I’m sure you know by now that I live in Floriduh. We don’t really have seasons here. At least not like the rest of the world.
We do get winter. It lasts about 2 days, usually in February. We have lived where there were all four seasons. North Carolina has all four seasons, the Army saw fit to send us there twice. It didn’t snow all that much during those two tours, but we did get some. Alaska on the other hand, was lots of snow. It did hit 95 F once, for about 90 minutes during the very brief summer. I think it was a Tuesday that we had summer that year. And we did get 24 hours daylight during this time, not quite 24 hours of dark. We were not quite north enough for that. The least sunlight we received would be about 15 minutes. The sun would come up, move over about a half an inch then drop back down. And it was so very cold.
The Autumn equinox is coming up; Monday, 23 September actually. I can see the subtle differences outside. When I leave for work in the morning, before the sun comes up, the humidity is much lower. Not that it’s gone, it’s just that the dew point occurs after I leave, so my windshield is dry. That won’t last long of course. By mid-December, I’ll be dealing with it all over again. Plus those few days where the dew turns to a very light frost on the windshield. All it takes to clear it is about 3 minutes of the defroster on high. No need to scrape.
This is my favorite time of year. Not only is the weather a little marginally cooler, my two favorite holidays are coming up. Samhain (Halloween for some) and Thanksgiving.
Last year we took the wee bonnie lasses to a “Fall Festival” as we try to do every year. But last year we almost got heat stroke while in the corn maze! It was extremely hot and muggy. And no beer! Only water and sports drinks, although the coffee and hot chocolate were selling briskly. Go figure.
I do hope that wherever you are you get whichever seasons you enjoy the most. Maybe you’re like me and want to just move around to enjoy the variety of all the seasons. Personally, I do not enjoy snow all that much. I don’t mind the cold temperatures, I just don’t care for the white stuff. Having said that, we are taking the wee bonnie lasses to the mountains of Western North Carolina just after Christmas this year. They have been asking to see snow for several years. Hopefully, that will happen. But you never know, the weather is a fickle bitch.
It took me sometime to decide which video to use (and there’s always a video isn’t there?). I was thinking ofSummer by War, or Summertime by Janis Joplin. Instead, I went with this one. Enjoy!
‘Cause that’s about all we’ve had from this hurricane. But I’m not complaining. The folks in the Bahamas really got hit hard. Dorian was over Abaco and Grand Bahama Island for damn near 24 hours. The islands are devastated. This makes me very sad. I really like Freeport.
But here in #Floriduh, at least in my area, just some rain and wind. But then, isn’t that exactly what a hurricane is? Wind and rain?
So here I sit deep in an undisclosed location in the bowls of a dormant volcano, somewhere in.. uh.. can’t say where. Day 2 in the EOC. Yesterday was long. A full 12 hour shift on about 4 hours sleep. Almost felt like I was back in the Army. Just with air-conditioning. But the same old jokes and lousy food, but no MREs (YEAH!!!).
The storm is about 100 miles due east of us. It only took about 12 hours for it to reach us as it was stationary for a very long time, then slowly moved north west. It has picked up speed, but is still moving very slowly. Current speed estimate is 8 MPH.
No track today, but here is a radar shot;
I should say that we are currently just over halfway through hurricane season. This is the height of the season as well; as this image shows.
My house, and my brother’s house (he lives about 45 minutes west of me), have not any real issues. He did lose power for about an hour, but luckily bourbon doesn’t need refrigeration, so he made it through just fine.
Right now, our city manager says he hopes to close the EOC around 5 PM this evening, and we’ll return to a more regular schedule tomorrow. Sound good to me.
One thing I noticed on the way in yesterday and today was that almost every fast food place was closed. All the McDonalds, Dunkin’s, and Taco Hell Bell were dark and gloomy. But the Subway was open. Yesterday the local “greasy spoon” was open, but not this morning. Roads are basically clear. Only a few scattered palm fronds here and there.
I picked out a video that actually goes with the topic. I was going to use Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain, but choose this one instead. I used Lightfoot’s song for the title (call it a two-for-one). Enjoy!
Yes, it’s Labor Day here in the USA, and we are laboring. We haven’t started any painting yet this morning simply because we are worn out. But, all we have left are two little hallways so we have plenty of time.
As far as the storm goes, it’s not much different than yesterday. Hurricane Dorian is still a Cat 5 storm (but the sustained winds have dropped to 165 MPH from 185 MPH) and is still very dangerous. The biggest problem is that it has basically stalled over Grand Bahama Island. The forward movement is down to 1 MPH. Toddlers can crawl faster than that.
As of the 5AM (EDT) updates, we don’t expect tropical storm force winds until tomorrow, 3 September, about 0800. Which is when I have to report to the EOC. Let’s hope my truck doesn’t get blown off the road.
This image is from the Weather Underground (again, NOT the 1960’s radical group). This shows the four models for the storm’s track. What is striking about this graph is that all the models have finally come so close together. Just yesterday there was still one model (GFS) that had the storm making landfall, now they’re all offshore. There are still some differences as to just how far offshore.
I’ll make one more pass through the yard this afternoon just to make sure everything is picked up and stored away. Then one more test of the generator and I’m calling prep work done.
My biggest concern this morning is breakfast. I’m hungry!
Faithful readers of this blog will know that my last post mentioned a certain tropical storm was headed my way. Well, that hasn’t changed. In fact since I wrote (and edited) that post, lots of things have changed. And then changed again. And changed some more. Some things even went back to what they were at the start of this whole shebang.
Here was the storm track then;
And here is this morning’s track (as of 0800 EDT);
Yes! Once again #Floriduh is dead in the sights of another hurricane. Sheesh!
On the plus side, it’s expected (more like hoped for) to be less intense than just yesterday’s models. Those had it as a Category 3 storm and sitting about 100 miles due east of my house Monday morning. Now it will (again, hopefully) make land fall about 100 miles south of me as a weak Cat 2. This, sadly, will mean my brother can expected an almost direct hit.
On the bad side is most models have it turning north once it hits the center of the state. This has two issues. First, it puts my area on that dreaded NE quadrant again. That will be the most intense section of the storm. Second, this will be my home for the weekend;
For this storm my team has been assigned the day shift. We’ve been night shift for all previous storms. My guess for this change is because the last two storms the day shift has been stuck at the EOC for 24 hours when the storm hit, while those of us on nights just did the planned 12 hour shift. I think my manager is hoping to reverse this trend. Not gonna happen.
So, once again, a storm has ruined plans for a 3-day weekend. Now granted, this was a “working” 3-day weekend as we had planned to start painting the inside of the house. We may still be able to get some of the work done, at least the major prep stuff. But if it’s raining too hard painting is out of the question. Paint doesn’t seem to dry very well when the humidity is 1000%.
So here’s a video that only relates to the post because I used it’s title for the title of this post…
Specifically, two ladies that gave me a love of good food and how to prepare it.
Those two ladies, are my paternal grandmother “Nanny” and my great aunt (my maternal grandmother’s sister), Arline. I’ve mentioned Nanny several times before on this blog, so I will start with Aunt Arline.
Just about every year of my childhood we would all pile into the family station wagon (mom always drove a station wagon) and head out to visit mom’s family in South Carolina. We would leave way before the sun came up and drive the 14 or so hours straight through, stopping only for gas, restroom breaks, and a quick meal. Since this was before I-95 was completed, we had to travel the entire distance of the Florida Turnpike. The turnpike is, without a doubt, one the most boring drives in America. Flat and straight, and the same damn trees the entire way. Since it runs through the middle of the state, there aren’t even any alligators to break up the monotomy.
But it did have well maintained and clean rest areas. Several of them, such as the one at Fort Pierce, even had full service restuarants. Dad wouldn’t dare pass up that rest area. It was a great place to gas up the car and fill our bellies as well. The only other stop would be somewhere in Georgia at a Stucky’s for the filling up of both car and kids.
Finally arriving at our destination of Marion, SC things would go downhill quickly as all the cousins showed up. Many days were spent running around in the yards of various family members; especially Aunt Arline’s yard. You do remember Aunt Arline right? This part of the post is about her.
She had a pond in her back yard. I wasn’t allowed to go down to the pond by myself. My mom couldn’t swim and was deathly afraid I would fall in and drown. And with good reason, as when I was abvout 5 I did fall into a pool at a friend’s house; and if it wasn’t for my brother who noticed my struggling to get to the side of the pool and jumped in a brought me safely out of the water, I probably would have drowned.
Out of that pond Aunt Arline would catch some little brim or sunfish. She would scale and gut them, then fry them whole. Remember, this is South Carolina in the 60’s. Damn near everything was fried. I will admit that at first I didn’t even want to try a whole fried fish (I means bones??). But one of my uncles showed me how to open them up and get to the good stuff. I was hooked after that – bones and all. Aunt Arline also had a cage that she kept crickets in for bait. She would somehow catch these crickets by hand! I never did figure out how.
So, let’s talk about Sunday dinners at Aunt Arline’s. There would so much food! There isn’t a buffet around that could compare. Of course there were, at times, 20 or so of us eating. I was not allowed in the kitchen then. That was all the women. My mom, her sisters, my older sisters and some cousins that were old enough handled all the cooking. The “men folk” sat out front talking weather, politics and such. My cousins that were too young to take part in the serious talk would be outside playing in the mud, trying to get down to pond, and just basically getting into trouble.
But then, those magic words – “Dinner is ready”! Naturally, we all had to wash up, which took quite some time since there was only one bathroom we were allowed to use. But by the time the kids got to our table, our moms would have a plate ready for us.
And what a plate! There would be at least three kinds of meats; ham, the fish she caught, and my all time favorite – fried chicken. Fried chicken is still my most favorite meal. Many times there would also be a turkey or a beef roast! Then there would be so many veggies – all fresh. Lima beans (another of my favorites), corn, black-eyed peas, collard and/or mustard greens. Then mashed potatoes and rice. Three kinds of bread – cornbread, dinner rolls, and just plain white. Three or four sticks of real butter would be placed around the tables, along with the usual vinegear for the greens, and if needed, condiments to make sandwiches. One thing I don’t remember is ever seeing a “garden salad”; you know lettuce and chopped veggies. But I don’t think I missed it. To this day, I still don’t care for greens.
We would sit around and eat and drink (Carolina Sweet Tea) until we couldn’t move. Then at some secret signal (unknown to “men folk” and kids), out of nowhere large white bed sheets would be used to cover everything up. Nothing put into little plastic containers that go “burp” when you do that other secret thing men folk are not allowed to understand. Nothing even close to a precaution except keeping the bugs off (and kids out).
Then, at another prearranged secret signal the sheets would be taken off and everyone would sit back down and eat. Remember, this is the 60’s in rural South Carolina. Microwave ovens are still a good 10 – 15 years away from general use, so everything was at “room tempature”, whatever that is.
Now, I had no issues with the meat not being reheated. And as much as I love mashed potatoes and limas, I balked at eating them cold. This was where the sandwich fixings came in for me. But mom still wasn’t happy. I had to have a “balanced meal”, meaning veggies. But I would not eat them cold like that. So Aunt Arline came up with a fix. She would take a big helping of the limas (she knew I would eat them all), toss them into a small pan with another stick of butter (Paula Dean has nothing on my family), and heat them up for me. Such a sweet lady! I would then take the entire pot of butter and beans and pour it over a mound of mashed potatoes or rice, depending on which I could get my hands on. Guess it’s not really odd that the majority of my mom’s family died of cholestrol issues, and that I fight that myself.
Let’s switch gears and sides (in a civil war theme). Obvisiouly, my mom is from South Carolina. The little town her daddy’s tobacco farm was in, Fork, is no longer there. She couldn’t remember exactly where the town was but believed it was swallowed by Marion. And that’s where Aunt Arline lived, Marion, South Carolina.
Dad, on the other hand, was from central Pennsylvania. I joke we had the civil war in our house growing up. Mom was a southerner and grew up Baptist. Dad, a yankee (and a damn yankee at that), grew up in a Methodist church. After WWII they settled in the south (if you can consider Miami part of the “south”) and went to a Methodist church. Best of both worlds?
Nanny (again, you do remember Nanny, right? This part of the post is about her), was an exceptional lady. She was widowed at the age of 34 in 1919. Dad was all of 6. She never remarried. From 1919 until she came to live with us about 1968 or so, she was out on her own. She spent a lot of time going between Pennsylvania and Florida, playing the snowbird roll, before she stayed permantly. This was mostly before my time and when I was an infant, so I don’t really remember it.
What I do remember is her cooking. We may not have had the big ol’ spread that we had in South Carolina, but the quality was every bit as good. Nanny was the one that really started me cooking. I was old enough (well almost) to stay around when she was preparing meals. It also helped that I was the only child at home then and our little kitchen had a dining table. I could sit there out of the way and watch, ask questions and more importantly taste!
Not only did she cook your basic meals, she could bake. She would make bread from scratch. This is where I learned how to use yeast. Being the smart woman that she was, she always made me a small loaf when she was baking bread. As soon as it was cool enough to remove from the pan she would give me the first loaf and yet another stick of butter and send me off to get out of her way.
And here is another example of fried chicken; yet completly different from Aunt Arline’s. The crust was different and she would use a buttermilk bath on the chicken pieces. Still every bit as good, just different. Not to brag (who am I kidding??) I have been told that my fried chicken is better than either of their’s. That may be, but I will admit that I am nowhere as consistent as either of these ladies.
But Nanny taught me something more than fried chicken and bread. She taught me BBQ. We didn’t have a smoker growing up, and I can only remember my dad grilling something once. But both my brother and I love to cook with fire. We had to get it from somewhere. It was Nanny. She had a BBQ resuarant in the Altoona, Pennsylvania area. I can find city directories from 1935 and 1936 that list her as the owner. Can you imagine being a widow with a young adult son, in the middle of the Great Depression, and making a good living from a restuarant? The industry that has a very high if not the highest failure rate? Blows my mind.
Her potato salad, fresh made coleslaw and beans were out of this world! And a meatloaf to die for. Somewhere there is a recipe book with all these notes. I really think the printed recipes were there as a distraction. The true treasure were the handwritten notes in the back. My mom, a better than average cook in her own right, added to that collection.
It makes me a bit sad to know that I didn’t get the chance to cook for these ladies before they shuffled off to wherever great cooks go. I’m sure there would have been lots of “this is nice, but if you had done ….” comments. And I would have taken everyone of those comments to heart and tried to live up to their legacy another time.
Yesterday we had the final celebration of Wifey® and granddaughter-the-elder’s birthdays. Since they both have birthday’s on or around the 4th, and we live in a tourist area, sometimes we have to do our celebrating in stages. Plus it’s more fun to keep the celebrations going for a while! Then this morning, Wifey® reminded me that today is our 73rd six-month anniversary. Yes, we celebrate every six months since that was how long we were told we would last. Ha!
So yesterday the family went to Universal City Walk and had a great time. It was all son-the-younger’s idea. Since Wifey® and I both agree we have too much stuff, we would rather do things with whichever family members we can get together. Son-the-younger picked Blueman Group, and since none of us have ever seen that show, I immediately agreed.
And boy did we pick a hell of a day! The rain was so bad on the way over to Orlando, we could barely see the hood of the car. But there was no rain in Orlando (surprise!). We had crazy heat. Well maybe not crazy, after all, we are Florida natives (except for son-the-younger, he’s our “token Eskimo” – he was born in Alaska).
Feels like 108!
So our basic “plan” (we never have a plan – or if we do we don’t follow it), was to get to City Walk around 3PM, walk around and shop a bit, then catch an early dinner and the finally the Blueman Group show at 6PM. But as luck would have it, we sat down at the Lone Palm Bar (part of Margaritaville) and had a few beers. Son-the-younger took his girls and walked around. They found the hot dog stand. And they know that I love hot dogs. But, even cooler, they found stadium seats from some major league stadiums! They also know that papa loves baseball!
My baby girls in the doughnut chair
Once we realized that we had missed our time for an early dinner, we decided that another round of beers was in order and that we would go to the theater and wait for the show.
Since it was so hot and humid outside, the theater was like an ice-box. But man did it feel good! Plus we were allowed to bring in our drink and snacks! I won’t give much of a review of the show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing it.
Beer, popcorn, and Minecraft swords! Oh, my!
The Blueman Group show was totally awesome! I have not laughed that hard in a long time. I was already fighting a head cold and scratchy throat before we went, so now I can hardly talk. But it was completely worth it.
After the show, we went to the restaurant that we used as a ruse to plan this whole adventure. We didn’t tell Wifey® about the show, only we were going to dinner. But since we had waited so long, there was now an hour wait. What to do? What else, go have another beer! So back around the park, we go back to the Lone Palm Bar. But our very cool server, Bethany, was off shift now. But we only had time for one beer, so it was all good.
It was 9PM or so by the time we got to eat. The girls were very hungry, almost to the point of feeling sick. But the milkshakes they had took care of that quickly. I will say I was not happy with my meal, but I don’t blame the restaurant. By this time I was feeling so bad, between the heat and the head cold, that nothing would have tasted good to me. Everybody else said their meals were great, so I’ll take the heat on this one.
Other than stupid Orlando traffic, and all the damn construction, the drive home was a little easier. Traffic on I-4 (AKA The Devil’s Highway), which according to a recent study is the most dangerous road in America, was light. But we still didn’t get home until midnight.
But all in all, a most spectacular evening! I highly recommend Blueman Group. We’ve already made plans to bring the girls to the Universal Theme Park and Harry Potter. Stay tuned for that review!
I was challenged by Kirsten over at Once Upon A Spine to do the “7 Day Black and White Photo Challenge”, and I’m always up for a challenge. The rules are simple: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.
So, “Back in the day” which is around 1972 or maybe even earlier (this would be the beginning of FM radio), we had three good rock n’ roll radio stations in Miami. We had WBUS “The Magic Bus” which was very “underground” at the time. Although I remember their van coming to my junior high school (what would be a middle school today) when I was in 8th grade (about 1971 – see I told you I was old). Many years later this station became WWLL “Love 94”, which was one the first “soft rock” stations. Never really cared for Love 94.
We also had WINZ-FM, or as we knew it “Zeta 4”. When this station started I remember being in the yard with my brother. We found a station that was playing music we really liked and there were no commercials! It’s a matter of business that most new stations rarely have a lot of commercial revenue when they start-up. And since WINZ-AM was a well-known and respected station in the area, they could afford to start a new “Album Oriented Radio” (now known as classic rock) station without a lot of revenue.
Doing some spring cleaning this weekend I found this:
I wore a patch like this on many different hats over the years (and yes I almost always have a hat on).
Finally, we had the station that lasted the longest, WSHE “She’s only rock and roll”. This has to be the best radio slogan I’ve ever heard. It plainly states the entire purpose of the station. I don’t know how long SHE lasted, as we moved away in 1982. But I do remember that’s how I heard of the pope being shot.
So, Miami folks, who remembers these stations? Add some more in the comments!
So I have training in Orlando all this week. For the locals, that means I-4 both ways. Prayers and good wishes are accepted.
Today, the first day of spring we had a nasty storm come through. And as usually happens, it hits Orlando before it hits Daytona. So I’m in class and the storm moves through dropping about marble sized hail. But it clears by the time I get out of class. No problems the entire time on I-4.
But as soon as I get off the interstate it starts to rain. But I can deal with rain. I even managed to get home before it started racing hard. Then out of nowhere I hear what sounds like branches falling on the roof. It wasn’t branches, it was good sized hail.
Hard to see through the screen, but I wasn’t going out there!
So our trip to Maggie Valley has come to an end, and it’s time to head home to Daytona Beach. We will miss our time in the mountains and the amazing sights we saw.
Here are a few of the pictures I didn’t post on the other days in no particular order.
Just to prove that I’m not the only terrible photographer in the family, Wifey managed to get this shot of me on Chimney Rock with my face in the shadow of a tree.
Some random waterfall we passed on the road. We just stopped, rolled down the window took a picture and drove off. Because that’s what tourists do!
The tasting menu at Sierra Nevada Brewery.
I’ll bet Louis XVI wished he had a chandelier of Sierra Nevada bottles like this one.
See? I told you Wifey kept taking pictures of my butt.
Wifey waited for over 15 minutes for this guy to get off of Pulpit Rock. She finally gave up and just took the picture anyway. Thanks, random guy!
We, or at least I was, somewhat spoiled by the light traffic we experienced during this vacation. Even on our trips over to Asheville traffic was not bad at all. Of course, it is the off-season for Maggie Valley, but Asheville is a large enough city to have traffic year round. Such was not the case on the trip home. Our basic route was I26 east to I95 south. Sounds simple enough.
In my Army years, we did two tours at Fort Bragg just outside of Fayetteville, NC, for a total of 6 years or so. During this time we made many trips up and down I95, to Miami and back, at all times of the year and over just about every holiday you can think of. We have never had the traffic problems we had on this trip. From the I26/I95 interchange to the Georgia line (about 86 miles) took us over three hours. I have never been so frustrated in traffic in my life. Regular readers of this blog know how much I hate traffic (you can catch my thoughts on the “Elon Musk Are You Listening?” post). The only thing that kept me sane was Wifey® finding the RV Trader website and reading me the various RVs she found. We want to find us an RV in the next two years so we can travel more.
I’d like to give some love to a couple of places we stopped at while were in Maggie Valley and Waynesville.
First, The Buttered Biscuit. We ate breakfast there three times. Nothing spectacular, just good food, served with a smile from very friendly folks. Ask for Oliva if you happen to stop in. Not sure if they’re in Maggie Valley or Waynesville, as they’re at the intersection of US19 and US276. Basically on the border of each town. (And like most restaurants in the valley, they’re closed on Tuesday. The oddest thing to me.)
One of our favorite little shops is Seven Silver Seas. Located right on US19 in Maggie Valley. They have lots of handmade, free trade gift items from around the world at very fair prices. But be warned, it is a very “fragrant” shop. I don’t know if they have incense burning or just a heavy-duty perfume spray, but it gave Wifey® a migraine the first day we stopped in. The second stop was a quick in and out to avoid the fragrance problem.
I have posted reviews on almost every place we stopped, ate or otherwise visited on Trip Advisor, look for “BeachDaze58” for my reviews.
And since this is the end of this series, and I haven’t played a single video yet, I thought this one would be fitting.
Enjoy! And please leave me a comment. Maybe a suggestion of another place to visit.