Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Florida Visit-Vets, Pelicans and Art!

Since Sunday I've been in Tampa, Florida with my roomie and
Pin-Ups for Vets founder, Gina Elise. We have visited two VA hospitals here and gave out 200 of her awesome 2011 Pin-Up Calendars.

They were two great visits and I'm once again blown away by the bravery these men and women Vets have and the pride they take in having served our country. Our time with each patient in the hospitals may be brief but I like to think that the calendars and our presence stays with them long after the visit is over.

Today, one man in particular touched me and I would have liked to have spent more time with him. We were saying goodbye to him after having given him a calendar and he was thanking us for coming in to see him and he started to choke up. The, the tears started to flow. I wanted to give him a big hug. It really affected me and I couldn't help but wonder how many visitors he has gotten lately. He was just so appreciative of us that it really hit me how important it is that Gina and I make these visits to VA Hospitals. Veterans need to know that young people out there care about them and are grateful for their service.

We also visited a Hospice care unit today which was very difficult for me. These men and women know that they don't have long left to live and are just doing what they can to get through each day. I watched as a mother and daughter held their father's hand as he struggled for each breath. It broke my heart to see that. However, as soon as Gina and I walked into the room, their faces lit up and gladly accepted the calendar on his behalf and thanked us for coming in. Even in such despair, these people acknowledged the good coming into their lives.

Fortunately, we've made time to do a little sightseeing since we've been here. So, after the hospital visit, we spent a few hours in St. Petersburg or St. Pete as the locals call it, it's about 30 minutes south of Tampa. While it was fairly overcast for most of the afternoon, it
was still nice to hang out at the beach with the pelicans and relax for a little bit.

After taking some fun pictures at
the St. Pete Pier
, we headed over to the interesting Salvador Dali Museum. I wouldn't ever necessarily call myself a huge artsy person but I think that this man was an incredibly forward thinker. He is known as being a Spanish Catalan surrealist painter. As an artist, he broke the boundaries of the time and created some very striking and bizarre images. There are some that are a little too strange even for me but still some interesting pieces of work to look at. I certainly have a new-found appreciation for this unique man.

Gina and I really liked this painting of Dali's the best. It's called "Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra" and it was painted in 1936.


  1. It has been a blast, Leah! I am so happy that you were able to come on this trip with me! Definitely moments that we will remember always! I, for one, will always remember the Marine, who was very quiet and reserved as we spoke to him, but outstretched his arms as we were leaving to give us a hug. It was such a shocker. That really got me. And of course the "I'd pay $100 for this elevator to stop right now" Veteran. :) Love ya, girl and thank you for all of your amazing support and help. You help to calm me during all of the craziness, like when I wake up at 5am the day of the VA hospital visit with a big swollen bottom lip from an allergic reaction/bug bite. LOL!!!!

  2. Hey! Hollywood types pay big bucks to get bee-sting lips! In an emergency, don't forget Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, and others) and
    antihistamines, like Benadryl. The "PM" version of the former usually gives both.

  3. I'm always so inspired by all the wonderful work you're doing. Keep it up lady!

  4. You're a good friend. Noble work you and Gina are doing and having fun along the way!

    Also, as a side note, I'm not a fan of Floria. I can't stand the weather. I have spent some time in Orlando, Miami and St. Petersburg.