Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage

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St. Augustine, Fla.

Our final stop on our whirlwind Florida vacation was St. Augustine. Sadly, there are few photos from this day as the photographer was growing weary of being a photographer. We did, however, get a few photos from our adventure at Castillo de San Marcos and the St. Augustine lighthouse.

The chapel in Castillo de San Marcos was my favorite room.

The actors are preparing to fire the cannons.

It was quite the production.

This is what taking a week-long car trip can do to a marriage!

I'm starting to get a little tanned!

View from the lighthouse (219 steps up).

The fresnel lens.



Canaveral National Seashore, Fla.

Thursday afternoon Bird and I took Oma for a delicious seafood lunch at Norwoods in New Smyrna Beach and then headed to Canaveral National Seashore. Despite growing up in Florida, I was unaware of all the birds that migrated through the state. At Canaveral National Seashore birds, manatees, sharks, alligators, fish and the like can all be found in the warm saltwater rivers along the coast. Sadly, no manatees were spotted this time, nor sharks and dolphins, but we did see plenty of noteworthy birds and quite a few large alligators in their natural habitat – about a zillion times more exciting than going to a zoo! Oma is a fantastic bird spotter and spent the entire drive calmly saying – there is another insert bird name here. Mr. Husband would then patiently scoot the car up four paces, then back a smudge, then up a little bit more so I could stick my head out of the window or sunroof and photograph the amazing creatures.

A great blue heron. I wish I could have gotten a better shot of this guy.

A tricolored heron.

A tricolored heron. I think this bird is just beautiful.

White ibis with what I believe to be a juvenile white ibis.

I love how birds often move together in an almost choreographed way.

White pelicans! Oma told us about these guys but said they would likely have all headed north by this time. While photographing the above ibis, Bird saw a flock of white pelicans land and Oma could barely believe her eyes! I sure wish I had a better lens for this shot, as they were pretty far off. But we can still appreciate their beauty from this mediocre image!

Bird made some noises and got this guy to look up and open its eyes. Pretty creepy when all that separates you from a huge lizard is your car!

A reddish heron. Oma says that spotting this bird is also a treat.

Snowy egret.

Another huge gator.

A line of pelicans.

The last shuttle, poised and ready for final flight. I will never have this photo op again. I wish I could have gotten closer (or that I had a better camera!)

A king fisher.

I believe another tricolored heron, but I'm not certain.




Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Our next stop after visiting Palm Harbor was to visit my very dear Oma in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Oma, which means grandmother in German, has been one of the most influential people in my life. She spends her free time rescuing injured wildlife and nursing them back to health. There was one time that her study was full of baby squirrels she and another when an injured loon was in her bathtub. She has rescued countless pelicans and other large sea birds. Oma has a very soft spot for cats, too. During my childhood Oma had three fat cats named Rover, Cricket and Katzel. I loved visiting her home and these kitties and yearned to have a house full of cats myself (and look at what has happened!) Since the original three, Oma has rescued and cared for many other cats. Today one small Tuxedo cat, Lucky, remains. Our visit with Oma was short this time, but just lovely. Yesterday morning Bird and I walked along the beach and took some photos while Oma went to work for a few hours. Later in the day we visited a National Park where we discovered that all three of us share a common interest: birding. First, some photos from Bird’s and my a.m. beach walk…


A beach duck. This, Oma said, is not normal.

Bird wanted to feed the birds. He choose a small group of seagulls to feed.

His group grew very quickly!

Once the bread was gone he channeled his inner child and chased them all away.

A flock of Royal Terns.

Terns! I love how the one looks like he is balding.

Sandpipers - these are my favorite beach birds.

A cormorant. These guys are often seen with pelicans.

An adult pelican in its winter plumage.

My favorite photo from the walk!


Palm Harbor, Fla.

I spent the golden years of my childhood under the sunny skies of Florida and playing on the white sandy beaches of the surrounding area. I attended Palm Harbor Elementary and proudly wore my “Palm Harbor Pelican” t-shirt (which I still have). Yesterday morning Bird and I woke up early, fled from the strange bed and breakfast and drove five miles down the road to Palm Harbor where we visited my old house, walked the block, visited my old school and then wandered around until we found a park that my dad and I used to bike too. Pop Stansell Park was just a few blocks from our house, but seemed like a far-off land. When dad would take me to Pop Stansell Park I felt so grownup, so free, and like we were risking everything to cross the “busy road” at a cross walk. These little bike rides remain one of my fondest memories of childhood with my dad.


I lived on Castlewood Lane.

My old house. It looks a lot different now. The house is painted a different color and there is a screened in porch at the front. All the landscaping my mom worked so hard to put in is gone. And that tree is now huge!

Palm Harbor Elementary has been closed! I was shocked and saddened by this. I really wanted to walk around the playground with Bird and show him the corner where I used to play dinosaurs with my friend Renee and the spot where I got whacked in the head by the tether ball more times than I can count - I have never been athletic!

Pop Stansell Park.

It seems the dock has been rebuilt. I don't recall the railings, but I could be mistaking.

Me at Pop Stansell Park.



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Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Just a few photos from Tarpon Springs. Bird and I stopped by this famous Greek community for dinner at Mr. Souvlaki’s where he had what my father classifies as the best gyro plate ever. After dinner we briefly prowled the sponge docks and then retired to our Bed and Breakfast – which was lacking the same charm and sophistication that the Gibson Inn provided. Next time we visit Gulf Coast Florida I hope to spend more time in Tarpon, as it really is a quaint town. In the meantime, here are a few snapshots from our few hours there…


Sponge Docks at Tarpon Springs.




This restaurant was a favorite of the Magargee's during my years in Palm Harbor. The service is fantastic and the food is second-to-none.



Bird and his Greek beer.

The gyro plate defeated Bird - he could not eat all the meat.

Belle at the Sponge Docks.




Weeki Wachee, Fla.

I have very fond memories of my aunts, grandmother and family visiting the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs Park. Any trip through my childhood would not be complete without stopping at this kitschy tourist trap. I was sad to see that the park actually consisted of very little these days – a couple mermaid cutouts for photos, some pretty plants, a few snack stands and some peacocks. Regardless, we had fun wandering the grounds, visiting the peacocks and then piled into the underwater theater with about a zillion excited children and weary parents for Weeki Wachee’s rendition of The Little Mermaid. Bird shook his head as we left the park, muttering that he had never in his life seen something quite so bizarre. I welcomed him to Florida – my home state.


The live mermaid show! Bird's life is now complete 🙂

I think this is my new favorite photo of Bird ever. He makes a dapper merman - especially in his "travel" hat.

Peacock! The best part of the stop!

Female peacock.

Mermaid and Merman.

Belle still fits in the dolphin! (Bird had a much harder time).

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Apalachicola, Fla.

Some photos from our time in Apalachicola, Fla. I’m a little bothered by how low-res these photos look on the blog. If you click each image you can see the larger file and the resolution is better. I’ll dig into what is going on when we get home.

Seagulls flocked to a pile of fresh oyster shells.

One of two remaining cotton warehouses.

The "fixer upper" Bird and I dream of owning. I could easily run my B&B from here.

Handsome husband on the stoop of our "fixer upper."

Oyster shells outside of "Up the Creek" where Bird slurped oysters on the half-shell.

This cat has the best life ever.

Trinity Episcopal Church holds great significance with me. When I was 21 I was baptized in the Gulf by am amazing priest named Joe Knight.

Belle outside the church.

The house I stayed in when I was 21.

Morning sun.

Drift wood.