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Closed Off

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My first blog of the year 2015. I didn’t think that I’d wait this long. Didn’t mean to either. Haven’t been feeling in the mood to put my feelings onto paper. I always felt sorry for those folks that were/are considered ‘shut-ins‘. Suddenly, it was as if a cruel twist of my inner imagination when I have realized that I too am actually considered a ‘shut-in‘, and truly have been for quite a while. Perhaps I didn’t wanna admit it, even to myself. But I have been pretty much CLOSED OFF from most of the things that I used to be able to do and from the places that I liked to go. I’m dependent upon whether or not someone will be kind enough to take me places, and unfortunately, whether or not that person deems it worthy of going there. More often than not, that will not beĀ happening. So whenever I wish to go someplace, I have to ‘plead my case‘, listen to grumbling, and hope for the best. Someone else makes the decision for me about how I spend any of my time outside of this house. Sad, isn’t it? Yet, that is my life now.

Atlantic sunrise

Feeling sorry for myself? Yep! You bet I am! This wasn’t supposed to happen now….at least not for another 30+ years. I feel toooo young to be having to have somebody else decide whether or not I get to go places I wanna go when I wanna go. I also hate not being able to eat whatever I feel like eating because of so very many reasons: interactions with medications, not being able to sleep, causes gas or bloating or other discomfort, allergies, weight gain or loss, too much sugar or salt, intolerance, red dyes, causes cancer, immoral farming or fishing practices, etc. Good grief!

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Sometimes (MOST of the time, to be quite honest) I wish I had enough money to buy myself an island. It’d be a tropical, well-stocked island full of all my favorite fruit and nut trees. Then I’d plant lotsa berries and veggies, build a long deck where I could have lobster & crab traps underneath and from which I could fish for my supper. I’d hire somebody to build me an efficient little cottage plus another for my guests (you didn’t really think that I’d do my own building, eh? I’m dreaming here, and if’n I have enough money for a tropical island then I reckon I have enough money to hire a builder) and I’d throw away all my meds! Sure, I’d still be CLOSED OFF but I betcha I’d soon get healthy. Ahhh….that’s a nice dream! I’d probably only miss chocolate. But then again, my guests can bring that to me whenever they come for a visit!

Favorite Lighthouse

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My daughter took me on a mini-vacation. She was supposed to be going westward for a couple of weeks with my brother and niece (her uncle and youngest cousin) but those plans fell through almost at the last minute. So instead of Disneyland & Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Death Valley, New Mexico, Arizona and the Grand Canyon….my daughter ended up staying home. She was able to ‘give back’ some of her vacation days but most had already been scheduled so she’s been having what she calls a ‘staycation’! We’ve been wandering around central Florida, doing too much shopping and not enough housework! But last night we got home from a little trip that culminated in what is ALWAYS a treat for me: a quick visit to my all-time very FAVORITE LIGHTHOUSE: in St. Augustine Beach!

We decided to get away from the theme parks for awhile and go to the beach. This is not uncommon for those folks whose jobs are at the local amusement parks! So we went to the Daytona Flea Market, which is only open on the 3 weekend days. We had our shopping goals in mind and did find exactly what we intended to buy. Then we stayed at a cutesy hotel in Daytona Beach Shores. We swam in their pool which, surprisingly, was identical to our own pool in our backyard except that ours is deeper & hasn’t quite the fancy filtering system (we wish it did!). We ate at some off-the-beaten-path & quaint and/or quirky restaurants because that’s what I like to do, especially while on vacation. I’m thinking that vacation means that my palate also oughta have a vacation from the normal restaurants, too. That usually means no fast-food and no restaurant chains. Mom-and-Pop diners, seafood places, waterfront pubs….these are what IĀ am seeking!

When we left Daytona and headed north, driving along highway A1A, we didn’t get very far before my daughter wanted to stop alongside the road and walk along the beach again! So we stopped for an hour in Ormond Beach (we usually do!) for a walk. I had fun watching 8 seabirds skimming the surface, fishing. The synchronicity of their aerial acrobatics was awesome. My daughter totally missed it because she was engrossed in watching the bean-clams scurrying into the sand between each succession of waves coming ashore. She has been doing this for as long as I can remember (she’ll be 30 next month) and this makes me wish that my sons were with us too and that I could turn back the calendar approximately 2 decades! Soooo many of our best memories as a family with 3 young children are/were upon the Hawaiian and Floridian beaches!!!

We took a tour of the Whetstone chocolate factory in St. Augustine. That was a first for me, I’ve been on many tours (I am a Travel Agent, after all) but that was my first chocolate factory! It was interesting and they certainly DID give out free samples! (and I most certainly DIDN’T take my blood sugar reading last night!) We drove around the old part of town, like we always do. It’s fun to imagine how folks lived there when things were originally built and there weren’t any cars. The architecture is just so amazing that it’s difficult to look at everything at once while in a car; that’s why the walking tours really are the best idea if it’s your first time to visit. We used to live nearby, in Jacksonville Beach, so we’ve visited St. Augustine numerous times but every time we visit there’s something else that we choose for ‘next time’! Yesterday, my daughter exclaimed that her ‘next time’ visit will include the Pirate Museum. She doesn’t remember visiting when she was very young.

I enjoy lighthouses and try to visit every lighthouse I’m close to on any of my travels. However, the St. Augustine Light is the one that I’ve been to so many times that I’ve lost track! It’s very pretty. Lotsa folks confuse it with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina because of the striping design but the base and lightkeeper’s homes are not the same. There’s a small marina here also, and dozens of gnarly, crooked trees that my children always enjoyed. We used to bring our lunches and eat at the picnic area. I have good memories there. Even if we were passing through the area at night, we’d stop by (even tho it’s closed, of course) just to look. It’s great to see the light from that lighthouse sending out it’s beam from miles away, just as it’s supposed to. I know it’s ‘job’ is to warn the boats to stay away so that they won’t get too close….but it’s light also draws me to it, but then again I’m ON land! One night when we stopped at the lighthouse for a few minutes….we’d been at the theme parks in Orlando and were heading home to Jax Beach….I walked up to the fence as close to the lighthouse as I could get and looked up and I saw a girl in a white dress standing in the window. I was shocked! Who should I call? Somebody got locked in the lighthouse after closing! Oh my gosh! When I looked again, she wasn’t there. I kept looking and looking and didn’t see her anymore so we finally left, with me not knowing if I was seeing things or if the moon was somehow reflecting on something or what. A few years ago, I saw an episode of a TV show called ‘Ghosthunters’ and supposedly that lighthouse is the most haunted lighthouse that there is. It even scared those dudes on the TV show and I got a kick outa that! So the little girl in the white dress was a ghost, huh? Mystery solved! St. Augustine is the oldest town so there’s surely ghosts wandering around! Oh well, the St. Augustine Light is still my very very very FAVORITE LIGHTHOUSE and it was a great ending to our little vacation, thanks to my sweetie daughter!