Sunday, July 31, 2005

Seventh and Eighth Golf Games in 2005

Games seven and eight were part of our week in Vermont.

We are joined on our annual trip to the great north by my golf-buddy Andy Southmayd and his family. Andy and I try to get out for several games on various courses around the Tyler Place. Andy is great at researching what courses there are in that area and finding ones somewhat off the beaten path.

Our first game, on the Monday, we went across Lake Champlain to Rouses Point, New York, and played at the North Country Golf Club. We played with Rich Catanese and Rich's wife's brother-in-law Paul, who were vacationing with their wives' family further down the Lake at a place called Eagle Camp.

On The North Country Golf Club Course
North Country is a pretty wide-open and forgiving course. We had a fairly good time and my play was only moderately bad; I had a few good holes and scored at least one par.

We got caught-up in the middle of what appeared to be a week-day women's tournament which went off as a shotgun start. We found ourselves ahead of a fast-moving threesome and ended up skipping several holes to get out of the way.

On Friday, we headed out again. This time, we went east to Richford Country Club, a wonderful nine-hole course just about a few thousand feet south of the US/Canada border.

Richford Country Club
What I love about this course is its rolling, up-and-down, wooded, mountainside aspect. None of the nine holes is at all flat. The views are sweeping. There are woods and exposed boulders to challenge you.

The Eighth Hole at Richford
This is the eighth hole, looking back downhill towards the tee. This green itself appears on the Google Maps site to be about 1,500 feet from the border.

When we played here several years ago, the woman in the pro shop told us that, before 9/11, Canadian members used to simply hike over the border and through the woods to play. Now, they have to go through the border-crossing at Richford just west of the Country Club.

Another fairly good round. Andy was hitting well and I was starting to find a short, but straight and dependable, drive with my three-wood.

Once again, we didn't manage to make all 18 holes. This time, things got crowded and slowed down and we wanted to be back at the Tyler Place in time for lunch. We quit after 15 holes.

For the last 6, we teamed up with an older, retired couple from Canada. Very nice people and course regulars from who we had a few tips.

Golf in Vermont. I can recommend it!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ten by Ten

This is an experiment in structured random searching.
  1. I start with a Google search of the word "ten."
  2. I take the tenth result (Late Show with David Letterman) and find the tenth word in the first block of body text and do a search on that word: musical.
  3. Tenth result: Musical Traditions Internet Magazine. Tenth word: come.
  4. Tenth result: We Come in Peace. Tenth word: my. (Rule violation #1: I had to use the words in the title blocks on this, a Flash site.)
  5. Tenth result: WebMDHealth. Tenth word: can.
  6. Tenth result: CanTeach. Tenth word: of.
  7. Tenth result: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Tenth word: understandably.
  8. Tenth result: USAToday: US Airways seeks court OK to end pacts with two unions. Tenth word: its.
  9. Tenth result: MathDL. Tenth word: publication.
  10. Tenth result: International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication. Tenth word: ICAAP.
And the final (tenth tenth) result is: The Journal of Distance Education.

Some caveats.

I presume that this same search approach undertaken at a different time will yield a different end result, since the top ten results of Google searches should be expected to change over time.

Finding the tenth word on any given page may be somewhat subjective. I have chosen to try to find the tenth word in the first block of "body text" I can identify. I tried to avoid words in titles and subtitles.

So who else will try this and share their results? Maybe someone can do this on Yahoo and see what they find? Perhaps starting with "nine?"

Friday, July 29, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser

Lily 1
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

This photo that I posted on Flickr last night is shown as having been viewed 115 times already (as of 6:45 this morning).

That's well off the scale of "views" for most of my photos. Only one has more views over time.

I can't see any obvious reason for this. I'm proud of the shot but didn't think it was that special. No one has commented on this shot on Flickr and I don't see that anyone has tagged it as a "favorite."

I'm going to have to look into this....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I spent a week with Karen and the girls at The Tyler Place, at Highgate Springs, Vermont. The Tyler Place is about two miles south of the Canadian Border, on Missisquoi Bay in Lake Champlain.

At The Pool II
One can spend much of the week by the pool, sitting in the shade or floating in the sun. We also love to swim in the Lake.

The Tyler Place is set up as a combination of summer camp and family resort. The kids have organized activities, by age group and with very talented counselors. They are with their groups from breakfast through lunch. There is family time in the afternoon and they go back into their groups for dinner and evening activities.

A Group of KayaksThe adults have activities too. For Karen and I there are freelance volleyball (Karen) and golfing (me). We also took part in a bike ride around Isle La Motte and a kayak float down the Missisquoi River.

We did a few things on our own, too. Karen took advantage of a chance for a facial and joined in a tennis round-robin. I indulged in some massage therapy and a hike up a mountain.

A The mountain hike is a personal favorite. It's a moderately difficult walk up Burnt Mountain. I spent part of the walk up chatting with an older gentleman who had worked at the Tyler Place in the 1960's and met his wife there. They named their eldest son Tyler. Two of their kids have worked there too; one also met his wife on staff at the Tyler Place. The hike ends at Window Rock, featuring this view.

The descent is followed by a plunge into The Three Holes at Montgomery, Vermont.

A Swimming Hole
The Three Holes is a town Natural Area; it's a favorite swimming hole and a lovely site. Vermonters love their swimming holes; they should, they are great.

There's also plenty to do at the waterfront. We slid down the lake-slide. We bounced on the lake-tramp. We went for a Banana Boat ride. We took rank-beginner water-skiing lessons one afternoon.

Christina Learns to Water Ski
The waterfront staff were most helpful. We all four managed to get up on the skis and ride for at least a short way. We all also took some spectacular face-plants.

That's just a few of the things we did on vacation. We had fine food, and fine friends. We saw mountains, rivers and lakes. We had sunshine, and sunsets.
Sunset Across Lake Champlain

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tyler Place Photoset

Missisquoi Bay
I have selected 51 photos from some 250 or so that I took at the Tyler Place and around Vermont last week and created a Tyler Place Photoset on Flickr. I've annotated a few of them with notes and comments.

Over the next few days I will pull some into more detailed blog entries on our time up north.

I have a few others from our flying visit to Smuggler's Notch on the way home to pull off the camera and post.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

...And, We're Back

Lake Champlain II
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

We're just back from our week at the northern end of Vermont. We had a great time. More pictures, and details, over the next few days. For now, the car's unpacked and I'm off to bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Heading North

Skytop Compass
Originally uploaded by bikeracer.

We're heading out again. This time to Vermont. We'll spend a week on the shores of Lake Champlain.

When we vacation, I like to go "luddite." So, no blogging for the next week-and-a-day-or-so.

But I'll be taking pictures.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Water: Beautiful

grandfolks bird bubbler
Originally uploaded by shwa.

Once in a while in my wanderings through Flickr, I find perfect moments of beauty.

Is It Still a "Blue Crab?"

Molly Murray has a story in the News Journal today that a commercial crabber has pulled an Albino blue crab out of Delaware waters. This is reportedly rare, but not unheard-of. I was intrigued to read that the fellow is thinking he might introduce the white crab -- a male -- "to some of the females in the shedding tank as an experiment to see whether they might breed more white crabs."

I hope Molly checks back on this story.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Meet Nick

Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

Nick is the alpha male among the many cats at the Milton Equestrian Center. He's a stocky, tough-looking cat. By all accounts he's a good mouser. But he's a sweet cat, too. Likes people. Likes hanging out with horses.

Truer Words Were Never Posted

Truer Words Were Never...
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

This actually refers to fundraiser held by one of the offices in my building, but it struck me as I first got on the elevator this morning as a wonderful koan-like thought.

This is indeed today. I hope to see you there too.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sixth Golf Game of 2005

On Bethany Bay Golf Course
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

Andy Southmayd and I played 18 holes at Bethany Bay Golf Course this morning. We wanted a tune-up prior to our two families' joint trip to northern Vermont where we like to play the mountainous courses.

I'd never played Bethany Bay before. It's an executive length, 9-hole course with eight par-3 holes and one par-4. A pleasant little course with some nice challenges.

Things got a bit crowded on our second time around the 9 holes, so we teamed up for the last few with two gents -- Jerry and Ahmet -- who have vacation homes at Bethany Bay. We were visited a Deer and by a Great Blue Heron.

I'm proud to say I carded an 88 for 18 holes. It is a short course, of course. Still, I cut strokes from the first 9 to the second 9 and Andy, who is a much better golfer than I , only beat me by two strokes.

Another round of golf in 2005.

Saturday, July 9, 2005


Tractor and Field
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

As you may know, I spend a fair amount of time at the Milton Equestrian Center where Colleen rides and looks after her horse Jazzy. It's an interesting place to take pictures. I've started a collection.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Language that Makes Me Think

In a column by Al Mascitti in the News Journal this morning, there's a quote that gave me a moment's pause.

The column (It's racing interests vs. expanded gambling, and the purse is huge) is about the long-term effort to expand gambling's footprint in Delaware. What caught my eye, though, was part of quote from the executive director of the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems.

She spoke about the state having "an obligation to fund programs for the victims of public policy."

There's a notion that we should think about: "victims of public policy."

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Another Form of History

cincinnati 1915
Originally uploaded by Least Wanted.

A Flickr member, Least Wanted, collects old photos discarded from law enforcement archives.

This one struck me because it looks oddly like my friend David Pedersen, of Georgetown. David with darker hair, a hat, facial hair, and a fancy collar.

Least Wanted's collection is a fascinating look back at fashion, hairstyles, and the faces of America over time. Remarkable.

Til Purnell Honored by the Sierra Club

A woman I have great respect for, Til Purnell, has won the National 2005 Special Services Award from the Sierra Club.

Til is part of a wonderful couple that returned to Sussex County from service abroad and has helped shape who we are. While she has championed environmental issues, her husband Skipper has been a voice in improving and modernizing state government. I had occasion to mention Skipper back in December.

Til Purnell is who I think of when I think of the word "forthright." She has convictions, and she stands for them. I have covered her as a reporter, worked with her in community theatre, sat with her in the audience at County Council, interviewed her and profiled her for Outdoor Delaware magazine, and argued with her as a state employee.

The woman is who we should all aspire to be.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Fourth of July at Bethany Beach

We spent the fourth with my folks, one of my brothers, and some family friends at Bethany Beach. We went to the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade, where I took a mess of photos. We spent the afternoon on the beach at North Bethany. We had a traditional meal of Burgers and Dogs, and eventually went down to the beach to watch the fireworks.

The Bethany Beach parade is one of our favorites. It's long. It attracts a decent number of politicians. It includes kids on decorated bicycles. And it brings out a healthy goofiness.

It was a pleasant afternoon on the beach. We swam, we sunned, we watched the kids dig for sand crabs, we sat around and talked politics.

After dinner, we planned to head down to the beach to watch the Bethany fireworks show about a mile south of us. We do this each year; we have the added fun of the fireworks shot off by all the groups up and down the beach around us.

Interestingly, this year here was some sort of cloud bank between us and Bethany and we really only could hear the town's fireworks show. There was some reflection off the ocean, but we were shut out visually. None of us could ever remember that happening.

The free-lance fireworks were still fun. We also traditionally distribute glowsticks to the kids. We put them on lengths of string for twirling, and throwing, and catching, and dropping.

It made for some interesting pictures.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Fifth Golf Game of 2005

An Island Green
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie.

I played 18 holes, poorly, this morning; again at the Heritage Course.

I had planned to go early and play a fast, solo, practice round. But the place was packed and it took longer than I had planned.

In fact, it was so crowded that, after a few holes, I joined up with a threesome to finish the round.

They were Chip, an assistant manager at the Heritage Course and the attached hotel, and his neighbors June and Tammy.

All three were very nice folks, at about my level of golf or a tad better. We had a good time, shared some laughs, and cheered each other on. It's a nice way to play.

I wish I'd played better. I did have a par on the 12th hole we played. But I'd also blown-up on a couple of holes.

In the end I carded a 123 for the 18 holes.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

This is How We Get Grid-Lock

Note to folks coming to visit Coastal Sussex County: When you get into heavy traffic in an area with traffic lights, please don't enter an intersection unless you can go all the way through that intersection, regardless of whether or not you have the green light.

And when the light turns yellow. Stop. You won't beat it. Unless it would be un-safe to do so, just stop at the intersection.

Otherwise, you may get caught still in the middle of the intersection when the light changes, like these damn fools.

Luckily, no one needed to make the left from the side road I was on last night. When the light went green for us to go straight, though, the cars ahead of me were left to try to weave around some turkey that was further back in the intersection.

That, plus the very short duration of the green light for side-roads in this area, meant that I had to wait another cycle to get through. Turkeys.

Look. You are welcome to visit our area. We're glad to see you. But don't you people have heavy traffic back home? Don't you know how to handle this sort of thing?

Is there something about being on vacation that makes you forget common sense and common courtesy?