Saturday, December 9, 2017

FCC PROTEST

As a lot of people know, the FCC is trying to give the internet to corporations. This means our speed can be slowed whenever AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, et cetera, get the urge while the content we want to see may come with a charge--if we can get it at all.

Thursday, a lot of protests were scheduled all over the country, ours among them. We did not have a large turnout, but it was cold so I'm just glad we had people brave enough to venture out!

We met at the Verizon store. Not that we were protesting them in particular; their location just offered a good place to gather.



Then we moved to the street. If you look closely, you can see the Verizon sign right beside the McDonald's.


Here's the sign my guy made for me.



It actually felt good to be able to express our feelings about the crazy people up in DC. I only wish it would do some good. Maybe when the next election comes around...



Saturday, December 2, 2017

PIZZA

We found a good pizza place in our new home. Peppino's is family friendly with luscious pizza!

The sign out front promises a good deal:


The place itself looks neat:


Inside smells great:


Plenty of tables:


And oh, that pizza!


The pieces are so big, my guy and I share one order. Yum!

Only bad thing is that they're closed on Mondays. And we always seem to get the urge for pizza on Mondays.

Bummer.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

CRIME BLOTTER

I hope everyone duly gave thanks this past Thanksgiving Day for all their blessings. I know I did. I am especially thankful this year for our free press.

In particular, I am happy to find our new town's newspaper features a crime blotter. And sometimes there are some interesting items. Such as:

A guy tried to pass off a bad check, but the clerk had seen checks from that company before and realized it was fake. He called 911 but the would-be check casher fled before police arrived. However, he left his driver's license behind. Police got a warrant. Bet he was kicking himself for his stupidity when they picked him up!

Another man was sitting in his living room on his sofa...maybe he was reading or watching TV; I don't know...when a Ford Focus burst through the wall and knocked the resident into a coffee table. Luckily, he wasn't hurt and refused transport to the emergency room. Seems the driver was trying to park. What? How can you mistake someone's home for a parking garage?

And there was the case of a couple attending the football game, then returning home to find their house burglarized. About $5000 worth of jewelry, electronics, and clothing was stolen. And to cap it off, the refrigerator doors were left wide open! Bet all their food was spoiled.

Ah, I think this will be an interesting place to live!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

SUPPER

I think I mentioned my guy has a new grill. We had to get one since we sold our island home with nearly everything still in it, including the grill! Anyway, thought I'd show it and brag on his cooking a bit.

Here's the grill:



Here are pork chops, grilling. Boy, did they smell good!


And here are the finished chops:


So we put them on the plates along with a sweet potato and green beans:



I'm delighted to say they didn't last long!


Ummmm, good!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

COTTON GIN FESTIVAL PARADE

Ever heard of a cotton gin? Cotton farmers take their cotton to them to get the seeds taken out. Not many of them around now, not like fifty years ago.

But last week, we went to a festival celebrating them. The parade was mostly tractors. All kinds of tractors. Old tractors, new tractors, high tractors, low tractors, red tractors, green tractors...

They must have come from every little town in the vicinity. And the drivers ranged from weather-beaten farmers to mothers/fathers/grandparents with children to Santa Claus himself. Here are some pix my guy took:



The line stretched on forever, it seemed. For over an hour we watched tractors, some pulling trailers with people. There were also cotton pickers, pickup trucks; and a few horse groups:


The crowd was large. I couldn't believe so many people turned out to see a bunch of farmers driving their tractors through the little town of Bostwick! This was just before the parade started:


And this was about halfway through the parade. By that time, I was wishing I had someone's shoulders to sit on!


Afterward, we saw people walking around with stalks of cotton and discovered a nearby field was open for picking. We were tired and we've picked cotton before, so we skipped this part.

.
People lined up to tour the cotton gin even though it wouldn't start working till an hour or so later. We were too pooped to wait, but my guy did go through the empty building.


Oh, and I naturally found something good to eat. This funnel cake was one of the best I've had!


Small town festivals! You've got to love 'em!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

AUTUMN LEAVES

In coastal Georgia, we had a little autumn color but not like north Georgia. It's quite nice to be back where most of the trees have leaves that turn in the fall.

These trees line a road going toward our house:


And these are pix of our pond:



And these are some geese on our pond just as the leaves started turning. They were only here for a couple of days so I guess we were just a stopover as they flew further south for the winter.


I loved our island home but you can't beat autumn in north Georgia!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

NEW FAMILY MEMBER

Well, two and a half years after losing our cats, we are adopting a new feline. It took awhile to get over our babies' loss. Then, in the process of changing locations and homes, we decided to wait till we got settled. We still aren't settled but we're ready for a pet!

So we started visiting shelters and looking online and searching for the right cat. A female, my guy decreed. One not too young and not too old. One that had passed the energetic kitten stage but one that was alert and interested.

I saw our cat online first, along with several other adult cats. Her little blurb said that she was a short-haired cat, with a soft, sleek coat; that she was a little shy but when she got to know you, she was friendly; and that since she was a black cat, she was afraid no one would adopt her. For some reason people don't like black cats. We aren't superstitious, so on Thursday we decided to visit her.

It seems our new home has a small but very nice animal control shelter.


The building is small but neat, with fenced areas for the dogs to the left.


And they're open nearly every day, which is convenient.


The staff and volunteers are friendly and anxious to let their animals put their best foot forward. When we went inside, we were greeted and directed to the cat room. There, in cages almost to the ceiling, cats slept or looked out or meowed or poked paws out to us. This is just one section. There are cages behind, too, and on the left side of the room is a matching tower. Then, to the rear is another room for small kittens.


A nice lady pointed out several adult cats and complimented some while reluctantly admitting a beautiful white powderpuff cat, 10 years old, could be a little cranky at times. Here are a couple of less grumpy denizens:





There are two Interaction Rooms for visitors to get to know the cats. Today, one of them was in use to showcase the special cats of the week who got to stay in it all day.


We used the second Interaction Room to interview a whitish cat with pastel markings. She was active, wanting to play and making us laugh with her antics. However, she was a little too frisky for us.

Then we took out a black and white cat who reminded me too much of Roz, but my guy, who was crazy about Roz, was interested. I was concerned she might be ill because though laidback, she hardly moved.

Then we took out Naomi, the black cat I'd seen online, who'd been in the shelter for some time. She didn't want to come out at first but when I left my hand in her cage awhile, she sniffed at it and finally consented to be carried to the play room. There, she looked out the window but didn't dart around. She did come over to us after a few minutes, wanting to be petted. Then she looked out the window some more, and asked to be petted some more. She was active but calm. When she started making up to my guy, he decided she was the one.

After we filled out the papers, they told us to come back the next morning with a carrier and the money for her adoption. They would transport her to the vet the next week for spaying, and we could pick her up from there.

We had an appointment Friday so I asked if we could wait till Monday. The lady at the desk said if we wanted her, we'd better be back the next morning. Naomi had been there a long time. What might happen didn't need to be mentioned. The lady volunteered to let us in earlier than normal hours if that would help. It did and we met her there.

We went out and bought a cat carrier, food, litter and the other stuff a family cat must have. So next week, we'll have a new addition to the household.



I'm rather excited as I decide where to put her water and food dishes. My guy has ordered a screen to go in front of the gas logs; we know from experience how cats love to get into fireplaces! I think he may be a little excited, too.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

MERCIER APPLES

While we were up in north Georgia for a wedding, we took a detour the next morning, going north to Blue Ridge, so we could pick up some apples at Mercier's Apple House.


Inside, an old truck met us, loaded with apples.


We'd gotten up early (they open at 7 am) so we could eat breakfast in their cafe. My guy had a waffle but I had one of their fried peach pies. It wasn't crowded. Then.


Afterward, we ambled toward the apple room:


There we tasted apples before deciding which ones to buy. They were all good, some sweet, some tart, some just right! And no, I don't know these people.



After we picked up a bag to take home, we wandered around some more. They keep knocking out walls and putting stuff in. They have a honey section, a section of canned stuff, a section for jams and jellies, a section for different juices--not just apple but things like muscadine--and ciders--not just apple but other fruits like cherry--and all kinds of things like soaps and candles. There is also, I noticed, a place for tasting hard cider. But at eight o'clock in the morning, and a three hour drive in the rain ahead of us, we decided to forego that treat.

I don't remember what part this was, but you can see the hanging sign listing different departments:


Besides the apples, we also got a jar of chow chow and a bag of stone ground grits. And some more fried pies to take with us. Apple and peach, although they have a bunch of flavors. I found out recently that Mercier's supplies fried pies to places like The Varsity. (If you're not from Georgia, you won't know what that is but it's a famous fast-food place started by a Georgia Tech drop-out that has now spread over the state.)

Mercier's has muffins and banana bread and other things, too, but the fried pies are a specialty. Here's the bakery case: kind of empty since it was so early but stuff was coming from the kitchen. The pies we bought were still warm!


By the time we left about eight thirty, even with rain putting a damper on pick-it-yourself apple buyers, people were flocking in. There wasn't a single parking place left in the closest parking lot. Good thing we came early.

We ate the last apple yesterday and it was still good. I just love Mercier's! If you're ever in North Georgia, this is the place to go.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

FARMHOUSE WEDDING

More happy stuff to take our minds off hurricanes, fires, massacres and other bad things happening in our country.

A relative got married last weekend in North Georgia. Not at a resort or event location, but at the place she'd chosen as a child.

For years, her grandparents have looked after an old farmhouse for the absent owners, who allow her grandfather to grow hay and cows on the fields. The bride, helping with chores around the farm from her childhood, always said she wanted to be married there one day.

Last Saturday, that day came. Other than a few occasional raindrops, remnants of Hurricane Nate skirted the hilltop house where a crowd of friends and relatives gathered, while the pleasant autumn afternoon was not too warm and not too cold.

Some pix my guy took beginning with the lovely bride escorted down the farmhouse steps...


...to meet her dashing groom and say vows overlooking fields below:


The wedded couple retreating back into the house:


Inside, gathering for photos:


Outside, playing with some of the children. I believe the two older girls are nieces of the groom while the baby is the niece of the bride: (The baby has two older brothers and their hair is red, too. We are taking bets that any children from the newlyweds will have red hair!)


The horse trailer was cleaned up so we could put purses and coats and camera cases inside. Canned drinks are in the low container on the left while a table holds iced tea, lemonade and water.


The dining tent was set up by the barn. To the right is the corner of a smaller tent where the buffet is spread out. You can't see the cows behind the big tent until...


...this picture from inside:


We left at dusk, before the cake was cut and toasts drunk. The younger crowd intended to party into the night, and we were tired. Many of them stayed in the house with its six or eight bedrooms, but we went to a motel to get some sleep before heading up to Mercier's Apple House early the next morning.

Such a picture-perfect wedding and such nice people make things almost seem normal.

Almost.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

ESCAPE FROM REALITY



So after all the hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and threatened volcano eruptions, Las Vegas happened. Fifty-eight people dead and 500 injured. I want to cry.

Instead, I am taking a break to regain my normal equanimity by relating my latest experience with my favorite department store: Belk's.

A week or so ago, a relative found a great shirt in Belk's but couldn't buy it. Her birthday is coming up,so I went back later. As I was paying, the salesclerk asked, "Do you know you can purchase a second one at half price?" Upselling of course, but done in a friendly, no-pressure way. Just one woman imparting information to another.

As I thought about it, she went on: "Of course, if you want to come back Thursday, you can get 20% off your purchases for our Girls Night Out specials."

"Really!" But I'd got the last shirt in a small size. "I'm afraid if I wait, the shirt won't be here when I come back."

"That's true. Well, you can pre-purchase it today and pick it up Thursday."

I ended up pre-purchasing it and another for half-price, both costing a few dollars more than the original shirt. The last thing the clerk, holding up my bagged up shirts, said as I left: "I'm going to send this upstairs right away so it'll be sure to be there for you to pick up Thursday."

I went on Thursday to pick up my package. Another lady in line on the same errand made conversation as we waited. We agreed about how nice Belk's people were, always looking to save us money.

A pleasant male clerk took both our tickets, came back with the other customer's purchase. "I didn't see yours, but I'm going back to check again," he trilled.

Two other ladies came up. A female clerk took their tickets, came back out with their purchases. The male clerk conferred with her, then apologized to me for not finding mine. Both went back to look again.

Finally, they came out and the female clerk admitted they couldn't find it and apologized profusely "I don't know what happened. If you want to come downstairs with me, we'll check the register where you bought it. Maybe the associate got busy and put it aside and forgot."

I didn't think so, but we took the escalator down and looked all around the register where I'd made my purchase. The female clerk even went into the back room there but came out with nothing.

In the meantime, I'd looked at the shirt rack and sure enough. No small size in the one I'd come for, but the half-price one did have another small.

"Oh, is that the section?" The clerk brightened. "We have more upstairs. Let's just go back and see if we can find your size up there. Bring that one with you and if we can find a small in the other, you can just take them."

Nope. No small. After much agonizing, I got a medium. So I have a medium and a small shirt for my relative. But...

As I handed her the medium, the sales clerk said, "To make this up to you, I'm going to refund what you paid and charge you only..."

And it was such a ridiculously low price she mentioned, my eyes popped.

I protested but she insisted. She also took my phone number and name, saying that if my pre-purchase package turned up, she'd call and I could come swap the medium for the small.

The mix-up was annoying but the clerk more than made up for it. Now I'm going to have to give money to my relative to make up for what I didn't spend on her shirts!

There is some hope for our country when people present us with empathy and fairness and simple courtesy. I do love Belk's. That experience inspires me to go and be pleasant to everyone.




The first Belk in Monroe, North Carolina (called New York Racket). 1902.






Saturday, September 30, 2017

PUERTO RICO

I couldn't think of a thing to blog about today. I'm still reeling from all the disasters hitting us lately. The damaging hurricanes hitting Texas and Florida. The deadly earthquake in Mexico.

But Puerto Rico's problems stand out.

The president has been busy campaigning in Alabama and arguing with the NFL and chastising his Health and Human Services guy Price for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on flights for business as well as personal travel. Obviously, the president has little time for Puerto Rico. Maybe because Puerto Rico speaks Spanish? Or maybe because a Trump golf course in Puerto Rico went bankrupt? Or maybe because he thinks Puerto Rico's a foreign country?

While he dithered, Puerto Rico suffered. I won't show a lot of pix on the misery people there are enduring, but I did steal this photo and caption from the AP (couldn't resist the cat):




In this Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 photo, Maribel Valentin Espino sits in her hurricane-destroyed home in Montebello, Puerto Rico. Espino and her husband say they have not seen anyone from the Puerto Rican government, much less the Federal Emergency Management Agency, since the storm tore up the island. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Things aren't much better today but I believe a nudge from Hillary Clinton steered the president in the right direction. He finally sent the hospital ship Comfort there and put in a three star general to oversee operations and waived temporarily the Jones Act that kept any but US ships from transporting goods to the little island. (A lot of US shippers stood to lose money; the fact that the devastated Puerto Rico would pay twice as much to get supplies didn't bother the shippers. Or the president either, evidently.)

If you want to donate to relief efforts, here is a page from the NY Times that lists charities and rates them. The first four seem to be the best buy for your buck.

Also, the Salvation Army is an old dependable, with a large percentage of its donations going to the intended recipients. Not only are they helping Puerto Rico, they are also there for the other islands hard hit by Maria.

And there is always the Red CrossIt's not one of my favorite charities, but it's been around a long time. Be sure to choose "Hurricane Maria" to direct your donation.

Let's all be thankful for what we have.