{this moment} Marina Jack II Sunset Dinner Cruise

Not bad for having to work on a Friday night.

Photos on Spotted…article to follow.

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20121114/ARTICLE/121119792 Published November 14, 2012

Sarasota Chalk Festival after a Shower

Today was the last day of the Chalk Festival, so despite the morning’s downpour, my niece and I were willing to puddle jump our way down Pineapple Avenue for one last look.  So glad we did.  Although slightly weathered and faded from the rain, the art was still shining under the afternoon sun.  This year’s theme was “Circus City, USA.”

For a before and after look at the artwork, check out my sister’s blog.  She posted a picture of this lion in all its psychedelic pre-rain glory.

Seeing Pink at Celery Fields

From a pink pumpkin for Halloween to a flock of pink birds at Celery Fields,  the color that symbolizes happiness and is sometimes used to soothe prisoners has been a welcome theme this week.  This gorgeous pink bird was flying over our heads as we got out of the car at Celery Fields Friday morning.  The inexperienced birders my friend and I are, we looked at each other slightly confused and said, “Flamingo?”

The experienced birders are shuddering right now because it is not a flamingo; it’s a Roseate spoonbill.  I’ve seen them once before at Emerson Point Preserve, but it was one time and I couldn’t get nearly so close.  Celery Fields, which actually did produce celery from 1926 through 1995, is a bird’s haven and thus a birder’s mecca. Sarasota County is partnering with the Audubon Society to build a nature center to attract birdwatching tourists, and I was lucky enough to get the assignment.  Otherwise, I would have never known what a birding hot spot it is.

But I’m a part-time birder at best; true birders, they know about Celery Fields.  The first person we came across on the trail was quite a distance from us when he first appeared.  He was toting a bulky backpack of some sort, and we thought maybe he was homeless just leaving the woods.  It was early enough that the timing would have been right, but as he got closer, I could make out galoshes, a fold-up chair and a huge camera.  He immediately pointed us in the direction of spoonbills, storks, egrets and herons.

The tall bird that looks like a vulture from the neck up is a wood stork.  It’s an endangered species in the United States only found in the southeast—Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.

A Roseate Spoonbill surrounded by Great White Egrets…

And a male Redwinged Blackbird perched on the fence as we walked back to the car.

Great morning!  I’ll be headed back again, next time with my galoshes.

Happy Halloween!

Not since Coca-Cola standardized the color of Santa’s suit to red has another entity done a better job with color branding than the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  The color pink is raising money for breast cancer above and beyond ribbons.  I have pink pens, tools and measuring cups; and this year for Halloween, I bought a pink pumpkin.

With such a pretty color to work with, I went with a smaller, simplified version of Southern Living’s “Pretty Pumpkin” for carving.

Now, we wait for trick-or-treaters…


It’s almost Halloween…

And the Southgate snowman is ready.  I’m loving the Spanish moss hair!

Stalling at Selby Gardens

Today’s assignment led me to Selby Gardens…not a bad week.  I couldn’t help but take the long way out to snap a few extra photos.

More photos on Spotted.

Sandy Feet

In my world, sandy feet are the sign of a very nice day at work.  My morning was spent birdwatching on Siesta Key Beach for an article I’m writing about wintering birds.

Great Blue Heron and harem

One of about 800 Reddish Egrets in Florida

Ruddy Turnstone

Red Knots that migrated from the Arctic

Pelicans hunting

Buddy Walk 2012

For the eleventh time, it was a great Buddy Walk!  The last I checked, Manasota BUDS raised nearly $70,000.  And as for Ella, she was surrrounded by adoring friends and family.  Her little brother, Dylan, is surely hoarse tonight after the countless chants of Ella Bella Buddies, Ella Bella Buddies


{this moment} Ella

Ella Bella Buddies 2012 from Stacy Q on Vimeo.

Brave Ella

World Down Syndrome Day ~ Orginally posted March 21, 2011

I just opened this email from Manasota BUDS:

3-21-11 marks the 6th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

Manasota BUDS encourages members to share stories of their loved ones on the BUDS Facebook page and Google discussion group.

The milestones, accomplishments, and great moments from the past year.

No problem; the timing couldn’t be better. I spent yesterday with the most wonderful, sweet, funny, joyful little girl I know…who also happens to have Down syndrome. The last part I add only to help the voice grow louder. It is certainly not what defines my niece, Ella. To me, her adoring aunt, Down syndrome has become an adjective among many others to describe her. Daring is another one that fits. I’m amazed she rides horses; that’s something I can’t do without a disability. She rides roller coasters with her arms stretched straight to the sky. And she braved choppy waters yesterday in a boat about the size of a garbage can. She was nervous at first…

…but was over it in about 30 seconds!

Not once did she say, “I don’t want to do this,” or “I’m scared,” and trust me, she would have! Another adjective to describe Ella is assertive. She simply doesn’t back down from things – school, riding bikes, or in this case, the boat. Down syndrome will not hamper Ella from achieving in her life. She’s just like anyone else. She has feelings, opinions and goals. I consider myself extremely lucky to be along for the ride.