52 week's of Marie's Life

52 weeks captured through photos


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43. Single Tree (Week 16)

 “To climb a tree is for a child to discover a new world.”  Froebel

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One of Sarasota’s best kept secrets is the “living” museum at the John Ringling Museum.  The John Ringling Museum of Art and Ca d ’Zan (the home he built for his wife on Sarasota Bay) is the legacy that John and Mable Ringling left behind, but among the 66-acre garden of exotic trees and plants at the estate,  are 14 Banyan trees which is the largest collection in Florida.  Banyan trees represent some of the world’s largest tree girths and the unique growth pattern of their aerial roots and support trunks can cause them to cover an acre of ground in less that a century.  I am not certain if the banyan I have pictured here is one or more!

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We stumbled on this on a Monday visit to the museum and found that there is a wonderful children’s playground and picnic area that had been built just a few years ago  for the children of Sarasota to enjoy for free.  And aside from the man-made playground, the children enjoy climbing in the trees nearby, as well.

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The Ringling Banyan was cited in the Millennium Landmark Tree Project.  The following text about the project is from the America the Beautiful Fund Website:

“America the Beautiful Fund initiated the Millennium Landmark Tree project in the year 2000, with the goal of designating one historic tree in each of the 50 states for preservation in the new Millennium.

This program was supported by a grant from the US Forest Service as part of the White House Millennium Green Initiative. Individuals and their communities were encouraged to seek out the history of the trees in their area, and send a letter describing the type of tree they would like to nominate as well as any historical information pertaining to the tree.

The program was extremely successful in awakening public interest in preserving and protecting these Landmark Trees, which have stood witness to the historic growth of our country.

The Banyan Tree at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida was honored at the National Arbor Day Celebration on April 2000. The tree was given as a gift from Thomas Edison to Harvey Firestone, who gave it to John and Mable Ringling for their Florida garden to see if rubber could be produced in America.”


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41. Shades of Gray (Week 8)

“Many men go fishing all of their life without realizing it is not fish that they are after.” ~ Henry David Thoreau~

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To see a bit of Old Florida, venture out to the working waterfront of Cortez.  This weathered gray shack is up on stilts in the waterway behind the historic Cortez Fishing Village.  I still haven’t quite figured it out, but it presents a great photo op!

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Cortez Fishing Village was founded in the 1880’s.  It is one of the last remaining fishing villages in the state and it provides much of the grouper and shrimp that is served in local restaurants.  This 2 mile square settlement has offspring of the original settlers living in the 1920 bungalos along the narrow streets.  All of the original families that arrived here from the southern edge of the Outer Banks of North Carolina to escape the Atlantic hurricanes still have a representatives here in the fishing industry.


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43. Solitary (Week 51)

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” ~ Chinese Proverb ~

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My husband Greg’s favorite thing to do is to go fishing. This can be a solitary sport. As for me, when I go with him, I read while he fishes. To each his own solitude!

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52. Winter Landscape (Week 45)

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”  ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo ~

Hmm… Winter Landscape – how am I suppose to show a typical wintery scene when I live on the sunny gulf coast of Sarasota, Florida???  I guess I’m just going to have to use some photos from when relatives came down to get out of their winter in January/February of this year.   IMG_4258 My cousin Don and his wife Juli came down from Minnesota.  We took a drive down beautiful Casey Key and then enjoyed some sunshine at the North Jetty in Venice.  I was amazed how many folks were just sitting in chairs along the banks of the Jetty.  If we asked, I’d bet they’d say they were from Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York! IMG_4268   Juli got her toes in the sand and then we did some shelling before heading for  lunch under the tiki bar at Spanish Pointe in Osprey.  What a great way to spend the afternoon with our northern cousins. IMG_4240   Uncle Gene and his wife Edie came down for several weeks from Wisconsin.  Edie wasn’t too steady on her feet, so we went to Turtle Beach at the south end of Siesta Key to take a look, but we didn’t walk it. IMG_4195   IMG_4199 And after stopping for dinner, Uncle Gene wanted to get some Florida postcards to send back up to snowy Bayfield Wisconsin. IMG_4299   IMG_4262


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36. Right Place At The Right Time (Week 42)

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.” ~ Albert Einstein on the Theory of Relativity ~

Have you ever heard of a Strider?  This is a balance bike designed for children aged about 18 months to 5 years that encourages them to learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle.  It has no pedals and the child would simply stride along,  learning how to balance, lean, and steer as they go.  Confidence builds quickly;  there is little fear of falling because their feet are always on the ground.

And as confidence builds, some children may want to step up their experience.  Sarasota is unique in that we have a dedicated Strider track next to the BMX track on the corner of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue.  I’ve heard it’s the best in the country.

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One of my daughters and her family were coming down from Virginia for a quick trip to go to a family wedding.  The only free time we had was Wednesday evening to Friday evening.  As luck would have it,  the practices are held at the BMX track on Thursday nights.  I spoke to my friend Alice, co-owner of Haps Honda, because she has been an integral part of Sarasota BMX for over 30 years, and asked how I could get my grandson Ethan on the track.  She told me that loaner bikes and helmets would be available at the track and that he just needed to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt.  I checked with my daughter and it was a “go” – this was going to be the highlight of his trip!

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We arrived on time so we could get as much of the experience as possible.  Much of our family turned out to cheer him on and we were all so impressed with the track..

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I was told that the BMX practice was from 6 to 8, but if the Striders arrive early, they can practice on the big track from 5 to 6. Well of course Ethan wanted to try that out too!  We were here at the right place and the right time!

Our grandson approached the hill, took the ramp to the top, and paused.  Before he made his descent, my husband heard him say “Whoa” in awe.  And then he was off.

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He rounded the embankment and kept going.

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And we cheered and cheered, so proud of him.

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IMG_6423 Ethan looped the track over and over.  And when the time was up and the BMX pedal bikes came out, we moved over to the strider track again.  This time, he was ready to race!

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One boy wanted him to wait up, but you don’t wait if you want to race!

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My thanks to Alice Bixler for the Strider information and the opportunity to give my grandson and our family a wonderful memory of their visit.

This is the information I found on-line about the Sarasota BMX track:

Sarasota BMX has a dedicated Strider Track located next to the BMX track. Riders must have a USA BMX membership in order to ride on the track. We offer a One-Day-Free membership to all new riders so they can try out the track. The track is open on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6pm to 8pm for practice. Striders can practice on the BMX track from 5pm to 6pm. The practice fee is $3. Races are held on the 1st and 3rd Friday evening. Race fee is $5. Awards are giving to each rider. The USA BMX membership for one year costs $30 for Striders. With this membership the rider can ride at any BMX track in Florida and the USA. Strider racing is for children 1 yr to 5 yr. A child can stride on a Strider as soon as they learn to walk. Some have even learned to walk on a Strider. The Strider only weighs 6.7 lbs. light enough for the child to pick up and carry. There is never a need for a tricycle or training wheels. The child will learn to balance and goes directly to a pedal bike. For info call: Erma at 614-496-3999 also check us out on www.StriderBikes.com

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50. Urban Scenery (Week 41)

“We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” ~ Winston Churchill ~

The urban landscape of Sarasota is constantly changing.  This is very evident as you drive around the bayfront.  Everytime I go downtown, I see another building going up.  This is what you see as you approach downtown from the John Ringling Bridge.

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IMG_6857The newest construction project is to the left as you approach Highway 41 (locally known as the Tamiami Trail).

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The building is on the corner and it curves north along the Tamiami Trail.

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And if you turn to the right, you will see the “Unconditional Surrender” statue that I featured in my previous blog.

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The backdrop from one side of the statue is Sarasota Bay and the opposite view is of highrise condominiums downtown, as the Tamiami Trail turns south.

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