Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I meant to add this yesterday, but I forgot.

I think I mentioned that I got some pretty weird advice on how to take care of my sunburn while driving back from Florida. I was told to get sour cream to put on it and it was supposed to help.  Sour cream. That part is important.

I waited a couple of days before I got a chance to go to Target, but I didn't check the email I was sent before I went there to make sure I had all of the details.  I ended up buying whipped cream, not sour cream.

Do you know what whipped cream does to a sunburn?  It makes it sticky.

Silver lining...whipped cream is delicious!  

Monday, October 26, 2015


1) Well, at least one mystery is solved!  In one of my last entries from Florida, I told you about spraying my face with someone's sunblock and getting a horrible, horrible rash.  Remember?  Well, it has recently come to my attention that what I sprayed all over my face was not sunscreen.  I grabbed one of the many cans sitting on the edge of the counter while on my way out the door.  All I remembered was that the bottle was labeled "Cutter" and it was a green container.  As it turns out, it wasn't sunscreen at all. It was some kind of powerful bug repellent.  I sprayed bug repellent all over my face and rubbed it into my skin.  I guess I'm lucky that I wasn't poisoned or something.

I am a genius.

2) I have to go back to the doctor on Tuesday for a check up, and the hateful nurse is going to be there.  I'm already getting nervous thinking about it.  I hate that this woman makes me feel like a 10 year old.  I can already hear her in my head and it's making me cringy.  :(

Oh, and speaking of doctors, I went for what should have been my last CT scan last week!  Woo-Hoo!  I also have to go see the pulmonologist this week, but if everything has stayed the same (or gotten better, which I have no reason to believe it hasn't) I shouldn't have to go back again until next year, if even that!  Yay!

3) An update on my hair, because I'm sure you're fascinated.  Everyone (except Steve) seemed to really like it!  Eh, he's just jealous that I have hair to dye! HA! It has faded quite a bit, which has made it look bright pink under florescent lights, kind of peachy-red in indirect sunlight, and in one unfortunate (and now deleted) photograph it looked bright purple - which made me look like a clown. At any rate, I still like it, but it is starting to look a bit odd. It's fading out in stripes instead of uniformly fading all over. I'm a pinky-red-brown tiger now, I guess.  RAWR!

4) I've finally gotten around to sorting my sea shells. Once they were all laid out, it seemed like there weren't as many as I thought I had collected.  Don't get me wrong, there are tons of them, but still.

Some of my shells!

One thing that always surprises me about seashells is how they are never as pretty once you bring them home.  They are still beautiful and everything, but they just don't look the same as they do when I pick them up. I happened to mention that to Aunt Brenda, and she said that there was a poem about that exact thing.  It's called "Each and All" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The part she was talking about says:

The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave;
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me.
I wiped away the weeds and foam,
I fetched my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore,
With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar. 

So...thanks for harshing my mellow, Emerson.  No, I think I understand what he means.  The entire experience of something can lend a beauty to certain things that will disappear when you try to separate the elements of that experience.  Or something. I'm not good at poetry. 

If you read on in that poem, he says something kind of rude about his wife, too.  Emo turd.

Anyway, I've got to clean the shells and put them away.  I'm going to make some stuff with a few of them of them, but the rest will go into a new jar so I can look at the unsightly, noisome things.

5) Steve and I went to Rocket City Nerdcon this weekend.  It is sort of a tiny, tiny sci-fi/manga/gamer/comic convention that started last year and is held in our city's public library.  I didn't even know it was going on until Saturday morning, so on kind of a whim, we stopped by and walked through.  It was very modest, but still more crowded than I expected.  We didn't stop and listen to any of the panels.  Mainly, we just wandered around the vendor area and people watched.  There were some very impressive costumes!  We saw our friend Anthony over there, too!  He works for the library and was doing AV stuff for some of the panels.  I think I kind of scared him when I jumped on him with a violent hug from behind. (Pomegranate Banzai, Hug Ninja!)  I'm glad he isn't trained in martial arts.  He might have killed me.  We didn't stay long, but we had a great time!  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


You guys know how bad I am about getting songs stuck in my head, right? 

Well, songs are not the only thing that get stuck in there.

Lately, I've had this memory that keeps popping up and  playing on a loop in my brain and I have no idea why.  I literally hadn't thought about this particular thing in years and years, and I certainly haven't held a grudge, so I'm not sure why I've been thinking about it.  Maybe if I tell other people about it, it'll go away.  It's worth a shot!

When I was in the 4th grade, I had just moved to a new school and I didn't have many friends. My sister and I rode the bus to school, and there was a girl from my class on our bus route.  She never talked to me, at all.  I'm sure I thought it was because she was a snob. I honestly don't remember.  Anyway, one day she got on the bus and sat next to me and started talking as if we were besties.  I was thrilled, of course, because I was 9 and lonely, and who doesn't want friends, right?  When we walked into school, it was raining, so we shared my umbrella and I thought I'd made a new friend!

The next day, when she got on the bus, she sat somewhere else, so I moved up and sat down with her.  She didn't say anything, but she got up and moved to another seat.  Since I was then, like I am now, apparently slow to get a hint, I moved over and sat down next to her again.  She moved again.  I didn't move again, but it slowly dawned on me that she had only been nice to me the day before because it was raining and she wanted to share my umbrella!  That heifer!

That was the day I learned that people will use you for whatever they want, and when you no longer serve that purpose, they'll just drop you.

Yeah, a sucky memory, but I don't know why it keeps popping into my head.  Is it a subconscious reminder that people can suck?  I have no idea!  Maybe I'm supposed to warn myself (or maybe you, I don't know how this works) not to use people and then ignore them! Or maybe it's a reminder to us all about umbrellas.

So, don't be a sucky person and always carry an umbrella!

Monday, October 12, 2015


1) Ugh.  This sucks.  Less than a week ago, one of my friends* posted to Facebook that his daughter, who is only 19 months old, has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

You know, hearing something like that is just a punch right in your gut.  There is literally nothing you can do that will make it better for them.  I mean, there are things you can DO, of course, like donate money, pray and etc. and I'm willing to do those things, but they don't feel like enough.  There is nothing that you can do to take away their fear and sadness, or to make their daughter less sick.  It's a very helpless, awful feeling, and I know it isn't even a fraction of what they're going through.  To my knowledge, this is the first time I've personally ever known someone going through this with one of their kids.

From all reports, the little girl is doing well with her treatments, and her doctors say that there is very little chance she will need a bone marrow transplant, which is amazing news.  She's just so tiny and she's going through such a hard thing.  It breaks my heart for them.  So, if you have an extra prayer lying around, please send it up for this little girl and her family.

Now, if you will pardon my language: Fuck Cancer.

*I say this guy is my friend, but I guess I consider him more like part of my family.  He and I dated for a long time when we were in high school, and his father was my agribusiness teacher.  I always felt very close to the whole family, even after he and I broke up.  I've never met his wife or kids, but since they are an extension of his family, I care about them too.

2) Of course, if you if you'd like to do something, not just for this family, but for any family that might be going through something like this, you can register to become a bone marrow donor here: Delete Blood Cancer.  You can order your kit and I swear, all you have to do is swab your inner cheek with a q-tip thing and mail them back.  Also, in case you are a big weenie like I am, I checked, and if you get a call to donate your bone marrow, they say it's not so bad.  Of course, you might be saving someone's life, so it could be worth a little pain, right?

3) OK, enough about sad stuff.  Now I'm going to tell you something weird that I discovered while on vacation that I forgot to write about in my other entries.  Seriously, it's a little weird.  Don't judge me.

At the very edge of the surf, just under the surface of the sand, there are thousands of these little bivalves called coquina, although some people call them diggers.

You would usually just see the shells on the beach, sometimes just one half of the thing, but if the shells are still attached, they look like butterflies.  That's not really important, just interesting!

If you dig in the wet sand after a wave has just receded, you can uncover literally hundreds of live coquina at a time.  If you watch them, they will all turn on their edge and begin digging their way back underneath the surface until they disappear.  It's actually really interesting to watch, if you've never seen it before.  One day while I was walking on the beach, I stopped to stand in the waves, and I started digging my feet down beneath the sand.  I didn't realize so many of the little things were down there at the time, so I was surprised when I uncovered them and saw them moving.  I was kind of fascinated when I realized they were digging back underneath the sand, so I stood still and watched them go.  My feet were still buried in the sand, and when they dug down far enough to reach them (my feet,) I felt them trying to dig through me.  For all the world, it felt like a million little tongues licking my feet.  It was gross and funny all at the same time.  Of course, I made everyone else do it too.  I'm not a big fan of anything bothering my feet, but if you ever get a chance to do this, please do! 

4)  I had a bad day on Tuesday.  Not a truly terrible day, as I have had much, much worse, but it was a bad day all the same.  By the time work was over, I was feeling so uptight that I needed to do something, anything, that wasn't a part of my usual routine so that I could reboot.  That might not make much sense to some of you, but I think it'll make perfect sense to others.  I had to go to Target and pick up a prescription, so on my way there I saw a Sally's Beauty supply store and went in.  I decided I'd just dye my hair.  I went straight towards the Manic Panic section, because I didn't want to be sensible.  I really, honestly, almost bought turquoise dye, dress code rules at my job be damned, but I didn't. I was having a bad day, not a midlife crisis.  I figured that I'd just buy red and see how that went, so I grabbed Infra Red.  I figured it was dark enough that it wouldn't be too obvious, but it was unnatural enough to satisfy whatever weirdness I was feeling at that moment.  Plus, it wasn't permanent, so if I regretted it, I wouldn't have to regret it for months!

Boy, I don't sound very rebellious when I lay it all out like that, but I don't care.  I just wanted to make myself a little different!

You're supposed to bleach your hair almost white before putting this stuff in, but I wasn't going to do that. I knew I'd probably burn all my hair off if I did, plus, I'd look terrible as a pinky-blonde once the dye came out!  So I did my other errands and came home to do this thing.

The dye was the consistency and color of coagulated blood, and you are supposed to try to keep it off of your skin and scalp, because it will stain you.  I put some Vaseline around my hairline and ears, but it was impossible to keep it off of my scalp, and my arms, and my face and my bathroom.  It got everywhere!  I probably didn't need to put the entire container on my head, but I did.  I didn't even use the brush I bought to do it with!  Then I had to wrap my head in plastic and leave it for a couple of hours.  I was very attractive. I had a Piggly Wiggly bag wrapped around my hair and then had to wrap my whole head with Saran Wrap.  When the time was up, I went in to wash it out.

By the time I was done, my bathroom looked like an abattoir.  If the dye looked like coagulated blood in the container, it looked like fresh blood as I washed it out.  I need to reiterate: It. Got. Everywhere.  I kept rinsing my hair, and it kept coming out!  I ruined two perfectly good towels!  It stained the tub a little, too.  However, once I got it out and dried my hair, I loved it!  You can't really tell much of a difference unless you see me in bright light, but it's a dark cherry color. They also weren't kidding about it being temporary!  Every time I wash my hair, it looks like weak Kool-Aid washing down the drain, my current pillowcase will never be the same, and when I went to the gym, the color started melting onto the white gym towel!  Oops.  :)

Anyway, I felt much better after I saw my hair, and the day was over.  It'll eventually fade out, so no harm, no foul.  The only thing that will stick around will probably be my gray hair that got dyed.  Right now, all of them are a bright Ronald McDonald red!  That will probably look weird when the rest of my hair is brown again.

Next time, maybe I'll do the turquoise.  It'll depend on how bad my day is! :)

Thursday, October 08, 2015


September 26, 2015 - I didn't get to go out and say goodbye to the beach today. :(

We spent most of the morning cleaning and packing things away, just to make sure that we wouldn't get charged for leaving anything behind.  Apparently, you get charged, like, $100 for leaving anything in the refrigerator.  I don't know. At any rate, we got all of our stuff out and got packed up in short order!  I got to sit out on the back porch with Uncle Garry one last time and stare at the water before we had to leave, which was nice. I really am going to miss this place.

After saying our goodbyes and heading on our way, Steve and I decided to drive to Panama City to have a little adventure.  We didn't really go anyplace together during the week, so we thought we'd see what there was to see out that way.  We saw that we were next to not just one, but two Air Force bases!  Two bases, and I never saw one cute soldier!  I think someone called ahead and warned them about me.

Once we got past the bases, things got kind of cluttered and seedy.  I'm not 100% sure where all we drove through, but we got to Panama City after about an hour or so.  I've been to Panama City a few times, but this was the first time that I have noticed how gross and tourist-trappy it really is.  The hotels kind of loom over you, and everyone is walking in the street, and there are cheesy shops every three feet or so, it seemed.  Don't get me wrong, I remember enjoying my trips to PCB a great deal, but after the week in a fairly quiet and, residential I guess you'd call it, beach town, it was all too much for me.  I had the distinct feeling that bad judgement happens there a lot. 

I told you I was spoiled now! 

We stopped and ate lunch at Sharky's.  We'd eaten there before, on a trip we took there in  2002, and have a framed picture of us sitting outside under one of the umbrellas.  It would have been nice to have had another picture made to compare it to, but we ate inside. We were the only people sitting inside, actually,  but as sunburned as we were, we couldn't stand the thought of eating outdoors. Too much sunshine, thanks! 

I managed to send a few emails as we headed out of town, and I got some really weird advice on how to take care of a sunburn. Oh, well, I'm willing to try anything at this point.  As we drove out of town, I spotted a World Market, which I made Steve stop at (of course.)  We shopped there for a few minutes before heading home.

I was kind of dozing off and on while we headed out of town, so I don't know how we got back into Alabama, exactly.  Steve wanted to kind of stair-step our way through the panhandle to get to 65, and so we drove through some really small, and sometimes a little creepy, towns.  I did find a place I'd like to see again.  It was called Florala, which I'd never heard of before.  It was very cute and had the same "stopped in time" vibe about it that Port St. Joe had.  I'll go back one of these days and visit the state park there, if I can.  If nothing else, I'd like to take pictures! 

We finally (seriously, finally) got to 65 and headed north, and I noticed that the closer to home we got, the more stuffy my nose got.  If anyone knows what grows north of Birmingham that doesn't grow below Birmingham, I'd love to find out because that has to be whatever I'm allergic to outside.  I'm guessing it's some kind of mutant pine trees or something.  Oy.  We made it home at around 7:00, give or take, and even though I'm going to miss being able to walk on the beach whenever I like, I am glad to be home. 

Back to reality.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


September 25, 2015 - Guess what I did this morning?  If you guessed that I woke up before daylight to go see the sunrise again, you win a cookie! Yay!  Since this would be our last full day in Cape San Blas, Aunt Brenda, Amy and I decided to go out one last time.  I'm glad we did!  The horizon wasn't nearly as cloudy as it had been, so we got to see a proper sunrise, like the one I saw on my own that first day.  Again, we walked way too far, but we had a good time.  Aunt Brenda always brings a big zip-lock bag with us so we can collect shells, or whatever we find, and we came back with a lot this time! One thing we've been finding on this beach are whole quahog shells, which aren't that pretty, but it's neat to see them all in one piece.  There are also HUGE ark shells, but none of them are whole.  Aunt Brenda wanted some big shells to put out on her porch (I think) so we've been grabbing the biggest ones we can find, whole or not.  It doesn't really matter if they're whole, I don't think.  Seashells are a reminder that you can find beauty even in the broken things. 

Once we got back and had breakfast, I only had a little bit of time to myself before we had to go into complete clean-up mode on the house.  Technically, the house is someone's home, or at least it will be once they retire. I guess it's like Air B&B?  I dunno, but we didn't want to leave it looking like it had been inhabited by animals for a week. I decided to spend my last little bit of time walking on the beach again.  I swear, I've walked miles and miles this week, and I've enjoyed it!  On my way back out, I grabbed a can of sunblock (not mine, unfortunately) and sprayed my face really well, since I got so sunburned on Wednesday and didn't want it to get worse. This time the bitey flies were back on the beach and I couldn't enjoy my walk because they were after me! I think they literally followed me the whole time I was out there, so I didn't get stay out for very long. Stupid flies.

I came back inside to take a shower, and noticed that the sunblock I used on my face caused an ugly allergic reaction.  I mean, U-G-L-Y I don't have no alibi kind of reaction.  Every inch of my face was covered in a bright red, bumpy, gross rash. It looked like I'd had a puberty redo.  Oy.  Because a lot of that stuff had been cleared away by the time I'd come back inside, I couldn't even find the bottle I'd used to see what could be causing the rash.  BOO.  : ( 

The rest of the day was spent clearing out the fridge, washing clothes, cleaning up the house, and watching old TV shows and, weirdly, the marathon of Friday the 13th movies.  I also played ping pong with Steve, and it served as a reminder of how bad I actually am at ping pong.  I still might be better than Steve, though! 

It wasn't as relaxing or fun as the beginning of the week, but we still had fun being together.

I'm sad that we'll be leaving tomorrow. I really will miss this place.  I like it here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


September 24, 2015 - Believe it or not, I did not wake up to watch the sunrise this morning!  Since everyone else wanted to sleep in, I slept in too.  It was glorious!

I actually didn't sleep in too late, because all the ladies were going shopping today.  You know, because bitches be shoppin' and everything, right?  Heehee!  I was kind of glad to get out of the house and look around a bit, so we loaded up in Kristin's mom-mobile and headed over to Apalachicola.  I'd heard about Apalachicola, but I'd never been there.  There was a lot of absolutely nothing in between Port St. Joe and Apalachicola, but really, they are only about 25 miles apart.  I think. I don't know for certain, because I kind of zoned out during the drive.

The town itself was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it was cute.  We drove around a bit to see if there were any shops that caught our eyes.  We stopped outside of a place called Oyster Bones, which was a shop that specialized in pet stuff.  I had to reassure everyone that I wouldn't burst into tears by going inside and seeing dog stuff, and luckily, I didn't!   We walked next door to another, more normal souvenir shop and looked around a bit, but we ended up leaving Apalachicola (that name is torture to type out when you aren't familiar with it, BTW) so that we could drive into Port St. Joe and see if they had any souvenir's with the name of the town on them.  Port St. Joe doesn't look at all like a touristy town, which I'm fairly certain I've mentioned before.  It's more like going to any small town that hasn't been upgraded since 1945 and walking around their courthouse square.  Please, don't take that as an insult to the place because I actually really liked the whole small-town vibe of it.  A lot of the stores were closed for whatever reason, and a lot of them were dedicated to selling things that people would use to decorate beach houses/rentals instead of souvenirs.  I never even found a snow-globe!  There was this amazing, old movie theater that looked as if it had been abandoned for 70 years.  I got a picture of the sign, but not of the interior.  The inside was pulled apart and all of the old seats and film equipment were scattered around.  It would have been fun to explore, but I'm pretty sure you'd get tetanus just walking around inside. We ended our exploration by stopping by the local book shop/coffee place.  I found a regional cookbook (albeit from 2011) and a book of regional ghost stories to add to my collection.  Then we headed back to the house, because we all had to get ready to go dinner together again that night before having our group picture taken. 

We were told to wear black and khaki, because that would look best against the sand of the beach.  I wore my comfy black dress and hoped my legs would look khaki enough to suffice for the rest, so I didn't exactly follow orders, but no one seemed to mind.  Aunt Brenda had been wracking her brain all day to try and pick a restaurant to go to dinner in (It was her treat, so it was her choice!) and we ended up going to Triple Tails, which isn't a strip club even though it sounds like one!  It had great food and a very nice, and patient, wait staff.  You should go there, if you're ever in the neighborhood!

By the time we'd all finished eating, the sun was going down and it was starting to rain, so going all the way back to the beach by the house wasn't going to work, so we drove down to the marina at Port St. Joe and took our pictures out there.  We were all so cute in our matching outfits. The sunset was really beautiful, and our pictures turned out very well! At least, they looked good on the screen of the camera, so I'm going to assume they'll also look good when they're bigger. (I'll post some pictures when I get my hands on them. I'll also post pictures from my phone once I get home and can upload everything. Not having reliable internet kind of sucks!) 

Steve and I made a run to the local CVS for something to put on our fly bites.  They hurt when they bite, but they also start to itch like fire after a few days.  I hate bitey flies!  I HATE THEM SO MUCH!  I also bought a bottle of Drano while we were in there, because I'm tired of our tub not draining for an hour. I hope it doesn't screw up their pipes or sewer system or whatever they have out here, but other than that, I don't care a bit.  

Once we got back to the house, we sat around a talked for a while until bedtime.  It was a nice day. 

My sunburn hurts and itches.  It itches more than it hurts, but it hurts to scratch!  Woe woe woe.  :)

Monday, October 05, 2015


September 23, 2015 – I woke up, again, early in the morning to catch the sunrise.  It turned out that Amy had wanted to go with us yesterday morning, but no one had woken her up!  Oops!  We decided to go again this morning so she could see it.  She, Aunt Brenda, and I walked out to the beach and started walking, talking, and picking up shells.  We had a really good time!  Again, we lost track of time, and wound up walking way, way down the beach. The sunrise was cloudy, but still very beautiful!  This beach is very dog friendly, and almost every day we have seen someone walking a dog.  Today we saw an adorable English Bulldog carrying his very special stick.  I wanted to pet him, but his human looked very grumpy, so we just said hello to him (the dog, not the human) and walked on.  We finally had to turn around and go back when we realized we couldn’t even see where our house was anymore!
When we got back, we had breakfast and I decided to change into my swimsuit.  I know, I know, but there are different rules about swimsuits when I’m at the beach!  I decided to do more beach combing (shut up) but I also wanted to sit and chill out for a while if I wanted to, so this time I took a chair.

I actually never sat in the chair, to be honest. I walked for a while, and then I got into the water with everyone else!  The waves were bigger today than they’d been so far because there had been a storm the night before, so we had a lot of fun jumping around in the gulf.  Steve carried me out into the deeper water and held on to me because I was too short to touch the bottom, which was funny.  I’m way to heavy for him to carry on land, but he could just stick me under his arm and carry me out whenever the tide pushed us towards the shore!  We don’t normally touch each other very much in public, so it felt a little weird to be carried around, but I enjoyed it!  Everyone was out at the beach at the same time this time, and we had no plans to go anywhere, so we stayed out there for several hours.  Unfortunately, because we stayed out so long, I got very sunburned.  I was, of course, lily white from not going outside into the heat and humidity of the North Alabama summer any more than necessary, so before going out to the beach, I promise I put on sunblock.  I do not relish the idea of looking like a leather handbag when I’m in my 40’s nor do I want to get skin cancer.  I even got out of the water to reapply the sunblock, but I think I must have been standing in the wrong place when I applied the spray and the wind blew it away from my skin instead of letting it get on it.  I don’t know, but I do know I am burned.  Ouchie.  Taking a shower after going back inside suuuuuuucked. We have a great deal of water pressure. 

I had put a Boston Butt in the crock-pot earlier in the day, and by the time Steve and I got back inside it was ready to eat, so we had lunch.  It was good, if I do say so myself, but it largely went to waste. I only found that out later. Apparently my skills as a chef are well known, but I promise, you can’t really go wrong making most things in a crock-pot.  Oh well, what can you do?    Everyone else stayed out at the beach a lot longer than we did, so Steve and I watched TV, read and took naps.  That is one of the most wonderful things about going on vacation.  Being able to take a nap or just hang out whenever you like. 

By the time everyone came back inside, it was getting late, Steve and I thought of something we needed from “The Pig” (or maybe it was just an excuse to get out of the house for a bit. Little bit of column a, little bit of column b) and so we drove back to Port St. Joe to run that errand.  Things close early around here, but we managed to get what we needed before they locked us inside!

When we got back, Greg and his two older kids were there, so we sat around and talked for a while.  After my very long day of swimming and sunburning, I was exhausted, so I got ready for bed while everyone else was still up.   

Y’all, I’m so burned. 

Saturday, October 03, 2015


September 22, 2015 – I woke up at the butt crack of morning again to make sure I didn’t miss the sunrise. Aunt Brenda, Jon and I had plans to go see it and I promised I’d be awake this time. I was surprised Jon wanted to come along, because I didn’t think he was a sunrise kind of guy! Aunt Brenda and I were up first, and because my timing was way off on what time the sunrise would be (I’m telling you, we must literally be on the time zone line in this house) we sat outside and looked at the stars. It’s amazing how clear they are around here. This is the first time I’ve ever stayed at the beach when there weren’t a million hotels crowded around, and I love it. There are nothing but houses and cottages on Cape San Blas, at least as far as I can see. I might be completely spoiled for beach vacations from now on. The sky was clear, so I could see the milky way, and I also saw satellites moving around. It was really awesome. Jon came downstairs closer to the time of the sunrise, and we made our way to the beach. It was cloudy, so we couldn’t see the sunrise the same way I did the first day, but it was still beautiful! We actually walked a different direction than I had the other day. Not very far away was a wooden gate that blocked off a section of beach that didn’t have any houses on it. Turns out, we were right next door to an Air Force base! That explained the “Not Thunder” we heard the day before. It also explained the jets flying over. Woo-Hoo! Fly Boys! The beach beyond – which led to the sticky-out-bit of land I was obsessed with, was a wildlife preserve, and the gate would open at 9:00, so I knew it wasn’t restricted space. Yay! We didn’t stay out long, because Jon is getting over an illness and has a tiny bit of trouble walking long distances. We hadn’t been back for very long before I decided that I was just going to walk down that stretch of beach to the sticky-out-bit that I wanted to see. It didn’t seem that far away, and I knew the lack of people walking on it would mean that the shells wouldn’t have been picked over just yet, so when 9:00 had come and gone, I grabbed my bucket and left. I promise you, I told people where I was going, but apparently no one listened. 

I set off and walked for a long-ass time. I walked slowly, to be sure, only because I was looking for shells, but I think that every time I looked up to see how close I was to the jetty, it looked just as far away as it had when I started out. I did find some amazing, and very fragile, shells that I’ve never seen outside of a shell shop (they weren’t whole, but I still got them) and I came across a crane that was almost as tall as I was, and had feet every bit the same size as my own (not that that is saying much, but still, giant for bird feet!) but the jetty still never got any closer! I was very tired, and I didn’t want to keep walking, but by this point, I was on a mission. I knew everyone would laugh if I didn’t at least get to the end of the thing, so I kept on going. Trucks passed me on the way to the end, and it turns out that the people I saw walking around out there were shore fishermen. I kept on walking, and I swear to you, I was only about 200 yards away from my goal, and my lungs locked up on me. It wasn’t the worst asthma attack I’ve ever had, but because I was far away from where I kept my inhaler, it was bad enough. Of course, not being able to breathe is the perfect reason for me to panic, so I never made it to the point. So close to my goal, and I couldn’t make it. Story of my life, I guess. I wound up almost passing out somewhere about halfway back. I couldn’t breathe and I was dehydrated from the heat and long walk, but I wouldn’t let myself go down. When I’d get dizzy, I’d just walk into the surf and the cold water on my feet kept me awake. I had no idea how long I was gone, because my watch was in the bedroom, still drying off from its swim, but it had to have been at least a couple of hours. I kept expecting to see someone I knew coming to look for me to make sure I was OK. No one came, though. I made it back, hot, sweaty, sandy, weighted down by my bucket of shells and exhausted. I didn’t think anyone was home, but it turned out at least a couple of people were there. No one had even realized I’d gone out towards the sticky-out-bit of land! I could have died out there and been eaten by fish and giant birds and no one would have even realized it! Oh well.

I cleaned up and re-hydrated, and spent the afternoon resting. I still have no idea how long I was gone, but it was a long, long time.

We’d all decided to go to dinner together tonight at a place called Dockside (Come to the Dockside…we have scallops.) It was a very casual place, right on the cape in Port St. Joe. The fishing boats pull up right outside, so the seafood was very fresh. It got a little chaotic with our party inside, because there were 13 of us, and the wait staff had just been pared down to off-season size, so I felt a little sorry for our waitress. She did well, though. I actually ordered scallops, which I’d never had before. They were pretty good! We sat and talked for a while, but the kids were getting restless and a little wild, so we left.

When we got back to the house, we sat on the screened in porch and talked for a while, but I got sleepy and headed to bed. I really love it here. I think I’d be a very different person if I lived out here. Different could be better. If nothing else, I’d be in better shape and go outside more. Outside is great, when it isn’t as hot and humid as it is at home.

It’s only Tuesday, but I already know I’ll miss the beach when I have to go home.

Friday, October 02, 2015


September 20, 2015 – I sneaked out of the house this morning. Literally. I woke up at an ungodly hour and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I grabbed my shoes and tried to figure out how to get to the beach. I say “tried to figure it out” because I didn’t know where the exit to our boardwalk was.  I did not get it right on the first try!  The house where we are staying is set kind of far back from the beach, and there is a long, private boardwalk through the dunes before you reach sand.  I got to the beach just as the sun was rising!  It was really beautiful!  I actually walked around for quite a while, picking up shells, and I saw dolphins!  I wasn’t expecting that!  I just jumped up and down and said “OOOOOH! DOLPHINS, DOLPHINS, DOLPHINS! ” I’m sure the other people on the beach thought it was nice that someone would bring the mentally challenged lady on such a nice trip. 
I stayed out there until I started getting bitten by these mean, black flies, then I headed back to the
Most people were up when I got back, so we had breakfast and sat around for a while, talking. We haven’t made a schedule for anything while we are here, so we’re just sort of flying by the seat of our pants for a while.  I’m ok with it!  I have a feeling my main occupation will be beach-combing anyway, because I am obsessed with the shells and stuff I keep finding.   
I went to the beach for a while with Aunt Brenda and Amy, but it was so hot and still that we didn’t stay long.  Once we came back, we got cleaned up, and Steve and I made a grocery run for Aunt Brenda and to help stock the cabinets/fridge.  There is only one grocery store close by, and that is a Piggly Wiggly.  Brenda has just taken to calling it “The Pig.”  It’s all very fancy, haha!  I even got myself a green bucket so I can carry my shells from the beach like a civilized person, and not have to carry a solo cup.   
After delivering the groceries, Steve and I went back out to Port St. Joe to get lunch.  We found a place that was so small and cramped that we weren’t sure it was actually a restaurant, but it was and we had some pretty good food!  I can’t for the life of me remember what the name of the place was, but it had the name Shipyard in it.  Port St. Joe doesn't seem like a beach town, but I like it.  It's very small, and it isn't really touristy at all, which I'm digging more than I thought I would.
I accompanied Aunt Brenda and Uncle Garry back down to the beach when Steve and I got back to the house, and we stayed down there until almost sundown. The flies seemed to be gone, which was a relief.  Those little hastareds hurt when they bite!  Greg and his kids came down while we were there and I got to talk to him a bit, which was nice.  He's good people.  I got in the pool with Steve when I came back to the house.  Unfortunately, I accidentally jumped in with my watch on!  Oops. I liked that watch. :( Steve thought it was great fun to squirt me in the face with a giant water gun, which I did not enjoy.  We didn't swim for long, however, because the setting sun made the water so cold. 

We ended our day sitting around talking and eating cake.  It was a great day!

Thursday, October 01, 2015


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 – Today we set off for Port St. Joe, Florida to stay for a week with Steve’s Aunt, Uncle, cousins and their younglings.  This was a vacation that all of them had wanted to take for years, but knowing how way leads on to way, it had never happened.  Finally, Amy took the initiative to actually make a plan, and it all finally came together!  We didn’t all get to stay together like we’d hoped, though.  We rented a big house (this one if you’re interested) and are staying here with Aunt Brenda, Uncle Garry, Amy, John, and their kids Kate and Sean.  Greg and his family weren’t sure they’d be able to go until after we’d already made the reservation, but they managed to get a cottage about two or three miles away, but they are supposed to be hanging out with us most of the time that we’re here!
Today was a travel day, and it was the travelingest day I’ve had in a long time.  We started out at 6:00 this morning, and I requested that we not stop for breakfast right away.  That turned out to be a dumb thing to do, but more on that later.  Steve told me he was going to be making a couple of stops, one of which was a surprise!  I like surprises!  He just told me not to ask any questions.  We drove, and drove and drove, and drove. Once we got into Georgia, he told me not to get too excited about the surprise, because it was no big deal. In fact, he said it wasn’t really even a surprise, but he still didn’t tell me where we were going.  Were we not married, I probably might have begun to fear for my safety!  I’m not even sure where we were, but I knew we were somewhere around Atlanta, and I suddenly realized where we were going.  Steve’s grandparents had lived somewhere outside Atlanta, and since they died a long time ago, I realized he wanted to visit their grave.  I don’t know why he wouldn’t just tell me, because I was glad to go with him to do that, but maybe he thought I would try and talk him out of it.  I have no idea.
We arrived at the cemetery, and since he hadn’t been there since he was a little boy, we had to follow his memory of where the grave was.  We couldn’t find it.  We looked around for a while before we saw the funeral home on the edge of the property and we decided to go in and ask.  Unfortunately, we were there at the same time that a funeral was getting ready to start, so I rolled up into that place wearing a bright yellow shirt with a picture of Chewbacca on it and a pair of jeans.  Steve was in shorts.  I felt so gauche!  The worker there was able to find the grave and led us out to it.  We’d actually passed right by it!  So, we visited.  I introduced myself. It was nice. 
Once we left there, we had to stop and get some provisions for the trip. We were hungry by then and were going to run through a drive through on the way out, but everything was so crowded that we thought we’d just find an exit down the road and go there.  The problem was, wherever we were, there was nothing.  NOTHING.  We were getting hangry, so we just took a random exit and hoped to find something.  We did find a gas station which had a really creepy vibe to it.  It was the only thing around, and there were a bunch of people parked around it with kids running around.  That doesn’t sound creepy, but you’d have to have been there.  It felt like one of those places you’d see in a movie where travelers get stopped in a place, get chased through the woods and wind up getting eaten by the townspeople.  We were inside for just a couple of minutes before the rest of the people poured inside all at once.  We just left without buying anything.  It was weird.
We did find out that Columbus, Georgia was probably the closest place to where we would be that would have a place with a drive through, so we headed there! It took a while, but we finally found the exit.  I don’t usually eat at McDonald’s, but it was manna from heaven today. Thank you, Columbus! I’m sure you have many wonderful qualities, but today I’m most impressed by your fast food restaurants!
After that we drove some more.  It felt like we’d been on the road for 12 days.  It was only supposed to take us about 7 1/2 hours to get to our destination, but time just seemed to stretch on and on.  Our GPS told us to take an alternate route though some towns I’d never heard of.  In fact, not only had we never heard of them, but neither had my phone.  I tried to keep up with locations with the phone, but except for just a few places, location designations just stayed blank.  We went down two lane roads through cow fields, but the GPS continued to insist that we were on the fastest route.   I think we actually may have driven through Canada at some point, but we finally (FINALLY) made it to the house. We were so tired!  Thankfully, there were no plans for that night, so we just visited until it was time for bed.  The house is great, and we have a whole week to have adventures!  This should be fun!