Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Retrospective

January - Instead of the post New Year's let down, 2008 started with a bang, er .. make that a rumble. On January 3rd, construction commenced on our home here in Tennessee. It was such a great feeling to get started on a project two and a half years in the planning.

February - Despite being the first birthday my mom did not call me and sing to me, February started slow and cold and finished with a visit from a friend in Michigan (Hi, Chuck!) and a belated birthday visit from younger daughter. Both were treated to very chilly tours of our under construction home!

March - I hate when Easter falls in April. In addition to it being unseasonably cold for Easter, March was alternately too cold to lay brick or too wet to lay brick or bricklayers were too far behind to lay our brick. They did manage to get out on Easter Sunday to brick though!

April - Older daughter celebrated her 28th birthday by becoming my twin! Way back when my kids were little and when I turned 32, I decided 28 was better. When my girls were old enough to question me about my age, I told them 28 was better. Older daughter wanted to know what she should tell people when they asked my age. I told her "Tell them I'm 28 and leave it at that!" So she would say "She's 28 and leave it at that!" Such an entertaining kid! Oh, and the house finally got bricked by the end of April.

May - The monster and the beast. The monster is what I call our gigantic heating and cooling units which sit outside on a pad. It's actually two furnaces - one is the conventional heat pump and the other is a gas furnace. Also installed is the A/C unit. The gas furnace was tested on walk through - haven't used it since. If it gets really cold though, It's going on backup. Our thermostat allows us to set it up to switch to gas when it gets below a certain temp. We've arbitrarily said below 30 outside for any length of time and we will switch over to gas. We'll see. The beast is our grinder pump that allows our sewage to be sent out to the sewer line that runs under the street. Due to our weird grade here, we are a few inches above the sewer depth where the pipe comes out of the house. So now the flushed stuff gets sent to the grinder pump which shreds it and shoots it down to street level. All that installed in May. More than anyone wants to know. Our builder insists it will grind up jeans and send them too. On the 27th we closed on our house. On the 28th had our new bedroom set delivered. This is the first bedroom set we've bought for ourselves. I love it. Previously we had a queen size bed with footboard and headboard, a small dresser, a chest, and one nightstand. Now we have a queen size bed with footboard and headboard, two nightstands and a large dresser big enough for his clothing and mine.

June - Official move in day was June 12th. Unofficially, we were living there since closing. I swore I would not go back to the condo and sleep and hassle with parking. It took about 3 hours for the movers to load up truck, drive truck a mile and then unload truck. For Father's Day, DH got a big screen TV. On June 29th, 6 of our friends drove down for a surprise visit from Michigan. DH and I still talk about how dumbstruck we were. Good going Wild Ones for keeping it a secret!

July - Hot and humid in Tennessee. The highlight was driving up to Michigan mid month to help younger daughter celebrate her 26th birthday. We had a great time with her, family and friends while in the Great Lakes state. On return from our trip to Michigan, I started this blog. Older daughter had long encouraged me. Thanks!

August - The dog days. By August, DH and I had decided we were going to kill all our grass/crabgrass and have it reseeded. We spent a couple of enjoyable evenings at the University of Tennessee Extension service learning how to grow grass in Tennessee and what kind to grow. Hey, I'm from Michigan, we plant sod there! We now have grass rather than crab grass and are very happy with it.

September - DH and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary at the end of the month. I started hassling him about hanging pictures. Slowly but surely, they've been getting hung up.

October - Yet another trip to Michigan - this one for niece's wedding. It was a great wedding, but a short trip. DH came another year closer to a major milestone age!!

November - Lots of picture hanging, re-arranging of guest room stuff and preparations for our first overnight guest. Menu planning began for Thanksgiving when younger daughter would come for a week's visit. Unfortunately, younger daughter mangled the front end of her car and missed the trip here. Wah! Thanksgiving was a gorgeous day - so they tell me. I was busy cooking.

December - Christmas preparations begun. The tree actually went up the weekend of Thanksgiving, with most of the decorations the next day. Now the tree is up, snowbuddy ornaments on the tree, and my Snow Village (the home of the Snow Buddies) is displayed. Most shopping is done. Menu planning is in its early stages. Prepping gifts for Michigan to be mailed.
Husband spent one Sunday at the hospital with his dad an 89 year old with emphysema. Hospital sent him back home with some respiratory therapy follow-up. Wouldn't be the Christmas season without someone in the hospital! Christmas day was fun, with all but our Younger daughter present. Older daughter brought a friend from school and she was a lot of fun and added that extra cheer we needed from missing our younger daughter.

As the year winds up, plans in place to de-Christmas the inside and outside of the house. I will especially miss the exterior Christmas lights as our street is so dark. Only our neighbors across the street put up exterior lights - two lighted fake trees on their porch. Our wonderful neighbor, Mrs. A. had candle lights in all her front windows and that was it for our street.

I am reminded how fleeting good health is with updates from family and friends about their loved ones. Our family wishes yours the best for 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Raise Dust Bunnies as Pets

As I've been trying to get anything worthwhile off the old, unreliable HP laptop, I've found a lot of old photos, documents, etc. that I've taken, scanned, written over the last twenty years. Hard to believe that DH and I got our first home computer 21 years ago. And it was around that time that I really got interested in tracking my family's history and keeping it in a somewhat organized manner. Someone introduced me to my first genealogy program at a user's group meeting and it created a monster.

That initial database of immediate family grew to 308 people. I don't know why I remember that number so vividly, but there was a time when some programs were not compatible with GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunication) standards, so I had to retype all the information in a second time when I changed programs from Genealogy on Display to Brother's Keeper. Brother's Keeper was the first program that I used that allowed simple source keeping. Sourcing was something I was sort of lax on when I first started, now I am fanatical about it.

Somewhere along the way, I got the idea to interview my parents. That was such a great idea. I now have some idea what it was like for my parents when they were growing up. I still have them on tape and transcriptions of the interviews.

As computer technology grew, so did the genealogy programs. From Brother's Keeper, I moved to Family Origins, and the on to Rootsmagic. Current programs allow you to "write" your family history, and will also print photos, sources, footnotes, just about anything you want.

When we bought our first modem, I installed it. I can't believe I did it, but I did. It was a 14400 modem. I thought it was so fast! Internet access was by dial-up! And we did this with one phone line. Email lists began correspondence with other people researching family names like Percival, Maitland, Chinn and Kirtley. And I so remember finding a piece of key information on Ancestry for the first time. I was so totally hooked on internet research. It may not ever totally replace on site research, but it has enabled me to find online death certificates for a few states where family resided. And saved me a bundle of dough too!

As my genealogical database grew, so did my stack of paper. I started with one small two drawer cabinet. I outgrew that years ago. It later years, I took to scanning important stuff like birth, marriage, death certificates, discharge papers, obituaries, so that someday I could chuck all the paper. I don't really think that will ever happen, but I can hope.

So this passing hobby has turned into an obsession to get that next piece of information. And the next. I think the dust bunnies are busy multiplying.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Disturbing Dreams - On So Many Levels

Yesterday, I spent the better part of a day going through 3.5 inch floppy disks using my highly unreliable old HP laptop. The only reason I have hung onto it is that it has a 3.5 inch floppy drive. Even after DH got his new desktop (4 years ago) and purchased a USB floppy drive, I kept the old laptop. Just in case.

When I attempted to use his USB drive - it did not work. So I dragged out the old HP laptop from the laptop graveyard and proceeded to erase 200 floppy disks. Glad I went through them as I found tons of scans I had not transferred to the current or even the previous laptop. When I was down to the last 25 the computer flashed a blue screen and then the following message:

Operating system not found

Groan. So I turned off the old HP and went to bed.

Cut to dreams. There were two that I remember. The first one, I was part of the Bush transition team. Seems the former governor of Florida and brother of the Prez, was answering all the White House email and getting a little too snarky for Laura's taste. Yes, on a first name basis with the First Lady. After working late one night, I had a couple I wanted advisement on and called the FL and she said to come up to their private quarters. Who can resist? So private quarters included a huge master bedroom with a private bar and bartender. The Prez was drinking some frozen Hard Mike's Lemonade and getting swiftly snockered. The FL and I were going over the two emails I had questions about and GW is telling us how drunk he was. Here he was in a room with 3 women (bartender was female also) and he said he didn't know what to do about it. Several years ago, I compared the two Bush Prez and said I thought they were both premature ejaculators. Trying hard in my dream not to express this to the Prez and FL. Finally, after demurring on a Christmas trip to Texas, I left.

Cut to second dream. I am visiting friends at the hospital I worked at for almost 9 years, most of them prior to my marriage. I wanted to see Jo, one of the pathology lab techs, whose husband was the department head that kept all the hospital machinery going. I was hoping to get a fix for the old HP laptop. She told me to let it rest overnight and try turning it on in the morning. I did what she said - in my dream that is - and it worked! Go figure.

So this morning, when I woke up, I tried turning on the old HP laptop. It worked. Go figure!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Anyone Else Find it Disturbing?

Maybe it's because I am a baby boomer - not one of those 1960's boomers but an early 1950's boomer - that I am disturbed that the director and lead actor of "Valkyrie" had no idea they were portraying a real event in the movie released on Christmas day. Not only that, but a critic was not happy with the ending.

What are our students being taught about World War II, anyway? I know there are people out there who believe the holocaust never happened. What do they think happened - that aliens zapped them off the face of the earth.

Growing up in post world war America and during the height of the cold war, we knew who are enemy was. We knew who Hitler was and what he did. Apparently, children born after 1965 have not got a clue that Hitler's own supporters tried to assassinate him.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A New Christmas Tradition

DH is very good about helping me clean floors. He is a handy guy with a vacuum and has no problem moving furniture around to vacuum under it.

However, this year he started a new tradition. He tried to suck up the draping I had around the stereo - to hide all the cords and stuff underneath.

So this new tradition got me thinking about Christmases past. I remember how the girls used to play with Colorforms. And they discovered that they stuck to the doorwall, so our doorwall was always covered in these little shapes, people and other stuff. Cleaning that stuff out of the doorwall tracks was not fun though!

Older daughter's first Christmas - her paternal grandfather, who is known to his granddaughters and their cousins as Big Kid - spent a hundred dollars on mechanical toys for an eight-month-old child who was terrified of this stuff. Especially the Indian Monkey who beat a drum. Interesting that Older daughter really likes all kinds of monkeys now. Her second Christmas was spent with us yelling at the dog to leave the Christmas tree alone until we discovered it was OD pulling off all the decorations.

Younger daughter's first Christmas Santa brought her a little doll with a rattle in it called Jingle Baby. She slept with that until she received her little brown bear for a birthday gift from OD. YD gifted OD with a white bear who was promptly named Teddy. YD and OD still have these well-loved stuffed animals.

This year, I tried to start a new tradition of going out for dinner on Christmas Eve. After all, I am the only who cooks the big family dinner, I deserve a night off. Good idea in theory, but most places closed really early and we got kicked out of Steak n Shake at 6:15. Maybe next year we'll get pizza!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I was going to write about Christmas Traditions, but Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated did that job for me. So I am going to write about something else, that has been bothering me - feet.

Not mine - mine are mostly okay, even in their just like dad's dryness. I go through tons of lotion and my Ped egg and I are almost inseparable. What is bothering me is this Homedics commercial where they show the foot massager and I have to wonder - is the model related to DH and Younger Daughter? She has their feet. If you look closely, toes 1-4 are all almost the same length and then little baby toe is about 1/3 the length of the other toes. I thought this was a family trait and now I am wondering if this points to an ethnic group. Is it really possible for someone else to have those extremely long toes?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Gremlins Behind the Door!

Yes, yes, I know DH let the monsters out of the closet, but it looks like we also have gremlins behind the doors. You know, those beings that push an open door partly closed so that if you aren't watching where you are going - *SMACK* - face first into the door. This is particularly worrisome for me when I need to get up in the middle of the night. If I turn on a light, it is guaranteed I won't go back to sleep. Instead, I walk arms extended, waving, like a spastic blind-person, hoping to thwart the gremlins.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This is what I was looking for!

Yesterday, with our balmy, non-rainy weather [first time in a week?] DH and I went out exploring the neighborhoods for Christmas lights. All I can say, is that there is no neighborhood that we can get to easily that has gone reindeer-wild on lights. You know what I mean? Those neighborhoods where there are so many lights, the space shuttle could find it. We found the odd house here and there that was decked out like mine, in a mild fashion, but nothing that really says "A really outrageous Christmas decorator lives here."

Until we drove to Algood. Let me say this about Algood, it is so small they share our zip code. As usual, DH made a wrong turn that turned out to be the right turn, because where our little misguided turn ended was at a house that was so fully decked out, it was amazing. And did I have my camera with me? No, I only had the camera phone. Unfortunately, Santa, who was out waving to passers-by did not show up in the pictures.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It sure seems like weirdos come out by the dozens at this time of year. A few cases highlighted in our local paper recently:

1. A woman sentenced to 8 years in prison for trying to hire a killer to kill her ex-husband. Her family thought she should get probation, because she was a good mother. Hello? The killer she hired was supplied with poison and a gun. Oh and the killer - undercover cop. Sad thing is, she will probably only serve 30% of that sentence.

2. Christmas thieves are out by the droves. A shoplifter who is notorious in the area for filling his cart and walking out of the store was caught finally. But it doesn't stop there - a woman caught breaking open packages of perfume and trying to steal $500 worth of perfume - also wearing a sweater she had stolen.

3. People's homes being broken into. Apparently small electronics and computers are hot items - literally this time of year. One woman interrupted a break-in at her home and retained some of her stolen items. The rest were recovered when police arrested the three thieves.

4. This one is the winner. Two mounted caribou heads were stolen from Tennessee Tech. Caribous - reindeer. No idea who the thief was, but my thought was he was wearing a heavy white beard and red suit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall ..

Sometimes driving on the highway gets boring, even if you aren't driving very far. Last summer, while I was driving on I-75 south in southern Kentucky, we passed a guy hauling a small helicopter. No kidding. If I had been the passenger, I'd have gotten a picture.

Last Sunday, DH and I took a drive into Crossville - not to go to the winery - but to get out of the house while the sun was shining. Lately that has been a rare occurrence. On the way, we passed this truck hauling something that looked like a small airplane.

It was a small airplane. If you google N317CH, you can see what it looks like all put together. I don't know about you, but I have never seen a plane without it's wings attached and I have never seen one hauled on a truck.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Have I told you I hate going to the stores the last two weeks before Christmas. I do, I really do. DH loves to wait to the last minute to do anything and it really gets on my nerves.

So tonight we schlep off to the local drugstores looking for gift cards for a couple people on our Christmas list. At the first drugstore - nationally identified by its initials - I set off the alarm going into the store. Now that disturbs me. And embarrasses me. Needless to say, I beeped going out of there too.

Second drugstore - different chain - sure enough set off the security system on the way in. DH and I figure it's something in my purse, so I hand that off to him and walk through. Still set off the alarm.

At this point I am expecting lights to start flashing, cops to roll in and a trip to the pokey - they don't mess around down here with shoplifters. But since I set it off on the way in, they figure I am safe and wave me out.
DH things my static charge is setting things off - since every time he kisses me I get a shock.

In all this have not found the cards we are looking for - so we go to the other site of the initialed drugstore and do not set off any alarms. The lady at the cash register laughs and says I should check my jeans when I get home since they are the only thing new I am wearing. I figure if there is a security tag in them it would have washed out when I washed them. Sure enough, I get home and find a security tag still affixed tightly to the left pocket. Thanks Kohl's!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Bright Ray of Sunshine

I can't believe this year is almost gone. This time last year, DH and I drove by our vacant, yet fully treed lot on a trip up to Michigan to see my mom. There were trucks parked on it and we knew when we came back there would be about half the trees left. All in the name of building our house. Sure enough, on the return trip from snowy Michigan, the next drive by elicited the fact that our lot looked almost bare. Sure most of them were blighted dogwoods, but there were three or four mature oak and maple trees that came down.

So, I sit here on this windy winter's day and decide that It's a good thing we took the trees down in the wake of the snow and wind we've had lately. A few small branches have come down, but one of our neighbors lost a tree. The only thing holding it up is two smaller trees. The gutters have now been cleared of all the leaf fall, but still our two front oak trees are clinging to some of their leaves. I think they're waiting until Christmas to drop them!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow Day!

I remember as a kid waiting for a snow day. I think I can remember maybe 3 total. Kids here in mid-Tennessee get a snow day when it threatens to snow.

So last night we got an inch of snow, and school was cancelled for today. This is the second time school has been cancelled for weather reasons this term. This is actually the first real snow day as we got a whole inch of the white stuff. It is rapidly melting and dropping from trees, and I can now see the green grass below it.

When school is called off because of weather, the first place to really feel it is the grocery stores. Everyone feels it is necessary to rush into Kroger, Walmart, and Food Lion to clear the shelves because they might be stuck in the house for four hours or so. It is un-freakin-believable! And so laughable to someone from Michigan.

I have to go now and restrain DH from going out and actually buying a snow shovel. At least he has given up trying to convince me we need a snow blower!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Swimming Lessons

First, I have to say that I am extremely grateful for the rain. We have been in drought conditions here in Tennessee for a couple of years, so every bit of rain that we do get is welcome.

Second, I am extremely grateful that we are not getting snow. The four inches of rain we've had this week would have been well over a three feet of snow. BUT, I am not ready for our side yard to fill up with water either! But, if it would freeze, we'd have a killer skating rink. Er, I think I donated my ice skates to Salvation Army.

Last, the top picture was taken about 6:30 pm CST, the other around noon today. What a difference a few hours makes, eh?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, the Outside is Christmasfied

Finally, the outside lights are all up. The weather on Tuesday was perfect, if a bit windy, to hang the light clips on the gutters and put up the icicle lights. I had two strands of white lights left, so I put those on the deck, so that is decked out too.
The top picture is the deck - the lights reflect nicely off the grill, don't they? The other picture is the front of the house.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What A Weekend

The Christmas decorations are up! Yay. The final touch was something to put our Christmas cards in. Found a cute little gift box at Hobby Lobby and now it is mostly complete. I was unsuccessful in searching for something to raise up the Snow Village portion that is on top of my bookcases. And the dining room is curiously unholiday like. I might have to do something about that!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Longest Paving Job in the World

Way back in October, on the day we left for niece's wedding, it appeared that the paving job on Fairground was about to be completed. We had to wait to get out of our dead end subdivision, and off we went to enjoy a wedding. Five days later, we returned to see a road that looked like it had been fully asphalted, and striped. Closer inspection showed that the road was still lacking it's final coat, being at least an inch below the drains. Now, to be fair, this was not just a re-pave, it was a complete road reconstruction/widening project which included new drains. They started this over a year

You guessed it, they finally put the final layer on last Saturday. Of course, we knew this because we wanted to go out and they were working at our only exit choice. When we returned a couple hours later, the road was indeed "done" with the exception of the striping.

In the seven week interim, the crews laid sod. They were still laying sod the week of Thanksgiving. This job is way over due.

This same road construction company repaved five lanes of Willow street for 1.5 miles in a record 2-3 weeks. Go figure.

On a brighter note, my blog hits climbed over one thousand this weekend. Cool.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Who Is She Talking About?

I went to a follow up appointment the other day at my dentist's office. The hygienist, referring to my husband and me said: "You and your husband are such a sweet little couple."

Whaaat? She might as well have said: "Not bad for an old couple." I am learning the lingo here. Yikes.

Many people have referred to my husband as sweet. I think he is a sweetie too. And while I have been known to occasionally do something sweet, that is not a word generally descriptive of me. And not a word I generally want associated with me. Sassy, yes!

At least she didn't say "Bless your heart." I would have known I was an old dufus then!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Larry Kudlow Please Go Home

DH watches CNBC until I could pull his hair out - that is if he had any hair.

The most obnoxious show is Larry Kudlow. Rude and arrogant as host, talks over his guests, and if they don't agree with him, he gets louder.

I'd rather watch my nice HGTV programs, like Designed to Sell, in which a real estate agent comes in and picks apart your house, which you want to sell, and tells you everything you are doing wrong. Then the nice designer comes in and tells you which three rooms they will re-do for you. I figure the designers have to be extra nice after dealing with the nasty realtors. Or House Hunters - virtual reality house hunting.

I am thankful our real estate agents were more tactful.

Older daughter has honored me with an award! Older daughter's Blog can be found at Que Sera, Sera. This is the daughter who has encouraged me to blog. It's been quite an exercise.

I'd like to pass it on to younger daughter who when she gets a chance writes fabulously funny blogs about her life. I wish she would recycle some of them. Her site is gathering.dust.

I don't read that many blogs, but one I find really helpful is The Practical Archivist. I find it very helpful. So I'd like to present the Fabulosity award to TPA also!

Here are the rules:

1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then “add image” it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the “picture” widget. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

I am not entirely sure that those instructions are entirely useful for all blog services, but oh well.
And you can see that I am awarding only two. One blog I would award is Unmitigated, but she has it already. You can hop to her blog which is listed to the right of this blog.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Monsters in the Closet

DH is a great guy and I really, really love him. He does have this irritating habit of leaving the closet door open. Even though I tell him he'll let the monsters out.

So today, he left the closet open while we were gone all day. I am sure he let the monsters out.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Meme

I borrowed from Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags whenever possible, because, essentially, I hate to wrap.
  2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. And it is prelit. Makes it easier for me to assemble.
  3. When do you put up the tree? Right after Thanksgiving, managed to retrieve the stuff from storage yesterday before it rained - huge pothole in front of our storage unit.
  4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's day or the weekend after. Depends on hangover.
  5. Do you like eggnog? My dad made terrific eggnog when we were kids. It was spiked and we got to drink it!
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably worst and best Christmas. Got the doll crib and doll I asked for, but a couple weeks before Christmas saw them through the basement window when I went to see what my older sister and brother were up to. Older sister really tried to convince me they were for our cousins, which I bought, until Christmas morning.
  7. Hardest person to buy for? Husband. He tells me months ahead of time, neither of us can remember, so I go to plan b, which is either gift cards or something I think he'd like. When I am all done, then he comes up with several good ideas.
  8. Easiest person to buy for? Me.
  9. Do you have a nativity scene? I have several. I have a Fontanini set, which is huge. I have a bear set and I don't think I ever got the snowbuddy one I wanted. I also had a miniature one I kept on my desk at work. Gave to my former boss, as she always threatened to steal it from me.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.Sometimes they are really late.
  11. Best Christmas gift you ever received? This is a tie. Last year I wanted and received a digital picture frame. I love it. Many years ago I got a laundry basket, all wrapped up with individual presents wrapped up inside it. Included were a gold and pearl necklace and earrings to match. I loved it and still my favorite thing to wear.
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I have several I watch every year - White Christmas, Holiday Inn, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, One Magic Christmas. Those are of course preceded by my favorite Thanksgiving program -WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving show where they drop turkeys on Cincinnati - As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly!
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? If given good ideas starting in October.
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Never.
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fruitcake. Really. Used to get the best ones at Damman's Hardware.
  16. Lights on the tree? Yes. Prelit.
  17. Favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole as sung by my friends Jan, Linda and myself. None of us can carry a tune.
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home. However, DH and did go away the day after Christmas one year to Frankenmuth. Loved it.
  19. 19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yeah. If I sing it.
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A Bow.
  21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Christmas decorations going up before Halloween.
  23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Glad someone got mom & dad's ornaments. Way to go MAW. I have a snowbuddy theme (little snowmen/women that are white with pastel blue trim.
  24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Anything I don't have to cook.
  25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Younger daughter to come for Christmas? DH and I want to add to our video collection with seasons 2 and 3 of Dr. Who.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post Thanksgiving

As I sit here and ponder Thanksgiving leftovers, I contemplate on how satisfying turkey day actually was. I got to feed some of my family, and some of them even liked the stuffing - which was a first.

I can understand DH not liking stuffing - his Polish heritage really didn't lend itself to turkey and stuffing, but mine was totally turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It always made me wonder which planet my kids came from since neither liked our traditional family stuffing.

Even though I knew what I was up against, I prepared my family's traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. Dinner was a big hit and totally worth cooking it myself with no help from the stuck-in-Michigan-Mashed-Potato-Queen.

So yet another thing to be thankful for - besides the kitchen big enough to prepare and cook all this stuff and still have another person in there with me!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


So far this is NOT the Thanksgiving I envisioned.

I planned for Thanksgiving with my DH, my two daughters and husband's 89-year-old father.

What I am getting is:

1. Daughter #2 - Michigan resident - still stuck in Michigan due to car accident early last week. WE MISS YOU!

2. Daughter #1 - Tennessee resident - works until 2 pm, here for dinner and "hanging out" and then back to work for a split shift on freakin' Thanksgiving.

The turkey is done. The stuffing and green bean casserole are both ready to go in the oven. Gravy and mashed potatoes still to be completed. Shrimp cocktail ready to be consumed.

Things I am really thankful for this Thanksgiving.

1. Daughter #2 not injured during last week's accident.

2. Daughter #1 has a job and is getting extra hours.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Space Travel

I dreamt Sunday night that earth was invaded by aliens. They were cleverly disguised as human beings, however, I happened to catch a glimpse of them. They were similar to Cousin Itt from the Addams Family - TV series, not the movie. But instead of hair, they had tentacles sprouting from their - er - scalp.

These aliens were inviting hordes of earthlings to return home with them to their galaxy, many light years away. Both my daughters were anxious to go, and I couldn't in good conscience let them go without me.

In order for earthlings to travel this great distance with them and to preserve them, all would be given a travel disc. These travel discs looked like pretty mosaic tile coasters.

Well, we boarded one of the ships that would carry us to their galaxy. Strange things were happening, and people were unable to locate loved ones. The aliens would say that they had to split up families to fit everyone on board the ships. It was at this point that I got a glimpse of the real aliens. Especially the wide double layer of teeth. Ugh.

The planet, when we landed, had an atmosphere slightly similar to earth, but left you feeling kind of giddy and ambivalent. Scary place. Looked normal. By this point, I was trying to convince people we should get back on board one of the ships and go home. My worst fears were confirmed when my daughters and I were dumbstruck by the sight of earthlings being eaten by the aliens. They had done their grocery shopping on earth!

Well, it didn't take long for us to scamper back to one of the ships with as many people as we could find - making sure all had their pretty little discs so we could safely fly home. One alien, taking the form of the child it had eaten invaded our party, and we had a hard time convincing everyone that it needed to be killed before it ate any more people. But kill it we did. Upon delivery of the fatal blow, the alien's body shifted between it's Cousin Itt with tentacles and it's last meal.

Upon returning home to earth, the girls and I went back to earth. Many people came to us looking for their loved ones. So many would not or could not come back with us. It was heart-rending.

Now I have this urge to shop for and purchase all the mosaic coasters I can find.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Know You're Retired When

  • You can go to a craft show early in the morning on a week day.
  • Your "lunch" is the sample aisle at Sam's Club or Costco. Or your lunch and dinner is the special Holiday food sampling at Sam's Club.
  • You do all your banking on Friday at the community bank because they have coffee and cookies.
  • You are utterly fascinated by the machinery that picks up your garbage (ours is automated) and that picks up your leaves. And you can spend the ten minutes it takes to pick up your leaves staring blankly at the process.
  • You can have lunch at any time - late even, especially if due to lunch in the sample aisle at Sam's.
  • Dinner is even later because of the late lunch.
  • Honey-do time is now spread over the entire week/month/year because DH is retired too!
  • You plan your meals out at local eateries according to their daily specials.
  • Laundry day is now any day. This is one of my favorites. I hated spending my day off catching up on cleaning and laundry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ups & Downs

DH and I have spent the last couple weeks trying to get pictures organized (and off the furniture in the guest room, and the floor, etc) and hung on the walls. All this in anticipation of our first over night guest, younger daughter from the frozen Great Lakes state.

Well, Tuesday night our bubble was burst when younger daughter called me to relate the details of the accident she had that evening. We are very grateful nobody was injured, but it kills her trip here for the week of Thanksgiving.

So, younger daughter, if you are reading here is the menu for next week:

Sunday - Vegetable Lasagna.

Monday - Sweet and sour meatballs. This is a huge favorite in our house.

Tuesday - not planned. Probably would have been some leftovers, or dinner out.

Wednesday - Pancake dinner - my kids and DH love my chocolate chip pancakes.

Thursday - Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & green bean casserole. Shrimp cocktail appetizers. Dessert to be determined. Rumor has it that we might have DQ ice cream cake.

Friday - Turkey pot pie - homemade from leftovers from Thursday's dinner.

Saturday - To be determined.

I rarely cook that often, but since the whole family was gonna be around for a week, thought we'd get some nice family dinners out of it.

Maybe Christmas ...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monday Stuff

The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion perform vital functions for Veterans in this country. One service they perform is serving as color guards at veteran funerals.

All fine and good, but it disturbs me that they mark milestones and celebrate having served at 1000 funerals. OK, marking the milestone is fine, but pictures and newspaper articles about them celebrating having served at 1000 funerals, just strikes me as wrong.

Today, like so many other families, we gave up our land line, which DH insisted we have installed. Doesn't matter that almost no one calls us on that line, he had to have it. Since we were "bundling" with Charter (the worst service of any cable company) and our year deal ran out, we had to drop it. Most people call our cell phones anyway. Actually, the only person who called us on a regular basis was the ding-bat who thought she was calling her voice mail. What does that say about someone, that she doesn't even know her own number? I can't say I'll miss her two to three times a week wrong numbers trying to access her voice mail.

What's for Breakfast

This came from Middle-Aged-Woman over at Unmitigated.

What's your favorite breakfast? Depends. On a daily basis, it is two flavors of Post Trail mix cereal mixed together (Raisin walnut and Cranberry Vanilla), a half banana, and OJ with pulp. Oh and to go with it Southern Pecan coffee (decaf or regular) from Joe Muggs (Books-A-Million.)

If you were breakfast, what would you be? One of those IHOP coffee cake pancakes! Or the shortcake ones they had last year.

Egg Yolks: runny or solid? Only slightly runny with egg whites solid. Like my eggs over medium.

Bacon or sausage? Bacon, extra extra crisp. No limp bacon here.

Weekend breakfast: healthy or indulgent? Indulgent. At Panera, using their WIFI while DH reads the Sunday Paper. No place like it in this little burg.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where is the Street?

I'm looking out over a sea of rippling yellow, gold, orange, red and brown, while the rain drops fall in the same colors. Not a psychedelic dream. My lawn and the street. I literally cannot see the street as it is totally covered with leave-fall from the weather of the past few days. Now, some of you might remember posts from earlier in the week, raking leaves, piling leaves, etc. Well, the city picked those up two days ago. You'd never know it, because there are leaves everywhere. Excuse me, wet leaves everywhere because of the rain of the last few days. Lawn guy comes this week, the leaves will be his chore! No way will it dry out enough for us to do the raking before he comes. The one side of our house usually forms a small lake - house is graded to pull this moisture away from the house and the only place for it to drain is this low spot. When we bought the lot, you didn't really notice the grade and the little bump we call "the hill." Our hill is essentially a section of the lot that rises about 6 feet or so. So the builder graded it to pull the wet away and it works, but that low spot - oh well it isn't in the crawl space.

Older daughter got her schedule for her LAST semester of school. Now all she has to do is get through it and she will have that Political Science degree in hand. She is actually looking at opportunities in the area since she has grown to love our little community. We shall see.

Younger daughter also got her schedule for next semester, her first semester back in school in a few years. She's hoping to finish in 2011.

These two young women continually amaze me. They are both talented writers. Both are capable of great things. I'm hoping some day to read published works by both.

Wine-tasting today at the new winery in town's Open House. Looking forward to that!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thirtieth Anniversary & Other Stuff

Not that anyone is celebrating this one - but yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre. I say massacre and not suicide because one-third of the victims were children. They were injected. That is murder not suicide.

So last night DH and I caught the last hour of the anniversary special of it. It seems to me each year, that more information comes out that is even more horrendous than originally thought. This really bothers me, that most of the children could not be identified and that there are 400 people buried in a mass grave in California because they could not be identified.

So all this makes me remember the year our older daughter spent in what we called "the cult." She was in the Masters program that Detroit World Outreach sponsored. She had to pay to participate in this program and I think the so-called Christians who ran this program came near to starving and working these young people to death.

I don't think older daughter ever really realized how we felt about that church of hers. Always, Jonestown was in the back of my mind. I am so glad she had the courage to stay with the masters program through the entire first year, but extremely happy and grateful when she left that awful church.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Late Show

While channel surfing the other night, DH came across a war movie that neither of us had seen. I have to admit, I am sort of addicted to war movies, having watched some of those old WWII era films with my dad when I was a kid. There was a time I probably could have repeated the dialog for "The Enemy Below." This war movie we hadn't seen was "The Great Raid" a 2005 flick starring Benjamin Bratt and Joseph Fiennes. If you haven't seen it rent it, it was great. The story and substory are the US raid on the Cabanatuan POW camp in the Philippines. The prisoners held there were survivors of the Bataan death march, who were either too ill or too old to be of any use to their Japanese captors. The sub story revolves around Margaret Utinsky, who worked for the Red Cross under an assumed passport. Her story parts from the truth, in that her husband was one of the soldiers captured and sent on the Bataan death march, he survived that to die in 1942 in a POW camp. Miss U as she was known worked with the Filipino underground to smuggle drugs to the POWs in Cabanatuan and other camps. She was arrested, tortured, and I won't tell you any more. It was a great movie, based on a real event and for me that is always a winner in a film.

What disturbed me, greatly, were the commercials during this film. I understand the target audience is probably men in the 60+ range, but some of those commercials were scary. Especially the vacuum therapy. They showed the equipment and all I could think of was some cheap guy trying a vacuum cleaner hose instead. Then there were various products to "extend" the enjoyment. I don't see commercials like these on HGTV, that is for darn sure!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It Seemed Like a good Idea At the Time

Picture a one-half acre lot with fifty-three beautiful trees on it. Picture removing 28 of those trees. Now picture building a nice ranch home on the lot. Picture spring and summer. Spring with dogwoods and tulip tree in bloom. Summer with all the trees covered in nice beautiful green leaves. Beautiful, huh?

Are you now picturing fall with those same green leaves turning various shades of purple, red, yellow, orange, rust and brown? You know what happens next, right? FALL. Now, I am sure it is called FALL because all the leaves FALL from the trees onto the roof of the house, into the gutter, and onto the lawn.

So after lunch, and hoping the ground has de-soggified from last weekend's rain, out we go with the leaf blower, rake, tarps to rake up the leaves. Hah! We got the back half done and nothing done on the sides or front before dark set in. Dark is before 5 pm here on the eastern edge of the Central Time Zone.

Makes me wonder if we should have gotten rid of a few more trees! Oh well, maybe we'll finish tomorrow before it rains again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Walk on the Cold and Hilly Side

My kids have been in the paper many times over the years, honor rolls, scholarships, playground designs and one not so great reason: My youngest has rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosed at the age of 22 and now 26, Andrea has been battling this disease for 4 years now. And if you think I am exaggerating, battle it she has. Rheumatoid arthritis can be an extremely debilitating disease; the treatment for it can also cause other problems.

Again, this year, she is asking for support for The Arthritis Foundation’s Annual Jingle Bell 5K walk/run in Northville, Michigan. This will be her fourth walk, and believe me it is a challenge. I know, because DH and I walked it with her before we moved here. Picture charming Northville, Michigan with all its hills and tree-lined residential streets. Picture walking that with an inch or so of snow on the ground in temperatures well below freezing. If you make it up that first hill, you are already a champ. When you make it up the second hill, you are only about one-quarter through the route. The year we walked it with her, there were children, adults, and I will never forget the two elderly ladies walking the route with their canes, taking a breather ever couple of blocks. In the snow and cold.

This run/walk helps to raise money to search for a cure for RA. Maybe it won't come soon enough to help Andrea, but just maybe it might make life easier for your child or grandchild.

Here is a link to her site: Andrea's Jingle Bell Donation Page.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Save the Rats?

While at one of the art studio/gallery on Saturday during our town's Art Prowl (see Saturday's post), I happened to hear an "artsy" person tell another prowler how she "rescued" a baby rat. I am telling you this was not a "pet" rat, but a garden variety rat. Apparently said baby rat had been abandoned by it's mother, or mother was blessedly (my opinion - not hers) killed. She told how she fed and kept it warm, but she knew that baby rat wanted back out in it's natural environment, so she took it out to her garden and placed it there and sprinkled herbs on it so predators would leave it alone. She had this rat in her house! UGH!

What the ...? There can't be that big of a culture gap between the north and south. Rats are well .. rats. They are vermin, they spread disease. Yeesh. She obviously never saw the movie "Ben."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Music Meme

Lifted from Gathering Dust and Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated.

The song which:

Reminds you of an ex-lover: Annie's Song by John Denver. I have a friend Maggi, who was always jealous that our friend Jeanne (Jean from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie written by Rod McKuen) and I had such nice songs with our names in them and she had Maggie May (Rod Stewart). Anyway, I digress. The song came out in July of 1974 right after I started dating this guy. It was a beautiful song and brings me some nice memories.

Reminds me of an ex-friend: This is an oldie - If they could see me now - would really describe someone I was great friends with in high school. We had a lot in common, the same insecurities, both kind of crazy. I could never figure out why she was so insecure until one day I realized she didn't wear her glasses between classes. Blind as a bat and couldn't see people waving at her or trying to get her attention. I talked her into contacts and she blossomed into a hugely confident person. College and marriage and children grounded her. I miss her.

Makes you cry: I cry most when I am really mad, but heavy bass sounds make me physically ill - does that count?

Makes you laugh: There are two. Neither are "real songs" in that if you didn't grow up listening to Dick Purtan in the Detroit radio market, then you probably wouldn't get them. One is "Liquidate Ohio State" and the other is "They Don't Make Nun Names Like That No More." The first dates back to the old days of Michigan/Ohio State rivalry between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. The other one is credited to Tommy Sharp and the Sharptones.

You never want to hear again: In the Year 2525. Song speaks for itself. Depressing.

Sums up your teenage years: Aquarius. Appropriate since I am an Aquarius. It was also our class song in 1970 (gasp) when I graduated from high school.

You wanted to get married to: We've Only Just Begun. Small wedding, no music. But that is what DH and I both would have chosen.

Songs that make you want to "get it on": The Summer Knows, theme from Summer of 42. Beautiful instrumental.

You like to wake up to: No music thank you. I like quiet in the morning. No talking either.

You like out of your parents' collection: Mitch Miller. The Christmas Album is my favorite and I even own it on CD.

Wouldn't know about if it weren't for a friend: Lots of music that I have no titles for. My kids have pretty eclectic taste - so I would count Gathering Dust a friend (instead of my kid) and say Michael Buble. Did I tell you I am really bad with song titles and artists?

You want at your funeral: We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel. I love it. And maybe American Pie because I am positive both my kids would sing it. They should be able to sing it in their sleep.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

On the Prowl

This was the weekend for the Annual Art Prowl held in our little burg. The Art Prowl started in 1999 with artist studio tours and has grown some in subsequent years. It is one thing to go to an art gallery and quite another thing to see the artist in their element. The Prowl has also incorporated some artist demonstrations. This year there was a weaving demonstration, and today we had the chance to see a demonstration of monotone painting. It wasn't quite what I expected, but interesting just the same.

Also on tap this weekend was the Mistletoe Market, which sponsors area businesses. Also very cool and you always meet such nice people there. It gives you the chance to see their merchandise without having to go to their business. One of the new businesses is Delmonaco Winery which opens next weekend. It is a big deal in a county in which you can't buy package liquor. You can buy beer, but wine and liquor have so far not been available in this county. So this will be a real treat and shorten our trip for wine by 10-30 miles.

One of the best things about this weekend's activities - it inspired us to start hanging pictures we brought from Michigan.

I feel so full of culture now!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Glad That's Over

The longest campaign season in history - at least 21 months is over. History was made with the election of the first black man to the highest office in our land. Congratulations, Mr. Obama.

Two races in Putnam County, Tennessee came out the way I hoped: Baxter, TN gets to sell package liquour and the wheel tax was defeated.

Over all, I don't feel jubilant or sad, just an overwhelming relief that for a few months we don't have to deal with another presidental campaign.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election day

On one hand, I can't wait until this blasted election is over since I am so tired of the nearly two year long campaigning. As usual the campaign has descended into sniping and way too much money has been spent. Five billion dollars - can't even imagine numbers like that.

On the other hand, I will certainly miss the SNL spoofs. What can I say - it's my sick sense of humor coming out.

Tuesday is election day, vote early and vote often!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Buh-Bye Daylight Savings

I am so sad. Sniff.

We've reached the end of daylight savings time*. To me that is the saddest day of the year. So what if we get an extra hour of sleep.

All our clocks changed except 4 - not counting cars. The clock in his car changed in October because of the software. It did that last year too and the car dealer said it would be $185 to correct the software. This year, after having to deal with the time change in November again (we went 3 weeks in the spring with the wrong time) DH called the manufacturer and was told all dealers were sent the software for dealing with that. He took his car into the dealer and sure enough, they had no idea what the software was for, took care of it free of change and we will find out when we take his car out, if it worked. My car has manual time change.

OK, I really don't mind physically changing the clocks, but the atomic clocks are great. At least all of the ones in the house except the one in my office, which did not change. What is up with that?

The clocks in the kitchen - microwave and stove. Microwave is easy to set, stove you have to hold that button in while it advances 12 hours via advancing the minutes. How stupid can you feel standing there with your finger on a stove button for 60 seconds?

In the bedroom, he has an atomic clock, I have the old-fashioned kind, which I set when we retired for the evening (as opposed to just retiring.)

So why is this the saddest day of the year? It will get dark really early - at 4:44 p.m. By the time December 22nd comes around, I will be so thankful for those 2 extra minutes of daylight we'll get. I'm a daylight lover, what can I say!

*If you missed the switch back to DST, or need any other time and calendar information I recommend Time and It's a great site and you can print a list of more holidays than you will ever recognize.

Friday, October 31, 2008


It isn't even dark yet, and already I've been contacted by a witch! Well, younger daughter who is having an identity crisis this year. Dressing as a witch today and cave woman tomorrow. This should be interesting, and can't wait to see those pics!

While this is our second Halloween down in Tennessee, last year we were the only people living on our street in our rented condo. No one came trick or treating there.

So this year, we are in the new house in the older subdivision and we are prepared, we hope, for all the little ghosts, goblins, witches, devils, Spidermen, princesses, etc that make the rounds on Halloween.

The weather here is what we always dreamed of for Halloween when I was a kid - it is 66 degrees out, which means by 5:30 it will still be in the 50's. The skies are clear for the trickers!

It has become tradition in Tennessee, as it has in other places, for kids to go trick or treating at shopping centers. We don't have a mall like malls in other areas, but we do have strip malls everywhere and I have been assured there will be plenty of kids still making the rounds of the neighborhood. Our street has only 7 houses, there are no sidewalks, so this will be pretty interesting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo Finish

As a genealogist, I belong to several mailing lists, one is for Erie County, New York. Lots of good things have come from that list including a link to this blog The Practical Archivist. You know, we all have our guilty photo secrets, like the boxes and boxes of them that we moved down here from Michigan. Last fall, younger daughter went through all of them and selected the ones she wanted to keep, giving me a stack to scan for distribution on CD. Older daughter got 3/4 of the way through and still has a fair amount to search through and then DH and I will sort through them and keep only ones we truly want. The rest, gasp, we are going to get rid of. I have a box of pictures my aunt gave ne, mostly because she didn't know who the people were. I got maybe two dozen photos out of that box of people I could identify - out of at least two hundred photos.

Now, I should mention that my dad was a pack rat. His father was a pack rat. My husband's father is a pack rat. So when it comes to photos, you guessed it, we have all of the ones we have EVER taken. Remember double prints? Good idea if you are going to share them. Mostly we have double pictures of places we don't even remember. Somewhere along the line in the early 1990's I started separating them by year and did a pretty good job of it, but stopped by 1996 when I went back to work. Who had time for that? So now comes the really daunting task of sorting through them one more time.

Oh well, it will give us something to do between now and the 2012 election!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tag Time

Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated tagged me for 7 Random things about me. Not sure I can come up with that many, buttttttt:

1. I love the mountains, at least looking at them. You see, I am terrified of heights. Have found that playing with the GPS locater in DH's car seeing how high up we are distracts me a bit.

2. I love flying. My preferred mode of traveling anywhere. You get a view of the landscape that is so gorgeous. My favorite place to fly over is the New York finger lakes area. Spectacular. That height thing? Somehow several miles up and detached doesn't bother me that much.

3. I am absolutely, positively crazy about Harry Potter. Mars, Hershey & Dove should all be booming with the number of dementors DH and I see on a regular basis.

4. I am learning to love to cook. I hadn't cooked much in the last few years prior to my 2006 retirement from the City of Livonia. Since moving to middle Tennessee, and changing from a gas stove (I hated my last two gas stoves) to an electric smooth top stove, I have had lots of fun cooking again. The last smooth top was in our rental and now I have one with a warming burner which is really useful.

5. I miss working on my miniatures. They're still in storage awaiting permanent homes here.

6. I am an avid family researcher. Actually, I guess you could say that I am obsessed with it. Mom's dad always told us his family was French. All I can say is yes, they were born in France, near Strasbourg on the border of Germany. The family spoke German, even after they came to America. How do I know this? The census. One of the censuses gave native language. Mom learned to cook from her aunt Rose, who cooked in the German way. We never tasted this because Dad did not like German cooking.

Dad always told us the Bowmans were Scots too. He didn't know until I did the research that the Bowmans were actually Baumanns and were from Germany. They were instrumental in settling the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with Joist Hite (Heydt) also German and the father-in-law of Hans Georg (George) Bowman/Baumann our immigrant ancestor.

7. I am very proud of my kids. They make me prouder every year. They've both always made their own decisions, some good, some really awful decisions, and have risen above them. Some day I know they will be as happy in relationships as their dad and I are.

I'm going to tag Sara over at Que Sera, Sera. If she can spare the time from her studies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small Town Charm

Four years ago when we made our first trip to this cozy little town, we were out one night looking for snacks. Now, you can only live on so much vending machine stuff before you start craving some goodies. Namely ice cream, which is hard to keep in a hotel room, even ones with mini-fridges.

So off we went to explore. During the day, we had noticed this big CREAM CITY sign over one of the buildings downtown. Ice cream! Can you imagine our disappointment when we drove up and discovered it hadn't been an ice cream place in many, many years? Not only that, but it was a former ice cream plant not a soda fountain.

I don't know if the Cream City sign was kept as a landmark, or too expensive to tear down, BUT it is always lit at night. Those neon lights would spell out Cream City in a running pattern.

Shortly after we bought our property, someone bought the building, and installed an upscale candy place in it, called Cocoa Ladies. Well, that is sort of defunct. Last I saw they were operating out of the coffee shop next door.

In February, we heard the building had sold again. We waited and we waited for something to open up, keeping our fingers crossed. Since Murphy's law reigns supreme around me, while we were in Michigan for niece's wedding, the Herald-Citizen ran an article on the new "Cream City Cafe and soda fountain."

So it was this afternoon, that we made our way downtown to Cream City and lunched at the cafe, adding a small ice cream sundae to the mix. Yum. DH had a fried pork chop and 3 sides. I had a BLT. They were delicious. It reminded me of the soda fountains that used to be in drug stores. Or of the lunch counter at Woolworths or Kresges. We were served cokes in glass bottles with straws. It was a fun blast from the past.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Birthday Guy

DH has his 59th birthday today - sorry DH for spilling the beans - and it reminds me of when I first met him. We met on a singles bowling league 30 years ago. It was his birthday and a card was circulating for him. Since I was new to the league and we hadn't yet bowled his team, I had someone point him out. Interesting. I've always been attracted to dark-haired men, and his was very dark and he had a really nice groomed beard and mustache. Yummy. Then I was told he was dating someone. Rats.

A month later, we met again at a Michigan-Ohio State game party. He came a little later and was sitting in the chair I had vacated earlier. He let me sit on his lap. So unlike him, I later found out. Love at first sit? Don't know, but yet another month went by, and we were attending a production of Annie at the Fisher Theater in Detroit. I was able to purchase discounted tickets for it, and DH had asked for two. By the time the date had rolled around, he and the woman he was dating had broken up, but he still brought her. I found out yet another month later that they had broken up just before we went to the theater. So it was in January 1979, we started bowling together. We were goaded into an incentive program for bowling. If you got a spare, one kiss; if a strike, two kisses. What a great way to find out if your partner is a good kisser! Thus, began our relationship.

Later on, I found out friends of both of us were horrified by the combination of the two of us. Yes, I am outspoken, and I was a bit wild back then. DH was always on the quiet side. Whatever, we just meshed, and I have had the honor of spending every birthday since with him. We became more than just husband and wife in 1979. He is my very best friend.

Many more, DH! I love you more and more each day!

The Elections

Last night we had the pleasure of attending a Republican/Democratic debate put on by the Tennessee Tech Debate club, college Democrats, College Republicans, and sponsored by the American Association of University Professors. It was moderated by our own Mayor Sam Sallee (SuhLEE). Most of the attendees were university students who were collecting extra credit for attending. The auditorium was mostly full. Our Older College Student Daughter was one of the participants in the Q & A portion and while a little nervous at first, soon was fielding questions on the democrat side.

We figure this is the first presidential election for most of these kids. It is great to see them out there asking questions, thinking for themselves.

The final speaker was a professor of history that Sara had last semester. He spoke of elections that were pivotal, as this one is. He did give one statistic that did not surprise me. Fifty percent of people in this country who are eligible to vote, do not. I'm not sure what the percentage is in Cookeville and Putnam county, but since our population in the county is about 63,000 and about 26,000 voted in the last presidential election, I would say we're about at the same level as every where else. While 26,000 is more than one-third of the county population, I don't know how many children there are in the county.

Tennessee is an early voting state, and we took advantage of it during the primaries and cast our votes yesterday. With high voter registration, we still waited in line for a while. But worth it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Classic Tennessee Autumn

I awoke this morning to a crisp, clear 44 degree Tennessee October day. There are no words to describe how much I love this weather. My favorite weather has always been light sweater weather. After our months of 90+ degrees, this is sure welcome.

The grass is a beautiful shade of green, sprinkled with the browns, reds, and yellows of fallen leaves. At 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun is casting long shadows on the ground. It is absolutely glorious out there.

DH and I have been busy catching up on chores around the house, and we love that the weather is cooperating for a few days. It's hard to believe that Halloween is just next week and Thanksgiving is around the corner.

Enjoying it while I can!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time Travelin' Done!

Ah, back home again. There are no words to describe how great it is to be back in our ow home again. While we had a great time visiting with family and friends last week, there is no place like home!

The mother and father of the bride seemed to take everything in stride. The F.O.B. showed everyone how a proper wall dance should be done. Tis easy if you make it look like you just tripped out!

Generally, kids at weddings are a pain. However, the 7 year old male/female twins of the F.O.B.'s brother & sister-in-law, were so well behaved and so entertaining. It looks like F.O.B. gave young male twin dance lessons.

The day after the wedding after lunch with our younger daughter, we had a nice visit, dinner & left over wedding cake at the bride's parents' home. Great visit with some of my sibs and nephews, niece in law and nephew's girlfriend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back to the Future

That's how I feel when we travel in and out of time zones. Now we are in the future (EDT) and when we go home well, we'll be in normal time.

Traveling is always, well, a trip! DH loves playing with those darn hotel alarm clocks. So last night he set it to go off at 7:30 am. Well it went off at 1:20 am. And 2:20 am. Guess whose side of the bed the alarm was on? And I thought it was the darn phone ringing. We figured to heck with the clock, we'd chance it that we'd get up on time and we did. What a hoot!

No offense to any Ohio residents, but driving through your state sucks. By the time we got to the Michigan border this afternoon we were bored with the flat landscape. We also noted that Ohio sucked us in by the beautiful Cincinnati skyline, but 6 miles into the state from Kentucky you hit the horrendous local traffic of Cincinnati which extends for about 20 miles.

Michigan isn't much better. Lane closure signs on NB I-75 clearly state that the right lane is closed between exits 20 and 29. What about the 10 miles before that?

For the first time since we first started to travel to Tennessee, there is no road construction on I-40 between Knoxville and exit 286. No, now it is east of Knoxville. Between 2001 and 2007 the construction of a new exit onto Papermill road in Knoxville made traffic completely stop. Maybe it was to admire their fine work? Or to make sure you got caught in the blasting zone? Oh, there was a blasting zone in Kentucky. By the time you got your cell phone turned off, you were out of the blasting zone. Is this sort of a southern Russian roulette?

So far, the trip has been great. Had a great dinner with younger soon-to-be-returning-college-student-daughter last night and caught up on stuff we don't talk about on the phone or in email. More like Bachelorette Party Scavenger Hunt. YD is a lot more like her mom than I ever expected. YD - I never told my mom half that stuff.

Tonight is the big wedding of my second oldest niece - I have three - and we are truly looking forward to it. The wedding locale is three-quarters of a mile from where we lived before the move to Tennessee. Wonder if the new owners would mind house guests tonight!

On the Road Again, Pt 2

I love driving in Tennessee. It doesn't matter if I am on the interstate - except for areas of road construction - it is a beautiful state. We live up on the Cumberland Plateau and sometimes take for granted the beautiful vistas we experience on a daily basis. But driving through the hills of Tennessee and southern Kentucky is something that feels new to me every trip. And they are so beautiful when we finally head home again, sometimes they take my breath away.

Heading north, just before the Kentucky-Ohio border there is a view of Cincinnati that is impressive. I managed to snap this photo from a moving car.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the Road Again ...

I love to travel. I love to go new places. However, most of the trips we've taken in the last 5 years have been to Tennessee, North Carolina and Michigan. Maybe not so exciting, but a trip is a trip.

Niece is getting married this weekend, so once again we head to the cold north. What can I say, I've gotten used to 85 degrees in October! The usual trip starts with this type of discussion with DH:

DH: Let's go have breakfast and then come home and load up.

TNLady: No, let's load up, go have breakfast and leave.

DH: But I'd rather come back.

TNLady: But what if they are finally paving Fairground street.

DH: Like that's going to happen?

So guess what? They were finally paving the rest of Fairground street. This is what greeted us. So we sat and sat and I turned and looked at DH and said "Looks like hell froze over!" Really hoping that this is complete when we get back to TN next week. PLEASE!

Monday, October 13, 2008

October? Really?

I can't believe it is almost the middle of October. Where did this month go? Oh yeah, watering. Well the rain we expected came - over an inch and what a relief that was. Our straw made way for lots of nice green grass. It's starting to look like a lawn again! I kept busy by getting some of my fall/winter plants in the ground. I bought some mums that like full sun and splurged on some winter pansies. Coming from Michigan, I couln't believe you could grow pretty flowers all winter long! We saw evidence of this last winter, so this winter I have my own.

For visitors to our humble little town, I always try to drive them past the in-city pasture for a look at the cows. Silly, but how many cities have pastureland? One day when driving past one of the car dealers in town, the cows were hanging over fence looking at the new vehicles. How I wish I'd had my camera in tow that day. Sigh. But I did the other day when they were in their pasture grazing. We were stopped at the traffic light and there they were.
On the Fairground road construction front, nothing has been done but moving dirt around. Road construction is basically at a halt. We hear trucks every day, but I think they just drive them up and down to make us think they are working. In the area that is still unpaved there must be at least a dozen homes. One of those homes runs a lunch canteen. That has been closed for the last year. Oh well, trip to Michigan for niece's wedding this week, maybe it will be done when we get home? And maybe pigs fly?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making that Darn Grass Grow

The seed hasn't even been in a week, but already we are starting to see fine blades of grass peek through the straw.

It hasn't been easy getting this far. We only had 0.08 inches of rain in September. So far in October we've had none (please don't let it blow past us tomorrow night).

This morning DH was moving sprinklers around trying to get it done before noon and before it hit 80 for the day, when I suggested we set it up on the drive. Well, we did, and he put a rock on one side to hold it in place. It was working just fine and then .. well the video says it all. That is my fine cackle you hear!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lost in Translation

The internet is a wonderful thing. Yesterday I received an email from Poland. And no, it was not spam. This was forwarded through a service that matches family trees. The family this gentleman was researching is one of my DH's lines. I had to copy and paste his email into a nifty online Polish translator which didn't do a great job of translating what he said and what I wanted to say, but I think he understood me.

This morning, the first email in my box was from him and it included image files of a family chart of this line of my DH. Very cool. I forwarded the email to a Polish friend, hoping she can translate it better than the online translator. The charts I can read fortunately.

I spent an hour this morning trying to word a thank you note to the researcher. I flipped it back and forth between English and Polish. I hope it didn't lose anything in the translation.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Generational - My Family

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Create your own family sticker graphic at

This reminds me of Simon in the land of Chalk Drawings which my kids watched on Nickelodeon when they were young. I was all set to add the beard to DH, when I remembered he doesn't have one any more! YD and I are upset we don't seem to have boobs. Thanks MAW!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Do you know where and what you were doing October 3rd, 2007? I do. This time one year ago, this time one year ago, DH and I were embarking on the third greatest adventure of our lives. Number one of course was marriage, number two was raising kids. Number three? Moving 600 miles away from where we had lived all our lives. And so it was that one year ago today we found ourselves, vehicles packed with stuff that couldn't go on the moving truck, driving separately to Tennessee.

Over all, it has been wonderful. The downside has been leaving our youngest in Michigan. We had been preparing her for several years that this was what we were going to do. It's not like we woke up on October 2nd and said, let's move out of state tomorrow. We also left behind most of my siblings (brother jumped the ship several years ago) and assorted cousins.

On the upside, we get to enjoy the company of oldest quite a bit, since she moved here about 3 months before we did on our recommendation. It has been a great move for her both financially and emotionally. She is preparing for her graduation from Tennessee Tech in the spring. There is no where else she would have been able to get a quality education and live on her own. Rents are very affordable in the college area.

We get to live in a small town on a nice lot of approximately 20,000 sq feet (half an acre) which is surrounded by trees and great neighbors. Just about all our neighbors have lived either in Michigan or some other Northern place, so we are on common ground on how nice it is here.

We have already enjoyed one fall and one winter and spring here. Summer was something else. Summer started in May and for the most part we had about 3 months of 90+ degree weather. In September, temps finally started to take a downward turn and pretty much kept to the 80's. Even now, in early October, we are enjoying nights in the low 50's with highs in the low to mid-70's. This is what we Northerner's call Indian summer. Last year this type of weather held until mid November.

The building process was sort of enjoyable. Our builder is a great guy who worried about spending every penny of our money as if it were his own. What more could you ask. He didn't mind us coming daily (after work crews were gone mostly) for that progress check. Of course, doing that cost us a few dollars, as that was when we made some changes, but it was so worth it to see the progress on our construction. He even had the concrete people rip out the garage floor because it bubbled and had it re-poured. I think he's the next best thing to having my brother-in-law, the builder, here.

So happy anniversary to us on our new adventure!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Watching the Grass Grow

The crabgrass is dead, dead and gone! Three loads of pig-dirt have been used to fill some of the settling and low spots, and evened out the ground around the trees (all 27 of them.) Seed has been spread, and straw/hay whatever that stuff is has been blown on the seed to keep the birds out of it. DH has been busy all day watering. We really miss the sprinkler system, that's for sure.

It only got to about 83 degrees here yesterday, but that dirt was really "ripe." For the most part, the straw/hay has a sweeter smell to it and masks that awful dirt smell.

The picture was taken by DH with his camera phone of the straw being sprayed on the seed. This is a really messy job and now the windows will be ready for cleaning!

All we have left now is to watch the grass grow!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Big Read

Thought I'd list a few books that I've read that I really loved. Won't put them in any particular order as that would cause too many brain cells to explode. Most of these are books I've read more than once and a lot of them made great movies.

1. Gone with the Wind. More than once.

2. The Great Escape. Real story of massive POW escape in German Silesia during WWII. Also read more than once. Loved the movie too.

3. Huck Finn. Tom Sawyer. I loved both of them. Read more than once.

4. Little Women. Little Men. Jo's Boys. They all made me cry. Still do.

5. Random Harvest. Also made a great movie.

6. Outlander. And I won't name the other 5 books, a work in progress for author Diana Gabaldon. Who doesn't love time travel and love stories combined. One of the things that intrigued me about this was the first book started in 1946, the year my parents got married.

7. Into the Wilderness, et al by Sarah Donati. The first book which I have listed sort of starts up 30 years later than the movie Last of the Mohicans.

8. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. This series, by Lauren Willig, is about an American working on her doctorate in English History researching this gang of spies of the Napoleonic era. Also an ongoing series.

9. Knight Errant, et al by R. Garcia y Robertson. Another time traveler is swept back into the War of the Roses, meeting The Future King. I loved this series, didn't like the way it ended.

10. Mommie Dearest. The inspiration for teaching my kids to call me this. They didn't get it for many years. Their friends are horrified when they hear it. Then my children have to 'splain their mom wasn't THAT bad!

11. Every biography that I ever read. My love of biographies has been with me since grade school. Nun librarian told me I read too many of them.

12. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Also everything else he has done of a humorous nature. A little non-fiction is good for the soul. Laughter is even better.

13. Lost Horizon. Made into a movie under the name of Shangri-La. Movie just didn't do the book justice.

14. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. Also made into a movie. Donald Sutherland was superb in the role of the confederate "Capt." Marsden. Diane Lane stunning as Lucy Marsden.

15. One for the Money - Fearless Fourteen. All of the Janet Evanovich "Stephanie Plum" series. How can you not love someone who has one or two cars destroyed per book. And Grandma Mazur. I wish I had a grandma like that!

16. Fuzzy Navel. The latest in the "Jack Daniels" series by J. A. Konrath. Violent yes. Entertaining. Hell yes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Notes on Road Construction

We just had a load of pig dirt delivered. When I say load, I'm not thinking those small dump trucks that deliver mulch, stone, etc from landscaping companies. I mean those DUMP TRUCKS that work for large construction companies. The dirt peak in the truck was at least a foot higher than the truck.

So now it sits on my lawn. Or more accurately on the brown remains of the crabgrass.

DH talked to the truck driver who works for the construction company responsible for the everlasting road widening project on Fairground Street, a block away. This is the road construction that has been going on one year this week. It seems they have had a few problems. Early on they hit a water line that wasn't where it was supposed to be. Lately they have been finding weird things. In one spot, they'll dig, everything is fine and dirt is hard and compacted. Ten feet up the road, the dirt is soft, they hit a minor sinkhole caused by an old drain. Apparently some of these drains date back to the mid 1800's, but still have to be investigated to make sure they aren't connected to anything. So it's time consuming.

I think we'll have grass again on our lawn before this road construction is finished.