Saturday, July 30, 2011


They're here. Peaches, that is.

I'm peach fan. Fresh off a tree (ever had one like that?) is the best, at least in my mind. But, there's almost no way to prepare a peach that would make me unhappy. I've had them cooked, grilled, roasted, fried, and raw. Sprinkled on salads, over cereal, and with beans & rice. I've had peach pie too, but (hoping I don't make any enemies now...) that is my least favorite way. Overall, I don't like my fruit cooked, somehow peaches can be the exception for me. One of my best-ever friends made peaches one time, years ago. They were, to this day, the best peaches I've ever had. I don't know what she did, she couldn't really remember. But, she cooked them somehow with some brown sugar syrup (I think), and to the day she died, I interrogated her about those peaches. To her, the master cook that she was, no recipe was ever used, it all was done on the fly. So, her on the fly peaches went to the grave with her, the memory (of both her and those amazing peaches) did not.

Being that I'm all about the peaches, I've been greatly aided by the produce manager at the chain grocery store I shop at in Marathon. His name is Chuck, and he's a great guy. Its been years since I've been treated so well by anyone at a big store like he treats me. And, the most wonderful thing is, this isn't special treatment for me. He treats everyone this way. He's smiling, he's chatting, he's helping people out. Trust me, I don't think he has an easy job, I've seen him there early morning, and very late some nights. He's running from here to there, never, ever have I seen him really resting. So, Chuck is a wonderful connection for me when it comes to getting USA grown USDA organic produce. And, being that its summertime and all, Chuck is getting me cases of USA grown USDA organic peaches.

Its just after 11am right now, and I've had 3 peaches already.

I'm buying these organic peaches by the case, 2 at a time usually. This is on a one to two times weekly situation. That's a lot of peaches. So, what am I DOING with all these peaches? I'm slicing them and serving them for guests over pancakes and french toast. I'm dicing them and sauteing them with vegetables and beans to make frittata filling. I'm serving them fresh, cut up with my raw vanilla cashew cream. And, I'm freezing bag after bag of them, stashing them away for smoothies, cobblers, and muffins.

Before any of us know it, winter will be here. We'll be stuck with the usual suspects in the produce department... squash, apples, potatoes and so on. Me? I'll be pulling sunshine out of my freezer some of those days.... those organic peaches will be winking me a "hello baby" while the rest of the country languishes in a deep freeze.

Peaches, peaches, peaches. I'm not alone in my love affair with peaches. Lots of people write songs about them, cute little ditties about peaches, millions of peaches.

The peaches are perfect today... my 2 current cases are just perfectly ripe now. I'm stashing some in the fridge for the next few days, and the rest are going to be cut up and frozen in just a few minutes. Then, come Tuesday I'll be back in Marathon, asking smiling helpful Chuck to order me 2 more cases of beautiful peaches.

Peaches for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pedal to the Metal!

It's a pretty sure thing that I did something today that no one else on the planet did! I went for a ride with a 102, going on 103, year old man on an open-air golf cart that goes 25 mph. Awesome!

Mr. Happy Vegan and I had to go to Key West this morning. On the way down the street, that other happy vegan had to stop at neighbors. I took the opportunity to walk through the woods to see Pop for a moment. When I arrived, he was sleeping on his "Rocket Rover" as he has so dubbed his flame-throwing golf cart. I ran up the drive hollering "WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP!!!" He did.

Pop hollered a robust "you rascal" as I jumped on the cart and sat next to him, planting a kiss on his cheek. I told him I had fresh baked muffins for him at my house but didn't bring them with me, and now I was stuck going to Key West so I couldn't bring them til later. His response? "How about we go for a ride, honey?"

In a flash, there we were zooming down the street at full throttle. Admittedly I was constantly scanning for hazards, thankfully there were none. The wind was rushing through my hair as I yelled a few "YEE-HAWS" and did a few fist pumps with Pop. We got to my house and I ran up the back stairs, retrieved the muffins and ran back out to the cart. As I was just barely getting seated, he screamed "PEDAL TO THE METAL!" and we were zooming back down the street. More fist pumps. We thought we were hilarious, and couldn't contain ourselves... "THIS IS SO AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" we both hollered at almost the exact same moment.

I left the muffins on the dash, and ran back through the woods. Mr. Happy Vegan was none the wiser, and I'm still smiling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thanks For Nothing, Rudyard

I took Pop to Marathon today (hopefully I'll remember the story of the ride to share with you in another post...), and then did his food shopping. When I got home, I had a lot of chores ahead of me. I completed them and managed to change into running clothes. I casually looked out at the ocean, and saw the sky was absolutely black. I ran out to the porch, picked up the linens and things off the tables, stacked the chairs, and went in to apply sunscreen for my run. The rain always comes from the back side, never the ocean. In theory I had nothing to really worry about. Unfortunately, the exception was the rule today. In the short moments it took to apply the sunscreen, there was a whiteout of rain, and it all seemed to be pouring into my ocean side porch. That never happens. Never. Mr. Happy Vegan appeared, secured the blinds and so forth. But, I was absolutely soaked from helping secure things. I was mad. I wanted to run.

In this relentless heat, its been difficult for me some days to get a full run in. I do my best most days, but recently I found that 4 days had passed, each one "too hot" to run. I'm back in the routine a few days now, its not easy, I am forcing myself. The fact that the rain was pouring down into my house was simply annoying and interfering with a goal I set.

The whiteout subsided. It tapered to a more normal rain. I grabbed my iPod and headed out the door. The sky over the Bight was black. What had just passed me was now crossing the island. To my right I saw more storm clouds rolling in across the ocean. In between there was a teeny tiny Lorax-like patch of blue sky in front of me. "Just keep moving" I thought.

The rain continued to fall. A crack of thunder drowned out my iPod. "Yikes and just keep moving." I turned the iPod up, and hit my stride immediately.

The road was steamy, puddles were immense and everywhere. I looked for the animals that come out after a rain... snakes, turtles, and crabs out of their hidey-holes. But, there were no animals, which I took as a bad sign. Animals know when its over, and when its not. "Turn back, turn back" I thought as I was being pelted by rain. I demanded silence of the voice in my head, and turned up the iPod more.

Over the music I could hear my feet "slap-slap-slap-slap" against the soaked roadway. With that slap-slap rhythm, a poem I had to read in front of classmates decades ago began to take over. "We're foot-slog-slog-slog-sloggin' over Africa." All to the exact cadence of my iPod and my stride. What is this? Why are these words running through my head???? Turn up the iPod, drown out the poem. Just keep moving.

More thunder. A bolt of lightening. More rain. Don't stop running. Don't stop moving. "Don't--don't--don't--don't--look at what's in front of you." iPod is now at full volume. Command voice in head to stop reciting poetry, listen to the screams of Roger Daltrey on the iPod, drown out that poem.

Nothing stops the slap-slap-slap-slap. Nothing stops the poem. "Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again."

I ran the whole route, I never stopped, never broke stride. Not once. Even though I ran in the rain the whole time, the heat was oppressive, the humidity was like a living thing. And, nothing could stop that poem either. I have no idea why.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sea Shepherd Needs Help - EMERGENCY

As I finished a post for the blog earlier this morning, I clicked on a link I found on line about Sea Shepherd. What I read was so alarming, I shelved the post for today, and am writing about this instead.

I hope you already know about the Sea Shepherd and the crucial work they have been doing for decades, but in case you are not familiar with their mission, here it is:

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Indeed, they are doing amazing work, while effecting major change.

So, this morning I came upon something online informing me that the Steve Irwin, one of Sea Shepherd's vessels, has been detained by the UK courts because of a civil lawsuit brought against Sea Shepherd by a Maltese company: Fish and Fish Limited (F & F). This is due to Sea Shepherd's actions that saved 800+ illegally caught bluefin tuna during Operation Blue Rage 2010.

Unless Sea Shepherd immediately posts a bond for USD$1,411,692.87, the Steve Irwin will be held or possibly sold.

We're sending an emergency donation to Sea Shepherd to help them post the bond. If you can help, please go to and learn about this emergency.

I hope you can help. Even if you cannot donate, you can share this information, and the link, with other people. We've got to do everything possible and get the Steve Irwin back into action NOW.

Always remember... "Individually, we are one drop; together, we are an ocean." Do your part, there's not a moment to waste.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcome New One!

I guess I was kind of waiting to put a new post up until I had something worthwhile to say. Sure we're doing all the usual and regular things around here running the place and living in Paradise. We're still dealing with some tough issues on regional environmental concerns which are plugging along slowly, and I'm hopeful someday I'll share better news there. But today driving out to run an errand, I saw a brand new baby Key deer in the scrub. She was very tiny, her spots were brilliant bright white. She was beautiful, just beautiful. This is something worth sharing.

The babies are growing up so fast, their spots are fading quickly. Some of the fawns don't even have ANY spots left at all. So, seeing the brand new baby made me really happy. I won't go back up there with a camera, she's too small, her mommy was very close by and I hope she will come to fear people instead of embracing humans. No good usually comes from humans interacting with endangered species.

Another great thing recently was a mom and baby dolphin cruising past the inn just offshore a couple days ago. I was shocked at how close they were to the shoreline, even though it was high tide. I scanned the ocean for a while after watching them go by, hoping to see a whole pod, or even catch a glimpse of just one more. I didn't see anymore that morning. But, I thought about those 2 all day, and still am thinking about them. So beautiful.

I've seen a few white crowned pigeons lately, and one day when I woke up last week, I saw over 2 dozen shore birds picking through the sea grass and fishing the flats. There were at least 5 different species of large shore birds including great white heron, a yellow crowned night heron, tri color heron, egret, and both adult and juvenile ibis. That's not even mentioning all the little shorebirds like pipers and so forth that were running here and there.

I love living here. It is Paradise in my eyes. I never get bored, I never need to be entertained, and I very rarely lose my focus of what is important in life in the long term scheme of things. And, I really love sharing it with you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Persistence Pays

As written, we had family in town for a while. I wanted to make a nice Italian dinner for their last night, so I did. Menu plans included home made focaccia. I never made that before, but have eaten enough of it to know I love it. Figuring it would be "no big deal" to make my own, I set to it. I found a recipe called "simple rosemary focaccia" read it through, decided it WAS simple. I am so delusional when it comes to cooking and baking sometimes that I surprise even myself with my fantasies.

I tried four times to get the yeast to fizz. Nothing. This is the same yeast I use for my french toast bread, I knew the yeast was ok. Was the water too hot? With every new attempt, the water was more and more lukewarm. You didn't expect me to actually pull out the thermometer and check, did you? So, 4 failures (one of them epic as I had mixed all the ingredients together) were under my belt. I was not happy.

We had our nice Italian dinner without "simple rosemary focaccia." I dragged a frozen leftover loaf of bread out of my freezer, and made garlic bread. It was ok. It wasn't focaccia.

As of this morning, I was officially obsessed with focaccia. You know, I don't even LIKE rosemary. But, I scoured the internet, looking for another recipe. I then dragged out my own cookbooks, and began reviewing them. In between all this, I made bread for french toast day tomorrow. With the same yeast that failed me and my focaccia. It was now confirmed the yeast was NOT the culprit, instead it was the operator.

About 4 hours ago, I began my efforts on a different recipe. Still using rosemary (I wonder why I did that), I took the initial steps for my "I hope this isn't epic fail #5" focaccia and crossed my fingers as I sprinkled that same yeast over the lukewarm water. It fizzed. Good start.

Here I am a little over 4 hours into the experiment, and I've got a nice pan of steamy homemade rosemary (ick) focaccia. I made mine with sea salt, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, and black olives topping it. My whole house smells like an Italian restaurant. I'm pretty excited, for I have sampled the wares, and I am smiling.

If you read my blog, you know life around here revolves around food, and animals (obviously NOT as food). Can you blame me for being so excited about my first home made loaf of rosemary (ick) focaccia? Mr. Happy Vegan didn't seem as excited. I told him I was making him a nice Italian dinner tonight, to which he replied "fine. FINE? That's IT? After getting over that tidbit, and then working 4 hours on a single loaf of rosemary (ick) focaccia, I presented it to him for the expected accolades. His reply? "Artichokes? You put artichokes on there? I hate artichokes!" Now, I know he hates artichokes. I meant to only put them on half of it, but they flew out of my hand too fast for my brain to process more than an "oops" about that. So, what I've got for a day's worth of meal planning, along with a few hours of bread making is a "fine" and "I hate artichokes." So, instead of that nice Italian dinner, I plan on having my focaccia with a supersized glass of wine. Its not worth the effort for that nice Italian dinner tonight, its just not.

Mr. Happy Vegan can scrape off the artichokes (there's not many on there), as I've indicated, and next time, he can make his own focaccia (as I've also indicated). Maybe he'd prefer cereal anyway. I've got my own problems since I've got a lot of rosemary to scrape off too.

Another day in the life of this happy vegan.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hi There

Hi there, I'm back. I'm not really sure where time goes, but it goes. We had family in town for a visit, and when that happens I just can't be responsible for accounting of my time, that's impossible. I have no idea what I've been doing for the last few days, but here I am back at the computer like it never even happened.

We're still working on the environmental injustice issue I've spoken of, and although I'm not overly optimistic, I'll simply say what can be done has been done as far as notice. Where the chips may fall I do not know.

Remember those pilot whales? Two are left. Another was euthanized about 2 weeks ago. Of the two survivors, the "experts" have determined that one is a calf that will not be able to survive in the wild, ever, so the search is on for a permanent home in captivity. How sad. The other adult whale is still being rehabbed, and has quite a way to go before health is restored, if health can be restored. The handling of the stranded whales as far as being rehabbed has polarized people. I'm not really sure which side I fall more on. I want them to survive, to thrive, but the thought of a wild animal in captivity for life makes me very sad. There's really no right answers. Its subjective. I can honestly say that so many people simply wanted to help save lives, nothing more complicated than that. Once scientists and such get involved, there may be some different intentions. But, what has happened, and the handling of it, are things way beyond my control. I do wish things were different. Who wouldn't.

I suppose I should not have saved this last tidbit for last, but here it is. Finally there is a turtle nest on our beach. The first of the season. Can you believe there's only been 1 other crawl? What's going on? I'm not sure. Ask 10 different people, you'll get 10 different answers, not even counting the "experts" and their opinions. But, the nest is here, at least we think it is. It SEEMS to be a nest, although there is a small doubt that it is maybe just a false crawl. We've all decided to be famously optimistic about this.... that it IS a nest, and of course it was surveyed (drawing, mapping, measuring), marked, and calculations are done for the hatch. Keep your fingers crossed.

That's it for today. I'm a bit on the tired side, but I'm not sure why. I've been behaving myself in the sunshine, and not taxing myself too much with work. I suppose I'm sad the family has come and gone, all so quickly. But, I'll be back on my everyday routine now with chores, eating (I admit... cake AND pizza all in the same week?!! YIKES!), and of course running (eh, I fit it in almost every day, so no big complaints there. It has, however, been boiling hot when I am available to run, and that takes a lot out of me). See you next time, same bat channel, same bat time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Respite

Yesterday afternoon, and this afternoon, brought a respite our way. Boy, did we ever need it.

You know with all the negative going on regarding the nearby illegal shoreline hardening, we've been wearing down. I admit it, yup, being an environmental superhero can be draining. I just don't feel the need to re-cap the story, you can get the gist of it on my last post.

So, Mr. Happy Vegan and I, well, we've been drained. The antidote? Get out on the water. Even for a water fearing, non-swimmer like me, the water is the antidote.

Mr. Happy Vegan took me out for a boat ride yesterday afternoon. Just the two of us. A lot was going on in our neck of the woods, ocean-wise, yesterday. It was the annual Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key yesterday, afterwards was "Wetstock" out at Picnic Island. We didn't go to either event, but I did listen to probably the best music of the year on our local radio station for the 4 hour simulcast of the Undersea festival. It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. So, for the afternoon we were out on the boat. We tooled around and checked out Wetstock, it was packed. We heard the music as we drifted by, but we didn't stay. Instead, we went to a more remote spot, and watched the water change color ranging from deep aquamarine to the faintest most watery version of teal you could ever think of. I didn't see any turtles swimming in the ocean yesterday, but I saw lots of terns and pelicans flying around, and quite a variety of fish.

We went back out on the boat today with family in tow. Had a good time. Didn't venture too far from home. Didn't need to. The water was bathtub warm, the waves barely noticeable. Lots of sea life was skittering by the whole time checking us out. No need to worry about sun poisoning. Believe me, I was blocked head to toe in SPF 10,000. No piper to pay this time.

As we drifted, floated, and motored across the ocean the past couple days, I was reminded WHY I care so much for our Mother Earth and what is at stake in our crusade. I had time to play in the sea, nourish my soul, wash away my cares. The sea is a mystery. The sea is my comfort. The sea is a gift to us all.

These Happy Vegans have steeled our resolve even more. I am not alone, for Mr. Happy Vegan has dug his heels in, ready to fight even harder for what is right. We may not always be popular, but you can't please everyone. I've dedicated the latest round of wrangling for righting the environmental wrongs to my little 6 year old nephew who played in the sea for a short time with us today. It's all new to him, this amazing colored warm sea, filled with strange sea life. He watched in wonder as all sorts of birds twirled above his head. He didn't always know what to make of it all, but these happy vegans did promise him we'll do our best to leave him the best planet we can.

The respite was the antidote. Its a new week, and a full agenda. We're at the helm, on the job. Wish us luck, we're going to need it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Injustice is Happening

When you see someone doing something wrong, I mean REALLY wrong, are you willing to take a stand and become involved for justice? Are you willing to do so, even if you know from past experiences the wrong most likely won't be "righted," that your efforts will be met with resistance, finger-pointing, stone-walling, cover-ups, or worse?

I do not like conflict. Not at all. I do not do well with it, and I don't invite it. Yet, conflict seems to find these happy vegans. Let me tell you what is going on here on our beautiful Long Beach.

There is someone who seems hell bent on destruction of environment, in order to "beautify" their property. Isn't it interesting that one buys a property for this unbelievable location, then sets out to do whatever they can to change it?

A property on Long Beach was purchased a few years ago by a prominent developer who promptly set out to re-develop the property. We learned that lots of things were done at the property without permits, instead something called "after the fact" permits were granted (better to seek forgiveness than ask permission down here?) During one holiday weekend a few years ago, while the property was owned by that developer, we witnessed with our own eyes dozens of concrete trucks back up onto the flats in the Atlantic Ocean and pour load after load of cement onto the hard bottom flats of the ocean. After that, we watched as a large rock wall was built accommodating said property owner's "extension" into the ocean, and then again as even more trucks back filled the fresh concrete with sand. Whoop-te-do, said homeowner then had lots more "beach front property." Did I mention this all occurred on a holiday weekend, when no code enforcement was around? Did I mention that despite reports to Feds, State & local authorities, the only remediation for said offenses were a modification of the rock wall wherein 1 layer of the boulders were removed. They got away with it, yes they did, with it with another one of those "after the fact permits."

There's a saying down here that goes "better to ask forgiveness then ask permission" when it comes to permitting.

The developer sold the property. The new owner seems to have a similar mindset as the last owner, as during last summer's endangered sea turtle nesting season, on this stretch of beach called Long Beach where endangered and threatened sea turtles come to nest, located within the National Key Deer Refuge, within the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve, lying within the confines of a National Marine Sanctuary, an illegal rip rap wall was extended onto said already illegal rock wall. Yup, our same county biologist approved an extension of the wall EXACTLY where an endangered sea turtle had crawled up the beach in a nesting attempt shortly before the illegal extension of the wall had begun. Wow. An endangered species had come onto that exact site to nest, yet a biologist employed by the county I reside in saw fit to give the blessing to an after the fact permit for an illegal rip rap wall. Odd, I thought endangered and threatened species had some protection extending to their habitat. Do you think its as weird as I do that we have endangered species nesting on this beach, yet shoreline hardening projects are still going on at the places they're trying to nest, making it impossible for them to nest?

My mind wonders again... "better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

Guess what. Over the last few days, we are bearing witness to more unbelievable activity at the same property. Now, a pier is being installed. Perpendicular to the already illegal after the fact permitted rock wall. This is happening during sea turtle nesting season, which are threatened AND endangered species. The scaffolding for said construction is being left out night after night after night, which we have been told is illegal. The scaffolding has been set directly over growing mangroves in the ocean, another protected plant. We have filed reports with FWC, Monroe County (amazingly, code enforcement didn't even return Mr. Happy Vegan's phone call on this issue yet a full day, going on TWO days since his phone call was made), DEP, Growth Management, and any other department, and law enforcement agency there is.

The work continues. Its like a hot potato, many agree there seems to be a problem, yet no one takes responsibility to stop the madness. An "investigation" is ongoing. That is what we're being told. However, the code enforcement department has not as my fingers hit these keys, returned our phone call. This is what we deal with here in the Keys.

Again little voices speak to me saying "better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

I am privileged to live where I do, on one of the most environmentally sensitive islands of the entire Florida Keys chain. Yet, there are weak links in the chain of protection for our planet, from local, to State to Federal governments. True story: when I moved here, our County set out to determine that our business sign, which had been in the same place it had been for 20 plus years, was a threat to the environment and we had to move it 10 feet. We moved it. We did what we were told. However, we sit here and have watched heavy machinery cross county owned property, born witness to mangroves being mowed down, cement being poured into the ocean, and now more machinery driving poles and soon to set pilings in the Atlantic Ocean, adjacent to a documented endangered sea turtle nesting beach. This is legal? This is permitted? This, our County Biologist, has determined is not a detriment to the environment?

We knew when we started the formal complaint process it would likely result in "business as usual." But, both of us happy vegans here agreed that we HAD to get involved anyway, can't just sit by and idly do nothing.

We are not doing this for us. Mr. Happy Vegan and I, well we realize we're "temporary." The future belongs not to us, but to the next generations. We are doing this for the next children, the next endangered sea turtle who tries to swim up the beach, for the next fish who will die as a concrete is poured into a sleeve for a piling. We're fighting folks, but justice may not be served.

We saw an injustice and got involved. It costs us our money, it costs us our time. But, we got involved. My main motivation when I see something "wrong" is a simple quote that rings constantly through my head... "all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Living Dead Girl

I'm back. Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?

I was among the ranks of the living dead for the past few days. Not exactly sure how things got so bad so fast, but they did.

Sun poisoning clobbered me. Took me down for the count. Fever, rash, severe pain, itching. No sleep. NO SLEEP. NONE. I was a zombie vegan.

I just don't get sick. I attribute this mostly to my relatively healthy lifestyle including a vegan diet heavy on fresh, unprocessed foods, and regular exercise. Throw in a generous dose of OCD hand washing, and overall I'm good to go with the "I don't get sick" claims. Flashback to 8 days ago.... happy vegan on the roof with beverages, iPod and teeny clothes. With a prescription from a doctor that can cause photo sensitivity, which I completely and totally forgot that possible side effect.

By the end of last week, I was barely functional. This was all the more tragic as we had a long standing mini-road trip planned, which we went ahead with in spite of my aftermath. We went up to Ft. Lauderdale for a dinner at Sublime (which as always WAS Sublime) and some shopping for the inn. I did toss in a hefty dose of shopping for a dress for that upcoming special event this fall. By the time we were in the car returning home, I had not slept for 2 days (you can ask Mr. Happy Vegan, he will confirm this as my constant writhing and moaning in pain caused him to have minimal sleep). Come Sunday I was flattened in bed. I barely began to rejoin the ranks of the true living yesterday, and this morning when I awoke I actually feel thisclose to normal (whatever normal is anymore for any of us).

So, here I am. Feeling pretty good, albeit pretty contrite. I have apologized profusely to my body for the abuse it took in the sun. I have pledged to never be as foolish again. I do have the best of intentions when I say that. I'm grateful I didn't end up in the hospital (although perhaps I should have been for a moment or two?) and I'm grateful I'm back from the land of the living dead.

I'll catch you up on the details of our road trip as the days go on, including my take on the shopping experience which I'm ill equipped to deal with very well as a full fledged island girl. I'm back, and it's good to be here. Even if you didn't miss me.... I DID miss you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

Oooo, I was so excited to chuck it all the other day, sit in the sun wearing teeny clothes, jamming with my iPod while my cabana boy brought me frosty beverages. The next day was paying the piper, but the price didn't come in full effect until the last couple days.

Sun poisoning. I've got it, and got it bad.

I think I've had one other instance of sun poisoning in my life, which I had blocked out until reminded today by a friend. Back in high school. I vaguely remember it. It was nothing like this. Nothing.

The ultimate irony is that I think the root cause of this aftermath is actually from a prescription skin care cream. Although the offending cream is applied in tiny amounts only on a very small area, it warns me not to go in the sun, as there may be that wonderful side effect called photo sensitivity. The cream obviously is absorbed systemically into my body. I didn't give it a second thought, or a third and forth thought for that matter. I no longer am a tanner, I no longer sit in the sun. Every time I go outside for a run, beach cleaning or any other reason, I've got my sunblock with me. Its rare I forget it. Skin damage is serious issue down here, and now that I live in an almost constantly sunny climate, I heed my doctor's advice.

I had my sunblock with me, and used it on the sun worshipping day of this weekend past. Its true, however, I have not been in the sun like this for years. It wasn't an entire day, not even a half day, just maybe about an hour and a half. Too much.

So, the better part of today has been spent with cool compresses, ice packs, drinking gallons of water and occasionally blotting cool chamomile tea bags on my wounded skin. The damage is localized. If you look at me, you wouldn't know what I am secretly enduring.

I thought about titling today's post "A Cautionary Tale" because that is what this really is. Its summer, in the Keys. Latitude 24. Closer to the equator. My own father got sun poisoning on one of his first visits here years ago. My dad, a man with very dark Mediterranean skin left here with one of the worst cases of sun poisoning I ever witnessed. My poor daddy.

Anyone out there contemplating a visit to the Keys, or any tropical climate remember this: heed the warnings on your medications, slather the SPF 3ba-zillion on, and never, but never sun bathe.

I am not looking forward to the next visit with my dermatologist. Not by a long shot. For now though, my thoughts simply return to my trusty ice pack, which beckons as I write.