I hate Spiders, no matter how pretty they are.

Here’s something I found recently on a bike ride around the Island; it’s a banana spider, and I hate it.
It's actually called a Golden Silk Orb-Weaver; I just call it a big freaking spider.  It's over 2 inches long, which is much bigger than any spider should ever be.
I guess it really does spin gold-colored silk, and if you could stand to gather a million spiders and you had a spider-silking machine (which actually draws the silk out of the spider, and how creepy is that), you could make an incredibly beautiful silk cloth.  But I could never, ever wear it - I would lose my mind from feeling phantom spiders crawling all over me.

However, no matter how freaky spiders are, this video about making the silk cloth is amazing to watch.

Three years ago:  Fascinating Mount St. Helens
Four years ago:  Biking around Silver City

I'm A Cheap Date

Last weekend The Black Marlin restaurant offered $1 Margaritas.  So we bicycled over there (3.2 miles round trip!) to sample them.  Including a tip to the guitar player, we spent $5 and I still came home tipsy.

Yesterday the 2nd annual "Burgers and Brews" fest was held at Shelter Bay Cove, with sliders, beer, soda and fudge.  So we bicycled over there (6.4 miles round trip!) to meet with Mike and his family and sample the goodies.  Including no tip to anyone and I only drank soda, we spend $45.  

I'm a lot less expensive when I drink.

Footsteps on the Roof - Sept 27, 2013

Got a break in the weather today.  It has been rainy for awhile and our RV has developed a small leak over the door.  Just enough to be a pain.  Randy thinks he may know where it is coming in so now he's up on the roof, working on it.  It always sounds funny to hear someone walking on the roof!

Julienne is tolerating her medication well.  One side effect they warned us against is excessive thirst, which will increase her need to pee.  We don't need to worry about that with Julienne; she pretty much hates to pee.  We've had her checked and there isn't a medical reason.  I think that what she really hates is getting her feet wet.  Every morning the grass is damp from dew or the irrigation system and she doesn't want to walk on it, so she tries to convince that she doesn't need to pee when she gets up in the morning.  Which is ridiculous, everyone needs to pee when they get up in the morning!  We have to insist that she's not going back inside without taking care of business before she will even consider it.  Later she usually goes once during the day, once at night, and she's done.  So we are not worried about "excessive thirst" causing a problem; it might actually solve one.

Two years ago: Amazon is not for me
Three years ago: Resting in the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Four years ago: Albuquerque State Fair

Favorite Cemetery Angel - September 24

I love old cemeteries and have been fortunate to visit several interesting ones.  But recently I found my very favorite cemetery Angel on-line.  Some excellent pictures of it can be found on Wikipeida, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monteverde_Angel, where I snagged these pictures.
The dry facts are that it was carved by Giulio Monteverde for the Oneto family tomb, which is in the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa, Italy (along with a lot of other wonderful, hauntingly beautiful statuary).  But on the artistic side, this is the best angel sculpture ever.  It is both an amazing sculpture and a compelling portrait.

It has an entirely gorgeous handling of the wings, with those long, enormous flight feathers that brush against her knees and show every feathery vane.  If stone could fly, this would.

And the face is wonderful; classic Greek features with a straight nose and petulant mouth.  Like all good Greek statues, she looks haughty, slightly arrogant, and just a little ticked-off.  But she is also looking out at the world under her lowered brow and she is not terribly impressed with what she sees.  And perhaps with reason; her right hand, which is tucked under her left arm, is supposed to be holding the trumpet of Universal Judgment.  

But what I love most is the drapery, which somehow takes on appearance of satin.  The “fabric” has tiny crinkles around the waist, pulls taut over the belly button (do angels have belly buttons?) and wraps snugly around the hips.  When I think about creating this from stone, it’s amazing!
And so I wax poetic about an old sculpture.  But sometimes art can move you, and this moves me.

One year ago:  Earthquake!
Two years ago: World's biggest apple pie
Three years ago:  Memories of Alaska
Four years ago:  Pike's Peak is so beautiful

Sunday Brunch on Hilton Head Island

Any day you can have pulled pork for breakfast is a good day.  Pulled pork, bacon, sausage, fruit, grits and sweet rolls make for a very good day.  Sunday brunch at One Hot Mama's!

Julienne's Drug Habit - September 29, 2013

Julienne has recovered from her seizure but she is officially on medication now.  We give her Potassium Bromide daily and she doesn't particularly like it.  But if it works, it will be worth it.  It is not expected to stop all seizures but it should stop the clusters.  If she has another one of those, we will have to change her meds.  As it is, she still needs a couple of checkups to monitor how she is tolerating the Potassium Bromide.  The Vet also prescribed some Valium suppositories for her, just in case she does gets a cluster. The Valium will only be good for about 3 months because it doesn't store well.  Sweet little Julienne is developing an expensive drug habit.

Two years ago: First day at Amazon
Three years ago: Leaving Skagway through Canada
Four years ago: Candy Making at Hammonds!

Wheelchair Tennis - Amazing!

This past weekend the Hilton Head Island RV Resort played host to the Wheelchair Tennis Tournament.  And we saw some pretty amazing tennis!  Some of these folks have played this circuit before and some are pretty new at it (i.e. young).  I have no idea why any of them are in wheelchairs; that wasn't the important part, they were here to play tennis!  If I had been paying close enough attention, these folks could have taught me how to do a killer serve.  There was a lot of power behind these stokes, and yet they know how to put the ball where they want it - just over the net and inside the lines.

As far as I could tell, the main difference between wheelchair tennis and other tennis is that in wheelchair tennis the ball can bounce twice before you have to hit it.  That is helpful but it’s not that much of an advantage when you consider that the player has to position a chair, not feet.  Imagine moving a wheelchair around the court while holding on to a tennis racquet, then positioning the racquet correctly for your shot, all the while never taking your eyes off a ball that is headed to somewhere on your side of the net. 
 All of that, and then you still have to hit the ball.
Then there is the chair itself, which is different from a standard wheelchair.  Its wheels are canted inwards at the top so a player can whip the chair around to do a quick one-handed turn.  But moving forward or backwards requires both hands so they have to hang on the racket in the same hand that turns a wheel, scoot forward, then make the shot.  Most of them have 2 little wheels set inside the regular wheels, plus a third one in the back, for extra stability.  If they didn't have those, the chair would flip over too easy because of those quick turns.
Hard enough to play tennis when you can run; not running means you have to double up everything else.  No mistake about it, these are real athletes.

Two years ago: Kentucky
Three years ago: Northern Lights
Four years ago: Coors and the mountains

Poor Julienne and poor me

Julienne had another seizure tonight.  A little before 6 pm she started and we did our usual treatment of a dark room, gentle cuddles and Rescue Remedy, but nothing worked.  This was a big cluster seizure like the one she had in February, so we called the vet and took her in for an after-hours emergency visit.  Three Valium injections, two phenobarbital injections and a whole lot of money later she finally quit seizing.  She's so drugged up now that she can't hold her head up or walk straight, but she is finally sleeping.  I drank a mini bottle of Pink Moscato and feel the same way, so I'm going to sleep, too.

Favorite Myrtle Beach scene

One of my favorite memories of Myrtle Beach:  this hopeful fisherman and his patient wife: 
With the surf, the figure holding an umbrella and a single splash of the color red, this immediately reminded me of Vettriano's "Singing Butler" print. 

Two years ago:  Cambellsville, Kentucky
Three years ago: Zip Lining in Alaska
Four years ago: A Short Look Around Tulsa

What I learned about the start of Oyster Season - Sept 9

It is well known that you can eat fresh oysters in the months with "R".  Now it's September - GREAT!   Let's get started!  Because ever since the Oyster that changed my life in New Orleans, I have loved raw oysters.  We went to the Bluffton Oyster House, where earlier this year I was introduced to the small, sweet May River Oysters.  Unfortunately they are closed on Sunday and Monday, so we went to Captain Woody's just down the road.  We ordered a dozen raw oysters plus an egg sandwich, just to fill in around the edges.  The egg-and-sausage sandwich was quite good, with it's side of fruit and home fries.
But the goal was oysters!  And this is where I learned not to order oysters as soon as the season opens.  Because, to keep the restaurant open through the non-R months, they lay in a supply of frozen oysters.  And just because the new season starts doesn't mean they have used up all their frozen oysters.  This is what a fresh oyster looks like:
And this is what we got:
They were definitely May River Oysters and therefore pretty good, but they were unusually plump and had a watery, soft consistency.  The kind of consistency you might get from being frozen and thawed.  We asked the waitress if they had been frozen but she assured us "No, they were shucked this morning!"  Shucked this morning does not mean fresh; sometimes it means thawed out this morning and then shucked.  Previously Captain Woody's on Hilton Head Island has done right by the oyster, as when we went to their March Oyster Roast.  But this may have been a little too early in the season.  Next time I will try to wait until October.

Two years ago: Back in St. Louis
Three years ago: Walrus Ivory Earrings

Back in Hilton Head Island - Sept 1, 2013

We are back in Hilton Head Island, where we will remain for the winter months.  And it's good to unpack the breakables and settle in again.  As noted previously, I don't do much cleaning when we are on the road; this time we were on the road for a month so I have a lot to do now.  But today is hot and it's good to just relax....

One year ago:  Deep Sea Fishing and LA
Three years ago:  Beautiful Walrus Ivory!