A little thing can be worth a big smile

It's funny, how easy it can sometimes be to connect with people we don't know. I bought a bottle of soda today and when I got int the car I discovered that I could not, for the life of me, get it open. Eventually I gave up, stopped at a gas station, and bought another one. The lady behind the counter was polite in a slightly distant way, and we didn't have much in common; she was a generation younger and a different race. But I was in that relaxed sort of mood that makes it easy to talk to strangers, so I told her that I had a perfectly good bottle of soda back in the car that I just could not get open. Immediately she laughed out loud and said "That happens to me too and it just drives me crazy!".  We shared a laugh and I left. The next place that I stopped, I said the same thing and got exactly the same result - the clerk instantly relaxed, gave me a big Cheshire Cat smile and "Oh, that happens to me too! Don't you just hate it?" We all have so much more in common that we think!  And that is a good thought to hold on to, as we start a new year.  

Three years ago:  Cold fishing in California

Kindle or Printed books?

Way back in April of 2012 Randy won a brand new Kindle, and I inherited his original one. That's how it usually goes in our family; Randy, who maintains a lively interest in new technology, gets a new version and I inherit the older one. Since, in spite of my 16 years as an IT manager I am not usually excited about new technology, this suits me fine; in fact, I often don't use my inherited toys. I never got much use out of the PDA way back when, and after experimenting with the Kindle a bit, I put it away.

But after over 4 years in the RV, I am still looking for ways to decrease the amount of stuff we carry around. My favorite books have never been on the list of things to get rid of, but that may change. I find that I don't read some because they are stuffed behind others, and the ones in front are getting torn from taking them in and out of tightly-packed shelves. So I am going to give the Kindle another try.  

It's going to take awhile before I agree it's a suitable substitute. Any time I have a few spare minutes, I love to pick up a book, flip it open to a random page, and start reading. I don't need to read from start to finish - in fact, I prefer not to. The first time I read a book I tend to skim read, so when I read snippets later, I get more out of it, and not reading it in order keeps it fresh.  I'm not saying it's the best way to read, but it makes me happy. Will a Kindle, with its front-to-back style, suffice? I don't know, but I am finally ready to give it a try.

Merry Christmas from Hilton Head Island

Another wonderful Christmas!  As we watch "A Christmas Story", we were reflecting on how much our view of Christmas has changed.  As kids, it seemed like Christmas would never, ever get here. Now it seems to show up in the blink of an eye! And it used to be easy to know what presents to buy; we got a tie for Dad and cookie sheets for Mom.  Seriously, we got her more cookie sheets than Tollhouse has.   

Now that we are adults, we are so blessed that it can be a challenge to find the right present; everyone we know has everything they want or need.  That is an amazingly wonderful situation to be in, except at Christmas.  

So the Christmas experience changes throughout our lives, and we start new traditions.  For example, the traditional Christmas breakfast in our household is smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, capers and red onions.  Randy smokes the salmon himself, and it is an amazing way to start the day!

So Merry Christmas to all!

One year ago: Skid Row Christmas in LA
Three years ago: California Christmas

Christmas decorations in an RV

Decorating an RV for Christmas takes a little imagination.  For starters, the space is really small and it's already filled with things we need.  Plus, traveling with pets adds another level of complexity.  What the dogs can't reach, the cat can, and all of them like to chew on things.  

In other years we would get a small tree with fiber-optic lights, then donate it to Goodwill after Christmas, which solved the after-Christmas storage problem nicely.  But this year we made some changes in the RV layout and I just couldn't decide where to put a tree that would be safe from the critters.  So we agreed to forgo a tree.  Then I saw something really pretty at Target - a small tree made from red curled wood.  I love the color, and it looks like it's made of flowers.  
It's small enough to fit on the table out of the dogs' reach, and Missy doesn't bother it because it's not as much fun to chew on as fake evergreen. Of course, we can't hang decorations on this so I strung garland across the top of the living room slide, and hung light-weight ornaments on that.

Looks Christmas-y enough for me! 

Three years ago: Pink Tornado

A Christmas party done right!

Aaron left last week, heading back to the cold Illinois winter.  For our last meal together in the Low Country we went back to the Oyster Factory Restaurant in Blufton to eat oysters and shrimp until we couldn't hold any more, then stopped at the Hilton Head Diner for cake.  I was so full of seafood that I could not even finish my chocolate cake, and when have I not been able to eat chocolate?

The winter here is colder than usual for Hilton Head, but that is pretty much "normal" for us.  In our first winter in Arizona, the locals talked about how unusually cold it was.  The summer we were in Nova Scotia, the locals talked about how unusually overcast it was.  We have come to expect to hear the phrase "it's never been this ____ before!"; fill in the blank with wet, rainy, cold, hot, humid - anything except what the area is known for!  But it doesn't really matter, where ever we are is a lot better than where we could be, and every adventure is different.

This weekend we went to the Staff Christmas party at Michael Anthony's Cucina Italiana.  My food pictures didn't turn out well, but I wasn't really paying much attention to photography - I was busy eating!  We started with a nice Antipasto tray, followed by a salad course.  I had greens with poached pears and candied walnuts, while Randy had Carpaccio di Manzo, which is thin-sliced raw beef with dressing.  He followed that with more beef - filet minion with a Sangiovese reduction and mushroom garnish. I was happy to find Gnocchi on the menu - I always love that.  For dessert Randy picked the sample platter, but I had the "Profiterole alla Chiccolata", which was a lot like chocolate lava cake - excellent!
In between the courses we had the White Elephant gift exchange.  Each White Elephant gift exchange has it's own rules; this time the rules were "only 2 steals during each person's turn".  So a gift could be stolen twice during my turn, but during the next person's turn it could be stolen again.  The bottle of Grey Goose when through several owners before ending up at Randy's place.  Me?  I walked off with a box full of chocolate!

One year ago: RV Remodeling
Three years ago: What the heck is Slab City?
Four years ago: Weird Cactus Things

Charleston, Beaufort and Firefly Vodka

Randy and Aaron have biked over 70 miles and Aaron has seen a bit of Savannah, so the next place to visit was Charleston.  On the way there, of course, we stopped to see the amazing Angel Oak on John's Island, which we first visited in August.
This time we noticed something unusual in the area - a little white squirrel!  A local artist said it had been there a few weeks.  Previously the only place we knew with white squirrels was Olney, Illinois.  This little guy has dark eyes so he's not an albino.  So we got to see one huge, gorgeous natural attraction plus one tiny, cute one - bonus!
Next stop:  Wadmalaw Island, and the small Firefly Distillery, which specializes in vodka.  And boy, do they like vodka; once they started making it, they just kept going.  Now they make all sorts of flavors, like sweet tea, peach tea, raspberry and lemonade.  I, of course, didn't care for any of it, but the guys bought "tasting" tickets and found several they liked.  We came home with blackberry, apple pie and chocolate pecan vodkas, plus some Bourbon. 
They don't usually do tours at the distillery but the owner, recognizing kindred drinking souls in Randy and Aaron, and took them on a personalized tour.

In Charleston we lunched at "Fuel", which Randy heard about on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  We have found that show to have some hits as well as some misses, but this turned out to be good one, and Randy's order was the best of the bunch - Jerk Chicken with pineapple and bacon, and a side fried plantains.  

Then we went to catch the ferry to Fort Sumter.  Unfortunately we were too late; because this is the slow season they only ran 2 ferries, and we missed them both.  Dang.  We did go through the Visitor Education Center, which was very interesting.  The actual Garrison Flag is there, partially on display.  They don't have a huge display area with controlled lighting and temperature, like the Smithsonian has for the "Star Spangled Banner", so their solution is to display a just small section, and slide the display window over to display a different section each day.  This diminishes the destructive effects of the lights.  They need to protect it because, as old photographs show, there is not much left. 
And based on the section that was displayed, what remains is thin enough to see through.  When it was whole, though, it must have been an impressive sight.  It was huge, with an unusual pattern of stars. Above the long display case which holds the original flag, hangs a replica, covering the entire wall.
But dang, we really wanted to see the fort.  It's over 3 miles away from the Center so we couldn't even get a good look at outside of it.  Looking out the window, we could just barely see the sand bar it sits on, way out behind the boats.  
Since we couldn't see the fort, we had a little time to spend at the City Market, looking for souvenirs.  Hand-made sweet grass baskets still cost several hundred dollars, so I still don't have one.  By then it was after 5 pm so we headed home; it's a 2 hour drive and the dogs were really glad to see us when we got back.

Today, Sunday, we visited another small town, Beaufort.  On the way we stopped at Port Royal beach to look for shark's teeth.  I'd found one earlier this year, but today all we found were oyster shells and seagulls.
So on to Beaufort.  After we drove across the bridge and parked, we looked back and saw that the bridge was a Swing Bridge.  Because some tall sailboats were waiting to get to the other side, traffic was stopped while the middle section of the bridge swung sideways, opening a channel for them to sail through.

And Randy's had a very short career as a deckhand on a shrimp boat; he helped this guy cast off a couple of lines so the boat could leave the dock.
It was getting cold (47?), so we stopped for coffee and tea to warm up a bit.  This is a very pretty town, with lots of beautiful old two-story houses with deep porches, white columns and blue porch ceilings.  There is a old Southern tradition that blue ceilings stop wasps from building nests, because the blue looks like sky to them.  Live Oaks grow here, too; sometimes they just take off in one direction and keep on going.
On our way downtown we noticed someone picking up nuts that were laying on the ground; they turned out to be pecans.  We tried a couple; I found raw pecans to be a little damp, and not as flavorful as roasted pecans. 
We went through a lot of the unique shops downtown before we learned that today was the day of the Christmas parade.  Beaufort is a town of about 12,000, and it seemed like half the town was in the parade.  It lasted an hour, which, as the temperature dropped, seemed like a pretty long time.  But everyone was was giving it their best.  The parade included bands, dance troops, cub scouts, church floats, firetrucks, dogs, horses, and several military groups.

And here in the South, "Three Kings" means something a little different!

Three years ago: Sand Shapes and Mud Pots
Four years ago: Back home in Arizona

A Busy Day, our style

Busy day today; Randy headed out with Aaron to bike almost 30 miles around the Island, so Brenda, Norma and I biked the 1 mile to Coligny Plaza, where we wandered through most of the shops before having lunch.  Afterwards we bicycled on beach a bit and picked up some shells.  As we headed back to the Resort, we found some fronds which had fallen off palm trees.  We collected a bunch to bring back to the Resort, and after dinner we got together again to make reindeers.  Such a busy, busy day!
Four years ago: Randy, on his own

Attention to Detail

Ah, Savannah, how nice to see you again!  
We always enjoying sharing our favorite places with others; today we drove Aaron over to eat at Savannah's premier eatery, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, and to walk beneath the great Live Oaks that fill Savannah's historic squares.
And with each visit, we find something new to love.  This time we found the Armstrong Junior College, a lovely granite and glazed-brick Italian renaissance mansion built in 1919.  The college wasn't founded until 1935, so before that it was a personal home.  Nice!
As we walked along the streets, we kept admiring the architecture.  So many details, so much variety.  The massive structures are awesome, but I think what makes these places so special is that attention to detail.

From top to bottom, attention



Four years ago: White Trash Party!
One year ago: Remodeling an RV Kitchen 

Enjoying spending time with friends

I LOVE having 4 days off each week!  I started getting together with the other 2 Workamper wives on Tuesday, since we all have that day off.  This last week Norma was not able to join us, so just Brenda and I spent the day shopping and goofing off.  We discovered we both like those Disney animations, so today we went to see Frozen.  Loved it!  

Today Randy's buddy Aaron arrived, all the way from Illinois.  He's going to spend a few days here so we get to show him around the area - a great excuse to revisit some of our favorite sights.

Happy Thanksgiving, from Hilton Head Island

In the past Randy and I have prepared Thanksgiving dinner for family, friends and strangers (not to say that some family and friends can't be pretty strange, too!).  Twice we had the privilege of working with the Central Community Church in Riverside, who feed over 3,000 people each Thanksgiving.  This year it was a little different; we fed about 70 people, and they all paid for their place at the dinner table!  And the Thanksgiving dinner at the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort was a great success.  How do you make it a great success?  Have turkey, ham, green bean casserole, holiday corn, Waldorf salad, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, oyster stuffing, regular gravy, giblet gravy, rolls and cranberry relish.  Finish it off with apple pie, pecan pie, chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Everything made from scratch, of course.

One year ago: Thanksgiving for a few thousand people
Two years ago: Thanksgiving in Florida
Three years ago: Thanksgiving for 3,500 people

Getting close to Thanksgiving

It's getting close to Thanksgiving again.  This is a good thing since it means lots of goodies to eat and time to spend with friends.  It's also a little difficult because this year we won't be with family, either in the Midwest or in California.  But we have friends here and will enjoy the holiday, South Carolina-style.

Randy will be cooking the big Thanksgiving dinner here are the Resort for the Guests and Owners.  And in his spare time he is Santa's Helper, putting up lights around the Resort. 

Four years ago: Goofing off in Arizona

Girl Time!

There are two other Workamper couples here at the Resort right now, and the ladies and I have been trying to schedule some "girl time".  Today all the schedules lined up and we were able to spend all day goofing off together.  There are several thrift stores in the area, so we went to some of those.  Brenda, our new Activity Directory, will start having Tea Parties in December; I was not going to get involved this time around (it's a fair bit of work) but once I got into a Thrift Store, I started looking for Tea Pots.  And I found a couple of lovely ones - I may be hooked again!  All of us found a little something we liked, including bargain Christmas ornaments.  When we got tired of shopping, we went to lunch at the Bluffton Oyster Company's Family Seafood House, where I finally got some fresh May River raw oysters!  Norma and I also split a fish sandwich with sweet potato fries; Brenda doesn't care for raw oysters, so she chose the Shrimp Po'boy.  After lunch we were done thrifting, so we checked out a few regular stores in the area, including Fresh Market.  Fresh Market is a little bit similar to Whole Foods, although it's much smaller.  But you can find interesting, high quality goodies there, so we had a great time.  It was so nice to relax, after the past couple of days.

One year ago:  Shorty joins the family
Two years ago:  Changeable Florida
Four years ago:  Parachuting - a spectator sport for me

In the story of Mom vs the Tornado, Mom wins!

I wake up in the morning and thank God that Mom and my sisters are safe.  For the past 2 days I have been in a quandary about what I should be doing.  I couldn't even talk to my family much because their cell phone batteries were low, and Mom and Kathy can't charge theirs on car batteries.  This helpless feeling is reminiscent of our situation during 9/11.  Our families were safe but we were miles away in Cancun, and we could only get one call out to them.  They were OK and there was nothing we could or should be doing, but the need to get home was overwhelming.

The past 2 days I wanted to rush up to Washington but every time I made a plan, it did not seem like the right thing to do.  We wanted to move Mom into our RV or a friend's house for a few days, but Mom absolutely refused to leave her home.  According to her, everything was fine, she was just without power.  That was technically true, so she felt she had facts on her side and we could not convince her otherwise.  We kept thinking of bad scenarios that could happen, but she said nope, none of that was going to happen so stop worrying.  Randy though we could somehow make her go, but she made it crystal clear that she was not going anywhere.  Unfortunately we could not just bundle her up and push her into a car.  I confess, I actually considered doing that, but her bones are so frail that it would cause a bigger disaster.  

While we were considering all this, we were also listening to the information coming out of Washington.  Soon the town will need a lot of outside assistance but right now they are asking people to stay away and let the First Responders do their job.  The infrastructure systems are strained to the max and First Responders need a chance to get things stable (and they are doing an amazing job of it).  We could drive the RV up there but there isn't a close place to plug in to keep charged (and one more unit without power would not help anyone), and we could not take a hotel room when so many local families need them.  None of that would get in the way if Mom needed us, but she was perfectly happy where she was, would not move, and I couldn't find anything I actually could do for her besides drive her crazy.  All that added up to staying here, saying prayers that the power would come back on, making travel plans that I could not implement, and trying unsuccessfully to not worry.  

Now that my family has power restored, they can charge those cell phones!  And keep safe inside their lighted, warm houses, which is so much more than many people can do right now.  So my panic has receded; I can keep in touch with my family and look for the right way to contribute to the rebuild.

Mom versus the Tornado

I got a phone call from Mom's friend Mary this morning.  Mary has a charged cell phone and a full tank of gas, and is checking on Mom regularly.  Mom, of course, will not consider going anywhere where, such as one of her daughters' house where there is power, or even to the shelter across the street from her own house, where they have a generator set up.  Mom comes from a family whose stubbornness is legendary.  She is close to 90 and frail, but once she decides something, that's it.  She said she has bottled water, food and blankets, and that's all she needs.  She does not understand why I am concerned; when she says she's OK, I should believe her and that should be the end of it.  I love her endlessly, but sometimes we don't speak the same language. 

Update:  I can hardly believe it, but the power is back on at Mom's place.  Her house wasn't actually hit by the tornado, but still, with all that destruction, I never expected they could get power back so soon.  I am so relieved and grateful; I have been terribly  worried about her and feeling totally helpless to keep her safe.  

Of course, this is all in the natural order of things to Mom.  She said all along that there was no need to go to a safer place, a place with working lights, heat or phones.  And this just proves her case!  To quote Jack Sparrow "there'll be no living with her after this."

Tornado at home, in Washington, Illinois

A big tornado went through Washington, Illinois today.  That's where my Mom lives, and my sisters live in nearby towns.  We had a little trouble getting through to them on the phone, but eventually I talked to Mom and Kathy.  Everyone is fine, thank God.  Power is out and cell phone batteries are running low, so I didn't talk to them for very long; better to save those batteries in case they need them for something else.  This is one of those times where I am so glad my sisters live near Mom; I know they will take excellent care of her.  So I sit here and say my prayers for my family and the rest of Washington.

1st Update:  The damage is so much worse than I originally realized.  I was counting on my sisters to get to Mom, but power is out in all of their houses.  Randy's sister Theresa doesn't have power at her house either, but she drove over to Kathy's so I could talk to Kathy again on her cell phone; Kathy's cell phone is almost dead and she doesn't have a charger in her car.  Since Kathy's power is out, she had no idea how bad it is; she assumed power would come back on soon.  Mom is comfortable at home tonight and I know her, she would never consider going to a shelter, but it is obvious that power is going to be out for several days.  I am checking air fares and Mapquest. 

2nd Update:  My other sister, Ruth, has power again at her house.  There is a 6 pm curfew in Washington so nobody is going anywhere tonight, but tomorrow she will be able to gather the family at her place.  Thank God!

South Carolina Luau and Georgia Fruit Cake

The Snack Shack has closed for the season but Randy is still cooking.  Recently the Resort asked for a Luau, and Randy obliged.  The menu was Luau Pork, Kahlua Pork, Luau Chicken, Grilled Pineapple Spears, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Sweet Potato Casserole, Island Rice, Tropical Salad, Ambrosia, Hummingbird Cake and Hawaiian Cheese Pie.  It was all great and well appreciated by the 90-plus guests.
Back in October when I went to a Luke Bryan concert, I discovered that the Claxton Fruit Cake company is just about 90 miles from us.  They are  world-famous for their fruit cake and this is the only place where they make them, so over the weekend we thought we would go take a tour of the place.  But when we got there we learned that, due to insurance constraints, they are no longer allowed to give tours.  Bummer - another thing the insurance companies have screwed up.  But they did give us a sample, and that was enough to convince us to buy some.  I used to be one of the multitude who bad-mouthed fruit cake, but this was very fresh and really good.  At this time of year they are baking over 80,000 fruit cakes a day, and that trend will continue through Christmas.   Not bad for a little home-town business.

One year ago: WONDERFUL old engines
Two years ago: My First Tea Party!
Four years ago: Just having a good time in Arizona

Wow, it's cold!

We are in the South, but wow, it's cold here now!  It's in the mid-40s and the thermometer is going to drop more tonight.  I am so glad that we are not getting snow, but it's still COLD.  Little Julienne is certainly going to get some extra use out of her Halloween costume

One year ago: Culinary School Field Trip

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? No, lunch at Clary's Cafe

Recently we were in Savannah and went to Clary's Cafe for lunch.  We've tried to eat here a couple times before but it was always closed when we were in town.  This day it was open, so we finally got to try it.  
Clary's is a popular local spot that became a popular tourist spot when it was included in that most famous of Savannah stories, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".  They do play it up the connection, but not so much that it gets in the way.  On one wall is a series of photos of actors from the movie, and on another wall is a stained glass interpretation of the book's cover.
The restaurant is reported to be open since 1903, and our waitresses might have be part of the original staff (just kidding, but not by much).  The lunch special that day was a Fried Chicken sandwich, so I ordered that.  Fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and fries on the side = a great lunch!
But they are best known for their Corned Beef Hash, so Randy ordered that.  Their hash does not have as much potato in it as we expected, and therefore it was a smaller portion than we expected.  But it had an excellent flavor; this would be something to order again.

One year ago: Food Tour in LA
Two years ago: Culinary plans in Florida
Four years ago: Our Cooking Classes in Arizona

Halloween for dogs and zombies

Our Mac is fixed!  I really missed it; now I can get back to my blog, which has become an important part of my travel experience.

At the Resort we have a new Activity Director who has a lot of fun ideas.  For Halloween she organized a Dog Parade.  She wisely decided to not ask the dogs to all walk together; some (including ours) would not put up with that!  Instead she arranged for people at several stops around the Resort to hand out doggie treats, and everyone took their dogs along the route.

Julienne's costume was a warm hoodie with a Halloween pattern.  We figured that since she gets cold so often, she will probably get some additional use out of it.
Shorty's costume was appropriate to his personality, too;  he got to be an Acme Rocket, complete with a lit fuse.
And they figured out the process very quickly:  find someone who is sitting outside their RV, go up to them, and ask for treats!
Later, after the "kids" were full of treats and ready for bed, the grownups got together for their own party.  I brought out an old stand-by and dressed as a Bag Lady.  Randy, on the other hand, became a zombie.  We worked hard to get his wounds looking just right; I probably could have given him real wounds, but there was a limit to what he was willing to put up with.  As it was, he came out looking very zombie-like.
One lady at the party told me that she used to treat severe injuries, and Randy's burned arms were very realistic.  I agreed; every time I looked at him, all I could say was "you look very disturbing".

 And what kind of goodies do zombies bring to parties to share?  Fingers, of course!

Four years ago:  Cute little owls in Arizona

Off line for a few days

For the past couple of weeks, the screen of our Mac has been randomly fading a little.  Then we got a new upgrade and suddenly the thing would just go black.  So off to the Genius Bar in Charleston.   They need to order parts, so I am without a Mac.  Randy still has his iPad which I can use it for this, but my Halloween pics are not available and I'm just not comfortable with this little screen.  I'm probably going to be off-line for a few days.

No bicycling for Jackie for awhile - Oct 29, 2013

Well, my hand is slowly improving.  I can bend my ring finger quite a ways.  My middle finger doesn't like to bend at all but it can, so my job is to bend it a little throughout the day so it doesn't freeze up.  I won't be biking for awhile, though; not only am I reluctant to get back on the thing, but I can't apply the back break with my right hand.  The only break I can apply with my left hand is the front wheel, and I am not anxious to pitch head-first over the handle bars.  I don't use the front brake often, so it is not a big stretch of the imagination to visualize me screwing it up.  So no biking yet.

That's a shame, too, because this is a great place to bike.  There are about 60 miles of bike paths, and since this is Hilton Head, most of them are scenic.  Back in Illinois I always admired Pampas grass; here it grows wild, and big.

Goodbye to the Snack Shack!

Well, the Snack Shack has officially closed for the season.  It's a little bitter-sweet; one one hand, the Owners are returning from their summer homes and they love Randy's cooking.  It's always gratifying to cook for people who appreciate it.  On the other hand, when management announced a few weeks ago that the Shack would close at the end of October, we started making plans about what we would do with the extra time.  We have been working 4-5 days a week since we arrived.  That's not a problem because we asked for the Snack Shack.  But since they don't run the Shack during the winter, we are ready to relax.  We have some things to do around the RV (aways!!), plus more biking, crafts, sightseeing -  we are looking forward to this.

So goodbye to the Snack Shack!  We served some great food to some great people.  One lady wants Chicken Salad every weekend, and although we can't do that, she never fails to ask for it!
Our South Carolina Burger was a big hit; people told us that after enjoying this big boy, they could skip dinner!
And how about a BLT where you can really taste the bacon? 
Randy had to unpack the big meat slicer to make his Steak Sandwich, but it was worth it because we sold out.
We sold out of most of our weekend specials, including the Meatloaf Sandwich.  I didn't even get a picture of that; we sold all 6 pounds in an hour on Friday!  

But what we are most famous for is, in the words of our customers: "The best burger on the island!"
And here's the man behind the food, Randy!  He had everything planned for the closing; we went through the last of the burgers, steak sandwiches, fries and chips. 
Notice the spotless kitchen; it wasn't anything like that when we arrived.  Before he opened it he worked a solid week to get it in shape, and has worked every week since to keep it that way.

Four years ago: Ancient city, and the Superstition Mountains

What a pain

Well, I have really gone and done it now.   

Yesterday when I fell off my bike, I rolled onto my back and just lay on the sidewalk a moment, taking stock of what hurt.  I knew I dinged my knee up but I've done that before and recovered OK.  What I was scared about was my hand.  I knew immediately that I'd bent my fingers all the way back, but I didn't know if they broke.  I was too scared to look so I rested my hand on my tummy and begged God to not let my fingers be broken.  Then I gathered enough courage to move my fingers (although not enough courage to actually look at them).  And they wiggled, so I knew they weren't broken - yeah!!!

As I lay there trying to figure how to get up, one of the Resort residents bicycled up.  He looked at me laying unmoving on the sidewalk, with my bike tangled around my feet, and asked "Are you doing this on purpose?"   ?!?!?  When I said no, he kindly got off his bike, set my bike up and out of the way, put my sandal back on my foot (I didn't know it was off), and gave me a helping hand up.  

I got back on my bike and finished my errand to the office, but I wasn't happy about being on the bike anymore.  At home I kept ice on my knee and hand for a couple of hours, then went to bed with Salonpas patches all over and a brace on my hand.

The ice did trick for my knee again - today it aches but it is mostly just scrapped up.  But my middle and ring fingers on my right hand are sore, swollen and turning purple.
I can't use those fingers at all yet.  Being right-handed, this is creates some difficulty.  I know this isn't a big deal but it is a pain, in every sense of the word.

Like falling off a bike

Yesterday the weather started getting a little cooler.  We got out the little electric heaters we got in Arizona and set them up overnight.  And today when we went outside it was a cool, crisp fall day.  It felt great all day, just cool enough for jeans instead of shorts.  We had a good day at the Snack Shack and were thinking about going to the Meet-and-Greet at the Resort Clubhouse tonight, when I fell off my bicycle.  I wasn't going fast - in fact, I was just straddling it and turning it around, but I lost control and tipped it over.  I landed partially on my knee but mostly on my hand because I was trying to catch myself.  Bent my fingers right back.  Hurts like the dickens, and I suspect it's going to hurt for a long time.

fell once before, and I wasn't actually riding then, either.  Apparently I can ride the bike, but I can't be on it when it's not moving.

One year ago: AMAZING Tasting Dinner!
Two years ago: Appalachian Mountains, Cades Cove Park
Three years ago: Waiting on a radiator in Motel 66
Four years ago: Arizona State Fair

Art, Seafood, a Pirate Manatee and Chocolate Cake

Today we headed towards Savannah, but got sidetracked at the Buffton Art and Seafood Fair.  Yep, they combine Art and Seafood here.  I ordered "Crabby Benedict", which is Egg Benedict with crab cakes.
A lot of local artists were there with unique items.  We had plenty of opportunities to use our usual chant:  "If we still had the house, we'd get that!"  There were several gorgeous paintings, but we just don't have enough wall space.  A Gullah man was selling lovely hand-made baskets; very well made, but I still have trouble paying $170 for a basket.
So we left the Art Fair and went shoe-shopping.  Later, back at the Resort, we took the dogs for a walk, stopping to talk to friends along the way.  People here are getting ready for Halloween; my favorite decoration is the beautiful Manatee sculpture, all dressed up like a Pirate.
At home Randy served me a great dinner, as usual.  He also baked a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, exactly what I asked for.  Before we cut into it, our fellow Workcampers came over to visit.  Our dogs started barking so we stood outside a few minutes, talking.  They brought presents, including ice cream, and Randy went inside to get the cake.  He came out holding the cake platter and said "Jackie, please tell me you already had some cake".  I hadn't, but someone else had!  
And little Julienne said "No, no, I didn't have any chocolate cake.  It was that trouble-maker Shorty, and he smeared chocolate on my chin!"