January 11, 2019
My New Year started off in Lisbon Portugal. I have been blessed to get to travel with my family a couple of time a year. This year we left for Portugal the day after Christmas and spent 10 days there. Our apartment was in Lisbon but we took one overnight trip to Porto and several day trips outside the city. One of the highlights for my 11 year old granddaughter, Kate, was the trip to Porto to the bookstore that was visited by the author J.K. Rowling when she lived there and was writing one of her Harry Potter books. The bookstore charges to get in and they have to limit the amount of people in the bookstore. There is a line for tickets and after getting the tickets a line to get in the store.
As you can see from the smile on her face it was very much worth it. She also got to purchase a Harry Potter book, which was pretty heavy but she was willing to carry it around until we got back to the hotel.
This trip was very physical because Lisbon is very hilly, and in fact most of the towns that we visited were hilly. We tried to start at the top of the hill and walk down and then when I got too tired, we used Uber to get back to the apartment.
It was a wonderful trip but all of us were glad to be home. Our luggage did not arrive with us and it was the next day before I could leave Nashville and drive back to Knoxville. I am glad that today is Friday because I am still trying to recover from the trip. It takes a few days.
October 3, 2018
One of the pleasures of this job is that I get to meet new people everyday and to hear their stories. Yesterday was especially good because I went to Bridge Refugee Services and met a very special person, Drocella Mugorewera the Executive Director. It opened up a whole new prospective for me. I guess I had not given a lot of thought about the difference between a refugee and an immigrant. Refugees had fled for there lives from countries where had they stayed would have been killed. Imagine arriving in a new country not knowing the language, having no job and probably with the clothes on their back. That is where Bridge Refugee Services comes in. They help the refugee get settled into housing, help getting a job, help learning English and so much more. As I sat in the hallway waiting for the meeting, their was a video playing that was in several languages and it was explaining that in the US, it is illegal to hit your wife, mother, daughter or any other female. The cultural differences are great and each refugee must learn to live in the US under our laws. I got to hear Drocella’s personal story and was overwhelmed with what she had gone through.
Several churches in the area support Bridge Refugee Services and hopefully my church will soon be another to give a helping hand.
As with any non-profit, it takes money to provide all these services. If you are interested in helping, you can go to their website to make a donation.
Hope I get to meet a lot more people with the compassion and caring that Drocella has for all people
August 9, 2018
Phyllis Burns and Willie Stancil
Willie and I met when our oldest children were just babies. Our husbands worked together and planned a trip to the mountains for the day without asking either of us. I really did not want to go, nor did Willie, as we had not even met. We went that day and had a great time and we our families have been close friends for 50 years. They live in Atlanta but we manage to visit as often as possible. Even though it might be months since I have seen them, it is like I just saw them yesterday when we get together.
Recently I drove down to Blue Ridge GA where their oldest son Doug has a cabin. I was able to visit with some of their children and granddaughter and we tour the big town of Blue Ridge. I think if you have friends like this you are truly blessed.
August 1, 2018
Joy, Kate and Phyllis
I have been on a Stay Vacation for several days and yesterday was my first day back at work. My granddaughter Kate came to Knoxville to spend time with me. We had a great week, just hanging out, shopping, eating at our favorite restaurants, going to Dollywood and touring Burns Mailing & Printing to show her how the printing and mailing process works. On Sunday, Joy came to pick her up but not before we had a day in the mountains at our favorite swimming hole. Our family has been going there since I first met Ken in 1960. That is where my daughters learned to swim and we have lots of good memories there. As I sat by the river, images of family playing in the water and picnicking with family came to mind. Joy and Kate had tubes and they rode the tubes for hours. We did this a couple of years back but we have decided that this will be a yearly thing and that we want to make more memories that Kate can look back on and cherish.
June 25, 2018
Cabinets painted by The Painted Room
I have been working on updating my house for the last few years. Hopefully the last thing that I am doing is the kitchen. I had a customer a few years back that paints kitchen cabinets and they do a really good job. My cabinets are pretty old but were in good shape. I had to take everything out of the drawers and they took the doors and drawers back to their shop for repainting. I put everything in boxes according to the drawers and was able to cook despite the mess. Last week they finished and it makes the kitchen so much brighter. Today the granite people are coming to make a template of the counter tops and they have to have everything off the counter tops in order to do this. My job this evening will be to put everything back in place. Hope I remember how to hook up the computer.
One thing that I have been putting off for years is cleaning out the attic . When my youngest daughter Joy was in college she asked when were we cleaning out the attic. I told her we were not cleaning it out and that we were going to die and leave everything to them, including the attic. I was only kidding but I bet she was surprised when I had it cleaned out. I had 3 helpers and it was a trip down memory lane for sure but what a mess. All 4 of us were covered in dust and it took some time to vacuum up the mess.
With the remodeling, puppy sitting and working, my summer has started off very busy. I think I need a trip to the beach already.
June 15, 2018
For next two weeks I will be having a special guest, Grand Puppy, Lincoln. He will be visiting while my granddaughter Kate goes to camp and my daughter Joy and her husband John take a vacation.
Lincoln is a very sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are very laid back and loving dogs. He will love coming to work with me and getting all the attention from my employees.
It will be really different at my house after not having a pet for over 10 years. That is what Grand Puppy’s are for, you love them, spoil them and send them back home.
May 31, 2018
Last weekend, my daughter, Joy Burns Day and I made 41 half pints of strawberry preserves. This is had become a tradition for us to make preserves every summer. We make strawberry, plum, peach and I make apple butter. It all started when one of my former employees, Nancy, brought me a jar of peach preserves and my daughter tasted it on a biscuit and declared that it was the best thing she had ever eaten out of a jar. We bought peaches for Nancy as an incentive to come over and teach us her method of making peach preserves. We have been making various preserves now for about 10 years. Ken, my late husband, enjoyed it as well and so he bought us the big copper pot in the picture. Copper cooks so much faster than stainless steel. We each have our own chore in the process. I prepare the fruit and chop it in a food processor. Joy does the cooking. Kate, my 10 year old granddaughter labels the jars. This years batch turned out beautiful. Joy said “the preserves are so red that it looks like we added food color”.
I don’t know which I enjoy the most, eating the preserves or the family time together making them. Come to think of it, I love both.