Archive for April, 2010

On My Own in Mystic

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 29, 2010 by drycreekherbs

Today was very nice. I like being a tourist. I started by having a much smaller breakfast than I have been eating…only ONE waffle and a bowl of oatmeal. It was almost diet food compared to the B&B food we had last week!

Then on to Wal-Mart so I could get my Calcet (for those pesky leg cramps). There are very few Wal-Marts in Connecticut, which I think, is great…but I did manage to find some sale items. AND, I must have been NUTS….I tried on bathing suits thinking I might burn a few calories at the Inn’s pool. OMG. No one should try on swim gear at a Wal-Mart…they have these horror house mirrors. Surely, my legs aren’t really tufted…I looked like a comforter or the Michelin Tire Boy. Sweet God, can that be Susan Krals? And the new complexion tones…like skim milk. And my shoulders are dimpled. And I was in the women’s department trying on sizes with Xs after the numbers. I am so depressed. I did not buy a suit. Instead I bought 60 bobby pins for a new hair do.

DSC05547“So what do I do now?” I asked. Hmmm. The US Nautilus submarine museum is closed on Monday…well since I was right next to the Naval base; I went to the NEX (known by the Army as the PX) and found some goodies. I did get on the sub finally on the last day before Rhode Island. Noooo, I would not have been a good sailor. Too cramped for a big girl. IMG_0918

Then a tip from a local shop keeper set me out on a great walk of about 4 miles — a park called Bluff Point. I nearly killed myself trying to take this picture with the timer…not an easy task over rocky terrain and cliffs!.



Finally, I discovered a delightful way to spend the rest of the day at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme. Oh glory….it was just perfect. Bottom Line: Home of Florence Griswold and to the painters she took in as lodgers. Later it became known as the Lyme Art Colony starting in the summer of 1900. Her home was the retreat location….it had desirable local subject matter, access from the city via reliable transportation, inexpensive lodgings, a charismatic leader (Henry Ward Ranger), and a sympathetic inn keeper (Florence)! This artist colony is known as the home of American Impressionism. I looooooooved the home, the museum, the museum shop and the docents. I came away feeling like I left my favorite summer camp!


I wish I had taken the time to go earlier so I could prowl around Old Lyme. On my last day of freedom, I went back to Groton to the Coast Guard Academy, tried unsuccessfully for the 2nd time to see the USS Nautilus at the Groton Submarine Base, and had a nice tour of the Lyman Allyn Museum. The only thing I didn’t do that I had done previously in Connecticut was visit the Mashantucket Pequot (A tribe similar to my Lost Roanoke tribe, I think. ) Reservation and Museum. Done. Finished.

At 5:30 I met Dee and Tracey, the trainers, for dinner downtown. Finally I got back in my lodging about 7:30.  


Wonderful Outing with Carol and Al in the Hudson Valley (HV)!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 26, 2010 by drycreekherbs

Grrrrrrr, this is the 2nd time I’ve written about the super-fabulous-hilarious outing in the HV. How does the computer eat a document? It takes my hard work and stashes it some where deep and dark! I need to work through my grudges. OK, OK. It is a joy to be with Carol and Al. We are so lucky to have them. Of course, it is great that Len really toes the line in Carol’s presence. Nothing like a really tough-love-older-sister-matriarch!


Carol and Al met us at our hotel where we overnighted after our flight from Austin to Hartford (Bradley). I jumped in the car with Carol leaving Al to ride with Len. I couldn’t wait to get caught up on all the family news and have my own private time with her. DSC05315.JPGA couple of hours later after following Len’s rental Hybrid, we were in FDR’s Hyde Park. After all kinds of erratic detours and U turns we ended up in a gated drive when we spotted a sign– Culinary Arts Institute. OMG!

What a windfall or, as Mom says, a bird’s nest on the ground! There we were right in the middle of what appeared to be–Home Ec Girl’s Heaven–almost Food Network Fantasy Land. Carol and I took the lead (not even a little bit of a challenge), parked her car, and into the fray! We discovered hundreds of student-chefs in a kitchen gadget-laden ‘book store’. We went mad. After we had sated our tiny kitchen tool needs we had a fabulous lunch in the bistro followed by a self-tour of the glass-walled kitchens. Ahhhhhhh. Bliss.

Off to the FDR Museum, Valkill, and a brief walk around the Vanderbilt’s mansion. Then we headed to the Rhinebeck B&B…exceptional location, space, decor, and breakfast. Len continued to be baffled by the car… it was so quiet that he couldn’t tell if it was really operative. I just love the photo of Al helping by having a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment laying his hands on the car … The next morning we drove up (?) to Stockbridge, MA so I could fulfill a life list quest–the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was everything I wanted it to be…but I sure didn’t expect to get weepy at the sight of the Four Freedoms.



I love the history. After hearing FDR’s Four Freedoms speech to Congress in 1941, Rockwell was compelled to translate the high minded words into an illustration of daily life. Once sketched, he took the idea to Washington, DC where he and the sketches were patently

dismissed by the Office of War Information (OWI). Imagine this, he was told that he might be able to help by illustrating a Marine calisthenics manual! So, the rest is history. On his way home, he stopped in Philadelphia where he met with the new editor of the Saturday Evening Post. In response to an an off-handed remark, Rockwell revealed the rejected sketches. From that split in the road of a conversation, the Post requested the paintings in full. Those paintings became the centerpiece of the war bond drive, ultimately sponsored by the OWI. The bond campaign raised more than a whopping $133 for the war effort! Way to go Norman. This story is almost a narrative to match any of his illustrations…about the triumph of the little guy. Here is what I like about Rockwell’s illustrations: They depict our former values and way of life.



On our way back to Stockbridge, I received a call from Shelley-belle who is the consummate traveler…she tells me there is a MUST SEE location right there–the Kripalu retreat for every true-blooded Yogaist. This was the place to learn the joy of chanting, the difference between tantric and non-tantric versions of yoga, meditation, and spirituality through residential immersion! Since none of us knew what any of that meant, we just had to go. I think I might have a better self-concept if I had lived in narrower times where there wasn’t so much to know…at any rate it was verrrry interesting. I felt like everyone there knew by the looks of me that I was a Sweet & Low user… Nevertheless,t was fun and I fell upon a Henna tattoo kit….soon to be applied somewhere on top of cellulite by artist Susan L — probably not my entire back.

We spent the night at the very old Rhinebeck Inn, complete with sloping floors and creaking furniture. I think the photo of Len and Al on the porch reminds me of slow day at the Veterans Administration Hospital! Anyway, then weDSC05391.JPG headed southwest to West Point. The whole point of the trip to the HV was to see nephew, Baby David at the West Point Cadet Tattoo but in light of some bad weather forecasting, the commander in charge cancelled the event. I was major disappointed. The good news is that David met us on Saturday for a full tour in glorious weather. He was fantastic….handsome, gracious, courtly, and very smart. Carol and Al were duly impressed. All of us are pumped to go back and see and hear the bagpipes–another excuse to go back. DSC05416.jpg



Since the tattoo was cancelled Len just drove and drove and drove all over CT. Len really should have been a long-haul trucker. He does love to drive. I felt like I needed to be turned so I wouldn’t get pressure point sores on my rear end! Hmmmm. We did get to stop and visit the Yale campus which was fun…Carol and Al headed on home and we went back to the Windsor Locks Hotel to ready for Len’s return home on Monday. What a great time.


Birding, Geocaching, San Antonio, and Newly-identified Condition–Transient Global Amnesia! I’ve had it.

Posted in 1 with tags , on April 17, 2010 by drycreekherbs


Well, this has been a goodish week so far. I left here at the crack of dawn Tuesday morning in order to be on time for my first birding outing at the Gabriel Valley Park in Georgetown. It was very cool and overcast and wisely I decided to wear long pants in case I met up with my arch enemy, poison ivy! There were 6 of us including the guide and his birding associate–both, I want to add, good Aggies. Although there were few birds out I learned a lot…bird things, naturalist things, park things, etc. that Becky will enjoy hearing. Hmmm, the biggies:

  1. The park is a roosting place for turkey vultures–pretty spooky looking in the fog–reminded me of a cartoon.  
  2. Migratory (?) birds can be coaxed out if you play audio of a screech owl.
  3. I now know the critical attributes of worthy birdwatching binoculars…to be purchased later.
  4. There may be a wardrobe shopping outing at REI, Outdoor World, or Academy in my future. I want to look my best for the Black Chinned Hummer.
  5. Geocaching* is very cool. Photos provided.
  6. The iPhone has many cool applications for birding, wild flower identification, and geocaching.

One of my birding mates had a Geomate that she used to identify a geocache right there in the park….OMG. It was so cool. She stuck her hand right in the tree trunk—brave girl, I think–and pulled out a little cylinder wrapped in duct tape. Photos show it all. I am intrigued. After the birding class I had lunch, went to see Date Night, walked 3 more miles, then met Susan for our class on the Historical Perspective of Homosexuality. Drat, the professor never showed up! I am still in a huff. We have been offered a refund, of course, or attend the rescheduled class. As bad luck would have it, I will be in New England when the class reconvenes.

IMG_0782IMG_0781IMG_0783IMG_0785On to San Antonio. It rained the entire time I was home so I couldn’t walk and had to eat a lot! So much for getting thin. Mom and I had a nice visit, lunched out, and received a good report from her doctor. She has lost 5 pounds which is not good. I offered her a trade up to 15 pounds of prime fat. She is interested but we can’t seem to work out the details.

Billy and Mary came over for a visit that I conducted from my bed! When coming in from Mom’s physical, I got drenched….so put my jeans in the dryer and retired for a nap…since they came for a visit, I just stayed in bed. Sort of like holding court.

Later a great dinner with Belinda. She taught me about new condition that I am certain to have or had–Transient Global Amnesia. My plan is to have little cards printed–an idea that has always interested me–. One one side it could say “Pardon my behavior. I have Tourette Syndrome.” The other side of the card could say, “Help me figure all this out–I have Transient Global Amnesia.”

Texas Hold’em and Tamales

Posted in 1 with tags , on April 11, 2010 by drycreekherbs

Law-sons, Den-tons, and Krals reconvened for 2nd Texas Hold’em tourney last night here at our house. Well not exactly a tournament. Brother Bob received a poker kit for Christmas and so we are all learning. It appears that DSC05301some, Bros. Bill for example, knows more than he lets on and he cleaned our clock on the last hand! He bet his entire stash and won with a Royal Flush–I think. My poker vocabulary is wanting. Words like flop, pocket, river, and turn have no relevance at all to me. Needed is some kind of connection. Fellow players persistently and occasionally patient, as if they are working with a buffoon, correct and prompt me but with little success. I DID win once, however with a kong* of ducks**! My tip for staying in the game: Sit next to spousal unit in order to access community property chips!

BUT, I have discovered several very handy web sites….I am particularly impressed with the chart that shows what wins and the best is a site that provides poker lingo. OMG…it is awesome. I must memorize some of these. I am particularly fond of Oedipus Rex (Q-J), San Francisco Busboy (Q-3: queen with a trey!), and meat hooks (9-9). Poker hands.gif

Oh, we ate vegetarian and pork tamales! Isn’t that a hoot? Also enchiladas, achiote rice, salad, and lemon pound cake….And our favorite poker libations.

* Kong-in Mah Jong 4 of a kind

** ducks=deuces!

Girlfriends, Greed as it Relates to Middle Age, Banana Cotton Candy, and More Spring

Posted in 1 with tags , on April 8, 2010 by drycreekherbs

No question. I loooooove my girl friends. I think I am unusually blessed with many. I know it is true that one really only has a handful of real friends, but still and all, I think I really do have quite a few girl friends with whom I am genuinely connected. What I want crystallized is this: Women, if they allow themselves the privilege, can so figure things out–if they have girl friends. Or maybe it is a way of getting the life context right by sharing it. Whatever the IT du jour is. Men do seem to jump right into just-let-me-help-you-by-telling-you-where-you’ve-erred-in-your-thinking mode. Silly boys. What brought all this on was a lovvvvvvvely breakfast with Laurelyn at the Stagecoach Inn Coffee Shop.

So after breakfast and feeling purged from girl therapy I did a quick drop off at the library, conferred with Marsha about the Homebound Program, faxed the Liability Release Form to Georgetown Rec Center, and checked out more audio books.

As it is such a gorgeous day, I zipped over to Walmart for more of a spring fix with bedding plants and seeds. I visited the Easter discount aisle, after all, now I have a tradition to support! And in the browsing, I had a stimulating conversation with a young woman who BEGGED me–no kidding–to buy the last container of Banana Cotton Candy (BCC) so that she would not be tempted. She gave me an excellent description and assured me that that BCC is really low in sugar…she actually had made cotton candy before (I am full of envy.). So, not to disappoint her and to feed my portly and misguided self, I did buy it and for only $0.50. On sale (50%), as I have mentioned. Once in the car, I ate the entire container–only 1 oz but the size of a boot box–before I got to the first stoplight…A self-regulator, I am not. Yes, it was tasty and only had 50 calories! That is half of a can of Coke or wine for heaven’s sake! And I’m will calling it Health Food…the ingredients follow: Sugar, artificial flavor & artificial colors, and SOY….perhaps I should buy a case…soy, after-all is good for me! I drink soy milk and am proud of it…it almost makes me an environmentalist. So from now on I will try to have a container a day of BCC.

On the drive home I considered breakfast conversation and parallels and implications of giving in so easily to temptation. I really meant to have oatmeal and dry wholewheat toast. Really. They were sold out. So I had scrambled eggs, hash browns, and buttered wheat toast. Then the BCC for my stoplight snack. What does it all mean? Is it because I am 63 and see the biological clock ticking double time? Am I really greedy? Do I really want to look like I work in a washateria, man-handling large, wet, king-sized comforters? When I wasn’t thinking of such things and how God might feel about it all, I took pictures of pretty spring things. Photo of large bottomed cow reminds me not to be excessive about newly-discovered BCC.

DSC05231 DSC05239DSC05250

Sunrise Easter Service, License Located, and the Mean, Meanest Rose

Posted in 1 with tags , , on April 7, 2010 by drycreekherbs

I have spent a good part of my life scoffing at traditions. As a matter of fact, I have worked diligently not to have any Krals’ traditions. I suspect it all has to do with being the child of an alcoholic and most traditional holidays marred with some unpleasant drinking episode. At any rate, I think I have done us all a great disservice. Easter Len and I went to the ‘sunrise’ service which I don’t recall ever doing before. We both really liked it. Then breakfast out at one of the Taqueria’s that have become so popular. By noon I was called to nap with a cat then up for a walk in Georgetown. The San Gabriel Park has a lovely walking IMG_0748trail, about 8 miles. It has a good surface, safe with lots of foot traffic, cyclists, park rangers, emergency phones, and restrooms! Ooooops, I forgot to mention that there was a pretty big snake in the middle of the trail. I digress. The place was LOADED with huge parties. Lots of egg hunts, children attacking pinatas, many BBQs fired up, ducks being fed, etc. All of a sudden, I thought, “Wow, I might be missing something.” So when I got home Len and I instituted a second Easter tradition, the first annual Krals’ Egg Hunt. We reallyLen egg hunting Egg in Shrinethoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Len made everything logical– 5 eggs, all different colors, must find all eggs to discover the prize. His prize was exceptional–“2 months of free Mint”! At first I was puzzled then realized he was treating to about 8 hair appointments at my Austin salon, Mint. What a guy! The prize in Len’s found eggs was generous in spirit: One week of no dishes left in the sink–in light of Len’s generosity, I extended the time to 1 month of no dishes in the sink. Len is a very good sport and is eager to see me happy. I am printing up the photos Len took of me at The Hunt and plastering them all over the house. I am obese and I look like a lady wrestler…a big lady wrestler. A new me will be in the making.

Drivers license located in the pocket of my jacket. Whew. The interrogations have ceased and I am much relieved not have to worry over the misplacement of items. I must actively consider what I am doing–or be in the moment. My head is often in the clouds.

I have been gardening and having battle with a mean, mean rambling rose. Max and I planted it purposely at the end of the grapes so it could serve as the barometer of grape health. I learned that in Italy. It is called “A found Ft Hood Rose”. It has teeth and it likes to bite me.IMG_0740


Ma Jongg on Monday with just Becky and Susan. I enjoyed a creative appetizer endeavor that was pretty darn tasty– Curried Coconut Shrimp Balls and of course a chutney tasting. AND I won two or three times. Always big news for my pitiful ego.

Today dental appointment, quick but wonderful visit with Jackie, then to Georgetown to get new walking shoes. I literally have holes in the soles and blisters too. I really think I may want to move to Georgetown. I think I prefer to live down town, so to speak, in a condo.


Posted in 1 with tags , , on April 3, 2010 by drycreekherbs

I love spring….everything is new, clean, and beautiful. I went berserk at the Belton Feed and Supply Store. Many brightly colored chicks had to be kissed!


IMG_0702  IMG_0715  IMG_0729