Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blue Ridge - a 2 Day Diary

As on Culebra, the same scene is rarely, if ever, the same. Maybe it is the go-slow mode, maybe it is something else, but the vistas I love never fail to entertain me. These days (or maybe any day) that is no small thing. While it's only taken 200 years for us to change our planet in ways that sometimes seem to have no way back home, some things are still the same and if only for that, well worth celebrating.

This one came out in the rain, bedraggled and beautiful. Maybe in the midst of water water everywhere, a bit of sweet was a change of pace. Or maybe it was the attraction to red when it seemed all else in the world was a swirling mass of greys.

Drinks are on me!
The last two days have been rainy and cloudy (and sunny too, for brief bouts of time). Silence hangs as heavily as dampening fog, with occasional birdsong and water dripping off of pine needles and leaves marking notes in what feels like timelessness. 

Barely a cloud in the sky.
Okay, a cloud in the sky.
20 minutes later

30 minutes later

An hour later

There are a lot of myths about this sight -
the rising souls of the dead?
Or, fog and heat streams making for mesmerizing visions?

Thankfully, that is NOT snow!

A different kind of whiteout

Moments after this, it rained again, complete with lightning and a bit of far off thunder. The temperature went from the low 70's to the 80's, back and forth until the mid-60's took over the night. I pulled out some more blankets and again wondered why I don't keep a drawer full of wooly socks up here. But I forget. And the very idea of wooly socks at home makes me sweat. Maybe I'll remember one day, or maybe I'll just have to keep making plans to get home before my feet freeze, at least until I turn on a heater. 

Have a twirling Tuesday. Do something tiptappingly.

Friday, September 23, 2016

One Lane Walkabout

I've been walking up and down this dirt and now graveled road for 15 years, on and off, sometimes with years in-between. I never fail to see something new. Well, new to me, it's probably been there all along, just like on Culebra where I'm occasionally rocked to see a new tree or flower or critter. It's good to know there is always something to learn if eyes are kept open wide. 

Sometimes it's as simple as taking a photo of one thing and finding another something entirely. I took this because of the flowers, not even noticing the butterfly/moth, a matching accessory. 

There are so many weird bugs around here, all busy.
Fall continues to splash her colors with growing abandon
I was walking up the road yesterday, looking for a certain thing, when I saw something I'd completely overlooked. Vines heavy with grapes twisting in among some pines. I'm pretty sure they are muscadine grapes, the wild kind. And yes, they make good wine. Not these, these will make good munching.

And then there is this fellow, never ceasing to entrance me, elusive as hell to capture, hence the fun of the challenge.

Another day in a different sort of Paradox. 

The power being out at home reminds me of when I first came up here, when there was no electricity and reading was done by lamplight, making for early bedtimes. For two months. But I chose that, unlike it being forced down by unchoice in sticky weather. Fingers crossed for the fixing to be completed. Soon.

Have a free your feelings Friday. Do something unFretful.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Equinox ~ 2016

A long and winding road
I always swear by the seasonal changes at home, challenging any Up North person to defy the subtle but truly obvious markings of the calendar cycles in the tropics. It seems so clear to me. Yes, I'm biased. My clarity of tropical fall doesn't end with cold, which is why I'm outside to watch the whole thing closely.

(Speaking of marking the calendar, I was looking back for old Equinox posts and found one saying I missed the anniversary of this blog. Which is the same day as my grandson Grayson's birthday, yesterday. So while this blog has undergone fits and starts and changes, it was eight years ago it I started it. Happy anniversary to me. Happy birthday, dear Gray!)

But yes, it's true. Up in higher climes of latitude, seasons are easy to pick out. Even with eyes closed, the crunchy sound of leaves on the ground is an easy giveaway. From the changes in Vermont to the ones here in North Carolina, Autumn is arriving, almost exactly on time. 

FYI - from The Grammarist - because I love this sort of thing and hope you do too

Autumn vs. Fall
Fall and autumn are both accepted and widely used terms for the season that comes between summer and winter. Some who consider British English the only true English regard fall as an American barbarism, but this attitude is not well founded. Fall is in fact an old term for the season, originating in English in the 16th century or earlier. It was originally short for fall of the year or fall of the leaf, but it commonly took the one-word form by the 17th century, long before the development of American English. So while the term is now widely used in the U.S., it is not exclusively American, nor is it American in origin.

Autumn came to English from the French automne in the 15th or 16th century, but it didn’t gain prominence until the 18th century. After that, while fall became the preferred term in the U.S., autumn became so prevalent in British English that fall as a term for the season was eventually considered archaic. This has changed, however, as fall has been gaining ground in British publications for some time.

So far today I've worn jeans and a fleece and a light jacket, jeans and a t-shirt, jeans and a t-shirt and a fleece and fuzzy moccasins. In the few days past, it's been shorts and a t-shirt and barefoot. Where are my socks?

From a distance, the changing colors are really beautiful, even when just starting. Up close, the truth of change isn't always so lavishly uniform. Except when it is.

I like the imperfections of change. Being in the midst of it myself, the obvious is pretty obvious. Along with a huge appreciation for youth, its pure beauty. Like seeing some object that starts up longing in my being, accepting it is well beyond my reach, and finally just really enjoying it for exactly what it is. Glad to have had it a part of my life, glad to have it over my shoulder, but damn, it sure is pretty from here.

There are so many analogies about the symbolism about this time of year. I'll share this one, because this weather brings out my old fashioned self. 

Have a thoughtful Thursday. Do something time taking. 

p.s. This has nothing to do with anything but the date and cuteness factors. Sept. 22, a few years back in Michigan. Oh fuzzy critters!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fanelli's Cafe and a Thank You

This will be a step out of time post, as I'm sorting through a few hundred photos to put some things together. 

Believe it or not. New York is fattening.
We were headed to a movie theater in SoHo (South of Houston) and had time to stop for a drink along the way. As decided at the start of my time with Ann, we much preferred letting things happen along the way to somewhere else rather than making too many 'have to go there' choices. New York is just too full of everything to do that; randomness works.

Each subway stop has its art (well, almost).
This is part of the Prince St. series.

Ann ahead, leading the way and looking back often
to make sure I didn't drift away.
Which, on a couple of occasions, I did.
This random stop was Fanelli's Cafe, a funky looking place that, from the outside, felt right. On the inside, it felt even more right. It was small and crowded but we got a back room table by some now unused doors that gave us a window view to the street. We ordered our drinks from a very prompt server and looked around.

If you like history, here is the story of this block and this place.
"Fanelli's operated as a speakeasy during prohibition,
which began in 1920 and ended in 1933."
How surprising we'd end up here. Not!

It was about as true as true can be.

That was our table, right against these gorgeous doors.

The front doors.
I've mentioned before that anyone hanging around with me when I have my camera in hand has known or finds out about putting up with my obsession. Some are patient and some are helpful and some are annoyed and some are all three at once. Ann is a prime example of helpful and patient, along with intuitive. Especially at a table. As soon as it looks like I want to photograph something on a table, she doesn't ask, she just immediately starts clearing away debris. Like this, in reverse order.

Drinks (oops, Ann, we missed that napkin!)

Then Ann added back the pepper shaker

and the salt shaker

and the sugar and water bottle

and the purse. The way it sort of would have looked at first.
There are times and places taking photos is NOT appropriate and a good friend will be glad to point that out if I haven't realized it already. Whether I like it or not. That's what friends do and I haven't bitten anyone's arm yet. Key word, yet. 

So thank you and thank you, to so many who allow me the freedom to be the most obvious fly on the wall along the journey. A lot of what I do I do alone; sharing with friends in the moment instead of later on the page is a different kind of wow-ness. I'm grateful and often surprised, having something pointed out I wouldn't have seen, patience and kindness and laughter and moments shared is another joy entirely.

Have a reMarkable Monday. Do something measureless.

p.s. Whatever your style of sending positive thoughts are, please do so for those in New York who have been injured through the madness of hatred. May all who walk in peace on ANY streets anywhere be allowed to do so in safety. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

An Innocent Mistake ~ New York Style

It all started out innocently enough. We had headed into the city to try and get tickets for the Carole King musical Beautiful

The day had dawned bright and clear and cool. I had two things on my calendar, spend some time with Lorraine (of Lorraine and Jim, who used to live on Culebra - they now live in New Jersey, not far from Ann's) and go see Beautiful. Lorraine showed up and we took a drive to her place, had some good catching up time and then it was time to go to the city. I can't believe I didn't get photos of Lorraine. What's up with that?

To get tickets at a hopefully reasonable price you go to Times Square and wait in line. There is a board with all the shows available and there it was, Beautiful! And then, there it wasn't. The show sold out minutes before we got to the ticket guy. Ok, we'd go see Cats! Nope, not happening, bad seats, high price. Ok...what next?

Just like you see on television!

The Times Square ball
Ann remembered that I'd said I'd love to go to the Algonquin Hotel for drinks, the past drinking and general barb slinging home of many of my favorite writers. It was close by and a perfect distraction from not getting to see the musical.

Very comfortably elegant, this room oozes times past.

This isn't really the Round Table (our server told us they really don't know
where in the place the actual one was located), but it was good enough for me.
After a leisurely time spent over Old Fashioned's, we ventured out to see what else was around. I wanted to steal or buy the menu, a very well done work of art in itself, looking like it had been sitting on the table the last 60 years or so but no go. Our server did give me a lot of post card type memorabilia though. He's worked there 26 years and was perfect, answering our questions and giving us little bon mots of information, as if he had nothing else to do but spend time with us. Mission accomplished!

The first thing we saw was an amazing building that turned out to be the New York Yacht Club. 

Why not go and see if we could get a drink there? What's the worst that could happen beside being turned away? So in we went. It was not the sort of place to pull out my camera so you'll just have to imagine a completely crimson, large room with a square bar in the center. And lots of Harvard memorabilia. Oars and pennants and old photos. We ordered drinks and the bartender put our tab in front of us. Ann said, he probably wants our room number on it. I said, no foul no harm, we'll just pay the bill at the end. He moved the tab to the inside rail of the bar and we carried on.

Strange pods in Times Square. 
I said to Ann, this is interesting, I don't know why the New York Yacht Club is so associated with Harvard. Ann told me a great story I'd never heard before about a time when she was the only woman crew on a team who rowed against Harvard and Yale and others and won. We sat over our very delicious drinks, talking, enjoying the atmosphere, men in suits, woman dressed up (we were neither in suits or dressed up, but no one seemed to make note of it).

While we were sitting there I'd noticed a nice looking woman who came in and sat a few stools down from us. I'm not sure why I noticed her except that she not only looked nice, she looked nice.

Ann got up to use the restroom. A man came up to the corner of the bar and ordered drinks. The bartender said, are you a member? The man said no, but we have dinner reservations. The bartender said, well, I can't serve you if you aren't a member. And he didn't. That is when I knew we might be in a little more trouble than I thought.

The infamous Naked Cowboy of NYC
I scooted over to the nice looking woman and asked her if we were going to have a problem. She said, Are you a member? I said, no. And that's when I found out we were NOT in the New York Yacht Club, we were at the Harvard Club. Hey, the doors were really close to each other!

Ann came back and we started chatting about the islands (her husband travels around the islands and elsewhere, teaching about HIV and preventative measures). About then, he came up to her and the bartender came back as well. I asked if we could pay now and he said what is your room number? I said, we don't have a room number. He said we might be doing dishes. The nice lady said, we'll take care of their bill, don't worry about it. I offered to pay the nice lady and she refused, smiling a lot. The bartender said maybe she'd pay our mortgage too. Funny guy. After a couple of offers we finally said our profuse thanks and left, laughing. Hard. 

Another gorgeous building
What was there to do but try to go to the bar in the New York Yacht Club? The nice lady told us it was beautiful and we really should see it. Alas, they have a better gatekeeper there. A very affable man who asked if we were members or a guest of a member and then kindly told us we couldn't go in. I'm sure between Ann and I we know someone who is a member of the New York Yacht Club, but that wasn't going to help us. We left. Because staging a distraction and racing up the stairs is something we're probably too old to get away with now. And who would pay our bail?

At that point, it was time to catch the bus for home. So we did. 

So, if you are ever in New York and want to go to the Harvard Club...

Have a wonders never end Wednesday. Do something worldly.