Weekend Wrap-Up

BIG news: IT RAINED!!!  Not just little sprinkles, but a big, soaking, honest-to-goodness RAIN! The downspout got a much needed workout:

Friday, I met a friend for lunch. It's so sad, but we both live in the Small Town and hadn't seen each other in a few years! Her oldest son played soccer for the high school when MS was playing, and since MS graduated, I've only run into her a couple of times. So sad that we get caught up on our lives that we don't have time to see friends! We ended up with an almost 2 1/2 hour lunch, but I think we got caught up on everything.

Saturday, CH & I  took everything (except the easy-up) out of the camper so CH could bomb it  before our trip to the Outer Banks. We don't want a repeat of the ant day that we had over Christmas Break during our Key trip. We spent some time re-organizing our cooking totes. YS & his girlfriend ate dinner with us, and we just took it easy the rest of the day. Since FreedomFest was going on, there were fireworks that night. We were able to see some from our back porch.
I played around with my camera before the fireworks. When I first went out, I caught this picture:
But then the sky changed & I got this one:
Sunday, after Mass, I vacuumed out the camper and CH put everything back in. CH played around with his new "toy".
According to him, it's a 100 watt solar panel with built in charge controller. My BIL was quick to point out that it's a "tool", not a "toy"! We're staying at a campground in the OBX that has electricity, but it will be a good time to try it out to see just how it works. That way, when we're in a campground that doesn't have electricity, we'll still be able to charge up our battery. It will give us more options when we go on a bigger trip. We hope to go out west in the next couple of summers. We're getting excited about our trip...sharks & all! :)
How was your weekend?

The Decision

Someone I follow on Instagram said that people have "unfollowed" her due to her posting a picture of a rainbow flag. Her exact words:

I held off all day in posting this but I think it needs saying. A few times a week, I see something in my feed that I personally disagree with. My reaction, however, isn't to cast the opinions of others aside by unfollowing them. That would make my life not unlike living in an echo chamber. Instead, I'm both firm in my own beliefs as well as belief that others can express themselves differently and openly and that it has no bearing on my life, does nothing to threaten my position, and causes me no harm. We can agree to disagree and still be friends. The divisiveness that causes us to only surround ourselves with like-minded people is not how this great nation was founded. So if a little glittery rainbow flag causes you angst, I'm truly sad. Everyone needs a little ROYGBIV in their lives.

I couldn't agree with her more. Isn't it great that we live in a country where we can stand firm in our beliefs and voice them loud & clear? Americans are a passionate people who are allowed the right to say what we think without fear of government persecution. 

Our Parish Priest posted this on Facebook:
It becomes so tiring to see so much hate using the excuse of faith and morals, and politics. I am sure that Jesus would not turn away people because of their color, background, religion, social status or who they love, the invitation of faith is not dependent on the opinion of those who are afraid of what will happen, but on the love of those who put their trust in His perfect love.

And from our Bishop:
In the same spirit of "attacking" is the "boasting". It's akin to having your team winning a game and then boasting about it. I have to admit that in the past I've also been guilty of that as well. It kind of all goes back to my post about tolerance. If someone posts something on Instagram or Facebook that may not be what I believe, then I just keep scrolling....and bite my tongue. The chances of changing someone's opinion or beliefs are slim, so why get your blood pressure sky-high? 
I love what the Bishop said in the last paragraph: Don't attack. It is what it is, but stand firm in your belief.

Friday Fragments' New Look

Friday Fragments with Star
Since Mrs. 4444 hung up her Friday Fragments' hat, Traci at A Star in My Own  Universe has bravely stepped up and taken over. 

~Busy weekend in the area: there's a festival called Hops in the Hills and Small Town's Freedom Fest is going on. Sounds like a good weekend to stay in the house...or go to the big city!

~ I got sucked into The Bachelorette on Monday. I'm super creeped out by Nick. from last season's stalking to this season's weaseling to get on the show, he's just creepy. Were the guys that boring that they had to let him back on? And why is the girl not getting it? *shudder*

~ I started reading a YA book The Doom Machine, but I just can't go any further. I have no idea why I even bought it. I usually force myself to read books I'm not crazy about, but I just can't do this. Aliens that look like spiders...yuck.

~ I ran over to one of my schools last week to put some stuff up. I looked at materials that I made over the past year, and it hit me: I'm hoping to retire in 10 years...why am I spending so much time buying and making new materials? I should be on the down-slide and not being so encompassed with trying to keep up with the young ones. I'm planning on taking the rest of the summer to take a good hard look at what I'm doing.

~ A few pictures from our "Field Trip"during the photography class I'm taking:
(click for larger pictures)
 The light wasn't great, but we did find some reflections to use as subjects:
 Different point of view:
 In the reflection, I saw the kayak in the back of the truck & thought of OS!
 I like how the ducks look like they're having quite the conversation in this one:

 And, courtesy of google + animation:

~ I saw this guy in the park earlier in the week when I was walking the dogs:

After I took the dogs home, I grabbed my camera and went back to the park to snap some shots. I saw him again this morning, but in a different part of the park.

 See what everybody else is fraggin' about at A Star in My Own Universe.

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday
After reading Rebecca's post, my post seems a bit petty, but here it goes:

This week, I’m thankful for…

 ~ air conditioning. Again this week.  CH & I get a good chuckle when the weather people here talk about X days above 90°...when we lived in SC they talked about X amount of days above 100°!

~ the lady who took Rebecca in her arms and held her after she found the biker.

~ someone very close to me receiving some extremely surprising, but good, news after an MRI.

~ friends that will let us drop in on them to spend the night on our way to vacation.

~ a sister and a daddy who have green thumbs and can supply me with some fresh vegetables, because Lord knows CH & I don't have them!
~ Online Continuing Ed. courses. We have to have 12 hours on our own, and I just finished up my 12 (with an extra hour...just in case!) yesterday.

What are you thankful for this week?

Low Key-For Me-Weekend

Ahhhh, the weekend. But, since I'm on summer break, every day is a weekend! (ha, ha!)
We had a pretty low key weekend. MS bought tickets for him & CH to the Brewfest that was going on in the big city on Saturday evening. I dropped them off then went to a Publix that I hadn't been to before. This one is right next to the University. I felt so cosmopolitan: you park in a parking deck and take the escalator up to the store. Have I mentioned how much I love Publix? Talk about no-stress shopping! I digress...
I got home, put the groceries up and did some things around the house. I had to drive back up to the big city to pick up CH, MS, and one of his friends, then take MS & his friend back to MS' house.
Sunday morning was Mass, followed by a visit to my Daddy's. He joined us for our usual Sunday night dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We ended up being treated by YS who paid for our meal!
Last night I watched the pilot of the new series on PBS: Poldark. It looks like it's going to be pretty good. Has anyone watched Wolf Hall?
For my photography class last Wednesday, we had to bring in 5-6 pictures. There were only 4 of us in class, so it was a good thing that most of us brought more in than that! My pictures (all are originals...no cropping or editing):
He really liked this one, but suggested that I make sure to look in all 4 corners before taking the shot.

 The mouthpiece on this is out of focus. He told us a trick to get the whole instrument in focus.
 This picture looked good on my camera and on my laptop, but when he put it on the "big screen" you can see that I had some shaking.

 He asked why I had the tomato centered on this one. I told him that I guess I thought if I didn't have it centered that it wouldn't be in focus. He suggested that I center it, focus it, then move the camera so it lined up with the "Rule of Thirds".
I only have 2 more classes left...this Wed. we're going on an on-campus field trip. Should be interesting...it's supposed to be pretty hot! 

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday
Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand hosts Thankful Thursday. Since I'm really trying to get this blog back in shape, I had to participate!!!

This week, I’m thankful for…

 ~ air conditioning. Seriously. I have no idea how we survived without it when I was growing up.

~ a job that means that I can relax in the summer and read books.

~ online CEUs. That means I don't have to go in for training over the summer!

~ my camera. Not only am I enjoying seeing the beauty in every little thing, but I'm able to capture it in photographs!

~ my dogs. They're the ones who make me get up in the morning to walk...even though I'm drenched when we get home.

~ nice people. Especially the ones in a Facebook group for SLPs who are TPT Sellers (teacher site where you can peddle your materials that you've made). They don't pass judgement (at least not publicly!) and answer any question...even if it is a stupid one!

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Time to get back into the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Joyce does this almost every Wednesday, so if you haven't joined in, copy & paste the questions, answer them on your blog, and then link up!

1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?
For the past few weekends, CH & I have taken day trips around the area. There is so much to see around here!
Buck Bald
Buffalo Mountain
Laika has even enjoyed seeing some sites!

2. What's a current hot button issue for you?
The whole Bruce Jenner thing.

3. What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house?
I think a better question would be what doesn't disappear like hotcakes! We're a family of eaters, so nothing stays around for very long. Unless it's leftovers. Nobody seems to like leftovers.

4. How hot is too hot?
85. Unless it's 72 in the house. Then I'm okay.

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?
I think I do. I think it's being able to look at things and see the beauty. I'm working on it, anyway!

6. What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?
Since my mother passed away last year, I've asked my father many, many questions. I've learned so much about his early life. One thing I don't think we'll ever know is how he proposed to my mother. He told my sister he couldn't remember. I can't believe I never asked mom about it!

7. Something you learned from your father?
Last summer, I learned how to make pickles. I'm hoping for a repeat lesson this summer!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Some summer breaks I'm all about being motivated and a lot gets done around the house (like last year). Some summer breaks I'm all about the "break" part (like this year).  I've read several books I've had on the bookshelf, and I've caught up with almost all my shows & discovered some new ones. I'm just having a hard time getting motivated to really do anything this summer. I think trying to keep with these young SLPs during the year is wearing me out!

Exploring East Tennessee

We spent Sunday exploring around another area close by. This is another area that CH has been to many times on the motorcycle, and I have never been to. First stop: a Wind Farm atop Buffalo Mountain near Oliver Springs.
(Don't forget to click on the picture if you want to see it better!)

(I think I need to take a photoshop class to learn how to get the wires out of the pictures!)
Getting there was pretty easy, but you do have to pay (or are supposed to, anyway!) $17/vehicle to get there. You have to go through Windrock Park to get there. They have quite a set up...General Store, 300+ miles of trails for off-road vehicles, shooting range, campground, mountain bike trails, hiking trails, and a remote-control park. The road is 1 way, so you really have to go the 10 mph that is posted just in case you meet someone coming the other way. Part of the way is paved, the rest is gravel, but the road is in really good shape.
Next stop: Wartburg. Not the castle.
This Wartburg is a smaller town than the Small Town. The farthest in town I've been is to the high school; STHS used to play them in football. It's actually a very quaint little town with a town square & a store that looks like it came straight out of the 60's.
We had lunch at this little place on the square, and then walked over to the Obed Visitor Center. The Obed River area definitely needs more exploring! We rode over to the picnic area and walked on the bridge.

There's an old Civil War Tunnel that is popular among motorcyclists, but we didn't go by there. It was getting late in the afternoon, and we had about an hour drive home.

Who would've thought there were windmills in East Tennessee? While driving to Oak Ridge from Knoxville, you can see them in the distance, but only if you know what you're looking for. Possibly on a clear day, but even then I think you really have to look for them.

We ended the day with our usual Sunday dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Then, I went straight to bed with a rip-roaring headache. Heat + no breakfast (stupid, I know) + not enough water = massive headache. Good thing I have this to keep me company so I can completely get over it today while doing laundry:

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