Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Greetings From The Beach!!

Greetings from The Ritz!! We’ve had three beautiful days so far. On the way over Thursday night I decided to call Whitney and check on things. My phone was nowhere to be found! After a thorough search through my purse, I remembered that I had last used it driving home from work- and laid it on the front seat. Grrrrr... Not to worry, mom has her cell phone- except she forgot her charger!! A fine pair we are! Oh well, Whitney has been calling the house phone and keeping in touch regularly. I’ve missed talking to DJ and The Snoops, but I’m surviving okay. I was a little worried about an internet connection, but finally got that working too. So- all is well at The Ritz and life is good. Yesterday morning found me in an extremely lazy mood and nursing a headache, so I stayed inside while Mom and Dad spent the day on the beach. It was fabulous to simply lounge about and watch movies (between naps). After dinner we took our chairs and sat on the beach until well after dark. Ahhhh….This is the life!! It was fairly crowded today, probably more so than I’ve seen it over here. There are lots of cute little tykes over here, and I can’t wait to bring Leyland. She would have a great time. I really miss the little munchkins and can’t wait to see them. Dad brought some airplanes and windmills, and business has been good. He sold all the planes that he had, and only had a few more windmills left, but has made several more. Before I left, my boss asked me if I was bringing my bikini. When I told him I was, he laughed and said “I’d like to see that!” Well, here ya go, Dr. M. Me in my bikini. (Thirty five years ago!) Ha!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doin The Mary Dance!!!

A few weeks ago Mary was here for the weekend, and was being her usual cute, sweet little munchkin self. Something or other made her really happy, and she started doing this little dance and saying “Uhh Huh… Oh Yeah…” . It was so cute. That’s her new thing, and whenever she is happy, she’ll break out into the little dance. A week or so later, we were having dinner while Leyland was in her play yard watching Elmo. At one point we heard her singing something we didn’t recognize, and something that didn’t belong in the Elmo movie. As we listened closer, we could very distinctly hear her saying “UhhhHuuuh… Oh Yeeeeah….” Oh My, we just about choked on dinner. We peeked over the banister, and sure enough, she was dancing!! What an irresistibly adorable, precious little girl!!! Now if you could only see me right now. It’s 27 minutes until quittin time, and as soon as I get to Mom and Dad’s house, we’re off to the Ritz! Watch for news from Myrtle Beach from Yours Truly. UHHHHH HUHHHH…… OH YEAH…..!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Approaching Labor Day

A curvy mountain road winds it’s way along the shores of Lake Burton, crosses the river below the dam, then ambles along beside the sleepy waters of Seed Lake. Just past the dam, tucked into the woods on the side of a mountain, stands an icon of my childhood. Every Labor Day weekend that I can remember from early childhood to my late thirties was spent within (and without) the walls of this place, known simply as “The Mountains”. The Dunahoo clan, along with various and sundry family friends, would gather at Uncle Bill and Aunt Carolyn’s cabin in north Georgia. Labor Day weekend marks the end of the DNR trout stocking in the area streams, and the menfolk were just crazy about standing in the icy waters, reeling in those rainbow trout. What a fun family tradition! Each respective branch of the clan would arrive on Friday evening, sleeping bags, tackle boxes and junk food in tow. The menfolk would sit on the porch and dutifully thread their fishing line, making sure the drag was set just so. Sleeping bags were arranged meticulously on the front porch, each fellow having his own favorite spot in which to catch a few winks. Up well before dawn, they’d set off for the upper reaches of the Tallulah River and engage in a friendly competition to see who could catch the most fish. “The Big Hole”, “The Bridge” and “The Bend” denoted some of their favorite spots. The women, on the other hand, stayed awake most of the night talking and catching up. (Back in those days, it was long-distance to talk by phone- no toll-free cell phones!) Next morning they would grumble profusely when the menfolk made too much noise as they left for the river. Children were scattered here and yon, cousins delighted to be together for a weekend of adventure. Maybe we’d start out in one room, sleeping with one cousin, and end up crawling in the bed with another cousin or our mom. Saturday was a very busy day! There were several must-do activities, and though we repeated them year after year, we never grew bored with them. We would get up and have our milk and cereal, get dressed, then Go To Town. “Town” was about 20 miles away over curvy mountain roads, and there would usually be some kind of festival that included sidewalk sales and hot dogs at the fire department. When we were really good, we sometimes even got an ice cream at the drugstore. My favorite store was an Ace Hardware-type store that carried fascinating outdoor wind chimes, and other unusual items. After returning to the cabin for lunch and a short rest, it was off to climb and walk across the dam. The back side of “our” mountain forms part of the shoreline of Lake Burton, and the dam is just down the street. Years ago there were no security issues, and one could climb up a steep rocky path and actually walk across the dam. When I was a very young, I was almost afraid to breathe- the cold, deep waters on one side of the dam posing unknown dangers, and on the other a very, very long drop to the tiny river below. Arriving back home safely, we kids would venture down the street to the “rock quarry”. This favorite play spot was not a rock quarry at all, rather the fascinating result of the DOT using dynamite when the road was built many years ago to blast the rock inside the mountain. It scares me to death now to remember how we climbed about those rocks, cliffs, and ledges like little monkeys. No Fear. It was a quite impressive formation, and one year we were furious that the Army was using our fortress for a rappelling training ground, thus barring our play. The last time I saw the rock quarry it was so overgrown with foliage and trees that you could hardly see it. Barely visible was the very top perch, and I shudder to think of climbing there. Next, a steep climb down the pasture in front of the cabin would take us to the boathouse and dock on the quiet banks of Seed Lake, still just a river at this point. Quiet, that is, until the siren sounded and they opened the gates of the dam. Then the water would pass by with a swiftness that belied its strength and power. No swimming allowed here! Later we would wander over to the creek to wade or catch crawdads. We were great explorers as we “climbed the mountain” via the stream. Time permitting, we would take a trip to Helen, a nearby tourist town with a Bavarian theme. Our final traditional adventure was a visit to the dental office. Around the turn of the century, Uncle Bill’s dad was a dentist and had an office in the basement. There we would carefully sit in the antique dental chair and look through the drawers at the archaic instruments. There were even a few sets of false teeth laying around after all these years. I can still remember the sterile smell of the room, and how we were so careful not to break anything. After the fish-fry on Saturday evening, we kids would play with poker chips and the adults would play pinochle long into the night. Families grow and change, and time brings about both blessings and unwelcome heartache. Our family is different now, and so many of them are no longer with us. It almost hurts to remember the times in the mountains because The Stainback Men are no longer here. We miss them so much. As another Labor Day weekend approaches, though, I can’t help but remember all the happy times spent at the cabin tucked away on the side of our mountain. And it hits me all over again how blessed I am to belong to this family.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hail To The Chief!

How many Presidents can you remember in your lifetime? Born during the second term of the Eisenhower era, I have lived under the leadership of ten different Commanders-In-Chief. Though I remember neither his election nor his presidency, one of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother weeping in her rocking chair, feeding my new baby brother, watching the TV coverage of JFK’s assassination. Along with the rest of the nation, she was so very sad. I remember feeling sad too, though at that time, not really sure why. I vaguely remember LBJ, though admittedly, my sole impression of him at the time was that his wife and daughters had really strange names! Most Americans probably associate Viet Nam with LBJ, and I remember every week in Sunday School praying for “our boys in Viet Nam”, especially those from our hometown. Next, of course, came Nixon. Who can ever forget that! Those jowls flapping as he vehemently claimed “I am not a crook!” What I remember most about his presidency was growing so weary of the Watergate scandal, the interruption of perfectly good television for news coverage, and the disappointment most Americans felt. Gerald Ford’s term was at a time when I cared not one iota about what was going on in the world. I was in high school, and nothing mattered except my clothes, driving the car, my friends, and my boyfriends. The fall of 1976, though, found me eligible to vote for the first time. Seems that back in those days most folks around here were Democrats. Was it just a few short years ago that the Democrats were the conservatives and the Republicans the liberals? Maybe… maybe not… but I just can’t imagine my dear old grandma and my parents being liberals. At any rate, we just “were” democrats. My mom and my grandma used to work the election poll in my little town, and Mama Nay was very proud, when like a good little Georgia Girl, I asked for a Democratic ballot upon which to cast my first-ever presidential vote for Jimmy Carter. Why did I vote for Jimmy? Well, probably for the same reason that black folks will vote for Barak, and so many women voted for Hillary. It wasn’t about his platform, it was his popularity with the folks here in Georgia, despite his outrageous, beer-drinkin’ brother Billy. Jimmy was a good ol’ boy, and a Sunday School teacher to boot.. so he MUST be the better choice. Right? But then came the day when I walked into the polls and asked for a Republican ballot. The poll workers are not supposed to comment, advise, or campaign in any way, shape or form to the voting public. Nevertheless, when I stated “Republican”, Mama Nay pierced me with those chocolate brown eyes of hers and said “Mmmmm…Caaaaaathy!” I couldn’t help but smile. Mr. Carter lost the election that year to Mr. Reagan, and I felt like I had made the right choice to “switch” parties. Why did I choose to do so? Though I did examine his ideas and found them to my liking, it probably was not based so much on platform as on the fact that I just liked the guy and felt like he would make a good leader. And I guess I'm a sucker for rosy cheeks. My presidential roll-call of remembrance will end here, because it is Mr. Reagan that I wanted to write about in the first place. (And, in my very humble, politically-challenged opinion, the buck stops here anyway as far as great leadership is concerned.) A recent book find seems to have confirmed what I felt in my heart. One day while shopping at a local five-and-dime, I noticed a pile of new books with $1.00 price tags. For an avid reader such as myself, that’s better than a blue-light special at K-Mart or a 50% off coupon from Michaels. Rambling through the books, I found one titled A Different_Drummer by former deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver. I purchased the book, intending to thumb through it some day, fully expecting it to be about as interesting to me now as the Watergate hearings of the 70s. To my delight, I found this a very informative and endearing picture of Mr. Reagan, based on Mr. Deaver’s longstanding relationship with the Reagans. A might bit confusing at times, as he also served in the same capacity when Mr. Reagan was governor of California, and sometimes it was hard to tell if the story he was referring to was set in California or Washington. At any rate, though this was indeed a biased writing (Deaver and the Reagans were close personal friends for many years), it was a wonderful glimpse inside the kind heart and brilliant mind of a man who was sometimes seen as shy or elusive by the public. I learned many things about his leadership skills, and his handling of national matters. It was very impressive. I’m quite sure that there were less-than-positive sides to his presidency as well, that were omitted from this account, written by a dear friend. The fact that there was so much good about the man is refreshing, and that he maintained those qualities is quite remarkable- not only during his presidency, but throughout his remaining years. I wish that I could have met him and spent some time talking with him. Though I'm sure not without flaws, his integrity was amazing, and has left me again proud that I was a Reagan supporter. Unlike those late days of 1963 when I was sad but not sure why, I understood the cause of my sadness as I watched Nancy bidding a final goodbye to Ronnie in 2004, and like my mom saying goodbye to her favorite president, I found myself weeping as I said goodbye to mine. I imagine if I had “known” him better (by reading this book) before his death, it would have been even sadder still. So here’s one for the Gipper: My acknowledgement and appreciation for a job well done, and for your service to our country.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Welcome Hiddenhausen Nordrhein-Westfalen

Welcome, my German blogger-friend! Greetings from Georgia, USA! Please leave a note the next time you stop by! Ich hoffe, Sie haben ein guter Tag!! Gott segne dich!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Puttin On The Ritz!

That's right- in just sixteen days, I'll be watching the clock all day- waiting for 5:00. Hopefully, 5:45 will find me behind the wheel on my way to the Ritz Treadwell at MB!!! (I still gotta find myself a pretty beach umbrella!) But first, another busy week! Please say prayers for Whitney, who will have her tubal surgery tomorrow morning. Now- if ANOTHER surprise baby comes along......... I love my two grandbabies more than anything, but my quiver is full, and I’ll be forever satisfied with just the two little angels to love and spoil. Sunday was a lovely day- it was homecoming at church. Our ladies’ ensemble did a couple of numbers, and though we escaped a shower of rotten tomatoes, we did have a few rough patches. Some of us are just a little more timid than others (yours truly refuses to hold a mic properly), but with time and lots of Grace, we’ll hit all our notes one of these days. At least Ken (our director) didn’t crawl in a hole somewhere in shame. I remember the old days when homecoming meant Sunday Meetin’ and Dinner On The Grounds. We used to fix our plate and head outside to eat on picnic tables. Fortunately, the building is large enough that we can eat inside where it is cool. It was great to see old friends. I indulged myself in a long, luxurious nap that afternoon, and enjoyed some sweet snuggle time with Leyland and Corey. Mondays are always crazy, as I work all day at the office, then from 6p to 11p at home for the hospital. Today is catch-up/get-ahead day at the office, since I’ll be with Whitney tomorrow, and I’ll work a few hours at home tonight as well. Gi-Gi (my mom) and Nany (Randy’s mom, Whit’s other grandma), are helping out with the babies tomorrow while we’re at the hospital, then Gi-Gi will help out on Thursday and Friday morning too. Honestly, I don’t know what we would do without them!! Whitney is so lucky to have all her grandparents still living, not to mention the babies having their great-grandparents! Okay, so this has been a tossed-up, mixed-up, mish-mash post about nothing much at all. Random Musings, if you will. I told you that would happen sometimes. In closing, I’d like to wish a very special Happy Birthday to Uncle Gene! Happy Birthday!! You are so loved!! And also to GDF- Happy Birthday! I hope you are happy and well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere- NOT!!!

It was a very pleasant, if quite warm, Saturday afternoon that found us gathering at The Lake for our belated July 4th family gathering. Most of the clan was in attendance, but we were missing a few faces (Jeff & Family, David & Family, and Debs & Family). We did have a newcomer, though. Isabella, or Izzy, as she is called. Izzy is a little Yorkie-Westie-doggie-person who's cute as a button. She lives with Sharon, Johnny & Ali, and I think is the New Boss Of The House. The most awful thing, though- there is no water in The Lake!!! Well, of course there is some water, but honestly I've never seen the level so low. I've heard them speak of it on the news for the past few years, and seen the film, but nothing quite prepared me for the barren wasteland that was once my favorite spot to swim. The Dock is out of the water by maybe 40-50 yards. I walked down to the water's edge, and looking back to the (former) shore line, I realized where I was standing should have been several feet over my head, had The Lake been full. Never again will I ski in these waters- now that I see all the stumps and debris that was hidden just beneath the surface. It was truly a sad sight. "Our" section of The Lake is located near Lake Lanier Islands, and also shares a cove with a state-operated campground. The shoreline to our left and on around the opposite cove is populated with fancy lake homes, most with docks of their own, and all manner of watercraft. Normally, on a Saturday afternoon, there are so many boats and jet skis in our cove that it's almost dangerous to venture out into the water. This Saturday there were hardly any boats at all. I hope the fresh-water mussels downstream are enjoying a happy, healthy, WET summer. Our little fishies upstream here in The Lake are probably getting more crowded each day. Hey- maybe I'll tell Gordon and David. As sad as the situation is, I guess it means more fish-per-cubic-foot of water. Maybe the fishin' will be good this fall. Just watch out for those stumps.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh, The Places We Will Go!

The captain stands firmly at the helm, and we face the storm head-on. For days we have tossed about as the ocean’s fury ravaged our ship . In the distance, a sliver of dawn gives us hope that we have survived yet another day of peril on the sea. Hours later, the weary captain turns the wheel over to the first mate and goes below for some much-needed rest. I look at my cousins, and tired of this adventure, we jump into the water and splash around for a while, before climbing back onto The Dock for our next maritime adventure. Sometimes we traveled around the world in 80 days, fighting off sharks and whales. We even saw Moby Dick once. Other times, we were the crew of luxurious ocean liners, catering to famous movie stars. We journeyed down the Nile, being careful to avoid the alligators, we navigated the Colorado River rapids, and nearly froze while traveling the Outside Passage of Alaska. We were captains of shrimp boats in the gulf, or rich passengers aboard a paddlewheel on the Mississippi. Sometimes we were famous skiers being pulled behind huge power boats. Other times we simply sat on The Dock and waited for our handsome husbands to return home from building the mansion just across the cove, which of course they were building for us, their beautiful wives, with only the finest of materials and all the latest luxuries. Of course, we had to "drive" the ski boat across the cove each day to carry them food and drink while they labored in the sun. Then there was the time that we were stranded on a deserted island, and The Dock was our life raft, built so carefully with our bare hands from palm fronds and jungle vines. We lived for weeks on nothing but coconut milk and pit-roasted fish, crabs and clams. Oh, The Places We Have Been!!

Then at the end of the day, tired and dirty, we would grab a bar of soap and hop in the lake for a quick bath. After dinner, upstairs we would go to engage in some serious board-game play before falling into bed. Lying still in the bed, it still felt like we were bobbing up and down on the waves. But sometimes, Aunt Joyce and Uncle Gene would let us venture down to The Dock at dusk, or even after dark. Then we were Navy SEALS, or James Bond, wearing black rubber suits, fighting evil to rescue the nuclear codes that had been stolen by the Russians, or rescuing hostages from underwater caves. Oh, The Adventures We Have Had!!

Ahhhh… these are some of my favorite childhood memories- the summer weeks that my cousins Sharon, Jeff, and I would spend At The Lake. We had no video games, no ipods, no cell phones, no computer games. Just a few cartoons on Saturday morning. But Saturday morning would find us not in front of the tube, but back at The Dock, errr.. our SHIP, jumping off into the blue oceans in faraway places to swim with the dolphins...

How sad is it that most kids today will never have those priceless experiences- those created from the depths of our imaginations and our sense of make-believe. I’d choose a voyage around the world with my fearless Captain Jeff and my crew-mate Sharon any day over an X-Box or MTV. Wouldn’t you?