Red tide, struck by lighting and baby shark doo doo doo doo

I know it’s been awhile.  I’ve been vacationing with my sister and the family.  I meant to update yesterday but I had an eye doctor appointment at 9 in the morning and they dilated my eyes which basically means I had a migraine from that point forward.

eye doctor

So, my sister and her family went home on Saturday morning.  We had an awesome visit despite the red tide that is plaguing us this year and the fact that my house in Nokomis got struck by lightning and we had no internet or cable or a decent TV since it killed my big ass TV in the living room.  And by killed, I mean fried.

No internet

Except none of us were feeling that amazing and this is actually what lightning looks like after it hits your house.

lightning strike

And when you go to the beach and red tide is in full effect, the smell can be pretty bad and there are warnings out, like this:

 

While I didn’t do any fishing myself, the rest of my family was able to do quite a bit and my sister and I got to shop. A lot.  We also spent some time on the beach, on an island and at Weeki Wachee and I have some pics for you….

The guys caught some sharks but this is the only pic that I actually have.

they caught and released it for those of you who are all, ‘love the sharks.’

My sister, my niece and her daughter and I all went to Nokomis beach one day while the guys fished.

this is one of my favorite pics of the day

After realizing the fishing was a no go in Nokomis and without any TV to watch or internets to browse, we decided to head back to Clearwater.  Shortly after we got back we went to Anclote Key where they have the best shells ever and also some great photo opps.

Novaleigh

I mean, seriously, how cute is this picture?

Kaitlin and Novaleigh

My sister and I found that shipwrecked vessel on the Island and convinced Kaitlin and Novaleigh to pose in it.

But then we decided we needed to pose in it too.

me and ang

Except we’re awkward and I couldn’t sit straight on the bow and my sister obviously had some important phone call to make or something.  Because we were supposed to be shipwrecked you know.

Later that night after we got home we went to a local restaurant called Ford’s Garage.

Ford's Garage

I highly recommend this place.  It was awesome.  Look at the burgers:

ford's Garage

And the onion rings come out on an oil thingy and the napkins are garage rags held together with hose clamps.  I kid you not.

Fords

And if none of that impresses you, check out the bathroom sink…

We also went to Weeki Wachee which I was really excited about because my sister hadn’t been there since we were kids.

weeki wachee

Why yes, that is a potato chip raft and a pizza raft, don’t judge.

My highlight of that whole trip was the mother and baby manatee.

manatees

The last full day the guys went fishing and the girls went shopping and then we all went to Tarpon Springs for dinner.  I didn’t take any pictures while we were there because it was already dark and it was raining a bit.

They left on Saturday morning and I miss them so much already.  But there is one thing I don’t miss.

When the kid was little, we had a wind up music box I could play to help him fall asleep, or the mobile on his bed which played music, but kids today have youtube.  And I would like to personally thank the ass hat who came up with the gem of a song below because I sing it all the damn time now and I cannot stop.

And now, I pass this gem onto you…

Even through all the beaching and shopping and playing, I still managed to run 23 miles for the week.  Not bad.  Vacation is fun but now it’s back to the real world.

Where is the last place you went on vacation?

Has your house ever been struck by lightning?

Caverns and Graves

I’m back.  My plane touched down around 5 in the evening on Sunday.  Of course, I have a shit ton of pictures and I really need to share them with you so at least two days this week you’ll have to indulge me.

Ohio Caverns

The Ohio Caverns was originally an aquifer which held an underground river of melted glacier water. The river eventually receded to lower levels of the ground and is now unseen.  In 1897 a 17 year old farmhand named Robert Noffsinger got curious when he noticed a sinkhole on the property that would fill with rain and then be completely dry the next day, so he began to dig.  After reaching limestone and finding a crack he was able to break through and lower himself into the caverns becoming the first living being inside of them.

 

Ohio Caverns

Ohio Caverns

The Ohio Caverns contain many crystal formations. Approximately 90% of its stalactite and stalagmite formations are still active.

Cavern stalagmites and stalagtites

You will see examples of every type of formation in the Ohio Caverns: iron oxide formations; manganese dioxide formations; calcite formations: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstone, soda straws, and helictites; and Dual Formations.  Dual Formations are extremely rare and the Ohio Caverns is the only known cave in North America, (and one of very few in the world), known to have Dual Formations. In the Ohio Caverns there are calcite stalactites growing on the ends of iron oxide formations.

 

Cavern Crystals

Dual Formations

Did you know there is a difference between a cavern and a cave?  A cave is any cavity in the ground that is large enough that some portion of it will not receive direct sunlight and there are many types of caves.  A cavern is a specific type of cave that is naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems. So, although a cavern can accurately be called a cave, not all caves can be called caverns.

Ohio Caverns

After we left the Ohio Caverns we were driving down a road taking the scenic route back when we spotted a row of old stones on the side of the road.  We turned around and went back and discovered Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve.

Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery

The cemetery isn’t plowed or mowed as it contains many prairie grasses and wildflowers.  Unfortunately we did not get to see it in its full splendor as the wildflowers bloom in mid to late summer but we didn’t mind.  We felt so fortunate that we found it and were able to see it.

Bigelow Cemetery

Some of the graves dated back to the early 1800’s.

Old gravestone

There was one row of an entire family who all died around the same time, most likely from some sort of disease.

grave stone

I found it so interesting how they wrote the date of death and then instead of a birth year which is commonly seen today, we saw things like ‘aged 75 yrs, 2 mos, 5 days.  It was so interesting.

This next set of stones was off in the corner.  I think some of the pieces may have been broken parts of stones that they haven’t found or damaged gravestones that haven’t been repaired.  Whatever the case I got an overwhelming sense of sadness looking at it.

Bigelow Cemetery

I’m so glad that I was able to see this piece of history which is located at 600 Rosedale Road in Madison County, Ohio.  I was so enthralled by the history of the place that I researched the families who were buried there.  It was quite interesting.  I hope I can visit there again someday.

Have you ever visited an old cemetery?

Have you ever visited any of the caverns in the United States?  I’ve seen Ruby Falls, The Lost Sea, Luray Caverns and the Ohio Caverns.  I have a thing for caverns obviously.

Vacation is over and it’s bacon my heart….

Every time we take a vacation I tell myself that I will not eat badly and I will not over eat and every time, I fail miserably.  This time I decided to just have a good time and come what may.  We don’t keep a scale in our Nokomis house because I threw it out because who wants to worry about what you weigh when you’re on vacation, am I right?

diet

If you remember, I’m under doctor’s orders not to run and also I wasn’t able to walk for a week.  I extended the walking ban a bit further because hey, why not?  Based on the fact that I wasn’t doing any kind of exercise at all and I was eating whatever I wanted, oh, and sleeping in like a boss…….

I was pretty sure I gained the equivalent of at least a brain or half a dachshund, or 2 boxes of wine, or 6 packages of bacon, (which actually makes sense considering how much of that goodness I ate.)

eat skinny

We got home late last night and I stepped on the scale this morning and squinted through one half open eye to see the damage.

Lord Jesus

I weigh exactly the same as I did when I left for vacation!  If I had any idea how I managed to do that, I’d put it all down into words, write a book, and then sell that sucker and watch the millions roll in.

I wish I had a thousand photos to show you from our vacation because it was wonderful but even when I had a large part of my family over on Wednesday for a cook out, I neglected to take even one single picture.  I can’t help it.  When I’m having fun, taking pictures are usually the last thing I think about.

I did take some pictures from the week though so indulge me for a bit and I’ll share.

This is a bistro set that was brown and horrible looking.  My nephew helped me paint it and then I found these cushions on sale for half price and they matched perfectly!

Bistro Set

This is my blender which is from the 50’s, I think.  It’s pretty awesome.

50's blender

You know you want one!

My niece and I used it to bake a cake.  A blue velvet cake.

blue velvet cake

This is a picture of the cake BEFORE baking it.

smurf cake

It’s a smurf cake!  It was actually delicious according to my niece.

This is a MacGyver rescuing a gopher tortoise on Manasota Beach Road.

gopher tortoise

This is a soft shell turtle in our canal.  He is not a rescue, even though y’all probably think I rescue all of God’s creatures.

soft shell turtle

When my brother came over on Wednesday we were all standing around the canal and my brother said, ‘the water looks like motor oil.’

canal

I think he might be right.

And this is a picture of the awesome snook that I caught on Saturday morning.

snook

We catch and release at this time of year in case you’re wondering and also, this snook is way too small to be a keeper. But I caught one!

This is a random book store that we saw in Punta Gorda when my sister in law and my niece and I went to pick up a bird cage.

copperfish books

The next day I looked it up online, Copperfish Books is an independent bookstore that sells new, used and antique books.  They also support local artists.  I am determined to make it back to this place and to visit this store.  I love independent bookstores and you NEVER see them anymore.

We got home yesterday early in the evening and I got up this morning and walked.  It felt so nice.  I’m still looking for a bike.  I can’t decide if I want to get a brand new one since I’m not sure how dedicated I’ll be to the sport.  MacGyver found some really good used ones online so I’m going to take a look at those and see if anything jumps out at me.

Also, we have to save all of our pennies right now because we have some exciting things we’re working on, but I can’t tell you about it yet.  How’s that for a teaser?

Do you gain or lose weight on vacation?

Do you like independent bookstores?   

Do you like antiques or vintage things, like my blender?