Oh BroJoe, Where Art Thou???

We thoroughly enjoyed the 666 barbecue of my earlier post.   In fact, I’d give it a 9-9-9 (with a nod to Herman Cain) on a scale of 10-10-10.

Doctors don’t recommend The Southern Diet.  In fact, they recommend moving our appetites to another warm locale, say, with The Mediterranean Diet.

My brother, the health nut, has always turned up his nose at Southern-fried anything.  When our mother used to want to go out for “fish fried so that it curls up at the edges,” BroJoe would shake his head in horror.   Just the word “grease” could set off his gag reflex.  So when he sent this photo, I was surprised that he’d even gone inside any place that served this stuff.  I couldn’t imagine him bellying up to the buffet line just to take a photo!

What th'...?

(Take a guess.  I know what they are, but not how they taste.  I’ve never eaten either.)

I wrote back to BroJoe that the one on the right used to be one of Mother’s favorite dishes.  As a joke, I asked which one he tried.

Astonishingly, he answered, “Both.  I ate them for lunch.  Now they’re eating me.”  

Not a 666, though the aftermath does sound beastly.  Nope, I’d say this one was an o o, possibly an o o o o.

“In God we trust. All others must pay when they order.” – Sign at Southern barbecue joint

(Okay, Connoisseurs,  the pans hold fried chicken livers and gizzards–livers on the left.  Expecting something else?  Nope, this is a chitlin-free blog.))

Cloud Spotting

Beach sunrises are so lovely!  I never tire of seeing Outer Banks sunrises through my BroJoe’s camera lens.   A couple of days ago, he sent along a second photo.  Can you guess who or what he saw in this one?

Well, what do YOU see?

I’ll give you a hint:  BroJoe saw a cartoon character.

guessing . . . . .

guessing . . . . . . . . .

guessing . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Answer?

 Did you guess correctly?

Doesn’t matter.  Here’s the prize:

Something’s Fishy About These Pictures

The summer heat didn’t keep BroJoe out of the swamps and coastal waters, where he continued to take his amazing nature photos.

When he e-mailed the first two to me, he mentioned that he was worried about Mama Osprey.  She was wearing herself to a frazzle in her efforts to keep her screeching offspring fed to their satisfaction.

Osprey mom with takeout order.

She may not have had a moment for personal hygiene, but take a look at her perfectly coiffed “babies.”  They look suspiciously large to be still hanging around the nursery.

Time to leave the nest, kiddos!

The osprey pictures were taken weeks before Irene blew through the area.  The nest was in a large, dead tree.

This blue heron’s skinny legs were so interesting that I didn’t notice the fresh catch in its mouth at first.  I hope they don’t look appetizing to the alligators in the area.  The same goes for my brother’s legs, too!

My Blue Heron.

Neither Lee nor Katia are close enough to cause worry, but the winds and waves were up at the beach here today and away from the shore, the air felt extra humid.  We had tornado watches all day.

Here’s today’s sunrise on the Outer Banks.

 Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.  Red sky at morning, sailor take warning. (Old Mariners’ rhyme.)

Big Wheel on the Beach

My brother has always been hell on wheels.

Oh, not that way!  In fact, he was a terrific kid. . . good brother, Eagle Scout.  I’m saying that you should have seen that boy on a unicycle.

He was riding that thing when his friends were still using training wheels on their two wheelers… as if, when graduating from tricycle to two-wheeler, he decided he’d rather ride that third wheel instead.  And so effortlessly!  Frontwards, backwards, and, with some little twists back and forth, he could stay upright in one spot… arms crossed over his chest.

Someone stole it eventually, thus thwarting any dreams he might have had of riding off to join the circus.

These days, a regular bicycle has become his preferred method of transportation in the beach town where he lives.  Occasionally he sends me photos.

This was one in the series he called, “GUESS WHICH BICYCLE IS MINE…”

Yep. . . that’s it, front and center– cup holder and all.   He didn’t say where this was taken, but I’m guessing PUBLIC LIBRARY.   That woman has “librarian” written all over her.

This morning he sent a picture that gave me the giggles.

BroJoe… Beach road… Backed in.

Now that’s just showing off!

Back when he sent me a picture of his feet in his new snake boots a few months ago, he had his legs propped on his bicycle handlebars.  I didn’t think twice about it. It didn’t even cross my mind to wonder if he actually rode that bike in places that require snakeboots.

Now I’m worried.  This morning, he e-mailed these shots just after the bicycle photo.

Stand back; here’s a closeup:

He looks pretty sure of himself, doesn’t he.  Maybe that’s why BroJoe backed into that bicycle rack.

Fast exit.

Does ET Have a Cousin VINE-y?

In the South, often we don’t say that someone died, we say she passed. Irene has gone further up the coast, but for millions, she has not passed.

The beach-house-not-on-the-beach must look like it’s in full camouflage cover, with soggy leaves plastered all over it. The big thump Dearly Beloved said he heard in the middle of the night turned out to be a large Sweetgum branch hitting the house.  It wasn’t from one of our trees.

No news of seeing a fat Copperhead sail past.

I’m watching the Weather Channel guy stagger all over the screen at Nags Head.  I haven’t seen BroJoe or his two-wheeler fly by. He sent an e-mail a while ago that they were watching TV, so I suppose he’s seeing the staggering guy, too.

Good Egg Son and DIL sent a reassuring photo.  She had a Mimosa in one hand and Stella, the storm-phobic Weimaraner, in her lap, so everyone looked quite happy.  Stella doesn’t have one of those thunder shirts, but they put her in her Christmas raincoat and it seemed to work the same, calming her considerably.    Here she is at Christmas, when she was mortified about having to model it.   I’ll bet she’s changed her bark about it now.

This was NOT on my Christmas list!

Their Norfolk condo is on the sixth floor and I pictured them having to lug a trembling Stella up and down six flights of stairs in the dark, but it turns out their building has a backup generator, so the elevator will be running. They also have cement floors– good, in case of accidents.   Maybe we’ll give them doggy pee pads for Christmas to add to their hurricane supplies, generator or not.

I’ve talked to Dearly Beloved several times.  The power went out there about 5 AM.  He sounded fine about it until I mentioned that he’d have to clean out the freezer if it stayed off too long.  The electricity returned not only in time for the Little League games, but in time for him to make a mid-morning pot of coffee.  He’s freezer duty free.

I guess the octogenarian hurricane party is still on next door there, unless enthusiasm was dampened this morning when the pajama party ladies woke to no power.  At least they could flush.

That reminds me.  I thought I heard something about a wastewater treatment plant being breached in that area.   While Miss Piggy would probably love it,  I hope DB drinks bottled water for a while.

Here, we’ve had some blustery breezes and the air pressure was weird this morning.  Miss Piggy put on the brakes at the front door when I tried to let her out, so I had to give her a nudge and go out with her.  I had slept in the short, comfortable nightie that DB hates because it rides up my butt.  I forgot to tug it down when I bent over to pick up the newspaper, but since it was early on a Saturday morning and in front of my own house, I shouldn’t show up in a Wal-mart People e-mail.  Right?

There is something strange going on here.  Even though it was too hot to do anything in the yard this summer, we should have turned the compost pile (Where IS that jackass when I need him?!)  because there’s a strange mutant vine growing out of it like it’s on a mission from the devil.  I already cut back the stalk that had climbed the fence, but the other ones are running wild.

Look how big the leaves are on this monster!

When a plus-size fig leaf is too small...

I’d like to try and make some concrete leaf castings like one daughter Boo made for me once.  I think we have a bag of cement mix around here somewhere.

About that viney thing….  I am not joking.  This could be trouble.  One of the leader stems has its head raised a good foot off the ground and has some kind of antenna atop that. Not only that, there are legs growing out its side. I can almost hear it marching  and it is throwing out tendrils strong enough to pin a boa constrictor.  

When the guy cut the grass Wednesday, it wasn’t even there and now it’s a good ten feet out onto the lawn and heading for the house.

From now on, I’m coming and going by the front door.

You think it wants to borrow the phone?

PS.  While my folks had no problems with Irene, the storm looks angry and mean as she heads up the coast.  Think good thoughts for the millions in the Northeast, as well as those who have already been affected… devastation.  I saw a newspaper headline recently that said, “What’s Next… LOCUSTS?”   Sometimes it feels like that.

Good Golly, Miss Molly and Goodnight, Irene!

Although Miss Piggy and I kept our ample behinds firmly planted in Charlotte, Dearly Beloved headed for the coast this week.  Yes, he realizes that Irene is going coastal, too.  In fact, that is one of the reasons he went–to batten down the hatches in preparation.

Another reason, he joked, was that he could watch the Little League World Series in peace and quiet, wherever and whenever he wanted–meaning bedroom or sunroom–without having to wrestle me for the remote control.

Have you watched any of those games?  (I’m going to guess “not likely.“)  You can pick out the boys’ moms in the bleachers.  They’re the ones holding their heads in their hands, going nuts from the tension.

I’ve been surprised to hear how many people are watching.  The overflow crowds at the games top 30,000 and the games are televised, so DB isn’t the only one watching.  He has seen enough that he knows the names of boys from Montana to Mexico and believe me, the man is not good on names.

While DB may have complete control of the remote, it’s not like his time is all his own at the beach-house-on-the-beach.  After all, he has Groupies there–the two octogenarian neighbors who live on either side of us.  They are not friends with each other and are fine with minimal contact with me, but DB?  Rock star status.

Both of them have NEIGHdar and can spot his car no matter how quickly he pulls into the garage and closes the door. They always manage to come forth with a list of “a few little things” for him to do whenever he hits town.  I think it’s more the comfort of a familiar face, since both could afford to hire someone… but free IS better.

One of them is out of the state this month, so DB can concentrate on his favorite–the neighbor to our right: in her upper 80’s, hard of hearing and has difficulty walking, but with a positive outlook on life that is refreshing.

When DB hits town, she calls to welcome him back and tell him she’ll sleep better, knowing he’s next door. She has a host of grown children and grandchildren, at least some of whom visit her every day, but she loves talking to DB and, of course, there’s that little list of To Do’s she’s saved just for him.

She invites him over for a drink, but he’d better sip fast because her cocktail hour lasts only about 30 minutes. That’s unfortunate for Dearly Beloved, a slow sipper and a long talker. (Actually, I applaud this because he’s been telling me all these years that he’s not slow, it’s that I’m a fast drinker. I feel validated.)

The evening he arrived, she asked him over for a drink.  She talks about her grown daughters… how they think she’s running a restaurant, they way they walk in and start raiding the refrigerator and eating all of her snacks.  She gestures often with both hands, raising them beside her face, then brushing them downward to show her exasperation.

He, to amuse her, told her about how I had called him a jackass recently.  And of course, she WAS amused, because how could anyone really think Handyman a jackass, right?

The next day when he went outside, she was already out among her potted plants, a white bucket in her hand. She beckoned him over and reeled off some of the things she wanted him to do.  As they walked around to the back, she handed him the bucket she’d been carrying.

One of his To Do’s was to refill her bird feeders.  He removed the cover from the first feeder and asked,  “Where’s the birdseed?”

“It’s in your hand!” she retorted, pointing to the white bucket she had handed him earlier.  She made her exasperated gesture.

“Mary’s right.  You ARE a jackass.” 


Not to worry.  She’s having a Hurricane Party and DB is at the top of her guest list.  In fact, she decided to do it only when she saw him arrive.  The widow up the street is coming and will spend the night, as will some of her daughters.  DB is pussyfooting about giving a formal acceptance, promising only to come over for a quick cocktail. He doesn’t want to get stranded there in the hurricane and be forced to stay for the pajama party.  Besides, there are the Little League games to watch. Now if she had a generator…!

DB has carried in our deck furniture and plants, as well as doing so for those who needed assistance.  We have bottled water, an emergency radio, and flashlight batteries already at the house. He even mentioned making a supermarket run today.  That surprised me, for generally, he opens the pantry door and if he sees cans, he figures he’s stocked.  He would rather eat a can of whateverisinthere than go to the grocery store anytime.

Our neighborhood was designed with a series of interconnected retention ponds.  Most of the time they’re simply water features, but when this kind of weather is forecast, the water levels are lowered to offset any flooding potential.  Winds are another story.

Will I worry?  Oh yeah.  There’s my Dearly Beloved in Wilmington, my stubborn BroJoe in Nags Head, and the Good Egg Son and Daughter-in-Law in Norfolk.  Irene’s projected path up the NE coast to the heavily populated areas looks ugly and mean, something for everyone to worry about.  As my friend Lulu says, we’ll all look forward to singing.

PS.  I e-mailed BroJoe to ask was he evacuating, even though I knew the answer.  He wrote back that he was staying, but he was ready, and offered this reassuring picture.


PPS:  DB has been receiving e-mails from family and friends, asking is he going to ride it out at the beach.  Here is what he responds.

I am.  Mary’s in Charlotte w/burglar alarm on.