Category Archives: Hobbies

Kaleya Loves Hairspray

Signing says “To Kaleya – You Rock! Taylor Parks”

This is what we received in the mail today for Kaleya! Kaleya has been all over Hairspray the past month and she loves Little Inez’s part. So, Kalonji found her on MySpace and I requested an autographed picture for Kaleya and she sent it. How cool!

Visiting Fisk

Family Fest – Day 3

Today we went to Fisk and had an incredible day. I have a new appreciation for the history of the institution and all that it symbolizes. We took the kids there so they start to understand the importance and significance of having an education.

We got to campus at 10am and were treated to a tour by a student with an intriguing background – W.J. (we’ll call him), is a double major in history and religion and a minor in secondary education. He was an awesome tour guide – extremely knowledgeable and exactly the kind of tour guide we hoped we’d have. If I were to post about everything we learned today, I’d have a post five pages long!

Fisk was established in 1866 and was the first post-civil war education institution for blacks. We started in Cravath Hall, which used to be the original library. Built by masons, the building looks the same from all directions and has masonic images over the doorway.

W.J. then took us over to the Fisk Chapel where performances by the who’s who of black history have performed and lectured. The Chapel is a beautiful structure and we learned that when a royal patriarch in Ghana learned that Fisk did not have the money to finish construction, he literally took the roof off of his residence and sent it over to Fisk with his architects. Also, the Chapel is made from stone and mahogany wood which do not burn, so whenever there was a threat to the students on campus, they would go into the Chapel into rooms hidden among the roof of the chapel.

W.J. informed us that Miles Davis had once performed there, so of course I had to take a picture of Miles standing in front.

We then walked over to Jubilee Hall, the original building on campus and the one built with the funds raised by the Jubilee Singers. Along the way we passed by this painting on the ground done by Nikki Giovanni when she was a senior at Fisk, and now the tradition is that each year, the senior class repaints it.

Jubilee Hall is a great structure, built on what was the highest hill in Nashville and the original location where slaves were sold. Jubilee Hall was the first permanent structure in the country built exclusively for the purpose of educating blacks.

The first floor of Jubilee Hall is maintained in original condition for the most part b/c it is a National Historic Landmark. Inside, the original painting of the Jubilee Singers is housed in a meeting room. That meeting room also has beams in the room that were taken from an Austrian castle built in the 1300s. Amazing.

At this point, W.J. departed from us and we went off to lunch. We came back to the campus after lunch to visit a colleague of mine at the Fisk Library and we viewed the art in the Aaron Douglass gallery on the 3rd floor of the library. Also on the 3rd floor was a collection of sketches by Cyrus Baldridge, who walked across Africa with his wife in the 1930s and made sketches of those he interacted with.

There was so much more to our visit but these were some of the highlights. Pictures from yesterday’s visit to the TN State Museum are here, and pictures from Fisk are here.

Tonight, we got the boys watching the first half of Roots. Further education for them. Tomorrow we’ll finish. No other major plans than that and running some errands.

Family Fun Day 2

Family Fest – Day 1 & 2
This week we have all the kids! (I have four stepsons in case you didn’t know) for a week of family fun. 

Yesterday we had a very leisurely morning – not really stirring until around 9 or so (well, them — i myself did not get up until about 11!). We headed out to run a couple of errands (including vehicle registration, which if I had only known about the new online option last week I could have avoided).

[Kaleya & Miles at the county clerk office.]

Then, we decided to go to the TN State Museum, however, I failed to realize that the museum is not open on Mondays. Instead, we went to the public library for some time, then hit a local used bookstore to pick up some of our own books, went grocery shopping and came home.

[Walking downtown.]

Last night, the boys are watched the movie Pride about a black swim team that came out last year. It chronicles the story of Jim Ellis, a swim coach who started the first black swim team. The team was based out of a recreation center in Philadelphia. I watched this with Kalonji a couple of weeks ago and it is definitely worth watching.

This morning, we went to our local Regal Cinemas and were able to see Bee Movie for free due to a program they run in the summer for showing free movies. We had all seen it before, but it was fun to see it on the big screen again. The movie theater was packed to!

After having lunch at home, we then took the kids to the Tennessee State Museum. This was my first time going, despite all the years I’ve lived here and I was pleasantly surprised. There were a good number of exhibits — all of them well done. We asked the kids to take turns reading from the exhibits and discussing what was presented. I actually learned quite a bit about some of the history of early Tennessee and the cities here. Also, learned more about some of the lifestyle conditions of the people in Tennessee from the early frontier days to early 1900s.

[Kaleya next to a bench carved by Davy Crockett. ] 

[everyone watches a short educational film]

Tomorrow we go to take them on a tour of Fisk. We got them started early as they had to read the plates that went along with each item in the collection. 

[Miles reads about the Fisk Jubilee singers.]

Not sure what tomorrow necessarily brings after the tour – possibly visit BiCentennial Mall for a minute or Fort Negley, then I’d love to get some swimming in for them; we’ll see.



Kaleya & Friend

Look! A DigiScrap page! I haven’t done a scrapbook page in quite a while now. I had a separate blog for it, but decided to let that one go as I don’t do this often enough to justify a separate blog. I have plenty other blogs to keep me busy 🙂 This is Kaleya over Memorial Day Weekend with her BFF.

I was inspired to do a page after one of the genealogy blogs I read posted about scrapbooking + genealogy. The guest poster listed a website that I was not familiar with and I just spent about two hours downloading freebies. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Kung-Fu Panda

We took Kaleya to go see Kung Fu Panda last night. It was very cute and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would! Kaleya is so funny; she runs around making hand movements like they do in the movie. Kalonji and I have considered putting her in karate for the past year so we are hoping this movie gets her motivated. The only problem is that most places don’t start kids until they are 5 years old. So, looks like we may have to wait a little while longer 🙂

Stitching Update

You won’t believe this — I am about to actually post a stitching update! Okay, well, maybe I haven’t done any stitching, but here is a stitching picture 🙂

All the work i’ve done this week for the Cross Stitch Magazine Database & Blog has made me really nostalgic for stitching. I have not stitched in a long time, but I am feeling like it may happen again soon. As part of my self-motivation, I decided to take a picture of my WIP that I’ve been working on off an on for two years now. It is a design by Julie Hasler. It appears in her book, Native American Cross-Stitch, as well as in the 2nd issue of Cross Stitch Gold from 2001.

Since the last time I took a picture, I can see that I’ve made considerable progress. There was a good month last summer where i was working on it pretty much everyday, so that had an impact. This weekend I plan to go through my floss that I have for it and fill in some gaps; I know the last couple of times I did pick it up there were certain colors that I did not have, so had to jump around a lot. I don’t like doing that in principle if I can help it. I’ll share an update when I actually start working on it again.

Memorial Day Activities

Could the weekend have been any better?

Happy Memorial Day to everyone out there. I am posting this just a tad bit late, but I had a great weekend and have to share. My weekend started with some house cleaning – I rearranged our bedroom and cleaned up the rest of the house as well. Managed to get the whole apartment except for the kitchen. Then, after resting, turned my attention towards doing some genealogy.

On Saturday afternoon, we took Kaleya to see her friend’s dance recital that was put on the by Nashville Dance Company. Can you imagine anything cuter than a group of 4-year old’s on stage? The costumes were so cute! Of course, there were older girls too, but the little ones steal the show.

Sunday afternoon was spent in the sun; we took Kaleya over to a friend’s place to enjoy the pool. Kaleya wore herself out accordingly and had so much fun in the pool. It’s been almost a year since she’s been in the water, so I’d love to start getting her more acquainted. Maybe next year we’ll do swimming lessons. From yesterday, I think she particularly enjoyed trying to get used to the lounge chairs. 🙂

My Sunday evening, and all day Monday was consumed by my Cross Stitch Magazine Database. I’ve been wanting to revamp the site for some time, and while I still have plans to do some cool Web 2.0 stuff, I figure it is better to go in steps, so I made some changes and reduced the level of complexity of the back-end and redid the site. Right now it’s really a test of the application I’ve chosen, but I think it may work out. The URL for the site is With my new streamline processes in place, it makes it much easier to accept contributions for others. Look out for a future post about that.

But alas, all good things must come to an end right? It’s back to work tomorrow. I love what I do, but when I get opportunities like I’ve had this weekend to really focus on the things that truly relax me, it can be hard to let go!

Cross Stitch Magazine Database Will Be Back

If you’re looking for the Cross Stitch Magazine Database, don’t worry! It will be back! I think the emails I usually receive to let me know the domain is about to expire may have gone to spam, so I did not realize the site was down until a few minutes ago. So, I have renewed it and just await for it to come back online. Thanks for bearing with me!

However, this is a good time to give an update on the redesign. That is still coming along. The backend is finished and the user side is being worked on now. I can’t yet give a definite launch date, but please stay tuned…

Mirabilia/LL/TIAG Gallery Removed

The Mirabilia/LL/TIAG Gallery is no more.

After about two years overdue, I have finally taken down the Mirabilia/LL/TIAG Stitchers’ Gallery. It was an online website I created about five years ago I think? that would let you see finished and works in progress of stitchers working on designs from Mirabilia and those of Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum. Since having Kaleya, the time I devoted to the site has been practically nil, and though I enlisted help, it just wasn’t working out. So, I’ve taken it down and will continue to redirect my efforts more towards revamping the cross-stitch magazine database site I have.

And, in personal news, I took and survived the GRE; and a couple of days ago, I had a round of interviews/meetings for the graduate program. Now, I have a computer science test on Wednesday to study for. Wow.. i feel like a student again already.

Movie Weekend

It’s been a movie-watching weekend this weekend! Yesterday, my friend watched Kaleya for several hours while Kalonji and I went to the movies. We went to go see The Great Debaters and Cloverfield. I enjoyed both tremendously though they were very different from each other. Then, last night, I finally watched The Bourne Ultimatum. I have the other two movies and will be adding #3 to my collection shortly.

And, yesterday, just because, I decided to take a few pics of Kaleya. Of course she had to model for me 🙂