Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Concession Stand Review – New Hope Football

As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to review the concession stands at the football and basketball games I cover for The Huntsville Times; and this, dear readers is the first of those reviews.

I am a lover of concession stand food, which I realize is kind of weird, but I’ve never heard anyone call me normal – so there you go. Nachos, popcorn, hotdogs, hamburgers, sunflower seeds, funnel cakes, you name it, and I’ll probably eat it. It’s a junk food mecca – who wouldn’t love it.

I’ve been to thousands of sporting events in my lifetime and one of the best things about going is hitting the concession stand. Last year when Jackie, Tina, Chad and I were lucky enough to enjoy the sky box at Bryant Denney Stadium, we had an overabundance of food to choose from, but the thing I was most looking forward to – hot dogs at the half. Maybe it’s the ballgame atmosphere, maybe it’s just that I love junk food, but either way, the concession stand can be one of the best places to eat when you need a junk food fix.

The problem these days is that concession stand prices keep rising, which tends to keep me at bay more than it once did. At professional events the prices are the highest and college games aren’t really that much lower, which is why I relish the high school concession stand. Typically, the concession stands are run by band parents or football parents or some other group of parents just trying to make a buck for their kid, which keeps prices low and makes my wallet and stomach smile.

Now, on to the review – the New Hope concession stand is (as Tony would say) pretty good. They have a decent selection of food, which is always a plus in the concession stand business. Some of their main choices include hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, and if I remember correctly, chicken and BBQ sandwiches, or maybe it was one or the other. Since I didn’t think about doing these reviews until after my trip to the concession stand, I didn’t study the menu and can’t remember for sure which of these two they had on the menu.

New Hope also offers nachos to which you can also add chili for a chili cheese nacho. I didn’t have these because that can get awfully messy, but I saw someone get these at halftime and they looked delicious. This stand also had sunflower seeds, which I consider a big plus. During football season, I have a slight addiction to sunflower seeds and usually carry my own with me, but have been known to run out and need more and I’m always thankful when the local concession stand had them on hand. They also had a large variety of candy, which is good for those folks who need a boost of sugar because the game isn’t all that exciting.

As for drinks, New Hope has Coca-Cola products, which means this stand gets a higher grade in my book. I’m a Diet Coke lover and am not a fan of Pepsi products in the least. So, it always pleases me when a school has Coca-Cola products on tap for my drinking pleasure. For the choices, they had Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Mello Yellow, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper. They also had bottled water and blue Powerade which is a huge plus because I also drink a lot of Powerade at games because I sweat a lot and don’t want to get dehydrated. The fountain drinks are served in a rather large (probably 16 or 20 oz) cups with cubed ice. Kaycee left a comment in the last post that she loves the little “pebble” crunchy ice (like you get at Sonic) so I thought I would mention the type of ice they had here since I know a lot of people like that “pebble” ice.

The prices are very reasonable. Sodas were $1 and so was popcorn. Hot dogs were $1.50. I am not sure about the other prices because I didn't buy anything else. I doubt there was anything over $3 - a real bargain!

The concession area at New Hope is in the West end zone and they have four lines. I’m not sure if the folks out at New Hope don’t visit the concession stand often or if the workers are just efficient, but either way, the lines are never very long and the process runs smoothly with very little wait time – a HUGE plus in my opinion.

Final grade: A

Monday, August 30, 2010

Updates Galore!

I figured it was time for some updates since I’m sure you’re wondering about this or that and well, there’s not all that much else to write about these days, so here you go…

The 7th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run is coming up on October 16. Last year Jackie and I walked in the Ribbon Run and I am planning to do it again this year. I haven’t talked with Jackie about it so I’m not sure if she is planning to come along or not. I plan to walk again this year because I can’t do much running with my feet the way they are or else I’ll be in pain for days afterwards. The cost to sign-up is $20 and you can do that here. Let me know if you sign up!

Speaking of breast cancer fundraising, my college roommate, Melissa is raising money to participate in a three day 60-mile walk in honor of her sister who was diagnosed with and beat breast cancer. If you would like to donate, check out her blog here.

I haven’t seen much of Charlie the neighbor lately. Apparently (or so I heard and may have mentioned here) he has a lake house and is gone every weekend to that little getaway of his. He does manage to make it home during the week where he will proceed to mow his lawn, but not the weed eating. This is really strange, especially considering he has taken time to water the front lawn. You’d think that someone who spent time water the yard would also want it to look nice and would therefore edge/weed eat; but not Charlie. I think Charlie has a lady friend too. I have seen a woman come over from time to time and they usually end up leaving together – I assume for a hot date (at least someone in the neighborhood has a hot date). This past week, the lady came over and Charlie came out wearing a hat that looked like a chicken. I guess it was some sort of inside joke because she was laughing up a storm. I saw all of this take place because I was walking outside to go pick my brother up from work. I assure you I am not keeping watch out the window.

I just read that there was a home invasion at gunpoint a few streets over from mine. That’s kind of scary!

The bug situation at work is getting a little better. Thanks to all the bug traps the bug folks put out, the population seems to be decreasing. I’ve only had one bug fall on my head in the past couple of weeks; so, that’s an improvement. They were supposed to have fumigated our offices over the weekend but that ended up not happening because some people had to work over the weekend and others complained. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to seeing how many bugs were going to be lying around; maybe they will do it another time.

My friend Kimberly has now moved to Malaysia! Keep her in your prayers as she and her husband spend the next six months there. I’m sure she will be posting updates on her blog so check it out from time to time. I have no doubt her humor will shine through!

An official congrats to my dear friend Candy who is pregnant with bambino number three!

This past Friday I worked my first high school football game of the 2010 season. I was out at New Hope and OH MY WORD it was hot in the press box – I mean sweltering. The air was stagnant and I was sweating like nobody’s business. Being a connoisseur of concession stands, I ate a hot dog before the game and popcorn at the half. I love concession stand food, in case you didn’t know that. I’m not sure why, but it is so yummy! I was thinking about concession stands throughout the game and after I got home and I decided that I’m going to rank the concession stands of the stadiums I visit this season and post the reviews here. I know you are probably going to be waiting with baited breath to hear about what I ate and what each stand had to offer. If I can get around to it, I’ll post the first review up here today or tomorrow. Maybe in the weeks ahead I can take some photos of the menu and prices. I am actually going to really enjoy this – see how sad my life has become!

College football season starts on Thursday! I really don’t even have the words to describe how happy this makes me.

Yesterday was our first full day of worship in our new church building and it was a really good day! We had 649 people in attendance and the overflow area was full and we had to bring in more chairs! It was awesome! After months of not having individual Bible classes (we all met together), we were finally able to get together in a small Bible class environment, which was also very uplifting. I am so thankful that we have this new building – it already feels like home.

I’m officially registered for the 2011 Tour de France trip:

Hello Natasha,
Pursuant to our previous correspondence, we have charged your credit card $500 as deposit toward your 2011 Tour de France trip.
You will receive a separate email shortly to keep for your records showing the transaction on your credit card.
As we get closer to the official Tour de France announcement in October, we will keep you posted about our trip line up and you will have priority once our packages are published.
In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.
We look forward to having you along next summer!!

Can you believe it?! I’m so excited!

Thanks to all of you who have left comments recently. I love to read what you have to say. I was looking at my profile not to long ago and noticed it had over 600 views. Who are all these people reading my profile and why don’t they comment? I want to know who they are because I didn’t even think 600 people knew about this little corner of the web.

If I missed anything you are just dying to know about, let me know in the comments and I’ll post an update. Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh How Funny Garbage Can Be

The Tide, being a dog and all, will sometimes get into trouble and it often involves garbage. I don’t know what it is about garbage that is so appealing to my dog. I assume it’s the leftover food that gets thrown away because she is after all starving, or at least she thinks so. When I’m cleaning up the kitchen she loves to lick the garbage bag – maybe it’s the scented order repelling bags that taste so good. I hope to never find out.

Last week I came in from work and guess what? The Tide had decided she was going to go to town on the garbage. I don’t have a can at my house, but hang the bag on a cabinet by the kitchen sink. I don’t know if the bag had fallen down or if she got it down, but in any case, as soon as I walked in I knew she had been in it. There was a trail of garbage from the entrance of my house to the kitchen. I know for a fact there was left over taco meat, mushroom soup and a bag of cooked rice, all of which had been eaten. I’m sure there was a lot more there that she consumed, but I don’t even want to think about it. Needless to say, she didn’t get any dog food that night; I figured she had had enough food for one day. I should have taken a picture of her mess, but priority number one was getting it cleaned up.

One night this week I cooked a bag of rice again. I ate half and put the other half in my lunch for the next day. I went outside to take out some recycling and when I came back in she had that bag out of the garbage. I guess she really likes rice these days. I keep hoping she’ll break herself of this nasty little habit of hers, but I really don’t think she will. Do you think they have garbage anonymous for dogs?

Speaking of garbage, as you may know, I went to Holiday World in July with Jackie and her family. While I was there, my brother stayed at my house and looked after The Tide and ate all my food. This is not really much of an exaggeration. Of course, I told him he could eat whatever he wanted and bought some things he liked so he could have those as well. In the days following my return from Holiday World, this happened and so I really didn’t feel like cooking very much and wanted something fast to eat and every time I went to get something it was gone. I wanted a hot dog – all gone. How about pizza – all gone. It seemed like all the convenient foods in my house were gone.

The pizza was really puzzling to me because I never saw the pizza boxes in the garbage and couldn’t figure out what might have been done with them. Personally I would have put them with the recycling, but my brother… not so much.

I have a small garbage can, and I mean small that sits by my fridge. It’s red and quite cute, but I never use it. I don’t keep a bag in it and have never really found it to be useful because of how small it is, but I keep it there because it was a gift and it’s also where I sit my lunch sack each afternoon when I get home from work.

I would like to preface the rest of the story by saying that I clean my house every weekend, but when I vacuum, sweep, and mop the kitchen, I don’t always move that small garbage can. Most often I do, but if I’m in a hurry, I’ll just go around it and quite honestly in those weeks following my brother’s stint as a house sitter I probably didn’t clean very much at all because all I felt like doing was a whole lot of nothing. So, a couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning house and moved that small garbage can. I picked it up and thought it seemed awfully heavy, or at least heavier than it normally does. I opened it up and voila – the pizza box was folded up inside along with some empty soda cans and some other paper items. Luckily there wasn’t anything perishable and stinky in there. It gave me a good laugh though because for the longest time I wondered where on earth my brother could have but those pizza boxes.

By the way, when I was a little girl, I was fascinated with the garbage man. I would always run to the window when I heard them coming down the street. I thought it was so cool to ride on the back of the garbage truck and decided that when I grew up I wanted to be a garbage man – yes a garbage man, not a garbage woman. Years later, when in high school, I took a trip to the incinerator as part of a trip for my leadership group. It was mesmerizing! I loved every minute of it. I don’t know what it is about me and garbage, but clearly we’ve had a long past and as long as The Tide is around, we’ll probably have a long future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Movie Review - The Other Guys

This past Saturday, my friend Maria and I went to see Will Ferrell’s latest movie, The Other Guys and it was actually rather funny. I love Will Ferrell and think he is an absolute riot but lately some of his movies haven’t been as funny or entertaining as his older stuff and so I was hesitant about going thinking that this one might not meet my expectations. So, when Maria wanted to go see a movie and I looked at what was showing, this was really the only thing that I thought I might want to see so we pressed our luck and went to the 8:00 showing.

The movie is about two guys, played by Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, who are detectives at a New York City Police Department. They never get to go out on calls but accidentally stumble upon a big case. I won’t tell much more than that for fear of giving it all away.

Going in to the movie, I expected there wouldn’t be much of a plot, if at all, but that was another pleasant surprise – there was a plot and it made sense! The plot wasn’t a far stretch and it was understandable as well.

The movie provided me a lot of laughs and I enjoyed it. It opened on August 6 and has been in the top five grossing movies each week. The night we saw it the theater was packed; so, it would seem that people enjoy it and are passing the word on to their friends. It’s obviously not a movie that you will need to put a lot of thought in to, but it was good to just go and relax and have a few laughs with a friend.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We're Opening The Doors - For Real!

It’s a very exciting time at the church I attend. As you may know, our new church building has been under construction for the last nine months or so and we are finally ready to move in! If you are new to this site, you can read about the progress here, here and here. We’ve had a couple of evening services in the fellowship hall/worship area which was ready a couple or three months ago, but now the classroom and office wing is also open and we will have our first full day of worship at our new facility this Sunday!

Last night we had a member orientation so that everyone would know where their classrooms are and be able to help visitors find their way around and afterwards we had a singing service. I spent a few hours at the building on Saturday decorating my classroom and helping get things ready for last night. Here are some photos of the new building:

This is the toddler nursery - the beds are to the right

This is the cradle roll classroom for babies

The baby nursery

This is my classroom, the toddler classroom
for 18 month - 3 year olds

I love this - it's a bathroom between the older toddler
and Pre-K/K class.
The toilet is teeny and so cute I think.
It seems I've been feturing a lot of toilets lately.

The hospitality room

The foyer

This room will be where I spend my Sunday morning Bible class time - the Ladies' Class.
Most all the adult classrooms look like this.

This is unfinished space upstairs which will eventually become more classrooms.

In keeping with the found packs of cigarettes from the previous church building posts,
this sign is posted by the door in the unfinished space.
I'd better not find any cigarette boxes lying around now.

One of the upstairs children's classrooms.
This one is for 3rd and 4th grade.

The youth room

More of the youth room - I assume a fridge is going in to the right

The resource room - in need of resources - they obviously haven't been moved yet.

The library - the books haven't been moved either

The elevator

There are two of these flower arrnagements on the stage -
the arrangement was made by my cousin, Jan, didn't she do a lovely job?

Check this out - this large TV is hidden behind
the communion table. It shows what is on the screen
behind the pulpit so that whoever is on stage will know where
they are in a song, sermon, etc.

This is the flooring between the two buildings.

Last, but not least, the elder's conference room

We are so blessed to have this new facility. I wasn’t sure how I would like it because I am quite sentimental and sometimes unsure about change, but after watching this building go up and seeing it through various phases of construction and now seeing how beautiful it looks, I am very excited and looking forward to worshipping here. As I mentioned, our first service is this Sunday, August 29th. If you live in the Huntsville area, come by for a visit, we would love to have you. The address is 1640 Winchester Road. Worship starts at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday with Bible class to follow at 10:15 and Sunday evening we will meet at 5:00 p.m. Here’s a link to the web site which has directions and additional information.
Hope you can join us!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yet Another Photography Class

As you may know, I bought a nice camera last year which came with free photography classes at Wolf Camera. While the classes were taught by the lovely Farley Vaughn, they were far from informative and 97% of the information covered in those classes was stuff I already knew. So, the search began to find a “real” photography class and as a result, I attempted another run at a photography class last night.

I had searched around on the internets for photography classes in Huntsville and came across this web site. The photographer, Robert Shuffert, is a landscape photographer and so I emailed him a while back asking him what topics he covered to try and figure out if the class would be informative or a complete waste of my time. He emailed back and said that yes, he would be covering the topics I had mentioned, which were primarily aperture, ISO and shutter speed, all of which seem to be a source of confusion for me. So, after debating on whether or not to go for a couple of months, I decided to bite the bullet and take his class. It was only $25 and I figured I could fork over that amount of money and hopefully get something out of it; plus, it comes with his book of photography tips and highlights as he calls it.

The class was held at a Methodist church here in town. I arrived a few minutes early (as you now, I’m a stickler for being on time) and found a seat. I had been hoping that the class would only have three or four people in it so that we could actually take our cameras out of the bag and play around with the settings – wrong. There were 15 people in class – many arriving late Argh! – allowing Robert to pocket a cool $375 for the two hour session. Thanks to those who inconsiderately arrived late, the class didn’t start on time, which didn’t set well with me because I like for things to start on time – after all, when I promise The Tide I’m going to be home at 9:00, that’s what I mean!

While I was sitting around waiting for the late arrivals, a man walked in and asked if every one in the room was Methodist or Presbyterian because he was in need of a heeling. When I looked up at the guy, I thought he looked awfully familiar and finally about 20 minutes later I remembered where I knew him from – he also took classes at Wolf! Clearly my friends and I were not the only ones who thought the classes at Wolf were a complete waste of time.

The class began by Robert telling a couple of stories about his hiking experiences. By the way, it’s better to hike in the fall and the winter because there are less bugs and spiders about and the snakes are hibernating. Then he told a story about how he almost sat on a copperhead a couple of years ago and a couple of years before that he almost stepped on another one. At this point, I was getting really frustrated because I had come to learn some things about taking nice photographs, not hiking tips. So about 20 minutes after the class was supposed to have started, it did just that.

As far as the class goes, it was okay I guess. I don’t wish I had my $25 back, but it also wasn’t as great as I had hoped for it to be. I actually took quite a few notes and I think I came away with a little better understanding of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. There were a few other topics that he spoke about that I had some general knowledge of; so, it was nice to expand on what I already knew. The book he gave everyone had a copy of all the graphics from his presentation and descriptions of various things he went over in the class. I ended up leaving the class at 10 minutes until 9:00 because I was getting adult ADD and the information Robert was going over was just a repeat of things he had said earlier in the class. At this point I had been sitting in a chair for two hours and was ready to be home. I don’t think he had much more material to go over because like I said he was basically recapping everything he had gone over earlier.

So, generally speaking, I learned a few things, but the class was still a disappointment because I was really hoping for class that showed everyone how to change the settings on the camera, which is what I don’t really know how to do. I guess I’ll just have to learn that on my own. I bought the Nikon D3000 for Dummies book earlier this year and just haven’t had an opportunity to look through it and apply it when taking photos. Maybe I can do that this fall. Last week I received an email from Nikon that said “Nikon Photo School Coming to Your City” – when I clicked on it, the closest city was Philadelphia or something ridiculous like that. I was crushed. I really wanted that photo school to come to my city so the good folks at Nikon could show me all the magic of the camera. Oh well; the search for a really good photography class continues I suppose.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Bouquet of Friends

I don’t really have much to write about this week, which is why there has been a lot of silence on this end of cyper space. Life has been rather routine lately – work, gym, dinner, sleep – and the weekends are spent cleaning, reading, going to church and watching the occasional movie. So, as you can tell, not very exciting. You probably do these same things so why would you want to come here to read about that?

I wanted to write a post about friends today, probably because I had my closest girlfriends over for dinner last night and they have all been on my mind and in my prayers for one reason or another recently. Even though we communicate through email on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis, it’s much better to have the face-to-face time in this crazy electronic based 21st century world we are living in.

I am extremely thankful to God who has abundantly blessed me with a plethora of friends, many who live close; others who live far away. Without friends how would we make it through the daily trials of our life? The old joke goes something like, thanks to my friends I’ve saved a ton of money in therapist bills; but, if you really stop to think about it, it’s not really that much of a joke. Friends (true friends) will and should want to be there for you in all situations, both good times and bad. They listen to your problems, cry with you through hard times and laugh with you during happy times. Friends are there to pick you up when you fall and knock you down a notch or two if you happen to need it. If you stop to think about it, the love and support we receive from our friends is actually God sending us love and support through our friends.

I wanted to take this opportunity and this outlet to thank you all for the love and support you have shown me recently. Thanks to those of you who prayed for Tony to find a new job after he was laid-off in July. A lot of you emailed and called and asked about him often. He found a job in Florida and is working there for now. Being from the Huntsville area, he would obviously like to find a job in Huntsville, but he plans to stay in Florida until an opportunity in Huntsville becomes available to him.

As for me, while I may not have seen you personally, I have felt your prayers and your love, all of which have helped me cope with and put into perspective the end of my relationship with Tony. In the grand scheme of things my heartache isn’t that significant, and I am thankful to those of you who took time out of your day to pray for me, send me a note, leave a comment, or send an email. I am still working through the sadness and most days are better than others.

You may have figured out that Tony and I have made the very grown-up decision to be friends; for which I am also thankful. When I started writing today, I didn’t even think that I would end up closing with this. My main point was that I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who I may not see on a regular basis. Many years ago I taught a Bible class to a group of junior high girls and used the following analogy. Friends are like flowers. A flower on its own is nice, but when we gather a flower here and a flower there, we end up with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and aren’t more flowers lovelier than just one or two. We can never have too many friends, even if they come in the form of an ex-boyfriend. Thank you for being my friend.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Monday Review - a Movie and a Book

A few months ago I noticed that Julia Roberts was going to be on Oprah and being a lover of all things Julia Roberts, I set the DVR to record the show. As it turns out, this particular show was about Julia’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) upcoming movie, Eat, Pray, Love, based on the book written by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I had seen mention of this book on some blogs I read and had probably seen it in a bookstore or two, but never thought to purchase it; but, after the Oprah episode (Elizabeth Gilbert was on the show too) I went online and bought the book to read before the movie came out. Unfortunately I haven’t been in much of a reading mood over the past few months – sometimes I get in a funk like this – and didn’t pick the book up until a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know about you, but I am a strong believer that everything in life happens for a reason; each experience we have helps us to grow into the person we are meant to be. So, I think it was meant to be that I didn’t read this book until the end of my relationship with Tony. I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much if I had read it any sooner.

All I knew about the book was that the author took a trip to three countries in the period of a year and I thought, “Well, that’s cool, wonder why it sold so many copies.” Well, my friends, I now know. I’m sure every woman (and maybe some men) who has ever experienced a heartbreak can relate to Gilbert’s memoir. Gilbert took her trip around the globe after a nasty divorce to help her heal from all the emotional instability and insanity in her life. Obviously the end of my relationship was neither a divorce nor nasty, but it doesn’t make the heartache any less in my opinion because when you truly love someone and it doesn’t work out then the sadness is going to be more than you can handle some days; you're not going to recover overnight.

I tried to finish the book before the movie came out and came shy of about 100 pages in completing my goal. I finished the book on Sunday night after I saw the movie Friday with my friends, Jackie, Kendra and Sabrina. As mentioned, I found the book so relatable. There were actual phrases in the book that I have recently said myself or advice given to Gilbert that has also been given to me. I’m not sure I’ve related to a book in such a way in quite some time. It’s remarkable really how things work out. Clearly it was not meant for me to read this book until I needed it; or at least that’s how I feel.

Now, I usually rant and rave in my movie reviews when I’ve seen a movie based on a book. Typically the movie doesn’t even compare to the literary work. This movie, however, was a rarity in that it followed the book quite closely. There were a few liberties taken with the script, but nothing I don’t think fans of the book can’t live with. I think the main reason the film was so similar to the book was because Gilbert contributed to the writing of the script, which I think is admirable because a lot of times (hello, Percy Jackson) the author doesn’t do this and the film becomes a giant mess and nothing like the book, which is disappointing to the literary audience.

For those of you who have read the book, I think you will find the film is quite good. Although I’m a big fan of Julia Roberts’, I had a hard time picturing her as Gilbert; instead of her becoming Gilbert on screen, it was more like oh there’s Julia Roberts; maybe because Julia (at age 42) is a few years older than Gilbert was when she went on this journey (she was 34/35). It just seems to me like it might have been better to have an unknown play Gilbert rather than a big movie star that everyone is familiar with. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the actor and into the character – or maybe that’s just me. At any rate, overall, I thought the film was great. Of course, in my mind it was a lot lovelier but that’s because I have a crazy, vivid imagination and often get lost in books when I’m reading. I’m not so sure everyone else is like that.

So, to sum things up, if you’re looking for something to read, this book was really good and a work of non-fiction, which is sometimes hard to find. The movie was good as well and also quite enjoyable. In the ending of both, Gilbert’s heart heals and she finds love again, which is nice to know that it happens in real life, not just on the movie screen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cooking In The Car - Part Two

Since the cookie experiment was such a big hit (10 comments so far – almost as many as Jim Brickman – almost!) I decided to conduct another experiment with cooking in my car. I forgot to watch the news last night to find out what yesterday’s temperature was; but I did some searching on the internet this morning and from what I can tell, Huntsville reached 103 yesterday. This seems strange to me because I swear I thought it felt slightly cooler yesterday. Maybe I’ve adjusted to the high temps – but my utility bill sure isn’t! Whew!

Anyway, back to the story at hand. This time I decided to experiment with an egg. I thought about cracking it open and mixing it up with some cheese to see if I could cook and omelet; but instead decided on placing the egg in a glass of water to see if it would end up hard boiled. So, before I left work, I grabbed a small glass from the cabinet, filled it up with water and dropped an egg inside.

Transporting this glass to work wasn’t very easy. I had a few small spills, but luckily I had brought a towel along to dry them up. Once I got to work, I placed the glass on the dashboard of the car and headed inside. It was once again about 7:25 when I put the glass on the dashboard.

I went about my business and silently laughed to myself every time I thought of my egg out there in the hot sun. Was it cooking? I couldn’t wait to find out.

I left work around 4:35 and when I got to the car, the water in the glass was extremely hot – a lot hotter than I thought it would be, actually. I put the egg in the cup holder for the ride home where I changed clothes for the gym and let The Tide out for a potty break.

I went to the gym for an hour and then went to pick my brother up from work; all the while leaving the egg in the car. I wanted to make sure it had plenty of time to cook. By the time I had arrived at my brother’s place of work, the water had cooled off considerably. We actually had some cloudiness in the afternoon and some small rain showers, which obviously cooled things off or at least limited the direct heat of the sun, which probably contributed to the cooling of the water.

When my brother got in the car (around 7:05 p.m.) he informed me he was coming to my house (long story) instead of going home. I told him that was fine, but he had to help me with my experiment.

We arrived at my house and finally were able to start the egg cracking process around 7:20 or so. By this time the egg had been in the glass of water for about 12 hours.

He cracked it open…

Started peeling back the shell…

Clearly my brother loves rubberbands and colored bracelets -
he's Living Strong times two, man!


The egg was not cooked. I’m sad to inform you that this cooking in the car experiment was not quite as successful as the cookies. The white of the egg had actually cooked a little bit, but the yellow, was obviously still quite runny. It was more like a poached egg than anything else.

Not hard boiled - just poached

A happy assistant

Egg hands

Oh well, so much for that. My brother had a grand time being my assistant. He told me to include him on any future experiments and suggested I do brownies next time. The weather is cooling off (high 80s/low 90s) over the next few days, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the 100s will be back soon, and there just may be a pan of brownies waiting for them when they arrive.

The failure of this experiment left my brother sad

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife

I’m sure you have all heard about the would-be rapist who broke into the upstairs window of the Dodson’s home in Lincoln Park here in Huntsville. If you haven’t please check it out here; there are two videos of the story as well as a brief synopsis. Now rape, as we all know, is no laughing matter, nor is burglary or any other crime. The videos of this story went viral on the internet a couple of weeks ago and someone (of course) did a remix of the video and made it into a song, which absolutely cracks me up.

I got this video from Tony (yes, that Tony, we may not be dating, but are indeed on speaking terms) and he got it from You Tube. You Tube is blocked at work and ya’ll know I’m too frugal to pay for internet at home so I cannot give the proper recognition here. So, if you know the guy who made the video let me know who he is so I can properly give him a shout out! Thanks to Jackie who let me know it's The Gregory Brothers! Hope you laugh as much as I did.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Cookie Experiment

So, I conducted an experiment yesterday and I know you are anxious to hear about it. That is why you stopped by today, isn’t it? Clearly I am hurting for blog material. As those of you who live round these parts know, we have had 100 plus degree days for I don’t know how long – too long if you ask me. For those of you who know me or who have read this blog for any period of time, you know I some times like to do quirky things. So, I decided to conduct The Cookie Experiment. You probably already know where this is going, don’t you?

Over the weekend I bought some Nestle cookie dough, which was by one get one free at Publix by the way. Chocolate chip cookies are one of my most favorite things on earth. I have gone through phases, I’m not ashamed to say, where I will eat chocolate chip cookies every night. Love them! I actually bought these cookies just for experimental purposes if you can believe it. I honestly haven’t baked any of them except for the three I used in the experiment.

So, yesterday morning before I left for work, I put three of the unbaked chocolate chip cookies on my small Silpat and coordinating cookie sheet.

When I arrived at work, I placed the unbaked cookies on the dash of my car and headed in to the office. I wanted to see if they would bake in the heat of my car. I was pretty sure they would, but didn’t know if I would end up with hot dough or crispy cookies.

The cookies were placed on the dash around 7:25 (yes, I was running late – have been all week). I had an appointment yesterday afternoon; so, I left work around 2:40 and when I arrived at the car, the cookies were indeed baked through. The chocolate chips, were, naturally, gooey because of the heat, but the actual cookie was baked.

Pay no attention to my disgusting windsheild; it's the fault of my sappy Hackberry tree.

I took a bite out of one, and it was indeed delicious. I took a few photos, placed the cookies in the passenger seat and headed to my appointment. Every time I looked over and saw the cookies, it totally cracked me up.

Cookies - baked in the car! Yum!

The view through the dirty windshield - after I had taken some bites.

I left the cookies in the passenger seat through my appointment and while I was at the gym. I got home for the day around 6:40 and the cookies had been in the car the whole time, still making me laugh. Generally speaking, these cookies were actually a little crisper than I like. I prefer a chewier, softer cookie, but they were still good. I actually brought the other two today to eat with my lunch. I’m sure I’ll share this story with the girls at lunch who will think I’m even crazier than they first thought. I wanted someone to take my picture with the cookies, but sadly, there was no one around.

So, that was my experiment yesterday. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but it provided me with a little humor on and off throughout the day; not to mention my car briefly smelled like fresh baked cookies. I’m thinking about doing an egg next or maybe something else. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Braved the Tax Free Crowds

This post isn’t going to be as spectacular as you think. Since I know you all come here to find out all the juicy details of my life and I didn’t want to go two whole week days without a post, I thought I would fill you in on my action-packed weekend activities.

This past weekend was Alabama’s fifth annual tax-free shopping weekend which means people were out in droves. I typically stay away from the malls and other stores on this particular weekend because I know it will be jam packed with folks fighting over the last Trapper Keeper, but I really wanted a new pair of jeans so I decided to brave the hordes of people and the 100 plus degree elements and head over to the mall.

I purchased nothing.

I then went to Target to pick up a few things they had one sale (plus I had a couple of gift cards) and while there ran into my friend Brenda from work. I was chatting with her outside of Shoe Carnival and ended up buying a $9.00 pair of shoes (they had been $35). I wore them to work yesterday and today my feet hurt. They are cute though. I should have taken a photo, but I didn’t. My apologies.

After fighting the crowds at Target, I went to Publix, where shopping is a pleasure, and indeed it was a pleasure because there was hardly anyone there. I guess since groceries were not tax free people steered clear of the grocery store. I bought my goods and headed home where I finished cleaning house, reading, working sudoku puzzles and watching television. Such is the life of a single girl.

Sunday night was the first NFL preseason football game of the season, which I normally do not watch but MY WORD television has been the epitome of boring this summer, has it not?

This luxurious weekend may seem boring to most of you, but I was actually happy to have the time to myself. It seems like every weekend for the past few months has been scheduled to the brim with things to do and I was happy for the break.

Today I am conducting an experiment to share with you here on The Chronicles of Nat. I know you are waiting with baited breath to see what it is. You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out. Hopefully it will work. If not, I’ll still fill you in on all the details. Until next time!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Post About Nothing

I don’t have much to say this week; I’m sorry. Life has fallen back into the realm of boring and with the 100 plus degree days, well, there’s not much I want to do rather than stay inside an air-conditioned room.

I’m back at the gym this week after taking last week off to deal with, well, you know. I’m still not losing weight, which was become increasingly frustrating. I’ve been to the doctor multiple times over the past couple of weeks to try and determine what is causing the lack of weight loss. I’ve donated a lot of blood to labs recently, which makes me wonder, what do they do with it after it’s tested? Does it get incinerated? Inquiring minds want to know. I head back to the doctor on Friday and hope to have an answer other than, “you’re just stressed;” because that’s what one doctor has been telling me for about five years. Wrong, buddy. Go back for a refresher at medical school, please.

As for my daily Bible reading, it is still going quite well. I’ve missed a day here and there, but always catch up after that happens and I am still on track to read the Bible in one year, which is awesome. I’m really excited about that.

The garden has become an absolute disaster and I’ve pretty much given up hope. The tomatoes all grew into one another was the first problem. It was hard to distinguish which plant went where. The only tomatoes I’ve been able to reap and eat were the small, sweet 100s. The larger tomatoes, which I love to eat on sandwiches or just by themselves, have all gone to the squirrels. The little rodents have taken the tomatoes while they were still green and so I haven’t been able to eat even one of them. Same for the Juliet hybrids, I think I’ve only been able to eat two of those. The peppers have done a little better and they are still growing. I’ve pretty much given up on the tomatoes and don’t even intend on watering them anymore. One, I don’t like standing out in the heat; and two, I’ve kind of lost interest. I know, that’s sad. Maybe next year I’ll be more devoted to the garden, or maybe I won’t even plant one who knows? Also, this is the time of year when the tomatoes always have these strange looking bugs on them and they kind of freak me out and make me want to stay far away from the tomatoes.

Football season is only four weeks away and that is very exciting! I have a meeting at the newspaper today about the upcoming season and to get a new head shot taken, which makes me laugh because it’s not like I ever wrote features and they certainly never use a head shot but who knows, maybe something new is in the works.

I’m sending in my deposit for my 2011 trip to the Tour de France. That’s right folks, I’m taking my gig across the pond and I couldn’t be happier! I’m very excited! The plan is to spend 7 -10 days in France at the tour and then another week somewhere else in Europe. The second week, Jackie is planning to fly over and Lord only knows what we will get ourselves into when we are on foreign soil. We are both really excited and pinching our pennies to make the trip possible. The trip is still a year away, but I’m filled to the brim with excitement.

I was reading The Big Mama Blog the other day and she linked to this recipe for broccoli and OH MY WORD! You must try it. It truly is the best broccoli EVER!

I’ve started eating in the cafeteria for lunch with some girls that I’m friends with here at work. I bring my lunch, mind you, just go there to eat rather than sit at my desk and chance a bug hopping into my food. I haven’t eaten in the cafeteria since before I started dating Tony and I think it’s helped me not be so lonely while at work, which has been nice.

For those of you wondering about my well being, thanks for the concern. I am doing a little better each day but still am quite sad and have random bursts of crying. It’s hard to believe that something I put so much work and love into has come to an end, but I am healing with the help of friends, my therapist (no joke!) and prayer. I know life will be back to some semblance of normal before too long and I suppose that’s a good thing. Keep sending positive thoughts my way! Have a great day!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bug Bait

A while back I think I mentioned in passing that we had a bug problem here at work. Well, I think I’m ready to talk about it or at least blog about it anyway.

A month or so ago, I began to constantly hear the chirping of crickets. It was seriously so loud that I felt as though I worked at a bait and tackle store. Then one day I started finding crickets climbing on the walls, jumping around on the floor, lying dead on the filing cabinets; and I wasn’t the only one. When Tony worked here, he sat in the cubicle next to me and he had dead bugs on his desk on a daily basis. One day, a couple of bugs fell from the ceiling onto his desk. I thought he was exaggerating, but later that same day while sitting in his cubicle, I had one land on my leg. Crickets and beetles seemed to be what plagued us the most.

It started getting out of control and was becoming an everyday occurrence. I can only assume these critters wanted to get in from the heat like us humans; but they needed to find another refuge from the sun. We let our VP know about the problem and he got on the backs of the folks in charge of bug control; but still the problem didn’t seem to go away.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bug fall on my head, another in my lap and still others on my desk, all while I was sitting at my desk working. It was awful. If anyone has ever seen me around bugs, then you know how crazy I get. I hate bugs; make that HATE! They are gross and creepy and give me the ibby jibbys. So, needless to say, on those occasions when these bugs were falling on me, I screamed and jumped out of my seat and danced around like a crazy person. It’s a miracle I didn’t take my clothes off in the process as has been done in the past and witness by readers of this blog. It was as though those bugs were looking down at the top of my head and placing bets on who could land on top of it.

This past Monday, I came in and saw a cockroach that was no less than four inches long and quite wide crawling on the wall in front of my cubicle. I screamed, but no one was around because I am usually one of the first people to arrive. Finally I saw a person and made sure I had a witness to the large creature. I emailed the VP and told him that a roach the size of a small mouse was right in front of me and that if it fell on my head I was done for the day. My secretary, Bonnie, and I watched it crawl up the ceiling and disappear beside a skylight. That afternoon, Bonnie decided to nickname me “Bug Bait” and put a sign outside my cubicle declaring me as such.

On Tuesday, the Pest Control people finally arrived and interviewed me as to what my problems were. They said those large roaches were just wood roaches and carried no disease. I think they are lying! Did you know a roach can live for like two weeks without it’s head because they don’t have a central nervous system? It’s true! And disgusting! The Pest Control folks put out some traps – on the floor – and went about their business. I don’t know if they tackled the roof of our building or not, but those floor traps aren’t going to do much for the bugs that are falling from up above onto my freshly washed hair.

When I came in this morning, there were bugs in the traps outside of my cubicle, but not in any of the others. What is it about me that draw the bugs here? Why am I “Bug Bait”? I hope the bug drama goes away soon, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I imagine they will be lurking around every corner until the weather cools off. It would be preferable to have a cover over my cubicle, but that’s not easily done and holding an umbrella while typing is also not so easy. So, in the meantime, I’ll just roll with the punches and hope they don’t land in my breakfast or lunch.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Catching Up With Friends and Babies

Maria and David

This past Sunday, Jackie and I went to a bridal shower for Maria Brown. Jackie and I both hate bridal showers, but made an exception in this case because Maria is the younger sister of our childhood friends, Tina and Shawna. Maria came to live with Tina a Shawna's family when she was just a few days old and was later adopted by the Browns. She's a sweet, sweet, girl! I’m sure you remember Shawna; she is after all, the Fire Marshall. Tina, you may remember, was the pregnant gal that went to the Alabama vs. North Texas game with us last football season and then she had a baby, Cecilia, who I introduced here. Then I found out on Sunday that Tina isn’t even a reader of my blog?! She says she didn’t know I had one, but I think she just forgot about it. At any rate, that’s been remedied and I sent her the link yesterday. Tina, are you reading?

Shawna and Tina are concentrating hard on their duties as sisters.

Back to the shower, which I suppose was the original subject of this post. Sweet little Maria is marrying David sometime in September I think (don’t you love the accurateness of this blog?) They met in college (again, I think) and now live in Chattanooga. They are getting married at the Botanical Garden in Huntsville (that’s a fact, unless they changed their minds) which is a lovely place. My cousin Lauren was married there.

Maria and David got lots of nice gifts, which I’m sure they will enjoy using. One of the interesting things about this shower is that men were also invited. Lately that’s how we’ve been doing things at church. I don’t know why we’ve started doing it this way; but my guess is that the men like another opportunity to eat.

I also saw my friend Kimberly who is moving to Mylasia in about three weeks. She will live there for six months! I didn’t get a picture of Kimberly, but she is adorable! She and her sister Shelley are so cute and always happy and very smart dressers. I told Kimberly she needs to go shopping with me sometime so I can look as cute as she does! You can check out Kimberly’s blog here.

Tina had Cecilia with her, who has turned out to be quite a little chunk. She is adorable, and looks just like her father. Tina’s mom says Cecilia has Tina’s eyes, but I’m not so sure.

The shower was a nice opportunity to catch up with Tina who lives in Birmingham, and also Shawna, who recently moved to Birmingham. Best wishes to Maria and David as they look towards the future and starting a new life together!

A new grill for the happy couple

Me, Jackie and Cecilia, and Tina

I just thought this was a funny picture, Cecilia looks drunk here, obviously she's not, right Tina?

Me and baby Cecilia