23 August 2010

Oh, what a day

What a day. There's a price to pay for ignoring your house and just having fun on your days off. My house is always neat (don't look in my closets, OK?). But clean? My kitchen floor finally bothered me enough that I knew it was cleaning day, like it or not. I didn't like it. The day started with Rob and me sitting on the porch. Breezy and nice. We cleared some stuff out from under my deck that I hope trash pick-up will take tomorrow. Rob stacked the extra bags of mulch that have been on the side of my driveway since Spring under the deck. He left and I got to work. I worked non-stop for hours. You know how one thing leads to another? You mop the floor and notice the grill thingie on the bottom of your refrigerator and can't believe how dirty it is? Then when you're down there cleaning you see how dirty the outside of your refrigerator is? And you open the door and see all the crumbs and stuff on the shelves? And how dirty it is around the handle of the pantry door? You vacuum and see all the spots on your carpet and get out the Woolite spray rug cleaner and start on each spot? Then you lift up the couch cushion while you're down on the ground and see all the crumbs? You move the big over-grown plant while you're vacuuming and see all the dead leaves that have to come off? It was that kind of day. And I was so hungry, but every time I thought of eating, something else caught my eye. I got a lot done, but there's so much more. I'm going to write a list, and do some every day. Or so. And shoes off!! And no spilling! It was such a beautiful day. My plan was to clean for about 2-3 hours, then mow the lawn, then go to the pool. I was going to bring my bookclub book that I don't want to read. By the time I finished cleaning it was at least 4:30. The sky was looking iffy. I put my shoes on to mow. Then I thought, NO. I'm going swimming. If it's going to rain, I want to spend my outside time swimming laps. So I threw on my suit and went to the pool. The sky was magnificent! Layers of every kind of cloud. The whitest-white blossoms of clouds, alongside dark ominous ones. I wanted to take pictures. I thought how cool it would be looking up while doing the backstroke. The pool was almost deserted. The two lifeguards were throwing around a football. There was only one other person there. Perfect! Except I couldn't find my goggles. That's never happened. I keep them in my bag. Always. I had to go home. I couldn't find them. I couldn't find my other pairs. I decided it just wasn't meant to be, and resigned myself to mowing. In my cover-up. I sat on my porch afterward, sweating. I saw a hummingbird moth and decided to take pictures. I couldn't get a good image, then decided to take pictures of my inanimate garden creatures. Without bug spray. In a sleeveless cover-up. Not a good idea. I thought the shower would relieve the crazy itch of a million mosquito bites. Nope. Willpower did that.
Garden buddies

I made dinner. In order of what tasted the best? Shrimp, tea, squash, cantaloupe. The first two were great. The last two not so much. It left me wanting candy.

I made my lunches for the next two days. And here I am. After I post this I'm going to read in bed. Yeah, that book. And listen to the rain.

It really wasn't a terrible day. It was a necessary one.

18 August 2010

A note on my Friday

So I went to Stone Harbor. When my cousin asked me to visit on their first day of vacation it sounded like a great idea. I can't believe I drove from Cape Cod to the almost-southern tip of the Jersey shore. I also can't believe I didn't take into account that the shore was a place people would be driving to on a Saturday afternoon to check in to their beach rentals. I got caught in 120 miles of traffic on the Garden State Parkway. Duh. It was pretty darn miserable. I finally got there and beach chair in hand, met my cousins on the beach. Cousin Brian and I grew up best-friend cousins-he in NY, me in MD. We're the same age. The same kind of people. We've shared a bond that stretches more than half a century. The last time we saw each other was 4 years ago. I can't tell you how many times we looked at each other during my visit and just smiled and said how happy we were to be together. I have a series of pictures of the two of us, starting when we were about two. Here's the latest.

Brian, his wife Maureen, and I get along great. We need to plan a real visit, not just an overnight. I hope to visit them again next year on their vacation. A few days would be great. You know how I love vacationing. Stone Harbor is only 3 hours away.

I'm sitting outside on my porch. It's a drizzly, humid eve but only 73 degrees! I'm covered in bug spray. The hummingbirds are really active. It's been so hot, hot, hot here and I've been away so much, that I've missed my porch time. I've got a lot of making up to do before the cold of winter chases me away.

I went to Borders after work today. I had a small latte with an extra shot. At 5:00. I'm gonna pay for that! I called Emily while I was there and we talked on the phone for 32 minutes. Do you have any idea of how big a deal that is??? Do you remember how awful our relationship used to be?? Everyone told me it would get better. I knew it wouldn't. It has and I'm amazed.

Well, I'm in now. It got too dark to see my keyboard. Time to wash off the OFF. Before I go I want to post pictures of my adorable grand-nephew and grand-niece. I sure wish I could see them in person.



12 August 2010

Still catching up

I'm settled back into my routine at home. Except for my Monday coffee withdrawal, the transition has been easy. The weather, though? Yuck. So hot and humid here. It's been a bad, bad summer for weather in MD and so many other states. We work up to a severe thunderstorm this morning and my first thought was: SO glad for the rain and SO glad that I wasn't driving in it. I was amazed to see how active the hummingbirds were. How could they hover and feed at the feeder in the torrential rain? I don't know but it was great to watch all the activity. They must like the rain? The sun is shining now, and it will probably be another hot and humid day.

I'm working my day off  to make up for some of my vacation time. I worked an extra day before I left too. I work commission so when I don't work, I don't get paid. That means today is a no-coffee day, boohoo. Coffee is one of the reasons I like Thursdays. Can't wait till Saturday after work!

I still have more vacation pictures. We woke up to a beautiful day on Friday and decided to head back to Chatham and the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Yeah! Chatham has one of my favorite shops, Yankee Ingenuity, and it was so crowded earlier in the week that I was glad to have time to go back. I bought lots of stuff. For myself :) We headed to the Refuge and waded through the surf to a boat to take us out to see the gray seals. The boat idled a short distance from a large group of pregnant seals. All we could see were heads! The water was shallow, and the 500 lb girls just hang out. The captain was humorous, and the seal facts were fascinating. It was so nice to be surrounded by water and sand bars and nature. We stopped at a favorite Pie shop on the way back for more 7 layer bars. Then to a waterfront restaurant for fish and chips. It was another great day on the Cape. If you'd like to see my pictures, you know what to do.
Last day on the Cape

09 August 2010

No more on the road again.

Yes, another slide-show. You know what to do!

Cape Cod Day Day 4

I'm home and I have Internet, but I have no energy. I'm in the throes of caffeine withdrawal big-time. I want a headache like everyone else instead of this inertia. I feel drugged. This is my planned recovery day and I've spent most of it on the couch. I'm resting up for tomorrow when I'll need my energy for real life. Work! I don't regret one of the many, many, many iced coffees and hot coffees I had during the week. Well, I didn't while I was having them.

I wound up taking a slight detour on my way back to MD. Not so slight. I drove from the Cape to Stone Harbor, NJ to visit my cousin and his wife.

I got stuck in 125 miles of beach traffic in South Jersey. I don't think that was the kind of traffic Google meant. I was in Stone Harbor for a wonderful 21 hours. Then I drove to Rob's. Then home. It's no wonder I'm tired. I drove more than 1,200 miles, all told. I didn't mind the drive. Fortunately, the only problem I had with my car was the flat I found this morning. From a stone in my cul-de-sac. Go figure.

Time to nap. I'll catch up later.

06 August 2010

More and more fun!

Just a quickie from me. The Internet service is too slow in the house to upload a photo album. I'll do that another time. Yesterday was spent in Falmouth and Woods Hole. This morning we're getting ready to go on a seal cruise departing from the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Later!!!

04 August 2010

Catching up...days 2&3

Having a great time. Wish you were here.

I love Cape Cod. I get it. I know now why people vacation here. I didn't quite get it last year. The beauty. The landscapes. Ponds and tidal creeks and salt marshes and sand dunes and bays and ocean. Flowers and picket fences and shingled homes. So much color. And lack of color. And so much history.

I have a great big rock in my backyard strand of trees. A small boulder. Would you call something 2 feet high and 4 feet wide a boulder? If so, I have one. I don't have a lot of rocks. I really like rocks. I started collecting rocks for my garden when I first moved into my house. My development was still being built, and as I'd take Emily for walks in the stroller, I'd put all the big rocks I could find in the stroller basket. I didn't get a lot, but they're in my garden. I recently tried to build a toad house, and the pickings available for it were slim. No more.

Before heading to the Sandy Neck Beach, we read about some of the hiking trails. I think there was an 11 mile one. That was a big no. I only had flip flops, but decided I could do a mile or so in them. We set out on the off-road vehicle road. It was all sand. We were surrounded by sand dunes and scrub pines and bayberry bushes and grasses. It was so windswept and wild. And the road wasn’t a road. It was sand, and extremely hard to walk in. We had to laugh at ourselves; we were such a wimpy sight. There was no way on earth we could have hiked. We were lucky to make it up the ‘road’ then down the ramps to the beach. It was all worth it when we saw the rocks. The rocky, rocky, rocky beach at Sandy Neck Beach was rock paradise. I never thought I'd see such a landscape in my life. It was well worth the $15 parking fee for the rocks alone. What makes a beach rocky? Well, I don’t know. I started off by putting one rock in my backpack. Then another. Then another. Then I put some in Bernice’s. And some in my arms. We walked up to the car and put the rocks in the back. It was very hard walking with all those rocks. Bernice waited in the snack bar while I went back for more. What I’ll do with all my rocks…I’m not sure. Check back and you just might see. We came home from that beach and I went to the one a few blocks from the beach. It was very windy. This beach has shells. I had to hold onto my hat the whole time I was there. If you read my last post, you know the rest. A trip to B&N to upload my pics and post.

Today was a quieter day. We hung out at the house before heading into town. The main street of Hyannis is just a few blocks away. We went into most of the shops. I bought a sliver ankle bracelet with 4 silver beads. I’ve always wanted one, and I love the one I found. Bernice bought a Cape Cod bracelet, something she’s wanted for a while. I had a fabulous fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil panini at a little Italian café with wonderful iced coffee. We spent hours walking. I bought a gallon-size container of a lavender soap I bought last year that I loved and ran out of. This should last me at least 2 years! I’m so happy to have it again! (Simple pleasure) We came home and Bernice went to her swim class while I went to the local beach again. Windy again, but OK. Nothing like Myrtle Beach as far as water, shoreline, sand, etc…Very different. I wouldn’t think of going in the water here, although that’s what vacationers here do. Bernice and I went out for dinner when she came home. I’m definitely gaining weight on this vacation! I had an Italian Grinder. Finger-licking good. At one point the ‘hots’ were so hot that I got goose bumps from my wrists to my forehead. Delicious! We went to Borders afterward so I could upload my pictures. Home now and I just finished my second bowl of ice cream. Life is grand.

More pictures. Big slide show is probably the way to go, though again, I don't know if you can view the comments. Let me know.

Cape Cod Day 2

03 August 2010

Day One and Pictures.

Cape Cod Day 1

It's Tuesday night and we're at Barnes and Noble. We're here so I can use their Internet. Their fast Internet. Thank you Barnes and Noble.

Click on the picture to see most of Day 1 pictures. It's probably best as a large slideshow. I'm not sure if you see captions in the slideshow. As it turned out, I've run out of space on Google to upload more pictures. Fortunately it's only $5 per year to have lots more space. I have to wait 24 hours. The downside.

Today was pretty wonderful. We went to Sandy Neck Park in Barnstable. Hyannis is in Barnstable. It was amazing and I'll post Day 2 pictures soon. It's the only beach I've ever been to that was totally rocky. I love rocks. I loaded up my backpack twice with rocks. I now have a box of rocks in my car. Granite rocks. Rocks I'll have to research. In my 'spare' time. I was fascinated by the beach. The dunes. The land. You'll see. It was very windy. And sunny. It was in the mid-70's. It was delightful.

I went to the beach that's a few blocks from the house when we got back. It was very windy. I didn't stay too long. I made Tomato Pie for dinner. It might have been my best yet.

Tired. Goodnight Barnes and Noble. Goodnight great day 2.

Cape Cod, here I am!

I had so much anticipation of my Myrtle Beach vacation that I could hardly stand it. Going to work everyday for the week leading up to it was so hard. It was a wonderful, relaxing vacation; one of the best ever. The transition back to work was easy. I knew, of course, that I was going on another vacation in 4 weeks, to Cape Cod. The time approached, but my feelings were really one of denial. I’m going to drive 9 hours? I’m taking another week off of work and losing the income? I had a great time in Hyannis last year, but I didn’t feel at all ready for another vacation. I did know that it would all work out.

I left Rob’s at 7 AM after a totally sleepless night, wired. The drive was easy. It didn’t really seem that long. I ran into two showers that lasted minutes. Rain and the thought of an accident and never coming home to my life at home were my worst fears. That’s something that’s unusual for me to think, but I was extra careful because of it. I took a few driving pictures while holding my iPhone up, and snapping but not looking. I passed some amazing clouds. I met my Aunt Carolee for lunch just off I-95 on the Connecticut/ Rhode Island border. It was wonderful to catch up with a favorite aunt that I never get to see.

From there it was a two hour drive to Hyannis through scrub pines, old bridges, flat road and blue sky. I came, full of energy and ready for anything. And here I am!

We walked to town for a dinner of seafood stew and lobster rolls at Spanky’s Crab Shack. The stew was especially wonderful. We browsed some art shanties. I was cold, though (such a strange sensation) and we walked back to the house for sweatshirts. We drove back to Main St. and browsed some shops. From there we drove for a very decadent ice cream dessert at a local institution. Nice start to a vacation I’m SO glad I’m on.

Yesterday we set out for Chatham, a wonderful town with lots of memories for me from last year’s visit. Did I mention it was about 75 degrees with clear blue skies and no humidity and a breeze? Yes it was! Bernie and I have very similar tastes in the kinds of shops we like to browse. I bought some stuff from the same store I bought some favorite things from last year. We had lunch at a café and ate the same thing. Again. I took many pictures. We did a lot of walking. It was wonderful. We meandered in the car and found the North Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. We explored. We took the stairs down, down, down to the beach. We walked. We’re looking into a boating excursion to see salt marshes, dunes, seals, lighthouses, etc. We’ll stay away from the sharks. If you look at the map, we'd be exploring the spit of land below Chatham. It’s so nice being on the Cape with a local. On our way back to Hyannis Bernie drove to places she knew I’d like to take pictures of. I loved it. We made our way back to Hyannis and ate out, again. Went grocery shopping, and then came home exhausted. I slept a wonderful sleep. It’s a new day now. It’s time for another adventure.

Later, when I'm at Borders or Panera's or someplace with a better Internet connection, I'll put together a Picasa Web album so I can really share my vacation with you.