Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gasparilla State Park in Boca Grande

John and I had planned on returning to the beach we had visited in Boca Grande while we were down here visiting the children last June, so my next adventure was to do just that.

This morning, I once again took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and set forth with "Lola's" directions. Oh, I haven't mentioned Lola have I? She's the voice on my GPS, so named because whatever Lola says, we do and so far, she hasn't gotten us lost. So, having programmed Lola to get me to the beach in Boca Grande, I set out for my adventure du jour. I left around 8:15 and was surprised that the traffic was not as bad as I anticipated. It took about an hour to get there and when I arrived, I found I was the only soul on the beach as far as I could see in any direction.

and since there was no one there to snap a picture of me, I just got one of my shadow! Traveling alone has its disadvantages.

The weather had recently been stormy and the surf was just beginning to settle down so I was finding some incredible shells and other less savory finds......

This stone crab had just recently passed away as he was still intact and quite colorful among the shells. I actually poked him just to make sure he wasn't still alive.
This poor shore bird looked like the unfortunate victim of a shark attack as the only thing left of him was his head. Needless to say, I did not venture into the water!

I walked up and down the long length of the beach for about 3 hours, searching for large shells that were still intact and found quite a few. It was interesting to note that similar shells were to be found in certain places and not others.

Other than the great variety of shells, I'm afraid I find Florida beaches to be a bit boring. There's not much to see other than a huge expanse of water that slowly drops below the horizon.
I guess I just miss my rocky coastline in Maine.

I did find a few interesting things though. This lighthouse was at one end of the beach....

and this pier to nowhere seems to have been what was left after a hurricane blew through.

Again, since I had no one to take my picture, I just got creative and realized I had a setting on my camera that was "self portrait"

The clouds above also made for an interesting photo.

And, last but not least, when I got back, I unloaded my bounty from the shore.....

I think I might just make a little "faux" beach when I get back home!

Life was sunny today.

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Walk in Lettuce Lake Park

Yesterday, my son Brian, DIL Amy and kids took me on an outing to Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa. The weather was beautiful (for a change) and we had a lovely time walking along the board walk, looking for wildlife. It was pretty early in the morning and still a bit cool, so we didn't spy any big 'gators, but managed to see one little one.

Ashton and Kaiya had fun atop the tower over looking the lake......

and running along the boardwalk that took us through the park.

We found these three turtles sunning themselves on a log.....

while Brian caught this little lizard who hopped back and forth from Brian to Amy, delighting the kids to no end!

A fun time was had by all and we headed off to a Chinese Buffet for lunch.

I'm finding this is a time of "firsts" in my life without John. We did everything together and enjoyed our life immensely, whether it was something as mundane as grocery shopping or exciting as our annual trek up Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park.

I ventured out on my own a couple of days ago with a road trip to Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida. I hadn't driven much in the past 7 or 8 years and Heaven knows, the traffic in Maine is not nearly what one finds down here, so it was quite the adventure for me. But, I must find ways to fill the days and I can only go to the YMCA or read so much. Therefore, I gave myself a pep talk, took a deep breath and headed out onto the freeway!

Spanish Point was interesting from an archeological point of view, but I was hoping for more of a botanical garden type visit. The few colorful flowers I found were interesting, but no signs gave me a clue as to what they were. I plan on visiting the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota soon.

This "hammock" tree had a very interesting stump.

And this little green gecko was kind enough to sit still for a close up!

According to the literature, all building materials and supplies had to be brought in by boat in those days and the Point turned in to quite the spot for northern tourists looking for a respite from the cold winter days.

My next first was going to a restaurant for a meal by myself. It was quite the strange feeling, not having John sitting across from me asking "what are you going to have". I sat alone at the table, observing my fellow diners and feeling envy that they had someone with whom to share the experience and realizing that this was only one of a long line of many "firsts" upcoming in my life.

Again, another deep breath. Carrying on alone right now is the most difficult.

Life is Good, but sometimes quite unfair.

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Trip to Myakka State Park

Yesterday, my son, Brian, his wife Amy, my grandson, Ashton and granddaughter, Kaiya took me out to visit Myakka State Park.

We had a lovely time beginning with a picnic surrounded by a murder of crows who sat waiting expectantly for bits of sandwich to drop from the table. Needless to say, Ashton and Kaiya were quite accommodating, despite being warned not to feed the wildlife.

While on the nature walk, we spied lots of birds and other wildlife, but we were surprised to see this wild hog rooting around a bog.

Seven year old Ashton was very interested in the holes in the trees made by Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers.......

....and the different algae and lichen we found.

Some of the fungi looked familiar. I recall seeing lots of these in Maine.

Five year old Kaiya liked running along the path and sitting in trees while having her picture taken.

Ashton managed to get into this shot, as well.

And what's a nature walk in Florida without seeing a few alligators? We were not disappointed.

These fellas were HUGE! I couldn't believe there were people kayaking in the vicinity.

All in all, we had quite a lovely day with lots of exciting things to see and talk about.

Thank you, Brian and Amy for including me in your Saturday adventure.

Life is Good.

Hugs, Grandma Giddy

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Time will heal

Yesterday, five weeks had passed since I lost my beloved John. Time has not yet begun to heal the overwhelming sense of emptiness and heartache. Each day dawns with thoughts of him and the endless hours march by in agonizing slow motion. Some things have gotten better; I can now write about it without melting down into a teary mess, but the lump in my throat remains.

I was hoping that coming to Florida, as we had planned would help ease the pain, but it hasn't and I find myself second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking; why did I not see how serious his condition had become? Why did he not heed my constant pleas to have a thorough physical? Why was I not more insistent that he do so? Why was he so damned stubborn?

The questions continue to plague me, unfortunately, to no avail. What is done is done and cannot be undone. Try as I might, I cannot awaken from this nightmare. Down here in Florida, I constantly see happy, elderly couples and I wonder why, oh why, could we not have had a few more years together?

I know that this too, shall pass in time, things will get better and in the meantime, I need to focus on the wonderful memories we shared for the 45 years we were together even though those memories bring tears and more heartache right now.

I'm trying. Life is still good, just sad for the time being.

Hugs, Giddy