Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad, BAD Blogger!

I can't believe I haven't blogged in 3 months....*hangs head in shame*. I really HAVE been busy, but sheesh, I should have done better. Let's see now....what's happened since September in my little corner of the world?

Well, MeggieDog and I went camping in October for a week. We went to Bandit's Roost (isn't that a neat name for a campground?) in Wilkesboro, NC.Mom and Dad were there, too, with their camper. The campground is on a lake; it was just beautiful. The weather was very warm when we arrived, but became fallish quickly. We could see a big change in the leaves during the time we were there.

Things have been busy, busy, BUSY at work, of course. The last day the college is open before the holidays is December 21, but I'm taking that day off. Kris and Louise will be arriving on the 22nd. The original plan was for them to arrive on the 21st, so I'd already arranged to take that day off. I'm going to take it anyway and use it to chase those last-minute dustbunnies that always seem to arrive just before company comes.

They'll be with me until January 2, which is also the day I have to go back to work. It's going to be a really fun holiday!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Milestone

I drive a 1998 Saturn SC1 that I bought new. This week (September 10 to be exact) my Saturn and I reached a milestone...100,000 miles!

I knew I would probably reach the 100,000 mile mark on my way to work Monday morning, so I put my camera in the car when I left home. I kept an eye on the odometer, intending to pull over and snap a picture when it happened. Just as I reached the parking lot at work, it rolled over 100,000. I actually took this photo while my car was sitting in my usual parking place at the office. How weird is that?

Meggie and I enjoyed another weekend at Grindstone two weeks ago. Tomorrow I'm headed to Clintwood with Mom and Dad to attend Mom's family reunion. I'm taking my trusty camera, because both of Mom's sisters are expected to be there, and it's been AGES since I got a photo of the three of them together.

On Sunday, Mom and Dad will be headed for Grindstone. Meg and I will be going up on Friday for the weekend. Camping season is, sadly, winding down. As much as I love that crisp cool whiff of fall in the morning air, I know that it means it's nearly time to pack away the camping gear until spring. After the Grindstone trip, I have one more camping trip planned: a week in North Carolina. *happy sigh* I'm really looking forward to that!

The Tuesday after I came back from Grindstone last time, I stopped on my way home from a rehearsal to pick up some take-out Moo Goo Gai Pan. I was up all night, violently ill. I thought I'd gotten hold of a bad batch of Moo Goo, but that would have been really unusual. I bought it from my regular Chinese place, and they'd never let me down before. As it turns out, it was apparently viral because a lot of people had it. Mom and Dad even had what seemed to be a lighter case of it.

I was home sick Wednesday, but dragged in to the office and worked Thursday and Friday. Saturday I woke up sick, feverish and miserable, so I stayed in all weekend. I was still feeling really terrible Monday, but dragged myself into work yet again. I had so many things that simply HAD to be done at the office that I forced myself to go in each day. Last night (Thursday), I was feeling sick and exhausted by the time I came home from work. I took a couple of Excedrin right after supper and went to bed pretty early. I'm sure I was asleep by 10:00. At 1:00 am I woke up just as thought the alarm had sounded. *eeeeeeeeek* I finally gave up about 1:30, got up, and paid some bills. Then I played a little on the Pogo game site. I began to feel sleepy again about 3:30 and went back to bed. I began to doze a little after 5:00; my alarm woke me up at 5:30. *LOL*

Happily though, I've felt much better today. Tired, but better. In fact, I'm beginning to yawn now, so I think I'll call it a night.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Upcoming Christmas Fun

Apparently, Kris still reads my blog when I get around to posting on it (see entry below)...*LOL* I got an e-mail from her that says:

Hi Mom,
I just wanted to let you know 3 things.
1. Greg approved my leave
2. We've paid for our tickets
3. We'll be home for Christmas
So, you can start getting excited now, because it's a done deal!
I am now officially getting excited!

MeggieDog and I are off to Grindstone tomorrow for the holiday weekend. I've really missed camping during the heat wave the past few weeks. They're predicting some rain tomorrow, but we won't care a bit. I just hope it holds off long enough for me to get the tent set up!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Two Months???

I can't believe it's been TWO MONTHS since I posted the last time! Oh well, it has been a busy summer.

My summers are always busy at work. In fact, summer is my busiest season. That makes me appreciate "flex time"; they give us the option of working an altered schedule from mid-May to mid-August. We can work the standard five 8-hour days; four 9-hour days and one 4-hour day; or four 10-hour days. I opt for the four 10-hour days. That way I have a 3-day weekend every week in the summer. It's really great, especially for camping weekends.

Alas, flex time is now over and I'm back on the standard five 8-hour day week. *drudge, drudge* I haven't camped in August because the heat has been just unbearable. This is a real issue since I camp in a tent (no A/C!!). However, I have a reservation to go back to Grindstone this Friday for the Labor Day weekend. Temperatures are supposed to be back down in the 80's in town, so the campground should be nice and cool. *loving it already*

I plan to sing with the local Madrigal singers again this season; our first rehearsal is tonight. It should be a lot of fun.

The latest excitement in my normally hum-drum world is that Kris and Louise are planning to visit in December. I've been almost afraid to get excited for fear that it wouldn't work out, but things are looking really promising. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! While I'd love to have a little snow while they're here (just so it would be really Christmassy), I hope the weather's good so we can go take a few day trips.

Well, I've been killing a little time waiting for some information to come in from another department for processing, and it just arrived. So, back to work!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

C'mon, Thursday!

Why am I anxiously awaiting Thursday? Because I'm taking Thursday off, Friday is my regular day off, and I'm going to spend four days camping at Grindstone.

This week has been pretty rough so far, so I'm really looking forward to a few days off. Mom and Dad are already at Grindstone; they went up on Sunday morning. It'll be great to have the cool mountain air instead of the hot muggy weather in town.

The weather guys are predicting scattered thunderstorms through Friday (in fact, according to the radar map, it's raining just a couple of miles from the campground right now), but I don't even care. I've got a new paperback novel to take with me ("Hannibal Rising"), so I don't mind if I'm cooped up for a while.

I'll get most of my stuff together tonight; that way tomorrow night all I'll really have to do is stop by Wal-Mart to pick up some of their excellent turkey pastrami and a few tomatoes. That will just leave a stop on the way out Thursday morning for ice, bread, and buns.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I *heart* summer.....

Once again, I'm behind in my blogging duties, so I'll do a bit of catching up. I went to Pigeon Forge on June 1, and Mom and Dad took me to Dollywood on one of their guest passes. As soon as we went in the gate, we went up the hill to "The Thunderhead", Dollywood's terrific wooden roller coaster. The line was short, because most guests were headed further up the hill to this season's newest roller coaster. I loved Thunderhead; there's nothing quite like the sound and feel of a wooden roller coaster!

When I came off Thunderhead, Daddy asked if I was going to ride the new coaster, the Mystery Mine. I hadn't really planned to, to tell the truth, but I said we could walk up there and see how long the line was. As we walked up, we saw one carload of passengers finishing up their ride. They appeared to be suspended upside down! Mom said, "You're not really going to ride that, are you?" I just laughed and said, "Oh, yeah!" The line wasn't very long, and they were moving passengers through quickly. It was a really great coaster. I'd had to remove my glasses, so I'm sure I missed a lot of the scary special effects (eyes glowing in the dark, etc.), but the ride was worth it all the same.

We saw a few shows, had lunch at the Backstage Restaurant (I had the always-delicious chicken salad and fresh fruit platter), and I left the park with a bucket of my favorite snack, kettle corn. All in all, a wonderful day.

The next weekend, I unfortunately lost Friday and Saturday to a migraine. *ick* At least it didn't happen on a weekend that I'd planned a mini-trip!

Last Friday morning, MeggieDog and I went back to Natural Tunnel for the weekend. It was pretty warm and humid while I was setting up camp, the usual precursor to a thunderstorm. Sure enough, a storm swept through late that afternoon. Hard rain and lots of thunder and lightning. Meg was NOT pleased, but we passed the storm curled up in the tent. I read while she shuddered at thunder and dozed intermittently. After the storm passed, we had a bit of supper and watched the world go by. A rather unruly group of young children was camped beside us. I learned that they were a Vacation Bible School class....oh boy, were they something!

Friday evening there was a "welcome campfire" with entertainment provided by a wonderful young man, Stewart, who is a volunteer at the park. He played guitar and banjo (has never had a lesson) and sings really well. I was really happy to hear that he is a Johnny Hartford devotee; he played several Hartford tunes for me when I told him I was a fan, too. He sang Hartford's touching "In Tall Buildings", which always breaks my heart a little. He did "Gentle On My Mind" at my request. It did me so much good to know that an 18-year-old knows and respects the work of a late, great musical genius.

After the campfire group broke up (a little after 10:00), we went back to the campsite and settled down for the night. Unfortunately, the VBS kids were still carrying on at 12:30! I thought, "Oh well, I'll just sleep in tomorrow morning." Fat chance. They were out shrieking and playing the campground at 6:00 Saturday morning. (Apparently, the grownups "supervising" them had no respect whatsoever for the "quiet time" hours of 10:00 pm to 8:00 am!!)

The chairlift at Natural Tunnel begins running at 10:00 am. I'd bought a season pass during my last visit, so Meg and I went down to the Tunnel. She was a little uneasy the first time I had her on the chairlift in May, but now she really enjoys it. Her favorite thing is when someone happens to be walking on the trail that crosses beneath the chairlift in a couple of places. She looks down at them, curious about how they got down there.

We were lucky enough to be at the Tunnel entrance when a coal train passed through. I got a few photos, and remembered to count the coal cars. I counted 94; I was more impressed than Meggie. (She doesn't like the train; too big, too noisy!).

Tony Scales came to the platform and set up a table. He was selling autographed copies of his book, Natural Tunnel: Nature's Marvel in Stone. I explained to him that I hadn't brought any cash, but would go to the parking lot and be right back. We took the chairlift back up to the parking lot, got some money, and took the chairlift back down to buy a book. (Meg had a little trouble understanding two chairlift trips so close together, but enjoyed the ride all the same.) The book is lovely, informative, well-written, and packed with wonderful photographs. I talked with Mr. Scales for a bit and told him that I'd been at the campfire the night before and enjoyed the talents of his son, Stewart. He said he's very proud of Stewart; I told him he certainly seems to be a fine young man. He told me that he and Stewart are going to provide the musical entertainment for the "Lighting of the Tunnel" on July 7. I'm certainly going to try to go back for that.

It was getting pretty warm by the time we got back to the parking lot again, so I decided to treat myself to an air-conditioned drive to Duffield (only 5 miles or so away) to Hardee's for a mushroom/swiss burger for lunch. I took my lunch up to an overlook just up on Powell Mountain out of Duffield and parked to eat my burger. I called and talked to Daddy for a few minutes while I was there to let him know all was going well. (I don't have cellular service at the park.)

We took a scenic out-of-the-way route back to the campground, then pulled a lounge chair under a shade tree for an afternoon of restful reading. I had thought about going on a night hike that was going to be led that evening. However, when I saw the little VBS hooligans headed up to the gathering point, I decided I'd stay in the campground for some much-enjoyed quiet time under the stars.

Yesterday morning, I began packing things up soon after breakfast so I could take breaks as needed. It was really hot, so I was careful (I thought) to take my time and cool down. After I left the park (just past noon), I called Mom and Dad to let them know I'd be stopping by for a bit on my way home. I stopped at Pal's for a small sandwich and one of their famous delicious ice teas. Apparently, the heat had bothered me more than I realized, because I started feeling a bit ill while munching on the sandwich. I developed a mild case of the shakes (common when my glucose level falls below normal). I called Mom again and asked if she'd fix me a glass of grapefruit juice. She had it ready when I arrived. I sipped it slowly and soon felt fine again.

I visited for awhile and got home about 4:00; I was tired, but it had been a good weekend. Meg immediately climbed up into the recliner and pretty much stayed there until bedtime. Not a bad plan, actually. *LOL*

I confess that I'm going to leave my bed unmade this morning when I go to work. I just don't have the heart to make her get out of it. She enjoys the camping trips, but she likes to get back to her air-conditioned apartment when it's over!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

I woke up at 2:30 this morning irritated about something that had happened at work. Can you believe that? I'd told myself when I went to bed, "Oh, don't worry about it, things always work out." And I went to sleep with no trouble. Then, in the wee hours, it crept back into my head and woke me up.

I live in an apartment, so it's not like I can run the vacuum or do laundry or anything like that in the middle of the night. (I honestly try to be a considerate neighbor.) So, I turned on the TV with the volume really low. Nothing worth watching was on, so I crept as quietly as I could into my little home office and finished burning a DVD I'd started last night and got too tired to finish.

I looked at a few e-mails, answered one or two, and started feeling sleepy again. I crept back to bed, watched part of an infomercial and finally drifted back off to sleep about 4:45. My clock goes off at 5:30. *LOL* Oh well, tonight will be an early night, no doubt!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer Fun

It's been awhile since I've posted, so I'll catch up a bit. On May 11, MeggieDog and I went to Bandit's Roost Campground in Wilkesboro, NC for the weekend. Mom and Dad were already there, having arrived the Sunday before. I arrived much earlier than the 4:00 pm check-in time, and was not surprised to find that my site was still occupied by the folks who didn't have to check out until 3:00 pm. I visited with Mom and Dad on their site until my site was available.

Daddy helped me set up, so it went very quickly. It threatened to rain, but rained all around us. Meggie was busy all day exploring to the end of her tie-out cable. By bedtime she was so exhausted that she went into the tent and collapsed onto her doggie cushion, not even trying to get up onto the inflatable mattress where I was sleeping.

On Saturday, we went to nearby Wilkes Community College to visit the Merle Watson Memorial Garden for the Senses. It was just lovely; I can only imagine what it must look like when everything is in bloom! There are a few photos of it posted on my Flickr site; you'll find a link to that on the right side of this page.

As soon as the tent and screen tent dried out on Sunday morning, I broke camp (Daddy helped) and packed up the car. After enjoying a wonderful lunch fixed by Mom, Meg and I left for home about 1:00 p.m. It was a glorious day, perfect for riding with the sunroof open. Meg, tired from a weekend of watching squirrels, chipmunks, and people, slept all the way home. I had a mild case of what I think must have been sun poisioning. I was fairly red (especially my arms) and had a mild rash which disappeared the next day. The next time I was exposed to sun, though, the rash temporarily reappeared. Guess that's the price you pay for spending most of your life and a concrete office with fluorescent lighting and no windows.

The next Friday (May 18), Meg and I headed for Natural Tunnel State Park. Friday and dark and gloomy, rain clouds threatening. It was downright cool compared to the weather we'd had recently, so as soon as I got everything set up I changed from my shorts into jeans and a jacket. I set up my lounge chair and got out a book I've been reading. Meg got up into my lap and I wrapped her in a small blanket. There we rested, warm and happy, for a good while.

After I'd read for a while and Meggie napped, we took a brief hike from the campground to Lovers Leap (photos on Flickr). It was a good hike, but I'm not used to it; the "moderate" trail was pretty steep, but we made it fine, taking time to rest as needed. We went to ride the chairlift down to the floor of Natural Tunnel, but they had the lift closed for maintenance.

We went to bed fairly early (as is usual for us) and slept well, cozy and warm with a small heater running in the tent. On Saturday, we took the chairlift to the floor of the tunnel. No sooner had we arrived than a train came through (photos on Flickr). I was very excited, because when I was camping at Natural Tunnel last summer I'd tried several times to be there when a train came through (they don't have a regular schedule), but had never managed it. Meggie, however, was less than thrilled about the train. I was able to take a few photos, but it was difficult with Meggie trying to wrap herself around my head!

We went back to the campsite and curled up in the lounge chair for another reading/napping session. Just about lunchtime, Mom and Dad arrived, bringing broasted chicken lunches and a load of firewood so I could have a campfire that night. We drove around the park so they could see the pool, the Cove Center, and the blockhouse. Then we went to nearby Duffield; Mom wanted to go to a flea market there. The vendor she was hoping to see wasn't there (I can't for the life of me remember what she was looking for), so they only bought some apples and bananas.

We went back to the campground and visited awhile; when they left, they insisted that I keep some of the leftover chicken for my supper and a piece of fruit. Meg and I took another chairlift ride to the floor of the Tunnel and took the short walk to the Carter Cabin. She liked walking in the shade of the trees near the creek. A group of small children wanted to pet her; she was a bit nervous about it but behaved beautifully.

That evening I ate cold chicken (it was even better cold than it had been for lunch) for supper and started my campfire. The wood was well-seasoned, and caught fire quickly. I suddenly remembered my apple. I washed it, quartered it and wrapped it in aluminum foil. I put it into the coals of the campfire and left it for 20 minutes. When I carefully fished it out, it was steamy hot, sweet, and cooked to perfection. It was hard to wait for it to cool enough for me to eat it! Meg got a few bites and enjoyed it, too.

I took my time breaking camp Sunday morning; the day was beautiful, and I had several camping neighbors come to visit while I was working. It was after 1:00 by the time I got away; I stopped and visited with Mom and Dad for a little bit before heading on home.

Memorial Weekend was a non-camping weekend. There wasn't a camping spot available within a 100-mile radius! Mom and I went on a shopping trip on Friday and had a good, but tiring day. Saturday I planted some tomato and squash plants out on my deck and some New Guinea impatients (sp?) next to my front door. Sunday I did some laundry and various other household chores. Yesterday, Mom, Dad and I met some friends at a camper sales lot to admire the new camper they'd just purchased.

Mom and Dad left this morning to go to Pigeon Forge; I'm going down (just for the day) on Friday. They're going to use one of their guest passes to take me to Dollywood. If the line's not too long, I plan to ride the wooden roller coaster. *YAY*

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Getting Ready

At last! MeggieDog and I will be leaving Friday for our first camping trip of the season. I dragged all the camping equipment out in the middle of the living room weekend before last to be sure I had everything I need. She was a bit antsy when I did that. I think she doesn't understand yet that she's going along, too.

After work for the next couple of days, I'll be getting everything ready to pack in the car early Friday morning. Then I'll stop on the way home Thursday evening to get the few grocery items I'll need. Then after I've packed the car Friday morning, we'll head for North Carolina. *YAY*

Mom and Dad have been there since Sunday. I'm sure that by now they've toured any local attractions they may have missed in prior visits. Daddy, I think, had planned a little fishing. It looks like the weather's been really great for them according to Unfortunately, it looks like there's a possibility of some afternoon and evening thundershowers while I'll be there, but that's okay. At least I'll be camping again. I've really missed it this winter!

Friday, April 20, 2007


My coworkers and I will gather today at noon for a moment of silence in a service of remembrance. Our governor has declared today a statewide day of mourning for the victims of the senseless Virginia Tech murders. Splashes of orange and maroon catch my attention as employees pass my office door in the course of their daily work.

Those of us who did not have any VT attire have pinned on orange and maroon ribbons, showing our sadness for those lost and our support for those left behind. There's actually been an alumni-led declaration of a national "Orange and Maroon Effect" day slated for today; they're calling it "Hokie Hope". This is how we cope.

We were shocked by the initial reports, horrified by the day's developments, and dismayed that the media made a celebrity of a sick, murderous man. I've stopped watching the news. I quickly scan headlines on the internet, but I can't bear to see those photographs again.

Time, thankfully, heals.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hang Tough, Hokies

Candlelight service at Virginia Tech April 17, 2007
Photo from

Monday morning the unimaginable happened. The tranquility of Virginia Tech's beautiful campus was ripped apart by gunfire. The murderer's name will not be mentioned in this blog entry. If notoriety was his goal, I will not contribute to attainment of that goal.

As for the parents, friends and families who have lost loved ones in this unspeakable tragedy, I can only offer my deepest sympathy.

I have that same empty, heartsick feeling I had while watching the World Trade Center collapse on television that bright, beautiful September morning in 2001. I wish there was something I could do that would help.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Six Feet Under

I watched the final episode of "Six Feet Under" last night (TiVo'd the night before that). I actually had to run the recording back to watch the last several minutes a second time. I was crying so much, I missed parts of it.

I was truly sorry to get to the end of that series. It had moments when I just wanted to smack some of the characters for being so completely self-absorbed, but the bottom line was that I CARED what happened to them, even the irritating ones. Writing like that is unexpected and a beautiful surprise.

I'm still in the final season of watching reruns of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". When I started watching it, I actually began with the last few episodes. I'm back up to those now, but am watching them again so I'll understand what I saw the first time. *LOL* Another couple of weeks should finish up that one.

As usual for me, I started another series in the middle. A&E started running "The Sopranos" in January, but I only started watching them a couple of weeks ago. So, I have to rent the first 17 (I think) episodes to catch up. I've already watched the first 4 episodes, thanks to Netflix, so it shouldn't take me too long to get up to speed. I actually didn't expect to like it as much as I do. I was hooked from the first 8 bars of the theme song.

Well, lunch break's over, so I'd better get back to work. Today's Mom & Dad's 54th wedding anniversary, so I'm going to take them a little something down there after work.

Monday, March 12, 2007

An Eventful Vacation

Finally I have time to post about vacation! I'll have photos posted at my Flickr site (see link at the right). We started out from Mom & Dad's at 6:23 am on Sunday, February 25. It was raining lightly on us all the way through Knoxville. We could see blue sky peeking through the clouds as we reached the west side of Knoxville, though.

Shortly after turning south toward Chattanooga, the sun popped through, and good weather prevailed. We stopped in a Cracker Barrel in Gadsden, Alabama for lunch, then continued on our way. We arrived in Vicksburg shortly after 5:00 pm our time (EST). Considering the time we'd spent at lunch, we made excellent driving time.

Not long after we'd checked into our motel, Raechel called to say that Lesa would be getting off work soon, and they'd be out shortly after. When they came over, we learned that Jeremy was working, and we wouldn't see him until the next day. Mom and Dad treated us all to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. The furnishings in the restaurant looked a bit tattered and worn, but the food was really good. When we got back to the motel, we visited a bit. I knew that Mom and Dad had to be tired, so I invited Lesa and Rae to come to my room and watch the Academy Awards on TV until time for Lesa to pick up Jeremy at work. Rae fell asleep in a chair while Lesa and I watched the awards.

The next morning, since Mom, Dad and I were still operating on EST, we ate the complimentary breakfast provided by the motel and waited for Lesa, Jeremy and Rae to arrive. We then went to City Cemetary, a very old and unusually beautiful resting place filled with interesting historic markers. After walking a good deal in the cemetary, we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant where Raechel works. It was really delicious; their hot and sour soup is the best I've ever eaten anywhere.

After lunch, we went to the military park. Vicksburg has the most beautiful military park I've ever visited, and I've visited a few! There are 1,330 markers and monuments in the park, and the 16-mile tour road is a beautiful, leisurely drive. One of the highlights of the park is the U.S.S. Cairo, a Union ironclad which was sunk on December 12, 1862, in the Yazoo River north of Vicksburg. The Cairo was raised in 1964 and is on display. A museum houses various artifacts from the vessel.

Jeremy had to work Monday afternoon/evening, so we got back in time for Lesa to take him to work. Lesa then took a nap, and Raechel had plans for a bit with a friend. After a take-out dinner at the motel, Lesa and Rae went home and Mom, Dad and I turned in early. It had been an eventful day, and we were still operating on Eastern Standard Time!

The next morning we were up early as usual, had a complimentary breakfast again, and Daddy dropped Mom and me off at the Ameristar Casino. We told him we'd only be a couple of hours, and he told me to call his cell phone when we were finished. I hadn't been inside a casino in a long time, and considered my "breaking even" to be a real win! Mom wasn't quite as lucky. :-)

When we finished at the Ameristar, we still had some time to kill; Lesa and Jeremy were coming over after dropping Raechel off at work at 11:00 CST. Daddy asked what I'd like to do, and I asked if it would be too much trouble to go across the Mississippi River into Louisiana for a bit.

We went across the bridge, and turned down a road which took us out onto a levee. It was a beautiful warm day, and the sun shining on the pools of water by the levee was striking. After awhile, we came off the levee and back into Vicksburg. We stopped at the Visitor's Center for a brief time, then came back to the motel.

Jeremy and Lesa arrived at the motel shortly after we got there, and we went to a Cracker Barrel for lunch. We had to come back to the motel right away because there'd been a mixup with Mom and Dad's motel bill, and the manager was working on straightening it out. Daddy wanted to stay close until it was all settled, so we just rested and watched TV that afternoon until Jeremy had to go to work. After he went to work, I said that I'd like to go to the Port of Vicksburg. We went down to the port and saw some beautiful murals painted on the concrete walls at the riverfront. We also went through a lovely little park nearby, then drove through part of the historic district to see some of the wonderful old homes there.

We were too late to tour the homes, but got permission from one of the employees to walk around the grounds at Cedar Grove, a lovely antebellum estate which now serves as an elegant bed and breakfast. Cedar Grove took its lumps during the War Between the States; a cannonball is lodged in a parlor wall. The only reason Cedar Grove was spared during the shelling of Vicksburg is that its owners allowed the home to be used as a Union hospital. The mistress of the house was a cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman, and was therefore ostracized by the residents of Vicksburg. Her husband, oddly enough, was not treated with the same animosity.

When we finished touring, we stopped and picked up some excellent take-out barbecue sandwiches and went back to the motel to eat. I felt like all we'd done for days was ride in the car and eat!

On Wednesday morning, after Mom, Dad and I had our usual quick motel breakfast, we went out touring around town a bit. We went down on Washington Street, where Mom and I spent a good while in the Tourist Information Center. We bought t-shirts and I bought a hat, and we talked with a guide there who told us lots of interesting things I wish we'd had time to do! After we drove some more in the historic district, we then went down to a little park on the river where we could watch a tugboat pushing a barge up the river. By then, it was nearly time for Lesa and Jeremy to come by.

We walked to a nearby Shoney's for lunch. I felt the need for something green, so I hit the salad bar. After lunch, Lesa looked just exhausted; she was to pick up Raechel at 2:00 (her lunch break from work), so Daddy suggested that she go to my room and take a nap until time to pick up Rae. Instead of waking her up when the time came, Daddy went to get her. When they came back to the motel, Jeremy, Rae and I started playing cards. Lesa was still sleeping. Mom suggested that Raechel call Lesa and ask when she was going to pick her up from work. *EG* Rae did so, and Lesa sure enough thought she'd slept through the time to get her. Mom and I quickly took credit for the stunt so Lesa wouldn't kill Rae. *LOL*

Lesa had to go into work that afternoon, and Raechel told us she didn't have to go back to work that evening. So Jeremy and Raechel stayed with us for a good while; we took them to Whataburger for supper. The food was good, but I enjoyed the music more than the food. (60's nostalgia)

After we dropped them off at their apartment, we went back to the motel to get packed and get a good night's sleep before heading home the next morning.

Since we were leaving long before the motel offered their complimentary breakfast, we checked out and went back to the Whataburger (open 24 hours) for breakfast. I liked their breakfast even more than the burgers they're famous for.

The beautiful weather we'd enjoyed since arriving in Vicksburg was gone. A cool rain fell on us as we headed toward Jackson. Daddy had offered to go home a longer route so that I could see some of the Natchez Trace. (I'd only seen the portion of it from Jackson to Port Gibson previously.) After we turned north onto the Natchez Trace, we began seeing deer in the early morning darkness. The rain lessened as daylight finally arrived. We stopped at a few of the historic markers on the Trace and took a few pictures. The weather was gray and dreary, so the Bynum Indian mounds were our last stop.

We came off the Trace at Tupelo, intending to see Elvis Presley's birthplace. The rain was setting in pretty steady by then, and we thought we'd missed a sign somewhere because we couldn't find the birthplace. We gave up and decided to turn north on Hwy. 45. (As it turned out, I learned later than we were probably less than 1,000 feet from the birthplace but didn't know it.) We drove to Corinth, Mississippi; on our way there, we drove through one of the worst rainstorms I've ever seen. A tractor-trailer was stuck in the median of the 4-lane highway at one point. All the ditches beside the road ran full of water. We were happy to see that storm move off to our east, even though we knew we'd have to drive through it again before we got home. We'd watched the Weather Channel the evening before and knew that we were apt to drive through some rough weather on our way home no matter which route we took.

We stopped at a Shoney's in Corinth for lunch; when we finished, I asked Daddy if he'd like me to drive awhile. He said he'd take it awhile longer. I knew he was thinking of that rainstorm, so I didn't press it. I figured he'd let me drive again after we got through that mess.

Driving east from Corinth, I realized we'd soon come to the Alabama state line. I wanted a photo of the state "welcome" sign since I'd missed getting a photo of it on our way to Vicksburg, so I took my camera out of its case and laid it in my lap. (Daddy was driving, I was riding the shotgun seat, and Mom was in the back seat, behind Daddy.) Fourteen miles east of Corinth, we were passing through a little community known as Burnsville, Mississippi. We were on US 72, a four-lane divided highway, traveling the speed limit. On our left, I saw a white Chevy S-10 pickup truck coming across from our left. He'd run a stop sign on his cross street, crossed three lanes of US 72, and hit Daddy's jeep in the left front.

When I saw the pickup headed across the highway, I thought "He's not gonna stop." Mom said that I actually said "He's not gonna..." before the kerblam! After the impact, I actually had no idea how bad the damage was. All I knew was that we were traveling down the side of US 72 in the pea gravel beside the road, and off to my right was a really deep ditch with what looked like a creek running in it. I heard metal on pavement and thought the tire was flat on the left front. It took a good way for Daddy to get the Jeep stopped. When we all asked each other if we were okay (we were), Daddy and I both got out of the Jeep. He started walking back up to the intersection where we got hit and said to me, "See if you can find my wheel. I don't know where it went." That was the first time I realized that the front wheel had been ripped off the Jeep! I finally found it down in the water in the ditch beside the Jeep.

The truck that hit us had the driver and two adult passengers in that little bitty pickup truck. Not one of them was wearing a seatbelt. The driver had no insurance, and was driving on a revoked license. The impact knocked the truck 180 degrees back into the crossover of 72. No one was injured. It was unbelievable. EMT transported the two passengers in the truck; there were no injuries, but there were some high blood pressure and high blood sugar issues to deal with. In our vehicle, Mom had what the EMTs called a "strawberry mark" from her shoulder harness. Her neck was sore for a couple of days, but other than that we walked away unscathed, thank God.

The Jeep didn't fare as well. As luck would have it, the wreck happened just down the road from a tire store that also did wrecker service. After the police came and filled out reports, the owner of the tire store moved the Jeep up to a locked lot on his premises. He invited Mom and me to stay in the waiting area of the tire store (warm, dry, and he had a big screen TV) while one of his employees took Daddy back to Corinth to rent a car to get us home.

While we were waiting in the tire store, a horrible rainstorm hit Burnsville. Watching the news, we heard about the tornadoes causing such terrible damage in Alabama. I told Mom that as bad as the accident was, we could have been in much more trouble if we'd gone home the way we went to Vicksburg. If we'd take that same route home, we'd have been right in the midst of the tornadoes! Talk about a strange set of circumstances....

With the weather forecasts for that night looking so terrible, Mom and Dad decided we should probably just get a motel room near Burnsville, stay the night, and start over the next morning. It sounded like a great idea to me. Daddy had rented a car from Enterprise in Corinth. Unfortunately, Enterprise there didn't have any one-way rentals available, so he was going to have to return that car by Monday afternoon. Paul, one of Daddy's good friends, suggested that maybe we could find a one-way rental in one of the larger towns over in Alabama and return the Enterprise car.

So, the next morning we packed up and headed for Alabama. Armed with a Florence, Alabama number for Enterprise and my cell phone, I rode shotgun again with Daddy under the wheel so I could make calls on the way. I had to wait awhile for Enterprise to open (we were still in Central time zone). When they opened, I learned that they didn't have one-way rentals, either, but that nearby Avis did. I got directions to the Avis location at the airport (actually in Muscle Shoals, where some of my all-time favorite music was recorded....Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, and my favorite song ever, Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll"). We got to Avis 20 minutes before they were to open, so we just waited in the parking lot, soaking up a bit of Alabama sun in the meantime.

When Avis opened, they told us they didn't have one-way rentals either. I have to admit that by this time my patience was wearing a little thin. The lady at Avis gave me a number for Hertz in Florence. When I called Hertz, they (hallelujah) said they had one-way rentals available. I got directions, and away we went. When we rented the Hertz car, Daddy drove it and I drove the Enterprise car; back we went to Corinth. Sixty miles. We turned in the Enterprise car, then went to the same Shoney's where we'd had lunch 24 hours earlier. The hostess remembered us!

We were then, finally, back on the way home. I drove from Corinth until we stopped for gas just before we got to Chattanooga. Daddy drove the rest of the way in. We had a slight scare just east of Huntsville. A young man pulled across 3 lanes of US 72 from a cross street, just like the pickup truck that hit us in Burnsville. I, luckily, was a bit paranoid and was expecting him to do something stupid. Mom and Dad both said that he looked up and saw me just as I got the car stopped. He actually never saw me coming. So much for having the right-of-way! *whew*

Other than a traffic jam in Chattanooga, the rest of the trip was uneventful, thank goodness. By the time we got the luggage in at Mom and Dad's and I got home, it was 11:00 pm. We'd left Vicksburg at 6:10 am the day before. Boy, was I ever glad to see home!

Luckily, we were able to handle all the paperwork (getting police reports to the right place, etc.) by fax. The insurance adjuster called Daddy Wednesday and told him the Jeep was totaled; Chrysler had told him to total it at $8,000, and he stopped counting the damage after he reached $8,300. So we got all the appropriate forms faxed to Detroit, and got Mom and Dad's new vehicle ordered.

All in all, a very eventful vacation! It's taken me so long to write this epistle that I'll wait until tomorrow night to post the vacation photos on Flickr.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

An Eventful Week

Meg had a pretty rough day Sunday. Her medication hadn't really started to work yet, and every time the poor little thing moved, she yelped. I felt so sorry for her. Monday was much better, thank goodness, and she was moving around really well last night. I hope to find her as much improved when I get home from work today.

I stayed in Sunday and Monday (a holiday for me). The weather was icky, and I was worried about Meggie, so I just read, rested, and watched some TV with her snuggled up on my lap. My wireless adapter for TiVo arrived on Friday, but I didn't receive my wireless router until yesterday, so I couldn't even get my TiVo set up over the weekend.

However, I was delighted to find my router waiting at my door for me when I got home yesterday. I hooked it up, got it configured, and hooked up the TiVo adapter with no problem at all. I initially had a little problem getting TiVo to connect to the TiVo servers, but that didn't take long to fix. Because I'd been disconnected from the computer for so long, it took a little while to get the updates loaded, but not too long.

I'm delighted with the signal strength and was very happy with the transfer rate when I was moving some CSI episodes to the computer. So far, so good!

Tonight I need to burn some CSI episodes to DVD so I can take them to Lesa when I go visit. (Mom, Dad and I are going down Sunday for a few days.) I also need to start working on doing some packing for the trip. I hate to pack. I probably wouldn't mind it so much if I was better at it. I checked yesterday to see what the weather prediction says for our time in Mississippi. It looks like it's going to be sunny and warm, compared to what we've had lately. Having said that, though, I'll have to say that today is unusually warm compared to what we had Saturday and Sunday! Right now it's in the high 50's....that about 35 degrees warmer than it was Saturday!

Eeek....lunch break's over.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Trip to the Vet

A snowy cold Saturday was a good excuse to light a fire. *aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh* MeggieDog and I had a rough Friday night. She was limping badly and yelped a bit everytime she moved her left front leg. She'd had a big lump right behind that leg for some time, and I was concerned that the lump had developed into a real problem.

I called the vet's office, and they told me to bring her in this morning at 9:15. Naturally, we spent a fairly sleepless night. By bedtime, she couldn't walk, sit, stand, or lie still comfortably. When the vet saw her this morning, he said that the lump was (thankfully) a lipoma; just a fatty tumor that's not an immediate problem. The pain in her leg was caused by osteoarthritis. So, she's on a course of anti-inflammatories for a few days. *whew*

After I got back from the vet's office, I went to visit Mom and Dad for a bit. We were visiting after lunch when a light snow started. It quickly developed into a fast-falling, fine snow. I came on home earlier than I'd planned and was surprised to find that the road was already covered in several places. I didn't have any problems getting home, though. I just heard a snow plow in the parking lot, so it must still be snowing. Figures. We finally get a measurable snow, and it's on the Saturday of a three-day-weekend for me. *sheesh*

Friday, February 16, 2007


I'm always glad to see Friday roll around, but today I'm especially glad. It's sunny outside but awfully cold (22 deg. F right now). My office, as always when it's cold outside, is really uncomfortably cool. I have faith that it will warm up about June.

This is a three-day weekend for me. The office will be closed Monday for President's Day. I'm hoping I'll have my wireless router and adapter in time to spend Monday connecting TiVo to my computer again. I have several episodes of CSI (and the movie "The Elephant Man") on TiVo that I need to transfer to the computer so I can burn DVD's. I've recorded all of them at a high-quality resolution, so they use up a lot of my TiVo drive space if I don't transfer them to the computer pretty often. I should probably get a bigger TiVo, but the one I have works fine, and I rarely run into space issues. I already record more stuff than I have time to watch anyway. *L*

Ah, lunch break is over. Guess I'd better get back to posting leave records. Whee.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've Had About Enough of February

Remember my last post, when I said I needed to make a Wal-Mart run to get a new adapter for my TiVo? That Wal-Mart run was an exercise in futility!!!

First things first. On Sunday, I was down all day with a migraine. Miserable, grumpy, and IN PAIN. When I woke up Monday morning, I still didn't feel well, but I was able to go to work, at least.

While I was doing nothing on Sunday I began thinking about the adapter for my TiVo. From window-shopping on the internet, I knew that I was going to wind up spending about $30 for a replacement for the ethernet adapter I'd broken. Why not treat myself to a wireless router and wireless adapter? That way, I could move the TiVo into the living room (where I've wanted it for a long time) without having to figure out how to run an ethernet cable to connect it to my computer. I did a little more window-shopping and found that I should be able to set myself up with a wireless connection for $100 or so.

After work on Monday, I went to Wal-Mart, fully expecting to be able to buy a wireless router and wireless USB adapter. Imagine my surprise when I found that they only had two models of routers and both were at least $20 more than I'd priced them for on They didn't even HAVE a wireless USB adapter. In desperation I thought that maybe I'd replace the ethernet adapter for the time being, and go wireless later. They didn't even have an ethernet adapter!

That Wal-Mart used to be my main one-stop-shopping source. They recently "reorganized" their stock. Now no one, including the employees, can find ANYTHING. *grrrrrrrrrrrrrr* Their computer accessories department (in which I've spent a LOT of money in the past) is now down to a few pathetic items and a lot of overpriced ink cartridges.

I left Wal-Mart and went to Office Depot. They had a much better selection of routers and adapters, but were still pricier than I stopped by K-Mart; believe it or not, our local K-Mart's computer accessories consisted of a few packages of paper and a few outdated printers. Sad. Just plain sad. I can hardly wait for them to open the now-being-constructed Target in our area.

So, to make a long story short (tooooooo late!!), I came home, got on the internet, and ordered the router and adapter from Amazon. I'll have to wait a few days for it, but overall I wound up saving $35. For that kind of savings, I can wait.

Tuesday, the migraine was back in full force. I took a couple of Tylenol PM's and spent the day sleeping to try to get back to normal. It worked, thank goodness. I was able to go back to work Wednesday.

After work Wednesday, I decided that since TiVo isn't connected to my computer now, I'd go ahead and move it to the living room. I moved it and my newer DVD/VCR combination unit to the living room and moved the older DVD player and VCR back to the bedroom. What with unplugging, dusting, and replugging, it took me awhile to get it all set up.

Now I'm just waiting for my wireless equipment to arrive. I adore TiVo and wish I could justify the expense of having a second unit for the bedroom.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Clumsy Saturday

Why do I say it's been a "clumsy" Saturday? Well, for starters, I decided that today was the day I was going to move my stereo from my bedroom to the living room. So, I unplugged the components and removed them from the glass-doored stereo cabinet and moved them into the living room.

I'd been using the top of the stereo cabinet as a stand for my TiVo and DVD/VCR combination in the bedroom. Rather than unplug those units, I decided to just slide them over onto an adjacent chest of drawers. Bad move. I didn't allow enough room behind the TiVo unit for the ethernet adapter to clear the wall. Crunch. *grrrrrrrrrrrrrr* Now my TiVo is without a connection to my computer until I make a WalMart run to buy a new adapter.

So, mentally kicking myself, I went into the living room to clean the stereo cabinet and reconnect the components, cleaning as I went. When I connected the turntable and began cleaning it, I managed to ruin the stylus.

In total disgust with myself, I came to the computer to find out what my day's damage will wind up costing me. It looks like a $50 will cover the bill. Still, $50 seems pretty steep to spend a Saturday at home!

So, I felt better after talking with Kris on Skype; she'd had a rough morning, too, though. So now it's nearly 9:00 pm and I just realized I've not stopped yet for dinner. Dumb. I think I'll eat dinner, take a warm, relaxing bath, and call it a night!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January Slipped Right Past Me

What a month! I went back to work after Christmas break on January 3, and got sick with a dreadful cold on January 4. Daddy had a cold when I went down to visit him and Mom and New Year's Day, so I guess I caught it from him. Mom got sick the day after I did, and we all battled it for the next couple of weeks or so.

I felt pretty bad, but wasn't nearly as sick and Mom and Dad had been with it. I managed to keep it out of my chest, thank goodness, but they both had terrible coughs for an awful long time. I really think Mom might have had pneumonia, but she never did go to the doctor. She really should have, though.

Seems that everyone has had either that really bad cold/bronchitis/pneumonia thing or a stomach virus/flu/generally cruddy thing. I've actually tried to stay out of public places as much as I can, but you can only avoid people so long!

I've been over the cold for some time now, but my energy level still isn't up to par. I come home from work, eat supper, and drop! (One reason my posting has fallen so far behind!)

The good news is that my new assistant at work is a gem. She's bright, quick, and has a natural talent for numbers. I'm grateful that in addition to being good at her work she's also a nice person. I hope she's as happy in the job as I am happy to have her there!

We've had a couple of light snows in January. One was enough to close the college at 11:00 a.m. one fine Tuesday, but we're all hoping for a full Snow Day. It looks like some wintry weather is headed our way tomorrow night, so we're keeping our fingers crossed! :-)

Well, "House" is waiting for me on TiVo, so I think I'll curl up under the covers with MeggieDog and the remote and watch grumpy ol' Greg rip someone up.