Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Your Input is Requested...

I'm in a quandary. It's a well-known fact that Pam is not in Florida anymore, yet my blog address says otherwise.

This is the Ocoee River, site of the 1996 Summer Olympics Whitewater Sports. The TVA did not have the water running on this day which is why you can see all the rocks. (I have rafted this river about 4 times, though not since we arrived here... still too cold!).

I can be overly analytical and the fact that you arrived here by clicking on, or typing in, Paminflorida.blogspot. com disturbs me a bit; it just doesn't sit well.

An errant leaf left over from Autumn floats gently down the Ocoee River.

When we began making plans to move to the mountains, I created a new site. It's found at

Much more fitting, wouldn't you say?

This is Ocoee Lake in Polk County, TN. The river feeds into it. It's just a few miles down the road from us; it's shore, and that of the river, make a beautiful scenic drive.

Having originated in the Northeast and moving to Florida before relocating here, we are classified by the locals as Halfbacks. Half way back from Florida to the Northeast; and there are a lot of us here!!

Another view of the Ocoee Lake, this one taken from the dam.

Therefore, the new blog is aptly titled...
Reflections of a Halfback.

This is the Apalachia Reservoir located just below the Hiwassee Dam. Again, located just a few miles from our house, but in the opposite direction.

But there's a part of me (the emotional part) that doesn't want to abandon the 10,000+ visits and 200+ posts located here on Rest Awhile.

So, what's a girl to do?

Remain faithful here at Rest Awhile where Paminflorida is a misnomer;

Or, move on over to Reflections of a Halfback where Pamthemountaineer is fitting?

Tell me... should I stay or should I go?

This was taken at my bank the same day I took the closeup of the tulips you've seen here previously. Cheerful, aren't they?

All of the scenic water shots were taken about a month ago. You should see how green everything is now... I'll show you eventually!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Seven

You're thinking, "What do you mean, another seven... another seven?" You're probably a bit concerned about what might be transpiring in the O'Brien household... "Didn't she just say the other day that they were maxed?!"

Fear not. I'm talking about someone else's seven... and their story is ridiculously similar to ours!

They started with a beautiful white shepherd mix (who eluded my camera),

when along came Maggie.

Her beau, whose name I don't know, came too. They're big, beautiful, very fluffy, Great Pyrenees.

I don't know the circumstances of that adoption,

but it wasn't long before four precious pups were added to their number! Is this sounding familiar, or what?! Their four, however, look related...

...unlike ours! People still have a hard time believing they're from the same litter!

Maggie and her family live on a goat farm with their humans.

This is Savannah, one of the veteran adults on the farm.

And the mama to one of these littles ones.

Joe and I had been out exploring. We love to take long drives on the back country roads. This was the first weekend we were in town, hence the brown environment - hadn't had enough rain at that point!

We stumbled upon the seven beauties barking their warning at us and expressing their discontent, that we're nearing their home.

Of course, if you know us at all, you know that it wasn't long before we were out of the car, petting the dogs, chatting with the goat farmers and getting a tour of the farm! We spent about two hours with them and by the time we were headed home, we had exchanged phone numbers and promises to get together for dinner sometime!

"...Goodbye, city life!" ;-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Liked This

I thought it was fun to watch (several times over), and I'll bet it was fun to dance!

(don't forget to pause the blog music - at right)

And you know what else I like... the friendly, neighborly people up here!

I was just sitting here in the office a moment ago, checking emails and voicemails, when in walks Kenneth, our helpful butcher (actually, he calls himself a meat cutter, not a butcher) from the Piggly Wiggly. He stopped by just to drop off a bag of ramps because he and Joe were talking about them the other day and Joe mentioned that he and I have never tried them. Now, isn't that nice?!

You harvest ramps this time of year from the mountain. We're told they grow at about 3000 feet, or higher. They're little root vegetables that are a cross between garlic and onion. Kenneth says they're loud and will stay with you for days. "Eat them together, and not just before you go to church!" He said if we like them, he'll take us to the mountain where he found them and show us where and how to harvest them. The perks of living in a small town!

I mentioned over on FB that I had found Ingles... my "Publix away from home," and that Piggly Wiggly had fallen in the ranks. But, that's the kind of thing that makes you want to keep going back... even if they don't always have what you're looking for. I'll go to Ingles when I have to (like when I need ricotta cheese), but I'll go to Piggly Wiggly because my friend, Kenneth the Meat Cutter, is there!

Phew! My office is starting to get a bit pungent!

Oh Dear... I have to put them outside!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Random Stuff

These white blooms are on a Bradford Pear tree (it's not an edible pear tree). You see them all over this region. They bloom in March, and by the beginning of April all the little white flowers fall off and are replaced with rich green leaves. They're typically planted in a row and are used to line long driveways, etc. They can be very regal looking.

This is in the "puppy room." And this is why the puppies have a puppy room to retreat to when we are not home. The little buggers chose to play tug-of-war with one of their dog beds... you see it laying limply in the middle of the rug. Shame on us for not supplying them with ample toys to keep them entertained!

Thinking of my dad today. It's another anniversary day... the anniversary of his memorial service. What a day that was; a really great one, actually. Difficult, of course, but also heartwarming. It was nice to see the remarkable turnout (an estimated 400, plus!) and hear the testimonies of those who loved him so dearly.

That's all for today. It's a beautiful day here... I took advantage of it and went up on the mountain this morning to take a few pics, hopefully I can share those in a couple of days.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sleepin' in a Sunbeam

My Dexie; he's a special character.

As the senior adult at our house he gets a lot of priveleges that the others don't ... sleeping on this bed, for example.

Doesn't this look like a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Snowy Pics, and A Bit of Spring!

This was the early morning of April 7th at my house in SW NC! It felt really strange for this Florida girl to brush snow off my car handle before I could open the door...

The hearty rhododendron shrubs are covered! Didn't hurt the buds, a bit, thankfully! (Yesterday I took advantage of the sunshine and did a little trimming around the yard. I sacrificed a few buds, but those branches no longer impede the stairway!)

All white and gray... the sky really was that color!

You can barely see the cherry blossoms beneath the snow! It snowed off and on all day.

Yesterday, I was out running some errands and had to capture this highway median. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's an array of bright yellow, green, red, orange, and purple! So beautiful!

Here's another pretty median along the same road. You can tell the buds aren't fully open yet... I'll bet in another week or two, those trees will be nice and full, and colorful. I loved having a blue sky and sunshine yesterday!

I stopped at the bank and these greeted me at the front door. The staff probably thought I was a little coo-coo when, after bidding them good-day, I paused outside to capture this... I couldn't resist, though; they scream Spring and sing Oh, Happy Day!!!

It's another beautiful day, today. I think I'll make time for a little more yard work. I love getting out in the yard!

This evening, Candy and I are going to head to The Taste of Blue Ridge in downtown Blue Ridge, GA, where there will be local restaurants providing food, a wine tasting, a silent auction, and music. The event will benefit the Humane Society.

Meanwhile, the guys (who are not interested in mingling with the Taste crowd) are going to hang back and grill steaks for themselves... who knows what else.

Happy, Sunny Saturday to you!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Would, If I Could

Bring home every stray, or seemingly stray, dog I see. I'd have an endless number of dogs... if it were feasible. (Of course, it's not. We're maxed.)

My dad called it a bleeding heart; my dog condition, that is. That's okay... he was right.

I can't help it. I love 'em. And if I see one that needs love (which may sometimes come in the form of protection) I want to give them my love. I want to hug, and kiss, and nuzzle, and scratch, and coo, and bring them home to just pamper them silly!

So far, the only bug-a-boo I have about this region of the country is the people's carelessness with their dogs. They just don't go the extra measure to protect them. There are no leash laws, and therefore, you're constantly seeing dogs roaming anywhere and everywhere.

Just the other day I was driving down a four-lane highway and saw a big, beautiful dog in the median. I slowed... and cringed when I got past him and saw in my rearview mirror that he began to cross the highway and a car had to brake in order not to hit him.

I began to seethe, when not 20 yards more, I saw a dog in the median that had been hit. He didn't make it. Argh! Makes me boil.

It's so typical to see dogs wandering along the side of the road. C'mon. Be responsible pet owners, people!

My rompin', stompin', silly, scampering, seven are safe within their fenced yard. They have boundaries for their own good. Boundaries really are a good thing!
(That brown hill in the background is now every shade of green you can imagine! How I love Spring.)


And when they feel afraid, revealing their sweet and sensitive side, we've been known to let them climb in bed with us! Yes, there have even been times when all seven have inhabited the bed at once... of course, either Joe or I... or both of us, had to get up because there was no room! Then, of course, they follow us; so we run back to the bed eager to claim our spots and gleeful to have leg room... and they follow us. It's a vicious cycle.
(Ever see that old commercial where the guy is sleeping on the floor, then the camera pans up to reveal the dogs sleeping in the bed... I can relate!)

This was my darling punkins' first night in North Carolina. We threw mattresses down on the floor to crash and sleep hard after that long drive. The furry ones were having no part of sleeping downstairs by themselves... they began to cry (and who can blame them... all alone in a new place), so up they came!

I'm just saying... if you're gonna get a dog or two, know up front what you're in for and be willing to step up to the responsibility. You don't have to let them sleep with you... but show them you love them, and at the very least keep them safe!

{{Jumping off my soap box now.}}

(By the way...don't ya just love the '70s paneling? The prior owners did seem to love it! Us... not so much; it'll be receiving a makeover in the near future!)

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Year Has Passed

A full year has passed since we gathered at my father's bedside and tearfully bid him "goodbye for now" as we watched him cross the threshold to new life, one void of cancer and other debilitating ailments.

We cried and hugged. We felt somehow abandoned; yet not alone.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. " Isaiah 41:10

We were in disbelief that we wouldn't again hear his voice, feel his embrace, benefit from his advice, be entertained by one of his stories; yet we knew it wasn't forever.

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep,or
to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." 1 Thes. 4:13

We wondered how we could possibly survive tomorrow, and the next day, and the next; yet we knew we would.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9

I kind of have a sense of ... "Whew! Made it." It's a milestone of sorts. We got through this year of "firsts without him" and, though we'll always miss him, perhaps it's possible that future celebrations and occassions will have less sting.

Just days before dad died, he told me that he was confident I'd be okay because God was evident in my life and he knew I trusted Him to guide and direct me.

Well, much has happened this past year. We've endured heartache and trials; experienced losses and made major, life-changing decisions. At times, I yearned for his presence; needed him near; longed for his encouragement; wanted to talk... and not always when times were tough. Often it was to share an experience; a celebration; an adventure; or a laugh.

How many times did mom and I look at each other and say, "Dad would have loved this...?" Too many to count. Oh, and Joe wanted so desperately to be able to discuss that amazing Syracuse basketball game with him!

But Dad was right. I'm okay. We're all okay. We got through this year; and not just "got through it," we lived it and enjoyed it in spite of missing him so desperately, and I believe it's because...

God's grace is sufficient.

A precious moment and one of my favorite memories.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This day seems to be one for remembering...

...remembering anniversaries. Joe and I had a second wedding ceremony many years ago on this day; a sweet and simple little ceremony on Sanibel Island at sunset. Also, a former co-worker is celebrating her 2nd wedding anniversary. She posted that she loves him even more today than she did then. That's a treasure.'s also for remembering losses. A blog friend lost her newborn one year ago today. She said they remember it more as the day she lived (2.5 hours) rather than the day she died. Angie has a beautiful way of putting her feelings into words. Her blog has become a soothing balm to women suffering similar losses and pain.

Foremost for me today, though, and all of the O'Brien family, is a day for remembering Grandma O'Brien; Joe's grandmother. We learned earlier today that grandma, at 106 years old, passed away early this morning. Until just recent years, grandma was a vital, independent woman, full of vim and vigor.

A particular story that always stands out to me is when she, in her 80's, had a big story written about her in the paper. She was walking home from the grocery store in Bayonne, NJ (she walked everywhere, never having had a driver's license), when she fell in an open manhole in the street. She either broke, or nearly broke, her hip. Now, it was over 20 years ago and I might not have the facts exactly right, but that's the gist. It was pretty spectacular coverage, complete with a picture... but all she could think about is that they printed her age in the newspaper for all to see! I would think at 80 something, who cares?! Well, she certainly did! :-) Gives me a chuckle.

Joe, scheduled to be in Florida this week anyway, is with his parents. I'm glad for that.

Grandma (Eileen) O'Brien - at 103
11-01-1902 - 04-07-2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's snowing!!!

Seriously... and I thought Florida had weird weather patterns!

Yesterday and the day before, Joe and I enjoyed blue skies, sunshine, the sight of butterflies fluttering from one wildflower to the next, a long drive through winding country roads, the delightful realization (for me) that among the other vast flowering trees and shrubs in our new yard - we also have a lilac tree, amazing short-sleeve-weather-with-a-light-jacket temperatures (70 degrees), and an outside BBQ with friends, complete with 4-wheeling and skeet-shooting fun. We were relishing the onset of Spring!!

Today, snow flurries. What the...? I'm completely mesmerized and totally digging it; but still. Snow in April... in SW North Carolina? How bizarre! It's supposed to snow again tomorrow, and then back to sun and mid-60's on Wednesday. Okay!! We'll roll with it. (No veggie planting has taken place yet, thank goodness.)

- - - - - - - - -

Regarding the case of the missing cats. I have not only seen, I have held and petted, Tahra! She's well. Still skiddish and unwilling to leave the garage; but she is well. I'm thankful. Now, if I could just get some news on, or a glimpse of, Kissa... The thing is, she's the adventurer; she went exploring, I'm sure. I hope the old adage, "curiosity killed the cat" has not come to fruition here! I'm choosing to imagine she found a friendly porch with kibbles and warm milk. That's what I'm sticking to - we don't always have to face the probable reality, do we?! (BTW, since Tahra is not willing to leave the garage, I have provided her a warm, comfy "nest" to ward off the sub-freezing temps we're expecting tonight and tomorrow.)

- - - - - - - - -

Happy Birthday to my precious Mom! Today is her day! She is spending it with "her" middle school girls (the girls she has taught Sunday School to for the past several years). Since it's their week for spring break, they're spending it at the beautiful Methodist camp in Alva, FL, with a bunch of other church youth groups for a mini retreat (just 3 days). Should be fun! I always love chaperoning youth events; especially the sleepover, camp-like adventures. Makes you feel like a kid again! She loves those girls... so, I know she's having a fun birthday. I'm glad.

- - - - - - - - -

I'm devising a plan to trick my computer and be able to get photos posted here! Stay tuned for that!

But now, I'm off to let the dogs out. I'm eager to see how they react to their first snow experience!! It's not sticking yet, but as the temps drop, there will be a couple of inches on the ground by late evening. The "last potty break before bed" ought to be the best one. Hopefully, I'll get some fun pics of that adventure.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Blog Time!

I know, I know... I've been MIA lately. We're busy, busy, busy getting settled and acclimated to the area, so I haven't had time to blog. The most I've been able to do is write little micro updates on Facebook.

For those of you who aren't on Facebook, I've copied and pasted those little tidbits of information and the ensuing banter so you can stay apprised of what's up with us!

Here you go...

March 17 at 12:38 pm (the day were travelling) - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien says we were just about to leave Florida when Boo-boo had EXPLOSIVE diarrhea. Oh mercy - thankfully cleaning supplies were handy!

Brenda Moody at 2:26pm March 17
Awww poor boo boo had a big
boo boo!!

Beth Long Plitnikas at 4:06pm March 17
Ew, yucko but gosh,
poor doggy - I guess the stress is getting to everyone! :-(Please have a safe
trip Pammy ♥ ♥ ♥

Karin Kissinger Colley at 5:18pm March 17
Hi Pam! Your
poor baby. I hope your Boo Boo gets to feeling better. Our pets enjoy routine,
and change makes them get all out of wack. I hope you have a safe journey :)

Laura Stanton Macias at 6:51pm March 17
i thought you were
gone already! ?

Ryan Gosselin at 8:27pm March 17
oh my!

March 20 at 10:08 pm - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien and crew arrived safely in NC Tues evening. What a busy week it's been! Loving it, though... happy to be here!!

Maria Fiore at 12:43am March 21
Glad you all made it there safe and sound. I heard about the adventure Cris had in her
vehicle with the car sick pup. Wish we had spent more time together before you
went so far away.

Ryan Gosselin at 1:03am March 21
Come back now.....You
had your fun...You are needed here.

Beth Long Plitnikas at 10:34am March 21
Glad to hear all went
relatively well - was the sick dog vs. car a big mess for your mom?? I guess
your mom leaves what, Monday? Tuesday? Good luck there, hope you & Joe like
working/living there!!!We'll miss you @ family visits Pammy. :-(Love ya ♥

Brenda Moody at 8:46pm March 21
YAY!!! So glad you had a
safe trip!

March 24 at 9:22 am - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien hasn't seen her cats since Wednesday. Food is getting eaten and litter box is used (in garage), so that's a good sign. Hopefully, they're just exploring...
(status quo as of today)

Kandice Purpura at 12:21pm March 25
I'm glad you made it ok. Keep the pictures and blogs coming!Love

March 25 at 3:42 pm - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien just discovered her sweet, furry punkins can be vicious guard dogs. They DID NOT like the cable guy entering their home unattended... Good to know; she's glad.

Laura Stanton Macias at 8:14pm March 25
OH BOY! Did you have to pick cable guy out of punkin teeth?

Brenda Moody at 9:48pm March 25
Too funny....(mental
picture ) :-)

Pam Rieth O'Brien at 10:40am March 27
:-D Ha! - no... Joe got there in time. Knucklehead knew we had dogs and where they were. He walked straight in their room - stupid man. He respected those dogs for the rest of the

March 27 at 10:35 am - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien says a wild turkey...big gobbler... just got hit out front. Joe goes out to rescue it -or relieve it- when a truck pulls up, "You want him? [No.] Then throw him in back!" Seriously?

Brenda Moody at 11:07am March 27
Well yeah.....never heard
of Easter Turkey Dinner??

Beth Long Plitnikas at 11:59am March 27

Christina Rieth at 1:18pm March 27
Yep, we're talking
authentic "country folk" now!!

Beth Long Plitnikas at 1:21pm March 27
Dang, you'd better make
sure what you're eating when being served meals around there! hahaThat was
of Joe to try to help the turkey. Turned into a real eye-opener for
both of you
though, didn't it?!

Darren Brown at 1:52pm March 27
Yum yum good eatin!!!!!yee

Pam Rieth O'Brien at 3:32pm March 27
You're not kidding, Beth!
Eye-opener, indeed. :-) Mmmmm, road-kill. Actually, when Joe got to the
bird, he
wasn't dead yet...and what the guy really said was, "Well, wring
his neck and
throw him in back." Joe put him in the bed of the truck and
replied, "You wring
his neck!" He came back in saying..." I'm not cut out
for this!" Ah, mountain life! :-D We later asked another
long-time "mountain man" that
we have befriended if he would have eaten him.
He said, "No way, never eat
nuthin that's been hit. Meat that's been hit is
not good! "Well, that was
somewhat of a relief!

Beth Long Plitnikas at 3:37pm March 27
OMG, they actually have
a eat, not eat rule about "meat" that's been hit. Wow, another world

Pam Rieth O'Brien at 3:38pm March 27
I know!!!!

March 30 at 2:23 pm - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien ~ after 5 days of rain, the sun is shining...Thank goodness! No, we're not in the Sunshine State anymore! (Oooo, but you should see everything budding...It's Spring!)

Beth Long Plitnikas at 2:33pm March 30
Saw the daffodils
from your mom's pix, sooooo pretty! You're LUCKY to get a real Spring!!

Pam Rieth O'Brien at 2:39pm March 30
I know... when we arrived
we were greeted with blooming daffodils and two bright forsythia bushes in full
swing! Next to those we have a tall cherry tree full of bright buds... can't
wait for those! Also out front are two huge rhododendren (sp?) bushes...and
there are tulips popping up everywhere!! The lady that lived here had a real
green thumb and we're reaping the benefits!

Beth Long Plitnikas at 2:43pm March 30
Wow, I'd LOVE to live
in a REAL place where things other than frickin palm trees grow!!Enjoy, enjoy,
enjoy & please share via pictures for those less fortunate! :-) (oh
actually, my crepe myrtle tree is starting to get leaves again so I do get some
of what you see everywhere). I'm so jealous. Can you tell? :-D

Darren Brown at 4:12pm March 30
Looks like you guys are
enjoying your new place......congrtas!!!! Joe should see if there's some trout
or bass in that there river!!!!!!

April 1 at 10:52 am - Wrote ~
Pam Rieth O'Brien ~ Last night the guys tilled a 12' x 40' garden spot for me, so I can, as Glen says, "grow some groceries." Now, I have to figure out what to do with it! Researching NC veggie gardening!


Kristiina O'Brien DiOrio at 11:12am April 1
Oooh oooh toms, green beans, cucs, potatoes and herbs! Oh and some peppers
so you can make salsa. Hahahaha

Brenda Moody at 12:03pm April 1
Well......I KNOW you can
dig!! Remember our exciting day in Savannah?.......... Can you say poison ivy??

Pam Rieth O'Brien at 12:30pm April 1
Oh geez, Brenda!! I remember. LOL :-D

Beth Long Plitnikas at 2:08pm April 1
Suggestions: Rhubarb so
you can make pies with strawberries! All kinds of peppers, scallions, string
beans, zuchinni, other squash... Now I'm more jealouser than before!

So, that's that. Now you're updated. I'm taking lots of pictures, but having trouble with my camera software/home computer... so, until I can get that resolved, picture uploads will be few and far between.

Here's just a few:

The park area in Wilderness Creek Falls, the 500-acre mountain property across from us.

Another waterfall on the same mountain.

Sunset view from one of the homesites on the property.

A beautiful afternoon for a stroll!

About Me

My photo
I'm a wife, mom, and grandma living in rural Vermont. I spend 40 hours of my week working outside my home and away from my garden, but am nevertheless passionate about healthy eating and sustainable living. By sourcing nutrient-dense food from local farms and avoiding processed foods, we are realizing how our over health is being impacted for the better. I’m excited to have you join me as I share what we’re learning and invite you to offer your insights in the comments. “…giving thanks in all circumstances…” 1 Thess 5:16-18