Friday, September 30, 2011

Turtle - The Movie

As you know, its been a slow turtle nesting season down here in our neck of the beach.  We had one nest, which although it was predated, produced 97 live hatchlings.  The walks still continue, but truthfully none of us really expect any more crawls or nests; although we'll keep our fingers crossed til the last day of nesting season.

Today we went to see a movie at the lovely Tropic Theatre in Key West, called "Turtle, The Incredible Journey."  The story traces the life of a female loggerhead from hatchling to full grown adult.  The cinematography was truly breathtaking. There's some animatronics in the movie, but you'd never know that unless you're told ahead of time.  Whatever portions they animated were seamlessly blended with the actual footage, it was gorgeous.

As I munched on my popcorn (seasoned with Spike and nutritional yeast, hooray for the Tropic snack bar!) eyes fixated on the screen, I kept thinking over and over of the saga of so many turtles that begins on the beach where I live.  I watched the tiny loggerheads spring forth from the sand (although the movie showed this happening in daytime it really almost always occurs at night, one of the only things I found kind of inaccurate) I was on the edge of my seat.  There they were, showing the reality of the plight of the turtle.  She entered the world, had to get to sea, but between her sea and the sand were predators like ghost crabs and birds.  Then when she got to sea, they showed how the hatchlings can end up as "washbacks" still at the mercy of the predators.  All through the movie, they touched on real life for the turtle.  The beauty of the sea they inhabit, along with the mayhem that humankind brings to it with issues like pollution, contamination, overfishing and more.  They also showed an act of mercy and kindness (although it had to do with long lining, which should be banned).

By the end of the movie, I found myself crying as the turtle hauled out of the sea to the beach she was born on, wanting to lay eggs, only to find a vastly different land, one full of shoreline hardening and light filled condos and offices beaming forth their "artificial stars."

Despite all the obstacles, the message of this movie remains one of hope for the turtles.  Can't argue with that.

I read some reviewers felt the musical score is overly dramatic, and the narration at times the same.  The reviewers obviously have never been to a nest excavation, seen a turtle lay her eggs, or found themselves involved in a sea turtle rescue.  For, if they had done any of those things, they would have thought that the movie is very pointed in the realities of the plight of the turtle.

If you get a chance, go see "Turtle, The Incredible Journey."  It was a great way to spend a slice of my afternoon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Wednesday. Today is Wednesday.  The last post I did was last Friday.  So, where did Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday go?  I've looked around, but couldn't find them.  I've asked a few people, no one had an answer.

Its been a good few days here.  I've been tethered to the kitchen for a string of days, so its kind of a blur.  Don't feel sad for me, I'm not crying the blues.  I've been baking up a storm, and a good storm it has been,  yes indeed.  I'm having fun. My idea of fun may not be YOUR idea of fun, but I guess right now my only explanation for the mysterious evaporation of several days of my life lurks within my kitchen.  My kitchen with the cracked tile has been my bestie the last few days. I'll report more on that soon enough.

To make up for my little posting lapse, here's a photo for you.  I went outside to put a can in the recycling, and this is what I saw.

Yup, a double rainbow. And, the main rainbow went from the ocean to the Gulf.  Don't you wish you were here now too?  Enjoy the rainbows. I'll be back on schedule soon, I promise.  Don't forget.... life is short,  have fun no matter what you do!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Another Equinox

The Autumn Equinox is upon us.  Some know it as "Mabon", a time to give thanks for an abundant harvest, and celebrate the changing seasons. A celebration of dark and light, for the space today is equal.  Some people I know celebrate this equinox simply for the abundant pumpkin lattes that are available for a short time at their local coffee houses.

Here today the temperature hit 91. Now that's what I call autumn.

I won't rehash what I've already blogged ad nauseum about... you know I'm not a fan of cold, that I live here in the Keys partly for the beautiful paradise weather.  But even I could've told you about 3 days ago that fall was in the air.  Sure, we're still in the midst of the "wet" season down here, I watch the tropical updates daily, scanning for information on storms that are swirling out there, or in the process of being formed.  Despite all this, about 3 days ago I felt something different in the air.  Not a chill, not a smell, but this time it was a feeling.  The humidity had dropped.  It was enough that I felt the big change in the air.  I went out for a visit with Pop and was sitting outside with him when I realized the air was different.  I mentioned it to him, he agreed it felt different.  His take on the situation?  "Even more beautiful than I'm used to."  Pop sure has a way with words.

So, here I am still enjoying temps in the 90s, but feeling what will eventually come my way to usher in the change of seasons, that beautiful dry air.  I love living here.  I love it whether its hot & sticky or warm & dry.  As long as its not snowing, its paradise for me... here in the Keys they sure know how to welcome autumn.

Enjoy your pumpkins.... I've got to go pick papayas.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Animal Antics

My friend Mr. Sandman wants to visit, but my cats are keeping him far at bay.

What is it that makes my felines rise at 4 in the morning to do whatever it is they need to do, which isn't really anything that cannot wait til a more human hour.  The cats are tormenting me lately. I only narrowly averted disaster overnight last night by less than half an inch.  Lemon was sleeping near my head, which is relatively common. Pink Moon was preoccupied by something in the bathroom, which I believe was a baby gecko (I guess this because I found said baby gecko -- alive -- behind a jar on the bathroom counter when I got up to investigate).  Pink Moon is a gecko spotter.  There's almost no doubt when she's got one in the crosshairs; she is relentless in her pursuit.  So, when I see her like that, I intervene. Last night however, here was no chance of that, it was dark, I was half asleep (it was after 4am) when I heard glass being shoved on the bathroom countertop. At first it was just a small noise, but it was enough to wake Lemon, which in turn made me semi-conscious.  Then it happened, the perfect storm.  Pink Moon made another shove of glass on the countertop, I turned over towards Lemon, and Lemon became spooked. These 3 things happened all at the same time. In an instant Lemon was leaping up, using his hind feet to shove off my face. It wasn't even my face actually, he shoved off my eyes. Yup, he dug his back feet directly into my right eye. Being that I was only semi-conscious in the middle of turning over, my eyes weren't yet full open, just slightly. So, that fluke averted a disaster. It was awful.  His leaping really spooked Pink Moon who freaked out totally in the bathroom and everything on the countertop came crashing down on the bathroom floor, which freaked out all the cats, and the  humans in the room.

Animal antics. I wish they'd happen in the daytime, not after 4am; not when there's a good chance some misplaced clawed paw will end up skating across my eye(s).  It was a rude awakening, and I've been awake since then.  The positive of all this?  I got up and rescued the little baby gecko and sent him on his way back outside where he belongs.

Almost bedtime. I'm beginning to think goggles might be appropriate bedtime attire.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sara's Day - In Photos

I admit, I am not a strong picture taker.  In fact, in most areas involving technology, I certainly have my ups and downs, usually more downs than ups.

I'm posting some pictures I took at Sara's release. I knew when I was there I was limited in my ability to take good photos. The crowd was large, press was there, and most importantly I didn't want to obstruct anything involving her release. So, I took a back seat so to speak, figuring I could obtain copies of better photos from other people.

Dr. Doug (the hero veterinarian who saved Sara's life) was there for the release and was shooting pictures like mad. But, he was also directly involved in the release, so for a time his camera was turned over Mr. Happy Vegan to continue that photo shoot.  I did get a disc from  Dr. Doug with some very nice photos, however I have had trouble uploading them to my computer. This is why I haven't posted anything, I was struggling and hoping the problem could be resolved. It hasn't.  Without further adieu, here's Sara's release, in photos:

This poster explains what happened. It was an act of unbelievable cruelty.  The reward is still in place.

Here is Dr. Doug, Turtle Warrior, Saver of Lives.
This is the face of a hero.

This is a close up of Sara in the tub prior to release.
See that big circle near her eye?  That's where the very long spear entered.
1/4 inch in either direction would've meant certain death.  Even so, its a miracle she was found alive.

Here is Sara in the tub.
Closest to the camera is Richie Moretti, Turtle Hospital founder.
Also shown is Tom, another dedicated turtle warrior from the hospital.
More warriors; more heroes.
Richie is very serious and passionate about sea turtles. His vision has saved the lives of hundreds of sea turtles, MANY thousands when you figure in the hatchlings that have been rescued and released through the years.

Sara is carried down to water's edge.
Look! Look!  She's peeking up over the edge!
She can smell the sea air! She can see her home!!!
 She's now seconds away from release!

The tub is gently lowered...... 

She springs forth from the tub into the sea!
As her flippers hit the water, she gets her first taste of her ocean home since being rescued. 
She swam so fast, she was actually "snow plowing." 
She is jubilant!

Rejoice!  Rejoice! Rejoice!

Everywhere I look, I see Sara in the sea.
Sara is home.
Isn't she beautiful?
Yes. Yes, she is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sara's Day

She is free, swimming in her ocean home.  Sara, the loggerhead turtle who was intentionally shot through the head with a spear, was released today with help from healing angels at the Turtle Hospital, and Dr. Doug Mader, the warrior veterinarian who did the surgery to remove the spear.

I will post pictures hopefully tomorrow.  I just didn't want you to wait... wanted you to know, it really did happen.

Today was Sara's day. She swam fast and free as soon as her flippers hit the water.

It was truly a beautiful sight to see.

Thank you Universe.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Really Big News

I cannot hold this news in until tomorrow. Remember Sara, the sea turtle who was intentionally shot through the head by a person (or persons) with unimaginable cruelty last month via a spear gun?  She's going home to sea.

Tomorrow, 11am here in the beautiful Florida Keys, The Turtle Hospital will transport Sara to a beach and then immediately be taken to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean where she will then be able to go to sea. Back to her home, right where she belongs.

The perpetrator(s) have not been caught. There is a reward for money and services well over $16,000 for information leading to the capture of the person who shot Sara.  Sara's story is available on line at  The Turtle Hospital web site

Sara's story, although rooted in abject cruelty and torture, has turned into an incredible tale of teamwork, courage, compassion and hope.

We're going to watch her release tomorrow.  I'll do my best to take a picture for you to see. We're very excited, she's being released close to our home. Maybe someday as I'm out on the water turtle spotting, it will in fact be Sara who I catch a brief glimpse of as she dives and frolics in her beautiful ocean home.  Even if its not really her, I will imagine it is.

Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth transport for Sara, the beloved loggerhead sea turtle.  She, like all other sea turtles, needs all the good wishes we all can muster.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"It Was Epic"

There was a recent gathering.  It was to celebrate birthdays in September. Not just Virgo (me), but Libra too, because a friend has a birthday the end of the month, so he's Libra. And, I got to thinking. Which led me to planning.  A gathering, yes we'll simply call it a gathering.

I wanted to go to a nightclub in Key West to celebrate being a September birthday. I wanted to see a show, I wanted to dance, I wanted to get all dressed up (in heels!) and paint the town red.  So, I began plotting and planning, and getting a list together of those who wanted to go.

When the dust settled, there were just over about 20 of us.  I made the reservations, and outfits were planned. Me in my best platinum blond fake hair with a tiara and fishnets, Mr. Happy Vegan in his coolly casual tux shirt with silver sequined scarf and black fedora tricked out with a rim of silvery studs. And both of us in the coolest accessory eye wear we owned. Off we headed, picking up the other September birthday guest, and my friend "K."  "K" came down the steps of her house with an incredibly cool outfit including pink head wear of the kitty persuasion. Yes, you had to see it all to believe it.  When the other birthday person entered our car, I "crowned" him with his headgear for the night, yes as stated, a crown.  Off we went, Mr. Happy Vegan as the designated driver for the night.

I can't say much more, I just can't. We did stop for a quick bite to eat before heading to the club. After that, we walked our way to the nightclub, noticing several people taking our pictures as we strutted down the streets. I honestly didn't care because I knew for a fact no one would recognize me, I was absolutely in disguise with the outfit, glasses and wig.  Once we made our way inside, the show began, the drinks flowed, and all sorts of craziness began.  After the show, the tables and chairs were pushed aside, and dancing began for hours.  I found myself on stage at one point with my friend "K" dancing and scanning the crowd. It was a mass sea of humanity in the dark, glow sticks, glow necklaces, beverages and heat.  It was kind of crazy, an experience I will never forget.

I overdid it, that's a given.  Many of my friends overdid it.  I know my friend "K" overdid it.  Never go out as a birthday girl and let others buy you drinks.  It doesn't end well.

I'm back with the land of the living.  When I saw my friend "K" today, she pronounced the night as "epic."  It was, yes it really was. It was worth all the after effects, but I can honestly say I've turned a corner. I'm too old for that kind of party stuff, and even though its probably been 10 years since I had a party night like that, if I fast forward 10 years and that ever happened again, I don't think I could survive. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it would be borderline at best.

So, there was an epic night.  I solemnly swear never to be "epic" again, yet the memory (best as I can tell) lingers.  Absolutely.

Good luck fellow September birthday people. And, remember, when you're going to be epic, ALWAYS have your designated driver. You simply have no business being epic without a designated driver.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where I Belong

I couldn't muster the energy to run until early evening today.  My mojo has been off for a few days.  I'm still getting out there, but a few days have been more grueling than I'm used to, when I run mid-day, my times are slower and, well lately there's been a lot on my mind and its been draining at times.

So, knowing I didn't want to miss a day, but not "feeling" it, my run didn't get rolling til after a wind storm passed through this evening.  I trudged down my steps and out on to the street.  Within seconds I began to be pelted with raindrops. I then realized how hot it still was, and decided that rain was actually quite nice.  I got going, it took all I could muster up inside to do this.  As I was going through my paces, I heard thunder rumbling consistently over my iPod. I looked around and saw the black cloud almost over my head, but still only felt refreshing drops, nothing major coming down. Yet.  I didn't see any lightning either, and I noted quite a bit of blue sky among all those clouds.  Then I looked to the ocean and I saw a rainbow.  A really big rainbow.  It looked like it was growing out of these really odd shaped wispy clouds. It was so beautiful and a shock all at once.

As I was running and looking at the rainbow, I realized another one was forming off to the left.  I couldn't believe it, and had to stop and study the spot. But, it was true, another rainbow began to form.

Sometimes when I see rainbows, I think they are messages from people I love who have left this Earthly plane.  Its not really a message, is it? Probably not.  But, its some comfort to me, and for some reason certain people pop into my head when I see a rainbow, and its like they're saying "hi, I miss you, I know you miss me, so this is for you" and I begin to have conversations with them in my head.

I kept running.

I kept playing the music, hearing the thunder and seeing the rainbows. Then, I kid you not, I saw another giant rainbow.  A different one than the others, but this one was already a double.  So, now there was 4 rainbows going all at once.  I shut off the iPod and began to really look around me as I moved into a very fast walk instead of running.

I heard the hum of a plane somewhere above me, I looked and saw a seaplane making its way over the Bight.  It was high enough that it sounded like white noise. And I took note of all the Key deer around the road. It was close to dusk, they're pretty active at that time. I saw too many to count tonight.  I didn't interfere with them, and I channeled messages to them begging them to stay off the roads, and away from people. I saw all sorts of birds doing their thing, perched on wires, flying, diving, and playing in the sky.  As all this is going on, I rounded a bend and saw, yes, with no exaggeration, another rainbow.  Five rainbows.

Five rainbows? I began to think "what does this mean?"

I'm not much of a thinker, that stuff usually gets me into trouble so I'm a fan of quieting the voices in my head.  Instead, my mind jumped again to "double rainbow guy" from YouTube. Do you remember that one? That video went viral, and I found myself chuckling as I watched it I guess sometime last year.  But, double rainbow guy made his way into my head as I asked "what does this mean?"  I drowned out double rainbow guy with a quick flick of the iPod "on" button, and shifted back to running.

Four of the 5 rainbows faded by the time I hit my turnaround, but one lingered.  In fact, that last rainbow watched over me almost the whole way home.

All it meant was, I was exactly where I was supposed to be, for exactly those moments.  A victory for me today. Considering all the turmoil we all go through just to survive, I found great comfort in knowing I was finally where I belonged for once in my life, even if it was just for a run.

If anyone knows double rainbow guy, maybe you can clue him in too.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

But What Can I Do?

So far today has not gone as planned. Its OK though, I've accomplished more than I anticipated.  And, as soon as I finish this post, I'm going out for a run.  But first, I have something important to share.

I set outside this morning to pick up a piece of trash that washed in on our freshly picked up beach.  As I went to retrieve it, I looked to my right and saw that there was enough trash that had washed in on nearby lots for me to want to grab a trash bag, change my shoes and do what I though would be a quick task. It wasn't.

As I got involved, I noticed that there was, for some reason not known to me, a lot of tiny pieces of plastic mixed into the wrack line.  Plastic is killing our sea, our land and all that lives on it. So, I began picking up hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic that I couldn't even see until I was almost literally upon them.  It took a long time, and I started to become frustrated. I began thinking.

What I was thinking of was the need for all of us to do more than we are already doing to help reduce pollution.  And, as I was thinking of this, words came into my head that one might ask "but what I can do?" about this trash problem.  Here's my thoughts, and a couple ideas.

When you go shopping, ANY kind of shopping, bring your own bag.  Also think about the reusable bags you buy before purchase.  A good washable canvas bag will last years, and can be laundered over and over without damage really. Many "reusable" bags that are sold at registers don't have a long shelf life, and aren't washable.  They'll end up in landfills too soon themselves.

When you go shopping, buy in bulk.  When you look at an item, really think about the packaging it comes in. Is it recyclable plastic?  Do you really need that item in the plastic baggie?  Is there a better way for you to acquire that item?  Take for example tomatoes. If you bring  your own small string bag, you can buy loose tomatoes, put them in your own sack, and the cashier can remove them to weigh them, then put them back in your own string sack. This, as opposed to the pre-packaged tomatoes that come on a Styrofoam tray, wrapped in cellophane.  Those loose tomatoes are nicer anyway, you can inspect the whole fruit, whereas packaged items you can't see what its being hidden by the tray. Just a thought.

How about juices for the kids?  This is a sore subject for me. You can buy juice in bulk, or better yet some of you make your own juices. But, many people understandably need convenience so they choose something called a juice box. Now, they are not all created equal. Where I live, juice boxes, soy milk boxes, and things like that are recyclable, hooray!  What's not recyclable are those horrible foil lined pouches juices come in.  I'm going to call them "Capri Sun" pouches.  Why? Because Capri Sun is the brand that I literally find most often on the beaches down here washed up as trash.  I hate Capri Sun for this. Those pouches are probably cheaper and more convenient for the manufacturer, but they are totally bad news for the environment. So, call your local town recycling center, and see if juice boxes are recyclable by you, and if so, begin recycling them, and quit buying those nasty pouches.

I think recycling and such begins before we even make our purchase; before we spend our money. Let's put our money where our mouth is. Look at what you are buying, and think about it.  Can you buy beverages in cans instead of glass?  If so, consider that.  Why?  Aluminum is recyclable, and has cash value for haulers, while glass is usually either not recyclable, or only "down-cyclable" meaning it can be crushed and used for things like roads, but it cannot be remelted and used again for another bottle. Instead, a recycled can will be used over and over and over countless times for the same thing.... another fresh can.

When dining out, bring your own packaging from home for leftovers. You don't really need that foam container the pizza place is going to put your leftover slice of pizza in.  Leave a stash of clean containers in your car so you have them on demand whenever you want.

And, lastly do not buy beverages in plastic.  Ever.  Usually they are made with BPA (bad, banned in some countries already) and when they are exposed to heat (like during shipping) chemicals will leach into the product.  And, after you've enjoyed that nasty bottle of heated and cooled water, you dump it and most likely it will wash up on a beach somewhere, despite your best efforts and intentions.  Instead, get a nice metal bottle, or a BPA-free plastic bottle that you can wash and use over hundreds of times.  Bottled water is not a status symbol any longer, it is a sign of ignorance.

So, there it is. Without even setting foot on a beach 2000 miles from where you live, you can have a positive impact on helping that slice of sea and land, and all creatures that depend on them. You can do it, I know you can. Give it a try, won't you? Thanks!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to September

Turn the page, September's here.

For many, September means back to school, back to work, back to routines.  It means apples and pumpkins, mums and cinnamon.  Not for me!  September means my summer really begins to finally get in gear. Its overdue, and I'm busting at the seams to get things started!  I've still got crates of fresh organic peaches in my kitchen, and papayas falling off my trees.  The smell of tanning butter is in the air and everywhere I go I hear reggae.  Endless summer is in full effect in my world.

We're also in the season of Virgo.  Yup, another birthday will soon be upon me.  Again this year I've decided to roll with the punches and embrace it. I'm tired of fighting it I guess. Last year was pretty fun, and I think this year will be even better.  A little gathering is being planned in honor of those of us who have birthdays in September.  So far, there's only 2 Virgos representing, but there's a host of people coming along for the celebration.  I shall be in my tiara, the other Virgo shall be wearing a crown.  I'm in the middle of a very important decision of what color hair to step out in that night.... magic purple or fluorescent pink.  I'm sure once I settle on the color of sparkles I'll wear for the occasion the hair color will be easier to choose.

The biggest thing missing from Virgo season down here will be our friend Kevin.  He was Virgo, and it was this time last year I was busy baking my best chocolate cake with my best chocolate ganache for his birthday party.  Today's soup at the store was the thai coconut Kevin was known for, which was always my favorite.  That was the soup he made for me after my dad died, in his effort to help me heal from that huge loss.  I don't really even eat that anymore, it may sound silly, but I just can't.  Instead, I've found other new favorite flavors there. Something as simple as soup has become emotionally confounding for me, go figure.  Anyway, somehow we'll find a way to remember Kevin as we get our party on, yes, we certainly will.

Sorry for all the folks who are in cold zones where summer is having its last hurrah. I'm telling you this, no matter where you are, take every single warm day and live it as if it were your last.  And, when that's done, book your flights and get down to the Keys, because here we're just getting started.

See? September isn't so bad after all!