November 30, 2011

Doorway Wednesday: Carefree

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This doorway along an alley near Central Ave. caught my attention because of the name: "Carefree Design Center". It sounded so inviting...just a carefree place to create whatever you want to create. Well, as it turns out, behind this door beautiful walk-in closets (and other storage spaces) are designed and manufactured.  Check out their website.  Very interesting!  I never know what I'll find when I'm out wandering around.

November 28, 2011

Five Points at Night

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When I posted this photo of Selby Five Points Park last week, a few SDP followers were kind enough to request a nighttime view with the tree lights aglow. Alors...voila! The lights alternate colors every few minutes and last night I caught them midstream between red and orange. Pretty cool!  By the way, this isn't just for Christmas. The trees are lit year round.

November 25, 2011

Downward Trend

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Gas prices have dropped 12-cents here over the past month, with a nickel of that in one day just before Thanksgiving. Any chance we'll see $2.99 by New Year's Day? To see an archive of my monthly gasoline reports, click here.

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

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It's officially Thanksgiving when Pilgrim Manatee arrives on DeSoto Road! I hope you're enjoying a relaxing day and pause a moment to reflect upon all your blessings. I've already logged a 5K walk this morning --- gosh, I'm so thankful just to be able to do that! There's so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with family, friends, food (preferably turkey...NOT manatee), football, parades --- and a nap. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2011

Teddy Bear Run

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Not an image you expect to see on the road, is it? This biker (and his fuzzy friends) was part of the 14th annual Teddy Bear Run yesterday morning. Hundreds of motorcyclists roared down the road, complete with a police escort, as they delivered stuffed animals for a charity event benefiting children with cancer. There's something about a burly biker with a cuddly Pooh bear that makes me smile. And, knowing it's all to help sick kids...makes it even better. What a special delivery.  To see more of my pics from the event click here.

November 20, 2011

Full House

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Recently, I was shooting a construction site near downtown when I heard really loud chirping emanating from a tree in a busy parking lot. So many house sparrows were tucked inside, hiding on the branches, the tree was actually shaking! It took awhile, but I managed to get this shot (above)...of what I believe to be a female house sparrow. And also this photo...
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...which I believe is a male house sparrow. (Apparently, he was going out on a limb to see what I was doing.) I was staring at that tree for probably 20-25 minutes in a fast food parking lot, and believe it or not, not a single person inquired what I was looking at. They all just walked and drove by, oblivious to   nature's abundance in that tree. 

November 19, 2011

Lights at Five

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5 o'clock....and Five Points Park in downtown, that is. It's almost been a year since the park was renovated and colorful decorative lights strung through the trees. It looks great year-round and is especially inviting this time of year --- even before the sun goes down.

November 18, 2011

Employee of the Month

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I did a double-take when I saw this reserved parking sign at Sarasota Architectural Salvage. That's a faux police mugshot identifying the employee of the month.  It seems the store owner has a good sense of humor as he goes about acknowledging a job well done.  Very amusing!  For the record the "mugshot" indicates Pennenga G. is the employee of the month.  Congrats!

November 16, 2011

Autumnal Nuptials

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I'm back! I enjoyed a getaway to Mt. Dora, a quaint little town northwest of Orlando. Besides oodles of charming B & B's, and a good old fashioned downtown (filled with American flags for Veterans' Day), Mt. Dora hits the spot for me because it's just far enough north for the mercury to drop in the fall. was sweater weather! (A very exciting change for those of us who live with 70-degrees plus most days.) While I was relaxing on a balcony overlooking downtown, this wedding party trotted into my viewfinder. Could this be any more quaint?!

November 10, 2011

Less Talk....More Chalk

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As promised, I'm posting more photos from the Sarasota Chalk Festival. This is Pineapple Avenue, where most of the artists were performing their magic on the pavement. Including...
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...this very cool 3-D piece of a boy poking up from a tall bookshelf, which probably was my favorite. I believe it was created by a team from Brazil. It really popped off the pavement. And, then, there were pieces with incredible detail...
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...animal as well as...
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...human. Some made you feel like...
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...I was being watched. It was another great event. 24 hours after it concluded, the street sweepers came through, and that was it --- until next year! After posting nine photos in the past two days, SDP's editor in chief is giving me a few days off. See you next week!

November 9, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker (aka: Woody)

I've mentioned before that I see a lot of amazing winged creatures along Fruitville Road, a busy 2-lane road. As I was cruising along in heavy traffic last week, a splash of red caught my eye. Actually, two splashes of red --- on a utility pole. After turning around, parking and stalking, I saw this eyeball peering at me. And, then, the creature cautiously poked its cute little red head out to see what was going on.
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This is a male pileated woodpecker. The males, I've learned from my trusty Birds of Florida field guide, have an extra red stripe along their jawline. While he was peering out, his mate swooped in from seemingly nowhere... 
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...and poked her head in to see how things were going at the homestead. Clinging to the side of the pole... 
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...she seemed to ponder her options.  (Or perhaps she was shocked at what she had seen inside: 'He could at least tidy up while I'm away hunting for ants.')  I think Mr. Woody Woodpecker warned the Mrs. about the creature outside with the really long beak (aka: photographer) and shooed her away, because she suddenly left and he ducked inside. ('No more photos, please.  Thank you...and, good day!')  Now, whenever I see a gaping hole in a utility pole I can't help but wonder what's going on in there.  (My cartoon brain seems to shift into overdrive seeing pileated woodpeckers.)   What a fun encounter!  By the way, tomorrow we'll return to the Chalk Festival, as promised.

November 8, 2011


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I see you! I was so excited to see this guy peering at me from inside a utility pole. Any guesses as to what it is? I'll reveal more about my chance encounter with this handsome yet shy creature tomorrow. (Hint: ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hahahaha!)

November 7, 2011

Chalk Festival '11

The 4th annual Chalk Festival was held in Burns Square this weekend. I went yesterday afternoon and all I can say is 'WOW!'  The word is out that this is a terrific event. The number of visitors skyrocketed from last year, which is more or less what the organizer said when I bumped into her and she said the Chalk Festival has gone viral. Renowned chalk artists from around the world were here for the event, and many locals participated too....including this guy who I believe is from Sarasota. He happened to be "applying lipstick" on Pineapple Ave. when I saw him. Between that and the amazing faces he created, how could I not select this to be my first post from Chalk Festival '11?  When I have time later this week, I'll post more. Very cool!

November 5, 2011

Bikin' Tube Dude

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Look! Up in the air! It's Bikin' Tube Dude! I showed you photos of Tube Dudes when they first started popping up around Sarasota. Well, the concept has really taken off. (Click here to read about the founder who went from building yachts to creating Tube Dudes.)  I spotted these colorful ones high over the Sarasota BMX course recently.  In September, the company received a $100,000 economic incentive grant from Sarasota County with the stipulation it has to create 44 new jobs (although, I don't know over what period of time).  Who might see Tube Dudes in your area some day.

November 4, 2011

Ushering in Christmas

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I attempted to be discreet while documenting this scene with my phone in the grocery store: eggnog already stocked on the shelves the day before Halloween! I love, love, love (read: LOVE) eggnog and Christmas, but...before Halloween? Perhaps we should dispense with the dates and seasons and just celebrate year round.  Green eggnog for St. Patrick's Day anyone?

November 3, 2011

Take 2

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This is what the parking meters look like in downtown.  Although this is my third post on meters, this is the first time I've shown you what they look like.   I posted this photo just before the meters were unveiled last May.  And, then, I showed you this shot when the meters were temporarily bagged after being operational for six weeks.  Well, now they're back.  Based on community feedback, the program was overhauled, including moving meters to different streets, modifying the cost (cheaper during off-peak months) and providing more signage for users. Now, the meters seem a bit more palatable to business owners and customers.  In fact, today marks one month since the take 2 do-over and it seems business as usual downtown.

November 2, 2011

City Kitty

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Meet City Kitty. She lives under a building in downtown Sarasota and has been cared for by an employee for years. Usually, City Kitty is shy and it's a rarity to see her. But, recently, I've spotted her several times. Word on the street is that an opossum moved in to her dry, warm space under the building and now she's forced into the elements (sun, rain, wind) when the pointy-faced marsupial decides he wants to be there. I was surprised to hear an opossum lives downtown, so I did some research and learned the following: (1) opossums are short lived -- just 2-4 years; and (2) their predators include cats. Either City Kitty needs to get a bit more aggressive or wait it out. (Too bad there isn't an opossum relocation program.)

November 1, 2011

Theme Day: Fences

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'Awww....Don't fence me in!' That's what crossed my mind when I was trying to get this shot last week. Not only was a cattle fence in my way, but also a prickly looking barbed wire fence. It's theme day in the City Daily Community and we're all fenced in...or out!  Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.