In recent months, I’ve been busier than a three-balled tomcat. Not having as much fun as the tri-baller, though — mostly work, work, work for me.
It was time to take a much needed break.
For the second year in a row, I was able to take my daughter away for a nice beach vacation. Last year, it was Jamaica, which was pretty much heaven. This year, we stayed in the U.S. and went south to Florida.
I’ve never felt the desire to visit Florida – it seems so overrated, and you know what they say: it’s the place for “the redneck newlywed and the nearly dead”…
Alas, I did not choose the destination. But I DID promise myself that I’d try to visit every single one of the 50 U.S. states before I died, and I’ll try just about anything at least once. Gotta keep that mind open.
Also, I’d heard that a few of the Florida beaches have crystal clear/blue waters comparable to those of The Bahamas or Jamaica. So off we went, bound for “The Sunshine State”…my 27th state to visit.
A damn long drive. Took us like 13 hours by car. We passed through Arkansas and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama…
Finally, we entered Florida. As we drove into Pensacola, The Blue Angels were putting on an air show. Pretty cool…
We stopped for a bite to eat near the gulf. They REALLY didn’t need a fire in this place. It was like 200 degrees, PLUS humidity.
I think the place was called Flounder’s. Good food. People running around in bikinis everywhere. It was like Spring Break Madness, all around the beaches of Pensacola. Cool pit stop, but a bit crazy and not our final destination. More driving…
Our vacay spot was in THIS area:
Wasn’t thinking much of the place, until we passed into “The Emerald Coast”…
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about…palm trees and condos…
I’d rented a condo right on the ocean/gulf. It was such bliss when I could finally smell the ocean in the air. I’m all about the water. That’s the whole reason for trip, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a water baby at heart.
Then finally…there it was. BEACH. ❤
Lana gazing at our home for the week.
She approved. 🙂
We also brought along Lana’s boyfriend and his mother.
Off they go…
Awwww, these two need to STOP.
They were ridiculously happy.
White sand and condos all around. Pretty chill.
I chose my spot. My address for the entire week: beach towel…
Reserved, mother chuckers. No drama or work allowed.
Just swimming. And laying. And reading…
I have a routine when I vacation at an ocean/sea spot: I am up by 4:30 or 5 a.m. (Lana does NOT wake up this early, no matter what. She thinks I’m MUY LOCO). I make coffee, take my coffee cup out to the water’s edge, and I watch the sun rise over the water in a peaceful, meditative state. Few things are as beautiful. These are some of the greatest mornings of my life…
Above: you cannot tear me from the ocean or my coffee.
I DARE YOU TO TRY.
Above: misty. Like a painting.
This guy, though (below). 🙂
He was a white-haired man, I’m guessing in his seventies or eighties. He walked the beach EVERY single morning. And he had the best smile. I wish I’d caught the smile. But I caught him walking away…
Another thing I do each morning (after my coffee ritual) is walk the shoreline and dive into the water looking for shells and other sea treasures. Time to to hit the water…
First light. No makeup. Didn’t brush my hair. Rolling right out of bed and about to roll right into the ocean.
This is me at my realest. And happiest.
Someone got a picture while I was busy searching. Sneaky.
One morning I was swimming and minding my own business when a woman on the shore walked toward me and said, “Ummm…there’s a shark swimming up to you.” I just kind of laughed it off and said, “It’s probably just a dolphin. Everyone thinks they’re sharks.”
She was adamant. “No…we’ve been tracking it up the coast, and it doesn’t swim like a dolphin.” Sure enough, I turned around, and there it was, VERY close to me. A shark, about six feet long. I calmly stood and started to move toward the shore, not splashing or making a scene. I actually wasn’t scared…just fascinated. And it probably isn’t healthy that the first thing I thought was, “Damn, where’s my camera? I want to get closer.” They cleared the water of swimmers for a bit, and we all watched its long, dark shadow as it sailed parallel to the coast and then disappeared. It was amazing.
I also had quite a few dolphins do a drive-by as I swam in the early morning hours.
I love all the sea life.
Some of the treasures I found:
I was so excited about my olive shell! (scientific family Olividae).
Loved the local neighborhoods in Destin. Found a place to rent a bike. Sweet. My favorite way to travel and explore the city…
My hot pink ride.
Found some local animals. Had to say hello, of course. Hi, kitty cat.
This cutie had a pretty sweet setup…living in and around a local seafood house.
Found some great places to eat…
Lana and Christian especially like this one (above) — Pompano Joe’s.
Located right on the beach…
The fun couple. Teengers can eat A LOT. It’s amazing.
My best find while out riding alone? A bad ass coffee place.
No, really. It’s called BAD ASS COFFEE…
They aren’t kidding about the 100% Kona tag. This shit is FOR REALZ.
I found my nirvana.
Thank you, Bad Ass Coffee Company. ❤
Then it was time for more water, and more water, and more water…
How changeable the gulf is.
Just watch the water, and how it transforms with the light, weather, and time of day…
And when a storm comes (above), the ocean just turns straight up GREEN.
so THAT’S why they call it The Emerald Coast.
That bird’s like, “STORM. Forget the beer…Ima get the fuck outta here.”
Poor turtle. His head is on backwards.
Lana and Christian exploring with the deep-sea goggles.
Seriously, she is too much…
Lana and Christian try to catch some waves…
Lana thought it was ridiculously funny each time I wiped out:
So many wipe-outs, and Lana just laughing her head off. Har har har.
Screw it, I’ll just lay here…
Happy Hour. 🙂
Love hour. ❤
BEACH AT NIGHT.
Someone decided to set off some fireworks. Is that legal?
Below: One of my favorite things….I love this —->
…a relatively new phenomenon. This is what the beach looks like at night in the 2000’s. Those are cell phones in the distance. Lovers and friends walk along the ocean using the lights on their phones to lead the way, looking for crabs and shells as they go. It’s so beautiful to sit in the darkness of a gazebo, feeling the cool ocean breeze on your skin, watching all the lights slowly float up and down the coast. A tiny parade of ghosts carrying their tiny 21st century lanterns.
Uh oh. Someone is getting married. Good luck, brave souls. You’ve got about a 50/50 shot.
As far as the coast, beach, and water were concerned, Florida (or this part of it, at least) was lovely.
Time to move on to other coasts and experience new waters…hopefully soon!
In other news….
The special gift I sent out to special readers, family, and most cherished friends all over the world was — as you’ve figured out by now — my 2015 wall calendar. I heard back from all of you…minus one (in fact, that one person wouldn’t answer when I asked if they received it, and they stopped speaking to me altogether? Was it THAT offensive or ugly? lol). But all the rest of you expressed profuse pleasure and thanks, and have reported that you are using and enjoying it. This makes me so happy, and the hundreds and hundreds of dollars I spent making them (and the hours spent pouring over my photos & my computer screen) were so worth it. I did it because YOU are special, and because I appreciate your continued love and support. THANK YOU. ❤
**THE BOOK OF POETRY**
Yes, I do still plan to release a book…ONE DAY. But who knows when that day will be. Life has been a little…insane. To say the least. And every time I think it’s gonna let up, just a little, it pounds me right in the face again. Tomorrow my daughter goes into oral surgery, then she heals and we pack her up, and then she is off to college, to live several hours away. 😦 This is a very difficult time for me, and there isn’t much time for creation…of ANY sort. But people, someday…IT’S GONNA BE.
**JENN’S HOT SUMMER PLAYLIST, 2015 EDITION**
Did you think I was gonna leave you without my annual summer playlist? Hell to the no. DJ Jenn-X has whipped up a delicious set for you…a little mix of what I’m jamming to this summer. Some favorites from the 1950’s to today, rock/pop/jazz/rap/electronic/alternative…and of course, shoegaze. I hope you enjoy it. To hear the new playlist, click here:
Gotta run for now. Time to hang out with that Lana boo and prepare her for surgery tomorrow. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. Keep on rockin’ in the free world…
Until next time,