Monday, September 18, 2017

Irma's aftermath

Above: My avocado tree took a beating from Hurricane Irma.

I returned Friday to my Florida home. I'd heard the power was back on, but a Thursday night storm knocked it out again. Finally, Sunday night the electricity came back on, and things are now almost back to normal. With no lights, you use candles, flashlights and go to bed early. I couldn't cook, so peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were common. You learn how to take a quick shower when there is no hot water, lol.

I had no damage to my house. I did have a shrub blow over (see below), and a lot of cleanup from downed branches (also see below). We sure take everyday things for granted, don't we?

Above: The shingles in the trash pile are from my neighbor across the street. I had no roof damage.

Above: Maybe I can get the shrub standing upright again and save it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fleeing from a dangerous lady

Above: The bread aisle at WalMart last Wednesday around noon. There was no water either.

She's coming and she's angry -- Hurricane Irma that is. When I moved to Florida I promised myself that I would get in my car well ahead of time and just go somewhere when a hurricane threatened.

I always go to Raleigh NC the first weekend after Labor Day for my fantasy football draft with my bridge-playing friends. Our league was started in 1989 and it would be a sin to miss getting together for the draft and the fellowship that goes with it. Don't forget I lived in Raleigh for 21 years, a large part of my life.

So, I already had my airline ticket and left yesterday at 1 p.m. The airport was jammed with others who were evacuating. I heard one lady say that she could get a room in Atlanta and drive there, but it was just as cheap to fly to see her family. Turns out she made a great choice as they are now saying Atlanta might get hit. The shuttle bus from the airport parking was packed with evacuees and one person heading to a fun weekend of football and that would be me.

I'm supposed to return Monday afternoon, but that's not happening -- Irma is now predicted to go up more of the center of Florida and arrive at Orlando (my airport) around noon on Monday.

The Hammer Zone and his poker queen have decided to ride it out. They are in Tampa area and should be safe, but my thoughts are with them.

Well, at least I'm safe. Just hoping I don't return to no electricity or worse.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bridge not succesful

Above: The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is the venue for the North American Bridge Championships. This is the view from the south.

My two teams played in the Senior Swiss and the Mixed Board-a-Match. We advanced to day 2 in the Seniors, but lost our seventh- and eighth-round matches to fall just out of the overalls. Our BAM just missed qualifying for day 2. I also played in the Online Individual and placed 240th, oh well.

My touring has been more successful. I went to Niagara Falls last Saturday and rode one of the hop-on/hop-off double-decker buses on Sunday, both of which were fun. Today I went to a Blue Jays' baseball game (vs. the Angels). Not sure what I'm doing tomorrow and then Monday I'm heading home.

Above: The Rogers Centre used to be called the SkyDome.

Above: The iconic CN Tower can be seen from anywhere in Toronto, even inside the Rogers Center.


Above: Note the reflection of the CN Tower on this handsome office building.

Above: The American Falls is on the left and the more famous Horseshoe Falls is on the right. Together they (with smaller Bridal Veil Falls in the middle) make up Niagara Falls. Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (see here).

Above: This shot of the Horseshoe Falls portion of Niagara Falls was taken from above. I'd hate to slip and fall in. I'd be swept over the edge and end up like my bridge was.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My favorite city


Toronto is one of my favorite places. It's weather friendly in the summer, the people are insanely nice, the place offers lots to do, and they have a great transportation system. Have I missed anything? Oh yes, the US dollar matches up well against the Canadian dollar so it's not too expensive for a world-class city.

Toronto is the venue for the 2017 Summer North American Bridge Championship and I'll be there from July 20 through July 31. (See here for more information.)

I'm playing in the Truscott USPC Senior Swiss Teams (Monday and Tuesday) and the Freeman Mixed Board-a-match Teams (Wednesday and Thursday). My partner is Sandy McCay.

I'll be sight-seeing the first Saturday and Sunday. After that, we'll see. Wish me luck.

Photo taken from the ACBL web site.