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September 2013
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January 2014


        This Thursday is Thanksgiving, and once again I will have a house full of family to celebrate the day.  As crazy as it gets, I'm really glad it's happening, because all that chaos just points up all the ways I'm blessed.  So before I fling myself into preparations for the holiday, I just wanted to say how thankful I am for all of it.  May each and every one of you be blessed, too.


I ran away

    This past weekend I ran away.

    Yes, I am a grown woman, and yes, my family knew exactly where I was and what I was doing.  Doesn't matter.  I ran away, and I had a blast  doing it. 

    For some time my sister and I have talked/dreamed/obsessed about renting a cabin in the woods for a weekend and just hiding out from the world for a few days.  Well, we finally did it.  Last weekend Melinda, Mom and I snagged a gorgeous cabin just outside Gatlinburg, TN and had ourselves a girls' weekend, and it was fantastic.  We left yesterday morning and I don't think any of us really wanted to walk away from that place.

    Melinda and her hubby have rented cabins through this particular agency several times, and we used them this past summer, so we were pretty confident that we'd wind up with a cabin that was at least as good as the pictures.  Oh, my.....SO much better!  The cabin was positioned on the hillside so that no matter where you looked, it was like being in a treehouse.  Beautiful views, no traffic or other people, just peace and trees and sunlight pouring down.  A huge fireplace with an equally huge, comfy couch in front of it.  Rocking chairs on the deck and a beanbag the size of New Jersey downstairs (we had fun with that!).   And a whopping two miles from the arts and crafts district, which is tons of fun to wander through while drooling over lovely things you don't need but really want.  :-)

    We also ate at some fabulous restaurants - because, hey, what's the point of running away if you're not going to eat well?   The Pottery Barn Old Mill Cafe had great atmosphere.  Very rustic but with a touch of elegance (is that possible?), with lots of wood, stone floors, and even an outdoor seating area, although it was just a bit too chilly for us to enjoy that.  The food was extremely good and the servings generous, but the star of the show was the sourdough bread.  A whole loaf, still warm, with fresh butter....aaaahhhh!  Melinda and I were in heaven. 

    The next day we visited the Cherokee Grill, which was amazing.  They pride themselves on serving only the best and freshest, and it shows.  I was about ready to propose to the chef.  I'm normally a bit squeamish about shrimp, which really means I'm pathetically addicted to popcorn shrimp because I'm just weird that way.  But I decided to live on the edge and order chargrilled shrimp and oh, was I glad!  I rolled out of there feeling incredibly satisfied with the world in general, and my tummy in particular.  Dee-licious.

    Before we left town we had breakfast at the Atrium, and I have a new appreciation for eggs thanks to them.  What they called a "hillbilly scrambler", I call YUM!  Scrambled eggs with bacon, fresh spinach and jack cheese, served with homemade biscuits and fantastic coffee....oh, my stars, it was wonderful.  I started my trip home feeling satisfied body and soul, and that's a rare thing.

    Despite all indications to the contrary, we didn't just eat while we were there!  As I said, the arts and crafts district is great fun, and if I'd had more money in my pocket I could have done quite a bit of damage there.  The offerings range from kitschy to breath-taking (as do the prices) and there's something to appeal to almost everyone.   Some of the pottery and metalwork, in particular, really appealed to me, but I decided to be good (waaaaah!).  Still, it was all lovely to see.

    We also spent a good deal of time just chilling at the cabin.  Mom read, Melinda crocheted, I did some knitting and some writing, we watched cheesy Christmas was a few days of down time, and it did us all a world of good.  Now, when can we go back? 


p.s. I was not reimbursed in any way for my endorsements of the restaurants mentioned above - they were simply that good!