Beautiful Rainbow in Snellville

One side of the rainbow in Snellville, January 12, 2023

For most of the day today, there was a tornado watch in and around my area, just another sign of global warming as this should not be happening here in winter. We experienced high winds, heavy rain, and thunder and lightning under an eerie sky. Prior to the storm, the sky appeared to be light green and light yellow. I’ve observed light green skies in the past in my area, as well, and always heed them as a warning of a possible tornado. This is not something I ever experienced in the area where I grew up, so it is something that I’ve had to learn and look out for.

Other side of the rainbow in Snellville, January 12, 2023

After the storm and once the skies broke, the Sun shone through the clouds very brightly. I happened to look outside because it became so bright and there was a beautiful rainbow, stretching from one end of my neighborhood to the other! Wow, how gorgeous it was! I have never seen a rainbow such as that in my neighborhood, though I have seen rainbows in this area before. The rainbow lasted for only about 10 minutes, just enough time to get outside and take some pictures, however clear or blurry. It was wonderful to see this beautiful rainbow today!

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Polar Vortex Freeze Damaged my Gardenia Bushes

Bush damaged by Christmas 2022 Polar Vortex freeze in Snellville, Georgia

I have begun to notice this week that several of my gardenia bushes in my yard and around the house were hard-hit by the Polar Vortex that went through Georgia at Christmastime. I noticed a couple outside the picture window in my dining area, and another near my mailbox where most of the leaves were brown. On doing more investigating, I discovered that at least one dozen of my gardenia bushes have been severely damaged by the deep freeze from the Polar Vortex. I believe it was Christmas day or maybe the day afterwards when the low here in Snellville was 5 degrees Fahrenheit with about a -20 degree windchill due to all of the wind.

Damaged gardenia bush due to Christmas 2022 Polar Vortex, Snellville, GA

I’m not used to having to look out for my outdoor plants, and now I’m saddened that so many were hit. Had I realized they would have been damaged, I would have covered them with sheets or tarps. I didn’t even think about it until I saw a few azalea bushes covered at a business in Norcross. By then, it was already too late for mine. I also had several large azalea bushes that were damaged, as well. I literally have 100s of azalea bushes in my yard that my parents planted throughout the years, but the ones that were hurt were big ones around the house.

Another damaged gardenia bush from Christmas 2022 Polar Vortex, Snellville, GA

The majority of the leaves on these damaged bushes are brown instead of green now. I’m worried that they won’t come back. I’ll just have to wait and see at this point, and hope for the best. I just love the scent of gardenias and the beauty of all of the azaleas. I hope they will be able to bounce back, but they don’t look good right now.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Winter Holiday Evergreen Tree in Sweden – These are the types of Christmases I remember, growing up in Western New York’s Snow Belt (Retrieved December 22, 2022 from https://sweden.se/culture/celebrations/christmas)

It is already that time of the year – the most wonderful time of the year! While I like summer and all of the sunshine here in Georgia, the holiday season and Christmas are really my favorite time of year. Christmas brings to mind many happy memories, occasions, events, gatherings, reunions, gifts, and experiences. I am a person who enjoys experiences most of all, and those experiences that include memories of beloved family and friends are the best of all for me.

I remember Christmases of old, growing up in Western New York State in the Snow Belt, filled with family, food, shopping, gifts, skiing, snowmobiling, and, of course, attending church services, giving thanks to God for His love and all He has provided. I remember music, songs, laughter, and youth that has flown by so fast that even my own son is now a young man.

In my own childhood, I also recall so many Christmas seasons when my dad would string the colorful Christmas lights on the bushes and decorate the front yard with Santa, his sleigh, and reindeer that he handcrafted and handpainted. One year, he won a monetary award for having the best Christmas decorations in our community.

I remember bundling up as if we lived in the Arctic; making snowmen, women, and children; fashioning snow angels; eating icicles; decorating Mom’s yummy Christmas cookies while sneaking spoonfuls of frosting; and getting frostbite on my hand one bitterly cold evening that I went snowmobiling. I remember the hot onion soup with mozzarella that my mom used to make to warm my brother and I after returning home from skiing. Wow, those were the days, and of course, while they were not all great, I choose to hold onto those happy memories of old times.

Times are different now, and while still good, the holidays and Christmas are “smaller” and more compact for me now. My family, consisting of my son and I, already held our Christmas this year so that we could incorporate other plans on the actual day of Christmas. It was our first Christmas with ‘only’ each other, reflecting the changes in both of our lives, while keeping in mind that our love for each other will always be strong, holding us closely and dearly.

I wish you all a happy holiday season, regardless of the faith you may or may not hold, or the holiday that you may or may not celebrate. I would like to remind everyone to cherish the memories and good times with family and friends, and always hold those wonderful, yet fleeting “experiences” in your hearts. I like to believe that God generally places good people in our lives to help us and support us, and I hope and pray the same for you. Merry Christmas!

Cleaning House and Tribute to Mom and Dad

My son and parents in 2004 near Atlanta, Georgia

For the past month, I have been doing a lot of cleaning – particularly in the basement and garage of my home. I was bitten by the “cleaning bug,” and decided it was about time to take action and do something. I cleaned sooo much “stuff” out of my house! No one should really be allowed to accumulate that much stuff! Adding my own and my son’s “stuff” to my parents “stuff” literally caused there to be several tons of stuff that I cleaned out, moved out, recycled, donated, and/or junked. The dumpster company, the movers, Uhaul, and the shredding company all made some money off of me this month. I actually tried to hire an estate company to sell out portions of my house, but it didn’t work out. So, I had to pay to get the stuff moved out rather than make some money off of it. That’s just the way it is for me. It seems like I always have to pay; I’m just not a “lucky” person.

I have lived in this home for the past 15 years since my marriage ended, and I moved my things into this house at that time, with many of those things going into storage in boxes and plastic storage bins in the basement. In the past month, I have gone through everything in this house; many things I have not seen for 15 years since putting them away. Opening up those boxes and bins was like opening up time capsules. I went right back to when my son was a little boy – only 4 years old when we moved to this house. It was wonderful to go through his “little boy” things – clothes, toys, pictures, cards, drawings, and crafts. And then, for some other things that I unearthed by going back in time, it was not nearly wonderful at all. I went through all kinds of documents that I really did not want to ever see again – and I had the shredding company handle those. So, I experienced some smiles and laughter as well as some tears by going through all of that “stuff.”

On looking through photo albums of when my son was a baby and young boy, I found one picture that I took of my son with my parents. My son was one year old at the time, and both of my parents have since passed. The photo is of my son riding one of those mechanical cars at a local mall, flanked by my parents. It is a great picture because my son loved riding those mechanical machines and my parents loved being right there with him.

With my son currently being a college student, I am pretty much an empty-nester, except when he comes home from college. It, therefore, gets pretty quiet around here, and while I know I always have myself and try to keep a positive attitude, sometimes it’s tough to take, especially around the holidays. People who are alone really need more healthy communication and interaction with others.

So, seeing that picture of my one year old son with my parents brought back so many fond memories for me, and caused me to remember and be grateful for all that my parents have done for me and my son. I would not be where I am today if it was not for my parents, and I always remember that and am thankful for all they have done. The holidays are supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year, but I can’t help but feel some sadness and nostalgia about missing my parents who did so much for me.

…And, I’ve also learned something in this whole process of cleaning out my house, as well – do not buy, keep, and/or accumulate so much “stuff” ever again!

Fall Foliage Colors in Gwinnett

I took some time today (October 29, 2022) to enjoy the beautiful Fall foliage colors in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

This weekend has been the perfect time to take in the vibrant colors of Autumn.

There is one particular tree that I am familiar with that turns yellow each year, and this year was no different.

So many maple trees are showing in such a deep red that they are astounding. I was on a schedule this morning and drove past one at a church in Lilburn that was absolutely beautiful. I would have loved to get a picture of it, but don’t plan to pass by there again for a couple of weeks.

Additionally, there was a Halloween witch that made a face plant into a tree and is now an official tree hugger! Check this out!

Enjoy!

GGC Grizzly Fest Fun!

My son and I at GGC Grizzly Fest, Lawrenceville, Georgia, October 22, 2022

Today, my son and I enjoyed the annual Grizzly Fest at his college, Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This was our second Grizzly Fest, and there was much fun and enjoyment to be had.

We spent a bit of time at the Exercise Science Department table, talking with students who were very eager and excited about their major.

At the Exercise Science Table at Grizzly Fest, October 22, 2022

We also visited many other informational tables, including Art Club, Sign Language Club, Information Technology, Education, Crafts, and Pakistani Student Organization.

At Art Club Table at Grizzly Fest, October 22, 2022

We enjoyed watching the Homecoming King and Queen be crowned.

GGC Homecoming King and Queen, October 22, 2022

We applauded those faculty and/or students who were winners in the Chili Cookoff. It was also nice to see an appearance by the college president, Dr. Jann Joseph, when the Chili Cookoff winners were announced.

My son and I with The General at GGC Grizzly Fest, October 22, 2022

My son and I also got to partake in the pulled pork, sausage and sauerkraut, hot apple cider, apple fritters, and other goodies available through the Dining Service. It was an absolutely beautiful day today – wonderful for today’s Grizzly Fest at GGC!

I Love You, Dad: Bruce Babcock, 1943-2021

Bruce Babcock in August 2020 in Lilburn, Georgia

Bruce Everett Babcock, of Snellville, Georgia, and formerly of Gowanda and Collins, New York, died at his home in Snellville on February 19, 2021 due to natural causes. Babcock was born in Collins, New York on August 13, 1943 to Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock (Sprague) and Charles Albert Babcock. Babcock graduated from Gowanda High School and was married to Anna Krakowiak Babcock for nearly 55 years until her death in 2018. As an employee of the State of New York for 37 years, Babcock worked in different roles. He began as a mental health aide, and later worked as a fireman and stationary engineer at the Power House of the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. After the Center transitioned to a prison, he was employed as maintenance supervisor for the Gowanda and Collins Correctional Facilities until his retirement.

Chuck and Bruce Babcock, July 4, 1987 Parade, Gowanda, New York

Babcock enjoyed hobbies such as owning, restoring, and showing classic Ford Thunderbirds for many years. He was a member of the Buffalo Thunderbird Club for several decades, taking his black T-Bird to an international car show and being awarded third place. In Snellville, Babcock was a member of the Georgia Cool Cruisers car club, showing his restored Ford Ranger. Babcock was also skilled in carpentry, electricity, painting, welding, plumbing, and stained glass. He apprenticed and worked with Robert Peglowski and Sons of Collins, New York in carpentry for many years as a young man.

Babcock was a wonderful and generous family man who lived for his family, always doing more than what was necessary to help and support them in whatever ways possible. He was the rock of the family. He and Anna moved to Georgia in 2006 to live near their only grandchild, John Robert “Bobby” Nice, III. Babcock loved the outdoors, warm weather, Gaelic music, and NASCAR racing. He additionally enjoyed swimming, boating, landscaping, and Boy Scouts. Babcock loved animals, raising and showing guinea pigs and rabbits in his childhood, and spoiling his Yorkie poodle in later life. He was a merit badge counselor and supporter of Snellville Boy Scout Troop 548. He further enjoyed supporting Bobby in Boy Scouts for conservation and eagle scout projects, as well as Roman Catholic religious accomplishments. Babcock was the godfather and confirmation sponsor for Bobby’s Catholic sacraments.

Babcock is a former parishioner of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Gowanda, and most recently, of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Lilburn, Georgia. Raised a Quaker, he converted to Catholicism at marriage. Babcock was predeceased by his parents and had no siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Michele Babcock-Nice, of Snellville, Georgia and son, Charles “Chuck” Babcock of Gowanda, New York, as well as his grandson, Bobby, of Snellville, all of whom love him deeply and miss him dearly.

A memorial service was held for Babcock at St. John Neumann Church, and a burial service was held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Gowanda, New York, with arrangements by Wentland Funeral Home of North Collins, New York.

February Snow in Georgia

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Snow on the cherry tree, Snellville, Georgia, February 8, 2020

We haven’t seen snow here in Georgia for the past few years. For me, as a Yankee, it’s always a treat to get snow in the South! I definitely miss it, especially the skiing. Both the North and South have their advantages and disadvantages, though I don’t miss the brutal cold of those Buffalo winters.

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Snow in Snellville, Georgia, February 8, 2020

Last weekend, though it was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, it was snowing here in Snellville on Saturday morning, February 8, 2020. It snowed for most of the morning – a heavy, wet snow with huge snowflakes. It was so pretty – and was more like what winter should be – rather than the 65 degree Fahrenheit temperatures we have today, less than one week later.

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Let it Snow! Snellville, Georgia, February 8, 2020

On February 8, my son was training fellow Boy Scouts at his troop’s bi-annual leadership training event. They also took some time out from their instruction to step outside and have a friendly snowball fight. That’s another good memory to include in my Eagle Scout son’s wonderful experience in scouting! Oh – and by the way – the daffodils are blooming in full force now and the maples are budding out, too…

Early Daffodils & Azaleas in January

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Daffodils, Snellville, Georgia, January 13, 2020

Last Monday, January 13, 2020, the first daffodils blossomed here in Snellville, Georgia. Their blooming is about three weeks earlier than usual. There was a warm spell here for about five days prior to their blooming. Temperatures got up to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit as a high.

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Small pink azalea bush blooming, Snellville, Georgia, January 13, 2020

Coincidentally, nearly all of the dozens of azaleas on our property were starting to bloom. In the pictures I took of a couple of them, they don’t appear very full of blossoms, but many were just starting to come out.

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Small white azalea bush blooming, Snellville, Georgia, January 13, 2020

By this week, we were back to the cold again. The cold snap that got down to about 25 degrees Fahrenheit two days ago took all of those azalea blossoms away. There are none now. Surprisingly, however, the daffodils are still in bloom. They survived the cold, for now.

Global warming is real. This weather is definitely not normal. There were even two Japanese maples that were trying to bud out last week. Now, they’ve been frozen back into hibernation again. This is definitely not good. Thankfully, Greta can put a voice to the concerns that so many of us have!

Trees Lost in Snellville due to Tropical Storm Irma

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A tree in my neighborhood lost to Tropical Storm Irma, Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

After the Carribean, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Florida were hard-hit by Hurricane Irma, its effects were felt here in Snellville, Georgia after it traveled up the west coast of Florida early last week.

We lost power for almost 1.5 days in Tropical Storm Irma that came through this area.  Traditional schools were closed for three days, and online schools closed for one day.  If what we experienced was a tropical storm, I’ve definitely never seen a rain and wind storm whip around the trees as it did.  Its amazing that more trees did not fall than actually did.

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Another tree down in my neighborhood. Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

In my neighborhood, alone, I counted six trees that fell after driving through my area, including a huge oak. With the heavy winds and the ground being saturated, trees with surface roots or those that were rotten fell easily.

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A fallen tree in my neighborhood. Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

Just yesterday, in a nearby area, I observed power lines that were laying on the ground. Now, six days after the storm passed through, there are still people in my area who do not have electrical power.

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A couple of limbs that were ripped off of a tree in my neighborhood. Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

Seeing the news on TV and the Internet of the damage that Irma did, my heart and prayers go out to everyone who weathered it.  May those who lost their lives rest in peace.  May those who are cleaning up and rebuilding get the help and support they need, quickly.

Mother Nature has shown that a category five hurricane is definitely something to take extremely seriously.