Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thanksgiving Feast at J.C. Magill

Today I went to the girls' school to have lunch with Elyse for the second grade Thanksgiving Feast!

The turkey and dressing and gravy was pretty good, especially for a mass-produced school lunch. The macaroni and cheese was also quite good; I only ate a little of it because Elyse kept asking if she could have some of mine. I didn't eat the green beans, of course; I just felt too self-conscious going through the line to not get something that seemed like a grown-up choice. I should have just asked for double helpings of macaroni and cheese.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Christmas at Target

This morning Elyse and I set out to go to a Girl Scout event at Autry Mill Nature Preserve. However, for complicated reasons involving hunger, parking, and anxiety about the bugs part of the program (anxiety on Elyse's part, but not so much on mine), we didn't actually make it there. Instead we went to the Target on State Bridge Road and looked around at Christmas stuff--nothing you can get a badge for, but considerably less anxiety-inducing than looking at bugs at the nature preserve.

I know some people think it's too early for Christmas--we're still a week and a half away from Thanksgiving--but I love everything about Christmas, including stores like Target in November and December, and I rather enjoy having several weeks of it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

Elyse has been so excited about Halloween this year! She and Jessica went over to Granny and Pa's yesterday after school to decorate their house (or at least the entrance to it):

We went to Granny and Pa's house this afternoon for supper--Marco's pizza--and then had a long wait until it was dark enough to go trick-or-treating. Jessica spent most of that time trying on various outfits and debating whether she wanted to go or not.

Elyse dressed up as a black cat:

In the end, Jessica decided to stay home with Pa to hand out candy; Anna and I (and for the first few minutes, my mom, until she decided to go back home) took Elyse out trick-or-treating. Elyse missed having Jessica with her, but that didn't prevent her from covering nearly the entire neighborhood, spending a full hour ringing doorbells and collecting candy. For the first few houses, Elsa D. (whom she's holding above) went with her, but Granny brought her back to the house with her when she decided to return home.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Carving a Pumpkin

Elyse really wanted to carve a pumpkin--a real pumpkin, not one of those fake Styrofoam things (which the rest of us might have preferred)--so this afternoon she and her mother picked on out at the store, and then they came home and carved it:

(It wasn't raining, but it was a little chilly and the raincoat was the first thing Elyse found to put on.)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Elyse at the Girl Scouts STEM Expo

Today Anna and Jessica and Elyse attended the Girl Scouts SUPER STEM Expo at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, and Jessica sent me these pictures (from Anna's phone):

She's creating a rocket in the picture above. 

I have no idea what's going on here, but it makes me think of a vacuum cleaner (but probably isn't.)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip 2017

Day One: Driving to North Carolina

This afternoon, after I taught my Tuesday classes, I headed north on I-85 for Morganton, North Carolina, where I am (in my room at the Sleep Inn) as I type this. I'll go to sleep soon, hopefully sleep well and for a long time, and then get up tomorrow, partake of the free hot breakfast at this hotel, and then drive to Linville Falls to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll spend all of tomorrow driving and exploring and enjoying the mountains and as many visitors centers as I can find and maybe even some good barbecue.

I left Lawrenceville at about 1:30 and made it to South Carolina about an hour later, stopping, as I do whenever I get the chance, at the Welcome Center:

My favorite thing about a good Welcome Center is the remarkable supply of brochures for various attractions:

This wall-size map of the state shows where I was at the time (You Are HERE, it says up near the north-west corner of the state):

From there I drove to Greenville, where I went to one of the coolest Barnes & Nobles I've ever been in:

I bought The Wind in the Willows (which I already have, it being one of my favorite books, but which I needed a good paperback copy of) and Siddhartha (which I read more than twenty years ago but would like to read again), and then had either lunch or supper, I'm not sure which, at Panera:

The French onion soup was fantastic!

I drove for a while longer on I-85, then I-26, and at some point I stopped for gas and took this picture of the Blue Ridge Mountains from a distance:

I'm not sure exactly when I crossed into North Carolina; I was on a local road by then, and there was no Welcome Center to visit. I made it here to my hotel in Morganton around around 8:30, settled in, did some grading (unfortunately I do have work to do, but fortunately the WiFi here works very well), and then sorted through the pictures I took this afternoon. After I publish this, I'm going to bed.

 Wednesday, October 4 
Day Two: The Blue Ridge Parkway

This morning I got up earlier that I probably should have (since I ended up not going to bed until midnight last night, a mistake that creating this post is about to cause me to repeat), read for a few minutes, called home to check on everybody, then went down to the lobby for the "hot breakfast" the hotel claimed to have.

The "hot" part, disappointingly, was the waffles and the pre-packaged microwaveable Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits in the refrigerator above the yogurt. Still, it was an acceptable breakfast, but I am glad I was not there on one of the days that prompted management to post this sign:

After I checked out of the hotel, I drove about an hour north to Linville Falls, went to the Visitor's Center, and then got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove for the next eight hours, with lots of stops to see sights and take pictures of them (and also one stop for lunch at a Subway). Here, in chronological order, are fifteen pictures I took this afternoon and evening:

(The circle in the picture above that looks like the sun is actually the moon.)

 Thursday, October 5 
Day Three: Coming Home

This morning I woke up at about 6:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got dressed and went forth to check out the breakfast at this hotel, the Quality Inn in Sylva, North Carolina. This time, the "hot" breakfast promised by the hotel's Web site turned out not to be a lie: they had biscuits and sausage links and scrambled eggs, all very good, and one of those hotel waffle makers. It was a satisfying breakfast.

I puttered around the hotel for another couple of hours, reading, napping a little bit, before I checked out and headed home. The drive back to Loganville was mostly uneventful; I made a couple of stops but didn't take any pictures or see anything exciting. I didn't even buy any books, though I did stop at the Barnes and Noble at the Mall of Georgia. I made it home at about 3:45, just as Anna was getting back from picking up the girls from school. It was wonderful to see them all again!

Friday, September 29, 2017

More Napping

Still not feeling well, Elyse crawled into our bed to take a nap with Jupiter.

(The cats have enjoyed having her home today.)

Elyse on Skates

Elyse and her mommy went to the school skating night at Sparkles last night, and Anna sent me this picture:

Unfortunately, Elyse got sick on the way home with what we think is a stomach bug and won't be going to school today.


It's 11:45, and Elyse and Tessie are sleeping on the sofa. "My Little Pony" is still playing on the TV, as it has been for about five hours now, but I'm not going to stop it...I kind of enjoy it.

Another update:

Elyse woke up a little after noon, crying and saying her throat hurts. Poor little bear! That's better than throwing up, though, which is what she did several times throughout the night last night.

One final update:

She went back to sleep at about 12:25. I hope she sleeps a good long time; she really needs the rest.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Charging Along

Yesterday Anna forgot to plug in her Leaf (for the first time ever), so today we swapped cars... but I don't think that I can make it home on the remaining charge. So here I am at Walgreens, charging the car, eating a Mounds bar, drinking Dr Pepper, and blogging about it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stone Mountain

This afternoon on my way home from meeting Pearl for lunch at Lenox I stopped at Stone Mountain to go for a short walk, and I took these pictures: