Monday, July 30, 2012

The Jenkinson's Aquarium

I am sorry to be so slow these days with posting to the blog and I fear I will lose a few of my readers if I don't stay with it.  I still have a few postings to make of photos prior to my arrival here in Leesburg so I will try to be more diligent.  These were my first  attempt at photographing fish and water and they came out better than I expected.

This little aquarium is part of the Jenkinson's boardwalk.

Finding Nemo!  That clown fish would not stay still long enough to get a good photo. 

 Good Camouflage.

This little guy had me chuckling....

And so did this one.  He hung on that window the whole time I was in the aquarium.  Kinda like a refrigerator magnet.

Blue lobster are very rare.  

Jellyfish are my favorites and always remind me of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.  When I lived and worked in Monterey I would often take my lunch, go to the Aquarium,  sit in front of the Jellyfish exhibit and go into a hypnotic trance watching the colorful blobs pulse and glide before my eyes.  

Lion fish have been introduced into the waters on the East coast and especially in the Virgin Islands and, like the boa constrictors of the Everglades, they are devastating to their newfound environment.  We do so much harm by introducing non-native species to an area--just check out the Kudzu in the south.

How does something ever evolve into this?  

Update:  Brother-in-law, Don is doing very well.  He is still in rehab but it looks like he'll be going home very soon now.
Everyone is asking what my plans are now that I am back in Florida. The latest plan is to stay in Leesburg until September first then head west toward La, Tx and Az.  I think I will winter in Arizona and southern California this year.  And, yes, I am eager to start moving again.  I think I have been inoculated with ethanol and motor oil... I truly miss the open road and  the adventure of exploring new places.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Atlantic City to Point Pleasant, NJ

A good friend of mine in Tucson named Pat Kennedy told me I should make a stop in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.  The only things I already knew about New Jersey involved Donald Trump,  Atlantic City and some reality show that I persisted upon avoiding at all cost-- so I decided to stop there first. Did I think I could reverse my negative images? Maybe I'm a masochist at the core.  I sure am not a gambler...not because I wouldn't gamble but because the smoky casinos are so repulsive in their smell.

As I came across the marshy area of New Jersey I could see this apparition along the coast...

Egads, it is conspicuous consumption and green energy all mixed together on a narrow band of paved shoreline--truly a vacation paradise! (Sarcasm here)
The traffic was mean...please note the car below that stopped at the red light then pushed his way into the intersection waiting for the light change.  Even though they are going to the beach for a little fun, it doesn't replace the aggression.

So I spent a day and a night and wondered why I did this to myself.  The day was mostly wasted looking for a place to park, then finding a secure place to park for the night became a real hassle.  I tried the library--they had no parking area and the street parking was too narrow for the RV--I didn't want to get sideswiped by a bus.  The hospital had only a high-rise parking garage with 8' clearance and I am 8'8".  The residential parking spots were by permit only or in areas that looked scary at best.  One of the casinos had free parking but was noisy and lit up like the Las Vegas Strip.  And I would have to go into the casino and get something 'punched'.  I kept looking.
   When I saw the perfect spot on a side street in the downtown area--wide and well marked with no meters, permits or prohibition signs.  I pulled over,  turned off the motor, closed the curtains and stretched out for a good night's sleep.  Then I heard people talking outside.  They were discussing some artist and something about a rose and a snake.  Hmm.  I took a chance and peeked out of the side curtain.  I was parked in front of a Tattoo Parlor! And not just any tattoo parlor.  This guy was obviously very sought after because the foot traffic went on all night long.  But no one bothered me so I slept well enough to kiss Atlantic City goodbye in the morning as I headed for Point Pleasant.

Now we're talking.  Jenkinson's in Point Pleasant has been here for years.  It is the old-fashioned boardwalk where I saw families from Grandma to the youngest kids enjoying the day.

And I was able to park 1/2 block from the beach and boardwalk.  The weather was balmy with a tiny breeze to keep you cool.

Certainly not like Atlantic was barely crowded,  everyone was laid back and in no hurry to get anywhere.  

I did not check out the fun house but wish I had taken the time.  I experienced a wave of nostalgia as I remembered the screwy mirrors and the tilted floors from those summers on the boardwalk at Pontchartrain Beach in New Orleans. (Katrina took it all away)  Disneyland and Marine World are glitzy and overdone and have brought about the demise of many of these old-timey boardwalks.  And Atlantic City didn't help.

Pat told me to check out Joey Tomato's Pizza Parlor and here it is. (Doesn't the name 'Joey Tomato' make you think of The Sopranos?)  So I ordered a truly wonderful thin-crust pizza then sat down at the table on the far right and called Pat on the phone to gloat.  She was at work, sitting at her desk in Tucson--and wasn't the least been envious of where I was at that moment. (more sarcasm)  The recommendations from friends have all proved worth the trip and this was another one.

So I bought one of Jenkinson's famous orange drinks and toasted Pat for sharing this special place.

There is no place as great as the beach on a summer day.

Thank you again, Pat.

And Sigh Me found her perfect spot for the day as well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Dapper Don!

Dapper Don is back!

His first outing from the Rehab Center was for lunch in the Country Store with Kelly, his reliable caregiver.  You can see by the smiles how happy he was to be out.

Kelly's name is actually Swasti Dindial but 'Kelly' is easier for us.

The dining room at the Rehab Center looks out at this courtyard.  Someone put soap in the fountain and   it sure entertained the diners when the wind whipped up and suds went flying all over the courtyard.   
There are also a couple of snakes out there that provide diversion as well, provided for our entertainment by the same joker that introduced the soapsuds.

The food is good enough that Don is gaining weight.

And this is Betty Longfellow, Don's dining companion.  She will be getting out of here on Saturday and Don will miss her company at dinner.
 And this is Lashea who has been one of Don's great caregiver's throughout his stay. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Photos from Valley Forge, Pa

A Peaceful hilltop with a lovely view.  I just wanted to share the photos from Valley Forge.  There are lovely spots for picnics, walking, and biking and of course--cannons.

"To the Officers and Private Soldiers
of the Continental Army
December 14, 1777    June 19, 1778
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Don Update:  Day before yesterday Don graduated to going to the dining room for meals and then, yesterday, we (cousin Mark, me and Kelly the caregiver) wheeled him next door to the little country cafe for lunch!  He was outside for the first time in weeks and loved it.  
I really laughed at the following conversation he had with Mark:
Don:  "Why do the therapists always use the word 'awesome'?  I stand up and they exclaim, awesome! I take a step and they pat me on the back and say awesome!  I stand for 5 minutes and they go crazy with  awesome! I'm Norwegian and Norwegians don't use the word awesome.
Mark:  I know what you mean.  Norwegians would simply nod slightly and say, 'Not bad'.
Don:  "That's right.  I just don't think standing by myself is all that awesome!"
(I thought I had stepped into Lake Woebegone. Garrison Keillor, you should have been there.)

Back to the Blog:

While in Pennsylvania I indulged in my addiction and went to Hershey Pa.

The town not only proclaims 'chocolate' on every corner, it exudes the smell of chocolate in the very air.

So many of our candy companies have gone to other countries but Hershey is still here so I am urging you fellow chocoholics--be patriotic and buy American!  I am doing my part.  

The Hershey's Chocolate company was founded by Milton Hershey in 1886 in Lancaster county, Pa.  Hershey was raised in the strict discipline of the Mennonite faith and his belief in hard work paid off.  His company quickly became a success and continues today--125 years later.

The tour of the visitor's center is very Disney-like and fun for the kids but I enjoyed it too.

I had the feeling that absolutely nothing is touched by human hands from the introduction of the cocoa beans to the final packaging.

These pictures are from a tram that wanders around all this demo equipment...

while the intense smell of chocolate left me glassy eyed and drooling.

Then the tram dumped me right into the gift shop where you can buy any Hershey product you want in any quantity that suits your appetite. I went straight to the 'Mega Chocolate Pig-out' bin.

Even their atrium-like gift shop was worth the visit.

All aboard for a tour of the grounds.  

There is the chocolate factory, the town he built, the medical facility he financed and the hundreds of charities he and his company have participated in, but his favorite project was his school for low income families that still operates 100 years later.

(from their website)  The children receive:
  • A high quality education
  • Access to excellent athletic, recreational, and arts facilities
  • Room and board in a nurturing, family-like student home
  • Clothing
  • Medical and dental care
  • Assistance with continuing education after graduation
And all at no cost to the children's families.

 All together I would say this is a pretty good outcome from the creation of a little chocolate kiss.

See more chocolate below......