Surreal – Thursday March 31, 2011

Have you ever had the feeling that something you were experiencing was surreal. Two months ago I had that feeling again as I sat at the pasta bar at Carabbas. I was by myself so the noisy pasta bar was a quicker option than the short wait for a table. Plus, the evening before it was me scurrying around in a kitchen, attempting to stay 1 step ahead of servers and other kitchen help. See, we had our first (of many, hopefully) Widow’s Banquet. For some reason someone thought I would be a good candidate to head up the food. What was up with that??  Anyway, food went well, except for the Salisbury Steak (aka Poor Man’s Steak) wasn’t quite cooked and so we had to scramble to get that taken care of. So, if you make SS for a big crowd and bake it in an electric roaster, make sure that the meat is fully cooked/baked before you smother it in gravy for baking. That is your free tip of the day. We used a recipe that calls for cream of mushroom soup and cheddar cheese soup instead of just CoMS. It’s much better. That’s your second free tip of the day.

So anyway, there I was sitting at the pasta bar at Carrabbas and it was oddly relaxing to watch them busy clanging pots and pans and slamming oven doors and hearing an occasional song belted out by the person who was manning the grill. Pun intended.

Later that evening I was at JoAnn’s Fabrics, having taken my good old time picking out sale items to be purchased with my additional 20% coupon. As I was standing in line, waiting to have my fabric cut, I was intrigued to watch 2 young mothers, who I guessed to be in their early 20s and army wives, each getting a small stack of printed fabric cut. They had 3 well-behaved toddlers with them. The ladies were happily chatting about the little dresses they were going to make for their daughters. And one of them was getting terrycloth to make washable wipes.

As we stood there, another interesting character came by to have fabric cut. This young lady had the most unique assemblage of clothes. She had a plain black t-shirt on. Now there’s nothing unusual about that. But her skirt was one of those that were sold maybe 20 or more years ago. Remember the ones that had 1″ pleats the whole way around the waist, were polyester with a polka dot pattern? She had cut it off a little above the knees and it wasn’t hemmed. To top her outfit off (pun alert), she had a red stocking cap on, the kind like we were 20 or more years ago, not the trendy knit caps currently available. Like the kind I wore when I was 6 or 8 years old and it always smelled kinda musty. We lived on a farm and they probably didn’t get washed very often.

And then, I was the last person to get my fabric cut for the evening and it was literally closing time but the lady was in no hurry. As she was casually snipping away, she was talking about her husband, soon to be ex, she hoped, who was waiting out in a car for her. She had finally made a break from him and the long stemmed flower he had brought in for her didn’t impress her any. Having no personal marriage advice to give her, I gave her a listening ear instead. There is so much sadness in this world and the breaking up of a marriage is one of them.

The other day I was in the Verizon store 4 hours with my boss and co-worker, waiting as the salesman set up a new account for us and then set up 5 new phones for us. And to think we thought it would take about an hour. Eventually the conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m so glad that others [from church] have learned to use the hotline. I think people were getting tired of hearing my voice.
Co-worker: I’m tired of hearing your voice.
Me: And that is supposed to mean what to me?
Boss (offering an additional comeback): And I care because …..?

Gotta love sarcastic bantering!

Today in the office, boss, co-worker (same one), plumber and I were talking about people winning the lottery. We had a lively discussion with 2 of us declaring how that much money ruins lives and the other 2 arguing the other side. I said, “You couldn’t pay me to win the lottery! You would never again know who your true friends are [vs. those out for your money].” Said plumber, “Yeah, but then you could just buy new ones.” Cracked me up!!!

I had to spend about 2 hours on the road today to deliver some paperwork. I got to listen to the Braves opening game! I finally figured out why I enjoy listening to them. It’s certainly not because I’m a sports fan. Their announcers have the sort of humor that I enjoy. See, it’s kind of like my critiquing of fiction books. If the style of writing is bad enough, the moral of the story can’t redeem it. Anyway, here is 1 little tidbit (not verbatim) of today [21-year-old Jason Heyward, had just hit a home-run at his first at-bat, an exact duplicate of last year’s opening game except for the number of pitches]:

Announcer #1: He is really showing his age. This year he hit a home run on the second pitch.
Announcer #2: Yeah, by the time he’s been in the major leagues for 10 years, he won’t be hitting a home run until the second day of the season.

Tonight the very green outdoors is nearly surreal. Because only 2 months ago the trees were bare and the grass was brown. We’ve had a warm February and March and now rain off and on for the past 5 days so things are nearly bursting with green. And to think that some of you up north are experiencing snow. Can’t hardly believe it.

And some friends from N.D. are experiencing something surreal as they wait in the hospital with their 6-year-old son who has been having seizures. [Actually got an update as I write this and it believed to be epileptic seizures.] Please keep them in your prayers as this cannot be an easy thing to face. And to many others who are facing difficult situations, I’m sure they know that feeling as well.

Have a great evening y’all. I’m wishing that cleaning the house tonight wasn’t so real.

Of Warm Sunlight and Blossoms

but I’ll get to that later.

Sunday morning had us headed to another part of the state to witness the beginnings of a new church and the licensing of my brother-in-law. That was special to be a part of, even if it meant 8 hours on the road, and 4 hours there.

Tuesday afternoon my sister and I headed to Charleston to enjoy a birthday gift given by a friend. The gift was tickets to a King’s Singers concert. I had never been to a concert by them but have several of their songs on my mp3 player. They use no amplification so the first song it seemed like we had to strain to hear from our balcony seats. After the first song the audience became very quiet and the music seemed to get louder. Exquisite, clear sound! They were dressed quite casually, to our suprise. One piece of luggage did not make it into the airplane with them so they all dressed down. The first half of the concert was from their latest album and included old texts put to music. The second half was filled with fun songs like Jason Mranz’ I’m Yours and Allison Krauss’ When I Went Down to the River to Pray.

We had gotten a motel through Priceline and were delighted with our deal, $45 plus tax, tag and title at an Embassy Suites. They have a complimentary hot breakfast which is very nice. Sadly enough I am not posting any pictures because I didn’t pull my Rebel out once while we were there. Which is sad because there are many lovely old homes full of photo opportunities but we were limited in time.

This afternoon I decided to drive around and see what I could find in the way of wildflowers for a bouquet or something that grabbed me enough to shoot it.

I was amazed again at what can be found if a person is really looking. Of course, photo editing may have something to do with it too!

One of the trees by the walking path we’ve been frequently recently:

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A building I’ve shot before but it’s been a while. For once I’m not sure which I like best, b&w or color. This is a 3-exposure HDR.

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A reflective, stagnant, swampy area:

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A magnolia tree pierced by the evening sun:

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FYI, that was an HDR made from 1 photo.


The moon this Saturday night is supposed to be the biggest full moon (in appearance) since 1983. I could throw around big words like Perigee and Apogee but instead I’ll let you read about it HERE.

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Personally, I have a date with a Rebel Saturday night, but don’t tell my mom!


I finally found a pink blossoming tree that was not in someone’s front yard. For some reason, I’m too shy to knock on doors asking people if I can shoot their flowers.

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And a little warm sunlight shining through the pink blossoms.

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Goodnight, y’all!!!

Spring Giveaway – Saturday March 12, 2011

 I’d say it’s about time for another giveaway. Spring has been here for several weeks, although it did dip down to nearly freezing last night and we had a light frost. I wonder if my okra seedlings will make it. If not, I’ll plant some more. Okra is in the cotton family and likes warm weather. And the ants are loving the little plants for some reason.  They are not touching the kohlrabi, lettuce, broccoli or onions. Our asparagus has been pushing up new shoots at an alarming rate and this will be our first year harvesting them. Yum!

The weather has been gorgeous!! We’ve had a few rains and the grass is greening up very nicely. It is time to bring out the lawn mower.

But anyway, in January everything was brown and drab and so when The Pioneer Woman had her flower assignment, it inspired me to go get some flowers and shoot. So, I got some tulips from Walmart (half price) and some football mums and Gerberas from a florist.

The giveaway is this: 1 print chosen from the photos posted below to the randomly drawn winner. If you choose one that is square, it will be a 12×12 print. If you choose #7, it will be an 11×14. Adding or deleting a saying or verse will be an option as well.

To enter: Leave a comment here or on facebook and tell me what your favorite flower is. (Mine happens to be a pale pink peony but I am ever so sorrowful that we cannot grow peonies here. Just too far south. I’ve had several plants and they come up each spring but stop at a certain point and refuse to grow anymore or flower.) If you want to tell me which is your favorite from below, that’s fine. Otherwise, I will contact the winner for their choice. If you leave a comment here as anonymous, please leave your name and check back after the contest to see if you’ve won! If the winner doesn’t respond within 10 days another winner will be chosen. 

Oh, and a couple of weeks ago I updated my front page at my website Impressions by ML so drop in to read if you dare. It probably is way more than you wanted to know!


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Ah yes! I knew I was forgetting something. A deadline for entries. Which will be midnight Tuesday night, March 15, Twenty-Eleven.


Shrimping Georgia Style – Wednesday March 9, 2011

Last fall we took our parents out to the coast for an interesting excursion. There is a family there who built a commercial trawler to be able to handle passengers. You can either buy tickets on their scheduled days, or you can get a private charter for your group. Included is all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp and trust me, you aren’t getting any farm-raise shrimp. Nope, only the best – Wild Georgia Shrimp!

It’s interesting seeing the marsh from a different perspective.

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On one of the beaches on Jekyll there are signs to stay off a certain place because of oyster beds. You really do not want to walk there. The beds are razor-sharp. [see beds below]

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And then there’s the tall bridge that we drive over quite frequently. People llike to use this for running/walking. It’s the only place in southeast Georgia that’s not flat!  There used to be a draw-bridge there and if a boat or ship was coming through you had to wait close to 45 minutes for the whole process.

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On our way out they put the 15-foot net down for the first run.

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Some trawlers have nets up to 75 feet long. Others have 2 smaller nets.

Bringing it in:

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It’s good I got these pictures the first time through because the next time there were many heads crowded around the table!

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Hmmmm. I bet you just declared you’d never eat shrimp again!!!

First they take the more dangerous creatures out before they let you have free access to playing with what’s left. This young man did a great job of explaining what each creature was.

A snapping turtle:

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A hammerhead shark:

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There was also a small sand shark in there. We’ve caught those in seines [pronounced sanes] before on the beach. They are actually very good eating! And they are too small to do you any harm.

A group of boys was along for a birthday outing. I love this Norman Rockwell expression. He is not so sure about the blowfish!

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Meanwhile the boat is still moving through the marsh toward the area where the SSI lighthouse is.

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We passed another trawler who was moored for some reason.

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Looking back into the sun.

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The men below have a seine, they each have a pole and there is a net between them. They drag it along for a while and then onto the beach. It looks like they are on their way in here. You can use a seine up to 100 ft without needing a permit.

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Our church use to have a seine back in the early starting up years. We would go out for a day and then have a cookout with our catch.

More SSI scenes:

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There was a wedding going on here but the lighthouse museum. What a lovely evening and site except the no-see’ums [aka sand gnats] were bad. I usually am the first one to get bit! They are attracted to sweet people, so I’ve heard. Somewhere. Maybe in my imagination.

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Meanwhile back at the ranch boat, there was more shrimpin’ bein’ done.

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I felt so sorry for this little nearly translucent fish stuck in that net. They looked so …. pitiful.

Though the blowfish is shaped like a volleyball, it does not a good volleyball make.

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The kids got over their sqeamishness.

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And we all returned, safe and sound and full of steamed shrimp!!! I love being out on the water!! Except on days when it’s so rough you have to tie yourself down.

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