BMT, Fortunate Sons and Carnival cruise prep...

We had a busy week in the Richardson house last week.

Our nights have been pretty full. JTC's been practicing up a storm preparing for the gig this coming weekend. I had a session at the Chaters (they're recording Donna and their songs "He is Waiting" and "Unbelievable" to try and pitch it to other choirs) and helped Jonell with her computer.

Friday, 8/20
John had a gig with Blue Mother Tupelo at 3rd & Lindsley. It went really well and John was amazing...as per usual.

Saturday, 8/21
John did not have to work at the animal hospital, so we went cruise shopping Saturday afternoon. Then, we went to see one of our favorite groups, The Fortunate Sons, perform. It was great.

Sunday, 8/22
I had a meeting at church and then John and I continued our cruise prep pilgrimage. Last night we went over to a friends for a get together. AND...It was Gertie's birthday. (Happy B-Day Gertie!)

Tonight, 8/23
We're going to get the packing thing started and try to catch up on some sleep.

Tuesday, 8/24
At 4:30 p.m., I'm auditioning to sing the Star Spangled Banner for a Predators game (Nashville's NHL team). John's got rehearsal for the cruise gig. Then, Tuesday night, we'll put the finishing touches on the cruise packing.

Wednesday, 8/25
John leaves for Tampa (via band van) in the morning. He's still waiting on an official depart time, but is anticipating that they'll get started right away in the morning. I fly out Wednesday evening and will get to Tampa around 9:30. Emily and Lynn are picking me up at the airport...so I'll get to stay over with them, see their new place in Tampa and spend some time with them. Can't wait.

Thursday, 8/26 through Monday, 8/30
Cozumel Cruise!
We'll embark onto the Sensation around Noon on Thursday and arrive back in Tampa at around 8 a.m. Monday morning (8/30).

Once we disembark on Monday morning, the band guys start driving back to Nashville. I'll probably have lunch with our friends Emily & Lynn...maybe take in a little of Tampa before my flight leaves at 6:05 ET. By 7 p.m. CT, I'll be on the ground in Nashville.

We plan to take TONS of photos, so watch for them next week on the blog.

I have a feeling this week is going to go by fffffffffFFFFFFAAAAAASSSST.

For now, I need to get some things done here at work.
Just didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about all of you!

I'll post more cruise details before we leave on Wednesday.

Hope your week is off to a GREAT start.


John and I went out with about ten friends on Friday night to see Jeffrey Steele at 3rd. Our friend Steve C plays guitar along with another acquaintance, Tom Hambridge, on the drums. It was a BLAST. If you enjoy Montgomery Gentry's "Our Town" and "Speed", Faith Hill's "When the Lights Go Down," Trace Adkin's "I'm Tryin" and "Chrome"...etc., etc., then you like Jeffrey Steele. Those are just a few of the songs he's co-written...and he performs them even better than the artists who cut his songs! Scroll down for more photos of the night.
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Jeffrey doin' his thing. Someday I'm going to write a song with this guy...maybe even two! Got a couple ideas right now!
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Jeffrey Steele and Deb Lewane mug for the camera. Good stuff.
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JS and Jimbeau Hinson singing "Hillbilly Highway."
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Bob cuttin' it up with JS. Rockin'.
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Jeffrey Steele and Bob DiPiero singing "Can't take the honky tonk out of the girl" (A song written by Bob and currently a Brooks & Dunn single.)
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Steve C...my friend and favoritest guitar player in the whole wide world.
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For Gwen...now where is that nitroglycerin when we need it?!
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Jeffrey and Caitlyn mixin' it up.
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Caitlyn gettin' her fiddle groove on. She was on FIRE Friday night.
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Tom "Hambone" Hambridge choppin' some wood.
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Jamie Garner (Nashville Star 2003) opened for Jeffrey Steele. He's gonna be one to watch.
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Bob, Gwen and Dan getting ready to see Jeffrey Steele and the band.
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An Iowa sunset.

John and his parents.

Tom and Gertie on Sunday morning.

Johnny the Clock and Grandma Eloise

Grandma Rosemary, John and Grandpa Matt.

Grandkids and Grandparents.

Back row: Tommy, Julie, John and Eloise.
Front row: Rosemary and Matt

Tommy & Brooke, Minnie and Grace...smilin' so pretty!

BB and Johnny The Clock...isn't he a handsome man?!

The Richardson men.

Julie and Jason lookin' good.

Julie, John, Gertie, Tom and Tommy. What a cool bunch.
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Grace and Grandpa blow bubbles. EEEEeeeeeeehhhh. What fun!
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Saturday night we all had a belated celebration of Tom & Gertie's 40th Anniversary (June 13...same day as Tony & Brenda's anniversary!)
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Grace plays with Uncle John while Brooke is takin' care of business with Mommy in the background.
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Brooke...the baby with more hair than me. What a cutie petutie!
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Grace and Daddy.

John's parent's house...lookin' good.

Eloise and the gang after our walking-tour of the Richardson place.
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Two close calls...

This morning I received a call from Brenda (my sister-in-law, Tony's wife).

This call has shaken me to my bones.

It's made me think about the things we take for granted every single day. It's made me think about the things we hang on to that just don't matter.

We all do it.
It's part of life.

But, last night, God gave us all a wake-up call.

The first words out of Brenda's mouth on the phone this morning were:

"Jeanne, we are very lucky to have your brother and your niece and nephew with us today."

I'm not sure I have the details of the story correct, but here's what I understand happened.

Tony was down at the other place (where they used to live south of Tony & Brenda's farm) treating some cattle. As he went to draw an injection of Micotil from the bottle, the syringe slipped and punctured his hand...injecting a small amount of the drug into his hand.

What I didn't know until Brenda explained it to me, is that Micotil is fatal to humans. If injected into a human, they have about 3 to 4 hours to live before their heart gives out on them. (Click here for a link to a story about it.)

Needless to say, I was speechless at this point.

Once the accidental puncture occurred, Tony called Brenda to let her know what was going on and asked her to come get him at the other place.

From the other place, they called the drug company to see what they needed to do and basically were told they had to wait it out. From what they could tell, Tony may not have gotten a big enough dose to harm him...but they weren't sure. He thought it was less than a cc...and that the drug company (Elantra) thought it would take at least 3 cc to cause death. There is no antidote.

After they spoke to Elantra, they drove home. Brenda called a neighbor who was an EMT, Sandra Barger, and asked her to come over to check Tony's blood pressure and advise them as to what they should do next.

In the meantime, they realized that the phone number for Elantra was still down at the other place...and they needed the number. So, Cassy (one month from 17) and AJ (12) jumped into Brenda's Explorer to go get it. (Cassy's an experienced, careful driver.)

Less than 1/2 mile from the place at the top of the hill, they hit some loose gravel going about 40 miles an hour. The vehicle started to fishtail and Cassy overcorrected. She stepped on the brakes as the Explorer spun around and then it rolled. First on its side, then on its top. As it slid on it's top, the vehicle hit a culvert and ended up back on its side.

Believe it or not, Cassy and AJ were okay. They crawled out the passenger window and were walking to a neighbors to call home when Doug MacDonald, a long time family friend, came upon the accident. Not sure, but I think they used his cell to call home. For obvious reasons, both were pretty shaken.

Once Brenda and Tony knew what had happened, they called for the ambulance and then went to the scene with Sandra Barger. AJ had a pretty good bump on his head and Cassy's back / stomach hurt. The sheriff said they were very lucky. The Explorer was totaled and they walked away from it.

The kids didn't want to go in the ambulance, so Tony and Brenda took them to the ER. While there, they were all checked out: Tony, Cassy and AJ.

The doctor didn't think AJ had a concussion and he thought Cassy was okay as well. He told Brenda and Tony to watch them closely the next few days to make sure they didn't show signs of concussion or internal injuries.

As for Tony, he did have a reaction to the Micotil injection but it wasn't fatal. His blood pressure went sky high, but he is okay today.

Everyone is okay.

Thank you, God.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you, God.

Right now...I feel so upset. It's very confusing to be this upset when everyone is okay. I guess it just makes me think about how much I LOVE MY BIG BROTHER...and how much I LOVE CASSY AND AJ...and that this world would be so empty if they weren't sharing it with us.

It makes me think of the "what ifs?" of life.
It makes me realize that nothing is for sure.
It makes me realize just how much I care about EVERYONE in our family.

What are we going to do with this blessing that God has given us?
What are we going to do with the message He is sending?

What if things had been different last night?
What if I'd never see my big brother again...give him a hug...punch him in the shoulder?
What if those kids were somewhere in an intensive care unit hanging on to a thread of life?

Now I know, that you Petersen's out there are saying the truth, "Well, it didn't happen. Everybody is okay. Now just get on with it."

Well, I believe sometimes, in these situations, God wants us to think about the "What ifs."

God put this in our lives for a reason.
He wants us to think about the abundance of family we share.
He wants us to let go of those things that keep us from being close.
He wants us to forgive AND forget...to start fresh.

We only get one shot in this world.
Now, let's use it.

Let's take the blinders off and just live.

I love all of you very much.
And, I wish I were there to tell you this in person.

In the words of a BB Logan song:
"Don't count on tomorrow.
All you have is now.
Yesterday's a memory.
Today is gone like that.
And you can't get it back."

Be safe out there.
Give the people you love a hug today...and tell them how you feel.
The past is over.
Live for today.
Be thankful to God for the blessings we share.



Weekend Road Trip to Iowa.

Getting there.
On Friday, John and I hopped onto I-65 at around 3:30 to begin our travel to Sigourney to see the Richardson clan.

We were hoping to get to John's parents around 12:30 a.m. But, an accident on I-64 east of St. Louis set us back about an hour. Then, as we entered St. Louis, construction slowed us down another 30 minutes. So, we arrived at John's parents somewhere around 2 a.m. Oh well!

We're Home!
Gertie was awake and waiting for us when we arrived (no surprise!). After we'd welcomed each other with giant hugs, we hauled our stuff into the house and crashed.

Saturday morning.
When we woke up Saturday, Gertie had a big smile and coffee waiting for us downstairs. We visited and caught-up over cinnamon rolls and yummy breakfast casserole. Then, while John took his shower, I went outside for some fresh air. It felt so good to look out and see corn fields, farm places and rolling hills.

Eloise arrives!
Tom, Sr., had left Friday night for Seneca to pick-up Eloise. He stayed the night there and brought her to Sigourney Saturday morning around 10 a.m. or so. It had been a while since we'd gotten to see her. She was as inspiring as ever. What an incredible lady. (I want to be like Eloise when I grow up.)

Tom's walking-tour
After visiting a little to catch up, Tom took John, Eloise and I out for a little walking-tour of all the projects he'd been working on around the farm. He's whipped all of the buildings into shape. The old hog shed is now a storage building with freshly painted siding, new wiring and a more open layout inside. Tom took the lofts down and the walls of the building's alley way to make room. It looks great. And, Tom plans to put up a basketball hoop in there as well. (Don't be challenging him to a game of HORSE...you won't win! HA.)

Tom, Minnie, Grace and Brooke Arrive
By the time we finished our tour, Tom, Minnie, Grace and Brooke were there and it was time for lunch. Gertie had whipped up some lasagna casserole, corn casserole and BBQ pork. Boy did that hit the spot. (John and I want the lasagna recipe!) For dessert, she served up some fresh blackberry pie from some berries that the Pfeiffer's had given her. MMMmmmm good.

Grace is amazing.
At only 2.5 years-old, Grace is talking up a storm. And, I'm not just talking about echoing what others are saying. She's actually having full conversations and speaking clearly. I swear, she's an adult trapped in a little person's body!

Minnie calls the girls "sweetie" and Grace has picked up on this, too. Gertie had told me how cute it was, but I had no idea just how cute until I heard Grace utter the words myself. In her tiny little adult-like voice she said, "How are you doing, sweetie?"

Grace was a trip all day long.

Brooke has more hair than me.
Brooke (4 months-old) has the hair of ten babies. It is thick and dark and definitely not going anywhere. I know Tom and Minnie are probably sick of people commenting on it, so I'll keep it brief, but it really is wild.

Aside from the hair phenomenon, Brooke is also very alert and wide-eyed. She fussed a little bit with all the commotion of new people and different surroundings, but for the most part she was either eating, sleeping or smiling.

Good stuff.

Matt and Rosemary
Mid-afternoon, Gertie brought Matt and Rosemary to visit as well. With the help of Gertie, Tom, Kathy, Al, Carol and Kim, Rosemary and Matt are getting along pretty well. Everyone is pitching in where they can to help with doctor visits, shopping, church and various daily needs so that the two of them are able to be at home.

Matt is looking pretty healthy. He's put on some weight (which is good) and he's still got that sparkle in his eye when we talk about farming. Rosemary and Gertie talk daily and work together to make sure his progress keeps moving forward. Having Carol in Kansas City is also a blessing.

Saturday Supper
Tom grilled burgers while Gertie made hash brown casserole and Minnie worked with Tom, John and Grace to shuck / cook some sweet corn. It was MMMmmmmgoood.

Jason & Julie
Julie had to work at the rest home until 7 p.m. on Saturday, so she and Jason came over around 7:30 Saturday night. Gertie heated up some left-overs for them and we sat out on the screened in porch to visit with them.

Jason is still commuting to Iowa City everyday and Julie started work at the rest home a few months ago. Sounds like she likes it pretty well and gets to work with her friend Carrie, so that makes it even more fun. On Saturday, she made four pans of brownies...I mean really...how can you go wrong with that!?!

Everyone went home around 10 or 10:30. John and Tom went to bed while Eloise, Gertie and I stayed up to visit a little. We talked about Eloise's travels throughout the years. I had no idea Eloise had ridden a camel (twice!), seen the pyramids and had her photo taken in front of the Sphinx! She's also been to Hawaii, the Holy Land, Africa and either the Bahamas or the Caribbean (can't remember which). Very cool.

Sunday Morning
Tom and Eloise went to the 8 a.m. service at Harper. Gertie, John and I visited in the meantime. When Tom and Eloise returned, Gertie left to take Matt and Rosemary to the 10 a.m. service in Sigourney. We visited with Tom and Eloise until about 9:45...and then we packed up the car.

By 10 a.m. we were on the road and by 7 p.m. we were home. We stopped twice for gas and arrived back in Nashville right at 9 hours. (next time we're going to see if we can stop once...shave off another 15 minutes!)

What a quick trip. But, it was sure jammed packed. We enjoyed it so much and are already trying to figure out when we can do it again.

Gertie and Tom...we appreciate the efforts you made to make sure we were able to see everyone. From going to get Eloise to bringing Matt & Rosemary over for the day to inviting Tom, Minnie & the girls to making sure Julie & Jason could be there, too. Without your coordination, we wouldn't have gotten to see everyone.

We appreciate the extra effort by all so that we could all be together in one place. It was really nice to be able to see everyone all at once.

It was a GREAT weekend.

I'll post some photos of the Richardson Road trip later tonight.

Koko's got a toothache...

Gorilla Seeks Help Using Sign Language
WOODSIDE, Calif. - When Koko the gorilla used the American Sign Language gesture for pain and pointed to her mouth, 12 specialists, including three dentists, sprang into action...


Seinfeld DVD Gift Set and "Open Water"

Friday's USA Today had a couple interesting nuggets:

Something About Nothing
Seinfeld is coming out on DVD!

The 18 episodes from the first and second seasons on Volume 1 include two versions of the pilot plus such cherished moments as Jerry's disdain of Dockers and Elaine's first "get out!' shove. The 22 shows from the third season on Volume 2 introduce Wayne Knight as Jerry's nemesis Newman and such terms as "hand" (as in upper hand) and "the vault" (where secrets are kept sealed in the mind).

With the $119.95 gift set, you get a bonus: Monk's Diner salt and pepper shakers shaped like mustard and ketchup containers. Confusing yet cute.

The 24 hours of additional features split between the two volumes include a documentary, bloopers, outtakes, never-seen-before Seinfeld stand-up routines, commentaries and trivia. Ever wonder where Kramer was during the Chinese restaurant episode? The secret is finally revealed.

John and I may have to bite the bullet and purchase a DVD player for this!

Open Water
"Surfacing from an underwater excursion to find you've been left high and dry by your boat is a scuba diver's worst nightmare - and a dramatic hook for the summer's newest psychological thriller."

Apparently, the sharks in this film are not mechanical. The actors were really surrounded by actual sharks throughout the shoot. I'm sure that made the fear on their faces VERY BELIEVABLE.

It's the latest movie to come out of the Sundance Film Festival and the , review , made us want to see the movie.


Ideas to live by...

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah (on her show) for Dr. Angelou's 74th birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was "exciting."

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day... like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist first, she said. The audience laughed so hard they cried.

Dr. Angelou also said:

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life."

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Powerful and inspiring words.

Just thought I'd share.



Sarah McLachlan, Daryl Hammond and Carol King

Q: What do these three celebrities have in common?
A: I saw all three of them perform last week!

Sarah McLachlan
Last Wednesday I skipped choir to redeem my birthday present from John: two tickets to Sarah McLachlan. The show was incredible and better than I could have expected. The musicians were incredible (her drummer is also her husband) and Sarah's voice was spot on.

I have to admit...I was a little worried that seeing her live would ruin my opinion of her music. Would she sound as good live as she does on the album? The answer is unequivocally YES. In fact, she sounded better in person. Both John and I were impressed with the music, the performance and the execution of the show. It was excellent.

Darrell Hammond
John left for a gig in North Carolina on Friday. I went into the day without a thing to do Friday night. But, before the work day was over, I'd been invited to go to Zanies to see Darrell Hammond perform.

Before the show, several of us went to Mafioza's for pizza for a slice and a draft or two. Then, a total of eleven of us met at Zanie's. We had a GREAT time. My stomach hurt from laughing by the time the night was over. There were two opening comics who were just as funny as Darrell Hammond.

Carol King
Then on Saturday, the crowning day of the weekend, I went to see Carol King at the Ryman Auditorium with LindaDblu and Peach. It has been in the works for literally months. (John was sooooo bummed that he could go. She's one of his favs. Don't worry though...I bought him a consolation Carole King cap! HA.)

The tour is called "The Living Room Tour" and for good reason. The stage contains a grand piano, two guitars and a couple amps with a cozy living room set...complete with couch, chair, tapestry rugs, lamps and even a couple fake fichus trees. It was really cool...um...I mean warm. (I'm so confused.)

She sang tons of songs we all know and spent just as much time on the songs that aren't as familiar. Accompanying her on about half of the songs were Rudy Guess (her guitarist, musical director and producer) and one of Nashville's finest tunesmiths, Gary Burr .

Carole sounds sooooo good. As she stated several times during the performance, she's 62. I hope I look and act like Carole King when I'm 62...no wait...I want to be like her NOW! HA. She looks great, she sounds great and she is sharp as a tack.

If you get a chance to attend one of the "Living Room" tour dates...don't pass it up!

OK...wish I could write more but I have to get going.
I'll write more tomorrow.