Final shots of Tampa

by grace on April 5, 2020

Update on life: Whew. Every single day, whew. I almost always end the day talking to bev and we share with each other things the other one might have missed, all the horrible stuff happening everywhere. We always end up giving a handful of heavy sighs, and then we laugh about the sighing because otherwise we’d cry. But the sun is shining and it’s a new day and we do what we can. which mostly involves staying at home.

Back to Florida – finally, this is my last post of our last day, Tuesday Feb. 25th.

Every day in Florida mom and i ate oatmeal at home. I’d made up little plastic bags of it so just had to add water and cook it every morning. I add flax, raisins, cinnamon ginger, and a couple other things to the mixture of regular oatmeal and steel-cut oats so it’s very nutritious. It’s based on a recipe that Kevin was making when we first met back in 2004.

It was nice to have a free and healthy breakfast every day, but on our last morning we splurged and went out for breakfast. It was a treat.

We had to leave our air b&b at 10:00. This is ridiculously early, earlier than i’ve ever even had to check out of a hotel. On their air b&b listing they claimed that checkout was at 11:00, but the house rules said we had to leave at 10:00 because a cleaning person came then to clean for the next guest. Ridiculous.

So we had to get up relatively early on Tuesday to get ready to vacate the premises. I went out back for a little bit.

First, here’s a photo of the river in back of our house. I think this might be an alligator but it was small and kind of far away.

Here’s one more video of the backyard, including a banana tree which i hadn’t noticed before.

This is a closer shot of that banana tree.

We managed to leave by 10:00 and headed down the street to the Seminole Heights General Store. I just looked them up on facebook and they’re still open for take out and delivery. I’m glad they haven’t closed for good, because it was a lovely place.

Here’s a quick video of the Seminole Heights General Store.

I had poached eggs on avocado toast. mmmm good.

I’m pretty sure this cool pelican wasn’t for sale, but even if it was i wouldn’t have been able to fit it in my suitcase. I had bought a smaller wooden pelican way back at our place in St. Pete. So my pelican collection is now up to two pelicans.

Such a cute place.

We took a short drive downtown and found parking at the very top of a parking garage. across the river is the University of Tampa and the dome of the Henry B. Plant museum.

It was a very warm day as we strolled along the Riverwalk. The only other riverwalk i’ve been on was the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas. I was there so many years ago but i remember it was filled with lots of restaurants, shops and hotels, and a lot of it was shady.

The Tampa Riverwalk is relatively new but i don’t think they’re going to have any shade added, but hopefully there will be more restaurants, etc.

mom was wearing jeans. I wore a skort and planned to change into leggings at the airport. I did my best to persuade mom to do something similar but she was adamant about wearing her jeans. i knew she’d get hot walking, and she did.

We go as far as the Tampa Convention Center and stopped in for a bit to sit down and cool off. the temperature was in the 80s.

We kept going a little further and turned the corner to see this big line of expensive yachts moored along the riverwalk.

We turned around and headed back and i saw these cool water bikes. i’d never heard of such a thing and it might be cool to own one. hmm, i have a feeling it wouldn’t be cheap. I just looked them up and found one for $1,500. Not cheap. but so cool!

Here are a few pelicans doing some fishing in the bay.

We wanted to get inside because it was so warm and decided to go to the Florida Museum of Photographic Art because it was on the way back.

It took us a while to find it, but we finally did. The current exhibition was of Langston Hughes…here’s a short bit about him from wikipedia:

He was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue”, which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue.”

The information about Hughes on Wikipedia is fascinating and since there’s so much free time nowadays, it wouldn’t hurt you to click and read about him in detail. He lived in Lincoln, IL for a while in high school.

The exhibit was about Hughes and his friendship with Griffith Davis, a journalist, photographer and diplomat.

The exhibit wasn’t very extensive, but i did find one interesting bit in a letter from Hughes to Davis. Dated Feb. 18, 1948, Hughes wrote to Davis from NYC, after he’d been on a speaking tour in the south. Here’s the fascinating part to me:

“This is not for publication, so do not spread it abroad, but it looks as though the American Legion is bent, bound, and determined to prevent my speaking for the Springfield, Illinois Urban League, on Thursday, March 11. The League seems determined to to through with it, so there might be material for a good picture story if there is a picket line thrown around the program by the reactionaries in Abraham Lincoln’s and Vachel Lindsay’s hometown, so maybe you might like to come down there with me and bring your camera. If so, let me know.”

I mean, of course where was (and is) so much prejudice in the world, but i was startled that he mentioned Springfield. I tried finding something out about Hughes’ visit to Springfield, but in my five-minute search i didn’t find anything.

The exhibit had lots of letters from Hughes to Davis and there were a few of Davis’ photos and articles, but like i said, it wasn’t a large exhibit.

There was another exhibit on another floor and i can’t tell you know what it was about, but when mom and i walked in we walked right back out again. All i remember is that it was something very dark and disturbing.

Here’s a view of the netting in the lobby of the building, which was mostly an office building.

We tried going into the nearby Tampa Museum of Art but the admission was twenty bucks i think and we decided it wasn’t worth it because we weren’t really interested.

By this time it was after 2:00 and our plane was going to leave at 6:50. I wanted to get to the aiport two hours early so we wouldn’t have to rush, and we drove down to Bayshore Blvd with all the huge mansions overlooking the bay. The neighborhood all around there was very upscale and we searched for a place to have lunch, but it got later and i decided we should just go to the airport really early.

because i’d paid for a full tank of gas at the car rental place i wanted to drain the tank before getting back. we almost did – the “range” down there on the lower left shows that by the time we pulled into the airport parking garage we could have only driven six more miles before running out of gas.

It all seems very anticlimactic to me, but that’s really ok. we returned the car and were able to check our bags when we first entered the very first terminal, and had two easy rides on the trams back to the southwest terminal.

we both chose a meal; mom had a burger and i treated myself to a big middle-eastern peda thing but i got chicken instead of lamb and it was dry but i didn’t care because by then i was starving.

We waited around a while for the plane but i never felt bored waiting. on our flight back we sat near the front of the plane so we could get off quickly, get our bags and get on the road. i watched the wonderful movie “judy on my ipad.” I barely finished it by the time the plane landed. What a good movie, and i’d like to see it on our big TV sometime.

The plane landed on time and we go off quickly but then had to wait a long time for our bags. when they finally arrived, somebody had broken the handle on my lovely, relatively new suitcase. i asked a southwest employee about it and she said to go to the claims office. i went in and the woman gave me a $100 voucher to apply to another flight. that seemed ok at the time, but it expires in a year and i wasn’t planning on flying anyway, but now of course i’m sure i won’t. the worst thing is that the woman took forever to type the info into her computer and spent time having conversations with other employees who came into the office and when we finally got out of there it seemed like we’d waited forever.

it’s all relative of course and especially now. the ride home was ok and it was wonderful to be back to kevin and the kitties.

Now i remember that the lovely young woman who sat between mom and me on the plane wiped down her tray and everything with a sanitary wipe, and she offered one to mom and me and we did the same. she was from puerto rico but had moved to a small town near st. louis, and was going back to puerto rico to sell her child-care business. her husband and daughter were still in st. louis.

and now i hope she managed to get out of puerto rico and back to her family.

it’s unthinkable about how much life has changed since our trip. Last night Bev told me that she read about a woman going on a plane recently to see somebody and she was the lone passenger. I read about Hong Kong’s Cathay Airlines, that usually had 100,000 people a day and yesterday only 538 flew. How many airlines will permanently close? not to mention everything else in the world.

so much to worry about, which is why it’s good to try to focus on good things in life. and it’s good to exercise, which i’m about to do right now.

I don’t have any posts at all from march yet, and i’m sure i have some photos of our kitties plus lovey who is living up in our front bedroom for now.




final photos from the Plant Museum

by grace on March 23, 2020

Ok, i want one of these fabulous planters. Here are more photos from the Plant Museum, which used to be the Tampa Bay Hotel a long time ago. This is the afternoon of Fri. Feb. 21st.

I think that this odd-looking setttee/planter was something that the Plants claimed to come from…Marie Antoinette? I think they said stuff like that about some of the furnishings to get publicity. It actually looks kind of cool, but i don’t think i’d want to be sitting there with a plant tickling the back of my neck.

This is definitely the ugliest giant vase i’ve ever seen.

Great collection of spoons, including that one with an alligator handle. I love spoons like this and I have some somewhere. I should put them on display.


One room at the museum was devoted to the special collection, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the festival:

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a large parade and a host of related community events held in Tampa, Florida almost every year since 1904.[1] The theme of the festivities is an invasion by the mythical pirate José Gaspar (also known as Gasparilla), who is a popular figure in Florida folklore even though there is no evidence that he actually existed.[2] The focal point of Gasparilla is the Parade of Pirates, which is held on the last Saturday in January and is often referred to as the Gasparilla Parade. Since its inception, it has been organized by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG), an organization modeled after the “krewes” that participate in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. On Gasparilla Day, members of YMKG sail into downtown Tampa aboard their large replica pirate ship accompanied by hundreds of private boats to demand that the mayor hand over the key to the city. Afterwards, they stage a “victory parade” along Bayshore Boulevard accompanied by dozens of other krewes and community organizations, with the festivities continuing into the nighttime hours along the Tampa Riverwalk.

Gasparilla began in 1904 as an informal pirate parade that was a small part of a larger community event, such as Tampa’s May Day festival. It was first held as a stand-alone event in 1913, and after a hiatus during World War II, the Parade of Pirates has grown into the third largest parade in the United States with a local economic impact of over $20 million and an average attendance of about 300,000.

There were costumes and photos and i loved this float of giant swans.

Maybe this woman was queen of the festival in 1963? I took this photo because that’s the year i was born, plus i wish you could see this picture more close-up. The top, including the huge collar, is knitted. i’ve never seen a formal gown with a knitted top. soooo ugly.


A couple of photos of the outside. At least the minarets are still intact…

And meanwhile back at home…Kevin took this photo of Lovey our outside cat.

When we got back to our house on the river in Tampa our dinner was more food from Trader Joe’s. we then watched a movie. it all seems so very long ago…

ok then,

g.h., staying home for quite a while i bet.


Downtown St. Petersburg

by grace on March 13, 2020

Wednesday, Feb. 19th – The morning started out with another good run. i didn’t take as many photos, except i took a bunch of these birds when i first set out. Jim said they’re Ibis. Just hanging out in somebody’s yard.

meanwhile, back at home – our outside cat, Lovey, was super affectionate and playful with Kevin. We hope to bring her inside soon. she’ll be quarantined for a week and if she doesn’t go crazy being inside we’ll take her to the vet and get her tested and gradually introduce her to the other kitties.

After my run we headed over to the Chihuly Collection, a very small museum in downtown St. Petersburg.

It was smaller than we thought it’d be, with maybe only seven rooms, each filled with just one display.

they were all beautiful but i’ve seen plenty of other Chihuly pieces in other places. There was also a video of Chihuly putting together different installations around the world and we watched a little of it but in my mind it was just I WANT TO BE OUTSIDE.

so we didn’t linger and drove over to the bay. there were plenty of big fancy boats docked there.

We were going to find some lunch but then i panicked for a change and was sure i’d left my insulated water bottle lying on the the grass where we’d gotten our picture taken, or maybe i’d set it on the ground outside the car. it’s been known to happen. so i sprinted back to check, and on my return i took a photo of this other big pink hotel, called the Vinoy Resort & Golf Club. pretty swanky.

pelican. always so photogenic.

it was pretty darn warm that day and i’d found a place on the map for lunch but it turned out to be just a bar. instead we sat outside on the deck of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and had a nice lunch.

Bur i wonder why we had soup on such a warm day?

This was our splendid view.

a busy day, and i was happy at the thought of heading back to Pass-A-Grille Beach when we left downtown.

ok then,




by grace on February 23, 2020

So…it’s Sunday morning here in sunny Florida and mom and I are going to be headed to the beach in a while. But here are some pictures of the darling kitties who I miss quite a bit!

of course I really miss Kevin, but at least we get to talk on the phone every day! Plus I’m constantly sending him plenty of pictures

les Paul and Riley, darling ever on February 9.

Lovey, our outside kitty who was peeking in at Kevin on February 13. When I get home, we are going to take her to the vet and get her checked out and then she will become an inside kitty! Hopefully that will go well. So far, she loves Kevin but is not so fond of me. But I’m sure I can get her to come around my side.

Birds plus a deer down to heal. Looking at this picture, it is hard to imagine how cold it still is back in Springfield.

Lovey is inside her heated kitty house. Kevin had leaned that window over it so that the snow would not fall on her, and I don’t know if you can see the plexiglass he has put in front of the house. It was really cold at night and I think she kept warm.

Here she is eating on February 16.

And that’s it it for my kitties right now! we will come home late on Tuesday night. In the meantime, plenty of sun and fun!

ok then,

mrs. h on holiday.