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December 2011

And now, from the Bat Cave....

            .....okay, not THE Bat Cave, but a funny little town in the mountains of North Carolina, not too far from Asheville.   This weekend we drove up into the mountains to find an apple orchard and see some fall color (something that is seriously lacking in Columbia!).  Jon's older brother David and his family met us at Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, NC, and we spent the day together.   Flat Rock is just about halfway between our place and theirs, so it worked out well.   What we didn't anticipate was that half the state would have the same idea!   The orchard was positively teeming with people, and it quickly became overwhelming.  We looked around some, got some donuts, apples and cider, and went on our way. 

        Our original plan was to go to Chimney Rock State Park and just drive through Bat Cave on the way, but that fell apart pretty quickly when we realized that we could park and climb down to the creek that runs through town.   I love mountain streams and have many, many memories of playing in the "crick" at various relatives' homes as a child.   Since I was sitting in the passenger seat chanting " I wanta play in the crick!  I wanta play in the crick!"  I guess Jon decided that it would be easier to give in  (thus shutting me up) than listen to me for the next hour or so.   He was right, too.   The kids and I had a grand time hopping from rock to rock and playing in the (cold!!) water.   What can I say?  Creeks make me happy!

        Once Jon dragged me away from the water, we were planning to go on to the park.  Brenda (sister-in-law), however, knew of a weaver's outlet just up the road a couple miles, so we went there while the men and the young 'uns went on to the park.   Oh, am I ever glad Brenda told me about this place!  The Manual Woodworkers and Weavers retail outlet is fantastic.  You name it, they've got it - and at killer prices, too.  I found the perfect Christmas gift for my mom, which thrilled me to no end.   The place is like going down the rabbit hole - every time you turn around, there's something else to see.   We had ourselves a good time!

        After emerging from the cave of wonder,  Brenda and I headed back up the road toward Chimney Rock, only to spot our husbands and children parked by the creek again.  Whaaaaaat?   Apparently, unlike most state parks I've been to, admission there is per person rather than per vehicle, and it was $12 each.  Since the guys didn't feel like shelling out $60 to hike up the mountain when they could play in the creek for free,  they retraced their path and waited for us.  Actually Jon had called me approximately 37 times, but I wasn't getting any signal at all at the outlet so I didn't get his calls.  (Honest!  Ask Brenda!)   We hung out a little longer, took some pictures, and then went our respective ways.   All in all, a good time on a beautiful fall Saturday.

        Bat Cave family pic (2)
        And here's the whole crew!  L to R - Seth, looking grim; Luke, looking - weird?; Jon, looking a little tired;  me, looking happy (creek!); and Faith, looking like she's trying not to laugh.  Before anyone asks, no, I am not freakishly tall, I'm standing on a rock behind my honey.  

Feelin' the love

    It seems a little risky to say this, but I do believe we're settling in at long last!  A routine of sorts is developing,  we know where most of our belongings are (at least which box!) - shoot, we even had a garage sale Saturday.   Oldest son is job-hunting again, youngest son is actually doing well with school, darling daughter is thinking art-school portfolios.....and me?  I'm getting ready to go see my sister for a few days of sisterly bonding and serious thrift shopping! 

    Seriously, in the last week or so I've realized that I'm becoming more content with being here.   I'll spare you the process  (as all three readers weep in gratitude), but there's been a lot going on in my head that has been - ah - painful, but growth oriented.   Hubby and I have talked about things at length, and probably will continue to do so, but for now we're good right here.    It is entirely possible that the arrival of something resembling fall weather has influenced my mood as well, but I couldn't say for sure. 

     Of course, there are some things that never change no matter where we live.   Example A, our dogs.  I understand that dogs are pack animals and want to be with their people, blah blah blah, but do they really all have to follow me to the bathroom every time?    I've been taking care of that by myself for a looooong time, fellas, I really don't need help!    And why is it that with four other people in this family,  all four dogs usually choose me as their personal cushion?   Boris and Frodo aren't so bad - at 15 and 18 lbs, it's not that painful.  But when Zeus decides to plop his 65-lb rear on top of the little guys, and then they all commence fighting over who gets the squooshiest part of my lap - OW!   I have a constant string of paw-sized bruises on my thighs thanks to sneak attacks from those crazy dogs.  Shyla, thankfully, is usually (usually!) content to just lay on my feet.   But jeez, guys!  A little personal space, please?   Sigh....