybe not the good kind.

I went shopping at a couple of my favorite Florida stores, Ross and Bealls Outlet. I did pick up several items for me, and a lot for my nieces baby who will be born in March. They know it is a boy, and I am very excited. I usually know how to connect with boys, probably because I was the little girl who played with matchbox cars in the dirt. I'm excited for his arrival, and so is Trevor.

For lunch, I dined at Casa Tina in Dunedin, Florida. Dunedin is a local artist community, somewhat like a beachy Nashville or Broad Ripple. They have a lot of artists galleries, cool restaurants, you can rent bikes, buy crystals, or walk along the Pinellas Trail. Casa Tina has the best Mexican food I've ever had. I ate there once in June, and have been thinking about their enchiladas ever since. The waitress says it is because they make their tortillas fresh on site. Whatever it is, it is good. I'll have a hard time staying away from there the rest of the week.

Tomorrow is scheduled for rain. I plan on going to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where the movie "Dolphin Tale" was filmed. I still have hope for sun. But, as we all know, hope is not a plan.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sibling Similarities

One time, my niece Tonya said to me, "I hate going to the store with you. You are just like my Dad. There's always somebody you know and you talk forever."

It is true, I am a talker. I've recently gotten the same feedback from Trevor when we made a "quick stop" at the local Kroger and ran into a childhood neighbor. We were there a long time.

I think my brothers Bob and Keith and I have that in common. We can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. I'm in Florida now and was very glad that I was able to overlap the dates of my trip to spend the weekend with my brother Bob. When I was driving from the airport to meet him we spoke on the phone and arranged to meet at a local restaurant / bar. When I arrived, Bob had already made friends with the people sitting around him and knew where they were from, why they were in Florida, etc. I think we were raised to be friendly; we had good role models for that in my Mom and Dad.

I suppose as we get older, it is comforting to see these similarities between me and my siblings. Yesterday when we were walking through a town after dinner, I had stopped for a minute, but when I caught up with Bob he was talking to a couple of local people who were walking a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever. This past summer, Keith made fun of me when the McDonald's lady in Gatlinburg, Tennessee brought me a book on native plants. (We had been talking while I did my morning work sessions for Big Red, and I had asked her about some plants I had seen). But really, Keith has no room to make fun, because I think the funnel cake guy in Gatlinburg knows him by name.

My brother Bob and I have similar handwriting. Even though he is a lefty and I am right-handed, we have the same printing. Sometimes, I will see something that I wrote and for a split second think that Bob wrote it. He says that he's noticed the same thing.

And today, Bob and I found one more thing that we have in common. We were both swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and I commented that I should have taken my contacts out, as I'm wearing my last pair. Bob said, "What is your prescription?" And of course, his prescription is exactly the same as mine. In both eyes. I don't know if that is rare or not, but it seems like it would be to me. He left me one of his spare pairs of contacts just in case the Gulf swallows mine up this week.

I am so thankful for my siblings, especially my two brothers. I once had read that your siblings will be the people who know you for the longest time in your life and that it is a very special friendship that develops because of that. I am very fortunate to get to spend time with my brothers and their families and I am grateful for everything we share.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Raising a Renaissance Man

Not many people know that one of my favorite movies of all time is Renaissance Man. Danny DeVito, Marky Mark Wahlberg, Stacey Dash. I remember the first time I saw it was on "Hoosier Cinema 7" the IU Movie Channel (given its name by my friend Scott). The thing about the IU Movie Channel is that often the same movie would be on several times in a row, and I think I watched it 3 times in one night. I am a sucker for a story of how teachers can make connections with students and totally change their lives forever. Mainly, because I think I always hope to be one of those people that can make a difference.

In one of the scenes from the movie, Danny DeVito the teacher is talking to one of his students who had been a star athlete and had never had anyone expect him to do well in school. The student didn't want his son to play sports and have the same expectations. DeVito told him about Leon Battista Alberti, a renaissance man that was a scholar, painter, philosopher, priest, poet, and as it turns out, a good athlete.

One of my intentions as a good aunt, is to have Trevor experience a lot of different things, so that maybe he will be a modern Renaissance Man. We do attend and participate in a lot of sporting events, basketball, baseball, football, racing, but also swimming and golf. We go to museums, we cook, grow flowers, go to musicals, we make our own board games, and we read together. And this Christmas, I taught Trevor how to sew on my sewing machine. I don't know of many 9 year old boys who have had that experience, but he did great! There were a few bumps at first and a few mess-ups, but when I said "Drive it like you drive your go-kart" something seemed to click. He made 22 pillow cases as gifts for Christmas this year. He was so proud as everyone opened their gifts.

Trevor said he enjoyed his sewing project, and he said "it would be a good thing to do if you were bored". While I don't think that he will be a tailor, I'm just glad that he accomplished such a big project and did something that not many boys do. And, when he is raising his own sons, I think he'll make sure they get these kind of experiences too.

This is my Mom holding up the pillow case Trevor made for her. Notice the jigsaw puzzle fabric.