For the first time in several years I took the time to setup our collection of Department 56 collectibles. I have been collecting the Dickens' Village line for many years usually adding one new piece each year. Our collection now covers the entire mantel above the fireplace and has spilled over to the hearth. I love the way the ceramic gives off a warm glow when lit from inside. God bless us everyone.
There is a new guard on duty at the Bubba house. She has taken on the duty of protecting all Christmas presents that are placed under the Christmas tree. While in stealth mode, she hides within the branches of the tree. If you happen to venture too close to the tree she will pounce on you. Her favorite move, The Flying Fur Ball, is quite terrifying!
I decided to wake up during the wee hours of the night to take a look at the lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth, and moon align with the Earth in the middle. This throws a shadow on the lunar surface. While a lunar eclipse isn’t rare, this eclipse’s combination of events is quite rare. The last time there was an eclipse during the winter solstice was way back in 1638. Did you miss it tonight? Well the next one won’t be as long a wait since it should happen again in 2094. But, the next regular lunar eclipse should be in 2014.
We are always looking for things to do around the Eastern WV Panhadle. Just a short trip down Route 11, north of Winchester, VA, is Clear Brook Park. Every December, since 2001, the Parks and Recreation staff opens the park up as a walking tour with thousands of lights. While it isn’t anywhere near the grandeur of say The Osborne Family Lights in Disney it does have that special hometown magic that the enormous displays don’t have. You can stroll around the park sipping on hot chocolate and even say hello to Santa if you wish. Unless you wait for to speak to Santa, the park is a good half hour diversion from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Snow works magic for Christmas lights. We received a couple of inches of snow today so I snuck outside and snapped a few pictures of our lights. Even though I wanted to go crazy on the lights, I only had a couple of hours that I could devote to decorating so these will have to do for this year.
Friday, December 10, 2010 saw the area’s first snow. A small snow squall produced maybe 1/4 inch of the white stuff but you would have thought it was a blizzard by the number of accidents. I was on my way home from an early morning run to Hagerstown Ford for a transmission re-flash in my F-150 when the idiots began wrecking. When the snow started sticking I instinctively reduced my speed and moved over into the right lane but a few individuals, mostly in their high dollar SUVs, continued to fly by us sane folks at 65 mph or faster. It didn’t take long to find one in the ditch. A few minutes later there was a car stuck on an off ramp to Charles Town. Several road closures with more accidents made for an interesting morning. I had to wait for awhile for the scene to clear for an SUV on its side on Rt 340. I slipped only once and I was driving a pick-up truck! Slow down and arrive safe.
The 2010 East Coast Indoor Nationals was a great show once again. This has to be one of my favorite shows to attend each year. It was held at the Cow Palace in Timonium, Maryland. The cars are all there by invitation only so everyone of them is top notch. There was a mixture of hot rods, customs, rat rods, nostalgia dragsters, bikes, and classics. I am still learning how to shoot these indoor events but I have many more successes now than failures. The lighting conditions are rough and the crowds also become an issue when photographing indoors. Check out more of my photos over at MyRideisMe.com and event coverage over in the blogs.
I now have a new celebrity photo to add to my garage wall. This is me with Norm Grabowski of Kookie Kar fame. He has starred in several minor roles in movies and television including The Cannonball Run, Fantasy Island, Herbie Rides Again, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Monkees, and Batman. He is a very funny guy and I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes chatting with him.
Sometimes our old cat thinks she is a kitten. I really don’t mind most of the time but lately she has been transforming in the middle of the night. She will start by singing up a storm and then she usually follows with a round of smack the toilet bolt cover across the wood floors. She doesn’t like cat toys but leave a twisty-tie on the floor and it’s gone. This weekend we put up the Christmas tree and she invented a new game, “Attack from the Forest.” She hides under the tree, which is quite a feat for this 18lb. monster, then attacks anyone that happens to walk by. Furby is the grumpiest cat we have ever owned. She absolutely does not like visitors. If she hears a baby on the television she will growl. I guess she is like me in that way. Just because she has loads of personality I guess we’ll keep her.
In all the years that we have lived in the Washington, DC area we have never gone to see a production at Ford’s Theatre. So on Sunday, we decide to hop on Metrorail and catch a matinee of A Christmas Carol. The theatre is located just a couple of blocks from the Metro Center stop and since I hate driving in the city this worked out great. The theatre is fairly small and these matinees tend to sell out quickly. Our balcony seats weren’t the best but they weren’t too bad either. The balcony has some real bad seats due to the support columns blocking views and if you are on the sides you lose part of the front of the stage. If I went again I would want to stay out of the balcony. The show was well done and we really enjoyed our afternoon. It was just the perfect thing to start the Holiday season.
We love going to Myrtle Beach, SC in late October and early November. The water is still warm and there are almost no crowds. The reason we go is for the PEZ in the Sun PEZ gathering but that’s really just an excuse. This year we tried to find a few new things to do as well as our old favorites. Eating is one of the highlights of Myrtle Beach area. Of course, I have to make a trip to Bubba’s Fish Shack in Surfside Beach for a serving of Pickle Nickels. The other two awesome places we ate during this trip were Amici’s Italian Bistro and the fabulous Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse. You can’t go wrong by eating at any of those spots.
Peg and I are big car freaks so we thought we would checkout the new Wheels of Yesteryear Museum. There was I nice collection of cars but I wish the displays weren’t so squished together. Lots of Mopars. Peg was happy that they had her new favorite car which is a Nash Metropolitan.
We took in a show once again and this years choice was The Magical Spirit of Ireland at the Palace Theatre. Peg liked it but I thought it was just okay. When they say intimate setting they really mean SMALL. We sat in the front row and I wished we were back a few rows for this venue.
When at the beach you have to play Putt-Putt. This year we played both courses at Captain Hooks. This has to be one of the best themed courses in Myrtle. There were all sorts of extra details based on the story of Peter Pan. I highly recommend playing a round or two.
We stayed once again at the Springmaid Beach Resort since this is where the PEZ event is held. It is at the southern most side of Myrtle and very quiet. A plus is that they have a nice pier that is free with your room. Not the best resort on the beach but it is pretty clean and best of all it is cheap.
Today we decided to take another cruise around the area. Our route included driving over the Harpers Ferry bridge and down Harpers Ferry Road. The final destination of our trip was Leesburg, VA. One of our favorite farmers’ market is held here and, and while we were there, we stocked up on some baked goods. Lunch time had us trying something new. We ate on the patio of The Cajun Experience which is located at 14 Loudoun Street in Leesburg. It’s just up the street from the government building parking garage. The food here is awesome! While I chowed down on a boudin poboy Peg had the jambalaya. To top it off we had beignets for desert.
|Renninger's Market in Kutztown, PA|
|Peg inside Crystal Cave|
|The nature walk through Crystal Cave forest|
|One of the many stuffed animal display at Cabela's in Hamburg, PA|
|Peg sends a photo of the rhino to one of her colleagues in Africa|
Back on the road, we decided to check out Crystal Cave which was also in Kutztown. This was a bit of a disappointment. There weren't very many formations and it was pretty crowded. I would say pass on this one unless you are really bored. The nature trail was the only saving grace for the place. This short little walk is through a collection of different pine trees.
About 12 miles down the road from the Cave is one of our favorite stops. Cabela's, in Hamburg, PA, awesome place to explore. There are aquariums with fresh water fish, tons of stuffed animals, and even a shooting gallery. We have been here over half a dozen times and it still excites us. Be sure to try some of the exotic meats in the cafeteria! Our little cruise lasted a bit over 12 hours but driving is what owning a car is all about.
|Peg's 2000 VW 1.8T New Beetle|
|Our brick at the Charles Town, WV library|
|The front of Line-X of Hagerstown's shop|
|Line-X is durable and good looking|
I have had my new Ford F-150 truck for about 6 months now and it has been very handy as a parts vehicle. The bed was starting to get scratched up so I decided it was time to put some sort of protection in the bed. By far the best functioning and looking option is a spray-in liner. Line-X seems to have a good reputation so I looked up the closest dealer to Bubba's Garage and scheduled an installation time. I had the first appointment in the morning, 8:00 am, and the crew at Line-X of Hagerstown was already waiting when I arrived at 7:30. That in itself impressed me because most shops' workers struggle to be on time first thing in the morning. I chose a basic black liner (the photo is reflecting the blue of the truck) which set me back $500. They soon had my keys and I settled into a comfy recliner to watch some HGTV and read a book in their lounge. Two hours later I had my truck back. Another nice surprise; they had protected my interior with a seat cover and disposable floor mat. This isn't always the case for shops around here. The bed looked great and I was a happy camper once again. The installation was an all around great experience.