Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Thursday, May 12

This trip has certainly been a huge reality check so far. Sandy has been miserable with back pain. Lisbon is definitely off the list for places to live, although I never wanted to live in a big city anyway. We made a lot more room in our schedule for less sights and more rest.

Today we slept very late and Sandy really wanted pizza for lunch so we had a light lunch in one of the little cafes in the train station. I had a pastry with bacon and cheese. The bacon was more like chopped cubes of ham at home. Perfect for a snack. 

Then we got on the Metro and went to the Gulbeckian Art Museum, a private art collection from a very rich man who came to Portugal and fell in love with it, so donated his vast collection to the country. We took a quick walk through a refreshing garden to get there.

The collection ranged from ancient Egyptian art to 20th century. We were disappointed that the modern art building was closed for renovation, but the museum with the ancient to 18th century art was fascinating. Of course, I took special interest in the textiles. The fine silk tapestry panels were amazing. The second photo is showing part of a glass collection with a window looking out to a courtyard behind it. Below that, self portraits of Rembrandt and Van Dyke.

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I was determined to get to the high spot in Lisbon: the Castilo de Sao Jorge. I called an Uber and actually managed to get it to pick us up! The driver was from Pakistan and we had a great conversation about his move to Lisbon. He dropped us off as close as possible to the pedestrian only street leading to the castle.  Sandy needed to sit so we lucked upon Chapita a Mesa with gorgeous views over Lisbon. It was around 3 pm so it was almost empty.  I drank three glasses of Vinho verde, the young sparkling wine that Portugal is famous for. Sandy had a fresh minty lemonade which I don’t think has been beaten yet for taste, and he drinks lemonade or iced tea everywhere. We had some bread and olives to soak up my wine. I think that this was the first time I relaxed since we left Greensboro.

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There was also a Theater of the Absurd (?) outside the entrance to the restaurant with a lot of young people practicing. One young woman did a beautiful handstand in front of us, but we were not allowed to take photos because they were minors.

The walk up to the Castle wasn’t destined to happen, but I had had enough wine that I wasn’t too concerned about it any more, ha! An Uber took us back to the apartment. We had a nap before going around the corner to Tapas 129 for one of the best meals I had in Portugal so far…a salad with a sesame seed crusted tuna steak and sliced mangos on top. Sandy had barbecued spare ribs, which were very tender and tasty…rivaled NC sweet barbecue sauce. (He hates this photo – I asked him to look up and he was goofing. I love it because the looks happy.) And hallelujah, they had stout!

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One very good thing about Portugal during a pandemic was that most of the time we ate outside and it was pleasant.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Wednesday May 11

Sandy ended up taking the bed and I slept on the sofa bed, which I found more comfortable. With the fan blasting, the heat was not so bad. Everyone in Lisbon was complaining about the heat. The two issues I had was that the curtains were sheer and there was a bright streetlight next to the balcony doors, and the street noise was loud. In Lisbon, the garbage was picked up around 1 a.m., which made sense because of the crowded narrow streets. Our street was tiny but very, very busy.

We went to a pastelaria a few doors down and had ham and cheese omelets, then walked to the nearest museum… Museu Militar de Lisboa. This was an effort to make my miserable husband happier, but it exceeded my expectations. The building itself had seen a lot of its own history by the riverfront, as a arsenal and a palace. The displays ranged from suits of armor and medieval weapons, to the Napoleonic wars, to World War I. There were ridiculously sumptuous displays of gold and statuary. There was a room full of sculpted cartoonish figures from a contemporary artist that depicted dozens of the different kind of military workers, soldiers, and officers throughout time.wp-1652553915930 20220511_11422920220511_12072920220511_12012120220511_115433

It was the sculpture above that captured me. I looked at it a long time and I could have spent more time. It depicted soldiers pulling an artillery cart at Flanders under attack as their commanding officer motioned them forward. The road was muddy and they could barely move. Death and shock is here.

We had planned to do more, but given the reality of our situation, we went back for a rest and a shower before going to the busy heart of Lisbon to meet some of my Women Over 50 Moving to Portugal Friendship FB group for happy hour and dinner at Granja Velha Restaurante. This time we rode on the Metro to a stop uphill and walked down to the restaurant. We went early so that we might have a little time to shop. I bought a small purse made from cork and some lovely cheap earrings. To my surprise they did not hurt my ears, so I must be allergic to silver. (Later I lost one, of course.) We rested near the famous Santa Justa elevator that was designed by the architect of the Eiffel Tower.

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We had a great time meeting and chatting with my Facebook group, women who had come to Portugal from all over the world, but mostly the US. Some of us had made the move and some, like us, were checking the country out for the first time and considering emigration. I didn’t take photos of the event, but we had a great time. I had grilled salmon and Sandy had shrimp with garlic.

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Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Tuesday, May 10

This morning we could see the edge of the Feira da Ladra from our little balcony. This is the big street flea market in Lisbon. It was next to the little park we sat in the evening before, next to the National Pantheon. It was a great mix of antiques, junk, more junk, new stuff, and your typical street vendors selling imported clothing.

I got lucky and found someone right away who was selling paper ephemera, old letters, and postcards. As I was looking over a pack of handwritten letters, an American woman leaned over me and said, “Please buy those so I don’t!” I offered them to her, and offered to split them with her, but she was serious. I asked her if she was a mixed media artist, but no, she said that she collected paper. Then she advised me on how to bargain. Sandy and I are NOT bargainers, but I showed the seller everything I had that should have totaled up to 20 euros and offered 15. She accepted, then as I walked away she came up behind me and handed me this. “A gift for you.”

It was a napkin with a handwritten note in ink on it, dated 1929.

I want to go back on Sunday and buy some old keys.

We had brunch at a little cafe next to the market, an omelet and scrambled eggs with toast that came with marmalade and a soft cheese that resembled the taste of ricotta. We went back through the market and bought sunglasses and straw fedoras to save our scalps from the sun. Mine was from an artist who was upcycling clothes into other items, especially neckties.

Sandy was struggling. He had to sit down every few minutes and there wasn’t any seating around. At one point he leaned against a tree and an older woman ran over with a folding chair for him to borrow. We walked back to the apartment, and I blogged about the day before, as I’m doing now. 

wp-1652284785720wp-1652553804284wp-1652284844176A few hours later, we decided to take a ride on the iconic tram of Lisbon, #28E. Actually, there were several other trams but this one happened to have the closest stop. Ouch, the stop was back uphill through the flea market and on the other side of a large church. When it got there, it was full so we stood with others in the aisle and nobody offered to give up a seat. Sandy finally snagged a seat about 20 minutes later when someone in front of him got up, and I leaned against his seat. It was a beautiful ride, but he was pretty miserable because he felt sick. Then at the end of the line, the tram stopped, and everybody had to get off. Fortunately there was another tram there that had seats for us both and we got on. I didn’t know where it went and we didn’t care. Then it happened again and again. Finally I spotted a Metro stop, and we took it back to the train station near our apartment.The Metro is underground, modern, and easy.

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After we departed the Santa Apolonia station, we sat down at the first restaurant we saw. Continuing with my plan to get in the special things of Lisbon, I ordered a ginginja, a sweet cherry liqueur, and grilled sea bass. Whoops, it had a face! But it was simple and delicious. Even Sandy liked it, and he is not a fan of fish. His dish, however, was horrible. He ordered shrimp with spaghetti, which was drowned in a pink sweet sauce that tasted like a combination of Japanese steakhouse white sauce and Velveeta cheese, something neither of us would ever have guessed to put on pasta. Truly one of the nastiest things I have ever put in my mouth, and I will try almost anything. Hopefully we will have better luck tonight.

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The walk to the apartment was very short but very steep. The stairs to the apartment are very steep and uneven. When we got there we both collapsed, but I spent the next few hours getting advice and researching a new plan for the next portion of our trip, which was meant to be Porto. I told Sandy that this vacation is not worth killing him. So we resolved to go next to a flatter place, and to use Uber. I cancelled the room in Porto and I found a nice old place in the center of Tomar with a terrace with a view, close to a train station. That’s where we will go after Lisbon. And then, I did not sleep until about 3 a.m. I am worried. This is a huge reality check for both of us.

 

coffee pot posts

Saturday morning post-Portugal coffee pot post

Here we are, back in Greensboro, North Carolina after a very, very long trip home! This is mostly an organizational brain dump post. I worked on several posts from the early days of our trip about a week ago and I’ll edit and release those today. We also have to grocery shop today, but I have some very nice lettuce growing and it will be nice to have a fresh salad after airport food and snacks for two days.

The weather here while we were gone was crazy, from what I understand. Extreme heat and humidity and storms. I can tell from my solar production reports how up and down it was for sun and rain. When I thanked my neighbor for sweeping the front porch and steps, he said that it was windswept from Thursday night. This storm system was part of why it was difficult to get home yesterday. The other reason was that we missed our connection to Greensboro in Newark because a young man in front of us on the plane in Boston had a severe seizure that looked very much like a stroke…it was a serious medical emergency and fortunately it happened when we were still at the gate and a paramedic was on board. Then a paramedic team came on board and took him to a hospital.

Something like that happens in front of you and it makes you understand how fragile life and health is, and helps you reassess what is important.

The rest of the flights to Greensboro were canceled, but the United personnel were so helpful and we managed to get the last two standby seats on the next flight to Raleigh Durham. So it worked out well that we left our car in Chapel Hill! A passenger who had sat near us on the plane from Boston happened to be going to Greensboro too, so we were going to try to stick together and give him a ride to Greensboro, but there were only two seats and he was so kind to give us his seat so that we could fly together. We were kind to him, and he responded with kindness. During a time of great distress in this country, this was uplifting.

So we are home, but our two bags with most of our stuff are not. Mine was lost somewhere between Lisbon and Boston on Aer Lingus, and a United employee told Sandy that he would send his bag on to the Greensboro airport because it was not at all sure that we could get on a flight to RDU. So we didn’t check the baggage claim because we also thought that there was no way that it could be transferred in time. Whoops, I think that Sandy’s bag is at RDU. We will have to check on this and maybe drive back. My bag will be shipped to me if they find it because Aer Lingus doesn’t have service in North Carolina. All my flea market finds, my souvenir magnets, and some of my favorite clothes are in my bag. 😦 However, it means that I have very little unpacking and laundry to do today.

We came home to cats who were well cared for, but happy to see us, and a verdant and very wet garden. The weather is beautiful and the birds are singing. I am very aware that even though I loved the birds in Portugal, there were not many songbirds around. Most places there were only pigeons and swallows and seagulls, although I appreciated them very much too.

Once I have gotten settled and bags located, I will have a lot more to say about Portugal. In the meantime, the posts from the days in Lisbon will be released as I check them over.

Bom dia!

Uncategorized

Lisboa, Getting there and Day One

We are halfway through day two. Yesterday we arrived late in the morning and took a long nap in the afternoon. Right now we are taking a break. It is 1 pm and it is hot. I think this is probably how our days will go. I will edit these posts later, most likely.

Saturday: A fairly turbulent evening delayed flight from Raleigh Durham airport made our connection from Baltimore to Boston skintight. We have also had the luck that in every single airport we have gotten out at the farthest gate from whatever gate we arrived at. We spent the night in a Ramada in Dorchester, just south of Boston, and that’s all we had time to see. We slept late and spent most of the afternoon in Boston Logan. Once the Aer Lingus check-in opened our experience was streamlined and the flight to Dublin was good. The plane was not full at all so we were able to spread out and have some room around us to sleep. Unlike the US flight, Aer Lingus required masks.

Dublin to Lisbon early yesterday was on a smaller plane and when we disembarked there was a very long walk through the airport, first through a Covid documentation check. Fortunately our negative PCR results came through on Saturday night, so I downloaded them to my phone and showed her those and our vaccination cards. The next stop was the passport check in a huge room and I estimated that about 1200-1500 people were ahead of us in line. Nearly all kept their masks on, fortunately. It was pretty efficient considering, and I thought we might make our appointment with the AirBNB host by 1 pm if I called an Uber. Well, that was a bust because I couldn’t find the pick-up spot and it was cancelled. I was so exhausted and worried about Sandy (he kept needing to find a place to sit down) and couldn’t find help in the huge crowd. So I texted with our hostess, and she finally sent her husband to pick us up. I was embarrassed that I was too tired and panicked to handle the situation, but we were lucky to have such kind hosts. They were both working and they certainly did not have to leave work to check us in early!

Anyway, we have public transit cards now and I was told that Uber is much easier to use everywhere but the airport because they are restricted where they can pick you up.20220509_180856

The Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and I chose this AirBNB because of price, proximity to the train station and flea market (more later!), and reviews on AirBNB. Our place is tiny but charming.20220509_154537

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View from balcony

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The front door

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Our balcony from inside

We took a long walk uphill in the late afternoon yesterday. Sandy did okay but had to stop frequently to rest. We were both still tired and had backaches from all the slow lines and airplane sitting, but we weren’t in a hurry this time though, and it was pleasant. It is warm here for this time of year, in the mid-80s. It was a steep climb, as I expected. I had been told to wear shoes with good tread because the cobblestones are slick. I see why now! They are polished from centuries of footsteps.

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We found an outdoor spot to try our first pasteis de nata in the Graca neighborhood, the little custard filled tarts that Portugal is famous for. A little ways down was a traditional restaurant that the locals frequent, Restaurante O Piteu da Graca. We got there right at their opening time and got a table. Later customers were turned away. There I had another traditional Portuguese dish, bacalhau, which is salted, formerly dried cod. You would never know that it had been rehydrated. Sandy had fried breaded thin pork slices with plain spaghetti. My plate was prettier, but I liked his food better. The waiter did not speak English and seemed a bit annoyed with us. They only accepted cash, which we expected for some local places.20220509_194049

Heading downhill, we stopped for some fruit and drinks and beer for the fridge. Two pears, two oranges, a tangerine and an apple cost about two dollars for the lot. Two canned teas and two bottles of beer to go cost about six dollars at a tiny streetside bar. Bottled waters at a small shop cost 50 cents each. Later at a restaurant the same bottled waters cost around $2.75 each.

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We slept hard and got on the right time schedule quickly. It is very noisy on this street but it is consistently SO noisy that it is like white noise. Sandy said that he dreamed that something was coming in that he thought was a zombie and he asked me to get him his gun. He woke up and it was me snoring. HA! We are not used to sleeping together because of HIS snoring.

coffee pot posts, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

There won’t be anything interesting here today – this is a brain dump and an organizing post for me.

Things to do today:

1. Vote. Local elections and primaries are just as important as national elections. We sure learned that the hard way in North Carolina. Vigilance in all elections is vital.

2. Get the tapestry stitched onto the mat board, put it in the frame, and pack it to ship to Leslie before Friday.

3. Laundry. House cleaning and studio and porch cleaned up.

Tomorrow: Susanne will come over to talk about pet sitting.

I’ve already started packing for our trip simply because my nerves are shot. I want to see if I can get everything into my backpack luggage, which is carry-on sized but I will check it. We have a long trip ahead and a couple of our places have washing machines, but Portugal for the most part does not have dryers in homes because of the utility expense. I have no problem wearing clothes several times if they are reasonably clean, but if we wash anything, we will have to be aware that it might take a couple of days to dry depending on the weather. It will require planning.

Also, we will be traveling a lot by train and bus and getting to destinations hours before we can check in. Packing light is essential, and a wheeled suitcase on cobblestones is not a good idea anyway – it is just going to get wrecked. Originally I was going to pack an empty carry-on within a larger wheeled suitcase for whatever goodies we bring back. Now I’m thinking that we will just adjust to that situation if it happens that we need an extra bag. I’m beginning to recall the difficulties with luggage during our Ireland/England trip. We cannot pack those backpacks so heavy this time!

I got everything planted and I’d like to do a little more clean-up in the front yard. The aphids are just going to party on – I don’t have the time or energy for that. Sandy hired another guy to mow the yard for half the price that the person who kept standing us up charged. I may still hire him now and then for larger harder jobs, because I like that he has an organic philosophy and knows his plants. However, I’m done with the ghosting behavior. I find it disrespectful, even though he may not see it that way. He is probably just really disorganized, but when I bought a bunch of plants because he told me he was coming to work at my place that day and he forgot, that was pretty much the third (or fourth) strike.

Anyway, I got the cortisone shot in my ankle (the bursa) and since Tuesday I have had no pain whatsoever. The podiatrist said that as long as they continue to work for me for such a long period I can continue getting them with no worries.

It’s gonna be a busy week and somewhere in there I’ve got to figure out when to do our Covid tests for the trip. It will have to be either a PCR test on Friday morning or a rapid antigen test on Saturday morning. Maybe we’ll do the PCR and see if the results come in on time for our flight leaving on Sunday afternoon, and if not, do a RAT in Boston. Friday is also commencement day at work so it will be a challenge. Of course I did not think of all this when I re-booked the trip in August.

Reading: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. How did I miss this one? It was published 11 years ago! Also, it was a Netflix series? Really? I am so out of touch.

I just finished the fourth Louise Penny mystery. I’m not much into these “cozy cottage” murder mysteries set into quaint villages, but I do really like the characters and the complex backgrounds she created for them. It is the entirely unlikely complicated murders that bother my Vulcan sensibilities, but I needed something light after I finally finished Baltasar and Blimunda by José Saramago. I wanted to read at least one novel by a Portuguese writer before I left, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this one. Well, it was a real slog, but I did it. It was worth it in the end, but it was NOT light reading. I now know a lot more about early 18th century Portuguese history and culture, though.

TV: We just started watching Outer Range, with Josh Brolin. I’m hooked after two episodes. The new season of Better Call Saul is out, but I’ll have to buy it since we don’t get AMC. The second half of the last season of Ozark just dropped too.

 

Back Forty, More gardening, National Parks and Monuments

Weekend round-up

I wrote a long post on Saturday that was unusual for me – it was titled “I Would Prefer Not To.” I felt compelled to write about the inertia and lack of motivation for both of the O’Neills to do pretty much anything we don’t want to do, especially pertaining to diet. I know a lot of this has to do with depression. The post vanished into the ether. I have no idea what happened to it. I didn’t delete it, and normally WP saves it as a draft if something goes wrong.

Anyway, it turned out that writing that post was a catalyst that got me on my feet and propelled me into the yard and kitchen. The laundry was done, the kitchen cleaned, chili cooked, the front steps and porch clutter sorted and swept, and the plants that we bought at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market were mostly planted. I’m irritated with the yard guy I hired. He was supposed to help me and he forgot. Again. I guess I’ll finish up planting after my steroid shot today.

I planted three Cherokee Purple and three Sungold tomatoes, six different peppers, lemon thyme, and sage. I have a few foxgloves and hostas to put into the front shade garden, where I’m trying to cut out the aphid-infested Lenten roses and replace most of them.

We went over to Oden to eat at a food truck early Sunday afternoon (lunch didn’t happen, food truck employee was very late opening and rude about it) and listened to UNCG musicians play classical music in the beer garden. It was lovely. I noticed that there are a lot of old bricks piled up on the railroad side of the fence in the back. I may go back and load some in the car. It’s easy to walk behind that fence. On my walk back home, I picked up a few interesting rusted objects in the parking lot. It has been a treasure trove for stuff like that. Now if I would only figure out how to use them in my art. Soon UNCG is going to build an arts center there and the treasure hunt will be over.

Retirement: I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the most stressful time for me at my work. It’s helpful to look at articles like this and documents like this in case our plans to emigrate to Portugal go awry. Our goal has been to see as many national parks and monuments as possible. Here are the national parks both of us visited so far (together). We’ve been to many more national monuments. Looks like we’ve got some traveling in the U.S. to do.

  • Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  • Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (West Virginia

National Monuments and Historical Parks, Memorials, and Battlefields:

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Alaska and Washington)
  • Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado and Utah)
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Colorado)
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument (Georgia)
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument (Idaho)
  • Minidoka National Historic Site (Idaho)
  • Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland)
  • Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico)
  • Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico)
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina and Virginia)
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore (North Carolina)
  • Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (Greensboro, North Carolina)
  • Moores Creek National Battlefield (North Carolina)
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial (North Carolina)
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (Oregon)
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Oregon)
  • Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)
  • Fort Sumter National Monument (South Carolina)
  • Ninety-Six National Historic Site (South Carolina)
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (Tennessee)
  • Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee)
  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (Virginia)
  • Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
  • Petersburg National Battlefield Park (Virginia)
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
  • Fossil Butte National Monument (Wyoming)
  • John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway (Wyoming)
  • Lincoln Memorial (Washington, DC)
    National Capital Parks (Washington, DC)
    National Mall (Washington, DC)
    Thomas Jefferson Memorial (Washington, DC)
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Washington, DC)
    Washington Monument (Washington, DC)

There are some sites that should be on a national list but aren’t…

  • Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (Washington)
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (also a UNESCO site) (Illinois)

I know that there are a few that Sandy and I have been to separately, but for this purpose I’m only including the ones we’ve visited together. (Also, it’s possible I may have forgotten a few of the historical and military parks – we’ve been to so many.)

Family, Lake Waccamaw

Easter at Lake Waccamaw

20220416_192942It’s a gorgeous day. Even yesterday with its rainstorm was great. We spent about an equal amount here at the lake house and at my sister’s house, visiting, eating good cheese and grilled chicken. This morning we could hear the birds sing, and the occasional car or truck on its way to and from Easter services or the boat ramp – you know you can find God in either place.

I did my usual poking around for natural objects that are attracted to me. Including the mayflies, which have to be the most harmless critters in the world.

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That weird bone is why you should be careful when handling a catfish. They stick out from the sides of their head.

Sandy and I wandering along the canal looking for the Easter Gator. We finally found her trying to take a nap. She said to feck off, she is out of eggs.

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Purty little purple wild asters haven’t been mowed down yet.

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My sister has my grandmother’s high school diploma. She graduated from Welsh Neck High School in 1904.

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Now I have to go make the deviled eggs. It is Easter in the U.S. South.

coffee pot posts, Lake Waccamaw

Saturday morning coffee pot post

20220416_111330[1]Lake Waccamaw edition. We are here for Easter weekend, and it is a good thing that I love my sister and bro-in-law so much because so far this Saturday morning is a bust. I had a tough night’s sleep from indigestion from our usual indulgence of fried seafood at Dale’s last night, but we were lucky to get tables on the screened porch because the mayflies on the screens apparently turn the other diners off. We did not want to eat inside – this part of the country is heavily Trumpy and anti-vax and anti-mask. But the fried seafood at Dale’s is heavenly.

Inspector Loud Outdoor Gadget has been mowing and weedwhacking his dozen blades of grass two doors down since 8:30 a.m. This is the dude that was jackhammering cement the last time I was here. I wonder if he is OCD. And the wind is wafting the lovely sulfurous smells of the paper plant across the back yard, and radar shows a big storm system about to hit, which will at least bring a merciful end to the noise of Detective Monk down the road.

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But I still love the lake house, and the view, and every now and then I can hear birdsong when Mr. Motor relaxes his hand on the gas leaf blower or the pressure washer on the spotless white slab of cement that covers half of his small yard. I raise my cup of coffee to my lips and enjoy the sound of my living husband snoring loudly in the next room. “I don’t feel like I’m dying!” he proclaimed to the therapist when we went together last Monday. I’m glad, actually. I get frustrated about his denial about his health challenges, but on the other hand, we are all dying, so we better get a good handle on living until the time comes to die. Maybe his way of thinking is best.

It’s family time, and we’ll enjoy hanging out with them, then I will go back home, take Monday off, take some big deep breaths, and then dive into the emails that I see are already piling up on my work account, over a HOLIDAY weekend, on Tuesday morning. I made sure to keep my promise not to open any. Why some people cannot stop themselves from working on a holiday, I do not know.

This is why I need more than one full day at the lake – to fully relax. April is the cruelest month in my job and these April Easter weekends are much needed. Early retirement is much needed, and a little over a year away if things go well.

The new T-Mobile service on the phones is great. Much, much better. This was the test, bringing them down here where the service is often spotty for all cell phones.

Now, the birdsong is back. I’ll go out on the screened porch, watch the ducks and herons, walk along the canal and look for the Easter Gator, and hope that the wind has shifted for the day. I have two good books and some slow stitching supplies…which may or may not get used but it is a comfort to have the choice.