Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling? 6/18/22

This morning I’m marveling at how the “little things” we encounter in daily life can sometimes bring sudden bursts of joy to us.

“Close Encounters of the Little Kind”

A couple of weeks ago Robert and I were up near Monticello, NY and took a little walk. “Look, Neal!” he excitedly pointed, with a little too much morning verve for me. At first all I saw was a tree with splotchy marks on it, but getting closer I saw it … him … Mr. Tree!

And somehow Mr. Tree brought unexpected but welcome joy to our morning walk.

What little thing have you noticed lately that brought a smile or an “aww/awe” to your life?

Posted in These Vagabond Shoes

“These Vagabond Shoes” #5

Daily nerdy notes on our New York getaway.

French Crème Donut and coffee for a beautiful quick breakfast.

In an attempt to see just how embarrassingly touristy two people from Savannah can get, Robert and I hopped on the Roosevelt Island Tram and headed over to Roosevelt Island.

And enjoyed the greenery beside the East River.

“Hmm, how did I get so lucky to snare Neal?”

Posted in These Vagabond Shoes

“These Vagabond Shoes”

Daily nerdy notes on our New York getaway.

Robert and I are in Manhattan for a few days. But before that, we were all cool and hip up in the Catskills seeing grandson Daniel in his drama camp closing show …

HR, me and Daniel’s folks.
Post play with Daniel

Such fun!

Now we’re in Manhattan, pretending to be cosmopolitan and citified, and not provincial Savannahians. But having such trouble because I forgot to just pack all black chic clothing for both of us.


And I bought HR a horse!

More later.

I’m sure you’re holding your breath!

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/20/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge east of Atlanta is a 5,804 acre park named after Hard Labor Creek, a small stream that meanders through the park. There is uncertainty about the derivation of the creek’s name—either from enslaved people who tilled the summer fields, or from Native Americans who found the area around the creek difficult to ford.

Hubby Robert took almost all of the pictures in this post. Do you seriously think I could have created the shots below?

Guess which one I took.

In addition to hiking trails, Hard Labor Creek has two youth group camps, Camp Rutledge and Camp Daniel Morgan, both on Lake Rutledge. Another small lake, Lake Brantley, was named for the Brantley family killed by Native Americans in 1813. (On a scale of 1 to 10, how incredibly ironic is that? One white family gets killed by Native Americans … and get a lake named after them!)

Both the camps and the lakes were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Why didn’t those hardworking boys get a lake named after them? Let’s you and me rename Lake Brantley as Lake CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).

A couple of other eerily interesting tidbits:

1. Camp Daniel Morgan was the site for the filming of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

2. Camp Rutledge was examined by the TAPS Ghost Hunters show team to see if the camp and the surrounding forest are haunted by ghosts. The episode’s title? “Camp Fear.”

Finally, here’s Robert on a Hard Labor hike lecturing me and rambling on and on about something or other. If I remember correctly, it concerned the very best strategy to meticulously step over large exposed tree roots (and of course he should know, growing up in inner-city Baltimore) in order to avoid forestation, or something like that. (I often stop listening by telling him I really need to pause for a bit and “meditate.” He knows I have issues with anxiety, so he usually buys it.)

Anyway, when I finished “meditating,” I reeled back in terror at the blood recklessly splattered on the tree behind Robert (see it in the pic above?!) —and started running, expertly jumping over exposed tree roots.

A bad ghost at work perhaps? Jason?

I’m not complaining, but going to that state park was pure, hard labor.

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/19/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

We visited Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site in North Georgia in Cartersville while we were staying at nearby Red Top Mountain State Park. As with other state and national parks we visit, I’m both so thankfully happy that we have these physical remnants of Native American culture preserved and so frustratingly sad that we have so few of them left … especially as I contemplate the reason why.

“Home to several thousand Native Americans from 1000 A.D. to 1550 A.D., this 54-acre site protects six earthen mounds, a plaza, village site, borrow pits and defensive ditch. Etowah Mounds is the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast. Artifacts in the museum show how natives of this political and religious center decorated themselves with shell beads, paint, complicated hairdos, feathers and copper ear ornaments. Hand-carved stone effigies weighing 125 pounds still bear some original pigments.” (Park website)

“It is believed that the mounds were the work of a culturally advanced people and that their central metropolis once sat on the site. A culture of mound-builders, the people are said to have used the man-made hills both for burial purposes and as raised platforms for the homes of their elders and respected leaders.” (Atlas Obscura)

“By the time that what many consider to be traditional Native American culture dominated the land, the Mississippians had long since abandoned their city, leaving behind only remnants and mounds to tell their tale.” (Atlas Obscura)

We climbed again, scaling sacred ground.

And similar to our climbing at the Kolomoki Mounds in South Georgia, the air at the top here was old air, swaying with the past. It whispered to me that if I could somehow just adjust my all-that’s-really-important-is-in-the-now sight, my impervious in-the-now knowing, and hearing, I might be able to garner a treasuring, a cherishing of what WAS before. What still is, if I could but see and hear and know.

Looking down, we spotted a small ranger-led field trip of children. Robert quickly snapped their pic. I hope they come up here. And breathe this air.

We saw such beauty along the Etowah River’s Nature Trail.

A few of Robert’s photos …

I grew up about an hour away from these mounds in the tiny Cherokee County town of Ball Ground (so named after a version of baseball played by Native Americans). We were the Ball Ground School Indians. My mother had Cherokee blood in her ancestry and was born and raised in the nearby hamlet of Talking Rock. North Georgia is replete with Native American place names (I suppose most everywhere is). I graduated from Cherokee High School, a rival of nearby Etowah High and Sequoyah High. I rooted for the Atlanta “Braves.” As a young person, I never quite had the vision to see beyond the “cute Indian-ness” of my heritage and geography.

I suppose I simply have to keep looking. For First Nations are surely there to see.

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/18/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

At 3,640 feet above sea level on the Eastern Continental Divide, Georgia’s Appalachian Black Rock Mountain State Park near Mountain City is our state’s highest state park and “encompasses some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Roadside overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas, and four hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls and lush forests.” (Park website)

One very neat feature of this park is that once you walk out the door of the visitors center with your trail maps (and snack and Travel Tree ornament, of course), you are right at the Black Rock Overlook.

One not-so-neat aspect is Robert backing closer and closer to the 3446 feet drop. JUST TO TAKE A SELFIE.

Somehow he cajoled and pressured me into coming down from the safe snack machine at the visitor center to take another life-risking selfie.

Glorious hiking at the Eastern Continental Divide.

And here’s Robert at pier’s end … and obviously very happy! (Robert’s happiness barometer is set fairly low.)