Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Little Bit of May

May started off very cool and rainy and not at all "May-like".  Then, last weekend, it warmed up!  YIPPEE!  Benjamin and I took a hike on our regular path to the railroad tracks...but it is VERY different.  Last year, when Nashville had the floods, the path changed, which was expected.  While we had a lot of rain and some wild windy storms this spring, I did not expect to see even more drastic changes to our beloved path.  It's not smooth at all anymore - you really have to watch where you are walking so you don't misstep and twist your ankle.  We were lucky enough to see some wildlife on our hike this time...take a look:
This is a Tennessee Box Turtle and I estimate it to be at least 40 years old, if not older.

Isn't she pretty?
 The turtle just sat very still as if posing for pictures.  She didn't move at all while we were hanging out snapping pictures.  When we came back by on our way home, she had moved on.
Can you find the hidden creature?

Here's a closer look.... you see the toad now?
Benjamin saw this really was small and jumped right about the time we came up on him, but he sat still for a few pictures.

Further down the hill, we encountered a very large fallen tree across the path.  We had to go under some branches and over the trunk in order to get to the other side and make our way down to the railroad tracks. 

This next pictures is where the trunk split when the wind blew it over.  Not sure if the picture does it justice, but it is a very large tree that split and fell. The brown inner section is where the part of the trunk used to be attached!

Oh, yeah, this isn't from the hike.  This is my birthday brownies that Jim made for me!  YUMMY!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ghost Stories

The other day, my mom asked me if we had ghosts at our house because there used to be a TB hospital on the land where my house is.  I have always believed in spirits...or ghosts...or whatever you want to call them.  When I was 8 or 9, I read a book about a poltergiest and absolutely LOVED it.  I actually wished I could have a poltergiest in my house.  I'm sure my family is happy that wish didn't come true.  As I have grown, I've always been interested in the supernatural world and wished I had the ability to "tap into" that dimension. 

Well, I actually have had some experiences with spirits in the past 10 years and if you care to read on, I'll tell you about them.

I used to work at a school in Franklin, TN.  It's a private school that was originally housed in buildings built on the horse graveyard smack dab in the middle of where The Battle of Franklin was fought during the Civil War.  No, I never heard horse spirits, nor did I experience any spirits roaming this original campus.  However, in the building where the K-4 students were located, I did experience a ghost, as many other folks had done.  This house was used as a hospital during the Civil War.  The house itself housed the offices for some of the staff and the classrooms and gymnasium were added on to the back of the house and property, but were fully accessible through the house.  Most of the classrooms were not haunted, but the main house had at least 1 woman and 1 child who frequently made their presence known.  I was made aware of the woman's presence on my first day of work at the school.  I climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor of the house to meet one of my new co-workers.  As I stepped over the threshold of her office, the heavy metal fireplace grate slammed onto the floor.   Of course, we all jumped and then Bonnie said to me, "Well, she's welcomed you!" 
Other folks have witnessed the little girl playing in the front foyer of the house.  Stories abound about new cleaning crews leaving the building and locking up for the night, only to see a little girl at the window.  Of course, they think they need to go back in and get her, but when they go in, no one is really there.  This is not just a one-time occurance and often, it is the LAST time the cleaning crew works for the school.  :)
The facilites director received a phone call at 11pm one night from the security company that monitored the Lower School.  The security system had an alarm for doors, windows, and sounds inside the building and could actually listen to anything happening in the building.  The security company asked our facilities director, "Are you guys having a party at the school tonight?"  "No", he said.  "Well, listen to this" and the sounds of glasses and plates clinking along with some orchestra music was heard coming from inside the school.  Of course, when the facilities director arrived on site a few minutes later, the school was dark, empty, and completely secured. 

When Benjamin was 2 1/2 years old, I sold my house and had no place to live (let's not get into why please - ugh).  I moved in with a friend for a short time, but didn't want to outstay my welcome, so when the opportunity to stay at a friend's mom's house came up, I took it.  The house was fully furnished and all I had to do was pay utilities and take care of the house and yard.  I could not pass up that deal. 
The room Benjamin slept in always seemed a little cooler than the rest of the house, but I just thought that was part of the house.  Often, when I was tucking him in at night, I would get chilled in there, but again, just gave B another blanket in case he got cold - the door was open and the house was comfortable otherwise.  One evening, outside, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a white, wispy, smokey "thing" near the kitchen window. I thought nothing of it that night, nor the other 2 nights I had seen it.  I checked to be sure there wasn't something burning in the bushes, but that's all I thought about it.
Then, one night, after B was asleep, I heard footsteps in the hallway.  No, it wasn't "I thought I heard footsteps", I really heard footsteps, so I got up to check on B, but he was still asleep.  Again, I just didn't give it another thought.  The house wasn't very big, so I would have seen and heard someone if there was another person in the house. 
The next night, I realized that although the neighborhood was safe, the back door did not have a deadbolt lock.  I wasn't all that worried about someone breaking in, but I thought "better safe than sorry".  So, I took a small step ladder and wedged it under the door before bedtime.  Now, the living and kitchen area are together and both were floored with ceramic tile.  No rugs, no carpet...just tile.  So I was in bed reading and heard something clanging out in the kitchen area.  It sounded like a spoon had been dropped in the sink and was clanging around.  Well, I decided it was probably a mouse and I wasn't going to get up and deal with it at 10 at night.  So I went to sleep. 
The next morning, around 6:00, I got up, walked to the kitchen to make coffee, but before I got there I stopped dead in my tracks.  The small stepladder I had wedged under the doorknob was out in the middle of the living room, opened and standing there.  The back door was locked.  No footprints on the floor and no indication there had been a break-in.  I immediately called my friend (yes, at 6 am) and asked her if her mom's house was haunted.  She calmly replied, "Yes, it's MeeMaw" (her grandmother).  She said that her grandmother always watches over children and was making sure the Benjamin and I were safe.  My friend said that MeeMaw probably thought that the ladder should not be there in case we had a fire and needed to get out of the house quickly.  Arount the time this "ladder event" occurred, Benjamin had been acting a little afraid of the house, wanting to sleep in my room.  I decided that as much as I liked having MeeMaw watch over us, it would be better if B wasn't afraid.  One afternoon, I came home and talked to her, explaining that I liked having her around and she could stay as long as she liked, but if she could make her presence less known to Benjamin, it would make him less scared of the house.  We had no other strange issues after that conversation. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just some words

This week ended well.  The battery in my car was the original battery that came with the 2003 VW!  So yes, I do believe it was time for a new one, don't you?  The car is now starting and running normally, thank goodness. 
Work ended on a good note as well.  We accomplished some tasks that we'd been trying to get done for a few months and they actually went smoothly, which is a real treat for us IT folks. 
Flowers are in bloom up here on the Ridge and I think Benjamin and I are going to take a hike down to the train tracks today to see what we can see.  I always hope to find "treasure" on these walks.  The first time we walked this path, we found a Tennessee Box Turtle shell.  The shell's size told us that the former owner had been at least 30 or 40 years old.  They have a life span of 30 - 60 years and based on the size of the shell (full grown is about 6 inches in diameter), you can guage its age. 
I think we might look in on the cemetary in our neighborhood as well.  Yes, we have such an interesting little area here.  I need to get over to the Ridgetop Museum soon.  I am interested in the history of the land where our house is.  I do know that the Watauga Sanitarium once stood on this land, but I would like to know more about it and the history of this land...just to satisfy my own curiosity. I bet there are some interesting stories about this little town.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A chilly morning, a dead bird, and a dead car

This morning was chilly, so I went out to start the car and warm it up a bit inside.  Next to the tire was a dead bird.  It startled me, but I now wonder if it was an omen.  (just kidding about it being an omen, but I had to include the dead bird in my story somehow) When I turned the key in the ignition, it clicked and everything went off...the dash went blank, inside lights went off, some strange noise came from the engine and nothing happened.  Hmm...what could it be?  Battery? I went inside and told my wonderful husband my car wouldn't start.  I sat my happy butt down and began to read the paper while he tried to figure out what to do - he definitely didn't need my "help".  It seemed like the battery might have died, although the car had not been acting strangely at all.  So he charged the battery, got the car started, and Benjamin and I took off down the road.  We got about 5 miles and were just about to turn on the entrance ramp to the interstate when the car died.  HOLY CRAP!  DEAD!  That was freaky!  I was half on the shoulder, waving cars around me trying to get the flashers to come on and calling Jim to come to my rescue once again. ;)  Just as I hung up the phone, a man pulled ahead of me, walked back to the car, and pushed the car onto the shoulder, which I was VERY grateful for.  People can really be wonderful to each other with the smallest gestures.  I was now of the road.  Wait, what's that behind me?  An unmarked police car with his lights flashing!  HURRAY!  I felt a little better about just sitting there.  He was calling for a marked car to come assist and I let him know Jim was on his way down as well.  This nice officer in plain clothes sat there until both the marked patrol car and Jim arrived.
Jim and this officer decided that we needed to push the car back off the curve and give us some room to pull Jim's car in front of mine to try to get the car started again.  Unfortunately, the car would not start.  And we don't think it's the battery...lights come on inside, the headlights come on, etc.  The car just won't start.  So, we locked it up, left it on the shoulder and Jim drove us to school and work today.  I'm waiting to hear from Jim on what is wrong with the car, hoping it's not something major. 

Turns out, this unmarked car belonged to the Captain of the Goodlettsville Police Department, not just an officer.  I'm sure glad he was taking the same route as me this morning! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some pictures...

Apple Tree Blossoms.....

....bring APPLES! 

Remember the Banana's a little shoot from it....

2 days later, the shoot is growing


April 30 - Pool temp is 64*F at this time.  BRRR

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A 9-piece puzzle

Yesterday, Benjamin put together a 9-piece puzzle in record time - less than 2 minutes.  WHAT?  9 pieces?  How hard can that be?  Well, if you know my parents, they have found these 9-piece puzzles that are next to impossible to put together. The puzzle has 9 square pieces that you have to fit together.  (Again, WHAT?  Square pieces you have to fit together?  What 9 year old cannot do that in less than a minute?) The catch is that these puzzles can only be put together one way and one way only.  The sides are created in a way that they look like they will fit together in many different ways, which makes this type of puzzle extremely difficult.
We were sitting downstairs and Benjamin brought the puzzle down to work on it.  First, he said, "This one goes here, and that piece goes here..." and I was pretty much ignoring him, thinking he was going to have to spend days on it.  Pretty soon, he said, "THERE!"  I was still not sure it was correct, but when I looked at it, I was stunned!  We just burst out laughing and he ran back to tell Jim he'd done the puzzle. 
Here is the proof that Benjamin completed the puzzle and I witnessed him putting it together in less than 2 minutes.

Unfortunately, this was a fluke.  He wanted to try again, so he mixed up the pieces and could not recreate the puzzle.  Oh well.  He was thrilled with his initial accomplishment!