I have another follower! It’s so much fun to follow the wonderful conversations out there in blogland, especially those that have some link to the amazing world of RV life. Welcome! to Jeana, from the Seattle area. Right now she is flying off to Tucson to find some sunshine and after spending a very large chunk of my life in the northwest, I know how that feels!
Today I am working at home, a much nicer locale than the office in town with it’s dim, fluorescent lights. The cat is curled up in his favorite place while I am working. Can you tell that is a cat in there? I am in my pajamas, and at the moment it is lunchtime. Looking out my window I see huge pines and firs, and deep snow. Mo is again out trying to plow the deep, slushy stuff that is the result of warming temperatures. I’m having lunch, taking a break, and thinking about my upcoming trip to Florida. I am partly excited, and partly not so much. Flying isn’t what it used to be, and from what I have been reading lately, might be even less fun during this holiday season. Cheap fares seem to require several flight legs, and the old days where I could jump on a plane in Spokane and fly directly to Orlando are long gone. This time I will board in Medford just after 8am, and after three jumps, will land in Orlando at 10 PM. Ocala is still a good 90 minute drive from Orlando, so I will probably be lucky to get in at midnight after picking up the rental car. The trip home a week later will be even worse, with stops in Cincinnati and Salt Lake before finally arriving at Medford, again just before midnight. Big Sigh, the price of a cheap ticket.
Did you know that it’s not really ‘cool’ to love Florida if you are a Westerner? I think many of us out west think of Florida as that strange, flat place epitomized in Miami Vice, full of fast cars, fast boats, pastel high rises, and way too many people. I used to think that way, of course I had no experience with the state at all. In 2000, a very dear friend of mine went back to Florida to care for her elderly parents. During the first few years after she left, I traveled to Ocala several times to help her deal with all the logistics required, and I found out that Florida wasn’t anything like I imagined. I fell in love. I fell in love with skies that swirl in circles with big puffy white clouds, with rain that fell so hard you had to pull over to the roadside and then blink into brilliant hot sunlight minutes later. I fell in love with north central Florida, that world between the Emerald Coast and Gainesville, south to Ocala, on the limestone backbone of the state. I fell in love with the most gorgeous horse country in the US, with miles of black rail fences and grand estates. I fell in love with palms and oaks and pines in the same forest, with palmetto understory filled with snakes and alligators, with giant grasshoppers that looked like some sort of Technicolor cartoon, with springs so crystal clear you can see the gar 200 feet down among the swirling eelgrass. Yes, parts of Florida are horrendous, but the north-central limestone spine and the magical isolated northeast coast from Apalachicola to St Petersburg are an amazing wonderland of complex wilderness and beauty.
More storms are predicted here for the next few days, although it seems that it will bring lots of wind and rain to much of the area, and maybe not so much snow as we have had recently. The skies are becoming more gray by the minute, and the thought of velvet, warm Florida air is so seductive. Who knows, some of the bloggers that I follow down in the south say things aren’t really that warm and velvety right now, and my friend Bel sent a little text note saying, “Bring mittens”. Hmmm. I’m trying the carry-on only way of traveling this time as well, so we will see how that works out! If it’s really that cold, I think I will have to wear lots of layers on the plane. That could get interesting at the security checks. How many jackets and shirts, and scarves can I take off quickly while I am trying to get my shoes off and my computer out of my backpack? I’ll let you know.
Someone recently asked what what I was knitting, so here’s a shot of it. I bought this hand-dyed wool, thick and thin yarn in Silverton, Oregon when we camped near there last spring. There are so many sweet little yarn shops desperately trying to stay in business in these small towns, some of them truly wonderful. It requires that we take the time to purchase our goods directly from these little shops if we want to enjoy all they offer. I know how easy it is to buy online, but when traveling I always try to buy something special at the local yarn shop. I am a fairly new knitter, maybe the last 5 years or so, and sometimes I miss things I shouldn’t. In this case, the two skeins of very special hand dyed yarn looked identical until yesterday, when the bright light of day revealed that they weren’t exactly alike after all. So my project is now a bit weird, with one end of the scarf just enough different than the other end to look off. Sigh. I think my sister won’t mind too much, since she took one look at the hat at Thanksgiving and said, “I want that!” Hmmm. I hadn’t planned on giving it away, but how many wonderful yarn things do I really need anyway. Awful person that I am, the imperfection makes it a bit easier to give up.