Thursday, June 17, 2010

Heat Index 104 And's not even July yet. I wonder if all the oil in the Gulf has anything to do with the heat, you know increasing the speed of global climate change?

I made a beach run this morning to check out the condition of the Gulf in my town since Okaloosa Island in Ft. Walton Beach was covered in tar balls yesterday. The pictures on the local news were just awful.

Photo Galleries : Northwest Florida Daily News

For more local news on the oil and just in case that link doesn't take you to the photos here's my local newspaper links and the local news channel:

Northwest Florida Daily News Pensacola News Journal Pensacola news, community, entertainment, y


But as you can see below in my fuzzy picture, not sure what happened, the ancient Coolpix just didn't want to focus this morning, but it could be haze from the heat too, anyway, the water is clear for the time being. There was a huge skimmer ship on the horizon and I tried several times to get a shot of it and they were all big time BLURRY. I gave up. And I'm posting the two pictures below this one all for the benefit of the Florida Department of Tourism:
The water is so clear at Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach that you can see the shells. See them shells? Do you see them? The water is clean for the moment.

Look there's some toes in desperate need of a pedicure. But there is nary a tar ball floating around my feet.
I have learned a few things over the last couple of weeks. For most of my life I have been a huge supporter of Jackson Browne and his causes. What I never knew was how exhausting being an activist can be. It can take a toll on your life, your mental state and friendships. A week or so ago the spousal unit and I saw tar balls, many, many tar balls in the water and on the beach at Gulf Islands National Seashore. At the time I didn't have the oil on the shore or oil in the water numbers in my phone, at the time I didn't know we would be the only two people in the area to witness this. We took our crappy camera to CNN at Pensacola Beach and showed them but no one checked it out. We got busy with our real lives and I forgot to notify the local news, I thought I had taken care of it on a national level, I mean seriously.
I finally got around to posting a picture on my local news channel's Facebook page and one of the comments was "why didn't I show landmarks for exactly where I was". Excuse me, these beaches aren't named, they don't have bathrooms, much less a trash can. There are no landmarks, 20 miles of white sand and the occaisional parking lot here and there. I learned to be more specific about where I'm taking the picture.
Anyway, that particular weekend every time I mentioned oil or tar balls, friends would say, "Our beach is clear, quit whining, enjoy it while you can". While I appreciate clean beaches, I can't let go of what is happening and what can happen. Last week as tar balls and oil flooded Orange Beach, AL (or was it Gulf Shores?) Anyway, I heard a national news correspondent comment that people on Pensacola Beach were breathing a sigh of relief. A SIGH OF RELIEF? People this is not over, it hasn't even really gotten started good as far as coming ashore. We can't breathe sighs of relief, we need to yell, scream, holler and yes, pull our hair out because nothing is being done. After reading about the Mexican oil rig in the 70s I'm beginning to wonder if anything can be done beyond letting the well empty itself out.
I'm beyond frustrated with the governor of Mississippi. He's like the mayor of Amity in the first Jaws movie. He will not believe the oil is a problem until a big black tidal wave washes ashore in Gulf Port. I understand he wants people to come to their beaches, I understand that their beaches are clear, run some tourism commercials then but quit acting like the rest of us are making up the possibility of something catastrophic being out there just on our horizon. It is very real.
I heard this morning that there might be a 40 mile dead zone in the Gulf. Do you know how much sea life resides in 40 miles of water? I don't have exact numbers but let's go with A LOT.
We have lived here 13 years this July 4th. We do not see dolphins every time we go to the beach. It is so infrequent that when we see a dolphin we squeal like tourists, it's that rare for us. Every single time we have been to the beach in the last few weeks we have seen dolphins. And not just a random loner dolphin, we've seen pods of them. I hope Mother Nature is keeping them safe from the oil, keeping them ahead of the deluge. I've seen so many dolphins lately that I no longer think it's exciting, I'm starting to think it's creepy. That's how rarely we saw them before now. I see them so much that it's creepy.
Last night we were at the pier and a guy caught a shark. It didn't hold the normal excitement for me. It was bittersweet. There was one part of me that thought, "wow he caught a shark, cool" another part that said, "well at least he saved it from death by oil" and then my final thought was, "what if this little guy is one of the last of his kind". Shouldn't the healthy fish be left alone for now? Shouldn't they be given a chance to get to safe waters and mate and breed and survive?
I've never been a person that thought animals, especially fish, shouldn't be eaten but now as more and more sea life is endangered due to oil and tar balls and dispersants, maybe we should let them be. I know right now while everyone says Gulf seafood is safe, I think for the time being when I get my fish and shrimp cravings I'll take my chances with good old Captain D's or Red Lobster. I hate to not support my local fish markets but I'm erring on the side of caution.
60 Blocks of Summer Challenge
I joined The 60 Blocks of Summer challenge on Flickr. My first two blocks can be seen below:

I made these blocks using the tutorial found here:
I thought this challenge would be a good way for me to become besties with my rotary cutter, ruler and sewing machine. I don't have a specific project in mind and honestly my fabric stash is pretty random so I'm just going to work on different squares and see what happens. I may get a sample quilt out of the challenge or lots of smaller projects. Either way my sewing skilz should improve immensely.
I forgot to take an updated picture of my A Haunting Mermaid from Carriage House Samplings so I'll do that another day. I have made a tiny bit of progress, I mentioned how time consuming being an activist is didn't I?


Kathryn said...

I want to try the Paintbox Squares, too. They look easy, but abstract. But first I need a sewing room, which will happen next year sometime. Meanwhile, I will look forward to your progress.

Andrea said...

have you read this article?

it's sickening. If i were seeing all the dolphins, etc in person, I'd just be bawling my eyes out. good thing we don't live ON the gulf or I'd have to be heavily medicated 24/7

This whole thing just pisses me off from beginning to end. And my heart goes out to you and others that are dealing with it right now. We will ALL be paying for it in the end....

Michelle said...

I love your Paintbox Squares! So pretty!

MamaLadyBug said...

Yeah! So glad you posted!!! I missed going to the beach the last 2 days, so I'm feeling the pull and your pictures are so perfectly great. I'll probably make The Man go this evening even though he's tired as dirt. (Dirt replenishes our earth so I'm SURE it gets tired)

Glad you posted your squares too. I'm going to start on my Lady Bug Landing ( either today or tomorrow. Who knows, I might join the 60 group. Na, I'm too distractable. Anyway, I can't wait to see your progress in this group, luv to watch you work!

On the emotional roller coaster ride with you and not breathing any sighs of relief,

Deb said...

I think that whole oil spill is just disgusting and it makes me sick every time that I hear about it. While so were happy with the news about BP's latest influx of money to fix it, I think that a whole lot of damage has been done - never to be fixed no matter how much money is used. It's truly sad.

Love your Paintbox Squares. I'm going to have to check out that link.

Siobhan said...

Love the paintbox squares, Melissa!

Missy Ann said...

Love Franson. I made up her Simple Modern Baby Quilt for a little boy. Turned out very very cute.

/has nothing nice to say about Mississippi so I'll just be quiet

Anna van Schurman said...

Maybe you could get a handheld GPS so you could give them coordinates for your pictures? I must be really frustrating to wait for the clean up but it's a huge area and even with hundreds of people, they can't be everywhere at once. Especially with the heat. It's sickening to watch all this; it must be worse to live it.