Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Along Came a Spider

I’m…well, I don’t like spiders.  I just don’t.  No spider has ever done anything to harm me.  But that doesn’t keep me from being afraid of them.  In fact, most spiders are harmless, mostly beneficial, and totally cool to watch – from a distance.  They’re amazing creatures.

That being said, while a spider may not hurt me they will surely make me hurt myself!  When The Brit and I were looking at this house he found a big, furry, brown one and picked it up.  He looked at it a while and when we were ready to leave I told him to get rid of the thing.  He thought he did.

When we got in the car he felt something on his leg and brushed it away.  The big, furry, brown spider.  He said he thought it went into my purse pocketbook handbag. I thought he was pulling my leg.

A few days later I was driving along, The Brit in the passenger’s seat, just gabbing away about something.  He said, very sweetly, “Pay attention to where you’re going. Keep your eyes on the road.”  I kept looking forward and he lovingly rubbed my shoulder.  He slowly pulled his hand back, opened the window, and put his hand out.  Then he says, “Remember that spider I brushed off in here.  I just took him off your shoulder and put him out the window.”

It’s a good thing he saw the spider and I did not.  I would have wrecked and killed us both!  Then it occurred to me that I had been driving around with that thing in the car with me.  For days.  *shudder*

So we’ve now purchased the house.  We’ve been living here for a little over a year.  The other day we were walking around outside talking over a few plans for the garden, mostly daydreaming, when The Brit pointed to the sliding glass door we never use and said, “What the hell?”

This is what the hell:

DSCF1400DSCF1394What the hell, indeed!  This thing is huge!  And it’s also deposited these:

DSCF1398Anybody want to buy a house?  I think I’m ready to move.  Seriously, can anyone identify it?  Did anyone lose a pet?


She Sips Stella by the Sea


DSCF1391Last week I took a couple of days off to spend with The Tour Guide.  On his suggestion we got up Tuesday morning and struck out for Jacksonville Beach.  Also on his suggestion we took the girls.

They slept most of the two-hour drive there and when we arrived at around 11 a.m. just about all the shops and restaurants were closed.  It’s the off season, I guess, though it’s still fairly warm here.

Though I had read online that Jacksonville Beach is dog-friendly there were signs posted everywhere saying no dogs between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  What to do?

We strolled down the sidewalk near the shops and restaurants and found one that was open.  Well, it wasn’t open yet, but the man who was sweeping the alfresco dining area invited us in – dogs, too.  I was pleasantly surprised at how accommodating they were.

With a thick accent I didn’t recognize he said we could sit anywhere we wanted in their outdoor dining area and then he disappeared. There was no one else there.  We were their only patrons.

A few minutes later he resurfaced carrying a metal bowl filled with ice water for the girls.  Moments later a server appeared and took our order.  We ordered what we wanted and then I asked for a hamburger to split between Dottie and Miss Sara.  “Sure, no problem,”  she said.  Our meal came out complete with two doggie boxes for them to eat out of.  Dottie and Miss Sara scarfed down their burger, which had been prepared sans bun, while we sipped on our pitcher of Stella and ate our Gyros.

When we asked our server about a place on the beach we could carry our dogs she said we should just ignore the signs.  “Nobody pays attention to that.  There are always dogs on the beach,” we were assured. With that advice we paid our bill, gave her a nice tip, left caution to the wind, and headed over the boardwalk to the sugar white sand.

It was the girls’ first trip to the beach and they didn’t quite know what to make of it at first. They were confused as to why they were chasing the water one minute and the next the water was chasing them.  Miss Sara recoiled from the chasing waves.  Dottie pawed at them for a bit. Then I took their leads and we ran out as the waves retreated into the ocean and ran back to the shore when the waves chased us back.


I think they had a pretty good time.  I know The Tour Guide and I did!

DSCF1374We could see the rain coming in from the ocean so we headed back to the car.  The deluge came just as we fastened our seatbelts.  Great timing!  And the cute cuddly dogs slept all the way home.


A Dog and an Armadillo Before Dawn

DSCF1370 - CopyEvery day, if I’m not already awake before dawn – which I usually am, I’m awakened by a cold snout against my neck.  I pretend to still be asleep and am then pawed at until I relent and get out of bed.

Dottie is on a schedule. She knows when it’s time to eat. Food promptly at 6:00 a.m.; then walkies.  Each day as we walk around the lake I watch the sun slowly rise overhead.  It’s usually quite peaceful.  We hear birds singing, watch squirrels gather their morning nuts, and meet walkers and joggers alike.

One morning, however, before the dawn had begun to crack there was a disturbance.  I wasn’t paying as much attention, I suppose, as I should have been.  Dottie was off – full speed ahead.  The lead tightened and I lunged forward unwillingly. Before I knew it I was on the ground.  I let go of the lead but it was too late.  I’d already lost my balance. Down I went.  Dottie was in the shrubs, tangled by her lead.  Lying in the street, the next thing I saw was an armadillo scurry past my head.

I hopped to my feet, looking around to see if anyone else was about. Whew!  Nobody saw that!  Thankfully, there were no cars coming, else I would have been roadkill.  There were no other walkers or joggers about yet.

The damage was done.  It’s a good thing I don’t have brittle bones.  This is what happens when Dottie sees the armadillo and I don’t:

0620140702That’s the day an armadillo cut our sunrise walk short. No leisurely walk around the lake for Dottie that day.  We trudged back home mere minutes after our walk had begun – in the dark.

And now there are two!  😀   What was I thinking?!?


Do I look like I would do a thing like that?