Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Barktoberfest for one

Pee Pup: "Hey, Mom, how come you never take me to Barktoberfest?"

Barrier Island Girl: "Cause you're a spoiled little puppy who doesn't play well with other pooches, you get jealous when I photograph other dogs, and you won't keep your costume on!"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Barktoberfest 2006, Part I

Barktoberfest, the main fundraiser for The Humane Society, was held in Seville Square today. Below are some of Barrier Island Girl's awards for Best in Show:

Award: Best Pirate

"Whattaya mean there's no rum?"

Award: Best Pink Diva

"My beret matches my tongue, oui?"

Award: Scariest dog on the planet

{{{I'm not putting words in the mouth of any dog that looks like this! In fact, I may have nightmares about him for a while!}}}

Award: Best Party-Hearty'er

"I'm pooped."

Award: Most Precious

"I'm simply waiting for tea time, dear."

Award: Most Spoiled

"Mommy, you mean I have to learn to walk like them someday?"

Award: Best use of yellow yarn

"Ja, my name is Inga."

Award: Prettiest Pug

"I'm just here to observe."

Award: Hottest dog

"If one more dog tried to take a bit outta my bun...!"

Award: Best Double-Take

"Dahling, you're simply skin and bones!"

Barktoberfest 2006, Part II

More of Barrier Island Girl's Awards at Barktoberfest 2006!

Award: Best Snoop Dogg impression

"Get back, JoJo! "

Award: Most Patriotic

"So, does the red tie mean you're Republican?"

Award: Most Elegant

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

Award: Best Behaved!

"We were the Pom Prom Princesses"

Award: Best Pumpkin

"I'm the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"

Award: Best impression of a waif from Les Miserables

"Can we puhlease go home now?"

Award: Biggest Hair

"Don't you just luvvvvvvvvv my leopard jacket? Oh my, you mean it's actually giraffe???"

Award: Best Poker Face

"I'm the King of Hearts."

Award: Most ready for naptime

"My bottle, my booties, my bib, my binkie, my bedtime."

Award: Came closest to biting the photographer

"Back up, sweetie, or Number 14 is gonna make mincemeat outta your arm there."

The Violet

"A vi'let on the meadow grew,
That no one saw, that no one knew..."

~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe -- The Violet

Friday, October 27, 2006

Peeking at the diary

"The sky is that beautiful old parchment in which the sun and the moon keep their diary."

~~ Alfred Kreymborg (1883-1966) American novelist and poet

Thursday, October 26, 2006

An empty bench

"To transform the emptiness of loneliness, to the fullness of aloneness. Ah, that is the secret of life."
~~ Sunita Khosla

The Market on the Island

The Market on the Island is great place to pass time on an autumn afternoon. The outdoor seating area allows you to watch a sunset or boats entering the marina at the end of the day. No need to rush, the Market has great deli sandwiches and delicious hot soups available while enjoying the view.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Autumn at Range Point

Another hint of autumn on the island, Goldenrod is blooming at Range Point. AHCHEWWWW!

Actually, Goldenrod is frequently mistaken for Ragweed, the real allergy culprit which blooms at the same time of year.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

St. Michael's Cemetery - the history of Pensacola

Each year I look forward to the free walking tours sponsored by Pensacola Junior College, led by Professor Randall Broxton. My favorite is the tour of St. Michael's Cemetery which is currently undergoing restoration.

Walking through the cemetery, you will notice names that strike you as familiar. Then you realize you are looking at the resting place of people whose names have been commemorated by streets and towns and counties all around us.

St. Michael's was designated a cemetery almost 200 years ago by the King of Spain and is one of the oldest existing cemeteries in the state of Florida.

From simple to grand, monuments and markers may display a distant country of birth, an inscription of service in war, or verses of grief and loss, all of which give us some small insight to the individual or those who cared for them:

"Goodbye dear Mother, you have left me,
no more on earth your face I'll see,
your tender voice is always with me.
Through your illness I was absent,
yet you asked for me,
my tenderest thoughts was ever with you,
though I was far across the sea."

~~ Monument to Mrs. Eliza Adkison
Born Jan 1, 1820
Died June 20, 1882

A statue of St. Katherine watches over the family tomb of John Williams.

And names frequently reflect the heritage of those who rest there. "Marie" seems to hold some special story.

As ships entered Pensacola Bay during the 1800's, they would drop ballast before replacing it with lumber, cotton, or grain and sailing away to distant ports. Millions of tons of rock and gravel were dumped near Deer Point or along the shore of the bay.

Eventually, enterprising businessmen contracted to recover ballast, then sold it to Pensacolians for use in building homes, foundations, and/or walkways. This photo of the Grant Wheeler tomb in St. Michael's shows a unique use of ballast.

(Use of ballast can also be seen in North Hill homes or around Plaza Ferdinand)

Families of Norwegian sailors lost at sea near Pensacola in 1867 sent money for headstones.

The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 killed more than 50 million people world-wide. Such huge numbers are incomprehensible. A tombstone of two young sisters, ages 13 and 18, who died on the same day were most likely victims of influenza that year. But, whether the result of accident or disease, we look at their stone and understand the depth of despair this family suffered.

A Yellow Fever epidemic in 1874 caused the death of 354 of Pensacola's 1400 residents -- a full quarter of the population at that time. Terrified of the disease which was thought to be contracted during the day, the cemetery was lit at night by lanterns of families burying their dead.

One woman, devastated by the loss of so many in her family to yellow fever, wanted to demonstrate her anger to God by refusing to bury them facing east as customary. Instead, the graves are turned north/south.

In the northwest quadrant of the St. Michael's Cemetery is The Priest's Mound which contains graves of several priests and pastors who served the people of Pensacola.

So much history is contained within the boundaries of St. Michael's. Over 3,200 graves are marked, but new GPR technology is being used to locate many more, possibly dating back into the 1790's, leading some to believe the number of graves could actually reach 7,000.

Dedicated volunteers are frequently seen cleaning, repairing and rennovating, fighting the ravages of time and weather as seen etched on this beautiful statue above.

But a more difficult battle is constantly fought against the dark hearts of those who vandalize cemeteries. Who can possibly understand people who rob graves or get a perverse thrill from destroying pieces of our heritage?

St. Michael's has suffered tremendously from vandalism through the years, but the desecration has rallied many to become actively involved in researching and preserving St. Michael's and other local cemeteries.

While researching links which I have included in this post -- and which I encourage you to utilize to learn more about the rich history of Pensacola -- I came across a wonderful quote by a University of West Florida student:

"The vandalized graves are more than slabs of granite," said Siska Williams, a historical archaeology graduate student. "Pensacola's present is rooted in the lives these individuals lived."

Friday, October 20, 2006

A new day

The rain stops, the wind dies down, the clouds clear, and you feel like a kid during recess again. Life on the island is good...and beautiful!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Some strangeness

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."

~~ Francis Bacon

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gone fishing

Life is getting back to normal on the island after a couple of days of high winds and high surf. To the delight of local surfers and onlookers, the surf is still up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Unfortunately I suffered a corneal abrasion yesterday when sand blew in my eye while taking a few shots on the beach. I'll have to stay away from the beach for a couple of days while it heals. The sugar-white sands are completely blinding to someone with an eye injury.

This photo was taken at Range Point on the Sound side of the island.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Batten down

The last two days have brought very high winds and surf to the island. As you can see in this photo, the water swept slightly past the sand fencing at high tide.

Wind gusts have been in excess of 40 mph and that was not even at the beach, but in Gulf Breeze. High tides have been almost two feet higher than normal.

Waves have reported been from 7 - 12 feet high. Long time residents have probably experienced this before, but it's the first time I've seen it when it was not associated with a tropical storm.

Now please excuse me while I go floss the sand out of my teeth, toss my gritty contacts, and tame my Irish hair.

Monday, October 16, 2006

An almighty element

"'Ay," said the Captain, reverentially; "it's a almighty element. There's wonders in the deep, my pretty. Think on it when the winds is roaring and the waves is rowling.'"

~~ Charles Dickens, "Dombey and Son"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

On my heart

"Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart."

~~ William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878, American poet)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lovin' the Doogie McDoogle

And so I ask, how do we define love and where do we find it? No matter if it is found through a lover, a pet, or even an island, love can enter our heart in the most unexpected way. Whether it comes early or late in life, it gives us passion and purpose. Whether through sunsets and sugar-white sand or warm brown eyes, we recognize love when it arrives.

Out of control

This beautiful-but-strange sunset on Thursday was not courtesy of Mother Nature. It was the result of a "controlled burn" in Lillian, Alabama which ended up out of control. The huge smoke plume drifted out of the northwest and toward Pensacola Beach.

As you can see, it stretched far into the Gulf of Mexico.