Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oranges and Apples...

I’m sitting here very grateful that we have power.  We are currently about half-way through the  nor’easter that was predicted for coastal eastern United States and, boy, do we have us some snow.  But, here in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, the winds that were predicted haven’t arrived yet, so the power remains on.  It’s very cold out, making the snow light and fluffy, not that I’ve tested it yet.  But, I will tell you from much past experience, the light and fluffy beats the heavy, wet stuff any day of the week.

One of my Facebook friends asked if this weather has made me miss Florida yet.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like visiting Florida, particularly the area where we just were in the northern panhandle, but I’m not, nor will I ever be, someone who would be comfortable living in Florida.

  This is no criticism of the Sunshine State, it’s more a statement of what I like and who I am.  And while this crazy, winter weather can certainly make one miserable for a time, it will pass a lot quicker than the hot, summer days in Florida pass.  They have a misery all their own, in my book.  And I would miss not seeing a winter snowfall now and then.  Of course, I'm not talking blizzard here, but the nice, quiet, normal snow that comes with a nice, normal New England winter.

But it’s oranges and apples.  I am a northern, cool weather loving person and that’s just the way it is.  Different strokes for different folks, right?!

But I took a few pictures while we were in Apalachicola at the beginning of the year.  Don’t say you’re surprised.  And I will post a few here today to contrast with what’s going on outside my window.  Okay, it does look a tad bit inviting, I must admit, but there’s no going back except digitally at this point.

Greg does love his oysters from Up the Creek.

Olive doesn't like oysters, but it doesn't keep her from begging.  She is a dog after all.

The weather wasn’t all that great while we were in Florida.  Okay, it was better there than here temperature-wise, but aside from a couple of sunny days in Apalachicola, it was drab, overcast and cool.  Still, you can’t beat a view like this no matter what the weather.

Here are the oranges:

This was taken off the balcony of the condo we rented on Inlet Beach.  The light, fluffy stuff here is sand.
And here are the apples:

This is not sand.
Hey, the juncos seem to be okay with it.

Stay safe, friends, no matter what the weather has in store for you!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Things You See Along The Way...

We took off for our trip south this year on a bright, crisp New Year’s Day and we learned something from that.  Traveling on New Year’s Day is a great idea.  While most people were home nursing hangovers, watching the Rose Bowl Parade or breaking their New Year resolutions, we were putting miles under our wheels.  It’s lovely traveling when there’s practically no traffic.

I think people who believe that Americans have lost their work ethic would be encouraged by this photo.   This was taken on New Year’s Day in Pennsylvania.  These people weren’t home nursing hangovers or watching the Rose Bowl Parade.  No, they were definitely working.

Sometimes you get a little hungry on the road, so it’s nice to have an invitation to lunch.

One day while we were in Apalachicola, Florida, we saw a bunch of men coming out of a building with white boots on.  There was a pretty steady stream of them.  My first thought was that it was a troop of men on their break from a “women’s club.”   You know, a “women’s club” like a (wink, wink) “gentlemen’s club” and that they were (wink, wink) go-go dancers.  But on second thought, those boots might have something to do with the oyster industry down there.  I never did find out.

Here’s a little something I’m sure most of us don’t want to see.  This was taken at the ferry stop in Fort Morgan, Florida.  We didn’t take the ferry, but it wasn’t because of the snakes.  We've seen these signs in the South, both in Texas and Florida.  I've never seen one up this way.  I guess we don't have to be cautious around our snakes in Massachusetts.

I wanted to stop at this place, but unfortunately the timing wasn’t right.  For one thing, I am a Lambert and could be related to these people.  For another thing, I had to wonder about the “throwed roll” thing.  My mother is only a Lambert by marriage and, even in her prime, she wasn’t much of a cook, but she could bake and I bet she could have throwed a roll in her day.

And, by the way, that’s MR.! Bingo to you…

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Life and Times of Olive the Pug: Dog on Vacation

Our time here in Florida has been nice for a dog. Olive has been very comfortable temperature-wise. The highs have been in the 60s Fahrenheit...perfect for a pug. But now and then, the temps have dropped and it's nice when a dog has a patch of sun big enough for her bed.

Olive decided to pose for a side view so you can see her new collar, which we purchased at Oysterbones in Apalachicola. Oysterbones is a very dog-friendly store in a very dog-friendly town.  Olive picked that particular collar because “Dog is my co-pirate” is her motto.

But when a dog spends too much time in the sun, she tends to get a little sleepy and eventually has to lie down.

But just the very mention of “cheese” tends to perk a dog up...

...at least for a few seconds.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Good Cemetery Fences...

We are very fortunate to be out of the deep freeze right now.  My understanding is that in our area of Massachusetts, the temps are topping off around 7 degrees.  We are cozy in northern Florida in our favorite town of Apalachicola where it's supposed to be in the 40s today.

One of my favorite places in Apalachicola is the Chestnut Street Cemetery of Early Apalachicola that dates prior to 1831.  It's a great old southern cemetery with big, majestic trees draped with Spanish moss, tilted gravestones and old rusty fences.  I am concentrating on the fences here today.  If you ever find yourself in these parts, I would recommend a nice walk through this lovely, peaceful, and historic place.

Linking up with Theresa's Good Fences!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Keeping track of time again…

We will be on the road starting tomorrow to find some warmer weather, but for now, I will finish my year in review.

July was uneventful except that our daughter Carrie had her 30th birthday.  Where does the time go?  Otherwise, we just rambled on like usual. This photo is apropos of nothing except that Carrie and I both like butterflies and it was taken in July.

In August, Greg and I drove north through New Hampshire with a stop to drive up Mount Washington, through Maine, through New Brunswick, Canada and onto Prince Edward Island – a place I’ve wanted to go for a very long time.  Then we came home via Nova Scotia, then Campobello Island and Maine where we stayed a couple of nights with our friends Linda and Brian.  A good trip all around.

Looking out over the lake in Brian and Linda's back yard.
We got lucky with a loon siting right at golden hour.
Aside from the fact that I consider Opening Day of Baseball as the true New Year Day, my year usually really begins in September.  I get busier with meetings and such.  This year was no exception.  But we had some fun, too.  Our neighbors, the McGuires, had a great pool-warming party and that doesn’t mean we all stood in their pool and peed.  It was a beautiful, mild but cool night and a wonderful gathering of neighbors and friends.  But only the kids went in the pool.

This is Walker Pond, not the McGuire's pool.
October was uneventful except for the gorgeous autumn leaves.

I started physical therapy in November for a sciatica problem and though I faithfully attended all sessions and did the exercises, I didn’t get any relief that was long-lasting.  So I was feeling a bit off-centered and old in November.  But we had a very nice Thanksgiving with the kids at a local restaurant and I continue to feel very thankful for so many things in my life with the possible exception of compressed discs in my back that my doctor says is “normal aging.”  Oh, well…

Now, here we are at the end of December and the end of another year.  My mother’s health continues to decline and another good friend has been diagnosed with cancer.  News of the world does its best to try to push me into despair.  But every day, I witness human kindness, small and grand, and it gives me hope.  I’ve been watching out my kitchen window seeing the birds, squirrels and chipmunks going about their daily business.  I think that they know more than I do about the resilience of our Mother, the Earth.  And in our inevitable way, we will join the birds and squirrels and Chip and Dale in going forward into a new year to witness the wonders and splendors of the Earth, small and grand.

My hope for you all as we enter 2015 is that your joys outweigh your sorrows on every count.  Blessed be.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Keeping track of time…

The older I get the harder it has been for me to keep track of what happens when, so a few years ago I began this habit of looking back on my year in pictures as the year ends.  So bear with me please as I go back through the first six months of 2014.

In January, Greg, Olive the pug and I decided to leave the winter weather behind and travel south to Texas.  The Polar Vortex followed us into Alabama but after that we had comfortable weather and truly enjoyed spending two weeks in the great state of Texas.

These photos will tell all there is to tell about our February.  It was cold and snowy.  But isn’t that the way February is supposed to be here in the northeast?

March was a study of contrasts for us, starting the month in the snow of New England and ending up the month in sunny, warm St. John USVI with our good friends Dona and Bob.

Spring came to us in fits and starts in April.  But come it did.

And here's one of Olive the Pug just for good measure.

In May, our son Evan moved out of the house to start a new phase of his life in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Transitions like this are inevitable but it doesn’t make them easier.  We have gotten used to just seeing Evan now and then just as we have with our daughter Carrie.  Greg and I went to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox near the end of the month and received our very own World Series rings.  We watch practically every game, so we felt we deserved them.  But as history has now recorded, we know that the Sox went from Worst (2012) to First (2013) back to Worst in 2014.  Such are the joys and sufferings of the true baseball fan.

In June, daughter Carrie and I took a road trip from Massachusetts to Ohio to visit my family and to see my mother whose health is beginning to fail rather precipitously.  It was good seeing everyone.  I also finished my Flickr 365 Project.  I took and published a photo every day for a year.  Some days it was easy.  Some days it was hard.  But I didn’t miss a day from June 25, 2013 to June 24, 2014.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blessed be...

The perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of this time of year is a trip to Magic Wings in Deerfield, Massachusetts.  I went yesterday with my daughter Carrie and her friend from her camera club, M. J. to take a few snaps of the butterflies…

M. J. snapped this one of me and a friend.

We enjoyed the cheer of the bright flowers.

When we left, it was golden hour, which this time of year might better be called “golden fifteen minutes.”

This morning we woke to a dusting of snow.

Winter Solstice Chant

Children of the Earth,
we have come to sing to each other,
Sister to Brother,
songs of our Mother Earth.

Children of the Earth,
Autumn soon will breathe her last breath and
quick will her death bear
witness to Winter’s Birth.

Children of the Earth,
can you feel the air getting cold as
darkness takes hold and
sleep covers Mother Earth?

Children of the Earth,
we have come to sit in the darkness,
breathe in the silence,
think of our Mother Earth.
~Phillip Palmer

A peaceful Winter Solstice to all of you.  Blessed be.