Florida Visit May-June 2020

We have been visiting Dwayne's parents in Vero Beach.

Every morning, weather permitting, we drag the girls out of bed if they aren't already up and we take a walk on the beach before breakfast. We come back tired and hungry and ready for breakfasts and showers. It's a lovely way to start the day.

We have found several treasures that we are identifying and labeling using our book of sea beans and our seashells guide.

One night, I didn't sleep well, so I was up early and went out to the beach in prima luca. I found these perfect measled cowreies and considered them a gift divine.

We found lightning walks and their egg cases. 

We found a mermaid's purse (the egg sack of a skate.)

The beach is so dynamic that some days the waves are huge and other days, the ocean is as still as a lake.

The surf brings new things in every tide.

And things literally come in waves, meaning that you will often find several of the same shells after the same tide.

One morning there were at least one hundred flawless cockle shells of various sizes all the way down the beach. We gathered a group of half a dozen or more that fit together, largest to smallest, like Russian dolls.

Yesterday, I found two limpets, which I had had never found before and had only ever been able to admire in the shell books.

We brought great books to read aloud to each other and books to read silently to ourselves.

We are reading The Warden and the Wolf King out loud with Mom and Dad after dinner. I have read Macbeth and Northanger Abbey and Jaber Crow and Hamlet already this trip.  I am now reading The Rector of Justin and Another Sort of Education (for a second time.) Norah's reading Adorning the Dark and The Fiddler's Gun (for a second time.)  Dwayne is Out of The Ashes by Esolen. Avril is reading aloud to Adele from The Green Ember books.   

And outloud to the girls, Grandma is reading from Sheep Tales: The Bible According to the Animals That Were There.

And the girls will just sit and talk with Grandma on her couch, too, which is the best.

Grandma or Grandpa or both Grandma and Grandpa together will play card games like Uno, Old Maid, Go Fish, etc. with the girls. (Something about cards brings the young and the old together.) Hearing them play and laugh while I work in another room is one of my greatest joys.

In preparation for directing Challenge 3 next year, I am working on Chemistry and Latin faithfully, making real progress. I brought some philosophy, music theory, math, my next Lost Tools essay on The Tempest for Circe, too, and I am dabbling in those. I have webinars for Circe and Classical Conversations and my book club, too, so I have not totally escaped my real world.

We go to the beach in the afternoon everyday as long as weather permits. Note: We did skip one pretty day because of sunburn and out of sheer exhaustion.

Playing hard can hurt.

And I was actually missing skin from a sand burn on my elbow, too, so I was letting that scab over.

But we have caught some amazing waves with our boogie boards.

We don't actually swim if there is a rip current warning, but we will go out anyway to greet the ocean and breathe deeply and soak up its beauty and feel the warmth of the air and light and splash carefully and build castles or walk, etc.

The girls are drawing and writing poetry in their free time.

 More card games

I brought three bathing suits, because I couldn't try them on because of quarantine and so I bought them all and I had room in my suitcase. I'm wearing all three on rotation and all three are being well used, evidence that we are living right.

Norah likes to make sand sculptures. This one is a warrior angel. She said she used my arm as a model for the angel's muscular arm, which makes me smile.

 Mexican Train dominoes after dinner- We are working our way from double twelves in the center down to double blanks.  Last night, we played the game with double fives, so we're making progress.

Dwayne is working from Dad's office in the back bedroom, but he takes off and goes to the beach with us on nice afternoons or on weekends.

Dad (as in Grandad) came out to the beach and sat with us the last few days.

We are enjoying lots of downtime, so there is time for silliness.

Grandma and Grandpa have a variety of old toys like Etch and Sketch and tops and interesting instruments that they have set out for the girls to play.

I picked up some awesome beach themed coloring and activity books.

The girls have watched several movies with Grandma in the evenings including the live action Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, all three How To Train Your Dragon movies, Lion King, and Lilo and Stitch.  We all watched Phantom of the Opera together one night.

We left a kite here one of the last times we visited and we also added a new kite this year, so now we have two to fly.

Norah made a Phoenix in the sand one day. Avril helped collect the shells and seaweed, etc.

Norah calls this a Spiderwick Rock. Apparently, in those books, you can only see the creatures through a hole made naturally in a rock.

We have seen or spotted farther off lizards, snails with tiny, exotic shells, squirrels, pelicans, dolphins, sharks, fish, rabbits, cranes, sandpipers, jelly fish, snakes, a stingray, a shark, a bobcat, a baracuda, grasshoppers, crabs. The neighbors have lovely dogs that will run up to you and drop a tennis ball at your feet and nudge it and fully expect you to throw it into the water or down the beaches they can fetch.

More card games

We eat three meals a day here, cook every evening, order out once a week.  This is our effort to help Dad gain healthy weight and if my body is any indication of our success, our efforts are indeed working.  We've had grilled chicken, burgers and dogs, made stew, made lasagna...

I took a solitary walk one day at low tide and there were several living shells in wet sand nearest the waves.  I didn't bring these home, since they were still using their bodies.  But their colors were vivid.  They were living jewels.  The pictures can not show the same quality of light that our eyes perceive.  Have you ever seen a living shell swim/ burrow itself in sand?

We bought Ticket to Ride and played two games with Dad.  We played in the afternoons when all of us were fresh enough for such a long and strategic game.  We'll leave the game here, so that other family members can play it when they visit and we can play it again next time we come.  

It's been a lovely trip, one that we'll not soon forget.  

On every vacation, we go to a bookstore. We weren't able to go while in Vero Beach, because of quarantine rules. But we were able to go on the way home from the airport once we were back in Connecticut.  


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