Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

I took a vacation day yesterday. Things have been slow at work, so I figured I might as well take the day (even though I will probably want/need that day this coming school year when J has about a dozen, somewhat random, days off). J and I were finishing up a visit to my mom's, which included my adorable, but somewhat whiny and very good storyteller, nephew. I did a little cleaning and laundry at home, nothing too exciting. Mostly I was just glad to be off on a Monday because who likes Mondays?

Except by "losing" my Monday yesterday, I got punched in the gut by Monday's evil sister, appearing on a Tuesday.

It started off as it had for the last week, which was with a slight pain in my back from something (cyst maybe?) that I will now most likely need to have removed. Try not to visualize that too much.

After I was nearly ready, I went in J's room to wake her up. I act as her snooze, which allows her to slowly awaken over a period of 5 to 10 minutes. During that time I feed the fish and do my hair. I noticed when I dropped the fish flakes into the tank, that Mr. Goldberg, the very large fish, was not swimming around. I quickly looked around, then looked to the top and fortunately did not see him floating. Instead, he was inside this long, but not huge, log at the bottom of the tank. Mr. Goldberg is too big for the log; he has never fit in there. Yet somehow he managed to cram his entire body inside. This did not look good. But I thought his fins were moving. Until I realized they probably were not. I decided, at first, against telling J. I went down to get my coffee, which I have set on a timer. It smelled great, much stronger and more obvious than usual. Then I realized that I must not have put the pot completely underneath the basket, and the coffee was spilling over the top and onto the butcher block. That took quite a few minutes to clean up. Because I need my morning coffee, I strained the coffee through a coffee filter into my cup, since the coffee/water that made it into the pot was full of grounds.

Running late, I asked Jordan if she had checked on the fish. I told her that Mr. Goldberg was in the log. She went to check and noticed that he was upside down. Crap. Tears ensued. I struggled to get him out, but could not, what with a dressy long-sleeved blouse on, so I told the hubs about it. And I told J we could have a service for him later.

J got into the car a few minutes later, and more tears came. Within a few minutes, she told me that the tooth fairy did not come last night. Sonofabeech! Then, when we were nearly there, she said we forgot her water bottle, which she uses at her day camp.

At this point, I was ready to cry myself, convinced that this Tuesday was worse than any typical Monday. But I could barely hear myself think as my already loud car (I think it has something to do with the tires) was rattling like crazy from the dashboard.

As we walked into her day camp, and she went over to her hook, she also reminded me that we did not bring her towel, as we do at the beginning of every week. Fortunately, it was a little chilly for water day. But for the love of Pete, could I have forgotten one more thing?!

Naturally, I missed my usual bus, but the next bus was running late, so I made that. I was only a few minutes late to work, so there was that. And it was not hot, which is awesome for July. I was finally busy at work (hooray) but we found out a staff meeting that some cuts were made and more may come, so, sigh. I was mostly annoyed by my back pain, but more annoyed that my dermatologist cannot see me for over three weeks. Sigh, again.

At least the day ended on a positive note. I came home to a good meal, as I am lucky enough to almost always do. The hub had dug out a hole in the side year and prepared a "casket" as well as a stone that J wrote on. And the three of us had a lovely service for Mr. Goldberg, complete with Jordan's musical selection of "Hallelujah" playing on her iPod. Once that was done, we headed to Rita's for some much-needed therapeutic sugar.

I still want to punch this Tuesday in the face, but I guess it just goes to show you (me) you can't outrun a Monday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh, beautiful, the city view

Yesterday I took my dad and my kid up the incline so we could get a great view of the city. I ended up with some nice shots. I only wish I had thought to have brought my camera; the iphone does not do the view justice.

Nice view of Heinz Field and the three rivers (mostly the Ohio and Allegheny)

The edge of the Point, with Downtown and the Mon River


Mostly the Point

View of the Ohio and a little of Heinz Field

The Ohio



We ate at the Grandview Saloon, which I have not been to, I am guessing, since before J was born. We were fortunate that the waiter got this nice shot of the three of us with the view in the background.

dad, J and I, with our fair city and a couple of rivers in the background (plus some random guy to my left)


We also took a Gateway Clipper one-hour cruise, which allowed me to get a handful of nice city shots as well.

View of Downtown from along the Mon River

The Point from the Mon


The Point from where the three rivers meet


The Point from the Allegheny (because you have to see if from three sides)

Heading down the Allegheny

Rivers Casino along the Ohio

View heading towards Downtown from the Ohio


View of the Northshore and Downtown from the Ohio


Pittsburgh, how I love (most of) thee!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vacation all I ever wanted!

We had a fabulous vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, last week. I highly recommend doing a mini-week there if you are within six hours away. Being at the beach for seven nights is a bit much for us; my skin could barely take the four days we were there. And by staying just over half a week, we saved money, obviously. But I do admit I would have loved one more day.

Food was an integral part of our trip. I love to eat. I really love to eat seafood, so I made sure that was part of every lunch or dinner. I also managed a tasty beverage with every lunch or dinner as well. That is part of what vacation is about.

Here are a couple of pics of those:

Delicious lobster bisque

Strawberry blonde ale at brew pub on the boardwalk

Steamed clams from Jonah and the Whale at the end of the boardwalk
You gotta love shrimp in your bloody Mary. But the siracha-sauce soaked beans I could have done without! This was from the Crabcake Factory.
On our way out of town the last morning, when it was pouring rain, we stopped at a "cute" bakery in Fenwick Island.

As a kid, we spent hours at the beach daily (we went to OC pretty much every year). I don't know if it is just that my skin is older, the ozone layer is depleted, or what, but I ended up burnt and with a rash by the second day. This despite my drowning my skin in sunblock multiple times. Still, nothing can beat the ocean.

Here are some shots of that; the waves were pretty tough:

I took this as soon as we set foot on the sand, our first day there. Hello, ocean!


These were the waves our last full day there. We did not go out as far.

 As a kid, our trip to OC was not complete without a trip to an amusement park and mini golf, so we made sure to do both of those things. Many of the rides at Trimper's on the boardwalk are still there, 20 to 30 years later. Unfortunately. I could not get J to go on the ones I wanted to. The four of us did ride the giant Ferris wheel, which gave us a spectacular view of the beach below.

Lost Treasure mini golf

Fore!
View from the Ferris wheel

The place we stayed at was on the bayside, though our place did not have a water view, unfortunately.

Here are couple of shots from our neighborhood:

This was the view behind our place.

Assawoman Bay, at the end of our street.

Geese in the water


Since I am doing my best to maintain my fitness level, I made sure to walk and/or run every morning. It was quite humid the first few days, but being able to walk near water helped temper the 80-degree temps. I save my longest run for the last full day, when it was overcast. I had not run on the beach since I was a teen, I am guessing. Even then I am not entirely sure I did that. It is quite the challenge running along the ocean, but there is not way I could have handled the "regular" sand.

Here are some pics from that morning:

Selfie of my running

Cool shot, I thought

I ran along the ocean. I am pretty sure I ruined my tennis shoes, but I think it was worth it.

I admit my eyes welled up with tears as we drove home. I grew up a spoiled child who vacationed at least once a year. For a couple of years my family had a house on the bay in OC; unfortunately, between two working parents and a six-hour drive, we never made it there more than three times a year. After that we had a house on Indian Lake, which we did visit often. But towards the end of high school, we had some money problems; my parents' divorce followed a few years later, and all of the sudden we were struggling. That experience turned me into a frugal person, which is mostly a good thing. I truly appreciate experiences like these. When you vacation only every few years, you savor the moments. But you also can become sad knowing that you have a few more years until the next one.

I am just glad we had a great time, that J got to have a fun vacation. I appreciated being off work for a week, and the hubby, who hates his job, really was glad to be off. Hopefully my rash will fade soon! But I am more hopeful the memories will linger on.

Here's to the next adventure!