Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Family Thanksgiving, Franklin TN

It is not often that we are close enough to our children to share a Thanksgiving meal with them. This year, however, we were :)

Our Wednesday camp host duties don’t end until 5:00 PM, so we opted to wait until Thursday morning to drive the 110 miles to Franklin, TN. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was an easy drive.

We arrived to find them all huddled around the TV watching the Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions :) We have our own little Packer cheerleader, Sabrina.

Family picture alert!

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The ladies of the house were busy in the kitchen during commercials. This is daughter, Carrie and granddaughter, Lily.

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Patrick and Rick playing with their toys :) Patrick is giving Rick instructions on how to play a game on his new Kindle Fire.

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Maggie and Sabrina showing off their gymnastic skills on the bed. Shhh, don’t tell their mom!

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This is what we’ve been waiting for :) YUM!

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Everyone filled their plates and found a spot at the table. Let the feast begin!

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Clockwise from the left: Carrie, Sabrina, Maggie, Lily, Dolores (Thomas’s mother) Thomas, Rick and Patrick.

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Everything was scrumptious! Boy, was there a lot of dishes though! :)

I think one of the nicest things about getting older is that your kids invite you, do the cooking and even the dishes :)

All that was expected of us, was to sit down with the kids and watch the movie “Elf”. It’s a favorite in their house and we had never seen it.

(Big surprise! We haven’t seen a LOT of things!)

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Around 9:30 PM, Thomas took the 2 oldest, Lily & Patrick out to do a Black Friday Extravaganza.

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Thomas is the shopper in this family. He loves a good bargain and the kids were beyond thrilled to be able to partake in this crazy ritual :) Carrie was more than happy to stay home with the 2 youngest and visit with her parents!We were all in bed by 11:00. The shoppers dragged themselves home around 2:30 AM, tired and shopped out :)

We headed back to Alabama Friday afternoon, leaving all the shopping to them. (They went out again!) I do little to no Christmas shopping these days. I left a check with them so they could do their own shopping :) I’ll pick up a couple things online or some gift cards and that will be it. Just the way I like it!

We both hope you had a wonderful holiday also. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bits and Pieces from Tuscumbia

The past week has gone by quickly for me, for some reason. The weather has gone from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cool. Today is warm but breezy and rainy.

I want to thank all those that commented or emailed me on my Costco/Sam’s dilemma. It would appear that the vast majority of you have neither. I do agree with the comments regarding having to carry a card for every store. I hate all the grocery store cards I have accumulated.  I do look at the warehouse clubs differently though. They have served our needs for large purchases that paid for the membership many times over. The one that stands out in my mind, is eyeglasses. We found that we could save a couple hundred dollars over using other eyeglass places. That was after insurance at the other place! Costco does not take insurance, but their prices are incredible as well as their service. Anyhoo, I guess we’re going to just wait until we need a large purchase like that and get another membership then. I appreciate all your feedback.

The other day, we took a drive to the Wilson Dam, part of the Tennessee Valley Authority. This is the largest dam in the TVA system and it was impressive. The dam is 137 feet high and stretches 4,541 feet across the Tennessee River.

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There’s a short walking trail adjacent to the parking area and we were able to get a little better view.

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It was a cloudy, blustery day but the view was still pretty nice across the reservoir. It’s hard to see from the picture, but there’s a very nice house behind those trees. Quite the view for them!

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As we were battling the wind, this huge sign warned us to be careful.

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I don’t have a great zoom on my camera so it may be difficult to see, but this dam was built with ancient Roman and Greek architecture style. Just a reminder that any photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.

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Arriving at one end of the bridge

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Beginning the trip across

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There is a sidewalk-like area on the left-hand side but I’d be very afraid to walk this. Between the traffic and the winds, I doubt it would be a good idea.

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There appears to be an observation tower of some sort at the other end of the bridge. We did not explore this as it seemed to be on private property.

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In other news this week, Rick became the proud owner of a new Kindle Fire :) This is the new hybrid Kindle that is also a tablet. So far, he likes it but is still getting used to it. The Fire weighs about twice that of his old Kindle, so he still prefers that for reading, but size and weight-wise, it’s much more motorhome friendly than his 15” Dell laptop, so maybe it will eventually replace that.

Yesterday, we spent the entire day in the neighboring city of Florence. We wandered the downtown area taking in an authentic general store, the Kennedy-Douglas Center for the Arts and a couple other things that caught our eye.

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There was tons of Carrhart products inside, at very reasonable prices.

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I loved these metal sculptures outside the Art Center!

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Notice this fierce dog is chained to the light post :)

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Don’t you love the purple argyle cow with the string of pearls?

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If I had a yard, and a lot of money, I’d put out things like this :)

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I think yards should be fun!

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Once we left this creative area, I spotted a sign further down the sidewalk but could only read the upper part of it.

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Just what I needed! I need to get my head examined! I’ve been told that a time or two so thought this might be my lucky day :) But alas, it was not to be :)  A very clever advertising campaign by that jewelry store though!

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Then there was Florence, the cow. Grazing contentedly outside a shop called the Wine Seller, she’s apparently on the lam from the authorities :)

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By this time, we had worked up an appetite, so we headed to Bunyan’s BBQ for what we had been promised were the BEST BBQ sandwiches around.

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This place is, basically, just an old “hole in the wall” building but it’s been in operation for many years. Their claim to fame, is their pulled pork sandwich smothered in a spicey, mustardy slaw mixture. Very good! They also serve Slaw Dogs which seem to be popular. It’s the same spicy slaw served on a hotdog. We didn’t try those…maybe next time.

(Once again, thanks to Deborah for the tip)

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Just down the street from Bunyon’s, we found the birthplace of WC Handy, the “Father of the Blues”.

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WC was born in the 2 room cabin you see above. The structure was originally in another location and was disassembled and moved to the current location. It was reassembled and became part of the building that houses the WC Handy Museum.

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More metal sculptures!

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This was the entry into the museum. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed past that point.

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We took the guided tour and wandered the grounds for quite awhile. His life was fascinating. It’s amazing to me, that with all odds stacked against him, he became a huge success. I guess it goes back to the old adage, “Never give up”!

We completed our day with a movie, J Edgar. It’s the first movie we’ve been to in quite some time. We enjoyed it; Rick, more than I :) I thought it was a bit long and drawn out in places but, it may have just been the fact that I had to sit still for so long!

My apologies for the very lengthy and photo heavy blog this time. I hope it wasn’t too much. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Costco or Sam’s Club-The Dilemma

This is a beautiful, sunny and warm (75°) Sunday afternoon. It would be the perfect day for a hike. Except for the fact that the wind is howling with sustained winds of 25 mph and gusts to 40. Our slide-toppers are threatening to take off on their own! A trip to the dumpster to take out the garbage was a challenge to remain vertical :)

I use days like this to research, debate things in my head and nap :)

So, here is my dilemma today: Costco costco

or Sam’s?

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Or neither? Apparently, neither is out of the question. I have been informed that we will be replacing our house batteries in the next few months and that the savings on these alone will more than pay for the annual membership of Sam’s ($40) or Costco ($50).

So, here’s the thing. We have been Costco Members for many years. To say I am addicted to that place might be an understatement. I depend on them for coffee, meat, seafood, over-the-counter meds, batteries, roasted ready to eat chickens :) and, did I say coffee??

Our Costco membership is up for renewal in December. In our travels over the past year (to many states), I have seen less than a half dozen Costco’s yet I see Sam’s Clubs everywhere! Costco has 425 locations in the US. That sounds like a lot, right? I just don’t know where they all are!  Yes, yes, I’ve looked them up but we don’t plan our travels around Costco’s…usually :)  In comparison, Sam’s has 602. Not that huge of a disparity. Well, OK, 42% more stores. They, obviously, put their stores in places we go!

So, I’d like your input. Do you have one or both of these memberships? If you have both, which do you prefer and why? If you are a Sam’s member, can you tell me what their meat quality is like?

Costco’s meats, seafood and produce are of an excellent quality. I don’t want to lose that.

I have a month to research myself crazy and make a decision. Switch to Sam’s or stay with Costco and just plan huge stock-ups when we finally run into one?

Thanks for your help today and thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Just outside Lucy’s door here at Heritage Acres RV Park, there is an open field between us and Highway 72 West. At the far end of this field, we can see a rather nondescript building, or rather the back of a building along with what appears to be some sort of shelter or stage area.

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Looking at this same building from the front, you see the “Alabama Music Hall of Fame”.

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Once inside, you walked into a huge Alabama tribute to their native musical artists. It didn’t matter the genre of the music, be it country, jazz, soul, rock or anything in between. If you were born in Alabama, you were included in this tribute. Everyone from W.C. Handy, the father of the blues, IMGP3436IMGP3429to Taylor Hicks, the 2006 American Idol winner were represented.

The lobby floor had Hollywood-like stars embedded in the tile.

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The walls were adorned with portraits.

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There were plaster and wax figures of some of the more prominent members.

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They even included an old Alabama tour bus.

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And, this “unique” Golden Country Western Car.

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I must say, I found that car rather disturbing :) I think it would take a special kind of person/someone with a lot of guts to drive around in that thing! It puts a whole new meaning to the word “gaudy”!

I think the thing that surprised me the most was the history of the Muscle Shoals Music Recording Industry. Who would have thought that the little town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama would have been a huge recording mecca? Yet it was. It was here that Aretha Franklin got her start. It was known as the Muscle Shoals sound and it drew celebrities from all over the country to record here. Artists like Bob Seger, Paul Simon, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and even the Rolling Stones came, as well as the Supremes and Otis Redding. There are still active recording studios in Muscle Shoals and although not as booming as in the 60’s and 70’s, the Muscle Shoals sound lives on today.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Hall of Fame. After leaving, we decided to get a bite to eat at a local institution called “The Rattlesnake Saloon”. This is basically a saloon built under a huge rock slab. Very clever design.

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There was indoor and outdoor seating. It was cool and breezy so we chose indoor. There didn’t appear to be anyone sitting outside while we were there, but the band had arrived and they were setting up for the evening. Saloon may be a bit of a misnomer in that no alcohol is served until after 5:00 PM. Alcohol = beer only. The food was a selection of mostly breaded and deep fried things. Rick happily devoured his 1/2 # burger and onion rings :) I tried to pick something a bit healthier and ordered a grilled chicken breast sandwich. My mistake. The chicken was dry, over-cooked and difficult to eat. I guess when in Rome… :)  Next time, I’ll go for the fried something or other :)

Those of you who know me are probably wondering how I could possible go into a place called the Rattlesnake! I freak at a picture of a snake. Well, I found that if you just sit at the table with your eyes averted and don’t look around AT ALL, you can do it just fine :)

All in all, this is a clever concept of a place and I think we might have enjoyed it more if we’d gone later when there were more people, the band was playing and we could have enjoyed a beer with our meal instead of lemonade. It was one of those things on our list and it’s now crossed off. With many other highly rated restaurants in the area, I doubt we’ll return, but never say never :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle