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Tuesday, 14-Aug-2012 08:25 Email | Share | | Bookmark
There are cream pies galore

For Thomas and me, Ocean beach is a ritual that goes way back. We always start with early-morning coffee and donuts at one of our jordan china favorite San Diego institutions, O.B. Donuts. We proclaim O.B. Donuts the best donuts in all of San Diego – it certainly has the most eclectic mix of customers. (Sometimes, in Tibet or Sumba or some other exotic location, I lay awake dreaming of these donuts.)

Clearly, I’m not a morning person

Next, A casual stroll to the pier birdwatching along the way. On a recent five minute walk from O.B. Donuts to the beach, we spotted flocks of red-crowned Amazon parrots, lilac-crowned Amazon parrots, and red-masked parakeets. Closer to the pier, we were rewarded with flocks of California brown pelicans diving into the surf to catch fish. But the wildlife isn’t limited to birds.

Exploring the tide pools below the pier will reveal any number of exotic creatures including my personal favorite, the California sea hare. From the pier itself, within a twenty minute period, we spotted sea lions and a large pod of dolphins. But San Diego’s most common aquatic mammal is most certainly the surfer.

The waves were filled with surfers, experienced and newbie alike, weaving through the waves dodging each other. The most skilled surfers deftly shot through the pilings supporting the pier, although I’m not a hundred percent sure that’s legal jordan china.

From the pier, we always divert along the beach up to Newport Ave, the main drag filled with surf shops, breakfast diners, cafes and coffee houses – all of which are very laid back and “California” in the truest sense of the word. Check it out for yourself in the Google street view below. If you explore long enough, you just might spot some parrots.I was on my way home Saturday night about 8:30 when I noticed the action over at Chip’s Barbecue. It’s the closest restaurant to my house, and I’ve had many a dinner there. The sign was being changed. The next morning, I was surprised to see what it said: Goodbye Mr. Chip.

Thomas+Chipman.jpgThat’d be Tom Chipman. Back in 1961 he opened Chip’s Barbecue as a drive-in in a strip-mall on Markham, back when there wasn’t out much down West Markham but a few neighborhoods here and there. Five years later he moved the business into a spot on the other side of that strip mall and opened a dining room. The place is still there today.

I have to be honest -- even though I’ve lived in Little Rock most of my life, I didn’t have my first meal at Chip’s until the day we found the house I live in now. I didn’t even know there was a neighborhood tucked in back there. After seeing this particular house and falling in love, my then-husband and I went and had a late lunch at Chip’s. I can even remember we shared a big order of nachos. It was a nice family place jordan china.

And Chip’s? It’s about family. Along the wood-paneled walls of the restaurant are numerous family photos from over the years, many with hand-lettered or typed labels explaining who’s who. I found that the former owner of my house raised kids with the Chipman’s. From the photos they appeared to have had an idyllic teenhood, swimming and playing and working in the restaurant together.

I only met Mr. Chipman once, and it was by chance back in the early oughts. What I know of him is that he raised a heck of a family, a family dedicated to running that restaurant. What I didn’t know was that he was a World War II veteran, or that he’d been married to his wife Tina for 66 years -- or that he had great grandchildren. He was, after all, 91.
But I do know Kara, his daughter. Back when I was writing my first cover story for the Arkansas Times, she let me come in and photograph pies... for over an hour. Pie after pie
after pie... and that’s a noteworthy thing. That’s jordan china because Chip’s pies are Little Rock’s sweetest secret. You have to know about Chip’s to have some of that pie... but folks who know about it guard it and keep it to themselves, and order pies weeks in advance for holidays. There are cream pies galore -- banana and lemon and coconut and chocolate and banana, and sometimes sweet potato or pumpkin, too. There are variations, like the marvelous chocolate walnut pie. And then there are the cheesecakes -- big, four inch thick affairs served up plain or with raspberry sauce or strawberries or chocolate or... and there’s pecan pie and seasonal pies like strawberry or blueberry. Every one of them made from scratch from a family recipe. Every one.
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Tuesday, 14-Aug-2012 08:24 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Toyota and the National Audubon Society

My husband is a little obsessed with sand dunes. He spent the better part of his youth driving out to the California desert to air jordan photograph sand dunes and desert life in stunning black and white prints he made in his dark room (for you youngsters, that's old-school Photoshop with chemicals). He was a student of Ansel Adams in the early '80's, and we all know that Ansel loved him some stark landscapes. Any time there is a sand dune on a map, Frank will veer off course about a hundred miles or so to see it. Some people have a thing for Civil War battlefields or oddball roadside attractions or 1950's diners when they travel. Frank's loves sand dunes, so I've seen more than my fair share of sand dunes during our fifteen year marriage. I thought I had seen most of the world's variety of sand dunes, but White Sands was different from any other dune I'd ever experienced.

White Sand Ripples

We pulled into the entrance to the park, and drove onto the park grounds and I was immediately taken aback by how blindingly white and spare the landscape was. There are very few trees or shrubs or plants of any kind other than a few scrappy, withering survivors. A lonesome-looking horned lark hopped across the road, but otherwise, there was no discernable wildlife. The gypsum-dust sands form ripples as the wind blows, rippling across the dunes, like a white chenille robe air jordan.
We got out of the car to walk around on the dunes, and I was surprised at how sturdy the ground was beneath my feet. I half expected to sink, like in a snow bank, or slide around a bit, but the gypsum dust was firmly packed beneath my feet, making it easy to walk around on. There were a few other visitors who came prepared with saucer sleds to slide down the dunes. I watched a couple of kids make several attempts at sliding, only to get about halfway down a dune and have to have their dad come and pull them the rest of the way. The sand was not really slick enough for sledding, but I gave them credit for trying. Alex tried to slide down, feet first, but ended up stumbling most of the way. By the time he reached the bottom of the hill, he was covered in white, powdery dust.

White Sands National Monument Outhouse

We hiked around the dunes for a while, then I broke off from the group to find the Little Outhouse in Big Dunes, which sat like a lonely sentinal on the outskirts of the parking lot. Off to the left of the restroom, someone had plaintively written "I Lost" in the dune. I wondered whether they meant "I'm lost," which would have been ridiculous, since they were right next to the the parking lot leading to a road back to the Visitor's Center. More likely, they meant, "I lost a bet, and my husband dragged me out to see another sand dune."
White Sands was designated a National Monument in 1933 by President Herbert Hoover. The difference between a National Monument and a National Park is that the President can designate a particular area a National Monument, but a National Park requires approval of Congress. White Sands National Monument is located on U.S. Highway 70, 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexica and 52 miles east of Las Cruces. It is in the middle of a US military missile testing range, so there may be days when the national monument is closed to the public due to missile testing exercises. Be sure to check the website before you go so you won't be disappointed when you get there. Entrance fees are $3 per person. Children under 15 get in free. National Park Interagency Passholders can use their passes to get in free. Some special tours, including a moonlight bike ride, are extra. The Dunes drive is open from 7:00 am to sunset.

Toyota & National Audubon Society Exit the Highway Program

Toyota and the National Audubon Society are asking Americans to Exit the Highway and pledge to take the scenic route and enjoy the air jordan natural beauty of our great land. For their efforts, those who take the pledge will be entered to win a new, fuel-efficient Prius v, an environmentally-friendly hybrid vehicle featuring more cargo space. To start off, take the pledge at, or You can earn extra entries into the drawing for a new Prius v by sharing photos tagged with.Locals and visitors alike often bemoan the fact that old-world California has been lost under a cement sea of commercialization and homogenization which has eroded the once-so-famous California character. While there is some truth to these complaints, islands of “real” California still survive. One of my favorite is Ocean Beach.
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Tuesday, 14-Aug-2012 08:22 Email | Share | | Bookmark
White Sand Landscape

It’s pronounced “royal” as in “royal pain in my behind.” There is no “e” at the end to suggest a French pronunciation. Café Royal is THE jordan china spot if you’re living in southeast Greenpoint. It’s big enough to host an army of unemployed wastrels but it rarely fills up so you’ll always have peace and quiet (well, besides the music) to sit and ponder that play about Kant and St. Augustine working at Starbucks. There is also a small collection of eclectic reading material in the event that you should feel the need to plagiarize a Nora Ephron novel to spice things up. Café Royal is also notable in that they serve kombucha on tap. Unfortunately, it is $5 dollars but when you consider that you’re getting slightly more than a bottle (which costs around $4), you might be able to rationalize it long enough to purchase a cup.

Troost is the sort of place a New York Times writer might describe as “hip,” “cozy,” or “hidden.” It’s a laid-back coffee/food stop run by laid-back people who like good music and serve excellent drinks. There’s also a rather pleasant garden but frankly unless you absolutely need to be outdoors, why would you bother? It’s 90°F outside. If you wanted to sweat, you could just stay home. Fortunately, the inside is nice and cool, and the drinks aren’t terribly expensive either. In terms of atmosphere Troost wins the competition handily. The Wi-Fi shuts down at 5pm. However, Troost is the not the kind of joint that gives laptop users a hard time. So while the Wi-Fi does turn off, you are welcome to keep working without hassle. Also, jordan china their cocktails are fantastic, so if you need to get loaded for your dry-as-sand Hemingway novel, Troost is the spot.

Winning the “Cutest Name” by a long shot, Milk & Roses is truly the charmer of the bunch. You’ll be immediately drawn to the place by its walls covered, from floor to ceiling, with bookshelves packed for your reading pleasure. Then you’ll notice the piano and think to yourself, “double jam!” They’ve got a garden too, which is a nice spot in September but until then you can content yourself with the excellent coffee and fetching design. You should note that there are reports that the establishment can be testy about laptop use, but on a weekday you should be fine, as long as you’re willing to buy something (we all gotta eat).

One of my favorite places in our travels across the US has been the White Sands National Monument, near Alamogordo, New Mexico. This summer, our friends at Toyota have partnered with the Audobon Society to encourage everyone to exit the highway and visit beautiful, off-the-beaten-path places like White Sands.
The White Sands National Monument rises up out of the scrubby brown New Mexico desert like a far off dream. You might think you're seeing the purest, whitest snow imaginable, but get closer, and you realize that it's a hot, dry white powder covering the landscape for as far as the eye can see, rimmed by mountains on the horizon line. The fine, white dust covering the landscape looks like a million tiny hands clapped chalk-laden erasers to form undulating dunes of glistening white fairy dust.

When my husband suggested we go there on our trip to Texas in December, we had been driving through the California, Arizona, and New Mexico desert for several days. My initial thought was, "another sand dune. Big whoop."
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Tuesday, 14-Aug-2012 08:21 Email | Share | | Bookmark
He has some hot issues to deal with

There is a highly contested windmill project where Murdoch and company were planning on putting in 200 windmills on the island’s north side to power Oahau. It seems to be causing a divide. One neighbour has signs saying to “Go Green”, while others have signs stating “No-Windmills.”

The residents may be divided amongst themselves, but they aren’t letting that effect their hospitality. The people of Lanai are friendly and welcoming. Even when we asked them about the issue, they answer with a smile and say that time will tell what will happen.Let’s hope that the new ownership will make sure to think about what is best for the residents while expanding tourism and commerce.Fishing. There’s something most New Yorkers might not know how to do. Although this is mainly an event for children, I think adults unfamiliar with the art of fishing will benefit from these FREE fishing clinics taking place in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Macy’s is sponsoring this FREE program, offering kids quality fishing instruction for the summer. The clinics will take place every Sunday at 2pm. Children 15 and under will have to be accompanied by an parent/guardian and you guys will learn about recreational fishing, fishing safety, and fish-friendly techniques, all while casting your
lines on a serene summer day at the park!

Spots are available on a first come, first-serve basis. Therefore, may I suggest that you get their early. The meeting area will be at the Audubon Center inside of Prospect Park. It’s located on Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road. So go catch some fish guys!!! Hey, you never know, you just might end up reeling in Moby Dick or catch the Lochness Monster on vacation.As a starving, malcontent, narcissistic New York City writer, you have one of two options: writing in your apartment or writing in someplace that is decidedly not your apartment. The former is a simple premise. If you’re having trouble with it, you might consider giving up writing in favor of a less mentally taxing occupation like running for public office. The latter option hinges on a couple subtleties. For instance, how can you tell someplace that “is not your apartment” from someplace that “is your apartment?” It’s a tough call. However, there are some indications you might look for. If it is unbearably hot and uncomfortable, then there is a good chance you are in your apartment. If your only option for a cool drink is an open tallboy of High Life that’s been sitting in your fridge for a couple days, then you might be at your apartment. If there are other human beings around, then you are probably not in your apartment. If you aren’t looking around at the utter misery of your circumstances, then again, you’re probably not at your apartment.

Great, so now that you get the jist of being outside of your apartment, let’s look at a few places you might go to grind out those pithy observations on the comédie humaine.
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