June 2006

Thursday 01 June 2006

Another Amazing Sunset


These sunsets are just getting out of control .... !




Saturday 10 June 2006

Ah, the unpacking continues!


What fun!


A few months back, my friend's mother-in-law passed away. She was wealthy and somewhat eccentric, and had some interesting stuff in her apartment in NYC.

When my friend found this piece of coral, naturally she thought of me, bundled it into a box, and brought it out to Long Island so I could take it with me to Florida. She doesn't know where it came from, just that it was displayed in the apartment on a high shelf.

So here are some pictures. I think if I can identify the "hitch-hiker", I might be able to determine approximately where the coral came from.


Maui Jims included for scale

Right side up

Other side

Upside down


Can you find the hitch-hiker?

There he is!

The hitch-hiker plus implement of liberation



Monday 12 June 2006

Alberto Pays Us A Call


I made the "perilous crossing" over the causeway as soon as I could extricate myself from work. Tropical Storm Alberto has been pitching some good stuff onto the shores of Sanibel, and after three or four days of bearing with the grim, grayness of him, I figured he owed me.


I got to the Lighthouse beach at about 5 hours before low tide, and I stayed for precisely 2 hours and 14 minutes. I ran out of room in my mesh shell bag, and I could not find my bigger one.

I found THREE big horse conchs this evening! But two were occupado. The empty one is really banged up, but it's a big 'un, so it's having its bleach bath now as I type.


Here come the shells -



Wednesday 14 June 2006

Awesome Evening At The Lighthouse Beach!


Well, Jim (from said to go 2-3 days after a tropical depression blows through, and there would be things to find.


Started work early this morning in anticipation of leaving a bit early to get out to Sanibel. At the time I was trying to shut down and leave, my IP phone kept ringing. Every time I tried to shut down, there it went. While on the phone, I jotted down Tootie's number - maybe we could meet up for a drink, or on the beach. I stuck the yellow sticky to my purse, grabbed all my shelling gear, and finally made my escape.

I made excellent time to the causeway, and grabbed my phone to call my friend.... no yellow sticky! ok, maybe I put it on the INSIDE flap of my purse. Nope, not there either. Floor of car? Nope. Dang! This is the second time I've driven to the island and not had her number with me. She's going to think I really don't want to meet her!

I'm sorry Tootie - I did it again!

Maybe I should have your cell number tat-Tootie-ed on my arm, or something.

(when I returned home, the yellow sticky was on the floor of the garage, just outside the passenger door. I'd thrown my gear on the passenger seat just prior to leaving, so that's when it must have fallen).

I pulled into the parking lot for the Lighthouse Beach. My parking stub says I got there at 5:05 PM. The very first thing that happened was a gaggle of teen boys in the water were throwing dead starfish at each other, and onto the beach. One found a shell and threw that - and it was a GOOD shell, a keeper! I took this as an omen of good things to come.

Alberto had dumped heaps of shells on the beach, as well as dead starfish, and little, cylindrical, goopy things which were sorta disgusting, but I knew the stuff on the beach had been picked over already, so I waded out a bit to find the good stuff. You just kinda shuffle in shin-deep water, feeling stuff under your water shoes, then either use the net or your hand to fish it out.

BONANZA! I found a huge lightening whelk, the biggest I've ever found yet. Not as big as Reba's but still impressive. As I stood there admiring it, a woman nearby exclaimed and came over to see it. She was very friendly, from one of the Carolinas, with a broad drawl. We kept shelling as we chatted, and soon we were trading shells. She'd told me that she and her son were widowed - he was about 13, kept flitting back and forth between her and another woman who was hunting with him. He was looking for true tulips, the red kind, and also angel wings. So the first angel wing I found, I gave it to him, and then the trading back and forth began.

There was a whole family of dolphins hunting by the pier, bringing delight as they jumped and wrestled with their catches. One man said, in a stunned voice, "I can't believe it - that dolphin just brought down a tarpon!". I had seen the silver flash of a huge tail, but didn't know what it was until the man said that.

I remember reading somewhere that they can hear people on the shore, so I encouraged everyone nearby to whoop and applaud for them. It does seem to make them jump and play more. Dunno, there may be something to it! Anyway, it's fun to whoop for them. A man nearby said, "Better than Seaworld - and FREE!"

Alberto had eaten away a sort of a shelf, and trapped against the shelf, plus just beyond, were all the good shells. Lots and lots and lots of shells! So my new friends from the Carolinas and I just kept digging into the shelf with hands and nets (I destroyed my shell net on a stick - gotta get another, or maybe a Bailey's special scooper-claw-on-a-stick, too), and doing the shuffle, and finding awesome stuff, trading back and forth.

Anyway, I kept finding true tulip after true tulip, and I'd give every other one to the boy and his mother. One for me, one for him, etc. Only when I got to the biggest one I'd ever found, I said, "sorry you can't have this one!"   and then gave him the next two. The kid was ecstatic, and I was happy to throw a little pixie dust his way. Poor kid. I don't have a father anymore, either.

His mom took one of the angel wings I'd given them, and asked my name, and then said she was going to paint my name on it when she got home. I feel honored.

Eventually, the other woman joined us in conversation. She said she lives in the lighthouse! And introduced herself. I told them all about moving down here to Lehigh, and the woman from the Carolinas again expressed a desire to relocate. It's a contagion, I'm tellin' ya!

Finally, my mesh bag was completely full, the net on a stick more than completely destroyed, and my feet tired of being wet. So I bid them adieu and came home to clean things up.

I'm so glad I made the drive out to the beach today - wait till you see what I found!   Alberto was kind to us - he didn't take off the roof, or drive me into the closet, and he left us some nice parting gifts


The Whole Haul

Hey, this here's quality stuff!


The big mutha lightening whelk

True Tulip

The one I wouldn't let Travis have

Alphabet Cone

The Carolina Lady and I both found cones, within a minute of each other.

True Tulips Galore!

Remembering that I gave away half of what I found... !

Assorted Treasures

Lots of kibbles, no bits!

King's Crown

Only the second one I've ever found.


The Carolina Lady gave this to me - probably from a horse conch



Thursday 15 June 2006



I'm thinking these guys are in for a rude surprise once the fountain is turned on...
















Friday 16 June 2006

The Prank Call

Well, not really a "prank". But it scared the living shit out of me.

The phone rang. It was sitting on the kitchen counter, and I was standing there and picked it up. I didn't recognize the number on the caller ID, but I picked it up anyway.


"Hello," a young woman's voice said. There was a big pregnant pause, and then she continued. "A man will be running up to your door in about a minute."

My heart STOPPED. And the first words that flew out of my mouth, without thinking, were, "You're EVIL".

And I hung up.

Now I'm looking around, frantically trying to figure out which door. I felt like I was in Scream IX or something. This kinda shit always happens in the movies, not in real life!

I realize that the plantation shutters on the French doors are open. It's night, and I have the lights on inside, so anyone could be watching me.

(If this was Scream IX, about now you would all be yelling at the screen, "Don't go near the doors! DON'T GO NEAR THE DOORS!" )

My heart was POUNDING, and I felt the adrenaline surge. I sidled around the perimeter of the dining room (which, mercifully, had fully SHUT plantation shutters), trying not to be seen, and slid across the back wall of the house, reaching out just enough to close the shutters without being seen. I got the shutters closed, and before I could even think about calling the police, the phone, which was still in my hand, rang again.

I looked at the caller ID. It was the same number! Now I'm PISSED instead of scared. What kind of prank caller let's their number be seen on the caller ID?  TWICE?

I was so angry, I answered yelling, "WHAT!?"

The young woman's voice said, "Please don't hang up. I'm calling to apologize. I thought I'd dialed my sister, and I was trying to let her know that I was dropping off my daughter. But when you said what you said, I kinda figured you didn't hear what **I'd** said. So, what did you think I said?"

"A man will be running up to your door in about a minute"

Giggling. "No, I said 'AMANDA will be running up to your door'. That's my kid. I thought you were my sister. I'm sorry!"

Now it was my turn to laugh, and I apologized for calling her evil, and we both hung up, still laughing.

I have lived by myself most of my adult life without being freaked out, but that was just weird! You can bet I paid no never mind to curtailing cigarette consumption for the rest of the evening, and I checked all the doors and windows about a bazillion times before I went to bed.


Tuesday 20 June 2006

I know, I know!


I have to stop taking pictures of sunsets.  But they're SO beautiful!  This sunset occurred during a thunder storm.  Half the time, the pink/golden light you see in the clouds is not the sun, it's lightening.  The cloud formations are wondrous - the sky is so big here, because the land is so flat.  Make sure to click on the second to last shot!




Saturday 24 June 2006

Yeah, yeah...


I KNOW!  But I didn't say I would actually stop.  I just said that I SHOULD stop.  And we all know that I don't always do as I should...



Monday 26 June 2006

Small Aircraft Lands In Lehigh


I went out to the mailbox to fetch the mail this afternoon, and look what I found hanging out above my front door.  I've emailed the bugman at -


He said it's a gaudy sphinx moth.  I had seen some of those on his site, but with the wings open.  Mine has his wings closed.







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