Shark Encounters of the Too Close Kind

I’ve been away.

Playing.

We stayed plenty busy down in Florida, with Ahab and The Nana for the last few weeks.

We did a lot of this:

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A little of that (I think it’s important for you to know that I only mostly win.):

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Some of this:

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And even a visit to my favorite South Florida barbeque joint. (The Georgia Pig, for those taking notes.)

But, the most exciting things to happen, by far, were my Close Encounters.

First, we had a lizard that decided that the car was a much more exciting place to hang out than the yard.  For 3 days! I mean, I thought, fer sure, this little bugger would “expire” in the heat of the car while we were at the beach, that first day.

I forgot one little fact. Floridian lizards live in the heat all the live long day.  The car was probably a respite.  The more I think about it, the car was probably like a spa visit.  Some air conditioning,  a few generously sprinkled cracker crumbs… he had himself a veritable spa weekend getaway!

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He really lived it up in there.  Until, I finally had enough of our “Where Will Larry the Lounge Lizard Be Today” game, every time we got into the car.  So, The Nana graciously, and bravely, got him to Sit! Stay! Jump on a pole!  And promptly took him out of the car.

HOORAY FOR THE NANA!

Said with no relief what-so-ever.

However, it was the close encounter that took place in the ocean, that caused the most excitement.

And, by “excitement”, I mean, cause for adding to the salt content of the ocean.

Ahab taught me two important things about snorkeling, growing up. One, stay aware of your surroundings. Two, objects in mask are smaller than they appear.

Easy peazy.

Sweetboy, my nephew, Ahab, and I were snorkeling around a reef area close to the beach one day. I swam in to drop Sweetboy off, up at the beach. He was tired, and I was using my old fins, one of which had a split on the top.  It made for lots of stopping to empty the sand out.

As I neared the shallow area where I could stand and shake out my fin, I noticed another type of finned thing off to my left.  A long sharky looking finned thing.

“Calm down, woman.  It’s not as big as you think.  Just carry on.”

So, I took off my fin, as planned. I was just about to put it back on when I noticed that my finned friend had come much much closer, and was most definitely longer than I was.

I’m not short.

I haven’t moved that fast since high school! I scrambled my way, fin in hand, up to the beach and out of that water so fast, I darn near ripped one of my fingernails off!

Ahab and my nephew tried to convince me to get back in and swim out to them.

Uh, no can do!

My family, of course, has ridden this for all it’s worth. From placing things like this in front of me, to ask if I recognized my “friend” from a lineup:

sharks_fl_july_missindeedy

to telling me that he “just wanted to get to know me better”, the gags have been nonstop.

He might have wanted to get to know me better, but I just wasn’t that into him.

We even sidled up to a car at the movies with this bumper sticker on it’s rear:

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Everyone in the car erupted in laughter.

Except for me.

That was an encounter of the too close kind, thank-you-very-much!

And finally, Sweetman and I were granted the opportunity to skip out one night for dinner.

Alone.

Did we do the Happy Dance all the way out the door? Why, yes. Yes, we did.

When we returned home, Sweetman practically swept me off my feet. But, not for the reason I’d have hoped.

“Is that one of those deadly poisonous snails”, he asked?

I’m just going to admit, right now, that between the darkness of night and my enjoyment of a beautiful bottle of Cab with that Sweetman of mine, I was in no shape to be differentiating between deadly and non-deadly snails.

When we had safely maneuvered into the house, we showed The Nana a picture, (Because, even if you’re near a deadly snail, you still have to stop and snap a pic. Am I right?), and asked if these were the Death Snails.

(By the way, she was totally waiting up for us – even though we are solidly in our 40’s!)

The Nana informed us that these African snails are indeed deadly, but that the bad ones are 4 or more inches across.

These, thank The Good Lord, were not.

We escaped death, once more.

Yes indeedy.

All said, I believe this trip was filled with enough adventure and close encounters to last me a good long while.

Or, at least until next year.

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And Then, I Turned My Six Year Old Into a Go-Go’s Fan

I sing my children a lot of songs from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I’m super cool that way.

Anything that can even remotely relate to our life experiences will be butchered sung. “Three Little Birds”,  “I’m Gonna Love You Forever”, “Vacation”, you name it! If it was first broadcast more than two decades ago, I’ve attempted to sing it for the entertainment of my Sweetkids. I’ve even purposefully switched up the words, on some songs, in an effort to help a child reach another developmental milestone.

And I butcher the tar out of every. single. one.

But, they don’t know that.

Or, they didn’t.

Recently, Sweetboy wanted to know if “Oh Mickey” was a real song. As if I could make up awesome lyrics like “You’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!” all by myself…

So, of course, I had to show them.

On You Tube.

My poor deprived children know of The You Tube, but they haven’t had a lot of experience surfing around on it.

Plus, there’s that whole “what’s appropriate for little eyes” thing.

Suffice it to say, that once I fired up the first video of Toni Basil singing, “Oh Mickey”, and explained what a music video was, they were hooked.

Sweetboy lost interest around “I’m Gonna Love You Forever”, but Sweetgirl? Well, as soon as she caught sight of Belinda Carlisle singing “We got the beat”, she was a goner!

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That child sat through no less than 10 videos of the Go-Go’s singing all 4 of their greatest hits.  She watched various versions of each one, and about flipped out when we got to a later version where most of the band had cut their hair, short.

“WHY Mama?!?!”

Some questions, there are not answers for.

“I like them Go-Go’s”, she informed me. (We watched a few too many Country videos, before that. Apparently.)

I told her that I used to have That Exact Record right there, with the water-skiing cover.

“What’s a record, Mama?”

Some questions, I wish I weren’t old enough to answer.

Off to the side of the video we were watching, there were, of course, all of the other related videos. She recognized “Jane” and “Melinda” (I didn’t have the heart to correct her), and asked if we could watch one of those “new” ones.

But, as soon as she realized that these ladies were not with the band anymore, and I explained what going “solo” meant, another freak-out occurred.

WHY Mama?!?!”

Some questions…

“Let’s go back to the other ones where they sing together,” she asked me.

And just like that, another Go-Go’s fan was born.

With the touch of the “Play” button.

Yes indeedy!

Thank you You Tube.

Reggae in Heaven

Doesn’t some music just say home to you?

Now, don’t laugh…but Reggae always speaks soothingly of home to me. Spending my summers in Bimini meant that I absorbed the music and rhythms of those around me.

Whenever I hear some of my favorites, I am instantly transported. I think of The Lady Up On The Hill who made the Johnny cakes and Bimini Bread on the other side of the island, or of the dances done at Brother Ozzie’s downtown bar to “Come Back MaryAnn”, or the radio tuned to reggae as the islanders cracked open the newly fished conchs for all of the tourists.

The music was everywhere. It flooded my soul almost as much as the summer sunshine did.

Reggae makes me relish those innocent summers when I played with the dozens of stray puppies without worry for where they would end up.  I miss doing the ring toss in Brown’s Bar downstairs from the hotel, without concern for anything other than how much candy we’d be overloaded with for all of our wins.  I fondly remember dancing with the Islanders, whose only aim was to teach a young lady how to keep time and rhythm to the flow of the island music.

To this day, put some Bob Marley on and I am instantly taken back to that time and place where I was free from stereotypes and ran the island with all of the other children that called Bimini “home”. That music reminds me that there was a time when there were no adult worries beyond what to rustle up for dinner amongst the things that were freshly caught in the waters that day.

Yup. I’m pretty sure there will be Reggae in Heaven.

Three little birds told me so.

Yes indeedy.

Bimini

What music takes you back?

A Little Late, But…

Better later than never, right?  I mean, we can’t ALL have our act together, now can we? I feel it’s my job and duty to lead the Vacation Picture Slackers in their turtle march toward productivity.

Enjoy some of my favorite “scenes” from our vacation and a Word to go with it.  Happy Sunday, friends!

 

Jersey_Shore_Vacay_Aug_Missindeedy

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:3

And Then We…

I wanted to first say THANK YOU for praying!  My friend did receive good news a few days ago, and the cancer has not spread. I was praying in earnest, as I know so many of you were, too.  Those prayers… they are precious to me.  And more importantly, to my sweet friend.  Whom I love.

So, again, I am so very grateful for your prayers on her behalf.

2

Summer activity is in full swing around here.  And we like that.  It reminds us that there is a beginning (of All The Fun) and an end (of All The School).  We get to languish in the mornings, eat lunch on the deck, and rustle up dinner whenever we want to.  There is water to be played in and ice cream to be consumed.  It is all a sweet balm to this mama’s heart. And to my sweet children’s hearts, too.

As we make preparations to head down to Florida to see Captain Ahab and The Nana for most of July, I thought I’d show y’all what we were up to last week.  Because, who doesn’t like pictures to remind us of The Joy? (Although, I beg you to ignore the fact that I chose to hold up my Coke Zero like I was in an advertisement for the thing. Sigh…)

But, aside from that… LOOK!  Summer!

Yes, indeedy!

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Happy Summer!

Rhythm Sticks

Rhythm

Go…

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There is a predictable rhythm to the days during the school year.  Now that summer has graced us with her presence, I find that rhythm interrupted in all the right ways.  Lazy mornings are spent waffling, the edible way.  Bike rides are taken, the leisurely way. Play dates are spent poolside, dripping wet and exhausted from all of the playing.

The summer routine isn’t.  And this family needs that.  We schedule, because we have to.  Pervasive Developmental Disorder does not like unstructured days and activities that have no defined ending and beginning.  But this mama’s heart needs that sometimes.  And some of the other family members do, too.

So it is provided.  The child who needs the routine and structure and predictable rhythm to his days seems to be endowed with an extra measure of grace and willingness to roll with it; just during these precious summer months.  This is a gift.  We all know it.

And we all cling to it.

Gratefully.

Yes indeedy.

I’m joining in with my community of friends and fellow writers and heart-sharers over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday place. If you’d like to read what others had to say about Rhythm, or add your own thoughts, join us by clicking the button below. Happy Friday my friends!

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Newness and What-knot

The times. They are a changin’.  It would seem that newness is everywhere we turn right this minute.  New leaves are turning. New friendships are forming.  New jobs, new dreams, and new favorites are all afoot.  And it is good.

One thing that isn’t new? Sweetboy’s attitude about school.  This is the conversation I inadvertently walked into last night.  And please, by all means, do insert whatever dramatic tones you can just hear in your mind as you read it – I’m quite sure he used those exact ones as he wailed…

Sweetboy:  (Almost with back of hand slapped against his forehead) ” Oh NOOOO!!!  There are only 5 weeks left until I have to go back to school!”  (Followed by much weeping and gnashing of teeth.)

Me:  “Really?  That sounds to me like 35 more days of summer fun!”

And in other news, Sweetgirl, also, hasn’t changed her stance on “I NOT!”, one iota.

Me: (Watching her fling around the new “big-girl” necklace The Nana foolishly generously sent to her) “Sweetgirl, please don’t fling the necklace around and around.  It will get knots in it and Mama will have to work very hard to take them out. (I.E. Won’t be able to take them out because, the eyes?  They ain’t what they used to be.)

Sweetgirl: (C’mon, we ALL know exactly where this is going…) “I NOT flinging it Mama, I am just playing with it and making a commotion!” (Insert shock on my part as I wonder where in the sam hill she learned the word commotion – that’s just above my pay grade, right there.)

Moments, nay, seconds, later…

Knots, anyone?

Sweetgirl: “MAMA!!! My neckwace is all knottered up!  (How does she hear these words I say???)

Oh, yes indeedy.  I’m still working on em’.  I’ll keep you posted.  Or knot.