Outdoors Again!

We were rained out of our walk four days in a row and made the most of a clear sky when it came. When friend Karen walked with me a week before, I never pointed out the two little streams we walked over. It was pointless, because they could be neither seen nor heard. Both called out for attention after being revived by the relentless days of rain. Welcome back, little streams.

Neighbor John O. came down his road, and I asked if he’d be willing to go with me on one of his walking routes. He talked of going through a future development, and I wasn’t sure how to get there. We hung a right and a left, and there it was. There are no homes yet. I saw a sign with 8 on it, so there are at least eight plots for sale. We walked up the muddy track, and suddenly I turned my head and saw the view, enhanced by low lying clouds. I knew I was looking at the round bales of hay that I usually see over my computer screen. If you bought a plot on the hillside, and if there were no fences in the way, I could easily walk to visit you.

Land for sale
Land for sale

The little toy camera insisted on recording everything in sight. When it wasn’t looking, I cut the number of shots to six. My favorite shows a yellow school bus on its morning run, the distance shrinking it to almost nothing.

School bus in the valley
School bus in the valley

I followed the call of the view from our deck where cloud fingers were reaching down to tickle the trees. The furthest field holds the bales of hay (hale bays for two readers). There has been no evaporation from the overflowing birdbath. The clouds are gathering again, but I’m not going to let them threaten me.

Overflowing birdbath
Overflowing birdbath

Liebster Award Nomination

Thank you very much Mir, of The Somewhat Peculiar Story of Mir, for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  I highly recommend a visit to her site. It is autobiographical and is interesting, amusing, and surprising.

There seem to be a few variants of rules for The Liebster Award, but I’m going to continue with the ones that Mir used:

The Liebster Award

Liebster AwardThese awards only have a few rules: 

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to his/her blog
  2. Answer the questions asked by the nominator
  3. Nominate bloggers with under 500 followers
  4. Create 10 questions for the nominees to answer.

 

Here are the questions that  Mir asked, and my responses:

  1. What motivated you to start your blog?   I’ve written letters to family and friends since 1980, and that was expanded when email came along. Several dear people encouraged me to publish, but revamping material for a book was mind-boggling. A special niece in the business got me started and recently guided me to WordPress. Blogging is FUN!
  2. Do you ever do things just so you can blog about them?   I never thought about manufacturing things for a post. I’m sure I don’t have enough imagination for that, but daily life presents endless opportunities for writing. As events happen, words are tumbling about in my head as I search for the best way to present a story.
  3. Do your close friends / family worry about being in your blog?   Yes, indeed! One daughter made a comment she considered silly when she was a teen, and she immediately insisted, “You can’t write that.” I did not write about it, but we have giggled about it ever since. Only one person has asked me to take down a post. I removed it immediately. When I write about friends and family, I always send them a copy so they know what I am saying about them. So far we are all still on hugging terms.
  4. Who has been the most influential person in your life?   My husband has been the most influential person in my life for two reasons.   He is an admirable person, and he wins by sheer tenacity. We’ve been married 51 years, which is over twice the number of years I lived with my parents. I agree with most of what he says – wouldn’t say 100% because it might go to his head.
  5. What is your favourite gadget?   Now that is a tough question. Most of my gadgets are in the kitchen. When we moved a year ago, I got rid of those I didn’t use regularly.  All the ones still there are favorites. To answer the question more fully, I’d say my favorite is whichever is the newest. I’ve enjoyed using the immersion blender, repeating to myself constantly, “Do not put your fingers near the blade.” Next month or next year, something new will take its place.
  6. What is your ideal holiday / vacation?   My ideal vacation would involve seeing lovely scenery, learning new things, eating at local restaurants, and meeting interesting people.
  7. What three things would you take with you to a desert island?   I would take all my favorite people to a desert island, along with good connections to the internet, and a fully equipped kitchen.  Actually, as long as we are dreaming, I would spell it differently – dessert island — and top it with hot fudge sauce.
  8. What do you usually have for breakfast?   Breakfast is my favorite meal, one that I could eat three times a day.  On a busy day, cereal will do, but we often have egg, meat, and cheese on an English muffin.  Another favorite is egg in the eye, quick and easy. When there are more than two of us, I like cooking biscuits or cardamom muffins.  How could we ignore pancakes and waffles? Coffeecakes? I’ll stop before I drool on the keyboard.
  9. If you could spend a day with a famous person (living or historical), who would that be?    I’ve played this game many times, so I’d start by ruling out Biblical figures. There are many I’d love to be with. My historical choice from the US is a tossup between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. No, Washington’s teeth would bother me. Jefferson was an educated, social person who was also an inventor. It would be marvelous to see his reaction to computers, cell phones, helicopters, and laparoscopic surgery.
  10. How did you celebrate your last birthday?   I love birthdays, but after you have so many, they become a blur. Wait!  I’ll see what I wrote about it last year. Here it is, “Thanks to lots of folks far and near, I had a marvelous birthday. Birthdays are not a hardship for me. All I have to do is sit and turn a year older. My sympathies are with people who are terribly busy at Christmas and still take time to celebrate with me. I appreciate all the notes, mailed cards, e cards, messages, hugs, gifts, meals, phone calls, travels, and retro greetings from those who are learning of this occasion here. From Denmark I had this greeting, “Happy Merry Birthmas.”       Son $ came for breakfast on my birthday and stayed for 24 delightful hours. Brother Bob and wife Beth were here, and we feasted on German Stollen and Beth’s marvelous Banana Nut Friendship bread. Bob brought in barbecue for lunch. I’m fairly sure the last time I had a BBQ sandwich on my birthday was the day of Becky’s wedding in 1963. I stopped in Covington on my way back to Ripley after conducting a church choir in a Methodist church in Memphis.  A blizzard was raging, and I was so late I didn’t have time to change into wedding clothes. Beth and Bob had to get back to Winston Salem, but $ stayed and cooked an Indian dish with chicken for our evening meal. The day was chock full of wonderfully unscheduled things, perfect for a first retirement birthday.

Nominees

I have nominated blogs for other awards and hope to avoid calling on those great people again. I’m also not sure that the ones I nominate have fewer than 500 followers. If you have a great following, congratulations and disregard this nomination. These are not listed in any particular order.

Quotidian Things

Pickles & Pords

Skipah’s Realm

All Things Kalen

SOMETIMES

Rendezvous En New York

Kimberly Nicholson

Questions for My Nominees

  1. What caused you to start blogging?
  2. Do you like music, and if so, what is your first choice for listening?
  3. Did you have a favorite childhood toy?
  4. What are your natural abilities?
  5. What person/s had the most influence on your life?
  6. Do you have a favorite type of food?
  7. What is your exercise of choice?
  8. Do deadlines spur you on or intimidate you?
  9. What makes you laugh?
  10. Are you an early bird, a night owl, or something in between?

Saying Goodbye

Wouldn’t you think you’d spend as much time saying hello as goodbye? If I were a disinterested observer, I’d time the process. Without evidence, I feel our leave takings are at least twice as long as our greetings. When people come to our home, we welcome our guests and jump right into visiting. We mustn’t waste a minute of mountain time. We took Karen and Al to the airport, which I realize adds hours to the goodbye. Even when folks leave from the driveway, it’s painful. We hang onto them until the last second.

We didn’t waste the day, though. We walked the main street of Waynesville. Karen’s verdict was that we live near a lovely town. We have art galleries, home decorating stores, a bakery, a dog bakery, furniture stores, the inevitable real estate places, a brewery, restaurants, office of local newspaper that publishes three times a week, and the court house. I think my favorite was the shop that had only pencil drawings in the window. The art on view was amazingly vibrant. [Lise LOOK –>] We have a chocolate shop!!! How did my chocolate antenna miss that as we whizzed through town during the last year?

I wanted them to see the stream near the rec center, since that was the real selling point of the town for me. I thought I’d drive there for my daily walk, which I never did. Walking from our front door was far too easy. Our friends appreciated different aspects of the stream. Karen liked the sight and sound, as I did. Al, though, is a fisherman. I didn’t ask, but I rather think he was studying the possibilities from an angler’s point of view.

Al, thinking like a fish
Al, thinking like a fish

The Greenville SC airport is amazing. It isn’t nearly as far away as Charlotte, and it is on a human scale. We even watched Karen and Al go through security! The last time they flew, food was confiscated. We wanted to make sure Karen’s coffee got through, which it did. Karen told us her knees always set off alarms. If there is no body scanner, she has to be patted down. Greenville has the scanner, and we watched her go through it. It took more time for Al, who had to remove his belt. I didn’t notice shoes. Do you no longer have to remove your shoes?

I had a lonely walk this morning. Karen was gone, and John had to turn back at the halfway point. The creek called out to me, though, with special effects. It used decoupage to decorate a small boulder with autumn leaves. Perhaps J Creek was saying “goodbye, nice meeting you” to Karen.

092415 Decoupage leaves

Adventures of the Young at Heart

One of the most delightful parts of this visit of friends was having a companion on my regular walk. All the young people we’ve had here needed sleep more than exercise. Karen is like John; she needs about half as much sleep as an average person. That means I have had a constant playmate. Heady stuff!! John went with us to the creek yesterday, since he didn’t have cardiac rehab. Of course, the toy camera insisted on recording the event.

John and Karen at the creek
John and Karen at the creek

The choice for the day was going to see Biltmore mansion or walking around Pack Square in downtown Asheville. We had a sedate stroll in town, marveling at the number of eateries on every street. Karen and I walked through one shop with an astounding array of non-essential items like adult (not pornographic) coloring books, wind chimes, whirligigs, eclectic baby clothes, toys, and home decorative pieces. Buskers were in evidence. Where the sidewalk was three times the normal width, a woman accompanied herself with a guitar. She had the full setup – microphone and amplifier. I would have taken her picture, but I was afraid she would expect a tip if I had. The most interesting performer was a white haired man juggling three white pins similar to bowling pins. He not only had a ponytail down his back, he also had two other tails on each side of his head. It was a good thing the pin he dropped didn’t land on his bare feet.

Daughter Lise would have envied our parking space. We were right in front of the Asheville Chocolate Lounge! We peered through the window but righteously avoided going in. Chocolate + Milk was the name of the shop next door. Talk about overload! For some reason, the toy camera didn’t get excited about those things. It did make Al pose under a sign for the cigar shop. We stayed outside while he walked in.

Al at the cigar shop
Al at the cigar shop

On the way home we went on the Blue Ridge Parkway, seeing the vistas that were obscured by fog the day before. The last photo op was in the afternoon when Al fed the horses in our neighbor’s field.

Al and Karen in the Smokies
Al and Karen in the Smokies
Al gives the horses some apples
Al gives the horses some apples

The rest of the day was filled with talk and laughter, while we took time out to pursue personal hobbies. You are welcome to imagine which activity belongs to each of us. We looked at a train web cam in New Mexico, checked email in an easy chair, smoked a cigar on the front porch while reading, and worked a crossword puzzle while waiting for the soup to heat.

View from the parkway
View from the parkway

Sight Seeking

I know most people go sightseeing, but we were seeking the sights. It had been foggy in the valley. We hoped to be above the mist on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Despite the long drive, made longer by going to a restaurant that was closed on Mondays, we could never pierce the fog. This was the first time the parkway failed us. We ate at the Pisgah Inn anyway, where the impenetrable fog gave us a white background. We concentrated on conversation and food rather than the view.

The waterfall was on display, though. Looking Glass Falls performed well. John parked down the road, and before Karen and Al climbed the steps from the base of the falls, he brought the car right up to the entrance. That’s service!

Al and Karen at Looking Glass Falls
Al and Karen at Looking Glass Falls

John knew how to get from Looking Glass to my favorite waterfall, the one closest to our house on Rt. 215. I never tire of standing there, and Karen and Al appreciated it verbally.

092115 Anne's favorite falls (4)

We made a quick stop in Ingles, our prize supermarket. Karen likes one flavor of house brand decaf coffee and wanted some to take back home. We poked about the store for a short while, surprising the fellows with our speed. We saw Al sitting on a bench outside the store. When I pointed my camera at him, he hurried to put out the cigar and rejoin us.

092115 Al in front of Ingles
Al in front of Ingles

As I remember, a silent butler is a small container for removing ashes. I told Al we had our own silent butler when he quietly disposed of his cigar ashes. A few hours later we invited the neighbors over to meet our New York friends. They wanted to experience all the things I write about, and what better than a visit with our neighbors who are also wonderful friends? I was scurrying around getting the ice cream out, while Karen moved chairs and set the table. I didn’t hear the doorbell, but Al was right there to open the door and welcome them. We had do-it-yourself greetings before settling down for a real visit. I told Al he was performing an excellent job as our butler.

Power Wash at Dawn

You never know what you’re going to get in a motel, especially when you are traveling with friends and snag the last two rooms in a five-story inn. To hear Al tell it, we got the room with a king sized bed. He and Karen were to get two huge beds, a sauna, maybe a swimming pool, and all the amenities you could think of. I was tired, having gotten up at 3 a.m., and all I cared about was being able to sleep where no one could hear me snore. The sleeping was fine, but oh! the shower! It was built for a basketball player. I first stretched to see if the shower head could be aimed at my feet rather than over my head. Nothing moved. Bracing myself, I turned on the water. It hit me in the throat, and it was set for that deadly pulsing akin to machine gun fire. Off went the water. Even if I could have wrestled with it at eye level, I couldn’t have changed the setting. It was stuck tight. Obviously, since you are reading this, I survived. I looked like a drowned rat and felt like a limp dishrag, but I was wildly awake and saw the sun come up in a blaze of glory.

Yesterday we were up and on the road before night got a good start. Grandson David had planned to get up to have breakfast with us at 8. When it was announced that the college choir was having a retreat beginning at 8, we shifted the time to 6 to see him. We got up at 3 to drive from Pennsylvania to New York. David beat us. He was afraid he wouldn’t get up, so he stayed up all night. We needed all our wits to forage for food, nothing being open at 6, not even the diner! Three towns later we found a MacDonald’s where the workers were asleep on their feet. Fast food was anything but. However, we had a delightful visit and got him back to campus in time for his second breakfast at the retreat.

Grandpa and David
Grandpa and David

The rest of our day will seem boring to you, but we saw a handful of our dearest peeps in Stony Brook. John took a nap at the harbor while I walked in the village. As I was coming back, Dave drove by and shouted a greeting. I wouldn’t have recognized me from a car, but he did. He pulled up in the shade of a tree, and we had a great chat before he had to leave. We spent the next few hours having lunch and talking. What a treat! If you have time to look at the pictures, you’ll see a wealth of happy smiles.

Thom, Barbara, Kate, John, David, and Ruth
Thom, Barbara, Kate, John, Nathaniel, and Ruth
091915 Legends Ruth Thom K N JC AM BA
Ruth, Thom, Kate, Nathaniel, John, Anne, Barbara in Stony Brook
091915 Driveway goodbyes
Kate, Nathaniel, John, Barbara, Ruth, and Thom doing a long driveway goodbye
The tree and Nathaniel
The tree and Nathaniel
John, Al, and Karen at Clinton Diner
John, Al, and Karen at Clinton Diner

Get Lost!

I thought John and I had agreed we were going to town to run a few errands. I changed shoes and went from one end of the house to another looking for him. Sometimes he sits in the car waiting for me, but he wasn’t there, either. Going through the house again, I saw him coming up the front steps. He had been telling the workmen we were leaving.

On the way we dropped off the Jeep to get two new tires. I saw the vehicle pull into Sorrell’s, so I parked a few feet away and walked back. John was nowhere to be seen. I stood by Snot (our car, a Sonata) so that he could see me easily, and he reappeared in a few minutes. In the supermarket I lost him again as he zoomed around with the cart.

Once we were safely in the car together, I said, “I won’t ever have to tell you to get lost! You do it all on your own!”