On a Return Home

Greetings from my home in Cincinnati. We recently returned from a 6-week stay as snowbirds on the Alabama coast, the place where I kept my little corner of the world in full swing. Travel time returning home (Friday and Saturday) is the reason for not having a weekend concert and for my absence – but Aretha is still schedule for this coming weekend … and the opening song is set!

That my walking beach to the west (and 2 miles/3.2 km to the rocks)

 

The weather during our stay wasn’t the best – but as I always say, no matter how cold it is in Alabama during our stay, it’s warmer than home! January had cold, but that was when Cincinnati (and many of you) were gripped by bitter cold. Plus, the only snow we saw was on news reports. Of the three years in Alabama, this year was probably the worst – and the first year without a good streak of sunshine – but hey – the overall weather was better than home.

Glad I captured the storm cloud

 

I always say these 6-weeks are for my alter ego – a time with minimal obligations – a time away from normal routines – a time when I can focus on walking the beach as much as possible. How much did I walk during the 43 full days? Here’s the tale of the tape:

  • 911,867 steps covering an estimated 405.3 miles (652.3 km)
  • 21,206 steps averaged per day
  • 17 of 43 days over 10,000 (but less than 20K); 24 of 43 days over 20,000 steps (but less than 30K), and 2 days of 43 over 30,000 steps

 

I was hoping to lose some weight during the 6-weeks south. Then again, I know we will go out 2-3 times per week. Good news is that we were able to limit the snacks that my wife’s father enjoys. Bottom line is 8 pounds lost and my waist feels smaller.

Walking also means composing more beach walks. I don’t have a final count on the number of drafts, but it may be the most ever. I think over 40.

I love sunrises, but given the weather, I didn’t see many achieving the wow factor.

 

On the worst weather days, we like to go to a theater. This year we saw Vice, The Upside, and The Wife.

TIP: When at the beach, if you see something interesting, take a picture and then send it to a marine biology department at a local university.

Outside cylinders of tube worms

 

My wife is a prolific reader – but I read two books this time: both by diplomat Madeleine Albright – The Mighty and the Almighty and Fascism: A Warning. Reviews in the future. I’ll post reviews in the future.

On one of the questionable weather days, we visited the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It’s very well done – and free. Compared to the US Air Force Museum in Ohio, it’s much smaller.

For the record, we only dance a few dances one evening – so it will take some time to regain ballroom form.

Outside our front door looking to the north at the intercoastal waterway

 

We were pleased with the gas mileage of our Subaru Outback. Over the 2800+ miles (4510+ km) covering 6 weeks, the Outback’s gas mileage was 31.4 miles per gallon.

As after arriving at home Saturday afternoon, Sunday provided a small dose of snow, Monday deliver the first of a two-day punch of frigid, plus I ordered my first hearing aids, AND began prep for Tuesday’s colonoscopy. Such a great way to return home! Hooray – no polyps! Next colonoscopy in seven years!!! – but a busy return has slowed my blogging presence.

We enjoy the Flora-Bama – truly a regional institution with national acclaim. (past post) The bios of some of the musicians are impressive. For instance, the only way we know Neil Dover is that he proceeded our favorite duo – so we typically only heard 15-30 minutes each time. Interestingly, his degree is in opera! He’s written a great song about this quirky musical palace. The lyrics and the video are perfect. Enjoy Neil Dover with FloraBama Time.

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On Beach Walk: No. 20

Embed from Getty Images

 

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Waves are free to wash ashore. Sometimes as mild laps – other times as large roaring waves. No matter if during low tide, high tide, or in between, waves do as they please. Now that’s freedom – although nature’s forces are at work.

There is freedom in snowbirding. A freedom away from the routine of home. There is no today is Monday, so we have to do these things .. and so on. Sometimes we ask, “What day of the week is it?” “Is today Tuesday or Wednesday?”

There is freedom of being away from the cold weather of home. No matter how cold it is here on the Alabama coast, it’s all perspective because Alabama cold is warmer than home.

There is freedom to standing on the shore looking out to sea – freedom to sense the salty smell in the air – freedom to taste an essence of salt on my lips – freedom of letting water refresh my feet.

There is freedom in snowbirding when facing the two biggest questions of the day: “Which direction do we walk?” – “What’s for dinner?” Therefore, “What are we going to do today?” is very seldom – if ever – asked.

There is freedom in leaving our golf clubs at our cold-weather home. We enjoy the game – but having the clubs along serves as an unnecessary obligation – and we enjoy the freedom of snowbirding.

There is freedom to decide my day will be walking five miles (8 km) to have lunch, then walking back.

There is freedom in snowbirding to letting the mind relax –  freedom to letting the mind wonder – freedom to think about metaphors to develop these posts.

There is freedom in letting go – to not worry about feeling I have to stay busy. Not worrying about what to do – freedom from daily decisions – freedom in making a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to the Flora-Bama for the music.

There is freedom to walking the beach or sitting on the balcony overlooking the sand and the water. Reading, knitting, writing, blogging, solving puzzles, using the fitness center, or watching television join the list. Others fish, sit by the pool or on the beach.

The freedom of a snowbird – freedom to think – freedom to move with the wind – freedom to have a life as an alter ego away from the home routine – freedom to walk – after all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.