Home SOL#21

We returned home today after an 11 day trip to the Florida Keys. Our car racked up over 2,500 miles. Lots of sitting and driving in hopes of the perfect senior spring break for our son. The trip was a memorable adventure that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

But, now we are home. Home. That word makes my heart slow down. Invokes a picture of warmth and comfort. As much as I loved our trip and our time together, I am thrilled to be home.

Here are a few of the things I happy to return to:

  • my well worn spot on the couch with my end table at the exact height for me
  • afternoon coffee in the front room with the sunlight warming the air
  • Josie (my dog) lying next to me, snuggled up to my leg
  • my comfy blanket to cover my legs
  • the knowledge of where everything is in my kitchen
  • the ease of cooking with a gas vs electric stove
  • the familiar feel of my shower, water pressure, towels
  • my seat at the bar for dinner
  • the just right lighting in my backroom
  • our after dinner walk around the block with Josie
  • and soon, the just right firmness of my bed

Good night!

Snorkeling Haikus #SOL21

stoplight parrotfish

brownish camoflauge

surrounded by brilliant orange

fluttering by me

rainbow parrotfish

cartoonish blue mouth

marmalade head fading to

iridescent green

reef shark

majestic grey fish

your body moves side to side

propelled by your tail

blue parrotfish

feeding off algae

chisel teeth nibble coral

creates crackle sound

yellow tail snapper

beady little eyes

scanning surrounding water

nervously darting

queen angelfish

colors so brilliant

attracting tourists’ delight

beauty of the sea

Frank #SOL21

Frank is the resident egret. He hangs around everyday. He didn’t come around yesterday, so they started to worry. As the sun began to set on the dock overlooking the vast Gulf of Mexico, he tip toed up behind us.

Hey guys! There he is.

Frank’s back!

Out came the fishing poles.

Hang on buddy; we’ll get something for you.

Cutting shrimp. Casting the lines in the serene blue water.

I’ve got one!

Reeling in the catch.

Frank moves toward them with anticipation.

A toss of the fish. It flops and Frank grabs it. He drops it, and it flops more. It’s like a game of pick up sticks. Each time he drops and catches it, he rearranges it in his beak and takes a few steps to the end of the dock. Finally far enough away to feel safe, he catches it, tosses his beak in the air, and releases the fish down his throat.

Satisfied for the moment, Frank heads out for the evening.

A Day in Key West #SOL21

bikes strapped on the back
cooler in tow
54 miles on maps
Key West here we come

a scenic drive
island hopping
7 mile bridge

searching for parking
found a spot
ready to set out for a day of fun

weaving around on the streets
southernmost point in the US
mile 0 but a long line of tourist
not worth the wait

bikes parked
hitting the pavement with our feet
Duval Street
shops, music, restaurants, people watching

Capt. Tony's Saloon
beer at the bar
guitar strumming 
googling history
Hemingway's watering hole
Jimmy Buffett's stage
indoor tree full of stories

Amigos Tortilla Bar
"Once you've ruined your reputation, 
you can live quite freely"
across the street
bartender's recommendation of the best in town
shrimp taco
roasted corn on the cob
seriously best corn EVER

John James Audubon house
18 new birds for "Birds of America" folio
white crowned pigeons with Geiger tree
28 first edition works
tropical gardens 

Cuban Queen Coffee
a much needed pick me up
cafe con leche
key lime pie
complete with roosters
did not disappoint
ready for some more sights

Ernest Hemingway House
lots of wives
crazy six toed cats
60 to be exact
luxurious pool
geeking out over typewriters
his writing loft
tragic demise

typical tourists
pint glasses

back to bikes
only two left on the rack
final farewell to Duval Street
packed back up
a day trip to remember

Waking Up with a Laugh #SOL21

Cheerful, tonal music began playing. Ugh, our first morning in the rental. What time is it? That dang Google Home system must have an alarm set on it. Not how I wanted to wake up on Spring Break, especially after the time change.

The evening before, after reading the “Welcome Book” we tried out the Google Home commands. “Hey Google, turn on the kitchen lights.” What expelled from her black mesh mouth was something in another language…Japanese maybe. We played around and tried different commands. All with the same reply, something in another language.

Laying in bed, the music continued to play. We commanded Google, “Hey Google, cancel.” “Hey Google, snooze.” Only replies in a foreign language. I got out of bed. Went over to the speaker. Of course, no on/off button. I needed to unplug it. That required me pulling the bed out from the wall and contorting my body into an awkward shape to reach behind the bed. There, I finally got it. I walked and placed Google in the other room.

When I returned to the bedroom, the music was still playing. What was going on?!? Then my husband realized it was his phone. He set up the sleep tracker on his Apple watch the day before and didn’t know he was setting the alarm. We both had a good laugh. I, up for the day at 6:30, while he was able to roll over and go back to sleep.

The Everglades: A Photo Essay

But, let’s talk about your books… #SOL21

Packing for Spring Break, I was chatting with my friend about the expected weather and what clothes I planned to take. Then she stopped the conversation and said, “But let’s talk about what books you are taking.” She knows me well. I spend more time gathering my reading material than my outfits for a trip. Here’s the low down on what I’m taking this year.

The Vanishing Half—I’m over half way done with this book, so I will finish it before I move on to any other books. I’m definitely at the point where I don’t want to put it down. Stella and Desiree are black (light skinned) twins. They leave their town as teenagers and head to New Orleans. While there, Stella is able to pass as white. She ends up leaving New Orleans (without notice) for Boston with a white man. Desiree spends the rest of her life looking for Stella. Things start to get interesting when Desiree’s daughter and Stella’s daughter meet in Los Angeles.

The Four Winds—This is my next book club book. Our book club started in 2015, and our first book was Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. We eagerly read The Great Alone in 2017, and couldn’t wait for The Four Winds to come out this year. I’ve saved the book for this trip, so I could give it my undivided-attention.

Why We Get Fat and What to do About It—Ever since hearing Gretchen Rubin talk about this book and interview this author, I knew I needed to read it. I want to make some changes with what I eat, and I know after I know the facts and science, I will be convinced to make a change.

When Stars are Scattered—This graphic novel has been on my to read list for many months. I’ve heard such great things about it. It may be out 4th quarter 4th-6th book club choice.

Garvey’s Choice— I’m reading this to help our 5th grade teacher prepare for a novel study for this quarter. It is a novel in verse, so I should be able to read it quickly.

Conscious Discipline—I’m reading this professional book with a group of colleagues. We have our final book study meeting upon return from break. I will read it a few sections at a time. It’s very dense with lots of great classroom application.

Not sure I can get all of these done, but I’m excited to try. I’m hoping to have several hours each day over break to read!