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A Florida Journal

Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 10:50:15 +0000


on my mind...

Sat, 17 Sep 2016 23:36:00 +0000

I know. I haven't written anything in over a year, but it's hard to write in a Florida Journal when I no longer live in Florida,  But tonight I'm sitting here thinking about things.  Things that have been pissing me off.

Like the archaic laws in PA. Liquor laws that are insane.  Taxes through the roof.  Taxes of ecigs, which a friend of mine started a business making vaping liquids for and now she's closing shop because of taxes that shouldn't even be.  Common Core math.  State Income Tax.  And "townships". WTF are they about and why do they even exist???  Price control over MILK for God's sake!!!

Colds.  Colds suck.

Hospice is a joke.

In-Laws (some of them) suck.

Trying to help someone who then blows you off, despite having spent time and money on them, because they obviously don't think you're smart enough to handle it and they'd rather pay someone  to do what you were going to do for free, SUCKS.

Wanting to paint and not being able to sucks.

Having a 12 year old with a rotten attitude sucks,

Being 1200 miles away from my oldest son SUCKS.

MS sucks.

Having no money sucks.

Being tired all the time sucks.

Don't get me wrong!  I am so thankful for what I have and the people I have in my life!  I am blessed.

But sometimes the suckiness pushes it's way to the front.  I know eventually, it will creep back into the dark recesses of my life, but right now, I'm dealing with it daily.  I'm tired of it.

Guess that's all. Just needed to vent a little.  I'll go back under my rock now, but hopefully I'll resurface again with some fun pics or something...

That time of year again

Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:07:00 +0000

It's summer, and what do we do in the summer?  Go to Florida!

Sam flew up to PA so he could make the drive back with me and Aidan.  It really makes a huge difference having him with me.  We left on a Saturday and spent 2 nights on the road, Statesville, NC and Yulee, FL.  Yes,  we couldve done it only spending one night out, but my eyes get tired and I just get sick of being in the car. Aidan loves being able to swim for a while in the hotel pool anyway, and it gives us time to eat a good dinner and explore a little. 

I always thought Statesville was kind of scummy, but boy was I wrong!  We checked out the historic downtown area and it's so cool!  The pictures do not do it justice...beautiful town with gorgeous homes.

I'll post more's after midnight and I need to get some sleep :)

Peace Out!

This 'n That

Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:59:00 +0000

So here it is, January 2015.  So far, this has been a quite year.  All 23 days of it ;)  We drove down to Florida for Christmas and came back in time to jump in the Yough on January 1st (once again, Aidan chickened out).Christmas was great, though the kids had conflicting schedules and didn't get to see each other except for a few minutes at the Starbucks where Sam works.  I'll have to make sure that doesn't happen again as I know both were not too happy about that.Before heading to Lake Placid, I wanted to stop once again in Hatchbend to look for my Great Great Grandpa's grave.  With the help of Google Earth and another website, I FINALLY FOUND IT!  I am still quite perplexed as to why he's buried in a cemetery with no other relatives, when there are at least 3 in the town that have some kin planted in them.  Anyway, so happy to have finally found your final resting place, Grandpa!Goofus tried to climb over the fence and got stuckWe also found 3 new Springs for our list:Branford Springs (I'd obviously seen this one before).  Pretty, but you can tell not the healthiest of springs.Troy Springs is probably a much prettier place when there aren't thunderstorms and rain.Divers getting ready to do the cavesRuth Springs was unexpected.  A little tricky to get to, no signs or anything.  Again, I think if the weather had been nicer, the spring itself would've looked nicer.The weather was warm. George went fishing with Rusty.  He didn't catch a fish and managed to lose one of his Croc's.  I didn't shed a tear over the loss, but I think George did.  He also managed to take the kayak out at the end of our street and paddle around Lake Francis for a while.We saw downtown Sebring decked out in it's usual Christmas decorations.We got to spend a little time with a good friend.And we met up with my sister and her husband for lunch at Don Jose's (VERY good place!).We also got to finally meet my cousin, Rob for the first time.  He's a super nice guy and funny, too!  He told us tales of living in Australia and different things about his job.  So, so glad to finally meet him in person.  And he's a real cousin, too!  Not a second or a third, but a first cousin, so it was very special getting to know him a bit.]A few random pics from our trip...As we headed home, I got a text from a friend who asked about camping places in Highlands County.  They were going to be up there for a few days doing some hiking and canoeing (or was it kayaking?).  I offered them our place if they couldn't find any camping spots.  Well, they camped one night at Fisheating Creek, but it was a bit noisy for them, so they ended up camping out in our front yard.  I'm sure that put some weird thoughts in our neighbor's heads, but ya know what?  WHO CARES?!?! So Happy New Year, everyone![...]

Finished Summer Project

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 01:21:00 +0000

Well, now I'm back in Bethel Park after spending over a month in Lake Placid.  We had a great summer filled with family, friends, swimming and exploring.  It was also a sad summer.  One of my dear friends passed away in July and I can say that I'm glad I was there for his wife.  If I helped her in any way, I'm glad. Sue, I love you and am always a phone call away!I finished the tiling project.  I think I did an ok job.  Not perfect, but 1000 times better than the old floor.And I also replaced the cushions on my old handmade couch.  It looks SO much better now!But, let's got back the the beginning of this summer's adventure.  Aidan and I left PA and headed to Tennessee to meet up with Lois, who was going to drive with us down to Florida.  We spent a couple days in Spring City, TN...a town with few redeeming qualities. We did get a few caches... ...and Aidan got to go swimming in a lake near the power plant where Lois works (for now).Once we hit Florida, my first order of business was to repair my great grandfather's tombstone, which I was told by a distant cousin had a few pieces broken off.  With Lois's help, I think it should hold us for at least a few more years.After Hatchbend, we headed to DeLeon Springs, where Lois has a house with her brother and his wife.  We went to the Reptile Discovery Center in Deland and had a great time watching them milk several venomous snakes.Then we went to the Naval Air Museum at the airport in Deland.  It was fun and interesting!Next stop was Lake Placid!Sunset on Lake PersimmonIstokpoga canalAidan, Sam and Britt at Highlands Hammock SPStorm moving in over the orange groves near Lake ApthorpeEva surprised Mom with a visit!Little black racer on the porchHighlands Gun Club. Shooting with my sister and her husbandLove this beautiful cow!  South of 70 near Archbold Biological StationGatorama with Aidan and BGSwimming at Lake JuneCaching with Sue and LoisAnother sunset.  This one was out at the Royce Unit of the Lake Wales RidgeBaby cardinal.  Sadly, he didn't make it :(Fort Meade with SamIn search of the bird circles in Lake PlacidMy home away from home.  It's actually going to be ours soon!  My sister finally decided to sign it over to us.  Yay!!!George at Lake FrancisBig old battle scarred gator at Highlands HammockWe did it!  We tubed on the Ichetucknee River!!!All in all, I'd say we had a pretty good summer![...]

Happy Days?

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:02:00 +0000

Ok, so I sucked at doing the 100 Happy Days thing. There are tins of things that I see everyday that make me happy.  What didn't make me happy was trying to remember to post a picture each day!So now I am in Lake Placid.  Been working  on re tiling the living room.  Slow progress but I'm hoping to finish today.  Day 2 the water pump broke. 2 weeks later amd it's finally replaced!Aidan is in Miami and heading to the Keys for a week.  He's even going to the Tortugas, which makes me so jealous!  Hope he appreciates it!It's been good to see Mom with her broken arm and all.  July 21st that damn cast comes off!Sadly, a good friend of mine died the other day.  I am thankful to be here for his wife if she needs anything. Many good memories and he sure will be missed by many.On a good note, I have plans to meet up with one of my oldest friends who is in the area from Idaho visiting her family. We plan on surprising mom tomorrow!  And...hopefully meeting up with 2 other dear friends for lunch and maybe  little roadtrip to Cross Creek (check one off the old bucket list!).I miss George bunches, but am enjoying getting some things done around here and not having to deal with making dinner or anything like that. I am eating whenever I feel like it...or not at all!  But really, I can't wait for him to fly down.  We are hoping to tube the Ichetucknee (yes,  another strike off the list!).Since I'm posting this via my phone, I cant rotate the pictures or even get them where I want them.  I'll have to go back and fix it up when I get home. [...]

Happy Day #13

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 02:57:00 +0000

Today, I don't have a picture of what made me happy because it was a person. A person I've never actually met, but feel like I know her anyway and I consider her a friend.  Ann over at Sandcastle Momma.  I discovered something about her today that soldified the feeling I have the we are kindred spirits.  We both like to cache amd shoot things!  And we also have one more thing in common that I won't reveal, but lets just say that when I found out, I felt bad and kinda happy? at the same time.

So Ann, if you're reading this, thanks for letting me know I am not alone!   Bless your heart, good luck and take those drugs!

Happy Days #11 and #12

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:07:00 +0000

My two cats, Doc and Luna, make me very happy every day.

Day of Happiness #10

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 03:53:00 +0000

First swimming lesson of the summer. Watching my littlest one enjoying the pool makes me so happy.

:) Day #9

Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:40:00 +0000

Westmoreland County Airshow.  Eventhough the Blue Angels got rained out, it was still a great day!

Happy Day #8

Sun, 08 Jun 2014 10:48:00 +0000

A bog in Forbes State Forest.  Tons of pitcher plants that were either full or just not doing their job as the place was also full of flies!  Beautiful spot, though....could almost be a place in Florida :)

Happy Day #7

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 14:52:00 +0000

My favorite soda, after Cheerwine. Normally you can only get it at Taco Bell, but Aidan spotted this at Walgreens today!  Limited edition...WooHoo!

Happy Day #6

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:04:00 +0000

Right outside our front door this morning...what a surprise!

Happy Day #5

Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:38:00 +0000

Finally hanging a poster I got for Christmas from my sister made me very happy today.

Happy Day #4

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:12:00 +0000

Beautiful flowers in our yard always make me smile!

Happy Day #3

Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:48:00 +0000

Happy Day #2

Sun, 01 Jun 2014 13:50:00 +0000

North Park Lake

100 Happy Days: Jumping on the bandwagon!

Sat, 31 May 2014 14:13:00 +0000

This morning I was thinking about doing the "100 happy days" thing and saw that my friend over at was just starting it, too.  I am always late to the party, preferring to sit back and see how things go before I join in. Example: Pandora bracelets.  My number 1 son got me one last Christmas and I love it!  But there are somethings I steadfastly refuse to join, like anything that begins with an "i", like ipad, itunes, iphone, etc.

I hate drinking the Koolaid.

But I have decided that since a lot of things make me happy, I will go ahead and start posting a picture each day for a hundred days of things that made me smile :)

About a month or so

Wed, 28 May 2014 20:17:00 +0000

Well, it's that time of year again...summer!  Looks like Aidan and I will be making the drive back down to Florida on our own.  The only thing I worry about is what if we break down somewhere?  THAT worries me a lot.  I've been trying to convince George we need a nice, new Jeep, but so far he's ignoring my pleas. Say a prayer for me come the end of June that we make it down in one piece :)

I usually have a project lined up for the place in Lake Placid, but this year I can only think of one thing that really needs to be done, and that's a new floor in the living room.  And that is next to impossible for me to do on my own since it would involve moving that weighs a ton!  So, no real projects have entered my head yet.

I know I do want to kayak, swim in Lake June, walk daily at Highlands Hammock State Park, go shooting, hang out with my mom and spend some time with some good friends of mine.  If anyone reading this wants to hang out, let me know!  I'm open for it :)


Tue, 29 Apr 2014 21:27:00 +0000

Ok...these are from last summer and I don't know why I never posted them :(  I am just a bad blogger. Kennedy Space Center.  I love, love, love all things NASA!  This was  not my first time there, but it was for George and Aidan.  Everything there is facsinating, but the cherry on top...the highlight of my whole summer...was seeing the Shuttle Atlantis in person, in all her heavenly glory.Before you can see her, you have to watch a short film which was amazing and awe-inspiring.  Then the curtains part and Atlantis is right in front of your eyes.  We all teared up.  It's the stuff dreams are made of.  Definitely my dreams! It was very special to see her up close like that.  A day, and summer, I'll never forget![...]

Christmas in Florida, 2013

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 13:42:00 +0000

Way overdue in posting these pics from our trip down to Florida this past Christmas! Fanning Springs.  I think it's my favorite spring so far.We also checked out Rainbow Springs.  Pretty, but I don't like it as much as Fanning or Manatee.Stopped at the 4 E's boat ramp to grab a cache.I like this picture...can you see George?We spotted this cutie in Okeechobee heading over to Platt's Bluff. I think he's adorable!One of the trailheads for the FT, near Platt's Bluff.I only got a couple pictures of Christmas morning in Okeechobee :(The gorgeous Pandora that Sam got me.  I am still in shock over it!The lock at Taylor Creek and Lake Okeechobee.George had to do a little yakking on Lake Francis.The day Sam was getting ready to drive back to Miami, he checked and his car was totally out of oil and one of his tires has TWO screws in it!  So, he called work and told them he wouldn't be making it back.  Mom followed him to Sebring to have it checked out....The cost of repairs was way too much...more wrong than we even imagined, so his Grandma decided to just buy him another car.  Merry Christmas, Sam!!!Before we drove back to PA, we found some palmettos to plant in the front yard at Lake Placid.I think the yard is going to look awesome when they grow and start to fill in.  I love planting native!Trailer Trash?  Maybe to some, but we love this little place!  It's been in the family since about '71 and I hope it always stays in the family :)Doing a little caching in Okeechobee.  We had a DNF, but it was still neat to see this old Tantie Schoolhouse.So that was our Christmas.  As always, I swear to post here more often![...]

More from the past resurfaces...

Mon, 30 Sep 2013 19:22:00 +0000

Swiped for your reading enjoyment from WLRN:More Evidence Of Tequesta Civilization Unearthed Near Miami RiverBy NATHANIEL SANDLEREnlarge imageCredit Nathaniel SandlerThe Third Avenue Circle, pictured with archeologist Ray Skinner and FIU archeology student Adrian EspinozaTwo months ago, twelve dump trucks bursting with dirt and fill from a downtown Miami construction site made their way to the Everglades Outpost, an animal rescue facility in Florida City.Barbara Tansey, the facility’s owner and overseer is slowly sifting through the remnants looking for clues. Though volunteers occasionally come to help, at some moments the elderly Tansey is entirely on her own, tirelessly sifting in hopes of revealing any artifact.It should be mentioned that twelve truckloads is an insane amount of dirt.Henry Flagler, one of Miami’s most ambitious early twentieth century developers, placed most of that dirt downtown to level out the natural bedrock under the city and expand the borders of his vast property. The land is being taken away from an archeological dig on Third Avenue, right off the mouth of the Miami River. The excavation is being led by South Florida archeologist Bob Carr, who undertook the well-publicized first Miami Circle site that was uncovered in 1998. As the fill is removed, you can see the lines of orange dirt, delineating the earth that Flagler deposited from Jupiter Florida via his famous railroad.Enlarge imageCredit Nathaniel SandlerFill line showing orange dirt that Henry Flagler shipped in from Jupiter.What Carr and his team have uncovered at the going Third Avenue dig site, where plans for an upscale movie theater are in motion, is of great historical significance, with artifacts and remnants spanning thousands of years of Miami history.In 2005, on the north bank of the Miami River across from the original circle, a second Miami Circle was found. The discovery went relatively unnoticed, though there were some mentions in the press. The second circle, dubbed the “Royal Palm Circle” did not garner the vast attention that the first did. At the time, Carr and his team worked on the Royal Palm Circle site until the economy caused the developer to tighten it’s funding across the board. Both the archeological dig and the development itself were tabled until recently.The project is called the Metropolitan Miami Complex, and includes multiple buildings in the downtown area including an entertainment complex with the aforementioned upscale movie theater. The developer is MDM Development Group in collaboration with the O’Neal group, whose executive team includes former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal.This part of the development is located in one of the last vacant lots in downtown Miami. Work has since resumed and the archeological discoveries have proven wonderfully fruitful. Of great interest is the uncovering of a third circle cut into the limestone, which allows Carr and his team to infer that the circles were living spaces for the native Tequesta. The third circle also assumes proof of a well-developed Native American civilization in ancient downtown Miami.Carr, author of Digging Miami, states there “is another [third] circle cut into the downtown bedrock in addition to a well which appears to be from the Royal Palm Hotel and a freshwater natural spring in the middle of downtown Miami.” It is an exceptional discovery, and Carr says that, “for the first time there is a settlement pattern along the shores of the Miami River and [...]

Google Earth Challenge

Sun, 23 Jun 2013 13:32:00 +0000

It's been a while, but I found something so cool I had to share it. Can anyone guess where it is?

The Gator Hook Bar

Thu, 30 May 2013 16:55:00 +0000

I just found this article and thought I'd post it here.  I've heard stories about the Gator Hook and knew someone who used to play in a band out there.  In a weird way, I think I would've liked the place.  The history of that area is quickly fading...good to read stories like this.  We REAL Floridians need to keep memories alive.The Gator Hook bar was as wild as the Everglades outsideJeff Klinkenberg, Times Staff WriterWednesday, March 14, 2012 3:58pmPINECREST — It's gone now, what was Florida's roughest tavern on what still is a rugged I-hope-my-car-doesn't-break-down byway. For two decades the Gator Hook Lodge stood bristling with Gladesman culture on the notoriously unfriendly Loop Road in the Big Cypress Swamp. Inhabitants included hunters and fishers, froggers and gator poachers, moonshiners and misanthropes. There was at least one amazing musician who played fiddle like an angel.In the Gator Hook, named after a poaching tool employed to yank reluctant alligators from their dens, folks fought, bled and drank themselves silly. "No Guns or Knives Inside," warned the sign above the door. On Saturday nights, almost everybody in the place carried a dagger or a pistol.An hour away, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack ruled glamorous Miami Beach. Out in the Big Cypress, out in the Everglades, the Gator Hook served as a rip-snorting relic of an earlier Florida where law and order were of little consequence.The Gator Hook sat only a few miles from the Miami-Dade County border on the Florida mainland. Actually, it was located in a sliver of Monroe County, where Key West was the seat of government. The nearest sheriff's office, in Key Largo, was 92 miles away. A deputy who made the miserable drive from the Keys to Gator Hook was likely to be met by hard stares. Trouble? What trouble?In the swamp, the Gladesmen preferred to take care of their own problems. Their material and spiritual sustenance came from the gators and the birds and a harsh and unforgiving lifestyle. Gladesmen would have eaten the Hatfields and McCoys, with grits, for breakfast.The paved road from Tampa to Miami, the Tamiami Trail, was completed in 1928. A dreamer named James Jaudon looped a 27-mile gravel road off the trail in hopes of attracting tourist dollars to his new enterprise, the Chevelier Corp. But in time the only people to use the Loop Road were the loggers and roughnecks who loathed the rotten-egg odor of civilization.Pinecrest, a settlement of about 200 grizzled Floridians who tolerated the lack of electricity, running water andtelephone service — not to mention mosquitoes and the occasional cottonmouth bite — was what passed for civilization on the Loop. It had two restaurants, a gas station and what folks later claimed was a brothel owned by gangster Al Capone.• • •I was a timid and pimply faced city boy who liked to catch bass and the occasional water snake when I first discovered the Gator Hook. Thinking back on my teenage years, I can hardly believe I ever ventured inside. I was never bold enough to visit at night; daytime was scary enough. It was the first place I ever saw a grown man lying drunk on the floor. At noon."Where were you today?" my dad asked one Saturday."Bass fishing," I answered. "We caught a couple of water snakes and let them go. Then we had a snack at the Gator Hook. Dad, you should have seen the guys on the floor. . . ."He turned pale. "Not for you," he said. He had read something[...]


Thu, 16 May 2013 13:48:00 +0000

I played around with a few photos of flowers that are blooming right now in our yard.  I am so addicted to messing with my pictures, good or bad...

Wordless Wednesday: Sensei and Student

Tue, 14 May 2013 17:14:00 +0000