Memorial Day Weekend 2017

29 May 2017 – Last Monday In May

Fri: another Field-Day and another year over@the snow-cone stand. Appreciations to the Irmo Elementary School PTA, staff&administration and volunteers for organizing a fabulous last Fri in school for the kids. Am still know as Linn’s mom here, like during all her school days 🙂 and am privileged to be so.

Sophie with her teacher Liesl Price, James being a sport pulling hard and Coach Goodale doing a good job. No pix of John as I was busy when his class was out in the afternoon.

Pix from the creative works posted outside the classrooms.

Thank you for lunch provided by the PTA.

Sat: bright and early 2hrs drive with Jeff, #3, 4&5 and Cindy to Ashville for Memorial Day celebrations with Jeff’s aunt Kathleen (Cindy’s sis) & her family. Linn, #1&2 had their own programs and were not able to make the trip.

Appreciations to Rob&Leslie (Jeff’s cousins)  for their gracious hospitality in their beautiful home@The Ramble – Biltmore Forest, a gated community in South Asheville, sculpted into 1,000acres of woodlands and bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The kids enjoyed wading in the creek while I did a bit of both.  On the log L-R – John, Jack, Lincoln, Amelia, Graham, James&Sophie – the brave ones went barefoot 🙂 Graham and I are the wise-ones 🙂 🙂  (pix credit to Leslie). Tested the new amphibious shoes in the creek (Astral, bought@Trail Days) and they worked well both in water and on-land.

Well-maintained asphalt trails surrounded by lush greenery. With their plentiful dagger-sharp thorns, it’s not hard to understand how the Hawthorn Tree got its name. Crataegus (from the Greek kratos strength and akis sharp, referring to the thorns of some species) commonly called hawthorn.

Good company with plenty of indoor&outdoors activities – even for the grandmothers, there are new toys to be discovered…

giant Jenga – amazing how Graham&John balanced these blocks until Ashley toppled it 🙂 🙂 🙂

Soap-bubbles never fail to entertain until the whiff of the hamburgers&hot-dogs on the grill by chefs Rob&Pat took over. Kathleen’s baking is to die for!

Enjoy your time with families&friends remembering that Memorial Day is to commemorate and honour all who have died in military service for USA. Thank you Kathleen&family for yummy foods.

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A great time was had by all young&old, big&small. Tkx to Rob for the ride around the neighbourhood in the back of his truck (pix credit to Kathleen) – been awhile since I did something like this! Was thrilled to see these cute fox-cubs playing on our way out of the Biltmore Forest.

Sun: nice quiet day while the family is at church, bdays&graduation parties.

Mon: The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war ― Douglas MacArthur

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Mon: Memorial Day here in the US, thus a public holiday and boating time for The FaBulous5. Was out earlier tubing with #2 (+her friend), 3,4&5.

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Remained on land with #3,4&5 as they wanted to swim and I learnt from #3 about a Dragonfly nymph’s skin he found. This boy sure knows his insects!!

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L&J took the teenagers #1(+3friends) & pre-teens #2(+1friend) first tubing and then water-skiing. These parents deserve a medal for their patience 🙂 My hat off to them.

137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America’s most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed – it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy – Doc Hastings

Awards 2017

26 May 2017 – Last Full Week Of School

Mon: CrossRoads Intermediate School was formally CrossRoads Middle School. Congratulations to The Cougar Orchestra for placing Superior at the Music USA Festival in FL last weekend. That was when Ellie was away the same weekend I was at Trail Days.

Ellie’s Awards Night where she received awards for Leadership, Math Olympiad&Principal’s List – congratulations and what an achievement.

The FaBulous5 wanted milkshakes@Zaxby’s, but first they had to have a bite before milkshakes. The milkshakes work wonders for the kids’ brains in this case 🙂 as it seems to be their usual request after awards ceremonies the few times I had the privilege to witness them receiving their awards.

Katy having fun with Apps on her phone, tkx #1. Will probably be awarded in a Freak-Show hahaha lol. Here’s to those who ask why I do not like to have my pix taken…

Tue & Wed: has been raining non-stop all day, but not cold – so no worries about running errands and even quite refreshing. Everything is so green and perfect snoozing weathers. The forecast for Wed weather was incorrect as the rains continue

Sad news from the UK with the bombing in Manchester Arena and the passing of Sir Roger Moore (89). Prayers and condolences to all affected.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40032504

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40018422

BBC

Early memories of him in The Saint (pre-James Bond), a mystery spy thriller TV series that between 1962 and 1969. Enjoyed those series more than the James Bond movies. It was based on the literary character Simon Templar created by Leslie Charteris in the 1920s and featured in many novels over the years.

My father believed in toughness, honesty, politeness and being on time. All very important lessons – Roger Moore. So did my father and agree there fully with Roger Moore.

Thu: waking to a beautiful morning with the perfect temps of 61°F/17°C; the chirping of the birds and a lovely sunrise breaking thru’ the rustling of the leafs in a breeze. Laying in bed to enjoy moments like these are sooo soothing for body&mind.

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Welcome to MoFo’s grandson Jackson McLean Wilson to the world.

Retire into thyself. The rational principle which rules has this nature, that it is content with itself when it does what is just, and so secures tranquility – Marcus Aurelius

Trail Days (2) 2017

22 May 2017 – Parade, Dinner&Banquet

Sat: breakfast@Zazzy’z and enjoying the companies of Wiggs, MoFo, Whamo, Lizard, Loon&RisingEagle for Trail Days at the food, craft, beer and gears vendors.

Watching from the comforts under a shaded-porch of the Hikers Inn – appreciations to Lee&Paul. A good turn up, especially from the 2017group for the parade, great to see Loon&Rising Eagle in the parade. The sky opened up just after the parade passed by the Hikers Inn. Attended Jen Pharr’s talk on A Thru-Hiker Recovery Program.

Sooo good to see HiHills&Franklin. Dinner@Rain****(without any rain!) appreciations to them for taking a detour to catch up and for dinner. Tkx to Raising Eagle for his entertainment and finally to meet him.

Sun: wet morning but happy to capture a Kodak moment patch of sunrise. Bye and tkx for this time round Alpine Motel. Breakfast@MoJo’s recommended by Lee.

Wet wet drive (practically a tropical storm at some stretches) in VA, TN, (providing Trail-Magic again@Sam’sGap), NC, back to SC and a stop for lunch@FatzCafe. Many tkx to Wiggs&MoFo for driving and do understand that it is not easy on him not knowing when the grandson decides to pop out to this world! All’s well that ends well and he will be back home for the birth of his grandson.

And I am happy to be back in time for the Irmo High Track Banquet –  appreciations to Coach Barry Lee as this is his last track season. Good to meet his family, Amy & their 3boys, Graham, Andrew and Ryan and nice to catch up with Denise, Ashley and Lily again.

Trail Days 2017

20 May 2017 – Damascus, VA

Mon: feeling blessed watching my first-born in the serenity with her new toy on the lake.

Tue: an efficient day – getting a phone and tkx to Brian@Walmart for his patience for setting this flip-phone to working mode for me (now I have 2phones and do not really know how to use them?? but tkx to Katy, I might now know how to text 🙂 ); driver’s license renewed@DMV for US$12.50/S$18 and sorting out bank matters. Appreciations to Linn for the use of her car.

Wed: hurra for 17mai from us in the US. Had to make a quick run to Walmart to pick up a new US flag, the old one was torn and it would be disrespectful to have it next to the Norwegian one! Being a weekday and with L&J having a meeting to attend, did not celebrate to the full extent, but marked the day with the colours!

Thu: 0930hrs headed for Trail Days Festival in Damascus/VA. Lunch@BT’sBurgerJoint***Biltmore Park Town Square Asheville. Had the low-carb burger with loads of onions, yummy! Taken by iphone, forgot to charge battery in camera.

MoFo, the Trail Angel@Sam’sGap with Sky&Spontaneous, a soon to be triple-crown from S-Korea.

Tkx to MoFo, we got into Damascus 1500hrs and he got the chance to do whatever he needed to get his gears ready for his PCT hike and I got my 12yrs old GraniteGear pouch fixed. This is the location most of us thru’-hikers get our camping and hiking stuffs repaired, thus known to us hikers as the friendliest trail-town.

Appreciations to One Way Ministry for the Hiker Feast@The FireHall with MoFo& Whamo, good chicken and coleslaw. A good time was had by all and everyone had their bellies filled

Fri: TGIF after a good night sleep@Alpine Motel/Abingdon, ready for a lovely morning and a delightful 13k/8m (3hrs) walk from Alvarado to Damascus with MoFo&Whamo on the Virginia Creeper Trail with the flow of South Fork Holston River.

Plenty of wide-life including having the privilege to witness a turtle (have been told by Yung from KCH that it is a alligator snapping turtle) laying eggs on the side of the trail – bringing back childhood memories of watching the big sea-turtles laying eggs in Kuantan/Malaysia and felt sad. To learn now that the crying with egg-laying (that’s the only time they come ashore), and that they cry in the sea as well. The tears help flush sand from their eyes – knowing this, I can now feel happy&appreciate that memory more.

Lunched@The Old Mill***where I had my first decent meal (steak&a glass of red wine) during 2005 AT-Thru’hike! Appreciations for yummy Chicken Alfredo dinner to the Shaws from ME.

Neal Steeno & Tim Keenan’s presentation Naneek@the Rock School. Ended the day with MoFo, Whamo, Miss Wiggy, Lizard, Loon, and Rising Eagle for a beer@The Mill again. Looking forward to seeing HiHills&Franklin tomorrow.

Mother’s Day 2017

16 May 2017 – Time To Listen To The Body…

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Fri&Sat: L&K@SC High School League/SCHSL and Track 2017 (pix credits to L&K). If the memory serves me correctly, those were long-drawn out meets when I was cheering and supporting Linn in her high-school days! Congrats to IrmoHighGirls 4×4 for breaking their school record, from 3.59 (35yrs ago) to 3.57 (2017- pix from IHS Track Banquet taken after this posting).

Sat: a walk to the lake in the surroundings of this lovely peaceful neighbourhood. Ellie&I were planning salmon and shrimps for the Mother’s Day menu and in walked Jeff and said that he has shopped and bought food for Mother’s Day and guess what he had with him, great men’s mind think alike but fools seldom differ – lol

Enjoying and taking time with the shopping at WalMart and Krogers (1-7/24hrs) for their choices, conveniences, selections, space, prices –

when you have recently arrived from Norway, everything seems inexpensive and reasonable here, even a tank of gas for the Volvo was less than US$30!

Nice to be able to roast marshmallows on this beautiful cool evening and a seldom time to get a family pix on the eve of Mother’s Day. The only grandchild I got up to feed nightly the first week of her life – Sophie has now got her new front teeth and chewing happily on her S’mores 🙂 One of the coaches stopped by to chat and was up until pass 0200hrs, not usual for me!

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, Mother Earth and Mother Nature. Shandon Baptist Church, but do miss Rev Dick Lincoln who retired in Mar after 38yrs on the pulpit. There were enough cup-cakes for the whole congregation today!

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The power of playing a musical instrument! To my parents, especially mother – tkx for the encouragement&patience (been playing since I was 5 and still at it); grandchildren – do not stop; ex-students Claire&Audrey – keep at it; Simplicius&Rit – stay with it and to others who plays, play on 

https://www.facebook.com/VICE/videos/1528273777224381/?pnref=story

Church services are not what they used to be like when my maternal grandfather was a minister then!

Would usually sit outside during the loud noises but wanted to be with the family today and boy, it will be the last time sitting inside – hope that the heart has not gone Afib and the eardrums are in tact!!

Katy’s presentation for the starter – smoked salmon&lobster’s claws (seldom manage to get a pix of this lovely teen in action 🙂 ) and Ellie’s yummy Luscious Lemon Cake for dessert. Lucky to have a family who likes food as much as I do. Good to catch up with Cindy. Was too tired to join the gang on the boat later – the mind is so willingly but body says no.

Amtrak

12 May 2017 – From MIA/FL To CAE/SC

Wed: 1150hr – MIA was the first station on this train journey. Station#14 1950hrs, hi to all my Orlando and 2015hrs hi Winter Park friends in the neighbourhood of station#15. Passing by on the Amtrak and was greeted by this glorious sunset. 2100hrs, DeLand station#16 – after that was too tired to keep tab of the stations and fell asleep.

Last heard on the announcement was that JAX will be in an hour and that the lights will be dimmed and no more announcements after 2200hrs. For REAL, but last heard in raised voices from 2men (1Caucasian and 1AfricianAmerican, about my age) just in front of me – see that line here, your butt is on my seat and you have crossed the line!!! And I who thought that the seats are quite spacious. That was when I decided to put on ear-plugs and eye-shades! Welcome on board the Amtrak 🙂 and believe me, experiences on the Grey Hound is another chapter… lol.

Thu: up about 0230hrs and did not have a clue as to which station but knew that we were somewhere in SC. By 0415hrs we pulled into CAE on a bright full moon night. Tkx Linn for arranging Albert, the cheerful Uber driver who got me safely here by 0500hrs. Thank goodness Zuno did not make too much noise – had a good 4hrs of a well-needed rest.

0930hrs: woke up to a quiet house, got a treat for Zuno to get him to post for me 🙂 Found these creative colourful mask – what a cheerful welcome! My precious family here certainly more than rocks and all that travel is worth the while.

Tonight starts one of the school year ending events – Ellie playing@The CrossRoads Cougar Orchestra year ending concert. Like her outfit for the theme from Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini, the finale piece with delightful appropriate drumming.

Bravo to Ms Murray for getting such a large group of strings in time&tune. Encore to the principal Mr Hutchinson for his drumming. Best of luck to their performance at Universal Studios next weekend.

Fri: TGIF – am worn-out just listening to Linn’s schedule for this weekend, unable to keep up or even remember! Jeff is on call, so I will stick around and make myself useful, ie do some laundry and cook for the family.

Hello USA

11 May 2017 – Norwegian Airlines

downloadTue: bye for now, Olai but will be back next month and looking forward to seeing how much colours the USA-map has gotten before his USA road-trip. This beautiful sunset with the ski-jump in the far background reminds me of the sky in Munch’s Scream! (latest news about the sky on the link below).

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39697256

Good 9hrs flight on Norwegian Airlines (budget airline) having 3 seats to myself and 3 screens to view movies (so-so selection), touch-screen to order F&B (by CCpayment of course!) and the route-map. This 787 Boeing Dreamliner is quite amazing – with a push of a button the windows can be darkened, but still not so effective as the old-fashion ones.

1900hrs on schedule into FLL, had to park on the tarmac and was bussed to the airport! So Spirit Airlines were the culprits as to why there were no jetways for our plane!! First time@US immigration where no questions as to how long I have been away from the US! Instead a lovely warm Welcome Home handsome smile. Made my day 🙂 A shared-cab to the hotel – waiting for transportation and dropping off the other person took more time than immigration.

3 LI Residents Charged In Fights At Florida Airport After Spirit Airlines Cancels Flights

Happy to be able to check into a clean room+attached bathroom@Ramada Hialeah/Miami Airport North (pix taken after checking out!). Was dead tired and hungry, but just a fast shower to wash away the airports&airplane dust and crashed.

Wed: up bright and early to soak in the bath tub. Welcome back to the world of plentiful and convenience. Time to head down the road for some breakfast and shopping. Hialeah is an area inhabited by Spanish speakers and many in the grocery store could not speak English. No problems getting what I needed at any of the stores, and No, yo no hablo español…

18765849_1728200840528505_3116556928503979834_nWhat a nice surprise to hear from Sammi – have not seen her for 20+yrs, ie when she was a little kid. Good of her to drive an hour to have dinner with me@Red Lobster. Lovely to catch up and hear about her life.

She is the only person I know of who has 2Bengal Cats as pets and also the first time I have heard of Bengal Cats looking like mini leopards! They are only kittens now, but she will have a handful when they reach full size.

Thu: soaked again in the tub this morning before heading out to the MIA Amtrak St. The luxury of a bath-tub, something I do not have! Contentedly on the train passing thru’ places flashing back a previous life in FL 🙂 When there is no rush, the train is definitely a pleasant way to travel. F&B I like ready-packed, a book, WiFi on board, comfortable&spacious seat, nap whenever my eyes are tired – what else can one ask for more where public transportation is concerned…