Frida Kahlo the Squirrel RIP

This is a post I did not want to write. I've been putting if off for weeks as though writing it would make it so. But we're leaving Florida in the morning and heading back to Nevada so it's time to wrap things up around here.

Frida stashing a nut

I am very sad to report that Frida Kahlo the squirrel is MIA and almost certainly dead. And I'm feeling pretty guilty because I played a part. I've been feeding a lot of squirrels and birds all summer and, of course, the inevitable happened. A hawk noticed and started hanging around. Then Frida vanished.

Frida stashing a nut

She's gone. It's been weeks. We both really miss her and feel the great big empty place she left behind. That probably sounds odd. After all, what kind of relationship can you have with a squirrel? But we got really attached to her. Frida had moxie. I'm embarrassed to use that word, it's corny, but it fits her. Every morning, while the other squirrels were busy chasing each other around the yard arguing over who could have a peanut, Frida was busy licking then stashing all the peanuts, one by one, into separate hiding places.

Frida enjoying a morning peanut.

And when I threw peanuts down from the balcony, all the squirrels took off except Frida. She'd look me in the eye, cup her hands and wait for the toss.

Frida ascends her pineapple palm.

Then, once everything was done and tucked away, she'd scamper up into her pineapple palm to savor a peanut in peace. No one dared approach her in her tree. Frida Kahlo the squirrel was like Frida Kahlo the painter... as they say... una perra nacida... born a bitch.

Frida Kahlo savoring a peanut in her favorite pineapple palm tree

That tree was hers and hers alone, and even though she's gone, it's still empty.

Ghost of Frida Kahlo visiting us.

That is except recently one morning. M. Lee call me to come quick to the window, that the ghost of Frida Kahlo had come back to say goodbye. It looked like her. It felt like her. And no, we haven't seen her since but I get the feeling that, wherever she is, Frida Kahlo is doing just fine.


Pelican's morning at the jetty

We biked to the south jetty in Venice the other day. It's about 20 miles round-trip from where we're staying.

Mother Pelican at the jetty

Lucky us! A mother pelican and her baby
also decided to spend the morning at the jetty.

Mother Pelican and her baby

She sunned herself on the rocks as Baby P.
paddled around in the water in front of her.

Pelican Baby

 He still had that fuzzy baby look and was a total darling.
This is first time I've seen a baby pelican up close...

Mother Pelican watching her baby

...and the first time I've ever had a good look at a pelican's feet.

Mother Pelican's beautiful toenails

They are huge and rubbery flippery silvery blue.
And they have toenails, amazing toenails!
I did not know that pelicans had toenails...
...and such very cool toenails at that!

 On second thought.... those "toenails are probably considered claws, bird claws, she says blushing.


Local News at 20:27 hours

Our time in Florida is running out. Everything feels different. I don't want to go but I am detaching in spite of myself. In fact, with all the travel we have been doing the last few years, detachment itself is becoming the normal mode. It's appropriate at this point in my life. I don't love less but with fewer conditions.


Mid night choral



Between worlds

Time to slap a new post on top of this wobbly pyramid of words.

Birds at the jetty

In two weeks we begin our cross-country drive back to the west coast but I am really going to miss this place..


Jersey Shore 1904

Atlantic City, circa 1900. Swimsuits were either flannel, serge or Alpaca, went from head to toe, included vest and collar plus skirts for the women topped off with modest caps.

And in case you are wondering.... yes.
The women are wearing swimming corsets under their suits.
Source: Shorpy

Even though we saw topless women on Miami Beach the other day, and even though no one seemed to mind or, for that matter even notice, the crowd still reminded me of the subdued, modest bathers from more puritanical times. I think it was the general disconnect people seemed to have regarding the environment itself as though being in a crowd offered protection from the power and uncertainties of Nature. Like I said before, creepy.


Diorama of a Midsummer's Day

We went to Fort Lauderdale last week to visit M. Lee's cousins and explore the area a bit. His cousins are nice fellows and basically hermits. They live in a big pleasant house in a skeevy part of town with their mother, kids, a sweet, pony-size pit bull who is not neutered and six hens they treat like children who have their own place out back. We saw everybody for dinner both nights and during the first day biked around Ft. Lauderdale and the second decided move on and check out Miami Beach.

It wasn't a particularly pleasant drive. Imagine "dragging yourself shirtless across a desert of blazing hot broken glass, your back full of arrows, predator birds tearing at your flesh". That's how Lee described driving to Miami Beach. 

America is already a tax haven for the world's wealthiest people and Southern Florida is one of their favorite spots. Everyday millionaire retirees roost all over Florida but South Florida is known for it's high-stepping billionaire, and very shady, richer-than-god crowd. Even from the street Miami is a gaudy showcase questionable wealth.

But, for us, there really wasn't any there there, just more urban sameness.

When we finally got to the beach, the world famous Miami Beach, I ran like someone escaping a fire, well, with a few stops along the way.

I'm a surrealist and, surprisingly the beach was surreal, so I should have loved it but, instead, I was horrified. I already knew that every inch of ground, mangrove and shoreline in Miami is developed, and has been for a long time so, of course, its "world famous" beach would be no exception but it was so dismal. Whether I looked north or south, it was hotel after hotel after hotel—no trees, no shade, no wildlife—and on the sand— thousands of people laying under umbrellas or standing in the water. I assume for them it was a lovely summer day at the beach.

To me the scene had a musty and unreal quality as though, rather than at the ocean, people were in a diorama built by a Jersey taxidermist and titled Day at the Beach. And mostly it was just sad. We're back along Alligator Creek today. The development here is bad enough but I'm still caught in yesterday's mood but grateful to be back in the small world here on the gulf.


No ghost but a mango

No ghost. In fact, no nothing. Pelican Alley is closed on Tuesday. This is the second time the place has evaded me. The last time was last fall when I went in ordered but then, for seemingly other reasons, canceled and left. Hmmmmm....veeeeery strange, eh? Anyway, for the record, I do and do not believe in ghosts, like everything else and I did not see the pantie tweaking ghost of Pelican Alley today. I will try again later. The day ended with a mango party. We ate the last of the mangoes we got at Pine Island a couple of weeks ago. Except for the crappy Tommy Atkins, the one most often imported to the US, they were all fantastic. So, for today, no ghost but 11 mangoes down and hundreds to go.


Ghost of birthdays present

Today is my birthday so we are going to Pelican Alley for lunch. I've been wanting to eat there ever since I learned that the place has a reputation for being haunted. According to legend the ghost of Pelican Alley's previous owner likes to give cute waitresses weggies as well as do all the usual ghost type stuff like float the sound of mysterious foot steps, radiate an odd presence, open and close doors and move shit around.

A group of female ghost hunters recently tried evoking the ghost so they could catch him on their lame video. They offered to let him "touch the fun bags" and pull their undies. They treated him like a demented circus clown with demands to "make it move" and "give me a photo for my wallet"..., "wuss boy"... "you must not be a man". WTF, ladies? No self-respecting ghost is going to give it up for that.

I'll let you know how it goes today. It is only lunchtime but if anything funny happens I'll have my camera.