Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Recap

How was your weekend? Mine was busy! I intended for the weekend to be rather low-key but it ended up being rather busy. Friday night I didn’t do too much; just some laundry and catching up on the DVR.

Saturday morning I went to the gym and a couple of hours after that I went to my friend Janet’s house to eat some lunch and go over our material for teaching at church this next quarter. Janet and I are teaching the Ladies’ Class this spring quarter and our topic is the book of Philippians. If you are in need of a place to worship then come on by and visit us at Chase Park, and if you are a lady, then stop on by our class. This coming Sunday is Friend’s Day at Chase Park and we would love to have you – we’ll even serve you a meal! You can’t really beat that!

So, back to the weekend – after I left Janet’s, I had approximately two hours to do a little more cleaning and take a shower before I met Janet up at the church building. We participated in the singing class and afterwards put together the workbooks for our class. This was the first singing class I participated in and I have to admit I really learned a lot. We discussed time measures in a song and all the learning caused me to count notes during all the songs on Sunday morning. After the singing class I went home and watched some TV and then Sunday I finished up the laundry, went to church and watched more TV, including the Oscars. I actually recorded the Oscars on my DVR and occasionally went back and fast forwarded to see who won what and then went back to watching whatever it was I was watching.

This weekend DirecTV had a free preview of the Starz Channels. I recorded and watched some movies and still have a few left to watch. I “watched” (i.e. fast forwarded through most of) “When In Rome”. It was a typical chick flick and really dumb. I’m so glad I didn’t pay to see this movie. I watched all of “The Ugly Truth” which was also a typical chick flick but had some funny parts in it and I actually enjoyed this one. It didn’t annoy me and let’s face it, that Gerard Butler is a hottie! I also watched all of “The Taking of Pelham 123” with Denzel Washington. I’m not sure why I never saw this movie before, but I really enjoyed it. Very suspenseful and not a movie I could watch with Jackie as she tends to get a little nuts during suspenseful thrillers.

So, that’s pretty much it for my weekend. I stayed busy but it was kind of low-key as well. I’m back at work today and have a busy week planned complete with either a Friday or Saturday trip to Birmingham for the state basketball finals. Hopefully this year my dad won’t spew soda over the folks in front of us.

Hope you have a great Monday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Votes Are In

So, the votes are in for the Name the Heifer Poll and the winner, with eight votes is Trudy. Ginnie came in a close second with six votes, followed by Something Else – these names are terrible with three votes and Cinderella with two. I will be sure and let Amy know what the name of her heifer, soon to be cow is. Hopefully she will soon send a picture of the bull and we can do it all over again. Thanks for voting everyone!

I don’t know about you all, but I don’t really have any big plans for the weekend. My jaw is still bruised and I’ve generally avoided chewing on the right side of my mouth which is getting quite annoying. The few times I have tried to chew over there have not been pleasant and have been quite painful. I’m hoping this clears up in a couple of days otherwise it looks like it might be a root canal after all and I am not looking forward to that in the least.

I want to give a shout out to my dear friend Caroline who gave birth to her second son yesterday in South Africa. She named him Blake Darrow Collie. Darrow is Caroline’s maiden name and I think it is an excellent choice for her son’s middle name (not that she asked me or anything).

I’m not in much of a writing mood today so I’m going to close it out here. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm Newly Crowned

So, clearly that last post about Tom Sawyer was of absolutely no interest to anyone seeing as how I got zero comments. Maybe none of you readers like plays as well as I do. I’ll try to do better today.

Yesterday I had my temporary crown put on. You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I stopped by the dentist office because my tooth was bothering me and was informed that I was going to have to fork over $400 for a crown. I was less than thrilled about that, but because the pain was slowly but surely getting worse, I decided I’d better go ahead and get it done rather than ignore it.

So, yesterday was the big day. I talked to my dad on the way and he told me that the doctor may give me some laughing gas. Now, as long as I’ve been going to the dentist (30 years give or take I guess; not really sure how old I was when I started going), I’ve never had laughing gas, or as my friend Amy calls it, Mr. Nose. I doubt I’ve ever written about it on this blog, but Amy loves Mr. Nose. She talks about it with a passion that rivals any football fan’s love of his team. So when I heard that I may finally get to experience the infamous Mr. Nose, I was pretty excited. I thought that I might finally be able to see what all the fuss was about.

I got to the office and they took me back almost immediately. That’s one thing I will say about my dentist is that I’ve never had to wait in the waiting room for more than five minutes. I sat in the chair and the dentist and hygienist went right to work – without offering me Mr. Nose. I was so disappointed. Maybe you have to ask for it. I received the numbing shots and once my mouth was numb, the drilling began. I had taken my iPod with me and cranked up The Beatles while the drilling was taking place. A couple of times I had to spit tooth fragments out of my mouth. It was less than pleasant. Not to mention the fact that my sinuses kept draining while my head was laid back and I thought I might drown in my own drainage.

A few different times while we were waiting for things to set, I was able to sit up instead of lay back and I even got to operate the spit sucker on my own whenever I needed it. I don’t know what that thing is called but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

After almost an hour, the temporary crown was placed on my tooth and I was free to go; well, after I made my first payment anyway. For the rest of the afternoon and in to the evening I felt like I had to annunciate everything very slowly because my numb lip made it seem as though my speech was thick and slurred.

I took some Aleve while at church last night because the numbness was wearing off and I also felt a headache coming on. I ate a baked potato for dinner and some time before I went to bed I noticed my jaw was starting to bruise. This morning, my jaw is still a little blue (not too bad) and I feel like I’ve been punched in the jaw. Eating is also a little difficult as I can’t really chew on my right side and the crown feels weird. Oh well, such is the life of good dental health I guess. One positive thing about it all was that I slept like a rock last night. I don’t know if it was directly related to the dental work or not but I really slept well last night and am quite thankful for that.

The permanent crown will be put on in a couple of weeks; and no, it’s not gold and it also doesn’t have a diamond in it. I wasn’t given either of those options. I just got the tooth colored one – C1 in fact is the color. I hope they don’t have to numb me again when they put the permanent one on but I don’t know, this is my first experience with a crown of any sort; well, other that the princess birthday crown my friend Brenda got me about three years ago. Until next time…

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Huntsville Happenings and a Review of Tom Sawyer

Looking for something to do this weekend? How about some live entertainment in the form of a play?

This past Friday night, my friend Sabrina and I went to see Fantasy Playhouse’s production of Tom Sawyer. I am a season ticket holder and usually look forward to seeing the shows. I don’t know why, but for one reason or another, I wasn’t too fired up about Tom Sawyer; probably because it was a Friday night and unless it’s football season, I generally like to spend my Friday nights doing a whole lot of nothing.

The show started at 7:00 and we got there a few minutes before curtain. I was prepared with a wrap because it’s usually quite cold in the playhouse, but this time it really wasn’t too bad. The show started and Sabrina and I both had a hard time hearing what the folks on stage were saying. We kept asking one another, “What did he/she say?” The props were very minimal and when the large curtain was down in front and props were being changed behind the curtain it was really noisy. Some of the props were on casters and when the props were rolled out, it sounded liked thunder to me. I found it to be very distracting. The first act seemed to last way too long in my opinion and I kept wondering when intermission was going to arrive. I was craving a Diet Coke and that’s all I could think about.

Intermission finally came and since I only had $2, I had to settle for a drink at the water fountain, which wasn’t as delightful as a Diet Coke, but it at least parched my thirst for a brief moment.

The second act started and the sound had obviously been adjusted because we could hear better than we could during act one. The second act wasn’t as long as the first act, which was a welcome relief to this viewer who found this to be one of the most boring plays I have seen in a long while. In act one especially, I found myself nodding off. It just didn’t keep my attention.

Jackie took her kids on Sunday afternoon, and surprisingly, they said it was their favorite play so far. Since Fantasy shows are geared toward children, I guess Tom Sawyer worked in that regard seeing as how Troy and Ashlyn thought it was a good show. Jackie said the sound was really loud when they went on Sunday; so, obviously some adjustments were made from Friday night, which was opening night. I should have known better than to get opening night seats; the kinks are still being worked out on opening night.

Tom Sawyer continues this weekend with performances on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 and 5:00 p.m. Tickets are only $12 and can be bought by calling 256-539-6829. The director of this show is Michelle Allen, who is actually a childhood friend of mine and Jackie’s. I realize I didn’t give this show the greatest review, but as I mentioned, Jackie’s kids really liked it so maybe your kids will too. Check it out if you get a chance!

Here are some other upcoming productions you may be interested in (click the link for more information):

Lee High presents Romeo and Juliet, February 25-27
Huntsville High presents The Wedding Singer, March 4 – 12
Grissom High presents Beauty and The Beast, March 18-27
Lee Lyric Theatre presents The Drowsy Chaperone, April 1-9

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finally... The Publix Story

As promised, here is my story from my shopping trip to Publix a few weeks ago. I hope it lives up to its anticipation. Every Friday, I stop by Publix on Whitesburg Drive on my way home from work to take advantage of their awesome sales and buy whatever I might need for the next week. More often than not, I will let the bag boy take my groceries out. I never let the bag girls take out my groceries; that just seems weird to me.

So, a couple of weeks ago when I stopped in, the bag “boy” was an older man by the name of Durwood. Durwood is a short little man with solid white hair and a great personality. Some of the bag boys are less than personable or at least I find that it’s hard to carry on a conversation with some of them; but, I did not have this problem with Durwood. He was raring to talk.

As we strolled out to my car, Durwood began to tell me that he had asked the manager at Publix about putting up a display of his books. My first thought was, “What the heck kind of books?” He said that the manager was more than willing to put up a display, but that it would have to be approved by the corporate office. I guess they don’t want a surprise corporate visitor showing up with an unapproved display sitting in the store. He then told me all about what his display was going to look like and how he was going to go ahead and build a demo so he could take some photos of it and submit them to corporate.

All the while, I’m wondering what kind of books Durwood is talking about (by this time all my groceries were in the car and we were just chatting). I finally asked him about these books and he said that he had written some novels and they are for sale on Amazon. He asked me if I was familiar with Amazon and I tried hard not to laugh in his face considering I’m on Amazon almost every day.

He then proceeded to tell me about the first book he wrote, “Anthrax Conspiracy” and gave me some details about it, complete with voice inflection and cliff hangers. It was great! He told me about the love affairs of his fictional characters as if they were his own friends or family and then he told me how in his follow up novel he corrected some things and made one character the lover of a different character and so on and so forth. All the while he was grabbing my arm and laughing and we were really having a great time. He told me if I ordered the book to just bring it on in to Publix and he would autograph it for me. He said, “A lot of the ladies bring books in for me to sign.” Clearly Durwood is quite the ladies man in south Huntsville.

A few days later, I looked it up on Amazon and sure enough there were a couple of Durwood’s books including “Anthrax Conspiracy”. I haven’t ordered one yet, but as soon as I do and it arrives, I will be taking it down to the Publix on Whitesburg to get Durwood to autograph it for me.

Durwood was a really sweet man and I enjoyed talking with him. I kept wondering why it is he was working at Publix. I never asked him; but, I assume he really enjoys the company of other people and meeting them and talking to him and obviously increasing his books sales by doing so. I sure hope Publix lets Durwood put up a display of his books. I can just see him sitting at a Publix book signing talking to all the ladies!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Trash, Their Treasure

The weather has been really nice here in Alabama for the past week or so. We’ve had highs in the 60s and it definitely feels like spring, which has been much welcomed after all the snow and cold we’ve had this winter. This past Saturday, I took advantage of the nice weather and decided to clean out my shed. It’s been a couple of years or maybe even three since I’ve cleaned out the shed and I knew there were some things in there that I haven’t used in a sweet forever and I wanted to throw them out. I told ya’ll that Peter Walsh show was getting to me. It’s like all I want to do these days is purge my house of clutter.

It took a couple of hours to get the shed cleaned out. I had left over paint from when I renovated my house that needed to be thrown out and I also went through all the storage boxes. I had a lot of college textbooks in the shed and I got rid of all of those. With the internet, information is easily accessible and I hadn’t even looked at those books one time in the 11 years since I graduated so I threw them out. I also threw out some pillows that had been out there for probably five years, as well as an old sleeping bag that my childhood dogs used when they briefly lived with me before going to dog heaven. I also put a box fan and some storage containers by the road and also threw out some holiday decorations I no longer wanted and also set out an old garbage bucket that was used to house dog food for the aforementioned childhood dogs. In my garbage bin, I threw out an old answering machine, caller ID box, flower pot, broom, and old dusty camera bag in which I found a really old camera and nice lens (kept that and brought it inside). All of these things I took out to the road on Saturday afternoon (except for the paint buckets which were picked up by someone and properly disposed of).

After straightening the remaining items and sweeping out the shed, I went inside to get cleaned up and waited for folks to start coming by and picking through the garbage. When you live in the city, people will inevitably come by and look through the stuff you have thrown out. I’ve had numerous things taken from my curbside before and this time was no exception.

The first person to stop was a man who rides by on his bicycle every day. He pulls a flatbed trailer behind his bike and picks up things along the way. He took the box fan and looked through other things, but passed on them. The next person I saw was a lady pushing a baby in a stroller. She took some old ugly Thanksgiving decorations, an old broom and a couple of pillows. She looked through all the textbooks, but I guess nothing caught her eye. Sunday when I arrived home from church, the big maroon colored storage bin was gone as were the two pillows and stuffed Christmas mouse inside. Also gone was one of the bins of textbooks. That afternoon, a guy came by with a shopping cart and started pillaging through the remnants of my trash. He ended up taking with him the old answering machine. For a while I thought he was going to take the old sleeping bag that my childhood dogs used, but when I went to throw out my trash from the house this morning, I noticed it was still in there. He too looked through the remaining books but didn’t take any. This guy got serious about his dumpster diving as he literally had my garbage bin on its side with his head stuck in digging through everything. At some point, someone took the flower pot, but I don’t know who.

This morning when I went to throw out the garbage from the house, all that was left was one bin of textbooks, the sleeping bag, and the old garbage can that once held dog food. I actually ended up pulling that dog food holding garbage bin back because I decided I would put my rakes, shovels, etc. in it instead of lined up along the inside of the shed. I think it will give me a little more room that way. So, that’s the story of my weekend cleaning spree. It’s true what they say, one man’s trash is indeed another man’s treasure, and it sure is interesting to watch that man dig for his treasure.

On a completely unrelated note, don’t forget to vote for the heifer’s name at the top of the page. If you are having trouble voting, it could be because you are voting multiple times from the same computer. I think that may be why some of your votes aren’t showing up! Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vote for The Heifer's Name

So, last week I promised you a post for this week about a recent experience I had at Publix. I am sorry to say that I’m postponing that post one more week and hope to have it up next week. I’m only working a half day today and haven’t had time to properly write about that story and I want to make sure I do it justice. So, please accept my apology and tune in next week for that story.

As for today, it’s back to the cow heifer. I emailed Amy the five names that were suggested on the day of the original post which were: Weezy (my personal favorite), Cinderella, Ginnie, Amarantha, and Trudy.

Since that time, three others have been suggested, Daisy, The Pit Bull (um, this is a heifer, not a bull), and Posie. I’m sorry to say that since Amy had already narrowed down her choices before these names were submitted, these were not considered. But, fear not, because I have a feeling that we may be naming the bull soon and then you can submit more names whoever you are (two of these three were submitted anonymously).

From those original five suggested names, Amy narrowed down the choices to three names. Those three are Cinderella, Ginnie, and Trudy, and now it’s time for you to cast your vote to name Wes and Amy’s heifer, soon to be cow. As you can see from the top of the blog, there is a poll where you can vote on the name. The poll will be open for one week and the results will be revealed next Friday. Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and happy voting!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review: The Faith of Ronald Reagan

I want to begin this post by apologizing to Book Sneeze for taking a sweet forever to write this book review. They graciously provide me with books free of charge to read and review and I was negligent in getting this review up in a timely manner. Quite honestly, this book ended up buried under some paperwork and I was reading another book and forgot I even needed to review this book. So, my apologies and I promise to try my best to do better in the future. Now, on to the review…

I chose this book, “The Faith of Ronald Reagan” because I have always thought Ronald Reagan was one of the best presidents this country has ever known and I was curious as to what this book would reveal to me about President Reagan’s faith. Faith plays a big part in many peoples lives whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc., and I wanted to know how important President’s Reagan’s faith was to him and how it may have influenced his decisions while in the White House.

Author Mary Beth Brown used first-hand interviews from President Reagan’s family and friends as well as President Reagan’s own words and writings to compose this book. The book begins by telling of the faith of the President’s mother and how her influence on him led him to his own spiritual journey and continues on through the various phases of President Reagan’s life including high school, his acting career, his governorship of California and even when he met Nancy.

One of the first stories told is how the President didn’t attend church while in office but was looking forward to doing just that once he was out of office. His reason for not attending church while in office was so that he wouldn’t put the lives of others at risk. You may recall that there was an assassination attempt on President Reagan and that event forever changed his life and way of thinking.

This book provides interesting insight into the thinking of a Christian man who lived a large part of his life in the spotlight, which caused him to be ridiculed and criticized by others. If you have any interest at all in this genre of reading, then this would be a good book for you. I found it to be interesting and insightful and a light easy read and it was nice to get to know President Reagan on a more personal level.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Name The Cow

As mentioned last week, my friends Wes and Amy have bought a cow, well, actually it’s a heifer, but we will get into all that in a little bit. If you are a long time reader of this blog then you were probably around way back when Amy was pregnant and we conducted a poll as to what she and Wes should name their baby girl. For some rather dumb reason, I didn’t post the results of the poll, but they ended up naming their little lass Chelsea, who will soon be two. She and this blog share the same birth year!

Anyway, since we had such a grand time with the baby name poll, and Amy and Wes need a name for their newly acquired heifer, we have decided to have a name the cow contest. Well, technically I guess it’s not really a contest since no prize will be awarded, but you will receive bragging rights which is pretty cool.

Here’s a little background information on the heifer. She was bought at an auction at the Cullman stockyard for $895 and weighs about 1,100 pounds! The reason she is a heifer is because she is a virgin; but, come spring she will no longer be a virgin and will therefore no longer be a heifer, but will be then known as a cow.

The heifer was purchased specifically for breeding. Wes plans to breed her and sell her offspring in hopes of making some cash. The heifer lives with other heifers on Granny Bryan’s hill, which of course is close to the farm.

Recently, Wes bought a bull to be the stud for the heifers. His cost was $2100! Apparently the bulls are worth more money so you know Wes will be keeping his fingers crossed for a little bull come spring. The calves will sell around $400 or more depending on if it is a little girl or little boy calf. The bull is currently living down the road at Mr. Taylor’s barn and will be released to have his way with all the heifers when springtime arrives.

On a completely unrelated note, the heifers have been getting out of their pasture a lot lately and are often in Wes’ parents’ backyard. Can you imagine waking up to a backyard full of heifers?

So, Amy would like to solicit your help in naming the (hopefully) soon to be pregnant and therefore soon to be a cow, heifer. Put your suggestions in the comment section and once we get some suggestions, Amy will narrow it down and we will have a poll to vote on the winning name. This may be the only time in your life you get to name a heifer, soon to be cow, so take advantage of it and be creative!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest Post: Never Say Never Review

From time to time I like to have guest posts here on The Chronicles of Nat because let’s face it, I don’t always have interesting things to write about. So, last Friday when Jackie called and told me she was taking Ashlyn to see “Never Say Never” and would I like for her to write a guest review, I said, “Heck yeah!” One, because I knew it would be funny especially since the lasses love The Beiber and two because folks come here for all the best information when it comes to the latest movies and such, right? Well, maybe not, but I knew this would be a post that we would all find interesting. And so, without further ado, I’ll hand it over to Jackie and her guest review.

So I have had Justin Bieber crammed down my throat for quite sometime now. My 7-yearr old daughter, Ashlyn, has Bieber Fever big time. Her pink room is covered with Justin Bieber posters and she knows every single one of his songs by heart. There are days when I hear the volume of her little boom box getting loud and the distinct noise of her jumping on the bed and singing at the top of her lungs and I think, “Lord I can’t take much more”. Then I take a little trip down memory lane and realize I did the exact same thing when I was young except my walls were covered in New Kids On The Block (NKOTB) posters and my boom box was blasting “The Right Stuff” straight from a cassette tape. So the cool young chic mommy in me decided to take Ashlyn and her very best friend Maddie to see The Bieb in “Never Say Never” this weekend. To be honest I went with an open mind because when you see your child get soooooo very excited about something it’s hard not to join in. With that said I am a very cynical person and the way they manufacture pop stars now a days like they’re just pulling them off an assembly line and it’s disturbing. Needless to say, my music tastes have changed by leaps and bounds since the days of NKOTB.

So the girls and I got our popcorn and sodas and got settled in for 1hr and 45 minutes of Bieber mania. I am sure most of you reading this probably have NO desire to see this movie so I will try and make the review as short as possible. The movie starts out with his mother being interviewed. A little fact I didn’t know is that his mother was a teenager when she had Justin and with the help of her parents she raised him all on her own. They don’t really touch on the father subject very much; although he was in the first part of the movie at one of Justin’s concerts and is seen crying backstage, I am guessing because he realized how talented of a kid he had and how much he has missed out on. The movie is a countdown to Madison Square Garden or MSG as they refer to it. Madison Square Garden is the venue of all venues so this was a huge deal that he was able to sell it out. Basically the whole movie consists of a large montage of childhood videos, interviews with Scooter Braun the man who discovered Justin on YouTube and a slew of other famous people who have helped this kid build a massive career. I was convinced that this was going to be the same old story. Some young kid with a little bit of talent but the right look gets picked out of a crowd and bam he’s famous! I was WRONG! This kid taught himself how to play the piano, drums, guitar and the trumpet. His mom was very involved with the music side of the church they went to so Justin grew up around musicians. There is video of very young Justin (maybe 3) playing a killer drum beat on a little stand up drum. Not only does he sing great, can play pretty much any instrument you place in front of him and dance and he has a head of hair that is a being all unto itself (kind of like The Donald – note from Nat)! They do rip on him about his hair which I thought was hilarious because the Beiber swoosh is nerve racking! The unsung heroes of his story though are his mother and grandparents. These people keep the ground beneath his feet at all times. At one point he goes to visit his grandparents while on tour in Canada and a bunch of his buddies come over to hang out and his grandmother won’t let him leave until he cleans his room. The other thing I found really profound about him is that he is extremely affectionate with everyone and he prays a lot. Even when he is grabbing a slice with friends they all bow their heads to pray before they eat. This is not something you see on a day to day basis especially in the industry that he is in. With that said there was absolutely nothing mentioned about his education while on tour or while he was recording his album. I kept waiting for them to introduce a tutor or explain that maybe in Canada (how about I had no idea The Beib was from Canada – note from Nat) you only have to finish grade 8 (which I know isn’t the case) but they never mentioned him continuing his education after he hit it big. That was a huge issue for me and I am hoping it all ended up on the cutting room floor because they didn’t have room. Regardless, this wasn’t a horrible movie. Will I watch it again? Probably not. Do I feel better that my daughter is obsessed with someone who at this point seems to have some moral fiber? Absolutely. If you want to see it, wait until it comes out of DVD. My opinion it was just a really expensive behind the music episode. (I love Behind The Music, maybe I should see this – note from Nat).

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's February 14

Well, here we are on Valentine’s Day, the most dreaded holiday of all. I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Even on the rare year when I am in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, I still find the holiday to be a complete and total waste of time, money and energy. I think it is rather ridiculous that there is a holiday on which you should have to proclaim your love for someone. What about the other 364 days of the year? It seems to me like it’s more important to proclaim and show your love on a day when it isn’t “required” or “expected”. In my humble opinion, Valentine’s Day is just a big ploy by the greeting card, flower and candy companies to get people to spend money that they otherwise would not have spent.

Not to mention all us singletons out there. As if we don’t already feel like big losers because we don’t have a helpmate in life, this day makes us feel like we are worthless pieces of chewing gum spit out onto the sidewalk of life. Erika sent me a nice Valentine card that was titled, “It’s great to be single”. Well, I guess in some cases that can be true but in the grand scheme of things not so much because who wants to spend all of their life without someone to come home to every night. I mean, The Tide is great but she doesn’t carry on the best conversations, you know? When you are single, Valentine’s Day is simply just another reminder that you have no one. (By the way, I’m not knocking the card because it was really nice and she wrote a really nice note on the inside and I am very appreciative of it – didn’t want it to seem otherwise.)

Having said that, I’m not a total scrooge and I did wear some pink today. I’m trying to be at least a little festive and not a complete downer. I’m also helping out a friend.

My friend David wanted to get some roses for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Well, as I’m sure you know since roses are in such high demand on Valentine’s Day, most florists jack up the prices and they can get by with it because men feel pressured and are willing to pay $50 for a dozen roses when just one week ago the same roses were $20. Anyway, David checked around at some of the florists in town and all the prices for roses were more than he was willing to pay. So, he checked with The Fresh Market and they gave him a good price – he is getting two dozen roses for I think $30, maybe $35. I can’t really remember. The Fresh Market is going to arrange the flowers for David; he’s just bringing a vase for them. The problem with this is that The Fresh Market doesn’t deliver and that’s where I come in. I volunteered to deliver the roses to David’s girlfriend at her place of employment so that he wouldn’t have to do it and it would be as though he paid for the flowers to be delivered. I guess actually he is paying for the flowers to be delivered since he is graciously buying my lunch for helping him out. So, see I’m not all boo and hiss!

I also wanted to tell you about a lovely Valentine’s surprise I got in the mail on Friday. I had a card in the mailbox and when I opened the card, it was from none other than my own dog, The Tide. Apparently she is a lover of Valentine’s Day! Who knew? She had a little help from her Aunt Erika who she would like to publicly thank for driving her to the store and helping her sign the card.

In closing, I suppose I will begrudgingly wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day. Whether you are in a relationship or single the most important thing to remember is to love yourself!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yet Another Random Post

Well, we’ve made it to Friday and I’m late getting a post up as has been the case on numerous days this week. I do apologize. This week has been a little more hectic than usual at work and then yesterday we got more snow and ice and I didn’t come in to work until around 10:00 a.m. so as to let the roads thaw out a little.

This weekend we are supposed to be warming up a little and the temperatures are supposed to be in the 60s all of next week. It’s a little spring teaser I guess. I read that the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting 16 inches for the month of February so with the two we got this week, we’re still due for another 14 – so, don’t put away the big coats just yet.

My bug man came yesterday morning and I normally let The Tide out when he comes but yesterday I let her stay inside so she could hopefully get a little used to him since I am going to start leaving a key for him. Either Jackie or I have let him in the past few years because he had a mild fear of dogs; but he has decided that The Tide is a friendly dog and that he will be okay with her. So, I am going to start leaving him a key so he doesn’t have to work around my schedule. Well, yesterday the whole time he was there, The Tide pranced around and showed her teeth continuously. I have never seen her show her teeth this much. It was cracking me up and I wish 1,000 times over that I had videoed it. The only person she really ever showed her teeth for was Tony and now she apparently is doing it to the bug man as well, only on a much grander scale.

My final payment for the big trip to France is due on Tuesday and I have received some of the initial intinerary plans including the pick-up location on July 18. The group I am meeting is staying at a hotel close to the airport in Lyon and I am staying at a hotel a little ways outside of town. The question is whether or not I want to change hotels so I will be staying at the same hotel as the pick-up location. The pros would be that I would already be at the location and wouldn’t have to take a cab across town and there will probably be some other people there that I can chat with and get to know before we start off on our adventure. The cons are that the pick-up location hotel is about $75 higher than the hotel where I’ve got my reservation. So, right now, I’m planning on just keeping the reservation I’ve got, saving the $75 and enjoying the time to myself before I spend the next two weeks sharing a hotel room with someone. What do you think? Give me some opinions here.

There are no big plans in store for the weekend for me. After spending all of last week and weekend celebrating my birthday, I plan to just take it easy this weekend, catch up on the DVR and do some house cleaning. I’ll probably do a few things to get ready for our “American Idol” gathering on Tuesday night since I am hosting. We still haven’t picked out any new shows to watch so if you’ve got a suggestion leave it in the comments. Tuesday nights are the nights we normally meet and a couple of us have DVRs so we can record a show and watch it later if necessary.

The final episode ever of Friday Night Lights aired on DirecTV’s 101 channel this week. The final season is coming to NBC this spring. If you have never watched this show then you are missing out on one of the best shows to ever hit television. You can’t just start this season though. Rent all the seasons through Netflix or find somewhere to watch on the internet because this show is AMAZING! It will make you laugh and cry, and make your heart pause all in one episode. It is so good and I am so very sad that it has ended.

If you want something quick and fun to do, check out Candy’s blog where she has a link to a site where you can guess what day her baby boy will be born, as well as how much he will weigh, how many inches, etc. She’s not giving any prizes for this little contest of hers, but it’s still a fun guessing game and I’ve never been one to shy away from bragging rights.

There are a lot of interesting things going on in Huntsville this weekend. Go here to the Chamber of Commerce web site to check it out; and, of course with the weather being nice you can always go for a hike or a bike ride. I may even have to break out the Blonde Adonis this weekend (that’s my bike for those of you who don’t know).

With any luck, I should have a couple of interesting posts next week. My friend Amy and her husband Wes have a new cow and there will be a post about the cow and there will also be a post about an interesting experience I had a Publix a couple of weeks ago.

In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys the weekend and especially the warmer weather headed our way! Until next time…

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thanks to Us, Dentists Drive Nice Cars

I apologize for the late post today. Posting has been the last thing on my mind as I have been preparing for a large meeting this afternoon. I cannot wait until it is over. I will be able to breathe easy again. At any rate, I wrote this post yesterday after my brief dentist visit because eI figured I wouldn’t have any time to write today. So, without further ado...

I know why dentists are rich – yowza does it cost a lot of money to get your teeth worked on! As you may know, I went to the dentist yesterday for a quick x-ray and evaluation on a tooth that has been bothering me for a few years. It was all quite bearable until a couple of weeks ago and now it’s on the side of more than mildly annoying and so something has to be done about it. So, after the evaluation which took only about five minutes, I was told the doctor is going to put a temporary crown on my tooth and if that is successful, it will be replaced by a permanent one. So, I went up front to check out and schedule the appointment and the receptionist told me it would be $400 on the day of the procedure – that’s with my insurance! It was at that moment that I fainted, wadded up into a fetal position and started dreaming of winning the lottery.

I told her I couldn’t afford that, which is only relatively speaking seeing as how I put almost 1/3 of my paycheck into my savings account which is funding my vacation to France this summer. The fact is that I’m not thrilled about sacrificing one of my savings deposits for some dental work; but, I suppose it must be done – at least if I want to be able to eat without wincing in pain each time a kernel of popcorn meanders over to the right side of my mouth.

Thankfully and graciously, my dentist’s office allowed me to set up a payment plan of four easy payments of $100 each; unfortunately there’s no “but wait, there’s more” offer coming with those easy payments. You’d think they could throw in a free cleaning or something.

This procedure is taking place on February 23 at 3:00 so is you happen to see me at church that night or any time over the course of the next few days, how about telling me my mouth looks like I just spent $400 on it – it at least might make me feel a little better.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Toothache and A Trophy

I’m headed to the dentist in a little while and then meeting Mary for lunch where I will present her with her winnings from the recent giveaway and chow down on some Mexican food from Rosie’s!

The dentist appointment shouldn’t last too long – just a quick evaluation. For the past couple of years, I’ve had some pain in one of my bottom right molars. It hasn’t been bad enough to do anything about until the past couple of weeks where it is basically driving me a little bonkers. It hurts and I now cannot even think about chewing on the right side of my mouth so I decided to go ahead and see about getting it corrected. I told my dad last night that I thought I was going to have to have a root canal, but when I called today, my chart said a crown. Either way, they both seem kind of scary. Other than a filling here and there, I’ve only had my wisdom teeth removed so a crown and/or a root canal sound frightening; but, if it solves the problem, then so be it. I’m sure I’ll survive.

In the meantime, I thought I would post these pictures of Justin and his trophy. When I posted pictures of the trophy a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people commented that they would like to see a photo of him and the trophy. Since I wasn’t around when he received his reward, my mother took these photos and sent them to me. Maybe they will give you a laugh or two to start your day! Happy Tuesday!

Receiving the trophy

A proud winner!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Final Birthday Party

Well, we finally wrapped up the birthday celebration this past Saturday evening when my parents had an old fashioned birthday party for me. By old fashioned I mean I had some friends over, we ate a lot of food, and we played games and made fools of ourselves. The only thing that would have made it exactly like my birthday parties of days gone by would have been if we had all spent the night, and of course if our metabolism was still as fast as it used to be, but slow metabolisms come with age I guess.

My three grandparents, Jackie, Maria, Erika, my parents and I gathered about 5:00 and ate a dinner of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, coleslaw, deviled eggs, baked beans and French fries. For dessert, there was my favorite – cookie cake. After dinner was over we sat around and talked for a bit and opened presents. I got the headband I am wearing from my parents – a little girl that goes to church with them makes them and sells them for $5; so, we sent a little business her way. I also got a purse, Birkenstocks, and a couple of travel bags for my upcoming trip as well as a picture frame and a gift card to Barnes and Noble. After the presents were revealed, we decided to play a little Wii. My Parker grandparents had gone home at this point; so, they obviously missed out on all the fun.

I had asked Jackie to bring Just Dance because she had told me what fun it was to play and boy was she right. The four of us girls danced and worked up a sweat and laughed until we cried. It was entertaining for the observers as well. Jackie and I took a break for a song or two and my dad took my place on the dance floor. If you have a Wii and have not played this game you should borrow, rent (can you do that?) or buy it because it is a load of fun and will provide hours of entertainment and laughter.

We took a break from the dancing to slow our heart rates and cool down before taking on professional Wii bowler Deb. My mother loves to bowl on Wii and was ready to take us all down. I think we played three games and switched up the players a couple of times. Maria was on fire with the bowling and in the last game bowled eight strikes! EIGHT! Her final score was 232 in that game. She had a lot of strikes in the other games too, but that last game, she was unstoppable!

We finally ended the festivities around 10:00 p.m. when we all parted our ways. It was a really great party and I think everyone had a fun time! Thanks to my parents for hosting and to my friends for coming! Let’s do it again next year!

Getting ready to open presents

My Parker grandparents - they look thrilled to be there!

My dad and the mule

Erika, Maria and my granddad Bill

Mother - aka Deb - she really dressed up for the occasion!

We let children play with fire at my birthday parties!

Blowing out the candles


Playing Just Dance

More Just Dancing

The girls and Daddy Bill

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thank Goodness - It's Friday!

Well folks, after five and a half hours of sheer torture, I survived the audit! It felt like I was on trial for doing my job. My college roommate, Melissa, is an auditor for her company and I think I will say a special prayer for her tonight because let’s face it, auditors are the least liked people in the company and I know I don’t enjoy sitting in a room with an auditor for hours on end being asked the same questions over and over and over again as if I were responsible for the Iran-Contra affair. But, I survived, and that’s really all that matters.

The birthday celebrations have continued throughout the week. On Wednesday, I had sushi with the girls from work; last night, I had dinner with my long lost Aunt Linda (I say long lost because I haven’t seen her since last May!) and today I am having lunch with two ladies from church, Pat and Idova. Tomorrow night is the final party of the birthday week – we will have hamburgers and cookie cake at my parents’ house.

In neighborhood news, a new family has moved in to the rental house across the street and next door to Jeff. Best I can tell, the family is a husband and wife and a small child. I haven’t seen much of them, just a glimpse here and there but I’m hoping they will be good neighbors. We’ve had some real characters live in the house so Jeff and I are always nervous when someone new moves in because we never know what kind of crazy neighbor we’ll have.

Have any of you watched “Enough Already with Peter Walsh”? It’s a show that comes on OWN and is about hoarders. I know there’s another show about Hoarders on TLC or something and I haven’t watched it. I got hooked on “Enough Already” last weekend and went on a small cleaning spree. I am by no means a hoarder but every time I came across something I had not used in a while, I put it in the Goodwill bag. It’s amazing what a show about clutter will motivate you to do. The show comes on Mondays at 7:00. Check it out if you haven’t already. You will be amazed at the stuff people keep in their houses.

I guess that’s about it for today. I’m really glad it’s Friday and you probably are as well. I hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Recipe for You

I am stuck in an audit all day today. Please pray for my sanity. It’s a little past noon and I’ve been at it for four hours and who knows how much longer I will be in this room. I happened to have a moment right now while the auditor chats it up with another person in the room and so I thought I would do a quick post so as not to disappoint those of you who stop by today.

I mentioned in my More Birthdaying post that Erika had made a Dorito Casserole and Mary left a comment wondering about the recipe. I asked Erika if she would share the recipe so I could post it for you all in case anyone wanted to give it a try. I had some leftovers today for lunch and it was just as wonderful. Give it a try sometime soon.

Chicken Dorito Casserole

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 can Rotel
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 bag Doritos (crushed up)
Shredded Cheese of Choice
Preheat oven to 400’.

While oven preheats, combine chicken, Rotel and soups. Add a little water if needed.
In a 9 x 13 pan, place a single layer of Doritos “crumbs”. Top with half of chicken mixture.
Add another layer of Doritos. Top with remaining chicken mixture.
Top with a good layer of cheese (Cheddar, Colby, whatever you like).
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

I use the canned chicken you can buy at Sam’s. 2 cans would probably be plenty; add 3 if you like more meat. It’s cheaper to stew a chicken and use that, but it takes a little more time and effort. This is certainly not a healthy dish, but I really like it. Usually I serve it with corn and salad.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Birthdaying

So, yesterday, February 1, was the official day of my birthday and it was a really good day; probably one of the best birthdays I have had in years. For breakfast, I stopped off at Panera to get a ham and Swiss egg soufflé and a cookie. The cookie was supposed to be a midday snack, but I ended up eating it after the soufflé.

Michelle, who sits next to me at work, made a delicious red velvet cake and we cut in to that around 10:00 a.m. and I also received lots of cards and gifts – a couple of lovely picture frames from Bonnie, a candle and wick trimmer from Kelli and a plant and reed diffuser from Brenda. I brought my lunch and ate in the cafeteria with the girls and we decided to go out for sushi today. I’m really looking forward to it.

After work, I went to the gym and the people in spin class sang “Happy Birthday”. It wasn’t the greatest rendition I’ve ever heard, but it’s the thought that counts. When I left the gym, I went over to Erika’s house. She had prepared dinner for us girls that were once known as the American Idol group; since we aren’t watching this season we need a new name I guess.

Here we are - Erika and Natasha - birthday party circa 1989?
Erika has been forced to attend my birthday parties for years and now she hosts them!

We had a delicious dinner of Chicken Dorrito casserole, salad and corn – it was so good – and we had birthday cake for dessert. Erika decorated the cake with an adorable pink heart. Her cake looked fabulous! I am terrible at decorating cakes so I was quite impressed with her handy work!

Beautiful and yummy cake! 

We all stayed at Erika’s house for a couple of hours before departing our separate ways. It was such a good birthday filled with lots of laughter and good times spent with friends. Thanks to everyone who made my 34th birthday such fun! On to the next celebration…

We let children play with fire at my birthday parties!
Doesn't Erika look pretty?!

Blowing out the candles while Erika squeals with delight!
Yes, those are my work out clothes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Theater Review: Beauty and The Beast

This past Sunday night, I went to see Beauty and The Beast, put on by Huntsville’s Broadway Theater League. It was a wonderful show. If you’ve never seen it, you should try to the next time it is in your town. Well, if you like musicals, that is. I suppose if you don’t like musicals or theater productions then it would be a waste of money.

As many of you know, I love the theater, musicals, plays, whatever; and I was really excited to see this show since I had never seen it before. To my knowledge this was the first time this show had been to Huntsville. My friend, Sabrina, and I bought tickets a couple of months ago and before we headed downtown for the show, we went to dinner at I Love Sushi. Sabrina treated in honor of my birthday and the dinner was delicious! If you are a sushi fan and have not tried I Love Sushi, then you are missing out! I think it is the best sushi place in town. Everything is so fresh and so good! Just writing this makes me want some right now. Maybe I will go there for lunch today.

After dinner, we had some time to kill and stopped by Starbucks for a coffee. We got the coffees to go and then went to the VBC. We had to park on the fourth floor of the parking garage because there were so many events that night and the whole complex was packed. I didn’t even know there was a fourth floor of the parking deck. I guess in theory I knew they had added on, but I never park in that garage so I didn’t put it all together. I can be slow sometimes.

We were on row “S” but our seats were still very good. The renovation at the VBC is looking great! I’ll be so glad when it is completed though because it can be quite a nuisance at times. I’m sure the folks that work there feel the same.

The show was great from start to finish. There are a lot of songs from the classic Disney movie, but there were some new songs too. There were a lot of amazing special effects and the costumes were so bright and colorful! There were a lot of children in the audience and Sabrina and I decided that hearing the kids laugh and ooh and ah made the show even more enjoyable.

Grissom High School Theater is doing a production of Beauty and The Beast in March and the tickets are more affordable than seeing a professional production. If you have never been to any of the theater productions by the high schools in and around Huntsville, you are missing out. There is a lot of talent in this town and all of the high schools put on great shows. Click here for the information on Grissom’s Beauty and The Beast production. The tickets are only $15 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased online.