Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The luncheon was held at the University of Kentucky's private country club. We lunched in the library. A cavernous room with a domed ceiling crossed from North to South, East to West with carved wooden beams. A gigantic chandelier cascaded light on us. The four walls were floor to ceiling glowing polished wood bookcases filled fashionably with first editions Hemmingways and Fitzgeralds. Four windows graced the outer walls with the top quarter covered with a carved lattice of intricate wood design. A fireplace stood unlit but demanding attention, drawing your eye to the looming eight foot portrait of the former landowner, certainly long gone, in a casual standing poise that will last for eternity.
Something about the surroundings made me feel I was somehow transported into Bizarro World. I went through the motions of being nice, attentive and a very good listener. The rich are so different from us.....from me. The conversations naturally were about horses, racing, buying horses, traveling for the horse industry, and all that jazz. Fasinating. The former gentry. Or perhaps current.
My favorite anecdote. A man wanted to buy a horse and asked this particular person for some advice regarding how much to spend. This particular person suggested they take a drive. As they were driving he instructed the potential horse owner to roll the window down and toss out a $100 bill. "Did that hurt?" he asked.
"Good, now toss out $50,000..........did that hurt!"
"Now you know how to gauge how much to spend".
As I said, fasinating.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Krissy asked for Thanksgiving pictures. I had to wait until today as it is our custom to celebrate together as a family after Thanksgiving Day. That way, no one has to choose between families etc. I can not believe that I left out my Mom!!!! I went throught all the photos and she was only in one, which was too blurry to use! And one of my brothers and his wife are also missing! Horrors! I thought I caught everyone on digital.
Bridget and S. were unable to be with us, so they are included from Friday night outing in Louisville we attended called Light Up Louisville. Another brother is in NYC. He will be home for Christmas. And my step daughter is with her mother in another state. We miss her. Otherwise, there we are! My fathers sister, all my brother(s) and sisters, SIL and BIL's....nephews and two nieces and Zorro. One nephew took a spill on the ice learning how to skate. (really, someone should turn my sister in, lol).
This is what I am most thankful for. Everyone I love in one room, eating way too much and laughing at my mother inviting over the parish priest then offering him dessert....""Father, would you like a slice of 'Better than sex' cake?"
This is Krissy's link......I still can not figure out how to link without the entire line (sigh) .
Friday, November 26, 2004
TURKEY TROT IN LOUISVILLE
I got up around 330am yesterday morning in anticipation of the rush to Louisville to make the race at 815am. Actually I misread my clock (old over the hill eyeballs).
I was up, I had a pot of coffee in me, got Zorro going and off we went. It was very chilly so I had four layers on top and two on the bottom. I had my trusty small point and shoot digital that fits snugly in my pocket, hence the great picture of Zorro and my brother N. and my other sister "Kitsiboo". The run was uneventful, meaning I was at the back of the pack...Curses to all you runners who practice before a 10K...WHAT'S UP WITH THAT! It was cold with a few snow flakes. Yet I stripped my upper two layers pretty quickly. Zorro ran with me the entire way, even though I was slow and at times walking definitely could have been faster than my laborious running, we finished in about 1hr 10 minutes.
This will become our Thanksgiving Day Tradition. It was great to run, if not literally, with my siblings. Zorro and I came home, laid around the living room watching American Choppers (love those nutty men) and Dinner for Five all afternoon.
Hot Brown for dinner and by the time Survivor rolled around, I could not keep my eyes open! I awoke just in time to see the guy dodge the bullet.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
It's not Atlanta, it's not Chicago, it's..............Cincinnati! The past fortnight, since returning from Knoxville, has been a whirlwind of hurling objects, heated conversations, clashing cultures, tears, resolution and preparation. It has been decided that we find a cheap apartment around the Cincinnati area for Zorro and take six months for the dust to settle. As luck would have it, the very first apartment he looked at was on the Levy on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, within a rocks throw of the Aquarium! As you can see from the photograph, we can watch the Bengals on the left and the Reds on the right......with a very good pair of binoculars.
I think that if you just have faith in things working out for the best they usually do. You have a choice to be upset or to ride the wave with a smile. You land at the same spot.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
Monday, November 22, 2004
ROCK FENCE OR STONE WALL?
I know there is a difference between the two, but I can not for the life of me explain it. There is a stretch of road that runs between Lexington and Paris. Several years ago the community was talked into changing the road from a treacherous and deadly two lane into a four lane country highway. Some of the most beautiful horse farms in Kentucky are on that road. A lot of care was taken in saving the integrity of the area when progress rolled through. Lots of small details, like putting back up the rock fences. Though they are no longer rock fences...but stone walls.
A Rock Fence is a thing of beauty, pieced together by an artist. A simple but intricate pattern of beauty.
(Jeez I can't spell! I've had to edit this five times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Saturday, November 20, 2004
The theme for this weeks scavenger hunt is ABANDONED. The stairs of this now deserted stadium lead up to the press box of yesteryear, when the field was the home for the very successful 1960's High School teams. As you can see, it needs some tender loving care.
I have taken a lot of photos of so many other cities and ignored the little sleepy town I live in. I am going to change all that starting today! To paraphrase Dorothy from the movie THE WIZARD OF OZ..."I went searching for happiness and all the time it was in my own back yard!"
The engine is not actually abandoned, just immobile..static. Several years ago we had an ice storm and I risked life and limb to shoot a few pictures of the ice covered beast. I wish I had those photo's. I wish I had remembered to put film in the camera!
Thursday, November 18, 2004
I found myself turning onto the twisting, curvy, narrow country road that leads to Reed Valley Orchard. Nestled two miles off the main highway then down a lane of gravel and pot holes for another half mile or so you come upon this captivating oasis of pumpkins and apples.
I shouldn't be here, having a peck of apples sitting at home already waiting to be turned into apple pies and caramel apples...........Wait!! What am I saying !!! I am on a diet! And while I tell you that, toss in that jar of pumpkin butter in the bag. Resist temptation? HA! Throw in another peck of those delicious apples I got the last time....What are they called? Oh who cares! They are delicious! What's this? Pepper jelly! On Cream Cheese with those special crackers. Yummy! Peach salsa? You better believe it! Apple cider...YES YES YES.
As I was leaving, she rushed out the door to make sure I took one of the radiant pumpkins with me.....Pumpkin Pie..mmmmmmmmmmm.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I began the morning by finding my way downtown. I traveled along the River and landed on the outskirts where the University of Tennessee begins. A little further on I cruised through downtown and found my way to a parking lot where I felt safe enough to leave the vehicle unattended and unpaid for. The Art Museum was directly across the street, but alas, did not open until noon. It was a little past nine.
I began walking. I immediately walked into The Worlds Fair Park and stood under the Sunsphere that shines its golden reflection sun splash on the city. The city itself was totally void of any one walking! I found my way to the River and a marina walk way. I only encountered one lady pushing a baby carriage and a long gray bearded man peddling a bicycle on the pathway. The woman was dressed in a fur lined suede coat. That made me smile, as it was in the high 40's at least! Southerners!
There was a huge slab of rock resting behind the statue of the Knoxville founding fathers. Chiseled on that smooth surface was a first hand account of a traveler who stumbled into Knoxville on Court Day in the late 1700's. He was shocked at the depravity displayed by the frontier inhabitants of the River town. They were drinking whiskey and peach brandy, they were dancing on Sunday! He wrote that the devil grew weary of traveling and upon finding Knoxville decided to settle down among friends.
I came up out of the River walk, climbed a steep hill and found the fort that James White first built on a bluff overlooking the valley below, now a crisscross of intestates, and to the East, the River. The fort itself was so old and weathered, a beautiful antique on display at the outskirts of the city. The wood harvested from surrounding forests in 1786. The top portion of the trees sharpened to alarming points to discourage the Indians. I reached out and touched the old gray wood wondering how many other hands, long gone, had touched this fortress.
I enjoyed the venture into downtown, past the courthouse and into some sort of Mall area. It was being decorated for Christmas. A small sampling of the local inhabitants were milling and venturing outdoors now that the sun was higher in the sky and the day was warming to a sultry 50+.
I found myself taking photograph after photograph and thoroughly enjoying the day away from work, away from cares, away from Lexington.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW
We headed towards Gatlinburg Wednesday afternoon. It is about 45 minutes from Knoxville. It was a joy to travel on a bright sunny day heading towards the Smoky Mountains. We had been in Gatlinburg in 2001 and had a wonderful time. One of the places we visited was a bar that was tucked behind the main drag of stores. We were intrigued by the bartender, a randy looking dude, a dead ringer for George Carlin. His charm was based in his crustiness and surly manner. There was the air about him. He treated us with playful disdain. We drank a beer, Zorro discovering the value of a bach beer...ShinerBach to be exact.
We left the bar and wandered around Gatlinburg. Have I mentioned that it is the biggest tourist trap in the South? Unbelievable, but fun. I love the salt water taffy and the Mountain Winery. Zorro loves the outlet shopping and the Smoky Mountain Brewery!
Not finding another bar (since anyone who reads this journal knows that Zorro and I always do the pub tour!) we headed back into the small hidden bar. Walking through the door into the dark comfort of the pub the bartender greeted us with a "Oh no!! Not you two again!" We loved it! We knew we were accepted!
So this trip to Gatlinburg we searched for the hidden away pub, not remembering the name but looking forward to being insulted by George Carlin. I saw a beer sign glowing sending the alluring temptation to come inside. Thinking we had found it, I poked my head in.
"Come on in!" A gentleman coaxed me.
"I'm looking for a bar."
"This is a bar."
I looked around the restaurant, which was empty save for the couple in a booth against the wall, and a young long haired kid reading a magazine behind them, the small grouping of tables in the middle of the room, every inch of the walls covered by artwork and I replied.
"This place had a bartender."
"I have a bartender." He said waving his hand towards the gentleman reading the magazine who then looked up, becoming interested in the conversation.
"This place was called Smilies or something like that."
"My bartender can smile." At this point the "bartender" stood up and began to smile. I was one upped on that retort and the bartender was very cute. Zorro began to push me inside the dark and comfortable hole in the wall.
The couple in the booth began to add to theconversation. "You are talking about Cactus Petes, he closed several years ago." Oh heck!
Duffy was entertaining enough and talked nonstop the entire time we were in there. When I go to a bar, I want a bar to lean up against, I want liquor bottles to reflected my mood, I want to feel like I have entered the hallowed halls of booze. Duffy's was not this. It is something else entirely. After I finished pouting about the demise of Cactus Petes, I enjoyed myself.
But, I would rather be insulted. Such is life, nothing ever waits for you, does it?
Friday, November 12, 2004
From Last Year ( Can't believe I have been pounding this out for over a year!!!)
My Dad served in WWII. He celebrated his 85th birthday earlier this month. The veterans of this war are dying, some 400 per day. I heard this statistic when Tom Hanks presented his tribute to the veterans of WWII with the "Band of Brothers" mini series broadcast on HBO.
My Dad weighed four pounds when he was born. The odds for his survival in 1919 were slim. The odds were against him when he enlisted. He had to trick the doctor during his physical to pass and be inducted into the Army.
I wish I had paid closer attention to my Dad's war stories. The stories are now trapped in his brain, held captive by dementia associated with the aging process. So my memories of the incidents may be sketchy.
While in basic training, the Air Force claimed my father to spearhead a special secret project. He had scored extremely high on the admitting IQ test, and subsequently was needed to put together and coordinate the truck operation for the Normandy Invasion.
Upon completion of the project he stayed with the 101st Airborne Division. He flew into battle with them. When it was time to line up to parachute out, he took his place in line. He heard his name called, and ordered to fall out. Because he was Army, and not Air Force, the Army had ordered for him to stay behind.
Not one of the men who made the jump that day returned.
This is one of the many stories my father had to tell of his experiences in the War. The horror, artocities, bravery and heroism were just as prevalent to the men who served in WWII as those wars and/or "police actions" that followed.
This generation of men defined bravery.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Thought I would give an update on all that is going on around here. The new Alzheimer's medication my Dad is taking is working a small miracle. Saturday night the whole family was celebrating his 85th birthday, standing around the table, with the birthday cake in front of him singing "Happy Birthday" at the top of our out of tune lungs. He looked around at us and on the last line sang "Happy Birthday to ME!" I almost began crying. Despite the hearing problem, he now will communicate with you in a strong voice rather than the vague facial expressions of late. It is remarkable the strides they are making in treating dementia.
Zorro and I are going to Knoxville this afternoon for two days to enable him to take the required tests for placement in several positions that may be open to him. I think Atlanta is out, but several other options have presented themselves. Chicago being one of them. I am taking a wait and see position, as I have no idea where we will end up! It is like being on an out of control bus careening down a mountainside! Zorro seems to forget that I have to adjust my career and life too, but (sigh)..........
Finally!!!!!!!! At the birthday party my two sisters, Omega and Mid-Sis made semi-commitments to go to IRELAND in March! We have causally been taking about this for several months. I'm there. I am thrilled!
Zorro and I began running again, hoping to be able to run in the Turkey Trot in Louisville on Thanksgiving Day. 10K. I am laughing hysterically. I know I can do it, but it won't be pretty.