Forbes Discovers “Sunshine City’s” Blossoming Art and Food Scene

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map of st petersburg floridaIn Sampling St. Petersburg’s New Art And Food Scene,  Forbes Travel Guide’s Michelle Doucette provides a glimpse into some of the changes St. Petersburg, Florida has been undergoing to become a destination for art lovers and foodies alike.

I lived in Tampa for almost ten years, before moving to St. Petersburg and can vouch for the eclectic arts scene that exists here.   While the article mentions our new and growing craft beer industry and some of the local breweries, it fails to acknowledge the long-time City, County and private partnerships that have contributed greatly to re-investments in the City of St. Petersburg.  Our City has dedicated green space and dog parks, and a Mayor, Rick Krisemen, who worked  tirelessly throughout his career to ensure our Human Rights Ordinance was developed and passed.  In fact, he was the first elected official to sign last year’s St. Pete Pride Proclamation, which coincided with one of the most successful, family-oriented, Pride celebrations in the country.  (He served on the City Council when he signed the Proclamation and was instrumental in keeping pressure on previous Mayors to sign the Proclamation).

Zeke, a regular patron, enjoys the leash-free area of Fort De Soto Park's Paw Playground.
Zeke, a regular patron, enjoys the leash-free area of Fort De Soto Park’s Paw Playground.

Add in Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, museums with diverse collections like The Dali Museum,  the Florida Holocaust Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts,  one of the oldest and largest MLK Day celebrations in the country, our beautiful beaches and year-round great weather and you will begin to see why we love our unique slice of heaven.

I can be found at the dog beach at Fort De Soto, alongside Hubby and our sun-worshipping K9 kids: Zeke, Hannah and Charlie.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 24

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cappys pizza
Cappy’s Pizza – home of authentic deep dish pizza, with locations throughout Tampa Bay

Our family, on Hubby’s side, likes to celebrate birthdays by going out for pizza.  We exchange funny cards – always funny cards, nothing sentimental or thought-provoking, please.  Everyone orders their favorite beer or wine, salad, and the Birthday Boy or Girl chooses the pizzas we will eat.  We always have a wonderful time because, as middle-aged adults and senior citizens, we prefer to focus on each other and celebrate another milestone together, rather than on gifts.   Today, we celebrated BL who is one year closer to retirement and is counting down the days.

If you are ever in my area of the world, visit Cappy’s Pizza, a local joint that makes the best Chicago-style, deep dish pie in Florida.

2013 Hurricane Season – Dig Out Your Hurricane Tubs, Plywood and Can Openers…Again

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2013 Hurricane Season

I live in one of Florida’s Gulf Coast counties, so each year we anticipate and dread June 1st, the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.   It lasts until November and typically means that rainy season and high humidity will be with us throughout the Summer.    If you visit Florida during this time, you will recognize Floridians and year-round Florida residents.  We are the people who do not lie in the sun to “tan,” and will likely run you over as we run from our air-conditioned vehicles, into air-conditioned buildings, and back again.   It will take us a couple of weeks to recall our rainy-day driving skills.  But soon, it will be “business as usual,” and we will drive in our “rain shoes,” to keep our “work shoes” dry.

Troprical Storm Andrea
First named storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, from NOAA

Anyone who has spent an extended amount of time along either of Florida’s coasts, understands why we live here.  We love our weather and proximity to bodies of water.  It certainly is not the $10,000 to $15,000 salary drop we experienced when we moved here, the lack of quality public schools and transportation or affordable health/medical insurance, of any kind.  Nor is it the exorbitant homeowners’ insurance rates, provided by less insurance companies each year.

A major component of living in a subtropical paradise, are storms and our ability to weather them.  Hubby and I own a generator, have plywood labeled for each set of windows and only have to buy canned food, if we are threatened by a storm.    In fact, those jumbo Rubbermaid tubs come in quite handy for moving and storing hurricane supplies, each year.    The key is to remember that we are responsible for ourselves for the first 48 through 72 hours following a storm – which may be extended to two weeks.  That means that we should expect to have no emergency services right before landfall, during the time the storm/eye passes over our area, and for several days, to one or two weeks, after the storm passes through.   We should further expect to lose electrical power and be under “Boil Water,” orders, until electricity is restored.

Moving to a shelter should be the last resort for a family.   I highly recommend “Host Home Programs,” where several  families congregate at the home of friends or relatives, who are not in the path of the storm.    It is an opportunity to bond, albeit under extremely stressful circumstances, but your family will be more comfortable among friends/relatives, than the microcosm of society that are Hurricane Shelters.   Businesses, are also encouraged to create “Home Host Programs” for  employees who wish to participate.   Here is a way to get started:  http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/PDF/hosthome_flyer.pdf

We have been blessed, and lucky, to have been spared a major storm since 1985’s Hurricane Elena, which eroded Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico coastline.  We are living on borrowed time, and we know it.  http://www.tampabay.com/news/weather/hurricanes/tampa-ranked-most-vulnerable-and-overdue-city-for-a-hurricane-in-the-us/2124692

In Florida, more injuries and fatalities occur in smaller, or “no name” storms, because citizens do not follow the directives of emergency managers.   Only idiots defy these orders.   Idiots, who fancy themselves “armchair meteorologists” and assume to know what Mother Nature plans to do.    The only thing I have learned from years of living in Florida, is that storm models are merely predictors.  Storms have a way of doing whatever they want to do.  So, hubby and I will restock our Hurricane Kit, find our important legal papers and  dig out the board games and deck of playing cards.  Then, we will tune in to our local weather forecasters, who will invariably show footage storm idiots, as they “surf,” or “bathe” in the polluted waters of the storm.    May they win many Darwin Awards for their stupidity!

Year is ALREADY flying by?

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As I was driving home, yesterday, this song came on the radio and it seemed appropriate for today, given the HEAT WAVE we’re experiencing here.  In Florida.  In January.   It’s hot enough that I may have to turn the air conditioner on, for a few minutes, just to move the air around.