In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Meet Ava

Meet Ava.  She’s my little 5 year old niece and she’s pretty cool.  She loves Webkinz, books, cats, Hello Kitty, painting, coloring, music and the Disney channel.  She’s also an incredible speller. 

I’m a lucky lady today, as I’m here on Pine Island babysitting her while my sister is at work.  She’s built a serious little area she’s named Catville.  She’s made signs.  Signs with words that I’m amazed that she can spell.  Stuff like no entrance, exit here, employees only, and do not disturb.  Crazy.  I tend to forget how old she is since her vocabulary is so large.  That is until she turns on the drama in order to get her way.  And she’s pretty good at that!

So far today, we’ve painted, we’ve used the crayons and colored pencils too.  We’ve played a matching game or two and looked at some books.  We’ve listened to the Dave Matthews Band (her request – sweet) and made some signs for catville.  We also ventured outside for about 15 minutes.  It’s hot as hell and I can take that.  What I couldn’t take were the massive quantities of mosquitoes buzzing around my head.  They’re rather bad down here that’s for sure.  Way worse than at my mom’s, it’s pretty swampy down here.

Speaking of my mom’s, the girls there today are doing some work.  My parents grow lots of off the wall plants to sell.  They also have a hydroponic garden.  My dad built these neat plant tables.  A few to be exact.   They’re made out of wood and they’ve already painted one of them.  They were putting Mady and Lauren to work today on painting one.  I wonder how far they got before they died of heat stroke and had to jump in the pool?

I remember one year I helped my dad tile their front porch.  We did it in bathing suits and we’d take breaks to jump in the pool now and then.  In a few hours, we’ll meet my parents at the Wal-Mart on Jones Loop and I’ll go back to Englewood.  My husband and my son will arrive tomorrow evening.  We’ll spend a few days in Englewood and then head back down here for the 4th of July.  I think the kids are going to decorate their bikes and cruise in the little island parade on Saturday morning.

Speaking of my son Jordan, he just finished his first Decathalon in Tulsa this weekend.  He finished second overall and will go to nationals the end of July in Virginia.  That’s pretty cool, we couldn’t believe it!  We are pretty excited for him, he has such a passion for track and field.  Signing off from the island, but it’s really nice to know I’ll be back real soon.


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Party On Pine Island

After our visit to the salt pool, we came back to the house and planned our dinner.   We had to have a laugh about how she used to make almost $72 an hour and now she makes like $10.50.  We also joked about how much I used to make when I had the video store.  We have less disposable income but we still enjoy the finer things and eachother and that’s all that matters.  We have a place to live and we’re not starving to death.

Instead of crying about how much cash we used to rake in, we decided to laugh and have a few (or more) alcoholic beverages.  She quickly whipped up some great pina coladas.  They were awesome, whipped cream and all.  I’m not really into rum, but I downed three to be exact.  We also made Thai food.  I washed the dishes last night and accidentally submerged the Nespresso Aeroccino.  Big mistake.  I had no clue as I have the poor mans manual pump frother at my house.  After a short flip out I dried it out with a hair dryer and all is good.  We had froth the electric way, enough said. 

That’s Jeanine and I on the left.  Ava took this photos, she’s 5, and she’s a little short so I think we look a tad bit squatty.  We’re drinking our pina coladas in a fancy, retro, thrift store glass.  We are three years apart (I’m older) and we weren’t always as good of friends as we are now.  But I can’t imagine life without her.  She’s funny, she’s smart and she’s totally sarcastic.  She’s also great with fashion (I totally suck at that) and she can shop like a mad woman. 

Today we ventured into Ft. Myers for shopping.  When we passed through Cape Coral, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Lots of homes were overgrown and empty.  She pretty much said that’s how it’s been.  Several shopping centers are vacant as well.  This area has been hit super hard with the downfall in the economy.  Pretty much because the bulk of the jobs were in real estate and construction.  Sad it was to see the ghost town areas and places that we used to go offering such deep discounts.

We took the kids store called the Cheshire Cat and of course the Ulta store.  After that we had a little snack for lunch.  On the way home we stopped at Family Thrift where we dropped $93 between the two of us.  We totally scored.  I got five pairs of pants and only three fit, but that’s ok.  She got a brand new pair of Keen canvas shoes for $30.  I also scored three brand name tops and Ava picked up a gigantic stack of awesome books and some clothes of course.

We stopped at Old Time Pottery on the way back to the island but frankly, I was too dead to look around.  That place is ginormous but awesome.  Definitely a place to spend a couple of hours in for sure.  Tomorrow I will babysit Ava here on the island while Jeanine works.  We will meet my folks at a halfway point tomorrow evening so I can head back to Englewood.  They had a great time with Lauren and Mady today at the beach for starters.  Then they made soap and then they made bon-bons.  I can’t wait to see all of their creations that’s for sure.

Tonight we’ll finish off the Thai food and the pina coladas.  Then I’m going to make a creme brule.  We’ve listened to James Taylor, Allison Krause, The Killers and Bob Marley.  Life just doesn’t get much better than this.  Did I mention that I bought a one way ticket?  Mabye I’ll just stay.


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Salt System

This is the pool on Pine Island.  And that’s my cute little niece Ava, she’s 5 1/2 and can already read like crazy.  I think she needs to skip Kindergarten, we’ll see what happens with that.

This pool was really nice for a public pool.  Oddly enough, my sister’s husband builds pools, but they don’t have one at their home.  He’s actually in the Bahamas working on water features for a huge resort that Tiger Woods is building with his partners.  My sister Jeanine and Ava, travel to the Bahamas once a month for 10-days to visit him.  He’s been there for awhile and will be there probably until November.  Wouldn’t you hate to have to go to the Bahamas once a month?  It only costs $44 from Ft. Lauderdale.  I’d love to go, but I didn’t think of that far enough ahead of time.  Silly me, I don’t have a passport.

Back to the pool.  Classic Kirsten, talking in circles.  I’ve been swimming about three days a week at the YMCA at home in the burg.  The chlorine has turned the ends of my hair blonde and I always chuckle when someone tells me how good it looks.  Cheap highlights that’s for sure.  The chemicals are pretty harsh.  I wore out a bathing suit in a couple of months.  This pool on the island has no chemicals.  I also dug how the fence was covered with this blue stuff to deter gawkers.  Plus, it was a nice visual.

As we entered I noticed something really different.  No pool smell.  I blew it off and hopped in the lap lane.  I went under the water and bounced up to the taste of salt.  No way.  I swam over to my sister in excitement and asked her if this was a salt pool.  She said, “Yes, it is a salt system you dork, every one has that down here!”  Well, not everybody.  My parents don’t have a salt pool, but they should. 

It was totally like swimming in the soft water that we have at my house.  They use the same pellets and it’s amazing.  I guess it’s costly to change a pool over, but not so bad if you start with a salt filtration from the beginning.  I can’t wait to ask my brother-in-law all about it when he returns for the 4th this weekend. 

All I know is this.  It rocked out.  No harsh chlorine.  The water was super clear.  My eyes didn’t burn and my hair and skin didn’t feel like sandpaper afterwards. 

My only complaint is this.  The pool is closed on Sundays and Mondays.


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Dinner Time

Today, we were up fairly early. 

My dad, his dive buddy Scott and myself were at the boat dock by 8:30 a.m.  Lucky for us, the boat dock is just minutes from the house.  My dad has a 27 foot Twin Vee Catamaran and it’s a pretty decent boat to take out into the Gulf.  We only headed out 3 or 4 miles this time.  They’d already staked out a place for diving, a place where there are several concrete culverts that are homes to lots of fish.

It was a great day for diving, but not such a great day for pole fishing.  I didn’t catch a thing.  My dad caught several.  I think that spearfishing is somewhat unfair, but I’m sure I’ll let that slide as soon as we finish dinner.  We boated 1 Grouper, 4 Red Snappers and 2 Triggerfish.  Oh and we got one Blue Crab too.  All are excellent eating. 

Triggerfish, good eating for sure!

My dad Bob.  Grouper, awesome eating for sure!

Scott and Bob bringing the boat in.

Blue crab.  He was floating on the surface.

It’s awful nice to know that I have like 26 more days or so to get those white legs of mine nice and tan!


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Delayed

Delayed.  Not a good word to hear.  Especially when you’re at the airport.  This happened to us on Tuesday.  We were supposed to fly out of town at 5:05.  I checked everything before we left the house.  As we were checking our baggage, the status changed.  Delayed.  Bummer. 

I was traveling with my daughter and her best friend.  We were on our way to Florida to visit my parents.  I was extremely excited because I actually took four weeks off.  I was more than ready to get there and happy to arrive at a reasonable hour instead of in the middle of the night.

Not the case.  We were delayed two and a half hours which put us landing at St. Pete at around 10:30 p.m.  We retrieved our luggage quickly met my parents and headed to Englewood which is where they live.  We got to their place around 12:15 a.m. and of course, the kids were ready to swim. 

Around 2:00 a.m. we all finally made it to bed.  I was happy to find that my parents had purchased a new, very rad camper.  I have the entire thing all to myself and I couldn’t be more stoked.  It has beautiful white cabinetry, and faux dark hardwood flooring.  The a/c cranks and runs fairly quietly.  Needless to say, I slept until near 9:00 a.m. this morning.

Today was a mellow day of hanging out.  We swam in the pool for hours.  We got some groceries and made a full blown turkey dinner like we usually do.  I walked to the beach with the girls around 6:00 this evening.  The breeze was awesome, the sand felt good and of course I dig the smell of the ocean. 

My dad invited a dive buddy over for dinner as well.  Tomorrow, the three of us will head out on the boat into the Gulf.  Luckily, the oil has not made it here yet.  I hope we see some cool things out on the water and catch some amazing fish. 

Most of all, I am thankful and excited at the same time that I don’t have to cram anything in to like 4 or 7 days.  This is going to be a nice, long overdue, extended vacation.


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Vacation Part II – Pine Island, Florida

Water Ride

Water Ride

Red Fish Pass
Red Fish Pass
Island House
My Sister’s Island House
To Upper Captiva
To Upper Captiva – Lauren & Ava
Matlacha
Matlacha
Stow Away Peace Frog
Stow Away Peace Frog
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I flew Allegiant Air.  They’re cheap, they’re clean and they’ve been dependable.  I didn’t rent a car.  My folks have two vehicles.  A corvette and a ginormous, diesel pick up.  I didn’t want to drive either one of them the dreaded one and a half hours it takes to get to my sisters’ on Pine Island, but I had to.   In a series of short words and photos again, here goes.   Pine Island Sound.  Upper Captiva.  Boating.  Red Fish Pass.  Artsy Matlacha.  Ft. Myers Shopping.  Juno Soundtrack.  Homemade Pizzas.  Wine.  My niece.  My daughter.  My sister and brother-in-law.  The Sun.  The Sand.  The Surf.  Sand Dollars.  Canals.  Cat Stevens.  Brandy.  Frogs.  Flowers.  The Moment.  Dolphins.
 
 
Puzzle we worked, I penned our water route in

Puzzle we worked, I penned our water route in

 
My brother-in-law's beach ride

My brother-in-law's beach ride

My I-75 South Ride
My I-75 South Ride
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Vacation Part I – Englewood, Florida

Anole in mom's garden, he was tiny and quick

intracoastal waterway
intracoastal waterway

Vacation.  Is over.  I’m back in the real world of laundry, grocery shopping and teaching yoga.  In a series of short words and photos, here’s what we did.  The first part of my trip was spent at my parents home in Englewood, Florida.  Pool time.  Frogs and anoles.  Movies.  Thanksgiving dinner.  Short walks to the beach.  Sunsets.  Finding sharks teeth.  Swimming in the Gulf.  Family.  Books.  Good snacks.  Sleeping late.  Exploring with my new camera.  Staying home, relaxing.

mom's bougenvilla
mom’s bougenvilla
sea turtle nest, the beach is full this year
sea turtle nest, the beach is full this year
beach at mom and dad's
beach at mom and dad’s
mice pool at mom and dad's
nice pool at mom and dad’s
pineapple in mom's yard
pineapple at mom and dad’s