Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Saturday Dance Lesson

The Hokie Pokie
by Killer Goose Gustav

You put your webbed foot in,

You put your webbed foot out,

You put your webbed foot in,

And shake your tail feathers all about. Note the Canada geese don't know what to make of this spectacle.

You do the Hokie Pokie and you turn yourself around,

That's what it's all about.

If you have a Facebook account, click here to go to Gustav's page.

You won't believe what this goose is capable of.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Date

This is a shot of the second floor of the Islander motel, where the bar and dance floor lounge used to be. There are many stories to tell about this lounge, the site of countless happy social gatherings in my late teens and early twenties.

But today the pressing topic on my mind is dating, specifically does anyone date any more?

Although it's come as quite a shock to me, it appears I am the mother of a teenager who is ready to go to the Islander lounge parties and social functions and such things, when only yesterday I accidentally dropped him out of his baby carrier right onto the kitchen floor was giving him baths in the kitchen sink.

Don't get me wrong. Dating is not on his radar screen yet, at least not overtly. But already I sense a major shift forthcoming, sort of like the tectonic plates in California.

Here lately I've come to realize that teenagers nowadays do less dating and more "mass gathering, " i.e. boys and girls going to someone's house to do God knows what hang out, listen to music, or do God knows what lollygag around a bonfire. Or they go as a group to a movie, for example.

This never happened when I was growing up. Never. Other than my high school graduation party down Port Haywood, I do not recall any mass gatherings that would have been sanctioned and even chaperoned by parents, unless you want to count that one time my mother let us have a party for the girls' basketball team post season the dances at school or the skating rink in Gloucester, both very rich and flavorful topics for another time.

From a parental standpoint, there are many benefits to this newfangled group approach, including the knowledge that the kids are in one central location under adult supervision (in theory), as opposed to gallivanting up and down the road in cars going to nowhere in particular doing God knows what which is what we did.

Chesapeake Bay Son went to a high school party of sorts last night and has recently announced that he'd like to have a going away party for a friend of his next weekend, and a birthday gathering the following weekend-- a gathering that will consist of two girls and two boys. Ahem.

I, of course, am very happy to oblige and honored that he wants to have people over rather than wanting to escape somewhere else to do God knows what.

But when I think back to when I was his age, I can't help but make comparisons--and the differences are very shocking. This may be a good thing for him, because most of my early high school stories involve introversion, awkwardness and an utter and complete lack of social skills. Actually that still holds true today.

In the next episode of The Date, I'll talk about my first high school dance and try not to cry. Future episodes, documenting several of my favorite dates of all time, will delve into some of the differences between then and now, up to and including my use of Morse code the rotary telephone vs. Son's use of a so-called smart phone (i.e. a phone that makes me feel dumb).

Mothers of teenagers: Do they go on dates anymore or is it more of this group dynamic? Is the mother supposed to disappear into her room where she can play on the internet all night long or does she need to keep an eagle eye on the God knows what festivities?

Anyone still awake: Did you go to group parties/gatherings as a 9th grader?

Clearly, I have a lot to learn.

Serenity now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three Things

Once again it's Thursday, which means it's Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things and you share three things.

These Thursdays keep arriving faster and faster. Before you know it, I'll be sharing from a propped up position in a chair in the corner of the Mathews Convalescent Center, while the rest of my roommates are convened in one of the common areas tapping their toes to "If You're Happy And You Know It."

I wonder if they have internet access for nursing home residents ...

Let's begin.

1. Last night, since my son and daughter were eating elsewhere, I had a chocolate ice cream cone for supper.

2. It was so good, I had a second one.

3. Then, because I rarely eat sweets, I lapsed into a sugar coma that had me out like a light from 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m, which is unheard of for me. But then again so is a chocolate ice cream cone for dinner. Or rather, two ice cream cones. And sleep of any sort.

Now it's your turn to share three things about anything you want, up to and including your guilty pleasures, which might even include tapping your toes to a song about clapping your hands.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Above is a view of the creek from our dock one recent evening. Unless there's a thunderstorm, the wind dies down most summer evenings, and there's not a single ripple on the creek other than the wake of the vibrations coming from the outdoor speakers during Blog Fest muskrats.

The other day the Chesapeake Bay Children and I were lollygagging on the end of the dock, when suddenly CB Son exclaimed, "O.M.G. the fishing rod is overboard." Only a tiny bit of plastic peeked above the water, and quite honestly it was impossible to discern what it was.

It's not unusual for stuff to blow off the dock because of the strong winds that come with the frequent, often unexpected and sudden, storms.

Evidently, though, this was The One and Only Good/Working Fishing
Rod, and CB Daughter had left it in a precarious position on the end of the dock - the very end of the dock which really isn't a dock due to missing boards and loose supports. in other words, the end of the dock that is about ready to collapse into the creek.

CB Son maneuvered to the edge of the dilapidated dock and reached in to grab the rod, which was almost completely submerged.

When CB Son gave Daughter a stern lecture a bit of grief for being so careless, she gave this look which really says, "Leave me alone. I've got a crab net, and I'm not afraid to use it."

Notice the missing boards on either side of Chesapeake Bay Daughter and if you have time please also take note of the lack amount of real estate Chesapeake Bay Son has to stand on while pulling a fishing rod out of the mud. Yes, they both know how to swim in the highly likely unlikely event the boards were to give way. Also, the water is only about four feet deep here. These words were brought to you by a mother trying to justify the fact that her children might be in danger yet she is standing there with a camera snapping shots.

When all was said and done, the rod was successfully retrieved. The look on CB Son's face (below) says, "I can't believe I had to fish this thing out while balancing on the end of a dock that's getting ready to collapse. Also? I'm starving."

And everyone lived happily ever after.

The End.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Run Aground

Anyone who has spent any time on the water knows what it's like to run aground. Back in the days before everything came with GPS and fish finders depth finders, running aground was very common, at least among the people I hung out with in my youth which included me, myself, my sisters and I .

I was responsible for the safe transport (via boat) of my two younger sisters to and from the Islander motel's pool, aka the place we spent every waking hour of every summer. My father had an 18-foot skiff with so much engine on the back we could catch gnats in our teeth going full throttle with lips pursed and jaws clenched. That thing would fly.

Unless of course one ran aground or got hung in a crab pot. Proudly I can say I do not recall running aground, but sadly I confess to getting hung in a crab pot or three, which is a nightmare story for another day... as is the time the outboard came off the boat entirely and but for the cables linking it to the boat would have been spending the rest of its life in the bottom of Queens Creek.

Technically the boats in these pictures are more washed up than run aground, but I don't have any photos of boats aground.

Just nightmares memories.

My very first experience running aground was when my father bought a brand new boat with an inboard/outboard engine. He couldn't wait to take us for a ride.

So into the boat my mother, sisters and I piled, grinning from ear to ear, eagerly awaiting our first "real" boat ride. After years of rowboats and skiffs that were propelled with the bottom end of a crab net pushed into the mud by the person standing on the bow, a "real boat" was a novelty.

Wide open we flew down the creek past Cow Point, until the whole shebang came to a screeching, grinding, brain-scrambling halt. He had run aground.

Not only that, but he had damaged the lower unit on the engine, which meant we were stranded and needed a tow home--provided anyone capable of towing was out and around us at that time.

I've successfully blocked out any additional details, because that's how I survive, but after that he took a boating/navigational course and soon learned how to stay in the channel and avoid such traumatic unexpected outcomes.

Running aground occurs on the water and in every day life. Sometimes we hit an unexpected hurdle that causes us to come grinding to a stop. With any luck, we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and take a navigational course try to keep moving and doing the best we can.

Have you ever run aground?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Name That Eagle

Summer evenings along Queens Creek are beautiful. You don't even have to leave the yard to enjoy the light displays along the shoreline. Those pine trees above frame Smithers Cemetery, and most evenings they are illuminated with a soft glow from the setting sun.

Although waterfront development has taken away many of the trees that used to adorn our creek, there are some older ones remaining, like these.

And really these are not that old, just a little bit older than me and I don't consider myself mature old at all.

Except on Monday mornings. And Tuesday nights. Wednesdays and Sundays all day long. But definitely not Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I'm young on those days. Oh, and any day I don a crab hat I always feel immature young. The secret to happiness lies inside a crab hat.

One particular dead tree along the shoreline makes the perfect nesting spot for our bald eagle(s). From time to time he'll rest in one of my parents' pine trees next door. They're amazing birds.

But there's something not quite right about this eagle. Recently, it occurred to me that he has no name. Right now, he's just "our eagle" or "John Doe Eagle"-- which is really awful because now we're mixing species.

We must correct this.

What would you name a Queens Creek eagle?

p.s. The name Gustav has already been taken by my mother's wicked killer goose, the very same goose who has his own Facebook page and claims to be an international film star. He's a legend in his own mind.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Meg

This is a shot from a year ago of some seagulls relaxing just off Aaron's Beach.

Meg was one of the first bloggers I met in real life after several months of corresponding via the blogosphere. We were both vacationing down in Nags Head the same week and made plans to meet in person.

My father was so nervous about me going to the vacation home of "some stranger from the internet" that he came along with me to meet her, although at the time he said he just wanted to tag along for the heck of it. My sister, who was also on the trip, warned against posting any photos of us on the internet due to safety this and you never know that.

Now, you can't sign onto a blog or Facebook without shots of us donning crab hats or singing karaoke. My, how things have changed.

That was two years ago, and I am very happy to say that nothing but good things have come from our internet beginnings.

Meg, who has a very quick wit, never fails to put a smile on my face. She's also a very talented piano player and a gifted song writer, singer and karaoke-er. (It's a word.) You name it, she can do it, from whipping up a gourmet dinner to painting delicate designs on wine glasses.

Meg, may your day be filled with fun, laughter, friends and loved ones. And lots of Chevy's chips and salsa.

Have a happy, happy birthday.

p.s. Hop over to Meg's site and wish her a Happy Birthday. Tell her that Mrs. Harry Connick, Jr., sent you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gwynns Island Bridge

This is my favorite bridge in the world, and I've been over many.

Well, technically I've not been over many outside this country, other than a few in Spain, but you know what I mean.

The Gwynn's Island bridge has many faces and many moods, most of which are calm and tranquil. Definitely not in any hurry to do anything. Sort of like life around here, plodding along at its own pace, oblivious to what's going on in the real world.

The other night when the CB Children and I went for a little excursion, we spent a lot of time around this bridge. She really likes having her picture taken and, although slow, she is not beyond performing stunts to get your attention.

Below, she was pretending to open for a Coast Guard boat, but I know better.

She really just wanted her picture taken.

I've been trying and trying to get that bridge to frame Callis' Wharf just so, in the evenings to take advantage of the setting sun. Try as I might I just can't get it how I want it.

Guess that means more evening trips to the bridge.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Callis' Wharf

Last night the Chesapeake Bay Children and I went for a boat ride after supper. Chesapeake Bay Son navigated while I took pictures. Chesapeake Bay Daughter's head was on my shoulder. It was heaven on Earth.

These are shots of Callis' Wharf on Gwynns Island. As you're driving over the bridge it's on the right. For Blog Festers, it was within walking distance (preferably in cooler weather) of Saturday's beach cookout.

Not too long ago, the wharves in Mathews were bustling with activity. Steamboats transported goods, passengers and entertainment from Norfolk to Baltimore and points in between.

The following passage is from the book Mathews County Panorama, A Pictorial History of Mathews County 1791 - 1941, by the Mathews County Historical Society:

"The Piankatank at Callis' Wharf...a screw steamer, served twenty years on the overnight run from Baltimore to wharves in the northern Neck of Virginia and along the Piankatank River in the Middle Peninsula. She stopped at various Mathews wharves over the years ending her voyages at Freeport in Gloucester County where she berthed overnight before making the return trip."

"The packing house of Callis' Wharf ...built originally on oyster shells during the Civil War. The wharf was an important steamboat landing in the shelter of Milford Haven. It continues today as a center for the seafood industry."

Back in the '70s and '80s I hung out on the island in the summers. Back then many more men were working on the water, and the wharf was always bustling, though not nearly as busy as the days of the steamers.

My grandmother used to tell us stories about her and her friends driving from Gloucester to Mathews just to see the floating theaters. It was quite the social event.

I'd give almost anything to have been with my grandmother amidst all the excitement of the steamers. But tonight's boat ride with my children to this beautiful wharf was priceless.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Things

Welcome to Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things and you share three things.

Today my three things are about this man, Mr. Henry.

1. Mr. Henry is good looking, isn't he? used to hang out with Chesapeake Bay Father "back in the day." This I discovered when he came over to help set up a camper for Blog Fest. The twinkle and the glimmer in both men's eyes told me there are many, many years' worth of blog stories about the hijinx and frivolity of their youth, just waiting to be told.

2. Back when I was playing county league softball during the summers of my high school and college years, I remember Mr. Henry being one incredible player. Summer league softball was the equivalent of major league baseball in Mathews at the time; people lived and breathed it. You've never seen a more competitive spirit. I lived at the ball park and would often stay to watch my new crush Mr. Henry the men's games. Seeing Mr. Henry on the ball field is not something you easily forget.

3a. Mr. Henry and his daughter Ann Marie are kin to the man who built the New Point Comfort lighthouse. He would be a wealth of information on his ancestors, but don't ask him to remember details about the Chesapeake Bay Family.

You see, at Blog Fest, he was absolutely convinced that there were four girls in my family. He listed them all out: CBW, Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister, Baby Sis and Jill. The only thing is there isn't a Jill. But it doesn't end there, because not only does this nonexistent sister have a name, but she's left-handed! He knows because he watched her play ball.

Well, this whole Jill thing has taken on a life of its own. My Blog Fest name tag said "Jill's Sister." Then I started blaming Jill for everything that went wrong in any given day. It's really kind of fun and very therapeutic. It also sort of takes some pressure off Gustav. Someone even created a Blogger account so she can comment.

3b. The last day of Blog Fest was Ann Marie's birthday. Her father came over and handed her a card. She let me read it.

Mr. Henry is a very thoughtful, loving father.

And isn't he good looking? photogenic?

Now it's your turn to share three things--whatever you want. Anything at all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trumpet Creeper

This is a shot of trumpet creeper vines on one of my favoritest * gates in the county.

Over thirteen years ago a year ago I asked permission to take a few shots of this and didn't get around to actually doing so until thirteen years later recently.

It's a beautiful gate.

In completely unrelated news, Ann Marie came over tonight to fix my ADD camera/computer issues, which boil down to stress an overloaded memory card.

She promised to download the overloaded memory card on some sort of disk of hers, but that required a blind hand-off of a memory card that contains every photo I've taken since December or January.

Although this makes me feel as though I need prescription medication because one third of every photo I've ever taken is on that memory card a bit nervous, perhaps the most frightening thing of all is that she has all my Blog Fest photos, which I've not previewed yet.

Serenity now.

*It's a word. Really.

p.s. Thanks, Ann Marie, for your help.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We see all sorts of boats on our creek. Sail boats; power boats; skiffs; workboats; canoes; kayaks; dinghies; and the occasional yacht.

When my sisters and I were kids, our father even had an airboat, which is a nightmare of a story I shared a few years ago. Airboats are meant for skimming over shallow water--like the Everglades, for example--not whipping across deep water in high winds. (Click here to read about that delightful contraption).

We even have a guy who stands on some sort of a surfboard-looking thing and pushes his way around the shoreline. He seems to love it and is always very jovial. I like the word jovial even though it rarely applies to my disposition.

But very few boats come up in our cove because it dead ends, there's not a lot to see, and at low tide the depth of the water can be an issue, particularly for larger boats.

Recently some boats ventured up in our cove that were rather unusual, including the huge one below, which was docked at our neighbor's house for a party. It was quite the shock to open the door and see this even though it appears perfectly at home if you didn't know any better. Boats this big just don't come up our cove.

But I don't think anything could have prepared me for this one, which also ventured into our cove. Could someone tell me what this is? And are those fishing rod holders on top or exhaust pipes? Bueller?

I've only seen this thing once, and I'm extremely curious. I really want to drive it even though I'm not so sure about it...

But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw this evening after the thunderstorms passed. It was a canoe. With an outboard motor on the back. So help me.

Regrettably the camera was out of reach but even if it were I think my memory card is full, which is exactly the opposite state of my memory cells is why my camera isn't talking to my computer. I won't be able to address this little dispute they're having until the weekend, so no new photos until then, including the delightful ones from Blog Fest.

Speaking of Blog Fest, I'm in a huge post-Blog Fest depression. Also, the hypochondriac in me is telling me I'm afflicted with some deadly lung disease or throat cancer due to a dry, hacking cough that won't go away and an overall feeling of malaise.

Somebody tell me something funny (but rated PG13, please. An anonymous comment was left overnight that was more of an R rating, and my children sometimes read.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Days Two and Three

The sign above was given to me by Noe Noe Girl, who seemed to think I might know a think or two about hissy fits. It's hanging over my kitchen sink, where many hissy fits are born, usually over a mound of dirty dishes or a malfunctioning garbage disposal.

But during Blog Fest I had so much help in the kitchen, I didn't have one hissy fit. My ADD was kicked up to an all-new, off-the-charts level of inability to talk because I couldn't think straight focus, but there were no hissy fits.

My camera and computer are still at odds, so photos from Blog Festivities haven't been downloaded yet, but highlights included touring, eating (salsa is now a breakfast food), making a serendipitous pit stop in a cornfield, margaritas, shrimp boiling, beaching, boating, and some karaoke-ing.

Foolery's husband wins the Best Sport prize for volunteering to be the first singer in the karaoke contest. He also donned a grass skirt and floral bra. I sincerely hope someone took pictures.

Other Blog Fest highlights include what I shall call "the hot tub incident" (not to be confused with "the cornfield incident" involving Country Girl Kate, which was easily one of my favorite stories from Blog Fest, although given the topic I'll defer to Cornfield Kate as to whether the details should be shared.)

The hot tub incident began Thursday morning, when Mathews Mark came over to help reattach a loose part. To gain access a panel was removed. Later that evening, or rather at three a.m. very early the next morning, Big Hair Envy and I were debriefing on the back deck and kept hearing a cat meowing. Slowly we recognized it was a cat in distress, and I recognized the meow as one of the most skittish of all the outdoor cats around here, Latte.

The long story short? Latte had slithered into the underworkings of the hot tub when Mathews Mark was working on it, and the panel was screwed back on while he was still hiding out in there. Big Hair Envy and I frantically searched for the proper screw driver, a functioning brain cell flashlight, and the dexterity to remove the panel with a wine glass in one hand in complete darkness. But in the end, the cat came out unharmed, albeit a bit hungry.

There are so many wonderful stories (not involving cats trapped in hot tubs or cornfield incidents) to share, I wouldn't know where to begin.

I was especially thrilled to meet Foolery's husband and her two beautiful girls; and it was a privilege to welcome Tracey from These Nine Acres and Jamie from Deltaville (who isn't really from Deltaville). She does understand the importance of selecting the proper flotation device--hers was her son's rubber duckie float, and that's another photo I hope someone took.

I can't adequately express my thanks to the exceptional group of Blog Festers for taking the time to travel to Mathews for an extended weekend of fun and cornfields frivolity. Also, I'd really like to thank everyone who helped out before, during and after--there was not one dirty dish and hence, not one post-party hissy fit.

You're an amazing group of fun-loving people, and I'm honored to be able to spend time with you in" real life" as well as the blogosphere.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Silent Sunday

Blog Fest comes to a close today, and everyone is slowly realizing with horror that there are videos of Friday night's karaoke on Facebook making their way home. I hope to share some photos and stories, but for now my camera is not talking to my computer, or the computer isn't talking to the camera, I'm not sure which. If I can resolve their little disagreement, I will post photos later this evening.

Many, many thanks to the wonderful people who attended and to the incredible friends who helped me prepare for this year's festivities. It was a blast.

Now I think I need a nap.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day One

Day One of Blog Fest included tours of Chesapeake Bay Mother's garden, which also included some Gustav sightings.

Gustav is now an international film star. Chesapeake Bay Son shot a safety video to warn Blog Fest attendees of the dangers lurking in the garden next door (aka Gustav). Several bloggers gasped when they saw the footage of one of his hissing spells. It was really traumatic.

In addition to sporadic showings of the Gustav film, Noe Noe Girl provided tours of her camper.

Here, the Baroness and Asthma Girl discuss the pros and cons of camping, which include the ability to cook, sleep, shower and brush one's teeth all in the same room.

Other highlights include:

- Two boat trips under the Gwynns Island bridge, one of which included smoke and lots of burning smells coming from the outboard motor. Foolery's Daughter, who had no prior navigational experience, piloted the boat home like a pro.

-Noe Noe Girl and Big Hair Envy served up the most delicious shrimp dinner.

-Gifts! I received the most fabulous gifts. Pictures will be forthcoming, but among the wonderful things my generous friends brought me are an exquisite camera strap thanks to Country Girl Kate; a gorgeous--gorgeous--crab charm from Daryl; and a beautiful engraved necklace from Mental P Mama.

-The Chesapeake Bay Children gave rides on the gator.

-Karaoke, which is slated to take place this evening, was discussed and two rules were established: (a) All singers must wear a grass skirt and floral bra in order to perform. (b) Whenever you say the word "karaoke" you must pronounce it "karryahkee" (rhymes with "teriyaki"). I can't remember why, but it's a rule.

-Two new attendees this year! Jamie from Deltaville, who isn't really from Deltaville, and Tracey from "I forgot to ask Tracey where she's from" are delightful and we're so glad to have them join us.

-Mathews Mark, Pookie, Mr. Pookie, Hound Dog (yes, Hound Dog), and the Chesapeake Bay Parents were on hand to tell stories.

Today we head out for some tours, and tonight the group will descend on Sandpiper Reef.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twas the Night Before Blog Fest

Twas the night before Blog Fest when all through the house,
Every creature was stirring, including the mouse.

The cobwebs they hung from the ceilings to scare
In hopes that the bloggers soon would not care.

And CBMother in her garden and I on my deck
Could not settle down due to loads of goose crap long enough for a nap.

The lights they were hung on the patio with care except no they aren't yet
'cause we're still painting there.

In hopes that the bloggers soon would be there.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my computer chair to see what was the matter.

The matter was Gustav the Killer Goose who sprung loose from his pen to bite greet the newly arrived Blog Fest guests who would subsequently go on to enjoy several days of fun, frivolity and laughter, Killer Goose notwithstanding.

Yadda yadda yadda but I heard them exclaim ere they drove out of sight.
Merry Blog Fest to all, and to all a good night!

The End.

Posting will be sporadic at best for the next 4 days but I will share photos and stories just as soon as I can. It's not too late to attend either - and you don't have to be a blogger. We'd love to have you join us. Just e-mail me at for directions and information.

And now some shots from last year's Blog Festivities.