I truly believed 2018 was going to be my Annus Horribiles. Apparently it’s not done with me.
I apologize for quietly withdrawing when things get tough. I worked hard to overcome physical handicaps and then get broadsided by other ailments.
Surgery today to repair a shoulder. I will need that shoulder because..well..wheelchair. It’s coming back into my life. I am lucky, very lucky. I worked hard to make a lot of that luck.
This is me after my first brain surgery:
I’ve had a second. This summer is about ‘breaking and rebuilding’ my feet. That’s why I need the shoulder, to roll the chair.
I just haven’t been able to face things with a proper frame of mind. It’s time to focus inward.
Friends and family lining up for Port St. Joe Florida’s Mardi Gras (2018):
I LOVE this family of girls and proud Papa.
Below, she’s working a Mae West vibe here, isn’t she? It’s great!
Organising and visiting:
On Main Street the beads and candy fly:
Here’s that family of girls again:
This was the best day. I’m a northerner and I’d never seen how the south does Mardi Gras. I LOVED it. We went bar hopping after the family friendly parade. It was marvelous and a year later these photos still bring me joy. I hope they brighten your day.
I’ve had a lovely five weeks on a Barrier Island with little to very low bandwidth. It has been fairly laid back; the zen of being on an island in the off season.
One of the things I like about ‘Old Florida’ are the singular beach huts that abounded along old tourist trails. Disney copies this look but the soul is missing for there is nothing like an original from the glory days of road trips and tourist traps.
This is Pam’s paradise, her store, the Beach Trader. She has added on to this shop over the years and over time regulars have returned to gift her with singular works of art ranging from portraits to metal works. Below is the owner, Pam, next to a cherished gift from a regular customer.
She used to live in her old tricked out airstream but following Hurricane Michael has downsized inventory, moved in to the back room of the shop and plans to rent out the airstream. She is a short block from the bay and should easily find guests.
I love her shell gardens. The more you stand and look the more tropical sea trinkets you see.
Inside is everything your inner beach-going child could possibly need. It’s all there, right next to ‘outsider art’ made by locals.
You can find Pam’s singularly marvelous slice of Paradise just west of Carrabelle on Highway 98 in Florida’s ‘Forgotten Coast’. Hurry. This ‘old Florida’ is rapidly giving way to condos, high-rises and Disneyfication.
We American’s love our parades. It is tradition for the people in a parade unit, whether float, or horses, to throw candy to children along the parade route. Below are children and adults attending to their candy bags.
That candy was wet.
I disapprove of filters. I don’t use them but I sometimes do push levels for effect:
If you celebrate Christmas, please, may have you have a blessed Christmas Eve.
Below, the Cub Scouts of Pack 3165 wait for their turn to parade and above you see them with their appreciative audience.
I have no idea who these guys are but I like their simple float.
Another view of the soggy parade with Jack Skellington and his Christmas Town float:
The denizens of Whoville are waiting to roll. You can’t see it but the girls are made up and have a lot of candy to throw at children on the parade route. The trees on this float were amazing. They looked like a set from Children’s Theater. You can see the Grinch of this float behind the boy’s reindeer antlers.
The kid on the right just caught sight of Jack Skellington, of Nightmare Before Christmas fame, riding on the Christmas Town float. I think that is his sister in the Lifesavers candy colored jacket, she too was really excited about Jack and had been rushing around the float waiting for the parade to start.
Here’s Jack, the object of their awe and excitement:
The character, Jack, was a Halloween Skeleton but he LOVED Christmas. This might have been my favorite float.
Today is Wednesday, it’s ‘Buy One, Get One’ day at Bigby’s Coffee, a Michigan institution (Take that, Starbucks!). Christmas season can be difficult, we often feel tremendous pressure to have the ‘perfect’ holiday for family and friends. Do something that brings you joy, even if it is nothing to do with Christmas, whatever you need to reset your equilibrium and bring you peace. For some people it is spending outlandish money to build a float, buy a costume, grab some friends and ride a float in the freezing rain to bring joy and awe to others. If you do this you don’t have time to bake cookies or clean the house but that’s not important. You CAN’T do it all, Hallmark is lying to you.
For me that reset button is dragging my husband to Bigby’s and buying a huge, usually Holiday themed (Pumpkin Spice for Halloween/Thanksgiving, Snowberry/whatever for Christmas), festive, well caffeinated coffee drink. It’s BOGO Wednesday! AKA Heavily caffeinated Wednesday!!
Then one of us spills our coffee drink in the car and the other rushes to clean it up. Human’s thrive on ritual and tradition. It’s what we do.