Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tales from the 'Hood: WTF?

So you all know my Yemenese neighbors - the ones with the 11 children who can't figure out where to park their cars? Thankfully there have been no car related incidents since that one night. Now we have a different issue. Food. Or garbage. Or garbage that is food.

My back gate doesn't close all the way. No matter what I do it just doesn't close. It needs to be fixed. That however falls in the category of "landscape" which I don't do.

The dog however, can fit through the gap in the fence and get out. I need to fatten her up.

A few weeks ago she'd been out in the yard for a long time so I got up and looked out - of course it's night and the light bulb on the outside light is burned out (I know just replace it....well it's always night when I realize it doesn't work and I can't see to replace it!!!!!) so I use the flashlight that I keep conveniently on my desk for this purpose. I scan the yard with the light. No dog. I figure that she has gotten out. So I get my shoes and traipse out to find her.

I find her in the Yemenese neighbors yard happily munching on what looks to be leftovers of some type in an aluminum baking pan (like you'd cook a large turkey in) that was sitting on the ground next to the trash can. I grabbed her collar and hauled her back into our yard, cursing the neighbors because I knew that when whatever she ate didn't agree with her, I'd be the one cleaning up the mess. To add icing to the cake I stepped in dog poop on my way back into the house.

At the time I'd assumed that whatever was in the pan was there because it was close to their trash can and it was likely going to be disposed of on the next trash day. Luckily for me Daisy digested whatever she ate just fine and didn't make a larger than normal mess in the basement.

A few weeks have gone by, Daisy has gone out and come back and not attempted to go over there again. In fact several times I think she has "gotten lost" in the back yard as I would shine the light and she'd be standing in the middle of the yard looking confused and then come right to the door to be let in. I figured that she could no longer find the fence to locate the gate to get out. Good deal.

Well, tonight she escaped. I got my shoes and my flashlight and went after her. Again I find her in the neighbors from Yemen's yard. Again eating out of a large aluminum baking pan (like you'd cook turkey in) right on the ground, right by the trash can, oh and trash day was yesterday no more trash pick-up till Tuesday. I took a pretty good look at the contents this time. The pan was full. I mean full. Not scraps left after cooking. Full, like ready to be served. It had piles of what looked like pulled chicken or maybe pulled pork (oh wait, they are Muslim, no pork). Whatever it was Daisy was eating like a Gillian's Island castaway. I grabbed her collar and hauled her home.

So WTF? Why in the world do these people with 11 children leave a huge pan of meat out in the yard? If they must throw away that much meat, why do they just put it on the ground? Why not in a handy dandy trash bag (They shop at Costco, I have seen them come home with their haul....Costco sells trash bags)? Or in the giant "take to the curb" trash can that was sitting right by it. And why can't they wait until closer to trash day to put it out? It's Saturday trash will be picked up again Tuesday - that's 3 days. If they must simply leave the meat on the ground (maybe it's a Muslim thing?), why can't they at least put it on the deck (which is what the rest of the neighborhood does with our trash cans) so animals can't get to it. Ok that just keeps big animals out....raccoons and squirrels are a different story. If my ancient, blind, can't-find-her-own-food-dish-some-days dog can locate it and get to it through the tiny little opening in the gate, what other pests is this inviting? WHY? WHY? WHY?

I guess it makes my overgrown weeds in the backyard look good.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Day at the Beach`

I needed a getaway. I needed to go somewhere fun. I wanted to go play outside. Unfortuently, it's October and that means one thing - ragweed. Outdoor activities are pretty much out, until we get our 1st freeze, which usually occurs mid-Nov (ugh.). I'd read somewhere that the beach was pollen free. I wasn't sure I believed that but the beach is only 3 1/2 hours away and if I could enjoy a day outside it was certainly worth it.

I decided that I'd go out to Assateague Island National Seashore, even though it's quite possibly the furthest beach from my house! I was thinking that it would be a good opportunity to get another stamp in my passport and it would be more "outdoorsy" than the beaches at Rehoboth and Ocean City.

I'd thought if I left home by 7 or 8am I could be at the beach by lunch, I could stay until 4 or 5 and get home by 8 or 9pm. I was a bit nervous about driving back over unfamilar roads (in the rural sameness of Delaware and Maryland!) after dark. I left home at 8:00, a bit nervous about the long drive and the possibility of feeling miserable on the drive back. I stopped to get gas and it was 15cents cheaper than it had been the last time I got gas, so I took that as a good sign! And then when I stopped at a Royal Farms (kinda like Sheetz or WaWa) in Seaford, DE and saw that gas there was $2.99 I knew it was a sign! :)

I arrived at Assateague about 11:45 (exactly 3 1/2 hours after I left the gas station in Lake Ridge!) and went to the visitor center - got my passport stamped and got a map. I then headed out across the bridge and on to the island. I drove to the furtherest point I could then got out and walked the beach. I enjoyed a picnic on the beach and walked about a mile down the beach and back. There weren't that many people there - most people were surf fishing and had driven their cars on to the beach (over sand vehicles are allowed at the far end of the park). There was also a bunch of horseback riders.

The pictures below are a bit out of order, I uploaded them to blogger not realizing that it was putting the new ones on top!), but I hope you enjoy....

The requsite "sign" picture!

There are 2 "trails" on this portion of the island, a dunes trail and a forest trail. This was taken on the forest trail that lead to an obersavtion tower over the bay and the marshes. This lone egret was hanging out quite a distance away - Iwasn't sure if it was a bird or a bouy with the naked eye!

A view of the bay and the marsh from the top of the observation tower.

This is a different egret. There was a place where you could walk out on the marsh and people could go crabbing and clamming and this egret was sitting all by herself (himself?) in the middle of a piece of land pretty far from the parking area. I walked out there and she/he put on quite a show - I got pretty close (but I still had to use the zoom to get this picture!) and he/she didn't make any moves to fly away.

There are 2 main parking areas for beach access - this is at the north beach area, not close to where the cars can drive on the beach. In the distance you can see the big hotels at Ocean City. Also the beach further north is much more crowded than the beach where I was - there is a Maryland State park on Assateague, I'm guessing that their day use fee is lower than the National Parks which is why more people were there. That's fine with me! :) This was along the road into the park - there are 7 white birds in this picture - I'm guessing they are the same egrets that I'd seen at the marsh.

The other trail is a trail through the dunes - each trail is about 1/2 -3/4 miles. This trail was very hard to walk on because the trail bed was soft sand!

These yellow flowers were everywhere at the southern beach access point. They were all over the dune trail too. I didn't see them at all on the bay/marsh side of the island.

In the middle of the dunes trail there was a little observation platform. You can see the ocean lust above the trees.

Some footprints in the sand. I'm not sure what animal made them.

A very cool butterfly on the plentiful yellow flowers!

Assateague is famous for it's wild ponies! I saw a few "herds" - they might have been all the same poines though - along the road.

There were only a few birds on the shore - mostly gulls - this one is probably a gull, but he/she looks different from the other gulls.

Looking north up the beach from the southern beach acess point. You can see the car on the beach and the fishing gear. The ocean water was warm and just before I left the beach I put my daypack down and waded into the surf. Not exactly swimming but I was throughly wet when I was done! It was fun, until I had to walk all the way back across the beach and I was wet and the sand stuck to me like glue!

On the way back the sun was shining though the clouds and it created this cool rainbow in the cloud!

This shot was taken from the bay bridge as I was zooming across! I was grateful that I'd made it though the trick ruralness of DE/MD before it got dark (from the bridge home is easy -50 to 495 to 95), and now I know the way so next time I go out there I can stay later and drive home in the dark.

I stopped for dinner in Annapolis and got home about 8:30. It was a wonderful day! I spent 5 hours outside and had no allergy symptoms! The beach seems like it's a good "pollen free" day trip location! I think next time I may explore Cape Henlopen and Rehoboth beach area since it's about 20 miles closer!

The New Adventures of an Old Chair

Most of my furniture is "mid-century hand-me-down", which I got basically for free from my parents and grandmothers. A few years ago when my grandmother moved into assisted living and we sold her house, I inherited her dining room set and matching end tables, coffee table and rocking chair. The rocking chair had a cushion that was covered in an itchy green, gold and orange plaid fabric - a fabric that fit perfectly with the "mid-century" decor that my grandmother had going on, but it clashed horribly with my slipcovers. In addition, I was certain that the cushion was crawling with dust mites and other nastiness. I removed the cushion from the chair and put it in a garbage bag so I could take it to Calico Corners and get a new cushion made.

I'd looked for some fabric to cover it with and had a hard time because everything I liked was a stripe and I already had 2 different stripes in the room. Then I thought about getting rid of the old couch and getting a new one, which would mean I could get the new cushion with a stripe. I was stymied.

This summer I finally decided that I would just go to Calico Corners, pick a fabric and be done with it. When mom and dad were visiting at the end of July mom and I went to Calico Corners and picked out a lovely yellow micro-suede fabric that goes with the decor now and would go with whatever else I decided to do.

The new cushion arrived last week and it looks great! :) The new cushion should be good for another 50 or more years!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Really? Are you Serious? FIX IT!!!!!!

This video makes me think of my kids - all day I say things like "really?" and "are you serious?" and I'd love to yell "FIX IT" in reference to annoying behavior that continues despite consequences. Enjoy!