Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jetty Park

Where has the week gone? For that matter, where has August gone?

Apparently none of you took me too seriously regarding my injuries because no sympathies came my way. :( In reality, not only did I have those scrapes and bruises, but I had/have two cold sores to complicate matters. Yikes! Nonetheless, life goes on, and so it has.

Tuesday, while at our polling place I finally got a good photo of the Florida flag,
while waiting for Bruce to sort out his voting business. Earlier in the month they sent him an absentee ballot which I threw out without realizing it would be a problem. This year, they are very serious about voter fraud. Didn't think about that when it hit the trash. Our friend Jane works for a Seminole County judge whom, if she'd lost the election, would have had to let Jane go. Fortunately, she won, making us very happy indeed. During the course of the summer, two different judges came by my booth, one of whom bought an owl print as his name is Weiss, apparently pronounced "wise" and he uses the owl as his mascot.
You knew I had to vote for him! The turnout for this election was absolutely pathetic--15 % of voters! You can bet the remaining 85% do their fair share of complaining in spite of not taking the time to vote.

Continuing our beach going ways, Thursday we went to Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral. It must have been last summer (?) that last I went to Jetty Park with Matt and Tom. Perhaps they'll remember this pretty walk to the ocean?
It was a perfectly lovely day with wonderful surf to play in. A storm far away in the Atlantic was our benefactor, producing some great foam.
Did I mention the lovely breeze? What an oversight! During the course of the day, and we actually stayed for quite a while this visit, on two different occasions a tug boat would do it's thing with a much larger boat. How do they do it?
So, the surf was great, the breeze was as well, not to mention the scenery, but in a major turn of events, at least for me, I spent a good deal of time READING! I am completely under the spell of Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility was my novel of choice this past week.
While I was wondering how to get my hands on her other novels, I already had the book about ten feet from where I sit now!!  Duh! Yes, thanks to Alissa, who gave it to me years ago, I finally thought to look on my office shelf, and there it was patiently waiting for me to delve in to. Are you like that? Do you have books on your shelves that you've never read?  According to this entry from Wikipedia,  the Modern Library publishing house was not without it's critics, however, I am mighty glad they put this volume together. What have I been waiting for? Sense and Sensibility was excellent, and now I've moved on to Mansfield Park.  A heroine with my maiden name! Who knew?

Later in the day, this charming little girl arrived with her family.
I was wondering if they were killing time before boarding the Disney cruise ship we saw waiting in the port moments away from where we sat?

The other day I finally did some grocery shopping, and while at Publix, I picked up these daisies which have the most alluring color--in person it is sort of a dusty rose which to date I'd never seen before. I used to be able to whip up still lifes of daisies with no problem, however, in spite of the great color, this time I've struck out. In fact, one of my tasks this week was cleaning out old photos from my massive photo library collection. Somewhat depressing because it seems as if my best days are behind me--this year I've hardly taken one super good photo. :(
Hope springs eternal however, and tomorrow might just be the day something magical happens once again. Speaking of magic, let us hope our beloved Florida State Seminoles put on a good show tonight. This time of year I am glued to my television on Saturdays watching college football; in fact, University of Central Florida is playing Penn State in Dublin right now. The small screen calls to me.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Heat Wave Part Two, Along with an Injury Report!

I had every intention of writing this yesterday afternoon, but the truth is, I was nursing my wounds instead.

Almost like a movie, while Bruce was spray painting a new batch of frames, I stepped backward to dodge the overspray, and by golly, I tripped over some tools, falling straight back onto the concrete, hitting not only my head, my, (thankfully), padded backside, my heel, elbow, and my back as well. Poor Bruce watching it happen, immediately threw down his can to come to my aide. Although I was momentarily stunned, I began laughing at what a klutz I am. Minor scrapes on my back, elbow, and ankle, along with some soreness plagued me yesterday afternoon, however, I am happy to report that today I'm mostly "good as new." We even rode our bikes to our polling place to vote, so you know I can't be too bad!

Well, now, let's get back to Savannah, shall we? Please be advised, this will be, perhaps, longer than your attention span!
I woke before sunrise, taking my camera out for a stroll to see what I could see. And then, of course, show YOU what I saw! The port of Savannah, pictured above, is a busy one. So busy in fact, it has become the fourth largest "container terminal in the United States. We can attest to seeing some huge, and I mean huge, vessels stacked high with containers as they made their way along the river out to sea. Below, is the Savannah City Hall with a gorgeous dome covered in paper thin 23 carat gold leaf. Stunning in the pre dawn light, or so it was in person!
I should have used my trusty phone compass to tell me which way the sun would rise. I was thinking it would light up the bridge, however, I was thinking wrong. Duh, it rises over the Atlantic Ocean!
Before leaving on our trip, Bruce begged me not to work too hard at being a tourist, to which I grudgingly agreed. Instead of booking the tickets beforehand for the dolphin tour I was dying to take from Tybee Island, just outside of Savannah, I decided if we found a seat on the boat while we were there, so be it. Taking off fairly early to Tybee, which is only a short drive on a road we'd taken the day before, it was lovely, but HOT, as the dickens. Rarely have I seen anything aside from Florida beaches, and although it was not too different, instead of daisies growing in the dunes, there were Morning Glories!
I vacillated between a close up, and the above landscape; as is quite evident, the landscape won--the bright little dots in the dune are the flowers. Lovely, lovely.

Additionally they have a fantastic pier which I'd seen in the advertisements. It was finely built which Bruce appreciated.
We were way out at the end in the picture above,
but behind me there are similar much larger arches made of wood. So big in fact that the pavillion is used for dancing! This link gives you more details about the area; I wish there were more in that article describing how the previous pier and pavilion were a major stop on all the Big Band tours in the '20's. Actually this is a new one, the former burned down in 1967, which is probably accounts for all the concrete below.
Isn't that such a fun picture? As you can probably tell from the photograph of the father and son walking on the pier, the sky was mostly cloudless, with the sun already burning us up by 9 in the morning! The high for the day was 97 degrees!! I told you it was hot, which is relevant to this part of the story. After checking out, from the car, (too hot to climb up) the Tybee Island lighthouse,
which was a shame because if the inside is half as good as the outside, it would have been wonderful. Nonetheless, we skipped it in favor of finding the dolphin tours, located of the main highway. Well, that didn't work. One never answered my call, the other had a little ticket booth, unmanned, which apparently surprised the owner when Bruce mentioned it on the phone trying to purchase tickets. After straightening that out, or so I imagine, she called back with the news that they were canceling all tours because of the HEAT! You heard that right. Bruce suspects they didn't have enough takers, because Lord knows, the dolphins are probably still swimming despite her claim of a heat index of 106. I was so dying to get out on some water, but it was not to be, so instead we went somewhere else. where we sweat like pigs!

That's right, we stopped at Ft. Pulaski just down the road. Oops, before I forget, here's a baby lighthouse on Cockspur Island, that is so darn cute!
The fort was highly interesting if history is your thing. I love history, although I'm the first to tell you that I forget most of it until reminded....
Bruce is roaming atop the fort, a part I was kind of hoping we would skip as I was melting. Below, though, as we roamed the rooms and walkways between the pictured arches, the heavy walls lowered the temperature by a bunch.
Here's your major take-away from the fort--it took 18 years to build, and about a day to render it useless for defense. During the Civil War, the Union Army defeated the Confederates in a day-long battle resulting in surrender. In the ensuing years, the occupying battalion from New York state entertained themselves with various music and games, one of which is the earliest recorded photograph of men playing baseball!

After a serious dose of automobile air conditioning, Bruce took me to Bonaventure Cemetery. If you are one of the millions who read, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you already feel like you know the place. No, I did not see the bird girl statue, but I did see this one:
If there is a date on this I did not see it. What kind of man has a headstone built for both of his wives???
Although there are loads of big trees with kind shade, it was still dreadfully hot and sunny, the very worst for picture taking! Nonetheless, while Bruce rested in the shade of a tree, I roamed a bit coming across Conrad Aiken's grave, along with his parents headstone, which puzzled me greatly until I solved the mystery of both parents dying on the same day using our handy iPad.
Of all things, it was a homicide committed by his father! And we think this kind of thing is new....

There are some massive headstones and well, arches, if you will....
I found this one amusing, if you can find a headstone amusing, and I certainly can.
Hard to read in the light--Father and Mother Grimm, which may or may not have something to do with Grimm's Fairy Tales. I guess when I saw it I was still fixed on CA's parents, a very sad story if ever there were one.

This headstone has sparked all sorts of internet rumors, which according to some, are all false.
A person could go on and on if they so chose, however, this person was sweltering so she quit. On our drive back into town we came across Price Street!
So what Gail? My maiden name, that's what!

If you've seen any guides about Savannah, surely you've seen their most famous fountain in Forsyth Park.
And rightly so, it's beautiful! As are the homes surrounding the park. The chandelier alone, on this porch, was to die for.
Well, let's be honest, the whole thing is to die for!

Hot and miserable, we popped into a little bar on Bay Street, meeting Julie, and only slightly cooling off as their air conditioner was on the fritz!
The owner, she apologized for the heat, putting lots of ice in my glass. To say she was entertaining is putting it mildly. The fried pickles were yummy too!

Are you worn out yet? I mostly was, but we still had dinner to attend to. Strolling along River Street, this World War II memorial was striking.
If you look hard, you will see Bruce chatting with a Ukrainian man--you guessed it, they were talking about the conflict in his country.

Dinner was fine, nothing memorable at a place called "Cotton something or other." Bruce is not home or I'd ask him, making it seem more professional. In fact, I'm struggling to remember the FANTASTIC place we had breakfast before leaving Savannah. I've got it....Goose Feathers Cafe. Scrumptious food, with good service. How do you suppose this dog liked it?
As if it weren't hot enough without a dress!!!!!

Pretty straightforward drive home, with no exciting stops to report, and it's a darn good thing or you'd never get through this post!!

Where to next?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Heat Wave

Well, we did not come home with a t-shirt, not because we didn't make it to Jen's & Friends, but because they were OUT of them! According to our new friend Julie, another bar owner, August is the slowest tourist month in Savannah, so, many places are out of t-shirts because they need the revenue for every day stuff. Priorities, it's all about priorities.
It is no wonder the tourists stay away because I can tell you it was hot as the dickens! We stayed in an old hotel, a converted cotton warehouse with no swimming pool; as you can imagine, I was longing for one after a hot day of sightseeing. Although I got a good deal on The River Street Inn on Hotels.com, the front side is on E. Bay Street, while the back, pictured above, is on River Street, the main tourist drag, I'm not entirely sure if I can recommend it. If we were to go back to Savannah, I think we'd stay off Broughton Street which is touristy, but not so much.
Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself. You won't be surprised that we stopped several times on our way: first one at Cracker Barrel in Daytona Beach, adjacent to the Speedway.
It was to be a treat for Bruce, but sadly there was super slow service, as well as mediocre food. Onwards to our next stop in St. Augustine. Pray tell, why did we go there? Our friend Dana recently bought a loft in the historic district where she is dying for us to stay for a few nights. Using our handy iPad we were able to navigate the tiny streets to find it. Super cute, and in such a neat location, across the street from this.
It is a well worn tale how we had our two day honeymoon in St. Augustine 41 years ago making it only appropriate to stop! While Bruce took a little nap, I did a bit of roaming; already the heat was blazing! Adjacent to her loft is a beautiful Anglican church.
Back on the road with the air conditioning blasting, we first made our way through Jacksonville, and thank God Bruce was driving because heavy construction on an interstate makes me a nervous wreck when I'm behind the wheel.
Just after entering Georgia, I drove while Bruce was the sightseer and navigator. Truth be told, there is not much to navigate as it is pretty much a straight shot up I-95, but we like staying informed about where we are. 

Instead of taking I-16 into the city, we took the previous exit because Bruce wanted me to drive by an Olive Garden he built there 14 years ago--still looks great. This proved to be perfect because, not only did we get to see the Savannah where the tourists don't go, but it was a good route to get to our first stop, Wormsloe Historic Site, which used to be called Wormsloe Plantation, a name change for obvious reasons. 
What an interesting place! Not only do you learn about the history of Georgia, but the scenery is magnificent. Built by a man named Noble Jones,
who not only had an awesome name, but living up to that name, he played an integral part in shaping Georgia. His accomplishments are too numerous to list; I was especially attracted to his past as a carpenter. It was not he, but his son who planted 400 live oak trees lining the entrance. Spread over 1 1/2 miles, it is not only gorgeous, but the shade is most welcome!
We took the guided tour to the tabby ruins, 
where we learned the meaning of tabby, a word I was most curious about. Are you? Okay--here it is: tabby was dirt mixed with oyster shells and such for building. Now you know.

In spite of the extreme heat, our group pressed on to see the salt marshes,
where water once flowed out to sea before a recent highway project. It is hard to imagine, but there were dozens of little crabs roaming the ground beside the fallen cypress tree.  So, here's what we learned in this spot--all along I-95 there are signs touting the Golden Isles of Georgia, which as it turns out, got it's name from the grasses you see pictured above. In the fall, they turn brownish, and at sundown they allegedly glow golden. Or so he said. 

I wonder how Matt would like baking bread in the oven shown adjacent to the little house below?
Although it was great, I can tell you, I was most grateful to get back into air conditioning! By now the temperature soared to a toasty 97 degrees! 

After finding the hotel, parking the car across the street, and seeing our room, we went back out into the heat. Fortunately, the squares provide some shade making the walk bearable. These guys were making the best of the long summer nights.
Although we talked to them, I'm not sure which one makes the paintings.

So Jen's was just a few blocks away on Bull Street. Arriving at a good time, there were still some seats to be had in the tiny bar where "one and done" was our rule on this visit.  (see previous post) I had some concoction with muddled cilantro, gin, jalapeno juice, and lots of ICE! Bruce tried the Blackberry Lemondrop martini which was way too delicious! While there our friendly bartender recommended a few places to eat, one of which was Baracuda Bob's just down River Street from our hotel. Although newish, with a gorgeous bar, my pimento cheese with green tomato relish and bacon was disappointing.
It is Georgia, for crying out loud, how could the pimento cheese not be delicious?? Hot spicing, that's how. 

A little roaming on River Street, following dinner, and it was bed time for this older couple. Thank God the air conditioning worked beautifully in the room. Good night Savannah. Good night heat.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Bag is Packed

It is not very often that either Bruce, or I, have been drunk. I suspect you could count on one hand the number of times, however, there was one occasion that sticks in my mind.

The year was 2007, late summer, that I talked Bruce into a little trip to both Savannah, and Charleston. At the time I was still pretty weak, and in constant pain, but what the heck, you can only stay home for so long. So, we took off on a Friday evening, spending the night in Daytona, and on to Savannah the next day. I don't really remember all that much about our time in Savannah, HOWEVER, there is one part that neither of us can forget. We stayed at The Marshall House, and while taking a little stroll, I suppose for dinner, we came across a spot called Jen's & Friends. Martinis are their thing, and because it was in the midst of the martini craze, we figured, why not?

Now, you might assume that Bruce, being the strong guy that he is, would eschew sweet drinks, but that is most certainly not the case. He loves a good Pina Colada! So it was that he tried a (gasp!) Cosmopolitan--remember their popularity??? Very tasty he thought, I might just have another, and another.....and before long he was feeling pretty good. He even bought one of their t-shirts. While this was all going on, we were chatting with a couple seated at the adjacent table, who also were feeling pretty good. So good, that they wanted to keep partying, inviting us to accompany them to a music venue where drinks are served. After a short walk, we arrived, got a drink, and began listening to the music, however, by now Mr. Bruce was not feeling so good....seriously drunk, he asked me to take him back to the hotel. I did the best I could.

Although the trip, the following morning, to Charleston was a mere 106 miles from Savannah, it felt like much, much, further to our driver!

Fast forward to a month or so ago, to a day we were having lunch at a delicious new little restaurant called Se7en Bites on Primrose Avenue, a few miles from the house. While ordering, one of the chefs, noticing his now well-worn t-shirt, exclaimed how much she loved Jen's & Friends!

We are going back for a new, non faded t-shirt, and a few less martinis. Or so that is our plan. Upon our return I will let you know how it goes.

What did I leave out yesterday? Well, a work day at Bill's house on Saturday which found Bruce grinding the marble tiles to leave a straight edge in the opening, while Bill held the vacuum cleaner to catch the inevitable dust.
He proceeded to make a wood casing, which was much harder than it sounds. Before Bill's house, we took the stainless pieces over to Angela's neighbor, only to discover once we had everything in the back yard, that they made the top piece an inch too short.
I can assure you this was a low blow. See that wood stick thing? That's called a "dead man" for those of you not familiar with carpentry terms. My job was to hold said dead man, keeping the stainless in place, while Bruce screwed it into the fascia. Which meant another trip out to Oviedo for me on Monday to pick up the correctly sized piece, which Bruce installed yesterday afternoon, following his work day at Church Street!
Did I tell you it was KILLER hot? I should have. Anyway, after the installation, he removed the protective paper, and here's what it looks like.
And why would someone have two large pieces of stainless attached to their home? Apparently they grill all the time, and the above pictured grill has exhaust out the back which stains the house. So, now you know.

Because we were not going out on our actual anniversary, a nice home cooked meal was in order. I spent the afternoon baking, and I've a few tips to pass along. Making home made brownies is as easy as pie, well, much easier, and frankly, I don't know why that saying ever came into being, but I digress. I mentioned this once before, but it is so helpful, that it bears repeating. If you've a plastic knife, in my case, a lettuce knife, use it to cut perfect brownies.
We ended up eating so late, that instead of the brownies and ice cream I envisioned, I never even ate one, while B. ate two small ones. Then too, I'd been dying to, once again, make the incredibly delicious, albeit decadent, whipped cream pound cake from a recipe given to me by my 87 year old Alabama native neighbor. Pound cake--a Southern tradition. Deciding it might seem a wee bit less decadent with the addition of blueberries, I gave this a try; coating the berries in flour before adding to prevent sinking.
Although the picture makes it looks like it might be a possible solution to the pesky problem of sinking blueberries, I cannot, in all honesty, vouch for it. Freezing them beforehand is yet another trick, however, neither of them work all that great. I will say it prevented blueberry bleeding which is a plus. If you have a better idea, I'm all ears!

Now, here's something that does work pretty well.
There was a time when a whole box of spaghetti wasn't enough to feed my hungry boys, however, these days, with just the two of us, it is always a challenge figuring out a two person serving of pasta. I read about this somewhere, and although the next time I'd fill that empty spice bottle a tad more, it was just about right.

On this tiny part of the World Wide Web, you've seen lots of photographs of various creatures from our yard, but, drum roll please, this one is a FIRST.
You might think that in seven years of taking photographs most every single day, that I might have a snail photo, but you might think wrong. As Bruce was getting in the car he noticed this little guy on the driveway, moving him so as not to run him over. While I was taking this photo, he was inching his way to the safety of the grass.

Bill called just now, and during the course of our conversation, I asked him what he thought about his Mom writing a blog. He said he thought it was cool. I'll take that. What I told him is that events that are either mundane, or important, are recorded in real time, so what's really cool about having a blog is I know I felt about stuff when it was happening. As well, I told him I don't often go back in time, but for those who would prefer a shorter version of what I've described above, here's the link to my blog post recording the previous trip.

Back then I knew how to be succinct--what happened???

You Just Never Know