Happy Halloween from the FLÖÖF!
(No kitties were harmed in the making of my fluffy orange cat wearing a witch hat. She was highly annoyed but not injured! LOL)
Love and I went down to Honeymoon Island State Park Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t been down there in years and years and the weekend before, it poured so we our idea of heading over that way got rained out.
Located just off the mainland cost of Dunedin and north of Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island is accessible by causeway and cost us $8 admission for two of us in the car. It’s a pretty scenic drive down the Dunedin Causeway and for those who just want to fish or canoe, there are public access parking lots all along which cost nothing.
Since I hadn’t been in years, I really didn’t remember what the beach looked like. It’s quite a bit different from most of our local Gulf Coast white sand beaches because it’s very rocky. Tons of limestone rocks – some quite large! – covered much of the beach. This was the first time in pretty much forever that I left my shoes on as we walked the shore. It was just easier to get around without worrying about rocks this way and let us venture further down the shoreline.
There is a narrow sandy beach though and not all areas are as rocky. So there is space to set up an umbrella or beach towel.
We noticed some amazingly neat patterns in the sand, which is not something I see in other beaches like Clearwater or Madeira. I can only assume it is a result of the rocks and the way the water comes up on the island. Whatever the cause, it made for really neat photos!
There are also a large number of shells on the beach in addition to the rocks. This is just a tiny handful; at some places there were literally piles of them.
There is also a large trail of unspoiled woods but a few steps onto the trail and we were set upon by swarms of mosquitoes. Bug spray is DEFINITELY a requirement if you want to explore the forested northern tip of the island. It didn’t help that it was getting towards dusk as that point – a time when mosquitoes come out in larger numbers.
Overall though it was a unique beach and very different from our typical Gulf Coast beaches. The rocks, while a deterrent to barefoot walking/swimming in many parts of the northern shore, made for really interesting and almost alien landscape. The island is very natural and unspoiled and on a Saturday afternoon in September had a very low crowd. Parking was ample and there were several pavilions with restrooms that I saw right off the beach. (I didn’t use the facilities but it wasn’t for lack of ease to get to them.)
If you’re looking for something a little different, with a focus more on exploration of wild Florida and less on sugar sand beaches, Honeymoon Island is certainly a neat afternoon. Though it’s a bit pricey at $8, that does include parking. (And parking on most beaches in the area will run you $5-15 for an afternoon anyway.) It’s also really wonderful for those wanting to partake of watersports such as fishing or kayaking. Additionally, there is a ferry ($14/person) which takes you to neighboring Caladesi Island if you want even more places to explore.
Like many last night, I heard the shocking and sad news of Robin Williams’ death. Like a punch to the gut, it came out of nowhere and it stole my breath away. And like many, I’m left with a jumbled mess of emotion about this, unsure how to properly feel or react.
Logically, I know that all too often the creative, funny types suffer from the darkest depression and self loathing of all. And that the funny persona is usually just a mask to hide those inner demons. Make fun of yourself before someone does it to you; make them laugh so they can’t see the pain within. I get it.
But I guess I thought Robin Williams was one of the rare escapees who had battled hard, fought long and overcome his personal demons. I’ve heard him talk openly about his addictions and his past and I thought he was in a better place emotionally, having come through the other side of it.
So to hear that not only did he die, but that he took his own life…shocking.
I feel so bad for anyone who feels that there is literally nothing worth living for; nothing worth fighting for. The fact that he had to reach the point in which suicide was the “only” option for him and the “only” way past the pain he must have been feeling is just so sad and upsetting. I deeply sympathize with people who reach that breaking point.
I’ve battled depression in my life and I’m no innocent to thoughts of permanently escaping that inner pain. As a child, I grew up terrorized by my biological father; a hell that left me traumatized and it was during those early years I often fantasized and daydreamed about suicide as if it were a magic elixir or potion. When other little girls daydreamed about Prince Charming, I did so about the poisoned apple that represented relief and freedom from the torment that was my daily life.
I also find myself feeling so bad for the family left behind. The most difficult, personal and private time of their life is international news; the topic of discussion on lips the world ’round. (And here I am talking about it too so I am no less guilty. Though in my case, the prompt was his actions, I truly just felt the need to talk about how the topic made me feel personally.)
I’m just at a loss what to say. Or how to process this. I know that I did not know him personally, yet I was a fan of him and his work for years and like many, greatly enjoyed the gift of humor he gave to the world. It pains me so much to know how the same time he made us all laugh, he was dying inside.
You can also call 1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get help or even just to talk to someone.
So I have no clever wrap up for this entry. Nothing witty or poignant to finish it off with. I just find myself thinking a lot about the topic today and wanted to put some of my feelings down in words.
I truly hope those of you who are also battling your own personal demons continue the fight and push on for another day. The sadness many of us feel at the loss of someone we don’t even know personally is hard enough, so imagine how much worse for the loved ones left behind. Please keep fighting. And know you don’t have to do it alone.
Rest in Peace, Robin. Thank you for the laughter. I’m so sorry you didn’t get to laugh with us too.
First off: Love is ok. The car, however is dead.
It’s been a fucking morning from hell. My phone rang at 7am. I had been asleep 4 hours. It was my guy in a shaky voice telling me he was in an accident.
I threw clothes on and drove to his work. (About 30 minutes away.) On the way, the radio updates traffic and accidents and mentions the location he’s at. Holy shit, that’s him!
Here’s the other car:
He went to McDonalds to get breakfast for the guys on his way in right next to work. Car shudders, brakes engage out of nowhere. He tries to them push the pedal to stop and it goes to the floor and nothing happens. He swerves but can’t stop and hits the car ahead of him corner-on instead of head-on at about 40mph. Air bags deploy. Engine cuts out.
I get there about 7:30am. Two lanes of traffic are blocked, two cop cars on scene. He gets a $166 ticket with 4 points for “careless driving” because he rear-ended her. Insult to injury!
Paramedics had been and gone. Had his left hand wrapped up, suggested the ER for x-rays to check for a break.
Get the car dragged – oh dear gods, DRAGGED – onto the tow truck. Tell them to take it directly to Progressive claim center instead of our mechanic because it’s likely totaled.
We go to ER. Seatbelt bit hard into his left shoulder leaving a hell of a bruise. Minor cut on his wrist and jammed the hell out of his pinkie. X-Rays show nothing broken.
Progressive already looked at it since it’s sitting – dead – in their lot. Adjuster said $5300 after our deductible. More than I thought but nowhere near enough to replace it. (About only 1/2 or more of the replacement cost actually.)
The car was really special to us because our best friend Rand helped us buy it. Rand passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly 4 years ago. So in a way it’s like losing him all over again. He LOVES that car.
The end of the day though, the car did it’s job. It’s dead but he’s ok. And I’m trying to focus on that. But fuck it’s hard when I’m overwhelmed with what to do now? (I drive a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am. It’s got issues. So we’re going to need a replacement ASAP. And adding a car payment to our monthly budget..? Ugh, not sure how that’s going to work. Let alone how much insurance is going to go up for an accident + points.)
He’s sore. I’m in shock. So is he. It’s just been a hell of a fucking morning.
Ginger’s picture was selected as a finalist to be one of 8 images used in iPrintfromHome’s sample/calibration pack! But she needs votes to win.
It’s really that simple!
(No money or anything but a little bit of fame for my beautiful little recuse kitty!)
Thank you for sharing a LIKE for little Ginger!
I’ve been busy as usual working on updates, new items and restocks in my PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop. There’s ALWAYS something to do when you’re a one-woman small business!
Here’s a peek at some of the pieces I’ve listed lately.
All kinds of goodies!
Rainbow Chakra Tree of Life Pendant, Fantasy jewel multicolor tree with dragonfly charm, Tree of Hope (Breast Cancer Awareness tree of life pendant with pink topaz.)
A brand new “Faerie Dreamcatcher” with natural rainbow moonstone coin bead woven into the web, Blue Apatite Tree in the color of the Caribbean Ocean, Tanzanite Tree of Life pendant.
A graphic golden feldspar full moon Tree of Life pendant with a spider charm (Spider Tree!), shaded Citrine in an ombre of pale yellow, honey, amber and whiskey tones, soft peach/pink freshwater pearl wedding tree of life (bride necklace or bridal gift perhaps?)
It’s a Boy! bird nest with baby blue egg, It’s a Girl! bird nest pendant with baby girl pink egg (absolutely perfect baby shower gifts for a new mom or grandmother!), watermelon tourmaline tree of life in an array of pinks, greens and black.
And three brand new fire crack agate full moon trees: orange Halloween moon in black wire, royal midnight blue in gunmetal wire and aqua teal blue in brown wire.
Whew! My fingers are tired just looking at all the handmade wire wrapped pieces knowing I made them all! And there are so many more available in the shop!
Plus, as always, I gladly customize and personalize. After all, it’s all made from scratch anyway so there’s no reason I can’t make it unique just for you to your specifications! Oh and free shipping on any jewelry order to the US!
As always, thank you for your support!
Today is my 37th birthday! Weeeeeeeee!
My Mom had this tradition when I was little where she’d have me stand next to my cherry tree and hold a sign each year on my birthday. Here’s me in 1980 on my 3rd birthday:
Not bad for an old lady, hu? I’ve come a long way since my hysterectomy a couple years ago and I feel really good these days too.
And though it’s MY birthday, I’m giving a gift to everyone else! Free US Shipping all weekend long with code “37BIRTHDAY” in my PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I’m off to Disney for the day.
I can’t believe that (1) it’s May already and that (2) that means it’s also now less than two weeks until my birthday!! Eek! I’ll be a whopping 37 come May 16th.
Meanwhile, today is the so-called, “Star Wars Day” (May the 4th be with you!) and Love and I spent the afternoon out at Brooker Creek Preserve enjoying the [relatively] cooler weather following two days of horrible thunderstorms and taking photos.
Here’s a few shots I took this afternoon.
In other news, the kitten officially stopped being a kitten as of April 1st and is now a 1 year old cat! Wow. Little Ginger is growing up! (And out. She has absurd amounts of floof!) And tabby girl, Mika, turned 14 on April 22nd.
And Gracie is doing well also.
There have been some difficult family issues all at once, with one of my aunts requiring emergency surgery to remove nearly a foot of perforated colon, a great aunt losing her battle with cancer (and leaving my great-uncle alone after nearly 61 years of marriage) just a couple days ago and my 97 year old grandmother in the hospital last week for what might have been a minor heart attack. Scary times all around.
Love and I thankfully though are well. I used my new health insurance (thank you Affordable Care Act! I am still happily Obamacare) to see a primary care doctor for the first time in a few years. I need to schedule bloodwork still but nice to know I can actually see the doctor when I need to these days.
My car is currently in the shop after not being able to drive it for several weeks due to a stalling problem. Seems there’s issues with my overdrive getting stuck on which makes it impossible to drive at lower speeds without stalling. (Torque converter clutch solenoid and/or a mechanical valve issue.) It’s been miserable lacking the ability to leave the house but I don’t yet know how much it’s going to be to fix nor where that money will come from. Story of my life. When you drive older cars it’s par for the course. (And mine is a ’99!)
…and that about sums up again. Since it’s been so hard for me to post regularly like I always intend to. But, with it being May and being on official Birthday Countdown, it seemed a good time to play a little catch-up again. As ever, you can also find me on facebook for smaller, but more frequent, updates.
Last May, my Mom was out walking her dog when she spotted a tiny orange kitten on the side of a busy road in a canal. She caught the kitten and took it to the vet. It was healthy except for some (intestinal parasites which are common in outside cats) and she needed a foster home for it until it was free of the parasites and could go to a rescue group. I wound up being said foster.
But…well. I wanted an orange cat my entire life. Ever since I was a little girl. And for one reason or another all the kitties who came into my life were NOT orange. And I just fell in love with the little fluffball and we wound up keeping her.
Because she was so young when Mom found her, it was easy for the vet to give us a very accurate age. Counting back, it put her right around the beginning of April. I decided to make her an April Fool’s baby given the way she tricked me into falling for her.
And so today, the little orange fluffer is one year old!
And so you can see how surprisingly fluffy she really did turn out to be, here’s a shot of her from today doing one of her favorite things: sitting in the tub after I take a shower. (Hey, she was a canal cat so she’s always had a weird affinity for water!)
Happy Birthday to my little orange Floof!
Blarg. Tuesday (the 18th) was Love’s birthday. We’re a little broke right now so we didn’t have huge plans to do anything. We were hungry so I figured we could make a special trip out to this little hole in the wall place he went as a kid with his grandfather for lunch. Problem was, 1/2 mile from getting there, my “Service Engine Soon” light came on and my car got weirdly shuttering with sputtering/hesitation when I tried to give it gas.
We parked and ate lunch (because we were already there and starving) then used google to find an Advanced Auto Parts 2 miles away to get them to hook up the machine to see what code it was giving to determine if it was safe to drive home. (We were quite a bit away on the other side of the Bay; about 20 miles or so facing long bridges and afternoon rush hour traffic.)
Chaotic fiasco at auto parts store involving TWO people trying to read the codes, after over an hour of waiting around finally led to random assortment of “recommended fixes” such as “Replace Mass Air Flow Sensor” to “Torque Convertor Clutch Solenoid Circuit Stuck On” to “Replace Transmission.” (I kid you not on the last one.) None of which was terribly helpful.
We had driven out to Orlando and back in my car on Saturday without problem. We had driven all over that day without problem. But we had experienced a weird sputtering right when the light came on so I wasn’t sure what to expect trying to get home. Plus, when I googled the “Torque Convertor Clutch Solenoid” (or “TCC” apparently), it is a common problem and if it doesn’t disengage, your engine will stall out under 45mph. Hrm.
Since it had only done it the once thus far, we decided to try and get home under our own power. And over an hour of white-knuckle driving later, we made it without any further issues, engine hesitation, etc.
But now I’m not exactly sure what’s with the car. And just because we made it home doesn’t mean I’m comfortable driving it lest I get stuck on the side of the road again. I think I might just have AAA pick it up here and tow it down to my mechanic and let him go over it. I would trust what he said and since I’m not even remotely sure if the readings the auto parts place gave me have any basis in reality, I need to get it checked out by someone who actually knows what they’re doing.
Of course, I really have no idea how much it’s going to cost to fix and car repairs were not in our already stressed budget. Which is very frustrating. (And of course, comes on the heels of my computer monitor blowing out totally dead last week and needing to buy another one which was ALSO unplanned expense.)
So Love’s birthday did not quite go as planned and for the moment, we’re short a car and not quite sure what it’s going to cost to get going again let alone what truly is wrong with it.
I don’t run a lot of sales, coupon codes or discount codes very often. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m making a limited-time exception!
Save $10 on any purchase of $50 or more with code LOVE2014
Handmade, handcrafted tree of life pendants, birthstone jewelry, gemstone trees and more by Miss M. Turner of PhoenixFire Deisgns on etsy.
Get something you love or get something for someone you love and save! Just my way of saying thanks to all my customers and supporters and to share the love with handmade, artisan jewelry.
About once a week I head up to my Mom’s to help her with cleaning such as the vacuuming and mopping. She’s disabled and it’s hard for her and really wears her out. Since I work for myself I’ve got the time to help and I like going up and seeing her too.
Yesterday I went up for our planned cleaning day but when I got there she really wasn’t feeling well. She’s been having these bad headaches and the noise and volume of the vacuum already bothers her so I said I’d let her lay down and come up the next day (Friday) instead while she was at her doctor’s appointment. That way she could rest.
So this afternoon, I leave to head up there. Stopped at the post office to drop off some outgoing packages. Get back in my car, start it…it stalls out. Start it…stalls. Start it…wants to stall so I’m revving it trying to get keep it from stalling so I can get it into gear.
At this point, I’m worried. Mom’s house is 30 minute drive away and I’m only a few minutes from my house. I don’t want to get stuck so I drive back home and pull into my lot. I much rather test it again at home so if I get stuck, I’m stuck at home.
I turn the car off, start it and…no problems. Turn it off, wait a few minutes, start it…no problems. Ok, weird fluke I think. It happens sometimes with my car. (Apparently there’s a weird electrical issue in some Grand Am cars which cause the car to sometimes auto shutoff upon start up because it thinks it’s being stolen.)
So I pull back out of my parking lot and head back towards Mom’s house. I’m no more than a mile down the road when the wiper blade – CLUNK! – pops off the wiper arm. The damned thing slides in AND snaps in place! How did it just fall off on it’s own?? (On the lowest, time-delay setting nonetheless.) I’ve never seen anything like that before, ever.
I quickly pull into the parking lot of a nearby bank, get out, slide and snap the blade back into place. I get back in my car, turn around and head home. Clearly the universe does NOT want me driving up to my Mom’s today.