Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wine, Football, and Giggles

The Friday after Thanksgiving in Biloxi was cold and rainy...quite a change from the day before.  But we were not to be deterred from exploring.  Dad wanted to see if we could find the Old Spanish Fort.  We also thought about doing some shopping in Ocean Springs, but with the weather being so uncooperative, we opted for lunch at Aunt Jenny's in Ocean Springs, where we had catfish and shrimp - yumm!  After lunch, we drove to Pascagoula, MS to find the Old Spanish Fort.  It was located in a residential area, so we drove around the small streets and found the Fort, but it was closed.  We walked around, hoping to find another entrance, but the fence was surrounding the fort and there were no small openings we could sneak through.  So we opted to drive around the neighborhood, looking at the very interesting homes.  Later, we decided we would head back to the hotel and nap for a bit.  Friday evening, Mom and Dad came back over to our hotel and we shared a bottle of wine and watched some football before Jim called to let us know he was at the tournament registration and asked if we wanted to come have a drink with him.  Well, why not!?!  So the three of us ventured down to the casino and up to the conference rooms to meet Jim.  I guess the wine we had was catching up with us, because Dad was getting a little frisky with Mom and from this point on, it was a pretty funny evening.  Mom had a close encounter with a woman who had too much to drink and nearly walked into us, causing us to giggle some.  Dad tried to impress some man on how we was going to pick up a couple of women (me and Mom), but the man was unimpressed.  More giggles.  We shared a drink with Jim and then we decided we should probably eat something, so the 4 of us went to one of the restaurants in the casino and ate some really yummy chicken nachos and watched some college football for a bit and were well-behaved at this point.  Afterwards, Mom and Dad decided to head on back to their hotel, so I went with them to our room to get Mom's purse.  I do not recall what got us giggling on the elevator, but the three of us got to laughing so hard, we were nearly in tears.  As we got off the elevator, still laughing, I noticed a security guard on our floor.  I said in a VERY loud whisper, "Oh, there's SECURITY!  We'd better behave" and we began laughing again.  The really funny part was when the security guard started laughing!  They really try to keep a straight face, so we must have been pretty darned funny to make him laugh.  Well, we somewhat recoverd and found the room (Thanks, Dad!), got Mom's purse, and then headed to the garage.  I will finish this part of the blog tomorrow as I am running out of time and want to make sure I get this next part correct. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving on the Beach

We spent Thanksgiving in Biloxi, MS this year.  Jim and I arrived Wednesday night around 9pm and the temperature was a wonderful 70 degrees.  Thursday morning, we had breakfast on the beach.  Oh, nothing fancy...McDonald's "to go", but it sure was nice to eat on the beach in the partly-sunny morning with a temperature in the 70s and rising.  Mom and Dad were on their way and would arrive within 30 minutes.  Finally they found us on the beach and we all walked the shoreline for awhile.  We found some shells and a few hermit crabs that were in them.  I found an empty hermit crab shell and gave it to mom to take with her.  A few minutes later, she screamed and THREW the shell!  Woops, it wasn't empty!  Sorry, Mom!  It wasn't intentional.  We didn't find any buried treasure, but I think we all enjoyed the time in the warm sun and sand. 
Later, we came up to our hotel room and had a Thanskgiving toast with some nice cabernet.  After that, we all stuffed ourselves at the Thanksgiving Buffet at the Beau Rivage.  It was a great day and wonderful evening spent with family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moon over Nashville

Last night (11/23/2010) around 6:30, I was travelling Eastbound on I-40 in Downtown Nashville and the moon was INCREDIBLE!  I had never seen a moon look that large...EVER!  It was just over the horizon and was yellow/white and nearly full, but waning.  After sitting in traffic for 20 minutes to merge from 4 lanes down to 1 to go around an accident, I wasn't very happy about the rest of the drive home, but then the moon caught my eyes and it just amazed me.  I wish I could find a picture of it to share, but alas, none to be found. 
It looked like if I drive about 30 miles further East, I could reach it...just amazing. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Good Clean Fun

Last night, Benjamin and I started watching "Bill Cosby: Himself" on TV.  I have seen and heard this bit many times over and it's still funny.  What is so great is that Benjamin thought it was funny too.  With so much crap on TV now, I find it refreshing that Bill Cosby's humor is still entertaining and brings laughter to my child.  We only made it through "The Dentist" bit, so there's more to enjoy.  Benjamin was impressed with the way Mr. Cosby spoke to the dentist, imitating a person who has had novicane.  "Obeekabee"  He also thought it was funny that his dentist tells him to rinse just like Mr. Cosby was telling about.  "Hey, my dentist does that too!" 

I told Benjamin that he will recognize one of the bits later in the show...because there are many times I say, "Benjamin... here, Here, HERE!"  I can't wait to see the look on his face when he hears this one.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I thought that the full moon occuring on Saturday night (right?) would alleviate some of the craziness of the past week.  I mean, Thursday's and Friday's traffic in Nashville was completely nuts - you would have thought everyone on the road only had a learner's permit!  :D
So I was hoping for a nice, "holiday week Monday"...meaning not too many on the road and not too many in the office.  WRONG!  For starters, people not letting me merge...then a horrible smell that made me pull over for fear MY car had something burning (it didn't).  Then, some crazed lunatic in a BMW decided that he would drive 90+ MPH in rush hour traffic and swerve in and out of 4 lanes.  THAT was exciting to watch...he actually didn't cause or get into an accident. 
Then the day began at work...H O L Y   M O L Y!  It was just one thing after another after another.  At 11:30, I said, "I am leaving and WILL be back...but I'm leaving so I do not blow a gasket at someone who doesn't deserve it" and I left the building and went to get my hair trimmed.  :)  How nice to have my scalp massaged and a little pampering for a few minutes.  *SIGH*
Even the guy who works with me said, "You have a smile on your face now!" when I returned. He's such a good kid!  :)
And I am VERY EXCITED about spending Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad in Biloxi this year!  I really hate it that B will be with his Dad....maybe next year we'll all get together. 
Hopefully the tides have turned and things will be smooth sailing for awhile.  :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I survived

My last blog was about my fear of flying.  Well, I survived both legs of the journey with very little anxiety.  The first leg from Nashville to Vegas was aided by some wine before take-off and Jim so kindly distracting me with a discussion about roller coasters we had ridden this past summer.  Wait, I will ride a roller coaster, but I have anxiety about flying?  Well, see, the roller coaster is also about fear and anxiety, but it's over quicker and I am somewhat connected to the ground through the ride, correct?  Yes, but if that ride throws a bolt, you are REALLY gonna be dead meat if the coaster flies off the tracks and goes sailing through the air.  Yes, the logic behind my fears of flying and roller-coasters seem to be "off", huh?  The wonders of the mind never cease.
So Las Vegas was fun, even though I had a nasty sinus thing going on in my ears and throat.  I basically ate, drank, slept, and went to a couple of shows.  Mostly slept and rested.  I wish that I had felt better because the weather was GORGEOUS!  70s and sunny in the daytime...cool and 40-ish in the evening.  We had the Sunday Brunch at Bally's again.  It's pricey, but SOOO worth it.  Champagne (good champangne, not cheap stuff), prime rib, lobster, lamb chops, breakfast foods, fresh fish, sushi, fresh fruit, and pretty much anything you can imagine...plus a formal wait-staff that takes care of your every need. 
The shows we saw were "The Legends" which was the one where people imitate famous singers.  It was really good.  We saw impersonations of Elton John, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin.  I'd go see that show agan!  Monday night, we saw Penn and Teller.  The child in me is still in awe about their tricks, while the adult in me wants to go back again and again to see if I can figure them out!  :)  Definitely want to take Benajmin to see this show at some point. 
Next week, we're headed to Biloxi, MS...a short 8 hour drive from Ridgetop, TN to spend Thanksgiving with the parents!  Looking forward to this trip too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

This evening, I will board a Southwest flight to Las Vegas, Nevada.  I am very excited to be going to Las Vegas, but I absolutely hate to fly.  Well, let me rephrase that....I absolutely hate take-off.  Flying is fine and landing is okay, now that I've seen some successful "belly landings".  But as the plane taxis down the runway and gains speed for take-off, my hands sweat, my body gets hot, and I basically have a panic attack.  I try to control my fear with distractions or good thoughts or a book, but usually I just end up counting to 100 slowly until we're high in the air and I can begin to relax.  I really wish I didn't have this fear.  I mean, I did take college physics...2 sememsters of it...so I understand the physics of flying.  I just cannot help but think that if something were to go wrong during take-off, the time to adjust before hitting the ground is pretty small.  If we're 10,000 feet in the air and something goes wrong, there is time to fly around and make corrections or an emergency landing, right?  So I will once again try to relax before my flight and try this "mind over matter" stuff I keep talking about and maybe I will not be so anxious.  Yes, I've tried medication...I'd rather have a short panic attack than take Xanax again.  UGH!

Oh, yes, we're going to LAS VEGAS tonight!  Hurray!  I am really excited!  We are staying at Caesers Palace this time.  And I won't be able to blog about our trip, because we all know, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."  :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who Knew?!

A short, but funny blog for my family who remembers these events.  :)

I come from a family of inventors.  I invented the Pet Rock, but as we all know and love to tease my mom about it, we never made a profit from the invention.  Instead, Gary Dahl became a multi-millionaire from the Pet Rock. 

My brother, Mark, really invented the XBox Kinect.  When he was about 4 years old, he would write in the air to communicate to us sometimes.  I thought my mother would never recover from laughing about him doing this.  Now, people are communicating with the XBox Kinect by signaling to the system through the air. 


Benjamin and I went for a hike to the train track and tunnel on Sunday. Benjamin climbed his favorite dead tree up a very steep hillside as he does everytime we go on this hike. It's becoming more challenging as the bark continues to rot and pull away from the trunk, but he really enjoys the challenge. We finally made it to the bottom of the trail as a train was going by.

The Tunnel from a closer view

Look closely at the top of the picture - there is a house there.  I wouldn't want to live there!

We were close to the tracks as the train approached




This valley was under 10 feet of water (at least) in May during the flood

See how little Benjamin looks?  He would have been underwater in May!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I live in a small town, just north of Nashville, TN.  Ridgetop, TN is over 800 feet above sea level on the edge of the Highland Rim.  The house I live in sits on land that once was home to a hospital for tuberculosis patients.  Near our home is a train track and the opening of the L&N Railroad tunnel that runs underneath our little town.  In 1905 it was hailed as one of the longest self-supporting tunnels in the world. It is approximately 4700 feet long and 22 1/2 feet high.  The tuberculosis patients who were transported by train got off at the depot (no longer there) near the tunnel entry, then they were brought by horse and buggy up, up, up the winding path to the hospital.  Over the years, the path was covered by trees, grass, leaves, flowers, and general growth. 

However, on the weekend of May 2, 2010, the rains washed a lot of this cover away, exposing the large slabs of rock that were underneath and the path became much clearer.  It also became much more dangerous in spots because some of the pathway was "sunk", meaning there is a 4' x 4' x 6' sinkhole in part of the path.  No worries, we just scooted around it last time we went exploring. 

Now, if you are down near the tracks and a train comes by, it is L O U D!
The earth and air rumble (yes, the air rumbles) as the train engine roars and the wheels clickety clack along the track. The sound of the whistle makes you cover your ears as it echoes off the hillside and the tunnel.

And then you laugh because it's so freakishly loud. For you see, you have to walk down, down, down to the tracks. So instead of being 800 feet above sea level, you are now quite a bit lower and the hills and trees encompass you.
From our house, the trains can be heard rumbling and whistling, just not as loudly as when you are right next to the tracks.  If you like the sound of a train, as I do, it is actually very enjoyable. 

If you want to know more about my little town, you can visit these webistes:
http://www.webjam.com/ridgetoptn  (more pictures of the tunnel in the EARLY days are at this site)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


At 4:00 this morning, I was awake.  I was not happy to be awake, and tried going back to sleep, but my brain wanted to play.  ;) 

For some reason, I started thinking about ideas.  Where do they come from?  Where do people GET ideas, especially for new inventions or discoveries?  I'm not talking about things like the airplane, which is a great invention, but birds kind of gave us that idea, don't you think?  :)  And fire...figuring out how to make fire probably came from someone witnessing a spark when two flint stones (not The Flintsones) hit each other or lightening struck nearby and ignited some dry brush or grass.  I'm talking about inventing something that was really new and different.  Who was the first person to think of an engine?  I mean, how do you come up with the idea of creating something like that?  How about before the television and radio were invented...who thought of how we can transmit sound and pictures to a "box"?  How about discovering molecules and atoms?  It boggles my mind.  

The other thing that was going through my mind at 4am was the idea of infinity.  I used to lie awake as a child and think about the fact that space is never-ending.  I would imagine the night sky in my mind and then go beyond that, thinking past the planets and galaxies in space and what it might feel like to travel in a straight line forever.  Yeah, my brain is warped.  ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mind Power

The whole idea of the mind and thoughts being able to have an effect (affect?) on physical matter is something I've always been interested in learning more about and also trying to unlock the powers in my mind that exist there.  Noetic Science is probably a bit "out there" for most of us, but it's really applied more than people realize.  Ever hear of "the power of prayer"?  How about "mind over matter"? 

I've always had an interest in the brain.  In 3rd grade, I did a report on the brain and was hooked.  I remember having the encyclopedia out and tracing the brain on a thin piece of paper and transferring that to a piece of white felt for part of my report.  Later, I began reading books by Tori Hayden which were about her real-life experiences teaching "special" children, including gifted and autistic children.  What initrigued me was how the autistic person in her stories seemed "locked away" by her mind and how she tried to break through to the children.  It made me want to be a brain surgeon (I like to fix things), but I didn't take that route in life.  I also wanted to be a special education teacher, specializing in Learning Disabled/Behaviorally Disordered children.  I started down that path, then changed direction when I got too attached to some kids in a classroom I worked in.  Instead, I now try to figure out what is wrong with computers and networks and keep them up and running.  I work with mechanical brains, which are much less powerful and much less emotional than human brains. 
I still do a lot of thinking about how I would like to tap into the real power of my mind.  I know that I make a lot of decisions on facts, but I always try to listen to my gut...the hunch that comes with a decision.  I want to see if I can tap into that inner voice more.  After I finish (or maybe even while I'm still reading) The Lost Symbol, I will do some research and learning about Noetic Science.  It's something that has interested me for a week now, and many things just do not hold my attention that long anymore.  ;)