Saturday, January 31, 2009

Camera Critters-Roseate Spoonbills

Awhile back, I found this great meme called Camera Critters. I love the pictures and decided that with my wealth of critter pictures down here in SW Florida, I would join in and I have for several weeks now. I would like to have you hop on over to Camera Critters. There you can either sign up for your own post for Camera Critters or see lots and lots of other great critter pics. So, now that you've done that--here is my critter for the day.

These pictures were taken at Ding Darling National Wildlife Sanctuary. People love to drive through the sanctuary and see the Roseate Spoonbills. A Roseate Spoonbill is a wading bird who mainly resides in South America, the Caribbean and the Florida Gulf Coast. They nest mainly in mangrove trees. They are often mistaken for Flamingos by people who have never seen them before.

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Things

My daughter posted this meme on her blog, Shamalamamama. She had been tagged with it on Facebook. I wasn’t tagged but I thought it looked like fun. And I promise, I won’t tag anyone either but if my readers are so inclined, have at it. What you are supposed to do is list 25 interesting facts about yourself. Kind of a retrospective of your life--at my age anyway. So here goes and I’m sorry in advance if this is looonnnggg.

#1. I was born in a tiny town of about 400 people in a tiny hospital in Omer, Michigan which had once been a home. It was on one of the coldest, windiest days of the year. My mother said they had to stick cotton around the cracks in the windows to keep the cold wind out. Funny but the same thing happened the day my son was born. It wasn’t cold but it was so windy,the wind actually whistled around the windows. They tried opening the window but it about blew me out of bed!

#2. Although I learned to swim as I child, I wasn’t the best in the world! When my kids were toddlers, I entered them in swim classes at the YMCA. As a result, they became “water rats” and I took classes too. Eventually I ended up teaching swimming and was the Interim Aquatics Director at the Y for a few months.

#3. I LOVE to travel. I never traveled as a child. Even though I grew up in Michigan, I actually visited Mexico before I was in Canada or even the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (My dad and I went to visit his brother and sister in law in Texas and we went to Mexico). After I was married and the kids came along, we took big trips every summer. Nova Scotia, Colorado, Texas, Florida etc. Then after Mr. Snowbird retired, we got a motor home. I was a teacher and the day after I got out of school each summer we would take off for 6 or 7 weeks. I have been in 49 of the 50 states. I’ve also been to Scotland twice and am going to Ireland this summer.

#4. My dad worked in the oilfields. He started when he was about 10 years old driving a wagon in the West Virginia. He met my mom when he was working on an oilwell in Allendale, Illinois. They followed the oilfields to Texas (where they lived in a tent), to Kentucky and Michigan (where I was born).

#5. My mom was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver when I was 15. My dad was seriously injured and even though I was asleep in the back seat, I came through with only a sore neck and arm.

#6. We discovered Sanibel Island in 1984. Mr. Snowbird, my daughter and I were down here on spring break. We were camping in a campground on John Morris Rd. in Ft. Myers. The lady camped next to us had the most gorgeous shells on her picnic table. I remember huge whelks!! She told us about Sanibel and we came over on a couple of day trips. Little did I dream that I would eventually live in this paradise.

#7. I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in grade school. It was only when I read about Helen Keller that I wanted to teach the hearing impaired. I attended Eastern Michigan University and got my degree in “Deaf and Hard of Hearing” as well as Elementary Education. My first teaching job was in Trenton, Michigan where, with a blank check, I set up the first classroom for the deaf in that school system.

#8. My minor in college was Theatre. I would never have dreamed that this would be my minor but friends of mine were in the college theatre and I tagged along. I became the Wardrobe mistress for several years and a member of Alpha Psi Omega, a drama fraternity. In later life, theatre became a huge part of my life. I was a member of the Fort Findlay Playhouse for over 30 years. I acted, directed, produced, stage managed, did makeup, lights, set, props etc but never again did costumes. I was a member of the Ohio Community Theatre Association Board of Directors for 9 years and was a secretary for 6 of those years. I like to say that my kids were born in a trunk on the stage of the Playhouse. They did grow up there and Karen went on to make theatre a career at South Coast Repertory Theatre for several years.

#9. My biggest hobby is genealogy. I have been doing genealogy since 1967 when my aunt got me interested. I have traced both my father’s and my mother’s lines many, many generations- -one back to Charlemagne. I also love doing genealogy for other people so if anybody is interested, let me know. I’m serious!

#10. When I began teaching Hearing Impaired, it was by the “Oral Method”. In other words, we taught the kids to read lips and use their voices. I knew no sign language at all! Suddenly I was transferred to a school where I had to use sign language. My first signing class was actually from a deaf woman. And the rest I learned by teaching with a sign language book on my lap! I became fairly proficient at signing but have a horrible time “reading” someone else’s sign.

#11. As most of you know, I volunteer at a Wildlife Hospital which I will not mention here due to a Confidentiality Policy :-(. I have always loved animals and had many pets as a child including dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, calves, etc. I attended a program at this particular wildlife hospital several years ago and decided right then and there that I wanted to be a volunteer. And here I am, 8 years later, going on rescues of all kinds of birds and animals, transporting sick and injured wildlife, working in the clinic, acting as a docent at the education center etc. And I LOVE it! Even though I can’t talk about it!!!

#12. I only have a blog because my daughter had one and I thought it looked like fun. It is!!

#13. I am a General Hospital addict. I have watched it since my kids were tiny. I’m also a LOST addict and follow several LOST blogs. In fact, that’s how I found one of the blogs I follow - -Farmer’s Files. Both she and her hubs have been extras on the show.

#14. Forty years ago, I sat my two kids down in front of the TV to watch the first episode of this new kid’s show called Sesame Street.

#15. I am a sport’s nut. I played basketball in high school. I was a forward and got 24 points in one game. I’m 5’7” and was one of the shortest on my team! I love hockey and football and baseball. My favorite teams are the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Browns thanks to my son who converted me from the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Lions. Favorite hockey teams are the Detroit Red Wings and the Bowling Green Stage University Falcons.

#16. My son was the mascot his senior year at Bowling Green State University.

#17. My students used to make write weekly letters to each of the BGSU hockey players and would make a poster to hang outside the locker room. I became friends with many of the players and their parents and knew players who went on to the NHL such as Rob Blake, Nelson Emerson, Brian Holsinger and Dan Bylsma.

#18. I am a list maker. I don’t think I could make it without lists!

#19. I love to take photos and thank my lucky stars for digital cameras. I love taking what I call “artsy fartsy” pictures. I couldn’t do this so much when I had to pay for film and developing the film. Now I can take all the pictures I want and delete the ones that aren’t so great. I must admit, though, all of my pictures are natural-none are photo shopped. My daughter is the photoshop expert.

#20. Mr. Snowbird and I had our first date on December 7th. (the 20th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day). We knew each other from being members of a couple of single’s groups but had never dated. Our roommates were dating so we went out with them. We were engaged a month later and married 3 ½ months later.

#21. One of the single’s groups which Mr. Snowbird and I were members of was called the Coffee Breakers. It was a group founded by the Wyandotte, Michigan YMCA. Through that group, about 15 or more couples met and married. (And only one couple got divorced). Almost 48 years later, many of these same couples still get together once a month for dinner. We attend when we can.

#22. My daughter got married on the anniversary of her godparents. Unfortunately, her godparents were unable to attend the wedding since Marilyn had to have knee replacement surgery. Marilyn was my roommate when I first began teaching and we were friends for over 45 years until her death a year ago. She was my maid of honor and I was her matron of honor and I miss her a lot. Her hubby is still one of our best friends and will be visiting us next month.

#23. I am a collector- -or was! Up north I have a Hummel collection, a ruby glass collection, and a bell collection. In the past I have collected Neil Diamond records and memorabilia (yup, I was a “Neil Baby” fan!!), Avon bottles, Fenton Glass etc. Down here, I don’t have room for all that stuff so have collected a few pictures that I like- -mostly Ikki Matsumoto prints and my friend Carol Rothman's wildlife photos. And I always have lots of pictures of my kids and grandkids.

#24. I met my closest friend and confidant just a few years ago. I’ve had lots of friends in my life but never one who was so much like me. I walked into the wildlife hospital one day and she was answering phones. It was an immediate connection. It is like we knew each other from the minute we met. We have soooo much in common, it is scary. We both feel like we knew each other in a previous life. Ok, I’ll admit it, I believe in reincarnation.

#25. I feel a close bond with each of my grandkids. Even though I wasn’t in the same room, I heard my eldest’s (Sam) first cry and was the first one after his mom and dad to hold him. (There is nothing quite so special as your child handing you their child). I was also his first babysitter. We saw Erin when she was an hour long and went to pick up her big brother from daycare to take him to meet her. Again, I was one of the first to hold her. She is so much like me, freckles, sports nut, etc. I was in the room when my daughter’s first born, Noah, was born. She was the one who handed him to me. His other grandma and I bonded that day too. And when the twins were born, I was the only person other than parents and medical staff allowed in the room. I wasn’t able to hold them right away but observing the birth of your twin grandsons is amazing!

OK, that is 25. I could keep going and going!! Hey, I’ve got 71 years of memories. Sorry if I bored you but this was so much fun. Thanks, Karen, for the idea. Maybe I’ll do another 25 again in the future.

I Was Tagged--A Looonnnggg Time Ago

Ok, so I was tagged way back when and what with all the posts and pictures of San Diego, I kind of put it on the back burner. Kathleen over at Southern Artistic Touch tagged me while I was in SD. What you are supposed to do is go to your 5th Photo folder and then pick the 5th picture. Ok, so I have lots and lots of folders--some listed by the year they were taken, some by pictures for my blog, some by pictures from my kids, etc, etc, etc. So I went to my 2009 folder. Ok, I know it's only January but I had lots of folders already. Then I went to the 5th folder which just happened to be President Obama's inauguration. I had taken a bunch of pictures of my TV screen. (First time I ever took pictures of an inauguration!!). Anyway, this is my 5th picture.

Congratulations Mr. President.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Family Shots from San Diego

OK, so I love San Diego but I don't go out there to sightsee. I go out there to see my family. And, I take loads and loads of pictures of them. In fact, I imagine they get a bit tired of seeing the camera in their face everytime they turn around. But, now, I'm going to bore you with all my grandkid pictures, ok?? Oh, and by the way, I discovered that it is nearly impossible to get a decent picture of 3 kids in the same photo!!

Noah has been computer literate since he was 18 months old. The twins took a bit longer. A week or so before we arrived, Michael set up a computer for the kids so he and Karen could get their computer back. Well it seems that Ethan assumed that this was HIS computer and gets just a "wee" bit upset if anyone else dare sit at this computer. So, Michael and Karen now spend much of their computer time on the laptop or on the PC after the little ones are in bed. They are now looking for a new house where they can have a room set up with 5 computers!!

It seems that Luka can't quite decide on what he wants to be when he grows up--a rock musician, a shepherd or the next Bob The Builder (perish the thought!)

There's nothing quite so sweet as two little boys giving their mommy some flowers.

Or a daddy helping his little guys get a drink of water.

Unfortunately, Noah is at that age where he doesn't take many "natural" pictures anymore so we always get wide eyes, mouth wide open, or some such thing.

But, every once in awhile, I catch him unawares and I get a pretty decent picture.

Did I mention that Ethan really gets into his eating? And takes FOREVER to finish!

And yes, everyone in the family gets a little crazy at times.

But it's rare when you catch a picture of brotherly love. I know, I know--awwwww.
Anyway, we had a great time and I got lots and lots of pictures to tide me over until the next time I get to go out there and shove a camera in their faces again!

Monday, January 26, 2009

On The Beach

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that living on Sanibel is real and not just a dream. This island is known as the 3rd best shelling location in the world. And I LOVE shelling. Then WHY don't I get to the beach more???? I keep asking myself that. I went out today for a couple of hours. I have to admit that this is about the first time in 6 weeks that I have been to the beach. I have either been too busy, too lazy, or have been on vacation. Last week, apparently, shelling was amazing. Less so today. Oh don't get me wrong there were lots of shells on the beach but just not the ones I was looking for.

But, you can't beat the view!! Especially when there is no one around but you. And there are always lots of birds to look at.

OK, so there weren't exactly the kind of shells I was looking for. I love to find whelks, murexes, Sharks Eyes, Cones, etc. Today I discovered that it was ideal to look for miniatures so I put my Sanibel Stoop to good use and found the following goodies.

Pictures Part 4-Maritime Museum

Mr. Snowbird, Karen, Noah and I went to the Maritime Museum which is on the bay. There is a collection of ships which can be toured.

The first boat we toured was the Berkeley, an 1898 steam ferryboat that operated for 60 years on San Francisco Bay. It has been beautifully restored. The giftshop and a museum is also located there.

Next up was the Medea which is a steam yacht built for William Macalister Hall of Torrisdale Castle , Scotland to be used for entertaining an hunting trips around western Scotland. Since it was docked right next to the Berkeley with entrance from the Berkeley, I didn't get any pictures of it but you can see it by going to the website. Another ship that is part of the museum is the Californian but we didn't tour it as it was actually out of port. She is a beautiful tall ship launched for the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.

Next on our tour was a B 39 Soviet Attack Submarine. Not my favorite ship since I am claustophobic. We had to crawl through 5 or 6 hatches which weren't the easiest things to crawl through. But it definitely was an interesting ship to tour.

From the sub, we headed to the HMS Surprise. This ship was used in the movie "Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World". So we got to walk the same deck that Russell Crowe walked. It is a beautiful replica of an 18th century frigate. It was first launched in 1970 and was first christened as HMS Rose. We even got to see some uniforms from the movie.

The last ship on the tour was the Star of India. The Star of India was originally christened the Euterpe. It is the oldest active ship and was built in 1863. She was an iron ship rather than a wooden one. She still sails out of port once a year.

We kind of got a giggle out of the following pictures. Apparently groups of school kids can go to "American Revolution Overnight" sponsored by the museum. When we arrived there were a bunch of school kids being called to order by a very stern revolutionary type captain. Pretty funny. Anyway, we later saw some of them rowing this ship with the captain looking every bit like George Washington crossing the Delaware. Somehow though, finding their way between a Russian Sub and a British frigate lost some of the authenticity!

We were lucky enough be be on the Star of India at sunset. The views were amazing.

We all had a fun time climbing through the various ships and learning about their histories.