Sanibel Sunset


Until I get the comments working again, I’ve put in my old commenting system that you can use.

I’m finally trying to finish up our Christmas weekend trip to Sanibel. Here are the sunset photos from the day after Christmas. All but the last were taken at Blind Pass, the pass between Sanibel and Captiva islands. The last was taken at the last public access beach on Captiva.

sanibel sunset 1

sanibel sunset 3

sanibel sunset 4

captiva sunset

Sanibel Sunset
This one is Chris’. I like it…very wild and untamed look to it.

I always feel a little reluctant to leave the beach after a sunset like that—a sad goodbye to a great day.

Sunset—New Years Eve on Turner River Road


I know, comments aren’t working. boo on you wordpress…trying to get up up and running soon.

Chris and I got off early on New Years Eve and decided to hit Big Cypress National Preserve to capture the last sunset of the decade. We also were aiming for photos of the Blue Moon but were unsuccessful due to clouds in the east that prevented a decent moon rise from being seen. The only glimpse we saw was for a few minutes but it was still partially hidden between the clouds. By the time it was up and shining, it was dark and we couldn’t find a decent place to take a photo.

Alas, all I have are a few sunset photos from that night. My favorite is the first one:

sunset nye 1

sunset nye 2

sunset nye 3

sunset nye 4

sunset nye 5

The clouds made the sunset, I think.

The wind was producing some very awesome clouds and on our way out we saw a rainbow up in the clouds from the ice. Alright, some Google-ing produced the real name, circumhorizon arc. This was our second one in about three weeks; the last one we saw with my dad when he was here a few weeks ago. We didn’t get the cameras out in time, though.

Stay warm everyone. Looks like today we’re going to make 75* just in time to turn around to 57* and 55* over the weekend. Ick.

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Samson and his Snuggie


Samson hasn’t made a post here in awhile, so today I decided to capitalize on the fact he was looking adorably sweet on the bed with the Snuggie. I got the Snuggie in a gift exchange at work and the instant I brought it home it was stolen from me by Leo and Samson and immediately it became theirs.

Samson, Warm in his Snuggie

Even Samson's need a Snuggie
See, all warm and toasty in the Snuggie. Chris and I were both off today for dentist appointments and when we came back in the house after being out a few times we found both Leo and Samson snuggling together on the blanket. It was 56* in the house this morning—still no heat working. It was colder in the house than outside for awhile today.

I’ve watched this over and over and over again, but I get such a kick out of it:

Originally via my my brother’s blog.

Apparently Zoe’s new favorite word is kitty. The “Mao” part is the best! I have the smartest niece, if I do say so myself!

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Mindfulness and Ramblings


We’re working through a big cleanup of the house at the moment, tossing things we don’t need, want or use.

Mind you, our house is freezing right now, at least to South Florida standards. We tried the heat last night but it didn’t come on—such is life for people we warm blooded folk down here in the South who never utilize their heat. Instead we are piling on the sweat shirts and blankets on the bed and talking the cats into heating the bed up a little for us. Hey, it’s bad enough we’re getting freeze warnings tonight and probably tomorrow night. That’s not good; Florida is the vegetable growing center of the U.S. during these times of the year, tomatoes, corn, beans—you name it, comes from around here this time of year. Oh, and don’t forget Florida’s cash crop, citrus! Everyone is bracing for good news come sunrise, instead of destroyed crops.

But, I digress. It’s cold in the house while we are cleaning things out. As I’m cleaning items out, so far four bags of clothes for Eliana to give to her mom to send to Colombia, I’m wondering why I kept some of them for so long. A few months ago I did a similar routine and gave a bunch of clothes to Goodwill. This time around it was a bunch of winter clothes that haven’t seen the light of day in nearly 8 years. Not only do I not wear them, but some of it is probably out of fashion. I also cleaned out three drawers of t-shirts that when I did a t-shirt go-through a year ago I decided to keep. Now I’m wondering why I even bothered.

I’m looking with a very critical eye at some of the stuff I have. I have a feeling books are going to take another hit.

I saw a photo of a random bedroom and said “wow, so clean and pretty.” My bedroom—not so much.

As how this relates to mindfulness, I guess I’m just trying to be mindful of the items I get now. I stopped buying random beauty products several years ago because I realized I had a never ending supply of lotions, bath gel and perfumes. Now, I pick one lotion out from my stash and use it until it’s gone.

Another aspect of mindfulness came this past weekend while we were camping. Chris and I were arguing about something and our words just made me think. I have come to realize I need to stop and think more about what I’m saying or how I react before getting in a frenzy. It’s not worth the arguing. This is going to require a lot of work, I know.

Good things about the ‘net today:
Contentment: The simple things can make a person perfectly happy. It doesn’t take much.
Vintage Looms: I used to have (still do somewhere, maybe, mom??) one of those looms you make potholders on. Oh, here we go, something like this. The trickiest part was trying to finish the ends!
What’s in a Name: The end sentence is my favorite, the one about the response. I’ve decided that I am going to start speaking up when people call me Little Misti. My name is Misti, yes I’m short, and my last name is Little, but I don’t think it is cute to call me Little Misti. I usually give a little laugh and try to change the subject. Yes, I know I’m short. Does it need to be pointed out? Should I call *you* Crooked Nose Jim? Or Dumbo Ears Julie? Or Point Chin Kyle? No. So, why is it ok to pick at being short?

(I should note, that is mostly for strangers. There is a difference when friends and family are joking around, though I realize sometimes words hurt from them, too. Then again, why are we letting it hurt us? I could maybe try to think of Eleanor Roosevelt when she said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Talk about having a hard time working on that one!)

PSA: Eliana is running a 5K in February to raise money for Cat Network. Please give her a boost and sponsor her run here. If you are a reader of Oh She Glows you can be entered to win a raffle of $25 to Glo Bakery.

What are you being mindful of this New Years? Or at least trying to start off on the right foot with being mindful…!

The BSC


There is always a book or a series of their youth that bibliophiles cling to fondly. Anne of Green Gables is one of them, but the other is The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin.

One Christmas, I think the year of 5th grade, 1990, I received books 1-4 and 9-12 in box sets. I was vaguely familiar with the series but quite soon they became an attachment. I devoured the series, re-reading them over and over again. My daybed was against the wall that I shared with my brothers room, but not pushed all the way down towards the east wall, creating a cozy nook. I would pile up pillows from my day bed, grab my soft Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag and make myself a reading nest.

This was the perfect place to avoid getting hit with chores, as I was tucked behind the bed.

Eventually, years later, they would become tattered on the edges. My favorite babysitters were the first five, Kristi, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne and Dawn. I could identify with all of them: Kristi as the tomboy, Claudia as the artist, Stacey as the blonde, Mary Anne as the book worm and Dawn as the earth loving girl.

I babysat a few times growing up, not enough to ever form a club. I don’t even know if I had enough friends who babysat. The Babysitters Club always seemed to have their own escapades, and seemed slightly older than their initial 12 and later 13 years. I felt like they were more of a mature 16, but lacking access to a car.

So, today I find out that Ann M. Martin is writing The Summer Before, a prequel of sorts with Kristi, Claudia and Mary Anne. I think I will just have to get it and make myself a cozy little nook for about the two hours it’ll take me to read it!

Florida Trail: Hickory Hammock to Hicks Slough (Avon Park Air Force Range)


This weekend, like last year, we went on a backpacking trip. This year we started off at the Hickory Hammock Florida Trail trail head on U.S. 98 between Sebring and Bassinger with the intentions of just walking north until we felt like turning around to come home.

We got a late start on Friday after sleeping in a bit and then driving the two hours north. Before we left we checked the weather and weren’t too pleased with the forecast—rain and then a cold front right behind it. It didn’t start raining until we entered Lake Placid at nearly lunch time. We took some back roads to get to the trail head and then we realized there wasn’t much in the way of food open on New Years Day out in the boondocks. Finally, after driving around for nearly an hour we drove into Sebring and found the Sebring Diner open and hoppin’! We were in luck, they had black eyed peas! We were having a minor dilemma of trying to manage to eat black eyed peas on NYD, though I know we didn’t do that last year.

With a full stomach we made it to the trail head around 1pm; the rain had mostly stopped. We ran into a small group of Florida Trail Association hikers doing a short out and back of six to eight miles and they warned us of the cold weather to come.

FT Hickory Hammock

At two miles we came across the Hickory Hammock campsite, a beautiful site underneath old live oaks. We stopped for a short snack and pee break and we were on our way. Shortly after we left we passed a hiker and his dog, said a quick hello and we mosied on down the way.

At 4 miles we came across an equestrian campground complete with decent port o potties and non-potable water (you can treat it), we then kept meandering north along the trail. About a mile north we entered the most boring part of the journey. I wouldn’t say it is entirely worthless, but it wasn’t necessarily pleasant. The Montesdeoca Ranch borders the Florida Trail and you have to walk along the fence line for about three to four miles. The area is mowed but the grass is made up of clumps of smut grass and it gets really old trying to walk over the clumps. Also, directly to the east is the Kissimmee River, which can sometimes flood the trail. Luckily, we didn’t have any flooding problems!

Kissimmee River Wetlands;

The good part about this section was the amount of wading birds we saw. Sandhill cranes can be heard a good distance away and we caught a few mating dances from afar. A bald eagle flew over us as did a a couple of caracara.

About three quarters of the way up the fence line we were noticing dark clouds in the distance, getting worried that we’d have to put our rain jackets on. Sure enough we saw the rain in the distance, grabbed our jackets just in time to have the rain come down followed by a gust of wind that knocked the temperature down about 15 degrees. Brrrr! We were afraid the front was going to take its time to blow through, but we didn’t have to wait too long for the wind to die down a bit.

Mosquito Hammock
It was nearing sunset when we made it to Mosquito Hammock, but the sky had cleared up and we had a beautiful sunset, albeit cold! We kept toasty at night we our new 15* bags—so warm I didn’t want to get out in the morning!

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
We kept heading north towards the Avon Park Air Force Range, which can be closed to hikers if they are doing maneuvers. About two miles north of Mosquito Hammock is where you run into the range, you have to climb over a stile to get across the fence and there is a board up showing a map, paperwork to fill out and a sign saying the dates of closures and openings. It was open so we kept going north!

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
The oaks in this area were gorgeous! Ancient oaks covered in Spanish moss make for some dramatic shots! Too bad we didn’t have our good cameras.

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
We stopped at Hicks Slough campground about three miles or so into the park and took a long lunch, sunning ourselves with a nice cat nap.

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
Another stile we had to cross in the range.

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
We stopped at an old orange grove on the way back to look at some rotting oak logs and to snack on some oranges…

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
I’m employing the Eliana method for eating oranges—very good, you should try it!

Avon Park Air Force Range FT

Avon Park Air Force Range FT
I forgot to mention that we saw a barred owl on our way up to Avon Park. We heard many others in the early morning and late evening, too.

FT Hickory Hammock

FT Hickory Hammock

Hickory the Dog
We were almost back to Mosquito Hammock for the evening when I spotted a dog. Up in a tree was its owner, Russell. Chris was a few yards ahead of me when I heard Russell ask Chris if he knew a geocacher friend of ours. Once I got up to the tree I recognized the guy as the one we’d seen the day before but also as someone we’d briefly met at Cacheapalooza a few weeks ago. We both had the mutual friend of another guy named Chris, who hiked with us for a day on our Ocean to Lake segment of the Florida Trail over Thanksgiving. Russell was also staying at Mosquito Hammock as was his dog Hickory. Hickory is a trail do for sure—bounding with energy! Poor pup had a ton of Caesar weed in his fur…I bet that will be a pain to get out!

We woke up this morning to temps of 35* and got on the trail to head back to the car. Russell hiked with us until Bluff Hammock parking lot which is 1.6 miles from Mosquito Hammock and we kept going the rest of the way back to our car.

I would recommend this hike for anyone who is interested in old Florida. It is peaceful, beautiful and a part of Florida you just don’t see that often.

And now I’m enjoying some good old fashioned comfort food—Rotel. mmmmmmm! Faux cheesey goodness!

This week: Cayo Costa State Park, Sanibel Sunsets, New Years Eve Sunset and failed moon rise (@%^$ clouds!), and whatever else you feel like hearing from me!

Oh yeah, my friend Meghan is working on a blog/website…check it out here!

And a second oh yeah….my dad asked me today if I took my computer camping so I could post. Nope…it’s a wonderful little object in WordPress that allows you to schedule posts! I can now take one day and write several posts up for the next few days—isn’t that awesome??? I’m all for more free time.

And for the third OH YEAH—-we saw a bobcat this morning!! A very big score!

2010 One-Little-Word and Intentions


For the past two years I’ve participated in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word theme at the beginning of each year. My first word was in 2008 and was explore which I did by going to Bolivia and doing some creative explorations. My word last year was calm, which I’m not sure I really kept to or not. Frankly, I forgot what the word was until I just looked it up in my archives. I think I’ve learned to be a bit more calm in the last half of the year, not flying off the handle as much. Chris could tell you yay or nay to that one.

I was debating whether to do a word for 2010 or not, but I think I shall. It will be adventure.

Because, my friends, I have a lot of adventures planned for this year; and you will just have to wait and read here throughout the year to find out more!

As for resolutions, I’m not great at them. I had a lot more success doing my 28 at 28 list and managed to knock off most of them. I think the biggest part of a resolution is actually intending to do it, to not be wistful and dreamy about it. It also helps to either be capable of doing them or have the means to do it.

2010 Intentions

  • I will run again. And more frequently. I have been thinking about it more lately, how I enjoyed running several years ago. I developed a mental block around it and well, my body feels and shows it. Right now I’ll start with the running and work my way up to actual events.
  • I will be more open to branching out and seeing things instead of hibernating indoors on the weekend.
  • I will do what makes me happy.
  • I will be more focused on my art work. Talking about it gets nowhere, doing it does.
  • I will take eating as a vegetarian more seriously and try it for longer periods of time.
  • I will be more conscious of my attitude and try not to let it bring me down or those around me.
  • I will talk to my friends more. I am a pathetic friend; I don’t call. I don’t write. I’m not on Facebook so that doesn’t help. Sorry, still not going back to F’book.
  • I will magically pull more patience from the air. And time. 😉

So, in 2011, we’ll see where my intentions and adventure take me.

2000-2009 In Review


Looking back, I can’t believe we’ve breezed through another decade. It seems the older you get the faster time goes by. I know this is because we grow up, get jobs and become entrenched in our daily lives that we forget the small things. Time keeps ticking and the seasons keep changing. And here we are another 10 years gone by.

I see a lot of people doing yearly reviews, but I thought I would do a decade review.

2000
-I did my sea turtle internship which made me fall in love with sea turtles. This was between my sophomore and junior years of college.
-Went camping and tubing down the Guadalupe River with my friends and Chris.
-Moved out of the dorms and into an apartment with my friend Connie.

2001
-We got engaged!
-Went to D.C. with Chris’ mom and step-dad, in May.
-Bought my wedding dress.
-Got a job at Moody Gardens—one I’d wanted for a long time!
-Turned 21. Subsequently got drunk for the first time. Ick. If you don’t drink, don’t let people who do tell you to mix your drinks (ie: hard liquors with wine etc…).
-9/11.
-Drove to Indiana for Connie’s wedding with three friends. Whirlwind weekend that was a total blast!
-Chris graduated college in May, we moved him to Florida at the end of December for grad school.
-I slept in the Atlanta airport on my way back from Florida because of a snowstorm in Atlanta. I was not pleased.
-Got my wisdom teeth out.

2002
-Our friend Wes developed a brain tumor. Chris came home to visit with him for a weekend.
-I graduated college!
-Learned to scuba dive.
-Moved my stuff to Florida shortly after with my dad. We came back to Texas after.
-Chris and I went on a pre-wedding campout to Possum Kingdom State Park.
-We got married in June.
-Honeymoon!
-I got my first real job in late July working for a major orange juice company in a lab. Loved that job! Loved the people! I was really lucky.
-Lost all of my college weight.
-Adopted Samson late in the year after we got back from Christmas vacation.

2003
-We lost Wes early in the year to his tumor. Very sucky.
-I think my brother came to visit me.
-Volunteered with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in the summer doing sea turtle nesting tours on the beach. Awesome!
-We discovered geocaching thanks to Chris’ dad. It became a serious addiction.
-Chris graduated from grad school.
-I lost more weight.
-Learned to crochet

2004
-Visited my friend Stephanie in Jax.
-Went on a job search that took me to Miami. Got my second ‘real’ job doing what I do now.
-Chris got a job.
-Chris’ car was broken into in the Keys. His wallet and phone were stolen. My dad and I rescued him and his friend. Found the girl, got our money back.
-Leo showed up on our porch.
-Our apartment was broken into and my purse and keys stolen. (both incidences were within a few weeks of each other, so needless to say I wasn’t fond of Miami at that time).
-My friend Erika got married.
-My friend Michelle got married. (again). But to a much more awesome guy. 😉
-I ran my first 5K.
-We got teased by a round of hurricanes that went to the north of us. It was a premonition of what was to come.
-First trip to Colorado.

2005
-Uber hurricane season. Katrina. Wilma. We had both. Wilma left us without power for six days. Katrina was mild when she came through here.
-Went to Colorado again! WOO!
-Started getting into gardening more.

2006
-My brother married my sister in law.
-Started getting into art again; began by taking a drawing class
-Ran another 5K

2007
-Met Marc and Eliana.
-We did our first backpacking trip, 30 miles through Big Cypress National Preserve on the Florida Trail.
-Chris found Little Slough…lots of ghost orchids!
-I went to Montana for the first time.
-Started gaining weight again. grr.

2008
-Went to Bolivia.
-Fell in love with a dog named Baloo.
-10 year high school reunion.
-Zoe was born!!! (my niece)
-Saw my first panther

2009
-Hiked the Ocean to Lake segment of the Florida Trail
-Went to Montana again
-Began taking photography more seriously
-Saw my first Florida bear

I know there is more, I could pilfer through my archives for a lot of it.

Au revoir decade of my 20’s. 30’s—-bring it on!

Heaven is a Place on Earth


Ok, so the title is slightly kitchy, but it came to me as Belinda Carlisle was singing to me on the way home from work today. Sanibel is heaven on Earth. It is one of the places that furthered my interest in marine biology growing up. We went to Sanibel and Fort Myers beach for vacation a few years when I was growing up and we loved it. I always thought when I moved to Florida that I would be living over there, but we never have. I hardly ever get to go, maybe once a year; it’s a good two hour drive from the house and we are often doing other things.

But, Sanibel is what beaches should be like—full of sea detritus waiting to be explored and poked through. I know I am one of the few, and I do know of others, but I love the smell of things rotting on the beach. Sargassum washed up—-yep, love it. Poking through dead sea urchins…oh yeah! I know, I’m weird, but it is such a good smell. It’s the ocean. The ocean doesn’t smell all floral and pretty, it’s raw and untamed.

sea star
Sea star—not star fish.

conch
A live shell—gastropods (snails) build their own shells. When they die, hermit crabs use their shells for a home.

mystery blob
Not the first time I’ve seen something similar to this washed up on the beach. We saw a few pieces of it…I’m wondering if it is blubber of some sort?

moon snail
A moon snail—not sure on the species. I need to brush up on my shells

crab
Really, I’m pitiful with the identification

bone
A bone we found near the unidentifiable blob…actually several bones. My thought was that they were flipper bones from a whale or dolphin.

sea urchin

macro algae
Macro algae

sanibel lighthouse

footprint

sea squirt
I’m thinking this is a sea squirt of some sort or maybe a really odd looking sea cucumber.

The ocean has some beautiful treasures.

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