About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I Was Into in April

Holy cow you guys - another month has already come and gone; are you kidding me?? The year of 2014 is a third of the way done and so far, as I look back I realize my year has been stuffed with goodness so far. The next few months promise to be packed with even more goodness and so I suppose so far I can count this year as one for the win column...at least at this point. Looking back on some of the things I enjoyed in April....well, that's what this post is all about!

Books I Read

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin - I didn't really intend to read this book again but once Game of Thrones started again the first week of April, I decided I wanted to read the book again to compare it to the show. I have begun to realize that I'm setting myself up for a wee bit of heartbreak because while the show is following along fairly well, it pretty much destroyed a whole character arc in the third episode. Granted, I ramble... I love these books and Martin paints such a vivid story that there is something new every time I read it. It's the fourth of what will eventually be a seven book series, so the plot is beginning to get fairly thick...and that's just how I like it; I like to be in the thick of a good book!

And yes - I spent basically the entire month of April reading this book; it's not exactly a short book.

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northrup - Does a book on tape count as "reading" a book? I discovered that my Dad had left this in my car about an hour into my seven hour drive home from the mountains and having recently seen the movie adaptation, I decided it was worth listening to as a way to pass the drive. The book was published in 1853, only a year after Solomon Northrup was freed from twelve years of bondage; it gives a recounting of how he was kidnapped and sold into slavery as well as the conditions on the numerous plantations he worked on for the twelve years until he managed to acquire his freedom. The strangest thing about this "book" was that it was written by an African-American man, but the book on CD that I listened to was read by a man that was very much Scottish...and that was.....unique.

Books in the Queue

Okay, the books in the queue are essentially the same books from the month of March because I got side-tracked by A Feast for Crows. Whoops. :) I can't promise I won't end up getting distracted reading A Dance with Dragons...because you know, when I start one series of books I feel compelled to finish it. Ha-ha! 

Grace for the Good Girl - I promise, I'll read it, soon.

The Fault in Our Stars - Which I've been tempted to buy several times recently; I might have to purchase this before heading to Colorado near the end of the month. It will be something to read on the flight.

The Next Best Thing - Yep, also still waiting to read this one. Perhaps I should read it before I buy new books? Maybe...

Can't Miss Television

Game of Thrones - It's back! It's back! And absolutely as wonderful as I remember it being, oh happy day! The battle for who will sit on the Iron Throne and rule the seven kingdoms of Westeros continued on with the fourth season on April 6th and I've been happily glued to my television set each Sunday night to watch the drama unfold. The show; while still fairly faithful to the books, is starting to diverge onto it's on path and for the most part that is exciting but there was certainly one instance (hello episode three - sigh) this season that was not exciting. The production value goes up with each subsequent season and it's so obvious in the detail of the sets, the costumes...just everything. I can't wait to see how the season continues to unfold; usually you can expect episode nine to be the "major" episode each season but it's only four episodes in and each episode has been as grand as any other episode nine in previous seasons! I also continue to absolutely love the Lannisters, which is against most popular opinion...but guys, I love Jaime and Tyrion and I love to hate Cersei and Tywin, what can I say? Plus - I look good in crimson and gold! 

Game of Thrones Cast
This (really) has nothing to do with the show - but I think the cast might have too much fun on off days...I want to be able to go to the beach in Croatia on my days off....

Reign - I absolutely am still so pleased that I decided to take a chance on this show because it just gets better and better as the season progresses; granted I think it's safe to say at this point it has diverged from history almost 100%, but I'm fine with that too. Mary did end up marrying Francis, so they are now trying to navigate the waters of marriage while running two separate countries and their sudden nuptials convinced me that I am much more a fan of Sebastian than I am of Francis, so that broke my heart a little bit. King Henry is literally losing his mind, all of Mary's ladies-in-waiting are up to nonsense (seriously, one is pregnant with Francis' illegitimate child, one was wed to Sebastian in a late night, last minute wedding that the crazed king came up with and well...I guess the other is fine, she's going to marry her spice Lord and what not) and Queen Catherine is easily one of my new favorite villains that I love to hate. I can't wait to see where this season ends and I'm already looking forward to season two!

Reign won the People's Choice Award for Best New Drama - also, Team Mash all the way...because as mentioned, I prefer Sebastian (Bash) & Mary.
Fargo - A show that I wasn't 100% sure about, but since Martin Freeman (aka Watson on Sherlock, the Hobbit of the Hobbit...) is one of the stars, I decided to check it out; everyone has certain actors that they'd watch in almost anything - Freeman is one of mine. The story follows a drifter who comes into Bemidji, Minnesota and influences the whole town; including a put-upon insurance salesman named Lester Nygaard, who goes down a dangerous path. The accents in and of themselves are hilarious to listen to...and people say Southerners have funny accents, hello Minnesota! It's only two episodes in, but I spent a Saturday morning getting thoroughly drawn in and I can't wait to see what else unfolds and just how long Lester can keep certain authorities off his trail. I honestly can't believe how intrigued I am by this show; the third episode premiered last night and I honestly can't wait to get home to see what happens next! Also, I (as of yet) have no clue why the show is called Fargo when it's set in Minnesota and Fargo is in North Dakota; the show is based off a movie from years ago...and I've never seen that, so maybe that information will come in time.

Mr. Freeman (oops, Lester...) has seen better days...

Movies I Watched

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - I was in the theater to see this one the afternoon it opened; and while that may not be going to a midnight showing, I like to think making a 1:10 showing counts for something. This movie was excellent; I can't say that enough, it ran over two hours long but I didn't feel like I'd been sitting in the theater that long at all. The story follows Steve Rogers as he struggles to integrate into a world he doesn't feel like he belongs in, the world changed a lot from WWII to now, you know and in the midst of trying to adjust to the way things are now, he's also at the beck and call of SHIELD, trying to navigate the waters of present-day romance and keeps getting attacked by the Winter Soldier...who looks suspiciously like his best friend from 70+ years ago, Bucky Barnes. The movie played out more like a spy/thriller type film than a superhero movie and was absolutely 100% enjoyable - plus, Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan...not hard to stare at. Go see it!

Excellent movie - loved it.

12 Years a Slave - Another movie that was excellent; although in a completely different way from Captain America, I rented this movie via Pay Per View and was engrossed for two hours in the story of Solomon Northrup. I have to say, having watched both this and Dallas Buyers Club, I strongly feel that Chiwetel Ejiofor was robbed at the Oscars; his performance in this movie was completely amazing - and Lupita N'yongo was 100% deserving of her Oscar. This movie was filled to the brim with brilliant performances and incredible cinematography and for the most part, I really enjoyed watching it. There were definitely a few parts of the film that were hard to watch, I don't think anyone enjoys watching someone be beaten and bloodied. I would strongly recommend this movie, even with some uncomfortable scenes because it is so well acted, well filmed and is all around, just a spectacular movie...and also remarkably similar to the book it is based on, which is also a delight.

Another excellent movie - excellent in a wholly different way from Captain America...

The Other Woman - I have been waiting for this movie to come out since I saw a preview way back in late December; it looked hilarious and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! The story follows Carly, who believes she has met the perfect man in Mark but when he has to go home to take care of important business and she tries to surprise him, she gets a surprise herself when she meets Mark's wife, Kate. The two form a friendship and along the way discover a third woman that Mark has been leading on and the three team up to take Mark down. Of course, the plans and screwball schemes the three women put into place lead to all kinds of laughter and unfortunate circumstances for Mark, who is utterly deserving of it all. A great way to pass some time on a Saturday afternoon!

As the ultimate womanizer...he just has no clue what's about to hit him...

Music I Listened To

Nothing just jumps out at me in this section, I suppose because I've been listening to a lot of the same things this month as I've listened to previously. The Game of Thrones soundtracks are certainly on a pretty steady rotation right now, as well as the occasional listen to a song by Thirty Second to Mars. As I drove to the mountains I had a one-person sing along to the Frozen soundtrack and that was pretty delightful. This month has been a lot of hitting shuffle on the iPhone and listening to what plays!

Yummy in my Tummy

Well, there is the small matter of Easter candy. So much Easter candy guys, it's really insane. I mean, there are chocolate truffles, coconut cream eggs, raspberry cream eggs, vanilla cream eggs, Cadbury cream eggs, jelly beans, sweet lemonade Peeps, birthday cake Peeps, TWO chocolate rabbits, Godiva truffle eggs, fruit flavored Tootsie rolls, Reese peanut butter eggs...do you see what I mean? I've got to take it slow or what little bit of weight I've lost will climb right back onto my hips, gut, butt...wherever. I'll be eating candy for weeks...and weeks.

Oh look - I'd say that's about twenty pounds right there. Twenty pounds of GOODNESS!
Chicken noodle soup as well, that's been really good this month too. I managed to catch some kind of late Spring cold (I guess zip-lining in the rain will do that for you) and I scarfed chicken noodle soup for something like three nights in a row. I can assure you, it obviously helped because from Monday to Thursday I made a marked improvement...although medication probably played a small part too. Sometimes a food that isn't that delicious and splendid all the time is exactly the kind of yummy that you need.

What I'm Looking Forward to in May

My wonderful parents are coming to visit for a long weekend...in just eight short days! I don't see them for almost five months and then I get lucky enough to see them twice in less than a month! I enjoy their company and I must admit, I'm looking forward to having their help and input with some projects involving my house. Plus - I get to actually spend Mother's Day with my Mom! 

Another chance to visit with these sweet peeps!
Lindsey's graduation is in May - I can't even believe it! She will be graduating and will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force; amazing! There is a whole week of festivities: parades, a show choir performance, a commissioning ceremony, a party (there's even a wedding thrown in there somewhere) and of course, the graduation itself - complete with a performance from the USAF Thunderbirds at the conclusion! I can't wait for the trip...plus, it means a whole week away from work! 

Last but not least - I am ready for all these April "showers" (and thunderstorms and lightning and strong winds and hail and tornadoes) to give way to May flowers. I know the crazy weather won't stop once May arrive but I'll be pleased when it calms down. I'm much more a fan of those quick Summer afternoon storms.

So - there you have it. All the things I've been into during the month of April! I can't wait to see what May brings: adventures for sure, hopefully some more good books to read, good things to watch, a new song or two to add to the play list and some delicious bites to eat! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Game of Thrones - Oathkeeper

Wow - what an episode! It wasn't necessarily crazy intense but so many things happened and from start to finish, it was just non-stop. I'm getting the idea that the theme this season is just that; non-stop action, the plot developing at a clipping pace, hang on  to your couch because each episode just throws even more at you. I decided to go with the pros and cons approach again this week - because I liked how that turned out last time....so, away we go!

Pro - We open on Grey Worm being taught to read/speak the common tongue of Westeros by Missandei and it's all very sweet; he's inching his hand ever closer to hers on the table but she realizes it and pulls her hand away at the last minute...

Con - You feel bad for Grey Worm because 1) that name: I know he chose it because it was the name he had the day Daenerys liberated he and the rest of his Unsullied buddies, but still. His name is Grey Worm. 2) It's hard to hit on the ladies when you're a eunuch...bless him. He's cute though. 3) Missandei asked him where he came from, before he was an Unsullied and he tells her "Once you're Unsullied, you have always been Unsullied." That's sad guys.

Pro - Daenerys comes in; it's time to put a hurting on some Meereenese!

Pro/Con - Grey Worm and several of his Unsullied pals infiltrate the city....via the sewers (that water was a disturbing shade of brown...) and join a large group of slaves that are meeting under the city. They've revolted before and it's gone badly because they have no training or weapons. Grey Worm and company provide them with weapons and....

Preach the truth Grey Worm - rally the troops. 
Pro - We cut to Daenerys walking among the liberated Meereenese slaves, all throwing their slave collars at her feet and heralding her as "Mhysa" (mother in high valyrian). Ser Barristan encourages her to answer injustice with mercy, but she utters that line we all saw a hundred times in the trailer (You didn't see the trailer a hundred times? That was just me? Oh well...) "I will answer injustice with justice"....cue the chills. She takes 163 slave masters and each one gets crucified in much the same manner as the 163 children who pointed the way to Meereen for Daenerys - but the masters point the way to something much different: Daenerys, who has moved into the top floor of the Pyramid of Meereen. Nice!

Targaryen sigil meme Game of Thrones 4x04 Oathkeeper flag Imgur
Daenerys atop the Pyramid of Meereen...that Targaryen sigil looks menacing, does it not?

Pro - Jaime is getting better at sword fighting with his left hand, but Bronn never plays fair and so he snatches off Jaime's fancy golden hand and slaps him in the face with it, effectively giving him...the upper hand. No pun intended - really. 

Pro - Bronn gets bold with Jaime and tells him that he needs to go see Tyrion; he tells him when Tyrion needed a champion back in the Vale, he wanted Jaime and only when he was told that the battle must take place that day did he choose Bronn. Bronn tells Jaime that he couldn't fight for Tyrion that day, but he could fight for him now. Which translates to: Go see your freaking brother in the dungeons!

Game of Thrones Season 4 Oathkeeper Photos Jaime
You should be ashamed Jaime - go see your brother in the dungeons!

Pro - Jaime goes to visit Tyrion and any scene with Jaime and Tyrion is a blast. They hash through the necessary question/answer period, Tyrion asks Jaime if he likes how the Kingslayer brothers sounds; that could be their new nickname - Tyrion tells Jaime that; No, he didn't kill his son and Jaime tells Tyrion that; No, he isn't visiting him on behalf of Cersei to kill him. Jaime tries to tell Tyrion that everything will be fine, there will be a trial and it will all work out - Jaime still seems delightfully ignorant of just how vindictive and hateful Cersei truly is - that will change. Tyrion asks Jaime to help him break out of the dungeons and Jaime tells him that would be treason...to which Tyrion retorts "oh yes, because I'd hate for you to do something inappropriate!"

Pro - Sansa is safe on board Littlefinger's ship; granted, that's a somewhat questionable definition of safe but she's certainly better off than she was in King's Landing. She's also slowly but surely becoming much more adept at deciphering motives and playing this game - the all important game.

Pro/Con - Littlefinger questions Sansa about incidents surrounding King Joffrey's death; she knows that Dontos would never really be allowed to play too large a part because he's a drunk and a fool....and Littlefinger would never trust a drunken fool. Point - Sansa! Once he admits he plays a part in killing Joffrey, she wonders why Littlefinger would work against the Lannisters since they've been so kind to him; to which he tells her that "a man with no motive is a man no one suspects.." He lets her know ""If they don't know who you are or what you want, they cant know what you plan to do next." And when Sansa asks him what he does want...I know the answer before he says it: everything.

Con - Littlefinger isn't short on ambition and he's got plenty of brain power; he's good at playing the game and tells Sansa that they're en route to the Vale where her Aunt Lysa lives. Petyr (that's Littlefinger's name, by the way - Petyr Baelish) is going to marry her and get himself another title...and strengthen a new alliance he made with...

Watch 'Game Of Thrones' season 4 episode 4 online at these locations. The latest episode 'Oathkeeper' will have all our favorite characters return. Find out what to expect! (Photo: HBO)
Hey Sansa...you look a lot like your Mother...did you know that? 

Pro - The Tyrells! Lady Olenna and Margaery are walking through the gardens (seriously - they are always in those gardens; Lordy, I know they're house sigil is a rose but that's about enough) and through some elaborating on her past, Lady Olenna lets Margaery know that she helped put an end to beloved King Joffrey. Margaery seems surprised and her grandmother admonishes her, asking if she really thought she'd let her granddaughter marry such an awful beast? She tells her she has to find a way to make Tommen hers; Cersei will get her claws into her younger son and Margaery must find a way to endear the boy to her first...and we'll get back to that...but first, a breakdown of the poisoning from Entertainment Weekly.

...As many of you guessed last week, the poison was hidden in one of the gems in Sansa's necklace. Littlefinger gave the necklace to Dontos, who gave it to Sansa, who wore it at the wedding. The Queen of Thorns "adjusted" it while talking to Sansa, secretly removed one stone, then presumably dropped it into Joffrey's drink while his back was turned.....

Pro - Jon Snow is training men at Castle Black; Alliser Thorne interrupts him and reminds him he's only a steward and needs to go empty a chamber pot and quit wandering around like he has any business training anyone. Thorne is cautioned by Janos Slynt to be careful; everyone seems to like Jon and while Thorne may be in charge for a time, they will end up having a choosing to elect a new Lord Commander and he surely doesn't want to be taking orders from Jon Snow for the rest of his days.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Oathkeeper Photos Jon Snow
Look out Jon - if you play your cards right, you might be the Lord Commander of the crows...

Pro - Jaime goes to see Cersei...who is maybe a goblet away from being completely drunk. She knows he's been to see Tyrion and Jaime pleads with her, telling her their little brother didn't do it. Cersei lashes out at him for this thought and further accuses him by asking why Catelyn Stark let him go - she had nothing to gain as Cersei sees it, but she freed him. Why? Jaime tells her he swore by oath that he'd return her daughters to her but that's of no matter now because Catelyn Stark is dead. Cersei wants Jaime to go now and find Sansa Stark and bring her head back...but when Jaime will not commit, she tells him to put four guards outside Tommen's room and dismisses him with "That will be all Lord Commander..." 

*Their relationship is fraying fast and that's a good thing...but I'm kind of fascinated that nothing at all was mentioned about last week. I guess it will forever be exactly what it was: a poor choice made by the directors that can't be undone. Oh well...moving on...*

Pro - Tommen is having trouble sleeping and sees that someone is coming into his room. He's terrified for a hot second until he realizes who is coming into his room...and then he's feeling a whole different kind of terror. It's Margaery! She's come to visit her soon-to-be third husband and tells him that since they will soon be man and wife, they should have some secrets that are only theirs - AKA, don't tell your Mom about this - and Tommen is so enchanted by having a full grown woman sitting on his bed that he gulps and agrees: seriously...he's all of 14, I'm fairly certain he's died and gone to heaven. Margaery pulls a fake out, going in for a kiss and then planting one on her little king's forehead before sashaying out of his room with a promise to return again. Sneaky, sneaky...

Every 14 year old boy's dream come true....right? Margaery knows how to play this game.
Pro - So much pro from this next scene, mostly because Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Gwendoline Christie just kill it. Jaime presents Brienne with three gifts and they speak volumes: the first being the Valyrian steel sword that Jaime's father game him in the premiere episode. He gives her the sword as well as custom made armor and charges her with finding Sansa Stark and getting her to safety - and this is where we see the changes that have been wrought in Jaime - he is effectively choosing Brienne and his honor over his family, and even his sister. He also tells her that since the sword he's bestowing on her was made from Ned Stark's old sword, she will be defending Ned Stark's daughter with Ned Stark's steel. The last gift? Well that would be Tyrion's squire Podrick: he needs to get out of town and she needs a squire...and y'all he is too excited to go on an adventure. I love it.

Con - Those goodbyes that are said, they are enough to make a person (not me, surely not me...) stifle back a small sob or two. The world they live in is extremely dangerous and they are both well aware; not only of the impact on one another but the fact that this may well be the last time they see each other again. It's a bit more poignant for Brienne because she knows, whether she wants to or not, that she loves Jaime - I don't think Jaime has gotten there quite yet but he knows the time he spent with her has made him a better person; she allowed him to begin to make an effort to reclaim something resembling honor. That final look from Brienne to Jaime as they ride away - well, I'm gutted.

Pro - She names the sword Oathkeeper; for the oath Jaime originally made to Catelyn Stark to return her daughters and for the oath she now makes to Jaime to find Sansa Stark and deliver her to safety. Just kill me now. *emotion*

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones S04E04: 'Oathkeeper'
And to you, my bestest friend...I give this fancy sword. 
Con - Because Game of Thrones likes to jolt you around, we jump from heroics and heraldry to Craster's Keep; which if you don't remember is the fortress north of the Wall where Craster lived with all his daughter-wives and sacrificed his baby boys to the White Walkers. It was already a delightful place, but now that Craster has been murdered and the keep has been overtaken by Karl and his band of Night's Watch deserters, it's just downright horrific. Karl is drinking wine out of the very deceased Lord Commander Mormont's skull (ick...so much ick) while his buddies gorge themselves on wine, food...and well, women. It's depressing and unsettling and I would be fine if we never went back to Craster's Keep.

Con - One of the daughter-wives comes in with a new baby boy; the last of Craster's children. All the women start mumbling that the baby should be "given to the Gods" and so Karl tells one of the other men to take the baby out into the woods and leave him for the Walkers. Poor baby...

Pro - We come up on Bran, Hodor, Jojen and Meera in the snowy woods and they can hear that baby crying! Bran wargs into his wolf, Summer and goes to inspect but gets caught in a trap! The four of them move in closer to see what is going on at Craster's Keep (although I guess it's technically Karl's Keep now) and promptly get captured! (Okay, that isn't necessarily a pro.)

Con - Why do they chain Hodor up? Why do they poke him with a spear? That's mean...

GoT S4E4
He only looks comfy by the fire...

Con - Jojen goes into one of his shaking/seeing fits and before they will let Meera go to help him, Bran has to admit to them that he's Brandon Stark of Winterfell and suddenly they've got themselves a nice hostage situation. 

Pro - They don't know that Jon Snow and a band of his Night's Watch brothers are on the way to the Keep to end the mutiny and rescue the women from the likes of Karl and his band of rapist pals. 

*This brings about an interesting development because Jon Snow and Bran do NOT see one another north of the Wall in the book, so I'm interested to see how this plays out in coming weeks. I'm of the mind that most people share - while I'd love a little Stark/Snow reunion, the book reader in me is squealing "that's breaking the rules!" But shoot...they've basically shot the rules to hell at this point.*

Not even a week old & you're already recruited to an army of undead frozen people...sigh...

Con - That sweet baby boy that was left in the forest for the White Walkers has been collected by a White Walker on a large, very dead horse. He takes the baby through the woods, across the tundra and lays him on what appears to be some kind of altar. A White Walker that seems to be some kind of king (don't get me started on this...apparently they dropped a big ol spoiler here...one not even book readers know about) picks up the baby and lays one cold finger on the baby's cheek - and the babies' eyes turn a crystalline blue. Presto! Baby Wight! 

And that was where the episode ended - with a new baby Wight and then we fade to black. I was certainly intrigued and a bit bamboozled by this development since White Walkers and their minions, Wights are used so sparsely in the books...even five books into the series. This is a pretty big indication that they've got a larger role to play and if George doesn't get off his butt and start writing, the show will begin to outpace the books. I'm intrigued to see if we get more scenes like that over the next six episodes of the season.

I leave you with this picture - because it cracks me up and completely describes my favorite relationship on the show; the one between Jaime and Brienne. Until next week - Tyrion wouldn't want you to do anything inappropriate! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

As Previously Mentioned, I Have Issues with Titles....

Another week has sped on by...and before the next week has finished, we will be into another month but I don't suppose I need to elaborate on how quickly the days and weeks pass, I feel certain almost everyone understands and echoes my sentiments. A look back at the week that sped by so quickly, before another one is upon me and gone before I know it!

My Monday started in a completely different place - in Tennessee! I look like I'm on medication in this picture...but I wasn't...yet...

My choice of pancakes: Banana Pineapple Triumph; banana spears rolled in thin pancakes, topped with pineapple syrup, powdered sugar & whipped cream. I tried so hard to eat every last bite.
Monday started in the mountains and we kept with tradition and had breakfast at the Pancake Pantry; whenever we are in the mountains we have to end our vacations with a breakfast there. I'm trying to work my way around the menu to all the different varieties they have and I'm making good progress! After breakfast, we had some final hugs and then I parted ways with my parents for the long drive home - it wasn't so bad but I'd woken up not feeling too well and by the time I was about two hours from home, I was feeling terrible: groggy, achy and just downright miserable, I couldn't swallow without my throat feeling like it was on fire. The drive was made a wee bit more manageable thanks to some Halls I'd found in my purse and the discovery of the book 12 Years A Slave on CD about an hour into my drive. I rolled into my driveway at about 5:45 and unpacked as quickly as I could before dropping on the couch to watch Game of Thrones while feeling a bit like I was dying. Yikes!

Watson inspects his goodies from the Easter Beagle.

Two bags of delicious treats and a new collar - such a lucky little pup!

The sun trying to fight it's way through the clouds on the Tuesday morning drive to work.

Chicken noodle soup - for the win! So delicious and comforting!
I thought on Monday night that I was really getting very sick - the combination of a cold setting in combined with aches and pains from hiking five miles and zip-lining had me worried I might very well be getting the flu; on Monday night from about 6 to 8, I really felt absolutely awful: shaky, everything hurt, I had no appetite and my head was just a foggy, achy, miserable mess. Thankfully some medicine, a warm bath, some chicken noodle soup and a good night's sleep helped immensely and I felt some better on Tuesday. I bought real medicine on the way home Tuesday evening, as well as some real deal chicken noodle soup (all I could find on Monday night was Ramen) and by Wednesday, I was really beginning to feel a change come over me!

Taking a treat break - not on his treat rug like he's supposed to...but on my actual, nice rug! Rotten puppy.

Looking handsome in his new collar on Wednesday morning!

Leftover mountain goodness that I nibbled on throughout the week - I love taffy!

Leftover cake from Administrative Professionals Day - cake makes any day better, especially a Thursday afternoon.
I don't know why, but when my alarm went off on Friday morning I was just convinced it was really Saturday and I'd made a mistake. When I realized it wasn't, I had to lay in the bed and have a come to Jesus meeting with myself because I really did not want to get up. It was a tough realization to be sure. Friday followed suite with the way the morning started; the day was bad by no means, but I have never had a day drag on so long as Friday seemed to. It was nuts! When 5 o'clock finally rolled around I scooted over to Best Buy to get myself a new cell phone - my contract was set to renew and I knew exactly what I wanted: a bright green iPhone 5C with a pretty blue case! I thought I'd be spending around $49 on the phone because that was what I'd saw advertised on the website but to my surprise, when I traded in my old iPhone 4S, they gave me $40 for it and when the purchase was all said and done, a phone that rang up at $699.99 to start with was only about $5! I ended up getting my brand spanking new phone, a case for the phone and a car charger all for what I thought I'd pay for the phone on it's own! I was one very pleased girl, to be sure.

A slow and easy Saturday morning, sipping coffee and watching Fargo.

The abundant & brilliant wildflowers lining the highways on the way into town on Saturday afternoon!
I spent my Saturday morning sipping coffee and watching Fargo, a show I'd started recording two weeks ago and finally had the time to sit down and watch: of course, I'm hooked but I'll have more on that in a later post. I met my friends Melissa and Jordan at the movies around 1:30 to see The Other Woman, which was an excellent movie if you need a few laughs...plus, the man candy in it isn't hard to look at either, ha-ha! When the movie ended, I sped back to Collinsville to see my "little sister" McKenna off to prom...it makes me feel really, really old to know she's going to prom. Where have the years gone?? I watched a little TV until around 6:45 when David showed up and we went back into the big town of Collinsville to get supper at the Mexican restaurant; I don't know what he ordered but it was hot like a firecracker and I spent most of my meal watching him gasp and guzzle water - which was fairly hilarious. We watched some TV and talked and I think I've managed to sufficiently pique his interest in Sherlock (yes - victory!)...so the night was a win.

Stop growing up! Also, when did you decide you needed to be so much taller than me??

Sunday morning - it was torrential downpours, thunder, lightning...the works. Sheesh!

Rain splattered leaves....

And just like that...a mere three or four hours later, it was all gone.
So, a fairly slow week and as always, a weekend that feels like it flew by absolutely way too fast. That's always the case though, isn't it? I guess that's all for now though; I'm going to go read a book and get some sleep...because apparently the world is going to blow away tomorrow afternoon. Don't you love Spring weather? Me too....

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mountain Madness 2014: Walking Through Fields & Forests...

The last (full) day of the Easter mountain weekend - delightful! Also, ten points to anyone who can tell me where I got the title for this post from! Just kidding, I'm pretty sure no one will have any clue where that came from...and that's fine. Ha-ha! Easter 2014 was spent in the best way possible - in nature!

Look at my delightful Easter "basket" - I love it! 

Stuffed to the brim; the Easter bunny is always so good to both me & my little sis!
We slept in on Sunday, which is always perfectly glorious and of course then I had a splendidly stuffed Easter basket to open! I'm fairly certain I'll be eating Easter candy for at least another month due to all of the chocolate, jelly beans and other goodies that were mixed in with my non-edible things! After a quick jaunt through Kroger to buy picnic supplies, we made a quick stop at the Alpine Coaster so Jeffrey and Ginger could take a quick spin down the mountain before heading into Cade's Cove for the day. Since they are more thrill seeking than I, I just let them cruise down the mountain on the coasters; I'd already conquered my fear of heights and that was enough for one weekend.

Aren't they so sweet? I have the most delightful parents.

She just was tall enough to ride on her own - what a hoot!

Ready to be pulled up the mountain so they could zip back down!

I think I captured a pretty magical shot - an Easter miracle if you will...

On the floor of the church - so pretty.

I guess our picnic lunch wore Mom out...& Dad's grin is the best, ha-ha!

The hills are alive...oh wait, that's somewhere else...right?

Taking a break against a tree - good resting spots were readily available all along the 2.5 miles of trail.

I promise, we hiked a lot - but the best time for pictures was when you stopped to sit.

It was SO warm on Sunday; I am not even joking when I say I wanted to jump in Abrams Creek.

Abrams Creek!

At the apex of the trail, about 1.25 miles in, we crested the "top" of the ridge & could see into the valley below.

This was the first time in all my hikes in the Smokies that when I heard a rustle in the brush, it was a SNAKE. Gross.

Abrams Falls! Totally worth the 5 mile roundtrip hike!

A nice woman took my picture for me since I was the only one of us to venture so close to the falls...

"Family" photo...just missing one Beast!

Retreating back into the forest and away from the falls...
Once we made it back to the car (hallelujah for water) and finished the drive through Cade's Cove, we stopped and got some absolutely delicious ice cream at the Camp Store before heading back to the resort to change. We had supper at the Apple Barn, which is one of our favorite places to eat in the Smokies and ended the night with a light round of golf...goofy golf that is. I played well but there was no beating "Deuces"; my Dad seemed to make every hole in just 2 shots! He also got a hole in one but fear not, I made sure to get myself a hole in one as well - on the very last hole! Sadly, my Mom's usually fine golf form was absent on Sunday night but we all had a good time.

One of the surest signs that you are to have some delicious food!

Deuces shows off his fine form - that's game winning form I'll have you know!

Ginger has good form too - although it didn't seem to help too much with this outing.

The face of determination...concentration...

The sky turned almost cotton candy pink as the sun set - it was gorgeous!

Doing the hole in one dance - way to go!

You had to hit the ball & whichever lane it went down, that was what you scored. Mine headed towards lane 3...but veered and hello, hole in one! 

We thought this was dirt but once we realized it wouldn't wash off, we ascertained it was from zip-lining...harder than it looks!

Well - that was pretty much the end of all things. We chatted some back at the room once we'd all gotten packed up...oh, well, I guess I could tell the story of the disastrous bath that I tried to take on Sunday night. I had big plans to take a nice warm bath in the hot tub in my room because between the zip-lining and the hiking five miles, I was feeling a little ragged. I filled up the tub and got in, pushing the button to turn on the jets...which immediately shot out ice cold water! I jerked upwards to cut them off and in the process hit the button that cuts on the the shower with my foot...which caused cold water to start raining down on me. I managed to hastily slap that off and looked around the bathroom to see that the floor was covered in water and I was in a state after all that jerking around...so I just gave up, washed up, drained the tub and went on about my business. *Sigh* The best laid plans and all that...

We ate at Pancake Pantry on Monday morning but I'll touch on that in my weekly wrap up post, so for now...that's all she wrote. Here endeth the posts on the weekend vacation!