Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As they say in the South... It's Fall, y'all!

 The mums on the porch are up... Therefore, I'm calling it officially Fall!
And, back here in the yard... It's seriously Official!
Everywhere I look, it's autumn color!
It's also the messiest time of year on our property...
Everything seems so hap-hazard...
And very out of place where I prefer order and tidiness the most!
But with the disorder comes weekends by the firepit watching the leaves fall!
Speaking of sitting by the firepit... Remember those handsome Adirondack
chairs I picked up at the last estate auction we attended two weeks ago?
Well, tonight I came home to find the refinishing process complete! I
just love a man that knows how to keep himself busy... Don't you?
I am especially pleased with my decision to keep them black!
They look just as good as I imagined they would!
Pretty soon the leaves will be gone...
But until they are, I'm going to enjoy Fall outside as often as I can!
Happy Fall, y'all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Country Living Fair, Stone Mountain, Georgia

While it may appear that I've lost my blogging mojo, I assure you,
there is plenty going on... So much that I could write eight posts a
day for at least month, (surely more) and still not share everything
with you. But don't worry, I won't be posting eight times a day any
time soon... If only to save from outing myself as a schizophrenic!
So what have we been up to? Well, first let me confess that the countdown
to the Ranger's next, (3rd) deployment has begun... In a few weeks he will
be home on block leave. And, while I'm thrilled and cannot wait to have him
sleeping safely in his bed across the hallway, there is a part of me wishing
these next few weeks would drag on and on, and maybe never come at all.
Because once his leave ends, things will get really serious really fast. And,
I am not ready. I'm never ready. I cope by praying myself to sleep every
night and while I'm awake, I take on all I can to stay crazzzzzy busy!
So we've been keeping busy... Weekend travel adventures, concerts, and estate
auctions wherever we can find them and last weekend, we headed to the Country
Living Fair in Stone Mountain, Georgia! The best magazine festivals we have ever
attended are the Celebration Weekends put on by Sunset magazine in Menlo
Park. Sadly, we no longer belong to the state of California. However, along with my
monthly Sunset magazine, I also get Country Living... So earlier this year, after
reading about the CLF coming to Stone Mountain, which by the way is just 87
minutes from Ft. Benning,... I ordered tickets and made hotel reservations!
As you can see, we arrived waaay too early! Mainly because the deskclerk at the
lovely Hilton where we stayed recommended we leave no later than 6AM if we
planned to arrive at Stone Mountain by eight o'clock. Well, that turned out to be
just silly. Because as you can plainly see, we arrived in the dark and to an empty
parking lot. If not for the Country Living banners, I might have thought we were
in the wrong place... I kinda had a Griswold's pulling up at Wally-World moment!
But after an hour-long power nap, we were first in line and definitely in the right place!
It was a beautiful Autumn morning at Stone Mountain park!
We strolled through the wooded park and watched...
The pages of Country Living magazine come to life!
Which is exactly what they promised would happen if we showed up!

You know how they say you never regret the things you buy, only the thing you don't?
It's so true... And, I have been kicking myself for not buying this vintage,
zinc science-labby bottle holder thingee every since we left Georgia!
I still don't know how I managed to talk myself out of it. Perhaps it was the
$180 price tag. I can't be sure... But I am blaming the deskclerk, because
clearly I was suffering from severe sleep deprivation to have passed it up!
I saw many goodies that were difficult to resist...
And, quite a few goodies begged to come home with me...
I know you're not surprised!
I loved this and should have brought it home too...
But it just looked so darn good hanging on this tree!
If you're planning to attend a Country Living Fair, I would tell you this... Do buy
the early-bird pass if it's an option. Most dealers offered a minimum 10% discount
to early birds, plus we got the best selection of what they brought to sell at the
fair. And, because there is a lot of dealer-to-dealer selling action going on before
you are even let through the gates, having first pick from what remains is key
to scoring the best finds and bargains. It's a strategy that works well for me!
I shop... He waits. Which something else that works well for me!
I must say that dealers at this fair put as much effort into creating beautiful
displays as they did selling their wares. Seeing this vignette made me want to go
home and stack richly colored Cinderella pumpkins atop my dining room table!
Although... This arrangement did nothing for
me at all. Which pleased Army dad quite a lot!
This also pleased him... Being the, book-junkie bibliophile that the man I love is!
How cute is this?
Now, I'm no camper... My idea of roughing-it is a hotel missing a spa or room service,
but I must say that I truly enjoyed seeing their little campers and talking with
sisters, Becky and Maurrie, the adorable girls behind Sisters on the Fly!
I soooo wanted to take that little camper home! If you have a few minutes
to spare, you should check out their blog for even more camper cuteness!
As we walked the fair we saw lots of goodies. And, found a little truth along the way...
I enjoyed the Country Living Fair. It's no Sunset Weekend Celebration in
Menlo Park - But in all fairness, this is only Country Living's second year
at Stone Mountain... And, they can't all be Sunset magazine celebrations!
But I will tell you this... Just in case you're planning to attend a Country Living Fair...
You can skip the three-day pass option, and save your money!
Because we didn't... And, for the $40 admission price, (each) plus the $10
parking pass, there was not nearly enough there to keep us for three days!
Nevertheless, the fact that it only took us just an hour and a
half to visit every vendor and tour the display areas twice
meant that we could be with the Ranger that much sooner!
So as we left and passed by the thousands of people waiting on both
sides of the park to get in, (those are non-early-birds) I stopped to give
away our early-bird passes for Saturday and our all-day Sunday pass too!
The two women I met that drove from Michigan really appreciated it
since they said their plan was to leave on Saturday - So getting an earlier
start at the Fair would help put them back on the road home much sooner!
We met people from all over the country... Some from as far away as Seattle!
I sure hope they all had more to do than the fair during their visit to Atlanta,
because after seeing how little there was to offer, I wouldn't have driven the
five hours it takes us... Were it not on the way to see our Ranger, of course!
So after checking the Country Living Fair off our list,
we piddled around Stone Mountain until lunch time...
Again... It was a beautiful Autumn day to be at Stone Mountain Park!
Not a cloud in the sky!
You know, the last time we were here, we were with Mom and Dad... It was
just before Ranger's first deployment. Can't believe we are looking at #3 now! By
the way... I want to say how grateful I am that our troops are finally coming home
from Iraq... But, hello! What about Afghanistan!? I think it's time. Don't you?
I do, and I know I am not alone. These trips to Ft. Benning are never
easy. But never any harder on us than on the other families we see there
The good-bye's, or as we like to say, the,
see-you-later's are always exceedingly painful
But remembering happy times spent with mom and dad in these
same spots always makes it a little easier to do what we have to do
So when we arrived at The Village Corner, the little German
restaurant we took them to, we ordered the same thing we had then...
On that happy day when I had the Captain and
the Ranger together at the same table with me!
As I look at photos of him I've taken over the past two and a half years
since he left University and enlisted, I keep hoping that the changes
in his face are just normal for the time that's past. But deep inside
me, I know these changes are because of what he's gone through,
what he's seen and experienced. Proud? Hell, yes! But do I wish
that sweet softness was still the biggest part of him? Absolutely!

On we go!