Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill: Cape May Point

The Hurricane Bill breakers at Cape May Point today were not as huge as I had hoped, but the beach had a new landscape: some extra lakes and streams that were never there before! The tide was coming in, but erratically. Because of the hot, humid haze photos were difficult. I hope this wedding photographer had his camera settings set better than I did!

So although we didn't see much rain in Cape May (besides the monsoon overnight), it was hard to be outside Saturday and Sunday. We grabbed some pulled pork sandwiches from the food truck in the lighthouse parking lot Saturday, and the heat was so oppressive we thought maybe we could find a sea breeze close to the water. It was much cooler there but I was attacked by a crazy seagull hungry for, of all things, PULLED PORK! It swooped down, landed briefly on my head, pecked at my sandwich, and proceeded to eat the stolen part just feet away from me. Sadly, there is no footage of the event, but this is a picture of the assailant (or one of his close relatives):

I don't think it would have been possible to sit on the beach Sunday with sandwiches, not because of seagulls, but because of the tide coming in so quickly, the big waves, and the torrential rain from the night before, there was moving water everywhere. I was surreal--not the Cape May Point Beach I am used to! And the haze added to the unusual scene.
We noticed how pretty the lake looked, but also that there were very few birders hanging around this popular birding spot. On this side of the dunes, the heat and humidity was unbearable!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Seattle's Pike Place Market

Ooooooh doggie it was hot on Wednesday. It turned out to be the hottest day ever recorded in Seattle, or Washington (I'm not really sure which they said on the news because by then I had been roasting for many hours). Anyway, I had a good few early hours downtown exploring the Pike place Market area.

I saw the legendary fish market where they toss the fish, but no seafood was flying as I walked by. Rather than fish, I bought a trio of organic blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, and some Washington honey. Last year I had sciatica in Seattle, so it was all I could do to walk around a bit and get the flavor of the place. This year, free from sciatica, I was free to walk about the place and explore the lower level. Undercover Quilts, one of the quilt stores I was going to search for turned out to be right there on the lower level of the market. They had some very unique patterns from designers in the Pacific Northwest featuring orcas, salmon and other natural themes. Ordinarily, I don't buy kits for quilts because I prefer to choose my own projects, but my breath was taken away by a quilt called Glacier. I had the kit shipped to New Jersey figuring I'd never find the right fabrics to duplicate the shop sample. And I added a couple of other original patterns, too. After rubbing Rachel the brassy piggy bank's nose for good luck, I left the market to explore the surrounding area.

My stomach hasn't made the transition to West Coast time, so I was ready for lunch early. As I searched for a good place to eat near the market, I noticed that some establishments had closed because of the excessive heat. Later, locals at the conference explained to me that normally the climate here does not require control, and most people do not have air conditioners. Huh, imagine that. Anyway, as I searched for a lunch spot, I was intrigued by Bayou on 1st, a Cajun restaurant displaying a handwritten sign announcing that they had air conditioning. Yay! I

loved that place and the spicy chicken and sausage gumbo they served me! The staff was very friendly and made me feel at home even though I was a solo diner. (Contrast this with my earlier angry Tweets about the lousy service for this solo diner at Red Robin on the Waterfront!) I even sprung for dessert: yummy French vanilla cake with cream on top.

I hated to leave this cool environment, but I wanted to investigate So Much Yarn, a shop recommended to me by a Seattlite on Twitter. This place was on the second floor of an office condo building. I felt at home inside especially when I hear one of the customers at the counter say, "Oh my name's Margaret, too!" So naturally I had to chime in that I'm a Margaret, three. Funny moment. The shop had lots of nice yarn, of course, and also two shop bulldogs with lots of toys. One of the experts guided me through choosing two kinds of yarn with which to make a scarf. The two yarns are held together while knitting. As a very beginning knitter, I wanted something a little challenging, and this project should fill the bill. My consultant also recommended circular needles advising that they take up less room on the plane for one thing. I haven't started this yet, but tomorrow I start the long journey home with the knitting project in my carry-on.