Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday Hockey and Sunday Soup Supper

The Predators game was a real trip.  I had never been to a hockey game and it certainly was an unforgettable experience.  Why do the players fight and why does the referee not stop it until they are on the ice?  No question—the fans love it.  Thank you, Jack and Ansley, for the tickets.  It was a great evening out even if our team didn’t win.

For the past several years, we have had Saturday Soup Supper with Jack and Ansley as our Thanksgiving time with them.  In order to accommodate the hockey game, we had Saturday Soup on Sunday.  I made some beef stew and cheesy vegetable soup and we went to their house.  They have purchased a 2-acre piece of property for a new house one of these days and this was our first chance to see the land.  It looks great and we are thrilled for them.  We also got our dog fix by petting on their dogs and we got to love on Reebok the cat some.  A wonderful afternoon.

This morning when I opened my laptop to find soup recipes, I was distressed at the cracking sound I heard.  On closer inspection, I think one side of my cover is broken.  It is not the hinge, but rather the plate below the hinge.  It still works, but who knows for how long, so I busied myself copying all my photos onto CDs and backing up my other documents.  I certainly don’t want to buy a new computer right now, so I’m going to treat it with kid gloves and hope it lasts a few more months.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the first of December and this week is full of friends and food.  By golly, I think the holidays are upon us.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deck the Halls

Today has been a much more relaxing day than the previous several and I have just “wallered” in laziness. We had to make a short trip the Wal-Mart to pick up an extension cord to complete the holiday decorating.

Our first Christmas in the Montana, we found a cute little tree about 3 and a half feet tall.  It was perfect to stand at the end of the kitchen counter and we enjoyed it there for several days.  To our surprise, Peanut didn’t show much interest in the tree.  We were both working then, and one afternoon we came home to a royal mess.  I guess Peanut got bored and found the tree to be a fun place to be.  I got out a big garbage bag and threw out everything, including the tree.  The next day, I had an inspiration.  Those don’t come very often so I acted on it right away.  I got enough garland to drape over the full length of both slides.  I strung it with lights and decorated it with tinsel and miniature red and gold ornaments just like I would decorate a tree.  It has all the festiveness of a tree, it’s not taking up floor space which there is very little of and it is far out of the reach of precious Peanut.  I like it—I like it a whole lot better than a tree.
Our Christmas tree strung above the slides

This year I have spread out a little “snow” on a corner countertop and added a few decorations.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  So far Peanut hasn’t paid it any attention, but we’ve seen that behavior before.  Time will tell.
This looks like it has real cat appeal to me.
Jack and Ansley have given us tickets to the Predators game tonight.  We are excited.  I’ve never been to a hockey game before.  So, I’m posting this early and after a quick bite of supper we are off to the game.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post Thanksgiving Down Day

With all the running around and preparations for the big feast of yesterday, plus eating too much, laughing, and visiting, I needed a day to unwind and relax.  That was my full intent when I got out of bed this morning.  However, somehow things got out of control and I am bushed again.

After coffee and a few daily chores around the house, we put on our tennis shoes to go for a walk along the greenway.  About the time we were ready to leave, Gene’s boss called and he was on the phone for over an hour.  I did a couple more chores while waiting for him to get off the phone.  We managed to slip in a quick walk between the phone calls, but he basically worked all day.

Since he was tied up with work, I decided to put up a couple Christmas decorations.  Peanut wanted to help and we just kept pulling things out of the box until everything was in the middle of the floor.  Now the Montana is all decked out for the holiday and I’m glad we got it done.  Of course, pieces of garland and glitter from ornaments was all over the carpet which required vacuuming.  One thing led to another and I mopped what little linoleum I have and cleaned the bathroom.  This certainly wasn’t the day I envisioned when I got out of bed this morning.

One thing I didn’t spend a lot of time on today was cooking.  We had eaten so much yesterday we weren’t really hungry for breakfast.  After our walk, the light tuna wrap tasted good and dinner turned out to be a piece of grilled chicken on a garden salad.

I am looking forward to relaxing tomorrow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

We are creatures of habit and those habits have, at least in our family, over the years become traditions.  You see it most often at holidays or other special events which occur on an annual basis.  Thanksgiving is no exception and every year this day is played out as it has been for decades.

Each year, for as long as I can remember, all the Nashville members of our family have gathered together for turkey day dinner.  When I was a child, it was at my grandparents’ home in Hickman County.  For a number of years, my parents and my uncle Edd shared the hosting.  For the past several years, we have gathered at Edd’s home.  Only the place of the gathering has changed; everything else has remained the same over a half century of turkey day dinners.  Everybody brings a dish or two or three.  We eat until we are about to pop and while the ladies clean up the mess and divide the leftovers the men do what men do best following a big meal.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Blessings to Count

I guess I would have to say that my second greatest blessing is my family—Gene, Ansley and Jack, first and foremost.  Gene is my life companion, my chief supporter, my best friend and confidant.  He takes care of me before he takes care of himself.  We worry and fret over Ansley and Jack, just like all parents do, as they face the challenges of making a life, a home, and careers for themselves.  Then there is the great joy we feel as we rejoice with them when things work out well and a milestone is crossed.  How blessed I am!

My extended family is also a great blessing.  I’m grateful to be a part of a relatively close-knit group.  We enjoy visiting and eating together and do it often.  Of this large group of relatives, my mother takes the “greatest blessing” award.  We don’t always see eye to eye and we fuss and fight from time to time, but at the end of the day, I thank God for my mother.  I’ve told this story before, but it could stand to be repeated, so again I’ll share this adventure of lunch with Vera.

Last winter while we were in Nashville I had lunch with my mother.  Just the two of us.  We hadn’t done that in a while.  How do we get so busy that we can’t have lunch with our mothers?  Anyway, there is a new restaurant that serves lobster bisque on Friday.  We had heard that it was very good and she can attest to that truth because she had tried it before. Because I drive this monster truck and have difficulty parking, she suggested that she meet me in Centennial Park and we ride in her car to the restaurant.  I was instructed to meet her on that “little road by the funeral home” at 12:45.  I was at the designated place at 20 til so I wait.  And wait, and wait, and wait.  Finally, she calls about 1 o’clock.

 “Where are you” she asks.  “I’m on the little road by the funeral home where you told me to be.  Where are you?”  “Well, I came in on the road by the funeral home and I didn’t see you so I drove all around the park.”  I try again with a slightly different approach….”so where are you now?”  “Well, I’m over here on the right in the first parking lot.”  “Is that across from Centennial Sportsplex?”  “Uh, yes” she replies.  “Stay put, I’ll come to you.”  I leave my cozy little parking spot on the road by the funeral home and head off toward the first parking lot on the right.  As I turned onto the main road, I saw her driving by.  With no place to quickly turn this tank around, I went out onto 25th and returned to the park via the little road by the funeral home.  Meanwhile, I gave her a call.  “Where are you going?”  “I just thought I’d go up here and get turned around so I would be heading in the right way.”  “Well, where is that?” I asked.

I finally got parked and in her car.  Off to the restaurant we went.  Ordering was an adventure.  We came especially for the lobster bisque and were glad to learn they hadn’t “sold out”.  We felt we needed just a little something else, so decided on sharing a sandwich.  We selected the grilled chicken.  Sandwiches come with coleslaw and French fries.  We didn’t want coleslaw and French fries.  Our nice young waitress informed us we could substitute.  Since we didn’t want broccoli or a baked potato, we said we’d split a small dinner salad and forget the sandwich.  “That’s not possible, we don’t split any of our salads.”  Okay, so bring us each a small dinner salad.  I ordered ranch dressing for mine and the nice young waitress asked Vera if she wanted ranch also.  “No”, Vera said and paused to think a moment.  “I think I’ll have ranch”.  The waitress was good—she didn’t laugh out loud.  I just smiled a great big smile and told her “it’s always an adventure”.

When we got back in the car, I noticed mother was having some difficulty starting the engine.  She tried a couple of times to turn the ignition.  Then she tackled that thing with both hands.  I asked what the problem was, and she explained that this has always been the hardest car to start.  “Well, I guess we won’t have to worry about you driving for much longer if you can’t get the car started”, I suggested, but she was not amused.  I, too, am plagued with arthritis in my hands and often get frustrated at not being able to open a bottle or do some other menial task.  Perhaps there is a tool which she, and others, might use to help start the car.  Wire pliers come to mind.

This was a wonderful lunch on a beautiful sunny day.  We’ve had many lunches together over the years.  Many have been remarkable in their own way.  Today, however, I rejoice around the laughter that my mother is still able to drive herself, carry on an intelligent conversation, and not spill too much food in her lap.  I rejoice to be able to still have lunch with my mother.

Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Counting Blessings

Thursday is Thanksgiving so I thought I’d start counting all that I have to be thankful for early.  I figure it will take me a couple days to name everything.  We are thankful everyday for our blessings, but often we get in a rut and name over and over those things which are foremost in our minds—food, clothing, shelter, and family.  I often find myself spending more time asking for more things than I spend being thankful for what I have already been given.  How selfish is that?

My greatest blessing is a Lord that watches over me every day, and it’s no easy task.  In fact, I don’t know how He has time for anybody else.  Just this morning, I had to stop and say “thank you, Lord” that a display of glass jars of homemade pumpkin didn’t all fall in the floor when I ran into it with my grocery cart.  I certainly don’t want to forget that He kept me safe amongst the Nashville drivers as I made my way to and from the grocery.

Not only does He help me out, He is constantly providing opportunities for me to help others.  Isn’t that a great blessing—the ability to help others?  Today, while at the grocery, I had two opportunities to help fellow shoppers.  One was a very pleasant woman who was in one of those electric wheelchair carts.  She needed a bottle of safflower oil from the top shelf.  That was easy to do.  Not only was she appreciative and thanked me several times, but she also told me what she was going to do the safflower oil.  She rubs it all over her body to help prevent dry skin.  Now there’s a tip.  I’m afraid I’d slip off the sofa if I did that and I hate to think of all that oil being washed down the shower drain into my gray tank.  Does safflower oil have an odor?  Would it attract mice?  I’ve had a mouse in the house.  That’s no fun.  I think I’ll just stick with my Vaseline Intensive Care lotion.  The other shopper I had the privilege of helping was a younger lady who was searching through jelly and jam when I turned the corner into that aisle.  She asked if I saw any cranberry jelly.  As I sent her down a few rows to the canned fruit I decided jellied cranberry sauce wouldn’t be all that bad on toast.  I’d hold the peanut butter, though.

As I went through the checkout, I was grateful to have the shopping done for the Thanksgiving festivities coming up this week.  If you know me at all, you know I’m not fond of shopping and that includes groceries.  But I was in store for one more blessing from this single shopping experience—Gene’s quiet “thank you, Lord” as I handed him the receipt which came in almost $10 under the budget.

The gratitude I felt as each of these incidents occurred, paled in comparison to the “Hallelujah, praise Jehovah” that passed my lips when Peanut didn’t fall in the toilet.  God is good all the time!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let the Holiday Baking Begin

‘Tis the season to indulge in all those things we try to avoid for our good health during the rest of the year.  We (Gene especially) are quite fond of baked goods and at the top of the list might just be the chocolate chip cookie.  Today, I put a batch in the oven just as we sat down to our lunch sandwich.  By the time the sandwich was gone, the cookies were out of the oven.  There is nothing as good as a straight from the oven, melt in your mouth, chocolate chip cookie.

I enjoy cooking (and eating).  It must be my grandmother’s fault.  As my mother was growing up on the farm, she was assigned to house cleaning type duties, not kitchen duties.  Those jobs fell to her older sister.  As a result, when my mother married, she didn’t know how to cook.  It apparently was a handicapping condition in those days because she made sure I learned how to cook.  From the time I was big enough to stand in a chair without falling on the floor, I was doing tasks in the kitchen.  She was always a “working mom” and from the time I was in what would be called middle school now I was helping to prepare the evening meal.

My learning to cook went something like this—When I was about 12 years old, my mother would prepare a meal to be cooked in the oven (this was before the invention of the crock pot).  She would get it all together in a roasting pan and my job was to take it out of the refrigerator and put it in the oven to cook.  Easy.  As time when by,  I was given more of the prep responsibilities like adding already sliced and diced vegetables and a can of cream of chicken soup and give it a stir.  Then I could put it in the oven.  By the time I was out of high school, she could call from work and say we were having friends for dinner—“fix something”.

And I’m not the only one who learned to cook in the family.  My brother is an excellent cook—especially country cooking—barbeque, greens, and beans.  I have an uncle who is pretty handy with yeast breads and another whose talent lies in tenderloin—beef or pork.

There were always cookbooks around the house.  I am one to kind of skim a recipe and cook by the picture.  Sometimes that turns out okay, sometimes not, but I have really learned a lot about cooking using that method.  I still find a picture that looks good, decide I want to make it, shop for what I see in the picture, and am often totally surprised when I finally read the recipe.  Just this week, for example, I was shocked to learn that what I thought was squash in the picture was rutabaga in the recipe.  I don’t even know what rutabaga is.  I’m still gonna make it—with squash.

As far as I’m concerned, this is baking season.  It is the time to keep cookies in the house in case you see somebody who looks like they need a cookie.  It is the time to make banana bread and strawberry bread to give to the folks at the campground office or take to a friend.  And I always volunteer to make dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.  This year it will be buttermilk custard pie—a recipe that is always a hit that I got from my cousin, Carl.

From now until the end of the year, the sweet smell of fresh baked goods with accost our nostrils and perhaps those of our neighbors.  But after all—tis the season.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Hermitage

It was bitter cold overnight, but we had planned to visit the Hermitage today and we would not be dissuaded. We did wait until after lunch which we hoped would be a little warmer than the 23 degrees we woke up to.  Gene at been to the Hermitage about 30 years ago and I was in the 5th grade at the time of my last visit.  I can’t say that we remembered much from our previous visits.  There have been several improvements over the past few decades and we wanted to renew our acquaintance with General Jackson.
The drive approaching the Hermitage

The front door
Andrew Jackson of Battle of New Orleans fame and 7th president of the United States, made his home right here in Davidson County.  That grand old southern plantation and mansion was and is known as “The Hermitage” and was home to Andrew and Rachel Jackson.  The Jackson’s lived on the farm for several years before the mansion was completed in 1819.  The original small, log “hermitage” has been restored as well as several other buildings.  Living history interpreters dressed in period attire guide your tour through the mansion and answer questions.  For the rest of the grounds and the museum, a very well produced audio presentation explains points of interests, gives a glimpse into the culture of the southern plantation, relates antidotal stories involving Andrew and Rachel, and invites you to pick cotton and sage.
This log house was the original Hermitage and was later
used as the slave quarters.

Path to Rachel's Garden

As I sat down to write about our experience today, I went to a couple web sites to refresh my memory of when the mansion was built.  (This old mind just can hang on to things it learns for very long.)  Although The Hermitage is not a National Park Service unit, I found their website to be excellent.  I have included their site for The Hermitage as a hot link here.  The narrative is very informative and there are a couple photos of inside the house which we were forbidden to take.
Andrew and Rachel's tomb

The Spring House
Before leaving the plantation grounds, we drove over to Tulip Grove, another stately, old southern mansion.  Tulip Grove was the home to Rachel’s nephew, Andrew Jackson Donelson.  Andrew and his young bride, Emily, moved with General Jackson to the White House when he was elected president.  Andrew Donelson became Jackson’s personal secretary and Emily acted as hostess for state functions.  (Rachel had died before Jackson took the office of president.)  Tulip Grove is now used for private parties and is not open for touring by the public.
Tulip Grove

Cotton ready for the picking
Despite the cold, we enjoyed our visit to The Hermitage.  I am, however, looking forward to warmer temperatures tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Country Christmas at Opryland Hotel

This afternoon Gene and I took our annual stroll through Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel and Convention Center. Each year at the holiday season, the hotel is decorated to the nines and they call it “A Country Christmas”.  Thousands of visitors lose themselves in the spirit of the season as they gaze at the magnificent displays in literally every nook of this massive hotel.  The Delta area, as well as the Conservatory, have glass roofs, so you would get the best effect of the lighting after dark.  However, I didn’t think I would be able to get very good photos with only my little camera flash in such a massive area, so we went this afternoon to take advantage of the brilliant sunshine flowing through the roof.

One of the big draws to Opryland is their outdoor lighting display.  I went over this morning to get shots of the nativity scene, but it might actually be better to try that after dark.

We have to drive by the hotel to go almost anywhere and during those drive bys I have been trying to determine the best vantage point for a good shot of the lights.  It seems that I would have to stand on the off ramp to McGavock Pike on the westbound side of Briley Parkway.  That’s a heavy traffic area, especially with folks coming to the hotel to see the lights.  The road builders must have realized this was the best place to make a picture because there is a sidewalk along a portion of that ramp.  I think I will give it a try, but not today.  It is suppose to be 20 degrees tonight.  I ain’t going out in that kind of cold just to get a picture.  But this is Nashville, and, like they say, if you don’t like the weather today, just wait a couple days and it will change.  When it does, I’ll be out there risking life and limb to bring you the outdoor light display at Opryland Hotel.

Until then, enjoy these shots from inside the hotel and the nativity scene.  For photos taken both inside and out during spring, see the April 18th entry.
A roaring fire in the Magnolia lobby.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tennessee Trails Association

For several years we have been members of Tennessee Trails Association.  In fact, Gene was one of the first members, having joined this hiking club some 30 years ago.  As is the case with most hiking clubs, the purpose of TTA is to promote hiking and trail building and maintenance throughout the state. One of the primary goals of this club has been the construction of the Cumberland Trail, now a linier state park stretching from Cumberland Gap National Park at the Kentucky border to Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park at the southern end of the state.  Volunteer trail builders are working diligently to make this 300-mile foot path a reality.

Diane and Libby
We are members of the Nashville Chapter and since it is the largest of the 14 chapters statewide, we have the honor and privilege of collating, folding, stapling and otherwise preparing the monthly newsletter for mailing.  We couldn’t possibly consider ourselves true hikers if we didn’t somehow turn this gathering into an eating meeting.  Besides, the number of volunteers donating their time and energy is directly proportional to the amount food served. (Some would say the amount of wine served, but wine really serves a different function.  The number of newsletters returned by the postal service is directly proportional to the amount of wine consumed.)  Once a month, volunteers gather to eat, gossip, collate, fold, and staple.  We have fun and over the years this “newsletter party” group has formed close friendships.
Herb, chief among staplers.

The collating team.

Tonight was the night for this monthly ritual at the home of our long-time, dear friend Libby Frances.  I had seen Libby at church last Sunday and volunteered to bring a food item.  She quickly assigned me cornbread to go along with her pot of bean soup.  Several were in attendance, giving us the opportunity to visit and catch up with friends we haven’t seen in several months.  If you have been following this blog, you may recognize some of the names.  Diane is the same Diane that went with me on the AT this past spring and my good friend, Herb, sold me that tiny tent that was my home on that AT journey.

Diane filling out paperwork for the Post Office.
This morning we spent a couple hours with Tony and Diana walking along a short section of the greenway and then sharing more of our adventures over coffee.  They will be leaving tomorrow morning and we will hate to see them go.  However, they are heading to warmer climes and more adventures over the horizon and we will be following in their footsteps soon.  We have enjoyed our brief time together and wish them safe travels.  We look forward to seeing them down the road in the future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Green Bowl

When my mother-in-law passed away a few years ago, I was responsible for cleaning out her house.  After family members laid claim to items they wanted, what we couldn’t sell at a great garage sale or give away, we took to Goodwill.  But there, among the kitchen items, was this green bowl which I had to have.  This bowl has been the vessel of choice for everything from chocolate mousse to meatloaf.  I use it almost every day.  As mixing bowls go, it isn’t any better or worse than something you could pick up at Walmart for just a few dollars.  But it reminds me of a time gone by and I love it.  I have always been pretty nostalgic.  I think it is because of the wonderful memories I have of the times I spent on my grandparents’ farm.  The green bowl represents a past that is vanishing quickly and it is a reminder of a mother-in-law I wish I had known better.

Anyway, several days ago, I noticed a crack in the green bowl.  It went from side to side, almost through the very center of the bowl.  Today, I bought a new mixing bowl and with great sorrow watched as Gene put the green bowl in the garbage.  The new bowl is plastic and really more suitable for traveling down the highway at 60 mph, but there will always be a warm spot in my heart for Edna’s green bowl.

We have been busy with indoor activities the past two days.  It has turned cold and was only 24 degrees this morning.  Gene has been busy with work—on the phone for the better part of both days.  I have been pouring over the travel books and doing some internet research for our upcoming trip to Texas.  Gosh, Texas is a big place.  Even concentrating on the most southerly portion, I don’t think we can see all we want to see.

As much as we wanted to stay inside and pretend we were already in Texas, we forced ourselves to don coats, gloves, and ear muffs for a brisk few laps around the campground.  Once we got going, it felt good to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh air and the sun made the day simply gorgeous. On our walk yesterday, we slid through the fence to look at the new Montanas at Cullum and Maxey.  There is one on the lot that I have grown fairly fond of.  Lucky for Gene, it is really too heavy for our truck to tow.  But it is fun to look.  I also had an errand to run for Santa.  I walked over to Camping World to take care of that.  Christmas shopping is more fun when you don’t have to worry about parking and Camping World is no farther from my campsite than I would have to walk from the parking lot at the mall.

Our new friends Tony and Diana have invited us to walk a section of the greenway tomorrow morning and go for coffee afterward.  Gene has a call scheduled at 8 AM and has to be downtown at 11:30, but I think we can squeeze it in.  We are looking forward to that.  Hopefully, it won’t be quite as cold as it was this morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Many RVers Does It Take to Screw In a Light Bulb?

Contributed by Gene

As dusk began to fall I switched on the wall lamp over the desk.  It flashed on – and then off.  Switch Switch.  No light.  The ceiling light worked so it appeared that this was a localized problem.

The wall lamp had two small bulbs.  Actually, we have four wall lamps like this one.  All 4 lamps use different bulbs.  I wonder why.  Anyway, this wall lamp at the desk has 2 round bulbs.  When I removed the bulbs, other than the top of the bulb being dark, they looked fine.  The filament appeared to be intact.  Couldn’t hear anything when I shook them.

“I hope it’s not the lamp itself,” I worried.  Judi suggested I check the fuse panel.  That is what the manual says, I remember.  It says to always check the fuse first.  How could she know that?  She never looks at the manuals.

I check both the alternating current and direct current fuse panels.  Everything was fine.

“Maybe it’s a loose wire,” said Judi.  Please God, I thought, just this once let her be wrong.  “I’m going to run over to Camping World for some new bulbs,”  sez I.

The parts man couldn’t see anything wrong with the old bulbs.  But since it was 5:20 in the afternoon, the tools were all locked up so he couldn’t test the bulbs with a volt meter.  He assured me new bulbs could be returned, so I accepted a package.  No price marked.  At the checkout I was prepared for the worst.  Some specialized RV bulbs, who knew what they might cost?  The answer was $2.18.

Back home I inserted 1 new bulb which burned brightly a second then went out.  On no!  A lamp that kills bulbs.  “Why don’t you check the fuses?”  Because, Judi, I thought, I already checked them and they were fine.”  But I checked, stalling for time to decide what to do next.

Imagine my surprise to see that a DC fuse had blown.

When the RV was new, in November 2005, I bought a package of 30 amp and a package of 15 amp DC fuses.  I bought them right after reading the owner’s manual about always checking the fuses first whenever there is an electrical problem.  I remember putting them away so they could be easily found when needed.  I wonder where that was.

Now that it was dark out, I grabbed a flashlight to go root around in my tool box and parts box.  Judi said, “Wait, check the kitchen drawer first.”  Why not.  Lo, I found them next to the Swiss Army knife and the candles.  Judi is good.  She is very, very good.

I replaced the 15 amp fuse, put the bulbs in the lamp, and switched it on.  Let there be light!  And brighter than before.  Hosanna!

I sat down to enjoy my triumph.  Then I thought I should put the fuses back before I forgot to.  Now, where did I lay them?

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Stay At Home Day

Sometimes I just have to hibernate.  Today was one of those very lazy, stay at home days.  This morning we had a great visit with our neighbors Tony and Diana.  We had spoken with them briefly a couple days ago, but this morning they came over for coffee and conversation.  We had a few great laughs talking about various RV lifestyle episodes like downsizing from home ownership, HD TV set up, and maintenance issues.  It was amazing how many interests we have in common.  It so happens that many of their upcoming destinations are similar to our tentative plans.  Hopefully, our paths will cross again soon.
New Friends, Tony and Diana

I did drag myself off the sofa this afternoon to do a few chores.  Defrosting the freezer looms large in my near future, but today I was able to find other appliances that needed some soap and a little elbow grease.

We rented another movie—Aviator—the story of Howard Hughes.  That’s makes two in less than a week.  This may be a new record for us.  It was pretty long so we thought we would watch the first part this afternoon and the rest after dinner.  However, we got into it and never found a good stopping point.  Needless to say, we missed the news and had a late dinner.

Tomorrows plan to take my aunt down to the country has been postponed.  She is a bit under the weather with a cold.  We have plenty of time for that trip another day.  Speaking of family history, I did a little internet research today and found that, yes indeed, Thomas Edison did visit the tiny community of Coble where my grandparents lived.  He was there in 1906 looking for cobalt deposits.  Many times my grandmother told me she had seen Mr. Edison and I must admit I was skeptical.

Since I am not going to the country with my aunt tomorrow, no telling what kind of mischief I can find to get into.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Geocaching and Some Pretty Cool Ducks

Even though it was cold, with some snow showers along the outer edges of the county, the sun was bright and it was a beautiful day.  This afternoon, we took advantage of the sunshine to try another geocaching outing.
Buchanan Cemetery at Buchanan Station

The Buchanans seem to be a popular family with geocachers in Nashville.  Last week, our first cache was at the old log home of James Buchanan.  Today’s search was at the John Buchanan Cemetery located near Buchanan Station.  John may have been the uncle of the log cabin James, but John had a brother named James, sons of James and Jane Buchanan who came to Tennessee in the mid 1700s.  John was the proud owner (and I assume the builder) of the 3rd house built in Nashville on the banks of the Cumberland at Fort Nashborough.   In the early days of the settlement there were outlying forts erected as safe places for the settlers to gather in times of danger, especially from the Indians.  Buchanan Station was one of these forts.  Buchanan Station was attacked by some 900 Indian warriors in 1792, but the settlers sent their attackers running after mortally wounding the chief.  We did not find the cache in this location, but it was great fun to explore the history.

We had time for one more search.  This one was much easier and we found it within just a few minutes.  Gene was very excited that the coordinates listed in the geocache description and the coordinates on the GPS screen were identical when he was standing right under the cache.  Since our GPS is designed primarily as a route finding device to be used on roads, it is not so precise when you carry it in your hand and walk away from the roadway.  Accuracy varies between 15 and maybe 40 feet.  That can be a pretty large area when you are looking for something as small as a film canister which has intentionally been hidden from view.  It’s always fun to find what you’re searching for.

You can't help but smile.
We also went in search of the sunglasses yard art.  We had discovered this special little place several years ago when we were commuting to work downtown.  Each morning we passed and I always had to smile no matter what kind of mood I was in.  One morning we stopped and I put a note on the porch thanking the owner for the display which was such a highlight of my drive in to work.  Buchanan Station is nearby.  Since we were in the area we just had to see if the display was still there.  Yes, indeed! And it has grown since last we passed this way.  It still makes me smile.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Rivers Mansion

Well, our plans to hike with our local hiking club washed away with every raindrop that fell from the sky this morning.  We had good intentions, but it was just too cold, wet, and windy for this old mind to think a 6-mile hike in this weather would be fun.  Instead, we sat around in our pajamas sipping coffee in the comfort of our warm and cozy Montana.

There was enough of a break in the rain this afternoon to get in a short walk.  We chose to do a short section of the Stones River greenway not far from our campground.  The trail goes right past Two Rivers Mansion so we stopped for a look around and a few photos.  Two Rivers was about the last of the old southern antebellum plantation homes to be built in Nashville.  Construction was started just before the Civil War by the McGavock family.  Along about the mid 1960s the mansion was purchased by the city of Nashville and is now used for private functions such as weddings, receptions, galas and balls.  There was some sort of luncheon going on there today.  The ladies probably wondered about us vagabonds wandering around in the yard.
What we assume to be the kitchen and slave quarters.

Needs a little tender loving care.

This evening we had dinner with Jack, Ansley, and Ansley’s long time childhood best friend and collage roommate, Shea and husband Michael.  We were so excited to finally get to meet baby Sarae.  The last time I saw Shea was at the baby shower and I can’t believe Sarae has already celebrated her first birthday.

Even though it was a cold, rainy day it was a great day.  And now we are looking forward to tomorrow.