now its december

And I was an abysmal poster in November. I hope your Thanksgiving was a safe one. We got to visit DH’s parents for it. We had a safe trip up to Huntsville. No turkey, ham. 🙂

Unfortunately, I got the word on Sunday that my mom got hurt the night before. She and my dad were out of town visiting my sister and her family. They had gone to a performance of the Nutcracker that my niece performed in, and were bringing home the niece and nephew after the performance when she slipped and broke fractured her ankle. 😦 She made a trip to the ER and now has a boot, crutches, and an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.

She and dad are home now. DH and I made a trip out tonight bearing gifts of hot and sour soup and sizzling rice chicken. Hot and sour soup has become our comfort soup for when we don’t feel good. Hopefully Mom will be doing better soon.

Family reunions

We’re back from one…

Actually it wasn’t too bad. In spite of the 13 hour drive up, it was fun seeing some family that we haven’t seen in a long time. We went up to Lake Erie in Ohio. Mom was raised there, and a good part of her family still lives in Ohio. We stayed at a rental cabin in Mitiwanga.
With my parents, my sister and her family, and both my brothers. It was a bit tight at times with all of us there, but it worked out ok.

The reunion was Saturday, at the Vermillion River Reservation, in the pavilions on the Mill Hollow side. My aunt who organized this rented the pavilion and asked everyone to bring potluck for the event. They had horse shoes, a play ground, as well as lots of people to talk to. The reunion was from 10-ish until. DH and I got there around noon and stayed until around 7-ish. It was hot and muggy, and it spit rain several times throughout the day. We brought BBQ! smoked pork butt and sauce. It was a popular item. 🙂

Sunday we went to Cedar Point. Its an amusement park that our family has visited over the years as we visited family in Ohio. When I first went to Six Flags over Georgia, I was not impressed with the size of the park and the rides, after memories of Cedar Point. There are currently 10 roller coasters thrill rides at Six Flags. There are 17 roller coasters at Cedar Point. There are 9 more rides listed as thrill rides at Cedar Point. No wonder I didn’t think that Six Flags was close to Cedar Point. Unfortunately, DH is no longer able to ride as many of the coasters he would like. So we spent most of the day with my sister, Niece2, and Nephew2. Since Niece2 was big enough to ride several of the roller coasters, we did! She’s tall enough to ride the 46 inch height limit rides. Unfortunately, Nephew2 was not that tall, and was not pleased to be missing several of the rides. So he wanted to be riding the kiddie bumper cars. The kids lasted at the park until close to 9:30. They got there close to 1:PM. I was amazed that they didn’t get desperately cranky while we were there. It was hot. The temps were close to 90F. I was getting cranky with the heat. The humidity was up too, since there were rain showers threatening throughout the day. Not the best day temperature wise to be visiting the park, but it was the only day available to us all.

Breakfast out with the extended family and cousins, then shopping was the staple for Monday. With a 13 hour trip back on Tuesday. Now we’re home with the kitties again!

50 years

DH’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past Saturday. DH’s mom is a lovely lady who is a joy to be around, and his dad is a wonderful guy. I am blessed to be able to have become a part of their extended family. DH’s brother’s family was in from Virginia, and a cousin was here with her boys.

We had gone to Huntsville for the 4th of July to spend family time together. DH had spent the earlier part of the week up there while I was at work. We don’t often get to see Nephew 1 and Niece 1, so him getting the opportunity to spend time with them is good. DH’s other brother lives north of his parents, and we went to his house for the 4th. We ate, and swam, and had ‘splodies. DH likes having good ‘splodies, so we had bought some nice star shells and a few roman candles. Its a good thing we aren’t planning on taking a plane, because chemical sniffers at the airports would probably not be very happy.

Then Saturday was fairly laid back. We beboppped around Huntsville for a bit, then got ready for the big evening. A limo had been rented to take us to dinner. We had to get the front curtains of the house closed so the limo would be a surprise. So a suggestion was made to close the front curtains so we could get a plain backdrop for family pictures. It worked without raising suspicions. 🙂 Then we headed out of the house and DH’s parents got a huge surprise. A white stretch limo was waiting for us out in the street. DH had gone and gotten 2 bottles of bubbly to toast with in the limo. And there were plenty of glasses there in the limo to use. So all the adults received a glass of bubbly. And we headed to dinner at Conor’s Steaks and Seafood. The food was good, it wasn’t so pretentious that adults and kids were uncomfortable, and they were able to accommodate us all. Hooray! After we ate, the limo came back to bring us home. We ended up calling the neighbors so we would have an audience for the arrival. 🙂 I mean, what’s the use of a limo if no-one sees you use it? 😉 Besides, it was a good excuse for the neighbors to learn that it was a 50th anniversary!

We got back home today. The kitties were very happy to see us again.

Long day, full of stuff

For a Sunday, it was pretty full. DH and I went to church, then came home. One of my fellow office workers turned 50 today, and so I went in to the office and helped to decorate the premises. I made some balloon flamingos. They turned out ok. We’re all going to wear black tomorrow, and make sure we’re in early enough to be there when the co-worker gets there. It should be fun.

Then after I got home, DH and I took the motorcycle that is finally back from the shop and drove over to Ruffner Mountain to take some pictures. We walked around the enclosures where the rescued birds live, then hit the nature trail. I have some nice pictures. I’m still figuring out some of the settings, so I have to wait to see how the pictures look when they are displayed on a screen that is larger than the one on the back of the camera. But I think I’ll have some really good pictures out of it. We didn’t a have a long time there at the reserve, but it was a good time for us.

My older younger brother’s birthday is tomorrow, so we celebrated it this evening. We were supposed to meet at 6 at Surin in Crestline. DH and I were a bit detained. As were were walking out of the house, there was a commotion in the street. DH saw a van in the street taking off like a bat out of hell away from us, and there were a couple of guys there, one lying in the street, one hollering for help. DH had gone outside before me, and I was locking up the house, so all I saw was the guys in the street. The one who was mobile asked us to call for help, since his bud had just been hit with the van. DH called 911 and got help on the way. The one who had been hit was lying in the street, and not moving very much at all at first. Then he was asking about his surroundings and tried to get up a couple of times. we did our best to try to keep him from moving too much. It took about 10 or so minutes, but the fire and rescue folks showed up and started to get him checked out and on his way to the hospital. We were all glad that there was qualified emergency personnel there to take care of him. Then the police officer arrived and started to get some information on what happened. DH and I didn’t have much to add, but he got DH’s name and phone numbers. After all of that was taken care of and the guy was taken to the hospital, we left for dinner.

Dinner at Surin was good, and it was fun to eat with my brother and his girlfriend and my parents. But its been a yoyo day.

The Adventures of a geekgirl over Christmas Vacation Pt 2

Well, we weren’t blown away in the storms, but life has gotten more interesting in the mean time. So here’s the follow up on the holidays. The Biltmore House doesn’t allow photography indoors, so all the pictures I got were taken outside. I understand the necessity of the rule, but it would have been really nice to have gotten pictures of the library or some of the rooms inside. Its a lovely estate. The joys of being offspring of the robber barons of the gilded age. The behind the scenes tour that we took was interesting. We had the opportunity to see great hall from the pipe organ balcony, several different parts of the servant areas, the old electrical room, the furnace room, and pantry areas. The main electrical room had a huge board of the old electrical throw switches. It would have looked right at home in the Frankenstein movies. )

walled garden
Then we went and visited some of the gardens. The walled garden and the conservatory were lovely.

In between the house and the walled garden, I found an interesting looking bush. Its leaves were all gone, but the shape of the branches was striking. interesting looking plant And after the walled garden, we walked around toward the spring garden. There was this lovely bridge for the road to go over and pedestrian traffic to go under. pedestrian walkway

The group split at that point and DH and his oldest brother and wife and I visited the winery and the other brother’s family with 2 minors went back to the cabin where we were staying for the week. The four of us saw the winery’s promotional video, then toured the facility and tasted several different vintages that are bottled there on the estate. They have some very nice wines, and we purchased a few. 🙂 Then back to the cabin for us to have dinner and meet back.

After dinner we traveled back to the Biltmore. We had a candlelight tour of the house scheduled at 8:30 PM. We ended up getting there fairly early, and puttered around the shopping area at the house. It even though the wind was pretty chilly, it still was very nice. When we finally got into the house for the tour, DH & I purchased the audio tour guides that were available. When the tours aren’t led by a docent, I do like to have the audio tour guides for the additional information that they offer. There was a choir in the winter garden that was singing Christmas Carols, then there was an artist playing a hammered dulcimer on the second floor and a duo playing violin and harp on the third floor. None of the musicians were intruding on the others, if that gives you an idea of the scope of the size of the house. And on the top floor is the original architect’s model of the entire house! George Vanderbilt liked the model so much that he kept it and designed the room , as well as had a table built specifically for the model. It was amazing to me that an architect’s model was preserved so well for so long.

Over all, it was a neat place to visit. I’d love to see it when the roses in the walled garden are in bloom, or in the fall when the the leaves are changing.

The adventures of a geekgirl over Christmas vacation

As you probably guessed, DH and I were not at home for Christmas. In fact, we were in North Carolina with DH’s parents and brother’s families. We were right outside of Asheville. We stayed in a very nice rental cabin that was large enough to accommodate all of the families. The beautiful moonrise that I showed you earlier was taken on US highway 25 between Greenville, South Carolina and Hendersonville, North Carolina. DH’s middle brother brought the Christmas lights that were strung up on the porch railing that I took pictures of, too.

Up in the mountains, the sunsets were spectacular. I ended up getting a number sunset pictures.
sunset 1 I went a bit nuts with the sunset pictures. But I was also trying to figure out that new camera, and how well it took pictures.
sunset 2 sunset 3 sunset 4

Christmas morning was a laid back affair. Nephew 1 and Niece 1 enjoyed their gifts. In DH’s family, the stockings are openly stuffed by family members and discovered on Christmas Eve. That always puzzled me, since in my family stockings were empty until Christmas morning and Santa always brought the loot in them. In fact, when I was little on Christmas morning, the stockings were the only thing we could get into until Mom and Dad and everyone got up. I take that back. Santa always left a gift or two unwrapped and set up for us to play with. We could play with those and the stocking gifts until everyone was up and assembled at the tree.

That evening and night, we has SNOW! Yay! You could hear the snow flakes hit the windows and hiss a little bit as they melted. The porch was covered with about a quarter inch of snow on Boxing Day morning. 🙂

Boxing day was the day we were scheduled to visit the Biltmore house. We had a behind the scenes tour scheduled at 10:30 AM, and we were warned that if we missed the tour time we would be out of luck. We were a bit nervous, since the driveway was very steep. Thankfully it had been warm enough that the snow didn’t stick to the driveway or the roads. We found our way to the Biltmore Estate grounds, and finally got our view of the house.
Biltmore House Wow. The view of the house from the drive was incredibly impressive. Then the view of the lawn and the grounds from the front of the house was also impressive. Biltmore house front lawn
Greeting folks as they approached the front door was a pair lions, suitably attired for the season. Biltmore Lion Entry trees Then inside the foyer was the first set of decorated trees. The Biltmore web site probably has a good estimate of the total number Christmas trees that are used to decorate the entire house. I can’t remember the number from the tour we took.

I’m going to have to continue this later. There’s more on the Biltmore, and then bookstores!

Merry Christmas to all

I’m here with DH and his family for Christmas. We’re hanging out and playing with their puppies. The full moon last night was spectacular, and I have a couple of pictures on my camera. But the picture in the little lcd screen was much less impressive than the view in front of me, so I have to wait until the pictures are downloaded to see if the come close to the grandeur of the scene we saw last night. DH’s brother and family are off to church for Christmas Eve Mass. And we have stuff to nosh on and lasagna in the oven to eat in a bit. The wines are chilling or cooling, and the other beverages are available. We have mulling spices, and I’ll be mulling some cider,and possibly some wine later. Tomorrow the gift giving frenzy will take place. But it will be a much more subdued frenzy than years past, since the kids are both older and there are no little ones to get adults up at the crack of dawn. We’ll sleep in and play later.

May your holiday season be filled with cheer, and the new year bring health, happiness, joy, and peace to you and your family!

Edit
:The pictures turned out better than I first thought.
Full moon over the road

My uncle made it through surgery.

And that’s a blessing. He is still very ill, and has a very long recovery and rehab ahead. The staph infection is still there. There is damage from the stroke to evaluate. But the physical therapist at the hospital saw him before the surgery, and had encouraging things to say about his prognosis for recovery.

Next time I go to the doctor’s office, I need to see about letting him know about the incidences of serious artery blockage that have occurred in Mom’s side of the family. At 40, I don’t think I need to seriously worry about it yet, but I do need to make sure that it goes into consideration for the future. After 3 of my aunts and uncles on Mom’s side have had major blockages in their arteries that required surgery, I have to keep an eye on possible carotid artery disease.

not so hot news for my uncle

I got a call first thing this morning, my uncle, who had gotten out of the hospital and was finally at home, had a stroke and is back in the hospital. His speech is messed up and he is having trouble moving his right arm and leg. Mom had heard from my cousin that the doctors are evaluating him. There is going to be some sort of surgery going to be on, but we don’t know when.

My uncle is doing better now

I got an email earlier that my uncle is home now. He’s got a lot of recovering to do, but seems to be doing better. They’ve still got to clean and dress the incisions in his leg, and he’s got a port to take IV antibiotics several times a day. But his spirits are pretty good and he is doing what the doctors say.

Thanks for your prayers and well wishes. I do appreciate them very much.

DH is having a tough time right now.

He’s got a pinched nerve in his back and is in a good bit of pain. We spent 3.5 hours at a doc in the box on Saturday. That was not a really fun thing to do on a Saturday. I’m trying to get ready for a job on this upcoming Saturday and the delay from the doc’s visit just pushed back my preparations further. So what else is new, right? At least I got about halfway through Dan Simmons The Terror. I’m enjoying it a great deal. I’m going to have to seek out more accounts of some of the polar expeditions!