Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book Meme - You've Been Tagged

Okay, so I'm borrowing a fun idea from Always Wanted Four's blog, and if you're reading this, you've been tagged for a Book Meme. Since the rules are to grab the nearest book, my post is from New York Times Bestselling Author Karen Kingsbury's newest book, Every Now & Then, the third of her 9/11 Series.

Here is the meme:

The rules:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next 2 to 5 sentences, along with these rules.
  5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual book. Pick the CLOSEST!
  6. Tag five other people to do the same!

My lines:

"My mom and I have a lot to work through, Holly. Try to understand."

She tried, and at first she figured he was in shock, the way most of the country and particularly the people of New York City were. But as the horrible days turned into weeks, his distance from her and the indifference toward her remained.

Whereas before the attacks Alex had spent most of his free time with her, afterwards he wanted only to come home and study, or run at the track.

So, I cheated on Rule No. 6. I'm not tagging anyone specifically. It's an open tag; whoever reads, please check in and show us what you're reading.

In the meantime, since I'm only on Page 24, I'll have to backtrack.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Town Monday - Preserving History

Kingston is home to one of the only 7 remaining antebellum courthouses in the State of Tennessee today. Affectionately referred to as the “Old Roane County Courthouse,” it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and remained an active courthouse until it was replaced by the newer and current county courthouse in 1974. It is the oldest building in Kingston and comprises a downtown city square.

Built between 1854-1855 using native lumber and bricks made on-site by slaves, the original structure was raised using no nails. It served as a hospital during the Civil War and was used by both Union and Confederate soldiers. Still today, one can see graffiti written on its walls by the soldiers hospitalized there. For decades it was the center for dances, picnics, and courtroom trials, as well as hangings on the courthouse lawn. (There is a rumor that gallows were built inside the courthouse for indoor hangings. The gallows are there, but for decoration only; there were no indoor hangings.)

The courthouse has had many renovations over the course of the past 150 years, from having had a new roof put on in 1882 to the two-story rear addition that was constructed between 1936-1937. Now owned by the Roane County Heritage Commission, it has been undergoing a total reformation for some time. It houses the Roane County Museum of History and Art, which has preserved much of the history of Roane County’s early settlers, and the Roane County Archives Library.

Two of the rooms on the first floor of the courthouse house museum exhibits dating back to prehistoric American Indian times. Stone bowl fragments, grooved axes, and photographs of excavations reveal what Indian life may have been like in our area thousands of years ago. There are two large display cases devoted to Civil War artifacts, when Kingston was occupied by both Northern and Southern armies. Other displays exhibit mementos and historical photos documenting the founding and history of Kingston and other Roane County cities. The largely German heritage of Roane County is illustrated through black-and-white photos depicting everyday life of its 19th century citizens. Visitors can continue their walk through history from the turn of the century (20th) through WWII.

The Archives Library contains a large collection of original court papers such as marriage certificates and land records dating back to 1802, so rare in the South where so many original documents were lost during the Civil War and other causes, such as fire. (Amazingly, the old Roane County Courthouse has never experienced a fire.) As a result, the Archives have become very well known and draw genealogists and researchers from all over the world.

Outside in front of the courthouse stands the commemorative plaque denoting Kingston’s somewhat jaded distinction of having been the State capitol for one day on September 21, 1807. In a bit of political hokey-pokey, the City of Kingston entered into an agreement with the Cherokee Nation to become the capitol of Tennessee in exchange for its ceding Indian land that is now known as Roane County. Kingston honored the agreement on that date, but the Assembly resumed meeting in Knoxville the following day, where the capitol remained until 1926 when it was moved to Nashville.

Only the first floor of the old courthouse is used today due to current fire codes. The new renovations will include sprinkler and fire alarm systems so the upper two floors can be used as well. It will include a transportation museum showcasing Kingston’s importance as a crossroads of highway and river transportation during the westward expansion as people passed through its gates headed to Memphis and Arkansas. The museum will display historic photographs that document steamboat, early rail, and automobile travel in Tennessee. It is even expected to include the whistle from the Joe Wheeler, the last steamboat to make the regular run from Kingston to Chattanooga. The building will also have a visitor’s center and an elevator.

While the renovations and modern amenities to the courthouse will make it safer and more accessible, they will for me diminish some of its charm. There’s a wonder about it now as one walks the small rooms and narrow hallways, stepping into the past and experiencing the history of my home town first hand. However, merging old with new is the price for preserving history. The Old Roane County Courthouse and the history it continues to protect have withstood the tests of time, war, natural disasters, and the threat to turn it all into a parking lot.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Buying & Selling

I have a small business buying and selling things, mostly over there on the 'bay. It's more of a hobby and a pasttime (same thing?) than a business, as I seldom net any cash when the books are reconciled. But it's fun, it's an outlet for me, and since I have a love of flea marketing and thrift shopping, it provides for storage in someone else's house rather than mine. I have enough clutter as it is.

Lately, I've used
Craig's List locally in the Knoxville area. It's a classified advertising site which allows one to post all manner of ads for items being bought, sold, traded, or wanted, as well as community and local activities, resumes and job postings, business services, freebies, and personals (no porn or illegal activity, please). Best of all, it's totally free; no listing fees, final value fees, payment processor fees, picture fees, etc., etc., etc.

I have reasonably good luck. Once I sold a vintage 6' tall Chianti bottle (empty) to someone in California. (He said he googled Craigslist: chianti bottle and found my ad.) The man was opening an Italian restaurant and not only paid me my asking price for the bottle, but also $125 to have it professionally packed and shipped from Knoxville to Southern California! Last night I listed a 4' tall oak finished lingerie chest my husband found on the side of the road. It sold for $50 within 1 hour of listing it. I've also purchased a few things at great prices and even traded my living set for someone else's because I needed to downsize.

I'm also noticing that there are lots of folks disguised as buyers who really have other alternatives in mind. For instance, with many of the ads I post, I frequently get multiple responses that say something like, "Saw your ad. If it's still available a week from Friday, please contact me." Invariably, such ads include a signature line that lists several url's for various money-making and network marketing websites. Could it be they want me to click on one of the links, just in case I'm interested? Is this called spam? I usually simply delete them.

Last night, I received a phone call from a fellow who expressed interest in a capaccino machine I am selling. We ended up talking for an hour. Seems he was a long-distance truck driver (like my dh) who's just come off the road only to find his wife of 12 years was apparently "doing better without him." Now 38 and going through an impending divorce, I think he was more interested in having someone to talk to than the coffee pot. I was glad to oblige as I, too, was home alone and it was good to hear another human voice. Whether he was looking to Craig's List as a social networking option or not, I don't know. He could have found that in the personal ads on the same site, but maybe he didn't want to appear so obvious. Haven't heard from him since and he didn't buy the capaccino machine, so in either case, I guess he wasn't interested.

So what's my take on all this? While my ads remain pretty straightforward, I've come to believe there's a lot more buying and selling going on at Craig's List than meets the eye.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Eating Snow

Tar, a black Lab mix, was the cherished child of my late Aunt and Uncle, Loraine and Otis, who adopted him some 12 years ago as a puppy. I inherited Tar late in the summer of 2007, shortly before my Aunt's death. He hasn't seen snow since he left Cincinnati (we don't get much snow here in East Tennessee), so I imagine the light blanket of white stuff this morning was, indeed, a special tasty treat to him. Watch as he enjoys a frosty nip or two!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Town Monday - The Watts Bar Belle

The official logo for the city of Kingston, Tennessee, features the beautiful Watts Bar Belle, a true split wheel paddlewheel riverboat built in the year 2000 and operated by Skipperliner Industries of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Formerly known as the La Crosse Queen V, it was acquired by the Watts Bar Riverboat Company in Kingston in 2005 and renamed the Watts Bar Belle. The Belle has since offered residents and toursits alike everything from historial and scenic tours to luxury dinner cruises and private charters up and down the waterways of the Clinch and Emory Rivers, which join together, and the Tennessee River, all part of Watts Bar Lake and forming two sides of the City of Kingston.

The Belle, docked in Kingston, lent an air of old-fashioned charm and true Southern style to the city that was once a major steam boat hub on the Tennessee River. It has been a fixture in Kingston for several years and, although a small family-owned business, represented a lot of business to a town of around 5000 people. How sad, then, to think of that big paddle wheel churning up the river to another location in search of cleaner waters. Why?

Although business was already slow, the pending move is primarily due to the toxic coal ash spill from the Kingston fossil plant in late-December, 2008, the result
of more than one billion gallons of toxic materials bursting forth from a failed holding pond on its property. It is estimated that 400 acres of the beautiful Tennessee valleys and rivers were flooded with up to 6 feet of ash sludge, the byproduct of burning coal. Power lines were toppled, roads covered, gas lines ruptured, homes knocked off their foundations, and our beautiful waterways, rivers, and air quality all contaminated; fortunately, there have been no human casualties.

However, the damage to Watts Bar Lake and surrounding waters brought riverboat business to a dead standstill. Unable to operate since the December 22nd spill, the riverboat has been tied to the dock. Water from the Lake is used to cool its engines and a generator, and it cannot operate safely amidst the sludge. The Belle lost much revenue from two cancelled New Year’s Eve cruises and its sightseeing and dinner cruises are continuing to lose money because of the contaminated area. All around, its bad for business.

While massive cleanup efforts are underway by the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and other agencies, The Watts Barr Riverboat Company cannot afford the operating losses for what may be several months or more. In order to keep operating, the company has decided to relocate the Belle to the still-clean Fort Loudon Marina, at least temporarily. The owners have notified Kingston City Officials that the Belle “still belongs to Kingston.”

Let’s hope so. Losing the Belle would adversely affect Kingston in far many more ways than just having to change the city’s logo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Rhinestone Pony

In my treasure hunting this week, I found this beautiful vintage rhinestone pin in the shape of a pony. Made in a silvertone (radium plated ?) material with a brushed finish, my little pony has bright, shiny rhinestones outlining his body, ears, and tail, and a red rhinestone eye.

I noticed the unusual mark on the back which I did not recognize—a capital "H" inside an elaborate heart, and then
the copyright mark. So, I did some research.

I found this is a Hedy pin manufactured in the mid-to-late 60’s by the Hedison Manufacturing Company of Rhode Island. Actually, this is only one of three of their marks, the latest mark used by Hedison until the company went out of business in 1985. Their first trademark was the word “Hedy” written in cursive, used until the late-1950’s. Later, the mark was changed to a capital “H” within a heart, and the “edy” portion of the name outside the heart. Finally, in 1964, the logo was change to just the capital “H” within the heart, as seen on my pony. This dates the pin to somewhere between the mid-60’s to the mid-80’s, still a vintage collectible.

The Hedison Manufacturing company was founded in 1909 by Harry D. Hedison, Sr., an Armenian immigrant whose family name had originally been Heditsian (meaning "from the" or "son of the" ancient village in Armenia where his family finds its roots). As with many immigrants, the name was “Americanized” upon arrival in our fair land, and the family’s surname was changed to “Hedison.” Mr. Hedison’s sons, Harry, Jr. and H. David, took over the family business in 1954 when Hedison, Sr. passed away. They continued the family business for the next 30 years.

Not only did Hedison manufacture and plate their own costume, gold-filled, and precious jewelry during this time period, but they made jewelry for many other companies as well, and also operated as a jewelry importer/exporter. Often, only their boxes were marked with their logo, leaving the jewelry inside unmarked.

Hedy jewelry has become highly collectible over the years. You may even have a piece of your own but don’t know it because there is no mark.

If you have an authentic vintage Hedy piece, send me a photo and I’ll post it here. In the meantime, you can see my Hedy Rhinestone Horse Pin, and all my other unique auctions, here:
The Whatsoever Shoppe!

Stringfield, Dottie. "Hedy & Hedison Jewelry." Illusion Jewels Presents: Researching Costume Jewelry. 2009. 11 Jan 2009. http://www.illusionjewels.com/hedisonjewelryarticle.html.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Desire Stronger Than Apple Pie

There's a Dutch apple pie in my refrigerator. I bought it for my husband who is a truck driver and doesn't get home much. He was home for New Year's and planned to eat the whole thing by the time he left, this morning. Guess what? He didn't.

I longed for the pie for awhile, but I find I have a desire stronger than Dutch Apple Pie. It is my desire to get healthy and to get to a functional weight (notice I said functional, not "normal," whatever that is). I said good things to myself. I said, "I don't want the pie; I don't need the pie; I won't be sabotaged and I won't sabotage myself." I put my praise and worship music on and I delighted in my Lord today, for He is my food and drink! And His grace is sufficient for me!

I will leave the pie to see if my son eats it tonight. If he does not, I will throw it out. What? Throw out pie? Throw out anything? Yes, I will throw it out. And I won't feel guilty.

In fact, I imagine I will feel pretty good about it all.