Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Time's up! Thanks to those of you who entered this crazy contest. Random Number Generator will pick a winner later tonight if I have time (and right now I'd say I don't, but we shall see), otherwise I'll announce it tomorrow or the next day.
See how I set deadlines and then break them and then give myself an out or an extension just in case? This is the same sort of logic, or lack thereof, which has caused my entire upstairs to remain a cluttered disaster even though blogging guests will be descending and using that floor as sleeping quarters in approximately two short weeks. Serenity now.
Also, a big thanks to Living Rooms Direct for donating the prize. This was a first for me, and a very unexpected surprise. A surprise prize so to speak.
Take a moment to visit their site and peruse their selection of living room furniture.
p.s. Still have one post for every day thus far in 2009 with no regard to content or quality. I'm nothing if not consistent.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Welcome to a needlessly complicated contest, courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Woman's inability to keep things simple and straight forward.
Before I drone on about how to enter, let's talk about the prize.
LivingRoomsDirect has very graciously donated a home accessory (up to a $40 value) from their website at http://livingroomsdirect.com/ . They offer a great selection of under-$40 mirrors, vases (including Lenox and Waterford), magazine holders, clocks, fountains and more. The beauty of this prize is you get to select it. Also be sure to browse their living room furniture line.
By the way, if anyone wishes to donate their prize to me, please note that I loved the Lenox Botanical Boutique vase and the CBK Circle of Stars Design Wall Mirror. But of course I'm sure nobody's going to enter my contest to turn around and donate their prize to me. Just in case I'm mistaken, though, some of the fountains caught my eye too....
Now, the details.
This contest will run through tomorrow, Tuesday the 30th, at 6:00 p.m., or approximately the time you'll finish reading this and deciphering what in the heck kind of contest this is and what--exactly-- you have to do to enter.
The winner will be selected randomly by Random Number Generator. (Random redundancy, anyone?) I will assign numbers to the comments sequentially in the order received. This assumes there will be more than 10 entries, otherwise I reserve the right to enter my own contest and change the rules.
You may enter one time each for the two questions below, meaning you can have two separate entries, thereby increasing your chance to win. (I am already confused.)
You may enter one time each for the two questions below, meaning you can have two separate entries, thereby increasing your chance to win. (I am already confused.)
1. Pictured above is an egret I photographed down Bethel Beach. All by himself and completely focused on fishing for lunch, he was oblivious to a frizzy-haired wild woman in the background swatting flies and taking his picture. In fact if I had to guess I'd say this egret may suffer from Avian ADD because he definitely could not multi-task. His one and only mission was lunch. Mr. Egret has spent all his life without a name, and your job is to bestow one upon him. What would you call him?
2. In this week's Gazette Journal, our local paper, the Glimpses into the Past section shared the following which came from the Mathews Journal on June 24, 1909 (100 years ago):
There will be an all-day picnic at Hess Farm on July 3 for the benefit of the Mathews Chapel Church. Dinner twenty five cents.
Twenty five cents for an entire dinner.
What is something you recall being so much less expensive than it is today? For example, I remember filling up on five dollars' worth of gas. Today I can't even fill up my lawn mower for five bucks.
This post will stay up until Tuesday at 6:00p.m. or so at which time I'll throw up something new. I cannot tell you the pain and angst I feel at not publishing at my normal time of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, but at least I will not break my streak of posting something new every single day in 2009, regardless of the quality and with no regard whatsoever for content.
p.s. If you can't decipher the rules to this contest, just leave two comments.
p.s. If you can't decipher the rules to this contest, just leave two comments.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The world will never starve for wonders
but only for the lack of wonder.
p.s. After only 15 months of blogging, I finally figured out how to change the font and center text.
p.s.s.t. There's a 60/40 chance I will hold a contest tomorrow which may require entrants to come up with a name.
Have a relaxing Sunday.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
This is from my mother's goose pen next door. In addition to housing a killer goose and several lame ducks, this area is home to her lovely flower garden and several beds of tomatoes. Just through the fence in the background is our creek, and with any luck we'll have crystal clear views of that very creek with lots of sun and no tropical storms during Blog Fest, which is in three short weeks.
Speaking of Blog Fest, plans are shaping up. Below is part of a post I've already put on the Blog Fest website. Also, Big Hair Envy has very kindly procured some souvenir Tervis Tumblers picturing a blue crab and a Blog Fest logo. Last but not least, Foolery has sent us a case of wine which features a very special surprise. Can't say any more on that topic, but rest assured it's as clever as she is.
Have a great Saturday. I'll be at the Gwynn's Island Festival with the Chesapeake Bay Children and Middle Sister, if she can get out of bed that early.
VIRGINIA BLOG FEST
JULY 16-19, 2009
Objective: Our goal is to meet the bloggers and commenters we've come to know as friends; to share the beauty of Mathews and Virginia; to perhaps share some blogging tips; and most of all to have fun.
Schedule of Events
Thursday, July 16
3:00 - 5:00 Bloggers arrive at Chesapeake Bay Woman's house
5:00 - 6:00 Wine and Cheese Welcome
6:00 - 8:00 Cookout in CBW's back yard overlooking Queens Creek.
8:00 - Whenever: Bonfire (weather and local laws permitting)
Friday, July 17
Whenever we get up: Breakfast
Late morning - Tour of Mathews to include New Point Lighthouse; Bethel Beach; Aaron's Beach; Haven Beach; downtown Mathews, including visitors center.
Lunch - Downtown Mathews, Location TBD.
After Lunch - Gwynn's Island Museum
Dinner at Sandpiper Reef Restaurant in Hallieford
Saturday, July 18
Whenever we get up: Breakfast
Late Morning - Boat Ride.
Lunch - Sea Breeze Restaurant on Gwynn's Island
Afternoon- Free Time/Nap/Whatever
3:00 (possibly earlier) - Gwynn's Island Beach/Cookout
Sunday, July 29
I have a tentative guest list, but for planning purposes would like to get a more definite headcount. Please e-mail me at ChesapeakeBayWoman@gmail.com and tell me which of the events you will attend:
1. Wine and Cheese Thursday night
2. Cookout Thursday night
3. Lunch at Mathews Court House (TBD)Friday
4. Dinner at Sandpiper Friday night
5. Lunch at Sea Breeze on Saturday
6. Cookout at Beach on Saturday
We look forward to seeing you!
p.s. Check back for details about a contest coming to a computer screen near you, hopefully by Monday, but only if CBW has her act together--which she rarely does.
Friday, June 26, 2009
This is down Bethel Beach, a shot of the vast expanse of intricate waterways and marshlands which serve as the welcome mat to greet you as you approach the beach and the bay.
I must declare this a Frivolous Friday, because it is way too late in the night on Thursday to write anything but gibberish to be published today due to sheer and utter exhaustion brought on by an entire day of working outside in sweltering heat yesterday, which is today as I write this.
See what I mean? Can anyone dissect that sentence above without bursting into tears and pounding a fist repeatedly into the table? Can we just pretend I didn't write that, you didn't read it and that instead I just want to announce a contest?
Okay, good. Yes, let's do that.
Yesterday I received a most unexpected surprise. Out of the blue a company contacted me to donate a prize for a yet-to-be-named contest. Although not a winning lottery ticket or a year's worth of housecleaning, the prize will be different from my usual prizes in that it will actually exist. When asking people to participate in a contest, it's always important to have a prize which exists.
With any luck I'll run the contest on Monday, perhaps earlier if I get my act together. However, I'm also trying to organize a Blog Fest, acknowledge Middle Sister's July 7 wedding, juggle a few Other Things and make my house look as though humans occupy it and not animals. Oh, and also the Gwynn's Island Festival is Saturday, and CB Son and Daughter have to work a booth there, so Saturday is shot, albeit in a festive way. The Chesapeake Bay Sisters will also be in town, so I'll be busy power washing lipstick and chewing gum off my wine glasses.
In the spirit of frivolity, festivity and creativity, please give me some ideas for a contest. Name that Photo? Name that Fiddler Crab? Provide Compelling Reasons Why Chesapeake Bay Woman Should Keep Writing a Blog Even Though Writing is Really Nowhere To Be Found Unless Guests Write? What is the Meaning of Life?
Tell me your ideas.
Chesapeake Bay Woman
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Here's a shot from the observation deck near New Point Light. There are three pieces of wood edging their way above that green marsh grass, and there are probably three hundred million fiddler crabs milling around in the marsh area closer to shore.
Welcome to Three Thing Thursday, where anyone can write any three (or more) things they want. It seems like every other day is either Three Thing Thursday or New Year's Eve, the time is flying by so quickly.
1. Next weekend is July 4th. What happened to the month of June? Come to think of it, May is missing too. To whom do I report the fact that two entire months did not linger long enough to register? Would that be the sheriff? NASA? Mother Nature?
2. Speaking of July 4th, I really miss anchoring in front of the Islander at dusk to watch the fireworks from the water. Those were the days, the very best way to spend July 4th. Later this week I will write about what used to happen on those wonderful evenings. (Unless I forget, which I will, so would someone remind me before next weekend? Thanks.)
3. Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister gets married in the Aloha State on Tuesday, July 7th. She is flying up from her home in Georgia to see us this weekend, for one last visit as a single woman. Baby Sister is coming home on Saturday. All three Chesapeake Bay Sisters will be on their childhood turf. Why does this frighten me?
Now it's your turn to tell me 3 things. Anything you want. If you are struggling to come up with something, then tell me about a July 4th, a family member's wedding, or how time is passing by so quickly that it's inadvisable to blink unless you care to miss something, such as the entire year of 2009.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
This is the beast known as the common fiddler crab. And when I say common, I mean commoner than dishwater.
Notice how well he blends into his surroundings? Double click on the image to get a good look at his devilish grin and seething eyes.
These monsters live in our marshy areas, including around the shorelines of creeks, especially one creek in particular: Queens Creek. You rarely see them except at low tide, when they come out by the bazillions to lurk in the mud and make their little clickety clack noises as they gargle and gurgle and blow their tiny salt water bubbles. Personally, I think this irritating, insidious noise is their way of laughing at me. Believe me, they always get the last laugh.
The very special breed of fiddler crab which lives on my creek, in particular around my dock, is not satisfied with its natural habitat. No, they send out invitations to all their little fiddler crab friends, leave their moist, muddy environment and throw parties on my lawn.
One of their party games is Truth or Dare. The poor ones who opt for the dare are sent marching up out of their natural habitat directly inside my garage where they are instructed to lie in wait with the hopes of doing me in. When I stumble in the door looking for a tool among the many piles of junk where a tool might be tossed but never will be found, they attack and charge out from the darkness, their one hideous, out-of-proportion claw raised up as if flipping me the bird.
The other day when I was driving down the public landing near Haven Beach, the road was covered with these monsters, except they weren't as big as the one pictured here. They were either a different type of fiddler crab or they were immature ones. Or maybe they were runts. No matter, they assaulted me plain and simple.
Enough of my jabbering about these sinister creatures.
Here is what Chesapeakebay.net has to say about them (some of this is paraphrased) :
"Fiddler crabs are small,
....The red-jointed fiddler crab, Uca minax, is the most common and widespread fiddler crab in the Bay. Its carapace* grows to 1.5 inches wide and has a groove behind each eye. Its major claw grows to 2 inches long and has bright red joints. The marsh fiddler crab, Uca pugnax**, is the smallest fiddler crab in the Bay. Its carapace* grows to less than an inch wide and its major claw grows to 1.5
...Fiddler crabs are found in marshes and on sand flats throughout the Bay and its tributaries. They create tiny, sometimes elaborate burrows for mating, sleeping, refuge from predators and “hibernating” during winter.
Red-jointed fiddlers live in muddy areas in fresh to brackish water marshes. They dig burrows above the high-tide line, creating a mud ledge to shade the burrow's entrance.
Fiddlers are very active during the day, foraging for food and digging burrows. They return to their burrows at night and during high tide, plugging the entrance with mud or sand.****"
Chesapeake Bay Woman's
* Carapace is a typo. What they meant to say here instead was "ugly, ugly face."
** Uca pugnax is another typo - It should be "Ucreature repugnant."
***Yet another typo! Uca pugilator should read "Yousaterminator."
****Yes, they use mud, sand or the bodies of humans they have traumatized.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I took this at Aaron's Beach this past weekend when gale force winds were blowing through; sand pelted my bare legs. If you double click on the image, you can just see the white caps on the bay. This was one of those days when people around here might say it was blowin' so hard there were white caps in the toilet.
Here lately, I've been giving a whole lot of thought to ways of earning extra money. Most of these thoughts involve highly unlikely scenarios, such as winning the lottery that I rarely play; shaking hands with and accepting an over sized check from Ed McMahon because I won a sweepstakes I didn't enter.
Or, sometimes I dream that I'm going to find buried treasure.
With so many stories floating around Mathews of pirates and buried treasure, I've decided that indeed there has to be something of value buried around here somewhere. And I'm going to be the person to find it, even though I don't know how. Or where, but I've narrowed it down to off Gwynn's Island or down Haven Beach.
Last year I wrote about the Haven Beach ghost story, and its associated buried treasure. Today I'll share an excerpt about buried treasure from the booklet "Memories of a Gwynn's Island Childhood," by Jean Sparrow Pendleton, published by the Gwynn's Island Museum.
(Note to Blog Fest guests: I am hoping the museum will be a stop on our tour. If I win the lottery, I'll drive you there in a limousine. In the meantime I hope a Saturn will do.)
"....Because of the long history of pirates who sailed the Chesapeake Bay area, many tales of buried chests circulated around the island. My grandma, Susan Sparrow, told one from personal experience. She used to visit Cherry Point as a young girl, and she remembered taking a walk one day over to the bay side on the beach, where she saw a ship anchored off the island. A smaller boat was coming toward the shore with one black man and two white men in it. Grandma was scared but curious, so she hid behind a clump of bushes and watched to see what the men would do. They came ashore, walked off so many paces from a marked spot, and began digging. They eventually pulled up some sort of chest, put it in the boat and promptly left!...."
"...I can also remember many stories about an old chest that lay buried somewhere around the black beacon just outside the harbor, right off Cherry Point. Many old-timers claimed that they could see it in the winter when the water was clear. Several tried to get it up out of the water, but it was too heavy and too well into the sand for them to move it. My father saw it several times. Over the years, as the channel deepened, the chest finally disappeared, and is probably still down there today, full of its secret treasures!"
So, folks, there you have it. There's loot buried all around us here in Mathews. Hopefully I'll find it some day, probably around the same day as I win that lottery or sweepstakes.
Monday, June 22, 2009
This weekend in between hurricane-force squalls and half-days on the lawn mower going over the exact same grass I had cut just two days earlier, I ventured out to some of our county beaches to take pictures.
This is from the public landing near Haven Beach, at the end of a road infested with Hitchcock-worthy swarms of killer fiddler crabs. For further details, read Saturday's post. I can't talk about it any more unless a trained psychiatric professional is present.
Yesterday at the Chesapeake Bay Family's Father's Day Extravaganza (which thanks to CB Mother included fried flounder, spiced shrimp, crab casserole, scallops, asparagus, salad from the garden, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade chocolate chip cookies, homemade blackberry ice cream and a free ticket to Overeater's Anonymous), Chesapeake Bay Mother gave me a couple of contributions to the blog. The first one is below.
'TIS HUMAN TO ERR; TO BE SILLY, DIVINE
by Chesapeake Bay Mother
Husband and I have one grand and glorious trait in common: we are silly.
For his part, I have written proof in the form of a now-yellow and crumbling elementary school report card in which the teacher remarks that Husband's work was suffering because, "He is at times silly." His war-worn Brigadier General father wrote under her remarks, "Thank you. I am certain the condition is temporary." Boy, he sure got that wrong. Husband's silliness continues to this day to the embarrassment of all who love him.
I share his unfortunate behavioral flaw. Perhaps a common gene afflicts us both, the foot-in-a-bucket, Sponge-Bob-party-hat-wearing, whoopee-cushion-planting gene that, when expressed in two married folks, portends an unceasing "Anything Can Happen Day."
I come from a very long line of silly people. I recall my mother remembering her mother, hardships and all, breaking unexpectedly into a happy dance. Mother had her own happy dance with sound effects. It was something to see (and hear).
I modestly assert that I am the true author of [the Chesapeake Bay Family's much-used expression] "Boom Bam Bippy Ting" (the bippy came from Laugh-In, the TV show; but the boom, bam and ting are original). I constructed from this an extended homespun-happy-hymn of optimism and nonsense. Husband claimed ownership of the phrase and grandchildren imitate him.*
On Husband's side, his mother made some notable contributions to the Book of Silly. Her middle son painted an abstract representation of what I would have titled, "Cantaloupe with Pigtails." I caught her studying it hanging in the dining room, when she turned to me in a state of excited epiphany and declared, "I know what it is! It's his baby!" One can only agree with someone so thoroughly convinced, but I have to say her middle son hated women, hated children, but loved cantaloupe.
If it is genetic, our malady may have passed on to our children and grandchildren, who will be condemned to lives of wearing crab-shaped hats, exclaiming "Boom-Bam-Bippy!" and playing bathroom sounds on the public address system of a hoity-toity department store. **
As old Samuel Morse said in his first successful code transmission over wire: "What hath God wrought?"
Chesapeake Bay Woman's Obsessive Need to Have the Last Word:
*I have much to say on the topic of CB Mother's expression, but given that this post already extends from here to the Philippines, I'll save it for later.
** This has to do with Chesapeake Bay Baby Sister--it's important that we make that clarification. I would never make such noises over a PA system in a department store, although voice mail systems are a different story entirely.
Boom Bam Bippy.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This is a shot of the New Point Lighthouse as seen through some very green greenery. The lighthouse is barely visible due to the haze and self-taught photography skills.
"Very green greenery" is one of those complex descriptions that comes from the very same source as this blurry lighthouse picture.
Also, the extent of my self-taught photography skills is as follows:
1. I know how to change the batteries in my camera.
2. I know how to keep the button set to Auto focus.
3. I know how to depress the other button to take a picture.
4. I know how to transfer pictures from the camera to the computer.
5. I know how to drive a person crazy by repeating "I know how to" incessantly.
6. I do not know how to do anything else up to and including operating my photo printer.
Have a very sunny Sunday and may your greenery be very green.
p.s. Due to 4,298 consecutive days of rain, we have so much green greenery around here that I am now cutting grass once every three to four days, and only when there is a respite between showers. The Chesapeake Bay Children and I expect to be overtaken by grass, brush and weeds any day now unless the ants get us first.
p.s.s.t. Happy Father's Day.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Say hello to Phillip Johnny Bob (aka PJB) who belongs to Grandma J. out in Texas.
Grandma J. recently moved, and PJB was extremely upset by all the upheaval. Since Grandma J. is coming to our Blog Fest July 16-19, she thought maybe PJB might want to come out in advance for a much-needed change of scenery and pace.
Not only is PJB our first Blog Fest arrival, he's graciously accepted the responsibility of serving as our official mascot.
Here he is on the walkway leading to the New Point Lighthouse Observation Deck, one of the stops on the Tour de Mathews, which will occur on Day Two of Blog Fest.
PJB had never seen a fiddler crab before and wasn't in any hurry to put his paws down on that dock. I can't say that I blame him one bit.
Speaking of fiddler crabs, on our little sightseeing trip today we drove down to the public landing near Haven Beach and experienced what can only be described as a full-fledged nightmare. With marsh and low-lying/sub-sea level ground as far as the eye could see, there were fiddler crabs by the gazillions...scurrying all over the road in front of me. I don't mean one or two larger fiddler crabs for which you might stop and wait to pass.
These were teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy ones completely covering the road; there were so many scurrying in every direction, it was impossible not to run over them, and it was too late to put the car in reverse. The further down the road we went, the more fiddler crabs there were! I hate killing anything except ants and cupboard moths, and as much as I complain about fiddler crabs I certainly would never intentionally run over
So as I was cringing and shuddering and screaming and swerving--all the while accidentally running over teeny tiny fiddler crabs because there really was no other option and may I say they were the size of horseflies but not as quick--PJB sat white knuckled on the seat beside me wondering what in the H, E, Double Toothpicks he'd gotten himself in to.
By the way, the trauma is reciprocal. Imagine what people think when they see an adult woman wandering aimlessly staring at the sky and the surroundings in an extremely remote area, scoping out the backdrop of the perfect picture.
A picture which includes the teddy bear she's carrying around tucked under her arm.
Anyway, today as I was posing PJB in various spots on the observation deck, I noticed a car approaching. Snatching PJB up, I made a mad dash to my car before anyone could see me clutching a teddy bear. Sprinting down the walkway I was greeted by a lone adult fiddler crab, his one large claw raised up in the air. Drawing upon some skills I once possessed as a hurdler in track, I leapt right over him (using proper form) and made it to the car in time to avoid further embarrassment.
Getting back to the Blog Fest, soon I will be sending out additional details and updates to folks who have expressed an interest. If you want information but have not yet signed up, go to the Virginia Blog Fest website and add a comment under the Guest List post.
Then wait four weeks and remind me that I'm hosting a Blog Fest.
PJB and I are going to lie down now. It's been an
Friday, June 19, 2009
This is Aaron's Beach (one of our county/public beaches) at low tide, the prime time for sea glass hunting on the bay.
Can't you just feel the exfoliation if you were to lie down and wriggle a bit? I see my epidermis peeling away and heading towards the Eastern Shore with the next outgoing tide just thinking about it. There's a lot of oyster shells, Other Shells, pebbles and sea glass here. Lots of sea glass.
The morning I shot this the sunrise was spectacular, and I raced to get here from my house, which is about, oh, Who Knows How Many Miles Away But More Than Several and Those Roads are Winding, Unmarked and Oh-So-Narrow, Making Two Miles Seem Like Ten.
Anyway, I could see the potential for an incredible picture but needed to travel quickly.
But it was not meant to be.
As I studied the sky and drove furiously to capture the moment, a dear senior citizen pulled out in front of me, exercising her independence and testing my patience. As a Meals on Wheels Driver who sees far too many shut-ins, I was happy to sacrifice a great, never-to-be-seen-again-sunrise photo to Mrs. Senior Citizen's day out.
So instead of a spectacular sunrise, I took pictures of the beach illuminated by a sun who had already given the first performance of the day and was taking her first few steps on the journey to her encore show, the sunset.
Also worth mentioning is that Chesapeake Bay Woman hasn't taken any new photos in
In the interim, tell me about a time your patience was tested on the road ways; a moment that slipped through your fingers; an incident you wish you could forget; or anything to do with exfoliation. Just kidding about the exfoliation part. Maybe.
Or just tell me anything you want to and I'll still be thrilled.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Since I have no new photos uploaded, I'm relying on old ones that I never used; this one's from March and is very appropriate for my mood today.
The flowers are my favorites--daffodils. Above, however, storm clouds threaten menacingly, overwhelming the bright yellow flowers and rendering them practically insignificant to the picture.
1. When I wrote yesterday that I'd post my
2. Our very first Blog Fest Guest has arrived, one month early, to scout things out. PJB, a character from Grandma J.'s blog, showed up Monday via Priority Mail after much ado involving the post master ladies at the Hudgins 23076 post office. I'll be talking more about his adventures here but for now if you'd like to see pictures of what he's been up to since arriving in Mathews, head on over to Grandma J's site and check out the pictures from her Tuesday and Wednesday posts.
3. For reasons I cannot divulge, yesterday might have been the worst day I've had since the spring of 2008, which was the worst time of my entire life. I'll get through it but feel so overwhelmed and worn down by various not-so-minor life events. In fact, the more I talk about it or reference it, the worse I feel. So I'd really like to say, "Bad Day" and "Let's move on, everything will be fine."
Now it's your turn. Tell me 3 (or more) things that can be related, random, whining, boring, exciting, insane, weird or wonderful. Whatever tickles your fantasy, as my friend from Finland used to say.
p.s. It was such a bad day yesterday that instead of telling this post to publish today, I told it to publish Friday which is definitely the wrong day for Three Thing Thursday. Serenity now.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
This is a rather oddly composed picture of my mother's roses which grow near her pump house. The creek is barely visible in the background. My parents' yard is like a Chuck E Cheese for wildlife. Groundhogs frolic on wood piles in between nibbles of tomatoes and corn from the garden; rabbits bounce effortlessly from clover patches to blackberry bushes; black snakes drop from the apple trees and....Yes. I said the word "snake."
Many people are mortally afraid of spiders and snakes. "I don't like spiders and snakes, but that ain't what it takes to love me." Sorry, the voices in my head are trying to push me off on a tangent. Hold still while I gently elbow my way back on course.
There. That's better.
Anyway, while most people are afraid of snakes, I really never have been. Or rather, I can co-exist peacefully with them as long as they keep their distance. (Note: this same theory does NOT apply to ants, moths, fiddler crabs, ants, moths, fiddler crabs, and also ants.) The only exception would be water moccasins, and that's another story for another day. My point is the other yard snakes --black snakes, green snakes--don't really cause me much concern. They keep the rodent population from exceeding the ant population and pretty much stick to themselves.
Here lately, the Chesapeake Bay Family has had three
Next, I was cutting grass
Therefore, I feel compelled to declare a snake infestation.
Today at my paying job, I was
To keep today's post mercifully brief, I will share that little ditty with you tomorrow.
Snakes. Like 'em, tolerate 'em or love 'em? Do you have a snake story? Do you know how to contact Jack Hannah so he can come tame these wild beasts living in our midst?
p.s. Dear Blog Fest Guests: Do not be afraid. We will keep you safe from snakes, fiddler crabs, ground hogs and osprey. I cannot make any promises about Gustav the Killer Goose or psychological damage caused by exposure to high concentrations of dysfunction and ants during your stay. We'll do the best we can and look forward to your arrival. Love, CBW
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Recently I discovered several boxes full of old letters dating back to my childhood. One was from my Great Aunt Mae--who lived in Fredericksburg and was related to Wayne Newton somehow or another--to my Gloucester Grandmother.
Here is an excerpt:
September 10, 1975
"....Have you been doing any canning? We have been busy this summer, Pierce helped me. We did twenty eight quarts of tomatoes and I think fifteen pints, so I think we will have about enough for the winter. Then we canned thirty six quarts of peaches, and about two gallons of Damson preserves. We like them, with hot biscuits they will be good. Wish I were near you I would give you some of them. We had one bushel of peaches given to us. Our next door neighbors have some fruit trees, and they share with us, they are very kind. We bought the rest at six dollars a bushel, but even at that they are cheaper than what you buy out of the stores, and better too I think.
Everything is so high, nothing is cheap any more even salt fish. We don't have them too often, we love them, but I have to keep a check on my blood pressure, so that is why I don't like to eat anything too salty...."
There is much more to the letter, but this sample alone brings a flood of thoughts and memories.
Although my Gloucester Grandmother was the best cook ever, this Fredericksburg Aunt Mae could give her a run for her money. Whenever we'd visit her impeccably clean house, she'd have freshly brewed iced tea cooling on the table. Because you never put hot or tepid tea directly into the icebox--this causes it to cloud. Of course the tea would always be sweet, because really is there any other kind of tea?
(Also, did you know that Chesapeake Bay Woman's litmus test for whether you're in the North or South is this: If you order a large iced tea from a drive thru window in the South and don't specify what you want, they automatically assume you want it sweet. If you're in the North, they default to unsweet. For this reason alone, I love the South. But we're not here to start the Second Civil War. We were talking about something else. Remind me what that was again?)
People ate so much better back then. Gardens were the norm rather than the exception and most meals were made from scratch instead of coming from a box or a drive-through window. Around here, fresh vegetables and seafood were staples. The salt fish she mentions was (and still is) a local favorite. One time a gentleman shocked me by telling me his age, a number which far exceeded his youthful appearance. When I asked him his beauty secret he said, simply, salt fish.
In addition to eating foods closer to their sources folks also shared and traded. If one person had a surplus of vegetables, another might have a surplus of fresh fish and after a few trades everyone had what they needed. My father was infamous for his use of the barter system. As a mechanic, he might repair someone's vehicle in exchange for a piece of furniture, or an airboat, for example.
It saddens me to think we're moving farther and farther away from those simpler times. I miss eating my mother's homemade crab apple jelly. I miss walking barefoot through rows and rows of corn, squash, peas and tomatoes. I miss my grandmother's fried chicken and my Aunt Mae's sweet iced tea.
Those homemade hot biscuits didn't sound too bad either. Maybe I could trade a dead airboat for a batch. Does anybody
Monday, June 15, 2009
Welcome to a glimpse at a place we travel to frequently called Bottom of the Barrel.
Bottom of the Barrel is just beyond the town of Desperation and lies only one mile after you encounter _____________________. (Please. Fill in the blank with your choice of words, but be sure to select words which denote and connote confusion, delusion, adult-onset ADD, and a haphazard trip to Delaware, served with a side order of stress.*)
You will know you've arrived at Bottom of the Barrel when you see a few signs pointing in that general direction. These signs may or may not reference the following:
1. You, a worn-out individual who does not have high-speed internet and who typically uploads pictures in advance to have a stockpile on hand--that very same You has used all the pictures in the arsenal except for a few which date back to April and May. These pictures belong in the assenal** because they're not fit to print.
2a. The picture shown here, rife with flaws, is the Creme de le Bottom of the Barrel.
2b. There's no time to upload better pictures.
2c. You haven't even shot any new pictures
3. Toss in a marathon drive home from
While we're here,
As a distraction to this journey, please tell me your plans for the week. Highlights, low lights, dim lights and high beams. Or, just tell me the words you'd use to fill in the blank above.
*p.s. This haphazard trip to Delaware, while very enjoyable, was not without its typical Chesapeake Bay Woman-inspired misadventures--particularly on the drive home. Chesapeake Bay Woman will attempt to process, decipher and record those misadventures today while she's
**p.m.s. Assenal was a typo and should be ignored. Please blame that carelessness on sheer and utter exhaustion, and rest assured that such mistakes will not happen again unless I drive 6 hours in a car, 2 of which felt like an additional 10 due to getting lost. But that's another story.
Happy, happy Monday.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
For anyone who was here last week around this time, this is *yet* another picture of that sailboat at sunset, but from a different angle and a completely different sky. (Double click on the image to see the boat more clearly.)
The speed at which things change at sunset and sunrise is truly remarkable.
Another thing that's truly remarkable is the fact that the Chesapeake Bay Children and I have already reached the end of our little mini-vacation visiting my friend Icey. Thank you, Icey, for your hospitality, for all the fun and laughs. Anytime you want to come south for a visit, our doors are open.
Today begins the long trek home where the ants will likely have seized control of the entire house. We might have to take up residence with Gustav the goose next door.
May your Sunday be full of rest and relaxation, free from long car trips and ant infestations.....much like lingering on a sailboat at sunset with no place to be and no cares in the world.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Welcome to Saturday, my absolute favorite day of the week.
Chesapeake Bay Daughter is assuming responsibility for this post. Here she is:
Chesapeake Bay Family goes to the beach frequently. Whenever we go to the beach we look for sea glass
We found the first couple pounds over at Aaron's Beach. We found most of it at a beach on Gwynn's Island.
My guess is that CBW likes to collect sea glass because it doesn't require a lot of patience, which CBW lacks.
P.S. No offense CBW
P.P.S. CBW has more patience than I do in some occasions.
Actually, the Chesapeake Bay Children have enough patience to spread from here to Indonesia. More importantly, they have the ability to laugh at
Friday, June 12, 2009
...and with any luck the Chesapeake Bay Children and I are enjoying ourselves above the Mason Dixon Line....
Today finds me away from my computer, ant infestations, marauding fiddler crabs, and dirty laundry as I visit with my college friend Icey.
Icey is a rocket scientist--really. When we were in college I always joked that I'd work as her housekeeper, since I was only a Latin American Studies major whose prior work experience was as a daffodil picker, strawberry plucker, amusement park worker and waitress.
However, since becoming intimately familiar with the
Except she didn't really invite us, we invited ourselves. And when I say "we invited ourselves" that really means "I invited myself and my two children." But I see no other way to gain the valuable work experience needed to fulfill the very critical duties of a top-notch Beach House Tester Outer than to be flung feet first into the
So, with any luck as we speak the CB Children and I are frolicking in the ocean, dancing across hot sand, taking a nap or
Now it's your turn.
Tell me about a good friend, a good friend with a beach house, a free vacation, or just whatever you're doing this weekend.
No matter what you're doing, just be sure to have fun and relish every moment.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
This is a picture of a VW bug which lives in my yard. She has a permanent view of the water but she really wants to stay indoors, because the sun, wind and rain are taking a toll on her appearance, and she's starting to show her age.
I have a story to tell about this VW but there's no time to tell it right now. (So one wonders why even reference a story which cannot be told; but one should never try to apply logic to the vast wasteland which houses CBW's remaining
Welcome to yet another edition of Three Thing Thursday, where I tell you three random things and you tell me three--or more--random things.
1. Yesterday I heard someone (in a position of authority) say there are 55 different varieties of mosquitoes in Virginia. A perhaps lesser known fact provided by a person of very little authority is that approximately 75 varieties have representatives in my back yard, so clearly someone is not counting accurately.
2. Today the Chesapeake Bay Children and I are
3. Icey promises me that she has internet connectivity, so I can
Now comes the fun part--for me.
Please tell me three (or more) things, anything at all, there are no rules or limitations. Let your mind wander freely and don't filter anything out.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
If you double-click on this image you'll see the headstones for Smithers Cemetery right across the creek from my parents' dock, where I shot this picture one recent misty morning.
Cemeteries have always been fascinating to me. As children, Middle Sister and I would swim across this creek, usually at low tide, to mill around the graves. This ought to be proof enough that there was very little to keep a child entertained around here in the days before DVD's, pPods and Wii bowling. OK, so they're iPods. It so happens I'm more familiar and comfortable with pea pods.
Just down the way from this cemetery lived our friends. Friends who had ponies.
One day Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister, Chesapeake Bay Woman and Neighbor Friend rode these ponies bareback along the creek while the mothers sat safely indoors discussing the pros and cons of Dippity Do, Aqua Net, Hai Karate and Aqua Velva. Meantime, the children were galloping on wild ponies bareback and barefoot along the shoreline, with hardly a grain of sense among the bunch.
After taking the ponies on a tour of the grave yard, by which I mean to say that we perhaps trod unintentionally on the resting places a few dearly departed citizens, we eased the ponies back down the embankment towards the creek.
Once they realized the trail ride was over and feeding time was nigh, the
And so it came to be that Chesapeake Bay Woman OR Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister OR Chesapeake Bay Woman AND Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister (because I can't remember) rolled off the rump of a horse directly into the creek mud. (It may have even been The Friend. Rest assured someone fell off a bucking bronco who couldn't wait two minutes for his handful of grain.)
One could say we got what we deserved for riding ponies on grave sites. Or one could say that if this was the worst that happened when our mothers were
Tell me something you did when you were young that you cannot imagine happening today. (For example, the last time I saw children riding ponies in Smithers Cemetery and/or Queens Creek was this time: only when we did it.) Or, tell me about playing in cemeteries.
Or, please confirm that we led a bizarre life growing up in such a sheltered world, where the only thing to do was
Or, please let's just laugh nervously and never talk about this again.
Or just count how many times I use the word "or."
Congratulations for sticking with me this far. If reading this is even a fraction as painful as it is to write, my sincerest sympathies. As a reward, I offer the following:
A temporary reprieve from my incessant, relentless ramblings is coming...later this week. More details tomorrow on Three
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
This is a so-so picture of the end of our dock facing out towards Queens Creek. Although rather boring, there are many words--maybe even a thousand--this picture paints. While most artists would be painting a description of the water and landscape in the background, this
(Please don't start crying--I promise to keep it to fewer than a thousand words. Maybe. Numbers are not my forte, so if I go over it isn't intentional.)
Here are some words inspired by this picture, in no particular order....
The dock, built by my father, is practically as old as
See that stuff hanging off the pole on the right? (Not the piece of string which has been there since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.) That's "re-purposed" fire hose, which
As a young sprite, I would stand on top of this pole and jump or dive
Why is this frightening? Let me count the ways.
1. There are slimy eels, rabid muskrats, nibbling minnows, fire-breathing dragons, scurrying crabs, and dark, murky water in that creek.
2. Jumping from such a height into water of questionable depth and hidden hazards could cause paralysis or worse.
3. Recently, to contribute to my
4. See above, and welcome to Crazy at its finest.
So furthermore and in conclusion, we can say this about all that*:
1. Chesapeake Bay Woman enjoyed many summer days jumping off this dock into the creek.
2. Chesapeake Bay Father had some
3. As a child, though cognizant of the potential hazards
4. Blog Fest Attendees can rest assured that the particular place we'll go swimming is perfectly safe from aforementioned hazards, real or
*I'm pretty sure this statement alone caused this post to exceed a thousand words, give or take two hundred.
What memories do you have of swimming in a creek, river, bay, ocean, stream or lake?
Monday, June 8, 2009
If you look closely, you'll see a baby blue jay I photographed the other morning when it was so misty you couldn't even see the creek, ordinarily visible in the background.
'Tis the season for fledglings to leave the nest, even in the human species. 'Tis also the season for misadventures in Chesapeake Bay Family Land. Truth be told, every day is the season for misadventures in Chesapeake Bay Family Land.
Once upon a time, Chesapeake Bay Woman's Baby Sister and Friend came for a visit and had dinner with the entire Chesapeake Bay Family.
As the party took a seat at the table, Chesapeake Bay Mother noticed a crescendo in the squawking coming from the local bird population. Before you could say, "Why does anyone ever think we can have a normal
Chesapeake Bay Mother dashed outside screaming for the cat to loosen his hold on the bird. Chesapeake Bay Woman, more concerned for her mother than for the unfortunate bird, dashed behind her. As the guests were raising forks to their mouths, CB Mother and CB Woman hollered, stomped, flailed arms and swirled around in circles trying to frighten the cat into letting go.
The dinner guests--the only ones truly frightened--were seated in the kitchen overlooking the entire
Just as they paused with mouths agape, forks halted midway up, this happened:
Chesapeake Bay Mother chased the cat under the deck, wedging her upper body as far as possible through a small hole which allowed limited access.
CBW looked on in horror as her 68-year-old mother became stuck, head and arms under the deck, legs and feet outside the deck. If she were sliding into home plate, her form would have been perfect. But this is way beside the point.
CBW heard her mother moaning in pain, pausing only to holler further instructions for the cat to drop that bird. Or else!
Having flashbacks to episodes involving screaming of the words, "Or else!" and in all the stress of the shituation, CBW could not ascertain if her mother needed to be pushed or pulled, so--always aiming to please--she did both.
Yadda yadda yadda, CBW and CB Mother did an imitation of a human wheelbarrow. Next we performed a reenactment from the episode where Winnie the Pooh gets stuck in the hole after eating too much honey. Except there was no honey, and Pooh was 68 years old and Rabbit had guests over for dinner watching the whole
When all was said and done, regrettably the bird died in spite of Chesapeake Bay Mother's valiant efforts. The cat still doesn't know what on Earth he witnessed. Chesapeake Bay Mother declared to all--including Baby Sister's dinner guest--that she nearly killed herself, which caused Chesapeake Bay Son to burst into hysterics because that's how seriously we take these sorts of declarations.
Chesapeake Bay Woman as usual stood quietly in the background, satisfied that she had done her part to ensure that Chesapeake Bay Mother had not killed herself.
Baby Sister's Friend
Sunday, June 7, 2009
This was even more spectacular in person; the photo does not do it justice. The summer sunset season is upon us.
By the way, this is the exact same sunset and sailboat shown here on Friday and Saturday. The sky changes in an instant, and if you glance away even for a brief second, you'll miss something grand.
p.s. Am I the only
I'm thinking it's the latter.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
This is a different shot of the same sailboat shown in yesterday's picture.
Sailing has never really been high on my list of favorite things. This is partially due to the fact that I've never been more than a handful of times, and most every time there was a typical Chesapeake Bay Woman Incident to report, namely I either fell overboard, someone else fell overboard, a storm ruined the day or I was on an awkward first date and didn't really like who I was on the sailboat with.
Last year I wrote a story about Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister and I on a sunfish, which describes one particular incident that caused me to think twice about sailing.
Click here to link to that story if you haven't read it yet.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Can you believe this sunset? Can you believe how lucky these people are to witness it from a sailboat? Can you believe that I completely forgot that yesterday should have been Three Thing Thursday because I've been on "vacation" this week and am completely discombobulated? Can you believe that even though I said I was on a Blog Vacation this week, I ended up posting every day anyway? Can you scream, "Please stop asking questions, Chesapeake Bay Woman!"?
Here are four random thoughts for this Friday:
1. I need a vacation.
2. This entire week was a vacation from the paying job.
3. This entire week was not a vacation from the non-paying jobs.
4. Moral of the story: If you take time off from work and want to have a vacation, you must leave home and get away from everything.
Now, please tell me four random things, anything at all, whatever is on your mind. Whining is
Thursday, June 4, 2009
This is a completely unstaged picture I took next door at my mother's house. Her thumb is so green she could grow roses in the Sahara Desert. Do you see the weed growing through the crack in that basket? I hate those devilish things, whatever they're called, however I confess I sort of like the way this one casts its shadow on the basket. That one to the right of the basket, though, has got to go.
As I mentioned yesterday, I took off work this week to spend time with Chesapeake Bay Son and Daughter since their last day of school was Tuesday. So far, here are some of the highlights of our quality time together:
- Cleaned the kitchen only to mess it up again. This has happened every day, three times a day, since
- Sprayed heavy duty ant poison around the perimeter of the house. Twice. The wind was blowing, so whenever I held the sprayer up poison splashed all over me. Am now convinced
- Took cat to vet for third time. Waited an hour in the waiting room with howling feline, CB Son and Daughter. Did I mention we do not own a cat carrier? Meant to. We
- Took CB Daughter to get a hair cut.
As you can see, we really know how to enjoy our vacation time.
To take my mind off things, please tell me your summer vacation plans if you have any. Right now, I have to go cook something, clean something or exterminate something. (Only insects and weeds fall into that last category of Something, just in case that wasn't clear.)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This rose bush is slowly but surely taking over the house. If ants didn't already have dibs on everything, there'd be no problem. Between ants, plants, dirty laundry, dirty dishes and fiddler crabs, however, I am slowly suffocating.
The Chesapeake Bay Children are officially on summer break, and I'm off from the paying job this week so that I can spend time with them. So far, I am more worn out than if I had worked sixteen days straight, mainly due to juggling too many things and only being one person last time I checked.
I likely will not be as diligent in my postings or comments this week--just consider me to be on Blog Vacation. There's a good chance I'll slap some pictures up because I cannot stand the thought of breaking my posting streak, but on the other hand I really need a break and will be negligent in the writing department. (It could be argued successfully that I've been negligent in the writing department since starting this blog, but I'm talking about being quiet as opposed to verbose.)
Have a wonderful week, and happy June. 2009 is already about half over. Thank goodness I didn't take down my outdoor Christmas lights. One blink and I'll be dragging the artificial tree up from the basement.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
This heron, shown standing in the mud at low tide, frequents the shoreline across the creek from me. When he's hungry, he'll stand knee-deep in calm water and tilt his head just so as he studies any movement below the surface. At just the right time, he scoops up his supper, takes a few steps in another direction and repeats the process. Then someone or something will irritate him...a human, a cat,
Mr. Heron needs you a name. So, if you were a Mother or Father Heron and this were your child, what would his birth certificate say?
If you need some inspiration, double click on the image to get a better view of his intricate details, like the neck which curves more sharply than the plumbing on a bathroom sink; his long legs which blend right in with those marsh grasses behind him; and the fiddler crabs which
What's his name?
Monday, June 1, 2009
My daughter has documented our
The Car Wash
May 30, 2009
By Chesapeake Bay Daughter
CBW finally decides she wants to wash her car. She says that it has literally been years since she washed it last.
Here is how CBW washes her car, step by step.
1. Go in
2. CBW doesn't have the patience to untangle the hose, so yank on it 'til it hits something, then go to see what's wrong.*
3. Turn on hose (that isn't screwed on all the way so water is spitting out).
4. Rinse off one section of car. (Do this repeatedly until finished.)
5. Apply soap 'til CBW says, "Close enough."**
6. Dry off car with rag found in the dungeon.
7. Get Windex and clean the windows.
8. Hallelujah! It's over.
* Surely garden hoses were invented by the devil himself. If they aren't lying in wait for you to run over them with the tractor, they are twisting themselves up so that no water can pass through. Then when you finally manage to unravel the disaster, the water spews forth so strongly that neighbors start convening because they've heard tell that Old Faithful has relocated to Mathews County and is erupting in your yard.
** Due to my
For example, if I am boiling potatoes with the intention of mashing them, and I cross my arms and tap my foot for more than a minute, time's up and we're mashing those potatoes even if they're still crunchy. When Chesapeake Bay Children remark that these are the crunchiest mashed potatoes they've ever eaten and they ask if you cooked the potatoes fully, the proper Chesapeake Bay Woman response is, "Close enough."
Now, exactly what mashing potatoes has to do with washing a car may be unclear to the