Mountain Memories - Fall, 2011

It's Turkey Time!
We're home again...and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  I wanted to take a little break from all the preparations to say "hello," and post an update of our recent adventures.

As I said in my last post, Mr. T has been using up over 3 weeks of vacation days this month - "use 'em or lose 'em."  Of course, if we are in town...at home...near his office, he works anyway.  Taking calls, checking emails, updating information.  Whatever.  He's connected 24/7 and, without some distance between him and his desk, he works.  And, I stew.  Not a great combination.



Mr. T taking photos at
The Fish Pond - Biltmore Estate
Hence the reason we hit the road on Wednesday...headed back to the NC Mountains.  I know, I know...we were just there in October.  But I wanted to see the Biltmore all decked out for Christmas and maybe take a side trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway...and we did! 

Going to the Biltmore in the middle of the week was perfect:  the crowds were light and all the folks were unhurried and pleasant.  We also took a class on Designing Woodland Wreaths at the Garden Center on the Estate, saw the Tiffany Lamp Exhibit, and ate at Cedric's Tavern in the Antler Village...a first for us. It was a beautiful day all the way around.




Linville Falls,
Blue Ridge Parkway
 The next morning, we saw our first snow of the season on the Parkway, portions of which were closed due to ice and snow.  Wow!  We got to see several excellent exhibits at the Folk Art Center and then found other roads to get us around the closings.  That way, we were able to get to Linville Falls and Gorge (photo, left) before the sun went down.  It was cold, but the walk on the trail (about a mile and 1/4, roundtrip) warmed us up...and energized us at the end of our long day.

We then back-tracked to Durham on the other side of the state for our last Duke football home game.  Lost another close one to Georgia Tech, sad to say, but still had a fun Fall afternoon.  There's always next year, right?


But, first...


Graduation Day!
I made it:  EMGV





Before we left, we went to the Extension Center on Wednesday for the Annual Meeting of the Guilford County Master Gardener Volunteers...and graduation for the Class of 2011.  Yes, I'm "certified!" Call me EMGV. A long year (for this and all the other reasons), but well worth the time and effort, I would say.  Ahhhh...so glad that's done!

Since Missy M and my grand-dogs, Ella Rae and Dixie arrive this afternoon, I've been trying to get as much of the cooking done...so we can have a lot of time together while she's here.  She's had a crazy schedule lately...including 3 "days" of working at night for training video shoots (which they can only do in the restaurant kitchen, after the restaurant is closed)...so, she's exhausted and needs a recovery period.

Of course, I can't help myself...I've lined up some Holiday activities for us to do while she's here, including the NC Symphony's Carolina Christmas in Raleigh and the Lights at Tanglewood Park in Winston-Salem...and we'll have to visit Old Salem while we are there.  And, she wants to go to Boone, so we'll head the car back to the mountains for the third time this season.  She'll probably need a couple of days back at home to recover from her vacation here in HPNC!

I feel the need to celebrate in order to keep any sadness at bay.  We'll miss Nana/Momma/Edith...and no amount of activity can substitute for her absence.  We'll attend the Remembrance Service on Sunday to celebrate her life and honor her memory.  Indeed, I am so thankful for all the wonderful years and memories...that I just refuse to let grief overwhelm us. 

I did have a setback yesterday that could have knocked me back several steps if I would allow it.  I saw my ophthalmologist and learned why everything was so fuzzy:  cataracts.  Both eyes...which is normal according to Dr. T, who declared that "cataracts are like geese...always come in pairs."  Really?  So what's next?  Well, I "wait and see" he says...monitor any changes over the next year.  OK.  Knowing how much I like to wait, you'll understand how frustrating that was to hear.  But, what else can I do?  Nothing.  Period.

So, instead of settling for doing nothing, I shall do what I can.  I can be thankful for my vision.  I can be mindful of how quickly things can change in life.  And, I can just keep on putting one foot in front of the other...and moving forward.

We can have our Mountain Memories
every morning with our coffee...
I'm so thankful you are all on this journey with me.  Cheers!

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