Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sunset Haven

This is Day 7 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Camp Life. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.

Hey guys, this is a tough topic. I have never been camping. I never went to summer camp as a kid. The closest I've ever come to camping is driving through a campground and going to an RV show.

Image from Pixabay*
Having said that, back when I was a kid, my parents and I would visit relatives up North each summer. My aunt and uncle lived in New Hampshire a few miles from the coast, so occasionally we would go to the beach. Other times, we would drive to their "camp" on a lake in Maine. The camp consisted of a red wooden building complete with a picnic table, lawn chairs, and some old kitchen cabinets. That was so long ago I don't recall if there was electricity.

We used an old 55-gallon oil drum cut in half lengthwise as a grill. The menu was hot dogs and hamburgers, likely accompanied by garden-fresh veggies, and homemade cookies, cake or pie.

There was no running water so we had an outhouse. It did have a regular toilet but you had to use a hand pump to fill the tank to flush. It was a courtesy to pump after your visit so it would be ready for the next person.

While there were tent platforms out back, and perhaps a loft inside, we never stayed over night. That doesn't mean we didn't have our adventures. One day we drove all the way out there only to find that we had forgotten to take the key. Daddy and my uncle had to take the door off the hinges, which shows just how secure the place was, but it was so far off the beaten path and this was back in the 70s...things were pretty safe.

On another day, we strapped a row boat on the top of my uncle's station wagon and took it to camp. As far as I know this wasn't a large lake, but maybe a brackish water lake or pond or possibly even an inlet or cove on a larger lake.  There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then so my memory isn't exact.

Anyway, Daddy, and my uncle and I went out in the boat. I was probably about 12 and at that time I couldn't swim. Of course there were no life jackets in the old row boat. We all managed to get back safely after our excursion across the lake to look at the big rock on the other side where there was a snake happily sunning away. Fortunately my aunt did not come with us. She probably would have screamed to be heard clear down to the main road. To say that she didn't like snakes was an extreme understatement.

Other activities included fishing, exploring and picking wild blueberries, visiting with the ducks that came by sometimes, and swatting mosquitoes, because, after all, this was Maine...in the woods, on a lake, in the summer.

So while I haven't really experienced any actual camping, this was my camp life experience at Sunset Haven.

*I have actual pictures of Sunset Haven, but it would take way to long to find them for this post.



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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Let's Make A Deal

This is Day 6 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Achorage, Alaska. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.


"Just for grins, who is it our scuzzy art dealer was supposed to have murdered?"and by the way, where did we come up with these accessories," asked Alex as he strapped on his Rolex and adjusted his silk tie.

Pulling on his coat and setting a hat atop his head, Charlie said "A lot of these things were from old busts, where the perps are long gone and there were no relatives found to claim them. As to the who, it was apparently a colleague. 

As I understand it, he was a Russian collector and there was an exchange of goods somewhere in Alaska...Anchorage, I believe. Anyway, the deal went south and our scuzzy art dealer, let's call him SAD, shall we. So SAD allegedly offed the guy, took the goods and the money."
"That's a scenario that plays out way too often," replied Alex. "But if the murder victim is Russian, wouldn't the Russian authorities want SAD, or for that matter why wouldn't we, if the murder happened here?"

"In some cases, yes, but the Russian was a legal resident of Tokyo at the time of his death, therefore it makes it Japan's problem. Because SAD is currently operating in the U.S. I bet there are any number of things we could charge him with, but getting justice for the murder is our priority.

"Hey guys, you ready?" asked Kyle, who had just appeared in the doorway looking like Charlie's right-hand man. Bobby, on the other hand, looked like Alex's nerdy cousin, a part he reluctantly played, but was rather good at.

"Ready!" said Charlie, "Everyone got their roles down? Time to hit the streets. Alex, you and Bobby start with the auction houses. You have your list of those rare, hard-to-come-by items that should pique their interest. The object is to ask for something the legitimate dealers can't get, and maybe they will know someone who knows someone."

"In the meantime, Kyle and I will check out places where SAD might be doing business and try to make a connection. Let's go!"

"Welcome to Morton's Auction House. My name is Victor, how may I help you?" asked the proprietor with great formality as Alex and Bobby entered the room.

Not expecting such posh surroundings, Alex cleared his throat, "Um, yes, well I am looking for this or maybe this" as he hands Victor a couple of pictures. "I have heard many good things about Morton's, and I thought perhaps you could help me. I would like to procure one of these for my fiancée as a wedding gift."

Victor stared at the pictures for a long moment then said "I am afraid these items are beyond our resources. I am sorry. Perhaps another, shall we say, less prestigious establishment may be able to help you. It is not that the items you seek are not worthy of our House, it is just the means by which we would have to acquire them that renders us unable to assist you."

"Thank you very much for coming in, and good luck in your quest," responded Victor graciously as he escorted them to the door.

That scenario played out similarly in the next three auction houses. "Well," said Bobby, "that's four down and how many more to go?

"Who knew there were that many auction houses in the city," complained Alex. "I hope Charlie is having better luck."

"Next up is Tranquility Imports. I think that is our winner," Bobby said confidently.

They drive to a less fashionable neighborhood to find a rather ordinary brick building with a small sign that read Tranquility Imports. "This doesn't look like the others, but that may be a good thing since we have struck out everywhere else, said Alex as he looked around. "Let's see if we can get in."

"Hello," called Bobby. "Are you open for business?"

Momentarily a man entered from another room. He was dressed in all black, save a red tie and gold cuff links.

Good afternoon gentlemen, I am Sato Yasahiro, proprietor of Tranquility Imports. What can I do for you today?

"Hello, my name is Alan Wainwright and I'm looking for these items, handing Sato the pictures. I have been turned down at the last four places I tried. Can you help me?" inquired Alex, watching him closely.

"If I can, can you afford my services?" said Sato, watching Alex equally as closely. "This type of item is extremely rare...and extremely expensive. It would take a certain amount of, shall we say, effort, to acquire either of these artifacts. Are you comfortable with that?" asked Sato, implying that all would not be aboveboard, just what they were hoping to hear.

Alex glanced at Bobby and saw they were on the same page. "Yes, that would make my fiancée very happy. It is to be a wedding gift."

"Very well then, let's talk business." Sato indicated an office to the left.

Meanwhile Charlie and Kyle, on a tip from one of their contacts, are poking around a warehouse on the less savory side of the city, oddly enough, not far from where Alex is making his deal.

"What do you see here, Kyle?" as they walked cautiously along the building that takes up a full city block. 

"It's what I don't see. Surely there is a door around here somewhere." Suddenly there was a loud noise coming from inside the warehouse. Both men instinctively reached for their guns, then stopped. "That wasn't a gunshot," said Charlie thankfully. "Let's keep going. This seems like the kind of place we might find SAD. 


Stay tuned for the next part coming up August 31.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Living the Beach Life...one vacation at a time.

This is Day 5 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Beach Life. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.

I live four hours from the nearest beach, and yet only see the waves and smell that unmistakable scent of the sand and sea a couple times a year. You know that soul cleansing revitalization that comes from having the sand between your toes, listening to the waves and watching the pelicans soaring gracefully one moment and diving headfirst into the water the next.

This first video is a compilation of photos taken in St. Augustine, FL a few years ago while vacationing with friends. It was a picture-perfect trip.



This was filmed later that same year in Madeira Beach, FL. There are some spectacular sunsets over the Gulf and this one was amazing.



Yes, I do enjoy the beach life, and while we typically go to Florida, my home state also has some amazingly beautiful beaches.

These were taken at Oak Island, NC this past June. 



Where is your favorite beach?

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Diving into the deep end?

This is Day 4 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Diving into the deep end. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.


Nope, not me!
Unlike going off the deep end, diving into the deep end is entirely within your control. Control being the key word here. I like to be in control of my circumstances, and I am not a risk-taker, so there are a number of things you won't find me doing.

Among them are diving into any body of water, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (or boat), unless of course doing so is significantly less dangerous than remaining where I am. In which case I will likely expire from fear anyway.

And should you ever find me doing any of the above-mentioned things without extenuating circumstances, you will know that I have, indeed, gone off the deep end.





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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Green Is The New Orange

This is Day 3 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Orange. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.

First I'd like to direct your attention to our den window, covered by a sheer orange curtain. In front of the window is one of Sophie's favorite places. 



Now on to something nearly as sweet. Oranges, my favorite being the Navel orange. They are not, however, just the simple fruit from which we get our morning OJ, so here are some interesting orange facts I had not heard before.

What came first, the color or the fruit? The fruit, which derived its name first from the Arabic naranj, then coming to English as narange in the 14th century.

Did you know oranges unknown in the wild? They are a hybrid of tangerines and the Pomelo, also known as the Chinese grapefruit. They were green instead of orange. Today Vietnamese oranges and Thai tangerines are green on the outside and orange on the inside. Aren't they pretty?


Image Source: jonathaninchina
Since oranges are a subtropical fruit, the climate plays a major role in their color. In cooler climates, they will turn orange when the weather cools. In hot climates, however, they will remain green.

How can I tell if my orange is ripe? Well, not by the color, no matter where they are grown. You see, an orange, if left unpicked, can stay on the tree until the next season. Because of fluctuation in temperature, it can change from green to orange and back to green without affecting the quality or flavor of the fruit.

A ripe orange should have thin, smooth skin with no soft spots. It should also feel heavy for its size.

To make oranges more visually appealing to the consumer, green oranges can be exposed to ethylene gas, such as produced by bananas and apples, but his does nothing toward ripening the fruit.

If you like oranges, what is your favorite variety?

More about all things orange here.


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