Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Day 100 - Well, Triple My Digits!
I'm officially in triple digits here!
(Roll film clip of Charlie Brown flying through the air after missing the football and landing hard on his back with a thud.)
Does 100 show? Do I need to go to the gym to get rid of my excess bloggage?
Day 100. DAY 100! I think Congratulations are in order from the blog pound out there.
I have faithfully written ONE HUNDRED entries (actually a few more than that) to keep y'all entertained and to keep my brain exercised. Am I nuts or what?
A thought is like a tender young plant, grasshopper Karen...
It's roots take hold. It breaks free into the light to live and grow.
Then it is ready to be plucked out of your head like a gray hair and written in your blog.
Thank you for your words of wisdom, Master Carradine.
Doctor Bloggy - what do YOU think?
What I think isn't the point, Karen - it's how you FEEL about your blogging that's important.
But if you really want my opinion, I think you spend too much time at the computer for someone who is unemployed. Go get a freakin' job like everyone else.
Thanks, Doc. Bill me, won't you?
Evil Bloggyman? Are you there?
Go away and leave me alone. You invented me and you don't write about me often enough. You asked MY opinion LAST, as usual. I don't like you and you don't like me.
And by the way - Buzz off, you Bloggy B*tch.
Well folks, it seems like I have mixed feedback from my own characters. I'm looking forward to YOURS.
Me, myself, and I
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Day 99 - Step Back in Time in Amish Country
Charlie, Buddy Joe and I took a drive to Amish country yesterday.
'Amish country' around here refers to a large old-order Amish settlement around Ethridge, Tennessee in Lawrence County.
There are also Amish in Kentucky, not too far away.
What does Old-Order mean? That means the most traditional and conservative of the Amish lifestyles.
No electricity, no vehicles, no telephones. They travel in horse drawn buggies. They make and grow things with their hands and their labor. They dress in plain, dark clothing, often without buttons.
We go there often. It is a way to step back in time and out of the hustle and bustle of modern life. The vegetables they grow are wonderful. The baskets they make are beautiful (see photo above of the two handmade baskets I purchased yesterday). Getting glimpses of their lives is special and touching.
As you drive into Amish country - you may or may not notice that the electric poles disappear, leaving you with an unobstructed and picturesque view of the farms and countryside that is hard to find nowadays.
Beautiful fields of oats and corn were everywhere, with vegetable gardens near the houses. Plow and buggy horses were working or grazing, and we saw several baby foals who had recently 'arrived'.
Don't bring your camera - the Amish don't want photographs taken and we respect their wishes.
Monday appeared to be wash day. What is neat about Amish wash? Well, it all looks the same, for one thing. Rows of brown or blue clothing, just alike, in every size from child to adult. Even when washed, remnants of their hard labor remain.
Everyone works on a farm.
Some little girls in bonnets were hoeing weeds in a garden. Two boys were working FIVE draft horses in a field. Two boys at another house were picking summer squash.
Can you believe summer squash being ready to pick before May is even over? We bought summer squash, cabbage and onions yesterday. Nothing that fresh is available in the grocery store, and all the vegetables you see came to $4.
I don't think it's 'cruel' for children to have their own chores on a farm. Children nowadays sit around and say 'I'm bored' all the time and stay inside.
I need to tell about another visit to Amish country. We arrived at a farm and said we wanted to buy a bushel of green beans. 'Ok', we were told. A few of the children grabbed some bags and disappeared - we didn't realize they were going to go PICK a BUSHEL of beans right then and there, so we waited awhile till they got back! Some farms don't have anything lying around getting 'old'. If you want it, they will go pick it for you fresh from the fields.
I could tell a lot more stories about Amish country, but it's getting kind of late!
For more information about Lawrence County and a free map of Amish country to download, check out this link:
Have a great week, everybody! TTFN!
Monday, May 29, 2006
Day 98 - Reckless and Wonton
I hope you have the day off from WORK today.
I'm writing my blog early so we can go do some sightseeing later this morning.
I know, I should be blogging about something more patriotic, but I SAID I wanted to talk about making wontons today - so I'm going to. So there.
The photo you see here is my finished product - wonton soup with a few green onions on top. YUM-O!
Apology - I didn't make the stock for the broth, I used a watered down cup-a-soup. I admit it. Hey, I could have just poured chicken stock out of a can just as easily. Next time I might.
Ok, so here's the rest of the process, for those of you who want to try making wonton soup yourself. IT IS NOT DIFFICULT.
First - I tried the round wonton skins this time instead of the square.
I found them easier to work with and fold, and I think they are very attractive! ;-)
I didn't use the traditional pork for the filling, I used ground white meat turkey.
I made the filling into little 'meatball-like' teaspoonfuls, so it was easy to assemble the wontons.
There isn't much work to making the filling - meat, green onion, pepper, soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, and I threw in a little minced cabbage for additional veggie-power.
My ground turkey had been frozen, so I actually cooked the little wonton filling 'meatballs' on a cookie sheet before I placed them in the wrappers.
(Since I was going to freeze them, I didn't think it was a good idea to re-freeze the filling without cooking it).
Wontons are low in calories - one wonton wrapper is 16 calories, and the filling's caloric value depends on what you put in it.
The ones I made are about 25 calories each including the wrapper, which means you can eat all you want of the little darlings.
The wonton skins (which are really the same as pasta rounds) dry out pretty quickly, so you have to 'stay frosty' and get the edges moistened with water, put the filling inside them, and then seal and crimp the edges together.
I worked with a dozen or so at a time, keeping the rest under a damp paper towel.
Confession - don't be too lazy about crimping the edges, I had one wonton 'open' while I was making my batch of soup. Oops.
I froze most of the wontons in Press-and-seal wrap, and I'll just drop them in boiling broth and simmer them for around 8 minutes. The fresh ones I cooked for 6 minutes.
Last photo - this is what the wontons looked like prior to cooking or freezing.
Aren't they BEE-YOU-TI-FUL?
Makes you want to run down to the store and make some, doesn't it?
By the way - I bought the round wrappers at Wal-mart superstore, they only sell the square ones at the grocery stores I go to.
Well, I'm going to 'wrap it up' for now and go do fun stuff for Memorial Day.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Day 97 - Happy Birthday, Mom!
It's my mother's birthday today. Happy Birthday, Mom!
She has already opened her present from us that I mailed earlier this week - a pink 'Nashville' baseball cap and matching t-shirt.
She was going to save her birthday cards to open today.
I found this photo of a chocolate cake on the internet - chocolate is her favorite. My favorite cake is chocolate cake with white icing, by the way.
Thanks for being a great mother, Mom! Happy Birthday (again)!
I don't remember whose birthday it was (or even if it was for a birthday), but one of my sisters made a cake once that was so hard we could have sharpened knives on it.
We threw it out the window, by the way. That made me chuckle out loud.
My sister is a great cook now, never fear.
Coincidentally, this is also the birthday of a former co-worker, so Happy Birthday to Carl, too!It's nice to have a birthday that sometimes coincides with a holiday weekend. Very occasionally that happens to me too, with MLK day in January.
It's also nice to have a birthday in a season with nice weather. My birthday and my daughter's birthday are in the winter - so you can't have outdoor parties and things like that to celebrate. (Roll sound clip of sympathy moans from the audience).
Celebrity Birthdays May 28th:
Ian Fleming, 1908
Gladys Knight, 1944
Jim Thorpe, 1888
Quote of the day:
Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. Larry Lorenzoni
Well, it's already 9:30 and I think I'd better get some things done because we're running errands, going to go see the new X-men movie, and we have company coming for dinner (Our company is BRINGING us dinner - that's a new twist!).
We've already been up, read the paper (which was late again), and had breakfast.
Charlie's breakfast - 3 slices of french toast with butter and real Maine maple syrup, 3 slices bacon, and fresh sliced tomato.
My breakfast - bacon, egg and tomato on a light Thomas's english muffin.
I made my wontons yesterday! I'll write about that on tomorrow's blog.
Have a great Sunday, everyone!
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Day 96 - Wonton o' Fun
Superman, Charlie and I hope you are doing something special this weekend. ;-)
It's supposed to be 90 this afternoon, by the way. If I'm going to go outside, I'd better do it soon.
I never got around to making up the wontons yesterday. Sorry, Heather! I am going to make them today though.
I made a batch of 'black and blue' jam yesterday instead (that means a mix of half blackberries and half blueberries) because I knew Charlie's brother was coming over and I wanted to send him home with some jam.
Charlie and his brother are busy out in the barn hammering something. Doing man stuff. Charlie hit his finger with the hammer the other day and said 'that always happens when you start a project and it's better to get it out of the way early'. ;-)
I need to go outside and see if we have any strawberries left out in the strawberry patch.
We've already got a few gallons of berries frozen in the garage freezer.
We had a great crop of strawberries this year, thanks to Green-Thumb-Charlie! (I guess he might be 'sore thumb Charlie' at the moment).
Here's a photo I took the day we came back from Florida.
I keep forgetting to tell you that we got up that last morning in Florida, packed up, loaded the car, drove 8 hours back to Tennessee, then had a 'strawberry emergency' and had to get busy picking and washing and capping and freezing berries before they got too ripe! We were pretty tired.
I'll have to plan our vacations around strawberry picking time - as WE are the field hands.
Well, I'd better put on an old T-shirt and old sneakers, chapstick and bug spray, and hit the strawberry patch. It is 7:38am and 74 degrees.
Update at 9:02 - I managed to get a few pints of strawberries out of the patch - ones that haven't been too pecked on, bugged up, or gotten mushy.
I'll give a few to Charlie's brother and still have enough for dessert. ;-)
Friday, May 26, 2006
Day 95 - I Made Charlie's Lunch, OK???
It's Friday and a long weekend is coming up!
Rejoice and be merry, for I predict that next Tuesday will feel like a Monday.
Here in the south, the temperature has risen from 'darn cold' right to 'darn hot' in a few days.
Here is a photo of my son, freezing to death the morning after Mother's Day.
I think the temperature in the den was around 65 degrees. Chilly.
The last couple of days have been near 90 with thunderstorms around again. We had a good thunder and lightning show overnight last night, and yesterday morning while I was swimming there were thunderstorms.
Question - is it safe to be in an indoor pool (with glass walls) while there is lightning around?
I didn't feel really good about being zapped in the water, but I didn't get out either! Death-defying swimmer that I am.
It's Friday, which means our newspaper was late.
It's always late on Fridays. Our newspaper guy must go out and party on Thursday nights or something.
Poor Charlie - yesterday no lunch, today no newspaper.
AND BY THE WAY - Charlie didn't even have to go out for lunch yesterday - a coworker did the 'gophering' and brought back everyone's orders from Wendy's.
Now tell me this - which is better - Wendy's or peanut butter and jelly?
I can't get over the fact that the most comments I've ever received on any topic on my blog was about Charlie's LUNCH. Good grief - what do I spend an hour a day writing for anyway? (She says with a fetching little snarl.)
Moving right along...
It's Memorial Weekend, so here's a big THANK YOU to all our veterans and soldiers out there. If you want to learn more about the origins of Memorial Day, here is a link:
I went to a blood drive and donated blood yesterday. I got a little heart-shaped pin with stars and stripes and 'Remember' written on it, and a t-shirt for Charlie.
Everyone else giving blood at two o'clock in the afternoon were retirees. They were great fun. One guy was wearing a shirt that said 'The older I get, the better I was'. He was originally from Boston, so we had a nice chat about the cold ocean waters of New England.
By the way - without any stress and with all the swimming, my blood pressure and pulse rate have gone DOWN since I've been out of work. No big surprise there. ;-)
Well, I have a busy day planned with lots of errands to run and MAYBE a new batch of homemade wontons.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Day 94 - Idol Finale or Marketing Spectacle?
Just skip today's blog if you don't watch American Idol.
Well, the silver HAIR vs. the silver TONGUE won out last night.
Charlie and I watched the two-hour finale show, though Charlie was also occupied with Sudoku puzzles and I had a few phone calls.
It was quite different from other American Idol finales - it seemed to me that the rest of the music industry wanted to get a piece of the American Idol viewership too.
I have nothing against Taylor - after all, he won. He has cute little moves that imitate Ray Charles and Joe Cocker, and he seems down to earth and a good guy.
I just don't think he has the most talent, and the show is supposed to be a singing competition.
But 63 million votes were turned in, and I haven't ever voted, so I can't complain, unless I want to, because it's MY blog. ;-)
Interruption - Charlie came in to say goodbye, and I forgot to make Charlie's lunch! He took some cookies with him and went on to WORK. Oops. Sorry about that, Charlie!
Now back to comments about the finale show:
Carrie Underwood looked and sounded wonderful.
Was it really necessary to have Kellie Pickler gagging on national television?
They used an 'Idol Award' format to bring back some of the more outrageous rejects to the stage, and a few popular-but-long-gone contestants like the young cowboy (I wonder if they're going to put him on the tour?)
He was shaking like a leaf, but tried to sing anyway- unnecessarily. Ryan Seacrest had to get him a chair and sit him down in it before he fell down.
And what have they done to my Clay Aiken, who I saw perform here in Nashville? I saw a comment on the web that he 'looked like a giant Swiffer' (which is a mop for our UK readers).
They've turned him into a smooth, sophisticated, confident, rather British-looking pop star who is in desperate need of a haircut.
They had several finalists sing with a favorite group or performer (maybe in some cases whoever they could get?)
My man Elliott backed off and let the control pass to Mary J. Blige, who effortlessly dominated the stage but was dressed like Elton John. ;-)
Chris's duet with the band 'Live' was pretty funny, as he and the lead singer looked so much alike.
Meatloaf was awful - he should have stayed off the stage.
They had Prince (or the artist formerly known as Prince) perform - for way too long. I think Paula Abdul wishes she looked as good as Prince at his age.
The 'I've had the time of my life' duet between Taylor and Katherine was terrible.
Ace sounded better than Toni Braxton, and his voice was higher, too. Poor Ace. ;-)
Ah well, that ends another season of American Idol.
I hope ALL of the top contestants have long and successful careers (especially Elliott, Princess P, and Mandisa).
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Day 93 - Country Music, Anyone?
I want to talk about the CMA Music Festival (aka Fan Fair) today.
I can hear the sounds of thousands of computer mice as they simultaneously click the little X to close their browser windows.
I've been to Fan Fair several times, and always enjoyed it. The photo above is Carrie Underwood, btw.
Last year, I bought tickets for this year the very first day they went on sale (and stood out in the rain to do it, by the way).
I bought 5 tickets, one for myself and 4 for the kids and their 'significant-others'.
Well, it turns out that this year we're not going.
My daughter and son-in-law just bought a house, so they can't come.
My son was just here, and it was his former girlfriend who wanted to go, so he doesn't need tickets.
This photo is Travis Tritt and band.
I have a funny story to tell about receiving the Fan Fair tickets.
Last week, the actual passes arrived via delivery service, and I signed for them.
When the guy delivered them, I told him 'Well, thank you very much. These are Fan Fair tickets and I can't go. Do you want to buy them?'. He laughed and said no.
Well, yesterday our phone rang. It was a woman who the delivery guy had talked to who might want to buy a couple of them! She has to talk to her sister and get back to me.
If anyone who reads this blog wants to buy some excellent sold-out floor seat Fan Fair tickets, 18 rows from the stage, please leave me a comment fast!
By the way - scalping tickets is perfectly legal in Tennessee so I think it's ok to talk about tickets on 'da blog'.
Back to Fan Fair talk...
- My daughter and son-in-law were honeymooning last June. They were interviewed while we were there and they showed their pictures periodically all week on the big screens.
- One family member is a huge Trace Adkins fan. He walked by us at the convention center one day and threw her into a near-faint. ;-)
- I lent $20 to a woman (and Chris Cagle fan). We sat next to her all week. She ran out of money the last day of Fan Fair. She mailed it right back to me, and told me she didn't even need it. She had gone to a fan party that Chris threw and he paid for everything. ;-)
- The fireworks they have each night after the concerts are wonderful!
- It always rains at least once during the outdoor Fan Fair concerts. I have a whole bag full of disposable rain gear.
- There isn't enough SHADE during the day at the Riverfront concerts and they don't let you use umbrellas.
I have a special umbrella that blocks the sun's rays, but I can't use it!
They take away any food or bottled water at the Coliseum gate, forcing you to pay for their overpriced stuff. My mother did get inside with a bottled water, insisting she needed it to take her medication. ;-)
I am sure there are other Fan Fair stories to tell, but I can't think of any so I'll close for now.
Have a nice day, everybody! Yee-Haw!
Update at 1:00 pm...
I've got takers for 2 of my Fan Fair tickets, they're going fast! Three left!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Day 92 - Back to Reality
I guess it's back to 'random acts of blogginess' now that I've ridden the vacation train long enough.
Ok, I admit it. I'm a failure...
At mouse catching. ;-)
I bought two mouse cubes and some glue traps. NOTHING so far. That is so aggravating! I want that mouse gone! (She says, stamping her feet while marching in a circle) ;-)
I take any lunch-box food and chips and things off the counter each night before bed and put them inside the above-the-stove microwave and close the door. That's my 'safe house'.
Patience, grasshopper Karen. Good things come to those who WAIT. So, WAIT. (*sigh*)
Quote of the day:
'The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.' Tolstoy
Charlie and I met an old friend from Florida - a 'computer users group acquaintance' last night for Happy Hour and dinner at 'Dave & Busters'. Plug for them - Monday thru Friday they have Happy Hour from 4:30 to 7. The restaurant that was there before D&B - Jillians - never seemed to have happy hour prices.
We haven't seen this friend in about 10 years, but he hasn't changed very much. He is here in Nashville with some other folks for a training class. He has a dry sense of humor. He is also rarely on time, and he arrived maybe 15 minutes late, not too bad.
Our waitress teased him when he and his friend arrived. 'You're late', she said. He sat down in the booth and said 'I can go home and be harassed by my wife, I don't need YOU to pick on me too'. ;-)
He told us this joke:
A man who is balding on the front of his head is a good lover.
A man who is balding on the back of his head is a good thinker.
A man who is completely bald thinks he's a good lover. ;-)
(insert sound clip of guffaws from the audience here)
A third guy arrived who was also part of their training class. Aside from introductions or ordering drinks, Charlie and I only heard him speak when he was doing magic tricks for us or the wait-staff. He was very good at card magic tricks.
My guess is that aside from the magic tricks, he doesn't have much personality. That's the way it is with computer folks sometimes. ;-) NO, NOT ME of course!
Well, I think I'll call it a wrap for now. If anything interesting happens LIKE CATCHING THE MOUSE, I'll be sure to post it!
Afterthought! I forgot to tell you about my 'snippet of dream' I remembered when I woke up this morning.
Typical children's book opening:
There was a girls boarding school or orphanage on a hillside in Austria. It was winter.
There was a frozen pond below the hillside.
The girls would file outside with huge umbrellas. They would open the umbrellas and float down to the frozen pond.
The wind would carry them sliding across the frozen pond like a sail until they reached the other side.
The girls enjoyed it, but if they sat down in the process they would end up pretty wet and laughing.
Ok, dream-analysts out there - what on earth did THAT dream mean? That I got Mary Poppins and the Happy Orphelines mixed up?
Monday, May 22, 2006
Day 91 - Vacation Wrapup
I really am going to wrap up the Florida topic, though I feel like I've hardly scratched the surface of all the photos I took. ;-)
Two things I haven't mentioned yet...
#1 - Charlie brought his metal detector with him to find buried treasure on the beach.
He was one of THREE folks during the week who we saw using metal detectors to find objects under the sand.
Midweek, Charlie took a photo of his 'finds' to date. Grownups AND children liked to ask Charlie what he was finding, and it was great fun.
Charlie found an interesting archeological assortment of rusty nails, other metal objects like hairpins and bottle caps, AND ALSO CHANGE. Charlie ended up with about 40 cents worth of pennies, nickels and dimes. He threw away a piece of copper pipe and a chunk of plumbers lead.
Personally, I am glad for every rusty nail that is found and safely disposed of. Safety tip - wear shoes on the beach, folks! After all the hurricanes there is a lot of debris under the sand.
Charlie spoke to a man who was using a very expensive metal detector on the beach, and he told Charlie that once he found a lost wedding ring for a couple who were honeymooning!
#2 - While Charlie was 'sand sleuthing', I was walking around looking for shells (which I love to do).
I believe the hurricanes and winter storms have deposited more shells on the beach, because I found shells pretty easily and some years it seems like all the shells are gone!
My favorites - the two tiny scallop shells right in the center.
Why is it fun to go collect shells? I don't know! Maybe I like to 'discover' something that's pretty and FREE.
So, all in all, a very nice trip, and not too expensive!
We spent around $50 or so each way on gas, ate out a few times, and ate IN a lot too. It helps to have a place with a kitchen so you don't have to eat out every meal.
So to close, I MUST put in my picture of the moon, which was rising as I was taking photos of the sunset in the opposite direction.
Pretty neat, eh? Moon-age!
Have a nice Monday and TTFN!
Love you bye!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Day 90 - Vacation Memories - Part VII
We are having thunderstorms right now and the lights are flickering, so I'd better post my blog entry later today when they've gone by!
Update at 11:49am... The storms have gone by but we may get more later on today. Charlie has just spent the last couple of hours fixing a clogged drain tube in our upright freezer in the garage. Thank you so much, Charlie! Good job!
The bad part about that - we had to unload and reload all the stuff in the freezer.
The good part about that - I threw away a lot of stuff. So long and good riddance.
Back to our regularly-scheduled 'gotta finish up the vacation pictures' blog. I really haven't finished telling about our trip, but here's a few things I don't want to miss saying.
Sunsets, sunsets, sunsets.
You'll notice that this picture of the Tiki hut at our resort looks especially nice at sunset.
The sunsets we saw were fantastic.
I wish I could have taken shots at night of the beautiful full moon on the water, that was equally awesome.
Yesterday's blog entry had an earlier shot of the Tiki hut just before sunset.
I deliberately shot a bunch of photos to get the 'ideal' picture post card image.
Charlie patiently waited with me OUT IN THE WIND while I took picture after picture after picture after picture after picture.
By the way, I should put in a plug for lithium digital camera batteries - they WORK. I'll never buy another kind.
Sometimes I used the digital zoom on the camera, sometimes not.
Another thing I wanted to mention was the HUGE waves we experienced during our stay. By the way - the huge waves made for a VERY unpleasant deep-sea fishing trip.
We rocked and bounced and spun our way to getting very seasick after catching just three fish, so we'll just have to plan to catch a lot of fish the next time we go. :-)
'Nuff said about that except that it was the first time I got to throw up over the side of a boat. I am SO proud...
The huge waves were IDEAL for the surfers though, and I took MANY photos of the surfers near Pier Park to try to get some good ones.
What do you think? This one is my favorite, and it really looked more like Hawaii, not Florida!
There were at least 25 surfers out there, all in a line 'catching some waves' on both sides of the Pier.
It was a GORGEOUS blue sky day, after heavy surf and high winds from storms the night before.
Another item I've been meaning to mention was the demolition of a hurricane-damaged property next door to where we stayed.
There is a lot of reconstruction going on up and down the Gulf as a result of hurricane damage. We went through several construction zones every day.
The sign on the front said the property had approximately 200 feet of Gulf Coast frontage.
Ok, that's very nice...
The asking price for the property shown here - 18 MILLION dollars. Ouch. Guess that won't be on my retirement list.
When we arrived in PCB, just the end of the property was badly damaged. By the time we left PCB, a bulldozer had taken it all down, and just rubble remained.
Well I think LUNCH is calling, so I'll close for now! Have a nice Sunday!
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Day 89 - Vacation Memories - Part VI
I can't wait to see the next 'Pirates of the Caribbean' with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom-age.
Maybe they'll cut down on Johnny's eye makeup this time.
It's already nearing 10am and Charlie and I just finished breakfast and breakfast-cleanup. I just put in a wash, and I'm going to post a quick blog entry and try to post more later.
I've got errands to run this morning like; go to the dump, go to a flea market, go buy my annual TN fishing license, stop at the store, etc. That means I'd better get the show on the road!
I actually went to the same flea market yesterday - when I bought some jelly jars from a lady and started chatting with her, she ended up asking for some of my strawberry jam, so I'm headed back there today. She's going to trade me for more jars.
Anyhow, I think I'll post a few more pictures of our Florida trip and bail out for now.
The photo at the top is the 'tiki hut' at our resort where you could buy drinks and popsicles and suntan stuff, etc. It made for a good photo background.
Another 'tiki hut' kind of place we went to was a restaurant named 'Sharkys'.
We sat at a table facing the ocean, saw dolphins and parasailors going by, and ate up a STORM.
Here is a photo of the restaurant.
Our waitress took OUR photo with my camera and cut off both of our heads.
Sorry, about that, folks.
Here is a photo of the parasailing.
There were 2 different parasailing groups going out at the same time, but this one was closest to our table where I took the photo from.
Nice view, eh?
This was also where dolphins were swimming by - we weren't close enough to take a photo but it was pretty cool to see them out there.
Below is a photo of our FOOD - we each ordered a dozen oysters - Rockefeller for me (spinach and parmesan) and Casino for Charlie (breadcrumbs and bacon). They were the best oysters I've had in a long time.
We also ordered an appetizer platter of crab, shrimp and shark bites that was awesome.
The waitress could not believe how much food we ate, and remarked she didn't think we could do it when we ordered all that food.
By the way - our lunch including drinks and tip was $55. ;-)
Guess I'll hit the road and run my errands.
By the way, since today is the 20th, today marks my 3 month anniversary of unemployment!
Cheers and applause, please. Have a nice Saturday, everyone!
Friday, May 19, 2006
Day 88 - Vacation Memories - Part V
The first time I saw the white sands and dunes of the Panhandle, it looked like SNOW to my Yankee eyes.
The sand in New England is much darker and more coarse than the sand in the Panhandle. They call the sand 'sugar sand', and it's true - it is so white that if I see it in my car I think I've spilled sugar there.
The only place I've been that can match the white sand of the Panhandle is Aruba. Aruba's sun and sand were so bright that I could not step on the beach without sunglasses. I would literally cry until I got them on. I keep 2 pairs of sunglasses - one medium-tinted pair for driving and one pair of darker lenses for being around the ocean. The darker pair were perfect for the Panhandle.
I guess I should also mention that a nickname for the Panhandle is the 'Redneck Riviera'.
I assume that's because it's a such a beautiful place, and easily accessible to those of us who live in the Southern states.
If you are interested in reading more about that, here's a link.
The two photos above were taken on a bluebird-clear day, which really makes the white sand stand out. We had a mix of weather during our stay, with a little of everything - clear, cloudy, rainy, but most days very windy. The waves increased in volume each day.
We would take our coffee out to the patio each morning around 6:30am. We'd drink our coffee, watch the squadrons of pelicans flying in formation, look for dolphins (which we saw one day!) and watch the very-hyperactive beach-chair rental guy set up all the chairs and umbrellas while we relaxed in comfort. You can barely see him in this photo, but he is there in the center putting the chair pads on the wooden-framed beach chairs.
He ran everywhere he went, and would go through all sorts of acrobatic moves and jumps and twists while doing his setup work. He would twirl the umbrellas, put the elastics that held them closed on and off a certain way, and always appear busy even when he wasn't. Every day, he set up all the chair pads and umbrellas, and every afternoon he'd take them down again and put them away in large white crates on the beach.
We laughed heartily when we saw him take his broom one afternoon and start sweeping the sand off the chairs, whether or not there were any people in them! They didn't seem to mind being 'swept', but I thought it was rather intrusive. He made plenty of tips from what we noticed.
Another character we noticed one day was during stormy weather.
See how dark and gray the clouds are? We had some rain overnight and during the morning that day, then it cleared off.
There was one man on the beach at that time. He was standing by himself on the beach, watching the waves.
He was really the only person out there.
I just happened to get him in this photo (he's in the center), then started to watch him to see what he was up to.
Here he is, shortly afterwards, and as Charlie would say - 'failing crack-check'.
Yes, that's right, bloggies, he has squatted down on the beach behind a little podium (which blew over later, by the way) so he could make some calls on his CELL PHONE.
Good grief - go inside, buddy! Can't you TELL it's not a good time to make a CALL? The wind is blowing at 30 miles an hour!
He doesn't know he's famous now that he's become 'bloggy fodder'.
That's all for today folks, lots more to come! TTFN!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Day 87 - Vacation Memories - Part IV
Are you sick and tired of hearing about all our fun in Florida? Sorry, I'm not done yet.
*** Announcement - Condolences to my American Idol favorite, Elliot Yamin who was voted off last night. In my opinion, he deserved to win the competition. ***
Back to our regularly scheduled blog.
Quote of the day:
A vacation is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort and remembered with nostalgia - Author Unknown
I disagree that ALL vacations are experienced with discomfort. That said, at the very least there is a 'learning curve' involved in the travel to and from, the navigation around your new environment, and becoming acclimated to where you're staying.
Sometimes I like to go to places I've never seen, it is always a fresh and new experience. At other times, I LIKE to go back to a place I've been before because I know better what to expect, where to go, and how to get around.
We've been to Panama City Beach (PCB) several times now, so we are pretty comfortable with the drive down there (around 450 miles), and getting around the area.
We liked where we stayed, a place called the 'Landmark Holiday Beach Resort' right on the beach.
It had activities (that we didn't go to), an indoor pool (that we didn't use), and other facilities like internet access for $2 per half hour so I could post my blog each day from 'afar'.
Here is a photo of the 'computer room' where I 'blogged' from every day. The staff got used to me showing up each morning. Somebody owes me $2 a day for dedication (or insanity).
We had a two-story unit. The downstairs living/kitchen/dining area opened out to the beach, and the upstairs bedroom also faced the ocean. I really liked the 'townhouse' feeling of it.
The downside - street level was UPSTAIRS. When you brought in groceries and such they needed to be carried downstairs or taken around 'to the back' to go in the other door.
There was a narrow spiral staircase (you can see it in the photo) inside that we went up and down many times each day. Charlie bumped his head on it fairly often, poor thing.
This photo is the view of the beach from the upstairs bedroom. It was spectacular, and of course the view from the living room was the same.
We were also there during a full moon. The moonlight sparkling on the water and detailing the edges of the waves was really something to see - if you happened to wake up during the night or in the wee hours of the morning. We did!
You could rent beach chairs and umbrellas on the beach, but we didn't go out on the beach in the heat of the day. We went early mornings and late afternoons, and didn't get sunburned during our stay.
We saw plenty of vacationers with sunburns, and that is something that can quickly ruin your trip.
Well good grief - this is getting long. I guess I'll stop here and make you wait till tomorrow to hear more! TTFN!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Day 86 - Vacation Memories - Part III
Roll sound clip from 'The Incredible Mr. Limpet'...
Glub, Glub-Glub, I'm drowning in a sea of love.
Mr. Limpet, alias Don Knotts, is a man that turns into a fish. It's a pretty funny (but odd) movie from the 60's.
Trivia fact - the movie premiere was the first, and perhaps the only movie premiere that was shown UNDERWATER (in Florida, by the way)
It just seems appropriate to use that as the segue to some underwater photos we took at the St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach in Florida.
We each carried a 27-shot disposable underwater camera with us.
Some of the shots we missed were above the water. There were lots of yellow-tailed fish (maybe a snapper or a jack) in the water.
Charlie got this photo of them underwater, which was lucky because although they were numerous, they are fast and skittish.
These fish jump out of the water when they're startled, and we startled them quite a few times!
I startled a group of them once, and they started jumping - away from me, but right at Charlie! As a group - they split in half and half jumped next to one side of his head, and the others on the other side - it was the greatest thing to watch!
Charlie just stood there laughing as the fish sailed by. Some things you just have to watch without thinking you have a camera in your hand - (yes, I looked, not snapped) ;-)
There were a lot of aquarium-sized tiny fish around, and Charlie got this great shot of them.
They were found in the shallower water, and liked to feed on whatever was attached to seaweed around the rocks and on the bottom.
They weren't particularly afraid, but would kind of move away from you slowly in a group if you got too close.
(If YOU were food for bigger things, you'd move too).
There were medium sized (around dinner plate sized) striped fish we nicknamed 'zebra fish'.
This is one photo I took of one, there seemed to be a pair of them that 'hung around' the same area all week.
They also didn't seem to care that we were swimming near to them.
We saw this type of fish 2 years ago as well - could they be the same fish? I kind of doubt it.
The largest fish we saw we named 'sea trout', even though they probably have a different name - they were around a foot or more long and travelled in groups.
I hope you can see them through the glare because I was right in the middle of them and there are a lot in this photo.
Now ask yourselves - would you be freaked out with big fish swimming around you, or would you like it? I definitely like it.
Well gang, it's getting late so I'd better post this and write more tomorrow.
Lots of pictures still to come over the next several days - where we stayed, sunsets, and surfer dudes coming up!! TTFN!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Day 85 - Vacation Memories - Part II
For the first time since I was laid off, I overslept this morning - until 6am.
For some reason I don't feel too guilty about that, because I still had time to make Charlie's lunch and see him off to work.
I've got my power-bloggy-juice latte' going, and I'm a-ready to blog.
Mouse update: No sign of it. Good.
House-company update: My son and I are having a great time watching movies and eating too much - we went to see 'Poseidon' yesterday afternoon (which we both enjoyed - except we had eaten almost all our popcorn before the movie started), and have also watched THREE dvds since Sunday - X-men 1.5 and 2, and 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.
That reminds me of a Christmas week a couple years ago when my cousin came to visit. We watched movie after movie for a whole day, and when Charlie came home from work we were still in pj's and slippers. That was such fun! I also have an occasional 'movie marathon sleepover' with the gals from work, and we stay up late watching movies and munching out.
ANYHOW - back to your regularly scheduled blog - Vacation Memories Part II.
FOUR mornings while we were in Florida we trekked over to the St. Andrews State Park early in the morning. This photo is the path we take down to the lagoon area.
We carried our bags of snorkel gear, sunscreen and towels down to the same spot we'd enjoyed during our last trip to Florida two years ago.
The State Park has a lovely, sheltered lagoon on a jetty with lots of fish to look at while you're snorkeling.
I thought Florida was the land of senior citizens who don't sleep - yet the state park doesn't open till 8am.
Jeepers! We'd already been up for a couple of hours and I'd already posted to the blog by then.
As a matter of fact, the first morning we got there before the park opened. We got to watch all the activity that happens when people come up to the gate, realize it isn't open, and try to turn around and get in line for a spot.
We also witnessed a 'cheater' who had a gate pass to open the gate for himself, and also slipped his buddy's car in behind him. A ranger caught them and gave them a stern lecture and then sent the 'buddy' to the end of the line to wait and pay with everyone else.
The reason we go so early in the morning is to escape the burning rays of the Florida sun AND the crowds that appear later in the day. It is peaceful and beautiful in the early morning.
Here is a picture of where we snorkel. All along the area you can see and farther out - it isn't very deep.
Well, it's 7am already and you've been introduced to the State Park.
You'll just have to wait on pins and needles till tomorrow to see the wonderful underwater photos we took.
Charlie bought two disposable underwater digital cameras (one for each of us) to use, and the underwater pictures came out great!
What's that, you say? You REALLY REALLY want to see ONE today? Oh, all right.
Wait a minute and I'll upload one...
Ta Daaaa! Here he is, the Master of the Deep, patrolling the waters of the Florida lagoon.
My Loch Ness Lovey, Charlie! I didn't say I was going to show you the FISH today, did I?
All righty then, enough of all that. TTFN!