Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for

is for


It's finally here!   'Z'.  I made it!  The finale of the A-Z Challenge.

I started the A-Z Challenge with Zest.  I Zipped from A to B with Zeal.   Traveling to a Zillion Zappy blogs reading Zazzy posts.

Zounds again bloggie friends the time has come to take a break and indulge in a Zakuska of Zabaglione or some such!

Yes this Challenge has been Zappy but to tell you truth I am Zonked.  

Spring Break Nashville....over and out!

Can I sleep now!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for

is for

I made it to 'Y' But what now????

Yep! Mista Yella!
What will I Yap about today! I could subject you to Yarling about the way my three wheeled week old bag Yawed as I Yomped it from the terminal to the not so ‘short-term’ car park! I could tell you how I Yikkered when Minneapolis's  frigid air hit me on exiting the warmth of the terminal. The shock causing me to Yex and Yex and Yex some more. 

Or I could say, I hope you enjoyed the reminiscing’s of my Spring Break in Nashville.

And now it is time for me to Yede to bed.
Yawn! Until 'Z' time.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for

is for
X-tra, X-tra

read all about it!

Spring Break in Nashville (con't)

The night before I left Nashville, I attended the Opening Night of University School of Nashville's (USN) stellar production of Neil Simon's, Brighton Beach Memoirs

Miss H is the eldest of LS's (Little Sister) three daughters.   She is an active member of USN's High School Student Theatre Guild and holds the position of Guild Secretary.  The USN Student Theatre Guild is solely student run, from Freshmen to Seniors all dedicated to promoting theatre with student produced plays throughout the school year. 

Brighton Beach Memoirs is a two act play that takes place in one set designed and constructed by Miss H's fellow Guild members.  The play consisted of seven cast members.  Set in Brighton Beach, NY in 1937 an extended family play out rising tensions induced by grief, cramped living space and loss of income.

Miss H did a wonderful job portraying Nora Morton, the teenage daughter of a widowed mother, living in her aunt and uncle's home.   Nora grabbles with feelings of displacement, an interloper with no privacy in the cramped living space.  She expresses all the angst of a young woman frustrated by her mother's lack of ingenuity and strength of character to forge a life and find a place to call their own.

Miss H is a graduating Senior and the week I spent in Nashville was a week froth with nervous tension for her.  This performance in Brighton Beach Memoirs was her last in USN and she was anxiously waiting for replies to her University applications.  She received many acceptance letters, but it wasn't until the day after I left she received the ONE.   Acceptance into the University of her dreams. 

The World is your Oyster Miss H.  Go out there and grab it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for

is for

Spring Break in Nashville(con't)
This is another bag story

I don't think I told you way back in ‘B’, the night before my departure to Nashville, I discovered the zip to my suitcase was broken. I had to make an emergency trip to the shop for a new one. I found and purchased a suitcase and matching laptop bag.  Since I was a small child I dreamt of owning a full set of matching luggage. Alas….I have yet to realize that dream. But I digress back to ‘W

Infamous Bag
This tale of Woe unfolds enroute from Warm and sunny Nashville to the Winter Wilds of Wisconsin. There were no unmerciful queues to deal with, my bag was checked in a timely fashion and I actually got on the flight I had booked. Whew!

Th flight arrived in Minneapolis on time.   Met Husband waiting in the baggage claim area. We made our way to the carousel were we Waited and Waited some more because as usual my bag is one of the last to appear. Husband sighs…..his short term parking fee has just increased by three dollars.

Husband pulls Week old bag off the carousel and it keels over! I grab the handle to straighten it and it keels over again. On closer examination I notice a Wheel is missing. When my bag and I parted ways in Nashville it had four Wheels.  On arrival in Minneapolis it had three.  I insisted on reporting the missing Wheel. Husband looked at the time and sighed with resignation. Parking fee was about to take another hike. 

I queued to lodge my complaint at the baggage desk.  Who do you think I come face to face with.  The Airline Desk Lady who checked me in on 'A'.   As I relayed my tale of Woe I wondered if she remembered me.  She came out from behind her desk and examined my three Wheeled Week old bag. 
 "I'm sorry we don't cover damaged luggage.  The best I can do is give you a $50 voucher," she said. 

What a nice Airline Desk Lady!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for

is for

The Tennessee Performing Arts Centre is known as the TPAC. The TPAC is located in the James K. Polk Cultural Center at 505 Deaderick Street in downtown Nashville. A large building spanning over two floors which includes three theatres and the Tennessee State Museum.

LS (Little Sister) and I saw the Broadway musical, “In the Heights” at the TPAC. While queuing for a glass of wine after collecting our tickets, I studied the posters of upcoming Broadway shows with growing envy. ‘Les Miserables,’ ‘Rain the Tribute to the Beatles,’ ‘Wicked’ and ‘The Colour Purple’ to name but a few. Performances by the resident Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Tennessee Repertory Theatre were also being touted. It was too much for this theatre enthusiast to bear!!! A rather large gulp of wine was required!

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for

is for
(earnest wish or desire)

It is my Utinam you have enjoyed my A-Z Urbanology of Nashville.  Whew!  I was Unsure I could pull off the 'U'!

The end of this Challenge is in sight.  Only five more nights of being chased by letters in my dreams.  It has been fun, it has been hard and it has been a Challenge.  My Usual blogging schedule prior to the Challenge was weekly and at times I found that Challenging. 

I am very grateful to LS (Little Sister) and family for making my time in Nashville so enjoyable and Unforgettable.  Blowing kisses and sending hugs!!!

Thank you to all my followers, Old and New!  Your comments have been most appreciated. To the people I follow, who did not participate in the A-Z Challenge, my apologies if I have been remiss of late.  Please don't judge me Ungrateful.  The scale of this Challenge was Unexpected.

A big Thank You to my friend Theresa of Substitute Teacher’s Saga  who when I was at my wits end on 'N' came through for me, suggesting Nashville. Why didn't I think of that!  Thank you Theresa. 

I hope you have found my Nashville musings Utile. 

Onward and Upward.....Tomorrow is 'V' Day and I do have something to say!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for

is for
Miss T
Spring Break in Nashville (con't)

Miss T is LS’s (Little Sister) second daughter, the middle child. Miss T is a girl of few words. She goes about her business with a quiet efficiency.  She has a calm self-assured way about her.  

Miss T is a well-rounded young lady with varied interests. She plays saxophone in her high school band. She is involved in all aspects of school theatre and is also a member of the school dance team. Both performing and competing.

In March Miss T was one of thirteen girls chosen from the Nashville chapter of Act Like a GRRRL to perform at the inaugural gala of Día Internacional de las Mujeres in San Jose, Costa Rica.   The Act Like a GRRRL program's focus is to empower women and girls worldwide through writing and performing.

Miss T is also an avid horsewoman. She participates in Nashville’s  National and County 4-H Horse shows. She has a bounty of multi-coloured ribbons heralding her skill and talent.

Yesterday, April Twenty-first, Miss T the Twentieth letter in my A-Z Challenge turned Fifteen.

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for

is for

Social Graces
Spring Break in Nashville (con't)

Social Graces is one of the many speciality shops I perused while in Nashville.  It is located in Hillsboro Village just a few doors down from Fido’s. (See post for letter F) The name of the shop alone made it a must stop shop. 

I ambled from one display to the next, oohing and awing at the selection of stationary, note cards, invitations, soaps and candles.  But it was the assortment of seals and sealing wax that caught my eye and my interest.  I have a weakness for seals and sealing wax that is only second to my weakness for books.  
My Social Graces Purchase

 There was a basket full of seal rings to choose from. I combed through the letters of the alphabet and images on the interchangeable seal plates, giddy as a child given free range in a sweet shop. I thought my heart would burst with excitement when I came across a seal plate with the image of a parchment scroll and quill pen. I couldn't buy all the plates I singled out and eventually narrowed my choices down to two. Now I had to choose one, but which one?  The letter 'A' or yes you guessed it, the parchment scroll and quill.

I hovered over that basket debating which one to choose for so long the staff began casting suspicious glances in my direction.  My solution, stop deliberating and purchase Both!!!

I just love this type of shop!

Social Graces is located on 
1704 21st Ave S,
Nashville, TN 37212

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for

is for
Radnor Lake
Spring Break in Nashville (con't)

Radnor Lake State Park is a 1200+ acre Natural Reserve in the heart of Nashville.  LS (Little Sister) and I stopped at Radnor twice during my stay, walking two of the four trails.  One all around the 85 acre lake and the other a paved road that runs along the lake.  The paved road closed to cars is a pedestrian walkway only.  All four of the trails are now open having been  repaired from the havoc wrecked by the Floods of last spring .

This is a beautiful park teeming with wildlife.  On our first walk we spotted a wild turkey strutting in the woods and turtles sunning on rocks at the lakes edge.  There were beaver dams sprinkled about the lake, but I didn't spot any.    The trees gnarled branches still bare, but birdsong filled the air announcing the arrival of Spring.

Walking Trail around the Lake.Wikipedia photo

A Visitor's Centre houses historical photographs, displays and an informative video on the history of the Park's construction by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company in 1914.

There was a trail LS threatened promised to take me on, Ganier Ridge Trail, but alas we ran out of time.  Whew!  LS's glee describing the "Ridge" made me wonder if  the desire to bring me on this trail was peppered with a touch of LS Revenge!

Radnor Lake, Wikipedia photo

Radnor Lake is a favorite spot of LS and family and it is easy to see why.  An all year round beautiful spot abundant with wildlife right in the centre of the city.   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for

is for

Spring Break in Nashville (con't)

My trip to Nashville was littered with Queues. Most of the Queues were good, exciting even. Some were stressful, others boring but none were of the pull my hair out what am I doing in this Queue variety. So now I will regale you with my Q of Queues.

It all started in the airport. Queue one was to check in. Queue two was to remove my shoes, belts etc. and have a body scan. I Queued for a cup of coffee and to board the plane. Once on the plane and in the air there was the Queue for the Loo...I decided that Queue was not for me. Aircraft Loos, YUCK! I did join the Queue to exit the aircraft though. As a side note, why do people jump up from their seats the second the plane comes to halt? After all they are going nowhere for at least another five minutes.

The fun and exciting Queues started at Fido's for Sunday Brunch. When I saw the length of Fido's Queue, I thought I would fade away from hunger before it was my turn to give my order. LS assured me this Queue moved along very smartly. I was pleasantly surprised at the efficient and quick moving Queue. There was no time for fading!

There was the Queue outside Vanderbilt waiting for the doors to open for the Picoult book signing. LS and I Queued to purchase books and then  Queued for the book signing.

The next Queue, outside the Station House waiting for the doors to open to see the Doyle and Debbie show. After that we joined a small Queue waiting to be escorted to our table in The Patterson House.

I Queued in a Nashville Borders, where LS and I perused and purchased multiple books. She has the same weakness for books I do. Must be genetics!

I joined the Ticket-Pick-Up Queue at the TPAC for In the Heights and from that Queue I headed straight to the liquid refreshment Queue for what turned out to be an extremely large glass of wine. was nearly half a bottle! At the intermission after all that wine, there was the inevitable Queue in the ladies. 

There were the usual shop Queues and then it was back to the pesky airport Queues.

Whew! That was some Q-ing. Hope I didn't lose you along the way.

More Nashville tomorrow in 'R'.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for

is for

Jodi Picoult

Spring Break in Nashville (con't)

As I mentioned on 'J' day, I saw Jodi Picoult in Nashville. She was on tour with her new novel Sing You Home.  So what can I tell you, I haven't already?

A CD is included with the book. The songs reflect the feelings  Zoe, Picoult's main character experiences throughout the book. Ellen Wilber collaborated with and wrote the music for Picoult's lyrics. This collaboration produced a CD of melodic and emotional folk songs.

The talk ended with Ellen Wilber taking to the stage with guitar in hand and performing three tracks from the CD.  One clear voice, accompanied by one lone guitar. 

All that was left, was the actual book signing. People queued up and waited their turn. Helpers walked up and down along the line with yellow post-it pads asking who you wanted your personalized book made out to. I earmarked my copy of Sing You Home for my daughter Ciolagh. Post-it note lady wrote out as I spelled C, I, O, L, A, G, H.  Raising an eyebrow she gave me a quizzical look before moving onto the person behind me.

It was finally my turn.  I moved to the table opening the book to the Post-it page.  Jodi Picoult looked at the post-it note and said, “Oh Key-la is it?”  I was dumbfounded!  She had pronounced my daughter’s name properly.  She didn’t massacre it with the usual See-O-lag.  All I could do was nod my head.  Words deserted me.  Seeing my shock as she passed the book to Ellen Wilber, Jodi added, “I have spent time in Ireland.”  My eloquent and profound reply was, “Oh.”  And so ended my incredibly articulate and informative verbal exchange with Jodi Picoult in Nashville.

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for

is for

When I arrived in Nashville the weather was heavenly. The high 70's low 80's. (25*C approx.)

I had been forewarned, so my case was brimming with sleeveless tops, capri pants and flip-flops. The only wintery outfit was the one designated for traveling.

The Infamous March Blizzard hit Northern Wisconsin the day after I arrived in Nashville. I sat with a smug smile in my sleeveless top, capris pants and flip-flops as husband bemoaned Oragious weather.  Sub degree temperatures and more than six inches of snow.

A few days later my smug smile was replaced with chattering teeth. Oragious weather hit Nashville. No, not sub-degree temps or six inches of snow, but after the high 70's and low 80's the mid 40's sure as H. E. Hockey Sticks felt cold. Especially for one whose suitcase was brimming with sleeveless tops and capri pants. A raid on LS's wardrobe was the only course of action open to me. That or pneumonia.

I decided not to interrupt my Nashville jaunt with pneumonia.  Pneumonia would just have to wait until my return to Wisconsin.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for

is for

Spring Break in Nashville (con't)
That fooled you!!
I have been to Nashville many times visiting LS and family.  If they didn't live there, I can honestly say, Nashville never would have made my 'Must' visit list. Why? Because Nashville mean't Country Music. It is known as Music City, after all. I am not a fan of Country Music. I don't hate Country Music.  I just have a low threshold for it.
Over the course of my visits to LS and family, Nashville has pleasantly surprised me. It has so much to offer. Little walk about villages, theatre, comedy, jazz bands, blues bands, wonderful restaurants, scenic parks, boutiques and shops stocked with the quirky and interesting. Ohhh and Hats!

Did I mention Nashville is also home to the Grand Ole Opry?  Just in case anyone didn't know that!

Well what are you waiting for.......

As a side note, I just discovered The Green Restaurant Association has two Nashville eateries on its list.
Tayst Restaurant & Wine Bar with a 3 Star rating located on 2100 21st Ave South and The Mad Platter with a 2 Star rating located at 1239 6th Ave North.
I haven’t sampled their offerings.  If you happen to stop at either of them, would love to hear your thoughts.
‘O’ for Monday

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for

is for

My other favorite room in LS's (Little Sister) new house (besides the afore mentioned kitchen) is the screened-in back porch. 
LS's favorite spot in Mexico is Akumal also known as "The Place of Turtles".  This is highlighted in the warm ocean blues of the upholstery and throw pillows of orange, red and cream stripes.  The art that adorns the walls and the brightly striped Mexican hammock that gently sways in the breeze.
This serene spot conjures up lazy days in that far away place.  A favorite hang-out for contemplation, reading and/or watching the very entertaining antics of new puppy Poppy.  This is where we chatted and sipped our Mimosas.  Yes plural! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for

is for

Spring Break in Nashville, con't

On Tuesday night after The Doyle and Debbie show, LS and B-I-L thought a trip to The Patterson House for bite to eat was in order.

The Patterson House is a ritzy speak-easy named after Tennessee governor Malcolm R. Patterson, who vetoed statewide prohibition in 1909.  It is a house hidden in plain view, located on 1711 Division Street, a quiet road off Music Row. 
The Patterson House
As you open the ordinary door of The Patterson House and cross the threshold, its speak-easy Legacy gently whispers.  You step into a small foyer with a greeter, a whiskey barrel, tin ceilings and large mirrors. Heavy green curtains separate you from the bar. The speak-easy atmosphere is heightened by dimmed lights, patina wallpaper and built-in bookcases. The focus of the room is the massive bar manned by expert bartenders, who shake, rattle and roll those cocktail shakers.

Once seated we perused the menu.  The hardest decision was now at hand.  Which cocktail to choose.  LS suggested I try the El Diablo, made with  Lunazul Reposado Tequila, Lemon, House Made Ginger Syrup and Briottet Cassis.  The El Diablo is one of The Patterson House top five cocktails.  It is now my all time Number One!

  Next came the Tapas menu.  So many choices, Tater Tots with Horseradish and Dill Crème Fraiche, Black-Eyed Pea Hummus, Bacon Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Corndogs with Curried Ketchup and Mini Burgers.  Again I turned to LS and B-I-L.  Everything sounded delicious.  B-I-L ordered the Shrimp Corndogs, Bacon Deviled Eggs and Mini Burgers.  My mouth waters at the memory.  The Patterson House is a must stop when in Nashville. 

Books and Cocktails!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for

is for
Miss K
Spring Break in Nashville con't

You have all meet Miss K  in G for Godchild. Miss K  is the youngest of LS's (Little Sister) three daughters.

Miss K  is a very talented, active little miss. She sings in the children's choir, she plays camogie on her school team and she is a dedicated piano player. She practiced her piano for close to forty five minutes a day, while I was there. And let me tell you it was music to my ears. She is also one awesome smoothie creator.

Below is my office mousepad. A self-portairt of Miss K . She painted this for me a number of years ago. She also gave me a beautiful self portrait apron that same year.  Vincent, watch your back!

What a Cutie!
Miss K 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for

is for
Jodi Picoult

Spring Break in Nashville con't

On Sunday, March 20th Jodi Picoult appeared at the Langford Auditorium in Vanderbilt University. It was a free and open to the public book signing. And I was there!

Before entering the Auditorium, the University bookstore had set-up an area where copies of Ms. Picoult's new release, Sing Me Home was available for purchase, along with all her previous titles. I purchased Sing Me Home and Nineteen Minutes.

We had been informed that Ms. Picoult would sign only two books per person. One personalized copy of Sing Me Home and sign one copy of any other of her titles. Once LS and I had made our purchases we found ourselves seats.

Jodi Picoult opened by reading an excerpt from her new novel. Then she explained while researching and writing the book  that explores Gay Rights, her 17 year old son wrote an essay on being gay for a college application.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales at this event were donated to The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences. The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center specializes in ear, nose, and throat diseases, and communication disorders such as hearing, speech, language, and voice problems. Picoult has a vested in this facility.  Her younger son has been treated here. 
Check back for more on the Letter "P"

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for

is for

Spring Break in Nashville (con’t.)

Little Sister booked tickets to the musical "IN THE HEIGHTS." What a treat. If you thought Nashville was only the centre for Country Music you would be wrong…..dead wrong.

"IN THE HEIGHTS" ran on Broadway for three years and won four Tony Awards.  It played its final Broadway performance on January 9, 2011. The final tour performance was April 3, 2011.

"IN THE HEIGHTS," tour performance in Nashville just happened to be the same week of my Spring Break visit.

"This lively musical’s score includes rap, hip-hop, salsa and merengue.  Similar in feel to traditional musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, painting a portrait of a community that is experiencing internal growing pains while the outside world closes in."

"IN THE HEIGHTS" was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda while in his sophomore year at Wesleyan University. It is the story of a vibrant multicultural neighbourhood,  narrated by the cafe con leche-selling Usnavi.  Camilla and Kevin Rosario struggle to make ends meet running a gypsy cab service, while dreaming of bigger things for their daughter Nina, a freshman at Stanford University. Meanwhile Nina and her parents’ African-American employee, Benny, have fallen for each other despite her parents’ protestations, and she’s running out of cash to stay in college. Then there’s Usnavi’s lottery-loving surrogate grandmother, Abuela Claudia; his ambitious but debt-burdened crush, Vanessa; and his cousin, Sonny, a wannabe ladies’ man."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Hat

Spring Break in Nashville (con’t.)

I decided before I left the Northern Wilds of Wisconsin that Nashville was the place for me to shop for an outfit for my son's wedding. On previous visits to Nashville I noticed the shops had a wonderful selection of day dresses, evening wear etc. Oh and Hats. Northern Wisconsin not so good!

Shopping is not one of LS’s (Little Sister) favorite past times but she graciously indulged me and took me around to a number of little boutiques. I love boutiques. It reminded me of day tripping in Ireland. Actually for one small moment I thought I was perusing the boutiques and interesting little shops in Cork or Waterford! Until a salesperson spoke, the accent was a dead giveaway!

There are so many little and interesting shops to gush about....But this is H for Hat, so I am going to focus.

Our last shop stop was The Cotton Mill, in Green Hills. I walked into this shop and I saw hats. Heaven! A bounty of Hats and dresses. There were too many dresses to my liking. My flexible friend groaned. Sadly I had to go into elimination mode. I put on my Simon Cowell face.

The time had come for a Hat. After all that was my main mission. I tried on a variety of Hats. Loved them all.....LS informed very Helpful salesperson Brittany, she had never known an event in my life when a Hat wasn't involved. Adding our mission, an Ascot type Hat. Brittany didn't blink an we presumed she got our meaning.

After finding the perfect Hat I realized I had a problem. How to get Hat and dress back to Northern Wisconsin in all its perfect glory. Wonderful Brittany, suggested shipping. My dilemma solved, my flexible friend exhausted and in shock, I exited The Cotton Mill one Happy little future Mother-in-Law shopper!

Hat and dress arrived at my door a few days later in a HUGE box. Enclosed with foam and bubble wrapped Hat and tissue wrapped dress was a lovely note card from Brittany, professing her delight that I had found the perfect Hat for #3's wedding.

Some of my life in hats:

Child #1 (son)

Child #2 (daughter)
Child #3 (son)
LS, MS and me

Child #4 (son)
LS wedding