Sunday, February 28, 2010

Manatee Viewing Center

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day. We went over to the condo to help mom and dad load their car for home. They were on the third floor and I can feel it in my calves from running up and down the stair so much. It rained the whole time were were packing the car, but cleared when we were in the restaurant for lunch. (I think there's some sort of law for that) ha! They will be staying with my aunt and uncle in Bradenton for a fews days before going back to Michigan. Well everyone has left so now I can get back to my blogs. I thought I would show you another place we saw for their visit.
Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center. The weather has been unusually cold this winter in Florida, well not just Florida many parts of the country has experienced more than there fair share of cold and snow! We will get cold days during the winter but it normally doesn't last more than a couple of days then we warm back up, often above average temps. Not this year, we've been staying below average for sometime now (we're thinking about moving further south).
TECO (Tampa Electric) has a power plant that puts out warm water into an outlet. The area where this happens attract all sorts of sea life when it is cold out. When the water temperature gets below 68° the Manatees join in for the warmer water.
The Manatee Viewing Center is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 1 through April 15. (The center is closed Thanksgiving, at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter.) Admission and parking is free, but you can make a donation.
You can watch the manatees come in and out of the bay. In this photo you can see where the warm water comes out. All those dots or bumps in the water are manatees.

It was crowded that day with both manatees and humans. You can also see rays, sharks, and a lot of fish. They have signs with pictures to help identify what you might see.

Here is a little closer, the manatees can stay under for around 20 minutes before needing to take another breath. They move slow and often will get hit by boats because they can't get out of the way quick enough. There were several baby manatees too. We could see the nostrils, and tails when they were moving.
Teco has set up several boardwalks and viewing platforms, so it can accommodate a lot of people.
They also have gardens, a small museum, a cafe, and a hurricane simulator.
It was a nicer day out than it looks. The clouds came in while we were there.

Behind one platform looking out to the bay. There is a boardwalk that goes out right across where the warm water comes out. They label all of the plant life too.

This is a Spotted Eagle Ray. The small ones are close to the shore so I could get a good picture of them.
There were larger ones that were jumping everywhere. We often could see the tips of their wings above the water. We even saw a shark jump out of the water twisting in the air before going under again. TECO has some cameras on their website that will show live underwater viewing.
The first three photos, my niece Kendra took. My camera's battery died, you think I would of checked that. Thanks Kendra!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sharkey's Venice Florida

Just a quick post because I have family visiting!
My sister and niece Jessica and her boyfriend are in town for a week. Jessica turned twenty one on Feb 13. Her sister who lives in Colorado Springs flew in to surprise her for her birthday. I didn't have my camera at the airport for the surprise but my sis did. I see if I can get that one posted later. Their first day here we went to try to find sharks teeth in Venice. Kendra is a 1st grade teacher and wanted to find some to show her class. I have a bunch that I found when we lived on the beach in Venice, but she didn't want them that way!

The sand on the beaches in Venice are a little darker. There you'll find a lot of fossils other than the fossilize sharks teeth. They rebuilt the beach several years ago and it hasn't been quite the same since to find the sharks teeth, but maybe it's getting better again. Okay that's not a sharks tooth above, the ones they found were tiny. I just wanted to show the sand.

It had rained in the morning just as we were coming down, but it cleared up enough shortly after that. The pier was built for the fisherman and there is a slight charge if you want to go on it.

They rent these baskets so you can go out and grab some shells and such from the bottom and sort through it to see if you can find any sharks teeth. I took this photo of some others that had these, but forgot to tell Brian and Jessica that they rent them until later...oops. I never rented one and really didn't think they would want to. (You can see them all searching a pile in the background)
The restaurant Sharkey's is right at the start of the pier and has a Tiki Bar outside and usually will play island music with steel drums. They have an array of frozen drinks that they will only sell you two, after that you are cut off!

Under the boardwalk...I mean pier, down by the sea....I mean gulf!

Grandma and grandpa with the grand kids, well three of them.
This was a real quick post. I'll have to go back when the weather is a little nicer, and it looks prettier out. Tomorrow we go to Apollo Beach to see the Manatees!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Day To Remember

My husband is so sweet! A couple of days ago this is what I found carefully placed on my stove top. Of course the card was not opened at the time. You have to understand the story behind it. We keep this trophy on the shelf above our cupboards in the kitchen all the time, because he won this the day we met.
His cousin Michelle is the one that introduced us. Michelle and I were travel agents and we worked at Endless Vacation Travel. I was supposed to meet him in December when she had to go to a ship inspection in Miami. Wade lived in Miami at the time, and we were going to meet up with Michelle's cousin and go visit the keys. Well I had a chance to go to the Canary Islands and I've been on so many ship inspections (I started out in the cruise department). We knew we would get several opportunities to see him at another time. We were single and got a chance to travel often. Our first trip together was a quick last minute trip to Copenhagen over Thanksgiving. We are so different, but we travel well together. Now with Michelle, when we get back from a trip her stories are much more ...shall I say embellished than my were. Sometimes I would just look at her after we were telling about our trip an say..."wow that happened? How'd I miss that?"
Anyway, back to how we met. I was not at all excited about this. Michelle had different taste in guys than I did. Did I mention how different we were? She said "Hey how would you like to meet my cousin Wade? " Okay...yeah...they grew up about an hour north of Grand Rapids out in the country (not that is a bad thing) and meet her 32 year old cousin that has never been married before (of course either had I). Our next trip was to Merritt Island in Florida. We flew into Orlando for one night and were there the same time Wade was in Lake Alfred for a jet ski race. We were supposed to meet up for drinks Friday night, but it rained so much a the power went out and (before cell phones) the phones were out. Whew! got out of that one.
We did meet up at the race Feb 11, 1990. He was so nice, he explained all about how the jet ski races worked. Ran off to hold a fellow racers ski for a start. Came back to chat some more, even though this girl who had a crush on him kept bugging him! It was a nice time and I enjoyed our short visit. Later when we were back in Michigan he called his cousin to meet him at Friday's oh and does your friend want to come along too? We went to meet up with him and ended up going north to go snow skiing, and we got to know each other better. After that Michelle and I flew down to Sarasota where he moved and went to other races. I eventually moved to the area and stayed with my aunt and uncle who lived there too until I got a job, we started dating, and the rest as they say is history! This is the trophy that he won on the day we met!
Thanks for staying with me on our story of how we met 20 years ago. We were married in July 1993. Michelle was in our wedding. He is always so good about remembering anniversaries of all sorts of things, (a lot better than I am). I am so bad at that.
This is shortly after we met and I believe I moved down here then. I moved here in Sept 1990.

This is at a race in Sanford Florida oh so long ago! We went all over when he was racing. Now he gets to travel often while building race skis for other racers.
I just wanted to share this with all of you, I thought it is perfect for Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Martha Mondays - Crayon Hearts

It was my turn to choose what we were going to do this week for Martha Mondays crayon hearts. I wanted to do a Valentine craft, and Brette of Martha and Me had already done my first choice, the glittered roses. I thought this one was pretty and easy enough for everyone to try. I also chose to post it here rather than my food blog, just because of it being a craft instead of cooking. My other cooking Martha Mondays I'll post on The Tiny Skillet sorry to confuse anyone. So here we go! It seemed easy enough, and I had all the stuff on hand to do it. You take some wax paper and spread some crayon shavings on it, fold it over and crimp the edges. After protecting your ironing board, and iron with craft paper, simply go over it with an iron set on medium, melting the shavings.
Okay, again easy enough. The first sign of difficulty was finding a sharpener that would fit the crayon, the first one was too snug. Then the points kept getting stuck in the sharpener. I thought of shaving them a different way, but I used a tooth pick to keep getting tips out that broke off and stuck in the sharpener. I think I might of had too old of crayons.
It said not to overlap them, yeah, right! I spread them thin hoping it wasn't too thin. I remember ironing Fall leaves between two sheets of wax paper as a kid. They didn't always turn out like the teacher's did either.
So why did it get those wrinkles? Humm...I was able to get a couple hearts cut out, but it was had tracing around the heart, nothing would show up so I used a red sharpie! They looked okay...but not what I expected it sorta curled and so I peeled it apart...then it curled and so I just ironed it on craft paper. There!

But then it didn't give you the see through hang it in the window look they were going for! It did look cool on the paper and would make a great Valentine's Day card!

I'll have to cut some more out to use for some cards! ...and I got some really sharp crayons out of it!
I don't know, maybe I should try shaving it different or adding a thicker layer, maybe next time, it was kinda messy with the shavings all over! I am curious how everyone else's turned out. So please check out theirs off the Martha Mondays blog list.
So this is what Tucker was doing while I was crafting. Talk about a lazy dog!

Laying down while he's eating!
Well after all he is almost 14 years old. You know how old that is in dog years!
Hope you all have a great week!