Pretty in Pink

Library_0125Today is our last full day in Florida and then it’s back to the snow and overcast chill of Michigan. I have a push-pull thing with this back and forth routine but some things are becoming clear, even in this first year of owning the tiny Florida house.

The main thing is it doesn’t seem possible for me to own a house without making it into a home. We bought this 1930 Arts and Crafts Bungalow in the historic section of NE St. Petersburg because it had tax benefits, appreciation value and we could rent it out to friends and family to offset some of the cost. The location is ideal; it’s 3 blocks from Coffee Pot Bayou and the Bay, six from the revitalized downtown shops, restaurants, pier and museums and a quick hop over to the Gulf and all the beaches there. We’re in a no-flood zone and fairly well sheltered by the Bay in hurricane season (some of the trees overhanging our street are 100 years old.)

I didn’t think I would like Florida but it has proved to be a good escape from that dreary long spell of gray that pervades Michigan in January and February. The weather is gorgeous; the birds and dolphins and manatees are active. We love our neighborhood and friendly neighbors.

In Michigan, my day is marked by appointments in my office, phone calls, lunches with friends, pilates and yoga, knitting, blogging, cooking meals for Rich and any starter person who drops by for dinner. And attending to the cats and birds.

In Florida, we spend a lot of time biking and reading and, for Rich, golfing. I dropped Rich before daylight this morning at the course and there were already over a hundred duffers getting organized to tee off; Rich can always be a fourth if he gets there early enough and then he’s done by lunch and we have the afternoons to bike around. We also do some work here. Rich works where ever he is but this trip I have started writing a professional paper that I’ll deliver in early February; it’s on finding time for family life in today’s busy and technologically focused world.

This trip it became clear that, if we’re going to spend any amount of time down here in winter months we need to sign up for internet service. Thus far, we’ve managed with me pirating the neighbor’s wi-fi by sitting in the front yard while Rich uses some sort of connection card that gets him on no matter where he is. At home, my blogging fits neatly into a morning hour, time over lunch and then an hour at the end of the day. Here, I have to work to find time in a much less busy schedule, to get online and post and visit online friends. Surprisingly, the days fly by.

This trip we cleared out some highly invasive “Mexican sunflower” that grew 12 feet high and was taking up a quarter of our already small yard- dug it right out by the roots- and then we planted a Key Lime, a tangerine and a lemon tree. We met with a couple builders to talk about possible ways to add a bedroom and bath. I miss the cats a lot so I spend some time enticing the neighbor’s cat over to visit while I read on the deck. Also, I have organized a small colony of anoles (those tiny lizards) through my gardening activity: when I move giant rocks and clear out dead wood they appear from nowhere, en masse, to eat uncovered ants. I’m working on a schedule of timed reinforcement so I can gain influence over them and make them my pets. Just never you mind.

Anyway, I haven’t been very visible this week in the blog neighborhood. I’ll be back around next week and hopefully, you’ll all be where I left you because I miss you. For now, I’m in the final days of soaking up the sun, soaking up The Snarl between her classes at USF, reading, writing and making this place more mine.

I’ve been doing a lot of bird watching. When I bike down to the Bay I see the herons. When I drop Rich at the golf course early in the morning I see the Osprey busy up on their platform nest, feeding their young and I see Roseate Spoonbills and Egrets and, of course, the perennial Florida favorite, Flamingos. (submitted for Friday’s Ark and Photo Friday: “Pink”)
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26 responses to “Pretty in Pink

  1. Your flamingos are lovely. The first looks like an abstract sculpture. My grandmother always kept one of those tacky pink flamingo yard ornaments out front and my brother hated it. Then when he saw his first “live’ bird, he laughed because to his eye they didn’t look that much different than the yard ornament. With the hot pink color I wonder if they have personalities to match? Could they be the “Madonnas” of the bird world?

    BTW, I had a picture of a metal pink flamingo yard ornament that I contemplated submitting today. Glad I changed my mind. These real birds are much more beautiful.

  2. It is 48 degrees here and sunny. Hope it holds for your return.

  3. Those ae the reddest pink flamingoes I’ve ever seen! They are gorgeous. I have missed your daily posts and visits. Have a good flight back home and come and visit soon.

  4. Beautiful photos! Yes, please get Internet access so you can blog more from Florida. You always have such interesting stories to tell!

  5. I forgot. Stirling. Yes, that wonderful giraffe with eyes that absolutely melt my heart. OK, it’s wierd but I’m in love with that giraffe! Please, please, please send his picture to Friday’s Ark some week. He could really be a star!

  6. I forgot. Stirling. Yes, that wonderful giraffe with eyes that absolutely melt my heart. OK, it’s wierd but I’m in love with that giraffe! Please, please, please send his picture to Friday’s Ark some week. He could really be a star!

  7. Beautiful!! So much shape and contrast. I love it!

  8. I really enjoyed hearing about your FL place and those Flamingo shots are sweeet! I think organizing lizards into a platoon of little insect destroyers is a great idea.

  9. that is a beautiful picture of the flamingo. Weather here hasn’t been too bad, we had gotten snow but now its gone. By the time you come back I think we’re in for more snow 😦 I’m sorry!

    But I guess you’re going skinner on those anoles. Poor anoles they don’t know what hit them.

  10. It sounds like it’s been just what the doctor ordered. I sense a peace and calm in your posts-and if I were the color of that bird, I would be totally in love with myself.

  11. You make Florida seem much less muggy and hot when you talk about it 😉 Gorgeous pictures…glad you’re having fun. What a great idea!! An escape…am I old enough to need one? Hmmmm…merits some thought me thinks.

  12. You make Florida seem much less muggy and hot when you talk about it 😉 Gorgeous pictures…glad you’re having fun. What a great idea!! An escape…am I old enough to need one? Hmmmm…merits some thought me thinks.

  13. It sounds heavenly. I’m glad you’re having so much fun, but yes, we all miss your posts.

  14. I’ve eaten a lot of shrimp and I never turned Flamingo color. There must be some trick to it.

    Pet lizards? Yes!

  15. I have really been enjoying these posts. I would buy them up in a Sunny book and read them as a collection. But I have been trying to get you to do a collection of essays since you began this enterprise, now haven’t I?

    I think keeping the lizards as pets is a fine idea. Too bad you can’t have a cat down there, but I do understand why.

    I wasn’t particularly enamored with Florida when I was there a year ago, but I was in a very touristy part of Orlando for a conference. You make me want to give it another try.

  16. Make room for me. I’m coming to live in that home your creating. It’s too good to pass up.

  17. That is an awesome picture of the flamingo. My whole family is headed to Florida next month. I am so jealous of you all! Have fun on the rest of your trip.

  18. That is an awesome picture of the flamingo. My whole family is headed to Florida next month. I am so jealous of you all! Have fun on the rest of your trip.

  19. Ohhh, Key Limes! What’s a girl gotta do to score some of those babies in the future?

    Your trip sounds awesome and I’ve enjoyed all the pics of your animal buddies.

  20. What a beautiful shot!
    I think birds have the most amazing colors!

  21. Hot pink!

    So, will you keep three homes when you move out to the great Pacific NW?

  22. i can see the sun shining on your words as you write them. thanks for reflecting the warmth!

  23. Lovely flamingos. Glad to hear someone enjoying a temperature climate. Safe travels back north.

  24. Lovely flamingos. Glad to hear someone enjoying a temperature climate. Safe travels back north.

  25. Friday Ark #70

    We’ll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and….? ALERT: Apologie…

  26. Gorgeous photos, Vicki! Is that the same flamingo shot from both sides, or is two different birds in the same position?

    Your writing makes Florida more appealing to me than ever before. I’d love to have a sunny place in which to escape our gray months!

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