Travel Challenge – Animals from Kyrgyzstan


Ailsa’s wonderful travel theme this week is animals. I just happen to have a couple that fit from my trip to Kyrgyzstan. These were taken at Song Kul, where they had been herded for grazing during the arid summer months. I had already used the second photograph in my post How To Milk a Mare but think it is worth posting again.


Milking a Mare

To learn more about this travel theme or to get info on how to participate visit Where’s My Backpack


Floral Friday – Walk in the Park

Yesterday morning I took a walk in one of our local parks. I was looking for single specimens of fall color and the park boarders a golf course, the perfect place for what I was looking for.


I liked this next one because of the strong vertical lines.

While walking around, I had one of those magic moments. I felt like I had traveled into another space even though I had only walked a few steps. I was under the canopy of a large oak so there was lots of light and openness but also the enclosed feeling of being in the woods. The yellow leaves on the ground from the neighboring trees cast a golden glow. I stopped to feel the wonder of this space.

I soon realized that I wasn’t alone. Obviously I had interfered with the important work of storing acorns for the winter. This little critter was scolding me and watching me very carefully. It is probably a good thing I don’t understand squirrel language.

Tommy’s Hot Dog Stand

This afternoon my honey and I decided to do a lunch date at one of our favorite eating places – Tommy’s Hot Dog Stand.

You can only find Tommy’s open during warm weather – they will be closing October 26. And you need to know where to go because they aren’t listed in the Yellow Pages or on-line. I don’t think they have an address to put in your GPS. They are close to downtown, in a residential neighborhood, in front of Tommy’s house. And they sell a lot of hot dogs. We heard from someone that he closes each day after he sells 400. This may also be local urban legend. We go after the noon rush.

Our town is known for Coney Islands, made with finely ground beef heart. Each time my mother came back to visit from Florida, she stopped for Coneys before seeing me. People airship them to other places in the country after they move away.

Meet Tommy, doing what he is so good at – making hot dogs and having fun with customers. Andie and Alex are in the background. They are all related – and belong to a restaurant family famous for their Coney Island Dogs.

After parking by the curb, you get in line so Carrie can take your order. The menu consists of hot dogs, chips, rice pudding and canned pop/soda.

As we were getting in line we met up with a woman who had come down the street in a motorized wheel chair to get a hot dog for herself and one for her grandson whose birthday was yesterday.

If they aren’t busy there is always some chatting going on.

And they know how to make a hot dog and serve it fast. Tommy makes the dogs on a tray, handing it back to the wrappers and server. Many people take orders back to work with them but you can also eat in – well actually out, picnic style.

Alex wrapping.

Andie bagging a take-away order.

Curt replenishing Polish sausages. Refilling containers is full-time work.

If you haven’t picked up on it, Tommy likes to talk and my husband does as well. We live in a small town and find out that Tommy graduated with my cousin’s husband, Ted. Jim also worked with Tommy’s neighbor so they have a lot to talk about. While Tommy takes a break, Alex takes over making the dogs. He shows us the find art of making a perfect coney dog with onions.

Hot coney sauce is spooned on the dog.

Some mustard.

Onions carefully spread on top.

My Nancy Dog, with a fresh sauerkraut slaw on top, was fabulous but as usual it was gone before I thought about taking a picture. You will just have to take my word for it.

Memories of The Painted House

We have been spending most Januarys in southern Florida for 30 years. Every few years we would mention the painted house, the one with flowers and vines and birds and birdhouses. We found it as we were walking to the beach one evening many, many years ago. In resent years we drove around looking for it – but couldn’t find it. We knew about where it had been but it wasn’t there now. Maybe we weren’t looking in the right place. It was lost.

The other day I was looking for some other pictures and found these. Yes, the painted house! Just as I remembered it.

I think I know where the house went. The bulldozer got it. It was on a corner, in that first block from the gulf beach. People can’t own beach property in this city, but they can own property along the beach. And all of these small, quaint southern-Florida houses are being bought up to build HUGE houses, with lots of foliage blocking the views of the beach for people going down the street. It makes me sad.

I guess there are times when we want to hold onto the past. I know that European cities face this dilemma. I was talking to a woman in London about city ordinances to preserve the old buildings. She wasn’t in favor of it because she said what is built today will become tomorrows historic buildings. Of course she is right. We need a balance of preserving and inventing, hanging on and letting go, old and new. But I do miss the painted house.

A New Day

Yesterday morning I woke up knowing I needed to change the name of my blog. It isn’t the first time I’ve thought about it but this morning was different: this morning it was a given. I woke up early and I really would have liked to fall back to sleep but I couldn’t get this idea out of my mind. My mind was racing. I was trying to come up with names that reflected who I used to be, who I am now, and who I am becoming. I came up with several that I don’t remember now – probably because none of them were right. I even told God about it.

I got up because I knew I wasn’t going to sleep any more. The first thing I did – even before I made coffee (actually my husband usually does this but he didn’t look like he was getting up right away) – was to log onto my blog. And there was a comment from Christna, from the other side of the world, suggesting I change the name of my blog and giving me a suggestion. This stunned me because Christna doesn’t follow my blog. She had visited this post once before and left a message, and is here again. I just sat here stunned, rereading her message. And then I smiled. I know that chance happens but most of the time things that happen seem to be a part of a big plan. There is a lot of rhyme and reason to my life – most of the time.

This morning I woke up and knew the name. A New Day. Yesterday, after I read Christna’s e-mail and drank a cup of coffee (my coffee isn’t as good as Jim’s), I picked up my camera and stepped outdoors to take some fall colors in the morning light. What I saw was a new sunrise coming through the clouds, signifying a new day, new challenges, new joys. Yes, A New Day works very well for me and I think Christna will like it, too.

A New Day

I don’t miss me any more, but I’ll tell you more about that on another new day. And I’ll have to update the page about my blog. What a glorious new day. Thanks for sharing it with me.