Thursday, March 16, 2006

The neighbor's van

So, for the past year (or longer?), my neighbors behind me had parked their big Ford van alongside my backyard. Not a big deal, I don't use that space. But they never drove it, started it, moved it. In fact, it wasn't even pulled correctly up to the curb. Well, about a week ago, I came home and noticed that an orange sticker stuck to the windshield. I wonder if someone (not me) complained about it. (I just hope they don't think it was me.) Then I came home Tuesday and the van had been moved to their side of the block, next to their house. Sticker's still stuck to the window....

My neighborhood's web site

Old Hickory Village has a web site...yes, indeed. It's And I think it is what one would expect.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We have Jann-isms and we have Shelby-isms

Shelby-isms are very similar to Jann-isms; they just come from the mouth of my friend Shelby and not Les' mom, Jann. A couple Shelby-isms from our time in LA....

Reading graffiti from a billboard which made a statement about something being made available 24/7, Shelby reads it outloud as being available 2417...which as soon as she said it, she realized it didn't make sense. I had to interject, "Do you mean 24/7?"

A different day we were driving around town, saw the Playboy Mansion in her "Not for Tourists" book of maps and decided to find it. Shelby wondered aloud, "I wonder if there will be any pink Playboy Rabbits out front?" It wasn't so much her question that made me laugh but her use of rabbits instead of bunnies. I said, "I think they make the bunnies retire when they get old and become rabbits."

For the past two months Shelby has lived in the Silver Lake area, a couple cities away from Hollywood, and from the hill on which her apartment sat, you could see the Hollywood sign. That's one of the first things I noticed on Thursday morning, our first morning out. It wasn't until a couple mornings later on Saturday that we left and Shelby said, "Hey, you can see the Hollywood sign from here." We're still trying to figure out how she lived there for two months, left for work each morning and never noticed it.

And one more.... Shelby's friend Leigha and her husband Dan live in the LA area, so Shelby spent lots of time with them. One night they had friends over and asked Shelby to pick up some ice on the way over. Shelby arrives with the ice but they're not sure what to do with it. It's a large block of ice rather than a bag of ice cubes. Shelby said she'd never seen ice blocks sold in Nashville so thought it was just something different they did in LA.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Angels in the City of Angels

Just got back from Los Angeles...spent time in Pasadena, Hollywood, Venice Beach, Burbank, etc. It's interesting to see the names of all the cities, streets and such that you always hear about in the entertainment news. Here's some pictures....

Girls and Hollywood
Shelley, me and Shelby in front of the Hollywood sign

Us at the Getty
And here we are at The Getty Center (a great art museum with a great view). That's the greater L.A. area behind us (downtown L.A. is way in the background on the horizon).

Here's the greater L.A. area without us:
LA from the Getty

Shelley and me in Venice Beach
On the Waterfront

Shelby worked with Rob and John on the production staff of the Oscars. Here's a behind-the-scenes look...up close and personal with Oscar:
Touching Oscar

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Fake Eggs According to Jann

Back when Mark and Leslie still lived at home in Michigan, the family kept an ongoing grocery list on the fridge. One summer day Jann took the list and went to the store. Gone for some time, she finally came home and left a bag of plastic Easter eggs on the landing of the stairs.

Leslie came home, saw the eggs on the way to her room, didn't think anything of it and kept going. Months passed and the eggs were still there, 'til one day Jann said to Leslie, "When are you going to take those eggs?" Leslie was entirely confused, saying they weren't hers. Jann answered, "You put 'fake eggs' on the grocery list." Leslie denied asking for them.

In the next room Dann started laughing. He said, "I put 'fake eggs' on the list. I meant Egg Beaters." Jann had spent who knows how long in the middle of summer searching the store for plastic Easter eggs when she really only needed to hit the dairy section.

A new Starbucks drink

I was the barista yesterday during the morning rush. In a groove I moved cup after cup down the bar, checking the boxes for drinks and modifers. I picked up a venti hot cup and saw N in the milk box, WC crossed out in the custom box and WC in the drink box. According to our abbreviations, I needed to make a Venti Nonfat No Whip Cream Whip Cream. To me that meant an empty cup...easiest drink I've ever made.

Monday, March 6, 2006

A new Jann-ism

I forgot to mention this one. Our waiter on the cruise, Zubin, was from India and his catch phrase was "Yee-haw!" (He signed my shirt with an "E-ha!") Well, Jann tried to mimic Zubin's "Yee-haw" but in her excitement said "Hee-yaw" instead. After the laughter died down, everyone could tell when she was getting ready to shout it out, because she would pause and focus the phrase in her mind. But no matter how much focus she put into it, it still came out "Hee-yaw!"

A few more looks at the cruise

Some new pictures from the cruise came in...

Here is Mark, Andrea, Leslie, Jay and I on deck posing for Mom McKellar's "one last shot."


Mom and Dad...first-time cruisers!

Mom & Dad

Dad McKellar doing what he does best...relaxing.

Dad relaxing

The shirt...signed with birthday wishes by my fellow cruisers.

The shirt

Saturday morning our ship circled around to pick up some Cuban refugees adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. They were met by Mexican authorities when we arrived at port.


My brother enjoying the remaining Baked Alaska at dinner.

Jason and Baked Alaska

Our ship

The ship

The family, cruising!

Family photo

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Moments on the Cruise

My darling friend Leslie (a professional photographer, check out sent me a few pictures from the cruise which highlight some comical moments.

Before the ship sets sail, they hold a "muster drill" (aka lifeboat drill). We hid out in our cabin during the drill, although we were discovered by our room steward. Even though we skipped out, we still practiced and listened to instructions over the PA. Here's my brother Jason trying on the life jacket.


Dinner on the second evening of the cruise was the Captain's Dinner, where everyone dresses up nice and formal. This is Mark (Leslie's brother) and I at the dinner, hanging out and laughing at Jann-isms (read below).


Zubin our waited pulled the best practical joke on my brother at the dinner. Jason ordered a double espresso with his dessert. Zubin set Leslie up with her camera as he then pretended to slip and drop the double espresso into Jason's lap. Leslie captured the moment with absolute brilliance.... The cup was empty.


On the last night of a cruise, the entire wait staff in the dining room comes out to lip synch a song and they take folks from the tables to join them. This time they performed "YMCA" and one waiter pulled this elderly lady up to sing along.


At first we thought she might have had too much wine, but by the end of the song, it seemed like she was just falling asleep while standing there. All the singing and hand motions seemed to tire her out.