Friday, November 23, 2012

All Used Up

It seems that I've used my quota of free space from blogger.  And I'm disinclined to purchase more.  So I'll go dark for a while until I decide whether to upgrade or to use another service.

Meanwhile I will continue to read and enjoy your posts.  And I'll let you know when I decide what I want to do.

Our quote for the week comes from Maya Angelou:

"My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept their love in return."

And just a little reminder:  thirty-eight days remain in 2012!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Greatest Virtue

And so the meal is planned and once again we get ready for Thanksgiving Day.  It is one of my favorite holidays.  When I was working, it gave me a long weekend.  That alone was reason to give thanks.

Every year we bring out our tacky turkey to sit upon his throne.
(It's in the eye of the beholder.)

And the First Lady of Pie carries her pie
with the turkey under her arm.

As Cicero said:
"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all our other virtues."

So let us all make our hearts thankful for all the blessings we enjoy.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Fridays Are Golden

Our Ellie follows the rules.  Most of the time.  There is one rule that she simply cannot abide.  You see, she is addicted to tennis balls.  In the den she loves to chase them.  And they are supposed to stay in the den.  But most of all she loves to carry them around.  So several times a day, she will go downstairs and come back up with a tennis ball or two.

She loves to chase them in the den and will constantly beg for you to toss them for her.  But she does not ever want to play with them upstairs.  She just wants to carry them, or lay them in her bed.

Maybe if I don't look at her she won't notice.

But, Mom...I can't help myself.

I love these tennis balls.

Sometimes we immediately toss the balls back downstairs.  Other times Lucy grabs one and trots downstairs  with it.  And since there really is no harm, we sometimes just leave them alone until one of us accidentally kicks one we didn't see, sending it flying across the room.

A typical sight.  Ellie was resting on the bed with her tennis balls.
Lucy decides to share the bed.
This is Lucy's idea of "sharing."

And so we find ourselves in mid-November!  The sun sets far to early in the evening.  Our Thanksgiving Day is this coming Thursday.  As we gather around the table this year, our thoughts will remain with those still suffering.  And we will be even more grateful for our blessings.

Many people are discontented right now.  So many things trouble us and we become frustrated with events over which we have no control.  It is appropriate that we reflect on the words of Marcus Aurelius:

"You have power over your mind---not outside events.  Realize this, and you will find strength."


Monday, November 12, 2012

More From the Top of the Mansion

No matter how often we visit the Biltmore Estate, we always find some details we had not noticed before.  Even places normally hidden from sight contain amazing artwork.

This view of a top-floor wall is not visible from the front of the house,
yet the detailed artwork is just as carefully done.

Most of the statuary include animals with long tails.

This one, however, has a butt crack.
Another bit of proof that the artists had a sense of humor.

Amazing relief containing components from the Coat of Arms of both George Vanderbilt and his wife.

Animal figures are everywhere.

The bronze plaques in detail.
From the ground the details are hardly detectable.

We always stop in the garden, this time to see the mums.

The Christmas at Biltmore decorations are in place and the estate is in full swing for another round of tourists.  We will select a day in mid-week to avoid a bit of the crowds.  And while passholders were encouraged to visit before Thanksgiving, I say "no thanks."  I refuse to relinquish a single day of Thanksgiving to rush the Christmas season.  Time passes fast enough, thank you very much.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fridays Are Golden

Remember the old television show, "That Was The Week That Was"?  The theme song keeps running through my head..."That was the week that was; it's over...let it go."

The week began with non-stop election predictions, rants and raves.  Our phone "blipped" constantly to alert us of callers whom we had blocked trying to reach us again and again to request our votes or to ask us to respond to surveys.  The mute button on the television was in constant use as we avoided the political advertisements.  We anticipated and feared the election results, sitting on the edges of our seats for quite a while on Tuesday night.  Thank goodness we are retired and didn't have to go to work Wednesday morning.

The week brought us miserable weather.  Our temperatures were thirty degrees below our normal highs.  The days were gray, misty and foggy.

And now the election is over and we no longer have to hate the ringing of our own telephone.  I even changed the ring tones so I could forget the nuisance calls.  And the weather is sunny and bright, with temperatures around normal for us.

The Golden Girls don't seem to mind the gray days as long as it doesn't rain.  But they do love the sunshine and seek out sunny spots to snooze during the day.

Ellie soaks up the sun.

Lucy is in full sun with Ellie's tennis ball at her side.

Inevitably they will share a bed.

And just as inevitably Lucy will find a soft pillow.

The  quote for the week is from my favorite First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt:

"I think if the people of this country can be reached with the truth, their judgment will be in favor of the many, as against the privileged few."

Our thoughts remain with those in harm's way.  It seems so unfair for those already suffering to have to face cold and snow and more power outages.  Please do whatever you can to help them.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The People Have Spoken

"Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be."
Sydney J. Harris

Our election is over.  Time for all of us to come together again.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fridays Are Golden

We have had blustery days this week with temperatures far below normal for us.  But we have had bright sunshine and at our elevation we had no snow.
We try taking the dogs to different places at least once every week so they can run free.  This visit was to the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest.  As we expected, there was not another person around that day so we broke the law and let the girls off leash.

Our dogs do not jump much.
Ellie was a bit intimidated about jumping over this small log.

Of course, Lucy was delighted to jump.  Several times she ran back and forth to jump the log.

They especially loved the thick bed of leaves and ran and ran.

Finally, they chose to lie down in a grassy area and take a breather.

Ellie followed Lucy's example and decided that she also loved to jump the log.
The two of them looked like children jumping over and over.

We've never had a dog that smiled quite more broadly than Lucy does.

We have watched in horror the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy.  We have cried with those who lost so much and marveled at those who have shown so much courage.  Our thoughts remain with them in days to come.  So many will have very long struggles to overcome this terrible tragedy.

With only a few days left before Election Day we realize how precious our government is, no matter how often we disagree with some of the policies made.  It is our responsibility to elect candidates who share our beliefs and who will lead our country with honor and compassion for the welfare of all citizens.

There are two quotes for this Friday.  The first is from John Quincy Adams who said:

Always vote for principle though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

And from one of my heroes, Barbara Jordan:

A government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation.

And if you have been feeling stressed and think time is passing too fast, I leave you with this frightening fact:
Only fifty-nine days remain in the year 2012.