"The dragonfly is symbol of renewal, positive force and the power of life in general; also a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity, a creature of the wind, it represents change. And as a dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest"
Initially my blog was about my kayaking adventures - but I have decided to include other events, photos, and day to day activities and thoughts at times. A "Bunch" of stuff. Glad you're here. Your comments are welcome.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Start my art website and blog!

Hope everyone had a very nice Christmas. My family had a very nice get together and celebrated the real meaning of Christmas.

I have been on vacation for a couple of weeks and have started my own website. It will be a slow and continual process and I will add to it gradually, but I hope you will visit when you get a chance. I have also started a blog on the website.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Oh yes - my website is www.debreardonsart.com

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ReardonsArt.com - new website

We have accomplished a lot in the past week or so. We now have a permanent website and will be updating photos etc. weekly at least. I hope everyone will help us get the word out and share the weblink with their friends. Just type in "reardonsart.com" and you can see it. This site is just for Don's work, mine may come later when I have more time to actually create the art. Would enjoy comments and opinions on the website under the page "contact Don" if you would like. /deb

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall and fire pit

Friday, October 28,2010:
I think fall weather is truly here. I bought a fire pit for my back patio a couple of weeks ago. I live in the city and you are not allowed to have an open fire like I used to have when I lived in the country. I have enjoyed a few nights just sitting by the fire. It is so relaxing.
Last weekend my daughter and two grandkids came over. I grilled some hamburgers, we roasted marshmallows, they made Smores, Sharon studied some of her biology, Jessica downloaded a couple of songs for me on her phone (or MP3 or whatever). Jason did a good job using my pocketknife to whittle a stick for roasting. Renee' made popcorn and sat by the fire with us for a while.
The next day, Sunday, I was working in the front yard. Marilyn and Seth had brought me some more firewood (I had only purchased enough to fill up the backseat of my car) and when I was raking in the pine straw, I disturbed a yellow-jacket nest in the ground and was stung under my right eye -thankfully only one bee got me. I felt really bad the rest of that day so I didn't get a chance to webcam with my son and his family in Hawaii.
Today the high is around 60 degrees, nights much cooler, so this weekend I will hopefully get to enjoy some campfires. No more yard work for a while.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Trip to Millers Creek

Saturday, October 2, 2010:

When I got home from work on Friday, I did not want to stay inside any longer. The weather was so beautiful. I just wanted to drive somewhere. Renee' had even called me at work that day and asked if we could take a trip. I imagine she gets tired of staying inside too. So I decided, why not, we will just do it. I had been talking about going to a place in the western part of the state called, Millers Creek. It is where one of the characters in my book is going to live so I needed to see the place so I could describe it more accurately. So made sure the dogs' food and water bowls were full, packed a change of clothes, etc. Renee' had her many bags packed. I started to tell her that she didn't need all the things she was carrying but thought if that is what she likes to do, no problem. By 5:30 we were backing out of the driveway. I went by the bank to get a little cash and we hit the road.

We got to Yadkinville around 7:00 and needed to use the little girl's room, and we were getting hungry. The first place I found when we pulled off the main highway 421, was a KFC. We decided to eat there, but instead of staying overnight in that town, we drove another 30 minutes to Wilkesboro. When we turned onto Hwy 16 N, there was a Holiday Inn Express on the right and I pulled in. I was told there was no vacancy. Oh NO, I thought - why hadn't I thought about that - I mean, the whole world doesn't operate on my whims! The lady said there was a car race this weekend as well as the famous Apple Festival. I informed her that we were going to Millers Creek (she said that is where she lived - I thought, are you the lady in my book - I'm losing it, right?). Anyway, she told us about the Addison Inn just down the road. That is where we stayed. The desk clerk was so nice and friendly. She gave me a 10% discount - do we look needy?, I wondered. Room 306, we were in it by 9:00.
I know I've written about how wonderful my camping trips are, but I have to say that a little of the luxurious life ain't bad at all. To understand one part of my enjoyment, I have to tell you that almost two years ago, I decided not to smoke in my house, so I go out to the deck, sun, rain, dark, hot, cold - that's the promise I made to myself. Now the laws have been passed that you can't smoke anywhere, no restaurants, no public place whatsoever. So, when she asked me if I wanted a smoking room, I said yes. One bed or two? I asked what's the difference in the price - there was none, I said two would be good.

Okay now - what made it so luxurious for me? There was a coffee pot in the room. I filled the tub with hot water and plenty of bubbles, fixed me a cup of coffee, got my ashtray and cigarettes and I was Queen for a night! Renee' also soaked after I finished, then she started watching her DVD. (You see, I don't want to pay such a high water bill and when you fill up a bathtub, the bill goes up - but, on second thought, $80 for a hotel - how many bathtubs soakings could I enjoy!)

I stayed up until a little past midnight working on the book I'm writing. Got a good night's sleep and awoke around 6:00, made another cup of coffee and woke up Renee'. We traveled the rest of the day, just meandering a little while northward, then east, etc,

Less than 24 hours later, we were back home, I had driven nearly 400 miles. We had a great time. Now we are glad to be back home. Here are a few pictures I managed to take along the way.

If you would like to see the photos that belong to the captions below, please go to my blog at hookartjounal.blogspot.com

Later I may try to upload the picture to this posting.

My two treasures from the trip. A perfect coffee mug, handmade clay piece by Phyllis Hinton Haile, $18.00, and a maple wooden turned bowl made by Bill Ramsey, $25.00. I'm drinking a cup of coffee from my new mug as I'm posting this. It is perfectly made just for me.

Where we had breakfast. You pay before you are seated, you don't get a ticket and pay before you leave. Buffet breakfast, not bad - but I do think I prefer my breakfast cooked on a camp stove in the woods.

You can't read this, but the sign says "Millers Creek"

A view along the way, not too far from the Blue Ridge Parkway

View of power lines going up the side of a mountain

Mountains in the distance

New River General Store - felt like I was in a time warp machine. Hardwood floors, and old time candy counters. The lady even looked like Ms. Maggie in my book!! - like I say, I'm losing my mind!

Bench outside the store. Not a fancy flag pole but it was nice to see.

The front of the store, wooden planks or boards for a porch.

Inside the General Store. Renee' was sneezing, I guess there was something in the store that caused it. The wooden counters, they have to be the original ones. The lady was nice enough to let me take pictures. She was not talkative but not unfriendly either. Just an older appearing mountain woman - I did notice that she did shy away from the camera, so I didn't ask if I could take her picture.

Candy, apples, just amazing to look at. I bought some jelly beans, we got a drink, and I found a wooden black with white dots dominoes game in a wooden box for $10. Did I need that?

In the back of the store is a little counter where you can order a hot dog. You see the ladder backed chair - I think that might be where you sit and wait for the woman to fix it. It's an old chair, I could tell. This store reminded me of when I was very young. There was a store down the road a ways from my Nannie and Papa's house that sometimes I went to with my Papa. He had an old model Ford and there was a hole in the floorboard in front of the passenger seat (not scary, just a memory; you could say it was his form of the upcoming seatbelt because you sat very still to prevent falling through it). The only thing missing in this store is a pot bellied stove with a few old men sitting around, some leaning back in old wooden chairs, chewing the fat (for those of you who are not from the south, "chewing the fat" translates into solving the world's problem in your conversation).

Very nourishing snacks for the mountain folks.

I was getting ready to leave after paying her and looked up and saw this. Some of the readers of my blog may not know what this is. I is tobacco leaves. When I was very young, my grandma let me "hand tobacco" - anyway that's another story. What a site. I should have asked the woman if it was for sale so I could roll my own!!!!

The necessities, rubbing alcohol, bug spray, deodorant, an oil lantern, mouthwash, toothpaste. I hate Wal-mart and Costco and Target - enough of that, I guess that's another story too.

All the old bottles, the Raleigh cigarette sign, Levi Garrett - tobacco in a can, Prince Albert.

Finally, after traveling lots of back roads (I don't like to travel on major interstate highways), we found a pizza place in Kernersville, just near Greensboro. Again, the girl asked if I was over 55, I thanked her of course; and said, yes. She gave us a discount and charged Renee' for a child's plate, so we had buffet pizza and salad for $10 plus tax. I decided we must look needy! Then, I realized that was traveling in a part of the state unlike the city I live in with high crime, high finance, big corporations etc. These folks were just plain ole good people - and that is one huge reason why I would love to move closer to the mountains.

Hope you have enjoyed our little trip. /Deb

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day weekend - camping

Four days is a bit too long.

I have included a slide show of the photos so that it won't take up so much space on the posting, then the journal entries to tell the story. Enjoy!


Friday, 9/3/10, 9:15 a.m.:
I called John at the lake and he said we could get here early this a.m. The rangers station was not open at 8:00, so we came to the cabin. Thank goodness, the door was not locked. I forgot to take a picture of the loaded car - quite amazing how packed it was. Sadie and Sunshine seemed happy, they checked out the cabin and the grounds while Renee' and I unloaded the car and got things set up. I had to call the office because we had no picnic table which we need to use the Coleman stove and to eat outside. Right now I'm sitting on the porch, Sadie and Sunshine lying near me, Renee' is making hot chocolate and coffee. Very nice temp, 78 degrees, no humidity really, slight breeze and water is completely calm.
Renee bought our biscuits this morning on the way (bacon/egg/cheese, OJ for Renee', sausage and diet Pepsi for me). Now, four wonderful days of heaven! May have to improvise if they don't come to bring a picnic table.
The came and moved the picnic table before 10:00!! I took Sadie and Sunshine down to the water; Sadie stepped in and drank some, Sunshine just smelled around the edge of the shoreline.

Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Since the morning was cool, Renee' and I setup the tent - all I had to do was read the directions. Renee' was a big help, don't think I could have done it by myself. She got in it and called Sadie to join her. If it turns cool as forecast, I may check it out one night. I took two of the bunk mattresses (or pads) and put under the sleeping bag which made it very comfortable.
After we rested from putting up the tent, Renee' and I had sandwiches for lunch (ham/cheese/lettuce/tomato w/mustard with chips and dip for Renee, bologna/lettuce/tomato/onion/mayo with chocolate chip cookie for me.
Then we both worked on our hooking projects. We both felt happy, we would talk a bit, reassuring Renee' of the dates and times of our stay, and when everybody might come to see us, what time we go home, and when I have to go back to work.
Later we took the dogs on their leash and walked to the bathroom. Since no one else was around, I locked the door and let the dogs stay with us. I don't understand why the cabins aren't full of renters on this holiday weekend, maybe they'll come later tonight - it is Friday after all.
When I'm here there is total peace and calm, no news, no TV, it's like the world doesn't exist, just my special world.
Renee' and I are trying to decide what to have for supper. I guess no matter where you are, you have to still make decisions.

We went to the store and got two candy bars (a Zero for me, snickers for Renee'), 2 bags of ice, 2 containers of fishing worms just in case I decide to fish in the a.m.
Hamburgers and BBQ chicken wings (the wings for our snack later). I'm waiting for the charcoal to get ready. Renee's is inside working on her rug.
I've almost finished my rug, one more round. I put it on the floor to see how it looked and Sadie immediately investigated and lay herself right down on it like it was her rug. She has good taste!
Later that night, I started another audiobook by David Balducci.

Saturday, September 4, 2010, 7:30 a.m.
Renee' surprisingly stayed up to finish her rug! So we have both completed our rugs. I will sew the edges of her rug when we get home so she can hang it in her room. It matches her wall color perfectly.
Last night Sunshine wanted to sleep with me and Sadie's special locker rug was not enough to stop the jealousy, so there was a mild disagreement between the two. They both ended up on the rug. I had a little trouble going to sleep and lay there watching Renee' work diligently on her rug. When she got in her bunk, lights out - sleep came. Sometime early morning Sunshine sneaked into my sleeping bag, Sadie was snoring.
Cabin #1 and #3 are rented. No close neighbor in #4. Sadie and Sunshine have done so marvelous, but today when others drop by to visit will be the real test.
Renee' and I have been to the facilities and Renee' went back to bed as usual on the weekends. I'm sitting with the dogs on the porch. It is very cool, slight breeze, perfect morning. I may go fishing but first I need to see if I can find my stringer. I lost one last trip when I didn't have it tied well to my kayak. My brother St3eve should be here soon. He is bringing my kayak as I didn't have room for it in my car. Then we'll have breakfast.

Saturday 12:15 p.m.
Steve came around 9:00. I was fishing, caught one bigger fish and one medium fish. It is very windy. Steve took his kayak out. After a while I fixed breakfast. I had previously cooked the brat sausage, so just fixed grits and fried eggs. Steve had already had breakfast, so just had a piece of sausage and a little grits. The dogs barked quite a bit but hopefully they will get accustomed to the way it is here and settle down.
Steve went back out on the choppy water (from the wind). After Renee' and I got back from the facilities, she sat on the bank while I fished for a while. Pretty windy, but the sun is not shining right now in my face like it will be later today. Sharon and Jessica will be here about 3:00 this afternoon. Donnie and the boys can't come because Jason is sick.
Steve wrote in the journal before he left.

Later Saturday:
Sharon and Jessica arrived and got settled in. That night we ate chicken breast and fried potatoes. Jessica and Sharon gathered twigs and sticks for kindling and Jessica started a campfire. We sat by the fire, talking about songs she had on her ipod. She couldn't find downloads for some of my oldie favorites. The man in #3 cabin came up and offered us some firewood. Sharon and Jessica helped him bring a few pieces of wood back to our place. The neighbor also invited us over tomorrow for a fish fry. After a while we went inside and started our canasta tournament. Jessica had never played before. (I'll post the scores at the end of the post).

Sunday, September 5, 2010, 6:30 a.m. WHAT A NIGHT!
We played Canasta until about midnight. While we were playing cards, Sadie and Sunshine had a huge fight; I don't know what caused it. I took the dogs and slept in the tent or at least I tried. In the tent, the dogs fought again. Sharon came out and took Sadie back to the cabin, Sunshine stayed with me in the tent.
Early morning the porch light come on and I saw Sharon taking Renee' to the bathroom. I still had my hearing aids in because I didn't want to get out of the tent to take them inside. About 5 a.m. I heard this bellowing yell "Mama" and thought it was coming from the campgrounds further down the road, or I was dreaming, still half asleep. Then, Jessica came to the tent, "Nana, Mama's calling you she needs you." Being half asleep and it being my first time getting out of the tent, no glasses on, and no light really, I couldn't figure out where the zipper was to the tent opening. I felt a calm panic (if there is such a thing) inside me, my mind could not get a grip on what was happening. The woman from #3 appeared at the tent and said something about my daughter needing me. I remember thinking, which daughter? It's all sort of blurred in my memory. Finally Jessica got the tent unzipped, I think. She also handed me a flashlight. I guess I was planning to run across the field in the dark. I took the flashlight, walked rapidly, half asleep to the bathroom. Sharon had been the one that screamed for me (many times she said, although I only heard it once). Sharon told me that Renee' had collapsed. The man in #3 had picked Renee' up and started carrying her back to our cabin until Sharon said, "No, she needs to go to the bathroom". So, he took her to the bathroom. When I got there, the man was going to get his truck to drive Renee' back to the cabin so she wouldn't have to walk. Sharon was so upset, understandably. She said Renee' looked really pale and her eyes rolled back. When I got to Renee' in the bathroom, I asked her if she wanted to go home and she said no. I can't imagine what caused this except for the fact that I was in the tent and not with her in the cabin and she possibly had a panic attack.
After getting Renee' back to the cabin, Sharon and Jessica and I were too uptight to go back to sleep, so we sat outside. The moon was different than I had ever seen, grey-purple with a white ring, and a white slither moon. Maybe no more four-day trips and maybe no dogs from now on. Sharon and Jessica eventually went back to bed. I guess I'll start cooking breakfast, or maybe I'll go fishing.
A little later in the morning, our #3 neighbors came down to see how Renee' was doing. I couldn't thank them enough for all their help and care. When the man (Ron) saw Sadie, he said that she was an Indian spirit dog. I'll have to look that up when I get home.

Sunday, 1:45 p.m.

After breakfast (sausage/bacon/eggs/grits, milk/OJ) - I took Sadie and Sunshine home. Renee' rode with me. After about two hours we were back at the cabin. I was not in a good mood. Back at the cabin, I went fishing on my kayak (after making sure Renee' knew what I was doing). The sun was bright, wish I had gone in the morning hours. No bites or nibbles. I guess the fish could feel my frustration. After about an hour of fighting the current from the motor boats, I came back to the cabin. Jessica was playing in the fire, Sharon and Renee' were asleep. I fixed me a diet Pepsi and had four chocolate chip cookies.
That afternoon, we went to get our fish dinner from Ron and Deborah in cabin #3. Very good catfish. A good change from our usual. As usual, I had brought too much food.
Now I believe it's time to finish our canasta tournament!

Monday, September 6, 2010
Sharon and Jessica wrote in the journal.
We played canasta most of the evening. We decided it was a little too hard to see by flashlight so we sat by the fire that Jessica had made from the surprisingly large amount of twigs and limbs they had gathered on the grounds and around. The fire was really nice, very relaxing. Sharon had 3 Down coverlets that we used around us. It was a cool night, but we felt cozy. A good ending to such an eventful day.
We all slept in the cabin, no more tent for me, I guess. I didn't wake up until 7:15 this morning. I rekindled the fire from the hot coals. Sharon woke and we had our coffee by the fire, just waking up slowly.
I called my friend, Barb, who said she couldn't make it. So, I started breakfast (brat sausages/pork chops/eggs) pretty good, I have to say.
After breakfast, Jessica said she wasn't in the mood to go kayaking and agreed to stay with Renee'. I made sure Renee' knew what I was going to do and gave her kisses. She was fine and turned over to continue her snooze. Sharon and I took our books and paddled for a while. We were back at the cabin in less than an hour. Jessica was upset. When she and Renee' were going to the bathroom, Renee' started having one of her dizzy feelings again which scared Jessica understandably. They got back to the cabin and all was fine, but Jessica was still upset.
I guess what I'm finding out is that Renee' as well as the dogs are true home bodies. Four days and three nights is pushing the limit.
Sharon and Jessica brought up the kayaks and we played a short (2000) game of canasta before packing up the cars. We left around 2:00. Everybody had things to do, Sharon and Jess had to study, I had to wash clothes, and recuperate!

Monday 4:15 p.m.
At home! Had my shower after unpacking everything. I wish things had gone better, so stressful. Maybe next time will be better. I'll go just for Saturday and come back Sunday, take picnic food and snacks, and just rest. I will also get firewood next time, especially since it's getting cooler. And, of course leave Sadie and Sunshine at home.

Note to Sharon and Jess:
I'm feeling "random" (just between us, you would have had to have been there).

Canasta scores:

Date Jessica Sharon Nana
9/4-- 5550..... 2310..... 1765
9/4-- 3739..... 5395..... 2905
9/5-- 4570..... 4425...... 5470
9/5-- 3445..... 4960...... 5080
9/5-- 2190..... 2840..... 1425 (short game)

Until next time/Bunch

PS - I googled Indian spirit dog and sure enough, there was a picture very much like Sadie. Well, since Sadie is an Indian dog, then Sunshine must be a cowgirl because this weekend they got along like the cowboys and Indians in the old westerns.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We're back

Tuesday, September 7, 2010:
We got back home yesterday, late afternoon, after four days camping at Lake Mayo. I was too tired to upload my photos and post my blog, but hopefully tonight or one day this week. It was quite an eventful time, nice and relaxing mixed with stress, to say the least. But, we made it. I believe four days is a little long to be gone from home, at least for Renee', and I know for the dogs. Like they say, live and learn. But, we made the best of it. So glad Steve dropped by and that Sharon and Jessica was with us. The weather was perfect, the water was a little choppy from the wind on Saturday, but very smooth Sun and Mon. So, hope you'll drop in and read the journal entry and see the photos, when I get them posted.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weather and plans

Wednesday, September 1, 2010:
According to the weather forecast, Friday is going to be 99, but then a cold front comes in so the weekend is only going to be in the 80's and the night temperature is going to be in the 50's. Sounds like good tent sleeping weather. Hurricane Earl is threatening the NC coast, but tomorrow afternoon is expect to turn more northward which will reduce the effects on NC. Here we may have some winds but no rain. If Earl does not make more movement to the north, then I don't know what they will forecast.

Tomorrow afternoon when I get off work, I will start preparing the things we need to take, go to the grocery store and make sure I have everything together. Also I'll call the ranger's station to be sure the cabin is not rented to insure that we can arrive early Friday morning. Really looking forward to a restful four days at the cabin.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cooler Days

Wednesday, August 25, 2010:

Finally, it seems like the hottest days may be gone, I surely hope so. It has been to muggy and hot for me to go kayaking. I am looking forward to the fall and may even try kayaking when it's cold. We'll see.

A little over a week - next camping trip. I extended the reservation, since I realized that that weekend is a holiday. Put in for time off of work, so now we have four days. It will be a new experience because I am going to take Sadie and Sunshine. The rules of the lake do not allow them in the cabin, so I'm going to take a tent and, more than likely I will end up sleeping with them at night - I hope it is for sure cool then!

It will also be a challenge to see how I'm going to pack my Matrix for a four-day camping trip, two tents, two dogs, the items Renee' packs, and my kayak in my car. I hope I remember to take a picture - it may make the Guinness book of records, or for sure Ripley's believe it or not!

In the meantime, I've been working on my rug hooking and locker hooking projects. I also had to put together a cubicle-cabinet and put it on top of my homemade bookshelf to hold my hooking fabric. After seeing the progress of this, I think might just be able to fit everything in my car.

(Pretty good forecast according to weather.com) I hope this is true, good weather for grilling, kayaking, and sleeping with dogs in a tent!

Updated forecast:

Forecast ..............................(Forecast) Also hurricane Earl may cause rain!!!
8/25/10................................. 8/29/10

Fri 3 Hi 89°F Lo 65°F......... (92-68)
Sat 4 Hi 83°F Lo 60°F........ (92-66)
Sun 5 Hi 83°F Lo 60°F...... (86-65)
Mon 6 Hi 83°F Lo 59°F..... (86-66)

Til next time/ Bunch

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The library

Sunday, 8/15/10:
I can't believe I just erased the photos from my camera before I totally transferred them!!!!!
Anyway, I won't let it ruin my day for my memories.

Sharon had called me yesterday and said she might go kayaking and I told her I would wait and see if I was in the mood when I woke up. You know how it is, you wake up, wanting to go back to bed, feeling lazy and all. Well, after coffee and giving it some thought - the dragonfly theory of life, I texted her. "up? kayak?"

My phone rang a little later. (She had texted me but I had not heard the phone beep). We both decided to get over our lazy selves and go kayaking, just to read our books and relax. We would meet at 8:00. I got there a few minutes before the gate opened, soon Sharon came and by 8:20 we were on Crabtree Lake. Sharon had her e-reader (not sure what it's called), and I had my audiobook, listening to a book by Sidney Sheldon. We paddled and floated and paddled and floated. It was a perfect morning, overcast, smooth water but just enough current to keep you floating gently.

We left the lake around 11:00. I went by Sharon's house to see her newly painted kitchen - she should have been a interior designer/decorator - it looks perfect.

I really hate I messed up on the photos. I had taken Sharon's picture on her kayak engrossed in her book, just floating on the lake. I'll get another one next time.

Now, Renee' and I are headed over to mom and dad's for our usual pizza-milkshake Sunday!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Camping 8/7-8/10 - A Sign

August 7-8, 2010

The stay at the cabin was very relaxing and uneventful - but the pre-cabin time was no such thing. I kept my journal updated several times during this weekend, so I will insert those entries and, of course, make any comments along the way that come to mind.

Before I start the story, I need to tell you a little background info: At our previous visit a couple of weeks ago, the person in #4 (you remember, the man who parked his boat in our way, but also got us the can-opener) - well, he had mentioned that they had arrived early that morning. Short story here: I checked it out and found that if the cabin was vacant you could arrive when the gate opens to start your stay, and that they weren't particularly strict about check out times. This was great news, we could spend a longer day for the same amount of money.

So, now to continue with the story:


"Sat Aug 7:

Last night I packed the car, all but the cooler. Went to Wal-Mart and bought another cooler, bigger and better. They didn't have any life vests for Renee. Then I went to Kings to get the last minute food items. I wasn't feeling too good, guess all this heat and high humidity was getting to me, so I went to bed before dark.

Sat a.m. - got up about 4:00. Jeff had left me a "have a good time" message on my cell phone. I drank some coffee, then packed the cooler - got everything ready. Renee' got up and dressed and we were off by 7 a.m. In Roxboro, Renee' treated us to breakfast at Biscuitville, bacon/egg/cheese biscuit with hashbrown and OJ.

We stopped at Neal's store near the road to the park to get ice for the cooler. The cooler wouldn't hold both bags, so I sat one on top of the cooler and figured I would re-organize things when I got to the cabin.

At the park, I drove to the cabin area to see if the cabin was occupied. No one was in sight, only a car parked in front of #4, otherwise the place was empty. Great, I thought, so we went to the office to get the key. The man in the office, a park ranger maybe, "Charles" said that they people in our cabin had not checked out. I asked him if he had another one available - no, they were all booked, he said. So, I sent text messages to Sharon, Marilyn and Barbara informing them that we could not check-in until 3:00.

Needless to say, I was very very disappointed. Go back home? No other real choice. Renee' and I didn't want to sit in the car for 6-7 hours, and Renee' would not want to even sit and watch me fish (wasn't in the mood anyway). We went by the bathroom (across from the cabin) before we started home. Still no sight of anyone, there were two bags of garbage sitting outside near the walkway. I was getting more frustrated. So, I called "Charles" back and asked him if he was sure he had checked #5. He said yes. I told him it was empty. He said "I have no key." I suggested that they may have left it in the cabin. He said, no, but he would do some more checking and asked me for my phone number. (Should I wait 6 hours for him to call? One thing for sure - those cabins had better be fully occupied this afternoon - I was thinking).

So Renee' and I started back home. We stopped at the Walmart in Roxboro - no life vests, but got Renee' a couple of pants and tops - more camping clothes. When we got to Durham, we stopped by the swings near my brother's house because Renee' said she would like to do that and poor baby - this was her Saturday "sleeping" day, and I had dragged her out of bed at dawn, drove her all over the country side, the least I could do was let her enjoy swinging. She was handling everything like the camping princess she is! (better than me, for sure).

I've got enough food packed for lunch and supper and breakfast for the whole family - hope somebody shows up to help me eat it. Back home for a few hours, then we'll go back. From now on I will definitely call first and NOT speak to "Charles".

Since checkout is at 1 p.m., I decided to go back to the cabin at that time. About 5 or so miles down the road, Renee' asked me if I had packed coffee - it hit me - oh no - I forgot to turn off the coffee maker at home - - - so - - - I turned around, went home, cut off the coffee pot. When I got back to the car, Renee' said "here we go again, three times". I said, "yeah, maybe we'll make it this time, sweetie." - and we did. I was beginning to wonder if all this was a "sign" - like - stay at home!?! I was rolling over in my minds things I could say to "Charles", but when we arrived, a young guy was there and I just asked for the key and he just gave it to me and that was that. I sent another text message saying that "we are here".


Sat 3:00 p.m.

Finally! What a day! But, sitting outside in the shade, slight breeze and lower humidity makes all the frustration of this day worth it. Renee' is sitting with me, drinking her hot chocolate. We talked about who might come to see us. Sharon will be in a little bit, and maybe Barbara, my friend. I have enough food for a family reunion! Maybe I'll learn one of these days; I always cook too much or prepare too much. Maybe Sharon and I will munch all night and play games.

I still feel dizzy or lightheaded. It would be really bad to be sick when life is so good. But I won't think about that. Looks like all the cabins are empty - so that man at the office could have given us another one - get over it Deb, I though. Have you forgot about the flow? ! Marilyn sent me a couple of texts reminding me to enjoy and relax. I'll rest now and enjoy the nature and quiet around me.


Sun. 7:15 a.m.
After playing games last night until about 1 a.m., I slept late this morning, and like a rock. H'm having my first cup of coffee. It's so quiet and, yes, all the cabins are still vacant except I believe someone came to cabin #1!

Yesterday afternoon, Sharon Kayaked for a very long distance - to the bridge and back. While she was out, Barb drove up as I was starting the charcoal - yes, me - starting charcoal. It worked!

The chicken breasts were very good. I fried some sliced potatoes - yum! and baked beans (of course opened with my own can opener that I remembered to bring this time). I also fried a few hotdogs. Sharon went to the store and got ice and diet cokes while supper was cooking.

We all enjoyed the food. I have to say I'm turning out to be a pretty good cook on the charcoal grill. You see, I brought my own, the one with the lid which I think cooks better, all the heat doesn't escape into the air.

Renee' took photos!

Barb had to leave before the gate was locked. She wrote an entry in my journal, and left us with a watermelon, peaches and cherries. I think I'll cut up the peaches for our breakfast. But for now, I'm finishing my coffee and cigarette while Sharon and Renee are still sleeping ...and keep writing.

Renee' is drying the dishes. She loves doing her "jobs".

Sharon and I were sitting outside. Sharon said, "look at that bird, ma, or is it a chicken?" - I turned around, and from what I could tell, it looked like a hawk. So I took about six pictures, all the while trying to get closer. I have no idea what happened but the camera messed up (not me, I'm sure!). Anyway, - for the memory - this is a picture of a hawk, maybe a red tail hawk on the ground at cabin #4.

Last night while playing games, we at cherries, pistachios, and brat sausages. I'll record the game scores in my blog because I kept score in this journal. We played dominoes (Bendominoes, the curved kind) regular and all 5's, then rummy, then tried a version of spades called setback which I had played when I was about 16 - and I thought I could remember the rules? ha! Then Sharon creamed me in backgammon. !!! (everybody does, for that matter)

Renee' made Sharon and I a cup of coffee while we played games.

I was going back in the cabin and on the screen door there was a dragonfly! I reached out and took him gently by the tail, I wanted a closer look. He immediately curled his little self around and tried to bite me. I let go really quickly and he dived-bombed to the porch. "Oh no" I thought, "is he dead? Is that a sign?" I reached down to touch him and he flew away. - Umh - I'll have to think on that - but I'm glad he is alive! and me too!

Sun 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: sausage (handrolled, won't say what the pieces looked like and I'm leaving out the picture), eggs, overly-cooked hashbrowns, tomato slices, peaches - really good - but from now on I'll stick to grits or handcut potato fries. The hashbrowns were not good at all. You know how you cook cookies until they "look" done and then they crumble? Well, that's what happened to the hashbrowns.

Um-um good. Peaches were just right, sweet, juicy. Thanks Barb!

It's a bit early for Renee', but she has adapted really well to this ourdoor adventure routine.

Sharon took her book-reader and accompanied Renee' to the bathroom. I've washed up the dishes. Now I think I'll sit back with my coffee and cigs and read a little "Mystic Grits". I don't wanna go home!

When Sharon and Renee' returned, they each brought me a wildflower, hugs and kisses.
That's the best of life!

Life is so good!

Sun. noon-2:00

We packed up and swept the cabin.

When I turned in the key to the young guy at the office, I asked him that if a cabin is not occupied are you allowed to check in early - "yes".

Also, if not and another cabin is available could you be switched - "yes".

So, I made a verbal complaint about "Charles" who had done neither of these.

I had looked at cabin #1 while we were visiting, and decided I didn't like it. So I told the office guy that I wanted to cancel my reservation for the 21st. He said it was a policy to have a 14-days notice - DUH!!! I looked at the clock on the wall and said, "could you make a 13 hour exception to that policy?" He finally answered, "yes".

We got home about 2:00, unpacked the car except for the permanent camping supplies which has just about filled my car!!! Now I need a bigger house AND a bigger car!!

Come again. /Deb
P.S. - about the dragonfly "sign" - I interpret that to mean: try to ruin my day, I will get right back up and fly! and we did!!
One more note: Turns out the lightheaded/dizzy stuff - today (Monday) I have sinus symptoms and a headache. Didn't want anybody to worry.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Coming Up

Friday 8/6/10: It is so hard to work when you want to be having fun, like hooking a rug, camping, etc. Tonight I will get the last minute food items for our camping trip this weekend. I already have the stand-by of hotdogs, just need buns and onions. I'm going to take my little grill that has a lid on it because I think I do the best cooking on it. Instead of wings, I am going to get some chicken breasts to grill. Also, I have my small cast iron frying pan and plan to fry some cut-up potatoes, to go with the chicken and baked beans (got the can opener this time). Every time I think about cereal for breakfast, but you know breakfast is my favorite meal, especially when camping. So, I'll take some brat sausages for the grill, and fry some eggs on the Coleman, oh yes, and grits per Renee's request.

Looking forward to great time. /Deb

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Camping - a get together

Friday 7/23/10 through Sunday 7/25/10 - What a get together this turned out to be!

I was off work on Friday, so I got the last minute items ready for the camping weekend. Went to King's to get the hotdogs, chicken wings and other things we needed. After I got the grub, and had packed the car, except for the cooler, I had some time, so I worked on my rug hooking a little. I remembered that I had forgot to buy the buns for the hotdogs and hamburgers, so I went back to Kings. I'm glad it's only a couple of miles from my house. Sharon had also left work earlier than planned, so she and Jessica got to the house about 2:00. She drove her truck so she could transport her new kayak.

After we checked in at the park office, the first thing we did when we got to the cabin was decide who gets which bunk. Renee got first choice, then "toes" Jessica. After that was decided, we unpacked the cars and got everything organized on the extra bunk we used as our counter top. During the stay, Jessica changed her mind about the bunk, the first one was above me and was questionable, so she picked the one above her mom, that was too hot and close to the light bulb, then the top one above the AC was too close to ceiling or something. So, we took the stuff off the lower bunk near the AC and she had a good night's sleep.

We made sandwiches for lunch, while the AC was cooling down the cabin. Jessica is stuffing down some of her rice krispy/marshmellow treats she fixed just for the camping trip. (Delicious Jess, thanks!!)

After lunch, Sharon and Jessica took their kayak out. The water was very calm. The people in cabin #4 next to us had their motor boat tied up at the small landing spot, so I asked them if they could tie it over just to give us room to launch our kayaks. The man was nice and later that day tied his boat over a bit, but it was still not good enough, so we found a little space further down to enter the water.

Renee' watching Sharon and Jessica in the kayak, and laughing.

Later that afternoon, Sharon and Jessica and I started a game of stitchopoly, during which we took several breaks. Renee' said she didn't want to play a game with us. I really don't like monopoly, but the "stitching" words made it a little more interesting to me.
We cooked hotdogs on the griddle on the Coleman stove, cut up onions, set the picnic table, and then I discovered I had baked beans that I could not open, so I went and asked the man in #4 if they had one we could borrow. He said he only lived a few miles from there and was going home to feed his dogs and would bring us back one - like I said a nice man. (I still think he should not have docked his boat where he did, but we made it, really - doesn't there have to be one little thing that isn't quite right??)
It was almost dark when we finished our supper, the crickets and night creatures were chirping, the breeze was just right and the moon was huge, giving enough light to see the water glistening.

Everybody made their way to and from the facilities,
We finished our game. I lost, went bankrupt, had to mortgage my property, give it to Sharon, and I believe Sharon was the winner. (Leave a comment if I'm wrong Jessica and Sharon).
Renee' brought her bear, the one Aunt Nancy gave her. Jessica had brought her bear to sleep with also. I said, "Oh no, I forgot to bring my little lamb" and you can guess, Renee' let me sleep with her bear. (The second night, she slept with it.)
We were in our bunks by 12:30. Nobody could go to sleep, it was like a slumber party. Jessica thought she saw something crawling on Sharon's covers - of course the lights came on, a search was made, nothing found, but then we were really not sleepy. Renee' and Sharon read by a night light, and after a few "goodnight John Boys" we were off to dream land, at least I was!

Sharon was able to take this picture - a yellow butterfly which, like my dragonfly, is their kayaking symbol. There were two on the bush, while Jessica was kayaking. Pretty cool.

Saturday, 7-24-10:

Up early enough to see the sun rise and the water looked like glass. Jessica and I decided to fishing so we went to the store for our fishing worms.

Jessica fishing from her kayak. I stood on the bank and tried a little fishing while Jessica really enjoyed herself. I threw back all the ones I caught, just about the size to be called minnows. One of her fish dropped into her kayak and she let out a squeal. I wondered about trying to fish from kayak - you know, hooks and inflatable kayaks might not be a good mix!
After about an hour, we were getting hungry, so we headed back to the cabin for some breakfast. I thought surely Sharon would have us a four-course meal prepared, but she and Renee' were sleeping so peacefully. So, about 9:30 I fried bacon and eggs, instant grits, milk/OJ, pretty good breakfast. You even have to wash dishes in the mountains.
At 10:30 I was fishing from my kayak, pretty okay. If the water had less current, it may have been a little better - or maybe I need an anchor! Concentrating on not letting the hook accidentally hit the kayak, and trying to watch the cork and stay out it's way at the same time was rather challenging. Besides, the fish weren't biting and it was so hot. Sharon was in her kayak and Jessica was swimming all over the place. Naps would be coming up soon for sure.
Back on the porch, it was shady and a nice breeze was keeping me from melting in the heat. We were talking about lunch, and got the picnic table prepared for lunch. Marilyn and Seth came by and shortly after, my friend Barbara came. Sharon made up the hamburgers, and Seth agreed (promise I didn't threaten him) to start the charcoal and to cook. I hate to admit it, but since we had such a good chef, we decided to go ahead and cook the hamburgers and the hotdogs and the chicken wings - left overs were be just fine. Next time Seth might get a contract before taking on "starting the charcoal". We had the hotdogs, then the hamburgers. Marilyn brought some home grown tomatoes - yum. Barbara brought me some cherries, which I have never had and they are really good. (In fact, I brought some to work and am munching on them as I work on my blog.) Barbara came by to see how it was because she and some of her grandkids maybe are coming to camp in September and will be staying in #4. After lunch, Barbara had to leave.

Chef Seth lighting the charcoal. Sharon preparing the hamburger. On second thought, I believe that makes Sharon the chef! Sorry Seth, you have to be the chief cook.

Thought I would get some hints about how to use charcoal from Seth. Bottom line "you gotta be patient" - Marilyn heard that and laughed out loud - "Now you know where I got it from," she said to Seth. Okay, okay, I have to be patient! Let the fluid soak into the charcoal, then wait for the charcoal to turn grey, don't put the food on after the first few flames! I think I know how now, tune in to next camping entry, I'll let you know (unless Seth shows up - or somebody else offers to do the cooking)

After slaving over the hot grill in the 100 degree temps, Seth finally got to eat his lunch, poor baby. Really, THANKS much Seth, you made it a perfect meal.
Sharon washing her hands. We have a wash bowl and a rinse bowl.
Seth cleaning the grill (above and beyond, Seth!)

Nothing makes me happier than to see Renee' happy. Marilyn used my life vest - and - my shoes. Silly girl, she don't want to touch the scary things on the bottom of the lake. She commented on how the life vest gave her cleavage. I told her yeah, until you get old and then it gives you more crevices! Another funny memory.

Renee' and I sat under the trees while everyone went swimming. I heard a car pull in, and was surprised to see Mom and Dad. They came to see the place and agreed the road to the cabin really did feel like the mountains. Renee' entertained them while I went down to take a few pictures of everybody in the water.

They had already eaten so missed out on the delicious leftovers we had.

"The shoes"
A great day, I have to say! (I have more swimming photos, so will add later)
After everyone left, the four of us rested a little while. Then we decided to actually get in the lake. Renee' wore some shorts that Sharon brought, and just wore what I had on. Swimming will double as a washing machine and shower! We put on our life vests and had a wonderful time. Thank goodness Marilyn left my shoes, I had to wear them (silly me). Of course, Renee' wore her's.

"Come on Nae, we're going swimming" - I love to see her laughing and happy.

Renee' is showing me how to do it.

Renee' and me floating. I'm holding onto her hand for safety (mine!)

We ate some leftovers when we got back. We were all too exhausted to play games. In fact, I don't even think there were any "goodnight john boys". Renee' and Sharon read their books for a short time, but Jessica and I were out in a second.

Sunday 7/25/10:

Slept until about 7:00, later than I planned, so I missed the first sunlight on the lake. After a cup of coffee, Jessica and I packed some junky snacks and water (my cigs), and took the kayaks out for over an hour. The water was like mirrors, the reflections perfect, it was beautiful. We saw a snake, at least that what I think it was, and according to Jessica it was big as one you might find in the jungle. She wanted to take a closer look, but it didn't take a lot of "come on Jesse, it might get in your kayak" before she paddled to catch up with me. I threw one of my black jelly beans in the water (not my favorite flavor). Jessica asked "what was that?" I said a black jelly bean. Well, I had about four wonderful jelly beans in my mouth and she so casually says, "You know Nana they make a jelly bean that is vomit flavor." If only I could swim! I may have tipped her over. I told her "Jessica, not while I've got them in my mouth!!" She said, "Oh sorry Nana, but they do." We laughed and continued with our memory making time.
After we got back, Sharon and I decided to go kayaking. Jessica was tired, so she and Renee' slept.
We would paddle a ways, float and drift, talk, and just sit. Eat animal cookies and jelly beans.
We were sitting in the shade near the bank, everything was so quiet, calm and peaceful. I told Sharon, 'You know sweetie, I can't believe my life is so good. After all the bad things, you know?" Sharon is not one to mince words and easily speaks her mind, and she said "You didn't have any way to go but up." "How true", I said, and "I've got to remember to write that in my journal". We both laughed - making more wonderful memories.

Sharon held the camera up and after a few tries, got a couple of neat pictures while we were kayaking.
We took our kayaks from the lake to the cabin. Jessica cut the watermelon and we ate. I can't beleive I forgot to get pictures. The watermelon was so sweet and juicy, no seeds.
We packed up the cars, Sharon swept the cabin. They took the trash to the dumpster while I turned in the key.
When I started camping, I also began a journal. Everyone wrote an entry (except Mom and Dad, I forgot to ask them; they left too soon), but the entries are just for me to read. I don't believe I will include them in my blog.
GREAT TIME EVERYBODY - Thanks so much for coming to see me and Renee' at our mountain home.