September 17, 2014

Eye Candy

We've been holding out on you! Two weeks ago we had an amazing weekend visiting our friend Rima in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. You may recall hearing about Rima in a post last year describing how she conquered Fry Fest.

Rima during Fry Fest at
Calusa Jack's Marina last year
It would be rude to show you photos of the amazing food we ate during this past trip to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, so you won't see that in this post. We're excessively polite people. (That's a lie. We love food porn and have no qualms with bragging about what we put in our bellies, but ate everything too quickly to take photos).

Cody & Rima
However, we did remember to grab the camera while admiring the incredible art in and around The Wynwood Walls. Cody was a big fan of the artists' frequent focus on the female form...

you can't take this guy anywhere
sexy pose
insane face
clearly Rima was the only adult in our group

A serendipitous thing happened during our time in Miami. Friends Kelvin and Jasmine (who live in NYC) visited The Wynwood Walls on the very same day as us! We didn't see each other there, but upon realizing our trips' overlap, arranged a meet-up the next day.

from left: Cody, Jasmine, Rima, Angela & Kelvin

In case you don't already know this, Miami is apparently the place to go to for beefcake inspiration and unabashed gawking. Beyond the scandalous swimsuits and gravity defying curves you'll see on Ocean Drive in South Beach, there is a playground where muscled bodies show off their might. This is no joke. We named this phenomenon of tourists staring slack-jawed at mighty specimens of strength 'muscletainment.' We couldn't help but watch the spectacle on two consecutive days.

this photo by Kelvin perfectly
captures the bizarre awesomeness of South Beach
an apt Miami depiction at The Wynwood Walls
No one in our group had the desire to do pull-ups in public (although we could have totally out-muscled those guys), so we stuck with playing on a set of rings instead. Thanks to Kelvin for the great pics that follow...

Thank you, Rima, for a perfect weekend! We miss you already.

September 2, 2014

Pink Gold

Deep in the Gulf of Mexico, on a dark and stormy night in 1949, humans discovered a new kind of treasure. A living, tasty, nocturnal treasure. Actually...we don't really know if it was dark or stormy. However, we do know that the first catch of panaeus duorarum, or pink Gulf shrimp, occurred at night. That's when this crustacean is active, unlike the other kinds of shrimp that fishermen were accustomed to catching prior to this discovery. You might say that pink shrimp are the up-all-night-party-goers among crustaceans.

shrimper out to catch dinner,
photo credit: Susannah Wohlpart, WGCU
Since Dragonstar is a sailboat and not a shrimpin' boat, we decided to buy some of the local catch rather than try to net it ourselves. We were also sad to learn that the majority of the shrimp we'd been seeing on menus at restaurants in Florida are imported from far off waters through a variety of questionable means. How could we spend so much time in Florida without trying the good stuff??

At $14 per pound from a local market, it ain't cheap, but worth every penny! It takes a lot of work to get those delicious morsels from sea to mouth.

Thanks to Pink Gold Rush, the informative and compelling documentary that opened our eyes to the history and current plight of the Florida shrimping industry.

present-day shrimping boat returns to Ft. Myers Beach
a peek (in the distance) at the shrimping
fleet today at Ft. Myers Beach

August 26, 2014

Country Livin'

Around here, we get very excited about birthdays. And by "we," we mostly mean Angela cause Cody can be totally lame sometimes.

Angela & Heather's birthdays in 2007!
Oh, and if you haven't guessed already, it's Angela writing to you today so I'll drop the 'we' for this post...

When Cody and I realized that Mamaw (my grandmother on my dad's side) was going to be surprised with a birthday celebration, we jumped at the chance to join in the fun. Mamaw was turning 85!!

Sadly though, plans were made at the last minute and we weren't prepared to leave the boat on its own. So, Cody dropped me off at the airport for a second time this summer to go adventuring solo while he impersonated Al Bundy back at the boat.

So I set off for a tiny Texas town called Mt. Pleasant where Mamaw lives. The town was true to its name with a comforting abundance of "please" and "thank you" — and enough "ma'am" to make me question my own birthday count.

My favorite thing about visiting Mamaw is enjoying her wily and playful side. She has never been one to sugarcoat opinions or hesitate in telling you exactly what she thinks. "What is that thing you've got in your nose? I don't like it." "What have you done to your hair? I don't like it that way." Why would you live in New York City? You should move back to Texas." Then there was the time when I was an impressionable tween wearing a baseball cap during a garage sale held in her backyard, and she thought I was "another one of the boys running around!" However, just when you begin to wonder if you've taken all of the wrong turns in the path of success that Mamaw has imagined for you, she'll shower you with praise. You know where you stand with Mamaw. Her honesty can be both refreshing and disorienting. So I was excited to see on this past trip to Mt. Pleasant that Mamaw was eager to deal with my family's general absurdity and silliness with her usual feisty comebacks and brutal honesty.

from left: uncle Mike, aunt Brenda, step-mom Daisey, Mamaw,
dad Joel, sister-in-law Kim, and brother Jason

A bonus of the trip was getting to see my Dad and his wife Daisey's new digs nearby. They live on a beautiful property with Daisey's family. It is a place where people wear cowboy boots, drive tractors, and hunt fox. A place with gorgeous green hills a rollin' and roads a windin'. This is the country!

Dad and Daisey gave me a tour of their surrounding towns of Pittsburg, Mt. Pleasant, and Gilmer. I can't decide whether the best part was the banana and chocolate ice cream from Efurd's, the fried catfish dinner by the lake from Vaughan's with Jason and Kim (which was technically the night prior), or the look on my Dad's face after Daisey and I drenched splashed him with water from a fountain.

Dad and his water-fountain-soaked jeans

Daisey is an excellent driving tour guide, and Dad
always has something entertaining to say and laugh about.
stopping for a tasty chicken fried steak & burger lunch
ice cream in hand = the good life
Dad is being a fuddy duddy while Daisey
and I "break the rules"

I received much hospitality on the trip, and so owe a huge round of THANK YOU to Jason and Kim, Daisey's mom Shirley, Dad and Daisey, and Mike and Brenda. Can't wait to see y'all again soon!