Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Bournes Pond, which is directly behind the house where I am currently staying, is a spring gathering place for swans. Right now there are about fifty swans hanging out there. I am told that the numbers get as high as 100. I've never lived where so many were to be seen - in my experience a pair might be purchased as a decorative item, or a single swan or pair may have stopped at a local pond for a week or two. One thing that has really caught my eye is that swans spend as much time upside down with their butts sticking up as ducks - quite amusing! It undermines the regal appearance I am used to expecting from swans, but in the nicest possible way.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
We have come to appreciate the quality of Lodge cast iron cookware, but I had not had the opportunity to see their enameled line - it's good looking and very well priced. We did pick up some carrier bags, stands and cookbooks for Shana's existing collection of campfire ovens but were able to resist the other offerings. I must confess I nearly purchased a couple of small fry pans, and may yet order them.
The Smoky Mountain Knife Works was a good stop - such beautiful pocket knives, and a full line of every kind of knife you can imagine. I don't think I've ever seen so many knives in my life. Shana picked up the quality paring knife she's been wanting, and I got a butter bell which will solve the ongoing disagreement over whether or not butter belongs in the fridge or on the counter.
At Cabela's I had been hoping to check out the Mountain Man hat they used to sell that looked like a coyote hanging from your head, but settled for a spicy bowl of white chicken chili. Their deli featured sausages from a variety of game animals. In addition to the stuffed deer I had expected to see they featured musk oxen, a bear, and several Moose.
I was very pleased that we were staying next door to Ikea - I'd enjoyed browsing their website but had never been to one of their stores. We got a lot of ideas for decorating the cottage we hope to have in the future, but the store has so much in every category it was overwhelming.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
After a fortifying breakfast at the Waffle House we pressed on for Memphis and Graceland. The combination of listening to a podcast about Scooby Doo and my notoriously bad sense of direction, even with the assistance of Google Maps GPS led to our turning around a few times before we got our bearings and arrived at Graceland.
From the moment you enter the grounds you hear an uninterrupted stream of Elvis Presley music, some of it accompanied by videos of the singer strategically displayed about "The Plaza". The ticket counters are in a large attractive building, and there are probably half a dozen stores and another half dozen Elvis themed cafes among the attractions in the area to keep fans busy before and after their tours. There is probably no conceivable item of clothing not sold with the image or signature of The King in the shops. Shuttle buses drive across the street to the mansion at frequent intervals, and the Faithful take self guided tours with special headphones.
I was disappointed that I was not allowed to walk onto the house grounds where there are garden to enjoy. The Plaza area had no landscaping at all except for a (very) few of the most care-free and minimal shrubs and ground covers. There really isn't anything to see or do if you don't buy a tour (starting at about $30.00). You still have to pay for parking even if you don't take a tour. Shana was very satisfied with her tour. She saw what she wanted to see, and because of the self guided aspect she was able to linger a little longer over her favorite parts. She purchased a few official items at the shops and was pleased with her day.
She was even more pleased after we checked into our hotel. The lobby is all Elvis, the pool is guitar shaped, every time you step outside you are serenaded with Elvis music, and the pool is guitar shaped. We have Elvis overlooking our bed (really nice room)
Sunday, March 20, 2011
It's been fun, in a condensed and crazy sort of way. We've had house guests, and every sort of meal possible. We've even got someone coming by tomorrow morning before the truck comes to give us a travel "care package". We're hoping to add some of the cafes and barbecue joints featured on the Food Channel to our road trip. By the time we arrive at our destination we may not want another restaurant meal or treat for six months.
I'm hoping we have enough available WiFi on our trip to get a post up with some pictures most days, but if I don't I will get my pictures up as soon as we get settled on the Cape. I expect the trip to be very scenic and enjoyable, so we are planning to take our time.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I'm watching the nuclear story in Japan with fascination and dread, knowing that like all things having to do with nuclear power plants we are not being told the truth and that the full truth will not be known for many years because of the time it takes for some injuries to manifest. I've been undecided about nuclear power plants. I can see the value, but questions of design and safety are not openly addressed. Like so many things, questions of profitability make obfuscation the default.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
This means that my Man Cave furnishings now consist of a few boxes and this attractive office setup. Seating is strictly floor level. This does make it easier to cut down on the online games!
I had Suitcase Rehearsal this morning to see what might actually fit in the car and we each know how many items we can each bring. Shana's not sure that she needs to have a tote bag, and I don't know how I will choose only one. Typical. I had a temporary freak out moment when I could not find either of my cameras. I finally found one, and since it is the one I want for the drive to Massachusetts I'm less worried about the other, I think it's in my giant tote bag with my batteries, tarot cards, and other assorted urgently needed junk.
Monday, March 07, 2011
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Due to a technical problem we were not able to include a video collection of old photos in the actual service, but James stepped in to solve the problem and we were able to watch it later. I think that was actually better because by the time we saw the video everyone had been visiting and relaxing and the video closed the evening with shared memories and laughter while viewing pictures many of us had not seen for a long time.
The evening was a comforting affirmation of family and the kind of celebration of life that is often wished for but sometimes difficult to achieve.
As usual I took a lot of pictures for people to enjoy later. Some people were happier about this than others. The Unknown Cousin was one of those less pleased with my efforts!
Thursday, March 03, 2011
My house is currently in a state of uproar, which makes Roxy uneasy and given to bad behavior (I know, unbelievable). For several week I've had a small stack of handwritten recipes sitting in easy dog reach on a box in the corner of my "man cave" which I intended to put into that box. Yesterday I moved the box into the staging area where sealed boxes are collected and moved the recipes into the empty bookcase where I am putting odd things which need to be considered or packed. Then I went out for dinner. This is the result. I'd kill her, but then she'd just haunt me.