Category Archives: Out on the Town

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

This weekend has been great! I’ve had a not so great week as I was sick and had to miss a couple of days of work. I still have some residual respiratory “stuff” going on, but this weekend has been so nice and I’ve felt far better than I had all week.

Saturday I started the day with some shopping – for yarn to use in my crochet projects, and for Kaleya as she has an upcoming science fair.

Saturday night I had a chance to catch up with a friend and her daughter,  and we had dinner at Rainforest Cafe.  It’s been many years since I last visited there and we had a great time!

Then Sunday, Mother’s Day, we spent the afternoon at Edwin Warner Park with friends and just enjoyed being outside. The weather was perfect.

This coming week will be busy as I have a business trip to Chicago on Saturday.  Hope everyone else had a great weekend too!

Panafest Nashville 2014

This year, Kalonji and I had a chance to participate in some of the activities for Panafest Nashville.  The Nashville version is based on the one held every two years in Ghana and aims to bring together all African cultures for a weekend of cultural festivities.  This year, the guest speaker was Nelson Mandela’s eldest granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela.

We all had a chance to meet Ms. Mandela last weekend on her arrival to the states. Africa Legacies Foundation held a reception for her at the Africa House and we enjoyed having the opportunity to hear Ms. Mandela speak about her father, Thimbekele Mandela, and her grandfather Nelson.

kids in the backyard of the Africa House
Kaleya & Ndileka Mandela
Ms. Mandela w/ Dr. Chihombori, Dr. Quao, and Kwame & Justina Ahima
Kalonji and Kwame Lilliard

Then, last night, we attended the Panafest Gala Dinner and had a great time! The Gala was held at the Global Event Center in what used to be Hickory Hollow Mall.  Ms. Mandela was also present, spoke some about her family and the work she was doing – including the fact that she planned to establish a Tennessee office of her foundation – that’s great news to hear.  During the evening we were treated to dance performances, a fashion show,  and great food and music.  We even ran into a family friend while there. For more, the Tennessean has a nice article with information about her visit here in town.

My pictures didn’t turn out the best, but I did capture a few.

Kalonji, Derrick, and Donovan

I also very much enjoyed the music. It was awesome! I was trying to use Shazaam to identify the music, but the app didn’t do that great of a job unfortunately. But, I did capture a few tracks, so I’ll start with those and see what else comes up.

Many thanks to the organizers for a great evening

An Evening at the Africa House

Last night, Kalonji and I attended a wonderful benefit fundraising dinner on behalf of the African Legacies Foundation and the  African Union-African Health Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI).  We really didn’t have all the details of the event before we went, but we were pleasantly surprised.

The event was held in Gallatin, TN at the Africa House — a former plantation home that is now owned by Dr. Arikana Chihombori (aka Dr. C – pictured below in green), a physician based in Murfreesboro, TN and her husband, Dr. Nii Saban Quo.  As soon as we started going up the very long driveway, I had to look the history of the home and quickly found a descriptive article from a Florida newspaper.  The plantation used to have many slaves, and what a striking contrast to it’s current use as a meeting place for people of African descent.

The purpose of the evening was to raise awareness of the health care needs in Africa and overall awareness of the health disparities in hypertension, diabetes and stroke among African-ancestored individuals. The stories shared were incredibly moving and greatly illustrated how important it is to increase access to basic healthcare services. The AU-ADHI has a new initiative to promote Vital Signs — that we all need to know our numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc) and that health care facilities in Africa all have ways to collect vital sign information in patients, for as Dr. C noted, it is via vital signs “…that we enter the healthcare system”.

We also learned about Panafest Nashville, an event sponsored by the African Legacies Foundation,  and now I’m really looking forward to attending.  Panafest is a cultural event held in Ghana and the Nashville event (April 26th and 27th) is meant to celebrate it here also.  

Overall, we had a great time getting to learn more about the group’s work and their upcoming activities.  Though so much more needs to be done, they are doing a great job and helping to raise overall awareness!

Our 12th Anniversary

December 31, 2013 was our 12th anniversary and Kalonji and I had a nice, leisurely day. We hung out with Kaleya running various errands around town and finished the day with a fulfilling dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant.

Earlier in the day, I took this picture of Kalonji and Kaleya wrapped up in his Dr. Who scarf :-)

And here is photo montage of our dinner. Yummy!

Visit to the Adventure Science Center

We had another visit to the Adventure Science Center today.  Kid admission was free all day today and there was a Mini Maker Faire on the premises.  I was not familiar with the Maker Faire before – it was cool – a day of “creative making” and various projects.  We learned a lot from our visit.

waiting to get into the Adventure Science Center
Q pulls up a car!
Kaleya is a little suspicious of that dinosaur
it takes teamwork
blurry pics but i loved watching them come down the slide in the Adventure tower
they did not want me to take this pic :-)
steampunk something? not sure what this is?
star wars replica

Hanging Out at the Musician’s Corner

Yesterday, anxious to get the kids out and do something around town, I consulted Ms. Cheap’s column and found out about the Musician’s Corner event at Centennial Park. The kids love going to Centennial Park – we last went there in April for the Earth Day Festival. I particularly enjoy having the backdrop of The Parthenon. It makes for quite an impressive scenery.  The event itself was Tour de Fat’s travelling festival – Beer, Bikes & Amusement. There was definitely lots of beer (not that I drink the stuff), lots of bikes, and lots of amusement. But – it was all family friendly :-)

Kaleya & Q post in very large picture frame

We wandered around a bit, Q climbed a tree, and we waited for the 2:15 Le Tigre showing.  LeTigre is a micro-vaudeville act – their tent only holds 52 people. It was entertaining for sure. The call guy (don’t know what else to call him?) was funny and interacted well with the audience while we waited to get in. The tent itself is decorative. Inside the tent it is quite cozy. Our show was that of Steinomite, a rapper character who actually had some cool celebrity wordplay in one of his songs :-).  You can catch some of his work on YouTube.

Q climbs trees
the awesome Le Tigre tent
my Queen of Hearts admission ticket for Le Tigre. They have 52 seats. Get it?

After the show, as we were walking through the park on our way to some of the amusement contraptions set up, we met Robin Williams! Kalonji happened to catch his profile as we passed by him and said out loud “Was that Robin Williams?” I was like, what? where? I turned around and saw him and we weren’t sure until we saw another couple go up to him and talk to him and shake his hand. Cool! So, we went over and I may have jumped the gun for I eagerly was like “Mr. Williams – it’s a pleasure to meet you!”  I then had to tell him that my mother was born on the exact same day he was (she’s been telling me this my whole life) and he said she shares good company. Ha! It was great. Then, Kalonji spoke to him and told him and we were able to get a picture. He was so nice! He is in town filming his latest movie.  When I was in grad school at UNC, he was on our campus filming Patch Adams – I think I remember getting a glimpse of him one day then, but this was way better :-)

Robin Williams!

After that, the kids explored some of the activities that were in the park and we caught a performance from Yo Yo People - a husband and wife yo-yo expert team. They were great – funny & interactive.

Q and Kaleya with their heads in some kind of audio contraption
Yo Yo People perform

We then wandered over to Mickey D’s for some ice cream treats and came on back home. We later realized that we’d missed Here Come the Mummies though – dang it! Maybe next time.

Thanks to Musician’s Corner for a fun afternoon. We are looking forward to upcoming events!

TSU Has Him Now

This weekend was another exciting weekend for us. Miles has been accepted into a transportation engineering camp at Tennessee State University and this weekend was drop-off weekend. The camp lasts the entire month of June and he’ll be living on campus. The camp is for rising 10-12th graders and only has about 20 participants. We learned today that participants come from around the country, not just Nashville, so that was a pleasant surprise. See this blog post from last year to get an understanding of what the kids will be doing.

Yesterday, we dropped Miles off for camp.

luggage in hand
on the hall
Q and Kaleya will miss him!
view from his window
in front of engineering school

This is going to be a great opportunity for Miles given his interests in pursuing engineering. Enjoy Miles!

Then, after we dropped him off, we went to Sweet CeCe’s. It was my first time there, but Kalonji has taken Kaleya before. Of course, it was good. :-)

Sweet CeCe's
yes, the ice cream is good

As we were leaving though, I had a moment of shame. It took me forever to understand the significance of the anchor in this football game ad.

the anchor signifies the commodore - captain of the sea!

I should be ashamed too; as much as I like the Vanderbilt history and everything related to the Commodore!

A Crazy Seven Days

It’s been a hectic week this past week for us.  This was the last week of school and then we had a busy Memorial Day Weekend.

Kaleya at school luau
Kaleya w/ 1st grade teacher

On Saturday, I took a quick trip up north of Nashville to visit a genealogy friend. On Sunday, I met up with a group visiting the states from Spain to help one member of the group search for her family. On Monday I rested most of the day, but did various household tasks. We did however, take a quick trip out to Radnor Lake. I’d not been there before, so it was nice to just walk around some.

whoa! a deer!
beautiful Lake Radnor

Busy, busy, busy!

Saturday Outing: The Symphony & Cheekwood

Today, we did another Nashville first – our first visit to the Nashville Symphony.  For this I need to greatly thank my co-worker Frances who used her ticket credits to purchase the tickets for us to go see the Pied Piper.

inside the Symphony Hall

…but I have a confession to make – I actually did not know the full story of the Pied Piper, only knew bits and pieces.  So I didn’t know what to expect. But it was great! The conductor began the show by describing the plot, then having the orchestra play music representative of the different characters in the story so that we’d know when the characters were involved during the musical performance. I think our favorite “character” was the music for the rats; it was very appropriate.  On top of that, they had a performance group on stage acting out the story and the conductor continued to provide explanation.  I think all the kids and adults alike enjoyed it – I know our family did! :-)

Kaleya poses outside after the show is over

After the symphony, we then headed out to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. This was my second visit there, my first one having been back in September.  This time, our visit was free as Kaleya’s school was having a Family Fun Day and we could enter at no charge.

When I went in the fall, it was Kaleya and I, so I’d been wanting to take the boys to visit – this was the perfect opportunity.  We arrived at about 1:30 and spent the next couple of hours walking the grounds, playing around the ponds, and going through the museum.

by the pond
turtle peeks his head out
Miles and Jihad exploring the pond
the kids in front of the house
Miles did not really drink the water!

The exhibits in the museum changed since my last visit and one I particularly enjoyed was the Red Grooms exhibit. We have some of his artwork displayed in the library where I work – the Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. My favorite piece was cool, and I didn’t even get the name of it. You can see it at about 1:20 into the video below about Red Grooms and his wife.  Red is a Nashville native so I really should make more of an effort to learn about his artwork.

In all, we had a great day today! Tomorrow, I look forward to staying in and relaxing though. :)