Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

I have often—well, too often—been in meetings where the get-to-know-you ice-breaker goes like this:
“If you could be an animal, what animal would it be, and tell us why.” (You’ve been in this meeting?) This is an easy one: a beach cat. “Beach” is not a specific breed of cat, although it kind of is. They’re tough, resilient, generally untrusting loners, unlike the pampered felines of households who believe they rule your roost (and they kinda do, BTW). Beach cats are free to explore the island, catch up with a lizard, scare up a bird, pull in dinner in any way their sleekly-muscled bodies and alert quick minds can achieve daily sustenance, including such things as small fish that wash to shore when the shrimpers clear their nets, –but mostly the pelicans and dolphins let little of the trawlers’ largess go unnoticed/uneaten. Then there are gifts of day-old pizza, breakfast sausage—a veritable smorgasbord of proffered tidbits from tourists.
Of course, hanging out near a restaurant is also a strategy. Last night at The Crab Shack I met “Tootsie.” She’s a sweet thing, a grateful trencherman, and totally overweight. I guess, “you never know where your next meal will come from” and “eat while the eatin’s good” are guiding principles in Tootsie’s philosophy of food. She’s the size of a modest speed-bump—and yes, ate each piece of shrimp or crab I provided—with gusto!
It’s a good life, alternately living under the stars or under the pier-and-stilt construction of this home or that, making new acquaintances daily, roaming the underbrush of dune vegetation, napping in the sun, a tropical climate with no harsh winters—yes, I’d say that’s my ideal.
Feed ‘em if you got ‘em. Never worry that a beach cat needs a better home, or adoption into your world of Friskies and furballs. They’re just fine, thanks.  The “catch and release” program on Tybee takes care of the neutering. They are the island’s beloved pets.

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

We spent the 4th of July on Tybee Island and in the Savannah area where dear friends welcomed us “home” for the extended week. What to do when you’re in the area? Well, I’m glad you asked!  I am an agenda-driven kind of person (yes unfortunately, even at the beach), so here’s what we did:
* Late lunch at the North Beach Grill –it’s on the North Beach 🙂 across from the Tybee Lighthouse.  (Find the lighthouse, look right below it to the east.)
* Beach walk/seashell collecting from the Savannah River side of the island to that most northeast spit of sand representing land’s end of the state of Georgia.
* Libations on the deck of our condo at the Savannah Beach and Racquet Club as the great container ships move in and out of the Savannah River to ports around the globe.
* Dinner at AJ’s on the back river for the excellent food and stellar sunset where Joey Manning (sounds like James Taylor) plays every weekend night.
* Sunrise. Access to the beach is from any of the numbered streets that run perpendicular to the beach and Butler Ave.
* Brunch at Fannie’s on the Beach– overlooking (yes) the beach and the Tybrisa Pier Pavilion.
* Kevin Barry’s on River St. in Savannah with delicious Irish food and beverages. On Sunday nights, local minstrels warm up the “listening room” for the headliner– always fun (Due to the libations, 21 and older for the Listening Room show.)
* The Breakfast Club on Tybee, a personal favorite for 25 years!
* Ft. Pulaski to learn all about its fascinating Civil War history. Time your tour to go with an informative volunteer guide.
* 4th of July Fireworks on River St. in Savannah. Wow! Live music and thousands of revelers in to celebrate.
* Kayaking- Georgia Sea Kayak on the island has great prices and great guides. We paddled over to Little Tybee and through the estuaries.
* Lunch at Stingray’s on Butler Ave. Try the shrimp tacos!
* Sunset dining on the upper deck at Coco’s on Lazaretto Creek. Beautiful view of the docked shrimp trawlers and the Lazaretto Bridge as the sun sinks up the Savannah River.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           *Clary’s for breakfast and then a walk through the fabulous Savannah historic district to E. Shaver Booksellers.                                                                        *Crab Shack for dinner.  On Chimney Creek on Tybee sit dockside along the creek under the Live Oaks for an unforgettable experience.
* Lunch at The Windows in the Hyatt on Bay St. in Savannah overlooking the incredible harbor and Great Savannah River Bridge.
* Ecology Beach Walk led by marine biologist Joe Richardson. A great activity for any age, and kids LOVE it!
* Huc-a-Poos for pizza, live music (late) and a taste of local life.
* Huey’s for brunch on River St.  My favorite: Eggs Sardou with the Parmesan cheese grits. There are so many veggies topping the Bloody Mary that I’m certain it qualifies as a health drink.
* Tybee Lighthouse climb at sunset. You have to schedule ahead for the sunset climb, but at any time it is an historical adventure. Enjoy the museum and history video that come with the modest price of admission.
* Lots of shopping– from toursity to fine art, Savannah to Tybee.
* Swimming in the ocean and boogie-boarding the ocean waves! Sandcastle-building, optional.
By now you’ve had a fabulous vacation. Don’t forget the sunscreen and hats!

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Jana published her first book at age 5. As the author and illustrator, Jana found immediate and high acclaim among circles where the book was circulated… her family.
“Roseanne Used to Want to be a Ballerina” is the story of a young girl whose life ambition is to be a ballerina, but has a change of heart when she discovers her passion and her skill set may not jive.
Only two copies were published of “Roseanne,” –one each for Jana’s Dad and her Granddad for Father’s Day 21 years ago.
It’s been fun to see Jana’s passion and skills bloom into our first book together, “Captain Derek’s Dolphin Magic Boat.”
My advice: Encourage your kids in their passions, yet help them temper those with their skills– always keeping the door to opportunity wide open through hard work.
To all fathers and grandfathers who taught us daughters to be strong and enterprising– Happy Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

Personal pampas grass growing regaling to follow, but first let me tell you about Tybee Island’s “grass.” (No, don’t go there. I’m sure they have that kind too…)  Of course I’m talking about sea oats.  Green in the spring, this quintessential dune vegetation is ripe by late summer– and beautiful, is it not?
Sea oats are not lawn grasses (dune grasses to be sure, but not Bermuda or even St. Augustine, the lawn grass of the low country) but rather a grass more similar to barley, wheat, or rye, although inedible to my knowledge. Sea oats have a massive root system capable of holding the island together in hurricane storm surges and tropical winds.