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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Future newspaper reader

OK, so she's only interested in the sales ads...but Chloe has picked up Papa's habit of reading the paper every morning.

Friday, July 27, 2007


We noticed on our way to the beach that the night was perfect. No wind, the ocean waves lapping quietly on the shore, glistening under the light of the moon that peaked out from behind the soft clouds. A perfect night.

Without thinking, we stepped off the boardwalk and followed the path to the roped off turtle nest that we had been watching for the past five weeks. It was a routine that had become part of our early morning walks and our evening walks on the beach: check on the nest.

We immediately noticed the shadows of people huddled around the nest. "I hope it's not some dang tourists, we're going to have to yell at again," I said. We noticed the hush and protective air as we got nearer and quickly recognized the Clearwater Marine Aquarium logo on their T-shirts.

"We'll have some babies tonight," someone said as we approached. We joined the huddle, carefully peering down into the small hole that had been created when the movement of the hatchlings moved the sand. You could see the small flippers and a head would pop up every now and then. We waited.

We all talked about the turtles, learned more about the rescue work the aquarium does. We were prepared to sit all night. Occasionally, someone would venture out from the nearby hotel, and eventually they would leave. A father and his son stayed. I don't think anyone ever officially introduced themselves. Yet, we sat, nine of us, huddled around a nest for nearly four hours.

"The birth" happened fast. The hole was larger now and it almost looked as if the small (two inches) turtles were bubbling over. One of the scientists, explained the procedure. The Loggerhead turtles would get a helping hand to the water. She would scoop them up and place them in a waiting bucket and count them (for research purposes) We would deposit them close to the water in a trench that we had dug just for this purpose. Some of us stood near the shore line, the rest of us stood as guards on either side of the trench. The small turtles -- 97 in all -- quickly followed their natural instincts, heading toward the water. We didn't touch or interfere, just watched.

Long after we were back at the house, showered and laying in bed in the early morning hours. We talked about the sight of the baby turtles hatching and being able to witness something so amazing.

Loggerhead turtles -- about one-third of all those born in the world -- are hatched on Florida beaches. There are 34 nests, and we'll be watching the other one down the beach from us. The risks to the baby turtles is high. Only one in a thousand survive to adulthood. But the Loggerheads live to be more than 100 years old. We're thrilled we were able to lend a helping hand of sorts.

We're still in awe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I swear finding time to blog is just nuts around here. Besides the beach -- I have picked up several freelance projects and have been writing like a fiend. AND...the big news...I'm employed. I'll start the first week in August for the Florida portion of a nation-wide "noncandidate" campaign. It's exciting and a worthy cause -- getting two issues: affordable health care and retirement issues -- in front of candidates this election cycle.
Yes, that's the job I really really wanted. I was shocked when I received the call that I got it. The interview went ok, but then I had the "writing test." It was storming when I started the timed test and I was absolutely sure that the electrical surges were going to fry my computer, so I was nervous. Add to that, two little girls walking into the office every few minutes to ask what I was doing. Aagh. But apparently, the stress worked because the folks liked what I wrote. Whew.

Gainfully employed, at least for a few months. I'm gonna miss the beach bum stuff, but it was starting to get old. (It's hard to shed my workaholic ways.) And, I'll still be able to peel off the shoes and sink them into the sand right after work each day. I love the beach.

So since I'm going to be so busy, that likely means I'll be blogging more. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Interviews make me sweat

Every time you've ever gone to an interview, don't you get the "How did it go?" question? That's a tough one to answer. Everytime I think an interview went well, I don't get the job. One time, on vacation in Arizona, I applied to a job and then proceeded to go about my merry way. The interviewer called me as I was sightseeing, asking if I could go in for an interview on short notice. I explained that I was very casual (shorts, etc.) and did not have time to go home and change. They still wanted to see me. I came in (after stopping at Target to buy some make-up and a nicer T-shirt) and thought the interview went horribly. They offered me a job the next day. Unfortunately, I decided against moving to Arizona, but it was nice to know that I had the option.

At other times, I've come out of an interview thinking I really wowed the interviewer, only to get a nice rejection letter.

Today, I'm not sure at all how the interview went. One of the interviewers was somewhere else via "teleconference." That made it hard to gauge. I want the job, but for some reason don't feel as if I'll be crushed if I don't get it. Hmmm. Maybe I didn't do so well...

I'll let ya'll know. Til then, I'm going to the beach.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Adventurer or Transient?

Where are you from? I've answered that question a million times in my lifetime. People always ask. As if the place you are from indentifies you immediately. It's possible that it does -- to an extent.

But that simple question has always been tough to answer. Now I say, "I moved here from Oklahoma City, but I'm FROM Texas." Yet, I haven't lived most of my adult life in Texas. I left at age 17 to move to Montana. I finished high school in Montana. Yet, I never say, "I'm from Montana." My parents live in Texas still, so I suppose we're always "from" the place our parents live -- or maybe not. Because that would confuse my children, since I've managed to live only one place longer than four years in the past two decades.

I lived in Oklahoma the longest -- 4 years, 9 months. I lived in Virginia for four years and in Okinawa, Japan for four years. I lived in Texas 2 years and 8 months the last go round -- not all in the same city. Ten long months in Odessa, and the rest in Amarillo.

When we decided to move this last time, sans jobs, sans a house, sans a reason -- other than wanting to live near our granddaughters for various reasons -- people looked at us and smiled. They seemed excited about our great adventure. We were adventerous.

Some folks, though, look at us as irresponsible -- transient. Why did you move? an interviewer asked, before declaring us "transients." What?! I prefer adventurous.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This and that

Wow. I'm still not "working" and I still don't have time to blog. Blame it on the beach.

It beckons -- every day – as does the sunset here on the island. We noticed this phenomenon shortly after our arrival. The beach will be almost empty of people around 6:30 p.m., and then around 7:30, the crowds arrive: people line the beach -- eerily reminiscent of the Nicolas Cage movie about angels – and wait. Off in the distance, we can usually hear some bad lounge singer wailing out Kenny Chesney’s “When the sun goes down” or some Jimmy Buffett tune. It’s part of the charm of this place. I’m beginning to love it.

And, we’ve been busy doing other things like attending Devil Ray’s games. They actually won a game against the Yankees Friday night. Shocker. Hope they win today, we’re headed to the game.

I’m counting the days until the first pre-season game for the Bucs. Yes, Virginia, there’s such a thing as too much fun.

My daughter and grandson (and son-in-law) came down for a visit. We trekked over to the “happiest place on earth.” Orlando is a great place to people watch. Visitors from around the world crowd into the outlet malls that hawk designer items for shockingly (high) “bargain” prices. Americans don’t shop there.

I have been doing other things, like looking for a job and freelancing. Light on both, due to the too much fun thing.

I’m interviewing for one job that I really really want. More on that later. Wish me luck.

And, then again, there’s a part of me that’s enjoying living up to the sign that hangs on the front door of the cottage: Beach Bums.