A Year Recap of the Beauty of Nashville

January brings tiny bits of snow, chill and snowball fights. {our back yard}

February brings desolate trips to the zoo on a search for cold weather animals. {Nashville Zoo}

March brings hope for spring and fun hikes. {Ellington Agricultural Center "Rogers Walk" and Burgess Falls}

April brings time to explore hidden beauty right under our nose. {Percy Warner Park "red trail"}

May brings the beginnings of summer fun. {Hideaway}

June brings outdoor fun and sun at some of our favorite places. {Edwin Warner Park "Nature Center" and Centennial Park}

July brings SWEATY hikes and tree-hugging adventures in some of our favorite outdoor places. {Edwin Warner Park "Blue trail"}

 August brings desolate lake beaches and kisses with mules. {Percy Priest Lake "Anderson Road Beach" and Ellington Agricultural Center}


September brings fruits of your labor. {Hideaway}

October brings fall restlessness and festivals. {Harpeth of the Narrows State Park and Ellington Agricultural Center}

November brings a renewed appreciation for nature and sunlight. {Ellington Agricultural Center and Centennial Park}


I can't wait to see what December will bring.



Fall fun in Tennessee.


Music and Molasses

Our annual October tradition.


Final blog post

This might be my final blog post. Exactly 6 years ago, I started this blog to share updates on MJ with the family who lived far away. It has morphed into more than just about her, and it has been a lot about me too. I've not written about M much, as I felt like I didn't have the right to write about him in a public venue, as these were my thoughts, not his.

MJ is older, and I'm not sure how much right I have to share her personal life experiences either. I'm not sure if I will renew the domain when it expires in a couple weeks or not.

This might be my final post, maybe just for a while, maybe forever. I may continue to share photos, but I've not decided.

In the meantime I'll say - see you around, as it's a little sad to say goodbye.

Thank you to those that have read, those that have engaged in discussions with me, and everyone else.

All the best to you.


Evil princess

At Disney on Ice.


September Challenge : I am no Iron man, but I pretend to be.

Here's some advice for when you do your own Iron Man challenge, because you know you want to. (See previous posts if you don't know what a Lazy man iron man is.)

1). You will see people you know and/or people you recognize when you spend countless hours at the YMCA. You'll see people you used to work with, parents from your kids school, old classmates, Starbucks baristas, and good friends. You'll see old people. You'll see young people. You'll see the stereotypical gym guy. You'll see beautiful women. You'll see fit people. You'll see not-so-fit people. They'll all begin to blend into one another until you see someone you know again.

2). You might have panic attacks while swimming in a YMCA pool. You might see those black lines and freak out because they look like sharks. Don't worry, it's just paint and if you use breathing techniques learned in yoga class while treading water, you'll get through it. Maybe. 77 laps (back and forth) is a lot of time to panic.

3). You might find that after spending so much time cross training, that you can run a mile faster than you ever could before, at relative ease. Possibly even shaving over a minute off of your regular time, like I did.

4). You'll probably realize that riding a stationary bike for 10-15 miles at a time causes you to be bored out of your mind. You'll probably catch a Gators or UT football game you might not otherwise. You might find yourself rooting for such teams too. (I would NEVER do that!!) You might try to ride faster to get over it, you might not.

5.) You might choose to frequent the busy YMCA where you can easily blend in and not be on display. I did. You might realize you like it better than the others because it's cleaner, bigger and actually closer to your house.

6.)You might decide that anyone who does a REAL Iron man triathlon must be a physical brut.

7.) You probably won't want to give up your other exercise, like yoga and hiking. I certainly didn't want to. You will be tired. You will need more protein. You will need more water. You will need more sleep. Just accept it.

8.) You might realize that three years ago you couldn't do any of this. You might realize that pushing your body to the limit is what you need sometimes. You might find you actually enjoy it. You might even tell diabetes to take a hike.

When are you starting?


Cheekwood: Harvest

When I first moved to Nashville in 1995, Cheekwood was a favorite place to visit.  I discovered Cheekwood right around the same time that I discovered the Warner Parks.  In my top 10 Nashville places, Cheekwood is one of them. 

In 2002, when M decided that Music Business wasn't his calling after all, we packed up and moved to coastal Georgia.  While M daily attended art school, I was immersed in all things art.  The paints, the clay, the markers, the paper, the glues, the metal, the wood, the late nights, the charcoal and everything in between.  The garage became a working studio, a boat was built, a giant trebuchet materialized, a paper mache me became a reality, and bunches of other artistic stuff happened. When we moved back to Nashville in 2005, I was happy the trebuchet did not make the trip.  I say all that, becuase until now, the projects that M has taken on have not been as messy as they were when he was at SCAD.

Enter Mr. Corn.

Mr. Corn is a sculpture done for Cheekwood: Harvest for the Scarecrows exhibit.  M decided to do one as a fun thing to do, and because Cheekwood is a cool place. After sculpting in clay for a general idea, a giant block of foam was skillfully carved by chainsaw into shape.  Then sanded, prepared, detail shaped, sanded more and painted.  I think M did a pretty good job, and I didn't add much to the process other than complaining about the mess and a little bit of painting at the end.  We're not sure how Mr. Corn will hold up in the weather, with the rain and wind, etc.  But hopefully he will fair okay.

Cheekwood Harvest - celebrating fall, is going on until October 31st. Stop by and say hi to Mr. Corn and the 30 other scarecrows and the 5,000 mums.


The Process: 

Sculpt out of clay

Buy foam

Safety first

Protect the environment (chainsaw carving was done inside of a tent so the foam was easily cleaned up.)


Paint (Kid photographing)

Choose eye color.

Blue eyes, because MJ and I like blue eyes.  In his resting spot for the next six weeks.



Maker Faire at the Adventure Science Center

Yesterday we attended an event we have been looking forward to for months. The Nashville Mini-maker Faire at the Adventure Science Center.  If you're not familiar with Make magazine or the Maker Faires, definitely look it up online.  It's making, thinking, doing, crafting, being and tinkering all in one.  MJ of course loved it.  We spent 30 minutes (I timed it...) at the 3D printing booth as she examined everything they had as samples and looked over the printer itself.  Then she inundated them with questions.  Questions like "how much does this cost", "how fast does this print", "how does this work", "how hot does it get to melt the plastic"... etc. 

She got inside of a Steampunk Robot, met R2D2 (several times, as there were 5 of them there), hand made her very own T-shirt using the screen printing process, watched robots throw frisbees, and even touched a Tesla.  It was an all around science fun afternoon.




September challenge: Pushing my body to the limit

I always wanted to be a runner, or a super athletic person my whole life. As a kid, I played softball but that's it. I love football, but I'm a girl... Volleyball hurt my arms. I tried to do cross country in middle school, but failed miserably. I don't think I ever ran much faster than a 12 minute mile in high school. I definitely didn't do better in college. Now all these years later, I'm finally faster than that!

As we were talking to some parents at MJ's cross country meet today, my husband mentioned how he likes to do things that are adrenaline based while I like to do things to punish my body. I think he's right. I do. Not so much punish, but push farther than I ever thought I could do. Push beyond whatever limit is there, perceived or actual. That's what led me to the half marathons, and now to this challenge.

I like this monthly challenge - A lazy WOman Iron Man. Physically it is a lot. While I've been successful this year in my weight loss, I'm still 1?6 pounds. (I'm not really going to say!). I've beat my body up physically, but I've had success, and it feels good. I've had over a 10% reduction in body fat, and gained some muscle, too! I spend too much time exercising, but it feels good and I feel great. I also don't want to give up my 3 days a week of yoga, so this on top if that is a lot!

The biking takes forever, but I've been doing it at the YMCA, so I watch TV and listen to NPR podcasts. The swimming is exhausting, but I just keep going and don't pay attention to the fast swimmers around me. The running is improving. I'm able to go farther and faster without taking a walk break. (Which is how I've trained for my half marathons - interval training - and I want to get away from it.) It all feels good.

Week one was a success. I was skeptical when I started, and struggled on day one. But I am right on target with where I need to be. I've spent more time at the YMCA this week than I have the last several months combined. I am pushing myself and fighting with myself every single time I go. Fighting through every mile when my brain tells me to stop peddling. Fighting through every lap when my brain tells me I look stupid. Fighting through running one more lap when my brain says "what are you trying to prove"!

Pushing myself to the limit, and still here to write about it.


September challenge: Lazy WOman iron man

Swim: 2.4 miles
Bike: 112 miles
Run: 26.2 miles
Clean: 15 minutes a day

This is my September challenge. This idea came from a friend from high school who is also doing this challenge this month. I had never heard of it, and I'm excited. My family thinks I'm crazy. I might be crazy. Basically it's traveling the distance from Nashville to Chattanooga for no purpose whatsoever.

I've got 30 days to complete it. And broken out over 30 days, I think almost anyone could do it, if they devoted the time. The swimming will be the most difficult for me, as I'm really not a great swimmer - I nearly pass our after just two laps. I'll be utilizing the YMCA pools in order to get my miles in and it looks like I'll need to swim nearly 80 laps. If I break that out into 8 sessions, that's only 10 laps... Eeek!

The biking in theory is the easiest, but the most time consuming. I will again most likely be using the YMCA stationary bikes for this. Going 112 miles is a long distance.

The running 26.2 miles over a month will be a piece of cake. I have no doubt this will be the easiest piece to complete. Maybe I will be able to get through my running mental road block this month.

This is a lazy WOman's iron man, so it wouldn't be complete without some stereotypical woman's work. This is where the 15 minute a day of cleaning comes in. It needs to be done more, I know... But I really don't like to do it. And either my family is the messy monster from messyville, or I am. Either way, the place is messy.

So there is my goal for September. I'll still be doing my regular running around, working, yoga, soccer practice, sleeping, etc...

Who wants to join me on this challenge?

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