Archives for posts with tag: photography

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A few weeks ago my family, along with my two sisters and their families, spent a week at our childhood vacation spot, Martha’s Vineyard. Although I’ve been back for several weeks, I haven’t been able to blog about it because, to be honest, the vacation was too good. I’m having trouble finding a concise, interesting way to tell the tale of our week on this stunning island.

So, I won’t. I’ll just share my photos.

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It started off miserably. When we got to Wood’s Hole, it began to pour. The Weather Channel had tornado warnings for the area. Now this was a first for me. I can’t ever recall in my 50 years of going to Martha’s Vineyard, a rainy ferry ride. Maybe drizzle, but not these torrential rains.

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Luckily the skies cleared up enough for us to enjoy a very windy, but fun, ferry ride to the Island.

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Every morning, and I’m talkin’ early, my husband and I would walk into Edgartown, split a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich from the Dock Street Coffee Shop (which I highly recommend), and sit on the wharf and watch the day begin.

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South Beach was crazy. The water was so rough, I wouldn’t let my daughters go in past their knees. But when I was a kid? I would’ve been all in that, body surfing – and getting bamboozled – until my parents made me get out.

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The kid’s favorite town was Oak Bluffs, with the Flying Horses, the gingerbread cottages at the campgrounds, and of couse, the arcade. I admit it was always my favorite town as a kid too. I could ride the Flying Horses all night long.

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July Fourth was the best.

I usually dislike the 4th because there is so much pressure to do things; things which involve impossible parking, and crowds followed by fireworks and impossible parking and crowds trying to get home.

This year was a dream. Our house was within walking distance to both the parade and the fireworks – and when you’re walking with a cup? It makes for one fine Fourth o’ July.

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Typical....

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One day we spent on my cousin’s “private” beach – a strip of South Beach that is reserved for residents only. Oh, and you have to take a boat to get there. This is hubby, my sister, her daughter and my youngest enjoying the ride.

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I think we are all in agreement that our best day was close to our last…the day we spent at Gay Head. We go there to celebrate my mom’s life, and remember her passing. Her ashes were spread here more than 20 years ago, and it’s comforting to know she rests in such a magnificently beautiful spot.

Among the nudies.

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0706151206aOn our last full day there, Hubby, my neice Meaghan, and my girls mustered up the courage to jump off the Edgartown/Oak Bluffs bridge. I did this as a kid, but now? No f-in’ way.

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Before we knew it, we were packing the car and heading for the ferry. On the ride back to the mainland, we all agreed that it was the best vacation we’ve had in a long, long time. Maybe it was because we went somewhere different for a change. Or perhaps it was because my family really gets along with each other.

I think it was also because we DID a lot of things. When we go to my dads, we spend a lot of time at his house, at the pool, talking and hanging out. But on the Vineyard? We were out and about – not letting any time get wasted.

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We all want to go back. Now. Hubby admits he looks at the photos from the trip every couple of days.

And me? I’m playing the lottery. Cause I want to go back for a long, long time.

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I’ve blogged about my little garden in the past. Today, while I was poking around to see if all was well and as it should be, I noticed that my garden is doing remarkably well this year. It’s really coming into its own. So I grabbed my camera and began to click away – and I’d like to share it with you.

Join me in a pictorial tour of my tiny, little garden…

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Rhododendron

Our first neighbor when we moved into our house was a landscaper who worked for a large garden center in town. Every now and then he’d give me a plant that wasn’t in that great a shape to see if I could revive it. I planted this rhododendron in a spot that worked great for it when it was puny – but now it’s getting fairly large. It may need to be moved this fall.

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Spirea?

This was another freebie from my neighbor that has thrived. I think it’s Japanese Spirea, but my leaves have a feathery quality, while online photos show a smooth edged leaf. In any case it’s done well.

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Ugly Little Sun Ornament

Hooray for the Dollar Tree! I find at least one semi-decent yard ornament there each year. Sometimes more!

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Grape Expectations?

This is one of two clusters of something or other on the grape vine I planted just this spring. I’m not sure if they are the beginnings of a grape cluster, but I’m super happy with this plants growth so far. It’s kicking ass and taking names!

IMG_2713I found this feller at K-Mart around 4 years ago. He was marked down to next to nothing in a fall clearance. He’s one of those solar powered statues, so at night his body lights up green. It sounds super cheesy, but he has been my front path sentry-man every since.

IMG_2703Ah Lilies. Don’t you just love them? These are the variety whose blooms last for quite a few days. I find them to be spectacular!

IMG_2701Lily #2 – with more to come in the days ahead.

IMG_2695My hydrangeas are just starting to spread out – you can see a tinge of blue along the edges of some of the petals. Unlike Madonna, I adore hydrangeas. They remind me of summers on Martha’s Vineyard, and my grandparent’s backyard.

IMG_2723My husband, while dismembering some of my garden chachkies, made this adorable little scene in a niche where nothing much grew due to a plethora of roots just below the ground. It was so cute and clever, I had a hard time staying mad at him for taking liberties with my ornaments.

IMG_2715Hostas. I LOVE hostas. Of course keeping them from turning into the all-night salad bar for area deer and bunnies is a chore. I’ve sprayed enough critter repellent that even my neighbors stay away! Notice my lush, green grass. A few weeks ago that was nothing but dirt and a few tufts of sorry looking grass!

IMG_2677Foxglove! This bloomed for the first time this year. I had forgotten what it was – this little mound of green leaves sat in my garden for all of last year doing nothing. But I knew something was brewing when it began to double in size this spring. Then one day it shot up a foot or more and soon thereafter, these beautiful bell-shaped blossoms burst from the stem. It’s a real showstopper. I may have to plant more!

IMG_2709My goofy little bird ornament.

IMG_2687I forget what this stuff is called, but I have it growing inside a little circle of stones that surround my dogwood tree. It’s grown so big it’s almost hiding the little green frog I have tucked in there.

IMG_2707Fishies! Our fish, that wintered in my daughter’s science class, seem very happy to be back in there sprawling summer home – our pond. It’s nothing more than a water trough for a horse, but hubby transformed it into our garden pond. It’s visited by frogs and other critters all summer long, and is our cat’s main source of water – luckily they leave the fish alone for the most part.

IMG_2685My twisted little snail. I can’t get his head to stay straight anymore, but that’s okay – I still love him.

IMG_2706This is the leaf of a wisteria that my husband killed, but mysteriously came back. It used to climb a large oak with a forked trunk and had vines that were at least 3 inches in diameter –  until hubby dumped some substance on it – pond solution or concentrated plant food. He’s killed quite a few things that way, but I yelled at him thoroughly enough that I think he’s cured of such shinnanigans. In any case, the vine popped up in a new location the next year, and I am trying to train it to grow in a spot that will work best. Shoo fly!

IMG_2688Impatiens are a garden must for me. I’ve loved them since I lived in New Jersey and they are in my garden every single year. Some years they do better than others. These are coming along just fine so far.

IMG_2728And finally, our cat Dodger helps keep my garden growing. He helps keep the pests that tunnel and eat and otherwise ruin my plant’s growth down to a minimum. But it’s not all pretty. There is one spot, behind my azaleas, that is his Dennys – his all night diner. We find feathers and squirrel tails and vole remains on a daily basis. Ick – hubby is good to have around…he scoops up whatever is left with a shovel and…disposes of it. ugh.

Our other cat Olive does her fair share too, but she roams rather far, and was not available to be photographed.

I really enjoy my garden. I love going out and weeding and pruning and trying to find growth and where things are filling in and where things need improving. It’s taken me over 10 years, but it’s starting to shape up.

Now I need to go cut my grass!

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With my daughter’s high school graduation looming near, I decided I’d better get started on designing her graduation announcement. It’s always  handy to have an artist in the house! One idea involved using a few photos of her from growing up, so I pulled out the family’s old photo albums and began pouring over them.

The kids were busy doing their nightly Wii Dance workout, so hubby, lost without his big TV,  decided to hang out and reminisce with me. While it began as a quest for the perfect baby photo, it soon turned into a long, meandering walk down Memory Lane.

In this digital age, folks rarely use photo albums anymore. Some folks scrapbook, but I don’t really get spending all that money and time to make a page with one photo on it seem memorable. The last photo album I put together was probably around 2003, which was the time we finally knuckled down and bought a digital camera. After that all our family memories went right into iPhoto.

Yet there are roughly 15 books with yellowing pages that are packed with the early years of our family’s history. Hubby and I each have a book or two of old photos from the times before our ships passed in the night. Photos of us posing with friends we don’t see anymore, or with family members who have left us. We had slimmer figures and thicker hair.

There are photos of me with baby nieces and nephews who are now married and off making their way in the adult world. There are photos of brother and sister in laws that thruogh divorce were cut from my life. There are photos of us living in houses and apartments from places we no longer call home; New Jersey, Florida…and we try to pinpoint what was going on in our lives as we gaze at that little sliver of history.

And then there are the baby pictures. Hell, I must have shot through 100 rolls of film in the first year of my oldest daughter’s life. My second kid? Maybe 8 rolls of film. But in my defense, my second girl spent most of her first two years crying, so it was no use wasting film on her. By the time she stopped sobbing and started smiling, we had gone digital.

Our photo albums spend most of their time tucked in the bottom cabinet of my entertainment unit. They come out from time to time when I need a specific photo for Facebook or this blog. It’s also fun to flip through the pages when family is visiting – to see how we’ve evolved over the past 20 years.

In this day and age of Flickr and Instagram my photo books must seem horribly square. They take up space; they are cumbersome and heavy when you have to move, but I love them. They are my family’s encyclopedias, lovingly assembled and worn from years and years of revisiting our past.

Santa Photo

When I was a small child of 5 or so, my mother, overcome with Christmas spirit, must have actually paid to have our photo taken with Santa. If you knew my dad and his spend thrift ways, you’d know why I’d question her spending good money on a Santa photo – especially this one.

This photo has been a source of family amusement almost since it was taken. It is bad on so many levels, that I seriously question my mother’s sanity on why she decided to have it taken, and furthermore, why she decided to purchase it. Here are several reasons why I would’ve told the Santa photo Department at Bamberger’s to fuggedaboutdit.

Head1. My head. I’m not sure what kind of hairdo my mother fixed me up with that morning, but I am not rocking it. I have a bump that closely resembles a mini volcano.

I look like I have tic tacs for teeth – and I am obviously missing the two front ones courtesy of a a fast ride down the driveway on my tricycle. Little slovie managed to do a face-plant on the pavement and my front teeth hit the ejector seat.

And what is with my hairline? I have some form of bangs but they are more like grass clippings. And for some reason that line across my brow coupled with the fact that my head appears to be square makes me look like the lost daughter of the dude to the left.

Dress2. My dress. Is this a dress or just a t-shirt? Was mom in a rush and plumb forgot our pants? And if it’s close to Christmas, why don’t we have stockings? Bare legged in New Jersey in December? Maybe there was a hint of Indian Summer that day, but most likely the act of  hiking stockings up my chubby little legs was more than mom was willing to do.

Hand3. My hand. And smack dab in the middle of this fa la la la la la photo is my hand. My awkward little hand. I’m not entirely sure what it’s doing. It could be trying to shield my fundies from view due to the fact that my mother dressed me in a Barbie outfit. Maybe I had to pee. Maybe I had an itch. Maybe I farted and was trying to block its escape.

Whatever the reason, it sucks that front and center in this photo it looks like I am digging in my crotch.

the knee4. My Knee. Ok, if you’re going to take me to get my photo taken with the department store Santa in a dress that wouldn’t fit a kewpie doll, and I have a boo-boo on my knee, the least you could do is put the band aid on straight. I can deduct exactly what happened here…while applying the band aid, the adhesive stuck together and mom, in a rush with 4 impatient kids just slapped that fucker on whichever way it would stick.

A straight band aid would’ve been sort of charming. But that thing? It’s like it was applied by a triage nurse at the front lines.

sister5. My Sister. There is a 3rd sister in this photo – can you find her? I don’t know if she was meant to be in the picture and the photographer had a 3 martini lunch or if she was supposed to stay out of the frame, but was foiled once again by the family schnozola. In any case, her nose sticking in from stage right cracked us up for years and years.

You also have to love the placard with the numbers clearly visible in the photo – makes it look like we are getting our photo taken with a prison Santa.

As many flaws as this photo has, I’m thankful it was taken. I never brought my kids to have a photo taken with Santa – the type you dress up for specifically and shell out the dough to Mrs. Claus and her elves. If we did manage to find a short line for Santa and the kids got to sit on his lap, I usually didn’t have my camera.

But my mom managed to rush us out of the house – Bad hair, short dresses and crooked band aids aside to get out photo taken with Santa. Then I imagine she wanted a three martini lunch.

My job requires me to take a lot of pictures. Luckily those pictures are usually of places and things, but very rarely people. I don’t seem to do well with people when it comes to my camera. Many times when I am walking around a neighborhood snapping photos of houses and historic markers someone will give me a suspicious, annoyed glance.

Sometimes they come right out and yell at me. I was taking photos of private schools in our area a while back, and when snapping a few shots at the Montessori school here in town a woman came running out of the offices asking what I was doing. I smiled and recited my usual line about taking pictures for the paper and rattled off my credentials. I never have a business card handy because nobody ever asks for them. I have a stack in my car and in my purse, but I rarely use them.

This woman was not mollified one bit about the fact that the photos were for a newspaper. She began to ball me out about just marching onto private property and taking pictures. I smile again, put the lens cap back on my camera and said, “That’s fine. We don’t need to run a photo of your school along with all the others. Have a nice day, and sorry to trouble you!”

This was when she realized that her privileged rich bitch Montessori School attitude was going to cost her some free publicity. She backpedaled faster than Lance Armstrong and offered to show me places that would offer me nice shots. I followed her, took my pictures, smiled and thanked her, and then ran the article without one single snapshot of her school.

You don’t want to fuck with the Art Director.

So last week I was out taking pictures of Gordonsville, VA – a nearby town that is jam-packed with adorable old homes, and I was really looking forward to exploring it a little. I turned down a street which has always caught my eye on previous trips through town, parked my car and started taking photos. Within 45 seconds, I was approached by an older gentleman in pants and a white tank top – I’d guess Fruit of the Loom. I immediately thought, “Here we go again.”

Boy, was I wrong. This man, upon hearing my spiel and credentials, perked up like freshly opened bottle of Dr. Pepper. He began to give me a tour of “his street” which was dotted with pristinely maintained old homes painted bright white and forest green each with a lush, green lawn meticulously mowed. I used the term “his street” because he proceeded to tell me how over the years he had purchased each and every home on the block.

I listened to this little history lesson with interest and amusement. He had been in the Marines, and moved to California for a while, but couldn’t stay away from his sweet little hometown in good old Virginia. He told me about each and every tenant in the three homes he owned on the street, all of which he rented to folks who were Gordonsville natives.

He then began to give me a lesson about his home. It sits smack on the railroad tracks which splits the town in two and is also painted bright white and forest green like the other homes on the block. His home was rich in history; I think he mentioned it used to be a hotel back in the day, and he spoke of hammock hooks that hang on two of the three balconies overlooking the railroad tracks where you could put an extra guest or two if the train were carrying more people than you had rooms for.

Suddenly he looks at me and says “Hey, the train is coming. You wanna get some shots of that?”

Would I! We trotted up a set of concrete steps and onto the rail bed. The train would appear around the curve – the sky was blue and filled with clouds, there was an old depot and coal tower in the background. It was going to be a great shot. As I was snapping away, he continued with his history lesson and as the train chugged past, he waved to the conductor and called him by name. Living that close to the tracks, it doesn’t surprise me that he’d know it.

After that I took a few more shots and thanked the gentleman for being so kind to me. I joked that I had gotten my cover shot thanks to him, and told him to look for my paper in the blue boxes next Thursday. He walked me to my car like a true Southern gentleman, and I drove away in search of other nooks in Gordonsville to take photos of.

But I thought about him the rest of the day. I thought about how people here and there step into your life for a brief time and make the tiniest bit of difference.  I was really hoping the photos I took of his house on the tracks came out nicely. I wanted to give back to him for his kindness to me.

The actual cover – Like I said, his house is “smack” on the tracks.

They did turn out well. I laid out the cover with his beautifully unique home on it and was relieved and thankful when I got the green light from both my publisher and my editor.

Yesterday at work I answered the phone, which is something I rarely do. I could tell immediately it was my Gordonsville history teacher, and as he said that his home was on the cover of our newspaper I have to admit I got a little scared. Maybe he wasn’t happy that I’d put his home on the cover for the entire Central Virginia region to see.

But he was thrilled. He spoke of the “affable young lady” who took the pictures, and I was happy to tell him that he was speaking to her right now. We chatted for a few minutes on the phone where he expressed his appreciation – he loved the photos both on the cover and inside the publication, and asked if he could get copies of them. He said he had scanned pages from the paper and posted them on facebook – they had received many positive comments from fellow towns people. Even the Mayor of Gordonsville weighed in.

It was a great way for me to end my day – hell my week. This man, who takes great pride in his home and his hometown, took time out of his day to help me do my job, and it was fun to thank him in my own way.

I like the idea that for this entire week, he gets to see his home every time he passes by one of our blue boxes. I like that I was able to bring him the tiniest bit of recognition.

See? It pays to be nice to the Art Director.

This afternoon I had to take photos of a local Civil War museum that has been rumored to have ghosts. Ok, straight up, I dig this sort of stuff. I’ve always been amazed and envious of folks who have had non-confrontational ghost encounters, or who have been able to contact departed loved ones. My kids like it too. We will occasionally watch some of the shows on Travel Channel or Discovery Channel about hauntings and stuff. Hell, we got lunch at a supposedly haunted restaurant while we were in Florida over the summer. I even blogged about it.

I showed up at the Exchange Hotel expecting to get flack from whoever was manning the shop – I mean, I had 3 kids and a husband with me, and admission is $7 a pop. But, I was there to take photos for my newspaper which is only going to bring them a lot of free publicity – so it only seems fair that I get to snap a few photos and be on my way. I really didn’t need a tour, just access to the interior.

I explained to the kind ladies who I was and that I really just needed a few photos of the interior, preferably of spots that may have the most paranormal activity. I wasn’t expecting to catch anything on film..I just wanted to shoot rooms that may have a larger creep factor than others.

The one woman said, “oh, let me call Chris – he’s our paranormal expert. He lives just down the road!” Uff da. The last thing I needed was to drag some poor soul out on his day off to show me around. I really just needed a few interior shots.

Boy, was I glad I let them call him.

This dude was amazing. He not only showed us photos of bizarre stuff captured at the house, but he played us tons of audio – crap that you can hear uttered in the background while they were filming inside the museum. He gave us a detailed history of the once hospital/once hotel structure which has a rich civil war history, so it was not only a ghostly encounter, it was rich in stories of true American history. And he did this all on his spare time. For me and my little article in my little paper.

He walked us through the house and I shot not only photos for use in the article, but video as well. He said that a lot can be heard in the background when you record stuff – sounds that can’t be heard with the naked ear, but can be picked up on audio. Unfortunately for me my batteries were running low (as is always the case with me) but I had no idea I would need to shoot 30 minutes worth of video when I left to go on this photo shoot.

I have to admit it was pretty creepy but totally exhilarating. My husband had what he considers to be an encounter that we caught on tape. A closed door kept creaking and creaking. You can hear it all on video, and the guy asks him “what, do you hear something?” and hubby says “That door over there keeps creaking.” But hearing hubby say it is creepy –  his voice sort of shakes at the end with nervous laughter or just plain fright. The guy just sort of nodded and said “yeah.”

The worst was one part of the video where he tells us about a small child ghost called Emma who resides in the museum. She has dolls hidden under a bed in the upper floor, and as he was telling us the story, he pulled them out from under the bed to show us, and in the background you can hear, very clearly, a moan of dissatisfaction & woe.

It freaked us out. Then we thought it could’ve been my youngest who was a tad nervous about this whole ghostly encounter, especially since there was a small child involved. She kept talking to her throughout the whole tour. The voice most likely was hers, but I’ll tell you, it sounds freaky.

Photo shoots usually entail me creeping around a venue snapping photos and trying to be as anonymous as possible. But at this one I was front & center – and it was a load of fun. And I was sooooo glad that I had my family with me.

I'm smiling but it's hot so please hurry up and take the picture so we can get in the air conditioning again

Today my girls and I went apple picking. Kind of.

I really needed photos of a local orchard for a story we are running next week in my paper, and I never pass up the opportunity to put my kids in print. It was going to be busy today – my oldest had a party to attend at 3, and I had other work to do so we had to make an early start of it.

An “early start” wound up being 11:30 rather than the 10:00 a.m. start time I would’ve preferred. Daughter #1 took too long with her hair and make up (a new hobby of hers) and daughter 2 got caught up watching “Rambo” with daddy.

By the time we got to the orchard, which is situated on top of a mountain, it was high noon. And it was kind of hot. I walked around and took a few photos of the barn, and the apples, and the scenery, which is top notch. We then got in line for the hay ride, which is a Carter Mountain tradition for us. For one, it’s fun, but the views you get are stupendous.

Carter Mountain Backside View

We lucked out because the hay ride before us was packed to the rafters. When we went it was only us and two other families, so we could really spread out. I was actually able to grab an apple right off a tree while we were passing a particularly low, apple -laden branch. The girls got a kick out of having an instant snack.

Once the hayride was over, the girls insisted on a few of the orchard’s home made doughnuts. Had I not been strictly adhering to my diet, I would’ve had one. But, I was good and just sipped some water. I did have a few bites of an apple, and although it has both carbs and sugar, is a way healthier choice than a doughnut.

Once the snack and the bathroom and the hand washing were over, it was FINALLY time to pick some apples. But, uh oh. I realized that after the hay ride, doughnuts and water, I only had a few bucks left. It’s a good thing the girls were really hot, because I could only afford about 4 pounds of apples, which equals about 7 or 8 of these beauties. We found a good row away from the general public and I began to pose the girls in various lame and hokey apple picking poses.

The sweat began to trickle down my back, and the girls were getting grumpier and grumpier. My mind began to wander to thoughts of my 1999 station wagon with the air conditioning. I wasn’t sure if I had my cover shot or not, but I quickly surmised that I could come up with some alternative design if all the photos turned out to be duds.

I purchased my 4.75 pounds of apples, which left me with 75¢ to my name, and we trudged to the car where the AC went on full blast. Once home I changed out of my now sweaty clothes and began peeling apples. You cannot, I mean CANNOT go apple picking and not make a pie. Immediately.

It’s all baked and ready for my family’s dessert. And I can’t have any. Stupid diet.

You guys keep the sharks away, right?

After two consecutive days in the water and sun, my family and I decided to not spend the entire day at the beach and opted to go for an hour or two in the morning.

Well, that was before some unexpected company showed up.

We arrived at Flagler Beach at around 10 am or so and enjoyed over an hour of your general Atlantic Ocean horseplay – I even managed to body surf a bit with the use of a borrowed too-small for me boogie board.

I then told my husband that we should probably think about packing it up soon, and sat down to read my book. I knew it would take him and the girls a full 15 or 20 minutes to tear themselves away from the ocean. I was awakened from my reading induced coma a few minutes later by the sound of my oldest daughter calling out to me. Upon looking up, I saw an empty ocean, with throngs of people standing on the shore and pointing their fingers. It was then I saw them.

DOLPHINS!

Not just one, but a pack of four! I grabbed my camera, and ran down the beach. I shot some decent footage of my family in the foreground and the dolphins in the background. After I shot enough tape to satisfy the National Geographic, I walked the camera back up to our blankets, grabbed a boogie board and headed for the ocean. I did not want this opportunity to pass by with me holding a camera. I wanted to get OUT there!

I was afraid that the dolphins would leave before I had a chance to get into the water. Plus I was dragging two boogie boards with me. I waded out into the ocean and was in the middle of telling my oldest to grab a boogie board when a huge wave came and knocked the boards out of my hands. Shit. I then had to turn around and chase the boards that were floating back to shore. What a waste of my time! Why wasn’t anyone in my family helping me? Oh that’s right! They are watching dolphins! Let mommy chase down the boogie boards she thoughtfully brought for them!

It was no easy task I can tell you that. As soon as I’d get close to the board, a wave would come in and push it further towards the shore. Grrr! Once both boards were in my clutches, I waded back out into the ocean. I have to admit I purposefully steered clear of my family. I was a bit miffed that they didn’t bother to help me, so I hogged both boogie boards until one of them swam over to me to get it.

This man from Brooklyn and I were the farthest ones out when suddenly a dolphin popped up about 10 feet away from me! It was so thrilling! My youngest swam out to me after that on her board and we floated around watching their fins popping up out of the water here and there, closer and then farther away. It was hard to see them at times because the waves would bob you up and down and you could only see them when the waves had you up high. At one point we bobbed up and there was a dolphin fin around 7 feet away from us!

It actually scared my 9 year old who can only equate fins with sharks. I told her it was fine, and that dolphins help keep sharks away from us – I don’t know if that’s an old wives tale or what, but she felt considerably better after that, so who cares.

And then they just swam away. It was great though. We had roughly 35 minutes with them and it was free of charge. No Marineland or Sea World fee to pay – just dolphins in the wild and a bunch of awestruck humans.

The one bad thing? The hour we meant to spend at the beach turned into almost 3 hours. My face and shoulders are pretty burned, and to make matters worse I had my big black sunglasses on the whole time, so I now resemble a sunburned raccoon. Oh, and my nose looks like a plum.

But it’s sooooo worth it. My kids and I will remember that experience forever.

Lets' see - pay for college or a golf membership? Why not have both! We're Loaded!

Today I had to take pictures of various local golf courses for my paper. There are a ton of courses where I live in central Virginia – an avid golfer really has his/her pick.

I am not a golfer, avid or otherwise. I used to like driving golf balls – now that was fun. But the thought of spending the day with a bunch of dudes on an endless stretch of grass isn’t my cup o’ tea. The community I live in has a golf course, and I’ve always associated it with grumpy old men who like to enforce dopey rules and dress codes and really don’t want you to disturb their oasis. That’s the golf course I’m used to.

It was a bit of a culture shock for me today to visit a few of our area’s other golf establishments. These joints were swank. I’m talking CEO, brain surgeon, movie star, gangster, real housewives kind of money.  And here I am driving around in my 1999 Mercury Sable wagon with 188,000 miles on it. Sore thumb, anyone?

And I’ll tell you what threw me even more. The number of kids that were hanging out at the club – putting, driving and tee-ing off. Some of these kids were young, perhaps only 12. Some looked closer to 16 or 17, all clad in their Land’s End polo shirts and plaid shorts. I NEVER knew a kid who spent his summer vacation playing 18 holes and hanging out at the club. Yet here was a course teeming with them!

And it wasn’t just kids, it was families too! “Hey kids! Grab your Dora the Explorer clubs and let’s hit the back 9!” Don’t people just play frisbee and run the sprinkler in their back yards anymore? No wonder there are no miniature golf courses in our area. Everyone can afford the real thing! Who needs a mini version!

This leads me back to question I have often asked before – where do people get all this money? How can people afford so much? Are there really THAT many high paying jobs in my area where scores of people can live in golf front mansions? And most importantly why aren’t I one of them???

Ah, wealth envy strikes me again. It comes and goes. I’ll have a glass of wine and get over it.