You CAN Go Home Again – Part 3

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

It’s HOMECOMING DAY! We woke to a very pleasant day with just a bit of a chill in the air. My anticipation level was off the charts. Had it really been 40 years since my last Homecoming game at Florida State? Sometimes it feels like only yesterday; but then I look in the mirror. Time certainly has raced by.

Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium

Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium

For my school, however, the passage of time has served to improve it and make it even more beautiful. The appropriately named Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium is one such improvement, and I could hardly wait to go inside and watch the game.

At breakfast in our fantastic B&B (The McFarlin House in Quincy, Florida – lots more to come on this, the area and the restaurants we visited within the next few posts) we met some other people who had come to go to Homecoming. It was really nice as most of the people who were visiting were in our age bracket. We shared stories over breakfast. Our largest concern was where to park. Lots fill up very fast, and as we aren’t high-dollar boosters, we knew we’d have to find a parking space a ways from the stadium. Luckily, one of the other Seminoles at breakfast had a friend who was holding spaces at a service station just up West Pensacola Street from the stadium. He kindly offered one of those spaces to us. Our parking dilemma had vanished. Now it was just hard to wait for game time.

We decided to do a little more sightseeing around the campus and Tallahassee. Football Saturdays in Tallahassee make for big crowds. Homecoming? Even more so. We drove around the city and, much to my surprise, I noted that there were a number of places still in existence even so long after my days at school. A word to the wise, if you want to try to eat at a local restaurant – especially one near the university, get there early! I do mean EARLY. It seems that folks come early, start eating and drinking, and only leave when it’s time to go to the stadium. Many don’t leave at all. They stay and watch the game on televisions.

(The Late) Magnolia Hall (small concrete-block building)

(The Late) Magnolia Hall (small concrete-block building in left bottom of photo)

Sadly, my freshman dorm, Magnolia Hall, is no longer. It was far from an attractive dorm – concrete block and sparse – but it was well-built and had some interesting history. As Florida State University was an all-women’s school until the 1940s, there were no facilities for male students. After the Second World War, the GI Bill made an advanced education available to multitudes of men who, otherwise, would not have received one. Magnolia Hall was the first building used for a dorm for men on Florida State University’s campus. There were two enormous pecan trees in the courtyard between the u-shaped dormitory wings.

After riding around for a while, we headed back to Quincy to get ready for the game. We wanted to be certain to get an early start so that we could meet up with the guys at the service station and keep our parking space. What fun they were! We made certain to buy a bottle of good bourbon to share. It was the right decision.

Closer to game time, we walked down Pensacola Street to the stadium. The crowd was in a terrific mood, and we were all anticipating another FSU win. Florida State had gone undefeated in 2013-2014, and had continued that trend in the fall of 2014. There was absolutely no reason to think that Homecoming would not add another “W” to their record. Walking to the game reminded me of my days as a student when all of us walked to the “old” stadium from our dorms. Of course, my legs were much younger in those days, and the hills seemed much smaller.

Bobby Bowden Field (From Our Seats)

Bobby Bowden Field (From Our Seats)

Once inside, I was flabbergasted by the scope of Bobby Bowden Field and the “new” Doak Campbell Stadium. My dear husband, Jim, had really managed to get us some terrific seats. We were on about the 45 yard line and only 43 rows up. We were close enough to get a real feel for the game, yet far enough up to see the whole field. Whoever has those seats on a season-ticket basis has true gems.

One of Julie's FABULOUS photos (Osceola & Renegade)

One of Julie’s FABULOUS photos (Osceola & Renegade)

During the trip, I kept in touch with one of my friends from Facebook who was also going to be at the game. It’s funny how one feels as though one really “knows” Facebook friends. Over a couple of seasons, I’d become truly friendly with photographer extraordinaire and moderator of one of the best FSU pages on Facebook – FSU GO NOLES!!!! >—-;;–FEAR IT –;;–>>. It turns out, Julie is a native Michgander who has moved to Florida. I was really anxious to meet her in person. Luckily, we were able to keep in touch via instant messaging and I managed to find her and her very nice husband at the game. She’s every bit as nice in person as she is on Facebook, and I felt I found a true friend. Of course, she’s every bit as rabid a Seminole fan as I, and it was nice to meet a new friend with whom I share that interest.

Close-up of Bobby Bowden Field from Our Seats

Close-up of Bobby Bowden Field from Our Seats

I headed back to my seat which was no easy feat! The stadium is gorgeous, but the close rows make it much easier for more nimble, younger patrons. Everyone along the way was incredible about grabbing my hands and helping me through the maze of feet and knees. Nicer, more helpful people you couldn’t wish to meet.

Even Sky Turned "Garnet" Prior to Start of Homecoming Game

Even Sky Turned “Garnet” Prior to Start of Homecoming Game

Once I managed to make it back to my seat, I found that there was a really funny younger fellow sitting behind us. He was so quick-witted, intelligently sarcastic, and spontaneous. I wish I’d gotten his name. Not long thereafter, his brother – a quieter, more reserved young man – joined him. We started chatting with them. It turns out that their parents are FSU alumni, and they have been coming to the games since they were only about 8 or 9 years old. When I told them that this was my first game back since the mid-1970s, they were shocked and excited for me. They told me that it was “so cool” to be sitting with me for my true “Homecoming.” It also pleased them to know that this was Jim’s maiden visit to the stadium and his first-ever, in-person, FSU football game. They do know the owner of the seats we were in and promised to tell him how much we enjoyed those seats. All the folks around us were welcoming and truly a joy to attend the game with.

Osceola & Renegade Planting the Flaming Spear

Osceola & Renegade Planting the Flaming Spear

I’m much older and (hopefully) wiser, but I still felt that surge of Seminole pride when the game kicked off. Osceola and Renegade were not part of the games when I was attending the university, but I believe that they are the best mascots in sports – not only collegiate football. I got goosebumps and chills ran down my spine when Renegade galloped out onto the field and Osceola planted the flaming spear in the center of the field. For the entirety of the game, it was absolutely as though time had returned me to the days when Saturday night meant going to an FSU football game.

Osceola & Renegade (Revving up the Crowd in the Student Section)

Osceola & Renegade (Revving up the Crowd in the Student Section)

The game ended as it should – another FSU victory. We got to watch Heisman-trophy winner, Jameis Winston, in his final FSU Homecoming game (although we didn’t realize that at the time). We knew that Rashad Greene was a senior and this would be his last Homecoming as a player also. Nick O’Leary (golf great, Jack Nicklaus’ grandson) was also playing in his last Homecoming game. I’m so glad that we got to see those champions play.

Some Action from the Homecoming Game

Some Action from the Homecoming Game

After the game finished, we made our way uphill to our car. I still haven’t figured out how it could feel like it was uphill both directions. The crowd was in an understandably good mood. Just as it was 40 years ago, there were some kids who had over-imbibed. Some things never change. That was the rarity, though, and most everyone was courteous with each other.

We stayed and chatted with our new friends in the parking lot until the crowds and traffic thinned. It was a perfect way to “tail-gate” until it was easy to get out and back on the road to Quincy. We watched as the Virginia Cavalier (our foe for the game) buses passed by and headed out of town. That was our cue to head out. We had wonderful time. It was clear to us both that this would have to be a new, annual tradition for us. Perhaps we wouldn’t make Homecoming each year, but we WOULD try to come to at least one football game in Tallahassee each year from now on.

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about. 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

You CAN Go Home Again – Part 2

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

Unconquered!

Unconquered!

On day 2 of our trip to Tallahassee and my very belated true “homecoming,” we headed back to the stadium to get a better look at the marvel that now occupies the space where the structure I knew used to stand. I must say that this building is marvelous. There are wonderful statues around the exterior. I’ve already talked about the Bobby Bowden statue, but even more recognizable to the public (and deeply meaningful to those of us who went to school here) is the “Unconquered” statue of Osceola on Renegade. You’ll notice, I never fail to recognize Renegade in the same breath – he is, after all, a horse. During the day it is remarkable. At night, it’s an amazing sight to behold!

Unconquered at Night
From there we walked the entire circumference of the stadium. Immediately adjacent is the Dick Howser baseball facility. We stopped to admire the statues that are outside. One depicts a family of Native American Seminoles. It’s really beautiful. I love that my university never forgets who originally owned the land and who have graciously allowed us to use their tribal name.

Indigenous People (the Seminole)

Indigenous People (the Seminole)

Another of the wonderful statues is “Sportsmanship.” I can truly believe that Coach Bowden had some input as to that one. In his day, Coach was always sure to impress upon his team that while winning was exceedingly important, good sportsmanship was paramount.

Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship Statue - Close-up

Sportsmanship Statue – Close-up

There was a mandatory stop to photograph our Championship Wall. Wish we’d gone into the “sod cemetery,” but that will have to wait until my next homecoming trip. The photo below was taken by my friend, Julie Bauman, who I was thrilled to finally meet at the game. More on that in the next post.

Championship Wall

Championship Wall

Sod Cemetery Plaque Commemorating our 2013 Championship (Photo Credit to Julie Bauman)

Sod Cemetery Plaque Commemorating our 2013 Championship
(Photo Credit to Julie Bauman)

Our next stop was a visit to the Hall of Fame. As you walk through the doors, the first thing one sees are the three National Championship trophies – three gleaming crystal footballs. I have to say that, as a true-garnet Nole, the sight simultaneously brought tears to my eyes and a huge lump in my throat. They are a source of great pride for all alumni and fans. There are also banners showing achievements of those associated with Florida State University in all college athletic programs. Most notably there was a banner highlighting Jameis Winston’s Heisman Trophy award. (Unfortunately, the trophy, itself, was not on site.)

1993 National Championship #1

1993
National Championship #1

1999 National Championship #2

1999
National Championship #2

2013 National Championship #3

2013
National Championship #3

Jameis Winston's Heisman Trophy Win Banner

Jameis Winston’s Heisman Trophy Win Banner

As I stood in the middle of the hall, a familiar flash rushed by. My husband, Jim, saw him better than I. I only caught his flaming hair flying through the doors into one of the “off limits” areas. Red Lightning! Red is the now famous “ball boy.” Red has taken the job of ball boy to a whole new level. He is beloved by the whole team for his enthusiasm and dedication to the team. During games, you can see Red dashing up and down the sidelines. He performs his duties with such gusto and aplomb that he has become a celebrity of sorts. Red has also been known to wade into the fray to protect his players should difficulties break out. It seems that no Seminole or member of the opposition wants to tangle with our intrepid ball boy, so they back off. Seeing Red was an unexpected pleasure.

Red Lighting as He's Normally Seen

Red Lighting as He’s Normally Seen

Red with Jameis and the Heisman Trophy

Red with Jameis and the Heisman Trophy

We then walked through the athletics museum that is part of the Hall. I recognized members of the Hall of Fame. One I especially recognized was Ron Sellers (aka “Jingle Joints) who was until this year the FSU career record holder as a receiver. His accomplishments are even more spectacular considering he was limited to only 30 games due to the rules in place at the time. I had the pleasure of meeting Ron when he was a client of a firm I used to work for. What a fine gentleman.

Ron Sellers (aka Jingle Joints)

Ron Sellers
(aka Jingle Joints)

One of the displays that really meant a whole lot to me was the case that discussed the legacy of Osceola and Renegade. In the case are Renegade #1’s blanket and bridle along with Osceola’s boots. During my time at the University, that tradition had not yet started. I’m exceedingly glad that it’s part of the fabric of FSU football and life now.

Osceola and Renegade Display

Osceola and Renegade Display

The Story of Osceola & Renegade

The Story of Osceola & Renegade

As we were leaving the Hall, we were told that one of the campus buses (the Osceola bus) was free and would drive all around campus. We could get on or off at any stop and wander then jump back on. We thought that was a great idea and rode around for a while. It was so interesting to see how little the campus had changed in some ways and how beautifully it had been improved in others. I must add that every student we came upon was polite and friendly. I had to wonder if we had been that welcoming in our day. It was so nice to feel as though the students were pleased to see us “old timers” visiting. The buses stopped running in time for the Homecoming Parade to take over the streets.

Garnet & Gold Guys 2014 Version

Garnet & Gold Guys
2014 Version

While I was in school, I don’t remember attending a single Homecoming Parade. We made up for it this year. We were down by the Florida Capitol and saw that the parade was beginning on a nearby street. We walked over to that street and joined the group of local residents who were watching. What fun! We just missed Osceola and Renegade (our timing was just off and I was really disappointed), but we did get to enjoy the remainder of the parade and it was terrific being a part of the community for it. It was such fun seeing the “Garnet and Gold Guys” in person. Yes, they’re the latest iteration of the crazy guys that are always shown on television when an FSU game is broadcast.

Garnet & Gold Guys Homecoming Parade

Garnet & Gold Guys
Homecoming Parade

After an extremely full day, we headed off to dinner. I will be devoting a whole post to the restaurants and B&B at a later time.

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

You CAN Go Home Again – Part 1

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

I know the old saying is, “You CAN’T go home again,” but I most adamantly disagree. I recently tested my position by returning to Florida State University (my alma mater) for the first time in – well, more years than I’m going to admit to. Actually, it’s probably more years ago than many of you have been alive. My dear husband, Jim, bought tickets to FSU’s Homecoming game as a birthday gift.

 

I haven’t been as excited to go somewhere since we returned to Waynesville, North Carolina a couple of years ago. It was extra special for us, as Jim had never seen the campus and I was anxious to share this beautiful place and seen of so many happy memories with him. Neither of us was disappointed.

Façade of One of the Buildings on FSU Campus

Façade of One of the Buildings on FSU Campus

Let me say – right here and now – that Florida State University has one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen. Sure, I will happily admit that I am very prejudiced. I will also adamantly argue that anyone who sees it must be impressed with its beauty. The administration has taken great care to maintain the charm and beauty by continuing the same style architecture and building materials throughout any and all new and re-construction. The only buildings that don’t seem to “match” (which are only a couple) are those that were already there when I was a student. I was told that members of the planning committee had actually taken trips to other universities around the country (including the University of Michigan) where the campuses have maintained their beauty even through many construction phases.

 

Once we got settled at our Bed & Breakfast (The McFarlin House in Quincy. A whole new post coming up about the B&B, restaurants, and travel), we headed for campus. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first. I had such sweet memories of the beautiful campus. As I said earlier, I was not at all disappointed. Our first stop was the stadium. Jim wanted to be certain that we could find it easily prior to the game.

Doak Campbell Stadium

Doak Campbell Stadium

Holy SMOKES! This was NOT the stadium I remembered. Frankly, the stadium I remembered was not much to look at. Sure, we all had a ball going to games (even though, back in those days, we mostly lost); however, the stadium was pretty old and standard. THIS stadium is amazing! It’s the stadium that Bobby Bowden built. I foresee another whole post about my awe and respect for Bobby Bowden, but I do not think I’m overstating that without him, Doak Campbell Stadium would never be as grand.

Bobby Bowden Statue at Doak Campbell Stadium

Bobby Bowden Statue at Doak Campbell Stadium

Since we were at the stadium, I wanted to find the statue of “the man” – Bobby Bowden – so I could take photos. As we drove around the stadium, I saw that there were many statues that I wanted to get a better look at, but my focus was on that one statue. We found it!

Bobby Bowden THE Coach

Bobby Bowden
THE Coach

After that, we headed to the main administration building – Westcott. No sight better exemplifies Florida State University than looking down College Avenue, through the arch, past the fountain, at the beautiful, Gothic, brick façade of Westcott. It was a beautiful, autumn day. I couldn’t stop tears from welling up in my eyes and spilling over onto my cheeks. It had been a very long time since I’d gazed on that place that had meant so much to me. What amazed me the most is that the clock could just as well have been turned back to my first year at Florida State. The kids were wearing clothing very similar to what we wore (although, trust me, we never had anyone wearing “National Champion” anything in those days).

Westcott (Florida State University)

Westcott
(Florida State University)

Another View of Westcott

Another View of Westcott

From there we walked to one place that is deeply ingrained in my memories at Florida State University. The Sweet Shop! This was – at the time – a place where kids could get burgers, fries, hot dogs, milkshakes (oh, those milkshakes) and all kinds of ice cream delights. It’s changed some. Food is now mostly coffee, floats, and desserts with some wraps available. The interior has also changed some. It used to be crammed with tables and booths. It was unceasingly noisy. Now large sofas are arranged around a more open area with fewer tables. The booths remain, but the whole feel is much more studious and quiet – even at Homecoming.

The Sweet Shop - Then

The Sweet Shop – Then

 

 

 

 

 

The Sweet Shop - Now

The Sweet Shop – Now

The Sweet Shop Menu

The Sweet Shop Menu

 

 

 

 

After several hours of deep FSU immersion, we headed back to the B&B in Quincy and made dinner plans. I am going to devote a whole post to the wonderful B&B (The McFarlin House) and to restaurants in and around the Tallahassee area.

 

Tomorrow was going to be a big day! We planned to spend the entire day walking the campus, seeing the sights, and reminiscing about my days as a student at Florida State University.

 

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

Finishing a Basement

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

Part of the reason I wasn’t blogging from mid-summer until recently was that we were busy “finishing” our basement.

Ta DAAA!

Ta DAAA!

Those of you who have been reading my blog over the years know that we moved to Michigan in August of 2003. After looking at what seemed like a hundred houses, we found the house that I love. We are set in the woods and our back-yard is adjacent to a Metropark. (For those of you not familiar with Metroparks – and I wasn’t until we started visiting Jim, Jim’s family – they are large natural areas that are maintained to continue to be as natural and unspoiled as possible while still providing outdoor recreation. Some of these parks have golf courses, fishing, cross-country skiing, etc., I’ll probably do another whole post on the many Metroparks in our area.)

Here’s a link to local Metroparks: http://www.metroparks.com/ 

Man Walking Dog in "Our" Metropark (photo from Huron Meadows' website)

Man Walking Dog in “Our” Metropark
(photo from Huron Meadows’ website)

The part of the Metropark that we abut is not public access. It is only accessible to those of us who live by it and is only mildly maintained. This means that the birds and critters who live back there are generally undisturbed. There are no motorized vehicles allowed, which makes it nice and a perfect extended “back yard.”

Our Home in the Woods

Our Home in the Woods

Getting back on track – I do seem to go off on tangents for those of you new to my blog – we found our home that was quite new, sitting in a beautifully treed lot (about 1.3 acres), with this marvelous park in the back. Considering we had four German Shepherd Dogs, the promise that we wouldn’t have very close neighbors who would be disturbed by barking was a necessity. Also having a large area that we could fence for the dogs to run was a requirement. I immediately fell in love with the surroundings, and once I walked into the house, I knew I was home. We looked out one of the living room windows that was next to the fireplace and saw a large deer looking in. That sealed the deal.

Zoe, Popcorn & Peanut

Zoe, Popcorn & Peanut

The house had a large, unfinished, walk-out basement which was something that we really wanted. It was every bit as large as the main level of the house and I envisioned building it into a pub with a large, separate workshop. It was already sectioned into two areas, so I figured we’d finish it in a couple of years.

 

A “couple of years” turned into 11. Somewhere in the back of our minds, I guess we always figured we would end up moving back south, so we kept putting off the time and the expense. After long talks and much consideration, we decided that we really do love our home and that it would be nearly impossible to find the same environment with all the outdoor amenities that we enjoy anywhere else. We decided to make this our home – forever. Now, we needed to complete setting it up the way we wanted so that we could enjoy all it has to offer.

 

The first order of business was to empty out the space we wanted to build into our “pub.” After so many years, the basement had become a catch-all. We had furniture that had come with us from Georgia that didn’t fit into the new space. We had boxes full of clothes that we hadn’t worn since we moved, and all kinds of just plain “stuff” that we neither wanted nor needed any longer. Luckily, we found resources to take all these items off our hands and would put them into the hands of those who needed or wanted them.

 

Once the space was empty, we took stock of the layout and determined what we wanted to use the room for. We knew that we wanted a wet bar, a half-bath, and a pool table. An area for a model railroad layout was also a necessity. Beyond that, I hoped we could add an area for a seating/sofabed and a large television. I had envisioned this basement so many times in my mind, but didn’t know if it would be workable in actuality.

 

Time to call a contractor. We were lucky that our first choice – a local man who we had met at local home shows – was available. Once he was able to look at our space, we were assured that we could, indeed, do everything with the space that we had hoped. We agreed on how we wanted everything set up and that was the starting bell.

Drywall Dust

Drywall Dust

If you’ve never been around construction when dry-wall was being installed, count yourself lucky. It’s a wonderful product because it makes instant walls when it’s attached to the stud walls, but then there’s the joint taping and joint compound. That part, again, isn’t so bad, but then they have to sand all the joinery flat so that all the seams are invisible when the paint goes on. That dust gets EVERYWHERE! That part of the project couldn’t be done soon enough to suit me.

I mean EVERYWHERE

I mean EVERYWHERE

While walls were being built, we made what seemed like a second home at the nearby home improvement center. That was actually lots of fun. I enjoy picking out paint colors, fixtures, faucets, flooring, furniture, and even sinks and toilets. I also became well-acquainted with many of the online and brick-and-mortar home decoration retailers.

 

Without going into detail of every phase of the construction, after months of construction, decorating and arranging, our “pub” was ready to go. We found excellent craftsmen locally. Virtually every person who worked on our project was local – living within 10-15 miles of our house.

Most Important Addition

Most Important Addition

One of the most important purchases was the pool table that both Jim and I so dearly wanted. Luckily for us, one of the top pool table companies in the country (Pro Billiards) is nearby. We found the exact table we wanted on-line and made arrangements for them to install the table when the work was complete. This has proven to be one of the best purchases we’ve made over the years. We really enjoy playing pool every weekend and sometimes during the week.

Wine Bar with Neon Poster Above

Wine Bar with Neon Poster Above

We were really lucky to find some really cool neon lights and posters. They really make the space!

Cream Poster (Jim was at this concert)

Cream Poster (Jim was at this concert)

Detroit Rock Festival Poster

Detroit Rock Festival Poster

I was so happy to get all my Secretariat artwork out of the shipping crates it had been in since leaving Georgia all those years ago. I now have my Secretariat corner. I think it looks terrific! What do you think?

Part of my "Secretariat Corner"

Part of my “Secretariat Corner”

Other portion of "Secretariat Corner"

Other portion of “Secretariat Corner”

Here’s the bar! The lighted shelving on the wall is actually the top of our hutch. We didn’t have room for the top upstairs in the dining area, so it had been sitting in the basement for years. It’s absolutely perfect for this purpose. I couldn’t have found anything better if I’d looked.

Bar with Neon Poster & Cabinet

Bar with Neon Poster & Cabinet

Liquor/Glass Cabinet (Used to be Part of My Dining Room Hutch)

Liquor/Glass Cabinet (Used to be Part of My Dining Room Hutch)

The half bath has the neat pump-style faucet I’d wanted ever since I first saw that style in a log home we’d visited several years ago.

Half Bath

Half Bath

 

"Pump" faucet (Isn't it Cool?)

“Pump” faucet (Isn’t it Cool?)

The workroom is slowly getting organized. Once that’s in order, I can get back to my stained-glass projects and Jim can get his workbench pulled together. That’s a necessity to begin the next step.

 

The train area is our next project. Jim has been collecting rolling stock for years. The plan now is to build the benchwork that the layout sits on. I think we’re going to have a wonderful time building the layout with the scenery (trees, bushes, rivers, bridges, etc.) and making our own little H/O-scale world. I’ll be sure to blog about that once we get that in progress.

 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

Cinder(ella)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

After a long absence, I’m back. Work can put a real crimp on blogging, but I love my job and the people I work with, so I try to find a balance. In the transportation industry, things get really crazy for several months before Christmas, so work necessarily had to jump to the fore. I hope that I’m finally going to be able to get my blog rolling along again with new posts and updates to old stories. I hope you will hang in with me and follow along.
I wrote about losing our sweet Sydney last August. What I haven’t written about is the message we got only a few weeks after she went to the Rainbow Bridge. Kristin Bright from Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue got in touch with me to tell me about a wonderful, older girl that had come to be with their rescue.

Cinder (the day she arrived at SWMI Rescue)

Cinder (the day she arrived at SWMI Rescue)

 

Cinder - Skin and Bone (Day She Arrived at Rescue)

Cinder – Skin and Bone (Day She Arrived at Rescue)

2014-10-24 12.25.50

This gal had come in with another dog – a male – from an owner who had some severe medical issues and was going to have to go into assisted living. Neither of his dogs could go with him. It was obvious from the photos, that “Sinder” had not had proper care for some time. She was painfully thin, had some severe flea dermatitis, had hard callouses on her legs, had virtually no fur on her tail, and her toenails were incredibly (grotesquely) long. I don’t believe it was from lack of concern, rather lack of ability to do anything.

Grotesquely Long Nails (Photo taken day she arrived at Rescue)

Grotesquely Long Nails (Photo taken day she arrived at Rescue)

Kristin told us that she immediately thought of us as we had experience rescuing older dogs. She knew we were missing our Sidney and had room in our home and hearts for another dog. In case you’re relatively new to my blog, we had adopted eight previous German Shepherds – including Sydney – and fostered two others. Kristin told us that this girl was a real sweetheart and needed a loving home to help her bloom and get back in shape.

Beauty and Nobility Shone Through

Beauty and Nobility Shone Through

Maybe it was the nobility in her lovely face. Maybe it was the obvious need for a furever home. Maybe it was because we know how hard it is to place a dark-colored dog – especially an older one. Maybe it was just that both Jim and I hate the idea of a sweet, old dog not being with a loving family, but we immediately told Kristin that we would bring Bear and Dolly for a visit. If all went smoothly, we would adopt Sinder.

Despite All the Ills, Beauty and Sweetness Shown Through

Despite All the Ills, Beauty and Sweetness Shone Through

Before we could visit, Kristin had Sinder spayed. (Yes, we’re pretty sure she had been used for breeding.) At that time, while she was under, the vet cut and cauterized her nails. They were so long and misshapen that they had to be done under anesthesia. She had several baths with medicine for her skin and coat. She was on her way back to health.

The Day We Met & Brought Cinder Home

The Day We Met & Brought Cinder Home

As is obvious, the visit went very well. Dolly is an in-your-face kind of girl (although she’s finally learning to relax a little). She’s like one of those women who get right up in your face and talk very loud. She’s not at all malicious, she just grew up on the streets and had no manners. Even that didn’t faze good, old Sinder. (You’ve probably noticed that there are two spellings of her name. She was turned over to the rescue as “Sinder.” We changed the spelling to “Cinder” to match her coloration.)

Silly, happy girl. Cinder VERY much a part of the family

Silly, happy girl. Cinder VERY much a part of the family

Now Cinder is blossoming (Cinderella?). She gained the badly-needed weight. Her coat is shiny and full. Her tail looks like it should, and her dermatitis is long gone. She’s a happy, quirky dog. I say quirky because she’s of the opinion that every toy that comes into the house belongs to her. It’s rather comic, and it’s a good thing both of the other kids are easy-going. I wonder if she ever had a toy prior to coming to live with us. She’s also not good with small dogs or cats. That doesn’t matter at all to us as we don’t have either. As it turns out, Kristin knew we would be a perfect fit. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cinder with Her Lovely Coat and Tail

Cinder with Her Lovely Coat and Tail

 

Such a Pretty, Sweet Girl!

Such a Pretty, Sweet Girl!

Sweet Cinder (ella?)

Sweet Cinder (ella?)

Below is the link to the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Please cut and paste it into your browser. Kristin does amazing things with very short funding and assistance. If you are in Michigan or close state and are considering adopting a new family member, you might want to see who is available. If you are considering making a financial donation to a tax-deductible charity, you might want to consider SWMGS Rescue.

http://www.swmigermanshepherdrescue.com/

 

Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

Cider Mills! Never Knew What I Was Missin’

colmel:

Just the other day, I was asked about cider mills. As I have a new bunch of readers (THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Welcome! Please feel free to comment), I thought I’d reblog this post from 2011. Hard to believe it’s been three years since I first posted this.

Originally posted on Colmel's Blog:

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

Ahhhhhh, Autumn! What is it about the first leaf turning that sends me into a frenzy? Maybe it’s because I had such a deprived childhood. Okay, by deprived I mean that, while growing up in Florida sounds like heaven to so many, the only colored leaves we ever saw were in photographs or cut from construction paper. So the change in the air, the change in the sound and the vision of a colored leaf just sets off all my happiness whistles.

 

Apple time! The other bell…

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