Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Turt Rescue

I had an interesting experience this morning.  I backed out of my driveway and started down the road, and about 4 houses down, I saw something in the road.  It was brown and oval and sort of looked like a hat laying in the middle of the road.  I noticed other cars going around it.  Then it moved, and I realized it was a turtle - a very large turtle - bigger than a dinner plate!

It was walking across the road and would periodically stop.  I was afraid it was going to get hit, and I wanted to rescue it, so I pulled over and got out.  Other cars had stopped as well.  (This was about 10:40 am, and there really wasn't much traffic.)

I had just read recently that if you are going to rescue a turtle in the road you need to take it to the side it was headed toward, which makes sense, so I tried to pick it up.  Immediately it jumped and started thrashing its head and legs, and the HUGE tail that looked like an alligator tail!  I quickly put it down - not because I was afraid of it biting me, but because I was afraid it would move so violently that I would drop it and it would get injured.

Next, I tried pushing it from behind with my foot to get it started walking again, but that didn't work - it just jumped again.  One more time, I tried picking it up, and again, it thrashed violently from side to side, so again I put it down.

At this point, there were at least 4 cars with people watching, and a little boy was telling me to put water on it.  I called out to the assembled group, "Anyone have any ideas?"  No one said anything.

Then a blue VW Beetle pulled over and a young woman got out with a blanket.  She folded the blanket in half and laid it over the turtle, then picked it up.  To my surprise, it didn't thrash around this time.  She carried it to the side of the road and set it down in the grass.

I thanked her and several other people yelled, "Thank you!" and then we all went about our business.  I have no idea where it came from or where it was headed.  There is a creek behind my house, but that would have been a very long walk with fences in the way, and it would have had to navigate a curb unless it walked down someone's driveway.  There is a pond on the side of the road he was headed to, but it is quite a ways down the road and behind houses, so he had quite a walk if that is where he was headed.

I hope he is ok.  He looked old and experienced, so he is a survivor.  I have never touched a big turtle like that before (I assume it was a snapping turtle?).

Life is just one adventure after another!


Monday, June 27, 2016

The Odyssey Continues - What Happens on Vacation...

Hello Friends,

It is about time for the June weight-loss report.  However, today's summary is not going to be about weight "loss".  I am just coming off of a week of vacation decadence, and I have gained a few pounds, but I'm ok with this.  As I've stated before, I am not on a diet, but rather experiencing a lifestyle change.  Vacations are part of life, as are the consequences of eating differently on vacation.

I have just returned from a fabulous week of vacationing in New Hampshire and Maine where almost all of my meals were in restaurants.  I decided before I left home that I was not going to be tracking on my WW app, and I was going to allow myself to enjoy food items that are unique to the area or special.  That being said, I wasn't going to throw all caution to the wind and be reckless either.

Breakfast was the easiest time to "behave" as the restaurants are not pushing decadent desserts at 8 am.  I drank iced tea rather than sugary juices, I ordered mixed fruit, and I had protein of some sort - either sausage or bacon.  (I usually didn't have eggs because real eggs cause digestive issues, and it can be a pain to ask restaurants if they have Egg-Beaters, so I only did that once where they actually had "Egg-Beaters available" listed  on the menu.)  Additionally, I had a toasted English muffin with jam most days, and a bagel with low fat cream cheese once.

Lunch and dinner had 1 theme: Lobster!  I was in Maine after all, and I was determined to have lobster at least once a day.  By itself, lobster is great as far as WW points go.  6oz of lobster meat is only 2 pts.!  However, it is the sauce, etc... that is on the lobster and how it is prepared that can cause problems.  For example, one day for lunch I had lobster salad (think chicken salad with lobster meat instead of chicken), and I have NO idea what was in the dressing.  It wasn't heavy and didn't seem like it had extremes of mayo or sugar.  Another day I had a lovely salad with lobster added - just plain chunks of meat that were not coated.

I don't typically take photos of my food, and I have made fun of people who do, but I actually did it on this trip.  Here are some examples of my lobster indulgences:

One night, we (I was traveling with my cousin) ate at a restaurant called The Wild Blueberry in Ogunquit, Maine.  My first course was Lobster and Avacado Salad.  It was literally ALL lobster meat and diced avocado with very little else.  There may have been some light, lemony, something on it to hold it together, but there was no dressing that I could tell.  This may have been the BEST thing I ate on this trip.  The flavor combo of lobster and avocado was amazing!

For dessert that night, I had to have the house specialty:  blueberry cobbler with blueberry ice cream. (Sorry, no photo of this one!) Instead, here is a photo of The Wild Blueberry Restaurant.  It was absolutely lovely - I highly recommend it!

Probably the most decadent lobster meal I had was for brunch at The Maine Diner which is famous for being featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on The Food Network with Guy Fiere.

There is a lot of good stuff on the very extensive menu, but I specifically looked for lobster items.  Once I saw The Lobster Melt, I was IN!  Picture this: a toasted English muffin laid open on the plate topped with slices of tomato, a PILE of lobster meat, and then coated with a ton of cheese and melted under the broiler.  Let me help you with this picture:

O-M-G !!!  This was AMAZINGLY Yummy!  I took my time and savored every bite because I knew I was probably never going to have anything like this again.  I also knew it was my last meal in Maine.  Yes, the cheese was bad as far as points go, but I can live with that!!

Then there are the desserts.  Yes, I had dessert once a day - usually at dinner.  One night it was mixed berry pie.  Another night, my cousin and I split something called "A Donut and Coffee" which was a grilled honey-glazed donut topped with coffee ice cream and an espresso glaze.  Probably the most decadent dessert was in our hotel dining room and was called Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie.  Here it is in all its glory:

It was almost too pretty to eat.... but I ate it all anyway!  

Other items I enjoyed:  Lobster bisque, lobster rangoon (like little triangles of crab rangoon at local Chinese restaurants, only better), bacon wrapped scallops, peanut butter gelato with chocolate chips.

I will add one other point - I didn't snack - at all.  I took no snacks with me and didn't buy any, so I only ate my 3 meals a day.  

... and now here we are... home again.  My weight before I left on this trip was 215#.  The day after I returned, I weighed in at 219#.  I know I will probably continue to go up as all this food settles in, but I'm ok with it.  I enjoyed every morsel of food, and now I am back on program with tracking every bite.  

Thanks for visiting today!  Stay tuned for more about my vacations!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Tom Comes Home Again!

Sometimes coincidences are just too weird.  Some people would attribute a grand coincidence to the Hand of Fate, and some would say it is Divine Intervention.  Whatever it is, it feels very strange when it happens.  On our recent vacation to Lake Erie, we took a jaunt to Milan for an afternoon.  Those of you who know me will probably remember that I lived in Milan in high school, and my parents lived there for 35 years.  Our goal in going back was to visit the cemetery, drive by my parents' house, and then go to some of the local antique shops.  What happened when we got to Milan is incredibly coincidental!

Our first stop was at a shop called Milan Inn-Tiques.  This shop is in a building that was, for many years, a restaurant called The Milan Inn.  In fact, it is where we had our rehearsal dinner before our wedding in 1982.  At some point - I don't know how long ago, but it has been some years - the restaurant went out, and the building was taken over by a man named Tom Gfell.  He filled the first floor with antiques and turned the second floor into a vacation rental apartment.  On this visit, I was pleased to find a place to park right in front.  We went in and started to browse, and about 10 minutes into our visit, the woman who was working there asked us if we knew about the statue coming to town?  What?  She went on to explain that the statue of Thomas Edison that had been made for display in the capitol building in Washington D.C. was coming to town.  "How nice!" we commented - when will this happen?  "Any minute now!" she replied.

For those of you who might not be aware - Milan is the birthplace of Thomas Edison!  The birthplace is a museum and a big part of Milan's history. But I digress...  back to the story...

We went outside, and there was the truck bringing the statue through town!  We learned it was going to be placed in the library - right next door - for the summer.  Here are some photos of what we saw:

Here is Milan Inn-tiques - right next to the library:

The man in the orange shirt, holding on to the statue on the truck is Don Gfell.  He was the main driving force behind getting the Edison statue made and voted into its place in history in D.C.  
Here he is speaking with a reporter:

Mr. Gfell was the superintendent of Milan Schools when I was in high school there - in 1977!  Since he retired, he has had a shop in Milan which specializes in Edison antiques - specifically Edison  phonographs and the parts for them.  (Don is a brother of Tom, who owns the Inn-tiques.)

Here is a photo of the statue with the sculptor, Alan Cottrill:

Here is Tom in all his glory:

Ironically, they put the statue down right in the middle of a handicapped parking space, and of course, Tom had no handicapped hanger.  Fortunately, they got him inside before he got a ticket!

Here is the banner hanging on the side of Milan Inn-tiques:

Right across the street from the Inn is the town square.  In 1984, when my mother was president of the Milan Garden Club, she led the group in fund-raising for a statue of Edison's mother for the town square.  The story that was always told at the birthplace was that young Tom didn't do well in school and kept getting sent home, so he was largely educated by this mother in his early years.  As a tribute to her, the Garden Club raised the money for this statue:

Milan has always been all about promoting Thomas Edison - hence, the name of the high school I attended was Edison High School, and we were the Chargers (lightning bolt!)  It has changed hands several times, but there has long been a restaurant just across from the side of the square called The Invention.  It is getting ready to open soon under new ownership:

All of this was very exciting for me to see.  We knew Mr. Gfell had worked tirelessly to get the statue approved for Ohio, but we had no idea the statue was going to get to be displayed in Milan before going to Washington D.C.  The fact that we just happened to be there when it arrived was just incredible!  

If you would like to learn more about the statue, here are links to some of the newspaper articles done about it (some include photos):

I have not been able to find a date when the statue will be moved from Milan to D.C., but I read one account that said September.  There is also going to be a program about it in Milan on July 26.  
So, there you go - some interesting history and a grand coincidence all rolled into one!

Thanks for reading!
Come back again soon for info and photos of our vacation to Vermilion!


Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Air Force Comes To Town!

Have you ever seen an Air Force C-17 in person?

Have you ever had an Air Force C-17 fly over your house?

We are sort of used to jets flying over because we are on a flight path for Port Columbus International Airport, but they are usually 2-engine jets and are fairly high.  Today, about 1 pm, I had just gotten off the phone with Hubs, and I was in the 3-season room when I heard a very loud plane overhead.  I went out on to the patio and right above my head was the biggest plane I've ever seen in my life!  I pulled out my phone to get a picture, but by the time I got the camera on, the plane was over the house and gone.

About 15 min later, I heard the roar again, and I looked out to see a plane of the same size, in line to go over the house again from northeast to southwest.  Could it have been a 2nd one?  It was very low and looked like a cargo plane rather than a passenger jet.

Then it was 1:30.... and here it comes again, this time more from straight north, and after it flies directly over the house, it banks to the right.

By this time Hubs was with me, and we were pulling in the driveway.  He suggested he thought it was the same plane flying a circle in a holding pattern.  We both took our cameras out onto the patio and waited...  about 1:40 it came again, and this time we were ready for filming.  I got some great stills and Hubs got a great video.

The last time it went over was about 1:55.  Again, more photography ensued.

I kept watching for it while Hubs started processing the photos.  By looking at the photos, we could see "USAF" under the wing - and it was a 4-engine beast.  His research led to the discovery that it was a C-17.

Here are some of the photos I took:

Here is a photo that Hubs found online which matched ours:

Here is the video he shot:

Absolutely Amazing!  In watching the 11:00 news tonight, we learned that this plane was in town for a parachute training event at OSU's Don Scott field, but it ended up being canceled because of the wind.  They are going to try again tomorrow between 1:00 and 3:00.  Maybe we will see The Big Guy again!  Evidently, people called the TV station to ask why this big plane was flying over their houses!

Happy Flying!