Yesterday we held Tatiana's birthday party at Canaveral National Seashore. The waves were much bigger than you ever see at Daytona Beach. Between them and the other beach activities, all I can say is that Canaveral National Seashore beat me up and took my lunch money.

The waves were bigger than me. Kayla, my 3-year-old daughter, would sit on the shore and occasionally get washed away by an ambitious wave, calling "Help! Help!". That was nerve-racking. But with her properly watched or distracted with a more dry activity, I decided to do some body surfing.

The first two waves I caught were sweet. The next eight were useless. When a giant (8 feet!) came by, I was frustrated enough to believe that it couldn't fail to sweep me away.

I was right. Beyond right. Everything was fine until the wave noticed me; then it slammed me into the sand, yanking my shoulder and giving me a rug burn. It was then that I realized I was on the Gulf's turf. I wonder how those surfers in Hawaii and California do it.

I got back up and tried again, but eventually decided to try something more tame: kite flying. I don't exactly collect them, but I find kites enchanting. I especially like the Smithsonian "Kite In A Can" that I picked up during my honeymoon. It's a parafoil, and it had no problem with the fierce beach wind, providing what I'd guess to be 20 pounds of pull.

Fine for me; unfortunately, I let the kids have a shot at it, and they let the spool go. While chasing it, I fell down, skinning my knee and nearly breaking my toe. Luckily, a tree on the dunes caught the spool. Unluckily, it's a $5000 fine to walk on the dunes. A man with a fishing pole and a park ranger came to my aid; in the end, I climbed the tree to retrieve the spool. The brush had long, sharp thorns. That's how I got this, this, this, and that.

I did manage to save the kite. Everyone enjoyed the party. But boy, am I beat.