Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Scottish Connection

I've been absent for awhile as my Husband and I have enjoyed a traditional Southern Thanksgiving and Christmas to the hilt.  We're satiated with the love and warmth that we soaked up from our big family, and have delightful memories of the Grand Babies and Grand Doggies that will keep us warm on cold January nights.

In addition to that, I've been roaming around Scotland and the Shetland Islands, visiting with some of my Husband's old relatives as I made another Ancestor's Book for Christmas.  See, we all thought that the McMullan ancestors were pure-T Irish.  But we were wrong.  They came down out of Scotland.  And after spending the better part of three weeks there via the internet, I am stone-cold in love with Scotland, the Orkneys, and the Shetland Islands.

This is one of my favorite places - the ancient Girnigoe Castle ruins on the upper East Coast of Caithness, in Northern Scotland.  That's the Bay of Sinclair out in front of Husband's distant Great Grandmother was Mary Sinclair, descended from the Earls of Caithness, Earls of Orkney and the Lords Sinclair.  Castle Girnigoe is now protected by a Trust, formed by the descendants of the Sinclair Family.  HRH Prince Charles is a Patron.
Image from Field Archeaology Specialists in the United Kingdom.

Here's an image of the man I'm now referring to as "Big William".  Disrespectful, I know, but there are so MANY William Sinclairs in the lineage.  Descending from Norse and French lines, Big William was born around 1410 in Scotland, and he had three wives.  And a bushel of kids.  And they also had bushels of kids, with multiple spouses.  The family is enormous and complicated, but a DNA study on the Sinclairs is that you can tell which branch you are from.

One of the coolest parts of this family research reveals that not only was Big William blonde, like my Husband, but he was also quite a Real Estate junkie.  Just like Husband.  Those genes don't lie...

Big William built the lovely and mysterious Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, Scotland.  The Chapel that was in the Da Vinci Code.  

 Rosslyn Chapel is filled with carvings, some of which look like corn and has some folks in a lather about Big Williams's explorer and wanderer Grandfather Henry - they say he was actually in North America before Chris Columbus.  And you know what THAT means...

Don't know if I buy that...
Getting this Clan straight has been exhausting but fascinating, and I'm not really sure that all of the kids and wives and mistresses will ever be uncovered...that's the part that keeps consuming my days.  I want to know about the relationships, like any intelligent woman.

But Husband just wants to know where it all went, and where is his money??  And there is an answer to that.  His ancient relatives, just like any modern family living large and flying high, got snarled in feuds, subterfuge, debt and indifference as the centuries went by.  All that's left is the Sinclair Trust, Clan Sinclair USA, and the DNA.   

The DNA.  That's what is most important...

Now, are those babies Scottish-looking nobility, or what?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Puppy Fin Settles In...

As promised, here is an update on Puppy Fin's new life with the McMullans and his difficult task of bonding with reigning Top Dog, Doppler.

All is well.  Doppler got fairly ferocious with little Fin when he got too close to him a couple of days after arriving, and Fin now has all that straight.  To the Hilt.  To the point where he travels around the perimeter of the room to get past Doppler.  And Fin's new buddy?

Little Boy Brayden, his new favorite brother.

Which is just about the way we figured it would settle out.

This is going to be a fabulous friendship.

Photo courtesy of his Daddy, Capt. Brant at Ocean Isle Fishing Center  where, incidentally, young Brayden was supposed to be helping with the Sunday morning shift.

All in good time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Puppies and Old Doggies

We have a new Grand-Puppy, an adorable blonde Golden Retriever named Fin.

Here is his first hello to my Husband...

While Fin is only 8 weeks old, his new older "brother" Doppler is about 83 years old and counting.  And he OWNS this family.  Been like that for years.

When Fin got out of the car after his long trip from the kennel in North Georgia, all the family gathered to gently introduce Doppler to his new baby brother.

You can tell from the face Amy is pulling that this is not going well from the very first second.  Doppler refuses to even look at the puppy.  

Amy pours her love and reassurance all over Doppler, explaining that he is still her first Big Boy, and still the Top Dog.

He is having none of it, and still hasn't looked at the puppy.  Not even out of the side of his eyes.  No growling, no curled lip, not the first indication that there is another dog that close to HIS MOMMY - because he hasn't looked at the puppy, so that puppy doesn't exist.

Night has fallen, and the family still stands quietly, hoping for a tiny little hello...

But it never happened.  Doppler NEVER looked at Fin, although you can see that Fin is ready to kiss Doppler on the lips and then go play.  No.  No.

So, Doppler spent the night with us, and Fin went home with his new family.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Comes to the Beach

What a wild ride this year has been!  And now that it is winding down to turning the corner to 2012, we are all still in Overdrive out here on the Island - see what I mean?

Santa arrives at the Beach, sweltering in his furry suit and jogging shoes...even his elf looks limp and ready to hit the beach!

I don't think he was having near as much fun as these guys:

She danced the pants right off of him!

I always enjoy watching these grown men on these tiny little cars, driving at warp speed with such blank expressions on their faces...where do they practice this stuff??  

This was my favorite:

Will you just LOOK at those guys??  Perfect voice, perfect presentation.

What a show, what a beautiful day.  Winter will be here full blast very soon, and this island will get serious and shut down.  But in the mean time, the Party still rocks on...

I think I'm ready for another Atlanta infusion...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

OIFC Team Wins SKA Nationals in Biloxi!

NEWS FLASH!!  My Guys and Gals won the SKA Nationals for the second time!!!  And, my 6 year old grand daughter was on board since Dark-Thirty in the morning to round out the team, true to form.

 Thankfully, my Daughter-in-Law, Stephanie, was right in front of the stage and she captured the team on camera only seconds after they learned they were in First Place:

Image courtesy Stephanie Beach McMullan

They were near the back of the line to weigh in...not unusual, because they like to fish until the last minute.  Which gives me heart failure, because if something goes wrong, or if there is any glitch, you can miss the cut-off time to be in line to weigh your fish.  Period.  It has happened in many tournaments, and is heart-breaking.  

Husband finally answered my frantic text and phone messages with a cryptic text to let me know they were in line, but then went silent on me.  No matter how many calls or texts...silence.  So, I knew they were either not happy and confident with their catch, or they were sandbagging and had another Whopper.   Which would not only win the National prize, but an extra $100,000.00 if it was over 74.10 pounds.  I bounced between the two possibilities for the better part of two hours, and sent a final text to him that the aggregate weight to beat was 100.60 pounds.   Dead silence. 

Chatter picked up on the Live Stream that there was an 80 pound King coming to the scales, and it wasn't my Team.  Things started heating up, with sniping and "Oh yeah? Just cross this line..." sort of stuff.  One chatterer even claimed to have seen the photo of the $100k fish lying in the boat of whoever had caught it.  Others claimed to be in touch with that boat, and said they were at the back of the weigh-in line.  

I just wanted to see Team OIFC load up the stage with their fish bag.

Suddenly, I could see behind the MC a little platinum blonde girl, being ushered onto the stage by her equally blonde Mommy.  And knew the moment had arrived.  Husband and two sons all lumbered up on stage, hauling a pretty heavy looking bag, while the MC was chattering away about the monster King they had caught in 2009, and was this another one?  The Weigh Master zippered it open.   A hush fell over the crowd.    And the MC, true to form, leaned over and looked in the bag and said... "Well, THAT'S not a 74 pounder in there!"  And the crowd sighed.  

The Weigh Master slipped a rope around the first King's tail and levered it up to the weighing hook.  As the fish stopped swaying, I could see Barrett looking at the digital read-out.  And saw his eyebrows shoot up.  The MC announced, "48.43 pounds!" I could see them looking at each other and something zinging between all of them.  The second fish hit the hook.   Again, the MC: "54.7 pounds!"  No one was doing the math fast enough - before anyone could tally it up, Jack Holmes, the MC, announced that they had moved into first place with an aggregate weight of 103.13!  Pandemonium!

Camera flashes were going off everywhere, and Jack was shouting that "Can you believe that?  Unbelievable!  Two-time National Champions?", and so forth...because there were more boats in line to weigh fish, and the Rumored Whopper had yet to show up.  I was in knots, and the next few minutes were a blur, until I heard Jack say, "'s the last boat, the last one", and saw the size of their bag.  And knew.

Team OIFC Rocks!  SKA National Champions for the Second Time!  

Here's a shot of the Tournament Site at sundown from Stephanie:
Image courtesy Stephanie Beach McMullan

They are my Champs.  Great SportsMen and SportsWomen and SportsChildren.   

And thanks to Stephanie, who was on shore tending to her 4 month old daughter (future SportsWoman), we have these beautiful photos.

Happy, Happy.

Shout Out to My Guys, and Link To SKA Tournament in Biloxi

Okay, okay.  I can't get anything done in between listening for the phone to ring and hearing "She's in the Boat!" screaming from the other end, and zooming  up here to get on the internet and check SKA news. 

See, while I'm sewing, my Guys are fishing in the Southern Kingfishing Association National Championships in Biloxi, Mississippi.  They won in 2009, landing the biggest King Mackerel ever caught in any SKA Tournament - a whopping 74.1 pound female.  Which they promptly named Kingzilla.  Their record still stands, and is so unusual that the SKA is offering $100,000.00 to any team that beats that today!

Here is a picture of them at the scales in 2009, bursting with happiness!

And Barrett, in his favorite pose:

Here are the boats this morning, roaring out of the starting point in Biloxi:

Image compliments of

If you are at all interested,  click HERE for live coverage of the weigh-in, which starts at 4:00, EST. 

All digits crossed - but honestly, I just want to give a big Shout Out to My Guys for making it to the Nationals again!   And to all the teams, who have fished so hard this year!

Possible Cure for Blog Spammers?

Just a quick Post - I'm busy Re-Decorating the old Home Place while juggling other things as well...

I just wanted to let my readers know that I've experienced recent problems with having my Blog used by Spam Referrers, which made my Page Views look like Fireworks!  It was pretty amazing to log in and see hundreds of views every day, until I realized that things just weren't adding up.  Love the numbers, hate the Spammers.  It doesn't do me any favors.

So, I changed every single Password for every account I have.  My older brother tipped me to a website that will generate safe Passwords for you:  Strong Password Generator.

In addition, I learned to NEVER CLICK ON REFERRING WEBSITES in your stats, especially if it is a site with Bllog in the name.  Mark anonymous comments as Spam, then Delete them.  Never click on the link to their site.

Last, I went into my Security Settings and turned off Enable Remote Access.

My Stats are back to normal.  Hopefully, when they spike again, it will be because I have Real People reading my Blog, not scum ball Spammers using me to their advantage!

Back to the Sewing Machine...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trains, Mountains, and Stepping Back In Time

My Husband continually delights me.  He knows I am enchanted with trains; knows that the sound of a train horn always lights me up, and if we are anywhere near where the track is, I will scoot over there to watch the train go by, and wave at the conductor.  So this weekend, he surprised me with this treat:

A train excursion on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.  I purely, simply, loved it.

The train departs from Blue Ridge, Georgia, and winds its way through the mountains and valleys to the old copper mining towns of  McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN - twin cities that actually straddle the state line between Georgia and Tennessee.

 On the way to the Ladies Room in the pub, I crossed over the state line...not often that one can do that.

  After a stroll through McCaysville, a cold beer at the pub and a quick jaunt through the shops, you load back on the train for the return trip to Blue Ridge.  

 Our train in McCaysville.

The Conductor asks that you change sides from the ride down, so that Everyone gets to see Everything.  A perfect plan, which everyone followed.
 How could you NOT do what this cheerful man asked?
But, I'm getting ahead of myself...I should start in Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge is so quaint, with a little of the new and a lot of old...these squash and pumpkins were on the steps of a restaurant named "Harvest On Main".  They strive to use only locally grown products, and their herbs are grown in beds right out front.  Along with Brussels Sprouts!

Their Sage and Brussels Sprouts, right at the front door.

This chicken got fussy if you got in her way...although she was right in the middle of downtown.  Apparently, she held the Deed to the corner we discovered her on.

This Store was for lease, and of course, Husband had to take a peek at that.

Finally, it was time to load up and depart Blue Ridge.  I was sooo excited, and hung out the window, snapping pictures from the beginning.

I would love to hang my clothes in the sun to dry like this, but I don't have a clothesline!  May be time to put one up.  Some of you will remember the smell of sun-dried sheets and pillowcases... 

A peek at the engineer in the cab - we were in the open car right behind him, so we could really get a good blast when he blew the horn.  It was great!

Once we were away from town, the sights were amazing.  I felt like we had been thrown back in time, and to another world.

These horses were relaxing near the Red Barn pictured above.  The Conductor said they were Summer Horses.  I'm not a horse person, so I wasn't sure what that meant!  Maybe someone could fill me in?

               A lot of leaves had already fallen, leaving silvery bare branches that added to the beauty of the Fall landscape.

 A mysterious stone hut in the middle of a dead forest, in a little valley caught my explanation was forthcoming from the Conductor.  May be a failed development?  It looked ancient, but couldn't have been.  The architecture wasn't right for the area.  But, a compelling scene.

There were not many houses to be seen along the way, but evidence of farming, even in the middle of woodsy valleys.

As we neared McCaysville, we crossed over this bridge that was built in 1911.  A little rusty, yes?

Coming in to McCaysville... That's the Ocoee River on the right.  It was the Toccoa River before we crossed the bridge.  Because now, we're in Tennessee!

On the way back from McCaysville, we passed small cottages beside the river, making me remember my grandfather's little fishing hut on a creek that ran into the Tennessee River.  We had good times there, running his trot-lines and cooking all our meals over an open campfire.  There is nothing like fresh catfish, fried in a kettle over an open fire with the moon coming up over the water, and sleeping pallets laid out on the ground...right beside the Creek.

The Sun was going down behind the mountains, and the moon was coming up as we got closer back to Blue Ridge,
these fly fishermen were still out in the dusk, oblivious to time...
I can remember doing the very same thing, on the Tennessee River.  It just means you have to clean your fish by lantern light.  All the better.  You've made good use of your day.

As I felt we did.  If you are ever in the area, do plan to take this trip.  If nothing else, you'll be made to remember how important it is to get away from your desk and smell the ancient outdoors.  So important.

And, there's always the great wine, good food (get the salmon), and fabulous staff to be enjoyed at the
Blue Ridge Brewery
right there on Depot Street after you end your trip.  Lovely.

Big Points, Husband!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last Days of Pretty...

I should be working on the drapes for the Sun Room, but I had to sneak out with my camera to take some last photos of the Pretty Fall we are having...  After the Cold Front that roared through here and on up the East Coast last weekend, our Pond got so clear it looks like an aquarium ~

Look at the Baby Fish - only about an inch long!  Why are there Baby Fish in November??  I thought Nature Babies were born in the Spring.  Apparently, not.

Even the algae looks pretty...

Don't you just wonder what goes on in this other world?

The Dogwood tree has on her Red Pajamas and is just about to go to sleep...

And our little Creek Flowers are blooming their last blooms until next Spring:

Husband brought a bouquet of these in and presented them to me Monday night...they have a prominent spot in my kitchen, along with the last Rose.  He's good, like that.  

Soon, all the Pretty will be indoors, and all the Snug, and all the good Winter Food.  

I can hardly wait!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...