Carrot Cake, Anyone?


So I’m leading this Acts of Kindness group at my church, and in an effort to find a different kind of act of kindness, I discovered that today is National Carrot Cake Day. Well, who knew such a day existed? As it happens, there are all kinds of weird National Days we are going to have fun with.

Yesterday I started my quest to purchase a carrot cake to give away. Turns out, finding a carrot cake is a tad more difficult than I thought it would be. One place used to have a huge, delicious, reasonably priced carrot cake, but they now have a much smaller, not as beautiful one for $17.98. Um, no. To the side were cupcakes with a couple of carrot cake cupcakes mixed in, but I wanted all carrot cake cupcakes.

Today, I called a local place, but carrot cake has to be special ordered. Hmmm. I’m thinking they should have had some for this National Carrot Cake Day.

I could have baked carrot cake or cupcakes at home like one of my more industrious group members did–way to go!–but that would have required baking. Didn’t happen.

Finally, I went to Publix and got the beauty you see above. To make it even better, when I was checking out, I asked the nice lady ringing it up if she liked carrot cake. She exclaimed, “I LOVE carrot cake, and this is the best!”

“It’s yours,” I said.

Of course she wanted to know why, so I told her it is National Carrot Cake Day, and I wanted her to have it. Her face beamed.

I love it when all the parts of an act of kindness come together so well.

Now go eat some carrot cake.

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Adventures in Geocaching: HMGT #14 Dils Cemetery aka McCoy Gravesite


Dils Cemetery is our stop in this installment of the Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail Adventure.

Dils-Cemetery-McCoy-Family-Gravesite-HMGT

McCoy Gravesite Sign

Dils-Cemetery-stairs-climb-HMGT

See our white van way down there?

I had read about the uphill, mountainous hikes to the graves; I was a bit concerned.

Rightfully so, as it turns out. Good gracious—turns out all these mountain folks are buried, of all places, on mountains. Imagine that.

Dils-Cemetery-HMGT-stairs

Dils/McCoy Gravesite

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. In Alabama, we have nice, flat cemeteries. Drive up. Get out of your car. Stroll to grave. Easy. No fitness required.

Not so in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Dils Cemetery was our first introduction to vertical burials. This uphill climb graveyard visit took us to the graves of Randal and Sarah McCoy, their daughter Roseanna of the Johnse romance fame, and various McCoy and Hatfield graves.

Dils-Cemetery-headstone-Randal-Sarah-McCoy-HMGT

McCoy Headstone

Dils-Cemetery-Randal-Sarah-McCoy-Original-Marker-HMGT

Original Headstones

Also of interest is that Dils Cemetery is the first integrated cemetery in Eastern Kentucky.  Seems Colonel John Dils wasn’t a big fan of slavery, so he employed freed slaves and later provided burial spaces for them and their descendents.

Dils-Cemetery-Markers-HMGTFreed Slaves’ Graves

We walked about the graveyard, found the cache, and steeply descended the stairs to our car.

On a side note, when we arrived and got out of the car, a fireman and his daughter stopped us because we are from Alabama—I guess the Alabama plates and the Back-to-Back Championship magnet on the car tipped them off. His daughter wants to play softball at The University of Alabama, so we told them that would be a great choice. Roll Tide!

He also said that before the documentary came on TV, hardly anybody ever went “to that old man’s grave.” Now he said there are days he sees as many as 70 go see him in a day.

He helped an old woman go up there one day and spent “the most interesting three hours of my life with her.” She told him that Perry Cline could not have been involved as the lawyer because he was only 13 years old at the time. She also told him that Randal McCoy died after getting drunk and falling into a burning fire in the fireplace of a house that then burned down.

We heard various stories, and who knows what is fact or fiction at this point. All I know is that the whole deal is fascinating.

Dils-Cemetery-Sarah-Syck-HMGT

Sarah Syck’s Grave—what an interesting name.

Ready to go yet?

You can find more info here:

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3QE8B_hmgt-14-dils-cemetery?guid=3919e2b3-65d0-472b-873a-07e99cf3c077

Adventures in Geocaching: HMGT #13 The McCoy House


Adventures in Geocaching: HMGT #13 The McCoy House

I’ve known about the Hatfield-McCoy Feud most all of my life. My interest was renewed when the show Hatfields & McCoys came on TV in 2012. It didn’t hurt that Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton were the main players.

When I discovered that there was a Hatfield McCoy Geotrail winding through Kentucky and West Virginia, I was thrilled to go there, in part to check going to West Virginia off my bucket list. After all, I love the shape of the state and the stories from there. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Nick Saban is from there. Roll Tide.

We started with the McCoy House, and I was thrilled that the caches are big red boxes. I do love a cache that’s easy to find.

McCoy GeocacheWhen I read on the plaque that the McCoys moved here to get away from the Hatfields, I didn’t have that quite click until we visited one of the other sites.

McCoy PlaqueFor some reason I didn’t realize that this is the actual house the McCoys lived in after they were burned out of their house on Blackberry Creek. We visited this site first, and it was the last site we came to when we ate at the restaurant the night before we left. We got to see the upstairs and heard some history from the employees. Oh, and the food was very good.

McCoy Plaque 2

McCoy House Floor

Original Floor

McCoy House Newel Post

Newel Post and Pictures

McCoy House Light Switch

Original Light Switches

McCoy House Staircase

Staircase—It’s awesome to have my hand on the same rail as the McCoys’ hands.

McCoy House UpstairsUpstairs view from the outside

DH and I found the history here to be remarkable. You should plan a trip here even if you aren’t a geocacher. Do you think you’ll make the trip?

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3QEPW_hmgt-13-the-mccoy-house?guid=fec7ad5c-b147-47c9-8336-03b7fe7d5f4d

Don’t Miss the Little Very Important Things This Christmas


We celebrated Christmas on December 16th this year due to a variety of reasons. It was wonderful for many different reasons including no pressure for anyone to have to be celebrating with anyone else on that particular day. You know how it is—go here—go there—go everywhere—and have a hard time enjoying any of it. We’ve all been there.

So, this year, no pressure. Just a day, albeit early, to enjoy Christmas.

We did all the usual things—ate too much, bustled about, and then settled down to open the ridiculous number of presents. We start out rather organized with each one opening a gift at a time, and then descend into a kind of anarchy where there ensues a bit of pell-mell opening of gifts. Chaos. Lovely.

After all the presents were opened and the adult children with our grandchildren were heading home, I hear a small voice.

“Aren’t you going to open this present?”

“What, Little Baby?”

“Are you going to open this one?”

She pointed to the one lone remaining gift.

GG#3 Gift

“Is this for me?”

“Yes.”

Now, I had thought this gift just had candy that she had confiscated from a stash I had in the kitchen, so I didn’t think it was very important.

Boy, was I wrong.

Grandgirl #3 looked at me with her big brown eyes, and I could see that I had committed a grievous error.

I had overlooked her gift that she had made just for me.

This child had spent hours painstakingly sticking pins through sequins and beads making an Alabama ornament just for me.

GG#3 Ornament

And I had just left it sitting there.

When I opened it, tears sprang to my eyes. I’ve never received such a gift.

This child never ceases to amaze me. She will work hours on end on a project and then hand it to you like it took her two minutes to complete.

This one took the cake, and I almost missed it.

Please don’t miss the little important things coming your way this Christmas.

The Hunger Games Musings


After resisting commenting on The Hunger Games for months, I feel I must comment on the whole phenomenon now for some reason.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I guess the reason is that I went to see the movie–this after suffering through reading the trilogy.

I must tell you that the only reason I went to see the movie is because 13-year-old grandgirl was desperate to see it. Love will make you do things you never thought you’d do. Also, I had movie coupons. That made it easier to go, along with a Buffalo Wild Wings gift card, making the entire night my best price—FREE.

Back to the books. I read all three of them—count ‘em—3—because my daughter and grandgirl #1 were reading them. Honestly, I don’t get all this “I couldn’t put them down” posts I read (present tense) on an almost daily basis. The writing is weak, and the storyline predictable, much like the Twilight series of which I could only stomach 100 pages of before jumping ship. But that’s another story.

It took me FOREVER to read The Hunger Games and subsequent sequels.  I would read and wonder if the torture would ever end. Honestly, I did not and do not see the appeal of children killing children. I may be missing an underlying message, but I don’t see it at all.

After reading the first installment in particular, I couldn’t see how on earth they could produce this movie without it being a bloodbath. I will give them credit on keeping their young audience in mind and keeping the blood to a minimum and blurring many of the graphic scenes. Much. Blurring. Which in this movie is a very, very good thing.

I will say that I commiserate greatly with Gale. That stupid Katniss should have run like the wind into the woods with him instead of ending up with the spineless, lackluster Peeta. Poor Gale is an aside where he should have been developed into a major player, especially given the eye candy actor they cast in his role.

I don’t know how, but The Hunger Games has struck a collective nerve across the country. Someday, I’ll figure out just how to do that and walk away as a gazillionaire, too.

The Beach Boys, GG#1, & Me: 2001


Seeing The Beach Boys on the Grammys brought back some great memories for me.

As a child of the ’60s, I have listened to The Beach Boys all my life. I’m sure my first exposure was through my sister who is 10 years older than me (“I” if you are an English teacher reading this). Of course, I dumped them in favor of The Beatles as soon as I heard Paul sing, but The Beach Boys’ music resonated throughout my life.

Therefore, when I found myself in Southern California in 2001, and I heard that The Beach Boys were going to be performing at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar while I was there, I knew I had to go see them.

The Beach Boys (left to right): Carl Wilson, D...

Image via Wikipedia

Never mind that Brian Wilson and a couple more of the boys weren’t going to be singing. I HAD to go. Period.

Luckily it was a fair, after all, and I had grandgirl #1 as an excuse to go. Mind you, she was only 3 at the time, but a fair is a fun time even for a tot. She got to ride rides, and I got to see and hear music icons.

Believe it or not, I actually got in trouble with the parental units for keeping her out too late that night. We were out all the way past 9 p.m. Have you ever been in trouble for staying out that late at age 45? 😀 I knew crossed arms would meet me at the door, but I really didn’t care. The grandgirl and I were going to be able to say what most folks from Alabama could never say–we had seen and heard The Beach Boys live in concert. I knew she would never remember it, but I also knew I always would.

Finally Back To Normal


I didn’t think it would ever happen–the getting back to normal, that is. Thanks to an after Christmas trip, we didn’t get the Christmas decorations down until today. January 8th. The latest date we’ve ever delayed to.

Poor DH was so sick of looking at them. At least I was gone on a trip for seven days and didn’t have to look at them then. He, on the other hand, had to continue to view the merriment a week longer than I did.

I can always tell it’s way past time to take the decorations down when I don’t turn on any of the lights at night, much less during the day. I love Christmas lights, but a few days into January is as long as my love lasts.

The arduous task of removing the decor took over four hours. The most time-consuming was taking the ornaments off the tree. I did take great delight at chunking many of them that I decided I didn’t like anymore. I also had fun smashing the leftovers that didn’t make the cut. I figured if we didn’t like them enough to hang them, they might as well go away.

Except for a lone piece of tape still stuck above a doorway, and I’m sure some rogue decoration that I overlooked as I do every year, the Christmas decor is safely stored in the attic.

For the next 10 1/2 months anyway.