Bridge Day 2015 | New River Gorge, West Virginia

Have you ever been to Bridge Day?  Have you even heard of Bridge Day?!?  When we moved to our tiny town 10 years ago, I don’t think that I had ever heard about it, or if I had that it even registered in my brain what it is.

Then my Daddy said very casually one day, “Hey, you should take the kids to the New River Gorge Bridge, it’s pretty cool.”  So we did.  And it was astounding.  Amazing.  Crazy.  Breathtaking.  And it wasn’t Bridge Day!

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I have to say, if you want to have a relaxing experience of the bridge in all of its glory, go on a day that isn’t Bridge Day.  There are just so. many. people.  But, you need to go on the weekend that they are holding Bridge Day too.  It’s A-MAZING.

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The New River Gorge Bridge is located just outside Fayetteville, West Virginia.  The bridge is 876 feet ABOVE the New River.  Did you read that?  876 feet.  On Bridge Day they shut both sides of Highway 19 down and let people JUMP OFF OF IT!!!  Want a visual of just how high that really is?

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Yeah.  We didn’t jump off of the bridge and it was exhilarating.  I cannot even imagine the thrill that the people who were jumping were getting.  Crazytown, people, crazy. town.

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As you approach on the day, you will be very aware that you are not going to be able to drive across the bridge.  They have it clearly stated along the way.

IMG_9657Since you can’t drive to the bridge and they don’t want 50,000 cars lined along the highway, they provide shuttles for $3.00 and will drop you at the entrance to the bridge.  You can park at the local Walmart or five other places you can read about here.

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The day we were there, our shuttle was a school bus.  I don’t think I’ve been on a school bus since I was in the tenth grade.  They’ve changed a lot!  Did you know that school buses now are automatics!?  Every school bus I have ever been on was a stick shift.

When they drop you off, you’ll have to walk down the highway to actually get to the bridge.  Try to keep yourself away from the welding helmeted man with the kettle corn.  You can try. 😀

And the Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

AND the thousands of people.

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It’s truly not a long walk to the actual bridge.

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I thought this was pretty ironic.  You know, since there can be up to 100,000 people walking it on Bridge Day.

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Good reminders along the way, especially if you have small children.

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Here are some things you may see on the way…..

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How.  How do you lose your shoe, adult person, and not realize it?

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And you are there!  Lots of people will be hanging over the rails, watching the people who have just jumped.  It’s a very long bridge.  My advice is to head straight to the platform they have built over the edge for the jumpers.

This is where I thought most of the excitement of the day happened.

Two people taking the plunge.  See the guys hand in the air?  Yeah, he’s already airborne!

This guy.  From what I gathered, he had been there all day.  Watching people, jump, waiting, watching people jump and waiting.  He was gathering his nerve.

He stood there a LONG time.  But he did it!

I mean, come on!  Look at that.  Seriously, I honestly don’t think I could ever do it.  Do you see that tiny red and white bull’s eye down there?

Yeah, there.  That’s what they are supposed to aim for.  Go back and look at the previous picture.  Those are humans next to it.  Uh-huh.

This poor guy didn’t make it to the bull’s eye.  He landed in the water.  That’s what all of the boats are there for.  To get people out of the river.  The frigid river.  We had winter gear on and it was still cold.  I can’t imagine what the river felt like.  But these guys did it over and over.  Jump, land, ride the bus back up, get on the platform and jump again.

If you’ve never been to Bridge Day I HIGHLY recommend it.  There are a lot of other things happening during the weekend too and you can read all about the plans they have for 2018 here.  Have fun!

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The Side Eye.

When I came in yesterday afternoon, I found this top portion on our white board.

I added the bottom part and then I laid in wait for Hayden to get home to see his reaction.

He came in and glanced at the board and stood there for approximately .2 seconds before reaching up and erasing the whole thing.  He gives me the side eye as he’s doing that, and says to me, “That wasn’t for you”.

Liva didn’t have school yesterday and she was asleep when he left for school.

He’s a good brother.  And a smart aleck like his Mama.  😉  I love it, and him beyond measure.

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Today, (in 1937!) The Hobbit was published for the first time.

I think it’s time for a marathon of reading and movies!  Thank you so much J. R. R. Tolkien for opening our imaginations to this fantastical world.

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Happy Birthday Stephen King!

Today is Stephen King’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Mr. King!  Your writing has kept me awake at night for years.  I hope you have a wonderful 70th birthday!

Here are some of my all time favorites!

The Shining

This is one of his scariest in my humble opinion.  The absolute tension throughout the book kept me up at night.

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The Dark Tower – The Gunslinger

Insomnia

Under the Dome

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of his writing.  You can find the complete list here.  And this link will take you to all of the movies and TV shows that have been created from his work.

Keep the lights on and enjoy!

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Miley Cyrus bought my house.

I have an obsession that drives Denton absolutely bonkers.  And it’s name is Realtor.com.  (That’s not an affiliate link.  If anyone knows how to become an affiliate for realtor.com, please let me know, that would make my day.)

I love it.  I spend an unprecedented amount of time perusing the listing’s and dreaming of which house will be mine.  If it were up to me, and Denton had absolutely no say in it, we would buy a new to us house every two years.  Buy low and sell high.  That would be my motto.

At least once a day, I am on their website looking at the houses that are for sale in my little town and the towns that are adjacent to it.  You have to keep up with what’s selling in your area.  And then there are the dream homes.

Ahh, the dream homes.  You know, the ones that you would buy if you won the lottery.  I keep a saved list of these on my account.  That’s why I noticed that one of my going to be mine someday houses had been sold.  NOOOOOOO!  To Miley Cyrus.

It’s a stunningly beautiful home, with a pool and 33 acres of land.  Here’s what drew me to this particular house.  On to the eye candy!

 Miley Cyrus Buys Home In Franklin, Tennessee

First of all, it’s a farmhouse, with a wrap around porch.   And it’s private.  No one can see me wandering around all day in my yoga pants like my neighbors do now.  Or drive down my long windy driveway without my permission.  Privacy will be good when I win the lottery.

 Inside Miley Cyrus' Rustic, Country Home

The floors, the beams, the rock fireplace.  What’s not to love?

 Miley Cyrus Just Bought A New Southern Home

The kitchen is perfect in my opinion.  I have room to cook; my people have lots of room to stay out of my way while I’m doing it and still be right there for long lovely conversations about everything under the sun.

I love this little sitting area off of the kitchen.  I could sit here and read in front of the fire, while I make sure not to burn down the house with some chili or soup on the stove.

With five bedrooms, we would have enough room for family to visit and everyone would have their own space to retreat to when someone wants to bash in someone else’s head.

 Farmhouse-inspired bathroom decor

This space is my favorite though.  It’s screened in.  You will understand if you are like me and Hayden.  The mosquito’s eat us alive.  A place to sit outdoors, with a fire, that the bugs cannot enter.  Paradise.

Although, I have no idea why they have those giant doors open.  They are letting out all of the A/C.

 Miley Cyrus' Tennessee Estate

I want a sofa swing in my living room now.  I hope that Miley made them leave it.

The pool.  It’s large enough to do laps in and with all of the privacy, I could finally learn to cannonball and no one would be watching.  Not even Denton.

How adorable, a caretakers cottage!

I love this house and property.  It’s one of my all-time top five dream homes.  Maybe top three.  When I win the lottery, maybe Miley will sell it to me.  😉

Do you have this obsession with Realtor.com too?

 

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How I Balance Shopping with Donating.

I had someone ask me the other day:  Why do you keep buying things at thrift stores and yard sales only to take even more stuff to your local Salvation Army?  I was very surprised.  The answer is very simple in my mind.  Let me give you a couple of analogies to make it clearer.

To survive, everyone must go grocery shopping.  Unless you grow everything you eat yourself that is.  This comes with the responsibility of disposing of all of the accompanying refuse that comes with shopping – unless you are the Johnson family from Zero Waste Home , who I aspire to be like and will more than likely never accomplish.  You must then recycle the things that you can and trash what’s left or you will find yourself swimming in home filled with garbage and recycle.

We all like new things, yes?  I just prefer to find my new to me things at yard sales and thrift stores.  When Denton and I first married, it was a huge blessing to our family of two that I came with all of the inherited knowledge I had from my own mother about thrifting.  Way back in 1995 it was not a popular past time like it is now.

That first year, I worked for a bank in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia.  One day at work one of the other young women complimented me on my outfit and asked me where I got it.  Well, I had paid $2.00 for it at a yard sale earlier in the week on Route 1.  She was stunned.  She had never been to yard sale, heck, she had never been in a Wal-mart!  She was from New York and it would never have entered her mind to shop at a yard sale.  There’s nothing wrong with that either.  If you have the disposable income to buy your new outfit at Nordstrom’s, not even on clearance!, that is your prerogative.  For me though, I would rather find those gems at a yard sale for $2.00 and pocket the other $198.00 and put that towards our next adventure.

Here is a perfect example of something I bought earlier this year that is going away this weekend.  It’s a beautiful throw.  I love the color, and it is as soft as a cloud.  It is absolutely perfect and I gave $2.99 for it at my local Goodwill.  But, here is the problem I have with this particular throw.  When I washed and dried it, we ended up having to take the dryer APART.  This thing sheds like a baby alpaca in the dryer.  I am shocked that the dryer didn’t catch fire while it was drying.  The throw came out beautifully, but I cannot have things in my house that are that finicky and time consuming.  Now, it can go live with someone who doesn’t have three cats who make their home on everything and therefore cause things to be washed and dried in the dryer.

I am very glad that I only paid $2.99 for this throw, because even though I still love the color and softness, I don’t feel too terribly bad about sending it away.  Now, had I bought it at West Elm and given $160.00 for it, yes, that would have caused me to have heart palpitations.  And then, I might have kept in it my house when I truly didn’t want it anymore.  Which will not bring me joy.

I have had to learn over the years, that if I bring something home, something else may will have to leave.  So I use this as a balancing measure when I am out and about shopping at my lovely yard sales and thrift stores.

How do you balance shopping with donating?  Nosy people want to know!

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College. It’s ridiculously expensive.

$196.75!!!

We are now into the new fall semester for our two (two!) college people and I just have to talk about books.

Everyone knows that college is expensive.  Even community college where Denton and Hayden are both attending right now.  But some things are just beyond bearing in my opinion.  Each new semester I make ask Hayden nicely to give me his class schedule with the book requirements on it.  And then I begin my search for the very lowest of the low prices on what we are going to have to give our arms and legs over to purchase said books.

Last semester we rented one of his book’s and saved around $30.00.  One he could access online and we saved around $90.00.  Woohoo!  This time he’s taking BIO 101 and they informed us 1 week BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED, that they had upgraded to a new book and that they hadn’t arrived yet.  Finally two day’s before school started we found out which book he would need and even online it’s the same price as the bookstore.  $196.75!!

I did find it used online, but even with expedited shipping we were only going to save about $40.00, and yes, I know it’s still $40.00, but we’ve been down that road before and not gotten books until well after he needed them.  Not good.  $40 or my baby’s peace of mind is a no-brainer.

So this morning, Hayden says to me that he needs a very large binder for his BIO class.  I I get him one from our stash and casually ask him why he needs such a large one.  He laughs and says “You paid two hundred dollars for this book and it’s not even a book.”  It’s about three inches of loose paper that is hole punched.  Yes.  They couldn’t even be bothered to bind this stupid thing.

I have mined the internet so that we can all have some comic relief from the stresses and bank account drainage that is college.  Enjoy!

And last but not least….a friend shared this on her Facebook this week.

When you find out what books cost this semester….

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Total Eclipse of the Sun

Unless you live in a cave, on the far side of the moon, and you don’t have internet there, I am sure that you are aware that today there will be a total eclipse of the sun for certain parts of the U.S.

But!  Here is something that you may not know about this momentous occasion.  If you were a wild-child of the 1980’s like me, you will know immediately the song I’m about to reference.  Bonnie Tyler had a hit in 1983 called “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.  See the video here.

Today, August 21, 2017, she is aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship bound for the path of totality.  She will surprise all of the guests on board with a performance of her hit at the apex of the eclipse.  Denton!  We could have gone and relived our teenage years.

More fun facts:

  • Did you know that Jim Steinman wrote the hit?
  • He also wrote “Making Love out of Nothing at All” sang by Air Supply.
  • And “Bat Out of Hell” sang by Meatloaf.
  • There won’t be another total eclipse until April 2024 according to NASA in the U.S.

Enjoy the eclipse, and wear your glasses!

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Word Nerd | Confabulate

I love words. When I come across a word that I don’t remember reading before, it just makes me happy. Stephen King is good for this. So is Michael Crichton. Reading in general just makes me happy.

This morning I received my word of the day from Dictionary.com. It was Confabulate.

kuh n-fab-yuh-leyt verb

1: to converse informally; chat.

2: Psychiatry. to engage in confabulation.

E: In the large room, where several different groups had been formed, and the hum of voices and of laughter …

If you love words too, you can sign up to have them delivered FREE into your email from dictionary.com.

Words. They’re good to know. 😉

When you hear a strange sound, sometimes it really is something.

Earlier this week, Hayden and I were standing outside of the bedrooms chatting.  No one else was home and we heard something down the hall in the living room.  We almost always attribute things like this to one of the cats.  Until we realized they were ALL staring off down the hallway, wondering what that sound was too.

My family and friends got a big kick out of that.  Me and Hayden, not so much.  It also triggered another memory of my pets acting strange.  This happens quite often at our house, by the way.

It was June of 2006.  I know this because it was the day before we left to visit with Denton’s parents that summer.  We had just gotten two new kittens for the kids.  Denton worked terrible hours back then and he had left for work about 4:30 AM.  Hayden was out of school so we didn’t need to be up before daylight ourselves.

When I did wake up, the sun was streaming into the bedroom and I realized that I was hearing a strange clicking sound.  I looked at the foot of the bed where the kittens usually slept and both of them were staring up at the ceiling fan of the bedroom.  Intently.  Completely focused.  Even when I called their names they wouldn’t look away.  It was very odd to say the least.  We had no attic in our house in the Kingdom, it was just the roof, the insulation and then the ceilings inside the house.

After a few minutes the weird clicking stopped and the kittens came out of their trance and started acting like normal psychopathic cats.  You know, attacking people from out of the blue, demanding food from their human slaves, fighting amongst themselves, etc.  We went about our day, preparing to leave for Florida the next morning.

We went to bed early that night so we could get an early start the next day.  Denton and I had been asleep about three hours when I felt something crawling on me.  Well.  In complete darkness – because who can sleep if it’s not completely dark – I got out of bed and turned on the walk-in closet light that was next to my side of the bed.  Flipped back the covers…..and almost had a heart attack.  I’ll show you a photo of what was crawling up my leg to devour me.

Yeah.  I know.  Seriously.  I thought I was going to die.  Imagine a nickel beside it.  That is not an exaggeration.  That’s how big this thing was.  A scarab beetle.

I quickly flipped the covers back over it, because you know –  that will surely keep this thing contained.  Then, I ran around the foot of the bed to Denton’s side, where I would surely be safe and shook him awake.  Denton!!  Wake up!! There’s a giant creeping thing in the bed with us!!

Now keep in mind that in the first tender years of our marriage Denton believed that I overreacted to things.  Ahem.  Maybe because back then I did have a tendency to do just that upon occasion.  But, in my defense, he is also the man who told me at 5:15 in the morning “No, go back to bed, your water hasn’t broken, Liva isn’t due for another three weeks”, when in fact, YES, my water had indeed broken and she was born at exactly 7:30 AM that very same morning.  So there is that to consider.

When I finally convinced him that there was something to investigate and he got out of the bed, he whipped back the covers to show me that there was nothing there so that he could please for the love of all that is holy go back to sleep – scream!  Yep, it was still there.  Denton is always calm.  In the face of bears, yes but that’s another story, angry men with guns, another story, horrible life-changing events, another story, smash his thumb to oblivion and be transported to the ER by ambulance, another story, with all of these things, he is always calm.  He wasn’t very calm that night, standing beside the bed, staring at this hideous, THING, crawling around in our bedcovers.

He quickly flipped the covers back over it – because that will contain it for sure! – and we stood there staring at each other.  I honestly cannot remember how he got that thing out of our bed that night.  What I do remember is that he took it outside and threw it into the yard beyond the deck and then of course Sampson got ahold of it and played with it until it died.

Wasn’t he adorable!!! I miss him so much.

So what did we learn?

  1.  Obviously, scarab beetles have some magic way of entering ones home through ceiling fans.  Denton still doesn’t believe that’s how it got in, but really!?!  I wake up to a strange sound that morning, the kittens are mesmerized, and that night this horror-show winds up in our bed.  Coincidence?  I. don’t. think. so.

Second, I didn’t know that we had beetles that large in Virginia.  According to National Geographic, they can get up to 6.7 inches!  And they can live anywhere on the planet except the oceans and Antarctica.  Gahhh!  If we had already been to Florida and back, I would have sworn that we brought it with us.   Just like the scorpion in my hairbrush, alas another story for later.

Thirdly, take pictures of everything, Tracie!!  I don’t know why we didn’t think to take a photo.  Oh wait.  Yes, I do.  There was a freaking BEETLE the size of my fist in my BED!!  That’s why, no photo.

IV.  When you hear a weird sound in your house and your animals are looking around like aliens are invading….they just might be.  Just don’t hide under the covers unless you check them.  Thoroughly.

Weird things like this seem to happen at our house quite regularly.  Do things like this happen to you?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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