Tag Archives: nature

A Day in Tarpon Springs

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As weird as Florida may be, it’s got some pretty cool places to visit, many barely a day’s trip from Orlando.

 

A couple of my friends invited me on a day’s trip to Tarpon Springs, a cool like Greek settlement turned tourist attraction. For more about Tarpon Springs and its history you can simply google Tarpon Springs, or read a little bit here: http://spongedocks.net/tarpon-springs-history.htm.

 

Anyhoo, I took a few pictures of my day and wanted to share. That’s all I’ve got today people. 🙂

 

A cool diver mosaic on one of the buildings.

Visiting one of the Greek bakeries. This place was hoppin!

Our new friend we made during our visit. 🙂

Another cool mosaic from the antique district.

Trying to convince the BFE that we should give up everything we have and move to Tarpon Springs. he could be a diver, and I’d sell sponges and drink limoncello!

I have nothing to say about this.

Cool kitchsy stuff from a gift shop.

Further evidence to support my theory of Florida as a giant wildlife preserve… and the people are just food!

Ahahahahaha!

I was feeling all, like, artsy and stuff, soo….

Introducing Our New Team Mascot, The Florida Fighting Conch!

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My muscle man. 🙂

 

My fiance, the BFE is truly the best. He cooks, he LOVES vacuuming, he doesn’t mind cuddling, he kills spiders when I find them scary, and he even cuts his parents’ grass for them. He really is a good guy.

 

 

He also makes high-pitched screams like an emotionally hysterical woman when faced with a simple ocean mollusk in his hand.

 

This past Mother’s Day weekend we headed down to SoFla (that’s South Florida for you non-Floridians) to visit his parents, soak up some beach time and generally enjoy a mini-break away. The morning of our first full day, BFE and I headed to the beach as soon as we could wipe the sleep and crust out of our eyes and whip on our bathing suits.

 

It was a beautiful day at the beach. A light breeze, the soft lapping of the waves, crystal clear water , only a few geriatric snowbirds walking the sand for shells, and powder white sand. It was great.

 

We waded out into the ocean, using our water proof camera to take pictures under the water and explore. Things were fine until I mentioned that my foot scraped over a weird shell. Moments later, BFE ran over it too, and dove down to investigate. It was this beautiful shell! So pretty and intricate. BFE turned it over in his hand, and we realized that the shell was home to …a CREATURE!

The pictures we took are REALLY bad, so I found this on the ‘net. See the eyes? They bore into your brain and steal your soul.

 

It stuck its little eye stalks out and peered up at us, while we huddled together, peering back. BFE insisted that it was a hermit crab that was missing a leg, but before I could decide, the shell disappeared from BFE’S hand!

 

The creature had reached out of the shell with its “toe” and tried to touch him! In sheer blind panic, he threw his head back and SCREAMED “waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” while flapping and tossing his hands about in the air with complete abandon of composure and tossed the shell further out into the water. It was a high-pitched womanly scream reserved for Hitchcock horror films. The whole episode happened in seconds and the shell was gone.

 

I couldn’t believe it! It was the coolest thing we’d ever found at the beach and it was just… gone. I railed at him, calling him a “woman” for screaming like that. In the meantime, he utterly ignored me and had already booked it halfway back to shore, telling me that if I wanted to see it again, I needed to find it myself.

 

I did find another one fairly quickly, and was examining it while calling for the BFE to grab the camera when it TOUCHED me with its “toe”.

 

The TOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s coming for you BFE!!! Eeeeee!

 

 

In a repeat performance of BFE’s epic meltdown, I screamed “yahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and tossed it up in the air, which the shell landing back in the water with a big plop. I flew over to BFE, yelling “Omigod omigod omigod it TOUCHED me! It touched my hand!” While hopping up and down in the water waving my affected hand around like an idiot. I made a huge scene, but I did not care. The creature TOUCHED me with its TOE.

 

In the meanwhile, BFE just stood there, shaking his head and, in a move that was clearly borrowing some of my sass, said “mmhmm… who’s the WOMAN now?”

 

We found a third shell and this time I tried to buck up and hang on to it while he ran to our umbrella area on the sand to grab our camera. When it wriggled in my hand, I dropped it AGAIN. As I’m digging in the sand and water to find it again, I use our sand pail and shovel (yes, I brought a sand pail to the beach. I’m five) to pick it up and walk to the shore. The whole time I was making my way to shore I hopped to and fro while yelling omigodomigodomigodhurryupbeforeittouchesmeagain.

 

Keep in mind that until then, we were on what was probably the quietest part of the beach.

 

My antics caught the attention of an older woman and her husband, who had a blanket near ours. She came over and explained that what we’d found was a Florida Fighting Conch, and the “toe” that touched me was what it used to pull itself across the sand on the ocean floor. She said that putting it on the sand would kill it and we really shouldn’t attempt to take it home. Home?!?! Like we’d found a new pet or mascot and wanted to keep it?!?! Puh-lease. We took pictures and released the conch back into the wild.

 

Seriously, though. Doesn’t “Florida Fighting Conch” sound kinda like a slightly lame college mascot?

 

 

For the rest of the weekend, I couldn’t look at the BFE without thinking of him screaming like a little girl and tossing this tiny little three-inch shelled creature away from him because it “looked” at him and tried to touch him.

 

When we got home, I told his parents, and it became the running joke for the rest of the night. The next day I called my mom while she and my dad were driving back to Georgia from a family visit in Illinois, and she laughed so hard and so long that she woke my dad and eventually had to pull over to the side of the road so she could recover her composure.

 

The BFE is still the best, he just lost a few man points, although he did gain points for humor and scream creativity. I know I shouldn’t have laughed so much, and I probably shouldn’t have told both sets of parents and written a blog about it, but honestly, what would you have done???

 

Go TEAM FIGHTING CONCHS!!!!!

10 Days – 10 people

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My 10-Day Challenge (to Myself)

So I was reading girlseekskiss‘s blog the other day, and came across what I thought was a super cool idea…

Over the next few weeks, I want to highlight 10 people, 9 secrets (yikes), 8 fears (double yikes!), 7 wants, 6 places, 5 books, 4 foods, 3 films, 2 songs and 1 picture of myself.

I thought this would be an interesting blogging exercise, a good writer’s exercise, to see what comes from this. It’ll be so organic, and I have NO idea what’s going to come out! So bear with me folks… here I go!  🙂

10 People

Wow, this is going to be hard.

10. The boy that affected my college decision.

When I was in high school, I got accepted to every college I applied to, including UGA and Georgia Southern. I’d originally only applied to GA Southern because one of my closest friends (and dude I had a ridiculous crush on) was applying there. He also applied to UGA.

When the acceptance letters came in, he got accepted to Georgia Southern and waitlisted for UGA. So I decided NOT to go to my #1 choice but follow him to GA Southern. WHO DOES THAT?!? Oh wait – ME.

Long story short, I hated GA Southern, we drifted apart as friends, and I transferred to Georgia State University to finish my degree. I never regretted that decision: I honestly think almost everything that has happened to me since (good & bad) has all stemmed from my move back to Atlanta. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I not followed that silly boy down to Statesboro, GA.

9. Samantha Brown

Alright, this sounds nuts but she has really helped me to develop my outlook on traveling to new places! She really dives into travel and immerses herself in the people, food and culture of a place. She’s honest and witty and doesn’t take it all too seriously. I totally wanna be her when I grow up!

8. The person that selected me to be laid off from my former job.

As stranger as it sounds, I’d like to say THANK YOU!! to whomever it was in HR or my department or whatever that, when my former company was having financial trouble and having to let people go, decided I was one of the ones that should be laid off.

I spent a long time feeling resentful of that situation, and wondering what I’d done wrong that resulted in me being picked. I cried. A lot. I hadn’t been without a job since I was 15. I felt like a failure.

Honestly? Working at that hotel really put the “cult” in “workplace culture”: We were a tight-knit family working for a common goal, and really felt that management cared about us. Maybe they really did – I’m not sure. What I do know is that I felt like I was leaving family behind, and being sent away. I was having withdrawal pains from this place that had been the center of my life since I moved to Florida. It was hard. What I had to face up to is that WORK is about BUSINESS. It’s not personal, it’s not how much they like you, or who is friends with who. The people that you care about, and who care abotu you, will still keep in touch no matter what. I learned to do a better job of “leaving work at work”. In the real world, as much as a company can create a culture that sucks you in, at the end of the day, when they let you go, it’s just business.

Two years later, I’m working for a company where I could not possibly be happier. I love the people I work with, but I also temper that with accepting that it’s still business at the end of the day.

7. Jessica the BFF

This chick is hilarious. Like, really, really hilarious. I oculd gush about how lucky I am to have a BFF that listens and cares, and laughs because we have the same sense of humor, but that’s not why she’s on the list.

Apart from being one of the most cracked-out crazy pants awesome people I know, Messy Jessy is also the smartest. I mean that. LITERALLY one of the smartest most driven people I’ve ever met in my life. Which in turns challenges me to bust my ass for the things I want. Can you ask for a better friend than that?

Ok, how about one that will move into your 2-bedroom apartment with you because the thrill of living alone wore off and now you’re too scared to go to sleep alone in the apartment at night? One that will keep you company so you can stop imagining escape routes out of your bedroom in the event intruders come in through the patio? ‘Cause that’s what she did. She sort of saved my sanity. 🙂

6. Delton the other BFF

Taught me a lot of about seeing your way through to the other side after it feels like your whole house has fallen down around you.

We went through some pretty shitty events together (including a roommate from hell that stole our identities and turned out to be a sociopath). We yelled and screamed at each other, and tried to break each other down but in the end propped each other up. I learned that no matter how much it sucks, things are always much better with a partner by your side.

I also learned never to fight with your significant other in front of other people – no one wants to see that! So Delton, I’m sure the BBE thanks you for that too 🙂

Delton also had the cojones to tell his parents that he liked boys… in the meantime, I live in another state and stil haven’t manned up and told me parents that the BBE is probably moving in starting January. I totally admire him for that kind of courage.

5. Winnie the Pooh

He’s a ditsy fat yellow bear… we’re not that much different… he also addicted to honey (sugar)… yet another similarity…

He’s also NOT a fan of wearing pants, a personal preference of mine which I believe we’ve previously covered in other blogs.

One thing Pooh has down pat though, is figuring out who is friends are, and appreciating them. Especially if they have honey in the house 🙂

Pooh keeps it real, yo.

4. Snitch and Flip

My sisters. When I meet other people that don’t get along with their family/ siblings, I am grateful for the relationship I have with Lil Middle Sis (Flip) and Littlest Sis (Snitch). We always have a good time together, ever though we will occasionally get on one another’s nerves. What family gathering would be complete without someone bossing the others around, someone geting pissed off, someone drinking wine like it’s water, and another one spiking the holiday apple cider with crown royal??

3. Sunshine

My stepdad IS my dad, and my dad rocks. Plain and simple. I started calling him Sunshine a few years back, it caught on and that’s that.

I’m probably not always the best kid to my dad. And he might not always agree with my decisions, but he’s dependable, and patient and listens and gives me honest feedback. He’s also possibly the 2nd most hilarious person I know.

2. Maaaaaaaaa

Come on, y’all knew number one would be my mom, right?

My mom and I bump heads. A lot.

Remember when you were a kid? And you were like “I will NEVER be like my parents! I will be my kid’s friend and let them eat cake for dinner and take them to DisneyWorld every weekend if they want and NEVER make them do homework! And if they don’t want to go to school or college or do homework, then they don’t have to.”

When I was in high school, I soooooooooooo wanted to be like my mom… I would steal dresses out of her closet when she wasn’t looking so I could wear them at school. I observed how she walked so I could have the same walk, and subconsciously, I still have a lot of the same mannerisms she does.

We didn’t have a super-close relationship, though. I used to wish we were like my friends and their moms. I often think that’s because, as my personality formed, it was so different from how she wanted me to be. When I was younger, it hurt to think that I wasn’t measuring up to her image and expectation. And her expectation was HIGH. She put her boot up my ass and made me work hard: bringing home Cs wasn’t an option. Being lazy or rude wasn’t an option either.

When I hit college I decided to do my best to NOT be like her, and spent a lot of effort into being who I wanted to be and went a bit overboard. I’m grateful to those years because I learned to just be me, and like myself. Eventually, when you really like who you are, like really really like who you are, other people will like you, too. And that’s what happened.

I am grateful for those “boot up the ass” years, too. I am lucky that I had parents that believed in me. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. Who ever really does?

I live in another state now, away from my parents. I miss my mom sometimes, and we’ve gotten closer through our phone conversations, and enjoy the time we do have together because we don’t take it for granted. One interesting thing: more and more lately, I’m noticing that we share a LOT of personality traits. Which I actually kinda like 🙂

1. The Atlanta Crew: Castey Wayne, Kev, and LauraEllen

Real friends that will pick you up at the airport (and drop you off later too). Real friends that you have seen the good, the best, the bad and the ugly… and they know all that about you too.

Real friends tell you the truth, and keep your head screwed on straight even when you don’t want to hear it.

Real friends don’t bat an eyelash when you have crazy batshit plans – they simple burst out laughing, try to discourage you, then eventually tag along because they’re your friend. Quite often, they also supply the booze.

Real friends that you can look in the eye across a room, and immediately start laughing because you both know you’re thinking the SAME THING… “why is that b!tch wearing spandex?!?”

So… those are my ten!

Memorable Mini-break

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This past weekend, I went on an overnight beach trip for the first time with the BF.

 

Big deal right? Full of memories, laughter, romance, etc. The usual general mushiness.

 

The most memorable part of our trip? Two grown ass men engaged in fisticuffs over our parking space as we’re leaving the beach parking lot. As the BF drives us away, I’m turned backwards in my seat to see who wins, all the time chanting “Fight! Fight!”

 

TRUE STORY. LOL it was awesome.

 

So yeah, we went to the beach this weekend, and it was really great. Like, awesome. A first time for me on many levels (not the one you’re thinking PERVERTS). A first weekend away with my first grown up and serious relationship. A first hotel stay with a BF. A first time at this particular beach. A first time sharing a place that I love with someone that I care about… the beach is one of my very favorite places to go.

 

We’re talking blue skies, sweet breezes; blue-green water and powdery sand that’s cool beneath your feet – how could you ask for more?

 

It’s not just the mushy crap either that was full of firsts. For the first time I feel like in addition to the relationship component we are friends and not just boyfriend/ girlfriend. I got to hang out with my awesome friend for a whole weekend! Selfishly, I wanted to jealously guard out time together. The hardest thing was having places to go, people to see. It was tough sharing that time with other people.

But… to get mushy for a moment… There’s something incredibly sweet and wonderful about waking up in the arms of someone that means that much to you, holding hands and laughing and talking and feeling comfortable and safe and free to just… enjoy it without any guilt.

 

Is that so bad?

 

We will definitely be doing it again, and going without any agenda but to relax and have fun… I know, no agenda doesn’t sound very much like this Sunburnt Peach, does it?

 

Another first 🙂

 

This wonderful Bodyshop ad was banned by Barbie Inc. A repost from Twitpic

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This wonderful Bodyshop ad was banned by Barbie Inc. Repost i… on Twitpic.

I love this ad. I stumbled across it in my Twitter feed sometime last week.

I think this should be dedicated to ANYONE that has ever been embarrassed by their body for ANY reason – whether you think you’re too fat, skinny, tall, short, freckled, brown, white, wrinkled – whatever. From an early age our parents tell us that we’re beautiful and we spend our whole lives trying to remember that fact. It’s so easy to say “love your body” but so hard to actually just do it. Am I right???

It’s easier to listen whenver someone puts you down – why is that? Why can’t we just believe that someone thinks you’re beautiful just the way we are!!! Being self conscious about your body image can really drive a wedge into any relationship as I’m currently learning and struggling with right now… love your body, it’s the only one you’ve got 🙂

…and that is the end of today’s sermon from the good Reverend Peach 🙂

 

The lady doth protest much

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Driving back to the office after lunch and I pass some protesters outside of the SeaWorld entrance… The weird thing is that they’re not your typical angry protesters, they’re WAVING at all the cars, like Wal-Mart greeters.

Isn’t that odd?!? Aren’t they supposed to be waving fists or holding clumps of dead fish or something?

And why hasn’t someone told them it’s too hot today for that??? #justsayin

Gahh!!! What the Hell!

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What in the world??!?? I was in this total like ZEN state and it just got ruined by a lizard. Again.

Let’s back track a bit.  So on Monday afternoon, in an attempt to get back on track with making exercise a regular part of my routine I decide to take a walk through my neighborhood after dinner.

Can I just say? I live in like, a fricking Stepford paradise sort of. I mean, our neighborhood’s really nice… mellow… pretty. Ok, maybe Stepford’s the wrong way to describe it, but when I walk down the streets listening to my iPod I’m struck with how lush and inviting everyone’s lawns are (except ours). The front porches have cute patio furniture (except ours) and plants (except ours). There are swaying palms and lovely magnolia trees. It’s pretty nice by any standard.

Ok, maybe I’m making our house sound like that trashy one on the corner that has weeds 8 feet high and indigenous vermin living in the bushes nesting in old tires with broken bottles and Four Loko cans littering the steps. That’s entirely untrue. We get the weeds cut at least twice a month and I removed the Four Loko cans after the HOA complained a few times.

The point of all this is, my neighborhood lulls you into this relaxing sense of calm and peacefulness, something I’ve come to appreciate. I’m walking around, down the garden paths, past cute little houses.

But speaking of vermin – I get home and run a nice bath, read a few chapters of “Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife” by Linda Berdoll (MUST READ IF YOU LOVED Pride & Prejudice and want it a little on the dirty side) and just as I’m slipping into my nightgown, I feel something SLITHER down my backside. It was the Christmas Lizard from over a month ago! He was chillaxing in the folds of my nightgown when I put it on. Eeeek!

 I jumped about 3 feet in the air, flapping my airs like a fool before I gained composure. By the time I pulled it together to grab a shoebox to catch him, he was gone, back into the depths of my closet.

FYI – Later that night I was startled from a deep sleep convinced that he was back in my pajamas again. I had to turn on the lights and peek under the bed and shake out the covers, like I was a kid scared after watching too many Freddy Kreuger movies.

Ok, so let’s fast forward to last night. I get home after an AWESOME date (and no, details will not be disclosed) feeling like, totally zen, and walk into my closet, only to see this:

 

WTH?!?! Am I like a lizard whisperer now? Am I running a reptilian nightclub? Disco? Cocktails? Happy Hour? I mean I appreciate them for keeping us bug-free, but seriously, give a gal a little space.

I grabbed him up into a shoebox and released his free-loading butt out onto the porch.

It has been suggested that Mr. Lizard (let’s call him Mr. Geico) has MATED in my closet and now has a little lizard family in there, from whom I have separated him. First of all THANKS for that alarming visual, and I want to know if anyone else would have done different?? Are yall gonna call DFACS on me??

It is a little ironic that I’m a Geico customer.

I’ve seen the same lizard two nights in one week… are we technically going steady now?