Sunday, November 23, 2014

Feeling grateful in Lake Worth

I remind myself daily to take time to be grateful for life's blessings. I live in a charming small city, have a dog who reminds me not to forget about her and work enough hours to keep us in spinach, dark chocolate and dog treats.

Even so, I find it hard not to get caught up in the drama of everyday living. The inadvertent social slights, juggling bills and added stress brought on by the holiday season take their tolls on my psyche. So I am pausing to list five reasons why I am grateful, mindful of Thanksgiving.

No. 1 reason

Free beach parking for one year after paying a $40 fee. The beach has become
my place to relax and put my problems in perspective. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bonfires return to Lake Worth beach

Bonfires on the Beach are back! As a Lake Worth resident, I love this freebie presented by my city. 

The bonfires bring the crowds to the Lake Worth Beach every other Friday evening, once turtle-nesting season is over. The city's lifeguards build and staff the bonfires, which begin about 6 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. or so. The shops and restaurants stay open late to serve the onrush of customers.

Friday was the first one of the season. By 7 p.m., several hundred had gathered to toast marshmallows and enjoy the bonfires listening to the waves lapping on the shore. And it wasn't even the peak time -- between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. In past years, as many as 1,500 would gather for the bonfires. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day in Delray Beach

Sgt. Thomas E. Smith
My dad died 10 years too soon.

As a member of the Greatest Generation, he had served in World War II as an infantry sergeant and tank commander of Company B 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He chased Gen. Erwin Rommel through the North African desert where my dad's tank was blown up in February 1943.

He then spent six months, lying on a board floating in water. Patched up and because the U.S. Army was short of men, he was shipped to Italy. The Allied Forces were battling the Nazis in Operation Shingle for four months in early 1944 at Anzio Beachhead.

He was injured there, too, by shrapnel that stuck in his spine and supposedly he would be paralyzed. His separation papers state that he "was in charge of a battery of 4 guns 76mm anti tank. Directed fire and led platoon into combat action mostly in Italian campaign."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Exploring LagoonFest in West Palm Beach

The first ever LagoonFest was a smashing success at the West Palm Beach waterfront Saturday. Various vendors showcased the restoration work more than two decades in the making and costing more than $76 million for this large estuary, often mistakenly called the Intracoastal Waterway.

The estuary is known officially as the Lake Worth Lagoon, which is about 20 miles long and up to a half-mile wide. I know this because I used to supervise the environmental reporter at The Palm Beach Post. And he taught me about all things eco-related.

I was ready to explore the vendor area and take a water taxi to the South Cove Natural Area. I didn't, though, expect to see a pig in my walk through the exhibit area:

Man squats down to pet pig brought by a woman and he asks
the question I was thinking: "Why a pig?"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trying 'Turtleween' in Juno Beach

I thought the sea turtles would be dressed in costumes, but only the guides were at "Turtleween" held Saturday before Halloween.

For a fun four hours, princesses, super heroes, Army guys in camouflage and firemen took over the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach. The kids received candy, made turtle masks and lanterns and listened to spooky stories.

Because it was free, some enviro education was added by the guides who were standing among the sea turtle tanks. They just oozed sea turtle info.

Spiderman greeted visitors on arrival.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Doxies take over West Palm Beach waterfront

Dachstoberfest lived up to its name on Sunday when hundreds of dachshunds took over the Great Lawn in West Palm Beach.

The third annual event featured a Doxie Dash, a costume contest and over-the-top accessories for the owners. I took Sadie, my 1-year-old Cairn terrier rescue. Here is what we saw and heard:

Love the costumes these doxies are wearing! But who invited the poodles?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Visiting West Palm Beach GreenMarket on opening day

During the summer, when forced to eat greens from California, I longed for the return of the GreenMarket in West Palm Beach. Local produce rules there. That's why I happily stopped by the GreenMarket before my Saturday yoga class at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach.