Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've been trying to take more walks as of late, for two different reasons. The first reason being, simply, an effort to get a little more exercise. I often wish that I was a far more svelte person than I am (or have been in years and years), but I have this thing about gyms...mainly that the concept of being in a place where I get red faced in front of others is entirely out of the question (even if those around me are also getting red faced) and running isn't my thing either (I will not even bother with my thoughts about bikes), so I figure if I were to regularly walk 3 miles that would make some sort of dent in my soft body (I don't really think that my eating habits are all bad, it's really the whole living across from work and not going anywhere that I see as the problem). The second reason being that I've lived in Philly for over a year and I still don't like it all that much.

So. I am hoping that blog readers and friends of blog readers could start to provide me with a scavenger hunt of sorts. Or, put another way, I'm hoping to be given interesting places to go that will reenforce this desire to walk places. I've been thinking of this as a scavenger hunt, but maybe that's the wrong word. The only proof I feel I would need would be a photograph of whatever the places were (I'm not interested in trying to find a man with a blue hat and yellow shoes and asking him to do the mashed potato). So, if you live in Philly---or have ever considered visiting the city and know of certain places/things you would like to see/do--I would be interested in amassing these locations for my own personal benefit. I live a little north of center city, so locations walkable from there would be great. I'm looking not to spend money on the majority of these ventures, as the point is not to consume as much as experience the travel time. What? Worst attempt to get responses ever. I will try again some other time.

Foot Wetting

I originally envisioned myself spending a good part of Monday sitting on the beach and enjoying the water. This vision was mediated by the early rain showers and the knowledge that I really, really, really had to do laundry when I got back to Philadelphia. So, after the early morning rain shower, I packed up my belongings and left campsite 6 behind. I did, however, stop and go to the beach briefly. I didn't change into my suit, just rolled up my jeans and got my feet wet...though I stood in the same place long enough to feel like those around me were wondering what my deal was.
No dolphins were seen.

I love bodies of water. I think, for swimming, I like lakes or waterfall swimming holes better than the ocean...but the ridiculous horizon, the sound and the inevitability of the next wave is an extremely appealing set of aspects that the ocean has completely under its control.

Rain Tent

I could have sat and watched the ocean from my high little perch for a bit longer than I did, but the serious cloud line I saw behind me made me think better of that plan. So I returned to my campsite just as a steady rain began to fall. I tucked into the tent and spent about an hour reading Jane Smiley's 10 Days In The Hills (a book so chock full of so many things that I have a lot of thoughts about it...I think it may be the most sexually explicit novel she has ever written). I was nice and dry and not overly warm in my tent, and I remembered the many, many days I spent reading in a similar fashion in the summer before my senior year with great nostalgia.

I really think that living the tent life is one of my favorites. You don't have a computer, you don't have a television, you have books and whatever thoughts you have and that's it. You get a lot more writing and thinking done in this setting. I don't want to mislead anyone, however, into thinking I don't appreciate the benefits of, say, a toilet and shower--both of which were within easy walking distance of my tent location (both in Cape Henlopen and in that summer).
Above you can see the vestibule/foyer that my rain flap provides the tent. I love this small space that I could leave my shoes and other non-waterproof belongings, as it led to less clutter in the tent itself while peace of mindedness that the items outside the space would not be compromised by poor weather.

Morning Walk Around Cape Henlopen

My night in the tent was uneventful, not overly comfortable but that was to be expected. I woke up around five in the morning to the sound of thunder and a light rain but I had confidence in my tent's rain flap and fell back asleep for another hour or two. When I finally did get out of the tent, the rain had stopped and the sun was up (around 8). I took a walk down a path I hadn't been down before, expecting that I would turn up on the shore quite easily (that was definitely part of the experience of sleeping I liked -I could hear the waves crashing on one another in the distance once it got quiet...which it did at 9 pm), but that was a bit of a mistake on my part. The path I took led to Fort Miles.

A decomissioned set of barracks and guns soon to be fixed up to accurately reflect what it looked like during World War II.

Eventually the ocean did come into view, though there wasn't actually a path to it....only dunes, which of course I wasn't going to traipse across.
Even though I missed the sunrise, the early morning view was still something to see. While looking east you saw the sun shining on the water, but looking west all you saw were blue/grey ominous, ominous clouds with the occasional muted flash of lightning. Also, there were dolphins in the water. There was no way for me to be sure when they would be surfacing, or for how long, so I just took a lot of photographs hoping they might briefly appear somewhere. And they did. Now you can play the fun game I like to call 'find the dolphins amongst the expanse of water and sky game,' if you find them I will give you a prize of some kind. Maybe. Depending on where you live and what kind of prize you think you deserve.

I've made these photographs big, but i'm not sure if that takes away their detail. I just noticed that i could stretch images within the post....has this always been the case? Have I always been wondering how to make images larger when I could have just done this? Do they lose quality in this manner of stretching?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tent Play

Before I left Philly, I got my tent out of the coat closet and I noticed that S. had quite a fine looking lantern. He was sleeping, so I did the presumptuous thing and took it without asking (leaving a very long note explaining my actions and imploring him to text me if it wasn't okay). And it's good that I did. Well, if I hadn't I would have bought my own light source. It's a good thing I did because this lantern was a powerhouse of light. So much so that I got very into taking photographs of my campsite, and myself, with it as almost my only light source.

It reminded me of my early experiments in photography. And by experiments I mean more about my playing with my image and long exposures. All guesswork, without any real idea or concept, just messing around for the fun of it. None of these photographs turned out particularly well, but it was fun to use that little piece of my brain.
There are more pictures for later. More of my face and silliness.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oysters, Beer and Conversation c/o Fins

After a few hours at the beach, the Salisbury contingent and I parted ways, they had an hour + drive to get home and I had a date with Fins Raw Bar. This had been a plan since I first started thinking about camping on the Delaware shore, since my parents and I had such a lovely time over the Christmas holidays getting our slurp on. So, I arrived and learned that the wait for a table was about two hours...but that seats at the bar were first come, first sit. Luckily there was just such a seat for me to take, and take it I did. I ordered a Troegs and a dozen oysters.
The woman sitting next to me recommended the Taunton Bays, which were described as 'fat, meaty and big salt' from Taunton Bay, Damarisotta, Maine. I also liked the description of the Flying Point oysters ( mild sweetness with mild salinity) from Casco Bay, Maine. I didn't find the Taunton Bays all that meaty or with the salty kick I expected. The Flying Points did have a nice kick of salt, but not too kicky.
I spoke with a nice man named Sal, who wanted me to take a photograph of his shrimp, so I did (it's a bad photograph, I know). Here is what I wrote when I returned to my tent:

I am not the kind of girl who meets a dude in a bar, even at my prettiest I needed a firm familiarity (ie: he would need to know someone I knew and trusted) with a person before I'd think about kissing him. No, I'm the kind of girl who befriends 60-something couples in the Queen Mary II's pub (she had worked in a cafeteria and he had been a cabby, both had been married but over a period of years things changed). I'm the kind of girl to asks the bartender at a college friend's wedding how he met his wife...then, because she's working the wedding as well, confirming that story (went on dates with other people, turned up in the same bar liked the look of one another and were married within 6 months) Yes, I'm the kind of girl who talks to the man who is waiting for his shrimp at the bar and has been married to the same woman for forty years, after knowing her for only three months. I know these things, because I ask and they don't hesitate in telling me.

Sal and his wife lived in the same apartment complex in Corpus Christie, Texas. He was 26 and had been drafted, choosing to go to flight school, he ended up in Texas. He decided to throw a party one weekend, but the keg was delievered to the wrong address, his future wife's address, of course. The red head from Mississippi brought his keg to him. They hit it off. He brought her up to Philly on Labor Day to meet his family. They got married in a church neither technically attended, with school teachers as their witnesses.

His main thought on how relationships differ from 1968? Now you have to ask someone what their credit score is.
I had a second beer, a tasty Pilsner that won some sort of award but whose name I have forgotten.
I also had another half dozen of the Beau Soleil variety of oysters, of which I wrote: "Beau Soleils=magic."
Sal and his wife and the couple they were with were quite nice, but after two beers and a dozen and a half oysters, it was time for me to get back to my tent life (think thug life).

Rainy Day Vampire

As always, worth checking out on a larger scale. I think, anyways.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunday Camp Getaway in Cape Henlopen State Park

After last week's failure to take advantage of one of my very last vacation days before the busy season takes away my ability for vacation/leisure, I was determined to make something of my very last vacation day of the year. So, I successfully reserved myself campsite 6 at Cape Henlopen State Park, which is located on the shore of Delaware, near Lewes and Rehoboth. Very close to the Cape May-Lewes Ferry actually. I considered taking the ferry until I learned it costs close to fifty dollars. I arrived around 12:30 and set up my tent, which was no easy feat. I don't really remember that part of my earlier stint of tent-life. Eventually I was successful.

I emailed R. and A. earlier in the week to see if they'd like to meet up at the beach so I waited for them before going to the water. R.,A.,A., S. and A. arrived. The kids all look older than the last time I saw them and it was great to see them. On the way to the beach we saw a herd of deer in a big field, and a few yards away was this white deer. Never seen anything like it.

And then we were at the beach.
It wasn't an overly sunny day, but it was warm. We saw so many dolphins just a short distance from the shore line. More than ten, maybe fifteen? And sometimes? Sometimes, just for fun they would jump out the water and flip. Wild dolphins flipping of their own volition! It was so cool. I couldn't get over it. I stayed in the water for a while, wiped out on one wave and got quite a snoot full of water in my nose...not to mention sand in my suit and a bruise of my calf. But I lived to ride more waves, with a better sense of timing no less. A. saw a jellyfish, and I saw it too, but I decided not to freak out about it.

Last time I saw A., she couldn't walk. Now she can. Crazy. We all get older, but seeing kids literally age is just crazy.
S. loved looking for crabs.

The lifeguards were very young and fit. It was embarassing.

It was lovely to see the whole family. After a few years of not being able to meet up, I'm liking seeing them more often. It used to be, when I was in high school and college, that they were the first people I would call and see when I came back to Maryland. R. and I have, as she said on her blog, known each other since we were 14 and 17 respectively and I think was probably 16 when I met A. What a long time ago that was. Or seems to be. Thanks to them all for making the drive and having a day at the beach!

3 Mile Walk

On Saturday I decided I needed to take a walk. So I walked down 21st until I hit Lombard, went over to 22nd and walked back up. Saw a little more of Philadelphia. Took some photographs. Yeah.