The end of my birthday

The last few days became so busy, both emotionally and professionally, that I never even finished blogging about my perfectly awesome birthday.

(Gayle’s Portfolio)Art by Gayle Hendricks
(Click image for her portfolio)

That may have something to do with the bottle of Vouvray the teenager and her father selected for me to accompany a most amazing cheese and fruit platter with charcuterie that they provided for my birthday dinner.

The meal came courtesy of a trip to Wegmans and included a block of applewood smoked Gouda, dill ha art I, and intense Brie. The fruits were white grapes and some succulent watermelon. A fresh baguette. Some Italian meats, include prosciutto. (Which I love to say in my best Sicilian accent) and silly cupcakes.

And the morning after my birthday I breakfasted like a princess in chocolate dipped fruits and a cookie and a tea from Dunkin’.

And yesterday I made the birthday Spam by mom brought me. On Wonder Bread for the teenager. Me. Accordion was jealous. He offered me some recipes.

This might be why my Corona weight gain is up to 10 lbs.

The artwork featured above is by Gayle Hendricks.

My friend Gayle appears in this blog from time to time, for our silly adventures, long walks or random road trips. She is a fantastic graphic designer with a very clean style. She specializes in typography and can set books in both traditional and electronic formats. I connected her portfolio to the image above, which she made for me representing my flock. (She altered a stock image in Adobe illustrator.)

Please consider her if you need freelance graphic design and know we are available as a team. I handle the editorial and she handles the pretty stuff. And we’re efficient.

And we celebrated my 40th birthday at a Trampoline Park.

Sky Zone (Gayle’s blog—5 years ago!)

More on our silly adventures:

Niagara Falls

Honey Nut Cheerios

State Parks Weekend

Volkssport Trip to Maryland

Littleton, NC

South Carolina

Birds and beasts in Georgia (This was the day I became interested in birds)

Now today:

But back to more memories:

My first visit to Waffle House

The Juliette Gordon Low House (founder of Girl Scouts)

The teenager buys a bugle

Friday night & Valentines

This is going to be a crazy lil bit of everything post. I’ll try to divide into topics with subheadings; I want to be good to y’all.

Nala

I bought her some new toys. Anything paper, like the one above, is a hit. But she seems to be afraid of bigger toys of heavier materials.

This is a photo of everything I got her:

As for plucking, it gets worse and better day by day. I’ve noticed three main triggers:

  1. Change in routine
  2. Overstimulation
  3. Desire for attention

Misty and Fog

The kittens certainly get more tired out since we let them run through the house. They pull they towels off the racks in the bathroom. They scatter the wash in the laundry room. They steal Oz’s food and he’s too big and dumb to stop them.

Some of my past kitten posts:

Kitten update

The third kitten

Nails

Tomorrow I get my first fill on my nails. They still look pretty perfect and I can see my natural nails growing in!

For more on my nails:

Nails

Road trip tomorrow!!!!

I joined AAA last weekend specifically because I’m traveling to Washington DC alone this weekend.

My temporary cards haven’t come!

I’m super excited and mostly ready.

I told my work colleagues and they asked if I planned on touring any of the downtown DC sites. I said no, I plan on sitting on my friend’s couch drinking coffee most of the weekend.

The teenager is going out with her dad so I’m on my own tonight for Valentine’s.

Road trip to Washington DC

So, while my daughter was on Spring Break, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

A paid holiday.

A long weekend.

We spent Easter in Washington, DC, with my traveling companion, M. and his Indian housemates.

Washington, DC, is approximately 3.5 hours from my house by car. I say approximately because traffic can fluctuate.

We left at 8ish Friday morning, stopping at our local Target for band-aids, nail polish remover and bagels. We always run into people we know and give lots of hugs so we didn’t get going until 9.

We stopped around 11:30 in York, Pa., to use the gym. We certainly are getting our money’s worth from our Planet Fitness membership.

And then… after a hearty upper body workout and slaying the crunches… there was a Five Guys outside.

We had the man who waited on us cracking up.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos

We arrived in DC at 3.

We hung around the house and had some amazing paneer for dinner. Then we went to Harris Teeter for groceries. This jelly bean addict was offended to see that they only carried Brach’s or Starburst jelly beans. No Just Born?!?!

In the morning, I took our Indian host to the gym in Silver Springs.

In the afternoon, we visited the Frederick Douglass house. That Victorian home is in tact. His books. His desk. His ice box. His dumbbells. His chair. His trunks. His rug beater.

Took my breath away.

Then we went to National Harbor. To the Peep store. Where, even though I am from the Lehigh Valley where Just Born makes my jelly beans and Peeps, I purchased a big batch of candy.

And fed my Indian host his first Peep.

See that here:

https://youtu.be/TgBQ2T4j_Nw

Adventure in Rock Creek Park

Today we took a winter’s walk in Rock Creek park.

Many people were jogging. And walking dogs off-leash. One spry pup dig holes relentlessly. See him here:

https://youtu.be/HKYyoNTuMSI

And upon leaving the park, we discovered a lovely neighborhood of 1950s modern homes, amazing in their architecture and how they aged seamlessly.

And then we discovered deer in someone’s yard trying to return to the park.

Brief update: Cape May Eastern Shore Maryland volkssport trip

Today is the third and final day of the Liberty Bell Wanderers bus trip to Eastern Shore Maryland.

These trips include volkssport walks of 5 or 10K daily and some sightseeing highlights.

Unfortunately internet and free time have both been unpredictable so I’ve been posting more on YouTube and Instagram that blogging.

On Instagram, check out the hashtag #theadventuresofPJtheBear.

This is a tractor trailer at the grain mill at Purdue Chicken in Easton, Maryland:

https://youtu.be/cLMjk0Rol7E

This is a brief video of the weird little rail system in Cape May:

https://youtu.be/rpsziLk0vtA

Now, I am just starting to edit video on my phone so these are poorly & sloppily edited but this ferry might have been my favorite part of the trip:

https://youtu.be/FbJ4SkUyiAY

This cruise on the Patriot in The Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Saint Michael’s are definitely my second favorite:

https://youtu.be/S0ZtdAtQnd0

https://youtu.be/3ZiQCLar6xM

North Carolina memories (and the great little town of Littleton)

So, on my little girl’s 14th birthday we found ourselves in North Carolina. Our plan was simple: the Sylvan Heights Bird Sanctuary in Scotland Neck and the Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton, N.C.

I fell in love with Littleton, with it’s population of 640. It reminded me of the small town near my childhood home (population, 400) but a tad more vibrant.

Littleton had several churches, three restaurants, a police station, an independent pharmacy, an independent hardware store, a library and an arcade.

And the newspaper box had about a gazillion copies of a freebie newspaper that appeared to be an advertising supplement to the local daily. It was literally one broadsheet, both sides, which made it four pages. About 2/3 of one page was the classifieds.

And in the middle of this broadsheet was the weekly Food Lion circular.

And it was in this sweet town we found Grandpa’s Barbecue where I had a good helping of sweet potato pie and the best potato salad I had ever eaten. The potatoes where practically puréed.

From there we went to the Crpytozoology Museum, which I believe I mentioned in an earlier post.

That place was two rooms in this couple’s house. He was a retired photographer from the New York Daily News and he said the area has a strong paranormal pull.

Memories of South Carolina

So I have several more posts in me about our road trip, but those must be posted now from the comfort of home.

Once I returned, I ended up working six days straight and the vacation must have done me good because I wasn’t breathing fire and irritable by the end of that stretch.

Today my husband and I will be taking our daughter to Girl Scout camp at Camp Wood Haven, in a rental/loaner car (a 2017 Nissan Sentra) since our Altima started idling super low on Friday and the next appointment the dealer has is Tuesday.

I also discovered that my iPhone takes high res photos which has made the storage on my web site jump from 50% full to 75% full in a week. So that means I will have to take the time to shrink some of my photos.

So I will take a moment to reminisce about South Carolina.

Summerville, South Carolina

We arrived in Summerville, South Carolina, Thursday night. We discovered the town had a sculpture garden so we decided to check it out.

We quickly discovered that Summerville is the birthplace of Southern Sweet Tea. And the following day we learned that a French guy had gotten a grant to cultivate tea in Summerville around the turn of the (20th) century. He not only became successful but according to the tour guide, he won for the best tea in the world (an Earl Grey variety) at the World Fair.

The Day We Went Backwards

It was someone’s 16th birthday (not mine) and we had planned to head to Magnolia Plantation for a volkssport walk and then North Carolina to the bird sanctuary and another volkssport walk at Fort Bragg the following morning.

But since we had the recommendation to go see the Angel Oak, a tree more than 500 years old, we went backwards. And also found the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only commercial tea operation in North America.

So the tea plantation was a 40 minute tour around fields that all looked the same. It was really a fun time, with lots of tea to drink.

Turns out the tea plantation was started with cuttings from the Summerville tea operation after it had been neglected for 50 years. Lipton needed an American presence in case relations with China went bad during the Cold War.

It’s no longer a Lipton property. One man owns it and employs four people to run the plantation, six tour guides, and the gift shop staff.

The Tea Harvester

According to the staff, the only reason tea harvesting can be profitable in the United States is because of their tea harvester, which is cobbled together from pieces of other farm equipment and painted green to look like a John Deere.

The girls at the Angel Oak

Our last stop of the day was at Magnolia Plantation, where we got to see up close how slavery worked and almost stepped on an alligator.

The South Carolina swamps look like something out of a Jim Henson movie.

Tybee Island

My chronology is getting out of whack but we visited Tybee Island, the light house and then ventured toward North Carolina (with a stop at Carolina Cider Company for fun sodas, candy and food souvenirs. Hello?!? Sweet potato butter! Pecan syrup!)

We left Savannah via the pretty bridge. Time lapse of us driving over part of the bridge: https://youtu.be/EHNpEvdcxi4

For our visit to the aquarium see here: https://angelackerman.com/2018/06/23/university-of-georgia-marine-education-center-and-aquarium/

178 stairs and some cool souvenirs later we were on the road again…

University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium

The girls asked to go to this small aquarium on the campus of the University of Georgia’s marine education center. It was small, but focused on the local habitat. It was beautifully maintained and featured a touch tank.

The grounds had several natural trails.

It was a lovely way to experience Georgia’s wetlands, but bring your big spray. The mosquitoes feasted on us.

img_6998

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Silly videos from the aquarium:

time lapse of sea turtles:https://youtu.be/wEOAza9gJTA

Striped Burrfish: https://youtu.be/WNeshXxtoFQ

sea horses: https://youtu.be/xlnhigLT0aE

Spiny Lobster: https://youtu.be/u-YtlJDupRY

Octopus: https://youtu.be/lut1QpLBm8U

Lion fish: https://youtu.be/zQ81lW0uPJM

Turtles swimming: https://youtu.be/q2KKFWRviYg

Petting the horseshoe crabs: https://youtu.be/BwF12AwPlA8

Horseshoe crabs: https://youtu.be/OsaaeohWKBE

~ all materials shot with an iPhone X

Leopold Ice Cream And Soda Fountain, Savannah, Georgia

I ate my way up and down the East Coast. I don’t have a bucket list of things to do, mine contains things to eat.

We were meandering through downtown Savannah and the morning was hot and I was hungry.

I’m always hungry.

In the vicinity of Savannah College of Art and Design, I noticed this ice cream shop and soda fountain.

Leopold’s.

It didn’t open until 11, and it was 10:45. People were lining up outside.

By the time we ate our ice cream, the line was out the door and every table was full.