In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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My Journey in Photos

My beautiful niece Ava.  She’s six and way too smart for her own good.  While swimming in the gulf we saw some dude working out on the beach.  After his workout, he broke out into a dance.  Ava swam over to me and said, “Hey Aunt Kirsten, I hope that guy doesn’t capture me in his dance.”  Oh the hilarity, who talks like that?

Ava and my daughter Lauren at Pine Island Sound on the 4th of July right before we shot fireworks over the water.

Pine Island Sunset on the 4th of July.  Bugs were bad, seriously bad.

My dad’s bee hives.  We went on a rescue mission to Little Gasparilla Island while I was there.  The ferry ride was real nice.  The bees weren’t.  More on that later.

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren and Ava at Gracie’s Cup Cake Store at Bell Tower in Ft. Myers.  My sister works here on ocassion.  We got snacks, and they were really good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bag of sharks’ teeth and fossils that I found walking the beach at mom’s.  That’s really all I like to do when I go there for a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing the beach already.  Until next year I guess.


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Antibiotics and Narcotics

Well.  I  ended my last post on Pine Island with Dayquil and hot tea.  I was hoping all I had was a bad cold, but nope it was more than that.  Lauren and I left Pine Island on Monday afternoon and headed back to mom’s beach here at Englewood. 

When I awoke on Tuesday morning I decided to head to a walk-in clinic in Venice.  I got there early and was only the second person in line.  I’d called our insurance company ahead of time and I can use this new insurance that Frank has anyplace with any doctor.  Wow.  I don’t even have a co-pay.  I got in right away to find that I didn’t have strep throat, I had bronchitis.  Nice.  I left with a prescription to Wal-Greens which is the place I use at home.  It also happened to be conveniently located not far from the clinic I just left.  I exited there with $18 worth of drugs in the form of a 5-day Z-pak of antibiotics and some heavy duty cough syrup that I’ve only been using at night. I know.  Go ahead and don’t believe me.

It stormed most of the day yesterday and I was pretty happy about that.  Later that same evening we took in a couple of movies that I hadn’t seen.  First we watched the Social Network.  I liked it.  Perhaps the star was a bit of a jerk, but he was also damn smart and a super hard worker while the others were – well out rowing boats (I know rowing a boat is hard work too) and going to parties.  Quite the driven dude if Imust say.  After that we watched True Grit.  I loved that and surprisingly enough my daughter liked it as well.

I took a short walk on the beach last night with my mom and my kid and inhaled the humid sea air.  I swear it’s better than any humifidier I’ve ever used.  We found several sharks’ teeth and headed home as it started to rain again.  I woke up today feeling the best I’ve felt in days so naturally I headed to the beach.  I walked too far.  Why you say?  Because when you walk a long ways you have to walk back.  I found some great teeth and fossils today and when I arrived back at the house I ate lunch and floated in the pool.

I’ve been a busy wizard with the jewelry wire wrapping sharks’ teeth and using up things I’ve been meaning to use.  Frank’s family has a huge auction at the big family reunion and my sutff goes fast and sells for decent prices.  It’s really fun.  All the money goes back into the reunion so I don’t receive any of it.

My sister and her daughter will come to Englewood tonight to spend a couple of nights.  I think we’re going on a picnic by boat tomorrow to our favorite sand bar.  One side is the Gulf the other the intercoastal.  There’s also a lot of sea urchins there.  It’s a secret.  I don’t want the Asian eateries boating over there.  Just kidding.  I have no idea really what the longititude and latitude of the place is.  On Saturday Lauren and I will head to Ft. Myers to get her hair cut by a girl with purple hair and lots of jewelry in her face.  After that we’ll spend another couple of nights on Pine Island.

Pine Island has a 4th of July parade every year on the actual holiday.  They’re totally old school VFW and I love it.  The kids will decorate a tandem bike and we’ll have a feast all day.  Of course we’ll do fireworks and Lauren and I will probably head back here late that same evening.  I’ll finish my week up here and then head home. 

Hard to believe how fast 18 days away from home can go.

Sorry for the lack of awesome photos.  I brought the old laptop and I can’t insert the card from camera directly into it.  Last year, someone from an online magazine in Ft. Myers contacted me and asked if they could use some of my photos.  I didn’t get anything for it, but I didn’t care.  It’s nice to know that someone took the time to view them.


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It’s Hot Down Here

I headed to Florida with my daughter Lauren for a few weeks last July and it was so great, that I wanted to do it again this year.  My husband has a new job this time.  He’s the Director of Public Safety at the Landing in Branson and he really likes it.  Summertime is really busy down there so he stayed home.  Our son is participating in off season track and he has meets every single weekend.  He’s an amazing athlete.  More about him, graduation and college later. 

My vacation actually started early with a quick and spur of the moment journey to St. Louis last weekend.  Someone in my family isn’t feeling too well.  He’s been hanging out at Barnes Hospital and hopefully he’ll be going home soon.  My mom flew in to St. Louis and I picked her up at the airport.  A few other family members showed up as well.  It was wonderful to see everyone, circumstances set aside.

We left Springfield on the 22nd.  Allegiant Air rocks and offers a straight flight into St. Pete.  We picked up our bitchin’ Ford Focus and hit the highway.  An hour and 15 minutes later we arrived at my mom’s.  My sister and her daughter were there when we arrived so we had some snacks and a couple of Stella Artois poolside.  I wasn’t feeling too hot.  Some time within the last few weeks, I’d been bitten by something.  The site screams spider and it was totally screaming by Thursday.  I’d purchased some “drawing out salve” before I left.  Have you ever used that stuff?  It looks like black tar and smells like it too. But hey, it worked.  Sort of.  Neosporin is pretty much kicking it now and I am so glad.  I really didn’t want to spend time sitting at a walk in clinic while I’m here.  But.  It’s not healed yet so we’ll see.

My parents invited their friends over for dinner on Thursday evening.  She’s from Cuba and came over on a 3-day boat ride.  Her husband is from Peru and oddly enough, they met in Oklahoma.  They have two adorable little kids.  The Cuban lady helps my dad do the whole bee rescue thing.  They went over to this lady’s house after dinner to check out her bee invasion.  Turns out the bees were actually yellow jackets.  No honey bees happening there.

The next day we hit Manasota Beach which is a hop, skip and a jump from mom’s place.  Like a 10 minute walk to be exact.  We walked down the beach and saw some bearded man, in good shape, working out.  After several rounds of push ups and what nots, he broke out into this ecstatic dance.  Maybe he didn’t receive the memo that the flash mob was canceled.  It was really funny but he seemed to be having a good time.  About this time, my niece Ava (she’s 6) swam over to me and said, “Aunt Kirsten, I hope that man doesn’t capture me in his dance!”  Who talks like that at the age of 6?  She does and she’s damn funny.

After a day at the beach, the pool and a few thrift stores, we loaded the Focus and shoved the kids in the car.  We arrived here on Pine Island (at Jeanine’s) Friday evening.  The mosquitoes are the worst I’ve ever seen in my life down here this time.  The planes have been flying over spraying who knows what for bug control.  It’s also much hotter this year. Extreme temperatures so we’ve been staying inside.  Last year when I blogged here from Pine Island I mentioned my sister’s workplace by name.  I also mentioned the fact that she’d sold me something from her workplace at cost.  Bad idea.  Don’t ever think that nobody reads your blog, because they do!  She was greeted at work with a hard copy of my blog a few days later.  It made for a crappy rest of the vacation as we walked on egg shells wondering if she was going to lose her job.  To make a long story short, she didn’t lose it, but did quit later. The merchandise she sold me was stuff she had purchased for herself that she actually had duplicates of.  It’s not like I walked through the store and picked out a bunch of stuff.  So know that pina coladas, corporate names and blogging are not a good combination.

We headed to town yesterday and hit Target and A.C. Moore.  We don’t have one of those at home and Jeanine always has great coupons.  The kids scored some indoor art activities and I got some things for jewelry.  I haven’t made any in a long time so I shipped all of my beads and things ahead of time.  We attend a large family reuinion the end of July and we raise money for the next reunion with an auction.  My necklaces with the sharks’ teeth always go the fastest and I have nothing to offer this time so I’d better get busy.

I think I got through this without the mention of any corporate names.  I’m drinking chamomille tea and taking Day Quil.  Better combination?  I guess so.

 


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Girls Day Out

I am supposed to be at a yoga class in Punta Gorda.  Why aren’t I?  Because I drove to St. Pete and back to take my husband and son to the airport so they can fly home and frankly, driving 37 miles anywhere just isn’t me right now.  If you’re thinking about breaking into our house in the burg, you’ve got  exactly 15 minutes to do it before they hit the door.

Sunday we were pretty exhausted from our celebration.  The parents didn’t spend the night on Saturday.  Five extra people were plenty.  The guys decided to fish again, so we took Mady to the other end of the island where my sister got married in 2001.  This end of the island is called Bokeelia and it looks out over Charlotte Harbor. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a public pier.  Be careful though, most of the property in this area is private.  No parking, no gawking.  It is really beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ava, Mady and Lauren on Bokeelia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bokeelia public pier.  You can’t go past the gate unless you pay a little, we didn’t.  We had shopping in Ft. Myers to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at my sister’s I got a photo of this little Anole puffing up.  Wish I could’ve captured the orange in the cushion he was resting on, but my flash went off.  The orange really did compliment him nicely.

After a hard day of shopping, we hung out.  I love Jeanine’s art wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mady and Petunia.

 

Lauren with her new Webkinz and her eraser collection.


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Celebration On Pine Island

My sister has one of the most adorable homes on Pine Island.  It’s small, but she’s utilized the space well.  Though our home is much larger, at times, her house has a bigger feel. 

Around 1:00 in the afternoon, the guys fired up the grill.  We were having clams first followed by london broil, hamburgers and hotdogs, ears of roasted corn and deviled eggs.  Those clams were really good by the way.  That’s Uncle Darryl working hard at the grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We even invited a neighbor lady whose husband recently passed away.  She has no kids at all and no family close by.  Check out that clam action!   It didn’t take long to rip through 100 that’s for sure.  After the appetizers were downed, the real food was ready right on time.  And of course, since July 3rd was mom’s birthday and we were all out of town for Father’s Day (mom was in D.C. visiting a friend) we concluded our day with a vanilla bean bundt cake accompanied by salted caramel gelato.   Both dessert items were a boxed mixture and they were amazing.  We added some dark chocolate pieces to the gelato and it was heavenly.  I hope there’s still some left when I return to the island on Friday, but I’m not betting on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this awesome piece of Brain Coral that Darryl brought back from the beach in the Bahamas.  This is perfect, it weighs a ton and it resonates a helmet.  Totally cool.


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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.