Monday, August 20, 2012

California Dreamin'

Well, we made it to California safely and have been playing tourist. The weather has been great and my cousins are the most wonderful hosts. We had a rocky start to the trip with a mixup at the car rental place. We put our trip money on a prepaid Visa and the car rental place refused to use this card to guarantee our rental. So, I called my cousin and she has graciously allowed us to use her credit card to put on file. Thanks for the Get Out of Jail card, Cuz!

Our first afternoon was spent in Nicolaus. We saw the schools and drove through town. We stopped at a Mexican fast food restaurant and picked up something to eat. We hung out with our cousins for a while and then we went back to the house we are staying in and totally conked out.

I am so thankful to spend this time with my California family. They are the best! Love you all..

Saturday, August 18, 2012

California Here We Come

Today starts the first leg of our journey. I've been training for this trip to California all week, trying to get accustomed to the Pacific time zone. I've stayed up most of the night to fool my body into thinking that I live in a time zone 2 hours earlier and still waking up at the proper time to be at my job. I toughed it out & now at 3:21am, it is me sitting in the airport lounge watching over our luggage while my hubby sleeps peacefully beside me.

This is a long-awaited reunion, the first one our cousins have had since 2006. My California family has made many treks to Arkansas, and it is finally their time to host a reunion, so I feel that it is my honour to make the journey to see them once again.

My uncle, aunt and cousins packed up their Cadillac and drove for two days to make it back to see us every year. Their halfway stop was always Tucumcari, New Mexico. Those were the days of cheap gas and endless summers.

Marvin & I are looking forward to playing tourist in California.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Uncle Jimo (4/23/1927-1/26/2012)

James Jerome Sandor, my Uncle Jimo, was a ray of sunshine in our family. Always smiling, always joking with someone, everybody loved Jimo. My Baba called him her "pretty boy". When he played football, Baba would get upset when he got tackled, because she thought that the other guys were trying to beat him up. He served in the Army and was very handsome in uniform.

Jimo grew up in Slovak, Arkansas and even while in California he remembered his heritage. He taught a shop class. One time some guys in his class were talking among themselves in Spanish. He surprised them by walking up to them and talking to them in the Slovak language. They were speechless!

Jimo, Aunt Helen, Susan, Nancy, Jimmy, and Patricia came to visit us in Arkansas during the summer. I always looked forward to their visits. One spring Uncle Jimo and Jimmy took me to the horse races at Oaklawn Park. We had a winning day and celebrated with a steak dinner that night.

Jimo helped my family through a very tough time during the winter of 1978. Baba and my dad both died within a couple of weeks of each other. Jimo stayed at our house with us kids and gave me lots of good advice to get our family back on our feet. I will never forget his kindness to me.

When I attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Uncle Jimo's alma mater, Jimo & Helen were in Fayetteville and introduced me to the Delux Cafe on Dickson Street and Maxine's Tap Room on the Square. When I was exploring the campus, I found Jimo's name on the Senior Walk at the U of A in the 1951 and 1955 walks on the lawn of Old Main. I also played jukeboxes and pinball machines in the Arkansas Union game room and found out that they were rentals from his entertainment company.

One time Uncle Jimo was in Fayetteville and took me to Mary Maestri's Italian Restaurant in Tontitown for my birthday. Jimo knew everybody. He introduced me to Mary, and her spaghetti and chicken, with spumoni for dessert. When I turned 21, I had my first legal beer at a bar he owned in Fayetteville. My fraternity also won an aluminum can drive contest because I made arrangements with the bar to pick up all their cans for recycling.

When I rented my apartment, all I had to do was drop Uncle Jimo's name and I was moved to the top of the waiting list. It turns out that the apartment manager went to high school with Aunt Helen. Jimo was my roommate the summer that I started grad school at the U of A. He taught me how to eat hot peppers with salami and beer. I was taking a golf class that summer, and I did run into him a time or two while I was practicing at the municipal golf course.

Our family has had reunions in Slovak a couple of times since 1999, and Uncle Jimo was in his element. He told us all about growing up in Slovak and stories about our family. He is so loved by us all and will be missed by so many.

I know that he is up in heaven charming the Trinity now. They are going to love him so much that we will soon be calling them the Quartet.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Jimo. I love you so much and always will. The world is a better place because you walked among us and taught us so much by your example.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Abbeygrape Manifesto

I originally wrote this manifesto in June 2004, but it is like my theme song, so I am trying to keep it near the front of the Abbeygrape blog.

Most people tiptoe through life so as to arrive at death safely --Tony Campolo, "Carpe Diem"

An acceptable level of risk -- This is generally determined by what is prepared to be lost balanced against possible gains. When we define risk as exposure to the chance of loss, we see that risk is unavoidable. Everything we do carries some risk, even doing nothing. But, if you do not take on enough risk, you will never know where your boundaries are. Risk helps define your boundaries of safety and comfort. You must be an equilibrist to balance safety and comfort with an acceptable level of risk. Risk is an inevitable part of life. It can never be eliminated but winners know when to take it and how...not with their eyes closed but with their eyes wide open.

The acceptable level of risk is likely to vary over time, from day to day and moment to moment, and differs from person to person based on experience and self-confidence. As a child, when we began to walk and run, there was an acceptable level of risk associated with learning, and we probably had bumps and bruises to show until we had experience and self-confidence. As adults, we get so settled in routine that we take the path of least resistance, not daring to take risks for fear of bruising our self-esteem or egos. Yet it is with taking risks that the potential rewards are highest, and you are richer for daring to explore the unexplored facets of your life.

SO, dare to march to the beat of a different drummer. Dare to look for ways every day to reach out to the people around you, to extend kindness to strangers when it was not expected, and to see things that unify us with nature, with each other, and with life itself. Dare to listen to the music of nature and the secrets that the birds have to tell because you will discover the secrets of your own soul. Dare to interact with children so that you can see the world through their eyes and gain hope through their innocence. Dare to sing to the frogs in Tuvan so that your words can be made clear in the cover of darkness. Dare to listen to and explore all types of music so that you may understand the rhymes and rhythms that others may carry in their head. Dare to read the Great Classics of Literature because of the lessons to be learned from the voices of experience. Dare to fall in love because through love you understand the language (spoken and unspoken) of the heart. Dare to exercise your body to relieve stress and build your endurance. Dare to play sports so that you understand teamwork and how the efforts of individual players combine for the greater good of the team. Dare to learn how to be ambidextrous in some things, so that true equilibrium can be achieved. Dare to appreciate Young's Double Chocolate Stout, enhance your root beer with Crown Royal, splash Tabasco sauce on your eggs, savor an alligator sandwich, relish chocolate-covered jalapenos, feast on french-fried sweet potatoes, glory in ice cream topped with the taste of the rainbow, flavor your Coca-Cola with chocolate syrup, delight in chocolate-covered roast coffee beans because diversity in taste feeds your curiosity for the new and different. Dare to learn new languages so that you may experience the voice of the world. Dare to watch movies because they reflect culture of a moment frozen in time and help you remember your moments frozen in time. Dare to swim in the ocean and feel the sand in between your toes because true freedom can be found in this place in the sun and waves. Dare to float down rivers in canoes and rafts so that you may experience the true currents and unpredictable undercurrents of the waters. Dare to play trombone like the greats, but also dare to be yourself so that you can discover your true borders. Dare to be a sports spectator so that you might understand the feelings and motivations of athletes. Dare to be creative because in being creative you understand more about the things you care about and your true feelings toward the world. Dare to write your own thoughts and compose your own music, because after you're gone, only your writings and music remain. Dare to dream. And dare to make a few mistakes along the way, because it is through mistakes that we learn our great lessons in life.
--Janna Luebkemann Scearce

It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.--Phillip Adams

You lively up yourself, and don't be no drag.--Bob Marley

It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves.--Edmund Hillary

Be happy, but never satisfied.--Bruce Lee

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.--Ray Bradbury

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising each and every time we fail.--Confucius

My mother said to me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope." Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.--Pablo Picasso

Those that danced were thought mad by those who could not hear the music.--George Carlin, from his book Brain Droppings

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?--Dr. Robert Schuller

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.--Gilda Radner

Our suicidal poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.--Edward Abbey, In Literature

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.--Albert Einstein

That Truth is only another name for the positive state, or that the quest for Truth, is the attempt to achieve positiveness.--Charles Fort

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.--Marcel Proust

If you're not living on the edge, then you are taking up too much space.--Native American saying

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.--Charles Darwin

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.--Douglas Adams

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June Already?

Wow! I cannot believe that it is June already! This year has passed by so fast. So many things have happened since my last post. My nephew Steven graduated from high school on May 15. I'm giving a Con"grad" ulations shout out to him. I drove to Pine Bluff, Arkansas to watch him pick up his diploma. He has a full four-year scholarship to Arkansas Tech University, where he will be majoring in secondary education. Good Luck with that! I know you'll make your auntie proud!

We're still working on the house, and have made quite a bit of progress on it. The floors have all been jacked up now with new floor joists added as necessary. The bathroom was remodeled in February. We put in a huge Jacuzzi and painted the panelling so that all walls and doors are white with a black trim. It has a movie star theme with matching shower curtain and accessories. I also have framed prints of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman on the walls. I kept the pink toilet and added a black seat to go along with spirit of the black trim. We are also adding a black marble tile floor. I think that Miss Odessa would be proud of our bathroom.

Now we are working on the master bedroom. We are painting the walls lilac and installing a new carpet in lavendar. Our new bedroom furniture is a great selection from Ashley Furniture. We selected a sleigh bed with matching armoire, dresser, chest of drawers, and matching trunk. We are looking forward to our new bedroom and hope to have it finished by the end of the summer.

It's been a lot of hard work and we are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish. We will be recarpeting the living room, dining room, and main hallway of our house also. Then we can move on to the kitchen, where we will be installing a new stove and countertops. We also will be putting down a new ceramic tile floor in the patio room. That's our goal for the next few months. We've enjoyed making this old house into a house that we can be proud of for a long time to come.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Well, Christmas time has come and gone. I decorated nine trees this year, and the banquet was wonderful. We had 34 people as guests during Christmas Eve.

I still have my decorations up because we are going to reorganize the attic where our Christmas decorations will be stored. There are a lot of items up there that need to be discarded, and I am going to do that before any Christmas decorations make it back upstairs.

I hope that everyone is having a fantastic New Year!

Wishing all a Happy 2007!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Our nephew Bubba's wife Barbara was killed in a car wreck about a month ago. The whole thing was tragic. On Friday, her Ford Focus was in our auto garage having a heater replaced. The mechanics had not completed the job at quitting time, so they stayed late and left the car out so that Bubba & Barbara could pick it up later that night.

Marvin drove her home and she showed him all that they had done with the house since they bought it. He brought home a pizza and we watched the World Series. Somewhere along the 7th inning, my cellphone rang. It was Marvin's brother Ronnie telling us that Barbara had been killed in a car wreck.

Everyone has been trying to deal with the loss of this sweet person. Barbara was one of the true sincere people in this world. I feel lucky to have known her for the short time I did.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

House Update

My house. I have really just recently felt comfortable with calling it my house. Under normal situations, when most people move into a house, the previous occupants have vacated the premises. We have had to put most of our belongings in the swimming pool area while waiting on Marvin and his siblings to divide the contents as were his mother's intention in her will.

Marvin's mom was from the "old school" when it came to conserving your resources. She never threw anything away, and I emphasize the word "anything." Even if it was broken, she still kept it. No waste in that house! Keeping everything leads to having a lot of clutter. I guess we're all guilty of hoarding our belongings. I still have the stuffed rabbit from my first Easter ever. My name "Janna Rose" is barely legible on its ragged ear.

Due to the sheer volume of items in the house, we had to move Miss Odessa out in stages. We started out with dividing big furniture and the appliances room first. A few months later, we divided her Christmas nick-nacks. This summer, we worked our way through the Tupperware room, a room that is full of wall shelves and a long counter holding Tupperware and all of her serving dishes. Our church had a yard sale last weekend, and we donated boxes of items that we no longer needed. I figure that we are halfway through unpacking now.

I can finally start moving my things where they need to be in the house. I have a large collection of books, and they will go into the Tupperware room. This will be my room for books, writing, painting, and arts & crafts. Marvin gets the utility room next to it for his workshop area. He's going to move everything out and organize it to his liking.

I have this vision of one day having everything in its place. We have a deadline of Christmas Eve, the evening of our banquet. I think that it's doable. Yes I do.

Noah Bryant

Last Saturday, Marvin and I met Jonathan and family for dinner at Applebee's. Noah finally has made his first trip to West Tennessee. He is four months old now, and is a very sweet baby. We received a photo frame card for Grandparent's Day, and he already looks like he will take after his dad, always "up to something." The look on his face was just precious! Jonathan sent me a cute pix message about a week ago too. Noah was lying in his crib giggling. Can't tell that I'm a proud grand' ma, could you?

As I've always said before, a step grandchild is special to me because the love I have for him comes straight from my heart, and that is always special.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Linking Back to the Past Few Months

Wow! I cannot believe that time has flown as quickly as it has! I have been busy living life and let this blog fall way behind. A lot of cool things have been happening over the past few months, so I will do my best to bring things up to date as soon as I can.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Back to the Bowflex

This weekend we put out Bowflex back together and have gotten back into the Bowflex swing of things. It's a set of rods and pulleys. Right now I can only do about 35 lb. comfortably, but hope to raise the weight soon. I remember back when we got the Bowflex over a year ago, I was so weak that even on the very lowest setting, I was not able to budge the weight. The exercises I have chosen to start with are concentrating mainly on the abs and shoulders. Bowflex is so intense that you only have to work out for 20 minutes a day/ 3 days a week. They claim that you will start seeing results in six weeks. So, I am supposed to be meaner and leaner by July 4th.

I may not look like the woman in the commercial by then, but at least it's a start!

Monday, May 08, 2006

USS Lexington & Texas Aquarium Day

When we got up today, we decided to do some more sightseeing. Our destination: the USS Lexington and the Texas Aquarium, conveniently located down the bay from our hotel. There was this really great beach that we found near there too, only a day too late for us to visit. Oh well, there's always next trip.

The USS Lexington was a very awesome ship, approximately 100,000 square feet. it took a few hours to take the entire tour. I have a whole new respect for those Navy sailors who had to climb up and down all those ladders. My legs are killing me after all that climbing we had to do. There is a non-working escalator on board, so I even had to walk down it. The only good thing was that gravity was nicer to me with the escalator. The angle of descent wasn't nearly as steep.

This tour took us all over the ship, and was more detailed than other battleships I have toured. You got to see the quarters of all of the enlisted men and officers. What they call home is very modest compared to what most of us call home. This ship was also an aircraft carrier, and they had quite a few plane types on deck for your viewing pleasure. You could even go all the way up to the main control deck and see what the captains who pilot the boat have to work with. There were map rooms and radio control rooms. So much to look at.and be thankful that these guys are looking out for us, the US.

The Texas Aquarium was very well put together. It has one of the best saltwater habitats that I have ever seen. They also had a great Amazon exhibit complete with parrots, spiders, and other creatures that go "bump" in the night in the Amazon rainforest.

We also got to view a dolphin training session. Those dolphins were very smart, possibly smarter than a lot of humans I know.

These attractions were within a block of each other and I recommend them highly. A fun time was had by all.

Bowling...Corpus Christi style

Sunday was devoted to bowling and preparing for the night's bowling. Marvin is team captain and was registering his team at bowling headquarters when Ray, the other team captain, contacted him because he needed a bowler for his team. I made the mistake of bringing my USBC card and bowling ball, so I was drafted by the other team to bowl with them on the 8:30pm squad. My average is 100, so I was able to help them out with a warm body so that the team could bowl. I got my average, mainly because I was plagued with a series of splits that I couldn't seem to shake off.

It was fun, and I did get a cool bowling shirt out of the deal. My newest resolution is to work on my game so that I improve my average.

A Drink of Another Flavour

We stopped at Burger King around 1am after a late night of bowling. While there I decided to concoct a drink of my own choice. I filled the cup half full of Sprite then added a fourth cup of Hi-C Orange and a fourth cup of Minutemaid Lemonade. When asked what I was going to call it, I didn't have a clue. In my childhood, we called such drinks a "suicide." Some possible suggestions are JannSprLemOrange or SprLemOrange for short. A drink of a different flavour sure went down swell with that late night chicken sandwich & fries.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturday at Padre Island

Strictly adhering to a "no alarm" policy, we woke up around 9 and dressed for an afternoon at the beach. After a quick breakfast at Denny's, we headed to Padre Island and the National Coastline. The terrain was mostly marshes, mudlands, and sand dunes, lots different from the ocean you see in the Florida panhandle.

We landed at the Visitors Center near Malaquite Beach (North Padre island) and lay in the sand, watched the waves, and waded in the water. The seagulls were out, flying over the dunes and watching for the unwary picnickers who might give up their food.

It was raining when we first got there. You could see fog in the distance. Then the sun came out and the horizon was in sight. The water was cloudy and warm. The marsh grass on the shore washed into the ocean. High tide was at 1:12pm, so we were there to witness it.

We stopped at a shop and bought souvenirs and then drove back to Corpus Christi. After a short nap, we went over to Landry's for seafood. Landry's had a very international flavor to it, as there were people from other countries there. It was cool to listen to them speak their native language amongst themselves and then address the waiter in English.

After Landry's, we had the distinct pleasure of watching one of the Buc Days parades. Corpus Christi has a spring tradition that originates back in pirate times, me mateys. Capt. Jean Lafitte had his headquarters in Corpus Christi. He was eventually acquitted of his crimes when he helped the city during the Civil War. In early April, a group of Buccaneers visit the Mayor of Corpus Christi's office and declare that Buc Days begin. Bucs take over the city and they have all sorts of Founders Days festivities and carnivals that last through the end of May.

Even though Corpus Christi is a big city, everyone here seems to be nice and friendly. As we continue to explore it, I find things that would make me want to revisit sometime in the future.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This year's Cinco de Mayo was a happy celebration in San Antonio. We woke up late and ate a quick continental breakfast at the hotel. Then it was time to explore San Antonio.

We headed downtown for the "not quite a trolley" bus tour, aptly named because the trolley was down for maintenence and they were using a bus instead that day. We got a general tour of the city and learned some of the city's history from our driver.

The first stop was at Concepcion Mission, one of the four main missions that the Spaniards set up in Texas. Then we went to El Mercado, a group of fifty shops specializing in Mexican clothing and arts & crafts. I wound up with a pink cowboy hat as we bought souvenirs. We ate a quick lunch at one of the Mexian restaurants and then headed outside to listen to the Mexican music and the Cinco de Mayo booths that were set up outside. There was this very talented duo on wind flutes and guitar. I put some money in the guitar case that they had set in front of them as they played. We looked at our watches and found that we had to quickly make it across the street to meet our bus.

Whew! We made it back just in time. We passed by La Villita, an historic arts village. It looked interesting, but we were pressed for time. Maybe we can spend more time next trip. The bus dropped us off at the last stop, The Alamo. I think that every school kid in Texas must have been out of school and on a tour of The Alamo that day. It was a very impressive place. We first visited the Shrine. It had some Davy Crockett artifacts and also a memorial plaque to the fallen in the Battle of The Alamo. I was surprised at how many different countries had been represented. In the Shrine, there was a guest book to sign. When it was my turn, I found out that the pen used to sign the hallowed guest book was out of ink. I took out my own pen and dated it Cinco de Mayo, 2006 and signed Marvin and me in. I left my pen there, my contribution to the Great State of Texas. We walked around the grounds and saw the barracks and living quarters, and saw a movie about the Battle of Alamo. Then we left and started on our way to Corpus Christi.

San Antonio is a great town full of history. I hope to visit there again when I have more time to spend.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Vacation time has finally made it's way around the bend again. Marvin and I are headed for Corpus Christi, TX. We are driving this year, and I am writing this blog on my Palm Treo en route. We had a lot of rain in our drive through Tennesse, and the rain finally stopped by the time we hit Little Rock, AR.

We finally arrived in San Antonio about dark. Then it took a while to find a hotel that was satisfactory. When you first get into town, there are a lot of warehouse and factory districts. We got off at this one exit, but then I noticed that most of the cars had their windows tinted, and the neighborhood looked seedy. So, back onto the expressway until we saw signs of houses, schools, and churches. Then we felt like we were in a safe neighborhood, and got settled in at a Days Inn.

I was up packing our suitcases late the night before, so it was time to catch up on some shuteye and let my body adjust to the fact of not having to be at work. I feel like I'm loafing, but it won't take long for me to adjust to being on vacation time. First Rule of Vacation: No alarm clocks are allowed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Anniversary Time...Again!

Today is our 10th wedding anniversary. Gosh, we have just sort of chugged along, and here we are. I can remember the misadventures of that day 10 years ago. It was on a Friday, and I took the day off from work for the last minute preparations. On his way out the door to head to work, Marvin casually mentions that "Oh, yeah, by the way, my suit pants need to be taken out three inches. And while you're out today, see if you can find me one of those button extenders for my dress shirt" That totally struck terror in my heart. So, before I could do anything, I had to run to Dyersburg and find a cleaners that could do rush jobs. Thank God for Paul's Cleaners! They had a seamstress in-house that was able to do the alterations requested. I was able to take them there, and Marvin would pick them up later that afternoon.

Then my sister Carol and nephew Steven had ridden with me to my hairstylist appointment. I was in a big hurry to find the button extender, and they were nowhere to be found when my hair was ready. So, I drove over to Dyersburg Mall and found the button extender at Peebles. By the time I got back to the mall where I had left them, they were outside and pretty freaked out about being in a town they didn't know without a ride. But, as I told them, we had stuff to do and I didn't have time to be looking for them all over the place. It all worked out though.

My next major heart attack happened that afternoon when I drove over to Wal-Mart to pick up the cake that my friend (and matron of honor) Cindy Kerby decorated. I was driving our Dodge Caravan and our Chocolate Lab was in the back. It was just a short trip, but the van overheated when I was about 2 miles away from the church. I had my bag phone with me and called Marvin to rescue me. He told me to add some water to the radiator and just drive it slow over there. For Lady Leadfoot that was a real challenge! Anyway, he met me at the church and made sure that all was okay.

Then it was back to the house where we got our clothes and headed back to the church to get dressed. He got ready on one side of the church and I got ready on the other side of the church. He brought his handheld Yahtzee game and was playing it while waiting, because I could hear it through the vents. I made sure that everything was ready, punch and cake and etc. while simultaneously putting on my makeup and white dress and shoes. I had this garter that played "Here Comes the Bride." Pretty cheesy, but fun.

We heard people coming in and then piano music as Aunt Barbara began her repetoire of songs. Of course, I was able to work in a Beatles song that she played after the ceremony was over, "In My Life." The song that the groom walked out on was "The Love Theme from The Godfather." When I heard that song, I walked around to the front of the church and got ready for the bride's usual theme song. John Fred gave me away, and of course I shed a few tears when he suggested that Dad & Mom were probably looking down on us from Heaven.

I didn't realize it, but I was extremely nervous during the whole ceremony. As the wedding videos attest, I blinked the entire time I was doing the vows. Note to self, don't wear contacts during your wedding. I'll try to remember that in my next life. Another funny thing that happened was that my friend who was doing the wedding videos did was try to interview people. But, she had the "Record" button mixed up. She would walk up to people and record "Do you have anything to say to the bride & groom?" and then accidentally turn the recorder off, mixing things up every time. So you see the people standing there, and after her question, they disappeared until the next person was asked the question. Wonder if I can win $10,000 on America's Funniest Videos for that tape?

Anyway, somehow we muddled through and even made it to the train station on time to have a honeymoon in New Orleans. It was at the same time as the New Orleans Jazzfest and a fun time was had by all. I even still have the champagne bottle to prove it!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Missouri Skies Photo Gallery

Here's a beautiful website to check out. There are also photos of beautiful sunsets as well as tornadoes of past years. Plan on seeing lots of beautiful scenery.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tornado FAQ

This website has some very cool information on tornadoes. Anything you would like to know, including how to become a storm spotter can be found in the FAQS listed. Excellent work by Roger Edwards of the Storm Prediction Center.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dyer Emergency

Wow! This entire week has been extremely tough for everyone around here. On Sunday night, three F-3 tornadoes arrived in our area, mainly striking Dyer County, TN and Pemiscot County, MO. The death toll for Tennessee is 24 , the biggest tragedy ever for this area. I have been astounded with the survivor stories that I have heard. I've lost friends, friends have lost everything, so many tragic stories.

At our house in Halls (Lauderdale County), the lights went out for a few minutes. In the other areas it wasn't even raining, so quite a few people disregarded the weather report and tornado sirens. That was a common factor in a lot of the retelling of the events surrounding this sad event. One man just barely had time to hop into a bathtub at his house before a tornado went behind it. Entire house trailers just evaporated into thin air. Some of my friend's son's belonging were found in Rutherford, TN, about 50 miles away. One family, dubbed the "Miracle 6" survived in a basement bathroom of a house that only had cinder blocks standing. Another young family (father, boy 3, girl 5, and 6 months pregnant wife) crowded into a broom closet. The children's beds and boxsprings were swept out of the window, and two barns tore completely apart. Most people report hearing a train noise and some sort of whooshing sound against their house, maybe a little bit of backdraft from the tornado. That's an interesting tornadoes have backdrafts? I guess I need to ask our resident meterorologist that one.

Some elderly people were killed. One woman tearfully reported that she tried to call this friend to warn her, but got no answer. She later found out that her friend's house had been hit and her body found underneath a pile of rubble. One woman's body was found quickly, but only because she died with a flashlight in her hand.

The funeral homes were full, and a temporary morgue had to be set up at Dyersburg Regional Medical Center. I was told that one of the small funeral homes had 10 bodies there all at once. Funerals are even being held at night, something that I have never heard of before.

My friends at Dyersburg Avionics of Caruthersville, MO had quite a bit of damage to the Caruthersville Airport. They have some pictures of damage to the airplanes on their website:

Another great source for photos is from the National Weather Service website:

One other website that has actual video footage is a TV station in Missouri website:

It will take a while for our area to recover, but the teamwork in rebuilding has been phenomenal. A barbeque team from Huish Detergents (manufacturer of Sun Detergents) raised over $15,000 in two days, and Huish Detergents matched the $15,000. The barbeque team ran out of food, and people still stood in line to donate money to the Red Cross. That's the awesome spirit of our Dyer County people.

These tornadoes have not happened to just the Newbern and surrounding areas. They have happened to all of us. Everything is connected. The Katrina disaster of last fall has actually made the work related to our newest tornado disaster just a little easier in some ways. People know how to react and understand that it is in giving from the heart that eases the pain of our hurts.

As a side note, 10 tornadoes also struck the Nashville area this afternoon, one flying over Jonathan and Keri's house. They are fine, but a cousin was killed in these storms when a building he was working on collapsed in the storms. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his young family.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Daylight Saving Time

This weekend brings around one of the most confusing times of the year for me: Daylight Saving Time. My body is mostly on Standard Time, so I don't function well in the mornings until the time changes back (and I get my extra hour's sleep again!) in October. I researched Daylight Saving Time on the internet, and found this most informative website: It has the entire history and purposes of Daylight Saving Time on the site. Traditionally, times always change on the first weekend in April and the last weekend in October. Something I did not realize is that George W. Bush has managed to screw this up too.

How many people know that on August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005? This Act will changed U.S. time change dates for Daylight Saving Time beginning in 2007. The U.S. will be on an even wackier schedule at that time, with Daylight Saving Time beginning on the second Sunday of March and ending the first Sunday of November. Congress has a right to revert the Daylight Saving Time back to the 2005 traditional Daylight Saving Time after the Department of Energy has had time to study the effects of this change.

So, it sounds like more of the same lingo we've been getting from GW lately. Does this mean that it will also be up to a "future President" to change our time back to the right time AND bring back our soldiers from Iraq?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bowling Balls

Marvin and I are finishing up the bowling season at hand. Last night was the first of several banquets that will be attended over the next month. We even took some money home. I won first place in high game handicap (290) and came in 22nd in our year-end tournament, winning $65. Marvin really racked up. He came in second place with high game handicap (289) and came in fourth in our year-end tournament, winning $140. That's the most that we've ever won during our bowling seasons together.

I will also be attending the women's bowling association (of which I'm president) banquet and the Thursday night/men's bowling association (of which Marvin is president) banquet in the next few weeks. This year is the final year that both associations will have separate banquets. As of May 1, the associations are merging and we will have an entirely different set of individuals in officer positions. Both of us have decided to step down and give someone else their chance to shine and develop their talents. I've always said that an organization is only as good as its members. Presidents come and go, but a strong membership keeps the balls rolling.

Spring Changes

Living as close to the Mississippi River as we do, the saying around here is: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it'll change." Last week, we had beautiful sunshiney days with highs in the 70s. This week we're back to highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. Brrrrrabbits! I know that it is all part of our spring weather though. It will all settle down by May and the temperatures will be warmer. For right now though, it's warm jackets for me!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Aislin Ruth or Noah Bryant?

The question of baby names for Jonathan and Keri's child was solved back at the end of January. The ultrasound indicated that the baby would be a boy. So, we will welcome Noah Bryant into the world sometime this June. Everyone is busy making preparations for the big event, buying clothes, furniture, and other things to mark the occasion of his birth.

They have picked some very cool names. Aislin was rated one of the top cool girl baby names of 2005. It has Irish origins, meaning Vision. Noah has also been a top cool boy baby name, and of course has Hebrew/Biblical origins, meaning To Comfort.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?