Ahhhhh, Lobstah!

I know. It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken to each other. It’s not that we don’t love you anymore. It’s just….we’ve met someone else. Her name is Life. I know I’ve said it before, but life sure does get in the way of a good time, doesn’t it? Not to say we don’t have a good time. We do. We just haven’t had time to share it here on the blog. Not saying this is the start of a renewed blogging friendship either, but hey…who knows?

0813160827wm

This weekend, we made a day trip to Key West for Lobsterfest. One of our favorite things to do, and normally when Lobsterfest rolls around, we make it a long weekend, hop in the car and take our time rolling through the beautiful Florida Keys. This time, it was pretty spontaneous. Thanks to some very good friends who hooked us up with some tickets, we decided to hop on the Key West Express and make it a day trip.

0813160825awm

Depending on the day you travel (and how long in advance you book), you’re looking at between $99 and $150 for a round trip. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour ride, so consider it somewhat like a long plane flight. For us, instead of the 6 hour drive, we got there in 3 and a half.

0813160724awm

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the boat. It was clean and cozy with a snack bar, drink bar and plenty of TVs with satellite for entertainment along the way.

0813160852wm 0813160855wm

I ventured up to the top deck to take in the scenery. If you’re not careful, whatever is in your hand (or on your head) is gonna go flyin into the ocean. The boat is cookin pretty good – between 40-45 knots.

0813160854wm

Like I said, long ride. So if this is something you’d enjoy doing, make sure you pack some magazines, snacks and things to entertain you. After about 2 hours, I was starting to get antsy. The Key West Express is a good idea if you’re in town on vacation and don’t have time to make the 12 hour round trip drive. Me? I prefer the drive. The ability to stop off and get in the water, check out the scenery, drive the 7 Mile Bridge….that’s what I prefer. Not saying I wouldn’t take the KWE again – I would if I needed to. But big picture – it’s not for me.

IMG_8639

But we came for the Lobster. The sweet sweet lobster. I’ll take it any way I can get it. Boat, drive – doesn’t matter. Just bring me lobster.

IMG_6066

And we got lobster. Like years before, my first stop was the Lobster Roll.

Delicious.

IMG_2244

After slamming the Maine Roll in two bites and washing it down with an ice cold beer, I quickly moved onto the Lobster and Shrimp taco…Which was the best taco I’ve ever eaten.

 IMG_2363

The Queen got the lobster Mac n Cheese with a lobster slider…which I helped her finish. My father-in-law says that when it comes to festivals, I’m like a shark. I bite something, then swim around a little while just to bite something else.

Know what? He’s right.

IMG_5444

IMG_4928

No trip to Key West is complete until you’ve walked Duval end to end to see the sights.

IMG_1772

Chased a few chickens….

IMG_0936

….eaten some Key Lime Pie

0813161335wm

…and stopped off in Mallory Square.

IMG950732

IMG_0769wm

::insert innuendo here::

IMG_0767wm

It wasn’t as hot as it had been in previous years. But with that long and bumpy boat ride and coupled with 90 degree heat, we both had headaches and needed to sit for a bit in the A/C.

IMG954749

 IMG_6052

Due to the lack of time (you’re only on shore about 4 hours before you have to board the boat back home), we grabbed something chilly to drink (and wash down the Excedrin) and moseyed along back towards the pier for our return.

IMG950841

A dip in a pool would have been really nice.

Just not THAT pool.

IMG_4428wm

It was a fun day. Both short (in the time we actually were in KW) and long (that boat ride, whew!). Despite how convenient it is for some (and it really is a cool boat), I don’t think I’d do the boat again. Four hours to get there, four hours on shore and four hours to get home. No, thanks. For me, driving is the ticket.

Luckily, we’ll be doing some Keys driving in the next few weeks, as we return there for a little lobstering and diving.

20150911_1438120

Can’t wait for that!

Still Thankful….

I originally posted this blog two years ago in November of 2013 and our thoughts stay the same. Recently, so many things have taken over our blogging time and I regret that I have not updated this site as much as I would have preferred. Under normal circumstances, we would be bummed out. However, we’re more than blessed to have so much going on in our lives. So I’m reposting the blog (with a few adds).

11-19-3wm

The time of year has come where suddenly social media explodes with an influx of “thankful” posts and pictures and TV inundates us with commercials for turkey, Black Friday and Christmas. It’s a shame that big business has turned a trait that we should carry in our hearts 24/7 without even thinking it into worldwide commercialism. But that’s a topic for my other blog, “Things That are Wrong with America”.

Kidding, of course. But I think you get what I’m saying.

But never the less, this does happen to be the season where we talk about what we’re thankful for. I don’t want this post or topic to sound trite, so I had to dig deeper than the normal “I’m thankful for my family” mantra. Of course we are all thankful for our families. But what else are we thankful for? Truly thankful for?

20150911_1438120

I’m thankful for the readers of this blog and our followers on social media. You all really make doing this a worthwhile endeavor. We appreciate the emails and comments we receive when we make a post or drop a new blog entry. The Queen and I are purpose-driven people. When something we say or do makes an impact on peoples’ lives, it gives us purpose. Someone (you know who you are, and Thank You) said the other day that we “capture the soul of shelling“. That made us feel like a million bucks, because that’s exactly what we try to do and someone recognized it.

IMG_20151101_100126

I think it goes without saying, but I am thankful to live in such an amazing place with a top notch climate. I have not seen snow in several years and hope to never see it again. Sub-zero weather? Bye Bye. Not to long ago, we had to take a trip North and spent some time in New York City (and more recently to Chicago to see our son, who is a Sailor serving and protecting our country in the greatest Navy in the world).

IMG_4803

We bought coats. I don’t plan on ever wearing mine again. I love that I can wear shorts every single day of the year. I do not take that for granted. Ever.

IMG_20150911_111608

I’m thankful that we’re literally 2-5 hours from a number of major beaches, including the beautiful Florida Keys. I’m so thankful that when I wake up on weekends, our major decision for the day is which beach to visit. I do not say that to rub it in to anyone’s face. Believe me, I have lived in the North so I feel your pain, Northern friends. But the ability to do this anytime I want:

9-14-1wm

That is true happiness and something I am VERY thankful for. We travel often, and I am thankful for the ability to do that and for a top shelf travel buddy (The Queen) who loves new adventures. We have a big cruise coming up in January and we are beyond excited (and so thankful).

photo 1wm

I’m thankful for the shell finds of my fellow shellers and bloggers. Yep, it’s true. Fellow shellers/bloggers like The Shellinator, The Shellady, Karen The Esssential Beachcomber, Captain Brian, Seashells and Salty Air, Gulf Coast Sea Breeze, Kim and Chablis from Snug Harbor Bay and others – some folks may think there is a rivalry or competition between us local shellers here but I assure you, there is not. Sure, there certainly is a “Dang, I wish I’da found that!”. But when fellow shellers text each other with our finds of the day, or ask, “Are we gonna see you and the Queen today?”, it tells me otherwise. Many of us are friends outside of the blogs. I am thankful for that.

IMG_2353wm

I am thankful for the peace that passes all understanding. I find that for me, sunshine and warm weather bring me a peace that I didn’t feel when I was cold and the sun was hidden. I promise you, each time I am able to do this:

11-19-1wm

I do not forget to tell God, “thank you for this”.

I know I have made quite a few blog posts about what I am thankful for in the past and perhaps it may seem a bit redundant to read it again and again – but I am thankful. I know where I came from and to be where I am today (by the grace of God) is simply too fantastic to not be thankful for. I could make this blog ten pages long about what I am thankful for, believe that.

IMG_20150830_102122

So I challenge you this Thanksgiving week – think hard when you dwell on what you are thankful for. It is easy to be thankful for your job, your home and your family. But just like searching for that buried keeper shell in the sand – dig deep and stay thankful this week.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, friends. God bless you all.