Here's to Perfect Birthdays!


***Photo by Lorna Tedder — I am amazed that my camera phone came even this close to capturing the colors on the lake at Grayton Beach. There was more reddish-rust color in the middle than shows in the pic, but this picture was taken looking from the wet sand at our feet, into the lake, and toward the Northern shore, near Seaside.  I thought my sunglasses were playing tricks on the colors but they were even better with the naked eye. ***

Today was a perfect birthday  celebration, a day early.  Technically, today was the exact solar return, the day the sun was in the position as when I was born, but we celebrated today instead of tomorrow because the girls are supposed to be with me on my birthday and every year, they have a State  competition, which was held locally this year, so I could spend Sunday with them if not the whole weekend.  I had wanted to take them to the beach for my birthday, and with it falling on Monday, it wasn’t practical this year since they’d be home just in time for homework and not for playing with Mom.  But that’s okay because it turned out beautifully.

We slept in and then headed out to Sandestin shortly after noon for a yummy lunch and dessert.  Yes, today was Cheat Day on my diet and I took full advantage of it!  With temps in the sunny low 70’s, we drove around one of my favorite spots, Grayton Beach, for a while, then headed to the Grayton Beach State Park.  We instantly regretted forgetting our cameras and there’s no way my little camera phone can capture what Shannon’s professional camera could.  The sky was so clear and beautiful, with pelicans flying overhead so close we could almost reach up and grab them.  The sand was its usual snowy white, and we headed for my favorite–the nature trails that are compared to “Middle Earth” because of the way the magnolias, pines, and oaks have twists like big bonsai trees with embankments of sand around them.  I always love walking into the entrance of the dome of trees.  It’s like walking through caves made of sand and trees.  

After a walk through the “Middle Earth,” and later trails flanked by hip-high sea grasses, we headed out onto the beach front.  The sand here is “singing sand,” so that when your bare feet strike it, it makes a barking sound.  The Gulf was at an all-time perfect beauty today, rolling in  on gentle waves.  As usual, we had most of the area to ourselves, with maybe 20 other people on the entire beach, and most of them were either jogging, fishing, or flying kites.    It was so relaxing….just sheer paradise today.  After seeing my beloved dunes leveled twice by hurricanes Opal and Ivan, I’m thrilled to see them making a comeback. 

We drove around Seaside for a while and decided against stopping in at the shops and instead headed back to Destin for some…shopping.  We had sundresses in mind, and I found several amazing dresses that fit perfectly–and at a great sale.  There’s nothing quite like dress shopping after you’ve lost a size or two!  I really need to date more to show these off…. Oooh, and did I mention one was purple?

We ended the day at the Bonefish Grill, with the girls drawing on the tablecloth with crayons just as they did as kids at another favorite restaurant and then the three of us sniffly from too many Bang Bang Shrimp and taking home leftovers.  

Back at the house, there was the phone call from the credit card company’s fraud department, concerned because I’d gassed up my car early in the day and Shannon’s car in the evening, plus several charges in tourist spots.  And then there was the omigod-where’s-my-chorus-dress-because-I-have-a-concert-in-the-morning-freak-out at 10:00 and the subsequent midnight dry cleaning.  

Yes, it was a superb day, even with the “normal” stuff settling in around us before bedtime.