Thursday, June 29, 2017

50th Family Trip: The Beach, Part 3

On our last trip to the beach, we skipped the resort trolley and drove ourselves to the beach from our balcony view, which had a much shorter walk to the water.
Storms were brewing and the sky was a bit ominous. The ocean was agitated and the water far choppier. Which made it even more fun to play in. The swells were larger, the breakers bigger, and the spray less predictable. It was terrific fun!

We all realized that this was my Dad's last trip to the beach. His imperfectly healed leg, his arthritic ankles, and his poor balance make walking on sand and playing in the waves energy depleting and cause considerable pain. He insisted on going, despite his obvious pain, because he wanted to be a part of our fun and to experience the ocean one last time. It was hard for Dad to be there and hard for us to watch. There was sadness on the beach and grief and so much joy. I am so grateful that we had one last great beach adventure.

50th Family Trip: Sea Birds

We'd been at the resort for a day and a half before I thought to visit the backside of our building.
There I found manicured paths and palm trees overlooking boat piers and a lovely little bay.

There were a few small boats docked and larger fishing tour boats in the marina at the end of the pier.
And there were sea birds. Brown pelicans sitting on posts, cranes strutting down the dock, terns scooping tiny silver fish from the water, laughing gulls screeching.
A grumpy looking heron eyed me closely, but never moved, just watched and rested his oddly delicate foot.

The cranes were huge, taller than my waist. They stood on the dock or rested on columns, so stately and elegant looking.

Until they needed to scratch, that is. Then they were ridiculously awkward!

The pelicans just made me laugh. Such a strange looking bird!
They were surprisingly graceful in flight.
Then they would dive bomb the water, hitting with an audible smack and a big spray of water before gulping down fish in their weird, leathery neck pouch. So bizarre and so funny to watch!
The pelicans on posts were not at all afraid of humans and let me get quite close, watching me and preening and showing off.

The bay and the birds at sunset were a wonderful way to end the day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

50th Family Trip: The Beach, Part 2

On our first full day at the resort, we spent the morning on the beach. The resort offered a free trolley to and from the beach, so we decided to try it out. We went to the trolley stop in the parking garage and called for our ride.
A few minutes later the trolley, a sort of golf cart that held 20 people, picked us up.
We were dropped off at a different section of beach, with a long boardwalk through dunes and past a seabird nesting preserve.
At the end of the boardwalk was a long expanse of sand before we reached the water. I felt bad that it was such a long walk, because my dad, with his arthritic ankles and limited energy, was tired and in pain by the time we finally got there. But the beach was beautiful.
And even though Dad was fighting pain and struggling to keep his balance, he loved being in the water and swimming with his family.
We ALL had a good time! We even found ourselves swimming in the middle of schools of small fish, much to my fascination and delight.

I had managed to not pack my swimsuit (I know, who forgets a swimsuit on a beach trip? Me. I'm usually better organized than that.) so I swam in workout clothes, just shorts and a t-shirt. They were so comfortable I may not go back to a suit!
I wish we lived nearer the ocean, because days at the beach are a lot of fun!

50th Family Trip: Palms

Mom and I were fascinated with palm trees.
They're not something we see in Kansas!
So we went out one night just to look at them and take pictures.
The most common palms in Orange Beach are sabals (I think!).

I knew palm trees had to be trimmed regularly, but I hadn't realized why. It turns out that the trunks, which are really the leftover stems of old fronds, are covered in nasty sharp teeth! I had no idea.
I found the patterns and textures of the leaves and trunks absolutely fascinating.

And the fruits were just plain weird!

There was another type of palm at the resort with beautifully curved fronds.

I also recognized sago palms. I'd seen them kept as house plants before, but never growing outdoors. They are one of the most ancient plants on earth.
They have their own sets of evil looking spines!

But the light shining through their leaves was so beautiful.

Palm trees are fascinating!

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way