Nov 2, 2012

Silence and Contemplation

November has set into our hearts, our bones, our souls..speaking of this it was all Saints Day yesterday, a day to honor our loved ones who walked upon this earth. I was told this week that my beloved Aunt, my Godmother, my second mother was not doing as well as she could be. Her heart is having problems and her husband who has taken the Rainbow Bridge is visiting her at night to prepare her for the next part of her life. I will shoot up to Havre next week to visit with her, to introduce her to Trace, to hug and hold her. She seemed OK when speaking with her a couple of days ago and then I had a thought.. how was she suppose to sound. I think that I would probably be in a chipper mood myself if I knew the next part of my journey contained many loved ones and some peaceful moments to gather my spirit in. At times this body of mine does not allow many peaceful moments. Seems as though there are so many thoughts that just sift through, sort of like flour drifting through to make cake. 
Yes I'm well aware that I'm the one who provides these thoughts and can push them aside as needed. The nice part of gaining wisdom at this point in my life is that I have some knowledge base to work from when letting go of obtrusive thoughts. There isn't so much stinking thinking anymore but more thoughts of where life is heading for me, for my loved ones, for all of concern on this planet. I'm not always the best at sitting idly and twiddling my thumbs or contemplating my navel... which seems to contain less lint today. 
I love the deeper thoughts of the world, the questions that lurk in all corners, the what ifs or how do we or maybe... perhaps? 
I want to develop that part of my mind that knows there is so much to comprehend in the silence of the moment, the dejavu that surrounds a quiet flicker, the contemplation of a word spoken with hidden meanings.
Knowing that angels float around me but also wanting to hear the flutter of their wings, the touch of their breath upon my back when they are needed, and the softness of their love when they reach out. 
A gift of silence and contemplation.

Oct 28, 2012

Winter setting into our bones, our minds

Dear Friend
Outside there is a drizzle, sort of like our minds which on any given day contains a drizzle of thoughts that parade through. This week was a quiet one, a queer one, one filled with some oddness. Our day and age of computers and cell phones leads to a sense of loneliness, a loss of connection to others at times. I often feel that this is why so many reach out through networks such as face book. People want some sort of connection where they feel they are being heard and perhaps touched if even through cyber space. Somewhat gone are the days when we gathered at family and friends homes to connect, share, and visit. We simply text (if you feel like it) or put some remark on face book in hopes that someone might respond. If you want to really shock then slam one out there...hmm. I totally understand this for there have been times that I try to fill a void with networks, too. 
Roasted provides a gathering spot for me and hopefully for others. A place to hang and bullshit. A place to visit, gossip (if you so feel), and share ideas. When people come drifting, sailing, ambling through it is non-stop enjoyment to pick their brains (a term from my childhood memories) and dig for gold. For each of us have gold in our heads that is meant to be panned and sifted. Our minds can only hold so many thoughts before we feel like exploding. I often feel this is why some people crack and fissure for they have no outlet in which they can vent and release their trickle of gold (or at times other elements and minerals). You will often times find people who can't stop talking and just spill forth with so many words that it's difficult to comprehend, or you will find a table of people where everyone is talking at once....waiting to be heard. 
I truly enjoy just listening to thought after thought..for there is so much gold to mine. I know that when people feel they are not listened to they often crawl deep within their body cavity and it's then difficult to excavate that beautiful mind full of gold nuggets. Our world has some difficulty dealing with people who contain pain, past memories, or darker visions but it's all a part of this wonderful world we live in and each part makes up the whole. 
We are all connected, humans, the land, all life is connected through waves of energy..
I look forward to hearing your trickle of gold, come in anytime..
from Annie

Oct 25, 2012

Life at Roasted, where art and coffee form a weaving of wonder

So I begin my first installment of life at Roasted where art surrounds my soul everyday... gently lifting me, enlightening me, and sometimes baffling me. This has been a journey of love through hills and valleys, through red-neck agendas and city folk views, through neighborly opinions and friendly support, and of course through the family and friends that I love strongly. I'm sure there was some bafflement as to why Annie Allen (Daniel) would put together a coffee art house in the middle of Lincoln Montana. Life in Lincoln is made up of hard working folk, low-income wages, skeptical viewpoints, and enough bars to support the mind when times are too difficult to manage ( I say this lovingly for I do love to have a drink or two myself :). Years ago I found while wondering with art students around the country side, coffee art houses provided uplifting art and a warm atmosphere. We began to look for the coffee art houses that provided plenty of artistic vision when we traveled. Houses that supported the arts, that loved people (especially students), and that filled your memory banks with an infusion of new vision for the world we live in. I've never been one that is satisfied with the same scenario every single day. I like a challenge, I like to surround myself with active thinkers (thus, art students), and I love great coffee!!! 
So as my life changed directions many years ago with a divorce and a father's death, I knew that I had to challenge myself. I had to allow change to fill me up, to light me up, to carry me to new pathways. I was surrounded by loving arms in the school where I worked. These arms carried me along and often times caught me when I crumbled. For this I am forever grateful, but alas I knew that I had to take a giant leap of faith and start anew. I was blessed with a family who supported this even though it meant changes for them also (especially my dear son & daughter). 
I began to piece together all the supplies I had to create an art studio, of which I had many! I began to search for information on art classes and creating art studios. Each step was a learning curve. Slowly I also began to collect many items that would be helpful in creating a coffee art house without even realizing it. The last item needed was a place to rent or buy and a great coffee machine. I moved to Helena thinking lets rock over here, lets start a new life, lets just make this happen. Well life had different ideas for me. Patience was needed, flow was arranging other plans for my mind, and I had to learn to rely on myself! Period! It was so damn easy to just want to fall into the arms of loved ones. It was so damn easy to get around strong personalities and let them just take over. But as much as these individuals are loved and needed it could only be me.
With reluctance and some sadness I moved back to Lincoln. Lincoln provided a home through my son and grandchildren, love and support through my family, and a couple months later a daughter who returned! Sure enough avenues opened up and the coffee art house was on here in Lincoln Montana. I was blessed with a wonderful land lady and her family, a coffee machine that I was able to work for, and great furnishings from all around Lincoln!!! What the hell, lets plow ahead and see where this road leads. You see, I feel that we must always challenge ourselves and challenge others around us to consider new ideas. Hopefully they do the same for me. So here at Roasted I try to weave together the lives of over 45 artists with my vision, I try to weave together new and fresh art lessons for the house, and I try to weave prayers and mantras through all the lives that enter Roasted. Is it working? I'm really not quite sure but life is very interesting and the energy that flows through Roasted is amazing for the most part. 

Aug 18, 2012

Wondrous Students

Oh those wondrous students that surround us. I love teaching and to this day hold my teaching years in high regard. Yes, I'm still certified and leap at the chance to teach when at all possible. Yes
I might even fall back on teaching in years to come, for now teaching at Roasted soothes this need. I learned so much from these young souls who surrounded me. They taught me to keep laughing, keep dreaming,
keep believing when all around you the world of serious adult living was taking place...ugh.
They looked upon life with new eyes each and everyday.. this is something I treasure to this day. One can begin anew each day by just opening your eyes. I often times step outside and breathe in the fresh clean air, while saying thank you to mother nature for gifting me with her presents, and finishing my cup of coffee with nature surrounding me (and at times a Boston terrier on my lap for company). 
Students loved to laugh or cry: whatever was needed and felt at that moment. As adults we often suppress these feelings for fear of being told to act your age or get over it. As artists we know that something often times breaks in us when we have to grow up. Oh yeah, we're suppose to make sense now, or yeah we're suppose to not cry now, oh yeah we are suppose to work hard and gripe about life instead of embracing life.. thank goodness many of us do not subscribe to this. 
Students naturally know that art will open your soul, that art will take you places you only dream about, 
that art will sustain your soul when you're heart is hurting (or even breaking).
I love young adults, I love little people, I love playful adults who are kids at heart.
To my students... I am in love with you all. 
You sustain me, You center me, and when you stop in to see me... all I can say is thank you
You are loved.

Jul 29, 2012

I have loved this poem since I was a wee girl... there is a deep connection to nature. It is poetic and yet silent, comfortable and yet provocative, unsettling and yet settling, healing and yet dramatic, always a contradiction of terms...

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Jul 21, 2012

Hard knocks and Deep Water

We learn so much from those hard knocks and floundering in deep water, but ask me if at the moment I'm in the midst of these two am I OK......I think not... I cry, scream inside, and whoa the self-pity and denial that was so familiar in younger years doth appear. But the beauty of getting older is that there is a quicker recognition of these familiar scenarios. Inside my heart says flow... there are reasons for these bewildering circumstances. For one does wonder why am I located in a place where sometimes just listening to the words of other people feel as though nails are streaking across the chalkboard of my mind.... 
I miss meandering with familiar souls who see the world through eyes of wonder, who sense that the world is filled with magic and souls who lived long ago on this earth, who know that animals sense everything that we say and do, who see signs and symbols that are dropped in our pathways in order that we might see more clearly..
Life is a mysterious combination of circumstances and souls that are finding their way. Just think of the magical sense of space and time that surrounds us at all times. 
Taking a chance, well I like the sound of that. In fact lets step out on a big fat limb and see where life might take us.. let's read the tea leaves between the lines and let our pshyic powers overtake us just as we use to in the middle of the night when we were children exploring the dark crevices of the universe. 
Let's sleep outside with the bugs, and the critters letting them spin their mystery around us while the stars shine down upon our sweet noggins. 

Jun 27, 2012

The Flow of Change

I flow along, winding, weaving, bobbing, and temporarily sinking... knowing that the flow of change is guiding     me and my loved ones into a place of harmony, of change, where love blooms and colors the landscapes around us. Knowing full well that our lives are evolving and filling with new love and hopes. People enter our life in this magical flow. Some stay moving along with us, while others speed up and some slow down for they have ventures of their own. I use to fear losing people, losing my identity as I knew it, losing my position in so many life carries on, I bob along in this flow knowing that I am so much better due to change, knowing full well that my children are so much better for change and growth... 
I sigh and fully relish in my sighs these days...
it's called breathing into life, .... I breathe for my loved ones, for all that we have been blessed with...
And now a new partnership of love, of hope, of commitment to one another....
Life carries on and I sigh with relief ....
Knowing that love will always sustain us
To my daughter and her wonderful man.... keep flowing... keep changing...for life will carry you on in a magical way...
To my son and his magical children... keep flowing, keep changing... soak up this life of dreams and changes, for we are so lucky 

I love you all so much

Mar 17, 2012

The end of the journey (and yet the beginning)

Well as I sit tonite thinking about this miraculous journey Trace and I have encountered I am feeling very blessed and yet also unsettled. I am missing home so much. I have encountered many changes within myself along this journey and I know my family had encountered many changes while I have been gone. Life is about change and growth, and yet change is difficult...
I have never been one to skirt emotions or feelings and through many years of no voice I am also fairly open with my opinion. At times I need to rein in (especially if it hurts others) but most often than not it is good to speak up about life and thoughts. It's good to care about others and share hopes about a gentler life that allows us all to thrive and grow through business, relationships, and inner development. Each of us has something to give to the world around us. Each of us should try to honor what is brought to the table by all.
This journey has brought ideas for creative work inside me, for creative work through the coffee art house, and creative work while working with others. Where life is going to take me... I have no clue? I feel that each moment holds so many promises for all of us. When we are open to life people, events, and places fill us with answers... when we allow it to enter.
The most wonderful moments have happened during this journey when I have emptied my mind of all worries, and suddenly new thoughts, new people, and new visions rush in...
What a miracle life truly is.
I met a young lady tonite in Billings Montana. She waited on us at a local restaurant. She asked if we were from Montana and when we said yes, she replied I'm from Havre Montana. My mouth fell open and we grabbed hands with a big ass smile. You see I'm from Havre. When I asked who her people were she said a name that I knew well. I had grown up with them. Her dad was someone that we loved and remembered. He was in my brother Aaron's grade. I asked how he was and as I looked upon her, her eyes filled with tears and she told me  he had passed on last year.... We just held hands. ...Life is a blessing and we all need to touch one some way..
Love to all

Mar 12, 2012

The Catwalk

Well off we went once again on a hike way back into tin buck too to view some wonderous sights and look at the history of this land called New Mexico... amazing. We went 63 miles west of Silver City to the Gila National Forest by Glenwood. The park has built suspension bridges of every kind way up in the air in the middle of the old mining country. I am a rock hound from the word go, due to a father who loved to  take us on outings digging in the earth, examining rocks, breaking them open and looking at the substances inside (minerals, precious gems, etc.) This country was full of every imaginable substance you could name. Mined for silver and gold, copper and turquoise. I know I will have re up my memory on geology again. We entered a box canyon which was filled with waterfalls and green blue waters pouring forth. The water is at a low level right now. People were fishing and swimming but during certain times of the year the water rushes through these canyons rising at levels that reach the catwalks and floods below. The bird life, butterflies, and the disedous trees were beautiful in this area. We loved every minute. We came upon crystals of varying sizes, spots of turquoise but soon ran out of town. Poor bosty was bushwalked and her feet were raw so we came back!

The Catwalk, a National Recreation trail along the canyon of Whitewater Creek, is a unique feature of southwestern New Mexico. Located five miles east of Glenwood (take Hwy. 180 to 174), it presents an always vibrant journey along a path reflecting the region's mining history. The canyon was used as a hideout by both Geronimo and Butch Cassidy.
The Catwalk follows the path of the pipeline built in the 1890s to deliver water to the mining town of Graham. Workmen who had to enter the canyon by crawling atop the narrow pipeline named the route the "Catwalk."
In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the Catwalk as a recreation area for the Gila National Forest. The Forest Service built the metal walkway in the 1960s. Parts of the trail have been rebuilt several times since then due to the flooding of Whitewater Creek.

Mar 11, 2012

Gila National Forest

Well here we are again, in a semi-desert country, with dry air, snow on the ground here and there (but still in the 60s during the day) and wonderful vegetation everywhere. Silver City is where we are staying and we are exploring the Gila National forest. Amazing, old, history that runs so deep that it's difficult to comprehend, old mining roads (one lane at times) and it leads up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Now we were blown away here for you could actually walk into the dwellings and see how this tribe had lived... amazing. The Forest service guides and volunteers are there to help, answer questions and protect but you are actually inside the caves! We also took a 5 mile walk and soaked in the natural hot springs which are everywhere... wow, we will be back. I could go on and on about the history here. The native tribes from the pottery which dates B.C. right down to the Apache's history full of warfare and raids. ..Tomorrow we will be up in the air on a catwalk way over a gorge through old mining sites... 250 foot bridge over a 250 foot  drop in a canyon.
In the first picture above we were above the clouds!! In the second picture above you can actually see faces in the rock wall on the way up to the cliff dwellings.
Love to all and see you soon.

Mar 7, 2012


As I entered the island... heady rich aromatic smells of flowers, salt from the ocean, vegetation, decay of sea life, smells of food from all the eateries, fresh mowed lawns, humidity smells of heaviness and mildew..
Sights... of swaying palm trees, rich hues of flowers and brightly painted beach houses (little pink houses for you and me :0), birds in flight of every shape and size, golf like carts running up and down roads, sand blowing on the roads and in the air, mist covering certain areas, Whataburgers....ugh, brightly arranged tourist traps of giant sharks, fish, and other such creatures, brown skin and hats on many heads
I hear.... the ocean crashing at all times around the town, the wind whistling through the palms, tires spinning out, music playing all around (especially from Wednesday through Sunday), birds singing their wondrous songs, squeals of laughter from kids on the beach, helicopters flying over, airplanes dropping off parachutes, large ships coming in and blaring their horns, 
Many languages being spoken, many smiles being ushered, many hellos and good mornings, 

Mar 6, 2012

So you ask what all do they do on the beaches in Port Aransas (and we're not talking spring break here). We have seen so much and so many interesting characters here. One man who exercises everyday (so many seniors running, walking, biking, and exercising) was immortalized in a watercolor at the Art Center! He carries a stick on his shoulders with both hands running through and is a huge bear of a man. He's had surgery on his legs and is staying in shape along the ocean... what a sweetheart.
People are kite surfing, go cart sailing (with a kite), building sand castles, creating artwork (deep meaningful creations), and well you name it.
We are but specks of sand on this great big earth.. grains of sand apart shifting with the wind, the tides, and moon, and the sun. We intermingle and come across one another recognizing a smile, a certain look , a stance, a rhythm to the person that is vaguely familiar to our heart and soul. On this Island we have come across this phenomena several times. We have met old acquaintances, met new acquaintances and bumped into people knowing that this is part of a divine plan. You say you're in Texas and the state is this or that. I say we are on an Island where humanity coexists and survives amongst mother nature...much like the mountains we come from.. Life on the Island centers around the school, the bars, the churches, but mostly the people....It is simply put familiar.

Mar 4, 2012

Day of Sunshine

The birds sang freely today. It truly was the first day of complete sunshine... yes I know there is no snow here but it has been almost constantly cloudy and the wind is common on the ocean (both of which we love no matter). The birds and butterflies came out in hoards today with enthusiasm and harmony! We soaked it up and watched in wonder for birds truly are miraculous creatures with humorous actions and witty designs. They float, they scurry, they chat, they watch from all angles....
The fisherman were relaxed and we chuckled when one gave up fishing and decided let's just feed the birds. He did Mary Poppins proud I must say. It seemed as though Mary Poppins was in the air with children scampering about with squeals of laughter and kites floating everywhere (as I said the wind's average speed here is 11 mph on a good day). Then we have the comical dogs everywhere. Dogs are loved here in Port Aransas and they run, lunge, smell, romp in the sun and at times get away from their owner as we try not to giggle as all attempts to catch the creatures fails...

It's exhilarating  enjoying the life that surrounds us.

Mar 1, 2012

Each stage of our lives allows us to grow in many unexpected ways. I can reflect back upon a childhood of wonders where I moved freely through the land, doorways of wonder, sensing things from deep within the earth. It was pure pleasure to wander and breathe in every nuisance around me. There was a sensitivity of deep resolve to know more about the nature of the land, the people and the life forms that filled it. I was very aware of how old the land was that I laid my feet upon and often times laid my head upon at night. There were badlands to explore filled with bones, skin fragments and fossils which revealed puzzles of life before. This was treasure hunting at its finest. There were rocks to examine, break open and marvel at their beautiful nature inside....Makes me contemplate what you would find inside many things around us, even us as humans...would we glow from within or would there be many cracks and crevices that conceal the glowing interior?
From the beginning I knew I was different (as now I know we all are). The sad part of this is that as a child it's OK to be different, but as people enter our lives, school enters our lives, and survival patterns enter our lives this different approach often times feels like a label and we begin to lose our voice. 
Is there any one thing to blame, I think not. Our personal journey is richer, deeper and more fulfilling when the journey is filled with ups and downs, hills and valleys, sun and moon. 
My personal journey was often with wide open eyes sensing things through my skin, my touch, my ears, and of most importance through my fingers and eyes. Movement was very important to me, touching life was very important, and recreating what I saw through art became of utmost importance. 
At some of the stages of growth I felt as though this sensitivity was a disgrace, a dishonor and I was to tuck it in and toughen up..This  only led to more sadness from within. Then when sadness enters you are labeled with depression. I slowly found out through self journeys, through education, through some marvelous open people that I was never depressed just not allowing my voice to be heard. With this stage of growth my world expanded as large as the Grinch's when he felt love for the first time! Ever since I might stumble but I never look back...
There are so many vivid moments in my life that have made huge differences in who I am..
Becoming a mother and from your warm belly comes these creatures who are absolutely marvelous in every way..what a blessing, and then you get to grow with them, laugh with them, cry with them, 
Then comes moments of love, marriage, death, new jobs, divorce and so many moments that cause huge growth in us. We slowly begin to understand our parents and why they care and worry about us so..
I could go on and on...
But I have to say I love growing older (and no I'm not grown up), I love these stages of liking myself, of knowing I have so much to give and share...
Life is good, life is a blessing
I will continue to laugh, cry, share and feel every emotion from the tips of my soul... I will express

Feb 28, 2012

Sunshine on Enya's shoulders makes her happy

There were many smiles today as we watched the dear sun appear from behind the clouds. Watching people frolic in waves, beach comb, hold hands, walk their dogs, and visit while we all enjoyed the beach.You just sense a touch of human kindness, compassion and interest in people and the world around them with a bit of sunshine. And, it certainly brings out the best of people when we see a happy pooch on someone's leash and arm... you just have to smile..
Yes, people have chased us down just to touch, smell and kiss at the post office two gals (with big ass smiles and a bumper sticker that said "Where did all the hippies go", came over to visit and see Enya's beautiful eyes... new friends
She now runs into the ocean and runs back to the beach blankets happily barking with leaps of happiness and if she could tuck her tail she most certainly would. She has met many a friendly dog and some snarly ones, though she works her best magic to win them over.. show them my stomach, crawl slowly towards them with a happy smile and ears pointed forward..

She loved the kites that were out yesterday and she even tolerates all the birds that surround us daily and fly at her..and she's so impressed with our shell collection which we will be sharing with art students when we get home!!!

Feb 25, 2012

Rainy day at Corpus Christi

Well we've had two days of severe winds and lots of rain (but I'm not complaining because we are still in the 55 degree temps :) so we decided to drive over to Corpus Christi!! Now mind you it's only about 20 miles away across the channels or ferries. Talk about a beautiful area downtown. It's tough as you enter Corpus Christi because the horizon line contains so many large oil company and refineries...ugh. But they have so much history here and so much old money that along the ocean side it takes your breath away. I did get the feeling as we drove down ocean blvd. that there is a huge pendulum affect between the haves and the have nots in this neck of the woods. The homes were huge, massive mansions of brick and stone work.
The area with the museums, visitor center, and old homes that had been restored was amazing. One begins to think about the fact that several Native tribes inhabited this land and then in the 1500's here came the ships form Spain and eventually around the world sailing the vast ocean and leaving their marks upon this land.. there are definite ghosts and spirits that inhabit this land.. you can feel it
The lush landscape, the horticulture is of the likes that one drools to know more about, to possess skills to duplicate it's beauty... ahh.
The museums are based on the Arts (of which I as in awe, need I say more), the Science and History end, the Asian culture, the wonderful Lexington from World War II, and they have the Aquarium in the same area.
We took in the Art and History (along with Science) museum and viewed the Lexington from the outside and our day was shot. We both want to go back to take in the rest. We ended up with some wonderful americanos with fresh made lemon cookies and for a late lunch we took in fantastic blackened catfish tacos and beef fajitas... fantastic!!!!!
We came home to an excited puppy for a walk on the beach and a homemade batch of margaritas.
Then Trace found a lovely cockroach on my side of the bed....bugs love me ya know....I''ve been scratching all night since....
I miss everyone and our time is slowly leaking away. I have soaked up so much knowledge and so much art that my head is swirling with ideas for teaching, for creating, for sharing..

The Port of Aransas art center is amazing and gives me hope of building a small art center for Lincoln where we can create, enjoy, and talk about the arts. I have picked Arlene Hughes brain a great deal for she is on the board of this wonderful art center and we have talked about the teaching part of it. I have been so worried about walking on any toes in Lincoln if I teach too much, step on toes with coffee too much, and just worrying way too much about every one's feelings in Lincoln. What it comes down to is I love Lincoln and I want to give back to this great community and anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not out to hurt anyone in this community that has backed my family for so many years...Perhaps I'm finally finding my way a wee bit, you know it takes us until we're old to grow up :)

Feb 22, 2012

Fat Tuesday served up Texas Island style!

We've had a full week of wonderful music, meeting old friends (we all enjoy vacationing in this neck of the woods) and beach combing on an uninhabited island.  We were also treated to a fabulous start to mardi gras with an outrageous parade and good food!! On Fat Tuesday we ended up with sunshine (first full day) so we started the day with a full 6 mile bike ride (raced and I came close) and then headed to the beach. Yes even with sunscreen on (50) I burned a wee bit. Of course we spent 4 hours swimming and soaking up rays. Enya loved it and has become quite a nautical dog.. that is up to her waist....
The parade started up around five pm so beer in hand we headed downtown to find (like Lincoln but a couple hundred more people) a huge amount of people with chairs, beads, and drinks! The parade went on for at least 45 minutes with tons of people in their finery and throwing of beads constantly (no, I didn't have to flash them:)
We headed downtown to the Inferno. What a wondrous treat for our mouths. Dollar long necked beers with oysters on the half shell served up at the door as you entered (free I might add). We were treated to shrimp gumbo, a fried shrimp poor boy sandwich, and craw fish and cheddar.

With beads galore and wonderfully full stomachs we headed home. This morning we ended up with a boat ride and an uninhabited island to beach comb upon. The dolphins were everywhere playing around us and finally I found sand dollars galore. Now if I could just find a starfish...hmm. My dear friends from Faulkton South Dakota sent me a face book message and said they would be in the area this afternoon so we met up for beer and more wondrous food! What warm great folks, reminds me of the times spent in south dakota where I was treated like family. I love them all. Trace was introduced and he was impressed with all of them. Love to them.
Tonight I think we will dine in and relax..
Tomorrow who knows...