St. Pete beach


Long red manicured fingernails
Picking absently at teeth.
A look of dull boredom
With contempt underneath?

Knuckle length diamond
Shouts out her name
“I belong here at poolside
Are you the same?”

A bevy of mom’s and aunties
Two sunny tables away.
Passing a sunglassed baby
Who invites them all to stay.

Ahi tuna tataki and iced tea
Arrive after a longish wait.
Five tiny medallions- delicious but
My growling appetite is great.

After licking the plate
And viewing Gulf waves,
I’m very hungry indeed
And still wanting to graze.

A perfect scalloped white bikini
Young tanned body –so perfect
Strolls by our shaded table and,
At 73, too old. I’m ticked!

After chocking on our bill
(18% service charge added in),
Parking is validated –thank you
But still ten dollars- a sin!

So north on Gulf Boulevard
Stomach growling for food
We swing by for ice cream
And fill up to be shrewd.

Our swanky beach/poolside café-
It’s an experience worth the trip,
But, on the chance if offered again,
I’d give it all a skip.

Well, it’s happened. I did ballet today.

I’ve joined a big (18,000 members in the winter) YMCA here. They have back to back classes in 4 studios, a multi purpose room, and a pool. It is so crowded that we practically stack on top of each other. Don’t be the last to arrive.

I’ve tried lots of new classes: aqua zumba, restorative yoga, boot camp pilates, classical pilates, fighting your outer demons, jump if you believe in Jesus, spin until your butt screams, and today— ballet at the barre.

Of course the instructor today had a rubber band body, perky breasts, feet that bent backwards, and those graceful hands. I didn’t see a bull’s eye on her back.

The classic move of ballet- the plie is an amusing thought for someone who is knock kneed and pigeon toed. Then we stand on tip toe like that. Since I was nearly late for class, I got to stand in front of all the 40 and 50 year olds who had been touching the floor with their noses for years. We used weights for the arm portion. Since the light weights were gone, I got the heavier ones. Say hello to quivering arms.

We faced the barre and did leg lifts and circles. Thanks to Pilates, these were easy for me. The instructor was lifting her cute little toes to the light bulbs. I stopped watching her.

At some point we got down on the floor. We did stretches. She talked about our inner thighs and HIP ABDUCTORS and a few other little used parts of our body,

The real fun part for me was the mermaid. Of course, I haven’t done mermaid since I was 10 so she said “You can adapt by doing bridges.” I opted for that choice. I looked around. No other bridges but lots of mermaids.

The end was the funnest of all. Our sweet and disgusting instructor said “We will end by doing the classic Pilates end to class; the Pilates push up.” Down for 3 push ups, stand, down for 3 more, up, down,” I’ve done Pilates for several years and never did the push up thing. Those of you who know me getting up and down on the floor is a hilarious challenge for me and I usually arrive at the count of 2 or even 3. I looked around and saw a few men in the back who were thrilled with this one.

I swear this gal said “This is the last set” about 50 times but she always lied. It was always 2 or 3 more sets. ( “Oops! Sorry. One more” or “I lost count. How many more?”) Is this some kind of training ploy? I’ve noticed almost all instructors do this. Of course, I NEVER did this when I was teaching.

But you know after 5 days of going to the gym and stretching, I could almost touch my nose to my knees. I haven’t smelled my knees in a loooooong time.
Meanwhile, we were putting our equipment back and and our instructor was dashing off to teach TA DA  a Pilates class.

But here is the best part: on the way out a young woman said to me’ ” I heard you at the beginning of class ask the instructor if you need to be real flexible because you were not. Are you kidding!?! YOU WERE GREAT. I’m 38 and I couldn’t make it through the class. ( I did notice she looked like a fried egg back there). It made my day.
Next week I’m doing the Dances with Cobras class. HIIIISSSSS.

We are on the move again. Read on.

Last January Dave and I drove from Cleveland to Tucson and stayed there a month. Since we have wintered there before, it felt in many ways like coming home. Dave picked up his pickle ball and I was swimming in the outdoor pool in January.

From Tucson we drove to Encinitas California and dropped our car off at Cousin Judy’s. Flying from San Diego to Auckland New Zealand took 36 hours door to door so when we arrived at midnight on Feb 2 we could quickly start our jet lag adjustment by flopping in bed and falling asleep before our eyes were closed. Our travel for two months in Kiwiland is documented on our blog called Karen’s and Dave’s New Zealand Trip. We can wrap up the trip by saying YOU SHOULD GO.

After returning to California at the end of March we took 6 days to drive across country back to Cleveland. Near the end, it felt like a horse going to the barn. We were anxious to get home and stay awhile.

Life quickly returned to normal with Dave helping our landlord and his best friend, Dan Gray, and also keeping up with several of his projects. I returned to volunteering, being outdoors, going to the gym, enriching my various dentists, and catching up with family and friends.

Greg at the beach

Greg at the beach

Greg spent part of the summer taking a driver evaluation class to update his driving skills. He still looks forward to his car shows and listening to opera. Every Thursday I take great grand niece Connie Archinal “swimming.” At 3 she takes great pleasure in pouring water over my head. She will soon be joined in the water by her new sister, Dot, in the “share everything” adventure.

Connie at the pool

Connie at the pool

In September I joined my 4 hiking buddies for trip #20 in the Rocky Mountains. The highlight is always being together for a solid 5 days but this year’s memorable hike was at 12,000’ and in a sleet storm.

For the past two years we have been looking at small ranch houses. We knew we would eventually need to move and the matter was decided for us when investors showed a big interest in buying the buildings on our corner. Of course, we wanted a small ranch that was move-in ready with storage (garage and/or basement and big closets). What we bought is a small ranch. But boy did we get a bargain! I’m calling it our half price house and it DOES need work. In the summer our new address will be 1454 Taft Ave. Cuyahoga Falls Ohio 44223.1454 Taft Ave.

Hopefully, we can get some of the work (update the kitchen, add a bathroom, drywall, floors, and some added storage) done while we are keeping warm in St. Petersburg Florida this January, February, and March.

So we will be leaving downtown city life and moving to a bedroom community where I lived over 15 years ago. All our grocery stores, parks, movies, library, and restaurants are very close. It will be back to having a yard and views of dog walkers, and backyard barbeques instead of trains, planes, and freighters on Lake Erie.

It looks like new adventures await all of us in the New Year. I’m glad to be part of the excitement and waiting to hear what the future brings for you.


Karen and Dave