We had a Ball!

Our afternoon was as active as could be. We had a ball, which grandson David and neighbor Logan (8) tossed in the yard. I was very impressed with Logan’s accuracy, both throwing and catching. David did well, too. If you can, use your cursor to slowly move through the first three seconds. The ball doesn’t appear until Logan seems to pick it out of the air.

The fellows retrieved an airplane on the roof, left from the last time Logan was here. As they began playing with it, horse DW galloped down the pasture and stood expectantly at the fence. I took horse treats friend Sue sent me last year and apples so the boys could interact with DW and Vixen. The weather had been too wet and raw for us to find pleasure in standing at the fence. I verbally played airplane with Logan while David had a long conversation with DW.

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Rain began to fall as the young men flew the airplane. Their actions were typical. David pulled up his hood as Logan took off his jacket. Logan pointed out the rainbow and posed with David while I tried to capture it.

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According to Logan, the name of the dog that runs free in the neighborhood is Pepper. Logan and David talked to her, and David sat with her when Logan had to go home. Pepper is a ball of energy and rarely stays to visit.

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Blogger Linda (WALKIN’, WRITIN’, WIT & WHIMSY) sent us a link yesterday to Google Doodle. .https://www.google.com/doodles/celebrating-johann-sebastian-bach

There was an amusing celebration of the birthday of J. S. Bach. We put a melodic line in two measures, and the program added chords to make it sound like a Bach composition. David found it addictive. He continued this morning, sharing the site with John. It was great fun.

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Neighbor Bob to the Rescue

Good news! The skunk is dead! For some reason, a sick skunk took a shine to neighbor Joyce, or at least the area around her house. I saw it twice when she texted me that she could see it in the pasture. Although it should be a nocturnal animal, we saw it shuffle between her shed and ours in the middle of the day. One night the stench was so great that Joyce couldn’t sleep, even with a blanket over her head. The skunk finally died on Joyce’s driveway, luckily without spraying anyone on the street. Neighbor Bob looked at it, waited some hours to make sure it hadn’t moved, and took care of the carcass. He told us this morning that despite his waiting, the skunk’s body was not totally stiff. Needless to say, our neighborhood smells a lot better now. Thank you, Bob!

On David’s day off, we went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first time this year. Driving there is like a mini-vacation for me. The road is high up on mountains when it isn’t actually on a ridge. There are sweeping views of ridges to the horizon, often filled with that blue haze for which our mountains are famous. There wasn’t much color at higher elevations, but we saw tons of icicles hanging from boulders beside the road. The breezes coming up the slopes were sweet, with not a hint of skunk odor. I asked David to pose with the Woodfin Cascades behind him. We could hear the roar of the water, even at that great distance. He added an appropriate splash of blue to the pre-Spring landscape.

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David with the Woodfin Cascades to the left of his shoulder

Reconstructed Rind

I had a tough mandarin to crack, so grandson David started it for me. He often peels his in a circular way, ending with one spiral piece. I said I would do it that way because he gave me a good start. As he peeled his, he said, “Cousin Anders is awesome at this. You should see him do it.”

After I ate the innards, I put the shell back together, not terribly successfully. Now David is really good at balancing things and fitting pieces together. His fingers are calibrated to a finer precision than mine. Can you see that his rind is smirking right into his hand? Mine turned its back and had a squinty-eyed scowl.

Thank heavens we quit when we did. If we’d squeezed them to make them talk, who knows to what silly depths we would have fallen.

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Snowboarding with Chrissie

Niece Chrissie wrote about enjoying the slopes and taking me with her down the mountain.  Snowboarding by phone was tremendous fun, but I had no photos to share.  Click here to see her post about our shared adventure, Part 1.  She includes pictures of David and me, as well as one of herself.  If you continue to Part 2, you can see videos she and husband Chris made last November and yesterday.  Here is your chance to go down the mountain just like I did!

Chrissie is the one who encouraged me to write and helped me set up my blog.  This has added another dimension to my life, and I am most grateful to her.

Snowboarding!!!

Life is exciting in the mountains! I went snowboarding today! I was in my kitchen in the Smokies, and niece Chrissie was snowboarding down her mountain in New England. She took me with her by phone, up the lift and down the slope. Whee! It was great fun. She is so technically savvy that she could talk while whizzing down. She paused from time to time to show me a windmill, their condo building, other trails, her husband Chris going down ahead of her, the junction with a ski trail, her feet on the board, and the slow sign at the bottom. She pointed out that Chris was using his toes. She is working on that, but is more comfortable on her heels. If I had been adroit with my phone, I would have taken a screen shot to include here. David came in to catch the last half of the run and could greet his cousin when I turned on my camera. This was a marvelous experience that I would like to repeat. Next time, maybe I’ll stand up and burn a few more calories.

A Blank Look

When grandson Nathaniel is here, I don’t use the foyer mirror because of his amusing ritual of putting it up high. This morning I turned to check my hat before going out. The mirror was in the correct spot, and I thought I was in front of it. It was blackish-BLANK! Two things went through my mind. Either my eyes had failed, or the magic mirror responded to the question of who was fairest in the land. It picked nobody, and that nobody was blanked-out ANNE!

With relief, I realized the mirror was showing the living room, still dark because the sun had not come up. Blame that on the change to daylight savings time. I tried to calculate when to set my alarm, to dress and walk out 30 minutes after the official sunrise. When set correctly, the clock gets us up in time to get back home before Old Sol peeks above our backyard mountain. The alarm will be right in another week. The photos below show what I saw and what I should have seen.

 

 

 

Celebrating JT

Niece Julie organized a marvelous gathering of her sisters and close family members. Considering how busy this group is, it was amazing that 16 of us could meet for several hours. We were greatly rewarded by spending quality time together. Last Fall Julie’s brother-in-law, John T., was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer. What a shock this was to all of us! He was young, in excellent shape, and appeared to be the picture of health. His medical care has been excellent. JT accepted the diagnosis, followed the advice of his doctors, continues to fight this dread disease, and continuously gives his life to God. We all support him in any way we can, including prayer.

You might guess this was a gathering of family members, since most of the action took place in the kitchen and at the dinner table. Julie picked up our grandson Nathaniel, and he was making a caramelized onion dip when we walked in. We did the unpardonable thing of arriving half an hour early, interrupting their last-minute preparations. We had left home early because we had to drive through fog and rain almost the whole way. They were gracious.

Others came in and enjoyed watching Nathaniel shake the pan and flip the onions. Cousin Sam, also a freshman in college, brought Brownies he had baked while at home on Spring break. Two of the women were in the process of leaving a job, so this is a period of transition for them. Myra and Rick had come from a magic convention in Pigeon Forge. They were a bit behind us, having driven on I-40 near our house to get to Charlotte. Christie and Hunter came the furthest and were spending the night, while we had to get home for church responsibilities the next morning. Christie’s Chicken Marbella was fantastic. Beth and I talked about gardening, since I brought her some seeds from our lavender Rose of Sharon bush. I mislabeled them and had to correct that verbally. Cousin Kate talked about finishing her time with the Girl Scouts and beginning her quest to become an Eagle Scout. Beth and Julie were the chief dish washers. Many thanks to them for cleaning up after us. Brother Bob and I chatted about some childhood memories. As you might guess from this paragraph, we mixed and mingled throughout the afternoon.

Our conversation was more focused while we sat at the table. Christie asked JT about his most memorable trips. He couldn’t narrow it down. He said he learned that a trip was not about a destination, but rather it was the experience of being with the people around him. That led to JT’s account of a recent dinner. Three former students, now in college, heard about his cancer. They took him out to dinner to thank him for all he had done for them. Two of their fathers died before JT knew them, and one lost his dad while he was in JT’s class. JT said, “They told me I had been a father figure for them….” We all quietly lost it at that point. JT is a true follower of Christ, one whose life has affected many people around him.

We pray that JT’s joy in living will be complete as God continues to pour out blessings through his life among us. This humble man has a mighty faith that is truly awesome. Rather than moving mountains, his faith moves human hearts.