Wednesday, October 30, 2013

OBX #9

Last week, we took time away from our two little cottages to spend time with friends in a very big cottage.

This is our ninth year of going to the Outer Banks in the fall with our friends Martin and Jenn, but it's the first time we've stayed on the Sound side instead of the ocean side.  Currituck Sound was literally in our back yard.

We had an amazing time with M&J, Jenn's son Steve and his wife Lauren, their friends Frank and Gina, and Martin's friends Anita and Patrick from England.

It was a lazy week spent in the hot tub:

in the kitchen:

and in the family room and on the deck, where the view was just amazing:

We made jack o'lanterns:

Doug and I did a little thrift store shopping for accessories for ours:

We had a great week, and my awesome daughter took good care of our pets, including taking Paxton to the vet with a urinary tract issue (and cleaning up after him).

But by Saturday, I was ready to come home to these guys:

And to sleep in our own cozy bed:

As the leash we brought home for Jodie says, "Life is Good."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Girl's Best Friend

We've all seen those pictures of pets and people who look alike--the young woman with long, straight blonde hair paired with an afghan hound.  The older woman with short white curls and her miniature poodle.  The beefy guy and an equally beefy bulldog.

Well, Jodie and I look nothing alike. She is a short, stocky blonde with brown eyes, and I'm a tall, lanky brunette with blue eyes.

Here's my adorable girl with one of the UD mascots at a recent 5K, with me off to the left:

We may not look alike, but as far as internal clocks go, we're a match made in heaven.  

Jodie and I are morning people. 

We're both ready to go at 5:45 every day.  I love taking her for early-morning walks when the world is still quiet and we have the neighborhood pretty much to ourselves.

When we're at the cottage, Jodie and I go out to the beach as soon as we get up.  We've seen lots of sunrises, but last weekend, I realized just how dark it's gotten at 6:00 a.m. Our cottage is about 250 yards from the beach, and the street to get out to the beach is lit.

But the beach is dark.  Really dark.

I took a flashlight with me when we went out, so I could see where I was going...and make sure I didn't step on any horseshoe crab carcasses.

Jodie is off-leash when we're on the beach, but I always know where she is because her tags jingle as she trots from one great smell to another.

I probably wouldn't go out to the beach on my own at 6:00 a.m. in the dark, but Jodie is a great excuse to do it.  And it's fun having a companion on my early-morning adventures.

Jodie and I are pretty much alike at night too.  By 8:00, she's sacked out.

One Saturday night a couple of weeks ago, we had friends over for dinner, and we stayed outside enjoying a fire in our fire pit.  Jodie was on the deck with us, but at around 9:30 she got kind of agitated, going back and forth from one person to another with an anxious look on her face. I finally realized what she wanted. I opened the back door, and she did her Labrador happy dance and then made a mad dash for her crate in the extra bedroom.

We had kept her up past her bedtime.  I can relate to that.

Jodie is a great pal at the beach:

and at home after a hard day in the office:

I can't imagine life without this dog that someone else didn't want....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sandy Magic

This weekend was probably our last at the beach cottage in its summer mode.  With a bunch of things coming up--Homecoming Weekend at UD, a weeklong vacation to the Outer Banks, and a trip to Baltimore to see Alex and Ashleigh's "new" house (a late-19th-century row house in the city's Locust Point neighborhood)--we won't be back here until mid-November.

For me, the beach is magical.  It's not proud and majestic like the mountains, and to some people it may seem boring in its sameness.

But if you watch and listen, the beach is ever-changing, and it has stories to tell.

Even the sunrise is different from one day to another.

I took this picture two weeks ago:

This one yesterday:

And this one today:

Yesterday morning, I walked north for two miles towards Pickering Beach, and I came upon an abandoned half-buried wooden canoe:

It's almost camouflaged in the sand, and I couldn't help but wonder where it came from and how long it's been there.

I also saw this really interesting natural sculpture where the action of the waves is mirrored in the shore of the wetlands:

How long did it take to get like that?  Will it stay like that, or will it look different next year?

This morning, I took a four-mile walk south, starting out before the sun came up.  In the half-darkness, I spotted something colorful stranded out on the mudflats.  Was it an inflatable boat?  A bunch of fishing floats?

When I got closer, I realized that it was a bunch of balloons:

As I continued on, I saw two other balloons in the sand by the marsh:

And a light blue one all alone in the mud at the edge of the bay:

On my way back, less than half an hour later, I saw the large batch again.  Now, with the tide coming in, the ballons had washed ashore, and I could see the tangle of ribbons holding them all together:

Where did they come from?  A child's birthday party?  An engagement celebration?  A community event?  Were all of the balloons, including the pink and yellow pair and the single light blue one, once together, or had they come from separate parties?  When the tide comes all the way in later this morning, will they end up in the marsh, or will they float back out on the bay in another cycle?

The beach yields up all kinds of treasures.

Some are natural like this sponge:

a blue crab:

and this pretty flowered weed:

The beach also yields collectible treasures that tell tales of human activities, like these floats that once helped fisherman and crabbers do their jobs but are now decorating our yard. They're just as colorful as flowers and much easier to maintain:

Since we started coming to Kitts Hummock just over a year ago, I've been collecting beach glass.  So far, my Mason jar is about half full:

Most of the pieces are white, green, or brown, but I have a few more interesting colors in my collection, including lavender, pink, pale blue, and cobalt blue.  Even the browns and greens have variations:

When I got back from my five-mile walk yesterday, I was loaded down with two floats, two pieces of rope, and five pieces of glass.  Doug says I need to start taking a little backpack for all my treasure.

All I know is that the beach makes me really happy: