Sunday, September 24, 2006



I realize I said I was going to put my favorite places on a different site - but it is not working out... the blog prep page does not let me see my pictures - just gives me a bunch of computer jumble so I have to keep going to preview and on and on. So......... until I get a better site for that stuff or figure out how to change things, I will continue on here. I seem to be having the same problem on this site - so I guess that will limit my blog drastically. I am too visual to do it this way! I cannot move or rearrange the computer jumble around like i could the pictures. I will put on what I can manage - maybe more later... Inshallah!

As part of my Favorite Places series I think I will head over to my favorite country, Turkey. I lived in Turkey as a teenager, was graduated from high school in Ankara (’62) and was able to go back “home” for the summer after I came back state-side to go to college.

I went to Turkey to live with my father when it became apparent my step-father was not going to allow me to finish high school after he lost his job in Maine and moved back to NY State. We were living in the boondocks outside Elmira and, so he said, had to pay to ride the school bus into town to attend school. He decided I should stay home instead and take care of his children and get a job at night in the local mom and pop grocery store a mile away. I wrote to my father for bus fare to take me back to Portland, I would live at the YWCA, get my part time jobs back, graduate with my class, and probably join the air force to get a college education. I had it all figured out. Instead, dad sent me a passport, visa, and a one way plane ticket to Istanbul. That was just a few miles away from Portland, Maine, right?!?

Being a teenager, I was not scared of anything, not even of getting on a big old jet (Pan Am) and roaring off into the night skies. I watched the sunrise over Shannon, Ireland. We landed first in London, flew over the Alps, then a few minutes later it seemed we were in Rome. Then it seemed to take days to get to Istanbul.

Immediately, I was fascinated with the architecture, the people, the language, the differences in everything, it seemed. Our driver drove using his horn and his voice screaming out the window of our station wagon at everyone else on the road. They didn’t prepare us for that in Driver’s Ed back in Portland! By the time I got from the airport to the hotel, I was able to swear rather fluently in Turkish! I knew how to say, “Left! Right! Straight ahead! You son of a jackass! (And my favorite) – If you are in such a big hurry, how is it you stayed in your mother’s womb for 9 months?!?” such a picturesque language! I was in love!

We stayed in Istanbul for about a week. I had not lived with my father since I was a baby ( he had spent his life in the Foreign Service traveling around the world, and my mother divorced him when he was in the Philippines and I was less than 2 years old.) Dad had already been in Turkey (which actually means turquoise, by the way) for about 10 years, so he knew his way around. Istanbul was one of his favorite places, too.
If you remember from a previous post, I said I hate cities. Well, Istanbul is the exception, but then, I do not see Istanbul as a city – I see Istanbul as a history book come alive, an art book of unbelievable treasures, a study of cultures, architecture, religion, an enormous museum of many cultures and people that can be found no where else on earth. I swear, a week in Istanbul is worth a year at University. I would love to have a year to spend there slowly savoring every minute, every inch of the city, getting to know its people as best as I could, letting my eyes make love to every building and artifact from the magnificent to the humble, filling my ears with the music that still haunts my dreams and the language that I have all but forgotten. Can you hear that big sigh at the end of that sentence?

Most of our personal pictures are at the house in the mountains or at my father’s in Florida. In those days, we took mostly slides anyway, and I have no way to convert them into digital images this computer can use. I have only my postcard collection and a few shots I found in an old album. But the postcards show some of the unbelievable magnificence, especially inside the mosques – which words simply cannot describe. The awesomeness of it all!!!!! Here are a few of my favorites. I will start with the Blue Mosque... probably my favorite -

Now to St Sophia -

This is St Sophia's - once a church, then a mosque, now a museum - always awesome! Its like going into a world of gold!

The Covered Bazaar - the world's first mall. If I remember right - I think there are about 4,000 shops in the Grand Bazaar, streets and streets of them, some of them tiny - no bigger than my living room - all of them PACKED with stuff. So amazing!!!!!!

Somehow I have lost part of the text and several of the pictures - so I quit. I have run out of time and patience. Maybe more later..................

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Spook in the redbud staring in the filthy window with his starved kitty look.

Sorry the shot is so bad but the windows have not been washed since Ernesto blew thru and covered everything with dirt and leaf pieces. I would not include this shot - but supposedly the big branches are going to be cut off today. Whatever will Spook do then?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006



There is something about mornings in September that makes them somehow special but I really don’t know what it is. Maybe it is that promise of a cooler day, that hint of things to come, the difference in the air. There is an occasional crispness that says October is not far away. There is the smell of harvest. Often there is also the smell of leaves beginning to decay – not leaves that were ready to fall, no, these are leaves ripped from their trees in all their greenness in the winds of a September hurricane. Or tropical storm.

Often there is the sound of chain saws buzzing clearing up the storm damage from the usual September Tropical mess.

The yellow buses roll by, their precious cargo yelling and laughing thru open windows, followed by the blue buses blasting loud Mexican music on their way to the fields.

The geese start to fly over, their noisy honking sometimes drowning out conversations. Usually these are the Canada geese moving around from pond to pond to marsh teaching the young ones how to fly in formation. Canada geese are noisier than Snows… or maybe it just seems that way. Maybe it is because there is a wider range of tones, I don’t know. Maybe it is the combination of juvenile voices with the older deeper ones. Whatever – I can tell without looking up if the geese are Canadas or Snows.
The morning bird songs that tell us spring is here have been replaced with crows cawing and the occasional chirping at the bird feeder. Jays still screech every once in a while, but the territorial proclamations have been stilled as nesting ended some time ago. Even fledging is over and the babies are getting their stronger feathers and preparing to travel south with their parents.

Mornings come later, I sleep in longer, happy to have a window open and not the artificially cold air of the air conditioner blowing thru the house.

There are hints of color in the leaves though the color is so muted here compared, say, to the joyous brilliance of the Poconos where leaves start to change in late August.

Long sleeved shirts are worn for comfort and not necessarily to keep the mosquitoes from having a snack. There is a chill in the air early in the morning. And spider webs! Have you noticed how many spider webs there seem to be this year? I walk thru the yard with a stick in front of me to knock the webs down before they get on my face and in my hair. Sorry, Grandmother Spider!

The tomato harvest is less. Pumpkins are not ready but soon, soon. Dogwoods are putting out their pretty berries. The zinnias have taken over the squash garden. The Rose of Sharon is magnificent this year even covered in morning dew and spider webs.

The first camellia of the season blooms. I have to stick my nose in it and breathe in its spicy fragrance. Soon there will be entire bushes of them all over the yard.

The fall azaleas are gearing up - never quite as spectacular as in the spring but a welcome touch of color nevertheless. I planted a beautyberry (Callicarpa americana, family Verbenaceae) bush next to an azalea and hoped the colors would work. I think they did.

I see a flash of bright red-orange up in the tree. The morning sunlight just lit up a trumpet vine blossom I didn’t have the heart to cut down.

Soon the silence of the day will be shattered by the noise of more farm equipment and more chain saws. One of the saws will be in my front yard taking the redbud back a few feet from the house and back from the driveway and street. Who would have believed it was a twig less than a foot tall 16 years ago?

Soon the yard will be busy with the screech of the blue jay as he comes looking for peanuts, the little noises of the cardinal family and chickadees as they get their morning snack. Soon the blue tailed skink will be crawling out on a concrete block to sun himself, saving up warmth for the coolness to come. Soon the phone will start ringing and the demands of the day will shatter the morningness that I treasure more than any other time of day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

ERNESTO - Part 4

ERNESTO - Part 4

This picture is one of the scariest - this is the overpass, about a mile and a half from here - that is Route 13 going over it. See the new dirt? That is where Ernesto washed away the sides of the overpass on Friday. Yesterday they dumped this new dirt - today they were dumping dirt over the other side. I hope they do more than just dump dirt over the side! Damn!

Picture taken from in the parking lot at F&G automotive this morning (Sunday). See the traffic barrels?


ERNESTO - Part 3

This is a very crooked shot of Cokesbury, taken out the car window, backwards (I was heading east) and obviously I could not see what I was doing. So, with that in mind, I am glad the church is even here! Some years ago, the church fathers put a new tin roof on as the old wooden shingle roof started to deteriorate.

The tin roof from the other side of the church is in the grave yard on this side of the church - on the cemetary.


These shots are all from my street, going on down the street toward Rte 13, covering less than a mile. This is not all the damage, just what I was able to get at the moment I drove by. I might include a bit more from my yard - we will see how time goes, this morning. The upload time has been real slow lately.

Gingko tree down at Ned's. Beautiful tree! I will miss it in October when it turned the most beautiful yellow!

Tree on power line at Marguerite Small's.

The big tree on the corner across from the church is gone. They had most of it cleaned up by the time I got out of my yard.

Used to be Miss Sadie's house - down near the turn to F&M bank. 3 huge trees down. See the 2 trees in the back yard? Sorry the shot isn't any better, but I was driving and shooting! A drive by shooting?!?!?!?!? Notice the "high tide" mark in the yard... or debris from where the water covered the road at one point.

Same house, front, or I should say, side yard.

Newly exposed tree roots in my side yard. This is the mulberry tree's roots where the water washed away all the earth around the roots. I spent Saturday carrying dirt and pebbles and weeds over to dump on the roots to fill it back in. One hole was al,ost 2 feet deep!

And my front side walk is under there - somewhere.........

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ERNESTO - from Possum Lane

The morning after...

Ernesto tore thru here yesterday. I don't ever remember that much rain at one time. The wind in general was not as bad as in some of the hurricanes we have gone thru - but the gusts were scary! If I can get the van out today, I will take pictures of some of the other places in town - maybe even over in Onancock where Cokesbury lost half its roof.

These shots were taken after the worst of the rain had receeded enough for me to go outside and actually be able to walk or wade around the yard. AT one point the yard was completely under water. Even tho you can see grass - the water is at least 2 inches deep if you try to walk "on the grass."

At one point the road was completely covered. The vehicles down the road are removing a huge fir tree from the power lines (Small's.)

The big tree branch by the van is from the gum tree out front. I pulled it off the van - so far I have not found any damage to the van. Today, the chain saw! It is too heavy for me to move - I tried!