Have Sewing Machine… Will Travel

Two weeks ago I found myself in an odd predicament. I had to make an emergency purchase… of a sewing machine! Really! Who does that??? Who wakes up in a panic and runs out to purchase a new machine? Me… apparently.

Since sewing comes as naturally to me as breathing… I take on a few projects to help make ends meet. I was working on a very large project when I realized I was running out of time. Although the deadline was a few weeks away, I had a flight to catch to the west coast in two days… and this project would not be finished by then. My brain went into ‘think outside the box mode’ to figure out how to possibly get the project finished AND make my flight.

Checking with the airline on the cost to switch my flight made me gasp for air! I didn’t pay that much for the original ticket!!! I rationalized I could always take the project with me, finish it out there on the opposite coast, and FedEx it back to the client with a few days to spare. This plan would work, as long as I had a sewing machine at my destination.

My sewing machine is too heavy and too large to take as carry on… and there was no way I was going to allow the baggage handlers to toss it around. Visions of my machine arriving on the carousel in tiny pieces… held together by shipping tape danced through my head… knowing that marking a bag ‘fragile’ ensures it will be thrown across the tarmac and run over by a baggage cart, and that’s AFTER elephants stepped on it and gorillas played with it.

Knowing there was a sewing machine I could use at the other end of my travel, I happily packed yards and yards of fabric and all my sewing notions in my suitcase, instead of my clothing and toiletries. Eh… who needs all those outfits any way? I can always wash and re-wear.

suitcase filled with sewing

With a plan in motion… I set out on my trip. The first day was spent getting situated instead of sewing. No big deal… I would get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and be ready to go. That’s exactly what I did! I woke up, had a good breakfast, pulled out all of my sewing supplies, set up the loaner sewing machine, sat down at the machine, positioned my fabric under the needle, reached for the knob on the right to set my stitch… and THAT’s when I noticed I had a problem. This particular machine was designed for a beginning seamstress. I should have known, because I purchased it for my daughter-in-law as a gift two years ago. It doesn’t have the ability to do the more advanced sewing I need to do on this project. Crap!!! There’s also no way to ‘fudge’ it either.

The only viable solution I could come up with… was to purchase a machine that would do what I needed. Seriously… that was the only way out of this mess. With time (or lack there of) a huge factor, I drove to the closest sewing and vacuum shop according to Google… AFTER checking my bank balance to see what I could afford. It was there, at Quality Sewing and Vacuum in Northgate, Wa that I met the most wonderful sewing machine sales associate EVER… Esther! She listened to my plight… and showed me the best machine for my project and abilities in addition to a lesser model… giving me options.

I’ll be honest… I have been saving for a new sewing machine since my ‘work horse’ is beginning to hiccup. However… the one I have my heart set on is over $1,000. THAT was NOT happening this day. Oh no! Not only was it not in the budget, it is overkill for what I needed at the moment. So… confidently throwing down my debit card at the register, I purchased a new machine. But the story doesn’t end here.

I went back to the house, and finished the project. It was the perfect machine and ran like a dream… but I wasn’t happy. I already have 3 perfectly decent machines at home. One is a vintage Singer Featherweight (I hear all you quilters drooling), another is a Baby Lock on a mid-arm frame (for quilting), and the ‘work horse’ commonly known as a Janome Quilter’s Companion, which is over 20 years old, only speaks German and it sews everything I push under the needle. So you see, I didn’t really need another machine. AND… if I were to purchase a new machine… it would replace the Janome. This new one doesn’t even compare. Sigh.

So here I am… a bit ticked that I spent $400 of my accumulated cash on a machine I don’t really need, all because I didn’t plan ahead appropriately, AND now have the same problem of getting it across the US to the opposite coast. as I did originally. Double sigh!

But wait!!! A silver lining appears (that’s actually a pun as Esther’s last name is Silver). One of the selling features of this particular machine is that it is small enough to be considered ‘carry on’ for the airlines! Whoopie! I begin the hunt for a padded bag to protect it as I stuff it in the overhead compartment. No luck. As much as I abhor shopping online as opposed to shopping local, I had no choice. Thanks to Amazon I found the perfect bag. I ordered it on a Sunday evening… and it arrived at my door on Wednesday morning… 15 minutes before I had to leave for the airport. Phew! That was cutting it close!

Purple Sewing Machine Bag

I’m a bit happier now… as this machine is perfect for traveling! Not only on planes, trains, and automobiles across the country… but to sewing retreats, quilting classes, and clients homes if necessary. In the end… it was the PERFECT choice.

My savings for a larger, more stable and sturdy machine that actually speaks English and has a large harp to fit quilts through, is back to zero. Honestly, it’s in the negative… but that only makes me work harder to earn enough for the machine I REALLY want!

Afterall… a girl can always dream.

Here’s a sneak peek of ‘the project’. A professional photo shoot will be available in late October of the entire project… along with another similar project. Both are absolutely ADORABLE!

VW

Outdoor Quilt Show Adventure

Woo! Hoo! For years I have dreamed about getting to the Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon… and TODAY that dream came true!! What an adventure!

Sign posts announcing the Sisters Oregon Outdoor Quilt Show

Sign posts announcing the Sisters Oregon Outdoor Quilt Show

A fellow quilt lover told me about this show many years ago when they attended. Being a Jersey Girl and living on the east coast… spending money to travel to Oregon JUST to view quilts seemed a bit crazy. However, THIS summer I found myself on the west coast with some spare time to hit up this state and attend the show!!

Quilts lined the streets, hung from porches, and were even suspended from ceilings inside stores! Everywhere I looked… colorful fabric waved in the breeze commanding my attention. I didn’t know which direction to look first, or which side of the street to stay on. Since the town was shut down to motorists, I found it best to walk down the middle of the street turning my head from side to side so as not miss a single quilt.

Sisters Oregon Library

First stop… Sisters City Hall.

Sisters Oregon City Hall

Hung inside the building was an interesting group of wall quilts all made by different quilters, but had the continuity of a river flowing from one to the other.A River Runs Through It

After a few hours my sore feet needed to take a rest. I stopped in Sisters Coffee Company for a cup of Cold Brew and a Peanut Butter cookie. As I sat in the oversized comfortable chair enjoying my snack, I got the feeling I was in Disney World. Yes… that’s exactly how I felt… a Disney World for Quilters!!! A guy was playing the piano as I faced an oversized stone fireplace, noticing the heavy velvet curtains covering the windows. Crowds of people milling around outside, and the din of other attendees in the background added to the Disney ambiance.

Back outside I marveled at the clever pairing of quilt to building decisions. Antique shops had older and more muted quilts adorning their building, while the Yoga Studio had ‘zen like’ designs outside of theirs. The Western shop had horse motifs in their quilts, and the flower shop had… you guessed it… floral quilts.

There were games to play too! Match the name to the Kona Color was kind of fun!

Game board for Kona Challenge

Game board for Kona Challenge

I have attended many indoor quilt shows… and only one other outdoor show… but THIS one is the biggest of all! A little different was the absence of ‘white gloved’ volunteers. Usually if you would like to see the backside of a quilt you need the help of a volunteer to flip it over for you so as not to leave behind oil or dirt you’re your hands. At this show all you had to do was walk behind the quilt! Voila! However… I absolutely LOVED seeing the volunteers wearing neon yellow shirts emblazoned with… QUILT RESCUE TEAM! They were called into action whenever a quilt needed to be adjusted if the wind blew it down.

Using my iPhone to take photos… I was CRUSHED to notice my battery dying only half way through. I think taking a few videos killed it.

Sisters itself is not what I expected. Although the buildings were cute and the town was incredibly ADORABLE… I was a little bummed to notice a lot of the building facades were not the original western town saloon and mining fronts… but newly built ‘fronts’ adding fuel to that Disney feeling.

Tag… you’re it! Now that you know about this show, if you are a quilt lover I hope you make plans to attend! It was amazing!!

Around the USA and Home Again

Wow! What an adventure!!! I just returned from a wonderful whirlwind around the USA… and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Driving my daughter’s car from my home in New Jersey, to her new one in San Diego, California was a blast. Since it is winter, I chose to drive the southern route, taking my time and visiting friends and family along the way. Sending out a message on Facebook rewarded me with numerous places to stay along my route. HOWEVER… most of the travel was the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, sooooooo… everyone who offered a place, wasn’t home. They were doing their own holiday traveling.

Hotels abound and there was never a shortage. The first night I decided to use a hotel coupon you find in those handouts at the rest stops. THEY WORK! I nabbed a really nice room in Virginia for a deep discount. My new mission was to see how little I could spend on the nicest room. All in all… I got the best deals and nicest place at The Sleep Inns. Really! Who would have thought? It’s not like I was on a luxurious vacation or anything. No, I just needed a clean, comfortable, safe place to get a solid 8 hours and a hot shower. The fact they had FREE wi-fi and decent offerings at breakfast were only icing on the cake. I signed up for their rewards program and began racking up points for a FREE night in the future.

I stopped in little towns and visited local bookstores, and of course while in Nashville I couldn’t resist shopping in McKay’s. If you haven’t been there yet… make the trip!! There’s one in Knoxville too. What is McKay’s???? Why it’s only the LARGEST bookstore I have ever been in with a ‘buy back’ program. If I were younger, I would start one in New Jersey!!! McKay’s is my mecca! Yes, I bought some books.

My most favorite stop along the way was visiting the Stockyard in Oklahoma City. I arrived too late in the evening to dine at The Cattleman’s Café… so went for breakfast instead. Hearing this place had THE BEST steaks… I ordered Steak and Eggs. WOW! Delicious! There’s nothing better than a perfectly cooked juicy steak, no matter what time of day. The café was filled with real Cowboys, wearing big hats, well-worn cowboy boots and belts with gigantic buckles. Listening to their accents made me giggle.

After my hearty and very filling breakfast, I moseyed (is that a word?) on down to the weekly cattle auction. Cattlemen were bidding so fast I couldn’t keep track. Was it in poor taste for me to arrive at the auction with steak on my breath?? I’m certain all the cattle smelled it. Perhaps I should have eaten AFTER the auction.

I spent some time in the town too. I tried on a pair of real honest to goodness cowboy boots, and as much as I loved them and should have splurged… common sense reared it’s ugly head. I realized I would most likely only wear them once or twice a year. Not a prudent purchase. The same logic was used in the hat department. Although one guy DID say I looked good in my favorite and offered to purchase it for me… but I declined, thinking the price in the end would probably have been more than I was willing to pay (if you catch my drift). I asked about the belts, and was directed to the woman’s department. Whoa! The bling was blinding! Uh… no, no belt for me either.

Next I walked past the tumbleweeds and down a dusty street and entered the National Saddle store. THIS is where the cowboys purchase their spurs and lassoes!!! Exciting!!! An employee instructed me on the fine points of roping a calf… then let me ‘have at it’ on the store display. RINGER! I lassoed a bull! Obviously I’m a natural.

Driving through rural America is really a sight to behold. I was in awe at some of the views. Heading west meant I had a front row seat of the most amazing sunsets. There were so many photo opportunities, but I couldn’t take advantage of them. Speeding down the highway at 70 mph (OK… 80… er… 85) doesn’t allow for much picture-taking. If I pulled over to snap a few, I’d still be on the road today. There was just so much to see!

Well… as I’m sure you’ve heard… The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray. The second part of this journey was to cross another item off my bucket list… driving the Pacific Coast Highway; however I changed course. The opportunity to visit a few high school classmates arose, all on different days, and all inland, away from the scenic highway. My schedule didn’t allow me the luxury of being able to do everything. I had to make a decision… Pacific Coast Highway, or visit friends. It really was a ‘no brainer’. Friends win over driving a highway, no matter how beautiful, every time!

Visiting with friends, old and new is such a joy. Eating lunch, enjoying each other’s company, remembering old times, learning about their new experiences, is soooo rewarding! Even though we hardly knew each other ‘back in the day’, they are still a familiar face who shared a time and place with me… someone who helped mold me into the person I am today. Learning of their accomplishments since graduation 40 plus years ago makes me realize how lucky I am to have known them, and to be able to join them once again, if only for a brief moment.

I made the right decision.

I’m reminded of the old tried and true Girl Scout song:

Make new friends, but keep the old.

One is silver and the other gold.

A ring is round, it has no end.

That’s how long I want to be your friend.

Thanks to all of you who made my trip special. From family… Lauren, Kevin, Mali, Scott, and Krisa… to friends… Pat, Ned, Cyndee, Diane, Bob, and Karen, with special thanks to Jay for a lesson in the wine biz. Not to be forgotten… my email, telephone, and message buddies, Mark, Tom, HLee, Les, Rich, and Diane… for always keeping tabs on me and making sure I arrive in one piece.

There are still so many stories to tell about this trip… like meeting Karen who so generously took the time to research my family history, all the way back to the 1600’s! Or how Bob offered me the use of their comfortable guest room for 2 nights! Driving through a blizzard in Phoenix! Having an oil change in Flagstaff. Tax free shopping on the naval base. Getting fogged in at San Francisco airport and making the Seattle news… burning off fuel over PA so as not to explode while landing in NJ, spending New Year’s Eve with my daughter and son-in-law in CA and being able to go to bed at 9pm, discovering the harbor in San Diego, eating cookies… lots and lots of cookies, teaching my soon to be daughter-in-law how to use her new sewing machine, shopping on Cedros Ave, photographing the Pasadena City Hall, eating my way around Seattle… and on and on and on. Hey, let’s get together some day and share stories!

Thanksgiving Is In Your Heart

When I hear the word THANKSGIVING the image of Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting immediately flashes through my head… Smiling family members gathered around the dinner table as the turkey, cooked to perfection is brought to the table.

Rockwell-freedom from want

This scene is repeated time and time again in households all throughout the United States. I’d love to say this scene was repeated year after year at my home… but I can’t. I have had some untraditional, yet wonderful Thanksgivings throughout time… and this year is no exception.

With my family scattered to the far ends of the US and Canada… I bailed on the last remaining NJ child and headed to Florida for a vacation. Through the generosity of family I am living the life of luxury in a beautiful home in the sunny south… by myself.

Over the years Thanksgiving dinners have evolved from stiff, uncomfortable affairs at my grandparent’s (with my brother shooting peas under the table at my legs), to large informal dinners hosting out-of-town friends at our home.

One year, after stuffing ourselves with turkey, my husband jumped up from the table and yelled, “Hurry! Hurry! Get in the car!” Thinking the house was on fire we all left the dirty dishes and ran outside. That was the year we began the tradition of going to the movies… Home Alone was starting in just a few minutes. As time moved on, each of my children took their turn working at the local theater (Yea, FREE movies!) and so I have been known to provide a full Thanksgiving spread for movie theater workers in their break room.

There are so many memories… like the year the dog pulled the turkey off the kitchen counter and had his own feast, and the year I was hosted by a family who also hosted Phineas and Ferb (Disney Characters) who were performing in NYC. One year we all were crazy and decided to go into New York and see the parade LIVE. Or the time my son-in-law wanted to use his new whipped cream maker and it shot all over!!!

Although my turkey and stuffing are picture perfect and tasty… I am known for my pies… Apple, Pumpkin, the occasional Pecan, and… drum roll please… ‘The Chocolate Cream Pie Mistake’. This last pie was developed totally in a fit of panic. My brother specifically requested a Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert… so I bought the ingredients and began making it the night before… late… after the stores closed. Much to my dismay, I made a deep dish pie crust, but only had enough filling for a standard pie crust. The pie looked sad. In a flash of genius I opened the cupboard doors and surveyed what I had on hand… and began dumping things into the pudding filling. Suffice it to say the main addition was a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, along with some flavorings, more cream and such. Crossing my fingers I placed the doctored pie in the refrigerator over night to chill… and figured I’d fill in the remaining gap with whipped cream when it came time to serve it. WOW! What a surprise! The pie was the hit of the evening… not to be upstaged by the turkey of course.

Ahhh…. Memories. Well… this year will certainly go down into my book as something to remember. I believe this will be the very first Thanksgiving I am sharing it with total strangers instead of family or friends.

I had many options of where to eat turkey today. Many local restaurants are serving grand dinners by reservation, but that didn’t interest me. The place I am staying is also hosting dinner, both formal and informal. I gave serious consideration of this option, knowing I am a friendly person and would easily be able to strike up a conversation with my table mates and have a delightful day. But no… I do that on a regular basis, every time I eat out. Hmmm… I could always volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Nah.

THIS YEAR… you will find me eating turkey and breaking bread with an unusual group of people at the Holiday Inn in Fort Myers, FL. Who are they???? I have been invited to join the World Class Sandcastle Sculptors who are here competing for the title. Me! I don’t speak all their languages, but with the help of translators I’m sure we will all get along. Anyway… isn’t Turkey a universal language?

I wish you ALL a Happy Thanksgiving… no matter where you are… or who you are with! After all… Thanksgiving is with you all the time, it’s in your heart!

GOBBLE! GOBBLE!!!

UPDATE!  The weather is way too nice! After visiting the sculptors I decided to head to the beach and bask. Speak about basting the turkey! I have a reserved seat at the movies this evening, keeping THAT tradition alive.

Future home? – DP#13

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What do you all think of this adorable A-Frame cabin in the Maine woods? I have an appointment tomorrow with a realtor to take a look at the inside. The outside is promising. The lot is large, easy to maintain, and is on Three Mike Pond. There is a dock in the water and a small gravel area to sit and look out over the water. Nice size driveway and plenty of room to pop up tents for extra sleeping if needed.

Walking around the outside I see a large screened in porch that would make a comfortable sleeping porch and a living area with a teeny, tiny, eat in kitchen. A boat house is under the porch. I can’t wait to see inside and get a look at the loft.

I wonder… Could this cabin be the house on a lake I have always wanted? We’ll see.

UPDATE! Our family collectively put a bid in for this cabin, and didn’t win. Someone else with more money over paid for it. Rumor has it their intention is to tear it down and build something grander. We are bummed, but know that is how life is played. Oh well.

Maine – DP#12

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A long, horrible day on the road was worth all the frustration when the view is as pretty as this at the end! It’s a view you just can’t possibly get tired seeing. My blood pressure drops 10 points just breathing in the cool lake air.

Our family is fortunate to have cousins who own a cabin on Three Mile Pond in Vasselboro, ME… AND is generous in inviting us to visit!

Do you see that little clump of trees to the left? That is actually a privately owned island. It has a large main cabin with bathroom facilities… And three smaller sleeping cabins. It is also owned by family members. Many fond memories were made on that island as the kids and I have spent weeks at a time along with other cousins during the summer there.

The lapping of the water, the bull frogs, and loons all make this little oasis a relaxing retreat.

My son and I hauled the kayak up here on the car top… and are looking forward to paddling around in the lake tomorrow. Ahhhh… Heaven!

QuiltCon Link Party…

Hey all… I’m headed to Austin, TX for QuiltCon this weekend. For all you modern quilters out there this is your MECCA. Classes, lectures and so much eye candy you will be so crazed by the end of the day you won’t be able to speak in full sentences.

I am participating in the LINK PARTY at Modern Quilt Guild’s site HERE. The rules are simple, post a picture of yourself so others can recognized you and list 5 things people might not know about you… then link up to their site. Here goes…

DSC_4340

1. I married my Good Humor ice cream man… right out of High School.

2. I’ve been highlighting my hair for so long I have forgotten what my natural color is… nor do I care. I’m sure it is gray. Only my hairdresser knows for sure 🙂

3. I am happiest living near water… a lake, a stream, the ocean, or river. I feel like a sunflower needing water and sunlight to survive.

4. Most people think I’m a fabulous cook… in reality I’m a frustrated Pastry Chef and major carb addict. Banana Bread, cookies, Scones, Peanut Butter Brownie Tart… you name it, if it has flour, eggs, and sugar… I can whip it up.

5. I’m shy in large crowds. Large crowd being defined as any more than 6 people.

I’ll be helping out in the Alliance for American Quilts Booth #107 on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and visit! Meg Cox, Amy Milne, and Victoria Findlay will also be there. Come join the party!!!

Good News – Bad News

Day 3 -Myrtle Beach

So…. How’s that book of mine coming along?? Well… it’s coming. Slowly but surely, it’s coming.

Monday was a dream. Words flowed out of my finger tips across the keyboard at the speed of light. All 1,609 of them. AND… they are all ‘keepers’… meaning I like them so much they should make it through the re-writing process unscathed.

Tuesday wasn’t as productive. I spent most of the day finishing up an online writing course which was extremely informative… although most of it was simply a repeat of things I already knew just presented in a new light. However… it DID remind me that I am trying to write my memoir, but have it read like fiction.

So today, Wednesday after dropping my car off at the dealer’s for repair… I spent my time planning structure and character development INSTEAD of writing actual words for the book. Don’t let me mislead you… some of what I wrote today will end up in the book… it’s just I’m not calculating them in the word count because I haven’t PLACED them yet.

Time for Good news – Bad news.

Bad News – My car has been giving me troubles off and on and not always starting. It’s not a battery problem. I never knew when I would have issues or not. On the way down here Sunday it worked fine… until I arrived at check-in. It took 20 minutes before the blasted car would finally fire up and I could park it in the lot. THAT was embarrassing!!

Good News – There is a Volvo Dealer 5 miles down the road and can schedule a repair this week.

Bad News – It’s the coldest day down here in YEARS… and my car decides to not start… not even 20 minutes later. So I call the dealer to let them know I will be late. I begin to freeze. I didn’t bring warm clothing.

Good News – My daughter purchased AAA coverage for me before I left. I’m told someone will be here in 30 minutes.

More Good News – The AAA guy gets my car started! Due to his 35 years of road side assistance experience, he deduced the problem was my starter. He popped the hood and tapped the starter with a piece of pipe while I turned the key and Vrrrroooommm! I drove straight to the dealer.

Bad News – The dealer agrees it’s the starter… but they don’t have one in stock. The car won’t be fixed until tomorrow.

Good News – While waiting for the service department to arrange a ride back to the resort for me… I struck up a conversation with a nice woman waiting for her car. She told me all the fun places I need to go while down here. Where to eat, what to see, what to bring home. So tomorrow, once my car is repaired I plan on playing hooky. Pawley’s Island is calling me and I understand Roz’s Rice Mill makes a Shrimp and Grits to die for… not to be overshadowed by Hog Heaven’s BBQ and slaw to bring back to the condo for dinner.

Now… if I only had a place to hang a hammock back home. I understand the first rope hammocks were made on Pawley’s Island and they still make them today. Hmmm….

 

 

Beach Treasures…

Day 2 – Myrtle Beach

Before going to sleep last night I opened the door to the balcony so I could drift off to the sound of the surf… The closest thing to camping on the beach… but in total luxurious comfort. I woke to the sun rising across my face and the temperature dropping fast.

As I jumped up to close the door and curtains something in the water caught my attention. Dolphins! A pod of about 10 dolphins were playing in the surf. What a way to start my day!!

Not a soul in sight for miles and miles and miles.

                       My private beach… except for the one guy walking his dog.

No one was on the beach today. The weather was unusually chilly for this time of year… 47 degrees… which kept everyone inside. Good for me! I felt like I was on a private island all by myself. I found the weather delightful… as did one other man who was walking his dog.     — No Kathleen, it was NOT my prince charming. Bummer. —

ShellsI went on a ‘treasure hunt’ and gathered some broken pieces of shells and rocks that had washed up on the sand. I began picking only whole shells with unusual coloring or markings, but soon found I was attracted to all the different broken ones. Some clam shells were so thick you just knew they had to be OLD. Black gnarly ones, grey pitted spirals, and ridge shaped scallops all found a place in my heart. I was as giddy as a school girl examining each piece evaluating its texture and color before adding it to my bag. I can’t wait to get home to capture some of them in a watercolor. Just because they are broken, doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful. Huh… kind of like people.

I hear it’s 19 degrees back home in New Jersey with snow on the ground… and more expected on Friday. I send you warmth from the south…

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I notice some differences in the South Carolina beach and New Jersey beach. Number one being SC’s are FREE… but there’s more. The sand is smoother and whiter in South Carolina where New Jersey’s is more yellow and course. The shells are more diverse in SC. However, the one thing that really caught my attention is in two days I have not seen a boat or ship go by. New Jersey and New York has a huge shipping industry so freighters go by on a daily basis… not to mention fishing boats. Where are all the fishing boats here in South Carolina??

Occasionally a helicopter will fly over the SC beaches… but no aircraft is seen or heard otherwise. I am used to all kinds of noise at the NJ beaches, even off season. Here in SC it is so quiet… and peaceful… and carefree.

Not much writing on the book today. I spent most of my day studying an online writing course. I finished it up today. All in all it was informative, but I can’t say I learned much that was new. I would consider it a wonderful refresher and a super motivator.

Ta-ta for now. Stay warm up north you guys!

 

Day 1 – Myrtle Beach

Ahhh…. Paradise!!! I woke up to this breath taking view out my window this morning…

Yes, my view really is this fabulous!

                      Yes, my view really is this fabulous!

It was hard to leave my bed this morning, it was so comfy. The huge king sized bed with six, count them, SIX super comfy pillows, fluffy light weight comforter and pillow top mattress begged me to stay. I felt like royalty being cradled in a cloud. However the beautiful sunrise called my name… so I relented and rolled out to take a look. Ohhhh, ahhhhh, pretty.

Having a condo with a full kitchen is so nice. I packed a lot of my own food and favorite utensils, so throwing breakfast together was no big deal. Fresh fruit topped with yogurt and granola eaten on the balcony overlooking the ocean… Does life GET any better???

PicMonkey Collage

I finally settled down to work… the real reason I came here… around 8:00 AM. Setting up my computer on the balcony seemed like a good idea. I could drink my fresh French-pressed coffee out of my favorite Mickey Tumbler and type all while enjoying the view.

Type, type, type. Backspace, delete. Cut and paste. After four hours of non stop work I have 1,609 words I feel make a pretty good effort for today. Only 78,000… give or take… more to go. In reality I have much more typed up… they just need editing and such. For now however I feel I have a good start.

NOON! Break time!!  I think I’ll go for a long walk on the beach.

Any idea what THIS  is? What it is used for???

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                                         ??????????????

At first, from a distance I thought silly people were bringing their golf clubs onto the beach. Myrtle Beach IS a golf town after all. The top is a golf club shaft with a slotted spoon in place of a head. Yes… it is to sift through the sand and water… but do you know what everyone is looking for??? If you guessed shells, valuables, or sea glass… Bzzzzzz… you would be wrong.

Walking along the beach today I mustered up enough courage and curiosity to stop and ask someone. Rosie, a delightful 73 year young woman from Iowa filled me in. Wearing a Myrtle Beach sweatshirt, sun visor and what I grew up calling ‘clamdiggers’, not shorts and not capris but somewhere in the middle, she explained. Her husband John has made about a hundred of these and gives them to anyone who asks. They are for finding…. Shark’s teeth! While Rosie and I stood in the chilly water and talked she found two! Her eagle eyes spotted them quickly. She scoops them up and places them in this plastic tube she wears around her neck with rubber end caps… shore treasures for her grandchildren. Lucky them!

Before returning back to work I thought a walk into town would be a good idea… WRONG!!! I’m guessing during the slow season you need to be careful what areas you walk through. I was only four blocks south and one block west of my hotel, going through a more residential neighborhood… clearly walking with a purpose AND on the sidewalk. A white Escalade slows down, passes me, then stops in the road. Uh-oh… we’re not in Kansas any more Toto. I grab my cell phone and pretend I’m talking with someone. As I come even with the truck the passenger side window slides down and a big guy leans over the seat from the driver’s side. “Do you need a ride?” “No thank you”, I reply. Gulp.

He turned left down the next street, but circled back up behind me. I  could hear the rumble of the mufflers way before I could see him. By then I was up on the major highway and quickly ducked inside a souvenier store… where I stayed for about a half an hour… and purchased a pair of cheap water shoes.

Mental note… Walk only on the beach and DRIVE everywhere else from now on!!!! Lesson learned!!!

The sun is setting and the fog is rolling in. Tomorrow is supposed to be chilly. I am so glad I took the time to get outside in the fresh air and sun today.

I must have been a flower in a past life… I THRIVE in sunshine and near water.