We worked hard for this one. We could not get here until near the end of our recent travels. Colleen casually mentioned Cullen skink. It is a Scottish dish from smoked haddock. I found a place! It was not to far out of the way of our travels in Maine. Dover, NH. A soccer/football fan had a Scottish pub that served the specialty – cup or bowl! And mushy peas! Ahem, I am no fan of either offering but I made do with other things that are bad for you…. So, a good time was had by all. Once again I was able to bring joy and tranquility to our happy marriage.
Our boat tour of three Scottish islands was canceled for wind and inclement weather. The tour took off from Oban which as you can see was bright sunny and without much wind to see. Lemons? Make lemonade.
Oban is a lovely town to walk and explore and eat a meal. Cullen skink. Don’t ask. We found it in the guidebook and Edinburgh and then we chased it all over Scotland. I just photograph it. We did have an excellent time on a very pleasant sunny afternoon.
The tower is “McCaig’s Tower, also known as McCaig’s Folly, is a prominent tower on Battery Hill overlooking the town of Oban in Argyll,” And yes, we walked to it.
Tip Top coffee house, Thomas, West Virginia. Colleen adores it. It is a place like so many others and unique unto itself. There’s nothing particularly notable – location, friendliness, quality, … etc. But Colleen adores it nonetheless. We have changed our route in order to stop.
Me? Sit? Still? Never.
I pulled my camera for photo ops. …dog in a doorway. Reflection in the door. We sat. I remained busy experimenting with reflections in the glass. Relax? Yes. This was relaxing to just let everything go, to forget about world events and politics, to enjoy the sun, and the company. I paused in my photo catalog this morning reflecting on how this moment of serenity makes me smile in the innocent memory of our interlude.
Not! Life is never the same. We finished a kitchen renovation. What happens if you don’t like the color? Now, for the backsplash – I was gonna tackle that job. Experience? None! Ha ha. Confidence or stupidity? Easy! Except if, the tiles are not fitting the wall height or width, and, there are outlets to cut around. Oh boy! The weather! It’s always fun. Clouds, color, the moon all provide ample opportunity to capture a good image. Why are there always telephone poles in my images? Flowers?! Too numerous to count. While renovating we had to eat out. Eh? You know who likes to eat out!
We’ve been here nearly eight years. We tried once a few years back. But we failed. It was closed because of the cold during a winter’s day. So, finally, we gave it another try. We were out of options or bored. It’s the only British place around. I mean fish and chips and mushy peas and sticky toffee pudding. Yes! Colleen adores mushy peas. Really! We hit all the favs. I got coconut shrimp. What’s not to love? A mini cooper in the foyer!? We had a good time. We will return. It just took so long to pull the trigger to try the place.
… new dress? Huh? Well, we found a new dress. I help. Colleen lets me suggest and she decides. It has nothing to do with the classic enquiry, “Do I look fat in this dress?” (enquire simply meant “ask,” while inquire was used for formal investigations)
Dinner out. Alas, this restaurant, this one is closing permanently in a few days. Oh boy! We almost didn’t come here. Lucky! Too many insurance claims for the owner. We had dinner: appetizer, main, and dessert. Maybe not (usually not) dessert, but it was the last supper…. I guess dessert was the better title. Peanut butter pie. Mmmmm.
Ya gotta love Jane. You are only as good as your filing system? Jane asked, “ You took this picture in Dec 2017. I want an enlargement framed.” Well, you know that specificity resulted in a series of queries about which picture and the fact that I take a lot (of pictures) about 7,000 a month….. The result is the beach erosion shot. I looked at the metadata – img_2008. Easy!! Go to the external drive where all the images of this number could be – about 400k images worth…. Nope, nada… the metadata was incorrect. I got a nice sunset?
It won’t happen via database or searching Dec, 2017 files. How about manually visually checking? Well, it would help if I had the correct year. Nope. Jane could not remember the exact year when I tried to pin her down a bit more. Jane?!?!!!!
We were in our brief Cracker Barrel stage. The cats sleep on Colleen. Dave? Nice hat, it was for Xmas. I don’t think he ever wore it again. When was Soph this small?
More December? Different years? After all, it is Jane. Did I mention she has a completely different logical thought process than ordinary women – aka “ditzy!!” Ya gotta love her. She throws non sequiturs like comedy punchlines. Lucy and the football, I bite every time. Oy!
As I said, “briefly” – Cracker Barrel – once more. We were in DC – the one and only – when I first got this camera. The “img_” indicates the file Jane seeks came from this camera. She swears I took the picture without any other backup collaboration. I remember beach erosion and taking pictures of it. Where? When? My database does not come up with any key words – nor’easter, storm, erosion, etc. Venus rising from the sea? We stayed in a mansion in Elkins one Xmas. Claw foot tub, it wsa picturesque, and, cold!! I was about as surprised as you (and her) to find this picture in the December collection. And, I found that I had bought the silly hat a couple years earlier. Jokes can sometimes take a while to get to the punchline – I don’t think he ever wore it, again.
Meanwhile I never did find the picture Jane wants. I probably never took it. Who knows?
As for December – I have been in a lot of places – Elkins, Colorado, Arizona, California, Washington DC, Saudi Arabia, Ohio; Cracker Barrel, Grand Canyon, Eddie Bauer… An I have been with great beauty, family, friends, and my dearest Colleen. This partial list tells me that December has been a fun month full of surprise and adventure thanks to Colleen, who always seems to have an idea and a plan. And thanks to Jane I am still looking for that picture.
It depends on how you say it and where you put emphasis on the words. There are multiple meanings. Jane responded she liked the triplets. ?? dunno? Meanwhile, how much fun can you pack into one day?
We took the slow road up US 9 to get. Sometimes, it is about the journey and the scenery. One mansion and gardens, one farmer’s market, one museum, and dinner! Wonderful! Behind every great man is a woman – a great one! That’s what the tour guide said. Antics? Triplets?? Whatever! It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be fun! And, so it was! Priceless!
Scheduled? No. Unplanned? We had a loose framework – tickets to Nemours and a dinner reservation at either end. In between we made up our own adventures. I love it when a plan works! I changed into khakis for dinner. You cannot see I am without shorts at dinner. Neat trick! Still, no socks.
Antics? Triplets? Photoshop for better or not gets us to an old trick which is amusing or not. Sometimes good and others not so. I just go with it. It fools some and not others. There was never any pretension of skill, only fun.
Some days it is about the story rather than the image. An antique is something older than 100 years. Short of that it is vintage. Ha ha. We are vintage. Less than 100 for sure! But what constitutes old in the eyes of the court? That would be older than 70. That is the age cut off for jury duty – older than 70. Hey hey! Finally! I can thumb my nose at the jury duty notice. Ahem? Too old? Demented? Feeble? Infirm? Dunno, just check the box and decline service. Done.
Meanwhile a variation on an old joke: What’s the worst thing about being a grandpa? Eating (sleeping) with a grandma. Chuckle laugh groan – nope, not this one. She loves to eat out. And, I love her! No more jury duty anxiety. We earned it! Cheers!
For illustrative purpose – that is Spice eating a butterfly. Eewww! And why is it that angels play harps? Just wondering? Moreover, when they picked me for jury duty, I gratefully declined. And, no, I did not say Colleen was old. Hardly! They did not call upon her….
The family has been gathering for a very long time in this place at this time. Call it reunion. It happens annually. There are fulltime residents/relatives close-by in disparate branches of the family to make massive gatherings of 40 or more. Is it hello? Or good-bye? The picture could go either way. Too soon! Younger. Older. The groups change. It’s all bittersweet. Hugs and kisses. Wave!
Pulling out of the garage, there was Willow on the balcony. Left there, he might be cooked/baked in the sun. That would be awkward. Do ya think? He’s a good cat. We love him. … inside.
A new restaurant. Italian, in a strip mall? Ok?! The waitress sings while you eat. Oops! Not a waitress, the owner!? Major oops! Jen made the reservation. It was her faux pas. Fun?! You bet. What to wear? Shorts? Do you remember eating formally with a tie and jacket?
Stop! We had to stop for a spectacular sunset on the way home. A couple would not clear my shot. Ok! No complaint except I wish it was someone photographing us. But, you get the idea. And, I love my wife… you see a sunset you hold her hand.
Protocol? It said in big bold letters: Absolutely no recording or photography. There was a metal detector and bag check as we entered. You cannot keep cellphones out of the venue. People either don’t read or don’t care – they took video throughout the performance. Me? Break the rule/law? … at the end. Colleen had been waiting to see this artist for a long time….
We all have relatives. Interesting ones – I will leave out any disparaging adjectives – dingy, etc. Jane loves to eat out. She is on a tight budget so any opportunity to eat out… And she loves dessert. She doesn’t eat the main meal. She simply boxes it and eats it for days at home. But there’s always room for dessert. She orders and then offers it around. I have shamed her into finishing her dessert because she cannot take it home. (Shhhh, she has a small appetite.) Meanwhile, she is predictable. I have never seen her finish a meal in a restaurant. One day we ate out three times – three meals – she never finished what she started. …loves to eat out.
I made a new best friend. Wrong. I became a new best friend. The last time I saw Rory she was not quite aware of me. She could not remember me before our recent visit. Now, I am her best friend. Nice. I am touched and flattered. Because of covid we have not traveled much. It was sure nice to see the kids and get to know them, again.
We always seem to find things in little side trips – rolling pin, cheap gas, hungry relatives… There are always animals to be see and be seen with. I think we agreed it was a successful trip. We saw the relatives, the sights, antique shops, and photo ops.
…before! Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi said. I hate it when my wife is right. She’s always right. Damn! I pride myself on a photographic memory. Ha ha! I guess taking a lot of photos does not count.
As we entered the Airbnb, Colleen exclaimed, “We’ve stayed here before. All they did was move the bed! The layout is the same! They just moved the bed around.”
I was stunned and disagreed. I was wrong. It was the same funky bathroom shower that leaked all over the floor. Sure enough, November 2017, same place, same building. Actually, it was the same building, different apartment. And they added a fence to the front. I believe now that we were in an apartment on a higher floor. … same damn leaky shower. Dammit, I got the pictures that prove it!! Ha ha, different camera.
Driving across the US is an experience. It eventually hit 108 degrees on this day, and 1000 cattle died of exposure and thirst. People out there got different ideas… if you can understand the meaning. The beer is essentially the same, but different. It got better with time.
We crossed the country. We will do it again. There are kids in states across the US – NY, WV, CO, CA, and one NKA.
Casablanca – “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” – Humphrey Bogart.
… she was right again. !!!
Covid is still around us. Emma got it. Jason got it. Our trip was torn to sunder. We have a Plan B.
How do you watch the Jan 6 Hearings without an internet connection or TV? Unlimited ATT data stream. It did not work on my DirectTV connection, or, on the NYT site. We went to the NPR site for a while till the tech caught up. Riveting?!
Travel day is always traumatic. Nutley was pretty much clinging to Colleen’s leg. Don’t go! I will miss my (flowers) cats! Things change. Clouds! Colleen’s favorite coffee shop is moving! Did I mention, Jane loves to eat out. Travel days are always eventful. I changed light bulbs. The string on Jane’s weed eater takes .065 string. It says: right on the label! Calm down. Maintain humor.
Epilogue: ? This requires one? Walmart: .065 string, 1,2,3… It doesn’t fit. The fitting is all proprietary!!! The different companies all carry their own specific string container. Scott is a POS – piece of shit. They are not on the internet with any replacement string. I had to buy a whole new one (weed whacker!) from Amazon!! Yup, the great mega store in the sky!
Another birthday. Dave visited earlier this year. He comes and goes. I am not at liberty to say how and where. We were glad to have him. And, then he was gone once more. We are in touch. The internet allows everyone to be in touch no matter where we may be. Dave is just fine. Mysterious? Ha ha. He left; we went to the museum. We will miss him. He is a very good house guest. I hope he comes again soon.
We’re trying not to dwell… it’s hard not. Colleen has noted that Nutley, Ray’s brother, is grieving. I do believe she’s right. A cat? Yup. I apologize. I’m working out stuff myself. Ray was a cat. In perspective, the lives lost and property destroyed by Russia in Ukraine pales.
The Windows of the World – Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach
… The windows of the world are covered with rain
There must be something we can do
Everybody knows whenever rain appears
It’s really angel tears
How long must they cry?
Let the sun shine through
Keep busy: eat out, laugh with friends, do stuff. We will never forget. Each day I am working toward coping. This one time it has hit harder than ever before. I do not know why. Colleen comforts me as I do her. Photography has been a comfort. No, you cannot tell that it is Nutley; they were twins.
Today, it’s story more than pictures. What to do for your “anniversary?” Eat out! Of course! We had a splendid meal. There was a talking parrot. Colleen smiled from start to finish. The food was excellent. And, crème brulee for dessert! That is Colleen’s favorite. Yup, still married. Happily married! It’s no oxymoron. Nope, indeed!
… doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different result. We got another fleece to wash … spin. Yes, nuts! It’s spring, time to plant. Eating out is good. Colleen took flight on St Pat’s day. We had a reservation. 30 minutes later we were seated. It was a local place, definitely not worth the effort. Dinner with the cousins, priceless. And, the cats keep getting images into my camera.
It was an interesting birthday on many levels. My side of the family is far and wide. Colleen’s family has taken me under their wing. Word got out and the list of folks coming to dinner grew and grew. I got cards, gifts, and a slice of cake too large for me to eat alone. And, family shot me from all directions. And the pics were sent to my phone before the cake was eaten! It’s a first for me. The world has changed. It’s good right? Shhhhh… they still believe me when I say I am fast enough to press the camera shutter, and, be in the picture too!
Grand Canyon – grand: setting, view, restaurant, food, fun… Why not? The first time we tried; the kitchen was closed – broken. A year later we succeeded in having a fine meal. Grand, indeed. Colleen loves dessert – flan. And, she loves beer. No Bud, craft beer, and, let it be dark beer, more flavor. To me it is like bitter beer medicine. She laughs; such a sweet woman. You can sometimes order a sample of beers – it’s called a flight. Fun! I watch. I photograph. That way you don’t get to see my face scrunch when I taste the beer. No!
It came to me as I awoke – idea!! I would be in costume – well, not exactly, but scrubs. My (personal) PJ’s, working gear. We were to demonstrate at the local fiber show. Ok! I am not a volunteer. Colleen volunteered me/us. A local newspaper came by to get a pic and a story. We will be in it – the news. (WITSEC) Witness protection beware. Ha ha. And of course, pizza and a beer for dinner. Colleen had seafood lasagna. Note: be careful what you wear in public, especially if you don’t have the figure for it. She took mine (pic); I took hers.
Random today… selection of pics. I have evolved from a single pic and story. Too many images, too little time. Good? Cats are our – Colleen’s and mine – life these days. We share much love with them. Yes… she loves to eat out, water view preferable. A frog, a duck, the sky, the moon, a grasshopper, all are fair game. Imerfect, (sic) true. Ha ha. I’m glad to have had the opportunities. A single shot/picture? Maybe once again, someday, but, not today.
It’s always rhetorical. Which of your kids is your favorite? Favorite cat? Answer: You love them all. Equally? Answer: You smile. Favorite time? Favorite place? Favorite picture? In the moment, I like/love everything. Wrong! You love your wife, elsewise, you will not live to take another picture. Ha ha.
I’m just randomly flipping thru the catalog today. Monhegan Island. Just like that, I could recognize and recall the meal, restaurant, and setting. How? Memory is a funny thing. Pictures are my trigger to open up the past for me. Otherwise I have monarch butterflies scattered liberally in my catalog. Good luck finding a pic easily amongst the lot. Ditto, sunset. Sheep? Yup, I do not recall any particular sheep. This is all a random draw.
Cats? It’s still raw to recall Ray, whom we recently lost. Colleen will say we have favorites. Less favorite? … to which I say, I love them all. Need I say, she is my favorite wife?