Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Things

Welcome to Three Thing Thursday, where everyone's encouraged to share a minimum of three random thoughts.  Some of us have trouble selecting which random thoughts to share, while others of us have trouble sticking to the suggested number of three.  Since all her thoughts are random, Chesapeake Bay Woman struggles with everything both. 

Let's begin.

1. Yesterday at 4:00 as I left my office, I actually kicked my feet up Rockettes style and blew kisses to my coworkers on my way out the door.   This is because I am officially off from the paying job until July 11. Although there is plenty of work to be done, including some never ending lingering issues with the book and lots of work to do around the house, I am so looking forward to next week when I'll be spending quality time with my extended family including my two crazy sisters.

2. Another reason for my jubilance was that I was going to meet a friend I hadn't seen in 25 years.  The story of this friendship has all the makings of a great movie, and one of these years days I plan to write it all down. In the interim, I am sharing a link to a clip that my friend sent me which perfectly describes our unusual friendship.  Click here to see it - it's worth the click.

3. My laptop, which was on loan from another friend for purposes of doing the book, is dying. So the past few nights I've been using my ancient PC which is slower than molasses in January and eaten up (or ate up, as we like to say around here) with problems.  At the same time, the cell phone which I've had  since Alexander Graham Bell invented it for over four years has been alternating between dying on me and running so hot that it's burning a hole in my head hand.  All these signs point to one conclusion:  CBW hates change and would rather endure the agony of eternal loading times than buy a new Anything CBW hates change and would rather endure the agony of scorched flesh and eternal loading times than buy a new Anything.

Now it's your turn to share three things.  If you can't think of anything, perhaps you could think of an unusual friendship that withstood the test of time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


This is my beloved cat Twinkie, The King of all the cats around here in spite of his sissy name.

My mother named him that because of his colors.  I would have chosen something a little more masculine given his strong personality. But we don't dwell on such contradictions here. We accept things quickly and move along. It's a survival tactic learned very early around these parts.

Across the creek that same evening, this heron was fishing for his supper.  Herons tend to be rather aloof and territorial.  When another heron gets too close, there's a whole lot of squawking as if to say, "Get off my property!"  A heron is a living, breathing No Trespassing sign, of about the same height and build.

And then there are those whose attitude is off the charts.

Gustav, my mother's killer goose.
He has his own Facebook page.
Just search for Gustav. He's listed as a public figure.
Instead of public nuisance.

I just don't know what it is about this county that gives these animals such arrogance confidence. But they seem to thrive here.

In abundance.

Last night after a storm knocked a tree across the Colonial Parkway causing me to drive all the way to the Naval Weapons Station only to be told to turn back around and drive back to Cheatham Annex to then backtrack down Route 143 to 17 to the Coleman Bridge, I arrived home an hour late to find the entire back yard covered in goose manure Canada geese.

After a very long day at work and a twice-as-long commute back home, I was in no mood for it all.

Observing the whole goose convention scene as I approached from the driveway, I quickly gunned it and veered onto the grass in the back yard, hoping to chase them back into the creek.  They must be in some sort of I Can't Fly stage right now, because none of them took off in flight.

They ran but appeared to be in absolutely no hurry to leave, which of course was unsatisfactory and completely unacceptable to someone who had just taken out some aggression taken the time to drive all over her back yard in her vehicle.

I had to do figure eights and circles and everything, all over the place to finally shoo them off.

Thus concludes another day in the life of a human being trying to survive in an animal world.

Dear Neighbors,
Please believe me when I say that this behavior of frantically chasing geese with an automobile over the span of several people's yards is all for our better good. Or at least it's good for my blood pressure.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Four Summers

June 2008 - The Bay, Eastern Shore

Since there's been so little time to take any many new photos, I thought I'd share some older ones from the same month of every year this little blog has been in existence, starting with 2008.

June 2009 - Hills Bay

It's hard to believe this is the fourth summer I've been doing this.

June 2010 - Queens Creek

Then again, this fourth photo image begs the question of whether I'm actually doing the blog this particular summer.

I wonder what I'll be doing four summers from now.

 Hopefully I'll be taking pictures rather than drawing them.

Where do you picture yourself four years from now?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dewey Eyed

Iris (left) and CBW (not at all right right)

This weekend I drove to Canada, lawd it was a long drive to Dewey Beach, Delaware, to visit my college roommate Iris and her family at their vacation home.  Here we are on her rooftop deck enjoying wine the view and fresh air.

Chesapeake Bay Daughter and son, shown here playing paddle ball on the beach, went too.

Iris and I have known each other since 1492 1982.  She and I have so many stories, we could start our own blog.  Click here for one guest post she wrote about a time we drove from Charlottesville to Key West.

Oh, the stories we can't could tell...

This is Delaware but it reminds me of the drive to Key West. Water on both sides of the road.
Plus driving. Lots and lots of driving. 

For the Chesapeake Bay Family, who never only rarely eats out, the trip was full of culinary delights, including some delectable Thai food in Rehoboth. At the opposite end of the culinary scale, Dairy Queen, which was within walking distance of Iris's house, saw sometimes twice daily visits from CB Son and Daughter, who are ice cream fanatics.

(There is no Dairy Queen or Ice Cream King or anything close to dessert royalty in Mathews. On the one hand, that is good. On the other hand, it creates kids who are so sheltered they think they've died and gone to Ice Cream Heaven when they see anything that isn't scooped from a Breyer's carton that was two for one at Food Lion. The same holds true for their mother, who actually let out a very audible scream when she found the Thai restaurant on the way to the boardwalk in Rehoboth. It's abundantly clear we all need to get away from Mathews a little more often.)

Reluctantly, we loaded the car up and headed back yesterday morning.  The drive took us down the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which looks a lot like Mathews except there's fast-moving cars and Don Valerio's restaurants four lane highways. From where the photo above was taken, which is north of Cape Charles, Mathews is only about, what, 15 miles across the bay?  I can't remember, but it isn't far by water.

By car, however, it's four hundred a two hour drive. Without traffic.

Except there was all manner of beach traffic converging on I-64. Virginia Beach traffic.  Outer Banks traffic.  All trying to squeeze through one tiny little foot feat of engineering known as the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.

(Between this and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, I must've crossed and re-crossed and circumnavigated the bay at least eighteen four times this weekend, at least it felt like it. Oh, and to make matters worse, I only had one contact lens in and was squinting the whole drive home.  Don't ask, it's a typical CBW story of being careless and forgetful. Or just typical CBW.)

Speaking of being forgetful typical CBW, when we finally arrived home I was greeted by a harsh reality reminder of an unfinished project.

Before we left,  I had trimmed the front shrubs but neglected the top parts which required a ladder. At the time,  I was too worn out to drag the ladder from the garage. So I just left things as they were.

"I'll finish it later," I said.


For now, let's not focus on the botched trim job which causes the bush to appear slanted.
We're talking about the top part.

Between my mohawk shrubs which draw just enough attention to the window that's been missing a shutter for a year now, and the fact that this week will be brutal at work, and the fact that there is still unfinished business with the book, I was ready to turn back around and head back to the beach.

Traffic and all.

The End.

Friday, June 24, 2011


On the way to Hallieford

Near Beaverlett, I think...but don't quote me. (Ever.)

On the way to Bethel Beach

King and Queen County

Boathouse on Queens Creek.
(Do not adjust your dials.  It's blurry.)

Near the Glenns area, Gloucester

This concludes our tri-county tour of red structures.

Speaking of tours, yesterday I accompanied Anonymous Hallieford Resident, owner of Sandpiper Reef Restaurant, to a catering job on the site of the DIY Network's 2011 Blog Cabin, which is a Mathews County home they're extensively renovating to be given away later this year. (Click here for details.)

After helping her unload and set up, I was tasked with going inside the house to fill a jug with water.

A very simple task, no?

When CBW is involved, no. No indeed.

The house itself is quite lovely and very well appointed with every modern amenity and convenience.  However, Chesapeake Bay Woman is unaccustomed to such amenities, since most of her appliances are broken at least 10 years old.  Plus, CBW is not exactly good with gadgets and gizmos and all things involving technology.

Just ask her children, who claim she holds an iPod as if it's a poisonous snake. (Hey, I just can't remember how to get to the music, but I can definitely get to Angry Birds and Scrabble. Plus, maybe I'm holding it so far away because I can't see close up anymore.  Or, maybe I' afraid of it, like they say. Whatever.)

So when she went into the kitchen to fill the jug with water, she could not figure out how to turn on the tap.  She tried and she tried, but no water came out.  Must not be hooked up or something, she thought.  

Next, she tried to get water from the refrigerator door.  She pressed the water button but was baffled by all the choices that popped up next on the little screen.  She pressed every button that seemed logical (to her) and even some that didn't, but no water came out.

Back to the sink CBW went, fiddling frantically as beads of sweat broke out on her forehead.  Finally, much to her relief, some nice lady came to her rescue showed her how to turn on the spigot, which was very much hooked up unlike CBW's brain.  

So, in summary, the Blog Cabin house is lovely, even if Chesapeake Bay Woman would require an in-depth seminar and personal tutoring on how to use all most of the appliances.

The End.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three Things

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

Let's start.

1. Today I will accompany the owner of Sandpiper Reef on a very important catering mission in the county. I can't wait. Although I am tempted to wear the crab hat on this noteworthy journey, common decorum sense dictates otherwise.  At least this time.

2. Later today I will meet up with my college roommate, Iris, and her family.  Twenty five years ago this May we graduated.  From college. It seems like only yesterday.

3. All my tomato plants are gone thanks to some killer, mutant, blood-sucking, Only in Mathews County creature the size of an anaconda, with horns, fangs, and a million legs--all of which were clutching nastily (it's a word) to my poor little helpless plants.  I swatted them all clear across the yard like softballs, but it's too late for my precious tomato plants.  Thankfully, my daughter has some tomatoes doing well in another part of the yard, and my mother has the Garden of Eden next door.  So we will not be without tomatoes this summer. Still, this will be the first time in four years there will be no tomatoes at my back stoop.

3b.  Did I just say stoop?

Now it's your turn to share three or more things.  If one of them includes a way to organically fight killer, mutant, blood-sucking caterpillars the size of anacondas, I'm all fangs ears.

Last bridge photo,  I promise. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flash Dance

Gwynn's Island Bridge

Once upon a time, Chesapeake Bay Woman actually had a functioning brain, a brain that could retain things like the Portuguese word for breakfast or the major accomplishments of the Maya, the Inca and the Aztec.  She could write college level essays on the rise and fall of civilizations in several different languages.

Then one day--seemingly overnight--she became a stressed out person of middle age assuming she lives to be NINETY TWO! who stood helplessly as she waved bye bye to any hope of ever acting like a normal human being with a normal functioning brain. (Whatever "normal" is. Do you know?  I've never seen it before.  Wouldn't recognize it. Does not compute.)

The following incident proves this point once and for all.

Technically, my deadline for submitting the photos and text for the book on Mathews was yesterday.  However, based on my work schedule, and the fact that I live in such a rural area, I had to have the flash drive containing everything in the mail by the end of last week.

So, I toiled frantically and furiously to finish the thing up so that Friday I could send it all off from a Fed Ex store in Williamsburg near my work.

(Near = 10 miles one way, by the way. So that's 20 miles extra on top of the 100+ miles I would have driven to and from work.  But this isn't about my long commute. It's about my age which I just now determined is more than "middle" age unless I live to be 92 long lost brain.)

When the guy said, "That'll be $30," I grimaced but quickly handed over my debit card. $30 for peace of mind that it was going to get there on time was painful but acceptable. Monday morning-- a day early-- it would arrive, he promised.


So I drove back to work, finished up the work day, drove the hour home and stumbled in the door Friday evening, frazzled but relieved. Rummaging around my pocketbook for my cell phone, however, I felt something that should not have been there.

My heart skipped a beat.

It was the flash drive.

The. Flash. Drive.

Yes, Chesapeake Bay Woman spent $30 to send off a nice handwritten note and some other paperwork (which could have been faxed for FREE) all sealed up in an envelope that contained no flash drive. The entire  book was right there in her trembling hand.

Then the reality of it set in. There is no Fed Ex--or UPS or any other form of shipping--store open in Mathews on Saturdays.

(If there is, please don't tell me about it now; it's too late.  If one does exist, they need to list themselves in the Yellow Pages. If they are listed in the Yellow Pages, please don't tell me that either.  I was too stressed out to think clearly.  Or at all, evidently.)

Also, I was not at all sure that the U.S. Pony Express Postal Service could handle getting it there by Tuesday. But all this post office business would have to wait until Saturday morning, because the post office was now closed for the day!

Off I trotted first thing Saturday morning to the Hudgins post office, where the very nice lady looked at me like I had six eyeballs when asked if it would be expensive to ship this one little envelope to South Carolina by Tuesday at the latest, Monday preferably.

She gave me one of those looks.

I pretended not to notice and asked, "Do you think it'll be more than $30?"

Her pursed lips and raised eyebrow told me in no uncertain terms that it would.  She gingerly placed it on the scale, however, and we both were shocked to learn it was "only" $19.00!

"When *cough* will it arrive, roughly, do you think, just a guesstimate?" I asked, not really wanting to know the answer because it had to be bad news.


She said it with as much--perhaps more--conviction as that fancy Fed Ex guy in Williamsburg.


And, much to my surprise and relief, it actually did arrive Monday. 

So, let's tally up the cost of this painful ordeal, shall we?

$30.00 - to send paperwork which could have been faxed for free without the flash drive containing all the contents of the book,  the whole point of sending the package.


$19.00 to send the flash drive with all the contents of the book and have it arrive on the same day that $30 package did (which tells me I should have used the postal service all along and skipped Fed Ex).


one hour away from work and twenty extra miles of driving to send a package that did not contain the flash drive


one close call with a major cardiac event after finding the flash drive in my pocketbook when the flash drive was supposed to be en route to South Carolina 


Chesapeake Bay Woman has lost the use of her last functioning brain cell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and forget about ever speaking or writing in Spanish or Portuguese or even English again.

Case closed.

The End.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Here lately we've had some interesting weather and very expressive skies.

Check out the traces of a rainbow in the middle of the clouds in these next two shots.

This last one is from Gwynn's Island, taken about a week ago.

OK. I know. It's not the greatest shot but my best sunsets/sky shots are on my PC and I'm doing this from my  laptop.
Thank you for your patience.  

There are many things I've been meaning to write about, but time has been elusive. Also, it's hard to get back in the groove of things after several weeks of I had no life due to an important deadline and I'm starting to wonder if I ever even had a life without one... sporadic blog posts.

Nevertheless, one of the main stories I want to convey pertains to that mysterious package that was left for me at Sandpiper Reef. Every time I sit down to try to type it out, the words don't do it justice; the story doesn't flow properly. In fact, this may be one story that makes more sense told in reverse, with the ending first and the beginning last. Except I'm not sure there is an ending and I can't even begin to tell the middle.

Or something.

In the mean time, just enjoy the photos and listen to the Muzak  (not to be confused with this) while Chesapeake Bay Woman tries to remember what life was like before she was doing the work of thirty three people--yet she still was complaining.

To end on a less ridiculous note, please tell me about one fun thing you have to look forward to this summer. 

Monday, June 20, 2011


Sunday afternoon I headed to Sandpiper Reef in Hallieford to participate in a very special celebration.

This beautiful young lady, Maggie, graduated from Mathews High School Saturday.

I've known Maggie since she was knee high to a giraffe.
(She's tall as well as gorgeous.)

The celebration included crabs.

And also some crabs.

After that, there were more crabs.

Followed by crabs.

Beautiful, succulent crabs.

Remember Blue Collar Joe's, home of the World's Most Heavenly Doughnut?

 (Click here for that post.)

Well, Blue Collar Joe's doughnuts made an appearance at this Crab Feast Fest.

Mr. Blue Collar Joe is Maggie's uncle.

(Pardon me.  Can't type right now.  Wiping drool off the keyboard. I do not eat doughnuts.  But I live for these doughnuts.  Amen.)

Then, of course, in case it hasn't been mentioned before except that it has, there were still. more. gorgeous. crabs.

A good time was had by all.

The End.

Congratulations to Anonymous Hallieford Resident's Daughter Maggie and the MHS class of 2011.

Maggie, you have so many gifts and so much to offer.

The world is your perfectly seasoned steamed crab oyster.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Run Aground

"A ship is safe in harbor.  But that is not what ships are for."
-William Shedd

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Mark Twain

"Speaking of throwing off bowlines and catching trade winds, the first draft of  that year-long project called The Book was sent off to the publisher this morning.
I'd like to crawl up in that boat above and take a nap.  
I'm ready to stay in a safe harbor, take a break, and rest up for a while."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Milford Haven

These were taken from the Sea Breeze on Gwynn's Island.

The End.

p.s. Unrelated to any of that, there are still some lingering issues with the first draft of the book on Mathews, but the end is in sight. Although I was supposed to have wrapped everything up by now, an influx of rambunctious teenagers and all the associated dangers--such as setting up skateboard ramps in the basement, mere inches away from the corner of a brick fireplace; or paddling to Cow Point when thunderstorms loomed; or jumping off a dilapidated swing set onto a trampoline whose springs are rusty--caused all kinds of worrying and fretting over how long it would take an ambulance to arrive if I had to dial 911 a slight delay in accomplishing everything I'd hoped.

Perhaps by Saturday it will all be over.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, free from worries, deadlines and skateboarding or trampoline incidents, perceived or real.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Three Things

Welcome to what used to be called Three Thing Thursday back when I posted on a more regular basis. The last time I posted on a Thursday was May 19, which is a sure-fire sign that things have been busy around here, to say the least.  Three Thing Thursday is where I share the three ring circus that is my life three things, and so do you.  Whatever happens to be on your mind. Anything at all.

Even if what you're thinking is, "Will CBW ever actually move this blog post along or is she going to lull us to sleep as she drags out this opening paragraph from here to the Cape of Good Hope Cape Charles and back?"

I'll go first.

1. Last night marked the first time I've ever arrived at a sports banquet--or any banquet, or any school related function of any sort for that matter--in a canoe.  Yes, Chesapeake Bay Son's end of the year soccer banquet was held at his teammate's house, which happens to be across the creek from us.  CB Son, delicately balancing the family's contribution of fruit salad and Pepsi Colas, took a kayak. Daughter and I took the canoe.  We ate, we clapped, we laughed and we ate some more.  Then we hopped in our boats and paddled back home.  Now that's my kind of sports banquet. Not one minute wasted behind the wheel of a car and not one drop of gasoline used.

2.  Oh, do I have a story to tell!  Remember a while back when I referenced a mysterious package left for me at Sandpiper Reef in Hallieford?  Well, over the past week the mystery behind who left that has slowly unfolded, and the entire story fills my heart with joy.  After I survive the next several days I'll work on putting the words down, but rest assured this story --which began over 25 years ago--is one of my favorite Life Stories thus far.

3.  The good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, by this weekend I will send the first draft of the book on Mathews to the editor.  That does not  mean all the work is over, but one huge hurdle has been cleared.  I used to be a pretty good hurdler back in the day but this has been one tough race. Amen.

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

Thanks as always for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.  They make my day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


These are from the public landing at the Sea Breeze over on Gwynn's Island.

I took about 50 shots of this one boat, which happens to be for sale if anyone's interested.

She's mellow yet complex.

Graceful and gutsy.

I love this boat.

The End.