It’s Spring. And I’m starting to feel alive again.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the depression that ails certain people when the depths of winter befalls us. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or more appropriately termed, SAD. A few years ago I started tracking when my own symptoms start and stop. Turns out I meet pretty much every criteria for the diagnosis of SAD. Some day I hope to relocate to a place where the sun warms it year-round. I need sunlight. And heat.
Summer makes me happy.
It’s just easy. Less clothing, less laundry. No clunky coats to hunt down and keep track of. Shoes don’t hurt my feet anymore because I’m wearing flip-flops, which I’d wear year-round if I could. No more getting up ½ hour earlier to pre-crank and de-ice my car. Oh and if your car is anything like mine, the doors often freeze shut so I have to play ice-melt detective before I’m able to even climb in and crank it. Once-barren tree limbs look stunning with their brand-spanking-new green growth. It seems every piece of our surroundings breathes new life.
We’ll see our neighbors again for cookouts and socializing. Before long our pool will be open and weekends will be full of love, laughter and longer days… the songs of frogs and insects will ring late into the sultry hot nights. Fresh avocados, strawberries and tomatoes will be abundant for outdoor enjoyment. And the colors, the colors, the beautiful colors.
Heat. Pure bliss. It’s coming. Wait for it.
Old mama bear is waking up from her long winter’s hibernation. And the weather outside… well, it’s just perfect.
As a kid, I always remember hearing the term “stick out like a sore thumb”. It’s probably a southern saying. I truly believe that tidbit of terminology somehow got permanently embedded in my brain.
I’ve never dealt well with being the center of attention. Even my color choices in attire reflect this – the vast majority of my closet consists of grays, blacks and basic earth tones (with the exception of my beloved Bob Marley shirt). A huge part of my comfort zone has always been to ‘blend’. Years ago when my ex-husband and daughter threw me a surprise birthday party, I felt both embarrassed and awkward that those people were there solely for me. It’s pretty difficult to blend in that type of situation.
Soon I will experience another first in my life – trying on wedding dresses for the first time. It seems funny to me that at my age, I’ve never experienced this.
I’m for sure starting to feel the pressure of planning a wedding and the attention that comes along with it. The associate at the bridal gown store told me over the phone “This night will be all about you!”, to which my stomach immediately tightened upon hearing. I don’t like hearing something, anything, will be all about me. Is this weird?
Now I find myself questioning my own judgement of having a full-blown wedding. Don’t get me wrong – I’m super excited, I just wish there was a way to pass the attention factor on to someone else. I’m gonna have to find a way to suck it up for a day and put this weird-ass feeling aside. Pardon my language, but I simply cannot find a more descriptive word for this mentality of mine.
Just plain weird-ass.
Speaking of, have I mentioned we’re hiring police security for our wedding? A whole ‘nother blog…
Last weekend we took a day-trip back up to the town of Blowing Rock, NC. With the majestic Blue Ridge Mountain scenic views, the town shops and our favorite barbecue restaurant, it tops our list of favorites. We had never actually been on the Blowing Rock, so we paid admission to see what it was all about.
I admired this little bird who chose to sit atop the Blowing Rock.
This little girl beside me looked lonely. 🙂
I’ve always loved a good legend. Something about them always connects me back to my childhood, where things could instantly turn magical and mystical. This, to me, is one of those tales that takes me back to that time.
It is said that a Chickasaw chieftan, fearful of a white man’s admiration for his lovely daughter, journeyed far from the plains to bring her to The Blowing Rock and the care of a squaw mother. One day the maiden, daydreaming on the craggy cliff, spied a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness far below and playfully shot an arrow in his direction. The flirtation worked because soon he appeared before her wigwam, courted her with songs of his land and they became lovers, wandering the pathless woodlands and along the crystal streams.
One day a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the maiden to The Blowing Rock. To him it was a sign of trouble commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. With the maiden’s entreaties not to leave her, the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leaped from The Rock into the wilderness far below. The grief-stricken maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until one evening with a reddening sky, a gust of wind blew her lover back onto The Rock and into her arms. From that day a perpetual wind has blown up onto The Rock from the valley below. For people of other days, at least, this was explanation enough for The Blowing Rock’s mysterious winds causing even the snow to fall upside down.
I’ve got my own handsome Cherokee brave. 🙂
This field is located about a mile down from the house. Being that I took the picture about 3 weeks ago, unfortunately the poor flowers have now either passed their prime or are severely drought-stricken. The picture was inspiration for my ever-amateurish little poem, which I write very few of.
Sunflower Fields Forever
Tucked away from all the hype
and bustle of the town
there lies a field where there are only
Long necks stretch up ever-taught
Their heads gaze oh so high
In their attempt to say ‘hello there’
way up to the sky.
Simple, timeless is their beauty
of vibrancy and hue
Unknowingly an artists’ vision
Of canvas dreams come true.
They have one wish – to kiss the sun
This kiss shall set them free
It is, dear flower, after all
Where you’re supposed to be.
It’s not the first time we have met
In dreams I’ve seen you here
Soon in this field you’ll rest your heads
‘Til next you reappear.
~Life of Bon, 2011
As much as I’ve been up and around the area, I’ve never been to the very top of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Positioned 5,946 feet up in the clouds, it’s height is impressive even when compared to that of Mt. Mitchell which stands at 6,684 feet – the highest peak in the eastern United States. Grandfather Mountain is definitely the highest point I’ve ever been in my life, and likely ever will be again. It’s surely high enough for me.
As we drove on past our favorite little town of Blowing Rock, NC we decided to visit the top of this infamous mountain. I learned a good bit about it, including the fact that Grandfather has more plant diversity contained in it’s area than in all of Europe. It’s landscaping and inhabitants are largely protected, which is always great to see. The admission fee included entrance to everything except the highland games. Nature museum, gift shop and restaurant, animal habitats, many impressive cliff points, walking trails, and never to be last – the mile-high swinging bridge.
I’ve worked feverishly for years to try and rid myself of this dreaded fear of heights, also known as Acrophobia. Countless trips to mountains, numerous rides on the Intimidator coaster (tallest and fastest in the Southeast), a couple of paragliding adventures over the Atlantic… but nothing could have prepared me for the entirely
helpless panicked feeling of being out on that bridge.
I wanted to be able to snap a pic or two out on there, but I had to keep
walking moving. My legs felt like jelly, I was shaking uncontrollably, and my chest felt as though I had entered into cardiac arrest. I couldn’t disappoint Keith, I knew how badly he wanted to walk it – but I simply cannot explain how terrified I was.
To say the drive up to the highest point/swinging bridge was treacherous was an understatement. Several complete u-turn points paved the way up the last several hundred feet, with nothing but sheer drop-off below. Each car literally had to stop and think first about what they were doing. Except for the pavement quality, it seriously reminded me of that tv show ‘Most Dangerous Roads’ usually found in third-world countries. And I thought the trip up was bad until I realized we had to come back down.
Another tidbit of info I learned: Remember when Forrest Gump ran across America? A portion of his trek was filmed while running up Grandfather Mountain (a curve now appropriately named “Forrest Gump Curve”. Ironically, I came home and the movie was on tv last night… one of these snapshots is of Forrest running around that particular curve on my tv. 🙂
I guess the height thing is one phobia I’m just going to have to live with. As far as ever conquering it, I can’t say I haven’t tried!
Hot, sultry days – days that are so long, the sun seems to argue the point of going down. Sweet balmy nights when I find myself not wanting to go to bed, instead to remain in the warm fresh air and gaze up at the stars so very clear in the night sky. A dark starry sky free and clear of city lights – even sweeter.
How I adore a Summer wardrobe. I have so many pairs of flip-flops I could start my own store. They’re the most comfortable footwear in the world to me, and I’d love to wear them year-round. I’m equally as passionate about bathing suits, all color-coordinated and hanging up neatly! Can’t leave the shorts out – they go along with tank tops so well, don’t they? Ah, tank tops. Another radiant collection that spans one-third of my closet. Have you ever noticed that these summer pieces never go out of style? Ding-ding… I believe we have a winner!
I cherish the sweet coconut-like smells of summer. Seashells. The beach. Surfboards. Pools. Floats. Sunshine. Flowers. Drinks with little umbrellas in them. Sunglasses. Sailboats. Palm trees. Guess I need to venture a little further south to live, like Florida. I think I just gave myself another reason to look forward to retirement.
It’s not only my favorite time of year – it’s my favorite state of mind. Yes, I believe Sweet Summer is definitely a state of mind…
A year ago today, I posted this entry and was so happy to hear it had been Freshly Pressed.
I thought today it might be worthy of a repost. For all you Summer-lovers, enjoy your day –
and all the seasons!
via Life of Bon
Have you ever felt like running somewhere, anywhere – only to be reminded there’s really nowhere for you to run?
Full moon ahead.
Kinda like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Even as a child, this phrase intrigued me. It seems most logical for me to believe it may have derived from Greek mythology – when Homer’s Odyssey refers to Odysseus being caught between Scylla (a six-headed monster) and Charybdis (a whirlpool).
Full moon alert.
However, I’ve run upon another possible origin that may hold water – pardon the pun – which is the nautical theory. In sailing terminology, the word “Devil” (devill) refers to the seam between the deck planking and the topmost plank of a vessel’s side. This seam had to be watertight, so it required continuous caulking. When a ship was at sea, it sometimes became necessary for a sailor to be suspended over the side or edge to perform this maneuver. Makes perfect sense to me how this might have translated into ‘between the devil and the deep sea’.
Move along, quickly now… full moon out.
All the talk of deep blue seas and moons brings to mind their lovely counterparts – the tides and currents. Thanks to the gravity force between Earth and the Moon, the Moon is ultimately responsible for many of the tides in our Earth’s oceans. During the full and new Moons, the Earth, Moon and Sun are lined up – which produces higher high tides (Spring Tides) and lower low tides. Sorry to bore, but I’ve always found the tides and their reasoning fascinating.
As a child, I remember walking along the beach in my nightgown under the light of a full moon, which I used to call ‘whole’ moon. I’ve written about this night before. I had this clear plastic blue ring which I used to filter the moon to a beautiful bright blue hue. Since then, I’ve never witnessed any setting that matched the beauty of the moonlit beach on that particular night. Even as a child I appreciated it – I stood there mesmerized taking it all in, wishing I never had to leave. Since our vacation house was directly behind me on the beach, my mother allowed me to linger there under her watchful eye. It’s still a strong, magical and precious memory – one I hope I never lose.
I’d still like to run somewhere. Preferably to a desolate beach at low tide, underneath a full moon…
Aim for the Moon. If you miss, you may hit a star…
~W. Clement Stone
I love my drive in to work. It’s nineteen miles one-way, but well over half of it is through pure country. God’s country. We google-earthed it just to get an aerial…
The land seems to be evenly split between farming and livestock, and the people who live out here have been here many years. There are plenty of sweet-faced little cows and horses to gaze at along the way.
Sprawling fields of fresh haystacks never cease to mesmerize me – all stacked so perfectly.
Immediately surrounding us is a good-enough sized mountain to climb if we wish, which we have on occasion. In the evenings, we’ll sit outside and listen to the cows call their babies home. When I first heard it I was very concerned, thinking the cows were in pain! Keith had that sly grin on his face when he told me what it really was.
Last night a neighbor had a get-together across the street. I got to meet a lot of Keith’s neighbors, which was nice! All are down-to-earth people who seem really genuine, hard-working and true.
I always wanted to live out ‘away’ from the city – in fact I used to yearn for it, especially during a country drive. It already seems as though I’ve lived here a long time!
I live for the weekends, and lo and behold – here comes one as we speak. Last night Keith came over with some swatches of pool liners, it’s time for a new one. Choices, choices… so many choices. After a fantastic mexican dinner out at our fave little place, we came back and immersed ourselves (pardon the pun) in the grueling decision-making process of picking just one.
I think we have a winner… at least we thought so last night. If we end up going up to the showroom this Saturday, I’m afraid we’re gonna have umpteen more choices given. So we’ll see. But isn’t it pretty?!
Last weekend Keith had his daughter for the weekend. Saturday we went to see the new movie we’d all been dying to see – Soul Surfer. It’s based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, the professional surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. It is one excellent movie, we were all ready to watch it again. We drove up at Chili’s to eat, where a tree had just landed on a truck prior to our arrival. Can you imagine coming out of a nice relaxing dinner only to find a tree on your truck? A very nice truck, might I add. The storm damage is still showing up at various places. Last night, we drove around the parking lot after eating and almost every car there had extensive dents from the massive hailstorm two weeks ago.
Sunday, we took both our daughters out to Carowinds amusement park. Since we got out there semi-late we didn’t get to ride much, but did get on the park favorite… the Intimidator. That coaster could literally make me want to be a coaster enthusiast. What a fantastic ride! Long as heck, fast as heck, and tall as heck.
No shoulder harnesses or bars. Only a
lap pelvic bar holds you down on this long ride, so your whole upper body is free from the stomach up. Combine this with the open sides around you and overall smoothness, and it simply makes for an amazing ride. Looks as though I’ll be spending a lot of time out there this summer. 🙂
We’ve all been caught in an embarrassing position. A scene that, much to our chagrin, turns us red quicker than a freshly boiled lobster. Being caught in a sticky situation makes you wish you could just melt away from it… oh, if it were only that easy.
At this point, I find it very comical that the subject of my last post was about a wedding.
A week ago, my boyfriend’s dear aunt passed away. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, a real shame since I’ve heard many people speak so very highly of her. Realizing a funeral isn’t the optimal situation to meet your boyfriend’s family members, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to meeting a few that were coming in from out of state.
In the last few moments before we left, we were saying our final goodbyes. From the beginning, there’s been nothing but positive input and vibes from his family – always making me feel so welcomed. Then, here it comes. (Folks, it took me such by surprise that I can’t remember the exact words used… so I’ll do my best to paraphrase.) Something was asked about how long K and I had been together, to which I replied going on two years now. The conversation ensued from there…
Family member: Oh, you ought to just go ahead and get married.
Me: *red*red* **oh, hail, miss brightass-red** I look over at said family member, shaking my head ever so slightly left-to-right in attempt to avert the subject (wondering which direction my dear K’s sight was aimed as well). I also mouth a NO. Unfortunately, I now realize that this mega-defensive act was likely perceived as a sign that old Bon never again wishes to wed… which of course isn’t the case.
Family member: Oh c’mon… you know you want to!
Me: *screaming to myself on the inside, ‘WHAT DO I DO??’* So I stammer: ohhh… well – we ARE moving in together this summer… **another desperate attempt to thwart said subject matter** (Immediately I realize I could not have picked a more inappropriate time to mention our moving in together… a family funeral, of all things.)
Ugghh… another epic Bon FAIL.
The truth is, I have very strong feelings on the subject. A couple of my close friends feel the same as I do, for very valid reasons. In another lifetime many years ago, I was the first to ‘suggest’ marriage with my now ex-husband – I was two months with child at the time. As the years went along, many of our arguments would result in him ‘reminding’ me of this. Trust me when I say these instances never added any valuable building blocks to the relationship – instead it only allowed hurt and embarrassment to grow and fester within me. The backlash of a southern ‘shotgun wedding’ via the good old Justice of the Peace in York County, SC seemed to always be on the forefront of his mind.
Never again. This is something that can make you feel unworthy for a lifetime.
No, if it ever happens again, it won’t be coming from my mouth. I made a pact with myself a long time ago that I’d never utter words that even hint of it – no siree Bob. Besides, why would I need to when others do it for me?
I’ve been going into bloggie DT’s. True I’m sitting underneath a Carolina blue sky on a beautiful day, but the yearn to post something these past few days has more than gotten to me. For some reason on Sundays I always get either really nostalgic or fall into a semi state of depression. It is, after all, the day the weekend ends and I have to go back home to my worklife daily ritual. I’m very thankful for my ritual, my job and the whole nine yards, don’t get me wrong. It just pains me to see Friday into Saturday into Sunday, end.
Short of driving up to the mountains this weekend (we knew better, it’s prime weekend for the season so we’ll just exercise crowd-control) we’re planning to ride 5 minutes past K’s house to a local mountain, not near as high as it’s lofty counterparts but shall satisfy the ole’ mountain yearn nonetheless. It’s a state park called Crowder’s Mountain, and the mountain is only accessible through hiking. The last time I was up there, I was 6 months pregnant. It was me, my husband and another couple, the other lady was almost 9 months pregnant. It doesn’t take a glance backward to see how very stupid we were for attempting to climb a mountain that far into a pregnancy, but we all made it to the very top and came out okay. Twenty-three years later, I shall attempt it again – just not in tiptop shape this time so say a prayer for me. 🙂
We covered up K’s pool yesterday, another thing needing done but I think both of us dreaded. He just smiles and says awww every time I look our beyond the patio window and say how sad it is. Soon the trees will be barren, and everything will appear dead for several months. A Spring/Summer person I am. As hot of a Summer as we’ve had… I do try and soak up every little minute we have of the warm feel and look of those seasons.
I’ll tell you how home feels to me tonight.
A couple of tasty hotdogs with coleslaw and ketchup for din-din (courtesy Chef Bon). Yes, my stove is now fixed, but as Murphy’s Law dictates – now I crave microwaved foods again instead.
Walking around in my mega-soft long-sleeved tee over shorts, I am so comfy. It’s both warm and cool… perfect. I’m freshly bathed, dried off and smelling delicious… and I can say that I am very thankful. Thankful for the peace and solitude – and the fact that no one bothers me here.
Gazing from atop the front porch down three floors below, I take note of the most majestic of Crepe Myrtles I have ever seen. I’ve always loved Crepe Myrtles, but the branches of these reach inward towards me all the way up through my third-level stairwell and porch. It’s a rare time when I’m able to resist the urge to touch their branches and flowers… how I will miss their beauty in the winter months.
Anyone else out there ready for fall? I mean, I would like another trip to the beach before it gets cold, but aside from that I’m ready for that orange and red hue. The feel of a cool mountain breeze. To have back the kind of weather that warrants pants (or capris) but you can still don the flip-flops in. The tank top under a sweatjacket weather – yeah. And, I wanna see pumpkins.
We all joined forces yesterday to get K’s Mom moved into her new house. The house suits her perfectly and she is so happy. K might not be aware of how very similar mine and his mother’s lives are, as far as many details of our past life and starting over from scratch. Whenever it’s just the two of us, such as yesterday when her and I drove out to the house together, the conversation always drifts over to our past life – and how very thankful we are to have a second chance at being happy.
Today I am so very sore in muscles I didn’t even know I had. That’s the way it always seems to go whenever you move! The thing that feels best right now is to fist-beat my calves at medium strength. I know – epsom salt. So I’ll definitely look forward to that later, combined of course with a tub of water, candles and a nice glass of wine. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. 🙂
Oh how I’ve missed my little blog! I feel the weight of a thousand plus words just waiting to be written, though I’ll spare you that one today. It really is amazing how dependent I’ve gotten on this ‘release valve’ of mine (I love calling it that) and when I can’t write, or vent, well – it’s like a part of me is missing.
Late last week I graciously acquired a case of the intestinal flu. I have not been this sick in at least twenty years – it literally landed me on my ass. This is something that I would not wish on my very worst enemy. I was more than a little concerned over our beach trip and the fact that my boyfriend would also contract this highly contagious virus, since we’d been together for dinner just the night prior. Amazingly enough, as of right now post-weekend – he’s still virus-free. I thank the Lord for this.
So we had our little beach trip. 🙂 K called it ‘one of the most amazing times he’s ever had’ to which I have to agree. Ironically enough, his sister and her husband were also taking a trip down there, staying 2 blocks up from us! It made for double fun, we got together for a bikini lunch on the beach then had dinner later at Murrell’s Inlet, and barhopped a couple of venues there on the tiki strip.
Saturday night, we went out to the infamous Garden City Pier (I heart this place) where in peak season, a band plays at both ends of the pier. We actually found a table at the end of the pier where the band Coldshot was playing. Keith made a dream of mine come true when he stood and held his hand out to me for our first slow-dance ever on the pier. I can honestly say I have never been more in love with him than at that very moment – and it’s that moment in time I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Another first happened when we were in the ocean – we were about waist-deep (chest-deep with the waves) when he noticed about 100 or so feet out a pack of dolphins gracing us with their presence. As the waves allowed, we watched them move rhythmically in and out for about 8 minutes from one side of the ocean to the other, until they finally faded from our sight. I’ve never physically been in the ocean and privy to dolphin sitings all at once, and we both felt very privileged.
I’ll even go so far as to say it was magical. But then again… so was the dance.
Here at wordpress we’re fortunate enough to have a stats feature that informs us of our most-read posts. I personally find this feature useful, and in paying close attention to it for the past month, have found one post that supersedes all others by a mile. It is the post I wrote on my experience with the Red Velvet Ant.
I had never seen one prior to that one instance. At the time, it’s mere image was so unrealistically startling that I questioned whether or not I was dreaming. I haven’t ran across another one since then, which if I never do again it’ll be too soon… but apparently a LOT of you out there are coming in contact with them this summer. The google search terms that people use to find information on them are plentiful, which lets me know they are still very much alive and well.
The insect coined the name ‘Cow Killers’ because when cows graze, they often pull the grass up by the roots, and sometimes attached to it is a less than friendly red velvet ant. The insect will then crawl up the nostril or face of the cow and sting it. Although ten times more powerful than that of a red ant, it’s a myth that it’s sting is lethal enough to kill a cow, unless of course there are multiple attacks. The female Cow Killers are wingless, which is what I encountered. They crawl around the ground looking for the holes of other bugs such as ground-nesting bees. They’ll infiltrate the nest, find a cocoon and eat a hole in it, then deposit an egg. When it hatches, it then feeds on the bee larva. Amazingly enough the insect is born as white, legless grub and will go through many stages before metamorphing into fuzzy Red Velvet Ants.
Here’s a very informative video on this most interesting insect which is really a wasp. This lady is well-informed and shares some very useful information on this most intriguing insect.
A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most inclined toward or away from the sun, causing the Sun’s apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme. The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun’s path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.
The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the date (day) when this occurs. The solstices, together with the equionoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some cultures they are considered to start or separate the seasons, while in others they fall nearer the middle.
A common misconception is that the earth is further from the sun in winter than in summer. Actually, the Earth is closest to the sun in December which is winter in the Northern hemisphere.
As the Earth travels around the Sun in its orbit, the north-south position of the Sun changes over the course of the year because of the changing orientation of the Earth’s tilted rotation axes. The dates of maximum tilt of the Earth’s equator correspond to the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice, and the dates of zero tilt to the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox.
The reason for these changes has to do with the Earth’s yearly trip around the sun. For part of the year the Earth’s North Pole points away from the sun and part of the time toward it. This is what causes our seasons. When the North Pole points toward the sun, the sun’s rays hit the northern half of the world more directly. That means it is warmer and we have summer.
The day of the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. The length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year. In the United States, there are about 14½ hours of daylight on this day.