The locksmith eyed this birdfeeder and mentioned it might attract more bears than birds...oops.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Advent Jesse Tree

Many wonderful years ago, I heard about an Advent Jesse Tree.  I had never heard of a 'Jesse Tree' and even though I'd grown up southern Baptist and learned many old time Bible stories, I couldn't for the life of me place' Jesse'.  The only Jesse I knew was the girl Rick Springfield sung about and Jessie down the street who was co-accosted with my girl by the big blue Baloo at the Animal Kingdom.

So I did a little research and found out this: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots ... And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:1,10)

Jesse was King David's daddy!  No wonder there's a Christmas tree named in his honor!
This is a great arts and crafts project for kids of all ages. (Literally all ages as I enjoyed making it as much as the kids!)  The first thing you do is order this book.  I got mine from Amazon for around ten dollars.

(I have no idea why the sentences here are all funny highlighted but they are so there ya go..)

Inside the book, there are 24 (or is it 25?) Bible stories with a prayer, a little song suggestion and a sweet story that begins the tale of God's love and redemption.  You read the story and unwrap the ornament which you've so lovingly crafted with your child earlier in the year.  By this time, everyone has generally forgotten what each ornament looks like so it's an exciting time of anticipation as the tissue comes off and everyone 'oohs and ahhs' at the handiwork of your brilliant child!

So here's what else you'll need to pull off this great craft project:

A three or four foot tree. (Hobby Lobby has a 40% off coupon in the Sunday paper)
Little bottles of scribble paint.  It comes out liquid and turns to rubber.  Get black, red, blue, green, yellow, brown
Several sheets of foam paper.  I got a whole pack of colors on clearance.  You'll need yellow, tan, brown, gray, blue, green and any other colors you like. (check the dollar store)
A small 1 to 2 inch dove.
Two sheep
one earth
3 cinnamon sticks
a baby in a manger
an angel
a rubber snake (dollar store)
several (6 to 8) thin four inch wooden rectangles for the ornaments that need a foundation
2 or 3  3 inch grape vine wreaths
grapes cluster (the dollar store!)
wheat (again, the dollar store! Who knew they had all these wonderful things!)
gold ribbon to make a crown
a candle
White puffy balls
tiny eyeballs so your animals can see
felt: black with sparkles to look like the night sky
a glue guns and glue
thin red ribbon cord for making the hangers
and probably a few more things.

Getting the book first is crucial to make a list.  Go to the Dollar store first, then Hobby Lobby for the rest.

Sebastian, Chase and Trey helped shape the tree and then it was time to make the ornaments. You want a tree big enough to hold all of the ornaments so don't skimp on the size.  Three foot is the minimum.

Oops, first we washed our hands.  I was sure to point out that if any fingers went into a nose, all arts and crafts instantly ceased and hands had to be washed again.  They were extremely cooperative!

We gathered all the things on a table and commenced making ornaments! ooOh, you need scissors too!  

Our first ornament was an already painted earth, so Trey added glitter to the land.  Did I mention you needed glitter?  Lots of glitter.  Green, gold, silver.  And yes, you will be finding glitter everywhere for the next six months.

Here you can see how the little wooden rectangle is used.  We swirled glue to make the tree and topped it with glitter.  And yes, the top came off the glitter jar but all was eventually well.  Did I mention glitter was found on our faces and hands and clothes all weekend? Sebastian added a scribble apple and the trunk was foam. The snake was cut to size. 

Trey added white puffy balls to Mr. Sheep.  I placed a tiny dab of hot glue and he carefully placed a puffy ball, pushing it down into the glue. "OUCH! It burned me!"  Next ball placed. "OUCH! It burned me!"  Next ball placed.  "OUCH!" and so it went.  But he never cried and Mr. Sheep was covered in puffs and was soon able to see with wiggly eyes.

We eventually finished the fiery furnace, ten commandments, dove and crown, Bethlehem town, Joseph's coat,  heart, Jacob's ladder and many more.  The kids were focused and  careful as they each took turns. 
Later, when Daddy was shown the results of their hard word, each child proudly pointed out exactly what parts they had made.  

Once all the ornaments were made, we used the glue gun and glued a ribbon loop to the back of each.  This is evidence that yes, Dacia does indeed make arts and crafts and I have no doubt will be wielding her own glue gun and perusing the aisles of Hobby Lobby in no time!

Once each ornament is dry, just wrap it up in tissue,  paying special attention to the book, and number them in the order they are revealed.  This will generally be the place you'll discover the ornament you inevitably forgot to make.  So just plug in the glue gun again and make that last ornament.  (it was the' wall' for us and Dacia did a great job! )  Now you're done!   Just put the tree and wrapped ornaments away and on December 1, read the first story and hang the first ornament.  You'll have a wonderfully interactive, fun, Christmas activity for years to come!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where the Sun Don't Shine

If you've ever had a colonoscopy, you'll relate to this post. If you haven't, then take heed, as your day is coming.
Everyone has to get them at some point. And over a certain age, it's every five years or so. The preparation for the appointment is so traumatizing that the emotional recovery typically takes years. That's why, although you only get one every 5-10 years, it seems like it was much more recent.
"Your chart shows it's been ten years since your last colonoscopy so you're due for another one."

"Whaaat? I'm pretty sure you've made a mistake. I think it was more like 6 months ago because that salty pineapple laxative taste just got out of my mouth last Thursday."

The test itself isn't all that bad. You just lie on a table, naked, with one of those backless gowns and the doctor shoves a garden hose with a big camera on the end up your bum to have a look-see. They give you this special medicine that makes you drowsy but you're apparently still able to listen and take instructions.

In other words, you're wide awake but the trauma is so severe your brain removes the memory, so by the time you're back in recovery, (if there was ever a need for recovery!) you have no remembrance of the event.

The doctor requires someone to escort you to this appointment because there needs to be a witness for what happens next. ( I'm quite certain this part this didn't happen to me because I have no memory.)
See...all of the gas that is pumped into your down-there place in order for the doctor to 'see' has to come out. The same way it went in. I think we both know what that means.

I won't mention names here but a certain someone I know took his father to a colonoscopy and when the doctor pushed aside the recovery room curtain to review the test findings, the poor father's 'natural gas reservoir' begin to explode in a cacophony only rivaled by a late night showing of 'Blazing Saddles'. As the doctor spoke in serious tones about the results, the son convulsed in laughter until he fell out of his chair, rendered useless by the comedy show coming from his father's nether-regions.

Again, I'm quite certain this didn't happen to me. While I can't explain why, I assume my southern roots in decorum facilitated the absorption of the gas into my system which then later resulted in a tiny napkin-muffled burp.

So today, I was just sitting here going over instructions for someone's colonoscopy Friday morning. ( I shant name names, but it sure as shootin' isn't me.) He'll have to have a liquid diet all day Thursday then drink the diarrhea-inducing liquid prep early that evening, and drink it again six hours prior to the procedure, which will happen to fall at Four AM. ( I do hope I'll be able to sleep as that is quite the middle of the night!)

I emailed him these instructions and just talking about the prep he'll drink made me sick to my stomach. In fact, typing the sentence to him telling him about my nausea, made my palms sweat. There is just no brave way to face this procedure.

And then I remembered my friend's husband, Bob. I don't want to embarrass him so from this point on I shall refer to him as 'Robert'.

Bob, I mean Robert was in the hospital and it was requested that he drink a jug of colon-cleansing prep. "Uh oh", I thought when I saw the familiar clear liquid. Poor Robert! The nurse placed the heavy jug on his tray and said 'Drink up. Try to have it all gone by 8:30."

I can still see him now. He sat up a little straighter in the bed and with a look of purpose on his face,, DECLARED (and with pluck!) that he was going to drink that stuff right down. Probably in 15 minutes. "Dana, I'm just like that, you know. If I have something unpleasant to do, I'll just do it fast and get it over with!" I looked at him with as innocent a look as I could and said, "That's awesome! Yes, I've heard that about you!"

My stomach lurched a little. I was still slightly traumatized by the last colonoscopy I'd had, back in 2001. I distinctly remember saying out loud that I'd rather give birth to a large baby with no pain killers than to ever drink that gallon jug of salty pineapple laxative again. I felt light-headed at the mere thought.

Robert took his first swig and I watched his face carefully. It must have been ice cold, which can delay the inevitable stomach revolt, because he seemed calm and was able to carry on a pleasant conversation.

We kept talking about Auburn and the kids and growing up stories and he would occasionally take a swig. ( I may have seen his temple twitch once or twice, I'm not sure.) The nurse came back in and asked if he was finished and he looked a little embarrassed when she picked up the jug and saw the volume had only gone down about two inches. Surely he'd drank more than that?

I shifted uncomfortably on the couch and mentally willed myself to not think about what he was drinking. Brenda and I were going to eat in the cafe later and I was determined we'd split a piece of chocolate cake and being in the same room with that colon prep was having a dreadful effect on my appetite.

(this stuff is called "MoviPrep", by the way. MOVIE prep! They want you to think it'll be like going to the new AMC theater down the road and watching a Clint Eastwood flick while passing the large bag of popcorn. I can assure you it's NOTHING like going to the movies!)

Robert had lost some of his bravado and wasn't sitting up straight in the bed anymore. There was a faint, green cast to his face and I'm pretty sure I saw sweat on his brow. He kept drinking the stuff, but honestly, the jug just seemed to stay full, like one of those magic bottles of milk. While I know he had mettle and meant to be daring and gulp it straight down, there just are no heroes when it comes to moviprep. Brenda and I eventually excused ourselves to go eat and left him alone with his magic jug and the nurse who kept peeking in and saying "Is it gone yet?"

I was nauseous for the rest of the night.

So starting tomorrow, I get to have a front row seat to a colonoscopy preparation. And until it really IS as much fun as going to the movies, I'll keep praying someone invents a simple finger prick.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedy beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!

Did you know there are natural springs gushing cool, crisp water from the deepest caverns of the earth, all over the state? And this water is free for the taking? Check out I love how one well's directions state "You will smell it when you get close". Hmmm, a little sulfur, perhaps?

I haven't been to one of these sites but I did see the gushing cave waters Jack Daniels Whiskey uses at the brewery. Just a big ol' hole of a cave with a continuous running cold stream flowing out.

If you've checked out any design stores lately, you'll see how far we've come from a hole in a rock.

The beauty of these sinks and faucets might cause my water bill to go up as I no doubt would stand and stare while brushing instead of turning the water off.

Running water in the house hasn't really been around too long. I can still remember visiting my Uncles Grady and Aubrey up in the mountains and needing to tee-tee. There weren't any indoor bathrooms, so I'd have to go out to the gray, weathered building and slide my little bottom up onto the the two-holer, hoping sweet Jesus would keep any snakes that lived in the 'hole' from jumping up and biting my hinie.

The outhouses we see in old movies always show a cute little half-moon cut-out on the door, but honestly, that was only in the movies.

Outhouses and well houses always looked like this, and you'd be lucky to find a Sears & Roebuck catalog for toilet paper. The yellow, index tissue-like papers were always the first to go.

I now know that snakes most likely don't live in outhouse holes, but seriously, what wildlife would you expect to find in an outhouse? Bunnies? Kittens? Puppies? Pshaw, as Miriam used to say. Look around in the next outhouse or well house and the only inhabitants you'll see are snakes, mice and poisonous spiders.

Nowadays, most all wells are electric so no more open walls and cute little wooden buckets tied to a long rope. Just imagine the great biceps and triceps these women developed hauling water up 300 feet every day!

Unfortunately, my very own well house houses not only my well, but my nemesis. He waits for me, peeking between the rotting wood boards and plots my demise. Could I step on him with my shoe, could I swat him down with a broom? Sure. But that would mean coming within striking distance and I've seen the size of his thighs...this spider can jump, I have no doubt and a death from fear is as bad as a death from venom.

This past week, I spent a couple of days on the mountain with the Spencer girls, mama and daughter. The daughter, bless her brave heart, turned on the water when we first arrived. She took nearly 15 minutes and I do believe I heard all sorts of screaming and flailing, but the water ran cold and that's all that mattered. Vacations eventually have to come to an end, and in the mountains, that means one thing.
Someone...has to go in the well house.

And, honestly, I try everything within my moral and ethical boundaries to keep that person from being me.

(Once, several months ago, it became necessary to make a midnight run to the hills to retrieve my forgotten text books, and Annette Day accompanied me. With the truck headlights shining through the woods and the night crickets shrill in the air, we inched our way to the rotten well house door, saying, "No, you go. NO, you go!" till I do believe one of us actually may have shoved the other one, and well, it might have been me but it was late and a while ago, and that just doesn't sound like something I would do.)

Barely recovered from that trauma, I found myself calmly explaining to Nancy how to just lean into the doorway, turn the handle and voila, you're done! I kept my eyes all innocent, hoping Nancy wouldn't see through my crafty plan. She actually seemed to consider this, until....she saw the spiders. (click the word spider then click your back button to return to blog)

The word 'spider' just doesn't do justice to these creatures. Wolf spiders are thick and furry and worst of all...have EIGHT EYES! It's like something out of an evil fairy tale, "Better to see you! *insert wicked laugh*" a wolf spider! I'm not kidding! Doesn't it look like some freaky cross between a tarantula and Bigfoot!?

And THIS is what their bite looks like! Ohmygosh, when I saw this, I actually got lightheaded. Nancy, I'm SO SORRY. And Annette, truly forgive me. Rachel, what can I say? I was putting all of your lives on the line! Oh my WORD! It's like a Vampire bite! We could have all died!!








Okay, whew, it's off the page where I can't see it. We spent the better part of twenty minutes holding open the door with a stick, screaming, crying, sweating and saying, "you go, no you go, no you go, NO, you go!" till the door finally fell off its hinges with a ' WHOOOMPH!!', and nearly gave us both a heart attack.

One phone call later, Jack C. was down and turned off the water without even a care. He probably even had a wolf spider on his shoulder as he strolled back home. Good grief, how do men do that??

I hope Nancy has recovered, as she was rather pale by the time we got back in the car. I think her forehead was sweaty too. Rachel was laughing her rear end off as she stayed fifty feet back lest we somehow involve her again. Smart girl.

I'm now on a quest to find a remote-controlled way to get the water turned on. If you have any ideas, please let me know. In the meantime, if I invite you to the mountains, please accept my forgiveness up front as I'll no doubt try and con you into the well house.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hickory House

Last night I was driving around north Atlanta trying to decide where I wanted to 'sup' and while I was tempted by a Buckheady organic, creative and artsy chef-owned establishment, it was the woo of the familiar which won out.

Anyone who spent his childhood in Decatur will remember the Old Hickory House over on Ponce, near Suburban Plaza. My old Pediatrician was in the eggnog-colored brick building right behind it, and while I have pleasant memories of old Dr. Brannon, it was he who told mama not to let me swim in Medlock pool with black children because "there were scabs on their bottoms where their tails fell off'.

And yes, I am serious. It was the only ugly prejudiced thing I ever heard growing up in the south and it apparently didn't keep me from choosing a dear black child named Portland Price as my best friend in kindergarten.

God rest Dr. Brannon's soul and no doubt if and when he faced the Almighty, Jesus had a big ol' afro.

Anyway, back to more pleasant things such as smoky, delicious BBQ at Hickory House.

When I was pregnant with my son, I craved a baked sweet potato and a soft, steamed bun filled with sauce-covered outside cuts that could only come from Hickory House. Oh, how I loved those sandwiches! If only they would have added the word 'barbeque' on the sign the debate over 'barbecue' vs. 'barbeque' would have been put to rest, because Hickory House had and has the final word when it comes to BBQ!

Last night, I ordered a hickory chick, which is a large portion of chopped smoky chicken mixed with sauce and served alongside beans and stew. I was so happy and enjoying my supper immensely, when I looked up and noticed the elderly gentleman across the way. With shaking hands, he was crumbling corn bread into a tall glass of thick buttermilk. He then took a spoon and stirred it all together and took his sweet time eating spoonful after spoonful of his lumpy, tangy creamy supper.

I was thinking how folks today might scrunch their noses and say 'ew, yuck' at the thought of buttermilk and cornbread. Where's the creativity? The nutrition? The color, the variety?

We've become so complex with our food. We pride ourselves on eating fair-trade, organic, locally-farmed, sustainable, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, GMO-free food crafted by chefs who strive to outdo one another in their unqiue creations. I used to laugh at the hoopla a local chef created by serving buttermilk fried chicken cooked in a black iron skillet on Tuesday nights in his Decatur eatery.

It seems to me we're trying to go back to our roots, to the kinds of food our forefathers ate before the advent of processed foods. My parents grew up during The Great Depression in the thirties. Daddy said they often only had buttermilk, cornbread, dried beans and cole slaw for supper. Dried beans were a staple on early southern tables, as were collard greens.

I could tell this fella across the way was enjoying his supper, one spoonful at a time. I wondered if he was remembering sharing a table with his many siblings and most likely a grandparent or two, as all households had a grandmama or granddaddy living down the hall. All the kids were most likely barefoot or wearing passed down shoes with cardboard giving life to the well-worn soles. They were happy to eat whatever was on their plate, and blessed God for what food they had. Simple food in a simple life.

More and more people are buying locally grown garden produce and learning to eat simple foods. I hope folks also learn to grow their own produce and can the harvest in quart-sized mason jars.

I'll offer up a suggestion for one way to embrace the past...homemade buttermilk.

You'll need a quart (or larger) mason jar, some fresh cultured buttermilk and fresh milk, whole or 2%....enough to do a one part buttermilk to 4 parts milk. 1 to 3 parts if your buttermilk isn't as fresh. Mix 6 or 8 ounces of the buttermilk to 3 cups of milk. Screw on the lid and sit it out in a slightly warm place for one day. The lactic acid in the cultures will cause the milk proteins to clabber and you'll find it has turned thick and tangy in about 24 hours. Now put it in the frig. Voila! (see Anna, I do pay attention sometimes) you now have homemade buttermilk.

It has a very long shelf life in the refrigerator, several weeks actually. When you see it getting low, repeat the process and you'll find you never need to buy buttermilk again. My mama used to keep a big silver pitcher of buttermilk in the refrigerator and she'd drink a small glass every day. Cornbread, buttermilk pie, pancakes, biscuits..the possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pirate Treasure on the Beach for Kids!

Oh how I miss having young kids so I can buy arts and crafts at Michaels (using the Sunday paper coupon of course!) and make neato fun things! One of my favorite summer projects, when a trip to the beach is forthcoming, is to make a treasure map for buried treasure. The kids (and me) are beside themselves with glee as soon as a bottle is seen floating in the ocean. Here's how I arrange this covert pirate ploy:

Buy a tall, brown bottle that will hold a rolled up paper. That means it needs to be over 9 inches tall. The first time I did this, I had to buy a tall bottle of Schlitz at the corner gas station. I could tell the cashier was thinking, 'A big bottle of Schlitz? She looks more like the wine cooler type' as she wrapped it in a brown paper bag.

Side note - why is alcohol always hidden in brown paper bags? My husband said when he was growing up, folks he knew who did the local garbage said they could always tell who was baptist by the alcohol bottles in the trash wrapped up in paper bags. I mean if you're gonna drink, just go ahead and do it where God and everybody can see you. Don't go hiding it in brown paper bags like we don't know what's in there anyway.

Okay, so you've got your bottle. ( I got my current bottle at the local brewery but beware! There are many distractions and I almost came away with a kit to brew my own honey liquor.)

Get a silver or gold paint pen and draw your best skull and crossbones. And don't forget a nice tight cork!

Now, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and wet down a family size tea bag. Rub the surface area of a long sheet of paper, if you have it. The long sheets are better as you'll see in a couple of steps. The wet tea will stain the paper and give it a nice antique look.

Now put the tea bag in a cup and have yourself a nice cuppa tea. Oh wait...that sounds kind of gross with the bag rubbed all over stuff and in your hands. Never mind, scratch that. Put the bag in a cup and give your husband a nice cuppa tea.

Place the sheet on a pan and bake it for approximately five minutes. It will be crisp and slightly yellow.
Now here's where you have to be very careful. You'll want to burn the outer edges of the paper so the treasure map looks like it survived the huge fire in Port au Prince, Haiti in 1784. If you have an electric stove, it's much easier and safer. Just heat up a burner and carefully hold the edges near the coils. They'll heat up and slightly burn. Have a fire-putter-outer cloth nearby.

If you don't have an electric stove, take a box of matches outside, pull back your hair and carefully light the edges. They'll burn for a second, then snuff it out. Do this around the whole paper. The size of the paper will shrink due to a few unfortunate incidents so you'll be glad you used the 8 X 14 size paper. Be prepared to Stop, Drop and Roll if necessary.

Now take your parchment and tightly roll it around a thin wooden spoon handle. You'll want it small so the string and knot will all fit down the neck of the bottle.

Snugly knot the paper in two places.

This next step is where I discovered there is an apparent learning curve. I didn't tie the rolled parchment first, but dropped it down into the bottle where it promptly unrolled and filled the bottle, never to be extracted again. So use the string and drop it down into the bottle, leaving one longer end of string so you can easily pull it out later.
Once you get to the beach, survey the lay of the land and using a black marker, make a map of landmarks using piles of seaweed, shells in the shape of an X, ten steps here, twenty steps there, include a chant of 'Yo HO HO and a bottle of Rum!', have them walking hither and yon, but make sure the map ends up right where you have discreetly buried your awesome Hobby Lobby treasure chest (purchased using the Sunday paper coupon of course), and filled with gold coins, pirate eye patches, rubber spiders, quarters, nickels, dimes, pearls and gemstones and fun toys
Put the map back in the bottle and place the cork TIGHT. Wait until everyone is out on the beach, make sure a camera ready, and toss the bottle in a wave just as the kids aren't looking and let the fun begin!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's that you said?

I like to find opportunities to use big words. Long, unusual words or sometimes those words people like Martha Stewart would use which would make me squint my eyes and say, "Dangit", because I didn't know the meaning and no one likes it when Martha Stewart can get their goat.

Also, using fancy new words keeps the mind sharp and makes people think you're smart...just in case they were wondering.
"Was that Dana just now, driving with her purse on the roof of her car? Bless her heart."
"Nah, couldn't be. I heard her say, 'disambiguate' last week. Must've been someone else."

Most folks only use 2000-3000 different words. Think how much more ingenious and aesthetic our day would be if we used creative words! Why just today I was looking for an opportunity to use 'apropos'. It means 'opportune, fitting, at the right time'. I love how it just flows off the tongue and sounds very French.

So, this morning I was cleaning out the kitty litter box and the darndest thing. Oh...wait. I probably should issue a disclaimer here. The following description may contain offensive and unappetizing visuals. Proceed with caution.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how...but our kitties 'create' things in the litter box. Their tee-tee makes arts and crafts in the litter. I once found a fish, with a dorsal fin, perfectly shaped tail fins and a little blue eye. It's hard to scoop and throw something like that away. We kept it and looked at it for about a week, saying, "well, I'll be" then finally threw it out.

This morning, I started to scoop, and there it was. A big 'T'. I've never seen a letter in the litter but sure as shootin' it was a 'T'. I pondered this for a while, wondering what it meant. And then it hit me! How apropos! Their tee-tee made a 'T', ha! Such smart kitties. (and yes, I broke it a bit when I started to scoop and had to reposition it for the photo op)

Tomorrow I shall look for my opportunity to say 'contumacious' but I might need to wait for Dirk to get home. (just kidding Dirk, ha!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Days become Ice Days! A pictorial of my drive to the North.


Today is day four of Atlanta and the surrounding area being literally shut down by all of the icy roads. I called Anna and she sounded a little stir crazy, so I volunteered to drive my all-wheel drive Subaru north into the snow and take her to lunch. I was figuring the road couldn't be too bad based on how they looked here in town. Maybe some snow on the side of the road here and there, but all in all, as long as you weren't in a shady Chick Fil-A drive-through, all was fine. (Yes, it IS possible to go five days without a Chick Fil-A sandwich!)

Tyrone on North 74. Clear and dry.

North 85, south of the airport, was still clear and dry except for the left lane. No more Mario Andrettis in the passing lane. The only folks who accidentally ended up there quickly slowed and moved over. Not sure why the left lane was so bad.

I was a little concerned about 285 since it had been shut down for 3 days and littered with tractor trailers. But this looks like summer day driving...almost.

And then there was the Paces Ferry exit. This is the bridge over 285. It's like suddenly all the ice, snow and north pole appeared out of nowhere.

I turned off of Cumberland Parkway and saw abandoned cars lining the road. I stopped and sat there. Could my car get up the hill? I decided to give it a try...a little try. If I slipped, I was backing down!

So far so good. This hill looked wet....or icy...hard to tell.

Made it up the big mountain and this is what Anna's condo complex looked like. Ice EVERYWHERE! The car made it fine, but walking was treacherous. I took about ten minutes tip-toeing across the road stepping in little dry patches. Thank the Lord Anna came out to greet me just in time to see me go down like a sack of potatoes!

After a nice lunch at Jim 'n Nick's (oh, those cheese muffins!), we headed back, visited for an hour and later, when I walked out to the car, I found the wet asphalt places which had provided strategic stepping stones, had now turned to slick ice. There were NO dry spots to walk on! This was a job for Kahtoola Microspike traction shoes! Dang, why hadn't I ordered some before all this crazy weather?! I made it home safely, put on my jammies and built a fire. I'm hurting a little from my fall, but mainly glad that next week it's going up to 60 degrees!