Forget The Cold and Snow, Let’s Go Sand Sculpting!

I know many of you are currently digging out from the results of a major snowstorm. So, instead of shivering and blowing your noses, why not go to beach hopping! And here’s a great place to start.

Each year, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire hosts a sand sculpting championship that attracts master sand artists from all the world. Over 300 tons of special sand is trucked to the beach for the event. Each contestant is given ten tons of sand and just twenty-one hours to complete their masterpieces. Denene and I were on hand to witness this spectacular display of talent.

Forrest Gump by Merideth Corson took the fourth place honors.

Michele Lepire’s Tropical Paradise placed third in the overall contest, but took home the most prize money, winning both the People’s Choice award and the Sculptor’s Choice award.

Salvador Dali Lama by Fred Mallet won the fifth place honors.

Steve Topazio of Rhode Island created this angry sun blowing down a sand castle.

Tim Russert remembered in sand.

Morning Bath by Carl Jara took the second place spot.

The winner of the 2008 Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting contest was titled Japanese Garden by Karen Fralich of Ontario, Canada.

Karen adds a few finishing touches to her masterpiece.

Denene and I truly understand what it’s like to look outside and see nothing but snowy whiteness, while sitting inside with no electricity, no water, and even worse, no internet. Here are some photos that explain why we decided to return to California to live, where, by the way, it’s currently 60 degrees. However, it is raining and has been for several days, off and on, and the skies have been a lovely shade of Seattle-gray for a couple of weeks now.

Anyway, here are photos from a few of our old neighborhoods, starting with our house in North Carolina.

2010-12-26_12-57-22_4681

Next up is a shot of the salt marsh at Plum Island, Ma., near our weekend place where we enjoyed kayaking in the Merrimack River.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our Seattle home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our Boston neighborhood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally, a brisk winter day in our California neck(s) of the woods…

1

51

lighthouse

 

 

Read more
Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?

Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?

Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?

Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

I wonder if you’re lonesome tonight

You know someone said that the worlds a stage

And each must play a part.

Now the stage is bare and I’m standing there

With emptiness all around

And if you wont come back to me

Then make them bring the curtain down.

Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?

Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

*Are You Lonesome Tonight lyrics ~ Elvis Presley


 

Read more
Flowers Not in the Attic

20151201_074239

Our backyard is home to quite a few birds—ringneck doves, mourning doves, finches, jays, numerous hummingbirds, a mocking bird, robins, a covey of quail (14 of them to be exact), a murder of crows, and sometimes turkeys and ducks.

We feed the smaller of the winged critters and as a result we reap the benefit of bird-watching without having to leave the property. But with so many of our feathered friends frolicking around comes danger…a feral cat of gargantuan size. Therefore I spend some time watching for the beast and subsequently chasing it away when it slinks into the yard.

When I’m not available Investigator G. Nome goes on high alert to handle the cat patrol for me, and he’s able to go places where my size simply will not allow. Anyway, I tagged along with him yesterday while he made his rounds. This is what I saw as we walked his beat.

20151204_154244

20151204_151849

20151204_151922

20151204_152053

20151204_152306

20151204_153914

20151204_152504

20151204_152434

20151204_151940

20151204_154046

20151204_152321

20151204_152422

20151204_152954

20151204_152350

20151204_153317

20151204_152359

20151204_152024

20151204_153240

20151204_153129

And, after a long, grueling day of patrol while contemplating life’s worries, struggles, violence, and hatred, sometimes you’ve just got to take time to…well, you know.

20151204_154402

Because tomorrow’s another day that’s worth facing. Besides, how would the birds survive without us to care for them? So on we go…

20151204_153808

 

Read more
I See Monkeys, Peacocks, and Bears…But No Snow!

20140605_145354

Stop monkeying around and have a look at a side of California most tourists never experience. After all, this brief trek sure beats the heck out of the snow and cold some of you are experiencing this weekend. Yes, it’s sunny and in the mid 70’s at our house today.

So park the snowblowers, swap your winter boots for a pair of flip-flops, and follow me. I think you’ll enjoy the sights.

20140601_160752

The narrowest point of the Carquinez Straight

20140601_154252

20140605_145428

20140526_162847

20140526_160542

20140526_160239

20141225_132611

13

20140605_145410

20140526_153230

20150728_142654

20140511_214355

The Oak Ridge Boys performing in Santa Rosa.

20140526_153146

Yes, those are very large windmills, and there are hundreds.

20140605_145715

20140601_154434

To the well-intentioned writer. When the scene calls for a shirtless man, well, it’s spelled bare, not bear. Big difference. Here’s why.

20140605_145501

9

20140605_145830

Dozens upon dozens of peacocks live in a neighborhood not far from ours. Ride through and you’ll see the brightly-colored birds perched on rooftops, car hoods, in driveways, front porches, etc. They’re everywhere.

20140412_150424

10

20150802_181000

Finally…

20140526_162819

The end.

 

Read more