Mar 31 2013

What a wonderful way to end the month of March! With pastel eggs, chocolate rabbits and bright hopes for the future.

And my hopes for the future include the security of owning a Careline Home Safety Telephone System. Honestly, I never had any intention of working with any phone system other than my iPhone, but being a BOOMboxNetwork Influencer, I was sent a VTech Careline Home Safety Telephone System for my review.  This is the phone system that allows independent living, encouraging Seniors to “age in place” with reliable contact to family and friends. Well, I thought, this thing’s for OLD people and I ought to find one, set this system up for them and ask for their opinions on the usefulness.

 

How does SunbonnetHen keep in touch with
her peeps when she’s out collecting eggs?
VTech’s Careline Pendant Phone

Having taught quilting classes for years, I know plenty of older people, or as some prefer to be called, Senior Citizens. I started going through my list of usual suspects, thinking who would make best use of the Careline System. As the weeks went by, I set up the system “just to see how it works” so I’d be ready to set it up when I delivered it to a deserving quilter’s home. Needless to say, this was like baking a cake in case company comes. Soon, I’d eaten the whole thing. As I worked with the Careline Telephone System, I became attached and couldn’t give it up. I have been keeping the pendant close when I go outside to do yard-work. And, I have visions of letting family members use it to call out from the sickbed when they are ill, that is, if they play their cards right between now and then.

Three fully functioning Home Safety Telephones

The remarkable part is, talk about bang for the buck, the Careline Home Safety System actually includes three, fully functional phones. For the price, just a bit over $100, and the quality of each phone, it is a phenomenal value. And, watching every penny, I’m in love with the VTech icing on the cake: there are no additional monthly charges once the System is purchased. That’s right! Once you own a Careline Phone System and hook it into your current home service, you can use it all you want without worrying about usage charges above that of your regular fees.

But, all of this gracious goodness is typical of VTech products. As the November 28, 2012, press release for the Careline Home Safety Telephone System relates, “VTech is the world’s largest manufacturer of cordless telephones and electronic learning products.”

VTech has been championing excellence since the company began in 1976. Why not consider purchasing the Careline Home System Telephone System? It’s a great value.

Although it was designed with Seniors in mind, the options of Careline Home Safety Telephone Systems answer needs of any age-group.

 

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com
on behalf of VTech Communications, Inc.
I have received payment for my participation. All opinions stated are my own.



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Filed under: Family,Heart,Uncategorized — admin @ 2:08 pm Comments (2)
Jan 29 2013

Numbers fascinate me. Playing with numbers and their relationships really fascinates me. And, when those relationships are represented by years, I almost lose control.

For example, are you old enough to remember the Challenger Disaster, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy-three seconds after launch? I wonder if you realize that was twenty-seven years ago today, January 28, 1986. Twenty-seven years. It doesn’t seem long at all. Twenty-seven years until now. I can close my eyes and feel like I’m there.

No, not at Cape Canaveral or Cape Kennedy, depending on your time period as to what the space center was called, but in my quilt store, up in the office where my store employees and I were watching the lift off. Watching and excited about the shuttle crew containing two woman astronauts, we followed Dr. Judith Resnick and elementary school teacher, Crista McAuliffe as they prepared to launch.

In June of 1983, Sally Ride had become the first woman in Space, but Dr. Resnick, a 1977 Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, had been selected as one of the first six women to be selected by NASA along with Sally Ride.  I identified with the two women astronauts, and considered gender the more restrictive factor in astronaut selection. There had been different racial types of people selected to be astronauts, but all of them had been men.

So, with me being gender discriminatory, which is never a good thing, my radar was not set to recognize the life long achievements of one of the other astronauts, Ronald McNair, a black man from South Carolina, the second black man in space. Just recently, I found a video on YouTube.com that was so very interesting, I decided to share it with my BlogHer friends today, the anniversary of when the Challenger exploded, twenty-seven years ago.

 

Revisiting the Space Shuttle Challenger and her Crew on January 28, 1986.

You see, when Ronald McNair was a little boy, black people were not allowed to visit a library in the white part of town and take out books. Did you know that? When Ronald was nine years old, in 1959, it was years after school desegregation laws went through officially, but long before the behavior of many people changed for the better. Ronald wanted to borrow some books from the library in his home town of Lake City, South Carolina, read about space and…

Well, why don’t I just share the video I like so much and let it tell the story. In fact, even better than a story, this will be an eye witness account of events in 1959, because the speaker is Ronald McNair’s brother, Carl.

Astronaut Ronald McNair started out as a little boy reading about space.

And so, my point is, I hear people on BlogHer and elsewhere fussing and fuming about the lack of change in rights and that’s right to do. Change is good and no, we are not as a society where we need or want to be to fully represent all the bounty of humankind. But, as we work to bring equality full circle, let us be thankful for what has been accomplished so far to insure people’s rights when it comes to race, gender, religious and sexual orientation.

Just as now, there were lots of us working very hard to affect change all along and although there is much left to do, we need to recognize and appreciate those who have come before. For every nasty librarian that wouldn’t let a little boy borrow books, there were others, such as the policemen in the video, who recognized injustice and put their employment on the line, to do the right thing, one small effective action at a time.

And, like I remember 1986, I remember 1959, the year the “new” Lincoln penny came out and the year Ronald McNair went to the library as a nine year old to borrow books. It’s amazing is that it was only twenty-seven years from the time the Ronald McNair borrowed those books against the wishes of the librarian, until he died that Challenger launch day as a nationally recognized Ph.D. in laser physics. Lots can happen in only twenty-seven years.

When I think of how society has changed so far, I am very thankful. The glass is half full. Twenty-seven years. It’s been only twenty-seven years since the Challenger Disaster, and it was only twenty-seven years before that, a young boy’s heart and mind shot for the stars, against all odds.



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Filed under: Heart,History — admin @ 2:07 am Comments (1)
Jan 21 2013

Previously, on Survivor, no wait…on SunbonnetSmart, I showed you a bird’s eye view of the preparations for President Obama’s 2nd Inauguration.

As I mentioned, it was all for Darcie, who has showed an interest in my travels. Well, how could I walk RIGHT PAST Darcie’s Canadian Embassy and not give her a better view of how she is being represented today during the festivities? Truth is, I couldn’t.

O Canada! A grand and glorious song!

First, for those in the United States who may not know that the “O Canada!” in my title is the country’s national anthem, please click on the video above and play it as you read the rest of the post, paying homage to our northern neighbor. Thank you.

At the corner of the building. It faces Constitution Avenue.

I was inspired to take photos showing how Canada has dressed for the Inauguration with signs, banners and a zillion Canadian flags. It was a tasteful display of Canadian heritage from above our northern boarder by a country determined to attend this party and be a show stopper. What a nice display of national pride. The red and white of the Canadian Maple Leaf flag looked so bright and cheerful in the sun.

From the East Building of the National Galley of Art.

Way to go, Canada! The building was SO BIG, though, it was hard for this roving reporter to get it all in in one definitive shot.  Across the street was too far away and on the sidewalk in front was too close. If I had any sense of gumption, I would have taken one for the BlogHer team and positioned myself in the middle of Constitution Avenue’s eight lanes of traffic.

On the sidewalk in front of the plaza of the Embassy’s east side.

But, with gumption being the operative word, that wasn’t about to happen. I did the best I could to cover the subject matter from a bevy of angles. The results are before you. For a professional shot minus some of the love, click here.

Put the specs on to read the sign congratulating Present Obama.

In the spring, summer and fall, when Washington’s climate is temperate, walking tours are popular. Here’s what one walking tour web site, D.C. Walkabout, has to say about the Canadian Embassy: “Did you know our northern neighbor is the second largest country in the world? It’s true, the home of the Maple leaf and ice hockey is even bigger than the United States. The Canadian Embassy maintains this larger than life grandeur. One of the most distinctive buildings in Washington D.C., in the heart of town on Pennsylvania Avenue, be sure to take a look at this incredible gem.”

The banner reads, “Canada Salutes President Obama.”

A painting class at the National Gallery was the gateway to a wonderful Saturday in D.C. Although one is never disappointed by visiting Washington, I was lucky enough to see the venue for all of the Inauguration pomp on my way to the East Building of the Gallery.

And, icing on the cake, what fun it was to see the Canadian Embassy “dressed for the ball,” while thinking of Darcie and all of our Canadian BlogHer friends.



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Filed under: Heart,History — admin @ 10:19 pm Comments (0)
Dec 25 2012

On Saturday, December 22, 2012, Virginia, BlogHer’s HomeRearedChef, wrote a great post titled, “Might Your Neighbor Have Too Many Christmas Lights?” When I read it, an image of our neighbor down the street immediately popped into my head.

Fighting to Comment down the page in Virginia’s post, as over sixty other BlogHers added their thoughts, I mentioned my neighbor. I alluded to how he has the most lights I’ve ever seen on a private residence. Well, from that moment on, Virginia was like a little kid wanted to see the lights. Pouting and whining until she got her way, I decided I had to satisfy her girlish whims.

What else could I do? I could see the news of an expected new baby in the family and having THREE posts up on the right hand side at once (is that a record?) was not going to be enough Christmas for Virginia. So, on Sunday night, I had to have my husband drive me to the house, I took photos and tonight, I loaded them up on the Internet and…here they are!

A still photo wasn’t enough to set the scene.

 

The lights from the other side of the street? Still not enough.

 

Out of the car on the same side of the street. Ah-h-h-! That’s it!

So, Merry Christmas, Virginia! These lights are for you!

See what you think! Is this a great number of lights? Or, do you have more nearby where you live?

BlogHer '13



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Filed under: Heart,Tours — admin @ 12:39 am Comments (0)
Nov 20 2012

Well, the time is almost here to enjoy friends and family on a bountiful Thanksgiving Day.

Or rest in solitude on a quiet day by ourselves while the world hustle bustles by, perhaps in too much of a fevered pitch to even enjoy it.

But, at any rate, I’ve been thinking about the fact that maybe, many of my BlogHer friends will not be on the Internet like I will be on Thursday, and so…

…I’d better wish those that are traveling tomorrow
and driving into the arms of loved ones,
a Happy, Happy, Joyous Thanksgiving
with all of the trimmings.

With Love,

from SunbonnetSmart





Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 3:27 am Comments (0)
Nov 15 2012

My Dad lived alone for many years, and was very independent in his nature, which intensified as he aged.

Eventually, we all lived together, yet he retain his independent habits for as long as he possibly could. He didn’t like to be bothered by the physical constraints of life, such as eating, as it was inconvenient. He had places to go and things he wanted to do. So, after cooking for himself for years, he had devised a system.

When he went out, and knew he’d be gone long enough to need a meal, he didn’t want the fuss of sitting down to eat at a restaurant. He would bake a couple of russet potatoes, wrap them in foil, put them in his pockets and head downtown to take the Metro subway to parts unknown, completely self sufficient. This went on for years. It was amusing, and yet, one didn’t dare kid him about it, too much.

Baked Potatoes give love and sustenance.

I happened on him in the kitchen, working his potatoes, one evening. He was firing up the large oven in the range, rather than the toaster oven, because, “as anyone knows” the toaster oven didn’t do as good a job. He was a specialist, and his baked potatoes deserved the best. After all, they were his lifeline and he oversaw their production with the trained eye of an experienced professional.

So there they were, his two little baked potatoes sitting in a cavernous oven space, heating at 375 degrees for all they were worth for whatever time he would decide was enough. Thermometers and satellites were hooking up all over the world to record this latest burst of global warming, but his eye was on the prize.

Then came the cooling process. Taking a cookie cooling rack, the potatoes were grabbed with tongs and placed in parallel array on the rack to cool overnight. Yes. All of this prep work had to be done the day before his excursion, because the potatoes would have to cool before they could be put in his pockets.

Catching him the next morning, he was very gracious, as he’d explain the baking process, once again, and offer a bite. Having cooled, the potatoes would now be wrapped in foil. Gingerly he’d peel down a corner and offer it, as if I’d never tasted a baked potato in my life.

I’d accept, commenting on how delicious it was, which caused me to go down a slippery slope, because then, since I liked it, he’d want to give me one of the two, cherished baked potatoes that he’d prepared for himself. It was a tender game we played, he and I. One I now, fondly recall. One where I would tell him, no thank you, that it was way too early for a whole baked potato.

So, the years have gone by. And the crazy “goings on” of my Dad as an older person, set in his ways, has become a memory as cherished as once were his beloved baked potatoes.

Which is what brings us to Pinterest.com

What? Pinterest?

Why not. All roads lead to or from Pinterest and this post does as well.

This “Potatoes on the Go!” post you’re reading relates, in particularly, to a certain Pin showing the baking of russet baking potatoes in a crockpot rather than in an oven, relating back to an original web site entry by Finding Joy in My Kitchen. If you’d missed reading this post today, you might have wondered why I react with a great deal of emotion when looking at that particlular Pinterest Pin, but now you’ll forever be informed.

The idea of heating up russet potatoes in a crock pot overnight after rubbing them in coconut oil, without toxic foil and then cooking them in an ecologically friendly manner, is just too much for me and I get misty eyed. What advances there have been in state-of-the-art “potatoes on the go.”

So every now and then, when my husband comes running downstairs to go out the front door on his way to work with no time to eat, I hand him two baked potatoes, wrapped in parchment paper then in foil, to put in his pockets on his way out to the car. As I watch him drive off, I know my Dad would be proud I’m carrying on the family tradition.

Tonight, I’m loving the memories of baked potatoes.





Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 2:46 pm Comments (0)
Nov 11 2012

As is my nature, I can consider myself an authority on any subject while in command of the least bit of knowledge.

So, before I met my husband, who was Active Duty U.S.M.C., when we met, I thought I knew all about military sacrifice and service. After all, my father had left college when he was drafted into World War II. My parents waited to get married until after the war and when they did, someone gave my mother ration coupons so she could get a new pair of shoes for the wedding.

Then, when I was eighteen months old, my father was recalled into the Korean War, they put all of their possessions in storage, rented out our house, plopped me in the car and headed out to Travis Air Force Base in California for two years. Hearing this story regularly over the years, I thought I understood what it takes to be in the military, but I was wrong.

Underway on the open ocean during the Persian Gulf War, 1990.
The side of the USS Guam, an amphibious assault ship, now
retired, decommissioned 25 August 1998.


Before I moved to the Marine Corps Air Station when I got married, I was unaccustomed to understanding just how young our “forces in readiness” really are. Sure you have many older men and women, those thirty years and above, but so many kids join right out of high school, that when you ride through the Camp, you see mostly young men eighteen to twenty three along with a representation of similarly aged women, so the average age is about twenty one.

Twenty one? Are you kidding me? Most of the Marines one sees, representing our forces ready to deploy on short notice, are an average age of twenty one? The thought of all these young men and women, many with full blown families going to fight with uncertain futures, paralyzes me.

And, I haven’t even mentioned the separations involved when my husband’s Squadron went on “floats” or sailed out as part of a MEU or Military Expeditionary Unit of five Navy Ships, 2,000 Marines and a Squadron for air support. When that happened, we didn’t get to see each other for six months at a time. SIX MONTHS at at time. Think of it. I don’t know how I made it. And, yet, I still didn’t know what military sacrifice is.

USS Nassau as seen from the USS Guam in port.
Rota, Spain March 1991.

Last week, when I was an Election Judge serving in Maryland for the General Election on November 6, 2012, I finally learned what military sacrifice is.

I was verifying voter’s registrations as they came in the door to the voting area after standing in line, sometimes as long as two hours. An older gentleman in a companion chair, a chair with wheels that is meant to be pushed by a companion, rather than self propelled by the sitter as in a wheel chair, was pushed up to my table. Many were waiting.

With him being older, and having pushed my Dad around in a companion chair for a couple years before he died, I quietly assumed his was elderly rather than disabled. So, for something warm and quick to say, I said, “My husband’s a Marine, looking at that hat you must be a Marine, too.”

“Why, YES! I’m a Marine. My father was a Marine, my wife was a Marine and my son was a Marine. And they’re all DEAD.” Taken aback, I couldn’t let it end there.

Knowing my Dad was in WWII and his age, I said, “You were in World War II?”

“Yes. I got through that just fine. Wasn’t shot until Korea.”

“Shot. Oh my! You were shot?”

“Yeah, I was shot. Why do you think I’m sitting in this wheelchair?”

He liked me. I liked him and I said, “All these years?” meaning that he had been in a wheelchair all these years, since he was was thirty years old. He nodded and we locked eyes, and I knew what I had to do

Somehow I found the voice to say the words while tearing up,
“Well, Semper Fi, Marine. Thank you for your service.”





Filed under: Heart,History — admin @ 3:07 pm Comments (0)
Nov 10 2012

The only problem with BlogHer is one establishes friends all over the place.

And, I do mean BlogHers live everywhere and anywhere. And, these close, warm, BlogHer friendships are based on more inter-personal communication than I’ve had with most people since my best friends in junior high. THAT close.

It’s true, the only problem I have with BlogHer is it’s relatively hard to visit and socialize in person with everyone on your favorite list of Peeps. It is also hard to personally reach out to support a Peep in need when hard times happen. Why, even if one baked the best family casserole with love, it would be impossible to deliver it to a recipient living two time zones away. So, how does one reach out to beloved BlogHers in their hours of need?

How does one show care and concern? The best way BlogHers know how.Virtually!

Comment Love is a great way to soothe ruffled feathers when a BlogHer is offended. A friendly word, a loving expression and a few moments of virtual attention mean the world to a BlogHer who’s written of a difficult situation in their life. And, never underestimate the power of Comment Love to express understanding for disappointments, for trying times and even heartbreaking personal losses.

But, hey! What do you do if you want to give more than Comment Love?

How about when someone is sick and in the hospital having tests or other such scary invasive procedures and has lived to tell about it? How about a post with a virtual get well card, wishing for a speedy recovery to let that BlogHer know they are loved and cherished?

And, how about if that person, or THAT WOMAN, loves retro kitchen furnishings and recipes, so much that she has a wonderful blog called, Retro-Food.com, A Love Song with Vintage Recipes. Well, by now, you’ve guess what I’m getting to…

BlogHer’s T.W. went into the hospital for tests and stayed there, what must have seemed like forever. She posted her feelings Tuesday, November 6, and you can read them by clicking here. But today, on Saturday, November 10, she came home, happy to be there and with the whole family happy to have her back.

So now, that she is feeling better, I am sending a virtual get well card, wishing her a speedy recovery. But, knowing what T.W. likes, it’s not just virtual, but also vintage.

It’s a get well card from the 1940s….take it away, Lipton:

The front of the Speedy Recovery for T.W. card.

Inside, there are good wishes and a retro tea bag.

Woo-Woo! How cool is that?

And, if we were all together, we could pass around this card and sign it. Sigh. But, once again, we’re ALL OVER the place, so you’ll have to leave your good wishes for T.W. in the Comments below.

And, T.W.,  let me be the first to wish you get better with each hour of each day and that soon, this hospital experience is just a distant memory. Welcome home!


NaBloPoMo!

With Love,

From SunbonnetSmart





Filed under: Heart,History — admin @ 3:15 pm Comments (0)
Jul 28 2012

BlogHer Chatter July 9, 2012

alienbody

SunbonnetSmart.com I’ll be looking for that post…just sayin….  :-)

Oh yeah, Melissa!?!?!?!? Well, LOOK THIS:

June 10, 2012 was the last time I submitted a post to my web site and BlogHer.com. Why? While BlogHers over the world wondered, it was no mystery to me. I knew I had found the Mother Lode.

The Mother Lode of Internet contact with little obligation that is, the social site called Twitter. Or, as I call it,  “BlogHer Light.” With a sweep of an i-PHONED hand, I found the Twitter feed flowed in. Screen fulls of avatars with news-blasts of vision bytes exploded into consciousness and I was hooked.

No more unwieldy reading and writing of BlogHer pages. Why, it was possible to get a BlogHer fix in a tenth of the time by using the i-PHONE. It was quicker, faster and available wherever I happened to be. Twitter became the BlogHer Contact-o-Matic and I didn’t look back, well, maybe once or twice, but I really was hooked. I was smitten and Twittered, but good.

Twitter was Heaven. Lots of BlogHer friends with no muss, no fuss. No drafts, revisions or photo editing worries. I could just shoot sentences from the hip, while scrolling up to move on. Gotta’ scoot!

It was the “Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am” of BFFs on the run. I was immersed in 140 character mini-posts with lightning impact and pizazz. Why, I even went on a CRUISE to the Mediterranean with KarenLynn and her husband, because on Twitter, three was NEVER a crowd! …And besides, I was hooked. Twittered, but good.

The water tower of Anytown, USA. Just a simple storage facility
Nothing to worry about. Nothing to see here.
You people go back to your homes.

But, finally, living in the fast lane caught up with me. Sowing wild Twitter oats resulted in me causing a great deal of worry to my loving stay-at-home companions back at BlogHer. I guess, I just wasn’t thinking. I was letting my little computer rule my big computer, never considering the consequences. I was only thinking of myself and how many new Twitter Followers I could score. It was shameful, I know. But Honeys, I couldn’t honestly help myself.

Many of our BlogHer friends Tweet, you know that, Babes, and I was taken in almost immediately. Well, not quite immediately. Actually it took months. First, I signed up last year. Then I forgot my passwords and who can bother with resetting them? But later, I read the BlogHer technical gurus, telling me that Twitter and RSS feeds were the vegetables of blogging traffic, that they would be “good for me.”  I was doing it for us! You know believe that, don’t you BlogHer Sweeties?

If it had been up to me, I could have stayed clean. If I hadn’t listen to Laine. You all know Laine, right? Good ‘ole Laine, , of Elaine Griffin Designs? She offered to answer any questions I had about Twitter and I started down the slippery slope of Twitter contact, seemingly never to return, but Babies! I never thought it would lead to almost two months off Blogher!  Ya’ all gotta’ know I’m telling the truth!

You shouldn’t worry about my new friendships on Twitter. I ‘m just trying to up my technology quotient, that’s all. Why, @GeekBabe, @Robyn’sWorld, @theurbanologist, @sharongreenthal and about fifty others are teaching me lots about getting out there in the social scene of the Internet. It’s purely educational. I don’t get the long, satisfying posts I read by hanging out on BlogHer, you gotta’ believe me.

The more I think about it, the more I realize AlienBody is
not kidding when she says she has ALIEN, in addition to
Zombie, connections. Bottom line? Don’t mess with Melissa!

It’s all about technology. It’s mechanical. Just life in the 20teens. Why, I’ve never even been to their web sites, I swear! Well, maybe just once to link them to their Twitter names in the above paragraph. But, you can’t fault me. Everything’s always been out in the open.

Besides, think back, Sweethearts. You saying, ‘it was my fault and I showed a lack of thinking,’ ain’t exactly true. Remember AlienBody was the one that found me on Twitter, after BlogHer Moderator Denise sang like a canary, no thanks to HER! Well, that’s what I’m trying to get to. You’ll understand when you know there’s a BIG water tower where I live and none of my absence on BlogHer is really my fault. All I did was Tweet when I was in the parking lot of the bank on a bright summer day, June 10, the last day I posted and the next thing I remember is…

Thanks to my new BlogHer Buddy, E.T., I remembered to
“Phone Home” and start posting. I’ve missed you all!

…waking up dazed on the night of the full moon. I was picking myself up out of the bank parking lot and looked up to see the big moon sitting on top of the water tower. For sure, I must have gone through some sort of time warping wormhole thing, yeah, that’s it. There I was, pulling myself together, dusting myself off, when I saw the silhouetted figure of E.T., on top of the water tower. E.T. was waving goodbye to me, pointing that boney little finger and saying, “Blog Home, SunB, Blog Home.”

And I did. I did what E.T. said, because here I am.

Glad to be home, posting on BlogHer and packing for BlogHer ’12.
Hope to see you soon at BlogHer ’12 or on BlogHer ’12 at Home!

   

NaBloPoMo July 2012



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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 6:15 pm Comments (0)
Jun 01 2012

Just when you think you’re getting your life in order, along come ZOMBIES!

I have to admit I didn’t take BlogHer’s AlienBody’s warnings about Zomboid Creatures seriously. What a clever women, I thought, making up stick figures to amaze and delight us. Zombies! Ha-Ha! What a laugh. Why. I often remarked to anyone who would listen, “That Melissa sure has a sense of humor.”

Sense of humor! Time for a great BIG reality check. No humor here. AlienBody’s warnings of Zombies were right on and I wish I had listened.

Zombies at the Beach, ruining our Memorial Day weekend.

It all started out rather nicely, because we look forward to three days at Ocean City, the Atlantic Coast beach of the State of Maryland. A short drive from Washington, D.C., we have been going to Ocean City since I was a child in the 1950s.

Thinking of the sacrifice of those who have have served.

The best way to explain Ocean City, MD? Well, years ago, two D.C. radio jocks, Don and Mike, WJFK 106.7FM, were talking about taking their kids to Ocean City. They agreed that no matter where they vacationed, the kids were miserable because they weren’t in Ocean City. They commented that one year, they took both families to the French Rivera and everyone was disappointed, with the kids crying because they weren’t in Ocean City. So, they agreed, year after year, there was no point to going anywhere else.

But, that was before Zombies took over.

Ocean City, Maryland.
The view hasn’t change much in fifty years.

Ocean City became a popular resort after a big hurricane blew through in 1933. The fury of the storms cut out a strip of land to form an inlet to a bay, creating a great harbor for boats. The beautiful white sandy beaches are graciously extended out from the three mile long Boardwalk that goes for about forty blocks. USA Today named it one of the nation’s “Top 10 Great Boardwalks.”  But, USA Today, didn’t know about the Zombies.

Riding the “Lazy Train” down the Boardwalk,
not knowing of our coming doom.

And so, one evening, after a full day in the sun and fun of the beach, we rode down the Boardwalk on the Lazy Train to enjoy the amusement park at the beginning of the Boardwalk, near the Inlet. We had no idea that the Sportland arcade, where we’ve spent so many happy hours enjoying each othes’ company had a Zombie infestation, but there it was. Called Craven’s Crypt, this large room size diorama had robotic Zombies that pretended to be a shooting gallery while plotting for their eventual take-over of Ocean City. The message was not lost on me.

We lived to tell the story and share our video.

The family had gone down the Boardwalk on Friday night to see the sites while I worked at the room to catch up on things. So, all I heard the next day on the beach was, “You HAVE to go see the Zombie game. You HAVE to go see the Zombie game.” That destination, about ten blocks away, became the highlight of the trip that evening. And, I have to admit, it was spectacular with lights, music and clever actions from the Zombies, said to be animatronics.

Craven’s Crypt at an animatronics sales conference.

If you like animatronics, this video from a sales conference will reveal a bit of the industry. Here, Craven’s Crypt is featured at the end. As you watch this professional video, you’ll notice the enclosed shooting area has blasts of air that hit your head, back and legs. These blasts really unnerve shooters that aren’t expecting them. For this reason, watching the players shooting the Zombies was almost as good as playing the game itself.

So, the next time you run into Zombies, remember they probably aren’t real.  Or are they?

   

NaBloPoMo June 2012



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