Sunday, November 30, 2008

Those Ownbeys sure make great subjects

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving Day was a busy but fun one. It started early with Frank and I getting up early for Frank to start the Turkey to take to Tiffany's that night. He brined two turkeys, one for us and one for the Conrad get-together. I got to sample ours on Wednesday and it was delicious. His plan was to cook the turkey until 10:30, then turn it down for us to leave to go to mama's. We made it to mama's (on time!) Mama had a delicious turkey, the best mashed potatoes ever (mine and Amanda's favorite), yummy green beans, and corn. Angie made the stuffing which was perfect and I made the sweet potato casserole, which I can stand to taste, but everyone said was good. Thank you Mama and Angie for making such delicious food.

My favorite part of the meal was the strawberries and coconut pound cake! It was my request to have Daddy make me the cake for my birthday. I'm not much of a pumpkin pie eater so this year I wanted to have something really yummy - Daddy's cake did not disappoint, it was the best birthday pound cake ever! Thanks, Daddy!

Frank left after we ate to get back and finish the Conrad Turkey and I stayed on for a mini photo shoot with Angie's family and all the grandkids with Mom and Dad. I love the results. I would love to have had longer to take them but it was getting cold so I missed shots of Mom & Dad by themselves and a few more I had in mind, but the shots I did get were pretty good. I will post them here soon.

We got home just in time to jump in the car and head to Deep Gap. Tiffany's "just the immediate family" Thanksgiving had gone from 7 to 17 since the original plans were made. She and Frank carved the turkeys (got a great picture of this, too) and then once the sides were all warm ... WE ATE AGAIN! Whew talk about a lot of food in one day! I didn't plan to eat a lot but it's really hard to pass up Helen's sausage dressing which is out of this world good! Thank you, Helen for the dressing and thank you, Tiffany, for hosting!

Because Frank had to work early on Friday, he and I left but the kids hung around to play "Scene It."

After the girls got home, we mapped out our strategy for Black Friday, made our want lists out and try to catch a few winks before the alarm went off at 4 am.

We left the house at 4:30 and arrived in time to catch some sweet deals at Walmart. From there we headed to KMart where, believe it or not, we spent the most. Of course, that's where we found the Joe Boxer pajamas on sale BOGOF! We bought black and red and white 3 piece sets for everyone who wakes up here on Christmas Eve morning. This year everyone will have the option of shorts or pants!

From Walmart, we headed to JC Penney where we found some cute pjs for Xyla & Harmony. Next stop, Staples for a new mouse. My mouse was drowned last week in Mountain Dew and even after a thorough cleansing refused to give up the stickies. So I bought myself a new one! A trip to Sam's for a gift from Billy to Amy was futile so we bought a take and bake pizza and made for the house.

I have to say traffic was not bad at all and I have decided that it's great that most all the stores are in Asheville or Arden and that makes just going to Hendo a lot more fun!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and took the time to say, "Thanks!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is finally Turkey Day - better known as Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for all of my family.
I am thankful for my friends.
I am thankful for my job.
I am thankful for my freedom ...
And for all those who have fought
and continue to fight for it.
I am thankful for God's Grace & Mercy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me ...

Big Day - Pictures to come of my birthday presents and Matt's first game of the basketball season.

My Birthday Breakfast

Hand delivered by the Chef to me in the basement where I was scrapping away!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Justin

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some of the scrapbook pages I made this weekend

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Can't wait to see you this morning! Just wish you were easier to buy for!
Happy Birthday, Mama! I love you!

And I want to wish a very
to Janet Burke
& Shawn Wilson

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekend Motorcycle Ride

This past weekend, Frank and I went for a ride on the motorcycle to check out the fall colors. Our intention was to go to Cades Cove and see the leaves, some deer and maybe some bears. We started out on 25 going North through Asheville and into Hot Springs, where we made our first stop. We could hear bagpipes playing as we went through and were told they were in honor of the owner of the Paddler's Pub who had died in a car accident on Tuesday. We also got to see a really old fashioned pedal powered cider press in action. It smelled so good. We didn't press our own though because 1) I had no cash and 2) there wasn't much room to store it on the motorcycle. It was still really a neat sight.

Our ride continued on 25 NW to Newport, Tennessee, where we stopped at a Food City for gas. It was only $1.99! Wow! We left Newport and headed towards Hwy 411 that would take us into Sevierville. Once we got to Dolly Parton Parkway the traffic stalled and we were stuck inching along the highway. Idling like that is not good for the motorcycle so we decided to venture off course a bit, assuming we could find our way back to the road that would lead us to Cades Cove. WRONG! We drifted so far off course that we actually went about 20 miles too far, ending up in Maryville. It was actually a very nice rural ride but I was anxious to get to Cades Cove before dark. We finally made it back on track and when we got to Cades Cove is was about 4:45. The first thing we say was this:

There were a lot of deer. The sign said the the loop was 11 miles. There was a lot of traffic so I decided it would take too long and probably just get dark on us anyway. So we made our way back to the picnic area and a brief visit to the restrooms (which were extremely warm and hard to leave.) While in there a lady told me it was really pretty and we would see lots of deer at this time of the day along with the possibility of some black bears and coyotes. I decided to tell Frank maybe we would give it a shot. When I came out, Frank had my camera and was taking pictures of the deer that were lingering around the picnic area:

Okay, so that did it, I couldn't wait to see more! So we hopped on the trail and took off! Well, not exactly took off:

We actually started our next game of "hurry up and wait." By the way, if you don't know that I am a very impatient person, you probably don't realize just how much I HATE this game! An hour after we had gotten on the loop, I took these photos and after that I just complained and griped and whined. It's a wonder Frank didn't leave me in those fields that were so full of deer ... NOT!

I got this one last shot which I think was the best of the day before it got so dark that all we could see were the extremely slow moving headlights ahead of us on this 11 mile torture route (are you getting that I was not a happy camper?)

I must say, even in the midst of a terrible traffic jam, God managed to open my eyes up enough to see His majestic beauty revealed. How many colors does He have on his palette? Amazing!

Thank goodness, there was a shortcut through to the other side about half way through the loop. We took it, even though it was graveled and we were on the bike, we decided the bike needed a bath anyway. When we got to the other side of the park an older couple who was walking told us that the traffic had come to a standstill because of ALL the DEER over here on this side. People were stopping instead of slowly driving as the sign recommends. No one had pulled off in the spots designated, they had just STOPPED. So there were deer and there were lots of people who were inconsiderate of all of us behind them. Another couple told us they had never seen traffic this bad or this slow. Of course not.

Footnote: I had taken just my second shot of Enbrel the morning I decided to take this trip. Frank is convinced that one of the side effects listed should be "may be unable to make clear and rational decisions concerning travel."

Well, needless to say, by the time we got to Gatlinburg, we were both freezing and starved. Not sure if you noticed, but I hadn't mentioned stopping to eat anywhere in this essay before now. We were definitely hungry and I wasn't about to travel down I40 in the cold.

We decided to stay the night in the Super 8 Motel. We went to find dinner. We finally settled on the Bear Creek Grill. I went to check out the menu (quite pricey) and decided to ask an elderly couple who were leaving, "How was it?" His reply, "The worst service in my life. I have been coming to Gatlinburg for 20 years and this is by far, the worst service. We waited 2 hours for our food and then it came cold!" Wow, glad I asked. I think I could have easily gone postal if I had been forced to WAIT for anything at that point. We ended up at McDonald's. Double cheeseburgers never tasted so sweet!

I'm sure you are bored with this by now, but know that I keep writing as much for my sake of memories as to share with you who can stick it out!

So, let me ask you, what do you think $50 during leaf season in the Great Smoky Mountains will get you when it comes to hotel rooms? Frank and I have a limit when staying overnight on the spur of the moment - no more than $50 or we ride through the night. Well the Super 8 had a room for $54 so we went over a little bit, but my AAA card saved us 10% so we gave it a shot. The rooms were clean enough, two double beds, a remote Frank had to program and hair dryer. We do keep a baggie with deo and powder for occasions like this so we weren't completely roughing it. The next morning when we got ready to shower, all we could do was laugh!

I am a little more than 5'5". The shower was barely 5 feet, if that much) from the base of the tub. The water pressure was null. I laughed the whole time I was squatting to wash my hair. It was just too funny.

Outside the hotel were these trees with enormous squash or gourds or something hanging from them. The trees also had little red berries on them. I think someone had taken a vine and thrown it over the tree because I have never seen a tree bear two kinds of fruit. If you know what these are, let me know.

We ate breakfast at Flapjacks and then decided to check out the Beneath the Smokies store. Frank loves this store because they have great big gigantic (his words) wind chimes. Today they were closed though so we decided to move on to Cherokee. I did get this beautiful shot of the fall trees just before we left Gatlinburg:

The ride to Cherokee was filled with scenes like that. As we got higher, 4826 feet higher, the leaves were gone but as we descended, the color started coming back and last night's torture circle was quickly forgotten.

I was eager to get to Cherokee in hopes of finding some of the tribe in full dress. As soon as we got there we saw two and they were getting ready to do some of their tribal dances. The lead guy was pretty funny. He told some corny jokes, "You know why I know we Indians are going to get into Heaven?" "Because we have reservations!" Haha, that was funny, corny, but funny. Both Indians were veterans of the United States Army and told us they would happily go wherever their country asked them to go to serve. So today, Veteran's Day, I salute them and all the other Veteran's in my life by saying, "Thank you for serving, thank you for my freedom."

The pictures that follow are of the Eagle Dance and the War Dance:

After Cherokee, we took Hwy 19 across the Soco Mountain, through Maggie Valley and Canton and made our way home. It was a very pleasant trip, after all.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

11:04 on 11/04

I am crying now.

I hope that everything that I have feared the most about this man becoming our president will be proven as paranoia.

I hope that I was wrong about him.

I didn't expect to cry.

From a civil rights stand point, this should be a great moment. Why can I not see the celebration in the moment?

With all the democrats who won tonight, there is no room left for excuses. I will give them a chance to make the changes they promise.

I hope that those promises do not come with too many compromises.

I trust that God is still in control.

But I'm still crying.

Zack's Eagle Scout Court of Honor

On Sunday evening, Zack was awarded the Eagle Scout during a ceremony held in his honor at Etowah United Methodist Church.

November Photo Hunt

Thank you to last month's contributors ... Tamara! And to Amanda and Mom and Dad, thanks for taking the pictures even if we didn't get them posted. Let's do better this month.

November Photo List:
1. Cold

Cold evening night in Cades Cove
2. Native American Corn (I changed this to a Corny Native American)

In Cherokee, this Indian Chief was just full of corny jokes!
3. A Gourd

Not sure what kind of gourd this is, but it was hanging in a tree at the Super 8 in Gatlinburg.
4. Friendship

My friend, Bob, giving his friend, Beth, a farewell hug
5. A Pie
6. A Turkey

Frank & Tiffany carving up the bird.
7. A Cornucopia
8. A Hot Drink
9. Comfort
10. A Weather Condition
11. A Thanksgiving Tradition

I am happy for this new tradition of taking a picture of all the grandchildren with Mom and Dad
12. Family

Angie's children & mine ... family
13. A Food You Dislike

Pumpkins - Pretty to look at, but yucky to eat!
14. An Item You're Thankful For

I am very thankful for our motorcycle!
15. A Nut In The Shell
16. Something Gold / Golden

Golden trees in Gatlinburg, TN
17. Something You See On Black Friday (Day After Thanksgiving)
18. Gratitude

Here, Zachary shows his gratitude by honoring his mentor
19. Dirty Dishes
Not taking a picture of this ... want no reminders!
20. A Squirrel or Other Animal That Lives In Your Area (no pets, cats or dogs)

In our Cades Cove backyard