Saturday, June 29, 2013

Everglades Wonder Gardens

It was all by chance that we found Everglades Wonder Gardens located in Bonita Springs, FL.  Our hotel had a local weekly newspaper publication with a flamingo on the cover that caught my eye.  I read about how this aging Old Florida attraction had closed after 77 years.  Now it is reopening under new management and undergoing renovations.  The admission price is currently reduced to $10.00 as the renovations are just beginning.  

What fun!  We made it our first stop of the day!

We were greeted upon entering by one of the new owners. She had lots of stories about the renovation and upcoming plans.  I know we will be making a return trip.  

It has only been in renovation for a month and most of the work has been done on the original building.  It is now an art gallery, museum and gift shop.  

The Gift Shop 

There are wonderful items to purchase.  The baskets and hats are crafted in Africa and purchased through Fair Trade.  I found the prices very reasonable.

The Art Gallery

The gallery displays beautiful landscape photographs of Florida. 

The photographer is 
John Brady
A descendent of the famous Civil War Photographer, Matthew Brady.  

The antiques and relics on display in the gallery really draw you back into Old Florida

 The Museum

Wonderful old cases full of interesting artifacts and rows of bottles where unusual specimens float. 
A delightful place for the curious. 

These are old slides mounted on a vintage wheel.  It wasn't really on display, just located in a corner where there were many old signs stacked.  Perhaps originally they projected images on a screen of the attraction in yesteryear, an early version of the videos many museums have today.  

I really enjoyed this area, fully air conditioned and spacious.  I can see that this attraction in Bonita Springs Florida, when fully renovated, will be first class all the way.  

But wait!  There is more to come!  
I want to show you the outdoors next.    The Brady's plan to take it from a roadside zoo attraction to a botanical gardens setting featuring a smaller amount of native Florida animals. 

Click Here to read my Part II post!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Shooting The Boh

Shooting The Boh

I would have never picked it up ordinarily, I read fiction not true life adventure books, but the author happens to be my high school English teacher.  A teacher I recently reconnected with through Facebook.  She casually mentioned she had written a book. I ordered it through Amazon and was simply mesmerized.

Who was this person  who gave up teaching after two years for a more exciting lifestyle as a Travel Journalist??  One who could casually accept a trip with a small group of rafters down an unexplored river in Borneo. By herself!  Only one other person in the party was alone.    

I had a hard time reconciling this adventuress with the beautiful Mrs. Johnston, fresh out of college and teaching high school seniors.  I remember her at the blackboard in a yellow print dress and bright red high heels.  An eye opener in the days of sedate skirts and blouses and plain shoes teachers usually wore.   She was the intellectual hippie from UC Berkeley who taught lessons that I remember forty five years later. 

 Even with that glimmer, it was a wild ride to discover the real Tracy Johnston! 

It wasn't until page 154 that I caught a glimmer of the teacher I'd known.  When she talked about words as vessels.  I was immediately, and eerily transported away from the rain forest in Borneo back to the classroom in 1968.  Yes!  The teacher that unlocked the reason I loved books, the art of the English language.  Reveling in the way it draws pictures in my mind.  That paragraph...did she teach it that year?

When I read Amy Tan's review of the book (quoted here):
"I loved this book.  Johnston is a dream of a writer - funny, intelligent and hilariously observant."

It set the tone for me.
I knew then that I would love this book.  And I did.

I was consumed by the story.  I lived it while reading it.  I thought about it as I moved about my day and it even invaded my dreams at night.  What a horrific trip this turned into.  a trip the author was totally unprepared for.  Her sense of humor kept the story light enough to be enjoyed and her odd mixing it with her own fears of aging made it real and not just a slick adventure story that you easily forget.

I identified with her supreme confidence that all would end well and lets take this ride for all it's worth. I lived my life that way.  It wasn't a life that found me river rafting in uncharted territory in a foreign country like Borneo, but a somewhat unconventional life of raising children, moving from state to state, carving out a new life every few years in a strange place knowing no one.  I never felt fear and so I identified with Tracy Johnston, who took each day as it came on that trip and was confident of an eventual good outcome.  No one bypasses evil on a river trip in the rain forest of Borneo that has gone awry,. but it never defeated her, even when the outcome looked very grim.  It was amazing they survived.

When it was first published it won the New York Library's Best 25 Books of the Year award.  The fact that this book is still in print twenty years later justifies the award.

Shooting The Bah
I gave it 5 stars.  Something I rarely do.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Defined Shadows

A sea of pink birds
In an oasis of green
Spells tropicana

Visit Shadow Shot Sunday 2 
for more wonderful shadow photography

The First Day of Summer

The first day of summer ought to look like this:

Families parked under pink beach umbrellas

 A daughter enjoying the water at the shoreline

Grandchildren having a friendly tussle because there is no television,
smart phone or gaming device within three miles.

But unfortunately that lovely day was in April.

Today the skies were 
grey and the storm clouds drizzled on and off all day.  Even the sunset was at a disappointing 8:29 PM and it was completely dark by 8:45 on this, the longest day of the year.  No lingering twilight after sunset like they enjoy in the northern states.

Even though it wasn't a picture perfect day...those drippy rains today, this first day of summer, greened up our "lawn" and watered thirsty plants.  

May I wish you a very happy summer!  

I want to thank Beverly for
featuring me this week
Come and take a look!

Also linked up to
 Share Your Daily Cup
Ivy and Elephants

Friday, June 21, 2013

Breakfast These Days

Breakfast Rhapsody

Two protein, three fruit. 1 fat

A solitary bacon strip cooked extra crisp, drained well, patted with a paper towel to absorb everything flavorful.  

One medium egg, cooked well in order not to lose any yolk in runoff. 

Three triangles of fresh chilled melon without seeds. Finger food for the gods that you can nibble all the way to the white.  Refreshingly heavy with juice to quench the thirst brought on by the bacon.  Dessert at it's finest.

What did you have this morning?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Summer Straw Bag

I'm ordinarily not very conscious of carrying the right bag for the right season.  I usually like a brown purse that will do for any season.  Over the years I have carried only one purse until it's in tatters before purchasing another.  Usually it would be quite scuffed or a handle would break before I noticed.  The effort to move all my stuff from one overflowing bag into another was not worth the effort.  Since living in Florida I had been buying bags willy-nilly and changed them often.

However, while shopping the other day,  I looked down and here I was carrying a brown bag.  True, the weave looked straw like and therefore somewhat summery, but I felt I had regressed to old habits.   

Since I've moved to Florida my eye has been drawn to the rack and racks of thrifted purses, many of which are in practically pristine condition.  The first year I changed bags frequently.  Now it seems I've been slipping even though it's much easier to switch them out.  

  I have this interesting little pocket bag that was given to me by my daughter, Shelly.  You simply pick it up out of one bag and place it in a new bag and presto!   It carries all the necessities, the gift cards, the credit cards, the cleaner and tissue for my glasses, a mirror and tweezers.  (who hasn't been horrified when they are out in the car and look in the rear view mirror and see a hair (or six) that have been growing since Bible Times)  I have my lip gloss, change purse, and pockets for my keys, paper money and phone.  It has two rings to lift it out, that are always in the way, but best of all no one sees it.  When the corners get worn and the ink marks up the lining, no one will know.  Ha ha, but I am digressing and rhapsodizing over the wrong thing!

I've bought a number of bags since I've been here and even been given some, like this bright red beauty from Nine West.  All good and well  

but I didn't have any that looked summery.  

While in a brand new Goodwill store last Saturday to have them remove a plastic piece the old store forgot to remove when I bought a blouse last month,  I began to browse, mentally promising myself there was nothing, absolutely...n-o-t h-i-n-g  I wanted.  I passed by the glassware, sailed by the jewelry and  scarves, only stopping to sign up for a free kayak.  Well, it was the stores first day, the grand opening!  Heaven help me if I win.  A red kayak will be somewhat difficult to decorate around.

I tried to avoid looking at the purses atop every counter.  I failed though, when I spotted a Vera Bradley egg shaped bag that was so new it practically had tags, for $22.  I wondered if it was worth it.  I tried to carry it, but it was awkward.  Shelly was called and I sent a photo.  Shelly who owns Vera's like other people own Targets Mossimo bags.  Both she and her daughter even have Vera luggage.  She said she wouldn't buy it. So back it went.  

And then just under it I found a simple little summer straw.

The straw was painted a watery mix of aqua and green and it felt like a vacation.  The bamboo handles were beautiful.  The straw whispers Florida.  The bag had the required number of pockets and zippers that I like.  It was small, therefore encouraging me to not to stuff it therefore keeping  the weight of it manageable. I'm wearing a lot of aqua and greens and blues right now.  It would go with anything, stunning actually with yellow, which is another color I have been recently buying.  But it was $4.95.  I hate paying $4.95 for a pre owned bag.  (notice it's now pre owned and not used?).  I sent a picture to Shelly once again and she was nominal.  "Is it worth it to YOU?" she wanted to know.      

It was.  

And now it's mine!  

I'm sorry, brown purse, but I may carry this one until it tatters. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

When Dad has Passed On

Happy Father's Day
June 16 2013

Each year Father's Day rolls around and it's a beautiful summery day and has a celebratory feeling to it.  It's hard to ignore and pretend it doesn't exist.  Your father may be gone, but everywhere else, fathers abound!  Your sons in law are fathers, our husband is a father and so on.  Jumpin wholeheartedly into the day and joining the rest of the world celebrating is a good thing.

Here is a link to an article I wrote a few years ago for Yahoo.  Included are a number of ways to include your own wonderful father in the current festivities even though he is no longer here

  Keeping Dad Close 

Happy Father's Day, DAD!!  

 My Dad
age 4

Serving his country in WWII at 17

Dad and Mom when he was 79

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Gift from Devon, England

Devon, England 

Just the name sounds romantic!  

My sister was just there and tucked away in her suitcase a very special birthday present for me!  

She and I have a special love for Pixies

It's a little vintage souvenir piece for Wigecombe, England
and perfect for holding...well, pixie dust of course! 

This piece is marked Runnaford Pottery Devon.  
It was purchased in a charity shop chock full of delicious items. She knows me well! 

I just love the cute little shadow it made.

She takes wonderful photos of their travels around the world!

To view her blog:

Michael and Karan's Excellent Adventures

or just view her post about her trip last month:
 God Save the Queen...Our Amazing Adventure in Great Britain

Thank you, Karan!

Shared with the wonderful folks at  Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Florida Flamingos!

I finally saw my first Flamingo since arriving in Florida almost two years ago!  

It took a visit from Shelly and a ticket to Busch Gardens.  I enjoyed the flamingos more than anything else in the park.  

They were so far away on the other side of the fence I had to use my zoom but in real life they were simply beautiful.   

I attempted a short little video so I could capture their movements and sounds

That lush pink color is more of a salmon pink, not quite the bright pink like the two pretty plastic flamingos I received a few days later for my birthday!  

My grandchildren know the way to my heart!

I'll be sharing on the June 15th Pink Saturday blog
and Ivy and Elephants and Lavender Garden's Cottage Style Party!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Night Bloomer

This skinny cactus grows from the ground, up the tree and blooms at night for one night for one night only! 
The blossom is huge!

See the spent bloom, below along side a fresh one.  

Visit  Macro Monday 2
Shared with Ivy and Elephants
Make it pretty Monday

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tampa Bay

A familiar sight to all who pass through the Tampa area.

Getting up close and personal out in Tampa Bay brings out the detail and shadows even on this blustery day.