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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Cotton Museum At the Memphis Cotton Exchange | Memphis, TN


I loved the Cotton Museum that is located on 65 Union Ave. When mom and I checked into the hotel on Thursday afternoon, I was glad to see literature about a cotton museum located near the hotel. I've never seen cotton before and I wanted to see it and learn about it. Mom thought it would be a neat trip too.

We embarked to the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange on Friday morning. The museum opens at 10 am (closes at 5 pm; but it's noon-5pm on Sundays) and we arrived at about noon. We had to enter the gift shop and let me tell you, the gift shop had neat things.I really loved the cotton earrings and t-shirts. The admission was $10/person for adults ($9 for seniors and students; $8 for military; $7 for kids ages 6-12 and free for kids under 6), which for how expansive this museum is: it was a good price.

Mom and I learned a lot about cotton - I loved seeing memorabilia from the Cotton Parades to guitars from former workers and just learning the history. We spent about an hour and a half in the museum - and I also had the opportunity to carry cotton much like a worker. Man, cotton is heavy! It was a fun day and I would recommend it to anyone.

Also, if you're interested, you can view more and order cool cotton things from their site: Memphis Cotton Museum. I'm going to order a pair of cotton earrings. :)


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Ducks That Live at the Peabody Hotel | Memphis, TN



When we arrived at the Memphis Airport on Thursday afternoon (9/18), we were picked up by someone the hotel referred us to: Gwen of Last Minute Transportation (let me tell you, if you go to Memphis - do NOT rent a car... Gwen is awesome and on time) and she was telling us about the ducks that lived in the million dollar pent house at the Peabody Hotel. She was saying that every morning at 11 am, the ducks march down to the lobby and hang out in the fountain until 5 pm. She recommended going - it's done daily.

On Friday morning (9/19), mom and I woke up at 8:30 am CT. We knew we had a few hours before we would go to the Peabody to watch the ducks - Gwen suggested to go early because people from world wide come to see these ducks - we decided to go to Denny's for breakfast and then walk around a bit. I'm glad when the time finally reached 10:20 am CT, we went. They were across the street.

At 10:20, it wasn't crowded yet. There was a sign instructing people to go to the 2nd floor because that would be the best view for the ducks. Mom and I did go to that floor, hung out for 15 minutes and then it started getting really crowded. We decided to go back to the first floor for the better view. It wasn't bad. 






The Duck Master introduced the ducks and gave the history, which is the video above. According to Wikipedia (but all the Memphis sites have this history as well):

The Peabody is probably best known for a custom dating back to the 1930s. The General Manager of the time, Frank Schutt, had just returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. He and his friends found it amusing to leave three of their live English Call Duck decoys in the hotel fountain. The guests loved the idea, and since then, five Mallard ducks (one drake and four hens) have played in the fountain every day.[1]
In 1940, a Bellman by the name of Edward Pembroke volunteered to care for the ducks. Pembroke was given the position of "Duckmaster" and served in that position until 1991. As a former circus animal trainer, he taught the ducks to march into the hotel lobby, which started the famous Peabody Duck March.[1] Every day at 11:00 a.m., the Peabody Ducks are escorted from their penthouse home, on the Plantation Roof, to the lobby via elevator. The ducks, accompanied by the King Cotton March by John Phillip Sousa, then proceed across a red carpetto the hotel fountain, made of a solid block of Italian travertine marble. The ducks are then ceremoniously led back to their penthouse at 5:00 p.m.[9]
Over the years, The Peabody Ducks have gained celebrity status with television appearances (along with their Duckmaster) on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonSesame Street, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. They have also appeared in People magazine.[10]
The position of "Duckmaster" at the Peabody Memphis is the only such position in the world. Celebrities have also assumed the role of Honorary Duckmaster from time to time, including Zane LampreyPaula DeenJoan CollinsMolly RingwaldKevin BaconPeter Frampton,Emeril LagassePatrick SwayzeQueen Noor of JordanOprah WinfreyStephen FryRudolph van Veen and Gayle King.[11]
The custom of keeping ducks in the lobby fountain may date back even further than the 1930s. A pre-1915 postcard highlights the ducks playing in the fountain, and one source claims the custom goes back to the hotel's opening in 1869.[12]
However, the Peabody itself claims the duck tradition to have started in 1933, as on December 3, 2008 they unveiled a new "Duck Palace" located on the rooftop, for the 75th anniversary of the duck tradition. The 24 by 12 foot enclosure features granite flooring, ceiling fans, a scale replica of the hotel, a fountain decorated with a pair of bronze ducks, and a large viewing window for guests to see them in their new home. The Duck Palace cost approximately $200,000 to construct.[






Mom and I decided to go to the Cotton Museum after that, then we would go back to see the ducks once people dispersed. We figured the hour in the Cotton Museum would be plenty of time, we were right. The ducks were so adorable and they even posed for us. :p




We went back at 4:45 to see the ducks march back to the pent house. We stayed on the roof and had a drink. Their napkins and cups had ducks on them - we kept the napkins because they were adorable. I felt like paparazzi while waiting in the lobby for them to come out of the elevator to march back to their house to retire for the evening. It is a neat tradition that I recommend seeing while there.

The ducks' pent house.






Saturday, September 27, 2014

Confederate Park | Memphis, TN.

I couldn't resist getting a picture with the statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

While mom and I were waiting for our flight in Philadelphia, we overheard a really friendly woman who was a Memphis native. She was from East Memphis, which is a rough area, then came to Philadelphia with her preacher husband 20 years ago and moved back to somewhere else in Tennessee. I really liked talking with her; I loved her exuberance and she was very helpful in suggesting other things we could do. She mentioned that all the Civil War parks were in the process of having their names changed. She said Confederate Park would be the first park to have its name changed, but when we were there last Friday (September 19, 2014) it was still called "Confederate Park."

Mom and I enjoyed our walk around Confederate Park because it overlooked the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River had a lot of river boats on it that day and the skies were just so blue, the clouds so fluffy. It was a warm day, but not too humid at that time of morning (10 AM CT).






We took in the beautiful scenery of the Mississippi River, then I decided to walk around. The night before, mom and I went on a carriage ride that was led by a handsome guy named Anthony (well, I thought he was handsome) and he was really informative. He said he served in the Navy, trained as a pilot once he served (and got out) and has a pilot license, but he was really good with history. He was also really friendly. I was so glad he took us through Confederate Park the night before because it was neat at night... but I wanted to see it in the day time. I read the plaques and we sat on the benches overlooking the cannons, the statue of Jefferson Davis, the Mississippi and the rest of Memphis. 




The above pictures are of Confederate Park at night. So neat!






It started getting warm a half an hour later, the humidity started creeping in at around 10:30 AM CT. Mom said, "this is probably getting a bit too warm for you. Want to head back to see the Peabody Ducks?" I shook my head and we made our way back to the Peabody Hotel to get better pictures of the ducks since a lot of people were there for the march.



I'll write about the Peabody Ducks tomorrow; I finally opened the grape Faygo I bought in Memphis last Saturday. Mom and I traveled an hour outside of King of Prussia today and found a Sheetz that sold Faygo (we don't have Sheetz in King of Prussia, we have a Wawa instead that doesn't sell Faygo). Faygo is so good. But before I leave you, here's a picture of the courthouse that Anthony said all Memphis rappers rap/complain about. Well, actually it's a law school now with mock trials, but back in the day... it used to be a working courtroom.



Couldn't resist posing in front of the infamous courthouse.


Mmmm, soo good. I love grape Faygo. This was the first flavor I ever tried. Someone in Detroit gave me a complimentary can when I arrived. No, it wasn't a street person. She was on the train and this older lady was en route back to visit family (she moved to North Carolina with her husband, but the rest of her family stayed). The can wasn't opened and it was fresh. Beale Street only had grape or orange. I want to try orange,but I only bought grape because I wasn't sure how it'd fare on the flight home - it fared fine! :)


Friday, September 26, 2014

Blues City Cafe | Beale St. | Memphis, TN


As soon as mom and I turned onto Beale Street, we were debating where to eat dinner. We had only been in Memphis for an hour and a half, but we were starving. I really wanted to go to B.B. King's restaurant, but it was very crowded. Mom and dad love watching the Food Network (I'm more of a Create channel person; it's a sub-channel of WHYY and PBS), especially Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Someone at the Philadelphia Airport suggested Blues City Cafe on Beale Street and mom remembered Guy Fiere visiting and raving about the place. "Would you mind going here? It sounds pretty awesome!" I replied, "Works for me! I'll just get something soft so I don't break the rest of my tooth."

We entered the cafe and we were greeted by a friendly man. I was surprised to see a worker wearing an Eagles hat, then another wearing a Packers hat (I was so happy about that one), but both workers talked to us before we were seated near a window that overlooked Beale. We were handed our menus and we carefully overlooked. I ordered a sweet tea (I love sweet iced tea; down South, they called already sweetened iced tea sweet tea) and mom ordered a beer. I've always heard that Memphis style ribs were awesome. I thought, "What the heck? I can just cut the meat off the bones and mutilate it so I can chew." Mom settled for the ribs too and we ordered those. Mom also ordered crab stuffed mushrooms. The crab stuffed mushrooms were to die for!

When they brought out the ribs with French fries, slaw and baked beans, my eyes widened at how much food they gave us. Mom loved the ribs and so did I. I felt bad because I ate very slowly and mutilated everything so I wouldn't break my tooth (can't wait to get a crown)... but I suppose eating slowly made me savor the flavor because everything had great, savory flavor. I really loved the rub and the meat was tender, fall off the bone. It was amazing. We were both very impressed and it wasn't too expensive. For the two of us, it was $33... which isn't bad for dinner (at least compared to Philadelphia). If you ever find yourself in Memphis, definitely check out Beale Street and Blues City Cafe. It's inexpensive, the staff is friendly and professional and you meet great people from all over.



I'M GOING TO MY FIRST TWIZTID CONCERT!

So, I ordered the ticket and I will be seeing Twiztid and meeting them on October 18th. :) I'll be going to my first Twiztid concert! This is surreal because I've wanted to see them since I was in 8th grade and I'm glad they're coming to Philadelphia. I guess my video last year persuaded them. :p I'm excited to meet Monoxide. I think I'm going to give him a hug. One of my Instagram friends said I should bake him a cake, like the cake I made for my birthday. I said, "think he'd like that?" He replied, "Sxxt he liked it on Twitter! He'd love it in person! And he could share it with Jamie." So... maybe... depending on how it'd fare on a trolley and ell. That reaction would be classic, haha. Julie gave Jamie a hug in April, so I don't think Monoxide will mind. Ah, man... excited, but a little nervous. This is surreal - oh man! I'm hyperventilating a bit. (I want to thank Rebeka for her advice. I appreciate it. :) )

The concert starts at 9 pm, but doors open at 8. I'm assuming I'll need to be there by 6:30 pm to meet them. Julie said they'll call to tell me on the day of the concert. I've been looking at restaurants near the TLA. It looks like an easy walk (I guess I should get off at 2nd and Market, then walk to 3rd and South since it's 334 South St.). The Oyster House looks appetizing, but I think that's pretty far. So, I looked up "restaurants on South Street, Philadelphia" and was brought to Menu PagesBoyler Room and Jon's. I've been to Jon's before and I love Jon's, so I think I'll go there. :) It's hard to believe October 18th is three weeks away. Excited!


Here's the video I made last October for them:


I am dog sitting at my aunt's tonight and I forgot the charger for my phone and laptop. I'm going to write something about Memphis and I'll post it a little later. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Fall Edition 9/25/2014

On Tuesday, the calendar and the sun setting at 7:30 pm marked the first day of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. It was perfect weather as well - mid 60s and somewhat breezy. I love the feelings of fall.

Today it is rainy and according to my Weather Whiskers app, it's 58 degrees in King of Prussia (60 according to the regular screen on my phone). I love that app because I love these pictures:







Anyway, I'm thankful for these rainy, cool, quiet days. Why? I love snuggling into a blanket and writing or reading. I've been reading a few magazines on writing and photography techniques. I've also been writing - writing mostly about my trip. I'm working on creative non-fiction now, but I will be publishing poetry I believe. I am thankful for when these days bring creativity. I love the cold weather and I'm thankful for the change of seasons.
Autumn, her beauty is to me
    like those Packers games -- green and gold
waves rustling, bustling, then a calm singing sea,
    of men, women and children - touchdown unfold
    to warriors dancing; the night sky their gold hands hold.

But her beauty means more - like those black nights,
    those gold stars, moon's classic opaque face
that have brought me home from danger's sight;
    To the glory that was Havre de Grace
and the grandeur that was Sterling Heights.

Remember! Before Autumn's rest
    how opera-like I hear her sing!
    The rustling leaves and animals ring,
Ah! the diversions from the daily tests--
    that either bring buffalo wings or wedding rings!


I didn't order the Twiztid ticket yet, but I am going to. I had anxiety attacks on Tuesday night and yesterday about ordering a ticket without knowing the job situation (I was panicked about the one temp job because she did say if I get it, there is an opportunity to work overtime on two Saturdays of my choice. It was probably silly worrying because I could work October 11th, 25th and November 1st if I get it). I am thankful for Norb and Charlie listening to me and talking me out of my anxiety. Charlie is right - going to a concert won't make or break me... it also doesn't show I'm lazy. I really want to go and I've really wanted to go for a year (well, longer than that - I'd say seeing Twiztid has been a dream of mine since 8th grade... so 10 years). Many of my long time readers probably remember the letter I sent Mono and the video I made Twiztid asking them to come to Philadelphia. I think it would behoove me to go since I did ask them... tomorrow I will call the TLA to make sure I can order the ticket at the box office to avoid the $9 servicing fee.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

$9 Processing Fee?

I really want to see Twiztid on October 18th. They're playing at the Theatre of Living Arts or TLA in Philadelphia. I've never seen them before and since I wrote at the beginning of the year that I'd like to see them in 2014, I want to get a ticket. The ticket is $20, but Live Nation has a $9 processing fee. Does anyone know if I still can purchase from a box office? If not, I don't think $29 is outrageous for a concert (actually, that's pretty dang good for a concert), so I can order it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Overview of Memphis

Hi everyone,

Mom and I returned home yesterday from our weekend trip to Memphis. It was AMAZING and we had a lot of fun.  We arrived in Memphis at 4 (pm, central time) on Thursday afternoon and after we checked into our hotel, we decided to walk around Beale Street to explore. We ended up at the Blues City Cafe and we both ordered ribs. Blues City Cafe had amazing ribs - they were the best I ever had. After dinner, we walked around to different stores and decided to take a carriage ride. That night we saw Ghost Town Blues Band after we took a carriage ride around Beale Street and Downtown Memphis. The ride was very informative and Anthony, our tour guide, said it took Downtown Memphis 30 or so years to get back on its feet (it almost sounded like Memphis for a while was like Detroit; I have to do some more research because it's interesting). Anthony was also cute and I liked talking to him. :) I really liked Beale Street and it is music central - it seemed like bands played 24/7. 

On Friday, mom and I went to the Peabody Hotel (across the street) to watch the Marching of the Ducks. It's a tradition for the Peabody Hotel for ducks to march down a red carpet from their million dollar penthouse on the roof, then swim in the lobby fountain until 5pm, then they marched back to their penthouse for the night. I really enjoyed it.

Mom and I then walked to the Cotton Museum and that was really neat. I liked learning more about King Cotton and even about Southern culture. Memphis used to have a Cotton Parade, which sounded like (for my Philadelphia area friends) what Philadelphia does on New Year's Day with the Mummers. The costumes were funny and at the same time really pretty. After spending time in the museum and gift shop (I want to order the cotton earrings and then this shirt that said: "HEAR NO WEEVIL, SEE NO WEEVIL, SPEAK NO WEEVIL" with cotton balls holding their ears, mouth and eyes), we walked around Confederate Park and watched the Mississippi River.

Mom didn't rent a car for the trip. Parking was really expensive, but fortunately Downtown Memphis is walkable. We were only fifteen minutes away from Tunica, Mississippi and mom and I really wanted to go. Dad went nine years ago for work and said it was a neat town. City-Data pointed me to the Blues Cities Tours and we thought they took us to Mississippi - I even called on Wednesday to confirm with them that we'd be going to Tunica and they confirmed to pick us up from our hotel at 1:45 pm. They picked us up late, took us to the ticket office and they told us since we weren't in Mississippi we had to stay in Memphis. We took the river cruise in Memphis. It was pretty, but we were bummed out that we were misled. We only did the boat tour - the bus tour (which was paid for) were things we could do on our own. After we got off the boat, we saw the ducks at the Peabody march back to their penthouse on top of the Peabody. That was so neat. That tradition is so cute.

Rock and Soul museum was really cool and I learned a lot about music made in Memphis. I really liked the music I heard on the tour. We didn't finish the tour on Friday, but we could pick up where we left off on Saturday. Rock and Soul museum would also take us to Graceland and Sun Studio for free on Saturday. After Rock and Soul, we went to dinner and saw an amazing performer called Key of CG. I really liked his style and I just downloaded one of his songs on Reverbnation (I have to get Ghost Town Blues Band on iTunes). Chris was really friendly; he let me take a few pictures with him and let me take his pictures. He's a really great musician. After that, mom and I went to the Absinthe Room, where we went on our first night and last night. It was authentic absinthe - in Pennsylvania and Delaware, absinthe with wormwood is illegal. In Tennessee, you can get absinthe with wormwood. It tasted good. It was a neat place and it reminded me of a smaller version of the Note in West Chester. Then we went to the Rum Boogie Cafe to watch another band that was really cool. I really liked Beale Street. It was fun, the music was great, amazing food and it had a lot of unique shops.

Graceland was fun, but unless you're a huge Elvis fan I wouldn't recommend. We waited in line for 4 hours because you have to take a bus to get into Graceland and things stop for weddings (there was a wedding). The tour was an hour - we spent five hours at Graceland. I thought Elvis's house was beautiful and I'm glad we were allowed to take pictures. It was also really expensive (for a regular mansion tour, that was $35/person, we did the platinum and that was $50/person and VIP was $72/person). We did get to see Sun Studios, but the tours were sold out. Instead, we toured Gibson guitars and finished the Rock and Soul museum. I really liked the Gibson factory. They have a tiny guitar and I wanted to get one. Maybe I'll trade in my acoustic Fender for a tiny Gibson. :p I still have a Stratocaster, though. I did get to play that tiny Gibson and the shop said, "Just keep practicing! If you keep practicing and come back, maybe someone from Nashville will be here and you'll be famous!" I wish; but, I do want to start practicing again.

I'm going to write pieces for this blog and Writing.com portfolio. I want to get more in depth. It was a filled three days and it was so much fun. I'm going to send you the album and videos of musicians I took as well as the duck march.


Key of CG  -- check out these two bands!

Enjoy!
Jessica

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Home From an AWESOME weekend

Hi y'all!

I'm home from the Mother/Daughter weekend trip to Memphis. It was AMAZING! We arrived back in Philadelphia at 10:30 this morning, but we spent the day unpacking and uploading pictures. Tomorrow I will update with a general overview of Memphis (those of y'all on my e-mail list will be receiving an e-mail with the album) and then I'll write specific blog entries for some of my favorite places in Memphis. I'll be writing pieces for Writing.com.

Sadly, Blues Cities Tours misled us and we didn't go to Tunica because we weren't in Mississippi (though we were 15 minutes away; mom didn't want to rent a car because of the price; don't blame her there), but Beale Street made up for it. It was such a great weekend and I can't wait to write about everything. Tomorrow after work, I have to rearrange the photo album and mom has to send me some pictures that she took of me (she doesn't like using my DSLR camera), so I will be posting the album tomorrow. I can't wait to show you the pictures. HOWEVER, until then... here are some teaser videos:




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday 9/18/2014

Although I received my first rejection letter from the Nano Stories contest about not winning the $500 grand prize, my story will still be published in the magazine and I won a year subscription. I was bummed out about not winning the prize money, but I'm glad I'll still be published. I have to rewrite dialog for the Bartleby Snope's dialog contest and I was given until September 30th to do so. When I get back from vacation, I will because I think it'll inspire me. I'm thankful I was given another chance to resubmit.

I'm thankful for being a writer. As I posted last night, I want to actually publish future work instead of self publishing. Well, I'm not going to give up self publishing all together, but I want to try actual publishing too. It's been 3 years since I last put out a book; I want to get working on a poetry book and try my hand at that. I am also still working on my Wisconsin book; I post it to Writing.com and I think I will try sending that to a publishing house when I'm done. I used to release a book every year, it's time. :)

Alright, I have to finish uploading my iPod for Memphis. I purchased some songs last night, but I want to upload a few CDs. I'm so excited and I am thankful for this trip as well. I want to leave you with a song:


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tomorrow's The Day! Memphis, TN and Tunica, MS!

TOMORROW IS THE DAY! I'm glad mom checked the flight itinerary because we thought the flight was at 6:30 pm, but the flight is actually at 2 pm! When it strikes Midnight tonight, I'll write my thankful Thursday since tomorrow we have to leave the house by 11:30 am. I have my clothes packed, we just have to put them into the suitcase.


Shirts I'm going to wear.

Well, mom said it's going to be very hot. I'll wear my System of a Down shirt tomorrow for the flight, but I'll wear the Stuart Minion shirt on a really hot day. I'm thinking Saturday, since it's supposed to be 89 degrees. 

Baby Doll dress for Beal Street and other things I'm packing.

My carry ons. Book: The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar, journal, camera and iPod.

I'm excited to start reading this book!

Going to update my iPod. Going to purchase: 




I have decided to bring my DSLR camera. Since tomorrow I won't have the time to go to the mall, I am assuming I can buy a disposable camera at either the Philadelphia Airport or the Memphis Airport, correct? I hope so! I want to use some film for Beale Street and for Tunica, MS.

We are going to Tunica. I found out what the tour was: it's part of the Memphis Hop and it's called Blues City Tours. We're taking Tunica Tour #2 where we go on the Tunica Queen (I believe) and go to the Tunica Riverpark Museum. I am assuming there will be food served because we will be picked up at our hotel at 1:45, then depart from Memphis at 2. I guess the museum will be first, then the tour. I'm really excited. Hmmm... it might be this: Sightseeing on the Tunica Queen. AND it looks like cotton is still king of Tunica! Finding the Three C's of Tunica: Cotton, Casinos and Catfish. I know... I'm odd, but I hope to see some cotton fields. I want to see cotton!

Tomorrow night, we're hanging out on Beale Street, then on Saturday we're just touring things from the Memphis Hop. It's pretty much spontaneous. I will not be bringing my laptop, so when I get home on Sunday morning, I will update y'all and post pictures. I'm also going to be bringing a journal so I can write about the trip. I'm thinking of travel writing about Memphis and Tunica for Writing.com, then publishing (actually publishing, not self-publishing) poems about my trip. I think that would be cool. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 Days!

Mom and I leave for Memphis in three days. I'm so excited, though I am still nervous about flying. Someone at the library today said usually it's the fillings in your teeth that cause the pressure - I hope not!

Tomorrow mom is calling a dinner cruise. In 2005, dad and the sheriff at the time took a business trip to Tunica, Mississippi, which is about 20 minutes from Memphis. When dad went in 2005, Tunica only had one casino and the rest were cotton fields. Mom and I want to see the cotton fields and see what we hear as a "quaint little town." Mom wants to call to make sure this dinner cruise isn't only for the casinos (more casinos have since been built). I hope it isn't and I hope we can do it. I'd like to see Mississippi!

Hmm... I found this site: Tunica Queen, but mom had something else in mind (it was more expensive). I'm not sure because we're not renting a car and what she found starts in Memphis and goes to Tunica. I really hope we can. I'm really excited!

This is what I want to see. I'd love to take a cotton pod, but I'm not sure if I'd be allowed. :(






So excited! :) I am still debating on bringing my DSLR camera or the bridge camera. The bridge camera is more light weight, but the DSLR takes wonderful pictures. Hmmm...