Monday, November 28, 2005

holiday recovery

Ordinarily I enjoy road trips, but I'm really ready to stay home for a while. We've been gone the last two weekends, and between now and Christmas, when we head to New England, there's another trip to St. Louis. I think it wouldn't phase me except that this last homecoming has been frought with physical ills (of the GI type), fatigue, and what may be the onset of "the change!" If only Clare had dispatched her cleaning fairy to tidy up in our absence I might not feel quite so overwhelmed by all the clutter that interferes with my productivity. There's just no place to put this stuff, which is why I live in such a constant state of chaos!

But enough of my whining. We had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with our friends Jimmy and Barbara in Augusta. I've included a photo of our feast, minus the rolls and waldorf salad. The weather wasn't nearly as chilly as was forecast, so we survived at the cottage during the night with the space heaters and residual heat from the living room fireplace. The weather Thursday and Friday was spectacular, and the evening we arrived there was a magnificent sunset (see photos!). The only downside was that the dogs saw so little of us, but as we reminded ourselves, it was better than the alternative, which was not to be there at all.

This morning I am thankful to be home, even if it means a day of cleaning. It's also Ken's birthday, so I am trying to attain a spirit of festivity to honor him. But now, off to put on my domestic diva tiara and get busy!

Hope it's a wonderful day for everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

there must be a shopping fairy...

I had such great success yesterday shopping for Christmas, and though I had a handful of things I went looking for specifically, I got all sorts of inspiration once I got to the stores. I absolutely cleaned up at Books-a-million, seeing all sorts of things that made me have to put the brakes on! Now the challenge is to find a place to put all these goodies before and after wrapping! I actually bought a small, collapsable table to set up to handle the overflow. thank goodness several of these things will stack well.

I've got so many wonderful orchid photos from our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden that I'll post a few at a time over the next few days (or posts, I guess I should say, since I won't be able to post over Thanksgiving). I'm thinking of offering a boxed set of some of them on the web site. But first I need to find an envelope that will fit into a standard stationery box. The envelopes that are carried by my present source (and from whom I get the cardstock) are 1/8" too long! Hopefully I can get some of the envelope companies to send a sample, since there are a number of shades of white out there, and the cards and envelopes need to match. It's always something, eh?

In the meantime, I hope everyone has minimal stress preparing for the holiday, and that it's a wonderful time for all.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

a lovely respite

We're home from a weekend in Atlanta where my cousin, Molly, was married. Her sister, Suzann, graciously offered to put us up while we were there, and we arrived Friday in time to help with last minute preparations for the rehearsal dinner, which was held at Suzann's wonderful home in Decatur. I'll include a few pics from that dinner, and the wedding. We also had some time on Saturday to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has a wonderful climate controlled orchid garden ( lots of pics from there, stay tuned!). Can't wait for another trip to Atlanta to visit the garden at a more "seasonal" time of year! We also learned that Emeril just opened a restaurant in mBuckhead, so we're eager to go there for a meal, as well. Molly and her new hubby are off to New Zealand for their honeymoon. Clare, if I had known, I would have put you all in touch so that they could have a more personal experience of your wonderful country!

On our travels we also did a little more Christmas shopping, and we're making good progress on crossing items off our list. Now to unpack, organize presents for wrapping and shipping, and get ready for out next road trip in a few days for Thanksgiving.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

small victories

As you all know, I've been having an agonizing time trying to get my web site functioning properly. I have discovered that the "two P's" (not to be confused with two peas, for all you online scrapbook fans), is the secret to survival in this endeavor: patience and perseverence. Sometimes others don't take action to do their part in a timely manner, or what one might think ought to be an automatically generated response to a technical request gets caught in someone else's bugged system, and delays ensue. Patience is necessary, to be sure, but not to leave the ball entirely in someone else's court is also a part of this game. Today we have progress. The "lock" on the registration with the original web site host has been removed and the domain name and host has been switched to a new one. Authorization to do the deed has been granted and the process has begun. Now my poor web master gets to learn the new system and bring me on board with it so that I can do my part. Patience. Perseverence. I'm not going to hope to have things running smoothly before Thanksgiving, but maybe by December 1? Is that too much to ask? Still plenty of time for people to do their Christmas shopping online!

And speaking of small victories, today's picture is of young Miss Katie taken during my visit to St. Louis. She is now 22 months, loves to dance, and play with the lego tower. Her grandmother suggested that I overconstructed the tower (hey, I come from a family where we learned early to measure twice and cut once, so what can anyone expect but solid construction from my gene pool?), which Katie was eager to "deconstruct" once it was complete. Part of the game.

Here's hoping that your day contained victories large and small!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The value of friends

Maybe the stars are in friendship alignment, but Kip's post about the friendships that have formed through scrapping parallels, in part, my desire to comment on the subject of friends. I've just returned from a weekend in St. Louis where I visited my friend Kathy, recently diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. The evening I arrived I was invited to join Kathy at a Brazilian dinner for 12 that was offered at a church "auction" to raise money to support a mission trip to Nicaragua. The dinner was prepared by one of the priests at church whose parents had been missionaries in Brazil, where he was born and grew up. I knew all but two of the other women there, and it was a luxurious evening for me to enjoy the company of this group who had been part of my life and ministry when I lived in St. Louis six years ago. It wasn't the nostalgia that was so special, but the reminder of the joy of sisterhood. I am blessed to enjoy a sisterhood with my scrapping friends, and revel in the daily contact and interaction that we share online through the CK message board, MSN chats, and blog "to-ing and fro-ing." With them, and with the other women who have enriched my life, there is nothing more joyful to me than the opportunities to be together and share common places, events, laughter and the exchange of everyday concerns. I am grateful for the many gifts of friendship that have touched my life, and I am humbled by the expressions of friendship that I see shared as each of us encounters bumps in the road. Hugs and hearts full of love and compassion reach out to break through barriers of time, space, and circumstance, raising spirits and comforting hurting souls.

Today's photo is not a slice of mountain life, but an example of just such an expression of affection and friendship given to my friend Kathy by one of the sisterhood. A simple gift serves to remind her that she is loved and valued, and that an army of friends stand ready to deliver aid, comfort in a time of trial and need.

Today I salute the sisterhood, and give thanks for the opportunity to share in the experience of that love.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More web woes!

Oy, what's a girl to do? I'm trying to get my web site operational, and it feels like for every two steps forward there are three back. Of course in the midst of this there are customer service issues, LOL. When I called tech support at the host site the guy I talked to was utterly uninterested in my questions. One of those questions had to do with a necessary file for credit card processing, and he claimed he didn't know anything about the file, that the person who did know (there's only one?) was at lunch, and he would have to email me the information I needed. I never heard from him. Fortunately the bank with whom I have my various accounts has been incredibly helpful, so I called them and they walked me through what I needed to do and explained it to me. Sad to say things still aren't working, even after all this, but the contrast in service was there, and I have to say that my bank has been extraordinary whenever I've needed to call them about something.

The upshot of all of this is that I am very likely going to move my web site to a different host, though I am still exploring what that host has to offer in their ecommerce package to know whether or not the function of the site will improve. Stay tuned!

Today's mountain photo is from the other day when I was heading out to take pictures at the cross. The road on which I live is just off the road where this is taken, a mere spit and a jump from the mailbox, LOL. A lot of leaves came down yestserday, so I don't expect there to be much opportunity remaining for fall photos.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Good Sunday Morning

Let's see if this will post. I tried all day yesterday and cyberspace was just too hungry for my words to share them with the rest of the world! Maybe it will feel more generous today. Yesterday we took a drive to a little town called Sherwood. It's in the middle of nowhere, tucked into a valley, and the only reason anyone lives there is because the railroad goes through. And would you believe in that tiny burgh of a place where there are about 30 trailers and as many tiny houses there are two churches? And one of them is Episcopal! The 'pisci church is an odd architectural phenomenon, a quasi modern structure that uses lots of undisguised cinderblock, and there's even a cute little cloister (alas, cinderblock there as well) with wisteria growing along its top. An ordained nun who is at the convent here in Sewanee serves the congregation, which, apparently, consists of all the members of three families. Attendance is either 4, 9 or 14, or something like that, on any given Sunday. Sister Lucy is getting close to retirement, so I wonder what they'll do when she hangs up her habit! She's been there 25 years or so...

Today's mountain life photo is of weather, our neighbor's goat.

Have a good one!

Friday, November 04, 2005

a feast for the eyes!

Another lovely fall day in Sewanee... These are taken from what is called "The Sewanee Cross" on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, TN.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ah... fall...

Color has finally come to the mountain today, and I've got proof! Check out these beauties from a quick trip I made over to the campus of the University of the South. I would love to have some glorious sunset shots to share with you, but my camera battery quit on me! With any luck I'll be able to get back tomorrow and have a repeat of weather. In the meantime, feast your eyes!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Radical days ahead!

After having trouble getting into a pair of pants the other day I was about to throw myself out the window in despair. Except on rare occasions I do not overeat, and I have healthy eating habits. I confess that I am not on speaking terms with exercise at the moment (I find it so boring!), but even so, there is just no good reason why my weight continues to climb. So, time to consider a different kind of diet, and be diligent with it.

A few months ago I met a couple who have been on the blood type diet for a number of years, and they swore by it. I decided that it was worth giving it a go, and it seems to have a sound theoretical foundation. Got the book (need to order the cookbook), and after recovering from the shock of hearing what things I can't eat (most meat, for instance, and I'm a carnivore!), I am ready. I expect to become an expert at how to cook turkey in creative and different ways, along with how to give fish new and interesting twists. The only problem thus far is that I can't seem to track down answers to some questions I have (for instance, beef and chicken are out, does that mean stocks and broth from those are off the list, too?). There is a message board, but it's awkward and infrequently visited. Maybe the cookbook will offer some answers.

In the meantime, I am feeling hopeful that this diet will help sort out some of my weight issues, and one of these days I WILL make friends again with exercise (we don't walk in these woods, copperheads and rattlers abound!). Now to find a good source for buying a variety of fish. Shrimp is out!!!

Today's mountain picture is the rare suggestion of color in the yard this fall. It's been dismal here as far as foliage goes. Glad I have such good pictures from last year!


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