Seaside Chat II

The Journey.

My three week journey is coming close to an end.

It is a bittersweet moment as I prepare to leave my parents. I will miss them, but at the same time, I miss my hubby and my two sons.

I wanted to pop in for a quick chat. This post won’t do justice to all that I’ve done since my last seaside chat so I will likely revisit some of the topics in the future.

Seaside Chat. Round 2.

We did do all the things that I mentioned in my last seaside chat. The was an escape room, a celebration of the Fourth of July with food and family. Later in the day there were fireworks. The next day was a giant excursion to Tampa to Busch Gardens. That day was quite eventful!! I promise that I’ll be back to tell all about it. After catching up on some sleep, we had a lounging day on Friday.

I have missed my conversations will all of you. I did try to catch up on my emails and comments on Tuesday, but I still have quite a ways to go.

Mostly, I didn’t want you to think that I fell off of the face of the earth. I am here, but have been soaking up the last of my time with family.

I’ve just finished breakfast and most of my packing. After a quick shower, I will be jumping in the car to head to Gainesville to see family before the long drive back home on Monday.

If you’ve followed my Instagram stories, I shared a tour of the cottage on the day of our departure. I will be adding it to my Instagram highlights. There is also a small car tour of the streets where I grew up, which is much more inland than the beach.

Where the water pools along the ditches and in the low areas of the yard during rainy season.

Where the frogs sing their lullabies in the darkness.

Where the alligators roam the canals and the box turtles make their way into your yard.

Where the cypress trees indicate swampland that waist high in water during rainy season and completely dry ground in the dry months.Where the palmetto bushes, slash pines and oak trees are added by nature and the palm trees are added by man.

I leave you with last night’s sunset as seen from my childhood home.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Seaside Chat

Friday.

It’s technically Friday, although I struggle to keep track of the days.

I suppose this is sort of like a Friday Faves, but as I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, it’s more like a seaside chat.

Seaside Chat.

Miss Sunshine and I moved into our little cottage last Friday. We are some blocks from the beach, but I’ve timed it and it’s about a 7 minute walk.

Sunset.

I’ve been able to get down there most nights for sunset. The two that I’ve missed were due to rain, not laziness on my part.

The colors in the sky are always spectacular, even on the less than stellar sunset nights.

Dinner and Dancing.

My aunt that traveled to Scotland with us last year has joined some social groups and on Wednesday they go to a restaurant that has a live DJ/singer and dancing. She invited Miss Sunshine and I and my mother to join her. The singer was crazy good. I had to do a double take to make sure that he wasn’t just playing music.

Miss Sunshine declined to join us in dancing, but the three of us got out there and “shook our groove thang”.

You might be wondering about that spectacular bruise on my arm. If not, I’m gonna tell you about it anyway. While traveling down, Miss Sunshine and I stopped for gas and a bathroom break. The door to the stall was somewhat unwieldy and as I turned to close it, the purse hook scraped my arm.

It was enough that I thought I’d bruise since I bruise so easily. However, the scrape covered less than a dime sized spot. I did not expect a bruise so large. It’s so glaring that every single family member has asked what happened AND I’ve gotten to sport that monstrosity at the beach for a week. It’s fading, but it’ll still be a while.

Biking.

The cottage has two bikes so Miss Sunshine and I have done some exploring on them.

Paddleboard.

We brought our paddleboard down with us. The Gulf is pretty calm at this time of year so it’s been fun to take that out.

When we were down on Wednesday, a manatee came swimming along the coastline and later we could see a dolphin out frolicking and heading toward the pier to catch the fish that congregate there.

Shopping.

Yesterday, Miss Sunshine and I did a little shopping for her school clothes. Then we met my mom and sister-in-law for lunch. Later, we went to both of my aunt’s house to visit. Today, we will go visit my grandfather and tonight will be meeting one of my aunt’s at the beach to watch the sunset.

It sounds like go,go,go…and sort of is, but there are moments of relaxation as well. I’m still finishing up my month of writing and just realized July is almost upon me.

Time to figure out my challenge for that month. Any suggestions?

Upcoming.

Along with more family visiting, we have some upcoming fun times in the works. We are supposed to go to an Escape Room. We have a family dinner out planned with my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my two nephews. We’ll be celebrating the 4th of July. How and where is still in determination mode. We are also taking a day trip to Busch Gardens to seek out some thrilling roller coasters. I’m sure I’m leaving things out, but we will also stop once again in Gainesville on the return home and I will see my grandparents and my cousin that I couldn’t catch on the way down.

I’ll also be making sure that I try to catch as many sunsets at the beach as I possibly can!

As I mentioned before I began this trip and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am slow on my replies and making it by to read what many of you have been up to. Most of my evening downtime is spent chatting or playing board games with Miss Sunshine. I will get through my emails and comments, just bear with me in the process.

I hope that you all are having a beautiful Friday!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Still Here

Still Here.

Just in case you thought I’ve disappeared from the blogosphere, I wanted to pop in and tell you that I’m still here.

I think that this may the longest that I’ve ever gone without writing a post.

11 days…in fact.

I’ve missed you all, but have also found little time to sit down and write. I have fully been embracing living in the moment.

This morning Miss Sunshine is sleeping in so I thought I’d pop in to catch up with you all.

After my last Friday Faves, I started preparing for my 3 weeks journey down to Florida.

Our upstairs bathroom needs a complete remodel and the hubby and Big Mr. will be working on that while I’m gone. I picked out tiles and a few other things that I didn’t want to do via text.

Big Mr. returned from his week down in Myrtle Beach. A high school graduate. It still seems surreal.

Gainesville.

We packed the Jeep on Monday night and then Miss Sunshine and I set out early Tuesday morning. We knew that it would be a long day. The GPS said about 9 1/2 hours of drive time. Once you included stops, we were on the road for 11 hours. Luckily, it was an uneventful 11 hours.

Our destination that day was to stop at my Dad’s sister’s house.  If you’ve been following my blog for some time, then you are already aware of the fact that she is only 5 days older than me. The relationship was more like cousins and sometimes like sisters {probably the fighting part. ;)} . I’ve spoken about her Lupus and of my travels to her wedding. She is one of those few in my life who have known me since the beginning and no matter our length of time apart we can always pick up where we left off.

…and that we did. We stayed up until 2 in the morning, catching up, and reminiscing. I stayed until about 1 p.m. the next day, but then we needed to get on the road to Naples.

Naples.

It’s about a 4 1/2 hour drive to Naples from Gainesville.

In Ocala, we stopped at Chick-fil-a to grab a bite to eat. Imagine my surprise when I came out of the bathroom stall and ran into one of my girlfriends from when I lived in Okeechobee. It was one of those “it’s a small world” moments. Miss Sunshine and I continued south, but did get stuck for 45 minutes in a wreck around Englewood. It was a great relief to finally get to my parent’s house.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. catching up with my dad and brother (see a pattern here)

The next day I met a girlfriend for lunch. We were neighbors when I lived in Naples and our children are similar in ages. It was great to catch up in person.

I met my mom and Miss Sunshine over at my aunt’s house. Then my uncle stopped by. Then my other aunt showed up. And then my cousin. It was all impromptu. They didn’t even know I’d be there.

…these are some of the things I miss about home.

That night I only stayed up until midnight!

We moved into the cottage on Friday. It’s within walking distance of the beach. And so I made sure that I was there for sunset.

On Saturday, Miss Sunshine and I went for a morning run. The first photo is the view that morning. Later in the morning, Miss Sunshine and I took the paddleboard down to the beach and spent some time on it. Then my mom, sister-in-law and my two nephews met us there for some more fun in the sun.

Miss Sunshine and I had planned to go with my mom and aunt to SummerJazz on the Gulf at the Naples Beach Hotel, but the weather was rainy so we opted for dinner instead.

On Sunday, we met my mom and aunt for a kayak trip. We left out of Isle of Capri from the Fish House Restaurant. We skirted along the mangroves of Johnson Island and decided to beach ahead. I don’t think that beach has an actual name because I’m pretty sure we didn’t go as far as Sea Oat Island. We hadn’t seen any dolphins so we thought we’d travel a little farther up the coast of the beach and suddenly we saw a set. I was last in line because my mom hadn’t ever kayaked and I wanted to keep pace behind her. Miss Sunshine took off and they even swam under her boat. She was close enough to constantly see their shadows. It was very exciting for her! I love dolphins and was happy that we were able to see a set.

After that, we kayaked back and had lunch.

Monday was another morning run and then some beach time.

No rain that night meant I went back to bask in another sunset.

I am a lover of shells so I am constantly scouring the piles.

The floor of the Gulf right now is filled with thousands of sand dollars. They even turn our toes yellow because they are constantly below our feet.

They are sea urchins that are brownish with many hairlike spines that help them move along the ocean floor. But they are alive, so we pick them up to stare and then return them quickly to their home. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to take a live one. Often you will find broken pieces of them amongst the shells.

However, last night I found a complete skeleton.

And then I watched a glorious sunset.

I hear Miss Sunshine beginning to stir and I am planning to cook her some bacon, eggs, and toast. Add a cup of OJ and a little sea breeze and I think it’ll be a lovely morning indeed.

I’ll be back to check in during my time here, but my posts will be more like seaside chats.

I hope that you all have been living in the moment as well.

I’d love to hear about what has been going on in your days.

She loved the sea. She liked the sharp salty smell of the air, and the vastness of the horizons bounded only by a vault of azure sky above. It made her feel small, but free as well. - George R.R. Martin

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Some of My Favorites

 

Weekly Photo Challenge.

Many of you who read my blog regularly are aware of the fact that I participate in a weekly photo challenge.

I enjoy the process because it helps me think about my photos in a different way. Quite often it also call upon my imagination as I try to interpret my take on the challenge.

The photo challenge is hosted by the Daily Post at WordPress. After many years, they have decided that the challenge will come to a close. This past week has been the final prompt.

Some of My Favorites.

I am coming in at the deadline because I lack time management skills I have family coming in for the oldest’s graduation, which is this Friday, and end of school year obligations for three teens keeps me busy.

The prompt for this final week is All-Time Favorites.

I’ve captured many photos that have become my favorites over the course of the past 2 1/2 years. However, instead of digging deep into my archives, time requests that I share some recent favorites.

Photographer. |Sunset at Naples Pier. 2018

This photo was taken by my mother and edited by me.

I don’t always love myself captured in front of the camera, but are moments when I am that can transport me back to that very second.

I arrived into Naples (Florida), which is my hometown, in order to fly out the next day for the U.K. My mother and I visited some family and then made our way to the pier to watch the sunset.

I was in the middle of my yoga pose challenge and she coaxed me into completing it on the beach (I’m not one for striking a pose in front of people). It’s probably one of my favorites of the challenge, you can find it here.

Then it was time to capture some of the sunset.

I was adjusting the settings when she snapped this photo.

Pelican. |Sunset at Naples Pier. 2018

It’s not often that my sots line up just how I’d envisioned them when you are accounting for a moving object.

However, this time I captured the pelican in flight, wings extended and still had the sun’s rays, the pier, and a boat (which would not normally be that close to the pier, but that section is closed due to damage it sustained last year during  Hurricane Irma.)

Arthur’s Seat. |Edinburgh, Scotland. 2018

I’m sure this has its own name, but I haven’t yet discovered it (if you have, feel free to chime in and let me know). One of the things that we wanted to do on our return to Edinburgh was climb Arthur’s Seat.

Arthur’s seat is an ancient volcano and offers beautiful views of the city. It is also the location of the Radical Road, built by the unemployed weavers from the west of Scotland after the Scottish Insurrection. While I do not know if my ancestors helped build the Radical Road, I do descend from some weavers who lived nearer to Glasgow.

We began our hike from the Holyrood Park car parking area. We followed the signs marked “main trail” (which is not the Radical Road because that appeared steeper and my mother is a Floridian flatlander). This peak was a the beginning of the hike.

Be aware that there are numerous routes to the summit. We did not return the way we ascended, which was unintentional. I see the routes listed as colors, but if there are markings I missed those. My experience is seeing the blazes used in the forests surrounding me here in Virginia, so that was what I was expecting.

I will do a future post on the actual hike and include more photos from that journey.

Callanish Standing Stones. |Isle of Lewis, Scotland. 2018

One of our main desires on this journey was to see the Callanish Standing Stones.

We arrived early to avoid the crowds and were mesmerized by the space.

The stones are 5,000 years old.

Even older than Stonehenge.

This is site I. We also visited sites II and III.

I have plenty more to share from this journey so look for that in a future post as well.

Photography.

One of the parts of the photo challenge journey that I have enjoyed is meeting others who were also participating.

As a beginning, amateur photographer, I have learned so much through those I have met.

I plan to continue working on my skills. Since the photos above were shot in raw, which I am just learning to work with, you may see them come back in new, or different, or possibly even better ways.

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. - Dorothea Lange. Photo quote placed over photo of Victoria Street in Edinburgh Scotland

Let your light shine!

Amy

Doors of London

London.

On my most recent travels to the UK, I visited London for the first time.

We only had two days in London, but they were two full days….and, boy did we fill them!!

Doors.

I knew that I would find a plethora of beautiful architecture in London, which would also include some amazing doors.

In this department, London did not disappoint!

Looking for doors was not the only thing that I did in my jam packed two day,s yet I still managed to have enough photos of doors that I will have to share them in more than one series.

Belgravia.

Today’s series of doors is from a walk that we took in Belgravia

(According to the map. I admit to being confused by the breakdown of the quadrants on London. There was a sign that we passed on Bourne Street that said The Royal Borough of Kensington on Chelsea, so I assumed that I was in Chelsea).

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But on with the tour…

On my list of “must see” items were some pastel colored buildings.

I stumbled upon a location to put into Google maps from this post by A Lady in London. While I would have loved to have seen every cafe that she recommended, time just didn’t allow for it.

After our trip around the London Eye, we took the underground to Sloane Square and proceeded to head toward my final destination.

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I can never pass up the opportunity to photograph a red door (ok, maybe sometimes…like when there are so many to choose from that you’d stop every minute).

I loved how this one had the hedge to create a framed pathway.

#91.

Not only did the door itself look elegant, the inlay on the stairs added an element of posh.

I also love flower boxes.

#89.

I couldn’t pass this door without snagging a shot because I loved the door knocker.

#83.

I think the intricate tile work is very pretty, but we know that I snapped this photo because a blue door is going to stand out!

71 Elizabeth Street.

Les Senteurs.

As we moved closer to my ultimate destination, the doors and displays became magnificent. I only wish that I’d had time to capture more, but rain was on the way and we still had so much to see.

53 Elizabeth Street.

Moyses Stevens.

Passing by flowers spilling into the street was just too gorgeous not to stop and capture.

However, if you are looking for a door, #51A & 51B to the left of the photo looks quite nice.

 

116 Ebury St.

Peggy Porschen Cakes.

This was my ultimate destination.

I could not pass up the opportunity to see pastel pink in all its glory.

We were late enough in the morning that capturing an empty door would have been time consuming. And time was the one thing that I had in limited quantity.

This is a well-known Instagram location so people were having shots taken while they sipped their coffee at the lovely outdoor tables. I crossed the street to take in more of the scene, but at that point someone had lined up in front of the door with a photographer. I have one of them as well, but I like this one of the server wearing his pink attire and entering the shop.

We considered lining up to eat, but again, time was a force working against us. It worked out rather well since we stumbled upon the Duke of York Square Food Market in Chelsea.

Stay Tuned.

I’ll share more about this surprise excursion and some hilarity with dialect in a future post. I’ll also be sharing more doors from London and some from our time in Scotland, so be sure to check back.

Meanwhile, if you have an affinity for doors, hop over to Norm’s blog, where he hosts Thursday Doors, and you’ll find many more.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions"

Let your light shine!

Amy

Views Along the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow.

During my most recent trip to the U.K., my mother and I made a day trip over to Glasgow, Scotland.

There are trains from Edinburgh to Glasgow that take just around an hour and run regularly. If you are traveling during off-peak hours (which we did) the tickets price is nominal (We paid £13 each for a return ticket. It’s less if you are traveling with more because you can purchase a groupsaver ticket, which is what we were able to do last year when 3 of us traveled over).

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time then you are already familiar with the fact that many of my traced Scottish roots come from the Glasgow region.

Photography Series.

I’m squeezing this photography series in just under the deadline. The weekly photo challenge is twisted, which ask us to consider things that don’t maintain a straight line.

Obviously, this challenge could be taken many ways and I have many photos from my time in the U.K. that would qualify.

However, I am rapidly preparing to witness my oldest child graduate from high school. Big Mr. is done with tests and done with all the “officialness” of school. Today, he has graduation practice and varying fun things at school. And then, it’s just wait until graduation day on June 8th. It would have made more sense for them to graduate this Friday, but I don’t make the calendar.

This culminating time is a busy one, but it also makes me reflect on family.

River Clyde.

The River Clyde is the second longest river in Scotland.

Quite often you will hear it said that “Glasgow made the Clyde, and the Clyde made Glasgow”.

Clyde Arc.

The Clyde Arc (also known as Squinty Bridge) stands out amongst the landscape. It connects Finnieston Street on the north bank of the river to Govan Road on the south bank.

These first two photos were taken during our trip to Glasgow in 2017.

Genealogy.

We still have quite a ways to go in researching our roots, but we do know a few ancestors for whom the River Clyde must have played a part in their life.

McLachlan.

My 4th great-grandfather, Hugh McLachlan, married Mary McLachlan on December 7, 1827. The old parish registers of Glasgow state that he was a seaman and that they were residing in Glasgow. I have not been able to trace either of these grandparents back any farther at this time. Their son, my 3rd great-grandfather, Hugh McLachlan, was born in in 1835 in Glasgow. That was according to his death certificate. By the time of his death in 1881, he was living in Airdrie and was a former miner (I visited there last year).

His daughter Agnes was my 2nd great-grandmother and she would emigrate to Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and sons in 1911.

Munn.

Her husband was James Scott and his family lineage would have also been affected by the River Clyde. His mother, my 3rd great-grandmother, was Mary Munn. She was born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland around 1842.

Her father was Thomas Munn. His death certificate lists him as a ship carpenter, journeyman and living at 67 High Street in Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland in 1874. He was born in 1815 in Irvine to David Munn (also a ship carpenter, journeyman) and Janet Orr. On the 1861 census, he was listed as a ship carpenter living on Keppoch Row Possil Road in Maryhill (once a burgh, now part of Glasgow).

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Mary Munn gave birth to my 2nd great-grandfather, James, in Holytown, but by the birth of her son Thomas (two years later) and daughter Jeanie (two years after that) they are living in New Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire. My 3rd great-grandfather, James would die in October of 1871 from Caries of the Spine (which appears to be caused from TB and would explain why the baby was living with her aunt and uncle, John and Margaret Hay, on Pollacks Hill in Holytown on the 1871 census).

Mary Munn would marry George Brown at the end of 1872 and some of the Brown children would be born in the Lambhill and Maryhill areas

Bell’s Bridge.

It was with this family history in mind that my mother and I chose to make a stop along the River Clyde.

On our first trip, we only passed by on the tour bus. This time we wanted to walk across the River Clyde.

We chose to do that on Bell’s Bridge.

Bell’s Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the River Clyde.

The bridge can rotate open to allow ships to pass.

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BBC Scotland.

From the bridge you can see the BBC Scotland building along with the Glasgow Science Center, which also includes the Glasgow Tower (which, according to the website is the only structure on earth capable of rotating 360 ° into the prevailing wind).

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SSE Hydro.

Of course, no tour of this area of the Clyde waterfront is complete without sharing photos of two architectural marvels.

One of those is the SSE Hydro. Located on the opposite bank as the Science Center, the SSE Hydro is the largest entertainment venue in Scotland. It can hold 12,000 people (all seated) or up to 13,000 (seated and standing in performance bowl.)

The shape was inspired by ancient Greek and Roman amphitheaters.

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SEC Armadillo.

Located just beside the SSE Hydro is the SEC Armadillo. It was originally called the Clyde Auditorium. The inspiration for the 3,000 seat venue was a series of interlocking ship’s hulls. However, the nickname “armadillo” obviously stuck.

Have you ever visited the Clyde waterfront?

I’ll have plenty more to share from Glasgow in future posts, but if  you’re interested in my time there last year, you can find my posts here:

The Necropolis

George Square

University of Glasgow

The Cloisters

Murals of Glasgow

The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace. -Mahatma Gandhi

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 64

Friday.

Well if you hadn’t already guessed, I’ve made it back from the U.K.

I arrived back in Virginia on Tuesday evening.

…and have been playing catch up ever since.

Friday Faves.

I’m still playing catch up, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my Friday Faves.

I returned home to our upstairs a/c being out…it had been out for a week…but the service calls require you to be available and the hubby has a job in a different city…so, no bueno… and I dealt with that on day one of my return.

While I was away Miss Sunshine had her middle school spring sports banquet and was awarded Offensive Player of the Year.

Mr. D made it to his AP exams.

I also heard rumor that my three teens know how to pack their own lunches and wash their own clothes. Upon my return, I learned that I’m not sure it was a factual rumor because I am back in the food packing and clothes washing business.

Big Mr. took his final test of high school yesterday and over the weekend we will be signing him up for his July University orientation.

I was so busy since my return that it was only this morning that I found time to import my photos from the trip. It will take me a while to sift through them since there were around 1,200 photos. I’m sure many will make their way to the trash pile, but I’m hoping the majority will have turned out nicely.

I thought that I’d share a quick few today, but be on the look out for more in the future.

Isle of Lewis.

We had one day in the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis.

It was an early morning!

We caught the local bus in Inverness at 5:10 am to the airport for a 7:00 am flight. After landing, we picked up our rental car and headed straight out to the Callanish Standing Stones.

It was a day full of adventure before heading back to the airport in time for our 5:00 pm flight.

I have so much more to share about our day here, but that’ll have to wait until a future post.

Isle of Skye.

We had a bus tour that took us all over the Isle of Skye along with some more stops.

This shot of my mother and me was taken at our stop to see the Quiraing . It had rained just a bit earlier and the cloud cover was low. It did start to clear up some as we made our descent.

I’ll share more in the future.

I didn’t mind the low clouds and the element of mystery they created, but I’m hoping as I sift through the photos that it translated well in the captures.

Highland Coo.

And lastly, a selfie with a Highland Coo. They were just so adorable. I was hoping that I’d be able to see one up close!

Weekend.

That’s all I have for today.

So much to do, so little time!

I hope that you all have a light-filled weekend.

We’ll be enjoying the three day Memorial Day Weekend.

Catch up with you all soon!

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. - Dorothea Lange. Photo quote placed over photo of Victoria Street in Edinburgh Scotland

Let your light shine!

Amy