Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas a la Betsy

Maddie and I spent a great day at Betsy's - exchanging gifts, having dinner and laughing until we had tears rolling down our cheeks. The best of friends make you laugh like that and Betsy never disappoints. She had decorated in her usual classy style. I took some photos - notice that I'm having an effect on her: a few touches straight from My Beach House.

The Day After Christmas

Holy ball dropping! How is it that I haven't written a post since September? There's no good excuse for this. Many things have happened at the Beach House since then and I'll try to catch you up when I have a bit of time. We had a very quiet Christmas with minimal decoration and fanfare. We spent yesterday at home and had our small family breakfast over in the morning for the sausage-egg casserole. After a nap, Maddie wanted to go out, so we took a drive around our county with her at the wheel. She has her driving exam in late January so we must practice. We saw some lovely lights and enjoyed dissecting crappy Christmas songs as they played on the radio.

Today we take a ride up to Aunt Betsy's for our annual hang-out, after-Christmas dinner. I'll have to take some pictures of her decorations because they are always just perfect with white lights and old fashioned Victorian ornaments and pastel bulbs. This year we decided not to exchange gifts. We have been best friends for 35 years - that's priceless gift enough.

I promise to catch you up on all My Beach House has been up to of late, but for now I leave you with some pictures of our token decorating.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Lady and The Unicorn by Tracey Chevalier

Just trying out the new book review function from I have so many books on my "to read" shelves - some are fairly new, but many are books that I should have read years ago!

The Lady and the UnicornThe Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Enjoyable, quick read. I prefer The Girl With the Pearl Earring if I have to compare, but I thought this was a well-researched story about a particularly mysterious work of art. The details regarding the process of transforming a painting into a tapestry was an excellent backdrop for the story of the intertwining of the character's lives.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guest Room

New beds were delivered a couple of weeks ago. Maddie's bed has been broken for over a year - the slats on one side kept falling through and there was no way to repair it. She was sleeping on one side and avoiding the other. And my bed was so old that it was hurting my back and neck. New mattresses were just the ticket to go with Maddie's new bed and my ever-aching back.

They took Maddie's old mattress with them to discard for us, but I kept my old one thinking that we'd find someone who needed it. The delivery guys covered it with the plastic from the new mattresses and moved it into my enclosed front porch area. And then came Irene. We were fortunate that my brother offered us a place to stay for the first couple of days we were without power. He lives in a three bedroom house with his wife. His kids, for the most part, are grown, and only one of them sleeps over from time to time. Still, they haven't turned any of the bedrooms into the workout room or the office. I'm grateful that they had room for us.

We have a third bedroom that we've used mostly for storage these last several years. But the whole idea of having room for someone who needs it has been on my mind ever since the storm. I went out and bought one of those inexpensive frames for the bed and today, with the help of a friend, we moved the old mattress and box spring up to what is now our official "guest room." There's still a lot stored up there that I need to go through and put away in a more organized fashion but there's an extra bed if anyone needs it.

I feel like the Lord planted a seed in my heart about being there for someone if they need us. So, My Beach House in Breezy Point Beach, MD has room for guests. It's not the best mattress in the world, but it's here for you if you need it. Now, there's not much I can do about having only one bathroom at this point, but if you're willing to stand in line for it, our door is open!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post-Irene Thoughts

Every now and then something happens in my life and I react badly. This might pertain to eating a food that I didn't realize would upset my stomach, or hearing about someone's struggle and responding in a way that I later regret. Generally, afterwards, I am overcome with the bewildering thought that maybe I don't know myself very well.

Here is the rub this time. The power in my community went down on Saturday and was restored today - four days later. Hurricane Irene did quite a bit of damage to our county - but by no means as extensive as the damage in the Outer Banks or in New England. Personally, the degree of my discomfort was based entirely on the inconvenience of the power lost, and the sadness at seeing the devastation. Still, packing bags and leaving somewhat abruptly Sunday afternoon to drive a little over an hour to stay at my brother's brought out a level of stress in me that has left me completely surprised. Again, I really don't know myself very well! The only excuse I can think of for this 3-day minor anxiety attack I am experiencing is just the sudden displacement. I'm cranky, snappy, weepy, unfocused and tired! (Some will say that's normal for me!)

I'm praying for peace in my soul and for the anxiety to subside. Meanwhile, I am so proud to be part of a community that comes out for each other. I live in a little beach town that still has Christmas caroling, a bonfire and visit from Santa in the meadow on Meadow Lane, and puts on a 4th of July parade and family beach party. Everyone was out on Sunday helping each other and so much was accomplished. In the greater Southern Maryland area, people have shown the type of small town spirit that you don't often hear about in our world of non-stop cable debates. I'm sad for the loss of so many beautiful trees and the families that still have so much work to do, but I'm proud and grateful for my small beach town life.

Neighbors out clearing yards. Note the "reddish" mass behind the Honda CRV - those are the roots of two trees that fell in the storm. The root mass is about 20 feet high.

The scene on Meadow Lane Sunday, just one house down from mine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer's End

School starts tomorrow;  the beginning of Maddie's junior year. As the summer comes to a close my thoughts turn to how fast time goes by and how much I am not ready for certain passages. There's nothing we can do to slow down the pace of time, but we can start today making sure that we're making a life and not just watching it pass us by. I found this quote from Maya Angelou that really puts my state of mind in better words than I ever could.

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he-she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

~ Maya Angelou

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Vintage Source

Jessica and I took a drive down to Compton, MD in St. Mary's County to check out the once a month weekend sale of antique and vintage furnishings at The Vintage Source. The store opens at 8:00 a.m. We got there shortly before 9:00 which all but guaranteed that the items we fell in love with were either marked "SOLD" or were missing their tags - which meant someone was planning on buying! What a great place to go for ideas and fantastic finds.

Jessica loved this for her entryway but there was no tag - meaning someone else was coveting her item!

I took some pictures of items we admired but my camera battery died (story of my life) so I wasn't able to get as many photos as I would have liked. Jessica spent the entire time we were there, and most of the day, obsessing about a huge wrought iron gate, that she called a screen, that would look fantastic on the empty wall in her living room. The thing probably weighed 300 lbs., and was bigger than my rather large vehicle, so we had to leave it. And she second-guessed herself all day.

The wrought iron gate against the wall is the "screen" Jessica wants for her living room.

I fell in love with a couple of pieces but I've committed to not spending any money until I finish painting. I did walk around for awhile with an apothecary jar that held a coral-colored seashell ornament inside. Jessica reminded me that I could buy the jar at Homegoods for less, and that what really drew me to it was the ornament. They were not for sale separately. Plus the line was really long and didn't seem worth it for that one item.

The unpurchased apothecary jar with the seashell ornament, and someone's leg!

I've been looking for a vanity for Maddie's room and they had a lovely vintage vanity that was painted orange and would have been perfect for her, but the tag was missing. And there was a lovely woman camped out there waiting to see if the tag would return. We were rooting for her, but finally a boy came over and put a SOLD sign on it. We saw her later at another shop we stopped at and discussed the unfairness of it all.

We were so happy to find this great place and can't wait to go back. I posted on my Facebook page this morning that we were headed there, and heard from several of my deal-hunting friends that they were not aware of The Vintage Source. It's alway fun being the first to know! They are open again tomorrow and on the third weekend of every month.

I fell in love with this table. Fortunately there was no tag or I might have broken my no purchase vow!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm so excited that I found Pinterest. Pinterest is "a virtual pinboard, that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web." Like clipping pictures from a magazine and tacking them to a bulletin board, Pinterest is your online board. For years, I've been bookmarking pages which you then have to click through to try to remember why saved it in the first place. But Pinterest "pins" the picture to your board and allows you to make a caption.

You can have multiple boards. I've created five to start: Beach House Decorating, for interior design ideas; Beach House - Dream Home, for exteriors and home plans; Books Worth Reading, for books I've loved and ones I want to read; Places I'd Like to Go; and Stuff I Find Fascinating. I may do two more in the new future for recipes and clips related to my work in Elder Care.

Another great feature of Pinterest is that you can follow other members and check out their boards. You can "re-pin" items from others boards to yours. And because you're browsing through other boards with the same focus, it's almost like having access to hundreds of magazines or idea books without having to flip through the advertisements and articles that don't interest you!

Check me out on Pinterest @ BeachHouseBooks.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beach Day Interrupted

An old friend was in town and wanted to take a walk on the beach in my community. I explained that between Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and subsequent storms in 2006 and 2010, we weren't left with a lot of "walking" beach. We used to be able to walk from our community up through two or three community beaches, but the storms washed out the sand and, unless you wanted to swim, there was no way around the sea wall at the end of our beach.

I decided that we could get a good walk in at Flag Ponds Nature Park, a twenty minute drive away. Flag Ponds is a nature preserve in Calvert County that has a beautiful beach and several miles of hiking trails. There are freshwater ponds and you can walk down the beach to the famous Calvert Cliffs, the largest fossil-bearing deposit of Miocene marine sediments exposed on the East Coast of North America. The Miocene era fossils found there date anywhere from 10-20 million years old.

The walk from the parking lot to the beach is only a half mile and I imagine we got in another 3/4 mile walk on the beach. It was hot and humid and there was a wood burning smell in the air. In the hour or so we were there, it went from fairly clear to smoky. We finally decided to call it a day when my eyes started to burn. After returning home, I searched on the web for the source of the smoke and was surprised by the following:

"A strong burning smell from smoke wafting through portions of Maryland is from an unprecedented wildfire raging 200 miles away through the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia and North Carolina, authorities said Saturday."

If you live or visit the area, and it's not too smoky, check out Flag Ponds. For $4 fee per car, you can enjoy a full day on the beach - sunning, swimming, shelling and fishing, plus hiking and picnic area in a relatively uncrowded setting.
Flag Ponds Park - before the wind shifted! This view is from the beach looking back towards the park.

View of the cliffs and Nuclear Power Plant from the beach. The power plant is completely obscured by the smoke.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Here I go again - get organized, complete projects, start exercising, etc. I managed to get up two days in a row for a 6:30 a.m. walk with my neighbor. She's taking care of her elderly mom and has to go early. Although, I fight discipline with every fiber of my being, I'm forcing myself to change my thinking. If what you focus on grows, then my focus on being lazy is having great success on my rear. So, up I go. Shoes on and out the door. Tomorrow I need to take the camera because I forget how beautiful it is here sometimes. When we walk, this is what we get:

Breezy Point Beach, MD view from the harbor

Breezy Point Beach, MD looking toward the harbor

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mermaid Cottages

I found this beautiful website and Facebook page for the Mermaid Cottages on Tybee Island, GA, and am smitten. I can't stop looking at all the photos and decorating ideas of the different cottages available for rent on Tybee and although I desperately want to plan a trip there, how can I choose which one I want. Each is so completely unique - with colors both fun and serene, and furnished with items old and new.  I am struck with how different they are yet how each captures the essence of my idea of beach house living. I can't show you all of them here; you'll have to lose yourself in the website yourself, but here are some of the photos I love the most and some ideas I'd love to incorporate here.

This table is perfect for a beach kitchen

Screened porch - what's not to love?

The hammock, ceiling fan and repurposed bed - so inviting.

With the exception of the dark paneling - this room is perfect!

Love the beach glass colors!

I want to sit and read on this porch!

From the Paula Deen cottage - love that chandelier

Saved my favorite for last. If that window has a waterview, I could live here forever!

I have visited and loved many newer cottages with all the latest ideas of how to live a comfortable and laid back beach life, but for me the best "new" cottages incorporate so much of the old. A wide, screened porch with enough room to sit and read or for the kids to play on a drizzly day. A well-placed hammock in the quiet corner of the wrap around, towel hooks instead of bars in the bathroom, an outdoor shower, a deep seated, slipcovered sofa, a usable but small kitchen, and shells and signs and candles are all part of beach house living in my mind. I've dedicated a large portion of my daydreaming to designing and decorating the beach house in my mind over the years. Finally, the message is clear - appreciate what you have.

So, as I look through the photos and note what I would love to do with my house, I am mindful that I already have a beach house.  Leafing through the pages of a decorating book or clicking through the photos on a website can make you wish you had something different. In this small, old, in "terrible need of work" house, I spent summers as a teenager, rocked my daughter to sleep, received friends after my mother's death, and started a business.  It doesn't look like these houses yet, but it is a work in progress and while I can dream of visiting one of these places and using some of the ideas in my own home, the home I have contains the story of my life and I am pretty happy with how that story is turning out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Maddie's Pictures

I love looking at my daughter's photos. She takes so many pictures with her cell phone and uploads them to her Facebook page. Sometimes she uploads them first to Picnik and manipulates them in different ways. She's so creative so I thought I'd give her some props here (plus you probably already know that I never miss an opportunity to talk about my awesome kid)!

Seabrook Island, SC (l-r: Sarah, Taylor, Maddie, Christian)
When we were at Seabrook Island, SC for spring break 2011, our teenagers took lots of walks on the beach. And they took some great photos. I love this one of the group, especially since it's with her best friend and her cousins from Georgia that we don't see near enough.

She's so wide awake at 6:50 a.m. waiting for the bus
She likes to take pictures while she waits for the bus, and has several great ones. Here's a self-portrait.

Coronado Beach, CA 12/10

She has taught me alot about shooting from the ground. This is a great one from our Christmas vacation to San Diego.

Sunrise from the bus stop

Another bus stop shot!

Gettysburg, PA Tournament 2009

Gettysburg, PA 2009

These soccer shots were uploaded and enhanced at one of her favorite sites Picnik. Enhancing the color and inserting text are just a few of the fun effects.

Winter sunrise at the Beach House
Above and below are photos she took in the winter. The one above was another bus stop photo after having several snow days off in 2010. And the one below was taken on a sunny day after a March snowstorm in 2009 on the road leading up and out of our little neighborhood.

Breezy Point Road, March 2009
Photos by Maddie Stedman!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Steamed Crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs with Old Bay Seasoning

We are getting crabs this Saturday - it's a girls afternoon with Maddie and Jessica and Betsy. We've been talking about getting blue crabs for a few weeks and we're excited. If you've never eaten steamed Maryland Blue Crabs, you haven't truly experienced Chesapeake Bay beach house living.  Crabs are messy and not very filling but so much fun and delicious to eat. When I play the list in my head of my greatest beach life memories, there is a place for blue crabs. Catching them, cooking them, steaming them. Years ago, the little beach community I live in used to have an annual crab feast and it was a fabulous time when the neighborhood came together for a full day of fun, food and fellowship.

Everything you could possibly want to know about crabs, the history of the crabbing trade on the Chesapeake Bay, and the lives of the watermen can be found in a delightful book, Beautiful Swimmers by Willam W. Warner. This is the crab lovers Gift From the Sea! The writing is beautiful - describing both the lifecycle of the crab and the lifestyle of the weather-worn and hard working watermen in a romantic prose.  The book even gives you instruction for eating crabs - which is not exactly an easy feat. You will really be amazed at how taken you are by the lyrical writing of this not-to-be-missed book.

I've heard from neighbors that crabs are plentiful this year and there's been a rumor that the crabs from the Patuxent River are fatter than the Bay crabs. So I'll be driving across the river to Benedict, MD on Saturday to pick up our crabs. I drove down there yesterday and did a little recon so I can get around the boaters that will be down there launching. It's a beautiful little community sitting right down on the river.  Naturally, I had to take a picture!

Patuxent River, Benedict, MD
After we get home with our crabs, we'll layer brown paper on the table, pour a little apple cider vinegar out, maybe melt a little butter and put out some crab seasonings that they'll give us with the crabs. Some people use crab mallets but we use the handle of the knife to crack open the claws. The mallets have a way of smasking the shell to smithereens! We'll have the paper towels handy and extra water bottles or whatever we're drinking so we don't have to put our crabby hands all over everything. Just to give you a taste of what we're going to be doing, watch this video about how to eat blue crabs. And if you like what you're seeing, come join us on Saturday!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Books and Reviews

My Beach House Books - a small sampling!
I am in the process of transferring my booklists from Visual Bookshelf to Goodreads. You can see below left that there is a link to my bookshelf at Goodreads. Visual Bookshelf was a service of Living Social and apparently the coupon business they run is doing so well, they've decided to focus on that! Fortunately, they provided a quick transfer link so export over to Goodreads. So if you're looking for a good book to read - check out my bookshelf. Reviews exported only to a file on my desktop so I'll have to add them over time. And if you need a book recommendation today - go with Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier or The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Have a great beach day!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lost Photos

Morning sky from the back deck of My Beach House

I have been sick, sick, sick since the discovery in the spring that I have lost a file of photographs. I take a lot of photos. The next best thing to being at the beach is photos of when you were there! In April, when Maddie turned 16, I poured over hundreds of photos to make a slideshow of her life to show at her surprise party. It turned out so well.

While going through all those photos I came to the conclusion that I have no real system for filing photos both on my hard drive and uploaded off-site. I have photos on my Mac, on my desktop at the office, uploaded to Picasa and Flickr and none of them are in easy to find files. After looking through the photos for the slideshow I decided that I needed to decorate my office at work with my own photography instead of someone else's art and I went in search of pictures to use. I have two picture frames that have three prints of flowers in each one and the mat is in good condition.  I decided that I would take three of my sunrise photos for one frame and three of my sunset photos for the other. And I knew immediately that I wanted one of the sunsets to be of the abandoned houses in the Pamlico Sound that I took from Bodie Island.

It was September 2007, and I remember Maddie and Betsy and I rushing down the sandy road past the Bodie Island Lighthouse to get out by the water before the sun went down. I took a photo of a crab in the water that turned out beautifully and about 20 shots of the sun setting with these abandoned houses on stilts out in the sound. Gone. That whole vacation is gone. I've been searching and searching. I took the hard drive of my old desktop to a computer guy and he is working on locating and extracting all photo files. I'm praying that he finds it.

In the meantime, dear reader, I'm desperately seeking a system for filing my photos to avoid losing them. I don't know how this happened but I probably have 3000-4000 photos that need to be organized. And I have another couple thousand old photographs that I've sent out to be scanned. I'd like to have a filing system in place by the time they get back. One My Beach House goals for the future is to be more organized. It's much easier to relax and fully enjoy beach life when one's surroundings are not in chaos!
Looking for the most zen of systems and I welcome your suggestions.

Here's the criteria for photo organizing and archiving. It need to be simple. It should include keyword and date and possibly name if a person is involved. It should be a workable system on the desktop and exports to whatever site should maintain the filing system. Please send me your thoughts. I'll print them here so we can all benefit from the ideas. Thanks!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Little Slice of Heaven

Breezy Point Beach, MD/Snack bar and bath house

Much of who we are can be traced to events and places and people from our childhood. I spent more hours than I can count and much fewer than I desired at Breezy Point Beach on the Chesapeake Bay. I have memories so vivid that I can remember how the air smelled or a particular expression on a persons face from those days. The snack bar and bath house and the beach out front were the scene of so many memories:

  • Jumping off the wooden rafts that were chained to log poles in the water into the waiting arms of my father. I remember he would lift us up and throw us out into the water or let us climb up on his shoulders and jump off.
  • My first job in the snack bar making cotton candy and how hot and sticky and sweet it was. I remember strands of cotton candy floating in the air and getting caught in our hair.
  • Groups of teens sitting in the sand making plans for a bonfire on the beach later or to drive over to a neighboring beach to hang out with other kids.
  • I remember the songs on the juke box. Mony, Mony and Wipe Out and the Beach Boys played while we sat at tables in the snack bar and played Canasta and Rummy in our bathing suits. 

Many lessons of life were learned here at the beach in the summer months. One Friday after football practice, my brother and his friends arrived and spent the weekend eating everything my mother put in front of them. The next week we were stunned to find that one of them had taken his own life.

Another time, we piled into cars and drove to the hospital when my other brother and a friend were in a car accident.

There is a Facebook page for those of us who spent our summers here. The girl who started it has scanned in hundreds of photos that bring back memories of a time when our world was so small. I realize now that the world was still tragic - these were the years after Vietnam and Watergate. But those things didn't seem to touch us here like they might in the other three seasons of the year. When we were here it was searching for sharks teeth and water skiing and crabbing and bonfires. It was dancing on the weekends to Junior and the Crystallaires in the Snack Bar. It was holding hands and walking home past the house where our parents were gathered and we could hear that Smitty was playing his guitar and they were singing, "Please release me, let me go..."

I don't think I thought a lot about these things for years, but somehow reaching middle age leaves me nostalgic for the small things and moments that shaped me. The first bite of a summer peach reminds me of the boy I fell in love with the summer I was 14, because a bunch of us would meet up at the peach orchards! Because some of us settled here, we run into one another from time to time and shake our heads about how much freedom we had; none of us willing to loosen the reins on our own children in the same way.

When I look through the pictures that are being posted of that time I realize how blessed we were to have this little slice of heaven. When I see the comments others have posted it's obvious that little fact is not lost on any of us.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sweet Summer Sunday

I've been thinking a lot about going to church. We haven't been churchgoers for a little over two years now. Not since the great shunning of 2009, which is a story that I should import from my old blog rather than take the time to write about it again. But let's just put it as gently as possible: we were dismembered along with 4 other families. It was messy - arms and legs everywhere and lots of anger and hurt feelings. But after some time and much prayer, it was revealed to me that we were lucky. A lot of people are still there - being deceived every Sunday. Going back to church is not something we will take lightly. As I said, it's been on my mind, and recently some friends mentioned their new church to us and suggested we check it out. We went today and enjoyed everything about it; so I think we'll go back.

Church and breakfast with the Wattersons (l-r) Maddie, Sarah, Sami, Jessica

Afterwards we went out to breakfast and caught up. It was really nice, plus Mike picked up the tab because he's awesome like that! Our plan was to furniture shop in a couple of antique and used furniture stores in Annapolis for Jessica's new house but I ended up buying four awesome pieces for the beach house (I'll showcase them in another post). Before we finally headed home we stopped by Skipper's Pier Restaurant in Deale, MD for fried green tomatoes, cream of crab soup, crab-stuffed baked oysters and fried flounder. All delivered by our beautiful waitress, the lovely Sami Watterson, with whom we had earlier attended church!

Rockhold Creek - Deale, MD

Rockhold Creek - Deale, MD
When we got back in the car, I had to stop and take a couple of photos of Rockhold Creek. So we began the day hearing God's word and ended it thanking Him for the beauty that surrounds us.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Adding Widgets and Gadgets and Wombats

Okay, so we don't add wombats on Blogger, but adding the Facebook 'LIKE' button and other things to your blog is a pain in the butt when you're a complete technological loser. As of 45 minutes later, the Facebook like gadget still has not appeared but I'm not going to stress about it.

Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a web design expert. Perhaps you could just mosy on over to my new Facebook page "My Beach House" and like it so I won't be devastated if the widget never appears!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Favorite Subject

One of these days, I'm going to take a class on digital photography. I've enjoyed taking pictures ever since my daughter was born and although I've managed some passable photos, I'd love to be able to understand the science of taking great pictures. I've been lucky with a few Kodak EasyShare Digital Cameras and have a photo library that, at the very least, is a catalog of our lives. But before the grandkids arrive (in the next ten years or so!), I hope to get a real education before I begin to stick my camera in their faces ad nauseum!

A bonus to being a beach lover is an ever ready setting for taking pictures of your subject. And my favorite subject has always been my daughter. When she was four, we spent a week at the cottage of a relative at Bethany Beach, Delaware. Since our little beach house is on the Chesapeake Bay, this was her first experience with the ocean and she had so much fun running towards and away from the big waves. Last month we traveled for the third time to the Gulf Coast of Florida for a beautiful vacation on Anna Maria Island.  Nothing brings me greater joy than watching my daughter at the water's edge. While we had a bit of a rocky start - she did not like being in the water until she was two or three - she fell in love and has gotten such great pleasure at the shore. Somehow these two photos - bookends perhaps of her life at the beach - tell me that beach life is as much a spiritual experience for her as it is for me.

Bethany Beach, DE 1999

Anna Maria Island, FL sunset 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the Beginning

In the beginning, there was George and Agnes and their two sons and one lovely angel of a daughter (that would be me!). In the beginning of beach house life, it was the 1960's, and George and Agnes would take their brood to a quaint little haven on the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay called Breezy Point Beach. They would rent a little cottage and spend two weeks every summer at Breezy Point Beach and their children would run free and half-naked through the sand and all was perfect in the world. This is how a beach/beach house lover was created. There was no stress in life that an hour and a half's car ride away from the Washington, DC area to the Chesapeake Bay could not cure. This little community, Breezy Point Beach in Calvert County, Maryland, has meant everything to me since I was a little girl.

George and Agnes, with Steven & and a topless Lee Ann (no comments from the peanut gallery!). My brother David probably was behind the camera. 

Later, in the early 70's, after George passed away suddenly, Agnes bought the home that my daughter and I live in now. She bought it for her children, but I think also for my father's memory, because all the memories of her years with my dad were even sweeter at the beach. Behold, My Beach House:

Our little piece of heaven