Sometimes we don’t get along with our family members. Sometimes they are our best friends.

Brighton and Seamus at training

Brighton and Seamus at training

On Tuesday night, Brighton met his “brother” — P’s parents’ dog Seamus — and it was not a happy family reunion. P and I live in his parents Winter home where they stay for a few months every year. We knew there would come a day when Brighton had to meet and share his home with his little Yorkie brother.

On their first meeting, there was a lot of chaos. Seamus was tired from the plane ride into town; Brighton was confused about all the new things going on; and let’s face it, P and I are amateurs and do not know how to introduce dogs.

When we first started training with Brighton, we told our behaviorist that there would need to be this introduction. So we scheduled a day-long “meet and greet” with the dogs in neutral territory at our training center. On Wednesday we brought the dogs there, where they spent a day getting to know each other slowly under supervision. The behaviorist said it’s important to not rush the process, and there was the possibility that they could be kept overnight at their kennel and work together the next day, too.

It was suggested on Wednesday afternoon that the dogs stay together for another day, so we picked them up today (Thursday) after two full days of training. The results….. Brighton loves his new brother!

We have only been home for a few hours, but they are getting along splendidly! Right now Brighton is sleeping after two long days of training, but he was playing with Seamus in the living room until nap time!


Training Tip

We learned a new tip for training Brighton today. Our behaviorist told us that if Brighton is jumping and lunging on the leash that we should grab him under the arm pits and swing his bottom legs back and forth. It is really embarrassing for him but does not hurt him or anything. This could be used when he is being reactive/hyperactive outside because it lets him know that his behavior is not appropriate and he calms down right away.

beach running.

i’ve been doing a lot of beach bumming… but i’ve been doing a lot of beach running as well!

a few years ago, when i kept up with this blog and wrote a lot about nutrition / yoga / exercise, i wrote an entry about trail running. trail running is still one of my favorite environments for running. i’ve never encountered a spider while trail running, but if i had i probably wouldn’t like it as much. but aside from bugs/wildlife, i don’t see any negatives to trail running. there are several obstacles to trail running. first of all, there are actual obstacles, like narrow running spaces, hills/divots, tree branches, rocks, etc to trip over, etc. there’s also the very real possibility of getting lost if you are not paying attention. and finally, there’s the fact that you need to buy special trail running shoes. and those are definitely necessary so that you don’t twist an ankle on any tree branches or sharp, unexpected turns.

trail running – to me – is the ultimate form of relaxation because you are alone in the woods with your thoughts. there is no one to bother you and nothing to see except nature. when running in the woods, you often wonder if you want to go back to “that place” with cars, jobs, cell phones, and money. can’t you just stay here and run around some more?

live grateful dead jams are the best soundtrack to running here in the morning

live grateful dead jams are the best soundtrack to running here in the morning

but i have to tell you… beach running is a very close second to trail running! it is supremely awesome and almost just as peaceful. while running, i get to enjoy the scenery of the beach, and if it’s early enough, there isn’t a soul in sight. maybe some early morning swimmers. later in the day… there are a ton of people and it is annoying.

while i really enjoy the scenery of the forest and trees, i’ve come to really really love the clear water of the gulf of mexico. although it’s always the same – sand and water and sky – who can get tired of looking at the relaxing waves, bright blue sky, and water that seems to sparkle in the sun??  the water is always different. i know that sounds dumb, but it’s true. sometimes it’s light and sparkly; sometimes its rough, thick, and with big waves. sometimes it’s clear blue… and sometimes it’s a green color. it depends on the way the sun is shining!

this morning, Patrick and i went to the beach during low tide. i ran and he swam. waves gently crashed into the sand, barely making a sound. after running, we walked down to paradise grille to get some breakfast, and on our way back we walked out on a sandbar that was about 8-12 feet from the shore. the waves barely brushed our ankles even though we were so far away and there was deep water between us and the shore. it was actually really cool, because in the middle it was like there were two sets of waves crashing into each other from opposite directions.

after a run and some breakfast, patrick and i walked on this sandbar off the shore

after a run and some breakfast, patrick and i walked on this sandbar off the shore

when trail running in the forest there is constant shade. i used to love that because i felt protected. nowadays, i actually love being out in the open. i’m sure to wear my coconut-smelling hawaiian tropic SPF 50 sunscreen though… that sun beating down on you can really take a toll on your skin.

regarding safety, there are still issues that must be considered when beach running. for instance, there is a pitch to the shore and you have to be careful about the angle your feet are landing on. it’s actually not advised to run close to the waves but a little further up along the packed part so your feet have a more “solid” and even landing ground. if it’s high tide, you may not have a chance to find that hard packed sand and have to run on loose sand. this is bad for the ankles.

the other safety issue is sun exposure. like mentioned, wear your high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen. i also bought a cool nike hat to wear. i am very worried about skin cancer on my head. patrick says i look like a dork but i don’t care.

aside from the awesome scenery and tranquility, beach running is also beneficial for runners. i’ve been reading a lot about it, and many running experts claim that beach running is a good workout to help with speed. training on the sand helps runners to run faster when they run races on the street. beach running also helsp build up some different foot and leg muscles than those used on hard surfaces or level ground. this is because the foot has to move and adjust in order to balance itself on the uneven and constantly changing sand beneath ones feet. pretty interesting, eh?

i guess the bottom line – whether you enjoy trail running or beach running – is to enjoy whatever landscape you have and make the most out of running outside. pass-a-grille beach has become my new favorite place since we moved here, and now beach running has become my new favorite hobby/exercise.  but next time i’m back home in the midwest i will have to take advantage of some trail running!


some photos.

dali museum maze - february 2013

dali museum maze – february 2014

late 1st Century BC. Bust of Roman Emporer Augustus

late 1st Century BC. Bust of Roman Emperor Augustus


15th century Jain scultpure from India

15th century Jain sculpture from India

chihuly - sunset persian wall (2010)

chihuly – persian ceiling (2010)

anthony and patrick in the maze - february 2013

anthony and patrick in the maze – february 2014

chihuly chandelier

chihuly – azul de medianocher chandelier (2002)


chihuly - mille fiori (2010)

chihuly – mille fiori (2010)


i’ve always been a fan of art.  i’m not a fanatic… or an artist… but i love all things creative/artistic and am drawn to the artsy and crafty stuff. i enjoy literature, poetry, short stories, cinematic films, plays, documentaries, drawings, paintings, etchings, wood designs, glass designs, collages, paper mache, screen printing, calligraphy/font design, graphic design, cartooning, jewelry design, clay/tile mosaics, metal art, mixed-media art, photography, linographs, lithographs, pottery, sculptures, architecture, landscape design, feng shui, interior design, fashion design… etc etc. i am drawn to everything creative… even scrapbooking and creative journaling!

lucky for me, st petersburg has a great local art scene. i wrote earlier about the local businesses… but local art is even more special here. every day i’m learning about more and more cool art enclaves in and around st pete! there are also monthly art walks, where certain galleries or art hot shops are highlighted on a trolley tour.

benchDALI MUSEUM – this was the first museum that we went to in st petersburg… and this place is amazing! the architecture is unique, and there is a maze in the back courtyard. we went here when my brother was in town in february. i loved it. my most favorite Dali painting is housed here, and i feel lucky knowing that it is so close. we took some cool pictures in and around the garden/maze.

CHIHULY COLLECTION – i went to see the chihuly collection this past june with my friend Megan, who was in town for the weekend. we had a great time in this small gallery! it was filled with glass sculptures by dale chihuly and is the largest permanent collection of his work. his pieces are exquisite! the best part was that museumgoers were able to take pictures of the art!

as you know from the bday post, Patrick and i went here yesterday! admission was only $5 on thursdays after 5pm, and there was plenty of time to explore this museum before it closed at 8pm. its downtown location is perfect for a nice stroll along the bay and among the banyan trees. Patrick enjoyed this museum more than the Dali because there was a variety of art housed here. we saw busts/sculptures from various regions and empires (ancient rome, ancient egypt, africa, india, china) and paintings from Cezanne, Monet, Gaughin, O’Keefe, de Kooning, etc.  the two exhibits that were available we also very unique – the young chinese artists exhibit, and the aaron siskind photography exhibit. great stuff! we will have to keep track of the exhibits and come back another thursday night.

there are a few more museums and galleries we would like to check out. our next main attraction might be the ringling museum in sarasota. we are also interested in the tampa art museum out in tampa, the contemporary art museum on the USF campus in tampa, a museum up in tarpon springs, and a local glass artist’s gallery that we might check out this weekend in the warehouse district. in the meantime, there are plenty of small art galleries and boutiques to keep me busy. st pete is tre cool!



Patrick’s birthday

today is Patrick’s birthday! happy birthday Patrick!

i had the day off since i am working on an upcoming saturday, so we took advantage and had an amazing day in st petersburg!  here’s a list of the cool shit we did today:birthday swim

1. woke up early to go to pass-a-grille beach. i ran to the don cesar and back and Patrick went for a birthday swim. the waves were huge!

2. ate breakfast at one of our fave breakfast places – the seahorse off gulf blvd. i had blueberry pancakes and Patrick had the corned beef special.

3. sat out by the merry pier and watched the water wildlife while overlooking the bay. we saw sand sharks, many schools of tiny fish, a needle fish, and tons of birds (including some big pelicans). inside the pier shop Patrick got some pamphlets about upcoming dolphin/sunset boat tours, as well as private and group fishing expeditions. they go out 80 miles off the coast!

4our favorite tree. caught up on some x-files. yeah, we are trying to watch the whole series (9 seasons!)

5. got a package in the mail from my mom! it included a cool v-neck shirt for Patrick (he loves v-necks… i don’t know how my mom knew that), and an awesome sheer shirt, sparkly dangly earrings, a beautiful scarf from italy (thanks, fratello!), and money for me!

6. went to the museum of fine arts in downtown st petersburg. it is only $5 after 5pm on thursdays. there were two exhibits: one on young chinese artists and another on aaron siskind’s photography series of harlem during the great depression. the permanent collection was great, too! a ton of cool paintings, sculptures, furniture, and statuettes. some from ancient times.trees with lights

7. walked around downtown st pete a bit before our dinner reservations. we love the banyan trees and spanish moss that grow around here. there is also a section of trees that are covered with small twinkling christmas lights. it was beautiful.

8. had a nice italian dinner at bella brava in downtown st pete. Patrick had pork with marscapone mashed potatoes, and i had chicken piccata with broccoli. we finished off our meal with cappuccino, chocolate cake, and sea salt caramel ice cream. oh, and patrick had fried calamari. yuck.

9. watching more x-files before bed!! back to the grind tomorrow… until the weekend & my birthday on monday!!

creatures of florida

no… not talking about Floridians! although there are a ton of ::crazy florida:: news stories, the people here are pretty average. the creatures i’m talking about are …. wildlife creatures!

ALLIGATORS – yes … there are ‘gators here! and not just up at gainsville (Univ. of Fla). Patrick spotted one when he was at the golf course. this big guy likes to lounge out on the rocks near a creek to sunbathe!alligator

LIZARDS – there are tons of tiny lizards running around! they are generally harmless and very very cute! these guys – called brown annoles – can release their tail if captured. don’t worry… it grows back.

SNAKES – i’ve only seen two black garden snakes during the daily afternoon walks I take with my coworkers. but today i heard a news report on NPR warning floridians about some kind of python common to this area. apparently these pythons have recently been responsible for disrupting the mammalian ecosystem (because they eat big mammmals!) and can even attack gators! look out!

ROACHES – there are these bugs called Palmetto Bugs. they are just huge roaches with wings. kind of like cicadas but more gross. i am not a fan.

BIRDS – there are so many cool birds. so many. bird 1

OTHER INSECTS – lots of spiders, dragonflies, huge wasps, black/red/yellow grasshoppers, this huge orange grasshopper i snapped a pic of last week, and fuzzy caterpillars.

BEARS – there aren’t any bears around here… but one was spotted (lying in a resident’s hammock!) near Daytona Beach. That’s on the other coast of florida.

orange hopperOTTERS – we saw 4 cute otters swimming in the creek behind the hospital about 2 months ago. we don’t think we’ll ever see them again.otter

TURTLES – also in the creek are turtles!! so cute.

DOLPHINS – i haven’t personally seen them yet, but patrick’s parents have seen them jumping through the waves

STINGRAYS – patrick and i have both seen rays, but patrick’s mom got up-close-and-personal with some in the gulf (of mexico) at pass-a-grille beach. they did not sting her – but there were a ton, she said!

SHARKS – no one we know has personally seen a shark… but they’re out there.

MANATEES – there are apparently manatees close to us – in the bay near Gulfport as well as in a Manatee Reserve just south of here. i would love to see one of these big guys!

FISH / SEA ANIMALS – besides the dolphins, rays, manatees, and sharks, there are tons of fish and fish-like creatures. one day on the bay patrick and i think we saw some kind of squid-like thing swimming around!

keep your city local!

one thing i really love about st petersburg is the local art and retail scene. while there are chain restaurants, chain grocery stores, and chain retailers here, i would say that we mostly patronize local/independent shops/restaurants. one of my favorite stickers i see out and about in st petersburg is the “keep st pete local” sticker. i love seeing it on business shop doors and knowing that there is a tight community of local business owners that stick together.

speaking of a tight communitst pete localy, patrick and i had fun a few weeks ago at the local indie market! each month there is a small (about 1 block) indie market showcasing local businesses. we purchased a growler of kombucha from a local kombucha company that brews right here in st pete. it was a great little market and a neat way to introduce ourselves to local businesses!

there’s a main street that runs thru the middle of st pete called central ave that has a ton of shops, restaurants, art studios, thrift/retail stores, and etc. basically, the tampa bay is all the way at the eastern end of central ave and it goes down several blocks. we typically drive up 31st street and go thru 30 blocks of cool, unique, local businesses until we reach the end. central ave is home to some of our most favorie things, including our favorite breakfast place;  3 cool record stores; a favorite taco place; the largest bookstore in the united states; a 3-story art center/studio thacraftsman houset offers cool art classes; two of my favorite thai restaurants; and my favorite jewelry store. lots of cool local stuff here for sure!!

this past saturday patrick & i had lunch at the Craftsman house off 29th and central ave. it is a converted bungalow right off the street filled with exquisite artwork from local artists. their pottery was so awesome! i also fell in love with these beautiful clay wall pieces. since they also have a cafe, we sat out on the porch to enjoy lunch in st pete on a beautiful, sunny, summer day. the city of st petersburg has a laid back & happy vibe and we never want to leave! but more importantly, we want to keep inhabiting and supporting our local neighborhood businesses!



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