Beach Feed

I Want to Say


Now that I’m home
I just want to say I was there
And that I loved waking up, seeing the water
Listening to the gulls screeching
Their good mornings

I want you to know now that I’ve left
That I liked this tiny barrier island town
Tucked along Virginia’s Eastern Shore
I loved the ponies munching the soft rain heavy grass
Completely unfazed by clicking cameras
I loved spying the glorious thistles
Nestled in the grass and hearing that voice say,
“What have you found there?”

Let me say that all the gray days
Just didn’t matter as we
Explored tiny forgotten towns along Route 13
Dusty antique stores with treasures longing to be found
Rusty vintage cars resting in fields of golden yellow buttercups
And dreaming of past glory

I loved the smell of coffee percolating in my mother’s
Battered ancient aluminum pot
And the leisurely breakfasts as the two of us
Watched egrets wading through muck, hunting for their own morning meal
Followed the course of the time worn working vessels
Headed out to sea

Let me just say
I delighted in the taste of crisp crab cakes
Fresh strawberries with crème fraiche and
Glasses of our favorite wines,
Each drop holding its own memories

Now that I’m home
I want to tell you
That we sat captivated
Watching the ominous gray front marching
Across the cloud laden sky
Listening to thunder rumbling in the distance
Then making us jump with one resounding crack
And the sheer whiteness of the lightening
Stretching its fingers along the horizon
Making us blink in delight and surprise

Know that I loved it all
Tumbling gray surf
Salt stung skin
Rain drops pelting against windows
Shell fragments dropped into our pockets
Time to just be alone with him
Cherishing the gift of the two of us


Note: Modeled after Natalie Goldberg's "I Just Want to Say."


And It's Pouring Out There

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Gray skies and the rain tumbling down - pretty much the ambiance around here lately. For the most part I'm quite content to putz around my house, decluttering the art studio, straightening up, nursing my  cold.

I've got my eye on the weather forecast though, something I haven't done so much lately, since for the most part, it doesn't affect me much. But, I'm planning to go see my Dad this weekend; I've not been able to get up there much lately. Weekends are usually filled with the grands, but this weekend is one of the rare ones when I'm home, and they're busy with other things.

And, as they say, "Life is what happens when you're busy planning other things." Mother Nature is holding her sides, gasping for breath, and just laughing at me. She's sent several days of rain, and is planning to up the ante this weekend with more heavy rain. For good measure, she's considering throwing in a hurricane.

VA has declared a state of emergency, and they're predicting huge flooding, certainly a possibility around here. Anyone who lives here knows we've perfected the fine art of weather hyping, so, while part of me deals with the fact that I may not be going anywhere, the other part of me has learned to say, "Just wait and see...and then, deal with it, honey, because you are so not in control here."

And, my photo here; it's only remotely connected to the post. We visited North Carolina's Outer Banks just about 2 weeks ago, pretty much where Hurricane Joaquin would make landfall if he chooses to do so. But, on this particular day, Twit #2 had a $3.99 shovel and an endless stretch of beach in which to dig his holes.

A little boy + a shove + a beach = endless fun.

A moment snapped in time that never fails to bring a smile to my face, just a "little scrap of magic!"

Circles of Life

Twits holding hands

Oh, these cuties! These have such a grip on my heart. Two very different and distinct little souls connected by genes and by love.

This past week found them digging in the sand, petting the ponies, catching fish in the cove, finding crab claws...and sometimes an entire crab, still alive and kicking.

25 plus years ago, their mom and dad roamed the same streets and beaches, doing so many of the same things. Twit #2's mom married her husband on the beach here. Chincoteague calls all of us home to our souls and hearts.

We came to heal when we lost our mother. We've come to heal when family drama or life drama explodes in some fashion. We've watched the monarchs dance near the waves as they head toward home.

I've been thinking about connections a lot. Just a few days before the beach, we connected and reconnected with my husband's family. We swapped stories with cousins not seen for 50 years, while sons, daughters, and grandchildren giggled...or sometimes rolled their eyes.

We showed Twit#1 where Grandpa went to church and to school, where he hopped on his bike and rode to the nearest bakery for that night's dinner's bread. We met and got to know my husband's step family, all of them welcoming us into their lives with open hearts and smiles.

My eldest learned that someone long before him worked with wood, much the same as he does now. He learned that the men in his family are known for their keilbasa and spaghetti sauce recipies, much the same as he and his dad are known for their cooking now.

Circles connecting us all, ever expanding to make room for new family, who poured over old, faded photos, searching for resemblances.

Circles of love. Circles repeating.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

I Carry...

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I carry with me...

  • memories of playing hide n go seek with a magnificent white egret
  • salty kisses
  • sand encrusted toes
  • the call of the loon
  • late night talk fests
  • the taste of a perfectly made crab cake
  • conch shells tumbling to shore
  • mirrored sunsets in the marsh
  • running the mosquito gauntlet
  • nibbling cheese, sipping wine
  • tiny crabs scuttling along the shore, playing catch me if you can
  • the siren song of the surf
  • basking in autumn sunshine, just watching life
  • golden afternoon light among the pines
  • percolating bubbles left behind by receeding waves
  • dreams of powder blue typewriters waiting to go home with me

Photo Heart Connection - July 2014

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You really can't see their faces, but their bodies tell timeless stories - mother and child, summertime, beach time, and the list goes on.

All of that and more is wrapped up for me in this photo. A little boy who truely is a beach baby, plunging into the waves, shrieking with glee. A little boy who made it his personal mission to cover up the left behind wave foam with bits of sand, and who worked timelessly to do so, no matter how many times the waves undid his efforts.

A little boy who picked up a discarded cigarette package, handed it to his mother, and said, "Trash, mommy. This doesn't belong here."

A little boy discovering the joys of digging holes and building your own personal fortress.

And, I see a connection between these two loves of my life. A mom who, realizing that her child needed more than she could give him at the moment, dug fearlessly for answers, reached out for help, and didn't stop fighting for what her son needed.

A mom, who when handed the diagnosis of autism for her boy, blinked momentarily, and then plunged back into research, programs, etc. and provided what he needed.

A mom who realizes that a label does not define her child, and a mom who will not let that label define her child.

A mom who constantly encourages her son to use his words, who will explain what is going to happen next so that her boy can cope with the changes.

Can you figure out that I am beyond proud of this young woman?

And, so I see, a connection, a telling of secrest maybe, or it could be just talking about what they are seeing...maybe the tiny fish swimming to and fro.

I see love.

I see strength.

And, I think I've captured more than beach memories here.

You can see more images and stories here.



July2014 217 copy

It's been a rough re-entry into reality.

Not the physical getting back from the shore bit, although that proved to be unbearably long. Trees. Lots and lots and lots of trees. Virginia does not lack for trees.

No, it's been the getting back into my routine, or I suppose, establishing a new routine now that I'm retired.

So far, in the space of less than 48 hours I've:

  • inadvertently dyed the bathroom mat an ungodly shade of pink
  • thrown the grounds part of the new coffeemaker into the trash, which now resided curbside
  • ruined a queen sized fitted sheet with a huge splash of bleach, which I didn't even see at the time

Are you wondering how on earth I managed the above?

I can only offer the following explanations/theories:

  1. In the case of the bathmat, I threw it in with an old red Ikea blanket, which has been washed so many times, it should have holes in it. Said blanket chose not to inform me that it would bleed in the wash for the very first time ever. Ugh.
  2. The new coffee pot...a beautiful shade of red, ironically...boasts 2 parts to the grounds holder bit. I am used to the old coffee pot, picked up at a yard sale, which has 1 part. These new fangled contraptions usually get the better of me. Darling husband dug through the trash to rescue it, choosing wisely, since it was in the very first bag he picked up. It was not, luckily, in the bag containing 20 lbs of cat litter.
  3. Since I am the sole person doing the laundry, I have to be the one who created that bleach splash. I didn't see the tsunami of a splash happen, but when I folded that green fitted sheet, it clearly had been attacked by a huge splash of bleach. Huge. And, it apprently sat in the rarely used bleach for awhile since the bleach nearly ate through it. I replaced the rescued coffee pot grounds thingie which had been in the trash with the sheet.

My husband hopes that since I've created 3 catastrophies,  I am done with creating castarophes.

I wouldn't bet on that.

But, honey, I'm not the one who left his iphone at the beach.

So, there!

P.S. The photo has nothing whatsoever to do with this post, other than the fact that it was taken at the beach that I am missing.

P.P.S. If the sheet had been red, not green, this post would have a pretty cool thread running through it. You know, the attack of the red, or some such thing.

P.P.P.S. Phone has been located. Since darling husband suspended service on it, figuring getting it reconnected could provide an amusing blog post. Or, not.



Life Is Good

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We hoped to see the dance of the monarchs; instead we watched the rain pour from the heavens. White caps danced on the channel, mocking us, and the beach? Closed due to the government shutdown.Money to spend? None, really...the paycheck, what there was of it, reflected the shutdown.

And, it's all okay. We'd prepaid for our condo, so, we simply went for it, bringing along homemade applesauce, stuffed cabbage rolls, and a bottle or two of wine. Some books to read, a place on the water, and new places to explore.

We even managed to catch a glimpse of the Atlantic from Assateague State Park, and with the wind whipping up the waves, and sand stinging our faces, the glimpse was quite enough!...but long enough to snap a shot or two.

Long conversations into the night, and antique shops to explore. Berlin, MD, home of "The Runaway Bride" with its wonderful old architecture and people to chat with, offered a wonderful old shop packed with antique toys. While we couldn't buy any, we could laugh and giggle over what we'd owned as kids.

Yes, the beach was closed, but with this weather, we wouldn't have been on it for long anyway. Would we have liked to be able to a few things? Absolutely. But, we had a choice to make...dwell in our misery or simply enjoy life as best we could. Dwelling in the misery didn't offer anything but misery.

Instead, we grabbed the cameras, catching bits of magic here and there. A cobalt blue bowl reflected in a countertop. The blessing of the antique toy store owner, who said, "Yes, photograph what you'd like." Chatting with a beader about her native American heritage and the owner of the Boston Bull Terrier about our own childhood memories of Lucky, another Boston Bull. The loaf of rye bread didn't cost much at all, and slathered with butter, offerend its own bit of heaven.

So, it poured, and my hair resembled a brillo pad. Water dripped off my nose. But, boy did I rock my Johnny Depp hat. (Picture to follow, although you can find it on Instagram!)

Life didn't deal what we expected, but life still dealt a pretty good hand, as long as I could remember to focus on what I had rather than what I didn't.

Sunday's Musings

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Outside my window, it's a glorious fall day. Bright blue sky and a hint of crispness in the air.

I am thinking about last weekend, the salt air and crashing of waves on the shore. Bliss!

I am thankful for a husband who cooks; I'm savoring a delicious omelet right now, complete with the herbs he grew. Yumminess.

From the kitchen comes a lingering scent of the chicken he smoked last night.

I am still wearing pjs.

I am creating photographic memories and visual art journal pages. It's good to be playing again and enjoying the process of it all. Instagram and Pinterenst have caught my attention as well.

I am going to be grading papers in a bit; not fun, but necessary. Then I get to post the grades and do other "exciting" school stuff.

I am hoping to not get sucked up into too much negativity this week. When you're tired and stressed, it's all too easy to do. I need to focus on gratitude instead.

I am rereading Expressive Photography and need to go get Tracey Clark's Elevate the Ordinary for an online class starting next week.

I am hoping the weather stays like this and to get out and shoot some more photos during the week.

I am hearing the sounds of Phil cleaning up breakfast dishes.

Around the house, clutter needs to be gotten rid of and some general cleaning done.

One of my favorite things is cookies and cream fudge. Some snuck into my car last weekend and followed me home from the beach.

A few plans for the week...tons of school stuff to do, functions to attend, and a blog that needs refurbishing.

Good Morning, Summer

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Good morning, summer,

I'm not really sure if you officially begin today, but I'm taking it. I know that I still have 2 days to put in at school, days filled with forms requiring way too much data, but, still, I'm taking you as day 1.

I've got high hopes for you, summer. Lazy mornings to sip coffee and complete crosswords.

Lots and lots of time to putter in my art studio.

Time for shooting photos, editing them, and playing in photoshop.

Time to create a few artists' books, to play with paper, create journals, and such.

Time to sit on the deck at the Outer Banks, to watch the gulls and pelicans.

Time to gather shells and sea glass, to eating crab legs and steamed shrimp.

Time to figure out how to sketch.

Time to freshen up this blog.

Time to ...yes, I have to admit to this...time to cleaning up and straightening out this home.

So, summer, I've got some high hopes here. You need to hold up your end of this deal, okay?