Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Break for Seniors

 Normally this time of year we are returning from a  family spring break trip to some island in the Caribbean, often named after a saint.  This year son #1 is living and working in South America.  Son #2 is busy balancing  college, a job and a girl friend. I wasn’t inclined to go anywhere. But  a “use it or lose it” policy on hubby's 6 weeks of annual vacation, and emails  from Allegiant Air advertising $79 round trip fares from Richmond to FLA changed my plans.

  Off to the west coast of FLA we went.   Son #1 teased us about going  on spring break for seniors in  somewhere called St. Boca Raton (Rat's Mouth). Definitely a city in FLA, different coast, but not named for a saint.  The round trip  flight ended up costing about $200 per person because we wanted to take luggage, both carryon and checked, wanted to sit in seats with leg room for adults, etc.  Allegiant charges for every little thing, including water and cola in flight drinks. My coworker told me this airline got started with charters to casinos and is now one of the most profitable airlines. Hmmm. The  airline personnel were very outgoing and helpful. The flight was great and I would fly with them again.

The west coast of FLA certainly has a lot of islands and interesting state park. We started in Bradenton and drove down the coast  a little each day, stopping at  parks, museums, botanical gardens and beaches that looking interesting. We visited the island of Anna Maria because I had read an article in Southern Living Magazine about it.  We enjoyed the Ringling Circus Museum  and the Art Museum in  Sarasota. On to Fort Myers and  Pine Island,  where we hiked a lovely trail around huge shell mounds and learned about the Calusa Indians.

We visited Sanibel and  Captiva Islands, admired the beautiful homes and visited the shell museum. 
We spent a couple days in Naples, staying in a lovely hotel located a block from the scenic downtown area.  We visited a nearby state park that was the site of a settlement built by a group, known as the Koreshan Unity,  who believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. They lived a life of industry and abstinence until, not surprisingly, the group petered out.

We went hiking at the Bird  Rookery Swamp Trail.

The path was the bed of an old railroad used for cypress logging. The  swampy black water came right up to the edge of the path.  About 3 miles in, we began to see lots of baby alligators and a few medium sized ones.  If they were on the banks of the swamp, they slithered back into the water as we approached.  We were on the way back to the car, trying to beat a big thunderstorm blowing in, when we came across this guy laying on the path. He showed no inclination to move, so we tiptoed quickly by.


This is as close as my husband would get for a photo op.

 My favorite park was Weeki Wachi Springs. It is the site of the deepest  freshwater spring in the US.  There has been an underwater “mermaid show” performed in the spring since the 1940’s.
Ariel view of Weeki Wachi Spring

 The audience sits in front of glass windows below the surface of the water.    The mermaid show is  bit kitschy,  but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Long ago I took synchronized swimming lessons at the local swimming pool. I know how much effort and skill it takes to turn graceful flips in water without flailing and thrashing. I found  I was holding my breath as I watched the ‘mermaids” enact the Little Mermaid story for us.

  I was even more impressed  with their performance when I found out the water was about 75 degrees and has a 5 mile per hour current because there is 112 million gallons a day bubbling up through a 20 by 3 foot opening in the sandstone below the performers.  After I got home, I discovered via  YouTube  that they have be a mermaid training camp where ordinary people can be fitted for one of the tails and try mermaid moves in the spring. Mermaid Camp Training  I would so like to do that!

A couple days before we left for our trip,  I sewed a jumpsuit.   New Look pattern 6413. My pattern  is  marked S0264 bin 19 so I suspect I bought my pattern at a Wal-Mart.

This pattern includes dresses and jumpsuit with V-neck, front zips and two  sleeve length options. There is also a pattern for an optional belt. I made view A jumpsuit with the short sleeves. The front is closed with an invisible zipper and there is elastic at the waist.  The fabric I used is a Tie Dyed 100% rayon, crepe weave from  Jo Ann Fabrics.

It has been many years since I have sewn or worn a jumpsuit.  And at the time, I did not have a lot of fitting knowledge.  Both pants and tops sewn straight from a pattern fit well so I just assumed a jumpsuit would fit fine.  It did not, because it was too short in the torso.  This pattern is loosely fitted with an elastic waist and I needed no torso alterations.  Comparing the neckline of the bodice to my sloper showed me the neck opening was a bit wide for my narrow shoulders. I added ¾" to the inside neck at the shoulders blending in to the front V and the back neckline curve.  It is still a bit wide for my taste. I probably should have made a smaller size top blending it to the next larger size bottom. I will  look for a “statement necklace” to fill the V neck.  The jumpsuit is comfortable to wear, and easy to get on and off. I wore it out to dinner in Naples.  
New Look 6413