Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Lookout Mountain Flight Park was our destination this week. An introductory hang gliding course and an afternoon tandem flight was the plan for 3 in our group. When one person dropped out, I jumped at the chance to tag along to see how it's done.

Trenton, GA, a short drive from Chattanooga, TN, is the location of the largest hang gliding school in the country. We arrived atop the mountain early in the morning so that the students could register. Then it was back down the mountain to the bucolic valley below to begin training. Upon arrival at the "bunny hills," they suited up in pads, harnesses and helmets and were transported out to a 65 ft. gently sloping hill for 4 or 5 practice runs.

After a some instruction, each student was able to surf down the slope about 5 feet off the ground. Some even got a little higher. While they were learning the mechanics, I got some info from a retiree from Canada. She and her husband were there for about 3 weeks. In that time, her husband's goal was to go through the entire course, which includes exhaustive reading and tests on air currents, weather, etc., multiple successful mini flights and landings on both the 65 ft. and the 120 ft. bunny hills and to end his stay there with at least 10 solo flights from atop the mountain.

My friends returned from their training session hot, wringing with sweat and tired, but with big smiles on their faces. After showers and a leisurely lunch, they felt refreshed and ready for the afternoon session....a tandem flight with a certified instructor. The hang glider was towed 2000 ft. into the sky and released, about 500 ft higher than the mountain. Each flight lasted about 10-12 minutes.

As my friend Nancy's glider swooped down to land, we could all hear her yell.....WOOOOOHOOOOO!

You can see hang gliders taking off from the concrete launch pad on the side of the mountain any weekend when the weather is right. If you are in the area, be sure to check out Lookout Mountain Flight School. You can't miss it. Drive south along the crest and there it is.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lookout Mountain, GA

Standing atop the crest

with my friend Nancy

a windsock,

And a glorious sunset.

Check back tomorrow and I'll tell you the rest of the story!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Slighty Mysterious

I think she's keeping a secret.

Someone, please tell me what it is.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Say Cheese!

I've never considered myself photogenic. If I smile naturally my mouth is too wide and my eyes turn into slits. One eye is a tiny bit smaller than the other...nothing you would notice except in pictures it becomes a giant flaw. (at least to me it is)

Just knowing this about myself makes me flinch whenever anyone says cheese.
Over the years I've learned to keep my mouth closed when having my photo made. A Mona Lisa like smile is oh-so-much-better than having eye slits.

I found this tip for overcoming that tense feeling of impending doom when you know the photo that is about to be taken is going to make you look unattractive.

Learn how to change your state No, I don’t mean if you live in Idaho you need to move to Oregon. Changing state means going from level 1 to level 5, or in other words, instead of looking like you were caught off guard, you look natural and like you are enjoying yourself.

Models are taught to change state by developing a “trigger.” So when they are about to have their picture taken, even if they are in a crummy mood, they can go from level 1 to level 5 in a heart beat. Firing a trigger is a reminder to do the things that make you look good. Believe it or not, THE most successful trigger we found over the years was called the “rear cheek squeeze.” It’s really cool because it’s inconspicuous. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like; you squeeze the cheeks of your rear end together. Don’t make fun of it until you try it. To see it’s effectiveness try this experiment. Ask someone to sit on a chair and then ask them to squeeze their cheeks together. I have not met ONE person who doesn’t immediately smile and say something like, okay, now what?

So what about you? Do you like yourself in photos or do you try to hide behind everyone else, hold your head way too high in order to get rid of that double chin and never smile for fear of showing your gums or eye slits? I for one gave up avoiding having my photo made a few years ago when I realized that there were hardly any pictures of me taken throughout my 20s, 30, and part of my 40s. How dumb of me...I'll never look as good again, eye slits or not. Anyway, my children should have a photo or two to show their grandchildren one day. the future let's all say squeeze instead of cheese and we might just find we've become photogenic!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby Cinco

How cute is this? The former baby of the family is now the "big sista."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Texas Rose

I'm reminded this afternoon, of the scene in Cheaper By the Dozen in which the children line up and answer roll call. I, myself, am getting closer and closer to having a dozen grandchildren to call my own. All I'll need to reenact this scene is a whistle and a good dose of the orderly discipline used by the father in this classic movie as well as a few more kiddos.

As of today, I'm at 9 and counting. Baby girl cinco (she has no official name yet) weighed in this morning at 7 lb. 15 oz. I'm told that she is a beautiful baby and looks very much like her five year old sister. Her four sisters are thrilled. They had been hoping for another girl. Mother and Daddy and baby cinco are at home and resting well.

Number 10 is due in November. I have been given no indication that I should expect this to be the end and my youngest son may yet marry and have some babies himself. I could wind up being grand to a baker's dozen ++++++.

One thing I know for quiver is full of blessings galore.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127:3-5

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fresh Air

On the way to Rachel's house yesterday, I heard the best Fresh Air piece on NPR that I've heard in a while...."When Hollywood had a Song in its Heart." The host, Terry Gross, interviewed the author of The Songs of Hollywood, Philip Furia. As part of the interview bits of the music are played and the author tells behind the scenes details and antidotes.

Do yourself a favor. Download the podcast and listen to it sometime this week.

In the meantime, tell me some of your favorite movie music moments and musicals. Two of my favorite musicals, as long time readers of this blog will know, are Moulin Rouge and Fiddler on the Roof. I love all of the old standards that were used in Sleepless in Seattle. Some other faves include, Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's, Wind Beneath My Wings from Beaches, Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, Frank Sinatra's New York, New York from On The Town and the soundtrack from Garden State is a personal favorite....your turn now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Magpie Tale

Opposite of the compass's true direction
sweat meanders in a southerly fashion

droplets of salt rim my lips, the margarita impression an intoxication of hot dreams and passion

shimmering waves tease my vision as heat rises in limber swells
I pray for cooling winds to extinguish this fire and wait here panting for September.

For more Magpies, click here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I do not like oatmeal.
Cereal rarely appeals to me.
Boiled, scrambled, fried...eggs make me want to gag.
Hashbrowns are fattening.
Sausage and bacon are bad for you.
Yogurt and fruit get boring.
Toast is not very filling.
Pancakes, waffles, grits and biscuits are pure carbohydrate, i.e. calories.
Syrup is diabetes in a bottle.

I like sausage biscuits, waffles, scattered, covered and smothered hashbrowns, cheesy grits and sausage, bacon and cheese other words, everything bad for you.

What do you do for the most important meal of the day?

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Grown-Up Toys

I love Toy Story movies and toys.
I have a collection of Toy Story characters.
I like the idea that toys come alive when their humans aren't around.
I love sweet, down-to-earth, reliable Woody.
I love to pull his string and hear him say, "there's a snake in my boot!"
I think Tom Hanks was the perfect choice to play Woody. He seems to embody the same characteristics.
I like Buzz Lightyear's belief that his reality is really real.
Tim Allen was the right choice to play Buzz's blustery part.
I like, no love, sweet Rex, the tyrannosaurus played with perfect angst and trembling by Wallace Shawn.
I like Hamm the Piggy Bank (John Ratzenberger) and Mr Potato Head (Don Rickles).
I love it when Mrs Potato Head (Estelle Harris) packs extra shoes and angry eyes for Mr Potato Head.
I like it when Woody goes limp over Bo Peep (Annie Potts) attentions.
I like it when the Sarge and the Bucket O'Soldiers go on reconnaissance missions.
I like it that Andy puts his name on all of his toys.

Let's face it....I love everything about Toy Story and plan to go see the new movie soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Song

I can hear the rise and fall of a cricket song outside my window. It's an early morning sound that is the harbinger of the beginning of another hot day. Lately they have also provided quite a beautiful nighttime chorus, a perfect sound to go to sleep to.

When I was a child, my friends and I would spend our days playing games on the cool cement of our respective front porches. We passed many hours playing Parcheesi, Monopoly, and Jacks. I haven't played Parcheesi in years. I was thinking recently that I need to buy a game and teach my granddaughters. They probably would enjoy playing. Unfortunately, I neither have a cool front porch nor would I think it a comfortable spot to lounge anymore. My knees just aren't up to being folded into a pretzel for hours anymore. We'll just have to sit at the kitchen table.

Being curious, I looked up cricket noises. If you didn't know, the reason crickets, katydids and cicadas make noise when it is hot is that they use their wings to make the sound and because they are cold blooded they need the heat to warm up their "instruments." Male insects use the sound as a mating call.

Check out this fantastic site to hear all sorts of insect sounds. I think their songs are one of nature's most relaxing noises. What are the sounds of summer that you love?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Recent Obsession

I've spent way too many hours working on these things lately, but I'm pleased with the way they've turned out.

I used the same pattern I used to make Elijah's blue crocheted sweater and hat for the bodice of this pink set. I improvised on the bottom in order to make it more girlie and to match the hat. Then I inserted the ribbon so that it can fit the baby as a newborn, but expand as she grows. I used a free pattern I found on the internet for the hat, but added the lace stitch and flower for a sweeter look.

If you are wondering, my daughter, Rachel is having a girl in November. I also have another grandchild due this week, but we don't know the sex yet because the parents opted to be surprised. The wait is almost over!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Try This, It's Good for You

On our last trip to the Bent and Dent store, I found 2 boxes of all natural, unprocessed wheat bran. I talked Rachel into buying one and I got the other. This morning I decided to try it. Using the recipe on the back of the box with a couple of alterations, I made muffins. They were delicious, so I'm sharing the recipe with you.

3 cups of Wheat Bran
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2-1/2 Unbleached White Flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs beaten
2 cups of buttermilk

Mix 1 cup wheat bran with 1 cup boiling water; stir and let water absorb into bran. In a separate bowl blend sugar and butter. Measure and combine flour, baking soda and salt. Combine the moist bran with beaten eggs, the remaining 2 cups of bran, buttermilk, blended sugar butter mixture and flour, soda and salt mixture. Stir until well blended.

Place in refrigerator for future use or bake at once. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 15 minutes. Keep any leftover mixture in airtight container for 2 to 4 weeks. Makes about 2 dozen.

Instead of brown sugar I used 1/4 cup of molasses and 3/4 cups of honey. To compensate for the extra liquid, I only used 1-3/4 cup of buttermilk. I only made 6 muffins, putting the rest of the batter in the fridge for later. I also added a handful of fresh blueberries to the mix. I wasn't sure how the molasses and fruit would taste together, but surprisingly the two flavors combined well.

The muffins were moist and delicious!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I'm in a part of town I've only been to once before with a friend. I decide to return home by the scenic route she used. It's raining pretty heavily, but I set off down the dirt road anyway. It goes through the woods and is a nice drive.

Pretty soon, I realize that the car is sliding a little bit and slow down even more. The road begins it's decent to the bottom of the hill and soon I see that the creek the road crosses is too high for me to drive through now. I look for a place to turn the car around but the road is a slippery mess and there are big boulders on both sides. I'm pinned here until the water goes down and I can drive through to the other side. I think about walking back to where the road begins, but I'm wearing flip-flops and that hill is getting slipperier by the minute. I can't decide what to do.

And then I think....time to wake up! I'm sure not going to stay asleep trying to work my way out of this conundrum for the next hour. So instead of getting another hour of rest, which I still need, I'm here telling you about it.

Do you do this? Wake yourself up from a dream you don't want to dream?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Funny Names

With two new babies expected in our family in the near future, there has been much thought given to names for them. My son and daughter in law are expecting #5 in the next couple of weeks. They have a boy's name picked out and ready, but no name for a girl. They can't agree on anything they both like. Since they have all girls already, chances are they'll have another. Time to compromise guys. She will need a name!

This got me to thinking about punny names. These are some of my favorites:
  • Once overheard a mother talking to her child....Daily Grace
  • Former customers....Minnie Tartt, Willie B. High, Owen Cash
  • Characters in a favorite childhood book....Candy Kane and her sister Sugar
  • True fact, I once took art from a woman named London Bridges
  • Daughter's friend contributed these names to my list....Nita Carr, Holli Cost and Paige Turner
  • Anita Mann do some chores around the house
  • What about Brighton Early or Justin Case?

I found these stories on a site dedicated to crazy names.

Someone sent me this: "A coworker whose last name is Naze wanted to name his daughter May Ann Naze but his wife refused."

Then a few months later I received this: "I believe I was that child. My dad (Robert Naze) used to tell me that story all the time when I was a little girl. He and my grandfather both wanted that to be my name because they thought it was hilarious, but my mom refused because she didn't want me to get made fun of as a child. My name instead ended up being Melissa Ann Naze."

Someone else sent me this: "My aunt's name is Debra May Page and she married Patrick Dye, so now she is called Debra May Dye!!"

And this is from another Dye: "My maiden name is Mandy Brown and I married Timmy Dye. My name is now Mandy Brown Dye. Our marriage announcement in the local paper read BROWN-DYE. I also know siblings named Rusty Keys and Penny Keys. I almost named my kids May Dye and Will Dye. My husband wouldn't have it!"

Seriously people, who would really name their children any of this stuff?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

For the Love

It's the Dad Life. Hilarious stuff!