Monday, June 23, 2008

Publix Murals

When I think about Publix, I think about this:

The Publix in Ocala where my mom shopped when I was a child had one of these murals. I always associated Publix with the murals- and the S&H Green Stamp store next door.

Recently I rode my bike over to the Lakeland Wabash Publix and took pictures of the mural there. That is (obviously) where these photos came from. I decided I'd better get it done, because it dawned on me that the store had been vacant for so long, and some day, a new tenant might come along and remove the mural. While photographing various portions of the mural, I found the artist's information:

I spoke to Pati today by phone and she informed me that she glazed and fired about 200 murals for Publix stores throughout a 25-year period. Pretty amazing.

What are your thoughts on the murals? Are they a part of your childhood memories, too? Do you think they should be salvaged when Publix stores undergo remodeling or the stores get sold to other businesses?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kayaking the Silver River in Ocala

On Saturday, Mike and I drove to Ocala to kayak up the Silver River with a friend of mine from high school and several of his friends. This beautiful trip takes you through part of the Ocala National Forest and if you go all the way up the river, you end up at the spring head, which is at the Silver Springs attraction. That's right, you can kayak right into the area where the world-famous glass-bottom boats launch every few minutes.

I won't waste a lot of words in this post. Instead, I'll just tell you that we paddled so far I thought my arms would fall off, but seeing as how I'm typing this, you can guess the arms remain intact. And I'll tell you that you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place to kayak in Central Florida than this pristine river. Just look at the color of the water:

These beautiful red flowers, which I believe are in the salvia family, are growing everywhere.

And of course, it wouldn't be Florida without a gator. This one's hiding pretty well:

Hopefully Tom Palmer will comment and tell us what kind of bird this is:

We saw tons of turtles sunning themselves on logs:

One of our rest stops was at the Silver River State Park canoe launch. There are THOUSANDS of minnows that hang around here. My guess is that they stay because they are fed by visitors. These minnows make beautiful shapes while swimming in schools. Below, part of the school broke off and formed a tornado of sorts:

An interesting thing the Silver River is known for is the fact that there are wild Rhesus monkeys living near the attraction. Legend has it that they are leftovers from the days when the Tarzan movies were filmed at the attraction. I can't tell you how disappointed I was that I didn't see any on my trip. But they are there! I've seen them in the past.

Here's some good information if you ever decide to kayak the Silver River. I recommend parking at the Ray Wayside Park on S.R. 40, just east of the Silver Springs attraction. I'm an Ocala native, and we always called this place "the Boat Basin." So if you're in the area and get lost, you better ask for directions to the Boat Basin because a) no one will know where Ray Wayside Park is and b) why give away the fact that you're not from around here?
Bring cash, because parking is $5. There's a great canoe/kayak launch that was designed by an Eagle Scout years ago. When you get into the water, you'll head south and take your first right to head up the Silver River.
For more information on kayaking the Silver River, visit this Central Florida Kayak Trips Web site.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let Me Go!

I've been spending some time at Gandy Pool lately because it's been hot as a wok around here. Well that, and my latest wild hair is that I've decided I want to become a lap swimmer. Riding the bike and walking is fun and all, but did I mention it's hot as a wok?! Exercise in the pool is right up my alley.

But I digress...

So Mike and I spent Saturday and Sunday at Gandy Pool, swimming laps and getting some sun. It was meant to be calming...relaxing. Instead, I left the pool Sunday with this overwhelming desire to get my tubes tied.

I heard more squalling, screaming, whining and fit-pitching- and that was just the parents. Nah, not really.

One little girl, she couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old- practically set off car alarms in the parking lot with her shriek. She did something wrong and her dad was holding her by the arm and walking her back to where she was supposed to be while she screamed as though she were being scalped and howled, "LET ME GO!!!"



All the while, I'm thinking, "For the love of God, let her go!"

No, actually, I was thinking, "Beat her a--!"

Is that too harsh? Well, I come from a family where if I was squalling like that for no good reason, my mama would offer to provide said reason.

Actually, I think the parents were doing a fairly decent job with this child. She was wanting to have her way, and they weren't letting her. It was a battle of the wills and the parents were determined to win. For that, I applaud them.

I also want to point out that if a stranger ever tries to grab that child, he/she will rue the day, because Little Girl had some LUNGS on her. Plus, she's got the whole "Let me GO!" routine down pretty good.

Another child, a little boy of about the same age, was standing by his family's chairs and towels, yelling, "Mommy!"

Over. And over. And over again.

Finally, in an attempt to stifle him, I asked, what's wrong?

Immediately he started crying and said, "Mommy won't come here!"

Wow. That's demanding. Did I mention I want to get my tubes tied?