Egmont Key


Egmont Key is a Florida State Park. The park is primarily a wildlife refuge. Only portions of the park are open to the public. It is an island located in the mouth of Tampa Bay. It is accessible only by private boat.


Don’t expect any State Park amenities when you get there. There is no restroom. There is no snack stand. There is no drinkable water. We carried 1.5 liters each for our three hour excursion. It was barely enough. It is also important to not only bring sunscreen, but to use it as well. I am sometimes guilty of bringing it but not using it.


On the way to the island you can see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that spans across Tampa Bay, connecting Tampa to St. Petersburg. The original southbound span collapsed in 1980 when a freighter hit one of the supporting columns. Thirty-five people died that foggy morning when their vehicles plunged into the water 150 feet below. I was 9 years old when that happened. I remember being in school that day. The local television news was playing on the intercom. I was confused about what had happened.


Loggerhead Sea turtles nest on the island. On the boat ride to the island, my husband and daughter saw a huge one in the water. I missed it.


We were fortunate to go on a day that the Egmont Key Alliance was having a workday. We learned things that we might not have found out. The lighthouse was first lighted in 1858. During the civil war, the original lens was removed and hid. That made it harder for the Union soldiers locate the shore. The Egmont Key Alliance is in possession of the original lamp house. It was found in the vegetation on the island. If they ever get a nice couple million dollar donation the housing can be restored and reinstalled on top of the lighthouse.


In 1849, Egmont Key was declared a military reservation after a survey by the Army Corp of Engineers. One of the members of that survey group was Captain Robert E. Lee, who later commanded the Confederate Army during the Civil War. During the Spanish American War, there was a need for permanent coastal fortifications. There was fear that the Spanish Navy would attack the Port of Tampa.


The war ended before Fort Dade was build on Egmont Key but the military still deemed it necessary.  In its heyday, troops at Fort Dade enjoyed a movie theater, tennis courts and a gymnasium. Above is one of four batteries on the island. Only three are accessible. The forth is in the wilderness refuge. From the satellite view, it appears to be mostly underwater. The island is losing the battle with mother nature. It is eroding away.


There is not much evidence of the former military presence. Besides the batteries, the Guard House survived. It has been restored by the Alliance and is used to educate people about the island and the wildlife.


There are a lot of foundations left. I believe this was the bakery. According to a member of the Alliance, the popular belief is that most of the buildings were burned down by the government or law enforcement during Prohibition. The island was being used by bootleggers.


The island still has the original brick roads. They circle around the remaining foundations. Most foundations have markers to tell you what would have been there.


There are also some tracks remaining. The Alliance speculates that they were used to transport supplies around the island. They are an odd size. It is unknown what sort of cart was used on the tracks. This was near the coast on the side facing the main land.


Why do you go to an island? For your own spot of paradise. A secluded beach that you don’t have to share. The thing on the extreme left of the photo is the remains of the power plant. Most of it was in the water. The sound of the waves crashing is very relaxing. I could stay there forever.


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Tell Me I’m Fat



This American Life recently did a podcast entitled Tell Me I’m Fat. It was inspired by a book called Shrill by Lindy West. I love the This American Life podcast. This one was especially interesting to me since the topic was something I deal with everyday. Being fat. It is definitely worth listening to.

It started out very positive. I wasn’t aware of it, but there is a movement to come out as fat. It is like coming out as gay except you state the obvious.  It is accepting yourself as you are. You don’t have to try to lose weight. Find happiness as you are today. They act like saying ‘I am fat’ is a radical statement. The issue is usually politely ignored. If not politely ignored, it is danced around more gently. In the adult world, you just don’t call people fat out loud.

Some of the stories were heartbreaking. A woman who liked the fat version of herself better than the thin version. A woman who is classified at super morbidly obese. Diet pills. Discrimination.

I have never felt like people were looking into my grocery cart and judging me while shopping. Perhaps they are, but I never feel like they are. During the times I have eaten the worst, I sometimes felt a little self conscious about the amount of junk food in my cart. That is my own issues, not because I felt like I was being judged.

I never had to find a date as a fat person. When my husband and I started dating I was thin. I gained 50 pounds in the four years we dated and more that that after we got married. I never worried he would leave me because I gained weight. The girl he dated before me was fat.

I am lucky that I have never experienced fat discrimination or fat shaming. I almost wish I had. It might have made me try harder to lose weight all these years. I am very comfortable in my skin. If I was more self conscious maybe I wouldn’t be fat. My reasons for wanting to lose weight have nothing to do with vanity so maybe that would not have been incentive to lose weight.

Do you feel discriminated against because of your weight?

Controlled Chaos

Last week there was rain, followed by wet, followed by rain again. At the beginning of the week I was pretty sad about missing my bike rides.  By Saturday I was using the possibility of rain as an excuse to not even bother.

Yoga fizzled out last week also. I was diligent on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  By Wednesday,  things were getting difficult. The 30 day challenge is getting harder a bit to fast for me.  Thursday I told myself I was to tired. Friday I had a hair appointment and didn’t get home until after 9:00. I told myself I was to tired. By Saturday I was just indifferent to it.

This weekend, the muscles and areas I use most in yoga and biking hurt. They felt tight and uncomfortable.  I think they were protesting my inactivity. I need to get back to it.

Monday I rode my bike. I rode pretty hard because I wanted to beat the rain, which I did. It felt good to be out there.

My eating has been slowly drifting away from what I should be consuming. I am still limiting carbs but have been adding more fat and larger portions. Needless to say, my weight has been fluctuating up and down.

I have not fell off the wagon. I am currently walking beside it. I have made a conscious decision to take a few days off. I am making an effort to control what could become chaotic.  I am planning my off plan meals and avoiding sugar. I can’t be controlled while consuming sugar. I know this about myself.

I am three meals into my controlled chaos. I am happy to report that it is not as great as I imagined. My body definitely prefers lighter meals with less carbs. Armed with this knowledge, I look forward to getting back on my new normal diet on Sunday.

I expect to gain a few pounds. I will take it. I am earning them.

I am also resuming yoga. I enjoy it. I decided I will do each day twice before moving on. This turns the 30 day challenge into a 60 day challenge.  I have also decided to not do yoga on the days I ride my bike.  This might change in the future,  but for now that is my plan.

Do you alter your plans as you go along?

Celebrate You

Congratulations! You lost 5 more pounds.  You are looking great.  Ok, not great, but you are looking better than you have in years. You feel on top of the world. Let’s make a banner and hang it high. This should be celebrated. Quick! Someone ordered confetti.

Stop! Hold the presses!

News flash-  Not everyone is happy about your weight loss success.

What? That is crazy! Don’t they see the sunrays beeming down on me? Don’t they hear the birds singing?


Ok, no birds. I get it. But shouldn’t they be happy that I am doing something to improve my health?

In theory.  But not everyone is happy you are bettering yourself. For a variety of reasons, some people are not happy about it at all.

Perhaps they are happy with your status as their fat friend and don’t want that to change.

Perhaps they are annoyed at their own weight loss struggles and just don’t want to hear about how good you are doing.

Perhaps since you are getting out and doing more things they are worried about their status in your life changing.

Perhaps it is just all that confetti you keep throwing around. It is making a mess.

Your successes deserve to be celebrated. Not just weight loss, but all successes. Be your biggest fan. Sometimes your celebrations need to be a party of one. 

Celebrate all that is you!


30 Day Yoga Challenge for Beginners


Drum roll, please.

I have now lost 25 pounds. I am 5 weeks into my 8 week weight loss cycle. After the 8 weeks, I will do a two week cycle that Lindora calls metabolic adjustment. When I am in the metabolic adjustment phase, I probably won’t be losing weight. During that two weeks, I will be eating more food to increase my metabolism for the next weight loss round.

I have been riding my bike a lot. Weather and appointments permitting, I am trying to ride 3 days a week. I ride on a beautiful paved trail that is lined with trees. There are lots of squirrels, gopher tortoises and armadillos. It feels good to connect with nature. It is peaceful. After a day at work, it relieves a lot of stress.

Also, I started an almost daily yoga routine. I am currently doing Youtuber Lesley Fightmaster’s 30 day beginner challenge. I have been pretty consistent. Last night I chose to skip it. My daughter and I ran errands most of the day. As soon as we got home, we loaded up the bikes to go ride. By the time we got home it was 8:00. We had a late dinner. After dinner, I just wasn’t up to it. I chose to listen to my body.

Between yoga and biking, I feel stronger and more flexible. I like how the exercise is making me feel.

Are you up to a challenge? 

The Missing Component of My Being

Life has been so busy. My free moments have been few and far between this month. It has been a great month. The ups far out weigh the downs.

I have been doing Lean for Life for 28 days. As of yesterday, I have  lost 20 pounds. I feel great. I feel satisfied when I eat. I am usually not hungry between meals and snacks. I am currently at 239.6. The 230’s always feel good to me. My yo-yoing doesn’t get me down to there  often. When it does it feels like the shift between being morbidly obese and being a normal person. Of course, ‘normal’ means overweight but it feels noticeably different to me. Let’s be honest. I am still obese but if feels like a gear has shifted.

My husband and I have road bicycles off and on all through our 21 years of marriage. It has mostly been off, but there have been a few chunks of time where we rode regularly on the weekends. I have wanted a new bike for years. I was all set to get one several years back. I had a bonus check that was burning a hole in my pocket. I was just waiting for the weekend. That was the week my husband found out that his employer could no longer afford to keep him on. The bike idea was scratched. My husband never forgot that. On May 14th I got a new bike. It is a Trek. I love it. Since buying it, we have road 44 miles. I am tracking the total mileage in the sidebar on the right. We are trying to ride 3 days a week which is much more then we ever did before.

I want to try yoga. I have looked around for some local classes. There are no beginner classes that are consistently at the same time several nights a week.  I don’t even know if I could find the time if there were. I dug around and found I have Rodney Yee’s Yoga For Beginners. I can’t find the case, but the DVD was floating around with some other strays. I remember trying it once, but I am not sure why I didn’t do it again. Yoga is always in the back of my mind when I try to lose weight. I usually don’t bother to exercise so the thought doesn’t go far. I found something interesting while looking for a yoga class. One of the Physical Education teachers from my high school is a yoga instructors. There was a picture of her. She looked the same as I remember her looking in the 80’s. In her bio, she says she starting doing yoga to relieve stress from working in the public school system. She found yoga to be the missing component of her being.

The missing component of her being.

That phrase now enters my head several times a day. I know I have a missing component to my being. Is it yoga? I don’t know but I am willing to find out.

I almost feel like biking might be the missing component of my being. This week we have been on a trail that I used to ride a lot alone in the early years of our marriage. Back then, the trail was my favorite place in the world. It was a new trail back then. The vegetation and trees have matured. Being back on that trail feels like home. I think it can easily become my favorite place again.

Blue Paper Bead Bracelet


It has been awhile since I made any beads. I chose a dark blue marble paper. The beads are 1/4 inch wide. Quarter inch wide beads have become my favorite. My consistency still needs work. Practice. Practice. Practice.

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I was excited to get back into the swing of things after my new tools arrived.  I bought this 16 piece Wisehands Jewelry Making Tool Kit. Since I am now equipped with more tools then I probably need, I decided to try and up my jewelry game by using wire.

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Wire is harder to work with than I thought. Before I try to work with it again, I am going to have to do some research on tips and tricks. It bent out of shape very easily. Once out of shape, it was impossible to smooth out.

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Luckily the beads cover a good bit of the warped wire. Once the beads are over the wire there is an illusion of straightness.

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I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day. If you are able to, hug your mother. My husband wishes his was still with us so he could hug her.

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Lean for Life Week 1 – Down 12.8 pounds


I ‘secretly’ started Lean for Life last Saturday. It was a secret, because I wanted to make sure I didn’t abandon it after the first day. I have lost 12.8 pounds my first week.

Lindora Clinics have been around for 45 years. If you are from California, you are most likely familiar with them. They operate 43 weight loss clinics around the state. They also have an online program with phone coaching. Both are pretty pricy.

Around a decade ago, I did the Lindora Lean for Life online program. I was successful on it during the weight loss phase. You did the weight loss phase for 10 weeks straight instead of the 4 week the book tells you to do. Again, this is speaking from my experience from a decade ago, but I was not satisfied with the online support. There were several times when I had an appointment for phone coaching and I did not receive a call. The daily information they gave you was exactly the same as in the book, which was also part of the online program. It was a lot of money for what amounted to forum access.  However, their customer service was great. When I complained about the phone coaching, they refunded me all or most of my money. I don’t remember which, but it was significant.

I read some reviews about the Lean for Life program. Either people love it or hate it.  I love the Lean for Life program. You can do it at home thanks to the book by Cynthia Stamper.

Lean for Life uses ketosis to burn fat at the highest possible level and to reduce cravings. Your body goes into ketosis when it has no more carbs to burn so it burns fat instead.

The program works on the mental side of weight loss, too. It details how to control cravings, stay motivated, control your inner voice, and stress management.

The Lean for Life book provides you with a letter to share with your doctor. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your doctor. I am not qualified to give any advice.

In order for the weight loss to be permanent, all 4 of their steps need to be followed. I haven’t found it in the new book, but the older version has a great analogy. If you break your leg, go to the doctor, spend money on x-rays, and have a cast put on you wouldn’t go home and take the cast off yourself. That would be foolish. After your weight loss, you still need the support of a ‘cast’ to maintain lasting success.

I will tell you more about what I am eating next week when I do an update on what I have lost.

Linked up to these great parties:
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Grow Your Own

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Last year I planted seeds than ignored them. I was shocked when everything died. Who would have thought that tender new plants and seedlings would whither and die under the harsh Florida sun when neglected. This year I am determined to do better.

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We planted seeds and plants a few weeks before I was held hostage in the hospital.. My daughter kept everything alive during my absence.

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Not only did she keep things alive, they flourished. We have always had good luck with cherry tomatoes. We have plenty of full size ones growing too. They look good right now, but it is to early to start drooling over them. Sometimes they don’t make it for one reason or another.

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There are dozens of tiny squash growing. My mother has expressed her interest in taking any extras I have off my hands.

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I love going out to the garden early in the morning when it is quiet. The blossoms are open. The plants are still damp from dew. It is a good time to be alone with my thoughts.

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I am looking forward to harvesting cucumbers. We eat a lot of them. It will be nice to have ones that are free for the picking and taste better then the waxy store bought ones.

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Nothing tastes better than home grown.



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