Sunday, June 8, 2014

Diverse Sarasota/Bradenton!

But living in the Sarasota area makes that very easy to do…One of Sparky's friends from up north said just the other day, "I feel like I'm living in the wrong location! We still have the heat on and are wearing winter jackets!" Come on down, Jeannie…Retire down here in beautiful, sunny Sarasota or the more affordable Bradenton and come see all that there is to do!

We ate breakfast at the Gulf Gate Cafe and Tiki Bar this morning….Didn't spot any dolphins…The food is just OK for breakfast, but boy, what a view! As seen through Sparky's morning beverage of choice.

And there's been sand dredged to expand the beach, so there's a lot more beach to walk afterwards, should you feel so inclined.

We usually head over to the Anna Maria Island City Pier after breakfast to see what wildlife is showing itself. There always seems to be something in the water to see! Today it was several dolphins swimming and diving and a lone dolphin stealing the bait fish off the ends of the fishermen's rods,

along with a pair of snowy egrets waiting for handouts…..

The egrets get a lot of shrimp to eat from the fishermen….They have named some of the birds who frequent the joint…Stewie and Huey were these two…..Sparky resisted asking, "Is there a Dewey and Louie? Or a Dewy, Cheatem, and Howe?" She was in a silly mood. No wine involved.

Sparky saw some cow nose rays gliding by---too wavy and murky today to get a good photo….

Off to downtown Sarasota for the Farmer's Market and a terrific craft fair going on…The amateur piano players were out, but they didn't seem like amateurs. There was some awesome piano scores being played all over town. If you've been reading the blog, you  might have seen the one about there are six artistically painted pianos with built in dehumidifiers in them placed all around Sarasota for several months and anybody can stop and play. Lots of people do! A lot of beautiful music was being played downtown today….

Some artists were out doing their thing…..

Sparky stopped at the arts and craft show and talked to a lady who had very eclectic stuff. It turns out she was a dumpster diver, a purveyor of all things recyclable and trashed…All her art was made from discarded objects from all over the world, bits and pieces of class, metal, and tons of broken objects from her travels and made into funky looking, yet functional pieces. She calls her art "artful necessaries from the finest trash." The name of her booth was "A Pain in My Glass." As Sparky was typing this, she first put a pain in my "ass" unintentionally! Guess that's the whole idea, so you won't forget her booth's name. Cynthia Linden is the artist and calls herself a "trashologist." She was very interesting to talk to, and shared a cute story about how when she first moved to where she is now, she saw the neighbor's house being renovated and a big dumpster outside the house. She saw them leave, thought they were leaving for up north and decided since she hadn't officially met them yet, she'd check out the dumpster while they were gone. While she was IN the dumpster, the neighbors returned, and she couldn't find a good time to exit while they were there. Finally, she poked her head out of the dumpster, at which point they saw her emerge, she introduced herself, and what she did for a living, and now they are the best of friends. Quite the first impression of your neighbor, eh?  Sparky bought a little angel.

By the way, Cynthia's email address starts with "reality bytes….."  A interesting lady with wit and cool pieces of art. Respectfully, Sparky did not take any photos to show you what cool pieces and parts she put together to make things, but a lot of stained glass mixed in with everything you could possibly imagine. Kinda funky, but Sparky really liked her work. (Ummmm….glad Sparky didn't buy anything bigger than this little angel, says a relieved E.) Sparky has trouble convincing Eldy of a home purchase now and then, but he has to admit, that the house has turned out nicely so far. But Sparky hasn't put her stamp of individuality in the decorating department quite yet. She's waiting for the right moment and the right funky piece to add some additional touches. (Uh-oh! And that's all I'm gonna say, says E.)

On to the next event today…The Harvey Milk Festival in downtown Sarasota….A festival honoring the first openly gay mayor of San Francisco AND the diversity of the Sarasota community….It coexisted side by side with the farmer's market, the craft show and had food trucks galore, which caught Sparky's eye. Sparky was more interested in the food trucks than she was in the music entertainment which was so LOUD, it was PAINFUL! After a blah couple of chicken tacos, with eardrums pulsing and the sound booming from the ridiculously loud speakers causing Sparky some significant ear pain, we decided to take our leave…...

Down to Siesta Key Beach for the 2014 Dig the Beach Volleyball Tournament! Problem was, we waited too late in the day to go see it. Eldy couldn't find a parking space, the lot was full, the side streets were full. So he dropped Sparky off, she took some photos, and Eldy missed all the action. (Well, PHOOEY! says E. I hate it when I miss seeing a talented bunch of women play beach volleyball.) And he hates it when he misses those thonged bikini bottoms and those itsy bitsy bikini tops. We all know that's the REAL reason he's keenly disappointed today….lol……

On the way home, we saw horses at the beach! Kids riding bareback into deep water with guides leading the horses, we didn't know that was offered here, too.  They basically lead the horses with the young riders along the beach for a few yards, into the water up to the horse's chest, then back out to the beach for a photo opp. Each horse has a guide to walk them and then stay with the riders as the horses briefly swim. The little kids were thoroughly enjoying it. Down the road from the horses was this cool bus, the Surfer Bus.

The Surfer Bus has a huge supply of rental kayaks for use. Don't know how much, Sparky doesn't need one. She just got a replacement Sea Eagle 385-- more about that on another day.

We managed to pack in a LOT of stuff today, and there was lots more to choose from besides all that. It's amazing how many visitors are still here in the area. Must be a lot of Europeans with families doing the tourist thing. The beach was FULL today. The restaurants seem to be quite busy, too. Not much of a slowdown going on even after the snowbirds have left. Plenty of tourists are still coming, especially to Anna Maria Island.

A great day, jam packed, time to slow down and relax for the rest of the day…..Bye for now!


  1. I'm glad you're still living life at full tilt. . .even if it's not rolling. . .loved it all!

  2. Wow that was some day. You must have been exhausted. Sorry Eldy missed the babes. Better put that up higher on your list for earlier in the day. :-) Love the dumpster story. And the pianos all around for folks to play. I could get stuck just wandering from one of those to another. Giant congrats on that first picture. Coke should buy that from you for their ad campaign. Actually Sarasota should hire you to put out their tourist brochure.

  3. Sure seems like a lot going on there... actually looked on line at a house in Lakewood Ranch. It wouldn't take us much to move out that way... I haven't posted much but always enjoy reading what you're up to... :)