Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday

to Meeeeee!

Not really, but I told BS that all I wanted for my birthday was to go to a Virginia Tech football game. Didn't care when or which one, as long as I got to go. Didn't even matter if the game wasn't anywhere near my birthday, as long as I got to go.

I WANNA GO!!!!!

Really? Me? I wanted football for my birthday?
*knocks self in head*

Yes. Times change, people change, and my smug & condescending distaste of football turned into an unexpected & fervent fondness for the Hokies once the family kids started going to VT for all their high cost higher learnin'.
And I have partaken of the proverbial crow ever since.

So, anyway, BS got tickets for the NC State game this past weekend. And through extra tickets and schedule changes, one of his good friends and Sista G ended up going with us. Sista G, for all her living in Roanoke (only 45 min away from B'burg) and years of Hokie nieces & nephews, had never been to a football game. Any game. Anywhere.
(and she's even more rabid about football than I am)

Hot dawg! Good times on the way!

But first things first.
I had to go explain to SOMEONE that I couldn't watch the game with him this time
on account of I was gonna be at the game.
Boy, did I get the stink-eye.
The worst of the stink-eye was over by the time I grabbed the camera.


I had to pacify him with the promise of souvenirs.
Lots of them.

So, BS + friend + I left after work on Friday (and I got to doze in the back seat. ahhh, pure pleasure)
to stay the night at Sista G's. We left for the game a little after noon on Saturday.
BS & friend were staying the night in B'burg, so he drove my car & Sista G drove hers.

Now, seeing as how this was the last home game of the season, traffic was going to be a bitch. See?


So BS took us the scenic route to avoid those all those crazy VT drivers (present company excluded ;-).
That's BS & friend ahead in my li'l green car.

It was a really lovely little winding hilly twisty twisty road . . .


. . . and Sista G took great pleasure in careening around the curves
so we could pretend we were on a roller coaster. Pretty close.

video

If you listen closely, you can hear me mumble something about throwing up.

First stop - the bookstore for the promised souvenirs.
Next stop - the looooong walk . . .



. . . to joy & fun & yee-haw!




Including the super secret sniper spies on the roof.



We ate giant smoked turkey legs, yelled a lot, did the wave, stomped, hooted, hollered, shivered,
and generally had a heck of a good time.
Yes, we won. By a lot.
Random shots from the night:

Someone's unfortunate idea of a practical joke


Sista G


BS & friend


BS


Thank you Beloved Son for a terrific birthday.
I had 2 months to look forward to it, which made it all the sweeter!

And,
in the spirit of tomorrow, and since the VT mascot vaguely resembles a turkey,



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some Last Things About The Bahamas . . .


. . . and then it will be over, I promise.
But there are a couple more things that struck me about our resort.

SEAGULLS.

They were everywhere.



On the beach.


video

In the pool (seriously).





Divebombing you if they smelled bread scraps, as one of my companions discovered.





WIND & OVERCAST SKIES

I think I mentioned before that during most of our stay, it was blowing a steady 30 mph with overcast skies, sometimes showers.
These pictures were taken on one of the nicer days.



Did you notice that umbrella with the scarves hanging from it in the last picture?
Some local ladies would take turns at that umbrella and set up their wares to sell to the hotel guests.
I guess they figure they have a captive audience. And they do a pretty good business there.
That picture as taken during a rogue calm moment. Usually, the scarves looked like this:




BEACH VOLLEYBALL

What can I say - the scenery was, uh, terrific ;-)




2 last things:
this sign in a fitting room in a tourist store in downtown Nassau:


Makes me wonder what happened there to necessitate that warning.
Well, let me take that back, because obviously we know what happened.

And it seems some things, no matter what country you are in, never change.


Friday, November 13, 2009

We Interrupt This Program . . .


The "November Nor'easter" of 2009 will be remembered here as having the 4th highest storm surge in the last 100 years. It missed 3rd place by only a few inches.

In the #1 spot is the 1933 hurricane (naming of hurricanes had not yet started) which had tides of 9.8 feet above normal and caused massive damage as the eye of the storm came on land directly overhead here.

#2 honors goes to the "Ash Wednesday Storm", dubbed by the US Weather Bureau as "The Great Atlantic Storm" in March of 1962 wasn't even a hurricane. It was just a plain ol' nor-easter.

#3 bronze medal belongs to Hurricane Isabel when she spanked us in 2003. "The worst of the effects of Isabel occurred in Virginia, especially in the Hampton Roads area."

So, now we have the November Nor'easter, which is really the remnants of Hurricane Ida (click that link to see some awesome pictures from around here, also part 2, part 3, & part 4). She topped out at 7.3 feet. Doesn't sound like much, but those of you in coastal areas KNOW.

Now, for the rest of this, remember to click on any picture to enlarge it.

My backyard backs up to protected wetlands, so I basically have a marsh in my back yard. Or a swamp, really. But among the tall marsh grasses, there is a little creek that goes out to the Elizabeth River. See here:


Here's my back yard during the storm's LOW TIDE:



At the tide's highest, it was lapping against the backs of those peoples' house behind mine.

At my house, each of my neighbors was surrounded by water . . .





. . . and the back half of my shed was under water overnight when the tide was at it's highest
(here it's at low tide),


. . . but my house is on a bit of a rise, so it was fine. The streets, though, not so much.



These next 3 pictures are in sequence. Did he just do this for fun?




Soon I will go back home and start to clean up. I think every pine needle in my pine trees is now in my yard. Limbs & branches. Crap everywhere, but the leaves are pretty, eh?


Now, keep in mind that the flooding in my neighborhood is minor compared to some of the other areas in my corner of the state (especially after looking at the pictures on the links above), and we lost power for over 24 hours. Not so bad, but I have well water. It uses a pump to suck the water out of the well.
The pump is electric. No electricity = no water. Bummer.

So, here's the plan for such things - I have a cistern that I collect rainwater in. Buckets get filled and brought to the bathroom for toilet flushing. Hey, even in a howling storm, one must maintain certain standards.

Anyway, the first night without power, BS has enough juice left in his laptop battery to let us watch some "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" (don't ask). Then his battery needed charging, so he ditched his poor helpless mother in the dark to go to his Granny's house to bask in the glow of electrical bliss. I sat in the living room with whatever reflected glow was in the sky outside and 3 flashlights at my side.

Sat.
Twiddled my thumbs.
Sat some more
Aw, hell. I'm going to sleep. Nuthin else to do.

Next day - got up early (that's what happens when you go to bed at 8:00) and drove through lots of water to get to work. Left early to get home and see if any damage control needed doing while it was still light enough to see. Still no power. Damn.

So I did what any good contestant on "Survivor" would do. I came to my mother's condo on the Chesapeake Bay to take a shower, wash some clothes, and sleep in a warm bed. I'm such a wuss.


The Lynnhaven Fishing Pier succumbed to the forces of nature again (as it did during Isabel), and yes, they will rebuild. Again. (movie reference. anyone?)




Lastly, I would like to say to the hundreds of tireless workers of Dominion Virginia Power who have been working round the clock to restore power to the over 370,000 people left in the dark because of this storm,
"Thank you and God Bless."

In a day or so, the last of my musings about the Bahamas. First, I want to go home.