The Ugly Bug Ball..

The weekend blessed us with mild temps and no thunderstorms. I showed my gratitude by going outside as much as possible.

Just look what I found!

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The otherworldly bee
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The lowly cicada. Their voices reverberated through the woods
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Not sure. But scary. I think she is a type of Orb spider.
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My Ballet star!

There were also birds and chipmunks and squirrels and oh! I even had a hummingbird visit me while in the back yard. It was too elusive for my camera though.

I saw so many beautiful things I just wanted to dance!

Apparently so did my little furry friend. Be careful where you step this month!

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We loved this movie when I was a kid…

I you haven’t been there already, stop by Dan’s place and have a cold one. Better leave off the glass though..just ask Dan.

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Pardon Me Boy…

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Well, we never saw the Chattanooga Choo Choo. In fact we didn’t even get to the train “museum” on our recent visit to the lovely little city of Chattanooga, for online research revealed the museum was not your typical garden variety museum. No, it is only a participatory museum, meaning that if you aren’t prepared to pay for one of the scheduled train journeys, you will be missing the history lesson.

I will admit the various train adventures look fun, but I was disappointed there was no museum, historically, to speak of. But…I digress.

If you want to schedule a rolling tour or just a really fun day of seeing some of the beautiful countryside, see the schedules and details Here

We did, however, find a great hotel room with a terrific view of downtown Chattanooga with easy access to the venues there, including everything from the AT&T stadium to the Tennessee Aquarium and much more.

The first thing we did was to drop off our bags and go out for food. We weren’t disappointed choosing Big River Grille and Brewing Pub. The menu is quite extensive, which can be a caution signal in many cases; but in this instance both of us were very pleased with our choices. Hubby loved his Mango Habanero Chicken, and I finally found a pizza I could sink my teeth into. The craft beers were great and well worth the very reasonable prices. We would definitely recommend this restaurant and hope to return there on our next trip.

 

 

 

 

 

And then there was coffee and dessert. The ‘short walk’ turned out to be a bit farther than we thought, braced against a 30 degree temperature with intermittent drizzle; but Rembrandt’s was the most recommended coffee house in the area,  so we did our part as brave tourists and made the uphill climb to the Bluff Art District to check it out. Except for mediocre service, we loved the place. The coffee and Hubby’s eclair were really good. We were so ready for something hot once we finally made it. On the way up we stopped to walk onto the infamous walking bridge. It has a sad history causing many Chattanooga residents to avoid it altogether, but the view is beautiful.

 

 

Mocha cafe and a walnut brownie were my choices. Above top photo is hubby’s Chocolate Chocolate eclair.

We actually spent the rest of our evening curled up in the room, warm and cozy, enjoying the view and staying dry. My original hope was to get to Lookout Mountain/Ruby Falls or to Rock City on the way home.

Sadly, the sun on Monday arrived late, leaving things damp and cold still, so we settled on a visit to the Aquarium, just across the street from our hotel. First, though, we went in search of breakfast. That led us to a nice venue called Pucket’s, a bar and grill that, when not serving up dinner and music, makes a pretty decent breakfast and nice cup of coffee. We loved the coffee cup so much we had to buy one to bring home!  The restaurant has a train theme and great doors, so look out Thursday, here I come!

Meanwhile….

 

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It was defenitely tasty!

And I found a buddy outside the Mellow Mushroom on our walk.

 

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Okay, okay, the main event! The Tennessee Aquarium, though not as extensive as one might think, was well put together, with a friendly staff and all the habitats very beautiful and well kept. I particularly liked that the local freshwater wildlife was well represented. My favorites? Oh, besides the turtles, of course! The butterfly garden and the penguins are wonderful! So adorable. Here are a few shots from our visit.

 

 

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Why do I feel I’m just getting nowhere?

 

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Oh dear, maybe we should have spiffed up for guests..

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Hellooooo….wanna come in for a little swim?

I also wanted to visit the Hunter museum but it was just a bit late for the three building adventure. Maybe next time.  Meanwhile, we enjoyed the beautiful sculptures that are in front of the museum which is located high above the Tennessee River and houses works from key American artists. I’m already eager to go back! Thanks Chattanooga!

 

 

 

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This? Oh just a gratuitous crane (of sorts) for my friend Dan.  Happy Wednesday!

 

 

First Lights

‘Twas the week before Christmas,

and time, it would seem,

to seek out a few of my favorite things.

 

The local town square is always so bright

with sparkling magical holiday lights!

 

But first…

A feast!

 

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I know it doesn’t look much like roast beast!

The Whos were having their office affair

Decked out in their jammies, with nary a care.

 

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Time to pay up and get out in the air!

 

The lights were all twinkling

We went straight to the Square!

 

 

 

Reflections I see

in the spheres on the tree-

such curious faces

staring back at me!

 

Wait! Is this a Prince I have found?

 

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Sitting alone

on the cold, hard ground-

but where is your crown? 

I kissed his cold cheek

all damp with the night.

He was not shy,

and did not give fight.

 

Still,  he sat there on

his rock and remained

a frog-content,

and without shame.

 

The lights! The lights I see..

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They light up the night and

my heart with glee.

 

Swans a swimming,

frogs a leaping-

all within my heart

for keeping.

 

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At this time of year

restraint disappears

and like a child

my soul is wild

with hopes and dreams

as love light gleams

across the world.

 

Oh, why can’t every day be like Christmas?

 

 

The night was dark

and nothing scary

though our ‘free’ dessert

was something hairy!

😱

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Shame on you kitchen friends. And it had such promise….

This post brought to you by Linda Hill and her #SoCS post prompt.

For adventure and some historic doors hop over to Dan’s place. That guy does some traveling!

 

 

No Cherries/#Free48

Well, it turned out to be a productive and fine #Free48 with some good food, a mini adventure, a new business prospect and even tequila shots! Rather than explain it all in boring narrative, why don’t I just share some photos with you? For details, hold your finger on the photo or tap for captions.

After driving around the parking garage for thirty minutes at Ponce City Market I was ready to throw in the towel when suddenly a spot opened up and we were in! Sadly, the market was so crowded that we headed right out to get onto the BeltLine…..buuuut….we couldn’t. There was a wine festival going on at the entrance and we didn’t want to attend. It was crazy. We went back inside the market to find a beer and maybe a bite of food but there was just so much chaos. We agreed to head home and grab something closer to our neck of the woods. The drive was very cool though, allowing me to get some more shots of the city. There is some fantastically original grafitti around Atlanta. These are just a couple of the random murals I saw during our drive.

We agreed on Zama Mexican, one of our favorite local spots and were both ready for a cold one and some food!

I couldn’t resist giving a “tickle” to one of the restaurant’s door sentries. I liked his necklace!

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I will someday write about my nightmares  dreams last night but right now they are too fresh.  No more Heradura shots for Cheryl. Have you ever been attacked by a spider riding a cricket!? 😱

Today hubby firmed up the details for our spot in the antique store. Now I am praying my jewelry is recieved well and that the things we put there wll sell. There is a festival coming up in two weeks. Wish me luck! I have been working pretty much non stop getting things ready.

What do you think of the collection? These aren’t all the best possible shots but you can get the idea what I will be presenting. And I am still working.

And the cherry on top of it all? I made homemade strawberry ice cream. It turned out so delicious. But, sadly, there were only strawberries to go on top. 🙊And drizzled chocolate. And whipped cream! The best part about being the cook? I get to scrape the Cuisinart freezer bucket. What a preview.

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Let’s get out there and make it a great week. Remember, we can all use a little help from our friends, no matter how little they seem.

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Blue is Half-Green/#SoCS

Well, today’s #SoCS prompt from Linda Hill is green.

But I was feeling more ‘blue’ this morning…

 

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Yummmm!!!

But, in the spirit of compliance I will post a bit o’ green…in keeping with the spirit o’ the day, if ya’ be gettin’ me meanin’…..

 

 

These are a few of my favorite greens….

 

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Do these feathers make me look fat?

 

What’s a green day without, well, Green Day….

 

Happy St Patty’s Day!

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“On Your Left!”#1linerWeds

Many of you may recognize the phrase in my title, especially if you are an avid hiker, jogger or cyclist, like my blogging friend Mary.

It makes a lot of sense, especially considering many people are lost in their thoughts, listening to music or perhaps even enamoured of the beautiful world around them as they walk or run…or push strollers, wheelchairs and try to reign in pets.

 

 

 

We had to stand and wait about ten minutes to get a shot without half a dozen people. I love people. I work with them every day. But people out of doors can be, well, very non civilized at times.

The thing I take issue with is that, in my recent experiences, these cyclists often shout this phrase more like a command than an alert, they never are prepared to stop on a dime, nor do they make any attempt to ever slow down. It is as if the world might stop and spin the other way if anyone or anything broke their cycling stride.

I’m sorry. That is just rude. To make matters worse they fly by within a hair’s breath of you. (I swear I can smell their breath too). Seriously, what if one of them should be coming up “on the left” of a seriously deaf person.

 

We recently hiked a beautiful paved trail near where we live, but I doubt we will go back. There was not a five minute stretch that we weren’t having to climb to the grassy curb due to convoys of cyclists, all shouting,

“On your left!”

 

It’s kind of hard to stay in a Zen Zone when you fear for your safety. What say you about this dilemma, Mary?

Happy Wednesday. This post is brought to you by Linda Hill’s One Liner Wednesday prompt. Visit her blog page for more details.

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Free 48/Weekend Adventures

I had a stellar weekend. Really, it was all I wanted and came right on the heels of a great week. Was work perfect? Hardly. But I realize the things that mean the most to me are those little gold flecks that show up while I am sifting through life’s dirt and rock to make a living, with or without striking it rich. Things like friends that pass through town and spend an evening relaxing and laughing over some great food. Things like meals I neither have to cook nor clean up after. Things like preparing a simple, tasty lunch with my hubby and enjoying it outdoors.

I‘ve made my mind up about one thing since returning to full time work after our brief ‘retirement’ in Costa Rica.

 

I cannot go back to living for the weekend.

 

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My time in paradise taught me that each day is meant to be lived entirely-whether brilliant, beautiful, boring or back breaking. When we power through our days with blinders on working toward those precious moments we feel belong to us alone, shining like a trophy on a folding table at the finish line, several things happen.

Number one, we rush through our moments, trying to ignore the difficult ones while our eyes are glued to the checkered flag waiting to mark the end of another gruelling race.

Secondly, we build ourseleves up for something stupendous to serve as our reward for a job well done, for putting up with so much nonsense for yet another week and for perservering through life’s muck and mire to get to that place in the sun we call our weekend. And then it rains. 🙄

Thirdly, we age while we live our lives in chunks of time. Week to weekend, holiday to holiday. Vacation to vacation. Another year closer to retirement. Talk about a hamster wheel!

 

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While I can’t always (though I try like hell) improve the quality of a nightmarish work day, I can at least step outside of myself to be objective.

 

This too shall pass

 

I can’t change the attitudes of anyone around me, so I must be content to do what I feel is healthy for me and hope that someone else might find value in my outlook, might learn to laugh instead of complain about the small stuff, and so a ripple effect is begun.

Sooooo. I have made the decision to no longer live for the weekend; and the first step in this new mental directive is to change the way I view the mini repreive I get every 120 hours.

Henceforth the afore mentioned ‘weekend’ will be now be referred to as the Free 48. The Glorious 48 hours that are blank pages in my book of days. What do you think?

I am celebrating this new outlook by sharing my very first Free 48 with you here. It was relaxing, exhilarating, creative, fun, rewarding, loving….did I mention it was really good? Here are a few of the simple, fantastic details.

It started Friday afternoon by grilling shrimp with the hubby and enjoying our meal on the deck under some welcome sunshine.

 

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Magenta blooms
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A nice Reisling to go with our shri p
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My humble little paradise in the making, check out the SUNshine……..

 

Then, my ‘book-that-never-came’ from Amazon finally arrived! Yaaaay!! (Yeah, it was sent again with actual shipping info too!) Miracles do happen.  This little book is a real treasure. If you haven’t read it I recommend it highly. The simple truth of the Tao spoken through the heart of a lovable bear.

 

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The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. 💕
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Which explains my completely Zen feeling all weekend.

 

Then, Saturday we got out for an early morning hike. Well, early is relative since my one rule of the Free 48 is no alarm clocks. But we did make it out of the house by ten am. Hubby is in charge of adventure time, finding us new trails, parks and places of interest. This time we hit the Silver Comet Trail, a very scenic and easy to walk paved hiking trail that goes on for miles. We did about three. It was beautiful but had a bit too many bikers for my comfort. (More on this subject on One Liner Wednesday. I’m working to keep my ohhhhmmmmm on here.)LOL.

After our hike we rewarded ourselves with a great Mexican meal and margaritas at our new favorite Mexican place in town. (More on that for Thursday Doors)

 

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Silver Comet Trail
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I wanted so much to get a shot of this tunnel sans people-no easy task.
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Someone else was feeling Zen!
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My new best friend in a glass.

 

Now on to my favorite moment….

Sunday brunch with my youngest at the place we tried to go before. You know….where the awesome bar Eleanor  is? 

Yes! We finally ate at Muss and Turner’s. And it waaaas good. From the Tropicalia on draft to the pulled smoked pork andwich on an H &F bun, it was all I hoped it would be.

 

 

But the real gift was the company. Food, no food, we all had a great time catching up!

 

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Oh yeahhhhh…I actually spent an evening working on my latest creative exploration. I have wanted to try my hand at paper bead making for quite awhile. It was such fun! I am only just getting started. 👏🏻🙈

 

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Sooooo…..there you have it. My first Free 48. Can’t wait to gear up again in about….well…..who’s counting anyway? 😉Have a great week friends!