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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Nashville... Part 2

...Ok, when we last left our band of roving hyperactive stitchers, they were leaving the Market on Friday. We were in search of food. Upon walking to the car, we decided that walking over to OpryMills was going to be a great course of action, and we could couple that with some shopping and walking and talking.

As we walked, Suz pointed out all the pretty plants that were lining the walkway, and the various butterflies that were flittering and fluttering all around them. This would have been the perfect occasion to have had B with me, because those butterflies would have landed on her left and right. As it was, Suz was trying to grab onto one of the butterflies, and Wendy managed to grab one for her so that a photo could be taken. There were so many that I felt for a moment that I was inside the old butterfly habitat at Marine World in Vallejo where I grew up. It was outstanding.

But it was also warm and humid outside and a couple of us were starting to wilt, so we continued on towards OpryMills. When we reached there, we ended going through the back stage area at Jillian's, and that was as good a place as any to have lunch. As usual, I had a really hard time picking out something to eat, and after everyone else had chosen, I still had the waitress waiting on me, but only for a second. The burger I ended up choosing was good, but I didn't manage to finish it because my stomach decided to try and attempt a revolt. I'd had an upset stomach from the previous day – when I'd woken up to the radio playing Don Maclean's "Amercian Pie" – one should really not wake up to a full day's worth of flying across the country and have to hear that song as the first audio cue of the day. It isn't comforting. I travel well, really I do, but that didn't do anything to make me feel any better. And I'm really not sure why I was so nervous, except maybe about meeting Kari and Wendy for the first time, but I really don't know that that was it. Ah, but I digress. We all shared a piece of some completely sinful and delightful chocolate cake (I only had a couple of bites) for dessert.

We finished up lunch, and boxed up our leftovers, and then started wandering the mall which, to anyone who has been to both, was very similar to the Great Mall of Milpitas down here in valley. We casually strolled through the various areas of the mall, browsing in one store or another depending on what caught our eyes. It was there that I found the tshirts that I brought home for my daughters, which they grabbed onto and loved instantly. It was also there that I found a spherical puzzle of a globe, and brought that home for all of us.

Anyway, we managed to spend the better part of an afternoon in the mall, and we also managed to call another friend of all of ours who had text messaged me with some good news. I have to say that I will never ever forget cheering in the middle of the mall with her on the phone about the news that she had received. And no, I won't share the who or the what, because I'm going to protect her privacy concerning the issue. She (and we) know who she is.

After strolling through the mall and spending quite a bit of the afternoon there, we headed back for the hotel after dropping the boxes with the leftovers in the trash – we had dropped them at least two times, and we had chicken and ground beef in them and it had been at least 4 hours since lunch. Since no one wanted food poisoning, dumping them just seemed the best way to go. Besides, we had enough to handle in our hands with my puzzle and the shirts, and the four others with their Build-A-Bear boxes. Kari had Punky the Monkey, Wendy had Roly Poly the Polar Bear for her husband Rob (who we were going to meet the next day, Stasha had Dr. Wallace (a beagle that was named for a contemporary of Darwin, which is the name of her beagle at home), and Suz had… well, Suz had a very creative bunny that was named for a purpose. But you're going to have to watch her blog for the details on that. I'm not going to spoil it anymore than I already have. But I will say that while we were discussing the bunny and it's purposes, I swear I had to leave Build-A-Bear because I was going to wet myself from laughing so hard. And I think we were the strangest group to ever hit one of those stores – the girls who were there were certainly grateful, since we were a welcome break in the middle of what was a rather slow day for them.

Again, I got off track – we went back to the hotel, where we had plenty of soft drinks and about 80 tamales (pork and chicken) waiting for us there. Suz had brought them in, vacuum packed, from Texas and I already knew them to be wonderful since she had sent some to my family a while back. She'd also brought in some salsa. Some green salsa. Some really hot green salsa. Kari was the first to try it – she dipped a spoon in, and then practically ran across the room for something to drink. She was, literally, gasping. So then I decided in my finite wisdom that I needed to try it. I like hot food. I've gotten more and more into spicy foods lately because I can have them again – my kids are older and starting to appreciate that which has a little bit of heat to it. So, I dip a fork in, and taste it, and comment that it tastes pretty good. That's when it hits. I swear my mouth was on fire and Suz was trying to kill us with that stuff. As Wendy said, I didn't just blush – I went red from the neck up in stages. Kind of like the cartoons. When I finally could speak again, I was sweating. And darn that was good stuff. I made sure I spread it on the tamales and had some on the side for dipping. With the tamales it wasn't so bad, but Kari wasn't about to have anymore. I don't blame her, actually.

Our two big disappointments came in that night. We'd planned to stay in one of the hotel rooms, eat tamales and watch Sci Fi Friday. We stayed in Wendy/Suz/Stasha’s room which they kept as cold as a freezer – Kari and I went and put on jeans and thicker socks because we just couldn't handle it – I was beginning to wonder if they were planning to keep a dead body in the room it was that cold. Anyway, when we went to watch SG1, we discovered that the hotel didn't have the Sci Fi Channel as an option on the system. Bummer. We watched Lord of the Rings instead since that was playing on TNT while we stitched. Apparently my family at home was skipping SciFi too – they were watching Lord of the Rings (on DVD, after finding it on TNT) when I called to say goodnight.

The second disappointment was when we signed on with the wireless network – the high speed DSL – that the network was not quite as high speed as it should have been. To quote Wendy – we could have run the packets there ourselves and they would have gotten there faster. I figured that posting my blog would be an impossibility, and stuck with posting a Friday Confession on the Wagon. That in and of itself was a challenge, since it took about 20 minutes to post – and it failed at least 6 times during the process. Argh.

Anyway, we finished up watching Lord of the Rings, caught the end of Mythbusters and stitched some more and laughed and chatted about all manners of things before Kari and I retired to our room and went to bed. We also chatted after the lights were out, but not nearly as much since we were both tired and weren't feeling well (NO, Suz, it *wasn't* the salsa!). Now, the real fun was in the other room because that's where the phone calls were occurring. Wendy's husband was called, and he was in bed with 5 pussies (they have 5 cats). Suz's husband was called and he was in bed with two bitches (they have two female dogs). Many strange things were said and teased, and I'm probably going to hear bits and pieces of this from these conversations for years to come.

Anyway, Kari and I fell into a good night's sleep because we knew we could sleep in the next morning or at least sleep until we just naturally woke up (I really hope I didn't snore). Kari had turned off the air conditioning in the room, and it wasn't stuffy or warm at all. In fact, it was tantamount to perfect in terms of sleeping weather. The next morning dawned a little later for us, and we decided that a sit down breakfast and a journey to a needlework store was in order. So, armed with a map and a phone book and a sense of adventure we headed for IHOP.

That's it for now... tomorrow will pick up with IHOP, the Perky Puppies, and the dinner...