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Archive for the ‘Out of Town’ Category

cheese shop candy

What do dogs, health food and beer have in common?

A day in the outside world with son and youngest grandgirl.   (Two more grandgirls are also  expected here this week).

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Knowing how much Bill and I wish for a four-legged friend, our son and grandgirl took us on a dog search at PetSmart in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Every Saturday from 10AM to 2:00PM various foster people bring available rescue dogs there for open air viewing and visitations.

How exciting and sometimes sad it was to meet and greet all the homeless canines available.  Many were being adopted quickly and of course I fell in love with one.

“Paddy” is a big dog in a 20 pound body – an Aussie/Sheltie mix with the most intelligent adorable face.  He seemed as calm as could be in the face of maniacal barking all around him and sat by my feet allowing me to stroke his sweet head.

Even so, I was advised that Australian Shepherds are extremely high energy and difficult and I took the handler at her word. The message was that Paddy needs a young family to take him home and of course he was snatched up immediately.

I still have regrets and miss Paddy even though I only knew him for a few minutes.  I hope he is happy in his new digs.

Healthy Eating?

Next Stop:  The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia.  This is where you can get old fashioned candies (healthy?), magnificent cheeses, and all sorts of nuts, jams, jellies, and spices!

The Cheese Shop has been on my favorites list for over 20 years and it just keeps getting better as well as more and more expensive than it was way back then.  We wound up with peanut butter pretzel pillows, several varieties of candies like caramel creams, chocolate covered coffee beans, elderberry jam, beef sticks, muenster and farmer cheese, and more!

Bound for Beer

Next was the Devil’s Backbone Outpost for dinner.

It’s a brewery just north of Lexington, Virginia that has recently opened a “kitchen” in addition to their well established beer bar/tap room.  A great big dining area was bustling when we arrived and there was even musical entertainment brought in from Lynchburg, Virginia.

We wound up sitting outside with a stellar view of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a cool, delicious evening of beer tasting, happy talk and uniquely tasty grub.

It was a grand day.

And even though we returned home with no dog to cuddle, I am grateful for a grand family, good times, and all that candy on my “no/no” list.

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D n B Wedding Day 6-12-59

Dor and Bill Wed – Father not happy in background

Always on a search for the perfect blog subject, it sometimes occurs to me that little life experiences can also be exciting.

Like how about the excruciating tension on June 7th at our house here in rural Virginia?  It was the Washington Capitals playoff ice hockey game for the Stanley Cup! And they won! Our family have been avid ice hockey fans for 44 years; ever since they began.  And they never won until now!  You can’t imagine the excitement.  Bill actually went to Washington, DC for the parade and met our son there!  And they are still talking about it!

B n C at Caps Parade

I did not go to the parade but almost as an afterthought, I noticed BigFoot is not so big anymore and I am walking a little more gracefully!

It has been close to three years now with a knee-high boot, a lot of staggering, a cane, crutches, and a scooter, but the real bad time began in November 2017 with frightening swelling and pain.  There is light ahead!  Yeah!

A sojourn to Roanoke, Virginia was great fun!  A friend had to  visit the Social Security Office (not so much fun).  But idle chatter made the time go by.  Then lunch at the Wildflower Cafe, and exploring a discount store called Tuesday Morning (even though it was a Monday).

Happy Days!

And to top things off, Bill came home with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our 59th Anniversary!  Even I find this difficult to believe…. I mean not the flowers but the length of time.

Well, it does seem like we are a good match even though my Dad predicted we would be divorced in a year.  Next year will be 60!  Maybe we should throw a party?

 

 

 

 

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This was another wedding yesterday, May 19, 2018.

It was the same day as the actual Royal Wedding at Windsor of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, but this event was in Georgetown, District of Columbia, U.S.A.

And it was the almost royal wedding of our little friend, Suzanne (half English) to the enormous love of her life, sweet Michael.  Suzanne is a grownup now of course, but we met her when she was born.

Her Mom is from England (of the sweet, elegant, but lots of fun variety) and her Dad was an all American boy who spread his delightful brand of happiness all the way across the ocean and back to our house in rural Virginia.

The wedding was spine-tingling and tear provoking, just the way a true-love marriage should be.

And there she was – the most radiant beautiful bride!

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Suzanne’s Mom walked her down the aisle because unfortunately, her Dad had passed away. How Terry would have loved to see Suzanne find such happiness, and to have the ceremony there in his favorite church!

One giggling moment was when Michael tried to put the wedding ring on the bride’s right hand!  That makes him “ours” for sure and something to share laughter about in later years.

No, I did not get to see the big royal wedding at Windsor, but this more than special occasion was a deeply meaningful, exceedingly joyful, Almost Royal Wedding that may have been was even better!

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mr-trash-wheel-waterfront-partnership-of-baltimore-3 (1)

We were in Baltimore, Maryland and enjoying breakfast.

Discussing sightseeing adventures might have been a good topic of conversation.

Instead we were concentrating on Naming An Unidentified Floating Object we could see out the window!

The “thing” was a giant water wheel with no familiar or observable purpose.

Being rather shy and reserved people (from the Virginia countryside) we are usually hesitant to ask questions.  But the temptation was too great, so Bill finally asked the restaurant manager, “What is that thing?”

Not being shy or reserved, the manager gave us a mini-history lesson.

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Inner Harbor Water Wheel, Baltimore, Maryland

“That is a water cleaner, said the Manager.”  It has been here for four years.  People would dump things in the water and it was 80% polluted.  Now it is 40% polluted.  The goal is to make the water in the Inner Harbor swimmable by 2020.  Very young engineers maintain the project and it costs almost nothing to run.”

“Does it have a name?” I asked.

“What is that shell you hold to your ear?….you know – a Conch!” he said.

I decided to look up the conch shell water cleaner when we got home, but couldn’t find a thing until I began looking up Cleaning Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.    If it is called a CONCH, I find no reference to it, but here is what I did find:

The Mystery Barge is called the Water Wheel or Mr. Trash Wheel or officially – The Inner Harbor Water Wheel.  It is a hydro and solar-powered barge parked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor since 2014, slurping up all garbage that makes its way downriver.  And it uses nothing but the current and the sun!

Historic ship manager, John Kellett, was getting sick of watching garbage in the rivers on his way to work, so he invented this giant floating wheel that turns with the current.  It places trash from the harbor onto an on-board conveyor belt which then routes it into dumpsters on board.

The “Wheel” is part of a Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Plan which has a goal to clean up the harbor enough to make it safe for swimming by 2020!

Baltimore Polluted Harbor

Before Mr. Trash Wheel

On April 20, 2015, Mr. Trash Wheel removed 19 tons of garbage in that one day.  And at the end of the first quarter in 2016 it was noted that the Wheel had collected over 1,000,000 pounds of trash since its inception.

The ingenuity of man seems boundless and The Thing in Baltimore Harbor restores my faith in our ability to clean up our own messes and make life pure again.

Now if only we could figure out how to control traffic!

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Baltimore, MD -The View from our room.

I am home from a Big City-BigFoot adventure and happy to be alive and well.

Baltimore is a beautiful old Maryland city, with more than enough to do if you are young, agile, and don’t mind horrific traffic in the inner city.

Strike “young.”

Strike “agile.”

As for the traffic?

A nightmare!

But we somehow got where we were going in spite of white knuckle rides and hysterical screaming at our GPS lady and maybe one or two jabs at each other (to say nothing of unacceptable language).

For solace, we turned to food.

Have you ever had Maryland crab cakes?  They are the best and of course I had to have crab at Phillips’ famous seafood restaurant.  It was just around the block from the hotel, but may as well have been on Mars.

445 Crab Cake Plattercrp1

I am back to driving challenges again!  Sigh.

 

But of course, the original purpose of our visit to Baltimore was for an appointment with an expert orthopedic doctor at The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy.

And a wonderful doctor did spend a whole hour with us, discussing, analyzing, offering advice and answering many questions.

In a nutshell, this Gimpy Gal (me, Big Foot) simply (or maybe not) has an injured “talus” bone that may take a long time to heal.

So it was back to frolicking in Baltimore!

We frolicked over to the Whole Foods place and actually started to get lost in the garage.  But we somehow frolickedstumbled into the place and found the six loaves of decadent bread I wanted so badly!

We would surely not starve with all that in the car right?

At breakfast next morning we managed some exciting sight seeing by looking out the window next to our table (no driving required).

There was a mysterious tent-covered barge-like THING with a giant water wheel and it was parked and floating in the harbor basin, and the big water wheel seemed to turn of its own accord when and if it wanted to.

We took turns guessing what the mysterious barge might be.

And I wondered why technology wouldn’t let me take a picture and ask Google to please identify the unidentified object.  Why couldn’t I just say, “Hey Google, What is this?”

Whatever it was though,  it made for great conversation over pancakes!

Can YOU guess what it really is?

This is the unidentified floating object.

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To be continued….

 

 

 

 

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Did you think the BigFoot saga was over?   Nope.

‘Tis not the case.

Thanks to internet searching, “the Foot” found another set of experts in ankle disorders.

“Mercy me!”

That’s an old fashioned way of saying, “Really?”. 

How far is one expected to go anyway to find a proactive healing plan?”

Well, Bill and I went off to Baltimore, Maryland on a 5 hour car trip (plus a pit stop and lunch) and got a place for a few nights on the Inner Harbor!  We planned to combine serious business with some BigFoot Frolicking in the big city!

Leaving our little country home in rural  Virginia even for a few days meant the excitement was feverish.

Just think!  We had to navigate our way around  traffic and sky scrapers (we get lost in parking garages).

And although it may sound strange to some, the Number One attraction on my list was Whole Foods supermarket for the express purpose of buying 6 loaves of real bread.

Talk about frolicking!

But seriously, our ultimate destination was The Institute for Foot and Ankle Restoration at Mercy (hospital).  Their web site is beyond professional and they answer the phone in two rings and offer second opinions.  I wondered, “Can they give me a qualified opinion on how to heal?”

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Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Be still my heart!  Look at all those big buildings!

More on BigFoot Frolicking to be continued…….

 

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streetview

Lee Highway

This morning I had an appointment in Staunton, Virginia and took the serene Lee Highway.  It is normally a 45+ minute ride but I like driving through serenity with views of a tranquil rural Virginia.  And on this bright, sunny day it felt like I was driving the only car on the road.

That was until the traffic jam caused by an accident up ahead.  First a 20 minute wait with the engine off and then a forced U-turn to start over on the Interstate.   Arghhh!

Lost – Time 

Being a woman of  iron will and firm determination I got on that hated truck-dominated freeway chewing on my cheek from nervous anxiety and made it to the appointment just in time to find the doors to my destination were locked.  Arghhh!

Found –  Destination

Lost – Nobody There

A strange looking fellow dressed in raggedy clothing came up to my car and said, “Can I help you?”  Putting on a nothing-scares-me demeanor, I said,  ” I have an appointment at this place but noone is there.”

And he said:  “No, you don’t have an appointment.  We are closed.”  Turns out the scruffy fellow was the one I had an appointment with.

It is possible I had the wrong date but not likely.

Nevertheless, after some not-so-polite words with the person I was supposed to have the appointment with, I moved on.

Lost – Time and Temper

I next wanted to find Milmont Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft, VA.  I don’t have a GPS but managed to muddle my way to this bastion of millions of blooming and budding things.

 I was on a search for Cat Mint!

Cat Mint is supposedly critter proof (deer and rabbits hate it).  It is also drought resistant, blooms almost all summer, looks a lot like Lavender, and “if you can’t grow Cat Mint you should stay out of the garden.”

O.K., so I miraculously found the place!

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Found – Milmont Greenhouses

But then I couldn’t find the Cat Mint.

Lost – Energy (Staggering Around a Giant Nursery)

Milmont

Cat Mint is listed under Nepeta.  Who knew? 

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Nepeta – Cat Mint

After wandering around the greenhouses among crowds of manic gardeners I managed to look on the good side and said to myself, “At least you are getting some Vitamin D3 with all this sunshine!”

Found – A Positive Outlook on Life

And finally there it was – the Nepeta.

Found – Nepeta (or YES – CAT MINT)

But my sunglasses managed to disappear.

Lost – Sunglasses

I thought I lost my cell phone too but it was in the car all along.

Tension does this sometimes – causes you to lose your mind.

Lost – Mind

I did find my cell phone though.  It was tucked in the creases of the passenger seat.

Found – Cell phone

It was a very strange Lost and Found kind of day.

 

 

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