Thursday, August 31, 2006

Spider of the Storm

I was sent home from work at 1030 this morning - just in case Ernesto reared his ugly head. Luckily he veered North of us. I noted at one point there were steady winds of 16 mph with occasional stonger gusts. Most of the activity on the Island occurred between 1200-1500.

One thing with getting home early for Ernesto, I learned of a new pet on our back porch. It seems a banana spider moved in when I wasn't looking.

Mary informed me that there were two males with her earlier in the week, but Miss Spider killed them as all women generally must do in the spider kingdom. Mary told me this with a humorous glint in her eyes and then she added that this was a great development for women everywhere.

Both of my kids were worried that Miss Spider's web would be ruined during the storm. It did take quite a whipping as webs go, but it proved to be quite sturdy. Posted by Picasa

TS Ernesto

Good morning! It began raining in the lowcountry about an hour ago. It's 0245. I'm very sleepy, but woke up a bit agitated (maybe restless is a better word....I feel both) and could not go back to sleep. With my mind on Ernesto, I got up to check the latest reports at Ernesto is up to 40 mph and is he expected to be upgraded to a Tropical Storm in the next few hours. Papa Bear does not like for me to refer to storms with pronoun genders. By golly if we are going to name them, I am going to refer to them as him and her. Here is his latest image:

Currently, in the lowcountry, there is a steady rain with wind speed of 8mph ESE. Barometer is 29.82 in and falling.

I always become restless before a storm. I feel an internal tension building as it moves closer and a release as it looms overhead and passes. Hugo, as an example, kept me from going to sleep well after my bedtime. Once the eye passed over, I went right to sleep lulled by the sound of the wind screaming by like a freight train. It was probably not the best time to go to sleep.

I have always attributed this tension to the barometric pressure without ever having actually monitored said pressure. I may note it this time just to see if there really is any correlation.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bird on a Wire

I pass birds most everyday on this same section of telephone wire. Sometimes they are hanging out in the morning and sometimes I see them in the evening. This day it was almost noon on a Saturday. It makes me think birds may be more social than butterflies. What I wonder most about in this image is why one bird and only one bird is on a line alone. Is there a purpose in the bird community for this? Roles I've pondered include the lookout, the leader, the loner, the jilted lover, the wise elder, and the unsure introvert.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Day of Folly

Wednesday I took the day off. It seemed like a very good day to do it. It was the kids first day back to school and I needed a day for me doing something other than working and playing the role of Momma san. Early that morning I received an email from someone who mentioned Folly Beach. Hey...I love Folly me and Papa Bear took off to spend the day on the Edge of America.

Our first stop was Locklear's on the Folly Fishing Pier.

Lunch was a bowl of She Crab Soup, for which Locklear's is well known, and a crab cake salad. An interesting twist to the salad is that it has fresh cut zucchini and summer squash.

After lunch I picked up a sleeveless shirt from the Pier's giftshop and then we drove down to Diago Park. It is the last parking available on the end of the island near the old Coast Guard Station. Back in the 80's and early 90's there was a sign that read diago park. It was an old sign that once read diagonal parking. This was back before that crazy lady decided that it was OK to build a house on the sand and by golly ole folly - the community needs to help her fortify her house because no one warned her there would be erosion and hurricanes. That house will be coming down...she just needs to come to grips and make peace with mother nature...and did I see a lot trying to be sold beside her? Wow. I'll spare you the horrid, incomprehensible scene and just take you on a little walk that started beyond her house. I changed to my new shirt that read "I am the Booty"(did I mention it was a pirate shirt?) and left my shoes in the car.

We decided to walk around to the bend to get a view of the Morris Island Lighthouse.

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We wandered to the far side of the old Coast Guard Station. A road use to run through here. And there are various structures that are now only memories...someone else's memories. Also found in this area are signs of past erosion and hurricanes. Maybe that lady ought to take a walk and see what is only a quarter of a mile past her house :)

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We decided to take a shortcut back that took us down a road that is blocked off from road traffic. This proved to be a BAD decision for us.

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This was where the fun ended and our fate became sealed. I ran out of digital memory at this point as my camera seems to only hold 80 pictures. The sun was too bright to scroll through and try to delete a few of them - so you will just have to imagine what happened next.

Papa Bear went down a side path to see another structure that is no longer there. I told him I would continue down the road since I was barefoot and the road was hot. I figured I'd walk carefully and slowly along the edge of the road to avoid the sand spurs. It wasn't sandspurs I needed to look out for. There were these small hard to see cacti growing on both sides of the road...everywhere. I've never seen anything like this in the lowcountry. We have been invaded!! They had long needles and tiny fine ones that I'm still finding on my arms and feet. When Papa Bear came back, I had not made it down the road too far. I was on my butt pulling needles out of my feet, and then hands. His shoes were so covered in cacti that we worked on them, too, before proceeding.

Daddy-o tried to pack me out, but it was hot, we were both sweating and I was uncomfortably slipping off of his back. I made him put me down and I asked him for his socks. He took his shoes and socks off and gave me his shoes insisting that the pavement wasn't hot and that feet are tougher than I believed. I began joking about me being a woos and all - but guess who wound up with blisters on his feet? ;) Hey, I just wanted the socks!

When I returned to work this morning, I discovered that some friends visiting from Sweden had stopped by the office yesterday to say hello. Afterwards, they went to Folly Beach - probably to the Pier right about the time we left. They would have been a very welcome sight. It was a great day for the beach and our little side adventure just made it all the more interesting... make sure you carry your shoes along if you decide to make a similar trek.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

JI Creek Commentary

The pictures below are of a small creek near my house. There are a few things missing in these photos. The first are all the cars by Mimi's. I took the photos about 11ish on a Saturday before the traffic jam at Mimi's began. Normally, there is beaucoup de creative parking and both sides of Harborview Road are annexed as a parking lot. Along the JI Creek bridge you will often see fishermen - especially during a light rain. I suppose it was just too hot and too near midday to fish....or maybe it was because the tide was out.

Had it been high tide, you would have noticed it as only the tips of the marsh would appear peaking out of the water. During a lunar high tide, it seems as though the rivers and creeks are lazy and full as they spill over the land. If you didn't know any better, you might even be tempted to run among the cord grass when the tide is out. The pluff mud would surely stop you in your tracks and maybe even claim your shoes as a prize. It would leave you reeking of a smell similar to fresh dug Bull's Bay oysters that still need a good washing.

On the fourth of July and during the grand opening of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, cars were parked all along Harbor View Road which, as the name implies, gives you a grand view of the harbor and a distant view of fireworks that are set off over the Charleston peninsula.

Papa Bear likes these pictures because they are obviously a sign of August in Charleston - skies full of big puffy white clouds that will turn into a mixture of beautiful pink and orange hues as the sun sets over the harbor.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'll Be Hanging Around the Lowcountry a Bit Longer.

I received a message from DOS today. The September GSO positions have been filled. I am currently twelve of thirteen on the register. Now that I am no longer dead last on the register, I have hope. I am hoping that the thirteen include nine who have accepted invitations.

I do not have a good perspective on my placement. I believe the majority of passers have not completed their clearances. Those currently on the register either already had their clearances, or else were one of the early OA passers. I will have a better idea in October or November when most of the GSO candidates will have moved to the hiring register. I hope that those ahead of me were ahead of me by just a hair and that they had bonus points added in their score. A candidate can receive 2.4 - 5.7 additional points based for foreign language proficiency. Veterans can receive 5-10 additional points. Without knowing the background and circumstances of the other candidates it is difficult to answer the constant question of everyone around me of ...."so WHEN is all this happening?" I even had a few "Are you STILL here?" comments in my direction.

Yes, I am still here. I will be hanging around the lowcountry just a bit longer. It's not such a bad place to be in limbo. My drive home from work is too short. The sun beginning to set on the Ashley River is stunning. I have to go over three bridges to get home. One bridge seems like what you think a bridge should be as it crosses perfectly straight over the Ashley River, one bridge is more winding and snakelike as it runs over the mouth of the Ashley as she meets the Cooper and forms our harbor around Charleston's peninsula, and one is barely a bridge crossing the JI Creek which is mostly marsh unless you happen to driving by at a lunar high tide - and then WOW!!

I can see that I'm going to have to go and take a few pictures. OK then. They will be up sometime this weekend.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Papa Bear pantomimes

As I continue my homeschool studies of the French Language, Papa Bear has found his own way to assist me. Periodically, he will set aside a time when he will only speak French. The problem with this scenario is that he doesn't know any French. It is up to me to figure out what he wants to say and put those words in his mouth without confirming his intent in English. Quite a comical and fun way to study.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Need a Laugh Today?

So I was minding my own business working an 11-1/2 hour day today when out of the blue a virtual friend - who also happens to be a way cool techie music dude from the cold north - sent me a laugh. I'll call him Tomcat. Who knew he knew I needed to destress? A big hat tip to the Tomcat who knew. Now you will know! :P

It's The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs