Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beach Babe

Katie loves the beach, in any weather and any time of day. She will get in the water too, a true little beach bum. It doesn't bother her if it's cold. She will play in it anyway. Maybe we will take her this weekend if it's nice out. I'd rather go when the sun is shining and the cold wind isn't blowing. And I may just get my toes wet...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Future fighter pilot

Isn't he a cutie? He belongs to one of the ladies I took pictures of in front of the jet a few weeks ago. He was so shy and this is the only photo I got of him that was worth anything. What a little doll though.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Please feed the birds!

Got food? On our recent trip to Torrey Pines State Beach the Gulls were checking everyone out to see if there was any food for them.

I see FOOD!!!

Here is lunch!
Is there enough to go around?
Ahhh, happy birds...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It's time for me to say good-bye to Florida, at least for now.

It's been over a week since we've been home, and it's been wonderful enjoying the memories through these photos.

We all loved our vacation there, so maybe we'll go back for our third annual Granny trip next year.
So, Florida, please keep the light on for us...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where in the World???

While we were in Florida we made sure to stick our toes in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. When we got home to California, the kids wanted to go to the beach here so they could say their toes got wet in each of the large bodies of water that touches the U.S. (at least the lower 48) all within the same week. Can you guess which one is which?

To help out a bit, there are two pictures of each, and they aren't mixed up any.

Whatever the beach, the kids love it. I don't like the sand, and I certainly don't like being cold, so I'm really miserable if I'm cold and sandy. But I'm much happier if I have my camera with me and can play a bit with it.

Any luck figuring out which is which?

OK, I'll tell you...

They are in order from east to west.

The first two are the Atlantic Ocean at Cocoa Beach, the next two are the Gulf of Mexico, the top one being Marco Island and the second Sanibel Island, and the last two are the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines State Beach.

Why is it you can reach the Gulf of Mexico from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, but you can only get to the Gulf of California through Mexico?

Monday, February 23, 2009


Did I tell you that I love pelicans? They are such funny-looking birds, but can be so graceful too. I had lots of opportunities to take photos of them while in Florida. Here are a few of my favorites.

These two were taken on Marco Island in the fog. There were a bunch of pelis hanging out on these pilings, and some were trying to dry their wings by holding them out. I don't think they were having much luck at that.

This peli was our hood ornamant on the airboat trip.

These pelis were feeding on fish just off the shore of Sanibel Island. People were fishing right next to them, in about waist deep water.

And a lone sea gull...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Better than Disney!

We headed south to Naples after doing Disney World and the Space Center so we could ride an airboat in the Everglades. It was my favorite part of the trip! We ended up at Captain Doug's small airboat tours in Everglades City, and Captain Bobby took us out on the airboat. Captain Bobby grew up there and knew the area like the back of his hand. And the front of it too! He took this picture of the 5 of us. That is my mom next to me, and CJ, Katie and Deena in front.

As we pulled away from the dock and headed out, this guy decided to ride with us for a while. Every airboat I saw coming in or going out had at least one Pelican hood ornament. We had 2 for a while. And you know how much I love Pelicans! I was in a Peli-lover's photographic heaven! I'll post more of those later though.

So we head over to where Captain Bobby spotted this gator earlier in the day, and he was still there, soaking up the sun. He looked to be about 9 feet long, but we didn't get close enough to make sure. That saying about sleeping dogs applies to gators too!

We left Mr. Gator to continue his nap while we hunted for more critters. Captain Bobby really knows where to look. He stopped the boat and said to watch in this one spot of the water where there were different ripples, and sure enough, up popped a manatee snout. This was the only photo I got of it before it disappeared into the depths of the swamp. The airboats have a flat bottom and no propeller so they can't harm the manatees like other boats can.

We zipped around in the mangroves for a while. The trails looked like a dead end, where we would crash into this tangle of roots and branches, but Captain Bobby navigated them perfectly and we would emerge into a lake of sorts. What a rush!!!

This guy was hanging out in one of the lakes, and he swam over to check us out and see if we had any snacks for him. Feeding the gators is not allowed, but people do anyway.

He saw my camera and gave me a big smile... Cheese! What a ham.

We left Mr. Gator heading over to another boat that had just emerged from the mangrove forest and went looking for more swamp critters. Captain Bobby pulled up to the shore of this little island and two sets of eyes peered out. It was a momma raccoon and her little one.
They like Captain Bobby because he gives them treats. Have you ever seen a raccoon on too much caffeine? More like a tasmanian devil. Ok, maybe not. It was just water in the Mountain Dew bottle. These are salt water swamps, and since fresh water is hard to come by, Captain Bobby gives these little guys a sip whenever he happens by. They also had a marshmallow treat as we were leaving.

As we were heading back in after an hour that felt more like a few minutes, our escort returned.

Sorry Mickey, I have never had this much fun at Disney...
By the way, if you are ever in Everglades City for an airboat ride, go to Captain Doug's and ask for Captain Bobby. He knows where all the critters like to hang out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The reason we went to Florida the week before the kids had the week off of school was to watch a Space Shuttle launch, piloted by our friend Tony "Guido" Antonelli, who was at Test Pilot School with us. The day we went to Kennedy Space Center, February 12, was the day the Space Shuttle launch was originally scheduled for. When we were there it had been rescheduled for no earlier than February 19, and now its Feb. 27. Guido was still in Houston, so we didn't get to see him either. So, no cool photos of a launch, and no time spent with our friend the astronaut. The shuttle was on the launch pad, and this would have been our view of the launch from the VIP area. The pad is on the right side of the photo.

And with my telephoto lens:

Wouldn't that have been a cool shot?!?

We did get to see the Apollo/Saturn V Center and do the Shuttle Lauch Experience, which is a cool simulator that launched us into space. Both CJ and Katie loved it, and the Grandmas and I thought it was really neat. I can't imagine the excitement felt by those few who do get to ride the Shuttle into space. I would have liked to spend more time there thinking of all the brave men and women who have put us into space and being in the presence of the technological wonders that got us there, but we ran out of time. So, we will watch the launch of the Shuttle Discovery on TV and think of Guido going into space.

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 Guesses

What is this? You have 3 guesses...

Still not sure?

Yes, all of the pictures are of the same thing.

Need a hint? It's at one of the Disney parks in Orlando.

Does that help any?

How about now? It's a giant golf ball! OK, it's not. Did you know there is actually a ride inside the giant ball at Epcot? I didn't. It's called Spaceship Earth and depicts the history of mankind. It was Grandma-friendly, and the kids liked it too.

Another "did ya know?" is that you can ask to ride in the front of the Monorails. We did as often as possible.