Category Archives: islands

Lighthouses and Sailing Away: July, 2015


I arrived up on Lake Erie last Friday. It has been a marvelous week with my

“Mamacita,” who is such a dear one and a blessing.

I enjoyed the anticipation, the way I looked more closely at the scenery

and have enjoyed relaxing and being lazy, once I got here. We went

grocery shopping shortly upon my arrival.

We always have plenty to eat with my Mom insisting on buying cookies,

chips, dip, wine (Sangria) and ice cream in at least 3 flavors.

We have plans today to visit my niece and her husband, living in my

parents’ retirement home. They were married Summer of 2014, with a

tent on the side yard and all the family present.

The family picnic (Saturday, July 3rd) will include newly arrived guests,

Skyler, Micah and my oldest daughter, Carrie. They drove up last night

and we had fun visiting and hearing about their week, since Mommy was

on vacation..

Other ‘picnickers’ will be both brothers, Mom, niece, her husband, baby

Jackson, older junior high daughter, Vaya, and my sister in law.

Mom’s and my  ‘food assignment’ was being in charge of bringing dessert.

After carefully looking over the bakery, rows of frozen desserts while

debating which ones would like our choices, we bought our offerings-

frosted red, white and blue cookies, (an instant hit with the children),

strawberries we cut up last night and added sugar to make a syrup

overnight, can of real whipped cream, angel food cake and a package

of “short cakes” which each person can choose their cake base, take

a scoop of strawberries, add vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream.

My brother is bringing corn, watermelon and sister in law made a potato

salad. My niece and her husband are making hamburgers and hot dogs.

My other brother bought free range chickens to barbecue on the grill.

We have our bag of sunscreen, sunglasses, Mom’s special necessities,

two towels, my bathing suit and sundries packed and ready to go.

Tonight, there will be fireworks all along the lake. We will see the boats

go towards the East, then will see them head back West.

The Lake makes me think of the 12 lighthouses, bordering the Northern

edge of Ohio.

Here is a list, not in any particular order of their locations along the coast,

of a dozen scattered lighthouses along Lake Erie. . . some with memories


1. Vermilion Lighthouse.

This town is where my parents chose to live from the late 80’s until 2011,

when my Mom moved into her Senior Living Apartments. Now my niece

and her husband live on an appropriately named, “Edgewater Drive.”

2. Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse.

I have been to Fairport Harbor Beach, as a child swimming with my family.

3. Port Clinton Lighthouse.

I have toured and seen this beautiful memorial and museum on the island.

4. Huron Harbor Lighthouse.

We used to go to a little Episcopalian Church there, while growing up in


The church was along the waterfront, across from the lake side of the


5. Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.

While I attended Bowling Green State University, in B.G., Ohio, I visited the

Toledo Zoo and was invited to eat in a restaurant along the Toledo Harbor.

On another occasion, I enjoyed a second  harbor visit. A boyfriend and I first

spent time wandering around the art collections and gardens at the Toledo Art


Then, having completed this fantastic day, escape from studying and  school

projects, we spent a luxurious dining experience in a waterfront restaurant.

Memories of such beautiful sea- or lake- side evenings, wherever you may

have visited, include so many senses touched or ignited. Anytime when you

can look out upon the vast, dark sky, while spying distant ships, stars and a

shining beacon of light, blinking off and on, rotating to protect the harbor, you

will be moved.

I hope sometime in your life you have been to a lake, an ocean or spent an

evening on an island.

I hope the beauty and majesty of lighthouses is part of your memories. . .

6. Ashtabula Lighthouse.

7. Marblehead Lighthouse.

Another childhood memory, where I was with my parents and my father’s


It has a funny sense of my mother’s annoyance and slight jealousy of one

of his secretaries. I have written this in a post about jealousy ‘at any age.’

8. Old Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.

9. Cleveland Harbor Lighthouse.

It is strange, but I know I have seen this lighthouse many times, but there is

no ‘imprint’ upon my memory bank. I have seen fireworks from a park nearby


The ships are large, looming in this busy harbor, there are more restaurants

along the “Flats” than on Cleveland’s downtown lake’s edge.

10. Conneaut Lighthouse.

11. South Bass Island Lighthouse.

This is one of several islands, from Sandusky Bay to Kelley’s Island,

South Bass, Port Clinton and others… A wonderful and worthy scenic trip,

reasonably priced.

12. Lorain Harbor Lighthouse.

This one is a large lighthouse that has been one where we have sat along

the beach to watch at night. The area is well kept, has a refreshment stand

where Mom and I bought ice cream and heard first a reggae band, then a

Hispanic group sang and played. My Mom and I danced to the Spanish

music, while she tried to sing the lyrics.

On Maine Historical Society Website, I found a book by Henry Wadsworth

Longfellow. It has a collection of poems,”The Seaside and the Fireside.”

This anthology includes 8 poems about the Sea with 12 about sitting and

dreaming by the Fire.

One of Longfellow’s famous and beloved poems,

with just three passages shared in this post,

the opening, middle and closing one, below:

“The Lighthouse

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

And on its outer point, some miles away

The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.”

. . .

“And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,

Through the deep purple of the twilight air,

Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,

With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!”

. . .

(After the middle, there is a sea bird that crashes into

the glare of the lighthouse, dying and the dramatic

poet, H.W.L., mentions Prometheus chained to a rock.)

. . .

“Sail on!” it says,

Sail on, ye stately ships!

And with your floating bridge the ocean span.

Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,

Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!”

The End.

(You may view this, in its entirety, but I chose the most

beautiful passages, in my mind’s eye.)

Last year’s music news of 2014, spoke of a ‘comeback album,’ for one of

my all-time summer favorites: Christopher Cross.  It is hard to believe his

album, titled,” Sailing,” has been out and sailing along into the sunset,

since 1979.

Did anyone listen to this album, since this post originally was published

in 2014? I have missed any of the singles on this, while listening to the

radio, daily and on longer trips to Mom’s.

I am quite content with his older one, which features lovely lyrics.

In “Sailing,” there are poetic words of paradise, tranquility, miracles

along with innocence, with canvas dreams.

“And if the wind is right, you can sail away to find serenity.”

Another passage near the end…

“Dream and wind carry me and soon I will be free.”

The Arthur movie, with the song, “The Best that You Can Be,” won Chris

Cross, an Oscar in 1981, he has been often in Germany performing, along

with on stage with country groups, like with “Alabama.” A couple years’ back,

“Lemon’s Theme” was written for the discontinued comedy television show,

“30 Rock.”

I am excited by the 2014, “The Secret Ladder,” album but have not heard

any newer songs attached to this. On Wikipedia, it lists a 2013 album by

Christopher Cross.

All I wish to express here is a combination of expectant excitement and

pleasant feeling of being swept away, if not on a sailboat, possibly an inner

tube, down a cool and easy river.

Christopher Cross singing his upbeat songs, using his fantastic, smooth

voice will be something  I still have to look forward to, someday getting to

hear the newer songs.

If only in my dreams…

I hope this spurred on memories of sandy beaches, water experiences by

a body of water; stream, river, lake or ocean.

If not, a pool is a nice cooling off place to suggest. . .

Did you ever have an emotional experience, almost magical or spiritual,

while you were by some form of water?

If you would like to list something you did or plan to do to celebrate the

holiday, please know I may not respond until July 5th or 6th, once I get

back home. . .

If you have already liked this post, written last year and then edited to

include new baby boy, Jackson, my grandsons Micah and Skyler, their

Mommy having a 2015 vacation all week, then don’t feel bad not pushing

“Like” button once again. I am thankful for this re-blogging, since some

of the details remained intact. Others, I updated. . .

Have a fantastic Fourth of July, if you are in the U.S.

If not, hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Truth or Dare?


Who would think a pack of gum would get me thinking of my pre-

teen years?  When overnights would include such fun and exciting

games as, “Truth or Dare?” The gum is made by the Wm. Wrigley Jr.

Company, Chicago, Illinois  60642. Its label says, “RPM 5 Gum.”

It has “Truth or Dare” (some space and on another line), “Play and

You Could Win.” This gum product tastes like a citrusy-fruit flavor.

I would say it has a sour ‘front’ flavor changing into a sweeter ‘after’

flavor. It contains some not great’ sounding ingredients given as:

Soy Lecithin, Phenylketonurics and Phenylalanine. I am unsure of

what these would do to you, if you ate pack after pack, let alone

chewing to get the flavor then discarding it, as I do.


The clever side of the gum pack says:  “Post your truths. Share your



The inside of the pack has a number which can be logged in to

“5TRUTHORDARE.COM” If you do so, you are entered to win

possibly a “$10,000 Adventure” or “One of 100,000 Instant Prizes.”

I seem to be going on a lot about the package facts, but here is the

fun part of the pack of gum,

Each stick of gum has a golden wrapper with 3 different choices.

I decided to write down just two gum sticks’ worth of choices:

1. The first stick of gum that I chewed from this pack had these

three choices on its golden wrapper:

a. “Dare:  Record five different sounds made with this gum


My reaction, you may be able to talk muffled through it,

you may be able to attempt whistling (like a blade of grass)

with it between your lips or you could just crinkle it and make

scratchy sounds from the wrapper.

b. “Truth:  If you were granted one wish what would you

ask for?”

*** This is up for grabs if you wish to answer this in the

comments section…***

c. “Dare:  Visit five places today that you’ve never been to.

Post pictures at #5TruthOrDare.

***If you have some extra time to spare after reading this,

please fill us in on five places you have never been to, that

you would wish to go.***


2. The second piece of gum that I chewed, after lunch had

these three choices given:

a. “Dare:  Do as many push ups as you can in one minute.”

***Sorry, I did not ‘take this dare!’

b. “Truth:  What foods have sent tears streaming down your


***I will ask you, do you wish to answer this one?***

c. “Dare:  Drop what you are doing and play air guitar.”

Okay, I did this intentionally by Melvin, since he is one

of the crazy people who would not make fun of me. So,

I stopped him up in the Mezzanine, filling orders and

pushing our carts, he was coming from one direction in

a row of products, I was coming from the opposite way,

facing him. I got in front of my car so he could see me,

I leaned forward with my air guitar and then, to be more

dramatic, I got on one knee, closed my eyes and held it

above my head.

Then, I calmly went back to behind my cart and continued

forward. When we got together in the middle of the aisle,

Melvin being the ‘cool dude’ that he is, looked at me and

smiled then he said,

“So Robin . . . Was that Santana or Jagger?”

(I sure did want to hug him for this great comment, which

completed my Dare so well! I mean, I could not have asked

for a better reaction!)


At slumber parties, as my friends and I got older, we liked to

try and slip out of the house. Sometimes, it was quite innocent

and we would sit out in the cool, damp grass, whispering.

Other times, we had asked a group of guys to come by, which

would involve a little bit of logistics and stamina. There were

times the guys would be later or not even show up. We never

necked or made out with the guys. We may have held hands or

gotten a hug. We would tingle with anticipation for what kind

of moves the guys would make on us?

These were much anticipated and filled with excitement, just

to get this attention and level of participation and interaction.


When I reached high school age, my parents liked us to come

home, so it was rare to get to have sleepovers or go somewhere

else. My favorite parties, (have probably shared this more than

once), were marching band, science club and theater after parties.

The drama group was more likely to be wilder and have some of

those “Truth or Dare” situations. I always smile when I think of

the times when the marijuana joints were passed over my head

or the chivalrous guys would say I didn’t have to carry out some

of the more sexually oriented ‘dares.’ It was a fun way to pass the

time and I did do two dares after I reached 16 years old. The first

entailed going in a closet with a boy for, “__ Seconds of  Heaven.”

I have heard people say how many seconds their friends would

count out loud, but I swear my friends counted to “Seven.” Does

not sound like very long. . . Was it due to rhyming with “Heaven?”


I do remember playing ‘tricks’ on girls in their sleeping bags at Girl

Scout camp. One was we would get hot water dipping one of their

hands into a container. Supposedly, sometimes people would then

‘pee’ in some age groups. We did not have this happen. Ever. We

also took a person out of our tent, using three girls to help us and

put her in another bunk bed in another platform tent. Switching

beds was hilarious, we thought, at the time! Our ‘dares’ seem rather

tame now. The common things we liked to do at slumber parties

were to fix each other’s hair, practice make-up skills, call up boys

and usually hang up, prank call other people and play with the

mystical Ouija Board, calling for Spirits to come forward. This

would raise the hair on my arms. We liked listening to music,

practicing our ‘dance moves’ and watching late night movies.


In answer to one wish I would make: Good health for my whole

family. (Hoping longevity would accompany this unspoken wish.)


In answer to the five places I would like to go:

1.  England, Ireland and Scotland.

2.  California; Driving across the country.

3.  Hawaii or an Island cruise.

4.  Canada; More around the whole country, not just

where I have been to. (Niagara Falls, Toronto and Quebec)

5.  Australia and New Zealand.


What do you remember being your bravest “Dare” that you took?

Were there any memorable ‘antics’ or ‘challenges’ you did not take

but someone else did?

I Want That Job!


I was looking at my grandchildren’s “Big Box” of Crayons. They are

certified ‘non-toxic.’ There are 96 colors of every shade imaginable

including with some ‘new,’ to me at least, names! The crayons are made

by Crayola Company, made in the U.S.A. and distributed in Australia

by Binney and Smith. The two locations for Crayola listed on the box

are Easton, Pennsylvania and Winfield, Kansas.

I also was placed at work,  in the aerosol paint room, otherwise known

affectionately as the ‘bomb shelter,’  for the past two weeks. We have

had longer hours, working with large orders, where I fill out 6 hampers,

toting about ten extra ones to replace once they are filled. I could not

believe the awesome names that car paint comes in now!


So, with my experience of painting with watercolors and acrylics,

having painted many murals and designs, along with my love of

designs and years of practice coloring inside the lines of coloring

books and outside the lines in my own exciting imaginary worlds,

I wish to apply for the position of:




Salary is negotiable, location Central Ohio desirable.

Driving a beautifully designed 2015 car with some kind of company

logo, which will be richly and elaborately decorated in all sorts of

exciting colors will be part of my required expense budget.

Inquire through LinkedIn for Robin O. Cochran.


Anyone wishing to just enjoy colors through the words chosen

recently in the Big Box of Crayons by Crayola, here are some of

my favorites, grouped by category:


Yellows and Oranges:

Laser Lemon

Unmellow Yellow


Mac and Cheese

Neon Carrot



Reds and Purples:

Razzle Dazzle Rose

Hot Magenta

Wild Strawberry

Tickle Me Pink

Purple Pizzazz



Purple Mountain Majesty






Blizzard Blue






Tropical Rainforest

Electric Lime

Screaming Green

Magic Mint

Pine Green

Jungle Green




Now here are some of the Aerosol Paint colors for cars:

Metallic Colors:


Light slate



Light Drift Sand








Polar Arctic










Dark Cherry





Cayman Island

Green Metallic

Pine Green

Emerald Green











Brilliant Black Pearl





Dark Shadow





Champagne Pearl

Harvest Gold

Light Almond Pearl

Cashmere Beige

(I used to have a “Cinnamon Glaze” Neon!)




This one reminds me of “Charlotte’s Web,” where Charlotte

wove special and magical messages into her spider webs to

inspire the farmyard animals and ultimately save her dear

friend, Wilbur the pig’s life. So he would not be sold for meat,

at the county fair.


“Radiant Silver” is one of the many silver colors that goes out

frequently, distributed to Ohio and Indiana stores. It must be

on a popular car!




I love these ‘blues:’

So will you!

True Blue

Maui Blue

Bahama Blue

Metal Specks Ocean Blue




Nature is a theme for both the crayons and car paints’ choices of

colors. This is part of who I am, I am a natural woman, you see!

Imagination and creativity are also part of my work ethic, which

I could definitely utilize by coming up with all kinds of new names

for the next generation of coloring children and car buyers!


The Daytona Yellow is another popular color. I would like any or

all of these on my personal company car!


Don’t you think I would qualify?

I will leave you with a quotation that is motivating me to find

just the right place to work:

“Good work and joyous play go hand in hand.

When play stops, old age begins.

Play keeps you from taking life too seriously.”

(Lord Byron)


What is your dream job? Please share!

Television 50 Years Ago


Fifty years ago in March, 1964, the television show,

“Jeopardy!” made its debut. It became a landmark, a

long lasting iconic fixture in many living and family

rooms, during the after-dinner hour time. I was very

pleased to have some of my ‘homework’ done for me,

on this show. My parents never told us to turn that

show off either!

In the March AARP Magazine, there was a list of 7 other

fifty year old television shows. Happy Golden anniversary

(from when they were created) and may they live long in

our memories, too.

Here is a quick summary and my own opinion/review attached

for “New Spring Releases” of 7 television shows that came

about in Spring, 1964:

1. “Flipper”

This was given a silly label by someone who thought it

was like ‘the aquatic Lassie.’ I liked the way that

this show had the bottlenose dolphin, named Flipper,

making that sound that to me, seems like they know

we (people) are ridiculous. I liked the two boys who

were the main characters who had a pet dolphin. I

was envious of this show that looked like it was warm

even while playing in the snow that day. As a child,

I believed Flipper was laughing at us, the audience!

2. “Bewitched”

Samantha was a gorgeous witch, who was trying to

fit into her neighborhood and be a ‘good housewife.’

Elizabeth Montgomery was a woman who embodied, in my

eight year old eyes, the ‘perfect woman.’ I thought

she was funny, clever and could fix things with a

little wiggle of her nose.

I have to tell you that some people did not like the

remake of “Bewitched,” as a movie, that has Nicole

Kidman playing Samantha’s character. But I loved it!

There is a place in the story, where her neighbor,

played by Kristen Chenoweth, comes over and they are

both holding hands, jumping up and down together, as

if they were children. That moment captured my feelings

about the television show, exactly.

I also felt that Shirley MacLaine was the perfect actress

to play Sam’s mother, in the movie, since she believes in

‘otherworldly’ experiences!

The two Darrens on “Bewitched,” were vastly different. I

liked Dick York, the original actor in the husband’s role

best. It is strange that they were able to replace him

with another Dick (Sargent.)

3. “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

As a goofy and naïve Marine from Mayberry, Gomer was

almost like “Goober” from the show it spun off of.

He was often getting into trouble, which would not

have realistically happened. He would have been court-

martialed on the first day of his service. I felt that

this was a funny show and always will remember those

silly words, “Well, goll-ee!” My brothers and parents

liked “Hogan’s Heroes,” much better when that one came


4. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” was such an exciting show

that reminded me of my discovering Ian Fleming, before

I ever saw a James Bond movie. I liked to read the

daredevil activities of Bond in his adventurous and

rather bawdy life. I felt that this television series

was a branch of that tree. I enjoyed both Robert Vaughn

and David McCallum. My Mom and I both enjoy “NCIS” where

David McCallum plays the medical examiner. We felt this

old show, when I was last with my Mom, I talked to her

about Man from UNCLE and we both agreed that they were

able to condense almost a ‘movie’ each week, into a one

hour television show. I also adored, “The Girl from


5. “Peyton Place”

This show was one of the first soap operas to appear

at night. This was during ‘prime time’ and was not

watched too often at our house. The only times would

have been if we had a babysitter or company who asked

for the show to be on. My parents were liberal but

did not like us ‘getting hooked’ on something this

‘banal.’ The show had attractive young people with

different story lines, all living in an idyllic small

town. There were often dangerous circumstances and

love affairs, too. The stories came from the book,

“Peyton Place,” by Grace Metalious, written in 1956.

My parents forbade us from watching the 3 Stooges movies!

They didn’t like us to watch that slapstick hitting

routine nor shows that were kind of risqué either!

6. “The Addams Family”

We had the books with the characters from this t.v.

show drawn in pen and ink, that were originally

cartoons in the “New Yorker” magazine. I liked the

main characters, Gomez and Morticia. I enjoyed

the way the real actors and actresses portrayed

the Addams Family. I still used for the nine years

of preschool, their catchy tune to teach the days

of the week. (Found it on a tape.) The plot was

not as silly as “Munsters,” which I later liked

when that debuted. I like in the Addams family

the hand, named “Thing,” little girl named,

“Wednesday,” and a butler named, “Lurch.”

This was an amusing and rather clever show.

Last but not least:

7. “Gilligan’s Island”

How do seven people who are so different end

up first on a boat? Second, get shipwrecked

together but are able to create furniture and

other accoutrements that make the Island they

are on, “Home?” This show captured my interest

and we were allowed to watch it, despite the

sexual innuendoes and the sexy outfits of the

actresses. I am not sure if it seemed ‘innocent’

enough or possibly having the leavening of a

scientist on the show, made it okay. Anyway, I

liked this show and could not believe it went on

for as long as it did. I never saw a finale…

maybe I should look this up sometime to see if

they ever get off the island!

I like that each of the television shows had a

catchy opening song, that you recognized and

would possibly run into the room to see the

beginning, if you had been sidetracked and not

realized your ‘favorite show’ was on!

What show did you like of this short list? Did it

make you think of another one from the past that

you really liked?

My kids are in their thirties and liked the show,

“My So-Called Life,” which Jared Leto got his start

from. He won Best Supporting Actor in “Dallas Buyers’

Club.” They also liked, “Felicity.” (The girls did,

anyway.) My son liked, “McGuyver” and was a big fan of

other adventure shows, including animal shows on PBS.

Don’t worry if you are too young to comment on the

50 year old shows…

Escape to the Islands!


While walking into our distribution center this morning,

I noted that there were several of the “kids” (anyone under

30) in their shorts and their tank tops. They had sweatshirts

that zipped up over this attire. While we were doing our

morning exercises, they were already peeling those off! Then,

in my work zone, that I was assigned to work, I found that

someone on ‘nights’ had turned on the fans! They were blowing

profusely! Brrr!

Not even on the ‘low’ level!

Come on, everyone! I have a sense of humor about it,

once I turn off the fans and start working… Then,

on the way to break, I saw Native American Ted, he

was wearing a brightly colored tropical shirt. All

of this ‘fun and carefree’ attire made me start to

hum the words to the Beach Boys’ song, “Kokomo.”

“Aruba… Jamaica, ooh, I wanna take ya…Bermuda…”

This song was released in 1988 timed for the movie

release of Tom Cruise’s “Cocktail.” I had to laugh

when I accidentally whispered the words too loudly

and Darryl asked me if I were going to travel to

all of those islands! Guess what? There are people

who do just that!

Here are my favorite islands, some I have been to

and some I have YET to go visit the delightful

scenery. Nallorca, (in the Mediterranean) yes, I have

been blessed as a teenager to have that thrown into

our Spanish Club trip… Bahamas, Hawaii, Aldives,

Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys and Aruba are on my new

islands’ tour bucket list!

Describing an idyllic set of crescent shaped islands down

in Florida will come a little more easily than the teens’

island cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. My ‘newer, fresher’

memories are since I was a fully grown adult when we went to

‘play’ down there!

If you wish to travel there, going in the fall will help your

ability to find a place to stay. You may drive to Ft. Meyer’s

Beach and stay there for less money and fine accommodations.

Staying on Sanibel Island was satisfyingly self-indulgent!

You will find the coconut palms, migratory birds and other

wonderful island ‘elements’ on Sanibel or Captiva Islands.

I will start with looking for sea shells and which beaches

were the best to see them. It is a great place to exercise,

by bending and squatting to pick up shells. Also, you may

rent bicycles to further explore the islands.

There is nothing better, (almost) than digging one’s toes

into cool, wet sand on a hot day. As you will find warm,

clean, fine white sand along these beaches it is easy to

spot the larger shells particularly. The two beaches I was

fortunate to rest, on my behind in the sand, on and search

fervently for shells to take home were on the mid-Island

beach called “Bowman’s Beach” and on the eastern point,

“Lighthouse Beach.” It is also a immeasurable pleasure to

have a towel, book and hat with a wide brim to provide

welcome shade on your book you may wish to read and revel

in the atmosphere, too.

In the tidal pools and bright blue water with azure skies,

sometimes not a cloud to be found… you may find this list

of shells:

Alphabet cones of brown and white with spots.

Tellins of rosy pink and peachy colors.

Scallops of patchy calico patterns, my favorites are a mix

of caramel, brown and white. These have ridges on them.

Conch shells are those ones that look like horns, you can

hear the ocean in them the best!

Angel wings, try to find some pairs. I have a card with 20

of these sets glued on it, that my Grandmother Mattson took

days to collect and my Grandfather wrapped first in tissue,

then with bubble wrap and finally brown paper-packaged with

my name and address when I was in third grade. You bet, I

took that pretty card with “shell butterflies” to school to

show off! (Every time I see special shells, I remember their

little trailer, close to Clearwater Beach. I have wonderful

memories of the Gulf side of Florida. The ocean is more of

a New England memory, for me…)

Lightning whelks are grey, silvery on the inside and have some

different patterns, all swirly and unique.

There are the occasional jelly fish, watch out, crabs,

not to eat! You can purchase them at restaurants and/or

enjoy the fresh seafood there!

With the sea gulls flying and possible dolphin sightings,

this is a wonderful place filled with nature. Sunsets with

cool, iced drinks that feature little umbrellas and fruity

‘ka-bobs’ on long skewers or a simple, chilled glass of your

favorite beer (or wine cooler) are such awesome sources of

rejuvenation. Well, at least I always feel younger, while

sipping one of these! Smile!

Each little tiki bar will have the tunes of the Beach Boys,

Barry Manilow, Bruno Mars or Jimmy Buffett playing, sometimes

you may develop an ear “worm” from listening to them! A newer

“Island Song,” by the Zac Brown Band (August, 2012) is one of

my new favorites! My old favorite one, “Island Girl,” sung by

Elton John (released in 1975) can just get me up and dancing,

slowly in the arms of a stranger… My mind wanders off…

Here is a practical list of conditions and suggestions to find

more shells (wherever you are vacationing!)

1. Usually one hour before to one hour after low tide. You

will need to check local tide charts.

2. Weather factors that all increase your chances for more

shells, are a) cold spells, b) storms, and c) new or full moons.

3. Another fantastic adventure to find sea shells, is to go

snorkeling! See the bottom of the ocean, the sea life, unique

fish and gaze upon fresh, living shells. Of course, your

common sense will tell you it is illegal to take a living

shell. It will stink on your way home, if you accidentally

found one inhabited.

The two kinds of birds that are less likely to be found in

Ohio, for example, are white pelicans and cormorants. We

see blue and white herons, along with egrets up on Lake

Erie and around Alum Creek, too. On my good friend, Bill’s

Mill Street you can look down from the bridge and see

a couple of herons with their feet in the cold Mills Creek,

these days!

If you are a painter, you may wish to bring a portable easel

or if a sketcher, you may wish to bring an artist’s pad of

paper (sketch book) or if your craft is writing, take your

journal. Although, you ‘are on vacation,’ it doesn’t mean

you cannot practice your ‘art’ or ‘craft!’

Local museums and shops on islands are also places you may

find more than souvenirs. You may wish to bring more exotic

items, like shells that have been made into wares, such

as jewelry: necklaces, bracelets for wrist and ankles

and earrings, too. I once brought a gorgeous shell mobile

home and hung it over my baby’s window sill. It brought her

many smiles, induced delighted expressions and little sounds

that were like ‘chortles.’ Rare shells you may find in the

gift shops are junonias shells and pointy horn snails.

If you are very adventurous, there are many air sports and

water sports to engage in. Boating and para-sailing come to

mind. Hang-gliding and speedboats may put a little zip into

your step, once you come down from the ‘high’ of exhilaration

you will experience.

I enjoy napping on the beach, but try to remember to slather

extra sunscreen with high SPF all over, even on your ears and

the tops of your feet! I had an ex who adored going back to

the motel or hotel, and taking a nap. Sometimes while he

was just waking up, he may have wished for some ‘afternoon

delight,’ too. I may not reveal if this was also, my idea

of romance, too!

Where else, other than traveling to the beaches on islands, do

you find your serenity and sense of tranquility?

Cast Away, Matey’s!


My grandsons, eldest daughter and “son in law” shared their family

day with me, yesterday! It ended up a wonderful time, despite an

overcast sky and torrential rains around 3:15 p.m. We were at the

water park next to the Columbus Zoo, “Zoombezi Bay.”

I was going to be assigned the care of Micah, age 4 but when Skyler

heard that, he asked to tag along. Last year, M. being 3, there was

a nap time included on the lounge chairs by the “baby pool area.”

Skyler was going to miss out on all the giant water rides, slides and

rock n rolling stuff with his Mom and stepdad. Turned out, later, after

the rain stopped and Nana was headed home, he got a chance to

go on two of those wild rides.

Our first part of playtime, was to go to  the big Pirate Ship that has

cannons that shoot water, floating rafts that you can lie on but look

like they are wooden rafts like Huckleberry Finn rode down the good

ole’ Mississippi River. I am able to mention this to Skyler since he has

seen the old time “Huck Finn” movie made in possibly the nineties?

It had the cute blonde boy from the Tim Allen t.v. series, “Home

Improvement.” Now, I think I better look up that date… (1991- 99).

The now grown man is named Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

I asked him, “Skyler, do you remember who Huck Finn was?”

S. answered, “Was he going down the river with a black man named


“Yep, your Mom probably loves that show since you know the details!”

S. looked at me funny, “Nana, I ask to watch that because he has a

lot of fun adventures on that raft!”

M. just laughed, “Push me, Nana, so I go in circles on my raft!”

Soon, getting bored with the beginning part of the fun stuff, we got

off our rafts and headed up onto the pirate ship, crawling up rope

ladders and looking around. Promptly, Micah went back down the

slide and into the water!

We looked down, and all of a sudden a lifeguard was whistling and

pointing at ME! I figured that I was supposed to be with M. at all

times so slid down the slide.

A walking lifeguard, motioned over to me by the one up on the tall

lifeguard chair scolded me!

“Ma’m, you are not allowed on the Pirate Ship!”

Turns out the height limit for the Pirate Ship is 54″! Oops! Nana broke

the posted rules!

We headed over to this building that is out in the water by the Pirate

Ship and got under a huge bucket. From a distance, this looks like

someone’s imaginary vision of a watermill combined with a sawmill.

There are streams of water that come shooting everywhere on this,

I was allowed on the platforms, rope ladders and bridges. I was

also told by Skyler,

“Stand here, Nana!” when a big work whistle blew! It reminded me

of the end of the day for Fred Flinstone and his buddy, Barney.

I heard kids start rushing towatds this area and whoosh! The biggest

bucket ever dumped water all over us!

Micah was safely hiding in a wooden barrel on a platform next to us.]

He knew the “drill!” I could have guessed it, but the first time, said,

“Skyler, you tricked me!!”

When it came to the long and narrow tube slides that zig zagged in

different directions, I asked if Skyler could wrap his legs around M.

and go down with him.  That was fine with the two of them  and I

climbed down the rope ladders to a very nice “island” where a fake

palm tree was. I heard a macaw, looked around and there was a

real macaw, a beautiful azure blue, golden claws and beak. A few

fluffy feathers on his or her chest. The netting around his cage

was made of rope and the little island could be reached if walked

to or swum to.

I just propped my feet on my own little island and imagined a nice

cool Long Island Iced Tea or Strawberry Margarita in my hand.

A shriek broke my solitude and escape from reality, was that one

minute or five that I was peaceful?

I looked all of a sudden up one of the three tubes that the boys

could have been coming down, found Micah who had somehow

wriggled out of Skyler’s grip and was zooming towards me!

I grabbed him up and hugged him, asking, “Are you okay?”

What do you think he said?

You are correct!

“I wanna go again!”

I asked Skyler if there were a height requirement or if Micah

could go alone down the shoots? He said,

“Silly Nana, anyone can go down these slides by themselves,

they are covered so where can they go but down? No one is

going to fall out of them like other rides!”

“You gotta be smarter than the average bear, Boo Boo!”

Yogi would have known that answer and possibly even little

Boo Boo!

I spent almost an hour watching them go up and down the

rope ladders and slide down one of the three choices for

tubes. It was quite relaxing, no problems, and we ended up

heading to the lounge chairs at the agreed upon time for

lunch and met their parents.

Lunch was a smorgasbord for them, consisting of chili cheese

fries, hamburgers, hot dog (for Micah), onion rings and some

lemonade for the boys, and soda pop for the parents. I ate my

crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my mixed berry

applesauce and my popcorn leftover from my t.v. snacks

popped the previous night.

The afternoon was spent on the “Lazy Kalahoochie River.”

Micah chose to be on an individual floating soft blow up style

raft, I started with Carrie on a double “O” raft and we ended

up snagging another one, where she and I could lie with our

heads on one end, our behinds on the middle and feet over

end. It may have looked like an “8” more than a double “O”

raft, come to think about it. Skyler had his “8” and Mike,

Carrie’s partner, Micah’s Dad, Sky’s stepdad, walked the

river, making sure we didn’t get our heads under waterfalls

and Micah didn’t capsize too often!

We saw a log, above our heads, filled with turtles between 6″

to about 2 feet big all lined up and looking at all of the people

floating by them; not “fazed” a bit by their daily sight!

While floating down the river, I heard that older song, “Day- O,”

sung by Harry Belafonte. Also, they had some calypso music

with Jimmy Buffett thrown it. It is hard not to relax and enjoy

those floating moments. Frees your mind of any or all worries!

Overall, I would say, hope you all can “cast away” and have

a fantastic escape from your “daily grind” sometime this


I am no longer “blue” about school starting since I played

“hooky” from the good ole’ Advance Auto distribution center

and lazed around on islands and on manmade lazy rivers!