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 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.
Category: 30 Minutes in the Life Tagged: #blackandwhite, #blackandwhitephotography, #maine, #monochromatic, #monochrome, #monochromephotography, #sharleenstuartphotography, #travel, #travelblog, #travelblogger, #travelblogging, #travelbug, #travelbuglife, #travelphotographer, #travelphotography
Posted on April 27, 2020
In the 2020….. (How does the song go “In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive ~ Zager, Evens”). Earlier today I saw someone added an “in the year 2020…” a Facebook post with the idea that this would come up in their memories.
So what does Corona Virus Stay at home look like for you? For me, it is still work as normal, in fact a little more than normal, but it has to be done so I am going to do it.
Richard has his office downstairs, I have my office upstairs. Hoodini (the quaker parakeet I rescued) is moved out of my office into the spare room every morning, Ms Moo sits at the closed door whining to get in and Sims just ignores everyone and everything. That is us, day in and day out, work and Zoom meetings make up my days. Sunday evening we have managed to set up a Zoom games evening with the kids who are not close by. It adds a little variety. When necessary I will go to the shop, but so far I have managed to keep that to once a week. I have been out of the house a total of 6 times in the last 5 weeks.
So for this month, my 30 minutes is really my editing time. I thought I would get us on the road again. We traveled a fair bit the last two years, and I found I was not able to keep up with the editing on all the trips. Today I am going to go back to Maine, and a charming town that I got to visit with a friend.
My friend Karen had married and moved to New Hampshire a few years ago. When we decided to go up that way I connected with her to see if we could meet. I also knew she spent a lot of time hiking in New Hampshire and I thought I would pick her brains on where to go. She went one step further. She decided to drive through to Maine and we went on a road trip. First to the Ogunquit Musuem, then stopped by a lighthouse, then drove through to Portsmouth.
This is a quaint little seaside town. All of them are quaint to me. Not sure how little they are though. But for me the immediate town was so interesting. I love the old brownstone buildings and the cobblestone pavers or brick sidewalks. Today was an overcast day but luckily when we arrived in Portsmouth it stopped raining.
The first stop was at a small street side bar called Portsmouth Gas Light Co, for lunch. Of course, when in the north we had to have lobster rolls (and this was a first for me, both being in the north and the lobster rolls). Karen and I shared and I can promise you that was more than enough food. When I compare it to the ridiculous lobster roll we got in New York, this is amazing. It tasted it good, and it was super filling. Added to that we were able to indulge in the local brew. I am a Heineken kind of person, and they were able to come up with a brew that matched my taste. If you are in town, I highly recommend stopping by.
Another favorite of mine is street art, and we managed to find a few interesting murals to capture our attention.
Walking the city was fun, and we soon headed down to the Piscataqua River that separates Portsmouth, New Hampshire from Kittery, Maine.
We found a beautiful garden square that was a riot of color, carefully planned out and very appealing to the eye.
We continued on crossing one of the local traffic bridges and walk along the waters edge enjoying the beautiful sites in front of us.
The image below caught my attention because of the beautiful reflections in the water.
We landed up along a quay of yachts and fishing boats which may or may not have been situated on North Mill Pond. It’s been over a year, what can I say. The bridge in the image is called the Memorial Bridge and it is a vertical lift bridge. This bridge allows commercial boats to pass through.
This bridge replaced an earlier built bridge that spanned this river from 1923 to 2012. On the original bridge there was a plaque that read “Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of New Hampshire who gave their lives in the World War 1917–1919.” This plaque was moved to the newly built bridge.
We headed down to the Strawberry Banke Museum, side stepping into a historical grave site area. I am a big fan of wandering through, reading the different tombstones. I love history and these tombstones were very interesting in design.
The tombstone about was that of Capt Tobias Lear who died November 6th, 1781. According to the notes found on an onsite notice board, “Lear was a mariner of Portsmouth whose home, now a historic site, is a few blocks from Point of Graves on Hunkering Street. His son Tobias Jr, Served as President George Washington’s private secretary. The elder Lear’s gravestone was carved by John Homer and displays the realistic skull and cross bones for which he is known“.
Another one that had clear writings on was the tombstone of Mary Blagdon. The tombstone says “Here lies the body of Mrs Mary Blagdon wife to Doc. Samuel Blagdon Aged 75 years. Died Dec y 11th 1735. I found the images on the tombstone interesting and wondered who chose the design on this woman’s tombstone.
We passed the South Meetinghouse on Macy Street. The building of this beautiful building was completed in 1866, and in those days cost $9,600-00 to complete.
We walked down some side streets and this stairway caught my attention with all it’s number plates on it. It certainly was creative, as was the front door of another house we passed.
We found two new friends (for a short period of time) sunning themselves outside now that the rain had gone.
We walked passed some alley ways where I captured this beautiful spiral staircase.
And then we were back at the water’s edge, having walked along a boardwalk of restaurants. I loved looking at the tug boards and fire rescue boats.
In the distance we could see the Memorial Bridge we had walked past earlier. We were on the other side of the bridge looking down towards it.
In the opposite direction is the stunning Piscataqua River Bridge which spans the Piscataqua River. The bridge connects Portsmouth. New Hampshire with Kittery, Maine.
The bridge has 6 lanes and arches high above the river, eliminating the need for a lift bridge for boats. The structure is this incredible mass of metal work that is absolutely stunning.
Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for traveling with me through this this small but oh so interesting seaside town. I hope you enjoyed getting out and about with me. I look forward to the day we can pack up the suitcase and head out again. I am still holding out hope for my Eastern European trip in August.
Category: 30 Minutes in the Life, Travel Tagged: #bridges, #canonphotographer, #canonphotography, #citystreets, #graffiti, #graveyards, #lobsterrolls, #memorialbridgenewhampshire, #oldhomes, #ontheroadagain, #piscataquabridgenewhampshire, #portsmouth, #portsmouthnewhampshire, #reflections, #sharleenstuartphotography, #spiralstaircase, #tombstones, #travelblog, #travelblogger, #travelblogging, #travelbug, #travelphotographer, #travelphotography, #tugboats, #vacation, #vacationmode, Canon, Canonusa, Travel
Posted on March 30, 2020
It is 30 Minutes in the Life, and if you are wondering, my 30 Minutes was not at the beach. Since March 13, I feel like I have been on a 25 hour call. Why? My real job is working with Policies & Procedures, Written Plans, Quality Control, training, and such other things that may be assigned, for Medical Clinics. And yes, we are most definitely impacted by the changes the world is seeing.
I am tired, but so are many others. This 30 Minutes I wanted to look at the contrast in life – what does that look like, and where do we go from here.
For so long life has been kind of rosy. The last Flu pandemic, according to the CDC, was in 1918. Almost 100 years ago. I feel like we have become complacent and unprepared. I understand, we do not want thousands of ventilators sitting around for 100 years. However, it feels like society has been slow to respond to what is going on around us.
On any given day, our lives are sunny and rosy and off to the beach we go. All these image are taken at Orchard Beach in Maine.
But we don’t know what lurks around the corner. China was slow to get the news out that things had turned dark, and that they were struggling with something that was rapidly becoming beyond their control. Limited information came out until the situation be came so dire that they were overwhelmed with what they are dealing with.
The rest of the world carried on as normal, enjoying life, living what essentially is part of the social norm. We head out to restaurants, we go to the beach, we cluster as folks are often want to do.
It was only when Italy started to show signs of panic that the rest of the world opened up their eyes and started to take notice. And when Italy’s days became bleak, finally the rest of the world sat up and said perhaps we should do something about it. The information I kept reading seemed unbelievable and disturbing.
But the world was slow in responding, we carried on as normal. Around mid March, our offices, began to look at the what if, and a meeting was called to plan for the what if. What if we have to shut down, do we have a pandemic plan in place, do we have policies and procedures in place? Do we have a pandemic plan? Can you draft up one? Beyond that what does it look like to have staff working from home? What does it look like to run medical clinics on limited staff? Can we go virtual? I am grateful that our office was forward thinking and we began to seriously plan for the potential future.
As the devastating news came out of Italy and the numbers began to increase, and the horror of living with a pandemic really looks like when you are not prepared for the impact of it, begins to seep in. What hospitals look like when they are overcrowded. When people are sleeping on the floor because there is no beds for them. What medical staff have to endure when they are working 24 hours on call and they are watching, not only 1 or 2, but thousands of people dying. When morgues and crematoriums cannot keep up with the death rate. When churches start to store the coffins and the bodies lie waiting for when their loved ones can bury them. When medical personnel are required to choose who can live or die. My heart breaks. It breaks for each and every person fighting for the life of someone who may die, or more than likely will die. My heart aches for the medical staff’s family, who do not know if they will see their loved one again. Children who cannot see their parents.
And yet here in the USA it is business as usual. While leaders indicate that there is a problem, it does not appear that they are ready to make some hard choices. Spring breakers still hit the beaches in Florida because it is their right to do so, forcing the state to close parks and beaches. Restaurants are shut down except for take out. I worry about the possibility of workers being contagious. People head out on the Intracoastal on their boats, with little regard for the potential that they may be carriers. It is their right, and besides it does not appear that their age group is not dying, although stats coming in show that the virus is moving across age groups. They may not be dying, they are right, but they may be killing their grandparents, or parents.
The USA is slow on the uptake. It seemed that it was viewed more as a hoax and then as something we would be over soon. March 20, the numbers were around 8500 people who were tested positive for the virus. While I understand that there was limited testing in the early days, and a scrambling for the necessary equipment and testing kits, over the past 10 days the numbers have escalated to 105, 470 (as I am writing this). The death toll is 1590. This is no longer a joke or something that will die down in a few days. We no longer have control of the virus. The situation is bleak. Working from home is not what folks may think it is. Working from home, for me, this past 12 days has felt like a 25 hour day – 7 days a week right now. It is learning new technology so that we can still meet the client where they are at, that we can still be of service. Virtual is the new normal!
The days ahead seem surreal. Cities are slow to shut down. Government is worried about economy. I understand, but I have to wonder what the economy will look like 24 months from now if a stand is not taken now. I am praying for a nation wide shut down. Life to freeze in all aspects, so that this situation can be controlled. We don’t want to be China. We don’t want to be Italy, where the death toll went from 9134 to 10 779 men, women and children in less than 24 hours. We don’t want to be Spain where they are having to make decision on who lives and who dies. Where they are using scuba diving equipment just to help people breathe. Where they are storing bodies in an ice rink just to protect the bodies from decaying and smelling.
Life has become a roller coaster. We are on a fast ride, and we don’t know when it is going to stop. We need to face reality that unless something significant is done by all States at the same time, nothing is going to change. Right now I live in a State and in an area where “snowbirds” are a huge part of our lives. In winter they are in our county and in summer they head up north. A lot of them to New York. I cannot blame them for wanting to flee New York. That would be my first instinct as well. But I live here and I have to wonder what that will bring to South Florida. A community made up of a lot of elderly folk. Already Miami is under curfew, Broward county is under stay at home, Boca Raton, is under stay at home, and Palm Beach County has implemented some mandates as well. We have to start making some really hard decisions at a much higher level than me. All I can do, is do my part.
We can be part of the pack, or if we are able, we can stay at home, isolate from the crowd. We can protect our families and friends, and we can ease the burden that our medical system is going to have to deal with. Friends remember to take these items into account:
If you have please, please you need to consider quarantining yourself
Wash your hands, well, use hand sanitizer if you have it. If you go to the shop, take your sanitizer with you and clean the cart. Be aware of what you are touching, the people you are interacting with, people who may be coughing and sneezing around you. Protect yourself, protect your family.
Stay well, stay safe, and stay sane, don’t be like me, having major conversations with the TV, and watching my blood pressure rise.
Category: 30 Minutes in the Life Tagged: #blackandwhite, #blackandwhitephotography, #canonphotography, #monochrome, #monochromephotography, #ontheroadagain, #orchardbeach, #orchardbeachpier, #seagulls, #sharleenstuartphotography, #travelblog, #travelblogger, #travelblogging, #travelbug, #travelbuglife, #travelphotography, #vacation, #vacationmode, beach, Canon, Canonusa, Travel, waves
Posted on February 29, 2020
The Coastline of Maine is beautiful, and we got to explore the area. Heading up to Bar Harbor, Maine, Richard had a goal. Visit Arcadia National Park. If you know anything about me or if you have learned over the past few years, I have had 3 foot surgeries. The words National Park, and foot surgeries do not go well together in my opinion. I know what to expect when I hear National Park. While my feet are okay they certainly are not pain free and after 3-4 hours of walking I need to stop and rest for a while.
One thing that I really enjoyed about Arcadia National Park was the coastline. And yes, it did involve the word “Hiking”. Ever since my 20’s the word “hiking” makes me want to run and hide. I do however, get through it and typically find I have enjoyed it by the end. Hiking in Arcadia National Park is really not the same as hiking in South Africa. In the USA it is more drive to the next parking lot, spend 20 minutes trying to find the furthest parking from where you are actually going and then walking on a pathway/steps etc to get to where you are going.
Arcadia was not far from that although we did get to do some rough climbing over rocks etc. The coastline is rugged and impressive and is well worth the visit. On some of these images I stood at the top of the rocks looking down watching the water come in and go out and kept getting the feeling that I was being sucked into the flow.
If you are visiting Maine, do your best to plan a stop over in Bar Harbor and Arcadia National Park. Visit the Mount Desert dramatic rocky coastline and also look out for Jordan’s Pond in Arcadia, or also know as Long Pond. It is definitely a highlight in the area. Look out for our early morning sunrise at Bar Harbor blog coming out on the 6th.
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 Mindy of is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.
Posted on February 3, 2020
We traveled so much last year that I did not have time to edit all the images that I took. So I decided to go back and do some editing today and share the photos I had not shared when we visited last year.
San Antonio Riverwalk was definitely something I had read about, and something I wanted to see. This is definitely more than thirty minutes but I wanted to keep all the riverwalk images together in my blog. I have shared a few images on the Riverwalk last year, however, there are more photo’s that I did not share.
The hotel that we stayed at opened directly out onto the Riverwalk and so we walked out of the building and onto the buzzing walkway of restaurants and people. Lots of people. Clearly the easy was to see the Riverwalk would be to do a ferry right, but we don’t do easy. We walked. To be honest it was not a lot of walking. We ventured out for breakfast and then we were out again for dinner. Most of the restaurants were to the right of our hotel. Some of these are the restaurant walkway and some are of the road less traveled 🙂
Meander with me as we head along the Riverwalk…..
The restaurant area is busy. Lots of people, lots of restaurants, a hive of activity. There are so many places to eat at. We had bangers and mash at Mad Dogs, Seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack, Breakfast at the Original Mexican Restaurant and we stopped for beers at Durty Nellies Irish Pub. Oh and add a few sausage rolls to that order.
On of the things that I really loved about the San Antonio Riverwalk was the mix of old and new. These arched bridges give the sense of a timeless period long ago. Similar stone was just at the Alamo and at the Missions.
Always a favorite of mine is natural wildlife and the riverbanks and the river itself had these beautiful ducks out and about.
This walkway headed up to another shopping center and restaurants, and was also the pathway to the Alamo. Starbucks was around the corner and we stopped there on the way to the Alamo We also stopped by Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for dinner one evening,
The stairway took us up to the restaurants and a busy area givent
Walking back from the shopping area we meandered down this pathway, past the waterfall and back to the busy canal. I love the colorful umbrella’s and the pathways of green.
All this walking definitely creates a thirst and this was a great spot to hang out and drink a local beer. The ducks were swimming up to the edge looking for handouts.
Heading left from our hotel, the area is quieter, more peaceful and relaxing. The walk was more meditative. There were no general restaurants in this area and the few that we did see were the dining areas for a specific hotel.
Outside the Briscoe Western Art Museum was this incredible set of statues of a cowboy herding cattle. The stairway below leads to the art village La Villita Art Village. We meandered through there one of the afternoons. The last image is of Rosita’s Bridge leading over to the River Art Group.
You have the best of both worlds on the Riverwalk. You have the hustle and bustle of patrons heading in and out of hotels, looking for places to eat, listening to music, and then on the other side you have this quiet, relaxing, peaceful walk.
This was definitely worth the visit and I was glad I could cross it off my bucket list.
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