Sunday, December 25, 2016

He's So Cute...Happy Holidays!

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Crazy Cat Lady Day....

I'm not a crazy cat lady but sometimes cats are the answer to everything. 
Having a bad day? Cats. Having a bad week? Cats. Having a bad year? Cats. 
They can somehow make everything better... How?  Because they're cats, that's how. 

These made me smile today......

"His arrival was foretold in the ancient murals!" 

"The Slippery Struggle of Ice Fishing..."

Hope your week is going well, If not I hope the kittens helped!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 12/14/2016

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

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

1. Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate.
I'm much more task oriented, I don't warm up to people easily, shyness has been a lifelong challenge for me.  I'm the gal at the party taking photos, serving drinks, picking up empty cups and playing with the cat. I look for tasks to keep me busy so I'm  not obsessing about initiating conversations or coming up with smart responses. Just being myself in social situations is never easy for me...tasks are straightforward and effortless.

2. December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls you own/wear pearls? If you're a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a 'pearl of wisdom' with us here today.

I believe pearls are a girls best friend! I have several strands: fake, cultured, and natural. I wear pearls all the time and use them in many of my jewelry designs. The Pearl bracelet pictured above is a best seller in my Etsy shop.

My pearl of wisdom...

3. Speaking of pearls...oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

I lived in Florida for many years and had a roommate who worked at Calico Jack's Oyster Bar... I've eaten my fair share of oysters.  I can't choke down even one of the raw variety, but I can tolerate them in a soup. dip, or stew. They are not my favorite; I think it's a visual thing....ewww!

4. Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let's take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?
I've thought long and hard about this question and could not come up with one person I would chose, so I will nominate theMen and Women who spent countless hours fighting the wildfires near our home and all over the US. We had crews from as far as Oregon right here in our neighborhood. The crew pictured above is from Puerto Rico... god bless them and keep them safe! 

5. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it's a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.
A previous home we owned in Mid-Town Atlanta was painted a shade very similar to "Greenery"  it was Craftsman architecture with Cream colored trim and a Forest Green door. Loved it! Can't think of one item that color in our new home. We now live in a log home...a lot of wood tones with small pops of color.

6. Today I've had too much of -  
Facebook political view bashing.
Ugh...enough already. I believe in "Live and Let Live" Everyone has a right to their own opinion and the freedom of speech to post it. Just because you have a different opinion or belief , it doesn't give you the right to call the author names, comment on their intelligence, or bash their beliefs. Simply move on, or hide the offensive posts, or better yet unfriend the people who annoy you. Facebook is a social forum, why are some people making it a battleground? I'm over it....moving on.....

7. Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol.

The fireside is blazing bright 
We're caroling through the night 
And this Christmas will be
A very special Christmas for me...

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Next month I'm starting a new Meetup Group - Ladies Bunco Night in Blue Ridge, GA. This is my first Meetup group and my first attempt at organizing a Bunco Night.  Any helpful tips or suggestions to make this group a success?  I need advice on what food and drink the hostess provides. Potluck? Provide the Meat? Just provide appetizers?  I need some help with what has worked for your groups and meetups.

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Wait...You're only Seven?

I had a funny and surprising conversation with my 7 year old Granddaughter this weekend. I asked her to write out her Christmas Wish List so we could complete our shopping. Off she skipped with pen and paper in hand to work on the list. 

About an hour later she returned with a nicely written list containing about 10 items. She announce with an impressive sweep of her hand "You can get me all these things". I think she mistook my look of surprise at her decree as a look of bewilderment, because she launched into a detailed description of each item on the list

She emphasized that she wanted "a lot of this" and "really fast that" and "not the small one, get the large one".  She repeated the word "real" several times when describing a phone and a car; not the toy one mind you, the "REAL" one. 

Since I retired early, our budget for gifts is much reduced this year. To get her expectations in line with our budget, I told her that we would only be getting one item from her list. I also told her that Grandma and Grandpa would decide what to get based on the items on her "Wish" list. 

She thought about that for a minute and then asked for the list back. She scratched everything off the list except for the "real" car, handed it back to me, and skipped off. LOL She's a hand full....but I'm glad she is using her brain to troubleshot a problem. Look out world! 

Cheers and Best Wishes!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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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 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).

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!

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 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 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!
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!

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.

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

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!

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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