Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Adventures and Cooters

Wow, this was a fun-filled weekend!

Saturday morning I woke up earlier than I typically do on weekends. I was trying to make it to a 10:30am yoga class at the YMCA. Unfortunately, even at 10am I'm still struck by the morning sloth syndrome, so I didn't leave the house until 10:20. What made me even later was the fact that I really wanted to ride my bike to the gym considering it's only a 2.5 mile ride and it was a gorgeous day! Well, needless to say, I was zooming through the streets of South Tampa and made it to the gym 5 minutes too late. I would have snuck into the yoga class anyway, but they did the entire class with the lights turned off, so I assumed me walking in, bumping into 2 or 3 people in funny bendy positions, and then un-velcroing my yoga mat, might be a little (just a little!) distracting to everyone's centered energy. So I passed and worked off my frustration by lifting weights in the gym instead. I felt much better after that! I biked north again, stopped at the library (this was a great idea, but those books definitely added some weight to the bike ride), and then headed home. It was about 70 degrees outside and perfectly gorgeous!
Sunday, I decided to continue my relaxing weekend of alone-time, and while Simon headed off to ultimate frisbee, I headed north, in my car this time. I went to the Sweetwater Organic Farm Sunday Farmer's Market where I purchased a few beautiful things (can't tell you, Mom, it's a surprise!) and some amazing mixed greens, yummmm! I swayed to the band playing and watched some hula hoopers before moving on.
Next on the agenda for the day was a little bargain shopping at a place called $5fashions that was recommended by a local blog. The place had somewhat decent clothes, but no dressing room. That's just as bad as shopping from a catalog. I put all the clothes back when I found that out...unfortunately clothes never fits me the way it does on the hanger and I'm not driving back up there to return stuff, because you all know I won't make the trip and then I'll end up with a purple tube top that only fits as a hat. Stop #3 of the day was the Oldsmar Flea Market, recommended to me by Simon's mom Penny. What a cool place! Perfect for this economy. I got there at 3:30 (the produce market closes at 4pm), so I made it just in time for the produce bargains. Everything was $1!!! My final loot from the flea market included onions, mint, tomatoes, mangoes, and three necklaces. Woohooo! I'm definitely going back there. Reminds me of a combination of the small town flea markets/yard sales from Maryland and a mini-carnival (there was funnel cake and lots of stuff no one needs!).

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The final adventure of the day was a trip to the Upper Tampa Bay County Park. I didn't have much time to see the park because I was in a rush to get back to meet Simon to take his parents out for dinner (which was also fantastic!). So I walked around the visitor's center and took a walk to some of the piers surrounded by bay and mangroves. It's definitely someplace I want to go check out again. It's a small park at the northern tip of Old Tampa Bay, but it has some trails and it's a welcome break from the strip malls that surround the area. Here's what I found along some of the trails:
The seedhead from a Bushy Seaside Oxeye (Borrichia frutescens) whose leaves are surprisingly somewhat succulent.

Beginning of a propagule on a red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle). If you want to see more pictures of this plant and others, check out Shirley Denton's awesome photography!

The leaves on black mangroves (Avicennia germinans). The plants grow in salty water along the shores of the bay. How do they tolerate high levels of salt in the water? They have evolved to excrete excess salt through pores on their leaves! Plant, you're so smart!

I typically enjoy the trails more than what the visitor's centers have to offer, but I'm so happy I still ventured into this one because what was inside was really well set up. There were about 10 fish tanks with fish that can be found in the area by habitat and well labeled. There was also one with turtles in it that was my favorite. There were two species in the tank. The Ornate Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota) and the Florida Cooter (Pseudemys floridana). That name makes me giggle! But I got my mind out of the gutter and looked it up. According to an entry in Wikipedia, the name "cooter" comes from the word "kuta" which means turtle in some african languages. I'm glad to hear that!

The Florida Cooter (top) and Ornate Diamondback Terrapin (bottom). What a cute pair!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice turtles...