Archive for January, 2009

Scenic Sunday # 29

January 31, 2009
A beach scene on St. Lucia.  September 13, 2001.

A beach scene on St. Lucia. September 13, 2001.

I mentioned in my last Scenic Sunday post that Betsy and I took a catamaran cruise down the west coast of St. Lucia to Soufriere when our cruise ship stopped at Castries, the capital.

The picture above, which can be enlarged by clicking on it, was taken on our way back up the coast to Castries.  As we came up the coast we passed a resort (I’m sorry I don’t know the name) and the catamaran moved closer to the shore so we could get a better look.

As we came along this narrow palm-covered point of land I got this picture.  It has always looked to me what I thought a tropical paradise should look like.  And I don’t  mind telling you that I wouldn’t mind going back there.  Betsy likes the beach — do you think I could talk her into it?

To see more beautiful scenery from around the world, or to join us and post your own picture on Scenic Sunday, click HERE.

Advertisements

Where Has All the Time Gone?

January 31, 2009

happyretirementplates1

Before I retired, I had read (several times) about men who suddenly had all this time on their times and couldn’t handle it.  I guess the death rate for newly-retired men is higher than one would expect.

All I can say is that I would like to find the person that has all my extra time on his (or her) hands.  So far I haven’t seen all that spare time I was told to expect.

Of course some of this is my fault.  Since I retired Betsy and I have landscaped our yard and started growing roses.  So I can understand that I have more to do during warm weather.

But now it’s winter and there is very little to do outside.  I’ll admit I sleep a little later in the mornings than I did while I was working, but I stay up later at night.  Household chores don’t take up any more time than they did while I was working.

Before I retired I dreamed of having time to read.  I don’t get one issue of my newsmagazine read before the next one arrives.  I started a history book three months ago and still haven’t finished it.  (This from a guy who used to read a book in a single day).  My stamp newspapers are piling up in my inbox — unread.

I have made pages for my stamp albums and mounted the stamps, but I’ve received just as many new stamps.  I have converted old LPs to CDs, but still have a couple hundred to do.  I’ve also worked on digitizing my old slides, but I’m still stuck in the 1990s.

Of course, I’ve started blogging, but, hey, a guy has to have some fun!!

I could tell you more, but I don’t have time.

Skywatch Friday # 29

January 29, 2009
A Glade Sunset.  January 18, 2009.

A Glade Sunset. January 18, 2009.

The picture above, which can be enlarged by clicking on it, was taken from my favorite point  on the Druid Hills golf course for viewing the setting sun.

I got there a little later than I had planned, and the sun had already dropped below the ridge line.  I was a little disappointed, but stayed to get a few shots of the sky.  As it got darker , the light reflecting off the clouds got redder and redder until I got the rose color in the picture above.

I’m sorry that the picture is a little dark, but I didn’t want to try any editing.  What you see is what came out of the camera.

To see more beautiful sky pictures from around the world, or to join in the fun and post your own picture on Skywatch Friday, click HERE.

A Snow Day

January 29, 2009
River Hills golf course, Little River, South Carolina.  January 25, 2000/

River Hills golf course, Little River, South Carolina. January 25, 2000.

We got caught in some snow and ice on our way home from the grocery snow today.  It got to be interesting for a while, but we made it home safe and sound.  Of course the schools in the county closed early (at 10a.m.) before the bad weather got here.

That got me to thinking — when was the last time I got off because of snow?

I honestly don’t remember missing school because of snow when I was growing up in northern Indiana.  I do remember lots of snow as a youngster, but I also remember snowplows quickly clearing the roads.  I may have missed some days when in elementary school, but I honestly don’t remember any.

I know I didn’t miss any school because of snow while I was in high school.  Although I lived out in the country, the high school was a city school and they NEVER closed.  If the buses didn’t run, I went to school anyway — Dad felt we lived close enough for me to walk.  I got a perfect attendance award when I graduated.

When I went to college almost all students lived on campus — no snow days.  I taught high school in Cleveland, Ohio, after graduating — they always had school.

We had snow when I taught in North Carolina and Ohio, but both of those colleges were resident colleges, so the students were on campus and no snow days.

Now that I think of it, I can think of only one day when I missed work because of snow — January 25, 2000.  What made that day memorable was that at the time I was working at a company in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!  I was just about to the plant when I heard on the radio that the plant was closed for the day and that no one should try to come in to work since the building would be locked.  So I did what any kid would do — I went home and went out in the snow.  That’s when I took the picture above on the River Hills golf course in Little River, South Carolina.  It was the first snow on the Grand Strand in ten years.

Watery Wednesday # 20

January 27, 2009
Spruce Flat Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  January 25, 2008.

Spruce Flat Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. January 25, 2008.

We’re still in the grip of winter here on the Plateau — gray skies, rain and ice, but no snow for now.  So I thought I would stay with winter for Watery Wednesday.  The pictures can be enlarged if desired.

Last January Betsy and I hiked to Spruce Flat Falls in the Smoky Mountains.  Spruce Flat Falls is behind the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, not far from the Townsend entrance to the park.  The institute sponsors workshops and programs throughout the year and there are signs pointing the way.

The hike to the falls was not bad  — a little under a mile.  The trail was fairly steep near the trailhead at the institute but it soon leveled off.  It was a good day for a hike — crisp, but not particularly cold.

When we got to the falls we were delighted to find water, snow and ice.  It was quite a visual delight.  The falls actually contains three steps — the picture above shows the main portion of the falls.

Water and ice at Spruce Flat Falls.  January 25, 2008.

Water and ice at Spruce Flat Falls. January 25, 2008.

This second picture shows the water and ice of the falls in a little more detail.  Spruce Flat Falls was a very nice addition to our waterfall collection.

To see more of our watery world, or to join by posting your own pictures, click HERE.

My World # 15

January 26, 2009
The former Washington School, Crown Point, Indiana.  July, 2002.

The former Washington School, Crown Point, Indiana. July, 2002.

This building was a very important part of my world from 1948 – 1952.  Although it is now a private residence, back then it was Washington School in Center Township, the ‘farm country’ surrounding Crown Point, Indiana.  (The three car garage is a modern addition.)

I attended grades 1 – 4 at Washington School.  The most interesting thing about the school was that it was a two–room school.  Grades 1 & 2 met in one room, while grades 3 & 4 met in the other.

My first and second grade teacher was Mrs. Isolampe.  She was a formidable woman, but I liked her.  In the second grade she had a reading contest — who could read the most books over a multi-week period.  She started the contest by letting us go to the book shelf contra-alphabetically to pick out the book we would read.  By the time my turn came all the easy books were gone, so I had to pick one of the harder books to read.  This went on for a couple of weeks, but about half-way through the contest my classmates had to start reading the harder books while I had simple books I could read very quickly.  I won the reading contest — one of the few times in my life when I’ve won something.

Mrs. Laney was my third and fourth grade teacher.  I was pretty good at reading and arithmetic, so I could listen in on the fourth grade lessons while still in the third grade.  When I was in the fourth grade Mrs. Laney had me helping third graders with arithmetic.  She was one of the reasons I became a teacher.  I’ve always thought there were more advantages than disadvantages to going to that two room school.

Washington School was part of my world.  To see more of our wonderful world, or to join in sharing your world with us, click HERE.

Tall Ships

January 26, 2009
The Americo Vespucci, Norfolk, Virginia.  June, 2000.

The Amerigo Vespucci, Norfolk, Virginia. June, 2000.

Sunday seemed rather chilly here in the Glade, so I spent a good part of the afternoon trying to organize some of my BB (Before Betsy) pictures.  That’s when I came across the picture above.

I have always enjoyed ships, especially sailing ships.  In my younger days I made ship models and I had one of Old Ironsides that took me seven years to complete.  In the spring of 2000 I went to Norfolk,  Virginia, with my daughter Kelly and her husband, Chuck, to see the tall ships.

The tall ships are large sailing ships from around the world.  Although the designs of the tall ships go back to the Age of Sail, most of the ships are relatively modern.  There are periodic races between the tall ships which bring the ships to many ports around the world.  In 2000 they stopped at Norfolk while on their way to New York.

Although there were nearly fifty ships in Norfolk, one that I especially enjoyed visiting was the Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian full-rigged three masted ship about 330 feet long.  The Vespucci is modeled after 18th century 74-cannon ships of the line, although it doesn’t carry any cannon.  The hull is painted black with two white stripes to designate what would be the two gun decks.

The Amerigo Vespucci is still used to train junior officers of the Italian navy, and is a beautiful ship.  If you enlarge the picture you can see some of the ornamentation on her stern.

With luck I can get Betsy to go with me to see the tall ships some time in the future.

Scenic Sunday # 28

January 24, 2009
The Twin Pitons, St. Lucia.  September 13, 2001.

The Twin Pitons, St. Lucia. September 13, 2001.

The picture above (which can be enlarged by clicking on it) was taken from the deck of a catamaran off the coast of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.  The twin peaks shown are The Pitons (Les Pitons), St. Lucia’s most famous landmark.  The Pitons top 2,000 feet in height and flank the entrance to the town of Soufriere on the west coast of the island.

Our cruise ship had docked in the capital of St. Lucia, Castries, early in the morning and Betsy and I took a catamaran along the coast to Soufriere.  This picture was taken as the catamaran approached The Pitons.  After docking in the town we were taken to The Sulphur Springs, the world’s only drive-in volcano, and to a working plantation.  We then took the catamaran back to the cruise ship.

St. Lucia is a beautiful island and if you get the chance to visit I encourage you to do so.

To see more beautiful scenery from around the world, check Scenic Sunday by clicking HERE.

Strawberry Candy

January 24, 2009
Strawberry Candy Daylily, Fairfield Glade.  June, 2008.

Strawberry Candy Daylily, Fairfield Glade. June, 2008.

Several days ago my friend Mildred posted about strawberries on her site, http://nalleyvalley.blogspot.com/.  You can read her strawberry post HERE.

In her blog Mildred talked about eating strawberries and she gave a couple of recipes.  But at the end of her post she had a picture of a daylily, “Strawberry Fields Forever”.  With a name like that, it certainly fit the theme of her post.  But we have another daylily that would fit Mildred’s theme — Strawberry Candy, pictured above.

We have several daylilies in our yard and we really enjoy them.  In many ways daylilies are a perfect perennial because they are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  They are also very easy to grow and require very little care.

Each blossom on a daylily lasts for a single day (hence the name).  But there are usually many flower buds on each daylily flower stalk, and  many stalks in each clump of plants.  So the flowering period of any one clump is often several weeks.  In addition to this daylilies are vigorous growers growers and multiply quite quickly.

We only had one clump of Strawberry Candy last summer.  We’re looking forward to many more in the years ahead.

Skywatch Friday # 28

January 22, 2009
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  May, 2006.

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. May, 2006.

Although today was warmer here on the Plateau of Tennessee — we actually got above freezing for a couple of hours — I still felt led to celebrate Skywatch Friday with memories of warmer weather.

The picture above was taken in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in May, 2006.  We were on the beach in front of Cherry Grove Manor when the clear, deep blue skies behind the manor and palmetto trees got my attention.  We’re accustomed to beautiful skies when we go to the beach, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen a prettier sky.

The Cherry Grove Manor was probably our favorite place to stay at the beach, primarily because it was small and comfortable.  Unfortunately it is no longer there.  It was torn down in early 2007 to make room for a high rise condo.  When we were at the beach last year we went past the site and there was only a small beach access walkway and one tree left from the manor.  It was rather sad.  The condo was under construction in May, 2008, but I don’t know if it has been finished or not.  Perhaps we’ll find out when we go to the beach this year.

To see more sky pictures from around the world, or to join in the fun and post your own picture, click HERE.