Saturday, March 31, 2018

Evening Walk on the Beach

Since the alteration to Daylight Savings Time we have cultivated the very agreeable habit of a post-dinner walk.  I can't honestly say that an evening walk is of the same invigorating nature as a morning walk but the views on the Gulf Coast in the evening are undeniably alluring (because the sun sets over the sea). Invariably upon our arrival on the beach we discover several abandoned collapsible beach chairs which the staff have yet to collect and secrete for the night.  These afford us a convenient perch for lingering on the shore, gossiping between ourselves, rejoicing in the events of the day and watching the family and young lovers traipsing about in the sunset.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Nec Plus Ultra

The first clue I had this morning - apart from the glistening blue sky, yellow sunrise and entertaining squawks of subtropical birds - was the sound of symphony music on Sarasota's FM Channel 89.1 when I turned on the bedside Bose radio. It isn't often that my first try with a hotel radio station is as fortuitous.  My sleep last night was better than it has been recently.  Even though the mattress initially felt less than firm, it turned out to have been comfortable. After my shower I opened the balcony door and sat on a patio chair at a round glassed table, munching my slices of orange and drinking my green tea while reading the March 28th edition of Vanity Fair. As I glanced up at the nearby tennis courts and golf course through the swaying palm trees I was feeling undeniably smug. My delight was further gratified by a bowl of diced red, yellow and green peppers with white onion, chunks of Norwegian smoked salmon and one scrambled egg; and a toasted English muffin with fresh ground peanut butter.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Longboat Key on the Gulf of Mexico

There was considerable excitement coursing through our veins early this morning as we concluded the final steps in our departure from Daytona Beach Shores.  At three o'clock this morning we had both awoken and resolved to lull ourselves back to sleep with a cup of coffee and some E. F. Benson. At seven o'clock we restored our nutritional strength by going to the Cracked Egg for a final mess of bacon, signature sausage patties, eggs and tomatoe slices. Then after breakfast in addition to having a few remaining things to pack in the car, we felt obliged to attend upon the condominium concierge to hand over the keys, fobs and garage door opener.  We notified our estate agent upon completion of that particular duty.  There were some kind things shared by us and other residents as we set about leaving.  But once we were in the car and on our way westward along International Speedway in Daytona Beach headed for Longboat Key, our relief was palpable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Last Day on Daytona Beach Shores

Unquestionably we have been spoiled with exceptionally fine weather during the last hours of our sojourn on Daytona Beach Shores.  The Ocean and the wind have cooperated to produce a constant scene of rollicking waves and pleasant breeze, everything we had ever hoped to find here.  We began our day today in the usual manner; that is, with a one mile walk on the beach to the lifeguard stand and back. Afterwards after having lounged by the pool for about an hour I went for another walk on the beach in the opposite direction to an access point, about 0.8 miles return trip.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The cost of doing business

As we edge closer and closer to removing our personal belongings from the apartment and packing the car in preparation for our departure there are a number of things surfacing which we question bringing back.  It is an inevitable accident of nomadic living that upon the arrival at each particular designation the first week or so is spent at local department stores gathering items which the landlord didn't consider necessary for the tenancy.  This year for example we bought 2 plastic cutting boards for the kitchen, a measuring cup and spoons, a Keurig coffee maker, 2 small synthetic rugs to place under our dining room chairs, a bathroom shower rug, water filters, air filters and light bulb replacements. Though one is tempted to imagine that there will always be a use for those items, the truth is that they will most likely simply end up in storage somewhere, never to be recovered.  We certainly haven't any need or room for them in our apartment at home in Canada; and it is equally doubtful that we'll ever feel compelled to cart them back south with us next year.  If we knew we were staying in the same southern residence year after year there would be some strength in just leaving them there.  However our history has been one of constant change.  This doesn't mean that we won't have the generosity to leave them where they now are.  On the balance the debate is quickly resolved by admitting they are effectively useless to us and that they merely represent the cost of doing business.  It is remarkable how easily one can unwittingly become absorbed in petty economy!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spa Day

Having a professional manicure and pedicure is not something I do regularly.  But occasionally - as today - the indulgence is one I easily rationalize.  After almost a month in hospital I am anxious to restore at least a semblance of physical wellness.  I already missed a scheduled appointment with a dental hygienist for a teeth cleaning. The special care of my nails this afternoon coincided with a haircut earlier this morning. I now feel I have done all I can to prepare myself for our upcoming departure to Longboat Key in the next few days.  I consider it part of a purge, a ritual cleansing.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Dinner with the banker

I hesitate to refer to this evening's dinner companion as a banker (though that is indeed his profession) not because there is anything especially offensive about bankers - not the way for example one hears nasty quips about lawyers and real estate agents - but I hesitate to call people by name when writing about them in this public forum.  Some people are understandably reluctant to submit to public accounts of any description.  Though I haven't any intention of saying anything diminishing about the gentleman, I acknowledge that for whatever reason even the most benign allusion can unwittingly become pernicious.  Therefore to avoid any possibility of contamination I shall only say that late this afternoon I received a telephone call from a chap whom I first met and last saw about thirty years ago.  He and his wife now live nearby in Florida; he said he had an opportunity to drive here for a short visit.  Naturally I welcomed him.  Because my friend advised his window of latitude was limited to about three hours we decided to head directly to a resaturant for a bite to eat while engaging ourselves in catching up.

I'm going home

The 18th and near final song of Rocky Horror Picture Show in the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (transvestite scientist) was him (Tim Curry) singing the lachrymose  "I'm going home".  The title is in fact surprisingly common, having been used by no less than the Kingston Trio, Mickey & Sylvia, Tanita Tikaram and even The Zombies. Otherwise the cult movie theme of returning to the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania is singular.  In all but the original UK version of the film this song is the last except for the reprise of "Science Fiction/Double Feature" (The Lips). The song - in F Major - is considered one of the slower songs of "Rocky Horror" and has the same ballad features as the opening song "Science Fiction/Double Feature".

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Last Weekend on Daytona Beach Shores, FL

When we began our routine morning walking on the beach today we suddently realized this would be our last weekend on Daytona Beach Shores.  We intend to leave on Thursday, March 29th - very possibly never to return.  Luckily for us the weather today was brilliantly sunny and comfortably warm, a high of 70℉ with a balmy easterly wind at 16 km/hr (sorry, but my Weather App is oddly a combination of Fahrenheit temperature and metric speed).

Friday, March 23, 2018

New Smyrna Beach, FL

New Smyrna Beach (pronounced by the locals "Sa-Mer-Na" not "Smer-Na") is a small beach town south of Daytona Beach Shores.  Since our arrival on Daytona Beach Shores we have been inquisitive to know more about New Smyrna Beach.  Several people whom we've encountered during the past five months have raved about the place. Whenever I bicycled to Ponce Inlet (which is at the end of the peninsula of which Daytona Beach Shores is a part) I could see New Smyrna Beach on the opposite side of the intracoastal waterway that rounded the butt of the barrier island and joined the Halifax River which effectively separates Daytona Beach Shores from the mainland.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sunglow Pier, Daytona Beach Shores, FL

Without a doubt one of the perquisites of living at Ocean Villas on Daytona Beach Shores has been the immediacy of Sunglow Pier.  The moment I saw it last year I was thrilled!  Every favourable recollection I have of a maritime scene has included a pier of almost any description.  Seemingly the human spirit can never get enough of proximity to the sea. Perhaps it's some prehistoric enertia to return to the depths whence we purportedly evolved.  Equally magical for me is the entrance we have from the pool of our condominium building down to the beach.  It is a descent into bliss, specifically a most agreeable boardwalk which skirts the southern end of the property before slanting to the sandy beach below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Flagler Beach

Last year when we were driving back and forth between Hilton Head Island and Daytona Beach Shores we tried whenever possible to take highway A1A, the scenic north/south route along the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Florida.  It is primarily a two-lane highway and for the most part avoided by trucks so it appeals to us more than Interstate 95 for that reason alone.  The speed limit varies between a low of 25 mph in the towns and 55 mph on the straightaways between the residential areas.  Flagler Beach is one of the many small towns along A1A.  It is a mere 14 miles north of Daytona Beach.  We drove there today, a sunny but exceptionally windy day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Here we go again!

Though I would not customarily describe my partner as impatient - and I am wont to do so even now - the frozen truth is that he and I have developed an active tradition of restlessness by accelerating our scheduled departure from wherever we happen to be at the moment then booking something more proximate mere days before the plan.  In this particular instance we were originally set to leave Daytona Beach Shores on April 2nd (which I believe is Easter Monday) but as of this moment we're leaving Thursday, March 29th (the day before Good Friday).  As you might conjecture part of our tactic is to escape what we anticipate to be the heavy vehicular traffic on Easter weekend (though admittedly there could be an uptick even on the prior Thursday when we propose to motor).  However given that our agenda for that day involves a maximum four hour drive we're probably safe in pondering a leisurely venture even then.  In fairness I should divulge that our hasty retreat from Daytona Beach Shores is not entirely a complete shift of gears to return to Canada, rather to acquaint ourselves more closely with the Gulf Coast area of Florida which has lately won our attention and adoration.  In plain terms we're probably just anxious to divert ourselves. Does that admission qualify as impatience? Or is something more in the nature of dissatisfaction imperative?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Two Weeks (and counting)

Two weeks from today (April 2nd) we're gone from Daytona Beach Shores.  Our somewhat tortoise-like return to Canada begins.  Meanwhile today we have busied ourselves with small matters, some of which included preparation for our departure.  We have for example cleaned certain items and set them aside for packing in the car tomorrow.  Our proposal is to have only a limited wardrobe for our return, not only to facilitate the removal of stuff from the car between hotels but also to acknowledge that we will be able to launder things regularly upon our return trip.  As for the driving of the car itself my current expectation is that I will not encounter any difficulty or discomfort.  From what I have experienced recently while driving the car here the seat is more than appropriate for the purpose. There is certainly no challenge in the actual handling of the car.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Impromptu Visits

As I was returning from the poolside where I had been lounging in the sun after our regular morning walk to the lifeguard stand and back, I encountered one of the more vocal residents of our condominium building.  She greeted me in the hallway in her customary effusive manner; and as a result I did not hesitate to invite her into the apartment for a short gossip.  To her credit she willingly accepted the impromptu invitation. Within seconds we were seated in the living area, effortlessly chatting about what she had done last night on Main Street, Daytona Beach during "Bike Week", my current state of health, her children and whatever else blew across our open minds.  She then suggested that I go with her to her own apartment to meet her daughter.  This we then did together.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


We have a dear mutual friend in Canada who is in the throes of completing an important artistic project.  The absolute deadline is March 31st (though she hopes to surface successfully by no later than March 26th).  Several weeks ago she announced to us and her other close friends that she wished to sequester herself in her studio and that during that time she would no longer be available for interactions. Though naturally I cannot speak for the deportment of her other friends, I can readily report that for our part we have remained withdrawn and therefore permitted her to do the same.  This particular project has been on the books for the past four or five months at least.  However our friend has during that same period unhapply encountered innumerable personal conflicts which obviously have done nothing to expedite or facilitate her required attention to the project.

Middle of the Night Tea

Often in the middle of the night - at 3:00 am as it is now - we both myteriously awaken from our respective lairs at opposite ends of the apartment and - meeting in the hallway - agreeably decide to have a cup of coffee or tea together in the dining room (where we mess around on our computers).  My latest preference for a hot beverage is tea, decaffeinated. Though this habit must I am sure sound most peculiar its occurrence is in fact not extraordinarily illegitimate.  Last evening for example - after a day of matutinal walking upon the beach, an afternoon of traipsing about local department and grocery stores and generally being awake and active at every other moment throughout the day - I at last succumbed to my overwhelming fatigue and went to bed shortly after eight o'clock.  As far as I know the east wing of the apartment was similarly darkened not long afterwards.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Quelle journée!

Approximately every three or four days we make a trip to the local grocery store to gather what is needed to fill the larder in our apartment.  Today was our day to do so again.  However because we wanted to purchase some fresh fish we reasoned that it was wise to defer the attendance until later in the morning to give the staff sufficient time to arrange their own display cases.  As it turns out we also needed some ink cartridges for our printer/scanner device.  So we scheduled to go to Target first (on International Speedway) where we bought the device last fall, then Publix (on S Atlantic Avenue) afterwards.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Each morning I repeat what I have been doing since the beginning of the month.  Though it isn't perhaps a compliment to say so, I have an eye on the time that remains here on Daytona Beach Shores. My focus is two-fold; one, I am counting the days until our return to Canada; and two, I am hopeful that by the end of the month I will have recovered sufficiently from my broken ribs and collapsed lung to enable me to withstand the drive home.  When I first get out of bed in the morning my abdomen is somewhat stiff from the night's repose.  But after I have taken a walk on the beach (a one mile jaunt to the lifeguard stand at Dunlawton Avenue and back) I usually feel marginally more limber. Then I reward myself by lying on a chaise longue by the pool - where I frequently doze for at least an hour.  It helps naturally that the skies have been crystal clear for the last week or so even though the temperatures have been uncommonly cool.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cool day on the beach

Waking up this morning was just like old times - namely, I had slept soundly until almost eight o'clock (which I consider to be rather tardy).  That made me feel considerably better than I have felt for the past month during which I seldom slept soundly, or if I did it was only for very brief moments. Stimulated by my rest I energetically undertook my simple morning routines - putting my overnight clothes into the wash, weighing myself, fluffing the four pillows, shaking the duvet and rearranging it upon the bed, cleaning my iPhone, lip balm and eye glasses and launching myself into the shower for a soap-down and hair wash, followed by a shave and application of various creams and pomade onto my hair, face and feet.  Though I hadn't any plan to go anywhere in particular today (or for the next three weeks for that matter) I laid out on my bed a collection of fresh clothes - white shorts and tan belt, blue Polo shirt, grey V-neck sweater and white socks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Daily Routine

Once again this morning we began our day with what has become predictable routine - namely, a one mile walk upon the beach followed by a return to the pool to lounge in the sun for about an hour.  Today's ceremony was moderately different from normal because we were intent upon vacating the apartment by no later than nine o'clock.  The concierge of the condominium had arranged to have the pest control people frequent our unit immediately upon their arrival (in deference to my lingering invalidity).  Although the sky was an azure blue there was a strong, cold north wind which meant that we were obliged to wear a shell over our Polo shirts and light sweater.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Normally I prefer not to plan things in advance of the accomplishment of other preliminaries.  First things, first - as the saying goes.  But this morning while munching on my English muffin with fresh ground peanut butter (from Publix) I received a telephone call from the office of the surgeon who conducted my lung surgery last month.  The telephonist informed me that Dr. J advised that because he had seen me after the operation already (prior to my departure from the hospital) it was no longer necessary for me to reattend for a consultation tomorrow morning as previously planned. This alteration nicely concludes all medical necessities before our return to Canada. And I don't mind saying that it eliminates what has been the understandable anxiety surrounding medical appointments generally - not exactly my favourite occupation if the truth be told!  What's more compelling however is that we are now positioned to prepare ourselves for our final departure from Daytona Beach Shores on April 2nd next (when we head to Longboat Key for a short business visit before driving leisurely to Canada for the summer).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Lunch with the Relatives

Not ever having been a married man I am perhaps more than most unfamiliar with the weight and gravity of relatives.  Certainly I've had some experience with familial relationships with my sister (my sole sibling), her husband and two children (my nieces). But quite honestly the extent of the exposure has been largely limited and primarily functional at best. I would be enlarging the content of those events to say that I have ever actively pursued family other than as a natural duty; which isn't to say that I discount the importance but rather that duty is the primary value.  Recalling the biblical admonition to "Honour thy parents" similarly captures the theme I am seeking. Certain things in life justifiably qualify for obligation. It almost lessens the significance to suggest that entertainment or other personal derivation is either necessary or to be expected. I confess that this seemingly harsh account entirely misses the deeper thrust of relatives. But it took an event such as lunch today with the relatives to heighten my erstwhile perception.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Repeat Affair

I have never considered it an indignity to be repetitive.  In fact on the contrary I fashion repetition - at least of certain conduct - to be a desirable posture.  Repetition is so often conjoined with what is simple but valuable behaviour. Take for example exercise.  There are few if any people who would assert that engaging in repetitive exercise is a failing. Though I won't suggest that I am anything approaching a full-blown athlete I have nonetheless developed the habit of repetitive exercise of one sort or another. As anyone who knows me knows, normally that exercise is cycling - something I began in earnest at age 17 with my first Garlatti speed bike and have subsequently graduated into a semi-recumbent Townie with what I call a "fat ass" seat, baloon tires and high handlebars. Coincidentally this morning I saw a Townie parked by the Sunglow Pier.  It had a wicker basket similar to the wicker baskets one sees on Nantucket (though not to be confused with the so-called "originals" made with scrimshaw).

Friday, March 9, 2018

Checking the Tide Chart and the Weather

There are two certain indicia of a maritime resident - one, checking the tide chart; and the other, checking the weather.  Everything the maritime resident does surrounds those two features of nature, whether ambling along the beach or laying in the sun. Neither of the indicia is of significance unless it meets the preferred standards - namely, low tide and warm temperature.  Otherwise there is an assured delay in performance.  But when the two coalesce in the desirable manner the fluidity of activity is similarly guaranteed. Today we happen to have one of those days.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Taking Care of Business

Within the realm of a 6-month beach holiday it is perhaps excessive to label almost anything "business".  The normal daily agenda consists of little more than sleeping, eating, time at the beach and basically starting all over again the next day.  Even when we traveled throughout South Florida and the Keys it was just a change of venue, albeit a very agreeable one.  Today we distinguished our proceedings only to the extent of accomplishing a number of extremely mundane duties which nonetheless preserve the same degree of selfishness and indulgence which so characterize all the other more regular performances.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Early to bed, Early to rise

Not unlike so many other ordinary persons we too have become commited Netflix viewers.  Of the various categories of films accessible it is the Documentaries which in particular attract my personal attention (succeeded only perhaps by the Independent films).  Last night - prompted by the recent Academy Awards in Hollywood - we watched most of "Icarus" the documentary about the professional sport doping scandal which lately rocked the world.  This film - like the vast majority of other productions on television generally, whether weekly shows or daily news casts - left me feeling vulnerable and worrisome.  Popular media (which specifically for me is BBC and CNN) along with the stock television renditions frequently expose me to certain suppressive realities of life which frankly I would often prefer not to know.  Shallow, I know, to secrete oneself deliberately from hard and uncomfortable detail, but nonetheless the truth.  The television shows I find uncommonly stupid even for the masses (to whom for example I have never favoured being intentionally low-level); many of the weekly repeats feature people who look extraordinarily unpleasant or weird; and there seems to me to be a pervasive attempt to reach a height of so-called masculinity or machismo characterized by bad personal cleanliness, Southern drawl when speaking and absorption in matters mechanical, ridiculous or vagabond (the likes of which would never in a million years identify anyone whom we might actually know).  The resulting thrust is a uninviting flavour of mediocrity, inspidity or squeamishness.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Time, the great healer

On the regrettable occasion of distress or disappointment it is not uncommon to hear from well-meaning friends that Time heals all, like the hounds of spring on the winter trace of misfortune. Indeed it appears to be true based upon my own recent dilemmas.  Yet for one such as I who suffers acute impatience the relieving process is far from speedy. I must accordingly persist in tackling what trifling details are otherwise necessary in the meantime to ensure that the ultimate concomitant of Nature's munificence is realized.  The thesis is thus that Time does not act entirely on its own, that we mustn't become delinquent in the performance of our personal duties.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Return to Luxury

A scant forty-eight hours after my blessed and hoped for return home to the condominium from the comparatively harsh and unforgiving environment of the hospital I have rediscovered the very persuasive features of private luxury. It began with a drive in my automobile.  I am a confessed vehicle enthusiast so getting back into the driver's seat is no insignificance. Though I am constrained to a measurable degree by the stiffness of my recovering ribs and the collapse of my lungs, it was no great effort to manage the steering.  These cars are labelled automatic power for a reason!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Brilliant Day on the Ocean

Although I do not imagine it is completely easy to maintain a positive and cheerful attitude on the heels of every misfortune, I am nonetheless capable of rising to the occasion in this instance.  It is a quarter past seven o'clock in the morning and I have what I believe to be the inordinate privilege to stare from my dining room perch at the rollicking green surf of the Atlantic Ocean on the nearby white sandy beach.  The sky is a clear baby blue tempered like an incarnadine rose; the temperature is a bit cooler than normal but very comfortable; the palm trees waver in the air.  This is the first morning I've been settled in the condominium since my latest emergency visit to the hospital on February 24th last.