Pics from my walk around Greenbelt on Tuesday. It was a perfect day for it!

My parents are thinking of moving to Greenbelt (where my brother David’s family already lives) because they’re starting to feel kind of isolated in North Carolina (they moved there from Connecticut back in 2006), and I really hope they do. It’s a nice place to visit, and I would love it if my family were more centralized so I could see them all more easily. My sister and her husband and niece June and her husband live in nearby towns and it would be great to see everyone more. Plus it’s close enough so that taking the train down from Connecticut isn’t a big deal. I always semi-hated Maryland when we’ve stayed in hotels, but I loved staying at David’s house on my last two visits!

It’s midnight, and I just got back from 1,000 years at my farmer pals’ house! We had homemade mead; this cool Italian homemade fondue-like thing made out of anchovies, garlic and olive oil (you dip raw vegetables, like broccoli, in it, and it’s pretty amazing); excellent lobsters (from an IGA grocery store in Portland, which I had never been to before); scallopini squash from their farm (John makes them with nutmeg, which is really good), tomato/pepper/homemade feta salad, coffee ice cream, and a nocino comparison taste test (homemade vs. Russo brand imported from Italy, which I brought over, thanks to Dean). We all enjoyed analyzing the two, and both met with 100% approval, but I liked their homemade stuff better! It had a more complex flavor. The Russo kind was more cinnamon-y tasting.

It was cold out this evening, so we had to hang out inside, and I got a little affected by their cats, but the nocino helped me breathe slightly better! (It’s always “for medicinal purposes only,” so that was appropriate!) I’ll be fine in an hour or two, but it would have been better if I’d used my inhaler first—I was bordering-on-wheezy and a tiny bit sneezey. I’ve almost completely outgrown my allergies, so I nearly never use it, but I do need it every few years or so when I visit someone with animals.

John played really good music—Tom Waits, stuff by some guys from Hot Tuna, the Sour Mash Hug Band, and The Band! It all sounded nice and rich and awfully good. Oh, and I brought over some pamphlets my dad gave me and told me to give John and tell him it was “for being nice to me.” :-) One was an old beekeeping handbook from 1923 about caring for the queen bee, and other other was a John Deere farmer’s ledger from the 1930s. John had a similar one from the 1950s, and it was cool comparing them! He loved the beekeeping handbook (they both did) and thought it had a lot of useful information that might be lost today.

(didn’t post this on Tuesday night because I was too sleepy!)

Marilou brought crabs home for dinner and I got to have a real Maryland crab eating experience for the first time!  It was fun and really good, but even more exhausting than eating lobster. :-)

David had to go to parents’ night at school, but Marilou and I hung out and talked LOTS (I really like spending time with her!), and then when David got back at about 10:00, I shared my Fromager D’Affinois cheese with everyone (on SkyFlakes, natch) and Marilou, David and Hunter all liked it.

There was only enough for us to each have two small pieces (I spread each piece on a 1/3 SkyFlake section) but it was still a good cheese-tasting experience!  It was left over from the cheese I brought on the train for my Train Picnic because I got too full eating my other cheese selections!  I got the cheesemonger at Whole Foods to pick them out for me, and they were all awesome. The ones I ate on the train were Uniekaas Robusto (cow), Mitica Drunken Goat, and Cypress Grove Lambchopper.  For FUTURE REFERENCE.

(didn’t post this on Tuesday night because I was too sleepy!)

Marilou brought crabs home for dinner and I got to have a real Maryland crab eating experience for the first time! It was fun and really good, but even more exhausting than eating lobster. :-)

David had to go to parents’ night at school, but Marilou and I hung out and talked LOTS (I really like spending time with her!), and then when David got back at about 10:00, I shared my Fromager D’Affinois cheese with everyone (on SkyFlakes, natch) and Marilou, David and Hunter all liked it.

There was only enough for us to each have two small pieces (I spread each piece on a 1/3 SkyFlake section) but it was still a good cheese-tasting experience! It was left over from the cheese I brought on the train for my Train Picnic because I got too full eating my other cheese selections! I got the cheesemonger at Whole Foods to pick them out for me, and they were all awesome. The ones I ate on the train were Uniekaas Robusto (cow), Mitica Drunken Goat, and Cypress Grove Lambchopper. For FUTURE REFERENCE.

As of late-afternoon yesterday, I’m back in Maryland with my brother David’s family! David and I had a really nice visit with our parents in North Carolina for the previous four days. I’m so glad he suggested going together. It was great being there for our dad’s birthday, and we all had lots of good talks and plenty of silliness, too. It was wonderful being together. We even got to go to a pig pullin’ that a couple from our parents’ church put on! (I requested some of the tongue meat, of course.)

Last night, I decided to stay an extra day in Maryland with David’s family, and changed my train ticket to Wednesday afternoon instead of today. Good thing I did, because there was a downed pole and wires on the tracks this morning, and Amtrak service was temporarily suspended between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, so my former train didn’t run anyway!! Hopefully the situation will be back no normal by tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m enjoying exploring Greenbelt center and more time with my family.

David came home for lunch and we walked into the center and ate Chinese food outside and he showed me around a little and then went back to his office and I fooled around on my own. It was a lovely day for walking around, and I savored a delicious creme caramel and coffee outside at the New Deal Cafe, then browsed around at the Co-op grocery store and the library (it’s the same library I used to go to when I was young and lived in Lanham!), and took some photos of the cool architecture. This is a nice little community!

I used Google Maps on my phone and found my way back to David’s house without any trouble, and arrived the back way at the exact same time Hunter was returning home on his bike from school! Then I got to watch him practicing cracking his bull whip out in the yard, which was very cool.

I really like staying at David and Marilou’s house! It’s such a relaxing and welcoming place, and I sleep really well here! Getting up in the morning and finding myself some breakfast while enjoying all the cool and unique architectural details David created is NICE.

David and I are driving together down to our parents’ in North Carolina at around noon. I am really excited about being able to spend time with him! It will be wonderful to see the Gs, too.

On the way home from my graveyard-visiting adventures today, I found myself driving by Diana’s Pool in Chaplin. I had never been there before, but my photographer pal at So. G had told me about it, so I knew it was worth stopping. It’s a short hike through the woods and is very pretty. You can HEAR the water before you can see it. Luckily, I was wearing my Cemetery Shoes, which were good for climbing around! When I first got there, some teenaged boys were jumping into the pool, but then everyone left and I had it all to myself. (Notice the bridge in the distance in the last picture.)

After I got home, I called my parents and my dad answered. I asked him if he’d been to Diana’s Pool, and he said he remembered the first time he ever went there. He was around 14, and the Brundage’s (friends of my grandparents) daughter, who was much older, took him. He and his friends used to go swimming there as teenagers, and kids used to paint things on the rocks. One time a girl painted “____ loves Gene” on the rocks, and his friends pointed it out to him! He didn’t reveal to me who “____” was. (A gentleman wouldn’t!) From the way he charmingly said it, I assume he remembers her name, but I didn’t ask. He only told me that part because my mom was out of the room! :-D

I’m back from my trip to visit my family in Maryland! It was GREAT. I loved taking the train, and it was very laid-back and comfortable staying with David’s family. I think this was the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever been on, mostly because the train was such an easy way to travel, I slept really well (after the first night of chiming-clock torture), and I didn’t do very much, but enough so that I was never bored. I took these pics on my trip home: 1) Crossing from Maryland into Delaware, B) Passing by Philadelphia, 3) Manhattan in the distance (as seen from New Jersey), and 4) Arriving back in New Haven. Notice that the sky is noticeably BLUER in Connecticut. Haha! (And nope, I didn’t cheat—these photos aren’t tweaked at all.) It was a gorgeous day to travel.

The cottage is back to being yellow (that’s the color I always picture it as, since it was yellow during my childhood), so I was inspired to take some now vs. then photos when I visited Uncle Randy & Aunt Mary Ellen at the lake yesterday and to find comparison photos in my archives.

Turtle Isle (our family’s name for the archipelago of rocks in the middle of our cove) originally had three rocks sticking out of the water and one flat one (on the right) that was usually submerged just below the surface (perfect for sitting on). The rocks, as named by Robert, are Gibraltar, Long Island, Alcatraz, and Atlantis.

As of this spring, the two rocks on the left (Gibraltar and Long Island) have fallen over and only Alcatraz remains above water! Gibraltar tipped on its side during the winter of 2008-2009 and has continued settling since then; Long Island disappeared over this past winter. I thought the lake was just super high or something when I saw it this spring, but nope! (Here’s how it looked most recently, before Long Island went under.) Poor Turtle Isle! It’s a shadow of its former self. It’s still a popular sitting place for turtles, though.

Planning so many plans! I’m going to meet up with Rick’s wife, Elise, at the Village Cemetery in Wethersfield Thursday morning as she travels south, and I bought train tickets tonight for a trip to visit my family in Maryland in early August! So exciting!!

My eyes aren’t really bothering me today but they are still totally different strengths (I think I’m just used to it now), so I’m going to see Smart Dr. Eye tomorrow just in case. My family does have a history of bizarro eye problems (well, mostly Robert), so it’s good to check out, I guess.

Spent about SEVEN HOURS today visiting with Uncle Randy and Aunt Mary Ellen at the lake! I got there at 3:40 and didn’t leave until 10:30. I told them several times they should kick me out (in case they were getting tired), but nope! (I got the sense that Aunt Mary Ellen was starting to get a little tired near the end, but that Uncle Randy didn’t want me to leave and kept talking and talking!) The coolest part is, I had never even exchanged more than just a few words back and forth with them until just a few years ago. I was always sort of scared of them when I was younger! But they are actually insanely easy to talk to and incredibly enjoyable to spend time with. And I’m not usually good at talking to people and get easily worn out by too much socializing. But I was chatting away the entire time!

I think the reason they are so good to talk to is: 1) they make you feel really comfortable and at home, 2) they actually talk about interesting stuff, 3) they let me talk, too, so it feels very balanced and engaging.

Because I’m quiet and reserved, sometimes when people talk to me, they don’t really let me say anything. Like I say one thing about myself or what I’m interested in, and then because I’m not that forward about it, they proceed to take over the conversation and just talk about themselves nonstop so I only react/comment on their topics and never really get to share anything myself. I’d like to (in some cases), but I need the right feedback to open up. Uncle Randy and Aunt Mary Ellen don’t do that. They talk about all sorts of different topics, and actually let me contribute to the conversation. And because they make me feel so comfortable, I’m much more animated with them, and more casual/relaxed. I like it!

My family left this morning to drive back to Maryland, and I was so tired this evening that I actually fell asleep on the couch before dark and slept for hours! I woke up just now at 9:30-ish to the sound of the photos I posted on Facebook this afternoon receiving lots of comments and tag requests, and I think I’m still too numb-and-tingly-brained to even look at them.

[Edit: It seemed way too quiet today with my visitors gone! I miss Diane, David, Marilou and Hunter already! Too bad they TRASHED my house.

…Just kidding—they were excellent guests and I loved having them here.]

Giant four-hour chat with my sister after everyone else has gone to bed = SO NICE. Late night conversations with family are the BEST! My family’s visit has been great so far. They arrived well before the storm, and David, Hunter and I even got to play a little badminton in the yard. Our corn on the cob and steamers feast was a great success and it’s so fun and relaxing having everyone here! I feel very laid-back and un-stressed about it, yay!

We had a lot of lightning and thunder tonight after David’s family went to bed, and it went on for quite a while, but it didn’t seem that bad… there weren’t high winds or anything. We’ll see what tomorrow’s weather brings. If we’re stuck inside we can always play nonstop Apples to Apples. :-)

Yaaay! My family is almost here! I am so happy that they are coming up from Maryland to visit for the 4th of July!!!

Uncle Randy telephoned earlier to say that the celebration at the Lake is being slid out to the 5th based on tomorrow’s weather forecast. Good call!

Today is still sunny so far, but severe storms are supposed to be on the way.

I think I’m all ready to get visited.

I am being really really ANTI-LINEAR today. I keep doing highly productive stuff, but jumping from one thing to the next and completely forgetting about the other things in between, then going back to them when I discover them half-finished. Heh.

I’ve been trying to wake up EARLIER for PRACTICE, because David’s family and Diane are going to visit for 4th of July weekend, so I made a date to pick cherries at Belltown with Susie this morning so I’d be forced to get up by ten. I’ve never picked cherries before (Susie suggested it), and it was fun and easy to pick lots! I hope they’ll still be good when my fam comes so they can help me eat them!!

After Susie left, I did a zillion random things, like setting up the guest room, weeding some weeds, washing lots of things, streamlining the guest room closet (which is my overflow closet, since the closet in my room needs space to access the secret door in the back) and making a bag of things to donate, then sewing some new skirts using fabric I had in my stash! I also worked on making food plans for the 4th of July, organizing my new gravestone photos, and finalizing the 1920s music CDs I’m making from my old cassettes + some bonus songs I got on iTunes. I’ve been listening to 1920s music while doing all that and NONSTOP for the past two weeks, BTW. I’ve completely forgotten modern music exists. ‘Twenties music is SO GOOD. Aaaaah!!