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A collection of photography and exploration focusing on Upstate South Carolina and beyond.
We had a great reunion/escape weekend in Charleston, but several things have kept me from updating my blog. Internet at our hotel was horrible. It was taking forever to upload the boatload of photos I took over the weekend. Add to that the fact that the blog got hit by a spam attack, and I kind of got behind on my writing.
Be that as it may, supposedly I now have lots of time on my hands to take care of such things. I managed to get all of the photos uploaded, and I think I got the website cleaned up, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now I’ve got about four posts I need to write.
Today was my first day at home, and I admit that it was a bit weird. I didn’t do any of the writing I wanted, but I did nap and get some things put away. At least I did find a four-leaf clover (pictured above.) I used to be able to just look down and spot them all the time, but I hadn’t found one in years. Today Laura and I were walking around the block when I looked down and found one. I take it as a good sign that I’ve done the right thing.
Well, looks like this website has been hit by another spam injection attack. Links to stuff apparently are being added to the posts and comments in RSS feeds. So far I’ve only seen it in one post, so this posting is a test to see if it happens again.
I remember the last time this happened, a couple of years ago. It was a real pain – I basically had to rebuild the blog from scratch after I had purged the database. At least I’ll have some time to do that next week. Until then, I’ll change passwords and hope that holds off the spammers until I can take more drastic action.
I’ll admit it. I’m a creature of habit. Ritual governs a large part of my daily activities. These rituals range from choice of clothing colors to the order of my morning routines. Often the ritual is a statement of what I believe.
One of my most firmly established rituals involves my choice of coffee mug. During the week it doesn’t matter so much. However, on Saturday’s I always pick my globe mug, as pictured above on the left. To me it’s come to mean that I’ve got an entire day without structure – the world is mine, if only for this short period. I use the keyboard mug on Sundays because that was when I did church music.
So now I’ve got a dilemma. I’m retired. Every day the world is at my fingertips. Should I start drinking from this coffee mug every day of the week? Will it lose its significance?
I don’t think so. My last church job was nearly seven years ago. Yet, I still save the keyboard mug for Sundays for some reason. I’ve always said that when I retired from school work I’d go back to a church gig, so I guess I could argue that I’m just planning ahead.
The last day was a mixed bag. For the most part there were congratulations, hugs, and fond good-byes shared. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a fantastic tech team, and I’d put them up against any in the state. My immediate boss has been supportive and understanding, especially through a very tough year. Those are the memories upon which I will try to focus.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of exceptions to taint those memories – the last words from my superintendent were meant to be encouraging, but had the opposite effect. I hope the two people they have hired to replace me, both of whom seem like bright, capable folks, can handle him better than I did. I wish them well.
Rather than return fire, I’ve tried to be professional in everything I do right up to the last moment, making sure all of the projects I’ve started are complete, or at least safely underway. This brief paragraph of venting will be the only public exception, and now I’ll try to let it go. Folks keep telling me that I should feel elated with all this freedom. That may come in time, but for now I feel the need for detox and recuperation.
…and that process is well underway. Laura has been the fantastic understanding wife through all this mess. The last day of work she threw me a wonderful surprise gathering with friends at The Lazy Goat. Now we head out for a bit of travel, starting with a rendezvous with some of my classmates from the Governor’s School from 35 years ago at the College of Charleston. I may have to make sure that I pack my globe mug.
So, tomorrow (Thursday) is my last day in Spartanburg Five. It’s been a long, strange trip, and it’s weird to think that this part of my career is over. It seems only fitting that I go out with an appropriate playlist.
But what to include? I think I’ll skip the obvious “Take this Job and Shove It”. I go in for more subtlety. Eclectic, but subtle. Jimmy Buffett’s “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” will definitely make the list. Modest Mouse’s “Float On” will also be there. I think tops will be this song by the Talking Heads…
“Take Me to the River” will also make the list. Devo’s “Working in a Coal Mine” is one of the more obvious selections.
I’ve got 179 songs on my playlist as it is – far more than the few hours I’ll actually be at work tomorrow. It was surprisingly easy to find songs from my extensive library. Songs about new beginnings and open roads are good selections. Surprisingly, break up songs tend to work well, too. I’d post the entire list here, but it might take up too much space.
So, what do you think? What would make a good retirement song? Perhaps this one will sum it up best…
I wasn’t really planning to do a waterfall excursion. Truth be told, I didn’t really have anything planned. Laura was away at her sister’s, so I had Saturday available for a solo outing. My only real thoughts were to head up to Sassafras Mountain and check out the new overlook, then just see where things went from there. Turns out it was a perfect day for catching waterfalls.
I started out early, taking 276 to Highway 11, and from there over to Highway 178. There were some low clouds giving way to clear skies, with fog hanging where those clouds touched the mountains. Table Rock was shrouded, so I didn’t pause for any photos there. On Highway 178 I got to Bob’s Place, and on a whim turned down toward the Estatoe Valley, heading toward Twin Falls.
We’ve tried to put together trips to Sparkleberry Swamp several times this spring, only to see the plans fall through. This time it was going to happen. Laura was out of town, and Dwight wanted to introduce his son, Adam to the joys of the swamp and the greater world of paddling. So, Sunday morning I loaded up the boats and headed southward.
There’s really no such thing as a “quick” trip to Sparkleberry. Even the shortest of jaunts turn into an all-day adventure just because it’s so far away. Even so, our plan was to keep this a shorter trip since it was Adam’s first time out.
I picked up Dwight and Adam at their house in Columbia, then we continued on the trip. We did a quick stop at Mr. Bunky’s just because they had never been there. The general store has opened a second floor with flea market type items and antiques.
We had one more stop before we could hit the water – breakfast at the legendary Battens in Wedgefield.
This is the weekend of the infamous Duck Run. If we had been a day earlier, the swamp would have been crawling with hundreds of boats full of mostly drunk revelers. As it was, things were very quiet at Sparkleberry Landing on this particular morning. There were very few other vehicles about. The weather was great, and it looked like a spectacular morning for a paddle. Continue reading ‘Quick Sparkleberry Trip’
I have long dreamed of paddling Cascade Lake in North Carolina. The lake is in a beautiful setting in the mountains of North Carolina in the Dupont State Forest. Unfortunately, the only access I was aware of was the dirt road that ran along the west shore. There was no public access on that side, so it seemed that the lake was off-limits. Then my friends Lisa and Sherry posted photos that their paddling group had taken on a recent trip. They paddled from Cascade Lake Campground on the eastern shore of the lake up to Hooker Falls. I knew I had to give it a try.
For this particular trip I was joined by Brian Goess. When we started out the weather looked iffy, and at one point sporadic rain drops hit the windshield of the truck. As we drove north toward Hendersonville, though, the weather cleared, and it looked like it was going to be a spectacular day.
We found the campground with no trouble. I was pretty familiar with the area, so it was just a matter of watching for the signs. We pulled in and were directed to the camp store to purchase a day pass.
The folks running the place seemed to be very friendly. In fact, everyone we encountered was pleasant – campers and employees alike. The place was jam-packed and every camping slot filled for the holiday weekend, but we were able to get a day pass and were assigned a parking spot near the boat ramp. Continue reading ‘Kayaking to Hooker Falls’
Huge changes at Flickr – some excellent, some not so good, and some downright deceitful. Right now I’m still processing how I feel about all this, but here are some of my initial thoughts…
At first glance I really like it. It looks clean and professional, and highlights the photography in a very flattering way. I especially like that it goes to a full screen view of the photo automatically, with comments, etc, down below.
There are a few drawbacks, though. Collections seem to be missing. This is one of the MAJOR ways that I organize my photos. I have multiple sets, usually one for each outing, and the number of sets can be unwieldy. If I can organize those into broader categories, that helps. The Collections link is tucked away on an obscure link to the right. I think it needs to be up there with Photostream, Sets, and Favorites. Continue reading ‘Flickr’s Trojan Gift’
Wednesday night is ghost night in the Taylor-Wright household. That’s the night Laura’s favorite paranormal shows come on TV – Ghost Hunters, Haunted Collector, and the latest, Deep South Paranormal. This particular Wednesday, though, we had something different in mind. We were going ghost hunting ourselves. Specifically, we were going to see the Blue Ghost Fireflies, Phausis reticulata. We had the privilege of seeing the blue ghosts a couple of years ago. Turns out that was another Wednesday night when we would have been watching Ghost Hunters, too. That would not be the last coincidence on this particular trip.
Our friend Joyce McCarrell arranged the outing and sent us the invitation. We met with her and the others that were going at the Cafe at Williams Hardware. Our host for the evening was Ann Tankersly, and we would be following her up to her property near River Falls. In all, there were nine of us heading out to see the Blue Ghosts.
Stephen struck up a conversation with Robert’s girlfriend, Sharon, and she told us about a weekly gathering at Robert’s place. This past Monday neither of us had Chorale rehearsal or other engagement, so we decided that we would head up and check it out. Continue reading ‘Perryville Pickin’ and Grinnin’’