Breaking Ground & Breaking Records

Day 67
Listening to: Who Can It Be Now
Thought for the day: If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are. ~James Burke


Today is the 96th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Old Hickory Powder Plant (village construction began earlier). After that first scoop of dirt was lifted, construction proceeded at an unthinkable pace. There were doubts from the government and other competing companies that DuPont could meet their set timeline. The first of Old Hickory’s nine smokeless powder units would begin operation on July 2, 1918, 3 months ahead of schedule. The powder plant operation itself called for the construction of 1,113 buildings. All but 100 of these structures were completed by the day of Armistice, November 11, 1918. That’s 1,003 buildings built in 8 months! I think about the rapid pace in which the powder plant and village were built all of the time and try to comprehend how loud it must have been. The chorus of hammers, machinery, and 32 train cars arriving/departing daily had to have been deafening. It was probably just a part of life to those who lived here during that time. Today’s photo is of the plant managers who oversaw the entire process of construction and operation.

Photo: Hagley Museum
Facts from Williams S. Dutton’s book, DuPont –One Hundred and Forty Years

St. Kris of Ladders

Day 66
Listening to: Rock the Casbah
Thought for the day: With a week that started off with ice and snow, it was so nice to have a day that promised forthcoming warmth, new life, longer days, and FLIP FLOPS!!!


Today I spent an hour in a meeting about ladders. LADDERS Y’ALL! Everyone should have to spend a Friday at work talking about ladders……………. for an hour. It’ll give you a new perspective on life. At one point in the meeting, the facilitator said, “We just want to please Kris. That’s all I care about.” I quickly responded, “If you want to please me, you need to come at me with chocolate and Oreos.” He responded with something smarty pants-ish at which point I said, “Be careful! I might write about you.” And, so I am! Truth is, when life dishes out a beautiful day weather-wise like today, it’s difficult not to be filled with joy. My patience in the ladder meeting was worthy of sainthood, St. Kris of ladders. I credit the weather.

Ain’t This Just Ducky

Day 65
Listening to: Rio


My Throwback Thursday photo was taken in Lake Tahoe in the 1970s. My Dad added the cartoon bubble in a photo album he and my step mom put together for me a bazillion years ago (we use to say “ain’t this just ducky” all of the time). Also, check out this beautiful example of a circa 1970s handkerchief sleeve! I know. You’re jealous.

Today my manager came in my office and with tremendous sincerity and care said, “Tell me something you would really like to do here at work.” I just looked at him and blinked a few times. My brain was void of any thought. Though I think my manager was completely genuine, I’ve been asked this question so many times and ended up disappointed in the end that I have stopped believing that any manager truly cares about developing me as a person. At least I didn’t think or say in a smart ass way, “Well ain’t that ducky.” It’s progress. I’m thinking if anyone ever asks me this question again I’m going to say with the enthusiasm of a 3 year old, “I WANT TO GO ALL INDIANA JONES ON OUR EMPLOYER’S PROPERTY AND FIND THE HIDDEN GRAVES OF THE MEXICANS WHO FELL VICTIM TO THE SPANISH FLU IN 1918!”*** It will come out like Ralphie asking for a Red Ryder BB gun too.

***For more on these graves, see my blog

Who’s The King Cake Baby Daddy?

Day 64
Listening to: Faith
Thought for the day: Till next time, take care of yourself and each other ~Jerry Springer


Our annual office partaking of the king cake was delayed to today (bakery was affected by Sunday’s ice storm). Excitement and tension mounted as the cake box lid was lifted and the first cut made. At the initial cutting ceremony early this morning, no one found the baby but there was plenty of cake and day left to go. As the day wore on, we waited for the king cake baby discovery like a father waiting on a pregnant wife to give birth. Several of us paced. Around 2 p.m. when we went in to check on the progress, we discovered what you see in today’s photo. SOMEONE HAD CUT AROUND THE BABY! They know who they are and they should be scared. We’re calling in Jerry Springer to do an investigation. WHO’S THE KING CAKE BABY’S DADDY?!?!?! Being the good Samaritans that we are, we performed an emergency C section and freed the king cake baby. My coworker Emma has officially adopted the baby.

We laughed a lot and truly that is what it’s about. I always look forward to the king cake at work.

Toilets and TVs

Day 63
Listening to: Don’t Turn Around
Thought for the day: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt at his inauguration, March 4, 1933


My son, Wes, stopped by to visit last night. We sat on the couch, talked, and watched TV. Every time my children visit, they make fun of my circa 1990s TV (photo is of Pearl watching the Puppy Bowl on said TV). Last night was no different except this time Wes said, “When I graduate from college and get a real job, I’m buying you a real TV.” I laughed and said, “This one is fine. What’s wrong with it?” He said, “I hate that humming noise it makes.” I said, “What humming noise?” I still have no clue what he was talking about. After he left, I was filled with motherly warmth and smiling to myself as I went to use the bathroom………..and then it happened. I fell in the toilet. Yep. Wes had left the seat up. I’m thinking I’d prefer that Wes buy me a fancy smancy automatic toilet seat instead of a non-humming TV with his real job money. They exist. My Dad spent several thousand on a high-tech Japanese toilet that has a remote control and probably makes espresso. Maybe he’ll leave it to me in his will.

Impatient Flowers

Day 62
Listening to: Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Thought for the Day: Hope springs eternal.


Yesterday, these beauties were open with anticipation of spring. Then, the lion of the first days of March breathed on the land freezing everything in its path. Naturally, in a form of protest, the flowers closed up shop. If I was a flower, this would be me. At the first site of 65 degrees, I’d be all, “HEY GUYS! SIXTY DEGREES! PAAARRTAAAY! LET’S GO TO THE SURFACE NOW!” Then, the ice would come and the other flowers would be pissed at me. There is something to be said for patience and there are lessons here to be learned.

Buttcracks, Birthdays, & Contagious Laughter

Day 61
Listening to: Stop Children What’s that Sound
Thought for the day: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge


You may know him as Jim, James, Dr. Trolinger, the World’s Worst Tourist, an artist, or you may not know him at all. I know him as Dad. Today is his birthday. I chose this photo for his birthday post because it exemplifies one of my favorite activities we routinely share, laughter. Laughter between us is as contagious as a yawn regardless of the source of humor. He was laughing in this photo simply because I was laughing. The harder I laughed, the harder he laughed. He had NO clue I was laughing at the butt crack photobombing him (look to the top right). At one point, I stopped laughing at the butt crack and started laughing at my dad laughing at me. This happens all of the time and I love that about my relationship with him. Happy birthday Dad! To me you get younger every day!

Warning to Reducing Woman

Day 60
Listening to: Der Kommissar
Thought for the day: Lamb chops and pineapple…pineapple and lamb chops…lamb chops and pineapple…there is no Santa Clause for the woman trying to reduce. ~ Listerine Ad – The American Review of Reviews – April 1928


I’m sitting here trying to think of someone that I know who has never been on a diet. I can’t think of anyone. If you’ve never set out to “reduce” yourself, raise your hand. On second thought doing so might bring fire and brimstone down upon you as those of us who think we’re lard asses give you the stink eye. Me? I’ve been a reducing woman since I was in the womb…………probably. I think I’m more on a denial diet these days though. I’ll run/walk five miles and then eat a pack of Oreos. I never gain, but I never lose either. Still, I’m in a constant state of attempted reduction. Maybe I need to buy some Listerine.

A Heart Full of Leaves

Day 59
Listening to: Philadelphia Freedom
Thought for the day: : For the record: Spring officially begins in 19 days, 14 hours, and 45 minutes………… not that I’m counting.


Many (not all) of the people who crossed my path today seemed to need encouragement. The problem was I felt like my heart was full of dead leaves and I felt a little helpless. The good news is that dead leaves can be stomped down, composted, and turned into something wonderful…… a tomato plant. As I reached out to encourage others, that’s exactly what happened. Keep the faith. Don’t lose hope. Always find gratitude in everyone and everything…………..and viva la tomato plants!

No Room for a Discourteous Man

Day 58
Listening to: Drive
Thought for the day: Does courteous have a look?


Earlier in the week, I promised Michael L. Cox, an old high school friend who is currently in Afghanistan, that I would post something about the1918 Old Hickory gunpowder plant built to supply ammunition during WWI. There is no better time than Throwback Thursday to fulfill such a promise.

At first I was going to write something about fires or ammunition because that is Mike’s expertise, but basically the gunpowder produced in the few months the powder plant operated ended up never being used. As for fires, yes there were fires, but the details are not very entertaining. I decided instead to post something that made me say, “What the #(*%?” On the left is an article from the November, 23 1918 “Old Hickory News”. I wanted to post a photo of some of the male powder plant employees alongside the article. At first I was going to post a photo of the DuPont executives because I’m brainwashed like many into thinking a man in a business suit is always courteous. Yeah, we all know that isn’t necessarily the case. Then it struck me. How can you tell looking at someone’s clothing if they are courteous? Does courteous have a look? I ended up using a photo of the civil engineers. Civil? Get it? It is possible that one of these civil engineers wasn’t very civil. For me, courteous first reveals itself in another person via a warm smile. That’s how I remembering seeing Mike last……… smiling………….and he was very courteous.

Thank you Mike for your service to our country and thank you to your family and friends who support you and keep you motivated!

Photo: Hagley Museum