Friday, January 19

Lucy 1, Eisenhower 0

So here's what I'm wondering about. On this day in 1953, 70% of homes with a TV watched Lucy Ricardo give birth to a son on I Love Lucy.

However, it was not until 2 years later on this day in 1955, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the first Presidential news conference filmed for TV.

Really?  We could watch mindless TV shows before we could watch the President?

Also, does anybody ever call him Dwight Eisenhower or is it always Dwight D. Eisenhower?  Because ... I'm thinking maybe I should incorporate my middle initial.

Also, imagine Dwight D Eisenhower's televised speech compared to our current President O'Biden's speeches where all he does is tumble and mumble. Sickening. I want to be filled with anger at everybody who voted for him. But then I remember my last post about having a good day everyday and realize I have to put the anger aside. Or as I said then, Let It Go.

So I'll do some deep breathing exercises, watch some I Love Lucy and let America fall apart.  Wouldn't Dwight D Eisenhower be shocked at today's America? Let it go, Dwight, Let It Go.

Wednesday, January 17

5 minutes or Less to Have a Good Day

I was today-years-old when I discovered the 5-minute stay-in-your-car oil change didn't literally mean 5 minutes.

It was a busy day. Over coffee and my GPS map, I planned my route and my stops to the minute. I put on fancy but comfortable clothes to give me a good attitude. Made me feel like I meant business. 

So when the 5 minute oil change in fact took nearly 55 minutes, I was bummed. (There were two cars in front of me so should have taken 15 minutes, I'll admit that.)

The stay in your car, stay in your car, stay in your car (!!) signs all over the place kept me in, but I'll tell you I desperately wanted to get out in my serious clothes and clip clop my heels over to give them a good reprimand and let them know I mean business today. 

Instead, I took a deep breath. Crossed a few things off my to do list and rerouted my map. 

What a refreshing feeling to Let It Go. To not get all upset and huffy puffy. What a way to live, to just go with the flow and cooperate with whatever crosses your path. And even to give a smile to the guy who messed up your plans, who lied to you with the 5-minute promise. 

Big smile, "Hi Mr. Liar-Liar-Pants-On-Fire, you can't ruin my day, you are powerless! Have a wonderful day you nasty, wasty skunk."

I shifted gears, slid my shades down and winked at him.  B-bye! 

I think I'll make it my New Year's resolution to just have a good day. Every day.

Thursday, August 10

First Trip to Costco

So I crossed Sugar Creek in what we call the Chariot, legs heavy on the footrest of my recliner, driven by the same driver I had for my birth week celebrations.

We crossed McMullen Creek and glided through Matthews, NC.

I would give you exact directions, but the way we went included two U-turns and took a little bit longer because I distracted the driver with my story about Benji and the long johns from The Bake Shoppe that were really short johns due to Bidenomics.

It must've been national handicap day because all of the handicap spots were taken. My driver was also driving my 80 something year old parents and handicap parking would've hit the spot. One handicap spot was taken by what appeared to be a 20 something year old guy in excellent health. We see this more and more - non-handicaps parking in the handicap spots.

My sister flashed her pass and we were granted entrance. We each grabbed a buggy and headed to the concession stand for lunch (our reason for coming here).

I had heard about their world famous quarter pound hot dog and knew I had to have one. One hot dog and one drink for a $1.50. Then I saw their giant slices of pizza and knew I had to have one. $1.99. She overcharged me for two drinks, but I didn't notice on account of all the chaos and buggies running into me. 

Take your own kraut. They have other condiments, no kraut. Everybody is right, the hot dogs are amazing.

While we were eating, our buggies were stolen.

My sister went outside to get new buggies. She left her membership card with us, inside at the table. When she attempted to re-enter the store with our buggies, she was stopped and told she could not enter without her card. She explained what happened and they did not trust her. She is a panicky sort and got very agitated being without both her cell phone and membership card She felt accosted and indicted, not helping her case at all. 

The officer, I mean clerk, said she would be willing to escort my sister inside Costco to retrieve her membership card. My sister arrived visibly shaken, produced her card and her escort left amid some colorful language.

We exited the concession area and moved slowly through the chaotic crowd to the front door where we could acquire some buggies, my sister having failed us.

I was not happy with the crowd. I wouldn't want to shop very often with people in my way, squeezing past me and pushing from behind. Costco is not the place for me  ChaosCo. 

The free samples, on the other hand, provided some attraction for me.

Be sure to take your 69-cent refillable drink along as you shop to wash down your samples.

Pictured here are my Hello Panda chocolate cookies and my Mama Chia blackberry snack. Both were excellent, definitely stop by those stations.

I did not sample the Zena Liquid Collagen beverage. But as I went past I heard another customer say "It's not terrible."

Be strategic with the free samples. We sent dad ahead as a scout. He would sample, then give us a discreet thumbs up or down.

Traffic came to a standstill at the Del Real tamales sample station on account of them being so good and too close to the pork samples. Dad gave a thumbs up, so I buckled down and headed in.

I got tied up at the tamale station and missed dad's hand signal for the veggie blueberry muffin station. Mom said the Veggie station made a great blueberry muffin so I recklessly grabbed both the blueberry muffin sample and the chocolate raspberry muffin sample without dad's signal. Bad move. They were both horrible. You can't disguise that carrot in the muffin! That sample station had the fullest trash can of all on account of all those hidden veggies.

Mom gave the Ruby Kirkland Popcorn a thumbs down so I sauntered on by with a polite nod to the senior citizen doling them out.

We separated a bit after those foul experiences, then I thought I saw dad across the warehouse, but it couldn't be him because this guy was wearing a different shirt, a nice crisp hoodie. I've never in my life seen my dad in a hoodie.

As I inched closer, I found it WAS dad. In a hoodie. He was trying on. In the store. In public.

I did an about face with furtive glances to the left and right and quickly went the other way which happened to take me by the Hello Panda samples again.

I had three items in my buggy which added up to a 46" x 62" circumference of boxed products that will last me 423 days alone or 66 days if my grandkids come over.

We were approaching checkout when suddenly we had a mishap on aisle 317 causing the clean-up man to come beeping down the aisle.

They should have one of those robot cleaners like the ones at the Walmarts. They don't even need a driver. Or snack breaks. They clean 24/7. But no,  ChaosCo still has the manned ones.

Anyway, it took 3 clerks and a five minute conversation for us to cash out. It was complicated on account of we had two members and three guests. I got the impression that ChaosCo does not like guests. In fact, I know they don't.

But that's okay, I don't really like them. Well, I like their hot dogs.

Thursday, April 20

R5N Soaring Contest

 "Al's Gliders" returned to a tiny town in SC this week for the Region 5 North contest of the Soaring Society of America. This is the most attended contest of the season. Pilots register well in advance. Al and Rhonda Tyler are magnificent hosts at the Perry International Airport. The town of Perry sits on 613 acres and has a population of 196. That population is probably doubled on the week of "Al's Gliders."

Learn about the sport in my previous post here.

Here are some shots I took of the landings on April 20, 2023.

Wednesday, October 26

Hickory Knob State Park in the Fall

So I crossed the South Edisto, headed upstate SC and crossed Rocky Creek while catching up with old friends on my smart phone. I gave a nod to the small but mighty Little Stephen's Creek, hung a left somewhere and found myself crossing Steven Creeks. I hung a really hard left and landed in McCormick South carolina, where everything is closed on Mondays. Just so you know. And it was Monday.

I took a pic of the orange spot and motored out the other side.

I crossed Hawe Creek where Baker Creek dumps into it and I watched the ripples flow to the charming Savannah River. I came perilously close to the Georgia line and pulled a hard right into Hickory Knob State Park which will eventually be underwater when the Savannah River completes its oxbow. As for now, there I was on a stubborn spit of land in the Savannah River.

My parents and sister soon arrived and we caught sundown before a fierce game of ping pong on this spit of land in the proud Savannah River.

Morning comes quickly on the Savannah and there we were looking for breakfast. The Hickory Knob State Park restaurant was closed until Thursday, as was nearly everything else, but they did not tell us that in advance, so we found ourselves at the Huddle House in nearby McCormick.

After having my usual and whatever the others got, we hightailed it out of there heading West Northwest towards Comer, Georgia, to Watson's Mill Bridge State Park. 

Because it was such a dry year, the waterfalls did not cover the expanse of the width of the bridge. So that was not as pretty as it could have been. But it was still beautiful and worth a trip

We walked the boardwalk and got a lot of pictures. One of which is my favorite from the whole trip:

Everywhere I travel, I like to find benches and sit on them and read. I certainly found my bench here:

We jumped in the car, crossed back into SC and headed to historic Abbeville, where almost everything was closed on Tuesdays. We did find a hot dog joint with the best hot dogs ever, RoughHouse.

We then headed back to Hickory Knob where we sat on the patio overlooking the Savannah River and I crocheted while the rest read and we all talked and got caught up together. 

When the time came upon us, we headed back to McCormick for dinner. Everything was still closed and apparently don't open till Thursdays.

We ended up at the same restaurant we went to Monday night because it was the only one open, Michelle's.

Don't let the outside of this place fool you. They serve amazing Italian food. On the first night, I had a New York style pizza and tasted my sister's calzone. On the second night, I had the calzone and part of my sister's meatball sub.  We all agreed it was pretty much better than any place we ever tasted. 

With our bellies full, we returned to Hickory Knob to play some pool before going back to our room. 

On our final morning, everything was still closed so we found some pre-wrapped sausage biscuits in the golf pro shop, microwaved those suckers and downed them.

Said b'bye to the beautiful deer population at the park and went our separate ways.

We had a very relaxing time and enjoyed being together without interruptions.

If you go to Hickory Knob, I just recommend you go on the weekends in the fall. In the summer it is probably great any day.

Hickory Knob has a ping pong table and a pool table, an outdoor fire pit, cornhole and some other games and a swimming pool. They also have kayaks to rent and an area for skeet shooting and of course they are most famous for their golf course.  They have three hiking trails.

Thursday, October 20

Prompt: in a world that often seemed chaotic

In a world that often seemed chaotic, she found her solace in watching the neighbor slowly, painfully, retrieve his newspaper each morning just as the sun crests the Sycamore tree. Outgoing, he moves precisely, with great concentration and stiff limbs. Each step a culmination of 83 years of stepping. Step, thump, scrape. With the return trip, he is  limber and loose, always producing a wave and a smile, eager with anticipation.

Friday, October 7

Everlasting Life

Jesus said to her,
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. 
Do you believe this?” 

Tuesday, July 19

Island Time Crochet Afghan

So.... I guess I haven't been keeping up with my new year's resolution to blog every day. Life is too short for that.  But I'm here now.  For a minute.

I've started a new crochet blanket that I wanted to share.  It's gorgeous.  It's called Island Time and is a pattern by Mallory Krall. You can purchase the pattern on NautiKrall or Ravelry. Wouldn't this be great in a beach house?

I've been crocheting for about four years now. You can tell by my seams that I'm not an expert yet.  I really need to learn to do better seams. Some of my afghans are for sale and some I have gifted. My artsy side met up with my hippie side and resulted in a love for crochet... and less time for blogging. 

What do you love doing right now?

Tuesday, June 14

Grandfather Mountain Camping Trip


           Grandfather Mountain in profile.

So we crossed the Tyger River once again and headed upstate, crossed the NC border and flew through Linville Falls to arrive in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain just before bedtime. We had three tent sites and one cabin reserved at our beloved Grandfather Campground. My son brought his golf cart and upon arrival, I was greeted with the grandkids piled on the golf cart, riding precariously through the campground yelling "POOKIE!"  I arrived.

How ironic my cabin was on Granny Branch Drive. Charlie commenced to calling me Granny instead of Pookie. I've always been a tent camper.  Until my fifties. My hips... back... and shoulders all require extra padding from the ground now, so it's either an air mattress or a cabin for me.  Don't judge.

Grandfather Campground is well-kept and clean.  They have a small playground, a wonderful creek, a trout pond and a gem mining facility for the kids. They are close to many area attractions - Boone, Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, and Linville Caverns to name a few.

You can always find a big rock next to a creek on which to picnic.

On Day One, we headed to Grandfather Mountain. The entry price is steep, I'm not sure it's worth it. They enjoyed the mile high bridge.  Used to be the "swinging bridge," but it's been rebuilt and doesn't swing anymore. 

Across the bridge, you can hike a little and enjoy the rock croppings. There are several hikes within the park. There's a lame zoo type thing the kids might like and plenty of picnic areas. 

Back at the campground, the kids enjoyed trout fishing and gem mining. Also, cornhole and horseshoes. I enjoyed the campfire.

On day two, we headed to Linville.  The kids went to Linville Caverns while I went to one of my favorite places in the southeast:  Wiseman's View.  The kids were highly disappointed with the caverns. First, you had to wear a mask - in June of 2022.  A covid mask. The three year old wouldn't keep hers on and they were kicked out of the caverns tour because of it. The others who finished the tour said the tour guide was horrible and rushed them through it.

As for Wiseman's View..... it did not disappoint. The drive up is not for regular vehicles. It's literally a 20 minute drive up a dirt road with huge potholes and divets. A car or van or SUV CAN make the drive, but you will probably need an adjustment afterwards. My Jeep did amazingly well.  I was bounced around a LOT.

Upon arrival at Wiseman's View, I had a five minute jaunt down a paved trail to the lookout. The view is spectacular.  You HAVE to go at sunrise though to really see the beauty.  I've gone at sunrise plenty of times and it is creepy to walk that five minute jaunt in the woods alone.  But so worth it.

Linville Gorge

The view across the gorge at Table Rock.

After my view, I headed to the caverns parking lot to meet up with the kids for a picnic lunch. Then Patti, the kids and I hiked up to the Upper Falls of Linville Falls.  I tried to remember how to get to the swimming hole we found years previously, but I couldn't find it.

We cooled our feet in the pond under the falls. Such a relaxing break.

The Upper Falls are just a short hike from the parking lot. It is hilly and a little more strenuous than a "moderate" hike. If you feel like hiking more, you can proceed up the trail to the chimney, a much more strenuous hike, where you get a view of both the Upper and Lower Falls.

We then went back to the campground for more gem mining.

I slept in the tent that night with NO air mattress. Just like the old days when I was young and spry. I was awakened at 7 am (late for me) by Benji's pounding on rocks to break them open and find gems.

I strongly recommend this campground and activities. If you can afford Grandfather Mountain, then go for it.  If it's a strain, then skip it.  Blowing Rock is a good alternative and the town has an excellent playground for the kids. Also, somewhere along the Watauga River, there is a great jumping-off point we enjoyed one year.  Not sure how to locate it now or if it's still there. You can see it near the end of the video in this blogpost.

Enjoy!  Keep an eye out for Hillbilly Sam, NC's oldest Hillbilly.

Tuesday, February 15

Juliette, Georgia

So 2 friends and I crossed the South Edisto, and the Savannah rivers, passed mistletoe park with no one to kiss, crossed Oconee Lake and found ourselves gliding through the shady Oconee National Forest.

After crossing Standard Creek, we hung a sharp left and crossed the Tomaliga river, coming to a slow crawl on McCrackin Street in Juliette, Georgia.

Home of Whistlestop Cafe. The place where the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed. A shrine. And we were giddy. 

As we waited for the restaurant to open, we gazed at the Ocmulgee river and the railroad tracks where Buddy lost his arm.

We walked around back to see Smokey's little bungalow and we caught the waitresses having a break on the back patio. We had one foot in 1991 and one foot in 2022. It was hard to toggle back and forth.

I think I prefer the '90s.... But anyway....

Our name was called and we entered the restaurant, taking photos of the famous booths. Of course we started with the fried green tomatoes which were incredible. We avoided the barbecue because we know the "secret's in the sauce" and we know what that secret is.

We all three got the country fried steak which was also incredible. We got different side dishes and some cornbread. Everything was fantastic and it was worth the 3-hour drive just to eat at this restaurant.

In movie terms, I am Idgie and I was trying to figure out which of my two friends would be Ruth and neither one really fit the bill. Either one could have been Evelyn scaring the young people in the parking lot.

After lunch we strolled the street and visited the gift shops. We found where Buddy's arm was buried and then we drove to the church where Ruth and Buddy were buried and their tombstones remain. We were quite surprised to see that fictional characters have a tombstone in a real grave with the beloved remains of real people. That tells you how loved this movie is.

We spent about two and a half hours in Juliette and loved every minute of it. We had a 3-hour drive each way and it was worth it.  My advice is that you watch the movie, go to Juliette, and then watch the movie again.  And definitely try the fried green tomatoes.

Saturday, January 29

Racing in my Genes

I took three year old Becca to the zoo yesterday and as we were driving down I-20 she expressed this observation:  "Pookie, your jeep goes FAST!" I smiled because really it doesn't. It's a 2-door soft-top Jeep Wrangler that shakes, rattles and pops and has little to no credible acceleration.  But OK, a three year old is impressed. I straightened my back a little, held my head up proudly.

Fifteen minutes later, Becca excitedly, confidently inquires, "Did we win yet, Pookie?!"

I smiled again because that's my girl! That's right, baby, we're in a tough vehicle, riding rough, going fast and we will win, suckers.

I don't really think I'm competitive, am I? I'm pretty cautious, kind of mellow.

Except for that time with the Busbees..... OK, so I was pretty riled up there.

And of course I get obsessed with the Dakar Rally every year.

And well, I worked for a place called The Race Shop.

Errr, I write an awful lot about Enduros.

Argh, I even love glider racing.

So maybe I do like racing.

But I'm not competitive.


Sunday, January 23

Dakar 2022 Sketches

I was again obsessed with the Dakar Rally during the first two weeks of January. I usually just watch the bikes, but this year I was also interested in the Light Prototype because I was following "Tomb RaiderAnnie Seel and Annett Fischer.  They came in #1 in all women team and #15 overall. Anyway, here are my sketches from this year.

Seel and Fischer's Ride
soft pastel:

Annett Fischer, beginning, day one

Toby Price, end of day full of trouble
water soluble graphite:

Manuel Andjubar
water soluble graphite with watercolor:

Adrien Vanbeveren, end of good day
soft pastel:

That's it!

Dakar 2021 Sketches