6/28/2012

How Hot is It?

People are posting their temps on their blogs, so not wanting to be left out, here's ours:
Cooler than some, but 100?  Really?  This is the "Southeast":  it's a "different kind of hot" than Arizona.  We have humidity.  As in 80% humidity.  What is it with the "heat index values"?  We know it's 100 degrees, do we have to know that it actually feels hotter than it is?  And, after you reach 100, could it really feel any hotter?  Why don't they tell us what the "heat index value" is in the middle of winter?  Is there such a thing as heat index in the winter?  There should be.
Let's just pray that the air conditioning holds up!

6/27/2012

Let Freedom Ring in the Wed. Hodgepodge


1. What do the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' mean to you? Does your mind go more in the direction of not being persecuted or discriminated against or does it head in the direction of doing what you please?
Freedom & Liberty mean that we have "unalienable rights".  I decided to look that phrase up, and learned that the Declaration of Independence states that we have "unalienable rights", not "inalienable rights".  Huh.  I never knew that.  What's the difference?  Here you go:

UNALIENABLE.
The state of a thing or right which cannot be sold.
Things which are not in commerce, as public roads, are in their nature unalienable. Some things are unalienable, in consequence of particular provisions in the law forbidding their sale or transfer, as pensions granted by the government. The natural rights of life and liberty are UNALIENABLE. Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition
"Unalienable: incapable of being alienated, that is, sold and transferred." Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1523:
You can not surrender, sell or transfer unalienable rights, they are a gift from the creator to the individual and can not under any circumstances be surrendered or taken. All individual's have unalienable rights.
Inalienable rights: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights. Morrison v. State, Mo. App., 252 S.W.2d 97, 101.
You can surrender, sell or transfer inalienable rights if you consent either actually or constructively. Inalienable rights are not inherent in man and can be alienated by government. Persons have inalienable rights. Most state constitutions recognize only inalienable rights.
Bet you had NO idea you were actually going to learn something when you clicked on my blog, did you?  (That's assuming you were in the dark as much as I was!)  You're welcome!  :)
2. Nathan's sponsors a hot dog eating contest every 4th of July. Last year over 40,000 people attended the event and almost 2 million watched it on TV. The winner ate over 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. How do you like your hot dogs?
I like my hotdogs with mustard & ketchup.  Sometimes with chili & onions, especially if I'm a little place called "Ebenezer Cafe" in a town outside of Charlotte, NC.  It's located in the town where we lived in SC, and it's just a run-down hole on the side of the road.  On Saturdays, it's hard to find a parking spot, even in the gravel parking lot behind the building.
3. If you were going to enter an eating contest what would be on the menu?
Cake, maybe?  
4. Do you run your house more as a dictatorship or a democracy?
Does the phrase "Our house, our rules" tell you anything?  As the boys get older, we get more lenient...to a certain extent.  They know not to come in during the middle of the night, waking up mama.  That's a HUGE no-no! 
5. Where was your favorite summer place when you were a kid?
The river in the mountains.  Just in case this is your first visit here, I'm the 8th of 10 children.  We didn't have air conditioning until I was in high school, so when it was really hot, we'd pile into the station wagon and head to the mountains for some splashing & tubing in the river to cool off.  
6. Do you have a guest room? Would you want to stay there?
Our house has 4 bedrooms, and we have 3 boys who are still in & out of the house, so, no, we don't have a guest room.  Maybe someday!
7. Next Wednesday America celebrates her independence. Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July? If you live outside the USA when and how does your country celebrate its own patriotic holiday?
No plans here.  It's going to be a very quiet 4th!
 One of my brothers usually hosts a swim party at his house, but they're going to NC to visit his oldest son, dil, and their 2 kids.  Boo.  Now I know where we rate!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
The school system where I work requires teachers to get some professional development (PD) hours on our own during the summer, or work the "Banking Days" designated during the school year.  This year, that number has jumped up to 30.  YIKES!!!  It really isn't that difficult to do:  we can do some free online courses that are 1 or more hours long, as long as we get a certificate for it as proof.  In the past, since the Speech Pathologists are "special", we have also had the opportunity to endure a day of a reading conference, and a day of a math conference.  They really aren't bad; there's usually quite a few sessions that we can translate into our field.  This year, however, we're having our own PD activities!  Hooray!!!  Today marks the first one, we have one in July,  then 2 consecutive days when the other conferences are going one.  That only means 6 hours on our own, and we can count after school meetings as parent conferences for those.   Or we can go ahead and get them some other way, or work during a Banking Day during the year.  Yeah, like that's going to happen!
Of course, this means that I'll be out of my pj's before 10:00!

6/26/2012

Quickies

Nothing much going on here.  I thought I would entertain you with a couple of pictures so you can get another Laika fix!
 Notice all of the tufts of stuffing?  This is about the 4th toy that we've had forever that she's destroyed.  At least she was staying busy and didn't tear up anything she wasn't suppose to!
How could anyone deny this face?  I'm trying hard to keep her off of the couch, but she keeps trying!  I'm holding my ground, though!
This is a dish that one of the teachers made for our "TLC" (Tuesday Lunch Club) at school.  Very good, very light.  A perfect light dinner for those days when it's too hot to turn on the oven!

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad
1 10oz bag of fresh spinach
8 oz. Grated Asiago Cheese
5-6 oz. chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 can sliced black olives
1 lb penne pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
2 whole grilled chicken breasts, sliced

Tear spinach into bite size pieces. Toast pine nuts at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, do not burn.  
Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing

Dressing
1 cup olive oil (or your choice)
4 Tbls white wine vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and shake well to blend.  Pour over the pasta and spinach mixture and toss well.


CH & MS liked it; OS said he wasn't real crazy about it, and YS didn't have any because he had just had his wisdom teeth cut out.  I made the salad ahead of time and left out the spinach so it wouldn't wilt once I put the dressing on it.  Also, that way everybody could put however much spinach in it that they wanted.  I cheated a little and used the Perdue Grilled Chicken Southwestern Style (in the blue box).

If you try it and modify it, let me know so I can try it, too!

6/24/2012

Freedom

I only took 2 pictures over the weekend, so it didn't seem right to participate in "The Weekend Wrap-up" today.  We had a pretty low-key weekend. (I hope some of you will visit Stephani and participate.  She just started this meme, so it's just getting off the ground.)

So, I wanted to share with you this video that was brought to my attention yesterday.  This isn't a "Catholic" thing, it's an "American" thing.  Our freedoms that many young women and men have died for are at stake.

One part of the video did bother me, and I feel like I need to explain.  The part of the video that brings "marriage" into it:  as you know, I have a gay brother who has a lifelong partner.  Sometimes my brother reads my blog, and knowing his feelings on this made me a little uncomfortable knowing that he may watch this and his blood pressure may go sky-high.  I have my opinion, and I'm sure you have one.  It may be the same as mine, or it may be different.  I don't want to get into it...I'm not a confrontational person at all, so we'll just leave it at that.  (Please don't leave comments voicing your opinion!)  I just felt that I needed to voice my lack of comfort in that part of the video, knowing my brother may see it.

As I was wondering about a post for today, the video was in my e-mail.  I thought, "Okay, Lord, I hear you!"  Today was the first time in a long time that I attended Mass, and the priest's homily was about this very thing.  In fact, I almost went to a different church, but decided against it Sunday morning.  Catholic Churches in the USA are participating in "Fortnight to Freedom".  You can learn more about it here.  It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent; there are no party-lines when it comes to our freedoms being at risk, because it will affect ALL of us. 

Coincidence that this happened today?  I think not. 


6/22/2012

Summer Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

~  Well, I missed posting twice this week.  Looks like I may be back-sliding into the blogging black hole.

~  YS had his wisdom teeth cut out yesterday.  No funny videos to show you...he behaved very well...unfortunately.  See, even my kids aren't giving me good material to blog about!

~  I met with the SLP who will be taking over "my" school next year.  She's going to fit in just fine.  Nothing like meeting a new SLP who is your son's age.  Guess I'm going from being a "friend" stage to being like a "mother" stage.    Weird.

~  One of the teachers I worked with last year posted on fb that she has almost lost the baby weight (she had a baby in Feb.).  I had to fuss at her when the last couple of days before school was out, because she was doing some ridiculous 900 calorie days.  Anyway, when she posted the weight post, I commented that I hoped she was eating, and she said "Yes, mom".  Guess it's time to face reality, huh? I feel like I'm there age, but they're quick to remind me that I'm not.  :(

~  A gripe:  Why do some people insist on going through a drive through when they should go inside?  And why do employees not tell them to come inside when there are 5 cars behind him?  Yesterday, when I went to get YS' prescriptions filled, I was in a hurry so went through the drive through.  There were 2 cars ahead of me, and the first was just finishing up.  The one directly in front of me to at least 15 minutes.  (NO LIE)  There are 2 drive throughs, but to get a prescription, I want to see the person face-to-face, so I stayed in the one closest to the building.  And yes, I voiced my frustration to the young man.  I can blame that outburst on hormones, right?

~  Laika graduated from puppy school last night, but I didn't go.  She even got a little certificate!  I didn't realize how much I missed having a big dog.

Alright, y'all know what to do:  head over to Mrs. 4444's and link up!

6/19/2012

Summer Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you? 
There are so many songs that say summer!  "Brandy" (Looking Glass)  takes me back to the pool when I was in late elementary/jr. high; "Summer Breeze" (Seals & Crofts) reminds me of high school summers.  Then there's "Saturday int he Park" (Chicago).  I'm sure once I read everybody else's answer I'll hit my forehead!

2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?
Melons & ice cream.  (You didn't say just one!)
 
3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Edison, and Gover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?
Clara Barton.  She seemed so passionate about helping others.
 
4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?
18, when I went to college.  Although technically I was still a resident until I got married at 22.
 
5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?
I get such a great feeling when I save money.  Saving time is good, too.
 
6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.
A smile.  Honestly.  If I'm having a bad day, and someone smiles at me or says something kind, it changes everything.  
 
7. This last question comes to you courtesy of Kathy over at Reflections...will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?
I have no plans this summer.  Since we did London in October, and I have plans for Denmark/Germany next summer, I'm laying low.
 
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
My summer break is half over, and today is the first day of summer.  Does anybody else see anything wrong with this picture?  I went to one of my schools on Monday and cleaned out the inactive file cabinet.  I can't stand disorganization (if that's a word!) in my workplace, and that cabinet was driving me crazy!  It took me about 3 hours, but files were combined and put in file folders, the date the student went inactive is on the tab, and the folders are in alphabetical order.  I feel so much better!

6/17/2012

Weekend Wrap-Up




Weekend Wrap-up at a Defined Life
 I'm joining Stephani again for a Weekend Wrap-up!  It's a quick, easy way to, well, wrap up your weekend!



Enjoyed watching Laika sleep in her many different positions.  (I wanted to keep my "G" rating for my blog, so I pixeled out her privates! )
A butterfly on my ginormous butterfly bush.  That bush really took off this spring and has taken over the back sidewalk!


For Father's Day, I found a recipe for "Chubby Hubby Bars".  How could I pass that up???  (In case you're wondering, I call my husband "CH", which initially stood for "Chubby Hubby", but I changed it to "Caring Hubby"!)  Next time I'll mix up the peanut butter with the mixer before adding the chocolate chips & pretzels to the batter and maybe add more peanut butter.  I think if I had put more chocolate and peanut butter chips on top, it would've been better.
Saturday, CH & I used a free movie ticket to see"The Avengers".  (The picture was taken from Wikipedia)
YS & I can scratch one thing off of our "Germany To Do" list!  We found some backpacks that should hold all of our stuff for our trip!
YS & CH at lunch on Father's Day.

I saw this commercial Saturday evening:

Take a look at the girl's face...her mom must not be a blogger!

6/14/2012

Fragmented Friday

Mommy's Idea
~  Exciting times around the small town:  Last week a black bear was on campus that MS attends.  It's rare for them to come into the big city.

~  Check this out:
That would be a tire track inside the local CVS.  A woman's brakes failed and she ended up crashing into the front of the store.
There were people inside, but luckily no one was hurt.

~  Last week in a post about my car, I mentioned that you never see a minivan pulled over.  Well, guess what I witnessed earlier this week?  Yep, a white minivan that apparently had been speeding.  I had to chuckle when I saw it!

~  Yesterday was "Violation Day", aka my yearly trek to the gynecologist's office.  Who knew that a papsmear was optional if your HPV screen came back negative?  I asked my dr. how often they are recommending that you have a paps if the screen was negative, and she said 3-5 years.  I'm not so sure I'd be comfortable with that.

~  I watched the new Dallas pilot yesterday on "On Demand".  I completely forgot it was on Wednesday night!  I LOVED that they kept the old theme song the same!

~  Have a wonderful weekend!

Fun Day

Yesterday was a fun day.  I met up with the "special ed ladies" at one of their houses.  Our hostess made Italian Wedding Soup and Split Pea Soup (I skipped that one...not a fan of the pea!).  We all brought something.  The plan was to get together and eat lunch, and we all brought a project or a book.  That last part was a waste, because all we did was talk!  From 11:00 to 3:00, that's pretty much all we did.
Our hostess has a very nice screened in back porch, so we ate there, listening to the birds and the occasional bark from a neighbor's dog.  We talked about our families, things in the news, and (of course) school.  It was such a good time!
This was the biggest hit:
Unfortunately, I wasn't the one who brought it!  I'm not sure what all is in it, but she said that the crust was made from a cake mix.  Very good, and very light.  Perfect for a summer dessert!

One of the ladies brought a quilt she is working on:
Let me say this:  People who are crafty amaze me.  All of my sisters are, but somehow that gene fizzled out before it got to me...or mom's patience did.  One or the other!  I started to learn how to crochet once, and I can do counted cross-stitch.  Part of my problem is that I don't want to put it down until it's finished, and I think it should be finished in one sitting.  I guess that's the patience part!

The hostess lives on the  "Curves" side of town, so after I left her house I went Curving.  We're talking full-blown Curving!  The only thing I went easy on was the 2 machines that involve the twisting of the back.  I definitely don't want a repeat of  the sciatica bout!

It felt really great to be able to sit down with friends for a nice outdoor lunch and not have to worry about rushing off to get my next group of students!  Don't you just love summer?

6/13/2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. In what way are you your own worst enemy? 
I can be pretty hard on myself.  And, I can talk myself out of just about everything.

2. Jacques Cousteau's birthday was Monday, June 11th...ever been scuba diving? Is that something you'd like to try? What's your favorite 'under the sea' creature?
I've never been, but CH & MS are certified.  MS got his certification through his biology class in high school.  He went on a really cool trip to Florida and got to swim with the manatees.  I'm a big chicken.  I don't know if I could handle it or not.  (I'm real adventurous like that.)  Seahorses are pretty amazing.
3. On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you in and around the water? (1=not at all, 10=very) Do you know how to swim and if so how and when did you learn?
I'd say about a 5.  My mom made sure that we all took swimming lessons when we were little.  I think it was a way to make sure she had a few peaceful hours during the summer when we were out of the house at the pool.  Growing up, we also spent quite a few summer Sundays in the mountains playing in the river.  We didn't have air conditioning, so that was a way to get everybody out of the house and doing something cool.  Maybe one of the reasons I'm not real comfortable around water is that my parents stressed the danger of swimming in the river, with the undertows.  
I'm amazed that my 2 oldest boys are so comfortable around the water.  OS is spending his weekends as a river raft guide at a river that has been used for the Olympics.  And, he's able to keep his head in an emergency situation:  he saved someone from drowning last weekend.

*okay, I'm cheating.  After reading a few posts, I feel like I need to defend my "5" rating!  I'm a 10 in a pool, but as far as going waaay out in the ocean, or being on a boat (even in a lake), or swimming in the river in the mountains, I'm a "5".  There.  I feel much better now!) 

4. What's something you do to motivate yourself to tick an item off your to-do list?
Gosh, I just make myself do it.  If it's something around the house, I'll put on some loud music and go!
5. What makes a good neighbor? Are you a good neighbor?
I'd like to think I'm a good neighbor.  I would hope that my neighbors know they can call on me when/if they need me.  I definitely know what a bad neighbor is...we had one of those in a previous place where we lived.  I could tell horror stories...

6. Who loads the dishwasher at your house? Is there a right way and a wrong way?
Ha, ha, ha!  Is this a real question???  There's definitely a right and wrong way to load the dishwasher.  Having said that, guess who loads it.
7. You know it's summer when_________________________.
School's out!  Even though we get out in mid-May, it's summer!
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Some of you participated in Weekend Wrap-Up with A Defined Life.  This is a great way to get ready for a new week, and not have to wonder about how you're going to fit everything that you did during the weekend in one post without boring everybody to tears.  Take pictures over the weekend, and post them.  You can use words, or not.   It doesn't matter what kind of camera you use...no judging there!  If you didn't participate this week, please think about it for Monday.  Either way, please help Stephani out and spread the word!

6/12/2012

Progress?

I was thinking of changing the name of my blog, because, well, I feel like it's a little misleading.  While the town where I live is considered "small", there are a lot of bloggers out there who live in towns much smaller than mine.  Our population is around 8,000, but the town is "connected" to another town which makes it seem larger than it is.  And, we have plenty of restaurants and stores.  Soon, there will be more.

A couple of months ago, "they" started clearing some land.  Trees that once lined the highway leading to "the big town/city" are no more.  We do have a very nice view of the mountains (just look past the power lines!):
Knocking the trees down have just exposed the plant that is still in operation:
CH thinks that painting the plant green would help it to blend in.

The reason for the clearing is so that a "bypass" can be built.  The highway leading to the big city is known as "I'll kill you" highway.  It's a 4-lane highway with a lot of fast food restaurants.  So, you have people pulling onto the highway, and slowing down to get off.  It's been that way as long as I can remember.  It also was called "The Motor Mile" because it used to be a mile of car dealerships, but some have closed down.  The bypass will provide a thru-way for those people who think they have to live in the next town over but work in the big city. Luckily, we won't be affected too much by it.

Just past the area that has been cleared lies empty land.  This is where one of the plants stood.  Some of the land can not be used due to the product that the plant dealt with.  The land is too contaminated to build on.  Part of the land is now the softball/baseball fields for the high school.  A developer bought some of the land and supposedly is planning on turning it into something like this:
click on picture for credit
Or, so we were told.  A few weeks ago I saw in the paper that a major retail store has expressed an interest, but with the stipulation that if the name of the store is leaked, they'll pull out.  So, if  a major retailer is planning on building, I have a sneaky suspicion the area won't look like the above picture.  If I wanted to live next to the above location, I would've bought a home right next to it.  To say I'm a little peeved is putting it mildly.   People move to our small town because of it's charm.  Part of that charm is that it's quiet.  During a meeting, we were told that the initial projection was that "they" would expect 24,000 cars coming through.  That's 3x the population.  Property values will go up, but at what expense? 

So, they can keep their "progress".  I moved back to my hometown because while some things have changed, many things stayed the same.  Kids still walked to & from school through the park.  The pool was and still is "the" place to be in the summer.  I just hope this "progress" doesn't make it too dangerous for kids to continue to be kids in the small town.  "They" heard the people loud & clear at the meetings, but, as one of the city employees told me, "If a developer buys the land, he can pretty much do whatever he wants to with it", whether the citizens want it or not.  Elections are coming up, right???

6/10/2012

Weekend Wrap-Up



Weekend Wrap-up at a Defined Life

Stephani at A Defined Life started up a new meme last week, and I forgot.  So, here I am this week, to join in.  To find out more about the meme, click here.

Saturday we went to a little wedding.  YS' band director got married to a sweet young woman.

I did a little reading.  I actually finished one book and got started on another.  If you haven't found the free Kindle books, check out http://ereadernewstoday.com and www.fkbooksandtips.com.
I spent waaaay too much playing this:
(I'm really going to have to just walk away.)
We got YS' Senior Pictures Proofs.
While they were very good, I'm waiting for my niece to get back in touch with me about doing a shoot with him.  When I get them from her, I'm able to get exactly how many I need in the sizes I need them.  I don't like having to commit to a package and paying a bunch of money for pictures that will never be used.

And, finally, as I was sitting on the back porch Sunday evening reading my book, I heard a "splat".  I looked over on the table to see this:
 And that pretty much sums up the weekend! 

As you can see, you don't have to be a professional photographer to participate in this meme.  You don't even have to have a decent camera! 

6/08/2012

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

~  Stephani at A Defined Life just started a new Monday meme, which I completely forgot about on Monday.  She's calling it:  Weekend Wrap-up.  Take 1 or more pictures during the weekend, and post them on Monday.  You can use words...or not.    You can use your big girl camera, or you can use your cell phone if you want.  For further instructions, click here.

~  I just heard on tv that the big university near here (where MS attends) is planning on increasing the parking permit.  Heavens to Betsy!   I had "sticker shock" during MS' freshman year!  Of course, the commuter's permit isn't near as much as the resident's permit.  Guess they want to discourage those kids that live on campus from driving cars.

~  Did anyone watch the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebration?  I love that she carries a purse with her!  I heard on tv that her hems are weighted to keep her dress from flying up!

~  Did you know the Queen has a twitter account?  @hmqelizabeth

~  Laika had her third puppy class last night.  We worked on "come".  Oh my, but she was adorable running to me down the aisle of the store with those legs going and the ears flopping.  She also had to meet 3 other dogs in the store.  It didn't matter if the dog was big or little, she was terrified!  There was a very big 6 month old Rottweiler that was huge; she wouldn't have much to do with him.  There were a couple of chihuahuas in the store last night;  she eventually met them, but was very cautious.  She's just so stinkin' cute!

~  Have a good weekend!  Don't forget to visit Mrs. 4444 & Java!



6/07/2012

Amusement Park on $20

Here's how you can visit an amusement park on $20:
1)  (This is the most important thing to remember!)  Find a family member or friend who has a Gold Card Pass and wants to use their "get someone in free" ticket.

2)  Since the sister has a gold pass:  FREE PARKING!  (Saved $8 by meeting somewhere and taking 1 car to the park.)

3)  Bring a camelback to carry your own water. (Saves on buying a cup in the park.)
4)  Don't eat.  In our case, we ate lunch in the park:  a decent salad.  The chicken in it wasn't of the best quality, but the rest was pretty good.  I bought my sister's lunch, and the total was around $18.

5)  Don't buy anything.  We went into the little shops and looked at some things, but didn't buy anything.

I hadn't been to this park in a long, long time.  We didn't ride any of the rides, but we did go on the steam train that was used during WWII in Alaska to transport troops and lumber.  The park has 2 engines (both were used in Ak. during WWII):  Klondike Katie and Cinderella.

When the train is in the station, the area is covered in the steam.  Not a pretty sight!
There is an operating Grist Mill on the grounds.   It was built exactly as it would have been in the 1880s and the first fully operating grist mill built in Tennessee in more than 100 years. What does it mean to build a structure as it would have been 100 years ago? It meant that the roof shingles were split by hand, and all the door hardware was created onsite by the park’s blacksmiths. The structure’s round logs were hewed by hand in front of the building site with holes drilled in the logs by hand using different size augers. The architectural shingles on the side of the building and all lumber were milled at the park’s sawmill which was then located in Craftsman’s Valley.  The window panes were made by the park’s glassblowers, and each window frame was made onsite using steam engine power to operate the five-in-one machine which is now located in the Valley Carriage Works wagon shop.
All work on the grist mill was done by then Silver Dollar City employees during the park’s operating season so that park guests could observe the process.  It took six months to complete the mill, just in time for the annual fall crafts festival.  The Dollywood Grist Mill is a complete and fully operating mill where corn and wheat are ground into flour daily.  Both are available for purchase by park guests, along with a variety of other goodies including the popular cinnamon bread.  
The cinnamon bread was excellent!   My sister bought some for us to share, so there's another money saver for you!
There's also a chapel on the grounds.  I couldn't find any information on the building, except that it was named after the doctor who delivered Dolly (as in Parton).
 click on picture for credit
Y'all know how I am about old churches, or churches that appear to be old!  I have to go in them!  It smelled old, so I'd be curious to find out the details.  This is what the inside looked like:
 Old organ that was donated.  It sits on the altar.
Standing in front of the altar looking toward the door.

I had no idea these birds are as big as they are.  It was magnificent to see them on the side of the mountain.
I'm not sure just how many rides are in the park.  It didn't seem like there are very many, but we didn't go searching out the rides; in fact, we stayed away from them.  We went by the carousel; who doesn't like a good carousel?
There's a new ride this year:  The Wild Eagle:  the first "winged" coaster in the USA.  YS has ridden it several times.  Me?  I'll ride a coaster as long as my feet are on a platform.  Don't even try to get me to ride one when the feet dangle.  No thank you.
 Click on picture for credit
This is a picture of the incline during the ride.  My sister & I were in agreement that just that part would do us in.
Right before we left, we got to go through Dolly's old tour bus.  The guide said that Dolly had 2 rules on her bus:  she always did the cooking, and she doesn't do dishes.
 Dolly's bus...retired. 
 Dolly's wig...also retired
Dolly slept here.

The park has an arts & crafts festival in the fall, and the lights at Christmas are spectacular.  We went a long time ago.  I may have to get a pass so I can go back for a couple more visits.  On second thought, maybe I didn't do the park for $20 or less!

Disclaimer:  all photos were taken by myself, except for those indicated by "click on picture for credit".  Links were included to give credit to the sites from which the information was taken. These links are indicated by underlined text.   For additional information, please visit www.dollywood.com

6/06/2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

These questions appear to be quite a bit easier than they've been in past weeks!  Thank you, Joyce, for realizing that it's summer vacation, and I need to take it easy!  (It IS all about me, isn't it???)
1. How many students were in your high school graduating class? Did you know most, if not all of them?
We had around 84 students.  Everybody knew everybody...unless you transferred in the last day of school!
2. What was the last thing you photographed?
I had to consult my picasa for this answer!  I videoed Pepper & Laika playing, but I didn't take a picture of them.  I guess the last picture I took was this one:
 I saw this card in KMart and had to take a picture of it for one of the teachers I work with.  There's a story to it, which I won't get into here.  Just know that this teacher is not a touchy-feely kind of person (although she's a totally awesome teacher!).
3. Pickles-love 'em or loathe 'em? If its love what's something you eat that needs a pickle?
I can actually take them or leave them.  I don't like pickles on sandwiches or hamburgers, but I'll eat them on the side.  The pickles we have at the concession stand at football games are really good...I've been known to sneak a few before they go out on the condiment table.  The crunchiness paired with the juiciness and slightly sour:  YUM!
4. What's a stereotype you seem to perpetuate without meaning to?
Being one of the "bratty younger children" in the family.  Just ask any of my siblings...they'll tell you!
5. Ever been horse back riding? If so is it something you enjoy? If not, do you have any interest? Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? Will you be watching the last leg of the Triple Crown this weekend?
I've been horseback riding, but it's been so long I don't know if I enjoy it or not!  I don't watch horse racing.  I've been to the dog track in Florida once, though.
6. What's your favorite 'wedding' movie?
What wedding movie don't I like?  I don't know that I have a "favorite".
7. What is one 'tourist attraction' in the USA that you'd like to see in person?
So many attractions, so little time!  The Grand Canyon.  Although I really want to go to New England in the fall and see all of the colors.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
As I'm writing this, I'm watching the Queen's Jubilee Celebration on tv.  I just love how the Queen always has her purse with her!  It's so cool to see things on tv that I saw in October.  Trafalgar Square:  what is it about that place that I love so much? 

6/04/2012

Shopping for a Car

Saturday, CH & I spent all day shopping for a car.  And by all day, I mean All.Day.  We gave OS my car, which left me without a car.  I knew which one I wanted.  It was the one that CH told me to look at when they first came out, but I thought they were ugly and wanted no part of it.  As time went on, I saw them on the road.  They were everywhere.  They grew on me, so I decided to just go by and sit in one.  Which led to driving one.  At 6'3", it's rare when CH finds a vehicle that he can sit in the backseat comfortably.  This one was it.
That was about a month ago, and we put off doing anything permanent until we gave my car to OS.  Last week my car was taken over, and I was left borrowing MS' car and YS' minivan.  Yes, I said "YS' minivan".  The minivan was passed down to the MS & YS as their primary form of transportation in high school.  It's safe, dependable, and, (most importantly) how many times have you seen a minivan being pulled over?  This poor van has seen better days:  MS pulled out in front of a car and she clipped the rear.  MS came home from football practice one day with a suspicious looking dent in the front, passenger side.  It looks like someone's butt would fit perfectly into the dent, leading me to believe that someone was slammed into it.  A call to the assistant principal (who is also the head coach) was inconclusive:  he said that there were no cameras in the lower parking lot, although I'm not real sure it didn't happen at football practice.  The minivan was dubbed "The Beast" by the boys when I drove it;  MS called it "The Shaggin' Wagon" during his tenure.  In fact, MS' Senior Superlative was "Most Likely to be a Soccer Dad"; his female counterpart also drove a minivan, and ours is immortalized in the 2010 yearbook.
Back to the car shopping.  You would think that since we knew what car we wanted, it would be in and out, right?  Uh, no.  I drove the base model (It's amazing how much a base model has on it these days!), the plus, and the exclaim.  This is going to sound crazy, but the base model was the most comfortable, and I thought had the best drive.  So I'm not going to get the crazy lights that change with the music, and I'll have to change the rear mirrors by hand, but who cares?  I'm getting a comfy ride with a comfy seat.  Who would've thought that the seats would feel differently in the upgraded cars?
We had to decide on a color.  The first dealership we went to had a base model (with a few extra add-ons) in a beigy-color that they call "dune".  CH wasn't crazy about the color; color doesn't matter to me...except I don't want black.  They wrote the deal down, and we said we'd think about it. Then we went to another dealership and they beat it, although this was on a base-base model, and they didn't have any in stock.  They have some black ones coming in on Tues., and he said he could trade one of the black ones for any color I wanted.  They had a silver one in the showroom, but it wasn't a base, and he said he'd give us a deal on it.  The deal was $40 more/month than the base.  I drove it, and it rode pretty smoothly, but that blasted seat was definitely different and not as comfortable as the base.  (I SWEAR it's not in my head!)  While we were thinking about it, CH got a call from the salesman from dealership #1:  they just had a truck roll up with 5 base models, all different colors.   We finished up at #2 after deciding that the extras on the silver one didn't really matter to us, and wasn't worth $40 extra/month, had dinner, then went back to #1 to look.  We decided on the dune...the original color that we saw.  It reminds me of the same color as my first car:  a Dodge Omni.
We picked it up last night, right before the dealership closed.  CH wants to get foglights put on for me (since my schools are out in the boonies), but I am so excited about my new car!  I'm going to love the mileage it gets, along with the bluetooth and Sirius.  AND, there are radio controls in the steering wheel.  Remember, this is a base model that has all of this stuff on it!
It may not be the most luxurious car on the road, but it's just right for me!

Meet Me on Monday MIA

I waited to post anything to see if Java was going to put up her Meet Me on Monday.  I guess Java has too much going on right now!  :(  So, let's catch up on some tv, shall we?

Has anybody been keeping up with Roland Garros (otherwise known as The French Open)?  The women's draw has just been full of surprises this year!  Serena going out in the first round, and Wozniacki, Kutznetsova, Jankovic, Schiavone all being upset.  Looks like Maria Sharapova is definitely the favorite now.  I get so frustrated when ESPN insists on showing Nadal or Federer beating the crap out of somebody, instead of a good match.  I would much rather watch a close match by 2 "unknowns" than watch a very lopsided match by one of those 2.  Sloane Stephens from the USA was very impressive against Sam Stosur yesterday.  She's definitely a power hitter and will be someone to watch in the next few years.

Real Housewives of New Jersey:  Let me just say what I've said before:  Caroline could be one of my closest friends.   We're both no drama zones and we come from big families.  On last night's episode, the fam went to Chicago for her brother's wedding with his partner.  Out of 11 kids, I think only 3 went to the ceremony, plus their mom.  They also showed Rosie's (Kathy's sister) coming out to Kathy's kids.  Since I have a gay brother, that episode was very close to my heart.  It brought back all of the feelings I had when my brother came out to us.  No matter what, my brother will always be my brother, and I will love him forever.

I'm pretty much over Real Housewives of Orange County.  Those people just need to grow up.  It's amazing to me that 40 year old women get so crazy and immature over drama.  I'm a bit curious to see the new NYC tonight.  Last season LuAnn had a bit of the immaturity and "I'm better than you" mentality.  It's hard to believe that some of these ladies are in the business world, but are so immature.  I have no other way to describe it except as "immature".

The new season of "Necessary Roughness" (USA Network) starts Wednesday.  One thing I love about summer:  I can stay up and watch the new shows that come on at 10:00, courtesy of afternoon naps!  I caught up on the premier season a couple of weeks ago.  I wasn't sure if I would like this show, but I thought it was surprisingly good.  A couple of other good shows on that network are "Fairly Legal" and "Common Law".  "Suits" starts back up next week.

Okay, I guess I've bored you enough.  Let me know if there are any other summer shows out there that I 'm missing!

6/01/2012

Friday Already?

Mommy's Idea

~  Friday already?  This week flew by!

~  Laika had her third puppy class at Petsmart last night.  There's only 1 other dog in the class, so she's getting quite a bit of attention. 

~  MS' car was filthy.  I bought some armorall wipes and wiped down the inside.  I also washed the windows...inside and out.  I don't see how he can stand riding around in that mess.

~  My Curves workout went pretty well.  I took it very easy, and skipped a couple of the machines that target the back.

~  Have you ever been driving somewhere and got so lost in your thoughts that you went right past the place you were going to?  I was taking some motorcycle seats to one of CH's friends, and ended up in the next county.  Yep, I overshot his shop by about 8 miles.  CH's friend got a good laugh about it, then told me about the time he was working in Connecticut and went home to Canada on the weekends.  He drove to the border, reached it at midnight, and realized it was just Wednesday, not Friday.

~ No big plans for this weekend.  Which is just the way I like it!

~  Linking up with Mrs. 4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time AND Java at Never Growing Old.



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