Archive for the 'RL happenings' Category

A Moment of Harmony

GC and BC enjoy a moment of harmony

GC and BC enjoy a moment of harmony

Life has been hectic-busy lately. I took off for another vacation in Arizona to visit my son and celebrate Rosh Hashanah. When I got back, work exploded. *grin* That’s always a fun thing because I love being busy and challenged. It does mean, however, that there isn’t much time to curate vacation photos or write posts. My husband took care of the kitties while I was gone but now they are all over me all the time. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Here you see a moment of harmony. Don’t let it fool you – they are waiting for me to go back and sit down so they can stake out their claim on my lap.

Wrong Season for This

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Not fair, not fair, not fair. Picture me throwing myself on the ground, having a major temper tantrum, arms and legs pounding the earth. I have a head cold. I mean, REALLY, who gets a head cold NOW???? I woke up Saturday with a scratchy sore throat. I thought it might have been from having dinner out the night before. Although the restaurant was lovely, they had music playing, which means everyone talking ups the volume, and ups it again and again because of everyone else upping the volume. But it didn’t go away. I felt poorly all day and ended up taking a nap. I woke up Sunday still congested and thought well maybe it’s allergies. Season is changing, maybe there is some pollen out there. I didn’t let it stop me from the important things like running errands and going to the block party. Monday – still congested and headache-y but I waged another foray in the Battle for a Beautiful Basement. I figured it was allergies (and dust in the basement) but when I went to the office on Tuesday, it would be banished by the closed ventilation system.

No such luck. 😦 I have a cold. I spent the entire day in the office blowing my nose and drinking gallons and gallons of hot and cold liquid. 😦 I couldn’t go visit my other mother as planned because I am obviously laden with germs. I did my coworkers a favor and am working from home today. I have my cold water with OJ to one side, my tissue box to the other, and an ever-growing mound of dirty tissues that I toss whenever I get up. It’s NOT FAIR!!!!! Itchy eyes, snuffles, post-nasal drip, and such a headache. Sigh. Do you think this means I might be spared a cold in the winter? Oh make it so.

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Some of us are feeling fine and having a good day.

If I’m In, I Want Out

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In the musical ‘Cats’, there is a song about the Rum Tum Tugger. The song is take from T. S. Elliot’s book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (as are most of the songs in the musical).

The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:[1]
If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
If you put him in a flat then he’d rather have a house.
If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
If you set him on a rat then he’d rather chase a mouse.

It has been another hot and humid week – real feels in the upper 90s. If you are not in air-conditioning, the humidity saps your energy. I worked from home earlier this week and nearly had to set up an IV for myself to drip iced coffee. Last night the rains came through and broke the heat wave. I woke this morning to temperatures in the 60s.  Ahhhh.

I’m working from home today. For the first time in forever (or so it seems) I am wearing jeans, not shorts. I brewed myself HOT coffee. (Although I really do like iced coffee in the hot weather, hot coffee far surpasses it for that first “make the world bearable” sip. 🙂

brewed coffee

Second cup. The one that is the luxurious savoring, as opposed to Wake Me Up

As I brewed a second cup for myself, I thought about how wonderfully cool and pleasant it was. I thought that despite loving the heat, there is nothing as refreshing as when the weather changes and you get those cool fall days. How good it feels not to be HOT! I took a look at the thermometer and saw that it had still not reached 70 (sorry for the poor angle on the thermometer, but it was that or glare).

As I looked at that 66 degree temperature, appreciating it, I thought – if this was the winter I’d be FREEZING at this point. 🙂  I push the thermostat up to 72-74 in the winter. If this was the fall or spring I’d be running my gas log fireplace to take the damp chill out of the air. *grin*

If it’s hot, I want cold. If it’s cold, I want hot. I’m a curious cat.

BC in my lap while I work

I’m a Comfortable Cat. I get to stay in her lap when it’s not too hot. Purr

Dinner Down the Shore

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I think it must have been the fried clams at the county fair. In the middle of the week my husband suggested that we go down the shore for dinner on Saturday – he had a craving for fried seafood. “Down the shore” – that’s a Jersey thing. You go down the shore so you can go to the beach. I have still not made it to the beach this summer but I’ve been down the shore for dinner twice. 🙂 I am a Jersey girl through and through. We’re the best. Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen know that. *grin*
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There are many places we like to go for dinner, but one of the most fun, most convenient and ultimately least expensive is Moby’s Lobster Deck. It’s owned and run by the same folks who run Bahr’s Landing restaurant (which has been there for over 100 years). We learned about Moby’s from friends of ours when our son was still in single-digits. As you can see from the pictures, it’s not much to look at. It really is a seafood shack. You go to the window and place your order and get a number. Then you go up on the deck and hangout and wait for your number to be called. I seem to remember that when we first started coming the picnic tables were covered with red and white checked plastic tablecloths, but I may have added that memory on my own. What I do know is a factual memory is that my son snitched a piece of fried food from his dad’s plate without asking. He’ll never do that again, because when he found out WHAT he ate, he was not a happy camper. *grin* I don’t remember it if had tentacles or suction cups, but my son did NOT want to be eating it. Some lessons are best learned first hand, pun intended.
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When we left the house it was hot and sunny. Of course we took the convertible with the top down. It’s the best way to go down the shore. 🙂 (It’s the best way to go most anywhere, as I think I’ve mentioned.) The weather was perfect and traffic was light, despite it being a Saturday. We were doing something a bit different than our usual down the shore trek for dinner. We left around 2:30 pm (we had a stop to make on the way). We figured we get there around 3:30 or so and have an early dinner, before the crowds started coming. I’d not had lunch yet so that timing was going to work for me. We took the local roads, not the highway, which led to an interesting observation by my husband. He noted that in one short stretch of road we’d passed FIVE pizza parlors. 🙂 We immediately began counting pizza parlors the rest of the trip. That led us to the all important question: Are there more Chinese restaurants or pizza parlors? I will tell you that we asked Siri, and she failed utterly. But I think we may have discovered the beginning of a new car travel game.
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We were on the last stretch of road on the way to Highlands. There is one hill you climb, and then start down again to the coast. As we crested the hill I thought I was seeing smoke. My husband said no, that’s fog. Sure enough, as we came down the hill, it was fog. What a sea change from when we left! I have been down to Sandy Hook in the rain and the fog, so it was not a new view for me, but it was a bit uncommon. We do tend to go down the shore in nice weather, not fog. I actually enjoy a bit of fog in the mornings, or late afternoons when we are staying for a week. There is something so soothing and exotic about a touch of fog with the salt air, and the sound of the water. I will tell you that when there is NO fog, you would be seeing the sandy stretch of beach on the other side of the Shrewsbury river.
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You can see by the pictures that we did indeed beat the crowd. We had a lovely dinner listening to the seagulls (wow, those are BIG birds) and the water lapping against the pier. My husband indulged with fried clams and steamers. I had a fried fish sandwich and corn on the cob.
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We had time after dinner to drive a little further to what used to be one of our favorite restaurants. It has changed ownership, name and menu. When I’d checked it out online the menu was not especially appealing – it wasn’t seafood oriented anymore. They still have the tiki bar and live music, but I’m not sure that will be enough to pull us back. There is another restaurant next door, that we have always observed, but never investigated. This time we found a place to park the car (parking is an issue in that area – not many spaces for out-of-towners. We wandered over and discovered that this place had a VERY interesting menu, as well as 3 different seating areas – the outdoor tables with umbrellas, an open-air covered area, and then the inside typical restaurant area. We decided we’d really like to try that restaurant next time. It’s going to take a bit of planning, however, because parking really is an issue down there. Too bad they don’t offer valet parking like our old favorite does. That was, I confess, a big lure for that place. We headed back to the car, and I cruised a few more blocks, scoping out where we might be able to park if/when we return. There did appear to be hope of spaces about 2 blocks away, so it’s certainly a stronger possibility now. *grin* All we need now is to find a time to get back there.
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My New Toy

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Memories of Key West

For several weeks I’d been seeing an advertisement on my FB stream. It was for a photo display device called “Skylight“. It was billed as the perfect Mothers’ Day gift, then as the perfect Fathers’ Day gift, and a graduation gift. You get the idea. One day I clicked through on the ad to see what it might be.

It appears to be the perfect gift for the technologically-impaired relative who doesn’t want to mess with computers, phones or tablets, and/or has poor eye-sight so that viewing photos of loved ones on a phone/tablet is not that clear. The part that caught MY attention, however, was that it holds around 8,000 photos. I have a LOT of photos. I always took a lot and once the phone cameras came into being, my picture taking increased exponentially. I thought why not give it a try, it’s a fairly reasonable price, it sounds easy and if I don’t like it I could give it away. I ordered it just before Fathers’ Day and ended up getting a discount on the price. Apparently so many people had ordered it that if I didn’t mind waiting a few extra days, they’d knock off $15. Sure, why not, right? It was for me. I’m not a father. *grin*

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Memories of Rockefeller Center

As is par for me, I did nothing with it for a few weeks. In the meantime, my niece had a baby. This is the first baby of that generation in our family, although I think she must be the 5th of that generation in my brother-in-law’s family. We all met the new addition and I thought that maybe I should just hand over the Skylight to my b-i-l’s mother (who is as a second mother to me – we’ve been mishpacha since before my sister married her son.)

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One of my favorite photographic subjects

I didn’t hand it over but I did finally set it up. (Okay – I know you’re reading this so I’ll confess – my friend set it up.) It took less than 15 minutes to turn it on, connect it to my wifi, and start sending photos. In a nutshell, the Skylight is meant for someone who is the recipient of other folks sending photos. Perfect for a great-grandma with a new baby where the distant parents are sending regular photo updates. Each device has its own email address, and anyone can email photos to that address, where they appear “magically” on the Skylight as long as it has internet connectivity. There are a few settings (how often does the photo stay up before the next one appears, show them chronologically in the order they arrived or randomly) but basically it’s as simple as someone sends you photos and you look at them.

I LOVE IT.

There is no USB connection. I thought at first I’d just hook up a USB cable and dump all my photos. Nope, you have to email them (again – think of the purpose – distant relatives sending regular updates of family members). This means I need to go through all my photos and attach the designated pictures to the email and send it to the device. I am having so much fun going through the photos, recalling things that I’d forgotten about completely, reliving happy memories. Photos of people and pets who are no longer with me, my son’s school events, family gatherings, excursions, office parties – they are all there and I’m reliving them all. After viewing a few folders of photos I find myself grinning ear to ear – so many happy smiling people! I have to smile back.

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Memory of major snowfall – over 2 ft

I loved it so much that I bought one for my other mother (see above *grin*). My sister set it up for her and now her children and grandchildren and I are all sending her photos from all places and ages. I’ve found so many good ones from the past. Every time I send one to her Skylight, I laugh and smile – it makes me feel so good to send her something that will make her happy. And it DOES make her happy – she loves hers, too. She knew about them because a friend has one. She says the friend no longer watches TV, she watches her Skylight. *laughing* It really is captivating. Last night I encountered a myriad of photos from my former office and coworkers. I started sending them out as well. I found the photos from a Passover seder where one of the guests turned 62. I sent those. IT FEELS SO GOOD to send happy memories to people.

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Memory of Cocoa Beach

I guess you could consider this an advertisement. That isn’t usually my “thing” – pushing products. But this particular ‘toy’ has given me such joy that I’m telling everyone about it. I love sorting through my photos, cropping and cleaning them, and sending them off to the Skylight. It’s sitting on a table in my living room at the moment. I’m not sure it will stay there because I don’t actually spend that much time there. I almost think I might move it into the kitchen where I can watch it.

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Memories of St. Croix USVI

I have no idea how many photos I’ve loaded. I’m actually working my way forward from 2 points in time: 2002 when I apparently began taking digital photos, and 2013, the first year I had on my laptop. I’d archived all the earlier photos onto removable drives. It has taken me several days to make it out of 2005. *grin* 2016 is also proving to need many days of curation. I’m not sure 8000 photos will suffice for me. I may need to get another one. Considering the joy it gives me – it’s well worth the price.

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Enough already – pay attention to ME!

Cicadas

To me the sound of cicadas is an “end of summer” sound. This feeling has grown on me over the years – I don’t believe I felt this way as a child. It seems to me that I become aware of the cicadas in September, the end of summer both literally and emotionally. They are sooooo loud once they get going. This year I became aware of them in July. I’m not sure why that was. Did they emerge earlier? Am I listening for them? One day they will be a cacophony wherever I am. The next day it is as if they never emerged. Yesterday morning I came to the office and was slammed by a wall of cicada sound when I got out of my car. Today – nothing but the pterodactyl screech of the adjoining warehouse.

For your listening pleasure, should you like cicadas, I give you the other day at work. That buzzing humming noise on the video – that is ALL cicada. That’s what they sound like. I never see them but oh wow, just listen to them sing.

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The County Fair

county fair 2019

I LOVE the county fair!! When I was growing up I never went to it – it never even registered in my life. Once I had a child, and I was looking for fun things to do with a child, that didn’t cost a fortune or involve traveling forever, the county fair came into focus. Our county fair has all the standard county fair components: the 4-H exhibits (Head-Heart-Hands-Health), the arcades, the rides, the food vendors, the local business exhibits and people, people, people. You know how I love crowds and excited people!
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This year the weather was perfect! The fair runs for a week, and they only had one rain-out day on Wednesday. Otherwise the temperature and humidity were perfect for fair-going. We headed over on Saturday night (after I rested from my 5-hour pruning marathon). I was craving fair food – food on a stick, those fabulous butterfly fries, and maybe even ice cream. I didn’t eat much during the day so I could FEAST at the fair.
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Every year I say the same thing – we HAVE to come on MONDAY so that I can see all the prize winning vegetables and fruits before they have had a week of wilting in the heat and humidity. We have never made it on a Monday. 🙂 I think that seeing the vegetables may actually be my favorite part of the fair. I’m not sure why, therefore, I can’t get myself over to see them when they are at their peak. I can’t even tell you why I like them best, unless it’s so that I have a comparison and goal for my own garden. I like seeing the art work as well, although this year I found I mostly disagreed with every blue ribbon winner. 🙂 Maybe I can get myself on the judging committee?
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We follow pretty much the same itinerary every year. We start with the baby animals, move to the historic machines, see the vegetables and fruits, see the art work, and then to the arcades and rides. This year we got our dinner first (I was HUNGRY) and wandered towards the baby animals. We could see a big crowd just past the baby animal tent, and we could see 2 motorcycles with riders up on a tower. So we headed there to see what was happening. That ring has been where the horse jumping has taken place in the past. This year it was stunt riders on motor bikes. They were definitely stunt-y and very exciting. But all in all – I personally prefer watching horses in action.
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We went into the baby animal tent and of course ooo’d and ah’d at how cute they are. From the calves and goats and emu we went to the rabbits and the chickens and the snakes and the guinea pigs. I think every year I must say that I think there are fewer exhibitors, but there are still a good number. Good thing, too, because what is a county fair without the 4-H part of it? My husband is convinced that he wants us to have chickens when we retire. I am convinced that I want no such thing. 🙂 So while I crooned at bunnies, he was looking at chickens. One cage had 2 chickens, Honey and Stella. I told him I would only consider letting him have a chicken if he named it Stella, so that he could go out in the yard and call “Stellaaaa!!!“.
maytag washer

I loved the Maytag washer. You KNOW it was the top-of-the-line in its day. Look at the wringer section where you could do the preliminary “drying”. That is a classic for sure, but I’m VERY glad to have a more modern version at home. 🙂
blue ribbon canning

Many years we spend a LOT of time at the arcades. We all (me, husband, son) love to do the water pistol challenge – the one where you shoot water into the target to try to get it to move to the top first. I wasn’t much in the mood for playing so my husband did a round or two and that was it for the arcades. The racing pigs weren’t there this year (I love the racing pigs) but they had the Axe Women Loggers of Maine. We saw a little of their log rolling – impressive!
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I’d had my bbq’d beef on a stick and my butterfly fries. We’d gotten some fresh-squeezed unsweetened lemonade. All that was left was dessert. I thought I wanted ice cream but the first line I went to stand in was too long for the paucity of flavors. One of the traditional (every year tradition) food vendors sells apple crisp with ice cream, other fresh fruit smoothies, brownie sundaes, and cheese cake dipped in dark Belgian chocolate (so they say). Since the ice cream wasn’t doing it for me, I decided to try the cheese cake. I’m glad I tried it – you should always leave yourself open to new experiences. I have to say that neither the chocolate nor the cheese cake were improved by the pairing. 🙂 The cheese cake was too cold (so it would hold up when dipped) to taste the yummy cheese cake-iness and the chocolate was too sweet. I took a few bites and tossed it. But now I know for the future that it is NOT something I need. I can go back to the ice cream lines.
pink sky at dusk

My dessert was the last fair experience I needed. We were parked in the ENORMOUS field, and almost at the furthest point from the fair entrance. We meandered back to the car, put the roof down *grin*, and headed home. Another wonderful year at the county fair!!!
ferris wheel at night


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