The Forgotten Coast…Mexico Beach 3.5 Months After Hurricane Michael….

Hey Peeps! It’s been a while since I blogged. Here’s one of the reasons….You can’t just un-see the unbelievable disaster that is now Mexico Beach, once a prime tourist spot for us Snowbirds to get away from the cold and enjoy a little bit of paradise.

My husband Mike and I went to photograph the devastation there in order to continue to get the word out. We were hesitant at first, as we did not want to disrespect the suffering people of Mexico Beach. However, we do not want to become oblivious to the despair just North West of us. It’s gobsmacking awful to see. It is vast. It is sad. It is mean. It’s simply difficult to process. I’m trying to figure out what my message is here.

….So. I’ll do my best. And you tell me what the message is. Is it “C’mon folks who have plenty; share the wealth”? Or, is it “Boots on the ground, folks-let’s help re-build”? Or is it all of the above and more?

Here’s what I do know. The people that remain there, who are not part of the affluent who may have left and sold to developers, are in need. Members of Facebook pages are pleading for enough gas money to get to work. Mothers are asking for diapers for their babies. Parents are asking for clothing for their children. I read about one individual who told a story of driving a single mother of two small children to the “Group Home For Children”, as she did not have enough food and shelter for her babies. She writes that “they all cried on the way to the shelter” and once they arrived, this sweet soul could not bear to watch the gut wrenching emotional good-bye. She packed all three up and took them to her home that she already shares with three other homeless families.

I will never be able to “un-see” the rubble that once was a home that perhaps a baby was brought home in; that Sunday dinners were once cooked in; that holidays were celebrated – that are no more……

Yes. This group of homes are leaning toward the Gulf of Mexico.

The well-to-do have already moved on. Sold their lots. Settled with their Insurers…But what about the ordinary people? The locals who have lived in Mexico Beach all their lives; who need the tourists to make a living; who want nothing more than their beloved town back. What about them? What is being done? Here is a link to a great article forwarded to me by one of my furever friends:-

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/24/687729891/struggling-here-with-just-living-in-the-aftermath-of-hurricane-michael?fbclid=IwAR1Cs_JSJfMBbAuAuv8n0OTVNCUXSmeIWgIKxNaXD-ooLIoawa0j6SWqc9E

The landscape is different now and will take years to become what was once the beauty of this sweet little vacation town in which the locals were able to raise their families, find jobs and thrive….

Perhaps this once was an entrance way to someone’s paradise
“850 Strong” . That’s the mantra of these strong people. 850 STRONG

And through it all, there is hope
Trees, snapped like match sticks

While Mexico Beach fared the worse by far, our little town of Port St. Joe was also hit by this terrible storm.

Oceanis is now out of her depth

So here’s my message…For the people of this “Forgotten Coast” who have now slid off the grid, all the while we, here at The Cape, watch our beloved ‘dunes” be reconstructed. Please remember, 20.1 miles away, the residence of Mexico Beach are wondering where their next meal will come from. C’mon friends, Snowbirds and Residents – dig deep…and “give a little bit” of your time and/or wallet to those in need.

Please click on the below video, which provides in detail, the needs of Mexico Beach.

Please be diligent as to where you donate to ensure all your hard earned dollars go directly to relief.

I’ll leave you with this….

“Keep Calm & Donate On”……Life is Good

Christmas Dinner in January?! Day 15 of #21daysofgrateful

What’s so weird about Christmas in January? Not a thing. Each year, we celebrate Christmas dinner with our Furever Friends here at The Cape! It’s the full monty, people! Turkey (a 17lb turkey here in the Panhandle is just over $12.00 U.S.!!), stuffing, sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts (Jann says, “YUK”), roast potato, Yorkshires (Jann says “YUM”), gravy, not to forget the yummy appetizers and Pecan pie for desert!…..And I wonder why my shorts are getting snug!

Even a cool new table cloth for our special dinner!
Yorkies!
Turkey was done to perfection! (photo by Shand Photography)
Nancy’s appy!
The Turkey Chef!
The (almost) whole gang!
(Shand Photography)
OKAY, gang is now complete!
And what would Christmas Dinner be without our NINE pups? How perfect are they!?
Baby Tonka..not so little anymore!
And, who could forget the Christmas Lights?

Three things I’m grateful for today:-

  • I’m grateful that I have friends here that are as “off beat” as I am – e.g., Christmas In January!
  • I’m grateful that Catherine captured the Blood Moon tonight!
  • I’m grateful that my sweet husband, Mikey and our bestie, Trevor, are shopping at Walmart to gather needed items for the people with homes destroyed and left with virtually nothing (Hello FEMA WHERE ARE YOU?) Our amazing Furever Friends all contributed to this special cause. Mike and Trev will drop off the goods in Mexico Beach today.

I’ll leave you with this…..

Life Is Good…….

A little chilly, but who’s complaining? Day 11 of #21daysofgrateful

Okay ladies…check out this link!  Yes Robin, there really is a Santa Claus..

Whaaat! Yes! Finally some good news for a change…Eating Chocolate and Drinking Wine will keep us looking young!

Brrrr….it’s a bit chilly today, but the sun was shining during our walk (which later went in and hid).  We had a wonderful walk with the entire gang!

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Jann & Magic heading to the beach!

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Last one in’s a dirty, rotten egg!

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Hey, Ma…I won!

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Set those puppies FREEEEEE!  

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Here’s Journey that doesn’t like to go in too deep…each day, she goes just a little bit further!

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It’s not just the pups that love this beach!

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Olive

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The whole gang, well with the exception of the photographer!

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There’s nothing like a good stick between friends

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Besties with Magical

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Treat?  Did I hear Treat?

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Tammi on a mission

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Ok..I finally got the stick..now what do I do with is?

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One proud of herself pup!

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Tammi

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Love this girl.  Our newest addition, 14 month old Tonka…no fear!

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A leisurely Stroll

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Echo

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Beautiful boy

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Our Brody is lovin life and feeling much better!

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A race to the finish!

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Like I said…No Fear!

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This pup enjoys every minute of her life!

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Nothing like a good shake!

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Guys…Wait for MEEEE!

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This pup is on top of the world!

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Pete and his girl!

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Mikey and his boy!

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We ended the day at our favorite restaurant Indian Pass Uptown Raw Bar

My 3 grateful things today:-

  1. Grateful that I could put my two feet on the ground and look forward to the wonderful day ahead
  2. Grateful that I can walk the beach with my camera and shoot to my hearts delight!
  3. Grateful for my youngest daughter, Melissa, who is turning 37 years young today. So grateful.  Love you baby girl.

I’ll leave you with this….

friends

Life Is Good…..

We Made It…..

…despite the weather.

We slept in a bit on the 2nd days drive, and it’s a good thing we did.  As usual, before leaving the hotel we double, triple check the room to ensure that we haven’t left anything; had a great continental breakast and headed out for LaGrange Georgia, our second of three travel days to Cape San Blas(t).

All was great driving through Kentucky and then into Tennessee when I asked Mikey to hand me my sunglasses, as I was driving.  OK, my family and friends know what’s coming next, as I lose my sunglasses everytime I travel.  I have an expensive taste in glasses, so during every day life, I always make a point of knowing where they are at all times.  Dominican, lost my Gucci’s.  Next Dominican trip, I lost my Maui Jim’s.  Last year at The Cape, I lost my Tiffinie’s (which were prescription glasses and our new found friends, Pat & Rick Smith found them!).  Michigan, I lost my prized polarized Ray Ban’s.  And now, I’ve lost my newest designer glasses who’s name I can’t remember..(some guy that charges a lot of money for his name). But there’s good news!  I call the hotel, Country Inn and Suites, Georgetown Kentucky, and they found them!  I can get them on the way back…in TWO MONTHS!  The other good news is that when I stopped at Costco, they had these amazing polarized sunglasses, which I love…and they were only $25.00!  Maybe that’s the way to go.  Like everything at Costco, if you like ’em..pick up a couple!

The drive through the rest of Kentucky and into Tennessee was beautiful and sunny…Then on to Atlanta, Georgia.  All I can say is..Atlanta, we are no longer friends.  We’re breaking up and I never want to see you again.  Highway closures, accidents, detours and even more accidents.  Nope, no more second chances for you.  We’re done.  I’m going to take up with Nashville and i65 from now on.

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Next morning, we both awake early and decide to forego a Cracker Barrel breakfast (really?) to get on the road to our destination..Cape San Blas(t)!

The morning sunrise is beautiful…mist and all.

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Better still, the temperature is warming up!

img_0124-2(that’s 22 celsius for the Canadian folk)

And we are (almost) there!  We arrive at the Piggly Wiggly…..

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….and bump into Trevor & Suz and friends we met here last year who are from Ottawa, Claudio and Kim.  So it goes like this…I run into pick up a few things and Mikey stays outside with Brody.  He’s sitting on the bench in front of the store when Trevor sits down beside him…they have a good yuk  and then  run into Kim & Claudio, friends we met at the Cape last year who are from Ottawa.   I come out of Piggly’s and see the gang….Trev tells me Suz still in Piggly’s.  So I go back in and spot her at the fish counter.  I sneak up behind her and give her a hug…she sees it’s me and immediately starts to cry and hug me and tell me how much she has missed me…we’re hugging and Suz crying when I say..”Suz..it’s only been a week since I’ve seen you”…as the nice lady behind the fish counter looks on in disbelief..Canadian’s eh?

WE ARRIVE to our home away from home.  It’s like we’ve never left!  We dump out stuff, change into our shorts and head for the beach with the Lewin’s……and so it begins…..

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Suz doing her happy dance!

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Brody is beyond excited to be back on the beach!first-beach-walk-and-dinner-2

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Lovin life!first-beach-walk-and-dinner-13

It’s contagiousfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-14

The three Amigo’sfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-16

Two newbies! Their first year at The Cape…betcha it won’t be their last!

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Then two pups become three as Kim, Claudio and Mecca join us on the beachfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-19

Mecca strollinfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-24

Strollin…first-beach-walk-and-dinner-25

Strollin

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At last!….Ruth and Ken arrive and meet for dinner at our place with the Lewin’s…Suz yummy, yummy Chili and some shrimp boil..

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First of many, many wonderful meals together…just missing two more of our buddies, Janny & Nancy…They’ll be here soon!

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What an amazing beginning to creating some wonderful memories!

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I’ll leave you with this…

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Life Is Good…..