Communication – does it have to be so hard?

Thanks to technology, there are so many ways for us to communicate efficiently with each other.  All we used to have were the telephone, the US Mail, and a personal visit… and before that, smoke signals.

Communication

With communication made easier than ever, why does it have to be so hard?  Are we really THAT busy that we cannot even acknowledge someone trying to communicate with us?

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My Dad used to always tell me….  “If YOU cannot take care of your own business, SOMEONE ELSE will!”

 

With that said, I’ve got a few calls to return!  I bet you do too!

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Independence Day Celebration in Nashville – Fireworks on the River

The Fourth of July is upon us and it doesn’t seem like summer has hardly started yet! If you like fireworks, there is no better place to be in the country Thursday evening than right here in Nashville!

The celebrations at Nashville’s Riverfront Park start at noon and a variety of acts will be playing throughout the afternoon and the Family Fun Zone will be open. At 6:45 pm the main river stage events kick off with performances by Striking Matches, Barry Scott, Keb’ Mo’, The Band Perry and The Nashville Symphony, who will accompany the fireworks display at 9:50 pm.  It is all a part of LET FREEDOM RING 2013!

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For a complete list of activities and more information, please CLICK HERE.   Nashville’s July 4th celebration is always rated among the top in the nation and 2013 will be no exception!

They will have fireworks left over, so another fantastic celebration evening is planned for Friday night, July 5th starting at 6:30 pm with the fireworks display at 9:30 pm.  Performing Friday evening is Chris Mulkey and Deluxe followed by Ten Out Of Tenn.

This year’s celebration will be somewhat different for area boaters who like to bring their boats from Old Hickory Lake to downtown Nashville.  Old Hickory Lock will close each evening at 10:00 pm.  Boats that are not at the lock by 9:15 pm will not be able to lock through until the next morning.  CLICK HERE for the full story.

It has been said that the Nashville Convention Visitors Bureau has offered to compensate the Federal Government to keep the lock open until midnight.  It is also rumored that the lock operators even volunteered their time for the effort also.  It is obvious the government wants boaters to feel the pain of the sequestration.

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Boaters are very creative, resilient, and resourceful.   If they still want to view fireworks, they will be there.  The newly renovated Rock Harbor Marina and Blue Moon Restaurant downstream from Riverfront will also have accomodations for boats wanting to spend the night.  Call 615.356.1111 for information.

 

The public docking facilities on both sides of the river downtown are closed for the period July 1st through July 5th, reopening July 6th.  Former Mayor Bill Purcell started this practice of slapping area boaters in the face during his administration.  Maybe one of these days Nashville will further embrace its Riverfront and the boating public that uses it.

But until that happens, we’re going to have fun anyway!

 

Happy Independence Day!

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Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Gallatin, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

 

Remember the Blue Moon? It’s back – and better than ever!

Just about everyone remembers The Blue Moon, the popular floating bar and grill at Rock Harbor Marina on the Cumberland River in West Nashville.

The May 2010 flood brought an end to the old Blue Moon, along with many of the docks at Rock Harbor Marina. Since that time, the marina has been rebuilding, and that included the addition of a BRAND NEW BLUE MOON RESTAURANT.

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One thing that made the previous Blue Moon a success was the atmosphere. The new Blue Moon is even better. You still walk onto a floating barge and down a dock to enter the restaurant! No worries, there are emergency exits and the facility is handicapped accessible.

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There are indoor and outdoor dining areas, but also roll up doors to open things up a bit!

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Large flat-screen TVs adorn the walls – perfect for keeping up with all the news and sports!

BlueMoonBar

We recently had the priviledge of sampling many items that will be featured on the menu. Two words immediately come to mind….. damn good!

The Blue Moon is now open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays and is certain to top the list of hot spots in Nashville. One visit and you will see why! Tom, Glenn, and Dougie Ray have put together a great team to make your floating dining experience enjoyable!

You can get there by car or boat! Located at Rock Harbor Marina, 525 Basswood Avenue, Nashville, TN 37205, or Cumberland River Mile Marker 175.

For the latest information, visit their website www.bluemoongrille.com

If you come by boat, there will soon be brand new covered slips of all sizes to park your boat in!

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Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019 direct 615.593.6340. Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Gallatin, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

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Honduras 2013 (Part 2) – Everything changes.

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Every year, Rotarians from District 6760 and friends visit the southern region of Honduras with plans to make a difference in the lives of as many Hondurans as possible.

For 2013, seven represented The Rotary Club of Spring Hill & Thompson Station TN for this year’s projects.  Attending were Les Bosarge, Huntly Gordon, Keith Clodfelter, Trey Lewis, Ann Bassett, Sharon Fuller, and Sara Johnson, a member of Brentwood Rotary.

During the seven day visit, one part of our group continually wired homes in remote villages while others participated in activities at local schools, as well as a dental clinic in coordination with the Choluteca Rotary Club.

Every year, there are big changes to the landscape of southern Honduras.  The largest shopping mall in Central America is located just across the street from the Tegucigalpa airport.

 

 

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But the greatest difference and change is the lives of the people.  Upon arriving, we learned some great news from a past project.  Back in 2011, Huntly Gordon presented a workbelt and tools worth over $500 to Douglas, an unemployed local villager of Jayacayan.  We learned that Douglas showed up at a construction jobsite with his tools and was hired to be an electrician, and now has his own home and family.

After getting our assignment, we rolled onward to San Marcos De Colon to check into the Hotel Barcelona which would be our home for the next five nights.  We have stayed there many times, so it was almost like going home!

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My room at the Hotel Barcelona.  Very nice, at $15 per night USDm breakfast included.

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There was even hot water!  Check out this apparatus that is not UL approved!

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And our view from the Hotel Barcelona

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The next day, we hit the ground running to bring electricity to families in remote villages near San Marcos de Colon such as this family.

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Change.  It is everywhere you look.  At home, at work, in southern Honduras.  Over the next week, you’ll see just how much change can be made – one life at a time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honduras Visit 2013 – The great news first!

Adobe Stove Pila Adobe Casa AdobeStoveCooking Casa and Clothesline Casa Plastic Sheet Roof Chicken Coop Lord's Prayer Espanol Hillside Village Village Road Village Cemetery Wood CasaJust one blog post cannot do justice in summing up everything that happens over a week’s time in a foreign country.   There is so much to tell about this year’s visit, but there is some really great news you need to read about first.

Over a year-and-a-half ago, young Marlon Sanchez fell from a tree and pulled his leg from his hip.  Surgeries at the local hospital were unsuccessful.  Last year, Jim Johnston and others from the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club met young Marlon and his family and decided to do whatever they could to help.  When returning home, Jim Johnston made contact with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and their surgical staff about helping this child.  Just recently, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and their surgical staff volunteered to perform the much needed surgery on Marlon.

Marlon is now six years old.  Yesterday, he and his mother Maria, boarded a plane in Tegucigalpa, Honduras headed to Nashville, accompanied by Jim Johnston and other members of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club!  The surgery will take one day, followed by a week in the hospital, and then six weeks of rehab before they are able to return to their native Honduras.  There will be many expenses incurred during this procedure and visit, so if you would like to help, please contact the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club at 931.762.7917 or 931.762.4678.

Can you remember the first time you ever saw an airplane?  What about flush toilets and hot/cold running water?  Electric stoves?  Elevators?  The list goes on.  Marlon and his mother, Maria, will be seeing many things for the first time in their lives.  They will have no choice but to be overwhelmed, if not somewhat frightened with the experience that awaits them.  Please keep them in your prayers, and while you’re at it, say a prayer of thanks for Jim Johnston and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for making this life-changing surgery a reality for Marlon and his family.

Take a look at the above scenes from southern Honduras.  These scenes are not of the actual village where Marlon lives, but scenes we encountered during the 2013 electrical project performed by the Rotary Club of Spring Hill & Thompson Station.

Nashville Homes – Luxury Lakefront Home on Old Hickory Lake

With every passing day, Nashville gains world-wide recognition as “the place to be.”   For those of us that have lived here our whole lives, this comes as no surprise.

Simply put, the quality of life in Middle Tennessee cannot be beat!

In addition to all the excitement of downtown, another major contributor to the area’s quality of life is the proximity of lakes and rivers.  Living on the lake is a lifestyle that is unmatched, especially in this home on Old Hickory Lake that is now FOR SALE!

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Old Hickory Lake Home

The word WOW first enters your mind as you drive through the security gate of this “compound-like” lakefront estate.  Located on the main channel of the Cumberland River / Old Hickory Lake with its own private covered boat slip, you are only minutes away from everything Old Hickory Lake and Nashville has to offer – whether by boat, or car!

Check out this video of this amazing home on Old Hickory Lake:

The video couldn’t begin to cover all the features of this lakefront paradise.  There’s a natural gas powered auxilary generator that will power the entire home automatically in the event of a power outage.  Add a state-of-the-art security system to keep unwanted guests from crashing the fantastic parties you could host!  Thousands have been spent on modern HVAC systems.  The list goes on…..

Give Beth a call t 615.596.7570 to find out more.  She, or any of the members of The Ashton Real Estate Group of Re/Max Elite would love to introduce you to lakeside living!

CLICK HERE to view the MLS Listing.

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Honduras – Let’s go again!

The highlight of each new year is returning to Honduras with Rotarians from District 6760 and friends. We will spend one week in the Choluteca region of southern Honduras. We will visit many friends we have come to know over the years, and meet many more!

This year, our group will bring electricity to a total of 68 families. In the Las Delicias village near San Marcos De Colon, we will complete service for 22 homes. During this time, we will stay at one of our favorite hotels – The Hotel Barcelona in San Marcos De Colon.

After the work is finished there, we will move to the Rivera Hotel in Choluteca and complete the wiring for 46 homes in the village of Tapaci, just outside of El Jocote, which we “electrified” in 2008.

Last year, our project was to build a home for the family of Mario Sandoval and Dania Osorto. Windows and doors have been installed since we were there and I look forward to posting those pictures when we return.

Here is Mario, Dania, Daniela, and Mario Jr. in front of their new home.

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Honduras is a place where everything makes a difference in someone’s life.  Every minute spent, every penny collected, every tear shed, every dollar donated.

Many that are unable to visit in person have made generous donations to our club for humanitarian efforts while we are there.  Needs are plentiful there, but resources are scarce.  We may not be able to help everyone at one time, but we have helped many – one at a time.

Back in 2007, a co-worker and friend Rob Calk slipped me $200 cash a few days before we left.  He said “do something cool with it” and left it at that.   On the way to our project each day, we passed a very “run-down” house, bound together with plastic tarps and cardboard.  Adjoining this “house” was a foundation for a new home similar to above, and that work had been abandoned.

We stopped and learned that the single mom and 4 kids were all alone.  Their Dad had been killed earlier in the year.  He had started a new home for them, and those hopes left with his death, until she could save the money to continue construction.  In our best attempt at Spanish, we asked the mother what it would cost to finish the house.  She knew exactly the cost of the supplies she needed, and said she had neighbors that would help her with volunteer labor.

She answered with the figure in Lempira, Honduras currency unit.  After running a few calculations, she needed $200 USD.  Unbeknownst to Rob, he had just financed the completion of a home in Honduras!

That evening back at the hotel, some of the others learned of what we did with Rob’s money and laughed at us.  They said we should have given it to an organization, or someone responsible to oversee.  They predicted Rob’s money would be used to throw a party.  I just looked and said – “Right now, a party might be more important than the house – whichever they decide to do is fine with us!”

The following year, we rode down this path….a completed house stood where the abandoned foundation had been just one year before.  The former house was now being used for storage and chickens.  The house had obviously won out over the party.  I do have before and after pictures, but just cannot find them to post.  Rob did get to see both, by the way!  The family was most appreciative too, and yes they remembered us immediately!

This year will identify more needs that we will address.  If you would like to donate a few discretionary bucks, just let me know as we leave Friday morning, February 1, 2013.   We promise that donations will not be spent on beer!

I can’t wait to document this year’s trip when we return, and also to share the news of another amazing story – a story how a young child from Honduras will be admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for major surgery upon our return – thanks to the efforts of Middle Tennesseans involved in our projects!  As of today, he and his mom have received their medical visas for the trip.  More to follow.

Until then, we’ll be down there doing what we can to help – one family at a time!

January Cruise 2013 – A Quick Getaway (Part 3)

We’re back on the boat in Progreso, headed to Cozumel and I just realized I had forgotten about “Formal Night” on the Carnival Elation.  I left my phone/camera in the cabin and didn’t take a single picture myself.   I was pleased to see more people than usual dressed in formal attire, especially the ladies in their assorted short skirts and heels!

All throughout the promenade are various photo backdrops, and it doesn’t cost a thing to give your best pose.  If you see a photo that you like, you can buy it.  If you don’t, just leave it in the rack.  This is a great opportunity for you to get that new Linkd-In, Facebook, or Twitter Profile shot – or a family portrait without expensive sitting fees.

Meanwhile, I worried about Ruby, our Blue Doberman, and if she was having seperation anxiety.  Turns out she wasn’t, thanks to our dear friend Julie, who also is a profressional “dog-person.”

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Tuesday morning, the Carnival Elation arrived on time at Cozumel, and the day was going to be simply gorgeous!   Shown here is the Pilot Boat that drops off and picks up a “Harbor Pilot” from each incoming and outgoing cruise ship.  The “Pilot Boat” has got to be a great scam!

Pilot Boat

In Cozumel, Elation was docked right next to its younger twin sister, Paradise.

Elation and Paradise along Cozumel Pier

This was the first time we have docked at the older downtown pier in many years.  All things considered, I like it better.  Downtown is still the hub of activity for this great port!

Carlos and Charlies Downtown Cozumel

A large part of our group wanted beach time, and Carlos and Charlies Beach Club was the destination!  The van driver they hooked up with told them it was no longer there, but he had a better beach for them.  I could give a rat’s ass about getting sand in my crotch, so six of us decided to rent our own car and see just what happened to Carlos and Charlie’s Beach Club.

Carlos and Charlies Beach Club Entrance

Not only was it still there, it was even better!  The food is great, and the selection of drinks is endless.  It is located about 10 km south of the newest cruise ship pier.

Carlos and Charlies Beach Club Beach

Carlos and Charlies Beach Club Inside

After a few snacks and drinks, we decided to ride around the back side of the island of Cozumel, making a complete circle before heading back to the ship.

Back Side of Cozumel

The shopping area at the cruise pier has a shop for everything you would imagine, even a Drugs and Deli.

Cozumel Drugs and Subs

Elation and Paradise at Cozumel

And the rest of our gang made it back for the Cozumel sail-a-way!

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We enjoyed great service from our Dining Room server Sydney, from Indonesia.

Sydney, from Indonesia

I regret not having a camera with me for more of the cruise.  We had a great experience.  Cruise Director Willie Lee had everything on the ship “in synch” if that is a term.  His staff was cheerful and was always around making sure everyone had a great time.  the Wednesday Night Deck party was one of the most lively I have seen.  If I had my camera then, I probably would have dropped it!

There was always a creature waiting back in the cabin.  I wish they could make one of Ruby!

Towel Bear

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We were off the ship and in the car headed home at 8:15 am on Thursday!  The weather forecasts were not sounding good through Alabama, but since when is a weatherman right?

Alabama Snow

We made it just past Cullman, Alabama before we hit a large traffic jam around 4:00 pm.  There was no turning around.  Mile Marker 313 on Interstate 65 North would be our home for the next 9.5 hours!  At least the Greyhound Bus next to us had free wi-fi!

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We arrived back in Nashville at 3:45 am Friday morning.  You know what?  I’d still do it all again!!!   You should too!

January 2013 Cruise – A Quick and Fun Getaway (Part 2)

Boarding the Carnival Elation at New Orleans was a breeze and we were onboard just minutes after parking the car. Once onboard, you have to get a ceremonial drink to start your cruise. I chose a Bloody Mary since it was before noon.

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Carnival Elation is the 7th in the series of 8 Fantasy Class ships of Carnival. It was built in 1998 at a cost of $350 million dollars and was the first cruise ship to ever use “Azipods” for propulsion. If you are wondering what an Azipod is, CLICK HERE.

The Elation and its sisters are considered small ships by today’s standards at 855′ in length, carrying 2052 passengers and 920 crew. No matter what they say, it is still a damn big boat!

We were last on Elation in October of 2011 for its final sailing from Mobile, Alabama. When we returned, it went to dry dock for refurbishment of certain areas and general maintenance. Although it did not get additional balconies or the water park, it still emerged as a new ship and you could notice the improvements on our sailing.

Elation Atrium Bar

Elation Mikado Lounge Balcony

Elation Mikado Lounge Main Floor

Elation Golf Course

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At 1:30 pm, our rooms were ready. It is amazing to me just how quick the ship can be “made new” after each voyage. Off we go to Cabin M22.

Elation Cabin M22

Before we knew it, the ship was setting sail.  What a relief – no Homeland Security issues this time!   (READ THIS and you’ll know what I am talking about)

The closer we got to the Gulf of Mexico, the foggier it got.  When you can’t see, just blow the horn and they’ll move right?  Notice the ever-changing lighting effects of the pool.

Carnival just recently introduced the Punchliner Comedy Club on all ships and it is going over quite well.  Comedian Russ Nagel was beyond terrific as you can see from the standing room only crowd!

Another cool event recently introduced is “Superstar Live.”  This is just like karaoke, except you sing with a live band – which happened to be the Carnival Elation show band.  Here is the group “Sexual Chocolate” performing at “Superstar Live.”

I won’t bore you with all the details about the great meals except to say the famous Chocolate Melting Cake has not changed a bit!

Chocolate Melting Cake

The first Port of Call (formal term for ship stop) was Progreso, Mexico, which to many is a “shit hole.”    For whatever reason, I like this stop because it is the closest you will ever get to “real life” in Mexico from a cruise ship.  It is worth the free bus ride from the pier into town to check things out.   They now have a “bus port” complete with a new straw market, and its even closer to the beach.

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Progreso Bus Port

Progreso Tourist Village

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Inflation has struck the beach in Progreso.  A massage that used to be $10 is now $20.  Don’t choke – they will still negotiate!

The locals are on this beach in full force trying to sell everything you can think of…. and a few things you would never imagine.   Don’t let it annoy you.  They are just trying to feed their families and a boat load of tourists are “easy pickings!”

I have found it best to tip the “cold beer on the beach guy” and ask him to keep the other vendors away while you sit on the beach with your cold beer.   That works.

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Many musicians stroll the beach at Progreso for tips.

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It is especially fun to tip them to play for the people getting a massage.  Thats what I always do.

Musica Massage

And you can tip them to ride back to the ship with you.  I did that too.

Bus Music

And once back to the Port, there are several bars with a great atmosphere.  Don’t get back on board just yet!

Progreso Beach Bar

Elation at Progreso

The Port of Progreso is a huge industrial port and cruise ship visits are relatively new in comparison.  Each visit, I can see more and more tourism developing this third world town into what will one day be a thriving resort location.  Just wait and see!

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Part 3 finds the Carnival Elation in Cozumel.  Join us there, and also as we head back home on what would become “the drive home from hell!”