Saturday, September 21, 2013

Watching the Sand in the Hour Glass slip away...

We had another great beach day. A light to moderate breeze kept us cool. The warm salt warm was a treat to float around in. We decided for out last day a beach day was perfect. We all ended up napping at one point. The sun, the breeze, and the sound of the surf put us all to sleep. Interesting to see the variety of people at the beach. A number of Russians, Germans, and folks from all over the U.S. all enjoying the beach. By the end of the day we were sandy, wet, disheveled and didn't care a bit. The Outdoor shower felt amazing. I am going to miss that in Roanoke. Nothing like a Palm Tree for a roof over your shower.  We did a fair amount of biking this week which I love. Tybee is such a small town you can walk or bike anywhere you want or need to go. It has been a great week. The weather, the scenery, and the company couldn't have been better. We have had a great 10 days. Tonight we are likely going to do some packing. We have heard there could be some rain in the forecast after midnight. Might be better to pack the car early than later in the rain. I am planning on leaving a fair amount of my summer clothes here. We are planning on a return trip on Oct. 12th which is just 3 weeks away! We will probably need a few jackets for the next trip just in case it cools down a bit. This week it has been shorts, tanks, and bathing suits. I did manage to dress up all the way to bermuda shorts for the two days we spent in Savannah. The rest of the week black running shorts and my favorite tank top from Lighthouse Cafe in Sanibel Island. It is getting a tad worn but that is always when they feel their best. One of these days if we can pull ourselves away from Tybee we need to see Sanibel again. It is a unique place as well. Sugar white sand and tourquise water that looks more like the Bahamas than Florida. Great biking there as well as a beautiful wildlife refuge. 

Off to do some packing and someone mentioned going out for ice cream. That sounds like a great plan...

We have had 2 of these umbrellas forever and rarely have used them. It is usually too windy but the last 2 days they have worked like a charm. Probably kept us getting too much sun. We are all a nice reddish brown which should be tan by tomorrow.

Early this morning Anne and Mike waiting on the sun to rise. It didn't disappoint. Those jackets came off as soon as it was up.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Oh what an Awesome Day at the Beach

It had been decades since I spent an entire day on the beach. Today was the perfect Beach Day. A light to moderate breeze which allowed twin umbrellas to provide shade without a hassle. The shade along with the wet suits kept us nice and cool while we toasted to a nice light shade of brown! We spent hours in the water as well jumping the waves and just enjoying the warm and salty water. Our nice North Beach has the advantage of having one of the best food spots on the island just across the parking lot. So around 2 we sauntered over hoping for lunch and frozen mud slides. Lunch was awesome. Grilled Shrimp Citrus Salads were amazing. Shrimp grilled with a lite jerk seasoning, strawberries,mangoes, and candied cashews on a crispy bed of greens. They didn't have the mud slide mix so no slides today. I brought a old fashioned paper back to read. A Mary Kay Andrews paper back from her earlier days under a different name. It was very good. Started and Finished it in one day. That high school speed reading course has been helpful but sometimes I find I go through books way two fast. I left the Kindle at home and I didn't want to take the iPad to the beach. I actually enjoyed having a real book to read on the beach. Yes it got a little wet but that's ok.This was one of the set I bought at SeaSide Sisters that is autographed to Paw and Paddles!  We have all of her books in our new green repurposed Merita Bread rack...somehow knowing her junking ways that seems mighty appropriate.    

All three of us had a great time. It has been nice having my sister here with us. She and I share memories of our childhood that no one else know since both of our parents are gone. I have learned some things I didn't know about Anne. I didn't realize she really loves music. She knows the names of most songs and the artists for the songs being played by either the bands or canned music we hear in the restaurants. A fact I think is interesting since our Mom loved music. Her first job was with MacAvoy Music in Downtown Roanoke. She sold sheet music and records along with instruments. We used to joke that Mom knew the first 5 words to every song written and could hum the rest!  Anne loves the Beach, Shrimp not Oysters, and is easy going and up for anything we want to do. She hasn't biked in a long time but she has enjoyed biking the Island. Hoping we can continue doing some biking back in Roanoke on the Greenways together. She likes Paula Deen and loves her Pecan Pie. She doesn't like olives or Outdoor showers.  Fun that I know that now. One more day on Tybee till we have to pack up and head back to the real world with all of it's joy's and concerns. I think I appreciate Tybee because it is a retreat and a great get away from the concerns of the real world. Not sure I would feel the same way if we were here all the time. 

We watch his attractive lady walk both ways on the beach early each morning.  She often swim laps until we are worried if she is ok. She is an inspiration!  The temperatures have been warmer than normal but with a 15 to 20 mile an hour wind waiting for the sun to rise I have worn a light jacket. She was swimming in a bikini and I was shivering in the wind. LOL.

Another Beautiful sunrise this morning.

Love the Lighthouse. This morning I could capture the full moon and the lighthouse in one frame.

Mikie wandering back to the bikes. Time for breakfast!

The lovely sea oats are starting to fade away. In August they were lush and heavy with seed. Love the waving motion it is so relaxing. Hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner. We have enjoyed finding Summer in Tybee. Roanoke had so much rain it felt like the summer that wasn't. This week has more than made up for all the rain.

Looking forward to another sunrise in the morning.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A few of our Favorite Things that are sooo...Tybee!

The Tybee Lighthouse

Beautiful Wooden Screen Doors

Tybee Swings all along the Beach

Out Door Showers with Flair

Walking your dogs by Bike!

Awesome Sunsets over the Marshes

Amazing Sunrises over the Ocean

Our beloved Hershey at Paws & Paddles Cottage . Gone but Never Forgotten...

Brightly colored Bikes

Soft comfy Beds & Lots of Pillows

All kinds of birds. Pelicans, Skimmers, Heron, Egret, and Storks, plus more.

Shells. We found this baby on the South Beach at very low tide.

Directions to anywhere important...

Huge container ships heading to the Port of Savannah.

Marsh Birds. Mr. Heron.


Lovely Cats

Handsome Strangers

Seafood and Shrimp Boats

Beautiful Cottages. Paws & Paddles

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Squeezing the Most out of Each Day!

We headed to Savannah yesterday afternoon. We toured the Squares for several hours then headed to Paula Deens our Lady & Sons. After lots of walking we were happy to sit, drink, and eat. If you grew up in the South and were lucky enough to have a Mom or Granny that was a good cook you will likely enjoy Paula's food. We were lucky to have numerous good cooks and we miss enjoying their specialities like Fried Chicken and Mac and Cheese. We had both and they were close to what we had the pleasure of growing up on. The restaurant upstairs was just cool enough to help us recover from our walking tour. It was large enough that you didn't feel crowded. We had a nice young man serve us and the meal and service were top notch. After dinner we enjoyed the nice breeze and walked to the Market area of Downtown and enjoyed hearing the music while strolling through shops and art galleries. 

This is Anne thanking Paula for the ride!

Even on vacation sometimes business comes up. Thanks to the assistance of one of our Head MerMaids we were able to borrow some of her technology and get that completed this morning so we could head back to Savannah for a Trolley tour. We wanted Anne to have a good over view of the city and felt the tour guide could do a better job than we could and he did. We so enjoyed the 90 minute tour with Old Savannah tours.  We're learning how to get around the city and where to park and lots of the history so we will are tour guides in training. A quick way to get to River Street especially for those who struggle with steps and uneven footing is to park in the Whittaker garage and walk out the Bay Street exit. Once on Bay Street go left a short distance and look across the street you will see the a large brick hotel, The Bohemian. Go in the front door and the elevator is right inside. Take the elevator one floor down and you will be able to walk through their restaurant and be right on River Street. You can also take the elevator to the top to River on the Rocks and be able to enjoy their roof top restaurant's view of the river. Worth the short ride up for sure. We did both. 

We enjoyed the river view, shops, and general goings on. The Shrimp Factory provided a nice lunch. The Candy Shop warm pralines...they are indeed FULL of butter and brown sugar. Yes they are awesome. We had a great time. The temperatures were warm but with the heavy breeze we were very comfortable. We headed back to the quiet of Tybee and the beach. Then biked to the North Beach. With  our beach towel rollups that a nice lady on Etsy made us. They consist of a large towel with a pillow sewn in that rolls up and secures with velcro. She make pockets for the outer roll and cloth handles so you can either carry them on one shoulder or put your arms through them like a back pack. Perfect for bikers. The wind and surf are still strong. The high tide is up due to us having a beautiful full moon.

I kept telling them to take a couple of steps back! They might have gotten wet. But you can see the power of the surf as it crashes into the rocks.

We enjoy the North Beach side of the Island. It is quiet and has an almost wild feel to it.

We rolled out our towels and relaxed until the waves starting getting too close. Then we biked back and watched the sun set on the marsh behind Paws & Paddles. A full but very nice day. 

A Beautiful Breezy Morning on Tybee Island

The temperature was warm but the strong breeze was impressive this morning on the beach. The combination of a high lunar tide and the strong breeze made for an awesome morning on the beach. 

This is a shot of the very far end of the North Beach. The wind is seriously driving the surf to shore. Interesting angle and the warm wind felt so good.

The sunrise was unique with rays coming out from the bottom.

It was much brighter than this picture. The camera corrected for the brightness and made it darker.

Love that the sea gull decided to become part of the picture!

My favorite shot of the morning.

A ship heading to the Savannah Port.

Another angle showing the power of the surf and wind.

We have laughed all week about my mistake in referring to these guys as penguins! Were the heck did that come from. It most be Tybee Brain caused by lots of relaxation and the odd glass of wine.


Monday, September 16, 2013

It's still Summer Here!

We have had an awesome week so far. Temps have been about 10 degrees warmer than normal. It was 81 degrees just before sun up.  The water temperature is so warm it feels like bath water. We have been in the water more this week than all of last year. Very enjoyable. No jelly fish. I understand that Hilton Head was covered up with jellies a few weeks ago. It's all good here. We started out the morning with a huge container ship silently sliding by. This one had a long string of well lit windows down the middle of the ship. Very interesting looking.

It was cloudy at first but eventually the sun triumphed and we had a beautiful sunrise.

Nice start to an even nicer day. We managed to get in some biking today and a afternoon on the beach with lots of sun. We are all turning a nice shade of tan! We were hot and thirsty on the bike ride back. So we stopped off at the North Beach Grill near the lighthouse for drinks. We were crushed they did not have all their ingredients for a frozen mud slide. We settled for frozen Strawberry and Pina Coladas. Back at Paws for a nice cool outdoor shower, then a glass of wine and a bit of cheese on the back deck. Dinner on the oh so quiet sun porch with a hint of thunder rumbling in the background but no rain as yet. We polished off the rest of our Shrimp boil. Great big fat white Georgia shrimp, local corn on the cob and small new potatoes. Mike finished us off with a cup of coffee and Key Lime pie. I laughed and said it was like a party everyday. Anne said, We are on vacation you know! We are all full, tired, and nodding off! Tybee has worked it's magic again and we are all now on Tybee Tyme...slowing down to enjoy the sights and sounds of the island and our precious vacation days.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tybee Tyme

Up early for a sunrise beach walk. Half the sky was dark the other half a mixture of light and dark clouds. We discussed should we go or stay at the Cottage? Then it started sprinkling rain. We went anyway. We could take the car for refuge. It was raining harder when we got to the Lighthouse. One of the long boardwalks to the beach has a beautiful gazebo about a third of the way down the boardwalk. We opted to sit there and see if the rain stopped. We noticed a man laying on the bench with a pillow under his head. He spoke. I was wondering if he might be homeless. I struck up a conversation with him. If you know me you are not surprised by this!  Poor guy. Two nights ago he drove all night to Savannah because his 78 year old mother was taken to the hospital while she was on a seniors trip. She was still in the hospital and he couldn't sleep so he drove out to Tybee to see the sunrise and the Lighthouse. His mother had not made it to Tybee and wanted a picture of the Lighthouse. He was from near Nashville, Tennessee. He mentioned he was an airplane pilot by trade. His former company had folded and he had been unemployed for 6 months. He was finishing up training at another freight type company. He was worried they might call him in before he could get back to Tennessee. He had not been to Savannah or Tybee before. I gave him some pointers on where to eat, the beaches and the best places to photograph the Lighthouse. It stopped raining and we bid him farewell and expressed our hopes for his Mothers swift recovery. The breeze was awesome so we sat on one of the many Tybee swings and noticed the clouds were turning shades of pink. A large reddish ship rounded the turn and came into view at the same time.

The clouds actually sometimes make for an even prettier sunrise. That was true today.

We decided to walk towards the rocks and check out some surfers we saw carrying their boards.
Tybee doesn't allow dogs on the beach for safety and sanitary issues. I told Mike I know I heard a dog bark. The surf and wind made it hard to hear. I didn't see a dog but then I heard the bark again. I finally  realized there was a dog but he was near the large rocks and he was swimming as his master was surf fishing. He was a big husky yellow Lab. 

He was a good dog. He stayed stayed right with his owner as he waded out in the surf. Even when it meant waves were crashing over his head and he had to swim for it. It was getting close to 8:00 a.m. and they came out of the water and walked the Dog back off the beach leaving their chairs and fishing gear on the beach. Before they left the beach the Lab raced around in wide circles running full out just like Hershey used to do around our Mountain house. I can still hear the sound of him running. For all the world he sounded exactly like a horse at full gallop.

As we were walking back we noticed a cloud that at least to both of us looked like Hershey. Mike said he is still watching over us. We both shed a tear or two. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lessons Hershey Taught Us

Hershey our large Chocolate Standard Poodle came into our lives after we bought and renovated a Tybee Cottage near Savannah, Georgia. We planned to rent it and decided to make it pet friendly to give us an edge in the rental market. We had friends and family that struggled to find vacation accommodations so we felt it would help in renting our cottage. Diane Kaufman head Mermaid from Mermaid Cottages told us that she had positive experiences with renting to pet owners and she agreed it would help us widen our cottage's appeal. She told us we needed a name and we combined the pet angle with our love for Kayaking. So Paws & Paddles it was. Diane and the Mermaids took us under their wing. Diane introduced us to Jane Coslick a decorator of Coastal Living fame and the savior of many cottages on Tybee Island. When we told the dog loving Jane we were going to be a pet friendly cottage she immediately asked what kind of dog do you have? She was surprised by our answer. None. We had lost 3 pets in quick secession twenty years prior and had our hearts broken several times over. Technically we had never gotten another pet. We did have a sweet stray cat that liked us and we gave her a home in our garage. I refused to call her our cat even though we made her a place to sleep complete with a small heating pad for cold winter nights. She stayed with us for almost 5 years. Then she disappeared and we both realized we missed her.

Jane completed her magic on our cottage and as a surprise she had a cute sign made for our back deck. It was two poodles paddling a kayak with Paddling Poodles as a caption. It was perfect since we had previously had 3 small poodles over the years. I think Jane planted a seed the day she gave us the Paddling Poodles sign.  It occurred to me one day that one of our reasons for not getting another dog no longer existed. We no longer had to worry about making arrangements for pet care! We now owned a pet friendly cottage where we would be spending most of our vacation time.

I started watching the newspaper for Standard Poodle puppies for sale. Then one Saturday morning I spotted an ad for a seven year old Chocolate Standard Poodle. He needed a good home. I had always said I had a soft spot for Chocolate poodles. I dumped the idea on Mike and he was resistant but gave in eventually. We would only take the dog for a three day weekend with no guaranties of keeping him. I called and they said a trial for the long 3 day weekend would be fine with them. 

Hershey barreled this way right into our lives from the time we first laid eyes on him. He was a large muscular male dog. He had been used for breeding until recently. At 7 he was neutered and now he needed a new home. He was not leash friendly and came crashing out the door. He was very excited. He was a beautiful dog with excellent confirmation. He carried himself like the proud stud dog he had been. I was concerned when it was clear that we were having a problem just trying to get him in the car. Mike had that look. I decided I would get in the back seat and then with help Mike got Hershey in the car with me. He was very nervous and panting. I kept petting and talking to him and he started to calm down as we drove off from what I presumed to be the only home he had ever known. 

Hershey seemed so huge and excitable. We had previously had miniature poodles that I could pick up and carry. Hershey seemed big enough to ride! When he ran through the house the first time I was mentally expecting something to crash and break at every turn. But he managed to avoid breaking anything. We decided to give him a tennis ball to play with. Mistake. He shredded it in two minutes. Same result with a plastic bowl. Oops. I was wondering if this was why he needed a new home when he came in the room with my good wool baseball cap with a now partially shredded leather brim. We figured out he needed something to chew on. We got him some indestructible Gonuts. One looked like a summer sausage the other a large black donut. They worked! I think he was upset and expressed it by chewing the tarnation out of stuff. The only stuff he was allowed to have were his new toys and he would chew and chew on them. Walking him was a tug of war. Not enjoyable for him or us. We googled dog training and saw a harness gizmo that might help. We tried it and it was great. If he pulled he literally turned him self back towards us and no choking from a collar. Not perfect but much better. He was very skittish. He reminded me of a thoroughbred horse. Loud sudden sounds scared him and he would jump and run. He seemed almost afraid of people and shied away from a outstretched hand. He seemed to be more distrustful of men. We settled into a routine with daily walks up the mountain. He stayed in the basement in a four by six foot kennel at night and while we were at work. He was always so excited to get out of the kennel. He was good about going in most of the time. If he tried to avoid going into the kennel we would put him on his leash and he would walk right in. We took him on his first trip to Tybee and of course we didn't have a kennel. But Jane had slip covered a dog bed out of the same material as our great room chair. So he had that and a bone shaped sign over the bed that said, " Ruff Life ". Jane had made both for our doggie guests since we at the time did not have a dog. Funny how things work out. Hershey liked his bed in the great room just as long as we were in there. We spend most of our time on the sun porch. As in turned out the day bed there wasn't for Mike after all. It was Hershey's. He hopped up on it circled and plopped and that was his special place from then on. I stayed for another week and Mike and Hershey returned home to Virginia. Since Mike was gone for a long period during the day he felt bad about the amount of time Hershey was spending in the kennel. So Hershey got upgraded to his own bed in our bedroom. By the time I returned home the kennel was just a dust catcher. We ended up donating it to the local police for their new dog. Hershey seemed to calm down and started focusing on what we wanted him to do when he became a equal member of the family. We took Hershey with us everywhere. Tybee, Savannah, and Smith Mountain Lake. He was happy as long as he was with us. He conquered his fear of loud sounds and began reaching out to strangers when we walked on the greenway. He did his best to nudge their hand into giving him a pet. We taught him to shake hands. A simple trick that he turned into his way of communicating. We would fasten those big brown eyes on you and sit and raise up this paw and hold it slightly pointing to one side and wait for you to figure out what he wanted. In the morning it was his first hugs of the day. A pet wasn't enough. He needed a full out body hug. Just like you would hug your child or your spouse. I often couldn't get dressed without him giving me as we called it, "the Paw" multiple times. If he wanted something off your plate you got the big brown eyes and the Paw. If he wanted out, you got the Paw. He practiced learning not to knock us or others down as he crashed through any open doors. We started by making sure he knew we were in charge. Door opens, Mommie first, then Daddy, then Hershey. It took patience and lots of practice. But he not only learned that but learned to stay and wait until we said come. We were so proud. He learned to walk on a loose leash and he totally enjoyed any and every walk that he got. Just more opportunities to score a pet. He learned to trust people and enjoyed everyone. I enjoyed seeing the smiles he brought to strangers and friends faces. He was a joy, a constant companion, a friend, and a delightful listener. I couldn't leave the room without him coming with me. His nickname was velcro. To say we were close would be a vast understatement. When he was a little over nine he had a few instances were he wasn't eating or would throw up his food. We thought it was minor and so did the vet. Until he stopped eating his regular food. Again we thought it was something minor like a virus. The vet suggested changing his food. We did. He seemed to like the new food. But after a few weeks he wasn't eating again. Back to the vet. We were shocked to find out he had Lymphoma. More shocked to learn he only had a few weeks left. Maybe a couple of months. He received meds to help him want to eat and perked up. We continued to take him every where we went. He went on boat rides on Smith Mountain Lake. I can still see those long brown silky ears blowing back in the wind as he sat near the bow of the boat and we cruised down the main channel. A visit to our neighborhood homeowners picnic. Typically no pets were invited. But we knew this might be the last time everyone would see Hershey. He had lots of friends in the neighborhood and he was as always a delightful gentleman and he held court while everyone petted and fussed over him. That night I woke up a little after 3:00 a.m. and felt very anxious. Hershey wasn't in our room. He had gone into the great room and was under the ceiling fan. He didn't get up, but more importantly he didn't look at me when I came in the room. I knew something was very wrong. I talked to him and could tell it wasn't good. He seemed hot and his breathing was rough. I told him if it was time it was ok for him to go. If he needed help we would take him to his vet at 8:00 a.m. when they got to work. I woke Mike after a couple of hours because I was sure the end was near. We stayed with him hugging and petting him. He seemed hot so I wiped him down with cool water. It was cooler outside. I opened the terrace door to let the cool air in. Hershey marshaled all the strength he had left and staggered two steps to the door. He stood there shaking and then took two steps outside and lay down on the cool stone tiles. We put towels under his legs and around him to protect his now bony legs and hips from the rough surface. We talked to him and petted him. His eyes were now unresponsive. His breathing became harder. He struggled once with his legs rapidly flailing. We held him and told him we were there and it was ok. A short while later his heart stopped beating with my hand on his heart. At 7:50 a.m. ten minutes before his vet would be at his office he passed away outdoors under the now blue sky.

We miss him terribly but I am so glad that we took a chance on loving and welcoming another dog into our home. If we hadn't I would have missed spending two of the best years of my life learning to know and love Hershey. Yes our hearts are broken. Again. I would do it over in a heartbeat. Hershey taught us to open our hearts to the possibility of love and joy even if it is fleeting and temporary. Not now but one day we will welcome and love another dog into our home. I will love Hershey today and forever more.