Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Columbia Cemetery

To read my articles, click HERE! And don't forget to subscribe.

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

Hoist The Colors

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine


The Courage Of Our Hearts

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And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems
    Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems
    by Harold Bloom
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • The Closer
    The Closer
    by Mariano Rivera
  • Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs
    Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs
    by Michelle Malkin
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
    by Alan Bradley
  • The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry (Chapel Hill Books)
    The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry (Chapel Hill Books)
    The University of North Carolina Press
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training
    Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training
    by Tom Jokinen
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • Dodsworth
    Dodsworth
    starring Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas, Mary Astor, Kathryn Marlowe
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ JAVIER ~

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity

Tuesday
Feb022016

Pimento epiphany

This here be anything but a recipe blog.

However.

A few weeks back, TG and Erica and I took a day trip to the Upstate. To be specific, we journeyed one hundred miles northwest of Columbia.

Right up to where the South Carolina line melts into the North Carolina line. But we didn't set a toe on Tarheel soil.

That's because our purpose in going was to visit the only covered bridge still standing in South Carolina: Campbell's. At Beaverdam Creek.

It was a cinch to find and as charming as anticipated. You've got to love a wee vintage bridge, red as a passel of pimentos, that is by design neither square nor plumb.

After taking full advantage of perfect weather where it met the golden hour, we tooled back through Historic Landrum.

The sky was still pretty nice -- studded with cirrus clouds, all cotton balls with pull-out wisps -- and although a wind had whipped up January-like, we parked and walked.

There were all of three blocks to cover, and only one of them looked remotely interesting.

It was five-ish and you'll never guess what happened.

Okay; I'll tell you. We I got hungry.

My cohorts are suggestible. I knew this and took full advantage. Time for a little something, thought I.

So: Hey let's go get a snackie at Southern Delights and More, I suggested. They're open until nine.

Being in the habit of, wherever I may find myself, at once ascertaining where to procure nourishment, I had gleaned that useful intelligence moments after our impromptu stroll began, by reading the door to said storefront establishment.

But only after pausing to openly drool over admire their inviting neon Coffee sign hung above an observant sock monkey -- er, ingabee -- perched atop a vintage Coke cooler in the window.

Speaking of cooler, it was becoming so by the millisecond. We trundled in and took the table in the window (I love sitting in windows; it makes me feel pleasantly smug), beside the ledge where the sock monkey sat lookout.

The antique-filled café was warm and bright and hardly being used at all by hungry people, although it was clear from the three-quarters-empty bakery-style cases that the proprietors did a brisk business.

TG and I ordered half-sandwiches -- pimento cheese, which we both adore, on sourdough -- and cups of soup.

I don't remember what Erica got except she requested coffee and it came in a cup the size of Kansas. Without technically raving, third daughter declared the brew a solid good.

Well. Enough about her. I am here to tell you, the pimento cheese was more than good.

TG promptly -- as in, with no discernible hesitation and zero qualifiers -- declared it the best he'd ever eaten.

 

~  c u e   c r i c k e t s  ~


Talk about your gauntlet thrown. Upon hearing the words, I felt like a pawing, snorting toro looking daggers at a billowing red cape.

As I noshed greedily I thought: Why have I never made pimento cheese in my own kitchen? Am I out of my mind?

I will thank you not to snicker about that last part.

After considerable research and having made the recipe twice now, tailoring it to my own taste and -- apparently -- TG's as well (because he totally and with an appropriate amount of contrition took back what he said in the heat of the moment in Landrum), I am happy to reveal how I did it.

So you can too.

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PIRATE PIMENTO CHEESE

8 ounces (one brick) full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese (Yes, Philadelphia and yes, full fat.)

2 cups (a little more is a lot better) hand-shredded Cabot Extra-Sharp Cheddar (Don't substitute any other brand and on pain of death, do not use pre-shredded cheese. Heaven forfend.)

1/2 cup Duke's Mayonnaise (If you can't get Duke's, you can't make this recipe. Sorry not sorry.)

8 ounces mushed-up pimentos (Drain the little suckers out of their jar or jars, dump them onto your cutting board, and work them over with a mezzaluna or appropriately businesslike knife.)

Generous dollop (do not measure and have no fear) Giuliano Hot & Spicy Jalapeno Spread* (It's cheaper at Walmart than on this website I linked to but I wanted you to see a nice big picture. Mount Olive makes a similar product so if you can't secure a jar of Giuliano, go with second best but deduct one-half of a style point.)

Coarse ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste (If you still use that whiny-thin free-flowing excuse for salt and/or garden-variety black pepper dust, you are on your own and you haven't made my recipe, haaaha.)

Lemon pepper (A free-spirited sprinkling.) to taste. And totally optional.

Mix it all up. It helps to cube the cream cheese into a bowl a few hours before you make the recipe, to let its darling soft snowy creaminess develop. Then add the hand-shredded Cabot, then the Duke's, then the precious red pimentos, then the jalapenos, then the seasonings.

Mash stir mash stir until your pimento cheese is the consistency of perfection. You will know. The whole thing is easier than falling off a covered bridge. Voila. You did it. Collect your pirate papers.

Caveat: This recipe is not bland. It's not meant to be. Jenny the Pirate does not do bland.

Now pile your kicked-up pirate pimento cheese sky-high onto some good fresh rustic bread, preferably toasted. The bread, I mean.

Prepare for a thrill-dazzle to the palate, spontaneous applause and due reverence from those to whom you serve it, and a considerable boost to what I am sure is your already burgeoning culinary reputation.

You may thank me by being happy.

And that is all for now.

*Giuliano jalapenos is the ingredient that makes this pirate pimento cheese, and thus by definition, a standout. Nothing run-of-the-mill or store-bought about it. Trust me.

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Happy Tuesday :: Happy Groundhog Day

Tuesday
Jan192016

This it is and nothing more

Did you know? Today is the birthday of the American poet Edgar Allan Poe. He'd be two-hundred seven.

Strange dude. Brilliant and strange, a literary genius. The tormented kind.

Born on January 19, 1809, he lived only until October 7, 1849. Forty years and just shy of nine months.

The final resting place of his earthly remains, at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, is near the top of my list of Famous Graves to Visit.

Nobody has ever been able to pinpoint how and why he died.

It's a mystery.

I love Poe -- and Poe's poetry -- so much, I named my new car in honor of them.

The official color of said vehicle is Black Raven.

Black is by far my favorite color and although I do not have a favorite bird as such -- being partial to them all -- crows and ravens rate pretty high.

So now, when I ride? I ride The Raven.

My license plate: NVRMORE.

So if you see that South Carolina plate? You'll know it's me. Do wave hello.

Don't miss the large and glossy -- and incredibly lifelike, except he doesn't move -- fake (shhhh ... we haven't told him) Raven -- name of Poe -- who perches saucily in my rear window, passenger side.

I got him at a Halloween store but he rides The Raven all year 'round, peering out with pretend curiosity at cars collected in the road behind us.

So anyway. Happy Birthday, EAP.

In his honor and remembrance, take the time to hear the late great Christopher Lee read The Raven.

You will not regret it.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

Thursday
Jan142016

Peak times

I hate it when people make excuses. I also hate it when folks write sneak peak.

It's so dumb, it drives me crazy. When I read it, I have to start humming in order to stay sane.

That's because what they mean is sneak peek. As in, a wee furtive look at. And I'm all, like, don't they know the difference? Don't they care that there is a difference?

This falls into the same category (to my mind) as what appears to be a perpetual confusion between its and it's, your and you're, and loose and lose.

To name only a few language-related idiocies which seem to plague us as a society. Let's not even broach the sensitive subjects of capitalization and punctuation.

Hummmmmmmmm. Hmmm hmmmm.

As for excuses, generally speaking, they be lies.

However.

This is no lie:

I have been sick with a cold which morphed into a mini-bout with bronchitis.

I've certainly felt worse but I've definitely felt better.

I'm well now; thank you. But that's why I have been ignoring my dear readers.

Apologies. For a significant number of days I have been uninspired, unmotivated, and unable to come up with a thought worth sharing.

However.

On the day I awoke suspecting I was coming down with a cold -- but was not yet technically suffering from same -- Erica and I had made plans for a mini-adventure.

An avid runner and nature lover, our baby daughter is always on the lookout for new and interesting places to go where she may experience the outdoors, get some exercise, and memorialize the whole thing with a few pictures.

So it was that she was excited to tell us, several weeks ago when it was still so hot, about discovering the Palmetto Trail and, specifically, a marvelous old bridge, not a thirty-minute drive from where we live.

The Harry Easterling Bridge is where the Palmetto Trail crosses the Broad River in the map dot known as Peak, South Carolina.

When Andrew was home for Thanksgiving, he (my other hyper-outdoorsy child) and Erica kayaked twenty-two miles on the Broad River, paddling right under this bridge.

The HEB is in reality the second bridge in history to span the Broad River at Peak. The first was burned by Confederate soldiers to keep Sherman's Yankee troops from using it in their march to the sea in the late winter of 1865.

The Yankees made it anyway. Bygones.

Eventually the Palmetto Trail will stretch 425 miles across the state of South Carolina -- from the mountains to the same sea Sherman sought.

It is part of the federally-designated Millennium Legacy Trail and, when completed, will be one of only 16 cross-state trails in the country.

If I know Erica, she will want to walk and run the whole thing, if not every such trail within her reach.

She already wants to do the Appalachian Trail -- does she know there are bears? -- and other potentially aggressive ingabees? -- and, someday, I am certain she will participate in the New York City Marathon.

But back to the bridge. An old truss structure, it started out as Norfolk Southern Railroad's clever way of getting freight trains across the Broad River at Peak.

Now it's for hikers and walkers, and for those who love to stand suspended between water and sky, and hear the sounds of a river on its endless way, and watch the clouds and the birds inhabit that sky together.

Due to hip arthritis, I cannot walk far, but Erica knew where to go so that the walking would be minimal.

And I'm thankful she didn't run away from me.

I had Google-Earthed the environs of Peak and found a church ruin almost exactly where I knew we'd be joining the Palmetto Trail: St. Simons Episcopal, a tiny frame structure that has been left to rot.

Erica and I basically live for ruins. We have a list of such that we plan to visit. It's second only to my cemetery list, which eventually will take me to cemeteries from Boston and New York to St. Augustine and New Orleans.

With stops in between, in places like Baltimore and Richmond.

I'll keep you apprised of my progress. Don't hold your breath but do watch this space.

At any rate we visited the little church first, and it was a rare find, and a dream come true for a photographer.

There was even the shell of a long-ago-junked car beside the building. Talk about your extra three points.

It was chilly but not cold, and clear but not too bright. The bridge is stunning and we walked most of it before turning back to our car, and heading for home.

By the time darkness fell on Columbia, I knew I was in for several days of sneezing and coughing. But I didn't care.

I'd gone with my little girl to nature, which we both enjoy so much, and I'd had the privilege of taking lots of pictures that I'd later be able to play with, which is just about my favorite thing to do.

The Lord willing, Peak will see me again, maybe on a different sort of day, when everything will be cast in another kind of light.

I'd like to take Melanie, Allissa, Andrew, and Dagny onto the bridge and watch their amazed little eyes as they watch the river.

When I do, you know I'll share.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Thursday

Tuesday
Jan052016

That's ingabee in Dagnyspeak

How I wish you could hear Dagny talk. Her voice is all kinds of darling. Slightly raspy.

I know, I know; there is such a thing as technology and I could post a wee video.

I'll get right on that.

I hope I succeed before she learns that ingabee is technically not a word.

Yes; you read that right: ingabee. Hard G sound. Sort of rhymes with syncope (the pathological definition of which I sincerely hope none of us ever suffers): sing-kuh-pee.

Sometimes Dagny stresses the first syllable: INGabee!

Other times she squeals and gives it all she's got on the last syllable: ingaBEE!

Either way, the word is always uttered with great zeal, abandon, and obvious glee.

And either way, it's sure to send us all into peals of laughter.

Sometimes we laugh so hard, we hold our sides and tears slide down our collective cheeks.

It's that adorable.

But what does it MEAN, I can almost hear you saying aloud to your screen.

Why, it means puppy, of course.

What did you think?

Haaahaha gotcha. Yeah. It took us awhile to figure it out too.

The nickel finally dropped when we realized Dagny began shrieking Ingabee! INGabee! IngaBEE! every time she saw Javier.

Now, you should know that Javier dislikes children. It is a characteristic of the breed, so I'm not sure he can help it.

For example. After being around her for her entire life of nearly eight years, our geriatric Chihuahua has only recently allowed our granddaughter Allissa to hold him without going feral.

Chihuahuas are famous for hating kids. It goes with the territory. But now that he is blind and deaf, the instant and indefatigable desire of small children to hold and stroke and pet him, sends Javier over the edge.

It's vexing to the point that when all the kids are going to be around, Javier gets treated to some crate time in an upstairs room where we don't have to listen to him whine.

Ingabee anxiety can be a terrible thing to see and hear.

Oh. Back to ingabees. Yes; by connecting various linguistic dots matched with observing a repetition of certain behaviors, we concluded that Dagny meant puppy when she flung out ingabee.

However.

Then she began saying it every time she saw an animal depicted in any way -- as in, a still picture of the Chick-fil-A cows or a stuffed white Coke polar bear -- complete with red scarf -- or a gerbil meandering across the screen in a Baby Einstein video.

All are met with fervent, insistent, repeated exclamations of Ingabee! Together with much pointing.

So. Let's review.

Until further notice, ingabee stands for any critter.

Seamlessly, Dagny has infused our family nomenclature with distinctly unconventional speech patterns. Now we all say ingabee whenever we see an animal.

The other night? We were having chili (with meat) and I thought of it as ingabee stew.

A rose by any other name.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

Wednesday
Dec302015

What I got and what I hope to get

Like I said before, in our family, we do Christmas lists.

I asked for a cotton flannel wrap robe in blackwatch plaid from the Vermont Country Store.

I also asked for a Pandora cubic zirconia bangle bracelet I'd had my eye on for some time.

Both were under the tree.

Due to the vagaries of online ordering guessing relative to size, my beautiful robe (a gift from Erica) was a tad on the too-large size.

As in, I could grow six inches and gain seventy-five pounds and still comfortably wear that robe even if I strapped a litter of beagle puppies about my person.

Which -- as delightful as that sounds -- the puppies, that is -- I have no plan to do.

So with much reluctance I re-packaged the robe and called the folks up in Vermont to make sure I was fixing to process the exchange for a smaller size, correctly.

(It may actually dip below fifty degrees in South Carolina this "winter" and I may need that garment on a chilly morning or two.)

The lady I reached (I pictured her sitting in a log cabin in the woods in Vermont, wearing a Lanz of Salzburg flannel granny gown and fuzzy slippers, a crackling fire not ten feet away, snow drifting sumptuously outside the window, a stack of flapjacks drenched in maple syrup at her elbow) -- name of Linda -- couldn't have been nicer.

I told her I loved my robe and that I considered simply keeping it although it's roughly the size of Vermont.

But I said, I thought better of it the first time I tripped and nearly fell while modeling said robe.

(Not that tripping and falling is foreign to me, and not that I have to be wearing too-large clothing in order to suffer that fate accomplish that feat).

I think I should exchange it before it becomes my blackwatch plaid flannel shroud, I told Linda, causing her to belly laugh and (probably) spill her mugful of piping hot apple cider.

She told me they were expecting their first snow of the season that very night. Three to five, and I don't mean years. Inches.

I hope they got it. She sounded so happy and hopeful.

So my robe is even now wending its way back to a cabin deep in the woods of Vermont where it will, I hope, be promptly exchanged for one exactly like it, in a size I don't often technically wear.

As to my bracelet -- a gift from TG -- it too is beautiful, but too small.

Yes. A bangle bracelet that is too small. And no, I am not a giant. Not by any means. I am not even big-boned (whatever that means).

If I were, it would not have been necesssary to send my robe back to Vermont.

This bracelet, though? It's an oval, and it has to fit over your hand. There is no clasp.

As such it could not have possibly been meant for a grown woman to wear, unless she is roughly the size of your average twelve-year-old.

Turns out that in the link I had provided in my Christmas list -- for ease of purchase of said item -- was an option of ordering the bracelet in a ridiculously small size as well as in a normal, larger size.

Naturally the default was the ludicrously small size -- ????? -- and none of us noticed it.

So back it will go -- to Miami, not to Vermont -- and in a few days I should have a stunning Pandora CZ bangle in a size that slides over my hand and onto my wrist.

And sparkles there, beguilingly.

I shall treat you to a photo of my bracelet on my wrist, against the backdrop of my flannel wrap robe in blackwatch plaid. I promise. That's totally how I roll.

Meanwhile, for reasons even I cannot remember, late last night I was searching Amazon for a buffet-style flatware caddy. I've wanted one for years, and again this holiday season I wished I had one.

I didn't find what I wanted, but I was amused by the search results.

So that's something.

As in, who throws the search result of swim fins in with dozens of flatware caddies in every possible size, configuration, color, degree of attractiveness and practicality, and material of make-age?

I stared and the thought occurred to me that for a pool party, maybe you could place the fins on a buffet and stick the silverware down in them.

That's when I knew it was time to head for bed.

But maybe that's what the folks at the Zon were thinking. We'll never know. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

I still don't have a flatware caddy.

Perhaps in 2016 I shall acquire one. In just the right size.

When/if I do, I'll share. 

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday :: Happy New Year

Thursday
Dec242015

Merry Christmas, my lovelies

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These four make it Christmas every day of the year.

The abundant beautiful gifts of love and respect they give to me and their father year-round, say more about them than they do about us.

They are God's gift to us and our gift to the world, which they change daily by their faith, their work ethic, their integrity, and everyday acts of kindness and generosity.

I hope to be more like them, and more like the One each of them serves.

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Merry Christmas Everybody

Monday
Dec212015

Merry Birthday, Melly Belle

Our beloved Melanie Noel turns eleven today. Eleven years of the Christmas present of Melly, born on the shortest day of Two Thousand Four.

We feted her in down-home fashion last Friday evening at the Cracker Barrel in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

That's basically Charlotte. The Carowinds exit.

I admit to a fondness for Cracker Barrel. I like the store as much as the grits and biscuits. And those corn muffins.

So anyway, we all converged upon the lip of North Carolina where it kisses the lip of South Carolina, and for a change it was cold like a normal December night, and windy, and we shivered and hurried and whooped and hugged and hollered when we saw one another.

I had brought two giant 40-inch silver helium-filled mylar balloons in the shape of ones.

Two ones. Eleven. Melly, who is a special needs child (emphasis on special) with little capability in the way of speech, gave an eloquent shriek when she spotted the double massive shining bobbing airborne digits.

(The birthday girl has some feelings of trepidation when faced with helium balloons, but they're a staple at our celebrations that she's had to accept. She succeeded at live-and-let-live until later in the party when I asked her to pose beside them.)

We ten settled in, having passed by the roaring fireplace, and our server was charming and made us feel so welcome.

In addition to me -- the one perpetually behind the lens, and no, I'm not hiding, I'm just busy being creative -- not a bit of this, after all, is about me -- the cast of characters included our one grandson, Andrew:

Like the sign says: Big Trouble.

Not really. He's adorable and very sweet, and exceptionally good.

Dagny loves parties:

She was, naturally, accompanied by her adoring mother, Audrey:

And her adored and equally adoring Aunt Erica:

There was the lovely Stephanie, always busy, and TG who presides quietly in the background:

No party would be complete without my son-in-law, Joel. I think he has a wonderful face. The kindest, bluest eyes.

I somehow dropped the ball and failed to get a picture of Allissa by herself. But I wish you could see her at Melanie's birthday parties. She is forever looking out for her big sister, helping and explaining and protecting.

She glories in providing assistance, as in holding up just-unwrapped clothing items so that the recipient's delight at the gift can be duly memorialized in the very moment:

An avid reader, Allissa especially enjoys sharing the card messages aloud.

There were lots of cards, to go with a an impressive number of presents. 

In fact, the number of gifts began piling up and I saw there would be nowhere to put the plates of food which had been ordered and for which our mouths were watering.

I know it's odd for a Friday night during the dinner hour at Cracker Barrel in a busy metropolitan hub a week before Christmas, but at no time during our visit was the restaurant more than half full.

Although there were diners at a table beside us, the rest of the tables in the area were empty.

So I wondered, what would be the harm in stacking Melly's presents on a bare unused table a few feet away? If there came a rush of customers and they needed to seat folks, we could quickly move them.

But no sooner had I placed a few packages on said surface and was reaching for more, and Stephanie had expressed relief that she'd have somewhere to put the large cake box, than a passing server (not ours) told me to move them.

I'll be needing that table, she said. I looked around at the sea of empty tables. I looked back at her. I didn't say a word but I thought, Seriously? This very table?

I'll be needing it, she repeated. While not precisely rude, she was far from being exactly its opposite.

She must know something I don't, I thought, envisioning a busload of tired chilly hungry revelers from Carowinds even then being emptied out at the Cracker Barrel entrance.

But no.

Throughout our three-hour stay at Cracker Barrel, this was the subject table:

In fact, at different times a single diner was seated at the tables on either side of the lonely empty table. But no one -- least of all the territorial waitress -- came near it again, during our party's party.

Melanie's presents sat in a heap on the floor until they were needed. The cupcake-cake painstakingly prepared by Stephanie and Allissa perched on a narrow ledge until serving time.

And yes; I tattled to a manager as we left. Don't judge. That's my job.

After effusing about the watchful hospitality of our server and the delightful scrumptiousness of our meal, I revealed that a grumpy employee had denied us the use of a bare postage-stamp-sized space on which to rest the birthday gifts and cake of a special-needs child.

Arrrgh. Me pirate hackles were ever-so-slightly elevated.

Melanie loved all of her gifts, but she had a real surprise this year. Because she needs it for school, her parents bought her a refurbished iPad.

If you'd seen her reaction, you would have thought the gift was one million dollars in cold hard cash, to be spent on the toys and treats of her choice.

Her shrieks upon seeing her device -- at school, up till now, she has been obliged to share the teacher's iPad -- made the exclamations she emitted upon the giant double-one balloon sighting seem like whispers.

As the pink-dress cupcakes were served and pink-and-purple fairy wands distributed to the females, Dagny briefly considered the boundless benefits of becoming a bona-fide princess.

Allissa hovered as Melanie tried out familiar games and lessons on her Internet-free electronic workbook. There was joy and there was excitement.

Aunts Audrey and Erica gave Melanie a special padded carrying-case for her iPad. Melly seemed to instinctively realize its importance in the scheme. Also, purple is her favorite color.

It was all such a blast. A cold starry night near to Christmas and bright stars in our darling Melly's eyes, and white stars glowing in warm lamplight, and delicious food. All of my family, except my son, that other cherished Andrew, within touching distance.

The best part was Melanie's happiness. I love my eldest granddaughter's smiles on her birthday. She struggles every day in ways we cannot understand, try as we might. All year I look forward to this very smile.

Melanie and her family are traveling to Pennsylvania and her other grandparents' house today, where tonight there will be a second birthday party. I can't wait to hear all about it next week when they return, and make their way here for a second Christmas.

And so it is time to prepare my final shopping list of the season. I must not forget to dig out the suntan lotion, as I'm pretty sure we'll be serving the Christmas ham and other delicacies poolside.

The forecast for Christmas Day in Columbia, South Carolina, is eighty-one degrees.

Records may be shattered.

We shall see.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday :: Happy Christmas Week

Thursday
Dec172015

God bless us, every one

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