"Crotty News" Postings for: June 2006 !

June 2006


    Okay, I "fess up". It's actually August as I write this. I have been so busy that I didn't get a chance to post our June news as it happened in June.

    In case you didn't know, Dale has started wearing contact lenses and is doing quite well with them. They must make them better (softer; less irritants; etc) since I tried to wear contacts years ago.

    June 1st! Back in South Carolina after a month in Hawaii! I got dressed in my old shorts and T-shirt this morning, planning on mowing the lawn, when Dale informed me that the neighbor kid had already mowed the lawn yesterday while I was sleeping. I must have been DEEP asleep because I certainly didn't hear anything. So I edged the lawn (a dirty job as the edger spews dirt all over my legs and shoes) and did lots of weeding. Karen kept my garden alive while we were gone and I now have green tomatoes and some ripe (large!) cayenne peppers ready to harvest! All of our hanging baskets are full of live plants too! Unlike previous long trips, they survived our absence since I moved them to the garden, under the automatic sprinkler system. I hung them up again on their poles. Looks Nice.

    Tracy's small condo building was used in a recent scene on the currently popular TV program "Lost". It was when an older man had a flashback and he went to some hotel to meet a woman. The sign said "Flightline Hotel" and then the outside of her condo was displayed. The show's producers were looking for a place on Oahu that looked like a Los Angeles motel, so her condo was chosen.

    We heard from Rene on the 6th. She and Jay have purchased another house. This one is a new 3 bedroom ranch(2 car garage; very nice yard) in Lisbon, Maine. They also own a two-family house in Manchester, New Hampshire, and they are renting it out. Good move!

    If you have not downloaded the free program from Google, Google Earth, you are really missing a treat! It allows you to display just about any place on the earth as if you were looking at it from a satellite. Just type in an address, or city name, or State, or geographic coordinates. Even unusual places are accessible: I just found the home of Tracey's friends in Iceland and some of our friends in Australia! Google is updating their satellite pictures so that more and more of the earth's surface is included, but you can already see spectacular views of the cities, towns and villages in the world, as well as roads and hundreds of other features. I use it instead of the Internet's MapQuest program because Google Earth shows you what the houses/neighborhoods actually look like. You can also map a route from any two addresses and then Google Earth will "fly" you along the route!

    Wednesday, 7th of June, drove up to Maryland for a visit with Kathy & Tom & Jessie. Thursday morning I dropped in on my old barber in Woodbine, a vietnamese woman, who was very surprised to see us after two years. I remembered her haircuts as being better than they were, because I got scalped! Dale and I then visited her mother at Lorien in Columbia. She was the same as ever: healthy as a horse, alert and sitting in a wheelchair in the corridor, but didn't have the slightest idea who we were. We get smiles but not much else. Oh, we drove to Cape St. Claire for a visit and while we were stopped in front of our old house on West Way, the little girl who used to live across the street from us (now a big girl !! ;-) stopped her car beside us and asked if we were the Crottys! What a memory this girl has! We were then invited in to see her mother and father ("Brownie"). A Good Time! Topped off the day with a visit to see Joe & Sharon King, and then dinner in Edgewater at the Yellowfin Restaurant where their daughter, Kristin, works. Very nice - right on the water! Then a leisurely walk around Annapolis harbor at night!

    Our old house in Woodbine has been sold again (last December; for $825,000!!) but the new owners have not sold their current house and have not yet moved in to the Woodbine place. I walked over to take a look-see at what changes had been made in the two years since we sold the place. Some of my hedgerows have been removed, as was all my work at creating a permanent vegetable garden. It's all a grassy area now, but still surrounded by the tree-Rose-of-Sharon hedges. The best part was to see all the plants and trees that I had planted over the nine years we were there. The trees are now full and tall, as are the hedges and other plants. Very satisfying to see my grand plan, grown to fruition. The lot was originally a farm, and the field (our building lot) had nothing growing in it except grass and tall weeds when we moved in, in October 1994.

    We originally planned this trip to attend Robby Peterson's wedding on the 10th in Taneytown but it turned out that Jessie was participating in the Maryland Special Olympics at Towson University, so we went on Friday night (the 9th) and Saturday morning (the 10th). It poured buckets during some of the trial runs/races. On Friday night they had a grand parade. The police were there in force with their motorcycles, cars and walking. Lots of red/white/blue lights, bright as can be, with their sirens blaring. Each county had participants marching in with either one of their own or a girl scout carrying their banner. (Kathy had made arrangements for some girl scouts to come and act as banner carrier. This was the first time they have taken part in this parade and she hopes to start a tradition with the Girl Scouts helping out. (She is a GS troop leader in Carroll County). A large group of police runners carried in a lit olympic torch which had been carried by police runners in relays all over the state. It was dark outside and the contrast with the lit torch was very impressive.

    On saturday we left the Special Olympics in Towson in the early afternoon, went home to Kathy & Tom's house to change and made it to the wedding with lots of time to spare. A really beautiful wedding held in a garden setting at an historic manor house in Taneytown, MD. Gorgeous, very well maintained grounds, flower gardens and also a picturesque pavillion where the reception was held (see June photos)!

    Sunday, the 11th, we took a day trip and drove from Woodbine to Easton, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, to visit old friends Jo Ann and Tom Lambert in their new home. Jo Ann and Tom were with us at NCPAC in Hawaii, and we've often managed to meet them in Waikiki over the years since we all returned to the East Coast. They usually stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village condos every January - March so if we go out to visit Tracey we get together for (at least) a night listening to Olomana and Jerry Santos, one of our favorite musicians.

    Monday, the 12th, it was back to Myrtle Beach, SC. Dale's PT Cruiser just purrs on the Interstate 95, cruising at 70-80mph without effort. For long distance traveling this is probably the best car we've ever had.

    Tuesday the 14th: I purchased some tan-colored, concrete, landscaping stones normally used for making rough-faced, tiered walls and I placed them around my gardens surrounding the house. The store used these stones last year for displays, and they were now selling them for half-price ($0.99 apiece). I can't make them for that price so I bought 200 of them and placed them around my crushed, white rock, ground cover that surrounds the house. They looked so good I went back and bought 120 more stones. Also used some of them to build a ring around some of the trees/gardens in the back yard. Looks very nice. The big storm Alberto passed over us the last two days. Lots of rain and some wind but not bad. Nice and comfortable weather - cool but some muggy spots too. That lasted a short time and now we're back to hot (over 90 degrees) and muggy (normal). I suspect that it will be this way the entire summer. We found that out two years ago when we came here. All other visits to Myrtle Beach had been at an oceanside hotel where the ocean breezes made it feel wonderful. Luckily we have lots of trees for shade, but the continuous muggy days were a real surprise for us. We need a some Trade Winds ;-)

    Saturday the 17th, went to Blue Moon nurseries and purchased a bunch of ligustrum and wax myrtle bushes. Planted them along the street side of our long lot, where everyone strolling by has an open view of our back rooms and our entire back yard. In a couple of years these bushes should make two tiers of nice, dense hedges to give us privacy. I still might install a wooden fence but prefer to try for a "green" fence first. (A few weeks later one of the wax myrtles had a problem: half of it died. Blue Moon refuses to replace it. The owner has an answer for everything, and no matter what the question or answer, he interprets it to his advantage. The fool doesn't realize how much money he's just lost in future sales to me).

    The bright spot of my day, however, was receiving an e-mail from Susan and Simon Morton (Steve Graham's daughter). They were sitting in the garden at the Rising Sun pub on Cleeve Hill (Oooohhh I am getting homesick!), near Cheltenham, England, and sending me an e-mail on their hand portable mobile phone! Sipping pints too, celebrating their wedding anniversary just over three years ago (Dale and I were there: 14 June 2003!!). At that time we had stayed at the Rising Sun Hotel, another of our most favorite places in the world.

    I finally picked and ate my first tomato out of the garden! Excellent! Since then I've also had three very tasty cherry tomatoes. My hot peppers are coming along but aren't as big (or as hot) as I'd like then yet. Perhaps in another few weeks. I also visited a friend a couple of doors down from us and he has a garden that is just booming! It's his soil! Mine is just the South Carolina thin topsoil and sand. Apparently he's been adding compost each year that he buys from the local dump. There must be tons of fertilizer in his compost because his plants are really vigorous! Next year I'll do the same! In the meanwhile I've made it a point to use liquid Miracle Grow every couple of weeks, and I've surrounded each plant with some of the Miracle Grow granules. I had to water the garden heavily on monday because the M.B. weather had been so hot (90's) that I neglected to notice how the plants were starting to wilt. We had had a heavy rain 5-6 days before but even with three inches of mulch the ground was soon drying out. I've now set my automated watering system (lawns/gardens etc) to run every day and for 5 minutes longer each zone.

    Tuesday the 20th: drove from Myrtle Beach to Bradenton. Took our time and made a couple of stops, yet still made it in 9 hours and 45 minutes (we plan on a ten hour trip).

    Wednesday, the 21st: spent the afternoon in the condo pool. Water temperature was perfect and we had a nice breeze too. Otherwise it is very hot down here too (and muggy) and it's actually hard to breath outside. Not the usual weather for Florida!. There is hardly anyone around. Even my boat looks forlorn, docked out there all alone on the canal. I had forgotten that most of the condo owners are "Snowbirds" and are here in the winter months only, especially January through April. We did some checking and there are six condos for sale in the complex, with prices ranging from $399,000 to $575,000. We are contacting one of our fellow residents, also a real estate agent, and we'll put ours up for sale at $397,999 (e.g. "cheapest waterfront condo"). Our friends, Gary & Pat Weiler, have moved back to Maryland to be near their daughter. Seems lonely without them. Pat fed us well ;-) Our favorite Thai restaurant (Thai O Cha) is closed until next monday, but we'll survive.

    Thursday, the 22nd: Visited the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota using tickets that Kristi Fazioli (Wes & Pat Brockway's daughter) had left us. Kristi is a marine biologist and was back, for a short time, from her home on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Mote is famous for its research, and visiting their facilities is always fun and interesting. This time they also had posters on the walls showing the work that Kristi and others were doing with dolphins.

    As per usual, we went to the Red Barn flea market on saturday and roamed around. Always a bunch of interesting articles for sale. On Sunday I cleaned up my boat (the dust/dirt in the air gets washed down with the rain and it's suprising how a bright, shiny boat looks so dull when you return a few months later. Ran the engines for a couple of hours to make sure the batteries were charged up and ready to operate the bilge pump if water accumulates due to rain. I've been thinking of selling it.

    Monday the 26th: We've been having a lot of rain for the past 2-3 days and we've been seeing a lot of TV News shows about huge floods in Maryland, Virginia, Deleware and other places. The East Coast is being innundated. Received an e-mail from Dale's cousin Alice, newly retired to New Hampshire and not missing Danvers (MA) or their jobs at all ;-) She says that it has been pouring out up there!

    Wednesday the 28th: drove back to Myrtle Beach from Bradenton. It took over eleven hours this time -- we ran into three separate accidents, two of which had us sitting on the Interstate for extended periods. Dale drove her PT Cruiser and I drove the 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport, our "Florida car" for the past four years. I loaded the Jeep to the gills with lots of personal stuff (clothes, knick-knacks, tools, some furniture items, pictures, etc) that we want to keep when we sell the condo. We've placed the condo up for sale as a "turnkey-furnished" unit, so we had to leave stickers on items that won't be part of the sale. I'll try to get back sometime in August and remove the E-Machines desktop computer and computer table (disassembled of course). Some items we'll leave until after the sale, since the place looks so nice with pictures and other personal items on the walls, etc. I have the boat for sale on an Internet web site (USBoatSearch.com) but would be surprised if it results in a sale.

    Lazed about the last two days of June, although I did get out in the garden and did a bunch of yard work. Unpacked the Jeep on Thursday, the 29th, and actually found places in the house to stuff what we brought from Florida. Sure will be nice when we get the addition to the (Myrtle Beach) house built! Most fridays we've been going to a small italian restaurant called "Nico's" with Karen & Chuck, and we went there tonight (30 June). The owner, Rob, is a young man from New York whose family comes from Bari, Italy (and he also spent a lot of time there). We are always treated like royalty, and I don't think that we've ever had to wait for a table. They are pretty well jam-packed these days (tourist season) but we still get priority treatment and GREAT FOOD!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale