Tuesday, February 23, 2016

FL - Bright Spot Goes Italian! (from early Dec.)

   ***Apologies to Vinny and Johnny for this post being 2 and a half months late!  For the first time in almost 2 years, I lost my BRIGHT SPOT notebook!!!  I didn't want to just make up the story, so I didn't post anything!  I FOUND IT!!!  LOL

    I was craving a really super colossal fabulous pizza before we got on the road from Myakka State Park, so I went 'Google crazy' reading reviews of all the spots in Sarasota that had pizza.  Over and over again, this place kept showing up with top notch comments, but it was about a half hour away from the campground.  I didn't care.  I was willing to risk it!!!  OMG, it was sooooo worth the drive! I got a Mediterranean pizza and added mushrooms and onions...OH YEAH!!!!
     Not only was the pizza fresh, perfectly prepared and baked, but the guys responsible for the masterpiece were wonderful!  BRIGHT SPOT - Johnny has known Vinny, the owner of Palermo's Pizza, Grill and Catering, where ALL ingredients are made in house, for 6 years.  Prior to that, he was taught by his dad, also a pizza shop owner, since he was a little guy!  First, he watched, then did dishes, then he got to make the dough...one of the most important elements of a great pizza!  Some people were meant to make specific contributions in this life....Johnny was born to make fabulous pizza!  From all of us who have been delighted with his destiny...we say a hearty THANK YOU!!!
And, Vinny, best of luck with your business and hold onto Johnny...he's a gem!
Vinny and Johnny

AL - Final - USS Alabama Battleship and a Tribute to Selfless Love

The front (bow) 

The rear (stern)
 I was shocked at the sheer size of this ship...the USS Alabama.  My reaction to it was similar to the first time  I stood next to a cruise ship.  It's incomprehensible unless you experience it in person. This battleship was commissioned November 1, 1941.  It's a little over 680 feet long and is registered at 35,000 tons!!!  Under battle conditions...45,000 tons (90 million pounds).  During WWII, she earned 9 Battle Stars and shot down 22 enemy planes.
     The tour was extensive.  There were rooms for every possible physical need from eating to having your uniform pressed, but I wondered how the crew of 2,500 managed to keep their spirits up.  As I walked through the ship for over 2 hours, seeing nothing but thick steel...cold to the touch, bland to the eyes and empty to the soul...I gained a level of respect and compassion for men of war that I'm not sure I really had before.  There were also 129 guns of various sizes aboard the battleship. I suppose silence was the sound most treasured during the many months at sea.  Thanks to all those who served on the USS Alabama as well as in any other capacity during World War II.

BRIGHT SPOT -    I had the pleasure of meeting a woman, a nurse, the other day, who shared with me that she was raising her 2 granddaughters.  She took the first little girl at age 8 months and the other at age 10 months.  It seems that both of her daughters had severe drug addictions and she agreed to keep the babies until they were released from a rehab facility.  They have been released, yet it appears that the temporary care giving has become one of a more permanent nature.  Now Robbie finds herself in a position at age 50 thinking about schools and doctor visits and proper nutrition and potty training, etc.  She loves the girls, almost 3 now, and has graciously chosen to continue to raise them in the absence of  their birth mothers...her daughters, who have chosen not to.  This scenario is not uncommon in current times, yet each one is an act of love and sacrifice and I'm sure a bit of sadness and disappointment.  For all grandparents and other caregivers raising the children of others, may you find joy in your loving gesture! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

AL - Mobile...Mardi Gras...Fat Tuesday Parade Plus!

   MARDI GRAS!!!  So much fun!  Beads galore!  Moon pies!  Toys!  Streamers!  Stuffed animals!  Carl even caught a teddy bear for me that looks so much like my 'Frazzle Fur" bear that I've had forever!  Some people had small rakes that they were using to pull items to them from the other side of the railing!  Others had butterfly nets trying to catch things in the air!  The floats were great and of course the school bands and dancers were wonderful as well!  The pics include a pre-Mardi Gras parade the weekend before and a few shots of the town.
My bead collection!!!

Zoom in...the results of

My cool Harley man
with tiny stuffed animals
hanging out of his pocket

Just a cool building
in town

Ginormous sea shells painted

Beads from the first parade

More beads AND "Mardi"
Frazzle Fur's new sister

A spirited officer...oh, yeah!

More goodies for the trees...good arm!!!

He had a great voice!!!


Layers of spectators!!!

LOVE the specs!!!

AL - The Mobile Carnival Museum

         I had no idea how far back Carnival and Mardi Gras went!  The celebration in Mobile, AL is the oldest in the country.  It started here in 1703, 15 years before New Orleans was founded.  Originally, Carnival (carnevale, in Italian...meaning "put away the meat") began as a celebration of life that involved costumes and masks and much feasting for Catholics who were preparing for Lent when no meat could be consumed.  The concept spread to other Catholic European countries until finally the French brought it to America.  The rest, as they say, is history.
   In Mobile, there are traditions of exclusive societies, masked balls and elegant costumes.  Kings and queens of Mardi Gras were crowned and rode in parades throughout the town of Mobile.  In the museum, the amazing costumes themselves were on display.  The creativity and workmanship was spectacular!!!

2016 King and Queen...LOL