The pleasure of little pleasures:

We all have them – those snippets of little pleasures through out the day - the little things that lift my spirit or make me smile.  Like many busy people I sometimes don’t have time to be totally aware of these tiny moments and be grateful for them. 

I was putting clean towels into the linen closet.  I’d done this a million times in my life.  I realized that although I enjoyed this, I hadn’t been consciously aware of the little pleasure it gave me – that it made me smile.  That morning, I took time to actually be aware of the sweet smell of fresh linens – enjoy the touch of the terry cloth and pleasure of seeing the colors as they lay together on the shelf.  I surprised myself in realizing I’d always enjoyed this experience but hadn’t consciously appreciated it. 

Do you have a favorite place to have your morning coffee?  It’s my little ritual – a simple pleasure I indulge in.  When traveling, I try to park my travel trailer in such a way that I can watch the day begin out of a window where I have my coffee.  At my house I have a favorite window too.  Seeing the night give in to day is a small pleasure

Another simple pleasure is the way the sunlight dances on grass as filtered through tree leaves and branches.  It always delights me.  I like the feel of my little dog on my lap.  Her warmth and complete trust in me is a little pleasure.  Watching the movement of a river or stream carry sticks or leaves downstream is fascinating.  Some whirl and dance around rocks or downed logs, others seem to get stuck there and I watch hopefully for an extra force to free them to continue their journey.  There is the glint of light on the wings of a dragonfly – very brief, but a simple pleasure to see -the movement of wind across a grassy field. 

Did you like to lay on the grass when you were a kid and watch the form of clouds as they drifted overhead?  Another simple pleasure. 

So, so many simple pleasures I need to be aware of and be grateful for.  How wonderful is life!   ~Pam 


an author's insight

Boat ramp Lake Manatee State Park

On the morning TV show I heard that author Nora Ephron had passed away.  Since I always seem to be behind the times regarding current events, I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t even know who this author was or what she’d written!  Host, Charlie Rose remembered interviewing her several times over the years.  As the videos rolled, I was fascinated!  My morning coffee got cold as I sat there spellbound!  What a remarkable writer she was!
Sophie & Willy wait for breakfast
 Ms Ephron has the gift to be able to put into words the ideas and concepts that are vaguely in our minds but most of us are unable to articulate.  This principle is what makes a gifted writer.  One line she said prompted this entry in my blog.  She said (and I’m paraphrasing) ----

“The concept of what may happen ‘next year’, when you’re 70 is much different than when you are 42”  

Wow! I had been trying to explain to a friend why I am the gypsy I am and why I’m not willing to waste even a minute of these years - the urgency I feel to attack the “bucket list” of things I want to see and do while I still can.  I’ll be 72 this summer and times a-wastin’ !  My mantra could be “Life is short, eat dessert first”!

good by and good riddance, TS Debbie!
Now, on the table beside me sits two of Ms Ephron’s books – “I Remember Nothing” and “I feel Bad About My Neck”.  This adventure will take me far afield, while I sit in my little Travel Trailer waiting out tropical storm Debby as she attempts to drown SW Florida. 


Summer Adventure 2012

This summer is a new adventure with my new (to me) travel trailer.  Instead leaving it to languish in a storage lot, I’ve moved to a State Park as a volunteer for the summer.  This was something I’d explored in a hit or miss fashion before but never quite acted on.  Why did I wait so long?  
Perhaps it was a bit of fear of the unknown?  I’d never done anything like this before.  The stifling attitude of staying with the familiar was part of it.  My inner Gypsy was getting antsy. 

Heck!  Why did I wait so long?  This is a fun adventure but sure doesn’t cost much in gas.  My ‘work’ puts me in touch with others who are RVers as well as the other folks who enjoy State Parks.  As I hear their adventures, I ‘see’ places I may never get to visit, I hear stories about people I’ll never meet, I hear stories of snafu’s, and learn tricks of the RVing life.  Why did I wait so long? 

Changing from a Class C to a pick-up truck and a travel trailer is its own adventure.  Fortunately, no one was watching as I worked at backing my 24 foot Coachmen into its’ spot.  I was studiously remembering the advice I was given.  “Put my hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and slowly move it in the direction I want the trailer to go”.  That worked for awhile.  I pulled forward and backed up again – and again – and again.  Thinking all the while “remember – just do the opposite thing from what comes naturally”.   More pulling forward and backing up.  I wanted to be in the shade of the tree and leave as much space as possible for my awning – but not run completely over the electric and water post.  Back up – pull forward – back up – pull forward.  After awhile, I couldn’t remember which of the ‘opposite’ I was supposed to be doing.  It was hilarious!  Like having my glasses on upside down or something.

At last after about 3 gallons of gas, I’m in my spot for now.  Why did I wait so long to learn how to do this? Inertia? 

I think I’ll blog about that!!                     Thanks for reading.  ~pam & poochies   


An afternoon idyll

Springtime in SW Florida is so lovely.  The gardenias are blooming, citrus just finished blooming, a neighbor’s peach tree has half grown fruits on its branches.  Not heavy enough to bend the branches, but heavy with promises. 
Peace River at Wachula

It was too nice to just stay home.  Housework is never done – I have sewing and knitting projects unfinished, the yard needs raking – Heck with them!!!  I loaded the kayak and took off for one of my favorite spots – the Peace River at Brownsville.  It was sunny (no surprise there, huh?) temp in the low 80’s with a light breeze. 

The county park was busy with people enjoying it all.  A man was grilling hamburgers while keeping an eye on his 4 year old.  A cluster of kiddoes were splashing in the shallows.  A chartreuse colored kayak had just landed.  Up river I could see a group at the big gravel bar – fossilers I supposed. 

I’d brought my fishing pole, but the fish were feeling as indolent as I was.  All that fiddling with pole, line and bait seemed to be too much work.  I laid it aside.  The current is very slow in spring so it took no effort to paddle upstream to see what the group were finding.  This must have been one of the guided fossil hunting groups because they had an expert with them.  One woman had a nice fossilized horse tooth.  I’d never seen one so complete except in a museum.  It was probably the size of my thumb.  What a thrill it would be to find something like that! 

After the group went home, the river emptied out of everyone else too - supper time for most folks.  It was so silent except for a few birds I couldn't see.  The sunlight dappled across the water as it filtered through the Spanish moss and dangling branches.  Cypress are just coming into leaf with their feathery leaflets.  I lodged my kayak into the gravel bar and just sat there absorbing the atmosphere.   Tiny, tiny fishes nibbled at my ankles.   I scooped up gravel and sand in my hand and let it sift through my fingers.  What would you know?  I found a tiny shark’s tooth in my palm!  So tiny it would have drifted through the screen I usually carry when I go fossiling. 

This afternoon the river is well named - the Peace River. 


fishin' with the 'gators

Alligators are naturals when it comes to catching fish.  For a granny like me it is a long delayed skill I’m trying to learn. 
Alan with his bird followers

Friends and I gathered at Myakka State Park this week to fish for tilapia.  Myakka has an over abundance of tilapia.  They are easy to catch and easy to cook up for a fantastic fish fry!  I chose a spot on a high bank, put a worm on my hook and tossed my line.  Right away, we all began reeling in fish after fish.  Many were too small and tossed back, but there were the occasional 2-3 pounders.  The males are the prettiest colors of blue, pink and aqua. 

Look at Ugly behind my bobber
We were pretty absorbed with reeling in fish, re-baiting and reeling in again.  Suddenly, Carol said – “Jeff!  Is that a gator down there”?  Sure enough, there was a ‘dead log’ that glided slowly toward our fishing spot.  As you would expect, our activity of catching fish was now tempered on watching that gator who was watching us just as intently.  Calvin saw a few more alligators down the bend in the river.  Except for the first one I’ll name Ugly, the others stayed where they were.  Ugly would cruise up and down where we were fishing.  He/she’d disappear under the water sometimes.  I was nervous when I could see him and even more nervous when I couldn’t!  

Al had chosen to use a cast net for his fishing method.  Once Ugly figured out Al would have more fish than we did, he began to follow Al up and down along the bank of the river.  Storks, cranes and egrets followed as well.  In order to wade across the river, Al had to toss fish on the bank to distract Ugly. 
Here he comes!!!

Finally, I hooked my biggest fish of the day.  I was shouting “Get the net, get the net”!  Then, here came Ugly right after my fish!!  I screamed and tried to run away from the water.  My feet got tangled in the tall grass and I fell, rolling down the opposite side of the bank away from the water.  Ron came running and whacked Ugly on the snout with his fishing pole over and over.  I could hear the pole whistling through the air and the whop, whop whop as it hit Ugly’s head.  Ugly gave up and slid away into the water. But I had my fish and he didn’t get my pole either!  Once the excitement was over it was time to laugh and laugh and laugh. 

I cast a few more times after that, but the fun was out of it.  Ugly had won, even if he didn’t get my fish. 


busy having fun

Its been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  What’s my excuse?  Busy?  Yeah, I guess----  It’s said retired people are the busiest. 
Canal leading to Peace river

Once I’d returned to my SW Florida home it seemed I hit the door at a fast trot.  There was catching up to do around the house, re-connecting with neighbors, getting settled in again. 

One big change was that I sold my beloved motorhome before leaving Missouri.   Maintenance had become just too much for this 70+ granny to care for along with the house here. 

Well---- those who have been reading my post would know the Gypsy in me nagged me almost to death about no wheels!  I argued with her over several months – reason vied with desire.  End result is I now own a 24 foot Coachman travel trailer.  I already have a full sized pick-up truck so I can pull it.  Now, all I have to do is learn how to do that. 
back water to Peace River

My special delight this winter was making friends with another solo RVer.  She is from Canada and spent few months here in our warm winter climate.  We did many things together:  sewing charity quilts, going antiquing, attending music performances, eating out and most fun of all, kayaking.  We paddled the canals and Gulf Coast in Punta Gorda.  Several times we paddled my favorite Peace River.  She was fascinated with the fossils that can be found and probably took home a coffee cup full of sharks teeth and a few other bits of turtle shells and bones.  We already have plans to get together next winter when she returns. 


A SW FL Christmas Eve.

Christmas eve morning, we drove to Jiggs Landing in Bradenton to spend the day.  We’d never been there before but it will be on our list from now on. 

Jiggs landing is named for the original fish camp established in 1946 on a loop of the Braden river.  Freshly redone, it now has a visitor’s center, modern bathrooms, rental cabins, a playground neat and clean with a astro turf surface and wonderful boat ramps.   This has the most wonderful is the kayak launch I’ve ever seen.  You can get into the water and out without wetting anything more than the tip of your paddle. 

I saw more water birds than I do paddling the Peace river.  It must be that the birds here are more used to people.  Most populous were common coots and moor hens.  I wish I were an accomplished birder, but I know some other birds I saw were Herons and perhaps a Crane of some kind.  Lots of turtles too, of course.  No doubt there were the ubiquitous alligators, but I didn’t’ see any.  Being nearsighted has its advantages. 

As we were unloading our kayak, another boater was launching his small boat to the accompaniment of four squealing, laughing, wiggling kiddies that appeared to be about 6 to 8 years old. 

I could imagine the scenario.  “For cats sake – take these wound-up  kids out of the house for awhile so I can finish Christmas preparations!!”  says the young momma.  It appeared these two young daddies had decided a boat ride was just the ticket.  Launching the boat was a snap – loading the kiddies – not so much.  I heard one daddy say “Everyone will wear a life jacket.  --- NO – I said everyone!” Jason!  Get on the dock!  Everyone stay on the dock!”  It looked much like the phrase ‘trying to herd cats’.  More squeals.  A fisherman had dumped a small bucket of minnows on the grass and the kids were tossing them at one another.  Eventually, I saw them motor out to the main channel. 

Whew!  Do I miss those days?  Not at all.  They were fun then and I have many beautiful memories.  But, I’m glad to be the age I am now and be free of all the hassle.