Archive for December, 2009

A New Year Is Dawning

December 31, 2009

Sunrise on Mount Nebo, Arkansas. December 4, 2008.

It’s hard to believe that 2009 is drawing to a close.  It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the new year, watching football on TV, and eating Betsy’s special Hoppin’ John, a New Year’s Day tradition at our house.  Now we’re getting ready to do it all over again.

Life certainly didn’t slow down in 2009.  We seemed to have more projects in our yard rather than fewer.  (I wonder if we’ll ever get it looking the way we want it to?).  Sometimes the work was downright hard, but it became worthwhile when we could see new roses for the first time or enjoy old favorites again.  The other flowers didn’t seem to cause as much work, but they sure brought a lot of enjoyment as well.

We managed to enjoy our families in 2009.  We were able to see four of the five children in person, along with their children.  We didn’t make it out to Las Vegas, but we were able to virtually visit thanks to phone calls, text messages and video calls.  Our faithful Prius took us to Hendersonville every other week (sometimes more often than that) to help my folks.  That involved a lot of miles, but my parents appreciate each and every trip we make.

We managed to get in some waterfall trips.  We ‘discovered’ Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia and fell in love with the waterfalls and the trails.  We enjoyed our first trip in June so much that we went back in October.  We also visited new waterfalls in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.  We revisited some old favorites in each of those places as well.

We also got to do quite a bit of virtual traveling through all the wonderful people we have met in the blogosphere.  I can’t begin to tell you how much we have appreciated your visits to our blogs and how very much we have enjoyed visiting with each and every one of you.

What will 2010 bring?  I don’t know.  But if it’s anything like 2009 it definitely will NOT be boring.

We’re going to Hendersonville bright and early this morning (Thursday).  We want to help the folks finish up a few year-end details and get the new year off to a good start.  I’ll try to visit you as I get a connection, but I don’t expect to post myself until Monday morning.

So until then let me wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year!

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Watery Wednesday # 68: A Watery Mystery

December 30, 2009

The picture of Hogskin Branch Falls I posted on December 1.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

On December 1 of this year I made a posting about all the junk we found around Hogskin Branch, a pretty little waterfall near Flag Pond in northeast Tennessee.  The next day I heard from Bill, another waterfall collector, who said that he and his wife had visited the waterfall a couple of weeks before we did and there had been no junk around.  He wondered what had happened and sent along a picture that he had taken.

The picture Bill sent after reading about Hogskin Branch Falls on my blog.

It quickly became obvious to both of us that we had not seen the same waterfall, so the question became ‘What waterfall did Bill and his wife see?’.

When Betsy and I went to Brevard, NC, about three weeks ago we decided, since I-40 was still closed, to go through Flag Pond to see if we could find the mystery waterfall.

Lower Clear Branch Falls, Flag Pond, Tennessee. December 10, 2009.

I think we were successful.  The picture above is of Lower Clear Branch Falls.  There was much less water when we were there, but the shelving and the rocks are the same as Bill shows.  Further, the surroundings all matched what Bill reported.

Not only did we solve a mystery, we got another waterfall to add to our collection.

My World: Is Not White

December 29, 2009

Our front yard, Fairfield Glade. December 28, 2009.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, Louise and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

If you were to ask Betsy what was wrong with the picture above, she would have a very succinct answer:  THERE’S NO SNOW! In spite of heavy snows north and east of us, we have only had a dusting or two.  It’s officially winter and the temperatures have been low, but the grass is still relatively green.  The roses have been cut back and covered, but not all of them have gone dormant yet.

What’s worse, there’s no snow on the mountains we can see from the road in front of the house.  They look as bleak and bare as they have since the trees lost all their leaves.

The only white to be seen is in the clouds scurrying across the beautiful blue winter sky.

Christmas Odds and Ends

December 28, 2009

Betsy and George on Christmas Day.

First of all, I hope you all had a Christmas as wonderful as the one Betsy and I shared.  Every Christmas is special, but this one seemed to be extra wonderful.  I think part of the reason was that this was the first Christmas for a while on which we didn’t travel.  People came to us this year.

One of our Christmas traditions is to take a Christmas photo.  This year’s photo (above) was more informal than most have been.  Thanks to a roaring fire in the fireplace we wore T-shirts from Santa Claus, Indiana, given us by our good friends Judy and Charlie.

The mailman actually brought these on the day before Christmas, but we put the package under the Christmas tree unopened.  These beautiful mats came from Mary at Faith, Fabric and Photos.  They are absolutely beautiful and the rose patterns are perfect for us.

It’s another tradition at our house that Betsy comes up with a gift that is completely unexpected.  She did it again this year with this baseball cap.  The cap says ‘Don’t Forget My Senior Discount!  (I Know I Look Too Young For It)’  I’m sure there’s a message there, but I’m not sure exactly what it is!

My Christmas Angel

December 24, 2009

No, Betsy didn’t pose for this angel figurine, but she easily could have.  She has short blond hair, big blue eyes and an angelic face.  During and after college Betsy sang in choirs and in theatrical productions.  When we first met, Betsy was the Associate Minister at my parent’s church in Hendersonville.  So for all of these reasons, and others that will be evident shortly,  I’ve considered this angel to be very representative of my angel.

It wasn’t very long after we began dating that I was convinced that I had found an angel.  Don’t get me wrong — I still feel that way — but the feeling was new and exciting back in 2001.  I realize I’m showing my age, but in my mind I had all the questions that were asked in the lyrics of the big-band era song “When Did You Leave Heaven?”.

But back to the figurine.  The first time I saw it I just knew that it just had to represent Betsy.  Betsy did have another side to her personality — a side that was shown by the twinkle in her eyes at times and an almost impish grin.  As I got to know her better — and as I met her sons and heard their stories — I realized that impishness was indeed a part of her character.

What does all this have to do with the angel figurine?  Take a look at the back of this angelic figurine.

That’s a sling shot sticking out of her pocket.

That’s my angel!!!

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Betsy and I will be taking a long weekend from blogging to have time to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.  We’ll be back Monday, but in the meantime we want to wish you and your family a very merry and blessed Christmas.

Watery Wednesday # 67: Bald River Falls

December 23, 2009

Bald River Falls, Tellico Plains, Tennessee. July 3, 2007.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

Tennessee is blessed with many waterfalls, and one of the most impressive in southeastern Tennessee is Bald River Falls.  Bald River drops 80 to 100 feet as it nears the Tellico River.  The falls can be seen from the bridge where Tellico River Road crosses Bald River, but there is a parking area nearby.  I got this picture by walking back to the bridge after parking the car.

Tellico River Road follows the Tellico River for about five miles from the Cherohala Skyway near Tellico Plains, Tennessee.  The river itself offers many wonderful views for future editions of Watery Wednesday.

Happiness Is A Blueberry Muffin

December 22, 2009

Mom enjoying a blueberry muffin.

Yesterday Betsy and I made our delayed trip to Hendersonville to check on and to help out my parents.  Fortunately we found both of them in good spirits and good health.

Much of our morning was devoted to going over Dad’s finances, paying bills, and trying to get their Medicare Part D coverage straightened out.  We then took them out so they could do their grocery shopping.

Dad usually takes us to lunch when we go over there, but yesterday we wanted to treat them since it was close to Christmas.  They usually eat at a meat-and-three restaurant, but we wanted to take them to someplace a little different.  We took them to Mimi’s Cafe.  Some friends had taken them there and told us that Mom really liked the blueberry muffins Mimi’s served.  Since Betsy and I had never been there, we decided to take Mom and Dad back so Mom could have another muffin.

Mom is a little woman — five feet tall and less than 100 pounds.  But she polished off that muffin without any problems.  Oh, yes, she also finished her salad as well, but the muffin is what made the greatest impression.

Christmas at the Opryland Hotel

December 21, 2009

Christmas decorations in the Cascades at the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee. December, 2001.

One of the advantages of wintry weather is that I can get more work done on my computer than I would if the weather were nicer and I spent more time outdoors.  This weekend has enabled me to make progress on a couple of projects, for which I am grateful.

The Opryland Hotel (or more properly the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center) has been an attraction in Nashville, Tennessee, since it first opened in 1977.  It has gone through several expansions and renovations since that time and is now a tourist attraction in its own right.

One of the traditions of Opryland is A Country Christmas, which makes Opryland ‘The Most Christmassy hotel in the nation” according to the Travel Channel.  A Country Christmas is now in its 26th year and includes more than 2 million lights and more than a dozen shows and attractions.  A Country Christmas runs from before Thanksgiving to after New Year’s.

I’m sure the decorations have changed quite a bit since 2001, when Betsy and I toured the Opryland Hotel one evening during Christmas season.  It was our first Christmas together, and the grand display at the hotel seemed a perfect complement to that special time.

To see more of Christmas at the Opryland Hotel click HERE.

Scenic Sunday # 75: Sunset Beach

December 20, 2009

Sunset Beach, North Carolina. June, 2001.

This is my post for the Scenic Sunday meme, which shares beautiful scenes from around the world.  To see more Scenic Sunday posts, or to join and show your own pictures, click HERE.

We’ve had several days of cold rain here on the Plateau of Tennessee, with a little bit of snow and ice thrown in just to keep us guessing.  The rain has not been scenic, but it has been COLD.

I just had to do something to feel warmer, so I looked through some of our beach pictures.  Betsy and I visit the beach in North Carolina just about every year.  The picture above was taken at Sunset Beach, North Carolina.  One nice thing about going to the beach in May is that we often have it to ourselves.

My Beautiful Multi-Tasking Bride

December 19, 2009

Betsy 'relaxing' at home. December 18, 2009.

We had planned on going on going to Hendersonville today, but when we got up there was ice on the driveway and road in front of the house.  Since the weather was expected to get worse, we called Mom and Dad to see if they could get by until Sunday or Monday when the weather was expected to be better.  They said they were well-prepared for any emergencies and that we shouldn’t try to come when the weather was bad.

The only time I went out all day was to get the mail — it was a nice change of pace from our usual routine and I must admit it was very nice.

Late in the afternoon I came upon my beautiful bride seated on her throne (recliner) in the living room, wrapped up in a quilt, enjoying the Christmas tree, watching television, visiting blogs on her laptop and texting on her telephone.  Oh, yes, you can’t see it, but she was also enjoying the fire in the fireplace.

Who says senior citizens can’t do more than one thing at a time?