3 Legged Art

Right near the border of northern Georgia we happened upon a place that I swear if there are magic places this was one of them.

It was a little shop full of paintings and statues and all kinds of art that the man in the store (definitely a second generation hippy) and his father had created.  Everything from maybe 8 inch paintings to a huge metal elephant, all hung from the wall, the ceiling, leaned haphazardly against each other and generally looking like an old second hand store with really cool art instead of junk.

I thought it was called 3 Legged Art but now looking at the picture there is no D so call it what you like.

3 Legged Art

There was an attached building next store that was full of furniture.  Maybe one of a kind metal table and chair sets, maybe manufactured somewhere and brought in, I don’t know.  They also had huge wooden tables and chairs, each carved from one huge piece of wood. I didn’t take any pictures inside because it seemed disrespectful, almost like stealing but if you ever pass by that way you have got to stop and wander about a bit.

Way out front in a gated area they had all kinds of metal statues imported from Mexico, everything from little dogs to jack-o-lanterns to a big purple dragon.  There was even a metal mattress frame hanging from the ceiling that had been made ornamental with the help of wine bottles and such.

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I would just LOVE to get that dragon, put him in my front yard and listen to my home owners association (aka the bane of my existence) bitch about it.  I’d have to win the lottery though so that they could fine me or whatever they would do.

I really wish I would have asked the guy if I could take a video walking through the shops because he was super mellow and groovy and probably would have said yes.  It wouldn’t have done the place justice but I’d love to share a little of the feeling of the place.

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NaBloPoMo and North Carolina

I’ve only lived in 3 states. Arizona, California and Florida. Know what these states have in common? They’re mostly hot and they have no seasons.  I have never seen fall, until last week.  I’ve never seen snow except in patches either, but that will have to be remedied another time.

Last weekend we drove up to Asheville, North Carolina to finally see fall.

We had way more adventures than would logically fit in a weekend, and I decided that I’m going to spend the week writing about the various things we did while up there. I also decided to try Blogher’s NaBloPoMo again, which is a challenge to write a blog post a day everyday in November so I’ll be sharing something about the trip everyday this week.  Spoiler alert, I’ve never finished a single challenge I’ve ever decided to try, but there’s always a first time, right? And I have a ton to say at the moment. Here’s a preview of what I’ll be writing about this week.

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Wish me luck on my latest writing challenge!

PS: I wrote this tomorrow, because I didn’t actually join NaBloPoMo until the 2nd.  In my defense, I hadn’t checked my emails.

Deer Hunting

Last week my daughter decided she wanted to go find some deer at John Chestnut Park. Very doable – there are lots there. Sadly, you have to be there very early to see them. Why must I get up before the sun to see cool animals?

We decided (my best interest?) to be there when the park opened.  6 am. Then we changed it to 6:30 because I can’t see in the dark anyways.  I actually got there a few minutes early. Too bad they didn’t open until 7.   (Cue detour to Starbucks for coffee and lemon cake)

Wanderings through the woods at the you-know-what of dawn is actually really fun.  I’d say peaceful, but I was there with my days away from 16 year old daughter. Sadly, she takes after her mother and the sarcasm is strong within her.  It’s amazing we saw so much as a mosquito as much as we were laughing.  Would have been a fair trade.

But we DID see deer, quite a lot of them.  Here’s crazy shaky proof.  Try not to get nauseous watching it


We saw a bunch of other cool animals, including a HUGE alligator.  I probably should have removed the sound on this one but it made me laugh. It’s my typical any moment.  I’m confused, so confused. Oh wait, I’m happy!

Counter-intuitive as it seems I highly recommend getting up stupid early on the occasional day off to do things that just aren’t as cool later in the day. Or impossible due to the heat! That way when you take your afternoon nap that you deny you ever take you can feel justified because you are actually catching up on much needed sleep.

What would it take to get YOU out of bed dark-early on a day off?

 

 

Paddleboarding… with Sharks (Finally!)

I’ve been paddleboarding for a few years now, and I’ve seen lots of really cool things. Dolphins, sting rays, more kinds of crabs then I care to count, about a billion kinds of fish and all kinds of other interesting creatures.

The one thing I have never seen while paddleboarding was a shark. But it seems I’ve finally found the secret. I was told if I go to  Fred Howard Park in time to be on the water at sunrise the chances of seeing sharks, specifically hammerhead sharks, would be pretty good.  So the last couple of Saturdays that’s exactly where I’ve been. And success!

The last two Saturday mornings the water has been perfect.  Smooth as glass. Between the height you get from standing on the board and the fact that there is no chop to hide any movement it’s the best chance for seeing anything that’s out there.

Water Like Glass

Almost as soon as we were on the water I saw a dolphin swimming around who went surprisingly close to shore which was pretty cool.  Of course it may have been better if we had actually been closer to the shore. Only manatees can beat dolphins for the cool factor. And that’s just because manatees will come right up to you on occasion.

Not very long after that we saw what I at first thought was a bunch of dolphins playing.  The water was splashing like crazy and the occasional grey body and fin could be spotted from where we were paddling. I saw one fin separate from the rest in our direction though, and it was very steady, not moving up and down like a dolphin’s tends to do. The shape of the fin also was telling – this was not a dolphin. Which lead me to the conclusion that neither were the other animals splashing around because the single shark kept circling back to them.

I have to admit that as much as I’ve been wanting to see a shark  I had absolutely no desire to paddle closer to them. I don’t know if they were doing the ‘feeding frenzy’ thing,  playing (do sharks play?) or something entirely different but regardless of what they were doing, no.  I stayed were I was and considered myself brave for doing so.  Brave and three year old excited, it was pretty neat in my humble opinion.

The one bad thing to come from this? I realized just how bad my little point and click camera is.  I tried taking video of them, but the few seconds I was actually pointed in the right direction all you could see was that something was really churning up the water.  So I am now on the hunt for a waterproof camera with a lot of zoom and a viewer that I can see even in the sun.  Because next time I want to be ready!

I also saw a couple of big turtles which I would have loved to get a decent picture of. I’m actually pretty OK with the simple fact that I get to see things like that, but it would be fun to share the pictures if I had them. Here’s a few that I did take.

Paddleboarding 8_22_15Any other paddleboarders or kayakers out there?  What sort of things have you seen when out on the water? Do you ever feel like no one is ever going to believe what you saw if you don’t get a picture of it?  I don’t know why but I always kind of think that. Of course I also think if I go out with a really good camera I won’t see as many animals. Superstitious much? Why yes.

Summer of Rum 2015

The Summer of Rum festival turned out to be everything hyped and some more. As expected.

This time I learned from experience and rented a room in walking distance at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Ybor City. Definitely a good move.  The place was perfect – clean, quiet and about a 5 minute walk from the Cuban Club. And of course the fact that no one has to be the designated driver after a celebration of all things rum was a plus. It’s my new go-to place to stay when I’m in the area for certain.

We decided to start the evening out right and headed straight to the rum tasting upstairs.  Another good move.  Dang, I’m like an expert or something.  At what I don’t know. Anyways, I got to try all of the rums on my list including Wicked Dolphin (who had RumShine!) and Blackheart, obviously a rum for pirates. Blackheart was a really good spiced rum, this may be my new go-to for rum and cokes.

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We tried quite a few rums – enough that I forgot to keep taking pictures. 🙂  I have to admit, I had a hands down favorite.  Blue Chair Bay had a banana rum that was so good it could be sipped straight out of the bottle.  If you were inclined to do such a thing that is. Not commenting any further on that.

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After that it was off to sit in cool comfort and watch a bit of a pirate movie.  I’m always a fan of pirates.  And movies I don’t have to try and stay quiet during. Win and win.

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By then it seemed wise to have a meal, so we walked across the way to the Spaghetti Factory. There were a bunch of really good looking food trucks, but I didn’t see anything vegetarian jump out at me.  If we were going to get serious about drinking and lasting to hear all of the bands to the end a serious meal was in order.  Who says carbing up is just for runners?

My son and his girlfriend met us after that and we all had a great time just hanging out, listening to bands and people watching.

SummerofRumBandOne thing I have to say, the bartenders in the VIP tent were amazing.  See how the girl’s hands are blurry in the middle picture below?  That’s not bad photography, that’s how fast they were moving to keep up.  And all the while everyone was cheerful and and fun.

2015-08-294Oh yeah, and we all got pirate tatts at Captain Morgan’s place. Because when in Rome… and also when drinking rum all day.

I received two VIP tickets to The Tampa Bay Rum Festival in exchange for writing a review and a giveaway. As always, my opinions are all mine.

Time to Refresh

I have kind of fell off the blogging wagon for lots of reasons.  A promotion at work was awesome, but it means I’m working more hours and blurring the work / home life line a bit. I’m actually installing Windows roles and features and then SQL on a laptop while writing this on my computer.  Nothing like multi-tasking work and real life!

I just signed up for project management classes to get a certification so I’ll be keeping pretty busy even outside work in a non-vacationy way for a while. But those are the things that keep life interesting, right?

But I’m not fooling anyone.  I still live in vacation land and I still fully take advantage of it as often as possible.  I went paddle boarding a couple of times in the last month (I saw what was AT LEAST a 4 foot carp! Or some other kind of fish, I don’t know.) and am planning to go again in a week, to explore underwater caves.  So I can’t even fool myself into thinking I’m much of a workaholic.

I have managed to completely ditch writing, exercise, cooking much that wasn’t frozen and all that sort of thing.  You know, the basics.  The funny thing is I miss them ALL and so I’m not sure why I need to make such a concentrated effort to get back into them.  But I do, so there you go.

So I’m joining a Blogging 101 class (always fun to go back to the basics!) which is an excuse to revamp and redefine what I want to write about.  I started writing here just to keep a running journal, then more and more about running, but I’ve really merged into other areas and it’s about time to admit it.  I like to write about healthy things I’m doing, from food to running, so whenever I’m writing more I’m also taking better care of myself. Weird really, how those things are linked in my life.

But anyways, here I go on a bit of a blogging adventure, wish me luck!

RiverFest 2015 Giveaways!

I mentioned the other day that this weekend the place to be is downtown Tampa, at Riverfest 2015.  You already know about the run, but that’s just one piece of the celebration!

There’s also the Bloody Mary Festival this Sunday May 3rd at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park from 11 – 3pm. general admission tickets get you unlimited samples from lots of local restaurants – and the opportunity to help decide whose is the best! You also get 1 full size drink with your ticket, so you can be certain about the choice you made. 🙂

All that AND music – check out Busted Blues:

I love listening to the Blues. Why yes, I do like most music. How can you not? Especially when it’s live.

Get your general admission or VIP tickets (all you an drink!) HERE.  Or you can enter to win a pair.  Just leave me a comment and enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Bloody Marys and the blues aren’t your thing?  Fine.  How about a carnival? How about games and rides like the Para Trooper, Carousel, Fun Slide, Orbiter, Swings or Star Screamer? How about kid friendly shows like magicians, story tellers, balloon artists and face painters? Like you have to be a kid to appreciate that. All that and a full bar and music too.

Ya, of course it sounds amazing. The urban carnival will be at Cotanchobee Park on the Tampa Riverwalk both Saturday and Sunday.  You can go the old fashioned route and buy tickets for the games and rides or you can purchase an all day ride pass here

Of course, you could just win a pair by leaving me a comment letting me know your favorite carnival ride and entering my drawing here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

I’ll announce the winners Friday!

I received tickets to the tampa downtown carnival as a member of Tampa Bay Bloggers thru their partnership with the Big City Events in exchange for this giveaway. All opinions are my own, of course.

Finding a New Dojo

Remember how much fun I said Tae Kwon Do was? Well I was telling the truth, it is.

However.   I also mentioned that the class was mostly kids.  As in most days there was only one other adult and some of the kids were as young as maybe 9.  That didn’t make the class any less fun, but it did make it perhaps a bit less challenging after a while.  So the kids (mine, not the ones in the class) and I decided to look for a different dojo that  maybe had a few more adults and that didn’t want us to belt test as often.  The dojo we went to was good and the teacher was great but it often felt like we were just teaching to the test, meaning learning just what we had to know to get the next belt and not really learning as much as I’d like.

We found one!  Just one small thing… we couldn’t find a single Tae Kwon Do place with adult classes that both had classes as many nights as we want to go AND weren’t so expensive I’d have to get another mortgage on the house for the three of us to go. So we’re trying out an MMA place.  A little bit intimidating?  Gosh, I don’t know, let me just tell you about the place.

You pull into the parking lot and you just see the bar and a liquor store.  Two of my favorite places, awesome!  But where is the place I’m looking for?  Oh, look up. It’s over the bar.  There is a little not too lit door between the two places that leads up a dark, steep set of stairs and you can’t actually see what’s at the top till you get there.

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Once you get in the gym though, the place is awesome.  I’m sure the bar is awesome too, I just haven’t had a chance to find out yet. But you know I will. Oh wait, we were talking about intimidating.  Did I mention that actual professional and amateur fighters are training with you in some of the classes? Ya…

We went with this place because it has 2 classes a night, 5 nights a week.  That means if I want to go out one night, no worries I can easy make it up another night. They offer MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Karate/Judo, and cardio kickboxing classes.  Pretty cool, even I won’t get bored with all that to choose from. Everyone is crazy nice and I’ve tried the MMA class twice without even getting injured.  Score!  I’m so looking forward to trying the other classes, I’ll let you know how they go.

1, 2, Skip a Few, 99, 100

Did your kids used to use that in kindergarten when you asked them to count to 100?  My oldest was notorious for his kindergarten escapades. His last name is pain and on his very first day of school he told his teach his full name ended in pain in the @$$.  Proud parent moment right there, let me tell you.

Then there was kindergarten graduation where all of the kids had to get up on stage and tell all of the parents what they wanted to be.  There were future princesses, presidents, doctors and lawyers.  There were kids that wanted to be just like whatever their parents were.  Know what MY son said, in front of the entire school?  He wanted to be a clown that juggles.  Where did he get that?  I have no clue but he had the entire audience laughing. That and sibling rivalry pretty much sums up my experiences as a parent so far…

And that is all I have for today. I didn’t want to miss my post today but honestly I am just not prepared. It’s been a crazy week and I’m just going to have to get caught up on all my photo prompts over the weekend.

So for today – 1,2, skip a few, 99, 100. And done. I learned that from my son.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Indian Leg Wrestling

So, I’m 44 and if you are about that age you might have had a childhood like mine.  You know, the kind without internet?  The kind where your mom pretty much kicked you out of the house until dinner time?

So what did we even do without the internet?

Actually, I remember having a hell of a good time. Hop scotch, riding bikes in canals (my mom would have KILLED me if she knew), jump rope contests and such. I still remember my best friend and I were swimming in the canals (no alligators in Arizona) and an elderly lady actually stopped on the side of the road to yell at us and tell us all about leeches.  We were very grossed out and got out of the disgusting leech water until she was out of sight.  We never did see a leach but you can bet we checked for them often.  We just weren’t quite freaked out about it to quit our fun in the (thinking back on it totally gross, I’d kill my kids if they did that…) water.

Every once in a while I will subject my kids to pieces of my childhood while telling them how great it is.  They did like The Breakfast Club.  Even I don’t know how I ever loved the Benji movies.  Sorry Benji.

The other day I amazed my 5 year old nephew with my mad hop scotch skills.  Just saying.

But my biggest win to date?  the other night I challenged my younger two to an Indian leg wrestling match.  I totally beat them both twice.  Then they figured it out and I was screwed, but still. We have not all laughed so hard for as long as I can remember.  My older son and his girlfriend came over the next night, we showed them and it was on all over again.  You have GOT TO try this with your kids.  Don’t know what I am talking about?  Here’s a You Tube video showing you how it’s done.  My bummer children of the corn would not let me film them.  😦

It may be called leg wrestling but it is a hell of a core workout if you do enough in a row.  You have been warned.

So go challenge your kids to a leg wrestling match and I challenge YOU not to laugh your you-know-what off. Who said exercise had to be an actual workout? The come back and let me know who won – I’m betting on you!