SHARING MY WORLD, 2014 WEEK 15

Cee’s Photography - Share Your World – 2014 Week 15

For your blog do you basically use Windows or Mac, laptop, desktop, pad, or phone?

Garry in his office

Windows – 2 Win 7 laptops and a desktop plus a Win 8 tablet – but I really hate Windows 8. Unless Microsoft makes some significant changes, when it comes time for the next-gen of computers, I will have to go in another direction. Given my huge investment in Windows-based software, the idea makes me a little queasy.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Pretty much exactly where I am. In a house in the country with dogs. Writing and taking pictures. The only other thing I wanted to be was The Lone Ranger and that didn’t work out.

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

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I grew up in New York, which is a huge city, but my neighborhood was more like a semi-rural village. I think most cities are like that. You don’t live in The City, you live in your neighborhood. We had woods and trees, donkeys and chickens and geese roaming about. Even a riding stable around the corner. It wasn’t very NY city-ish, but it was walking distance to the subway, the magical tube to the wonders of the big city. For a kid, especially a teenage, it was as close to a perfect location as you might hope for. Country living in the greatest of all cities? Not much to complain about there.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

100? 110? Older than dirt.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

NestInTreeHollow-300-72Surviving each week is a triumph.

This morning, there was a warbler singing so loudly on our deck I thought it was someone’s cell phone (how ironic!) and that too was something for which to be grateful.

Birds like nesting on our porch. Nice, but then they get all antsy about us going out there and we can’t use the deck until all the baby birds have grown up and flown away.

I’M SHARING MY WORLD – BUT ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO COME?

CEE’S Share Your World – 2014 Week 14

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

Expect-Delays-sign

Is your hair short (total neck and ear showing), medium (covering ears and neck), long (below shoulders), extra long (at least halfway down your back) or bald?

Long, but falling out. Not far to go to achieve balding. It has something to do with anesthesia, surgery and stuff. It’s happened before. Maybe it’ll grow back. Meanwhile, I need a cute cap. I look good in caps.

When you are with your friends, do your interactions include much touching—for example, hugging, kissing, rough housing, rubbing backs? Would you like to have more of this? (Note: the answers may vary depending on where you live on this wonderful planet.)

Everyone is afraid to touch me right now. I’m afraid to touch myself. I think I’ll get over this eventually.

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $100?

Books (audio or Kindle) or something cool for the camera.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I made it through another one! It’s 2 weeks out of surgery and I’m almost human. Almost. Getting closer! I hope by the end of next week, I will be able to laugh without pain and sneeze without fear!

Ouch … and goodbye. Heading north again – Marilyn Armstrong

Starting the trek back home this morning. I logged  a fair bit of jacuzzi time yesterday and now I can stand up without help.

Yesterday we did NOTHING except a trip to the pharmacy, a simple dinner of pasta and sauce, finishing off leftovers since we can’t take them with us.

More from the historic Williamsburg.

Although I’m still hurting a bit from jouncing, bouncing, spinning, dipping, flipping and general mayhem, if I could, I’d probably do it again. I’m that crazy. Sometimes I worry me.

But I’m safe. Garry would NOT go. Unlike me, he prefers to not be crippled for love of roller coasters. He has a firmer sense of self-preservation than I do, obviously.

English: The Loch Ness Monster loops.

It was a good vacation. Friends, fun. Okay, old Williamsburg was a bit of a disappointment, but we ate great food, had some good laughs, I got a few nice pictures and we rode a couple of killer coasters … so we leave satisfied, if a trifle bruised.

We indulged in a pair of electric scooters for Garry and I. Pricey, but I am SO glad we did. It was hot, there’s a huge amount of walking and aside from feeling a little like the road-runner yelling “Beep beep” as we navigated the park, we actually came out of the experience feeling reasonably good.

What did we do?

Not as much as I intended, but for two senior citizens, probably more than enough. First of all, even if you aren’t walking, it’s still a lot of distance to cover from one ride to another, from one exhibit to another. That eats up a lot of time, so if you intend to try to do it all, plan on being there a long day. Or two.

From Colonial Williamsburg.

We got there by noon and left around 5:30 and we only went on 5 rides, grabbed some lunch, and spent a little time looking at eagles and wolves. The eagles and wolves looked about as hot and sweaty as we felt. There was no wasted time. Except for the 45 minute lunch break, we were on the move the entire time.

Old tree in an old town. Taken by an old person, namely me.

We rode two roller coasters: Apollo’s Chariot and Loch Ness. We never made it to the “baddest” of the coasters, the Verbolten and Griffon. But I think we did enough.

Busch Gardens Europe, Williamsburg Roller coas...

Busch Gardens Europe, Williamsburg Roller coasters Amusement rides (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apollo’s Chariot has a first drop that’s pretty heart stopping, some twists, turns, and barrel rolls that do a pretty good job tossing you around. It is also a very short ride … maybe 3 or 4 minutes. Which is quite enough, thank you.

Loch Ness is another story. It is a long coaster, possibly the longest I’ve ever ridden. Lots of upside down barrel rolling loop-the-loops and nobody mentioned the long dark tunnel part. As we went around, tightly locked in, yet I somehow was able to emerge with what I think is a separated shoulder, a bruised patella, and possibly a permanently damaged left hip. Garry probably should be in a neck brace.

Interlocking loops of the Loch Ness Monster.

The train reaches the 130-foot (40 m) lift hill with a small and tight turn … bringing it to a 114-foot (35 m) drop towards the park’s Rhine River. A large upward hill crosses over the park’s ‘Land of the Dragons’ and trim brakes bring riders to the first of the two interlocking loops. After the loop, the train makes a turn and to a block brake, which then leads into a covered tunnel/helix.

Inside the tunnel, the train makes 2.75 circular turns before coming to the end of the tunnel.  As the train exits the tunnel at the end of the helix a small brake run slows the train to ascend a smaller second lift hill.

The train makes a wide turn after the lift and drops downward into the second loop. It then goes uphill again before being brought to a stop by the final brake.”  From Wikipedia.

I want to mention that the video on the Loch Ness coaster does not do it justice. It’s a lot more intense than the video would indicate. And longer.

We passed on the other four big bad roller coasters and though I feel I have somehow failed to meet my obligation to ride the most evil coasters available, I think that it may finally be time to accept that I am not a kid anymore. These coasters make the Cyclone seem rather tame. Except for the actual danger factor and that’s where the Cyclone takes the big prize because there’s always a real possibility that it’s going to kill you dead for real and all.

Summer in Williamsburg. Butterflies were everywhere and bluebirds. I’ve never seen them up north, but they abound down here.

When you ride the Cyclone, it’s hard to not notice that it IS very old. It shakes. It’s rickety. In addition to whatever fear is generated by speed and dips and getting flung around, there’s the possibility that the thing’s going to just collapse with you on it.

An accidental shot of shadows on the brick path in historic Williamsburg.

Busch Gardens inspects each ride, each coaster, every 4 hours. If there is anything that doesn’t seem perfect, they walk the track, foot by foot, checking to make sure that everything is as it should be. This means that there are a lot of time outs for maintenance and you just wait while they double and triple check everything.

And that’s just fine. It makes the rides less scary in a real life way, but not less fun … or less painful. I’m pretty sure that the Cyclone wouldn’t make the cut. I think they inspect it at the beginning of the season and if a piece falls off (it happens, really, I’ve seen it) they check to see if it’s a critical piece or not. Otherwise? Roll on, roll on.

So here’s how it goes. Having survived the “easiest” coaster, Apollo’s Chariot with a nearly vertical drop, we proceeded to the Loch Ness Monster. Second coaster. Up, up, up, up. Boy, we sure are going up a long way. Golly. Then, pause. Look down.

Holy……AHHHHHHHHHH…..oooh …. ouch, there goes my right knee. Ow, ooh, damn, I think I just dislocated my left shoulder. Upside dooooown … holy sh*t … yikes. Hey, why is it so dark … what’s this tunnel? Nobody told me about a tunnel. Where the hell are we? Yeow, oh my GOD … upside down and twist and ahhhhhhhh…. ouch, ooh, other knee … did I just break that patella?

Let’s get some lunch, okay? Let’s visit some animals. Buy a tee-shirt.

After that, we went on a nice virtual airplane trip through Europe, and spooky Dark Kastle in Germany, something that spun around and was, for us, a kiddy ride, but people were actually screaming (wimps). And then, on our little electric scooters, we headed for the gate and back to the hotel. The old people have their feet up, reruns of NCIS on television.

Alive to tell our tale.

So if you are over 65, but nonetheless will be damned rather than not do that cool stuff, just be aware that there’ll be a few bruised parts and maybe a few missing pieces at the end of your day. Glad I did it. Not sure I’ll do it again.

WECOME TO MY WORLD AGAIN

Share Your World – 2014 Week 10

Describe yourself in a word that starts with the first letter of your name.

Mental.

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

No idea. That’s pretty subjective. I’m happy with life in general, but there are areas with room for improvement. A stair lift. A all-terrain scooter. A car in which said scooter could be transported. Money. A lot more money. Someone to cook and clean. And a long Caribbean cruise.

If you were a tree, would you become a book or furniture? Please describe.

If I were a tree, I would find a Dryad and start a relationship. Or maybe become a dryad. Whatever.

dryad

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?

My best friend Cherrie. And maybe our husbands. But then, we’d also need books, music, snacks and computers, too. And a toilet with a door for privacy. Come to think of it, I don’t think the elevator thing will work out.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Postponing surgery until later this week so I can celebrate my birthday (today :-) with Garry — and not hooked to an IV morphine drip in the hospital.

SHARING MY WORLD

Share Your World – 2014 Week 8

Another week, more interesting questions. Next week today, I’ll be in the hospital. Let’s have fun while I can.

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Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers?

I’ll take the $10,000 right now (if it’s tax-free, even better) because I could pay the bills for all the doctors, get some repairs done on the house and generally not wind up living in the car before the year is out. Such a tease you are. You aren’t giving me any money really … are you? Just asking.

When you’re 90 years old, what will matter most to you?

Teeth. I would like to still have some teeth. Oh, and eyeglasses. Need them too.

Candy factories of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

Crystallized ginger. What? You heard me. I like it. No one else does, but you don’t have to eat it.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

Um, I used to know where it is. Was. I’m not sure. But I have a rain jacket and hat. I know where that is. At least the jacket. Not so much the hat.

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STEEDS SPINNING

spinning carousel 14

At the Heritage Museum and Gardens lighting the other night, among many beautiful, fun things was their winter carousel. In a heated building (yay because it was too cold for comfort!) where the painted ponies went up and down, round and round …

spinning carousel 11

The carousel no longer has its own calliope, so the music was piped in on speakers. The riders, ranging in age from toddlers to very senior citizens, were undaunted and rode with joy.

spinning carousel 7

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BRAVE STEEDS ON THE WINTER CAROUSEL

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The winter carousel at the Heritage Museum and Gardens lighting had some magnificent steeds.

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Being well-bred and properly trained mounts, they were perfectly safe for riders of all ages and skill levels … and were indeed enjoyed by all.

Carousel steeds 45

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SPINNING IN JOY – THE WINTER CAROUSEL

On a cold night the day after Thanksgiving, people from all over New England rode the Winter Carousel at the Heritage Museum and Gardens. What is it about those carved animals that go up, down and travel in a circle that makes us all so happy? I know it makes me happy and always has! This night was no exception.

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DAILY PROMPT: PLAYTIME!

Jump!

Three kids, a hot summer day, and a pool. They are going to make quite a splash! It’s playtime! Hey kids … Any room for grandma?

FOR EVERYONE, A PUMPKIN

Pumpkin Church

When you drop by my little site, please leave with an armful of bright orange pumpkin. Carry it, cradle it, hug it to your breast. It is yours to do with as you will. You can do no wrong as long as it brings you joy and makes you smile.

Carve it or cook it. Stand it on your doorposts with a painted scowl or a sunshiny smile. Celebrate the growth of the earth or the remembrance of the dead.

Dress your pumpkin as dreadful death. Or leave it naked to the elements. A pumpkin can be food for your body, a pie of total delight and a scent rising to heaven. May I share? Or it can be candy for all eyes, the richest color plucked from a season of rich colors.

Come to my place and take your pumpkin. Pumpkins, pumpkins for all the world. Pumpkins are waiting for you. You may pick the best or the least of the bounty I offer.

MAKE THEM PLAY STICKBALL

As we head into Major League Baseball’s post season — and the Red Sox are in it (yay) — Garry is obsessively glued to the television. And football is starting, so there is an unrelenting stream of sports playing on the big TV in the living room. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sportscasters were talking about somebody getting stuck with an error because he couldn’t catch a ball on a bad bounce and how hard it is to catch them when they take an unpredictable bounce.

Which got me to thinking about stickball. These guys are paid gazillions to play professional baseball. They have parks with groundskeepers, bases, uniforms, baseballs and even bats! How would they do without all that fancy stuff, huh? We didn’t have any of that. No siree.

Spalding Hi-Bounce BallWe had old broomsticks and pink rubber Spalding balls. Seriously, even our broomsticks were worn out. If it was any good, your mother was using it and it had a broom attached. You try to take that broomstick and she’ll beat you with it. And the ball? Half the time, they weren’t even balls anymore. They were lumps of old pink rubber that had sometime in the past been balls.

So, assuming you actually hit it (dubious), you had no way to predict where it would go. All the bounces were bad. Those things were crazy. Since the bases were “the red car over there” and “the big maple tree in front of Bobby’s house” and everyone agreed the manhole cover was home because it was more or less in the middle of the road … while third was the drainage grate over the sewer … that left us wide open for serious disputes about fair versus foul. The team who was most vigorous in pursuit of fairness or foulness got the call, especially since we were our own umpires.

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Photo credit: mattweberphotos.com

If those expensive athletes had to play stickball, how well do you think they’d do, huh? I’d just like to see one single game of major leaguers playing stickball with an old broomstick and that pink rubber ball bouncing all over the place.

They would learn humility in a hurry. So I say — make them play stickball!! Oh, and make A-Rod the ump. That’ll show’em.

Daily Prompt: Riding the rails at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens, August 10, 2012.

Loch Ness Monster roller coaster at Busch Gard...

Loch Ness Monster roller coaster at Busch Gardens Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was early. We don’t get up so early these days. It’s one of the few privileges of getting older, but in August, southern Virginia is hot. If we were going to do anything, we needed to get moving before the full heat of the day closed in. We rented a pair of mobility scooters, one for each of us. Not cheap, but fun is much more fun when you aren’t too tired to do anything.

By ten in the morning, it was well above 90 degrees. Busch Gardens is a big park, which means a lot of walking … too much for us. The scooters turned out to be a great investment. While they didn’t change the weather, they made it less of an issue.

I pretended to be the Road Runner, speeding around calling “beep beep” as we navigated the park, dodging kids, their grownups, and all kinds of inanimate obstacles.

I was very focused. I was there for the big roller coasters. I wanted that burst of adrenaline. There are not, at our age, a lot of ways to get an excitement buzz. Stress is easy, but excitement is hard.

First stop Loch Ness. Why Loch Ness? It was the first stop on the park’s railroad. After a relatively short wait, we were locked into our seats and on our way.

Loch Ness is a long coaster. Loops, inside out and upside down barrel rolling loop-the-loops … and nobody warned me about the tunnel. Heart pounding, we were tossed this way and that, spinning, yelping and screaming. And laughing. As the coaster drew to a close, it was time to tally our injuries. I’m pretty sure I had a separated shoulder, bruised patella, and messed up left hip. Garry needed a neck brace.

The video of the Loch Ness coaster does not do it justice. It’s a lot more intense than it looks.Just saying.

We broke for lunch and did a few of the tamer rides. Apollo’s Chariot was up next. It has a heart-stopping first drop crazy twists, turns and barrel rolls that do a pretty good job tossing you around. It is kind of short ride … maybe 3 or 4 minutes.

So what was it like?

Holy……AHHHHHHHHHH…..oooh …. ouch, there goes my right knee. Ow, ooh, damn, I think I just dislocated my left shoulder.

Where are we? Yeow, oh my GOD … upside down and twist and ahhhhhhhh…. ouch, ooh, other knee … did I just break my knee?

Like that.

That pretty much finished us for the day. I would have done one more, but Garry felt strongly that he preferred to be able to leave under his own power. So we did a little tee-shirt shopping, a few rides of a gentler kind, then called it a day.

The excitement does end, I fear. But the videos help us remember!

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Water Retrieving

It was a party on the Cape. Beautiful house. A group of politicians, media folks, and their Others. And one, big, wet Golden Retriever.

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To be fair, he could have been a happier retriever if only someone had thrown one of his hoarded tennis balls. He had carefully corralled them in the family swimming pool and while the spiffily dressed guests sipped cocktails and munched on sandwiches, he swam in the pool, then dripping he would try to convince someone to throw a sodden tennis ball.

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Alas, it was not his lucky day. How to make him understand that even we dog lovers couldn’t embrace so much wet dog dressed in our “nice” clothing?