I’m not sure why I wanted to go to the car show yesterday. Maybe it was the location, along Tampa’s riverwalk, with the water taxi readily available. And all the good food we might choose to eat at Armature Works. There was a nice crowd, lots of families, but it was the older cars that interested me. There seemed to be a lot more interest in the ‘muscle cars’, and much reviving of engines too, but they all looked alike to me. And those motorcycles in the feature image weren’t cars, but they looked good sitting side by side.
We are well into September but the heat and humidity are still with us. A couple of hours of that will wear you down, but I’m glad we went.
It’s the coast of Maine that is referred to as the rocky coast, but my childhood favorite beaches of Duxbury, Green Harbor, and Brant Rock are nothing if not rocky. I took Charley to Duxbury on a day when the beach was especially rocky and he was singularly unimpressed. But the two of us Brockton kids share a love of the same places, even if we didn’t ever know each other until 70+ years later. So we roamed, got lost, and roamed some more. And had lunch at Friiendly’s which we didn’t realize still existed. They did, in fact, have Fribbles on the menu, but I resisted, this time anyhow. The feature photo is the Scituate light, a place I never saw until this visit. Just up the coast. We have a wedding to go to this afternoon. Imagine the excitement of this morning for the bride and groom. Then tomorrow we will head up the coast to the actual rocky coast of Maine, where we will explore, and probably get lost, some more.
At first we didn’t think we had people in common, even though we grew up in the same home town. But my cousin’s husband proved to be the link between my friend and his long-lost best friend from childhood, so our little reunion at the Cape Cod Cafe last night was worthy of a Hallmark movie. It’s so good to be ‘home’…
I learned a few things about orangutans yesterday. First of all my dear friend gave me a heads up about a series on National Geographic called ‘Secrets of ZooTampa’. She had watched an episode about orangutans which included footage of Randee giving birth to little Riplee, I saw that message as we were heading out the door to go to a photo shoot with our group, to the zoo! Then a chatty little girl at the zoo told me about another episode, and at lunch after the shoot yet another mention of that series came up in the group. Since I can take a hint, we found the episode last night and watched it. For someone who was so excited to see that baby orangutan I’m ashamed to say that I was completely in the dark about that series. And the take away from the episode was that in the wild orangutans are solitary creatures. The fact that they live together at the zoo, nine of them, grandmothers, daughters, and grandchildren, plus the resident male, is unusual. Their interactions with each other is wonderful to watch, so the idea that they would live solitary lives in the wild seemed sad somehow. All this being said, I took more pictures of the orangutans yesterday than anything else, as usual. And there was still another surprise in store also.
I promised another surprise, didn’t I? Another of the young adult orangutans gave birth about a month ago, a fact that had escaped my notice completely. Apparently this event happened during the day and was witnessed by the zoo-goers who happened to be there. What a photo op that would have been.
Evidently I will have many more days of enjoying the baby orangutans ahead of me. What a nice surprise it was to see this new addition. And if Riplee was #9, then we now have 10 orangutans at ZooTampa.
I have become a bah humbug sort of person. I don’t say that proudly, or lightly even. I grew up with a reverence for the day we celebrate the birth of Christ, and I loved making Christmas for my own kids through the years. Growing up in a big Italian family there were many treats to be had at Christmas that we didn’t see for the rest of the year. As the daughter of a fireman and a nurse I spent the major holidays at my aunt’s house, with my working parents coming and going, plus lots of relatives dropping in to visit. Special times that I couldn’t have appreciated at the time what treasured memories they would turn out to be. So when I got married and moved away I did my best to recreate the holidays I treasured. I made lasagna for Christmas dinner, something the family had switched over to some time in my preteen years when they decided that they were ITALIAN, for goodness sake, and weren’t going to duplicate the Thanksgiving dinner at Christmas anymore. I made the Italian cookies that are flavored with anise. I made strufoli, the tiny honey balls we only had at Christmas, and, when I could find it, I bought Torrone, a nougat candy that came in individual boxes that were exquisite little works of art in themselves. For many years Christmas was a wonderful time of year. But those days are long past, the kids are grown and gone, and even the grandchildren are grown. It feels like the media has taken over all aspects of life, including the holiday, and you can’t escape the pressure to be HAPPY, to spend more and more money. The meaning is lost, hence bah humbug.
With my bad attitude I have disappointed the new special person in my life who still treasures Christmas. Our first Christmas together and he didn’t expect my usual light-hearted self to just want to get this whole thing over with. We will visit his relatives for Christmas, and when a discussion of what to have for Christmas dinner came up my offer to make lasagna was accepted. That perked me up a little. It really warmed my heart when my daughter said that she is making lasagna for her crew too, and she is making strufoli for the first time in years! Now I will make strufoli too. I collected all my recipes yesterday, and my friend wanted to stop at the nice Italian deli near him, and I wondered out loud if I might find Torrone there. Boy, did I ever! Torrone in the little boxes. Torrone cut into wedges like a slice of layer cake, some topped with chocolate! Torrone packaged in the shape of Christmas trees! I stood there with my mouth open, and possibly drooling, as every where I turned I found Torrone. So, yes, I did find Torrone, and I think I might have found my Christmas spirit too.
The feature photo is a display of containers of strufoli, larger honey balls than the ones we used to make, but it made me happy to see my familiar treats. I wrote this post early yesterday, before a heart-warming (and tear-jerking) message from my daughter showed up online. I was already on my way to finding that elusive Christmas spirit, and now I’m happy to say that my strufoli is made, and my lasagna is coming together. So let me wish a Merry Christmas to all with a happy heart. And the new year? Well, there is always hope…
We are enjoying lovely weather in the Smokies, but not having WiFi has prevented me from working on my pictures and sharing them. It hasn’t prevented me from taking tons of pictures however, so I will have lots to keep me busy when we get home. The fall foliage we hoped for isn’t at it’s peak, but it smells like fall, and there are enough beautiful trees to make me happy. And we still have a few days.
We looked into the haze at every stop along Skyline Drive. I don’t know if it was better or worse than usual while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from taking shot after shot at every overlook we came to. A couple of days ago I mentioned my previous trip there when the pop-up camper popped off the hitch of my car, and how I just headed for home after that. What I didn’t mention is that my cousin was a supervising ranger at Skyline Drive for 21 years, and that he lives in the area. We had lunch with him on Cape Cod while we were there, but he wasn’t going to be back home when we got to his area the next week. So imagine my surprise when I posted a picture of a surprise engagement shot I got on our first day on the drive, and he commented that his farmhouse is in the background of the shot. Small world and lucky accident of timing, it all factored into the shot, which I love all the more now.
There are so many pictures that now I find them hard to group into a cohesive story. The iPhone will tell me where the pictures were taken, and when, which is helpful provided I also took a few shots with my phone as well as the camera. As we approached home I said that I didn’t know when I’d be ready for a long trip like this one was, but the thought of a couple of days here and there is already sounding like a good idea.