Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cool Pic and Savings

Not too long ago I stopped to get some gas at the local Exxon / Flash Foods in Fayetteville. For those who might not know, you can get a little Flash card (free) and save 2 cents per gallon at any Flash Food gas station in the county (and beyond). There are three that I know about, one in Fayetteville at the Hwy 314 / 85 split, one at Gingercake Rd. / Hwy 54 and one in Peachtree City at Crosstown Rd. / Hwy 74.
There, that's my money savings tip of the day. Or the month. Possibly the year.

Back to the photo. While I was pumping gas I started noticing birds flitting about, heading toward the store. There's not much to do while pumping gas other than watch the pump if you want to stop at a certain dollar amount, or stare at the passing cars, people and whatever else catches your fancy.

I enjoyed watching the birds zipping around much more than the cars.

I think you'll get a kick out of where the birds were nesting. They had plenty to eat on the ground I'd imagine (although they do keep a very neat and clean gas station... even the bathroom was extra decent!).

What are the chances?

Stopped into the Fayetteville Post Office earlier today to do a few things. Met the nicest people! First, the people in line. I've lived in a lot of places in the world and have always managed to find good people. However, it just seems that the nicest, friendliest live in Fayette County.

It's easy to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger almost anywhere in this town. People still hold doors open for others, most will let someone into their lane while driving and we just seem to generally be a courteous bunch.

I got into a conversation with two of the ladies working at the Post Office. I was opening a new P.O. box so had to be there for a bit. They were so helpful and nice.

While talking to Sandra she noticed the birth date on my drivers license. Turns out she's a fellow Gemini, born six days earlier than me. We chatted a bit about the fun of having multiple personalities. Gemini is the twin and we're "allowed" two personalities. We concurred that Gemini's had more than just two.

Then, of course (well, it's an 'of course' if you're familiar with the whole astrology thing, compatible signs and all that gobble-de-goop), she mentioned her husband was a Libra. Well, turns out my husband is a Libra also. And, to top it all off, our husbands birthdays are six days apart. Her husband, while younger than mine, was born six days earlier than mine.

What are the chances?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas shopping

Thank goodness I'm finished. This year because my husband had surgery I didn't get any early shopping in and had to do a rush job this weekend.

Everyone has stuff on sale. Except Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond. They are also the only ones with any decent Christmas stuff left. However, given that they both said it's all going on sale the day after Christmas, who'll shop now?

I heard on the radio as I headed to the stores that stores across the nation are doing their after-Christmas sales before Christmas this year. I guess Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond didn't get the memo.

Lines are long and there's not much left to pick through. Seems that a lot of folks waited to the last minute to shop. Luckily I did some shopping on-line and the rest consisted of things that were in plentiful supply.
I did run into a problem trying to find ornaments. I buy everyone in the family an ornament each year that has some meaning for them. Basketball Santa for my nephew, gardening ornament for my mom and so on and so forth. All the little ones get a tiny tree complete with decorations. Each year I add some more miniature somethings to the tree. Slim pickings this year on the ornaments. Ah well, they just won't quite be as good as usual this year. However, I did make some pottery ornaments, pulled 'em out of the kiln this morning. One for all.

I can just imagine what tomorrow's last minute rush is going to be like! Even if I find I overlooked something, I'm not leaving the house tomorrow!!!

Merry Christmas to all and a big thanks to all for your kind comments and thoughts regarding Greg's surgery. He's doing well and will be out and about and better than ever soon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Curb Peal...

Once again I skirted the strange curb that some sadist stuck in the middle of the road as you leave the Wal-Mart in Peachtree City... Anyone who has shopped at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Office Depot or other stores in that shopping area who's turned left when leaving onto Hwy. 54 has noted that high curb.

It's a natural inclination when making a left to cut across at a slight angle. Based on the number of black tire marks on the curb, I'd say that quite a few have run up on the curb.

During the day it blends into the pavement. During the night it's impossible to see until you're right on it.

All they have to do to make sure that another fender isn't dented, another tire or worse, side of a car, isn't swiped, is to put some reflectors around the bottom. It has to be a foot high, so it should be easy to find something to stick on there. Maybe a sign on the end? Some concrete plant holders?

I think it's another conspiracy. The people who put that in are in cahoots with the auto repair shops on Huddleston Road. Or they've teamed up with the guys who used to video tape us as we slid into our ditch to get the newspaper (see previous blog).

I know someone had to be snickering as they put that bunker into the middle of the road.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Free newspapers, ditches and conspiracies

A vast majority of families in Fayette County have a free newspaper tossed in their yard each week. Some receive two, some three. There are two freebies that go out on Thursday, one on Wednesday.

All lay claim to a circulation of around 26,000 papers I think. I "assume" (but don't know) that the number claimed includes the stacks left at the Chamber of Commerce, libraries, local gyms and other places. I "assume" (but don't know) that the number includes the ones placed in boxes for sale around the county.

The point of today's missive isn't about the actual circulation.

It's about ditches.

We only get one paper on our street each week. I'm not sure how the paper's break down the area they distribute their free papers. I've lived in four locations in the county and have only received one of the three papers no matter where I live. Same one. I know others who receive different papers, so I'm not doubting for a minute that some are getting out, I just don't know the areas they've chosen to toss their papers.

We have a wide, very wide, driveway.

On either side of the driveway, we have ditches.

Each week, without fail, the free newspaper ends up in the ditch.

It's a ditch conspiracy.

The people across the street have ditches. The people to the left and right have ditches.

I've been watching. Their paper ends up on their driveways the vast majority of the time. When it isn't on the driveway, it isn't in the ditch either, it's on the grassy part of the yard behind the ditch. No climbing down in ditches to get it for our neighbors, oh no.

It's a ditch conspiracy. It's a game. They singled us out because we have the widest driveway on the street. Ours should be the easiest to hit.

If I didn't mind a trashy yard, I'd let the newspapers pile up in the ditch.

I know the person who tosses out the papers must live somewhere nearby. They zip down the road early, early, toss our paper into the ditch. Then they go home and sleep for a few hours. They know our routine by now. After all, they've been tossing it that same ditch for the past four years...

They sit somewhere safe, with their binoculars, or better yet, their camera, and wait for us to slide down into the ditch to get the paper. Somewhere there is a YouTube video with nothing on it but people like us slipping and sliding down into a ditch to get a soggy plastic wrapped paper.

All across the county, paper delivery people are watching their chosen victims as they tumble and contort to try and reach that plastic wrapped paper. Maybe they sit around at special occasions showing their favorite videos. Maybe they have paper delivery contests for the most trouble, the funniest or the most dangerous attempt to get the paper.

We may be slow, but we finally figured out a way to thwart their Candid Camera moment. We have a rake that we now use to grab the paper out of the ditch.

So there wicked paper tossing video making delivery person. That's the last time you'll win a video contest with us in it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life without Internet… and cable… AKA: Cable Gremlins

I’ll freely admit that I have no idea what I’d do with myself if someone took my computers away. I get up every morning and, after fixing my first cup of hot tea, I check my emails. I write my blogs. I check my news feeds. Then I get to work.

My main business (the Fayette Front Page and the Georgia Front Page) revolve around computers. Internet access is a must.

So, imagine my displeasure when the weather got cold and I lost my Internet. And cable. When we had our first cold snap this year everything went down. I didn’t associate it with the cold at first. When I called first thing in the morning they said there was an area outage. It went off around 2 a.m., was back around 10 or so.

You expect that to happen on occasion. Things break down, accidents happen.

A few days later it happened again. Out around 2, still down when I got up. I called. They said it was another area outage. I was getting just a little, tiny, tad bit miffed but again, things happen, you expect to lose services at times.

The next day. It happened again. Temps dropped down to the 30s and our cable and Internet went out. Time for a service call because now they can’t find that there had ever been an area outage. Geez.

Our cable was just going out and then coming back on when it felt like it. I noted that it went back after the sun rose over the tree tops and hit the cable pole.

Hmmm, sound like the cold to you?

Well, let’s skip forward a full month. As I type this our cable and Internet are out for the tenth or eleventh time. Except now it’s getting more interesting. It went out last night at 10 p.m. and it’s still out.

We have cell phone numbers for the area cable maintenance guy and the area supervisor. We call them when it goes out. They zip over here to try and track down the problem.

So far they’ve rewired everything from the pole to the house. Twice. They’ve moved things, upgraded this or that, replaced things. It’s still happening.

We have the guys dropping everything and getting over here in 15 minutes now. They are all stumped.

The supervisor was over here last time. He climbed the pole, started checking things and voila it came back on by itself again. He was a little frustrated because it needs to be out for them to track down the problem.

I think we have a cable gremlin.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Night in Newnan Part 2: The CHAIR....

Oh man. I know everyone reading this has spent at least part of a night in one of those contraptions they have at hospitals for the family to "sleep" on. I've tested my fair share over the years.

Last Friday I met the monster of all monsters. This chair must have been borrowed from an Inquisition era torture chamber.

It was narrow. With arms.

The back let down... about six inches. Most hospital chairs allow you to stretch out flat so you can have the illusion of being in a bed. Not so with this contraption. Forget trying to balance a pillow on the plastic back... you have to hold it up with your head or your hands.

Typical chairs have some semblance of cushioning. They may be vinyl, but there's usually a nice thick pad of cushion under it. Not so with this chair. It was maybe 3 inches thick. One step up from rock hard. I have the sore hips to prove it.

The bottom did open up to keep my legs propped up. However... you knew there was going to be a however, didn't you? However... it stopped right at my ankles. Which meant that all night long my feet hung in limbo off the edge. The nice square edge of the "cushion" cut right into my ankles periodically cutting off circulation. I remedied that by getting an extra pillow to put under my feet. My feet were slightly up in the air, but given my overall state of high discomfort, that was minor.

OK, could have been worse, right? Welllll.... I haven't told you about the piece that connected the foot rest to the chair. You'd think it would have been a solid piece so your upper legs would have something to rest on. Nope. Not in this device. The foot rest was connected to the chair by a piece of vinyl or plastic that didn't stretch tight, it hung down in a nice curve. Which meant that from the top of my hips to knees were suspended in the air. Yep. Hard to believe they expected someone to rest in the chair...

I overcame that obstacle with another pillow. It fit nicely in the void, although it was exactly the kind of pillow that had any give to it, so my lower body was resting on a rolling hill.

Did I mention the crinkly plastic covered hard pillows?

I know in my last post I wrote something about the temperature. Sweltering. At least until somewhere in the 2 or 3 o'clock time frame. All of a sudden the temperature dropped into the frozen zone. It felt SO good. For an hour or so. Then I must have drifted off for a bit because when I next became aware of my surroundings, it was back up to 75. I would have believed I'd dreamed the cooler temps, but I know I slept no longer than 15 minutes at a pop.

Between the nurse stopping in, the alerts from all the medical equipment in surrounding rooms, Greg needing things and THE CHAIR, I was a zombie with out any hope of rest.

No matter how bad I was feeling, it was hard to grumble given Greg's suffering.

He's doing better now, so I am taking time to vent...

We both made it through the night.

After a night of torture, I looked forward to breakfast. Surely they'd have something simple like some scrambled eggs, grits and maybe a selection of toasts (I don't do white bread).

No such luck.

My choices were pre-made biscuits with either egg and ham, egg and sausage and I think maybe egg and bacon. No egg biscuits. They has a little menu that said they offered a breakfast burrito with egg and cheese. However, when I asked, I was told tough luck, not serving it.

I went back to the vending machines to see if possibly, possibly someone had added something other than chicken sandwiches and other similar fare. They had grits in a container, but you had to add water and nuke it. It just seemed like too much trouble to go try and find some water somewhere, especially since I'd tried them before and didn't like 'em.

We were leaving that day, figured I'd probably be home in time for lunch so I'd hold out.

Except... we didn't get out by lunch.

The doctor was supposed to make his rounds in the morning, or so they said, but as it turned out, he was in surgery. We didn't see him until late afternoon. He was just a bit miffed as supposedly the nurse was supposed to have unhooked Greg from all the contraptions that morning and the physical therapist was supposed to have come by and helped him walk. The doctor was just stopping by to double check and say goodbye.

We had to wait while they tracked down a therapist. Still hot. Still a tiny room. No one ever said anything else about getting us into one of the bigger rooms after that first initial burst of nice thoughts. I don't know how they managed to get the bed in the room in the first place. Every time I wanted to do something, like help Greg eat, I had to move something into the hall it seemed...

Which reminds me. I almost forgot GREG's ordeal with the food. He's a type 2 diabetic and has a heart condition. We went through the whole spiel when we first got there, talked about diet, etc., etc.

His first meal? Roast beef with gravy, a white roll, white rice, cooked carrots. He's not supposed to eat red meat. He's not supposed to eat white bread or white rice. Cooked carrots are OK, but given he'd just had surgery that involved his throat he had extreme difficulty swallowing so the carrot's didn't work. Dessert was sugar-free sorbet. He managed with that.

Breakfast? Eggs, which are OK. White bread, a no-no. And, bacon. He's not supposed to eat bacon either. Promise butter, which was good. Sugar free jam, which was good. Orange juice. Another no-no for type 2 diabetics.

By lunch time I'd mentioned to someone that we weren't very happy about the food (very nicely) so they had someone stop in to allow us to choose. You didn't choose individual items, you had a choice of this grouping or that grouping. Every single grouping had stuff on it that was on his dietary list of can't do's (this is per his doctor, and per all the books I've read on heart and /or diabetes...). Anyway, the lady was nice enough to let us select one item and ditch the rest. She brought us extra fruit trying to be nice. Appreciated the thought, but they were all in a sugar syrup. Oh well...

All's well that ends well right? Greg is doing great. The surgeon was great. The people (except the last nurse) were great. I know that Piedmont just bought the Newnan hospital and they're working on improving things. I know there's a new hospital in the works and that at some point in the future Newnan will be blessed with a good hospital.

I also know that when my time comes to get some procedure or operation done, I'll suffer for however long it takes to make sure I can have it done here, in Fayette County, at OUR Piedmont Hospital. I'm spoiled and I'll freely and happily admit it. Greg concurs. He was in debilitating pain, but after his experience in Newnan, he said he'd have been willing to gut it out a little longer.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Night in Newnan...

Greg (my husband) had to have some surgery last Friday. The doctor operates in Fayette and in Newnan, however as it turned out we'd have had to wait at least an extra month or so to get into Fayette for the operation. He was in tremendous pain so we chose to go to Piedmont Newnan Hospital to get it over with...

I'll say up front the surgeon and all of the people except one were absolutely wonderful. Great attitudes, very helpful, couldn't have been better.

Everything else stunk.

Really stunk.

Started nice... they called and did the pre-registration over the phone to save us time. Then, when we got there, they did it all over again. Exactly the same questions. Re-typed. No biggie, just silly redundancy, no time saver.

Then they said the operation was moved from 7:30 a.m. to noon. I thought that was great. Still the surgeon's first op of the day, but we wouldn't be getting up at some pre-dawn hour to get there. Nice.

Except... we got there at 11 like we were told. At 12:30 we were still waiting. Somewhere near one they called Greg back to get started. We said our goodbyes and then Greg's kids, my Dad and I went down to wait in the "good" waiting room. The one with the snack machines with not one healthy option. Hey, it's a hospital, nutrition isn't high on anyone's list...

A few minutes before 2 they called to let me know they were getting ready to start the operation.

My Dad and I decided to grab a bite to eat. Turned out the cafeteria was closed for renovation.

However, they had a "Magic Room" which served as the temporary cafeteria. OK, I could deal with that, just wanted something to eat...

Walked in, saw two tables with a white tablecloth cover. On it sat a couple of chafing dishes. One held beenie-weenies or something similar, one held greasy green beans, another had white rice, then there were some interesting looking rolls and tons of desserts in plastic containers.

I don't eat meat. I don't do white rice. I'd have been happy to find a salad, but no such luck. We left. Thankfully Greg's kids had opted to go out to eat and they were able to bring something back for us. But I had at least two meals to go before we left the hospital. Surely the nighttime offering would be better!

At 3 they called to say it'd be another half an hour to an hour before they finished up, all looked good.

At 4:10 they called to say all finished. The doc stopped by, said all went well, etc., etc.

At 5 I happened to see Greg wheeling by heading to his room and zipped out to follow. They couldn't get the bed into the room. Banged up against the door. Luckily my brother-in-law was there to help.

They had one room left on the floor as we were one of the last ones there. They said they had a call in to try and get him into a larger room. I was so fixed on Greg that it didn't exactly register. However, when I did have a minute to look around I realized we were in a room that was just a tad bigger than a coffin. There was room on each side for the usual contraptions and, if you were skinny, a person. There was a non-working furnace type thing hanging on the wall below the window that restricted one side.

On the other, if you opened the bathroom door you hit the bed. Or had a good chance of knocking the machines over.

I could deal with it. Wasn't even sure I wanted to try to move him since they had such difficulty getting him in the door. I mean, we were only going to be there overnight...

While the kids were still there, I zipped down to the not-so-magic room to see what I could get for dinner. Oh boy, oh boy. Fried chicken fingers. French fries. White bread. Desserts.

I passed again and called some friends.

It was winter. However, it was equator hot in the room. 75 degrees. Yep, 75. The thermostat was set on 65. I scooted it down to 60. Temperature didn't waver. We sweltered. I asked for a fan.

Five hours later, after checking on it a few times I saw someone walking down the hall with a fan. I followed it and literally snatched it from her hands. Greg was dripping, uncomfortable and miserable.

Overheard the nurses talking about staffing. They were short handed. No tech for the night. Which simply meant the nurse would have to do the stats, empty cath bags, take blood pressures, etc. A little later I heard that they were also short another person (an assistant of some sort).

Luckily, we had a fabulous night nurse who was so good it didn't matter. Her toe was broken which made it a bit difficult for her to walk around. Not once did she complain. She answered every question and was just super. She kept us supplied with ice (much needed given the sweltering heat in the room).

Ahh... but this tale is not over... in my next installment, I'll tell you about the torture chair, breakfast and the day of agony...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Landscape Designer's Drought Survival Guide: Tips for helping your landscape survive future drought conditions

Article Courtesy of Hollingsworth Design Group, Fayetteville, GA.

The drought of 2007 will certainly be remembered by Georgians and the residents of our neighboring southern states for many years to come. It seems like daily I hear someone say something like "I've never seen Horton Reservoir so low." or" Have you seen Lake Kedron?" To say we need rain is a gross understatement. This drought of historic proportions has put our state's rainfall total at 15" below normal for the year. State and local officials are working hard to protect our precious water resources and we residents are trying to conserve wherever we can.

With statewide bans on outdoor watering our landscapes are suffering. At times like these we are reminded that taking a few steps to conserve water in our landscapes before a drought hits really pays off. Mulching planting beds, core aerating the lawn, water reclamation and sprinkler system optimization are just a few ways we can do just that.

Mulching and Aeration

During the winter months most plantings including lawns need very little water. For the most part winter rainfall is sufficient. Supplemental watering with sprinkler systems is rarely needed for established plant material. Plants need moisture in the winter to in large part, act as an insulator. That's right, when the air temperature drops below freezing, a hydrated plant will remain above 25 degrees fare height. If a plant is not hydrated and the air temperature plunges to 10 or 20 degrees below freezing, the plant will also get that cold. This is when we start loosing plant material. Keeping plants hydrated prior to freezing temperatures is a good idea.

But what can we do during a watering ban to help our plants survive frigid temps?
One suggestion is to apply a sufficient layer of mulch around your plantings to help them retain moisture. The mulch acts like a barrier that protects the subterranean moisture from evaporating via sun and wind exposure. Increase your lawn's ability to absorb water by core-aerating. Aeration sends spikes into the soil throughout your lawn and creates pathways for water to travel below the surface compared to just soaking in from the top.

Water Reclamation

Water reclamations methods from the past are making a come-back. Many Fayette residents are now installing rain barrels and cisterns. Rain captures can be stored and used later to water plants, wash the car, etc.

Rain barrels are above-ground containers that are connected to the home's gutter system via the downspout. You might be amazed how much water travels through your gutters during a short rain shower.

An advanced water reclamation is the cistern. Used for thousands of years by many different cultures, this "old school" approach offers plenty of modern benefits. A cistern is a large, underground tank that stores water collected from the gutter down spouts. A series of buried pipes carry rain water from the downspouts to the underground reservoir. A 110volt pump provides pressurize water flow water spigots above ground when water is needed. Cisterns come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They range in capacity from about 500 - 3,000 gallons or more. Prices start around $2,500 for a standard system installed.

Sprinkler System Optimization

Sprinkler systems are wonderful tools that when utilized properly allow us to grow beautiful landscapes that would not otherwise be possible. Manufactures of sprinkler components have provided an array of products designed to optimize efficiency and conserve water.

Unfortunately, many systems are not installed to take advantage of these advances in technology and many homeowners are not educated on the proper use of their system. Consequently, a lot of water is wasted.

During the growing season, the average home in Fayette County will use thousands of gallons of water each week if it runs just three times. If you have a sprinkler system, consider implementing the following suggestions to maximize your conservation effort.

*Install a rain sensor to avoid running the sprinkler during or to shortly after a rain shower.
*If your are having significant runoff of sprinkler water during operation, it indicates that your run times are too long or the soil is compacted and not absorbing the water and should be aerated.
*Using a rain gauge, calculate the amount of water being delivered to a zone based on the run time. Lawns require 1" of water per week and shrubs approximately 1/3" per week.
*The average sprinkler head operates best at 55 psi. The pressure coming through your county water meter can be double that number. Install a pressure regulator and adjust to the proper psi.
*Hire a certified sprinkler company to inspect your system and make sure is operating properly.

It will rain again

Hopefully the drought will end soon. The National Weather Service has released predictions for rain fall levels for late Winter and Spring 2008. They anticipate normal rainfall amounts to return for our area. Hopefully, with the water restrictions still in place, our reservoirs will begin to fill up.

Let's work together to continue practicing water conservation measures even when rainfall is abundant. This will help protect our water supply for the future and it is just the right thing to do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful for...

On this day of Thanksgiving my mind has traveled off and on to the things I'm thankful for... Most of the time I think we think of today as a time to spend with family, eat turkey, get stuffed, watch football and similar. Some of us feed the hungry or try to give to others. I don't know how often we do more than give lip service to the real meaning of Thanksgiving.

Of course, on most holidays any more we're just thankful to have a day off from work and an excuse to have a picnic, get gifts or enjoy a three day weekend.

I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about Pilgrims and Indians and the discovery of our country. However, I do usually, as said in the first paragraph, spend time thinking about all that makes life special to me.

My wonderful husband, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, my brothers and sisters, parents, Greg's children who I have grown to love and enjoy, the beautiful home we live in, the great county, my friends, my pottery studio, the Fayette Front Page, those who help and volunteer to make it happen, I could go on and on until I bored everyone reading this if I haven't already.

I'm thankful for the freedoms we take for granted. I'm ever so thankful for all of those fighting to keep us safe, especially those who are unable to spend today with their families.

Thanks to all of your who read my blogs when I happen to write, and thanks to all who read the Fayette Front Page!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Signs of Growth

I'm sure this isn't news to anyone in the county, but changes are happening. There's all kinds of growth... new stores, ground being cleared, strip malls, and maybe a few houses here and there.

There seems to also be a proliferation of signs sprouting up.

Don't know about you, but I think the "GOT JUNK" signs are the worst offenders. They're junky. They stick 'em everywhere. And they're illegal in many, if not most, instances.

A few times I've traveled down Hwy. 92 going toward Christian City. Tons of signs advertising a new subdivision litter the edges of the road.

I've started paying attention to the signs. To my way of thinking, if a company can't follow the local rules then I'm not interested in doing business with them.

My understanding is that pretty much nothing will be done about signs that violate the ordinances unless someone calls and complains. I think about it sometimes, but generally by the time I get home I'm not thinking about the signs I saw 15 minutes or 2 hours ago.

I think about writing the company sometimes, too. It's a standing joke in my family that we'll all threaten to write a nasty-gram but we never do. However, we do follow thought when we decide not to shop somewhere. I can't tell you how many years our family boycotted Rich's simply because they were the only company that refused to work with my grandmother when my grandfather was dying and it became difficult for her to make all her payments in full. Every other company graciously worked with her. Rich's not only refused, they harassed her to the point of tears. Nope, if Rich's were still around we'd still be sharing the bad news with friends and chipping away at their customer base one-by-one...

I digressed, changed the subject, got side-tracked (which I often do!).

Back to the growing number of signs...

Nah, enough on signs.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hummingbird Update

In my last post I said the hummingbirds were gone. I was wrong. We either have a new one or our summer bird changed her habits. During the summer one female sat on the feeder stand "branches" and guarded her stash. Now, we have a lone female who's out early in the morning, while it's still a bit nippy.

I'm wondering if she's just a bit too old to make the long trip and has decided to end her days with us.

I don't know enough about hummingbirds to know if possibly she has some babies she's watching over. I read somewhere that hummingbirds will forgo the long trip south if they're ill, too old, or they have young ones to guard over who won't be able to make the trip.

I'm not sure what our hummingbird is doing during the day. Could be that the weather is just nippy enough that she's filling up early in the morning then snuggling the rest of the day, maybe she slips out later in the day and I'm just missing her.

I understand they can hunker down, slow metabolism almost to hibernation ratio when it gets cold.

Maybe someone will read this who knows more than I and will give me some ideas.

Of course, it just could be that she's not ready to leave yet and one day soon she'll really be gone. I would think if she's planning on leaving that she'd be at the feeders all day, storing up fuel for the trip.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hummingbirds and Fall

I love this time of year in many ways. The crisp cold of the mornings… not too cold, just enough for a sweater. Usually there are beautiful colors as the leaves change and fall. We’ve already had leaves falling off some of our trees for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, due to the drought, they’re saying we won’t have the gorgeous colors we’ve grown to expect. Maybe there will be a shortened version, according to the experts, sometime in October. If that’s the worst problem we encounter over the next months, I’ll be OK with a shortened foliage season!

What I dislike about this time of years is that my hummingbirds all pack their bags and head south. My last little bird finally gave in and left. She’d defended her ground against all the intruders who wanted a snack on their way through. She was with me all summer. At least I believe it was the same hummingbird. If it wasn’t there’s a copycat out there somewhere!

One, sometimes two, hummingbirds hang out with me all season long each year. Others come for periods of time but don’t stick around. I thing we’ve become a fuel stop as they travel to my parents place on Lake Oconee. We always have at least two at the house, more down around my studio. The ones at the studio stay in the woods and just buzz in to the feeders, eat, and then buzz back home.

The one or two that feed up near the house stick. I have a stand I picked up at Wild Birds Unlimited. It looks like a wrought iron tree and is meant to stand alone with bird feeders hanging on it or potted plants. I bought a huge flowerpot made of a material you could cut through and have the stand coming up through it. I put plants in the pot that are supposed to attract hummingbirds. I always forget to water the plants and lose the less hardy, but they work for a while!

The hummingbirds sit on the “branches” and guard their territory. I get up in the morning and always take a quick peek to see if they’re there. Yesterday, no hummingbirds. Today, no hummingbirds. I checked the feeders around the studio yesterday, it doesn’t look as though they’re in use either. As I was working in the studio yesterday I looked out the window off and on hoping that I had one that would choose to winter with us. No luck.

My mom has so many it’s impossible to count. She said she’s down to six and she thinks they are Rufus. She’s corresponding with a specialist to find out.

Last year they came up and banded some of her hummingbirds. So cool. I’ll see if I can dig up the pictures and try to include them in this. She actually held one in the palm of her hand.

What is it with these little things that attracts so many avid fans? I don’t know and don’t really care. I just like ‘em and I miss ‘em when they take off.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fayette Volunteers

Keeping up with the Fayette Front Page puts me in constant contact with so much that is good in Fayette County. I'm continually amazed at how many are giving so much throughout the county.

Lately I've been attending some of the Board of Education meetings and have been at all of the elementary school redistricting meetings. I see the press releases sent out by the very able Melinda Berry-Dreisbach from the BOE. So many involved parents. So many teachers giving much more than their obligatory hours. Even the kids are out there volunteering!

When I get discouraged by the news I read and hear, I simply have to open my inbox. It's always chocked full of good news! Today's inbox brought news of the upcoming Memory Walk (Alzheimer's), the Fayette Samaritans, two new businesses who are partnering with local schools, the Daughters of the American Revolution's ongoing educational efforts... the list goes on and on.

I'm humbled by all the good. It makes me want to find ways to stretch myself just a little bit more so I can do just a little more. If you volunteer, if you're involved in your children's lives, if you teach a Sunday School class, if you're going to walk to support a cause, you need to pat yourself on the back!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Pathetic. That describes my writing habits perfectly. I haven't been keeping up with this blog. I have a good excuse (sort of) in that in writing for the Fayette Front Page, the Georgia Front Page, and doing all the videos for both, I'm completely immersed in Fayette Life and am sharing it via those mediums.

However, that's not quite good enough... I also do a fairly good job of keeping up with my Politics: Fayette County, Georgia and Beyond blog ( I've always kept up with politics, in particular local politics, and so writing for that blog comes easy.

However, that's still not good enough...

I'm going to make it my end-of-year resolution to do more writing in THIS blog. There are so many great things to write about in Fayette County, and in Georgia. Maybe this will balance the negatives I get from watching our local political leaders at work... Yin Yang, black, white...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fayette has TALENT

Wow. I spent the weekend manning the booth for Offshoot Productions (Theatre) at the 2nd Annual Festival of Arts in Fayette County. I knew there would be art, and I knew there would be things for the kids to do, and I knew there would be some peformances. What I didn't know was how fantastic the performances would be!

We are truly overflowing with exceptional talent in this county! I've known about the talented folks who perform for Offshoot Productions and have been impressed for many years with the multi-talented writers, singers and actors.

This past weekend I learned about many of the other performers from Fayette.

We're going to see some of these kids on stage and will be listening to them on the radio at some point in the future. There were entire families chocked full of young performers (the Wade family is 'just all broke out' with talent!).

Something else I noted was the phenomenal support provided by the performer's families. Also, they had the support of the school system, numerous local non-profit theater groups and art groups.

The YMCA has been involved in promoting the arts in various ways for some time. The Endowment Committee for Cultural Arts was on-hand this weekend and has a long-term commitment to supporting the arts through scholarships and endowments.

Recently Andre DeLorenzo started up the Southside ARTS Agenda, an email newsletter that goes out weekly to inform a growing membership list about all the arts happenings.

The Fayette Art Center & Gallery, another non-profit, is doing their part to promote and support artists and craftsmen of all ages. They recently moved into the yellow building across from Publix on Hwy. 54 just outside the Peachtree City limits.

We in this county are very lucky to have all the home-grown talent I saw and heard this weekend. I know it's just the tip of the iceberg, too. These kids are very, very lucky to live in such a great county and to have such a strong support system that allows them the ability to stretch their wings and discover their talents.

There is power in the arts and there is power in Fayette County's art "scene."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

They're coming to get us...

Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha... "They" have been after this beautiful little jewel for many years. They make little inroads here and there... They grab this, snipe that...

“They” are all those who want to turn our county into just another crowded suburb of Atlanta. We've been lucky for some number of years in that we've had some fairly stalwart guardians. However, there have always been some weak spots in our armour. A rezoning here, a sewer deal there, annexations everywhere.

Rather than looking at the big picture, rather than looking down the road to see the implications of a current action, exceptions have been made, and are being made by our elected officials for this developer or that friend.

Coweta (which we have zero control over) is developing right up to the edge of our borders. Peachtree City is annexing and developing the West Village. Surprise, surprise, Tyone isn't happy about it (the same Tyrone that has annexed and annexed and brought in sewer and exploded in growth over the past few years).

There's a developer wanting to put a high-density development right in the middle of the county on Ebenezer Church Road. It was turned down by the previous County Commission a few years back, but rumor has it that Herb Frady is working hard to get it passed this go around. The neighbors have gathered and they've shown up in force for the rezoning requests. It's back on the drawing board again so they'll have to gather one more time.

If you’re watching the papers, the online news media and the various city and county sites, you’re aware of all the rezoning requests. If you drive around the county you can see for-sale, signs for upcoming developments and rezoning requests everywhere.

Prior to Harold Bost, Greg Dunn, Linda Wells and Peter Pfeifer's tenure on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners there were activists who attended every County Commission meeting. They kept the citizens informed and yelled when deals were being cut or the land use plan was being corrupted. They stopped when the aforementioned Board members were elected. No need. They had excellent guardians who walked a tight line, adhering to the land use plan.

Tyrone was once a small town and almost to a person, that's the way they wanted to keep it. It ain't a sleepy town no more folks. They're growing so fast the town looks like a stuffed Christmas stocking getting ready to burst – except most of the long-time residents don’t seem to particularly like the presents in the stocking

What can we as citizens do to stop what’s baying at our doors? Go to your city council and /or county commission meetings. Look at the rezoning requests that are in the pipeline. When you see a rezoning request sign on someone’s yard, even when it’s across town or in another neighborhood, go online to see what they’re wanting to do. Don’t wait until they’re in your backyard. Once they’re in your comfort zone, it’s too late. The battle needs to be won when they’re making that first change.

There is a point in every battle that is decisive. It’s easy to see that point in time when you’re looking back studying the war. However it’s sometimes difficult to know that a particular action is so critical when you’re in the midst of the battle. We may have already passed our critical point in the battle to save the flavor of our county. There are many who are packing up and heading out already. If you plan to raise your children in this county, if you plan to live here until you die, if you want to save what’s left of the county then it doesn’t matter if the critical battle has been lost. We have to fight to save what remains. Maybe we can slow what looks to be the inevitable down. Maybe we can turn back the tide to some degree right now. No matter what, if we get involved and try we’ll make the future better.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tour de Georgia

What an exciting event! I'll have to admit that I don't keep up with biking, don't know much about the sport (although who hasn't heard of Lance Armstrong?). However, that said, it was a lot of fun yesterday at the kick-off.

These are world-class athletes and they have a huge fan base! They are obviously completely committed to their sport and love it. They were gracious, fun and intense.

Another thing that struck me about the start was the community involvement and enthusiasm the Tour generated. I have no idea how many people were there, how many lined the streets to see the racers zoom by their spot, but there were a LOT of people milling around.

I stood next to a couple from Minnesota who were here simply to see the race. They had their bikes and probably took a nice spin after the hoopla was over.

I took over 600 photos! That's a record for me. I have quite a daunting task ahead, sorting through them to find the keepers. I took a quick look last night and haven't seen many that I'll easily give up! We also filmed the event and will have the video on the site within the week. We're going to air some clips on our TV show this Friday if we can get it edited into the show in time.

I met a 3-time Olympic athlete volunteering at one of the booths. I saw so many people I knew I'm surprised I found time to take photos. We didn't get to all the booths set up by Main Street, local vendors and various businesses and non-profits. We could hear the band, but only managed to get one shot. Quite a few showed up on their bicycles, many in full biking gear. There was food, food, food, give-away items, the Delta "airplane" flitted around and there were plenty of porta-potties. What more could you want?

If the Tour comes through again next year, grab your family & come enjoy the fun! This year Peachtree City was chosen as the starting point for the Tour. Hopefully they'll get it again next year!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Honesty & Flash Foods

Tonight we stopped at the Flash Foods station on the corner of Hwy. 54 & Jeff Davis in Fayetteville. My husband went in to pay (so we could get our 2 cents a gallon discount). He came back out, we started to drive off. We were flagged down by one of the guys who worked at the store before we could get away. Turns out Greg had dropped a $5 bill on the counter (or maybe the floor) when he was getting his change. The guy handed Greg the $5 and ran back inside.


You know he could have pocketed that $5 and we probably never would have realized it was missing.

Seems like every time I start to get a little down in the mouth about the future, someone does something really nice and restores my optimism.

We patronize Flash Foods whenever we can, partially because they have a nice discount rewards card (you get the discount on gas, plus various special sales and more). The other reason is that the people in the stores are, as a rule, nice.

Another reason? They don't get their gas from Chavez.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kroger, Publix

I hit any number of grocery stores any given month. I go to the DeKalb Farmers Market once a month, Wal-Mart, Kroger and Publix at various times. Each store has something the other doesn't so I have to vary. Greg (my husband) is a traditional eater, I tend to travel the extremes.

In a couple of my blogs I talked about my quest for the least expensive raw honey (Kroger).

Yesterday, I popped over to Publix to pick up a few things they carry that none of the other local stores stock. I really like Publix. It's clean, the people are friendly, they'll stock anything if you ask them.

However, I was shocked at the price difference in some items.

I buy a black tea at Wal-Mart and Kroger, same brand, common name. It's usually on sale at one of the two places for $2, regular price being $2.19. I've seen it as high as $2.39 but that's rare. It was $3.19 at Publix. A dollar difference. I've always known they were a little higher on some products, maybe a penny or two. Now all of a sudden prices have jumped. And when I say jumped, I mean sky-high jumped!

I thought that was an anomaly, but it wasn't! Maybe it's just because I buy things that aren't always mainstream items, but almost every thing I picked up ended up going back on the shelf. The were consistently close to a dollar higher on many things.

I still ended up spending $62 so I didn't walk out empty handed! But I put more things back than I bought.

I don't think I'll be going back to Publix any time soon, much as I like some of their foods. Just to end this on a positive note, I really like the selection of healthy foods at Publix, and I like the way they have them with the regular foods instead of stuck off in a section somewhere. I would imagine they sell quite a bit more that way.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Out riding around

I've always considered myself an optimist. I enjoy life. I love the life I have here in Fayette County.

That said, I'm becoming pessimistic about the future of our county. According to some of my friends, I'm late coming to that way of thinking.

Yesterday (St. Patrick's Day) Greg & I went to the first ever St. Patrick's Day parade in Tyrone. It was great and I'd call it a huge success. Lots of reason for optimism when you see all those wonderful folks coming out to watch the parade, participate in the dog contest, and enjoy all the other events planned for the day.

After the parade we rode around a little. Later in the day we met some friends to go out to dinner and that entailed driving across the county, seeing a different area.

Every time I go out anymore I see signs that we're heading slowly, hopefully very very slowly, toward being just like all those counties that so many wanted to get away from. If we're not vigilant, we're going to be there sooner than most in this county would want.

It seems if there's an empty space someone is building. In Tyrone, a developer wanted to put eight houses to an acre right in the middle of town. It was turned down by a 2 to 1 vote when it came before the City Council! The Mayor lives next to the property and would benefit, so she recused herself. It came down to Mike Smola, Gloria Furr and Grace Caldwell to decide. Smola said yes, Furr and Caldwell said no.

In the late 1990's I went through Leadership Fayette. We split into groups and each did a "report" on a town in the county. I didn't have Tyrone, but I know all those who did and I heard their report. They surveyed a fairly good sampling of people living in the town, asking them what they wanted for their home city. They all wanted growth to bypass them. They wanted deer in the backyard. They wanted restaurants in Peachtree City close enough they could get to them but not in their quiet, friendly little town.

If you haven't been to Tyrone lately you have missed an explosion. There are some on the Council who are staying true to what the residents want, and others who seem to want the town to become a big city overnight.

It's not just Tyrone though. It's all across the County. Some can't be stopped due to legal considerations; some can't be stopped because of poor past planning or poor past decisions by those in government.

There is almost an inevitability to the path a city and a county takes. Especially if decisions are made looking at the short term instead of the long term. Especially if the people living in the county don't take the time to monitor their government.

The only way to stop our county from becoming like any other county in the metro area is for those who live here to get involved and fight to protect what we have. Unfortunately, realistically, most people are "NIMBY's" (Not In My Back Yard). Until something directly affects us, until some developer wants to put 8 houses to an acre on the spread next to ours, we wear blinders.

Take a ride around the county. Look at how growth is nibbling at the edges of many areas in the county. Once an area is rezoned, the one next to it can be changed... and then the next... and the next... If you like what we have, get involved now.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Turkey on the Porch...

How many of you have ever walked up to your front porch and found a wild turkey perched on it? We have some HUGE wild turkeys that wander around our yard off and on.

Wild turkeys traverse wide swaths of territory each day and we've found they don't stick to the same routine. Last year we had a bunch of baby chicks that seem to have been hatched under a large growth of wild looking bushes in the back. Once they were out and about they certainly didn't hang around for long!

We'd see them on occasion. They started out a gaggle (is that term for geese only?) but ended up dwindling down to two. There was one who never seemed to stick with the rest of the group. He'd stray off into the bushes or lag behind pecking at whatever struck his fancy. He lasted longer than I initially thought, but one day he just wasn't there anymore.

I imagine our local fox enjoyed a nice turkey dinner whenever he could.

It's hard to get attached to turkeys, but I did hate to see the little ones disappear.

Anyway, back to the turkey in this story (no, not me!). I headed out to my studio one afternoon and saw something huge getting ready to knock on the door.... yeah, you guessed already, it was a turkey. This monster turkey stayed on the porch looking in the glass window for quite some time. He (I assume it was a he) seemed to be fascinated with his reflection.

I had to wonder what was going through that tiny little turkey brain as it peered at the window. It didn't get mad, didn't show off its huge array of feathers like they do when they're strutting or trying to be imposing (or trying to show off for the opposite sex). It didn't peck at the window (thankfully).

I hope we never lose our turkeys, our wild fox, the hummingbirds, and all the other wonderful wildlife that flits in and out of the yard. We have some chipmunks (really cute) that scamper around back near the studio. It's fun to watch them jumping around.

It seems that so much of Fayette County is being built-out. There are houses going up everywhere. So much commercial growth is happening in the cities. One of the things that makes Fayette County such a special place to live is our large open spaces, the large lot sizes and the quality of homes we build.

If we want to keep our way of life, we have to be vigilant. We have to be involved. There are too few who are involved and it concerns me at times. So many of my friends, and others I encounter, are saying they're planning to move. They think the county is on a downhill slide, that we've peaked and it's time to get out before it gets too bad.

I hope they're wrong. I plan to do what little I can to try and keep our way of life like it is. There's not much one person can do, but hey, you gotta do what you can.

Readers Beware!

I just rec'd a notice from SitePro News saying spammers and hackers and nasty types are sneaking garbage onto blogs. Here's the link to read about it:

Watch what you click on blogs! When I put a link on my blog just know it'll be easy to tell it came from me.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Last night as I was working on the Fayette Front Page I saw a meteor. We converted a sunroom into an office so I'm surrounded by windows. About 10:15 or so I caught something bright out the window to the left of the computer. I looked up and saw a burning white ball with a tail of white streak downward.

It difficult to say exactly how big because I couldn't tell exactly how far away it was. It was pitch black outside... no way to tell distance looking out from a lighted room into the sky.

I didn't hear it hit, I didn't hear it as it plummeted to the ground. I'm "assuming" that if it were close the impact would have made some sort of sound. It was fast.

We went outside just to see if it were possible to see anything. I'd think if it hit close that someone else might have seen it. In this area we're all on minimum 5 acre lots and there are some properties that are much, much larger. There's a lot of woods.

I may never know what happened to the meteor. It could have hit in the middle of the woods somewhere, it could have disintegrated before it hit the ground... but I doubt that. It was just above tree leve when I saw it and it was a good size.

If anyone happened to see it, let me know!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I've been unable to get in to blog for a while. Spent ages working through every different problem it could be... researching on the Internet... even went to so-called tech support on Blogger. Man that's a hoot. You go round and round trying everything, finally get to the point where you've exhausted every suggestion on their site so you opt to send an email. It takes you through all kinds of hoops, loops and just when you think you're actually going to get to a screen with an email on it you're right back where you started. I had to laugh when, after almost a full week I got their reply. It was the same canned message that's on their site (which I had already explained I'd tried). At the end, it said if none of that worked to send them an email.

I know they do this for free. I know they want us to try everything. I really appreciate the fact that I can have all these blogs, etc., etc. But geez, they should at least read the email once we manage to get through all the guard gates, land mines and barriers they have to keep you from being able to get to the email! Nothing frustrates me more when dealing with tech support --- they have canned responses that get sent once they see a key word.

I think I need to learn how to better communicate with tech support... I need to avoid using any phrases that trigger the canned response. I need to put the problem at the END maybe rather than the beginning? Anyone out there ever found a good way to cut through the layers that most places have set up to keep us frustrated? You know the routine... you call, they run you through the stuff on their list of things to do in response to the problem. You've already tried them all, but you go through it anyway. It doesn't work. They finally say they'll have to send the problem to the next level, do a ticket or whatever. You wait, wait, wait. You get an email finally... and it goes through all the same things you've already done.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Congratulations to Vicki Turner

Vicki was chosen as the Business Person of the Year by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. She received the well-deserved award Saturday night.

Vicki is everywhere and she's always giving. She and husband, Tommy, have made their computer business a fantastic success.

Vicki paints wonderfully and has been known to donate one or two of her paintings to support some of her favorite charities. If you've not seen any of her paintings you need to track them down. Arts & Expression Magazine did a piece on her last year sometime, the article may be on their website. You can also check with the Fayette Art Center & Gallery in Fayetteville, I've seen her work in there at times, too.

Vicki has won every award the Chamber hands out now I think! Ambassador of the Year, the Chet Wells Award and others. She is past Chair of the Chamber Board.

She supports Fayette Senior Services and is on their Board (she may be the Chair? or she was the Chair last year, don't know when they switch out).

She is in the Metro Fayette Kiwanis and is always there when needed.

Those are just the areas I know about from my involvement in various activities where our paths cross. I have always been amazed at her energy, her graciousness, her ability to draw the line when needed, her business, her giving... the list could go on. As far as I'm concerned, they could give her the award every year.

Congratulations Vicki!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fox in Fayette!

I bet when you saw that headline your first thought was about a female type fox . Well, sorry to disapoint, but I'm talking about the real thing. The furry kind that runs on four legs.

I headed out the garage this morning toward the studio. Came around the corner and startled a real, live fox. It went streaking across the yard -- all the way across the backyard -- into the woods.

We've been here a little over three years and that was a first! I've seen plenty of wild turkey (although they're dwindling), deer, rabbits, opposum and the ever-present pesky squirrels, but never a fox.

He (or she) was a good size fox, too. Red with lighter patches. It looked like the tail was darker, and maybe the paws, too. I wish I had my camera, although it was going so fast I don't know if I could have turned it on in time!

Now I'm going to be watching for the fox. I'm also heading on the Internet to see what I can find out about them. It probably explains the bird feathers I see at times on the ground.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hard to believe!

It's hard to believe I haven't posted anything since before Christmas! But I have been writing and I have been busy.

The biggest news is that the Fayette Forum is now the Fayette Front Page. AND... we now have the Georgia Front Page site, too. ( AND... we're gearing up for our very first television program called, surprise, surprise, the Georgia Front Page.

If having that on my plate (our collective plates... there are a number of great folks working to make the Fayette Front Page, etc. something folks want to come back to)... if having that on my plate wasn't enough I'm working on getting audio and video onto the site. You'll be able to watch shows, interviews and other fun and /or informative bits on both Front Page sites soon.

While all that is going on, if it wasn't enough alone, I've been to the Capital to visit state legislators on issues for the Front Page, been to umpteen events, am collecting items for the upcoming Fayette Youth Protection Home auction (event is Feb. 5th), went to the Governors Inauguration, had a couple of receptions at the Fayette Art Center & Gallery for my pottery (, the list goes on and on. Somewhere in there was Christmas and New Years.

Family is of utmost importance to me and I drop any and everything for a chance to spend time with them. We've spent a fairly good amount of time (never enough) together in the recent past. The older I get the more value I place on family. It's funny growing up how the world revolves around your own wants and for most, family is just something you take for granted. As we grow older, most of us begin to realize that while much that we do may have an impact on the world or the future of the world in some small, small way, the biggest thing we'll leave behind are memories in other people's minds. The best memories should be in the minds of our family.

Well, back to the grind. I have about an hour that I can put into updating the site before I'm off again!!! I'll try to be a bit more regular about the things that are going on in Fayette County. Sometimes I'm so busy putting things on the main site that I forget to tell you about all the fantastic things going on in the county.