Sunset on Pensacola Beach

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - Goodbye

The last few weeks have been full of holiday activities.   Christmas concerts, baking dozens and dozens of delicious holiday cookies, purchasing gifts, sending gifts, watching Christmas specials on tv, setting up all the Christmas decorations and more.
The day before Christmas we went to the beach with our friends from down the street and took 275 pictures of each of our families.   It was a day in the low 70's and perfectly blue skies and the most beautiful colors of blues in the gulf.  We had so much fun together.
Most of the pictures were taken by me and Lamont.  Doesn't Mom look great after her eye surgery?
So we brought kites and flew them.....went for walks on the beach.   So fun!
Christmas Eve brought dinner at Flounders, church, and then home to the reading of the Night Before Christmas by Dad.    Christmas day was wonderful with a big, 20 pound turkey to gooble up.  Ron left Monday morning - he had to work on Tuesday.  Well, somebody has to make money!
Tuesday night we went to the Ice Flyers hockey game in Pensacola.   We lost.   But it was teacher's night and teachers got in for a discounted fee and a free cap. 

In a week, my friend Kathy Cox is coming to visit!  Yea!!!!  Then Sandy and I are going to Disney World in February.  Time to start taking down the Christmas decorations.  Matter of fact, Dad did the outside today.  This warm weather is going to drop 10 degrees in a couple of days but you can't compare that to January in Northwest Indiana.  January and February can be a snowy time off of Lake Michigan.  I just got a text from Dave that he has just arrived home from his flight.
Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Years Eve tomorrow night. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in Pensacola

Yes, I have been to the beach looking for Santa.  No chance yet!  Maybe a few men that look like him but mostly skin-boarders in wet suits having a great time with the waves.  Today it was 75 degrees,  I believe it was 35 back in Indiana.  So we went Christmas shopping in shorts, t-shirts, and sunglasses.  Seems a bit strange but everyone is so decorated for Christmas that you forget you miss the snow and nippy cold.
So I went to the beach yesterday to just sit and enjoy the view.  And who was way ahead of me on the walkway to the beach?  Just Dad.  With his net, towel, and chair......ready to get some good shells.  But that was not to be.  The waves were high enough and the water cold enough to make it uncomfortable.  The yellow flag means go enjoy the water but caution.  The lifeguards are not on duty in the winter you so swim at your own risk.

While at the beach, the seagulls were looking out into the distance.  For Santa?   I don't know but I have noticed they are like weathervaines.  They always stand facing into the wind.  I guess they don't like their feathers ruffled just like we don't like our hair messed up.
These signs are placed here and there to help people remember to take care and protect the turtles.  I just love the turtles.  Even the zoo turtles.  When I got my new plates for Florida, I got the one that helps to protect the sea turtle.
This is not my plate but their sample plate.  The money goes towards
Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct sea turtle protection, research and recovery programs.

Well, I don't see too many evergreens like we see at home.  Instead there are many tall, and I mean tall, pine trees with large pinecones.  But people here have no hesitation in decorating their palm trees.  I am leaving you today with a picture of my neighbords palm.  Isn't it gorgeous!

Well, it is Friday evening and Ron is here in 5 days - Dave in 6.  We are almost ready for a great Christmas week.  Hey!   My Christmas shopping is even done and wrapped.   I think I will try to get out to the beach tomorrow and look for Santa......

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today is a great day.  Why?  Well, for several reasons.
1.  13 days till Ron comes down.
2.  14 days till Dave comes down.
3.  House is very Christmasy.
4.  I was part of the show planning with Kelly and Eric for the Holiday performances at school.
5.  My Mother and I have been wrapping Christmas gifts!
Speaking of my Mom - she is great.  I love to do things with her and I know I wear her out sometimes but maybe that is good for her.  I love to cook - she doesn't so much - so I think she enjoys me cooking dinner.  At least I hope so.
I mentioned wrapping gifts.  We moved her with an over - abundance of holiday gift wrap paper, bags, bows, and boxes.  In my opinion, that makes wrapping so fun!   Lots to choose from.  Organized the items and set up the dinning room table for a gift wrapping party.   I have been having a ball!
Now, we all have our places that we store or hide our gifts that we have bought before we have time to wrap them.  My place is in the corner in my bedroom.   Some people hide them in the closet.  But my Mom stores them in the whirlpool tub.   Huh??  I know, they are not hidden very good are they.
Yep.  Packages in the tub.  Who would of thought to look there?
Our family does Christmas stockings each year.   Of course Santa visits us!  Our stockings were old, and I mean old, and very sad looking.   So Mom and I ran to Michaels with a coupon, of course, and bought new stockings.   They hang above the fire place on the ship's wheel.  It really works out great.

Our house is very festive this it always is with candy canes shining, our manger scene, lights on the house, and other holiday decorations.  And when Jan 1 comes and we are ready to take them down, it will not be 10 degrees outside.   What a joy that will be.
The other night, Mom and Dad and I went to the Gulf Breeze Zoo's Christmas at the Zoo Lights.  It was wonderful!   More lite up than I ever expected.  I will go back again before the season is over. I know Mom loved it lots!

I got to play the disciplinarian that evening.  Some teenage boys were in the petting zoo area and hitting a steer (to be honest, I actually don't know what kind of animal it actually is).  I went over and threw on my teacher hat.  Told them in no uncertain terms that they would stop NOW and move on otherwise I would report them to the zoo officials.  When they did not move fast enough, I raised my voice a tad and said MOVE NOW!   Which they did.   Why do that to a beautiful animal.  Well, I had a half a cup of food pellets left and I gave the rest to the poor animal.  Do I talk to the animals.  Oh yes I do!  I love them all!
Well, tonight is a quiet night but tomorrow I am going shopping with my friend Nicole to the historic section of Pensacola.  So fun!   In the evening, Mom, Dad, and I are going to the Pensacola Beach Boat Parade.  I can't wait!  Mom and I have worked together to make this a wonderful holiday season for our family - the first one in Florida.  Thanks Mom - I am having fun and I love you! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tis The Season to be Jolly

What a great time we have been having the last few weeks.   Oh sure, there are errands like doctor appointments, getting license plates and license, and such but the weather has allowed for some beach days.  Thanksgiving was a wonderful day even though we were without Dave and Ron.  But as I write this, Ron will be here in 17 days and Dave in 18.  Dad and I (mostly Dad) put lots of decorations in the yard so we are very festive this year.  So are some of the neighbors!  Santa will not miss our neighborhood with all the light displays.
All the years I taught, the majority of the Christmas season was Christmas concerts, preparing for the concerts, stressing about the concerts, purchasing decorations for the get the idea.   So this is my first time to enjoy the season without the work responsibilities.  So Mom and I went to work.   We made our own swag for the front door.  Dad and I went for several walks over a week's time collecting pine cones.  We added these plus lights and ornaments to the swag.   It looks great!
Then I had a four foot tree that we placed next to the front door - also has lights.   I fell in love with a cute scrooge top hat from Hobby Lobby.  So (with a coupon) I picked it up to top off the tree. So cute.
Memories of Christmas always include cutting down the tree, snow, hot chocolate, fingers and toes cold.  Well, now new memories.  Dad putting lights on the palm tree!
Tonight, we ran over to the beach because the Margarittaville Hotel had artist showing some of the items off so we went to that. So much fun.  There was a steel drum performing adding to the festivities.
We had a young man take our picture at the hotel tonight.
Coming up in the next week is the lighted boat parade and the surfing santa parade.  I won't miss them!
Shopping is on the schedule.  Nicole, my wonderful friend down the street, and I are making lots of cookies and of course there are gifts to wrap. And the beach, oh, yes the beach.   Dad and I try to get there a couple times a week. 
It is beginning to feel more like home here - even thought when I talk about Indiana I say "home".  But memories help to make it feel like home and we have made so many wonderful memories in the last four months.   Tomorrow is Church, then finish making Christmas Cards and get the dinning room table clear of card scraps so we can start wrapping gifts.  

Miss the snow - don't miss shoveling.   Miss my bands but they are in good hands with Kelly.  Miss my brothers but they will both be here soon.   Miss my Indiana friends but I am coming to the realization that we can live apart and be close, wonderful friends.   Thank goodness for cell phones. is good.   Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Ok - I am a teacher, just retired.   Making rules comes naturally to me so let me share with you the rules of the beach.
1.  The beach is a place of peace and relaxation.  Even while dragging a chair, bucket for shells, umbrella, nets, beach bag, purse, beach towel, drink, cell phone, and camera with you through the sand.
2.   Even though the beach all looks the same, always drag all the above items further down the beach for no reason what so ever.
3.  Toenails must be appropriately painted.  No polish would just be......wrong.
4.  Be prepared that those perfectly pedicured toenails are not even seen because of sandy feet.
5.  Know that the salt spray will cause your hair to feel like sticky straw and your sunglasses to become a salt-foggy mess.   (But keep those sunglasses on at all times.  A true beach goer must at all times display the true cool-beach babe look.)
6.  Even though clueless about surfing and skin boarding - feel free to give advice.  I am sure that these talented beach surfers want your help. 
7.  Beware of those that wish to steal from you.  Turn your back and a bag of chips can disappear faster than a crab can grab your toe. 
8.  When it is time to go, you will drag  your chair, umbrella, and supplies back to the car wondering WHY did I set up so far from the car?  Leave the sand on the beach, even though it seems that buckets full end up in the car no matter how long you rinse and brush off sand.
9.  A red nose means  - whoops!!!  You forgot the suntan lotion again.
A true beach babe happily follows the above rules - because she knows she lives in paradise!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Company - come back, come back!

The month of October just flew by because company flew in to visit.   After Ron spend his 10 days here we hardly had a moment to rest and then came my Aunt Sandy and Cousin Tammy!  We were so excited to see them since they had been living on the west coast.  They spent the first night at the Margaritaville in Pensacola beach.  I was lucky enough to see the rooms - very classy!   If you have the money, this is a great place to stay on the gulf.
This picture was taken at Fort Pickens.  Why do we have warm day after warm day until company comes and then a "cold front" moves into the area.  Why?  Huh....why??
After Sandy and Tammy left, Betty and Kirk came for fall break.   Fellow teachers who need that break at the end of October.   I remember it well.  Dave (my bother) came in the next morning so the house was full of people, laughter and fun. 

So what does everyone want to do.  You got it!   BEACH!  We had 3 out of 4 good beach days and took advantage of the warm weather.

Some young guys were taking advantage of the waves to skin board.   Riding along the shoreline with a small board.  They were great.   Betty, who had never experienced this sport before was ready to give advice.  He-he.   We had a great time watching them wipe out and and ride the waves.

Betty loved the shelling and walking the beach.   But she is a water person.  Just watch out for those jelly fish!

Dave enjoys the surf and much as I do.  The power of the gulf is unbelievable!

Friends enjoying the beach.  Move here please, Betty. We would have such fun.

My friend down the road, Nicole, taught me how to do a great shrimp boil - shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob and sausage.  Kirk picked up hush puppies from Joe Patty's.  Yummmmmmy! 

One day we went to Alabama and went to a restaurant that Kirk read or heard about.  The place looked a bit like a dive but the food was great!  Just a fun place to stop.  Now to add more to this story.  We had planned on taking the ferry across to Dauphin Island.  Betty really, really , really wanted to do this.  The wind and waves did not allow this though.   In other words, I am still alive!   (I keep telling Betty this because I was worried that the weather was too choppy for such a trip.)  No trip was made and we plan on making this trip during Spring Break.  Dad and Kirk spent 6 hours in the Naval Museum together - they are getting to be good buddies.
Too soon it was time for everyone to go and the house was so quiet.  Too quiet.  No more company till Christmas.  I think even the gulls sensed the quiet and wished to see everyone back.  One last comment before I go.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETTY.  YOU DESERVE A GREAT BIRTHDAY!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Odds and Ends....

Money is my first topic for today.   I am trying to get used to the budget of a retiree and it is tough. I am learning to hate the mail.  It is usually a bill.   Ugh!!!   More thought process has to go into each purchase but I will get the hang of it.
Kacey, my pug, had a follow up visit to the vet today and more unexpected bills came from that!  She is worth it but expensive, not to feed but to keep healthy.   I might look into the pet insurance program. 

Dave is coming for fall break.  He is my brother that lives in Monticello, In and teaches.  Looking forward to his four day stay.   We always have lots of fun and I know we are going to the Oar House.  He loves that outdoor restaurant.  My Aunt Sandy and cousin Tammy are coming Wednesday for a 2 day visit.  Looking forward to seeing has been a long time.
One of the things I miss about Indiana is the boating that we used to do on Lake Shaffer.  We had several boats and loved to get out on the lake.  But all were sold when we headed to Florida.  We felt that our boats would be too small of the gulf...just not safe enough.
But now we live in paradise!   I love living so close to the beach and just running over every day if I wish.  The beauty of the island never gets old to me.   And it is 85 in mid cool is that!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ron Loves Shelling!

Ron - the younger of my two brothers just spent 10 wonderful days here.  It was so much fun that today seems too quiet and I miss him too much!  Come back Ron!  We did so much as a family.  Shelling and beach was at the top of the list but also went to eat and some great restaurants, went to the zoo several times, some shopping, and more beach.
We ran out to the beach after dinner one evening and just walked the beach.  Being there during the afternoon just wasn't enough.
I love this picture of Ron.   We have two different size nets for shelling - this is the larger - I like to use it because I can go deeper in the water to get larger shells.  Shelling is difficult to understand because one night there are shells everywhere and the next day - nothing!  Very confusing.

Notice how calm the water is in this shot.   Well, I love that because I am known as flopping around in the waves when they get too big.  I just can't seem to stand up.

We have shells, shells, and more shells.   This is just a small selection of our find.  We keep them and plan on putting them around the palm tree in the front.  I will never get tired of the beauty of shells.
Someone else loved having her Ron here for the week.  He chases her all over the house and she loves it!

My friend Nicole taught us how to make a shrimp boil.  So good and so easy.  All in one pot you add red potatoes, corn on the cob, polish sausage, and shrimp.  Throw it all on the table when cooked and eat away!  This is on the menu when Dave, Betty, and Kirk come down in a few weeks.  Here is Mom digging in on the good food!   Way to go Mom!

We went to the zoo several times and I could not keep Ron out of the bird sanctuary.  It is pretty cool, I have to admit.   It is not unusual to have 10 or more birds land on you when you walk in to the enclosure.   One of the best things about the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

The lemon tree at the zoo shows us what my newly planted lemon tree will look like one day.
I have been blessed with two brothers that I love dearly.   I need them and they need me.  We have so much fun together and it is hard to live 900 miles away from each other now but when we get together, which is often, we have fun!   Keep those airline tickets cheap please so we can keep flying back and forth!
Miss you Ron .........but Dave comes in for fall break in two weeks!  YEAH!!

Bye for now!!!!