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.