Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stormy weather

We had rather rough weather come through last night. I've never seen the sky look so bizarre as towering clouds battled for dominance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Voices of the deep

It's not that I have too much time on my hands, it's just that I see fascinating shapes and patterns all around me. Or, perhaps I spent too much time cloud-watching as a child. This morning, as I looked into the water, I could see profiles of a choir as they sang!

[Click on the photo to enlarge and see if you can see the choir singing!]

A moment

"Each moment of the year has its own beauty . . . a picture which was never before and shall never be seen again."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A grateful Sunday

What a beautiful morning!

It looks as though we may have dodged a bullet named Ernesto. Yesterday was spent organizing in the event of an evacuation later in the week. Now if only the National Hurricane Center had sent out the updated track before I finished off that 1/2 gallon of ice cream, I would REALLY be grateful!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Magnolia

"There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty."

-- Joseph Addison

Hurricane Chaser!

Aha! Now we see what kept Tropical Storm Debby out of the Gulf of Mexico! Heck, he scares me too!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wonder of earth

"I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth..."

-- Pearl S. Buck

Another perspective in the series I took this evening, observing a storm at sea. It is wonderful to have both my camera and computer working to share the view with you!

Paradise is living on the beach!

Troubles in Paradise

"People need trouble -- a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy."

-- William Faulkner

"I have troubles; I am not a vegetable; I am happy. I disagree."

-- Barrier Island Girl

Thank God and Hewlitt-Packard and UPS -- I am back in business tonight! Hopefully I will not have to talk with Mohamed or Arvind or anyone in India for a decade or more!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I believe!

Unfortunately I am still having serious problems with my computer. After spending four hours with a Microsoft tech today, I was only able to get one photo (with his help) uploaded to my blog. {{{sob}}} The problem has been switched over to the Microsoft Research team who will call me back tomorrow -- or Monday.

I think this is where we go back to stories of our youth -- remember Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and the evil Captain Hook who poisoned Tinkerbell? Everyone clap your hands and repeat after me, "I believe in fairies" -- oops, I mean, "I believe it can be fixed. I believe it can be fixed. I believe..."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Trouble in Paradise

Just a note to visitors, for the past few days I have been experiencing problems with my blog. Quirky problems which were puzzling at first have become major ones and at this point I am unable to post any photos.

Hopefully I will be able locate a computer guru and get the problem fixed soon. Until then, thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Look at the sky

"...look at the sky, watch the sun rise and sun set, watch clouds and name their shapes, watch the moon and stars come out, trust the universe, stay up late, climb trees, daydream, do nothing and do it very well..."

--Bruce Williamson - "It's Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The cure

"The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears, or the sea."

-- Isak Dinesen

Virtual Shopping at Quietwater Boardwalk

Yes, I know it has been renamed Portofino Boardwalk, but I simply can't bring myself to use the new name yet. What I will do is honor the request of some faithful, but faraway blog viewers and provide a semi-sorta virtual shopping tour of the Boardwalk.

There are some great shops open and just waiting for your arrival. Below is a preview of what you will find and hopefully it will whet your appetite for a shopping spree soon.


LEE TRACY's boutique is excellent and more upscale than what we've seen on the island in the past! While they have the prerequisite tee's available, they also carry a good variety of resort-casual clothing. After I got home, I was upset to realize I'd managed to get out of the store without a shot of their shoes! {{{gasp!}}} They have great selection of sandals, platforms, and wedges; dressy and casual.

And purses in every color (this is only a few available).

My photo does not come close to showing you the lovely selection of delicate earrings in this display.

New in the area, LEE TRACY started in the Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi area several years ago where they once had a boutique in Grand Casino, the biggest casino on the Gulf coast.

LEE TRACY has a nice selection for guys too! See, you can color-coordinate with your man!


Across the way, at GO FISH, you can always find something unique for that hard-to-buy-for friend! I love this quirky little guy. Is he a frog, a horny-toad, or some other mutant creature? And why do I find him fascinating? That alone is slightly disturbing.

GO FISH has a colorful selection of sundresses, hats, and other resort wear.

"I'll take the green one, please."


"Agnes, dear, you are simply rail thin."

I want this pair of pants at INTERNATIONAL BOUTIQUE!

By now I am getting quite impressed at the selection and quality of clothing in the shops on the Boardwalk. My eyes lit up as I noticed this "25% OFF" sign. (That little red post-it in the upper right corner.)

Oooohhhh...I like the red wrap!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Geography of the soul

This tiny sand crab is no bigger than my fingernail on a worrisome day. I smiled at his quick sideways scurry, and again with recognition that I've found my true home and joy with each new discovery (tiny though it may be) on the island.

"There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives.

"Those who are lucky enough to find it ease like water over a stone, onto its fluid contours, and are home.

"Some find it in the place of their birth; others may leave a seaside town, parched, and find themselves refreshed in the desert. There are those born in rolling countryside who are really only at ease in the intense and busy loneliness of the city.

"For some, the search is for the imprint of another; a child or a mother, a grandfather or a brother, a lover, a husband, a wife, or a foe.

"We may go through our lives happy or unhappy, successful or unfulfilled, loved or unloved, without ever standing cold with the shock of recognition, without ever feeling the agony as the twisted iron in our soul unlocks itself and we slip at last into place."

-- Josephine Hart

The Empty Nest

The bad news is that I have no photos of the hatchlings to show you.

The good news is that WE HAVE BABY TURTLES!!!!!!

A small group gathered quietly around the sea turtle nesting site last night, waiting for that special moment when tiny heads and flippers would begin rising above the sand.

For almost two hours observers quietly sat or stood motionless as possible (a very difficult feat for some of the youngsters), as a park ranger intern, Monica Cain, SCA; an official GINS volunteer, Melanie Waite, and local veterinarian Dr. Limarie Rodriguez sat ready to guide and protect the tiny hatchlings as they made their trek to the water. Like me, most of the group had never observed an event like this and had no idea what to expect. Each time there was a shift of sand, a collective "oooohhhhh" escaped and eyes widened in anticipation.

Suddenly, around 9:00 p.m., action began in earnest as the hatchlings at the bottom of the nest made a final push toward the surface and dozens of baby turtles began what I can only describe as a 'rolling boil' out of the sand. It was incredible! Dr. Rodriguez, Monica, and Melanie quickly went into action, gently placing the tiny sea turtles into two large containers, keeping an accurate count as they worked.

As the baby turtles were carried closer to the water's edge to be released, observers lined up in two rows, making a path to the water. Unfortunately the baby turtles were not as cooperative as the observers. The scene became a version of a popular Super Bowl commercial about herding cats!

At last, the hatchlings finally made their way into the Gulf of Mexico, the females hopefully to return and lay their eggs on our beach someday. The young and very happy ranger beamed as she announced that over 100 of the 119 eggs had hatched from this nest.

Congratulations, Pensacola Beach!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Awwww, dude!

There was a group of young men on the beach at dawn this morning, taking photos, strutting their stuff, and posturing as only young men can do. A few sat aside quietly to watch the sun rise. It was evident that they were good kids since they took time to pick up and dispose of beer cans they noticed on the beach, despite the fact the cans were empty!

Several of them were curious about the sea turtle nest and quickly gathered around a Park Ranger who came by to check the site.

" did they know to come here?" wondered one tousled-haired, sleepy-eye boy.

"What do you mean?" the Ranger asked.

"Well, like, how did they find it? Are they attracted to the orange [flagging]? How'd they know you fixed this place up for them?"

"Awwww, dude....." one of his compadres groaned.

"Actually," the Ranger replied with incredible composure, "we roped the area off after the eggs were laid."

It was difficult to keep from chuckling out loud. Luckily I remembered the words of my old school teacher, Mr. Deaver: "The only stupid question is the one you didn't ask."

Then again, Mr. Deaver didn't hear this conversation.

Reflection of the sunrise

This morning's sunrise was reflected in the western sky. Before daybreak, lightning dramatically filled the same cloud formations.

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."

-- Frank Lloyd Wright

Turtles Tonight!

No, this Park Ranger intern is not snoozing on the job. She is listening for sounds of baby turtles scratching below the sand. After the eggs hatch, it may take three to seven days for them to dig their way to the surface.

Last night a couple of hatchlings made their way to the surface, where an intern stood by to assist. They are gently scooped into a container, taken closer to the water's edge, then allowed to crawl out of the container, onto the beach and into the water.

This last step of allowing the hatchlings to move around in the sand and work their way to the Gulf is very important since it is the way our beach is 'imprinted' on the turtle as their birth beach. Female turtles will generally return to the same beach where they were hatched to lay their eggs.

Tonight the rest are expected to emerge!

Ahhhhh...I feel like handing out cigars -- candy ones, of course.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The flowering that waits

"In our breathless attempts we often miss the flowering that waits for afternoon."

-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh, "Gift from the Sea"

As I walked the path home this morning, I noticed a difference in some of the sea oats around my fence. Looking closer I realized that the older panicles had taken on a slight blush.

There was grace in their lower bow, but I fought sadness that their golden glow may be changing.

Tonight, I picked up my favorite book and smiled as I read the quote above, a life lesson from sea oats. I shall slow down and enjoy the "flowering that waits for afternoon".

Railroad Vine

There are 500 varities of morning glories. This is a photo of the type growing wild on my end of the beach: Railroad vine. Its beautiful blooms greet me every morning along the end of our community dock


"We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon."

-- Konrad Adenauer

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Portulaca (Moss Rose)

I have the most beautiful little 'volunteers' around my yard. I tried without success to grow Portulaca, also know as Moss Rose, in containers when I lived in Tennessee. Now, they are sprouting up everywhere, giving a splash of color in the sugar white sand. They bloom in morning and afternoon, but close at night or on cloudy days.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sea Turtles

For those of you who have not seen the signs for sea turtle nesting areas on Pensacola Beach, here are photos.

I wish I knew how they find and mark sea turtle nests. I assume early morning beach patrols are on alert for turtle tracks during certain times of the year. This particular site is right across from my subdivision and [if you're out there reading this, Mr. Gulf Islands National Seashore volunteer-recruiter] I'd love to be a sea turtle, hatch-monitoring, volunteer.

Wouldn't a photo of baby turtles heading for the Gulf be an awesome shot?!

Oh yes, if you happen to see some cold-hearted person intentionally disturbing the nest, kick 'em in the shins and run like crazy for back-up. Scientists estimate that only 1 in 1000 to 10,000 babies will survive to adulthood, so it might be worth the assault charge.

Wrapped in awe

I love walking out to the Sound in the evening to watch the sun go down. Sometimes it disappears in a haze, sometimes it is framed with dramatic clouds, and sometimes it seems to envelop the horizon in a golden glow, like this.

"... we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.

"How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."

-- Paul Bowles (1910 - 1999)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sea Oats

I am back in Tennessee for a few days to check on my parents, but I shot a few extra photos to post while I'm away.

Now that most schools are back in session we will be seeing fewer vacationers. When I return next week, it will be a good time for me to capture the grace and beauty of the sea oats that are finally coming back. With a bit of rain, all the new sprigs which have recently been planted should take off and give us a bumper crop next year.

I'm also anticipating the hatching of sea turtles in the next couple of weeks. My dream would be to capture a shot of that event.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Heavenly light

"Words are mere sound and smoke, dimming the heavenly light."

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), Faust

Life on Pensacola Beach

There is nothing more wonderful than coming home, especially when home is Pensacola Beach. I'm reminded me of a quote that someone recently forwarded to me. Unfortunately the author is unknown:

"Today is a gift -- that's why it is called the present."

Every day I live on this barrier island is a wonderful gift.

Looking outward together

"...Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction”

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944), French pilot, writer

Tuesday, August 01, 2006