Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bringing the Smokies home for Christmas

Campfire could help set stage for Smokies-style Christmas

I got a call from a niece this past week concerning the Skupien family Christmas get-together.

We always have supper on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at different locations whether it is our house, my mother's or some other relatives'.

We usually don't have a theme, although a number of years ago we had a "pajama" theme.

At that time everyone was asked to wear the nighttime attire. Why? 

Well, my mother fulfills what a mom and grandmother always seems to do at Christmas-- buy clothes for their offspring. My mother for years usually included a pair of pajamas in everyone's Christmas bag.

So that one year we decided to let her know we appreciated what she did. And everyone complied. It was not only a fun time, pajamas are really comfortable and with the elastic waist bands, we weren't as restrained when it came time to sit down at the table and gorge on the goodies.

Well, this year, we're going to have somewhat of a theme -- and guess what? It will have us experiencing some of the things from our favorite place to visit -- the Great Smoky Mountains.

We'll be meeting at her brothers in D'Iberville. It will be an open air place that will give us a feel of the outdoors but there will be protection in  case of inclement weather.

We'll probably have hotdogs, hot chocolate, s'mores, popcorn and favorite meals others want to bring and have enjoyed while in the mountains.

We won't have a cold running river, but someone might get splashed somehow.

Back in 2009, we did have a family get-together in the Smokies with about 30 in attendance for a few days.

As my niece said, its hard to get that many people together in the mountains, so this Smokies' Christmas party may be just the thing to get a taste of a place we all love and we'll only have to travel a few miles for the experience.

Next post: Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Traveling to the end of the world

There's a saying: "the end of the world as we know it." 

There's also a book out by that title. Maybe there are a lot of books out there by that title.

Each day we face "the end of the world as we know it." 

The situation can be different for each person. The world changes when one loses a job, house, spouse, children, when someone gets sick or has a heart attack or suffers a stroke. There are thousands of ways "the end of the world as we know it" comes about.

It appears that with all the turmoil in the world right now, there really could be another "the end of the world as we know it" moment that does actually affect the entire globe.

It could be catastrophic. It could be mind-changing. It could change the way or where we travel.

Right now, Greece, Italy, France and England don't look too inviting. Neither does New York City with the Occupy Wall Street groups massing on a daily basis.

There are other cities around the world facing the same situation.

But then again, there are still places that are safe to visit and enjoyable.

They can be close to home, or a couple days drive. Don't put it off. Keep on the lookout for good possibilities and take advantage of them.

After all, "the end of the world as we know it" may happen and we won't be able to travel at all.

Next post: Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Short trip and taking it easy

I-10 welcome center near Slidell

New Orleans beckoned over the Columbus Day weekend.

We were ready to head out of town, and the Big Easy was an easy decision.

Our last trip of the vacation type was to the Smoky Mountains in June and July.

The weekend trip ended up being an overnight type as we sought to find out how things would work out for my wife who had suffered a stroke in April.  The stroke caused Linda to lose mobility in her left side.

She can walk, but not too fast. During therapy, she usually has level, even floors.

New Orleans was different. 

There were all sorts of angles to maneuver over and around. It seems that when one is not handicapped, obstacles, in the form of uneven sidewalks and streets, are not that big of a deal.

When the going is slow, and each step is thought out, one looks down and what is seen in New Orleans amounts to challenges.

But we met the challenges and managed to go from our hotel, the Provencial, down to Cafe du monde and around Jackson Square where we came across entertainment, artists and fortune tellers.

The going was slow and steady, and tiring.

We found a shop around the corner from the hotel and for lunch ended up getting the last sandwich in the store (it was a busy day).

And of course, at the Cafe Dumond, the traditional cafe au lait for me, cold chocolate milk for Linda and an order of beignets to split.

Temperatures were on the mild side, but heating up during the day.

Linda decided to pull a San Francisco bit on me. She sent me out to pick up something for supper (it's Sunday so it must be pizza) while she rested in the room.

It was a good test for what we could do under new circumstances. The trip wasn't as inspired for photography as past excursions (a little too warm).We still plan to return to do Miracle on Fulton Street during Christmas time and maybe both of us will have more stamina and will be able to "do the town right."

Next post: Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sultry temps and sand beaches

Sometimes when there's not anything in particular to write about, one tends to write about things closer to home -- and in this case, it is home.

Well, it is our hometown Ocean Springs, but it has to do with the beach. We don't get down to the beach to walk as much as we should, but every so often it does occur.

Since Hurricane Katrina hit some five years ago, local officials saw to it to have a sidewalk built on the beach extending from the bridge to Biloxi back to the town's inner harbor. This is about a mile and a half walk, give or take a little.

It has become a popular place since the walkway was put in and firepits added. There's ample lighting for nighttime excursions. People can be seen walking, jogging or biking the bridge and then they come down to the sandbeach and go along it.

With the wind almost constantly blowing from the south, it is rather comfortable even though summertime can be quite 'sultry.' That word is an euphemism for 'humid.' Nobody likes high humidity, but wow, sultriness can't be that bad.

The word just has a better feeling to it. 

Its a good place to see a full moon rising, watching the shrimpers come in from the gulf or checking on whether or not fishermen along the breakwaters have caught anything.

I really don't like sand. And it is a sand beach. That's why I don't get down there that much.

But when I do, I wonder why I don't do the beach more often.

Next post: Oct. 11, 2011