Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Peaks of Otter

We drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway on up to the Peaks of Otter, but we did not go up the trail to the top. It was late in the day and the bus was leaving for its last journey to the top just as we arrived.

It's a good hike up to Sharp Top. It has been many years since I went up to the top.

The Blue Ridge Parkway. It's a great drive.

The lake at Peaks of Otter. We were told in the gift shop that there really are otters living in the lake.

The restaurant and gift shop.

They had some interesting items in the gift shop.

Cousin Kathy is an otter fan, which I did not know.

Uncle Buddy was the first to spy the Bear Poop.

This is Sharp Top (I think), the mountain. Spectacular views.

We can see the Peaks from our house, if I walk a little ways down the driveway and away from the tree line. The Peaks is another of those landmarks that mean you're almost home when you've been away.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peaks of Otter Winery

We had visitors all last week. Well, actually, my mother-in-law had visitors: her brother, his wife, and their two daughters came in. The cousins are our age so we spent some time with them.

Last Wednesday we went to the Peaks of Otter Winery. I'd never been there so it was interesting to tag along.

Johnny Appleseed and a train greeted us at the entrance.

The wine tasting room and gift shop was in this structure.

A little bit of neon.

Cousin Karen (who lives in California) and Aunt Marjean
(from Illinois) examine the wine offerings.

Lots of antique stuff on the walls piqued my husband's

More stuff.

Cousin Karen, Cousin Kathy (back to us) and Aunt Marjean.

No highway attraction is complete without the Jack-o-Lope.

Uncle Buddy from Illinois. He is 88 years old.

The California Cousin.

Some of the jellies and jams for sale.

My mother-in-law.

Uncle Buddy.

Pretty display of gourds.

Nothing else says "spend money here" like a big red devil.

Map of visitor locations.

More rustic stuff.

Uncle Buddy observes the women doing the wine tasting.

Hmm. Yum! Good enough to buy a bottle!

Another little building at the winery.

My mother-in-law, my husband, and Aunt Marjean.

Everybody but me: my husband, my mother-in-law,
Uncle Buddy in the rear, Cousin Kathy (Illinois),
Aunt Marjean, and Cousin Karen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September Sunrise

Every hour, it seems, the leaves are turning. Each time I look out the front window I see a touch less green and a bit more yellow, a little rusty red.

That certain slant of sunlight slips softly through the thinning leaves. The shadows dance, delighting me, and it is Autumn.

The deer drift like shades, gliding as if never touching the ground to disturb the cobwebs that now litter the forest floor like diamond dust.

The sunsets are lengthy, the sun reaching out and over the clouds, chasing after the mountains, until only a small glimmer remains. It vanishes - poof - and darkness descends.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Stealing: Ask Away

From Sunday Stealing

Ask Away!

1. What is your zodiac sign?

A. I am The Twins (Gemini). Dual personality and all.

2. What is your favorite color?

A. Blue.

3. What’s your lucky number?

A. Eight.

4. What talents do you have?

A. I have a way with words. I play guitar. I can sing on key. I can cook when I want to. I've been told I give good advice.

5. Are you psychic in any way?

A. I knew you were going to ask that question. But yes. For example, the days before my husband actually hurt himself on the farm, I was overcome with abnormal worry about him, so much so that my friends remarked on it. And then he did get hurt, so it was like I knew it was coming.

6. Favorite song?

A. I don't know that I really have a favorite song. It depends on my mood.

7. How many pillows do you sleep with?

A. Um. Four.

8. What position do you usually sleep in?

A. Because of a boo-boo in surgery last year, I have since June 2013 slept on a wedge-shaped foam thing, with pillows under my knees and feet. It's the only position I can rest in that does not cause extreme pain.

9. Have you ever tried archery?

A. No.

10. What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sleep?

A. About 26 hours.

11. Do you have any scars?

A. Oodles.

12. Have you ever had a secret admirer?

A. If I knew that, it wouldn't be a secret, now would it.

13. Can you do any other accents other than your own?

A. Not very well.

14. Are you a good judge of character?

A. I am mediocre.

15. Can you curl your tongue?

A. Yes.

16. Are you a clean or messy person?

A. I'm a medium clean person.

17. How long does it take for you to get ready?

A. About 30 minutes.

18. Do you have much of an ego?

A. I am the greatest thing to ever walk the planet. Not really. I do have a lot of sarcasm sometimes.

19. Do you talk to yourself?

A. Yes. I answer myself, too.

20. Do you sing to yourself?

A. Yes.

21. Can you name all 50 states of America?

A. I don't know. I can read a map or look it up, it's not something that really matters. I'm certainly not going to sit here and see if I can.

22. Have you ever been scuba diving?

A. No, unless diving in the pond and feeling around for dropped items counts.

23. What makes you nervous?

A. Loud noises, lots of people, guns, overstimulation, and ignorance.

24. Do you correct people when they make mistakes?

A. Not unless they are in danger.

25. Are you ticklish?

A. Sometimes.

26. Have you ever been in a position of authority?

A. Does being Chairman of the Library Board count? Or President of a local historical society? Or the person who sends out notices to book club? If so, then yes. Otherwise, I am simply the mistress of my domain.

27. How many piercings do you have?

A. One in each ear.

28. Can you roll your Rs?

A. I suppose so. I sat here and tried and it seemed like I could, but it is not something I cultivate.

29. How fast can you type?

A. According to this online typing test, I type 82 words per minute. Apparently I've slowed down, as at one time I typed 110 wpm.

30. What are you allergic to?

A. Everything. Perfumes, cigarettes, pollen, mold, certain foods, and stupidity.

31. Do you keep a journal?

A. Yes.

32. Do you like your age?

A. I can't do anything about it, so I may as well.

33. What makes you angry?

A. Class differences, people being mean to other people, hypocrites, anyone who does anything bad to someone I love, unjust actions, law-breaking, evil people, pollution, environmental degradation, war. I'm sure there are other things, but that is a good start.

34. Were your ancestors royalty?

A. Not that I am aware of. Mostly they were Irish potato farmers, gunsmiths, millers, and farmers. Hardy stock, the backbone upon which others build their riches.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday 9: A Day in the Life

Saturday 9: A Day in the Life (1967)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) According to Rolling Stone, this is the greatest Beatle song of all. What's your favorite Beatle song?

A. Let It Be.

2) "A Day in the Life" took 5 days to record. Looking back on the last five days, what did you accomplish?

A. I wrote four newspaper articles out of five due on Monday (yes, I will finish them all). I entertained members of my husband's family, in from Illinois and California. I went to physical therapy. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, wrote in my blog, took photos, watched deer, and saw the premiere of the new Survivor.

3) This song is the highlight of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, the first album released after the Beatles gave up touring. Critics predicted that, when they abandoned live concerts, their creativity would wane. Obviously this wasn't the case. When has someone underestimated you?

A. I think I underestimate myself most of the time.

4) The song says our hero "woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head." How is your hair right now? Are you prepared to go out and face the world?

A. I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go. I've been writing but I have to go to dinner later, so I have my makeup on and my hair combed even though I could have been sitting here writing in my PJs.

5) The lyrics tell us he had to hurry to catch the bus to work. When is the last time you rode public transportation?

A. I think when I was in high school! No, wait, we took a tour bus around Asheville, NC. Does that count as public transportation?

6) "A Day in the Life" was a true Lennon-McCartney collaboration. Conventional wisdom is that Paul is easy going while John was edgy. Is your temperament more Lennon or McCartney?

A. Lennon.

7) "A Day in the Life" came out five years after the Beatles replaced their drummer. Taking over for Pete Best was undoubtedly the biggest break of Ringo Starr's career. Tell us about a time when fortune smiled on you.

A.  When I married my husband.

8) It would be hard to overestimate the Beatles' impact on popular culture. Their story and music have inspired a Broadway musical, a Las Vegas show, two movies and, according to Amazon, 900+ books. What's the most recent biography you read?

A. I'm currently reading Factory Man by Beth Macy, which is not exactly a biography but kinda sorta is. To be honest I don't read a lot of biographies.

9) The Beatles are an ongoing boon to England's tourism industry. Fans from all over the world visit Liverpool each year to see where the Beatles grew up and got their start. If you won a trip to England, tell us what you'd like to see.

A. Big Ben, Stonehenge, and my pen-pal Inga, with whom I've corresponded with more 15,000 times over the last 15 years, but never met.