Archive for All – Page 2

Beautiful Day

The forecast for today was warm and overcast.  Instead, we had warm and sunny!  We took several walks on the beach and I even got my feet in the water – but not for very long.  I just don’t like not knowing what might be coming with the water.  There are lots of jellyfish on the beach so what if one of them came rolling in with the waves?  Eeeeeeek! The waves are incredible.  I watch them rolling in and crashing in to the beach, washing away portions of the sand.  The high tide line was up past the pilings of one of the houses closest to the beach this morning.  Next week high tide will be in the late afternoon rather than at night so maybe we’ll get to see it.

John stayed behind to read and I went in search of birds.  There is a park in Gulf Shores with no discernible parking area so I parked in an empty lot next to a business and took my chances. Then I walked to the park and out on the boardwalk into the marsh where I found a gang of brown pelicans and a couple of stately herons.

Look who’s coming to dinner!

Thursday was another warm but overcast day.  We drove over to Pensacola and toured the Naval Air Museum and the Pensacola Lighthouse.  On the way home, we stopped at the Shrimp Basket along Gulf Coast Highway for lunch.  We were joined by a great blue heron who was, no doubt, looking for shrimp!


Great Blue Heron


Another cloudy day and windy but no need for ajacket. Yesterday, John went golfing with a retired police officer from Chicago.  They played the Gulf Shores State Park course and had a good time.  I read, walked on the beach, and enjoyed a quiet day of rest.  We ate last night at King Neptune’s.  This noon, we ate at Steamer’s.  So far, Mikee’s is still my favorite.

We hiked a couple of miles in the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge – Pine Beach Trail.  I was able to get a photo of a great blue heron but he was quite a distance from me and it was foggy so I’ll keep hoping for another photo op.  For now, it’s naptime for John and time to read for me.



Fort Morgan and Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge








Today the sun was shining brightly but the wind had a bite to it.  It warmed up to 59 but sweatshirts and jackets felt good.  We toured historic Ft. Morgan which is 2 miles west of where we are staying and right on the end of the island. The fort dates back to 1812 and was built to defend the coast.  It was a Confederate stronghold during the Civil War and also has World War I and II era artifacts.  The fort was closed in 1946.  This brown pelican was sunning himself on a piling.

We hiked on two trails in the Bon Secour (Good Harbor) Wildlife Refuge and saw these amazing trees with bright red leaves that were shaped like 5-pointed stars.  I need to go back to ask the naturalist what they are. We ate lunch at Mikee’s – a rather ordinary looking eatery but the meal was superb.  We both had mahi – mine was blackened, John’s grilled.  Meals were half price at noon so the meal was $18 including salad, potatoes, drinks, mahi and taxes!  We will definitely go back there.  We are eating our main meal at noon and having sandwiches or soup in the evenings.

When we returned, we walked on the beach and John met another golfer.  They have a tee time for tomorrow morning at Gulf Shores State Park Golf Course.  That means I will have some time alone! That is a good thing.  The waves were impressive on the beach and there were lots of gulls.  Otherwise, I haven’t seen much wildlife yet.

Now John is watching Alabama and Notre Dame in the BCS football game (whatever that is).  He is yelling “Roll Tide” like a native and we’ve only been here 30 hours.  Oh, dear.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

This is our entry to the beach. We aren’t in Arkansas any more!

Yesterday we arrived in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We are on the far western end of the Gulf Shores Peninsula just a mile or two from Fort Morgan.  The ferry ride over from Mobile was rough and there were only three vehicles crossing at 2 p.m.  I suppose there might have been room for 8 or 9 more.  Our rental property is on East Buchanan Street which is one of about six short streets off of Highway 180 which runs the width of the peninsula and in to the town of Gulf Shores which is about 20 miles from our residence.

J.E.B. has been a trooper.  He travelled well and seems to be adjusting to things here.  When we arrived it was windy and overcast. It even rained on the way over on the ferry (about a 30 minute ride – runs every 90 minutes).  We walked down to the beach (about half a block away – Photo 1) and then went for a ride into Gulf Shores where we ate an early dinner at The Oyster House.  John had shrimp, I had crabcakes.  We came back home and watched the season opener of Downton Abbey.  Such intrigue, drama and romance!

This morning J.E.B. and I greeted the sunrise on the beach.  It was windy and about 39 degrees — cold! We saw a man with a little white dog named Louie but no other activity in sight.  There are 18 houses on our little street, very close together, up on stilts.  Three of them have For Sale Signs and several more have For Rent signs.  Only five have signs of habitation right now.

Cedar Waxwing Pool Party in Bella Vista

The birds have been flocking to my heated birdbath – many varieties – including about two dozen cedar waxwings.  Today was the first day I saw them IN the birdbath, though.  They were splashing around and having a grand time.  I had to refill the birdbath when they left.

Cedar Waxwing Pool Party in Bella Vista

Cedar Waxwing Pool Party in Bella Vista


Cold Morning Visitors

This morning it turned cold. Up north it turned a lot colder and the folks up there got snowed on.  Consequently, my heated bird bath has really been popular this morning.  I’ve seen scads of cedar waxwings who are just passing through as well as a round of robins (the proper term for a group of such birds). The regular suspects were all here, too:  bluebirds, cardinals, goldfinches, titmouses (or is it titmice?), house finches, and even a pine siskin, I think.  Still checking on that one.  It had yellow stripes on wings and a yellow patch on its rump and my birdbook says that means it is a pine siskin rather than a juvenile or female finch.  I’ve even had a few crows stop in for a drink though they usually don’t stick around here much.  They all gave me an hour of enjoyment.

Bella Vista Book Group List

Here is the reading list for the Bella Vista Book Group.  This group meets monthly and each year reads fiction, non-fiction, a work by an Arkansas author and a classic.


In the Garden of Beasts, Larsen

Moloka’I, Brennert

Steve Jobs, Isaacson

Light from a Distant Star, Morris

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story, Ackerman

Tortilla Flat, Steinbeck

Caleb’s Crossing, Brooks

The Ture Account: A Novel of the Lewis and Clark and Kinneson Expeditions, Mosher

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See

Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock, Margolick


Freedom, Franzen

Doc, Russell

The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson

The Truth about Celia, Brockmeier

White Noise, DeLillo

Cleopatra: A Life, Shiff

The Forgotten Garden, Morton

The Power and the Glory, Greene

Left Neglected, Genova

Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Vreeland


Rising Tide:  The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, Barry

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Smith

Thurgood Marshall, Williams

The Help, Stockett

Arkansas/Arkansaw, Blevins

The Whistling Season, Doig

Lacuna, Kingsolver

The Madonnas of Leningrad, Dean

A Thread of Grace, Russell

People of the Book, Brooks


Bridge of Sighs, Russo

The Post-American World, Zakaria

Dreams from My Father, Obama

Where the Road Begins, Dane

Maytrees, Dillard

Sarah’s Key, DeRosmay

Street of a Thousand Blossoms, Tsukiyama

Winter of Our Discontent, Steinbeck

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Shaffer & Barrows

The Girls from Ames, Zaslow


Suite Francaise, Nemirovsky

So Big, Ferber

Gertrude Bell:  Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, Howell

Isaac’s Storm:  The Drowning of Galveston, 8 September 1900, Larson

Widow of the South, Hicks

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini

To Great Mischief, MacLeod

The Nine:  Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, Toobin

Augusta Locke, Henderson

Woods Colt, Williamson


The Emperor’s Children, Messud

The Distinguished Guest, Miller

Team of Rivals, Goodwin

Florence of Arabia, Buckley

The Worst Hard Time, Egan

Gilead, Robinson

Forgetfulness, Just

Will Rogers, Yagoda

Year of Magical Thinking, Didion

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston


Empire, Vidal

Jayber Crow, Berry

The March, Doctorow

All the Live Little Things, Stegner

Leap of Faith:  Memoirs of an Unexpected Life, Queen Noor

Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi

This House of Sky, Doig

Northanger Abbey, Austen

By the Lake, McGahern

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk, McDougal


Giants in the Earth, Rolvaag

The Language of threads, Tsukiyama

Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson

Unless, Shields

Devil in the White City, Larson (1890s)

Atonement, MacEwan

American Dream, DeParles (women off welfare in Milwaukee

Three Junes, Glass (gay)

The Earth Is Enough, Middleton (Arkansas boy raised by two old men, Duvall movie

Kite Runner, Hosseini

B&N Book Group List

People often ask me for the lists from my reading groups so I decided to post them here.

B&N Book Group


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow

The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites


The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

Girl in Translation by Kwok

Await Your Reply by Chaon

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Simonson

Tinkers by Harding

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Keeping Time by Stacey McGlynn

Room by  Emma Donoghue

Lord of Misrule by J Gordon


Verghese – The Tennis Partner

Stokett – The Help

Dragon House by John Shors

The Outlander by Gil Adamson (not to be confused with the book by Gabaldon)

The Return by Victoria Hislop

World Made by Hand by James Kunstler

No Angel by Penny Vincenzi

Columbine by Cullen

The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang


Jones-The Known World

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Greene – Once Upon a Town


Landvik – Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

Harington – With

Chessman – Someone Not Really Her Mother

Picoult – Picture Perfect

Simon – Riding the Bus with My Sister

Wells – Ya-Yas in Bloom

Trollope – The Rector’s Wife

Lawson – Crow Lake

Boyle – Tortilla Curtain

Hegi – Stones from the River

Escandon – Gonzalez & Daughter Trucking Co.


Hoseini – Kite Runner

Siddons – Sweetwater Creek

Kohn – The Gilded Chamber

Fergus – One Thousand White Women

Otsuka – When the Emperor Was Divine

Tan – Saving Fish from Drowning

Archer – False Impression

Alverez -In the time of Butterflies

Williams – Refuge

Robinson – Gilead

Zusak – The Book Thief

Hill – Ursula Under


Landvik – Oh, My Stars

Berg – We Are All Welcome Here

Frazier – Thirteen Moons

Setterfield – Thirteenth Tale

Gruen – Water for Elephants

Greenway – White Ghost Girls

Pamuk – Snow

Kuettner – March to a Promised Land: The Civil Rights Files of a White Reporter

Jacoway – Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis that Shocked the Nation

Thomason – Liberating Paris

Maguire – An Infinity  of Little Hours

Ironside – No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club


Beah – A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Stegner – Angle of Repose

McGovern – Eye Contact

Bennett – The Uncommon Reader

Patchett – Run

Kahf – Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

Clinch – Finn

Dean – The Madonnas of Leningrad

Martin – Trespass

Harington – Farther Along

Samet – Soldier’s Heart

Montgomery – The Good Good Pig, the Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood


Harris – The Girl with No Shadow

Shaffer/Barrows – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Wroblewski – The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Ebershoff – The 19th Wife

Jordan – Mudbound

Horan – Loving Frank

Barry – The Lace Reader

De los Santos – Belong to Me

Ford – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Petterson – Out Stealing Horses

Chopin – The Awakening

Accidental Capture

This nuthatch has successfully evaded my attempts to get a good photo of him all summer.  This time I didn’t realize that a female finch flew by just as the shutter blinked. She looks like a phantom bird.