Conventioneers and meteorologists (updated from 2012)

Dunedin, Fl, Tampa area.

As I sit upon the precipice of the official end of summer (in Florida, summer is everlasting) and the start of school, I ponder if Tropical Storm Isaac will be spending the final days of August making waves and kicking the sand of Florida beaches.

Watching TV news stories on how Tampa’s hosting of the 2012 Republican National Convention (Aug. 27-30) will boost the area’s economy is good news indeed. It’s encouraging to know that ideological differences aside, all of us can play a part in boosting the economy.

The past few days news crews, convention visitors and extra workers were trickling into Tampa. More will arrive this weekend. Most notably, crews of meteorologists are setting up shop. The Weather Channel has mobilized crews in Haiti, Cuba, the Florida Keys and Tampa to cover Isaac. For the 50,000 non-Floridians expected in Tampa next week who are not hurricane savvy, take note, if you see Jim Cantore there, head inland. Cantore is known for his courageous hurricane coverage.

Right now, it is a sunny, very hot, but calm summer day. As I sip my Perrier by the sparkling pool, I give thanks for moments like this and pray for calm in the days ahead.

Photo: Copyright 1978-2013 David George

Champion a dream

Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali in the 5th Street Gym in Miami, Florida. Deep inside, Ali had a dream to be the “greatest.”

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

—     Muhammad Ali

Photo: Ali Jumping Rope. © 1966 Gordon Parks Foundation, Smithsonian American Art Museum


Eating breakfast out is one of my favorite things. I regularly join my friend Hyun at TooJay’s Gourmet Deli in Ocoee, Florida, for political discourse and good old-fashioned girl talk. Hyun brings me edible treats, perfectly wrapped in cellophane, from the Korean market for my late night snacks and an occasional tome from her late husband’s extensive library. Late night snacks go best with a good book.

Craving coffee, we give Don that look and soon he arrives with cups of coffee and menus. We have a routine. No, it is not the food. Our orders differ with our desires. The routine is my greeting exchange with Don. It is not on the menu but it is one of my favorite things at this deli.

“Good morning, Don. How are you?” I ask.

Don responds, “I’m flawless.”

I like that response. I like it a lot.

Don’s response of “I’m flawless” is amazing, almost magical. He is a veteran of Iraq and Dubai. I’ve never known battle. My days are not spent worrying about being wounded or killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or whether or not I will return home in one piece or at all.

Certainly, regardless of the day or the people in it, it is possible for me to say and believe, “I’m flawless.” It’s a great response — an instant “up lift.” Give it a try.

Photo: Millenium Star Diamond

Debby, don’t let the door hit you … on the way out

Debby is finally on her way out. She has weakened from a Tropical Storm to a Tropical Depression. Depressed is exactly how she is leaving many Florida residents and guests after lingering off Florida’s west coast since the weekend, spawning flash floods and tornadoes.

In Orlando, the amusement parks were less crowded. That might have been a plus for some visitors. There was even a report that one of the water parks at the Walt Disney World Resort closed temporarily. On the beaches, rain slickers replaced swim suits as de rigueur attire.

A sign outside a church in the Jacksonville area captured the sentiment of many: “If you prayed for rain, you can stop now.”

Debby reminds me of those house guests who have such a  good time, they don’t want to leave. Finally, she’s getting a clue.  She’s leaving, but she is in no hurry. She is crossing land but it may take her until Saturday to reach the Atlantic.

Although my first memories of summer 2012 are of relentless rain and winds ripping through my screen enclosure, I have hope that summer, as I know it, is on the horizon.

Debby: Tropical Storm

National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL, Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook, June 25, 2012, 2 a.m. (EDT)

I live in sunny Florida. Hmm. Let me rephrase that. I live in gray, wet and windy Florida. At present, Tropical Storm Debby is causing nearly perpetual rain and gusts of wind that make me think her status is greater than “tropical storm.”

Apparently, Mother Nature did not get the brochures with the invitation to play and stay in the Florida sun, a location that offers summer year round. So much for truth in advertising.

Summer began with a vengeance in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States bringing record-breaking heat. Oh, and lots of sun.

Debby seems to have taken those brochures to heart, especially “play and stay,” as she remains nearly stationary off the west coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. I understand the attraction, really I do. I enjoyed living on the west coast of Florida, in Clearwater Beach,  where the Gulf of Mexico was my backyard. The job, however, called me elsewhere.

The website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated about Debby early morning June 25, “She is expected to slowly meander over the next day or so.” Meander? Really, the next day or so?

Debby, I think it’s time to dissipate. Take your threats of tornadoes, heavy rains and flooding with you. Let the sun shine. “Let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in. …”