Island Life in Photos

Back to South Padre Island we went! It’s sad I had to go to the beach to see any measurable rain. Speaking of rain, all of Texas is so dry. We encountered no less than a dozen burnt patches of land between N. TX and the island. Also a full-blown fire in progress. Send rain.

We spent a lot of time at the pool and a similar amount of time in the ocean. 7 bottles of sunscreen later…

Landshark is my go-to. No idea why I like it but I only drink it at the beach. South Padre’s proximity to Mexico is an invitation for the spiciest, most authentic tacos in the world. And since I can’t resist cilantro, I purchased some Cilantro Sauce at the local Farmer’s Market then proceeded to eat it at every meal. I’m on vacation.

Speaking of food, I also ate my weight in fish and limes. Oh, and gelato. I ate a lot of that, too. Really I only ate a lot of gelato because I was the designated driver on vacation and responsible for picking up our meals. So when asked to deliver gelato, I charged adequate tax on my Uber eats-esque services. One bite for me, one bite for you. Fair is fair. It was 90°, as well, so there’s that.

When in Rome… seeing as how it was quite cooler than North Texas, I took everyone’s advice and brought my running shoes! Somehow I only had to look at the sand and suddenly it was inside my socks. Magic. Between early morning runs and coffee 2-3x a day, I’m the most relaxed I’ve been all year.

I would share more, but there’s a stack of laundry to be done and I still have to de-sand our beach accessories. I feel a procrastinap coming on.

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I ask you –

Did you vacation this year? Where?

Have you encountered an extra dry season?

Tell me how much laundry you do when you return from a trip. Avg 3 loads.

A Weekend Away

My good friend Dan sends me some of the most thought provoking articles.

“I Tried Slow Living in a Remote Welsh Cottage, and This Is What I Learned” by Kayleigh Dray was just what I needed. It was truly perfect timing because I was already fielding questions from mini regarding our trip to NE Texas to visit my parents, aunt, and sister. Her actual words were “What will we do?” Answer: just be. I spent my time wandering around a giant field and watching dozens of hummingbirds. They’re so fun!

In preparation for the visit, I had to move around a run scheduled for Saturday because I knew the humidity would be brutal and incompatible with any running plans. I started a 5k training plan – probably forgot to mention it. Not for a race though. I quickly realized if I’m not training for something, then my tendency to “get around to it” doesn’t motivate me well enough to actually “get around to it” especially where the treadmill is concerned.

Fortunately I have been able to accomplish two outdoor runs, both involving random rain. This is me not complaining. Except for the one that included lightning which made me run faster, it’s been good. Also, it was suggested I try graham crackers before a run. Quick carbs, easy to eat early in the morning before my stomach wakes up – simple, right? Well, my grocery store was out of cinnamon teddy grahams (my preferred alternative to graham crackers). I bought the store brand instead thinking there probably isn’t much difference. Wow. So wrong. Now I need to eat these individual packages of awful, pseudo-teddy grahams. Oh yay.

Thank goodness I can wash it down with ice cream which is exactly what I needed after a weekend of decidedly cooler temperatures (only 95°!) but with much higher humidity. Running out there would have never been a good idea. And it definitely didn’t epitomize the concept of slow living.

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I ask you –

Any interest visiting remote places?

Have you ever bought a food that didn’t taste like expected?

I’m on vacation next week. Should I bring my running shoes this time? I’m thinking yes.

Texas Wildlife

This is most definitely not a post about actual wildlife. Instead, I’m indirectly referring to my neighborhood. There exists some neighbors who are like feral cats…projects never completed, unkemptness (made that word up), and general disdane for societal norms. Truly I couldn’t care less – haHA got it right this time – if anyone subscribes to societal norms because most are just ridiculous. However, living in an HOA is an acceptance of whatever “norms” are set forth. It only irks me a little when some are allowed to do one thing, but others can’t. Moving on, Kel.

actual wildlife

As I pride myself on being observant and having a great sense of situational awareness, the neighbors as a whole group fascinate me. Last summer there was a young man who nearly burned down a cul-de-sac because his camping “skills” and young boy appetite led him to make a fire with the intent of roasting hotdogs. Lately, the near constant running amuck of neighbor kids has ceased; I’m not sure if it’s weather related or the parents shipped the kids off to relatives for the summer. Wonder when they come back?

Then, there’s the house sans roof. Probably end of 2020 the house was stripped of shingles and eventually people came out to replace the black clothy stuff (technical term) only to disappear for… let’s see …nearly 2 years now. New shingles arrived before everyone quit and have set outside through ice storms, wind storms, and the rainy season last fall. Seeing as how I don’t know much about shingles, I’m going out on a limb to say those are probably not any good now. So, last week, more (new) shingles arrived; days later, there was a man on the roof replacing (again) what looked like the clothy stuff. A few hours later he was gone, project seemingly forgotten, and I haven’t seen him since. There’s got to be a story behind this.

Also, there’s the mystery of the perpetually lost, floating paddle boat. It’s not the only one on the lake, but it is the only one set free to float of its own accord. Is it broken? Inhabited by ghostly fish? No one knows. I’m tempted to beckon it to my shoreline so I can take a ride. Those things aren’t cheap so why would someone not take care of it?

Finally, I can’t end without mentioning naked neighbor. There have been no other instances of nakedness, to my knowledge. I’d like to keep it that way forever. However, his lonely shoes were sitting on his porch when I came back from a run one morning. Cringe.

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I ask you –

What strange things happen in your neighborhood? Tell me that story again of the weird loss of satellite capabilities.

Have you ever ridden on a paddle boat?

Tell me where you keep most of your shoes! By the treadmill!

Someone Else’s Lens

(The photos below were taken by my friend, Dan, on his recent visit to New York. Photo credit is all his.)

There’s something about traveling that makes my soul happy. New places we visit are seen from a different perspective than those who call it home. When was the last time you walked around your city and saw it with unfamiliar eyes? Try it. I’ve only seen NYC on a large scale via my window when I drove past. The sheer amount of people doesn’t interest me, but maybe to see it at 3am when fewer people are out and the buildings are lit up – that sounds nice.

The view south down 7th Ave from 51st Street.

Considered a total loss after a fire in June, the Spirit of Norfolk was a Norfolk attraction. I kept up with the story of its demise because a) I remembered seeing it when I lived in that area and b) I thought for sure they would extinguish the fire much sooner. Certainly there are some very worried people now because the ship was used for weddings and other large events. Bet they’re not pleased.

Spirit of Norfolk

Lately the only traveling I’m embarking on is from the car to whatever air-conditioned location I must be at. The average daily temperature is 108° with a heat index of 112°. I fully expect roads to start behaving like mini volcanoes. It’s a thing.

Fall can’t come soon enough. Farewell mosquitoes! Time to find some antihistamine.

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I ask you –

Do you love traveling?

Weather check in – what is yours?

Name your favorite place to visit.

Heat Wave

Change of plans. Nothing says get it together, Kel like a wake up call from your body, specifically when you’re too stubborn to acknowledge the signs before the fall. If that isn’t cryptic enough, let’s just say I got a little too close to the same experience nearly 4 yrs ago when I took an ambulance ride for suspected heat stroke. Coupled with poor fueling, I know better. And here we are. Unless the heat wave and triple digit temps break soon, the remainder of my summer will be spent on the treadmill. Surrounded by fans. Yay Texas.

I paused my training plan because I don’t desire to run 6 miles on the belt of doom. Possible, yes. Will… negative. However, I did see where there are a few upcoming breaks in the heat and MAYBE I can get outside one morning for a run. Perhaps I should have considered my running goals when considering Texas as a living option. I heard Utah was beautiful nearly year-round. Ehhh elevation isn’t my favorite either. I could use a summer home and a winter home. Let me get right on it.

My sister put it this way: “I have a few demands for going into the gates of hell this weekend! I need an ice pack, enough deodorant to bathe in and a fan!!! 😂😂😂👍🏻” Don’t we all. On the bright side, it “should” only be low 90s for the first part of this week which means it “might” be upper 60s on the overnights soooooo maybe I can run in the early mornings. Maybe yes, maybe no.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything?

Do you have a seasonal home? Mind if I borrow it?

Tell me your essentials to surviving unbearable heat! Ice cream!

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

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I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.

Outdoor Collections

When Spring comes alive:

Doo-dads!

Aptly named “Doo-dads” because a) my dad created them and b) because it’s fun to say and I have no other terminology. In essence, they are suncatchers. The backyard gets the sunset so it also gets the suncatchers! Unfortunately, I’m either busy or not home when the weather is decent enough to sit outside to watch. To do list item.

Female Ducky

Each year a pair of ducks comes to our neighborhood and hangs out for awhile. With the addition of some new families, I enlisted the help of a few girls to watch over the ducks and make sure their rambunctious brothers and cousins didn’t run the ducks off. Maybe we’ll see some ducklings!

I don’t care what anyone says – daffodils do not exist in my world. There are only jonquils! They may look like daffodils, they may be exactly the same for all I know; however, I will forever call them jonquils. The end. I’m incredibly pleased these bloomed this year and will make a return each year.

Lastly, only in Texas: Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX is experimenting with drone delivery. Full details here. Interestingly, they’re not delivering near Brenham; instead the plan is to deliver in two small towns near DFW. Let’s explore this. I don’t know the cost, but it would be a huge problem in my neighborhood. I would be getting daily deliveries! If you’ve never had an opportunity to try Blue Bell ice cream, you’re missing out!

Now I shall go take my daily dose of Zyrtec in order to prevent a horrible case of sneezing, itchy, runny, red eyes and nose. Because Texas spring is in bloom.

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I ask you –

Do you have any yearly animal visitors?

What are your favorite flowers?

Spring: yay or oh-please-not-again. Definitely yay!