Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/30/2016


I’m joining the fun this week…. 
Sitting on the porch and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.


1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving). 
Heart and Soul - Self Control - Casserole


2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?
Last Tuesday I posted on facebook that I'd have a full house for thanksgiving (8 overnight guests for 5 days). My BFF in Florida kiddingly asked if her family could drive up and join the party...my response was "the more the merrier"...and of course I meant it. I miss my BFF!   Here is a photo of us taken at her wedding... lookin good in the 80's...LOL.


3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?
"Don't wait until all the stars align to follow your dreams" 
Dreams are important, but they do not come to fruition if you do not take action. Don’t procrastinate. Start living the life you want to live today. There is always a step (even a baby step) you can take toward making your dreams come true.


OR for younger readers....
Lift with your knees, not your back! Injury can lead to a lifetime of pain.



4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?
  1. Glazed Carrots
  2. Green Beans with Almonds
  3. Grilled Corn
  4. Pan fried Potatoes 
5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?


My days of shopping until I drop are many moons ago. I don't do well in crowds and walking a mall parking lot loaded down with shopping bags is just not appealing to me anymore.  I do shop early and online to avoid the brouhaha of Black Friday and Christmas Eve shopping.



6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?
My rocking chair outside on the covered porch. the rocker faces the creek in our backyard and it's in a shady spot. I can hear the water racing over the rocks in the creek and see the forest creatures passing through. I feel at peace with myself and the world on the porch.



7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.


I remember kneeling beside my pink princess bed with all my stuffed animals lined up and kneeling with me as I prayed for a kitten. That week a stray and very pregnant cat arrived at our house...she delivered 5 kittens in our garage.  I knew my prayers had been answered!



8. Insert your own random thought here.
In a previous blog post (go there) I detailed my research on getting a good family portrait without the help of a professional photographer.  During the family thanksgiving event (after 20 shots) I finally did get a photo with everyone smiling and all eyes open! Take a look....what do you think?  


In photo from left to right: Jade (13), Patrick (Marley 9), Grandma Lori (me), Sebastian (7), Grandpa Chuck (my husband), Amanda (Chuck's Daughter), Kyra (7), Aidia (14), Chet (Amanda's Husband), and Jackson (2).

Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Are You Ready...?!?


Heading out to do some shopping, Chuck's Daughter and Son-in-Law and all six of our grandkids are coming up for 5 days, we need "provisions". Yep, I think I'll need a can of jellied cranberry sauce and maybe some vodka too!

Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/16/2016

I’m joining the fun this week…. 
Sitting on the porch and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.



1. Let's all think happy thoughts...share one of yours here. 
If plan "A" doesn't work, no worries, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.  My mantra as a project manager.  😊

2. There's a Chinese proverb that says, "If you want happiness for an hour take a nap, if you want happiness for a day-go fishing...." What say you? If you want happiness for a day GO CAMPING.
I discovered my happy place (camping) late in life. My family did not camp when I was growing up and I traveled extensively for my job after college. When I returned from a business trip, I just wanted to spend time at home, not on the road.  I was in my mid 30's when I was invited to join a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains...I loved it! I've been car camping ever since.  I find it relaxing and a great way to recharge. These days we "glamp" (short for glamorous camping), we bring every convenience available to make our campsite comfortable and my Sweetie is a gourmet campfire chef. No hot dogs on a stick for us! I love camping!      


3. Where do you go to decompress from the world around you? 
Same answer as #2...Camping! Some of my favorite places to camp: Cumberland Island, GA; Cloudland Canyon, GA; Big Creek, Great Smoky Mountains, TN; and Kings Canyon, CA.

4. What song never fails to make you happy? 
A new favorite - Can't Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake - I was introduced to this song on a previous Hodgepodge!  Just try to sit still when you hear this tune; I bet you can't. I'm humming it in my head right now -  "I can't stop the feeling, so just dance, dance, dance" - fun!

5. Wednesday is National Fast Food Day. Should that be a thing? Apparently it is, so tell us what's the last 'fast food' you consumed? If you were putting together your own version of a 'happy meal' what would you include? 
I have to ask...just what are we celebrating or honoring?  I'm puzzled on this one.  The last fast food I had was a Dairy Queen chocolate dipped cone...I went through the drive-thru so it was "fast food". My happy meal is a meat and cheese board with complimentary fruits, spreads, warm crusty bread, and a nice bottle of red wine.  

6. In a few sentences tell us why you blog. 
I started blogging to promote my little Etsy jewelry business, but found that I enjoyed writing about life and the world around me much more than I enjoyed marketing my wares. I don't think I'm a very good writer, but I do enjoy it. I also really enjoy reading blogs; I could spend the entire day following links and hopping from one blog to the next.

7. List seven things you're feeling especially grateful for today. 
  1. That God gave me another day here on earth with the one I love.
  2. That I have a brave cat (Buddy) to hunt down that pesky little mouse in the basement (we live in the mountains, cold weather brings them in)
  3. That my Sweetie loves to grocery shop (I don't) and he stocked the cabinets prior to his road trip tomorrow.
  4. That a small family of deer has moved into our yard to wait out the fire. They have been here for several days.
  5. That my creative juices were flowing today, I completed several handmade ornaments for the Christmas Market.
  6. That I opened another moving box and found family photos that I hadn't seen in many, many, years...priceless!
  7. And most of all...that I have so many friends and family praying for our safety from the wildfire.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
The wildfire in the Cohutta Wilderness (Rough Ridge, GA) is steadily moving toward our home. The fire is now 5 miles away and has been burning for just under a month.  Overall it has consumed 20,000+ acres of the National Forest; 200+ firefighters from across the country have arrived to fight this monster fire. There is no end in sight, the winds and drought are fueling the fire which is only 20% contained as of day. We really need a long
drenching rain ( or even snow ) to stop this monster. Please pray with us or if you are not religious, please keep us in your thoughts. We need a lot of rain, protection for the forest creatures that have been driven out of their sanctuary, and a halt to the fire's advancement. On a personal note, we need prayers to save our home. Thank You for your help with this; here is a photo of our favorite day trip road in the wilderness...so sad...it breaks my heart...

Best Regards,
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Need a Little Extra Cash for Holiday Shopping?

First I want to say that this is not an advertisement and I am not getting compensated in any way for this post....I just thought readers may want to check out this opportunity... 



Have you heard of an online workforce called GigWalk? No, ... I hadn't either until this week. Gigwalk was founded in 2010 with the goal of reinventing how we work in a mobile world. Gigwalk breaks down large corporate tasks into mini projects, enabling companies to get work done, efficiently and effectively using an on-demand mobile workforce.

Yesterday I worked for them for a few hours. Basically this is how it works: a business had a large survey that needed to be completed across the nation. GigWalk broke the large task down geographically into small local projects and posted the work on their website for independent contractors (like me) to complete. The projects in my local area were short audits of product located in a convenience store, pricing, signage...etc. 

GigWalk Screen Shots
It was easy work... I did audits at 8 gas stations on my way home from lunch. I used my cellphone to receive my assignments from GigWalk (all within 3 miles of my lunch location), photograph the required items, and send in my audits from the phone.

Details about yesterday's assignment:  At each location I had to use my cellphone to....
  1. Photograph the outside of the gas station building as proof that I was at the correct location.
  2. Photograph the signage on the building and around the parking lot. 
  3. Enter the building and see if they used a handheld price scanner at the register.
  4. Get the manager's name (I just phoned and asked for the name from the parking lot). 
  5. Add any notes about the photos that I thought might help the customer.
  6. Upload the pictures and information from my cellphone to Gigwalk.
  7. Done! Easy Peasy! Payment will be within 12 days to my paypal account.
And the good thing about this job...you work when you want, as much or as little as you want, and you can do get assignments anywhere (your phone GPS looks up where you are in real time). If you have and hour or two to kill between DR. appointments, waiting for kids to get out of school, or in a city that you are visiting, just login for local job possibilities. All you need is a cellphone and a mode of transportation to the locations. 

Honestly, this was easy money and I did it on the way home.  Here is a picture of the app on the phone and on a tablet...

Check it out if you need a little cash this holiday season!
Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Life in the Mountains... Always an Adventure!


The road leading to our home (old hwy 2) looks like this for about 10 miles, it's very pretty...but scary after dark. Tonight driving home it was spooky dark due to the smoke from the wildfire in the Cohutta Wilderness, visibility was very low. I made it home without issue, but my hands are still stiff from gripping the steering wheel. 

On a good day you have a 50/50 chance of stumbling upon something in the road around the next bend. I've narrowly missed dogs of all shapes and sizes, groundhogs, turkeys (the feathered kind), fox, many deer, a queen size mattress set, an Amish style horse and buggy, and my recent favorite...a runaway tire just rolling down the road.


Our home is located on the beautiful Fightingtown Creek, Old Hwy 2 skirts the creek for several miles. Box turtles cross the road frequently on this stretch of the road. I have a soft spot in my heart for turtles so we always stop and help them across to the other side of the road. Life in the mountains is always an adventure!

Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet...

Blue Ridge, GA

 The Toccoa Swinging Bridge in Blue Ridge, GA is suspended over the swift Toccoa River. It is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River stretching over 265 feet long from one end to the other. If you’re planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, you won’t want to leave until you’ve had the opportunity to walk this swinging bridge for some thrills and spectacular views. The bridge was constructed in the '70s allowing hikers on the Appalachian Trail to cross the Toccoa River at this spot. 


Blue Ridge, GA

The bridge offers a scene that is difficult to put into words. Picture a wide river winding through the thick of the forest with towering trees hanging over huge boulders, and imagine small pebbles being whisked away by the force of the river’s current. Imagine you can hear the water talk as it confronts the boulders strong silence in the middle of the river, nature unveils a beautiful masterpiece here.

Blue Ridge, GA

Your first steps on the bridge might seem a bit shaky, hence the reason it has earned the name “Swinging Bridge”, but have no fear, this bridge is constructed of large timbers and is quite sturdy.  Crossing to the other side offers many places to explore including secluded picnic sites (no facilities, just pull up a log) and areas to wade in the water due to the shallow slope. 
Blue Ridge, GA
The Toccoa River furthur up stream from the Bridge

Getting to the swinging bridge may be difficult for some.  If your vehicle can handle the 3 mile rough road approach (no low cars; a truck or SUV is recommended), you can get to within 1/4 mile hike to the bridge. It's an easy hike from the parking area, but the path has a lot of roots so wear appropriate shoes and walk carefully.  

Blue Ridge, GA

You can visit the bridge by taking Highway 60 south from Blue Ridge, continue through Morganton South on 60, all the way to the Old Skeenah Mill and Campground; at .7 miles on the right past the Old Skeenah Mill is the dirt road (3+ bumpy, rough miles on FS 816) to the Swinging Bridge over the Toccoa River. Park at the berm and hike to the bridge on the Benton MacKaye/Duncan Ridge Trail, it will take you about 5 minutes. After you leave the Swinging Bridge, turn left on Highway 60 for approximately 7.5 miles for a side visit to Serenberry Vineyards for a wine tasting in their renovated barn.

Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Today is the Day of the Dead.....


Mural by Michael Benoit - Bone Garden Cantina
Mural by Michael Benoit

Despite its macabre name, Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, is a celebration. It's a chance for family members to remember, honor and celebrate the life of loved ones that have passed; it isn't mourning, it is a joyful remembrance. It’s also a chance to appreciate the people still in your life and celebrate life with them.

Sculpture by Michael Benoit - Bone Garden Cantina
Sculpture by Michael Benoit
In Mexico on the Day of the Dead, families travel from their villages out to the graveyards to visit their departed loved ones. They visit fun loving Uncle Jose and bring him a sip of tequila, they carry toys to the children that departed too early, and they decorate the graves of relatives with marigold garlands and candles. Some families bring the favorite foods of the departed and picnic at the graveside. They sing, remember, laugh, and tell stories. They are there to commune with the dead, unafraid, and happy. Death's morbid side is buried under music and remembrances; Mexicans celebrate life with their remembrance of death.


Sculpture by Michael Benoit - Bone Garden Cantina
Sculpture by Michael Benoit
El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite days of the year. I love the colors, vibrant orange and pink. I love Catrinas, the dressed-up skeletons participating in all their favorite activities, like dancing and cooking and getting married. I love the decorated sugar skulls, and most of all I love the significance.

Sculpture by Michael Benoit - Bone Garden Cantina
Mural and Sculpture by Michael Benoit
All Pictures above are the fabulous creations of artist Michael Benoit of the Bone Garden Cantina in Atlanta, Georgia. Sweetie and I will be celebrating El Dia de los Muertos at their annual outdoor festival on Saturday November 5th. Please join us there, they'll have music and dance performances all day. You'll enjoy drink specials and traditional Day of the Dead cooking, plus you can take home one of their hand crafted Sugar Skulls. It's always a rockin' celebration at Bone Garden Cantina!  



Cheers Amigos!

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Yummy In My Tummy....

Visiting Blue Ridge, GA? Or maybe you already live in this beautiful town (good move). Did you know that Mesquite Grill on Appalachian Hwy serves Breakfast? What !?!


I admit, I was sceptical about going to a Mexican Restaurant for breakfast... it was great! I had the breakfast burritos and my Sweetie had the breakfast quesadilla. Both were stuffed full of perfectly grilled veggies, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and my burrito had crispy bacon (you can also get chorizo or sausage). Several sauces are available for dipping if needed. 

And the best thing about this breakfast...our total bill was $18 including coffee, OJ, and tax... Sweet!

Contact information for the Mesquite Grill:
Address4860 Appalachian Hwy, Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Hours: Open Today 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM


Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Date Night at The Vine....

The Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, Blue Ridge, GA

Last night my Sweetie and I went to dinner at The Vine Wine Bar and Bistro in our hometown of Blue Ridge, GA. I highly recommend this little bistro for a light meal paired with a nice glass of wine. 

The Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, Blue Ridge, GA

The atmosphere is very casual and welcoming, which is refreshing after spending many evenings in the some of the pretentious in-town wine bars in Atlanta.  They have a nice enclosed patio trackside that has an Italian street cafe vibe and live music on the weekends. The weather in Blue Ridge right now is beautiful for dining al fresco. 


The Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, Blue Ridge, GA

The Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, Blue Ridge, GA

The Bistro offers great small plates...flat breads, cheese plates, and several meat and cheese combinations. They even have a wonderful homemade cake of the day for dessert. 

The Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, Blue Ridge, GA

Also, every Friday they have a wine and chocolate pairing starting at 6:00 PM. Reservations are suggested for the pairing because... who doesn't love chocolate and seating is limited!

Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/26/2016

I’m joining the fun this week…. 
Sitting on the porch and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.


1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most 'at home'? 

My other home

Okay, this may sound a little crazy, but inside The Home Depot feels like home. 
Just walking through the big sliding glass doors gives me a sense of  pride, a feeling of belonging and a rush of  nostalgic feelings.  I worked for the Home Depot Corporation for thirty years.  I started as a cashier in the brand new 7th store; when I retired I was third from the top in longevity and had worked my way up to corporate project manager. I helped build this company (literally) working on new store/warehouse construction projects, new systems, training programs, and helping develop the Truck Rental program "Load-N-Go". Walking the aisles today gives me great pleasure, seeing my ideas and implementations in action is rewarding, and knowing that I helped make this company great makes me content; the same feelings I get from our very own home.      

2. When did you last 'hit a home run' with something? Explain. 

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Making the decision to move away from the city and to the mountains of North Georgia was a "home run"....really out of the park on this one. We have been so much happier and healthier here in our new town of Blue Ridge, GA. We've been here for 6 months.

3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is 'homemade'. 

My husband made me a rolling cart to pot plants and work on outdoor projects.  It has shelves to hold pots and bags of dirt, baskets to hold tools, and is tall enough that I can comfortably work without stooping over (I'm very tall).  I just love this cart... My sweetie is the best! 

4. 'A man's home is his castle'...which of the world's ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why-

Mont St. Michel

The breathtaking abbey of Mont St. Michel in France is the castle I would most like to visit. It's been an important pilgrimage center since A.D. 708, when (according to legend) the Archangel Michael told the local bishop to "build here and build high." Saint Michael, whose gilded statue decorates the top of the abbey's spire, was the patron saint of many French kings, making this a favored site for French royalty through the ages. Prior to the modern bridge being built the only access to the castle was on foot at low tide when the mud flats were exposed. Travelers to and from the castle had to be wary of the High Tide which rushes in at an alarming pace, completely covering the foot paths to the castle. I'd so love to visit this amazing place, walk the mud flats, tour the abbey, and experience the view that drew the monks to this beautiful mont!

5. What's a recent or upcoming plan or project that's required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?

We have been researching the perfect dog to join our family. Homework included reading up on hypoallergenic breeds, temperament, exercise needs, and health issues.  We also want to get a rescue pup to ease his or her suffering. We are in the final stages of our 'project', we've applied to adopt a rescue goldendoodle.  PLEASE PRAY for our application acceptance and  future relationship with this special girl. Here is a photo of  the pup we fell in love with...she is a bit shy, but we will work on that.

Adopt a Rescue Dog


6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not? 

I think homework can help prepare students for the demanding requirements of College and professional careers. Often times, students have to read huge chunks of text in just days in preparation for class. They also have to write papers spanning hundreds of thousands of words on their experiences reading a text. As an art major, I also had to create something for my next class, it was homework above and beyond the studio time. Without foundations of juggling homework from an early age, I fear they will not be able to survive the requirements of higher education and the stressful workplace.

7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. 

I was born in Gary, Indiana, I'm sad to say I don't have many good memories of this place. Gary was, and still is, a dying steel mill city. It's never been a happy place for me. I did come up with one good memory, not really about the town, but about my Grandparents house. They lived on a little farm on the outskirts of town. They had a very large shade tree in the yard that gives me many happy memories whenever I think of it. It was a climbing tree, a picnic spot, a place for hanging flower baskets, and a place for a shy girl to sit and read without distraction. I miss that special tree!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Little Slice of Heaven

Just got home from a Caribbean Cruise...My best day during our cruise was at this private beach club on Norman Island, BVI. The sand was powdery white and the water was crystal clear turquoise blue. Snorkeling was available, but I chose to float in the warm water and relaxed under a shady tree on the beach....it was a little slice of heaven! 

Cheers!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/12/16

I’m joining the fun this week…. 
Sitting on the porch and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.


Moving to the Mountains
1. What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving house?

We recently moved so my memories of the disaster experience are fresh...  
Best thing about moving: A new beginning in a new place, the change of  surroundings has been very beneficial, I'm much happier and healthier! Also, we made a big effort to get rid of "stuff" that had been collecting dust for many years; it was freeing to lighten the load by at least 30%!     
Worst thing about moving: Watching the moving truck pull away with everything we own; my entire life was heading into the horizon without me; would I ever see my things again!?! It was scary! Also, the house we bought was fully furnished. The previous owner just walked away leaving food in the cabinets, junk in the drawers, and dog hair everywhere. We had to make a lot of decisions about what we would keep from both homes and where/how we would move the cast-offs.  We had multiple moving companies (at both locations), consignment shops, donation centers, cleaning crews, and facebook garage sale postings to manage in a very short timeframe...it put my project management skills to the test!  The new house has half the storage of previous homes; that is still a big challenge, we have many boxes still unpacked five months after the move...UGH!

2. What's moved you recently?

Girlfriends
Brenda, Belinda, and Lori on the screen porch...day one at the new house!


Girlfriends
My Bible study group...Lori, Jill, Donna, Susan, Kathy, and Beth.
I miss my BFF's! Moving to the mountains has been great, but I've put many miles between me and my besties.  This weekend one of my best friends and her husband came up for a visit; I was so incredibly sad when they pulled out of the driveway on Sunday afternoon. It made me realize just how much I miss my friends. I need to work on this, I am moved to seek out additional (NOT replacement) girl friends here in the mountains.

3. Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?

 Moving forward...I've been working on my handmade jewelry business.  Having done two shows recently has helped me to sharpen my focus on what buyers want right now. My older designs are not selling, the customers in my booth didn't even look at the older stuff. It's time to take apart the old stuff and re-style it into items that will sell today. I've got a lot of enthusiasm right now. 

4. On the move, move mountainsget a move onit's your move, or bust a move...which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.

Definitely "get a move on" I should be packing for an upcoming trip, cleaning the house (I can't stand coming home to a dirty house), I need to do laundry, and I need to finish the jewelry I'm making to go with my anniversary outfit....yes I need to get a MOVE ON!

5. What song makes you want to get up and move?

      

I have specific songs for different activities...
Song that I just can't sit still when it's playing: Earth Wind & Fire - "September"
Cleaning the House: Steely Dan - "Aja" 
Driving to the Mountains: Santana - "Ultimate Santana" 
Dance Party: Earth Wind and Fire - Anything!

6. Your favorite snack to grab when you're 'on the move'?

Sargento makes a new grab and go snack - "Balanced Breaks"; It's a small serving of cheese cubes, nuts, and dried berries, 8 grams of protein, and 150 - 180 calories...perfect! 

7. What one accessory makes your house feel like home?

I can't pick just one...The double wedding ring quilt that my grandma Nonie made, the cookie jar from the house I grew-up in, the fuzzy throw made from old fleece and pieced together by my step-mother, and the cute stuffed polar bear my husband bought to keep me company when I was in the hospital. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I will miss Hodgepodge next week....this will be our 'ride' for the week....Yippee!

Norwegian Escape

Cheers!

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA
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