Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Clean Up, Critters and Cronies

There's a lot that's been going on in L.A. (Lower Alabama, which is not to be confused with those folks out on the West Coast).

Thursday afternoon (June 24), Dad, Mom, and I journeyed over to Gu.lf Shores to check out the beach from the State Pier. There were workers doing what appeared to be some clean up and there were LOTS of boats out in the water, but we couldn't tell that anything was really being done. Just looking at the boom that was being placed on the shoreline--in front of the oil that had already come in--it did not appear that it would do any substantial good. Mom, Dad and I also observed five or six "workers" watching another worker in a front-end loader. All the front-end loader seemed to do was make a bigger mess and bury more oil on the shoreline.

Oil and Workers on the Beach

Clumps of oil on the beach

Black oil specks in the water

Oil Slick off the end of the pier
(Brown area in the water)

Boom staked on the beach in front of the oil

Next, we ventured out onto the pier. We took our time walking the length of it and looked over each side as we meandered toward the end. We saw lots of oil sheen out in the water and even saw big patches of oil off the end of the pier. There were lots of bait fish in the water and pelicans sitting in the water. We even saw a blue crab swimming out there.

Blue Crab

Pelicans out on the Gulf

Around LBF the past week, there has also been an abundance of wildlife moving around. We've seen lots of birds, crabs, a turtle, and, several times we've seen the dolphins. We also have a mocking bird family that has taken up residence in some of our bushes.

The mocking bird family
(The mom is on the topmost branch)

Great Blue Heron in the top of the tree

Great Blue Heron on our dock enjoying his dinner

Crabs all over the rocks
(If you click on the picture, you should be able to see hermit crabs and lots of little black crabs)

(This is the first time we've seen one in our harbor)

Another neat thing that happened this week occurred when our across the street neighbors called us. Mr. Hill told us that we had a Great Blue Heron on our roof! The bird stayed up there for at least two hours sleeping and preening and just generally enjoying himself.

On top of the house
(Taken from the dock)


Still Preening

Posing for the camera

This past weekend, my best friend, Cynthia and her daughter (who also happens to be my god-daughter), Ella, came for a whirlwind visit. Cynthia and I have been friends for 35 years and this was the first time I have seen her since February. We went out to the beach, but didn't stay long because it was REALLY hot! We spent time out by the pool and just generally talking and catching up. It was GREAT to see them and spend time with them.

Ella watches a heron on the dock


Best Friends!

It's been a busy week, but I'm looking forward to seeing what this coming week holds! Bring on the Fourth of July!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day in Orange Beach was spent in a relatively low-key manner. The biggest thing that was done related to the landscaping at LBF. My parents recently had grass, citrus trees, muhley grass, and gardenia bushes installed. There was only one minor problem--when the grass was planted, the landscaper inadvertently covered the access to the water on the pier. So, my dad set out to try to find exactly where it was so the landscaper could come and cut the grass from around it.

Dad had his own way to set about the task. He decided that he needed to set up a grid to tell exactly where he had already searched. Mom and I were there to provide the "feet" to keep the grids in place.

Getting ready to set up a grid in the yard

Sticking rods in the ground to try to locate the water shut off


This was an interesting process, but I'm glad he was able to locate it so he can get access to the shut off valve for the water on the pier. YAY DAD!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What A Mess

This morning, my dad, my mom and I made a trip over The Pass to see the oil situation and what was being done about it. Of course, the only boats we saw in the water were helping with the clean-up effort. And, my parents informed me, that if you are working on a boat, you MUST have a life jacket on--and every person we saw did just that.

We saw lots of booms spread out over The Pass. We didn't see any people working on the cranes, but they obviously were putting in a major boom at the mouth of The Pass. We saw lots of little fish in the water and some birds perched on the booms. We didn't see oil in the water, but we did see oil on one of the booms. Also, as we were walking back to the car, my mother discovered that she had oil on the bottom of her flip flops and we noticed gobs of oil on the sand. There doesn't seem to be any smell, fortunately.

It is a sad state of affairs. There were people in the water, but there are swimming advisories everywhere warning people not to get in. Of course, we heeded them and did not get in. However, in our little corner of the world, we have seen birds flying around our harbor, fish jumping, and we even saw two dolphins feeding this afternoon. I pray that they get the mess stopped soon so that the damage to our coasts can be minimized.

Booms spread through The Pass
(Click on the picture for a better view)

The metal boom across The Pass

Crane at the edge of The Pass

One of the booms
(Notice the oil and the logo on the boom)

Oil on the bottom of my mother's shoes

Oil clumps on the beach

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eight Years

It seems like just yesterday that this was going on:

Dancing at Our Reception
June 15, 2002

But eight years have passed and I'm not really sure where they went. We celebrated with dinner at Hot & Hot Fish Club on Southside, which is one of our favorite Birmingham restaurants. Among our random dinner conversation, we reminisced about our wedding ceremony (which took all of 13 minutes) and our reception (which we both thoroughly enjoyed and had to be "encouraged" to leave so the guests could). My favorite memory from our reception has to do with Ken's singing. We were dancing and singing along to "With This Ring" (a favorite beach song by The Platters from our growing up years) when the band tripped a breaker and the power went out. Ken didn't miss a beat--he kept right on singing! I laughed so much and really haven't stopped laughing since.

I feel truly blessed to have this man in my life who encourages me and allows me to be who I am. He makes me laugh, both at the world outside and at myself, and loves me for me. We have a true partnership and I couldn't ask for a better person with whom to share my life.

So, Ken, thank you for the last eight wonderful years. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

Hot & Hot
June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Early yesterday morning, I glanced out the back door and saw what I thought was a rather large black butterfly. I grabbed my camera and ran out the back door. (Of course, taking my camera from my nice, cool house into my humid Alabama backyard necessitated me waiting about 5 minutes before I could actually take a picture.)

I snapped several shots of this butterfly, which turned out to be blue. This is what it looked like:

This makes me want to go to some beautiful garden and snap pictures of whatever moves!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

(This a REALLY picture heavy post! Sorry; they were just too good not to share!)

With my family, when we do something, we do it ALL THE WAY or not at all. So, Memorial Day Weekend was no exception! The whole family--Mom, Dad, Sue, Nick, Carter, Callen, Steve, Emily, Ken and I--spent the long weekend at LBF. The general premise for being down in Orange Beach was that we were going to have Callen's "Toe Dippin' Ceremony," but no one in my family ever really needs an excuse to go to the beach!

Mom, Dad, Ken and I arrived late Wednesday afternoon. Sue, Nick, Carter and Callen rolled in late Thursday night. Even with the late night arrival, the pace really picked up Friday morning. Carter and Callen, both, hit the ground running, so to speak.

Carter helping Big Pat unload the coolers
(Every time he picked up a Blue Ice, he would say, "Oooo! It's cold!)

Shortly thereafter, we hit the pool. Carter was a little reluctant at first and only wanted Sue to catch him, but he warmed up pretty quickly after a few jumps in the pool. He even let me catch him a time or two. The one who surprised me was Callen. She is a TRUE waterbaby! She just LOVED being in the pool. She figured out, rather quickly, that she could splash in the water with her hands and by kicking her feet, she could move around in her "floaty." She had so much fun and entertained all of us!

Kicked back and coolin' in the pool

Carter on a mission
(Probably heading to dump more toys in the pool)

Callen kicking her feet to move around the pool

Emily and Steve both came in Friday night. Saturday morning, Carter was so excited to see them both and want them both, IMMEDIATELY, to play with him in the pool.

Uncle Steve "throwing" Carter from his hands

All the excitement was just too much for some people

Even with the awful mess along the coast in Louisiana, it had not yet arrived in Orange Beach Sunday afternoon. We all made the trip to the beach so that Callen could have her toes dipped.

The Beach marred only by seaweed and storms May 31, 2010

Callen just LOVED the water
(She takes after her Bamma!)

Carter, on the other hand, wasn't having ANY of it!
(He had to be bribed with ice cream just to let Nick put his feet in the water and he had a death grip on Nick when his feet went in.)

Callen was very interested in Uncle Ken's sunglasses

Steve and Emily supervised Carter in the sand

Nick, Carter, Sue, Callen, Emily, Steve, Button and Ken

Big Pat and Bamma with Carter and Callen

I think it's safe to say that we all enjoyed the long weekend! I know I'm biased, but I think my family is just THE GREATEST EVER!!!