Monday, July 28, 2008

Beach Day

This weekend I went to St. Augustine Beach with some friends. I got sunburned. (Yes, I used sunscreen -- 30 SPF. It was very hot and bright.) We played in the waves like five-year-olds.

Florida has the best beaches! After living in Seattle and L.A., I will never take our beaches for granted again.

I haven't been feeling terribly inspired to write in this blog lately, but don't give up on me. I'm sure I will return to being more diligent about posting soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Update

I just discovered an awesome farm store in Micanopy called Mosswood Farm! I got some muslin reusable produce bags, to help reduce my plastic bag consumption more. They also sell all kinds of handmade and organic soaps, detergents, and the like, as well as local honey and homemade bread.

OK, I admit it. My house has finally become unbearably hot. I started sleeping on the couch (the bedroom is stuffier) and have actually turned on the A/C for fifteen minutes before bed the last couple of nights to cool it down enough for me to fall asleep. It works pretty well, luckily!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What I Love about Florida, Pt. 92

I went scalloping for the first time yesterday. It was really, really fun.

We went to a boat ramp just south of Steinhatchee.

The day promised to be beautiful as we motored out toward the Gulf of Mexico.

The captain ran a tight ship. Here he gives the death stare to an unruly mate.

Everyone was out scalloping! Apparently the Florida Bay Scallop comes from "out there" around now to hang out in the shallows. In the photo below you can see the line of boats on the horizon (we got out of town a little late).

Scalloping involves a snorkel and a net bag (and a saltwater fishing license). You swim around, staring into the manatee grass and turtle grass, looking for the mollusks, which are two to three inches in diameter. Then you dive down and grab 'em! In the below photo that white blob is a scallop.

They swim by opening and closing their shells, so they can pinch you if you're not careful. Some of them, when sensing immanent capture, will try to swim away quickly (it's comical!). And although you can't tell in the below photo, the animal itself is actually beautiful. Scallops are filter feeders, so when their shells are open a sort of shaggy filter is visible, ringed with dozens of iridescent purpleish-blue eyes. I've never seen anything like it.

The water was warm and the swimming was ridiculously pleasant. It was a pretty perfect day. Plus, everyone knows boats are my favorite.

But it wasn't over! Then we went to Fanning Springs State Park, which is a new one for me. (Springs being another of my favorites, of course.) It was very crowded (Sunday and a free entry day). And THEN we got boiled peanuts, my favorite food ever!

Another positive about the day is that I only sustained a few minor injuries (re-tore something in my arm, split a toenail, and got a sunburn on my back). I mention this for those of you who know my tendencies.

Thanks, Pally.

p.s. No, I did not eat any of the scallops.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Rain

When I was growing up, I scheduled my summer activities around the rain; it rained every day almost exactly at 4 p.m. The past few years we've had a drought, though, and it either hasn't been raining during the summer or the rain has come at wonky times, I hypothesize because of climate change.*

This summer, global warming notwithstanding, is the first one in five or ten years where the old pattern is sort of returning. Yesterday was the heaviest rain I've seen in years. Of course, it started right around 5, when I leave work. There were sheets of water falling on my car. Roads were flooded. It was scary because I could barely see in front of me. My car is tiny and weighs, like, 40 pounds. Also, I need new windshield wipers.

Apparently we got almost three inches in under an hour. On my street, there was a puddle so deep that when I drove through it at 5 mph, the waves created were taller than my car.

*This is my personal opinion and is not based on any scientific research that probably exists, only I just haven't read it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Refillable Soap

I'm not big into endorsing products or companies, but there's a new local store, Indigo, that's all about promoting "green solutions for a healthy home" (that's their tagline). I've only been there once, because I don't own a house and most of the stuff in the store is geared toward people who want to install bamboo floors or something.

But I subscribe to their e-newsletter, and was stoked yesterday to see the following in the newest: "What's big and blue and helps you re-use your old soap containers? The Soap Shack's bulk refill barrels, of course! ... Come by and fill 'er up -- bring whatever container you want; we just charge by the ounce. In stock now: Parsley Plus, Apricot Dishmate, and Ecos Free and Clear Laundry Soap."

I used to buy all my dish and hand soap bulk when I lived in L.A., but there hasn't been anywhere to do so in Gainesville until now. It's great -- I'll be able to use less plastic and buy eco-friendly soap all at once. I'm especially excited about the laundry detergent. The past few months I've been using white vinegar with a tablespoon or so of liquid detergent with each load at my friend Jenn's suggestion, but it'd be great to switch to nice eco-friendly soap.

Monday, July 7, 2008

River Holiday

This weekend I stayed at a friend's parents' house near Vero Beach. We arrived in late afternoon and spent the evening fishing and watching the sun go down over the Indian River from the dock in back of the house.

The next day we went to the beach. We took a two-hour walk and picked up interesting shells and rocks.

As I drove home Sunday, I entered a terrible storm.

Up ahead was smooth sailing though. When I got on the turnpike, this was the contradiction I saw:

Feeling Chatty Today

For those who are curious, I still haven't turned on my A/C unit. I don't even know if it actually works. We've had a relatively cool summer thus far because of all the rain we've been getting, so that has helped. I find that living without A/C makes it easier for me to cope with the heat when it is bad.

Also, despite a previous post, I haven't killed my plants. Again thanks to the rain, almost all of my outdoor plants have revived and are thriving. (My indoor plants are another story.) I'll take photos soon.

Now You Can Subscribe!

I do not understand RSS feeds. I think they're silly. The last thing I need is another site, or interface, or whatever, to check every day. Send it to my e-mail!

So! I finally figured out how to add a form for readers to subscribe to my blog via e-mail. This way you can have random -- really random -- distractions from working or whatever it is you're doing that is somehow even more onerous than reading my blog!

I also made a few design changes that will hopefully make the blog easier to read and navigate, including a new template. Any feedback will be much appreciated.

Springs Blog

A few months back I found this awesome springs blog that links to news about Florida's springs, rivers, and other waters. It's a great way to keep up with what's going on all over the state, springs-wise. And you can even subscribe via e-mail -- a feature I'm adding to my site ASAP.

Happy Fourth!

Gainesville has its fireworks show July 3, for some reason. I love fireworks!!

Right to Dry Movement

No, it doesn't involve Jack Kevorkian.

Some homeowners' associations forbid residents from drying laundry on a clothesline, because it's just so darn plebeian, I guess, to save energy while exposing the world to your wet clothing. But, according to the AP, some people are fighting back with what's being cleverly dubbed "the right to dry movement." And evidently some states are now passing laws that forbid any organization from banning outdoors clotheslines.

I wish things like this didn't have to be legislated, but I also wish homeowners' associations would get their noses out of everyone's business. Thus: go, right-to-dry people!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bad Joke

This morning I was riding my bike to work with a co-worker when my flip-flop slipped off my pedal on the downstroke. My foot went flying toward the back of the bike and got tangled somehow between the rear fender and spokes as I banged my crotchal region on the crossbar thingy. When my foot entered the wheel it was at the bottom of a revolution, but the wheel kept moving so my foot was dragged by the toe up toward the top of the wheel before I could stop the bike.

Let me interrupt myself and say that this was around 7:15, and I usually wake up at 8. If it had been later I may have been more awake and thus panickier.

Instead, for about five minutes I stood on my right leg trying not to pass out as Brian (thank you, Brian!) attempted to extract my toe, my leg bent all awkwardly behind me. It was excruciatingly painful. Luckily I still have my toe.

All I'm gonna say is, sometimes it ain't easy bein' green. (Groan)

On another note, Happy Birthday U.S.A.! If it ever stops raining/being gray maybe I will have some outdoor adventures this weekend that I'll write about next week. Otherwise, I'll be either sleeping or watching movies, and probably won't take any photos.