It worked again today!

I’m becoming more and more convinced that all this positive thinking stuff works!

Here is today’s experience. I went to Yoga and for the last fifteen minutes, we lay on our mats, meditating. I breathe in white light and breathe out sparkles. The sparkles float into the air and tap into all the optimistic power of the Universe.

After yoga, I hauled my sweaty self home. (I never would have imagined yoga is a sweat-inducing business.) Bronson greeted me joyfully. After loving on him for a bit I went to the computer. Checked out Gmail. My only emails are from zulily, Chase Bank, and Capital One. When did people stop emailing? Then I snooped around CNN news and finally opened Facebook.

Lo and Behold my friend Judy sent me an FB link to best-selling author Judy Blume’s new Master Class. I adore Judy Blume.  One of my favorite books is The Pain and the Great One.

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All my positive thinking manifested a class offered by one of my favorite kids’ authors! See? There are no accidents.

I plunked down $90, gathered all my coloring equipment and planned to spend the afternoon coloring while at “school.”

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It turns out the class doesn’t begin until January. So I’ve put the pencils and coloring bookmark away.

Instead, I’ll sit on my broad backside and read Ken Follett’s A Column of Fire. Jimmy bought it at Costco, but he’s still picking his way through Gone with the Wind, so I pilfered it. Jim reads very slowly which gives me plenty of time to finish. Recently I asked him, “Do you read every word?”  He replied, “Of course. What do you do? Skip every other one?”  Possibly.

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It really works!

I’m becoming more and more convinced that all this positive thinking stuff works!

Here is today’s experience. I went to Yoga and for the last fifteen minutes, we lay on our mats, meditating. I breathe in white light and breathe out sparkles. The sparkles float into the air and tap into all the optimistic power of the Universe.

After yoga, I hauled my sweaty self home. (I never would have imagined yoga is a sweat-inducing business.) Bronson greeted me joyfully. After loving on him for a bit I went to the computer. Checked out Gmail. My only emails are from zulily, Chase Bank, and Capital One. When did people stop emailing? Then I snooped around CNN news and finally opened Facebook.

Lo and Behold my friend Judy sent me an FB link to best-selling author Judy Blume’s new Master Class. I adore Judy Blume.  One of my favorite books is The Pain and the Great One.

20170928_134156

All my positive thinking manifested a class offered by one of my favorite kids’ authors! See? There are no accidents.

I plunked down $90, gathered all my coloring equipment and planned to spend the afternoon coloring while at “school.”

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It turns out the class doesn’t begin until January. So I’ve put the pencils and coloring bookmark away.

Instead, I’ll sit on my broad backside and read Ken Follett’s A Column of Fire. Jimmy bought it at Costco, but he’s still picking his way through Gone with the Wind, so I pilfered it. Jim reads very slowly which gives me plenty of time to finish. Recently I asked him, “Do you read every word?”  He replied, “Of course. What do you do? Skip every other one?”  Possibly.

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Parenthood

I wrestled with the decision to become a parent. Way back in the late 70s I read a book named “A Baby? Maybe.” Half of the book was devoted to the cons of parenthood, the other half the pros. For a year or two, I decided to be child-free. Then I changed my mind.

I’m so glad I did. My kids enrich my life exponentially.

I’ve been a parent for nearly thirty-seven years. In 1980, when my first was born, I would have been surprised to learn I’d still be actively parenting decades later.

My kids call on two occasions: When they are joyful and when they aren’t. I know I do just fine as a mother on the “Yay I’m thrilled” phone calls. It’s the sad calls that test my ability.

I want to be the person that makes it all better. When they were little, that was easy. A band-aid, a hug and kiss and perhaps a cookie mollified them.

Now cookies don’t get the job done. I’m glad I was in therapy for a hundred years. Sometimes I manage to fake being a therapist. That seems to go well. But it’s a slippery slope. Often I misstep.

Maybe this mom needs a band-aid, a hug and kiss and perhaps a (gluten-free) cookie.

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Nashville, Tennessee

Our August Road trip included a morning tour of Belle Meade Plantation and an afternoon visit to The Hermitage.

Founded in 1807 by John Harding, “Belle Meade” translates to mean beautiful meadow in old English and French. The property began with just a single log cabin and 250 acres. The estate quickly grew to become a 5,400-acre thoroughbred horse farm complete with a Greek Revival Mansion, deer park, train station and rock quarry which supported five generations of owners, their servants, and enslaved workers.

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The big iron pot was used to boil the skin off of slaughtered hogs.  They said it smells horrible.

 

The most famous thoroughbred at Belle Meade was Bonnie Scotland. Foaled in Great Britain in 1853, Bonnie Scotland came to Belle Meade Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1872, at the age of 19. Here is a short listing of some of the pedigreed horses from his line: Bramble, 1875, earned $32,660; Man-O-War, 1917, earned $249,465; Prince Rose, 1928, earned $59,267; Sea Biscuit, 1933, earned $437,730; War Admiral 1934, earned $273,240; Secretariat, 1970, earned $1,316,808; Seattle Slew, 1974, earned $1,208,726; and Affirmed, 1975, earned $2,393,818.

From 1972 to 1996, winners of the Kentucky Derby, and most of the Triple Crown winners were in the pedigree of Bonnie Scotland, including Sea Biscuit, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and Secretariat. Now we can add another name to that list, because of California Chrome, who so far has earned $2,552,650, is also in the pedigree of this great horse, Bonnie Scotland, of Belle Meade.

I added a Bonnie Scotland dish towel to my growing collection.

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While leaving Belle Meade, we asked a local where to go for lunch. We would never have found the darling spot she suggested.

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Following lunch, we pushed on to The Hermitage. The plantation was owned by Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, from 1804 until his death at the Hermitage in 1845. Jackson only lived at the property occasionally until he retired from public life in 1837. Enslaved men and women, numbering nine at the plantation’s purchase in 1804 and 110 at Jackson’s death worked at the Hermitage, principally involved in growing cotton.

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While this woman was explaining things our “service” animal puked up a pile of yellow gunk.  I suggested Jim take the tour first, then I would go after.  Lady in Blue Frock looked happy that I chose not to take my barfing dog into the historical home.

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In 1806 Jackson killed Charles Dickenson. Contemporaries described Jackson, who had already served in Tennessee’s Senate and was practicing law at the time of the duel, as argumentative, physically violent and fond of dueling to solve conflicts.

Jackson and Dickinson were rival horse breeders and southern plantation owners with a long-standing hatred of each other. Dickinson accused Jackson of reneging on a horse bet, calling Jackson a coward and an equivocator. Dickinson also called Rachel Jackson a bigamist. (Rachel had married Jackson not knowing her first husband had failed to finalize their divorce.) After the insult to Rachel and a statement published in the National Review in which Dickinson called Jackson a worthless scoundrel and, again, a coward, Jackson challenged Dickinson to a duel.

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We were taught how to go about having a duel.

 

On May 30, 1806, Jackson and Dickinson met at Harrison’s Mills on the Red River in Logan, Kentucky. At the first signal from their seconds, Dickinson fired. Jackson received Dickinson’s first bullet in the chest next to his heart. Jackson put his hand over the wound to staunch the flow of blood and stayed standing long enough to fire his gun. Dickinson’s seconds claimed Jackson’s first shot misfired, which would have meant the duel was over, but, in a breach of etiquette, Jackson re-cocked the gun and shot again, this time killing his opponent. Although Jackson recovered, he suffered chronic pain from the wound for the remainder of his life.

Jackson was not prosecuted for murder, and the duel had little effect on his successful campaign for the presidency in 1829. Many American men in the early 1800s, particularly in the South, viewed dueling as a time-honored tradition. In 1804, Thomas Jefferson’s vice president Aaron Burr had also avoided murder charges after killing former Treasury secretary and founding father Alexander Hamilton in a duel. In fact, Rachel’s divorce raised more of a scandal in the press and parlors than the killing of Dickinson.

Following our Hermitage tour, we went for (oink) more food!

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Bronson was exhausted when we finally dug into our little hotel room.

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First Day of Fall

According to the calendar, tomorrow is the first day of fall. There is no first day of fall in Florida.  What there is, is going from hot and humid to possibly less hot and less humid.

BUT–and here is what makes being a Florida resident awesome–when the ice and snow are piling up in the North, we will be fussing because we have to put on hoodie sweatshirts.

I went shopping for clothes today.  There were actually jackets in the stores.  Who wears jackets in Florida?  If jackets are necessary we pile on two hoodie sweatshirts.

I did buy two long sleeve shirts.  Needed to prepare for winter!

Road Trip 2017 Continues. Atlanta.

I am so behind with our travelogue. This blog has become my journal, replacing the Moleskines I’ve used for years. If I don’t write about the experiences here I’ll lose them forever.  My gray matter is sadly shrinking.  Having photos jogs my memory way more than the scribbled doodles I used to draw.

We stopped in both Nashville and Atlanta on the way home. And we had other blogworthy adventures while in Chicago. Bit by bit, out of any chronological order, I’ll capture them here.

Atlanta. My trip advisor research suggested we tour The Swan House and Margaret Mitchell’s home. I added Oakland Cemetery to the “must see” list. Jim indulges my fascination with cemeteries.

Swan House: Built in 1928 for Edward and Emily Inman and intended to be their empty nest home. But Edward died in 1931. Emily then invited her children and grandchildren to come live with her. The kids weren’t allowed to use the grand staircase. They ascended and descended via the back stairs. Bronson felt smug as he walked up that elegant winding set of stairs.  Sadly I failed to take a photo of the stairway.

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This sign describes the car in the next photo. 

 

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The name of the house references the many swans collected and depicted throughout.

 

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Look at all those fancy appliances!

 

 

When the Hunger Game franchise was looking for locations to film Hunger Games: Catching Fire they chose the Swan House to be villain President Snow’s home.

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If you look close you can see the names of the cast on the pages next to the script.

 

We had lunch at Mary Mac’s Tea Room. Mary Mac’s Tea Room doors opened in 1945 when Mary McKenzie decided to use her good Southern cooking to make money in the difficult post-World War II days. In those times, a woman couldn’t just open up a restaurant, so many female proprietors used the more genteel Southern name of “Tea Room.”  There were at least sixteen other Tea Rooms around Atlanta. Mary Mac’s is now the only one left.

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The sweet potato souffle was delicious.   Jim regretted not getting fried chicken.

 

The walls of Mary Mac’s are covered with framed photos of famous people who have dined there, up to and including these guys.

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We also visited the apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind. Mitchell had been a journalist, writing the Atlanta society news. When she broke her ankle, in 1926 she was immobilized and housebound. Her husband brought her library books regularly. Eventually, he said, “Margaret, you’ve read every book in the library. Why not just write your own?”  She did, and the rest is history.

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Margaret lived in the little apartment on the lower left.

 

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Margaret kept a towel near the typewriter.  When people came to call she covered the pages so they wouldn’t see what she was working on.  After each chapter was finished she would put the pages in a brown envelope and hide them.  The completed book is sixty-three chapters.  That’s a lot of hidden envelopes.

 

Jim bought the book, I added to my dish towel collection.  I just read that page in the book.  It seems Rhett never used the word “Frankly.” Maybe that was added in the movie.

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Lastly, we went to Oakland Cemetery where I was determined to find Margaret’s headstone.  I followed signs and everything but never found her.  She died at age forty-eight after being hit by a streetcar while crossing Peachtree Street.  The heirs to the estate continue to collect royalties to this day.

While I was unable to locate Margaret, I did find these sad reminders of the Civil War.

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 Here is why cemeteries move me. I wonder about the people buried there., their dreams, families, worries.  J. Higgens.  How old was he when he passed?  Who did he leave behind?  Probably he was not more than a boy.  People wander around the cemetery looking for the resting places of the famous.  I’m intrigued by the anonymous too.

 

 

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So that’s it for today.  Finally, time to shower, put on my war-paint and get ready to go to watch the Cubs at Tropicana Field.  Go Cubbies Go!

 

We Survived Irma!

All of Florida was in a panic a week ago. The television stayed on hurricane watch. At first, it appeared the East Coast would take the hit. Then things shifted. But when a three-hundred-fifty-mile wide storm hits a one-hundred-mile-wide state, things get ugly East, West, and center.

Our friends, Steve and Diane, live in a mandatory evacuation zone. We don’t. They came here to hunker down. As the storm approached, we grabbed umbrellas and walked to Rusty and Lynda’s.
They were more prepared than we by a long shot. ‘

Generator? Check.
Storm shutters? Check.
Fan blades removed? Check.

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Their house was a dark as a tomb. I think Steve and Diane worried they had sought safety at the wrong house. No matter, they had no room at their inn. Lynda’s cute German mother, Erika, was ensconced in the guest room. Their friend John slept on his air mattress on the family room floor.

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Meanwhile, here at our house, we dragged in anything that could become a missile. We submerged our heavy metal tables in the pool.

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While we still had electricity I cooked Ina Garten’s recipe for pork tenderloins. Pulled it out of the oven, bundled it in towels and it was still hot hours later.

We spent the evening playing games. Sequence and Mexican Train was fun. I won Mexican Train.  Diane later learned we had been playing it wrong.

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We placed bets about what time the electricity would fink out. I picked the nine o’clock hour. We all tossed in $5. Winner? Me again! Electricity was out by 8:30.

I took my winnings and bought scratch-off off lottery tickets. Tuesday night we’re going to dinner and the Cubs game with Steve and Diane. We’ll scratch them off while at the restaurant. Whatever we win we’ll split by four.

Jim and I watch HGTV David Bromstad’s Lottery Dream House. David helps lottery winners choose homes they pay for with their winnings. Some of these people have scored huge money on a little scratch off card. One guy won seven million on a card he found on the ground. So sad for the person who dropped it. After the government takes their portion he’d have what? Three and a half million? He set his “Dream House” budget at only about $350,000.

With my big winnings, I plan to buy a condo in Chicago.  That will be considerably more than $350,000.  I’ve been manifesting the win and condo in my mind since we purchased the tickets.  I plan to invite my son-in-law’s parents to use our place when they visit the kids.

As for damage here, there was very little. Some roof tiles broke and a couple of trees are listing to the left. The electricity was only off for a short while. Our evacuees didn’t lose power or take water at all.

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The apres-storm view from Rusty and Lynda’s home to ours.  

 

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Rusty and Lynda’s backyard following the storm.

 

Many nearby continue to be without electricity. It’s terribly hot and humid. Hopefully Duke Energy will resolve things soon.

All-in-all it was very exciting. And we got VERY lucky.

 

 

More Road Trip Adventures

As you know, we are back from Chicago and awaiting Hurricane Irma.  But I never recounted the rest of our travels. Please come along and back-track with me.

From Dallas, we drove to Liberty Missouri to visit friend JR and his crackerjack hilarious little Aunt Nancy.  JR does not like dogs. Bronson is the only dog ever allowed in his home. We intended to take our car on a planned field trip thinking JR wouldn’t want a canine passenger. Much to our delight, Bronson was welcome into JR’s automobile.

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Here’s the “service” dog with his head on my knee.

 

We drove to the neighboring town of Kearney and toured the birthplace of the notorious Jesse James.  Jesse James wasn’t your typical western bank robber.
Jesse James’ legacy included being considered an outlaw hero, beloved by the public. Stories about him seemed to make him out as a hero, rather than a criminal (which he was).

Carl Sandberg, the noted author of several biographies including President Abraham Lincoln, referred to James as the “American Robin Hood,” stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
James was born and raised primarily in Missouri, a few miles from Kansas City.  James was born on the Kearney farm and originally buried there. He was killed by Robert Ford at his home in St. Joseph, about 30 miles north of Kansas City.

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Jesse’s saddle.

 

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Following Jesse’s murder, his mother, Zerelda, buried her son on their land. For the rest of her life, she slept facing the window so she could keep an eye on his gravesite. Afraid someone would dig him up kept a loaded shotgun next to her bed intending to shoot anyone who came near the grave.

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Zerelda opened the home to tourists, selling them small rocks off the gravesite for twenty-five cents each. Our guide told us we were welcome to take a couple. Mine now live on the family room shelf.

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JR and Aunt Nancy

 

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Jesse was later moved to a local cemetery to keep him safe.

Back at JR’s, he drove me into his pasture to feed his cows. It’s a funny slimy experience.

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The herd, led by Panda, chased us out of the pasture hoping for more pellets.

 

JR made us a home-cooked beef stew meal. (Store bought meat, not one of his pet cows.) We sat at the kitchen table overlooking the cow pasture and pond. Nancy kept us laughing with her description of the eighty-two-year-old gentleman who is pursuing her. She’s convinced he’s only after one thing.

 

 

Re-Entry

Yesterday our held mail was delivered. Three-quarters of it we dumped directly into the recycle bin. The rest, bills/bank statements/magazines were piled onto the kitchen island.

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My work for today is to plod through all the People magazines. It won’t take long. I only read the parts about people I’ve heard of. (yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition.) I won’t subscribe to People again. Having it delivered to the house has ruined standing in grocery store lines or waiting in doctor’s offices.

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Next, I’ll make a big pot of white chicken chili.
We can eat it during the hurricane.

Following the chili making, I’ll roll dice for a while. Tonight is Bunco. I need to practice.  There is a possibility of winning $50!  Whoo Hooo!