4/24/2017

{Weekend Wrap-up} An Emotional Yet Exciting Weekend

It's been a while, huh? Seems like I've said that once or twice before! Things are happening in the Small Town. The big thing is that the roads are torn up in preparation for some major road work. It's supposed to make getting to Knoxville easier. We'll see. I have a hard time believing that the businesses that the new road is going to bypass are okay with the new road. But, the paper says they are, so it must be true. 😖
Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending an "Aggie Muster" in Knoxville. If you read my post A Very Special Weekend in a Very Special Place, you know how connected my family is to Texas A&M. Aggie Muster is another long standing tradition that is embraced by all Aggies. Every April 21st, Aggies gather near their homes to remember those who have passed over the year. Since my daddy passed away in February, his was one of the names called at roll call. My sister (who is currently working on her Ph.D. at A&M) did the honor of saying "here" when daddy's name was called. Following roll call, "Silver Taps" is played. And my tears came. I thought about how Daddy loved the Aggies. He was so proud to be an alumnus. He always had several Texas Aggie Magazines and books next to his chair in the living room. He always watched the different sports teams when they were on tv. He is an Aggie through and through. 
Thankfully, the president of the A&M Club allowed me to go in. My sister had been in contact with another man about my coming, and he said I could come; however, he didn't let the president know. At one point he said that we could eat downstairs and come up for Muster, but then he came back and said they'd bring in a table if they had to. And that's how I got in. And, that's how I met this guy:
This is John Chavis, also known as "Chief". He is the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for A&M. He also coached at UT (That's the "real" UT: Tennessee!) and LSU. I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to talk to him, but we were able to talk to him following Muster. I introduced myself, told him Daddy was an alum of '50, and that he passed away in Feb. Coach Chavis sounded so sincere when he apologized for our loss. I then told him that Daddy often said that Coach was the best defensive coach around and that he was a big fan. He was just so down to earth. He is now one of my favorite people! 1 thing that he said while he was speaking to the crowd: He said he envied Aggies because of all of the tradition. I know how he feels. I envy my sister that she's a part of this great tradition. Even if I had been a serious student in high school, I would have never had the opportunity to be an Aggie. Daddy was insistent that we all attend a college in-state. 
Okay, enough of that! That probably could be a blog post in itself! After Muster, I opened up a bottle of Peach Mead and we sat down to watch Steel Magnolias. She was up at the crack of dawn to head back home...too much to do, and CH & I had an appointment to see about some kitchen cabinets. We were planning on going to the Rossini Festival in downtown Knoxville, but it poured pretty much all day. So, when we left our kitchen appointment, we were hungry. We found this really neat looking place:
The building is an old Texaco station, and they brew their own beer in the brewhouse, which is just to the right of the picture.
It was really cool, and the food (and beer!) was excellent. The inside:



It's definitely a place we'll go back to. We were disappointed about not going to the festival; we went a couple of years ago and it was excellent. A lot of different music groups in the area perform; YS' fencing group had exhibitions as well. 
Saturday night, I attempted to make pizza with my new breadmaker. Now that I know when the dough cycle stops, I think it will work! It was edible; next time will be even better! We watched Chamber of Secrets; well, most of it. I didn't make it to the end...it was past my bedtime.
Since the cabinet shopping on Saturday was a bust (very good price; I just don't think I'll be happy with it in a few years), we did more shopping on Sunday. I think I have a pretty good idea of what I want; now we'll see if I can get what I want with my budget! With any luck, my kitchen is going to look very different than it does now:
And I can't wait!!!

4/05/2017

Memories & Miscellaneous Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what's the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Definitely a 2. Our next door neighbor has a yard service and his yard looks impeccable...which makes ours look worse!
I hope to get a young man in to weed the little area between the back sidewalk & house. My plan is to have him transplant some flowers from my parents' house.

2. "Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there."~Thomas Fuller  What does this quote mean to you?

Weeds. That's about as deep as I can get right now.

3. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?
The mountains & sunrises. Seriously...how could you not believe in God when you see a sunrise over a mountain?

4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

By my hands. And probably my facial expressions.

5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black eyed susan...which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?

Yellow is CH's favorite color. My kitchen walls are yellow; I like a bright kitchen!
Daffodils (Jonquils) are high on the list because they bloom first around here. It's a definite sign that spring is on the way. 

6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Bare feet. (Southern girl)

7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you'll carry out this month.

I haven't really thought about Easter, other than Holy Week. I'm planning on attending Mass on Holy Thursday and the service (it's not a Mass) on Good Friday. Saturday morning I have to be at the church early for a retreat for adults who will be entering into the Catholic Faith that night. Then, Saturday night I will be attending Mass for Easter Vigil. I'm sponsoring someone who is entering the Church. That leaves Easter Day open. I'm not sure what we'll do since it will probably just be the 2 of us.
When I was growing up, instead of hiding a bunch of eggs for an egg hunt, my parents would only hide 1: the Alleluia Egg. Whoever found it won a prize. When my boys were little, we continued the tradition with them.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I went by the house yesterday afternoon and my oldest brother was there. We went inside and started looking through this 1 cabinet and he found some dishes that 1 of my sisters said she wanted but we couldn't find. My mom used to play bridge, and every now & then she would host. I don't remember much about it; I just remember card tables being set up with tablecloths on them, and that there were fancy dishes. Mostly, I remember being shooed out of the room. How cool is this?
My brother just got out 3 of the dishes; there are 8 and they look brand new. The middle is a "Lazy Susan". Apparently, they aren't just for serving, either:
Isn't that fantastic? 


3/31/2017

{Friday Foto Friends} Definite Signs of Spring & Other Things

I’m joining Deb again this week for Friday Foto Friends!
Last Saturday, CH & I splurged and bought some new bicycles. There have been a lot of times when we've been on a camping trip & wished we had bicycles.
While on a bike ride, we ran across this mama and her babies...in the Parks & Rec swimming pool...which is being drained. When I drove by yesterday, I noticed they were still in there. I called the office and the lady assured me that they would get them out before they get hurt. She said they deal with this every year. 
This is a tree beside the gym at my mountain school. It's so pretty when it blooms...too bad the blooms don't stay very long.
Here's a view from my window at my mountain school. I happened to look outside Thursday morning & saw the sun coming up.
CH & I are in the planning stages of a new kitchen. I went by a place the other day to just look and see what's available. I thought this was very cool. Instead of having a lazy susan in the corner, this pulls out like a drawer, and when you keep pulling it, it turns and a some shelves just appear!!!  It's probably over our budget, but I really liked that idea.
This is actually OS' picture. Isn't my granddog handsome? Such a good boy!
My SIL gave me an essential oils necklace for my birthday. I decided to give it a try. It can't hurt, right? People who use it swear by it, so I'm going to see what happens.
My dad made this super-cool wine holder. I call it "magical"! It's been sitting down at the house and no one made a claim to it, so I took it (after writing it on the list-just in case any of my siblings are reading this!) 
If you read my Hodgepodge post from Wed., I included this picture:
and I mentioned how excited I was to see the UPS man pull in the driveway. Here's what was delivered:
CH & I talked off & on since our trip to SD last summer about getting a case of wine from Prairie Berry in Hill City, SD. But, I didn't feel like I could justify spending money on a case of wine when I could drive down the street and get some wine. Not Prairie Berry, though; it's not carried here. My sweet FIL & MIL included something special in my birthday card, so I decided to indulge! YS & I brought home several bottles in July. The Wild Bill bottle you see in the Magical Wine Holder is our last bottle from the trip. So, you can see why I was so excited about seeing the UPS man!
It was a busy, busy week. How was yours?

3/29/2017

It's a Beautiful Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

It's Wednesday, so it's time to link up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for another Hodgepodge.

1. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'  What's something you've seen recently that you thought was beautiful?
The Minor Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Chattanooga

2. Our culture and beauty...your thoughts?
I don't know that anything really needs to be said about this. 

3. Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep...which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?
Beauty Sleep. It seems like I just don't get enough of it.

4. I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-

alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider. 

Which 'beast' on the list scares you the most? What is the liklihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?
I'd have to say alligators. Not very likely in East Tn., thank goodness! I've seen coyotes, black bears, birds (duh!), sharks, bats, rats, and a black widow spider, but I've never had an actual "encounter" with them.

5. Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?
My notification on my phone sounds like a church bell...just one. I wouldn't call it alarming or musical...almost annoying, in fact! Time to look for a different one!

6. What's your favorite carb? How's that for random?
What's NOT my favorite carb? How's that for an answer? 😄

7. Let's wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.
Memories while cleaning out my parents' house
Ash Wednesday kicked off Lent
Revisited old college stomping grounds
Chattanooga with my Cooper SIL
Happy it's over because that means I'm closer to summer break!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I love this time of the year. Even though the jonquils have already come & gone, tulips are busting out, and my neighbor's azaleas are just about to bloom. We're able to have the windows open, so we're enjoying it while we can. It won't be too long before we'll have to close them up and turn on the air conditioner. 
How is it where you are? 
This showed up in my driveway Tuesday evening, right on time! 
What could it be??? If you follow me on FB or IG, then you know, but don't spoil the surprise. 
Come back on Friday to find out what was delivered and why I'm so excited about it!

3/24/2017

{Friday Foto Friends} I Need a Break!

I really wish I could get another break to recover from last week’s “break”! I broke out my "big girl camera" and took some random shots over the week:
I thought it was really cool how this bird looked like a painting on the pole. (It wasn't!)
 Volunteer Garage in Chattanooga, Tn. I just thought it was cool.
Bird on a wire. A cardinal, to be more exact!
My Christmas Cactus is in bloom again. 
Eloise is getting rather comfortable in her new home. Piano lessons will hopefully begin after Easter.
The boys aren't home to try to inconspicuously flip a bird when I take their picture, so Laika is taking up the slack with her tongue. Brat! 😄

I'm joining Deb at Breathing in Grace for her weekly link-up.

3/20/2017

{Weekend Wrap-Up} Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

My Cooper SIL & I have been talking about doing this for a couple of years, but we finally did it! Since we both have a birthday in March, we thought this would be a perfect month for a girls' weekend. Chattanooga was the perfect spot since it's halfway between both of our houses. The hotel where we stayed couldn't have been more perfect. We were able to park our cars there when we arrived, and didn't need them until we left on Sunday.
On Friday, we sat for a while & caught up, then we had to find some dinner. It was St. Patrick's Day, so we had to find an Irish Pub, and the hotel employee we spoke with had the perfect spot for us. 
At first, we sat in the pub, until we realized there was outdoor seating. We were able to escape the smoke in the pub, and, thankfully, it was warm enough to be very comfortable sitting outdoors. 
After we ate, we walked around for a bit and strolled into the Moon Pie General Store.The only thing I bought was some vanilla Moon Pie Coffee.  I love moon pies, but I knew if I bought something, I'd want to eat it. And, I've been doing well with not eating sweets...until Friday night. My SIL makes a wicked peanut butter cake, and she brought one for us. With a glass of cold milk, the cake was just amazing. We got back to the hotel, watched Miss Congeniality 2 and had our cake.
Saturday, we followed some friends' advice and ate at a popular biscuit place.
The line was long, but moved quickly. It was very worth it. They had maple coffee that was so good that we dropped back by that night to buy some to take home.
We strolled down to the Rivermart in the parking lot of the Tennessee Aquarium. We visited booths of some very talented artists. Our favorite booth was jewelry made from classic books. They had earrings, necklaces, bracelets. We were mesmerized and couldn't pull ourselves away. If you have a book-lover in the family, check out their Facebook page. These are some pictures of some of the other jewelry they offer. I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture of the book jewelry.



 There was also a lady that made jewelry out of hardware; it was beautiful. How she could look at a sprocket and know it would make beautiful earrings is beyond me. She has an Etsy shop, so go check it out.
We walked over to St. Paddy's on the Parkway and were instantly under-whelmed. The entry fee went to a good cause, but it was much smaller than we thought it was going to be. The most excitement I had was meeting Tank:
My SIL said he was unhappy because he had on a green tutu. Poor little thing! He was such a sweetheart.
Then, we saw these guys the night before, and they showed up on the Parkway:
There were bands on the outdoor stage:
And we knew there were going to be some inside, too, so we headed in The Honest Pint:
We were awed by the building:



 I ordered the same kind of beer I had before we came in, and was disappointed. My SIL ordered Harp, and was told that they were out. So, we ordered Guiness Blonde, and it was flat. I felt sorry for our waitress...she had a few tables upstairs and downstairs. We ordered a couple of appetizers, but were told that they were out of the dip. (And then my SIL saw someone eating some later.) All of that didn't deter us from sitting at the table for a few hours and enjoying some of the music. This was our favorite (Molly Maguires):
On our walk back to the hotel, we saw some interesting structures. The Dome:
Part of the First Methodist Church in 1881:
A random gate that my SIL noticed:
Eyes on a building. There's also a confederate statue on a fountain and a cannon in front of the building. This would appear to be a popular hangout with the college crowd.
My SIL noticed the tile on this building:
We ate a supper of biscuits & peanut butter cake (with milk, of course!) and watched a couple of episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. Overall, it was a pretty low-key weekend, but it was so nice to be able to spend time with my SIL...alone. Without the guys and without distractions.
Before I left Chattanooga, I went to Mass at the Minor Basilica, Sts. Peter and Paul. I saw the building as we were walking back to the hotel (it's across the street from The Dome Building), but I didn't realize that was it because it looks very non-descript on the outside. Oh, but inside!
 The altar
The 3 physical signs that a church is a "lesser basilica": 
 The first is the presence of the conopaeum — a silk canopy designed with stripes of yellow and red, traditional papal colors.  The minor basilicas also have the right to display the papal symbol as in the above picture (the crossed keys). 
The third is the tintinnabulum, or bell. It is mounted on a pole and carried processionally, along with the conopaeum, at the head of the clergy on special occasions.
 I'm not sure about this side of the altar. 
This side is pretty self-explanatory, especially if you're a Catholic!
 The stained-glass windows were designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The Stations of the Cross:
 Kilgen Organ. The Basilica has had the same organist since 1960.
 As American Churches go, this one is pretty old: 1890. But, as in European Churches, it's always important to look up.
The Mass was different than what I'm used to: lots of chanting with Latin thrown in, and, during the Eucharist Prayer the priest had his back to the congregation. It was just amazing.

So...back to work tomorrow, but no kids, making it almost like a day off! 9 more weeks until summer break!
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