Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Top o' the morning Alabama

While the boys sang their way to Boston on the Church Choir trip, Will and I took a few days to adventure a little further with our tin can (aka- Airstream).

I came across a link for one of Alabama’s State Parks – Cheaha Mountain State Paork. The site boasted of a magnificent view, waterfalls and the highest spot in Alabama. I thought the name was interesting – we have a Cheehaw park here in our town, and while the spelling is diffent, Cheaha is pronounced the same.

Will agreed to the adventure, knowing I like hill and mountains and waterfalls. And I better not forget, he liked the challenge to see if the ol’ truck could handle pulling the MUCH older camper up the incline.

So our adventure started.

Day 1

First: Loading our furry four legged friend. She is not the easiest dog to travel with. Seems that if there is another car in site or a pedestrian, she seems to get all anxious. Paces and pants and whines and whimpers and sheds even more hair than she normally does 365 days a year.

Second aspect of the adventure: The steep incline and narrow way to the wooded retreat that awaited us.

My pictures just do not do it justice.

Third: Setting it up. Now that is usually pretty easy, except this campground was on top of a rocky mountain. And it is a state park. So REAL level parking pads were almost nonexistent. I wish I had snapped a picture of the stacked 2x4’s and rocks.

And that was it. All settled in. Well almost. A quick run to the closest town (20 miles) to pick up some groceries. And a chance to stay in air conditioning a little longer. Did I mention this was early June and we had maintained highs in the low 100’s at home? We turned on the air conditioner in the camper, locked Francie in the home away from home and set off to pick up some groceries to have a wonderful fire side dinner later.

It took longer on those winding up and down roads than we thought, so plans changed as we neared the campground, and realized it was still hot. This campground also had a restaurant. But first, we thought we should check out the over look before going back to camp. We missed the turn and had to drive the loop around campground again. Then we turned on the wrong road, and since it is all one way, we drove the loop again. Only 2.5 miles, but we sure felt silly.

We walked the wonderful boardwalk to an amazing site (gnats and still hot air aside)!

We drove back to the campsite to unload the groceries and head to dinner. As we parked and stepped out of the truck, the neighboring camper came over

“Just wanted to let you know, someone came by and said to tell you someone saw water running out your door, so the water has been turned off”

There are moments when reality just does not really register. This was one of those times. No reaction, it wasn’t really sinking in. We walked to the camper and rug outside the door was wet. We opened the door, to let Francie out – surprised she wasn’t soaked. Just one spot on her back – she had quickly found higher ground.

We had leveled the camper side to side, but front to back was off by a hair, the front being just a smidgen lower. And weren’t we glad. Apparently, there had been a surge in water pressure, while we were gone, and a hose under the sink had popped off. That slight slant to the front had kept the water in the front and running out the door. Never dreamed our first waterfall would be our camper! We laughed - another story in life to laugh about later. After Will repaired the water line and I was finished mopping up all the water (and deciding that was the cleanest the camper floor had been). We again set out for dinner. We parked and walked up to the door of the restaurant.



It was 8:20. On Thursday’s the restaurant closes at 8:00.

Nothing that some cheese, crackers and a glass of wine could not cure…followed by a good night sleep.

Day 2 will just have to wait til another day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Squid Sneezes

Sometimes, in the middle of a routine activity, something fresh and new can be seen. That is what we experienced on Spring Break. A routine, quick trip to the beach opened up to a new activity none of us had ever given thought to.

Do you eat Calamari?

I do sometimes. The Man was on a calamari kick for a little bit.

When tired of the boys asking “what’s for dinner” after a long day, I sometimes answer with a silly answer of squid fingers.

Have you ever thought about how squid lands on your plate as calamari.

Me? Not really, except I know it would have involved deep waters and HUGE monster squid and dark music playing in the background.

On this trip, while on a quick run to the store and a few minutes of fishing for Flounder at the marina, my sister in law, and the kids in tow (The Man included) were taught something by the locals.

The squid were spawning!

They aren't so big after all:
Turns out a nifty lure, a quick flick of the wrist and a bucket to hold ones catch and one can have fresh Calamari. Oh, and the ability to pull the little squids away from boats before they ink everything in sight.

A squid’s natural defense is to spray a black inky substance when he thinks he is in danger. In the water, it really clouds things up.
But they do not know they are in trouble until they attack the lure and are quickly yanked up and out of the water. So their reflexes sometimes have them inking out of the water.

As they were collected in the bucket, they kept make a noise, one that grew more frequent as the number of bucketed squid grew. They still believed they were in danger, so the continued to attempt to ink the area, and the sound that made sounded much like the sound of little ones sneezing.

Squid Sneezes . . .

Friday, June 17, 2011


My new career finds me back at a computer (Yes!) located in a room affectionately referred to as the cave. The cave, itself, is located in one of many buildings on a Military Base.

Today, after a week, my timing of a vending machine break was impeccable! As I made my way through the maze, I happened near a door and could hear a bugle. I walked to the door and started to open it. As I did, there on our back landing stood one of the Marines that works in the cave, at full attention, still as a statue. I stopped in my steps, and turned my attention to where he faced, and took in the sight of the flag blowing in the breeze. I finished listening to the Colors and felt a tingle of patriotism, as well as feeling that I had invaded someone’s privacy.

I have continued to think about the respect that is shown and why the flag, and music, and freeze frame images of those standing (or driving) triggers goose bumps. Patriotism, yes, but as I process it, I wonder, how often do we see this example of respect? I think it is the sight of such respect that touches those feelings. I feel privileged this morning to have happened upon this daily ritual. I feel grateful to all the many people, which I now work in the midst of, that have made our way of life possible. I wish all could see and feel what I felt this morning - more often than the Fourth of July celebration or Memorial day. In fact, those days do not truly even touch on what I saw this morning.

I think I will have to make a point to take a quick break at that time more often…

Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, June 16, 2011


It is amazing how hindsight works. I don’t mean it , this time, as in identifying mistakes or woulda-coulda-shoulda’s. No I mean being able to look back on the road traveled and seeing it with eyes of gratefulness and joy.

As I look back over the past six months, I see how busy we truly have been. And I see all the playing we have fit in too.

So many activities that many, many pictures are a record of - all having been snapped with the intention of fabulous blog posts. The fabulous blog post did not happen.

There was:

A prom

Spring Break Trip

Backyard Tourist

Cold Knee-boarding Trip

Kids Choir Trip

A House Painted

A New Career Begun

As I think of this spring and then I think further back to a year ago at this time. I am amazed. Many activities; many changes; many hurdles; many lows; many highs; and many transitions laced thru it all.

Through it all, growing too.

Growing character, stamina, faith, patience and peace. All areas that were tried or strengthened or embraced.

I celebrate it all, I embrace the hapiness it all brings me . . .