Strolling in Savannah

Last weekend Honey and I went down to Savannah for the first time. It was lovely, the demeanor of the city is more in line with the slower pace that the South is known for, which I have only glimpsed at occasionally since we moved. The squares are beautiful, the streets and shops are easy to navigate, and even after only ten minute there we felt so relaxed.  Even in traffic and crowded bars people were still polite and even tempered with each other.  It was a nice break from home.

We walked a lot, as we tend to do on vacation, and I began to notice a interesting trend.  Savannah is an older town, lots of cobblestone streets, uneven stairs that shippers probably trekked up in down in the previous centuries, and well the city is designed to be walked around…so it was easy to notice that most women were wearing flats.  Even the most dolled up Southern Belles and ladies that were bar hopping were sans heels.  I think I have found my people =)  I wore flats or sneakers unapologetically to meals and around town.  I think this is the first trip I have had with my husband that has not resulted in a blister.  (I say that with love).

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IMG_2154.jpg After dinner one night we went to a Martini Bar called Jen’s & Friends which has a menu of hundreds of martinis.  I am not usually the type to have sweet Martini’s but I got a Heath Klondike Bar Martini (two of my favorite things), it even had a good sized piece of Koldike Bar as a garnish and it was pretty damn delicious. Their regular mixed drinks were also very good (that is what Honey had).  And despite the Party Buses arriving and a really small space, everyone was so nice to one another.  I should also mention Savannah has the whole “Go Cup” thing in parts of the city.  When you order a drink they ask if it is for here or out, you can pretty much walk around town with a open beverage as long as it is in a 16 oz plastic cup.  The next afternoon I became a little jealous of a man carrying a Bloody Mary around (why didn’t I think of that?).  I did not partake in the Go Cups, but I might some day.

Honey prepared for the trip by reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil the week before we left.  I was busy with a dinner party we were throwing for neighbors the night before our trip, so I have still yet to crack into it-but I did see the movie.

And yes of course we did walk by Mercer (Williams) House.IMG_2184.jpgOddly enough there was a Camaro parked outside (detail from the book that Honey pointed out).  We wondered if one of the staff or the owner intentionally keep one outside.  We didn’t see a “Camaro Parking Only” sign and when I looked up if there often was a Camaro out front, I couldn’t find anything.  It was just one of those things.

So Honey and I, after walking and window shopping for the last three hours, sat on a bench in Monterey Square, which is the square Mercer House looks on to.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The sun was out, I think it was in the 60s, and there was a cold breeze to make you remember that it was December-but only as a passing thought.  After a few minutes our attention was drawn up.  There was squirrel performing various acrobatics in the oaks and palms above us.  Then the little cheeky guy started talking and chirping at us and did not stop, that is until I pulled out my camera to record it.  Then he stopped, so I stopped recording; so he started talking again.  Apparently whatever he was telling us, he did not want to go on the record as saying. My personal theory was the squirrel had the spirit Danny Hansford and he was complaining about the direction Chevy had gone with the Camaro body style.  Just a theory.

We made out way down to Forsyth Park after a stop in a local shop we went down to the fountain where a couple was getting engaged.

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I didn’t take a picture while it was happening, this is actually three minutes later when apparently their friend popped out from behind a tree to reveal she was taking pictures the whole time.  Thank goodness the future bride said yes!  We hung around the fountain for a few more minutes, soaking up the sun and the very quiet Sunday afternoon.  Another couple came up to the fountain, she was in a wedding dress and their Reverend was with them.  There was a whole lotta love at that fountain.  I don’t know if they were just there for photos or if the ceremony was about to begin so we gave them their privacy and went on to walk down one of the most beautiful streets in America.

IMG_2173.jpgOur trip down there was wonderful, almost over too quickly but I was beginning to miss the kitties at home so it’s good we only stayed for a couple of nights.  I can’t wait to explore more of this lovely city in socially accepted, comfortable shoes.

Getting Out in the Green

Since we moved here my walking lifestyle has changed.  I used to be able to walk to the market or various other places if I wanted and walk around The Lake with or without my various walking buddies.  When the move really became official I was so busy cleaning, gardening, packing, and planning that I relied on my car when grocery shopping and my Lake walks seemed unnecessary.  When we got here I was in a state of exhaustion for about a month. No really the pictures are quite terrifying, I looked like the Crypt Keepers’ younger but more ragged looking sister.

After a doctor’s appointment where I was “encouraged” to start exercising regularly again I began walking around the neighborhood where we were renting for 30-45 minutes a day.  We sold my car before we went East, so I was limited in location.  The neighborhood was actually quite beautiful but cut off from walking anywhere outside of it.  There were trees, plants, challenging hills, and circular streets so I could make a huge lap rather than retracing my steps.  Another drawback was I had to walk on the street and most people forgot they were in a residential area, so there were a few accidental games of Chicken every so often.

When we moved here I was very exited because there were actual sidewalks and I saw people walking all over the place at all times of the day.  I have walked here a few times but I find it’s hard to get motivated, it’s just not like my other walking spots have been the last few years.  It is a very well kept neighborhood and people do beautiful things with their yards, but it is all so sterile.  But a few weeks ago we discovered the Greenway and I think it will become my new Lake.

Greenway

Greenway

Greenway

 

These sites are just within a two mile are of each other, it’s like you are going on different trails  You have pine trees, marshes, and ponds.  It is beautiful and there is life everywhere from tadpoles and turtles to hawks and bunnies.  It’s like the Lake where I have to walk to a certain spot and then turn around, but now that I have an App for that I can stop with the guess work and really know what progress I am making.  Though those moms with the newborns in the strollers are a certain level of hardcore I could never compete with.

Greenway Trees

Addition

It’s always bad when WordPress logs you out due to nonuse, I get it WP- it’s been a while.

I have been keeping busy with the new house, it seems as though the decorating and organizing will never end.  We are also preparing the yard for our first fall because now we live in a place where seasons actually mean something.  We have also been trying to keep up in the midst of birthday season.  In just our little area here we have 8 birthdays from mid August to the first days of October.  Luckily people don’t mind sharing a celebration, but still.  And the other thing we have been keeping ourselves busty with is the new addition to our family, Hitchcock or as well usually call him Hitch.

Hitch

Photo by John

I have always had a thing for black cats.   My first real pet was a black cat named Sheba, I think part of my attitude in life came from her.

shebaIt was only as I got older that I found out what a bad rep black cats have.  I thought they were always beautiful and refined looking but black cats are the least likely to get adopted of their more colorful litter and kennel mates.  They don’t stand out as much in dark cages and of course there are the superstitions.  When we got Bailey from my mother’s house there were four kittens running around: three brown tabbies and one black cat.  I had preferred the black cat but it ran away from me.  Bailey looked me right in the eye and didn’t run away, I figured he liked me and we took him home.  Since then I have mentioned on more than one occasion that when the time came I would want to adopt a black cat because I knew we could give it a good home.  It wasn’t until we moved here and Bailey was an only pet for the first time in his life that we had an option to.

We debated on getting another cat for a while, Bailey was so sweet and affectionate with us now and we didn’t want to jeopardize his attitude by bringing in someone new.  But then he started to get a little weird.  He would cry for us if we left the room, he would wail when John went to work, he had to sleep between us in our bed like a darn chaperone, and then the days I was out for hours at a time he would seem morose for the rest of the day.    We figured it was time for him to have a buddy to play with.  We went on and off this wagon several times.  A few weeks ago when we were on the off wagon I went by the grocery store and by chance decided to look at the adoption board that was propped up in front of the next door pet store.  The cats are from a rescue organization at this store, like the one I used to volunteer with.  I had poked my head in in once or twice to visit with the cats, but I had yet to see a black kitten or cat.   I looked on the board that day and saw they had a black five moth old male kitten.  I bit the bullet an went in to see him.

By chance one of the volunteers was there cleaning the cages and we talked for almost a half hour.  She let me hold him and pet him, he made eye contact with me too and nuzzled my chin.   When I told her about my love of black cats, my volunteer work, and that I am at home most of the time she encouraged me to fill out an application.  Then she saw the black cat tattoo on my ankle she made a phone call to the origination’s leader on my behalf.  She too was a big black cat fan.  I called John and told him I had filled out an application and sent a picture, it turns out he was playing it cool but he said if I wanted to get him I could.  Turns out he was really excited about getting a new kitten.  Several hours later after the Rescue had called Bailey’s vet to make sure he was in good health and up to date on shots. I got a phone call and I had an interview with the Rescue Leader, ten minutes in she said we could adopt him if we wanted.  We definitely wanted to.  We picked him up the next afternoon and have been enjoying his personality and energy ever since.

So has Bailey.

Bailey and HitchAs for the name, well that was tricky for me.  I am bad with names, seriously I rename my characters constantly and I have always been jealous of the brilliance people have in naming their pets.  We had a list of various names, I wanted to give him a literary name or after a famous author (Neil, Harlan, Stoker),  then when went towards the more traditional black cat names like Midnight or Shadow.  He seriously was like a little black shadow running around the house and hiding in various, unexpected spots.

Hitch on the stairsWe even toyed with Moonshine for a while because well he is Southern and nontaxable, but it was too long of a name to call him with.  Guinness was on the list too, but if we named him that we would be obligated to name our next cat Whiskey. For a day he was called Binx after the cat in Hocus Pocus, but I didn’t like naming him after a cursed creature-black cats have it rough enough.  Hitchcock had been on the list throughout and I liked calling him Hitch, but I didn’t want to name him that just because I liked the director I wanted his name to reflect him.  Poor Hitch was referred to as “Kitten” and “Little One” (because Bailey will always be “Baby”) for his first four days here.  When I found his favorite new spot was in shower of the guest bathroom, behind the shower curtain and he loved darting out of the dark hallways to surprise us I figured he had earned the name.  He cemented the naming by dunking his head in my thankfully cold cup of tea, how British of him.

We are enjoying him in our lives and we are all slowly adjusting to the new pace of the household, which is much more lively now.

Hitch in the window

 

 

The Birds and The Bees (& other insects)

Still enjoying Spring , it seems to have been going on for a while.  I am used to “spring” in East San Diego being a two to three week period in March, you know the calm before the 100 degree days.  But here it is gradual and things don’t all bloom in unison so from week to week the streets look different.  The trees are now overflowing with leaves and most streets have this blanket of shade,  the house is practically dark during the day from all of the trees completely filling in.  My hope is that is the summer I will be very thankful for those shady trees, but in the meantime I realized we need more lamps.  It’s gorgous.

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With Spring comes the awakening and birth of all kinds of creatures, good and bad.   Though it has not been the bug infested nightmare that I was warned of, we have had a few minor incidents.  First of all there is a bird, an American Robin to be exact who has been messing with us since we first got here.  At first it was only a little crap here or there on the driver’s side door, little petite craps…ones that could be cleaned up with a small damp towel.  But as the Spring has gone on and his or her diet has improved the craps have become a little more troublesome and frequent.  I think that they now qualify as shits.  Most mornings we awake to this:

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On both the driver and front passenger doors and usually there is one on the side mirrors too.

At first we thought it was a location thing.  We were the new ones and didn’t want to impose on anyone’s turf so we started parking on different parts of the driveway, it didn’t help.  So very much like the ice scrapping Honey had to do daily during the winter, for the Spring he gets out the hose, puts it on the Jet setting and sprays down his car.  If times permits I try to do it while he gets ready for work.  We have to time it perfectly you see, because if I do it too early the bird will actually come back and shit on it again.  Our neighbors must think we are the most anal-rentenitive people, because I’m sure it looks like we are washing the car every morning (sometimes twice) with the hose, squeegee, and wash mitten.  No one else seems to have this problem on our street, the Robin likes just our car.  Yay.

When it started warming up we began sitting out on the back deck, usually with a cocktail.  It was relaxing at first until we heard the buzzing and then saw its source…some big ole carpenter bees.  I was not able to get a picture of one, what with trying to curl up into a fetal position and think of a happy place so my body did not smell of fear! =) But you can google the image if you are not familiar.  I am not allergic to bees, but this was one big ass bee and I figured it would win in a battle of the wills.

It got up right up in our faces, at eye level with what looked like a yellow clown nose-very Gacy-like.  We told him he won and went inside.  Luckily for us we had encountered a male and he is all buzz and no bite (they don’t have stingers) but we found out he and the Mrs. had made a little nest in the frame of the utility door and in valance over the front door.  We told the property manager and someone came out a few days later and took of them and a few spots where we saw carpenter ants.  Carpenter bees and ants do not help you finally build that addition you always dreamed of, they eat up your house (in this case wood siding) to make their nests.

I have trie to live harmoniously with bugs.  I’m the type that escorts non-poisonous spiders and beetles to the garden, if a bee (of average size) buzzes me I back off.  But here, it’s a little different.  The ground is so alive here with creatures (it’s no wonder our Robin is getting so “regular”) and sometimes they find their way in.  Centipedes, millipedes, slugs, various flying beetles, or creatures that I just don’t recognize.  I think that is a cricket, I just don’t know anymore, there are so many.?bug

I’m sure there is an app for that, but in the mean time I have been a very apologetic bug killer.  Except for with the ants, I’m merciless with those guys.

Our Winter Wonderland

This may seem strange to post now that spring is in full swing, but our first snow day was so fun I had to write about it.

The third weekend we were here we got a real treat, our first NC snow.  It was in the forecast but I didn’t expect much because I heard the snow in Charlotte isn’t usually the stuff of holiday movies.  I had heard it was icy and didn’t really stay around long enough to create our perception of a winter wonderland.  I have seen snow before when traveling but Honey had never seen it fall before so I hoped it would at least stick round for the morning.

When we woke up that Saturday it was raining but not a snowflake in sight, so I started making waffles because we were finally getting a chance to stay home and relax on a weekend (our first time in months!).  At first we didn’t see that the rain had turned into little snowflakes, but once we did we were kids again.  We went ran out to the back deck in our pjs and warm hats and let the the flakes catch on our hair and on our clothes.  As expected they melted quickly but that didn’t stop us from grabbing our cameras and taking pictures of the snow lightly dusting our back yard and catching in the trees.

Eventually we went back in, I finished making the waffles and played music from my laptop.  Trying to set a mood, I typed in the word “snow” to my iTunes library and it gave me a song from The Fountain soundtrack called “First Snow”.  It is an instrumental piece that  has that feeling of building with a  melancholy backbone, I highly recommend giving it a listen.  As time passed we noticed the snow had not let up. I was impressed when the snow fell hard enough to stay on the ground and not melt away…

Snow just startingI started really turning into a giddy girl when I saw it become what I had always imagined a snow day to be.

More Snow

 

Our Snow People

BloomIt was absolutely gorgeous! We were outside for at least three hours taking pictures, feeling the snow crush under our shoes, and throwing the occasional snow ball.  Sorry about that Honey.  And yes we were the only people in or neighborhood that were out playing in the snow.  I could just imagine them coming to their windows watching us and thinking those “crazy Californians.”  We even let Bailey out onto the deck to examine the snow.  He loved it so much we had to escort him back inside.

It snowed into the night but stopped by the next morning so we went for a walk around the neighborhood.

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The sun was out and the snow melted by Sunday night, so in a way it was a perfect little snow storm because it came on the weekend and all evidence of it was gone by rush hour on Monday morning.  I spoke with my cousin later that week and she said that was not the typical snowfall here so I took as an incredible welcome to our new home.

 

 

 

 

Out on the Highway

Over the weekend Honey and went on a road trip to Monterey, an actual vacation that was not for a family event!  It was a long time coming, we have taken a few “staycations” over the last few years but we haven’t hit the road and spent more than one night away from the house since we got married.  We hadn’t originally planned to go to Monterey when he requested the time off.  Long story short we thought we were going to go camping but it didn’t work out, we were planning another staycation when I got a bug up my butt about getting out of town.  Luckily  Honey agreed and I made the arrangements, I wanted to make it so all he had to do was show up.  Somehow I scored a greathotel room in Downtown Monterey for two nights at a very reasonable price.  There were some drawbacks to the place but the amazing room made up for it.  The location was ideal because we could easily walk around the town.   We usually prefer to walk around in a new city, rather than drive. I didn’t drive again until the day we left.  I had been to Monterey as a kid and then again at 16 as a stopping point between home and my parent’s friends in Northern California, he had never been so it was a whole new city to us.

Even though we were in the right town for it Honey and I did not go to the Aquarium, it was freaking expensive!  We had walked through Cannery Row (tourist lane) with the intention of going to the Aquarium but we got there and the price made us stop.  We decided to spend the money on a nice dinner instead (also we are spoiled in SD and can go to our own Aquarium).  It was interesting people watching though Cannery Row and there was some beautiful buildings and views.  There are still some old remnants of the bay’s cannery days placed next to the new, shinny cliffside hotels.

This was a very different vacation for both of us, it was more of a relaxation based trip rather than we have to see this, go here, eat there, etc.  We explored, saw some sights, felt cool breezes, and had some yummy food.  With all of this we were still back in our room by 9 pm each night.  I had brought two bottles of wine from home (ones I knew we loved) to enjoy in front of the fireplace and on the balcony overlooking the fountains in the courtyard.  Just those simple moments of snuggling with him in silence (beside crackling wood and bubbling water) were some of my favorites of the trip.  I did find it amusing that when we used the room provided wine glasses on the first night, the maids replaced them with mini wine glasses the next day.  They were cute but didn’t stop us from finishing the bottle of wine.

While we were there we enjoyed 70 degree days and cool nights, it felt like Novemeber-a very nice break after the last month of heat waves.  I realized I was out of practice with packing because I brought all of the wrong clothes.  Too cool in the day for short sleeves and too cold at night for anything but my heavier jacket, not to mention five pairs of shoes-I only wore two pairs!  Oh well, next time I’ll be back to my expert packing level again.

Another part of the trip was of course the driving, I did it all I am proud to say.  Thanks to childhood road trips and now being a nonsmoker I can comfortably drive to up to five hours without a break.  The highways we selected bookended our trip with a bit of morbidity.  When we headed to Monterey took Route 46 a two lane, near empty road-he read the directions to me, I had to stay on it for the next 63 miles-the speed limit was 55. For the first ten miles the landscape was lined with oil rigs , it eventually gave way to small hills with golden colored grass and oak trees sprinkling on the sides.  Beautiful.  Beside the Budget truck riding my butt and the occasional aderlaine rush around passing lanes, it was a very nice drive.  A few more miles in I noticed a Texaco station with a big James Dean cut out on the corner of the lot.

“That’s strange,” I said to Honey, “Why would they have a James Dean poster at a gas station?”

He said, “I think he might have died around here.”

“Really?  I thought he died in LA.”  He disagreed and then whipped out the phone to look it up (how did people survive road trip questions before these things?) sure enough we were on the route that James Dean died on.  We still had quite a few miles to go from the actual location, it turns out he had stopped at that gas station before he died.  The land around the road was still  undeveloped. I began to think that it probably looked similar to how it looked 57 years ago.   It was kind of strange seeing what might have the last sights of someone who died so many years ago.  But I’m weird and I think about those kind of things. We passed the junction where he was hit (I must admit I slowed down considerably) and then went further than Mr. Dean had a chance to.

On the way back home, not only did we have to take Route 46 but we decided to take a “shortcut” around the 5 to avoid LA during rush hour traffic.  We took Route 138, also called Deathtrap Highway.  Though luckily we didn’t know that until we got home and Honey looked it up.  That was quite an interesting road, not only was it narrow and had occasional dips that would remind me of a rising roller coaster cart, but there was no one around for miles and then suddenly there would be a car and it would be right on my ass.  I kept my road rage at bay while on the trip and let people pass me and even occasionally pulled over to the side, but it was crazy how impatient people were out there (and I was going over the speed limit ).  But our shortcut was pointless because the connecting freeway had crazy traffic too, oh well we both saw a part of California we had never seen before.

The cats did well in our absence, though my Mother-In-Law gave herself some unnecessary stress.  We had kept Rocco and Terra  in their room downstairs so they wouldn’t panic when they didn’t see us, we asked my Mother-in-Law and Apple to look in on them and feed them.  Apparently my Mother-In-Law didn’t hear Honey when he said if they got out it was okay, we just wanted to try to keep them in.  The first night Rocco slipped past her.  She came over numerous times throughout the days while we were gone, left messages with the wrong neighbor about the status of the cats, and made little food arrangements around the house so he wouldn’t starve.  Somehow on the last day she caught him and got him back into their room.  Poor Mom, I am going to make her a good dinner to say thanks-she went above and beyond.  When I got home and went down to look at them the two cats were just sitting on the futon as happy as could be.  Bailey nearly tackled us when we walked through the door.

It was a great trip and a nice break for both of us.  It was good to get away from the house for a few days and away from all of the projects we have planned for the Fall, but it was really nice to come home and sit with our purring kitties.

Until next time Monterey!

My Pictures Today

Today I walked at the Lake by myself, preparing for when Kudra leaves.  Yup I have scared yet another Walking Buddy away, this time to the other side of the country =P.  But seriously, I am going to miss that lady a lot.  I think she was just one of those people that comes into your life just when you need them, hopefully I have been the same to her.

So I took these for her, to add to my ever growing collection of Lake photos so she can remember the chaparral surroundings of SoCal when she is looking out onto the Atlantic.