Flaring in Florida

I don’t go to the beach.  My feet haven’t set foot on that sandy strip between the town and the ocean.  I am too sensitive to the sun, and I’m already in a flare.  Five minutes on the beach would be stupid, fifteen a disaster.  Yet, I insist on coming here year after year, close enough to look out the window and see the ocean, or ride down the street and smell the salt water.  There is a sense here of the whole world being on vacation, a leisurely pace and casual dress, big welcoming smiles when you enter a nice restaurant in your shorts and sandals. 


Yesterday we set out for Ft. Walton Beach to find the yarn store, Unwind.  I had been there several years ago when it had another owner and another name.  The store was worth the 45 minute drive.  It is beautiful, cozy but well-organized, and carries lovely brands:  Noro, Blue Sky, Tilli Thomas, Be Sweet, Malabrigo, Auracania…and more and more.  I was allowed to browse unfettered.  Only when I approached the cash register for the final time (I had made a pile there) and said “I am ready” did someone rise from her chair at the knitting table and come over.  I purchased Tilli Thomas’ Pure and Simple spun silk in Drewbilation (a blue and green that reminded me of the ocean), and Blue Sky  Organic Cotton and Dyed Cotton (also organically grown).  The Blue Sky cottons that I purchased are a heavy worsted weight, with more heft than most organic cottons I’ve used.  Can’t wait to make something fab for a baby.  I see scarves/shawls from the silk.  It is so luxuriously soft-I’ve never had silk that felt this good.


On the way to the yarn store, we needed to find food.  We slid into a strip mall and Dayna chose 98 Barbecue, a small restaurant with rustic decor and wonderful barbecue.  We promised ourselves that we will eat there again before we leave.  The pulled pork, a rare treat for my veggie-eating self, was lean and tender.  Dayna and I shared a plate and still couldn’t finish it.  One of our sides was creamed corn nuggets, a new one for us, and exactly what it sounds like:  creamed corn in bite-size battered nuggets.  Delicious.  My girl with the great sense of direction was able to recall that we had visited the same strip mall years ago, enjoying food from a Mexican bakery that is still there. 


Speaking of baking, I made a banana bread while ago.  We brought fruit with us, knowing it would spoil if left at home.  The last three bananas went into a quick sweet bread.  I found the perfect glass baking pans in the cabinet, and filled the smaller one with batter.  It’s cooled and ready to sample.  Mmmmm.  Nice banana flavor, not too sweet.  I am the Martha Stewart of the coast.  Neglected to say that I made raisin muffins Sunday morning.  The owners conveniently left a muffin pan, something you don’t always find in a cottage rental.  Somebody here believes in cooking.


Yesterday the flare hit the fan.  I could barely move when I awoke:  the stiffness that has plagued my hands was in my hips and legs.  I had to start the emergency plan that my doc made with me:  a brief prednisone taper of 30-25-20-15-back to 10 mg over 5 days.  Waking was easier this morning.  I hate increasing the steroids, but we’re buying time until the next big B cell-killing treatment.  Damn B lymphocytes. 


He-eyy, a shout-out to all my buddies who are vacationing!  Any good yarn where you are?  I’ve still gotta go the opposite direction, to Apalachicola on the other side of Panama City, where there’s a yarn store in the back of a bookstore (or, as I would advertise it, a bookstore in the front of a yarn store).  It helps immensely to get into a store and feel those yarns that I’ve been viewing on line, to see if my drooling is worth it.  About those bookstores, we had to hit one of those yesterday, too.  Dayna had finished her book stash and was ready to find something new.  She came out with a stack, and even had Chris picking out reading material.  We can nag the younger generation all we want, they teach each other much more effectively.


Holy cow!  It’s past noon and I’ve not bathed or come out of my bathrobe.  Ain’t vacation great?






2 Responses

  1. I don’t think there’s a yarn store in Gulf Shores – I’m sure Kate would’ve found it if there were. But we had great fun this morning. Kate bought some sock “blanks”. I didn’t know what those were. Enough yarn to knit two pairs of socks, knitted 2 strands together into a stockinette piece about 12X30″(?). It’s white, and you can dye it however you want. Afterwards you can knit both socks at the same time while raveling the yarns directly from the stockinette panel, or unto it and wind to knit separately.

    Currently, our dying efforts are curing in the sun, wrapped in black plastic. Can’t wait to see what they look like when finished.


  2. There was a bead store in Gulf Shores before the big bad storm hit. Can’t remember the name of it. I remember where things are, not what they are called. If you are headed inland from the beach, it was on the right, just after a bridge. Now I like yarn and all, but beads really bring out the irrational spending in me…

    I’m glad you’ve had a vacation. There is just something relaxing about not being at home for a few days. I can’t go in the sun, either, but when we were last at the beach, we’d go just at sundown. The place we went to was in our budget range (free), but it’s been sold. So we go to Asheville instead, now. (grin)

    Have you taken any pictures?

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