1 0 Tag Archives: Florida
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Friends of Lake Louisa State Park 5k

Today, Yvonne and I ran the Friends of Lake Louisa State Park 5k in Clermont, Florida with a couple of friends from here in town. Lake Louisa State Park is quite nice, featuring a large lake (of course), some swampy areas (I love those), and a variety of nature trails. I managed to get third place in my age group, but that doesn’t mean I’m fast – it means I’m old 😆

Friends of Lake Louisa State Park 5k

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26. May, 2018
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Only in The Villages

… would UPS drivers deliver packages in golf carts!

The Villages, Florida UPS golf cart

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Walking

Running half marathons, 10ks, 5ks, and the like for exercise is fantastic. But recently I’ve also been doing a lot of walking, just for walking’s sake.

There are plenty of great benefits to regular walking. It’s good for your body, heart, and waistline, gives you energy, and fills you with those mysterious “happy endorphins”. It doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective, so you don’t have to push yourself to do it. Just get out there and go.

Often, when I walk, I listen to audio books on my MP3 player. I’ve gone through a great many books this way. Though sometimes I’ll listen to music, or simply keep the headphones off, and listen to what’s going on around me in civilization and in nature.

This afternoon I went walking with my mom around Lake Sumter Landing in The Villages, Florida. It was a really nice walk – the weather has been wonderful in Florida this November, with warm air coupled with cool breezes. It was great to simply go walking on a nice day.

Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, Florida

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LibCon

Went to LibCon at the central library in Orlando yesterday. It was a good event – well planned, and well attended. I got to meet a variety of readers and writers of various genres – young adult, middle grade, fantasy, mystery – though it seemed to me that the books veered toward YA and MG.

I attended several of the panels: creating characters, young adult novels, and non-fiction writing. It was nice to hear what the panelists had to say. Two of the best tips on writing that I heard, and unfortunately I can’t remember who exactly said them, were “write with confidence” and “believe in your writing”. I find that writing with confidence works – when you’re writing, write like you know what you’re doing, and that confidence will come across on the page. And if you believe in your writing, you won’t change your vision based on negative feedback or those distracting little voices in your head saying “this isn’t good enough, don’t bother”. True, if your agent or editor has suggestions for changes to your manuscript, perhaps you should give them weight – but if you throw your project off track because someone in your critique group has harsh words about it, you may be doing the wrong thing.

One interesting thing I found in the Orlando library was a room full of training simulators! They had one for driving, one for flying, one for operating an excavator, and one for operating a forklift. These were part of the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center, an amazing and free resource if you have an Orange County library card. They have these simulators, a music production studio, a variety of technical and computer programming classes, and a computer lab. Definitely worth checking out if you live in the area.

Training simulators at the Orlando public library

And if you look carefully (or maybe not so carefully), you can see me in the reflection on the window!

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Birds and dragonflies

My father got himself a new DSLR camera just before his cruise along the scenic rivers of Germany and the Netherlands with my mother (they’re over there now). As a result, he gave me his old Nikon DSLR, including a telephoto lens, for which I am very grateful. Let the fun begin!

This afternoon I went for a walk around Lake Rianhard in Celebration, where there are usually plenty of birds and insects native to Central Florida, some turtles, and occasionally a few alligators. I didn’t see any alligators today, but I did see plenty of herons, egrets, and dragonflies. Naturally I brought the camera along and popped on the telephoto lens to try my hand at taking a few pictures. The telephoto doesn’t have an auto-focus, which made it more challenging to use, but also more fun to play around with.

Green dragonfly

A green dragonfly on a plant stem.

Blue dragonfly

A blue dragonfly in the marsh.

Dragonfly on a root

A dragonfly on a tree root. You can see a little ant crawling along the root in front of him.

Little Blue Heron

A Little Blue Heron in the reeds.

I’m certainly no professional, but hey, it’s a start. I’m looking forward to getting out there again with the camera someday soon. Maybe there’ll be some alligators next time…!

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Hiking in Florida

Cypress trees at the Disney Wilderness PreserveLately we’ve been venturing outside for frequent family walks. We’re big fans of nature (especially Callum – he loves checking out interesting plants and trees, and growing his own garden at our place) so we will often hike into the wilderness to explore interesting ecosystems or go on a search for one of Callum’s favorite things – carnivorous plants!

Here in Central Florida there are some really nice wetlands areas to visit. I’ve written two blog posts on Mixminder documenting our visits to two of them. In February we visited the Hal Scott Preserve, where we managed to find numerous different carnivorous plants in the wild. And this past weekend we visited the Disney Wilderness Preserve, an 11,500 acre mitigation project owned by The Walt Disney Company and managed by The Nature Conservancy. We nearly got caught outside in a massive electrical storm, but fortunately we managed to escape unscathed.

It’s been great getting outside to explore and learn more about Florida’s natural ecosystems. We’re looking forward to heading out there again soon.

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Out and about with the mouse

How often can one family go to Disneyworld? We may be in the process of finding out. We live quite close to Disney’s massive expanse of property here in central Florida, and Yvonne got the family annual passes to the parks even before I arrived back from France! So we tend to hit up a Disney theme park at least once a week.

Part of the fun of living so close to Disneyworld is letting yourself get wrapped up in it. We’ve got Disney “cast members” for neighbors, participate in many of the runs that Disney hosts, and often go for walks along the Disney boardwalk or at Downtown Disney.

Dapper Day

March 9th, 2014 was Dapper Day at the Magic Kingdom. The idea is to dress dapper for an outing to the park… the way a family might have dressed for a day out at Disneyland in California when it first opened in 1955. We didn’t have a whole ton of clothes that looked like they were from the 1950s, but that didn’t stop us from dressing up to the best of our abilities for the day and parading around the park a bit.

Visiting Snow White on Dapper Day

Amelia and Callum with Snow White on Dapper Day.

Magician Mickey Mouse

Me and Magician Mickey.

Brian on Dapper Day

Me riding the carousel on Dapper Day.

International Flower and Garden Festival

Currently, the International Flower and Garden Festival for 2014 is taking place at Epcot. Callum is really into plants – he cares for quite a few of his own, and loves to learn about the various varieties of plants and how to grow them. It’s fun to visit Epcot during the festival to see the various character topiaries and to check out the different types of food they’ve got available (like the Dole Whip at the Pineapple Promenade, for example).

Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot

The topiaries behind Spaceship Earth at the Flower and Garden Festival.

Sunset at the World Showcase

I managed to catch a really nice sunset at the World Showcase. I think this was right next to the China pavilion.

While at the Flower and Garden Festival we did something I’ve always wanted to do – eat at the San Angel Inn Restaurante. That’s the restaurant located inside the Mexico pavilion, right at the back overlooking the water and the Three Caballeros ride that meanders past it. We managed to get a table right beside the water (can’t hurt to ask, can it?) so it took a while for us to finish eating… the kids spent most of the time waving to people passing by on their little boats and calling out, “¡Hola!”

Overlooking the ride at the San Angel Inn Restaurante.

Waving at people passing by at the San Angel Inn Restaurante.

At the San Angel Inn Restaurante

Callum and I at the San Angel Inn Restaurante. It was pretty dark. But I guess that’s the idea…

Hanging out at the parks

And finally…

The kids with Pluto

Callum and Amelia with Pluto. I don’t even remember where this was from.

Hollywood Studios hat

Amelia in front of the Hollywood Studios Sorcerer Mickey hat.

Riding Space Mountain

Amelia rode Space Mountain for the first time. She was brave enough to do it, but I don’t think she liked it very much!

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Celebration Half Marathon

Lately, Yvonne has really been getting into running. A few years ago she ran a half-marathon in Alaska with Team In Training, a group that raises money for cancer research through sponsoring race participants. She has also completed numerous 5ks and 10ks, and she ran the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa, Florida a few months ago. Now that we live near Disneyworld, there are plenty of really fun Disney runs that she’s been signing up for – as have the kids. I am very proud of them! It’s a great way to keep in shape by working toward a series of running goals.

I’ve been a runner for some time now, but I normally just run to stay in shape. I haven’t historically run a bunch of staged runs – 5ks, 10ks, and the like. That said – with Yvonne and the kids getting into amassing medals, how could I not want to join in the fun?

Last week, Yvonne and I ran the Celebration Half Marathon. This was part of an inaugural (that’s a fancy word that means “first”) marathon and half marathon event in Celebration, Florida. I was happy to be a part of this inaugural event. It was a nice run, that took place on a nice, not-too-hot not-too cold morning, that meandered its way around the town of Celebration. The marathon that accompanied the half ran a similar route, but twice… so I was much happier running the half and not the full. If I’m going to run an actual marathon I don’t want to have to see people completing their races and going after the drinks and snacks, knowing that I still have another 13.1 miles to go!

The medals for the race were quite nice (picture below), and I was impressed by the t-shirt they gave out… it is more than a simple white t-shirt; it is made of a nice meshy material that is good for running in (that I don’t know what it’s called), and is multicolored green and white. I’d post a picture of the shirt if I had one, but I don’t – you’ll just have to catch me wearing it one day.

As for recovery – Yvonne and I were both pretty sore after the race, but not overly so. We had prepared for the race beforehand, so aside from some limping around with sore calves for a day or two after the race, there were no problems with completing it and recovering from it. In fact, I was surprised that it was not more difficult to complete than it was.

And now, predictably, I’m looking for more races to sign up for. Maybe the Tower of Terror 10 miler? I hear that’s a fun one. Bring it on!

Celebration Half Marathon finish line

Me after the race. My dad took this picture – he watched the kids while we raced, and walked with them to various parts of the course to cheer us on.

Celebration Half Marathon medal

Yvonne and I after the race with our Celebration Half Marathon medals. Go us!

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