Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sat, Oct 30, 2010: Three more days of my Life is gone......DAMN!!!

You know.....I do not believe I can even remember Thursday...and not sure about yesterday! The time has moved so swiftly with no necessary "chores" to do....yet....that I have read, watched some recorded tv shows from the DVR that I needed to catch up on, and just relaxed as I began to plan our upcoming trip to South Carolina.

Today.....well, my body tells me exactly what I did!!!!!! No damn doubt about that.......as I washed the RV for about 4 hours and now this sagging hulk of Me is sagging more than ever and my muscles in my arms and shoulders are cursing and screaming as loudly as they can.....protesting the things I did to them today. But.....a couple of drinks with Maker's Mark bourbon has helped just a bit......

After finishing the 5er, I then mowed part of the front yard to mulch more of the leaves that have BLOWN into my yard from the neighborhood. We have a couple of days of blustery winds....Thank God the temps are in the 60's and right at 70 today, or it would have really been chilly out there. And.....sometime this week, I have contracted with a local tree remover to removed all of the roots from the 200 year old maple tree which fell last year during the "inland hurricane".....and then he is to push some dirt around to level out where the roots had pushed the soil up and up around the base of the tree. Soooo, before all of that work is done, I want to keep the leaves cleaned up as it will be more difficult to mow them after this is completed.

This evening......F'town declared this night "Halloween".....and so I went out to Walmart this morning to grab a bag of candy in case we had some kids come by. Then.....after talking with the Hanner House, I told them to bring their little granddaughter, Sophie, who is here from Chicago.....to bring her over for some treats. Sooooo, after sitting around since 6pm waiting.....I had a total of THREE little kids with their parents knock on the door!!! Amazing how living up here on the hill keeps people from coming up here to knock on the doors on Halloween. I did have all of our lights on....but the Goldsmith's brought Emilee, our neighbors across the street brought little Marcos over, and the Hanner's came with Sophie, Danielle and Ozzie, little Brian(their newest child), Brian and Pam Hanner and their two children.....almost a house full. But...it was fun while it lasted!!!!

Tomorrow.....I hope to begin to wax the trailer......and that is very labor intensive!!!!! I may get it done...and I may not. Just depends on how fast it goes on, dries, and I can get it wiped off. We'll see.......

The 1st Lady should return either tomorrow evening or Monday morning. Dr. Jeni, Darrel and three kids all went to see "Old Granny" today.....and so, I am feel certain that her 86 year old frail and failing body will be exhausted tomorrow!!! They didn't remain over night, but just went up there for the day so they could be together with her for a few hours!

I did have a contractor who didn't show yesterday come by, measure our windows, and said he would send the estimate by the first part of the week. I did also have another young man come by yesterday.....and he did the same thing. One more will be here on Monday morning to measure and discuss what we want........and that is to replace all 9 windows that haven't been replaced since we moved in here and did the remodeling. These are all in the section of the house that we didn't remodel four years ago.

I was supposed to go to Columbia today to see my great niece in the Waynesville Band as they competed in a field show competition this afternoon......but, when the guy yesterday did not show up as he promised me he would, I had to cancel those plans and remain here, since he will be gone next week....and we will be gone for 2-3 weeks beginning next weekend and we HAVE to get those estimates in and compare all of them before we sign a contract with one of them.

And soooo, the day is gone.....my sagging hulk is under attack from the exercise it received today, and I am going to bring this to a close......but, as always.......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wed, Oct 27, 2010: ALL IS WELL!!!!!

Yep...still kickin in the sticknbrick!!! Not any problem that has kept me from writing lately....with the exception:

Nothing much has been happening here!! I could probably summarize these three days in about three sentences and you wouldn't be tooooo terribly bored.

Yesterday, that is about as far back as I can remember tonight, the 1st Lady left to go spend the week with her ailing mother. Things are not too good with her...and so, she left to be with her before we leave again next week on a trip to South Carolina. Me??? I enjoyed some "free time" and did some reading, worked on the pictures I had taken on the Florida trip, and just kicked back and relaxed out on the patio.

Today.....I took my truck to the diesel mechanic where I normally take it for any work to be done....and today was an oil change, fuel filter change, a complete check-over of all parts/tires/etc. That took over an hour...as usual. I always take to the Doe Run area and to Duncan's 4X4 on Hwy W. A great place to have a diesel truck worked on.......quality work by quality employees!!

Afterwords, I ran into Farmington.....and got my every two month haircut.....with all 67 hairs (yep, still the same number of hairs).....being trimmed, fluffed, and attempts made to made them look "fuller" and "thicker"....but to no avail. Still the same old thin strands trying to spread themselves too far and wide across my balding dome.

From there...a run through in the Walmart Super Center for a few items which are not available in this crappy little Walmart in F'town. Every time I go in there, I become upset with them.....just a horrible Walmart!!!!!

Returning home.......the winds had picked up and it "seemed" cooler than when I left this morning at 7:30am. I did water the few flowers we have that survived the non-attention when we were gone, as I had asked my house sitter/plant waterers to just manage the inside plants....and not the outside ones. Won't matter after tomorrow night as it is supposed to drop down to 27 degrees.....a HARD freeze we shall experience.....DAMN!!! Misery has returned!

During the afternoon, heard a knock at the front door....and there were two ladies standing there, one of whom I recognized: Rosemary Mondale.....a super 93 year old lady who looks 70 years young. She was the wife of the brother of Vice-Pres/Senator Walter Mondale, the Mondale's owning property just west of F'town. I knew her from a few years ago when I ran for the MO state legislature (and lost). Anyway.......she had come to town to visit with our neighbor, Corkey Bollinger.....and when she arrived no one answered her "knock"s on the door. The other lady just happened to be gathering the walnuts from the Bollinger yard, as requested by Corkey. Not being able to get a response from Corkey with the knocking, they became concerned and came over to get me. I quickly called her daughter down in Oklahoma....and discovered that Corkey, age 83, had been taken to the ER last night with blood sugar problems....she being a diabetic. Sooo, after talking with the daughter, Carla, I went over to the local hospital and went in to see Corkey. She seemed in great spirits, but tired still from the ordeal of her problems and from the overnight in the hospital. She told us that she would most likely be dismissed tomorrow.........I just hope they keep her until things are on the right pathway as far as her blood sugar and medications are concerned!!!!

And soooo, around 5pm, I then had some house guests for a few drinks and discussion over many varied topics......Michael and Melissa Goldsmith with their youngest daughter, Emily (sp?). A great couple of hours it was!!!!!......as always!!!!! I always enjoy having there here......such amazing people!!!!!

Soooo, there you have it.....a brief summary of three days, with an attempt to not bore you to tears while reading this! Perhaps tomorrow will bring some better reading about something exciting that has occurred here at the sticknbrick.....just as long as it is GOOD excitement....right??

Charlie/Katherine.......sooooo great to have you call tonight from up there in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada!!!!! We must talk more often.....eh???? And, Doug/Diane.....so glad you made it all the way down to Helena, MT today in your motorhome.....from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Great to talk with you on Skype, also!!!!! Where are the rest of my Canadian friends???? How about Skyping me so we can visit?????!!!!!!

And.....as always......

LIFE IS JUST INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sun, Oct 24, 2010: Backnthesticknbrick!!!

WOW.......back to our base....our F'town sticknbrick!! We were gone right at 2.5 weeks this time....a bit longer than our trip to Philadelphia last month. But, probably less than our trip next month to South Carolina.......will leave next week, if all goes as planned.

We stayed overnight on Friday at Paducah, KY.......and all was good there. Yesterday we spent most of the morning/early afternoon visiting with Mike and with Becky. We made a quick stop in Cape G.......and then arrived home late afternoon.

The remainder of the day was spent in unloading the car.....and then, the many and varied tasks of putting things away, doing some laundry, checking out the yard, and visiting with the Bollinger's daughter, Andrea. Her mother, Corkey, has returned home since we went to Florida and will be living there for the time being. She will have someone stay with her......and then decided what her plans need to be as the time goes by.

Last night we just watched some DVR programs that we had recorded while we were gone........and I fell asleep on the sofa in the TV room.

TODAY......I had a very enjoyable few cups of Fr. Roast as I read the newspapers online. The 1st Lady was up around 9am.....and after some discussions as to what the next few days would bring and what we needed to accomplish before we leave next week, I spent the next hour or so mowing the front lawn. Also mowed under our main and only tree......and mulched up the falling/fallen leaves of Autumn. There will be more.....but, thinking positively, I wanted to get these fallen ones mowed before any rains might....MIGHT...arrive today or tonight.

This afternoon and this evening.....again, watching some programs recorded on our DirecTV DVR......such a grand piece of modern equipment to have. With my iPhone, I can send a message to our DVR and have it record anything I want from wherever I am located.....a great tool to be able to use!!!

Tomorrow???? A bunch of errands to run and several appointments are needed to be made in order to have everything ready to leave next week. Soooo, that is the priority for Monday!!!!

And, as always.........

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY INCREDIBLE!!!!!!....and, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Visitor Center in Lynchburg, TN

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Some of the "special" bottles of Jack Daniel

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THE Jack Daniel

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Daily burning of white oak to make the charcoal for the straining of the whiskey prior to aging.

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Standing with Jack Daniel's statue....


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Distillery Visitor Center

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Stores one one side of the busy square

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Inside one of the Jack Daniel's stores......


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.05% of the parked cars all around

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010: Lynchburg, TN......Jack Daniel's Distillery

This morning......a good night's rest....and a quick breakfast before we got out on I-75, going north towards Chattanooga and Nashville. We made a quick stop to pick up a TN map at the Welcome Center just inside the TN state line. From there, we breezed through Chattanooga and before too long we were heading down a state road towards Lynchburg.

OMG.....as we approached the entrance area to the community......361 people, so it says....there was one of those flashing digital signs erected by the TN DOT....saying that delays should be expected because of the BBQ!!....???? WHAT THE HELL??? Well, we very, very soon realized that this place...this tiny little town devoted to Jack Daniel's whiskey.....was being completely taken over by tourists!!!! We did manage, somehow, to find a tiny, narrow space where I slowly eased the car into it.....and then walking to the main Jack Daniel's Visitor Center, we continued to see more and more and more and more people, many wearing badges. Then I overheard.....this weekend is the 2010 World Invitational BBQ Team competition!!!!!!! An annual event, we learned, which will bring in upwards of 155,000 people from ALL over the world. In fact.......61 countries were participating this weekend, as well as BBQ teams from all over our country!!!

Somehow, as we entered the Visitor Center, we were given Jack Daniel's black cards which designated that we would be on Tour 2 this morning. WOW......all of these people everywhere you would turn, and we did manage to get on the 2nd tour of the distillery!! Of course.....we had many people on the tour.....and a real crazy 60 year-old bleached blonde Tour Guide with such a thick southern accent that it was almost impossible to understand what she was saying!! I really felt sorry for the couples on our tour that had come over from Austria for the weekend......no way they could have understood her accented English!!!

The tour took 1.5 hours....and both the 1st Lady and myself were disappointed in the tour. The procedure that the good people at Jack Daniel's Distillery use to make their whiskey was not explained well....the tour seemed disjointed with a great deal of the production techniques left totally out. After having been in Kentucky a few short weeks ago and touring the Makers Mark Distillery, this was just really disappointing.

Afterwards, we walked the short block towards the town square....crossing the foot bridge and constantly running into people....just way toooo many on that little pathway. In town.....all businesses in the stores/buildings that are all around the Court House which is in the center of the square. And...the square was packed, as well as all of the stores and cafes. We finally found a little cafe where we could get a table....and had pulled pork sandwiches. Average.....dry....no BBQ sauce on the meat except what we put on ourselves.

We did a bit of window shopping....and then did buy a couple of small Jack Daniel's items. Talked with several people who explained that his is THE big weekend in the town's year.....and that there would be sooooooooooo many people tomorrow for the BBQ competition. Teams from all over the world, as well as ALL of the tens of thousands of tourists who come to participate in the festivities. We were there for about 4.5 hours.....and then squeezed our car out of the slot, across the field, and found our highway which would eventually get us into Nashville.

We had originally planned to spend the night in Nashville, but arriving there about 3:45, we decided to drive on to Paducah and spend the night there.....here. We are now in a Baymont Hotel for the evening.....and will visit with Becky and Rachel and Mike tomorrow before returning to the sticknbrick tomorrow afternoon.

OH....the most interesting thing about all of these tens of thousands, as well as the distillery itself is that the county where Lynchburg is located is a DRY COUNTY!!!!!! Yep......they cannot sell liquor there!!!! We couldn't even taste the whiskey after the tour....they just gave us Lynchburg Lemonade!!!! Hmmmm......seems they must have 2500 votes from the county to change the law....and there are not 2500 people in the county!!!!

But......even with this lackluster tour......as always.....

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

As the sign says......


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The oldest street in St. Augustine


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Unique buildings of Flagler College


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Waiting for lunch to be served....

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In St. Augustine......San Sebastian Winery



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THE place to purchase fresh pecans........sooooo many varieties to choose from!!!

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The cotton fields of Georgia



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Thurs, Oct 21, 2010; Two days: one of walking, one of riding......

Yesterday morning.......we were up and having breakfast, but not too early. Left for the city center of St. Augustine, about six miles from our hotel. And, I must say that this Comfort Inn and Suites was the very best Comfort Inn we have ever stayed in!!!!! New, very clean, spotless, and the staff was soooo cooperative and friendly. We had one of those little coupon books for hotels along the interstates of Florida.......and, as usual upon arriving at one of these hotels, I went inside and asked at the desk the price of a room for two for the night. I was asked about AARP, told them I was a member, and the young lady told me $77.00. Soooo, I showed here the coupon and she said it was acceptable......always depends on the availability of the rooms. And....the cost??? $59!!!!! A VERY good deal! Then, I asked if I could use it for two nights......"Yes, of course" she replied. Ahhhh.....I signed in, gave them my credit card......and, soon we were moved inside a HUGE room with a ceiling of at least 10 or 11 feet high, a king sized bed, and the room was just perfect for us with plenty of room.

After a great breakfast....as I have said already......we drove down to the historical area, found the parking garage....only $7.50 for the DAY.....and we visited the Tourist Office across from the parking garage. We grabbed some maps, some other brochures of things to do, to see, to eat, to drink, to purchase. As we walked a block or two to the pedestrian street.....one of the oldest streets in town, we began to realize that this place looked like other historical cities that we have visited over the years. And....the more we ambled, the more we wandered, the more we sat and enjoyed a drink at a bistro table on the sidewalk/street, the more we realized that this was not all that different from many other places.

We spent about 7 hours, including a late lunch in the historical area. And then....we went to the San Sebastian Winery for a tour and tasting. We certainly did enjoy the day....do not get me wrong about our St. Augustine experience.....but, we just felt like I have already said.......there was not anything new here for us to experience. Now.....for many, many, many others who were walking the narrow, little cobblestone streets, this was a place they had never seen before....anywhere. And, as I said, we certainly enjoyed the day.......it just wasn't quite like we had been led to believe it might be. Lunch??? At an upstairs restaurant above a pub....and we ate out on the narrow one-table wide balcony with a very french-styled black wrought iron railing, looking out towards the bay/lagoon that ran parallel with the historical area of town.

The food???? Nothing above the average fare.......and the service was not up to average! The coffee served to me with the meal was warm.....and that might be stretching the temperature on the high side. My fried grouper sandwich was fresh, was fried well, but when I requested lemon slices be brought to the table for my sandwich, it took almost 10 minutes before I received the little saucer of lemon slices.......and by then the grouper was certainly not hot. Just some feelings about the lunch......

At the San Sebastian Winery, we only had to wait about 10 minutes for a tour.....but, the tour was only to a room where there were some kegs.....with wine in them, I am not sure. And the tasting???? Well, I did purchased the only really dry wine they produce.....a white wine which was just ok. Most of the wines offered were just too sweet for my own preferences....just a personal thing with me. The darkest, "dry" wine was just thin and had very little body and complexity to the taste. Just did not find any good wines from which we could choose several to bring back with us......on the one dry white.

We returned to the hotel and since we had eaten a late lunch, we just felt we could have a light supper with some of the deli meats we had brought with us. It was good to just relax in the very large room.....and kick back and watch a bit of tv.

TODAY.....we were up earlier, had another great breakfast...free.....and then checked out. We had planned to go to Dalton, GA.....about an hour north of Atlanta....and we did just that. However, on the way....we stopped to purchase some fresh pecans to bring home with us.....and we found a "gold mine" of great foods and nuts to choose from. We had been reading signs along the highway and using the exit which was on the signs, we then saw we had a bit further to drive....about a mile, according to the signs. We went up this paved road with cotton fields on both sides of the road.....the cotton have burst forth so that the fields were exploding in bright white puffs........quite a sight!!!!!!!!

The "nut place.......Ellis Nuts......was incredible. We actually had lunch on samples of ALL kinds of candied, chocolate, salted, cajuned, spiced, pecans.......there must have been at least 30 different kinds to try and enjoy!!!!! WOW!!!! And, yes......purchased about $30 worth of pecans!!!!! Sooooooo damn good!!!!

We, as always, drove right through the heart of Atlanta....not problems, but oh yeah, quite a bit of traffic. However, not problems as we did slip through prior to the afternoon rush "hour"!

We pulled into a Super 8 Hotel...and OMG....what a delightful place!!!! Upon the side of the "mountain" above the interstate, the lobby was like a grand ballroom!!! We got the room, again with a coupon, for $49....and the room is just wonderful!!!! I am soooo amazed at this.....it is a huge place with tons of rooms and in the center courtyard is a very, very large pool Not certain if this was originally built for this company, but it is extremely clean, neat, and quite outstanding for the cost!!!

Tomorrow....we will go to Lynchburg, TN to tour the Jack Daniels Distillery.....and, from there on to Nashville, where we plan to spend the night. A really short day of driving, but the tour might take a bit longer than we anticipated so we just thought we would spend the night in Nashville.....perhaps see a few of my former students who are living there. We'll see........

And.....after two days of walking and of driving.......as always....

LIFE IS JUST AMAZINGLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An afternoon on Cocoa Beach, Florida




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EAT HERE when in Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral

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Private boat storage for the upcoming winter season


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