Friday, February 25, 2011

Afternoon at Rookery Bay

Today we went to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve ,one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America.  It's just down the road from where we are and we've passed it a number of times in the past years and have never visited.

It was awesome. The learning center was so well done. Since I've worked at the museum I've come to understand the cost associated with running something like this. From that standpoint alone, this place was mind-blowing. This place was FULL of things to do and cost $5 per adult and $3 for a child. It was new and clean and very interaction-oriented.  I've been talking about it all day since we left. I was completely impressed.

There was a walking path that went over a river where we saw sting rays. We had just missed the manatees that swam by before we got there.

Down the path they had an old pioneer cistern. The home used to be loacated next to it. I swear, I can find pioneer stuff just about anywhere. But my goodness, imagine being a pioneer in south florida....It was 85 today. And it's February...

This is amazing.
This parcel of land was part of a controlled burn for wild
life management. You could still smell the charred plants/trees. I took this picture today.

4 weeks ago it looked like this.

This is from their website. Peek at my picture again. Look at all that green-in 4 weeks.

Look at how nature renews itself after fire.
While this renewal is predictable it's also kind of a miracle.
And something we can all apply in our lives.

This was really moving to me in a way I'm having trouble explaining.

Upstairs in the learning center. If you look closely you can see the words pioneer area on the wall.

Next to it you can see the words prehistory. Below that is this display with a primitive tool as well as real pot shards that are thousands of years old and found right at the perserve.

These kinds of things strike me dumb half the time.

I imagine a person so so long ago holding that pot and having a human experience just like I am. And then I feel small and part of something much larger. 

There was a butterfly garden.

And an authentic Seminole Chickee Hut.

This was by far my daughter's favorite thing and she played on it many many times. It had all of the trappings of a real boat, interactive bird noises and boat controls, videos of the ocean bottom, headphones, and sea creature replicas that you could touch and play with.

They also had an art gallery as well as an auditorium where they showed a movie about the estuary. There were many beautiful outdoor sitting areas and nature inspired art. And their whole mission is to teach and perserve.

I can't get this place out of my mind tonight. It was completely engaging.  I found out that one of the retirees at the pool volunteers there so tomorrow I'm going to ambush find him and ask him more about it.

When I'm an old walnut beach woman I'm going to volunteer here too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

And The Winner Is...

With a little help from my random number generator (my daughter) the winner of the 2 Book Giveaway winner is Raven!

Raven, I'll send you an email to get your home address. Enjoy the books! Both are awesome!!1

My lateness in choosing a winner is in part because I'm here:

Playing in the Sand

Going Places

Visiting the Spray Park

Going Swimming.
This pool is actually the pool at the place that my husband's aunt & uncle are staying. We swam here today. I've always wanted to swim somewhere where you could see the ocean from the pool. It was pretty wonderful.

Collecting Shells.
Evey year I collect shells. I love the mother-of-pearl looking ones and every year I imagine I'm going to make myself a shell necklace with silver around them, completely forgetting that I don't actually know how to do that.

Some thoughts on Florida

  • All of the old people in Florida are the color of walnuts. I think this is perhaps because they are no longer worried about getting wrinkled. Or even skin cancer. If they don't have it yet, I'm betting they are safe.
  • If you lose your mother-in-law (or grandma or mother) in Winn-Dixe it's pretty much hopeless because all of the women look the same. You can't even yell Mom or Grandma because they'll all look. Luckily I call my MIL by her first name so I can usually find her eventually.
  • I never really "got" florida until a few years ago. Now I really like it. I like it so much that I'm a little afraid I'm going to be a little old walnut lady during the winters when I'm old.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Work Mommy Musings

As many of you know, I've recently started a new job.

While I had been easing back into the world of work earlier this past summer, I now work every day. 3 days in the office and 2 mornings from home. Sometimes at night from home. I have the afternoons of those 2 other days off to spend with my kindetgartener.

And while 2 afternoons sounds like a lot to some poeple. It's a big change for my girl and I.

I wind up doing a lot of laundry then too....

Man, working Mommies, I salute you.

This is not easy.....

Except for a horrible 8 months when I worked as a part time project manager (BIG MISTAKE...I was a hot mess while doing it.) from the time my daughter was 4 months old to a year, I have been at home with her.

At the time I choose the thing that was fleeting and precious. The time I wasn't going to get to replace.
I remember having lunch with my ex-boss on my very last day and telling him that I knew what I was going to do in the short term (sleep and go to Florida) and what I was going to be doing in the long term-say 4 years out (finding employment again) but was kind of fuzzy about the middle. This blog actually chroniclews a lot of what I did with that time...

But what I can hardly believe is that the time went so fast. Like all of the sudden it was all over. The many endless seeming days were not as endless as I thought. Here I am in the world of work again with narry a diaper or pre-school committee to worry about... SO FAST, like I blinked and it was over.....There are no more diapers and pre-school committees in this house anyway... (Oh I do love fastening a nice clean diaper onto a clean baby butt!)

So far I've experienced the first time my child got sick without me there. She was cold in the morning (and heck, our old house IS cold in the morning....And we're cheap with the heat to boot) I pretty much ignored it and told her to put on a sweater. Later my SIL who watches her one afternoon a week in our home called to tell me she got off the bus with a feaver... And that all was well... and that I didn't have to come home....


That was very weird.
Then she had a day off from school for Parent/teacher conferences and I arranged for her to spend the entire day with my parents (she usually spends only 1/2 day with them) No biggie. I mentioned it in an offhanded way and that poor little face when she found out that I wasn't spending it with her...I think this one made me feel even worse. It made me think of all of the nice warm mornings that we've spent the past 5 winters in our jammies. And I was missing one of the only ones I'll have this year.... The next conference day off I arranged to work a different day. I'm really fortunate that my work is flexible like that.

And so over the past few days I've read most of my blog again, missing those times with my teeny tiny child...

But while I was home I also missed those time at work.

I tend to suffer from too much nostalia over just about everything.....

My new office is quiet, (and I like that). I've been out to lunch with co-workers, I'm doing many new things. My house is messy and I miss making my own yogurt. Oh sure I could still make my own yogurt. I'm just too tired sometimes. I miss all the time with my girl. I miss my afternoon nap. I wear cute shoes again. Did I mention my new office is quiet and I like it?

And sometimes, as I drive to work with a good cup of coffee with the sun shining and reflecting on the snowy fields I pass on the way to work, I'm almost giddy with anticipation and happy to be going where I'm going.
Sometimes getting out of the house feels so good again....

We're all adjusting.

PS-edited to add that if some of this sounds like complaining, it's not. I'm very lucky to get to work from home with the schedule that I have. It's nice not going to work every day even if I'm working every day. It's just new territory for us and we're adapting as we go. It's conflicting. It's good. It's exciting and scary and makes me miss home and want new things all at once.

And I DO know that I'm such a baby when I miss my nap.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two Book Giveaway!!! Lily of The Nile & Poisioned Kisses by Stephanie Dray

 This past weekend I hosted a wine and cheese party to celebrate my dear friend Stephanie's novel Lily Of The Nile.

I provided the venue, the cake, and the girlfriends and Stephanie provided a feast of a party that would have made Cleopatra proud.

For an account of our weekend you can check out Steph's blog.

We had fun, we ate delicious food & Stephanie gave her presentation, "Bad Girls Of The Ancient World."

I waited to read this book until after her presentation because I thought some of her informaiton would add to the experience of the book. I was right!

And this book rocks!

Ok, you know that the author is my friend but people, this is a great book! It's artfully written and meticulously researched. The characters are so so real. The story, completely compelling!! It's getting awesome feedback just about everywhere! Check out the comments on

Stephanie also writes under the pen name Stephanie Draven and her novel Poisioned Kisses was recently nominated for an award!

And one lucky person is going to WIN 2 OF HER BOOKS RIGHT ON THIS BLOG!!!

I'm giving away signed copies of BOTH Lily of The Nile and Poisioned Kisses to one luck reader.

The contest runs from RIGHT THIS SECOND until a week from THIS SECOND....

How to enter!!

Just leave a comment on this post and I'll randomly choose a number and the comment that corresponds to that number will win both books.

You can find Stephanie's Website & Blog Here and you can also follow her on Facebook!

Good Luck!!!!