December 31, 2012

New Year's Preps

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Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a...a...pineapple?!  When you see a pineapple dangling over Main Street in downtown Sarasota, you know it's New Year's Eve.  New York City has the apple.  Sarasota has the pineapple, thanks to a developer.  Several years ago, the company behind a downtown development called 'Pineapple Square' wanted to sponsor having something dropped at midnight on New Year's Eve to signify the beginning of the new year and they selected...a pineapple. Streets have been closed since early this morning getting ready for the big night, which will include several live bands, a carnival and fireworks on Sarasota Bay.  (There might even be some libations.)  Tens of thousands of people will be here. How ever you celebrate the New Year, have fun.  So long 2012...nice to see ya 2013!

December 30, 2012

Eagle Cam

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Those who follow SDP regularly know that I love American bald eagles and I've been following a pair in Sarasota who nest in a cell tower in the city limits. Well, a friend from Pennsylvania who was visiting Sanibel recently told me about a nest in North Ft. Myers. I had great success when I checked it out yesterday. I met a local eagle nest watcher who told me this couple, Ozzie & Harriet, have been nesting here for 20 years. They're located off a busy road in a pine tree within a horse paddock. In this pic, you can see one in the upper right hand corner and you can also see a webcam just above the nest. The camera provides a live feed 24/7, which is very cool.  Click here to watch the eagle cam.  The happy couple has two eggs in the nest which are expected to hatch soon. Last night, I watched one of the parents gently rotate the eggs.  And, this morning, one was sitting on the eggs while the other landed with a fresh fish for breakfast.
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While I was on-site watching the nest, a vulture swooped down very close to the nest which evoked a loud squawk from the eagle sitting on the eggs, followed by a screech from its mate who was perched in a nearby tree.  The vulture dared to return a few minutes later and the eagle who was guarding the nest from afar took off and chased it away.  That's when I snapped this second photo.  Love the eagles!

Note about the Sarasota eagles (aka: The Eddies):  Recently, I've seen one eagle several times near last year's nest.  But, last Friday, I saw two workmen climbing down their cell tower, which was quite disconcerting to see.  I'm not sure if the eagles had nested or were going to do so.  I hope they return.

December 29, 2012


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When I came across gas for $3.15/gallon just before Christmas in neighboring Charlotte County I knew it wouldn't last. That was the lowest price I'd seen anywhere in a very long time. Here in Sarasota prices never got that low, at least not at this station. I believe regular unleaded dipped down to $3.21 last week. Anyway, since Christmas, prices have been marching upward. Believe it or not, though, this price is still 10-cents cheaper than one month ago.

December 28, 2012

No Labels?

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If you cross a donkey with an elephant, I guess you might get a giraffe...if I'm interpreting this sign correctly.  I'm not sure.  It's rare to see a political sign in someone's front yard well after the political season, so I had to take a closer look.   While the slogan sounds good, I checked out the organization the sign is promoting and left their website wondering what they really stand for.  I won't bring down the fun, light hearted mood of the CDP community by talking icky politics.  But, I will point out that we're racing toward the fiscal cliff at breakneck speed and the only thing a giraffe could do is postpone the inevitable.   Happy Friday!

December 27, 2012

Red Christmas

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How long do you leave your Christmas tree and decorations up? I'm not one of those folks who has their tree down by 7 p.m. Christmas night, that's for sure.  Usually, the cut off is New Year's Day.  That's when I box everything up with the football games on TV in the background.  But, as long as the tree is up I'm still celebrating Christmas.  This is another capture from Grace Baptist Church.  Pretty festive, huh?  Last night was the final showing of the amazing flashing and pulsating light show -- until next year.

December 26, 2012

Up on the Rooftop

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Who knows what the story is with this?!  For years, I've driven by this place which looks like a cross between a residence and an unusual business. It's located near a busy intersection in Sarasota and always has an enormous mound of firewood outside year round, which I've never understood since we're in toasty Florida.  When I noticed the upside down mannequin sporting a Santa hat, I finally had to stop.  But, it all remains a mystery.  I didn't see a soul.

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I spotted this pretty stained glass lighting up the outside of Rumple Presbyterian Church in downtown Blowing Rock, North Carolina in October and figured I'd save it for the Christmas season.  Beautiful scene, isn't it?!  Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 24, 2012

Big. Really Big!

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These are the biggest candy canes I've ever seen!   Hanging from a banyan tree in Ft. Myers, these actually are metal duct fixtures with red tape wrapped around them.  Not only clever, but quite festive!  Christmas is right around the corner.  Are you ready?

December 23, 2012

Wreaths Across America

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"Isn't it beautiful!" That's what a visitor to the Sarasota National Cemetery exclaimed to me as she admired the Christmas wreaths adorning every grave. For the fourth year, the Sarasota Military Academy spearheaded this local initiative which is part of a national program called 'Wreaths Across America'.  Each wreath costs $15 and the school raised $75,000 to cover the expense of providing one wreath for each of the 5,000 tombstones. Great program! To learn more about the national program  visit

December 22, 2012

Christmas Cheer

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You know it's Christmas in Florida when you start seeing ornaments hanging from trees in front yards. Rather festive, don't you think?  I spotted this cheery scene in Ft. Myers.

December 21, 2012

Grace Nativity

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This is another scene from the awesome Christmas light display at Grace Baptist Church.  As I mentioned in previous posts, the scenes are choreographed to music.  And, at one point two angels suddenly rise up over the nativity scene and look as though they're floating.  It's a very neat aspect to this already amazing display.

December 20, 2012

Blue Christmas

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These are just some of the half a million lights on display at Grace Baptist Church.  Pretty cool, isn't it?! Depending on the music playing, the lights will change to red, green, white, and blue.  A parishioner told me the church works on the display year round, but really starts setting it up in early November. Any guesses how much the electrical bill increases in December? Anyone...anyone? increase of $1,100.  The church accepts donations but apparently someone stepped forward months ago and paid for this year's event for the community. 

December 19, 2012

Joyful & Triumphant

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Well, it's a busy time of year, isn't it?! I was in downtown last week pondering where I was going to find new Christmas lights to shoot, then I looked down and I saw a flyer advertising this display. And what a Christmas display it is at Grace Baptist Church!  300 trees and half a million lights blinking, flashing and twirling in synchronization to sounds of the season.  The display is both joyful and triumphant!  (For Sarasotans, it's located a few miles east of I-75 on Bee Ridge Road.)  This is just a taste of what's to come with future posts.  Hope everyone is doing well!

December 9, 2012

Twirling Poi

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Last Sunday, I was near Siesta Key and decided to take a nice, quiet evening stroll along the beach. What I forgot is that every Sunday night there's a drum circle on Siesta beach.  I never make a point to go, but the couple of times I've stumbled across it I've had fun.  Along with beating drums and tambourines, and shaking maracas, some folks like to twirl neon lights at the end of a long string.  It's pretty cool to watch the neon in the darkness and one guy who was especially proficient at it was kind enough to tell me that lights on a string are known as poi.  This is a shot of two people (one with green lights and the other with red and blue lights) dazzling the drum circle was their poi moves.

December 7, 2012


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This house is actually decked out with all kinds of festive colorful lights, but I wanted to focus on this  adorable little fella.  Rudolph's little red nose even flashes. Very cute!  I guess the other reindeer were off playing reindeer games because Rudolph was all alone on the front yard.

December 5, 2012

White Christmas

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White as in...all white lights. It was difficult to capture how nice this house looked decked out with all white lights. Normally, I prefer color with my Christmas lights, but I thought this place was appealing in a classic sort of way. (Believe it or not, they even had a rotating tree in their living room.)

December 2, 2012


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Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, this is my first Christmas decoration post of the season.  I spotted this angel and Christmas tree last night in a neighborhood near where I live.  It's going to be difficult to find interesting decorations this year which I haven't shot and posted before, but I'm up to the challenge.  Hope everyone has a good Sunday!