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July 6, 2011

Florida, part 2

Hello from sweaty Los Angeles which today feels more like Florida than I care to admit. Humidity -- you are no friend of mine. My hair loves you, though.

Today we have more pictures from my vacation to Florida where I visited with my brother and his family, chased their dog around the living room, tried new and unfamiliar things such as fried chicken sushi. I forgot to take a picture of it so you'll have to trust me on this, but one night we went out to dinner and there was sweet potato sushi (which was actually delicious) and fried chicken sushi, which was oddly confusing to my tastebuds. My brain was wondering why there was soy sauce instead of gravy. Old-fashioned brain!

But before sushi and after our drive on the beach where we DROVE A VEHICLE ON THE BEACH right next to human beings and it kind of freaked me out because it's so wrong and so right all at the same time, where was I? Oh yes, we were off to visit Ponce Inlet, Florida where we passed the beautiful Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse:


As we were driving past the lighthouse I thought I noticed people walking around the tee-tiny-far-away top, so I asked my nephew Andrew if visitors were allowed up the lighthouse. He looked at me for half a second, then yelled, "YES!" with the excitement only ten-year-old boys and dorky aunts get about such things. My brother was a good sport, ready to see the attractions in his home turf and we were off.

Guy and Andrew, looking cute.

The lighthouse has over 200 stairs that wind up in a tight little spiral. I'm not sure you can tell what a climb it is from this picture, but this was taken at the half-way point of the climb:


Just for a moment in our travelogue I want to take a personal detour and tell you how excited and happy I was that I could haul my butt up 200+ stairs in a cramped little room with no air conditioning in the middle of a Florida summer day and not die. In fact I not only lived, I was perfectly fine climbing those stairs at a pretty good clip. I was a little out of breath at the top but it was the normal stuff any person should feel after climbing up a ton of stairs all at one time. I sweated like I was a human waterfall, and that was gross, but I wasn't any more winded or worked up than the average Joe and I cannot tell you how EXCITED I was about this triumph of body over couch potato nature.

It reminded me in big bold letters why I wake up every day and go for a walk no matter what: I love being able to participate in life instead of watching from the sidelines.

Waiting on the sidelines, waiting for one day, all of it becomes a habit. After a while it became my lifestyle. I don't feel sad about it or have regret or feel like I wasted time, all I feel right now is happy that I've progressed. It truly is possible to turn a sinking ship around. It doesn't happen overnight and it requires effort but it's worth every minute. There's something indescribably satisfying about saying I WANT TO CLIMB UP THAT LIGHTHOUSE AND SEE THE VIEW! and knowing that you can actually do it. And then doing it. And I appreciate it so much more now than I did before, before I started sinking.

This is personal stuff and not my most comfortable area of conversation but I tell you all this because somewhere out there someone is wondering if it is possible to get better and it is possible! As long as you are breathing there is still time. If you had seen me this time last year you would have bet cash money on my dying by stairstep #14. Sure, I still fantasize about my life "one day" and what it will be like (out of habit, mostly). I still need some work under the hood. I'm not even half way. But dammit, I am not giving up. At least I'm not a total spectator anymore.

So I figure this is why God gave me a human body, to use it to climb up a metric buttload of stairs and see the beauty of nature and feel good about being alive and then go off and eat fried chicken sushi and tell you all about it.

Back to the travelogue! Here is the view from the top of the lighthouse, so worth it:



You get rewarded for the climb -- not just with a breathtaking view -- but with a big ol' breeze that cools you off:

Guy and Andrew, trying not to blow away.

"I've seen this lighthouse a hundred times from my boat," said Guy. "But I've never been inside it until just today. This is pretty darn cool, sis."

I agreed!

We stayed up there for a long while just enjoying the day. On the climb down you really notice how crazy steep the stairs are. I made the dudes pause midway so I could take a picture:


So it was a perfect vacation, a vacation full of laughing and talking and eating great food and conquering lighthouses and, just in case I didn't already mention it, driving a vehicle on a beach.


Oh, lonely traffic cone.

Can't leave without one last look at the Puff:



Posted by laurie at July 6, 2011 4:35 PM