Monday, March 18, 2019

More William time

In the previous blog I wrote about our visit to Paducah, Kentucky. We showed the closed flood gates to William. Look what I just found on the internet: It is a recent photo taken with a drone.

This is exactly where we walked on the "dry side" of the wall.

What to do when suddenly the weather is finally a little better than it has been? Something where you can be outside at least some of the time. We had heard about THE HERMITAGE, the house of one of our USA presidents, Andrew Jackson. There was a modern building which was the museum.

This is the old house, of which the construction had started 1819. We had to wait quite a while until it was our turn for the tour of the mansion. 

Whoever is sitting on the very long bench is going on the next tour. It was very interesting ... but no picture taking!

Out at the back ... and then we walked around on the grounds. Very nice.

Right after, we met Helen for a late lunch at the Olive Garden at Hickory Hollow. Our waitress was very bubbly and outgoing. William loves the breadsticks. She taught him how to love them even more. She grated cheese onto a plate and you dip the bread into it. Oh yes, he loved it.

The lovely weather didn't stick around long. It got colder again. But the highlight of this day: Papa suggested the Adventure Science Center. Well, you don't have to ask William twice about that. 

Here William is waiting for a turn to do the "moonwalk".
VIDEO 1     (0:48)
VIDEO 2     (0:35)

In the afternoon Helen came and we all drove to Lebanon. It's about a 40 minutes drive. A good friend of them had invited us for coffee. Betty is a longtime resident in Lebanon and a neighbor of the family farmhouse. We had met her at our last visit too. She had prepared lovely snacks for us and we never ran out of things to talk about. 

Afterwards we met Ben for an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was a full day for William. Lots going on.

Seems already so long ago. The day started a little later. William says it's his spring break and he should be allowed to stay up later. The boy is just like his mother was as a child. He had trouble sleeping. This might not have been the healthiest day food-wise and he tossed and turned. We woke him at 10am. He liked Papa's granola for breakfast. 

Guess what William wanted to do after lunch. Yes, two days in a row!
Oh yes, one more VIDEO   (1:09)   Papa made Omi happy (if you can't be there!).

Can't remember what else we did ... but playing Wii was part of it, several times this week.


Our last day. Time to pack William's things up.

Yeah, really, another nice day with sunshine and warmer temperatures. Papa, William and I went to the Nashville Zoo. That is the great thing about having a family membership in the Science Center and also the zoo. It doesn't matter how often or for how long you go. It is always worth it. And the zoo is not far from their house anyway.

First stop was the Jungle Gym. This must be a child's dream. It is huge. So many different things to see and do. But we were a bit nervous because there were lots of people around. Not easy to keep track of the children. Lots of parents were searching for children. Luckily William is a clever coolheaded kid. He asked us where we would be.

There was lots to see.

Papa and William are studying the zoo map to figure out where to go next. Of course a paper version. But here is the online map.

We had a good time. William forgot that he wanted to go on the Soaring Eagle Zipline and instead took us to see his Mommy's favorites: Spiders, Bugs, Snakes etc. 
Yes, we had fun. He wanted some popcorn. After he mentioned it at three different times we thought he really wanted it ... grandparents are there to spoil. We know.

Back at their house Helen got Chinese take-out for an early supper. Time to say good-bye. We parted with a dozen eggs from the "ladies". William stressed that I should not forget to write a letter to him. I told him that I would like one from him too. He thinks he is so busy. And I am not? Oh well ... Hugs will do.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

William, we are coming

William has spring break. Time to drive to Nashville. Well, packing never takes us that long so we decided we could go to Friday night dinner with our CR friends as we quite often do. Choice place to eat this night was HOBNOB.  We were quite impressed. It was very nice and our food was super. We surely need to go again (but reservations will be needed). I had rockfish and it was so much better then the one I had at the posh Jefferson for our anniversary. I should have sent it back but I could not believe that a Jefferson cook could mess up a dish like that. I wanted to try it again and decided that I really like rockfish.

Saturday March 9

Alarm clock rang early. On the road at 6:30 am. Frost and snow on the trees around Charlottesville.

Fog on the mountain. Luckily on a Saturday the traffic is light.

As usual we had our breakfast (senior coffee) break and lunch break. It got warmer and the sun even decided to shine. That was so nice.

Later ... more fog on the mountain.

The last hour of drive was in a  horrible downpour. Sometimes James could only go walking speed and we turned the flashers on. But ... we arrived safely. Helen came to see us for a while and all was good.

Looking out of the back door: we had three rivers after that downpour. The creek had a white water feature. Can't really appreciate that in the photo.


James and I went to St Mark Episcopal Church close to the townhouse. They know us there and it was a good service.
At noon we arrived at Helen's. She had invited us to lunch. First we had to admire her little free library. She and William have so much fun with that. The library has mostly children' books. When we arrived a man was just donating some adult books of which Helen had to sort out one of them (!). 

Later we went to Lowes and Home Depot for some important errands. We felt we had been successful. On the way home we stopped at Kroger because Helen asked whether she could come for dinner and suggested tomato pie. 
No problem.
We all decided that it was the best tomato pie I had ever made. Yeah!


Ben brought William to us just before 9 am. Ah, nothing like a wonderful hug from a grandchild!
We did all sorts of things and in the late afternoon we decided that we really needed to have at least just a little bit of exercise. The sun was shining (finally) and the sky was blue. We went to check the mailbox (which is never supposed to have anything in it) and went to the little pond to see how high the water was. The walk felt good.

The boys (William and James) went to do some food shopping and later Papa had put a pizza into the oven. We had no room for dessert after that but William likes to stay up a little later when there is no school the next day so we had strawberries and cream later. Looks like William enjoyed it.


James and I had made an appointment (with Hal) for 10 am in Paducah KY a long time ago. We had to get up early and left before 8 am. William was very cooperative. After the 2 hour drive he sat in the lobby with the secretary for 1-plus hour.

After our appointment we went to Grace Church. John wanted to meet us there. John and I communicate a lot about Chrismons. He is the one who makes them all every year for this church and he uses my patterns. Several weeks ago I made the "mistake" to ask him whether he knew somebody who could do something about the "family bench" in the Memorial Garden. After my father had died in 2003 and his ashes were interred there a bench was placed in honor of James' and my fathers. It is made from teak wood but over the years it had become very ugly. Every time I visited I spoke to the church custodian and tried to find out what we could do about it. Well, mentioning this to John he wanted to take care of it. 

Thank you, John, for putting so much work into this. He transported it somewhere so it could dry out, cleaned it, sanded it, stained it, sealed it, oh yes I think some mending/screwing was done too. He had put it into the parish hall today for us to see. He also had tried to clean and polish the old sign but it was beyond that and had arranged for a new one. Now he plans to get new chains so the bench can be secured back in its place in the Memorial Garden. Thank you, thank you!

While we were talking, William walked the labyrinth which the custodian had painted on the church carpet. I think it is a super idea!

We had to hurry and were a little late because we had arranged to meet friends at Kirchhoff's for lunch. Barb happened to have her granddaughter Kenna with her so William happened not to be the only child. Nancy had heard that we were in town and gave me a surprise phone call. So she joined us too. It was very nice and we chatted like a firestorm. Eventually the children were bored and it was time to say good-bye.

We wanted to show William the flood wall. After all he likes to do city planning on Minecraft. It was a bit chilly but he was impressed with the wheels of this locomotive. 

The flood wall gates were all closed (except one). A friend had emailed the following to me:
Flood gates are still in place. William will be interested in that engineering feat. The flood gates are actually panels slipped together. A big crane assists. At 50 ft, the river would be on Broadway. The latest I know the water is 52.8 ft.
If you can, look at the dam as you cross the bridge, all the gates are open. WPSD had a feature last might showing people pulling onto the overview to watch the water, it is a rare happening. I'm  not sure what exit you take to get there, it is not far from I-24.

(We saw the open gates on the dam when we drove home. Impressive)

A gate at the convention center was open and we could peek over the sandbags to see a bit of the river. Not enough for William though to be of interest and it was cold.

Time to head back to Nashville. Thanks heaven for Kindles. 

We did stop half way though to stretch our legs, do what is necessary, get coffee for us and a Wendy's frosty for William. We had heard about a land slide which had closed one section of I-24 just before Nashville ... and we had seen it in the morning. We had also seen a long line at that exit so decided to take an earlier exit. Yeah for gadgets. We had made good decisions, avoided all bad traffic and were back in good time.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Getting back to normal

What is normal?
I will not bore you with too many details but the three weeks after coming back from the Azores were packed full. Our calendars were really really full and we had to watch it not to get ourselves into trouble time-wise.

But it started off leisurely with a soft-boiled eggs breakfast curtesy of Helen's hens. We had just a few left.

And of course we wanted to see the boys (and yes, their parents too, ha-ha). Sarah frequently invites us to lunch or dinner because it is easier on their turf. The boys were "helping" to cut up dessert. OMG they love to help.

On Fridays when Sarah is off work she likes to come over to us for some playtime and lunch. Omi found paper so they could trace the cookie cutters Auntie Helen had sent with us from Nashville and Omi found even some children's scissors. Have I mentioned that they love to cut things?

Somehow the "building" Caleb had made from pages out of a creativity magazine by cutting and pasting ended up on his head.

That evening we attended a big celebration for Father Lee at our church which was very nice.

Next day (Saturday) was one of the lectures we have season tickets too. We try to never miss the Richmond Forum because it is always so interesting. And we were not disappointed this time either.

Quite often it turns out that our season tickets to the Sunday afternoon opera fall on the same weekend too like this time. We also make sure that we are early enough not to miss the lecture beforehand. Dr Glenn Winters gives us insight which makes seeing the performance even better for us and he is also funny.

Ha-ha, a big event! My orchids are finally blooming. These remind me always of my mother. She had one like it but with yellow blooms. My flowers always give me great pleasure.

March 1, this year on a Friday, is of course a very important day. Sarah's nanny was on vacation and we had volunteered to sit the twins in the afternoon. Kathy, the "other grandmother", had visited and wanted to take Caleb home for the weekend. James and I almost didn't notice what day it was but when we did on the way home we decided to go out for dinner to celebrate.

Yes, 44 years ago this day we had met for the first time. What a blessing that was. 

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday more babysitting. Alarm clock at 5:30 am to be there at 7 am. We kept saying that we know why the Lord gives children to young people. But we had a lot of fun of course too. 

I noticed though that Owen sticks his tongue out when he is intensely working just like my mother, his great-grandmother Ulla.

When Colin saw that I took a photo he wanted to see it. He also wanted to see a photo of Colin (he said his name instead "me"). It is so nice that they are talking now.

The puppy Stella is as "lively" most of the time as her human brothers. Just laying there playing harmless was rare.

While I stayed with the twins, James brought Caleb to his preschool in the morning. When he picked him up again one of the days at 2 pm he took him for a treat. Donut or ice cream? After thinking seriously it was Sweet Frog. It is the grandparents' duty to spoil, right? Or is it a privilege?

Besides all that and other appointments I managed some sewing. I am participating for the 4th year with the Cotton Robin, but it is a secret until the "big reveal". James is involved with my sewing by giving his opinion. It's fun.