Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A gem...

Yesterday, I was poked, prodded, bled, stuck and processed.
I thought the hiring was tough at the last hospital I worked at.
Here, I had to give multiple forms of ID, proof I had actually graduated from an accredited college, and then sign my life away.
Then, after a physical, paper work and three nice people telling me "welcome" to the Hospital, I went to the basement.
Phlebotomy, the drawing of blood, has never bothered me. I do not like pain, but the stick of a needle is necessary, so I have never minded it. But to put it in the basement does not help the idea of bloodletting.
When I reveal to people that I am new to the area, they keep asking: "What do you think of New York?"
I have never been overly diplomatic, and I am told I have all the tact of black on white ( or white on black, what ever). But I am careful in my answer.
So the wonderful phlebotomist, a young, grey haired woman named L asked me what I thought of New Yorkers.
She was taking three large vials of my blood for titer tests or some such.
What I have found, I have stated before in previous posts.
She agreed with my findings and we talked a bit more.
She told me that people here do not look up or down but usually straight ahead. At this, she held up her gloved hands and put them around her eyes like goggles. She then confided that she takes her kids out into the yard, has them all lie on their backs and stare up at the sky. Her tone and word choices made me think that this is not all that common of an experience out this way.
How can you live in the Pacific NW and not look up at mountains, eagles, seagulls, crows, racing clouds, vintage airplanes, jet airliners whisking people off to adventures in a rumbling roar...
My comment to her, after making my usual disclaimer that I was not being offensive (look I am not intentionally offensive, just tactless and blunt) that New York, so far, did not appear to be a place for enlightened people.
I am not talking sitting cross legged at the top of a mountain as an aesthetic. I mean some one who has at least discerned that there is more to life than one foot in front of the other-keep-up-with-the-Joneses scurry through the maze rat lab.
She readily agreed.
I found her to be a jewel. A jewel is usually found among common dirt, gravel, rock and sediment. I found that to be an appropriate analogy here.
I am not calling the people that are in the rat maze dirt, not in the slightest. But I have moved my freaking cheese thousands of miles and started new with K and the animals. I am certainly not going to look only ahead, keeping up with the Joneses. I am going to look up down left right and side ways to find gems, jewels.

I signed up to take my license exam in January. I am so tired of taking the practice tests and seeing what I have forgotten and what they have changed in the last decade or so since I graduated.

Be well, my friends.
More when I take breaks and have a moment.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Random Thoughts, again

A wiener in the snow!

The Golden One sitting on snow. OK, I know, she is weird.
One short legged boy really wants to go inside.

A wink and a nod. She loves the snow!

More soon. As always.

More snow today that turned into a type of sleet. Interesting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside...

It is a great thing, learning the climate of a new zip code.
It is cold, not rising above 42 degrees for over a week.
It rains, it gets cold, the sun rises, the sun sets, damn early at that.
Leaves are every where. They were amazingly beautiful on the trees. Colors, the likes I have never seen wiggled in the wind, flew off limbs and carpeted the ground.
Now, it is a brown carpet of leaves. They get slick when the rain freezes. They harbor ticks, from what I have been told. Who cares, it is still great fun to kick through them and not have slugs on your socks.
I know the rest of the country is getting pounded hard. The NW got hammered, California got flooded, the mid west is iced out.

C got hired, per diem at the same hospital K works at. Now for the FSBPT license exam.
Christmas is approaching at a break-neck speed.
I hope you all can stay sane and put on the brakes a little bit. There is no reason to fly through a joyus time. Buck the trend, screw the machine and sit at home making great memories with family. Shun the mall, shop on-line in your pajamas and sipping hot coco.

More to come, as always.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Baby it is Colder out

I woke at about 7:30. There is a window, with the white lattice on the inside, that looks easterly. The sky was overcast and a bright grey. I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed. Staying up too late gets worse as the years roll along. I squared myself away and looked at the three lumps in the bed. K and the dachs were asleep and snuggled so well, I chose not to disturb them. the Golden Child was awake and wanted to go out.
Looking out that same window. It has a poor paint job that put small, unkempt paint streaks on the glass.
It is snowing.
I love snow. It goes way back to my child hood.
Puppette led me out to my coat and shoes.
I pulled on the thick fleece wind cutter and then crinkle swished the windbreaker rain shell over the top of that. A base ball cap went on my sleep tousled head and I slipped into cold Merrel mocs.
No sounds from the three lumps in slumber land so Puppette and I walked out on to the deck. Piles of leaves we have not bothered to sweep off the deck were crisp in the cold morning and it was so still. We walked... OK I walked, Puppette fairly gambolled into the front yard where the more energetic of us whirled and jumped and slid and rolled int he snow. I have more dignity than that.
I stood as still as the morning and closed my eyes. I wanted to smell the snow, smell the frozen leaves.
It was quiet enough, still enough,to hear the ice crystals of the very dry snow landing on the frozen leaves. It hit the dry leaves that have not let go of their trees for what ever reason.
Opening my eyes, snow, sticking and staying was all around me.

I spent 18 years in cold snowy winters, 18 years in wet, cold rarely snowy winters.
Now it is 3000 miles away but almost the same latitude as my boy hood home. It smells different. Not as clean, but with the musk of decaying wet leaves, wood smoke from over there, some where.

Puppette hit one patch and slid, losing all 4 feet and came to an undignified heap stop five feet farther uphill. She did not care, she shook off and ran even faster.
Where does one lose that devil may care attitude? When do you stop doing something not wanting to look foolish. Puppette could have cared less... she just wanted to run, play, be alive.
I found myself wishing for Dancer or Rudolph, the sled I grew up with. I know one of them is with my brother, his kids will ride them keeping them alive as they were for us, thrilled with the screams of a child, candle wax on the runners.

I wished for more snow and a sled. We do, after all, live on a big, long hill.
All day there was snow on the ground.
It rained hard and warmed up so the snow went away.
But it is early yet.
There will be more where that came from.
Next time, maybe I'll be the one who slides 5 feet uphill and stands up, shakes it off and runs some more.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby it's cold outside...

Autumn. My favorite season.
When I was a kid, one hot ass summer in Spokaloo, I ended up with a heat rash. I called it being allergic to the sun. If I was in direct sunlight for more than about 5 minutes, my skin (arms mostly) would break out in a rash of small red bumps that itched horribly. Mom would coat me with caladryl lotion.
To this day I have an aversion to being in direct sunlight too long, having cloying slimy lotions on my skin.
I burn very well in limited sun exposures and there is history of malignant melenoma in my family so I really am not the summer kid.
I love spring, but it heralds summer so it is pretty and a time of renewal and rebirth, but not my favorite.
I tried to think back on why Autumn is my favorite.
I have great memories of kicking through DRY leaves walking to and from school. Not the wet sodden slug laden leaves in Hamsterville, nor the tick laden leaves in New York.
I would walk alot when I was a teen, taking my best friend, Kelli the springer spaniel for long walks down a tree lined boulevard in Spokaloo. The cold bite in the air foretold of coming snow, holidays, freedom from school for a few weeks. I could hear the swish of small whale courderoy pants and the hiss of my arms swinging in my nylon jacket as I carried my book bag and clarinet to school. The cold still morning in my home town were inviting, promising adventure and safetyin a weaker winter sun.
Long pine needles woudl fall from the pine trees in our back yard, hiding the pine cones that, in the spring, would crash in the cacaphony of the lawn mower, shotting the core out at an angle hitting windows, brothers and the dog.
It is the bite in the air, more than anything. You get up in the morning and step out to go to school or work and there is so little moisture in the air. Hamsters up in Hamsterville don't get this often, it is just to damp there. The skin on the backs of your hands tighten a bit and you feel a burn of cold on your cheeks.
Now, in the Northeast, it is the colors of the leaves.
Puppette gamboling in the leaves.
Bugsy snorting and scenting squirrels while rustling, in his own diminutive way, through the leaves.

Enjoy your Autumn. Enjoy the calm before the storm of the Holy-daze season.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting on with getting on...

So I did say that I would compare West and East lifestyles.
It is a bit difficult when I am not interacting with all that many Easterners.
I have commented on the pushed down and stand offishness I have noted. I have told about the amazingly helpful video store clerk.
But I am often asked by the people we meet, and happen to tell we are from the West;
"What do you think?"
They mean, or at least I take it to mean, what do I think of New York so far.
I think, and I believe I have said this as well, the roads are too narrow for as fast as these people drive. Speed limits are mere suggestions and I have never seen more rolling stops than here. Everyone says that they are "20 minutes" away from anything else. K's brother made a drive that takes K and I 45 minutes, in about 20. It is scary to be on a winding road, lots of blind corners, and have HUGE fuel trucks, delivery trucks, Ford Excess, Chevy mother farking Gigantors screaming at you, over the DOUBLE YELLOW lines.
What do I think?
Things here are so fast in some ways, slow in others. People are brusque and what passes for manners in the service fields make me shudder.
The food is interesting, as I have noted. But to go into a diner (Hamsterville needs a Diner, really) and each sandwich or burger comes with "cole slaw and a pickle" 'Deluxe' would have the standard fixings of lettuce, onion, fries and costs up to 2.50 more. The slaw is sweet white with cabbage and carrots, the pickles are what are called "new" or a pickle that is not brined for over long, and has a nice crisp and mild taste.
Chinese food? There are over 150 Chinese restaurants on Long Island alone, I read that somewhere. We have tried several.
They have a thing here called Duck Sauce. K says she never saw it in Washington. I have not tried it yet.
We have tried 3 Chinese places so far and have not been overwhelmed. I order cashew chicken and get a chow mien type dish, not the West coast deep fried chicken parts with artery clogging sauce. I miss that a bit. Might need to learn to make it myself.
I can't find hazel nuts much here. One store had an open bin of bulk nuts so that was nice. They have no Fritos Chili Cheese chips for K's chili. Our Lambic beer for beer butt chicken is not to be found.
It is a Yodel, not a Ho Ho, and Ring Dings instead of Ding Dongs. If it ain't Boar's Head deli meat, it ain't worth the bother. It is Hellman's, not Best Foods mayonaise. I have never seen 14 different types of mustard. The Pasta isle at any given supermarket is almost an entire aisle, not the first third like in Hamsterville.
It is an adventure, to say the least.
So K and I head out to go to Trader Joe's with K's parents. I have never been to one. The one in Hamsterville opened just when we left.
If it seems I am whining a bit, I am. I find myself a bit homesick some times. My first Holiday season so far from "home" and missing some things.
From the East, I am waving to the West and getting on with getting on.

Be well.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Does it ever end?

10 hours. Roughly 2 hours for each month it took to pack it, the PODS container is empty, our new storage container now holds our worldly goods.
We finally recovered our winter clothes and boots. Just in time as the temperatures this week end were highs of 40 degrees. But I am not complaining. Clear skies meant that none of the stuff in the new container went in wet. K and I embraced NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatories) whole heartedly.
C has more art supplies, C has his cutting boards, best knives and all his pots and pans.

The story in pictures:
K at the dump. we took 10 loads in that borrowed pick up truck. (Thank you thank you thank you Richard and Sherrie) Some where around a ton of stuff. We recycled as much as we could, believe us.

The PODS container just before it was closed and taken away. There was literally 1/2 inch between the door and the end of the desk.

K moves yet ANOTHER box.

The POD tries to ensnare K in its nets, but she got that box out. Oh yes, she did.

The new container at about half.

The new container just before we left and locked it up. It holds all the contents of the POD with room to mover around.
So that chapter is almost closed, maybe ended with a comma, until we move into our next house. That will happen one day, we both have faith that we will find that house.

This is a picture of Poni in the sun in Florida. She loves to drag her tummy on the grass or the carpet. Her face says it all, bliss.
This is a coke and a slice. That is how you order it. Plain is a "regula" slice, mine is a pepperoni. This is our favorite fast meal and it is indescribably delicious. Do not tell our former doctors.

Be well. Eat well.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


It has been a while.
K got a job, no one wants C yet.
Thanks Giving suddenly came out of nowhere and impressed upon us the steady forward rolling of time.

Some pictures for you:

K fell asleep and C played in the kitchen preparing turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy (from scratch with NO lumps), dressing with extra fresh sage, and brussel sprouts with bacon. K insisted we have a vegetable. Bugsy had pterodactyl.

Poppy went cannibal and had some turkey too. He is shown above after a spritz of water. It was not a bad feather day, it was "I just washed my feathers and can't do a thing with them."

The autumn colors have exploded and are so eye catching. There is a house just up the hill that has a lacey maple that is a peachy orange that I have never seen on a tree before. We rake leaves and the wind just blows them back around the yard. It is a game my old fickle mistress the wind plays.

A little maple next to a wonderful stone wall. It is a neighbor's yard but the colors know know master or bounds, do they?

Puppette loves the middle of the street. I do not know why. I am just very grateful that we live on a street with very little traffic.

We finally found a storage place that would let us put the POD on its property. But... the POD is about 45 feet from our container so we just load up the pick up truck and drive the stuff over.
We spent 2 hours today and moved less than the first quarter out. It is slower, we think, because that last quarter of the POD was also full of last minute items. Over the next few days we will get the POD empty and it will get picked up on Monday.

It is interesting to have gone with out so many of our belongings and then to get them back. Live with out the bulk of your "stuff" for a while. It gives me the mind to go through my belongings and pare down even more.
I could see the box with the cutting boards in it, but could not reach them. So I continue to cook with less than my full compliment of gear. It creates flexibility. I have said it before, but a complete T-day dinner with the cast iron, 2 sauce pans and a new casserole dish. Iron Chef meets deprivation island!

Bugsy is begging you all to come by again, sign the guest book.

Every one was so close in the mileage we will send each a NY treat.
The total mileage was 4864. Almost 5000 miles.

Be well.

C & K

Sunday, November 4, 2007

We are homeless


As of Friday, November 2nd, we are homeless.
Our house closed!!!!!!!!
So we now have the great pleasure of looking for a new house to buy.
This rental is cute and all, but it would not be our choice of a house to live in long term.

Thank you all so much for the prayers and support while the house fiasco unraveled and re-knit itself.

We were house bound yesterday, Saturday, as a tropical storm, Nole, passed by Long Island and lashed us nicely. Wet and windy the likes we get in Hamsterville, only a bit more intense.

K has had 2 interviews, I have one next week and a possible second coming.
Things are good.
Sorry for the lack of postings. We just are trying to set a routine and get more safely settled here.
The new dilemma is: our PODS container is here, near by. It is much money to rent it and have them store it, we have no room here to put it and we can't put it at K's parent's or brother's houses. We need to unload it and take all our stuff to a storage facility.
It took us 5 months to pack it. Many of you saw how full it is. We really did not want to have to unpack it and then re-pack for the move to a new home. Now it is unpack, load a storage place, re-pack and move it again.
But, then again, if that is one of the greatest of our worries, it is no worry at all.

The winner of the contest will be notified soon.

Be well, people.


Monday, October 29, 2007


One can not work with people for many many years without learning to read faces.
Authors read so much into the face. Eyes smolder, light up, crags of sun exposure make the old farmer wise, trusted, presumed innocent of heinous crimes. Babies have all the innocence, can look like and old soul.
Here, in the shadow of Gotham, the faces are telling me stories.
In the liquor store K and I browsed today was a woman who tans too much and has a heavy face despite the small, thin frame of her body. It screams years of sampling her products to lustily.
In the faces of the young here is an innocence but a cynicism. There is a way they hold their heads, move their bodies that makes them never quite face forward, directly at you, but angled as if to either avoid confrontation or to precipit a fast get away from unknown danger. They walk offensively, a pushing of the energy ahead of them that says, I belong here, I am moving forward, do not way lay me, do not think of messing with me.
Adults appear pinched. Jowls and frown lines appear so starkly against faces that I have seen else where that are ready to smile, laugh, admit the sheer joy of living. But here it is as if there is a crushing pressure that pushes the face in to a scowl, a frown, a look of compression.
K has mentioned, and I think I have written it here, that Long Island is where people from The City fled to escape The City.
Imagine Gotham, NEW YORK, NEW YORK; over 8.2 million people (according to Wiki) in about 322 square miles. That population pressure, the sheer pressure of so many people living, breeding, stealing, dying pushes down, not up on a soul. Your pressure valve is east, to the Atlantic. These people look pushed down, compressed, pushing others out of the way so that they might have the space they crave, the elbow room they are denied in The Big Apple.
So I am at the store and see young people looking pinched, pushed down, older than they should be. The teen agers move like mercury rolling out from under the finger pushing down on it.
Down ward pressure is not a good thing for most objects of an organic nature. Pressure on an artery can kill, pressure on a water hose stops life giving fluid from keeping things alive. Crushed stone, ridges in asphalt on roads and cement, changes to a very solid state of matter.
But, but... pressure creates diamonds.
Diamonds on your bling are polished, the crusty outer surface rubbed away and ground away by more pressure, friction.
Although no where near as scarce as the diamond cartels want you to believe, diamonds are uncommon in this polished form.
So, I have to think that I am seeing the diamonds just un-earthed, crusty, dirty, not in the accepted polished beauty we are trained to see, but the hardest substance on earth in its raw form.
I have to look at the brighter side and believe that those pressured scowls and offense, brusque presentations are the outer coating that hide jewels.
Maybe I have just lived where the rain washed off the crust and people shined just a bit more readily, unearthed and free of the pressure. Maybe I am where the pressure is still exerted to finish the product.
I will keep looking at the faces, look for the polished facets. Or maybe I will look at the surface and have faith that below is the beauty inside, hidden under a cover of patina, a disguise to keep that brilliance hidden from most strangers, but not from the people that need, crave and must have that brilliance in their lives.
Shine. Stand in the rain, get rinsed clean and shine.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


This will be something I come back to again and again, I think.
K and I have gone to several different grocery stores now. One had incredible produce. You name it, it is probably there. Quince, prickly pear fruits, large aloe leaves, bunches of basil leaves that are just huge. The deli meats... oh he deli meats.
We have a friend who is on a year long vacation with her husband. They were just in NY for a wedding and even they had to comment on the food.
The predominant brand is Boar's Head. They make ham, chicken, roast beef, liverwurst, bologna and on and on and on.
We have found a wonderful pizza place where you just go in and ask for a coke and a slice. A slice of this pizza is huge, think about two slices of a large pizza. There is plain cheese, pepperoni, sausage, a seafood variety. I ordered a pop in a deli and the girl serving us looked at me like I was speaking polish.
Out here it is a soda, or just a coke.
You fold the slice in half, the crust snaps in half and the oil spills out the front or back of the triangle. It is the best pizza. I worked in pizza for years, I know a good pizza. This is good.
Bread tastes different out here too. People say it is the water they use. I do not know, but it is saltier, has a different texture, the crust.
Bon apetite, mes amis!
It is time for lunch.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

OK, my bad.

I made an awful generalization.
K and I were at a blockbuster of a video store, and the guy at the counter was so great.
We bought two used DVDs, Hot Fuzz and something else. I asked if he could open them so I could inspect the disc for scratches. Not only did he open it and find it was a bad disc. He went and got three more copies and checked them all, giving me the best, least scratched of the group. He was oh so polite.
So maybe that first sampling was not a good representation. I need more samples for a better analysis.
Maybe the poor waitress, the overworked DMV person that said only "How are you today." while helping me get my license, maybe they were just tired from burnout, a hard night out, bad home life, being stuck in a job they hate and they just suffer from "quiet desperation".
It just reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
I would quote it, but I do not know who said it originally.

K and I now have temporary driver licenses.
They took my WA license away. And it had such a nice picture. Another step toward assimilation. Resistance IS futile.

OK. Go get em, kiddies.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Milage guesses:

So far:
J has guessed 4014
Papa Bear has guessed 4730
A has guessed 4900

I will keep the game open for another week.
I know more than 3 people read this.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The answer, my friend...

If I remember correctly, there is a Native American word for the sound the wind makes through the leaves in the trees, through the pines.
That is the sound I hear now, outside an open window.
The screen keeps out the bugs but lets in the sound of the crickets, the woosh and swish of sweyolakan. It is a sound I have heard all of my life. In my back yard growing up, there were about 18 pine trees and there were maples up the street. Wind would howl through them in the spring and fall, the change of season. It would be the lullaby to send me to sleep some nights.
The sound is still the same, 3000 miles away.
The change of seasons.

Being from the great PNW, I am used to a bit more civility, politeness.
Please, do not mis understand me. It not a lack of civility, more a brusqueness. You sit down in a mis level restaurant and you are greeted with "How ya doin?" asked in a way that states it is just rhetorical as hell.
There is a lack of eye contact, a lack of lingering at the table when dropping off the check, walking by to ask how things are and you answer the back of the waitress as she is moving away, no break in her stride.
I have history in food service, I understand busy and no time to linger so you can get the 6 top served before that other section's 8 top. But it was not that busy and our waitress had only one other table with 5 wait staff total just hanging out gossiping.
It is not just restaurants but at grocery stores, the DMV, gas stations.
I have no idea where this brusqueness comes from. It is a mystery I will look at in spare moments, listening to sweyolakan and crickets.

Listen to the wind, once in a while, just stand and listen.


Sunday, October 21, 2007


So it is Autumn. Leaves change and fall, there is a cold bite in the air that makes you grab that favorite old sweat shirt, the one with the grease stain from the dropped nachos, a spot of pain here and there, and sally forth into the world. You embrace the slick wet leaves on the ground and take the sliding in stride.
The temperature today is to be 76, tomorrow 76...
Every one tells me this is not what it is like here. But you know what? I'll take it.
There is a nip in the air sometimes. But K was in shorts yesterday. Boy do people look at you strange when you where shorts when the local populous is in sweaters, denim jackets and zippered hoodies.

The leaves are changing slowly. Reds and yellows and golds that just do not come in that 64 crayon Crayola box.

Pumpkins are all over, the local roadside farms stalls and the nurseries have haunted houses and corn stalk bunches to show off the local produce.
Ever have a courtland apple? How about honey crisp?
I made home made from scratch chicken soup for us the other night. There is a squash waiting to be made into soup as well.
It is fall, a time of change.
That is where K and I are, admidst a time of change.
We faxed back a signed contract to our Realtor last night. We have been told that the deal could close very fast.

Enjoy your Autumn. Prepare for a winter, a time of slumber before a new period of growth.

Be well.


No Gusses yet? C'mon, our friends, how many miles were on the mini van when we turned it in?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This Just In....

Right after posting the all is lost memo, C checked his cell phone and found a missed message.
Our Realtor called.
Just after his "man" had put the appliances back on the new linoleum in the kitchen, another Realtor gave a full price offer.
We will look over the paper work tonight.
More to come...
Thanks for your prayers and thoughts!



The deal to sell our house has completely fallen apart.
Because of too many details to go into, and to not impugn anyone, let's just say it fell apart.
Anyone know anyone that wants to buy a cute little house, let us know.

We are in shock.
We are OK.
We have applied for jobs just a little sooner than we had wanted.
We will win that loto!

Be well.
Think good thoughts.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Fall is in the air...

Many years ago, almost 20, I moved from eastern Washington to the Pacific NW.
My first day in Hamsterville, the girl I moved to be near dumped me.
I remember it quite well. With the depression that comes from getting dumped, I walked a lot.
Autumn has always been my favorite season, and it was definitely fall.
I took a long walk, one day, up to a local lake. It had rained the night before and the smells were all new and different.
As I walked the winding trail up to the lake, I smelled wet earth, damp pine needles, cedar, dirt, mold.
A few months later, still smarting from loss of love and direction. I took an advanced first aid-wilderness first aid class where we spent one full day out, under the trees, figuring out how to save multiple victims 3 days from the trail head. I remember the smells that damp fall day I took my final test, and passed.
I came back to help with the class three more times, acting as a victim twice, lying in wet pine needles and cedar boughs.
Today I walked out into the front yard, walking a certain brown long dog and letting Puppette sniff all around, I was noticing new smells.
There are more leaf trees here, so it smells different. The sound of acorns falling on the house, the truck, the shed. They pop under your shoes when you step on them.
Part of what you experience in life is visual, part scent.
I am in new scents and trying to enjoy all of it. But there is the ever present knowledge that this is not Hamsterville, not the surroundings I have known for so many years.
Vive la difference!

Get ready for a little contest.
If you can guess the total miles logged on the minivan, and come closest with out going over, K and I will send you a New York present!
Guess only once.
I will take guesses for one week.

Let the fun and frivolity begin!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

The neighborhood

There is a duck pond about 1/2 mile from the house. There is a duck crossing sign and we got a chance to see the ducks crossing. These are K's favorite, Indian Runners.

Here is the beach we can drive to, just about one mile away.

A local hanging out on a nice day.

Poppy and K's dad.

In New York, it is a soda, not a pop.
It is a pie, not a pizza.
The common greeting is "How ya doin'?" A rhetorical question that I was raised to answer.
K and I keep running into people that feel compelled to tell us their life stories.

The roads here are narrow and everyone drives at least 10 miles an hour above the speed limit. Now, I love to drive fast, and I love windy roads as much as the next testosterone laden male, but in a small pick up truck and a sea sick passenger, it is not nearly as fun. We tend to go slower than the posted limits, but the driver behind us is close enough to read the serial number on my muffler.

We have a new adversary.
It is small, sneaky, parasite.
In the many many years I lived in the great NW, I took 4 ticks off my dogs, collectively. In less than 2 weeks, I have pulled three off Poni, one off Puppette that were just crawling on their fur, one that was crawling on my shirt. We have dislodged one from Poni and Puppette each. Despite the Frontline, they lock on and suck up. I dreamed about ticks all last night and I itch almost constantly. EEEWWWWW!!!!

We have found several wonderful restaurants. We ate at a great deli yesterday, K had a meatball hero, I had a hot hero with ham, prosciutto, provolone and riccotta cheese.
I cooked last night, pushing my creativity a little.
Most of you know, I love to cook. But... most all of the cook wear is in the PODS container. I did steaks with sauteed mushrooms, roasted red potatoes and a satueed onion-squash medley using a 10 inch cast iron pan, a 2.5 quart sauce pan and a 1.5 quart sauce pan and a dollar store round baking pan. It was so nice to be cooking again. It was a nice challenge to get things cooked in impromptu pans. The steaks were great, the mushrooms were baby portobellas and the onions were sweet against the squash. Ahhhhhhh...

I never seem to say what I want on this. I have great ideas throughout the day and never remember what I wanted to put down in words.
The Long Island sound is beautiful. It is protected and the rocks are smooth rounded in pinks, reds, tans, even some almost clear as they shift under your feet. The water is not as cold as the Northern Sound out West.
It is good here. We wish it would slow down just a hair more, let us breathe.
Soon. That amazing little word that promises tomorrow, promises time, gives hope.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Through a great round of missed connections, misunderstanding and mistakes, we were without hot water for a over week.
We moved in to the little house on a Sunday and knew that we would not get gas for the hot water heater.
Then it dawned on us that Monday was Columbus day and that no services were available.
the land lord had put all the helpful numbers right in the lease so we knew who to call for what and that was all expedited so easily. But there was no info for the gas company.
I called a gas company and was informed that Gas Company "Able" could not fill the tanks for gas Company "Baker" and so on. So I called to find out who filled these tanks before us. That took over 24 hours to get an answer.
Then, on Wednesday, I called our prospective gas company and talked to a nice person who took all the pertinent info and then, was hopelessly human, and forgot to schedule the appointment. We did not find this out until the following Monday.
K and I stayed home all day Friday to wait for the cable guy, the water meter to be read for switching over to our account and the gas company.
K and I are very reasonable people. We waited until Saturday and called the gas company. The office was closed and I got the main US corporate line and explained the problem. Monday I called the gas company again and that is when the nice person who took all the pertinent information, admitted openly that she forgot to schedule the appointment.
She sent a guy out who told us, upon seeing the tanks "These are out of date and I can't fill them." I looked at him.
I do not think I smelled bad, I do not think I looked unwashed, but he said "I am gunna get you gas today, somehow."
So we had gas, finally. But then the pilot light would not light. So close but yet so stinking far. (yes, that was intentional, shut up and keep reading)
So he gets the pilot lit and we let the tank steep for 30 minutes. No hot water yet. It is a new tank but god only knows how long it sat empty. So it took a long while to heat up.
We passed yesterday looking at more houses, looking at the surrounding towns. We came home, teasing each other about hot showers. We ate late and fell asleep later and did not shower.
The gas company was coming today to swap tanks and get us set up. That they did with a shiny new tank with a gas gauge to ell us how much we have left.
I got the first shower.
The last shower I had was at K's parents house over 13 days ago. We had been heating water on the stove and doing spit baths for almost two weeks.
I showered!
I used 4 times too much shampoo, I scrubbed that soap into me grimy skin and shaved off several days of stubble.
I scrubbed hard with the towel, like a loofa. I think my skin squeaks.
K is in the shower now.
It is interesting what you take for granted. Hot water to wash dishes, take a shower, wash your hands.
Cleanliness... it is, I truly feel, never to be under rated.
Two things: I need to duck when entering the shower to keep from hitting my head on the damn sliding door upper track (which I have now done 4 times), Every one and their freaking cat out here has sliding shower doors. I can not tell you how many houses we have looked at online that have sliding glass shower doors. What the hell were these people thinking?
It helps to open the skylight in the bathroom to vent it.
We just had a fan installed in the bath room in Hamsterville before we moved and now we are back to no good venting. On step forward, one step back and into the hot steamy shower with too much shampoo and soap and bubbles and...

More soon.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Still alive, still ticking

We found a place to rent. A nice house K and I have been looking at online for months.
It is small and cozy.
Poppy is still with K's parents until all is settled here.
There will be more posts, soon. Promise.
All is well.

Thank you to everyone who helped get us here.
The food is soooo good.
Time to start exercising.

Be well, all.

PS: we are one block from the water!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New York, at last.

We arrived on Monday. At last check, the odometer read 4730 miles. The odysey is now done in the traveling stage. It is weird to have the crossing finished. I wake up every morning thinking that we need to get on the road nad make 400 miles before we rent another hotel. We moved out of opur last hotel and will stay with friends and family.
We were driving the other day and K said "let's just drive around, look at the roads." I looked at her and said:
"But what destination do you want me to program into the navigation system."
"No where."
"But where do we go?"
"Just drive around."
"But don't we have to be anywhere?'
I looked at K as long as I could without veering off the road.
No destination.
We are at our destination.
That, by no means, implies that we are done.
Today we signed a tentative lease on a house. It just hapens that it is one of the houses we have been looking at for months. It went off the market and then just came back on the market yesterday or today. We were looking at a house one block over and our real estate guy here said he had one more place to look at. We were in the drive way before we realized it was that house!
It has a fire place in the kitchen area and a great sun porch, a nice deck. It is litterally one block from the water.
It is 10 minutes from where K and I would like to work.
The food is soooo good. We have eaten at teh same deli two days in a row. K is enjoying bologna and liverwurst with mustard on a roll. I had a chicken breast one day, Boar's Head ham today. We finished with an lemon Italian ice. Tonight we had "a cheese pie" for dinner. The food is sooooo yummy!
It got hotter than hades today with humidity that relaxed my bow hair wonderfully.
The dogs are well. Puppette sleeps alot, I think she is just tired from the heat and the continued disruption to her world. Bugsy is now a slave to his name tag. When I lovingly teased the Bug with the laser pointer, I created a monster. He has become so nuerotic chasing his name tag. Any time light hits it and a reflection is thrown, he stalks it and pounces upon it like the great hunter he is (deep inside his little badger dog heart).
We still do not have an internet connection. I am on a family's network for this. More regular posts might be forth coming.

That is all for me for now.

Be well, all.


Monday, October 1, 2007

The continuing saga...

And into the east we go.
Putting Tennessee behind us, onward into Virginia... the states keep falling.
Loved this bill board:
The little prince surveys his mobile kingdom.

Puppette asks: "Are we there yet?"

The other Prince surveys his world from the safety of his cage.

Not much to post from C. It has been a long trip, the end is now in sight.
I am tired.
I am overjoyed at the news that our friend Richard is doing wonderfully well after surgery! They let the man have a triple americano a day after his surgery, he is doing so very well!
Best wishes Richard, Sherri.

K is out, she has pictures she wants to post, but that is for another day.
Once we reach our destination, we might be off line for a day or two until we can find a free wi fi spot or get internet in our place.

Be well, all.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Random thoughts:

In Alabama, we saw 7 helicopters, 4 blackhawk type, 2 Chinook and a Bell Huey. Interesting that we did not see an airplane the entire time in Alabama. They like their helicopters, eh?

Speaking of flight: After so many states, we finally saw large birds that were NOT turkey vultures. Odd that we would cover so much country and see so few birds. It was a red tail and several crows. And, I saw my first blue bird. Not those jacked up Stellar's Jays from back home.

Truckers are nice and crazy. They change lanes so fast at such close range that you cringe expecting the grind of metal and that gut punching sound of a traffic accident. But on the other side, when we approached an accident, we had a 3 mile warning that the RIGHT lane ahead was blocked. The truckers moved into the RIGHT lane to keep that sneaky brat that ignores the signs to sneak 5 places farther ahead of everyone else and cause everyone to slow down even more. These truckers set up a moving road block to control traffic.

In Tennessee there is a Hotel chain, called the Jameson Inn. It was beautiful, charged only a 10 dollar pet deposit and had a great big room with a wonderful king size bed. The bed was the best sleep K and I had slept in many years.

Just up the road from the Jameson Inn is a restaurant called the Texas Roadhouse. I ordered another cheap steak that tasted not at all cheap. K had a rib and chicken plate. We both feel, out of all our travels and all the places we have eaten, this was some of the very best food we have ever had.
I know, I know, I said that about the etoufe. But in its own way it was the best etoufe. The sauteed mushrooms were the best I have ever had, the steak was almost perfect, the beans were with onions and ham, and they had fresh baked rolls with a cinnamon honey butter that was almost as good as the sopapias at The Pepper Sister's back in Hamster land.

We detoured to the Great Smokey Mountain park today. Las Vegas and Disney World had sex and the illegitamate love child is Pigeon Forge Tennessee! With a name like Pigeon Forge... well... It is glitzy in the woods. But what fun... a Dinosaur walk museum, a Jurassic water ride, 3 or 4 miniature golf courses, a muscle car museum. We will get back to this place, some day.

Breakfast and dinner were Cracker Barrel. If you know them, you know how good that food is as well. Ahh... foood.....
I did not allow myself to go to a knife/cooking gadgets store boasting over 1000 kitchen gadgets.
Tomorrow, more roads. We are almost there.
Soon, soon...

Southern colors by K:
I decided there must be a law about driving only red vehicles in Alabama. This carried into
the beautiful state of Tennessee. It struck me when I found myself surrounded on all sides:
first a fire engine red Hummer, then a cherry red pick up truck, then the off road vehicle
being transported to some heavily hilled dirt pile somewhere nearby...
the red brick homes in Tennessee where they use small and long bricks that are textured on
its outside length...
Alabama's team is known as the Crimson Tide. I had yet another Cherry Limeade To Go!
I wasn't quick enough to click pictures of some of the local restaurants which used horizontal
red stripes to elongate the look of their building. It was striking enough to make me want to
pull the car over and take the photo though...

Ruby falls is advertised everywhere, a wonderful kind of repetitious reminder that there were
places on the map that were yet to be discovered...

I'd like to tell you about Rose, a petite gal who worked at Country's Barbque in Montgomery
Alabama. She had a smile that lit up the Roadhouse architecture like moonlight. "Mama" was
behind the counter cooking. I thought Mama would be softspoken for some reason. The image
shattered quickly with Mama yelling orders: "ONE PORK, ONE BIRD TO-GO!"
Rose walked me to the door since my hands were filled with barbque dinners and an order of
sweet tea (yes Arnitha, there is sweet tea still brewin' here!)
I made Rose laugh. "I need to learn to bump the door from behind like you do", she nodded and
laughed. I'd hoped she'd heard it as a compliment and a thank you.
when you are tired and hungry and in between homes, a brilliant smile and a kindness go a long way...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Some random thoughts and random pictures

Nap Time!!!!

Inside joke to our friends: Look at the street sign.

Which way do we go?

Church reader board signs seen in Alabama:

Give to God what is RIGHT not what is LEFT.

How is that again? Is that implying that the RELIGIOUS RIGHT is what needs to be given to God? What about the LEFT?

Righteousness exalteth a Country?

Sounds like zealotry. How righteous is a Zealot in Iraq? Afganistan?

Move too far south and the brain does begin to shrink, it must.
In the south, It is astounding how many churches there are. What is odd is to see an LDS and a Jehova's Witness Kingdom Hall amongst all the Baptist and Episcopall and Church of God and............ Do they cancel each other out or is it the source of some hell fires that make it so bleeding hot down here?

I found a great surprise for K . We have been wanting to find a Cheeseburger in Paradise on the way accross the country. I went to a starschmucks, no free wifi, no soy for my latte, but I found a Cheeseburger in Paradise!!

And I had a Cheeseburger in Paradise:

" I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heins 57 and french fried potatoes, big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer, good God almgithy, which way do I steer for my...?" Cheeseburger in Paradise, Jimmy Buffet.
It was good, the atmosphere was fun. Our waitress, Donna, was a hoot.
Last night, K and I found a great little place, Kenny D's, 2964 US-98 W Scenic Gulf Dr
Miramar Beach, FL 32550. Since we did not get to have southern cookin in Louisiana, we had it here.
I had the crawfish etoufe, K had fried grouper smothered in etoufe. This is some of the best food I have ever had in my life, hands down. The etoufe was so wonderful.
We walked into an empty restaurant and were ordering when the Kenny of Kenny D's made his suggestion to have the grouper fried. Fried, the texture of the grouper was delicate but held up to the etoufe so well, tempered down the spice a bit.
The food has been so great.

Tonight, K got us bar b que from a great little place down the road with the most moist and tender slow cooked chicken. Green beans with hunks of ham and little corn bread muffins that were only missing honey butter.

When we went on vacation in Las Vegas, K, my sister, her partner and I ate well and often. We had warned my sis that we went to eat. We vacation to eat. So my sis called my mom and said to her "They really do plan their vacation around where they eat.

Is there a better way to cross the continent than eating?

We passed several little places out in the middle of nowhere that had a huge wood pile, an out door chimneyed slow cooker and smells that promise ambrosia.
I have said it before, Ahhhhhhhh.

So it is OK that the southern zealot follows their drummer, as long as the food tastes this good.

Some folk art K snapped in downtown Brantley Alabama.

K is asleep, so are the Puppies, I should be too.
Hello to all the wonderful friends at Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital. Debbie, I kissed Puppette on her wet nose for you.



Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wastin away...

OK, it is not Margaritaville, per se, but it is so grand.
I tried, for the majority of the life of the lap top battery to get a video clip or two on here for you to see the water, hear the surf... but it looks like I need to read the manual for transfering videos.

It is too beautiful to describe. The temperatures are from 72 at night to 91-92 in the day. The humidity is heavy, like stepping out of a hot hot shower with the bathroom door closed. The water is so inviting. The red flags (dangerous conditions watch for rip tides) were down and yellow ( watch for possible rough water, but calmer than red) flags were up. No so much for the boogie board, but great to just let the waves push you around a while.

The person in the unit above us left yesterday so now we are all alone in our complex. We went out later last night in search of food.
It looks like so many of the wait staff at any restaurant are so tired from the hustle and bustle of the season, that they have nothing left to give. We went to a wonderful place list night, we had been there before. We ordered golden fried button mushrooms and smoked amber jack dip. We were supposed to get crackers with our dip, but got nothing. The look on the waitresses face when we said we would be taking it to go was a look of resignation of another lost tip. I will not get into the argument over tipping, go to Waiterrant for that.

We made a late night trip into a local food store that was closing and shopped fast. After a week of fast food, we I found myself suddenly craving fruits and vegetables. We bought an apple or two for Poppy. All was well.

We got back to the place and tucked in to the best smoked amberjack dip I have ever had.
We got ready for bed and found an uninvited house guest.

The wonderful man renting us the condo warned us the lizards could get in. This was a fiesty lil guy. He was calm enough until he realized he was trapped in the plastic container and then he got all fired up. I let him out, into the damp grass off the patio. Fare well little guy, good hunting.

OK, a wonderful bistro, carb heaven since it is a bread shop, but for all its wi-fi connectivity, there are no outlets to plug in so the lap top battery is dying.

We are trying to decide when to leave out little piece of paradise. There might not be another post until saturday.

Hang in there, everyone.

From the South we is wishin' y'all ta hev a nice day.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fun in the sun!

We are arrived!!

The sand on the beach is so fine, so white that it can squeak under your feet. There is no hopping form one foot to the other exploring the depths of your cursing abilities, but a cool soft floor of nature to escort you to the gentle waves and sureal vista that is the Gulf of Mexico.

Unfold the new beach chairs, bought at one of the local (there is one every block, no really, one EVERY block) beach store. The smell of coppertone sun block 50 competes with the salty winds and the rare waft of cigarette smoke from down there, some where.
Thank you Jennifer, here's one for you...

" No, really, AJ, the wave was HUGE!"

Meet a local or two:

A lizard above, a flock of pelicans below.

Look at the local dining room:

One word: GROUPER!!!

Local color:

Relax with friends:

It is a good thing, to realx. To lie under an umbrella that blocks an almost too hot sun that pinks your skin and beckons you back into the waves. Waves that are bath water warm and that play with you not unlike a big puppy. Misjudging size and hitting you just a touch too hard, they can throw you down in the sand and surf only to grant you that momentary reprieve so you can stand up, wipe salt from your lips and eyes and be tagged by the next bubbling breaking wave.
Walk out a bit further, the water is up to your hips now and you are more fully embraced, less likely to be toppled. You judge the incoming swell and jump at the right time to be carried back to the beach. The outgoing wave sucks at your ankles and pulls you out to play again. The white sand beach is inviting you to come sit under that umbrella, relax, listen to the song of the waves and the stories of their travels.
Come, sit.. listen...

I am sitting in a cafe, wifi enhanced, latte on board, K is at the condo, puppy sitting. I have been away from them too long, away from the beach too long.

Last thoughts:
Sherri and Richard, peace and our thoughts and prayers and hugs to you.
Thank you, once again, to everyone who helped us get here.

A picture for Craig, courtesy of K:
We miss you all, we cherish you all.