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Sunday, September 25, 2011

This is the week that was

And the weekend that wasn't. 

We had one of those rare occasions one day when Cliff and I had a little bit of time with just us and no one else in the house.  When I came downstairs, he wasn't home yet, but it wasn't too long before he got there.  We didn't have Emmi.  Her other gramma was watching her because we had doctors appointments.  We were actually able to sit and carry on a bit of a real conversation! 
The doctor's appointment wasn't my favorite activity of the week.  Lots of news I just wasn't ready for.  Cliff had seen her on Friday last week for his pre-surgery appointment to get the okay of the PCP.  And he didn't get it.  He has to see a cardiologist tomorrow, Monday, because they did and EKG on him and it wasn't great.  When I asked for clarification while we were there she said that he has multiple risk factors and some things that were a little off in the EKG so she wasn't clearing him until he has an okay from a cardiologist.
Then she did his sugar and went over his record book.
Next, she decided to do me.  And it was high.  Soooo now I too am classified as pre-diabetic and am on medication and sticking myself every day.  Super.
Next, we talked about my knee.  It was doing better after the injection and I have an appointment in a couple weeks to see the ortho again.  Then we'll discuss using gel.  And I need to ask her about my back and my hip.  I'll be needing xrays for that.  And then will likely get referred to someone else for those two things.
And then my belly.  It is not whatever everyone has told me, it's a cyst and needs to be removed.  So I'll be seeing a surgeon for that.
And then I asked about the symptoms I have of sjogrens and asked if we should rule that out.  So I'll be seeing a rheumatologist for that. 
And she also wants me to have an echocardiagram and wear a halter for 48 hours because of palpitations.
And I told her I'm wanting to go ahead with weight loss surgery.  They wanted to refer me to the person one of our friends went to that I was completely disgusted with.  I want to see the person Rusty saw.  So I'll be making the calls to see if that's possible. 
I'm sick.  I'm tired.  I'm sick of being sick and tired.  I hope that somehow, some way things work out and I can lose the weight and let the person trapped within come out and live.
Meals this week were hard.  I know I have to watch closer what I'm eating and I'm really trying to change things up.  I changed up Bisquick's impossible brunch pie a little.  First I sprayed two pie plates with cooking spray.  Next I cut up enough fresh broccoli to cover both pans, then I added some sweet red and yellow peppers, added onion, and added zucchini.  Next I mixed 2 c. low fat sour cream with about 2 c. low fat cottage cheese, 1 cup reduced fat bisquick, 1/2 c. melted salted butter, 4 eggs. When it was mixed good, I spread it on top of the veggies.  Then I sliced a tomato, putting 4 slices on each pie and  sprinkled grated romano cheese on top.


Now THIS quote needs to be read. Then read it again. Now digest it. And
then read it one more time slowly.

                                        We labor to make a house a home,
then every time we're expecting visitors,
we rush to turn it back into a house.
~~Robert Brault
Also did a pot of chili this week.  I cooked the beans overnight then in the morning, drained off the liquid and added tomato sauce and some salsa that wasn't getting eaten.  Later on, I added onions, peppers, meat and spices.  I never measure and always do it different but generally it tastes pretty good.
We do have chicken veggie soup we've been eating too.  Sort of ignoring the hot chicken casserole.  Rice.  And not brown rice.  I wouldn't feel so guilty eating some of it if I'd made it with brown rice.  At least it would be a more complex carb.
Friday   Emmi said the longest sentence I've ever heard from her.  "Nelly! no touch nuggle blankie!"  We were getting ready to sit and snuggle and when she got down to get her blanket, the dog was next to it.  lol  Funny Emmi.  I love it.
Another meal was salad.    And I learned I don't like goat cheese on salad.
    zucchini, no seeds (it was a big one and the seeds were hard)
    mixed color sweet peppers
    goat cheese
    fat free California french
And so that's the week that was.  Sort of.  I had lots of other notes, but I'm not in a mood to write it right now.  So.....DELETE!  gone.  And some are glad because some of what was in there?  Well let's just say not writing what's been on my mind is probably a good thing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

When I'm quiet

When I'm quiet here?  Oh I'm probably too angry about something to write.  I don't like angry emotions.  I definitely don't like them spilling over into my blog.  It's not my style to rant like that.  Not like I feel like doing right now.  How can I sum it up?  Well let me just say that they system doesn't always work the way it should.  It is up to each individual IN the system to keep it running like it is meant to run.  When one...or three...don't?  Well that's when things begin to ge f'd up in a bad way.  And right now?  Ya.

I won't be blogging the last couple days for the most part because it would be totally inappropriate to do that.  So instead, let me just do some skipping around.  Right after I say DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA and when you involve my family??  And ME??  Ohhhh yes I"m mad.  But it isn't ME who flew into a rage!

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing. 
~~Will Rogers

If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot. 
~~Korean Proverb

Before you give someone a piece of your mind,
make sure you can get by with what is left. 
~~Author Unknown

Consider how much more often you 
suffer from your anger and grief,
than from those very things
for which you are angry and grieved. 
~~Marcus Antonius

I'm still doing laundry!  ugh  You know I do just dread doing it, but I'm fine once it's all washed and dried.  I didn't mind when I had the washer and dryer in a hallway alcove in our mobile home before we moved into this house.  It wasn't in the way, it was convenient.  I didn't have to climb up and down the stairs with the laundry.  Even with all the kids there, I didn't mind the laundry.  Now...I mind.  sigh

I'm wanting to balance the checkbook and do bills.  There's not a rush or anything so I can wait.  I'm not procrastinating.  It's just easier with my little table.  And it has been borrowed.  I have a routine.  And when I can't follow it I feel all out of sorts. 

I had to give the girls a hand yesterday.  They came in and asked if I had white paper.  I said sure, then told them the many, many places and kinds I had.  When I went downstairs, they were cutting up little rectangles.  Quizzing them, I found out they were wanting to pass out their info for babysitting.  So...Mimi had business cards instead and sent them up to the attic to get them.  I had to tell them more than once that they needed permission from their parents before they gave out a phone number and that they should only give them to people right here who seem like okay people.  Permission permission permission.  I applaud their entrepeneurship, but had to toss out the stranger danger warnings at the same time.  Then they began to brainstorm...bake sale, sell old clothes and I asked what their urgency for cash was.  You'll never (said sarcastically) guess!  A cell phone.  yet another sigh

I have been under the impression our house and the neighbors were pretty much the same.  Guess not.  All three kids from next door were here yesterday and they kept telling me how much they liked this one.  Hmmm.

Yay, Browns! 
It was the day of the chicken casserole.  I fashioned it after my hot turkey casserole but used leftovers for the ingredients.  I started with
        leftover chicken and veggie teriyaki with squash and carrots, cut it in smaller pieces
        leftover rice, taken from the freezer
        celery, chopped
        onion, chopped
        water chestnuts, sliced but then chopped up too
        olive oil mayo with herbs
        2 cans cream of chicken soup
Then it was a stir it up and bake it at 350 until hot through.  It did turn out pretty good.  I liked it.  Cliff liked it.  Corry ate some.  Guess it passed for food.
Got my coupons done and the paper read.  A few minutes cutting and sorting can reap good rewards.
When the girls went up to the craft room with me for something, Justice's eyes were about bugging out.  I don't think she'd seen quite a....collection.  Talked to them about making scarecrows hopefully next weekend.  I hope I hope.  It's time to decorate for fall.  I don't know what else I have to make, but I'm sure something will come up.
I found them!  Orange totes!  Yep.  Orange.  For the Browns' scarves I'm making.  Hurray!  I need to go get a few.
Look what Cliff saw when he got home yesterday!  This is across the street directly in front of our house.

Guess there were three.  He had a hard time getting a picture fast enough.  Last year we had four.  Wonder if number 4 is still around?

And on that note, my deers :-)  I'm outta here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Piano! Organ! Who wants it?

Just wanting to get the word out again. I've got a piano and an organ that need a new home. You will need a crew to move them since we can't do it. We do have a trailer if you don't have a way to get it home and you're close.
I also have a white changing table that could use a new owner. Right now it's just being used as a shelf. It's in good condition and does have a changing pad dealie whop up top.
On all of the above, first come, first serve. I'm just wanting room again.
I just discovered a couple things. First, my computer. If I take two fingers and pull out on the "mouse" pad, it enlarges whatever I'm looking at. If I pull in again, it brings it back down. COOL!
And about Facebook. I discovered tonight that I needed to go to my friends list and make some changes. We now have subscriptions to news feed updates. I went to each friend in the list and made the decision to either always be updated, mostly be updated or only be updated when the update is important. Then, in the list of choices of what to be updated on, I unchecked GAMES on each and every friend. Hope that plus blocking the games works! Should.
And now to catch up from last night and tonight.
I got Emmi early on Friday. Ugh I hate early. But if I have to be up early, it's good that it's so that I can spend time with one of my li'l cuties. :-) While waiting for her, I had a banana muffin and some juice for breakfast.
The cold air felt so good! It was a little too chilly for Emmi so I didn't open up right away. I don't want to freeze her out this early in the season. I just can't wait for the cool porch sittin' weather. I know it's been cool, but the porch was a mess from all the rain. Just got it cleaned off today. Thanks to my hubby. :-)
Have I mentioned we're going to sell the campers? Yes, we decided to go ahead and do it. We still haven't gotten our use out of them this year and it's seeming like pretty much a waste. We have someone interested so keep your fingers crossed.
Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
~~William James
I ate a banana nut muffin for breakfast again today but opted out of the juice. I was thinking it might taste good later on with my plans for supper. I took out sausage and bacon to defrost for tacos later, then made a a big fruit salad.
Watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, green grapes, bananas, pears, blueberries, strawberries, and mandarin oranges. And it ended up to really be GOOOOOOD!

The tacos were good too. I kept the bacon chunks pretty big, cut the sausage links into 1/4's, cut up two potatoes in decent chunks, chopped and onion and green pepper then added the rest of the southwest style egg beaters. It wasn't enough, so I added six eggs too. Didn't do it all healthy, did I? Oh well. Every effort counts. Oh we did put salsa on it too. The tortillas I had weren't good. They weren't at all soft and fell apart. We would have done better to plate it and eat it with a fork. I'm thinking the leftovers might make a good bagel sandwich tomorrow on the multi grain everything flat bagels. We shall see.
I spent the day doing laundry too when I could. Going up and down the steps is still easier right now. I think that shot in the knee did great. Well worth it. If the gel does as good, I'll be a very happy camper.
While downstairs I put away a few more things we'd brought back from camp. I'm hoping to ease the things in. Until you bring it in, you don't realize how much is actually out there! Also put the rugs back. Last week's rain sent them floating. All is dry now. We still need to dig up and waterproof but it will have to wait a bit.

As the afternoon wore on, we decided to do our running. We had some things to take to Kris for his friend Perlisa. While we were getting ready, Brandi called and needed us to go pick up her car. Okie dokie. Out the door and off we went. Gas. Stop for her keys. Go get it.
Wasn't quite the easy task we'd expected. Her brakes are completely gone. Kaput. We ended up not driving it but instead having to have it towed. Anyone in the market for a beater needing brakes?
I had Cliff take the Browns fabric and stuff downstairs. If I'm going to sew, that's where it will be done. My knitting can be done anywhere but the sewing needs a good table to work at and room to spread out. Just hoping I can get those projects finished. Hopefully by October, but definitely by the Nov. 13th game. They will most likely be needed then. Should sell.
Papa mowed the yard today too after helping rescue yet another car from clear up in Cleveland. Yes, this day was full. As will tomorrow be. My list is long! And it keeps getting longer. lol
I shall be back....
~~Mama Sage

Friday, September 16, 2011

No blog

I'm not blogging tonight.  I know.  I promised.  But this will have to count. 

I spent the last several hours working on a Snapfish project.  My albums were about to be deleted only because I've procrastinated for months in doing SOMEthing with it.  I'll fill you in later.  For now, I need to take the meat out of the crockpot before it's ruined. 

Night all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's not Wednesday anymore but, it's a Wednesday blog

I told myself I'd do this every night again. I do want to. I just got out of the habit. So here I am at almost 4 in the morning writing my blog! And I do have to be up for Emmi in the morning. Not quite as early tomorrow, but still, morning is morning and it's almost here!!
This morning I had to be up at what is an early hour for me. I'm that night owl you heard stories about. NOW is perfect for me to be up and doing. When I have to get up early though I try to sleep early. Doesn't always work. Rarely does in fact. But anyhow, back to today.
I got up early knowing that it was about time for Emmi to get here. I was smelling my chicken bones a-cookin' away in the crockpot. Mmmmm such an awesome smell. When I got downstairs I turned it off and let the dog out.
If you haven't learned to crock through the night or while you're at work, you're missing out. It's a great way to get a good, good meal going when you can't slave over a hot stove. Especially during times I know my sleep will be short, I try to crock the next day's meal. When I don't get enough sleep, I ache ache ache. Can't describe how bad it is. Right now, because I'm off my body's rhythm, even my wrists and shoulders and upper arms hurt. And across the middle of my shoulder blades and my face. Don't laugh. The same tissues and connective gloop are in my face that are in the rest of my body. It can hurt. And it does.
When I got done with the little routine things and turned off the crock pot, I went through the livingroom turning all the toys on. Mimi doesn't mind noisemakers and musicmakers so we have LOTS! And of course they all have buttons to turn on and off and batteries. sigh
I decided to knit a bit while I waited. Still working on the Browns scarves. And Penny and Kelley and a few others out there, I do still hope to have the others online and ready to go this weekend. I know some of you Christmas shop this early and have been poked in the side to get a hitch in my get-along. Okay. I'm listening. Any particular color preferences? I have three totes full.
When Emmi got there, Nelly was so excited to see her. She jumped up to give her a kiss and knocked her on her butt. I hollered BAD GIRL! Meaning the dog, of course. Then I tried to console Emmi and she's hollering at me and pointing and telling me NO! Rusty said she thought I was telling her SHE was a bad girl. lol Took me quite a while to convince her it was Nelly who was bad and that she was good. Gotta watch what you say when little ones are abound.
When Cliff got back from the early part of his run (second job) Emmi and I packed up and road along with him a while. We had some things that we'd forgotten to give Missy the day before and decided to find her and run them to her.
After we were done with that, we stopped in at Wendy's, I was craving meat so I concentrated on that. Ten french fries and my burger. With cheese. And veggies. Lots.
We came back home, Cliff went up to sleep and I played with Emmi until Cait got here. She got here a little early today. You never know.
We visited a while and then after they left, I finished up the soup. I strained the bones from juice, picked the meat from bones, and added lots of veggies. Yellow squash, onion, sweet red pepper, carrots, mushrooms, baby green limas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas. Then, to enhance the flavor some, I added some garlic, a little chicken soup base, and pepper. It was set to cook slow through the evening and set to auto until tomorrow. We'll have it for lunch with garlic bread. Maybe garlic cheese bread.
I know. I'd planned it for today's supper. It's going to take a little time to get into the swing of a working schedule with Cliff doing both these jobs and our changing schedule with Em. But I will. Somehow.
Next I cleaned the frig. I needed room for the soup. And while there, I decided to go ahead and pack Cliff's lunch a little early. Wouldn't hurt.
The rest of the evening, I knit and caught up on shows, cleaned up the toys and planned menus and to-do's for the rest of the week and weekend.
I was glad for the winner on America's Got Talent, but thought all four should have a show and a million bucks. I would have been happy with any of them as the grand prize winner.
After eating a couple egg rolls for my supper, and playing that addictive Angry Birds a little bit, I came upstairs and put away the towels. Then into the window with the fan, take my meds, blog this and then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
night all :-)
Sorry no pictures or quotes. I'll get better. I promise

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today was a better day

After an evening of weirdness, I ended up craving meat.  I had cooked hamburger patties with cheese in the frig and as soon as meat hit my belly, I began to feel more normal.  I'm really thinking this is something diabetic and so the war is on.
I've been fat too long and it's time to really get myself healthier.  I want to live to see these grandkids and future grandkids walk the stage.  I want to see weddings of my kids and grandkids.  I want to celebrate not just our 40th anniversary (next May) but the 50th and 60th.  I want to L I V E !! 
And so.  I guess it's back to square one...again.  I'll have to get on this train whether I want to or not and if it doesn't seem like the train is going fast enough, I'll have to sit back, relax and be patient.  I NEED to lose weight.  It's not a want to, it's a NEED.
So back to my original reason for this blog.  This will be to help me through and make me accountable to myself.  I don't go for a group thing.  Nope.  Not for me.  If I can't do it for myself...I can't do it.  I do have my fitness pal on my phone and I can keep track of things for myself there with ease.  And now that I've had a shot in my knee, moving is a little easier.  I have a few other issues I'll need to address, and it will happen.
I see the doctor next Tuesday and I'm sure she'll have a lot to tell me.  I am trying to get brave enough to talk to her about weight loss surgery.  I did check the insurance to see if it's something covered and it is.  I see the results our son Rusty had and am enthused.  But I'm scared.  I'm scared TO do it and I'm scared not to.  Yes.  I can use all the personal stories out there from those of you who have done it with success.  And yes too, if you've not been successful. 
My balloons from my birthday, nearly three weeks ago are just now losing air.  Isn't that amazing?  Angel said she had some kind of stuff put into the latex ones to make them last longer.  It definitely worked!!  They've made me smile every time I look up at them.  Thanks!!
Last night, sick or not, I had to get the house ready to have little Emerson here.  We've begun bringing things home from camp and we'd just set them around the house.  I had bags with everything from diapers to a little food to kitchen items to cleaning products.  Some things were sharp and some poison so getting them out of reach of little hands was imperative.   
A little at a time, things always get done.  The only things not sorted and put away proper were the toys we brought home.  I just poured them in a pile.  Shoot.  By noon tomorrow they'll be that way anyhow!  lol 
We've made the decision to sell the campers.  I've got a lot of personal stuff in them that needs to come home so for the next month and a half, we'll be dropping in to load the van.  Next weekend I'm hoping to bring a trailer full home.  We have the grill and outdoor furniture for sure that's big.  There will also be totes and boxes of pots and pans and linens. 
In the case the one friend who is trying to buy our one does, I'll be leaving him enough to actually stay there.  I've got way too many kitchen things at home already.  BUT I had some things there that need to come home.  Can't get rid of it all. 
It is sad and it will be hard to actually let go of them, but we can still pay and go out to visit.  And we do still have until the end of October this year to enjoy it.  I loved it while it lasted but our new adventure will be even more fun. 

I talked to Missy this morning.  She said if we felt up to it, she'd like to do shopping with us today.  I talked with Cliff and he said he was good with it as long as he got home for some sleep fairly early. 
We started at BJ's.  She met us there.  For the first time, we put the girls in one of those car carts.  What fun!  It made me want to shrink small enough to jump in too.  lol  I got the goat cheese and feta I wanted for salads, some marked down roast turkey slices, dishwasher tablets, blueberries, carrots which had a buck and a half off coupon, annnnnd.....can't remember what else.
We stopped for food at Royal Buffet and the girls were a real hit.  It's a great place to take them since they both really like fruits and things.  Healthy eatin' for them.  Me?  Pretty good.  I did do four chunks of sesame chicken which is sweet, but for the most part I tried not to eat anything sugary.  I KNOW I have to start watching it.  We all five had water to drink.  The others ate dessert.  I was a good girl and didn't want it.
After we finished up, we went to Hartville to the R Grocery Outlet.  I got some deals there too.  8 pack of yogurt for 1.99, single ones of other flavors for a quarter, queso white velveeta (which I'd never heard of) for 3.99, non-aerosol air wick sprays for 1.39, cans of energy drink (for Corry) for 50 cents, power bars (for Rusty) for 25 cents, missed the mexi stuff they had a coupon for darn it.  It was for 1.00 free.  Got organic poptarts for 60 cents, and gatorade G2.  Six 20 oz. bottles for 2.69 and single quarts were .79.  I know there were other things too, but can't remember them all.  I forgot to take my empty detergent bottles.  I'd have liked to pick up more laundry soap.  A gallon of Tide end of run soap for under $6.  Not bad.
When we got back, the girls played for just a little bit.  It was fun watching them with my balloons.  You know those things were a really, really good gift.  My birthday was almost a month ago and they were enjoyed until they finally died this evening.  Even entertained the dog!  lol  Oh my.  Me and Nelly...sitting in my chair...picture it...calm...not thinkin' about anything in particular, just relaxing....BAM BAM BAM BAM!!  What the HECK???  Then I busted up laughing.  What sounded like someone shooting at us was the mylar balloons caught in the ceiling fan! 
Check all your bills carefully.  The kids' cell bill was ridiculous this month.  With a little investigation, they found they had reconnection fees that were not valid on their cell bill AND they charged it to each individual phone!
It was good to  be back with the babies today.  A book and snuggles and shape-o ball playing makes my day.
I'm excited!  I talked to my sister and she may make a couple trips here.  She's coming for sure in October and may do it again with my brother in November.  YAY!  We don't all get together as much now that Mom isn't alive.  We were used to seeing one another pretty often.  When Judy comes it will be for her birthday.  When Tom comes and maybe Judy too, it will be two months after his 70th birthday and we can celebrate with him too!
Rusty came to pick Emmi up and grab some of my canning supplies.  I love passing them on.  It's really special to me that the kids are into putting up their own food.  To have that skill be passed through the generations does my heart good.
After the house calmed down some, I finished putting away the things we got today.  It really wasn't a whole lot, but thankfully a lot of produce.  I think there will definitely be salads in the plans this week.
I packed Cliff's lunch...not anything fancy but what we had here.  Since I'm getting back to normal, hopefully they'll be a little more creative the rest of the week. 
I had told myself I wasn't sorting toys until Friday but I lied.  I wanted them put in order so when Em gets here tomorrow it wouldn't be all disorganized.  She plays better when there's order.  I decided I need box for baby things for CJ.  We brought back the things from camp and now there are lots more itty bitty baby toys. 
When I needed to make a trip downstairs for something, I took some things down.  Then I readied others and put them at the top of the steps to take down tomorrow. 
My last adventure for the day was to handle a meal beginning for tomorrow.  I got out the rotisserie chickens I found for 3.98, took off the big chunks of meat, crushed the bones and put them in the crockpot.  The time has come for soup!
And now I am ready to finish watching my shows and head to bed.  Early up tomorrow with Miss Em.  Hugs everyone.  See you next time.  :-)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oh no I'm kidding me!

Some how, some way I ended up just deleting what I'd done!  I haven't done that in ages.  Oh well it was more than I needed to post anyhow.  I'll just say instead, I'm sick.  lol  And THAT is why there is now a button up top to join a group that will allow you to be notified via email when I post a blog!  :-)  Feel free to join!  I'm hoping this works for those who've asked.


I looked at the forecast today and I'd have danced had I been able.  FALL!!

How beautifully leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days. 
~~John Burroughs

We can all take a lesson from fall.


I don't have any recipes to include today except maybe for one of destruction.  Oh yes.  I've been that sick.  Actually I am fairly certain I should have gone into the hospital.  But I didn't.  The decision to go would have been a yes with just a little more pushing I'm sure.  I still don't feel right, but I'm not as bad as I was there for a little while.  I honestly thought I was going to die in the WalMart bathroom.  FYI...If you are in there and someone is moaning...ASK IF THEY ARE OKAY OR IF THEY NEED ASSISTANCE!  I did but wasn't able to ask for it.  And if you are the greeter and someone comes flying up to you with an electric cart and says in a garbled tone that they can't park it, then they nearly fall over trying to get off and get out the door, "Have a nice afternoon." is NOT the appropriate thing to say.  Perhaps..."Can I help you?"  or "Do you need help?"  Anyhow, I'm okay at the moment.  We shall see how tomorrow goes.


Today my Gramma Keevert would have been 113.  She passed away when she was 95.  I'll never forget her saying, "I'm going to be 95!  Sendddd me-a-card!"  She loved greeting cards.  All were special to her.  Gramma was a very special lady who taught us all so much.  I miss her.  Oh how I miss her.


And tomorrow is my brother's 70th birthday!


It just feels right to call him Tommy again.  My brooster is one cool cat.

I won't get to see him until November.  But...we will be going to the Browns game again, one of his favorite things to do.  Mine too.  No matter how the team is doing, I love football and will follow our Browns. 


 I would love to stay here and chat a while, but I don't think it's in the cards right now.  We'll see how it goes later on.  Might do a chapter two for the day or might wait until tomorrow.  I do want to begin the daily blogs again.  I think doing the vacation blogs got me back in the swing of things.  Hoping....

~~Mama Sage

Our Tennessee vacation—the finale

And to wrap it up…
                When thinking back on the past 8 vacation blog entries, I realized that in the grind of the what-we-did’s we missed some of the how we did it’s and some of the things we saw along the way that stuck the funny bone.  This last vacation blog to wrap it all up seemed appropriate. 

While we were in the planning stages of the trip, we began researching places to stay first.  No, we would not stay where we did again even if we had not purchased the vacation package.  I wasn’t real thrilled with it.  It was fine, but not the best for the money as we thought it was via our internet search.  We discovered that we were there very much off peak and that once there all places had vacancies and were running specials.  If we still wanted to stay in a cabin, cabin rental places were everywhere and all had big signs up … SPECIAL!  Motels, hotels, and resorts also had signs up with SPECIAL RATES! signs.  You really have your pick. 

We’re happier with what we have now.  It will definitely end up being our best choice.  We aren’t held to any particular week.  We don’t even have to go a week at a time.  We have the choice to go a day or two or three or whatever.  We don’t have to go to the same location.  If we decide on another destination, worldwide, it’s available to us.  If we stay outside of our group of resorts, we have the availability of booking at others the world over for under $200 a week at the very most.  And, we can share and gift our time.  If we can’t use our points or our 12 weeks a year, they don’t go wasted when you can share.  If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll hook you up.  Just called for one friend and they offered them 3 days and 3 nights to come tour, listen to the plan and enjoy the area.  And yes.  If you have a time share, you can trade it in somehow.  I don’t have a clue how that goes, but another couple there when we were did do that.

The last time we made a trip to Disney, we pre-booked our dinner show and special events.  We really enjoyed that because there was no worry about not being able to see what we wanted to see.  And we knew that by booking dinner shows, our special nights out were handled.

We decided to check things out and see if we could book here too.  Not knowing the area, we were a little at a loss knowing what to choose.  We knew we wanted the Dixie Stampede tickets but weren’t sure which others.  I spent some time researching and we ended up choosing four total.  I chose the murder mystery not on recommendations, but because we’d always wanted to go to one and never had.  Then I looked for comedy shows.  I found a deal on the Hatfield and McCoy web page.  Two shows for $60.   Most gave a discount if you booked online. 

We wanted to have handicap seating so instead of booking online we called.  We learned to always ask about discounts.  We had several available to us….AAA, AARP, Entertainment book, and military.  Every place had at least one.  When we mentioned the online discount, we found out the others were better.  So, my recommendation is to find where you want to go and call.  Talk to the ticket office directly and see what you can come up with. 

Unless you are bound to peak vacation times, I definitely recommend off peak visits.  Unless you have to have something booked before you go (as in going peak time) I recommend just going, arriving earlier in the day and exploring your options in person.  And as far as eating?  Well I definitely recommend eating.  Lol

There is a full menu of fall-back options.  You have about every chain restaurant between the three towns and then some.  I always try to seek out the local opinion when finding a place to eat.  Touristy places can be good, but if that’s where we’re going to go I still want the local flavors.  I want even our eating experiences to be memorable.  Ask.  Don’t sit and assume you’re picking something special.  Get the opinions of the people who actually live in the area.  Where go the locals, there go I.

                In this area, for a little something to bring home for a memory, I definitely recommend traveling the artist loop.  I feel that not only are we helping people one on one, but you can talk more and get to know the locals a little.  People are most interesting creatures.

                I couldn’t choose a best anything, but I will say the least favorite of our meals and our entertainment was the murder mystery.  I’m not sorry we went.  Not in the least.  I just feel the value was probably the lowest as was the entertainment in comparison.

                Now, Mama Sage cannot drive anywhere without finding something to make her laugh.  Let me just post a couple pictures that grabbed my funny bone. 

                A bumper sticker on the pickup in front of us at the toll booth.

                Taped to a trucker’s load.
                A pretty good invention.
             A sign. 

What did we miss that will be on our must-do list next trip?  Fanny Farkles.  It is pretty much arcade-ish, but they also have those foot long corn dogs.  We did lots of fun good meals and have a few more to try next trip, but we will probably who can resist a good ol’ corndog every once in a while?

I wanted to go to the Moonshine place just because.  No we aren’t drinkers, but it just seemed like it would be a lot of fun.  Maybe not.  Might be a total tourist trap.  I’ll let you know.  Lol

And we will definitely explore more local artists and crafters.  Especially the wood crafters.  We will search more local flare restaurants and we’ll look for sometimes missed, off the beaten trail everything.  We will also look for sometimes missed entertainment.  Don’t know when our next trip will be, but it will happen.

Our next trip might also be just to relax.  In that case, premade meal to take are on the menu, frozen in a cooler of just frozen foods.  The trip is only 8 hours down so properly packed, it will work.  I’ll find out if our accommodations have a crockpot and if not will take one.  Crockpot meals are the bomb. 

I will also concentrate on drinking more water.  We did drink quite a bit, but when I thought it over, probably not enough. 

And, I’ll take TWO fans, just because!  Lol  No.  Shouldn’t need to.  But if I was ever to stay in a cabin anywhere that wasn’t a part of our vacation package, I’d take at LEAST two!  Lol  The broken air was the lowpoint of this vacation.

And there you have it.  Our trip in 9 short blogs.  Oh.  They weren’t short?  Sorry ‘bout that. If you’re a regular reader, you know how I sort of get tap crazy when I’m at the keyboard.  Love ya!

I’m hoping that doing the vacation blogs Is my start back to regular blogging.  It has felt SO GOOD to be back in the swing!  I’ll post a link on my facebook page whenever I do blog.  Many of my followers are friends there or check in there.  If you’re a blogger member, I invite you to subscribe.
And on to the day….laundry day….ugh!

~~Mama Sage

Our Tennessee vacation—part 8

                When we were at the Comedy Barn Thursday night, they gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse.  They said we could go to the Country Jamboree Breakfast Show for dirt cheat.  We bit.  I’d wanted to see the show, but didn’t want to spend any more on shows.  We were not really on any certain time schedule since Cliff didn’t have to work until Saturday night so we decided it would be a great end to our trip.  We were in.

                After buying our tickets, we headed in to take our seats.  I was hoping we wouldn’t have to walk far.  Our scooters were already packed in the van and it was pretty tight.  No way were we taking anything out again until we got back home.

                The show was at the Hatfield and McCoy theater and we ended up with seats on the same level at we had been on when we went to that show.  Different angle, but same level.  This time we didn’t have a table to ourselves.  We had another nice couple at the other end. 

                I was excited to see this show.  The starring act was the Blackwood Quartet and the Blackwood Singers.  They are a gospel group I really love to listen to.  Yes, children.  Mama Sage enjoys listening to all kinds of music.  I keep telling you that but you don’t believe me.  About the only kind of music I don’t enjoy is heavy metal screamin’ meanin’ stuff.

                When we sat down, they asked what we would like to drink.  Any breakfast beverages were available.  Take one; take them all.  I had juice and water.  Cliff had coffee and water.  And then they brought us the meal.  Good eatin’ sausage, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit.
                We had a little bit of a preshow/introduction and when no one was talking, we had some quiz questions and history trivia up on the big screens at the side of the theater.
                It was during this wait time that I glanced down and noticed that the floor is even decorated country style to go with the tables.

                We loved the show.  Loved it.  A little bit of everything.  I definitely recommend this one.  I guess I recommend about all that we saw.  We’d do all again with the exception of the murder mystery show.

                We had the comedy
the great singing

a ventriloquist
ending with a beautiful tribute to the military and patriotic songs.

            The show was over and it was time to head on home.  We had a stop to make on our way out of town so we didn’t dilly dally too long on our way out.  We did talk to the singers though.  Texas is Texas and when you spend nearly 20 years in the area, you can just feel it in your bones when you’re near another Texan I think.  We discovered the feeling was right.  One of the ladies was from the Houston area.  We talked to her a bit and I’m hoping they’ll find a way to do a show down that way.  Preferably at my sister’s church, Second Baptist, so she can enjoy them like we did this day.

            The stop we were making was to look at a possible business venture.  Kris would like to run a hot dog cart.  We got in touch with the folks who make them and asked if we could meet them and actually see one.  Keith, one of the business partners who makes and distributes the carts, was willing to meet us for a little bit on our way out of town. 

            We drove up into the mountains there in Sevierville to what turned out to be a home he’s building.  It’s just a few doors from his own home.  Beautiful location and beautiful homes.  When we saw he was driving a Karmann Ghia, we figured something the man does must indeed be profitable! 

            He turned out to be a very personable, down home, down to earth kind of guy.  I’m very glad to have met him and learn some of the ins and outs and pros and cons of the business.  He wasn’t pushy thinking we needed to buy from him.  In fact when we mentioned hunting on Craigslist for a used one, he didn’t try to dissuade us. 
                And then we were off.  We were saying a slow goodbye to the mountains since a good part of the trip was still in mountains and hills. 

We had one very brief, extremely brief, downpour complete with huge raindrops, thunder and lots of lightening.  About two minutes worth and that was it.  Over and done and then no more the rest of the trip.  When it was done…it was done!
State by state the scenery changed
and we even began to get a taste of fall.

                When we were just about to the Ohio border, we decided food and gas were in order.  We stopped at the Dutch Pantry.  Great place!

 Love the d├ęcor and the things they sell are homey, country…what I like.  And here too, there was a sign on the way out the door thanking those who served their country. 


 One day we’ll need to go back with friends and see who will try the challenge. 
We took home a baker’s dozen of their apple fritters.  A huge container for 2.99.  It was tough driving home and not munching on them but we did it. 

                We got home to our puppy who missed us something awful I’m guessing from all the kisses we got.  Then the trip was behind us.  Kind of bitter sweet.  I love being home with family, but I LOVE being out on the road too. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Tennessee vacation—part 7

                I loved every day we were in the area, but one of the ones I want to repeat is this day. 

                There is a special place in Gatlinburg that I think you could do again and again and again and it would be different and entertaining each and every time.  Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community Trail is an 8 mile trail, not really a circle but you will come out where you started if you follow the map.  BUT we didn’t.  We would find some little side jog and head that way.  We found many, many places that we will one day return to and investigate a little more.

                Thursday we started out at the cabin and drove down to the main road we come in on.  That road is a part of the trail.  Shop after shop after grouped shops and other cabins and businesses.  All artsy fartsy and just what I like. 

                First stop was at Santa’s Claus-et, a place we passed every single day and I just had to explore.  OH DID I LOVE IT!!  And yes, we did buy things.  Now only part of this store would be considered at all artsy.  The food area.  We left with 2 jars of apple salsa, one of corn and bean salsa and 8 packages of dips and cheese ball mixes.  The very nice lady had us tasting all of it!  Even the tortilla soup mix if we wanted.

We also left with a few little gifts for people and, so that my grandchildren KNOW I’ve got a straight line to Santa, Mr. Claus posed with me!
                From there, we went on down the road a piece and came to the sign that said we would find the broom man.  I’d seen that sign every day and was intrigued.  I had to go see what it was all about.  We found it up a twisty, winding hillside road.  We almost turned around thinking we’d missed it.  Then when we did find it, we weren’t sure there was even anyone there.  I’m so glad we didn’t turn around and give up on finding it.  What an interesting stop!

                We learned that it is a business that had been handed down and down for generations.  They had newspaper articles, pictures…a museum of sorts.

                I was very interested in bringing home a handmade broom even before we learned anything about them.  Once we learned, it made it an even stronger desire.  The owner told us that he does grow his own corn.  It’s actually a type of corn that has no ears.  Just the stalks that he turns into his craft. 

                For the fancy, more decorative brooms, they use a special variety.
                I asked him to please pose with his work and he was more than happy to oblige. 
                I wanted so badly to buy one with the carved Santa in the handle but opted for a more plain one.  I settled to bring home the picture of the bell pull with the same carving.

The gentleman’s very awesome truck was something to behold. I brought back some special memories of our next door neighbors when I was growing up. Yep. One of the fellas who used to come spend time there had a truck very similar to this.

                And see the church in the background?  Religion is very important in these parts.  There are churches around most any bend.

                Down that hill we went, a twist, a turn, a steep, steep hill. 
                So many little cabins and things.  All weren’t the touristy cabins for rent.  Some were homes to the local folks.  All were most interesting.

                Next stop, Visions in Art with artist in residence, HC (Cliff) Jones.
                We weren’t quite sure what was up with these awesome cabins.  Cliff made us feel very welcome.

He took us inside and happily showed us around.  He had lived there just a short time.  The cabin was home to him and his dogs, it was his workshop and it was his place of business.

And after I chose the Santa, we went on outside and he explained how he did some of the art techniques then signed and dated my Santa.

He walked us to the car and we heard stories of his dreams and plans before we head out to find a place for lunch.
                We wanted to go back to Apple Valley for a few things so we decided to try the restaurant at the other end of the area.  The Applewood Farmhouse Grill proved to be just as good as the first we’d eaten at.  It was set up a little different, but the cook was just as fantastic.  I love the double rocker that was on the porch.
                After eating another delicious meal, we started down the walkway towards the shops.
First stop, the Christmas store.


                From there, we headed to the winery.  They had a bit of a sale.
                And so we brought a few home.
First kid to fix us a spaghetti supper complete with an awesome salad and garlic bread…or lasagna…we will share the first bottle with.  No not GIVE the bottle…SHARE it.  Lol

                And we hit the gift shop again to pick up what I’d wanted from there and after that, the candy store.  Again.  That would be the close of our visit to the apple barn.

                When we finished there, we still needed to find a few gifts to bring back.  Nothing at all major, but little gimme gifts for all the kids.  We went to a regulation tourist trap place first.  Cliff went in and found some things for some of the kiddos and I stayed outside giggling at some of the signs the wood guy had outside.               
I think the guy thought I was nutty for taking pictures of his crazy signs.  Lol
             Looking for a little place to buy some goooooood fudge.  I just felt like the trip couldn’t be complete without it.

              Next stop, 3 Bears General Store.  Now THIS tourist trap was neat!  Entertainment and decent priced souvenirs all in one place.  The sign made ME laugh.  Not that Jesus Saves, but that He HAD to from them there bears! 
 Lots of cool stuff in here                    

              Outside there was a big, big Santa I wanted a picture by but forgot, a gem mining joint, and somewhere I saw a sign for ice cream and candy.  Somewhere inside they had live animals.  Fun place.

                We had spent a good part of the day shopping and exploring but only ate that once.  We knew the show we were going to wasn’t going to be a dinner show.  Soooo we decided we should probably eat something before we went.  Next door was a very interesting looking place.  The Happy Days Diner.  You can see it there right beyond the Comedy Barn, our evening entertainment.

I liked it right away.
And the food?  Mmm Mmm Mmm.  Good ol’ burger covered in mushrooms and onions and loaded fries.
                The Comedy Barn is fantastic.  Cannot recommend it higher.  Another family centered clean comedy show.  Great fun!  From comedians
to music

to audience participation

to more music and a little dancing

 to very talented rescued dogs              

to juggling

the comedy goes on and on the entire show.             

Oh and don’t forget the ventriloquist!

Then up to the stage with the wee ones.               
  They round out the show with a big laugh finish.   Those...would be panties.  lol            
                And we rounded the night with a quick ice cream cone at the nearest Baskin Robbins.