Saturday, December 24, 2016

Crunch Time

Alright everybody – are you feeling it yet? Are your nerves twisted up into tiny knots all over your body? Are your ears ringing from your pressure rising every time you have to enter a Walmart somewhere? Heck anywhere for that matter! There is NO place to go that is not crazy over-loaded with people, bustling around, trying to get those last few items bought.

Some are the smart shoppers who started way back in January! That’s right; there ARE people who begin their next Christmas shopping immediately after the present one has passed.  And you know why, right? THE SALES!!!!! Everything is discounted, marked down, and practically given away! IF – you still have any money left.

However, I have never been one of those shoppers. Not that there weren’t years I didn’t have the money; but I’m just simply not that organized. I have gone after-Christmas-shopping, but it’s for some particular item that I needed/wanted – but refused to pay full price for during the holidays.  Never have I set out to get all of my next year’s shopping done in one whack. What would be the joy in that? To be sane and calm, and prepared the next December, when everyone else is maniacal and running around breathless and crazy?! Who wants to be the outcast, sitting at home, watching your fill of Hallmark holiday movies, calm and satisfied knowing you’re all done – all that’s left is Christmas morning to come around.

And then there is the shopper that does a little here and a little there from about September all the way through December.  They do some of it in stores, a lot of it on-line, and by the week before Christmas, they may have a few things they still have to get, but for the most part they are done and can settle down and begin to enjoy the holidays with everyone else.

BUT – there are always THOSE PEOPLE who do ALL of their shopping at the VERY last minute, and then try and tell me/convince me, that they LOVE it. No – sorry just no. I am not buying that anyone enjoys trying to find decent gifts on Christmas Eve when everything is already all picked over, the dang shelves are no longer lined and pretty, but instead, scattered and disorganized. Nothing is where it belongs because of people putting things down wherever they decide to leave it when they decide that’s not what they wanted – and the poor store keepers are so swamped – they haven’t had time to put anything back in its proper place.

Besides the fact, that you have found yourself with all the other crazies who decided it would be FUN to shop this way, as it would bring about the true spirit of Jesus and the season. When all I can hear is people cursing under their breath as they pass me by, looking frazzled and probably wondering why they EVER though last-minute-shopping was the way to go.

May your displeasure have been minimal and your patience aplenty; and many wishes for a very Merry Christmas, from my house to yours.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stolen Independence

I’m not even sure if I was aware when it started. I couldn’t have possibly known it, because once it really happened, it was like a ton of bricks to the back of my head – blind-sighted-a-hit as you could ever imagine.  And as I tried to remember the last time it had happened, for the life of me, I just couldn’t come up with an answer.

The Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving I was in the kitchen and making up pies and such for dinner the next day. At some point I realized I had totally underestimated just how much milk I would need and I knew a trip to the store was inevitable. So I found a stopping point, grabbed up my car keys and I headed out the door.

As soon as I got into my vehicle, I could feel the anxiety starting to rise in my stomach. I immediately begin to try and channel my mind somewhere else, but as I backed out of the dark drive-way, and onto the same dark road behind me, I realized just how long it had been since I had driven in the dark anywhere, much less, by myself.

I decided CVS was far enough to go to get some milk, as I would be as close to the front door as I could get, it was a well-lit parking lot and I should be able to safely dash in and out and back home again. All of that went exactly as my mind had planned, I drove home, and got back in the house just as easily as I had left.

Fast forward to this past Friday night. I had made plans to go to the Victorian Christmas in Thomasville Georgia. I was supposed to meet-up with some girlfriends from back home, but of course, that hour’s drive in the dark, alone, from Quincy to there and back would consist of only me.

I was perfectly fine until about 1pm Friday afternoon, when my mind starting rumbling thoughts over and over again – you know the ones – “what if something happens, I’m all by myself, on a dark empty back road” - and that particular night it was supposed to be freezing cold weather to boot.

By 3pm – I had totally talked myself out of going – I contacted my friends and told them I wouldn’t be coming and why. I told them that while my fear may have seemed borderline ridiculous, for me it was real and I couldn’t shake that feeling of dread and doom no matter how hard I had tried.

I’m only 53 years old and I have always been the woman who insisted on having her own vehicle, which would afford me the freedom to come and go as I pleased – and for years I did.

Now all of sudden, if it involves the dark, or a 70mhp highway going any great distance alone, I just won’t do it, I work my life and my plans around it. I’m really not sure when my youth, and my could-do-anything-by-myself-confidence was stolen; but it’s gone.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Holiday Tradition's

I know that by now, Thanksgiving must seem like a million years ago; but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least say what an exponentially grand time we had at my house this year for Thanksgiving dinner. 

My parents were here of course, as well as my youngest son Zach and I; but this year I invited some really good friends of ours to join us, to help fill-out our Thanksgiving table a bit, and I’m so very glad I did! We laughed until our sides hurt and ate until our stomachs felt the same. The food was good, the company was great and the day was a blessing for us all I think.

Now, you all know what comes next don’t you - THE DREADED LEFTOVERS.  Even though I sent plates of food home with everyone, I still had SO much food left over. You know actually, Thursday I was pretty impressed with myself; I did eat food and probably too much if it, but I was so full and satisfied I never even touched a single dessert that was available right at my fingertips.

Everybody left late Thursday afternoon, I watched some television that night, still not interested in putting anything else in my mouth, and I went to bed. BUT – the next day, I made up for it ALL. I was alone, left to my own devices, nothing but me and the television and a pile of shows I had DVR’d for a day such like that very day.

Every time my feet hit the floor it was as if they knew no other direction to go but the kitchen! I absolutely slow-grazed all day long, a little bit of this, a little bit of that; how in the world my stomach allowed me to consume it all I have no idea.  All that was missing was the feed-bag that probably should have been strapped to my neck!

Finally Saturday came, I knew my husband was coming home from seeing his family in SC, and it was like instinctively my hunger cycle went on strike and I couldn’t even look at food without wanting to gag.  Plus, if you all follow me around every year, you will also know that the weekend after Thanksgiving is when we always put our Christmas tree up; so I was excited as heck as well!

I did wait until Sunday before I started badgering my husband to start dragging all the decorations from the shed, plus he needed the help of my son who wouldn’t be home until late that afternoon.  So we grilled some steaks and baked a potato; because the last thing going back into my mouth was turkey!

Finally my son came over, and with the usual trash-talking and carrying-on that always seems to come with the light-stringing process, the tree was up and ready for the ornaments which didn’t happen until Monday evening because I was just worn out!

Biggest/best surprise:  Monday while I was at work – my husband strung Christmas lights on my outside bushes. Early Merry Christmas to me!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Is Already In The Air

From the minute our tires hit the pavement last Friday morning, we were scheduled to the maximum capacity. As I told you last week, my future plans were to make stops in both Columbus Georgia and Phenix City Alabama to re-visit both of my late grandparent’s last homes, and their final resting places in both cemeteries. Additionally, we also planned to stop along the way, and purchase some holiday flowers, to change-out at both grave sites, getting both sets of my grandparents ready for Christmas.

After making all the stops, we were on our way again, with about another hour or so drive before we would be at our final destination – Callaway Gardens.

We arrived at the Callaway Lodge and Spa a little after 4:30pm. We got to our rooms, unloaded our gear, and headed out to find something to eat as we had not had anything since breakfast around 9am.  We drove around Pine Mountain and its surrounding areas for about an hour before making a decision to dine at a place I had seen on-line called the Country Kitchen.

The Country Kitchen is actually located in Hamilton Georgia about 10 minutes away, and directly across from a spot called Mountain Lookout, complete with a telescope and a wonderful view. Cosmetically, I can see why it is so attractive to the naked eye and the hungry stomach, but everything is not always as it seems. The service could have been much better, and the food could have been warmer when it got to our table. But a starving man will eat most anything, and we did. They’re intentions are good and with a little more effort, they could live up to the hype that brings the folks in.

However, the next morning we ate breakfast at Edie Mae’s Kountry Kitchen in Pine Mountain and IT was the real deal. The lady that owned it was running the register and directing traffic and customers all at the same time, making sure everyone was tended to. You could order or do the buffet, we did the latter and it was wonderful! They also served lunch and supper – but we wanted to try other places as well.

After breakfast we headed to the Butterfly Center at Callaway. I’d already been there several times before, but there will never be a trip to Callaway that seeing the butterflies are not included.  Every species of butterfly imaginable could be found and there were cameras in most every hand!

But the grand honors of the trip belong to the Fantasy in Lights trolley-ride on Saturday night. Because of the cold front that came through, it was cold and windy, but it made it all the more “real” as we literally rode “in the lights” for at least six miles or more. I felt just like a child again, as 400+ people trolley-strolled and made low-voiced noises expressing our pleasure.

It was a wonderful mini-vacation but as always we were both glad to get back to Quincy. Because no matter where you’ve been, or how old you are, there’s still no place like home.