Monday, July 25, 2011

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to…

Today is July 25th. Why is this significant you ask? Well, I'm sitting here this morning and I'm having mixed feelings. Looking back at this month on my blog I see I've only posted once. I knew this, it comes as no surprise, but it has me filled with anxiety. I love blogging — I love posting and visiting — and I miss it desperately. You've all become such an important part of my life and not knowing what's going on in Blogland is like being alone on a deserted island with no one to talk to. Think Tom Hanks in Cast Away. No, I haven't grown a beard, but I do feel as though I've crash landed somewhere far, far away from my normal life and I'm trying to figure out how to survive and get back to some normalcy.

Like Tom Hanks, I did find someone to talk to…

I call her BeeBee (for beach ball, duh). She's a decent companion, but really doesn't have too much to say, however, she is a good listener. I've been telling her all the things I've been wanting to tell you.

Then I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I know you can upload posts to Blogger via alternative methods, so I thought this might work…

Photo courtesy of I am Kat.

So far I don't think any have reached the powers that be on the worldwide web shore. If you find one in your travels, could you let me know?

Anywho, I'm still washed ashore on the Island of New Job and my friends, it has been quite an experience. On Saturday I get a call from my gal pal Karen of The Essential Beachcomber and she says, "What do you think of Loui's post?"

I replied, "Honey, I haven't had time to visit ANYONE all month!"

Karen then says, "Well, if you do nothing else, stop by the Mountain Mermaid."

Well, I did and let me tell you, I cried like a baby. There is something else that is significant about today and that is that I'm turning…

and my dear, darling friend, my Sister of the Sea is throwing me an

Online Surprise Birthday Party!

What Loui wrote touched me so deeply, she has become such an important part of my life, I just don't have the words to describe how much her friendship has meant to me, but I love her! We share so much in common, we are mersisters in every respect. I know a lot of you met her last month during the World Oceans Day Celebration, but if you haven't been to her blog, stop by and say hello.

I woke up this morning, turned on the computer, poured my coffee and came back to find my inbox full of birthday wishes. Then I open my blog and I'm looking at my blogroll and I see the title of some of today's posts from my friends and I start crying all over again! So to all of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for every bit of joy you've brought to my life, I am humbled to have found you and been embraced by you. I truly love you all!

To my Sister of the Sea, you make me proud to call you friend. I am so touched by your thoughtfulness, my heart is full. Girl, I just love you from the bottom of the sea to shore of distant islands. Thank you.

In case you missed the invite, you can read it here. And then yesterday, she added this. OMG, I am so excited and can't wait to read what my Sister of the Sea puts up today!

So, before the phone starts ringing or I get called away from my computer for one errand or another, I'm off to visit and thank you each "in person." I swear, this is like sitting with all of you and opening presents!

P.S. Just to let you all know, I am doing really fine! Things are good, just really different and REALLY busy. As soon as I can catch a breadth, I'll tell you all about it. In the meantime — Happy Birthday to Me! And dear, darlings, you have all made it that way!!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

World Oceans Day Winners and Vintage Beach Camping

Between all the changes and losses in my life as of late, I've been feeling rather discombobulated. This morning as I was looking back over my blog and trying to figure out what I would like to write about to get back into the swing of things, I realized that I had never announced who the winners of my World Oceans Day Beach Party were!

Envelope please,


Congratulations ladies! Please send me your addresses and I will get your goodie boxes out to you. Thanks to everyone for participating in the 1st Annual World Oceans Day Party here at The Hut. I can't wait for next year!

Since life has been so unpredictable lately, I decided that today I would do a repost from my early days of blogging. You know, that time when you didn't have any followers and comments were about as frequent as a Blue Moon. In one of my first posts I wrote briefly about my family's camping trips to the beach. We bought a travel trailer when I was quite young and our favorite trips were, of course, to the beach! This picture was taken in the dining area of our first trailer in June 1956, shortly before my fifth birthday.

That's me half hidden behind my baby sister
One of our favorite places for years was Hobson Park in Ventura County, California. Located about eight miles north of the city of Ventura, Hobson is a very small campground with about thirty campsites. There is no room for it to grow, but there are now homes located to the north. Most everything I remember as a child is hard to recognize now, but Hobson does not fall into this category. Sure, the road is now paved and I understand they have RV hook-ups, but the size and charm is still present.

This is Hobson as it looks today…

And this is an aerial shot…

We knew everyone who camped there and became one big family. Those friendships carried on for many years and the memories are among my favorites. You can see from the pictures above that Hobson had a very rocky coastline. We scrambled over those rocks with no fear and when the tide was low we were rewarded with amazing tide pools! We'd find baby octopuses and let them slither on our arms, we'd stick our toes in anemones and scream when their tentacles wrapped around us. We found starfish and crabs, and tried in vain to catch the little fish that would dart in and out of the rocks. We cut our feet on barnacles and slipped on algae, but this didn't slow us down and we never grew bored with exploring our hidden treasures.

Back at camp, the adults relaxed, worked on their tans and planned the next party…

One of the annual favorites was the Hard Times Party. They dressed in old clothes — reminiscent of the Depression Era, so on the left  in this picture from 1963 we have what must have been a flapper style dress worn by the older women of that generation and on the right we have a classic hobo look. In the middle is my mom wearing a potato sack dress! Now Hawaii did not become a state until 1959, but my mom went for the tropical look to dress up her sack, adding leis around her ankle and leg, shell jewelry, a light pink wig, and flip flops to complete her ensemble. Don't ask me why — this is my mom's interpretation of hard times. She was a hoot and everyone loved her.

Here are the ladies in color. My mom is wearing her favorite outfit here — a bathing suit, but then mom had the figure for it along with great legs!

The parties at Hobson always included a pot luck dinner. While the women cooked, the men put all the tables together end-to-end, started the campfire for the fish, clams and mussels, and the feast ensued. We ate, we danced, we laughed, we sang and we enjoyed the camaraderie of good friends.

I still love camping at the beach, but I have gone from a trailer back to a tent. Keep your trailers and RV's, I love tent camping! Here is a pic of my campsite at McGrath Beach in Ventura taken in 1995. I don't rough it by any stretch of the imagination! I have a three room tent and an expresso maker for the fire pit. I camp where there are showers and I don't do hot dogs and hamburgers! Food tastes better cooked over a campfire after a day at the beach and I'm all about the food! In the future I'll share with you my recipe and technique for a clambake, it is what I always serve the first night after setting up camp.
So, there you have a brief look at forty years of beach camping for me from 1956–1995. The last time I was at McGrath was 1999, now I live in Florida and the camping is different here. I've camped at Fort DeSoto, but there are still lots of beaches to explore.

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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