Rashida, a bike and the turtle.

Rain drops trickled from the sky last Friday midday.

Sitting outside on the porch with a tomato sandwich and book, a voice called to my right. Or it might have been a voice, I wasn’t sure. In the middle of two of my favorite pastimes, I figured if someone wanted my attention, they’d make it clear.

Hearing the voice again, I looked up to see a woman on a bike.

The rider stood stride a mountain-type bike outfitted with two large red all-weather storage satchels off her seat on either side of her rear tire.

Standing face-to-face in the light rain, I thought she wanted to know where Dixie Highway was. That was an easy fix.

But the more we talked, she had just come from Dixie Highway and needed help getting to  . . .

get this.

South Carolina.

Suddenly, this became quite interesting.

She was the sweeper for a cycling group headed to the South Carolina coast. They started their journey on the west side of Atlanta. After spending last night at Hard Labor Creek (a park 10 miles from me), this leg of their journey took them to Hamburg Park in Mitchell, Georgia.

Taking out a sheet with her directions, the paper so damp it disintegrated in her hands. The extended downpour had separated her from the group but she had communicated with them by text.

Oh. And her phone was now dead.

I offered a portable charger from some conference SWAG bag. She laughed that it wouldn’t help, saying that she calls herself analog her phone is so old.

With no GPS, a disintegrating directional sheet, no phone, no idea where to go, I offered to get my bike and show her another way to Bethany Road through town.

*   *   *

I dashed back home through the raindrops filled with a since of urgency. I had a mission! A purpose!

Grabbing my bike, shoes, helmet, I trotted back up to the corner relieved to see my friend still waiting.

“Oh wow, you got a bike,” she said after seeing my road bike.

“Yes. She’s 10 years old. My midlife crisis.”

She laughed saying that she will be 40 in a few months, “Maybe that’s what this is?”

How was this woman going to get to Mitchell, Georgia in the rain by herself?

Riding along in the rain, I started a little small talk.

“What do you do?” I ventured.

“I’m in the energy conservation field. I work in San Fransisco with the . . ”

“YOU LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO?”

My new friend riding a bike in the rain through the Georgia country side, lagging far behind a group heading to Mitchell, Georgia was not from Atlanta but from California. She worked installing energy effiencent lighting. She had gone to graduate school to study carpentry. Bad timing on that, she laughed with a little sigh.?

I learned that she was born in Memphis and lived all over the south and had been in San Francisco 10 years. And her 40th birthday in a few months would be spent climbing Machu Picchu.

When we got up to the highway she was to cross to get on Bethany, we dismounted.

Remembering she had no phone and disintegrating directions I said, “You need my phone number. Please call if you need anything.”

She began sorting through her packs for a paper and pen.

And pulled out a turtle.

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“A turtle, NO WAY. I love turtles!” I told about me being the turtle wrangler and pulled up my twitter background.

 

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“This is magical!” Rashida exclaimed.

Yes. Somewhere in the searching for paper, the writing of my number, squealing over shared love of turtles, we exchanged names.

So after I googled Mitchell, Georgia and found out it was an hour by car (three or four by bike she thought), Rashida packed up her turtle and road away.

 

*   *   *

 

Saturday I received a text from Rashida that she had met up with her group and was headed to their next stop Magnolia Springs State Park.

 

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I hope Rashida uses that email address I gave her.

I want to find out how the journey ended. I want to ask her thoughts about the whole adventure. I want to follow her to Machu Picchu.

No phone. No twitter. No blog. I asked because she could have a killer blog. 

She laughed.

My new hero Rashida living life. Unplugged but so very plugged in.

If I was the jealous type, I might be. Just a little.

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Will Bunting. Rutledge, Georgia.

Memorial Day 2015.

I’ve got my bunting on. Have you?
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This is a photo from my porch.

Yesterday, I was riding my bike through nearby Rutledge and took note of all the bunting displayed.

This would make the perfect blog post. Timely, local and easy. 

If you want to know the unvarnished truth coating the mind of a busy person who blogs. That’s it.

So I rode down there today to capture patriotism for you this Memorial Day weekend. After perusing the vegetable transplants at the hardware store, I headed onward deep into the heart of downtown Rutledge.

 

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The stop can.

 

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Yes, fiddling with my filters, hopping in and out of my car.

 

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I witnessed a quiet town’s patriotism.

 

 

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Birds chirping and cars passing by on the way to other places. Other spaces.

I’m afraid that my first thought on Memorial Day is yay the motorcycles will pass the house and it will be summer!

But with the passage of time, the more I reflect on the young soldiers who never had another hot dog or waved a flag as floats ferried past on a parade route.

 

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Those who never again watched the joy of a child playing in a sprinkler’s spray.

Never got another chance for ice cream at The Caboose.

 

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Never again played hide-and-peek with a ballon.
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Or had a chance to draft an easy peasy Memorial Day blog post.

Nothing else to say but thank you.

Thank you so very much.

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Fine Arts Extravaganza. One performance, 600 performers. Yeah.

If you live in Morgan County, if you live anywhere remotely near Morgan County —

You don’t want to miss this.

 

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Tuesday night, April 28 at 7 p.m. the MCHS gym will be transformed into a theatrical venue for a Patriotic Fine Arts Extravaganza featuring over 600 Morgan County students grades PreK – 12.

Karisa Seymour, Morgan County Middle School Band Director, came up with the ambitious idea after seeing a event by an Avon, Indiana student fine arts program. “This performance has been in the works for over a year,” said Seymour. “It’s designed to showcase the outstanding work being taught every day in the four Morgan County schools.”

The patriotic Extravaganza will feature Pre-K through 12th grade performances including: Middle and High School Bands, Chorus, Dance, Drama, Art, R.O.T.C. and Color Guard. Special lighting and sound will transform the gym into a theatrical venue. A prism performance allows for seamless transitions without waiting for performer or set changes. One act flows into the next with entertainment positioned around the venue. A dramatic monologue might follow a swinging jazz quartet, which leads into lyrical dance. Student art banners will serve as backdrops enhancing the red, white and blue theme.

The high caliber of the system wide fine art instruction and programming not only enriches student life, it brings recognition to the schools and profits the community as a whole. MCMS Art Teacher Marjean Meadow pointed out that many Morgan County students go on to fine arts studies at the collegiate level earning degrees in all areas of: theater, dance, music, graphic and studio arts, voice, art education and architecture — just to name a few. As for long-reaching effects of the Extravaganza, Seymour hopes a dreamed-for performing art center would come a little closer to reality. “Having a state-of-the-art performing arts center would not only benefit the student population, it would allow us to bring in other quality performing and visual arts for the entire community.”

See you there!

Okay, maybe I won’t actually see you there because there are gonna be a TON of folks.

Get there early. Not like 6 a.m. early, but you can figure it out.

 

 

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A Christmas Concert and Symphony Etiquette Primer.

There is so much I’ve wanted to tell you people but darn that life has gotten in the way of blogging.

The symphony is one thing.

Every year at the beginning of the holiday mad dash, a part of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra comes our way for a concert.

Last Wednesday night was the night. Has it been almost a week already?

Before the concert, people chatting and such.

Only in a small town could the socializing before the symphony be a close cousin to the socializing in the pews before church.

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It was my mother, daughter and I.

My daughter is the musician in the family. She plays the trumpet.

She got quite miffed at me when I tapped her arms when the trumpets were playing.

Alls I can say is good thing we were on the back row. I could bop my head and tap my toe with wild abandon.

See. I know there is certain etiquette involved.

The Boston Symphony web site:  “We request that you don’t talk, whisper, sing, hum, or move personal belongings.”

Well, no mention of not tapping your teen on the arm when the trumpets blew.

And I didn’t sing. Maybe hummed slightly.

I did talk and I did move personal belongings but that was because my daughter kicked over her Sprite. I frantically grabbed the ladies clutch under the seat in front of us.

Seems like when to clap or not to clap is another conundrum.  But I sit on my hand anyway to keep from rapping my fingers in time with the music on the armrests.

I don’t see how anybody can sit there and not move — something — when music is playing.

Like restrained sexual energy if you want to get darn Freudian about it.

Well, this post certainly took an unexpected turn from classical music into psychoanalysis.

Who am I to argue with centuries of glorious music and the proper etiquette for such?

No

bod

y.

I know my place in this realm.

In the back row so I can tap away.

I also learned you are not supposed to take photos. So I guess even this el stinko pic could get me hauled off to the foyer and a stern talking to by the Symphony Etiquette Policia.

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Loved the selection of music this year. AWESOME.

Did you know Mozart wrote Sleigh Ride?  Not the one on your favorite Mitch Miller Christmas LPs.

This one.

Notice the sleigh bells. Notice the children. Notice the children who are NOT MOVING. Well, one boy did chew on a finger. But it wasn’t in time with the music.

 

 

What is your favorite piece of holiday music?

One selection that might make you tap along in time. Though only with one finger tucked under your wrap.

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Jesus carried jumper cables in the trunk of his Camry. This I know.

I cannot write of the pain of those who loved Eric Garner.

I cannot write of the anger and injustice those of African American heritage feel.

I can write of my appreciation for the civil servants dressed in blue who put their lives at risk every. single. day.

I can write that there is no doubt certain people should not be in law enforcement.

I cannot write of life or work in a high crime, impoverished environment.

I am a 51-year-old white woman. One who has received the earthly benefits of a loving home of origin and higher education.

I am what I am. I cannot change my upbringing and genetic make up more than I can change my 38 inch hips. And believe me, I’ve noodled the latter a bunch.

One blessing of age is that I know I can change the inside. My thoughts. My will.

If my thoughts change, my will changes. My heart changes.

My actions change.

I’ve never been overtly racist. I can’t imagine cruelty. I freaked out when a praying mantis somehow got stuck to a fly stick in my house. I agonized how to gingerly extract his limbs from the silver glue without dismembering his buggy frame.

Can’t be done.

We all have to fight the tidal wave of what we’ve been taught and caught over a lifetime.

Our flesh demands MINE. Our spirit knows there is a higher way.

Our spirit whispers —  the noble road feeds me. Nourishes me.

Feeding self alone only cannibalizes self.

The non-indictments of the last two weeks have once again opened the American populace and shown a malignancy deep in our tissue.

Division. Anger. Powerlessness.

Examining all sides of the issues — poverty, wealth, hopelessness, education, lack of education and so on and on.

It’s as if a huge whale beached. As much as it tore at my heart, there would be nothing in my strength, might and will that could fix things for that whale.

The only thing that would make life right is for its lumbering-on-land self to be back graceful and beautiful in the water.

That’s when it came to me.

Jumper cables.

It’s easy for me to write a check from my little account to help organizations and people. It’s an another thing to stop what I’m doing, greet someone face-to-face and meet a need.

A few weeks ago on a Monday, my son and I stopped to get gas. It was about 7 p.m., dark, cold and I still needed to figure out something for dinner. I started the pump and was getting back in the car — it was cold people — when I noticed a few lanes over a SUV with the hood up, and a guy asking the woman at the adjoining pump a question.

I bet he needs a jump crossed my mind then I sat in my car, played on my phone and got back out when the pump clicked.

Quickly I screwed the cap on the tank. Quickly because I was cold, but also because I knew that guy probably needed jump and if I saw him again — I would really feel bad if I didn’t help.

It’s not like I’m a bad person. I help lots. But it was cold. Dark. And dinner was rapidly becoming take out.

Sure enough our eyes met.

“You need a jump?” slipped from my mouth.

Relief flooded his face.

Of course he needed a jump you idiot. I quickly hopped in my car, drove it around. We talked. Got the car jumped. Said sincere good-byes. And I was only delayed about three minutes. Five minutes tops.

I say I follow Jesus. If you have read anything about him — even if you don’t believe in his deity, even if you don’t believe he was a great man or teacher — one thing you have to acknowledge about the guy is he stopped for hurting, needing people.

Lepers, mentally ill, the legalistic moralists and the hedonists. White collar criminals. Thieves. Governmental oppressors of his people. The sick. The oppressed, worn out and worn down by The Haves.

He stopped and talked to everyone.

Okay, he didn’t have email to check or a Facebook status to update but I bet there was a backlog of kitchen cabinet orders at the shop.

Surely, he would have taken the time to give a ride, pay a bill and give a jump.

*  *  *

A few days after helping the guy get the car started, I’m running around Ingles (our local grocery). Heading from the pasta over to the chicken broth, I looked up. There was a mountain of an African American man with a little gray shopping basket on his arm.

We looked.

It’s you. We smiled.

And we embraced.

Without thinking, before words.

I asked if he’d gotten a new battery. He explained the root of troubles with the battery. Someone sold the car’s owner a battery too small for that engine so sometimes it just refuses to crank.

Working together, we can get that darned whale back in the salt water for pity’s sake.

Buy a pair of jumper cables and keep them in your car.

You’ll see.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pie-palooza. Teacher says everytime a bell rings a doggie gets a pie.

I’m not a strong salesperson. But it’s better to have dumb luck than no luck at all.

See, the TeamRMHC has a Facebook page. All of us raising money for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia can keep abreast of one another’s running and fundraising exploits.

I was stumped. How to I get a bump in my total?

Pies.

It came to me just like that. Written in Comic Sans nestled in a puffy little thought cloud above my head.

I could make pecan pies for Thanksgiving and ask donations for them like we did with the Arnold Palmer’s in hot early September.

Once I came out with this great idea, I sent out a FB status announcing such. People signed up.

 

* * *

 

I baked for two night into the wee hours of the morning.

My recycling bucket after pie-palooza or the aftermath of a diabetic coma.

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And then the fun started.

I got to deliver the pies.

 

*  *  *

I did a very, very bad thing.

Impromptu on the way to delivering first pie, I thought how cool to take a pic of everyone with their pies.

Bloggers are selfish like this. We think only of 163-views-a-month-important-selves and not about the people hanging out, relaxing on a day-before-holiday-holiday.

 

WARNING: The next few photos might restore your faith in humankind.

 

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Angelina and husband, Mark:  Two wonderfully, creative souls. Giving people and goat lovers. Who had come to town and looked perfect. Not surprised by crazed pie, photo lady.

Kaye and Stan:  Stan looks like he stepped off the cover of GQ. Always. Hate that for him. But Kaye — one of the most beautiful women in town — had just stepped out of shower. I said throw my $5 Aeropostle sunglasses on and you’ll look fab. Okay. She doesn’t look fab as much as sexy.  Meow.

Kathryn:  At her chiropractor’s office. But really look at the her placement of the pie in photo. Carol Merrill is green right now, my friend.

 

 

 

 

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Trevor: Just want to let Trevor know that L.L.Bean called. You and Tebow made the cover of the next catalog. Can you see Tebow eying that pie?

Kim: Most fun, gracious friend. She also has a FABULOUS new magazine Design & Build. Everyone in the building industry needs to get to know this creative visionary. Don’t make me say “I told you so.”

 

 

 

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Elise:  Chiropractic yogi. I would add she is all that is healing, generous and light. But that would be redundant. Well, what the heck? Elise is giving, loving and makes my neck much, much better.

Karisa: Giving, giving, giving with our musical youth. She is the band director for middle school. The studentz and parents adore her. Nuff said.

Lucy:  As a teacher and her personal life, she looks at your child and sees the most unique, masterpiece created. Nuff said.

 

 

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Terri and Roy: Two of the biggest Georgia Bulldogs you’ll ever meet. But that’s okay because they have two of the biggest hearts. Terri survived five days a week with my daughter as her 3-year-old Preschool Teacher. And she still bought two pies. Nuff said.

 

 

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Dana:  When she heard I was saving pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House, hundreds if not thousands appeared at my door. She and Aubie parent a blended family of four girls. Effortlessly. Or at least it looks that way. Thanks for always thinking of RMH.

Sarge:  When I put the call out about the pecan pies, Sarge suggested a swap. One of my pies for a pumpkin roll. And so we did. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m glad we did.

Katie:  No. I don’t have a picture of Katie with her pie because Tebow ate her pie. Well, half of her pie. Even I knew enough not to give Katie a half-eaten pie with doggie spit on it. She donated anyway. She’ll get two pies for Christmas.

Debbie:  She bought two pies and I delivered them Tuesday. Before I thought of taking pics. Thanks so much xoxo

 

How much did this Pie-palooza raise?

Are you sitting down?

If you are standing in some Black Friday checkout line, lock your thigh muscles to steady yourself.

Grand total RMHC Pie-paloosa . . .

$ 588.00

Whoop.

So all you pie-eating-people raised 37 nights (over a month of nights) for families who can’t afford the $15 per night RMH fee.

Giving those pies out felt like I was in the middle of a Frank Capra movie.

For those of you who don’t know who Frank Capra is think Quentin Tarantino light.

That’s a joke. Just google him. (Frank Capra not Quentin Tarantino)

It is A Wonderful Life.

Pies for everyone.

 

 

 

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Tri-training on a beach cruiser.

I mentioned that I signed up for a triathlon.

I also mentioned that I’ve got a few things going on like a house remodel.

So I’ve squeeze in tri-training anyway I can.

Like riding my bike to the pool to swim laps.

Or riding my husband’s beach cruiser to the pool with the kids on their bikes.

That’s what we did this afternoon.

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My son, daughter and a friend took off down the road.

It was wonderful to be outside and it not raining. Though the rain came back later in the day.

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We got there and I swam about 1,500.

My laps were interrupted by the youngest complaining that his sister and friend wouldn’t play with him.

Not sure I’d like to ride 14 miles in a race in a town with hills on a cruiser but it was the perfect mode of transportation to the pool this afternoon.

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It’s my Life. Crazy Lady at the Grocery Store.

Friends were due to arrive in 30 minutes and I had to pull together a lunch.

Broccoli popped into my head. I had overbought this week. I could make a broccoli salad to serve with sandwiches.

Entering the store, I pulled up a salad recipe online and started buying the ingredients.

I also snagged cold cuts, potato salad, pimento cheese (all this Masters talk has put pimento cheese on my mind) and a tomato.

Arriving at the checkout I realized my friends were probably at my house.

No problem.

Watching the checkout girl ring up my lunch and salad ingredients, the old me would have pulled a nail to my mouth but the new go-with-the-flow entertainer me loved this. No pressure at all. Just enjoy my friends.

Got home. Opened door and warmly greeted said friends, then buzzed into the kitchen to start my salad.

Stopped to put sunflowers in vase. Unloaded my groceries. Refereed children fighting in front of company.

Then remembered I must start the broccoli salad so it could chill by lunch.

That’s when I looked for the ingredients.

No bacon. No Miracle Whip, no potato salad. The potato salad was for people who didn’t like spur-of-the-second broccoli salad.

Leaving a bag at the store. Major Martha Stewart fail.

Trying to do more than my God-given allotment of hosting-people-with-food genetics. This last minute broccoli salad was a risk but thought I could pull it together — calmly — like my sister who entertains hundreds while darting away in five minute intervals to complete her clients’ tax returns.

I could use mayo instead of Miracle Whip. Ditch the bacon. But I needed the potato salad for those who didn’t like broccoli (but not for my husband who won’t come with in 10 feet of either).

Back to the store.

I figured best approach was to go the cashier.

“Did I leave a bag of things when I was here?”  No recognition whatsoever.

We talked about the beautiful day. I thought we had bonded.

Obviously not.

“There’s no bag here. Try the service desk.”

I made my way to the counter and peered up at the assistant manager. ‘I got home without my potato salad.”  And then I pulled the desperation card. “I’ve got people at my home waiting for lunch.”

He looked all around and found nothing but a bag containing a box of frozen corn.

“Just go get what you need.”

I smiled my best forlorn grin in thanks and grabbed the items and headed home.

Entering the kitchen —  that’s when I saw them. The lost Miracle Whip and bacon sitting on my counter. Then I opened my refrigerator to find the potato salad.

People. I’m crazy.

I calmly made my salad all the while thinking that I really shouldn’t attempt walking and talking at the same time. Way too much cognitive function needed.

With the salad done, I walked into the room with my company and said, “The good news is that the salad is made. The bad news is that I found the lost items and have to take them back to the store.”

To which my husband broke into Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” A reference to my superior organization habits over the course of 25 years of marriage.

Back at the store, I walked up to the assistant manager. “I know everyday you have a crazy person to deal with and today it’s me.”

He replied, “Oh no. We deal with lots of crazy people everyday.” Smiling, he offered to re-shelve my items.

Ever had a day when you’re the crazy person at the grocery store?

 

 

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Madison, Georgia 2012 Holiday Parade.

Every year the primary school students walk from the school in the Madison Holiday Parade.

Every year I’ve had a Primary Panda eligible to participate, I’ve successfully avoided walking.

Call me Scrooge, I know.

This year my second grader really wanted to walk.

I thought how this is my last year that one of my three will be at the school — so why not?

We ended up getting adopted into the Dachshund Divas brigade. Joe was asked to walk River whose mama, Kim Watts, was out of town.

I had SO much fun. It was a perfect day. There was a huge turnout. All I could think was . . .

Why did I never do this before?

I’m in Florida with my dad who is very ill. I want to be here but hard to be away from family at this time.

Sitting here in a big city, I’m so thankful I had last Saturday in our wonderful small town.

It will be a memory that I can carry me through this topsy turvy Christmas season.

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Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Decked Out Halls. Madison, Georgia Christmas Tour.

The Madison Christmas Tour is this weekend. My in-laws and my across the street neighbors are on the candlelight portion.

CRAZY.

For my in-laws not so much.

But for my neighbor the ever-creative, ever-talented Trish Jones (her coolio decorating/art blog) — in a word. WOW.

She and her house from the 1800’s are up to the task.

It’s just that she is a wife, mother of three with a thriving Etsy shop . . . and well, she is a mother of three.

Here was her house tonight.

 

We were met at the door by some proper young docents.

Then I witnessed this derelict docent racing back to her station inside.

Wonder who was distracting her from her duty?

Earlier today, I went over there for a sneak peak and it looked so great.

 

 

I’ve never matured enough in my decorating skills to use fresh fruit.

Not that I  don’t like it, it’s so Williamsburgy and traditional.

And traditionally, I’m decor-challenged.

Trish. 🙂 Sorry I took this before I reset my camera’s speed.

Look at all the neat touches. Just scattered about.

Trish bought this tree on eBay last summer and handmade all the ornaments.

Homeowner Rob, running to complete some decorating task or running from the camera.

Look at her cute solution to the non-working fireplace in their bedroom.

The journalist hard at work.

I could go on and on because her things were so adorable — but in the interest of hard-hitting journalism — I have the courage to show you the behind the scenes story.

A few hours before showtime, a few traces of life with three children remained.

And . . .

So I took off my crackerjack reporter hat and put on my good neighbor hat and started folding.

Rob jumped into.

If you’re in our neck of the nape tomorrow, the show goes on for one more night.

It is a lot of fun.

Because my house is not on display.

What about you? Would you open your door to hundreds of good folks at Christmas time?

* * *

And that completes my 30 days of November participating in NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month.

Woo! Made it.

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