rainy night and toad

10.16.18 ~ Katherine with toad ~ photo by Dima

So, I’ve been in North Carolina for almost two weeks now, spending lots of time with Katherine and helping out her parents as best I can. Tim, too, but he left very early this morning and made it all the way home to Connecticut this evening! He’ll be back, though, after taking care of a few obligations.

Larisa has been pretty miserable but now that the shingles is improving she’s feeling a little better. This morning she remembered that my friend, an interpreter, told us that in Spanish pregnancy is called “la dulce espera,” the sweet wait. I hope these last couple of weeks will be sweeter now.

On the day tropical storm Michael arrived here, Katherine observed her Grandpa frequently tracking the storm on his weather app. She happened to be outside when the first raindrops fell so she rushed inside, so excited, and exclaimed, “Tell Grandpa the storm is here!” And so it was. We listened to the torrential rain and from her bedroom window watched the ferocious wind pelt the lower roof with twigs and branches.

We lost power late in the afternoon, 45 minutes before the pot roast was done. We ate it anyway, and it was delicious. We each had a flashlight to navigate in the dark. When it stopped raining we took our flashlights and went out for a walk in the dark. Katherine had colorful flashing lights on her rain boots which made it easy to keep track of her. Dima’s flight was diverted to Atlanta so he didn’t make it home until the next day. Our power came back around noon the next day, too.

Our niece and her husband learned that their house, of newer and more hurricane-resistant construction, was spared. They returned to help their neighbors and search for missing persons. They even had a story written about their efforts in The New York Times!

Katherine still loves to take her nature walks, even in the dark. One night her father spotted a toad and took the picture above. So much wonder in the world!

And the sweet wait continues…

Hurricane Michael

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provided this visible image of Hurricane Michael after it made landfall in the Florida panhandle on Oct. 10. Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)/ NOAA

If we were still in Connecticut this major hurricane would not be affecting us. But since we are in North Carolina we have what is now Tropical Storm Michael raging outside today.

The storm first became very interesting to us because our niece, who just got married last month, lives in Panama City Beach, Florida, with her new husband. They evacuated, of course, with their three kitties, and fled to North Carolina to stay with her parents (Tim’s brother and sister-in-law). So the four of them came up here to Larisa’s for dinner last night, and we sat around the table for hours looking at the pictures people had shared online of the devastation in their area. Presumably taken after the tempest had passed. Several buildings near their home were severely damaged and a brick and mortar middle school was a pile of rubble. No pictures of what might be left of their home as of last night. They are very close to where the eye made landfall.

We’re waiting for more news…

Tim & I are down here helping Larisa while Dima is on a business trip. Larisa is in a lot of pain but is putting on a brave front. We all hope this baby decides to come sooner than later! Since Katherine wanted me to play with her this morning it fell on Tim to follow my recipe and start a pot roast in the slow cooker. Hope we don’t lose power! Dima should be home tonight unless the storm interferes with his flight…

safe harbor

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9.4.16 ~ USS Truxtun found a safe harbor at Fort Trumbull Pier in New London, Connecticut

Tropical Storm Hermine is supposed to head out to sea south of us, sending us very little rain or wind. (Too bad because we could really use some rain here.) Of more concern is a predicted storm surge of 2-4 feet tomorrow and beach erosion. But Hermine delivered us quite a surprise yesterday, a huge guided-missile destroyer, seeking shelter from the storm.

Today we decided to take a water taxi across the river so I could get a picture of this huge warship. As it happened, three sailors from the ship were on the water taxi, too, and Tim got to talking with them while I was snapping pictures. After the storm passes they will be headed to the Gulf or the Med, which is sailor slang for the Mediterranean Sea. They are hoping for the Med because it is hotter than hell in the Gulf.

When Tim called their ship a boat they corrected him — they refer to it properly as a destroyer. We may think this vessel is huge but they said it is one of the smaller navy ships.

These fellows seemed so young, even younger than our own children. As we go about our busy lives, it’s so easy to forget that our nation is still at war, that so much is being sacrificed. Carry on sailors, and thank you for your service.

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9.4.16 ~ the USS Truxton dwarfs the Cross Sound Ferry and New London Ledge Light

Whimsical Kingdoms

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Lieutenant River ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

The theme of this year’s Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is Whimsical Kingdoms. Last week Janet, Kathy and I visited and had a lovely morning and afternoon walking through the outdoor exhibit, enjoying the cool, crisp autumn air and fanciful creations.

I love this time of year! We stopped for lunch at the museum’s Café Flo, where the addition of a cup of warm apple cider was a most welcome pleasure.

This year I was particularly drawn to all the earth tones and textures in many of the fairy castles. But we were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a colorful fairy! Following are a few of my favorites…

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“Brave” by Kristin & Tom Vernon ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Whimsical Sugar Maple Castle” by Jared Welcome ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Many years ago a sugar maple seedling twirled to the ground. Inside, a mighty tree hiding a faerie castle, hid inside. For seven and seventy years the tree grew tall, until the winds of Hurricane Sandy took its toll. It was time for the faerie tower to emerge. Coaxed out of hiding by chain saw and sander, this whimsical, yet sturdy castle “welcomes” all faeries fluttering down in search of shelter.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Whimsical Kingdoms

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“Sand Castle Extraordifaerie” by Greg J. Grady ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“The Wizard King” by William Vollers ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Tiger Lily’s Village” by Madeline Kwasniewski & T. Arthur Donnally ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Thumbelina” by Nancy MacBride ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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autumn sky at Florence Griswold Museum ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“The Woodland Faerie Kingdom of A Midsummer’s Night Dream” by Tammi Flynn, Cheryl Poirier & Lisa Reneson ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“One Thousand & One Arabian Nights” by Pam Erickson & Sharon Didato ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Tower of Baubles” by Billie Tannen & Robert Nielsen ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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a Valkyrie hanging out in “Valhalla” by Amy Hannum & Laurie McGuinness ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

To view my pictures from past Wee Faerie Villages click on “Florence Griswold” in the categories below.

Hurricane Sandy III

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

The picture above shows that the storm surge was still relatively high. There is a sidewalk just behind that white fence and the water never comes up to the top of the wall like it is in this picture. We were planning to make our way over there to snap even more pictures, but the police suddenly decided it was time to have all of us leave the area so the city workers could start operating their equipment to clean up the beach! If we had anticipated that happening we would have gone out there first off and worked our way back.  🙂

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

In this picture you can see that a portion of the white fence is missing (left of center), and a bit of the wall with some of its top missing. In the summer this stretch of sand is covered with mothers chatting under umbrellas, their children playing, blankets, towels, beach balls, shovels and buckets – I had my place among them – and senior citizens reclining, dozing or reading in deluxe beach loungers, enjoying their time in the sun…

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
men at work, collecting chunks of stone for the payloader to haul away ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
remnants of the wall ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
sand and rocks deposited in front of Zbierski House ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
many rocks landed in the playground ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
waves still crashing over breakwater, wall, ramp and stairs ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
debris rammed into corner of wall and parking lot ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
section of wall in the foreground moved across the sidewalk ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Although we were amazed to see the damage done by Superstorm Sandy here on our little part of the Connecticut shoreline, we know that New York and New Jersey had it far worse and our hearts go out to them. It is truly heartbreaking to see the TV footage of the devastation they are enduring while we sit in the comfort of our living room.

However, I have a hard time feeling much sympathy for the people in the wealthier beachfront areas of Connecticut. Many of their homes were destroyed in Hurricane Irene just last year and they foolishly rebuilt at the same locations, and were wiped out again this time.

Recently I read an article that referred to a “way of life that was based on a mindless materialism oblivious to nature and its boundaries.”* I think this is a case in point. Mother Nature is delivering us a strong message about where we should not be building our homes. Climatologists say we can expect more of these super storms in the near future and rising sea levels in general, due to global warming.

During the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, all the summer cottages and much of the land at Bluff Point, here in Groton, were swept away by the storm surge. Nobody rebuilt there. The newly formed peninsula became a state park. It seems like the most sensible response to such a loss. When will we stop stubbornly resisting the forces of nature and start trying to live in harmony with them?

*”Power of Nature” by Gitte Larsen, Søren Steen Olsen, and Steen Svendsen, Utne Reader, Nov-Dec 2012

Hurricane Sandy II

10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
sand so deep it covered the curbs ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
sand covering the road, the entrance, the grass, the playground ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
sand and seaweed caught in the fence ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
the wall between the beach and the playground ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

The surge took large chunks of stone from the top of the wall separating the sandy beach from the grassy playground. The playground was now covered with sand and rocks from the wall. The sidewalk running along the playground side of the wall was badly damaged, too.

10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
Barbara contemplating the awesome power of Mother Nature ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
there is normally a good stretch of sand between the life guard chair and the water ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
driftwood in the foreground, Avery Point campus in the distance ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Still more pictures coming soon!

Hurricane Sandy I

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
a fallen tree across the street from our condo complex ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Tuesday morning we went down to see how our beloved beach had fared in the storm. We kept taking turns with the camera so I’ll credit us both with the pictures in this post! Beach Pond Road was closed to traffic so we walked by the pond on our way to Eastern Point Beach. The storm surge had breached the dunes separating the pond from Long Island Sound, and pushed the water and debris across the street and up onto the lawns across the street.

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
the surge had not fully receded from its highest level ~ 10.30.12 ~ Beach Pond Rd, Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
view of the flooded pond, dunes and Long Island Sound in the background ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
same view, the bushes in the foreground were still surrounded by water ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I think city workers had already plowed away the sand on the road because we were not at all prepared for the scene that awaited us when we got to the beach itself! The road there was covered with about a foot and a half of sand!

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
basketball court covered in sand ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
looks like the top of a tree from who-knows-where ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Tyler House still surrounded by high water ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
a park bench turned over and buried in the sand ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
amazed that we could step over the buried chain link fence ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

More pictures coming soon!

miakoda

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
full moon ~ 10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Miakoda is a Native American word for the power of the moon. The gravity from last night’s full moon added 2 to 3 feet to Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge at high tide. We are safe and sound!

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

You may have heard of survivor guilt. I am suffering a case of power guilt. For some reason we cannot fathom, we never lost power from the super storm, even though the lights flickered here at times and the neighborhoods surrounding ours lost theirs.

Apparently I fell soundly asleep early last night and Tim went out to take storm surge pictures at high tide without me. He says I said good-bye but I don’t remember it. Amazing I could sleep through all the excitement! The pictures of the surge didn’t come out so well, but he got some amazing shots of the full moon in the storm clouds!

The full moon sailed bright through that Ocean on high,
And the wind murmured past with a wild eerie sound.
~ Emily Brontë
(The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë)

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

photos by Timothy Rodgers

surge

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Looking east, a short walk from us, Birch Plain Creek at low tide (3:16 pm) covering some of Thomas Road. The creek empties into the sound to the right, about half a mile to the south. Wonder how high the surge will be at high tide (8:52 pm) tonight? Tim says he will go and take pictures in the dark – I’m not so sure about his plan!

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Looking west from Thomas Road, showing the surge has pushed north up the creek and under the bridge, about where the signs are. Water is creeping up the banks. We live up that little hill, and then to the right, still farther up the hill.

The wind is howling, the walls are creaking, and the lights were flickering a short while ago. We’ve had very little rain. Reports say much of Groton is without power now and we’ll probably be joining them soon. And Groton is now experiencing hurricane-force winds. I think I’m signing out for the time being.

Hoping for the best for everyone in the path of this super storm, and praying that all are well prepared for the worst!

photos by Timothy Rodgers