Chasing Puffins Again

Some of you may remember that back in 2012 I went on a “Quest” to photograph those clowns of the sea, Puffins.


I went to Maine, joined a boat tour and headed off to Machias Seal Island. It was cold, the sea was rough and just about everyone on board (except me) got sea sick, but I did see Puffins. That trip showed me how hard getting that  “Nat Geo” picture was going to be.

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Those birds are small and the ocean is large and you can only get so close to an island with waves crashing against a rocky coast.

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Then I went to Alaska in 2013. That trip promised Puffins, eagles, bear, moose , caribou, otters, sea lions and on and on. Our timing was a bit off and although we saw some of these animals whales didn’t breach for us, the bears were in the distance, just waking from hibernation, and there were no Puffins or otters.

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Since then, wrapped up in a new job (career?) I’ve been really busy and not thinking about much wildlife photography. In spite of having a new camera and an awesome new lens, I haven’t been out roaming the woods much.

So now another opportunity has presented itself and I jumped at it. The Mass Audubon Society is planning a trip called Puffins and Peatlands in July 2016. As soon as I heard I called and made my reservation. This trip we are to actually to set foot on the island and there are blinds set up to allow close up photography. Be still my heart!


I’m really excited, then they sent me the itinerary. Oh Oh. I’ve been less than athletic since my fall off the airplane two years ago which started the downward spiral of health problems. Although I’m feeling much better these days my knees still hurt,my left hip is arthritic and my back still hurts occasionally.

Their first consideration. You must be able to walk on beaches and through spruce forest where exposed roots and rocks can provide difficult footing for 1/2 to 1 mile in length. I used to be able to do that but can I still? Some days walking to my car is a challenge.

But the 2nd consideration is the one that really strikes fear in my heart. “The landing onto Machias Seal Island can be difficult. Participates must be able to get in and out of a smaller boat. We may need to walk over rocks that are wet and slippery.” OH MY WORD! I nearly fell into the fake canal in Las Vegas getting in and out of the gondola. Will I be able to pull this off?


I remember when I quit smoking. I wanted to lean to scuba dive but no one would accept a smoker in the class so I quit. Cold turkey. I wanted to do something and I did what was necessary.

But how do I get my creaky, aching joints in shape? I’ve got 9 months. October – July.

I need some advice quickly!

Posted in animals, Birds, Maine, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Food, Fun and Sun

The Scallop Festival opened up at 10 AM. Now I may love scallops but I don’t know about eating a plate at 10 am. Somehow my tummy just isn’t ready for it at that time. Besides, we’d just had a big breakfast at I HOP so I wasn’t ready for anything more to eat right away.


The Scallop Fest has been going on for 40 years or so but this was the first time I ever went. The weather forecast this morning was cool with chance of showers and thunderstorms. They lied.

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I bet it was mid 70’s when we parked at the fairgrounds in Falmouth at 11:30 and well on its way to mid 80s, The sun was shining and the sky was bright blue with white fluffy clouds. Not a thunderhead in sight.


There were loads of vendors and even though we were taking out time we were both soon soaked with sweat. Sandy made a new friend of the Geico gecko.DSC_1261a

Sandy was wearing one of my black T Shirts so you can image how that got hot pretty quickly. She found a T Shirt stand and bought a lighter colored and it so happened lighter weight T shirt. There was plenty of room in the rest rooms so she did a quick change there.

I located a hematite jewelry kiosk and couldn’t resist a double strand magnetic bracelet. The stall owner went on and on about the healing properties of the hematite but I bought it because I liked it. If it eases joint pain that’s just a bonus.


I also found a little black cat head, like it was peaking around a corner, that I will mount on the kitchen wall as soon as I get a ladder.

There were bands playing on the main stage. They were all pretty good but I liked The Reminisants the best. They sang oldies by artists like the Moody Blues (Knights in White Satin), Neil Diamond (Sweet Caroline), Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and even The Beatles. I could name every song and every artist. Fun.

And then there was the food. Of course there was the main attraction, Fried Scallops but if that wasn’t enough there was ice cream, fried dough, strawberry shortcake, fudge and on and on. No one will go hungry here today.

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There was a huge “Bouncy Park” for all sizes. Sandy and I pulled up chairs and watched the  little dare devils jump from the ramparts of one bouncy house.

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The younger kids were fearless but as they got older they got more hesitant.





We even saw a drone hovering nearby. Look up in the sky….


We ate our plates of scallops in a shaded picnic grove. It was a relief from the sun. The heat wasn’t too bad when the breeze blew but it was sure warm when it stopped.

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I don’t know what they consider a crowd but it seemed like there were a lot of people but not so many that there were lines.


We wrapped up our day about 3 pm and wonder of wonders, the drive off cape was as easy as it had been in the morning.  No 3 mile back up for us!


Posted in Cape Cod, Food, Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Frankly My Dear, I don’t Give a Clam

News flash…Summer is not over. Nope not at all. Don’t believe me? Just ask my sister.

We just had an awesome weekend.  In my family you don’t just go visit someone. You need an excuse like a wedding or funeral or birthday and the perfect excuse presented itself this weekend. This was the weekend of the Scallop Festival.


Now anyone who follows this blog knows I am a sucker for a plate of scallops. Well my sister is the same way. So I was pleased, if surprised when my sister said she was willing to drive over from upstate NY  for the weekend and go to the Scallop Festival with me.

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Sandy arrived Friday night and after getting her settled we went to the Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner. I have to tell you their $12.99 dinner combo is an amazing value. We started with a salad. (we both chose Caesar), then a sirloin steak (6 once  which can be upgraded) cooked to a medium rare perfection with a baked potato that was really baked, not microwaved. Even though we were pretty stuffed we couldn’t say no to the cinnamon carrot cake for dessert.  Yummy! and all that for only $12.99 each. The service was excellent too.


We returned home and rolled out the air mattress for me to sleep on . Sandy got the bed. I expected the cats to be all over me since I was on the floor at their level but no, Rocky checked out the situation and retired back to the living room.


Buddy had to see if he could get the bed from Sandy so he took a leap right onto her back. I’m not sure who was more surprised but he didn’t linger. He jumped down, landed on my air mattress, took a couple of staggering steps to solid ground and apparently gave up.

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He did persist in standing guard at the bathroom door whenever someone was using the facilities.

So after a good night’s sleep and breakfast the next morning at I HOP we were ready to check out the Scallop Festival in Falmouth (on Cape Cod), MA

Posted in animals, Food, Massachusetts, Pets, special occasion | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

That Made My Day

Some days things just don’t get any better and then something happens that proves there are still nice people in the world. Not that I ever doubted it since I have many nice people in my life.

I had a long list of errands to run today and started out early. I wanted to get done early because I was going to take some pictures of a friend’s puppy for her. I’d taken some last weekend but poor little puppy was so tired from all the excitement around the pool that we didn’t feel we really captured his puppy cuteness, hence a do over.

Here’s a few shots from the first shoot.

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So today we tried again. Little Henry was certainly more lively  and we had a couple of photo bombs from big brother Jack.


But Henry still has a soulful eye roll as his signature look.






Even their cat Autumn graced us with her regal cat-ly presence.


Finally I think I got a “keeper”! It almost looks like he’s smiling.


I had a great time. It was just about time for lunch when I left so I decided to stop at Friendly’s for lunch. I was waited on by a new waitress who explained she was in training. I promised I wouldn’t bite her and we laughed. I gave my order and pulled out a book.SIL_ChocolateIceCream_Friendlys.800No one came by my table except the wait staff and I enjoyed a quiet meal. When it was time for my check the first waitress  told me it was all set. I misunderstood and said ok, bring it along. I’m ready for it. That’s when the 2nd waitress chimed in. “No, you don’t understand. Your check was paid for by another customer.”

I was flabbergasted! I’ve heard stories about kind strangers doing things like that but I never expected to have it happen to me. I looked around  to see if I recognized anyone but the restaurant was filled with strangers.

The staff finally told me that it was the man in the booth behind me (who had already left) and I should”pay it forward” which I intend do. I will start looking for that opportunity right away.

All I can say is that it was such a nice surprise. It took my nice fun day and really put it “over the top”. Thank you kind sir, and may you have many wonderful days too. You certainly made mine!


Posted in animals, Food, Life, Pets, Photography | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

A Little Behind

Yes I missed Labor Day, the unofficial start of fall. Of course we’re in the middle of a heat wave in Boston so why worry about the end of summer!


9/11. Yes, I missed posting my thoughts on this terrible anniversary but many others posted my feelings and far more eloquently than I could. It was a work day for me just as it was 14 years ago but now the world and my life doesn’t come to a stop like it did that day. That’s not to say I forgot that terrible tragedy or that I didn’t take more than a few moments to remember. That just means that my thoughts and feelings were mine to hold close and remember quietly. There was no time to write a post here but there was time for quiet contemplation and remembrance.



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There’s Something about a Classic Diner

The last time I caught up with my cousin Kathy it was at Lester’s Diner in Fort Lauderdale, FL. At the time I thought, such a fun atmosphere, just like something out of the 50’s. I didn’t give it much more thought after that.

Of course Johnny Rockets seems to have a huge following but it isn’t really a diner. It’s a fast food restaurant found in malls where it pretends to be a diner.

So when I saw an article in the AAA South Eastern Massachusetts magazine  about diners in Massachusetts I decided to check one of them out.


I picked Dave’s Diner in Middleboro because it isn’t that far from me and convenience in an eating place is important. Who wants to drive for 2 hours for a 30 minute lunch? I’d say only food critics or reviewers.


So anyway on a nice, sunny Sunday afternoon I headed out to locate Dave’s. My neighbor told me to be prepared to find it very busy and she was right but even with a full parking lot, I was seated right away. I was given a choice of indoor or outdoor seating.


Outdoor was tempting as the outside seating season in Mass is short but it was pretty hot and humid so I stayed inside in the air conditioning.


The menus were on the table. There was an impressive list of specials clipped to the front. My waitress came right over to take my drink order while I waded through the menu. One thing that impressed me is that they had a section of smaller meals for people with  a “smaller appetite”. That was in addition to a kid’s menu. I like that!


I had my eye out for a open faced turkey sandwich. I haven’t found a good one in Massachusetts in all the years I’ve lived here. Every time I visit my sister I insist that we have at least one meal at a restaurant  called the Peppermill. They have the best open faced Turkey sandwich so I get my “fix” there.

But diner food should include an open faced sandwich and sure enough Dave’s had Grandma Elsie’s Hot Turkey Sandwich.


It was huge, way more food than I need for lunch but it looked great. I dug in and it was pretty tasty. Using Texas Toast for the bread was a great touch. My only complaint was that it needed more gravy. I’m sure they would have brought more if I’d asked but it was pretty clear that I wasn’t going to be able to finish everything so why waste more food.

Bottom line, the Peppermill’s open faced sandwich is still better than Dave’s but there is no shame in placing 2nd.  And Dave’s is much closer than South Glens Falls, NY! The meal is more than enough food for an average size appetite and probably plenty for the big appetite too. I would recommend it and will be going back.

If you are looking for the Diner it’s right on RT 28 in Middleboro. The official address for GPS is 390 W. Grove St, Middleboro, MA 02346




Posted in Food, Massachusetts, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

About San Antonio

It always seems that after I make a vacation plan I start to see the location everywhere. Sure enough, I was cleaning out a pile of magazines that have accumulated over the spring and summer and there, staring me in the face was “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in San Antonio”. Well, obviously we missed Cinco De Mayo But that’s ok. There’s still lots to see.

According to the magazine article San Antonio is often called “the northernmost city in Mexico”.The city proudly embraces its Hispanic traditions both cultural and culinary.


The River walk, a main point of interest in our trip, is described as al fesco cafes and lively galleries on the 2.5 mile heart of downtown.


Item 2 on our planned trip is the Alamo and the article touches on that too. Imagine “visiting the Alamo, site of an 1836 battle that made Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie heroes.”


I think I’ll want to be sure to have plenty of room on the old credit card too. Especially if we have time to explore the stalls in Market Square where they are selling Brightly colored blankets, turquoise jewelry and other handcrafts.

Market place

Other side trips and highlights are  The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a 400 acre drive through safari park.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch


The San Antonio Zoo with more than 9000 animals…lions and tigers and bears OH MY!

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and the  San Antonio Botanical Garden, a traditional Japanese garden designed to fill the senses.


Since our trip is an “Escorted Tour” I don’t know how much we’ll get to explore but there is some down time when we’re on our own. It’s nice to have some suggestions for things to see and do.

Perhaps we’ll even get brave and try a San Antonio Cocktail.

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Whatever we do you can be sure you’ll be along for the ride  right here on this page.

Posted in animals, architecture, Churches, Texas, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments