Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JULY!!!! Our Lilies are blooming now... So gorgeous!!! Here is one of my many favorites! Meet DIZZY.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is this Girl Spoiled or What?

George did it again!!!!!  He gave me another fabulous birthday celebration!  Since we had taken a big trip in June,  my request to George this year was that we not go too far from home and that we only take a 3 day/2 night trip.   SO---he took my request and planned a terrific 'getaway'.

We left Thursday --and headed east toward Maggie Valley... Since the trip was a surprise,  I was never quite sure what our plans were...  We drove past Maggie Valley and got on the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway at Soco Mtn.  George knows how much I love the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The last time we were there was last October to see the Fall colors.  Each season presents different looks along the parkway.

We stayed on the parkway until we got to Asheville, stopping all along the way.  In Asheville,  we stayed at the Biltmore Holiday Inn Express ---and got a FREE upgrade to a suite which included a jacuzzi!!!!!  SO NEAT! 

As you can see from the picture above,  we stopped at the highest elevation to take some pictures... George took a picture of the Birthday Girl here.  Some people know that I love traveling with the windows opened in the car ---and since the temperature along the parkway was a fabulous 72 degrees,  the wind felt so good as we traveled along the parkway.  I was in 7th heaven (just getting away from the extreme heat that we have had at home recently).  OH--how I love the mountains... (George knew I'd love it here!)

We had fog and clouds most of the day --but no rain at all (although it was fairly near us).  Clouds and fog are a photographer's dream... We captured the picture above near Brevard, NC .  It is so neat to be above the clouds/fog... Isn't this an incredible photo?

During the afternoon on Friday (my birthday),  we got back on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north from Asheville.  We drove all the way to another favorite place of mine,  Mt. Mitchell State Park.  Again on Friday,  there was rain/clouds/fog around ---and we even had a short shower while driving.  Again,  the temperatures were in the lower 70's along the parkway.

Once we started up the mountain to Mt. Mitchell,  the fog took over...  We made it to the parking area --and decided to hike up to the overlook hoping that we would see something (besides fog/clouds) while we were up there.  Above is a picture of us standing at the summit (at 6,684 feet).  Guess why I was wearing a sweater?????   The temperature up there was 64 degrees.... It was heavenly!!!   (I'll show many more pictures from Mt. Mitchell---and yes,  the fog cleared somewhat so that we could get some pictures!!!!  I'm sure it did that just because it was my birthday!  Ya think????? ha ha )

After we left the summit and make our way back down to the car, George took me to the State Park Restaurant at Mt. Mitchell for a fabulous Birthday Dinner including some delicious pulled pork BBQ,  baked beans and Potato salad...  It was delicious (as you can tell from the picture above).   BUT---even better than that was that piece of Peanut Butter Pie they brought me!!!!!!   Holy Cow---the girl who loves peanut butter was again in HOG Heaven (in more ways that one)... ha.. But a girl's gotta eat on her birthday.  Right?????

That is a neat restaurant with a great view---if only the fog/clouds had have moved out!!!  I would love to go back there sometime when the view is better.  BUT--it was still wonderful and we had a great time!

Do you see that vest that I am wearing?  It was a birthday present from George--and is a camera vest that my camera attaches to when I'm walking.  George had heard me complain about having to hold my camera and/or camera bag when we walk or hike ---to keep it from bobbing back and forth... SO--he surprised me with a new Camera Vest.   Neat, huh???? I love it!  The rest of my camera equipment can safely go into my backpack,  and I will have my camera close to my heart --for that special photo opportunity.

In addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mt. Mitchell,  George also took me back to another favorite place,  the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville.  I love that place --and since we have season's tickets,  we have been there at different times and have seen different kinds of beauty each time.  This time was no exception. 

We went to Biltmore early on Friday morning --to escape some of the heat  of the day.  BUT--even when we left about noon,  the temperature was already up to about 87 degrees --PLUS humidity, and rising quickly.   As usual,  we took LOTS of pictures  there,  but today I'll just show you two.  Above are some of the absolutely fabulous Crepe Myrtles.  Aren't they beautiful?

AND---here is my favorite area of Biltmore during this season.  We saw not hundreds but thousands of huge Sunflowers growing in a big field.  I was in awe of seeing that many all in the same area.. SO--I'll close with a picture of George and me standing in front of some of the Sunflowers.  You needed to be there to see this gorgeous area!  (Note our Grand Canyon t-shirts... I picked this one out since there was a BIG bird on the front!)

Can you see how much we enjoyed our short trip?   George certainly gets an A+++++  for giving me another fantastic birthday.   It was another trip to remember!  Thanks, Honey.  I adore you!!!!!

On another note,  thanks to many many many of you who stopped by to wish me a Happy 69th.   Besides comments,  I also got emails and cards and texts and ecards.... Thanks to all.

Nobody got ALL three of my FALSE statements...  Many got two of the three though... Thanks for playing along!!!!!   The three false statements were:
  • -4.  I definitely never DANCED --especially not in the Nutcracker!!!!  GADS---imagine what that would have looked like!!!  (My parents did get me to take a few dance lessons --but that didn't last very long!)
  • -8.  I cannot stand talking on the phone.   Don't get me wrong...  I enjoy talking to some of you and to my family on occasion,  but am truly not a phone person.  I think that is because when I worked,  I had to constantly ask for volunteers ---by using the phone.  People got tired of hearing my voice when I called them!  AND--I got tired of doing it!
  • -10.   I do love sports ---but not soccer...  My favorite sport is football!  I put this one in here for the benefit of one of my best friends who lives and breathes soccer..  She knows that I don't care for it (or know anything about it).

Many of you thought that I must love to read since I was a teacher and since I read alot of blogs... WELL---maybe that was a trick question,  but I still say that I do not enjoy reading (unless it is truly something of interest to me like Family History).  I NEVER pick up a novel or a mystery or even a love story and read it just for the heck of it.  I'm a visual person --and have never enjoyed reading.  I know when I was in school and college,  I always dreaded all of that reading I had to do.  I did it--but I can't say that I enjoyed it.  Still don't!!!! (My Mom loved to read and always wanted me to read one of her novels.  Never did!)

The Pre-K statement probably confused some of you.... At age 4,  I did attend a Pre-Kindergarten class.  Maybe back then, it was called something different --but it was Pre-K.   AND---we did have Kindergarten for the 5 yr. olds....  I did set that clock,  and my parents loved to tell that story on me all through the years.

And yes,  we did attend 28 different parades in and around New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season... Mardi Gras actually goes on for about 2-3 weeks.  We would all pile in the car and go to a different parade each night.  And on the weekends,  there were several parades... We went home with huge boxes full of beads, doubloons,  and trinkets (or treasures as we loved to call all of the 'junk').  ha

Yes---I do love RAKING--and hate housework....  And YES,  I used to be a speed demon (in my younger, more stupid years)--so I did receive a few speeding tickets through the years.  I even bought a 'fuzz buster' --which didn't help much,  and I always went to a class --which kept the ticket off of my record... Shame on me!!!!! ha

Hope all of you had an incredible weekend ---and took time to celebrate my birthday also.  Thanks again for all of the wonderful comments and cards.