Posted on September 28, 2020
This little man means the world to me. He is a rescue cat. He was living on the street and sometimes in Amy’s sun room. She has been feeding him. When Amy went to the Peace Corp she asked me to take him and give him a home. I did not think Richard would buy into it and honestly I worried he may be feral. When I went to bring her and her stuff back home, I told the cat carrier up with us. Since then Simba has transitioned into my heart and I love this boy with just about everything I have.
A routine visit to the vet for dental work has turned into something else. I appears that Simba had fluid and inflammation in his lungs. My local vet asked me to take him to Ft Lauderdale to a specialist vet who looked at the x-rays, concurred with my vet, and treated him for heartworm and gave him an antibiotic. It appeared that we could be dealing with a cat who has asthma, although he is totally asymptomatic. We agreed to wait a few weeks to do another x-ray. The few weeks passed, and I changed out anything that could cause allergies, asthma etc. On my vacation week we did the hour trip back to Ft Lauderdale to the vet. I dropped him off and then found myself at a loose end for a couple of hours. So off I went to the park where the burrowing owls are.
On my way across the heavens opened, and I was not sure what I was going to find when I got there besides wet looking owls or no owls because they may have moved into their holes. I have decided that owls are like cats, when the camera comes out they look away.
I made my way across 3 squishy waterlogged entrances to reach the owls. None of them are really near the edge of the roadway except the first couple of pics. Since I had not planned on rain I was walking in flip flops that quickly became slip flops.
At one point it started to rain a little harder than before and I hung out with my camera under my shirt until I got a little closer. Of course, the next picture is a total fluke. The owl was …shaking to get the water off I guess. You can see the water spray going off of him. It was shaking so hard that it became a little unbalanced
Where ever you find Burrowing Owls there area is cordoned off as they are protected in South Florida. So 4 posts and some rope to stop you going any closer. Quite often you will find them sitting on top of the posts.
The most I managed to see together were two. Sometimes I have seen up to 5 but that is normally in Spring when they are breeding. The owls are less that a standard ruler for the most part. They are the cutest little birds I have seen and they are constantly watching you, watching left and right and up above them for any kind of attack.
Around the time I called it quits, due to the rain, the vet phoned me to say that Sims was ready and I could come and pick him up. The downside was that his lungs were still inflamed. That means we now have to go down the asthma route. I had changed his litter to a wheat litter but I really hate it and so do they, so today we got some 99% dust free litter, that has no fragrances or dyes. In addition he start steriods this past week for 2 weeks, and he is going to be switched to an mask/inhaler combination soon. In a couple of months we will do another x-ray with the hopes that there is some kind of improvement.
Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Janet of Janet Crouch Photography. Check out her Facebook & Instagram page as well.
Posted on August 31, 2020
This does not happen very often but there is the occasional times in the year when both 30 Minutes in the Life and Tell me a Story go live on the same day and at the same time. In the 30 Minutes in the Life I shared Day 1 in Key West. In this blog I will share day 2.
As I said in the other blog we decided to head to Key West for the weekend. At some point you get tired of not seeing anyone, not doing anything other than working at home and not going anywhere. For Rich and I traveling is something we are trying to do more of and so to be stuck at home has been challenging especially for Rich.
We booked into a local hotel overlooking the harbor area and it turned out to have the perfect view. It also had a great swimming pool that we were able t cool down at, given that the summer heat in South Florida is so oppressive. I spent about 2 hours in the pool chatting with the 4 other guests escaping the heat. I love Key West with it’s authentic buildings and quirky well know stories. Key West has so much character and here are a few of them buildings that share it.
Day 2 saw I head into the town area. I was on a mission to find Mango Body Wash. The hotel had it in it’s showers and oh my it was so good. Rich wanted some T-shirts and I was also hoping to find some bath bombs that I had found in the hotel as well. I found the mango bath wash, he got is shirts but I bombed out on the bath bombs.
Roosters, hens and chickens are a common sight wandering around Key West. Six toed cats is another interesting view in Key West. It was sad to see the iconic Sloppy Joe’s closed. However, it did seem that it was temporary.
After doing the necessary shopping, we decided to head to the local Key West First Legal Rum Distillery for a free tour. If you are in Key West check it out. The tour is about 15 minutes and it is just a small warm area that you walk through. It’s awesome that they have ceiling fans to cool you down.
Step 1 tells us that they use Florida sugar cane in crystal form from the juice to create a unique flavor that allows us to drink a clean, clear and flavorful Legal Rum.
Step to the Tanks 1, 2, 3, 4 are where the cooking beings. This is their recipe buried beneath the floor with all the old bottles. The bubbles are the yeast breathing as it eats sugar and turns it into alcohol. The more vibration the more production, so they play music at night to keep the yeast moving.
Step 3 tells us that the brown wash that comes from the fermentation tanks, has the alcohol “stripped ” out of it. It’s like a magic trick, first it’s brown, now it is clear. All alcohol comes out of a still clear
Step 4 tells us that now that they have the stripped alcohol, they will distill it again 6 times. Why? They want the Legal Rum to come out in a lower proof so that it has flavors butterscotch, banana, and hints of vanilla. It says they also don’t want to give us a hangover, so all impurities are taken out.
Step 5 tells us that High Proof Legal Rum goes into the Chefs pot, travels through the copper which is filled with carbon activated charcoal. Rum should be warm in your chest, not burn your tongue.
We had the opportunity to taste raw rum and to do some rum tasting. I tried Coconut Rum and Key Lime Rum and Raw Rum. My favorite even though I typically like Coconut Rum, was the Raw Rum, and we left with a bottle of Raw Rum and some sampler Rums.
If you want something interesting to do on a hot day in Key West definitely check out the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery.
Beyond that we meandered along the wharf taking in the ships and views along with the opportunity to check out a healthy school of tarpon. We stopped for a cooling beer and watch the tiki boats heading out again.
Lastly Key West is always my favorite place for sunsets. Like I said in the other blog that I was disappointed not to be heading out on a boat but at the same time I did not want to be among the crowds. The sunset did not disappoint.
Being Key West refreshed me for the next few months. We have at least one more travel trip this year unless Covid puts a stop to that. I have found a cabin in the woods in Georgia. We are hoping that we will get to see the changing colors in the mountains.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a quiet month for blogs however, this is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what he has to share.
Posted on August 31, 2020
And so the year goes on. A few more weeks and we will be back to the birthday months and they run back to back, September, October and November. Who plans like that? Me I guess. Another month of working from home, and seeing so few people. Lots more zoom calls, and relying on the television to show us what is happening in the US. At some point we decided that we needed to get out.
I did some research. Key West is a quick drive for us – 4 hours and we are there. I decided to stay at The Marker Hotel which is situated right on the harbor area and upgraded to a harbor view room for a two nights stay. We very rarely stay in a hotel but it was our anniversary weekend and I felt like staying in something a little more formal. I will give you a heads up – this is going to be a longer post than normal.
It’s good to be back on the road again. We headed down early on Friday morning and to be honest the roads were pretty quiet. We expected a quiet Key West. It’s always good to see familiar landmarks. The first image tells me I am close to Long Key State Park, just north of Marathon. Seven Mile Bridge tells me that Bahia Honda State Park is not too far away. Seeing the boats in the ocean, just remind me that Key West is not far away.
We were early checking in and so we headed off to the beach area. It is not a very big beach and there is a lot of seaweed so not a favorite of mine. However, I love the change colors that we see in the ocean typically caused by the seaweed, depth of water and light. I have been at this beach before when we spotted a shark swimming around. Did I go into the water this time around? Nope but I did work on changing my color again. I am fortunate that I automatically tan. However, I have to be honest, summer is oppressive this year and 2 hours in the sun and I was done. We headed off to eat, and then made our way to the hotel. Air conditioning was on my check off list. Just a side note, one of the things Key West is know for is the Roosters, Hens and chickens wandering around the town. It was quite neat to be able to see the chicks at the beach. Another thing Key West is known for is their polydactyl cats which is a cat with anomaly. The 6 toed cats are also know as Hemmingway cats. Story goes that Ernest Hemmingway was given a 6 toed cat by a ships captain. Apparently while not all of the cats have 6 toes, they carry the gene that will allow them to give birth to a 6 toed cat.
Heading back to the hotel I spotted this tiger. I have never seen it before and I thought it warranted a picture.
Once we cooled down and felt normal again, we ventured out into the heat. It was close to 4pm and we were looking for a place to grab something to eat. We tend to stick to a variety of starters and so finally settled on a restaurant where we could sit outside and enjoy the food. I have to give a shout out to the White Tarpon in key West. Head there for Happy Hour and it is so worth it. We shared calamari and group starter, a mussel starter and peel and eat shrimp starter, along with two glasses of wine and 2 rum and coke. All of that for under $40. The food was good and that probably was the best deal that we got down there. Beyond that we meandered through the wharf are back to the hotel.
Something I have never seen in Key West before, but love that I did, was a pair of manatee. You can read more about them here They are definitely gentle creatures of the water.
Heading back to the hotel, the boats are starting to fill up for the sunset cruises. I was a little disappointed that we did not do a cruise. Sebago is one of our favorite groups to head out on, but to be honest, I am not ready to sit in crowds. While this boat was not crowded, many of the other boats were. I love to be out on the ocean watching the sunset. This time around we were just going to accept that watching the sunset would be from our balcony of our hotel. One of the interesting things we saw was the floating tiki hut. I think it could be cool to do something like this.
And last but no least, we headed out to the balcony to get comfortable and settle in to watch the sunset. No actual sun and the same static pic but the colors were amazing.
I have another blog going live today so look out for Day 2 in Key West. We spent some time visiting a rum distillery, along with walking the town, and taking in the sunset again.
Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ivana A L’ala who visited the city that I was supposed to be visiting this week – Dubrovnik, Croatia. I cannot wait to see her pics, even if I have to wait a whole year to once again attempt to head to Macedonia, Croatia, and Berlin. Check out her Facebook page as well.
Posted on July 31, 2020
It’s nearly August. Time is passing one day at a time. I can’t decide if it is slowly or whether it is just way too fast. It’s hard to believe that I have now been at home 4.5 months. I am still busy working, but time seems in limbo. I wake up, make a protein shake, feed Sim, Moo & Hoo and then I sit down at my computer. My problem is that I do not move. I am trying to force myself to go down the stairs every hour and go on the elliptical machine for a few minutes just to move the old joints around.
Each day seems the same, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays we stay at home, most of the time, unless I absolutely have to go out, or Richard has decided he has had enough of home and needs to go out and eat.
I have been banned from feeding the ducks, the birds and the squirrels so I don’t have a lot of wildlife activity in my garden any more – which I will add I hate. Every so often I will get up and drive to a local park to watch the sunset but even that feels like too much effort some days. Other days I will watch it from home.
An update to this is we are stuck at home. Richard tested positive and we are in quarantine. Happily trying to avoid each other. Just remember if you are asymptomatic, it does not mean that you could not test positive. If you come in contact with someone or you know you may have been in contract for longer than 15 minutes and within the 6ft social distancing, remember that you could get infected. He does not have a single symptom that would indicate that he is sick. Wear the mask, keep the distance.
Last week Wednesdays was one of those days that I watched from home. I happened to move Hoo (the quaker parakeet) into the spare room as I was going to have a conference call (only to find out it was cancelled) and I looked out of the window and watched the clouds come rolling in. Below is a pic take with my old cell phone.
It was a little intimidating to be honest. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs but the sky did not have the same effect.
The wind picked up, thunder happened at a distance but not a drop of rain fell. Clearly it happened on the east side of town. In fact there was a rainbow just a little later that I saw. However, I decided I would head out back and see what the sunset was like given the weather or lack of weather earlier in the day.
My first thought was this was not going to be that great, but I persevered and sat outside with Sims and waited.
And it did not disappoint. Maybe not as spectacular as some of the other days but it was still a pretty sky overall.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, the world is still beautiful and we can sit back in our own small space and truly enjoy this incredible creation that we live in.
Tomorrow is back to work, and another week will go by, but remember, there is beauty all around us, we just have to take the time to look for it.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Beth from Beth William’s Photo Blog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share
Posted on July 27, 2020
And so life goes on…. Florida is spiking like crazy and I am staying at home as much as possible. The virus came closer to home with my sister in law, who lives oversees, being diagnosed Covid Positive. Then one of my husband’s employees was diagnosed Covid positive. We are now quarantining for the next 2 weeks dependent on his test this last week. It is a bit of a wake up call that it really can affect you no matter how much care you take. The good news is that I am okay with staying home 🙂
Work happens 4 days a week, and all is good. Our vacation was cancelled and that was a real bummer. Hopefully August 2021 will be a better year. Now to figure out what to do with 24 days of vacation.
Oh, I so want to travel. What better to do than to go back in the archives and see what has not been edited. Maine 2018, and we had just traveled through Bar Harbor. What to do the next day? I suggested we go to the “less busy” island adjacent to Bar Harbor. Less busy was a good description. What we had more of was mist. That said mist gave me the opportunity to go back and play with black and white images. This month I am sharing 30 minutes of a day in the mist.
Mist or fog creates this eerie kind feeling as you walk along the banks of the water. However, I did like the mist slipping around us. One day we will be able to get on the road again, and I have to be honest I look forward to it. I am sure you do to.
Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend April of April White Photography and see what she has for you this month. Check out her Facebook page as well.
Posted on June 30, 2020
I have to confess that being stuck at home makes it hard to come up with new blogs each month. However, this month I happened to read about the Saharan Sand Storm that was moving across the Atlantic ocean towards the USA. Who would believe that a sandstorm would cross 5000 miles of ocean to affect another continent. The storm is predicted to impact Florida and Texas, and then head up even as far as Canada. One of the positives of the sandstorm is apparently sunsets, so I headed out to the Everglades National Park to catch the sunset.
Of course, I was not alone. There were plenty of folk out watching the sunset. This seems to have become the go to place just lately. I have been there on evenings when I am one of 5, and the place is really creepy and lonely, and when it get’s dark it really gets dark.
I guess every photographer had the same idea, lets see what we can get from the Sandstorm. And for each one of us, the evening definitely showed up. There were also just folk around watching the sunset. My struggle is how to social distance in this situation where there are too many people in a small area. I was able to walk away from the crowd to some extent. Added to that Palm Beach County mandated masks in public places and half the crowd had a face covering missing. Given that Florida’s Corona Virus numbers are spiking daily (3 days ago it was approximately 5000, 2 days ago in the upper 8000’s, yesterday was 9585 and today we are at 8530 and it is not even 2 pm), I am all for people wearing a mask. I have a few medical friends who have clearly stated that you do not want to be intubated. It is not fun.
I still don’t have a new zoom lens, so get in close to the sunset is still not happening, but I keep looking. Now that we are not traveling overseas, I may use my savings to get one. Simba needs to get his infected tooth out first (which is happening this week). Taking a cat to have a tooth removed, is like having a crown put on a human. Yikes. Hopefully I will be able to get both done soon.
I loved the layers of cloud, and I hope that some of this was contributed by the sand storm.
So what causes a Saharan dust storm. It does appear that the evaporation of water, along with the earth warming causes a shelf of sand between the dessert in the north and the savannah in the south causes dust to form. Smaller storms cause downdrafts, resulting in dust storms developing. Large amounts of dust are lifted into the atmosphere. The African Easterly Jet, a strong wind, was weak this June, and this allowed for more dust to accumulate on the west coast of Africa. When the wind picks up again, it then transports a very dense mass of dust.
What we are seeing now is the results of the storm across the southern states of the USA. Added to that, there appears to be another one coming through within the week. This one is set to affect south Florida more densely, so the scientists say.
Whether I saw some effects of the Saharan Sand Storm or not, I loved the effects of the clouds.
There are definitely some pro’s to the sand storm. Apparently sand storms love dry air. Hurricanes hate dry air. So while we are seeing sand storms, we are less likely to see hurricanes. I hope that is true because I am anticipating an active hurricane season. Temperatures in South Florida are high, and the air is oppressive. When it does rain, it may cool things down briefly, but then the humidity level escalates, and I am back to feeling miserable again. Richard, who loves the heat, has mentioned a few times that the air conditioning is a welcome relief just lately.
Another positive of these sand storms is that apparently, is that these dust storms bring much needed soil and nutrients to Florida and to the islands around us. The Amazon Rain Forest also receives their nutrients from these dust storms.
Apparently the sand storms also bring nutrients to the ocean in the form of phosphorus, which is a vital nutrient for growth. Who would believe it, but it is said that alga loves dust. The negative is that red tide apparently loves dust as well. We know what red tide does and we do not necessarily want that in Florida. That is a swimmers nightmare. Although that would be one way to keep people away from the beaches in this Covid-19 period.
A big positive for me is the beauty the dust causes to the sunset. Dust particles scatter the sun rays and leave us with an awesome sunrises and sunsets. Milky skies and the colors seen, will be dark oranges and reds..
There are a number of down sides to the dust storm as well. Microorganisms harmful to humans and plant life may get caught up in the dust storms. Fungal spores and bacteria may also be carried in the dust storms, which may cause harm to coral reefs.
Another negative affects people with respiratory issues, allergies, etc. Have you ever been off road riding where you are causing dust as a result of some crazy driving. I have, and my allergies kill me. Sometimes those dust particles in the storm don’t stay in the upper levels, and drop down and affect us. If you are not wearing a mask for Covid-19, you may want to reconsider the mask for the dust storms coming through. You do not want to land up in hospital with breathing issues, especially with Covid-19 spiking in a lot of areas that the dust storm will affect.
Unlike the dust storm, Alligators are native to Florida and a trip to the Everglades would be a bust if you did not see one. Of course it does help is there is someone fishing. The gator is curious and interested in what is being caught, it’s probably interested in the fisherman as well to be honest.
This particular evening was pleasant, even wearing a mask. Right now I have a handful of surgical masks. They are great except that they are supposed to be worn in freezing cold temperatures during surgery. That makes them extremely hot to wear. But if I can protect myself, and protect my family, while protecting you, I am willing to do it. It just makes sense for me.
Of course if you have the opportunity to share the sunset with a loved one, or a friend, this would be the perfect place to visit. The skies this evening were a splendor for the eyes. Ironically when I left home, I was not sure that I was going to get much.
We did the same as these folks a month or so ago. Richard gets antsy and needs to do something. We took our chairs, our mugs of wine, and we headed out to go and watch the beauty of God’s creation.
The night is done, I have packed up and am walking back to my car, when I take one last look. Yes there are still some photographers, hanging on, waiting to get the last shot, or just catching up with one another. This is the beauty of meeting other photographers at places like the Everglades National Park. We all love creation and the magnificence of it.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Beth from Beth’s Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share
Posted on June 29, 2020
It’s three months into the pandemic and I am watching the US numbers closely. My state is one of those that is spiking. When I first started looking at stats on March 18 the USA had 8500 positive corona virus tests. Today we have 706 830 a of 10:45 am. I was not watching deaths at the time. However today we have 37,175 deaths. My heart grieves for those families who have lost loved ones and who are unable to say their goodbyes properly. 63 510 people have recovered in the USA, that means there are a huge number of people still out there battling with this virus.
Florida on April 10 had 16828 positive tests and 37 deaths. Today they have 114 018 and 3329 deaths. Palm Beach County (where I live) now has 12498 positive cases and 490 deaths. Florida is spiking. Yesterday we had over 5000 new cases, and by the end of today we will be over 9000 new cases. Palm Beach county has now mandated as of yesterday everyone to wear face masks. It’s pretty strict, and it comes with fines if you do not comply. Many are freaking out, me I am good with it. All I need is to get a decent mask. Surgical masks are meant for negative temperatures and South Florida is not cold right now.
Life has changed for me as a result of the virus. I am now permanently working from home. I have to confess, I work pretty well from home. Best news is that I do not have to travel 2 hours a day to work a day. My 10 hour day is now an 8 hour day. I moved my computers home and had Richard and Cameron haul a huge 4 drawer metal filing cabinet up the stairs. If the office wants it back they are going to have to carry it out themselves 🙂
My desktop looks like something from the space shuttle monitoring room. I have my own personal 30 inch computer monitor. I have my work laptop. I also have two 20 inch work monitors. It is nice not to have to have work items on my personal computer, and it is also nice to be able to log directly into the server.
My office has to be a lot tidier these days. We have a zoom meeting at 9:30 am every day. I don’t work Fridays so I can be a little more lapse on the 3 day weekend. I have had to create boundaries as well. I tend to work beyond my hours because I am in my space. Before my meeting, Houdini, the quaker parakeet I rescued, has to be moved out of my office to the other room. He gets to come back at the end of my work day. He is kind of noisy.
I also have to create breaks. When you work in an office you are moving. You get up to go to the printer. You move to the kitchen for that cup of coffee. You head to your bosses office to meet. You are moving without thinking about it. Being at home, my office is complete. The printer is in my office. I make my hot drink when I wake up and my protein shake before my 9:30 meeting. I also bring up a flask of ice water. I am set for the morning. I am not moving.
I set a time on my calendar for lunch, I planned to walk around the community circle. I did that once and decided it was too hot. I moved the fan this morning to the front of the elliptical machine. I guess that is going to have to happen again. Florida is stinking hot right now and we have not even got through July and August.
My home office has become my place to be. Beyond my work day, I head to my couch to watch the news or to read my book. I am glad that I still love my home office space. This virus has definitely made changes in our lives. I was lying on my couch, in my office, the other night and I looked up to see what the sun was doing, when I looked up I saw the light shining on my flower arrangement. I loved the light on the tulips and I love this spiky greenery that makes me think it may be a thistle. Straight away I got up and grabbed my camera with my macro lens and started taking some images.
Just as you think life is opening up, life seems to be closing up again. As Florida spikes so my home office looks more appealing. I am happy to stay at home. I am not keen to be out and about and exposing myself or my family to the virus. My daughter in law has immunity issues. She is vulnerable. I want to do my part to keep her safe. So, I will stay at home as much as I can, and I will wear a mask when I go out. For me, it is the right thing to do.
Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ivana from MaMagare Kidz Photo in Croatia and see what she has for you this month. Check out her Facebook and Instagram pages as well.