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» Monday, October 29, 2012Winding Down and Totting Up
James' feeling last Thursday was totally correct; he was feverish yesterday and spent today getting equilibrium. We had a late sleep and then I did laundry most of the day while he partook of hot soup, ibuprofin, and relaxation. We had the Weather Channel on all day watching the progress of "Sandy" and the Atlantic creeping up on Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Narragansett Pier in Rhode Island. The latter was surreal: first high waves, then sea foam flecked and spread everywhere over the concrete sea wall, then water in the streets as dark came on. Later we heard part of the Atlantic City pier was gone. Most bizarre was the blizzard it created in the West Virginia Hills. Weather Channel shot of Showshoe, WV, showed an outdoor electric lamp glowing in the midst of piles of snow.
Here our effect from "Sandy" was a wind that kept pushing one of the chairs on the deck from one end to the other. Where yesterday gave us a dark and looming sky, today's sky was such a brilliant blue that it hurt to look at it. I drank in the brisk breeze and the bright sky as I finally refilled the bird feeders. Usually the birds take forever to come back to the feeders if I haven't filled them for a while, but I hadn't been inside fifteen minutes before the first house finch appeared. Saw chickadees later on.
While watching hurricane coverage I pulled out the CDs I'd purchased at Williamsburg and Yorktown, which were:
• "Crystal Carols," Dean Shostak, 2 disk set of carols played on a glass armonica (not harmonica) with piano and harp and violin
• "Profound Joy" by Timothy Seaman, carols on dulcimers and guitar
• "Apples in Winter" by The Itinerant Band ("Seasonal music of times past")
• "Christmas Joy," Fynesound, traditional carols and Celtic music
• "On Christmas Day" by the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums (this is "Middlesex" as in Lexington and Concord)
I listened to the last three. Yes, the last one is indeed Christmas carols done with fifes and drums! "Christmas Joy" has other songs besides Christmas songs, and "Apples" is dulcimers and other vintage stringed instruments. Very nice.
I made chicken cacciatore for supper, as it was just what I was craving. As dinner began to cook, the mail finally arrived: the postman stuffed every bit of mail from the last week into the mailbox. Seriously...really? Bonus...bonus...bonus...December "Early American Life" and November-December "Yankee" arrived while we were gone.
Folding the massive pile of clothes was not fun. But it's over, thank God.
» Sunday, October 28, 2012Grey Day
We had ten hours sleep. I guess we needed it.
Otherwise it was a grey day, literally and figuratively. James wasn't feeling well and I was achy. We decided to finish our vacation with breakfast out, until we realized why we quit going out for breakfast on Sunday mornings—even places usually deserted on Friday night when we go to dinner, like the IHOP, had lines out the door. We ended up at Ken's Corner Grill, where we still had to wait. There was a woman all alone who could have sat at the empty seat at the counter—which is what I would have done—letting a group have a booth, but she claimed it for herself, and at least two tables were occupied by people who took twenty minutes to finish a drink. When we finally got seated it took us so long to get my food that I was sick to my stomach and could only finish half of it. Ugh. Sick to my stomach most of the day.
Got the grocery shopping out of the way, but decided to get the milk at Aldi since, as James said, a dollar is a dollar. To make it worth the time, we also went to Barnes & Noble, where James got aviation and model magazines and "Good Food," while I copped Christmas magazines and a new Ideals Christmas issue. Odd. I could have sworn last year they said it was the last for these.
By the time we got out of the bookstore James was feeling poorly again and I wasn't feeling all that great either. We got the milk and came home.
We had woken to pewter grey skies and cold. It was only in the 50s today with a sharp, cutting breeze. While we were gone the countryside had turned into a wilderness of autumn and we passed multiple gorgeous trees (mostly maples) turning to fire. Heck of a nice day to be under the weather.
Had a quickie for supper: Hormel beef tips over spaetzle. Various stuff on television, most which I don't remember (Mythbusters did a Hallowe'en show), and then we watched Too Cute (kittens this time) from October 19. I extracted the photos from the cameras and put them away, and pulled the books, pamphlets, and souvenirs out of their bags. Put away the underwear I'd already washed, and washed and dried the shirts and pants, and am now drying the washed bedding that was in Willow's crate. Tomorrow I get to do the regular laundry! Yippee.
Yep, "back from the moon" all right...
(Ah, well, Schuyler is singing a pretty song. A nice blessing indeed.)
» Saturday, October 27, 2012Return to the Nest
Back to the routine: up at six again (actually six fifteen, since I couldn't stand the thought of there being less than seven hours until we got up). We'd pretty much concatenated the purchases last night, and I put up the Nooks. This morning it was actually very simple to get everything together and in its place, and James even managed to snag a luggage cart (as far as we can tell, the hotel has only one) so we could get out to the car in one trip. By dint of turning luggage and souvenirs into puzzle pieces, we did get everything in, although closing the hatchback was problematic for about ten minutes.
It was already cloudy out, with layers of pewter-grey clouds overhead. The spookiest thing was that there were no birds singing at all, as if they were hiding out from Hurricane Sandy.
We picked up breakfast at Chik-Fil-A, and were officially on the road about 7:30. We got some spatters of rain, but by the time we passed Williamsburg, that had stopped. We had quite a good show from the trees west of our location, with nice color all the way to Richmond and then south; they only dulled once we got to the endless highway of North Carolina. We took several "potty breaks," had lunch at a rest area in North Carolina, where I had Schuyler's cage on the picnic table before I found an ant on it—aieeee! I hope it was only one ant!—and listened to some Gaelic Storm, two editions of "The Splendid Table," the conclusion of Paul Temple and the Conrad Case, and the first four parts of The Nine Tailors. We were seriously tired by the time we reached Georgia and even more exhausted when we got home, where we just dragged stuff in. I only washed a load of clothes because after being on the picnic table, I wanted all of Schuyler's cage covers cleaned. We arrived about seven and I emerged from the car to find it chilly, with a brisk wind blowing. It was 70s for most of the route, and then we reached Gwinnett County and the temperature dropped like a rock. Supposed to be in the 40s tonight...where was this earlier this week when we were 500 miles further north?
First thing we did after dragging everything in? We both took a shower! Had oatmeal for supper with an ice-cream bar chaser, read my Images of America Williamsburg book. Television on in the background: PBS and then How the States Got Their Shapes.
And that's it, we're home and back to being landlubbers again. :-)
» Friday, October 26, 2012The Last Museum
There's no help for it. We're going to have to come back here someday. There are just too many things to see. We never made it to the museum at Fort Monroe, or the Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, or took a schooner ride on the York River. Never finished up at Jamestown or Yorktown. Missed half the shops in Williamsburg because of the school groups and James' foot.
But this morning we went to another essential museum for the area, the Mariner's Museum. We'd talked about going to Jamestown this morning and then having lunch at the Carrot Tree, finishing at the National Park portion of Yorktown, and then hitting a couple of stores in the Williamsburg area, including their gift shop again, before coming back to the hotel. However, it was overcast due to the approach of Hurricane Sandy, and we both wondered if they were already battening down the hatches on the shoreline areas.
On the way out this morning, we solved the mystery of the GPS unit and Tidewater Road. When James initially programmed the GPS unit, he told it to automatically avoid bad traffic. This explains why it has taken us off the freeway several times and put us on surface roads or alternate routes. It just does it automatically and doesn't explain itself.
Of course that doesn't explain why on earth it took us to the Mariner's Museum the way we did. We arrived at the intersection across which you could see the entrance to the museum. All we had to do was wait for the light, cross the road, and then turn left into the entrance. Instead it made us turn left at the intersection, go down a mile, and enter the park that surrounds the museum, taking us in through the back! Again, it wasn't a bad ride, the first part through an old neighborhood dotted with homes decorated for fall and Hallowe'en., and the rest through a gorgeous wooded park.
Besides, how could we miss the the main draw at the Mariner's Museum, which is a exhibit about the Battle of Hampton Roads, otherwise known as the conflict between the two famous ironclads, the "Monitor" and the "Virginia." (Most schools still teach that the ship was called "Merrimac"—correctly "Merrimack"—and several of her crew still called her that, but it was renamed after refitting as an ironclad.) The Mariner's Museum has recovered portions and memorabilia from the "Monitor" (she sank in a gale off Cape Hatteras on New Year's Eve, 1862), discovered in 1973, and is carrying out extensive preservation of the ship portions they have brought to the surface. You can even see the big tanks in which the ship parts are being soaked, in the hope that in ten or fifteen more years they may be stable enough to display.
This gallery tells of the earliest attempts to armor ships, showing a Korean vessel that looked like a turtle, and following, the story of the two ships, the Union's "Floating Coffin" and the Confederate's ship made from a Union vessel which had burned to the waterline. There are reproductions of the captain's two-room cabin and those of the executive officer, ship's surgeon (who bored everyone by reading them letters from his sweetheart!), and engineer, and the story of the man who designed the ship. A "lifesize" exhibit chronicles the conversion from "Merrimack" to "Virginia." Finally the battle is chronicled, and then the sad, frightening story of "Monitor's" sinking at the end of 1862. Preserved is the lantern they frantically signaled with. Amazingly, many of her sailors, including the captain, still survived.
You can even step outside on a concrete "deck" that is the top of an exact replica of the USS "Monitor" (well, not the inside, just the shell). It has a ship's bell and, of course I couldn't resist ringing it.
Then into another gallery, which was all about exploration of the seas. There were paintings of the noted explorers, including a rare portrait of Ferdinand Magellan, a huge one of Columbus, and one of Bartholomew Diaz. There were also navigational aids, maps and books on cartography, weapons, ship decorations and arms, ships' decorations, and other unique or beautiful items. This gallery segued into an exhibit about Admiral Horatio Nelson, with oil portraits, busts, commemorative pieces from the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of the Nile—even a bust of Napoleon! It was called "The Nelson Touch."
The remainder of the gallery was a history of United States maritime service, from the colonial days to the Navy astronauts. Saw another photo of the "Yeomanettes," young woman who were permitted to serve as clerks in the Navy during the first World War.
One big gallery was called "The Age of Steam," and was about...ta-da...steamships. There was a corner devoted to "Titanic," and beautiful models of everything from paddle-wheelers to the big twentieth century cruise ships. Gorgeously painted figureheads lined the walls, and there were also ships' name boards peppered among them, including from a ship from the Fall River Line. Another walk-through exhibit was the story of people who had survived shipwrecks, or stories about shipwrecks. Here was a watch and a life jacket from a "Titanic" passenger.
A favorite gallery for me was an A to Z collection of some of the items owned by the museum, from an ancient Greek amphora to...well, I forgot what the "Z" stood for. But there was a miniature horse-drawn fire pumper, movie posters, a yellowing calliope keyboard, a wartime target kite...from all eras and all countries.
There was an exhibit of a model builder who does models of ships from different eras, back to the Egyptians. They had a gallery of his stuff, each model, from a foot to several feet long, each in a glass case with a spotlight over each, as if they were little jewels, but they truly were: galleys and warships, galleons, sailing ships all finely strung and sailed...really gorgeous!
They also had a building with nothing but small boats from kayaks to cabin cruisers, and from all different countries. Thee was a sampan from Asia, several boats from the Philippines, the oldest known Chris-Craft from 1923, a bathysphere, a Welsh coracle, an Eskimo hunting boat made of walrus skin, a genuine 19th-century Venetian gondola, an ice boat, a craft that looked like the "African Queen," sailboats, canoes, and two extraordinary crafts: a tiny aluminum boat with a lawn-mower engine that was used by a Cuban husband and wife in 1966 to escape from Castro's Cuba, and "the April Fool," a boat the size of a kitchen cabinet with a sail on it that a man sailed from Casablanca in Morocco to Florida!
We had one more gallery to see, but it was after noon, so we broke for lunch at the museum cafe. I had lobster bisque, astonishingly with no pepper in it, and a grilled cheese sandwich and James had two chili dogs. Afterwards we did the Chesapeake Bay gallery, which was the entire experience of life along the water: lighthouses, fishermen, duck hunters, shipbuilding, buoys, the ubiquitous excursion boats, rowing boats (including ones made for taking your lady courting, with a rowing seat on one side and a wicker seat for the young lady next to it; the one we saw had room for six couples!), and early outboard motors.
What a really, really neat museum!
It had been cloudy when we left the hotel this morning, but it was even more cloudy and chillier when we left. As we departed, it began "mizzling" on the car's windshield. We were headed back up to Williamsburg, where I wanted to do one specific bit of shopping. I have heard for several years now the ladies on my Christmas group talking about a chain Christmas store called "The Christmas Mouse." There was one in the shopping area surrounding Williamsburg, and I just wanted to see one. So we did. This is on a long stretch of motels, shops, restaurants—including more pancake houses in one place than I have ever seen in my life; Williamsburg must be the city of pancake houses as we saw at least a dozen!— amusements like a Ripley's Museum, and more.
It's a cute little shop. I went in there just to look and was seduced by several small things, including two jeweled airplanes for James' airplane tree. They have a good selection of ornaments, including many seashore-themed ones, and a variety of model trees, including a peppermint tree, a gingerbread tree, a Victorian glass tree, an icicle and snow tree (with LED icicles like running lights), a wine tree, a children's interest tree, a bird tree, and a sports tree. So I did come out with a small bag, and James predicts that Willow will have to ride with a bag this year like she did with the Bronner's bag last year. I hope not!
Neither of us were interested in any outlet shopping, so we headed back to the Colonial Williamsburg bookstore and gift shop. I had seen a book here on Sunday that I should have picked up then, one about solely American holidays like Thanksgiving and Columbus Day. I'd seen it sitting on the bargain table, and sure enough, it was still there.
And so were other books. Yes, I was seduced again, but they were all bargain books except for one, which is a history of Christmas celebrations in Virginia. Many of the books had no relation to Williamsburg or American history at all, but that was okay. LOL. James bought a King's Arms T-shirt and also a couple of the bargain books.
Now it was time for two treats! We were going to drive back up the lovely, tree-lined Colonial Parkway to Yorktown, and we were planning to have supper at the Carrot Tree, since we missed lunch there. I was already salivating thinking about the mint melon yogurt dressing for the salad. Well, the Colonial Parkway ride was marvelous. I would love to drive this road every day, especially in the fall, with the trees changing colors around me and going from the shoreline of the James to the shoreline of the York with those delightful brick bridges in between.
But when we got to the Carrot Tree, it turned out they had a huge group coming in, 46 people! Now, this is a tiny cottage, and it was going to be filled. So they asked if we could come back at seven. It was 5:45 and James couldn't wait that long to eat.
We should have gone back to Huzzah!, which was the colonial-themed casual restaurant outside of Williamsburg, but we were both a bit aggravated. We thought the Texas Roadhouse near our hotel might be a good choice, but when we got there it was clogged with people, with a line outside the door. So we just went back to the "main drag" on Jefferson Street and ate at Golden Corral again. We were both a bit dispirited by this time, knowing it was time for us to become landlubbers again.
So it was back to the hotel, starting to pack a bit, watching the last of the lousy channels they have here. (Yeah, I remember when I was a kid we were lucky if the rabbit ears on the television at our motel pulled in four channels! Spoiled, I tell you.)
» Thursday, October 25, 2012By the Bay and Other Voyages
Of course when you've designated one day for a boat ride, and it's foggy on that morning, you are naturally taken aback. Except when we checked the weather report, the fog appeared to only be over our area. Very odd, but good news. And of course we were paying particular attention to the weather this morning, because of the reports on Hurricane Sandy. It looks like we are lucky to be leaving when we are, as the forecast for early next week is primarily "wet."
We were awake fifteen minutes early so we would be certain to get to Hampton on time, and indeed we did, fifty minutes early. We should have parked in the free lot, but we didn't know when boarding time was, so we just parked in the hotel garage next door. Turns out we still had over a half hour until they would let us embark, so we made a "pit stop," then walked to the park between the cruise center and the Air and Space Museum, where there was a monument to the founding of Hampton and four panels chronicling the history of the city.
We almost had to immediately turn around to return to the dock to board the "Miss Hampton II" (I never did ask what happened to "Miss Hampton I," but it was in the souvenir book we bought after the cruise. They only used her a year and then she was sold to someone in Panama.). This was set up just like "Victory Rover" yesterday, with an enclosed compartment below and open decking on top with a partial cover, except that the pilot's cabin is up front on the top, and the tour guide, Dave, conducted the tour on the top deck.
This was a super cruise! The only overlap in material we had with "Victory Rover" yesterday was touring the piers at the Naval Base. This tour started with an overlook of the berthing area, which included the beautiful old buildings and clock tower of Hampton University and also the spot where the head of Blackbeard the Pirate was spitted after his capture on the Outer Banks. Dave also pointed out Strawberry Banks, where the Jamestown expedition first landed after their Atlantic crossing. They found strawberries there, which helped with the scurvy aboard, but found no fresh water. So they went on up the James River, ending up...well, you know. :-)
Next we passed the Hampton Roads Bridge/Tunnel and the Chamberlin, which was once a hotel on the grounds of Fort Monroe, but is now a retirement home. The original Chamberlin was the first hotel in the United States that had electric lighting throughout. Fort Monroe was closed last year, but originally was the place where the Army manuals were written. It's the only fort in the United States with a moat around it! At various times both Robert E. Lee and Edgar Allan Poe were stationed at Fort Monroe.
Also in the area is the Old Point Comfort lighthouse, which was dedicated by Thomas Jefferson in 1803. It looks so tiny from shore!
After entering Chesapeake Bay, the tour stops for a half hour at Fort Wool, originally named Fort Calhoun until the Civil War. (It's "Wool" after a general, not in reference to sheep.) As we approached it, cormorants dotting the piles around the dock area took wing, leaving only one of the long-necked birds to check us out It was begun in 1819 and Andrew Jackson once had a summer home there (this later used by John Tyler, after which it burned down). It was used during the Civil War, enlarged during the Spanish-American War, once again occupied during World War I. Its last hurrah was during the second World War, and the island is a strange conglomeration of 1898, 1917 and 1941 fortifications. Most of the crannies and storage rooms are chained up, and you can no longer climb the WWII-era tower, but there is one wall you can scale via wide granite steps, and it was there Dave told us some of the history of the fort after giving an introduction on the parade ground.
Then we wandered about the tiny island, checking out the 1898 old battlements, with uneven stone and stains, and the more regular concrete put up during WWII. We even saw the grave of Lady, a German Shepherd who was the camp mascot during the war. She died in 1945 and was buried with military honors.
Once back on "Miss Hampton II," we went on to the piers at the Norfolk Naval Base. We headed into the area from the opposite direction from yesterday, starting with the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and went down the line. Dave had taken care to familiarize himself with the ships and named them all off as we went by. However, we saw something cool before we even reached the piers: as we turned away from Fort Wool, we saw a submarine (Los Angeles class, like in Hunt for Red October, heading for us). At first Dave thought it was heading for one of the piers, then he spied one of the tugboats zipping in the direction of the sub with some Naval midshipmen aboard, and military police boats shooing civilian craft out of the way of both the tug and the sub. It turns out the submarine was probably from Annapolis, and it would "trade" middies out in the harbor, the sailors aboard the tug going on the sub and the ones from the sub transferring to the tug!
We had an even better view of the ships than yesterday (this boat went in closer) and aircraft were doing maneuvers overhead, so we were kept busy taking pictures. I stood at the rail for most of this portion of the trip, enjoying the cool breeze and the briny scent. We didn't see any dolphins this time, but at one point "Victory Rover" came steaming toward us and the boats traded horn beeps. We passed her going back as well.
Dave said Jen's ship, Truxton, had probably been berthed at Piers 5, 6 or 7, so I waved at them. Too bad they couldn't make it back in time from Jacksonville. (I wonder if the tropical storm will just keep them in port down there.)
The last "sight" we didn't actually visit, but it was pointed out to us, and that was the encounter between the Monitor and the Virginia (or the Merrimac, as it's still referred to in some history books). The ships were actually evenly matched, and Virginia lost the battle because she did not have the specially-designed metal-piercing shells designed for her guns, since they only expected to encounter a regular wooden warship, not the Monitor.
And then it was just a nice cruise back, with Dave telling us funny stories about silly questions he'd been asked, like "Why is that fence around the ships?" and the dumbest one, "How is that so many significant battles have happened at National Parks?" (This is akin to the lady who called up the talk show saying they should move deer crossing signs from the freeway where they are getting hit to safer places so the deer won't think they can cross there.) We also saw the little tug heading back with her fresh "middies," and the submarine was nowhere to be seen.
We were as hungry as bears from all that sea air once we were back at the dock, so we followed several other passengers who had asked Dave what was a good place to eat. Just across from the Air and Space complex, there was a street lined with little eating places and boutiques, and one of the places he recommended, "Marker 20," after one of the buoys in the harbor, was located there. It's just a little sports bar/eating place, but we enjoyed it. We both had crab cakes, and I was really wary about this because every other time I've had a crab cake it's been highly peppered. Well, this one wasn't and was quite delicious. There were also nicely done French fries and cole slaw so good that I finished all of it.
Dave was having his lunch here and walked by our table asking if we were enjoying the food. We nodded and then I asked curiously, since he said the boat's last tour would be on Wednesday and then they close until April, what he did on the off season. Well, he's a student and he'll wait tables until it's time for the tours to start up again. He makes a good tourguide, that's for sure: he has the tour facts down pat, he enjoys talking to people, and his gags are amusing. We learned a lot and it was well presented.
After lunch we headed east on I-64 to something called the Military Aviation Museum James had read about before we left, and the gentleman we talked about at Air Power Park recommended it as well. This is a collection of World War I and II aircraft: the WWII units are all authentic craft from the war and the WWI aircraft are reproductions. But they all can fly (well, one can't anymore because it's Russian and they can't find parts; it would fly if it could); they aren't just exhibit shells in a building as in most aviation museums. Twice a year they have air shows and at one time or the other all the aircraft in the building have flown.
We had to wind our way quite a distance in the Virginia Beach countryside to get there, but it was quite neat. The Navy planes are in one hangar and the Army ones in another, and they are all in beautiful condition, even if some of them are less than beautiful: there are at least three Russian aircraft, vintage 1930s, that are pretty ugly, painted mud brown as they would have been at that time. They also had a vintage MG, an old Jaguar that had lines like something out of a 1940s cartoon, some small tanks, an authentic British telephone box, a Wright "Vin Fiz," a 1940s motorcycle with sidecar and trailer, a Nazi staff car, a tiny car that looked as if it would hold only one passenger (made by Messerschmidt; yes, the Messerschmidt—there was a Messerschmidt sewing machine upstairs as well), and an amphibious car.
We had come on a day when one of the hangars was being used for an event, so several of the Navy planes had been rolled out back. There was a big band gearing up to play and the scent of delicious food was everywhere. What a neat idea: much better than going somewhere for the rubber chicken!
We also wandered about upstairs, where there were cases of memorabilia, including service uniforms, reconnaissance cameras, and an Enigma machine. At the back there was a gallery of aviation art. Of particular interest were paintings by Henri Ferre, who fought in World War I. Some of these were of night raids, and had a distinctive impressionist look. Some of his charcoal sketches were also included.
We finally checked out the gift shop (it's a state law...LOL) and then headed back toward the hotel via a detour: we drove past NAS Oceana, where James was stationed for a year when he was in the Navy. You can't see a lot of the base from the road, but we did see the control tower and James was able to pick out the building he used to work in. After that we headed west as guided by the GPS.
Now, I appreciated the GPS's directions tonight. There was a six-mile backup at the Hampton Roads Bridge/Tunnel and we pretty much skirted most of it by avoiding I-64 westbound. But...why? We didn't ask the GPS to avoid the traffic, it just took us on a different route...in fact the same route it brought us through yesterday, in both directions. Is this GPS getting kickback from Tidewater Road? Does it just like the street? LOL!
You can see the piers at the Norfolk base from the bridge part of the bridge/tunnel, so we had a last, final surprise: we could see that another aircraft carrier had pulled into her berth since we had passed there on the tour, and another ship was on its way out, plus a cruise ship was heading for one of the docks at Hampton. But finally all was obscured by the lowering sun before we descended into the tunnel.
We had food back at the hotel, so we just ate in tonight, watched two older Big Bang Theory episodes and the newest episode (Raggedy Ann and Raggedy C-3PO indeed!), plus Ask This Old House and Mysteries at the Museum.
» Wednesday, October 24, 2012Over Water, Under Water
The usual ablutions this morning along with breakfast, and just in case, I ate cheese. I hate cheese, but some things just have to be done.
Schuyler kept kissing as we left the room. I always feel guilty when she does that. Since the television in the "living room" shuts itself off once an hour for no reason (I checked it the first time it happened, since it acts like a sleep timer, but the sleep timer is off), I have been leaving her in our bedroom where the television stays on. I guess she is lonesome for Willow.
This morning we were off to Norfolk to visit Nauticus, which is where the USS Wisconsin, Iowa-class battleship, is berthed. (It is mostly an inside display, and this was supposed to be the warmest day this week, so we figured it would be a good day for it.) It is a neat combination of history museum (part of it is the Hampton Roads Military Museum) and display devoted to the history, commerce, and ecology of the area, three stories, with the downstairs devoted to a gift shop and a cafe. Parking, we learned only once we drove on the grounds, is across the street, but we soon had that sorted out and were back inside.
You take a moving ramp upward past newsreel footage of Norfolk to begin the tour on the third floor and work your way down through numerous displays. One is about the port of Norfolk itself and how much cargo goes through the area each year, another is a salute to the unsung hero of the port, the tugboat. Another exhibit showed you the daily life of a sailor over the years, and essential parts of a ship. My favorite part of the display was about the Jamestown Exposition in 1907, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the landing in Virginia. The display opens with a beautiful wooden figurehead that was eventually to be a ships' tradition no more with the arrival of "the Steel Navy." After some exhibits about sailing life in 1907, the displays segues into memorabilia from the exposition, a World's Fair type exhibition with fair rides, contributions from other countries, daredevil stunts and animal acts, and more. It was after this event that "the Great White Fleet" made its world tour, and memorabilia given to the fleet from Australia, Japan, and other countries is also shown, including a huge moose head resulting from one of Theodore Roosevelt's hunting expeditions. The animal weighed nearly a ton!
Other exhibits had to do with the Wisconsin and ships in general, with some nifty World War I and II posters, plus exhibits having to do with NOAA and undersea exploration.
There is also a small exhibit about the sea itself, with small aquarium tanks of fish. One holds a huge green moray eel. Another had mixed tropical fish, and we found Nemo several times. An attendant pointed out a tiny eel and also a puffer fish that didn't look well. A second puffer fish looked like a puffy pickle, up to the point of being pale green. They had horseshoe crabs in a shallow pool, and also some small sharks in a tank, not much bigger than catfish. We said no to petting them, though. :-)
By the time we finished the third floor, it was lunchtime, so we went down to the cafe and had a sandwich each. At that time I reminded James there was a boat tour here as well as the one we wanted to take out of Hampton. We had not bought our tickets earlier, so we went back to the lobby and did so, discovering we would have to go down to the boarding area almost immediately. This meant we would probably not be able to explore Wisconsin, but then we could only take a "topside" tour anyway, since the tour of the interior was additional. However, the second floor area was smaller and we could finish that after the tour.
The dock where the ship "Victory Rover" sits is of particular interest. It is a memorial for those who have served and died in the military, represented by letters written home by soldiers just before they were killed, starting with Revolutionary War correspondence all the way through Desert Storm. The words written have been engraved onto thin metal plates which have been then "scattered" over the dock as if they were blown by the wind and then fastened in place. We walked from letter to letter reading most of them, including one from a young woman during the Revolutionary War who was posing as a man.
Soon it was boarding time and we went to the upper deck, under the sailcloth to have a modicum of shade. There was an enclosed cabin down below, but on a beautiful day like today, who would want to be inside?
The tour at first makes a circle around the area near the ship's berth. There are several Navy ships in drydock nearby (waves at General Dynamics), and also a paddle-wheel boat which acts as a ferry between Norfolk and Portsmouth across the river. We are technically on the Elizabeth River, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway which runs down the Atlantic coast all the way down to Florida and beyond. The guide pointed out notable buildings, including the original Norfolk Naval Hospital, the piers for cruise ships, and new construction.
Then we headed toward the Naval base. On the way we passed container ship loading areas, one the largest in the world. One container ship came downriver as we chugged up, filled with multicolor containers so that it looked like a giant storage box of Lego bricks! There is a coal stoking station with two big tipples of coal that can service one huge ship or one tipple for one ship. One of the ships being coaled was called "d'Amico" and I wondered if it is Italian. A flock of little sailboats proved to be the sailing club at Old Dominion University. Little tugboats and cabin cruisers skittered about. One cabin cruiser crew took photos of us, so I took a picture of them.
Finally we were at the Norfolk Naval Base, cruising past the warships in dock, including the huge Abraham Lincoln, in port to get her nuclear fuel renewed, and several ships of the "Arleigh Burke" class, trim new vessels with clean lines. Of note were the San Antonio-class LPDs, which can be recognized by the big six-sided "pyramid" structures on their decks. There were also civilian ships that are painted in red-white-and-blue markings on their stacks signifying that they are doing work for the government. There was one ship called the "Cape May" that I noticed because of Emma. This was a cargo carrier.
We cruised to the end of the Naval Base property then turned around and returned to port. The entire Navy pier complex was then on our left and I made a nice film of our cruise by it. And then, just as we passed the warships, some dark shapes began leaping out of the water at the port side of the boat. Dolphins! It was a pod of at least five dolphins! I never got any photos, but we did see them frolicking in front of the boat!
When we got back we had just enough time to circle the second floor quickly to see the history of the Hampton Roads area, from before the Revolutionary War—ah, there's Lord Dunmore again!—to modern day. There were more pieces of memorabilia from the Jamestown Exposition; wish there was a book about that!
We even had about eight minutes to go out to the deck of Wisconsin, just to say we'd been aboard. Peeked into the wardroom, and it looks a lot like USS Salem anyway. :-) A much larger ship, however, and this one, since it was used at the beginning of the Iraq War, has a cell phone tower at the top of its tallest mast! We chatted a bit with the docents, then walked through the Wisconsin exhibit. Finally took the elevator down to the gift shop, bought a few magnets for the fridge and a T-shirt for James and two postcards (only of the Wisconsin, none of the museum!).
This morning the GPS had routed us through, despite the fact the freeway was clear, side roads once we got across the bridge to the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area. We had passed through some very nice, but inexplicably on our route neighborhoods. Well, it routed us back that way as well, even though the freeway was pretty much clear. (What passes for rush hour around here, as far as I can see, would just be regular traffic in Atlanta.) Soon we were back at Staybridge, and since the "Sundowner" meal tonight was hamburgers, we just ate here.
I hoped we could go out a little tonight, so we weren't stuck in the room again, but James was sneezing and changed his clothes immediately. Instead we watched Big Bang Theory and "The Magic of Snowy Owls" on Nature.
» Tuesday, October 23, 2012By the Sea But Up in the Air
Well, snellfrocky. It looks like my Saturday Yorktown narrative has vanished. I don't know how or why. But that's for later.
Today we had breakfast, then headed for the Virginia Air and Space Center, which was only a few miles south of our hotel, in Hampton. We found the museum easily and public parking in a garage catty corner from it. Wow, Atlanta would do well to remember this...free parking, instead of soaking people.
This is a small, but very solid museum. I would recommend it especially for parents who have children just getting interested in either aircraft or spacecraft. There are tons of hands-on items for both children and adults, and it's small enough—you can see all of it in about three hours—that younger children won't be overtired.
For adults like us there are some great items of interest: my favorite was the Apollo 12 space capsule ("Yankee Clipper") which took Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, and Dick Gordon to the moon and back. While there were several common airplanes there, like a Stearman, a Pitts Special, and an F104, James said there were many rare planes as well, including one called "Silk Purse" because it has been gutted by NASA and really was a sow's ear at one time. It was used to test thrust vector. Another plane investigated lightning. Most of the unique planes were from NASA Langley, which is nearby. (James is disappointed because when he was assigned here in his Navy days, Langley used to have a welcome center, but it has been incorporated into the Air and Space Center.) There was also a nice exhibit on the Ploesti raid during World War II, and a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. (I saw something quite nice as I looked at the latter: an African American man came by with what looked like his daughter and granddaughter. He very reverently wiped the fingerprints and streaks off the display front.)
The space gallery had a bunch of hands-on items for the kids, plus a test model of the new Orion spacecraft that may one day take men to Mars. In a prominent stand was a piece of moonrock. There's also a fragment of a meteor that they are certain came from Mars due to its composition. One of the old lunar module trainers is there, and there is a full-size mockup of the Mars rover "Curiosity."
We took the opportunity to see the 3D IMAX film Air Racers. This intersperses the history of aviation with a young man trying to beat his father's record in the Reno Air Races. His father was the youngest person to win, and he was trying to outdo him. There is an opening bit with two World War II pilots in a dogfight that looks really cool in 3D. Nice soundtrack, too.
We had lunch at the cafe there, too, and were done about two o'clock. In the lobby we had seen a flyer for something called Air Power Park, which was only a few miles from our location, so we went. This is a geodosic dome with chiefly models, but also some memorabilia like aircraft equipment and pilot memorabilia, but the draw is outside, a collection of military aircraft and rockets and missiles. One of the rockets is a "Little Joe" which launched test Mercury capsules. There are only two of them left, including this one.
The back of the park is bordered by a bit of river and marsh with a dock to access the water, and I took a few snaps of the quiet water as well.
Just as we were about to leave, the attendant started talking with us. Well, you know what happens when two airplane fans start talking! He started out telling us how he had painted the "Grumpy" nose art for the aircraft in the Ploesti tribute. It turned out he could not use the original nose art because it was no longer politically correct. He finally did some research and discovered that the Ploesti flight group had used Disney cartoon characters as nose art, and decided to do the "Grumpy" on the aircraft instead. It turned out the actual airplane he based the original nose art on also had a "Grumpy" on it after the raid! He is the head of the Tidewater IPMS group and they have won the right to hold the Nationals in 2014. He was telling us about the money crunch that has the Air and Space Center in a bind, and how the Air Power Park was actually closed down for nine years because there were no funds for it, and just reopened last year. He recommended several museums in the area, too.
We were going to the hobby shop we tracked down the other day, but detoured to a very small needlework shop on the way. The store was pocket-sized but the proprietors welcoming, and they had a nice stock of things, including specialty threads. I bought a small remnant of brown cloth, a kit of a Thanksgiving turkey, and a band sampler that is apparently one of a series of states; it attracted me simply by being a pattern of autumn leaves and sailboats. There is only one minor reference to Connecticut that can actually be changed by fixing one letter.
We arrived at the hobby shop ten minutes before closing. The owner didn't even greet us as we came in, and James didn't like the organization of the store much. He didn't see anything unique there and we left, picked up some Chinese food next door and came back to the hotel.
And now we're watching Big Bang Theory because it's the best thing that's on television.
» Monday, October 22, 2012Riverside Adventures
Okay. Seven hours sleep. Maybe. Nature was a pain in the...well, you get the gist, and then Willow barked, although we got her to go back to sleep. A leisurely breakfast...and then, oh....Jamestown opens at nine, not ten. Needless to say we were late by about 40 minutes. :-)
We were, however, just in time for today's one artillery demonstration, if we walked really quickly from the long, long visitor's center, through a thicket of woods, out to the dock! So we bypassed the entire inner exhibit to walk quickly past the Powhatan village and the English fort to the dock where the three ships lay. Forget the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. These are the other three ships that figure in American history, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery.
Directly at the end of the dock two able-bodied seamen (well, one was a sea-woman...LOL) demonstrated the different types of cannon shot. There is the regular cannon ball, plus bar shot (two hemispheres connected by a rod, for tangling the lines and the sails, looks like a bar bell), chain shot (a chain between two hemispheres, also for tangling line), and a canister, which had nails in it: when fired from a cannon, the wooden casing split and spit nails into any living thing in its path. For that reason, John Smith called the swivel cannon we saw demonstrated "a murder gun," since it fired these deadly projectiles. Then the swivel gun itself was demonstrated. They advised us to cover our ears, but really, I didn't think it was any worse than at Yorktown.
Then we went on to examine the ships. Godspeed was closed, but we went aboard Discovery, the smallest of the ships, a pinnace (like Fritz and Ernest use to explore the island in the novel of Swiss Family Robinson). If she had no cargo, I heard someone say, she would probably be the quickest of the three, but the Susan Constant has actually gotten up to 10 knots (about eleven miles an hour). Two seamen (again, one was a young woman) were raising a sail as we came aboard. They had clambered up the ropes to loose the sail, but as they were raising it it stuck. The young woman scrambled back upward like a squirrel—I would have been terrified up that high!—to check what was stuck and discovered wasps in the cloth. She did free the sail, but she wasn't happy about it! Good show, though.
Finally we went aboard Susan Constant. This was the largest of the ships and you got to go below. Okay, this is what puzzles me about myself: For years I have gone on ships from old oaken warships to modern battleships. I have climbed up and down steep ships' ladders. But I'm scared to go up the ladder that leads to our attic, which is steep, but not that bad. Is that not weird?
Anyway, we went astern to the officers' cabin and deck, which included the captain's cabin (he had room enough for his armor and a sea chest), then forward to more officers' cabins, and below to where the passengers and cargo stayed. (We did not see the crew quarters even further below.) Forward also was a rope cabinet and the cook's quarters/galley, which wasn't much bigger than a powder room. My favorite part: a holder for ropes with four wheels on it, with a man's head at the top. The "rope guard," of course.
From there we walked back to the James Fort via the Riverwalk Experience, which is a small exhibit about boat building by both the native tribes and the English boat builders. Most of it seemed to be different weights of nets! The fort has several buildings inside the palisades, including a standard home of the time with dirt floors (this had an attached chicken coop): a large church; a large barracks that was closed to the public; a forge; a tiny house that was nevertheless opulent for that time and place, with a well-appointed bed in a separate room, wooden floors, a carved cabinet, Dutch tiles around the fireplace, glass windows, and a beautiful table, since it was where the Governor lived until his larger house was built; and an armory, filled, like the magazine at Williamsburg, with armor, firearms, pikes, and bandoleros. where the questions were thick and plentiful; and also a combination kitchen/bunkhouse for more soldiers. We sat for a while talking with the "soldiers" there, about divers things like where you'd go in a time machine just to see things, the bread that was about to be baked in the Dutch oven warming over the fire, and facts about the fort. There was a nice breeze coming in the barred windows and I hated to leave!
From the fort we walked on to the Powhatan Indian village. This is a representation of only a portion of what a village would look like, with several wigwams made of woven panels, and then work areas outside, one for basket weaving and one for netting being made, plus a log canoe in the process of being hollowed out from a log. There were also "hides" being tanned on frames.. (Wigwams! Eastern tribes did not live in tepees!) The wigwams look like elongated woven bowls turned over, with a door or doors in the side covered with a protective skin. The occupants mainly worked outside; the wigwams were for storage and for sleeping. The ones we saw had baskets, stored "food," arrows and other implements, and furs hanging from the supports, while we sat on sleeping benches covered with fur. We walked into the first wigwam to find a docent answering questions from a family from Canada and sat joining in the chat until another tour made its way in.
Finished outside, we returned to the main building to have some lunch at the cafe. James had a meatloaf sandwich, and I had a grilled cheese with the very first peanut soup I have ever eaten. It is peanuts on some meat broth base, possibly chicken soup as it is very light, and also very tasty!
Eventually we got back to where we would have been this morning, and walked through the museum display. This is basically a timeline of the area around Jamestown, the land and the tribes that inhabited it, and then a portrait of Jacobean England and of West Africa at the time of the colonization, which begins with early settlers, segues to small farms, and finally to plantations, at first small and then opulent. Each phase is illustrated with dioramas and artifacts from that era., from Clovis point spears and clay jugs to portraits of the prominent investors in the Virginia company to clothing, adornment, working tools, books, jewelry, spectacles, and more. This covers the region from prehistoric times through 1699, when the first of the wealthy planters decorated large homes with imported goods. One of the special exhibits cover Pocahontas and how she has been portrayed over the years.
I was rudely interrupted about two-thirds of the way through the exhibit by a problem that has not occurred lately and had to make a quick trip to the rest room. This turned into four or five visits, which meant my hopeful schedule, which had us completing the exhibits by 3:30 so we could drive down to the Historic Jamestown site, where the actual town and archaeological dig is, until it closed at five. Instead, we left at 4:30, with me extremely uncomfortable, the road to Historic Jamestown already closed for the evening, but at least the museum exhibit completed.
I do recommend this tour. This is a new, well-designed exhibit building. There is also a film we didn't see, and other audio-visual support. (The gift shop, alas, is no way as good as Yorktown's or Williamsburg's. Lots of mass-produced souvenir stuff, and not a lot of good postcards of the Jamestown area.)
The cramps eased as we drove back toward the freeway. Now, we had come to Jamestown via the Colonial Parkway. This is a lovely, two-lane road that cuts through woods to join Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown; if you love countryside drives, this one is for you. When you leave from Jamestown, you travel through a marshy area with the James River shimmering on your right. There are several scenic stops you can enjoy, and even with the heat of the day it was cool now, with sweet-smelling air around you. Since there was almost no traffic on the road, when we reached the route we had taken this morning, we kept going on the Parkway, past Williamsburg and under each of the trim red-brick overpasses that line the road. Most of the route has woods to either side, and it is a pleasant drive of a little over a half hour. The road leaves you off on Ballard Street, which takes you around to the colonial area of Yorktown.
We had an idea we might have supper at the Carrot Tree, but they only serve dinner Thursday-Sunday. :-( So we came back by the same route we had taken on Saturday, making a detour to see if the hobby shop James had looked up was open. Alas, closed on Monday, but it looked likely. Perhaps later in the week. Then we decided to investigate something we had passed twice: an area that was supposed to be "shops, restaurants, market." We thought perhaps there might be a novel restaurant there. Well, perhaps during lunch! When we found it, it was pretty much deserted except for a sushi place. It looks, with its conglomeration of condo and apartment buildings, small mall area, and trendy restaurant glimpses, like Atlantic Station in Atlanta, except with no movie and a lot fewer restaurants.
Anyway, after this odyssey we just ended up at Golden Corral. I ate very little: just some dark meat turkey with minimal gravy, a slice of pork roast, some applesauce, and three oven fries. It was dark and almost seven when we emerged, to return to our happy fids and watch Big Bang Theory until the specter of the Presidential debate drove us to the rest of Antiques Roadshow and a new show about men who deliver planes overseas on The Weather Channel. It's much more fun listening to stuff on the BBC!
» Sunday, October 21, 2012Going Colonial
Once we decided to ditch the Busch Gardens plan, we had originally switched Jamestown to today. But since we were up way before the alarm at 7:30, and today was going to be the coolest day, we decided to transfer the Colonial Williamsburg trip to today.
But first, breakfast. Ah, now the oatmeal is the consistence of library paste. That, however, is more easily corrected.
What with breakfast and cosseting the fids, and the drive down the freeway, we didn't get to the visitor's center and on into the area until a bit after ten o'clock. We could have used the extra hour, although I don't think James' legs would have stood it! (His bone spur is paining him again and making him limp, which hurts his knees.)
Now, the last time I was here, the visitor's center was a lot smaller, but this was in 1976! I don't remember a lot about the old visitor's center. The new one is huge, with two big gift shops on either side of the entrance, one with books, cards and videos, the other with dolls, tchochkes, and decorations. These stay open until eight, so you don't have to rush out of the colonial area, plus they have activities at night. Then there are ticketing lines. Once you are ticketed, you go downstairs and catch the bus, which makes a big circuit of the Colonial Williamsburg area, plus some of the shopping areas outside the borders.
It drops you off at the Governor's Palace, which is by far the finest of the reconstructed buildings. When I came the first time, the tickets you bought were for so many attractions, depending on how much you spent. My dad could only afford the lowest-priced ticket, for seven buildings, so we didn't see a lot, and the Governor's Palace was an extra charge. Now all is included.
Seriously, there are now "McMansions" in Atlanta larger than the Governor's Palace, but for its day it was opulent and expensive, a solid brick edifice with white-trimmed windows and a white cupula. We waited on benches in the courtyard with the smokehouse and kitchens for our tourguide, where great gusts of wind kept shaking acorns loose from the oak trees above. One struck a woman in the head, so we started making jokes about killer acorns.
The tourguide did something unusual. Outside the building, she spoke as a tourguide, but once inside, she apologized for showing us into the servants' quarters, and fell into character as one of Lord Dunmore's (royal governor at the time of the rebellion) servants. Lady Dunmore and the children have been sent away due to a threatening mob earlier in the year and the fresh news of Lexington and Concord. We are shown the beautiful entry hall, full of swords and rifles, most of the rifles used by Lord Dunmore during his battles in the French and Indian War. The swords are interwoven and in patterns and look quite artistic. We also see the housekeeper's room and the parlor, then climb upstairs to see the bedroom of the Governor's teenage daughters, Lady Dunmore's dressing room with her newfangled pianoforte (the tourguide prefers the harpsichord), Lord and Lady Dunmore's bedroom, and then downstairs to the hall and finally out to the blue-painted ballroom with its "Dutch heating device" (a huge iron stove) and the bright green supper room.
This leads out to a long formal garden that ends in impressive iron gates opening the brick wall surrounding the Palace. A big group of tourists were gathered outside, waiting for someone: it was the Marquis de Lafayette, enthused about the arrival of General George Washington in Yorktown to fight Lord Cornwallis and his troops! The actor portraying Lafayette gave a joyful speech, then introduced the General, who was properly sober. He took questions from the crowd.
We left before the questions were finished, and walked back to see the kitchens. An exhibit of typical colonial dishes were shown, including curried rabbit, beef tongue, a shredded meat and vegetable salad, and some dainties. The garden, with huge cabbages, was right outside the door!
We walked down a little ways, attracted by a small bakery, which sold chocolate chip and sugar cookies, and ginger cookies. We got two of the latter and some water and sat in the shade for a few minutes, nibbling half a cookie each. They are tremendously gingery and delicious.
I was confused when we walked on, as there were cars ahead of us. Cars aren't allowed on the grounds. Ah, but it was Sunday morning, and the historical Bruton Parish Church is still a working Episcopal parish. So during services cars are permitted. But so much for stopping in the church right now.
Instead we turned down Duke of Gloucester Street, which is Colonial Williamsburg's "main drag." Most of the open buildings are off this street. We walked down the road slowly, savoring the trees which are slowly turning colors, some dull, and some bright to the point of flaming, including the one near the courthouse, and stopped at the round magazine. Downstairs the powder was stored (our tourguide at the Palace had mentioned the theft of some of this powder) and up a spiral flight of stairs was the armory: rifles, short and long swords, pikes, halberds, powder horns, and other military supplies. A costumed soldier answered questions here.
Next we stopped at the blacksmith shop, which they are expanding to include an armorer. Charcoal-burning equipment was outside and inside we are surprised to see that the smith is a young woman. That certainly would not have been common in colonial times as well as when I first came here! Another smith answered questions about what was made there, and what she was making: tools to be used in making other tools!
Several of the taverns that usually serve food were not open today, so there was a big long line at the King's Arms Tavern, which was serving lunch. We were told it was a forty-minute wait, so we figured we would wait until the lunch crowd lessened and went on to the Capitol building, where the House of Burgesses used to meet to take the tour. You are taken through both chambers of the building, one for the representatives of the people and the other for the representatives for the King (two big portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte are in both rooms), and also a conference room. The guide here was very sincere, but rather slow-spoken. We were both getting a bit drowsy and very hungry!
So we worked our way back to the King's Arms, and amazingly a line was still outside. We got in it this time, watching people line the street around the Raleigh Tavern across the street. They were waiting for one of the scheduled bits of street theatre that take place intermittently through the day. For this one, two women just meeting on the street are interrupted by a customer of a storekeeper accused of hoarding salt. There is quite an argument in the street and the crowd boos the merchant as a hoarder. Then a townsperson runs into the crowd: the British are heading toward Williamsburg! Later Benedict Arnold and an aide ride through town.
We're just about to collapse from hunger when they have space for two in the tavern. After all that, the service is very quick and we have an enjoyable meal. James has some fried chicken and I have slow-cooked beef. It is rather pricey, but it is a dinner portion rather than a small lunch, so we decide to "nosh" later rather than have a big meal. There is even some bread to "zoop" in the delicious sauce.
Instead of having dessert, we went across the street to the bakery and bought some cookies to eat later.
It's three o'clock by this time, so we start moving back to the Governor's Palace. James is limping pretty badly by now, so we really only stop at two shops. The wigmaker was a fun stop. She is stringing human hair to make a reddish wig, and speaks to us about powdering wigs (where the "powder room" came from) and the different colors used. Grey wigs, for instance, made a man look distinguished, so many judges and prominent men had them made. Human hair was used along with animal hair.
We had to skip several shops then because there were lines waiting to go inside. We figured on a Sunday we'd have less of a chance of running into school groups. Not here! There must have been four or five big groups of teenagers in school groups going from building to building. That was the reason the Tavern had been so crowded, because at least two of the groups had been inside.
Our other stop was at the bookbinder. This was a fascinating stop! The bookbinder was a gentleman somewhat older than ourselves who had been apprenticed as a bookbinder in 1957 and has worked that field ever since. He was using a trimming machine when we arrived, and another couple were in the shop, the woman asking all sorts of questions about how the books were bound, how they were sewn, etc. Several blank books were on the display table, including an old one with soft, soft paper, and I kept rubbing the pages...old books feel so good! He still binds blank books using 100 percent rag paper, and the paper looks and feels so lovely. One of the things he was showing was how the books were printed on one big sheet of paper with the pages out of order, and half upside down, and how he knew to fold the paper so all the pages were in order. He said he had worked with pages like this up to 36, and then went to Italy where they printed a 96-page magazine on one big sheet of paper and he had to figure out how to fold it!
We climbed from the bookbindery up a staircase as steep as a ship's ladder to continue down the street. The low sun cast a golden glow over everything. Colonial-garbed men were playing ring toss on the green with visitors. The little stalls selling women's bonnets and tricorn hats were closing. The magazine was already closed.
James found a bench while I checked out the Bruton Parish Church. Sadly, there was scaffolding about the belfry, so I couldn't get a nice photo of the front, and there was a service starting shortly, so I couldn't stay long. But I did have five minutes to look about the pretty interior, especially the beautiful pulpit and sounding board in dark wood, the throne-like seat where the Royal Governor sat during services, and the lectern, which is an angel with upraised arms which faces the congregation, the board for the Bible being supported by the angels arms and wings.
Walked out through the churchyard, where squirrels scampered and a beautiful maple tree bid me farewell, and then James and I walked back up to the bus stop to catch the shuttle to the visitor's center, part of the path which goes past a sheepfold and through a bit of woods. He was hurting too much to do more than a short search of the books, but I bought some postcards, an official guidebook, some Christmas photos, and a fridge magnet. I wanted the book Williamsburg, Before and After, but we still had a Barnes and Noble coupon and I hoped I might find a copy there, as it was rather expensive. They also had a lovely Schiffer book, Christmas at Historic Houses, but that one was out of my reach.
We came home by Barnes and Noble and I did find the Before and After book, as well as an Arcadia Publishing book about Williamsburg. James got two books, one about Langley Air Force Base and one about aviation in Hampton. Finally we stopped at Kroger to get something for supper, and have spent the rest of the night watching Law & Order: the Creepy One, a.k.a. SVU.
» Saturday, October 20, 2012Serendipity On the Victory Trail
Didn't sleep eight hours, but I think I may have managed seven. Must see what happened to the feather pillows they usually offer. (They just weren't left in the closet. I got some after breakfast. Yay!)
On the other hand, I really wanted oatmeal, not gruel. Had to add nuts to it just to thicken it a little.
We gave the critters their morning care, then set out for Yorktown. Because I was unsure of the name of the destination, we just picked out "Yorktown Battlefield Monument" from the dropdown list on the GPS. This should not have been our first destination, but in fact it was a nice piece of serendipity. Had we not done this, we probably would have checked out the Victory Center first, then had to walk outside in the hottest part of the day. As it was, we had blue sky and sun, but cool breezes as well, on our walk.
The route we chose took us up Interstate 64, and then through surface streets to a pretty area of homes and trees, directly to the monument. This is set on the bluff above the York River, and the tall beautiful white spire of the monument against the blue of the water and the green banks opposite and the brilliant blue of the sky made a lovely photograph. The Yorktown Victory Monument was actually proposed several years after the battle, but not built until a century later, so that it is in typical Victorian style: it simply screams "Victorian" when you look at it: white marble with "Liberty" perched atop, and exquisite bas relief figures on all four sides.
Despite its beauty, I was drawn to the water first, drinking up the sight of the estuary and enjoying the brine scent in the air from the nearby Atlantic. I've been homesick for the ocean! It was only until I had drunk it all in that I turned around and walked back to read all sides of the monument, which included an endorsement from the DAR and a plaque from the French.
The plan should have, at this point, to go back to either the National Park Service Yorktown Battlefield visitor's center, which is free, or the Yorktown Victory Center, which is run by the state and charges admission. However, I noticed that there were colonial-looking buildings down the street from the monument. James was worried that we might be bothering the locals, but as we walked down the street we saw that they were blocked off from through traffic so visitors could walk freely. Basically these are buildings that have been restored to their look at the time of the siege of Yorktown, but some are private homes and some have been converted into shops.
So, in the cool brightness, we walked down the street checking out each of the buildings. One of the homes has been turned into a restaurant, the Carrot Tree. Another sells prim gifts, one has books and Yorktown souvenirs, another sells silver and more costly gifts. We walked down all the way to a building called York Hall, which has a substantial gift shop full of unique crafts made by local artists, from quilts to birdhouses, home decor to cards, and some books, including some cookbooks James picked up, and CDs. I was completely lost when I found some beautiful cards that used a kaliedoscope technnique with photographs which are then embellished., and also two different Christmas music albums done with colonial-era instruments including dulcimers and harpsichords. We had a nice chat with the clerk, had a drink, and went outside to explore further. There was a plinth on the front lawn that commemorated Yorktown dead in conflicts that go all the way back to Bacon's Rebellion. I've never seen a memorial monument that commemorates Bacon's Rebellion before!
We walked down to the church around the corner, enjoying the sight of three little girls who were riding about the street on their bicycles. With the street shut down, they were perfectly safe riding up and down the pavement, and were having a great time.
We turned about there and retraced our steps, stopping at the "general store" which carried postcards, books, and souvenirs. I bought several postcards and then had to go back and pick up a novel that was about a Rhode Island colonial physician. The proprietor was originally from Massachusetts. We also stopped at the prim store, where I bought a little cross-stitch kit of a pineapple Christmas tree. Finally we stopped at the Nelson House, which, some years ago, was York Hall. The Nelson House is particularly notable because it survived that siege of Yorktown with several battle scars. Yes, there are still cannonballs embedded in one wall and divots taken out of the brick! James could actually reach up and touch a cannonball fired from a British ship in 1781! How cool is that?
We were hungry, so we decided to go to the Yorktown Victory Center to see about getting tickets and possibly tracking down something to eat. This route takes you by the Yorktown "Riverwalk," a combination of beach, riverfront restaurants and motels, a snazzy shopping area, and embarcation for schooner rides. A clerk helped us decide which ticket to get, and told us the best restaurant in the area was the one we had just walked past, the Carrot Tree. So we went outside, waited a few minutes for the free shuttle, and hopped on to go back to the colonial area.
Well, it was a delicious meal! This is a tiny place, in a cottage space, but the food is wonderful. Both James and I had the "Powhatan Platter," an open-face turkey sandwich that comes with a salad. This was fresh turkey breast, not that dreadful turkey loaf, on homemade sandwich bread, with ample gravy, and the salad was of baby greens with chopped cucumbers/tomatoes/onions. James had a honey cider vinegar dressing that was just outstanding, but I went out on a limb and tried the mint melon yogurt dressing. It was wonderful, with a mild mint taste with a mild vinegar on the back end, and no taste of yogurt at all. Really, really delicious.
After lunch we took the trolley back to the Victory Center to check out the outside and inside exhibits. This is the anniversary weekend of the surrender at Yorktown, so they had several demonstrations and a small encampment. We talked to a young woman who hand-made her own period clothing, a re-enactor with a truly dangerous looking halberd (which, at that point in time, was only for ceremonial use in his role as a sergeant; he used it mainly to keep order in the ranks), and two other re-enactors manning a campaign tent. We peeked in several other of the tents, including the General's, and inspected the camp kitchen (lots of pots over the fire).
Next we looked over the farmstead, where two women were exhibiting spinning and weaving, checked out the turkeys, ducks, and chickens in the farmyard, and finally joined the crowd for an exhibition of militia marksmanship. Several "volunteers" were extracted from the crowd and "drilled" before the minutemen gave a musket-firing exhibition, and then two Redcoats did the same.
The indoor exhibit building was excellent. It includes a timeline of the Revolution, profiles of some of the people affected by the war, including Mary Jemison, who I read of years ago in Lois Lenski's Indian Captive, a Seneca tribesman, two slaves, a Loyalist, farmers, and others, and finally a gallery which concentrates on the battle itself, with memorabilia including maps, charts, objects belonging to both British and American sides, paintings, and items from everyday life, like pipes, snuffboxes, Bibles, manuals, farm implements, and more. One of the most interesting exhibits was about "the Betsy," one of many ships that the British scuttled in Yorktown Harbor in order to blockade the port. An archaeological expedition has dived into the harbor and recovered items from the wreck, ships' parts and personal items.
(I overheard something a bit sad while checking out the farmstead kitchen. The Victory Center is a bit of a wreck, surrounded by fencing while they build an extension on to the building. Eventually it will not just be a museum devoted to the battle of Yorktown, but one covering the entire Revolutionary War. Unfortunately this means some exhibits may not be included, and the people at the kitchen believed that the "Betsy" exhibit would not survive.)
We also checked out another militia encampment behind the building and got to see two artillery pieces being fired off, a small cannon and a mortar. Here one of the artillery officers was a woman, something you wouldn't have seen here back in 1976 when I first visited.
At this point it was closing time. We wandered back through the farm and checked out the gift shop. I bought both the Yorktown and Jamestown visitors' guides and—surprise!—yet another CD of Christmas music. For a tiny gift shop, this had an outstanding selection of Revolutionary War books for both adults and children.
We went back to the hotel via a different route, which ended up with us driving past the Kroger we got dinner from last night. I asked James if we could stop at A.C. Moore, which always has things that Michaels and JoAnn do not. While, sadly, they have quit selling sweatshirts, the little decorative wood pieces, and real pheasant feathers, they did have something I never see in other craft stores, the little metal-look plastic frames for cross-stitch ornaments. I bought a variety for ten dollars. Plus I found a nice pattern book. Alas, they had mailbox covers, but I had no sooner decided that I would buy yet another Christmas one, even though the last two have been stolen off our mailbox, than I noticed they didn't have any Christmas-themed ones yet. I was hoping they had some Christmas banners, but none of those yet either.
And then back to our temporary hearth. Television is still a fright tonight!
» Friday, October 19, 2012The Long, Long Day
The alarm rang at six and we got up, but not to go to work. Instead, we stuffed one more suitcase into the car, added one dog on a leash and one budgie in a cage, and were off. (Okay, I'm lying. It involved more than that, but let's not go into it. LOL.)
Since it was now 7 a.m. and traffic was getting bigger than an elephant's eye, we just grabbed an apple from the bag in the back seat and a bag of trail mix apiece and waited for breakfast until we got out of Atlanta. (Traffic was so bad on I-285 eastbound we just went down I-75 and back up I-85 and onward.) An oatmeal and fruit, and a burrito and tater tots at Chik-Fil-A later, we just headed our way up I-85. Just took our sweet time, stopped at rest areas to use the facilities and "air" the dog. We listened to Gaelic Storm, six episodes of Paul Temple and the Conrad Case, and...oh, just a pointer. Do not listen to "The Splendid Table" when you're tired, it's near to dinnertime, and you're stuck in traffic. LOL. The guy who had the side of beef was bad enough, but when Lynn Rossetto Casper started talking to the lady who wanted something else to do with apple butter....oh, my! Got lunch at Wendy's and then ate it at the very next rest area.
Not much fall color up here at all, save for the odd maple between the pines, and some golden trees. We stopped at one rest area in North Carolina and the breeze kept shaking golden, pointed leaves all around. All I could think of was Miss Emily Baldwin and Ashley Longworth!
We did see an awful accident in Virginia. Two cars were in a ditch, simply covered in the mud from the ditch, and people coming out of the cars were covered in dirt as well.
Otherwise an uneventful (thank God) ride. Schuyler was as good as gold and Willow only whined a bit until we got onto the freeway. The last two hours were pretty long.
A big surprise when we got to our hotel. I had booked Staybridge, and, since with extended stay, the one room suite was only ten dollars a day more than the studio suite, I got that. This would keep Willow's dander out of our bedroom. Well, the only one-bedroom suite they had had some problems, so they gave us a two-room suite for no extra charge. Neato!
Willow, having kept herself awake for the whole trip, was a bit freaked out when we got to the room. When we left her in her crate in the room to unpack the rest of the car, she started to bark. I was frantic because I didn't want any complaints. We were starving, but I let her out of the crate and let her sniff all through the room, both bedrooms and the living/kitchenette. Finally she did settle down and we went out to find something to eat. We were still nervous, and I didn't want to take forever to get served, so we stopped at Kroger and bought some ribs and chicken soup, plus a few little extras for snacks to supplant the apples and trail mix we bought: cheese, melba toast, jerky, etc.
Television sucks tonight. Best thing on is about crazy and elaborate homes, on HGTV. History has Swamp People, Travel is hunting ghosts, Syfy has wrestling...gah. We don't get DIY here, so we can't even watch Mike Holmes.
Oh, I never did mention where we are: Yorktown, VA. For visiting the aforementioned battlefield, Jamestown, Williamsburg, the USS Wisconsin, etc.
» Tuesday, October 16, 2012
FOR TODAY, OCTOBER 16
Outside my window...
...it's later in the morning than I usually do this, so the sun is filtering through the trees on the east side of the house, faintly shining into the dining room and kitchen. It was only 48°F when I took the car to the mechanic for its fall checkup this morning, but according to the Weather Channel, it is already 62! No breeze like yesterday, though. :-(
I am thinking...
...what a great night it was for sleeping last night. I like it best when I can snuggle under a blanket, instead of having to emerge every so often to get a breeze from the fan. LOL. Still had the fan on, though.
I am thankful...
...for cool weather to sleep in. I do not sleep well when it is warm.
In the kitchen...
...I took a minute between e-mails to mop the floor. Really. The kitchen is so tiny this can be done in five minutes. James has been trying to do better about keeping the stovetop wiped off.
I am wearing...
...blue "scrubs" pants and an old pink short-sleeved sweatshirt, white socks and blue scuffs. It's still cool in here, thankfully!
I am creating...
...LOL. Order! Trying to put books away. Of course they're now all piled up in the library, but that's for another day when I'm not working.
I am going...
...to have to buy two new tires: verdict from the mechanic this morning. The car is getting an oil change, a tune-up, two new wipers, and two new front tires (since it's front-wheel drive). I'm also getting a quotation for James, who needs two new pickup truck tires.
I am wondering...
...when it will get cold and stay there. I was listening to yet another radio report on NPR this morning, talking about how lack of sleep promotes obesity and diabetes. I only sleep well when it's very cold. I wish there was a way to just make the bedroom frigid in summer: we have to lower the temp on the whole level which really wastes electricity. I have looked at room units, but they have to vent out a window and we have no room there, and we are not allowed to have stuff sticking out of our windows.
I am reading...
...The Victorians by A.N. Wilson, but think I am going to switch to Flight From Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War by Michael Kranish because it looks so intriguing.
I am hoping...
...to have a painless search for a dress skirt to go with the top I bought. Maybe I can find the smaller sized black skirt in a different Catherine's (or in Lane Bryant, which apparently now owns Catherine's).
I am looking forward to...
...Juanita's wedding, even if I do have to buy dress-up clothing! David is a great guy.
Around the house...
...Willow is crunching on a dog biscuit, Schuyler is trilling to one of her toys, and I have "This Week in Tech" playing in the background. I am backed up again due to end-of-fiscal-year, so this is the one for the weekend after Apple won the suit against Samsung. They are talking about television ratings now.
I am pondering...
...what to wear for the wedding with the dress. The black is very sober. I shall have to wear Mom's faux pearls or maybe one of the Trifari pins. I do have the bird-of-paradise pin, which is very pretty.
A favorite quote for today...
Isn't this pretty? I hadn't heard it before. I should put one of my fall pins on!
"The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on."
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :Emily Dickinson
One of my favorite things...
...fall festivals! Here they start with the Yellow Daisy Festival the weekend after Labor Day, and there are odd ones dotted throughout the fall. We miss "Blue Ribbon Affair," which used to be before the North Georgia State Fair. We went to the Georgia Apple Festival last weekend. Of course there will be some Christmas fairs coming up soon...
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Get the car fixed, get a purchase order advertised, finish some book reviews, wash the floors, get some spots off the carpet.
Oh, yeah, and bathe the dog. ::sigh::
A peek into my day...
How about a peek into my day a month ago?
Here are Kai Owen (Rhys from Torchwood) and the tribble-meister himself, David Gerrold (with appropriate T-shirt).
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.
Labels: Simple Woman's Daybook
» Sunday, October 14, 2012Overbooked
The weekend festivities actually began on Thursday, with our work picnic. This was held once again at Jones Bridge Park in Norcross. (The iron bridge once crossed the Chattahoochee River, which runs parallel to the park grounds, but was closed before World War II; indeed, half of it is gone, having been dismantled for scrap in the war.) It was chilly in the morning; I even had to wear my jacket. Sadly, it was also sunny, so it got very warm by afternoon.
It was a swell party. I had the usual complaint about loud music, but it wasn't on too long. Lunch was "burgers and dogs" with fixings, chips, some fruit, ate with Tiffney and Vivian, listening to some others do kareoke.
One of my favorite things happens after lunch: I take a walk along the river, then through the woods in back of the picnic area. Parts of the undergrowth are fenced off because of past erosion, so there are several flights of steps down to the river that end at small streatches of rock before dropping off into the water. People like to sit at the foot of the largest flight of steps and feed the ducks and the geese. There were at least five or six dozen of mallards and Canada geese on the river today, ducking underwater for their dinner or preening, or just drifting like little flotillas upon the sun-drenched water.
As I descended one of the smaller sets of steps, I spied a squirrel at the edge of the path. As I wondered if I could slip my phone out to get a photo of him, there was a wild scratching from the trash can less than two feet from me. In the opening appeared another squirrel face, looking panicked, then the squirrel scrambled out of the trash can and beat it into the underbrush! How I laughed!
The woods path was strewn with dead leaves and had the delightful scent of fall, although the trees are not turned as much as they've been in previous years. There were birdcalls overhead and at one point I saw a wren flirting his tail on the rail of a little bridge that goes over a creek from the river.
By midafternoon I was starting to feel uncomfortable with the sun and wary about Thursday traffic—it was already backing up near Roswell Road—so I got on my way. I stopped for a few minutes at "The Forum," a shopping center just down from Jones Bridge Road to check out the Barnes & Noble. I finally did find The Tale of Castle Cottage, which I searched for all last weekend. I also stopped at Publix to buy some bread and some twofers.
My first stop Friday was the Cobb County Library book sale. I also went to Wally World for Breathe Right strips and other necessary items. I had perishables, so came directly home. Had things to clean up and got lured into reading the first of the Trixie Belden books I had bought. We had supper at Hibachi Grill and then decided to hit Publix again, then finished up the shopping at Kroger since James had to work on Sunday.
We were in bed early because we were up at seven on Saturday to head up to Ellijay to the Apple Festival. This was our first time going on Saturday, so we wanted to get there when they opened. We went by Wendy's for breakfast; their oatmeal isn't as good as Chik-Fil-A, but it was on the way and you can get it plain, unlike the glop at Burger King. Traffic was fine and we saw a few nice-looking autumn trees among otherwise uninspiring pines.
They were parking us near the Lions' Club grounds again this year, although we had a good hike to the gate. Most of the usual vendors were there and we had a grand time for over two hours wandering in and out of the booths. We bought a couple of gifts, our last Ginny's Fudge for the year, a few little autumnal decorations—oh, and a new cabinet for the dining room.
I've been wanting to get something new to replace the old microwave cart for a while. The gentleman who made our table and chair set and the medicine cabinet that we bought at the Yellow Daisy Festival also sold a lovely little china cabinet, half the size of the one we have, that would have been perfect. But he hasn't shown up at the show since 2002. I've looked online since then, trying to find something comparable. The closest idea I had was to buy a Leksvik buffet from Ikea and then mount shelves on the wall—in fact, James and I were talking about this last week at the Container Store—but I didn't want to mar the walls.
This isn't my ideal cabinet. It's plain boards dry brushed with white so it looks "distressed." I'm not fond of the look. But it is nice and sturdy, and has three shelves on top and an enclosed cupboard on the bottom. With some autumnal trim it ought to look fine. Our decorating is nothing but eclectic anyway. :-)
By the time we found the pickup spot and got the cabinet loaded, the sun was doing a number on both of us. (We both take medications that say we shouldn't be in the sun too long, and we've lucked out the last two times in that it was cloudy.) At least it was still cool, with a nice breeze. We were happy to thread our way out through a huge car show they were having in the baseball fields next to the Lions' Club grounds. There were some great cars, too: at least a half-dozen blue-and-white 1950s Chevy Bel-Airs, 1930s cars made into roadsters, 1960s muscle cars, old pickup trucks with shiny engine parts, and even a PT Cruiser painted in a flame job.
We stopped at Panorama Orchards on the way out, to get our apples and also a fresh apple pie, some sugar-free taffy for James, some goat-milk hand moisturizer for me, and some apricot teriyaki marinade. We stopped at Krystal for a quick lunch and then drove back listening to last week's episode of "The Splendid Table," and arrived at the hobby shop just in time for James' club meeting. I had bought The Doomsday Vault with me and spent the meeting reading.
We had soup for supper and spent the evening recovering from the sun. I wasn't sunburnt, but my skin felt hot long into the night. Jen was able to get on chat and, later, Mike and Emma, but I spent most of the evening in a stupor. Went to bed an hour earlier than usual, and ended up stuck in the bathroom at 2:30 in the morning. I guess my popcorn sensitivity is back. Gah.
James was off to work before I was even conscious. I got up at nine, conscious that I had a distasteful task to start today. No, not housework: clothes shopping. I need a new outfit for Juanita's wedding in November. The prospect filled me with dread. I've never liked clothes shopping, even when I was at my ideal weight. But this had to be done.
First I went to Publix for a newspaper and some bread, then came home and tried to tidy up a bit. I ended up cutting coupons and watching the "Space Jump," Felix Baumgartner trying to set a new record for a free-fall jump from space. Coaching him through the attempt is the previous record-holder, from the 1960s. Sadly, I had to leave before he jumped, but I did record it.
To take the onus off the errand, I went back to the book sale for about an hour, details here. And finally I girded my loins and went to Catherine's.
The salespeople were incredibly nice. The first thing I needed was a properly fitting brassiere. My current one hurt, made worse by the surgery scars and arthritis. By rummaging around and deciding no underwires, I did find one. Yay. I also found a nice dressy black top, but I wanted a skirt and there were almost all pants there. Look, if I'm going to get dressed, I'm going to get dressed. I did find a skirt I liked, but it was, ironically, too large.
I discovered caftans are apparently in again, and when I dropped by Ross Dress for Less, I found out to my horror that so are miniskirts. That's all that was there in a skirt, minis. Ugh. I couldn't even find skirts in Kohl's. Acres and acres of casual tops, dressy tops, casual dressy tops—but no skirts! Fuggedaboutit. I came home and watched the rest of Baumgartner coverage (I peeked on Facebook; he landed okay) until it was just time for him to make the jump itself. It was just time for James to come in, so I paused it. Too cool: he guided the parachute right down to a two-point landing right on his feet from twenty-three miles up! Plus he broke the sound barrier on the way down! Today, incidentally, is the anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in 1947 in the Bell X-1.
We had supper; we watched America's Funniest Home Videos, another heartbreaking episode of Call the Midwife, and finally Mythbusters before it was bedtime.
» Tuesday, October 09, 2012
FOR TODAY, OCTOBER 9, 2012
Outside my window...
...it's cloudy right now, and cool. We have had two excellent nights in the 40s for sleeping, during both of which I have been up in the middle of the night sick. Phooey.
I am thinking...
...about things that are undone that ought to be done, and I'm not talking about the laundry. :-(
I am thankful...
...for the respite from the heat, although I wish it had been for this coming weekend!
In the kitchen...
...even the dishes are washed! Hurrah!
I am wearing...
...an Owly T-shirt and turquoise scrubs pants, with white socks and blue scuffs.
I am creating...
I am going...
...to continue to take it easy today. I still don't feel very well. This started after I ate a combination of barbecue pork, cole slaw, and watermelon. Strange.
I am wondering...
...why I can't react to things like other people, and do things other people take matter-of-factly?
I am reading...
...To Davy Jones Below, the next Daisy Dalrymple mystery. This, as you might suspect, is a shipboard mystery.
I am hoping...
...a search I was hoping to start on Monday and got kiboshed will happen successfully. Of course it has to happen successfully for me to do something else. (I have to go shopping for dress clothing. I dread it.)
I am looking forward to...
...the Mistletoe Market, the Cobb County Library book sale, and the Georgia Apple Festival, all this weekend.
Around the house...
...I'm playing Leo Laporte "The Tech Guy" and Schuyler is wildly clambering the bars of her cage. Willow is watching the door, presumably daydreaming about her "daddy" coming home.
I am pondering...
...heredity. Why my mother was so courageous and I'm a rank coward. There seem to be no sensible answers.
A favorite quote for today...
"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence."
I remember a misty autumn morning over Lake George (in fact it was much too misty that weekend; it seemed every time we went to see the leaves at Lake George it rained). Still and grey, with magnificent colors peeping out from the mist as we drove.
One of my favorite things...
...cool nights! Perfect to sleep through, if one can actual get other parts of the body to get some sleep as well!
A few plans for the rest of the week:
The Mistletoe Market, the Cobb County Library book sale, and the Georgia Apple Festival.
A peek into my day...
...nothing to see here. Move on, move on...
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.
Labels: Simple Woman's Daybook
» Sunday, October 07, 2012Sundays Are Cool
Woke up to cool breezes coming in every window of the house! How glorious! After eating breakfast we had a nice, leisurely grocery shopping trip, going to Publix for a couple of things and then finished up at Kroger. We even discovered a gift in one place and a presentation-for-a-gift idea at the other.
Apparently our minds weren't on our work due to the nice cool breeze, because we completely forgot to get a newspaper and had to grab one on the way out later on. :-)
I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy of The Tale of Castle Cottage, which was released on Tuesday. Just to do something different we drove out to the B&N at Perimeter Mall, and, because the freeway was being resurfaced, we went by way of surface roads, including the snazzy-home world of Heards Ferry, crossing Johnson Ferry Road and then onward via Abernathy. We saw the hand of autumn laid lightly on the trees and shrubs: maples with colorful tops and the occasional tree liberally dotted with yellow foliage. Several yards already had Hallowe'en decorations, including one lawn with huge inflatable pumpkins and a Frankenstein's monster.
Before going into B&N we took a few turns around the Container Store, but finally we descended into bookland. Ironically, James found a book he wanted (although not the actual book he went there looking for), but Tale of Castle Cottage was nowhere to be found. I did find a history text about Thomas Jefferson having to evacuate Monticello at the end of the Revolutionary War.
We arrived home in time to start dinner. This was a barbecue pot pie we were trying for the first time. It was delicious, if the sauce was a bit sharp. And, hey, no peas! Watched two of Adam Hart-Davis' What the Ancients Did for Us, one about the Chinese and one about the ancient Britons, and the fourth episode of the third series of Star Blazers. Later on, it was the new Mythbusters and then How the States Got Their Shapes.