Thursday, July 22, 2010


Just discovered this cool site, Groupon. If you're in DC, they offer some incredible deals. The idea is that they send out daily emails with different deals, everything from $199 rooms down at the new National harbor hotel (rooms go for $600 - I know as I looked into them) to half price dinners or sometimes even less. I just missed a $24 one hour wine tasting which normally goes for $75 (drats), but I love this service! The deal is that enough people have to go in on the offers for them to be available but, so far, I haven't seen many pass without getting bought.

Groupon is in different cities around the US also but not sure how successful they are. I checked into Fort Lauderdale and they must not have taken off there as there's no recent offers. But, Peggy, I think they're in Phoenix. Click HERE to go to the site and look around. I think you'll love it.

My luck continues...

My delightful extremely significant other (the better half of my soul) came home last night and asked me out to a romantic dinner. So, I quickly finished up the spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove, added some noodles for Mom and cooked up some Texas Toast to complete her dinner before running upstairs to change and zoom out the door. And, zoom I did!

We headed to a favorite spot, Cava. For anyone in the DC area, Cava is a Greek restaurant owned by young dudes who are quite easy on the eyes and nice to boot. They make some of the best greek food in the area, served in tapas sized portions, just right for sharing. And, the martini menu is among the best in the nation. Order a lemon drop martini (not sweet, please) and you'll be presented with the perfectly tart treat, complete with sugared rim (they always ask) and a slice of fresh, juicy lemon. Yum. Also, if you like spicy food, you can't beat the Crazy Feta which is fresh feta mixed with just the right amount of jalapenos. A fantastic, candlelit dinner for two was had and I was so grateful.

But, alas, my traveling man is off again for two days down to his boat from which he'll work. We're heading off to the cabin for the weekend to float the Great Cacapon river before he heads back to New Jersey for all of next week. Bobbi is pretty good at relieving boredom over here when he's gone as Mom and I just tend to run out of stuff to do/talk about but Bobbi's tales are always fun. And, let me tell ya, the woman has some tales.

We're gearing up for Key West next month for 4 days. Sharyn will meet John and me in the Fort Lauderdale airport for the drive down to KW. We're staying in a very nice upscale hotel that John and I found earlier this year on our semi-annual trip. And, the hotel is in a great location - just right to tottle back from the Conch Republic or the Wharf bar around 2 am. Can't wait for vacation!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Outing with Gert today

Morning was nice as Mom and I shared a cup of coffee and 'caught up' on exactly nothing at the breakfast table. I forewarned her that a shower and hair wash were in her very near future - she just resists both as the tasks are exhausting for her. Now it's not exactly my choice of how to spend an hour either but it does end up being pretty funny sometimes. We do tend to crack up as I dry her hair into all kinds of different shapes - sometimes, a girl needs a new 'do.' So, around 10 am I told her to go ahead upstairs and get ready because here I come and then the phone rang.

I was downstairs talking to Kim for quite a while for me, probably about 20 minutes or so before I finally climbed the steps to start in on the grooming. She was the cutest thing - she'd fallen asleep on her bed, still clothed in nightgown but donning a sporty shower cap. Now, the shower cap was a diversion as I know she was thinking that if she had one on, maybe I wouldn't wash her hair. No go. But, she was too cute to wake up. She and Matee were just curled up together and I left them snoozing another half hour or so before starting the festivities.

So, shower done and white hair gleaming, we headed out to a fancy grocery store here, Harris Teeter, that had opened in a new location. Inquiring minds want to know. Plus, we had nothing better to do with the day and one can only watch so much Judge Judy.

Off we went down 270. Her memory was particular sharp this morning as we talked of olden times at the beach house on Kent Island and other choice memories.

We got to Harris Teeter and picked up some lunch - first things first. As we sat at their little lunch room area, it triggered a memory for Gert and she told me an interesting story.

Around 1930 somewhere, Mom's brother Uncle Al married Aunt Lois and moved from St Joe, Mo to the big city of Kansas City, Mo. Uncle Al and Mom were only 16 months apart and were inseparable as they grew up. So, he called from Kansas City and suggested that she move there to find work and live with them while there (she slept on the sofa) until she got the money to get her own place. Mom wasn't there very long before she found work at the New York Bakery and moved onto their sofa.

But, the move was short lived as Mom was only there about a week when she came home one night after work and Uncle Al said 'you're going to have to find a place to stay because you're making Lois nervous.' Not a particularly good situation for a young woman in a semi-strange city. Mom had no other relatives there - Aunt Ruby (her oldest sister) and her husband, Uncle Mayer, had started off in KC but had moved to Jefferson City where he found work. So, that left no one else in KC for Mom.

Mom was friendly with Sarah Rashbaum, Uncle Mayer's sister, who told her father (Mr. Rashbaum) that Mom didn't have any place to say and could she Sarah's room. Mom was very grateful as she moved in for a week or two. By that time, Aunt Ruby and Uncle Mayer moved back to KC since his job expired so Mom moved in with them. They had a one bedroom apartment with a Murphy bed (for anyone under 50, a Murphy bed is a pretty cool bed that folds up into the wall so it doesn't hang around all day - well, I suppose, literally, it does 'hang around' but it hangs around on the wall and not on the floor where it would take up a lot of space.

I don't think Mom ever really got over the fact that Uncle Al asked her to move but she is forever grateful that the Rashbaums were kind enough to open their doors in Kansas City and give her refuge. That's what family was about back then.

So, story #1 was done but that wasn't all memory lane had in store for us. She told me a second story, which I consider a bonus - two memories in one day is pretty special.

When she and Dad were dating, there was a diner place in Kansas City, MO called Wolferman's. She said that the place was nothing fancy but had some of the best sandwiches going and was cheap to boot. Money was tight so the latter quality was pretty much the most important. Anyway, Aunt Gertie (my Dad's sister who was my favorite Aunt and visits me still daily in my own memories), Mom and Dad used to meet there after work as it was right behind the shoe store Dad worked in and around the corner from Aunt Gertie's job as a saleswoman. Mom worked close by so they'd head over for really good sandwiches and date nights.

So, as she told me the story, I dialed up Wolferman's on my Blackberry (Blackberries are wonderful things) and found that they were first opened in 1888 at the location she noted. And, they still are in business! Once home, I ordered her some English muffin bread which will be here around the 26th. Curious to see if it's really all that good but reviews on the shop are all raves. I'm hoping a bit of food from the past might trigger even more memories, which I love hearing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

On growing old

Yesterday found Gert and me wandering our way through the Maryland countryside to a gathering at Bobbi's folks house in New Market. As I got Mom dressed to go, it dawned on me how very beautiful she is as she ages. Her eyes still light up when she laughs which is frequently. And, as I help her dress, I rub lotion into her skin which is soft as a baby's. I put on socks and sometimes tie shoes.

As I'm around children these days, such as
Bobbi's most adorable grandson who we shall refer to as Ray Squared (he's a junior...), I'm struck by how similar his aging is, in a way, to my own mothers, only her's is in reverse.

As I watch him eat a soft teething biscuit, I flash back to just this morning when I gave Mom one of her favorite snacks - Holland Rusk toast (aka Zwieback) with butter. I believe this used to be one of the staples of my own youth and is now one of the staples for her snack. As I watch the goo building around his mouth, I remember reminding her to wipe her mouth of crumbs. Dogs do come in handy over here as Killian now has a command of 'clean Gert' which gets him bounding into her lap to scoop up crumbs and other sundries caught there.

And, as I watch Ray Squared's bottom teeth cutting through his gums, I remember my darling father's toothless grin as I woke him every morning at 6 am to give him his Parkinson's drugs so he could get up and move by the time I placed his breakfast in front of him at 8.

And, as I watch baby Ray Squared start to tottle around in his walker, I think of my own Mother tottling around in her own walker. He's learning to walk and she's learning to sit.

And, as I watch baby Ray Squared calm down and smile when he sees my Mom, I'm reminded of the beautiful circle of life. For some reason, there's a peace between the two of them that neither cares to share with others. Perhaps there's a little bit of Joe's soul in this new child and, just perhaps, that's where the connection is. Whatever it is, it's a beautiful thing to watch, and I'm grateful every day that I have such things to still wonder about.

Two towed by sea...almost...

Well, last weekend was a blast, if a bit expensive. We started off by picking up the jet ski from the Honda dealer where we had a swim ladder added and some work done on the trailer. $500 gone....

Got down to Namaste for a 2 nighter out. It's pretty difficult for me to get coverage for Mom for 3 days but I did it with the help from a few of my friends. So, our plan was to tow the jet ski over to Dun Cove where we were going to spend two nights on the boat. John put together a 'tow package' which consisted of pvc piping, rope and a clip (here comes trouble). I rode the ski out to the bay and dropped a crab pot while John prepped the boat and motored out to meet me where we'd hook the jet ski up, The plan was that I'd climb on Namaste, grab a cool cocktail and that was supposed to be the end of that story. Ah, but dear readers, we know that's not how the John and Lori story usually goes....

So, we met up in the bay and hooked up the ski with the clip. I secured the dry box, made sure all was well before jumping off the ski for a short swim to the boat. What I didn't do was take my coach prescription sunglasses off my head before jumping over.

Bay total so far:
One pair of John's shoes ($50)
One pair of Lori's shorts ($50)
One brand new tow rope, tag still attached ($20)
One pair of Coach sunglasses ($400)

By my book, the Bay is way ahead.

Anyway, for about 4 minutes, the tow worked great. The jet ski bobbed 10 feet behind the boat as we powered at 6 knots or so. And then....and then....

As we sat on the boat, fresh cocktails in hand, proud that the plan was working, one of us turned to check on the ski and.....WTF? It was, oh, WAAAAAY back there, on its lonesome, floating mournfully alone in the bay. And, let me tell you, even though we knew that it was our ski, it's a scary, eerie site to see a jet ski bobbing alone in the bay. One immediately thinks: where is the rider?! Well, the rider was sipping a cocktail, safe and sound and a bit perplexed.

So, we turned around to retrieve the ski and determined that the clip gave way. Evidently, a $15 clip is just not enough to assure one will not lose a ski under tow.

Add to bay total:
One clip ($15)

So, Plan B had to be enforced and we didn't have a Plan B but that's never stopped us before.

After another cocktail and a bit of discussion, it was determined that I should climbed aboard and jet across the bay, through Knapps Narrows (where there are a lot of boats and this scares me on the ski as I have NO idea of what I'm doing), and over to the cove where John met me on Namaste and anchored.

I wasn't planning on jetting the 13 miles over there in bobbing seas by myself but really got into the rhythm of the bay and enjoyed the ride. Actually was jumping some of those big boat wakes that threw Bobbi and me a few weeks ago. Exhilarating catching air, even if I was only jumping, oh, maybe 8 inches or so out of the water.

Made it through Knapps Narrows where there were BIIIIIG boats. I freak out if there's a boat within a quarter mile of me and these boats were up close and personal. Didn't much care for it. But, trooper that I am, I jetted under the bridge and made it over to the cove where John eventually appeared.

After stowing Namaste safely, he took over the ski and I assumed my favorite position as passenger. We headed off to Oxford which is just about 15 minutes from the cove when one is moving at warp speed. Of course, we were in search of food and drink and bellied up to a local waterfront bar. Took a walk down the one street that is Oxford and then hit the ski to head back. On the way, well, there was another waterfront bar so bellied on up there. Full and sated, eventually, we headed back to Namaste for a gorgeous night on the water.

The next day was proving to be HOT even at 5:30 am. We were planning to jet over to St. Michael's but someone at Knapps told us it was about 1:30 ride even on the ski. Nix that. My body was already sore from my solo trip the day before. Undecided about what to do, we both realized that the day was too warm and jelly fish too aplenty to spend it about Namaste so we made the executive decision to get a hotel room over at Harrison's Inn by Tilghman.

Anyone who has ever seen Dirty Dancing has intimate knowledge of Harrison's Inn. It's identical in every way to the lodge. Although, instead of Patrick Swayze (drats), there were a LOT of aging, Southern Maryland Elvises floating around. And that was proven again when karaoke started! The DJ was actually fantastic in an Elvisesque way. Really great Elvis voice. But, the patrons? Not so much. We suffered listened to a few wail away before nap time took over.

Oh, I skipped the lunch story....

We were sitting at the outside dock bar, at the counter facing the marina - beautiful, serene view when a guy John knows from his marina came over and told us that we had the best seats in the house. 'Yes, we know,' was John's reply and, since he had chosen these seats, I think his chest even puffed out a bit. Now I had just started silently wondering show the screens were ripped when we were 2 stories off the ground - hell of a seagull, thought I until the guy John knows launched into a story of the 'Captain Buddy' a 70 footer charter boat. The Captain Buddy is captained by, go figure, Buddy senior who is about 85 and owns the marina and hotel. So, the guy John knows gestures out as he's launching into the story and here comes Captain Buddy (the boat) at pretty good speed and the anchor is headed right for us. I instinctively jump back, already figuring out the disarray of the ripped screen. Evidently, Captain Buddy (the captain) shouldn't necessarily be captaining any longer as he ran the anchor through the screen just the week before AND the week before that! But, this day, thankfully, the boat gracefully turned and backed into a slip that it totally dwarfed. Namaste, docked next to the mammoth boat looked like a dinghy...

Dinner was delightful and included the best blue crabs I have EVER in my life had - and, trust me, I've had some pretty good crabs. These were the sweetest, meatiest things ever. I left totally enamoured with Harrison's.

The end of the weekend plan was for me to ride the jet ski out to deeper water on the way back to the marina where John would take the ski and I would handle Namaste. We were both so looking forward to swapping vehicles as I was (or rather, my butt was...) ready for the comfort of Namaste. Would have been a good plan (again with the plan?!) but I fouled the impeller of the ski by getting a rope caught up. Dead. Dead in the water - literally. Shoot. Ended up having to tow the thing and then the engine on Namaste decided to take a leave of absence. Changed gas tanks (although the first tank was full so it's still a mystery), fired her up and headed for the safety of Harrington North. Made it back without any huge issues...thankfully.

So, we had to drop the ski off at the same Honda dealership where we picked it up 3 short days before. And, I believe I heard some laughter from Brian, our friendly service manager....ah, well, it's only money...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gertie's Galavants has made it big time?

Well, not exactly sure 'big time' is the correct term but we're in print!

One of my online friends, Peggy Hazelwood in Phoenix, wrote an article for Examiner about the Gertie's Galavant blog.

Click HERE to see her article. Peggy also has a bunch of fun blogs such as:

A Good Book is Awaiting, Found Money in the Street, and The Lint Filter
You can also visit Peggy and her articles at eHow, Examiner, and Suite 101

She's a very fun read and a pretty nice internet friend! Thanks, Peggy, for the Gertie's Galavants Plug!

You MUST watch this:

This is the most amazing video I think I've ever seen. Click here to view. Brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

If the link doesn't work (because I might be an idiot and not know how to link stuff in blogger..) copy and paste this into your address bar: