Yay! It’s snowing again. Those blurry white flecks and blobs are the photographic proof. It’s not likely to amount to much today. We have a few more chances for a good snow coming up this week. Perhaps winter has finally decided to hang around for a while.
Old Blue Socks has started a Photo Meme challenge. It sounds like fun. Let me know what you’d like to know about me (favorite color, favorite food, etc.) and I’ll respond in photos. Is there something about me or my life you’d like to see in a photo? I’ll be glad to provide (as long as it’s within reason).
M and I went to visit with my parents and siblings yesterday. We had a good time, as usual, and my abdominal muscles are sore, as usual, from laughing so much. It’s great to be able to see my family this often. My mother commented on our way out, “I feel like I have my oldest daughter back.” I’m glad we have this opportunity to be so close and to spend so much time with family. We’re usually lucky to see them once a year or so, if that.
Today was another lazy Sunday, hanging around the apartment, doing a few chores, but mostly just relaxing. Quite enjoyable.
Note to my visitors: Since I’m currently unemployed and likely to stay that way for a little while longer, I decided to sign up as an Amazon.com associate. I don’t expect to get rich, but might make enough, over time (heh…probably a LONG time), to buy a book or two. If the commercialization bothers you or you hate the ads, please let me know. I’m test driving it and if it doesn’t work out (causes problems with viewing the site or other issues), then it doesn’t work out. I was already linking to Amazon when I mentioned books in my posts so it seemed like a good idea to at least get something from it if people are clicking the links and ordering stuff.
The books listed in my Read 50 Books Project all link there and are part of the associates plan. There’s also a search widget at the bottom of the left column.
I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to use this stuff. I just want to let you know it’s there in case, you know, you’re thinking of ordering from Amazon.
Winter stopped by last night. It’s not staying long. We have cold temperatures today on the tail end of winter’s visit, but it’s expected to warm up again tomorrow.
M and I went out to dinner with friends last night. Near the end of dinner our waitress came by to tell us it was snowing outside. When we stepped out, after the meal, it was indeed snowing. By the time M and I walked across the street to our apartment, the snow was coming down pretty heavily. Once upstairs, we looked out the window to find a blizzard going on in Sabbaticalville. It didn’t last long, only about five or ten minutes. But it did white out everything, all those millions and billions and trillions of snowflakes doing a dance over, under, and through the streets, trees, and sky.
It was a beautiful sight, especially after it calmed down enough for us to see beyond the blur of white. Sabbaticalville looks pretty dressed in white. My photos don’t do it justice, but it’s difficult to take photos at night standing on a chair at a 5th floor apartment window with no tripod to steady the camera.
I like snow. I wouldn’t mind if it had snowed for hours. Or days, as long as the power doesn’t go out.
In other news…
There really isn’t much other news. M and I have settled in finally, not going out just about every night. This is probably a good thing as money tends to flow quite quickly in the wrong direction when we go out to eat, drink and be merry on a regular basis.
We recently watched a couple of movies that we borrowed from our local library. One was Strut!, a documentary about the Mummers. Thus ends the Mummers obsession for now. I hope. It’s a good little movie and well worth seeing if you’re at all interested in the people who are the Mummers. It’s kind of funny watching all those rough, tough working class guys put on make-up, don dresses, and if they’re in the string bands, learn to dance. I spent the next few days practicing my own version of the strut, allowing my inner Mummer to play and dance.
The other was Good Night, and Good Luck. George Clooney had an axe or two to grind, but it’s still a good movie (and since my politics are somewhat similar to his, I didn’t mind the axe grinding). It reminded me of the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It prompted me to start learning a little more about both Edward R. Murrow and the McCarthy hearings.
I’m currently reading Cell by Stephen King. It’s been a while since I last read a Stephen King book. I’d forgotten how engaging (and frightening) his writing can be. I gave up on King for a while, probably right after reading Needful Things or somewhere around there. I wasn’t enjoying his books anymore and they sometimes felt forced. I picked him up again when he finally started churning out the Dark Tower books once again. I thoroughly enjoyed the Dark Tower series and was sorry to see it come to an end.
We’re off to visit my parents and siblings tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be fun and I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to be close enough to visit once a month or so. I’m going to miss that when we move back to the Bogs.
After our visit to the Conowingo Dam, M and I made our way to Havre de Grace (“Harbor of Grace”), dubbed The Duckiest Town on the Chesapeake by Southern Living Magazine. Not a bad claim to fame, I suppose. The Havre de Grace website for tourists suggests it earned this title because this small town on the waterfront makes one feel just ducky. I suspect it has more to do with decoys and duck hunting. Havre de Grace is, after all, home of the Duck Decoy Museum.
Our plan was to go to Havre de Grace for lunch, but it was close to 4:00pm by the time we got there. That’s pretty typical of us when we go hiking or birdwatching. We lose track of time. Not that it matters except we only had about an hour of daylight left at that point so we sort of rushed around to see the highlights. We had hoped to take a stroll on the promenade, but the temperature was dropping and we were getting wimpy about the cold at that point (and don’t forget hungry, we hadn’t eaten since breakfast) so we ended up driving around for a quick tour of the highlights.
There’s not a great deal to see in Havre de Grace. What I enjoyed most were the views of the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay.
And the food. We had some great crab cakes at MacGregor’s Restaurant which was on the waterfront. If you ever get to Havre de Grace, give them a try. They’re really good.
Without further ado, the photo tour of Havre de Grace…
The water was amazingly calm. The sky and water were almost the same color and might have blended together at the horizon line if the land hadn’t been there.
It really is a pretty little town. I’d like to go there again when the weather is nicer. M is ready to buy a condo and retire there. I’m all for it.
It doesn’t seem right to leave Havre de Grace without at least one photo of a duck decoy. Decoys were scattered all over MacGregor’s Restaurant. We didn’t make it to the Duck Decoy Museum this time around. Maybe next time.
Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. ~Seneca
The Conowingo Dam, built in 1926, is a large hydroelectric dam located on the lower portion of the Susquehanna River in Maryland. Interesting tidbit: The dam is named for the town of Conowingo, the original of which is now under the reservoir created by the dam. The town was relocated about a mile or so away. To learn more about the dam, visit Wikipedia’s entry: Conowingo Dam.
The primary attraction of the Conowingo Dam are the birds. Lots and lots and lots of birds. Thousands of birds. There are mostly gulls (of many varieties), some herons and ospreys, and the main attraction: the bald eagle. When the turbines of the dam are running they suck large amounts of water and, most importantly, fish through the dam providing an excellent feeding area for piscivorous birds.
If you click on the top photo, you will see lots of little white flecks. Those are birds, mostly gulls. The same is true of the next two photos.
Fortunately, the turbines were running when we got to the dam and so there were plenty of birds of various kinds to be seen. We saw several great blue herons and countless numbers of gulls.
Update on my back problems (because a few people have asked): I’m pretty much back to normal these days. After realizing I’d have to wait more than a month before our new insurance would kick in, I did a lot of research and designed an exercise program for myself that appears to have worked. I started with light weights and very short, very leisurely strolls on the treadmill. I’m now lifting 50 lbs. on the weight machines (which do a very fine job of supporting the back) and walking up to an hour on the treadmill with a top speed of 3.5 mph. Considering I couldn’t go more than 1 mph a month or so ago, I’d say that’s a vast improvement.
There are still a few exercises I’m unable to do or unable to do for long. Mostly things like reverse crunches and back extensions. Yoga is sometimes problematic, but modifications and props generally help. I get twinges of sciatica on rare occasions, usually when I’m trying to do something I shouldn’t be doing. My back often feels a little achy and tired in the evening, especially after a full day of activity. I am a long way from the horrid pain that had me depressed and barely able to move or walk or sleep for the last quarter of 2006.
In addition to exercise, I spent a lot of time icing my back and doing guided visualizations designed for healing. I’ve lost some weight too. Not a whole lot. Enough to make a difference apparently. (Actually, I’m not sure about the weight just yet because part of the Fitness Challenge I’ve been engaged in this month includes staying off the scale. I can only go by the fact that my clothing has losened.)
Today I started on the Weight Watchers Points plan, something I used a few years ago to lose the weight I’d gained when I quit smoking. Being practically crippled from pain was a big wake-up call for me. I have quite a bit of weight to lose and I’m going to use this time in Sabbaticalville to do it. All the usual excuses are gone. I have time to exercise, time to cook healthy meals, and time to take care of myself.
It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body. ~Marcel Proust
On Thursday M took off from work and we took a little daytrip to Maryland to hike on the Greenway Trail and to see the birds at the Conowingo Dam. We didn’t have the best of weather. It was cloudy and gray, a very gloomy day. The temperature stayed pretty steady, around 33-34 degrees (F). There was rain, possibly snow, and lots of wind in the forecast for the rest of the weekend. As it turned out, the gray and gloomy day was our best choice. The sun did come out on Friday and Saturday, but the wind was wicked, whistling and whipping so that the cold slices right through you. So, the gloomy day really was our best choice.
We did our hiking on the portion of the Greenway Trail that starts at the Susquehanna State Park. Had the weather been nicer, we’d have hiked from there to the dam (2.7 miles one way). About a mile into our hike we decided it was a little too chilly so we turned around and then drove up to the dam.
The hike starts near the Stafford flint furnace, a portion of which is still standing (pictured below). The best description I could find of the trail is at a mountain biking website. You can read the description here if you’re interested in more details.
Remains of the Stafford flint furnace. Stafford was once a thriving town and this is pretty much all that’s left of it. In the 1740’s, George Rock built an iron works (Rock Forge). Other furnaces, forges, mills, and industries popped up soon after. The population of the town fluctuated based on the rise and fall of the industries. At one point the town was prosperous enough to have a school and post office. Most of the town was destroyed by an ice gorge in 1904.
White flint was quarried nearby. The flint was layered into the furnace, alternating with wood, and set on fire. The heat dried out the water in the flint, causing it to crack into large pebbles. The pebbles were then ground into a powder. The powder was sent by canal to Trenton, New Jersey and used in porcelainizing pots and pans and in porcelain china.
I’ll post the photos from the Conowingo Dam tomorrow. Or sometime soon.
(All photos by Robin. 2007)