Month: September 2009

  • Well, piffle poodles. I did it again, didn't I?

    Since Jessica and the girls moved in, things have been a bit behind-hand around here.  I did mention that, right?  That Jessica and her daughters, Brianna and Bridgette, have moved into the master bedroom and I've moved into the middle bedroom?  Surely I did.

    At any rate, they did.  Barring Bridgette's not sleeping well, which means Jessica doesn't sleep well, it's working nicely.  Been a while since I've had a two year old living here, though, and it's quite a change.  ;^)

    Last weekend was my great-nephew, Cole's, birthday (I'm pretty sure he turned four;  certainly hope so, as that's the card I bought for him) party at one of the myriad bounce house places in the area.  Sadly, it was a busy weekend for much of the family, so Brianna and Bridgette were the only family children in attendance.  Alex was there, as he had to be in Fort Worth anyway (more on that in a minute); here he is with Bridgette:


    The birthday boy running like the wind.  Where on earth do these kids get their energy?

    The inflated slides were the most popular rides, naturally.  Even Bridgette, after some coaxing, got into it:

    That's Bridgette, Brianna and Cole up above.  Of course there was cake, in the form of cupcakes.  Never seen so much icing on a cupcake in my life!  And it was red, and tended to stain.  Tasty, though. 

    This is Cole blowing one of the party whatzits, with his mother, Jill, and Uncle Charles:

    Above is Cole, Charles, Alex, and my nephew, Justin, who is Cole's father.

    Kenny and his son, Larry, finished the last major project this week, which is an aluminum fence around the back yard. Kenny was horrified at the price Home Depot was charging for gates, and determined to make them himself out of panels.  Did a good job, too.  My house being the uneven mess that it is, the main gate next to the garage gave him fits, as the brick wall isn't straight and the sidewalk goes up (or down, depending upon how one looks at it).  He and Larry managed, however!  Once the tiresome skeeters go away it'll be nice for Bridgette to be able to play in the back yard (still supervised, but at least one can do so from the screened porch).  The man who'd done our landscaping for us many years ago planted the crepe myrtles too close to the retaining wall, meaning nearly half of one had to go to be able to put the fence in, not to mention I'd totally forgotten about the underground sprinkler system.  Kenny had a lot to overcome to get the fence in, including hand-drilling holes, but by jingo, he did it. 

    Tomorrow the Halloween decorations go up.  I've a bunch of bat lights and orange and purple lights, and now with the fence as a palette....well!  Suffice it to say Kenny is longing to let his creative side rip and get Chez Ivy all fixed up. 

    Alex will be in town one weekend a month as he has joined the Air National Guard band (I think that's right; Alex will correct me if I'm wrong) which is part of the Air Force, so now instead of being a sailor he's an airman.  He's looking forward to getting his AF uniform next month.  He and Beth moved into their house (rented) today!  They'd been staying with her father since their arrival home and loved it, but decided it was time to find their own place.  Can't wait to go see it.  Between teaching tuba and euphonium as a tutor for Forney ISD, and his classes at Dallas Theological Seminary, and now the Guard band, he's a busy beaver, indeed.

    While Alex moved into a house in Dallas, my eldest son, Jonathan, moved to San Jose, Costa Rica!  By all accounts he is vastly enjoying it down there, and is learning Spanish rapidly, already capable of holding conversations in it.  Because he just needs a computer and internet connection to do his job, he's been able to do this.  The cost of living is quite low in Costa Rica, and it's a beautiful country.  Don and I liked it very much when we were there on a Panama Canal cruise. 

    Many changes in the past year, that's for sure. 

  • Various and sundry stuff...

    First, a couple more photos from the recent trip; here is Jennifer and me at the Russian Festival:

    And here is her husband, Dave, on one of their various modes of transportation (another is a kayak), with Michelle preparing to join her father:

    It really was a wonderful, wonderful trip! 

    Last Sunday was our Bryson's birthday party, held at another bounce house.  Elaine was present with her girls, as were Beth, Alex, and their daughters.

    Charles and Alex, conversing:

    Bethany loved hauling Faith around:

    Margaret rushing for another turn:

    Here they come!  ;^)

    Bethany giving Faith a ride:

    Uncle Charles was on hand to whirl kids around, along with picking them up and throwing them onto one of the inflatables.  To his dismay, after tossing Bryson he found a line of other children rapidly forming, each anxious to have their turn.  He got really tired, really fast, picking up and throwing child after child.  Charles is a good-natured soul. 

    Jessica with Bridgette, the poppet:

    A bit of excitement was caused by Brianna's losing a tooth (it'd been loose so one of her uncles took her out to help her pull it).

    Here's the birthday boy:

    It was dark in there so I found it hard to snap good photos of the children in motion, and they were in perpetual motion!

    Alex's birthday was on the 12th, so I took him a few presents, including a tie I found for him at a music store in Lafayette, IN, plus something that looked like the sort of thing he'd enjoy:

    Jessica and her girls moved in on Wednesday (although their beds won't be here till tomorrow, when Joe and some of the other boys go get them).  Blessedly Brianna is enjoying her new school, and also likes to hunt lizards in the bushes and climb the Bradford pear out front:


    That's enough for now!  Y'all have a great weekend. 

  • Finally uploaded some photos from the past few days.

    Last week, as I'd said, we'd visited the Creation Museum, which was very cool.  Here's the entrance, and Elaine and the girls:

    This statue of the Babel scene was one of my favorites:

    On Friday I went to Jennifer's house and soaked up their wonderful family.  Rarely have I seen sisters so unaffectedly fond of each other!  We went to the Russian festival, and Jennifer took me into Cincinnati to Findlay's Market.  There was a store - Silverglades, IIRC - with more varieties of cheese than I'd ever seen:

    There was also a place selling unique fudge, but with a truly exemplary display of self-control, I didn't buy any (it hurt, too):

    It's awful, but I took very few photos while there.  I wish I'd taken more of Jennifer, Dave and the girls!  Can't think why I didn't.  When she took me to Indianapolis (which was extraordinarily kind of her, as that's a 2 - 3 hour drive there and back) to meet Eleanor, Elaine took a photo of the three of us:

    Eleanor, Jennifer, and me. 

    Eleanor and her husband, Rich, and daughter, Meg, are a lovely family and I had a wonderful time with them.  On Tuesday she took me into Lafayette to see Purdue, where Rich is a professor of agricultural chemistry (something like that, anyway).  He travels quite a lot around the world for his job, and they frequently go on mission trips to out-of-the-way countries where missionaries aren't particularly welcome.  I wish I'd thought to ask to see their passports! 

    The first day we met Elaine and the girls at the Indianapolis Children's Museum, an amazing place.  The poppets got to dig for dinosaur bones:

    And put together a dino skeleton:

    Check this out!  Harry Potter has even reached the scientific world:

    The idea is the above dinosaur resembles a dragon.  They also inspected an aquarium:

    They learned about the art of glass-blowing:

    There were glass sculptures in the ceiling, and people - including Meredith - could lay back and admire them:

    There was a carousel ride, too!

    Eleanor took me into Lafayette to see Purdue, which was very impressive:

    An enormous amount of research is done there.  Look at those greenhouses.  Afterward we went to the downtown area of Lafayette which offers myriad fascinating shops.  Eleanor joked that the economy of the town would show a spike on the day I was there.  One of my favorite shops was this bead shop, with more beads than you can imagine:

    This morning Eleanor drove me to Trader Joe's (again, an hour-plus drive, the sweetheart) to meet up again with Elaine.

    Elaine, the girls and I started off by singing our trip's theme song from one of their Bible song CD's.  There's a lot of baaing in it (it's about being sheep of the LORD's) and the refrain is "Lambies on the go!"  I'd really missed those Bible songs.  Going to have to get those CD's for myself.  I mean, for the grandkids.  Yeah.  That's it.  For the grandkids.  Not me.  I'm middle-aged. 

    Our goal today was Daniel Boone's home in Defiance, MO and I'd love to post photos only it's not permitted by the school that owns the property.  Couldn't take photos inside at all.  Boo to that, here's a picture of Meredith shooting the rubber-band gun Elaine bought for them (along with a sling-shot!):

    This evening we stopped for supper at a Cracker Barrel, and Meredith and Margaret were enchanted by the oversized checker sets on the porch:

    They were loathe to abandon their game, but were lured in by the promise they could play inside as well:


    We're in Rolla at the Hampton Inn, and here's Margaret, who decided her mother's luggage cart may as well hold her too:

    Tomorrow we're going to visit George Washington Carver's home, then stay in Joplin.  Friday will be a long day of driving home.  It's been a grand trip!

    G'nite, folks.  I'm bushed and heading to bed. 

  • Mercy Maud, is it Sunday already?

    Where does the time go when one is having fun?   

    Let's see.  On Friday Elaine, the girls, and I went to the Creation Museum, which was very cool.  I went to the planetarium show so we split up, meaning I didn't have many photo ops. Boo.  Here are the poppets with the dinosaur at the entrance:

    After the museum we hurried up to Cincinnati where I was picked up by my friend, Jennifer, while Elaine drove on to the airport at Columbus to pick up Hal.

    Tell you what, I love Ohio!  Beautiful state, and the people are wonderful.  There's a Russian Winter Night (or something like that) in February and I'm seriously considering mooching on the Frenchs again and coming up for it.  There will be photos of the Russian festival when I get home, because I forgot the Eye-Fi reader thingummy so as to be able to log on somewhere other than home. 

    Friday evening we sat outside for dinner, then yesterday was the aforementioned Russian festival, followed by a visit to downtown Cincinnati and Findlay's market.  After dinner everyone - including a couple of the girls' friends and another couple -  went to Graeter's ice cream for dessert.  Cookie dough chip ice cream!  Very good!  So far I've had excellent ice cream in Georgetown and Cincinnati.  Hmmmm....wonder if Indianapolis has a local ice cream spot? 

    This morning was the service at Faith Evangelical Free Church, which had a great sermon about the veracity and reliability of Scripture, then lunch at Skyline (I had the 3-Way).  This afternoon Jennifer and I went to the mall, and this evening was fondue and sitting around the table and laughing ourselves silly.

    Tomorrow Jennifer (and maybe Dave) will drive me to Indianapolis and Eleanor. 

    BTW, today is my Faithful's 2d birthday!  Bridgette turned two a week ago on August 30th, of course, when they had a joint party.   

  • What a great day in Tennessee!

    We hit the road reasonably early and made our way to Memphis and the Peabody Hotel, meeting Elaine's friend, Melissa, and Melissa's daughter, Anna there.  We were in time for the Parade of Ducks:

    The fountain is gorgeous, with the flowers being replaced every four days.  Here are a couple of photos of us in front of it:

    We went up to the roof top, where I snapped a photo of Elaine snapping a photo of Melissa and Anna:

    Melissa has eight children, the eldest 24 and the youngest about 7, IIRC.  Sweet Anna was a doll with the poppets; here she's obligingly giving Margaret a piggy-back ride:

    We had lunch at The Blues City Cafe on Beale Street.  Elaine and the girls had the ribs, while I chowed down on fried chicken strips and fries with honey mustard sauce.  After lunch we - having bid a fond farewell to Melissa and Anna - drove to Graceland with the intention of just driving past but winding up going for the tour.  If anyone had ever told me I'd go to Graceland, I'd have assured them they were mistaken.

    But I did and enjoyed it immensely. 

    The front room was cool:

    Love the peacocks!  Here are Elaine and the girls, looking and listening (one gets an audiotour with the price of admission):

    Meredith amused us considerably by occasionally dancing to the music being played.  She seemed fascinated with Graceland!

    When going out into the back area, Margaret bent down to inspect the bees on the plants, asking what those yellow-and-black ones were.  "Bumblebees....leave them alone!" I replied as I hastily made my way along the opposite side of the walk, as far from the stingables as I could get.  Why on earth would they plant bumblebee-attracting blooms along a walkway?

    Some of Elvis's famous outfits:

    There's a perpetual flame at the head of his grave:

    Imagine my astonishment when I glanced at the names carved into the side of the pedestal upon which the flame sits:

    Gambill's not that common a name, and we do have a family history in Tennessee, if memory serves.  I wonder who she is, and if we're related?

    After Memphis we set out for Bowling Green, KY, where there are more Corvettes than one can shake a stick at. Amazing!  We stopped for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Warehouse in Nashville, so didn't get to our hotel until after 9 p.m.

    The LORD does look after the widow....I was given a free upgrade to a suite. 


  • Ramage BBQ. Great apricot fried pie.

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  • Margaret and Meredith eating baked potatoes @ Ramage BBQ in Hooks, TX, the home of the Horns.

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  • Old Mill Pond

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  • First day of our trip!

       Elaine fetched me a few minutes after nine and we were on our way.

    With, of course, Margaret regularly asking "Are we there yet?" 

    When Don and I took the children (well, the five we had at the time) to Disney World back in '90, I found a cap for him at a Hallmark store that said:  "Dad Tours.  We'll get there when we get there."

    Wish I'd a similar one for Elaine. 

    We stopped for lunch at Ramage BBQ in the bustling metropolis of Hooks, Texas ("Home of the Hornets!") which was very good, particularly the apricot fried pie.  I'm extremely partial to apricot fried pies.  Then it was on to Little Rock and the Old Mill Pond, a charming place:


    Elaine and the girls in the upper right window:


    Speaking of them:


    And with their Aunt Anne:


    After we arrived at our hotel it was time for a swim (the girls) and a soak in the hot tub (me).


    We had dinner at Boston's Pizza, which boasts a really excellent gluten-free crust.  Elaine had a barbeque chicken pizza (I had a slice and it was seriously yum), while I had the Extreme Mushroom (four different mushrooms!).  The girls had a pepperoni and mushroom only Meredith wasn't feeling well and didn't eat any.   

    Tomorrow we'll be up early and on our way to Memphis, to see the Peabody ducks and have lunch with one of Elaine's on-line friends.  IIRC we're spending the night in Bowling Green, KY, where the Corvette shindig is being held.  We've seen a mess o' Vettes already (several owners of them are here at our hotel, and I had a nice chat with some in the hot tub; apparently a 'Vette's not just a's a lifestyle) and doubtless will see many more tomorrow.