Thursday, October 22, 2009
A discussion among my study group last night about marriages and how they should be and what makes a happy marriage left me so broken. The words, "I look around and I see these unhappy people. Why don't they just get out?" echoes and rattles around in my head.
Getting out is where I'm headed. Getting there is wearing me down. I cry all the time now. I can't seem to organize anything and my focus is never where it should be.
A friend asks me all the time if I'm okay. I lie and tell them I am but inside I'm dieing and I know I'm not okay but because I don't feel that I should burden them with my problems, I say I'm fine. I'm sure if they could actually see me when they ask they would know I'm not okay but if I keep them at a distance I can keep them from seeing.
I never even made it home last night and the fighting started. We stayed late at study session because we got to discussing marriages and personal life and when I called to say I was heading home the accusations started. Earlier, when I left Applebee's from having dinner I was questioned why I was still there and just leaving. I can not live inside those conditions. When the trust is gone, so is the marriage. I lived for 12 years and never accused him of having anything and it would have been so easy for him because he was everywhere.
Little things over time have made a mountain. A mountain that has grown and divided us. At one time, I would have climbed the mountain. Now, I look at it, walk away, then look back for any signs. All I can see is hurt and I push farther on. The forest is looming before me and I cringe at the unknown. Somewhere in the midst of all those trees lies a meadow. If I can just reach it, I will feel it envelope me and then and only then will I be able to rest and finally feel at home.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I am at a place in my life, currently, that a correction stands before me. Do I try to correct what is wrong or do I continue to plod on down the course that I had previously chosen. I wish that the "right-or-wrong" was more black and white than what it appears. More lives and more feelings than just my own will be hurt.
I want to be me. Me, who is she? Well, I used to know. A friend told me the other night, "Gina, that's not like you." Gosh, what do you say to that? I used to be strong, confident and full of life. Now...not so much. EXCEPT, when I am in class. When I hit the campus, I am the girl I used to be. I had a teacher tell me the other night, "You are gonna make one hell of a nurse. You're confident in your answers and you work on the problem until you figure it out. You just have that confidence about you." That was a great compliment.
The last week has been one of inner turmoil. I've recaptured a part of me that was gone. I can only compare how I'm feeling to watch a flower blooming. Ever so slowly, I'm opening back up. There is sunshine in my life again, if only for a moment. A piece that seems to be the one I've been missing is peaking out. Maybe, just maybe, I will be complete...someday.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
in love at first sight.
that love is worth climbing out on a limb for.
that true love never ends.
that God give us second chances to change the mistake we made the first time.
that true friends are like the seasons, they may go away for awhile but they always come back when its time.
I also got a horoscope yesterday. (No, I do not believe in these things but it was extremely uncanny that it came when so much is going on in my life and it parallelled it.) So sometime around 3 or 4 this morning I woke up and started thinking about the last part which read, "what truly matters to you in love." So here I go.
someone that loves me unconditionally.
someone that when I'm watching a "sappy, chick flick" will put his arm around me and let me cry on his shoulder.
someone that will slow dance with me in the kitchen.
someone that doesn't tell me to shutup when I sing with the radio.
someone to walk with in the evening and listen to the whippoorwills, crickets and frogs.
someone that picks a bouquet of wildflowers, "just because".
someone that can't sleep in the middle of the night because they realize I'm not beside them.
someone that takes the time to come see me when I have to stay in hospital for three days and doesn't call for a 25 minute conversation because they are working in Branson and it's too far to drive.
someone to cook with me and occassionally for me.
someone that knows me inside and out.
someone that doesn't have to have the tv on the minute he hits the door or wakes up and that pays more attention to what I have to say than to it.
someone that believes long, deep kisses are for more times than just when you're in the mood.
someone that shoulders as much responsibility as me.
someone that says, "I'm sorry" when he's wrong.
someone that doesn't always have to be right and doesn't go out of his way to prove me wrong, even if I am.
someone to take care of me on the rare occassion that I get sick.
someone to make me feel safe.
someone that believes in give and take.
someone that doesn't feel the need to guilt you into a decision.
someone that makes me laugh.
someone that doesn't pretend to be something they are not.
These are the things that I would look for. They are mostly little, sentimental things but the little things,those silly, trivial, little things, fill in the voids the big pieces can't cover. I'm sure to some these may seem stupid and trivial but this is what I think. These are my things and yours may be different, but that is when you need to know if your things and their things make a whole instead of just a bunch of pieces. I have came to realize that if your pieces don't fit, then you're just like an uncompleted jigsaw puzzle. You may have some pieces that join but in the end you still don't go together and become complete.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I have been in such a turmoil for two days. My heart feels broken; shattered in a million pieces. My brain has been collectively going through files and digging pieces of this and that out constantly until my head feels like it has swelled and is on the point of explosion. And my eyes, so many tears have fell in two days time that they feel like sandpaper. I'm not sure I could muster a smidgeon of fluid from them if I had to.
"What-could-have-been" is four words that I'm not sure I will ever hear and be able to get past again. "I wish you would have." will echo in the hollow corners of my brain for days and months. I know that, eventually, the conversation that I shared with a friend will fade but I also know that in my heart he will always be one of the most special people that I have ever known.
One reaction from me could have changed my whole life path but better communication between the two of us could have changed both of ours. Now, as I sit here writing, I realize how important it is that you should share your feelings about someone with them instead of keeping them to yourself. Yeah, you may get hurt but knowing now what I know, I wish I would have taken that chance. To borrow a quote from a friends Facebook page, "True love doesn't have a happy ending because true love never ends."
God has a plan for each of us. He brings people into our lives and he takes them away. I am fortunate to be surrounded by people that will support me even when I have so many negative people that don't and I am fortunate that he brought a true friend back into my life again.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I ran across that person the other day on the internet. I made a few comments on their page and they did the same in return. All the while, I wondered, "Do they remember me?" I got my answer. They do. Now, do I say, "I'm sorry." Do I try to apologize for something that maybe they don't remember and they will think I'm crazy for even worrying about? Or, do I clear my conscience and let this person know what they really meant to me and how ashamed I am for not being the friend that they needed? Should I link my blog and hope that when they read this, they will know I'm talking about them?
I could use some help or reasoning if anyone wants to share.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Then, I got up Friday, got a haircut, came home and finally decided I should start packing. Nothing like waiting to the last minute, but that's me when it comes to these kind of things. I find I'm usually more on top of it when I wait and I don't leave anything behind. As I was packing, Steve and Dave dropped by and brought me a fish sandwich from the Louisburg Picnic.
I found the fish sandwiches this year were not nearly as good as previous years. Probably because the original "secret" recipe has long since passed with the elders of the community down there. On the sandwich I received, the fish didn't even cover the bun that it was on. It was disappointing but I had bigger fish to fry in finishing packing.
Steve surprised me coming home a few hours later. He decided we would leave earlier than his anticipated time of 5:30 or 6:00. This worked out very well as we had to run by Sam's Club and Bass Pro on the way through Springfield and we still made it out of Springfield before 6:00. We had a really good time travelling out to New Mexico. Steve sung and entertained us most of the way across Oklahoma that night. We were all pretty lighthearted and ready for the week ahead. We stopped in Woodward, Oklahoma that night. The motel was not necessarily the cleanest but it gave us a place to lay our heads for much needed sleep at 2:00 in the morning. We got up around 6 the next morning and continued on. We stopped in Guymon, Oklahoma for breakfast a Braum's. I must say it was the worst Braum's we had EVER been in. The floor was disgusting and you had to watch as you walked because it was so slippery that you felt like you were on ice. The food wasn't the greatest either but it filled our bellies and we were off once more.
As we entered New Mexico, nothing really changed much for a few miles. Then as we started our ascent after going through Clayton we could see the tops of the mountains. Antelope were plentiful along our last hour of driving. As we entered Raton, the Sangre de Cristo mountain range loomed in the background. Our Microtel was easily accessible but not available to check into when we first arrived. We met up with the Johnson family for lunch at Arby's which was about the same as the Braum's in Guymon. Also the prices were totally outrageous. It was eight dollars for a combo meal!!!
We went for a drive that afternoon, after stopping at the Visitor's Center. We found the Whittington Center. When the Cook family arrived we took another drive up Hwy 555 to find an abundant herd of elk and numerous mule deer.
Sunday, we practiced and sighted in the guns. Due to the elevation change and the air being thinner the ammunition flies much different than with the thicker air here in the Ozarks.
Sunday night, as the Junior team had gathered in the Coach's room to go over what they could shoot and their limits for the Safety trail we received word that one of the team members lost his Grandpa. The mood changed tremendously as we waited for more information and what was going to happen. Austin decided to stay and compete as long as they could leave and get home in time for the funeral. His dad flew out the next day after opening ceremonies.
The rest of the week was spent scurrying here and there trying to get all eight events done in time for Austin to leave. Each afternoon we became accustomed to a torrential downpour that lasted 30 minutes to an hour. We had hail on Wednesday and didn't get to finish up like we had planned so were on the range early on Thursday. The boys had to finish up orienteering and then do shotgun. We got Austin and his mom on the road before noon, though.
We road tripped up Trinidad, Colorado that afternoon and got our Colorado Small Game Permits for Saturday's prairie dog hunt.
We got back and Terri, Marilyn and I went to the laundry mat to do some laundry. I had packed enough that I really wouldn't have had to do laundry but the Junior and Senior teams wanted to match for closing ceremonies.
The boys done a fantastic job for being a rookie team and with one team member that had a lot of other things on his mind. James-Michael, as an individual won first place in rifle. James-Michael and Tanner, as individuals took first and second place in orienteering and as a team the Junior Division boys won first place in orienteering. I was a VERY proud mom!
This past week I have played a LOT on Facebook and not got a whole lot done. I did reunite with an old friend. A friend that while they were there I didn't realize what I had until it was too late.
I went to Welcome Day yesterday at OTC. I picked up my books and saw the bright, smiling faces of the new incoming freshmen. I listened to a mom and daughter fight over a cell phone as I stood in line waiting for my books. I smiled inwardly. Lots of parents were there with their children.
I remembered that this is a big step for them. One that I didn't make until January of this year and I'm just a wee bit too old to have someone hold my hand BUT it sure would be nice at times.
So here we go....Fall semester has arrived and I am 10 credits from being a sophomore!!!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
(l-r bottom row, Seiler Johnson, Tanner Johnson, James-Michael Cook, Colton Rader, Reed Wiser and Austin Witt l-r back row, Jr. Coach Tim Johnson, Ryan Jones, Matthew Brooks, Tyler Brigance, Robert Jones and Sr. Coach Gary Brigance)
Are you ready for the Challenge?
By Regina Slack-Rader
Each year over 16,000,000 men and women purchase a hunting license. In 1949, New York was the first state to pass a law requiring hunter safety training. Today, hunter's education is required in all fifty states and provinces. Each year, the states and provinces put on the Youth Hunter Education Challenge for the graduates of the hunter safety program to provide a greater knowledge of what was learned in the classroom and a to provide a more enhanced hands-on skills competition.
In Missouri, the YHEC contest is held in June at the United Sportsman's Club in Jefferson City. Participants range in age from eleven through eighteen years of age and compete individually and as teams. Everyone competes in eight disciplines.
They must shoot a .22 caliber rim fire hunting rifle at silhouettes, a repeating shotgun at sporting clays, a traditional type muzzleloader at swingers and a hunting type bow on a 3-D course.
Contestants also must be able to do an orienteering course which includes direction and distance finding, estimation of distance, map reading, plotting a course, interpreting a map and other general knowledge of maps and symbols.
Each participant must also walk a hunter safety trail. On this trail they will cross obstacles or be presented with a shoot/don't shoot situation. This competition presents the participants with many ethical, legal and safety situations.
Wildlife identification is another important part of this challenge. Contestants are asked to identify wildlife from fur, feather, skull, track, mounts, antler, horn, scat or other signs that wild animals may leave in an outdoors environment.
The final and most crucial component of the competition is the 50 question written test. This test includes questions from the Missouri Hunter Education Student Manual, the Missouri Wildlife Code Book and the Summary Code booklet.
A senior and a junior team from the Fair Grove area competed in the state competition on June 12-14th. In the senior division, The Missouri Sharp Shooters, led by Gary Brigance, consisted of Matthew Brooks (Fair Grove), Tyler Brigance (Fair Grove), Ryan Jones (Fair Grove), Robert Jones (Fair Grove) and Derek Wilson (Jefferson City) placed second with only 99 points separating them from the first place team. In the junior division, The Missouri Tack Drivers, led by Tim Johnson, consisted of Tanner Johnson (Fair Grove), James-Michael Cook (Fair Grove), Colton Rader (Buffalo), Austin Witt (Bois'd Arc), and Reed Wiser (Jefferson City) took top honors as the first place team. Tanner Johnson also won the Junior Division Overall Champion and James-Michael Cook won the award for having the Highest Combined Responsibility Events score. Seiler Johnson from Fair Grove competed as an individual at the competition also.
These area youth will be advancing to the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Raton, New Mexico. This event takes place July 27th through July 31st .
If you would like to learn more about the Youth Hunter Education Challenge competition you can find this information on the web at http://www.moyhec.com/ , contact a Missouri Department of Conservation Outdoor Education Center near you, or a local hunter education instructor.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
With summer courses winding down, I am definitely ready for a breather. Actually, I'm just ready to get this International YHEC shoot over with and for life to regain some sort of semblence.
I was informed by my Nutrition teacher yesterday that I have the absolute worst diet he has ever seen. My diet has taken a backseat in the last 30 days. With school Monday through Thursday followed by practice every evening until at least 10pm, I have had no time to cook for myself or anyone else for that matter. The past two weeks have been spent trying to collect donations to help with registration and travel expenses. We are still short of our goal by about $500. I have this week and next left and very few places left on my list to go see. This has taken all my spare time. I haven't even got to study like I like to for my two classes. I'm making a B in Nutrition and I'm not happy with that. I like two points having an A and I know that with some effort I can make a last ditch effort and pull it out.
Today, I took Colton to school with me. Actually, Colton will be accompanying me for the final weeks of classes. He developed an attitude with his coach and he also sluffed a test off that he should have known by heart and I'm not happy with him. He gets to set in class or in the hallway and look up ALL the answers to the questions.
After class, we went back to Fair Grove and picked up James-Micheal and Tanner then came back to Springfield to shoot archery at Archery Quest. I am half tempted to take my bow and just go shoot by myself for a stress reliever. I have a new bow that I haven't shot more than a handful of times.
The boys wanted to go eat but I took them all back to Fair Grove. I didn't know if I wanted to feed three teenage boys. I figured they may have used all the spare cash that I had on me, though the temptation of Mexican Villa was definitely a strong one.
Off to do the laundry, some Chemistry and a Nutrition paper that I can't put off any longer.
I shall return to the blog world in a few weeks on a more frequent basis. I do enjoy reading everybodies posts in the wee hours of morning or late at night. Thank you Kristie for the beautiful YouTube video of the Baptism on Sunday. I miss all of you and Steve has said that after this shoot is over we will be coming back. I think that will help add some order in our lives.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Colton used to have a hamster named Lil Bitty when he was about four. She wasn't named that because she was teeny tiny. She was named that because she was just that... a bitty.
Bitty had the same routine. Every night she would get up, go to her litter box (yes, she was potty trained), roam around inside her cage until we noticed her; then, I'd put her in her ball where she traveled aimlessly for an hour around the house. She would then bite me or at least try, as I put her back in her freshly cleaned home and she would eat, then go to sleep.
My life is a lot like Bitty's was. I get up, go to the bathroom, travel aimlessly for about an hour (drive to Springfield), then eat and go to bed. The only thing is, I have no one to clean my house. I have to do it. Lately, I haven't had time and this morning I'm just feeling was overwhelmed.
Steve left mad at me. Evidently, I'm a negative person. I'm also a smartass. He's fed up with all of it!!! I started to text him after he left and ask if that made me a negative smartass but I let it go.
Colton is sick. Heaven help any woman that ever marries this child. He is the most humongous baby when he is sick. I have to take his temperature at least every 15 minutes. And when he says the word, Mom. He sounds just like a baby calf. I have told him that at least 100 times in the last day. I keep asking where the baby calf I hear bellaring is.
On top of this, he is missing practice today. I figure I have a few families totally whizzed at me over that. Too bad.
Dad started cutting hay this morning. We're all hoping that we don't have any pop up showers. Colton is worried he won't be able to rake on Monday.
I'm beginning to think I should have taken the summer off.
Paden broke Mom's toe last week, on top of everything else. Broke it clean in half. He's such a little brute.
Somedays, I just feel like I'm only around for laundry, cleaning and cooking. Today is one of those. I think I know how the house slaves used to feel. I told Colton, I should just get a real good tan and an apron and he could ring a bell and could start answering all of them, "Yes, Master". Or maybe in Paden's case, "Yes, your Royal Highness".
Steve doesn't help. He sits around and watches television. Gripes about the house being a wreck. Gripes if I miss a couple questions on a test. Gripes if there isn't any money in the checking account.
Somehow, he has developed this thing that I shop all the time. I do seem to shop a lot lately. The thing is, I don't enjoy anything I have been shopping for. I guess maybe I should start shooting that muzzle loader, rifle, and shotgun. I guess I should be the one going to Colorado Elk hunting this fall. I guess I should be the one getting all the new hunting crap.
I'm ready to be through with school. I want to start having a paycheck where I can buy my own truck. One that I actually want. If I want to spend money on something, it'll be my money and I won't feel bad for spending it on me.
Me, well, I'll quit whining now. I have a load of laundry to fold and I think I may have built up a few tears that need to be shed.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I have a couple friends that follow my blog that I sincerely wish would join us for Blue Plate Monday. I know that one in particular could produce recipes for some wonderful homecooking for the hectic lifestyle. By hectic I mean, farmers. Dairy farmers, to be precise. There are four lady dairy farmers from here in Buffalo. They are some wonderful, talented ladies and I am so honored to have them in my life, though I don't get to spend as much time as I would like visiting with them. I very much respect each of these wonderful ladies. Each has something that they are very good at and together they make the most awesome team and family.
Now, onto the story of my recipe...
I can remember my grandma making this every summer. In July we always had the Wing Family reunion that we went to, which was my Grandma's mothers side of the family. This salad was a popular dish and she would make up a super large bunch of it because she would never have leftovers and we liked it at home too.
Today, her sister makes this dish a lot and takes it to many church dinners and also to what is left of the Wing family reunion.
I was craving this salad this weekend. I barbequed for the boys on Saturday and made Grandma's Potato Salad, Vegetable Salad, Corn, and Baked Beans. We had fresh leaf lettuce and radishes from the garden to round out our meal. Yes, I know that sounds like tons of salads but it is the time of year that I keep a couple made up in the fridge. This always makes dinner so much easier if you are in rush too because you only have to worry about the meat to go with it.
I'm sorry that I can't post a picture of my salad. I still haven't picked up that camera battery. My Wal-Mart doesn't carry it and I forgot to stop in Springfield. I also refuse to buy another one at Radio Shack if it's not going to last longer than a couple weeks and a handful of uses.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Well, I was asked why I have Miley on my blog and the answer is this. It's not that I particularly care for her. It's the song itself. I couldn't stand it when I first heard it. Then I listened to the lyrics the next time I heard it. I'm not sure that it fits her to sing it, I think it should be an slightly older singer singing it but the lyrics are what I love. It really hit home and I have made it my theme song.
I fight that stupid voice inside my head telling me that I can't make it all the time and I just keep my head high and keep trudging on. My life most days feels like an uphill battle but I keep climbing and that's why this song is on here.
Hope that clarifies everything for the person that asked.
I look around and I have two, yes two room left to clean. Colton is on his own at this point but Paden and the living room definitely have got to have help. Colton sprung two laundry baskets of laundry from his room on me. Where did all that come from? I have done laundry almost daily for the last two weeks. Not over the top, throw the baby in the washing machine to stomp it down so you can get more in, laundry. Just regular loads. You know, daily towels from showers for one adult, one pre-teen, and one little person. And the little person tries to never wear anything but underwear so he usually don't dirty too much. He does like to change underwear almost everytime he goes but he's getting better. I let him do it. At least he has clean undies.
My kitchen is pretty sparkly and even after cooking a few meals I have kept it clean. I'm amazed!
I've decided to read two chapters in each of my two classes that I am taking this summer. I think that would be reasonable. I've never had summer courses so I don't know how many chapters we will actually cover during a class period but I'm sure I'm going to learn tomorrow.
Colton is at YHEC practice. He was going to practice two disciplines today. When I talked to Steve he was working on his compass and orienteering. He's pretty handy at it and if I was lost in the woods, I'd trust him to get us home with his compass.
We have approximately two weeks until his State YHEC contest. We practice two times a week with the group.
I have been farming today on FarmTown on Facebook. I got to upgrade my farm. This is my second upgrade in the last two days. I am hoping to upgrade again in two more days.
I have gotten back into contact with so many high school friends since joining Facebook but in the last two weeks I have really gotten to find a whole bunch and my friends list has more than doubled.
Well, I better go and clean my two rooms, so I can read my two chapters in each of my two books before my two wayward fellows return home.
Everybody check in tomorrow and see what I've cooked up for Blue Plate Monday with Kelly at (un)Deniably Domestic. I won't be creative with pictures because I am minus a camera battery. Mine went kaput. It's on my list of things I need to pick up at the store for Thursday.
See ya tomorrow!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I started cleaning last week and so far I've only made it through two rooms. My kitchen is looking mighty Spic n Span. (pun) My bathroom is clean and tidy and so many things that needed tossed in medicine cabinets and makeup drawers are now gone. I found a new cleaning solution by Mr. Clean that I absolutely love and as soon as I get my camera battery tomorrow I will put a picture on here.
Paden's mess has been moved into the hallway and into the living room. Well, I should say most of it. I really thought I would get his room finished and I have got to by Sunday night. Somewhere between shooting practice on Saturday and shooting practice on Sunday I have to get that done.
Bandit is making himself right at home and has fit in with Shadow, Hank & Frank quite nicely. I take that back. He has fit in well with everyone but Hank. Hank, he's kind of an outlaw. He really doesn't like anybody. Yes, I have four dogs during the day. Mom or Dad will bring the Bassetts over and put them in my yard during the day because the lober heads are like any other Bassett and have a mind of their own and don't listen, so they get to spend the day in my yard cause it's bigger than their pen.
My desk needs a thorough cleaning. I have piles here. Piles there. I have acquired things that I'm really not sure where they came from. I'm keeping all my notebooks from my first semester. Two of the classes I take this fall build on two of the classes I took this spring and I figure I might refer back to these notes.
I have discovered Facebook. I have had such a joyous time hooking back up with my high school classmates. Most of us still live around here but we never run into each other. I have became a FarmTown addict on Facebook, too. My brain is going to turn to mush if I play it much more.
Steve is out of town until sometime Sunday, most likely late Sunday evening.
Now, the news is talking about hugging being a problem in schools. What is the deal? Why can people not hug? This is stupid. Do we not, as a nation, have other things to focus our attentions on? Is hugging so wrong? Why don't the schools focus their attention on providing an above average education to the students and not worry about who's hugging who in the hallway? Is the issue at hand, someones going to feel they are not getting the appropriate amount of hugs?
Tomorrow, I have seven stops to make in Springfield. I'm going to work on whittling those all down. I have five I must make. The bike shop and going by Cox may have to wait. That's all on the south side of Springfield and otherwise I just need center city or eastern Springfield.
I also need to read at least a couple chapters in each of my classes so that I will be prepared for Monday. I may do that later tonight. I watched Marley and Me last night. It wasn't as good as the book, but what movie is? I started crying about 30 minutes before the dog ever died because I knew what was coming. I went to bed all red, puffy eyed, and sniffling. I woke up with a stopped up nose because of it but it went away soon after waking up.
I need to help find six more people to make up a Hunter's Ed class for this weekend. Anybody that's interested let me know. Remember your child must be 11 years old. It will be in Fair Grove if we can find enough people.
Now, that wraps up my hectic life. How is everybody in blog land?
Monday, May 25, 2009
1) You brown the hamburger and onions. And you fix the potatoes, at the same time in another pan.
2) Then, I greased a 9 x 13, casserole dish. I put the ground beef and onion mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish.
3) Then, I layered the canned vegetables.
Friday, May 22, 2009
So, I followed the blogs, and I ended up in Texas. It's amazing the people that you can meet here. It's even more amazing the talent that these people have. I've checked my blog daily to see what new, exciting things everybody was doing. I haven't took the time to post but I do stop by.
This morning, I woke up in a mood. Not a real good mood, mind you. I made some decisions this morning. I will blog more, I will comment more, I will make time for the little things more, I will keep my house clean. Okay, so maybe the last one might not happen. I keep thinking, in two years, I can hire a maid. (lol) Probably not, but in two years hopefully (everybody cross their finger) I will be living in something that has a foundation under it and is a lot larger and maybe, just maybe it will be in the great state of Texas.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Me? Well, I'm sitting here typing. My stomach is sort of tied in knots. Today's my first two finals. I have never had a final before in my life. I'm kind of scared and really anxious. I'm waiting patiently to hear from the Junior High English teacher from Buffalo to see if she liked my English final. I already have it printed out and loaded in my notebook. My desk is askew with textbooks. Textbooks that won't be making the journey with me today. That seems odd. I'm not packing my backpack today either, which will seem even more odd. All that is making the trip today is me, my calculator and a couple of pencils and a pen. Oh yeah, and my English Final. Ms. A might give me a look if I was to forget it.
See ya in the funny papers!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So, I have "A's" across the board. These little houselike letters were not easy to come by. Like building a house, these little fellows are a lot of work, sweat and a few tears. And now that this first semester is almost complete, it's like I'm standing back and looking at the foundation that has just been completed.
I was never a straight "A" student in school but I never applied myself like I do now. I have three finals left and the semester is done. In a way, it's kind of bittersweet. I'm not that scared, woman walking into the unknown now. I'm more confident. I know that I can acheive straight A's and I also know that even if I butcher one test along the way it isn't the end of the world. I also know that you study everything, not just what you went over in class.
This summer semester is going to be some framework. I have a chemistry class and a nutrition class. Yes, I know I'm crazy for putting a chemistry class on my summer schedule. I know that I need to get from point A to point B, as quick as possible, but I also know that if you cut corners your house will fall down.
I have also made the decision to stay at OTC for my ASN in Nursing. I went to St. John's and met with them and even though I would like to go over there, I don't particularly care for the late night classes. Something about starting class at 7am for clinicals and ending at 10:30pm in a lecture setting gives me chills. I would never make it home!! I'd have to nap in the parking lot!
I had mapped a pathway when I started OTC, now I'm moving the brush and finding there's a road hidden where I thought there was only a path. It's two years to an ASN, it doesn't matter which way I go. I'm going the path I started down to begin with. Then, I'll cross the BSN bridge when I get there. (There's a pun there, by the way.)
I've climbed my first hill, I got started. Now, I'm sure there will be some more peaks and valleys along the way but the boys got me new boots for Mother's Day and I've got lots of tread and traction. Bring it on life. Here I come!!!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Introducing Miracle Baby #2... Aubree Marie Carter
Ms. Aubree arrived today @ 2:44 pm. She was a whopping 6 lbs and 11 ounces and was 18 1/2" long.
You may wonder why I called her Miracle Baby. Well, she was born to two absolutely adoring parents that were told they would never have children. Her mother had internal "plumbing" issues and her very, proud Daddy was injured by schrapnel in an explosion while in Iraq. I'm sure big brother Shawn Andrew is glad she's here, too.
This is Steve's great neice, by the way. But since I don't have any sweet, little girls to lavish in Barbie's and baby dolls, I have already informed Mom and Daddy to watch out!!!
People that drive in the left lane, for instance. The left lane is the "fast" lane or the passing lane. If you are going to go 55 mph on 65 mph highway, DO NOT drive in the left lane.
People that have always been through the same thing that you are going through but it's always 10 times worse. That just blows my mind. These people have evidently had an extremely tiring life.
People that like to throw stones but when the stone is thrown back, they are the victim.
People that have an opinion about everything, even when it's not wanted.
People that have to copy everything you do. I can't stand people that do not have an original thought. (That is one reason I will not live inside the city limits of a small town again.)
People that have to have something wrong with them. You know, whatever happened to just having a headache? Or a stomach ache? Or just being tired? Why do people now have to believe that their is an underlying health issue and remain adamant about it if medical tests prove otherwise?
Why is it that when people suffer a devastating loss due to storms, like an entire house or a school, others have to demean this by loosing a tree in their front yard or a plant from their garden? I'm sure that anyone of those people would be glad to have their home back and give the plant instead.
People who don't study but expect an A. That's annoying. It kills me to walk out of class and hear people going on about how they flunked a test but yet they never cracked the book or paid attention or showed up in class. If you don't work for it, it's not going to be handed to you. HELLO?
I'm sure I could go on forever and rant and rave but I won't. I feel better now. Thanks, for letting me vent.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
My grandma raised six kids and me. We lived on a farm 6 miles east of Buffalo. Grandma still lives at the farm along with one of my uncles. My mom goes out daily to take care of her.
Saturday, I made Kelly's Biscuit Doughnuts for the boys. Colton, Paden and Steve have decided that it is a must keep recipe. So Sunday when Colton went to Grandma's with my mom he had to tell them all about my doughnuts that I made.
When I got out there later, we got to talking about recipes and things that were easy to make. See, I remember growing up Grandma always had a sit down dinner every night. We always had meat of some sort, vegetables, bread and some sort of desert, too. In the summer, we had stuff from the garden and lots of wilted lettuce.
The recipe that I'm sharing today is one of Grandma's. Now understand, it's like everything else of hers. She just whipped it up. It's not really measured and needless to say. That's how I fixed it, too.
My uncles named this recipe, "Mountain Food". Even though this is Grandma's recipe Grandpa would make it when they went hunting out in Colorado in a big Dutch oven over open fire. It's really easy and the boys loved it.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
So, once we were released and back in class, I heard about Fair Grove. I immediately started texting Marilyn and Terri checking on some of Colton's YHEC teammates. Little did I know that Colton, himself, was in the path of the tornado. As I went through my day, Colton was experiencing being caught, away from Mema, by himself, in the storm.
When I got home, Mom told me about the excitement they had at Nanny's earlier in the day. At my house, we were lucky and didn't experience the really bad weather; just downpours, flooding and some wind. Dad kept Paden calm. So calm in fact, he slept through the worst of it.
BUT...Colton, well he had a little more excitement than that. My uncle, as some know used to have a small engine shop. Well, Colton goes down to the shop usually when he goes out to Grandma's with mom and he piddles and tinkers down there. You know, boy stuff? Well he had came to the house and checked in and decided to go back. It was raining but not real hard...yet. He made it back to the shop and then all hell broke loose. It started pouring. Mom said at first it was from the east. She knows this because she had to go shut the glass on Grandma's screen door. Then just as quick as it came from the east it switched to the the south. Mom could not see across the parking lot to the shop. Colton couldn't see Mom's car parked about 15 feet away from him. He watched the rain for awhile, then we he watched it spin in what he calls a mini tornado on the parking lot he backed away from the door.
Around that time a car appeared at the front door of the shop. Colton peeked outside and let a woman in. Her car had apparently been blown into the ditch. She shoved it in reverse and backed out of the ditch. Barry's driveway was the first that she seen and she actually thought it was a highway (because it's paved). She asked Colton if he was alone and he told her, "No, Redly is here with me." Red is my Uncle Terry's Redtick Coon Hound. He has been Colton's protector since Colton was a baby. Red used to walk across the field daily to check on Colton when he played in the backyard when we lived out that way. Red is now really old, about 15. He has been hit twice by cars, that we know of. He limps...a lot. He can't see out of one eye. He's basically deaf. But he still thinks he can protect Colton. Well, anyway, I guess it proceeded to be pretty bad. They tried to figure out where they could hide. The decided on the hallway and found a piece of plywood to put over the top of them. When the rain and wind let up, they made a dash for her car and drove to the front gate. Mom and Grandma said they were both scared to death when they got to the house.
Being a mom I said, "Colton, you got in a car with a perfect stranger." Calmly he looked at me and said, "Mom, we'd been through a tornado together. I figured it would be alright." He also assured me she wasn't a "perfect" stranger because she lived down the street from his uncle that drives a gray pickup. She was Bonnie Strickland's neice and she was related to Uncle Ray. That made her family in his eyes. Besides that, she had a 13 year old, an eight year old and a four year old.
After watching the news last night, I realized how close both of us had came. If I hadn't have left when I did, I would have been caught in it in Springfield. Or, if I had decided to skip my English class because it was optional yesterday, I would have been right in the middle of it at Fair Grove. Either way, God was looking out for all of us yesterday.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, mixed cheese, egg, parsley and onion powder. Spread mixture evenly over each lasagna noodle.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We drove around the Blue Ridge Parkway. In one spot you can pull off and walk up this trail to a little church that sets way up on the top of the mountain. All you can see from the roadway is the cross that is on top of the steeple. Steve wanted to hike up the mountain the four miles to see it. As we got on the trail he was walking faster than I was as I was enjoying the nature and looking for bears that I knew would be around to eat me when a little snake went skating across my foot. Steve has reenacted my reaction for many a listener to this day. He does this little dance and yells….SNAKE as he dances around crazily. He swears that was the reaction I had but I’m sure it was more of fleeing reaction as I remember reaching the car way before he ever did. He thinks it was my imagination too because he never found a snake. I personally think it was a python that somebody had turned loose because it probably had gotten to big for its cage.
As I cruised down the road I would be able to see the sheepherders watching the sheep in the low country. In a few weeks they would be getting ready to start their trek up the mountain with their herd. I would see elk and mule deer grazing in the meadows and stealing hay from the cattle on some of the ranches. The fields would not yet be green but you would be able to see hints of green mixed with the old yellowed grass from last year.
A big bull elk that would get every hunters blood pumping raises his head as I go by. From his mouth hangs a clump of hay. The red white faced cattle seem to ignore the intruders as if they were meant to be there. Up the road, the road curves around the jutting rocks at the base of the mountain. Thick, clear icicles blinking as you go by.
The river that runs along the southern side of the road seems to be flowing backwards as it runs past the many rocks in the creekbed. You can see the trout leaping out as if saying, “good morning.”
The radio is turned low to a country station. The melody of a new country artist crooning to her listeners. The hum of the V8 engine as it climbs from the valley up the mountian. You can hear the transmission lightly shifting as it begins to pull the long hill in front of us.
Even though the temperature is in the 30’s outside, I have to crack the window. I love to smell the pines along the winding stretch of road. The smell of nature. Even the creek beside the road seems to be wafting with aroma. Not fishy, just fresh. The vanillaroma air freshner hanging from the rearview mirror is amplified by the cold, brisk air flowing into the Expedition. It still has a new car scent to it that on warm days when it’s been sitting in the sun you can smell. The cup of coffee in the cup holder wafts through the vehicle.
The steering wheel is firm but smooth under my fingers. The leather seats with seat warmers feel like melted butter and envelope me as I drive. The scratch of the new sweater I put on this morning is rough against my skin. As I drive along, I take a drink of the coffee that I made before I left. It’s smooth and bold as it slides along my tongue and down my throat. You can taste a hint of chocolate and a touch of whipped cream where I added it to my cup. As I finish the coffee, I reach for my wintergreen Eclipse gum. The taste overcoming the coffee and burning my nostrils because the wintergreen is so strong.
Flavanol, which is used in Hershey’s Cocoa, has an aspirin like effect on platelets in the blood. This reduces the amount of clotting. This would help with any internal clotting and reduce a person’s risk of stroke or heart attack. The flavanol also reduces both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Oleic acid, which is also found in the cocoa, helps to lower bad cholesterol.
Antioxidants found in the Hershey milk chocolate also keep chemicals from destroying cells and DNA.
The frost on the windows was a definite indicator of what was out there. As I looked across the pasture towards the woods, I could see the cattle slowing coming down the hill and with each step they took their breath hung heavily in the air. The pond had a steam rising from it that was as thick as fog. The dog was amusing himself by jumping here in there in the tall snowbanks, rooting in the snow then bounding off again.
As she walked, with each step you could see it building within her and before you knew it she would be like dynamite. Her face was beet red. Her eyes were drawn and tight. How dare anyone tell her she couldn’t do something. Well, she’d show them. As she walked down the sidewalk people that seen her seemed to just part and move out of her way. Her body language and her facial expression was all they needed to convince them not to say anything to her today. The people that knew her best didn’t want to feel the wrath of her sharp tongue and they knew that the least little thing might set her off.
As it streaked downthe track I had to do a double take. Was that my sixteen year old that I had just seen go past me? It looked like a blue blur but yet that horse on the grille was branded like a hot iron in my mind. Yes, he had inherited his mothers heavy foot. I can only imagine how the speed had him pushed back into the seat. The sound caught up with the car seconds after it had already passed.
As she paced the room with her ruler you could hear her smacking students on the back of the hand. Poor little Sally, she couldn’t help it if she was left handed. She was the talk of the students. Nobody ever wanted in her class. Kids would cry and parents would beg with the principal to put there kids in another classroom. Her class almost never got to have recess and if they did half of the class had to stand against the wall for at least fifteen minutes before they could play. If the kids made a peep walking down the hall or were the slightest bit out of line. The whole class was punished and recess time was spent practicing staying in line.
I love to read. I read many different things. I’m getting ready to read Marley and Me. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I think the book will probably be so much better. I like to read mystery novels and I like to read the occasional romantic novel too. I think my favorite romance novel writer would have to be Danielle Steele. Reading is kind of like writing. You can become absorbed in what you’re reading about and just go to different places in your mind. It is such a good way to get away for a few minutes or to just take some time for yourself. You can put yourself into the book and pretend you’re one of the characters. I had my son read a chapter one time and then he had to act it out.
MyI have a fear of snakes. I hate snakes. Snakes are so scary. They are a sign of the devil and they are just scary looking. I once left a mountain in North Carolina beacuseI seen a snake and my hausband thought it was so funny. We are going to Raton, New Mexico in July and I am so afraid of seeing a rattlesnake. I even told my husband that I was going to buy 4 pairs of snake boots one for each of us. I just know that I ‘m going to have dreams of seeing one of those stupid snakes once we get there. Sankes are just menacing to me. I hate going into the Snake House at the zoo and that is my oldest sons favorite place to go. Sometimes I just want to choke him when we go to the zoo because if they have a sanake out he always wants to touvh it. And He always is like Oh come on Mom it’ll be oaky. Just touch it. They brought a sanake to his kinderarten class one day and I left the room when the snake got there. All those kindergartners laughted at me. I went and set in the hallway. I had a baby copperhead crawl across the toe of my sandals a few summers ago. That was not funny. I was crazy with fear then. I was jumping a wround and screaming. It was not a pretty sight. IreI remember one time how my uncle caught a cottonmouth on his fishing line. Talk about scary. He didn’t know it was a snake until he got it almost to the boat. Then he had to cut the line to get it off. That’s fear. Sankes. Fear. Yep they are interchangeable.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We have had quite the journey homeschooling. I have learned probably as much as he has. Things that I don't remember learning in school, I have gotten refreshed on. Things that Colton wanted to learn more about, we have thrown ourselves into whole heartedly and learned.
I used to think that he wasn't missing out on anything by not being in school. I still feel that way about some things. I don't think any child should ever have to go through the whole clique thing. Especially, if you are the child on the outside. But I do think he is missing out on having to make a deadline, being held accountable for not turning something in on time and things that being a mom you just overlook.
I think he is getting to the point that he is missing having friends. He stays active in 4-H and YHEC and he gets to see his friends but I think he would like to see them more on a day to day basis.
As a family, we have some major decisions to make concerning the rest of Colton's schooling. I don't regret any of the time he has been at home. He has learned. He has exceled. Now he has to learn to use what we have taught him.
Colton has just graced me with a load of laundry that looks like it could walk to the washing machine and crawl in itself. "Where did you find this?", I asked. "Oh, it was under my bed and I found some pushed under my towel rack in the bathroom. I don't know how it got there."
I arch one eyebrow, and I know that the furrows across my forehead must resemble that of a newly plowed field. The thought running through my head rushes forth but my lips don't seem to be able to form the words. I roll my eyes and walk away. That would probably be for the best, I decide.
I now have washed Paden's clothes from yesterday plus his mud wear from today approximately three times. Bleach has yet to remove the clay mud stains.
As I pull in the driveway this afternoon, Colton is swinging. On his upper torso is a white mud stained shirt. Upon closer inspection, I find out it is MY white now mud stained shirt. I asked him why he was wearing my t-shirt and he replies his dad had gave it to him in the laundry he did while I was away for the weekend. I look at him and ask, "And you couldn't tell it didn't fit and was way too big?" But let me rewind. I had stopped at the Breakfast Nook on my way to Springfield today and Steve is wearing my CoxHealth long sleeve polo shirt. Only now it is stained with mud and some other substance that I don't see Shout getting out. Two shirts in one day and I wasn't even the one to ruin them.
As I walk in the back door, I notice my laundry pile has grown more. I'm telling you, I am breeding laundry in Dallas County.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Today when I came home Paden wanted to know if he could play in the mud. He tried to explain to me that daddy had told him that he couldn't play in the mud but I scoffed at that idea. I walked him home from Mema's house, changed his clothes, put his rubber boots on and told him to go have fun. I explained, as best I could to a four year old, that he had approximately one hour to play then he had to come in and we had to get him cleaned up before daddy got home from work. Thirty minutes later this is what appeared on my front porch. Not quite what I bargained for but one look at that smile and those little blue eyes and I stripped him down and brought him in and put him in the tub. I also had to pour the water out of his rubber boots. His clothes, well, they are still soaking in the washing machine. I'm sure with the bleach that I added and after a couple washes they will be fine. If not, well, C'est la vie.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Since that day, I have rediscovered that I was a good student. I was a good student until my Grandpa passed away is what I should say. The last 2 1/2 years of high school was a struggle after that and my grades suffered. Now, I'm back with a vengeance. I study. I study more. I study harder. I study everything not just what is supposed to be on the test. I feel that if I'm going to do this, I'm going to go all the way. I feel that if I'm going to succeed at the career path I've decided on, halfway is not an option.
I keep telling myself, I'm going to be a Physician Assistant. If I wasnt' 36 years old, I'd go all the way. I wouldn't stop at PA. I keep thinking maybe I should be a Nurse Practitioner. I want to work in a rural area and help the people. I want to see house-calls rebound. I want to see the face of a new mother. I want to make that grouchy old man that never smiles, smile. I want to hand out Tootsie Pops to my little patients and maybe the ones that are kids at heart, too. I want to be the PA or NP that sits on the bed with their patients hand in theirs and tells them, "We're going to beat this."
I'm not going into this field for the money, though that is a plus. I'm going into this field because I seen the need for nurses that take the time to know their patients. I seen the need for nurses that are compassionate and caring. I may be only one person but all it takes is one person to make a difference.
So, as the end of the semester draws near, finals are peaking around the corner. Summer is upon us. I'm eighteen blogs short so I will be blogging like crazy this weekend. I'm gearing up for an Anatomy Lab Practical. I'm squaring up for the English final. And I'm taking this all in and I'm learning. I'm learning that I can and I will succeed. I know that there's an angel on my shoulder and they won't let me quit.
Vacationing in Western North Carolina
As the silver Chevrolet Camero rockets along the ribbon of asphalt, my eyes are glued to what seems to be a fog hugging the top of the surrounding mountains. The four lanes of traffic on Interstate 40 west of Asheville, North Carolina seem to wind through some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen. Pamphlets and brochures lay in disarray at my feet. The radio’s bass thumping to some hip hop music Steve has recorded on the cassette in the stereo. The sun’s rays are a warm caress on my face as the bounce through the passenger window. I sip on the extremely sweet Dr. Pepper that I bought earlier. The car’s vent draws in the aroma of the surroundings. At times, gas vapors and at others the pungent smell of pine fills the small interior space. As I settle into the less than comfortable passenger seat, I suddenly realize, I am now at the beginning of my week long vacation.
In the fall of 1995, I spent a week traveling the highways of Tennessee and North Carolina with my boyfriend, Steve; whom is now my husband. Leaving Missouri, with someone that I had known for a short time period was both exciting and scary. We packed up his Camero and headed east down Highway 60. We drove and drove, and finally at the point of exhaustion, and with an aching backside because the passenger seat of 1995 Camero is not meant for long distance travel, we stopped in Cookeville, TN.
The next morning, we got up and headed farther east on Interstate 40. We were on the last leg of our travel away from Missouri, by mid-day we would be in Asheville. Once we passed Knoxville or K Town, as Steve called it, the traffic on the west bound lanes of 40 grew heavier. Most cars that we were passing were sporting painted windows, flags from antennae’s or from the windows. Listening to a local radio station, we found that it was the home opening game for the Tennessee Volunteer’s football team. I decided, they took football seriously in this part of the country.
I looked at signs around me, Pigeon Forge one said. Steve pointed out things that he had seen that he thought was interesting. The scenery became more and more beautiful the closer we got to Asheville.
Asheville, I don’t know what I was thinking; I guess I thought I would see a town the size of Springfield. The town of Asheville is a sprawling town that seems to cover the whole valley. We found a Hampton Inn hotel and pulled in. We got a room and made some room in the car by carrying all the stuff in. We had no itinerary, so we shuffled through our pamphlets and decided we would drive out to Chimney Rock, which is 25 miles southeast of Asheville.
On the way to Chimney Rock, we crossed the Eastern Continental Divide. For a small town girl, I thought that was pretty cool. We stopped at a little store along the highway for a cold soda. Some natives, to that part of the country, told us to make sure we stopped at the River of Rocks. The river is nothing but these huge elephant-like rocks. They are smooth rocks, not jagged. As we explored, I noticed a family nearby who was playing in the rocks.
The parking lot to Chimney Rock is all uphill. We slid into a spot. Immediately in front of it there was a large drop off. I swore Steve was going to drive right off the hill, but he didn’t. We hiked up the parking lot to the entrance gates. The older gentleman, at the gate, asked if we would be taking the elevator or the stairs. Steve asked, “How many stairs?” The old man chuckled and said, “Twenty-six stories.” We took the elevator. In the elevator, Steve made some new friends that he fondly recalls as his “elevator buddies.” Two older women struck up a conversation with him and talked and talked the whole ride up. Steve later became their photographer and they happily repaid the favor; after, I explained to them how to work my camera.
The view from Chimney Rock is spectacular. Chimneyrockpark.com states that “the chimney is at an elevation of 2,280 feet.” The rock is surrounded by a large black wrought iron fence and a U.S. flag billows from a flagpole that is in the middle of the rock. From the rock, you can see the Opera Box. The Opera Box is an outcropping of rocks that you can hike to by a boardwalk of stairs and walkways. My favorite view from the top of the Chimney was of Lake Lure. From the top of the Chimney, I could see the vastness of the lake as it filled the surrounding valley. The sailboats on the lake looked miniscule from that elevation, and the little town that we passed at the foot of the park seemed small.
Chimney Rock Park held a special lure on our outing. A few years earlier it had been featured in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans. It wasn’t Chimney Rock that was in the movie but Hickory Nut Falls that is just on up the mountain. Hickory Nut Falls is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi at 404 feet.
We returned to Asheville for the evening. We stopped at a local barbeque restaurant for dinner. The food was very good and the people were some of the friendliest I had ever met.
The next day, we awoke to the sun rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains out our window. The constant haze that hangs over the mountains is magnificent. Personally, I believe they get their name from the blue cast that one can see most of the time.
After a quick breakfast, in the hotel lobby, we were off to spend the day at the Biltmore Estate. The entrance to the Biltmore Estate stole my breath. I pictured myself traveling back in time to the days of horse and buggy. The road leading through the property is now paved and is a popular stop for many tour buses. As we wound our way down the blacktop ribbon, we came up a steep hill and around a curve and entered a wide opening. Statues seemed to be standing guard over the many gardens that surround the Biltmore.
We parked in one of the many parking areas and our exploration began. The tour through the house was slow going. For a house built in the late 1800’s, the mansion was amazing. It has an indoor pool that is surrounded by lush fauna. It made me think I had stepped into the rain forest. Parts of the house are four stories but all rooms are not open to the public. According to Biltmore.com the house covers 4 acres, totaling 175,000 square feet. It consists of 250 rooms that include 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces and three kitchens. In our tour of the house we seen a chess set that was Napoleon’s. On one of the upper floors a large room that lay long and only slightly narrow was full of tapestries from the 16th century. They adorned all the walls in this room; seemingly, hanging from floor to ceiling. In this room, double doors were placed along the outer wall at various positions. A large balcony was accessible from these doors and it ran the length of the room. From the balcony, I could overlook the large open meadow with a very old tree that was slightly off centered. At the end of the meadow, timber started and sloped down towards the valley below; once again I realized that I was on top of a mountain in western North Carolina.
Throughout the house, I could find many interesting, priceless antiques. We toured a library that was full from ceiling to floor of bookshelves and more books than we ever had in our public library in Buffalo. Steve enjoyed the indoor bowling alley. The tour of the house took us the whole morning.
For lunch, we wound our way through the numerous outdoor gardens that were designed by Frederick Olmstead, to the stable area. In the courtyard of the stables, we found an ice cream shop tucked neatly inside the stable. Above the stable was a clock tower, beneath our feet was a cobblestone area, numerous songbirds sang and whistled from the trees around the back. The ice cream ran down my cone as it melted. We found a table among the other tourists and enjoyed our surroundings and our ice cream.
From here, we walked to a garden far upon the hill. I took Steve’s picture as he groped a very well endowed garden statue. On our walk up the hill, we passed a large oak tree that had been struck by lightning. The tree, itself, had survived but to close off the gaping hole that was left, the gardeners had filled the tree with bricks.
We then proceeded on with our tour of the estate by driving farther into the large compound. We stopped, along the drive, at the lake house. This was merely a large gazebo designed at the end of a large dock; sitting in the middle of a small lake. We ran into a couple with a Welsh corgi dog. This was the first time either of us had ever seen such a dog, and we absolutely fell in love with it. We watched some swans on the lake swimming in all their elegance. I took many pictures of this area because it was so serene and idyllic.
We moved on to what had once been the dairy. It had been converted to a winery in more recent years. For a small fee, you received a wine glass and were allowed to sample various wines throughout the building. Steve decided it was his sworn duty to sample any and all wines available. After a few, he found in the outer atrium a small barrel that was set up for the kids to stomp grapes and to have their footprints made. I wanted to croak when he got in line. Steve stomped grapes, had his footprints made and started a new trend. Upon seeing him in the barrel, many other tourists decided this looked like fun and got in line also. When we left this area, the line was packed with adults. The children were all standing to the side giggling and laughing.
Somewhere along the tour of the house we had read about George Vanderbilt buying some land and building a hunting lodge. The lodge was destroyed by fire but there is an area with pictures and memorabilia. We went in search of the lodge area and found it. We hiked up a trail to the spot that the hunting lodge had once stood and enjoyed all the peace and serenity.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is nicknamed “America’s Favorite Drive.” According to the website blueridgeparkway.org, it is 469 miles in length and was authorized for construction in the 1930’s as a Depression-era public works project and was more than a half-century in the making. As we wound along the Parkway, we found numerous tunnels and steep grades. The scenery is magnificent and lush. We stopped at numerous overlooks that we found along the way. I remember standing at the top of one and looking down at a house tucked neatly into the tree line in the valley below. It appeared to be a small white farmhouse and was surrounded by a barn and a silo. I returned to the car to retrieve a throw that I had brought along to cover up with during the ride. I fashioned the throw into a shawl, and stood in awe as I watched the sun set behind the mountains. The haze that covers the countryside seems to collect the rays of the setting sun, and the colors dance in the haze as the sun slowly slips down.
Mount Pisgah, at milepost 408.6, has the distinction of having by far the highest elevation of any developed area along the Parkway, according to the National Park Service website. Steve spotted a sign that pointed to a trail that led to a cross on top of Mount Pisgah. He quickly glided off the road. It was dusk and he wanted to hike up a mountain! As I wrapped deeper into my make-shift shawl, we headed up the mountain. Steve took the lead and soon left me, some yards behind. I moseyed along, knowing I was going to be eaten by a bear at any second. Instead, I stumbled upon something far worse. A snake decided to occupy the same trail as I was on. I decided rather quickly, that he could have the whole mountain. As I danced in place, screaming at the top of my lungs, “SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE!” Steve retreated down the path to where I was dancing about and yelling. After much coaxing, he decided it was useless to try to get me to go farther up the mountain and we returned to the car.
As our vacation drew to a close for western North Carolina, I realized that I didn’t really want to leave. The people make you feel at home there, and they welcome you as if you are a family member that is returning after being away. The land is some of the most beautiful, I believe, I have ever seen. In two years, I believe I want to revisit the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smokey Mountains, the Biltmore Estate, and Chimney Rock State Park. I want to walk the trails that I was too chicken to walk then. I want to explore the rooms that have opened in the Biltmore Estate since our tour many years ago. I want to see Lake Lure up close. I want to dance in Hickory Nut Falls, as the cold water comes rushing down over my head. In two years, I will finish nursing school. In two years, it will be my fifteenth anniversary. In two years, I deserve a vacation!