Journalists, et al, Step Up

My biggest concern since this American presidential election is the Freedom of Speech. Now people get bullied and ostracized for speaking up or giving a dissenting opinion. I thought that was one of the great things about America – our freedoms – and it seems to be slipping away. This post hits on many of my concerns. We ALL need to protect our rights and step up.


By Caitlin Kelly Some of you are fellow journalists. Some of you follow the news closely and know that President Elect Donald Trump makes a habit of naming, shaming and blaming reporters he thinks have somehow insulted him, often by merely challenging him on his ever-shifting statements and tweets. At his first press conference in […]

via It’s time for journalists to stand up — Broadside

Bird Strike

I went with my honey, Brad, to Indiana recently.  We drove up, since it can be such a lovely drive from Charlotte to Indiana through the mountains.  Unfortunately, after visiting a few days, I had to head back, and he didn’t.  This meant I would have to take my first flight alone from Louisville, Kentucky to Charlotte, North Carolina.  “I can do this,” I kept saying to myself.  Even though I cried after the last flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Charlotte.  “It’s time to put on your big girl panties,” my work BFF keeps saying to me. So I was thinking positive thoughts and put on my big girl panties for the flight.

Brad was kind enough to drive me to the airport and walk with me all the way to the security check-in, which was the part I was most nervous about.  “What do I put in separate containers?  When do I pull off my boots?  Can my laptop go in the same container as my cell phone?  Will there be a mean security person there screaming at people like there was at the Phoenix airport last June?  Oh, Lord!  I can do this!

I made it through check-in like a pro.  Brad waived to me from afar, and I was on my way!  I had enough time to inhale a sandwich and glass of wine at Starbucks, which was great before my first solo-flight, so to speak.

I finally boarded the plane and found myself sitting next to a woman who was apparently on the flight with about 10 other co-workers.  We said hello, and I said to her, “This is my first flight alone, but don’t worry.  We won’t end up on You Tube or anything.” “Are you serious,” she responded?  I guess it wasn’t the best thing to say to a perfect stranger who was stuck next to me on a plane. I took half of an anxiety pill as I was directed to by my honey, then called him to let him know I was on the plane and just fine.

It wasn’t long before the plane was moving along to prepare for take-off.  I was fine.  A little nervous but not bad.  I could already feel the wine and anxiety pill working, so I felt reasonably calm. (Yes, that is what some of us have to do.  Don’t judge.) We started moving.  I clutched my coat in my lap and my neck pillow, thinking positive thoughts.  “This is fine – normal stuff – people do this everyday.”  We start moving faster and faster, almost to the point of taking off, and suddenly the brakes went on..and on..and on…..  People were looking at each other and mumbling.  I could only bend forward a little, holding the sides of the seat in front of me mumbling quietly, “Oh God, oh God, oh God!”

We finally came to a safe stop, and then the Captain spoke,”I guess you all are wondering why we stopped.  It looks like we had a bird strike, and we are going to have it checked over real quick before we take back off.” Great. My first flight alone and we have a bird strike.  I heard someone nearby say something like, “Where is Captain Sulley?”  Someone else said, “This has never happened to me before.”  Of course not. I wasn’t in the plane flying alone for the first time before. This kind of thing only happens to people like me.

We ended up back in the terminal for about 40 minutes while they checked the left wing. I decided to take a quick photo with a little camera I happened to have in my purse.


I have to say – it is a rather unsettling picture to see when you know you are getting back on the plane soon.   Anyway, by the time I got back on, there were quite a few people that did not come back.  They either had to re-book because of connections they were going to miss in Charlotte, or they simply weren’t going to dare to try again. I felt confident that the plane was just fine, and they were simply being cautious. Now my seat next to me was empty, so I took a quick selfie.

The second try to take off was a success. The trip was uneventful and safe, and I got home late, but in one piece.  Thank you, American Airlines, for doing a great job! Thank you, wine and anxiety pill, for keeping me calm. And thank you, God, for keeping us safe!

Happy trails,



Gone But Not Forgotten(?)

I have not been blogging for a bit.  And I miss it, too.  I will be sitting down and writing this weekend.  I have had a little “crick” in my neck, so have been avoiding working on the computer.  But how long can a writer not write, I ask you?

Anyway, hopefully you have not forgotten about me (as I certainly have not forgotten about you), and I will be back in the saddle very soon.  I have a plane-almost-crash (well, sort of but not exactly) to share with you that just happened to me last weekend.  So stay tuned…

Happy trails,



Nothing But Sincerity As Far As the Eye Can See

Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see. – Linus van Pelt, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” (1966)


I love that show!  I have watched this Halloween cartoon special since I was a little girl. I had a very happy childhood. Some traditions are worth holding on to – no matter how silly they seem.

Happy trails,


via Daily Prompt: Sincere

*Note: Photo found through Google “free clipart pumpkin patch.”  Thanks Google Images!

Pizza, Beer, and Shopping in Boone, North Carolina

Sometimes you just need to get out of town and clear your head.  Do you know what I mean? If you live by the sea, going to the mountains feels more like a getaway.  If you live in the mountains, you long for the nearest river or beach.  But when you live in between like I do, you have the luxury of both worlds within a couple of hours, depending on which direction you head in. Since Fall has begun, we decided that the mountains would be a great place to go.  Time to see the leaves changing, smell the freshness in the air, and feel the start of the coolness that Fall brings with it.  How I love the Fall!

We decided to stop in Boone one night, and end the weekend in Blowing Rock – both in western North Carolina, tucked in the Appalachian mountains.

We didn’t make it to Boone until late at night.  It was already getting dark when we were heading up the mountain, so we could not see how colorful the trees were.  We thought it was a terrible tease to head north to the mountains at night time. We were like children waiting to see Santa Claus.  We wanted to see the colorful leaves now!

Waking in the morning, you would think an alien just landed in the parking lot outside our hotel window.  My honey, Brad, and I both raced over and pulled open the curtains to see how it looked outside.  Yes, there were colorful trees. But there were also a number of “naked” trees already.  I recall that the normal peak time for the Carolina mountains is right around October 15th.  This can almost be written in stone.  We arrived in Boone one week later, and many trees had lost their leaves.  But it was still beautiful.  The mountains still had color, and yes, still worth the visit.


We woke up a little late and decided to take a walk in the downtown area of Boone and see what the fuss is all about. Boone, after all, is a tourist haven. The first stop was the little restaurant the check-in guy at the hotel suggested – a pizza place called Lost Province.  It looked like a hole-in-the-wall to me.  This was perfect!  Those are often the best places to go.  It was tucked around the corner of downtown, just off the beaten path.



The Lost Province is a family-owned microbrewery and gastropub.  They have a wood fire where they cook their pizzas directly in their copper-clad Le Panyol wood fired oven. They also use local and organic food whenever possible, community-oriented, and are very friendly and quick with their service.


Their microbrewery can be seen through large windows on the second floor right by tables where you can eat and get drunk just watching the beer being brewed. I went upstairs and leaned over a table to take this shot.  Excuse me folks…


We enjoyed this place so much we hated to leave, but we still couldn’t wait to walk along Boone’s historic downtown area and see what it was all about.

We decided to walk up one side and then down the other side of Boone’s little downtown district so we wouldn’t miss anything. Turning around the corner, we saw the place I noticed when we drove by – the Mast General Store. The Mast General Store was originally built in 1883 and was first called The Taylor General Store. It has kept it’s history with the old, wonderful building it is in, and the old-fashioned decor that still colors the isles and walls today. It carried everything from candy to clothes and trinkets, possibly a likeness to what it offered back then.



I would have bought almost everything in that store if I could have.  Good thing my honey kept me in control!

After the enjoyable visit through every room in the Mast General Store, we returned to our walk.  A cute fruit and vegetable store was down the street, and after we crossed, we enjoyed looking through tourist shops, antique shops, and saw artwork and a museum along the way.

We stopped and listened to a group of 4 college-aged people playing country music and singing, and had to talk to them and take a picture or two.  They were very nice and offered some of their cd’s, which we couldn’t help but buy.  We knew it would be fun to listen to later, and mainly, I think, to help pay their way to fame and fortune.


The day was growing late, and we had new places to go and new people to meet, so we said our goodbye’s to Boone and headed out. It was such a fun visit, and I hope to go there again when we have more time.

Happy trails,


Ach Du Lieber! It’s Octoberfest in South Carolina!

Since Rock Hill, South Carolina was having an Octoberfest event for its 70,000 people (and growing) in down town, my honey and I decided to stop by and see what it was all about.  After all, I had never been to an Octoberfest before.  We parked about 2 blocks away, and could already hear the Bavarian oompah band playing their joyous German songs.

Crowds of people attended, many sitting at tables listening to the band and trying to sing along. Many eating food from the vendors set up to satisfy the most finicky of palates.  Most of the attendees were dressed in casual attire, but here and there were adults and kids, trying to “fit in” to the genre.

We walked around listing to the music and checking out the vendors.  They had everything from bier (beer) and brats, barbeque, homemade cheeses, wood carvings, to real estate agents and house gutters.  We missed the hot dog race (dachsund races) because the crowd there was so enormous.  Very disappointing. But we didn’t miss the strolling accordion player, who was not too busy to stop and play for a photo. You can see in the background a dad who seemed to enjoy it way more than his infant son did.


He did  a great job playing the accordion, and we were happy to stand there for a minute and listen to him. It seemed to make him happy that we did.

After a little while (probably after the crowd had a few biers and brats), they started a “congo” line moving around the tables, and people repeating after the festmeister, “Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!”



For my first Octoberfest, it was a fun time! We decided it was time to go, but the Octoberfest was surely considered another success for the community, right here in Rock Hill, South Carolina!

Happy trails,


It’s a question of character — Broadside

By Caitlin Kelly “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” — coach John Wooden Exactly. This week, thanks to […]

via It’s a question of character — Broadside