Friday, November 13, 2009

2009 Fort Myers Beach Sand Sculpting Competition

Winter is coming is the theme of this sculpture. Click on any photo to see more detail.
Phoenix Rising! Very well done!
This sculptor went whimsical with her fish on a water slide. Cute!
I remember this style telephone from "the old days". The head set has a talking mouth on one end and a listening ear on the other end! Whew...phones sure have come a long way since those days.

This is the front view of "Lose Yourself". Beautifully done!!!
This is the back view of "Lose Yourself".
The above photo shows part of a hugh sculpture showing the names of sponsors of the event. All the sculptors work together on this project.

The above photos were taken at the 23rd annual Sand Sculpting Competition held at Fort Myers Beach, Florida the first weekend in November. The weather was beautiful with blue skies and lots of sunshine. Tropical storm Ida was churning in the Gulf of Mexico so it was more windy then past years. The sculptors used more Elmer's Glue then they usually do. No joke...they mix glue and water with the sand to give stability to their work. It is always a fun event!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No More Waiting

I am back home after spending all of October in Georgia. My son and daughter-in-law went to Taiwan to bring baby Ellie home from the orphanage. I took care of their two dogs and cat while they were away. Ellie just turned 9 months old a few days ago. She is such a sweet good natured baby and very laid back and easy going. We all adore her and look forward to a joyful holiday season with the newest member of the family.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Music and Ajijic

I received an email from a friend in Ajijic, Mexico this morning. I added the URL to my favorite web sites on the right side of this page. If you click on it you will be able to watch a video that was filmed in Ajijic. The web site has lots of information about the Tall Boys Band and the song "Somewhere In Mexico" has a lot of truth in it! I hope you will enjoy the sights and the music as much as I did. Any one care to comment?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Photos

These new photos of Ellie arrived last night. What a little bundle of joy!!! Now we wait some more. Lessons in patience I guess.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting for Ellie

Each day seems longer then the one before as I wait for the call. What call? The one from my son and daughter in law telling me they received word from Taiwan to travel to the orphanage where baby Ellie is. She has lived there since she was born in early February. The actual adoption process started in April when they got the referral. We are all hoping the call will come any day now. Why is it that time passes so slowly when you want something so much? So much that your heart feels like it is ready to burst. So much love to give, so much laughter to share, so many hugs... I dream of the day when I can hold my Grandbaby, Ellie. For now I hold her in my thoughts, prayers, and dreams. Each month the orphanage sends a few photos so I posted one from May, June, and July. August photos have not arrived yet. Hopefully they will arrive this week.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Visiting Owl

Click to enlarge.

I walked to the edge of a wildlife reserve next to my home yesterday afternoon. It was 2pm, hot and sunny. I heard a soft animal sound and when I looked up there it was...a big old owl! I do not know what type it is and would appreciate hearing from anyone who might know. I often hear hoot owls in the reserve during the night but they have a different sound then the one I saw in the daylight. There is such an abundance of wildlife here in Florida and it is great fun to see something one has not encountered before.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eagles in Alaska

I love eagles! These photos of them with the snow on the trees really make me want to be in Alaska! It is very hot and humid in Florida during the summer and it will stay that way until October. I loved Florida when I moved here in 1992 but over the years I have begun to miss the change of seasons. I love the soft green of early Spring and the amazing colors of Fall leaves.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial at the Staples Center in LA

Michael Jackson's memorial service today was sad, powerful, and certainly memorable. The musical performance's were often filled with emotion, especially when Usher teared up while singing "Too Soon" and Jermaine Jackson barely made it through "Smile", which was MJ's favorite song. When Jennifer Hudson sang "Will You Be There" and you actually heard an audio of Michael speaking the words it was amazing. Whew...beautiful and sad at the same time.

There were many speakers at the service. My favorite was Brooke Shields. She was one of the people who knew MJ the best. They had been friends since childhood and they could relate to each other in ways that other people could not understand. They were both child stars and had to constantly live in the spotlight and in the public eye. It was when they were together in private that they could just be themselves. She spoke about MJ's gentle heart and his sense of humor. You could just feel the bond they had. Beautiful. Magic Johnson told a story about how he and Michael sat on the floor eating a bucket of KFC while they had a business meeting. It was one of the lighter moments of the service.

I shed a few tears during the service but at the end I was a blubbering fool. Why? The service ended with the whole Jackson family and the featured guests standing on the stage singing "We Are The World". As if that wasn't emotional enough a couple of the Jackson brothers spoke and then Paris, Michael's eleven year old daughter, came forward, surrounded by family members. She said, "Ever since I was born daddy has been the best father you can imagine and I just want to say I love him so much". She broke into tears and that did me in. I cried with her. For her and with her.

I have respect for Michael Jackson the entertainer, the singer, the dancer, the writer, the humanitarian and the legend that he was. RIP King of Pop.

I feel so sad for the children. I hope they can stay with the only family they have ever known. That is what Michael wanted for them. Time will tell.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th

American flags are flying everywhere I look today. The Independence Day celebration's started in the afternoon with lots of firecrackers. It rained for a while earlier today but it is clear now. The night sky will light up soon as it is nearly time for the big aerial displays to begin. My poor dog Jellybean is already hiding in the closet. It is going to be a long night for her!

What a wonderful day to remember our soldiers with gratitude and thanksgiving. They are living in harms way in far away places and putting their lives on the line in order to keep us safe and secure. They are not able to be home today to celebrate with their families and friends. I hope the day will come soon when we can bring them all back home! In the mean time I will say thank you for all you do. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arenal Volcano and Tikotu Hot Springs

Arenal Volcano is located in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.
There are several natural hot springs in the La Fortuna area of Costa Rica. Natural geothermal heat created by the Arenal Volcano is what creates the hot springs. The above photo was taken at Tikotu Hot Springs. It feels wonderful to have a hot soak after a busy day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rich Man Poor Man

Many years ago I met an Australian nurse living in a remote village in Bali, Indonesia. Her focus was giving medical attention to the local community. The village is among the poorest in Bali. She used her own money to buy supplies but, as time passed, she ran low on funds. She decided to do a fund raiser in hopes of receiving the money needed to carry on her work.

I heard about the fund raiser and decided to donate some pieces of jewelry I had made. I knew she needed as much help as she could get so I thought about other people who might be willing to give something for the auction.

Over a period of years I had bought thousands of dollars worth of sterling silver beads and pendants from a Balinese man in the village of Celuk. I decided to call on him and ask for a small donation for the auction. Whew, things did not go as I thought they would. When I approached him he gave me a one word answer…NO. I was stunned. This man had a lovely home and drove a new car. He is wealthy and had a thriving business. I just couldn’t believe he was so cold and uncaring. Needless to say I never bought from him again.

When I told my friend, who always helped me with my business when I was in Bali, what had happened he was sad to hear the news. He told me he would donate two bamboo bracelets inlaid with ebony and a bamboo dragonfly pendant also inlaid with ebony that he had strung on black cord.

In thinking about this situation it occurred to me that the so called rich man was actually poor. He had no compassion for his fellow man. He had many material trappings but his heart was closed and uncaring. If some natural disaster occurred and he lost his worldly goods he would be left an empty shell of a man.

My friend, on the other hand, has very little in the way of worldly goods. He and his family have food and shelter and an old motor bike. They sleep on mattresses laid on the floor. He earns money by doing wood carving and painting. Is he poor? No. He has natural God given gifts that allow him to earn a living, but more then that he has a warm heart. He is always willing to help others in whatever ways he can. He has a strong understanding of giving and receiving. He has great faith in the Hindu God’s he believes in. He is the most spiritual person I have ever met.

I learned many lessons during what I think of as the Bali years. This one is one of the most important. I learned what it really means to be rich and it has nothing to do with money!

Oh, the Australian woman is still in the mountains doing her work with the poor. What a special woman she is.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Horses and Harley's

Old ways and new ways of getting around in Ajijic.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Flag Day Birthday

Preparing to scatter the ashes

My favorite aunt died a couple years ago. Her birthday was June 14th, which also happens to be Flag Day. It is easy to remember the birth date of people born on a holiday. My aunt was in her late seventies when she died. She lived in Arizona and I had not seen her for over forty years. She wanted it that way. She made a decision to remove herself from our family for reasons that I have never fully understood but, over time, came to accept. I miss her.

She had grown up with a mentally and physically abusive father. She was married once but the marriage ended in divorce. It was then that she left the city she had lived in for her entire life and headed first to Texas then on to Arizona. She struggled with alcoholism for years but through AA she was clean and sober for the last 15 to 20 years of her life. I kept in touch with her by telephone and letters but she never wanted me to visit in person. I respected that even though I would have loved to spend time with her.

My sister and I went to Arizona together to clean up June's affairs and scatter her ashes. Her caregiver drove us to the area my aunt wanted to be scattered. June's best friend went with us and it was good to hear bits and pieces of the life she had created for herself in Arizona. She was well known in AA and had sponsored many people in their journey of recovery. She had good friends and a dog who loved her unconditionally. Life was good.

As I threw ashes into the wind on that cool sunny day I let myself relive so many wonderful memories of my life and times with Aunt Junie. Spending weekends with her at her lake house, swimming and skiing. She introduced me to my first love, you know, the one you never forget. She taught me how to drive a car. She taught me how to drive her fishing boat and how to head into waves so I wouldn't capsize. Lots of flashes of memory rushed through my mind and then the ashes were gone...all scattered.

Rest in peace dear Aunt Junie. You were loved and you live on in my heart.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monkeys, Monkeys...Everywhere

It seemed as though everywhere we looked we saw monkeys in the Manuel Antonio area of Costa Rica. The howlers were noisy and the whitefaced and spider monkeys were cute as can be. These little guys liked people and were not afraid at all.

Just hangin' around outside the open air restaurant of the hotel where we stayed in Quepos

Too cute!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bali Kids

There is a village in east Bali called Amed. Amed is on the coast and fishing is the main source of income for the villagers. It is a very poor community but the people are warm and gracious. The fishing boats are quite colorful and are built in the outrigger style. I never seemed to be awake in the predawn hours when the fishermen left but I would see them in the late afternoon when they returned with their catch of the day. It took quite an effort to pull the heavy wooden boats up on the beach each evening but everyone helped each other until all the boats were secured for the night.

One day I decided to eat lunch at a small outdoor cafe located on the beach. I was lost in thought when I heard some commotion near by. I turned to see what was happening. It was a very touching sight that remains a fond memory. What I saw was a group of young children in their tattered clothes caring an empty shampoo bottle that they had filled with some of the wildflowers growing nearby. They were filled with pure joy as each had one hand on the bottle as they went in search of their mom. The smiles were adorable and mom was overjoyed to receive such a special gift.

I don’t know exactly why that scene has stayed in my mind for the past fifteen years. I think it was the purity and simplicity of it. The best things in life are free comes to mind. These little kids did not have any material possessions. No clothes with designer labels, no expensive toys, no high tech gizmos, not even shoes. What they had was so much more valuable. They had a strong sense of family and community. They had positive feelings of belonging. They had love for each other and an inner peace and joy that shone brightly through their eyes. They had the best things that money can not buy. Lucky kiddos!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Florida Soft Shelled Turtle

This big old Florida soft shelled turtle was out in the yard a couple days ago. He had crossed over the road and onto the sidewalk before heading to a creek near by. He was taking his time and was not at all concerned with me getting close enough to take these photos.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Butterflies in Costa Rica

Butterfly flitting from tree to tree
She tastes a bit of this
She tastes a bit of that
Flys away then comes back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Art And Owls In Ajijic

I enjoy going to outdoor functions in Ajijic, especially when they take place on beautiful sunny days and are held at the Lake Chapala Society.

Art and animals at Lake Chapala Society. These photos were taken a few years ago.

The owl is ignoring me and my camera.

Is the owl planning something sinister?

Yep, the plan worked. I took my shot and quickly left.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lovers Key State Park, Florida

Boating on the back waters.

Lots of well marked trails run through the park. Long ones and short ones so just take your pick.

Cabbage Palms.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Nice Discovery

I came across a wonderful blog today and thought I would post the link because some of you may find it meaningful. I did. Today there is an article about being honest with ourselves about what we really want. There are some good suggestions for becoming more authentic. I would enjoy hearing your comments. The web address is

A Day At The Beach

My dog, Jellybean, in a digging frenzy! It's her favorite thing to do at the beach. My favorite thing is finding unusual shells. Sanibel Island, Florida is a great beach for shelling. That's good and not so good. The shells hurt if your feet are bare so wearing beach shoes is a good idea.

It seems like such a treat to see dolphins feeding. You can often catch sight of them just around dusk or shortly after dawn. This mom and her baby were cruising by just off shore. Sometimes you see dolphins playfully leaping into the air and twisting just like the ones that perform at Sea World.

I wonder how long this piece of driftwood has been here. A very long time, huh? You can see the causeway that connects Sanibel to Fort Myers in the background.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sunset on a Cloudy Day

Sanibel Island Sunsets

Watching a sunset on a cloudy day seems extra special. The colors are magnificent. As rays of light pierce through the darkness of the storm clouds there is a sense of peace, faith and hope. Three things we can all use a little more of, huh?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heading to the park in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park is a beautiful part of Costa Rica. The above photos were taken in the park and surrounding areas. Wish I could be walking that beach right now! Buying a sarong from the friendly locals would be fun too!! Click the photos to enlarge for better viewing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Beautiful Beast

A view of Mount Arenal from the area of La Fortuna, Costa Rica. She is like a fire breathing beast! Watching and listening to this volcano is an unusual experience, to say the least. First she rumbles, and it sounds like far away thunder, then you see a large puff of white smoke come out the top. At night you can see her throwing out bits of red hot lava. I am not sure when the most recent major eruption was but I know there was one in 2006. The white cloud in the above photo is what came out after the sound of thunder.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flowers of Costa Rica

The thing I remember most about Costa Rica is the beauty of nature everywhere you look.! It reminds me of the colorful flowers of Mexico. I don't know if I will go back to Costa Rica but I look forward to returning to Ajijic, Mexico. What a special place!!!