White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Friday, August 31, 2012

Retirement



Does a retiree play endless games?

Or tinker in the garden? Or volunteer for worthy causes, or travel, or what?

I was talking recently about retirement with friends who are considering doing the same thing. I have posted before on a few occasions about my own retirement. I'm not sure why I keep coming up with additional observations about it. Even after more than a year, it still feels so completely different from what I knew as "normal" life. I spent 40+ years working - it is still odd to not work anymore. Work was a large part of who and what I was. (I use the term "work" in the formal sense - performing tasks for which monetary compensation is received). It was predictable, took place at a known location, and involved set tasks. Some people can retire and don't, some people want to retire and can't - I could retire and I did.

As a retiree, my new random, unscripted life is such a departure from that scheduled existence it feels like I'm living a different life - and I am. Perhaps that's the essence of retirement - a new and different life that is created differently each day. Whether playing badminton or eating fresh garden tomatoes, or whatever - the choice is mine for when, what, and how.

Someone asked me this question, "would I go back to work in my former job if magically the opportunity appeared?" Hmmmmmm.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Plymouth Digital Photographers Club, Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts, USA

I had the opportunity to enjoy a warm and windy summer's evening on Plymouth's Long Beach with the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club. Here in New England, it is often so warm and tropical during the 10 weeks of summer vacation that it seems it will last forever. Sometimes it is hard to remember that this idyllic location for "America's Hometown" will soon be wrapped in icy cold for the winter months.

This sea creature is about to be engulfed by the incoming tide - and she seems quite happy at the prospect.

Photographers doing what they do.

This outing included a local birding expert to provide knowledge depth and detail about the birds on the beach. We even got to see a high speed low level pass by a peregrine falcon flying just a few feet off the sand - alas, he was flying too fast for my senior reflexes to photograph, even with a point-and-shoot camera.

Long Beach is often a quiet and special place for photographers and other visitors alike.

As the tide came in, only the gulls were left to oversee this sand castle, the exhausted kid(s) who constructed it likely home in bed asleep.

If it were winter, the white spots could be really big snow flakes but today it was a flock of sanderlings.

Every year, during the last week of August, about a half dozen families/small groups win a lottery that grants a beach camping permit at the tip of Long Beach - what a special treat.

A picture perfect outing ended with this view west from the tip of Long Beach towards the distant horizon of Plymouth and Kingston.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Moving


After I retired last year, we sold our house near Boston and moved near White Horse Beach in Plymouth. Since we had been visiting that beach for many years, we were already familiar with where the various services and products and stores were located.  We knew who to call for plumbing or electrical or whatever.  It's an odd circumstance for a move.  Most other moves in my life I had only visited the new location a few times.  This method of moving is far easier  - but less adventuresome.

So it's time to settle in once again. As we began unpacking boxes that had been in storage for almost a year, I did learn one good lesson - get rid of at least half of your stuff when you first pack and then - before the movers come, get rid of half of that - such a technique will reduce the number of occasions when unpacking that you say to yourself many times, "why in the heck did I think that this (fill in the blank) was worth keeping?"

I also know this: if I never have to move again in this lifetime, I will consider myself a lucky man.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Steps to the Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Ever see a real estate ad or write-up that said "steps to the beach?" For me those words conjure a mental image of dashing out the door onto sand that slopes gently and directly to the water's edge. Sometimes though, the reality  is much different than my image  -  the following examples show another perspective on the meaning of "steps to the beach."

Most of the steps at this beach seem to be constructed of wood - although some have a final bottom section of aluminum that can better withstand the harsh climate and also be hauled up above most storm tide levels.  Many folks don't use the stairs at all once the summer beach season is over and the weather turns cold.

Usually at least one interim landing is included in the design - a place to rest, a place to sit and gaze, or a place to break your fall if you stumble and start to roll.

The sandy bluff is often unstable, subject to erosion from the battering of storms, and makes maintaining a stairway a challenging task.

Some have multiple levels, short sections of stairs, and broad landings. 

This one has two turnouts to rest and one large deck area to just hang out.

And some have just one very long straight line of consecutive steps -  nowhere to rest if you tire on the way up and nowhere to stop or slow your fall if you lose your footing and start tumbling on the way down.

And some have multiple levels and landings and wind beautifully through the trees in Robinson-Crusoe-tree-house-style. 

Whatever the type of stairway though, people go to extraordinary lengths to build and maintain them so they can enjoy the timeless pleasure of being at the beach.


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Reminisants, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

This week's open air live music concert on the downtown Plymouth waterfront featured the popular Boston area band,  the Reminisants. An oldies band playing music from the 1950's and 60's, these men took great delight in making music together, being in each other's company, and performing for an appreciative crowd.

Playing together since 1973, this band has performed with many of the legends of rock and roll and still enjoys a busy calendar schedule of performances.

Not exactly the stereotypical look for a lead singer in a rock and roll band...

With tongue firmly in cheek, the self-professed "oldest and fattest band in New England" has long been one of Boston's most enduring acts.

Sporting a broken foot and hobbling on stage with crutches, the show must go on for the lead guitarist.

It must be true what many have often said, "rock and roll will never die."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Gathering, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

On another perfect summer evening in late August in New England, families and friends gathered on the beach to share fun, food, and friendship.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Violence Averse


I, like most people I know, am violence averse - I neither seek out nor willingly engage in violence.  In fact, I take steps to avoid violence, violent areas, and violent people.What does that say about my character and humanity?  Does that make me smart or just a wimp? 

But I, like many others, thoroughly enjoy being entertained by the likes of Jason Bourne, James Bond, Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, or the Dark Knight, for example. Generally, people seem to like to watch violent, fast-paced, action dramas. If they didn't, the movie box office income wouldn't be so great - billions of dollars. Is it vicarious thrills that drives us or some primal yearning to kick ass? And speaking of violence and aggression, why does aggression so often manifest itself when people are driving automobiles? Is that true in other countries or is that an American phenomenon? I wonder. I think I'll go watch a movie - maybe just a light comedy?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vegan Falafel, Barley, and Veggies

Another dish in my occasional series about, "what do vegans eat anyway?"

This photo features two dishes in one bowl separated by a wall of avocado pieces.  On the left side, falafel balls, chopped into bite size pieces, diced red and white baby potatoes, green beans, diced tomatoes, black beans, carrots, fresh sweet corn, diced zucchini and summer squash, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices. On the right side, fresh diced tomatoes, zucchini, squash, carrots, peas, barley, spices, pine nuts.  You can mix it together if you like or, keep it separate if you are one of those types who can't let different foods touch each other. Or, you could get one of those plates with little compartments for different food .......

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Manomet Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

A silvery tide.

This is the actual color of this algae/seaweed - straight out of the camera - no editing or processing. It looks like a hair piece for part of some wild outfit. And if my bald spot keeps getting bigger, I may have to consider it.......


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Country Store, Chiltonville, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

In my local wanderings, I stumbled upon Bramhall's Country Store in the village of Chiltonville.  They offer frappes, smoothies, lobsters, and/or farm fresh veggies - all in their respective seasons - but never lobster frappes.

Here's the view looking the other direction.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Antique Car, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Peeking out of this driveway in Plymouth is a 1930 Ford Model A automobile for sale. It sure looks like it has been lovingly maintained.

The current owner says he's never driven it at night or in the rain. He had the engine rebuilt recently and the car could run all day at 50mph.

I don't know anything about the value of antique cars but this one is for sale by its current owner for $19,500.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Since many of  the readers of this blog are from other states or countries around the world, here is a glimpse of random summer views in the Plymouth area. Personally, I am always curious about the terrain and look and feel of foreign places and I imagine some of you are also - and Plymouth is your foreign place. These first four photos were taken less than 10 miles from downtown Plymouth.







I'd like to claim that this gauzy, impressionistic look was achieved by sheer creativity on my part - unfortunately not - I had to take the picture from inside looking out through a mesh window screen so I wouldn't startle the deer and her two fawns close to the house.

This limited access divided highway passes through Plymouth. As the highway gets closer to Boston to the north, commuters are permitted to drive on the shoulder during the rush hour periods. Perhaps this practice occurs in other places but it always unnerves me.  The idea that cars can drive on the shoulder (the breakdown lane) at high speed during rush hours seems inherently bad judgement to me.  Considering all the stuff I often see lying there on the shoulder - rubber chunks from tires, hubcaps, broken ladders, broken glass, cans, bottles, disabled cars with flat tires, etc. - I think I'll stick to the regular lanes.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Beaches, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Back in 1641-47, the colonial powers in Massachusetts passed laws to encourage coastal development.  These laws generally entitled beachfront landowners to own the property to the mean low tide line rather than the mean high tide. This effectively blocked public passage along privately owned beaches (with some exceptions). Today, 370+ years later, many beaches are a confused patchwork of private and public land between high and low tide lines (the intertidal "wet sand" areas). In some places, the landowners post signs and stand guard and chase and/or yell at folks who try to walk through.  In other places, the landowners welcome the public walking through. It is, in a nutshell, a confusing mess. Emotions run hot on both sides of the issue. If someone yells at you to "get off my beach," they might just have every legal right to do so.  Of course, they might be wrong also - it's very confusing.

White Horse Beach in the center, Priscilla Beach in the distance.

Manomet Beach in the distance.

A lone vacationer on White Horse Beach, Priscilla Beach in the distance.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vegan Pasta and Broccoli

Here's another post in my occasional series about "what do vegans eat?"

Whole wheat penne pasta, steamed broccoli, fresh diced tomatoes, tomato sauce with garlic and fire-roasted tomatoes, spices, and all garnished with avocado pieces and dry roasted pine nuts.  Yum, yum, eat 'em up. 


Point and Shoot

Sometimes I'm lucky - just like a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day, the above point-and-shoot photo came out of the camera just like this - no post-processing required.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Amy's Garden, Bartlett Pond, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

We are past the peak and in the final third of the summer season - the slow but inexorable march toward the cool, crisp days of fall continues.

After 21,000+ days on this planet, observing and assessing some of them with a keen eye, when a particularly perfect day comes along, it is especially noteworthy in a place with variable weather like New England. Today was such a day.

The butterfly bush is in summer bloom.

The shadows are already longer at midday as the arc of the sun lowers in the sky. (And snow blowers are already on sale at Home Depot). 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Concord, Massachusetts, USA

One of the great features of the United States is our network of National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. This particular refuge is in Concord, Massachusetts.

Water lilies bloom on one of the large ponds as cumulus clouds begin building for the afternoon thundershowers.

Quiet green trails wind through woods and along the ponds.


And here's what brought us there - this Whistling Duck - it is only the fourth Massachusetts sighting of this particular species. It does not normally range this far north.

Even this bumblebee along the dike trail was on the way to see it......