What’s Going On

July
9
2014

 

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written in a month or so. And by “month or so” I mean since May. Our move is getting closer, and we are getting busier.  But here’s a run-down of what we’ve been doing.

We took a little vacation in May, and went to one of our favorite places, Montauk.  It was our anniversary….35 years!!…so amidst all our other work, we decided to take the time to celebrate.  It was wonderful!  It was right before Memorial Day, so the crowds hadn’t arrived yet, everything was open for the season, and best of all, the prices hadn’t gone sky-high yet!

Here's the view from our room

Here’s the view from our room

We stayed right in town at the Royal Atlantic, and truthfully, I’ve never seen Montauk so empty!

The view to the left

The view to the left

The fishing was a little off due to the long winter we all had, but the weather was just great, cool in the mornings and nights, and hot during the day.  Just what we wanted.

View to the right

View to the right

Here is a view of the place from the beach…..

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk,  Long Island

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk, Long Island

 

We saw the world’s biggest flip-flop in town:

Montauk Anniversary Trip 049

Here’s the famous Montauk Lighthouse:

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk Lighthouse

We also walked around the outside of the Lighthouse on the water side, the large boulders placed there for that purpose are really amazing!  That was some good planning there!

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

And here’s a familiar sight when you gaze out to sea:

Fishing boat

Fishing boat

And if you were more adventurous:

Shark Cage Diving

Shark Cage Diving

We weren’t.  We spent our time fishing from the safety of the beach and drinking margaritas.  We also ate out every night.  There’s a Chinese Restaurant in Montauk called Wok and Roll.  If you bring them the fish you caught that day, they’ll cook it for you.  They offer about 10 different ways they’ll prepare it, the place is very popular.  We didn’t have our own “catch” to bring them, but the dinner was delicious anyway.

Earlier in May, I was busy helping our tenant move out.  We have a little condo in town where my mom lived for six years before she passed away.  Our tenant was pretty good, we had a few bumps along the way,  but she’s on state aid,  she doesn’t drive and she needed some help getting around to look at new apartments.  The state also cut her rent allowance, and finding something acceptable was a little difficult.  So, I’d take her around to look at apartments, and finally when we finally found one, we had to go back and forth for her to look inside the apartment, pick up paperwork, drop off her state papers, sign the paperwork, get back the paperwork for the state to look at, and pick up the keys.  Could these things have been done in fewer trips??  I would have thought so.  But no.  All different trips to the apartment, which is not that close by,  and we had to make “appointments,” we couldn’t just pop in for them to hand her the keys.  Anyway, when she finally moved,  we had to clean up the apartment to put it on the market.  It’s a cute little place, it’s the first floor unit at the end on the right side…. and there aren’t that many condo places in this town, so hopefully it’ll sell soon.

Condo

Condo

My mom had wall to wall carpeting,  so we actually never saw what floor was there.  We were happily surprised to find a wood floor, which we had refinished!  It’s looks really nice!

Bedroom

Bedroom

Our tenant was a smoker, so the kitchen cabinets were kind of messy.  They cleaned up pretty well, I think:

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our realtor was very happy with the before and after, so she’s optimistic it won’t be on the market too long.

Also, in May and June, we made trips to Maryland, bringing down some “stuff.”  Stuff you don’t want to pack up and take the chance it’ll get broken.  But of course while we’re there, we get to enjoy the place!  Our daughter Chrissy even came to visit during one of our trips there, and that was a treat!   We all went fishing, and Chris wound up catching this stingray, which we later learned is one that they are trying to get rid of!  It eats the crabs and oysters that are the livelihood of the watermen down in the Chesapeake and it’s tributaries.  We didn’t know it at the time… we let him go.

Chrissy caught this ray

Chrissy caught this ray

We fished a couple of times.  One calm day we spent out in the Chesapeake.  We caught a few fish, some were small and we threw them back, but we had a few keepers.  There was some interesting boat traffic:

The tanker and the fishing boat - sounds like a children's book

The tanker and the fishing boat – sounds like a children’s book

 

John found a terrapin in our driveway, so he brought him down by the beach to show me.  He sat there for a minute all tucked in his shell, and then ran as fast as he could to the water.  It was hysterical! I didn’t think a turtle could move that quickly!

Turtle

Turtle

Run....run for your life!

Run….run for your life!

Safe at last

Safe at last

We enjoyed our sunsets:

Little Choptank Sunset

Little Choptank Sunset

Afterglow

Afterglow

sunset

And we enjoyed our dinner:

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer's market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer’s market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

And of course, we’re also packing up and getting our house worked on.  We just had the garage painted and epoxy put on the floor.  It looks terrific, I wish we’d done it years ago!  And…my cousin finally sold her house, so they’ll also be moving down in a month or so.  Such excitement!  Such a new adventure for the four of us! We can hardly wait!

choptank sunset

Finally Moving Forward Again

April
16
2014

 

We will be heading to Maryland this weekend and will finally be moving forward with our plans once again.  As you know, the Metal Building took a long while, and we haven’t been down there for a couple of weeks.  Since then, however, Kyle has been fixing up the sides of the building inside as well as outside, and also fixing up the floor inside so we will be able to start bringing our stuff inside. He’s using some kind of composite made with asphalt so it will pack down and eventually become very strong like a road.  So we will bring in the boat trailers, the tractor, the ATV, the crab pots, etc. Then – next week hopefully – we will rent a truck and start moving out all the bins and boxes I’ve been packing up here.  And we have a lot!  It’ll be nice to clear out the garage up here at the house, as well as get part of my living room back.

What a mess!

What a mess!

Last week John had a business trip to Prague, so I went to VA to visit my daughter.  She wants to buy a townhouse soon, so we spent a lot of time looking at them.  I’ve said many times that DIY is for the young – and now I also think townhouses are for the young!  Those stairs!  I guess it’s good exercise but it got tiring going up and down three or four sets of stairs.  But we both love looking at houses, so we really enjoyed ourselves.  Plus, we got to enjoy ourselves eating dinner at Ozzie’s in Fairfax Corner!  Have you heard of them?  They are part of a chain, and yes, sometimes the food is fantastic and sometimes is it so-so.  But it’s a fun place, the wait staff and managers are very friendly, and we always enjoy ourselves there. Plus, they have Ozzie rolls!

Ozzie rolls! Yum!

Ozzie rolls! Yum!

And the perfect Margaritas!

Delicious!

Delicious!

Last year they started a new spring appetizer, hickory grilled artichokes with garlic lemon aioli, and it’s been such a hit they brought it back this year.  We had it last year and loved it, so of course when we heard it was on the menu again we were very, very happy.

Grilled artichokes with garlic aioli

Grilled artichokes with garlic aioli

And, in case you’re wondering what I had for dinner…..  short ribs, with garlic mashed potatoes, carrots and frizzled onions.  Not a dietic dinner I admit.  But yummy!

Short ribs

Short ribs

We will try and take a boat ride also this weekend, if the weather and water cooperate.  But it will mostly be a working weekend, and then we can truly say we are moving forward again, to designing and building our dream home! Stay tuned!

The Oyster and the Turkey

November
27
2013

We have a lot of oysters on our property in Maryland.  A lot.  They are stuck to the rocks all around the perimeter. And the state has a program now to help little oysters grow.  They are called spat although we call them oysterettes. 

Oysterettes

Oysterettes

They help filter the water, which is a very good thing.  But it got me thinking, where did the saying the world is my oyster come from?  And why the heck IS the world my oyster anyway?   Oysters, in my opinion, are quite ugly.  They are gnarly and lumpy looking, and they are hard to open, if one should be so inclined.  I would not, I am not a big fish eater, and eating something that looks kind of snotty is not something I would ever consider doing.  (Please forgive me if you are an oyster lover).  I know many people don’t have the food hang ups that I have (although my translation is that their palate is not as refined as mine is).

The saying I found out, actually comes from Shakespeare, who coined quite a few idioms that we carry through our lives as truth.  All that glitters is not gold, break the ice, too much of a good thing, and too thine own self be true were written by him also, although they make a little more sense if you ask me.  The oyster quote first appears in Shakespeare’s play ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ (1600).

Falstaff: I will not lend thee a penny.
Pistol: Why, then, the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.
Act II, Scene II

This is my world?

This is my world?

 

We have taken this to mean anything is possible, (or according to some, if you have money then anything is possible.)  Why?  Who knows, maybe you have to read the rest of the play to understand it, because that translation doesn’t make sense in this context to me.  But we do know for sure you need a sword to open the darn things.

This is an oyster we caught while fishing

This is an oyster we caught while fishing

 

What does this have to do with Thanksgiving?  Oyster stuffing!  It’s supposed to be delicious because the cooked oysters delicately flavor the bread cubes. The recipe goes back to the 1600’s, and it’s popular in areas all over the country.  Although why anyone would want a fishy tasting stuffing alongside their bird is beyond me.

Turkey in our driveway in Maryland

Turkey in our driveway in Maryland

 

So, this morning, John and I were discussing our Thanksgiving plans, and the fact that we’re going up to my cousin’s in Connecticut this year, as we did last year.  Before that, Thanksgiving was always at our house and it used to be a houseful! We’d have my parents, my sister, John’s parents, his Aunt Betty who lived with them, and his Aunt Mary, who didn’t, but who we loved having over because she was a little thing who could eat more than three people put together. And of course there were John and I, our two kids, and sometimes a boyfriend or a girlfriend.  The guys would play pool before dinner, while the womenfolk  were upstairs, preparing food, or talking, or singing,  or just having a glass of wine.  Sometimes (frequently) the moms got into an argument! They were both opinionated and outspoken, and there were a couple year’s early on I would just dread having everybody together in anticipation of a fight breaking out.  Today, we’d love to have them all back, even with an argument or two.  Except for the kids and ourselves, they are all gone now.  We’re a small group of four right now, so we’ll join another group.  They’ll be ten of us.  Thanksgiving goes on, we’ll celebrate and be so thankful  for the family we still have, and that we can celebrate this day together.   We’ll be thankful for our good friends, for our health, and for our dreams for the future, which as you know, includes moving and building a house in Maryland.  Yep, the world may be our oyster, but that oyster won’t be in our stuffing.   That’s another thing I’ll be thankful for.

Turkey in our side yard in New Jersey

Turkey in our side yard in New Jersey

 

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.  I hope you will know the joy of family and friends, good health and good cheer.  And don’t worry too much if things go awry.  Believe me, it will be something you will laugh at years from now, when you are looking back at the celebrations you used to have.

At our house in PA

At our house in PA

 

 

The Crab Shack

September
25
2013

Little Choptank Nov.5 to 7, 2011 078

 

A kind reader asked me to show you around the inside of the “Crab Shack.”  You’ve seen the outside, and I’ve mentioned that we actually were going to build a different building, one we called the “Boat House,” modeled after the lighthouses on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  But, after all the soil testing and the modifications and the collapse of the economy, we scaled it down.  John found plans online, Katrina cottage plans, and much to our builder’s delight, we still decided to build something.  We love our little “Crab Shack,” and yet, if we had it to do over again, there would be a change or two we would make.  We don’t have room for a table and chairs, so we would probably push the front of the building out maybe four more feet, giving us room for not only the table, but a dishwasher.  It would also make the “living” room a bit bigger, and with the amount of company we sometimes have, that would be a good thing.  But for the two of us, it’s wonderful.  Have a look:

This is what you see when you walk in the front door

This is what you see when you walk in the front door

 

When Thom, our builder, first painted the place, he called us and said we should come down and take a look at it.  He thought the color might be too dark.  So we took a trip down, looked at each other and said, “It’s perfect!”

As you first walk in, the kitchen is to your right.

As you first walk in, the kitchen is to your right.

While we were looking at tiles for the backsplash (and bathroom and fireplace) John saw these heron tiles for behind the stove and just fell in love with them.  We (as you will see) love using herons in our decorating, so these were perfect!  We had to “fit” a refrigerator into the space, we only had so much room, and we were lucky to find something that fit exactly right.  I have learned, however, that I don’t really like the freezer on the bottom!  I know it’s very popular now, and many people really like it, but I find that things get buried down at the bottom, and with “Reynauds” in my hands, rummaging around in the freezer is not my favorite thing to do.  You understand, right?  I’m going to stick with the side by side for the main house.

The "living" room is to your left when you come in the front door.

The “living” room is to your left when you come in the front door.

 

We had this couch, chair and coffee table from our place in Pennsylvania, but we think it goes pretty well here.  We had Thom make the TV stand to fit right in between the windows and we bought the leather chair and ottoman because it was a smaller profile and fit in that space so well.

When we first started building, we decided John would do most of the “decorating” of the Crab Shack, and I would do the house.  We both wound up making the decisions, but the Crab Shack does have more of a “fishing” cabin feel because of his choices.  It’s cute though, it fits the area.  The chair on this side is from my mother in law’s apartment, we also think it fits in well.

 

Looking back at front door

Looking back at front door

The stairs at the far end of the living room lead up to the loft.  Originally we thought John would use the loft as an office, plus it would also be a bedroom for guests.  We found out, however, that the reception for his phone (and therefore his internet connection through his phone) was not the best up there, and he moved his office to the room above the garage.  So now, it’s a guest room.

Heading up the stairs to the loft is the fishing wall of fame.

Heading up the stairs to the loft is the fishing wall of fame.

 

The loft area

The loft area

 

From up in the loft

From up in the loft

 

Looking down into living room.

Looking down into living room.

 

 

See our fun fan?  We first saw it at the Blue Point Restaurant at the Hyatt Resort in Cambridge, MD.  (If you’re ever around there, give it a try, the food is great!) It reminded us of boat propellers!  So we tracked it down, went to Dan’s Fan City in Laurel, MD and we think it fits in perfectly!

Okay, moving on, as you walk down the hallway, the first room after the kitchen on the right hand side is the bathroom.  When we first saw the room before it was actually built, when it was just studs, I couldn’t picture how everything would fit it!  I thought we’d be squished in the shower so that your arms would be touching all the walls!  But, small as it is, it’s got plenty of room!

Here's what the kitchen and bathroom looked like

Here’s what the kitchen and bathroom looked like

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

 

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 503

 

After the bathroom, again on the right hand side, is the mudroom/laundry room.  Thom did advise us to add to the original plans in the back part of the house, so we expanded it about 4 feet.  It gave us a bigger mudroom, and also a bigger bedroom.

Looking from the door in the hallway out to the back

Looking from the door in the hallway out to the back

 

This angle is from the back door to the door in the hallway

This angle is from the back door to the door in the hallway

And then, if you’re back in the hallway, the room on the left hand side is our bedroom.  We’re so glad Thom advised us to make it bigger.  We love waking up and being able to look out at the water. We pinch ourselves and can’t believe we were lucky enough to find and buy this property.

Looking in from the door in the hall

Looking in from the door in the hall

 

We recently purchased the artwork that is over the bed.  Again, herons.

We recently purchased the artwork that is over the bed. Again, herons.

 

Here's a closer look at the artwork.  Looks like it was just made for us!

Here’s a closer look at the artwork. Looks like it was just made for us!

Heron lamps too!

Heron lamps too!

 

Looking back to the hallway

Looking back to the hallway

 

Back deck and patio area.

Back deck and patio area.

Thank you for joining our tour of the inside of the Crab Shack.  It was the first time we built anything, and we never realized how many decisions and choices we’d have to make.  It gave us a good preview of what we’ll be doing when we start building the house next year.  I’ve read if a couple can survive building a house together, they can survive anything.  We say, bring it on!

 

Crab Shack and garage from the water.

Crab Shack and garage from the water.

Enjoy the sunset!

Little Choptank Nov 13, 14 2010 067

Looking Out My Back Door

August 7, 2013

We are spending August in Maryland, at our future (semi) retirement property.  We’re very comfy, with our garage, our dock and our “Crab Shack”, but what we don’t really have is great internet. Or even good internet.  It’s a problem down here because there isn’t enough people (a/k/a customers) to warrant internet providers installing anything like we’re used to (Fios)  – or anything at all, really.  So, it’s on our list of things to research this month because as much as we would love to have good service now, we’ll absolutely need it once we move here.  (Probably spring of next year.)  John’s job depends on it, plus really,  how could we live without it at this point!

So, all this to say, I plan on posting probably once a week until after Labor Day, and hopefully on Wednesday.  I hope you’ll visit each week, and if you have some ideas about getting good – and by good I mean fast – internet service, please let me know!  This is serious, people!

Here are some pictures of what I see from my back door….

Sunset, first day of vacation

Sunset, first day of vacation

Little Choptank 2013 H August 2 to Sept 006

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Light's fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

Light’s fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

 

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Sundown.  Or sun's down.  Sounds more grammatically correct.

Sundown. Or sun’s down. Sounds more grammatically correct.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

 

 

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

 

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

 

Aren't they cute!  If they grow, we'll plant  more.

Aren’t they cute! If they grow, we’ll plant more.

Okay, that’s it for now.  It took me two days to be able to get this post up!  So put on your thinking caps, we need some good internet ideas for rural areas.  We’re using either my Ipad hotspot, or John’s phone’s hotspot, but the service is spotty.  We could use the MiFi from Verizon, but the service would be the same as the Verizon hotspot we’re using now, I assume.  So if anyone has a Hughes Satellite, I’d be interested to hear if that’s a good option.  Thanks!

Pictures of Prague

July
10
2013

We’ve just returned from our trip to Prague and Vienna.  What beautiful cities!  Prague is like no other place.   Since it was not destroyed during the war, the buildings are all old, very, very old.    The trip was partly a business meeting for John, but then we decided to make a vacation out of it.  Here are some pictures, I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 019wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 038wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 107wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 026wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 093wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 404wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 202wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 343wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 306wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 314wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 315wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 114wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 197wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 438wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 437wtmk