Thursday, June 25, 2015

Murder She Wrote

My mother tells me I should use my copious extra time to write a book.  I (semi-irregularly, as I like to put it) write this blog and since I recently resumed blogging after a "dark period," a variety of people have told me I am talented and funny, and should write a book.  My response is, “Is there money in that?”  Because I am nothing if not in it for the money.
Now my thoughts regarding my writing a book are as follows: 
A) first and foremost - - No, really, is there money in that?  I mean, I have a mortgage, a car payment and four cats that have to be kept rather expensive kibble and litter – they eat and poop a lot!  Not to mention me and mom, we eat and poop, too!  And there’s the co-pay for my therapy! While I may believe I’ve got a book of John Grisham quality in me, odds are that no one’s going to pay me in John Grisham-like quantities, at least not until after my first bestseller or two!
B) what if I pour my wit and soul into a book and no one likes it?  Fear of rejection – another line item on the therapy to do list;
C) “they” say to write what you know.  Well, I want to write a smutty murder mystery and I have yet to happen upon a dead body during my wanderings through daily life.  Now, there was a time in my glorious past when my friend Jennifer and I were toying around with the plot of a murder mystery that was a thinly-veiled expose (don't know how to get the little thingee over the last "E" there) of the law firm we worked at at the time.  As you might guess, the main character was an adorable, fun-loving, incredibly talented paralegal who happened upon the dead body of one of the attorneys in her office and, with the assistance of a hunky homicide detective, solve the mystery.  BTW, the guilty person just happened to be the thinly-veiled version of our “secretart” of the week, who we really didn’t care for.  My problem is that when I sit down and think about writing a mystery, our “plot” is what comes to mind.  I’ll have to talk to Jennifer about that.  Hmm…; and
D) who would we cast in the movie adaptation!?  Obviously Gerard Butler as the hunky detective.  (WITH the accent.  Duh!)  I know, cart before the horse, but these are things I must consider!
So I sit here, with a blank screen before me, I have difficult decisions to make.  One, who do I kill?  This is a rougher question than you might think.  I’ve worked in two big law firms for a combination of 25 years… I have encountered several really good potential murder victims over the years!  (And I'm not just talking the lawyers!  There have been both co-workers, AND clients who would make great dead bodies!)  I suppose that I don’t have to kill them all off in one book.  I really should leave fodder for the "by public demand" sequel.  Second, who did it?  Obviously not the “adorable, fun-loving, incredibly talented paralegal!”  I could resurrect that secretart character!  Hmm.. 

For the sequel, maybe our heroine and Gerard Butler will get to take a vacation, and she’ll find a dead body on the beach!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Product Placement 101

Having recently watched Jurassic World, I have decided that I need some of that cool product placement money.  Never let it be said that I can't be bought!

Here is my Dream Team - product placement wise. 

1.  Wendy's.  I normally go to Wendy's at least once a week with my friend Kathy and her three adorable younger daughters.  (The older one can be adorable, but she has a job now so she isn't available for lunch, but more importantly, she isn't available to babysit the other three so Kathy and I can dine together alone!)  Where was I?  Oh, Wendy's.  I generally get the small size of their BBQ Ranch Chicken salad.  However, I have been known to get the small chili with onions and shredded cheese on top.  If anyone out there has any pull with Wendy's, I promise to casually mention going to Wendy's from now on in my blog. 

2.  Lemon Oreo's.  I happen to think that  Lemon Oreo's are the world's best non-chocolate cookie and I highly recommend them.  They started out as a limited edition flavor and I think I must have eaten enough of them (Evansville is sometimes a test market, you know) that now they're no longer limited!  Yeah!  In future blogs, you may get to hear about how my therapist and I are working on my addiction to them.  OR I could mention munching on some while contemplating the meaning of life (doubtful, as that would be a particularly deep subject for me to tackle, but.. you never know!)  My point is Nabisco, call me!

3.  Crystal Light's Mojito flavored drink.  Now my hopes in hawking this product would be that they might resume production as it appears they no longer make it.  I have personally cleared out the shelves of all the local grocery stores of any remaining containers and if I want anymore, I have to pay outrageous prices on the black market (i.e., ebay and Amazon).  If Crystal Light reads my blog and resumes production of this wonderful drink, I promise not to drink anything else for the rest of my life!  If this campaign is not successful, I may be able to live with the Hawaiian Punch Lemon Lime flavored drink, but would rather stick with the tried and true.

4.  Amazon.  Not that Amazon needs little old me.  But, I figure that I already mention it enough in my blog that I ought to get paid for it.  Or at least get my Prime membership free!  As everyone should realize by now, I frequently extoll the virtues of shopping at Amazon.  I was even able to buy kitty litter to be donated the Vanderburgh Humane Society for their recent Kitten Shower, and it was delivered FREE, so all I had to do was press the Submit Order button, AND the purchase was tax deductible!  OO-RAH!  I am able to buy things from all over the world through Amazon, and sometimes for free shipping!  (Mom thinks that our mailman must be really impressed by the variety of packages I receive.) 

5.  BBC America.  As I may have previously mentioned (or maybe not.  I tend to whine about it frequently, so I forget who I tell,) my cable company stopped carrying BBC America because it raised its prices so high and they, my cable company, would have to raise everyone's rates if they kept it.  Consequently, I no longer have access to my beloved Dr. Who, Orphan Black, the Three Musketeers, Broadchurch, and other fabulous programming!  I even would have been interested in seeing the "new" Top Gear show post-the recent kerfluffle over its hosts.  Thank God that I can get my new Sherlock from PBS or I'd really be upset!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's a Jurassic World After All...

(Disclaimer: If you haven't seen this movie, there may be information in this review that might be considered a "spoiler" - although I consciously try not to put major spoiler info in my reviews. Please proceed with caution.)

I did not intend to go see Jurassic World this weekend.  In fact, I sort of planned on going to see Inside Out.  During the course of the weekend, however, circumstances, the need for a nap, and an invitation that included a free ticket changed all those plans.
Sunday, after church and lunch at Wendy’s, I was going to go to Kohl’s in an attempt to find what my mother would call “more attractive clothes.”  Plus I had a 30% off coupon, so bonus!  The only thing that could have made it better would have been if they were giving out Kohl’s bucks!  (But there was no Kohl’s ad in our Sunday paper, so I didn’t know.)
Anyway, it was hot outside and I had just changed into cooler, more comfy shopping clothes when my phone rang.  It was my friend Donna who, I’m VERY happy to say has recently moved back to the Tri-State area from living like one block from the beach in the Charleston SC area.  Now the part of me that firmly believes I was switched at birth from the seaside dwelling parents who were supposed to get me to the land-lubbers who actually raised me has a problem understanding why she’d move away from the beach.  But the part of me that when she moved away from home only moved 3 MILES AWAY FROM HOME totally understands it.  Either way, I’m totally happy to have her back. 
Back to the story, Donna was calling at 1:30 (from Boonville) wanting to know if I’d like to go see Jurassic World with her… she had free tickets, and the movie starts at 2 at AMC.  I’m like, “Sure!”  No problem for me, I could walk to the theater and still get there in plenty of time.  Not that I’m that stupid – it was hot out there!  The issue was that it really takes more than a half hour to get to the Westside of Evansville from Boonville, but Donna got there exactly at 2!  I’ll assume that the Lord was her co-pilot because I’m pretty sure I would have gotten stopped by the po-po, but….
The movie. 
I’ve seen the original, Jurassic Park.  But it was probably 20 years ago.  I know I’ve seen parts of it multiple times over the years on TV, but while I remembered it, I’m thinking it would have been good to view it again before watching.  I remember Sam Neill being all hunky and being happy when the bad guys got eaten.  But other than general plot points, I couldn’t remember details.
First, let me say that I enjoyed this movie a lot!  It was action-packed, funny, scary, it even made me tear up at one point although at the moment I can’t quite remember what the reason was… hmm..   So anything I proceed to say are just observations, and in no way affected my enjoyment of the movie as a whole.
First, product placement.  I don’t consider myself very observant.  But the product placement was very, uh… direct, let’s say.  I can clearly say that Mercedes Benz, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Margaritaville, and Pandora jewelry all sponsored this movie.  Unfortunately for at least the last three on that list, their stores within the park were decimated.  But not before we got a clear look at their logos.   And every vehicle that was driven around the park?  You guessed it, Mercedes.  Product placement doesn’t really bother me.  In fact, I’m usually excited that I catch it.  I suppose the fact that I noticed it so clearly in this movie speaks volumes. 

Humorously, there’s one part in the movie where the main female character is working with Verizon Wireless to sponsor the new dinosaur attraction and another character jokingly asks “Why not just call it the “Verizon Wireless (something, Rose doesn’t do dinosaur names)-adon?”  and “What’s next?  The ‘Pepsi-asaurus’?”  Cleverly skewering the characters within the movie for doing what the movie was doing as a whole.
B:  predictability.  Again, I don’t consider it to have been a bad thing, and maybe it’s just that I’ve seen a lot of movies like this, but I found it amusingly predictable.  At one point, our hero, played by Chris Pratt (more on him later), and some other man entered the containment area for THE main dinosaur… I really ought to know what it was.  Hold on, let me Google it.  It’s an Indominus Rex.  Anyway, the two men enter the containment area and I leaned over to Donna and said, “that guy might as well be wearing a red shirt.”  Just a minute later, yup, he was toast.  I can’t detail the other items because doing so would definitely qualify as spoilers.  Just let me say that there were several instances of “Uh oh, he’s gonna die” or “He sounds sneaky… I just bet he’s a bad guy” and “oh Lord, I can see a bunch of dinosaurs making short shrift out of that!”  Actually, I think it would have been fun if they’d dressed some of those miscellaneous characters in red uniforms. 
Lastly, PG-13!?  Mid-way through the movie, I leaned over and asked Donna if the first movie was this graphically violent.  She said yes.  I just can’t remember.   There were just a lot of violence and dinosaurs jumping out at us.  Watching it in 3D may not have helped.  I really have to remember that I prefer 2D movies.  And don’t even ask me about what happened at the petting zoo!  I had to close my eyes several times during the movie.  Yikes!  There’s a difference between watching a movie in the safety of your well lit living room on a small screen and watching in the dark (in 3D… I’m thinking that really made the difference) on a big screen.
My final observation regarding this movie is that I have whole-heartedly jumped on the Chris Pratt bandwagon.  I never watched Parks and Recreation, so I’d never heard of him before Guardians of the Galaxy.  And I really didn’t want to go see Guardians of the Galaxy.  But I did and I really enjoyed it.  I’ve even seen it a couple more times now that it’s showing on Starz.  But still, in Guardians, he was just one of this merry band of weirdos.  After seeing Jurassic World, I’ve totally drunk the Kool-Aid and I’m a fan!  I’ll go see any movie (assuming it’s in my preferred genres) he’s in!
So my final verdict regarding this movie is...

As I said earlier, I enjoyed this movie a lot!  It was action-packed, funny, scary, it even made me tear up at one point.  And it even has a hot/cute hero.  It was like the people who made it read my mind!

Monday, June 22, 2015


It would seem that I've rocked Gizmo's world.  And not in a good way.

See, for years now, the boy has enjoyed napping on the DVR box - for the warmth, I would assume, after all, he's not got too much extra padding on him.  The box sat in front of the TV in the living room.  Personally, I would have thought that, being that close to the TV, the volume would have deafened him by now, but it doesn't appear to have done any damage.  He doesn't ignore me anymore than he did before he took up residence on that box. 

Anyway, that DVR box died about 6 months ago, and the technology has changed so that the box that replaced it in the living room is the size of a thick CD case.  (i.e., too small for one long, lean, cowardly lion).  Meanwhile, a box of similar size was installed to replace the deceased DVR unit and my as-of-yet-still-living-maybe-because-Gizmo-didn't-nap-on-it DVR in the bedroom.  This new box had to be close to the internet outlet, so it sits on the desk in my bedroom. 

It didn't take long for my handsome boy (he may not be quite the dim bulb I've always thought him to be) to realize that the new box on my desk was THE place to be. 

Now I know I am not Bill Gates, technologically speaking.  But I think it is reasonable to believe that while Gizmo's sleeping on (and therefore covering up) the heat vents of the old DVR might not have been the ultimate reason it died, I figure at a minimum it didn't help.  So for about six months now, in the evening, I'd crawl into bed and sit there facing Gizmo on the (I'm going to say "DVR," because I don't know what it is exactly) and think to myself... "I really need to do something to keep him from frying this thing by smothering it to death."  Plus the wireless modem sits on it, and he keeps knocking it off because there's not room for both of them in that town - and NO ONE comes between me and my wireless!

Well, again, after SIX MONTHS of this, I finally got around to it.  At first, I planned on hitting the Office Depot store a couple of miles from the 'Do, but that didn't happen so I hit up the Office Depot website!  I knew exactly what I had in mind and 1) they did not have anything similar; and B) what they did have was incredibly expensive!  After about 40 minutes of surfing and wobbling back and forth between the dining room, where the laptop was, and my bedroom, where the DVR thingee is, to get the thingee's measurements (and yes, I could have written them down, but this was really my only exercise that day) I found one that I liked and could stomach the price - $59, but shipping was free.

I have no idea why it didn't occur to me first thing, but I thought I'd see if I could find it on Amazon.  (My favorite website in the world!)  Not only did they have the exact same thing, it was literally HALF the price AND would ship free with my Prime membership.  But, upon reading the reviews, I realized that even though it said it was 15 inches wide (and the DVR is 14), that wasn't the width between the legs.  Between the legs, it was only 12 inches.  Back to the drawing board.

Another half hour, but on Amazon this time, I found a very nice "monitor stand" (in case you want to know what to look for) for $30!  It arrived in 2 days (Prime - free 2 day shipping) and I put it together.  Et voila!

It's wide enough for the thingee; tall enough for the thingee AND the modem, and there's room for it to breathe.  I'm not sure Gizmo is thrilled about the change, though.  When I compare the face in this picture to the one above, I see disappointment and sorrow. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Previously on Lost....

As previously discussed, I tend to be doing other things as I watch TV.  Mostly because I watch a lot of TV and if I didn't do other things simultaneously, I'd not get anything else done.  That's not to say that the other things I'm doing are very important, but it is what it is.

Years ago, I watched Lost.  You may have seen it, an airplane crash lands on an island in the tropics.  There were mysterious lottery numbers that kept reoccurring, and the island had polar bears - it was not a show for the shallow watcher.  I think the show was on Wednesday evenings, and on Thursday mornings, my bosses (Steve and Carrie) and I would gather around my desk (as opposed to the ubiquitous water cooler) and discuss the previous night's episode.

If I hadn't already realized that I skim-watched TV, this series would have made me aware of the fact.  There was way too much "What? I didn't catch that!" and "Whoa! When did that happen?" coming from me during those post-episode wrap-ups.  Fortunately, a couple of seasons into the show, I found this guy online who must not have had a paying job because, although it would generally take him a day or two, he would post a blog going through each episode almost frame by frame.  It was really nice because he would connect the dots that I missed.  Like, Claire goes to look for her long lost father, and it turns out he's also Jack's father who we'd seen in a previous episode, but I didn't recognize the guy.  Or before the flight took off from the airport, as we watched Hurley interacting with someone over here, in the background, we see the guy that sold Locke a car in episode 6.  I enjoy that stuff; I'm just incapable of recognizing it on my own.  And when (or more like IF) I do, I'm VERY proud of myself!!

There have been (and are today) other TV shows similar to Lost in this regard.  But either that guy got a job, or doesn't watch the same shows I watch, because I never found anything quite like his blog for any other show.  Until...  two or three years ago, I discovered the world of Afterbuzz TV podcasts.  I've mentioned them before.  It's this group of people who get together and recap/dissect all sorts of TV shows post-episode.  I can't remember what show was my first... maybe it'll come to me.  But they have shows for almost every show on TV.  Wait a minute.  I think it was Revolution, which was a very Lost-y type of show.  Anyway, they do "shows" on like over 100 different TV series.  Even shows you wouldn't think need dissecting... like Brooklyn 99.

The "hosts" of the Afterbuzz Revolution podcast watched the show with the intensity of the guy who wrote the Lost blog, only they then discussed it in a 30-45 minute podcast.  See I'm an aural learner.  I don't learn from what I read (#1 - because I skim; and B - because I'm easily distracted), but I learn from what I hear, assuming I'm paying attention.  So I quickly became addicted to these podcasts.  Every show that I watch on TV, if there was an Afterbuzz recap podcast, I subscribed.  I started watching Scandal about two seasons into the show over a summer, and as I binged on the older episodes during the weekends, I binged on the older podcasts recapping those episodes during the week.

Now the hosts.  Some are better than others.  I am absolutely in love with a couple of them; and I absolutely hate others.  If the TV show is good enough, though, I put up with them.  For example, there is a woman in the Scandal podcast who LITERALLY uses the word "literally" at least 10 times a show, and she LITERALLY uses it incorrectly 9 times out of 10.

Alternately, the only reason I watch the TV show Under the Dome is because the podcast is so enjoyable.  The TV show is just horrible... although the first season was pretty good. 

But the second season they just veered as far away from Stephen King's book (by the same name) as possible, and it is just inane.  The hosts of the podcast tend to agree that it is ridiculous and have a great time talking about it.  The third season starts next week, I believe, and I have purposely deleted it from my DVR's scheduled recording.  However, if my pod people have the intestinal fortitude to return for the 3rd season, I may too.  Sigh.

Unfortunately, most of my TV shows are off for the summer, and, while there are a few summer shows that Afterbuzz recaps, I've still been going through podcast withdrawal. 

I read an article on Facebook from the BBC about "Five Podcasts You Should Be Listening To" and was intrigued.  I downloaded one of each and the only one I subscribed to is "Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews."  Basically, these two British guys discussing and reviewing the films that debuted the previous week, and they generally interview a star from one of the new 
films.  The only problem I've encountered so far is that movies sometimes premiere at different times in the UK, so they may be reviewing something that hasn't come out here yet, or they might not review something that's come out here because it hasn't come out there.  I really enjoy these guys.  They argue like an old married couple, and one of them went to school with Jason Isaacs and they say hello to him or get texts or tweets from him all the time.  The fans of the podcast, whenever they see him, always say "I'd like to say hello to Jason Isaacs." 

Another podcast that I found in my search for something new to listen to is called "Mystery Show."  This woman decides she's going to solve mysteries.  Not life or death mysteries like in the podcast "Serial," but everyday mysteries like one day a friend rents a movie at a movie store and then the next day she goes to return the movie to find out that the store gone - out of business, the place is empty; or another friend wrote a book, and one day she saw a picture of Britney Spears with the book in her hand, so the friend wanted to know Britney how got it, did she read it, and did she enjoy it.  Following our detective through the solving of the mysteries has been very fun.  There are only 4 episodes so far, but I eagerly await the next one.  Two thumbs up!

I'm also using the summer to catch up on some of the other podcasts I have got behind on.  The Bugle - an "audio newspaper for a visual world."  Hosted by two British comedians, Andy Zaltzman, in Britain, and
John Oliver, in the US.  John Oliver, who I originally knew from  the Daily Show with John Stewart; they discuss current events.  For a new listener, there are over 280 "official" Bugles (and at least half as much non-official ones) so it would be quite an undertaking to bring yourself up to date, but I must say, having done it myself a couple of years ago when there weren't quite so many to catch up on, it is interesting to listen to them discuss "current" events that happened five years ago!

As for another Daily Show irregular, John Hodgeman has the Judge John Hodgeman podcast where people call in with various disputes, and he then makes a "binding" decision.  And of course it isn't necessary to listen to them in order, but it helps because he will sometimes revisit old rulings by having the people call in for updates on their issues.  Or there's the reoccurring jokes like the "Canadian House of Pizza and Garbage," that you wouldn't know what it was about if you hadn't heard that episode.
And yes, I own this t-shirt. 

So there, you have my plans for the summer in a nutshell.  I'll be podcasting it.  Maybe you'd like to join me... in your own home, office, or car, of course.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hi, I'm Rosemary. I'm Shallow and I'm Dense

I go see a therapist semi-irregularly.  We're supposed to be working on my food issues, but we can all see how well that is going, so no sense in pursuing that line of thought. 

As we were meandering through the initial "gettin' to know ya'!" visits, she seemed concerned that I used the word "shallow" to describe myself a couple of times.  I had to explain to her that when I use the word "shallow," I'm not meaning it in a bad way.  Basically, ...  hmm.. Like, I'm a shallow reader - in that I usually skim read, and even then, generally just "read" conversations taking place; I'm a shallow TV-watcher because I do other things while watching, play on the computer, ipad, phone, "read" a book, do puzzles, knit (although not in quite a long time); I'm a shallow listener because, well, my hearing is horrible and because I have a bunch of sparkly chickens following me around and they distract me.

I use this example to help explain it.  Anyone who has read The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, may recall that there's this green light at the end of the pier.  So, I read the book in high school and in class we're discussing the meaning of the green light.  Not only did I not know what the meaning of the green light was (for a SPOILERY explanation, see bottom of this blog), I didn't even remember there being a light, let alone what color it was.  Not sure I remembered the pier.

Ironically (and if this doesn't technically meet the definition of "irony," I don't care - deal with it or get your own blog), at one point I was an English Lit major at DePauw for all of four months (three of which was the summer between sophomore and junior years).  And it seems the main thing English Lit people are expected to be able to do is read into things.  I read an article though - about that stupid green light, now that I think of it - discussing whether Fitzgerald intended the light to mean all the deep dark stuff, or if he just wanted the light to be a color and green was his favorite and people just read all the deep dark stuff into it.

The main reason I wanted to go with English Lit was that DePauw had a class in Shakespeare, and it was so popular that you had to be an English Lit major to get into it.  Fortunately saner heads, and fate, intervened and I had to change schools and, subsequently, majors.  It's probably a good thing.  Considering how short my attention span is and how poor my reading vision is getting, even if I'd followed through with English Lit, I don't think I'd have been very successful.  What would I have done with that major?  Become a teacher?  I don't like people, so I don't see me being a good teacher.

Speaking of my vision, for several years now, I've ridiculed (in a loving way, as friends do) my best friend because she had to wear her "cheaters" in order to see her food to eat it.  (We have lunch together twice a week.)  I'd laugh at her and ask "Why do you have to see your food?  You know what it looks like!"  Karma, being a bitch, has laughed at me and now I'm wearing bifocals (which I don't mind, because the frames are purple Jimmy Choo's!), and when I have my contacts in, I have to wear cheaters.  I've noticed that sometimes I even have to wear them to see my food.  I'm pathetic.  But those of you with young healthy eyes, beware!  It sneaks up on you slowly.  Then, before you know it, you can's see your games on your iPhone and you have to buy $600 bifocals!

Ok, I'm re-reading what I've got so far, and see that I can't even maintain focus on the topic for one flippin' blog article!  Sigh.  But maybe.. is it possible that, in addition to my multi-tasking, my shallowness may be due to my self-diagnosed (don't laugh, I correctly diagnosed that my gall bladder needed to be removed!) Attention Deficit Disorder?   I feel much better now.  For a while there, I was afraid I was going to talk myself into being shallow in a bad way.  My therapist will be relieved.

Now, if you're interested in the MEANING of the green light read on.  For those, like me, who don't care, you can quit reading now.

Per SparkNotes (and where was this website when I was in high school?!  Oh, yeah... I'm old, that was pre-internet..) :  "Situated at the end of Daisy's East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby's West Egg lawn, the green light represents Gatsby's hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter I he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. Because Gatsby's quest for Daisy is broadly associated with the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that more generalized ideal. In Chapter IX, Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

We Are Family! I Got All My Sisters With Me!

During the month of May, we had several opportunities to co-mingle with Indianapolis portion of our family.  On Mother's Day weekend, the twins came down and we took the previously discussed road trip to the boot hill of Missouri to Jackson to ride the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway.  It was a nice ride over, even though it rained most of the way there.  We purposely got to Jackson early so that we could drive up to Bollinger County to see where Great Grandpa Hollis lived before running away to work on the railroad... "all the live long day!"

Per Mom, Great Grandpa Hollis's father had the foresight to build a hotel when the then "new" railroad was coming through.  It would seem that operating hotels runs in the family gene pool.  (You may recall from a very brief mention in another previous blog, that my grandparents ran a hotel in Golconda Illinois during my mother's formative years.)  Fortunately I missed out on that gene, as I don't generally like people.

After looking at what we think was the old train depot and a rather old rail car (see pics above) in Bollinger County, we drove back to Jackson to potty down, buy some snackage, and catch our train! 
As I mentioned, it had rained on us that morning, as we drove to Missouri.  Unfortunately, it also rained there in Jackson and when we got to the train, we discovered that the "soldiers," both Union and Confederate, that were supposed to be riding on the train with us, decided that what with the rain, they were going home. 
I overheard someone commenting that that similar things happened back during the Civil War, where soldiers would just up and go home when it was time to plant crops, etc.  There were a few soldiers on board and they shared info with us about the train, and guns, and stuff.  So the entertainment portion of our trip wasn't all we anticipated, but the ride itself was enjoyable. 
Also, due to the rain, we learned that, since the train had to go up a slight incline to get started on its way, they had to get the rain water off the tracks and sort of back the train up some to get a running start, as it were, to get up the hill.  Fun fact! 
It was a motley crew of passengers on the train.  The un-motleyest being us, of course.  Some kid, whose name may or may not have been Abraham Lincoln, I was vague on that, read a report that he'd done on Abraham Lincoln.  And there were some Asians, one of whom not-on-purpose photo-bombed my pic of the twins.

As we pulled back into the station, those passengers who were stupid enough to incorrectly answer the question, "Can you sing?" were dragged up and serenaded us with folk songs.

The other event during which Mom and I got to co-mingle with family was the last weekend in May.  Haley, her daughter Brynn, and her son Eddie, were performing with the Athenaeum Pops Orchestra in the Arts Garden in Indy.  It turned out that Holly, who'd just joined the group two weeks prior, would be playing as well.  Now the Arts Garden is this all glass windowed room sitting directly over an intersection in downtown Indy between Circle Center Mall and some hotel.  That was nice enough, but the heavens chose to pour down a lot of rain on us during the performance, with a wee bit of thunder thrown in, and that made it cool!

In addition to hotel-running genes, our family has string-instrument-playing genes.  My grandfather played the violin, and there's someone who played and there's a recording of his playing in the Library of Congress.  My mother could give me the details, but if she wants facts out there, she can get her own blog!  I'm shallow and I like my blog to skim my depths as well.  Where was I?  Oh, so in the picture above, you see Holly with her viola; my nephew Eddie, with his baritone sax - he plays a lot of different instruments, but I don't think there's a string instrument in the bunch; Haley and her violin; and a niece, Brynn with her violin.  Missing from the picture is another niece, Natalie, who plays the cello.  She doesn't play with this orchestra although I'm told they would love to have her cello join them.
I realize my hardcore fans are desperately wondering what instrument does Rose play?  Well the answer there is that Rose did not get any of those genes.  I played the clarinet for 3 years, in the 6th through 8th grades, and I've taken piano lessons a couple of times, including a semester at DePauw.  In both cases, I want to be able to play the instrument, I do not want to have to learn how to play.  My talents lie more toward the genre of writing, thus, this blog.  And aren't we all happy about that!?