Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's National Cat Day

In honor of this felinetastically day, here are some photos of the special cats in my life:

The good thing about them is that they not only like me but like each other too.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Small Town Letdown...Part II


I met up with Mom in the parking area for the festival and the first thing out of her mouth was, "I can't wait to get a roasted corn and one of those potato thingys."

(Like mother, like daughter; great minds think alike.)

"I know exactly what you mean," I said. "Let's go!"

I knew exactly where to go. The vendor that offers the roasted corn and ribbon-fried potatoes always sets up in the same place. You have to walk across the bridge, round the curve and head to the other side of the music shed. You could always tell you were getting close by looking for the line of people. We walked directly to where they had always set up but found nothing.

No roasted corn.

No ribbon-fried potatoes.

No chicken-on-a-stick and nowhere even to purchase a funnel cake if we had wanted one.

"Maybe, we missed it," Mom said.

"Maybe," I said. We retraced our steps but didn't find the roasted corn vendor. "At least the Boy Scouts are here," I said motioning to an area covered up with small fires and heavy cast iron pots.

"I think the Fire Department was selling hotdogs," Mom said.

"I see a sign for BBQ over there," I said. "I'll meet you at the picnic tables."

"Okay," she said.

We shared a table with a few other festival goers and weren't the only ones that were disappointed about the absence of the roasted corn guys. "That's the main reason I come to these festivals is to eat," said one lady.

"Me too!" I replied. "Make sure you get the cobbler from the Boy Scouts over there," I said pointing to them. "It's awesome!"

"Okay," they said as they walked away.

Mom and I decided that it was time to go so we headed over to the Boy Scout tent. "What flavor are you going to get?" I asked Mom. "Apple or peach?"

"Both!" she said.

"Me too!" We placed our orders with the young scout and watched him go about the task of removing the lids and spooning out the cobblers. "I'm glad you guys were here," I said to a lady supervising the scouts. "I always get a roasted corn and ribbon-fried potato."

"I know," she said. "I was disappointed, too. I heard they set up at one of the bigger festivals. But, hey, at least you got your cobbler, right?"

"Right!" we said in unison.

A small town letdown, maybe; but a day spent with Mom: Priceless!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Small Town Letdown...Part I

During the month of October, every small town in the North Georgia Mountains has some kind of festival during the weekend. Along Highway 575 which becomes Highway 515 and then turns to Highway 2 and then Highway 76 you'll find several of these small festivals.

 Jasper kicks the month off with the Marble Festival. In an area not much bigger than a football field, festival goers are herded through a small gate and must pay a $5 entrance fee. In addition, another fee (if you want to park close) is charged for parking. I know local groups use this as an opportunity to make money for their programs but the smallness and intimacy of the festival can sometimes lead visitors feeling a bit disappointed and under-whelmed. "Was that it?" I heard on more than one occasion. Or "I feel like I paid to shop and eat," has also been tossed around.

The next two weekends of the month feature the Apple Festival in Ellijay. It, too, has an area that you have to pay to access but it is much bigger than the festival in Jasper. They also have areas throughout the town that offer visitors a chance to wander around without paying an entrance fee.

Another festival in North Georgia is Gold Rush Days held in Dahlonega. A lot of people don't know this but Dahlonega was home to the first gold rush in the United States. It's also home to one of my Alma maters, North Georgia College, or as it is now known, The University of North Georgia. (I'm not sure why but the Administration of the college has changed the name of the school several times. It was North Georgia College, then North Georgia College and State University and now the University of North Georgia.) Gold Rush is a very large festival and they shout down the main road that runs through town so there is plenty of room to accommodate the crowds.

Farther up into the mountains you'll find the Moonshine Festival and the Sorghum Festival in the towns of Dawsonville and Blairsville. There's always something to look at, music to listen to and of course, food to eat.

Over the years, I have tried many different types of fair food but I always come back to the same two things:  deep-fried ribbon potatoes and roasted corn. I like the chicken-on-a-stick, too and sometimes go for a corn dog. Funnel cake doesn't really excite me but the peach cobbler that the local Boy Scouts cook in Dutch ovens over a campfire make me squeal with delight.

I've been to all of these festivals, and I'll have to admit that the main reason I go is to eat. I've learned that I don't have to go to the large festivals that charge an entry fee, I can go to the small festival right up the road in Talking Rock. The festival is called Heritage Days and takes place the third weekend of October every year. Talking Rock is a very small-town, about 60 people and a few antique shops; a Post Office and convenience store are located up near Highway 515. They have a small creek that runs through town and a very nice park.

The festival is small, has the prerequisite things for people to look at and music to listen to and has just the right amount of my favorite food vendors.


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Trip Of A Lifetime...This Time, I'm Going

Several months ago Mom and I were working on a project at her house. "I think I'm going to take another cruise at Christmas this year," she said.

"You are. You're not going to be gone on Thanksgiving this year, are you?" I asked.

"Nope. It leaves the day after Thanksgiving this time."

"Is it the same trip"?

"Nope. It's on a different river. It's on the Danube River and leaves from Nuremberg, Germany. You know that's where they had the Nazi trials after WWII. After that we float for ten days and end up in Vienna, Austria. We're going to be stopping and checking out all of the Christmas markets. It's another one of those trips of a lifetime you tease me about. You wanna go?"


"On the riverboat ride?"

"With you?"


"You've never asked me before," I said. "I've always wanted to go somewhere for Christmas..."

"I thought it would be fun if one of you kids went. We had a blast when we went to Vegas."

I was silent for a minute because I knew there was a huge white elephant in the room. "I don't know," I said.

"Why not? Money?" she asked.

"No," I said quietly. "I don't know if I'll be able to fit into the seat."

"Well, you been saying you need to lose that weight. What better way to find motivation then taking a trip of a lifetime with your mom. I never got to do that with my mom, you know?"

"I'll think about it," I said. After a few weeks and many conversations with all of the different personalities that I carry  around with me at any given time (You know: doubt, fear, self-loathing, more doubt...etc), I had made a decision. I went over to Mom's house and announced my decision, "I've decided to go with you. You were right, What  better way to get myself motivated and get this weight off than to go on a trip with you."

So, this was back in May, I wanted to write this post sooner but decided it wasn't time. Our trip is only six weeks away or so and I've lost close to 50 pounds. The biggest change in my life is that I have started walking 30 minutes every day along with eating better.

I'm so excited. I can hardly stand myself.

Yep, my mom is going on another trip of a lifetime, and this time, I'm going, too!


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