Sunday, August 23, 2009

wonderful distractions part 2

Right on the heels of wonderful distraction number 1, I left on a business trip to Tampa. It was a lonely boring business trip, and I was pretty blue, but I had at least two things to look forward to. Dinner with my cousin Lindsey...who I adore, and almost never get to see...and special plans with my bloggy friend Vicki.

I had some free time one afternoon, so Vicki picked me up at the hotel and graciously spent her whole afternoon showing me the best of St. Petersburg. It was great to meet another bloggy friend face to face, and I felt like I'd known her forever. To quote Vicki, "you meet the neatest people here in the neighborhood". Ditto Vicki!

I got the behind the scenes tour of the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve where Vicki is a volunteer. Lucky me to have an up close and personal introduction to Stretch and Wheezer, the resident Eastern Screech Owls at Boyd. Stretch was the only one to grant me a REALLY up close hello. Wheezer was busy protecting the last owlet in rehab as all good mothers would. They made great foster parents I hear.

Another new friend made was Spirit, a magnificent Bald Eagle. I'm pretty sure I will never get this close to another Bald Eagle without a fence between the two of us. I really was that close, almost no zoom used for these photos.
It was really sweet the way Spirit recognized Vicki as we approached. They had quite the conversation. She volunteers regularly with the raptors, but had been out for a few weeks with Mohs surgery on her nose. I think Spirit really missed her.

Here's a shot of Vicki at Boyd Hill showing me a Red Rat Snake, who had just shed his skin and was unbelievably soft.

We also took in a quick tour of the fabulous Salvador Dali museum in St. Pete, and dinner at the 4th Street Shrimp Store...which was satisfied my craving for some good ole Florida seafood...with Vicki's daughter Abby and her husband. A rather enjoyable dinner, really.

On my last night in town, Lindsey and I had dinner at my now favorite place to eat in Tampa, Datz Deli. I had an egg salad and smoked salmon sandwich for which there are not words. And the wine? Oh man the wines. I chose an incredible French Rose (it was sweltering after all). Also no words.

So thank you Vicki and Lindsey, for the wonderful distractions from my blues regarding a sickly doglet. Vicki, I am better for knowing you. And Lindsey, I am proud to call you family.

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