Monday, May 31, 2010

Alligator CSI

Florida Wildlife Officers used CSI like methods to arrest a dumbass man for alligator poaching in Ft. Lauderdale. Along with the usual crime-solving methods -eye-witness reports, spent shell casings linking the dumbass man from Pompano Beach, blood in his truck - the Wildlife Officers used DNA to determine the blood found in his truck came from an alligator, in fact the same alligator killed illegally at a nearby boat ramp.

The man told wildlife investigators the blood came from a rabbit he killed on a recent hunting trip. With that much blood, that had to be one big-ass rabbit!

Several eyewitnesses reported they saw Mark Montgomery Jr. (here's hoping Sr isn't as much of an idiot), lure the alligator with marshmallows, then shoot it in the head 7 times with a rifle. One eyewitness asked Montgomery "Is that illegal?"  Yea, he replied as he loaded the dead alligator into the bed of his truck. Thankfully, the witnesses called officials and provided his tag number.

Investigators compared the "rabbit blood" with blood taken from the scene. Of course it was a match. This case marks the first time the wildlife commission has utilized DNA for an alligator poaching case. Montgomery was charged with killing the alligator without a permit, without using legal methods,  and with the illegal use of marshmallows.

I'm thinking backwoods idiots like Montgomery never really stand a chance of avoiding conviction with the old tried and trued sleuthing practices our state wildlife officials already had at their disposal. But with DNA testing, these morons are outsmarted on a whole new level. Kind of like shooting redneck fish in a barrel (after filling em up on marshmallows).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cute Corgi - Any Takers?

Cute 5-year-old Welsh Corgi, Free to Good Home.

Good with other dogs and kids, sometimes. Can walk on a leash, but refuses to on a regular basis. Smells bad even after a bath. Burps a lot. Has allergies and severe skin issues requiring frequent and expensive vet visits and medication. Will only eat meals if bowl is placed on a carpeted area. Will only drink water from a blue bowl or from puddles in the street. Has recently gained weight which places him on the portly side. Jumps on all visitors to your home. Loves to eat high heel shoes, but only one from each pair. Innate herding instinct causes him to try to tackle you from behind as you walk. Can come when called, but usually just ignores you.

Will exchange for an incontinent, blind pit bull. Serious inquiries only.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Reading List

I've had a few requests for my suggestions for summer reading. After replying to a few with some of my favorite picks, I decided just to post my recommendations here for everyone at the same time.

Category: New Books

  • Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman - a great tale of the strength, loyalty and hilarity of Southern women.
  • Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin - humor makes a perfect summer read. Love her or hate her, just read this funny book.
  • Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern - first a blog, then a book, soon to be a TV sitcom.

Category: Summer Romance

  • Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series is like Twilight for adults (lots of sex in the steamy bayou)
  • The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd - no woman is an island, and when you're stuck on one with a man of the cloth who just happens to be gorgeous, well stuff happens.
  • The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman - Florida is the lightning strike capital of the world, so when two people who've been struck by lightning find each other it's a complicated romance that runs hot and cold.

Category: Summer Travel

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt - enjoy the great southern city of Savannah in this twisted case of who-dun-it. An oldie but a goodie!
  • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson - can't afford to travel this summer, then go anywhere with Bill Bryson, the funniest travel writer you'll ever read. You'll enjoy all his books but this is my favorite.

Category: Maybe Something More Serious

  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski - now in paperback, believe all the hype. You'll love this story.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - a different perspective on the holocaust and death's role. Believe me, they're gonna make a movie out of this one.
I'll gladly take your recommendations for summer reads. For now, I've downloaded Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie, The Rehearsal by Eleanor Cotton and Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch on my Kindle for the summer months. I'll let you know if I like them.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mermaid Returns to the Water for the Last Time

The news today had a lovely article celebrating the life of one of Weeki Wachee's mermaids, Frances Gioe, who died May 15 at the age of 77. Her ashes will be scattered by her family today at Weeki Wachee, returning this remarkable lady to the place where she began a lifelong career as a performer and aquatic dancer.

The year the park opened in 1947,16-year-old Frances Gioe became one of the first Weeki Wachee mermaids. Her talent for aquatic dance led to movie roles in Esther Williams movies and in the TV series Flipper. She performed in Paris for the Moulin Rouge. Retiring in Florida, she created a synchronized swim team for seniors called the Aqua Belles.

Regular Native Mom readers know of my love and devotion to Weeki Wachee. I was thrilled to learn this week that these iconic Florida performers are currently completing a tour of London.
This marks the first time the Weeki Wachee mermaids have appeared outside the United States. These talented ladies are performing this week at the Sea Life London Aquarium. You can see a video of their performance in London here. Notice how the British broadcaster refers to the ladies as Weeki Wacky mermaids.

Whoever thought of sending the mermaids on a world tour is a genius!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anna Maria Island

It is official. The annual Girls Weekend is scheduled for the end of June in Anna Maria Island. Us Florida girls decided to support our Gulf Coast beaches and their tourism efforts during this time of uncertainty after the oil spill. And since our group seems to be much bigger in numbers this year, the Gulf Coast tourism officials should really appreciate the amount of disposable income we'll be delivering.

I've never been to Anna Maria Island. So if any of you have tips, information, etc to share I would be most appreciative. I love to travel and experience places as the locals do. That's why this Florida blogging community is so great, there's one or two of you bound to have a few local secrets to share. You've never steered me wrong.

I know our girls trip will result in plenty of blog fodder. This month I celebrate my third year blogging as Florida Native Mom. Thanks to all of my readers and blog friends for three wonderful years!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Things I can't live without

An article in USNews details the 10 things people today say the can't live without (ie coffee, TV, high speed internet access). I found this very timely because my work has really slowed down and I've been looking at the budget figuring what I can cut. Here are some things I considered but just have not been able to cut.

Cell phones. We have a big cell phone bill each month because I have an iPhone and my husband, who has a work cell phone, carries a separate cell phone for personal use. Plus MiniMe just got a cell phone for her birthday. Do we really need these cell phones? The answer is no, we have a phone at the house. But I have not been able to cut the cord (I love my iPhone!).

The grocery bill. I buy a lot of organics, which are more expensive. And the kids all have their favorite snacks. While I've managed to shave off about 20% of the bill for the month just by keeping less staples in the pantry, I have a hard time giving up my organic milk and vegis.

Pet supplies. As you all know, I love my dogs. But now that I have 3, I've had to cut back on pet supplies. I've switched to the generic food from the grocery store instead of the specialty food from the pet supermarket, but I'm still buying rawhide chews and their favorite cookies.

I have successfully cut back on the following in the budget (something to be proud of I think):
Eating out. Movies/entertainment.
Shopping (clothing, make-up, accessories, etc)
Gas (not eating out and shopping cut my gas bill)
Weekend travel and vacations.

So, tell me, what can't you live without? 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bird Eviction

Yesterday, I discovered a bird was building a nest in our garage. Since my favorite middle stepson moved in with us a few months ago, he tends to leave the garage door open all day long. The tiny bird was building a nest in the Christmas tree stand stored on top of a cabinet, far out of reach. I decided not to say anything to the rest of the family, knowing that the kids would be too tempted to climb up and disturb it and that Beloved would get rid of it. I just thought that the little bird had worked so hard and I didn't want to bash its little-bird-housing dreams. With so many people losing homes in the last few years, I had foreclosure empathy for the little bird.

I know I should have tried to evict it immediately. But, I thought, what can it hurt? Maybe a little bird poop scattered around. Some peeps and tweeps now and then. I even thought about getting some bird seed to spread out on the driveway.

I blame all these bird harboring thoughts on not getting enough sleep. Let's face it, I already have 3 dogs, 4 kids, a guinea pig, one of the longest living guppies in existence and a husband (listed in no particular order of my love for all of them). Like I really need another mouth to feed around here.

I found the nest material scattered across the driveway this morning. Looks like Beloved discovered my garage squatter. It made me feel bad, but not as bad as I felt at lunchtime today when I saw the little bird (or its identical bird twin) hopping around my window seal. I think it was trying to say "hey, the garage thing didn't work out, so how about that empty bed upstairs your son isn't using while he's in college."

. . . . early bedtime for me tonight, no matter what.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Surf Girls

Several of my girlfriends have been bitten by the bug. The surfing bug. Only every now and then, the bug bites back. Last year it was Wondertwin who sustained a surfing-related injury that beached her for a little over a month. This weekend it was SandArt who was on the receiving end of a nibble. Four stitches and a knee brace later and she was good to go.

Don't feel sorry for them though. These ladies wear their surf wounds with pride. And they should since paddling those long boards through the challenging surf of Daytona Beach then popping up into a cresting wave driving you toward the beach is not an activity for couch potatoes. So the bumps, scrapes, bruises and stitches are the trade off for buff arms and abs and the chance to spend a day in the ocean alongside the dolphins.

Lest you lady readers out there think surfing would be out of reach for you, there are plenty of opportunities to learn to surf at any age. Surf camps, women-only surf lessons and the like are becoming increasingly more popular and easier to find. If I've scared you off giving surfing a try with the stories of war wounds among my women friends, keep in mind the saying - no pain, no gain!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


We had a very pleasant surprise visit from my husband's great aunt earlier this week. She and her boyfriend were in town for a mini-vacation. Since we live near the beach, we often and happily have family & friends make us part of their vacation plans.

But since we had short notice, I let MiniMe know when I picked her up from school that day that I needed her help to get everything ready for our dinner guests. She asked who was coming to dinner.

"Beloved's Great Aunt is in town so she's stopping by for a visit with her boyfriend."

How old is his aunt?

"I don't know. A little older than your Mimi I guess."

And she has a boyfriend!?!?!

"Yes, why is that so weird."

If she's that old, how does she have a boyfriend?

"Her husband passed away a few years ago. So this gentleman is her boyfriend."

How old is he?

"I don't know, I haven't met him yet."

Is he 20 or is he older than that?

MiniMe! Of course he's older than that. She's not dating a 20-year-old. Why would you think that.

"Whew! Because boyfriends are guys in their 20s and 30s. I didn't know someone old could be called a boyfriend."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Florida Facts from MiniMe

MiniMe informed me today that her class is taking a field trip to Silver Springs. I was surprised to hear they were going on a field trip that is so far away from school, but also very pleased that they were visiting one of Florida's first "theme parks."

I said to MiniMe, "you know Silver Springs was one of the very first theme park attractions to open in Florida."

I know, she replies. I've been on the glass bottom boats and we get to go on the boats again for our field trip. And they filmed the movie Creature from the Black Lagoon there.

"That's right," I answered surprised.

They also filmed some of the movie Hoot there. Remember, I read the book.

"I did not know that," I answered.

So proud I am of my little Florida girl for knowing so much about one of our state's treasures. You can learn more about the history of this little gem here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Recyled Science Project

I am very proud of MiniMe for the work she (we) did on her science project. Her project demonstrated how different materials can be recycled into writing paper. We spent weeks making paper, charting our progress and observations. And since she's as creative as her mom, the display board was awesome. MiniMe had the only project in the entire 5th grade at her school that addressed recycling - and this during the month of April when we celebrate Earth Day.

We both had high expectations that her project would be among the top 7 in her school to advance to regionals. So when she called to give me the news, we were both very disappointed.

"Mom, they had the judging for the science projects. Mine didn't make it into the top 7."

What?!? But you were the only one with a recycling project.

"I know! Jennifer's project was a winner. So was Carly's"

But your project was better than both of theirs. Must have been that Russian judge.