Assateague National Seashore and Ocean City Sunrise

On Sunday, Mark’s Lover, a friend of his, and I went to Ocean City to watch the sunrise on the beach. Unfortunately, it was more a sky lightening than a sunrise, but it was still nice to watch.

Sunrise in Ocean City

At the Shore

Waves

Final Minutes

I dropped off Mark’s Lover and his friend and then headed to Assateague by myself to take some early morning photos. I played around with my new camera’s HDR setting. I thought maybe that would help me learn to like it.

Nope. Still dislike HDR.

Without HDR

With HDR

At the North Beach several people were stand-up paddle boarding, which made for some interesting pictures.

Coming In

Silhouetted

Spray

In the Distance

Waiting

Getting there early enough to see the animals was another benefit of waking up early, even though I was tired.

Skittering Along

With the Waves

Strutting

Surveying the Scene

Raspberries

I went to the clam digging spot and found some wild horses off of the road.

Clam Digging Site

Assateague Ponies

More HDR. Still Don’t Like It.

I then did the short hike along the Life of the Dunes trail. It was hard because of the sand. It was also starting to get hotter, but the trail was deserted and interesting. Along the trail was bits and pieces of an old road, which was taken out by a storm in the early 60s. According to the interpretive sign, the storm basically took out the community living on the shore and that was the basis for founding the National Shore.

Life of the Dunes Trail

Road to Nowhere

Assateague National Seashore

Good Man, Mark, Mark’s Lover and I all went to Assateague National Seashore this weekend. The weather was perfect, and really sunny (I wore sunscreen and am still sunburnt). It was a first visit for each of us.

We arrived late Friday night (traffic was terrible) and spent Saturday walking along the shore.

Crossing the Bay Bridge

Footprints

Along the Shore

Feeding

Dunes

His Turf

Remains

We had lunch at a Tex-Mex restaurant and there was a rather large spider hanging out near us.

Close Up

Feeding

Hanging Out

Caught

Good Man Appears to Be Planning Something

Harper’s Ferry National (Historical) Park

A few days ago, we went hiking with Diana’s family at Harper’s Ferry. “Hiking” might be a stretch. It was more like a leisurely nature walk because there’s only so fast you can go with a toddler. As has been my experience everywhere else, as soon as we got a bit away from the parking lots, we were the only ones on the trail.

Even though it wasn’t the hikiest of hikes, we really enjoyed the company and the walk.

(We also bought an annual pass ($80) and this park cost $10, so if we spend $70 more in the year, it was worth the cost.0

Harper’s Ferry

We took the shuttle down to the Lower Town and then walked back to the visitor’s center. Can you see the sign behind the C&O Canal trail?

View from Lower Town

Apparently it was painted sometimes between 1903 and 1906 and reads Mennen’s Borated Talcum Toilet Powder. The NPS site says they tried removing it in the early 60s but it reappeared four years later.

I like the idea of just leaving it. Don’t remove it, don’t restore it, just let it fade naturally.

Sign Detail

Neon Green

Flitting Away

Swallowtail

Bark

Three Seed Pods Floating in the Air

Feeding

Sunning

Tiny Streams

Ferns

Inauguration

Good Man, Mark and I went to the Inauguration again this year. I charged my battery and then…left my camera on all night.

That sort of ended up being how our day went.

We got stuck behind the broken Jumbotron, so even though we should have been able to see (or at least hear!), we got neither.

Broken Jumbotron

But Mark and I did practice our Presidential Chin Jut.

Obama Style

The people watching was fun, of course. Out of frame, someone was selling Obama and Romney condoms. We didn’t see the naked painted lady, though.

People Watching

And we weren’t the only ones taking photos of the Starbucks pile!

United States of Starbucks

Almost ten miles of walking later, we finally arrived back at Mark’s house, where we streamed the President’s speech to see what we missed.

So it wasn’t quite the experience we had on 2009, but I’m still glad I went.

Demanda

For Thanksgiving, we went to a friend’s house. She had a four-year old daughter who was grooving on me.

“Demanda, this is how you do it,” she said, showing me how to cut up Play-Doh.

“Did you call me ‘Demanda?'”

“Yeeeeeeees.”

Her mom said, “It’s ‘Amanda.’

Good Man laughed, “No, it’s Demanda.”

Good Man has been calling me Demanda for a few weeks now, which is why it was so funny. Such an intuitive child!

Chuseok Change of Plans

Originally we invited ten people to Chuseok. Then I realized there was no way I was going to be able to entertain ten people with my condition, so we scaled it back food-wise and people-wise.

Mark, his Lover, and Mark’s parents came over for spicy pork, mandu (from our freezing escapades), brown rice, pajeon (scallion pancakes) with a dipping sauce, sesame leaves (from my garden), quail eggs in soy sauce, tofu in a spicy sauce, three seasoned veggie banchan dishes (purchased), kimchi (purchased), songpyeon (purchased), Asian pears, and some wine they brought, as well as the champagne our Realtor gave us as a housewarming gift!

A few days prior, I asked Mark to bring some extra chairs.

“To sit on?”

“What else do you use chairs for?”

“When I think of Amanda and [Good Man]’s house, I don’t think of chairs.”

Well, that’s true. In our old place, we always ate at our small Korean table.

The food was enjoyed by all, and it was great to entertain in our dining room—with chairs!

Chuseok

Chuseok for Foreigners? What Would You Serve?

Since we now have a dining room and inherited a dining room table and chairs with this house, I decided to invite some friends over for Chuseok dinner in two weeks.

This was not my best idea since the house is still pretty much a disaster, but I guess I’ll need to at least get the kitchen and dining room in order, hmmm?

Most of the people who are coming are Korean food virgins, or they’ve had bulgogi and not much else. As far as I know, none of my guest have dietary restrictions (except that I don’t do beef most of the time).

Readers: What would you serve to a bunch of Korean food virgins for their first Chuseok? (Keep in mind I’m the only one who will be cooking, although I can make Good Man my sous chef.)

Dished

Mark and his partner have been excited about their housewarming gift for us since before we even looked at any homes. We went out for dinner a few nights back and they brought a bag.

We opened it and found this lovely platter.

Platter

“We were told it was Korean,” Mark said.

Good Man looked at the back and shrugged. He couldn’t read the Chinese characters, so he trotted off to do research. Indeed, they read “Korean Porcelain/Chinaware.”

Korean Porcelain

Then they pulled out a box. We started unwrapping dish after dish. Mark laughed, “We found these at an estate sale and thought they’d be great for Korean food.”

Dish After Dish

When we’d admired the complete set, his partner said, “We have more in the car.”

“…”

We took the boxes to the house, stashed them in the basement, and waited until we had some time to put them away. I held two shelves clear for the dishes and started unpacking.

I was delighted to find that some of the plates were actually painted on the back as well.

Back Detail

I unpacked and unpacked and unpacked. I was balancing plates, bowls, cups, and lids on every available surface. I found another platter in red.

Bowls and Lids

Plates and Saucers

Plates on a Stool

Plates Balancing on a Bucket

Bowls and Cups

Both Platters

It seemed like every times I unwrapped a dish, I found another dish in another size. Finally, I was left with a mountain of trash, and the realization that two shelves were not going to be enough.

Trash

Eighty-three dishes later (!), I had found a good way to use the strangely-shaped corner cabinets in our kitchen.

I can’t wait to invite them over for some Korean food. We’ll finally have enough dishes for all of the banchan!

Dished

“But We’re Renovating!”

Today one of my co-worker pals came over to help me pack. By that I mean she chatted with me while I cleaned and packed, to help keep me on track.

When she arrived, she said, “Whose dog is that?”

I looked into the building’s shared hallway and found a small mutt. “I have no idea. I’ve never seen that dog before.” We looked for his owners and he growled at us. Eventually, we let him be. He barked occasionally and never left the stairwell.

About 30 minutes later, he started barking incessantly.

I opened my door. Someone bought the condo two units over, and they were gutting it. The door was wide open, trash and debris was all over the hallway, and the dog was peeing on the brand new carpet. (I’ve lived here four years and the carpet was replaced for the first time last month.)

My friend said, “What in the world? Where is his owner?”

We watched him for about ten minutes. He just barked and growled and peed. We debated letting him out, but we were afraid he’d get hit by a car. He wasn’t letting us get close enough to pick him up or check his tags. When he called him, he started to come over, but then he would just snarl and growl.

A neighbor who speaks very little English came by and said he belonged to the unit that was open. “Was he abandoned? Where are the owners?”

“Yes, yes.”

We gave him some water and he scarfed it down extremely quickly. At this point, my friend stomped into the unit (the door was wide open) and called for anyone. Nobody appeared. The dog growled and growled.

“That’s it,” I said, “I’m calling the site manager.”

I called the site manager and told her that the dog has been loose for over 30 minutes, he was peeing in the hallway, he didn’t have any water, and his owners were nowhere to be found.

While I was on the phone, a family of approximately eight people showed us. “Is this your dog?” my friend demanded to know.

“Yeah,” said their middle-school aged daughter.

“Why are you letting him loose? He needs to be secured, he needs water, and he needs to go to the bathroom!”

She copped an attitude. “We’re renovating!”

“Yes, I know that, so what?”

She sighed only the way a teenager can and used Teenager Logic. “But we’re renovating!”

My friend did dog shows as a teenager, and her family is involved in dog rescues. She was pissed. “I don’t care what you’re doing! You need to take care of your dog!”

“We were only got a few minutes!”

“Forty-five minutes is not a few minutes!”

She spun on her heel and came into my place. “The site manager is here,” I said nodding toward the window, where I could see her. We eavesdropped from my closed door.

“Yeah, I know you’re new here, but you need to keep your dog secured. You can be fined if your dog is not secured properly, and I will call animal control.”

My friend high-fived me and said, “Yeah, it’s time for you to move.”