Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palm Coast Red Knights 9/11 Memorial Run Slide Show

Last year I brought you photos of a 9/11 Memorial I attended in Palm Coast that was sponsored by the Palm Coast Red Knights Chapter 11. It was incredible! 400 bikes, a beautiful service, and a picture perfect day who could ask for more?

Getting to do again!

Over the past year I was fortunate to get to know the people who are from Chapter 11 of the Red Knights through other charity events, I asked if they were doing the 9/11 Memorial Ride again? When I was told yes, I was elated. I told their president Joe Vece that I would like to photograph it for them.

We figured out the best spot along their 87 mile route for me to shoot them as they go by, however I didn't know how they were going to arrive there.

One week before the Memorial/Ride I emailed them and within minutes I received a map and directions and the next day a phone call with directions. We were all set!

Steve and I arrived at Heroes Memorial Park at about 9:10 AM and there were already double the bikes, and they were arriving at a steady pace, filling the park up quickly.

The service opened with again the presentation of colors, the American Flag being brought to Half Mast.

The Ancient City Pipes & Drums was next, they played Amazing Grace so beautifully, words can't describe to you how it made me feel. Next year I'll do video.

We then had a local minister or pastor (and I do apologize for not getting his title correct) give a short but very meaningful service followed by one of his church members and local National Guard member singing God Bless The USA.

Taps was then played by a member of the Palm Coast Red Knights to finish our 30 minute Memorial Service. We were then briefed by one of the Flagler County Sheriffs Motorcycle and it was bikers to your bikes!

Let me show you what I mean, sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

9-11 Memorial Run ~ Sponsored By The Palm Coast Red Knights

Last year I attended the Red Knights 9/11 Memorial Run For The Fallen Hero's and what an experience it was. (Click the link to see the photos and read about it.)

A lot has happened in the past year and I have gotten to know members of the Palm Coast Red Knights while attending charity events around the area, what a super group of people!

These firefighters on bikes, active and retired do so much for folks in our area, you have no idea! They attend charity events for folks with cancer, folks who lost their homes to fires, they were huge supporters of our Annual Bikes And Blues With Mickey Jones benefiting St. Jude Children's Hospital, just to name a few.

Once a year The Red Knights organize a beautiful service for those we lost on 9/11/01 held at Hero's Memorial Park in Palm Coast, FL. The service is like non I've ever attended.

Following the service there is a 85 mile Police Escorted ride through out our beautiful area. It leaves Hero's Memorial Park and heads north to St. John's County, then south back through Flagler County, touches a bit on Volusia County and this year will end at the White Eagle Lounge in Korona.

The ride is going to be this Sunday, 9/7/08.

Sign up begins at 9:00 AM @ Hero's Memorial Park on Palm Coast Parkway
The Service will start at 10:00 AM


Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Boss Is Going to MDA JAIL! Help Me Bail Her Out, Please!?!!

Midori Miller, Manger of Century 21 Sundance's Pelican Bay office is going to jail!

Yes, you read right! JAIL!

Ok... not city or county jail but
MDA Jail!

Here's the deal:

Midori is giving up her time to go behind bars until her "bail" of $3,200 is met to free her.

How you can help:

The Muscular Dystrophy Association & Midori have a secure site set up where you can donate money towards setting her free!

It doesn't have to be a lot, just a few dollars.
The money goes towards fighting MDA and helping Jerry's Kids.

Did you know:

There are over FORTY different types of Muscular Dystrophy?

Some diseases begin in infancy, some early childhood, others early to mature adulthood.

ALS Or Lou Gehrig's Disease is also a form of Muscular Dystrophy.

What was that link again?

Help me help Midori raise some money for a good cause and maybe one day we won't need The Muscular Dystrophy Association anymore...

"Your 100% tax-deductible donation will help MDA continue research into the cause and the possible cure of the 43 neuromuscular diseases they cover. Your support of the
MDA Lock-Up will also help MDA provide medical equipment, clinic visits, support groups and a magical week of MDA Summer Camp for the families served by the Association in our local area! " Midori Miller, Century 21 Sundance

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Round & Round With A Limo Company

Sometimes celebrities would come to town and not want limo service. They would prefer a van so that they wouldn't get run over by fans, or could fit their luggage, guitars, clubs in the vehicle with them.

One such limo company would "farm out" his celebrity pickups to E&M Tours. We had two special vans that we would use for just such a pick up, they were 13 passenger vans, but they had an aisle with nice seats on either side then a bench seat in back. We also had T.V.'s in them, they were smooth and quiet riding. Big stuff for the 80s!

We had two woman employed by the company, one a driver and me as the airport dispatcher, neither were supposed to be near those vans when there was a celebrity pick up. My dispatcher didn't like that too well and on occasion neither did the owner.

Normally my radio and PAX List (Arriving passenger sheet) were dropped off at the airport by one of the drivers at around 1100AM. On this day, someone called me (I believe it was Kingsly our dispatcher and not the owner) and asked me to come to the house and ride in with the van. I was a little confused, he then explained to me that this way on my last pickup I would ride back in with the last pick up (a limo account) to their hotel and then back to the house. I was always up for causing a little trouble and I was all for this one, I don't like discrimination.

When I arrived at the house where our vans are kept and ask who are we picking up? I'm told we're picking up the band RATT and I'm to ride in the van with them. Make up any excuse needed when the limo company owner asks why I am there.

Just as planned the owner shows up with the band, smiles his smile and all is fine until I get in the front passenger seat. The owner was a houli like me, (that's Hawaiian for white), but blond as the day was long. His smile turned to a teeth gritting grin thing, and his face beet red when I climbed in with the driver. He asked what are you doing? I remember telling him that the band was the last scheduled pick up of the day and I was headed back for the yard, this was my ride, oh yeah, have a great night!

The band was really nice. We talked on the 15 minute ride to Waikiki. They never knew what had just transpired at the airport, but they had no problem with me riding in the van with them. I helped the driver unload the luggage and back to the yard we went. No harm, no foul. RATT was really cool.

As far as the band knew, my car was at the yard and I needed to go home. Every time I hear this song I think of that day so many years ago.

Round And Round~RATT

The limo company owner got over his anger that day. We didn't lose the account, we later picked up someone else in much the same way. This time though, I didn't ride in as it was a 3 day charter. That was a great 3 days for our driver. There is a story behind that one too.

photo courtsey of

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Day I Met The Piano Man

Climb aboard my time machine with me, take a walk with me through some of my fonder memories..

It had to have been 1983, I was still living with my dad at Hickam A.F.B. and I bet meeting the Piano Man and his girl were the first celebrities I met in the 5 years I worked at the Honolulu Airport.

I was meeting a "inter island" flight at the inter island terminal, Hawaiian Airlines if I'm not mistaken. There were no jetways there, you came down the stairs of the 737, walked across the tarmac to the baggage claim, which was open air. There was a wall with a doorways and gates so one could not access the tarmac without permission, the rest of the baggage claim could be accessed by anyone.

The passengers began to come through the doorway as I stood there with my sign, my dispatcher from E&M Tours was also there with me. As I watch the passengers walk by I see a beautiful blond woman walk towards me with a bright smile, and a golden glow. The glow almost reminds me of an aura. The man she is with is shorter then her, wearing dark sunglasses, and has dark hair.

As they walk past me, it hits me who they are. I stare in amazement, more like gawk. I then look at my dispatcher who seems to be in another world, I asked him if he'd seen who just walked by him. He said who?

I was stunned. I remember telling him "the most beautiful woman in the world just walked by you and you didn't even see her!", he just smiled.

Yes, Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley had just passed by me and it seemed that no one had noticed but me.

I collected my passengers, we got their luggage and put them on the transportation to their hotel. I then walked over to Billy and Christie who were chatting with their limo driver and summoned up the courage to ask for their autographs.

Christie smiled that beautiful wholesome smile, she took my pen and paper and signed her name for me, then handed it to Billy, who I could tell was very shy. He kept his dark glasses on, his head tilted, almost as he was nervous about looking me in the eye. He was not rude though, he was very polite, almost child like. It was an amazing moment in time for me. There was only one other couple I met during the 80s who impressed me more. I will tell you about them soon.

I'm glad Billy and Christie are still friends today. They seemed like genuinely good people that day 25 yrs ago. They still bring a smile to my face to this day, that is a true fact.

photo courtsey of

Interview With Mickey Jones

When Mickey was in town for our Bikes and Blues event back in April he along with Reuben the "Lounge Lizard" did a radio interview with Shannon Burke. Reuben put the interview on youtube with photos from Mickey and Mickey's book, "That Would Be Me".

Reuben and Mickey also sing Double Bogie Blues and there are some of my pictures on the video I took of them singing this song at the WHOG Studios a year ago.

Thanks Reuben!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Coming Out Of The Fog!

Have you ever been in that awkward moment when the conversation lags and you or the person you've been speaking with have nothing else to say? Sure you have!

In times like these I go back to my memories of the 80s and working at the Honolulu Airport. Most of these times were fun and I got to meet some pretty cool people. Steve says I name drop, but he says it with a smile. To me it was a way of keeping a conversation going. Its memories of good times and some neat people I happened across during my day to day life.

In order to get out of my BLOG FOG I've decided to tell you a bit about my life in the 80s working at the airport in Honolulu. I wanted to go happy with this series, I hope you can feel my smile as you read on.

My Airport History:

I began working at the airport as a Lei Greeter for a company called Aloha Lei Greeters in 1983. No, I wasn't wearing a grass skirt and bikini top, that was for the models that posed for pictures.

I wore a long muumuu with slits on the sides, one was sky blue and white and the other was a dark red and black pattern. We had one major account, Tradewind Tours and several smaller or private accounts. My job was to hold up a sign at the gate of the airline with the passengers name (or tour group name) and meet them with a lei and kiss.

If the passenger was on a tour, I would take them to the models for photos, then to the baggage claim and finally make sure they got on their transportation to their final destination, (hotel or outer island).

At one point I began meeting the 1st flight of the day arriving from Alaska at either 4:55AM or 5:55AM depending on the time of year, then move on to the customs area and meet the flights from Japan, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. (I had Japanese group escorts who would actually meet the passengers then bring them to me for their leis). I would finish my day at noon so I took a 2nd job as a dispatcher for E&M Tours, a transportation company that would take passengers back and forth from the airport to their hotels.

Tiring of working strictly at the airport I took a job at Waikiki Express driving the passengers myself. I loved that! I was one of two girls driving for the company, the other one mainly dispatched and I had the respect of all of the men there. At night one of them always waited for me at the station where we parked our vans if I was running behind. We usually went out after for a bit of fun until I made the fatal mistake of dating one of the other drivers. I was making good money then, tips plus a good hourly wage and threw it away for a man who couldn't take that a woman who could drive as well and toss luggage as high as he could.

I gave renting cars a try for a bit.. but they wanted me to push the coverage. I believed in it and still do to this day, but got let go because I wouldn't push it. I went back to the airport...

I went to work for a porter company, Paradise Sky Cap, under contract for United Airlines who took care of their wheelchair bound and unaccompanied minor passengers. That was pretty cool for a bit, but the pay was really low and tips hard to come and I soon found myself back at Aloha Lei Greeters as Asst. Manager.

Now, to remember the who's and whens, and will I be able to find pictures that I am allowed to use?

photo courtsey of

Friday, April 18, 2008

Life After Living With Addiction ~ The End!

It's finally time to wrap up this series! Time to tell you how life can go from bad to good to wonderful.

If you want to catch up I'll leave all the links to the past posts at the bottom of this post.

When I last posted (aways back) in Life After Living With Addiction ~ Part 1 I told you I that a ride was coming up for St. Jude and I would be going with a friends husband. That ride was taking place in April, after Bike Week of 2006.

Bike Week that year was quite exciting for me, I spent it with my girlfriend and her 39 Chevy Sedan and boy did we turn some heads. Her man had to go out of town that week so we decided to go out and have some fun. Let me tell you, this car is one heck of a hot rod. It used to drag all over the NE Circuit back in the 60s. In fact one person even recognized it and told us it used to be painted silver. I got the biggest kick out of watching my girlfriend shock the men by knowing every inch of her car and being able to answer every question they threw at her.

The last Friday of Bike Week, her and I along with a 3rd friend went to the White Eagle and she introduced me to someone who was about to change my life. It was the night I met Steve.

There he was sitting on the bench in front of the bar, just watching the crowd & minding his own business when my girlfriend sat next to him and began talking to him. I remember it like yesterday. She introduced me and our other friend to Steve and jokingly mentioned she was trying to find a date for me. I shot back some wise crack that next time I gave out my number I was going to get the guys number at the same time. Next thing I know I had a card in my hand.

About that time I had to run off and get a camera to a friend and when I went back to the bench Steve was gone. I remember thinking to myself, I blew that one.

About a month later Steve calls me at work. (took him long enough!) He invites me to go on a Poker Run which I believe was a week after the St. Jude ride. He actually wanted to take me on the Bikes and Blues ride, but I had already made plans and didn't want to break them.

At this point in my life, I didn't think I was ready for a full time relationship. I told Steve that up front, I just wanted to have fun and enjoy life.

We did the poker run and we had a great time. We both felt we really connected that day. The next day was Sunday, my day to meet my friends on Main Street, he called me as I was headed that way and I invited him to meet me there, he was about 15 mins behind me. We've been pretty much inseparable every since.

Steve has been the best thing to ever happen me as far as a partner in my life goes. He treats me like a person, an equal and a lady. He treats me better then anyone has ever treated me before.

I remember when I used to run away to the beach while married to the addict, I would see couples that seemed to be in what is called "the golden years" holding hands, I would feel jealous. I knew I didn't have that kind of love and I thought then I never would would. Well my friends, never say never.

I've finally found that happiness. I wasn't even trying.

Thank you for not believing a word I said Baby!

Living With Addiction ~ Part I
Living With Addiction ~ Part II

Living With Addiction ~ Part III
Living With Addiction ~ Part IV

Living With Addiction ~ Part V
Living With Addiction ~ Part VI

Living With Addiction ~ Part VII
Living With Addiction ~ Part VIII

Living With Addiction ~ Part IX
Living With Addiction ~ Part X

Living With Addiction ~ Part XI
Living With Addition ~ Part XII

Living With Addition ~ Part XIII
Living With Addiction ~ Part XIV

Living With Addiction ~ Part XV
Living With Addiction ~ Part XVI ~ Freedom?

Life After Living With Addiction ~ Part 1

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bikes & Blues 2008~The Photos!

On April 5th over 750 bikers from in and around Volusia County, FL got together to ride for a cure. A cure for childhood cancer.

The event, Bikes and Blues with Mickey Jones to benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital.

Mickey Jones along with Big Mike Griffin and Bubba Baker joined forces with Rock Hartley for the 3rd year in a row for this particular ride out of the Iron Horse Saloon in Ormond Beach.

The ride, police escorted headed to A1A, followed the beach north to Highbridge road and into the famous Ormond Loop through a beautiful canopy of ancient oak trees and back to the Iron Horse, 23 miles in all taking about 50 minutes to complete. The riders were also treated to a fly over by the Spruce Creek Gaggles, a team of retired pilots from the Spruce Creek area of Daytona Beach.

Once back at the Iron Horse Saloon, the riders were treated to the best biker blues courtesy of Big Mike Griffin, raffles, auctions and some really great weather.

Between the ride and Golf Classic that was held the next day over $40,000 was raised for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital!

To view photos taken during the ride or golf event please click either Bikes and Blues 08 (ride shots) or Golf Classic 08

Thanks to everyone who was involved in this years events!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Clip From The Red Skeleton Show Circa 1969

A short clip of Red Skeleton from his show in 1969,

Take the time to watch and you will get chills...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More Bike Week Photos

Harley Davidson Fire Fighter Special Edition Pictured Below

Friday, March 7th, is the day that Steve and I think we had the most fun. It rained 2.5 inches at our house but that didn't slow anyone down from laughing or having a really good time anywhere we went.

Visit my Active Rain Blog to see just how much fun some people had!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Bike Photos From Bike Week 2008

Unfortunately you won't find those photos here... This format is just too frustrating for me to upload a lot of photos too, I did try but it drove me nuts!

I decided to upload them to ActiveRain and Localism and you can see them here:
Bike Week 08 ~ The Photos & A Video (Part 1)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Retinoblastoma, A Childhood Cancer, Takes A Guitar Legend at 41

Jeff Healey, self taught guitaist, singer, and blues icon was stricken with Retinoblastoma at the age of 1 and lost his eyesight. He lost his fight to this cancer over the weekend. He is already missed by his fans and friends he has made around the music industry.

Read more of my post at my other blog site on Activerain, you will learn why Jeff's passing hit so close to home.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 2/29/2008

I know, it’s been 15 days since my last update, but I promise you there is good reason for this.

No one has spotted a Northern Right Whale since February 12th.

This isn’t completely unusual to my friends Joy and Jim as they had one year where they went 17 days without a sighting, but as of today they can make that 2 years. As of February 17th, there were still sightings in the Jacksonville and Brunswick area.

According to the Marineland Right Whale Project, due to our warmer then usual weather and water temperatures the whales may have actually began their long trip back north. The good news is so far 16 distinct mother/calf pairs have been “tentatively identified”!

If you are in the area on vacation, or just an avid animal lover/whale watcher like me do not give up hope on seeing whales, just because the northern right whales may have gone home doesn’t mean we don’t have any in the area….

Monday, February 25th a beautiful humpback whale was spotted in Beverly Beach. I did not know we had a humpback whale season here, I thought they were here year round. Apparently when it is time for the northern right whales to go home that signals the time for the humpbacks to arrive. (I have some new research to do!)

The folks at The Marineland Right Whale Project ask that you continue with your phone calls with all whale sightings to them as any sightings assist in their research in both species of whales. One way to tell the difference in the two species, the humpback whale has a small fin on its back and the right whale does not. Also a right whale has a V Spout when it surfaces and a humpback does not, it has a single spout.

I’ve also seen a dwarf sperm whale playing just off shore so you just never know what you may see!

If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,

You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pre-Register For Bikes & Blues 08 At Bike Week With Big Mike Griffin

A good friend of mine, Big Mike Griffin will be rolling into Ormond Beach, FL for Bike Week this year!

He will be playing at both The Broken Spoke and The Iron Horse Saloon beginning with his first show on Sunday, March 2 at 1PM at the Broken Spoke Saloon.

The rest of his Bike Week schedule looks like this:

Monday, March 3rd Mike will be at the Iron Horse Saloon from 11PM until 2AM

Wednesday, March 5th back Big Mike and his band return to the Broken Spoke Saloon and play from 1PM til 7PM

Thursday, still at the Broken Spoke Saloon on stage at 7PM until midnight

And as of right now their last show, also at the Broken Spoke Saloon on Saturday from 1PM to 7Pm.

Bike Mike will be debuting his new DVD of his award winning documentary, Iron City Blues while here too and you will be able to purchase advanced copies of the DVD at his shows.

Just a little tease about Iron City Blues:

"Urban legends tell of an isolated Southern town where the residents ran-off their police department and outsiders fear to tread. To blues musician Big Mike Griffin, it seemed like great material for a song."

Some of you know that I am a committee member for the Bikes And Blues With Mickey Jones events that benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Big Mike is also one of our members!

Being on the Bikes and Blues committee is how I got to meet Big Mike and his lady Miss Emilie last year. I then got to spend a little time with them last Biketoberfest, but not near enough as I would have liked because they were in South Daytona. I’m so excited that they will be in the northern part of the county this year!

This year we are trying something new with our bike event, we are pre-registering riders.

I will be at Big Mike’s merchandise table on Sunday, March 2nd pre-registering anyone that prefers to pay in person. (I will also be assisting with Big Mike’s merchandise sales)

The first two riders to show up together and tell me that you read about pre-registering for the Bikes and Blues Bike Event in this post will ride for free in the event.

Can't wait to see all of you Bike Week 08 at the Broken Spoke Saloon!

Remember! Together, We Can Make A Difference!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Life After Living With Addiction ~ Part 1

Contined from my Living With Addiction Series.

I guess from reading other posts in this blog you can tell I've been a pretty happy & busy girl the past couple three years.

I can't begin to imagine staying in that marriage with the way things were.

I look around at some people I know now who have family members with the same type of addiction, I don't know if they have the luxury I did. The luxury of turning their backs and walking away.

How does a brother, sister, mother or father tell their child or sibling to straighten up or get out, then when they don't, kick them out of their lives? Permanently? Turn their back on them and walk away?

As you know if you've read my series, it took a lot for me to turn my back and walk. It was the best thing I ever did for myself though. The freedom it offered me felt incredible. I knew my ex's problems were not my fault. These issues were around long before I was.

We, as the spouse or family member of the addict are not the cause of the addiction, please always remember that, no matter what you have been told.

The first thing I had to do was to learn how to be happy with me before anything else. I feel that if we are not happy with who we are we will never be happy in any type of relationship.

I had to discover who I was, what I was about. Life was now about ME.

Honestly, I had the best time discovering myself. I would walk the beach after work, rent any movie I wanted, and I found a new passion..

My new love was my camera. I found it so easy to find something to photograph no matter where I went. I would photograph ghost crabs on the beach, jelly fish, surfers, bike week events, you name it I took photos of it.

My camera was and still is with me 99% of the time.

I would be silly with my friends, go out and have fun with them. Work on my house, I actually painted the whole outside of my rental duplex for extra money. I had a good time doing it too.
I soon figured out I missed riding, I even thought about taking a motorcycle class and possibly getting my own bike one day. However I have severe arthritus and that just won't happen with hands the way they are.

My friends husband would take me out if she had to work, we were/are friends with Blackfoot and he and I rode to Sanford to see them Biketoberfest of 05. It was a blast.

Then one day I opened the Pennysaver and saw Mickey Jones would be in town for a St Jude benefit ride. I loved Mickey in Home Improvement, how cool! As for St. Jude? What better charity event is there? Lucky for me, my friend had to work and her husband said he would be my escort..

To Be Continued....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 2/5 ~ 2/12/2008

I was sure hoping to have a new photo of my own to share with you today, but no such luck.

Once again we had the perfect weather to watch for the whales, a slight chilly wind, but other then that, nice seas and sunny for the most part.

I started out later then usual, hit the beach around noon. I did get some great pelican photos, this one on the top of what's left of the Ormond Pier.

And this one that was waiting for a fisherman to reel in something so he could beg for it.

Then this juggler showed up and kept me occupied for a bit.. He was quite good actually!

I slowly made my way north after making my call to see if there had been any sightings yet and once again nothing.. I got to the Flagler Pier and hung out there for about 30 minutes before making my way back south to Ormond where I waiting a little while longer before calling it a day.

At least I got to see some kind of wildlife though!
On to Joy's email updates..

I received one on February 5th stating they were very active that weekend before starting on Friday the 1st with the sighting of #1622.

#1622 was first spotted in New Smyrna Beach by the Marine Resources Council who said that the whales (mom and calf) were headed north.

Saturday, the 2nd, #1622 and baby were spotted in Daytona Beach, confirmed by the Projects Sector 4 "mobile team leader". The whales were confirmed while swimming north by the aerial and ground teams.

On Sunday the 3rd, The Projects Aircam took off after the fog lifted and spotted a mother and calf north of the St Augustine Inlet. Introducing right whale #3292 and her 1st calf! This is moms first visit to our area, she is a young mother, only 6. Joy tells us right whales usually wait to become a mom when they are around 10 years old or so.

A hour later in Ormond By The Sea #1622 and baby were spotted at Highbridge Road and A1A (on of my stops on Saturday). According to Joy they "put on quite a show". I wonder if that means a lot of breaching and tail slapping? Apparently quite a crowd gathered and parking at that particular area is slim (about 10 spots) which brought out the Sheriffs deputies to keep the traffic flow moving.

#1622 and calf were last seen at the Matanzas Inlet still headed north, spotted by one of the Projects ground teams on their way to conduct surveys.

Wednesday, the 6th @ 8:830 am Arpeggio (AKA right whale #2753) and calf showed back up again at Crescent Beach headed slowly south but they were still north of Matanzas around noon. Apparently it was at that time that the seas and winds kicked up and our spotter teams had a hard time seeing the whales so they headed on out. At 4:40PM The staff at Marineland spotted a mother calf pair who were quickly ID'd as Arpeggio and baby. The pair literally hung out near the Dolphin Conservation Center until 6PM until the evening skies made it hard to see them any longer.

Thursday, the 7th, 7:50AM
, a call came in stating a camper at the Beverly Camptown RV Park had spotted a whale, the mobile response team arrived confirming 2 whales, mother and calf. The ground response team caught up to the whales in Flagler Beach and found Arpeggio and her calf who spent most of the day there.

My girlfriend called me at 5:30pm that day to tell me she was in Flagler Beach and she was watching a whale also that she had her camera. I wasn't sure which whale she she was watching since she didn't see a baby. She called back a half hour later to tell me there were about 20 dolphins playing around the whale and this whale was huge. I told her if there are dolphins there must be a baby. She spotted the baby while we were talking. She was watching Arpeggio and calf. I'm very happy for her as she is moving to Denver soon, she won't be seeing many whales there.

Tuesday, 2/12, The Projects Sector 2 Mobile Team spotted a SAG (Surface Active Group) of 5 whales heading north from the Hammock area of Flagler County.

A half hour later the staff from The Marineland staff called in with a sighting of a right whales to the east. The responder verified a mother and calf headed south. The gang followed the mother calf duo south trying to catch glimpses of them through windy choppy seas and every now and then seeing a white chin and belly on the calf they believe the pair to be Arpeggio and baby.

The SAG spotted earlier broke up but seemed to reform later in the day near the Flagler By The Sea RV Park. Joy hopes to see them again and ID individuals in the group.

I hope she and the gang succeed! The weather is finally nice today, a bit chilly with light winds, and this weekends highs back in the mid 70s along the coast. Not sure about the winds though.

If I hit the beach again, I wonder if I'll have a chance at seeing Arpeggio and her beautiful baby. It's almost like a quest for me at this point.

Have A Happy Valentines Day!
And Remember!
If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here
Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'm Taking Good Care Of Your Robins While They Are Here!

I had quite the surprise yesterday morning, a yard full of robins! This is the second group to come by this winter. They only stay a day or so.

These little guys really enjoyed the bird bath and backyard though, they enjoyed it so much they came back yesterday evening too.

I put together a photo and video movie of them for you so you can see that they will be just fine while on their winter vacation here in Florida. In the afternoon footage of the video, if you listen carefully, you will hear the cars practicing at the Daytona International Speedway for the 500. Hope you enjoy! (Keep watching after Bye Bye, I couldn't edit that out..)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Life Is Funny Sometimes

I know I need to catch up on some posts, I've really fallen behind.

Our "snowbirds", the Northern Right Whales have been very active and I have to get that in here, and hopefully find one or two myself.

I also want to finish my Addiction series.

I hope the words I chose to explain to you just how lucky I do feel can make you feel it too.

It seems my birds have taken my attention away from the other two posts!

I get some good video of them and want to share the video with you.

The interaction I have with some wild animals, it makes me feel all the luckier. I honestly know that if I didn't go through the things I went through in my past I wouldn't have that interaction I do.

I wouldn't know the people I know, have the job that I have or the life I have now or more importantly I wouldn't have Steve in my life.

I'll write more about that in another post though.. Lets get back to my feathered friends shall we?

The other day I posted Bird Antics At Pelican Bay about my buddies a Anahinga and a Great Blue Heron that visit me for their breakfast or lunch at my office.

The Anahinga can be very territorial at times even chasing me away... In this video, I started the video a little late, he is coming out of the water with his "catch of the day" right at my feet...


Monday, February 4, 2008

Bird Antics At Pelican Bay

I have made friends with a Great Blue Heron at my office. He figured out that I feed the fish and he (or she) gets an easy meal.

When the heron is paying attention or hungry and sees me come outside, it will glide across the water right to me to hunt its prey.

This bird stands about 4 to 4.5 feet tall when fully stretched out, a pretty tall and graceful animal.

This isn't the only water foul that has me figured out though.

This bird pictured to the left is a Anahinga also known as the Snake Bird.

This is a male bird, and he swims through the water to hunt or stalk his prey, then brings it out of the water to dine on it.

When I took this photo, he had come out of the water so close to me I could smell him.. like he was showing off his prize.
However, he has become very territorial of this feeding area.

He has on many occasions chased the Great Blue Heron out of the water and even come after me! No, I'm not telling you a fish tale.. This 2 foot tall bird has no fear of anything.

Have a look at the video, you'll see what I mean. Oh, and yes, that is me backpeddling while shooting the video...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 1/19-1/28

I know I am so far behind and I am so sorry! Life has a funny way of catching up to me sometimes!

First I wanted to update everyone on the right whale calf that washed up in Ormond By The Sea over the weekend. It was apparently a new born with "remnants of the umbilical cord still attached". They believe the death was natural causes, but as soon as they post the results of the necropsy everyone will know for sure.

Joy doesn't think that he was one of the whales that the Marineland volunteers have spotted and cataloged this season. (There have been 8 mother and calf pairs so far)

Joy also goes on to say in the email that if the Right Whales behavior is like that of the bottlenosed dolphin, "once the baby is out of the mothers sight" they no longer appear to grieve. The behavior I read about last year when the mother appeared erratic, she may have been in sight of her baby when washed up on shore in Jacksonville after a ship strike.


January 19, 2008

Arpeggio and baby were spotted throughout the day in northern Flagler County.

They were first spotted at around 9:45 am by the Survey team that was on the look out at Sea Colony but disappeared quickly. They were spotted again a mile north of Sea Colony just after 12 noon by someone living at the Surf Club condo. Joy and company were able to photograph and get a positive ID on Arpeggio as she has white scars that help them identify her.

They also were able to witness Arpeggio roll onto her back, then her calf swim through Arpeggio's pectoral fins and onto its moms chest. Man, I would love to see interaction like that.

The Project's Survey members watched these two on and off until about 5pm.

January 23, 2008

Right Whale #1622 was sighted in the area with her fourth calf. This whale is very special to Joy as she is the first whale Joy ever photographed from an AirCam.

#1622 and calf were sighted 2 days in a row, first in Ormond By The Sea. The AirCam was able to fly over and get some great photos of mother and calf. According to Joy's update, one photos has the calf upside down on it's mother tail giving them "a rare chance to figure out its gender" which appears to be male.

(I was terrified that this may be the male that washed up on shore Friday, January 25th and was relieved I was wrong)

On the 24th the pair may have been spotted again in S. Daytona. It was a rather gray and windy day, not a good AirCam day. The Project had to rely on ground photos and from those photos they believe the pair was once again #1622 and calf.

January 25, 2008

First thing in the morning two whale sighting calls were received. The first was from New Symra Beach and the Marine Resources Council Response Team soon discovered #1622 and her calf there.

The second sighting was in Daytona Beach by the Volusia County Beach Patrol. Unfortunately we had a low fog deck that day and was several hours until AirCam could safely take off to search for the whales.

The AirCam team found the Daytona Beach whale about 2:30pm. They believe it was a juvenile and as yet do not have an ID on it.

AirCam then made its way south in search of #1633 and her calf and found them at the north end of Canaveral Seashore. She must like it there as she spent some time in that area with her third calf in 2005.

Janaury 28, 2008

Arpeggio reappears with calf in tow! The two were spotted near Crescent Beach in Northern Flagler County around 1:15pm and The Response Team had them ID'd by around 2:10.

The Response Team stayed with the pair following them south across the Matanzas Inlet and about a half mile south of that where the pair pretty much remained until 5:15 when the Team left for the day.

In Joy's email she states, "Although we soon learned that the dead calf who came ashore on Friday evening was a newborn, the white belly initially had us concerned since Arpeggio's calf also has a white belly. What a relief to see these two behaving in a similar manner as we have observed them over the course of our many sightings".

When I saw the photo of the calf and its white belly in the News Journal, my heart stopped, my first thought was of Arpeggio's calf. Even after learning it was a newborn, I felt so much better when I got the updates on #1622 with her calf along with this one about Arpeggio and her baby.

If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,

Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Photo above is of Arpeggio and her calf and was taken by Joy Hampp and is property of The Marineland Right Whale Project, used with their permission.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Death Of Right Whale Calf A Mystery For Now

Sometimes, I hate when I am right. The dead right whale calf that washed up in Ormond By The Sea on Friday night was a male. So far, that is all I am right about though.

Researchers do know that the calf was not killed by a ship strike or by entanglement. First they will try to determine if the calf was alive when it was born. If he was alive then they will need to find out why he died.

The researchers are very concerned about "toxic algae" which was mentioned in today's News Journal. I'm not sure if that is the same as Red Tide as that is a algae bloom too that is toxic to our smaller fish.

You can read more on this story in today's Daytona Beach News Journal story here

Remember, if you spot a whale off shore,
Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Sad Day For The Northern Right Whales

No photos to post today, I do have sightings to catch up on and will possibly do that tomorrow. We lost a calf last night in Ormond By The Sea. It was about 10 feet long and was washed ashore about 7-7:30PM.

When a friend told me this today I felt like someone kicked me in the chest. There was a mother and calf sighted in Ormond By The Sea on Wednesday and they were photographed by the AirCam team. Joy stated that they believed the calf was a male.

I wonder if this was the baby we lost? It is as hard on the mother whale as it is on us humans when a baby is lost. They become very erratic and visibly upset from what I've read.

They are taking the whale to University of Florida where a necropsy will be done to find out what happened to it.

We've recently had a couple dolphin wash up also and not too long ago a real bad red tide. Some of us that don't know what we are talking about are wondering if this all ties in. I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

You can read the article that was published in today's Daytona Beach News Journal here.

Remember, if you spot a whale off shore,
Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here
Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Northern Right Whales Arpeggio And Calf Sighting Confirmed!

The Marineland Right Whale Project celebrated it's seven year anniversary of it's first whale sighting on Friday, January 18th with sightings of two mothers and calf's!

The first pair were sighted by one of the Projects survey volunteers who was at her post near "Clicker Beach" which is close to Hammock Dunes in Palm Coast at about 9:30AM.

Joy and the response team arrived soon after and confirmed that the pair were a mom and baby. I mentioned before that when I've seen a mom with her calf, I didn't get to see much animation out of either of them, at the most a wave from the baby. This particular calf apparently got very animated after awhile and did nine breaches before the pair swam off towards the east "around noon". Nine breaches.. wow, would I love to have seen that.

In my post, Have Right Whales, Arpeggio And Her Baby Returned?, I mentioned how the volunteers at Marineland were constantly scanning the ocean's horizon in the hopes of spotting Arpeggio and her calf the day I visited.

Well, their work payed off on Friday when they spotted a mother and calf moving slowly south. Joy and her team caught up to them and confirmed that the folks at Marineland finally got to see Arpeggio and her baby.

The team also confirmed that the mother and calf they spotted on Wednesday and Thursday were indeed Arpeggio and child!

Hopefully the team will be able to give us a ID on the other mother and calf. I can't wait to see who the mom is. Will it be a frequent visitor to our waters, or a first time mom?

Remember, if you spot a whale off shore,
Please call
The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Photo above is of Arpeggio and her calf and was taken by Joy Hampp and is property of The Marineland Right Whale Project, used with their permission.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Introducing Nothern Right Whales Arpeggio And Her Calf!

Last evening I received permission from Joy Hampp and Jim Hain to post this photo of Arpeggio and her calf. It is the property of Jim Hain and The Marineland Right Whale Project and was taken by Joy at Beverly Beach, FL on December 10th. They estimate the baby was at least 6 days old in this photo.

Photos like this one are extremely important to the Project for identifying the whales. If you look at Arpeggio's head you'll notice a white patch, that white patch is called callosities. Callosities are basically whale lice that lives in/on the whales skin.

The first time I met Jim, he explained to me and everyone at our office that the callosities are like our fingerprints. They remain in the same place on the whale for it's life span. I imagine they do cover a larger area on the babies as the babies grow.

Photos like the one above are added to a catalog of Right Whales that is used by many different agencies dedicated to help keep these creatures safe. This way they can track their journeys north and south, how old they are, if and when they've had a calf. They also use it to keep track of the number of Northern Right Whales in the ocean.

Ariel photos, if the weather cooperates, are incredible. Some of the photos I've seen of these amazing creatures from above would take your breath away. The scientists can get a better look at the callosities and learn more about the whales "behaviors" without disturbing them. For instance like the photo I told you about yesterday of Arpeggio on her back with her calf resting its head on her chest. We can't see that type of interaction from the shore, unless one is lucky enough to have a waterfront condo at least 2 stories up.

Some good news:

The first time I saw a Northern Right Whale in 2004, their total count at that time was about 350. Only 350 of them in the world..

When I spoke to Jim a couple weeks ago I asked him how many whales did he think there were now.

He told me they believe the number of whales has now increased to 400!

This is great news, increasing the number of whales by 50 in 4 years may not seem a lot, but given the dangers they face and their slow reproduction rate, this number was more then I expected.

Remember, if you spot a whale off shore,
Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Living With Addiction ~ Part XVI ~ Freedom?

Continued from Living With Addiction ~ Part XV

It felt so good to have him out of my life, to be free of worry, free from his addiction, free from him ~ so to speak.

He promised he would help with money by paying my car insurance and he stuck to that promise.. However he would call me, a lot. I got sick of it, I didn't want to talk to him. I was happy for the first time in many years and when ever he would contact me via computer or phone it would put a dent in that happiness.

I began blocking him on the computer and not answering his calls, he threatened to stop the insurance payments unless "I was nice to him".

I was no longer falling for his emotional blackmail.

I wasn't going to let him run my life anymore.

I no longer had any feelings for this person anymore and had no desire to be in contact with him. He had screwed with my emotions too too many times and I was done with it.

He was true to his word (for once) and quit paying my insurance, since he lived up north I guess the notice went to him and not me so I was not aware that had been cancelled until I went to renew my car registration 6 months later. In the long run he cost me quite a bit on that little temper tantrum.

It was worth every single cent though.

In October I began filing for divorce. This is where I discovered how funny life is. It cost us $25.00 to obtain a marriage license in the state of CT. It cost me $350.00 to file for divorce in the state of FL. That's without any legal help. Why do you think this is??

(Not sure how much it costs to obtain a marriage license in FL)

It cost another $70/75 to have him served in CT by one of their State Marshall's. Once I got verification he was served all I had to do was wait for a court date.

Of course, he was not thrilled with being served with divorce papers and swore that he would have one of his fathers lawyers stop the divorce. Knowing then what I did, I called his bluff and dared him to try. At this point I had more then drug abuse to fight him back with and no judge in the world would have listened to him. I almost wish he would have made good on that threat. Heck the Judge would have probably thrown him in the loony bin...

The afternoon of December 1, 2005 I walked into the judges chambers to finalize everything. It was very different then my first divorce.. The judge asked "Are you sure.." and I said "Yes" very sure of myself and that was it.

I left the courthouse feeling better then I had felt in a long time. As I crossed the Main Street bridge there was a American Bald Eagle flying low over my car, now kids, if that isn't a sign I don't know what is!

There is one last post to come one how happy I still am and how improved my life has become.. stay tuned! I am super busy right now so it may take me a little while to get it to you, but it will come!

Past Posts in this series:

Living With Addiction ~ Part I
Living With Addiction ~ Part II

Living With Addiction ~ Part III
Living With Addiction ~ Part IV

Living With Addiction ~ Part V
Living With Addiction ~ Part VI

Living With Addiction ~ Part VII
Living With Addiction ~ Part VIII

Living With Addiction ~ Part IX
Living With Addiction ~ Part X

Living With Addiction ~ Part XI
Living With Addition ~ Part XII

Living With Addition ~ Part XIII
Living With Addiction ~ Part XIV

Living With Addiction ~ Part XV

Have Right Whales, Arpeggio And Her Baby Returned?

Up until now, our whale sighting reports have been zero since January 1st.

Nothing, nada, zilch...

I went in search of our famous mother/baby duo on Saturday, January 5th and found nothing.

I even called Jim Hain, Scientist from The Associated Scientists At Woods Hole in Woods Hole, Massachusetts to see if they (him and Joy Hampp, Project Coordinator for The Marineland Right Whale Project) were out watching the whales anywhere.

Jim told me no, that no whales had been sighted, but if I made it as far north as Marineland to please stop and say hi.

I did make it that far and stopped to see Jim. I was treated to photographs that Joy had taken from the Projects spotter plane of Arpeggio and her baby.

The one photo I will never forget was of Arpeggio laying on her back in the ocean, showing her white belly with her calf resting its head on Arpeggios chest area with the rest of the calf's body resting in the ocean. Joy takes the most beautiful whale photos I have ever seen. In this particular photo, you could see the love the two share for each other.

As I left, Jim said he would call if any whales were sighted. Since the The Marineland Right Whale Project's office is across A1A from Marineland, I went over to Marineland and spent a couple hours watching the dolphins play and talking with the volunteers there who were all abuzz about Arpeggio and constantly scanning the ocean for her and her baby.

After 2 weeks of no emails updates, I awoke to an update from Joy yesterday morning with a possible sighting of Arpeggio and her calf in St. Augustine Beach!

One of the Project's volunteer team leaders was just getting ready to leave his condo (I think to go to his sector to watch for the whales) when he spotted a mother and her calf in the churning seas. (not a easy thing to do!) He immediately called it in and the "response team" rushed to his condo to attempt to make a positive ID. (Our weather hasn't been ideal for whale watching the last two days, overcast and very windy, making it hard to get a good look at the animals) Joy reports they are sure that this pair was Arpeggio and her baby! They are "waiting for tentative ID"

Yesterday was once again windy along with rainy conditions but, a resident was able to spot a mother and her calf. She called the Reponse Team, who within a half hour had confirmed the pair, but due to the poor conditions only got one good look at their heads. They did however get a good look at one of their bellies and it was white! Joy thinks this pair could have been the pair from the day before, AKA Arpeggio and her baby!

I hope this means we will be seeing a lot more of them and maybe even I will get to see them in person too!

(There is another sighting of a single whale I want to tell you about, however I am waiting for permission to use a photo to go with the sighting. As soon as I obtain permission I will post that sighting as well.)

Remember, if you spot a whale off shore,
Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Photo used above is a photo I took in 2006 in Ormond By The Sea of a Mother Calf pair. It could be a Right Whale known as Piper with her calf. She was in the area that day along with another Right whale and her baby.

I do not have persmission to use anyone else's photo's of the whales at this time, and will not take anyone's photos without their permission. This is why I keep using photos from the 2006 Right Whale season for my blog. For those of you that aren't aware~it is illegal to use other people's photos without their permission unless otherwise stated from the photographer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Proud Right Whale Mom Arpreggio, And Her Calf Still Cruising Florida's Coast Line!

The now famous Northern Right Whale fondly called Arpeggio and her calf are still hanging out near St. Augustine and Matanzas Inlet.

Friday, December 28th was a beautiful day, and apparently there were a lot of boats out taking advantage of the weather near St. Augustine Inlet. When the mother and calf appeared one boater began to follow dangerously close to them.

Because these whales are endangered
, all boats are required to stay at least 500 yds away from the whales. (Boat strikes are a major threat to these incredible creatures)

The folks from The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission were able to intervene and keep our famous pair safe. Once the whales had enough excitement in the St. Augustine Inlet they swam off towards Vilano Beach to spend the night.

Saturday, December 29th
, The Marineland Right Whale Project received two whale sighting calls. Both sightings were for whales spotted south of the St. Augustine Pier. Joy and gang along with the Florida Wildlife Research Institutes's Right Whale staff found our pair near Anastasia State Park. The group was concerned that the whales would go back into the inlet (Saturday was even nicer then Friday) but they stayed south of the inlet this time.

Joy's email mentions that on occasion Arpeggio would roll over on her back and once they saw the calf's head on mama's chest. That had to have been an amazing sight to see.

Steve and I should have got on the bike
and headed north on A1A Saturday, our high was 85ยบ. Instead we stayed close to home. Maybe I'll take a ride up that way this coming weekend and see what I can find.

Remember, if you spot a whale off shore,
Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within 500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Whale photo is of a juvenile Northern Right Whale I took in 2006