Here We Go/#SoCS/#Free48

And it started with a crack, not a gunshot. What, you may ask? Well, the race to have a relaxing, productive, fun, peaceful, exciting, safe, drama-free yet noteworthy mini vacation. Easy peasy, right? 😳 And we were off to a great start until Alabama decided to step up and say, “Hey, you know what day it is?”

 

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3 great years and whack! Of course it must be filled soon or it will spread like a taunting grin and shouting, “Friday the 13th is reeeal” If I didn’t know better I’d think Nick Satan (I mean Saban) threw it himself. 🙊

But, we had a great trip otherwise and saw a cool new set of bridges, some great cloud antics, a nice sunset and sunrise. More on our food adventures later but mine was good last night, once we found the right restaurant.

We are excited about visiting with family and friends. Hope your #Free48 has no cracks, holes, breaks, tears or rot.

 

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Cool twin bridges
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I loved the lines and squares in it

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This is a saki margarita. Oh yeah, it was..

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Ummm those are tuna tatake sliders. Yum!

*Okay Linda did I make the extra points? Do visit Linda’s blog for more great #SoCS posts and to join the fun. Today’s prompt was to use a three letter word. I had a few four letters in mind but tried to be good. 😂

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The Messengers/#Free48

Today was such a beautiful day I had the urge to get out and explore, take photos and just get lost in history.  At first I thought of a church tour but there are just too many here.  The Georgia skyline is literally dotted with steeples. So, I began checking historic churches, which led to historic buildings, then narrowing it down to nearby cities and finally I hit a winner.

 

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This visit was not about patriotism or politics but about my love of cemeteries.  There is so much history written on grave stones and in the case today, much more that was left unsaid on the unmarked stones of the soldiers who fell in the battles around the cemetery.  So many were never identified and lay in graves there, acknowledged in the only way humanly possible without the  modern science techniques we use today.

Another thing that I love to see when I visit a cemetery is the birds that live there, so often lighting on the head stones and posing there or squawking until I take a photo. Many indigenous peoples have beliefs that include birds being messengers from the Spirit world. I like to feel this is true.  If it is, then there were a lot of messages coming at me today.  Here are the best of the images I got while we walked around.

 

 

If you hold your finger on the bottom of the photo you may find a caption!

It was getting late, so we headed over to the second stop on our excursion.  This one should catch your eye, Dan. I think it was your kind of place.  😉

 

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I have more photos but not enough time to edit and put them in this post. I also feel this might be one of the best put together museums that I have ever visited.  It truly warrants its own post when I have the chance.  Meanwhile, here are a few of the highlights.  If you are ever in Kennesaw, and if you love trains or history, be sure to stop by.

 

 

Then we were hungry so headed in search of food. We found a new little place called The Nest and grabbed some cold beer and Barbecue.  I had mine in tacos.  I hope your Free48 was beautiful.  Got a busy week ahead so you may not hear from me for a bit.  Have a great week and stay cool, in all ways. 😎

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In Search Of Brilliance

It has been a practice of mine for quite some time now to seek out small miracles which can turn things around-a moment, a day or an event which otherwise seems bleak. The last few weeks have been very trying and painful for my family in many ways; and although I am not right there with them physically, my heart still aches and longs to turn things around and make life beautiful again for everyone, so thoughts and prayer must suffice in this moment.

I also had a birthday over the past #Free48. My ‘Birthday Buddy’, my son who shares the same birthday, was not here this year and that added to the prospect of a bleak celebration. But, as is always the case, Nature stepped up to the plate and presented me with some magnificent bits of brilliance to say, “Happy Birthday!”.

With well wishes from friends and phone calls from loved ones, including a birthday song from the grandkids, it was-as always-a special day.

This early gift from my sweet sister kicked things off!

 

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Thank you Omaha!

All I really cared about was getting outside to take some photos and having a nice meal somewhere that someone else cooked. 😉My dear hubby, as always, was a willing partner and smiled through it all-even the humidity. It really wasn’t too bad in the early part of Sunday. Here are some of my favorite things from our excursion.

 

 

 

 

 

Then I heard it. That familiar cry that sends me running like a crazed shopper on Black Friday. There is no mistaking a hawk’s screech. When we turned around there was a huge one flying low across the front of the property with its lunch in its claws. Seeing where it lit, I stealthily crept over to stand beneath the tree for some photos. I will spare you the gore (in this post) but it always amazes me to watch these birds methodically eat. He left nothing behind either, not a hair. We looked it up later to find this was a juvenile 😱 Broad Winged Hawk.

 

 

 

 

Please don’t tell Zippy! 🙊🙈He showed up to say Happy Birthday too!

 

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I got my dinner out at Yardhouse. Plus a free birthday dessert! So yummy.

 

 

 

 

And yesterday there were a few more surprises from friends at work. And hubby stepped with a few surprises he said he didn’t have time to get over the weekend with me hanging around. 😉 He’s so good to me.

 

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Publix Fudge Cake! Oh my….
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These are a few of my favorite things….
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This lady and I usually share a burrito like this on Fridays. This one was all mine! The flowers came from her beautiful yard!

 

This?

 

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A gift from my oldest. A hands free gadget for my crafts, like jewelry making. I think it looks like Doc Oc from Spiderman! 😀 I thought you’d like it, Dan!

Well, there it is. Brilliant Birthday. I hope everyone has a better than anticipated week. Ours begins with a no tolerance hands free cell phone law in place. Should be high revenues for the state of Georgia! 😏

Hugs! 💕

This was in my head when I woke up. Now it can be in yours too!

Speechless/#SoCS

It is with my apologies to Linda Hill and her #SoCS prompt that today’s post is not as fun filled as I normally try to create.. I try to always post things that lift others up or give them a smile.

Sadly, at this particular time, when I hear the word reservation my heart and head are heavy. Since hearing the news about Anthony Bourdain, the word only conjures up memories of watching his great food show Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations with my husband and dreaming of visitng all those wonderful places and having similar experiences as Anthony. He will be missed by so many. That also reminds me of the recent suicide of Kate Spade and not so recently of Robin Williams. All will be missed. So many people lose hope and in a single moment of deepest despair make that decision to abandon the life they were born to live. It breaks my heart for them and for those who love them.

The word reservation also conjures images of the atrocities suffered by the indigenous peoples of this and other countries for decades, a fact that many people still are unaware of or simply don’t care to look at. The issue of our government separating parents from infants has not been confined to illegals over the course of its history. There are still Native Americans seeking their natural families after being taken from them as small children and forced to live in foster homes. These are not myths or justifiable procedures. They are heartbreaking stories of growing up with a sense of lost identity and disconnection.

I have no reservation in speaking from my heart about these things. Life is beautiful in so many ways. I try to always glean the best from every situation and share the perfect moments that I find; however, we must also look at those things which are tragically present in this world and that we can affect with our prayers, with our voices and our votes, and above all else-with our love.

May Peace reign over the dis-ease that is insidiously infecting God’s perfect creation.

1 Peter 3:9-11

9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.

I rarely quote scripture these days; but since many use it as a weapon, I feel it is necessary to bring to light the words of the Christ who is being used to commit many atrocoties against his message. I also do not equate ‘evil’ to the traditional interpretation. In my heart evil is fear. When man fears he wishes to destroy. My mother and father taught me as a child that “There is no fear in perfect love.” It makes perfect sense to me, yet it can be a mighty mountain to climb in this life.

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Every living thing has a purpose
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Nature cares not for pride or possession
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We have a responsibilty to care for the planet

Even our thoughts have power, so we must use these thoughts and our words wisely, lovingly and without reservation.

Happy #Free48 everyone.

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Time in a Bottle

One of my favorite Jim Croce songs states, “If I could make days last forever. If words could make wishes come true, I’d save every day like a treasure and then-again-I would spend them with you.”

It is a blessing, in life, to have someone you feel this way about. In good and bad times, to realize you wouldn’t give up any days spent with them, but merely try to change the way some may have been miss spent.

Sometimes a day begins on a less than brilliant note but ends spectacularly. Those days are especially nice because I love surprises!

The #Free48 started out with a Friday fun afternoon at a new venue near the house. We thought #Baddaddysburgerbar was pretty cool, from the Badass Margaritas (of which they only allow 2 per person) to the wide variety of freshly styled burgers and hand cut fries. So good! The homemade chips were crispy and not greasy. We will definitely go back. There’s a whole menu to try!

 

(Touch any photo for the description)

 

 

Then there was Saturday…low key, projects, a bit of housework and cooking a weekend meal.

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I just had to work on jewelry projects
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Braised Pork chops, baked sweet potato, peas and Olive Oil Muffins.
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These muffins are so good! I found the recipe from David Lebovitz’s blog awhile back and saved the link. I finally dug in and gave it a whirl. Can you smell the orange?

Check out David’s recipe for Olive Oil Muffins

Sunday promised to be a beautiful day and we headed up to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to a small German influenced town called Helen. Here comes the disappointment moments….it was less than even underwhelming, mostly due to a sense of apathy among the vendors there. It seemed as though we had stepped back in time, but it was frozen somewhere in the 70’s along with all of their merchandise and venues. The buildings are quaint and stylish, and there is a cute little park as well; but it took us approximately 45 minutes to walk around and fear we had made the two hour drive for naught. Thankfully, we had to drive to the other side of town when we first arrived, making sure we parked in the best spot, and spotted a state and national park sign worthy of a second look.

We did stop in an ‘authentic’ German restaurant/bakery where we snagged a cream puff. What can I say? I have certainly made tastier treats. The pastry was dry and the cream was only whipped cream-and unsweetened at that. So disppointing.

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Authentic German styling
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Even a windmill!
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This little waterfall was in the patk
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We always enjoy a good pastry. Too bad it was mediocre.

So, quick as that, we headed to the far end of town and followed the brown park signs to Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls National Park. Hubby has a lifetime pass to all national parks so we ended up getting in totally free! Yippee!!

Talk about worth the wait. It was about a mile walk uphill to the falls and the view along the way was beautiful, cascading water at every turn. I knew the moment I saw this beauty that we were where we should be.

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I so wish I could live here. One of the best things was the way the air got cooler the higher we walked. At one point it felt like a blast of air conditioning wafted down the hillside.

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I loved these huge rock formations and hidden passageways.

Then we reached the top! It was so lovely. We have seen larger falls but this place has its own special charm.

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The view was breathtaking
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If only I could stay…
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That smile is genuine. Me and water and the woods make a happy trio!

Reluctantly, we headed back down the hill and made our way to the parking lot.

Our day was exhilarating. From expectant to disillusioned to thrilled.

 

 

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What’s not to love about this drive?

We had one more stop to make.

 

 

 

How is that for a #Free48?

As I said before…..

I’m Late!

I’m late, I’m late….

 

I promised I would post the result of my hush puppy trial yesterday but never got around to it. I must apologize but it was with good reason. I was having fun!

We were fortunate to be able to get out during a reprieve from our recent rains to make a return trip to the Botanical Garden and found a new spot that we totally missed on our first trip. We found a couple of new friends there!

 

 

More on that later….on to the hush puppies.

I actually like this recipe more than most others I have tried because it gives more of a light, cornbread texture-and they are good cold as well! The inside is light and fluffy while the outside maintains a nice crispy texture.  They were perfect with the breaded shrimp we had alongside.  Time was short so we opted for a prepared shrimp that only needed cooking.  Next time, the real deal.  Honestly, I avoid frying anything very often so this was a special occasion.  When I do fry it is normally only pan frying in a small amount of oil.  This requires the full monty, however, and so we did.

 

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Hush puppies cooling their jets..
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These breaded shrimp came from the grocery freezer..not like homemade but sufficient
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Nice platter yes?
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Crispy outside, light inside. Perfect with butter!

 

We made a significant dent in this platter.  My plate was clean!

 

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Who would think there was room for dessert? Well, how could we resist fresh, juicy mango with whipped cream?

 

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Yeah….we had to wait a few minutes before tackling the mess in the kitchen. 😂

 

Would I change the recipe in any way?  For me, the white cornmeal is a bit too fine so I would try to find a self rising yellow or make my own.  I might even substitute some yellow corn flour in place of the whole purpose flour in the recipe.  I added cayenne or perhaps you might like fresh jalapeño.  The green onions were great and I added some well drained diced red pimiento, or you could use finely chopped fresh sweet pepper.  It’s your cornbread, after all! The buttermilk definitely made the texture perfect for me.  I hope you guys let me know how yours turn out.  In case you missed my last post, with the recipe, you can find it here.

Meanwhile….back in the garden….

 

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Doesn’t he look just tickled? Exactly how I feel when I am there! Sans frogs in hand….

 

Maybe he’s thinking frog legs with hush puppies….🙊

 

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Savoring the moments….

 

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“We have to stop meeting like this,” I whispered.  He said he would be there waiting until next time.

I promise to share more of our #Free48 later on.  I hope yours is unfolding splendidly!

What Matters…

What we hold in the palm of our hands,

delicate gift, the heart understands.

What we possess but forget

in the wake of regret

withers in shadow

of doubt.

 

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Fragrant remains of desire,

kindling for funeral pyre,

The bits that you clutch,

have so numbed your touch,

while faint memory lingers

I slip through your fingers

as dust in the wind

and no way to mend

the bridge that once

called you a friend.

Forgotten.

 

CKP copyright words and Photo

2018