Saturday, February 25, 2012

On the road again

Sylvia is ready to roll after her siesta. After packing her up, we hit the road again Wednesday, driving first to Lake Lanier where we continued our wandering search for perhaps a sailboat. The boys seemed care-free and super happy to be back in Sylvia again as they threw peanuts, one at a time, in the air, hoping the shells would crack on impact in the empty parking lot overlooking the lake while we drank our afternoon cup of tea. I had no idea that parking lots or peanuts could be so fun. After a short drive, we pulled over at Hartwell Lake State Park just after we crossed over into South Carolina to cook dinner over a fire and settle back into a camper-vanny routine for the night. We had the entire campground to ourselves, except for one lonely, car-less, construction-working, ex-marine who was living there in a tent. He was so happy to have company that he paid us a couple of visits that evening. The following morning, we basked in the glorious sunshine while we listened to the birds chirp.  We are happy to be back on the road again where we all grow as we see more of the country and meet interesting people who live very different lives than us. It is eye-opening for us to experience the different cultures and ecosystems that exist in this huge country that we live in.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Picking up where we left off.....

After a lovely couple of months spent at home hanging out with friends and family, celebrating holidays, and playing hockey when I was injury-free, we flew back to Atlanta on February 16 to pick up where we left off. Great Grandma and Grandpa graciously welcomed us back with big smiles and open arms. About half way through our visit, Grandpa said that he had been trying to figure out what was wrong with our boys and after a lot of thought he decided it wasn't their long hair, it wasn't that they were home-schooled, it was that they lived too far away. They always have a way of making us feel so welcome and loved. They both amaze us with how active they are in their late eighties. One night they were off to poker night, the next night they took Jason to their stock club meeting where Jason got to meet some of their extraordinary friends including, Bert, a man who after losing his entire family to concentration camps, spent WWII hiding from the Nazis in Berlin, with his last hiding place being the basement of the Gestapo. He signed and gave Jason a book that he wrote about his experiences. It is beyond awe-inspiring to meet people who lived through this dark chapter of history, whether it be someone like Grandpa who fought against the Nazis, or his cousin who survived one of the concentration camps there, or Bert, and to see how they continued on to be incredibly successful in life. Our visit in Atlanta was, as always, so nice and we can't wait to come back to visit our family here.

On a camper-vanny note, I would like to announce with pride, and relief, after removing  her cosy cover, Sylvia started on the very first try and is running strong. It also appears that new mold and mildew activity is minimal so we are extremely pleased. We missed her while we were away.

Click here for photos.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Rock, A Riddle, A Mystery by Isaac Taylor

This is a story that Isaac started a couple of years ago. I have been in suspense and dying for him to finish it ever since.


Long ago, before the Romans had settled on the Tiber, just after the beginning of time, a Salvore* (*A Salvore is a species of wingless dragons that do not blow fire.), a legendary animal that early tribes of elves had seen before they made a lair in Salvore Valley. Others followed and soon the valley was thriving with Salvores. Then they disappeared. Nobody knew what happened to them, though some say they didn't like this land and left for another one. Most elves were glad that they were gone because they thought they were ferocious meat-eaters. But one knew they were not. He wrote something on a rock that would change the lives of the tribe of elves forever. Then, decades later, in A.D. 2 a boy of eight years was found unconscious. What had happened or where he came from, the tribe didn't know. One thing was for sure. He was an elf. The boy did not know where hTe came from nor why he had left. He didn't know how he had gotten to the valley. He knew one thing for sure. That his name was Arcen. 

Chapter 1 

Arcen teetered at the edge of the cliff. He looked around wildly for something to hold onto. There! He reached for a scrubby bush. Too late! With a yell, we fell. Crash! Arcen woke up with a start, then sighed with relief that the only thing he had fallen off of was his bed. Knock knock! "Coming," called Arcen. He walked over to the door and opened it "What is it?" he asked sleepily. Arán was standing there. "Are you okay?" he asked. "I'm fine," Arcen assured him, "but I don't want to go back to sleep. Want to go for a walk with me?" "Okay," said Arán. The two friends began walking towards the rope ladder that led to the ground. On the way they met up with Solcan. "What are you doing up?" asked Arcen. "I was excited about my apprenticeship tomorrow so I couldn't sleep," said Solcan.  "I understand," said Arcen. "Want to come with us? We're going for a walk." "Okay," said Solcan. They walked to the ladder and climbed down. They began walking through the forest pushing through bushes and cursing when they tripped. They pushed through some bushes in a clearing and froze. For there in front of them was a centaur. It stood, looking up at the night sky. They stood there in silence for a few moments. Then, the centaur said, "welcome, I thought you might come." The three elves looked at each other. "The stars have foretold that the Romans will invade. I have come to ask you to help. Our young have frolicked in the same meadows. We have drank from the same streams. We have eaten in the same valley. So if your chief agrees, let it be that we fight the same battle." Arán (who was the tribe deputy) said, "I'll talk to Solmain. He'll probably agree." With that, the trio turned and ran to the nearest ladder and climbed up. Arán ran to Solmain's hut to tell him the news. Arcen led Solcan to his hut, then returned to his own hut to try to get some sleep. 

                                                         }}}}}}}} |--|-----

When Arcen woke up, the first thing he thought of was the upcoming battle. He clenched his fists at the thought of those stinky, clumsy humans taking over the valley and driving everyone away. They were in for a surprise if they thought they could take the valley easily. Then, he remembered that Solcan was going to become an apprentice today. That brightened him a bit. They had always been good friends. He got out of his bed of moss and quickly put his belt on. Then, he took s sword off a hook in the wall and sheathed it. He stepped outside and was met by warm sunshine and a soft breeze. A leaf fluttered down and landed on the shoulder of his green tunic. He looked at the gap in the trees and saw a white-tailed hawk floating around lazily. A bee buzzed past. A sparrow fluttered down to grab a scrap of food that was lying there. Arcen smiled. Today would be a good one. He began walking towards the main platform. When he reached it, he found that about half the tribe had gathered. The rest were probably hunting or patrolling for Romans. Arcen found a place to stand and waited as did the rest of the tribe. Solcan waited up front. Solmain stepped out of his hut at the far side of the platform. He waited until everyone had quieted. Then, he said, "We have gathered here for a ceremony. The ceremony of a new apprentice, Solcan." Solcan stepped up. "Will you work hard to do what your mentor tells you?" "Yes." "Then kneel." Solcan did. "Your mentor, Solcan, will be Arcen." Elves began to cheer, "Solcan, Solcan, Solcan." The cheering died down and the crowd began to disperse. Solcan made his way to Arcen. Arcen put his hands on the fourteen-year-old's shoulders. "Can we start training today?" asked Solcan. "Tomorrow," said Arcen. 

Chapter 2

The next morning, Arcen walked towards the nearest rope ladder with a quiver of arrows and a bow. Solcan followed close behind. When they reached the clearing where the apprentices practiced, he gave Solcan the bow and arrow and told him to try to shoot a tree fifteen feet away and when he shot three times to step back five paces and so on. The first few times Solcan missed and Arcen had to retrieve the arrow. Then he began to do better and an hour later he was running past the tree and trying to shoot it. The whole time, Arcen was making a bow for Solcan with a large sturdy stick he had found a strip of springy animal skin. Then, he heard an "Ouch!" followed by a thump. Looking up, he saw Solcan getting up off the ground. An arrow was stuck in a hole in a tree. Arcen got up and walked over to Solcan. "What happened?" he asked. "I tripped on this rock," said Solcan, kicking a sort of large rock. "Well, come look what I made you," said Arcen. He walked over to where he had been sitting and picked up the new bow and gave it to Solcan. He looked at it and then said, "thanks!" "Go on,"said Arcen, "give it a try. I'll go remove the rock." Arcen walked over to the rock and picked it up. As he walked toward the edge of the the clearing he thought he felt grooves in the bottom of the rock. He was probably imagining it, he thought. But when he reached the edge of the clearing, he still felt them. He put it down and began feeling for the grooves. Finally, he found them.  Brushing off the dirt, he peered closer. They looked like.....runes?  "Solcan!" he called. "Come on! Training's over! We have to get to camp. Now." Solcan obeyed, though he wondered why Arcen has sounded so serious. As they made for the nearest ladder, Solcan said, "Um, Arcen?" "Yes?" "Where did you get that scar?" "Which one?" "The one on your cheek." "I got that about two years back in a battle with the Romans." He shuddered. "I barely survived." They walked on in silence. They were approaching a small game trail. Suddenly, a group of panicked elves ran by. "Run for your lives, it's meat-eating mist! Mayday! Mayday!" "I've got to see this one," said Arcen. He peered down the game trail. Sure enough, there was some mist with a mouth and sharp teeth. Unsheathing his sword, Arcen started toward the mist monster. When he was in range, he swung. The sword went right through it without doing any harm. "I should have thought so," Arcen muttered. The mist monster turned from gnawing on a tree. It lunged and was about to chomp down on his unprotected hand. Ker-boom!!! A fireball erupted from Arcen's hand and exploded in the mist monster, dispersing it into steam. Arcen did not see this because the force of the fireball had sent him flying into the stream that was beside the game trail. He scrambled out, spluttering and cursing. He began looking for the mist monster but all he saw was some teeth, burnt moss, and a trace of steam. 

                                                               }}}}}}}}} |--|-----

It was dark by the time Arcen had given the rock to Solmain. He told him he would decide what to do with it. 

The Runes

]\/^€£#=}*  **£££~+*}= ?€¥#^|#]\/£

And for those of you who speak a newer tongue. Here,

Dig into the mountains large, and ye will find a treasure worth more than gold or silver. 


To be continued.........

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stuffies in Portugal by Aaron Taylor

Here is a story started by Aaron when we were in Portugal. I hope some day he has time to come back to this story and finish it.


Hawk: small stuffed hawk, talkative, not very smart and very beat up
Minenium: cute stuffed space ship
Spotty: small cute stuffed owl
Raven: small stuffed raven
Eagle: small smart stuffed eagle
Continental: stuffed airplane, LOVES metal
Yawm: fat stuffed air force one
Chick: puffy small stuffed chick, very cute
Eaagle: small beat up stuffed eagle
United: stuffed airplane
Big bear: big cute stuffed bear
Sleepy: cute sleepy stuffy
Finally Penguie: cute fluffy stuffed penguin.

            Chapter I
1.    airplane's favorite day.     1

One morning eaagle flew over to eagle and said "I don't remember sleeping where I woke up and my head hurts." "maybe you fell off the bed." said eagle "but I wasn't near the bed." "maybe you fell off the bed and rolled." said eagle "or maybe you weren't  very talkative because I have this friend and he's very talkative becAsE hE Is eVEn moRE tALkatIvE tHan eM BecAuSeE EeM nof erVy oLkaTeEv "hawk you talk so much about how not talkative you are that you are talkative" said eagle. hawk had never thought of that before. "OWW!!!" said hawk. "YoO tOt eeM a nOo iNgtH Ee dEnvEr OooN aTtH EebFoRe!" "Hawk I can't understand a single word your saying" "wel I nOo that" said hawk, when really he had no idea. United flys out of the room with Eagle and Eaagle flying close behind; Chick also follows; it's hard for him to fly with such small wings. They go to the toy room where the rest of the toys are. United plays catch the airplane with flat-bear, the little boy's oldest stuffy. Continental and Yawm flew in to the room. A metal toy airplane came over to play with the two other airplanes… "MMMMETTAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" said continental "it's even a CONTINENTAL airplane!!!" "hey Continental would you like to see a real airplane?" said the toy airplane "IT'S BEEN MY DREAM EVRY NIGHT!!!!" "we're going to see one TODAY!" " YYYYYAAAAAAYYY!!!!!! AIRPLANE! AIRPLANE! AIRPLANE!!!!!! 

            Chapter II
1.          the airplanes            1

The airplanes were in  airports that were big and full of other airplanes. eagle, eaagle, spotty, hawk, raven, chick, Yawm, continental, united, minenium, Penguie, and 2 toy airplanes are put in the backpack. (and of course the little boy and his family came with too) "where's continental?" said eaagle "I think the little boy is holding him" said eagle. They found out that spotty, hawk and a toy airplane were out too, and even eaagle, himself was outside the backpack, and he was talking to SPOTTY, and they were REALY talking about UNITED who was INSIDE the backpack. "were are we?" said eaagle "IT'S THE AIIIIIRRRRRPPLLLLLANNNE!!!!!!!!" says continental filled with joy. BUT WHERE'S ALL THE METAL?! WHERE'S THE METAL SEATS?! WHERE'S THE METAL PEOPLE?! WHERE'S THE METAL FLOOR AND SEALING?! Suddenly continental is in panic. EVEN EAAGLE ISN'T METAL! EAAGLE! THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU! YOU'RE NOT MADE OF METAL!!!!
               • • •
In the backpack Eagle is woken up by a bump the airplane made. "WHAT?! How did that happen? Where are we?" he said "the cheep-plane" said chick "he means the AIRplane" said Raven. "CHEEP! where are we going?" "probably far away if we're in an airplane." 
               • • •
From the airplane there's a good view of the mountains that all the toys and the little boy and his family live near. But continental was to busy looking around at at the cool airplane stuff {well HE thought it was cool} 
               • • •
There's another bump but poor eagle is so scared that it sounds like KABOOM!!! For him. "Were are we going?" Said Raven THE AIRPLANE SAID KABOOM! LAND!!! Eagle is so panicked he catapults a toy airplane that hits United and catapults UNITED onto eagle. OOMF! Suddenly, the airplane lands and continental is very sad to go back into the backpack and they go through another airport with even more airplanes than the other one, and before they knew it they were in another airplane. "IT'S ANOTHER AIRPLANE!!!" Continental is happy again. "where are we going this time?" says eagle "I think that last one was KABOOM-land and I'm glad we didn't stay there to long so that we don't explode!" "this time we're going over the ocean!" said Continental. Eagle is even more scared than before, but continental seemed to be excited. There's another bump but for eagle it sounds like KKAABBOOOOOOOOOOOMMM!!!! Now eagle was EVEN MORE scared than before "AAAAAAAAAAAAHH!!!! THE AIRPLANE SAID WE'RE GOING TO KABOOM-land AGAIN!" 
"OH-NO! are we turning around?" said continental "no, I THINK IT'S JUST ANOTHER ONE!!" Hawk was outside the backpack too. "Hawk, do you know where we— ow, you steped on my foot." "hey wait, whats this orange water?" said hawk "it's orange-juice, don't touch it it'll make you orange." but it was to late, hawk was already touching it and suddenly, splash! "AHHHH!!! YOU TURNED MY BEAUTIFUL WHITE HEAD ORANGE!!" "yeah, but my beautiful red tail is orange!, and I like your beautiful new orange head!" 
               • • •
The toys In the backpack were scared too. They heard about KABOOM-land and that eagle's head was orange. 
               • • •
"Let's get milk to make eagles head white!" said hawk "NO!!" "oh, get some— WAIT! There's a water-bottle down there!" Hawk got the water-bottle and dumped all the water on eagle. "YOU MISSED ME AND HIT CONTINENTAL!!" Said Eagle. Eagle used hawk to dry continental. "Hey don't use the HAWKATIVE TALK!— er the TALKATIVE HAWK!" Spotty got excited, because they'd been on the plane for a long time now, and it was starting to get dark. 
                       • • •
By now, it was very dark. Everybody on the airplane {besides the pilot} was asleep. Hawk and eagle and even continental had fallen asleep too. Spotty knew nobody was watching him so now he could fly around and see other parts of the airplane. He saw lots of doors near the top of the airplane. He flew up to see what was in them. He opened one and lots of packages and backpacks fell out of it. Oh-no a trap! I nearly got stuck in a backpack! Thought spotty. hmm, maybe only this one does that. He tried a different one and the same thing happened. 
He tried ANOTHER one, and it was empty. A den! He thought. He flew back "Eagle! I found a den!" YOU WOKE ME UP!! squealed Eagle. "look at the den I found!" said Spotty, so Eagle and Spotty flew to the empty door that Spotty had found. When they got there, Eagle looked around and then fell asleep. "it's a whole room all for us!" said Spotty who seemed to be enjoying the airplane as much as continental. Spotty flew out the door. He flew under the seat that continental and Hawk were sleeping on and he found a backpack and a very sad chihuahua. The whole backpack seemed to explode when he opened it and it sounded like this: "EE!" "CHEEP!" "YEAWM!" "UNITED!" "MINENIUM!" "PENGUIE!" this woke up hawk too. "TALKATIVE!" said Hawk. Spotty closed the backpack. He could hear hawk talking… and talking… and talking. Spotty flew to the door that eagle was in. "WAKE UP!!" said Spotty. Eagle woke up, suddenly the airplane lights turned on and there was a bump. The airplane had landed! Everybody woke up. Eagle and Spotty quickly flew back to the little boy. They went in ANOTHER airplane! After that, they finally got where they wanted to be!
                 Chapter III
3                 Portugal                     3
The family went and ate dinner and explored down narrow winding streets. Then they went to their apartment and went to sleep. When Spotty knew the little boy was sleeping he very carefully flew out of bed and somehow, got a hold of the DAD'S PHONE and typed in some random numbers. "hoo is it?" said a voice; "Spotty hoo are you?" he said nervously "Spotty!" said the voice "I'm the great-horned-owl that you left behind. Remember me?" "yes!" spotty was relieved. "I'm getting Hawk!" said spotty. " NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" said the great-horned-owl that they left behind, but it was to late, hawk was already talking. Hawk talked for two hours, the great-horned-owl gave the phone to another hawk, and he enjoyed listening to Hawk talk… and talk… and talk. Eagle woke up and flew down to the talking. "Oooooh! Can I talk to him?" Hawk kept talking, "HAWK!!" said eagle "Ag!" said hawk. Hawk fell off the table. "Eagle your head is still orange." said Spotty. 
                      • • •
The next day eagle jumped into the sink to wash his head. Unfortunately, he couldn't reach the handle! So without thinking he called up and said "Hawk, come down and help me turn on the sink!" he realized that he should've called Raven. Hawk came down and turned on the sink, then he started talking. "collllld!!!!!!" said eagle "turn on the other haaaandle!" hawk turned on the other handle, and kept talking. Hawk fell into the sink.
“Oh Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!” Screamed hawk. He thought he had fallen off the top of Mount Everest. "Whew! I'm glad I landed in a lake at the bottom of Mount Everest!" "You WHAT?!" Said Eagle. "I landed in a lake!" Hawk said proudly. “You landed in a sink,” eagle corrected. Now hawk was confused, how could he have fallen off Mount Everest And landed in a sink? Finally, they got clean, and flew back upstairs. "Hi Cheegle! Spotteep, Cheeaagle, and I are playing a game! Do you want join?" said chick. "Were playing tag!" Said chick "I'll play!" said eagle "okay… TAG! Cheegle's it!!" Said chick "TAG! Hawk's it!!" "Oooooh! Now I can tag someone!!!" Said Hawk. He flew clumsily over to spotty "Oh wow! Hawk flys like a Burrowing Owl!" Said Spotty. He flew away from hawk, but hawk was fast. Hawk was reaching out to tag Spotty but lost control of himself, and crashed into spotty. "TAG!" said hawk. Spotty flew back… "TAG!" "It looks like Cheeaagle's it!" Said Chick. Eaagle tagged Eagle and then they heared the door open and they stopped playing. The family went and explored the city (they brought spotty and eagle with). After a while, they went and got lunch. They sat on a bench to eat. The stuffies noticed other people eating on a bench nearby. While no one was looking, eagle walked over, and started eating the person's food. The stranger screamed, and started shouting random gibberish words that Eagle couldn't understand a single word of it. He didn't know it was another language. 

Then there was a waterbottle. He said hi!!! Why are you so loud water bite. Because i love it bite bite bite. 

To be continued......