Ah, October. Second only to summer in general, October is my favorite month of the year. I am indifferent to pumpkin spice everything, but what I like about October is the fall colors, the end of stink bug season, and the abundance of horror movies and haunted houses. I have posted before about the former but never about the latter.
I suppose this post could have come earlier in the month, as we are just three days away from Halloween-proper as I write this. Still…better late than never.
Below is a selection of three haunted attractions from around the country that I have had the opportunity to visit. Keep reading to learn more…if you dare. Continue reading “Haunted Houses around the U.S.”
This past weekend, Morristown, TN, midway between Knoxville and Johnson City, played host to the Vietnam Moving Wall. A half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, the Moving Wall has been traveling around the U.S. since 1984.
Continue reading “A Moving Experience”
Are you a collector?
I ask because I recently moved, and when slowly unpacking four decades worth of boxes (I’m getting old), I discovered what was probably just a handful, but seemed like dozens, of travel souvenirs, tchotchkes, and other knick-knacks picked up during the course of my travels. Some, like a foot-long Maori carving made of wood, are rather nice. A couple, such as a Statue of Liberty paperweight that was given to me by my grandmother and is my only material memory of her, are nostalgic.
Continue reading “The Indian in the Cupboard: Travel Souvenirs and Various Miscellanea”
My, what a crazy year this has been.
Thanksgiving is normally a time for introspection and reflection, for remembering everything that you have in your life, and for spending the day – or at least the afternoon – with friends and family.
I will be spending my Thanksgiving alone.
This is probably for the best.
Continue reading “Thanksgiving Reflections – 2017”
Last week I stumbled upon a post of mine from 2014 entitled “25 (More) Things about Me that You Might Not Know.” I gave it – and the original post from the year before – a fresh read, and decided that this blog needs another post on the same topic. After all, a lot (or not much at all, depending on your outlook) has happened since 2014. Oh, one more thing: I’m keeping politics out of it!
Another 25 Things about Me:
Continue reading “Another 25 Things about Me that You Might Not Know”
It has been four years since I made a year-in-review post such as the one you’ve just started reading. But 2016 has been an interesting year. I was promoted twice, took a few day trips, and bought a car. On the other hand, my mom passed away, as did countless artists and celebrities, all of them before their time. Additionally, my general stress level seemed to increase tenfold. There have been times, during these last two months in particular, when it seemed as if 2016 would never end.
2016 highlights and lowlights
What a year it’s been!
Continue reading “2016: A Year to (Not) Remember”
November has, thus far, been rife with disappointment. On a personal level, I have slowly been making peace with my mother’s passing, less than two months ago, while weathering a relationship break-up that felt like a sucker punch. Regarding the former, it took several weeks to even register the fact that my mom was gone. As for the latter, I’ve been trying to assess what I must have done wrong, but am slowly coming to the conclusion that I will never know for sure. All I can say is that I haven’t been sleeping well.
On the world stage – and for the second occurrence in my lifetime – the better candidate for the United States Presidency won the popular vote but lost the election. And the other day, I logged onto social media to learn that one of my favorite mood poets, Leonard Cohen, had passed away at age 82.
At times like these, I tend towards the melancholy. I spent much of yesterday doing some archiving and came across a few blog posts from 2013. I realized that it was Election Day, 2012, when I moved to Mexico City and established gringopotpourri.com. My blog has changed a lot over the years. For one thing, the writing is better now than it was then. Darker, perhaps, but also better. The regionality of the content has also shifted from being mostly Mexico-focused to being largely Tennessee-focused.
To “celebrate” my blog’s four-year anniversary, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts for you, along with comments on how those posts either came to be or how they hold up today. And as always: Thanks for reading!
Continue reading “Onward and Upward: Four Years of Blogging”
The 2016 U.S. presidential election is just one day away and it has come down to a knock-down, drag-out between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. One candidate is intelligent and experienced, but also corrupt and incapable of relating to the working class. The other candidate is a liar, a braggart, a failed businessman, a racist, and a sexual predator.
Continue reading “End of Days: Election 2016”
Ann M. Skinner, 70, passed away Monday, September 19, 2016. Ann was born and raised in Chicago, IL, graduating from Maryville Academy and attended the Moser Secretary College. She raised her family in Plainfield, IL where she was very active with her children’s schools and the community. She and her family moved to Memphis in 2004. Ann spent most of her career in the secretarial field, however, the last 15 years she spent as a telephone operator with Target Stores which she retired from in 2011. After retiring she then relocated to Morristown with her husband.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley and Alice Poterala.
Ann leaves her husband of 47 years, Greg Skinner; son, Scott Skinner; daughter, Shari Riley; granddaughter, Taryn Riley; sisters, Barbara Hanas and Jackie Nogle; and extended family members of various cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24 at Mayes Mortuary with the Rev. Gordon Smith officiating.
In lieu of flowers the family asks for memorials to be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 1311 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10605 or www.LLS.org.
My mother’s funeral was yesterday. The facts are summarized in the obituary clipping above that featured in Wednesday’s Citizen-Tribune; the paragraphs below are from my eulogy to her:
Continue reading “Remembering My Mother”
Last June, I published a blog entry that was near and dear to my heart. In it, I wrote about my paternal family tree. I first told of my grandfather, a WWII sailor, Middle East adventurer, Paraguayan coffee plantation owner, and Prohibition-era beat cop who fathered eight children with three different women. I then blogged about my grandmother, an incredible cook who outlived three husbands and had a closet filled with identical-looking blue house dresses. Finally, I introduced Loyal Readers to my father, a decent man and Army vet with an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball and a functional case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the latter of which is simultaneously annoying and endearing.
But that is just half of the story.
Continue reading “Where I Come From – Part Two”