Friday, June 28, 2013

A day gone by

Coffee with friends in the morning, then the gym, home, lunch, errands then the beach, Casey Key north. The shore there is buried in crushed shells. Hard walking but we went a few miles up then back. Storm surge is eating the beach, undercutting banks and trees, piling sand on stairs protected by red "Private - Keep Out" signs. Incoming tide this afternoon. It was a bit rough and seaweedy but warm and I stayed in for a long time standing up to my neck, facing the Gulf's western edge, rising and sinking in waves that mirrored the sky...mercurial blue, white, silver waves reflecting the blue and billowy white cloud sky above the horizon which disappeared every time a surge fused them, sea and sky, making the world suddenly austere and slightly threatening.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Future histories tonight and as the century wears on

If you haven't read Jeff Goodell's article in Rolling Stone do. Goodbye, Miami is a must read. And it's not just about Miami or coastal cities. In the overall, it's a peek at the future history of human life on earth.

As for what's going on tonight here on Alligator Creek, lots of ambient sound though traffic on the nearby through street is beginning to settle down at last as is the white noise whoosh of the Tamiami Trail and, just as different sections of an orchestra rise then give way others, the occasional sound of an AC unit snapping on in this, or one of the other two inhabited houses on our dead end street, punctuates the air or the sound of voices or a dog barking in the distance drifts across the water and the squawks and chirps and rhythmic buzzing in the mangroves rise and fall and night settles down around the Gulf and turtles begin crawling up out of the sea to dig their nests and lay their eggs, I notice the sound of palm fronds stirring in the breeze. Eventually I'll hear the gurgles, slaps and splashes of the creek talking to itself and aquatic beings moving through its water.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Morning after the storm before

A frog is happily chirping under one of the palm trees this morning. Doves are cooing in the trees and all across Alligator Creek birds are twittering in the mangroves. I even hear traffic coming from where giant green lightning flashed last night and yes, I'm here listening to it all from the screen porch which I'm currently sharing with some nasty little no-see-ums who must have squeezed in last night to get out of the storm and also survived to see another day. That is all.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Supermoon (and Pluto) report

Last night when I saw photos of the supermoon people in London were already posting it was just too much. Clouds be damned! I grabbed my camera and we took off for the jetty. We got there about a half hour before sunset.

Fisherman on the north Venice jetty
The minus tide and soon-to-rise full and super moon made fishing good for everyone but the fish. Pelicans, egrets, dolphins and humans were all working one angle or another with a fair amount of success.


I positioned myself at a prime location on the rocks but out on the jetty there's an unspoken agreement that fisherman outrank photographers so, when a mouthy Jersey guy grandpa (that's him on the left in next photo) started maneuvering his flock toward where I obviously was waiting for the moon, I had to move.

Supermoon conjunct Pluto rising.
There are astrological implications.

Lucky for me. Checking my trusty Google Sky Map app, I saw that the moon (surprise surprise) conjunct Pluto was already above the horizon which meant that, clouds or not, the moon was behind those trees to the far right. Damn! While I stand photographing my phone.

YIKES!

We scrambled eastward. Of course the supermoon was mostly hidden by the clouds but we got a good bench with a view and sat. It was a beautiful night, though a bit on the chilly side, 90 degrees, but it felt like 80. I guess we've adapted. Anyway, we sat on the bench and took in the evening and what there was of the moon as people on the next bench over chatted away....


...while a group of people across the channel sang their moonstruck hearts out in the dark.

Full supermoon on Alligator Creek

OK. That's it. I'm sitting on the screen porch. It's midnight. There's a huge thunder storm going on. Rain is pummeling the tin roof. Thunder is shaking the floor and making the wall tremble. It's like bombs going off. Giant lightning bolts are touching down all around cracking like horrible whips. I shudder and cringe like a poor dog. In case this is the last thing I ever do I better post this now.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

No moon but a big moon

It's cloudy here this evening so there's really no point going to the beach in hopes of seeing tonight's Supermoon. And, if it's anything like last night, the minus tide will also be a bust. But last night there sure were a lot of those tiny burrowing clams writhing in the sand, in a good way of course. Anyway, happy moon watching if you're lucky enough to have clear skies tonight and, it was Friday, but happy summer solstice.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Colbert Report...Rep. Steve King wants Chickens to suck it up.

Conservatives, gotta love 'em or not. Rep. Steve King claims he has a better way for chickens to live and Steve Colbert is all over it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Minus tides

We were out at the beach today at the beginning of a minus tide. That's what you want if you're looking for shells and shark's teeth. The Gulf of Mexico is full of teeth, millions of years of teeth. But it's always luck o' the wave. Today I came home with only one decent tooth but seven excellent small conch shells, the kind hermit crabs inhabit, and a spiral. Taking them away from the sea, the birth water, taking them "home", inside, washing the sand off of them later felt bad. When Thea and Leo come I will scatter them back on the beach for them to find.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poca Piña

She has her father's tail but she lives in her mother's house, the giant pineapple palm in the front yard. It was Frida's sole domain when she was alive. At that time it was pruned but has since gone wild. It's not as "lovely" but safer which is a good thing because the hawk is about. From where I sit I used to be able to see palm trees in the background, making for some damn lovely photos. Now Frida's palm is a jungle galaxy all its own, both dead and alive, stretching it's gargantuan radius in all directions. It is on a feeding frenzy like the humungous cannibal galaxy NGC 1132 was before it devoured all of its neighbors. I even fear for our little cracker palace.

~ asha
Poca Piña

Anyway, Poca Piña lives there, which makes me very happy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Frida's daughter and the old man and birds by the sea


Morning on Alligator Creek
another in my scintillating series of real life non-action vids

Life is good again on Alligator Creek. Sonny Boy was back on the screen porch this morning putting the record straight. I was beginning to worry when he didn't come home Friday night. It just wouldn't be the same without him. And the peanuts did disappear the same day I put them out. We saw her this morning up in Frida's pineapple palm, one little squirrel, surely Frida's daughter.


And we finally got out to the Gulf today and the old guy that the Great Blue Heron found so fascinating when we were here a couple of years ago was there today, sitting in his chair reading as always. The Heron wasn't around but I am going to assume he will show at eventually. The frigatebirds, known to stay aloft for over a week at a time, were there floating on the currents, the magnificent pelicans soared by and the water was 86°.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Cheap

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile then, after Alligator Creek Update, Don from In A Perfect World asked about finding cheap getaways in real neighborhoods with real people, i.e. places to write. Always the question, isn't it?

This place showed up on craigslist and it's a GREAT deal, half off because it's the low season. Traveling off season is one of the key elements for us to be able to do what we do, plus renting via P2P sites like AirBnB and VRBO. Lucky for us all, it's worldwide. We get cheap places with kitchens and mostly cook variations of the Caribbean diet...rice, beans, veggies, sometimes a little fish or cheese, oatmeal for breakfast, sack lunches, leftovers for dinner. That kind of thing. We drove to Florida but otherwise we use public transportation and walk ...all easy on the pocketbook. Also we avoid "nice" restaurants, coffee shops and fetching little sidewalk cafés plus neither of us drink or drug which keeps expenses down. Mostly we live like the rest of the neighborhood except that I go to open mic poetry events but they're free and, of course, internet is essential. Okay, a lot of this is lifestyle but, for us, P2P rental is essential. Did I mention we don't skydive, zip line, shop, ride elephants etc. etc. You know. Cheap.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Alligator Creek update

Florida.

I started this in the morning while sitting here on the screen porch drinking coffee but now it's night and I'm back and at it again, this time listening to an exotic cacophony of birds. And, though it's nearly full on night, billowy white clouds are still visible in the sky. As there are no city lights to speak of, I wonder if it's light reflecting off the Gulf? Anyway, we are back staying in the little shack on Alligator Creek. We got in about 3 AM this morning but I'm still on Pacific time so I'm not that tired plus it's really hot. It will take a few days to adjust.

As for South Venice, not a lot has changed. Seems Sonny Boy is still living across the street with his decrepit parents. At least this morning they were all out on their screen porch running it down to each other in very loud, very raspy voices. It was quite the lively discussion. Then a smoking car pulled up and he left and he's not back yet, or at least he hasn't assumed his usual post on the screen porch. Ah well. It's Friday night but I hope he still lives with them. I like hearing the drift of his phone conversations at night and seeing the glow of his laptop through the porch screens. Tonight, it's just me out here on this dead end street sitting in computer glow in the dark that has settled over Alligator Creek. But who knows what's going to happen next? Currently there's a hand-scrawled "4 SALE" sign stuck at a crooked angle by their mailbox. And no matter what, his mom and dad, though miracles of modern medicine, won't be around much longer anyway.

And so far I haven't seen one squirrel. It's only been a day but I have seen two hawks or one twice. When I was here last time this place was a frolicking squirrel playground then Frida was killed by a hawk. I'm afraid I upset the balance by putting all those peanuts out. Will I put peanuts out this time? Yeah. I suppose. Does that bother me? Yes, but I know I'll do it anyway. It's a conundrum. I know it's self-serving but I need/want to have wildlife around.

Other than that, Barky the dog and his family are gone. According to Zillow that house was foreclosed. It's really dark now and I don't see the clouds anymore nor are any birds singing.

Florida again

Tampa Bay bridge aka Sunshine Skyway Bridge at 2 AM. Hey Florida! We're baaaack.

Swami and Minerva
crossing the bridge.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Heart home

Thea and Leo at Farmer's Market

Once again, our time in Portland has come to an end. Tomorrow we head back to Florida for the summer. It's been a great visit, but not without some trouble. Last week, Thea came down with a terrible cold but it's on the wane. She even managed to dance in her ballet recital yesterday. Luckily the other two grandkids. Frank and Leo, have stayed healthy. I've been far too busy with the kids to keep up here. Later. Right now, I'm beat. Must sleep.

Another thing I love about Portland

Monday, June 3, 2013

Snapshot lost in time

This will have to be short. I'm in Portland and it's a whirlwind. Today we took Leo and Thea to the Children's Museum. It was a blast. Yesterday we walked to opening day of the neighborhood Farmer's Market on Woodstock Ave. Great people watching, true Portlandia, complementary doggie water bowls in the garden, a pair of overweight Labs at one, drowsy Goldens at another and  charming mutts lounging at a third.