A year in the making….

The family vacation.  One long year of planning.

I had never been to the East Coast.  West Coast….all the time growing up, but never the East.  And I kind of like road trips and new places.

It had been six years since we had done a family vacation.  I don’t mean just the husband, kids and I.  I mean the aunt, uncle, grandparents and cousins.  Yeah….a 13-people-in-one-house type vacation.  And it was great.

We started planning this in the summer of 2013.  Because $5000.00 is a lot easier to pay monthly than all at once.  We originally had nine people going, but what 20 and 14 year old wants to hang around with a bunch of old people?  So it grew to 11 so they could each bring a friend.  Then my brother passed away………and we realized life is just too short…..Mom and Dad needed to come also.  Thirteen people, in one house.  But it was the perfect size for all of us.  And the perfect distance to the beach.  As in, right on the beach.  It took about 14 hours to get there, but it was so worth it.

Destination:  Rodanthe.  Yes, this Rodanthe:

Yes, you can stay here.  No, it is not cheap.  No, Richard Gere is not here.  Did you watch the movie?  This house was almost demolished.  Fans of the movie bought it, re-decorated it so the rooms looked like the movie, and moved it….down the road.  You can rent it here

 

This was our piece of paradise for the week:

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Tide Song, Rodanthe NC

And this was our view every morning:

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We noticed a camera on the top deck….didn’t think too much about it except that maybe it was the owners just wanting to be able to enjoy the view also, maybe watch for storms coming in, etc.  First…….we are sooooo glad we didn’t know that it was this “Web Cam of Shame” .  Second, we are kind of sad we didn’t know what it was, because we would have had so much fun with it.  We do wonder, however, just how many people saw my son climbing up to the top deck….

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…….or this lovely sight….yes, I’m putting it out there…yes, that is me, laying down, taking a break, looking for my glasses, feeling around for a sea shell.  What ever I am doing, I am NOT trying to get back up from being knocked down on my you-know-what-for-the-tenth-time.  And yes, the person responsible for taking this picture (and several others in this ‘series’) is still alive.  For now.

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While I can talk about doing nothing but sitting on a beach all day, we all know I can’t do that for 6 days straight.  There is too much new stuff to see!

 

 

Lighthouses, piers, wild horses, dolphins, memorials….

You can climb all of these, but I did not.  These are beautiful, and tall……and I don’t like heights.

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Bodie island Lighthouse, pronounced like body…..and don’t you dare pronounce it any other way, the ladies will correct you….

 Bodie Island Lighthouse

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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which got moved back about 2,900 feet because of beach erosion.

 Moving Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

 

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Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla….these folks are particular about how things are pronounced, so it is Corolla like Cuh-rah-La….not like the car Toyota makes…Cor-roll-la…

 Currituck Beach Lighthouse

 

Rodanthe Fishing Pier…..which was damaged heavily this spring.

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Rodanthe Pier Web Cam

 

If you ever feel like giving up, read about the Wright Brothers…..and then get out there and Get. It. Done.  Seriously.  GET IT DONE.

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Wright Brothers Flight Path

 

 

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Wright Brothers Memorial

 

North of Rodanthe, there are several ‘touristy’ towns….Nag’s Head, Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Corolla.  Corolla is home of the wild horses, and this really is a must see.

There are about 80-100 horses in this area…and we were this close to them.  Not thisclose, because these horses are protected by law, and you cannot get closer than 50 feet to them.  Despite that, there were idiots that thought it was ok to get closer to them….with their small children.  It’s more about respect really….these are wild animals and you are in their home.

 

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Our tour guide, Butch, was great!  Ask for him, tell him his long lost love sent you.  But don’t use my name…..stalker laws or what ever…..

Wild Horse Adventure Tours

 

Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins.  Who doesn’t like them?

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Captain Johnny Dolphin Watch…you cannot smoke on the boat, or drink…or eat bananas.

 

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 Captain johnny’s Dolphin Tour

If I can figure out how to get the video trimmed down a little, I’ll post it.  It’s a beautiful sight to see.

 

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My Christmas present to myself, one day.

This is the most comfortable porch swing I have ever sat in.  I seriously need this in my day to day life.  I think I would be  a much more pleasant person.  No joke.

 

I have this crazy habit/curse that happens when I go on vacation .  Not EVERY time, but enough to be annoying.  I get sick, or my allergies that have been dormant for a few years, come flaring back.  A few years ago, nine of us went to Great Wolf Lodge…yep, got a cold that morning…..camping this year over the 4th, yep…allergies.  Such was the case during this trip.  By Tuesday, I could feel the scratchy throat starting, by Thursday morning, all sense of taste and smell were gone.  So, while the entire house was enjoying these:

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They tasted like……..nothing.  I ate two bites and gave up.  I will say, I did have the pleasure of eating breakfast the next morning that tasted the same as dinner the night before.  Nothing.  It all tasted like nothing.  As did the Bojangles that everyone raved about.  Stopped there on the way home, still have no idea if it tastes ok or not.

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The road trip home was long.  Real long.  As in 19 hours long.  Never again.  We left at 6AM, and got home at 1AM.  There was one place in particular I had to see tho’.  I’ve read about it for years, and am quite aware of the urban legend surrounding it.  It was such a sight to see, and the pictures don’t do it justice.  And I just found out there are plans for it!!   Wilson whirligig park  Thank you, Mr. Simpson.

This is how I stumbled upon it, and the reason I had to go see it.

Acid Park

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“No creation is greater than it’s creator. Now you have gone home to yours. Will miss you Mr. Vollis”

 

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And how can you not take pictures of abandoned buildings?

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Or Mayberry….

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…or if you need a little blessing….

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While we can’t wait to get back to the beach, it won’t be Rodanthe for a few years….it will be here….

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Picture Credit: A. van Zwienen

 

Key Largo

 

 

 

A rose between two corns….

……or should I say two cornfields?

Spring/cabin fever can get the best of me.  This past April, I was done.  Done.  So Bethy, Abi and I took off for a short, Sunday drive.  We didn’t want to go too far, but wanted to see something new to us.  Abi suggested we drive past the monastery that was by her house.  Abi lives out in the country.  Not in the country like I do……I still have neighbors….she is wayyyy out in the country.

I’m a little shocked that I had never even heard of this monastery before.  First, because I am nosey.  Maybe that’s the wrong word.  I just have this insane need to ‘know’ things.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.  Second, I pride myself on knowing a lot about where I live.  Like Flying Horse Farm.  Go ahead K, I’ll wait while you Google it 🙂

 

This monastery really is in between corn fields.  It is  the St. Gregory Palamas Greek Orthodox Monastery in Perrysville.  Who would’ve thought.

We didn’t visit the monastery, for the simple fact of not knowing too much about it (ok, we didn’t know anything at all), but we did take a few pics from the road.  It seems to me that in between two corn fields is the perfect place for this.  It looks very tranquil.

Yes, of course they have a website.  St. Gregory

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We then headed to a state park that was not far from home but had never visited.  Not even a drive by.  Sometimes we tend to think that for something to be good or ‘worth it’, it has to be something big and over the top.  Sometimes, we need to take pleasure in the simple things.  Mt. Gilead State Park is not big, it is not full of cliffs or gorges or a huge lake.  It has a campground, a lake to fish in, picnic areas……and trails.

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They have this nice sign that says blah blah trails this way and the distances.  We, of course, (ok, ME), opted for the shorter “distance”.  Because, as stated above, we need to take pleasure in the simple things.  Because a simple, short trail won’t kill me.  But the uphill climb WILL!  Are ya kiddin’ me????  Two miles around the lake is so much better than the half mile….trust me.  It felt like I had climbed the K-12 (name that movie).  Getting down wasn’t a picnic either.  It would appear that there had been some spring flooding…..which makes a mess of downed trees and gives it the appearance of a beaver dam.  Climbing over a huge log is not a pretty sight.  Me climbing over ANYTHING is not a pretty sight.  Abi and Bethy climbing over it?  Now that’s a different story.  It’s funny, and worthy of a few pictures…..but I promised them both  I wouldn’t embarrass them….

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I think we’re going to have to try this place out for a quick camping trip some weekend.  It’s close enough to home….and close to Purple Indian.  Go ahead and Google that too 😉

Don’t worry…..we also visited Hemlock Falls and the grist mill a few weekends later….

 

 

Pssst……K:     Flyin Horse Farms

…….and another hint for the movie….”I want my two dollars!’

GNO….woot woot!

Girls Night Out.  Oh, the stories that could be told from my younger years.  Every Wednesday night was THE night to go out after work.  We all worked together as operators for a phone company.  Yes, I placed your collect calls back in the day, connected you to the police and even gave you the phone number for the new pizza place in town.

We were a young, single, crazy and close group.  We chose Wednesdays because, honestly, that is when the guys played baseball and always went to the same bar after the games.  We weren’t stupid, we knew where to go <grin>.   We all would request Thursdays off so we could…..recover.  No one is more grateful for the ‘non technology’ of those days than I am.  Mighty fun times.

I have a different kind of GNO now.  It’s not on a set night and it usually ends up being spur of the moment.  Never intentional, it just…..happens.  It may happen once a month, or 2, 3, or as many as we want.  And it can go on for hours.  There can be long moments of silence, and then non-stop talking, laughing, crying.  We listen to what ever music we want to, or none at all.  We wear whatever we want, sit (or lay) where ever we want.   We eat what we want, when we want.

My kids are usually there also.  They barely know what’s going on except that I laugh a lot.  The husband is there too, but he usually ignores us and watches tv.  Or takes a nap.  My pets are there too.  Yes, this GNO is very pet-friendly.

At the end of the night, there are no long, drunken goodbye’s.  We don’t walk each other to our cars.  Most of the time we don’t even realize that GNO is over until the next morning.  Then, we usually  just pick up right where left off…that day…or maybe some other night.

These GNO’s have been going on for about the last year or two and they take place somewhere between Illinois and Ohio.

No one has to worry about being home at a certain time, because, that’s usually where we are.

One of the girls I see every few months.  Usually we just run into each other somewhere in our day-to-day life.  It’s always a nice surprise to see her.

The other one, I haven’t seen in almost 27 years.  Yes, 27 years.  Specifically, June 12, 1988.  High school graduation.

How is it possible not to see them when we have all these GNO’s?

Our GNO’s are different.  And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  They usually start out as a simple question or comment….then it snowballs into a night of memories, tears, laughter…..and something pretty damn special.

These are some of my best nights.  And all we do is text back and forth.  Yes, that is my GNO.  I can cuddle up in my recliner, grab a book, listen to some music, pop some popcorn and spend a great evening with these two ladies.  We have a blast.  We talk about memories from school, old crushes, classmates we’ve lost.  We talk about our lives after high school, through college, pregnancies, weddings, divorces and life in general.  We cry together when one of us is hurting.  We support one another when one is struggling.  We cheer each other on.  We are there for each other.  And I don’t think any of us thought it would be like this when we were in high school.  We knew each other back then, but we were not close like we are now.

These ladies were put back into my life for a reason, and I won’t question it.  I will be forever thankful.

Love you K & K!

Picture this….

I have a confession, or a compulsion.  I take pictures.  All the time.  A lot of pictures.  2,000 from our trip to the OBX is a significant amount.  For one week.  Before the trip, I needed to buy a new memory card for the camera.  My kids were with me and I was going to buy the 4MB one.  My kids laughed and laughed and laughed.  They made me buy the 32MB card.  They know me so well.

BUT…..there is a reason, or two, that I take so many pictures..

My mantra should be……”Life, well documented.”  I know, corny, but that is how I live.  I look back at my life and wish I had so many more pictures of my childhood, and even my teen years.  Not that I don’t remember them, but I would love for my kids to see more of what I experienced.

I would love for them to see a picture of Mrs. Hawkins, the elderly neighbor who always had a ‘special’ bag for my sister and me on Trick-or-Treat night.  She lived right across the street (ok, catty-corner, but who else uses that word anymore?) from us.  And I just typed a real long paragraph about her and realized she needs a post of her own.  Point is, I have no pictures of her.  Or of the sled riding hill next door.  Or the cool forts we used to build in the field behind our house, that is now full of houses.  Or my dog Coco who died the week of my high school graduation.

I want my kids to be able to show their memories to their kids and spouses.

Sure there are pictures of me/life when I was little.  But not of the first road trip I ever took.  To California.  Right through an ice storm in Texas where the ice was an inch thick on the antenna.  I hear the stories of the van breaking down on the way home and how we stopped at a diner and someone in my family got a big ol’ pile of hair on their mashed potatoes (not me because that was during my “I’m only eating spaghetti” kick).  I’m sure it was one strand of hair, but as the years go on, the more hair there is.  You know how that goes.  If we had a picture of it, we would know for sure.  I have no pictures of the van we took…it was ”The Bomb”!!!  My dad did all the custom work on it.  To explain it, doesn’t do it justice.  But it had a round table that dropped to make a bed for us 4 kids to sleep on.  And we fit a love seat in there.  And swivel captain chairs up front.  And carpet on the walls.  Yes.  Totally 70’s.  No pictures.

When I was in junior high, they had a photography club.  Yes, a little nerdy, and a little scary since we did the developing in the basement of the old red brick building.  It’s where I was able to take my sister’s senior picture that was in color and make it black and white for the yearbook.  Yes, back then the yearbooks were all black and white, and no computer programs to change them.  This club encouraged me to submit a series of photographs for a competition (that I can’t remember…maybe Odyssey of the Mind) that I took first place in.

Remind me to put up the pictures from my freshman trip to Quebec….

I have one picture of Steve.  It’s from the spring awards banquet in 8th grade.  He’s smiling in the hallway right outside of the cafeteria in his blue shirt and tan jacket holding his award.  He was the nicest kid.  He liked everyone and could not have had a mean bone in his body.  Because of him and his mom (she was a 2nd grade room mother), I learned about Hanukkah.   A few months later he died from injuries sustained in a car accident.  One picture.

Now, I have to be honest.  I take pictures of everything.  Well, almost everything.  I take pictures of people.  Places.  Things.  Whether it’s a popular landmark, or a leaf on the grass.  I take a picture of it.

My wine glass on the hot tub, yep.

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The snow covering my trees, yep.

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The tobacco fields in NC, yep.

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My sister after wearing a headband…yep..because it was funny!

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I even have a picture of this:

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…..because he is buried on top of a mountain, served in the War of 1812…and lived to be 95(!!!).  Who lived to be 95 back in the 1800’s??  William Ambrose Marsh did.  Bet he had a story or two he could tell.

I take pictures of Eggs Benedict, because I’m proud of my son.

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….and sunsets…..either from the beaches of Rodanthe

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….or the parking lot of the reservoir.

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And sunrises.

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And my pets.

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And kids.

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And bridges….even though I hate them.

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And water.

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My kids are used to it and have fun with it….

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A co-worker of mine has an awesome camera that she lets me borrow (until my husband gets all the hints I drop).  I have camera envy.  She brought it in to work last week for me to take for this weeks road trip.  Another co-worker asked why I was borrowing it, “just to take more pictures of a leaf?”  Yep, that bothered me.  It’s hard having your passion knocked around.  I just told her not too worry, what ever I take pictures of, I won’t bother showing her.  I will, however, continue to look at the 20 pictures of your kid sitting on a Christmas present.  Because they matter to you.  And there are memories attached to each one.

 

 

 

Because you are still reading, here’s a leaf or two…..

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…and this gem since you’ve read all the way to the bottom….

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Kayla…..she’ll re-appear in another post soon!

 

 

 

Where did all the time go?

Eight months.  Wow.  It’s been eight months since I have posted anything.  You would think I have been sitting at home doing nothing.  Hahahahahahahaha…..we all know better.  We did not make it to the fish fry however.  The day before, Ron & Eric had to have their sweet Savannah put down 🙁

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I seriously had to go back through my FB timeline to remember where I went.  That is pathetic.

Amazingly enough, we found a few things locally that we never knew of/never visited.  As in 20 minutes from my house.  I’m almost ashamed.  Almost.  A state park and a monastery.  In between corn fields.

We headed north to our great lake.  Think lighthouse and the best fish ever.  And cheese.

We headed south to follow the Mohican River to the end.  A part of Ohio I had never seen.  Yes, there are parts I have not seen.  Yet.

Summer and early fall sent us out to the fairs.  From the almost-a-waste-of-time county fair, and the St. Joe’s Fest, to the street fair that was bigger than life.  And we can’t forget “The World’s Fair”.

Our big road trip this year was for a week long family vacation…..it was a very long trip.  As in “it felt like 20 hours long”.  But there was a beach at the end, so it was worth every long mile.  Except the drive home really was 20 hours.  A really long 20 hours.  Really.  Long.

We moved.  Well, we moved my son.  Three times.  In three  months.  All within a 1-2 mile radius each time.

Where do I start????

I’ve missed this.

 

Thomas

I’ve been at my job for a little over 5 years.  We have ‘regular’ customers.  But by ‘regular’, I mean once a month.  When you are new, it takes a few months to remember who they are….their names…their habits/personalities.  Some are nice…some, not so much.  In this job, and in life in general, we never know what struggles people are going through.  And we have to remember it is not personal when someone is mean or nasty (not always easy to do).

One man comes in and every time he does, he spends at least an hour in there.  It is usually when we aren’t busy.  He reminds us that his mom always called him handsome….and that he was born and raised here, in my hometown and was quite the basketball player.  He does a lot for our self-esteem…as he always tells us girls/”ladies” how charming we are, how lucky our husbands are, and how beautiful we all are.  Yeah, he’s a smooth talker….HE is quite the charmer!  Sometimes he hangs around a little longer than he should…but he is a very kind elderly gentleman that I’m sure has faced a lot of struggles in his life.  We will not add to it, we just listen to his stories.

Then there is the lady who told me up front that she was going to yell at me and was sorry and she knew it wasn’t my fault, but she was “pissed”.  I let her vent….legitimate complaint….but she never raised her voice.  I told her we would fix things, and that if that was how she was going to yell at me then she could come in anytime and do so.  We got her fixed, and she fast became one of my favorite customers.  And WOW did she have quite the life!!  Here she was in this little town…..and had a few gold records hanging in her home.  She was an amazing and fabulous woman.  Last year, lung cancer took her way too early.

And let’s not forget the regular who comes in every month and is just hateful.  There are a few.  They deserve their own post…..as they can be quite comical.

Then there is Thomas.  Thomas is a regular.  And he is….awesome.  He comes in just about every month and pays his bill.  He is paid ahead a few months.  When he comes in, he gives us the same amount of money, and then asks to what month he is paid up to.  He has a huge smile and seems so happy…and sometimes he appears to be a little slow.  You might wonder if, maybe, he has not had an easy life and might wonder what his story is.   At least I do…but maybe that is just me.  When I got used to seeing him every month (about 3-4 months after I started), I finally was able to address his by his name.  He walked in, and I said “Hi Thomas!”…….and he was shocked.  He smiled REAL BIG, then said “you remember me?”  I said of course I do…and I won’t forget to tell you what month you are paid up to.  You would have thought I had given him a million dollars.  He seemed in awe that someone would remember him.  I use his name every time he comes in now.  We had a new person start last year.  Thomas always tries to come to my window, but sometimes we are just too busy and he will go to someone else.  He went to the new persons window this particular day.  He wanted to make his normal payment……but she didn’t understand why he wanted to give her money when he had a big credit to his account.  I had to send her a message about him and to also look for how long he was paid up to.  She was new…and didn’t have the best…’attitude’……about the whole situation.  I made sure to say hi and bye to him to kind of make things normal for him.  When he left, she got out the air freshener and made a few comments about him.  It’s true, he does have a smell about him, and it’s true, he is not well groomed.  But, he is Thomas, and he is a human being.  And as I found out a few months ago, he is a Vietnam Veteran.  He had a ball cap on one day and I asked him if he was  a veteran.  He told me he flew one of the bomber planes in ‘Nam.  Whether we agree with war or not, Veterans deserve our respect.  I reached for his hand, looked him in the eye, and said “Thank You”.  I’m not sure too many people have done that before.  I don’t mean saying thank you to him, I mean reaching out and shaking his hand.  Pretty sure it brought a tear to his eye, based on how quickly he turned and left.  I’ve become fairly protective of him, as crazy as it sounds, since I am just a customer service rep,   but I make sure if I am not waiting on him, that who ever is, is nicer than they are expected to be.  When I don’t see him for a while, I get a little nervous.  He was in last week, and I was with another customer.  He told my co-worker he would wait for me.  I’m glad he did.  I asked him how he had been and he informed me that he had had a heart attack the week prior.  I remember he had heart surgery about 6 months ago.  His doctor told him he needed to take it easy, as he might not survive the next one.  I again took his hand, and told him I was glad to see him that day and to make sure he took care of himself, I needed to be able to see him again next month.  And again, he smiled….a huge smile…and “ok, we’ll see you next month!”  I hope so, Thomas, I hope so.

Sometimes, a simple smile goes a long way.  Compassion and humanity are words that few people live by.

 

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Mahatma Gandhi

The Yearly Fish Fry

It’s getting close to that time of year again……the yearly fish fry.  This really isn’t as big of a deal as I make it sound….but it kind of is 🙂

Every year, during Lent, for the past 4 years, we have headed to Parma to one of the churches for a fish fry.  I am looking forward to it again here in a few weeks.  It is one of the few times a year we get to see our friends, Ron & Eric.  We saw them just a few short weeks ago when Ron’s brother lost his battle with cancer.

The fish fry is not about the all-you-can-eat fish/noodles n’ cabbage/pierogies/mac n’ cheese (because you really can’t eat more than one serving)…..it’s not about this church serving better fish, or that church being cheaper….(ok…it’s a little about the pierogies).

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Nom nom nom

Ok….it is A LOT about the pierogies.  We have to bring a few dozen back…and we usually can’t get them all at one place.  You will find us running around Parma for more pierogies.  We love the ones from the churches, but they run out quickly.  So we are usually on a mad hunt.   We have no shame.  We have been known to slip into the back door of ‘that bar down the road’ and talk to The Big Guy.  His are the best.  His are in the styrofoam ‘to go’ box.  I don’t ask questions…..I don’t look him in the eyes….I just pay The Big Guy, bow and say thank you…and leave……quickly.  Ok…it’s totally not like that…but the best ones we got were from the bar and they are in the to go box.  This was our stash from our first trip there….and is ours alone.  6 dozen.  Yeah…no wonder I’m on a diet.  Now…..we bring back about 5 times as much for those who don’t/can’t go.  I really need to buddy up with these establishments and sell them down here….big money in this little town for these.  Mrs. T’s ain’t got nothing on these northern folks!!  I could be The Pierogy Peddler…or Pusher.

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It is, honestly, about making memories, being with friends, and trying to win the gorgeous quilt that the older ladies of the church make for the raffle.  I won the first year I went, and haven’t ever again.  No matter how many raffle tickets I buy.  Grrrrrr.

 

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At this church, the kids who attend the school there play server.  We get our original plate ourselves, but then the kids are scattered throughout ready to refill our plates.  Our table keeps them busy.  Sadly, this is the last year for the school.  Due to financial reasons and lower attendance, the school part is closing.

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Every year when we come back, someone will say how bad they want to go next year with us…then the time arrives, and it is a cluster getting people organized.  So we decided we would set a date and time that we would be leaving and stick to it.  If you can make it, great…if not…well…you are on your own.  Organizing 12-15 people got too crazy.  Two years ago, one set of friends made a point of asking for the day off from work……they truly planned for it.  Then the snow hit.

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Snow? Only in our town…the highway north…clear!! Fish Fry is ON!

 

 We still went…..the snow was only in our county and south….so why not still go????  They missed out!  The following year, they planned and took time off again.  But for what ever reason…I think there was something going on with one of their Mom’s…..they could not get up there in time.  They did go up for the fish fry, but by the time they got there, we were done and on our way to rest our bellies at Ron & Eric’s.  This year, the date has been set, the departure time has been set…..be there or be square.  A little throwback for ya!  

And as I write this…..I just got a text….we may have to change the date…..ugh.  ( We did….we are going tomorrow!)

Last year, Ron asked if we wanted to try someplace different….so we branched out…..and went to a different church.  We won’t be making that mistake twice.  Don’t get me wrong, it was ok, but it just wasn’t the same.  The fish was……….different……and the cabbage ‘n noodles were non-existent.  It wasn’t “Our Fish Fry”..or “Our Table”.  They tried…..they really did.  It was only their second year.  I hope they make it to their third.  However, this year, we will be back at our regular spot….at the table in the back of the hall….. buying raffle tickets…..resisting the urge to over indulge.  We will then head over…..or roll over…to Ron & Eric’s and say hi to Savannah, their dog, and Madonna, their cat.

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Mah belly full

 

I will be jealous of their beautiful deck and try to avoid seeing all the leg lamps from that horrible Christmas movie that they have around the house. I will try to remember to take pics of his cool tables downstairs so I can try to recreate them….but if he offers them to me one more time….I will not say no again!

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So I started writing this post a few weeks ago.  Tomorrow we are definitely going up for the fish fry.  The usual people will be there plus someone new, a friend of my daughters…..everyone except for Savannah.  Not sure of all the details, but Ron & Eric’s dog Savannah passed away this past Wednesday.  Losing a pet totally sucks.  They loved her as I have never seen someone love a pet.  She truly was their child.  She even had artificial knees.  There were no boundaries when it came to her health and well being.  Rest in Heaven sweet Savannah.

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Missin’ the peepers!

It is March….in Ohio.  There is a bike shop right on the bike trail in town that I pass on my way to work.  Weeks…..months…ago,  they started the yearly count down to Spring.  “Spring is only 8 weeks away…….”.  I look forward to the countdown every year.  It means we are on the “upswing” of this dreadful season.  Every Monday they change the number….every week we inch forward another week towards Spring/Summer.   Today…..it would appear we are heading backwards…….we are under a winter storm warning.

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Two nights ago, it was a night of rain, lightening, and rumblin’ thunder…..the forecast for Monday, March 31, 2014 is for a high of 58′.

Anyway………..

It is time for the spring peepers to wake up and get a little rowdy.  Hearing them when I open my back door is Heaven to my ears!!  And I tell ya…..they can get LOUD.  Behind my home, there is a small pond…..the peepers live there….I’ve not seen them….but you can’t help but to hear them.  They also live at the bigger lake behind us.  When I first hear them….I’m like a kid when you put up the Christmas tree.  And it can be 24′ out and I will still be on my porch listening to them.   A  few weeks ago, my son was home from college for spring break.  Let me tell you…he can cook!  It was a nice day (above 45′), so he fired up the grill.  I pulled in from work and could smell it.  It was wonderful.  It was yet another small sign that winter is on it’s way out.   Then I stopped to listen.  No peepers yet.  That is the true sign.  Oh, and JB’s opening up.  There is some activity going on in that little brown building…..

I’m ready to see this:

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And this…..

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A little of this….

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…more of this…

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…a few walks here….

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…and I don’t want to do it in my coat and boots.

I want my flip flops.  And bikini.  Just kidding about the bikini….maybe.

 

A Page Ripped From History……

No really.   There has been a page ripped from history.  This is a short post just to let you know what has happened.  I’m not sure I can post the”after” pics or not.  The Mapbook suffered a non-fatal injury during the trip down to Guernsey last week.  One of the most used pages was ripped from its binding.  We pray and hope for a quick recovery.  I will update this weekend.

The Amish, A Witch and John & Annie

Kind of an odd sort of characters to gather together in a post, but they all made for a perfect day.

About 2 weeks ago, my bestie Cheryl quit her job.  Just walked right out.  Told her boss what she thought of her and the job and tossed her keys and left.  Ok, she had another job lined up…but can you imagine how liberating that felt?!?!  This then gave her a LOT of free time till the new job started……ROAD TRIP!  She picked the part of the state we would hit, I would find something for us to see.

That was not easy.  She picked the east/south east part of Ohio.  Not far enough for the Ohio River and not far east enough to hit Wheeling.  Imagine what “back in the holler” looks like.  I have NEVER been to this part of Ohio.  That makes it very hard to figure out what you want to see or where there is even anything to see.  There is not a straight route to Guernsey County…..but that actually helped with the trip.  We could go a few different routes, but decided that since we had all day, we would take Route 39 to Interstate 77.

Our goal was to leave at 8am…..but it ended up being 9.  No biggie.  However, my 13 year old was still battling a cold.  She was ‘ok’ to go to school…but we all know how much more miserable work/school is when you don’t feel good, so we packed her up with all her cough drops, medicine, pillow and blanket.  Playing hooky every now and then is ok in my book.

My goal was to find the 8-9 bridges that were either covered bridges, old train trestle bridges or “S” bridges (had never heard of them before).  Then, I stumbled upon an abandoned house that was super cool.  I found several pictures of it….read that it was in Guernsey County…..but could not, for the life of me, find the actual location of it….not even what road it was on.  I searched and searched and searched……and then did something I hate to do…..I gave up.  Besides, I had all those bridges to go see…and we were taking 39…it would still be a great day.

We pick Cheryl up and hit the Marathon for coffee.  And a hat.  A few years ago we took a road trip and started at the same Marathon store.  I fell in love with a pair of mittens.  Had. To. Have. Them.  Got ’em…love ’em!!  They had a hat in there this time.  Yep….had to have it.  I look like a fool in it,  but I might get brave and show you some time.  Maybe.  It has flaps.

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I don’t ask…I just do….

Finally on Rt. 39……heading towards Amish Country.  We know we will want to stop and get some cheese and baked yumminess on our way back home.  It can’t be helped.  If you drive through Amish Country, you are required to buy something.  Too bad my first purchase is a gallon of wiper fluid.  Driving behind a semi and running out of wiper fluid in the winter is never a good thing.  Second stop at a gas station already today.  Better be the last.  As we are filling up the wiper fluid, an older gentleman stops and says “You two look like you are from here…”  <crickets>  We are in Amish Country.  Not sure how my Jeep Grand Cherokee resembles the ol’ Horse ‘n Buggy.  But we are of the friendly nature and just politely ask if he needed help.  He did…he needed to get back on a highway to head west.  He was going back home to Illinois after driving here to buy a puppy.  Awwwwwww.  We told him where he needed to go, and he asked if we wanted to see the puppy.  Really?  Didn’t Oprah warn us not to fall for that line???  We caved.  We could see his elderly wife and the Illinois plates…and there was no way he was fitting all of us in that little car.  Turns out they were a super sweet couple with a little itty bitty black and white yorkie.  I have never seen a black and white yorkie…he says if he decides to let her have pups, he could sell them for about $1200-$1500 each.  Umm…don’t forget about the kind ladies who helped you find your way home.  This little puppy had a black spot over her eyes, so he was thinking he might call her Patches.  Awww.  Back on the road we go!!  Seeing that puppy reminds Bethy that Hershberger’s (awesome Amish store/bakery) always has puppies for sale….she wants to know if her and Cheryl ‘behave” will I take them to see the puppies.  Sure…IF those 2 can behave….they rarely can.

As we do with every road trip, we take note of where we want to stop on the way back, so we just keep rolling onward.  Interstate 77 is boring.  Really.  There is nothing really there for long distances.  It was easy to do 80…and easy for my daughter to point out that I was going 80.  Glad she did that BEFORE we saw the nice State Highway Patrolman.  He stayed put.  That’s why he was so nice.  My last speeding ticket included a road trip, my daughter, and Cheryl.  We get off the highway for a bio-break, (another gas station in Buffalo, Oh) and scope out where we are in relation to the bridges.  HEY!!!!  Guess what…..we are right down the road from Chris and Tammie (Cheryl’s gf’s cousin).  Are they home?  Yep!!  Let’s stop in and see them!  It’s just a little ways down the road.  As we head out from our Gas Station Tour, Cheryl says that there is this really cool house she wants me to see.  I ask her about it, and all she says is I just have to see it, it’s really cool.  Bethy loves cool houses too, so she is getting excited.  We are going deep into the holler to get to Chris and Tammie’s…..deep.  I’m thankful it hadn’t snowed a lot there lately.  Cheryl is still talking about how I need to see this house that is close to Chris’s.  She says it’s down the next road we turn on.  We turn.  And.  There.  it.  Is.  I had to stop the car.  I couldn’t drive.  I was so excited!

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We had to do the selfie…..had to.

This is the Witch’s Hat House.  This…is the house I had searched and searched for and could not find an address or road for.  This….is right around the corner from Chris’s house.  For me, this made my trip.  How ironic that Cheryl talked about a house she wanted me to see, and it turned out to be the house I couldn’t find.  There is a small ‘pull-off’ across the street, so we stopped and took pictures.  A lot of pictures.  It made me think…what in the world happens that people just leave a house.  The style of this house was a sign of wealth back in the day…..so sad to see it left like it is.  Tammie said that for many years, there was  a light on the porch that stayed lit 24/7….up until a couple of years ago, then it either burned out or the electric finally got turned off.  Of course, there has been a lot of vandalism and urban legends surrounding this house.  We did not go into the house, we never do.  We simply stand on the sidelines of history and capture the present.

We visit with Chris and Tammie for a little bit, then head off for lunch.  Seriously did not have a WW friendly lunch.  I won’t even tell you where we went, but, I will tell you a funny story from lunch.  Bethy got to pick where we sat, so she picked the counter.  It was Bethy, me, then Cheryl.  I am going to bear all right now and tell you I have a partial.  Like, in-my-mouth partial.  Like, grandma-lost-her-teeth partial.  I hate to eat with it in.  I have become very good at discreetly pulling it out either at the table (in a napkin) or I excuse myself to the restroom.   Sorry to gross you out.  It is what it is.  You really can’t tell I have it out unless you get me laughing hard.  This trip, I pulled it out and placed the napkin on the counter at the top of my plate.  We ate.  We had a good lunch.  Until Cheryl needed a napkin.  She reached for what she thought was a clean napkin.  What happened next was nothing short of hilarious.  She screamed like a little girl when my partial hit the counter.  I think I tinkled a little bit.  Bethy is still laughing at Cheryl for sounding like a little girl.  I gather my mouth and we venture on….after trying to pull a fast one on Cheryl.  Bethy made me move the car while she went to the restroom.  Yeah, the old “they left without me” trick is still funny……to us…..when you are the person playing the joke.

We decide that since we stopped to visit with Chris and Tammie for a little bit and had the side trip to the Witch’s Hat House, that we didn’t have enough time for all the bridges…in fact, we had to choose just one.  So I chose the one that looked the closest to the highway and was a covered bridge.  We took a side road here….a side road there….took a right…turned around….took a left and then a right…and drove down a creepy road….then back to the road the bridge is supposed to be on.  Then we find a pull off real close to where it should be.  And are dumbfounded.  We are lucky enough to have the GPS coordinates…..so we plug them in.  And are saddened.  We are at the exact coordinates……no bridge.  Amazing what happens when you actually look at things….and notice the ‘newness’ of the road and other signs of construction/destruction.  The one bridge I picked out, was torn down.  Bummer.  We will keep the list of other bridges and try again this spring…….we’ve still got Amish Country to hit….before 5 since that is when most of the Amish stores close…due to no electricity….and it getting dark early still.

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A river runs through it…..

Somewhere around 4, we hit the first Amish town, Sugar Creek……..where we come upon The Chair.  At Troyer Furniture.  It’s a nice chair.  Adirondack Style.  And it is Big.  And my daughter wants to sit in it.  Why not?!?!?

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The one chair we can both sit in at the same time….2 thumbs up!!

 

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We ended up with wet butts…because it’s winter in Ohio.  But, it was still fun…for us…and for the cars driving by watching us.  We’ve still got shopping to do and puppies to see….and we are burning daylight!!  We are able to get our cheese and Walnut Creek Honey Smoked Pan Fried Turkey Breast at, where else, the Walnut Creek Store.  Let me tell you….everyone says turkey is turkey….BUT…get yourself some of WC’s pan fried (regular or honey smoked) turkey breast.  You will taste the difference.  Yum.  Trust me.  Yum.  The Walnut Creek Store has a Customer Service desk.  This cracks me up…I don’t know why, but it does.

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We’ve got our meat…we’ve got our cheese….we avoid the bulk candy area…and head out to Hershberger’s for fry pies and to see the puppies.  Only problem, I forget which road it is on.  I do know it is on the way to Charm, OH.  So I plug Charm into the GPS and off we go…..and we finally make it….at 5:05pm.  🙁  They are closed…no puppies…no fry pies.   We are a little sad but will make another trip down here in the spring.

We decide to head home with the knowledge that we had a fun filled day…..when Cheryl sees an open sign…at a bakery!  SCORE!!!  We turn around and they are open…and they have fry pies!  (Fry pies….think Hostess fruit pies….but homemade and soooooo good).  Our day is complete…..all except for the puppies…(at least we got to see one puppy, Patches)…but we have already started planning for our next trip back down there.  We will make sure to leave plenty of time for Hershberger’s and Grandma’s Homestead Restaurant in Charm.  They have the best strawberry freezer jam and peanut butter.

I almost forgot….John & Annie.  As we are driving down 77, I notice a brown sign. In Ohio, the brown signs are usually tourist attractions, lakes, natural points of interest or historical places.  They always get my attention, because I’m a nerd like that.  So this brown sign says “John & Annie Glenn Historic Site”.  Yes, it piqued my curiosity, but it would have to wait.  When we are driving back up 77, I notice it again, and ask “Who the heck are John & Annie Glenn…and what the heck did they do?”.  In unison, Bethy and Cheryl say “Are you kidding?!?!?!  John Glenn!!!”  Duh.  The only thing I could say was “I’m an idiot.”

 

The nerd in me will make sure I go back and learn more about John & Annie.