Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Somebody’s Birthday!

Bob’s thirteen!!!
    They used to say one human year equals seven dog years, which would make our girl 91 today. Now there seems to be a more complicated formula. The American Veterinary Medical Association believes the first year of a dog’s life equals 15 human years. Year two equals nine years and after that, add five year for each human year. By my calculations, that’s adds up to 79 candles this year for Bob. 

  I thought I’d do a little interview with Bob for you on her day. 

  Me: Bob, I know you’re a girl. How did you come to have a boy’s name?
  Bob: (Big yawn) I’m tired of answering that. Ask The Writer. Hey, have you seen my ball?
  Me: Okay, I’ll ask him in a minute. What’s your favorite treat? 
  Bob: Peanut butter cookies from Trader Joe’s. Did you hide my tennis ball again?
  Me: No I did not! Do you do any dog tricks? 
  Bob:  Sheesh, why would you ask me that. Of course not. Tricks are for poodles.  I need that tennis ball. 
  Me: Why do you hide your tennis balls under things and all over the yard? 
  Bob: For occasions just like this! Gotta have one, gotta have one, gotta have one now. 
  Me: Okay, just a couple more questions first. Why do you always take the long way through the house instead of going through the kitchen?
  Bob: You can’t figure that out for yourself? Years ago when I was a wee small pup I once walked through the kitchen when the floor was wet and slippery. I will NEVER do it again. Ever. Got it? Now gimmee my ball. 
  Me: Last one. What would you like for your birthday? 
  Bob: Really? You don’t know that? I worry about my humans sometimes!

Happy birthday to a very good girl!


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Life is Full of Surprises

Dear Friends,

  As many of you know, my plucky mom is 96 years old and has been living alone since my dad died many years ago. Sadly, there was a health crisis recently and she went to the hospital. She lives a 10 hour drive away from us and we dropped everything to rush to be with her. We are now at her home dealing with the many things involved, day by day: back and forth to the hospital, setting up rehab, and finding a permanent care home that will meet her needs. 

  It’s sad, it’s hard, it’s scary to contemplate one’s own inevitable future, and it’s exhausting.

  We haven’t had time to do anything worthy of a blog, but yesterday we stopped on the way back from the grocery store to spend a few minutes at this pretty place … 

Penjing Bonsai Gardens

 The owner, Feng Gu, originally from Shanghai, China, learned the art of bonsai from his grandfather in China.

  He started the gardens near Melbourne in 1988 (some of the plants, as you will see, are even older than that).

 Besides selling plants, you can watch Gary, as he is now called, as he tends to hundreds of miniature trees with his tiny tools and scissors.

  Or like me you can just wander around and admire.

  The above two trees are about four feet tall and since they only grow two to five inches a year, you can guess that these would be very old. 

There are benches to sit on by the different 
koi ponds, watch the fish, listen to  music of the water, 




   It was a wonderful break in a tough day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


  Here are the figures of speech you and I and others found in the drawing. Anyone know what the thing is at the right end of his shadow?
  • Tied in knots
  • Knock your socks off
  • It’s a piece of cake
  • Something’s fishy
  • Bird brain
  • Shadow of himself
  • Handed to him on a silver platter
  • Step on your shadow
  • Cherry on top
  • Holding the cards
  • Spill the beans
  • A screw loose
  • In one ear, out the other
  • Nailed it
  • Ace up his sleeve
  • Kick the bucket
  • Rags to riches
  • Eggs in one basket
  • Born with a silver spoon on his mouth
  • Bird brain
  • Time flies 
  • Heart on his sleeve
  Didn’t quite make it to 27, but we are close.
  We are camping this week, a nice spot in the National Forest on the water. I hope to have some photos to share later. Enjoy your week! 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Just For Fun

    It’s a beautiful spring afternoon here, full of sunshine and hummingbirds rediscovering the feeder on the front porch. If you’re having a quiet Sunday afternoon relaxing, too,I thought you might enjoy having a go at this puzzle. 
  I’ll wait a day or two to see how many you get before putting up the answers.
  Have fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Bank of Trio

  Trio, South Carolina, is one of those wide spots in the road we often pass driving the backroads of our state. Once a small but thriving little town, all that is left of Trio is the bank/post office building, and across the road, a small store. 

  The town was named by a trio of brothers — William, Walter, and James Bryan — who came from North Carolina around 1880 to establish a turpentine business. The railroad came through the area in 1882 and the next year the three registered Trio as a town and anchored it with a large brick bank and post office. 

  Turpentine and tar were important and profitable products in the 1700s and 1800s and the great Longleaf Pine forests of South Carolina were a good source. In a laborious process, pitch from the tree was gathered by men who stripped swaths of the bark, allowing resin to ooze down the tree into containers at the foot of the tree. The resin was made into tar or turpentine.

  Tar and pitch were used here on the coast for a century in ship-building, repair, and maintenance. Turpentine was important in the manufacture of axle grease, lamp oil, medicine, paint, and other products. 

  The building later housed Rowell’s General Store until it closed in the early 2000s. Now Trio’s Zip Code has been retired and its only building sits empty, sagging, cracked, and nearly alone. 

  The only other structure left where a town once stood is a nameless store across the road. We’ve never noticed any customers when we were passing by, but the proprietor is always sitting out on a bench outside, just like in times gone by. The story of a trio of brothers who named a town for themselves is nearly lost as well. Now even the locals no longer say Trio. They pronounce it Try-Oh. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Driving Miss Daisy

  Two years ago just before the pandemic happened, we ordered a small custom-made camper (it’s called a Teardrop for its size and shape). It was to be finished and delivered to us in six weeks. We were so excited and began planning and preparing for the trips we would take. When Covid began to limit everything, we could be self-contained and the camper would give us some freedom to travel again safely.

  Life, however, had other plans. 

  The builder suffered Covid hospitalizations and a heart attack, scarcity of materials and parts, family tragedies, the impossibility of getting employees to work for him. 

  For months at a time we couldn’t even contact him. 
  Somewhere along the way, even though we were losing hope, she acquired her name from a favorite movie of ours: “Miss Daisy”. 

  On and on it dragged until we truly thought we would never get our camper, or our deposit back.  

But then … LOOK!

  In February the planets aligned and we  ended up taking home our camper, albeit it an unfinished camper. 

The Writer dug in and spent weeks finishing the major things to make it road worthy. Some of them, like the locks and lifts on the galley door, were quite challenging! 
I provided critical assistance in holding and retrieving things 😁, making curtains, and painting. 

  Finally, this week Miss Daisy was ready for the road. We camped “at the beach”, in a state park not too far away from home. 


 The galley (kitchen) is yet to be finished with shelves and drawers, a stove for cooking and a larger cooler. To the right is our screened room which has curtains for privacy and rain protection. 

  The cabin has an air conditioner and a heater so we can camp in most weather. 

All went well on our maiden voyage, we had a great time, and we are ready for more!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

‘Well, Hello There!’

‘Who are you?’

‘Let me get a closer look.’

‘Got anything to eat in those pockets?’

  The friendly donkeys were in a big paved parking lot of an abandoned business that we often drive by. There never were donkeys here before! 
  As we were leaving, a man opened a gate and began leading the donkeys away down the road on leashes. 
  Maybe he needed a temporary parking place for his donkeys??? 
Who knows!

The tulip trees say we are done with winter. 

  I drew you a little picture of where I’ve mostly been the last couple weeks. It’s not fun!  Back to physical therapy and the Epley Maneuver again tomorrow.  

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Beach at Sunrise

   The winter beach is a special place, swept clean by raging Nor’easters, inviting only the hardiest souls to enjoy its pleasures and treasures. Tourists are scarce and it’s not so hard to find times we can have this island beach all to ourselves. 
Remains of an old jetty appear in the sand as daylight moves in and the tide moves out.  

 To the north is a peninsula and other beaches with a sandbar between. At lowest tide you can sometimes walk from the island across to the peninsula, exploring the creatures left behind in the tide pools. 

  This morning the sandbar is covered with hundreds of birds — mostly brown pelicans, gulls, and cormorants. Too far away to identify the gulls with my binoculars. Oh, well.
   Wouldn’t you like to own that house on the point (at least until the next hurricane pays a visit anyway)? 

  Look what the tide has brought up along the old jetty: several overturned starfish, stuck there as the water receded. 

  I moved several of them back into the water, hoping to give them another chance at survival.

  The tubular structures you can see on the arms of this overturned starfish are what starfish use to move. Eyes are located at the end of each arm.

  There are over 2000 species of starfish in the world’s oceans. I was surprised to know that they even exist in the polar regions.

  I think it is common knowledge that starfish can regenerate lost arms, but did you know, they don’t all have five arms? Some can have many more than that, some fewer. This guy, found quite far up the beach from the water’s edge, only had four. 

  The tide was coming in and I passed many more of this same starfish species. We see many small gray ones at different times of the year (3-4 inches in diameter) but the ones on the beach today were bigger, 7 inches or so. There are species that grow up to 11 lbs!


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, January 23, 2022


  We were going merrily along with a beautiful winter until this weekend when the temperature plummeted from a nice 70 degrees F to 20 degrees (21 degrees C to -7] practically over night. To top off the cold we got hit with an ice storm that closed schools, businesses, and government offices and knocked out the electrical power in Georgetown and at least an hour north up the coast. 
  Everything was coated with a thick layer of ice. 

  Ice-laden tree branches fell and brought down power lines. We had no heat from 3:30 until the power finally came back on at 11:30 a.m. yesterday. 

  No way to cook either, except for a gas barbecue grill. Cold and uncaffeinated, we waited forever to get something approaching boiling water to happen on the grill and provide coffee and tea!

  Poor camellias suffered the most. Hundreds of buds waiting to bloom on our seven camellia trees, now turned to mush.



  Sunday morning we hurried to get outdoors before the ice melt. Driving through the forest was breathtaking, like moving through a glass cathedral as the sun hit the tops of the trees.

Each needle of the long-leaf pines had its own casing of ice. When I got out to take a photo a chorus of tinkling greeted me as pieces of ice began to fall. 

  As more and more melted and the drama faded, we stopped to eat our breakfast and see how the water birds were doing in the cold. There was only a light skim of ice at the back of the pond and in just a few moments we recorded a  beautiful flock of Hooded Mergansers taking off (foreground), many Cormorants, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, a Roseate Spoonbill, White and Brown Pelicans, Tundra Swan, a flock of Bluebirds, another of Cedar Waxwings, and a third of Chipping Sparrows. 
  By the time we drove home, the ice storm was just another memory.