Saturday, August 31, 2013

Change of Scenery? Mission Accomplished!

One of the things I wanted to accomplish is simply to have a change of scenery, and that happened today.

It was lovely to sleep in (a bit) and leave in a leisurely way. Checkout was 11 am, and here's the time when I got in my car:

I don't know what these shrubs are, but they were all around the hotel -- very pretty and feathery.

I saw these trees all day as well -- pink flowers one some; white flowers on some. It doesn't seem simply ornamental as they appear to grow in the wild as well.

One of the first detours I took was to follow a sign to the historic center of Pocomoke City. I actually turned off the highway to do this, telling myself this is what I want to do and not be so destination oriented.
First, it was over a drawbridge into the town. 
Old-fashioned movie theater downtown -- I was looking at the website just now and it was built in 1927 and it's still in its original glory.
This old house caught my eye -- love the lines of it but it needs badly for someone to come and love it and return its beauty.
The old-fashioned downtown.

Then it was off to Chincoteague Island which is a National Wildlife Refuge.
Couple taking pictures of birds
The beach parking was full so I couldn't park, but I swear the best part of the day was the smell of this beach. I love that salty, marshy, low tide, fishy smell wafting in strong breezes mixed with 1000 different kinds of sun screen.
Chincoteague is known for its wild ponites... they had little vending machines of corn... and ask you do not hand feed the ponies.
So I watch as this father held his kid over the fence so she could hand feed the pony. Part of me wanted the pony to take a nice bite of fingers. I remember seeing the same thing when I went to Yellowstone -- people think it's a petting zoo.
I typically think kids these days are raised as wussies with their bike helmets and seat restraints, but this one bothered me. When I got closer, there are lap belts but I don't think they'd help. What's odd is that there was a couple in the front seat and the young mother was dressed as a Mennonite with the white cap. I can't believe this is legal.
Then it was time for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel which is a bridge/tunnel 20 miles -- yes, 20 miles long!. You go bridge, tunnel, bridge, tunnel, bridge for 20 miles. Toll: $12.

The beginning of the bridge

Bridge for as far as the eye can see.

Which then turns from bridge to tunnel...

Always light at the end of the tunnel!

More bridge, more tunnel, more bridge... 20 miles!

Tonight I"m in Hampton, VA and head for the Outer Banks in the morning. Final destination: Rodanthe, NC

Friday, August 30, 2013

Vacation - Day One

Pulled in a parking space next to this car, and I decided that this is what our vacation house will be: a recovery house for (three) women!

I'm in Salisbury, Maryland, after successfully making it out of NYC. I got to the rental car place at 10:02 -- Ok, I am paranoid as they have a sign that if you're late, they can not honor the price you've contracted for -- didn't get out of there until 11. Even when it was my turn, there was a delay. The clerk told me my American Express card was expired. No, it's not, I say. Yes, she points the computer, this says it is. She hands me the tainted card, and I looked at it (since I thought I"m losing my mind) and I say, the card says 5/17 -- that means May 2017 so it's not expired... "but this [pointing to the computer] says it's expired.

How do you counter that? I point again to the expiration date... and finally she did something and the computer "accepted" it.

Oh well, not much traffic. Stopped for lunch on NJ Turnpike, stopped and took a little nap in the car when my eyes were getting heavy.

This hotel was the ultimate in "you can't get there from here." I had the printed directions which can get very confusing when often you can see the hotel and just drive there rather than go .1 mile this way and 500 feet that way -- especially when the street names aren't showing. I knew I was close and then I saw the hotel, pulled into this parking lot hoping the lots connected but they didn't. I was tempted to drive across about 20 feet of grass.

But I tried again and I swear I went about half a mile away from the hotel on this back road, then made this big turn and got there. When I checked in, I asked if I had come on the hard way, and the clerk said no, that's the way.

The view from my third floor room where the windows were full of condensation but the only view that's obscured is one of the parking lot.

Portland (Maine)Head Light

This is the Portland Head Light -- first lit in 1791. I was here a number of years ago, and I believe I was told it was the most photographed lighthouse in the country. This photo would make a great jigsaw puzzle!

And here's our intrepid (what does that mean anyway?) Maine vacation girl, Fran.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vacation Countdown Part 2 and 3

Mary says: Michelle bought earrings and tops after getting her hair cut.  Outer Banks, here we come!

Pat says: I'm 95% packed -- and it's light, lighter than usual. I'm so used to packing for a business trip where I don't typically have time to do laundry. So I unpacked one nightgown and am taking one only. Am taking three pairs of pants, three "good" tops, two pairs of shorts, some "regular" tops, bathing suit, some kind of loungey dresses to hang out in... underwear... Then add books, books on CD, maps, guidebook, laundry detergent, towels, sheets and I'm just about there. Oh yes, some extra bras.

To go is computer AND power chord, toiletries/drugs and whatever else crosses my mind. I typically have an ongoing list where I write everything down and that's what's on my list.

I took garbage and recycling out in advance to Ana arriving who is busily cleaning right now. Of course I want no garbage, but I can't get past that morning garbage that goes out with me when I leave. No meals left for critters while I'm gone.

So I'm excited. I pick the car up at 10 am... first stop in this easy-peasy trip is Salisbury, Maryland. I have the big hump of getting out the door, the pain in the rump hump of getting to the rental car place and then there's that moment where, seatbelt on, mirrors adjusted, a/c set, I pull away and am on the road!

a few hours later: rereading this, I want to clarify that by "drugs" I meant medicine type drugs!

Vacation Countdown

I leave tomorrow morning for a very slow trip -- by slow, I mean "leisurely" -- to North Carolina. I have everything gathered for packing so when my cleaning woman is here, I'll put everything in a suitcase. I am packing somewhat lightly as this rental house has a washer/dryer.

Meanwhile, Michelle has arrived in Washington (they are driving down together) and Mary just sent this selfie:

Mary says: I bought this after a bad morning. I also bought verbena and mint body lotion and shower gel for us to share - I want to use it all up while we're there!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

and still more Maine

Fran says: Just a few shots from our lobster fishing day today. Have most of my shots of the lobster hauling process on my camera; unable to download until I get home.

Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (which JFK visited) seen from Booth Bay Harbor

left to right Christy, Fran and Kelly on stern of Ken's fishing boat. It was sunny with fog and got foggier as we went out to Ken's lobster traps.

misty morning as we head out to lobsta traps

lighthouse in the fog

Fran says: Being here and with the sea is truly is a joy. Far removed from computer screens and stupidity. After Ken weighed in and delivered our catch at Five Islands (where fisherman sell their catch) we had lunch there (fresh caught fish of course). Photo taken from the dock. Then we went to beautiful botanical gardens.
Tonight we had a homey BBQ with burgers and brats and now I'm reading and doing laundry. Lobster bait (herring) does not smell pretty!
Tomorrow we are planning to venture by boat to Burnt Island Lighthouse, one of the few you can explore. And maybe visit home of the Whoopie Pie. Hey we have priorities!
I can see many visits here ahead.

Milo's a bad dog.. I mean cat.

Mary bought some stuff to hide pills in to give Milo his medicine for his skin condition, which is getting better. She was thrilled that it made pill giving more easy since Milo loved the stuff. And then she went to bed, happy, and awakened to this:

More from Fran from Maine

Fran writes:

Went whale watching today. It is an inspirational experience to see these wondrous creatures in their home turf. We were about 13 mi out and spotted many whales, harbor seals and porpoise.
[Pat adds: I've been whale watching a few times, and I agree with Fran here -- it's almost a mystical experience to see a whale in the wild. One time when I went, a mother whale and her baby came up right next to the boat.]
On the way out to sea

This is two whales. If you look closely at the one on the left, you can see it's blowhole spouting. In person, you can hear this, and it's like steam that arises and then vanishes.

You followed these lobster "footprints" to the rest rooms.

Fran continues:
Fresh lobsters for dinner tonight. Fresh corn, tomato-basil-mozzarella salad and green salad, wine were on the menu. Tomorrow we are going out with Ken on his boat to haul lobster traps and bring em to market.
After dinner we walked down the road and did some star gazing. It's so dark and clear up here you can spot the constellations and see the Milky Way. We even spotted a satellite blinking by.
Which brings me to the subject of pictures. Dinner, sunset and other good stuff on my camera which will not be down loaded until I get home.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Twitter Photos

This one was labeled "Heaven's calling."

This is called Thor's Well and it's on the Oregon Coast.  There's a bunch of YouTube videos showing it in action. It both scares and fascinates me. Had never heard of it before.


More from Maine

These are the plants in the windowsill of Fran's cottage. I don't know what they are, but they are really quite beautiful.

And two shots from her morning walk:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mary's Dragonboat Races

Mary says:

It was a beautiful day for the festival.  I think we did pretty well - after the first two 500 meter races we qualified for the final.  I'm not sure how we did there.  Then because we did well enough in the first two, we were eligible for the 2000 meter race - 4 times the distance of our usual races.  I was so tired by then but I really wanted to experience the race.  It was great - very exciting, where the boats (I think there were 7 of them) left the dock 15 seconds apart, one at a time. 
Then there is this complicated thing about the lane you're in and when you can pass and it turns into kind of chaos with boats almost colliding.  The race is out, back, out, back so each turn becomes and challenge and so much depends on your having a good steerer - we have a great one.  I took the picture of people waiting because you spend a lot of time doing that.  One of the team members' husbands took the picture of the race. 

It got hot in the afternoon sun, but other than that it was a perfect day on the water.


Fran's in Maine

She writes:

Arrived Booth Bay. This is a night view of the harbor. We just had great seafood dinner. Weather is perfect and. cottage is lovely with ocean views from each room.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Universe sometimes has to hit me over the head

I remember reading that the Universe keeps sending us lessons until we learn -- and the lessons get more and more pronounced -- until they get our attention. I think I have an example of that.

For years (probably about three), I have ordered my groceries on line, regularly, loyally, from Food Emporium. A few glitches and snags along the way, but nothing bad. Then the store in my neighborhood closed and my business was transferred to another store 25 blocks away. That's when the problems really started: showing up late, telling me the delivery guy can't find my building, things left out for no reason, etc. The most recent mistake was being charged (you get a normal cash register receipt) for two items that weren't delivered. I complained, and was told that I'd be given a credit on my next order, and even as the young woman (whose name was Patricia) was telling me, I didn't believe her. And I was right. No credit.

I complained again. Nothing. No response. No resolution. But still, I remained loyal. This past week, I went to order groceries, go through the whole shebang, am ready to check out and it wouldn't accept my password. I finally gave up and clicked on the "send me an email to reset my password" and the site told me that my email address isn't valid. I kept looking at every letter in it. Yes, it's valid. I gave up, went without and then tried the next day. Same thing.

Oh, I get it.

So last night I ordered from and I have to say I am impressed. More selection, lower prices. I get Food Emporium delivery for free, and Peapod charges $6.95, but if you accept a bigger delivery window, you deduct two dollars so I did that. My delivery was scheduled for 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm today. I was told I'd get an email with a more precise time.

I did. Around 3 pm, I got an email saying my delivery would be for 6 to 8 pm. The guy shows up at 6:45 singing to me in a delightful Jamaican accent. He was happy. He wasn't mumbling. He really was delightful. I wasn't thrilled that he called me Mama, but I'll take it as a compliment. When he looked at my paperwork, he said he knows this is my first order and "Welcome to Peapod!!" and told me what to do if I had a complaint. I was happy with the food; everything was right.

So I get it, Universe. Change. I'll go with Peapod from now on.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Amy Reports in...

Amy (and her husband Barry) have made it to Vicksburg, Mississippi (from Albuquerque) headed to Fort Myers and home.

I tried a dozen times to rotate this photo and it rotates but doesn't stay rotated so I'm afraid you'll have to rotate your head!

Amy says:

The mighty Mississippi in afternoon light. Getting closer to home. Rose [Amy's daughter] says she completely reorganized my closet for me. I told her I don't have enough clothing with me to mess it up. Hope to be home by 1 pm tomorrow.  We will see what the weather thinks of that.


Stephanie Reports in...

Here are Stephanie and Danny at a Knights of Columbus pot luck dinner.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Amy's Sightseeing

Amy visited Petrogylph National Monument today which is near Albuquerque. A petroglyph is a stone carving made by a prehistoric person. Here is the description from the Monument's website.

Petroglyph National Monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers.

And here's her photo:
and some more just arrived: