Posts Tagged ‘beach’

A Day in Penne ( not the pasta)

Barbara and I were supposed to spend a week in Pineto with a few day trips planned but also we picked Pineto because it was on the beach. ¬†The beach ūüŹĖ¬†was actually not around the corner. ¬†Okay maybe if you went under the bridge and made a sharp right and followed a worn path it led to the beach….BUT since we couldn‚Äôt figure out how to get the car there and the chairs and umbrella that were stashed in the closet were really heavy duty- not like the light beach chairs we are used to taking to the beach. ¬†So carrying them in the blistering Adriatic sun was out of the question. ¬†I am a sun worshiper and rarely sit under an umbrella but even I knew this sun was too intense for my white legs and arms that missed April and May outdoors ( it was cold and rainy) to get a light base tan. ¬†Barbara is way too fair to be in the sun. ¬†So no beach yet.

We decided to go to Penne purported to be a lovely ancient village somewhat inland. It was more of a drive than I thought and included a fair share of twisting roads.


Beautiful golden orange color to much of the stone in Penne.

There were many narrow streets and alley ways typical of these hilltop villages.


Not sure this was meant for cars, maybe just Api.

Wherever we climbed we saw interesting buildings. No people as usual, because it was pausa, that maddening time for American who want to go and do and shop and spend but every place is closed!


Every building looks deserted but I think not.

I finally found a live person, it happened to be Barbara!


Barbara poses in front of an old church – I think!

There was one road narrower than this one that I did’t realize was going to get so narrow and I said I can’t turn here!  Yes you can. No I can’t, omg. Yes you can you have plenty of room, but there is a man on a bicycle and a car behind me! You have to turn!


I really can’t stand these roads or bicycle paths lol

And that photo doe not show the blind turn I had to make, of course not, everyone was too scared to take a photo!

Finally a last look at a somber Penne and a colorful Penne.

We had the city to ourselves!

We had been on the hunt for the Duomo but as we climbed higher and higher the signs disappeared and I had no interest in being out in the sun any longer and walking uphill!


Somber yet serene


Lovely bit of color

Time for gelato.  We head out and I have to tell you driving in Italy is exhausting, they pass you on the left and right, honk at you if you are going the speed limit, do no signal turns just to name a few. By the time we got back to Pineto I told Barbara it wasn’t gelato, it was time for an Aperol Spritz! I know I deserved one. We found a cute place and the man running proudly informed us he spoke English.  He was a gracious host and he made us Aperols the way I like them- not too sweet. Later he confided adding a bit of Compari was his secret!



To Be Continued…

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Laughing Gulls

I really like Sea Gulls;¬† They are raucous, clever, beautiful and so varied.¬† I used to think the only kind of Sea Gull was the one that looked like Jonathan Livingston Sea Gull.¬† But now, I spend time at the Jersey Shore I’ve come to know several varieties.¬† My favorite is the Laughing Gull.

Here's Laughing At You!

Here’s Laughing At You!

These sleek black-headed birds are seen in great numbers during the summer along the beaches and coasts of the Northeast.  Year-round they can be found around the Gulf of Mexico and the coasts of the Southeast.  They have long legs and fairly long wings.  Laughing Gulls eat almost anything, including food they catch or steal, handouts, garbage, and discards from fishing boats. They often congregate in parking lots, sandy beaches, and mud bars. Listen for their nasal, strident calls in flight, while feeding, and at rest.

Look for Laughing Gulls at the beach, especially during summer when their crisp black hoods and red bills make them easy to pick out from other gull species. You may also notice that their back and wings (the mantle) are considerably darker than common medium-sized gulls such as Ring-billed Gulls; this can also help you to pick them out from a crowd.



I like to feed the gulls any leftover stale bread I may have or those fried greasy crinkly things you get from the Chinese restaurant, they love them.  Anyway, my favorite gull to feed is the Laughing Gull.  They seem smarter than the others and they know it.   While hoards of gulls will gather on the sand below the dock where I am tossing the bread, each one trying to steal the piece that their neighbor has instead of going after a fresh one, the Laughing Gull disdains to join the crowd on the sand and circles me coming closer and closer.   He is quite happy to receive his bread in the air, swooping under it to catch it in his mouth or darting sideways to snatch it mid-air.  They will hover over my head like a helicopter waiting for me to toss a piece up in the air.

Murray Head has captured¬† fabulous photos of¬† these delightful creatures and I’m happy to share them with you.

Zeroing In For The Catch!

Zeroing In For The Catch!

Was It Something I Said?

Was It Something I Said?

Long Legs and Red Bills

Long Legs and Red Bills

OHHhhh My Dear!

OHHhhh My Dear!

Aerodynamically Perfect

Aerodynamically Perfect

So Much To Do So Little Time

So Much To Do So Little Time

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Of course it helps if you have a good eye for art or an artist’s eye that captures the art of everyday things.¬† My friend, Murray is an artist; He uses his eyes and the camera lens to capture the pure simplicity of the ordinary, the commonplace and when he takes the shot, it becomes art.¬† See for yourself.¬† The photographs were taken Thanksgiving weekend on the Jersey Shore.¬† There is beauty at the beach in the winter.¬† Without the maddening crowds, you can actually SEE more.


Destruction Destiny


I Walk The Line

I Walk The Line

I'm The King Of The World

I’m The King Of The World

Beach Berries

Beach Berries

Fair Feather We're Having

Fair Feather We’re Having

True North

True North

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

The Angry Eel

The Angry Eel

High Tide Geysers

High Tide Geysers

Libra Gulls

Libra Gulls

There is quiet beauty at The Shore!

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La Vien en Rose in early Spring

La Vie en Rose in early Spring

This photo was¬†taken probably in early April before the rose bush’s leaves opened.

OMG what a day! I worked from morning till night doing all kinds of things; AND I’m going to tell you about all of them. ¬†Why? Well, because if you’re fortunate enough to have a family member or friend who has a cottage and you get an invitation to visit sometime this summer, I want you to know that a lot goes into making La Vie en Rose and every other beach house a great place to stay.

Today, Sunday, has been the nicest day so far this Memorial Day Weekend, considered by all to be the unofficial beginning of summer. ¬†Our street was filled with the cars of visitors who parked and went off to the beach. ¬†That’s what we used to do when we would go to the Shore for the weekend. ¬†But those days are long gone‚Ķ..

I started off the morning shaking out the throw rugs, then I dust-mopped the kitchen and bathroom floor with my Swifter. ¬†Then I washed both floors. ¬†Peter had gone to get me coffee and while he was gone, I cleaned the litter box, put last night’s dishes away and made the bed.

When he returned with my Grandé Americano, I made us a breakfast of bacon, eggs and English muffins.  That was the last time I sat down!

While Peter washed the breakfast dishes, I decided to vacuum the white area rugs which are here and there though out the cottage and are too light weight to be vacuumed with the Hoover, so I use the Dust Buster to pick up all the pesky little specks. ¬†After the third rug, the Dust Buster began to lose power – great! ¬†And the day had just begun. ¬†Downstairs to recharge the vacuum, I decide we must move the kitchen table so I can use the Hoover vacuum on the radiator where dust and cobwebs left over from the winter are probably residing. Moving the table is a two-man job and now that it is halfway out into the working part of the kitchen and the 4 chairs are scattered about, it’s kind of tight in there to maneuver. ¬†My husband agrees he should clean the radiator and I tackle the window. I ¬†took the curtains down and shook them out and noticed how dusty the window sill was and how dirty the window was – a lot of rain and snow this winter!

I’ve been harping about repainting the window sills¬†and frames since¬†last year because they are layered with paint, some of which is cracking, some is chipping and basically they just look bad. ¬†This ginormous task has been carefully avoided by Peter ¬†up to now. ¬†I started cleaning that nasty dirty area between the storm windows and the window sill. ¬†Let me just remind you all that this cottage was built about 1888! ¬†Peter brought out two scrapers and I began trying to smooth out the rough over-painted areas and removing the loose crackled pieces of paint. ¬†I’m just going to skip over the fight we had about scraping versus non-scraping and then sanding because let me assure you, the window frames got scraped and sanded as I knew they would!

The scraping/sanding task also included washing the windows inside and out in the living room. To do so, I went outside on the front porch and  yuk another job to do.  But before I deal with the porch, I vacuumed the living room rug as well as the scrapings and sawdust in each window.  I had to move the BIG TV, God is it heavy, to get to window back there.  By the way, have I ever told you how much I dislike, bordering on hate, triple track storms and screens.  After dripping in WD-40, I finally got one of upper storm windows down so it could be washed inside and out.  Peter went upstairs to do the window frames and while he was up there, I thought he should vacuum the back porch which was covered in debris and leaves.

For 2 days the box of the porch candles has sat in the living room and I was determined to get them out on the glass tables (after I washed the tables naturally). ¬†But first, back to the yukky porch which was really dirty (it was a long winter). ¬†Peter washed the porch which means furniture was all over the place and some of it on the lawn. ¬†Yesterday I filled the porch planter (which is like an outdoor window sill planter) with geraniums and petunias but didn’t attach it to the porch BECASUSE the porch wasn’t clean. ¬†It gets tied in place to the railing spindles BUT they were dirty and spotted with mildew. ¬†So out comes the Tilex and brush and rubber gloves as I tackle spindle after spindle scrubbing the mildew away and discovering that some of them were losing paint and OMG, rotting and will need to be replaced. It’s hard to work on the porch and not notice how¬†black¬†the front of the house is due to the traffic and dirt from the road. ¬†More Tilex and more hosing down. ¬†By this point I’m pretty wet.

I still had a wicker planter to fill with pink petunias, however that piece was in the garage and Peter had to go get it – “Not now”, he said, “Do something else”. ¬†OK, I will transplant the mint. ¬†Yes, I know it grows like a weed and because it does, ¬†some has already sprouted up in areas other than the patch of lawn I gave it last year. ¬†I had bordered that patch of ground with sea shells, some of which did not survive the winter. ¬†So, as most of the other jobs have been going so far today, this one wasn’t going to be any different – Stop, get some sea shells from a stash I have in the shed and replace the broken ones before I start to transplant the errant mint into its rightful home. ¬†Now that I’m on my hands and knees, I can see that the flagstone walkway is overgrown with grass and needs trimming. ¬†I have to do this a couple of times each summer and am always surprised that the damn grass grows on top of the stone but not in the lawn! ¬†At this level, I see a lot of areas that need hand trimming and yes, I did that too!

About this time, I realize that there are about 7 jobs in progress and none completely finished.  The furniture is still all over the kitchen, the porch furniture is scattered and the porch floor is wet and littered with paint chips.  I went back to the front of the house and made the mistake of looking up and saw that the porch ceiling should probably be repainted and certainly it was really dirty, so as I aimed the hose upward, the water came downward and I just got wetter. I asked Peter to go get the wicker planter, PLEASE!

As he filled the bird feeder, ¬†I got the Round-UP out to kill the weeds that were popping up on the patio and between the blocks on the sidewalk. ¬†That done, it was time to put the petunias in the wicker planter. ¬†Uh oh, I don’t have enough dirt! ¬†I dug some up where I plan to plant a basil plant but it really wasn’t enough. ¬†I think there were 12 plants in the flat, however the flat was a plastic molded affair and it was really difficult to get the plants out. ¬†There were a few casualties! ¬†I squished them in together and HOPED that their dirt will blend together and I probably better buy some potting soil soon. I just hope they survive till I return next weekend.

Our neighbors strolled over and she noticed how stick like my hydrangeas were and informed me that I needed to cut back those stems because what I thought were buds were not and I should cut them all back to where there was some green growth near the bottom.  She offered me the use of her new clipper and now even though it was 6:30pm I tackled the two hydrangeas in the front and the one in the back.  Somebody has to tie up all these dead branches for the yard-waste pick-up. 

By the time the kitchen table and chairs were put back, the TV was put back, the porch furniture was put back (only to come off again BECAUSE the porch needs to be repainted) and the two vacuum cleaners emptied and put away, as well as the bottles of Tilex, Windex, Awesome, Simple Green and Fantastik, it was after 7pm.  I was most definitely NOT making dinner tonight.  

After a shower and two Tylenol (for my achey body), we ordered Chinese food!. Tomorrow is another day and after the Parade, I think Peter will repaint the front porch floor….this ole house! 



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Some people who have a cottage at the shore actually go to the beach.¬† Why, when we didn’t have a cottage and we spent weekends at the Lilligaard Hotel, we used to go the beach, soak up the sunshine, read a book, totally relax and end the day on the big porch with a martini!!

That was then and this is now – There was no buffet for breakfast this morning with a bottomless cup of coffee.¬† Instead, Peter made his own eggs while I toodled around with the computer and watched Sunday Morning.¬† That was just my way of procrastinating, there were so many things on my To Do List and a good many I had put on Peter’s list.

I showered and ate and set out for my first stop which was to Susan’s BECAUSE once again, those damn knitting needles screwed up the sleeve of Finley’s sweater.¬† And on my way over, I spotted balloons down the street,¬† a sure sign of Spring in the Grove – YARD SALE! Not a lot to choose from BUT of course I found a few treasures; 2 DVDs, 2 books for the Grandbabies (I think the books are part of a fantasy of having the grandkids here and reading to them) and a very strange looking tool for Peter which¬† I thought maybe he would clean up and sell at the Flea Market (that may be yet another fantasy).¬† Susan fixed the sleeve in no time and I was off to Starbucks for my morning FIX of a Grande Americano with a lite splash of steamed brevi.¬† Whenever I place that order I feel like I’m a DP from LA. A while ago I bought a travel mug at Starbucks for the car and so if you give it to the staff to fill instead of taking a paper cup and transferring in a moving car which is always a treat, lol, you actually receive a 10 cent discount.¬† So I hand over my mug with my order and the barista hands it to me with the top not on.¬† As I screwed on the top, very hot steamed espresso and half and half streamed out through the top making puddles on the counter and a mess all down the sides of the mug.¬† FIRST I had to bring to her attention that I needed something to clean it up.¬† She said “Oh I’ll clean it up, it happens all the time”.¬† She wiped up the counter BUT I’m holding a mug that literally has foamy milk running down all of the sides and on my hand.¬† NO OFFER to give me something to wipe it or me ,clean.¬† I literally must have used 25 napkins to get all of the foam off the mug.¬† It sounds silly, easy and stupid right? WELL, the mugs are covered in various spots with a rubberized and textured coating – all the better for the hot cream to adhere to! Wipe, wipe, wipe and wipe again. I tried sipping some of the brew so it would be below the screw top and still it came out. THIS IS RIDICULOUS!¬† Wouldn’t you think the people who work for the company that sells the mug would know how high you can fill it? ¬† Why I felt funny about taking a photograph of it right then and there I don’t know – I had my camera with me and I should have snapped¬† a shot of the total oozing mess.¬† I wanted a picture for the blog BUT¬† was embarrassed about taking a photo lest they think I was planning on sending it to corporate.

Espresso, steamed Brevi, Starbucks, travel mug

You can still see specks of foam on the mug

Finally I snapped a quick photo surreptitiously at the very end of the clean up.¬† BUT I am going to write to Starbucks because a few weeks ago this very same girl was on the counter and when I asked her for the discount that she didn’t give me, she shrugged her shoulders and took a dime out of the tip container.¬† I guess that was to make me feel foolish and petty when in fact she made the error.¬† This same staff person on that same day looked at me blankly when I ordered a Tall black Pike’s and proceeded to give the robust coffee of the day.

Listen I know anyone can make a mistake, it’s not about that, it’s the attitude! Wouldn’t you think she would be concerned and apologetic that hot coffee was all over a Guest? Wouldn’t you think she would have glanced over and saw me ripping napkins out of the holders to wipe up the continuous puddling on the counter where the sugar and milks are? Wouldn’t you think she might have said something while I was frantically trying to clean up the mug – this while other guests were trying to add milk or sugar to their own drinks and I am standing there looking like the slob who spilled her coffee everywhere?

Once out the door I headed to Harmon Discount because all week long I had been waiting to buy¬† two new eyebrow pencils and two blue eyeliners. THAT’S ALL I was going to get.¬† Part of the spring cleaning of my make-up kit times two because as you know any lady worth her Oil of Olay has cosmetics and stuff at both of her dwellings.¬† At least 3o minutes later I emerged from Harmon with just a few other items. You know when you go to the grocery store and you’re hungry, you come home with all kinds of snacks and goodies, well somehow the same phenomena struck me when I was in Harmon’s.¬† For those of you who are not familiar with this store (it is a chain)-it sells discount cosmetics and toiletries, hair dryers, hair care products as well as brushes, clips etc.¬† In other words it’s a fun place to browse through especially if you’re a girl even a girl of a certain age. So, 2 blue eyeliners – two different brands and two different colors, a water spray bottle to keep my forced curls curly, an eye shadow palette for hazel eyes because I am sure my brown eyes are fading, another eye shadow combo with some greens in it to replace the one I dropped on the bathroom tile floor, you know what that mess was like.¬† Of course I needed two eyebrow pencils too and again two different shades, two different brands – I mention this only because you can imagine how much time was spent while I desperately tried to determine which product and shade was right.¬† I think my Gemini side was in full force yesterday morning. – maybe my moon was rising.¬† Then there was the replacement of a lip stain by Cover Girl that I really like and am almost out of, so I got one of those too. Just as I thought I was done (really) I spotted this eye brightener – now that is a ridiculous come on if I ever heard one because other than putting some magic drops in your eyes, what could this mere pencil do?¬† Well we’ll find out!!! Leaving the store at the checkout counter, I thought to myself, I should never come in this store again when I’m hungry!!

Guiltily and quickly I headed home, picked up Peter and off we went to the storage area where we needed to drop off some New York street furniture find of his, return the Easter hats to their year long home and find a bank that we sold on Ebay which was supposed to be in a bin and was NOT.  We are hoping it is somewhere in New York because it has been paid for and the buyer is awaiting shipment.

“What a great day to paint, don’t you think, Peter?” He promised to paint the trim around the windows in the bow window to match the front of the house.¬†¬† Last year we had picked out a beautiful shade of a green that is somewhere between sea glass and aquamarine and at the time we only painted the two front windows and the front door frame…I really wanted the windows on the ocean side of the house painted too.

Sea Glass green, Bay Window

Bay Window on La Vie en Rose

So after he painted the bow window frames, I drove past the house and sure enough the remaining two side windows stood out like the proverbial sore thumb!¬† Thankfully it didn’t take much convincing to have him paint those also.¬† So now our little cottage, La Vie en Rose has some color on the side.¬† It’s hard to convince anyone it’s a little Victorian when it has white vinyl siding on it.¬† Very bland, but I am adding color wherever I can and making it into a Confection of a Cottage inside and out!

Lest you think I was reading, knitting or writing this blog while he was working I was not!¬† We had bought a huge bag of mulch two weeks ago and so I spread it among our bushes in the back, the daffodils on the side and cleaned up the front landscaping and put some there too.¬† I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but I had to fill a pail with the mulch, spread it, fill the pail again and again and again.¬† Still, that was a lot easier than washing the mildew and moss off of the porch spindles and the edge of the porch floor.¬† I scrubbed and scrubbed and it still doesn’t look great and I am trying to convince my painter that mildew will just eat its way through new paint and also some of the spindles and the lower balustrade need to be replaced, AND the porch floor could use some minor repair and a repainting and thank God our other home is an apartment with a Superintendent, handymen who clean the hallway carpeting and wash the floors,¬† a trash room, a laundry room, a doorman and a garage.

All work, no play? NO WAY Рas Sunday afternoon faded away, look how much fun we had doing our favorite Shore thing:  Drinks and appetizers on the porch with friends! Doncha just love it?

Jim Taylor, front porch

Chilling on the porch

Peter Press, martini, front porch Ocean Grove

Savoring the evening's martini

Cheese and crackers, olives, Bruschetta, shrimp, appetizers, red peppers, artichoke hearts

Hors D'ouevres on the Front Porch

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