Lunch With The Girls

four-for-breakfastI still keep in touch with co-workers from both my Connecticut TV stations. It’s good to have friends with a shared backstory.

This afternoon I met Tracey, Mary Ellen and Mary Ellen’s boyfriend, Doug, in Branford. Our date was arranged before my big announcement so we had lots to talk about.

Tracey and Mary Ellen work in the control room at Channel 8. Tracey directs, Mary Ellen assists.

Tracey is the only director I ever worked with who could get away with calling me “Peaches.”

Life is different… better… when the director tells you to, “Standby Peaches.” I loved that.

I miss them both.

Our date was at La Cuisine in Branford. First time.

We met at 12:30 pm, but three of us had pancakes! Life is a lot more social when it’s happening around the breakfast table. And, to me, breakfast is defined by food, not time of day.

Tropical-Buttermilk-PancakesI had the Tropical Buttermilk Pancake special.

Our famous buttermilk pancakes topped with a fresh pineapple compote, toasted coconut, and chopped hazelnuts.

I brought my tablet computer to show off some websites (including the one for my own house for sale). No WiFi at La Cuisine.

Actually, that’s not correct. There is WiFi. It’s just not public WiFi. However, with a minimum of cajoling the boss shared the password and online we went!

Score one for La Cuisine by being extra nice to a customer and making killer pancakes!

Why am I only finding out about this place on my way out-the door?

Fireworks And A Concert On The Shore In Branford

The Branford Town Band was playing on the flat roof above the public restrooms! That’s not as strange as it sounds.

Now that I’ve been doing their commercials Premier Subaru asked if I’d emcee tonight’s band concert and fireworks in Branford. I was glad to and it was another good chance to get the word out I’m on FoxCT. Amazing how many people still don’t know (feel free to pass the word around).

After a threatening day and with thunderstorms moving through Northern Connecticut Branford was was exquisite. The sky was mainly blue, the temperature comfortable and the dew point low.

The Branford Town Band was playing on the flat roof above the public restrooms! That’s not as strange as it sounds. We were perched above the harbor with a direct line-of-sight to the island where the fireworks were being launched.

The band began playing at 7:45. After their first song I was brought up to lead the band. Surprise to me!

All they had me do was count to four. They broke into “Sleighride.”

The concert was mostly band favorites and some medleys. All the instruments were wind save the drums. I was pleased to see my old friend Bob Child playing.

My job was to read a little lead-in for each song. I do this as part of “what I do” for work, but the truth is I enjoy doing it and think I do it well.

The skies darkened and the fireworks began around 9:30 PM.

I can’t imagine how there’s a better place to see fireworks. I can’t imagine a better night. We were so close powdery debris rained on us as the show progressed!

Because the winds were calm smoke from the rockets never dissipated and some of the show was actually obscured by its own smoke!

As a photographer I enjoyed the lower part of the program. It was possible for me to shoot the explosions and still see the crowd.

Here’s a small sample of the shots I took tonight in Branford.

Outer Island

Once a year Outer Island, the southernmost of the Thimble Islands, is open to the public. The Thimbles are a chain of small islands and rocks sprinkled just south of Stony Creek in Branford, CT. Outer Island itself is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

The morning started gray and very foggy, but this was a rain or shine event! I popped a Bonine for seasickness and headed out with my friend Rick, his wife and daughter and two of their friends.

You get to Outer Island via water taxi. The boat leaves from Branford’s Town Dock and stops at other islands along the way, dropping off and picking up residents and visitors.

Outer Island is about 5 acres of rock laid down as the last ice age retreated. It was originally a private island, owned by a couple. In fact, the main house and a smaller building are still there. It’s now owned by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior.

I’m sure most people will disagree, but in many ways, I wish it was still private. There is an experience to be had living on that island that will never be felt again.

Please understand, I’m not diminishing the research and scientific work being done there now. And I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford this island life I’m talking about. But someone should have the opportunity to drink in the solitude and beauty that can be found in so few places.

We toured the island, led by two professors from local universities. The island’s location and rocky terrain gives it some unusual characteristics – especially in the tidal pools carved into the rock. And then there are the rock crabs, a recently introduced species that’s muscled out some of the shoreline’s former residents.

Outer Island is the kind of place you don’t get to see too often… though you should if you get the chance.

Oh… one more thing. The Bonine has kept me loopy all day! I drove to dinner with Helaine and Stef, but it quickly became obvious I wasn’t ready to drive. Most of the side effects the package says can happen, have happened. Hopefully, I’ll sober up on Sunday.