The Gull Reef Club

Recent Comments:

12/23/2016 · 8:43 am· lordhelmet · Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve!
Merry Christmas to you and Mike as well as a Happy New Year!... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
Sure doesn't, which in no way explains why the Cubs won! Interesting that we all woke up this... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 12:21 pm· LH · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
No good deed goes unpunished. But at least the Cubs won.... | Read More

10/28/2016 · 6:42 am· lordhelmet · Official Release – Jaime 2.0
I already voted for Trump of course. He was my last choice in the primaries (I supported Kasich)... | Read More

10/27/2016 · 5:40 pm· Jaime · Official Release – Jaime 2.0
Thanks LH! Getting ready to vote for Hillary, right?!?! Hahahahaha. As you can see, I still... | Read More

6/19/2017

The Maiden Voyage

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:47 pm

Yesterday, Mike and I took our new (to us) boat out for its maiden voyage. It’s nothing fancy, a wide 14’ johnboat with a 15hp engine. Just enough to get us around the Intracoastal Waterways and other local, non-ocean waters.

While we know we have a lot to learn, for our first trip, we did a really good job in preparing ourselves. I do know for next time that I won’t forget my binoculars. I didn’t realize how helpful those would have been while out there. Kayaking really put us in a good position to have quality pre-launch and load-out checklists. Maybe we’re just ‘checklist people’ but I really can’t imagine being out on the water without one. Safety first, ya know? I’m also going to have to figure out something to keep me sun-free(ish). Despite applying SPF 50 every hour I still burned. I know I have options, I just have to decide what works best for me.

The highlight of our first boat trip was a completely unexpected one. Before I get into that, a little background – last November, when Mike and I first started fishing down here, we needed to learn how to filet what we were catching. We turned to that great online educator – Youtube – and searched for instructional videos. As with most Youtube self-learning attempts, we had to sort through a lot of overly produced and under informative crap to find anything useful.

Eventually, Mike found a series of videos by an older gentleman who clearly knows everything there is to know about fishing the coastal Georgia waters and more. Not only were his videos without the usual narcissistic over production you so often see, he also shares our attitude about how to approach/handle any project – if you’re going to do it, do it right.

The name of the guy who hosts these videos – Captain Vince Russo – seemed really familiar to us and so did the accent (if you’ve ever heard an authentic Savannah-tinged Southern accent you’ll never forget it.). A couple of searches online lead us to realize that Captain Vince Russo is a member of a locally famous seafood family. They have been in the business since just after WWII. It was no wonder he seemed familiar – he was a local celebrity (as much as one can be a celebrity in wee little Savannah). In the videos, Captain Russo was using this great knife he mentioned he also sold. Because they have a local store, Mike was able to pick up one of these knives locally. It was really useful for us to make that connection last November.

Fast forward to yesterday – Mike and I are puttering around one of the smaller rivers, actually called a creek on the maps, and found ourselves near some residences with private docks. As we approach one of them, Mike asks me if the guy we see on a dock up ahead is Captain Russo. He had his head down and was cleaning fish on a very nice cleaning station set up on his own dock. The setting looked familiar (like the videos), but I wasn’t 100% sure. The quantity of fishing equipment and the like on the dock indicated this guy was really into fishing, so it could have been him. We went past, waved (everyone waves when you’re boating. It’s so friendly and wonderful), and went on for a bit. We eventually hit a point where we decided to turn around.

On the way back, Mike said he was going to ask the guy if he was Captain Russo. Being relatively unsocial, I told Mike I would back him up if he said something first, but I didn’t have the nerve to start the conversation. As we’re idling past, Mike asks him if he was Captain Russo and indeed – he was! We told him how much we loved his videos and how they were integral in our learning how to filet redfish. We were then honored with an invitation to tie up and come onto his dock to watch him clean a red, some trout, and some flounder. Um – our fishing guru just asked us to watch an in-person, one-on-one lesson?!? YES PLEASE.

We ended up spending almost an hour with Captain Russo. He showed us some useful techniques and methods for fileting local fish. He also gave us so much advice on where and when to fish. Not only that, he has so much experience and is an amazing story teller. What he taught was absolutely invaluable. I am still a little stunned at what an amazing coincidence meeting him was, and how kind and generous he was for inviting us up, and on Father’s Day weekend no less. We are so grateful we chanced upon him when we did. There is nothing I can think of that would have made yesterday better.

I think it’s official. We’re boat people. I’m already starting to ruminate living on a boat for our retirement years. I’m that hooked.

See you on the water!

1/21/2017

It’s January 21st

Filed under: — Jaime @ 12:56 pm

So of course my neighbor is mowing, well now trimming, his lawn.

12/22/2016

Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:13 pm

After tonight, I’m going to be very busy and it’s pretty likely I won’t be online much, if at all. So in case I don’t get a chance to say it before then – Have a Very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Island, Jimmy Buffett

12/19/2016

Christmas in Dixie

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:58 pm

This year is our 16th Southern Christmas. I’ve not been back to Illinois for a Christmas since we left in 2001. For those of you wondering, I won’t be back…not at Christmastime anyway.

I often say that the only way I like snow is 1,000 miles away and in pictures. That has not changed. Yesterday was the perfect example of why I am here and not up there. It was in the mid-70s, slight breeze, and beautiful. We had the windows open as we worked on my Christmas village and some other things around the house. Meanwhile, I was occasionally tuning into the Packers v Bears game where, in Chicago, it was a ripe 3 degrees. Ouch. That is beyond cold and into the painful territory.

Dad always included the Alabama Christmas in Dixie album (er, tape) among the ones we would listen to every Christmas when I was a kid. I haven’t listened to it in years, maybe over a decade. Some of it is a bit cheezy, but the eponymous song will forever be one of my favorites.

Christmas in Dixie, Alabama

Here’s to wishing you a very Merry Christmas from Dixie!

11/28/2016

Your Commute Time May Be Delayed By the Civil War

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:11 pm

We were detoured on the ride home from work today…because of a found cannonball, left for us by the Confederates, apparently. Welcome to Savannah, my friends.

11/7/2016

Teach a Man to Feed a Fish and Round, Round We Go

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:58 pm

Mike and I went out fishing this weekend. This was my first time fishing as an adult. We ended up having some success yesterday and pulled in a couple of redfish. We promptly took them home, filleted, cooked, and then ate them. Sorry, no pics.

Maybe it was the euphoria of actually catching something we could eat, but it sure tasted like the best fish I’ve ever had. I’m excited to get out there again. Unfortunately, this time change came at the exact wrong time. I probably won’t be able to get out there again until this weekend – no fishing after work. Our fishing hole isn’t exactly easy to get to, and certainly not in the dark. Oh well.

I suspect this is the beginning of a new and interesting part of our lives. Probably going to be a good skill to know once Hillary wins, starts WWIII with Russia, and we have to live off the grid. Better keep practicing!

11/2/2016

See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:17 pm

It was less than a month ago that I was waxing poetic about how wonderful my neighbors were after Hurricane Matthew. It didn’t take very long for things to return to normal and for me to resume having little to no faith in humanity. It’s not my neighbors who caused this, though, so please don’t think they are involved at all. My neighbors still rock. Other people who live in my city – not so much.

Here’s what happened –

Yesterday, Mike picked me up from work and we headed on our usual route home. We hit the main road that takes us toward our house, and once on this road, we encountered a suspicious driver. The person was driving a large pick-up truck towing a trailer with a log splitter on it. This person almost hit us and then almost hit a Cadillac that was driving in the lane next to him. At that point, I pull out my tablet to start recording this guy. He ends up crossing the middle white line 4 different times and swings back to the side of the road where he drove in dirt at least twice. This is all within 3-4 miles. We and the other drivers were giving him some distance because clearly something was wrong. Unfortunately, we did not have a phone on us at the time or we would have called the police immediately.

We continued to follow this guy to his destination, all while filming. We were truly concerned he was going to hurt himself, others, or both. When he finally gets to where he wanted to turn, he completely overshot it and had to do a 180 just to make his turn. We see he is turning into an exclusive, gated community. “Great!” We think. The security guard at the gate will be able to call the police for us. We were wrong, so very wrong. At this point is when things took a stunningly bad turn…

We watched as the guard just waived the driver in. That’s odd, we think, since the driver had a South Carolina plate. He shouldn’t be a resident of that community. How did he get waived in so easily?

We follow and pull up to the guard house. We informed the guard that the person who she has just waived in was either drunk or having a medical problem and needed police assistance immediately. She gets her hackles up and goes on the hard-core defense for him – like, immediately. “I know him. He’s a resident. I’m not calling the police on him.” What?!?!

We offer to show her the video. We explain that he could be having a stroke or something and could need medical assistance. We simply didn’t know what was wrong with the driver, which is why we wanted the police to come. They are the ones with the training and ability to figure it out.

The guard continues to refuse adamantly, and will not watch the video or call the police. She begins yelling at us to leave the property. At this point, Mike and I are simply stunned. Here we are trying to do the right thing. We’ve been told for 15 years that if we “See Something. Say Something.” We did, and this guard, who we errantly believed was charged with doing the right thing as her occupation, was shutting us down and protecting a potential criminal or hampering medical response to someone having an emergency. We were at a bit of a loss on what to do.

In comes a resident to the community. We ask her if she would call the police for us since the guard was refusing. The resident refused to help. First she tries to tell us that she didn’t see what happened so she didn’t want to get involved. We understand that, stated so, and offered to show her the video. She refused to watch it. She was so peckish and cowardly. The guard is now yelling at us to stop harassing her residents. We responded by telling the guard to call the police on us then. Whatever we needed to do to get the cops there. Chicken resident goes into the subdivision while we’re telling the guard to call the cops.

Another resident pulls up, this time a man. Well, he looked like man anyway, but I gotta wonder. He was a little nicer than the chicken lady, and was willing to listen to us, but then sarcastically asked, “Well, why don’t you have a phone?” Uh…not relevant. He, like the chicken lady, refused to call the police and went into the neighborhood.

The guard is now on the phone…correction – she is on two phones. One to each ear. I really don’t even know if she was talking to anyone or just doing it to avoid talking to us. As a bit of an aside, I want to describe this guard. She was female and dressed well (lots of bling and expensive looking hair). She had this little yappy shi-tzu in the guard house with her who barked nearly the entire time we were there. In the distance we could see her automobile – a sparkly, new, white Mercedes. We got the impression she had no formal guard training and was likely some resident who wanted to earn a little extra cash. I got a little loud at this point and just kept shouting to her, “Call the Police. Did you call the Police yet?” etc. She would interrupt her “calls” to tell us not to talk to her but that was about it.

As I was repeatedly asking the guard if she had called the police, a third resident comes on the scene. This guy came from within the subdivision, and seemed to roll up simply to get nosey. While we can’t say so for sure, we suspect that this guy may actually have been the driver of the truck or an immediate neighbor. I didn’t hear the start of the conversation between him and Mike, but I started paying attention to it when I overhear Mike tell the guy to back off. I turn around and start filming them. Mike later told me this dude chest bumped him. Dude is yelling at us saying that we had no idea if the truck driver was drunk or not. We agreed with him –which I think threw him off. He was expecting a fight. We informed him we had no idea but we had film showing there was indeed SOME sort of problem with the driver and the police were needed to figure it out. He really did not like the fact that I was filming him so he got back in his car and started to head back into the neighborhood. As he did so, he pulled out a little walkie-talkie and whispered something into it. Mike asks him if he was a fire fighter or law enforcement. The guy laughed at us and Mike said he said he was a cop (I didn’t hear him say that). I suspect he was not a cop or he would have been happy to show us his badge and push around his authority a little. I think he was communicating with whomever it was back at his house.

Realizing we were getting nowhere, and there were at least four people in this ritzy subdivision, including a uniformed security guard, who were more interested in protecting their own (a potential criminal or medical patient) than doing the right thing, we left and headed to the police department.

Much thanks to the SCMPD for their williness to listen to us and to follow up on this. Everyone at the Police Department was very helpful. They took a copy of our video, the tag information for the truck, and our information. They said they would go over there and pay the driver a visit (and hopefully the guard). As of right now, I’m not sure where things stand, so I don’t really want to post any of the video, in case an investigation was opened and is on-going.

Now I’m here on lunch, listening to Roger Waters remind me that ‘What God Wants, God Gets (God Help Us All)’ and wondering what the hell has happened to my fellow humans. Those four cowards we encountered at Richy Neighborhood sicken me. I hate them, and I hate hating. It would be now that I would like to curse those people and hope they all have someone dear to them die because of a drunk/impaired driver, but I won’t wish that. If karma wants that, karma will get that (karma help us all!). In the end, I know that we did the right thing by reporting this.

10/12/2016

We Made It!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:25 pm

Apologies for the silence since Friday evening. Yes we made it through Hurricane Matthew relatively unscathed. All things considered, we were pretty lucky, and are relieved to have gotten through it. Frankly, it was a pretty thrilling experience. I love a good storm, and this was the biggest I’ve ever seen. We don’t regret staying one bit.

We were of the 10% in Savannah that did not lose power during the storm. Considering the multiple blowouts from power poles/lines we witnessed (especially between 4a-5a on Saturday), it is amazing we stayed up. Word from home today is that the power is now out. We had expected that as they are working to repair the lines in our neighborhood for the rest of the 90%.

For me the hardest part now is that we don’t have any internet at home, which means NO communications at all from the house. As we don’t have a landline or cellphones (yep, another 10% minority for us), this has made it hard to keep up with the outside world. I’m back in the office today (and on lunch now), which is how I am reporting this.

I’ve been trying to write down my thoughts and timeline on the storm. If I finish and get to editing it, I’ll try to share. In the event I don’t get around to that, I would be remiss not to mention the one thing that left the biggest impression on me in the aftermath of the storm – COMMUNITY. I am specifically referring to those of us who stayed and rode out the storm together. The spirit of helpfulness and caring that I felt and gave on that Saturday afternoon (before the evacuees started to come back) is something I’ve never experienced before. I wish I could capture with words how amazing it felt. We knew it was short-lived, but it was such a wonderful feeling while it lasted. I think there will now be a bond between us and the neighbors who stayed for as long we all live there. Sorry for the cheeziness of this, but as I said, I’m having a little trouble articulating the feeling.

Thanks again to everyone who checked in on us and sent us well wishes. I’m going to believe all the positive karma you sent our way is what helped knock this storm down to a Cat. 2 and got us through.

10/7/2016

Hurricane Matthew

Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:55 pm

Thanks to everyone who has reached out to us over the last two days. Hurricane Matthew is just about to really start blowing in here to Savannah, so I thought I would take a quick chance to update you all. First, as you can probably guess, we stayed. Yes, our entire county is under an evacuation order. As we’ve come to learn, such designations are sometimes more political than for public safety – really, a subject for another day.

It’s been raining steadily since about 4p, and a bit gusty. The worst of it is expected to hit in about an hour or so. Originally we had expected 70+mph for about 4-6 hours, but now it’s more like 40+mph for nearly 12. We’ve been up since pretty early securing the house and supplies, so a quick nap, and then we’ll likely be up all night watching it play out.

As far as supplies goes, we’re nearly perfect. Only thing missing is a generator. In a very fortunate circumstance, Mike and I have been gearing up all summer to primitive camp via kayak this fall. The camping may be out for awhile while our islands and waterways adjust back to normal, but we have just about everything we need to live in our house without power and water for quite awhile. All good there.

As you can see, we still have power and internet. We’re also serving as the back up plan for my sister and brother-in-law², who live just a few blocks away but slightly lower ground and in a single story. We have two, plus the higher ground. Could be a tight squeeze if they do come though – 4 adults, 1 dog, and 9 cats. Yikes.

That’s about for now. I’ll try to keep you all posted as the night goes on, but no promises. Matthew is in charge, not me. Well, I want to go make the rounds again and check out the ever-increasing winds. Stay safe out there.

9/16/2016

Mystical Arts of Tibet

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:53 pm

I visited the Jepson Museum today to see Mystical Arts of Tibet by the Tibetan Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery. It was incredible to see it being made, grain by grain. Most of the monks were out to lunch, so we got to see it from a few angles. It will be gone Sunday, so visit if you can.

8/22/2016

The Rogue Shrimp

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:16 pm

Not being one to shy away from a self-embarrassing story if I think I can get a laugh out of it, I have one I think you’re going to like.

Some background in case you’ve never actually met me – I am a small-sized human. Barely 5 feet tall, and a bit over 100lbs (some days more than others). I wear a children’s size 3 shoe and nearly all of my clothes are petite-sized or childrens. I have been called more “short” names than I can probably remember – midget, shorty, munchkin, elf, shrimp…you get the idea. Having dealt with this for nearly 40 years, I just roll with it. No reason to get mad over something I can’t change. Really, I sort of wear those names with a badge of (small) honor. It’s who I am.

So back to the embarrassing hilarity. Yesterday, Mike and I took our kayaks out for the first time on moving water – the Skidaway River. The weather was perfect and the tides appeared to in our favor. We made it to Burntpot or Burnpot (I’ve seen both on the maps) Island and hiked around a bit and had lunch. It was really quite lovely.

On the paddle back, we hugged the west side of the river to avoid the wake of motor boats, but still trying to stay deep enough so that our paddles weren’t hitting mud. About 2/3 of the way back, all hell breaks loose. I was innocently paddling and this wild, rogue Georgia shrimp jumped into my kayak with me – and I completely lost my mind.

The miscreant shrimp landed right between my legs. When I looked down to see what had jumped in my boat, all I see are two long antennae sticking out wiggling at me. I totally flip my shit and instead of simply tossing the shrimp out and carry on – I jumped completely out of my kayak. So now there I was swimming after my paddle and then back to my kayak where Mike had already grabbed it. I waded up to my kayak, because as it turns out, I was only in about two feet of water (with about a foot of mud under that). I look in my kayak and see that it is a teeny-tiny shrimp, not even big enough for eating. I toss him back into the water, and with the assistance of Mike, hop back into my kayak.

Mike said he overheard some folks on a motorboat that was passing as this happened say, “Did she just fall out of her boat?” “No, folks! That was intentional – I jumped out! I was being attacked by a shrimp!” I was laughing so hard after this that it was hard to paddle. It was just so ridiculously funny – the human shrimp freaking out over a real shrimp.

I am a little annoyed with myself because I really should be able to react to situations like that much more calmly. I don’t know what caused me to panic, but that is not cool. Gotta work on on that. Further, I am not bothered by shrimp- at all. I have no problems popping their heads off when I want to eat them, and while I’ve not used them for bait, if I had to, I’d have no problem popping them on the hook. Jump in my kayak and it’s a different story apparently.

While I had thought about blaming the shrimp and saying he extorted me out of the kayak (the Ryan Lochte defense), I figured it was much funnier if I just told the truth. I am an idiot sometimes, but I guess I learned something out of all this, so now not only do I have a hilarious story, I also hope I know how to react should something like ever happen again.

Watch out for them wild Georgia shrimp! They’ll get ya.

2/25/2016

Creepy

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:44 pm

Took a side route to get into our neighborhood yesterday evening, and saw this:

Welcome to Savannah – where it doesn’t have to be Halloween to be creepy.

2/17/2016

Garden

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:18 pm

We’re past the frost season (finally!). Yesterday, we planted our first vegetable garden of 2016. This is our early planting, which includes two types of lettuce mixes, spinach and cilantro. Hope your weather is nice enough that you can get started on your garden too.

12/31/2015

Commence the New Year Right!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 12:09 am

From the Savannah Morning News, January 1, 1880:

Original: Persistent Link, Digital Library of Georgia

10/26/2015

Scary (with Jerry)

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:31 pm

Well over a year ago, I promised I would share with you my ‘first’ ghost story involving my nearly 100 year old home (see: Ghost or Gravity). As we’re drawing near one of my favorite holidays, Halloween, I thought I’d finally share this.

I can’t specifically recall when this happened, but my guess is sometime between 2006-2010. It was a nice day and we had the windows open. I was in the laundry room, which is in the far back, downstairs corner of the house. My beloved Jerry Garcia was in that room as well, chilling on a shelf we made so he could look out the window. Mike was upstairs in our home office, which is on the exact opposite side of where Jerry and I were.

I was loading up the washer when I heard a man’s voice, very deep, very gravelly, rasp, “Jerry!” in a quite angry tone. I looked up to see why Mike was messing with our cat like that (this was not something that he’d ever do in jest), and saw Jerry rise up with the hairs sticking up all over his back. Jerry’s eyes were wide and he was clearly upset that he just got yelled at. “Mike?” No response. I calmed Jerry down a bit, and then proceeded to go upstairs. There, I found Mike, who was completely oblivious to everything that had just gone down in the laundry room. After a few go-rounds, I was convinced it wasn’t him messing with us.

To this day, I have never been able to figure out what it is I heard. I probably would have chalked it up to something innocuous had Jerry not reacted the way he did. I’ll never know what it was I heard that day, but as Jerry was my witness, I know we both heard something. Speculate on that as you will.

Happy Halloween!

3/6/2015

Who’s That Lady?

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:23 pm

There are a 1001 reasons I love Savannah. Here is another. I was walking through Johnson Square, heading north. On the very north end of the walkway, leading to Bryan Street, there was a cute, young couple taking some romantic selfies. As I was walking toward them, there was a gorgeous lady who was walking next to me, like she could have been a model type gorgeous. Tall, long hair, impeccably dressed.

Like me, she sees the cute couple and their selfie-taking, and instantly photo bombs them by hugging a tree, including wrapping one of her legs around it. I busted out laughing. This woman’s got balls. How cool she is!

Then she gets even cooler. She proceeds to walk in the same direction as me, but a little more hurried. She walks right up to the young couple and offers to take their picture. Oh yeah she did. They, of course, take her up on her generous offer not knowing the surprise they have waiting for them when they look at the pics later.

Lady, you are da bomb! Photo-bomb! I want to be your friend.

2/18/2015

Glitter Bomb?

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:27 pm

I meant to post this when I first saw it nearly two weeks ago (Feb. 6). This was taken outside my office building – looks like someone got glitter bombed. Kind of sorry I missed it.

2/13/2015

Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:20 am

Happy Friday the 13th. Stay positive.


Accentuate the Positive ~ Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers (1945)

12/18/2014

I Love Savannah, Reason #6002, The Christmas Edition

Filed under: — Jaime @ 7:33 pm

Christmas Irony: Busker in Johnson Square playing Little Drummer Boy…on the flute. I love this place.

8/27/2014

End of August Miscellany

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:21 pm

First and foremost – the every Simpsons episode ever marathon. Almost as fun as having a time machine. I’ve spent almost a week now replenishing my supply of sarcastic quotations. If I say something mean to you over the next week or so, I’m just quoting this show. It’s not really me saying those things so you can’t hold me responsible.

Sticking with the Simpsons, I am putting out another request out to see if any of you are playing The Simpsons Tapped Out. Mike and I could always use more friends… mostly because we want to raid your town. I am Caralibra in the game & Mike is Mike-SAVGA. Add us or let me know your game name and I’ll add you. Huzzah for marauding!

I don’t recall the Cure’s Disintegration being such a long album, and since when do all of the songs sound the same? It took me all morning to listen to that album, and I’m not sure if there was more than one song on there.

While we’re on the topic of music, why do I like the E minor chord so much? I have a strong attachment, and it’s starting to feel a little odd. Anyone else have feelings like this? Also, is Em really dark, dark blue in your mind’s eye? Am I even making sense?

Now I need to go look at pictures of Illinois in January. It will help put this hot August in Savannah in perspective. Repeat: Bug bites and heat are better than snow and high taxes. Bug bites and heat are better than snow and high taxes. Bug bites and heat are better than snow and high taxes. I BELIEVE!

The Gull Reef Club