Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Again

The scene on Saturday night outside Marthas, once the snow had stopped 

We were tucked up inside, warm and cozy, well fed and watered.  I retired to my upstairs parlor and watched a movie. The Dark Knight- Batman, with a very scary Joker played by Heath Ledger.  Sunday morning we woke to bright sunshine and clear skies.  After a fine breakfast of waffles, turkey bacon and baked bananas, I swept the 4-5 inches of snow off the car and bid a farewell to my kind hosts.  Heading out, the roads were still a bit snowy but passable and I ventured forth across the tall bridge and out to Bogue Banks and Fort Macon.

Fort Macon is a state park with a brand new visitor center.  I spent more time exploring than I thought I might, I checked out the beach, so strange with snow covered dunes.  In the visitor center I watched the film about the forts history, built in 1823 and occupied by both confederate and union soldiers during the Civil War and US troops during WWII.  They had a great exhibit about the first doctor at the fort who was also an ornithologist and wrote one of the first comprehensive bird guides of the southeast.  There was also an exhibit on barrier islands that included models of all the rails and buttons you could push to hear the clacking, raspy calls of each species.  Then I toured the fort proper, a fascinating 5 sided structure with a mote and inner courtyard.  More exhibits there of how the soldiers lived during various periods.  If you're ever out that way I recommend a visit.

I then headed down island to the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium and checked out the fishes there.  My favorite display was probably the three otters, busily swimming and playing round and round and round their space.  I hate to see them captive, but they seemed pretty happy.  I could watch them for hours.  The rest of the displays were less exciting to me for some reason, perhaps because they are so similar to those at the Fort Fisher Aquarium where I visited last year and which I think has bigger better tanks and slightly more modern exhibits.  But I did enjoy it and really liked watching all the kids checking it out, they are so filled with wonder when they can get right up to the glass and watch the big fish swim by.  Adults become big kids too as they put their hands into the touch tanks to feel the backs of the rays and skates as they zip by.

Finished with all there was to see at the aquarium and happy to have completed 5 hours of coastal site visits for my EE certification I headed out to walk the beach before getting into the car for the 4 hour trip home.  Save one woman playing with her dog I had the whole snowy beach to myself.  It wasn't too windy or cold and the ocean was very calm.  It was great to just walk and watch the sky and water for a while.

I was tired when I finally arrived home about 8 PM and was so happy to sleep in my own bed again with my babe by my side.  More weather is predicted for this week, this winter may well go down as one of the snowiest ever.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snow Angel Part II, Beaufort

Sexy chile pepper on the porch at Cousins, Hunka hunka burnin' love?

The forecast said flurries today at the coast, but what we have is 4-5 inches coming down out there!  Not exactly what I had in mind for my weekend at the coast.  I am going with the flow though.  I am so glad that I decided to take a room at a quirky B&B I found on-line called Cousin Martha's.  Actually it's  Elmo and Martha and they are purveyors of spices as well as rooms, the most famous blend is Satan's Breath which I have yet to taste, but I might be here longer than I planned.... it was the picture of Martha sitting in a front yard of what looked like wild mustard in bloom that sold me on this place, and now that I am literally snowed in I am especially glad not to be sitting in some sterile Hampton Inn over in Morehead City by myself.  Instead, I'm in a tropical parlor with gecko green throw rugs and chair, blue, white, yellow and green striped sofa's and nautical blue and yellow throw pillows. There is something insanely perfect about the dichotomy of beach house decor inside and snow mounting up outside.  Martha has already started plying me with wine and Elmo is in the kitchen whipping up something for our supper as there is no place open for me to go to dinner even if I wanted to go out and brave the cold and snow.

I did venture out earlier this afternoon and this was the scene. Boats in the snow. 

Not much was open and after a good cup of coffee I headed back here for a luxurious hot soak in my fish themed bathroom.  Then I lay for a long while in my bed, gazing lazily out the window at the snow coming down against the backdrop of the pink house next door. I felt like I was inside a snow globe, the wind and currents blowing between the two houses making it a very active snowfall, sometimes floating down, other times swirling, often a white out when a big gust blew snow off the rooftops and into the wind tunnel between the two buildings.  Now I'm energized, drinking red wine and writing, I think Martha and I might be boogying before the night is through!

Absolutely NO risk of diving in Beaufort today

My course for EE was cut short by the storm, we let out at noon today and as a result I will have to do some homework, which I should think of doing now, but it's become another snow day and you just can't focus on serious things on a snow day, you have to play, you have to be a snow angel.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Angel

A favorite spot along one of our creek ways, there is always water in this stone pool

My friends I have abandoned you once again!  But here I am with a thought or two to share.  I did start writing group again last week and it was wonderful to put pen to paper again.  So funny, that morning I woke and thought to myself  "today I will become a writer again" and then immediately laughed following that thought with this one "I'm always a writer, I just don't write!"  But that is an old, old situation for every person involved in any artistic endeavor, the struggle to produce, focus, create.  PUT IT OUT THERE.

So I thought I would share something that I wrote in class last week.  An except generated by the prompt:

"Snow Angel"
For many seasons our father bought us a new toboggan at Christmas, we always destroyed it within a month or so taking too much "air", cramming too many bodies on board.  Eventually he stopped investing.  But one of those cold Connecticut Januaries I remember the boys took me sledding at night, to the golf course near our house, out with the big kids, all of us piled on board and when we crashed at the bottom I got pitched into a deep drift.  There, under the soft white womb, I could hear muffled voices, laughing, other kids screaming as they flew down the steep hill.  I could see a glimpse of night sky through the opening created by my little body when it flew off the sled into the snow.  I felt a strange calmness there, insulated and warm, calling out in a tiny voice "help, help me, I'm in here".  Soon the boys found me, pulling me up and out, joking, jostling, dragging me back up the hill for another ride, more running, jumping aboard, flying down, tumbling off at the bottom of the slope.  All of us on the toboggan, me squeezed between the boys, shrieking as we flew down the hill, again and again, safe in the sandwich of bodies that was me and my brothers, my protectors, my knights in padded armor. 

This weekend I'm heading to the coast for a brief retreat and focus on work towards my certificate in Environmental Education.  I'll be taking the computer and hope to post from there.  Thanks all you faithful readers for continuing to come back for more.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year

Once again the snow is swirling down, though I don't believe we are going to get much accumulation this time, and that is really fine with me.  The chickadee's and titmice are zooming in and out to the feeders on all sides, punctuated occasionally by a downy or red-bellied woodpecker or now and then a pine or yellow-rumped warbler pops over for a bit of suet.

My sister-in-law inquired why I hadn't been posting to the blog, not much worth saying was my main answer, that and trying to get busy with the tasks of a new year, planning my life and work for the next few months, trying to get my house in order literally and figuratively.  January often finds me with the sensation of having time on my hands but in reality having lots to do, and there is a conflict that can develop in this situation.

But I am trying to get rolling on 2011 and plan so that spring does not sneak up on me as it is want to do and catch me unready for all the chores and projects both home and work related that pop up when the growing season gets underway.

I've also been more than a little preoccupied with creating a new physcial me, not even because of the new year, this actually began after thanksgiving when the excess flesh hanging on me reached a critical mass and I realized something must be done.  So I've been exercising like crazy, starting with weight lifting every morning and then walking or swimming as many days as I can muster which seems to be about 5 per week.  Top that off with a pilates or yoga class a couple of times a week and this woman has been spending 1.5 to 2 hours a day exercising.  Add to that constant monitoring of what's going into the mouth and it starts to feel like a full time job in and of itself!

But progress has been made with the loss of 5.5 pounds and several inches in key areas namely bust, belly and hips, 2 inches gone from each, I'm vanishing as I write and I like it.  Yeah me.  And here we are again with another boring post about my personal life that no one in particular is probably interested in.  Sorry about that, and therefore, as mentioned before- I've not been posting a whole lot lately as I'm very internally focused.  Perhaps the tide will turn, I'm returning to work with my good old writing teacher Carol Henderson this week after a long hiatus, this time in a different group and a different format, perhaps this will get me back onto producing something interesting again.

Until then, stay tuned as my brother would say.  Speaking of which- I must give him a shout having completed his birders big year with a total of 704 species seen in the lower 48 over the course of a grueling 12 months.  Check him out here.  He is one of only about 14 people who have ever seen more than 700 birds in a single year in the US.  You go buddy.