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Of Grandmas and Poodles

In just a few short weeks, my grandmother will be turning 88!!!

Now, let me fill you in on birthdays and my grandmother. She is notoriously unhelpful when it comes to celebrating/recognizing/planning them. Year after year, our birthday conversations go something like this:

Me: What do you want for your birthday present?
Grandma: Nothing. I don’t want you to buy me a thing.

Me: What kind of cake do you want?
Grandma: I don’t want a cake. I’m on a diet.

Me: Where do you want to go out to eat for your birthday?

Grandma: No where. Let it be just another day.

There is, of course, a lot more back and forth that I am failing to include, but you get the gist.

Now, before you say that not everyone wants to celebrate their birthday, and she is obviously one of those people (she’s not, trust me), I will let you in on a little secret. . . The couple of times that I’ve done exactly as she asked (no special present, no cake, and no special meal), she was madder with me than a wet hen. And they get really mad. I was on her out list, basically. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson. 

So, this year – just to change it up a little – I’m not asking any of the above questions. At all. Instead, I came up with the perfect way to recognize her birthday. But to explain it a little better, I’m going to illustrate another conversation that we routinely have (Not anymore, though).

Grandma: I don’t guess I’ll ever get to see where my little brother is buried.

Me or Sometimes My Mother: Why not?

Grandma: No one will take me.

Guilt trip, much? 

So, this week, we gave her an early birthday present, and it was exactly what she wanted. Not my usual fare of a pretty new blouse or purse, but something I think she enjoyed even more because it was completely unexpected.

A trip all the way to Louisiana to visit Great Uncle Bobby’s grave. . .

Uncle Bobby Grave

And an overnight stay in nearby New Orleans. 

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Little Alfred (who isn’t so little anymore – 57 lbs at his last weigh-in) got to tag along with us. Luckily, we stayed at the Downtown LaQuinta Inn and they were very dog friendly. I mean, very dog friendly. I counted at least three other four-legged guests just on our trips out to potty. Btw, this is not a sponsored post. . . . I (and Alfred, of course) was just very impressed with the welcome we received and they deserve a shout out. 

Alfred felt like he’d landed in a plush doggy heaven. From his walks in nearby Lafayette Square (yep, named after that Lafayette – America’s favorite fighting Frenchman. . . . two points if you know what current hit musical that line is from!!) to lounging in the bed and catching some Zzzz’s with Grandma (he slept with her all night, kid you not) and then waiting on the valet (seriously, there was practically no free parking in downtown NOLA and every single hotel I looked at had valet service), Alfie really enjoyed his trip.Alfred NOLA  Of course, after riding in the car most of the morning, he and Grandma were ready for a nap. So, we left them to it and set off to do a little exploring. And ghost hunting.

New Orleans

If you’ve never gone on a ghost/history tour, what are you waiting for?!? Do it! I love a good tour because they’re a great way to learn a bit of interesting, sometimes obscure history about a city that you might not otherwise hear. Ever heard of the Axeman of New Orleans? I sure hadn’t. On a side note, I kind of wish it had stayed that way – yikes! But I digress. The tour we took was entertaining as all get out! Horror stories. Ghost stories. Stories about celebrities. History. Architecture. And a rainy afternoon spent meandering through a beautiful city. What could be better? 

But enough about that! After the ghost/history tour we stopped off for a to-go order of beignets from Café du Monde, which we promptly took back to the hotel just in time for Grandma and Alfred to wake up from their afternoon naps.  And Grandma fell in love (no pictures of that moment because, well, my hands were covered in powdered sugar), so much so, that she wouldn’t leave New Orleans without another helping of those sugary, fried treats. 

The next morning, we went for a little ride on one of the many streetcars down Canal Street and all the way to City Park before packing up and heading home. 

 

So, the big question. . . Did my grandmother enjoy her early birthday present? You bet! She loved it! In fact, she loved it so much that she has told everyone from the receptionist at her retina specialist (macular degeneration, you know), the nurse, the actual doctor, other patients, and every one she could all about it. 

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Surprise.

Two weekends ago, we set out for Georgia for my great uncle’s surprise birthday party.

My grandma and great uncle:

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A few more pictures from that weekend.

Warner Robins Trip

 We had such a fantastic time: lots of great food, fun, and beautiful scenery. 

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Did I mention the beautiful scenery? 

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 I did? But it deserves another mention.

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 I’m seriously thinking, ‘I have a pond, a hill, and I need a stream flowing down said hill into said pond.’

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 With stepping stones. 

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 But back to the fun times.

My grandmother looking at a photo of her parents. They had ten children. Yes, TEN! 

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 And another photo of her father and a few of his many grandchildren. They had numerous grandchildren, even more great grandchildren, and so on. 

My Mom

 One thing that I’ve always been told about the Chappell family. Over and over again. They’re talkers. Almost everyone of them. Even yours truly at times.

And staging an impromptu photo shoot will probably result in a few outtakes.

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 But getting together is always a lot of fun. . . 

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 Hope you had a wonderful birthday Uncle Albert! And thank you for sharing it with us!!

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Road Trip to PC.

I have been meaning to get this post up ever since this morning, but honestly, I’ve been cooped up inside and completely glued to the news all day long (my excuse, and it’s a good one, is that it has stormed all day long – and is still raining – so not nice weather for doing anything outside or productive by a long shot).

Anyways, back to the post at hand. . . We (meaning my mom, myself, and Grandma, of course) took a little road trip on Wednesday down to Panama City, FL to visit with four of my favorite aunts and uncles. And what a nice visit it was!

We were treated to the best restaurant for lunch, and surprisingly, I actually tried the sushi. . . for the second time 🙂 When I tried it for the first time last year, ashamed to say I literally gagged and was completely convinced that my usually fairly adventurous taste buds were defunct. But not so this time, it was actually kinda yummy.

Sorry, no beach pictures, but here’s one of the water going across the bridge at Lynn Haven, FL 😉

And look what I brought home. . .

Tupelo Honey is a mild flavored honey (and delicious, of course) and is only produced in northwest Florida. And since we used the last of ours a couple of months ago and we rarely get down that way anymore, I couldn’t come back home without restocking. Which means that we finally made another batch of one of our more popular soaps, Oatmeal & Tupelo Honey, today!

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Road Trip to PC.

I have been meaning to get this post up ever since this morning, but honestly, I’ve been cooped up inside and completely glued to the news all day long (my excuse, and it’s a good one, is that it has stormed all day long – and is still raining – so not nice weather for doing anything outside or productive by a long shot).

Anyways, back to the post at hand. . . We (meaning my mom, myself, and Grandma, of course) took a little road trip on Wednesday down to Panama City, FL to visit with four of my favorite aunts and uncles. And what a nice visit it was!

We were treated to the best restaurant for lunch, and surprisingly, I actually tried the sushi. . . for the second time 🙂 When I tried it for the first time last year, ashamed to say I literally gagged and was completely convinced that my usually fairly adventurous taste buds were defunct. But not so this time, it was actually kinda yummy.

Sorry, no beach pictures, but here’s one of the water going across the bridge at Lynn Haven, FL 😉

And look what I brought home. . .

 

Tupelo Honey is a mild flavored honey (and delicious, of course) and is only produced in northwest Florida. And since we used the last of ours a couple of months ago and we rarely get down that way anymore, I couldn’t come back home without restocking. Which means that I finally made another batch of one of our more popular soaps, Oatmeal & Tupelo Honey, today!

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Road Trip to Paxton, FL

We went on a little trip yesterday to Paxton, FL. Paxton has one of the largest auctions in the Florida Panhandle area. I’ve heard a lot about it, and have always wanted to attend just to see what they have. So, we loaded up the car and headed out.

Paxton is very small town (around 753 people) located just over the Alabama/Florida state line, and I really do mean just over it. I completely missed where the city limits of Florala, AL ended and Paxton began.

The auction facilities.

The auction is located on US HWY 331 and begins at 9 AM on the first Saturday of every month. I’ve heard of it lasting into the wee hours of the next morning. They auctioned off miscellaneous items first (such as furniture and tools), then moved onto cages and poultry supplies (like brooders, auto waterers, fencing materials, etc), and lastly the animals and hatching eggs.

We got there a couple of hours late, but they were still on the miscellaneous items. So, we had plenty of time to walk through the sale barn and see all of the livestock and poultry. Lots of chickens, of course, as well as, goats (even some Myotonic goats), sheep, potbelly piglets, call ducks, pheasants, guineas, quail, turkeys, and an African goose. There were also lots of treats like divinity, fudge, peanut butter fudge, blackberry preserves, peach preserves, and whoopie pies that were auctioned off.

There was a gorgeous trio of Polish chickens (one of the hens was an especially stunning black crested) and a trio of call ducks that I was absolutely drooling over, but we were outbid. Oh well, we had a good time anyways. We saw a few familiar faces and it was very relaxing to get away for part of the day. The auctioneers kept everything moving at a steady pace and cracked a few jokes to keep everybody entertained. I really liked their facilities, too. The main part of the auction was held inside with ceiling fans circulating, which is a huge improvement over most of the ones I’ve gone to.

Here are a few pictures I took on my cell:

There were three of these girls together.
They were so friendly, and reminded me a lot of our ewe, Petunia.
Another picture of the ewes.
You can’t tell it from the picture, but this buck was huge.
Our tallest Weimaraner is 29″ at the withers, and this guy was easily much bigger.
He seemed to have a very sweet and chilled out personality, though.