Friday, December 9, 2011

Poor attendance; great help!

We didn't have a whole lot of help with our tree this year! I feel like it's been years since we had "all the kids" in to decorate, even though I know we had 3 of the 4 last year.

Liz and James acquitted themselves well (tho' they at first overlooked an entire box of nonbreakable ornaments, and our favorite jellyfish one -- but I can't complain, as all I have to do now is de-decorate it on New Year's).

James also tried valiantly to get the topper to stay in place. Vic finally had to bend over several branches to accommodate it. It's a new one, and we love it. As Alexandra said (she got the pics by phone, participating at a distance), "It looks like a Dr. Seuss topper!"


I have a boot on my right foot. It's heavy, ugly, and uncomfortable. I have to wear it for six weeks!

My foot had been bothering me for months. I saw my primary care doctor in September to complain about it. He sent me for X-rays, but didn't see anything. It was getting progressively worse, so I returned last week. The PCP did some follow-up and saw that there was probably a stress fracture.

When we were on the Outer Banks in October, every walk I took down to the pier was sloooow because of my foot. When I am at work, walking up and down the stairs 6 to 9 times, and taking my client to the park and back each day, I leave limping. I was off work this week, but just got orders to go back from the ortho guy who prescribed the evil boot. Evil ortho guy.

Last week for Lobsta Land

Lobsta Land closes for the season this Sunday. Vic & I went on Monday. He had his regular: Portuguese haddock. I had the best chicken dish I have ever had in a restaurant. It was a beautifully moist, pepper crusted chicken breast in a gorgeous brandy sauce.

It's so sad each year when Lobsta Land closes. The views there are incredible (see above, on a rainy day). And the food, well, honestly. It's amazing.

Good thing we've already tried the new menu at Lat 43 and fallen in love with the short rib ravioli.

Cell for texting

Victor got me a new cell phone for our anniversary, November 30. (It was #20!) I had asked for this phone specifically. It's rated by Consumer Reports as 'best for texting.' Since I now have a maximum-text plan, it makes a lot of sense! It's also nice-looking and sturdy. I like LG products, and I like a flip-open keyboard.

I feel like the last person on earth who does NOT have a smart or 3G (or 4G) phone. But I have a 3G iPad, that counts, right?


A member of my family (OK, my younger sister, Helen) has co-written a book that was accepted by publishing houses in the UK and US. It was published here this week and is available at B&N ( and at your local bookstore.

It's a wonderful read, full of well-drawn characters and intrigue. I hope to create a bumper sticker that reads, I [heart] THE FELT. Pick up a copy -- it makes a great gift!

Another breakfast

Victor and I, remembering the great French toast that we had in Las Vegas years ago, tried to replicate it recently. This project arose out of having too much vanilla-nut butter left over after Thanksgiving. We weren't thrilled with the Thanksgiving dish the butter was made for. However, the butter itself was really good!

It's a simple vanilla French toast recipe, with cinnamon and nutmeg (2 eggs, whisked till foamy; then 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and a sprinkling of nutmeg, all whisked together). The trick is, you buy an uncut bakery loaf of bread. Use fully half of it to cut 4 thick slices, about 1 1/2" to 2" thick.

Melt 2 tbs butter in a large skillet. Use the 4 slices of bread to soak up ALL the egg mixture. Cook the bread in the skillet, leaving each side undisturbed for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, so that it gets a nice, crisp browning. Note that this makes only two guilty servings.

Serve with maple syrup and vanilla nut butter:
6 tbs unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup pecan pieces
salt & pepper
(Soften the butter just slightly. Toast the pecans. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the butter and combine in small bowl. Fold in the pecans and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate 20-30 minutes before use.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breakfast burritos with andouille

12 oz good quality chorizo (we used andouille)
4 green onions
6 lg eggs
1 tbs olive oil
4 9"-10" flour tortillas
2/3 c grated Mexican 4-cheese blend
1/2 c fresh cilantro
1/2 c tomatillo salsa (jarred)
1 avocado

Remove casings from sausage. Chop green onions and cilantro. Slice avocado.

Saute sausage in large nonstick skillet over medium, 5-6 mins. Add green onion and saute another 30 sec. Transfer to bowl (keep warm).

Wipe out skillet. Whisk eggs in medium bowl and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add oil to skillet and heat it over medium. When oil is hot, add eggs and cook until softly scrambled. Remove from heat (keep warm).

Warm tortillas in second skillet until pliable, 20 secs per side. Divide sausage among tortillas. Top with cheese, eggs, cilantro, salsa, and avocado. Roll tortillas.
(from Bon Appetit, I believe)

Less than 3 weeks?

It doesn't seem quite possible that we've been back from the Outer Banks less than three weeks. What would I believe? Three months. Work is such a slog.

I never got back to folks regarding the recipes that were successful. In addition to the list I provided last month ("Good eats"), Vic and I enjoyed:
Chai pots de creme
Jerk pork
Dijon-basil sauce

Here again is the list I provided previously:
Scrambled eggs with lemon cream & smoked salmon
Breakfast burritos with andouille (recipe called for chorizo)
Clams with andouille
Pesto, olive, and roast-pepper torta
Southwest chipotle corn

Not a small collection, considering we were there only a week. Weirdly, while we were there, we felt like so many recipes flopped!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Up on the roof, so to speak

I opened the front door to scan for the Gloucester paper. It wasn't there. I nearly shut the door, when a movement caught my eye.

Can you see what I saw?

It certainly wasn't ours, not up above your head like that. Ours is a bush dweller.

You can't see me

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hatteras ocean piers

It seems that I was not alone in thinking that the south-facing beaches on Hatteras need a pier:

What to do

I do not like my job. That makes me one of many, I realize.

Yesterday, my client (I have only one) started, with his other therapist, to use the great outdoors as a bathroom. It appears that he may have had diarrhea. Whatever it was, he was not comfortable, and he decided that it was his therapist's fault. Hands covered with excrement, he went into attack mode.

I only just shared with my sister in law that she needs to hold onto her employment, which is pretty awful, at least until the start of 2012, for the sake of her resume. That applies to me as well -- maybe more to me, since I have in the past left a job in December. My hasty departure still causes me resume headaches.

But I really don't want to see my client, ever again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This posting will be number 984 for this blog. Hard to believe that I've had nearly 1,000 things to say! But there's something satisfying about it, too. I've never successfully kept a diary beyond the first week. Now, over fully three years, my output has been fairly consistent.

Hope that those few of you who read this blog will continue to do so. I get weekly reports on numbers of page views, etc., and something about knowing that someone is reading helps keep my voice going.

Welcome in roses

Upon our return, as predicted, the rose bushes out front continued to bloom. The white rose bush is prolific even today, two weeks later.

Sadly, the white roses don't have a strong scent. Annoying, because they were advertised as being quite aromatic. In any case, they're lovely!

The day after

Among my impressions of our fall trip to NC: I'm sad about the absence of the laughing gulls; however, this bird (gull?) popped up from time to time. The weather was great, and the ocean was warm. Beachcombing wasn't as rewarding as expected, but there were no big storms right around the time of our visit. The hurricane debris was heartbreaking. All in all, I'm on the fence about whether a fall trip might replace our traditional spring trip.

On the second day of our journey home, we stopped in NY to visit Shaun and Ilona. They have a new (leased) Mini, a racing one!

In NY and CT, the number of trees downed by the Halloween blizzard (it qualified as a blizzard in Yonkers) was astonishing. Every single road we traveled in Yonkers, without exception, had a tree down, interfering with traffic. It's annoying that Sen. Brown and State Sen. Tarr both whined on the radio about how "unacceptable" the utilities' response was to power outages in MA, when the focus had to be CT and NY, where damage was just astounding.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last morning in Frisco

Over Vic's protests that, without a shirt, he was not photography material, I snapped this pic of him on the porch after an overnight rain. There was lightning, which is wonderful -- we were feeling like we would see no storm action while we were here.

And speaking of storm action...the trip home will be interesting. Words like dangerous are being tossed around, regarding travel over this first-Nor'easter weekend. Even words like blizzard.

Vic doesn't have to work at all on Monday, and I don't have to work until 4pm, so we can take our time.

Rolo's wins

We went back for our last lunch to Capt'n Rolo's (I spelled it completely wrong the last time I mentioned it). Their fish basket was heavenly: essentially fish and chips, it featured the freshest flounder I've ever tasted. It was dusted with a flour-and-salt mixture, other seasonings in there I'm sure, and presented with fries that were crispy and neither too wide nor too stringy.

On the table were three red sauces: ketchup (blecch), seafood cocktail sauce (mmm), and hot sauce. I combined the last two for my fries.

I'm pretty sure that Rolo's is a place that locals frequent. We got "looks" both times we entered. However, the sign above the door conveys that at least some travelers are expected!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kitesurfing in Frisco

When the wind is blowing just so, the kiteboarders flock to the south-facing beaches. I was on my daily stroll and got a few pictures.

We're staying in one of the last houses on the beach before the airport, and we think the house line (houses stop, miles of vegetation/airport begin) is a marker for the surfers. Twice now we've seen their multi-passenger vehicles parked outside. After the boards zoom in, their riders apparently think they have to clamber over fences to get to the cars -- unfamiliar with the dune overpass that would be a lot more direct for them?

Good eats

Though it was hurried, a menu was assembled for this trip. We haven't fallen in love with a lot of the items therein, but a few -- including two breakfasts -- stand out:

Scrambled eggs with lemon cream & smoked salmon
Breakfast burritos with andouille (recipe called for chorizo)
Clams with andouille
Pesto, olive, and roast-pepper torta
Southwest chipotle corn

If you come to stay in Gloucester, be sure to request one of those breakfasts! Recipes for each of these to follow in coming days. We'll modify a couple of recipes to try again, such as Zucchini cakes with smoked trout. Something about them just kinda misfired. And, of course, we still have today's items to sample.

As far as eating out goes, we've been to lunch at
Cafe 12 (yum)
Hatterasman (amazing fries)
Top Dog (always good)
Dijalo (Ocracoke; truly inspired food)
Captain Rollo's (best fish)
and Buxton Munch...
not sure where we're going today, but maybe to repeat Cafe 12. The tortilla-bottomed Flat, with it's 4" edge of fritelle-style cheese and fresh toppings including sushi-grade tuna, is hard to resist!

New kite

Well, not new, but different. Vic says he thinks he has done more kite flying this trip than on any other trip we've taken. He does love to fly his kites!

Frisco at the pier

'North Carolina's Ocean Fishing Piers' states that the Frisco Pier has stood for my lifetime, since 1962. It has not been open since 2008. The book calls it "the only south-facing pier on the Outer Banks," and we can testify to that. I truly enjoyed fishing there the single time (2007) we were able to do so.

The current owner of the pier has said that "considering the economy," he does not see it as "worth it" to repair and reopen the pier. It sits on federally owned property, so temptation to cash in the real estate is not a factor, and its pier house is in good repair. Anyone interested?

Avon at the pier

Action at the pier at Avon was in swing, if not in full swing. This week I picked up a book on the fishing piers of North Carolina. Called 'North Carolina's Ocean Fishing Piers from Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach,' it asserts that early November is the prime fishing time for red drum, a species associated with the Outer Banks. So there's still time for pier action this year.

Its author, Al Baird, says of the 1964 structure: "The Avon Pier now has the distinctive look of an old wooden roller coaster, complete with banked turns." I would agree!

Champion sheller

Vic's skill at finding whole shells exceeds mine. He has found a whole olive (tubular shell, top left), a whole Scotch bonnet (bottom left), and a whole whelk (bottom center).

I did find a very nearly whole Scotch bonnet, but I have yet to come across anything like a whole olive or whelk. I also found a weird, shell-hard egg case (center, top). Still love beachcombing, though.

Cape Point

We went to Cape Point yesterday, and there my legs failed me. When the Point was in sight (it's about 1.5 miles from where you have to park), I had to turn back. My calf muscle had knotted again. I was pretty angry about it! Cape Point is such an unusual spot, where you can practically touch the Gulf Stream and where land suddenly banks right at a quicksand intersection.

I returned to the car, while Vic walked on. Vic snapped the pelican surrounded by seagulls at the Point. (Did I say already: no Laughing Gulls?) I snapped the lone sea bird closer to Cape Hatteras Light.


One of these I might want to try to paint: The one at the port in Ocracoke, with the upright logs.

The other was taken at Buxton, where two British navy men (one unknown) washed ashore in 1942. This tiny cemetery is maintained by the British Commonwealth. Ocracoke also has a British cemetery -- the U-boat campaign resulted in much loss of English life off the NC coast.

A trip north

When we went north a few days ago, we stopped to see whether the sunken boat and untidy boathouse, which we photographed on our spring trip, had survived the storm. The answer was, Yes and No. The boathouse has been severely damaged, but it stands. The sunken boat appears untroubled, perhaps because it was already securely 'anchored' in the water.

Further north, at Oregon Inlet, the same jelly die-off that's happening in Frisco appeared to be occurring. This was one of several dead jellyfish littering the shore.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fishing without us

We seem to *see* a lot of fishing, without participating in it. We did bring poles. We'll see whether I can get Vic interested today. The pier at Avon is open.

Gorgeous Ocracoke

It was pretty windy when we got to Ocracoke. The feel of the island is so unlike that of Hatteras. Hatteras feels hardscrabble, pocked by aggressive incursions of money on the shoreline. Its news is full of controversies and tragedies. However, it's as beautiful as it is unkempt.

Ocracoke feels like the Florida Keys, laid back and indulgent, without concern for achievement or wealth. You get the sense that a fisherman and a Rockefeller could chat over beer, without money ever coming up as a topic or an issue. Pelicans, the seabirds who seem most unperturbable, hang out here. You'd expect to encounter Jimmy Buffett, wasting away.

In October Ocracoke still has pink and purple flowers in bloom, trailing along the roadways and popping up beside the eateries. Vic and I lunched at a place called Dijalo, where the hot crab dib and the tempura-battered (spicy) bluefish were heavenly.

Frisco on the beach

From our strolls back and forth. A large number of horseshoe crabs and jellyfish met their ends this week off Frisco, their remains washing ashore, sometimes in pieces. We have encountered few other creatures; birds, but scant humans.

The pier can be seen way off in the background. I purchased a book on NC piers, their histories and ultimate fates. The Frisco Pier has a questionable future.

Staying here is fantastic. The lulling noise of the ocean nicely complements bathing in the sunshine and the hot tub. Not to be associated with the deaths of water creatures, piers, or even parents.

Wreck ashore?

A friendly female nonresident property owner told me that this washed ashore in the hurricane. It came in with a number of other beams, some with brass attachments, that were carried off by persons unknown. In her opinion, these are part of a shipwreck, probably a Spanish one. This piece is, by her reckoning, part of a rudder or steering mechanism. Sounds promising.