be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website:

be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website: (usually she updates her blog every Sunday evening but she can and will surprise you) **Special Note: all of Joan's archives are now up--almost ten years of 'bitter girl.' As Joan says, go wild!**

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Everything but the Head

Have you ever wondered what a manatee's head would look like if it were decomposing in the ocean for some time? Well, wonder no more--here it is. This was up in Juno, south of the beach project, taken on my way back. On my way up, I saw two people, a guy and a girl, from the manatee place trying to drag the bloated carcass from the surf. I did not get a picture of them because they were Marine Biologists and did not want my suspect lay self hanging around while they did their Important Scientific Necrospy on the departed manatee. I knew something about the corpse didn't look quite correct, but it wasn't until I saw the head rolling around in the waves that I put two and two together.

Anyway, Tuesday and Wednesday were both beautiful beach days and I got lots of sun and exercise. I was notified on the contest--no deal, in a big way. I also heard back from the census people--I start the end of April. I also e-mailed FAU to see about getting certified to teach English and Economics in the state of Florida.

On my return, I saw the ice crystal refraction in the sky that you can see in the second picture. It migrated from cirrus stratus cloud to cloud, farther and farther towards the horizon, as the afternoon went on. I saw this last year, about this time in the spring. What struck me this time was that no one other than me noticed it--even when I took repeated pictures, not one person would even glance up from what he or she was doing to see what the fuss was all about. At the main beach, two young girls were lying reading books, pointed away from the phenomenon. I paused to ask them what they were reading and further inquired if either wanted to see something pretty, because I wanted at least one other person to see this. Both told me no, so I didn't share it with them. Moral of the story: There's just so much to miss if you're not attentive.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dawn's Early Light

This is the sight that greeted me Friday morning, just after seven a.m. (I don't know why the next shot won't enlarge when you left-click it, but it doesn't) The second picture is from Saturday morning (Free Plug Alert--by the way, in case anyone is interested, the camera immortalizing these extraordinary images is an Olympus Stylus Tough 8000--waterproof, freezing weather safe and shock-resistant to two meters. This is my second Olympus digital camera and I continue to be stunned by how wonderful the color is). The third demonstrates to a certain extent what I've been saying about that one sea wall--that it can be dangerous when the surf is high.
Anyway, the fourth and fifth photographs are from the beach restoration project up in Juno. These people are being fined thousands of American dollars a day because they were supposed to have been done by March 1st, the beginning of turtle nesting season (I have seen one group of four nests on the south end of Lost Tree Village from March fifth and another group north of there that is dated March eighteenth and that's it). However much the money is, it's not enough. The fourth picture shows how they are attempting to filter out the largest rocks and shells from the sand. The fifth picture tells the tale. I have seen tracks of some highly determined sea turtles over the years, but I cannot imagine how any turtle could scale a sheer cliff such as this--I can't do it and I'm a biped.
Enough of my soapbox. Otherwise the sky and the ocean were both beautiful again as we were blessed with two concurrent gorgeous days. No trace of the brown pelican so maybe I was wrong. Plenty of would-be pampered Persian princesses were out again, seeking their place in the sun and their very own cute rich guy to snag. One waved back at me, twice, from her veranda on the sands. Another said hello to me from her chaise, whom I responded to in kind. I also saw a couple out hiking in the afternoon who always wave to me who live there in the Dunes condos, just south of the park, the wife being more friendly and happy to see me than the husband, of course. At the liquor store on the way home, I flirted with two Ashleys who work there while securing some Froggy B vodka and some Schweppes tonic water for myself (another free uncompensated plug), the two girls side by side, one white and the other black, on adjacent check-outs, both pretty cute. Other than that, nada.
Still haven't heard back from the contest either. Our lawn got mowed Friday while I was at the beach and it looks pretty nice. Today is mostly overcast as we have another front coming through with more rain, so I'm resting my feet and my legs. Saturday I got there later than Friday and walked the same distance but finished fifteen minutes sooner, which doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but there you have it, sports fans. Tomorrow I'm hitting C&D (my favorite discount fruit and vegetable place--yet one more free and shameless endorsement) for more fresh strawberries and blueberries for lunch on my beach days and some potatoes for my patented Parmesan steak fries. Tuesday is supposed to be nice also, when I'm planning to be back in the sun. God is great, our beautiful blue world still spins and I'm feeling lucky. Life is good. It's amazing, but it is.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So Long, Brown Pelican

By the time you read this, the brown pelican pictured here most likely will be dead. I saw it first on Sunday at the south end of Lost Tree Village, then on Monday it had moved about a mile north towards the end of North Palm Beach, where you can see the brick next to it (again, left-click for a larger version--the small boats in the background are fishing, while the larger ship you can see behind the pelican on Monday is the same dredging vessel. The tire tracks that can be seen behind the bird in the second picture are from the ATV that the turtle people use as they run up and down the beach looking for sea turtle nests to document, count and mark--only they, the police and Lost Tree Village security are allowed to ride those things on this beach.). I've seen this before; when birds die, they suddenly lose energy rather quickly and it's only a day or two until they keel over and that's it. The undiscovered country as it were--from whose shores no traveler returns, to tell of tales, either good or ill.
As you can see though, the sky and the ocean were beautiful. This happens every year--March is definitely the most gorgeous month for Florida at the beach.
Right now, the forecast is holding for Friday and Saturday to be nice--as today and tomorrow are rainy and overcast--which is why I'm doing this now. I can't believe I've actually finished with the sequel--and I've also finished with yet another review of the original rewrite. And I haven't heard back from the contest people yet--we are supposed to be notified in March--but the longer this drags out, the better my chances are. I have been through this before, getting my hopes up, before they've been dashed against the wall before my very eyes. Right now I feel serene in my situation. If I can get a publisher's attention, maybe I can get a two-book deal instead of a one-book deal--which would have to be better. So many people are one-hit wonders or one-trick ponies, but now I've proved to myself and anyone else that may be interested that not only do I want to do this but that I can do it.
For so long, I've been so concerned about the money and now that it's gone, I feel less and less bothered about it. It turns out I've needed every minute of all this time I've been out of work to get the books to the point they are now. If the books are just for me and not anyone else, I don't want to stay here because most of my neighbors are ignorant without any imagination at all and I like very few people where I live. What I do like is that it's quiet and safe while being reasonably affordable. I read other people's blogs up north and right now so many people are sick of the snow and the cold and they simply want it to be over with. By way of contrast, during the first cold snap in January, one morning there was ice on my car, which I've seen twice before in the forty-some years I've been down here.
I think both books look pretty nice--but I've thought that before and have emotionally crashed and burned. I suppose I shall see. Time will tell.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Possible SHARK

& Bluefish Activity [ <^={ ] [.] Such was the caution that greeted potential ocean swimmers at Ocean Reef Park over the weekend (cue the Jaws music and the James Earl Jones booming voiced harrowing narration [Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...]). Saturday morning there were fishermen pulling bluefish out of the water with great abandon, but this is not my thing, so I left them to it. Below that you can see the proverbial flock of seagulls (this was taken from the northern end of the park facing north up into Lost Tree Village, the farthest point that you can see being the end of North Palm Beach and the beginning of Juno Beach), most facing into the wind but some watching the east (again, left-click any of these for a larger version). As these pictures, all taken Sunday, attest, it was beautiful out, albeit a little chilly. But the breeze was out of the north, my personal favorite, and so it made for a wonderful weekend all around--sun, exercise and honeys abounded.

But there were some man-o-war around, and in some sections, such as this one, the northern end of MacArthur Park but south of where the seagulls were, they littered the beach (remember, man-o-war are like rats or cockroaches in a house--for every one you see, there are like twenty-some that you don't--in this case, in the water).

Not many people out and those few that were complained about the breeze, that it was freezing. Well, it was freezing only if you sat around doing nothing. I can attest that if you moved around, the sun felt very nice indeed.
Down at the inlet, I saw either dolphins or sharks jumping out of the water.
When I returned to Ocean Reef around one o'clock, a fisherman had hooked something very big that was fighting him, which means it wasn't a manta ray. But whatever it was broke his line and took everything, so I guess we'll never know. Rest assured, I am making substantial progress on part 5 of the sequel; those waiting patiently will be richly rewarded.