Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/25 - 8/28/08 This, That and the Other

Our last full week here at home. The time has just been flying by!

This week we caught up with more friends that we hadn't seen yet and I'm afraid we aren't going to get to see everyone that we wanted to. There just aren't enough hours in our days.

One of the chores we had to get out of the way was mailing two boxes to our friends in Utah where our rig is. I've made quite a killing on summer clothes and had to mail them back because there isn't any room in our suitcases. As it was we crammed enough for six weeks into three carry on pieces of luggage so we didn't have to deal with checking it. If you heard that "rolling" your clothes so that you have more room in your luggage is a good thing....take it from me, it works!

Monday evening we had my great nephews, Steven (just turned 4) and Justin (3 next month), over to spend the night. They wore me out just watching them play. I have a funny story about them I want to share with you.

A couple of weeks ago Mom and Dad had them down the beach for a few days with them. I think we were at Kenny's in Rehoboth during this time. Anyway, they spent the day at the beach and added even more tan to their little brown bodies. These two have spent an enormous amount of time at my brother's pool, the beach and at the pool where they live so they are very, very tan. All except for their little white behinds. They are so proud of their little white behinds that if you mention it they will drop their drawers in a New York minute to show you how tan they are. Mom had put them both in the shower (yes they shower now because they are big boys, too big for baths anymore) and when she got them out and had them halfway dressed she thought to herself that she should have taken a picture of those little white behinds. Oh well, she thought, there is always tomorrow. The next day they spent from noon to four at the beach again, getting even browner. This time she instructed them that when they were done washing to call her and then Pop-Pop was going to take a picture of their little white behinds. That was A-OK with them! Sure enough a short while later Mom hears, "Naaanaaaaaa, we're done". She tells Dad to get the camera and she'll get them posed. She explains to the boys that they should turn around and face the back of the shower stall (another reason they take a shower, there is NO bathtub in the cottage) and they agreed. So they get turned around and Mom tells them that when she counts to three Pop-Pop will take the picture. Everyone has instructions now, all is understood and the countdown begins. One......two......three and all Mom and Dad can hear is CHEEEESE! They are facing the wall! Their backs to the camera! Mom said she and dad just rolled when they heard this. I guess they are so accustomed to being told to say cheese when its picture taking time that it didn't matter to them if they were facing the camera or not. I hope you got a chuckle out of that. I do have a copy of that picture and I was going to post it but thought better of it in case someone turned me in for child pornography!

On Thursday we went to Michael's Restaurant to celebrate Bob's birthday. His birthday isn't really until Saturday but we'll be down the beach then. This is the big one we've been waiting for. The Big 6-0! This means his federal retirement checks will start coming now. Oh Happy Day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

8/23/ - 8/24/08 CRABS AT LAST!

Bob is a happy camper! We went to our friends, Diane and KK, home this weekend to spend some time with these two dear friends and to have CRABS for dinner!


It was decided when we got the invite that there would be lots of beer drinking with crabs and it would be best if we planned on spending the night. I think that was a good idea! It also gave mom and dad a chance to have the cottage to themselves and some time away from us!

A couple of hours after we arrived it was time to eat! Diane's mom, Louise, also joined us.

Callinectes sapidus is the name biologists have given our famous Chesapeake Blue Crabs. Callinectes is Greek for "beautiful swimmer" and sapidus means "tasty" in Latin. While "beautiful" may be a large leap from reality, the blue crab is prettier than most. Its top shell is a rich mix of olive green, blue and touches of red while the underside is a creamy white. "Tasty" goes without saying! At least to those of us who love crab cakes, crab imperial and crab feasts. Personally, I fall into the Crab Imperial category. I don't like picking the crabs. They're messy and too labor intensive for me.

Here's Louise taking one out of the steamer pot.



Here they are, ready to eat!


Now I just know that some of you reading this have had blue crabs before when you visited the east coast and now your mouth is just watering! Hmmm, Hmmm, GOOD!

Bob's first crab! The picture doesn't show it,,,but he's drooling, trust me.


No talking going on here, they are too busy picking crabs! See those tomato's? They were picked out of the garden this morning! Oh what a feast!


See what I mean about messy? YUCK! That's the part I don't like, for me its pick off a leg, wipe my hands, break the crab apart, wipe my hands...oh, no, no, no, this is not for me. I ate ONE and then moved on to the hamburgers, corn on the cob and tomatoes.


Louise's pile when she was done...well, done for awhile.


Diane and KK have two dogs, Clancy a white German Shepard and Daisy a Golden Retriever. They kept us well entertained.



Of course, there comes a time when even puppies tire out.


Bob and Louise share a special moment. These two just love each other to death!


Take notice of the plaque in the upper right corner of picture above. We gave this "mounted crab" to Diane several years ago. We used to live across the street from each other in our old neighborhood and Bob and Di used to go crabbing together once a summer. They'd leave in the very early morning and drive down to Wye Mills in Maryland, put the crab pots out and pull in the bounty. This one in particular was of good size and it wasn't supposed to be cooked but it somehow made its way into the crab pot anyway. We took it home and buried it so the ants could eat it and leave it clean of which they did a very good job. For several years it was displayed on our wall in our porch on not much more than a nail. Well, Bob mounted it on a wooden plaque, shellacked both the plaque and the crab and we had an engraved plate made up stating when it was caught, where it was caught and I believe something else is written on it but I can't remember what. We gave it to Diane as a remembrance of their crabbing times together, I believe for her 50th birthday, but don't hold me to that. My memory sure isn't what it used to be!

Bob, Louise, and me.


After Louise went home and everything was cleaned up we settled in around the kitchen table and talked the night away into the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday brought a beautiful day for us to enjoy. We sat around with Di and KK for awhile and then had to be on our way as we had a few more friends we wanted to visit. Time is going fast now, much too fast.

Friday, August 22, 2008

8/18 to 8/22/08 This Week We.....

....had doctor appointments, lunches to attend, dinners to go to and shopping to get done.

First and foremost we want to wish Dianne a very Happy Birthday!

After 8 a.m. appointments with our doctor I had to go get the dreaded blood work done. I won't even go into that, it wasn't pretty.

We visited with Bob's brother, Gene and our sister-in-law, Linda, during this week. Here's Bob with them out in front of their place. They aren't aware I took this picture so I'm sure I'll be getting a nasty phone call or email from Linda, she hates to have her picture taken!


We had lunch with two of our friends, Vernon and Norman, along with Dad this week. They are friends from our National Guard days. I worked with Norman many years ago and to this day I can say he was the best boss I ever had. Did I think to take the camera with me? Nope, I don't know what I was thinking, actually, I guess I wasn't thinking!

We were invited to Judy and Lindsay's for dinner and as usual we were treated to a delicious dinner! Judy made this potato dish that was to die for! Bob is STILL talking about it. Once again, I was kicking myself for not taking the camera because this couple have turned their backyard into a beautiful oasis.

I hit the stores for the end of season sales to get summer clothes deeply discounted. Remember, we have no need for winter clothes!

One day Bob met up with friends from his National Guard days for lunch and I went on a picture taking trek with my friend Cindy.

First stop for us was Rockford Park. This is the place where mom and dad took me sledding in the winter time when I was a kid, but the attraction here is Rockford Tower.


In 1895, Theodore Leisen, engineer for the Wilmington Board of Park Commissioners, recommended that “a large pavilion and observatory” be built in Rockford Park on what was called Mt. Salem Hill, the highest point in the city at a whopping 330 feet above sea level. His proposal coincided with the Board of Water Commissioners’ conclusion that Wilmington was in need of a new water tower in that neighborhood. The two boards merged their projects in Rockford Tower. Built between 1899 and 1902, the half-million-gallon water storage tank and observatory is constructed of natural field stone and is an example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style. Rockford Tower is 57 feet in diameter at the base, 75 feet high to the floor of the observatory, and reaches a total height of 115 feet.

For several years the tower was closed to the public but once again the tower can be climbed for a panoramic view of Wilmington. We weren't up to it because I am just getting over pneumonia, Cindy hurt her foot, we are too lazy to climb the steps. A lot of runners lean up against it after their run as the water inside keeps the outside stones cool on even the hottest of days.


Next stop was a run through downtown Wilmington to snap a picture of Rodney Square and the statue of Cesar Rodney. I really don't know why we even put this in our day's adventure other than we had to pass it on the way to I-95. That is the historic Hotel DuPont in the background.


After 25 years of waiting, Delaware finally got its own stainless steel Mary. Back in 1982, Charles Park, the sculptor, made one of these for a Catholic church in Santa Clara, California. It was put on display in Rodney Square before being shipped and I have pictures of that one....somewhere.

When Bob and I were returning home from the weekend at Dianne's, in New Jersey a few weeks back, I saw the statue from the highway and knew then I had to get a picture of this one.


This Mary is two feet taller than the other one measuring in at 34 feet and she is made of over four tons of stainless steel.


Though I haven't seen it at night, there are several lights set up and I bet she's just beautiful!

We decided to take a break from our picture taking adventure and get some shopping in. My favorite store....Boscov's.


On the way we passed a medical offices building and took note of this on their lawn. No mistaking what goes on in this building!


A little further down the road we passed this street sign on I-95. No Delawarean would look twice at this sign now but there was a time a few years ago that signs like this had Delawareans in an uproar. See where it says.....BEACHES ? Several years ago new signs were put up and they said Shore Points. Uh-uh, not in Delaware. WE go to the BEACH, people who go to the water/sand/boardwalk area in New Jersey go to the shore. There was enough of an uproar that new signs were put up directing motorists to the BEACH one again. Some things are just sacred in Delaware, our beaches being one of them.


Next stop was one of my favorite places in Delaware,,,,Old New Castle.

New Castle was once the capital of Delaware way back in the day and is now on the Historic Landmark Area list. Here we go, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Driving in on Delaware Avenue....if you made a left at this intersection you would come to the house where my Mom lived with her parents.


Pictured below is the Court House, built in 1732, the Court House served as the meeting place for Delaware's colonial assembly from 1732 to 1777 when New Castle was Delaware's capital. Look at that blue sky, did we have the perfect day or what?


A look down the street where the shops are. The old brick walkways are still in place.


This statue of William Penn sits on what is known as the New Castle Commons. This land is part of a tract of one thousand acres set apart by William Penn in 1701 for the people of the town of New Castle. Trustees were appointed and incorporated by Penn's heirs in 1764, whose successors still hold and manage the land.


Next to this tract of land, a park like setting, is a cobblestone street that is still used by some. Its a bumpy ride to be sure! Your teeth will rattle on this road!


Next stop was The Immanuel Episcopol Church on the Green.

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Built in 1703, this was the parish of the Church of England in Delaware. It burned in 1980 and was rebuilt using the original walls and foundation.



There is no sound system in this church. Take notice of the round thing above the pulpit. It has a name, but I forget what it is now. That "thing" aids in getting the voice of the minister to the whole congregation, just like it was back in 1703 when the church was built.


The tombstones in adjoining graveyard date from 1707.


Scenes from the streets of Old New Castle....




Our next stop was the George Read House.


This house was built in 1801 in Federal style by the son of George Read I, a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. The formal garden designed in 1847 is open to the public. During Old New Castle Days twelve rooms are open to the public, three decorated in the Colonial Revival style.


You can see the Delaware River from the gardens.



We walked down to the street called the Strand. This street has the largest homes and their backyards face the river for the view.




Alleyways like this are a common sight between every few houses.


Our walk finally took us down to the river front. This area is known as Battery Park. Its a good sized park with playground equipment, outdoor concerts in the summertime and paved walking path along the river.


From this park you can see the twin bridges.


Located in the park is the train ticket office of years gone by. The railroad was pulled by a steam locomotive named "Delaware", and operated in the pre-Civil War period. The ticket office was constructed in 1832 and occupied several locations before being placed here in the 1950s.

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A lot of artists come to Old New Castle to paint the buildings built oh so long ago.


A last few parting shots....



I hope you enjoyed my little tour of places special to me.