Archive for September, 2013

Winter is a comin’ in

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Hello dear autumn family.  We’re in Boone North Carolina.  Chuck and I drove (Chuck drove and I changed CDs) for about 9 hours yesterday and got me to St. Elizabeth church on time to meet Mark and Karla for vigil Mass.  Chuck came to the house to play with the dog until we got here.  Dog is a Golden Retriever with long fluffy fur and tufts on her toes. She is so gentle!!!!!  The trees have not yet begun to really turn in the Blue Ridge yet but it is cool with sunny days.  Last night we ate corned beef and cabbage in honor of St Patrick and then today we sat outside for lunch at Bella’s Italian restaurant.  Went to the flea market where I picked up a little bench to paint…   I guess I better get busy with the paints.  Karla teaches the next 5 days so there will be plenty of time to paint during the day.  We are cooking a big pot of soup as if it is winter time. We always fall back into comradery (Karla and I have known each other since her senior year and my first graduate school year at Barry). Loosen us up with a red wine and talk turns to “the old days, Robin Williams, taking care of each other, books we have read, and movies we need to see.”  Believe it or not, Mark has not seen Mrs. Doubtfire so I think that is a necessity. All is well here on the mountain. Be healthy.  God bless you.

To the home of my birth

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

We left Connecticut yesterday after visiting cousins (missed a few… there are many cousins in CT). But we had a great time on mostly sunny days where we boated on Laura and Dennis’ lake and played with the BIG dog…   Then we moved on to a tiny stream and a tiny dog in Eastford to have lunch with Barbara Keish with whom Chuck used to play with Carol when they were little…  Talked of old and new times and then we were off!  Crossed the Tappan Zee bridge on route 84 and turned south through NJ and NY into Pennsylvania.  I remembered crossing that bridge with Chuck’s Mom - it was their chosen method for leaving CT after their summers in Ct and heading to Miami - avoiding I95 and NYC … also to visit Katie… on the motorcycle that bridge is scary.  I looked north as we crossed the bridge and thought of visiting Sleepy Hollow and Katie and John on the motorcycle! Hope you are all healed Katie….  This morning when Chuck said we should stay in Pa for a few days because we really enjoyed it when we took Harley back to the Harley Davidson plant where he was probably made in York and Gettysburg and the little town where we stayed while on the motorcycle when they had a big storm with tornados (the guy at the welcome center sent us there, and we returned to that welcome center yesterday)… … When Chuck said that, I remembered we were all over Michigan and I missed visiting our friends Michele and Terry at a boat Marina in Michigan… I am sure we could have gotten a boat ride or two out of that visit!  Please give us a rain check Michele and let us go out on Big Pine Key “skinny waters”.   It is amazing that this trip has been so long and we have covered so much ground… and now…  I am rushing. My nose is headed south heading towards Mom who is waiting for me!    I was born in Pittsurgh, Pa, and every time we stop in Pennsylvania, I feel like I am home.  The people we run into are nice and hospitable. Wait! Everyone  we have run into has been nice and hospitable - America is like that!  We have had a great trip.  I have managed to go to Mass every Sunday in many strange towns (and Mass is always the same…) and some churches I have repeated like in Hartford near Dennis and Laura’s and this afternoon I head for St Elizabeth’s in Boone where I have worshipped with Karla and Mark.  Tomorrow there is a festival at St Elizabeth’s so we’ll get Chuck onto church grounds at least!!! I have to find some long pants as I have mostly been in capri pants as it has been warm enough although I have worn jeans occasionally. I think it will be cooler in Boone in the Blue Ridge. Then we will emerge and rush to visit the Paparellis where I hope to catch a glimpse of Julia who is with child… and then on to LaGrange to give Mom a big hug!  One week with Karla on the porch first. Love and God bless you! Sue

They way our ancestors lived…

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Life in New England:  Yesterday Dennis drove us up to Old Sturbridge, Mass. Old Sturbridge is a small village: a bunch of donated land and old houses trucked in from around New England and you have an old town as it might have looked right before the Civil War (the 1830s). We went to the sawmill and watched old machines make planks. A water wheel turns wheels and the saw goes up and down …  It was fascinating to see it done without fuel or motors. At Sturbridge they sheer the sheep and then card the wool to make it ready for the spinning wheel. We went to an old house where a lady was cooking… I think the flies freaked us out… but that was the way it used to be with no screens. Dirt, flies and barn smells none of us is used to… Finally… the beautiful trees are changing to reds and oranges. We’re off today for Eastford, Ct to visit another cousin!  We’re going to try to go to Washington DC to visit Rebecca Skipp. and then head south to Boone.  God bless you!

autumn and apple pie

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

I made an apple pie using up all the New Hampshire apples…. YUM.  Dennis made a pumpkin pie.  It was wonderful too. Now we are plump(er). Yesterday we spent the whole day at “The Big E” the Fair!  We dropped the van off at a garage friend of Dennis’s on the way to the Fair in West Springfield, Mass.  Since it is a New England Fair they have buildings that each state in New England has their stuff in.  Oh my gosh the smells of the foods and candies that each state makes made me hungry so…  we went to a lovely restaurant called Storrowton… “Real American Food.”  Chuck and I bought chairs for the porch in the Keys and a giant flag pole for the Keys with an American flag and a Navy flag. I guess the Fair guys could see us coming with our credit cards! There were crafts and lots of “October Fest beers.” (I drank and liked Sam Adams pumpkin ale).  There was a long parade in the afternoon with 2 teams of Clydesdales and tiny ponies. During the parade, the garage guy called and he said he looked the van all over, checked fluids and bands etc and didn’t find anything wrong. The van just didn’t want to accelerate on a hill to pass a car. The van is polite… and she got cranky. This morning the boys will pick up the van and we will go someplace fun. OK. Cousins and Chuck are moving around so I need another cuppa Joe and need to finish getting ready to go out into Connecticut.  God bless you!

Sunshine and colored leaves

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

It doesn’t get much better than the beauty of autumn.  A little bit of rain falls during the night and the lawns are green and trees are green, red, and yellow.  I’m sorry for the people of Boulder Co. who are suffering with the floods as this time of year “autumn’s mist and fruitfulness” is the richest.  We’re off to the fair to celebrate harvest and let us pray for those who don’t “have” and those who are suffering need and pain.  My Mom had an episode of breathlessness and spent a night in the hospital but I understand she is out and about again.  Thank God.  God bless us.

On the lake in Connecticut

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

We arrived at Chuck’s cousin Laura and Dennis’ home in Stafford Springs, CT yesterday (Saturday) afternoon.  It only took about 5 1/2 hours with 2 stops to drive from SW Harbor, Maine to church in downtown Stafford Springs.  The church (St Edward the Confessor) was built by Franciscan fathers in the “early times.”  This town was incorporated in about 1790 which is so amazing to us Floridians who are accustomed to being established after the Great Depression when they drained the swamps in south Florida.  After Mass, we went to a small family restaurant called Basils and then home to play with the giant dog who can “fetch” a tennis ball all night if you wish to throw it…   I like little dogs… but we have seen some giant ones on this trip.  We are now sitting outside looking at the clouds clear off the lake.  There are birds (chickadees and little red birds and other birds flying about… They don’t seem to be too interested in flying south.  The hummingbirds have not left Maine yet so we southerners will not get our birdies until later than we normally do.  Migrations seem to be later as autumns are warmer lately.)   The trees are turning… we have seen full red trees and full yellow trees and some half way turned… It will be fun to sit with a brush and paper to paint the lake.  Tomorrow we are going to a New England Fair called “The Big E” in Springfield, Mass. It is a huge multi state fair… It has buildings for each state and a “better living building” etc. etc.   Have a wonderful Sunday and God bless you!

We talk of Lobster and Sailing

Friday, September 20th, 2013

What is this? The Keys? No! It is Maine and we have had 4 days of sunshine!  Yesterday we packed up some stuff and headed out for a day of sailing on the Virginia J. She is 35 feet long, a lovely blue color, and she sails beautifully. We slathered with sunscreen, but I still got my lips sunburned. When we got home Dave made Scallops wrapped in bacon on the grill, and Moira made us lobster macaroni and cheese. I asked for the lobster mac because it is a new Maine specialty and I had it in Camden Maine.  Talk about mixing 2 favorite food groups.  Yesterday I made an apple pie and it was wonderful. At my friend Linda’s I added Baileys Irish Cream to the recipe and did it again here.  YUM. Later today, I’ll go out with Moira again to the peaceful retreat of the poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and the sculpter Richard Tuttle. Moira is closing up their house for the winter, and I volunteered to help. Just being there where beautiful art has been created is such a blessing. I am painting every day (or I try to set aside time to do that) and I will take paints to paint while the washer and dryer are doing their thing. Fattened up, we will be leaving tomorrow for Connecticut and then south to Boone, North Carolina. God bless you.

SW Harbor and Acadia

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

As we drive from SW Harbor through Seal Harbor to Bar Harbor, it’s like we’re in a giant forest and indeed the Acadia national park was established before WWI by men who wanted to preserve the wilderness on the island that attracted the rich to build huge homes on the water.  If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have anything left; just big houses. Rockefeller and Vanderbilt led the charge and a gentleman named Doer petitioned Congress for years to create the National Park.  Yesterday we took a trolley ride and went up to the top of the forest and down to the rocks that the sea batters. We visited Thunder Hole where the water rushes in and creates a giant air pocket that booms as the water rushes out.  Boom!  On the TV is bad news … The Naval Yard killings and the Boulder floods brought on partly by the fires last year that destroyed all the trees that would have protected the land.  We prepare beautiful dinners while the news tells of the suffering.  I pray that God bless us… Moira and I drove to a place on a protected area and only a few homes back there… Moira calls it the Spirit House because the owners (an artist and a poet) say there are mostly good spirits and only one bad spirit there. Moira maintains the house for the couple, opening and closing the house and providing help with small maintenance tasks.  She loves the couple who come up for a few months in the summer and create their art.  I helped Moira and I felt the creativity in the air of this eccentric “camp” of many small buildings… a living area, an art creation house, a boat house for sleeping. WOW!  The land is on a cove; the sleeping/boat house is on the beach that is really a beach, but at high tide will fill up all the way to the house. Two days of sunshine and we are going to test Maine’s generosity… tomorrow we plan to sail!  God bless you.

Settled in – Re-Maine

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Today we woke up in Camden, Maine which I highly recommend to first time Mainers. Plan to stay in one of the B&Bs near town and eat on Main, Atlantic or Bay Street. All 3 streets face the harbor and the view is delightful with old and new yachts and fishing boats. Water runs into the harbor from a river and you can sit in several restaurants right on the river above the harbor. As we are on our last story on CD, and it is a sleeper… We shopped for books on CDs and found 2 bags full… We visited the public library where we found paperbacks for 50 cents each, a really neat bookstore with a bargain table that yielded about 8 books on CD, and finally visited the Stone (I can’t remember the name of the store… stone something) you go through a door and then you face steep stairs, climb to the 2nd story and meet an eccentric gentleman (whom Chuck said reminded him of Dr. Skipp) who has assembled an amazing collection of books and CDs. I felt like I was in my library at home and fell to reading Yeats and ee cummings poetry. I looked through his extensive collection of books on CD and bought 2, and Chuck bought an old John Wayne film from 1930 that we had never seen… Can’t wait to find a DVD player. (the book seller said it was from his personal collection, but he’d sell it … of course he would. The shop was hardly busy and we were his only customers perhaps for the week (it being Monday perhaps I exaggerate).  We drove at a leisurely pace north on US1, stopped to eat some lobster chowder (Chuck) and clam chowder (me) and shrimp that was amazing (I only had one bite due to my shrimp allergy – I am being careful), we then turned into the group of islands that make up Bar Harbor and SW Harbor. We arrived at Dave and Moira’s lovely home and Chuck and Dave drove off to shop for lobster (excuse me… lobstah) and wine. First, I can’t believe we drank all the wine Chuck brought from Miami and the 2 bottles of Four Daughters we bought in Minnesota and the wine from the winery we visited in Ontario called The Good Earth. Second, we need lobstah to eat with the wine so off with you boys and come back with many bags. I contentedly agreed to stay home and unpacked my suitcase and several of my bags into a drawer and put my night gown and robe on the bed. Put on slippers and baggy sweat pants and tried to settle on the back porch, but the wispy mist of rain sent me indoors.  Now I’m on the soft green sofa in the front room, feet up, I’m settled. They might have to use a screw driver and pliers to pry me out of here, but I know we will have to move on, south, eventually. Time to rest and read while I await the return of the boys from shopping and Moira from work. (Boys came back, Moira returned, dog is being walked, and all is well).  God bless you.

From Aspen to the Atlantic…

Monday, September 16th, 2013

We did not get to the Pacific this trip so I can’t say… “from the Pacific to the Atlantic”, but we did hit the Atlantic yesterday!  We left Sugar Hill, New Hampshire under beautiful clear blue skies… Chuck tore me away from the gardens and the green house, and smelling redolently of basil and thyme (Linda was gracious with her gifts of herbs, apples, corn and a big squash …) we headed east.  There is no graceful way to drive east from New Hampshire to Maine…. It is a bunch of small roads or you drive south to Boston on I93 and then go up on I95. We drove through lovely little towns and suddenly, like a clear bump! Hit the water!  It’s the Atlantic! Maine has a rugged, raggedy coast that we just drove north along and on the familiar old US1 which stretches from the Keys to Maine… We stopped yesterday in Camden, Maine which has a lovely harbor and visited for dinner with cousins who were spending a week here from Hartford.  We realized we had been to Camden on that wonderful motorcycle trip 5 years ago when Kenneth and Barbara celebrated their 50th and we drove up from Miami to celebrate it with them.  At that time, on a whim… “while we’re at it… while we’re here”  we drove up to Maine. Hard to believe that was 5 years ago.  Chuck has been talking to bikers all the way up, and now this morning, while the rain gently falls, he said, “I remember what it was like to ride the bike in the rain” (not pretty, dangerous, not romantic). “Wait a few days and it will clear”, the Mainies say. Folks from Maine (I call them Mainies) have lived independent and tough for a long time. Look at the state on the map. They have fought off the British and the French and Indians… The state pokes up into Canada and it fights constantly the Atlantic which made its coast so craggy.  There, look, the rain stopped. We will walk around Camden and then head north into SW Harbor to stay with “old” friends Dave and Moira who have visited us on Big Pine Key. Tre trip is winding down, but not yet. We still might catch some “leaves” in Boone, NC.  God bless you.

Big Blue Squash?

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Still in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, after Apple Pie making (my first crust and pie making from scratch) and eating yesterday, today Linda picked tomatoes, and Joe and I went to the “upper garden” and picked swiss chard, a giant zucchini, and and a big blue squash and we plan to bake the squash and make fried zucchini like Mom loves, and I guess a salad with lettuce and tomatoes.  That’s a run on sentence… but you have to move quickly as it is wet from the rain yesterday and 50 degrees!  The big squash looks like a giant round watermelon but it IS bluish. Linda says it is a Blue Hubbard winter squash. After 2 rainy days, it’s crisp today in New Hampshire. Our friends just took a walk and I will try to do a big painting after I trim the swiss chard which I learned how to cook from my sister who grows it in pots in Jacksonville. Yum.  God bless you.

Apple Picking

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Today we talked of Robert Frost as we drove over beautiful tree lined country roads to the apple orchards.  We did not pick apples as it was raining and it rained even harder after we bought bags of apples and ran to the cafe for cinnamon-apple pancakes with real maple syrup. Voted the best apple orchard in New Hampshire, the little apple farm offers self-pick apples or buy the bags, and buy jams and jellys and other lovely gifts. We will make a pie later making the crust and filling here at Linda and Joe’s farm “Gate Bella” The Beautiful Gate.  There is a soft rain falling, but later, I will pick swiss chard from the “upper garden” and we’ll have it with meat loaf covered with Linda’s tomatoes and other goodies from the gardens.  Linda grows her own herbs, garlic and onions so we could just stay here and eat out of the garden… which we do except for example… the little trip to the apple orchard. I painted yesterday and I have 3 books stacked up to read. God is good and this is a little slice of Paradise here in New Hampshire.  God bless you!

New Hampshire and auto parts

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I promised my sister I would probably ruminate on auto parts because I remember the days when my father would lean half into the motor of our old Ford (I guess it was a Ford). He would tinker and tinker and come up with a greasy part that he would soak in gasoline to get the grease off and then tinker some more to fix that part, or go buy a new part, and then put it all back together and make the old car run again.  Remember? … We were coming back to the hotel in Saratoga Springs when Chuck said “remind me to check the oil.” That isn’t good news, because he usually checks it every thousand or so miles and it’s fine.  We’ve travelled 6000 miles already in that dear old van and she has 106,000 miles on her “new Michelins.” The oil pressure was dropping to 0 and the check engine light was coming on at that point.  So check the oil and it was fine, but I knew we had a day of “semi mountain” driving to get to Sugar Hill, New Hampshire ahead of us the next day.  So I prayed a lot, and woke up and asked Chuck to take it to a dealer, and he said yes.  So off we went and good thing too, it was drooping to 0 and asking us to check the engine.  So there we were on I87 south, me praying for September 11 victims, and Chuck praying for that oil pressure and we got lost at the correct exit (you usually can see those big car lots from the expressway) (wrong).  So we called them twice (Chuck sweating that light…) and finally pulled in and Chuck pulled right into the repair bay. Let them drive it out of there. He got a really nice service writer who showed us the Mall across the street and said she would call us about 3pm. So that means lunch and a movie which we never do on an afternoon….  Lunch at Olive Garden and a wild car racing movie called Getaway (if you like car chases with the Shelby race car - go see it!) It was a good, “wait for the car dealer to call” movie… and the phone rang. It’s fixed and not for an arm and a leg either.  It was a “sender”… Chuck had said it might be the oil pump, but apparently technology depends on computers and that is the end of guys like my dad cleaning up greasy parts and “fixing” the cars themselves.  I am possibly the last of the old fashioned people as I turn my cell phone off when I’m busy and I don’t text.  I do use a computer though…   Well, we are on a beautiful farm on the top of a hill in Sugar Hill New Hampshire. Home of Linda and Joe McCarthy (they are of Irish and Italian descent!).  Chuck is cleaning out the van… the laundry and bills and check book await and I guess I better get to “work” so I can get outside and paint.  God bless you.

Back in the USA and heading East!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

It was bittersweet to bid the mighty and powerful Niagara Falls goodbye as I don’t think we’ll return because we still have so much to see and I still want to retun to Ireland and the Holy Land…  busy busy - so many places to go.  It was a little disconcerting going through the border (it really always is) No “Welcome Home!!!”  But questions: “Where do you live? What country were you born? Where have you visited? Why did you go there?”  Then he told us to take off sunglasses and asked if he could look in the van…. “Sure” There’s nothing there but bags of dirty laundry, a half eaten loaf of bread, couple bags of crackers, plastic glasses strewn about, a cooler full of cheese, mustard, mayo, hard boiled eggs, meat from last night’s dinner to be made into sandwiches… etc and just stuff travelers carry in a cooler, and a cooler of what remains of the wine Chuck packed 6 weeks ago, and bags and bags of “Stuff going through to Miami” and bags of books we have purchased at book stores with 70% off sales… did I mention the dirty laundry?  And miscellaneous jackets and the rain gear we wore on the Maid of the Mist.  The van is pretty much a junk bin at this point.  “What’s in the cooler?”  Gulp… Wine we brought with us and 2 bottles we bought in Niagara on the Lake (and a pair of shorts, and some tonic water…) He looked through that and looked around at the piles of bags of stuff. I guess we don’t fit the profile. Then he came back around and said to Chuck “What state do you live in?” By this time I’ve forgotten my name… “OK, go ahead” he said.  I can’t blame the US for worrying about people coming in, it is the day before Sept 11 and that is one reason I said, “Let’s go home…”   Then with the dismissal we headed into Buffalo which isn’t the best place to go. Got out on I 90 and headed east towards friends’ farm in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.  I picked Saratoga Springs to stop for the night because it is the Alma Mater of Julia Paparelli.  How charming the town is! They have painted ballet slippers and painted horses in the streets as an art exhibit. And the campus is beautiful.  While walking around campus, I picked up some leaves that have already turned color… and I noticed the fire hydrants with the flags on top so firefighters can find them in the snow.  I felt like we were parents looking for school possibilities for our child. We took photos (of course we took photos). And we send our love and prayers to kids who are starting school.  God bless you.

Back to the USA

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Tuesday morning. The Falls are still falling….  Huge and amazing as always. Thank God!  We slept well after dinner at the Secret garden and watching a little NFL.  I was asleep by 2nd quarter…I have window open and I’ll bet it’s no lower than 65 degrees.  Crossing the border here in Niagara by 8-8:30 am today (Tuesday)….. Going “home”  Will cross over northern New York headed for New Hampshire.  God bless you.

Niagara: did I say amazing?

Monday, September 9th, 2013

We are astounded at Niagara Falls.  This morning we took the Maid of the Mist ride into the clutches of the Horseshoe falls… and we snapped a million pictures! Some photos I am sure we won’t see a thing but fog as these falls make their own rain.  After that ride we headed up the Niagara river to take photos at the rapids and then the Royal Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory where a butterfly settled on Chuck’s finger as he was taking a photo and sat there for about 15 minutes.  We viewed lots of flowers and roses and then picnicked in the gardens (sandwiches made from last night’s lamb dinner up in the Skylon)… Then Chuck dropped me at the Falls while he took the van back to the hotel.  I just stood in one place and gazed (and took more photos).  What a memory we have.  We then walked the entire mile or so towards our hotel stopping for a “domestic beer” Molsen Canadian beer and then to the Secret Garden for dinner.  It was a really beautiful garden with a restaurant in the middle. Sat outside and just absorbed. Time to watch NFL TV with RGIII back in the saddle playing Michael Vick. and then… tomorrow morning (Tuesday) heading back into the USA! God bless you.

Niagara Falls - a wonder of the world

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

I just wrote to my sister Donna that I haven’t spent any time on this trip working on the book idea which involves studying and writing about the Psalms…   I spend my quiet time studying roads, things to see, landmarks and how to get places, and as you can see from the blog… we have seen a lot!  Even with all the studying of materials… I have had a near miss or two… For example, near St Catherine I thought we would be just traveling through and get there late so I had Chuck pull into a Super 8 that AAA said was 2 stars… I thought “save a few bucks; it’s only to sleep in”… I had misgivings almost immediately, the lobby piled on more misgivings, and I asked the girl at the counter if I could see the room… it was such a definite no!!!  she had already run Chuck’s credit card so I got a refund and we went out of there.  We got a Comfort Inn in St Catherines and that is where I went to Mass this morning.  I just couldn’t even think of sleeping at that Super 8.  So like today I picked about 6 wineries and only one was brilliant… the first one. How do you top the best if you get it first?  When Tammy was competing in the Olympics this was the problem if the best team went first… the coaches would give them a low score because there were 7 teams to go… well today the first vineyard, called “The Good Earth,” was beautiful, had good tasting wine at a affordable price, had a great chef-cooked lunch, in the garden with the owner a wonderful creative lady.  Can’t top it.  We went across the top of the wine region. If you look at your map it is across the bottom of Lake Ontario to Niagara on the Lake and then you come south on the Niagara River to Niagara Falls.  Our hotel might not be the greatest (like the big high rise Embassy Suites overlooking Horse shoe Falls), but I do have a balcony room with a King sized bed on the river.  You can’t see the river because the Niagara river is in the bottom of a giant crevasse (where the puma reside)… but it’s nice.  We walked to the Falls which are like a wonder of the world.  Took a million pictures, got into the mist which is like rain as you walk on the street. It’s about 65 degrees so it was not a welcome mist!  Then Chuck said, “let’s take the incline,” so up we went.  We went up on the Skylon Tower and had dinner in the revolving restaurant (our second bottle of wine in the day)… absolutely amazing.  And who is going to look at all these pictures I took as we revolved over the Falls?  I guess I started this with… I make decisions to do stuff and who knows how it will turn out.  I smelled a lot of lovely roses today and sipped some good wine and saw the wonders of the world (and took their picture).  Thank God. I cannot believe it was just this morning that I was lost looking for that little Catholic church for Sunday Mass.  Amazing and wonderful.  Now I’m looking out at Bridal Veil Falls which the USA colors red white and blue at night.  When you get above them, like in the Skylon Tower, they fall from a normal looking river down a cliff about 170 feet (I googled that - it seems like a lot more!!!) Engineers have stopped the erosion a great deal.    Amazing - Thank you God. God bless you!

Keeping close to the water…

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

We left Tobermory this morning and headed south intending to stop someplace but continued on to St Catherine on Lake Ontario and ate dinner at a port called Port Dalhousie. I have marked off 4 wineries to visit before going on to Niagara Falls tomorrow, and if it isn’t raining tomorrow (today was chilly and damp…) we’ll visit and picnic at the wineries and head to Michael’s Inn on River Road Niagara Falls.   Plan to stay 3 nights. Hope for a little change to warmth in the weather.  Peace on earth.  God bless you!

Tobermory (where?)

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Hi my dear blog friends… Yesterday we drove to Sault Ste Marie from Mackinaw City and took the “Soo locks tour.” When explorers decided it would be a good thing to get boats into Lake Superior from Lake Huron… they couldn’t get boats through the rapids between the 2 rivers; Superior is 21 feet higher than Huron… so they built locks.  Been there done that.  Then we crossed the border into Canada, ate lunch in a park looking back on the Soo locks boat terminal and then went to the “I” (the information center.)  The really nice lady at the “I” suggested that rather than going to Sudbury and turning south, we turn south sooner and go through an island to the ferry and over to Tobermory.  She must have recognized our love for harbors and anything to do with water… so off we went.  The ferry was scheduled to go at 8:15 and the GPS was saying 7:15 eta.  The ”I” had said we would be there by 5:30.  Well as it turns out, our GPS must not recognize that the mileage # is in kilometers which is about 50% less than miles.  So I sweated missing the ferry a little… and we arrived at 5:30.  We can use the GPS for directions only.  The ferry was huge and we arrived on time at 8:30pm in Tobermory.  Checked into the Princess a little hotel overlooking the harbor and awoke to a drizzly cool day… Will walk through the harbor, look into art galleries etc and then meander towards Saint Catherine north of Niagara Falls.  All is well but, like Dorothy…   ”There’s no place like home…”  Love and God bless our friends at Saint Peters church on Big Pine Key who are sick.  Pray my dears for an end of suffering and war.  Today Pope Francis has asked us to pray.  Love Sue

Whitefish and Trout

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Fish is the name of the game here on Lake Huron.  We’re moving through so much country that I have trouble remembering what state we’re in and what Lake we’re on…  Today is the shore of Lake Huron in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Last night we tried to go on a sunset cruise on the Ugly Anne, but the waves were too high under the bridge so we’re going to try again tonight. The weather is amazing. Sunny and warm, but need a light jacket.   Lots of sea birds (mostly sea gulls and geese). We stopped in at the American Legion last night before going to the Irish pub… and today stopped in again at the Legion to see if the same guys were there… different guys and they suggested we should go over the top through Sault St Marie (”the Soo”) because the border crossing is so much easier and the ride south past the Georgian Bay is so much prettier than going on I75 through the peninsula.  It is the same I75 we drive in Florida!  So….. tomorrow morning we will go north back over that 5 mile suspension bridge (yikes… my edgeophobia will be in full gear) to turn south at the “Soo” and then come south along the Canadian Lake (Georgian Lake) and cross into Niagara Falls from the north.  Eating our way in fish through Michigan… burp. God bless you!

Art and submarines in Manitowoc

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Sitting on the western shore of Lake Michigan, on a bench dedicated to a lady who passed away a year ago (born in my year, 1947), with artist paint on my fingers, I take up the computer as pen to try to project this amazing beauty that Miami and Key West mimic, and sometimes best. The besting part is that one can sit by southern waters 365/24/7 and never need more than a light coat.  Several Wisconsinites have stopped by my bench to comment on my painting and to say, “That light coat you’re wearing… multiply it by 3 for our winters!” With a gesture towards the harbor, they finish with, “This will be ice.” The thought of ice from my cozy bench all the way to the 2 light houses makes me shiver in anticipation.  It will be cold tomorrow I think as we search for a place to sit outside in St. Ignace at the top of the Michigan peninsula where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron.  As a self taught artist, I look at my painting of the lighthouse and think “the perspective is wrong… it’s really not that color… etc” but what counts is trying to receive the beauty and save it.  Everywhere we go (museums, stores, restaurants) we try to support local work.  Like today supporting the Ice Cream Parlor that has been active since the early 1900s as a family business and the Maritime Museum where we visited the submarine Cobia who sank 13 Japanese ships worth about 20,000 tons of enemy shipping. She was restored for the waterfront here.  She is faithfully restored and beautiful and we thank the people of Manitowoc who love her.  When the Cobia stories are told, included is a story about a sailor named Ralph Clark Huston who was killed on the Cobia by Japanese gunfire in a “running gun battle” and buried at sea.  The Cobia was driven into the mud by depth charges by the Japanese ship that sank the USS Losarto, but the Cobia survived. Also celebrated in Manitowoc is the USS Losarto who was built in Manitowoc and sunk by a Japanese ship in 1945. There is a day of remembrance here in Manitowoc, and the USSVI (the convention we just attended) was formed by WWII vets to “remember.”  As congressmen men and women debate marching into Syria with our bombs, I wish we would “remember” and stop going to war. … In our tolling of the boats ceremony, we celebrate the lost submariners and say they are “On eternal patrol.”  Well the young man supposedly stayed with the Cobia for lost things are returned, and other mysterious events occur… Let us say thank you young soldiers and sailors. I’m looking up at 2 lighthouses… this is the western end of Lake Michigan and I guess she blows here sometimes to need 2 lighthouses! I tried to paint them… (This was written at sunset on Tuesday evening) … I also watched sunrise and we’re packing to head north around the peninsula on Wednesday morning!  God bless you.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi bye…

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Today (Labor Day, Monday) we say goodbye to the Mississippi and seriously head east to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  Actually yesterday when we arrived from Rochester into Winona, we took the bridge next to our hotel into Wisconsin for lunch.  We are in a small motel called AmericInn (I feel a little funny about them not spelling out America).  We have a tiny balcony that holds 2 chairs overlooking the Mississippi river.  We sat out there and talked to the many motorcyclists parking below and touring the roads… You can drive a long way up and down the Mississippi on small roads which is nice.  Today we head east to a town on another body of water… Lake Michigan. We met two ladies from the Maritime Museum there who offered to show us their submarine the USS Cobia. Looking back… yesterday we visited the Minnesota Marine Art Museum here in Winona. A small museum with a brilliant exibition that is here from August 6 to October 20 of this year. Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Gospel. The Benedictine Monks at the St John’s University in Minnesota decided to produce an illustrated Bible and chose a brilliant calligrapher and artist out of Wales (Donald Jackson.) If you get the chance… look on the web and even purchase parts of the Bible (it is reproduced in smaller forms than its original and you can purchase for example, Gospels and Acts, Letters, Revelation, ect.) The original is 3 feet by 2 feet when open and it is amazing colors enhanced by much Gold. Images of God and angels are gold… UknowWho is in darkest ebony and purple colors…   Ended the day with a stroll along the Mississippi and will begin today with a short jaunt along the banks of the river before crossing her for the last time this trip headed east.  Love to you and God bless you.

Saying “shipping out” and “gaoooga gaoooga”

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Saturday August 31, was an amazing day. The best! I thought I would stay in the room and “clean up” as the room and every crevice is full of “stuff”.  We have collected Navy memories and information paperwork on the next 3 conventions (SFO, Pittsburgh, Reno)… For now, let’s talk about yesterday… We heard music in our room (we overlook Peace Plaza) and Chuck looked out and said, “they’re putting up tents” I looked out and said, “there’s a Jamison tent.” Suddenly we realized there are leprechauns and fairies down there, and a band on the stage. Grab a cuppa coffee and out we go. We started listening to music and Chuck said “you need a tee shirt” and it was down hill from there. We listened to a wonderful band, a trio, a couple (all very Irish and with amazing beautiful voices). I had committed to go with several ladies on a trolly that was running especially for us to the Convent at Assissi on the heights.  The founding sister is the one who told Dr. Mayo if he staffed it she would build a hospital in Rochester. He did and she did. St Mary’s is the first of many Mayo buildings. The sisters are committed to working for Peace. I came back and went into a quiet room to watch a DVD on County Cork and ended up buying the DVD.  It is wonderful (did I say wonderful already?). Then I went to Mass for the last time and said goodbye to the big angel in the garden, and back to dress for the banquet.  Rear Admiral Mark Kenny (submarine commander and now in Naval support of counterterrorism and special ops) was our speaker. He gave a few statistics that I still haven’t got completely right… After Pearl Harbor the submarine force represented under 2% of the entire Navy. We headed out into the Pacific and destroyed about 60% of Japanese shipping at great loss; submarine deaths represented 20% of Naval deaths.  We celebrated the WWII veterans and then moved forward through cold war and into the nuclear age… I thought, “these guys here are pioneers and we are still out there…”  Several quotes from the dinner:  “Fortune favors the bold”  Submarines are “lurking where there is trouble… prowling the deep… pride runs deep… operating in denied areas… alone and unafraid.”  He said, don’t listen to the stuff coming out of Washington… “don’t lose hope.”  To close… in May a Submarine memorial will be dedicated in Washington DC, so don’t be surprised if we disappear North to celebrate that.   In a moment we’ll say goodbye to this convention and Rochester and head east to Winona and the Maritime museum there.  Mississippi River, here we come!  Heading East… God bless you.