Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Getting back to normal

A personal note to my blog viewers: It is taking me a while to get my life back in order after my father passed away. I still have my 'down days' now and then, but one of the things which finally had to be done was knee surgery for a torn lateral meniscus.

I injured myself around the first of December while in Tennessee and obviously was unable to attend to it while caring for my dad. Upon my return home to Pensacola Beach, the first thing I tried was physical therapy, but it soon became apparent -- with the help of an MRI -- that PT alone would not solve the situation.

The irony of this particular injury was that I could climb stairs or walk on a flat surface with very little problems, but any unstable surface such as the beach or sandy areas resulted in quite a bit of pain. For a nature photographer, that was not a good sign.

I underwent surgery yesterday morning at Gulf Breeze Hospital and the procedure went exceptionally well. I was blessed with great doctors, nurses and a delightful anesthetist! Hopefully I'll be exploring the island again in no time. In fact, if I can finagle a temporary Handicap Parking sign for my vehicle, I may be able to hit the Pensacola Jazz Fest this weekend in Seville Square! Of course that may be a bit hopeful, but you never know what a positive attitude can do.

Thank you to all my loyal blog viewers!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Save the Gamers; Save the World

When you think of Pensacola Beach, especially during Spring Break, most think of the 'Salt Life' and short boards. But this weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn there was one group -- Panhandle Gamers -- who were all about motherboards and gaming.

This group of gamers can disassemble/reassemble a computer to their own specifications with the ease of a preschooler connecting dots.

This focused teen may someday be one of the kids who pulls in a six-figure income. Oh yeah, it happens!

An impressive display. A glimpse inside this computer was more like a work of art. The kids have every right to be proud of their work.

Save the GAMERS! Save the WORLD! Okay, so I'm a fan of "Heroes", but someone attending this convention might just make a real difference in our lives someday.

Happiness is a group of gamers!

I'm all thumbs, but thinking about it, maybe I have a chance to be a gamer someday!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Finding the beautiful

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The significance of sandcastles

Even if the crumbling foundation is all that remains of a sandcastle along the shoreline, it is a charming reminder of a day well spent. Children -- or those who have rediscovered their inner child -- built it with joy and danced around it with delight. Even as the castles are washed away at high tide, there is no sadness; only anticipation of the creativity, determination for bigger castles, and laughter that tomorrow will bring.

Always look back

When you're on the island, always take one last look back. You never know when Mother Nature wants to show off.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
~~ Marcel Proust

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The path

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Monday, March 12, 2007


A recent foray into Range Point at low tide led me to a remarkable discovery. I actually heard the presence of these little scavengers before spotting them. I had never seen crabs like these with a disproportionately large left claw and tiny one opposite.

Suddenly, I realized the eerie sound was coming from thousands of tiny crabs -- and their giant claws -- moving up the bank and into the shelter of tall marsh grasses as I invaded their territory. I was mesmerized to see them move in unison with the click-click-clicking in the air. I thanked them for some interesting photos and left them in peace, content with my nature lesson for the day.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Just breathe

"Why am I in such a hurry to get to the next thing in my life, when what I'm doing now was what I was in such a hurry to get to just a moment before?"
~~ Mark Irish

Friday, March 09, 2007

New Addition - The Swans

Sometimes life can be too lovely to describe. Yesterday, from my bedroom window, I saw two swans swimming on Santa Rosa Sound and rushed out to get a photograph. Unfortunately they had already passed my dock and I only got a couple of quick shots.
I kept thinking that something seemed slightly odd about one of the swans which kept its wings elevated. It wasn't until tonight when I zoomed in (beyond a magnification which can be posted), that I discovered a baby swan (a cygnet) was protectively piggy-backing a ride on one of the adults. From my research, I believe these are Mute Swans.
There may be more than one cygnet on the swan's back, but it was impossible for me to see from this angle. It was a lovely discovery, nevertheless, which will delight me for some time -- I'd say until the time one decides to take a bite of my camera or my tush.


This bird is heading east, but it's time to say goodbye to most of our snowbirds who are heading back north. I was honored to make friends with some delightful snowbirds and wish them a safe trip home in time for Easter. (Personally, I think they spotted the first flock of Spring Break'ers hitting Pensacola Beach.) See you next year!

SLIME on Pensacola Beach

Kids on the island will tell you Pensacola Beach has made it to the BIG TIME!

Pensacola Beach was one of 20 stops across the nation as Nickelodeon's 18-wheeler Slime Mobile works its way from Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles, California for the Kid's Choice Awards on March 31.

Your neighbor's 10-year old will be able to tell you who is about to burst out of the truck!

It's Nickelodeon's own PICK BOY! {{{Pssst, he's a super hero who 'picks' people from the audience.}}}

PICK BOY poses with happy fans!

Adorable little girl with an obviously tough-headed mom! Ouch!

Ahhhh...I discovered a baby Barrier Island Girl!!!!

How can two slimey kids look so perfectly happy? Must be the slime.

OH NO! Katie King from the Pensacola News Journal grabbed my shot. Oh well, press does have it's privileges. Darn!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stad Amsterdam

The majestic Stad Amsterdam, a three-masted clipper, sailed into Pensacola early Tuesday morning and is scheduled to leave at 11:00 p.m. tonight. This beautiful ship which was inspired by 19th-century clippers took 200,000 hours to construct - 35,000 of which were spent on the hull.

Although it was not open for public tours, the 250 ft. long, 35 ft. wide, clipper enthralled visitors who walked or drove by in a steady stream.

The highest mast is 150 ft. tall.

One can only imagine the beauty of this ship on high seas when all of its 29 sails are unfurled.

The graceful figurehead is said to symbolize the belief that a woman can calm the sea (especially Poseidon, god of the sea in Greek mythology) and offer protection for the ship and its crew.

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over."
~~ John Masefield (1878-1967)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Range Point Beauty

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting with friends who live at Portofino. Their suite faces northeast with a stunning view of Range Point and an unobstructed view of the Gulf Islands National Seashore all the way to Navarre Beach.

Many of my walks begin at Seashore Village and continue around the tip of Range Point. But seeing it from this vantage is a rare treat. Most visitors enjoy walks along the Gulf of Mexico, but they do not realize the beauty and solitude they are missing on the other side of the island, along Santa Rosa Sound.

This photo was taken at the end of last summer when sea oats were gleaming like burnished gold as they waved in island breezes. It shows more closely the natural beauty around the tip of Range Point, shown in the photos above.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." ~~ Rachel Louise Carson