Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye Bye Number Nine

I can't say I am sorry to say goodbye to 2009. It's been quite a year.

On the really good side, Older Daughter graduated from Tennessee Tech with a degree in Political Science. Anyone have a job for her? We sure would love to see her out of retail, but feel grateful that she is employed.

Also on the good side were two spectacular visits with Younger Daughter. She made the trip down for her sisser's graduation in May and we had a great visit with her in July for her birthday. On the down side? She had to cancel her Thanksgiving trip yet again. Maybe Christmas in 2010? Younger Daughter is also working towards her degree. It's a long haul when you are working full time and carrying a lot of credit hours. Younger daughter also puts in time and effort fighting rheumatoid arthritis. Not only for herself, but helping to raise money to combat this horrible disease.

Dear Husband's father is still hanging in there. One of the best moves we made was bringing him down to Tennessee with us in 2007. The assisted living facility he is in has about 40 other permanent residents and he is a favorite of caretakers. He participates in exercise classes and plays bingo! They have some of the weirdest prizes I've ever seen - and believe me a lot of them end up here.

Weather has played a large part in the Tennessee economy over the last three years. Two years of drought followed by almost record-setting precipitation has hit the Farmer's hard. There have been plant closures over the last three years also and one of our neighbors makes the 40 mile trip to Crossville five days a week.

Some businesses thrive while others struggle to get off the ground. There is an old ice cream parlor in town which was briefly open last year, the owner became ill and had to sell out. A new bakery was set to move into the site and that effort seems to have stalled.

And our National Guard Unit, the 278th Armored Cavalry, is on it's way to Iraq again, in what we hope is their last deployment there. They shipped down to Mississippi in early December and before they even left, fundraising began here to bring them home for Christmas. They shipped back down to Mississippi yesterday. Since a huge majority are from Tennessee, their deployment leaves a huge hole in the middle Tennessee area.

2009 has had its ups and its downs and all I can say is goodbye!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post Christmas Blahs

I don't usually get the post holiday doldrums until late January. They are starting early this year. In fact, I can hardly wait to get my tree down. I didn't decorate as extensively as normal. Which will make taking the decorations down a lot easier!

The best thing about winter, is I get a good view of the birds at my feeders out front. Their usual bird seed has been augmented with suet. The squirrels have been discouraged from eating the seed by the addition of a foil pie plate atop the feeder and a touch of cayenne pepper to the seed.

It was so cold here, the birdbaths have both turned into ice ponds! The wind is whipping around and we have a wind chill of 34. Brrrr. Hey, this is mid-tennessee, and this feels cold!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ridiculous

In 2007 and 2008 Tennessee suffered from terrible drought. 2009 is a different story altogether. So far this year we've had over 75 inches of precipitation and are less than an inch from the record. This year the second crop of tomatoes failed. Hay rotted. Tobacco leaves fell off the plants. While the last one really doesn't bother me too much, this is a tobacco state, and I feel for the farmers.

However because early in the year there was enough rain for the crops, the farmer's market here in town prospered.

And slugs or other critters got two of my hostas! Dang!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Better Luck Next Year?

The Tennessee branch of my family (me, DH and older daughter) were attempting to start a new tradition by having Christmas Eve Dinner out at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Last week when we checked, we were told that they would be open until about 7 pm on Christmas eve. So imagine our dismay when we arrived at said restaurant at shortly after 4 pm only to find out they were closing at 4:30.

So the scramble began. We finally settled on Applebee's and were rewarded with a great meal.  It wasn't the meal we had planned, but it was fun.

Next year, I might rely on my fallback plan and serve chocolate chip pancakes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Every family has their traditions, and one of the things I appreciated and miss the most, is my family's Christmas Eve tradition.

I think it started when my older sister had kids, so my parents didn't have to compete with the in-laws. Nevertheless, it was nice to spend a chaotic evening with parents, kids and grandkids. Because my youngest sisters were marginally older than older sis's kids, it seems that there were always lots of youngsters around. My younger sis and I had our kids around the same time, so that by that time older sister's kids were 11, 10 and 9. The last of mom and dad's grandkids were born in 1989 and 1991.

The tradition included a turkey and stuffing dinner, just like Thanksgiving until mom and dad were no longer able to cook dinner. Finally, a nice simple ham with pot luck dinner at Diane's house with the family. This was followed by watching the kids open their gifts and a normal or not-so-normal gift exchange among the adults! Oh my, we laughed so hard!

Older brother and his wife, and my DH and I and older daughter have all moved away from our home state to warmer climes.

This year, we are starting a new tradition here in Mid Tennessee, whereby DH finds a place for us to dine out on Christmas Eve. Last year we tried this and the only place really open at 6 p.m. was Steak & Shake. After we got our food we were asked to hurry up and eat as they were closing at 6:30. We'll see how that works out!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Things I Don't Miss This Year.

1. Snow. I find I can really live without a white Christmas. With the way Tennesseans drive, believe me a white Christmas is unnecessary.

2. Ice. God willing there will be none this holiday season.

3. Having to work the day after Christmas. I remember the last one I worked. Really, can you imagine keeping a library open on the day after Christmas? No one comes. They're out shopping.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Things I Miss This Holiday Season

1. First I miss my youngest daughter tremendously, especially at the holiday season.

2. I miss the mashed potatoes she makes. They are so good.

3. I miss the rest of my family and the traditions we have built.

4. I miss my mom and dad. What is Christmas after all without dad falling asleep while opening his gifts.

5. I miss DH's mom. I felt like I was her daughter. What more could you want in a mother-in-law.

6. I miss having small kids around at Christmas. Especially that 3-7 age group. They really make the celebration special.

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Day of Winter

Today is the first day of winter. I saw somewhere that it starts at 11:47 a.m. Is that Eastern or Central time?

Today is also the first day of my new blog called Gene Notes in which I cover family research topics.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It'll Be a Redneck Christmas

No, I did not go out and buy the "Jingle Bells & Shotgun Shells" Christmas lights at Tractor Supply. Apparently they do not carry them anymore.

However, while hanging a suet feeder for the birds, I just happened to look across the street and saw that our neighbor was butchering a deer in his driveway. No #*(^! I guess the 26 people they'll have for dinner on Christmas day will have a surprise.

At least I HOPE it was a DEER hanging from that tree!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Joy of Christmas Mail

Standing in the post office on Wednesday to mail Younger Daughter's Christmas presents from us and I didn't even consider that she'd have them all opened probably within 30 seconds of receiving them. Hey! It isn't Christmas yet! Not that it is a surprise. This daughter is known for snooping! Just wait till next year!

I love the Christmas cards I receive from distant family members each year. I even miss some of the newsletters. I really love getting the family pictures. They are duly scanned and linked to the appropriate family in my family genealogy.

Then there is the Christmas email from the Honda dealership to please come in for $10 off parts or service, or great financing on a new vehicle! Cards from insurance agents this year sport new names. I HATE when the insurance company arbitrarily decides who is going to get your business when someone retires.

I love getting cards from "old" friends, new friends, distant friends and family and close friends and family. I love the handmade one my Aunt in Holland, Michigan. So pretty. And the funny ones, cute ones and serious ones. Thanks for all of them!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Holidays

In the spirit of the holidays, I have lifted this holiday meme from Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated. Since she swiped it from someone else ... well, it is sort of like a gift that keeps giving!

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?

Of course.

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.

Driving around and searching out Christmas lights. Central Tennessee doesn't get into the spirit like southeastern Michigan.

3. When do you put up your tree?

I used to put it up when hubby brought up the Christmas stuff from the basement. Last two years, it was kept in a storage facility when we had to wait for the alley in front of it to dry out so we didn't have to park in a crater of water. Now we have our own shed (alas, no basement) and after several days of rain followed by snow followed by rain, the stuff is in the house. It will be up this weekend, although I don't know why I bother as I seem to be the only person who enjoys all the hoopla!

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

The first time I went out on Black Friday was two years ago and only because I wanted hubby to get me a digital picture frame for Christmas and wanted to make sure he got the right one. And he wouldn't go unless I did. I will never ever do that again.

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home.

We stay home. The only place to head would be up north and I can live without the snow. Miss younger daughter at Christmas though.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory.

My whole family (siblings) probably agree with this one - our dad falling asleep opening a present. Really.

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time.

Ooh. There are several. Definitely White Christmas. Also Holiday Inn. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Love Actually (this one is creeping up in my ratings.) One of my new faves is The Holiday. I'm a sucker for Christmas movies.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what's your favorite treat?

I used to. Better for the wasteline if I don't bake anymore. Chocolate mint snowtop cookies.

9. Fake or real tree?

Fake. Prelit! I hate hasslings with lights on a tree. Outside is something else.

10. What day (as a Mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?

December 22nd when I was working. Now I have it in hand, generally.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas eve?

Nope. With at least one super snoopy kid, I always had to wrap them early and hide them. Even then we discovered we would have to use strapping tape on them to keep her out of them.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?

I miss Christmas eve dinner at my sister, Diane's. We usually go home sore from laughing.

13. What Christmas craft do you like best?

Making ornaments.

14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes, what is your favorite song?

Yes, but not on the radio. I love listening to Mitch Miller's Christmas Album and singing along. Probably White Christmas and the Christmas song, both of which I massacre!

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?

As soon as I figure out the stocking stuffers! Those are always the last things done. The rest of my shopping was done online.
Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Get Outa Town -- Quick!

Y'all know how the south feels about high school football? Think Friday Night Lights. And their championship games - Oh. My. Gawd!

So this weekend, Cookeville, Tennessee is hosting the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Championships today through Saturday. After lunch and errands today, we ran into the start of the traffic with all the crazies at the gas station.

Tomorrow we plan on a day escape to Crossville for a little vino shopping and lunch at the State Park restaurant. It's a real hidden treasure. Also, the outlet mall has a model train display that is open on Fridays. Sounds like a good day. Anything away from all the traffic in Town. The games are all being played at Tennessee Tech, and the students have been warned that the parking lots by the stadium will be reserved for the football games. Not that there is much parking at Tech anyway. I bet older daughter is glad she graduated last spring!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wacky Wednesday

You know you are in bad shape when you have to ask your hubby how old you are and you feel good when he tells you that you are a year younger than you thought. I guess that tells you I've been lying about my age for a while.

I hate winter. Actually I hate the end of daylight savings time. When you live on the eastern edge of the central time zone, it gets dark early. By December 21st you feel like you could just stay in bed all day.

Is it weird that I feel good that I have been using the same bird feeder for about 5 years. What that really means is that the squirrels, while still raiding the bird feeder, are destroying them any more.

Christmas shopping is almost done here! Yay!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Must Buys

I LOVE Christmas catalogs. In fact, November and December are my favorite months for catalogs.

Somehow I got on the mailing list here for both Carol Wright and Lilian Carter. The latter has all the usual stuff and the former about blew me away with their selection of PERSONAL SATISFACTION DEVICES!! Believe me some of them were downright scary looking. I can just imagine the injuries some of these things might cause. They sure looked way too scary!

However, the Bed, Bath & Beyond catalog had some of the more normal Christmas must haves:

1. Wine chillers. Really, you can choose by country or wine type. I guess the fridge just doesn't do it?

2. Monogram wine stoppers. I guess that says it all.

3. Deluxe Nose/Ear Hair Trimmer & Vacuum. God forbid you should leave a mess up your nose?

4. Retractable lease with Flashlight. Just in case you can't see your dog at the end of the leash? Retracting it won't help?

5. Digital coin jar. Really, too lazy to count your coins? We take 'em to the bank and they do it for us.

6. The Mangroomer! This is a DYI electric back hair shaver. It's fully extendable and adjustable to reach all areas of your back. Puh-lease! Don't tell my DH he's getting one for Christmas!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Apparently He's Not Taking Your Calls

I am really saddened by the state of the city of Livonia, Michigan. Not only were DH and I residents for nearly twenty years, but I was also a city employee. Right now I am really glad I was able to retire after ten years.

Recently, Livonia laid off twelve employees. It doesn't sound like much, but one-third of them were from the libraries. Since the two branch libraries already were running on skeleton crews, losing more puts the libraries in dire straits. So much so that the branches will be alternating hours.

Patrons upset with this turn of events have called the Mayor's office and he is refusing their calls. Instead calls are being referred to the city librarian. I don't know about you, but if I call the Mayor I want to talk to the Mayor, and not a librarian. How on earth did this guy get elected again. During his last stint as Mayor, he left the city in a shambles!

Several years ago, residents were up in arms about the possible closure of one of the branches. What are they going to do about this?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Autumn Leaves

One of the sure signs of autumn and early winter in Tennessee is the leaf pick-up. Somehow you get all your leaves to the edge of the street - no curbs here - and the city sends around one of the leaf vacuums. Our leaf pile was about 60 feet long and over four feet high. And this is just the first pickup!

What would leaf pickup be without - oh my gosh - the guy getting out of the truck is showing his GIANT BUTT CRACK!!! EWWWWWWWWWWW!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Affordable Art

Over the weekend, DH and I took the opportunity to participate in our 3rd Art Prowl. Always an interesting experience, especially some of the over-the-top art. We were lucky enough to come home with some!

This was done by one of our favorite artists, Wayne Hogan. His art is works on paper. The above small framed collage just appealed to us both.

Chairs is interesting. Most of Wayne's work is representational, although the odd thing will creep in now and then. The chairs shown on top is from his home. Did I mention, he is married to our real estate agent?

This has to be this year's favorite purchase. Marilee Hall is known for her whimsical ceramics. It's an interesting experience to purchase from the artist and have her explain that our little bird is a mistake. And we just thought the texture was interesting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Art Prowl 2009

This weekend is the 9th annual Art Prowl here in Cookeville, Tennessee! This is also the third time we've attended. And the first one where the temps have been above 60! What more could you want: great weather, great art, and the chance to see some of the artists at work.

Yesterday one of our highlights was going to see the art on display at the Marilee Hall art studio. Debi Wichman was demonstrating how she forms a basket weave pattern for a lid. There was a semi-disaster when a patron missed a step and knocked over part of a display. No one was hurt but there was some damage to a piece of art. Might have been worse if DH and I hadn't grabbed on to this lady.

Marilee does what I call ceramics with a sense of humor. We're hoping some of what we saw yesterday is still available!

I always regret that I can't wear jewelry that isn't 14k gold, because I saw some yesterday that I would have loved to own. Some were done by Teresa Graves and some by Adele Seitzinger, who also weaves.

Our last stop was at Wayne Hogan's studio. Wayne works in paper. We did not come away empty handed there.

Today we are back to Marilee Hall's studio and then to a couple private studios, one that works in wood and the other is from the Appalachian Center for Crafts that will be exhibiting in town.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


It's fall in lovely Tennessee. This week the temps have dropped to a more moderate upper fifties to lower sixties. With the sun shining, it is altogether gorgeous.

All that can be ruined by running an errand and seeing a sixty-year-old body in a crop top and shorts.Let me make that clearer.

A sixty-year-old body that has seen better days Plus abdominal surgery and body piercing. Wearing shorts and a crop top.

What was she thinking?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's a Giant Nutcracker!

Besides being an versatile vehicle - I mean, what other vehicle can stow a picnic table - my CR-V has a new function.

Apparently the squirrels in our neighborhood have decided that our driveway is the perfect dining venue, as they have been bringing all the fallen acorns to the foot of our drive.

I swear, I hear cheering each time DH and I back out of the drive along with all the popping noise!

At first I thought it was twigs from the last windstorm, but further investigation has revealed it is indeed acorns that have been cracked open by driving a vehicle over them.

Maybe that accounts for the increase in the squirrel population on our street?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky Holiday Past

One of my favorite holidays as a kid .. and okay as a grownup, too was Halloween. I was even ambitious enough to make costumes for the kids.

This is 1985 and younger witchy daughter on left and older bumble bee daughter on right.

Zip ahead a few years and again younger daughter on left and older daughter on right! While I can take credit for some of OD's costume, I take no credit for YD's.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pardon Me Boys ...

DH and I had the opportunity to spend a couple of freebie nights somewhere. We chose ...

Not just for their idea of what art is -- wouldn't you like a swig from the bottle this corkscrew opened?

But also because of some of the unique sculptures around the city, not just in the Bluff View Art District. The fountain below is at the Chattanooga Public Library. It appeals to the former library worker in me.

And don't forget the MoonPie. Chattanooga is the home of the MoonPie. They are even introducing new flavors! Chocolate is still my favorite.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Best Thing About Autumn

It must be the color! These two are from my own front yard.

This one was taken from a scenic overlook outside of Chattanooga. Pretty as a postcard!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy 60th Dear Hubby!

Today, DH celebrates his 60th birthday. Now, it isn't that surprising since we got married less than a month before his 30th birthday, and we've been married 30 years. But I still get a shock when I see pictures of us together and we no longer look like that young couple we were 30 years ago.

He certainly was a cute little boy with all that hair!

I thought I would share this picture from his first birthday. He no longer is able to wear his hair like this.

Makes ya wonder why he still obsesses about pocket combs.
Happy Birthday, Honey!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Someone's Family Tree

Older daughter is starting to take an interest in our family tree. I've spent the last 23 years working on it, since younger daughter was in pre-school.

So on Sunday, older daughter downloaded ifamily for her MAC. It came with a sample database of Queen Elizabeth II and her family. A bit daunting. I generously donated a gedcom of the 27000+ people in my database and she started browsing it.

I told her to try entering people in her database to see how it works. Somewhere she got the idea to add people she was more familiar with and now Harry Potter et al reside in her database.

Woo Hoo, OD!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Glad Yesterday is Over

Suffice it to say, it was probably one of the worst of my life and my family. It could have been worse, much worse, but thanks to friends and family DH and I got through it. The conclusion also lent to the air of relief.

So thanks to sisters Jenni and Mary, Andrea's friend and roommate, Danielle; daughter Sara, husband, Bernard. And the Wild Ones for their prayers for a happy ending (it worked) and their heartfelt relief.

I'm sure Andrea joins in hoping it never happens again!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Feel Cheated!

I feel I have as much right to win the Nobel Peace Prize as Barak Obama. After all, I haven't done anything to deserve it either.

D'ya think he'll split the Million Dollar Cash Prize with me?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Perfect Fall Days!

The first perfect fall day was Monday, September 28th. The fact that is was our 30th wedding anniversary had nothing to do with it, nothing at all! Snicker. The weather, wet and hot, finally broke into the kind of fall weather I really love. High near 70 and lows in the 50's. It was the type of day where a nearly two-mile walk around the local park lake seemed to infuse us with healthiness.

Dinner out on Monday at Puleo's, followed by a couple glasses of Green Apple Riesling, and some really great .. er .. cuddling .. capped off the day.

Day two, Tuesday, cooler than the first, also included the almost two-mile walk around the park lake and a picnic lunch following.

Life is good!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cooler Weather

Gee, I miss that brief cool-down we had from upper 80's into low 70's. I know fall will be here soon and it will cool down again, but that cooler weather got DH and I out and walking around the lake in our local park. From our parking spot at the Rec center it is probably 1 and 3/4 miles give or take, and it felt so good. We discovered that while it is probably sunnier going this route rather than starting in the park itself, it is more level. That makes it so much easier on my hips and knees.

One thing DH and I discovered on our last walk there was that people are getting careless with their dogs. Come on Cookevillians, carry a bag with you and pick up that crap! It's bad enough we have to dodge the goose stuff!

My friend Carol over at Reflections from the Fence, sent me a link to Pat at A View from the edge. I can so identify with her work blogs! Thanks for sending me there, Carol. It gave me a break from census work!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandpa Z!

Today would have been my grandfather's 121st birthday. Yep, Charlie Z. was born September 1, 1888, the youngest child of August and Augusta (no kidding) Z up in East Tawas, Michigan.

The Z's were Alsatian. Well, August's father was. August was the only of the Z children born in the United States. He was born in Lancaster, New York in 1839. August and Augusta married about 1872, probably in AuSable, Michigan. Augusta was born in Germany, somewhere.

At any rate, my grandpa would always tell us the family was French. I'm sure it was politic to do so, especially after the first World War. But really, the Z's spoke German. And somewhat they followed German naming patterns.

1. Their oldest child was Joseph - named for August's father Josef Francis Zimmeth.
2. Child number two was Frank Christian - Frank not Francis. Christian was Augusta's father.
3. Oldest daughter was Josephine - possibly named for August's sister Josephine.
4. August - obviously named for his father.
5. Mary Augusta - named for mother.
6. George - No idea. Is Jurgen compatible? Augusta's paternal grandfather was Jurgen Klevesaat.
7. Charles - NO not my grandfather. This little guy only lived about 11 month.
8. Rose - No idea if she is named for anyone family wise. This is the aunt who raised my mom.
9. Charles - lived less than a day.
10. Charles L - grandpa. Because you know, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

Somewhere there must be another child because grandpa insisted he was the youngest of 11.

Charlie married fairly young and his first wife died young. His second wife, the mother of his children also died young. Third wife was Ruth who got married a lot. But she and grandpa were married about 35 years until his death in 1979.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA! (Yeah, I am shouting, grandpa was deaf.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

That Elusive Ancestor

This blog inspired by my friend and fellow Wild One, Karen over at Genealogy Frame of Mind.

No, I don't often blog about my family history, even though it is an all-consuming passion of mine - next to that of main squeeze and darling hubby. But Karen inspired me with her brick wall and now I will post mine. Hopefully there is a family member from this line that knows more about my great-great granny Wilhelmine "Minnie" Zabrack.

Now, I have been told that Zabrack is not the correct last name by "experts" in European research. That may be true, but all I have for proof is Minnie's daughter, Augusta Wilhelmina's Kleesart's conversion to Catholicism. In this record, her mother is identified as Wilhelmina Zabrack.

Christian Kleesaert/Kleesaat/Klesat/Clesat/Clesotte and Minnie were married before 1849 probably in Prussia. Minnie's birthplace is consistently given in census records and immigration records as Prussia. Christian, her husband, was born in Mecklenberg-Schwerin. I have his baptismal record, his parent's marriage record, baptismal records of his siblings. No marriage for Christian and no baptismal records for his children, all born "Prussia."

Their emigration/immigration records give the town where he lived. Apparently the recorder didn't thing it was important that wife and kids were not from Rosenow in Mecklenberg.

The family moves to Tonawanda, Erie county, New York and they are found on Census there, and the death and burial of their daughter Frederika Augusta Katherine "Charlotte" was recorded in church records there. Still no clue as to Minnie's antecedents.

Before 1870, the family moves to Iosco County, Michigan. Minnie & Christian's daughter Augusta Wilhelmina Kleesaat meets and marries August Zimmeth. No record of this marriage is found, but their older children were baptized (according to their marriage records) in AuSable, Michigan. Before the fire of 1911.

Strangely enough, or more like Murphy's law of genealogy research, there is no "official" death record for Christian Clesott in 1886 or for Minnie Zabrak Cleasott in 1894. Their deaths were only found after much research by this author in obituaries from the Iosco County Gazette. And of course no mention of where she was from or who her parents were.

So there it is my brick wall in my ancestry. I sure would love to see it come down.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dead stuff

I haven't mentioned to DH yet. Don't think I can say anything without getting frustrated.

I saw him spraying vegetation killer in my flower beds. Kind of explains why my fall plants are not coming up?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Man Cave?

My friend, Karen, over at Genealogy Frame of Mind is celebrating the completion of their redoing their family room, or as GFM is wont to call it - the man cave.

DH just acquired his own Man Room. If you can call it a room. It's more of a structure. It even has a loft! And rumor has it a ghost!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Family Visits

While on vacation from July 14 - 25, we visited lots of family. Visited Dave, Jen, Don, Renee, Diane, Mary & Jim, Jenni & Tom, Andrea. We also came home with some guests: Jim, Jack & Atwater, among others. Jim Beam and Jack Daniels - two of my favorite relatives. You say Jack Daniels is distilled in Tennessee, why not buy there? Because where Jack is distilled you can't buy it. It's a dry county. How about the new liquor place in Baxter, Putnam County, Tennessee? Well, let me say the large Jim Beam we buy there is $42. The same size in Michigan? $32.

We visited the Wine Merchant in Dearborn, Michigan and picked up Jack, Jim and a case of Atwater Brewery beer. Beer here? Mostly Budweiser, Miller & Michelob with the odd Sierra Nevada, Corona, etc. But these are usually only sold cold.

Also returning home with us are two bottles of wine from the Freedom Run winery in Niagara county, New York and 2 bottles from the Canton Winery in Canton, Michigan.

I kidded DH when we got home and told him we need to turn our storage room into a walk-in pantry and the pantry into a liquor cabinet. His suggestion was that we drink it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things I Learned on Vacation

1. No Twisting. I should know better by now than to twist and lift at the same time. First night out I hurt my back. It’s better now, but the soreness followed me from Ohio to Michigan and recurred a bit in Indiana.

2. Amish. The second day out, we drove through Amish country in Ohio, near Burton. Beautiful. We saw some children in a little pony cart being hauled by a Shetland pony. We also saw lots of kids walking alongside the road barefoot. Brings back memories to my childhood and walking barefoot on treated side streets. Our feet would be totally black. The most amazing thing we saw was an Amish girl on rollerblades.

3. Pods. Actually DH and I split one of these. So I guess that makes us POD people. Pods are actually what other places call Calzone. At the Pizza Plant in Williamsville, New York, they come in two sizes. Small (10 inches) and large (18 inches.) We split the small one. It was delicious. Also had a great stout there on tap. Ate at Teds Hot Dogs which is a Buffalo tradition. These are char-grilled hot dogs with emphasis on char. Kudos to DH’s cousin Dave for finding unique places for lunch, dinner and dessert. The dessert deli was great!

4. Buying coffee. As I’ve said before, DH and I are coffee snobs. Older daughter got us hooked on this Southern Pecan coffee her bookstore sold. We became so addicted, we needed to locate a vendor for it. That vendor is in Madison Heights, Michigan. Usually we get our stash mailed to us, but since we’re established customers, we saved the shipping fee on ten pounds of Southern Pecan cream coffee.

5. Cemetery visits. We made three cemetery stops on our trip. Two were planned. On our outing to Madison Heights to score our caffeine fix, we made an impromptu trip to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. Several family members are buried there including DH’s paternal grandparents, my maternal grandmother, my mother’s brother, sister-in-law and her parents, my mother’s uncle Elmer, and it turns out, my mother’s Uncle John and his first wife. Uncle John married mom’s Aunt Rose and they raised my mother during her mother’s illness with tuberculosis and after grandma’s death in 1931. All I knew about Uncle John’s death was that he died when my mom was pregnant with my older sister in 1948. Sure enough, that information was correct and we discovered that his last name was OCHSENFELD, not OCHENFELD as mom always said.

The first cemetery we actually visited was the Burroughs family cemetery near Burton, Ohio in Amish country. One of the Percival lines I am working on was married to a Burroughs and I found stones for them in this little cemetery.

The third cemetery we visited was Fort Custer National Cemetery where my parents are buried. DH and I had not made a visit there since mom died, so we took the quick side trip there on the way to Fort Wayne. No problems locating mom and dad’s grave, but there was also another Percival couple buried there and I swear they’re buried in a swamp. This couple was buried in section 10, which is right next to Section 11 where my aunt and uncle are buried and the skeeters are horrible there. My sibs were the recipients of a photo of the folks!

6. Libraries are no longer quiet areas. One of the goals of the return trip was a trip to the Allen County Public Library’s genealogical collection in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I sat in the room that houses the family histories collection and there was a woman there with a NOISY kid. Actually I think the kid did pretty well spending two days at the library with mom. He was about 9 or 10 and really belonged outside playing. This room has many tables and an elderly couple chose my table, ignoring the 8 other tables that were completely empty and spoke in normal voice tones. Not only was I battling the kid noise, I was trying to block it out with an audiobook and these people were drowning that out. I did ask them politely to keep their voices down and boy did I get nasty looks from her about it. Since she was the guiltier of the two I just stared her down. It’s a research library, I don’t go there to talk.

7. Driving in the rain. It sucks. Most of the drive back from Fort Wayne to Cookeville was spoiled by driving rain. Once south of Louisville, Kentucky, though the sky cleared and it was gorgeous.

8. Best time to have a shed built. We discovered that it is pain free to have a shed built while on vacation. It was completed the day before we got home. Kudos to Andy Turner of Turner Homes of Tennessee for a great job.

9. There’s no place like home. Although the trip was fun, relaxing, and rewarding, it was so great to pull up into our drive, unload our stuff and be at home again. Can’t wait till our next trip.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Today would have been my parents 63rd wedding anniversary. They were married July 20, 1946, in Fremont, Ohio.

As the story goes, they went to be witnesses with friends of theirs who were eloping. Apparently mom & dad's conversation went something like this:

Hank: Well, we're here. Why don't we get married.
Kaye: Okay.

When they got back to Michigan they didn't tell anyone for three weeks. Maybe Aunt Margie knew. You see, my parents were both living in same boarding house. My dad lived with his father; mom lived with her sister. Neither Hank nor Kaye were employed at the time. Neither wanted to face the censure from his family (she's Catholic!) and her family (he's not Catholic!). Seriously.

Somewhere, three weeks later, the cat got let out of the bag and they were able to live as hubby and wifey.

Fast forward to July 20, 1969. Hank and Kaye were celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary when Neil Armstrong made his "Giant leap for Mankind."

My parents were lucky enough to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Not many couples are able to do that, either through death or divorce. They actually ended up celebrating 56 years together.

So even though the rest of the US might be celebrating the moonwalk, I'm remembering how NASA celebrated my parent's anniversary!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Birthday Memorial

Today would have been my dad's 84th birthday. Unfortunately, he died in 2003. But he lived longer than anyone in his immediate, if small family.

As grown children, we all look back and laugh at some of his "Hankisms." For instance, when I was a kid, my dad could be heard two blocks away calling for us. It's kind of scary that people that far away could look out their doors and say "Your dad is calling you." People that I didn't even know.

Also, one of his favorite phrases was "Look at me." Siblings of mine said it was "Look at me when I'm talking to you." But I think he was so tired of saying it to me that he shortened it.

My older sister and I rushed to the table to see who could get the farthest seat from him when we were kids. Hoping, I guess, to be too far out of reach when we couldn't chew with our mouths shut and or couldn't control our smart mouths. Or maybe we didn't want to be the one who spewed milk out of their nose when he said or did something so funny you just couldn't control it.

It was the rare person who didn't get tickled or glared at in our household. Or asked to rub his feet or his back. My dad would lay down on the floor and nap while we rubbed his back or combed his hair - often setting it in pincurls.

One of the most memorable things about my dad was his ability to fall asleep anywhere and any time. Even while opening presents on Christmas.

He was a little rough around the edges at times, and often gruff, but we all knew how much he loved us. He was always there for us when we really needed him.

We miss you, dad!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Wine List

Besides being beer snobs, DH and I have come to love the local Tennessee wines. Our favorite winery is the Stonehaus in Crossville, TN. Their Davenport Red is a concord grape wine and quite delicious. Even Older Daughter loves it.

They also have several others that are well worth it including their Cayuga grape wine - Lantana White! Actually there is not much of their wine we haven't tried.

Recently, DH and I tried the Del Monaco Winery, a brand new winery in our county. So far, their wines are a bit dry. Good, but just a tad dry for my taste.

One evening OD came over with a surprise for us - an $10.99 bottle of Muscadine from Highland Manor winery in Jamestown, Tennessee. This is Tennessee's oldest winery and the Muscadine grape is locally grown. Would you believe this wine has a one year waiting list? She came by through a friend who was gifted with it but the friend doesn't drink.

This bottle is being saved for something special. Hope it is worth the wait!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Least Likely Person

Growing up, I had two sets of grandparents, like most kids. Probably not like most kids, my grandmothers were step-grandmas, both of them. You see, both my blood grandmothers died when their kids were young. In dad's case, his mother died when he was 13 on vacation. In mom's case, she was 7 when her mother died as the result of surgery for tuberculosis. Right before Christmas.

At this point, I want to tell you that this woman was grandpa's second wife. His first wife died on Christmas eve in 1914. Wife number two, our grandmother, was buried two days before Christmas. After that, Grandpa went on a nearly decade long bender, resulting in him going so far as to drink Sterno (for the alcohol) and living on the Detroit equivalent of skid row. Our uncle found him and was able to get him into a CCC* camp where he met his third wife, Ruth.

I'll admit I didn't know my step-grandma well. They lived in Pinconning and we lived in Detroit and later in Redford, Michigan, and I-75 didn't exist yet. Also, having never lived with Ruth and Grandpa for more than a few weeks, and not being raised by her, mom never cared to call her "mother."

I think all of us kids knew she had been married before. I think we all knew she had a son. I certainly tried to find out all I could later on, but was unfortunate not to be told this stuff until it was too late to question Ruth.

This woman was the most unprepossessing woman I have ever met. The most striking thing about her was the streak of white in her hair - a la Rosemary DeCamp. She was a great cook, though. I remember when she still had her eyesight before the glaucoma took over, she made the best bread - until she accidentally mixed in some kind of soap. Ick. I remember having a farm breakfast, eggs, tomatoes, pork chops and potatoes. That sort of breakfast today would probably harden our arteries faster than you can say LIPITOR!

So when handed papers that belonged to Ruth and being given some strange names, I was able to discover these husbands.

1. Albert Hessling. Ruth married him in 1914 while she was 14. Actually, no marriage certificate on this, but I do have the divorce decree. Her one and only child was born of this marriage in 1916, shortly after her 16th birthday. Ruth was young, Albert was not very stable. They divorced in March of 1918 and Albert was given custody of their son. Actually, the son ended up with Albert's sister and brother-in-law, a good thing since Albert committed suicide. Ruth did not contest the adoption, something she regretted the rest of her life.

2. David Stanley. Ruth married him 4 months after her divorce decree from Albert. Barely 18 and into marriage number two. I found this one quite by accident while researching the divorce between Albert & Ruth. They were divorced October 20, 1920. Absolutely no idea why they divorced - decree says extreme cruelty.

3. David Stanley. SAME David Stanley. The were remarried on November 27, 1920. No idea why the divorce or the remarriage. No idea what happened to him. No other decrees found for them. Actually I just found this second record today while reviewing some of Ruth's relatives marriages.

4. Thomas Lloyd Moore. This is the one I had also known about. Apparently Lloyd "forgot" to mention that he was still married. Oh and this made him a bigamist. They were married October 28, 1928. Not only did Ruth divorce him, but she filed for an annulment in order to marry her next husband in the Catholic church.

5. Charles Zimmeth. This is Ruth's last marriage. Somehow she took this double widower made him clean up his act and married him. Their marriage lasted from 1944 (civil ceremony with a church ceremony in 1953 post Moore annulment) until Charlies' death in 1979.

As I said before, I'm really sorry I didn't know some of this stuff before Ruth died. And that I had the courage to ask her about it. I was able to contact her granddaughter, after finding an obituary for Ruth's son, Maynard. Her granddaughter said she tried for years to get her dad to contact his mother. He rightly thought he had been abandoned by her. Apparently her overtures were too little too late.

*CCC-Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program instituted to put men to work during the great depression.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not on My Property!

DH and I found a dead bird out front today. One of the indigo buntings that has frequented our feeder. Sure, we speculated on what got it, but as it had probably been there for a few days we didn't take a really good look.

However, later in the afternoon, two boys with a BB gun, took aim at something in the tree over our bird feeder and birdbath out front. Fortunately DH and I saw them and chased them away. Frankly, I don't care what they thought they were hunting, but they aren't shooting ANYTHING on my property. I don't care if this is Tennessee, I don't think it should be acceptable to take any kind of pellet gun on anyone else's property and shoot at anything.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Favorite Dinner Recipe

While the DH is recovering from his right-sided wisdom tooth extractions, I have been struggling to find soft foods to feed him. Father's day was fairly easy since he was able to eat some spaghetti with marinara sauce. Other things on his menu have been: mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and elbow macaroni with butter & salt. I know younger daughter is salivating at that last one.

So on day three of his recovery, I decided to make sloppy joes. The buns are soft, and the ground beef is easily chewed on the other side of his mouth.

My mom had a great recipe for sloppy joes. None of that manwich stuff in a can for her family. Which was odd, because we teased her about her propensity for opening cans and feeding us!

Mom's recipe included ground chuck, ketchup, mustard and diced onion. It's a straightforward recipe. you brown the meat and onion, add ketchup, flavor with some mustard and voila! Unfortunately, today the ketchup bottle top decided to juggle around and flipped over on me, the floor and my nice clean and freshly ironed top and capris.

Man, I hate when that happens.

The sloppy joes were awesome though!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wow, You Suck at Charades!

After hemming and hawing about it for months, DH finally had two of his wisdom teeth pulled. At the ripe old age of 59.

The wait pre-appointment was about an hour and a half. In a room full of moms and dads and kids. Yikes.

Finally, oral surgeon comes in and agrees, that yes the two on the right should come out and the two on the left were fine. After that, things moved quickly and we were out of there withing 20 minutes.

Fast forward to hubby with packing in his mouth and still numb. Trying to tell me something. Was he trying to speak in a foreign language, because I did not understand a word he said? DH resorts to charades. I finally tell him - email me or write it down because I have no clue. After receiving the email, I'm really glad I never had to play charades with him.

Anyway, Happy Father's Day, DH! At least you are speaking in English today!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weird Dreams

Sometimes my dreams are really weird. Like the one I had last night of a dog my family owned when I was a little girl. This dog's name was Kippy or Sam, depending on who called her. Yeah, she was a cute little mutt that my perverse family insisted on calling Sam.

Sam was an unusual dog. I don't really remember her being a loud, barking dog, but I do remember she used to jump the fence and make the rounds of the neighbors' yards with our next door neighbors rooster "Rooty." I don't really remember the dream much, but just that Sam was in it.

Cut to the next dream fragment which involved older daughter back in the "cult" she belonged to for a year. This so-called ministry program enlisted young adults for their program, but really all they really did was slave labor. Older daughter completed the one year program, just to say she completed it. In this dream, however, I dreamed that she was once again in their clutches and took out a loan in her name for another couple. WTF? Where the heck did that dream come from?

How bizarre both dreams were. Sometimes I wonder where the heck my dreams come from.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Ok, I have been holding this one in for a couple weeks.

1. The guy in the red truck, traveling east on Fairground last week, you know who you are, threw a BANANA PEEL out? @$$hole!

2. This second one I am not sure which one was the worse idiot, the driver of the Ford Ranger or the passenger in the bed of the truck, sitting on a cooler. On the freeway. Doing 70 mph.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Leaving the Nest

Several years ago, as older daughter made her move to Raleigh, North Carolina, DH and I began preparing our younger daughter for leaving the nest. We wanted her prepared to live on her own once we made the move to Tennessee.

Recently, a robin built a nest on the elbow joint between the gutter and downspout near my bedroom window. Momma robin laid her eggs and then spent the next two weeks sitting there incubating them. Three babies hatched from those eggs.

It's been two weeks now since they hatched. DH and I have followed their progress and been fascinated by mom. After a week, she no longer sat on the nest. I'm sure those little beaks are sharp! Today, two of the fledglings left the nest. My thought after only seeing sporadic trips by momma and daddy robin today to feed the fledgling is that they are preparing it to leave the nest too. I can't wait to get my backyard back and not worry about dive-bombing parental robins!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


No, not the guy on Jackson and Scott streets who can fix about anything, I'm talking about mechanical/electronic stuff.

1. Problems with Cable. Since the switch to digital cable, we've had problems with one of the public TV stations and the sound. First it was on one TV and then the other. Actually, the sound would start up on the one TV and then just die off. On the older TV, this particular station had no sound whatsoever. And it seemed to happen randomly. Well, I finally figured out. First let me say, that my DH is not mechanical. I'm barely mechanical, but I do manage to keep our electronics running. Recently the older TV needed a new remote and DH routinely hits the wrong button to turn it off and then you have to start putting the codes in again to get it to work right. On the newer, digital TV, there are lots of little buttons and we often pick it up backwards and hit the wrong button to turn off the TV. That little button turns out is the MTS button which controls mono, stereo or Second Audio Program. Yep. It was on SAP, and once I switched to stereo, the sound was just fine.

The little hamster in my head was turning the gears of my mind and I thought, what if that is set on the old TV too? Sure enough, SAP was set on that TV too. Both are "fixed."

2. The second problem was for some reason our icemaker stopped making ice. Sure there is water running, because the water dispenser works just fine. I hope that I figured out that the ice that was frozen to the dispenser was keeping the icemaker from filling and making and dispensing ice. I started to hear a pop, whirr noise and knew that wasn't running properly. Sure hope that the ice frozen on the dispenser was the problem otherwise, the repairman is going to get a call first thing in the morning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rain and Other Excuses

DH and I have been trying to work on some landscaping in our yard and keep running into road blocks. The first is the rain that we've been getting every single day. It either rains all night, making it too soggy to work outside or it rains when we want to go outside and work. This is after all, Tennessee, and I don't really want to work in the heat of the day.

Over the past week, the new road block is the mother robin sitting on her hatchlings. Since her nest is in the elbow of the downspout right where we want to work, it makes it difficult. I don't want to keep her from nurturing her hatchlings. I just want them out of there. At this point, I can't wait for them to fly off and then her nest is going bye-bye!

This afternoon, DH and I looked at a couple nurseries for a shrub for the backyard near where this bird has nested. We've found some interesting possibilities. Now if those birds would just fly away!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breakfast Bunch

DH and I enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast this morning. Out. Not that we don't ever do that, but this morning was special since it included our friends from Michigan, Mark & Karen. We lingered over our coffee and various breakfasts with with them for a couple hours at least, probably to the waitress's dismay. I know the guys discussed retirement, cars and other things, while Karen and I caught up on what was going on with our research, homes, kids, etc.

Alas, all good things come to an end, and all too soon they were on the road again. I hope they were ahead of the rainstorm that hit us within 5 minutes of reaching home.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

On this Memorial day, I am truly appreciative of all the members of our families who have fought to protect us. My Bowman, Chinn, Kirtley, Percival, Webb ancestors fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, Indian Wars, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II.

Both my grandfathers were in the Army during World War I. Charles Zimmeth, my mother's father was gassed during his service in France.

My dad served in the US Navy during World War II, in the Pacific aboard a destroyer escort. I'll never forget what he told me about how slow destroyers were. Bigger ship, more power? Nope. Bigger ship, more weight, slow. After the war in the Pacific was over, DEC-704, the Cronin, also ferried soldiers back. Even that was not without danger for the seasick among the returning troops. We're talking seriously crowded conditions with seasick sleeping on deck. If they could sleep that is!

So take a few minutes today and remember that serviceman or woman in your family and what they may have sacrificed to keep us safe.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's a Small, Small World.

NO, I am not at Disneyworld. As I typed my title, I was reminded of that long ago trip to Disneyworld with the family and waiting to go on THAT ride with our 8 year-old and 6 year-old daughters. Over and over and over that song was played. Ack!

The small world I am referring to though, is the genealogical one. It is really kind of scary when you start finding relationships to your friends, your friends' husbands, your husband's relatives and people down the street. Well, the last one is an exaggeration. All that when we were living in an area close to where DH and I grew up.

Older daughter, now no longer that cute little 8 year-old, but a grown woman of 29, works with someone who has a tenuous connection to one of our lines. Her connection is to Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln's mother. Our connection is to Mary Todd, Abe's wife. OD came for dinner and asked if I could bring up a chart that would show how she was related to Mary Todd Lincoln. Done and printed and sent to her friend. Anything that will spark that interest in the family history is a good thing. Someone has to appreciate all this work I've done over the years!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Older daughter got her college diploma delivered to our house. Opened it up - spelled her last name wrong on the diploma - mailer was correct. Don't they have anyone checking these? Yeesh.

Spent the day shopping today. First to McKay's a used bookstore chain in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga. OD did real well on her trade-ins. We didn't take any. Then, on to Target. No Target stores near Cookeville, closest is in Mt. Juliet (near Nashville). Their store is on the small size and the one at Turkey Creek in Farragut is a super Target. Tons of stuff there.

Watching a couple of squirrels chasing each other up a down the big ? tree out front. I have no idea what kind of tree it is, but it's big.

I find it hard to accept that it is only May. The weather, when it hasn't been raining, has been pretty spectacular. Monday and Tuesday were particularly nice, with Monday being nice and cool and conducive to working outside.

Speaking of working outside, this is what we did in the back. Also explain why my knees hurt so much! Top photo is taken from the bench and the bottom photo is taken from the deck. Also plan to plant a couple bushes in the general area where that hose reel sits and a semi-privacy fence on the left of the walk near the top.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Splinters in My Arse

DH and I have spent the last two days arguing .. er .. working on the back of the house. Mainly we have put some cedar mulch and some patio blocks down in an attempt to make it look sort of country garden like. Not that we are done yet, but my back, knees, and arms and hands have had all they can take. DH is easily frustrated because he can't picture what things will look like and yes, he is terminally cheap, but I am happy with it so far. The patio blocks weigh 25 pounds each and we have 22 of them. A couple bushes and a privacy screen and maybe another bench might finish it off.

I made the mistake of sitting on the mulch for a few minutes and ended up with a splinter trying to invade my butt! Ouch!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This One's For You!

Thirty years ago tonight, my DH proposed to me. I think.

You see, it was a long day, it was Mother's day (May 13, 1979) and we had talked for the first time about marriage. I found out that day, that my future DH was not a multi-tasker and could handle only one thing at a time. But he led me to believe that once he sold his house, and bought a new one, he would be free to make that big decision. My first intimation that he was sort of scared of commitment.

I told him - quite generously on my part I think - that I would give him 18 months and if he hadn't asked me by then and since 1980 was a leap year, I would ask him!

Later that evening we were in the kitchen of the rented house in Dearborn that I shared with my roommate, Kathy, when future DH said something like "If you think you still want me ..."*

I asked him if that was a proposal, and when he said "Yes" I threw my arms around his neck. He asked me if it was a "Yes." See, he let me know that he did not like my ultimatum.

I was amazed on one hand that it took him so long to ask me, and on the other hand that we did it so fast. You see, we'd only gone on our first date 2 months and three days previously.

So happy 30th anniversary of our engagement, Honey!

* To this day, DH and I cannot actually remember what he said. But I did forget to say yes!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five Years in the Making

One of the by-products of being a mom is letting go of your children, and letting them be who they are. That may of course, lead to children moving out of state. That is the course Older Daughter took, until two years ago when she moved to the small Tennessee town we had planned on retiring to and finishing up her bachelor's degree.

So over the last five years, I've not had a mother's day with both daughters simultaneously. Amazing, huh? Well, finally we were all together again today for the best mother's day I've had in a long time.

Thanks Younger Daughter for making it possible this year.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


There has to be a sense of accomplishment, when 10 years after your started working on something, you finish it. Such is the case today, when Older Daughter earned her Bachelor of Science degree. I will admit I had my doubts, when she told me she planned on carrying 19 credit hours this semester. I could not imagine how she could work full time and go to school full time, study, and breathe all at the same time. But she did it, and did it in style. She wasn't the oldest student, nor the youngest - in fact her 29 years wasn't even the average age of the students. The oldest student receiving a Bachelor's degree was born in 1945.

We were all grateful she was in the first 150 students to get their degrees. We did not have to wait for the rest of the 1273 students to be recognized. It also meant we got to have lunch out. Wahoo!

Friday, May 8, 2009


All I can say about today is Younger Daughter drove 10 hours from Michigan to Tennessee to spend the weekend and watch Older Daughter graduate from Tennessee Tech.

Also, I'm not sure it's always a good thing that both OD and YD inherited their mother's sense of humor.

The Opposite of the Sleepless Night

Two nights ago I could not sleep. I was up until about 5:15 AM. This morning, thunderstorms awoke me at 5:30 AM. I am up in anticipation of arrival of Younger Daughter hopefully early this afternoon and hopefully after the thunderstorms rumble through Kentucky and Tennessee. Older Daughter graduates tomorrow from Tennessee Tech. She managed to make the Dean's List again even though she carried 19 credit hours.

Text message from her yesterday afternoon while she was at Grad Practice says "Recommended you be here at 8:30 AM to assure good seats." Graduation is at 10 a.m. Probably have to be there at 8:00 AM to assure parking.

Congrats, kid!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maybe I Was a Genealogist in the Womb?

Last weekend, my Aunt Shirley (my dad's sister-in-law) sent me a church bulletin for Linwood Presbyterian church in Kansas City, Missouri. From December 4, 1926. The reason for her sending it to me is the mention of my father in the Cradle Roll. By the time this was published, Frank "Hank" Percival was about 17 months old. It is sometimes hard for me to imagine the gruff man my father could be as a baby. It's funny as I scan down the list, I see a few surnames that stick out: Bowman, Kirtley*, Estes, Sevier and Francisco. Certainly, those last names can all be found in our family line.

The curious thing, is that I've always had a "thing" for church bulletins. As a child, I always scanned the church bulletin from St. Robert Bellarmine's church in Redford, Michigan for mention of people whom I might know. My favorite was the "Heirs of Christ" column, which listed the weekly baptisms. I'm really sorry I didn't keep a few of them. I think they would be fun to read and see if I still remembered any of those names!

*The particular Kirtley mentioned, Geraldine, is indeed listed in our family history! Isn't that fun!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Just Sittin' Around

All but two minor things and one major thing left to do for the landscaping. The minor things are to plant some creeping jenny and some phlox that I have in two different colors. Unfortunately, the last 3 days we have begun to catch some of the rain that has plagued Arkansas. I hope that ends before Younger Daughter makes the 600 mile trek down here. The major project is to add a stone patio out back and - of course - that will have to wait until after the rains and after younger daughter's visit.

Younger Daughter is coming of course, for Older Daughter's graduation from Tennessee Tech University next Saturday. Older Daughter is prepping for the three days of finals she has this week. I think she is pumped and more than ready to pick up that degree with the 1274 other graduates. In a hot indoor stadium. In May. In Tennessee.

Yesterday, while enjoying my morning coffee in my office while reading blogs, answering email and listening to an audiobook on my mp3 player, I watched the birds. In Michigan, I was used to the cardinals and robins, blue jays, wrens, sparrows, doves, chickadees and the occasional finch.

Here, there have been quite a few I've been unable to identify by sight. One turns out to be a rose-breasted grosbeak and the other I assumed correctly was an eastern bluebird. So it turns out that not only I am enjoying the bird station out front, but so are the neighborhood squirrels and cats.

DH and I have gotten hooked on the new Doctor Who series on BBC. When we were much younger, we were hooked on the original series before it was cool. We actually started watching last year and caught the 4th season, which is on hiatus until 2010. For Christmas, we bought ourselves Season 1 of the current incarnation - David Tennant. For my birthday- DH got me the first season with Christopher Eccleston. Something besides laundry and house work on a rainy day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sometimes Things Come Together

Well, outside of the weather, looks like things are looking up around here.

Wednesday evening, despite the computer turmoil, I managed to make a delicious dinner of roasted red potatoes and grilled chicken.

Thursday, finally was able to purchase the pine straw we wanted for our landscaping. DH thought I was nuts when I told him a 14" x 14" x 28" bale would cover a 50 square foot area. So we bought 3 bales, keeping in mind that about one-third of our landscaping project was tree trunk. We ended up using two bales out front which left the third bale around the deck. I still have some left.

Today - actually starting around 4 am, we started getting some much needed rain. Someone can now turn off the spigot please. It's keeping the birdbaths full and I am enjoying my bird station out front from my office. Now I just have to find a book on Tennessee birds!
Also today - DH picked up his repaired recliner before the storms hit. It is STILL raining here and I fear the feet will develop webs again. Sigh.

Friday, May 1, 2009

One of Those Days*

It turns out yesterday - Wednesday for those of us in different time zones - turned out to be the day from HE!!

First, problems with Charter internet connection. I fixed after many tries.

Second, DH's recliner broke a spring related to the reclining mechanism and no, the LA-Z-Boy retailer does not make house calls. So we had to load that in my CR-V and haul it to the store. First repair guy calls and says it will be Thursday (which will be yesterday by the time you read this) before it is fixed, then calls and says Friday, because he needs a part.

Third, daughter is over working on a project for school in a cat-free zone. We know have seating for 3 in the living room. Sigh.

Fourth, and this is the one that really gets me, DH says to me, did you turn my computer off? Why would I turn off his computer - and without telling him? Turns out it was his UPS system battery that died - and we just happen to have a spare. So after contorting ourselves into weird positions - we finally get the old one unplugged, a temporary surge protector on and everything turned back on. The hard part is not getting the old battery out of the UPS system, but getting it back in, which I did. Oh did I ever tell you I am the household computer guru. I must have inherited some of this handy stuff from my dad. So at this point when I am trying to stuff 5 lb battery back into case, DH says, Shouldn't we try it first to make sure it works. I hand him directions which say "Charge for 4-8 hours before using."

DH redeemed himself, however, with a power back rub and some canoodling afterwards!

*I must have been tired still when I composed the title, because the original title was "Pme pf tjpse daus."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yes, I am Pro-Choice!

For months we had no problems with Charter, and if we did have problems with our connections, they were easily resolved. Lately, several back to back connection problems. With frustrating results.

And isn't it funny that Charter Communications filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.


The city is trying to get out of their long term contract with Charter and brink in another company. What they really need to do is bring in more than one company and let the public have a choice.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Famous People Can be Hard to Find

As most of my followers know, I have had a lifetime obsession with my family history. My children make disparaging remarks about vacations that also involved a trip to a local cemetery. In July. Or August. In 95 degrees plus weather. Or maybe that June trip to Missouri when it was 104 degrees in the shade. And we parked right in front of the graves and didn't know it until the next day when we came back with the section number.

In a way, this post is about cemeteries. It concerns Find A Grave which is probably the largest virtual cemetery. I was browsing it last night and found Hugh Robert Wilson buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. Unfortunately, it was not Hugh Robert Wilson who married Alice Tousey, but their son. Or maybe that is fortunately, because it was their son, Hugh. One thing I did not know was that Hugh, Jr. was a United States Ambassador. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Ambassadors spend most of their time abroad. It's their job. So it's possible unless they are doing either a spectacular job or an abysmal job, it might be difficult to locate them in records of the day.

I was lucky enough to find Hugh and wife Katherine and son Hugh Robert living in Switzerland in 1930 where he was the U.S. Minister. I also find him in 1920 back in Washington, D. C. where his much traveled toddler who was born in Switzerland also resides. Unfortunately, Hugh is nowhere to be found in 1910.

At this point, I moved to Passenger lists. Hugh, being in the diplomatic corp, traveled to and from Europe a lot. I have it from his obituary that he studied Political Science in Paris. In 1907, I have him returning from France via third class. In 1930, he is returning as the Hon. Hugh R. Wilson. In 1938, he is returning to the US after being recalled from his ambassadorship to Nazi Germany, the Hon. Hugh R. Wilson. In March of 1945, again returning home, this time via the Queen Mary . I can't even imagine the thought of cross the Atlantic during wartime. To me the most interesting cross was in 1944 when he flew in a military transport from Scotland to Newfoundland to New York.

So you never know who or what you will find in your family tree and if census fails you, look to other sources.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do You Wanna Rain Dance ..

In between shopping for birdbaths, plants, and dirt and digging up a 10 x 15 area of the yard around two trees, we made time Saturday to attend the first annual Rain Barrel Festival at Dogwood Park in beautiful downtown Cookeville. The dogwoods are still in bloom, the red buds are gorgeous and the magnolias are not quite spent yet.

The festival wasn't much, but was a fund raiser via silent auction of the hand painted rain barrels. This silent auction runs a little different than others I have seen, as you know what the previous bids are. I thought I'd share some pictures I took.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer Anyone?

Ok, summer it seems is starting early this year! Whew. And of course we picked this weekend to start our landscaping project in front of the house. We took a small area between two trees and planted a birdbath, bird feeder, some hostas and a couple of azalea bushes out there. We haven't mulched yet, as I am hoping to put down pine straw. DH is a bit iffy on it, but I feel pretty safe saying I will probably get my way.

Anyway, this is what it looks like now.

Some of the hostas are from Michigan and made the trip down last June when the Wild Ones visited!

I'm sure DH wants everyone to know how hard we worked - and we did. Digging up sod around trees is hard. Finding a place to transplant it was my job. It doesn't look that big but it was a 10 x 15 area. The birdbath is in the shape of a flower and stem. The birds are happy with it!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Let them eat cake!

Older daughter had her just-this-side-of-thirty birthday party on the 17th. I am slow in posting this - too much other stuff going on - but this is her teeny tiny little birthday cake. As you can see, once the candles went in it became the devil cake. It might have been devil's food at that - family's predilection for chocolate being what it is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red Stag

It's amazing how small things can make your day. Really small things like an email or a phone call. Now that would not be the random wrong number phone call I got this morning while enjoying breakfast out with the DH, but the one from Younger Daughter a few minutes ago as she attended her last class. She is enjoying - well plodding - through her first semester of school in a long time. Like Older Daughter, she decided a degree is the thing if she wants to potentially earn more money and move up from her bottom of the rung position in the marketing firm she works for. The good news is she thinks she made the Dean's list and the better news is that she has a real good shot at a scholarship and the best news is that we will see her in 17 days.

In the meantime, Older Daughter is experiencing the most stressful two weeks of her college career, the two weeks prior to graduation. Have I said lately just how amazing these two girls are? They. Are. Truly. Amazing!

Good work ladies!

Oh - and Red Stag is not Harry Potter's Patronus, but a new small batch bourbon from Jim Beam! Can't wait to try it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh My Gosh!

Today, maybe, is Older Daughter's (Saradoxical) birthday. She has achieved a feat probably no one has ever achieved before. We always knew we had a special little girl. We just never knew how special a young women she would grow into. I say maybe today is her birthday because we often tease her. When she was born way back in 1980, Daylight Savings Time didn't start until the third Sunday in April. Now it starts in March, and since you spring forward, that puts her April 17th 11:27 pm birthday on April 18th at 12:27 a.m.

Now having said that - this sign disturbs here. Actually both signs disturb me in their location. You might be able to make out the headstones in the picture.

And the special feat - today she is officially older than her mother who is 28 and leave it at that!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Tradition

Easter tradition in this family was to hide plastic eggs with clues to finding the next plastic egg with the next clue towards finding their Easter baskets. Every year, the Easter Bunny struggled to find the right wording to make those girls search hard for their basket, because they couldn't get the next clue until they solved the riddle.

Well, the little girls have grown up, one is still in Michigan, and yet, the Easter Bunny found the time to hide Older daughter's Easter goodies.

Older daughter will be 29 on Friday! At this rate, Easter Bunny will forget where the goodies were hidden before he can devise the clues.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I am Remiss

So I haven't posted in a while? Nothing really new here! I have spent the last few weeks between basking the glorious weather - the odd day here and there - and shivering during the abrupt climate changes. I grew up in Michigan, I should be used to this. It's funny how much difference 18 months in Tennessee is!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shoppin' Round

In between wondering if one of my younger sisters sent her back problems to me, DH and I have been doing little stuff around the house. Like filling in the lake on the side of the house. The dirt has decided to settle over the grinder pump and fills with water - much to the joy of the bluebirds around here - creating a small lake. DH has been filling in the low spots in dry times to move the wet spot further from the house. You see, we are lower than our neighbor to the west, so grading was kind of tricky. On one of our semi-weekly run to Lowe's we saw the most gorgeous annuals, rununculus, which just might replace my favorite impatiens. These flowers are about the size of a gerbera daisy but fuller, like a rose. Gorgeous! We also raked all the leaves away from the house and landscape plants, oh wait that was me - and we (me again) hoed around the irises in the backyard then planted a small fence around them so the landscaper doesn't run over them when it's time to mow. Ouch no wonder my back hurts.

DH and I were relaxing and fighting over the heating pad when one of our lamps started flickering. Doesn't matter what kind of bulbs you put in it, they flicker. After 25+ years they are starting to go. Imagine the sticker shock! Of course the first lamps we saw were well into three figures and that didn't include the darn shade! Yikes. We found out from one store that they have more lamps arriving next week so we hope to find just what we want from them then.

On St. Paddy's day, DH and I drove to West Knoxville to meet a friend of his for dinner at a micro-brew. This friend and DH have known each other well over 35 years, and the friend is a Tennessee native. It was a nice visit and we hope he gets a chance to visit on his trip back to Michigan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pleasant Surprise & Thirty Years Ago

The other day, older daughter received some mail here. Usually it is junk, but this time it was a post card reminding her that her cap and gown photos were available for viewing. Yes, it is getting to be that time and she will be collecting that degree in less than two months. It's been a long time coming, but she has worked hard to get there. Younger daughter and I have managed to talk her into walking on graduation day. We may be sorry about this as it is held indoors and May in Tennessee can be quite hot!

And today is the thirtieth anniversary of my first date with DH. I can't believe it was that long ago. A little while ago, DH and I shared some reminiscences (get your mind out of the gutter) and I recalled how shocked our mutual friends were because of our vastly different personalities. I don't think they thought it would last. Our first date was a wedding of bowling teammates of DH. They divorced within two years of their marriage, we are still together. That first date was the first time we were taken for a married couple. I told DH if it happened 3 times it would have to become fact. Second time was a couple weeks later and third time was when my younger sister was with us! Happy First Date Anniversary, DH!