Thursday, May 27, 2010

Updates and Memorial Day Weekend



Here are a few updates I know you are just waiting with baited breath to hear about…

Charlie – apparently Charlie has a lake house! I found this out through my neighbor Jeff. Tony says I (why not we?) need to cozy up to Charlie so we can get an invite to this mysterious lake house.

Daily Bible Reading – I am still keeping up with my daily Bible reading and have only missed five days so far this year. I am really proud of myself for keeping this going.

Gym – I’m still going to the gym four to five times a week and have not lost one pound, which can be a little discouraging. I have lost some inches because I can tell my pants are a bit looser and also some of my friends have been kind enough to tell me they can see a difference, which is nice.

Garden – The garden is coming along quite nicely. I actually took some photos, but haven’t uploaded them from the camera yet. The tomato plants are to the top of the cages and already have some blooms. It always amazes me how fast these things grow! Speaking of gardens, Tony planted a garden this year too. I think his has corn, watermelon, pumpkin, okra and one tomato plant. Not sure if there’s anything else there or not and I’m also not sure what it looks like since I haven’t seen it. If I ever make it past the locked gates, I’ll take a photo and share it with you all.

Feet – I was able to skip the shots at my latest doctor appointment even though I’m still having pain. The feet were taped up again, which is annoying, but I do think it helps. I don’t have to go back to the doctor until the end of June. So, keep your fingers crossed for good results.

I think that’s all the updates for now. You can now go about your day without wondering about all these things. Don’t you feel better already?

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and it’s sure to bring a lot of fun along with it. I plan on seeing some movies this weekend and also watching the Cotton Row runners – that’s right, watching. I am not participating this year. There’s also a Memorial Day ceremony at Maple Hill Cemetery that I went to a couple of years ago and I may check that out this year too. I’ll be off work starting tomorrow (Friday); so, no more updates until after the holiday weekend. I hope you all have a nice Memorial Day and that you are able to enjoy it with your friends and family; and remember the reason for Memorial Day – to honor those who died for our freedom. Buckle up and be safe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dore Holte - Who Are You?

(I snagged this picture from this MSNBC article)

I’m pretty sure that no one who reads this blog (with the exception of Tony) watches cycling. A few years ago I didn’t watch it either; but when I started dating Tony, he got me interested in it and now I really love to watch.

Cycling brings out all kinds of weirdoes. Fans from around the world will go to the Tour de France and dress up in the most outlandish outfits and run alongside the cyclists. These people absolutely crack me up and make watching cycling all the better. Often during the Tour de France coverage, I will spot a man wearing a jersey, carrying an American flag, and wearing a helmet that has either longhorns or antlers on it running up the mountainside while the cyclists are trudging up a mountain. This guy makes me laugh most of all because of his overzealous helmet and his obvious love for the sport.

Earlier this week, I sent an email to Versus TV asking them to do a feature story on this guy. During the tour, Versus will do mini-documentaries on various cyclists and show the piece during the race. So, why not do a story on this guy? I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who wants to know more about him. How did he get into cycling? Does he cycle? I find this man to be absolutely fascinating! Here’s the email:

Versus – Love your cycling coverage and am super stoked that you are back on DirecTV! I have an idea for a feature story for this year’s Tour de France. There is a guy who is at almost every mountain stage of all the big cycling events – I know you know who this guy is because your cycling coverage often shows shots of him running alongside the cyclists. He is the guy that wears jerseys and a helmet and the helmet always has some kind of horns – antler horns, dear horns, longhorn horns. You name it. This guy fascinates me. Where is he from? What does he do? How does he afford to go to all the major cycling events? How does he get those horns on an airplane? I beg of you? If you do 100 stories on Lance Armstrong, surely you can do one story on this mystery man! Inquiring viewers want to know. Thanks for you help!!

Do you think they will heed my advice and do a story on him? I sure hope so. In the meantime, I did a little research of my own and found this blog post from George the cyclist who ran into this mystery man while in France at the Tour last year. Apparently the man’s name is Dore Holte and he works at Boeing in Seattle. Dore Holte – if you are reading this, I would love to hear your story! Leave a comment and let me know how to contact you. Tony and I are tentatively planning a trip to the Tour in 2011 so we need some pointers.


(Snagged this photo from somewhere off the intenet)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saturday Fish Fry

This past Saturday, I was prepared to grill burgers for myself, Tony, and Jackie. Around 1:15, my dad called and said that he had been out fishing that morning with my brother and a man from church and they had caught 62 bream. (Jackie asked if Jesus was fishing with him.) So, he decided we should all go over there for a fish fry at 5:30. Tony came over around 5:15 and we headed over to my parents’ house. Jackie got there a few minutes after we did. (FYI the pictures in this post were taken with my parents' camera - I'm not used to it so sorry if they are not that great!)


Jackie and Tony

When we got there, however, nothing had been cooked. My brother was apparently at the store getting French fries. So, we waited around until he got back and then started cooking. I think we finally finished cooking about 7:00 and sat down to eat. It was delicious. My dad did a great job cooking the fish. I somehow ended up in charge of frying up the hushpuppies which didn’t turn out half bad if I do say so myself.


The mess that happens when my dad cooks - at least there's a dog to lick up the crumbs!


Hushpuppy batter


Finished hushpuppies


Raw bream - caught that morning -
as my brother said, just think, those were swimming around earlier today


Yum! Fried fish!


The Head Fisherman and Cook


Standing around in the kitchen, waiting on the grease to get hot


A hot messy and greasy stovetop

After we ate, my brother and his friend McKenna, and my mother all cleaned up the kitchen while my dad, Tony, Jackie and I watched funny political ads and talked about everything under the sun. It was a fun night and I look forward to the next time we are able to get together and fry up some fish.


Justin - doing the dishes

Here’s an update to this story. As Tony and I were pulling up to my parents’ house, I noticed a person walking down the road that looked an awful lot like my friend Sandy. Sandy and I used to work together and we still keep in touch. Tony said he didn’t think it was her (although he didn’t see her face) because the person was too tall. Well, it just so happened that it was indeed, Sandy.

Jennifer, a co-worker and friend, and Sandy had gone hiking on Saturday with Sandy’s sister and Jennifer’s daughters. While hiking they had gotten lost and the next thing they knew, they saw houses. Sandy, who hates hiking and was extremely frustrated at this point, decided to walk to the neighborhood and up to the main highway where she would call her niece to pick her up, and that is exactly what she did, and as she was walking to the highway, that’s when I spotted her. Too bad I didn’t yell out her name or she could have enjoyed the air conditioning and some fish. As I’ve said before, it’s a small world, don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Conversations With Jane Claire

As I’ve mentioned previously, the church I attend has Ladies’ Night Out once a month. This month’s event is taking place on Monday night and this month’s hostess was gracious enough to put together an activity for us to do, giving me a break from trying to think of something to keep a group of 20 or so ladies entertained.

Elaine, the hostess, put together a list of seven questions about mothers and asked us to ask the questions to a small child and find out what the answers are. My original thought was to interview Troy and Ashlyn since they are the children I know the best; but, I didn’t get a questionnaire until Wednesday night and Jackie is out of town right now so I couldn’t call the kids. I may try to call them sometime before Monday to get their answers; but, in the meantime, I decided to interview my friend Candy’s little girl, Jane Claire. JC is hilarious and I knew she would come up with some funny answers. So, I called her last night, but we had a little bit of a technical difficulty. She had a hard time hearing me and I had a hard time understanding her. So, Candy ended up reading JC the questions and sending me a video of each of her answers.

If I could figure it out, I would post the videos here, but I am really not sure how to do that; so, I’ll just post the questions and answers here for you to read.

1. Why did God make mothers? “Because he did.”

2. What ingredients are mothers made of? “Pineapples, bananas, and apples.”

3. Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom? “Because she can tie balloons.”

4. What is the difference between mothers and grandmothers? “Baby brothers.”

5. What does your mother do in her spare time? “She collects straws, she takes care of us, we love her, she cleans house, she does Christmas, she washes dishes and she watches LOST.”

6. What was your mother like when she was a little girl? “She was a baby, she had eyeballs, and snakes on her head.”

7. Describe the world’s greatest mom. “She was a balloon. She makes bottles. She makes sure everything is clean and shiny and not dirty. She washes dishes and feeds them bottles when they were itty bitty little babies but now I am a big sister.

So, there you have it folks – JC’s answers to questions about mothers. Her answers weren’t as funny as I thought they would be, but they gave me a chuckle nonetheless. Maybe we can have more of these Q&A sessions with JC and find out what she has to say on other topics.

Hope ya’ll have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I've Been Keeping My Feet Dry

Dear readers,
Take care of your feet. If you don’t, you will be broke. Thanks for listening!
Natasha

In case you didn’t catch on, I’ve been having some problems with my feet. I realize you probably didn’t come here today expecting to read about feet, but this is all I’ve got today, people. Sorry.

For about a year I’ve been having issues with my feet and over the past few months, the pain has gotten increasingly worse. The only time they didn’t hurt is when I was sitting down, and sometimes they even hurt then. My left foot hurt the worst. Finally I broke down and made an appointment with the podiatrist, Dr. Behmer, of the Huntsville Podiatry Center. He is the caretaker of Tony’s mom’s feet and surprisingly enough, I recently discovered that he performed surgery on my dad’s feet back in 1973. It’s a small world; don’t let anyone tell you differently.

So, last week I had my first appointment only to discover that I have heel spurs, bursitis, and bunions, among other things. So after this discovery, Dr. Behmer tells me he’s going to give me a shot of cortisone, in both feet. Huh? Now I have a friend, Sandy, who had these shots before and she cried like a baby and told how it was the worst thing in the world. So, I was not excited about this at all. Besides that, I wanted someone there to hold my hand and I was there all alone. Needless to say, I survived the shots all by myself. The nurse taped my feet up and told me to keep the tape on and keep them dry for five days. Huh? Yep, five days.

So for five days last week I took a bath with bags on my feet and my feet on the side of the bathtub. I best you have a lovely mental picture now don’t you. The tape actually helped quite a bit, the only hard part was keeping my feet dry.

Yesterday I went in for round two of the cortisone shots and my dad was kind enough to accompany me and hold my hand. I think it’s the anticipation leading up to the shots that is almost as bad as the actual shots. Thankfully, since I had not had any pain in the right foot, I only had to get a shot in my left foot yesterday and the right foot was spared. Today, however, my left foot hurts worse than it has in a week’s time and I’m not sure what’s going on with that, but I don’t like it.

I go in for round three next week. I’m really not sure how many rounds there are, but my wallet’s getting dry thanks to doctor’s visits and inserts and new shoes. So, the point of this post is to take care of your feet or you too will be handing over wads of cash to your doctor.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Movie Review - Robin Hood



This past weekend, Tony and I went to see Robin Hood, staring Russell Crowe and directed by none other than Ridley Scott. I know, hard to believe isn’t it?

If I’m not mistaken, I first saw a preview for this movie when I went to see The Lovely Bones with Candy and Kendra and knew without a doubt that I would go opening weekend. The story of Robin Hood has been played out on the silver screen no fewer than 10 times, dating back to 1912 and so I was anxious to see how the Crowe/Scott version of the film would play out.

I think everyone knows the story of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor; but this story was actually more than that. It was actually more like a prequel to the story we all know. In fact, Tony felt as though they set it up for a sequel. The movie tells how Robin became who he is and why he became that way; basically a background of the man, the myth, and the legend.

I thought Russell Crowe did a fine job as Robin Hood; but, I’m a huge fan and think most all of his work is brilliant. Cate Blanchett was as charming as ever as Marion; I don’t think there’s a role she cannot play. I think she is absolutely a cinematic treasure. Oscar Isaac played the role of King John. He is somewhat of a newcomer, not having had many large roles previously. He was completely villainous and just when you think he may have some good in him; he turns out to be the King John we are all familiar with. Mark Strong was equally wicked in the role of Godfrey.

I won’t give the plot away, but needless to say, I really enjoyed this movie. There were a few parts in it that dragged a bit but overall it was quite entertaining and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys these types of movies. However, be warned: if you don’t like a lot of battles scenes and blood, then this movie probably isn’t for you.

Tony's take: Pretty Good

Friday, May 14, 2010

Earth Fare: Huntsville's Newest Grocery Store


This past Wednesday, a new grocery store opened in Huntsville. It’s called Earth Fare and from what I can tell it is rather cool. I made plans to head over there after church on Wednesday night and Tony made the decision to come with me. Hindsight being what it is, it probably would have been best if Tony had stayed home because he was miserable during the whole outing; not because of the store but because it was so crowded and every time you turned a corner, you would run into more people. It may not have been the best of decisions to go on opening night, but I was excited and wanted to see what this place was all about.


Tony was on the phone the for half of the time we were there.


Here’s the view from the outside. It’s located in the old Circuit City building on University Drive. This in and of itself is a great accomplishment in my opinion. I personally hate it when business leave empty buildings along the highway and then, instead of new business occupying old building, they build new buildings and the old buildings remain empty and an eyesore. Can I get an Amen? At any rate, Earth Fare occupied an unused building and that made me happy.





Once inside I checked in some items at the customer service desk because if you go here then you can trade in items from your pantry (even used items!) for free full sized healthier options, which is really cool.


Tony's talking on the phone in the produce section while I check in at the service desk.

Tony took a picture of these spices





They also had ear candles which can come in handy for American Idol gatherings. Just make sure the fire marshall is around.



And cooking utensils



As you can see from Tony’s square jaw, he was ready to leave and was in no mood for me to be snapping pictures. We ran in to my friend Sharita from church and after saying hello, I decided we should leave before Tony went postal on someone.



I didn’t get to look at over half the things I wanted to see. I plan to go back in a few weeks after the chaos and newness wears off and look around more. In the meantime, I did get my free pantry items, and so can you.



If you plan on going be sure and do it and sign up online for their email newsletter too. They send coupons to your inbox, which is nice if you like coupons as much as I do. Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The New Church Building: Open House #2

As I mentioned previously, there was an open house this past weekend at the new building the church I attend is constructing. I always like to attend these open houses to see how the progress is moving along. Since I don’t live by or pass by the new building, I only get to see it via photos before and after worship services. I think actually going and seeing things in person makes it that much more exciting. So, while I was there I took a few photos to share with you. Some of these I took just for the humor of it all and hope you get a little humor out of them as well.

Here is an outside shot of the building. It is even bigger in person. I was impressed to see that those long windows on the left were installed. They look really nice – floor to ceiling. So fancy! It will be nice to have offices and classrooms with real windows. In our old building, such a thing didn’t exist.



This is the emergency stairwell on the back side of the building. Hopefully no one will ever have to use this. It reminded me of the stairwells you see in the back alleys in New York; only maybe not quite as cool.



This is the inside of the fellowship hall, which will also serve as the auditorium for the first few years we are there. Plans are to build a “real” auditorium later on down the road after we raise some more funds.



Another shot of the same room.



This opening is where the baptistery has been installed.


Speakers on the ceiling of the fellowship hall area; let’s hope these work better then our old sound system, which could sometimes be unreliable.



If you read my last open house post then you will remember I spotted a pack of smokes by the baptistery. Well, my keen eye happened upon another pack of smokes during this open house too and I snapped the photo in keeping with the tradition.



A hallway of classrooms



One of the classrooms on the front of the building



That mumbled up mess will soon be offices and bathrooms.



Over here we have an elevator shaft and a stairwell to the upstairs classrooms which aren’t viewable yet.



An unfinished hallway



A gateway to the outside world



The next set of photos is meant to give you a laugh. I went to check out the bathrooms by the fellowship hall area because I was curious as to whether or not the toilets had been installed. (I know, I know – you don’t have to tell me how strange I am!) So, I walked into the women’s restroom and this is what I saw:



Then I went in for a closer look because I was wondering what those signs on top of the toilets said. Here it is:



The second one:



So, I’m a little confused. One says you will be run off and the other says you will be run off only if caught. However, the most confusing part is that comma use. I think whoever wrote that just threw a comma in there for good measure.

Here’s a shot of where the sinks will be.



So, then I walked across the hall to the men’s room. I was wondering if the toilets couldn’t be used, what about the urinals. Had they been installed? Could they be used without getting run off the job if caught?



Apparently so; while the toilets in the men’s room also had “do not use” signs, the urinals did not. Interesting, indeed.

Well, that’s it for the church building update. We are tentatively having a first worship service there the evening of June 6 and should be fully moved in sometime in the fall. It’s sure to be the home of many wonderful memories.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Iron Man 2: A Review



Tony and I went to see Iron Man 2 over the weekend and we both really enjoyed it. The first Iron Man came out in 2008 and was extremely enjoyable. So, we were a little concerned that the second film might not be that great as is sometimes the case with sequels; plus, we had hears mixed reviews about the film and that also left us a little apprehensive. But, we were pleasantly surprised with Iron Man 2 and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first one.

The plot was a typical super hero movie plot – no big surprises there, but it wasn’t over the top, nor was it boring. I’d say it was “spot on” for a super hero type movie. Robert Downey, Jr. was as delightful as ever as Tony Stark, the somewhat narcissistic multi-millionaire who is also Iron Man. Mickey Rourke was utterly terrifying as Ivan Vanko – wow, and those tattoos were crazy good. I even liked Scarlett Johansson even did a good job and in one scene in particular, she was a complete baddie, kicking behinds all over the place. It was impressive. And Sam Rockwell – seriously does this guy ever portray anyone good? If so, I don’t recall because he does a superb job and being ultra deceiving. The technology used in the film was like a character unto itself and was very cool in my opinion. When I see things like this in film, it makes me wonder why we don’t already have that type of technology today.

I would go see this one in the theaters, folks. I realize that generally speaking, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer blockbuster season, but this year’s summer blockbuster season starts with Iron Man 2 and it is worth the watch in my opinion. There are so many great movies coming out this summer. It seems like every weekend for the next few weeks there is something new I want to see. So, look for a lot of movie reviews in the coming weeks. I wish someone paid me to watch movies; that would be so nice.

Tony's take: pretty good

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Garden: Version 2010

Finally! The garden is planted! Since March I have wanted the small plot of land known as my garden to be tilled up and ready for planting. Unfortunately, I had trouble procuring a tiller to do the job. A few weeks ago, Tony’s uncle and dad went halves on a small tiller and Tony borrowed it this past Friday for 20 minutes of tilling on Saturday morning. (My garden is super small.)

Around 8:30, I headed outside and started working on the yard. I dug up an old shrub, did the weed eating, mowed the lawn, trimmed some erratic greenery, and scooted a 70-pound door to the road. Yes, scooted, that old door was heavy and I could not lift it on my own. It probably weighed more than 70 pounds. I don’t really know. At any rate, it was picked up by some scavengers and who knows where it is now?

Finally around 11:00 or 11:30 (I wasn’t wearing a watch) Tony came over with the tiller to loosen the earth that is known as my garden. Believe it or not, I’d never really seen a tiller in action. It was rather fascinating. It sure has a lot of power. There were a couple of times when Tony first started using it that it almost took of with him; luckily he was able to hold on for dear life and not injure himself. I thought about asking for a turn but didn’t want to make a fool of myself. So, I left the tilling to the men folk.


Tony the Tiller


No, I did not order a mattress, the guy that bought one of the house behind me did.

After my little patch of soil was tilled up, Tony decided we needed to till another row on the other side of what was once the outhouse. Yes, the outhouse. In the pictures, it’s the large concrete squarer. Under that upside down fire pit is what was once the toilet – now concreted in. So, Tony tilled up another row while I planted the tomatoes. The garden consists only of tomatoes and peppers. Last year it also contained squash and cucumbers and okra. The squash was invaded by some disease and to be pulled up and the cucumbers ended up drying up (although I did get a few good ones before that happened), and I never ate any of the okra because by the time it came in, the garden had lost its luster in my eye – and it was HOT! So, this year, we’ve only got tomatoes and peppers. I planted three better boys, two sweet 100s and one Juliet hybrid. For the peppers there are two green bells (one was supposed to be banana, but was in the wrong case at Lowe’s) and one jalapeƱo. I may go back to Lowe’s and get a banana because I like those and my peppers did really great last year.


Freshly tilled earth


Tomato Plants


Peppers


So, the garden, while not very exciting to some, is indeed exciting to me. I love to watch it grow and I love eating the tomatoes that it produces. Maybe when I get braver (next year?) I can plant some other items and see how they do. In the meantime, this is all there is. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Until then… happy gardening!
The Tide enjoyed some outside time as well


Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day and Tony's Birthday

I don’t know about you all, but we had a large weekend jam packed full of activities. I took photos of a lot of our activities over the weekend to share with you. Some of them will hopefully make you laugh – after all, it is my mission in life to make folks laugh.

Sunday was not only Mother’s Day, but also Tony’s birthday. I woke early Sunday morning and cut up three bags of okra and started cooking pinto beans for Tony’s birthday dinner. After an hour or so I showered and went to church and then came home to do some more cooking and cleaning.

Around noon or a little before, I headed to my parents house where my brother was cooking a Mother’s Day lunch. We had baked potatoes, corn, bread and really thick and delicious pork chops. Justin did all the cooking himself. Those pork chops were out of this world good. I’m not sure I’ve ever had pork chops that good before – well done, brother!


The Grillmaster




Pork Chops on the Barbie


Up Close and Personal With The Pork Chop


After we ate, I helped Justin clean up the kitchen and then my mother forced us outside for some photos by a bush. She made my dad take all kinds of photos with different people in each one. The funny thing is she didn’t realize until over half the photos were taken that my brother and I had our sunglasses on the whole time. I’m sure she will be in for a surprise when she takes a look at those later on. I had my dad take one of my brother, mom, and me and I told my brother we could wear our sunglasses. As you tell by the photo, I wore my best outfit and no make-up. Who knew we were going to be taking photos? Not me, that’s for sure.



I left my parents’ house and went over to the open house at our new church building. Those pictures will be a post of their own later in the week; so, stay tuned!

After evening church services, I headed home to start frying up Tony’s birthday dinner; and I do mean frying. Almost everything he ordered up had to be cooked with grease. My house is still recovering. Tony went home to do some painting on his drums and came right around the time dinner was ready. After being inundated with grease for an hour, I didn’t feel like eating. So, I cleaned the kitchen while Tony clogged his arteries.

After dinner, it was time to open presents. Tony got a little help from The Tide.






Tide snagged some wrapping paper to eat

He had already received one of his gifts, a gift card to the US Soccer Store, and two others hadn’t come in yet so he unwrapped pictures of what they were. The one gift that he was able to unwrap and actually touch with his own two hands was an Initech mug – like from the movie Office Space. He then posed like Lumbergh and said, “Um…. Yeah.” Actually, I don’t think he said that, but he should have. If you’ve seen the movie, then you will know what I’m talking about.


Um... yeah

It was a good day, and I hope all you mothers out there had a nice Mother’s Day and Tony, I hope you had a happy birthday!