Florida Recap: Part 2

Following Islands of Adventure, we went into the next day bright and perky. One of my goals this trip was to see a beach; put my feet into the ocean. Orlando is in central Florida so there’s not a lot of beaches around. My friend and I googled a bit beforehand looking for some beaches that were close by that we could go splash in. We ended up coming across Cape Canaveral National Seashore which happens to be a national beach park that stretches for many miles. It’s undeveloped as well which means no building beach front properties on this stretch of beach; very natural. It’s about a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Orlando so we got a good headstart in the morning. I usually read on long trips in the car but I didn’t get enough sleep the night before and ended up sleeping the whole way there. By the time we got there it was a little cloudy but it was still a nice and toasty 80ºF. When you first get out of the car, you can hear the beach even though you cant see it. There’s a wooden ramp built up this hill that leads to the beach. There was a sign with beach rules with the very first one being “Know how to swim.” I don’t know how to 100% swim but I didn’t plan on going out deeper than what my feet could touch. We get to the beach, strip down and slowly inch forward to the tide. The water was warm but cold to our bodies initially. You know how you always have to acclimate to a body of water cause your natural temperature is so much warmer. But once we were in, we were in! The waves were so fun to splash in (and get knocked over by) but even though we had sand in all kinds of places and a mouthful or two of saltwater, it was one of the best days of the trip.

Later on we decided we were hungry. Naturally, after splashing around in the ocean, we wanted seafood. We went back to the suite to shower all the sand out (and believe it was A TON of sand, probably half the beach) and then went to a seafood joint I found through Google that had really good reviews. When a local, eat like the locals do! And man was the food fan-freaking-tastic. The restaurant was called Winter Park Fish Company and I got the best fish and grits of my life. If you’ve never had this food combination, you’re missing out. It was seared mahi-mahi over sugary cheesy grits (which btw, I never put sugar in my grits but oh my goodness gracious), with this spicy lobster gravy sauce drizzled on top and brussels salad on the side. My husband had fried snapper fish and chips with these powdered sugar hushpuppies. I wish I could order the whole menu and take it home. We found out the owners live half the year in Florida and the other half of the year in Costa Rica so they always have fresh fish. Anyway, if you ever find yourself in Florida, make sure you eat here! Here’s some pictures:

We settled down for the night after dinner to prepare for the next day. We went to Busch Gardens Tampa which is a theme park/animal park. There used to be an old show on TV with Jack Hanna who would talk about animals and animal welfare and I remember he would always host these shows at Busch Gardens. You all know I loved animals so I got great enjoyment out of the animals more than the rides although Cheetah Hunt was a pretty fun ride as well as Montu and Cobra’s Curse. Walking through to get to the actual Cobra’s Curse ride was really cool cause there was a couple of boa constrictors inside and it was all dark and stuff talking about serpent gods and what not. When we’d rode every coaster and seen all the animals, we decided we were hungry and went and got Jamaican food this time. Here’s a picture gallery from Busch Gardens (and me and my best friend just cause):

Tomorrow will be the last part of my Florida vacation recap. It also happens to be my most favorite day so I had to share it in it’s own post. You’ll see why. 🙂

The Power of Nature and Tech

So I was late to work today.

But what I saw on the way was pretty intense. Last night, most of Northeast Ohio experienced a pretty, heavy duty storm. There was lots of rain, thunder, lightning and wind. I like when it storms in the fall mostly because the wind becomes a natural leaf stripper and makes cuts how many times we have to blow and rake leaves. I was watching Poldark (my new obsession) and watching the cats because my jerk gets a little bit of anxiety during storms, when my friend texts me and tells me her power when out. She lives out by where I work; about 45 minutes away. She told me luckily they have back up generators at her house but it didn’t sound good out there. And I wondered if my husband and I would lose power as well but there wasn’t much flickering going on really. Then about 15 minutes later she tells me a tree fell on her boyfriend’s truck. And I’m like, “Are you serious??” and she says yes and send me a picture. He drives a heavy duty pick up truck and this tree split his cab in half. I told her I was really glad it didn’t hit their house and thank goodness for insurance.

This morning, I’m driving to work and I see a few branches down here and there in the small town of Boston Heights and the back roads of Hudson. It wasn’t til I hit Aurora that it all came into stark reality. I saw a tree being barely held up by power lines, and almost every house I passed, there was a tree downed in someone’s front yard. I’m slowly getting to the intersection that takes me to the one main road to work and I swear to God all I saw was a wall of dirt coming. If there wasn’t people behind me, I would have stopped just to marvel at the sight. The wall of dirt was half the size of a two story house. I mean it was nothing but dirt and roots and it was the biggest downed tree I have EVER seen. Big ole pine. There was a woman in rubber boots walking around out front and I just felt so bad for her because not only did the tree fall and ruin her day, but it landed on her neighbor’s house which I can imagine only made the day worse. The circumference of that tree was literally staggering. I hope no one got hurt but I can only imagine the sound that tree made as it was falling and when it actually fell. Now more than ever, I told my husband, the trees around our house need to come down as soon as we can afford it.

From that point on, I experienced road closures. Thank goodness for technology let me tell you. If it wasn’t for GPS, I probably would have drove in circles lost. I texted my boss and let her know I was going to be late and then turned on Google Maps to try and help me find some kind of route to work. I was probably rerouted about 8 or so times because of physical police car barriers or signs like these:

I eventually made it to work and since I listen to NPR, heard about the thousands of people without power in two counties. My old man friend at work was talking about how his sisters from out of town were calling him asking him if he was okay and his response was just like him. He told her, “Yeah we might be two or three days without power but the people in Puerto Rico still don’t have power and probably won’t for a year.” Talk about putting others before yourself right?

Nature is a beautiful but dangerous thing. I think Mother Earth is a little pissed at us for ruining the environment but hopefully we can turn some things around with all the amazing, sustainable, helpful tech that keeps coming about. If you happened to be in this area of crap weather last night, I hope you and yours are okay.

Happy Monday everyone.

Passing Through

My mom is throwing a birthday party for my grandma in two weeks. She’s turning 75. The party is going to take place at a shelter inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I went up there today to have a video chat with my mom so she could see the place and have the exact picture in her mind’s eye. She lives out of state, you see, so she was only going based of stock photos from the web.

After I showed her the shelter, I decided to walk to the trails. My husband and I came to visit two weeks back but we didn’t have enough time to walk anything. I noticed a trail called the Overlook and was definitely interested in finding out what I was going to “look over”.

You know, walking through a forest is something else. It made me realize how we’re all passengers in this world; in our lifetime however long it may be. Nature was here before us and it will certainly be here long after we’re gone. Yes, we manipulate it, change it, kill it, but it always finds a way to adapt, survive, and in some cases evolve.

I probably walked about 35 minutes and it was just beautiful. Really brings you down to Earth in a literal, massive way. I don’t know how this place will look a year from now, 10 years from now, 50 years from now, but I enjoyed it today and I’ll enjoy it again each time I go back because every day is always new and different.

How does nature make you feel? Do you agree with what I said? Does this make you want to come to Ohio and explore with me?! Let me know in the comments below!

Let’s Talk About Courtship

We’ve all had the birds and the bees talk right?

No?

Well I won’t be the one to introduce that to your world today (at least where humans are concerned). Instead I want to talk about fish; one particular fish in particular, the Japanese puffer fish.

As I was browsing (stalking) on Twitter the other day, I came across a really cool video! It showed how this pufferfish attracts a mate. Now I’ve seen some real creative ways of fish attracting other fish. One such video was the genius of some male cuttlefish. If you ever wondered if aliens existed, just look at the cuttlefish.

Anyway, in the video, there was a swarm of big male cuttlefish surrounding the female trying to mate with their colors and stripe patterns. There was one male though that was smaller the rest and whenever he tried to cut in close to the female, the males would literally yank him away. This little male ended up being so clever! He curled in his tentacles, like females do when they’re in mate mode, then changed his colors to look like a female! Fooled the hoard of males and got right up close to deposit his offspring into that female!

The Japanese pufferfish though??? I mean I have never seen anything so amazing. I feel like he probably attracted a whole school of pufferfish after this! Check out the video below and let me know what you think in the comments!

Resurrection Fern

Is it just me or are there two word prompts? Since I don’t know how to use paragon in a thoughtful, maybe funny post, I’m going to go with total.

WANT TO SEE SOMETHING THAT’S TOTAL SORCERY?!?!

Well I’m glad you follow this blog because I’m about to introduce you to one of the craziest, coolest things I’ve ever seen.

One day a friend of mine took me to this store in Akron called Land of Plenty. I don’t know why it has this name but it is definitely the land of random things. There are gemstones and coins and clothing and even furniture in this store. They also have a lot of plants.

So I know what succulents are but I had never heard of an air plant before. One of the workers there told me that air plants are literally what they sound like. They’re desert loving plants that survive on air though you do have to mist them every once in a while. There’s also another plant she explained to me about, and I ended up buying one, but I’ll go into that in another post.

I’m looking at all these air plant terrariums when I come across these tumbleweed looking things just sitting in a bowl. They were labelled as “resurrection ferns”. I’m sitting here like yeah.. it looks like it needs some kind of rejuvenation cause it’s looking pretty dead. The lady comes up to me, because she probably saw my look of confusion, and goes, “they’re alive”.

I’m scratching my head on this one people. I thought maybe she was a little bit high off all the incense that was burning in the place because I know what a dead plant looks like. She proceeds to tell me that it doesn’t come alive until you put it in water.

Excuse me, what?!? How is something that’s clearly dead, come back alive off water alone?! She assured me that if I bought this, put in in water, it would turn green.

For $4 dollars I had to see if she as telling the truth. So I bought one determined to prove that this can’t possibly be true. I don’t have a green thumb at all so I know what a dead plant looks like.

Man, I wasn’t ready!!!

The following are pictures of the different stages of a resurrection fern in about a 1-7 hour period:

She was telling the absolute truth!! MAGIC IS REAL!! This plant has no roots! It defies regular logic! At least my regular logic and YET! The proof is in the pudding and I don’t even like pudding that much.

Once the water evaporates, it curls back into itself and that’s it! Every time one of my best friends comes over, he puts it in water to see if it’ll open back up and so far it hasn’t failed.

Have any of you ever seen real life sorcery?? Let me know in the comments below!