The end of my Georgia journey: World of Coca Cola, Atlanta Georgia

With my GPS to guide us, Brenda (my sister-in-law) and I set out to find the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first outing that brought us a good distance out of Peachtree City. After driving around town with me, Brenda was used to going around in circles, and this trip was no different! We did find the museum and a parking lot, and only went around the block once!

When you first go in, there’s a reception area where visitors are given a soda. You wait and then the tour begins. The kid giving me a soda was doing his welcome bit and asked where I was from. When he heard California, he said, “I want to visit there someday. I hear you have some nice hills.” Well, I just had to tell him that those hills were called mountains and were more than 7,000 feet high! I do love living in California.

The tour was fun and took most of the day with time out for a lunch break. When we got back, we went to see my brother for my last time. For me this was, barring a miracle, good-bye. That night, I sat feeling so empty inside.

After a few days home, we did have a miracle of sorts. My nephew sent me a picture of my brother with his head up. He couldn’t lift it up for more than a week. At least he can see people and eat if he wants.

I’m just hoping his angels and internal GPS guide him on his journey. Love you Chuck!

 

So close and so far: Starr’s Mill, Fayette County, Georgia and first flight

You can live in a neighborhood and not know what beauty is close by unless you get out and explore. During my visit to Peachtree City, Georgia, I wanted to take my sister-in-law out beyond the boundaries her golf cart would take her. She’s been busy caregiving to my brother and doesn’t drive. I found Starr’s Mill on the internet and was astounded that it was so close to her home. The original mill was constructed in 1825. The current mill was the third built on the stone foundation and is over 100 years old. Currently it is used as a day use park, photographic spot and fishing hole.

I found it to be a beautiful and calming spot. This trip also helped me realize that photography grounds me, taking my mind off what’s going on around me. When I’m shooting, I’m concentrating on my surroundings and what I need to do to get the image I want. The rest of the world goes away.

I brought my camera along, not to create photo outings, but to give me a different purpose during my visit.

One such outing was my first ride in a small plane. My great nephew, Daylen, offered me a ride. The first day we couldn’t go because of the weather. Fortunately, he was able to take me up the next day. What fun! I’ve become good at shooting out of open car windows while on the road, but this was entirely different. I had a great time. Daylen explained what I was looking at. At one point, I stopped shooting and just looked out the window. Fantastic! Thank you Daylen!!

 

If this post has to have a moral, it’s to stop and look at your surroundings (even in the sky). Good possibilities can be so close.

Jet lag: Peachtree City, Georgia

I woke up at 3:30 a.m in spite of my trying to stay up until 9 p.m. last night–jet lag wins. I’m happy to be home, but brought back sad, happy and exciting memories from my trip to Peachtree City, Georgia and to family.

It was great seeing family again. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we were last there. But, it was sad knowing my brother is gravely ill, with Louie Body Dementia, and visiting him for what may be the last time. The exciting memory came when my great nephew took me for a ride in their small plane. I’ll show you those images in my next post.

My goals this trip were to see my brother and take my sister-in-law to places she had not visited since moving to Georgia from California 3 years ago. I’m so glad I brought my GPS along! We were busy! My niece took us to Serenbe one afternoon. This is a fairly new community and well planned. We stopped for coffee on the way back at an antique shop that served delicious coffees.

It was a great getaway, and I enjoyed spending time with my niece. This type of visit is difficult, but I found that having my camera, got us out and away from the sadness for a while.

Meanwhile, I guess I’m going to try again to get my body clock back on Pacific coast time today.

Bittersweet visit: Historic Senoia, Georgia

Today I visited Chuck, my older brother, by myself. My visit to Peachtree City, Georgia is almost coming to a close and it has been bittersweet. Chuck, is fighting Louie Body Dementia and has been placed in an assisted living home. I knew he wouldn’t know who I was, because he stopped recognizing me on the phone a while ago. But today was a special visit. I was able to help feed him, and he ate a little bit food I knew he wasn’t fond of. It gave me time to gain some emotional closure over his ordeal. He’s fought cancer and won; had heart surgery and bounced back, but this illness has no turn around. I was soon joined by his son-in-law Greg and we were able to joke, not with him, but between ourselves. It made things less real.

Dementia is difficult for the caregiver and other family members, but this form is even more so since it involves Parkinsons also. I care gave to my mom, who had dementia, for 9 years, but she had a strong body. Chuck is suffering on all accounts. Through it all, the family here continues to take amazing care of him.

During my week’s visit, I told my sister-in-law, Brenda, that I wanted to take her places, getting her away from the house to relax. Brenda doesn’t drive, so we go to visit Chuck and then take off. Taking off sounds like we go a distance, we don’t. Everything is close here.

Through it all, photography has brought me out of the sorrow and into a different time and space. Our first get away was to Senoia, a small town with a Main Street shopping area. It was an easy walk through and fun. Since then, we visited Starrs Mill and Serenbe. My niece Roberta took us to Serenbe yesterday, and it was a lovely afternoon drive. And, last night, we joined the rest of the family for a birthday dinner celebration–the first without Chuck present.

Today’s images are of Senoia. I probably won’t have time to post from here again before I return home. And I’ll be taking sweet memories back with me.

Grandma’s turn: Coyote Pond Park, Lincoln, California

While the kids are away, grandma stays–with the grandkids. This weekend has been fun with the younger set of grandkids. I started early Friday morning and will go home tonight, Sunday. They are great kids and growing up fast. At 6 and 8 years, they are very self sufficient.

Yesterday, I told them that I’ve been a very good grandma and deserved a treat, which was to take my camera and shoot some pictures. So we went to Coyote Pond Park near their home. Actually, this is sort of a regular of theirs. Tucked in suburbia, the park has a small play area, a nice size pond where neighborhood kids can fish, and a nice paved walkway around the pond. I was surprised what a difference more water made for the park. We saw humming birds, an egret and a blue heron. Families were picnicking and kids were playing on the playground.

Because the walk was short, the kids enjoyed it, especially when they knew they would be able to play once it was over! My grandson spotted the hummer, and we watched as the blue heron was curious about what the egret was catching.

Take a look at this hidden treasure in Lincoln. Well, it was a treasure for grandma!

 

On the road again: family reunion in Las Vegas

We went in search of neon last night. Actually we went to the Linq an outdoor shopping center. Jim suggested I go there to get a good shot of the High Roller (a 550-foot observation wheel) and a fountain. The High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in the world and takes one hour to ride. I heard it costs $35 per person. It’s easy to shoot since it doesn’t move fast!

The shopping center was fun to walk through, not too crowded and had a variety of shops and restaurants. I hope you enjoy what I managed to capture.

Today we are going to visit with Anita and Jim again. I’m looking forward to this post-reunion visit. We go home tomorrow, hoping to drive straight through. Do we sound anxious to get home–yes!

Tomorrow were going to hit the highway in search of home!

On the road again: Family reunion in Las Vegas and Red Rock Canyon

On the way back to the resort from visiting The Valley of Fire State Park and just as we were getting into Las Vegas, Simon and Garfunkel (singing the Sounds of Silence) sang, “and the people bowed and prayed to a neon God they made..” That was a wicked amazing sense of timing! Neon was all over the city.

Another wicked bad timing has been the wind. Tonight’s sunset wasn’t. There was just light colored haze up in the mountains. At least it’s keeping us cooler. It was windy last night too when we had the reunion dinner. I’m hoping our hosts are resting today. They deserve to.

Last night was great. People mixed before dinner, looked at the boards again and after dinner Anita showed a slide show she put together with all the pictures we cut out. She’s going to create a DVD and mail it to all of us. I didn’t do too well in the capturing images department last night. I guess if I knew the clan better, I would have gotten in their faces with my camera. Jim was taking groups for another DVD, and at the very end of the evening, he got a group shot of all of us. It took some time to set up, and I’m anxious to find out how it came out.

By the way, Jim and Anita’s photography can be viewed at their website Sandstone Photography.

In addition to a few pictures of the dinner last night, I do have some images to show you of Red Rock Canyon. This beauty is relatively close to our resort, and reminded me of parts of Sedona Arizona and Southern Utah. We drove the 13-mile scenic route. The only disappointment was the sunset–not too grand.

Tomorrow we are having breakfast with friends. After that, I’m not too sure what we will be doing. Maybe if the wind dies down, Richard can put up his sun scope, and I’ll edit my Valley of Fire shots.

On the road again: Family reunion, part 3

Here we were this morning walking around the hospitality suite, wearing our buttons, eating our breakfast and trying once more to meet family. Some I recognized from last night. One cousin, he’s a Friedman, actually remembered where we were from! Now that’s good remembering for someone with grey hair! More of the younger set showed up this morning too.

After the meet and greet, Richard and I took off to eat lunch and find the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop of TV fame. If you’ve ever watched the show on the History channel you know what I’m talking about. The shop was pretty much as it’s shown in the TV series, except for the owner’s desk area. That wasn’t in the shop. We strolled through the store like the others who wanted to catch a glimpse of TV history. I didn’t bring my camera in because it was a long, narrow and crowded room. But, now, when I watch the show, I can say, “I was there!”

Back at our resort, I took advantage of the down time to edit some shots I took of the Las Vegas strip the other day. I really don’t like to vacation in Las Vegas. I cry when I lose money, I don’t drink and the shows have gotten very expensive. It was hot when we were out so we just walked a little.

They make it easy for you to walk the strip with elevated walkways going from casino, to shopping, across streets, etc. I remember when I was here last for a trade show. We walked from casino to casino, soaking in the lavish interiors. I do have a disclaimer–where our cousins live, it is nice. Their home is near the mountains and is beautiful. The people who live here seldom come down to the strip. Just us tourists walk from shop to shop and casino to casino. It’s like living in Manhattan, you seldom go to Times Square. It took me 12 years to visit the California State Capitol building and we live in the Sacramento area!

Here’s a glimpse of what we saw. Tonight is our dinner and then a large family portrait.

 

Happy New Year

I had big plans for our grandchildren–A New Year’s Eve party. Here’s what I was going to do: have a festive pizza dinner, bake the chocolate chip cookies, get out the hats and noise makers, watch last year’s festivities on the TV via the internet, blow the noise makers, have ice cream and cookies and, finally, put the little kids to bed at 7 p.m..

Here’s what happened: Madison couldn’t come because she was working, Christopher came (wicked wonderful), the little ones were staying for an overnight, we had our pizza, Richard and Christopher unsuccessfully tried to get the New Year’s Eve festivities on the large screen, Ryan finally learned how to blow the noise maker, Olivia couldn’t blow the noise maker and I was disappointed! Ryan and Olivia didn’t seem to mind though. I told Olivia that next year she’ll be able to blow enough air into the noise maker to make noise. She seemed okay with that. The little ones were in bed at 7 a.m.

I had a difficult time with the indoor lighting when I was taking the photographs. That’s something I’ll have to work on this year. Maybe if I had changed the white balance!!

That was the way 2013 ended, and we are ready to see what 2014 will bring. Hopefully 2014 will bring joy, health and prosperity. Happy New Year everyone.