Monday, October 31, 2016


Tonight we went to Granny and Pa's house to go trick-or-treating (or at least so Jessica and Elyse could). This has been our Halloween tradition for eight years now, but this year was a little different: Granny and Pa weren't there. Mom and Dad were on vacation in Myrtle Beach.

Still, it's our tradition to trick-or-treat in their neighborhood, and we wanted to continue that even if it was just the four of us. (We all agreed, though, that's it's much better when Granny and Pa are there.)

I didn't take a lot of pictures, but the girls were in the same costumes they were wearing last Friday night. The first picture below is me and Elyse waiting in the car while Anna and Jessica went into Subway to get their supper for the evening.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Costumes

Tonight we went to Granny and Pa's house for supper (sesame chicken -- as Elyse calls it, "Chinese chicken" -- and sweet and sour chicken from Oriental Garden), and then we tried to go to downtown Lawrenceville to do trick-or-treating on the square, but, oh!, the traffic, and, oh!, the hundreds of people! (Maybe even thousands. No kidding, it was BUSY!) So instead of stopping in Lawrencville--I'm honestly not sure we could have found a parking space anyway--we turned round and stopped at Publix and got Halloween cupcakes and Halloween cookies and came home and watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Elyse was terribly disappointed we didn't get to go trick-or-treating, but she would have been miserable standing in the lines that snaked all the way down the sidewalk just to get a tiny bit of candy.

Even though we didn't get to trick-or-treat, the girls did get dressed up ("I got dressed up all for nothing!" Elyse said in the car as we drove home, butI told her she got dressed up so Granny could see her in her costume, since Granny and Pa will be in Myrtle Beach on the real Halloween. Elyse didn't find this convincing.). Here's what they looked like at Granny and Pa's house:

Elyse has had her costume for weeks, but Jessica just got hers this afternoon at Walmart. Anna was dressed up for her pirate-themed book fair at school.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Vines Gardens Haiku 8

Beaver or vandal?
Either way, the tree is dead.
Sad chilly morning.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tallulah Falls

This weekend we went on a short road trip (under 200 miles altogether, in fact) to Commerce and Tallulah Falls. Our real destination was Tallulah Falls and Tallulah Gorge State Park; Commerce was just a place to spend the night and not have to drive all the way from Loganville to Tallulah Falls on Sunday morning.

(Actually, all the other hotels anywhere near Tallulah Falls were all filled up (Octoberfest in Helen is a big North Georgia draw); the fact that the Comfort Suites in Commerce has an indoor heated pool and a hot breakfast was a big bonus.)

Saturday morning Anna and the girls went to a Girl Scouts STEM event at the Gwinnett County fairgrounds, so we didn't actually head out until a little after 2:00, but since Commerce is so close, we were at our hotel by 3:30.

After we checked in and got the car unloaded, we went out to the Red Hound Antique Market and looked around for a while, then spent some time at the used bookstore just next door, after which we had supper at Sonny's BBQ. Then we went back to the hotel so the girls could swim and I could not swim.

Sunday morning, after helping ourselves to the free hot breakfast (biscuits and gravy and sausage and scrambled eggs and a waffle and lots of coffee for me; I fairly gorged myself), the girls swam some more and I went out for a short walk, during which I snapped the picture above and the picture below.

The indoor heated pool also included a spa, which the girls said was very hot:

We came back to the room so the girls could get ready to go:

and we headed north on U.S. 441 (my favorite road).

It's impossible -- or at least inadvisable -- to go to Tallulah Falls without stopping at the Tallulah Point Overlook to look over the gorge, peruse the rustic offerings in the store, and get a snack.

(It was much busier than this picture implies. There were quite a few cars parked behind me that you can't see here.)

Then, loaded down with our drinks and my Moon Pie and the girls' peppermint sticks, and also three T-shirts, we went to the park and spent some time out in nature:

(I wish I'd brought one of my real cameras instead of just my cell phone, but these pictures aren't too bad.)

At one of the overlooks, Elyse got out her pen and sketch book to draw the view:

I had forgotten that to get to the south rim trail, you have to walk along the bridge where 441 crosses the river, cars and trucks and occasionally really loud motorcycles whizzing right by you. The walk made me nervous and terrified Jessica, but Elyse skipped happy along, holding her mommy's hand.

We only walked along the south rim trail for a little while, some of it under heavy protest from our tuckered out daughters, before we climbed back in the car and headed for home.

Despite their complaints that they were "so tired!", both girls stayed awake all the way home (about a two hour drive), and thankfully so did I (though we did stop at a QuikTrip in Gainesville to get me a cup of coffee, or I might not have). Anna dozed off and on all the way home.

We listened to the audio version of Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, Book #1: Moving Day by Meg Cabot on this trip (it's really good; I recommend it), and it ended just a couple of miles before we made it back to our house. Perfect timing. (Or almost. Jessica did say, "Do we have another audio book?" but I told her we weren't going to start something new when we're five minutes from home.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Two Vines Gardens Haiku

Mid October cold
Does not deter these flowers--
But I wear a coat

Fall affects some leaves
Before it touches others--
And colors me, too

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Visit to Sleepy Hollow with Granny and Pa

Today is Columbus Day, and the girls didn't have school. Anna and I both did, however, so the girls spent the night last night with Granny and Pa, and today they drove up to Blairsville to visit Sleepy Hollow, a "whimsical fairy garden" created by a former Disney artist.

It sounds like a great place; I wish I could have gone. I'm glad Jessica took some pictures to share with us, though:

And here are some pictures from Granny and Pa's camera:

Sunday, October 9, 2016


This weekend, Anna and the girls went to Serendipity, the annual Girl Scouts camping event. (And Elyse sang "Let it Go" at the talent show!) Here are three pictures Jessica took there:

(I'm not sure if Jessica's really asleep here, and she probably didn't take the picture herself.) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Drive Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Today I went on a ninety-mile drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Asheville to Cherokee. Here are some pictures from my trip: