"" Writer's Wanderings

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Quieter Side Of Florida

December to April and depending upon which direction you travel, the highways to and from Florida are packed with cars, trailers, and RVs. License plates are usually displaying a state or a certain country to the north of the US. Coming and going, the migration of the snowbirds is tremendous.

Our favorite spot is Key Largo, mainly because we've established a lot of friendships with other snowbirds and, not insignificant to us, our grandkids are just north of there. Once you are established with a condo owner and keep renewing your stay each year, you don't want to lose your place. If you don't or can't renew and you want to return, it is difficult to find rental places that are not already booked.

I ran across an article that may come in handy in a couple of years when we take our world cruise and lose our condo place when we don't renew that year. Some of the paces they mention (Underrated Places to Visit in Florida) sound intriguing and may be an alternative if we can't return to Key Largo.

There are a few places in the panhandle area like South Walton and Amelia Island which may be a little chilly in the winter months. Of course there still won't be snow.

Manasota Key halfway between Fort Meyers and Sarasota looks intriguing. It is a bit off the coast but looks beautiful. It invites those who love to hunt for sea shells and apparently is a favorite sea turtle nesting spot. Population is only about 1200 and it is said to be low key and laid back. Maybe a little too much for a three month stay?

Dunedin on the Gulf Coast may be a good spot. It is about 30 minutes from Tampa/St Petersburg and has proximity to two offshore islands that look like they invite exploring.

I guess that the best of all worlds though would be to return from our World Cruise and know that the next winter our little condo would be available to us again. We'd miss all our friends and definitely our Pickleball group if we located somewhere else.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Books For The Road - Summer On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Sometimes you want a book that isn't heavy reading, especially when it's summertime. Debbie Macomber is one of my go-to authors when I need something lighter. Summer On Blossom Street was a great read. There are several characters' stories in the novel but the central point for them is in a knitting class that the main character, Lydia, owner of the yarn shop in town, organizes for those who want to quit something.

All the other characters, including one male, join the class for different reasons. Their stories unfold and intertwine in and out of the class. Several of the characters are involved with foster care and adoption, two topics near and dear to me.

It's a good read for the airplane which is where I read it on two different flights to get to our destination. And even though it is the sixth book in a series, you would have no problem picking up the story. As a matter of fact, I think I might go back and read the others in the series now. Hooked? Yup.

Friday, July 19, 2019

To The Moon And Back

This week there has been a lot of remembering back to the first moon landing. I grew up in the generation that watched the first American, Alan Shepard, fly into space. We held our breath wondering if he would burn up on re-entry. John Glenn orbited the earth and again we held our breath as he re-entered and was brought aboard the destroyer that lifted the capsule out of the water.

Gus Grissom lost his capsule when the hatch prematurely blew open upon his splashdown. The capsule sank but Grissom was picked up from a life raft to the relief to all who were watching the television live reports. (Grissom would later die in a flash fire that claimed three of the Apollo astronauts.) That was all part of the Mercury program. Then came Gemini.

Gemini was the program that prepared NASA and the astronauts for the next program, Apollo, that would lead to the first moon landing. The moon landing took place less than a year after we were married. We had graduated from Ohio State University and moved to Laurel, MD, where we lived in a two bedroom apartment on the first floor of a three story building. Above us was a couple with whom we became good friends.

I don't recall watching the take off of the Apollo mission but I do remember making an evening of watching the landing. We joined our friends in their apartment (they had a youngster to put to bed early). We enjoyed snacks and watched as the moment neared that Neil Armstrong would make that fateful first step onto the moon's surface.

We had already watched the capsule landing and cheered as the legs found solid ground. No one knew for sure if it would land on solid ground or sink into moon dust. As the hatch on the capsule opened and the cameras attached to someplace below the hatch began to broadcast, we sat on the edge of our seats and watched in awe as a foot appeared and then legs as Armstrong made his way down the ladder.

He paused and then with a small jump, landed onto the surface of the moon. It was one of the most amazing things we'd ever seen. Thank goodness the technology was there for us to be able to share in that great moment. It is one moment in history that will forever remain with me. And, no, I never once believed that it was all faked.

Monday, July 15, 2019

A Scorpion, Eels, And A Brain

My favorite fish to find is a peacock flounder. Unfortunately we didn't see one this trip. Bob's favorite fish find is a scorpion fish. They are hard to find because they look just like a rock or piece of coral and unless they blink--move their eyes, you would just pass them by. Our keen eyed grandson found a scorpion fish on one dive. It was a beauty as far as you can call an ugly fish a beauty.

Scorpion fish are also very dangerous. It is one fish you want to be sure you don't touch. Their spiny fins contain a poison and could be deadly.

Old Blue Eyes

We also managed to find a couple of eels on our dives. Several green ones and a guy that was a very plain brown but still had glassy eyes. Eels really can't see well if at all. They find their food by smell.

For some reason I seemed to see a lot of brain coral this time. There were some pretty big brains down there. My funny thought for the dive: If people don't have a brain in their head is this where they went?

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