Tag Archives: hiking

tapped out


Life has taken a sudden turn into craziness.  My apologies for not responding to comments or commenting on your blogs.  Today is the first day since last Friday that I have had the opportunity to even venture into blogland for more than a quick look.  I have read a few posts out there but, by and large, I haven’t kept up and I fear I can’t go back…just have to go with now and forward.  Until the wedding is fait accompli, I believe this is how it will be and I just need to roll with it.

Last Saturday morning we left at 6:00 AM for the Poconos region of Pennsylvania (yes, French Twisted Woman, I did think of you, however, I didn’t know for sure if this was your neck of the woods).  The sole purpose of this 12 hour journey was to take Belle Fille to a  couples’ shower given by her fiance’s family.  This is just about the LAST thing I wanted to do since recovering from illness and having just a few weeks left before the wedding.  However, duty called for action and it was done.

I think I am getting old.  Twelve hour road trips are not my thing anymore.  From the start I let Master Bliss and Belle Fille know that it was on them to get us there.  I had a Nook of reading and some magazines to keep me entertained and happy.  Or not.  Apparently I can’t read in the car longer than 20 minutes before I need a 15 minute nap to recover.  I did make a huge dent in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by the time we got home but I didn’t finish it as planned.  Master Bliss and I have this dream trip of taking a driving tour of the West.  After this 24hrs in a car over 3 days debacle, I have thrown that dream out the window–somewhere on Hwy. 80 in the middle of Pennsylvania.  My MAX time in-car is 7-8 hours then you better get me out of there if you wish to have any peace in your life.  I think I will be looking into train travel for the Western bound trip of the future.

Despite the “trapped in a car for 12 hrs crankiness” and endless rain, I can say that driving through Pennsylvania is beautiful.  Love those mountains and it made me think of Tennessee.  And the woman we stayed with…well let me just say, she was the epitome of class and graciousness.  We had planned on staying in a hotel but this woman, a dear friend of Belle Fille’s fiance (she was a mentor to him while growing up), insisted that we stay with her.  She lives on a 300 acre working farm that is peppered with relatives that live here and there and run things now.   Her farm-house was charming and clearly identified the woman who lived there…clean, neat, eclectic, hospitable, well-traveled and humble.  In her 75+ years, she has lived abroad and traveled extensively, speaks three languages and is one of the most down to earth persons I have ever met.  Just a gem.  She is coming to the wedding and I am already looking forward to seeing her again.  Guess what?  She had the same trench coat I have!  It made total sense to surprise her with the “perfect” thank you gift…a lovely scarf, bien sur.  This is the idyllic setting we stayed in:

The party was fun and the future in-laws did a nice job with it.  Future MIL decided to have beta-fish(es) as the centerpieces.  Yes, really.  Not sure why and not sure how I felt about it (besides feeling sorry for the little fishies) but I had to twice decline taking one home with me.  She was very insistent about Belle Fille taking one home too.  Since Belle Fille is still in the “people pleasing” stage of life, she acquiesced.  I can’t tell you how hard I laughed when somewhere between Pennsylvania and Ohio the bowl fell over freeing the little Beta on the floor of the back seat.   As it flopped its little life around, freaking Belle Fille out, Master Bliss had to stop the car to “rescue” it from a horrible fate.  There was enough water still in the bowl so it could be revived.  I told Belle Fille that the whole ” forcibly adopting a fish” was no doubt a test to see how her future mothering skills would be and if this situation was an indicator she had better not tell her MIL.  She didn’t find me funny.  But I did!  This is what a party looks like from a fish bowl:


Master Bliss and I did a little exploring, in the rain, on Sunday.  The goal was to get some exercise before getting back in the car to go home on Monday.  This is how rain hiking looks:


We dried off and warmed up here:


It was a lovely little tea house/restaurant in a picturesque town.  I felt like I had traveled back in time about 120 years.  I loved it.

The party Sunday lasted until 10:30/11:00PM with the kiddos and future in-laws coming over afterwards to open gifts (do you understand why I say our hostess was such a gem?  even providing tea and snacks at that late hour…better woman than I).  Before retiring we told our Hostess that we would “just be getting up and going” Monday morning–trying to let her know we didn’t expect any type of breakfast (or pomp and circumstance).  We thought she “got it” but we woke to eggs, bacon, coffee, pancakes–the works.  Unbelievable.

Of course we got to drive home through a snow storm because freak snow storms at the end of April only happen when we have to be on the road for 12 hours (did I mention that already?).  Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any problems and saw just one roll-over.  But it was kind of surreal seeing this…:


…at the end of April.

We got home late, late, late Monday night because we (of course) had to get some groceries and get 300 pictures developed for the party favors we worked on ALL DAY Tuesday and parts of Wednesday morning.  The rest of yesterday was no less taxing…after the party favors were done we had to go shopping for some other wedding paraphernalia, stop by the venue and chat up the help there on what was still needed and by when, and stop by about 12,000 stores looking for the perfect floor mat for Master Bliss’ office area.  Is it any wonder I am still in my pajamas–with no apologies–Thursday morning at 9:24 AM?  I may stay in them all day.  In fact I may not move from this chair at all.

Oh yeah.  The beta fish died yesterday.

~~Mistress Bliss~~

P.S.  My last word is one of advice.  Should you ever be invited to an event, wedding or otherwise, that requires a RSVP, please send the @#$& card back.  Merci, lovelies.


Filed under family matters, manners and etiquette, traveling

why i love tennessee


(for the record, this is not my family…photo credit)


I have a little secret.  This self-proclaimed French chic femme will always first, and foremost, be a born and bred hillbilly from Tennessee.  C’est vrai.  Oui, moi.

My life began in the hills of Eastern Tennessee in 1970.  My parents had moved to the area a few years prior escaping from the cold, brutal north.  We lived there until 1975 when my mom decided it was time to be closer to family–so back to Michigan we went.  I had the southern drawl in full swing by that time as this was the only way I knew how to talk.  I lost it faster than you can imagine–speaking “differently” than everyone else on the playground was all the incentive needed…and the laughs were hurtful.

In 2000, my parents moved back to Tennessee.  They purchased a lovely home on English Mountain, which has awe-inspiring views of the the Great Smoky mountains.  Thus, their home has become one of our yearly “vacation” spots for the past decade.  And let me tell you, despite not having lived there since I was five, everytime we cross that state border between Kentucky and Tennessee, I feel like I am coming home.  The mountains and hills, the green and the trees, the rocky streams and breathtaking vistas–make my soul sing.

Our custom has been to make our trip sometime in the Spring.  The timing has always been great because we would have the pleasure of witnessing two Springs…theirs and then a couple weeks later, ours would unfurl (don’t even get me talking about this Spring).  During the last couple of years I have thought that “this year, we don’t need to go–we should go somewhere new for a change”–yet, when Spring rolls around, I am ready to go back.

Master Bliss and I are simple folk at the core.  While we love the extravagant (trips to Europe, fine food, going to plays, etc), it is often the simple things that we enjoy the most.  All these years of going to Tennessee, we have made it a point to hike in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  We try a new hike every year.  We have done hikes to waterfalls, hikes up steep mountain sides, leisurely strolls along a river.  We love them all (well, almost all–I don’t personally care for the really steep, climbing on treacherous rock, leaves you gasping for your last breath, sucking the joy out of your final destination hikes…no, not so much).   I am always looking for bears.  I want to see them and I don’t want to see them.  About half the time, we will see at least one.  I love it when the mommas are out with their babies.  I hate it when the human tourist thinks this is the best time to get within 20ft of the hungry, protective bears and snap a picture (idiots).

Because I have so many splendid memories of Tennessesse, I wanted to share some of its beauty with you today.

my heart beats for a strong, mountain man

the simple folk


gorgeous, cool pools and falls



we saw hundreds of butterflies on this hike...here are few sunning themselves on a rock


beautiful...wish i was there


evidence of a near disaster–our backpack fell into the fast moving stream while resting on a rock. master bliss barely save it with his foot in time. it held my cell phone and the car keys. could’ve been tres unfortunate.

ahhh, vibrams! the best hiking shoe i have worn to date


hummingbirds provide for entertainment at my parents' house


we encountered this old man mowing his 150 year old family homestead on a walk


mommy and babies--shot from a safe distance with zoom lens


on our wildflower walk


bleeding hearts on wildflower walk


smoky indeed! view from my parents’ deck of clouds rolling in


...and a little while later

from same view a few hours later


yet another scenic overlook


Those are just a few of many gems we have had the pleasure of seeing and experiencing.  I am often overwhelmed by this gorgeous, awe-inspiring, one of a kind, gift from God, home that we get to enjoy and live on.

Do you have a favorite place you can go an never get tired of it?


Filed under home sweet home, traveling