Saturday, June 25, 2016

Still Cottage Crazy!

We LOVE OUR  Paws & Paddles Cottage on Tybee Island, Georgia. A year or so ago I retired. That enabled us to spend the fall and winter of 2015 at the Cottage. It was great fun and we avoided the super cold weather, snow and ice in Virginia. Previous to retirement we were only able to spend a few weeks at the Cottage each year. The extended time we spent there in 2015 allowed us to make a number of improvements. Under floor insulation that reduced the humidity in the cottage which made the Cottage seem even warmer during cooler weather. The biggest visible change was adding beautiful pavers. We wanted to be able to walk through our Cottage gate and have our feet stay on pavers to the front door and to the back door. We also created new outdoor seating/grilling areas. 

The view from the front and walking down the side towards the back yard.

A great place to enjoy a glass of Wine and reflect on the day. 

A couple of shots of the side yard walking to the back porch/patio and Outdoor Shower

The New back patio for grilling/eating & relaxing. 

The pavers were installed by Olde Savannah Gardens. Heather & Ross Harrison were great. We were very pleased with the completed project. 

We liked it so much we have been discussing since March if this should be our full time residence?  As in most things in life there are many pros and cons. 

We LOVE Tybee. Fresh seafood from Bowie's just across the street...major yum. Painting classes, shops, restaurants, library, Y.M.C.A., the Monday Farmers Market, & the local grocery store are all a short bike ride away from our Cottage. Best of all...beautiful Savannah is 25 minutes from our front door. We love Savannah and all of her charms. 

We also LOVE Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains and enjoy spending time at nearby Smith Mountain Lake in the summer. SMLake has 500 miles of shore line. Lots of coves, a huge dam, and large expanses of beautiful blue water.  We think it is the prettiest fresh water lake on the east coast. A few photos follow to give you an idea of what this area is like. 

First kayak lesson with The SuperWonderfulGrandBoy! June 2016.

Captain Mike piloting the Toon around Smith Mountain Lake. 

Mike, Daughter and SuperWonderfulGrandBoy swimming at SMLake June 2016 

A pretty little sailboat under way at SMLake. Lots of power and sailboats at the lake. 

A nice young man paddle boarding with his dog on an INFLATABLE paddle board! Looks like fun.
They both are wearing life vests which is always a good idea when out alone on the water. 

Our Favorite SMLake Home.  It is NOT ours. Great and generous friends let us pretend to live there several times when they were traveling. It is an amazing home the photo wasn't large enough to take it all in. The water and sunset views, the beautiful large decks, a lovely boat dock and entertaining area, screened porch, & amazing landscaping, plus the stunning interiors was and is still the nicest place we have ever stayed! 

Our SuperWonderfulGrandBoy and his Mom live near Smith Mountain Lake and it is nice being close to them. We both have lots of family in the Roanoke area as well as some great friends. We also have made many wonderful friends in Tybee. Friends and Family enjoy spending time at Tybee and we have 3 bedrooms so that can work too. Lots to sort through on many fronts. We spend time hiking, walking the many greenways and biking in Virgininia.

I wanted to share these photos to give you a sense of the dilemma we face in deciding to move full time to Tybee Island or continue to maintain two residences. I miss our light bright Cottage with all the happy colors. We are living in an urban environment and it is wonderful in so many ways. Walking distance to everything. A garage and elevator. Our building &  living space is beautiful. We have realized we miss the light that we have in the cottage and nature. The little things like having hummingbird feeders, flowers & herbs, sun coming thorough the window, grass and outdoor spaces that are just yours. So we have spent months trying to figure this out. 

More on our plans soon! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Oct. 4th to November 20th 2015

I always wondered what it would be like to be " Retired ".  I thought it might be interesting at least to me to blog about my transition from going 100 miles an hour with my hair on fire to being " Retired  ".  Retirement brings about many new firsts.  That first morning you don't have to go to work or be anywhere you don't want to be is great. Not having to be on schedule is great. Being able to come and go where and when you want is great. It feels like you are on vacation for quite a while. Then it doesn't. Things still happen that you don't plan on.  And you begin to notice some subtle changes.

Since retiring on April 1st 2015 I have been experiencing a number firsts and noticing subtle changes. The first month of retirement I landed in the emergency room. I was surprised to find I had a perforated appendix.  The surgeon didn't want to take a chance on operating and gave me heavy meds and sent me home after a few days. My follow up several weeks later with another surgeon sent me back to the hospital in late June to have the appendix out. Due to concerns with the perforation he opted for a full incision vs the scope method. I was sore and uncomfortable for a week or so. After two weeks I was back to getting in my 10,000 steps in each day. In a few more weeks I was able to enjoy boating and swimming on our boat at Smith Mountain Lake.  We enjoyed many days on the water with family and friends. We spent lots of time with our SuperWonderfulDaughter and the SuperWonderfulGrandson at the lake and in Roanoke doing fun things like walking and biking on the Greenway, visiting the Mill Mountain Zoo, the Taubman museum and enjoying lunches at many of the Downtown restaurants from our home at the W. This was the first time since I was a child that I had the Summer off! Walking to the Farmers Market to buy fresh fruits, plants, and veggies was a daily treat.  Living in Downtown Roanoke encourages you to leave the car in the garage and walk. I have found that is something I enjoy. It is fun to have a purpose for my walk other than just getting exercise. 

It is surprising how much " More " you see walking as opposed to driving or even biking.  I no longer have lots of work problems to solve. I do continue to notice things that might need fixing. I had never contacted the City maintence team before retiring.  Another first. The head of the Roanoke City maintence team may be sorry I retired. I am tactful, nice and persistent.  Suddenly I noticed there seemed to be large amounts of dog poo on the sidewalk in front of my Valley Bank on Church Avenue. It seemed to continue for more than a couple of weeks. I contacted the City and let them know of the problem. It took a week or so but it stopped. The bank staff let me know that increased patrols and conversations had fixed the problem! Next I noticed that someone had thrown broken glass everywhere and generally  made a huge mess at the Carilion Healing Park. This is the lovely small park with the swing by the river on the Greenway were we walk every morning. I contacted the City and they emailed me back to thank me for bringing it to their attention. They not only cleaned up the glass but freshened up the mulch and more importantly posted no smoking signs. The healing park had become a smoking area for the employees at Carilion and hundreds of butts were discarded all over the beautiful flower beds and mulch. It made me feel good that I had helped to get the park cleaned up. It is the little things in life that can make your day. All was well in my little downtown oyster for several weeks. Then I noticed on our early morning walks that one of the large decorative and thankfully bright street lights was out making our walk in the dim morning light dark and slightly scary when someone popped around the corner in the semi dark. The next day several more lights were out.  I contacted the City. This problem took quite a few weeks to solve. It seems that these particular lights were on privately owed buildings. I understood that would take some additional time.  After a few weeks I received an email that they were fixed. Great. Well not great. They were still not working. I mentioned what a struggle I used to have with the timers on the bank's lights. I was pleased to get another email and the timers were the problem. The lights were turning off too soon. Problem fixed. I am sure my new friend at the City was probably cheering when I left for Tybee Island for the fall.  I share this long winded account to demonstrate how I have already changed with retirement. I used to drive in and not notice when Mike spent the entire day working in the yard. Before retirement it was like I had blinders on after a too full day at work whacking at too many problems. After retirement more time to slow down and be more aware of my surroundings. Another subtle change.

Since we have owned the Cottage we could only spend short vacations of a week or two there. This Oct. we were able to go and stay until the rental season starts again on April 1st. More about our stay thus far in the next blog. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cloudy Day Fun...Home Goods Shopping!

We had a cloudy day with drizzle earlier this week. So...we headed to Home Goods in Savannah. I always enjoy checking out what they have.  I  " needed " a few ideas to help smooth out the cooking process at Paws.  

I realized that I didn't have a nice (non-plastic) drink pitcher.  I thought this one would be perfect for some ice cool Bellini's or Sangria.

Colorful and heavy enough not to be fragile.

We love cooking those fat white Georgia Shrimp on the stove. My pots didn't seem to be either the exact right size and they didn't mesh well with the smooth top cooking surface.  I usually also drain the pot with a separate colander.  That means two items to clean up.  Well I found one super nice pot that also drains. Perfect for seafood or pasta!  Yea.

It heats up so much faster.  Very important when you are starving after a day out on the beach!

I also needed several different sizes of rubbermaid mixing bowls...found a nest of three in my favorite red!  They each have rubber non-slip rings on the bottom and pouring spouts. Great for mixing up a salad or a batch of brownies. I made brownies on our last trip for the gang and had to mix them up in a large metal pot!  It worked. These are much better. Cuter too.

This morning (Saturday, September 19, 2015) the Sun came back out to greet us. Everything looks and feels so much happier when the Sun Shines!

Still some clouds...but the sun climbed over them and popped out all at once. Great breezy morning about 73 degrees. Perfect temperture for a long walk.

Lots of seafoam this morning. The white puffs were rolling after us in the breeze.

My walking buddy...

A favorite new sign...

Great advice for all of us...

I spent some time while it was cloudy planning a late November trip to Atlanta. We are looking forward to seeing the Aquarium, High Museum, the Carter Library/Museum, CNN, the Zoo, and the Botanial gardens. Looking forward to this roof top view at the Glenn Hotel in Atlanta.

If any of you have any suggestions of sites to enjoy or great places for lunch or dinner...let us know.

Off to grab some sunshine...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday, 09/15/2015 Tybee Fun...

Enjoyed biking yesterday after dinner to the far north beach to watch the sun slide into the channel heading to Savannah.

Lovely view enhanced by the strong wind coming on shore.  It dropped quickly. We biked back to the Cottage just as darkness begin to fall.

This morning we had the second morning in a row where the sun resembled a large glowing orange as it rose in the east.

Note the dripping effect just before it cleared the horizon. Love it. 

We decided to bike down to the South Beach this morning at High Tide. It was amazing yesterday at Low Time to see all the sand bars and how it seemed you could almost walk to Little Tybee. Big difference today. All the sand bars where well underwater.

Very wild and natural looking as it makes the turn from the ocean to the back river.

A number of sand dunes with sea oats...

We enjoyed the swing. The breeze was so strong it handled the swinging!

I love that Beach Cottage to the left of the picture. It has been featured in Coastal Living in the past.

Fishermen and Kayakers love this part of Tybee.

We biked a number of miles.  The return trip was near A.J.'s restaurant...tomorrow may be raining ig the forecast is accurate. So...since it was a beautiful day to enjoy the deck at A.J.'s we treated each other to lunch.  Mike loves their fried oysters and scallops. I like the grilled Mahi/salad. I didn't have a problem eating a couple of his fried oysters. I couldn't resist.

Later this afternoon the small yellow fleshed watermelon was calling to us. Refreshing after a Mikie nap in the front yard. Yep the breeze through our palm trees lulls you right to sleep as it rattles the palms.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, September 2015 at Paws & Paddles Cottage

A feeling of Fall has arrived suddenly.  A much cooler 68 degrees this morning for our Beach walk.
A stunningly beautiful sunrise.  The kind where the large orange like sun slides up and seems to be dripping molten lava into the ocean before making it's accent into the heavens.

This picture so doesn't convey how beautiful it was...the strong breeze and the cool air felt like heaven just a perfect morning. We were both looking forward to coffee when we got back to the Cottage. Funny how cooler temps make certain things taste even better than usual.

We had fun at the new Tybee Farmers Market taste testing a number of goodies this morning. The Farmers Market is open on Mondays from 10 till 1:00. Located off Meddin at the American Legion building parking lot.  LOVE IT... So many wonderful things.  Just a couple of hundred steps from the Cottage.  We loaded up on produce. Yellow watermelons, tomatoes, cukes, squash, avocados, and apples. All from Davis produce. Catie's Confections had a darling booth.  She is super nice and even though we Don't eat desert...mostly don't that is...We tasted her soft homemade ginger cookies...yes we bought a bag.  We will have to walk additional steps due to this purchase. But they were good.  Mike wanted one of her small Chicken pot pies. Then we had to try the smoked Barbecue pork and chicken.  A whole chicken hitchhiked back with us.  Pork Que sandwhich for Mike's lunch...I tossed some on my salad for lunch.  That chicken and some squash/tomatoes/cukes will likely be Dinner. I also picked up 3 white pumpkins for decoration. Muscadine grapes for Mike. He loves the Sweet Mountain Laurel wine that our local winery makes from these grapes. Lots of sweet pulp but very tough skins. A fun time...many other things available there. Our arms were full.  Next time we will have to try some of the special flavored ice pops and check out additional vendors.

It's starting to feel like Fall even at Tybee...warmer weather is still around and will likely bounce back in a few days. 

Catie's cookies and a small lemon cake.  Did I say we don't eat desert...well it is quite small...really!