Saturday, September 22, 2018

LoveBugs and Thunderstorms

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area, FL

LoveBugs

Until I got to Arkansas I really did not understand the term “LoveBugs” very well.  I knew, growing up in the 50’s through 70’s, that the VW Beetle was referred to as a “lovebug”, and as a former owner of one, I KNOW it is not from what one can do in the back seat…way too small. (Mom, don’t ask me how I know)

LoveBugs

Meet the true Florida LoveBugs (Plecia nearctica) .  These bugs love to, umm, how do you put it…’connect’, and then they stay ‘connected’ for days, flying around, getting into one’s hair, on clothing, covering outside doors and windows, and, of course….


LoveBugs on Motorhome 

…they LOVE motorhomes…and cars…and anything moving.  YES, this is really a motorhome (not ours) covered in lovebugs and other flying things.  Marcia and I saw a motorhome a few years ago up near Tallahassee, a white motorhome, just COVERED in squished lovebugs.  They came up Interstate 75…we came up US-19, and we hardly had any of them.  They LOVE the middle section of Florida, and are very active (if you know what I mean) during Spring and Summer, and I would assume, early Fall (since today is the first day of Fall).  Now I tried to get a picture of them flying…but when I tried I just could not focus.  Anyway, lovebugs are best photographed SQUISHED.

A look to east from Condos

So far, home for seven straight days, and seven days of afternoon thunderstorms.  Now it doesn’t rain at the condo each day…but we hear the thunder and see the lightning, and it has rained half of the days…twice very, very hard.  Yesterday was one of those heavy days.  Around 4 pm, the storms moved in.  It was in the low 90’s, and quickly dropped down to the upper 70’s.  By 5:30, it was gone…and the temps moved back up to the mid-80’s, with puddles of water everywhere.  Talk about a humid evening!  But at least it was a bit cooler.

Tarpon Springs Anclote River

This is a look to the east along the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs, near the Sponge Docks.  The Anclote is less than 30 miles long, formed from springs and creeks, and runs down into the Gulf of Mexico.  The Sponge Docks are right on the river.

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

The Sponge Docks are on Dodecanese Boulevard, which means "twelve islands" (even though it represents 15 larger and 150 smaller Islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor (Turkey), of which 26 are inhabited.)  Just ahead of me is one of the many Jolley Trolley cars which run from the city of Clearwater, through Dunedin, Palm Harbor and to the Tarpon Springs sponge docks.  Another route goes from Clearwater Beach, down to St. Petersburg and also over to the city of Clearwater (where you can pick up the northern route to Tarpon Springs).  For $5, you can ride it all day long, and the Trolleys are fairly heavily used.

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Along the docks you can typically see some of the Greek spongers and fishermen sitting or working on their boats.  Don’t get too close to any of the sponge boats as they are cleaning the sponges…the smell is a bit difficult to handle.

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Near the end of the docks is a popular restaurant called “Rusty Bellies”, and you can see the storm clouds to the west over the restaurant.

Spring Bayou

Here is Spring Bayou, where each Greek New Year the Archbishop tosses a white cross into the water in celebration of Holy Epiphany, and the young men of the Greek Church (16-18 years of age) jump in to retrieve it.  The crowd is HUGE, this is one celebration which I doubt I will ever witness in person…seeing it on the news is good enough for me.

Crystal Beach Area

I finally made it over to the Crystal Beach area in northern Palm Harbor.  This is one of my favorite places to take pictures of the gulf in this area.

Crystal Beach Area

Although it was still 45 minutes before sunset, I got the pictures I wanted…and besides, I told Marcia I would only be gone an hour…make that 70 minutes since I decided to go down through the Sponge Dock area.  (During winter it would have taken an extra 20 minutes due to the crowds!)   And NO, it did not rain in our area today.  It is 8:30 pm and it is 84 degrees, 65% humidity…lovely…

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Settling In -- (Mom, I am BOILING)

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area, FL

Moving In from motorhome

Ok, moving from the motorhome to the condo isn’t as bad as moving from one home to another…but it is an ordeal, that’s for sure.  For the most part, we feel settled in.  On the way to church tonight we stopped by the motorhome to pick up a fan (I like it cooler than Marcia) and the water measurer for Marcia’s hard boiled egg maker (Christmas gift last year from sister Patti..and Marcia loves it.  Hamilton Beach 25500 Egg Cooker with Built-In Timer

Amazon Delivery

Part of settling in has to include a trip to Sam’s Club, Publix, and orders from Amazon.  The thing about Amazon…you make one order, but they might break it up into multiple delivery orders.  Today, three orders came by Amazon Van, the other via USPS.  The thing about Amazon Van Deliveries…

Amazon Delivery

As they get closer to your place, they will tell you how many stops away your are.  Under the “Arriving today…” message, it says, “The driver is currently 7 stops away”, and the green dot shows you where the van is…which in this case, is about a mile away from us.

Amazon Delivery

Now they were only two stops away…

Amazon Delivery

…and just a little bit later, “…the driver is on the way to you.”   So I stepped outside, waited for the van to pull up, and took the delivery right from the van.  Now you don’t have to reload the computer screen…it will automatically update for you.  Now that is pretty neat.

Car Wash

Part of settling in includes emptying the HHR, and taking it over to the car wash.  Tomorrow is the day for that…as well as changing filters in the Heating/Air System here at the condo.  I just hope that I can get myself motivated to clear out the car before it gets too hot. 

As for the “Mom, I am BOILING” in the title…she gets it, and I will fill in the details for you.  When I was young, old enough to where I HAD to wear a tie to church (don’t know why anyone would ever come up with something as stupid as a TIE…it does NOTHING…too thin to be used as a napkin at dinner time, too short for a tall person, too long for a short person, too thin to cover a big belly, and TOO TIGHT around the neck, even if you don’t button your top button!!!)  Anyway, when church was over, I would have my tie off before I got out the chapel’s doors, would have my shirt unbuttoned before I got down the stairs, and the shirt was off before I exited the church building.  And on the ride home, I would always say, “Mom, I am boiling!!!!”, as if she could magically produce an air conditioner…because in my youth, an air conditioner for a car was four rolled down windows.  Air conditioning in a house was a swamp cooler or a swimming pool.  During the summer, when it was real hot on those nights that the delta breeze did not blow through to Sacramento, we would sleep out in the backyard.  I don't know HOW I would have ever survived living in Florida during the summer without A/C...