Thursday, July 31, 2008

Speaking of Barbers

Be sure you read today's other post to get the background for this one. When I was thinking of barbers, I wondered if I could recall all of the barbers I've had in my life. Here goes.

Mr. Thomas
Mr. Elliot
Bud Pittman
While at UNC:
Student Union Barbershop
University Square Barbershop
While at Camp Cherokee
Shorty and Junior
Lady barber on Broad Street, Southern Pines
Barbershop at Town and Country Shopping Center, Aberdeen (2 barbers)
James Clayton (Uncle James), Masonic Lodge Barbershop, Southern Pines
Renee--my only barber that reads my blog! Way to go, Renee!
Barber behind Pinehurst Hardware
Eugene Warren, City Barbershop, Carthage
Ben, City Barbershop and Eastwood Barbershop
Lee, Eastwood Barbershop and City Barbershop
Tim (Shorty) and a couple of fill-ins at Eastwood
Tom, Eastwood Barbershop and currently at Hillcrest Barbershop

I've intentionally left off some last names, but I'll add them if these folks want free advertising. I'll have some barbershop anecdotes in days ahead.

Barber-ic Act

No, it's not misspelled. It's a weak pun (expect more of those, dear reader). Actually, it's about trimming our front hedge. I did it this morning, but I don't recall doing it last year. You see what a high priority it is. But I feel better now and it should be easier for us to water our hanging baskets. Get this: I had to use the lopper to cut the four foot dogwood that had volunteered under the petunia basket. It's a shame to cut a dogwood at any time, but I couldn't go on giving it false hope that it had a chance to mature, and eventually bloom. So out it went, with a tarpful of trimmings from nandina, azalea, camellia, wild rose, and smilax (cat-brier). I didn't get a "before" picture and I hope to add an "after," but take my word for it: it was out of control.

Now for the obligatory explanation of my title, "Barber-ic Act." As I was ruthlessly assaulting the hedge with my implements of torture, I realized why I never could have been a barber. It's all about lack of attention to detail. I'm a generalist, and far from a perfectionist. That works in some areas, but you don't want that from a barber. Talk about accountability. A barber's craft is not easily hidden (even now that guys wear their hats indoors--regrettably).

So the bottom line is, I'm now one step ahead of the hedge. It may not be level, it may not be neat, but it's not winning any more!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm in a jam . . . so to speak.

Some of our regulars

Yeah, I'm in a jam. It's Greg's Jam, an informal ECLECTIC group of musicians that gets together in our church fellowship hall once a month and plays anything from "Freight Train" to "Just a Closer Walk" to "I'm in the Jailhouse Now." My friend Harold has kept the group going after Greg, who "birthed" it, was deployed to Iraq. Greg is now jammin' with the Baghdad Bad Boys (really). We're counting the months till he'll be back stateside. Even though our group is eclectic (notice, that's not electric--see my first blog post ever), all our instruments are compatible with country, folk, and bluegrass. We've had guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bass, and keyboard. All instruments are acoustic except my keyboard, and I keep the volume moderate. Last night was our largest gathering. We had pickers, grinners, singers, and plain old listeners. In a jam, we all just join in the best we know how. It's not like practicing, because we just go around our circle taking turns requesting songs. If we bomb, it's no big deal and we move on. But most of the sounds are upbeat and alive, and however long our session lasts, we always learn to "read each other" before quitting time. The real diehards pack up about 9:30 p.m. and head up to Maness's Music Barn, near Midway. I learn a lot of from these jammers from diverse backgrounds and that's just another reason I'm glad music is such an integral part of my life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Physical Exam . . . Judgment Day

One of the first things I did when I retired was to schedule my annual physical. Uh, I think I had one two years ago. When I turned 50 my insurance started covering them annually, but somehow I still missed a couple of years. My doc is just right for me. He didn't fuss about me being a few pounds overweight and in general he said I was a "healthy specimen." I guess he could have said "you're not in bad shape for the shape you're in," but he didn't. One thing I didn't get away with. He's going to make me an appointment for my first ever colonoscopy. If you don't know about those, I'm not gonna tell you. And if you do know, you know. I'm not dreading it, anyway. I'll wait until I get the appointment for that. He wrote me a permission slip to work out at the Senior Citizen's Center where Judy has recently begun going. Even though I get sporadic exercise cutting grass, cutting wood, and walking, this provides another option, and Judy and I can go together. I think it will be fun. As my visit concluded with a blood draw, I told the nurse how much I hated to go to the doctor when I was little, even though I would use the slightest symptom to try to get out of school. My undeveloped sense of logic failed to forewarn me that the end result (ha,ha) could be a shot! Now I don't mind the routine doctor visits and I won't have to play sick to get days off from school!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gone Batty

I know that most of my blog readership have zero interest in baseball. Wait, don't leave, hear what I have to say. This post is not to chat about my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, or to persuade you that our national sport is still baseball. No, I just want to point out that the powers-that-be in baseball are no crazier than the current crop of international leaders, business prognosticators, Hollywood celebrities, or any other group you choose to pick on. Maybe you've heard of the epidemic of broken bats in Major League Baseball. Well, they're going to do something about it. Since July 2, all 30 teams have collected 257 broken bats (a span of 260 games). Consultants at the U. of Wisconsin's Forest Products Laboratory and a statistician at Harvard will be analyzing a database that contains the player, type of bat, and manufacturer for each recorded incident. There have been injuries of fans, players, and umpires this season alone, so safety is part of the concern. The other concern is quality control. Bats didn't always split and splinter so readily. Why now? A few weeks ago, MLB's investigative committee reported that bats might be subjected to portable CAT-scan devices (around $260,000 a piece, one for every team). After every 10 or 15 contacts between a ball and bat, the scan would evaluate the structural integrity of the bat, i.e. its fitness for continued use. Wow. These guys must have trained at either the Pentagon or OSHA. Expect ticket prices to go up--profit margins are non-negotiable. Also expect a report by the 2012 season. At least one manufacturer, Sam Holman, founder of Original Maple Bat Corp., has suggested that some companies could be using inferior wood. Imagine that! No wonder this crisis has diverted attention from Bobby Bonds and other hot topics of last year. And if you venture to a ball park, don't forget your helmet and pads, baseball fans.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Now THAT'S News!

A couple of years ago I read that a growing number of adults, especially from Gen X and Gen Y, are getting a fair share of their news from news parody shows like the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert. Their humor can best be appreciated if you know the real news story that's being satirized, but many folks don't bother. The mainstream networks can only blame themselves, since they've bought into the entertainment-as-news philosophy. I like to sample late-night political humor because all personalities, parties, organizations, causes, and nations are fair game for their darts. At a recent yard sale I stumbled upon "The Borowitz Report" by Andy Borowitz, and I would compare it to the excellent fare found in The Daily Onion (which Jennifer introduced me to years ago). Here are some of the headlines from articles in the book that tickled my funny bone.

Majority of Americans Now Believe Evil is Bad, Survey Says

Osama's Wife, Debbie Bin Laden, Speaks Out

Taliban Shuts Down Regime; Will Focus Instead on Website

*Bill Bennett Loses Wife in Poker Game

**Saddam Denies Pursuing "Nucular" Weapons

Wealthiest .00001 Percent Praise Bush Economic Package

New Tape May Mean Al Gore is Alive

Microsoft Buys Massachusetts

Bush Wins Nobel War Prize

CIA Using Disgraced American CEO's to Infiltrate Al-Qaeda

U2's Bono Proposes Sweeping Social Security Overhaul

O.J. No Longer "100 Percent Sure" He is Innocent

*William Bennett wrote The Book of Virtues and The Child's Book of Virtues before his chronic gambling habit was exposed.
**Reference to President Bush's pronunciation of "nuclear" as "nucular."

I haven't even finished the book yet, but to me the titles are funny even before I read the articles. I just located the Andy Borowitz website and linked it above. Today's post is about John McCain's bold first visit to the Internet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Bouncing Bulldogs

I've been contemplating various blog topics all day, and some of my ideas are still in seed form. But for this one I'm reaching back into June, when Judy had her one-year anniversary of her successful liver transplant with dozens of other transplant recipients and their families. It was in Chapel Hill and part of the celebration was a special performance of the Bouncing Bulldog Jump Rope Team. Their apparent ages were from pre-teen to late teens and their expertise, athleticism, and teamwork were sensational. Since I haven't posted any videos, this is my first attempt. I hope you enjoy these young folks. I've seen some good jump rope teams, but never anything like this. They just won their fifth national team championship, with several individual winners. They're on their way to Beijing, China, where they will demonstrate their skills to the multitudes. Jump rope could become a future Olympic event. They will win your heart!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dream Car

I had long planned to begin searching for a dependable used car following retirement. The way we found it may seem serendipitous, but we know better. If we hadn't gone to a yard sale all the way in Carthage, which we rarely do, we wouldn't have known about this car. Returning home on 15-501 Judy spotted a sign at Phillips Ford, "2003 Toyota, low mileage." She asked if I wanted to turn around and look at it. At first I said no, but on second thought, I decided we should. While I had in mind maybe an '05 or newer, the condition of this Camry makes up for its age. It has every option that was on my list, and after having it four days and driving 60 miles, it has confirmed the validity of Davy Crockett's dictum, "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." Everything our salesman told us was true, and the engine is in pristine shape. As a bonus, it has just enough minor nicks that I don't have to worry about making the first one! Don't know what kind of mileage it gets. At this rate, the first tank of gas might last into August. If it's 30+, I'll probably blog, otherwise, just figure I was disappointed. But either way, I'll be driving a lot less locally in retirement. This car should do great for trips to Atlanta--plenty of zip for traffic, and for excursions to the mountains and beyond. Hope to have it for a long, long time.

The Coming Leftist Take-over (not what you think)

Last Friday night was a hoot at the Loyd house. We hadn't had so many people for a while. There were Ken and Judy, Jennifer (briefly), Mike, Charlie and Liz, Grace, Dre, and little Elizabeth--the star attraction. As we gathered around the table for hamburgers, turkey burgers, and grilled veggies (which are becoming a regular around here), someone observed that all four of the males present were left-handed. At different times in the past I had known that all of us were either gauche (French) or sinistre (Latin), but I couldn't recall a time all four of us had been assembled. In America lefties typically make up only 10% of the population. So to have four lefties and no righties among us, from a probability standpoint, would be only one chance out of 10 x 10 x 10 x 10, or one out of 10,000. Of course, strictly speaking, it was not a random crowd, but it was still pretty cool.

I've been interested in handedness all my life. As the only lefty in my family, I wrote, ate, and played tennis left-handed. I throw and bowl right-handed and kick right-footed. In high school advanced biology I surveyed 1200 students in Cross Keys high and did all sorts of correlations. Maybe I'll share some in a future blog. But maybe you're wondering about my title, "The Coming Leftist Take-over." The very next day after our cookout, I read in the N&O how among recent presidents lefties are disproportionately prominent (did I mention I love tongue-twisters?). Since World War II, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have all signed bills from the left side of the presidential desk. But the NEATEST of all is that BOTH John McCain and Barak Obama are left-handed! So I unequivocally stand by my premise that come January 2009, a confirmed leftist will take the reins of the government. Right?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vacation Thrills Part II (aka Son of Vacation Thrills)

Today I'll wrap up the highlights of our mountain trip, beginning with Tuesday night. We decided to backtrack to the lovely town of Brevard to scout out a place to eat and do some leisurely before-dinner walking. Visited a couple of nice shops but didn't really spend anything. Got some great waterfall maps at the town visitors center--there will be future trips to different falls, etc. None of the restaurants we had spotted previously really grabbed our attention, so we strolled a little further from the center of town and lucked into El Ranchero. We were early birds at 5:00, having skipped lunch as we usually do on vacation. The meal was exceptional, both tasty and generous portions. I had the best chicken fajitas I've ever tasted. The grilled veggies made the difference. Judy raved equally about her veggie quesadilla. As we headed in a roundabout way back to the car we noticed flashing police lights and a blocked-off Main Street. Turns out we had happened upon two unrelated events. As one child reported to Judy, "That guy had a gun!" Indeed, the police had three suspects (they were GUILTY, I tell you!) in handcuffs on the sidewalk. But the real excitement was about to begin--Tuesday night Street Dancing! Whee! We got a front row seat near a bluegrass band. The other side of the street was already lined with locals who had brought their folding chairs and camp chairs. The band was quite good, particularly the fiddle player (Jenn and Amanda: his Orange Blossom Special wasn't quite up to Leah's standard, but it was good). They played a 30 minute warmup and then the street dance was kicked off. Some local regulars did a short demonstration with plenty of variety. It was circle dancing rather than square dancing, to accommodate larger numbers. The whole thing was very family-friendly, with a separate children's circle further down the street, facilitated by some of the adults. You should know that Tuesday nights are not real big tourist nights in the mountains--weekends are when most big events are scheduled. This Tuesday night series was primarily for the townsfolk themselves. It was wonderful to see people converging on Main Street from all directions. Most were locals who knew each other well, but there was a large contingent of high schoolers in sports camps at Brevard College, just a short walk down the hill. I video-ed and just enjoyed the wholesome environment. We left in time to head back to The Woodlands before dark, but there was one more surprise before we got out of town. Following a meandering path to see more of the town, I was amazed to see the name of a former Camp Cherokee counselor in front of his dentistry practice. I wrote a full-page letter to leave in his mailbox. He was at camp when my brother was there in the late sixties and that was the one and only time we had met!

The next morning we had our final delicious breakfast before heading toward Dillsboro and Sylva, where we would stay at the Squire Watkins Inn, another bed and breakfast, but new to us. We followed U.S. highway 64 through Cashiers and Highlands, stopping at Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, and Callusaja Falls. Since we couldn't register until after 3:00 we drove around Dillsboro (approx. 2 minutes) then headed to Sylva. These towns have grown together a la Chapel Hill/Carrboro or Southern Pines/Aberdeen/Pinehurst. But we already had some favorite shops and restaurants in Sylva to check out. Judy was enthusiastic in her support of the bakery thrift shop there. We would return to Sylva for dinner. It was actually close to 5:00 when we checked in. We loved the Squire Watkins at first sight, and our hostess, Emma, was charming to talk to. The furnishings were exquisite, but that was secondary to us. The rustic aura of the house and the lovely yard and gardens were more endearing (fellow bloggers, do you ever feel you're using the same adjectives too much?). Emma chatted with us to share background about our home away from home, some of her own history, and just general conservation. She invited me to play the parlor piano any time, and later that evening, I did. We were in the upstairs Dogwood Room, with everything we needed. Just outside our room was a door to the upstairs porch. That evening I would videotape the Smoky Mountain Railway from that porch as it passed on the track just down the hill. A few passengers spotted me and waved. Dinner was at the Spring Street Cafe, which in some ways reminds us of 195 (our favorite restaurant back home). Eclectic cuisine, ya know? Different atmosphere, though. We had eaten there twice before but this was the first time we visited the adjoining bookstore, and it was quite impressive. As some of you know, Judy and I are both well-stocked on summer reading material, but we couldn't pass up a few bargains on this trip, including rare 10 cent paperbacks. (As an aside, I got an 1897 book, "Hell fer Sartain," a folk classic, for ONE DOLLAR). Back at the B&B, we strolled the extensive gardens, admiring the flowers as well as abundant rock work. We went on down to the train track and followed it to a tributary of the Tuckaseegee River, which was just beyond. Thursday morning we had Emma's finest fare for breakfast and headed homeward. So if anyone is looking for picturesque vacation spots or top-notch pampered lodging, just let us know.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vacation Thrills Part I

Turtleback Falls, with treacherous Rainbow Falls in the distance.

Rainbow Falls-- our favorite.
Whitewater Falls-- highest in Eastern U.S.
The Woodlands Inn & Bed and Breakfast, Sapphire Valley

Just back from a delicious lunch at Market Square with Charlie and Liz. We'll see them again while they're in town. Now a refreshing rain is beginning to fall. We'll take every drop we can get. The rain barrells are uncovered, waiting open-mouthed. The vegetable garden, which has had a dry week, anticipates a good soaking--which will drive away the heat as well.

Now, to begin to share about our trip. Monday we headed toward Sapphire Valley via Albemarle, Charlotte, Hendersonville, and Brevard. Our bed and breakfast for the first two nights was The Woodlands Inn and B&B. We were quite comfortable and were the only guests for those two nights. We got personal service for delightful breakfasts with the host, John. Blueberry muffins, ham and cheese omelets, waffles, Danishes, and more-- all perfect. The second morning he had Morning Glory muffins, similar to Judy's famous Kitchen Sink muffins which some of you have been blessed to sample (Soon I'll get into making links for some of these items).

Tuesday morning John gave us great directions for getting into Gorges State Park even though their parking area was closed for improvements. We hiked a strenuous twenty-five minutes on a steep downhill grade, which turned from a trail into a rocky gully. At the bottom we had to explore around and make a couple of wrong turns (there were no gas stations to ask for directions), but in the end we found all three waterfalls on the Horsepasture River that we were seeking. Drift Falls, the furthest upstream, is pictured as the tease on the previous post (more pictures of all of these are forthcoming). It is now on private property but that doesn't prevent a wonderful view. A short distance downstream is Turtleback Falls, with a grand swimming hole below it for those who dared to climb a rotten rope Tarzan style up a vertical cliff and then slide off the rock into unknown waters. Needless to say, yours truly did not even consider swimming, and I was able to hold Judy back. We both imagined having Liz along. Her dare-devilry is legendary. The third falls was my favorite of all-time (including Niagara)--Rainbow Falls. Still photos don't accentuate its height as well as videos. I'll see what I can add to this post. At Rainbow, the best view is from a high path beyond the falls, looking back. There's a sheer rock face across the entire river, but the water flow is limited to onc side. We both thought we could glimpse flecks of rainbow colors in the spray, but I'm sure that effect is more pronounced depending on light conditions, flow of water, and other factors. It was thrilling and unforgettable. Most summers there is at least one tragic death here, because unknowing novices can easily hike downstream from Turtleback and be swept over Rainbow before they realize the danger. Judy and I are content to view, marvel, and photograph.

The climb out of the gorge was a great workout, and though we felt it in our legs, we were quite proud of our success and had no lasting soreness. Back in our air-conditioned car, we were ready for one more waterfall, Whitewater Falls, several miles down the same highway we were on. We had been there once before (when Amanda was with us) but now that I've got a digital camera I want to revisit all our favorite spots. We got a great view from two observation points. Then we had a little adventure. Of the many guidebooks I refer to, a couple mention an older path that goes to the left of the Whitewater river and beyond the beginning of the 400 foot falls (highest in the Eastern U.S.). There was a rail fence blocking what appeared to be such a trail, and we would have left, figuring it was in unsafe condition or impassable, but luckily a couple with their dog emerged from the trail just then. We asked all about it and were reassured that it was in fine shape. It was actually an easy walk, but with no easy view of the falls. We did indeed come out on the river above the falls and took more pictures. Nothing spectacular, but we felt like it was worthwhile. Next post I'll share about Tuesday evening in Brevard and our Wednesday pilgrimage to Sylva and Dillsboro. HAPPY TRAILS!

Hi folks--here's the tease picture.
This is Turtleback Falls, one of at least 8 named waterfalls we visited.
Now read below the picture.

No time to catch up now on the spectrum of this week's activities, but I am loaded with new blog material, just need time at the keyboard. I'll be telling about our waterfall hikes, bed and breakfast experiences, picking up our new (old) Toyota Camry, and spending time with Charlie and Liz. Can you tell what a great week we've had? Sorry to be off-line for so many days. We're home until . . . who knows?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Some Recent Photos

Loyd Family on Ken's Final Fieldtrip in April

Ken and Judy (House in the Horseshoe)
Those Loyd Girls can still handle snakes!
Ken and Judy at Morrow Mountain, Memorial Day 2008

Relaxing Saturday: Yard Sales and a Car, Dinner and a Movie

Yes, we went to yard sales and bought a new car. It happened like this. It had been a while since Judy and I went to Saturday yard sales, but we went to a Flea Market at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst this morning, then to a church sale near Union Pines High School. We got a few books and assorted items. On the way home Judy saw a sign in front of Phillips Motors in Carthage advertising a 2003 Toyota with low mileage. To make a medium story short our search for a new car is abruptly over. We won't pick it up until next Friday, but it met every one of my criteria. I'll blog more about it then and post a picture. I thought our search might take all of July and August, but when we saw it and took it for a test drive, the decision was a no-brainer. By the way, my opening line was just a hook for those of you who would actually believe I would buy a car AT a yard sale. It is technically true that we went to yard sales AND bought a new car today (hey, five years old IS new for me!). Sorry if I misled you, but this blogging is a rough business. You have to use some aggressive tactics sometimes to get people to read a post.

We had dinner on the porch under our ceiling fan, listening to Italian music. We had grilled vegetables to supplement some still-very good leftovers and it was quite enjoyable. I've grilled chicken tenders once and vegetables twice this week, which is a record for us using the grill, and by far the most I've participated in meal preparation thus far in my life (no exaggeration). Judy does 90% of the work but tries to give me credit. She said she would refer to me as "Ken Rosetta-Casper," a play on Lynn Rosetta-Casper, host of NPR's The Splendid Table. But I'm taking baby steps, and she's always going to be the numero uno chef around here!

Finally, we watched the 70's Woody Allen/Diane Keaton hit, Play It Again, Sam. It is a comedy about a movie buff's romantic difficulties and hallucinations of Humphrey Bogart coaching him. I particularly recommend it to anyone who recently watched Casablanca (hint, hint-- you know who you are).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hmm . . .

I wonder how many of you long-time bloggers sit down to blog not knowing what you're going to write about. Having already cut grass and done my morning walk with Judy this just seemed like a good time to get out of the humidity and blog in air conditioning. Not a lot has happened since I began this blog just before supper last night. But as an E.T. (eclectic type) I claim license to write about multiple random events at odd times or not at all. I don't exactly want my blog to be like Seinfeld, i.e. "a show about nothing," but it will range from serious topics to trivial. One thing you should NOT expect to see from me is a List of 101 Things in 1001 Days, which Jennifer and Amanda have ambitiously embarked on. I actually AM a list-maker. I throw away out-dated to-do lists every few days. I notice that "cut grass" is a recurring theme. "Work on woodpile" is another regular. But I went all the way back to Jennifer's blog of November 2007 when she wrote in regard to her 101 List: "It's no secret that I love a) resolutions, b) goals, c) lists and d) accountability" Well, in recent years, accountability (which is a very good thing) has been so mis-applied in education (more time documenting than doing) that I have no desire to feel like I'm in race against my own list.

My own version of laid-back lists with no strict time-lines will continue. This summer I plan to:
cut grass, cut wood, car-shop, study house plans, blog, do a second printing of my book (more in future blogs), do lots of fun stuff at home and away from home, volunteer a lot of music time at the hospital and rest homes, and devote more time than ever to my friends and family. That's all pretty open-ended. And this year, when school starts, my list can stay the same. We hope to see fall leaves in the mountains and visit the beach in the winter. Many more plans ahead.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That's "Eclectic," not Electric. I considered calling it Ken Loyd's Procrastination Blog since I have had a hard time deciding what my focus would be (note to Jennifer and Amanda: I actually posted my first post less than one month after my retirement date, Friday, June 13). But "Eclectic" came to me as I thought over the multitude of interests I have and the many topics I hope to discuss in the months and years to come. When I was a senior education major at UNC-Chapel Hill we studied the whole spectrum of education philosophies, then had to write about our own. I saw pros and cons in each one, upsides and downsides, but fortunately, "Eclectic" was also a choice. I didn't know the word previously, but found that it meant "pots-pourri" or "a little bit-o-this; a little bit-o-that."

This may be a cop-out, but eclectic is right for me. In 33 years of teaching, my philosophy developed, but was always a matter of picking and choosing from what I felt were the best available teaching practices. In hobbies as well, my interests range far and wide, from literature to music to sports. Even in dining, I think it's appropriate that my and Judy's favorite restaurant, 195 in Southern Pines, describes its cuisine as eclectic. And that's good because I also like all kinds of food (credit and kudos to Judy for that!).

This may be an inadequate introduction for my new blog, but as my 94 year-old father tells me, I've got the rest of my life to do whatever I want. So I wish to promptly announce that . . . I will definitely NOT be blogging every day because Judy and I will soon be visiting North Carolina's land of waterfalls. But now that I've taken the plunge into the world of blogging I'm going to be doing a lot of something I did in my 3rd grade classroom-- brainstorming!