Wednesday, June 19, 2013


You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they own. How many, what type, and where they live when not in use. Are there some shoes that should have been thrown away years ago, when they were used up?

Only 3 pair! I'm sure I will add to the collection.

I looked in my closet and count five pair. My shoes say I live a simple life, and have no need to dress-up. Sixty percent of my collection are flip flops; comfortable island footwear, easily removed for that stroll at the water's edge on my way home from work. Cool, comfortable, and go with anything I wear. My second pair were made here on the island. They are Kino sandals. Very comfortable, and should last longer than any pair I have owned. The white pair are my $1.99 from K-Mart shoes. These are my 'no scuff' and shower shoes.


Next, my water shoes are made by Keen. I love them. A good snug fit, comfortable, washable, and good for anything you do on or in the water. I got them right before my trip to Belize, because I knew I would be walking a lot, and some of those adventures would be through water. They turned out to be a wonderful purchase. When I wear these out, I will get another pair.

Hiking boots

Lastly, I have a pair of hiking boots. Not sure when I'll get to wear them again, but I will be ready for that hike in the mountains of Costa Rica... if I make it there. I do love to hike, and I bought these shoes after a rocky seven mile hike up to the South Rim at Big Bend Park. My feet were killing me when I got to our camp site, and were bruised for the next several days. When I got home, I ran out and bought me a comfortable pair of hiking boots, and my feet have thanked me countless times since.

The other night, I did have an occasion to wear my only nice dress. And with it, on my feet were Kino sandals, the closest thing to a dress shoe. A little ashamed of my footwear for that event, I need to add a pair of heels to my collection. I feel there will be more of these "dress up" events in my future. We'll see.

Now, go look in your closet. See what your collection says about you.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Okay, I'm sure my loyal followers have mumbled the question, "So, who is this 'my friend' and 'Gator's roommate' she speaks of?" Well, this is Chuck. Chuck is a Freshwater Conch, moved here in 1995, and fishing is his passion! He invited me on a 2 day fishing trip aboard Yankee Capts. Of course, I said, "YES!"

But, to prepare for this weekend trip, I had to learn a few things, because I have not been fishing before... not like this. This is SERIOUS fishing, not a cane pole with a bobber thrown in the pond on our back 40 pasture.

In the canal behind Chuck's home, I was given a lesson on how to cast, and what to do when I get a hit. I practiced a few times, but discovered quickly I would probably need a shorter rod. Chuck rummaged through his large collection of rods, and found one just my size. I was told I might have a problem... if I snag something that weighs more than me. In that case, I yell, "CHUCK!" and he will come help me. Did I really feel that would be a problem? Haha, No.

Friday evening, we arrived at the marina, found our bunks, stored our stuff, and received our tags. I was #38. I was given a ring of tags and told to tear one off and it would be stapled to the gill of each fish I catch. This fish would then be carried back and placed in a big box and iced down. When we get back to the dock, the fish would then be pulled and each person would identify their fish by number. Good system and it works very efficiently.

We left the dock at 10:00 pm, on the dot. Every trip that Chuck takes on Yankee Capts, he gives an optional mini fishing lesson. Upon leaving the dock, many gathered on the back deck for this 25 minute lesson, and then a Q & A session. I wanted to catch fish, but more importantly, I didn't want to disappoint or embarrass Chuck with my ignorance of the sport. So, I listened intently.

By 11:00 pm, I was getting settled in my bunk. Five hours later, Chuck walks by, shakes my foot to wake me, and motions me to get up and go catch some fish! I hear the engine idle down, followed by the clatter of the anchor chain sliding off the bow. A very familiar sound that I would hear several more times in the following 24 hours.

Being new to the boat, new to fishing, and afraid I would do something stupid... I took the fishing rod with knees quivering. As I stood there at the bow, with line in the water, I went over and over everything Chuck had told me to expect and how to react. Within minutes, I got a nibble and immediately thought "HOW COOL IS THIS!!!" With Chuck standing to my right, watching, the fish takes off with the bait, and I look up at him, as if to ask, "NOW?"

Chuck was so helpful, patient, excited, and proud of his student. I was proud of me too. On this trip I learned just how fragile the male ego is, and I think I fractured a few with my beginner's luck. Some may not want me back on the boat! These guys just need to exercise good listening skills, put the advice into practice, and they too can catch more, and bigger fish.

My final count was 7 mutton snapper and two sharks. Of course the sharks were cut loose and don't really count. But, I like to count them too, because I worked hard to get them to the surface. I have the sore muscles and bruises to prove it. And, as I sit here writing this, my mind begins to wander; dreaming of that bigger fish at the end of my line... someday.

Chuck is catching us some fresh bait.

This is the upper deck with all the personal chests.

Fish being tagged on table/fish box.

There were a lot of sharks taking our bait.

Chuck's cousin, Stan fishing at sunrise.

Chuck and Jay.

Joe runs the galley, and makes a mean breakfast!

Getting the fish ready to be unloaded as soon as we get to the dock.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Meet my friend, Gator. Gator is a four year old German Shepard that wants to be in the middle of everything, and loves to play. That was not always the case. Gator had been trained as an attack dog for a police department, but became  uncontrollable, possibly due to abusive training. He is living in a good home now, and is a real sweetheart, unless you try to break into his home or hurt his people. Then Gator would not treat you so kindly.

He also has a reputation in his roommate's circle of friends; Gator once sank a boat.

Until recently, when Gator's roommate would come home from work, Gator would meet him with a 12 inch piece of garden hose, and they would play. One day, upon arriving home, the roommate heard water running. He walked toward the back of the house, and his thoughts suddenly turned from "where is that running water", to "WHERE IS MY BOAT?!". The twin engine, center console fishing boat, normally tied to the dock in the canal behind the house, was missing. When he got to the dock, he could see the taught dock lines still tied to the dock, and the bottom of the boat just under the surface, staring back at him. The running water he heard, was gushing out of the broken PVC water pipe in the backyard, and aimed straight at the boat. Apparently, Gator was tugging on the hose connected to that PVC pipe, and snapped it in two. This boat was equipped with two bilge pumps, and put up a good fight, before the batteries finally gave up the ghost, letting the boat fill with water and then turn turtle.

Having all the necessary equipment on site, the boat was raised, turned over, and drained. The engines were immediately taken apart, cleaned, and serviced. The boat is now sitting on it's trailer, but the engines are still not running. The question that is asked most, "And Gator is still alive?"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I know it hasn't been that long ago that I packed my two boxes to be stored, but I had forgotten most of their contents. These boxes hold those possessions I thought I could not discard from my life, yet did not need to keep them within arm's reach.

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to retrieve them, as I have made Key West my home. They were sent to my brother for safe keeping, and he buried them amongst the collection of his and his daughter's boxes in "Fred". Fred is the shed he built in his backyard. My niece thought the building needed a name, and dubbed it 'Fred the Shed'. Fred has been keeping my prized possessions safe for the last several months.

These two boxes were unearthed, and shipped to me here in Key West. Getting boxes delivered to your home is always fun, but more than that, I had the feeling of excitement you get on Christmas morning. With great anticipation, I opened the first box.

My hair dryer, oh how I've missed you! Lots of pictures of my kids, some of their school work, and a quilt I made Shawn when he was one year old.


This quilt was entered in the Lubbock county fair, and placed second. I drew the design on the fabric, free-hand embroidered the design with a sewing machine, and then outlined by hand. I think it turned out really cute.

I've had my tool belt for about 25 years.
There were the two needlepoint Christmas stockings that I had purchased, along with needlepoint threads and frames to stitch them on. They are way too expensive to toss, and I had already started stitching mine. The other stocking, the S.S. Claus is cute, and I will stitch that one... for me also. I can have two!
My scrapbook is not up-to-date. The last entry was back in 2011. I'm in the process of collecting photos and organizing my thoughts about what I need to enter in the book. I can picture me sitting in a rocking chair, years from now, and my kids are showing me pages from this book, and the conversation will go something like this:

Amy:  See Mom, this is when you moved to Houston.
Me:    I lived in Houston?
Shawn: This is when you sailed the Texas 200 on Traveler.
Me:    I've never been on a sailboat!

When I was little, my grandmother jokingly told me I needed 'remembering' pills... but I would probably forget to take them. She was right... I would forget to take them!