Sunday, December 31, 2017

LEZLIE, what did you do on your birthday?

Thank you for asking! It was a Saturday, no work. My two youngest grandkids had their first T-ball practice today, so I was there watching 4 and 5 year olds chase the ball.

My bike needs brake pads replaced. I took off toward Old Town Key West to the bike shop. Since I was so close to Flying Monkey Saloon, I treated myself to a frozen adult beverage... because it's my birthday!

Just a few sips in, I was feeling the adult part of that drink. The cruise ship was in and all it's passengers had flooded Duval Street. I found a quiet bench to sit and enjoy my beverage.

On my way back home, I followed the music to a mariachi band. Upon learning it was my birthday, they played a song just for me. When I was home, my daughter and her family had cake and gifts for me. And.... another "Happy Birthday" song.

Being the party animal I am, I spent the whole night watching movies, playing with Legos and sipping water. Yep, that's me... PARTY ANIMAL!!

Friday, December 15, 2017


What do you do on a Friday night when you have no cable or internet? You hop on your bike and go look at the Christmas lights. It was nice weather, just needed sleeves. I took off in our neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. As I was riding along, I heard music and laughter. It sounded like a party, complete with lots of lights. I was still a block away, but it was loud, and sounded like they were having a great time. As I approached the intersection, about 30 decorated bicycles started down the street toward me, from this house. Most were wearing some sort of Christmas costume and the bikes were glowing with colored Christmas lights. I fell in behind them and followed for several blocks. They were having a great time in their own little parade.
I turned around and headed downtown to go tourist watching. I usually stop at the Flying Monkey Saloon and get a frozen White Russian. Tonight was no different. This was my first stop! Yum!
The lighted boat parade was tonight. I saw the very tail end of it. These two boats were very impressive.
Here is another decorated house I saw on the way home. Very shiny.
Christmas is just around the corner. As usual, I've waited until the last minute to do my Christmas shopping. It never feels like Christmas when the temperatures are in the 70's. Luckily, this year, we've had a cooler week. But, I hear it's suppose to be back in the 80's next week. However, that is one of the things I love about living here... it doesn't get cold enough to wear a coat!!!

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Have you ever dreamed of owning your own island? I have.

The other day, I picked up a paper and was thumbing through it, when two little works jumped out at me in the real estate section... 3 ISLANDS. My first thought was, "How can you own a group of mangroves?" Because, I lived on Geiger Key for 2 1/2 years, I've been in that bay a hundred times and never saw 3 islands. A lot of mangroves, but I didn't think they were islands.

Little Sandy Keys. I looked on Google Maps. Sure enough, there are three islands labeled.
After IRMA, I wasn't sure if there was any island left. I had to see for myself. My friend, Sheri, said she was up for an adventure, so we made plans to go exploring. We sailed there, anchored and hopped into the water. 
We started walking around the island looking for an opening to a trail. We passed by something stuck in the mangroves. It was high tide, and what looked like a duffle bag or backpack was just above the water. I think IRMA deposited it there, and I was going to go see what it was. I pulled it out and low and behold, it was a scuba buoyancy compensator. And in my size! I had to evict the little tenants and remove all the organic matter. I found only one small barnicle. 
All I need now is weight belt, a tank, regulator..... oh yeah, and get certified!
Sheri and I found where there once was an opening to a trail, but the mangroves have taken it over, and it was too dense to get through. We could see that there was a small open area where the posted sign was, we just couldn't get there. 

We made our way back to the boat, climbed in, raised the sail, and we were off again. We took the long way around to get back to the launch and enjoyed a nice sail. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Today, I hopped on my bike and took off for an afternoon of cruising Key West. After the beach, a stop at Flying Monkey for my favorite beverage, I headed toward home and found myself at the cemetery. You can tell a lot about the local families by the cemetery.

For instance, it was quite clear that the Spottswood family have a big presence in Key West. And they are the only plot that has landscaping.

And now I know where several streets get there name. Albury, Williams, White, Ashby, Peacon...and the list goes on and on. The headstone design has changed drastically since the turn of the century. I guess tree trunks were a popular design back then. I live on Fogarty Ave, there is bar and restaurant with the same name. I'm guessing there must be money there.

This one got away!
There is a cemetery within a cemetery. I guess the fence is to keep the protestants out.
The path is bricked to the Toppino Family Mausoleum. I walked around to the front and was in awe!

Toppino Family Mausoleum. There are a pair of iron gates in the front.
Inside the Toppino mausoleum is nicer than my apartment!

"Ahhh, we can make a path here, just pave around it!"
I found the Jewish cemetery too. Had to come home and
 google about all the rocks laying everywhere.
My favorite.
There are many thoughts about death... where you go after death and how people grieve. A funeral service is for the ones left behind, not for the dead. Many people need this for closure. Personally, I don't care what happens after I'm gone... because I will be gone, and not really a part of it. I do think a Viking funeral would be pretty awesome though.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


When I got my cover, it did not match the spare tire cover I already had. Last weekend, Lezlie made a tire cover to match my cover. Now my carpet matches my drapes.

I'm itching to get back out on the water. Lezlie's Explorer, Dora, was missing her mechanics. So, she refuses to start now. Her friends at Shifting Gears can't see her until later this week. The next day Lezlie is off work and Dora running, we are hitting the water.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Some of the stuff Irma left behind, just amazes me. This boat survived Irma without sinking. I don't know how, but she stayed afloat.

Her owner didn't want the problem, so he gave it to his brother. 

She is a plywood boat. I do not know her history, but I will find out.

I didn't look real close, but it looks like it has no fiberglass on the hull.

I will post updates as I see progress.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


I love movies. It can take you to another world, another time, live someone else's life, make you happy, make you think, all at the touch of a button. Tonight, I watched "Up In The Air". The one line that stopped me in my tracks, "Think about the happy moments in your life. Were you alone?" We all know the answer to that one.

Lately, I have been battling loneliness. In a perfect world, I would be someone's "other half". But this is not a perfect world. I am okay with not having a plus one, but it is not my preferred existence. 

In order to change my relationship status, I have to put myself out there, and I don't want to do that. Two out of the last three relationships, I was dumped. I want to believe the first dumping was because he was confused, depressed, and generally couldn't get his head straight. But I could be wrong. The last time I was "let go", was because I was too old. That hurt, we were the same age. Until that day, I didn't really feel old, but now when I look in the mirror, I see an old woman. Of course, the extra pounds, grey hair and wrinkles contribute to that. I'm coming up on the dreaded 60. 

Ever since I moved back to Florida, I have not even entertained the thought of dating. I felt safe being single. I wasn't sure why I felt that way, until last week when I had an epiphany. When you are single and dating, and meet someone for the first time... you judge them. You size them up. I don't want to be judged. I don't want to be rejected. I don't want to feel I'm not good enough. 

So, here I am, like every other night. Sitting in my little cave I call an apartment. Alone.
I'll find me an old western movie. I love horses. Let's see, how about Randolph Scott. Oh,  or Sam Elliot... he's nice to look at! And that voice! 

Shhh... the movie is starting... 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Today I pulled the kayak out and went paddling. This is the first time I've been on the water since hurricane Irma. The channel I usually go down, has a few obstacles... tree tops. I went out to see what I could find in the mangroves. Turns out, not a lot. I was a little surprised. 

The big white fender was way too far up in the dense mangrove, so I didn't even try for that. I was able to retrieve the 40 feet of blue rope.
A little farther down, I come upon a boat. It was a very sad looking boat, that I'm sure has a captivating story to tell of her Irma experience. It has been tagged with caution tape, so I'm sure the numbers have been taken and put on THE LIST.
It will take a long time to recover from Irma. She trimmed all the trees, but new leaves are showing up everyday. One positive thing Irma did, was give the plants a good watering. Yesterday, on my bike ride to the beach, I came across these beautiful bogavia.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Amazing what those chemicals can do!
Twenty-nine days post IRMAGEDDON, our pool is finally a pretty blue again... after turning swamp green, brown and then black. Our pool guys have been here everyday for the past week. They earned their money with our pool.

You don't realize how much you use something, until you can't. Our tans have faded. But today, Amy and I had a nice soak and caught some rays.

The iguanas have spent more time on the ground these days, since their trees in the back have had the tops cut off. I have chased them away from the pool more than once. Unfortunately, they like to take a dip in the pool too.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


Leading up to the weekend of hurricane Irma, I was inundated with text and comments begging me to  evacuate. I know everyone was just acting out of love, but it was a little annoying. I am that person that, once I've made up my mind to do something... that's that!

It's been three weeks since my last post, because it wasn't until yesterday that I got internet back at the house. My stay at the La Concha Hotel during the storm, was good. There was no flooding in that area. Irma was mostly wind, not that much water. The hardest hit was up The Keys starting at MM10. That's not to say we didn't have a lot of damage, just not as much as they did. Key West had a lot of limbs and trees blown down. Boats are scattered everywhere. Very few that were anchored out, stayed there. Many are piled under bridges, on the bottom, floated out to sea, or just plain missing.

The week following the storm was HOT. No power means no A/C. It's hard to sleep when you are laying in a puddle of sweat. My work (Strunk Ace Hardware) was closed for a day, then reopened using a generator to power the registers. When the doors opened, it was like BLACK FRIDAY! A crowd rushed in and ran to get what they needed. Shelves were stripped within minutes, and there was a line to check out for three hours. I'm telling you, I worked a register at a department store last Black Friday.... and this was the same thing.

How did I manage without power, water, phone and internet? It's easy if you prepare. I had plenty of water, flashlights, candles, canned food, propane and bullets. Most of my neighbors left, and I kept the gates locked on the property. If someone came on my property, they would be met with a pissed of woman with a .38. "Shoot first and ask questions later" was the advice a police officer gave. 

Due to cell phones not working, it was days before my family heard from me. After learning of an available landline, I was able to call my brother and let him know I was not laying dead in a gutter somewhere.

A couple days after the storm, we had rationed water. Four days I had power. Two weeks I had cell phone and three weeks I had internet. It was inconvenient, but managable.


I was fortunate to work for a company that is very caring and takes care of their employees. Work provided lunch for the few employees that stayed. We were running with about 50% staff, working our tails off, and the company and customers appreciated our efforts.

At home, I cooked with a cast iron skillet on the grill. There was bacon, biscuits and eggs that needed to be cooked, so I made a feast the first day. With the leftover bacon grease, I fried potatoes with a secret seasoning a friend gave me. I ate well.

Dark and Stormy

This was our cocktail of choice. It just seemed appropriate. Even after I left the hotel and came home. I found a bottle of Ginger Beer in the refrigerator. Since it was still cool, I felt obligated to have a Dark and Stormy, so as to not waste the coolness of the beverage.


I live on the ground floor of a stilt home. The upper story weathered the storm just fine.  Before the storm, I took everything I could off my floor. It was piled on the bed, couch or table. My place took about 3" of water. Clean up was not that bad. I lost nothing. Pulled everything out, cleaned the floor, let it completely dry, put everything back. 

The backyard and pool are a different story. The back of the property was lined with fishtail palm trees. We loved those trees because they were a 25 foot WALL. It gave you a sense of privacy. The wind blew that wall over, and it became a canopy over the pool. Not good. There was about a 2 inch layer of fishtail palm leaves at the bottom of the pool... and it was turning green.... then brown. 

Our landlord had someone come to cut the trees down. It has taken him four days of chopping on the trees, and he is still not finished. And now it is ugly! I don't know if the trees will come back, or we will just have leaning, uneven, dead stumps lining our fence. I will let you know how this turns out.

I have been asked if I would stay or evacuate next time. I would stay. One thing I will get though... a battery operated fan. The key to making it after the storm, prepare for the worse, hope for the best.

This video is not my best work, but it gives you a little insight to my IRMA experience.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Bert and I got to moving early this morning. We ran over to Bert's home, grabbed her cats and brought them to the hotel. It is breezy but not raining yet.

When we arrived at the hotel, Bert enlisted a store customer and well-known local, to help haul the cats and their paraphernalia to the room. Upon leaving, he said he was bringing food and will see if they could use the kitchen. If not.... he has duct tape! He is quite a force to deal with. I'm sure he can make it happen.

Looking in Bert's refrigerator one more time before our exit, we see ginger beer. She looks at me and says, "you brought the rum...". We can make our own Dark and Stormy drinks tonight! Yes Amy, I grabbed your rum. It will be put to good use!

I don't know how long we will have power. There is a generator out back, but not hooked up yet. We will see how that all plays out! I am feeling confident that we chose the right hotel, and we will be okay during the storm. The aftermath is the real bummer, and we have to do the cleanup if we stay or if we go. If we stay, at least we can get that started sooner.

Friday, September 8, 2017


I had never heard of this drink... but it seemed fitting to have one ... or three, on the eve of hurricane IRMA.

While sitting having our cocktail, a customer of the store stopped at our table and thanked us for staying open today. It feels good to be appreciated for what you do at work. As they left, he put money on the table and said the next round it on me. THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. We helped out a lot of our neighbors this week, getting them the products they need.

And we had another round!!!!!

IRMA - FRIDAY 9/8/17

We kept the hardware store open until noon today. There were nine of us that stayed until the end, helping our neighbors get things they needed to secure their homes and get them through the electrical outage that will follow. Our customers were very thankful that we were there for them. It was a good feeling to know we made a difference to a lot of people.

What flew off the shelves? Generators, gas cans, sandbags, wing nuts, wing nut drivers, batteries, flash lights, peel & seal, plywood.... and the list goes on. 

After we left the store, Bert (co-worker) and I had our ice cream topped with Bailey's to start our hurricane party. It was very good!

We got settled into our room at the hotel, and finally sat and rested after several days of working and then going home and stowing belongings. We both are getting lots of texts and well wishes... okay, it's more like "why the hell didn't you leave" texts. I want to just turn off my phone and not turn on the TV until tomorrow. I know you guys mean well.

Okay, I am off to explore the hotel. I have never been here before, and I'm going to the top for the view. Later!