Thursday, October 31, 2013


but what a treat she was: The Marbled Orbweaver Spider! She sat so still, looking for all the world like a plastic doodad of some kind, with a stamped-on design.  I bent down to pick up this unnatural-looking thing in the woods, and that's when her eight legs shot out and I screamed and released her.

She didn't get a chance to bite me, so quickly did I have a change of heart about picking her up.  But there I was, with The Yard Man and two friends, staring at this marvelous creature, the likes of which I had never before seen in all my live-long days!  It was truly a treat!

Everything about the twenty-five hours spent in Prince Gallitzin State Park, in fact, was a treat!
There was the cabin where Tom and Tina (our generous friends) hosted The Yard Man and me.  There was the exceptionally delicious pasta dish that Tom cooked up for us (this is impressive, Reader Dear--every single spoon and fork and knife and cup and cooking pot and cutting board, and grater, peeler, wine-bottle-opener must be carried in with renters of the cabin!)

But just take a look, Dear Viewer, at what's provided:
A lake, right there outside the cabin door!
Lots of little furry creatures right outside the cabin door, as well.

And there were lovely woods,
and vistas,
and hiking trails!
There was a dam.
And Bluebirds.
And a Pheasant.
And a Red-bellied Woodpecker!
(without a red belly, how odd)

And there were exceedingly tall trees.

 Not to mention brightly-colored leaves.
And Lesser Scaups (a breed of duck, Dear Reader).

In addition to all these natural interests, of course, we had the fellowship of friends!

No tricks, this twenty-five hour span was a prince
of a treat!

Monday, October 28, 2013


there is a bride and there is a groom.
They each say "I do."
And, voila!
Once again, I am eating wedding cake!

This time, The Yard Man and I traveled two states south to attend the festivities. 
This time, the groom is the grandson of my sister.
This time, the wedding is held outdoors, with plenty of sunshine and (argh, once again) plenty of wind!


I could show you the wind's shenanigans, but (argh, once again) my videos have refused to say I do!

I could decorate this
tale further, but I'm scurrying around, Reader Dear, preparing to take off (hooray, once again) on a two-day trip. I promise (I do) to tell you about it when I return.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


 It occurred to me, Dear Reader,  that I haven't  told you about the guests from the Netherlands.  And, hmmm, there was the pawpaw.

First things first.  A few years ago, the Yard Man and I hosted two young men from the Netherlands.  They were real Dutchmen.  They wore  big wooden shoes!

Last week one of these two came to visit, and he brought his parents along.  Now, Jelmer's parents have children scattered around the globe  (Jelmer [say it, Yelmer] himself is working on an organic farm in New York) and they've traveled to many spots around the world.  The Yard Man and I knew we had nothing world-famous to show these guests.  So we took them to Central Market--locally famous!  It is, after all, the oldest continually operating farmer's market in the USA.

Happily for us, it was a pristine day.  We shopped the market for lunch goodies, and then took our edibles to Steinmen Park to eat them.  

I wasn't the only one taking pictures!  Even though this tiny park holds no titles, Chikka and Shimon (ah, Reader Dear, the names are strictly my best phonetic translation!) seemed as pleased with our visit there as were the Yard Man and I.

For dinner, we visited El Serrano, a local Peruvian restaurant.  Because Jelmer has lived in Peru, he could explain many foods on the menu.  In addition, he speaks five languages fluently; our Dutch friend could carry on a conversation with a Cuban employee at this Peruvian eating place.  The Cuban employee could give us an underground tour of the wine cellar, stocked with wines from around the world.  It was a delightful international evening for The Yard Man and myself!


And the pawpaw? 

"It's a local delicacy!" explained the woman who sold me one of these fruits during the visit to Central Market.  "They only grow HERE," she said.  Whether this is a true statement,  and how big of an area can be defined as 'here' is your guess as well as mine, Dear Reader!  Our Dutch friends were curious about this delicacy, too, and purchased a  couple of them. 

I had to let the pawpaw ripen for a few days.  Jelmer and Chikka and Shimon had left by the time I deemed it ready to cut open and consume.  And, when I did-- Oooo-la-la!  I kissed my fingertips!  It was creamy and delicious, with the texture of an avocado, and the taste of a banana married to a kiwi. I scraped out every last smidgeon of the flesh, ate it,  and smacked my lips!  It's already famous in my psyche.  I can only believe that after our friends from the Netherlands tasted this fruit, it catapulted to international acclaim!*


 * world famous!

Friday, October 18, 2013


Yesterday the weather was bright and sunny, but only when the clouds indulged the sun, and opened up windows for it.  I was out on the road, working hard, but only in a sit-behind-the wheel sort of way, and planning which route was best for taking me to the appliance store.

Just as I realized that the clouds were being less generous than they'd been an hour ago, I passed some people hard at work in a much harder 'hard work' way.  And I thought about the fact that  'making hay while the sun shines' would be a very apt description of what these folks were doing, if only the crop were wheat instead of corn and the sun were shining!

 Now, Viewer Dear, these folks were Amish, and I immediately wanted a picture, but I felt too hesitant to put on the brakes, jump from the car and openly photograph them.  Besides, I was moving along at a good clip, and I just didn't have time to make a plan.  As I continued on my way, however, I was more and more convinced I needed a video!  (I had to show you these hard workers in action, Viewer Dear!)  So I came up with a strategy in which I would remain in my car, pull off the road just a tad (there was almost no shoulder) and put on my four-way blinkers.  Then I would simply open my driver's-side window and start filming!  Of course, this plan necessitated that I be driving in the original direction that I was traveling at the time I spotted the scene. 

I pulled into a driveway and  turned the car around.  Then I drove past the workers, pulled into another driveway (there were few other places to reverse my route) and turned around again.  Now I was all set to film the action! I approached the field, I could see that the horses, wagon and workers were no longer reaping alongside the road.  They had made a full circle and the Amish were unloading the wagon at the back of the field.  Would they now take a lunch break?  If I gave it another try, how long would I have to wait?  There was nothing to do right then, of course, but to drive on down the road.  If I were going to try again, I'd have to turn around again.

 I had a little debate with myself and decided to give it another shot. In the farm lane where I was maneuvering a turn-around, I had a distant view of the field.   If no one comes along to make me move , I thought, I'll just wait here and see if they resume their work.  And what do you know, Reader Dear, very shortly I could see them once again moving along the edge of the standing corn near the road.

I drove past, turned the car around again, and came up alongside them.  Goodness, these horses were moving down the field at a surprising pace!  I didn't have a second to waste!  No one seemed to notice me parked by the road, camera resting in the open window, and I got two excellent short movies before they progressed out of the picture!  I was very pleased with myself.

With a big smile on my face, I set off down the road.  I was back on track and well on my way to the appliance store when I came to a stop sign.  Paused there, I found it irresistible to take a small peek at my terrific videos of the Amish hard at work ( just to admire them, you know, Viewer Dear).

Aaaaaagh! I gave a long and piteous groan.  Obviously, the camera was off when I thought it was on, and on when it was supposed to be off!

I need to have my head examined! I muttered. 

Then (sigh) I reversed my route.

(Getting these pictures for you was such hard work, Viewer Dear! Hard Work!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FOR SOME REASON, I'm almost always taken off-guard.   It's not like I wasn't aware of the down-pouring of rain yesterday.  And of course I knew about the snow that got all mushy the day before that.  But this morning the sun was right up there where it belongs, doing its job so admirably.  I set out to run errands, drove down the hill, never giving a thought that there might be a small ocean where the creek usually flows.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I hesitate to use the word again, Dear Reader--the word I would naturally use here if I weren't so hesitant to use it.  So I'll just say this lunch was another little get-together taking place in honor of the anniversary of the day I was born (so long ago!)  The very best thing about it, Reader Dear, was that the friend with whom I ate was born twelve days ahead of me (so long ago!), and we've been friends since college days (so long ago!)  Every year we jointly celebrate.  We buy each other lunch. 

This year we chose a restaurant serving Columbian quisine.  When we entered at noon, we were the only guests, and it wasn't until we had our plates of food that other potential diners entered.  I say "potential" because one of the two women who were checking out the place felt unsure about eating a Columbian dish.  It would be a daring venture for her! 

"My food is very good!" exclaimed the owner, offering her assurance.  "It's so good that people take pictures!"
(And, yes, Reader Dear, they do! [He saw me!])

Tina and I ate our beans and rice and breaded pork loins.  We were stuffed!  There was no way we had room for dessert!  Even considering the celebratory occasion, we both agreed we didn't want another bite.

Then, ahh, Dear Reader, the restaurant owner mentioned FIGS!
(It was the birthday surprise!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


That would be birthday hoopla, Reader Dear (remember?!)
I'm a week behind the eight-ball, but here it is:  A day with good happy-birthday-wishing friends!
We went to Longwood Gardens, with the trees and the flowers and the fountains (you know?)
The weather (which was forecast to be A-one) was merely B-one (cloudy, cool) but it didn't dampen the day for me (no torrents of rain, whoo-hoo! Yippee-yay!)  The friend who neglected to bring a jacket got to wear the fleece blanket pulled from the trunk of my car (the blanket, the tarp, the neck pillow, the atlas, the flashlight, the fleece sleeping bag...I finally feel justified for carrying all this insurance!)

First thing to set the Happy Birthday mood--the fountains!
Followed by the food--a vivacious veggie mix, with birthday cake (disguised as plain oatmeal-raisin) on the side!

Then, of course, the flowers!  The flowers!  The flowers!



(Flowers showcased by happy-birthday-wishing friends [let me tell you, Viewer Dear] are the very best kind!)


So, then...
moving along (as we, the birthday-celebrating trio are moving along [and we were actually celebrating two birthdays, believe-it-or-not, since one of these  fantastic friends had a birthday exactly eight days prior to mine!)

We decided to visit the pipe organ that Pierre had built for himself in the 1920's.

We followed the guide to this impressive sight!


Pierre DuPont.  He was the man!  He had the organ built for himself, but also for generations of folks to come (at least two of whom got the Hallelujah Chorus played for them [perhaps] in honor of their birthdays!)!

Still following this bunch, Dear Viewer Dear, we next paid a visit to the Vegetable Garden,
where we got permission* to have a teeny-tiny Happy Birthday sample. 

And then it was just as we were heading for the end of our visit to the gardens that we passed a group of  women whom I noticed all had a strong resemblance to one another. "Are you all sisters?!"  I asked. "You ALL look alike!"

They laughed.  "Ha, ha. Yes, we do look alike!  Five of us are sisters!  The other three are our cousins.  They're sisters, too!"

And then, what do  you know, Listener Dear (after a few minutes of chatter), these eight female relatives all burst into song!

Other than the fact that my camera battery died, and I couldn't get the ending, it was certainly a perfect ending (to this Happy Birthday excursion)!

*Well, one of us boldly helped herself!
She it was who gave permission to the other two.
"Look, this stuff is rotting on the vine!  It needs
to be eaten!"  Uh, huh.

Monday, October 14, 2013


(precisely a week ago) was miserably wet and wild and lonely.  I crept around a dark house, with rain pouring from the sky in torrents!  Of course, there were a few little rays of light--a few cards in the mail, and even a birthday gift  (they were definitely worth that treacherous trip to the mail box).  And there were one or two phone calls with various renditions of the Happy Birthday song, not to mention all the facebook friends clamoring to wish me a facebook Happy Birthday! 

But I barely saw another human being all day!  The weather was just too wet and wild and anti-birthday-goings-on.  And  The Yard Man needed to be away from the house from early morning until late evening. 

However, as the real and actual birthday waned, the real and actual birthday cheer waxed brighter!

Someone painted the sky flamboyantly on my account! 
And The Yard Man* brought real and actual birthday flowers!

*This is the same guy who also slaved to make those burgers and sweet potato fries
 on the birthday eve!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

AND NOW, (drum roll) THE BIRTHDAY!

The celebration of which began one week ago, today.
Here are photos, Viewer Dear.  Just photos.
Surely you can spot the real and true and priceless birthday gifts!

Friday, October 11, 2013


want to mention a wedding party, Reader Dear.
Didn't I tell you  there was a wedding? 
It was almost a whole week ago!  It's fading into the ever-receding past, even as I blog about it!
It was actually a charming wedding reception, the wedding having taken place out in the wilds of Montana.  But we got to see the bride and groom in their wedding attire!  And we got to be entertained by the bride and groom!  Good food, good drink, good friends, and a celebratory event to raise a toast to!  It was delightful.

I had no sooner arrived at the party, than the official photographer had a shoot-out with me!
But I stood my ground, Viewer Dear, and therefore you have it--  more photos of Jessica and Dave, Mr. and Mrs.!
They (the bride and groom) took questions from the guests. 

They sang!

And the parents of the groom (very dear friends of The Yard Man and me) even gave us some baklava to carry home with us!
(Aha! Once again!) This photographer got the very, very  last photo of the evening--the groom preparing to cart away the wedding gifts!

It's the very, very last thing I have to say about the wedding.
Except, uh, congratulations to Dave and Jessica!
Wishing you matrimonial bliss until your very, very last days!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I did get home from the Kitty Hawk vacation.
And I did go to a wedding.
And I had a birthday.  (The celebration started early, 
and it's on-going.)
And I'm striving to lay out all the details.*
A problem arises, Reader Dear, when I'm also scrambling around trying to take care of numerous, mundane, less-than-cheerful duties that involve deadlines!  No one from the semi-defunct government has notified me that the IRS is taking a break.  They are, in fact, still pounding their fists on the table and eyeing the calendar.  They don't care whose fault it is that a six-month extension had to be filed.  It makes not a whit of difference to them that the accountant's office, hired to figure out the intricacies of The Yard Man's and my tax return (a full eight months ago!)  had to fire the slightly pudgy and very inept man who was assigned to our case.

 So some of Uncle Sam's workers might be on a vacation, but not the ones waiting for a check from us!  I'll bet they're thinking it'll end the budget deficit.  And by golly, I bet it will!
Then, too.  If I'm in such an all-fired hurry, one might puzzle over the fact that this very afternoon I was lolling in a chair in the lobby of the bank for quite some time, just twiddling my thumbs, staring into space, making myself late for yet one more appointment!

Ah, well, see, Viewer Dear, I was waiting for a guy to come break into my car!

"Would you like some coffee while you wait?" a teller at the bank asked solicitously. "And there's today's paper," she pointed out.
Wouldn't you know, Reader Dear, I'd just done all that at the tax accountant's office!  Read the entire paper.  Drank the coffee.

As soon as the knight in shiny armor got my car door open, I headed off for the next place of business, where I was already forty minutes late!
When I arrived, the receptionist said, "Have a seat.  Can I get you a drink?" 
Oh, yes.  Oh, yes.  (I thought) Make it a strong one!
Details of these tales will be belated,
Dear Reader.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


 to say goodbye to Kitty Hawk!  That's because, Reader Dear, I knew that goodbye would be a lengthy ordeal.  There would be tears* and last, longing looks.  And, oh, there would be all that food in the rental house fridge with which to deal; there would be dishes being sullied even as we ran the dishwasher; there would be the dirty sheets to be laundered; there would be the vacation paraphernalia to be collected from every far-flung nook and cranny of the rental house; there would be the trash collection process; there would be the loading of the cars.  On the plus side, there would also be the goodbye-final breakfast at a grits-and-biscuit-serving restaurant!

*Well, you know, there was a baby among us.

As for the rest of the day,  there would be a very long drive north through the watery Eastern Shore,
with numerous tunnels and bridges,

and the exciting exiting of the car for lunch.

Though I didn't know it ahead of time, of course, there wouldn't be much else on that eight-hour journey to grab my attention and beg to show up on a blog (Well, other than the billboard that I spotted saying Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye [realty company ad] which kind of made me cringe and wipe the back of my hand across my mouth).


Oh, and the frantically fluttering flags I noticed at a used-car lot as we sat at a red light.  "Hmm," I mused to The Yard Man, "looks kind of windy." 
I grinned a tiny grin.
"But who cares?"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The wind died this morning here at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, after a long and lively lifespan of five days.  Kite-flyers mourn its passing.

As far as I'm concerned, it should have been the hallelujah headline of this post:  WIND DIES!  The death occurred  just in time to give us one perfect day of splendid, vacation-style weather.  We ate a speedy breakfast, and enthusiastically toted all kinds of equipment to the beach--two small tents, sand toys, fishing gear, towels, sun screen, snacks. 


Second headline story:  ONE UNLUCKY FISH FALLS FOR THE BAIT!

Unlucky fish gets lucky, however;  gets off the hook!   
No more obituaries!  The fisherman gently returns the fish to its watery home.

(Much preparation needed for departure!)