Friday, August 29, 2008

The Ice Plant

This is a picture of the old ice plant. My father said he worked there when he was a teenager. I asked him to provide me with some stories, but so far he hasn't, simply because he's forgotten. Speaking of his memory, or lack thereof, my mother wrote an essay on that exact topic which I'll try to post sometime this week or next.

Grandma J. tagged me with another meme. If you're interested, read the hot air below, but if not, please just go to her site and wish her a Happy Birthday since this weekend she celebrated one.

Happy Birthday, Grandma J.

Four places I go to over and over
1. Best Value (smaller independent grocery store which is great for someone who can’t decide – not many choices, but great prices. Produce, especially cantaloupes, tomatoes, corn, etc. can’t be beat because it comes from Deltaville, just across the way. Where way = Piankatank River.)
2. Food Lion (larger chain grocery store)
3. Best Value (rinse and repeat)
4. Food Lion

Four people who e-mail me regularly
1. Baby Sister (who needs to visit more often)
2. Middle Sister (who ought to move closer)
3. The person who caught me trespassing down Shadow the other day. She drove up with a car full of kids. I’ll call her Anonymous Friend because I’m clever like that. She has commented once on this blog about the terrible gas overflow at Get-n-Zip. Her daughters really need to comment. They’re brilliant and beautiful.
4. I signed up for this crap a while ago and I get a newsletter every day from her. I press delete. I can’t get with her program. I tried. I’m not cut out for it. She means well, but I am domestically disabled.

Four places I would rather be right now
1. The Grand Tetons in Wyoming, in a cabin near Mormon Row, overlooking the most incredible mountain range I’ve ever seen, with a million dollars in the bank and no reason to be anywhere else ever again.
2. Gwynn’s Island for the sunset.
3. In a place where Chesapeake Bay Woman doesn’t have to work her current job for a living, although she is grateful for it, and where she can spend her days taking pictures and writing inane commentary.
4. Grandma J’s compound.

Four TV shows/programs that I watch

Oh, I know it’s more than 4, but the point is I no longer watch TV. I have an internet addiction. (And I could add plenty more to that list above, that’s only the beginning. I try to read everyone who comments, although it is difficult to keep up and comment on every one. I do try, though..)

Four things I have for breakfast
1. Nothing usually.
2. I hate breakfast food.
3. I will eat dinner leftovers before I eat breakfast food. But not before 10 a.m. This is a warm-up before lunch. Layups before the game, if you will.
4. Coffee is a must though. Much coffee. Black. Strong. Flavored is good. Must have coffee. But I will not drink it after 9 a.m. unless that’s when I’m waking up. I'm always up well before 9.

Four animals I like best
1. Cats
2. Donkeys. Don’t ask me why, I can’t explain it. I think they are adorable.
3. Pigs. See above. I always wanted one as a pet. There’s some environmental regulation that bans them from a certain proximity to the water. I’m too close. Can’t have one.
4. Horses
5. Dust bunnies. Might as well like them, I can’t get rid of them. They own half the house.
(Yes, I know, I did 5 again. I have a problem with following instructions.)

Four beaches I've been to
1.St. John
2.Sanibel Island
3.Gwynn’s Island /Haven Beach/Bethel Beach – Mathews County Beaches – they are undiscovered and unparalleled. I might be biased, but I can state with conviction you’d be impressed and enamoured if you saw them.
4. Myrtle Beach

I'm now supposed to list 4 people who should do this. The only one I can think of, since she says she's rarely tagged, is tj. If anyone else wants to answer these, please help yourself.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. If I remember, I'll tell you about what we did today, which involved high speeds, rough waters, strange characters, and some blood. Just a little, no big deal. Chesapeake Bay Son inherited his mother's knack for bad luck, accidents, and mishaps. Footage at 11.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I know I am weird and everything, but am I the only one who finds the shot above interesting? (Don't answer that I already know. It's OK. Don't feel bad if you don't even have a clue what this is a picture of. It's fine, really.)

Sometimes I think something has to be wrong with me to find so much to say about Not a Whole Lot. Does that make sense? (Don't answer that, I don't want to know.)

If a picture's worth a thousand words, why do I feel compelled to pile another couple thousand on top? My brain is like a spigot. Once I turn it on, thoughts, words and pictures just flow forth, unencumbered, in no particular order, whether they make sense or not. It's hard sometimes to put a filter on this spigot.

Maybe I should look into a Brita, extra heavy duty.

In this particular case, though, I am not going to say a word.

Happy Labor Day Weekend, everyone. Enjoy the last bits of laughter and frivolity in the swing that is summer.


This is another shot of a soybean field down the Glebe. I put up a sister picture the other day which was taken from a slightly different angle. This one shows an old dirt road.

Wanna know how I can tell it's an old road? When you can say "I'm going out to cut the driveway now," meaning you have to cut the grass in the center of the driveway, you are officially (a) in the country (b) in a bad dream (c) in a hallucination or (d) in the country and wishing it was a hallucination or a bad dream.

I have to cut the grass in my driveway. Not grass as in the center of the driveway like the picture above. No, my driveway is loaded with weeds that have managed to eke their way through the Driveway Habitat Which Ought to be Highly Non-Conducive to Grass Growth since it is paved. But not at Chesapeake Bay Woman's house. The weeds growing in her paved driveway grow as high as palm trees in the Pacific Rim.

It isn't enough that I spend the better part of my waking hours from March through October on a tractor going around in mindless circles in my yard, talking to myself because I think nobody notices when I'm on a tractor, just like when y'all sing in the shower. At least I don't sing in the shower.

Speaking of driveways and old roads, and lanes (I know, we haven't mentioned lanes yet, but we're about to), but having nothing to do with grass-cutting or weeds, let me tell you a story about a lane and a little girl. And a mother. And an accident. And a...HERE'S THE STORY.

Many moons ago, when buses would drop young children off with no regard to whether the parents were in the Continental U.S. or in South America on extended vacation, I was dropped off at the end of my lane, whether my mother was there to pick me up or not. She never was. And that was not a problem. There was no expectation that anyone other than this would ever be greeting you at the bus stop: (EMPTY SPACE. FOLLOWED BY MORE EMPTY SPACE. FOLLOWED BY CRICKETS CHIRPING. Followed by cackling laughter.)

I was expected to walk the half mile from Route 198 to my house on a daily basis, which really was not a problem. Ordinarily.

This particular day I had needed to do something since well before I left school. (Where "do something" is pee. Sorry, folks. Chesapeake Bay Children? You've certainly heard it before. Just don't use it at the dinner table. And go clean your room. Thanks.)

I held it the long bus ride home. Once off the bus, I trotted stiffly down the lane with my chin held high, back arched a bit, lips pursed in only the slightest hint of discomfort. My brows were furrowed. I was on a mission, but I was going to make it.

Once I got down the lane, I proceeded to expeditiously bear right into the driveway and spun up a few pieces of gravel in the process. I gained speed down the driveway and screeched to a stop at the back step, dust flyin'. With flames at my heels, I galloped up the steps to the door and, legs crossed, I reached for the door knob.

And this, the one time I really needed to get into the house, was the day my mother decided she was going to lock the door. I grabbed the knob. It didn't budge. I pounded on the door. There was no answer. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I pounded some more. Still trapped outside.

I pounded, and I pounded. I hollered. I twisted my right ankle completely around my left leg like a vine. Twice.

There were no keys. To this day I don't even know where the keys are to this house But never mind keys, because, in fact, my mother WAS INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Did I mention it was cold that day? Did I say the wind was whipping and I was in severe discomfort? Did I mention people probably heard my screams up and down the creek and the lane, but my mother, who was sitting right inside the house, couldn't hear a thing?

Here's how I remember how cold it was. And it goes as follows:

Because my mother left me to fend for myself walking down two hundred miles of barren lane, when I had to use the facilities since well before I left school, which at the time was 20 minutes away, I managed to make it to the back doorstep and, after my dear Mumma did not come to the door, in spite of repeated pounding, steam started to rise. From the ground as well as my ears.

The End.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Simpler Times

What do you think this place was in its day? A gas station? Or, as we used to say back when people actually helped you out, a service station? A grocery store? I vote for a combination service station/supply store myself, but perhaps one of my local readers can tell me for sure what this place really used to be. For all I know, this was once a railroad station.

We all know I won't have the facts straight.

For the record, when I was alternating between standing in the middle of the road and trespassing, a car loaded with people pulled up. I was preparing my "I'm just taking pictures not trespassing and I am really not some lunatic, well, arguably," speech when I realized I knew the driver.

I was safe. This time.

This delightful building is located down Shadow, which is on the way to New Point. Notice how small it is. Assuming this was once a commercial building (and let's just go with that for the sake of argument because I'm trying to make a point, stay tuned, it's coming), you can bet there were no ATM's, no racks loaded with mindless magazines, and no day-old hot dogs swirling in their own grease under a heat lamp. Not that I have anything against all that. In fact I resemble that remark about the hot dog. Or rather, sometimes I feel like I am swirling in my own filth under a heat lamp. Or sometimes I feel like a day-old hot dog. Swirling. In grease.

Let's continue, shall we?

Regardless of what this was, I'm merely trying to say things were different not that long ago....much simpler, much more basic and without all the Stuff. By Stuff I mean too much stuff, too many choices, too much of everything.

Speaking of simpler times (and we were, weren't we?), I often think about the differences between my childhood and how my children live now.

When I was growing up, there were three or four TV channels at most, and none of them were geared towards children. Cartoons aired on Saturday morning, and Walt Disney movies were Sunday night. Other than that, any television we watched was pretty much this: the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, roller derby and Match Game 76.

My kids can't go anywhere without their hand-held electronic games. They watch any number of the multiple channels that air children's shows 24-hours a day. For goodness sakes these days most vehicles come equipped with individual DVD players for each child presumably to provide entertainment. The Chesapeake Bay Family drove cross country and back squashed in a Volkswagen van. All I had was a book and endless hours of daydreaming, staring out the window, and poking Middle Sister. We were gone for a month and didn't see TV the entire time.

Below is something I wrote in my diary when I was 10:

July 14, 1975

Dear Diary,

Today I had fun. This morning we played the Game of the States. It was fun. Then I went to Neighbor Girl's house. We picked blackberries and grapes. Then we went to the pool, but it was raining. So we played in the rain a little.

-Chesapeake Bay Child

So let's dissect this a moment:

1. I played a board game, which consisted of a cardboard playing surface and pieces shaped like states.
2. The game was (gasp!) educational.
2. I thought that was fun.
3. I then walked to my neighbor's house and we picked ourselves some fresh fruit, right off the vine. (No Yo-Gos, fruit (?) roll-ups or goldfish for us.)
4. We then intended to exercise more, by swimming.
5. Except it was raining, so we just amused ourselves by lollygagging and splashing around in the mud puddles.
6. Things were so much simpler then.

I am starting to sound like my grandmother, but I do wish we could go back to simpler times.

In the meantime, I'm off to Zooms to use the ATM machine, buy a People magazine and eat a hot dog that's been swirling under the heat lamp. Swirling in its own grease.

I don't understand why I like saying that so much.

Time to stop this swirling nonsense of a post right now. You may now wake up.

The End.

Falling Down

This is a shot of the intersection of Main Street and Church Street in Mathews Court House. That tannish/yellowish building on the right is the doctor's office referenced below by Chesapeake Bay Mother, who has written yet another tale.

Chesapeake Bay Mother says:

" Don't give a person teetering on the brink of senility too much to do in one day, or they will prove themselves faulty.

A case in point: Wednesday, the week after returning from Exhausting OBX (Outer Banks) Vacation, I had two appointments and was on possible standby for baby sitting. I like plenty of nothing, and nothing is plenty for me, to paraphrase a really good Broadway tune.

The first was a doctor's 8:45 a.m. physical, and I evidently passed. Leaving and crossing the street in front of the doctor's office, I found Mathews' only pothole, which was small enough to escape notice but deep enough to hide a small goat. Before I knew what was happening, my whole body was rushing to the ground--head first in the middle of Church Street. Everything in my purse was scattering in the road--pills, glasses, keys, etc.

A bus loaded with senior citizens and driven by a gray-haired gentleman was bearing down on the scene and me, with feet still in the air, seeming to have the hang time of a Michael Jordan jump shot. I fought gravity, hurried to my feet, grabbed my possessions, waved to the bus, smiled and mouthed, "I"m OK," in answer to the bus driver's obvious question. I'll never forget the look of wonder on his face as I thanked God I had worn pants that day. "Shake it off, Chesapeake Bay Mother," I said to myself.

Back home, I frost a birthday cake I baked for teenage grandson, and head out to dentist for an estimate on teeth, which broke apart on exhausting vacation. I am delighted to find out I need a filling and a cap, all of which will have to be paid out of my savings because insurance doesn't cover it. It will be more expensive than anything I've bought for myself in many moons.

I buy grandson a card and come home to make ice cream for his dinner party. By party time, I realize my left foot has somehow paid a price for the morning's tumble. I limp to the party. Chesapeake Bay Woman says it is fear hormone * that dulls pain on impact only to reappear later. Fear it was.

On the bright side, I fell in a fortuitous area--right outside the doctor's office, just up from a local church, and around the corner from the funeral parlor.

Find me a better spot to be flattened like a flounder under the wheels of a busload of seniors on a Wal-Mart quest.** I dare ya.

(CBW Note that cannot wait to be footnoted with a *: That "I dare ya" was added by CBW. I felt it needed to go there. I'm not trying to high jack this post or anything. I don't feel compelled to add my two cents' worth all the time. And I do not have control issues. Really. Now back to my mother's last sentence.)

Chesapeake Bay Grandson is an angel. It's been a full day.

-Chesapeake Bay Mother---------------------------------

*CBW Note: I don't recollect calling it a fear hormone. I said that when you have an accident, your body sends stuff, like adrenaline and other junk, coursing through your veins so that you can handle the situation. "Other junk" is a technical term and "fear hormone" is just not quite the correct terminology. Because I'm nothing if not factual, exact and correct with my details.

**CBW Note #2: This is a "note to self" to contact the driver of that senior citizen bus and get their number so I can arrange to have them take Chesapeake Bay Mother to her next doctor's appointment. Maybe then we can avoid Death by Pothole Big Enough to Hide a Small Goat. And perhaps a little embarrassment.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Child's Play

Awry. Askew. Off center. Unbalanced. This birdhouse is all of these, and so, sometimes, is my family.

Baby Sister came to visit us recently. She said she was going to be here on Wednesday night, and she didn't show up until Thursday at 9:00 p.m., only 24 hours late. Not too bad for Baby Sis, and not at all unusual.

Chesapeake Bay Son and Daughter love their aunt. On this particular occasion, CB Son was spending the night with a friend, so Daughter had Aunt all to herself.

They spent a lot of time down in my basement, which is a junked up Disaster Zone housing relics dating back to the Ice Age, but with a particular emphasis on the 1960's through the 1980's. There are old appliances, old clothes, old false teeth, old books, old furniture, old corpses, old This, old That, old crickets, old furnaces, and plenty of old toys. Toys that Chesapeake Bay Sisters and I played with as kids.

Baby Sis, being a prankster at heart, teamed up with Chesapeake Bay Daughter to pull a little stunt on me.

Imagine my surprise when, as I was walking bleary-eyed from the kitchen to my bedroom to go to sleep, I saw this leaning up against the front door:

Does anyone remember this guy?

He was part of a collection of figures made by Marx that evidently are now worth something (as in the set I used to have is going for hundreds of dollars), according to e-Bay.

There was a Johnny West, a Jane West, and Other Wests whose names escape me, and they had plastic horses named Thunderbolt and Flame or something like that, and saddles and bridles and cowboy hats. Well, the people had hats, not the horses, although it was always fun to shove a hat on a horse just to be weird. I was good at that.

This was Sam Cobra, even though for three days now I've called him Sam Spade (thank God for the internet). While I enjoyed playing with all the Very Nice Wests, there was always something attractive about old Sam, the outlaw. It was the whole Bad Boy thing, I am sure. He was strong, sinister, mysterious, devious, powerful and confident. Or at least that's how I made him in my little play scenes.

So because I hadn't seen old Sam Cobra in decades, and because Little Sister posed him in a very non-outlaw stance, which appears to be a disco move, which Sam Cobra would NEVER have done, Little Sis wins the prize for Great Prank of the Month.

If you think Baby Sis is unbalanced and twisted (and you may not, but I may), just wait until you see what Chesapeake Bay Woman can concoct as a counter-prank. Just wait.

The Glebe

The other day I went to a place in Mathews called the Glebe. No, that is not a typo, I did not mean the Globe. The Glebe.

The picture above is a soybean field and Someone's outbuilding down the Glebe. I did not trespass on Someone's property. I was standing in the middle of the road and used the zoom lens. I promise.

The trespassing part came later. I came to a dead end and some lady pulled up behind me. I was turning around in her driveway, and she was not budging until I rolled down my window. She wanted to know if I was lost. She was polite, but suspicious, even (or perhaps especially) after I told her I was taking pictures of the soybean field. People just don't understand.

Below is the historical information pertaining to the Glebe. This is the only way you will get anything factual from this post, because all the rest is piffle, which is a word I had never seen before discovering Foolery's blog. I lead a very sheltered life.

Most of what is written here on a daily basis is just that: piffle.

The Glebe is a section of Mathews that, back in the Whatever Century (for facts, please click on the photo above), supported the minister of Kingston Parish. Over time the land was sold off but the name still stuck. The Glebe refers to the area, and Glebe Road refers to the best drag racing spot in the county. Not that I have ever done that. As far as you know.

There are two things that immediately come to mind when I think of the Glebe:

1. Driving Very Fast
2. Basketball Practice

Glebe Road, which connects Route 198 to Church Street, is one of the flattest, most perfect straightaways in the county. I have This Friend who, whenever she drives down Glebe Road, feels compelled to gun it, floor it, punch it, and put the pedal to the metal. This Friend only does this when (a) she is not traveling with any children and (b)there's nobody else on the road. This Friend is rarely without children as passengers, so she doesn't get to do this as much as she'd like.

This Friend lives in a fantasy world most of the time, though, and she dreams about buying a suped-up hot rod (convertible) that is LOUD. She dreams of an imaginary starting line where she revs the engine in anticipation of the signal to go. Then, she is off like a bullet, hair blowing straight back, madly and wildly shifting gears leaving all her competition in the dust. Although because the road is so narrow, there really wouldn't be any competition. This Friend really has an active imagination.

And a secret desire to be a combination roller derby star and race car driver.

The other memory of the Glebe relates to basketball practice, when we would go joy riding down there just after school and prior to practice. There was lots of speeding, especially over this one dirt road that had a cavernous hole - we loved to bounce over it, dust flying everywhere, bumpers and other car parts scraping the road. We'd spin wheels, do doughnuts, throw bottles at road signs, and spend a lot of time in this little place called StupidityCausedByTeenageHormones-Ville. To get there, you have to pass through West Peer Pressure and bear left at YourMummaWouldDieIfSheKnewWhatYouWereDoing.

Thank goodness I don't visit those places anymore. But I do get the urge now and then to race down Glebe Road. Don't tell anyone.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mother's Mother

Another beautiful Mathews County sunset, and another entirely unrelated post.

I had a busy day yesterday. Chesapeake Bay Son had a sleepover and I had to drive four hundred miles to take them to the movies. So, to save some time, I am posting something my mother wrote about her mother and her mother's family, including her mother's sisters and her mother's brother and I am tired of writing "mother".
Written by Chesapeake Bay Mother:

"My mother could look at the Grand Canyon and say, "What a botched up mess!" Hard to impress? Not hard, impossible.

Every single opportunity I took to engage her in mutual admiration of something usually met with something like, "I wouldn't wear that one," or, "Is that the only lipstick you have?" or "For God's sake don't wear your hair in that pompadour." (It was the sixties and high hair was desirable.)

Mama didn't offer me a center, just edges. "Don't cross this boundary or we will all be disgraced." "Don't cross that boundary or you will amount to nothing." And yet, she was a funny, loving and hopeful person, a crazy quilt of many incompatible patches, just like most of us.

Her father was the village (not idiot, but) blacksmith. Some may have considered him the village idiot, but that never reached our ears. Born of peasant stock, my providers of life (the earthly ones) were passionately unaware of their lowness and were of a mind to find the highest ground their lives could bring. At least most took that attitude.

My mother's siblings were sister Viola, brother Eugene, and little sister Nellie.

Nellie was the only one with a middle name: "Pearl." Little Nellie Pearl narrowly escaped being named Phyllis Arvella, which I believe is a good thing, or maybe just tomato-tomahto. She was born adorable, grew up adorable, and remains adorable in Florida with second husband Bill, who is an ex-army Air Force pilot and ex-teacher of languages, in his 90's, who drives like a NASCAR competitor and is also adorable in several tongues.

Brother Eugene was tall, handsome and a ballroom dancer of gymnastic proportions, overwhelming his partners with his energetic "throw yourself into it" style at wedding receptions, etc. I made the mistake of partnering up with him after enjoying the champagne fountain at length. No, no, Nannette. God was with me that day as I kept my footing and skidded sideways to a stop without fandangoing* the whole ballroom into a human heap.

That leaves sister Viola, who vied with my mother for everything, leaving them forever on opposite sides of any issue you could name. Their contests were memorable, especially when you are young and seated between them, such as the time I watched the rockets' red glare over who had the better sweet potato pie recipe. My memory isn't sufficient to know how a potato recipe could become indignant--all this in the front seat of an Oldsmobile rolling down the highway.

Theirs was a warm and loving family with many stories to tell. I only remember a few."-Chesapeake Bay Mother
* "Fandangoing?" I have another new favorite word. Here's how I'd use it:

"Where are my fandangoing car keys?" or "What the fandango is that fiddler crab doing near my garage?"

I know it isn't the correct use, just humor me. - cbw


This picture, shot from New Point, appears to be rather simple. Green, blue and more blue. But underneath, there is an entire ecosystem, undercurrents, other worlds we cannot see, entire universes invisible to the human eye. These words describe both the Chesapeake Bay and Chesapeake Bay Woman. OK, that makes me laugh. Any attempts at being serious always end up making me laugh.

Karen Deborah from Fresh Fixins very kindly tagged me for the following meme. (If you are wondering what the heck a meme is, rest assured Chesapeake Bay Woman wondered too. I am so behind the times it isn't funny.) Thanks, Karen D. and any of my other commenters who list me on their blog rolls. (If you are wondering what the heck a blog roll is, rest assured Chesapeake Bay Woman wondered too. She thought it was something you could eat.)

Warning: This post is exceedingly long and may be hazardous to your state of consciousness. You may need a pillow and blanket.


1. Show my children the Grand Tetons and the Grand Canyon. They're grand.

2. Clean my refrigerator, my closet, my basement and my gutters. Maybe.

3. Stalk and marry Harry Connick, Jr.

4. Get rid of dial-up internet. Throw my computer in the creek. Get a laptop.

5. Figure out why some men think that comb-overs are acceptable and attractive.

6. Compete in a marathon. Running, not eating.

7. Meet all my other wonderful commenters at the First Ever Mathews Blogapalooza. Reservations now being accepted at Casa de Chesapeake Bay Woman. Daily (or even weekly or annual) maid service is not available, nor do we have acceptable drinking water. We do have an overabundance of fiddler crabs that may or may not serve as tasty snacks when roasted on a spit.


1. Say hello/good morning in Portuguese. Bom dia.

2. Laugh at myself. I do so on a daily basis.

3. Stand on my head. Just ask Chesapeake Bay Son.

4. Climb a rock wall. Just ask Chesapeake Bay Daughter.

5. Operate a boat, a farm-sized tractor and a monorail, though not simultaneously. Yes, a monorail.

6. Say I am distantly related to Wayne Newton and not be telling a lie. Though I am not necessarily proud.

7. Trespass trying to take pictures for this blog. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, depending on who is reading this.


1. Housework.

2. Horror movies.

3. Go to the dentist, even though I was told 7 years ago I needed to have surgery to save a tooth. It is just about gone and I think it is impacting my brain.

4. Say no, unless the question is, "Are you concerned about the sheer volume of sodium and fat you consume every time you down an entire bag of potato chips?"

5. Jump on a trampoline and laugh simultaneously. You do not want to know.

6. Find my keys.

7. Multi-task. Or stay focused. Wait. What was the question again?


1. Intelligence and wit.

2. Ability--and willingness-to sit and converse on a variety of topics without conceit and insensitivity. Takes a genuine interest in what I have to say.

3. Looks.

4. Multi-talented/Renaissance Man

5. Strength, both spiritual and physical.

6. Ability to write. I've been involved with men who can't write, and it is a severe impediment.

7. Willingness to sleep outside under the open sky with no roof, no plumbing, and only the sounds of nature and our own imagination to keep us entertained. He wouldn't have to do this always, but he just has to be willing to do it occasionally, spontaneously, or at all, without thinking twice.



1. I'll sleep when I'm dead.

2. I'm getting ready to blow a gasket.

3. We have an infestation!

4. Why do these things happen to me?

5. I'm going to the grocery store.

6. Close enough.

7. I love you.



1. Harry Connick, Jr. The End.



1. Anything Mexican.

2. Anything Vietnamese.

3. Anything Thai.

4. All vegetables, including beets, brussel sprouts, kale, and turnips. Yes, even turnips.

5. All seafood except squid. I don't do tentacles. J'adore scallops.

6. I'm too tired to write any more. Pass me a blanket and an extra pillow.

7. Is anyone still reading this?


1. Fidel Castro.

2. My Mother

3. Joe Biden.

4. TJ, if she hasn't already done this one.

5. Living on the Spit, if she wants to.

6. Rebeckah, if she wants to.

7. Anyone who wishes to answer these questions. Post your answers on your site and have fun.

Thanks again, Karen Deborah.

That was exhausting. Anyone have any potato chips?

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Point Light

This is New Point Light, very close to the scene where I was caught trespassing the other day. People just don't understand what a woman could possibly be doing standing in the middle of a road with a camera, when 10 signs in plain view clearly state, "No Trespassing." I'm not sure I even understand it. The land depicted here, however, is public property. Just wanted to toss that out there.

Perhaps one of the most recognized landmarks in Mathews, the lighthouse at New Point is accessible only by boat although it is open to the public. So, if you happen to find yourself visiting Mathews, and you manage to make your way all the way down New Point, bring your hip boots (to wade through the marsh) and a bathing suit if you want to go to the light house, unless you remembered to bring your boat.

I would travel with my boat all the time, except it is full of water and sinking. And it's only 3 years old. I am personally full of water and hot air, plus everything on me is sinking, but I'm 43 and that is to be expected.

The lighthouse was authorized by Congress in 1801, and I could have sworn there was a connection to Thomas Jefferson. Maybe I just dreamed that. No! For once my memory is not failing me. I just found a brochure that says Jefferson commissioned it in 1804. Have I mentioned that I love Thomas Jefferson? He might be the one person besides Jane Austen I would like to talk to if I could pick anyone dead or alive to talk to. He was such a Renaissance Man. I love Renaissance Men. I think he would have been too short for me, though, but we're just talking about having a conversation, not a relationship, neither of which is going to happen.

Where was I? Oh. The lighthouse.

I have a book called Images of America Mathews County, written by Sarah Lewis. In it there is a picture of this lighthouse before storms eroded the land connecting it to the mainland. Just to the left was a keeper’s house (it was a two story farmhouse-type dwelling), and there was a sandy beach with a few pine trees.

Looking at it now, it seems impossible that all that existed. Hell hath no fury like Mother Nature when she’s in a bad mood, and, in 1933, somebody must have really pissed her off, because she let a hurricane loose that took care of any remnants of land connecting to the mainland. Folks still talk about The Great Storm of 1933 as if it happened yesterday.

As many years as I’ve spent in Mathews, I have never been to the lighthouse. I have never been on the Mobjack Bay. As long as we’re on the subject (where subject = things I’ve never done), I have never had the chicken pox, have never been called for jury duty, and never understood why you aren’t supposed to rip the label off a mattress.

And to keep with my predilection* for straying from any and all topics, what have you never done? Leave me a comment so when I come home from work tonight I'll have something to entertain me after 12 hours with no internet access.

*I had to look this word up to make sure I knew what on Earth it meant. Also, the first time I wrote it, I spelled it "predeliction," which proves I wasn't entirely sure I knew what I was talking about. I rarely do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Point

Tuesday I decided to go down to New Point, which is literally the end of the road in Mathews. It's a small peninsula where the Mobjack Bay and the Chesapeake Bay converge. I was caught trespassing only once, down Bavon Beach, but I drove off and did not make eye contact with the nice elderly couple stopped dead in the road waiting to know what I was doing there. If I had to tell them, I'm not sure I could explain myself.

To get to New Point, you do the following:

• Take Route 14 through the Court House.

• Drive past Port Haywood and remember when your friend used to leave you stranded in the middle of the road there when she popped the clutch on the tractor which caused the trailer she was pulling you in to come off the hitch. She kept on going, cackling with glee and leaving you to fend for yourself.

• Drive past Susan.(Susan is not some girl standing on the side of the road. Susan is the name of an area and a post office.)

Drive, drive, drive.

. Pray you don't run out of gas or break down because you won't see another human being for days.

• Drive past Shadow. (This is not the name of a cat on the side of the road. It’s the name of an area and a post office.)

Drive, drive and drive some more.

You are now in Siberia. The End.

I went to New Point to shoot some pictures of our infamous light house (I'll put these up later this week). In true Chesapeake Bay Woman fashion, I took a wrong turn and ended up somewhere near the light house where there were some very interesting water scenes.

A few other things happened. Naturally.

1. I screeched on the brakes when a whole herd of fighting mad fiddler crabs ran across the road. Why would a fiddler crab be in the road, you may ask? In this case it's because the road is at, and sometimes below, sea level. When they showed up one time in my yard and driveway, it was because they were plotting an overthrow. They almost succeeded.

For those of you who know something about fiddler crabs, you might ask why they were on the offensive rather than their typical defensive stance of scurrying as quickly as possible to cover. All I can say is a seldom-seen car down The Wrong Lane in New Point + low-lying New Point road (as in below the mud level of their natural habitat) = the need for a fiddler crab cross walk or better yet, I vote for a fiddler crab resettlement program. I am quite sure they'd do nicely in Louisiana, for example. Or Alcatraz.

2. I got out of the car to snap a few pictures and had to hit the deck immediately when horseflies dive bombed me and tried to carry me out of there. They were the size of flying monkeys and just as scary. I see no need to resettle these things anywhere other than the backside of the world's biggest flyswatter.

3. Swatting madly at the air, and, as my son says, spittin’ and hissin’(with a side order of cussin’), I quickly snapped the pictures before the flies made off with me. I left my car running (because it was sweltering and I needed the a/c) and also left the door open because I was afraid if I closed it, somehow I'd get locked out, and I did NOT want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with fiddler crabs and flying monkeys attacking me. However, by leaving the door open, I managed to let a few flying monkeys into the car (thankfully, no fiddler crabs made it inside).

Between dodging fiddler crabs in the road and swatting mutant killer horseflies inside the car, it is a wonder I made it out of there without driving up a tree and inflating my airbag.

Speaking of airbags, I will stop now. I feel things crawling on me and I just know it’s either a horsefly or a fiddler crab.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Swing

I hate decisions. I couldn't decide which of these two I liked better. Now that I've spent four days waiting for both of them to upload on my dial-up internet, I think I like the one below better. But I like the one above too. Below. Above. Below. Above. Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Chocolate and peanut butter. Reeses.

Do you see how my twisted brain works? All day long it is just free association. Do I need to be medicated for this? (Please do not answer that question.)

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

-Robert Louis Stevenson
I used to love to swing. I say "used to" because if I get on a swing now, I get dizzy. I hate getting old. (Three "gets" in one paragraph. My college professor would be so proud.)

Some childhood memories of swinging include:

* Swinging from a grape vine and dropping into the Piankatank River over and over and over again.

* Accidentally chipping fellow third grader Mary Blair's front tooth on a swing when we collided. We were rough housing on the swing. Her tooth hit the chain. Later in life, I saw her when she was visiting her brother at my college. Her tooth is still chipped. I feel guilty about that. For that reason alone, my only rule with my kids is no rough housing. Just ask them.

* Swinging really high and then jumping out. Fellow fourth grader Mary Beth did this and her jumper got caught in the chain of the swing. Good news: she landed safely. Bad news: Her dress was ripped to shreds.

This reminds me of another story about a dress that has nothing to do with a swing. When I was a kid my front tooth--that was not chipped because Mary Blair did not return the favor--was loose. It dangled and dangled but would not come out. I wouldn't let anyone near it. No way were they going to tie a piece of string to it and tie the other end to a door knob and then slam the door. We might have been freakish, but we were not the Three Stooges. And no way was I letting them near me with a pair of pliers. No way.

One day I came home from school and couldn't get my jumper off for some reason. My mother (aka Mamma, pronounced "mumma" as Mathews Native Who Comments so correctly pointed out yesterday), evidently a bit frustrated with my failed attempts at undressing, rushed over, grabbed the bottom of the dress, pulled it over my head and in the process managed to ensnare my tooth and ripped it out as she yanked the dress over my head.

I hate dresses to this day. And I hate dealing with my teeth even though one is practically falling out of my head. And what this has to do with the topic of this post is as follows:absolutely, positively nothing.

But I do feel like eating a peanut butter cup. I think I'll get one now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Hummingbird Flower

The picture above is from Gwynn's Island just past the Sea Breeze restaurant and their delectable popcorn shrimp. I need popcorn shrimp and I need it today. I know some of you understand this craving. The shot below is from the public landing road, with the soybean field in the background.

What is this flower called? They're everywhere here in Mathews. If it were a pest (which it isn't, I think it's beautiful) I would go so far as to say we have an infestation.

The hummingbirds love them.

Just yesterday, I knew the name and now that I need to retrieve that name from my memory bank, I can't do so. It's called panic under pressure. Or, early-onset Alzheimers. You choose. The label is immaterial, the end result is all the same. I can't remember anything.

After searching on the words "trumpet" and "hummingbird", I discovered the term "trumpet vine," which was not what I was racking my brain for, but which appears to be reasonably close to what this is.

Wikipedia says this about that:

"The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, and many types of birds like to nest in the dense foliage. The flowers are followed by large seed pods. As these mature, they dry and split. Hundreds of thin, brown, paper-like seeds are released. These are easily grown when stratified." (CBW Note: Am I the only one who has to pause for a moment over the word, "stratified?" Stratified. Satisfied. Sanctified. I think I could do something with these words, a song or a poem or something. Maybe another day.)

Continuing with Wikipedia:

"The vigor of the trumpet vine should not be underestimated. In warm weather, it puts out huge numbers of tendrils that grab onto every available surface, and eventually expand into heavy woody stems several centimeters in diameter. It grows well on arbors, fences, telephone poles, and trees, although it may dismember them in the process. Ruthless pruning is recommended. Outside of its native range this species has the potential to be highly invasive, even as far north as New England."

One of these is killing a wild cherry tree of mine. Hmmmm.

Looks like we have an infestation after all.

Public Landing

This is from the public landing down Town Point Landing Road. That dock is not the public landing, but someone's private dock. Directly behind me is a gorgeous house with all sorts of signs warning about trespassing. But if you will notice, there is a post in the right hand corner above that states very clearly "public landing." I just want it duly noted for the record that I am a member of the Mathews County public, and I was standing on the public landing property. I did not once trespass. Not this time, anyway.

Let's kick off Monday with a pop quiz, shall we?

1. A public landing is:

a) a place where the community can jump out of an airplane and land safely;
b) when, much like Chesapeake Bay Woman, you have a tendency to fall down frequently and many times in the plain view of the public;
c) an access to the local waterways where anyone can fish, picnic *, swim or, depending on the location, launch a boat.

2. The main reason people go to the public landing is:
a) to trespass on other people's property;
b) to go parking and watch the submarine races;
c) to gain access to the local waterways, perhaps launch a boat, fish, swim and, if they so desire, trespass on other people's property. If they were ever a young adult in Mathews, they very likely watched submarine races here as well.

*Nobody ever picnics at a public landing, in spite of what the tourist info says.

Answers: 1-c, 2-c

Mathews County has 19 public access points to the water, and two public boat ramps: one here at Town Point Landing (growing up I never once heard it called this, it was just "the public landing") and the other on Gwynn's Island at the Seabreeze Restaurant, where the eating is mighty fine and the view spectacular. All of a sudden I am starving for some popcorn shrimp. I really need some popcorn shrimp, it is essential to my survival. If I don't get some hot, salty popcorn shrimp right now, things could get ugly.

Today I pulled out a copy of a local publication that lists all of Mathews' public landings. It says, "Some uses are restricted at certain access points and some sites are bordered closely by private property; please avoid trespassing."

I'm here to tell you that the "please avoid trespassing" part is directed exclusively at us Mathews County natives (we have a transient vacationing population and a heavy influx of retirees living here, and it was not directed at them). More specifically, it is directed squarely at Chesapeake Bay Woman, who may or may not have trespassed in the making of this post.

Pleading the Fifth

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Have you ever seen anything so green?

The other day, intending to take pictures of the Court House but not seeing anything particularly inspiring, I decided to drive further down "below" the Court House. We say "below" because the further you get from the Court House, the further below sea level you go. I just made that up, but it is actually not far from the truth.

Anyway, I took a turn down the public landing right before Williams Wharf road. The instant I turned down the lane I stopped in my tracks and was astonished at the abundance of scenes to photograph. This was one of them.

Soybeans are a very popular crop in Mathews. Right now, they are bushy green, and they're everywhere. In the fall, they will dry up and turn a crispy brown just before they are harvested.

According to the Visit Mathews website, "There are 61 farms in the county of an average size of 101 acres. The principal crops are corn, wheat and soybeans."

That's a whole lot of soybeans, and a whole lot of green.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Saturday, as I did, and that your Sunday is even better.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Skating Rink: Part Two

This is a horrible shot of the back of the Old Mill Skating Rink in Gloucester County; the entrance was through that little door. Please don't stare at that glare bouncing off the roof for too long, you might go blind. Now that I've said don't stare at it, do you find yourself glancing at it even more? What is that phenomenon called? In absence of the psychological terminology, I'm going to call it a combination of "unable to follow instructions" plus "You're not the boss of me," with a huge dose of "Chesapeake Bay Woman really should have taken another picture of this when the lighting was better, but she was too lazy."

Below is something my mother wrote about the Old Mill Skating Rink. Before I forget, I wanted to mention that I spoke with a lady the other night who said the first floor of this building was once a bowling alley. I never knew that. You learn something new every day.

I don't remember my first time skating, but it surely was at the Old Mill Skating Rink. It had always been there; my mother, her sisters and her brother all skated there to the rhythm of an upstairs organist, who in my time was replaced by recorded organ music.

Many romances were born there. Sweethearts used a small back porch area for (word deleted by CBW because it gives her the creepy crawlies; CBW will suggest that the reader can imagine what the sweethearts were doing, or just substitute this: "deep discussions about the meaning of life.") I, in my full skirt and rented skates (usually ugly and large) managed to twirl out there as if by accident and see for my pre-pubescent self what romance looked like. Then I'd twirl back out and klutz my way to the nearest hand rail. I became an adequate skater, but no fancy dance on wheels--that was the owner's daughter. She had no fear; but I had enough for everyone.

On those rare occasions when I was tapped by some partnerless fellow for the "couples only" skate, I did my best to stay upright, but the fellow usually carried me like a rag doll at warp speed, and I admit I lost consciousness a couple of times.

That the rink still remains is a miracle, but it has undergone many incarnations since its heyday. Good feelings hang in a pleasant vapor still surrounding the place, and forgotten people in forgotten times can be heard laughing and loving every moment in life.

-Chesapeake Bay Woman's Mother

I think I have another new favorite phrase: Fancy Dance on Wheels. Here's an example of how I'd use it:

Don't tell ME not to look at the glare in that picture....You're not the boss of me. Who do you think you are, some fancy dance on wheels?

-Chesapeake Bay Woman

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Old Mill

This is the Old Mill located in Gloucester County adjacent to the Skating Rink. I would have taken a more representative shot from the front which shows the mill wheel, but I didn't feel like dying that particular day. Route 14, a major thoroughfare and one of the few roads leading out of Mathews, runs right in front of here, and these days if you stand on the side of that road you can expect to become flattened in a matter of seconds. I don't feel like being flattened. Yet.

This old mill, conveniently called Old Mill, has been here forever, hence its name: Old Mill.

(How's that for a redundant, superfluous and ridiculous sentence? I can come up with 'em all day long. They spew forth effortlessly.

When I see it, I am reminded of my grandmother's sister. She once told me a story about a horse and buggy ride she took which, due to rain and an overflow of the mill pond, involved plenty of slipping and sliding up the hill towards what is now Ware Academy, formerly Gloucester Day School for those taking copious notes. The horses got stuck more than a few times and it was quite the ordeal. Of course this was in the days before paved highways and ubiquitous automobiles.

(It truly pains me to confess that I am old enough to have had a close relative who lived in the days of the horse and buggy. It's official, I am ancient, as in as old as the Old Mill. Excuse me while I tie a cinder block to my ankle and jump off the end of the dock. Or, I suppose I could just go back onto the side of Route 14, take a picture of the better view of the mill, and wait to be flattened.)

My mother, an artist, has painted at least four pictures of this mill prior to its present state of decay. Just recently she was talking to someone who mentioned that he owned one of those four paintings. I need to find out where the other three are and steal one. I can do that from my own mother, it's written in the handbook called What You Can Do and Get Away With: The Family Edition. (Other titles in that series include The Work Edition, The Parenting Edition and The Relationship Edition.)

Speaking of my mother, at my request she wrote a story about the skating rink, since she also skated there, along with every other Mathews, Gloucester, Middlesex, and King & Queen County resident currently between the ages of 35 and 154.

I'll put her story up tomorrow. Right now, I have to block out that whole horse and buggy thing.

Route 14, here I come.

The Skating Rink

This is what used to be the Old Mill Skating Rink in Gloucester, our neighboring county. The rink closed years ago, and the building changed hands several times. It's been used commercially ever since. The upper portion was the actual rink. Even today the disco lights and the bumpy old wooden floors are still intact. But just don't go up there nosin' around. That would be trespassing. Trust me.

Some of my fondest memories are from the skating rink in Gloucester. It was one of the few places my mother would allow me to go as an unchaperoned teenager. I was allowed to go there before I could date, but in reality it was practically the same thing, just in a controlled environment. Well, somewhat controlled. Partially?

My grandmother skated here, and she was born in the early 1900's. My mother skated here. I skated here. Unfortunately, my children will never skate here since it no longer operates, but they would if they could. I take comfort in the fact that a place exists that my favorite grandmother frequented, no doubt with the same zeal and ardor that I did as a young girl.
I must press pause for one minute and clarify something I've taken for granted. Kids? I am not talking about roller blading or skate boarding or dip-sticking. (OK, rip stick, but I like to call it dip stick.) I am talking about roller skating. Roller skates were a primitive form of entertainment that involved lacing your feet up in a boot with wheels; two wheels up front, two in the back. There was no such thing as helmets, knee pads, elbow pads or safety precautions other than prayers. You fell down and you got hurt. You then got back up, kept going and even if you had shattered your tibia you would never let on.

Then you did the Hokey Pokey and turned yourself around, 'cause that's what it's all about--even though you hated doing it. Next you bit your nails at the "Couple's Skate" and prayed The Cute Boy you liked would ask you to skate with him. He didn't, but The Guy You Were Avoiding did. After skating with him, you hid in a corner and pretended to be sick so he'd leave you alone. Then you went back out and stalked The Cute One. The End.
As you can tell, the skating rink (or ring as some people who also say chimbleys instead of chimneys would say) was less about skating and all about teenagers co-mingling. I will confess, though, that as much as I loved the boy-girl thing, I was also daydreaming about being in the roller derby.

I swear I could have been in that movie Kansas City Bomber. Anyone see that? I'm not surprised. I remember it for two reasons: my father was GLUED to the screen, and so was I. He was riveted for entirely different reasons than I was, and it entailed the following: Raquel Welch and Raquel Welch. For me, it was all about racing around and skating fast and pushing people out of my way. Even thinking about it gives me the chills...I really believe I could be the first 43-year-old Roller Derby Champion if only I were given the opportunity....but I digress.

I will tell more skating rink stories as I remember them.

In the meantime if any of my 3 readers, one of which is local, would like to contribute their memories of this wonderland of the past, please do so.

There are so many stories to tell. Too many.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thirteen Years Old

My goal before this week is out is to tell a few stories pertaining to Mathews and/or Gloucester, our neighboring county, instead of going on and on about my dysfunctional family. (Don't knock me over with your sighs of relief, I'm right there with ya. Have been for some time.)

Today I shot some pictures of the Old Mill Skating Rink in Gloucester, which is chock full of memories and stories, enough to fill a book. I'd also like to shoot some pictures of the Court House, which is the closest thing we have to a downtown area, and write a bit about that.

We'll see.

Like most good intentions I have, something will probably happen to prevent me from following through, such as:

*We will have a tornado and the last 2 remaining shutters (one on the front of the house, the other on the back side) are blown off, or
*My car will break down, or the tires will blow out since I haven't tended to them in, oh, hmmmm, well now, never, and I need the car to commute the 50+ miles (one-way) to work, or
* Someone will show up at my doorstep with a straight jacket and injectable sedative and gently guide me to the padded van due to the above, plus this:

I woke up today the mother of a TEENAGER, and I am absolutely beside myself. One day I was 13, then I blinked, now I have a 13-year-old son.

Can someone please ask the nice folks in the padded van to hurry up?

Happy Birthday, Chesapeake Bay Son! I love you madly.
You are the greatest son a mother could ever hope for. And far more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This is a shot from the top of Jockey's Ridge in Nags Head, North Carolina. (This has nothing to do with Mathews, of course, other than we do have some sand and water.) It's one of the largest sand dunes east of the Mississippi....or west of the Blue Ridge Mountains...or south of the Mason-Dixon line? Let's just say these are some very tall sand dunes. I like how basic the elements are: sand, water, sky.

Why can't life be as simple as this picture? I'll give a free boat to anyone who can answer that question for me.

In the past 12 hours, the following has occurred:

1. My mother informs me that I no longer receive local channels on my Direct TV. I wouldn't know this because I gave up television for internet months ago. Nevertheless, if anyone has ever tried calling Direct TV, you know that it requires the patience of Job and about 5 hours to get through to them.

2. My boss called me this morning at home to say that yesterday the telephone operators (who work 24 hours a day) discovered some stuff they think is mine, such as my insurance cards, bills, etc. Yep, that's my stuff. Of course the one and only day I don't put my personal stuff, which of course I do at work, in a bag because I couldn't find an empty tote bag due to vacationing last week, I dump it all over the parking lot for the world to see.

3. I came home from work to discover no telephone service, which of course means no internet. I have a severe internet addiction that was made worse during a one-week absence from a keyboard last week. This is a 911 emergency, and I nearly had a stroke.

4. My son this morning says, "Mom, Uh-oh, we've got another one." In a panic, and not able to imagine what "another one" could be besides an insect infestation or a sinking boat, I race to him to discover he has brought an injured butterfly into the house. As I was blaming the killer cats outside, he corrects me and says he found it in the garage jumbled up with some camping gear. So indeed we DO have an infestation, this time of dying butterflies. I instruct Son to make its last moments peaceful, and he is now preparing a lovely box with green leaves and grass and flowers.

5. No internet service since yesterday morning.

6. No internet service since yesterday morning.

7. Dog barking all night long. No sleep, plus no internet service.

8. When I go to brush my teeth this morning, the light bulbs in the bathroom pop and sizzle. I have no replacement bulbs.

9. I have no cat food, and I have six hungry cats threatening to attack me if I set foot outside with no food.

That's enough. I am exhausted, although I could certainly add more to this list.

OK. Let's change our perspective and make this a good day. On the brighter side, as long as these are my biggest problems, life should be good, no?

Of course, I DO actually have bigger problems, but as long a I am in denial about them, life is still good.

Yep, life is good. That's my story and I'm stickin' with it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Outer Banks Vacation

The following was written by Chesapeake Bay Mother about events that transpired prior to arriving at the Chesapeake Bay Family Outer Banks, North Carolina, vacation.
"At six something, Husband woke me to complete the last-minute preparations for a long-awaited three days away from Home Sweet Home.

Among the chores to be completed:

- Feed and water dogs, cats, ducks, goose;
-Conduct last-minute litter pan changes;
- Taxi dogs to "Gone to the Dogs" boarding kennel;
- Provide kennel-cough vaccination proof;
- Haul backwards out of kennel denting Nice Lady's car;
- Exchange insurance info with Nice Lady;
- Once home, do final A/C adjustments (CBW's Editorial Note: The air conditioning adjustments were not for the house, they were for a side porch on which she kept several hundred cats for the 3 days she was going to be away. She installed not one, but two window units to ensure the cats were cool enough. Mind you, she does not even have two window units in the portion of the house SHE lives in, but this is neither here nor there);
- Try to load bags, losing favorite shoes in process;
- Look 20 minutes for shoes;
- Husband finds them;
-We're off to the beach.
- 30 minutes from home, remember I left hose running in the duck bucket.
- Husband pulls over in Historic Yorktown and calls friend to take care of that and
- We're off again.

Peace. Away. Beach. Hamburger. (CBW Note: Not to be confused, at all, with the raw hamburger we placed in Vegetarian Guest's bed.) Broken tooth. And we are writing our journal and remember that we can't recall turning off yet another hose (this one yellow) used for watering petunias and the flock of sixty wild geese who come to the back door complaining about the lack of water in this weather - we never get a break. All this and the day is still young. Just don't ask for whom the bell tolls, I don't want to know.

Later that day: One broken molar on the left that I prayed about last night now has another little Broken Friend on the right. I'm praying the fillings still clinging remain to prevent throbbing agony of an exposed nerve or nerves. Eating is no longer an option, but that is a blessing considering I have contracted Montezuma's Revenge * somewhere, somehow. "Oh Death, where is thy sting?!" (That Shakespeare sure could hit the hammer on the finger.)

Youngest Daughter has unending back pain. Stay tuned, there's always the remote possibility this could all end badly.

* In case you don't know, Montezuma's Revenge is the revolt of your gastrointestinal tract against something you drank or ate that "wasn't quite right." Mine is a weapons grade exhaust....I believe I am blowing straight "yellow cake" now. Somehow my body has managed to manufacture uranium."
- Chesapeake Bay Woman's Mother

Greetings, folks. After that last paragraph, complete with the lovely asterisk and uranium reference, as if we don't already know what Montezuma's Revenge is, I must now crawl under the covers, pull them over my head, and remain that way until the year 2045. Please put this in a time capsule and label it: Way Too Much Information To Be Handled In The Year 2008.

-Chesapeake Bay Woman

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I'm not much on details. Details pain me and cause me to sweat profusely. They befuddle, perplex and bewilder me.

To mask this Detail Disability of mine, whenever I am asked a question that requires precision or exactness or numbers, my most-used expression besides, "We have yet another infestation," is "Close enough." For example:

Chesapeake Bay Family: "How many bedrooms does the vacation home have?"
Chesapeake Bay Woman: "Lots."
Chesapeake Bay Family: "Will there be enough room?"
Chesapeake Bay Woman: "Close enough."

I was in charge of securing last week's (and last year's and the year before that and every other vacation ever taken, not that I'm bitter or keeping track) vacation home, and it was too painful to sit down and figure out how many people were coming and how many bedrooms we needed. So I randomly--or perhaps intuitively? that sounds better-- picked a number: 4.

Here's how I figured it: I'd get one bedroom, Chesapeake Bay Kids would get another room, Chesapeake Bay parents would get another one, and Sisters could share a room, so four bedrooms should have been enough. Or something like that. Close enough.

Somewhere along the way, Little Sister invited someone. Then Middle Sister asked if she could bring someone. Being the easy-going, happy-go-lucky, non-attention-to-detail person I am, I said, "Sure."

Middle Sister (whose friend ended up not coming) was the last Chesapeake Bay family member to arrive at the beach house after driving 10 solid hours . She dragged her stuff up several flights of stairs and asked where she was sleeping. Only then, at that very moment, did I realize the place for her to sleep was Nowhere.

As if to seek revenge, she threatened to sleep in the room with me every single night. Every night, I'd have to keep one eye on her and one on my bedroom, because that girl can fall asleep in less than a second, plus she's seven feet tall so I would never be able to move her. Or roll her off the bed. Or drag her out of my room and down the steps into someone else's room, for example.

One night she slid in under my radar. One minute she was vertical and singing Brick House very badly, the next minute I blinked and all 7 feet of her was horizontal under my covers, in my bed, in my room. There was absolutely nothing I could do.

In revolt I slept outside on the deck in a lawn chair. I awoke at 2:00 a.m. to a thunderstorm and many bug bites. I still have some on my face.

Somehow, as usual, the insects won this particular battle.

And did Middle Sister spend the entire night in my bedroom? No. She got up in the middle of the night and wormed her way into someone else's room. Naturally she did not tell me this, and after being eaten alive by mosquitoes and practically struck by lightning sleeping outside, I moved to the living room couch unaware that my very comfortable bed was now empty.

The next morning I asked why she moved and why she didn't come get me and why, why, why. I don't remember her answers because I was too exhausted from sleeping half the night outside of a beach house that contained 4 bedrooms and 42 Chesapeake Bay Squabbling Family Members, or at least 5 or 6 squabbling family members. Or was it 8 or 9?

Whatever. Close enough.

Good to be Back

Below is a short list of random thoughts from my vacation:

1. I feel like I've been pulled backwards through a keyhole.

2. I feel like a one-legged man in an a**-kickin' contest.

3. I sang "Brick House" with Chesapeake Bay Father, Middle Sis and Little Sis during a Freak and Rare Karaoke Incident. Ears and eyes may never be the same again. And CB Son filmed it.

4. I met lovely Meg from soupisnotafingerfood and proved once and for all that a 97 year-old nursing home patient has more computer savvy than I do. It was great meeting her and her family.

5. As a practical joke, I encouraged my children to put some raw hamburger meat IN THE BED of a houseguest who is a vegetarian. It sounded good--if not hilarious-- at the time, but the shame was we forgot about it. And Vegetarian House Guest didn't find it until 3:00 a.m. after the meat had soaked through the sheets. This was most unpleasant, in spite of how funny it seemed at the time I suggested it.

6. Chesapeake Bay Woman, also known as me or I, spilled enough red wine all over white carpets and soaked a bed with raw hamburger meat to ensure that her security deposit is not only depleted, but will amount to this by the time the cleaners are done assessing the damage: Please trot down to the bank and take out a second mortgage.

7. No matter which bathing suit I put on, be it the one-piece, or the "old woman and the skirt"-style, or the two -piece that I felt necessary to purchase after realizing I was the ONLY female on the entire East Coast wearing anything but a two-piece, no matter which one of those I put on, I would ride the crest of a wave only to be flung fiercely down into the sand at which point any part of any bathing suit I had on ended up here: wrapped around my head or conveniently located 500 yards away up on the beach where this many people were watching the activities unfold: FOUR HUNDRED MILLION, or the equivalent of every single family east of the Mississippi.

Because that's who we vacationed with. Every single family east of the Mississippi.

Thank goodness I'm back in non-civilization. Civilization and I don't mix well.

Can't wait to get caught up! Right now I have to get ready for a crab steam, which is not where Chesapeake Bay Woman jumps into a pot of boiling water, but where she wishes she could.

I missed everyone and look forward to getting back to "normal" whatever that is. Hopefully it will involve some pictures and some writing that is above first-grade level. First-grade is about the best I can do today. And probably tomorrow too.

Happy Saturday!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

On Vacation

In honor of it being the first day of my vacation, has decided to cause trouble for me, where trouble equals sheer panic and hysteria. I can post but I can't read anything. And this comes directly on the heels of a fleeting thought I had recently which was, "I wonder if something ever happened to if I would ever be able to retrieve everything I've written since, naturally, I have not saved it anywhere else." It is precisely because I thought this that decided to break down. I know, they told me.

Update: If anyone else is experiencing this problem, delete the sitemeter (which appears to have been contributing to the problem). Access your blog by going to (assuming that's who you use) and signing in there, then go to Dashboard, then to Layout and delete sitemeter there.

Today is the first day of vacation and the first day of no internet access for a week, unless soupisnotafingerfood lets me use her laptop one day.

Before I go, I have a confession: My name is Chesapeake Bay Woman, and I have an internet addiction. I am a blog-a-holic.

How in the world I am going to make it for so many days without spending hours on here is well beyond my comprehension.

In the interim, I wish everyone a wonderful week.

To entertain me when I return, and assuming people are able to get on here and comment (because I can't as of today), please answer the following question for me:

If you could be a tree, what type of tree would you be? (Just kidding. Really.)

OK, here's the question:

Who in your family or your circle of friends is the most eccentric, weird, bizarre, or just plain hilarious? Describe them and their peculiarities.

I want to laugh at other families, I'm getting tired of laughing at my own.

Have a fantastic week full of peace, laughter and happiness.

-Chesapeake Bay Woman

p.s. If you haven't had a chance to, take a gander at my mother's write-up in the post prior to this one.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Golden Years

My mother agreed to write something for me, and below is the first of a couple essays she produced.
“I just finished trying to polish the furniture with air freshener. When that didn’t work well, I used furniture polish and was quite pleased with the result. Yesterday, Husband put cat litter in the refrigerator TWICE.* It does kind of look like a milk bottle, but really. I fear we are living in our twilight years, or maybe we were just experiencing the fog of confusion that surrounds sixty-something parents who never know a moment when some one of our children is not: getting married, getting divorced, getting sick and having no health insurance, changing jobs, moving to yet another apartment, etc. I balance the constant out-of-control bad feeling in the pit of my stomach by adopting needy animals.** Somehow that works for me."
CBW must interrupt this lovely essay written by her mother to make the following public service announcement on behalf of herself and her siblings: Pardon me, Mother? You didn't say you were gonna write stuff like this. We now return to my mother's attack, already in progress.
"I have a herd of 19 cats, 2 dogs, 2 ducks and a goose. I know, you’re thinking…and a partridge in a pear tree…very funny. I also police the yard for downed baby birds and stray baby opossums, raccoons and once a fledgling eagle. (That wasn’t my doing; the thing was on my duck trying to kill it and I shooed it away but had to call the game warden to take it to wildlife rehabilitation for help.) Evidently this assignment came from on high because I feel compelled to render aid.

We don’t want to think about the money all this costs us; and so, we don’t.

Aside from being an enabler, my husband does illegal alien jobs – the jobs Americans won’t do – like drive a truck in the middle of the night and weed-whack. As a hobby, he repairs old Volkswagens, including the collection he has sitting around our yard. His other hobby is tractors. He mostly enjoys buying them. Using them is less of a thrill I guess, but we have them if we need them. His third obsession is the spring of holy water on our property, or as I call it, the Lesser River of Jordan. He and his buddy swear it is the purest water going. I don’t know; until I see it cure a leper I’m a skeptic.

People ask me what I do all day and I am embarrassed to tell them; so I lie. Instead of “I rescued a baby raccoon by placing it in a basket and climbing up a ladder to the pump house windmill tower (where his mother was) and securing the basket on the roof—in the middle of a storm—and climbing up in the same storm on the same ladder to see if his mother got him that night,” I say, “Slaving away getting ready for company” or some such untruth.

We are alright and I believe there are good things in store for us. My next project will be to dam up the Lesser River Jordan and construct a cold tub to sit in when we have a smelting-hot day; and then if we don’t break out in lesions, we’ll know the water is safe to drink!”
-Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Mother

*Now do y’all understand why I do the things I do? Can you imagine an entire family that acts like this on a regular, routine, daily basis? Cat litter in the ice box? (By the way, I call a refrigerator an ice box because my grandmother always did and I can't break the habit.)
** Do ya see how she blames us kids for her animal obsession? She is worried about 3 daughters and so that justifies adopting 24 animals? Did you read the part about teetering on a ladder in a storm with a baby raccoon in a bucket so she could hang it from the water tower? What do we have to do with that?

Please, somebody give me a vacation. Oh! That’s right I am getting one next week. With my entire family! Can't wait!