Saturday, October 29, 2016

We've Only Just Begun

Halloween weekend we are off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the wedding of Megan Piermarini and Jon Liff. Jeff and I flew up on Thursday and met Brian at Logan Airport in Boston. We rented a car and set off to Portsmouth amidst heavy traffic. We checked into the Hampton Inn and were upgraded to King Suites - very nice!

That night was the rehearsal dinner at a cozy restaurant on the water. It was a rainy night, but inside we enjoyed great food and sat with our first cousins. It was a great reunion and lots of catching up. Six of our eight Steingrob cousins were there.

The next morning we hung out and got ready for the festivities. The wedding took place at The Red Barn in East Berwick, Maine, a short drive from the hotel. First we took the obligatory pictures.

Then the beautiful ceremony with Brielle as the flower girl. She did a great job of capturing all our hearts as she walked up the aisle.

The ceremony was short and sweet with the doggies paying close attention.

Then came the fun part of the evening - the party! I got to hold our newest addition Daniel James Charwick and his big sister Brielle.

We danced a hora, ate a delicious meal and enjoyed visiting with relatives and old friends.

The first cousins 

The Others

A family portrait with Brian

The next day we enjoyed exploring the quaint town of Portsmouth. All decked out for Halloween and quite a bit chillier than home.

 We wandered for a while, ate lunch and then headed back to Boston for the flight home.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Blowing in the Wind

Congratulations to Bob Dylan on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Talking about Hurricane Matthew and our lucky experience with this serious storm.

As the Jewish New Year approaches we are busy watching the approach of Matthew, a serious storm wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and causing much loss of life in Haiti. The path was predicted to hit the Florida coast and in the end it stayed at sea until it reached the Georgia/South Carolina border. We got a direct hit and luckily the storm was a Category 2 when it arrived. Our governor called for a mandatory evacuation and our community required us to put up our storm shutters. Our house has aluminum shutters that go over each window and doorway. Once up it is like living in a tuna fish can and extremely unpleasant and claustrophobic.

On Tuesday night, October 4 there is great concern locally and gas stations have long lines and little gas. Supermarkets are out of food and water. Luckily we waited until Wednesday morning when gas has been delivered and our car's tank is full and we have food and other necessary provisions. Our dear friends have made a motel reservation for us at a pet friendly place in Aiken, SC. On Wednesday morning everything in Beaufort County is shut down including hospitals and all emergency services. If you stay - you are on your own.

Thursday morning we looked at each other and decided that we had better evacuate before the storm arrives. We drove two and a half hours to Aiken on the western border of our state and checked into the Quality Inn with Sirius. The room was much nicer that we had expected and breakfast was included. Sirius checked out the two beds and hopped up to relax. Sue and Bob arrived with their dog Einstein and one of their neighborhood couples was at the same place. We did meet many more guests who were from Sun City and Hilton Head and almost every room had at least one dog.

We spend the next two days eating out, walking around Aiken and having a fun, mini vacation.

On Friday night the hurricane hit Beaufort County and cased much destruction, particularly on Hilton Head Island. By Saturday morning it was all over and the storm moved north. Several people posted that they were able to go home and we had only lost electricity for a few hours. On Sunday morning we decided to try to return home, even though the evacuation order was still in effect.

We are home!!! Just showered and watching the debate coverage. What a day!
Left Aiken and had an easy ride home. A few trees along the road were down. Got on 95 above Ridgeland and little traffic. Get off on exit 8 and anxious to go home. Just past Georgia Skin Office we had to stop. Beaufort County is closed! I bet there were a thousand cars parked head in along both sides.

Kind of a party at where with everyone talking and sharing food. My two new Jamaican friends even held a blanket for me while I  toiletted in the grass. The state troopers, SLED and National Guard were there passing out water and moving cars. They told us to be prepared to spend the night. Lots of emergency vehicles headed toward HHI. A large convoy from Myrtle Beach went by with a fire truck, zodiac boats, trailers and more. Lots of Sun City people and many from HHI.

Finally they announced that Jasper County is open and the residents could proceed. Naturally all the Sun City folk left. We had no problem, except lying, and drove right in the main gate. I have heard that you can enter all the gates, but only leave by the main gate.

Inside there is lots of storm damage. Only one lane is open for most of SC Blvd. lots of tree debris in the right lane and downed trees. I heard that the fire department has been here cutting down branches. My neighbors are annoyed that the Sun City staff have not returned or done anything. Apparently we paid lots of $ for shutters for Palmetto Commons and they did not put them up! Some lagoons are really high and must have flooded the roads.

Our house and street are fine. We drove up and saw a few neighbors who said it was scary during the storm. We schlepped our stuff into the house and then removed all the storm shutters. So nice to have light in the house again. Our lagoon rose about 10 feet. In three days it was back to normal and a few small trees fell from what I can see.

 The aftermath of the storm was mostly felt on the island which was badly damaged. We are fine and inconvenienced by cancellations of classes and theatre. Almost silly to mention when some people had huge trees fall on their homes or suffering without power for days. Schools were closed for over a week and many were used as emergency shelters. Many civic groups and churches are providing meals and clothing to those in need. The good news is no lives were lost in our area due to the hurricane. I cannot express our gratitude for having been spared what could have been a disaster for us and our area. I pray for those who were affected by the storm and hope their lives return to normalcy soon and thank all the responders and emergency personnel who helped and are still helping in our area.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bye, Bye Birdie!

Birds and animals of Panama

 Crimson-backed Tanager
 Yellow-backed Oriole

Tiger Heron - Juvenile
Tropical Kingbird


Oscar the Toucan

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird


 Magnificent Frigatebird
Male, Female & Juvenile


Blue-gray Tanager


Yellow-faced Grassquit

Rufous-collared Sparrow