Sunday, April 29, 2012

To Grandmother's House We Go!

My dog, Lucy, is the cutie on the left. She loves going to Mamaw and Papa's house to visit her best friend who is on the right in this picture. His name is Tater (like po"tater" salad) and the two of them together is almost too much for humans to tolerate. They play and fight non-stop, yapping constantly, as we two-leggers try to catch up with one another. Although annoying, maybe these pups have better priorities than we do...Make the most of every moment. Have fun. Who cares what everyone else thinks? You wanna be loud? Do it. You wanna go on an adventure together? Do it. Lucy and Tater will always make time to play because they know it'll be a while before they'll see each other again to wreak havoc upon the world.

My Mamaw and Papa have an incredible gift of nurturing beautiful gardens. I stole my mom's camera so I wouldn't have to use my camera phone (though it's okay, I guess) and went out on a mission to capture the beauty that draws me here. If there's one place I had to choose to get away and relax, it would be at my mother's parents' garden.

I love the contrast of bright colors!

I could fall asleep listening to the relaxing sounds of this fountain. Its been in my grandparents' garden for as long as I can remember and is as beautiful as ever.

Top-view of multi-colored, mosaic ball that glistens in the sunlight.

Guardian Angel of the Garden. Aged and cracked, this little one still soothes and comforts those who are in its midst.

Peaceful little addition to any garden.

Aged Pottery Planter. Even with mere inhabitants of leaves and dirt, this relic adds intrigue and mystery.

You know you wanna sit here. I love resting here with a book or just to enjoy the scenery.

A pathway of faded blue brick stepping stones leads around outskirts of forests and unexplored woods that inspire imagination. Ornamental decorations and adornments line the path to encourage wonder and amazement for all passersby.

This bug almost looks fake. I assure you...Mr. or Mrs. Bug is very real. Always keeping eyes out for strangers, little garden bug provides unique welcoming charm.

A bug's life in Mamaw and Papa's garden would be perfect for me. Except for the birds..and squirrels who might eat me. Yeah, nevermind. Little Garden Bug is a survivor. He (or she, I haven't decided yet) can take my place. I'll just visit as I am- unafraid of predators.

Lucy loves to explore everywhere she goes. She has to wear her leash though or she is easily lead by Tater into the woods. She is very, very fast. Lucy is not to be trusted to stay close by on walks, but especially not on walks through the garden... Too many things to discover!

Before picking flowers, one would be wise to ask permission. I'm tempted by this beauty as I continue my walk with the kidnapped camera, but decide to let it grow. You almost feel guilty disturbing things here...they're too pretty to destroy.

"Why, hello gorgeous!" That's what I would say if flowers could have conversation. Then again, that greeting would mean I would be hitting on the flower. I'm happily married, so maybe I'd just say "Hi" instead...if flowers appreciated polite conversation, that is. :)

Looks like a little wood fairy painted this one. I'd like to believe they do so you keep your "logical" explanations to yourself, thank you. grandparents have this awesome view of the lake nearby. This isn't it, by the way. This is a boat. (duh, right?) The point here is that, this boat picture was taken from hundreds of yards away, through power lines and trees and other obstacles I won't mention. Okay, that's really all the obstacles I had. Considering the distance between me and the hoodlums dodging my lens as they zipped along, I'm surprised this one ended up being decipherable.

The neighbors who live across the castle moat of my much larger and sophisticated mansion. (I wish.) Truth? Big house across the lake. ZOOM lens capacity test of camera rating? EXCEPTIONAL.

Pretty in Pink.

My home away from home. Mamaw Rose and Papa Jim's house is our favorite bed and breakfast! Josh and I always look forward to our visits.

Bright blue rocking chairs to sit, sip coffee, and watch birds fly from the hanging triangle houses above.

A rose for my Mamaw Rose.

"When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose."

 Purple Splendor.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself." -David Herbert Lawrence-
This famous quote came to mind as I noticed a fallen and seemingly forgotten birdhouse on my journey. You may recognize this phrase from the movie G.I. Jane. She was such a bad mammajamma. (Since I'm trying to substitute any offensive language here with nonsensical ramblings.) Anyway, I thought about the master chief in the movie who says this to Demi Moore. He later gives her a book of poems with this phrase underlined. It's originally taken from Lawrence's poem entitled "Self Pity". Funny how this fallen birdhouse provoked a series of deep thought within me so I had to capture the memory.

This basketball goal took brutal beatings during childhood games of "gotcha". I have such good memories when I see this picture. Now covered with moss and weathered by storms,  our family basketball goal still stands proudly. If objects could be old and wise, this goal would be superior to all.
Old swing set in a forest clearing on the property.

My cousins and I shared many-a-sunshiny-day playing together in this sandbox. This pail looks lonely and makes me want to relive my childhood days!

From this distance, one may not perceive the strength and magnitude of this little Tonka truck's stature. Since this picture failed to capture its overall coolness factor, I decided to get closer.....

Object in photo is smaller than it appears...much smaller. Tonka truck's awesomeness is now appropriately featured. For the countless hours of entertainment it has brought to children, I had to have a picture that would do it justice.

Under the porch and through a small square, fake chicken coop looks even more intriguing. The fenced-in pen used to be where Tiny, my grandparents' dog stayed when he was a pup. That was before he learned that he could climb and escape his imprisonment to wander the property with his adventurous partner, Pirate. Both dogs are now in Dog Heaven and are sorely missed by our family. Fake chicken coop reminded me of both doggie angels who loved to spend their days running free and playing about. Lucy and Tater now follow the legacy of two great canines...I'm willing to bet they could jump or climb out of chicken coop dog prison, too.

"Shelly Bugs" That's what these are, scientifically speaking, of course. I used to collect these when I was a kid to scare fellow female family members. (say that three times fast- alliteration intended) Now I'm wondering what the scientific definition of these shells is. It won't matter to me though. Shelly Bugs, they were, and shelly bugs they'll be forever.

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens"...Yeah, I know- it's a leaf. New, limited edition of song: Raindrops on green leaves and pictures at Mamaw's, you may not know this but I'm at my grandma's. I like to walk with my camera in hand, it's just a part of my masterful plan- - Okay, I'll just stop right there before it gets worse. The Sound of Music version is much better than my rendition, but I must say that I have a quirky knack for silly rhymes.

And... I'm back on the garden path when I notice a different angle of Garden Guardian Angel. I'm transfixed yet again by the peace this little statue brings me.

Watching over the path of stepping stones, this angel guards my way. My real guardian angel can rest now for I am safe here. (Good thing, too, because she works tons of grueling overtime keeping an eye on me.)

Water in-motion, trickling down my favorite garden fountain.

Tranquil, isn't it?

For Rent: Unique birdhouse with roomy interior, water supply included, located in safe neighborhood. Singing hours 5:00am-6:00pm every day and other amenities included with down-payment of nest.

This chair gives me a good reason to hang onto objects for garden decor, even if their original purpose has expired.

Angel, again.

Here's an idea I LOVE: Old bed frame as garden decoration. "Shabby-Chic" was probably based on my Mamaw's garden, and is a decorating concept she's used before everybody and their mama applied it to their styles. She's much more creative than she ever admits, and I'm glad I inherited a bit of her style. I'm totally copying her on this idea, though, just like all the other "everybody and their mamas".

Off the beaten path...I don't even really know what that means, "beaten path". Does it mean that something is out of the ordinary or is it a phrase used to specify physical geographical location? Perhaps "off the beaten path" means somebody beat up a path. WHATEVER...When I said it here, I used the phrase to mean I took this picture from a location and perspective that I don't normally see. So I guess two of my theories about this phrase apply for my usage in this description. Nobody beat up the path, don't worry. I need to Google that now.....

off the beaten track / path, novel; uncommon; out of the ordinary: a tiny shop that was off the beaten track.
Google is AMAZING. (My theory totally checks out.)

Lots of mixed textures here.

Here's the water supply amenity for bird renters of the previously listed house featured above. Oh, so refreshing!

Little fisherman. His name is...umm...Fisher. Yeah, that's his name, effective today. I think it's appropriate. I have no idea why I have to give everything a back story or provide characteristics for inanimate objects. I'm just weird, I a good way that I like to perceive as part of my charm. Fisher is nowhere near any water. He's not very bright, but at least he's cute. Lots of boys are like Fisher- not my husband, though. He's a sexy smartypants and I adore him.

Even on an overcast day, the view is breathtaking.

I used to hate that power lines obstruct the scenery. How tacky of them, right? Now, I don't know that it would be the same without them- For one thing, we'd have no electricity. I guess I'll make the sacrifice of allowing these lines to intersect my pictures. I like electricity and am grateful for its enabling contributions in my life.

Leaves as borders.

A huge bear appeared out of nowhere and charged after me! I cleverly hid behind a tree, where I thought I'd be out of sight. Chomping and thrashing angrily, the bear spotted me and lunged with open jaws bared. I, of course, outwitted him with my ninja-like agility. I made it to safety, but my tree of protection was shredded to pieces. (Based on a true story of my nature walk at Mamaw and Papa's house. No bears were harmed in this encounter...they may or may not have been involved at all in true story.)
My mean ole' attacker-bear decided these berries would substitute for my crunchy and tasteless flesh. He soon forgot the anger and humiliation my evasive maneuvers had caused him and wisely decided to snack upon ripe fruits of the forest.

I wonder if these taste good as I snap a few pictures. (After the bear left, of course) I decide not to try these berries in case they're poisonous- probably a wise choice until I research their edibility.

This would be prettier on a clear day.

I braved the thorny berry bushes and thrush to get a shot from underneath the tower. Pulling prickly thingamajigs out of my skin wasn't fun at the time, but this picture made it worth the temporary pain I had suffered.

So much cooler when you look at them from a different angle!

I wonder for a moment if there is a possibility of a thunderstorm's encroachment. I was definitely in a high-risk zone for lightning strikes as I stood underneath the center of this tower. This threatening thought produced panic within me and I scrambled out of my potentially dangerous predicament. No picture is worth being toasted like a marshmellow.

Clouds parted shortly after the fear of an approaching storm made me wriggle wildly back through the brush to get out from underneath the electrical tower. They would do that after I incurred more battle wounds from thorns that hindered my path to safety. Go figure. Anyway, at least the sun can now shed light on my path through the woods.

I am scared. Not now- right now, I'm totally brave while I type from my kitchen table which is less ominous than the woods were at the time I took this one. I was by myself then. Sure, I was only a short distance from my grandparent's house but I got a bad case of the what ifs. I had to give myself a mental pep talk to logically conclude that no one could or would kidnap me here. I got a little jumpy at one point, when a squirrel decided it would be funny to snap a twig behind me. I wish I had that moment on camera now, but it would probably make me look like overly paranoid and/or crazy. Next time, I'm using the buddy system I learned in girl scouts...because two people are harder to kidnap.

I had planned to venture down the shady trail before that squirrel spoiled my ambition. I decide not to take a chance and tell myself I am still brave even if I head back out of the woods. I believe in my pep-talk voice. We all have one of those...right? You know, the inner voice that tells you reassuring things like, "you can do it" or "you're not gonna get kidnapped". Maybe that's just what mine says. You can keep your thoughts on this matter a secret if your inner pep-talker doesn't say anything like mine does. If you choose to tell me I'm crazy, my pep-talker voice will just say I'm not. :)

A fallen wooden soldier of the forest. I wonder how old it was before it came to rest on the forest floor. No time to count rings, though. With no girl scout buddy nearby, I'm ready to head back.

Reminds me of Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled

Here comes the sun!

There is a hill around this bend that kicks your butt. Seriously, my butt would look fantastic if I marched up and down this hill just once a day. My Mamaw exercises frequently and walks up this hill at a speed that makes me feel terrible about my out-of-shape physical condition. I bet she has buns of steel.

My climb begins back towards the tower.

I wonder how tall this thing is. I estimate that it is very tall. "Very" is a vague modifier, according to Mrs. Cooper. She was my high school English teacher and I often remember her grammatical instructions, even to this day. A feisty woman of short stature, she reminded me very much of my Mamaw. (Maybe that's why I enjoyed her class so much.) She always said not to use the word "very" as a modifier. She had no tolerance for poor grammar and I fear what she may say if she read my writing now. I doubt she has lost her keen eyesight to identify grammatical errors over the past 7-8 years. If she's truly like my Mamaw, age has only made her a wiser and better teacher. Let me rephrase my wording, in honor of both stubborn women: The electrical tower is taller than any other feature on my grandparents' property.

I'm proud of catching this insect at just the right time! To National Geographic: I'm available. Just so you guys know. I request that you include me on your next trip to photograph baby penguins. I don't mind starting out scrubbing toilets or cleaning camera equipment for more qualified photographers. Just please take me to the baby penguins. I hate bees and wasps and regret that I must reject any offers to photograph these despicable creatures on a regular basis.

Over the river and through the woods, to Mamaw and Papa's house we go!

I always find peace here.

Daisies blowing in the wind.

Warm breezes have made petals on the flowers more sparse than they once were...adds character.

Finally I arrive at the top of the physically treacherous hill. I'm out of breath and have GOT to start walking more with Mamaw. How in the world does she do that all the time?

My Uncle David, Lucy, Tater, and Mamaw. There are better pictures of my family members that actually show more than their arms or hands. I'll put them up after I ask their permission. I hate when people put unflattering pictures of me on the internet for the world to see. I'm starting to really get irritated with Facebook for this reason (and several others). I've had to click "untag" way too many times. Just because someone else thinks it's a great picture of you doesn't always mean you'll agree. Lucy just gave me permission to post this. Good thing, because there are several of her on here. I'm not sure about Tater yet, but don't think he'll mind.

After a long day of adventures, these two are happy to have someone hold their tired little bodies.

She says a little prayer for you.

Front Porch Sittin' is one of my most enjoyed pastimes.

I've always thought gnomes are creepy. I've told my grandparents this opinion, but evil gnomes still stand guard.

Another berry picture, taken at another time with my camera phone. Mom's camera is SO much better. I'd love to have one just like hers!

Gorgeous flowers standing tall against light blue skies.

I love birdhouses like this one that allow you to see inside! This is the best method for bird-watching, and my Papa loves doing this.

Sunroom, decorated for my cousin's bridal shower. The photo's a bit dark, but we got crafty with the decorations. I like balloon chandeliers. I LOVE this room.

My little cousins stopped playing when I requested they hold Lucy. She was just a puppy at this time, and the girls eagerly agreed. I snapped away as they talked to my infant dog. Moments like this one are forever cherished and I'm thankful I took pictures that day. The background doesn't even look real, but it's part of the incredible view from my grandparents' front lawn.

Sunsets here are breathtaking and different colored hues cast a complimenting backdrop for tree silhouettes.

My Papa Jim, me (on the left), and my sister, Tracie when we were all much younger. Wearing his normal UT shirt, my grandfather's attire has not changed much over the years. Neither has the love we all have for each other and the memories we've made.

Picture of a picture of my Mamaw Rose, Tracie, and me (right). I didn't ask my Mamaw before adding this one because I'm sure she would agree that this photo is beautiful. This place and the love that fills the air was something I noticed as a child. It's where I visited those who taught me more than could ever be explained by words. My grandparents showed us all the way and they continue to hold our family together, gently guiding each of us by our hand through life's blessings and struggles.

My shadow likes to take pictures, too!

Hand-made with LOVE, this little lady swings in the garden.
Bed frame in garden again...I've taken several of this before. I just like it too much to only talk about this genius decoration  once.

Take a skip/walk across the stones to "discover fun!" My cousins understand this. Don't worry, it's a whole history/inside-joke thing we have from our childhood days. Basically, in our younger and (somewhat) meaner days, my oldest cousin, Jessica, and I decided it would be fun to lie to our younger sisters for our own evil entertainment. We told them that, if they went far into the woods, they would see an old man. This old man had powers, we told the innocent sisters, and if they said magic words, a huge Discovery Zone would appear out of thin air. (80's and 90's kids know about the awesomeness of Discovery Zones- It's a shame if you don't.) Jess and I lead the little girls down a trail into the forest. We told them where they needed to stand in order for the old man to appear who would then permit their passage into the most wonderful place in the world. Our little sisters shouted the magical words we had instructed, "WE WANT TO DISCOVER FUN!" Jess and I snickered uncontrollably and ran off to leave them looking ridiculous as their voices echoed repeating the "magic words". We got in trouble. The little ones chalked up this experience to be traumatic and told everyone that we ran off and left them all alone in the woods, after we mislead them deliberately. Our sisters did not discover fun that day. We older, meaner girls DID...that is, until the 'fraidy cats told on us. I still think this is hilarious.  I think our sisters finally agree. :)

Take a walk with me...

Flowing waters.

Papa's tractor.

Lucy likes prancing on the yellow/red brick road!

Stacked rocks and stones surround a bed of soon-to-be flowers.

One thing is certain: No matter how old you are, no matter where you've been- You can always find can find yourself here- I always do. Everything you're missing in your life can be discovered at my most favorite place in the world. Warmth and acceptance surround each generation. Happiness fills every heart here. Even though there is no secret Discovery Zone here at my grandparents' house, you'll find more than you ever imagined. (fun, included.)