Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Signs of my times

July 3, 2011:  First trip following my April 2011 hemorrhagic stroke. I posted about that happy time here and about our traditional photo session here. 

Snapping family photos at one the official National Park Service entrance signs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a family tradition. Our photos once captured a visual record of our two sons’ growth. 

Now they record our grandchildren’s growth and my progress in stroke recovery. The photos also document how Hubby and I age, and how our adult sons and their wives DON’T seem to age.

July 27. 2013: Two years after my stroke

In 2014 we took a record five trips to the Smokies. Of course those trips required five photo sessions in front of Smokies NPS signs.

Several of those Smokies visits were extensions of trips for special family events. 
June 12, 2014: Travel to Virginia for niece Becky’s wedding included post wedding excursions on the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Smokies. 

That was one of our two non-camping trips to the Smokies when we made a motel in Gatlinburg our home base for exploring the mountains. 

For a July Smokies trip we camped a week in Elkmont, an NPS campground near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
July 28, 2014

We were back in Elkmont in September when our Georgia tribe joined us for a camping adventure. 

Sept. 20, 2014

On a fourth trip we spent two nights in October at Smokemont Campground in the park near Cherokee, North Carolina, and one night in a private campground in the Nantahala Gorge area near the Smokies.

We had tacked that late October excursion on to a trip to visit our son Walt and his family in Georgia. One night in the Nantahala Gorge area and two nights in Smokemont convinced me that cold-weather camping in our van is a lot more challenging for me than cold weather van camping that we did when I was a 30-year-old.

Oct. 26, 2014 

Early December we spent several days with Hubby’s Aunt Sue, his last surviving aunt. She lives in Kentucky now, but they grew up together in Biloxi, Mississippi. With only five months difference in their ages, they seem more like sister and brother than aunt and nephew.

She and her husband O’Neal appreciate the Smokies as much as we do, and they clued us in to the best route from their home to avoid traffic on our drive to Gatlinburg.

We played tourist for several days, enjoying Gatlinburg’s Christmas parade, listening to live mountain music, and driving picturesque backroads. 

We even had the unexpected delight of observing a plump black bear during a traffic backup while a road crew cleared the park highway of trees downed in the previous night's storm. 

The bear gave his captive and extremely appreciative audience an extended bear-sighting experience as he casually ambled around the mountainside near the road.
Dec. 9, 2014

Hubby’s posts on parade here and bear here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tooth fairy

Each of our two six-year-old granddaughters lost her first baby tooth recently. 
Molly Kate beams evidence of lost tooth.

Molly Kate lost her tooth literally. Munching on chicken nuggets, she realized her tooth had disappeared along with her bite of chicken. Her dad, our youngest, lost his first tooth in similar fashion. 

Stella’s front tooth parted company with her mouth in a more traditional fashion. I don’t have a photo of her new smile, but I am hoping to get a first hand view when our Georgia tribe travels to the coast this weekend. 
Stella prior to losing first tooth 

Their experiencing this childhood rite of passage had the tooth fairy busy making visits to Molly Kate in Louisiana and Stella in Georgia. I welcome this sign that they are growing up. 

The occurrence of these dental events’ early in 2015 is a plus, too. After the busyness of November and December 2014, I am savoring a slower January and February along with memories of these two imps as infants, toddlers and emerging scholars and dancers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Techno oops

Scene 1: Husband Walter and I meet with friends at our favorite coffee shop. We are looking for lightweight alternatives to laptops for travel. They give us hands-on introductions to their iPads. 

She likes her new iPad Air for Web surfing, family photos, recipes, books, games and keeping in touch. He uses an iPad Mini for his work in the shipbuilding industry. 

He appreciates its light weight for carrying it in the shipyard and the increased speed and accuracy it provides for the documentation of specifications, products used and progress of projects.

Questions bounce around my brain about the advantages and disadvantages of each. I open my mouth to ask a question. 

What comes out shuts me up after the first few words: "The differences in the mini-pad and the maxi-pad . . . Oops!" 

I could feel the red rise in my face. What a difference the inclusion of the lower case "i" would have

Scene 2: I find the number for a local dermatologist online and start dialing. This aggravating house phone is dead again. Drat! 

Oh, wait! It's the TV remote.

The silver lining in such increasingly frequent technological blunders is that my goof ups spark chuckles when a recollection pops into my head days or months later.

And laughter, even at my own expense, is a treasured pleasure.