Greetings from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

(What we left behind.)

Early yesterday morning M and I went to the airport (where we witnessed an army of snow plows clearing the runways and airplane parking spaces which probably have a name but I don’t know what it is) to leave behind scenes such as you see above so we could enjoy scenes such as this:

(This morning’s view from our balcony.)

We were watching a local weather report on a local news program last night and the weatherperson was saying that a cold front will be moving through on Tuesday.  She showed the usual temperature chart of what the week ahead will look like.  The temperatures after the cold front moves through will be in the low 70’s.  For native Floridians, I reckon that’s cold.  For us northerners, who just came from the Land of Constant Snows, low 70’s is balmy.  It’s the sunshine, though, that really makes it great.

A note about the photos

I’m posting the unedited versions which means that occasionally, when I didn’t sight things just right, The Blob will appear.  Regular visitors to Life in the Bogs will know this is a speck of dust on the camera sensor and it’s not worth the expense for me to have it cleaned.  If all goes as planned, I will have a new camera sometime in April of this year.  It takes a lot of saved pennies to buy a new camera.

Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock

Being a woman used to northern climes, I usually find myself with a sunburn after our first day in the sunny south.  It happened in New Orleans last year when we arrived there early in the day only to find we couldn’t check into our hotel yet so we walked around the French Quarter on a beautifully sunny day where I quickly burned to an outrageous shade of red because I failed to apply sunblock when we left the cold and cloudy Bogs at four o’clock in the morning.

It was dark, cloudy, and rainy when we arrived in Florida late yesterday afternoon.  The dark, cloudy, rainy conditions were part of a front that caused us to have a bumpy ride during the last part of our flight.  (Have I ever mentioned that I’m afraid of flying?)  No worries as far as the sun was concerned.

But today dawned clear and sunny.  When we went out for a morning walk on the beach, I slathered on the sunblock the way someone of my paleness needs to.  A little later we showered and went out to do some shopping.  We’re renting a condo with a full kitchen so we needed to pick up some groceries.  The nearest grocery store is a mile from the resort and we are once again on a no-car vacation.  There is a free shuttle bus that circles around town, but we’re working on becoming fit and strong so we walked.

I forgot the sunblock.  I also got lucky.  No sunburn so far.  The walk took us through sun and shade.  It wasn’t until we left the store that I realized my face was the only part of the exposed bits of me that was protected (daytime moisturizers all seem to come with a built-in sunblock these days).

Where to eat and where not to eat

We had dinner last night at the Village Pump which is the bar/pub part of the Village Grille. Our waitress was cheerful, friendly, and fun.  The food was fresh, tasty, and wonderful.  We started with seafood appetizers and had salads as our main course.  It was a mixed-greens fest for us and we enjoyed every bit of it.

Today M and I had lunch at the Sea Ranch Diner near the grocery store.  Bad idea.  M ordered the lasagna and I ordered the stuffed pepper.  Both were lunch specials.  Both arrived cold.  And mine had some “off” flavors to it (I can’t think how to describe it other than musty, moldy, and not good).  The ladies restroom is badly in need of a good cleaning.  There is an ugly mold growing around the sinks and the smell was… not good.

It does seem to be a popular place.  It was packed and most people were eating breakfast.   Perhaps we would have done better if we’d ordered omelets.

(Tonight’s sunset.)


The sun is setting, the hockey game is over (which is what brought us indoors), and the full moon will be rising soon.  I’d better spend a few minutes looking up how to photograph the moon.  It seems I’ve forgotten how to do it.  I tried last night and it didn’t turn out well.

We spent our afternoon outdoors.  M went for a swim in the ocean.  I sat on the pool deck and read a book.  It’s a bit chilly for swimming although M insists the water is warmer than the air and thus, not unpleasant.  I may go for a dip in Mother Ocean tomorrow.  Today I was satisfied with some time in the hot tub.

Circus Animals

(Bella the Balancing Cat.)

Life has been keeping me fairly busy here in the Bogs.  It’s been mostly the domestic sort of stuff.  You know, cleaning house, doing laundry, organizing things.  But it’s not all work and no play.  We went out with friends on Tuesday and had a great time.  We also had some good food at the new Thai restaurant in Akron —  Cilantro Thai & Sushi which, I see, is getting some bad reviews mostly about the service.  Their website doesn’t work so I won’t bother with a link.

Our experience was somewhat similar to the last two reviewers here.   The hostess greeted us with “Do you have reservations?”  I said no and that seemed to throw her (and a few other staff members) for a small loop, as if they weren’t sure what to do or how to seat five of us without a reservation.  The hostess made a phone call (to the manager, I assume) who (I’m guessing) told her which table to move and where to put it.  There were plenty of empty tables so I’m not sure what the big deal was.  They moved a table from the front (near the window) to near the door where we came in.

After that the service was decent and fairly friendly.  We ordered hot green tea which was, unfortunately, tepid.  Even after we asked them to warm it up it was still tepid.  The Thai food was good and the spiciness was about right (I ordered my dish — a spicy Thai tofu with vegetables — with a spiciness of 3 on a scale of 0 to 5).  I don’t know about the sushi since I didn’t try it.  I’d go back again but probably more out of convenience (because we happened to be in the area) than because I liked the place.  I prefer Thai Gourmet in Stow.  The service is better, the tea is hot, the food is excellent, and they don’t become confused and have to make phone calls if we walk in without a reservation.

Like millions of other people, we have been watching the Winter Olympics.  We don’t have cable television service so we have limited options as far as television viewing goes.  Sometimes we catch up online with things we want to see and weren’t able to stay up for or were not being shown on the main NBC network.  The athletes are inspiring and I could use all the inspiration I can get when it comes to my healthy living project of trying to become a stronger and fitter me.

(Red-shouldered hawk doing a balancing act.)

Yesterday while we were eating lunch we had four hawks come by, one of which caught something (it looked like a mole or vole).  They put on quite a show, flying around and balancing on the tops of trees.  It was nice of them to provide us with some lunchtime entertainment.  The smaller birds didn’t appreciate the visit.  The feeders, normally hopping with visitors, were empty until the hawks moved on to other territory.

The snow is back.  It never really left.  We had some melting earlier in the week but there was still a good foot or so of snow on the ground even after the rain.  We’re under a winter storm warning until 4pm tomorrow with snowfall totals of 6-12 inches (more in snowbelt regions) being predicted.

(Last night’s view of the pond.)

And that, folks, is about it from the Bogs for now.

(Izzy getting ready to do a flying leap from the laundry table.)

Happy 101.2

Time to finish this project.   If you missed it, you can find the first part here.

6. Books

I’ve been an avid and voracious reader since I learned to read.  Reading is my all-time favorite past-time.  I carry a book with me pretty much everywhere.  It comes in handy for those times when I have to wait (in line, for someone, etc.).

7. Yoga

Yoga and meditation keep me on an even keel.  A good yoga workout makes me sweat while simultaneously relaxing and rejuvenating me.

8. Hiking and walking

Walking and hiking are my two favorite forms of exercise, especially hiking.  This is a good time to mention that I’m doing well with my walking mileage goal for the year.  The total so far:  204.99 miles.

9. Spending time with family

Whether we hang out at home or go somewhere to do something, I always enjoy time with my family.  Having grandchildren to spend time with is icing on the cake, with a cherry and whipped cream on top.

10. Pedicures

My feet deserve the occasional treat after all the hiking and walking they do, and nothing spoils them quite as well as a good, relaxing pedicure.  And my feet look pretty, too.

I tried to take a photo of my feet in the snow after the pedicure I had yesterday but none of the photos turned out well.  I made several attempts before deciding there is no way to make my feet look good when they’re turning blotchy and blue from the frigidness of the snow.  Plus the color I picked this time looks lovely in the sunlight, not so lovely in the snow.  The cropped version above is the best I can do (since it doesn’t show too much of the blotchy blueness).

I’m supposed to pass this award on to ten other bloggers, but I’m going to wimp out and nominate everyone on my blogroll as I think you all deserve an award.  Feel free to pick it up and do your own list of ten things you like.  🙂

Happy 101

Meredith over at La Maison Charmante nominated me for this blog award.  While I appreciate and think all awards given to me are special, this one is very special because Meredith is my daughter-in-law.  Given the stereotyping of the mother-in-law, I think it’s pretty sweet to be given this award.  Thank you, Merdi!

I have a link to Meredith’s blog over to the right (and, as you can see, a few links within this post).  If you’re interested in design, fashion, and weddings (especially weddings!), visit Meredith at La Maison Charmante.  It is a charming and delightful blog to visit.  Meredith has excellent taste.  Not that I’m biased or anything.

There are, as with most blog awards, a few strings attached.  In order to accept this award, I have to list ten things that I like and pass the award along to ten other blogs.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, ten things that I like.  I’ve left out people because, well, I babble enough when it comes to listing ten things.  Imagine what I’d do if I started writing about the wonderful people in my life.

1. Paczki!

I like all kinds of food but right now paczki are high on the list.  That’s because I don’t often eat fried dough and sugar.  But paczki’s are my once-a-year exception to my no-donuts lifestyle.  Regular visitors might remember that paczki show up here on my blog once a year on or around Fat Tuesday which is the only time of the year you can buy these marvelous confections.  (You can read last year’s Paczki post here.)  My Nana (father’s mother) was Polish and paczki are one of several traditionally Polish foods that I like (but don’t often indulge in).

M came home with our yearly dose of paczki last night.  I had a lemon paczki last night and a raspberry paczki after lunch today.  The raspberry are by far my favorite.  Perhaps I’ll try the apricot next year.

The other reason paczki are front and center at the moment is because I’ve been a good girl, eating healthy and exercising, mostly refraining from junk food, fatty foods, processed foods, sweets, and alcohol (the word “mostly” being included because it’s good for a body to indulge moderately once in a while and I have allowed myself that much).  I have lost 15 lbs. since I started this new quest at the end January.  Food is not my usual reward (in fact, I’ll be having my real reward on Friday — a pedicure).

(See what I mean about babbling?  And I’m only at #1!)

2. The Four Seasons

No, not the band, the hotel, the restaurant, or Vivaldi’s composition (although all are nice).  Spring, summer, fall, and winter.

One of the things I like about living in northeast Ohio is that we experience four distinct seasons.  We have the extremes of winter (ice, snow, cold) and summer (heat, humidity, insects) along with some moderateness in the spring and fall.  Spring and fall have their extremes, too, in color and sometimes in weather when ushering in or out the season before or after it.

3. Finishing a project

It’s often easy to start something but not always so easy to finish (unless you’re left with little choice but to finish or live with the mess you created when you started).  Some things, though, are fun to both start and finish.

4. Photography

You probably saw that one coming.  I’ve enjoyed photography as a hobby for a long time.  For a little while I thought I’d try my hand at it as a business but have come to realize that there is more enjoyment in it for me as a hobby.  As a hobby, I do it for myself; sometimes for others but mostly for myself.

5. Travel

And adventure, of course!  But maybe not too much in the way of adventure.  As with most things, moderation is good.

I have a jambalaya to make (this being Fat Tuesday and all) so I’ll to finish this up tomorrow.  It’s off to the kitchen with me where I get to do something else I like:  Cook.

Another piece of the puzzle

I’m pretty certain I could finish the puzzle this afternoon if I wanted to take the time to do it.  Sometimes it’s nice to drag things out for a little while.  Besides, M might want to help with the finishing pieces and he’s at work right now.  The puzzle has been a work of partnership.  I don’t want to deprive my partner of the satisfaction of finishing.

It’s snowing again here in the Bogs.  Big surprise, eh?  No, I suppose it isn’t a surprise at all given this is northeastern Ohio.  What is surprising is that the east coast folks (my family in New Jersey, for instance) have had more snow this winter than we have.  Nor’easters out-snow the Great Lakes snow machine every time.  At least that’s been the case this season.

We’re supposed to get anywhere from 3 inches to up to 12 inches.  It depends on how fast the low moves through and whether or not we get hit with the back side of it once it meets up with the low to the east and turns into a nor’easter.  It’s time to look into renting or buying some snowshoes.  I hear snowshoeing is great exercise, burning as many calories per hour as cross-country skiing.  I imagine you don’t move as quickly as you do on the skis, though.

M and I went for a drive (to take care of some errands) yesterday around sunset and ended up out by Quail Hollow State Park.  It was a pretty evening, peaceful with the quiet that blankets the land along with the snow.  Every once in a while we would hear someone out in the woods hiking or snoeshowing or cross-country skiing.

(The manor at Quail Hollow State Park.)

We didn’t stay long.  Just long enough for me to snap a few photos.  We went home to watch the remains of the sunset.

(Back at the ranch.)

A programming note:  I’ve been playing around with using black and white for some of my snow and ice photos.  I’ll be posting some of them at Bountiful Healing once in a while.   Join me over there if you’re interested.

Hoes and hoars

(The pond at sunrise this morning.)

We woke up this morning to find the outdoors had been turned into a winter wonderland.  Everything not already covered with snow had a coating of hoar frost.  The camera couldn’t quite capture it in the dawn light.  It looked a little like a giant came by and dusted everything with pink and purple confectioners sugar.

I thought about going out to take some photos.  I checked the thermometer and it was registering the temperature as 0.2 degrees (F).  It’s not easy to make yourself go out into that kind of cold first thing in the morning, before the morning tea and breakfast.  So, I didn’t.  I put on my exercise clothes and hopped on the treadmill for a while, working up a nice sweat.

A little while later, as I was eating breakfast, I was staring out at the view of the pond thinking I really should bundle up and go out to take some photos.  I thought about it some more and took a few more shots from indoors.

That is when it occurred to me that I am a wimpy photographer.  What’s a little cold weather if you’re looking for a good shot?  To be honest, my photography has been uninspired lately.  My camera is failing and some creativity is required to accommodate the problems with it and there are times when I get tired of trying to work around the blob or the inability of the camera to focus or deal with whatever its latest tricks happen to be.

It wasn’t the wimpiness that drove me outdoors, though.  It was the next thought.  The thought that if I’m not willing to bundle up to go outside and admire the beautiful and temporary exhibit Mother Nature put on for us this morning, then I must be old.  Not getting old.  Already old.

(Snow on the roof.)

Well, that did it.  I was going outside, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  By that time the temperature was up to a balmy 14 degrees and the sun was shining brightly on the Bogs.  I layered and layered.  I put on two pairs of thick socks.  I wore a face mask and a hat along with the hood from my winter coat.  I wore gloves with mittens over them.  When I went out on Saturday I wore just the gloves and my fingers were nearly frozen by the time I came back inside.  I find mittens keep my hands warmer than gloves but I can’t operate the camera while wearing mittens.  Doubling up that way turned out to be a good idea.  My fingers stayed warm and toasty, and it was easy enough to slip off the mittens when necessary.

The hoar frost made everything glisten and sparkle in the sunlight.  It was worth trudging around in the snow, going from one part of the property to the next just to see  what I could find.  There are a lot of deep drifts around the property, some almost up to my waist.  It’s good exercise walking around in snow like that.  Someday I’ll invest in snowshoes.  This is the perfect kind of snow for them.

(Old garden hoe now serving as a fence post.)

One of the prettiest spots on the property is the garden area.  The frost looked like lace covering the delicate asparagus fronds.

(Frosted female asparagus ferns.)

Another round of snow will be arriving tomorrow.  We’re under a winter weather advisory until Wednesday.  If some of those drifts get any higher, I won’t be able to trudge through them.

P.S.  Pardon the play on words in the title.  I couldn’t resist.  I trust you understand why now that you’ve gotten past the garden photos.


February snow

(This morning’s view of the barn.)

We had our first good snowstorm of the year last night.  It was pretty amazing, watching all that snow pour down from the sky.  The wind was whipping pretty good, too.

(After the plowing.)

We got about 2 feet of snow all together, with drifts up to 4 feet.  I went out for a little while to take some pictures.  It was too cold to stay out for very long.  Sunny, beautiful, but below-freezing cold.

(Barny, the barn cat.)

(Looking through the branches of one of the pine trees.)


(M trying to use the sled as a snowboard.)

He wasn’t really trying to use it as a snowboard.  The snow is so deep that the sled just sinks into it instead of sliding over it.  Perhaps tonight when things freeze up a bit the sled will do what it’s supposed to do.