Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We dodged a Halloween bullet

We don't live that close to the ocean but hurricanes and weather events have taunted us for years--

Isabel--loss of power for 2 weeks and a large tree felled

Frances--Stuck on a cruise boat for 9 days

Derecho--loss of power for 5 days in 100 degree plus heat

And then came Frankenstorm...

Sandy--nothing - 0

Looks like we dodged a bullet when it comes to Frankenstorm.  Yes we were lucky, others not so much.  My thoughts go out to those in areas where the wrath of Sandy was not so kind.  For those in my area--this time at least we could have nicknamed her Hurricane Houdini (Honestly why can't they name hurricanes more creatively? ) since she was in and out before you knew it.

I hope that my friends and relatives in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and those closest to the coastlines have their power restored quickly and do not suffer any damages to property or self.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Waiting for Frankenstorm

Fall color earlier in the week

Today we are cleaning gutters and waiting for the anticipated Frankenstorm that is poised to strike our region tomorrow and last for a few days.  They are predicting power outages lasting several days...eek. We do have a generator but it sure didn't help during last summer's derecho. We struggled and juggled trying to keep things plugged during 100 degree plus days. After 5 days of no power I threw in the sweaty towel and hightailed it to a relative's house with power. This time, thankfully, it will be cooler.

The sad thing is that the beautiful multi colored leaves will surely be a distant memory after this week with torrential rains and (they say) gale force winds.

The stores are already out of batteries, toilet paper, and bread.  Not that I need see I always shop at Costco!  :-)

Signing out....

Crystal clear

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ouch at the apple festival!

My husband swears I channel Lucille Ball. Either that or I am channeling the unknown Murphy of Murphy’s law.  You know…"If any thing can go wrong it will."

Last weekend I thought it would be a nice idea to go to a nearby Apple Festival and although it wasn’t really my husband’s thing being the great guy he is, he readily agreed. The day was gorgeous with warm temperatures, and colorful trees to enjoy. Pretty soon the enticing aroma of kettle corn, Brunswick stews and bar-b-cue was to tempting to ignore.

I got my lunch and it included French fries.  What do you usually put on French fries but ketchup?  I reached into the basket that held the condiments and OUCH…a splinter found it’s way under my fingernail.  I tried to pull it out with my fingers but I just couldn’t get a grip. 

Then came the quest…. the hunt for the tweezers.

I went back to the cashier and asked if she had a first aid kit that had one included in it.  She enlisted the help of cooks, and cleaners but they couldn’t find it.  Then some boy scouts got involved.  Let me tell you one thing…they were NOT prepared. 

So they called the farm owner and she came down with an industrial sized first aid kit.  The stuff included in that kit was enough to supply a small hospital, but alas, a hospital with giant tweezers.  I don’t understand the need for giant tweezers unless it’s for removing olives out of a jar. They are pretty much useless for grabbing a tiny splinter peeking out from under a fingernail.  All it managed to do was push it in even further.

The owner suggested I go over to the rescue squad station and ask if they had some tweezers.  So our hunt continued.

“Over by the porta-potties.” She said 


We found the porta-potties but nothing that resembled a rescue squad station.

We finally spied an older gentlemen standing by a truck that had fire department printed on the side.  My husband asked if he knew where the rescue squad station was and he told us he was it.  So honestly it came as no surprise that he had no tweezers.  He did have a knife, however but I opted to keep all 10 fingers in tact.

I momentarily considered asking strangers who carried large purses if they included tweezers, but reconsidered when my husband said people might think I was bit loopy.

So I figured I would just tough it out and wait till I got home.  When we arrived home I went into my studio, put on my super magnifying headgear, got a fine pair of tweezers and voila…. I was splinter free.  Just for future reference, I am keeping these tweezers in my purse from now on.

Incidentally, my husband loved the apple pie.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No football, politics or poison ivy!

So the game is over, and hubby’s team lost.  I have to say he was a bit of a sore loser. Seriously now, it’s only a game!  I think he is over the initial pain of it and things are back to normal.

As I said, I don’t discuss football or politics but poison Ivy, that’s another story altogether.  Did you know that poison ivy in the fall turns gorgeously colored?  There have even been incidents where people have picked the stuff to decorate with…. and paid a price…a terrible price.

Poison Ivy

Maddy (My Jack Russell) and I walk every day on a 2-mile trail by my house.  It is peaceful (except for the cawing crows all over the place) and relaxing.

The scenery is just awesome especially in fall, even the poison ivy. 

A Halloween message from Crystal Clear…

Poison is everywhere
Ivy, in red, gold and green
Angry red bumps soon will be seen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

No football or politics

You know if you want to keep friends and sometimes even relatives there are two things you never discuss—football and politics. 

Today I am on my way to a NFL football game.  I come from a long line of football fanatics.  My two brothers, daughter, son, husband and step-kids all adore the game.  The only issue is that it ends up like the Civil war with brother against brother. 

I’m for one team (and I’m not saying which one since that would be breaking my rule even though since I’ve lived in the Washington D.C. area most of life it isn’t that hard to figure out) and my husband, stepdaughter, and in-laws are for another. 

Now, most of the time things run smoothly and we tolerate each other’s allegiance, unless of course the two teams are playing each other.  Today my husband’s team and mine are battling it out. 

Interesting to say the least. 

To be continued….

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Maryland Renaissance Fair

Last weekend hubby and I went to the Renaissance fair.  Honestly I had been to one many years ago and had fun.  My husband was a bit apprehensive and didn’t think he would like it much but being the great guy he is he went because I wanted to go. And surprise, surprise—he had a blast.

Sure there were some people there who just can’t seem to decide to which century they belong…but there were also a lot of just regular ole folks just like us. Honestly seeing the costumes that some of the people wear just adds to the fun. 

First of all let’s talk about the food…AMAZING!  Anything you can think of from steak, pork chops and chicken on a stick to bread bowls filled with soups and chili.  There are crab cakes and fish and chips and the obligatory smoked turkey legs.  And the prices are unbelievably inexpensive.  I had an amazing rack of ribs and potatoes for only $5.00!  And as soon as I finished it and new enticing aromas met me, I wished I were able to eat something else!!!

I had a frozen banana and if you’ve never had one you’ve missed a treat.  It’s kind of like ice cream but better for you…sort of.  And these bananas were fresh and you could have them any way you wanted, dipped in chocolate, caramel, butterscotch with the addition of optional toppings of which there were at least 25 choices. 

The place was huge.  And there were a lot of shows to enjoy.  We saw the skinny German juggler boy and while it sounds pretty hokey, it was absolutely hilarious!  There was just so much to do and see that personally I can see why some people go back every weekend.

Drawbacks…the line of cars to get in the place was rather long and frustrating, but that’s what happens when something is really fun.  And with all the numerous choices, there were virtually no lines for food, but the beer lines were verrrrry long.  Fortunately I don’t drink beer.

There’s two more weekends and then it’s gone till next year, so if you can I’d hop in the car and go to the fair!

Friday, October 5, 2012

San Diego’s best kept secret

Rare white Rhino

I know you are wondering to what I can be referring, but it’s something my hubby and I recently enjoyed while in California.  Yes, we visited the world famous San Diego Zoo, so we decided to check out it’s sister—San Diego Safari Park. 

What?  You say you’ve seen one zoo, you’ve seen em all?  I don’t think so.  First of all it’s kind of deceptive.  This satellite zoological park has been around for 40 years, but you may overlook it. This zoo itself sits on acres and acres of land and most of the animals live as they would in large enclosures that mimic their natural habitat.

When researching this zoo, pricing is a bit deceptive.  We almost didn’t go because I wasn’t sure that you would have anything to do but ride a tram (the least expensive option at $42.00) but I was oh so wrong.  You could spend days in this park.  Yes there is a lot of walking but most of it is wheelchair accessible and they do give discounts for AAA, seniors, and travel industry employees.  There are many other pricier options like up close adventures, and overnight stays in tents available if you desire.

As with the main zoo, they are really into conservation and while we were there we saw several African elephant rescues.  One elephant had just given birth 3 weeks prior.

A 3-week old baby elephant is just too cute for words—so I will refer to the photo.  

Oh yes, I heard you say “Awwwwww.” 

We saw rare white rhinos.  There are only 7 left in the world and two are right here in this zoo.

They have trainers that bring out various animals at specified times during the day, to educate and you will get up close photo ops. 

If you are into the environment and animals, don’t miss the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Check it out!

Monday, October 1, 2012

San Diego Zoo

California condor

I continue my-- sort of—travel log because when you travel you learn things and I like to share what I learn.

One of our goals in vacationing in southern California was to visit the world famous San Diego zoo.  If you visit the zoo you will walk, and walk and of course, walk some more.  I set my pedometer when I entered and shut it off halfway through the day at 6 miles, much of which was uphill.  Nothing wrong with exercise, but I just thought I would warn those who have trouble with walking a lot.  

The thing that impressed me about this zoo is their focus on conservation and saving endangered animals.  And they don’t only talk the talk; they walk the walk (there is that word again) because they use utensils that are biodegradable, compostable and made out of potatoes.  Can you believe that?  Potatoes!  And they look just like those plastic ones that will still be around littering the landscape when we are all dust.

If you visit the zoo don’t miss the California condor, which has gone from 175 left in the world to over 400 and are now being re-introduced into the wild.  Bravo San Diego Zoo!  

We visited in late September and the temperatures were almost 100 degrees and surprisingly quite humid.  It stayed pretty hot the whole week and here I was led to believe that California was always a very comfortable temperature all year round.  This heat rivaled any Virginia summer to I guess I won't believe everything I'm told from now on.  Be sure to hydrate and bring your sun block!  At over $40 per admission the San Diego Zoo is a bit more expensive than most zoos but they do offer senior, AAA, and travel industry discounts, and after all the zoo itself is non-profit so you can feel good about spending your cash here.  Well, as good as you can when spending hard earned cash.  :-)  If haven't had enough animal interaction...well I'm talking about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park later this week, so stay tuned!

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