Saturday, January 28, 2012

Life's Not Always A Beach!!

I'm hooked on words of wisdom.  Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

  I encountered these two characters "standing firm" on the beach last month!!   

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ain't That The Truth

The only place you'll find success before work is in the dictionary.

I found these wise words on a calendar at the office where I work.    

The hard work necessary for success renders the prize all the more precious.  I trained hard to prepare myself for a YMCA biathlon a few years ago.  The medal was much less a reward than the satisfaction I felt when I crossed the finish line.

Would success mean anything if we didn't have to work for it?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Try, Try and Try Again

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

I love it!  Persisting builds us from the inside out.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't Wait

On New Year's Day, I opened my 2012 calendar.

As with all calendars I've ever used, when I lifted the cover, there was January.  That was fine.  I'd surely have been disappointed if one of the other twelve months had appeared first.

I hung the calendar on the wall and admired the boats in the harbor.  My eyes traveled down to the words under the scene.

I like quotes. 

This one, written by I don't know who, threatened me at first.  The challenge of the words momentarily paralyzed me.

A few seconds later, I turned and went about my day considering the quote.  My year will be what I make of it.  Waiting doesn't work; doing does. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Outside My Window

He looks majestic in red, doesn't he.

I saw more than one male cardinal today.  See the second one on the lower left side?  I was relaxing with my laptop this afternoon when I was distracted by this activity outside my window. 

A female cardinal sat on a branch waiting for her turn at the feeder.  Although she's much more subdued in color, she's pretty in her own way.

This fellow is nearly invisible against the background of white snow and the shades of gray and brown of the hedge where he is perched.
Even the seeds that fall into the snow are eaten.  I like to see that.

The brilliant red cardinal is anything but invisible.  Every time it snows, I'm impressed by the contrast of the red against white.  It makes me pause and stare.

I don't like the cold temperatures of winter but I love the look of freshly fallen snow, the hush  when I step outside and the brightness of the sun when it sparkles on the endless white blanket.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How To Unwind Underwater, Yet Stay Dry

Come and relax with these photos of our home aquarium.

I've finally taken an interest in our aquarium.  My son, Jared, bought my husband an aquarium several years ago after having success with the two he has in his home.  Since then, Lon has graduated to a larger tank.  I went with them to a fish store in Milwaukee last weekend to see their expansive and unique inventory.  I enjoyed the experience and I even picked out a fish to add to those we already have.  I'm spending some time observing what goes on in our tank and I'm finding it's a great stress reliever. 

I hope you felt yourself relax as you viewed these photos.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Holy Spanish Mackerel

Jared did some fishing on Crescent Beach on Siesta Key, Florida.  When I saw this one, I said "Holy Mackerel" but I was wrong.  It's a Spanish Mackerel.

Lon and Jared both enjoy fishing.  They do most of their fishing in Wisconsin and Minnesota but it's always fun for them to drop a line to see what's lurking in the waters of Florida. 

What about them choppers?

One of these days I'll move on to a subject other than our happenings during our recent vacation.  Right now, I'm still holding on to memories of the wonderful time we had.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas on Siesta Key

Lon, Jared and I enjoyed two weeks in Florida this past December.

We arrived on December 16th and stayed until the 30th.  For several days, the beach, roads and restaurants on the key and in Sarasota were quiet.  A few days before Christmas, more people arrived and activity picked up.

  We walked the beach nearly every day.  I took this photo as we walked north from our condo along the Gulf of Mexico.  This is the public beach, the site for the Sand Wars competition.  (I shared Sand Wars photos and narrative in my previous blog post).     

Here, we're heading south on the beach, back toward Siesta Dunes, the condo complex where we stayed.

The moon-shaped curve of the beach gives it its name.

With the sliding door open at night, we heard the awesome sound of waves like this crashing onto the beach.


Back at the public beach, the white tents in the background were set up for the Sand Wars crew to use for breaks and food during the three days of the event.  The crowd to the left of the tents were viewing the behind-the-scenes activity as The Travel Channel filmed the competition between sand sculptors.

I'm always impressed with the quartz sand on Crescent Beach.  It's nearly as fine as flour and no matter how hot the sun gets, the sand is always cool.  

I started everyday in a lounge chair poolside.  When activity picked up, I moved to the deck and finally to a lounge chair on the beach.  In my beach bag, I carried a book, a writing tablet and pen, and my cell phone for occasional texting, not to mention a bottle of water, sunscreen, lipstick, my watch, sandals and a towel.  With all that, I could spend hours in the sun without needing to go back to the condo for anything.  Toting the bag was a nice upper-body workout! 

If I wasn't so hyper, I'd love to spend more time watching the waves and the patterns that the water form on the sand.  Unfortunately, I can't focus for long on watching things happen.  I'm more at ease when I'm doing something like walking, reading or writing with frequent but short glances at the gulf waters.  (I could take medication for that, couldn't I!!??)

I'm including this photo so you can see that I REALLY was there.

On the beach, it was easy to forget it was December and that Christmas was approaching.  Except for a woman, wearing her swimsuit and a Santa hat, and a snowman sculpted in sand on the beach, it seemed like March, the month we usually spend on Siesta Key.  Away from the beach, Christmas was evident in the many holiday decorations everywhere.

On Christmas Day, we drove to Disney World in Orlando.  We spent the day at Epcot Center.  We figured being busy would eliminate any chances of feeling strange about being away from Wisconsin. 

Lon, Jared and I agreed that our Christmas in Florida was perfect.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sand Wars on Siesta Key

There's always something going on at the public beach on Siesta Key.  Last month, December, 2011, we were lucky enough to be there for the filming of the Travel Channel's production of Sand Wars.  (You're right.  These larger than life letters weren't made of sand.  Even world-famous sculptors couldn't pull that off).  

The two individuals in the foreground were the hosts of the Sand Wars presentation which will air within the next few months on the Travel Channel.  We'll be watching for it since we were in the background during some of the filming.  We signed papers giving them permission to include us in the show if they should choose to.  (I'm definitely not holding my breath in hopes of that happening, but you never know). 

This sand sculpture, BAD IDEA, is one of many constructed by teams of sand sculptors from all over the world.  It was created by the team, Sanding Ovation. 

I was able to get a close up shot of one of the members of the team, Shore Thing, at work on their sculpture named NO HASSLES...JUST SAND CASTLES.

I spoke with team, Sanding Ovation.  They always create a totally new sculpture whenever they compete.  When they aren't competing, they do sand sculptures for various events including weddings.

Stifling a sneeze?  Find the answer to that question a few photos down. 

Here's a glimpse of some of the tools used to create these unique sculptures.  This is Team Graniacs' ROCKET BOY.
...the back side of NO HASSLES...JUST SAND CASTLES.

I didn't catch the name of this one.  He was on display the first day I came upon Sand Wars.  I was too busy watching the production to notice the details.

...Sand Storm Team at work on the final sculpting stage of GEAR HEAD.

These sand sculptors were competing for a grand prize of $10,000, not bad compensation for playing in the sand.

Look who's in the dog house.

How about this one?  I'm impressed.

It was interesting to watch the camera men operating their equipment.
These panels were used to direct light where it was needed.

As you can see, we weren't the only ones intrigued by this operation.
An explosive was set in the base of each sand sculpture after its completion.  Spectators voted for their favorite sculpture each day of the three-day event.  The least favorite sculpture was exploded.  That pile of sand above is the result of one such demolition.  It's kind of sad to see only a pile of sand where something majestic had been only a second before.     

... another tool of the trade.

As glamorous as it may seem to work for the Travel Channel, the hosts put in long hours with a lot of time spent waiting for things to happen.

A makeup and hair attendant kept the female host looking her best.

Sculpting was done in three stages.  This is one of the entries in the first stage.  The frames will be removed from the middle and bottom sections for stage two and three.
Spectators were prompted to cheer at the top of their lungs with the promise of a t-shirt to the loudest person.  It's amazing what we'll do for a chance to get something free.  Several retakes were made of all of us screaming and hollering.  Technicians will edit the spectators' responses into appropriate spots in the show.

I fell for the hype.  Can you blame me?  It's all for the Travel Channel!!  When will I ever have a better chance to be on television?     

Ten minutes before the end of this phase of construction, the nose collapsed from the face of this sculpture.  We watched while the sculptor tried to quickly reform a new nose before his time was up.  It was disheartening to observe.

So that's it from the site of Sand Wars on Crescent Beach, Siesta Key, Florida, location of the finest quartz sand in the world.

This is Shaddy signing off and wishing you a wonderful day.  Bye, only for now.