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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