The weather here in Cortez (just west of Bradenton) has finally become more Florida-like, with sunshine and warm temperatures. Each morning we try to fit in a walk across the bridge to Anna Maria Island, up the beach a bit, then back for three and half miles. One morning last week there was a bit of wind out of the west, creating a few waves. We spied one lone sole taking advantage of the waves to get in a bit of surfing. It looked like way too much work as the waves were small and his “ride” only lasted about a half minute. It looks a bit different from what we saw last winter in Huntington Beach, CA!
On the bay side of our walk, people were taking advantage of the calmer waters for a bit of surf paddling.
Last Saturday we took a ride up to the Tampa Airport to watch the planes land and take off. As we drove by the terminal who did we see but our daughter, Jessica! What a coincidence . . .
She spotted us before we could get away so we stopped and invited her to come back to Cortez with us for a couple of days. Since she had no other plans, she quickly agreed. Soon mother and daughter were enjoying some quality time at the beach.
We later enjoyed a good meal at the Swordfish Grille, a nice restaurant along Sarasota Bay within walking distance of our park.
If you have followed this blog much, you know that Jessica has gone through a physical transformation during the past two years, losing a considerable amount of weight and becoming an exercise “fanatic” (well, maybe not a fanatic, but she works out often). Before she came to Florida she checked out the local yoga classes and found she could participate in “yoga on the beach” early on Monday morning. So just after dawn she and her mother jumped on the bicycles and headed to Manatee Beach, about four miles from our park. Pam walked and took pictures as Jessica bent, twisted, reached, and stretched while enjoying a great view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Jessica’s real passion now is running. While in Cortez she mapped out a ten mile run that circles the Palma Sola Bay. Her road crew waited for her at the five mile mark so she could replenish her water bottles.
Then she was off again for the second half of the run.
We sat on the bridge leading out to Holmes Beach as she passed us by.
Then she posed for a quick picture as she entered Anna Maria Island. We missed the best photo op when she tripped and ran into the sign. A request for a re-enactment was refused.
On Tuesday afternoon we returned Jessica to the Tampa Airport so she could return to the frozen tundra of Pennsylvania. On the way back to Cortez, we stopped for a visit with John’s sister and brother-in-law, Patty and Bob, who have a beautiful condo in South Pasadena near St. Pete’s Beach. After a brief visit, the four of us headed east to St. Petersburg looking for a nice restaurant for dinner. We parked by the Museum of Fine Arts and cut through North Straub Park to Beach Drive. After checking out a few of the many great restaurants in the area, we settled on 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House.
After a great meal and conversation we returned to the condo, jumped back in the Jeep, and headed back across Tampa Bay to Cortez.
The next morning we received an early call from our son, Kevin, who lives in Atlanta. Kevin spent a number of years as an attorney for two firms in the Atlanta area, but quit to pursue his lifelong dream of being an airline pilot. After spending a couple of years as a flight instructor to accumulate the many hours required by FAA regulations, he recently became a pilot for ExpressJet, flying routes for Delta Express. He had a few days off and could catch a flight to Sarasota and join us for lunch. We picked him up two hours later and enjoyed lunch and a stop at Starbucks before he returned to Atlanta on an afternoon flight.
Tomorrow evening (Friday) we will pick up Pam’s mother, Fran, at the airport as she joins us for a few days. We had booked her for a flight to Ft. Myers to visit us last month but her flight out of Watertown, NY was cancelled three days in a row due to weather so we cancelled it. We are sure Fran is looking forward to some warmer weather after the long, frigid winter she has experienced in Clayton, NY along the St. Lawrence River.
Busy, busy, busy . . . This retirement life sure is work ! ! !