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Tennessee Adventure

I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams.  Wooooo Pig. Sooooie!  Goo Lady Bears!   It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be.  Oops.  Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman.  The only real issue would be traffic and parking.

It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background).  Uneventful trip and check in at motel.  Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter houses.  This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich.  It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.

Thursday morning we headed to Nashville  the area around the Nissan Arena was blocked to traffic   We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day.  We checked out the Johnny Cash museum.  Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ?    You can check it out on you tube  we are a sandwich and for dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster.   They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry.  They are also good   Then we went to the Patsy Cline Museum   Also fun   Then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman   Gatlin brothers were good  but Ashley Campbell was amazing.   Daughter of Glen Campbell.   The night opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman.   I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.

We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena.  Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident



It’s a Guatemalan dish that Jose served us tonight. It’s like a stuffed, thick tortilla. Inside it are beans, cheese, and zucchini. It is topped with a slaw like mixture. Delicious. I had mine with about 3 drops of hot sauce. Based on the food we’ve had with the Ordonez family, Guatemalan food is very spicy.

Last night we found out my mom had emergency surgery for a twisted small intestine. The surgery was successful and after 2 or 3 days in the hospital she should go home. We were convinced that there was nothing we could do, so we’ll stay until Tuesday, as planned. If the situation changes, we’ll head home immediately.

Yesterday afternoon we checked out the California Bass Pro near Riverside. It was smaller than the one in Springfield, but we had fun looking around.

This afternoon we checked out Trader Joe’s. I wish Springfield had one! Quite a bit fancier than Aldi. I picked up some of their Charles Shaw Shiraz wine. To see how it compares to Aldi Winking Owl. That will happen tomorrow because I didn’t think about needing a cork screw.

Cielito Lindo

It means pretty sky and the it’s the place where we ate last night. I had the best fish tacos (so far). My first fish tacos were at a food truck at Loomis Basin brewery. They set a high standard that few other places have met.

Earlier in the afternoon, we walked to a local ice cream shop. I had hot chocolate ice cream made with Abuelita chocolate. That’s what they use to make Mexican hot chocolate and it has some cinnamon in it. It was delicious.

Junior went back to work yesterday, since we are here to help Hannah and JD. He’s starting to look around more, between eating and sleeping. He’s also stretching out his legs.

Sunday was Hannah’s birthday. We celebrated by playing 27 holes of mini golf at a place called Glo. Each hole was a different country, all done in glowing paint, under black lights. It was inside and handicapped friendly, so we brought JdD in the stroller. He slept through it.

The weather is a bit chillier that I expected. The sun is warm but there’s a cool breeze and the temperature drops fast when the sun goes down. Tomorrow they predict rain.

Mi Familia

Our trip to Riverside was filled with delays, but we eventually arrived. We were notified that the flight from Springfield to Denver was delayed. Weather prevented the plane from leaving its place of origin. Our flight went from leaving at 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. We arrived at the airport at 1:30. We breezed through TSA and when we got to gate 9, we discovered that there was another delay. it was after 3:30 when the plane arrived, unloaded, did their between flight cleaning, got this flight loaded and finally took off. We were able to rebook a flight from Denver to Riverside because we missed our original connection. In fact, we left Springfield later than our original arrival would have been.

It was about 10 pm when our feet touched California soil. Junior and Hannah met us and JD was along with them. We were all so tired we just went to the hotel and checked in. I’d talked with the hotel manager and our late arrival was accommodated. Junior had picked up beer and they joined us in our room for a beer and a bit of catching up. Then they left us to settle in and try to sleep

Mimi holds Jaraiya for the first time.

Saturday morning Junior, Hannah and JD picked us up and we went to breakfast at the airport restaurant. It was about half a mile from our hotel, so we walked. JD has a deluxe stroller, so he traveled in style.

After breakfast we went to the Ordonez house, where we were welcomed. A lot of aunts and uncles and cousins also came over. Most we met at the wedding, so it was great to see them again. It was the first time many had met JD, so he was the star of the show. Rosie made tamales, so everyone was was excited by that too. It was one big crazy good time. I’m glad to be included as a part of this familia.

No Jacket Needed

Today started out gray but the sun poked out mid morning. Everything was still sloshy from yesterday’s rain. The roofers showed up early and got the east side of my parents roof finished. Rain is expected the next few days, so I’m not sure when they will start on our roof.

Brenda, the dogs and I took a walk about 2. The wind was gusty but the sun was bright. Our thermometer said 73*. I wore a lightweight flannel shirt with my jeans. No jacket needed.

Down to the final pages of _Demon Copperhead _. Damon finally gets a good foster home and plays varsity football his freshman year. Then the beginning of next season, gets a serious knee injury. Didn’t get proper medical care. Addicted to pain meds. Downward spiral. Happy ending seems unlikely. and yet I read on.

With the rain and warmer weather, our yard is greening up. It will need mowing when we get home from California.

Emptying the fridge

The countdown to our trip to meet JD is on. We’ll be gone almost two weeks, so I don’t want any food left to spoil while we’re gone. It will be leftovers, leftovers and leftovers until we leave. It won’t be a hardship since we have both meatloaf and chicken to alternate meals. We also have lots of spring greens for salads. The big tub of strawberry yogurt may be a bit of a challenge. I’m thinking dessert as well as breakfast.

I made it halfway through _Demon Copperhead_ and am still loving it. It’s a long story and not a fast read. 

March Madness. It was sweet watching the Razorbacks beat Kansas. It will be interesting to watch them take on UConn on Thursday.

The roofers showed up mid morning Monday. They got the west half of my parents house done. It rained today but hopefully they’ll get it finished tomorrow.

Last night Matt and family came over for dinner and a visit. Last week was spring break for Springfield schools. They a big adventure in St. Louis. They went up in the arch, went to the Science Center and the City Museum. Things Dennis and I did with our kids. The City Museum didn’t exist for the boys, but Hannah got hooked on it and continued going there through college. It’s a very cool place that just keeps expanding and evolving.

Another chicken was dead in the pen yesterday. None of the other chickens appear sick. There’s no reason to think Avian Flu. The hens are 3 years old, so old age is a more likely involved. In a few months, we’ll get baby chicks and begin a new cycle of life.


It’s a frosty morning and will be a cold few days heading into spring. We won’t be planting our potatoes today.

We had our corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots with my parents on Tuesday. I put a second corned beef brisket in the freezer for later. They are only available seasonally around here.

I finished _The Cloisters _. I wasn’t “in love” with any of the characters, but loved the descriptions inside the museum and the different areas of NYC. The plot wasn’t fast moving but I kept turning the pages to see what happened next. I found the ending a bit disturbing even though that was exactly where the author was leading.

I finally got _Demon Copperhead _ by Barbara Kingsolver from the library. It took several months on the wait list to get my turn. I’m a huge Kingsolver fan an the first 100 pages don’t disappoint. Damon Fields ( aka Demon Copperhead) reminds me of a few boys who struggled through middle school, bouncing around between relatives and foster homes. Hopefully their lives were not as horrific as in the book, but I know they were slipping through the cracks in spite of the teachers and our councilors who pushed the limits on how much they could legally do to help.

One of Junior’s cousins helped them do a seasonal photo shoot with JD. cutest leprechaun I’ve ever seen.

Over the weekend

Friday was a celebration of life for Helen Corlett. She was a quilter, domino players and wonderful person. She was 97 years old when she passed away. She will be missed.

Afterwards, I headed to St. James to help with a baby shower brunch for Sydney and Zane. Christa hosted me and Karol ( who also moved away after retirement) overnight. It was fun and giggles until about 9 pm—time for bed. we were up early and had plenty of help getting the golf club decorated, food arranged and tables set up. It was well attended and they received lots of thoughtful and useful gifts. Hannah is friends with Sydney and Zane so it’s interesting they are having babies so close together—in time, not location.

We had a potluck dinner after church Sunday. It’s always good to have a chance to catch up with people you only see for a few minutes once a week. Plus you get to eat a lot of good food.

I don’t like daylight savings time. It’s dark when I wake up. As the days get longer, it will be light by 6 am , but then it will be light until after 8 pm. Which means the chickens are still out running around when I’m ready to go to bed.

An early arrival

Our friends George and Linda visited us on their way back to Illinois from South Padre Island. They got here Tuesday afternoon. I decided to celebrate an early St Patrick Day meal of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. It went over well.

We had a leisurely breakfast Wednesday morning, followed by some shopping. Bass Pro carries George’s favorite sandals so he got a new pair. Linda found some cute tennis shoes and a metal ladybug plant/garden decoration. That inspired her to want to shop for more cute lawn and garden decorations. We discovered a place NE of Willard that has a lot of concrete statuary and they also install fountains of all sizes. It’s called Sunshine Hills Gifts and we had no clue such a place existed.

Dennis was friendly with Big Foot but I found the alligator behind him frightening

We ended the day at Pisanos Sauce Lounge. It’s been over a year since we ate there. We were happy to discover the pizza and atmosphere was as good as we remembered.

Our friends left soon after breakfast this morning. Shortly afterwards we got a text from Hannah. She was at the hospital and in active labor. JD made his appearance about 4:30 California time he weighed in at 6 lbs 11 oz and 19” long. So much for all our plans to be there for his birth. We’re going to head out there as originally planned.

Mom and son. Everyone’s doing fine, including dad.


We got a little over 3” of rain on top of already saturated ground. Our basement leaked again. Fortunately it was along the south wall where Dennis has his office and greenhouse area. Nothing stored on the floor. Tables with plants and the desk with seeds and papers had to be pulled out to vacuum up the water and now that area has to be repainted with the leak seal paint. It looks like the water came in where the wall and floor join.

Dennis ordered this years garden seeds. We focused on drought and heat resistant varieties, as well as our usual favorites. He then took all the seed catalogs to church, for anyone to take.

Yesterday we joined friends in celebrating Howard Edmonds 90th birthday. That’s quite an achievement. My own dad will be 90 in October.

I spent the first part of the afternoon repairing Dennis’ favorite denim jacket. This may be the last time there’s enough solid fabric for repairs.

The jonquils have been blooming for a few days. The Surprise Lily leaves are up and I noticed some iris leaves poking up. Feeling a lot like spring today.

Rain and Wind

We have standing water in the front and back yards. It’s still raining and the wind is picking up. It’s 42* but “feels like” 34* with the wind. A miserable day.

I have a tiny pattern (totally accidental) in my reading. I impulsively picked up _Make Space for Happiness _. It’s about losing clutter by figuring out why you have it. It’s about how marketing encourages hoarding. BOGO sales. Buy 3 get the 4th free. I have also discovered “things you need” segments in what used to be serious news programs. The book is about believing you are enough without stuff. I am not a hoarder but I accumulate books and crafting supplies beyond what I “need”. Which means I also picked up Simon Brett’s book _The Clutter Corpse_. There are 2 more books in the series should I like the first one.

After much discussion and debate, Dennis and I decided on the dates we will be in California for the birth of JD. Babies are unreliable when guessing the date of their debut into the world. We’re going a few days before due date and staying a week past due date. Plane tickets are bought…so keeping fingers crossed weather or overbooked flights won’t affect us. After searching for Airbnb in the area, we settled on a hotel that is 10 minutes away. Basically the same price but much closer.

Since we are housebound due to weather, I’m reading those books and using those craft supplies. Proving I’m not a hoarder.. right?