Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween On McKinley 2011

How was your Halloween? I hope it was good. Mine wasn’t too bad; not too exciting but also not too boring. At work yesterday, we had a costume contest, of which I was the organizer. Yesterday started our annual United Way campaign and I had the honor of putting together and emceeing the costume contest. I think we ended up with about 15 contestants and raised almost $400. So, it was a pretty successful event. My favorite costume was of a girl who dressed as Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials. She was spot on and really looked amazing. Her costume raised the most money too and so she was the grand prize winner.

After work, I went to the gym and got a spin class in before coming home to dole out candy to the trick-or-treaters. I managed to eat some dinner and bake a cake for tomorrow’s cake contest as well. This year, sadly, I only had around 10, probably less, trick-or-treaters. I’m afraid some of them may have come out earlier while I was still huffing and puffing on the bike. I didn’t get home until about 6:45; so, I’m guessing that’s maybe what happened considering the last couple of years I’ve had around 30 or so. Needless to say, I’m stuck with a ton of candy which I will be taking to work to force down the throats of my co-workers.

At one point during the night, I sat out a half bar of cream cheese to make some icing for the cake. A little later, I went outside to take a photo of my jack-o-lantern and also bring in the trashcan. When I wrapped up outside, I came in to discover that the cream cheese was MIA. After looking around for a bit I thought to myself that I bet The Tide had snatched it up and sure enough, she had. I found the Ziploc bag on the bed and the cream cheese along with the aluminum wrapper were gone – eaten by a guilty dog. Of course, not surprisingly, The Tide got sick an hour or so later and I managed to run in with a towel before she threw up all over the bed, which seems to be her favorite vomiting spot. (Sorry for the gory details.)

Finally things settled down and then at five minutes until 9:00 the doorbell rang and it was two more trick-or-treaters; young ones too with a parent, of course. I thought I had turned out the porch light, but apparently I had just blown out the pumpkin and not turned out the porch light. Those two were the last visitors we had, that is, of course, unless someone comes up and steals the jack-o-lantern and smashes it in the street, which has happened before. Maybe I should run outside real quick and bring it in. At any rate, I hope your Halloween was great and full of treats, not tricks!

My 2011 Jack-O-Lantern!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Mickey's Birthday

Is everyone ready for Halloween? It was a busy weekend for me as it almost always is around this time of year. The most important event of the weekend was Little Mickey’s birthday party, which was held this past Saturday night at El Omeca Restaurant in Hampton Cove.

Little Mickey turned 46 this year and it is always so much fun to get together with everyone to celebrate. We met up at the restaurant at 5:30 and partied til they kicked us out, okay maybe just an hour and a half or so but it was still a lot of fun. Uncle Mickey and Aunt Nina and Scott were there along with Jackie and the kids, Tim and Jan, Jason and Christa and me; well, and of course, the guest of honor, Little Mickey.

We ate chips and salsa and cheese dip, our dinners and then birthday cake, of which Uncle Mickey had two pieces! Needless to say; I was more than stuffed by the time I left, as I think everyone was. The night even had a food dight of sorts between Scott, Troy and Ashlyn who proceeded to throw Chips and the occasional spit ball and eventually Ashlyn was able to get Scott in the face with some icing from the cake. There's never a dull moment, people! Little Mickey got all kinds of great gifts including an Alabama shirt, lots of books and a CD. I’m sure there were other things but I can’t remember. The most important thing was that he had a good time and I think he did. Here are some photos from the night.

We had some fun with those birthday party blow things - what are those called?

Right after Little Mickey blew out the candles

Jackie got hiim this Halloween mask

Ashlyn and Scott - rocking out

Scott, me and Little Mickey

Me and Little Mickey

The birthday boy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nine Years With The Tide

I didn't post on Thursday night and instead am posting on Friday morning because today, Friday, is a very special day - it's mine and The Tide's Dogiversary! That's right folks, as of today, October 28, The Tide and I have been mother and dog for nine years!

The Tide sure has been a good dog, friend, and loyal companion over these past nine years and although she has cost me more money than I ever intended for her to, she's been worth every penny and I can't imagine the last nine years without her.

The Tide continues to bring me lots of laughs and hours of joy and I'm so thankful that on Monday, October 28, 2002, I decided to drive down to the Pitt County Animal Shelter and purchase the cute little pup, despite the speeding ticket I got en route. She may have ended up weighing more than the 20 pounds the shelter folks promised but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, thanks, The Tide for letting me be your mamma even though I said I would only be called owner. You softened this old gal's heart and taught me to love dogs more than I ever realized was possible. Here's to many more fun and happy years together as mother and dog!

The Tide Haiku

The Tide is a dog
The best friend I've ever had
She makes me laugh loud

Today is mine and The Tide's
Nine years together

The Tide gives love, joy
A loyal friend for nine years
Here's to many more

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rainbow Omega Dinner 2011

Last night was the third annual Rainbow Omega benefit dinner, held once again at the Davidson Center at the Space and Rocket Center. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, there was no dinner held in Huntsville last year; so, this was the first event in town in two years time. As expected, it was a successful evening with lots of folks present. My count had 64 tables of eight people each, which is 512 people, a pretty good turnout. I don’t know what the number has been in the past, but I suspect this was Huntsville’s most successful turnout.

I wasn’t feeling very well last night, but went anyway because this is always a special night for Jackie’s family, which is also my family, and I love Little Mickey dearly so I like to go and show my support for him. Little M is a resident at Rainbow Omega, which you may remember from the past two benefit dinners (I wasn't blogging in 2008, but here is 2009). I somehow managed to not get a photo of me and Little M with my camera, but I think his dad, Uncle Mickey got one so perhaps he will send me a copy.

I got to the Davidson Center about 6:45 or so and found my peoples and we got settled in at our table. This year at our table was Jackie’s mom and stepdad, Ms. Kathy, me, Jackie, Jackie’s dad and Jackie’s half-sister Lindsey and Lindsey’s friend Katie. The dinner was quite good this year. As always, we started with a salad and the main course was a Rosemary chicken with some potatoes on the side; and not just any potatoes, there were purple potatoes too! I’ve seen these in the store but never bought them and they taste just like regular potatoes but certainly doesn’t look like them. Dessert was cheesecake and was really quite good. Of course, I’m on a sweets kick as of late, so that could have had something to do with it. Who knows?

After we ate, I started feeling even worse; you know how it is when you have a chest cold, it’s always worse at night. I seriously wanted to go home right then and there, but also didn’t want to be rude and leave. Plus, a lot of folks were really excited about the speaker, Andy Andrews. I personally had never heard of this Andy Andrews fella, and kind of wanted to see what he was all about. He has written some books and is also a motivational speaker so I was really prepared to be uplifted into going out and conquering the world; only it didn’t really work like that for me.

Andy (sure, we’re on a first name basis) was all over the place with his thoughts. I mean he would jump from one subject to the next without any warning and my foggy congested head had a hard time keeping up to the point that it was annoying to me to listen to him talk. I felt the same way about his speech that I do about movies like The Hangover, I just want you to get to the point already. Don’t get me wrong, he was funny at times and at other times had a good thing or two to say, but for the most part, I had a hard time following along and would have much preferred a speech with a better flow to it. I asked Jackie what she thought and she agreed that he was all over the place but she thought he was a good speaker; and I mean he did speak to both Alabama and the Barners before they each won the national championship. So, perhaps it was just me and my longing to be in the bed and the fact that I felt like there was a ton of bricks sitting on my chest and my attention span of a gnat (thank you prednisone) that made me dislike the speaker. That’s what I’m going with anyway.

Needless to say, after Andy’s one hour speech (yes, one hour; I still can’t believe I made it through the whole thing) I decided to leave. There was only one more thing on the program that night which was the plea for donations. So, I left my donation with Jackie and headed for the car. I got home at 9:36 and was in bed with the lights out and Vicks Vapo Rub on my chest and feet before the stroke of 10:00. The Tide must have known something was wrong with me because usually when I’m gone at night she will pounce on me or find something to rub in my face and generally be quite irritating (I still love her though!) but last night she was a perfect dog and just lay down beside me and went to sleep. Of course it could have been the loud wheezing that scared her into submission.

At any rate, despite feeling terrible, it still turned out to be a good night. Next Tuesday will be Little M’s birthday and we will be celebrating this Saturday night by chowing down on some Mexican food – can’t beat that! I’m sure it will be an event worthy of a post because there’s always something crazy that happens, like Little M’s brother Scott dropping the birthday cake, for example.

If you want to learn more about or make a donation to Rainbow Omega, check out their web site here. It really is a great cause.

Our table

Jackie and her dad - doesn't she look lovely folks?

The purple potato!

No photos of me from the night - one I had my eyes closed and the other I had crazy eyes. I also forgot to mention that Christa made corsages for all of us to support Little M. So, we were all matching with our lovely corsages. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Little of This, A Little of That

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather the past few days and a trip to the doctor on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that I have a sinus infection. It's actually the first one I've had in a long while, although I did have bronchitis once earlier in the year. At any rate, I’m sick, again and anxiously awaiting feeling better.

After a year or more of rather good health, this year I’ve been beaten by the germs more than I would like to admit. This time I think it has to do with a combination of the ridiculous amount of ragweed pollen we’ve got going on here in Northern Alabama and the fact that the weather won’t stabilize. It’s 30 degrees one day and 77 the next or it will be 40 degrees in the morning and 81 in the afternoon and it’s just ridiculous trying to figure out what to wear and when to wear it. So, with any luck, the temperatures will stabilize and get to where they should be and the pollen will go away until springtime and I will be on the road to recovery in no time.

Tonight is the annual Rainbow Omega benefit dinner and I will once again be going and sitting with Jackie and her family. It’s always a great event. This year the dinner returns to Huntsville after a one-year hiatus due to the fact that last year’s dinner was a statewide dinner with Sarah Palin as the speaker. I have no idea who tonight’s speaker is going to be, but undoubtedly, he or she will be inspirational. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have a post up tomorrow night about how it went.

You may have noticed a change in the posting times around here lately. I’ve been posting in the evenings starting on Sunday nights, rather than in the mornings as I have been doing for as long as I’ve had the blog. The reasoning behind that is that I’m not logging on at work and instead, logging on from home and posting there. I don’t think it makes much difference to most of you who probably check things out midday anyway, but just in case you noticed and were wondering why the change, now you know.

As if you needed a reminder, there are only 61 shopping days left until Christmas. I have thankfully gotten most of my shopping completed, but still have a few things to buy and still have no clue as to what to get some folks. Some years the gift giving comes easily to me, and this year it’s just not happening. The best gifts I’ve gotten so far are for my brother. I think he will be quite pleased with his bounty, but as for the rest of you who normally get gifts from me, don’t expect anything that will knock you off your rocker.

I bought some prints while in Paris this summer and recently had them framed. When my hanging photos on the wall buddy, Lisa has some time, she is going to come over and help with the hanging and then I’ll post a photo on the blog because at that point, the bedroom renovation will be officially complete. We’ve also got something up our sleeve for the kitchen. I could do it on my own, but what fun is that? So, I think Lisa will be helping with that as well, Stay tuned for the all the excitement.

For those of your wondering, the new job is going well. I’m doing the same thing I was doing a couple of years ago before I was promoted. The new division I’m in does things a wee bit differently than to how I’m used to things being done; so, there’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s all going well. The new folks I work with are very nice and I don’t feel like I’m someone’s going to be sweet to me one minute and stab me in the back the next which is a welcome relief. There are still a lot of folks out there looking for work so remember to keep them in your prayers from time to time as they probably need all the help they can get.

I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about blinker. Yes, the blinkers that are used while driving a car, or at least the ones that are supposed to be used while driving a car. In reality I should probably save this for my next things that annoy me post, but I’m going to go ahead and put it here because, well, why not? I guess the correct term is turn signal, but I’m southern, so blinker it is. Here’s the issue I have – no one uses them! It’s not like it take a lot of effort or energy to move your arm and turn the blinker on rather than whipping over in front of someone (me) without any warning. Seriously, people, it takes like five seconds at the most to turn on a blinker. What’s five seconds when it could potentially save a life? I cannot even tell you how many times someone whips over in front of me without signaling – at least 85-90% of the time and it makes me furious. Talk about road rage – you’re gonna get it from me when you don’t use your blinker. I think I’m going to start a campaign - Use Your Blinker- It Could Save a Life!

I suppose that’s all the randomness I can come up with for now. I’m sure if I sat here long enough I would be able to come up with a lot more thing to say, but I’ve already wasted enough of your time for one day. Hope you have a great day, and come back tomorrow for all the skinny on the Rainbow Omega Dinner.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Annual Ladies' Night Out Costume Party

Tonight was the annual Ladies' Night Out Costume Contest for our church. This year, instead of having it at the home of our annual hostess, Janice, we had it at the church building and Janice was the hostess. I don't know why, but all of a sudden it seems like everyone wants to host at the church building and it makes me miss the good ole days when we went to folks' houses each month.

Anyway, this year, you may have noticed, I didn't put a poll up as to what type of costume I should wear. The reason being is that I thought I would be recuperating from foot surgery and didn't plan to dress up as anything. Then, when my foot surgery was canceled, I had to come up with something quick and decided on a football player. I borrowed my dad's high school jersey and bought some football pants for $7 off of eBay and voila - I'm a football player.

We had a pretty good turnout this year, including quite a few new faces which is always nice but some of our regulars couldn’t make it, which was sad, but hopefully they will be back next month when we have our annual Christmas ornament exchange. We voted on the costumes and while I was tallying the votes, the girls played Halloween BINGO for a chance at a door prize.

The winners of the costume contest were

Pam Almo – as a really old vampire – apparently she was bitten while she was living in a nursing home, thus the sign, Why Now?

Mrs. Irma – as Rosie the Riveter from all the WWII posters

Janice Jennings finished in third place but since she was the hostess she graciously let the next person take the third place prize, which was Christina Johnston as a cookie.

Janice - the hostess with the mostess

Christina - the cookie

I'm striking the Heisman pose in my dad's high school jersey

Honey - she was a little girl and looked really cute

Sassy Sandra -always dressed up well!

Shelia - A train conductor

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Strange Sights

Over the past few days, I have seen a few strange sights and wanted to share them with you today, primarily because, well, they were strange, and secondly because there’s not much else to write about today.

Friday night, I worked for The Times covering a game at Goldsmith Schiffman (the bathrooms were still locked – my tax dollars at work). During the second quarter, the referee threw the penalty flag for holding in the backfield, which isn’t all that unusual. What was unusual about this particular flag throwing incident was that the flag, rather than landing on the field, landed in the facemask of a player. That’s right, as the kid was running the flag became lodged in his facemask, which was hilarious to me but probably quite shocking to him. I’ve never seen hat happen before and the ref probably couldn’t have hit him in the facemask if his life depended on it. It certainly made for a good laugh.

On Saturday, there were two strange sights at my house. The first came midday on Saturday. I have some bamboo stalks out behind my shed which I use for my tomato plants in the summer. I usually store them in the shed after use, but because I am lazy, I haven’t bothered to put them away yet. I noticed earlier Saturday morning or it may have even been Friday that one of the bamboo stalks was lying in the grass beside the shed. I figured the wind blew it over and made a mental note that I needed to go store them away for the winter. Then Saturday afternoon when I went to let The Tide out, I saw a squirrel in the backyard, carrying the bamboo stick. Well, carrying may be an exaggeration because I’m sure the squirrel was using its teeth, but nonetheless, the bamboo stick was halfway across the yard thanks to the squirrel who I guess was planning to build a jumbo squirrel house for the winter. The Tide obviously rant he squirrel off and I’ve left the bamboo in the yard in hopes of catching the squirrel in action once more. These are not small sticks either as they are probably about three or four feet high.

The final strange sight from Saturday was from across the street at a neighbor’s house. I heard what sounded like a group of people and looked outside to see about 10 people come from the backyard of a girl who lives across the street. They were taking photos (I could see the flash) and laughing and talking and wearing running shorts with knee high socks. The group left and then two more guys came out and ran off to catch up with the group. I assume they were playing a prank on the girl who I hope is their friend. I really wanted to go over and check out her backyard, but didn’t want any evidence of my being there in case a crime had been committed. Yes, I watch too much CSI.

Those, dear friends are the strange sights from the weekend. What about you? Did you witness anything strange this weekend? It’s getting closer to Halloween so perhaps more strange sights are around the corner.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arthur and The Magic Sword

Sunday evening, my mom and I went to see the Fantasy Playhouse edition of Arthur and the Magic Sword. If you’ve ever seen The Sword in the Stone or know the story, then you obviously know what the play is about. It was a cute production and the actors did a really great job. Jackie took her kids the week before my mom and I went and they enjoyed it as well.

We got to the Playhouse a few minutes before it started and found our seats which were on the floor. There was a man sitting in the seat beside ours but when the show started, he scooted down a couple of seats. There was lots of sword fighting and the kid that played Kay did a great job because he was the penultimate little snot and I wanted to punch him in the face; but I refrained. I think of all the characters, Merlin was my favorite. Of course, I think I like Merlin in every rendition of a King Arthur story. Maybe deep down inside I want to be a sorcerer.

The first act was about an hour and 15 minutes and when the second act started, and Fantasy and Fantasy Jr. came out to talk to the audience, they asked a question and some kid from the audience yelled out his answer which got everyone laughing. One of my favorite things about going to Fantasy shows is listening to the kids’ reactions and various things that happen during the show. It’s usually good for a laugh or two.

After the show was over I took my mom back home and left her in the capable hands of my dad and brother. I wish something hilarious had happened because it usually does when mother and I go on an outing, but sadly, nothing crazy or out of the ordinary took place on this particular evening. Perhaps next time we will be up to our crazy old antics.

Fantasy has two more regular season shows and also their annual production of A Christmas Carol, which is always quite wonderful. Check out their upcoming shows on their website. All their shows are held at the Playhouse at the VBC, which is a great place to see a show. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

8th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run

Saturday was the 8th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run and once again, Jackie, Jan, and I participated. For the second year in a row, we were on Team Christina, along with Ms. Kathy and Christa and a slew of other folks, most of whom I probably do not even know. Christina goes to church at Twickenham Church of Christ and has breast cancer. I met her last year at the spaghetti dinner; but from what I understand she is much worse this year and may not have much longer here on earth. She has a husband and five or more kids if I remember correctly; so, we were happy to be able to support her and her family at this difficult time in their lives.

This year the run maxed out at 5,500 runners. I’m not sure why that was the cut off, but this has by far become the biggest race in Huntsville each year. A lot people walk the race, which is what we did, because these feet of mine are not in running shape these days. Speaking of which (yes, this is a side note) my foot surgery which had been scheduled for this Wednesday has been postponed because my doctor had a heart attack. I have to call back in a couple of weeks to reschedule. OK, back to the story now…

I left my house at 8:30. The women’s race started at 9:00 and I knew it would be a nightmare trying to find a parking space. I was going to ride my bike, but then would have to carry my helmet or risk it getting stolen; so, I drove Blue down to the Huntsville Middle School area of town and eventually found a parking spot a couple of streets over.

I brought my phone and keys and Chap Stick with me – yes, all the essentials. I knew I wouldn’t be running at all so carrying these items wasn’t much of a burden for me. I sent Jackie a text telling her I would meet them in front of the HMS sign; but when it was about five minutes until time for the race to start, I went on up to the start line and sent Jackie a text telling her so. Another friend who wasn’t racing stood with me for a while and then saw Jackie and Jan when they came up and pointed them in my direction, Long story short, we found each other just before the race started.

We all walked the race and had a good time talking and enjoying the view. We even came across a pair of gay dads downtown that had the cutest bouncy seat I have ever seen – it was an old Chevrolet car. We also came across a lamppost in a front yard that had a lot of pink bras wrapped around it. Some folks had music playing for us and others were just cheering us all on. It was really a great atmosphere. Once we reached Adams, the final street of the race, I asked Jackie is she wanted to run and we took off. We got maybe half way down the street before I had to put a halt to all that fun. Not only was the ole foot bothering me, but also my knees. Folks, it sucks getting old, but as my dad says, it’s better than the alternative. Once I get my foot repaired and back to where I can walk, my plan is to start training for a half-marathon. Jackie said she would do it with me, even though I’ve also heard her say she will never do a half-marathon again. So, don’t hold us to it, it’s just our plan – for now. We may decide to sit back and eat a bunch of cupcakes instead.

We finished with our worst time ever, just a few seconds under an hour, which also is not entirely accurate considering we started at the end of the pack and didn’t even cross the start line when the timer started counting. So, you’re welcome to shave off a good five minutes or more off of that time. We don’t mind.

Regardless of what our actual time was, we did have a good time and it was for a good cause as well. After it was all over, we went to Blue Plate CafĂ© for a filling and delicious lunch (thanks, Jan!) and then went our separate ways. It was a really fun day and I look forward to doing it all over again next year – only with a better finish time (I’m talking to you, feet!).

Me, Jan, Ms. Kathy, Jackie and Christa

The start of the race

Lamppost with pink bras

Empty pizza boxes after the race

Bananas after the race

Monday, October 17, 2011

Friday Night Fun With Justin

Friday night, because there were very few local games in the Huntsville area, I had the night off from The Times. I was originally planning on going home and being a couch potato, but my brother had some things on his agenda and I agreed to tag along/provide him with transportation – it’s what we big sisters do.

After work, I went by our friend Michael’s house and picked Justin up. We then ran an errand to Target and then headed over to Huntsville Middle School for the Spaghetti dinner for the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run. When we arrived, we saw Jan, Troy and Ms. Kathy in the parking lot and parked beside them. As Justin got out of the car, he discovered gum on his pants, which was also on my car seat. Apparently he had sat in some gum on a bench outside of Target and smooshed it into his jeans and my car seat. Poor Blue, the passenger window doesn’t work, one windshield wiper only works part of the time, one reverse light is out, and now she has gum smooshed into her front passenger seat; but still she drives on.

Technically, Justin was supposed to pay $5 for his meal since he was a non-runner, but he just scooted on through the line, as did others. The meal was once again catered by Carrabba’s and was quite yummy. I don’t think it was enough food for Justin though seeing as how his appetite never seems to subside.

After we scarfed down our food, we left to go downtown for the Huntsville ghost walk. This was Justin’s first ghost walk and my third. Since I had done the Twickenham and Old Town ghost walks, we decided to do the downtown ghost walk, which was just as interesting as the other two. I took a few pictures but I don’t think I captured any spirits this year. Justin enjoyed the ghost walk for which I was glad. If you’ve never been, it’s a great way to learn quite a bit about the history of Huntsville. There are a lot of interesting stories. The ghost walks continue this weekend and next. Friday nights the walks start at 6:00 and on Saturdays they are held at 6:00 and 8:30. Each walk lasts about two hours. If you have an iPhone (I do not), there is an app that will detect the spirits and will even tell you the name of the spirit. Each time a name came up it was accurate to the name our guide was telling a story about. Our guide this time was once again Robert Reeves. He is really great.

When the walk was over, I drove Justin home where he was picked up by Jackie. He, Jackie and Troy went to the Haunted Corn Maze. You may recall that the Haunted Corn Maze is not something I’m really fond of and so since I knew Jackie and Troy were going, I asked her if she would mind letting Justin tag along and she graciously agreed. I think they had a fun/interesting time.

October has once again shaped up to be a non-stop month of activities. Come back tomorrow to hear about our experience at the 8th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run.

Two Murders took place in this upstairs room at Halsey Grocery and the ghosts are still here.

Justin listening to stories at Big Spring Park

There are two ghosts at the Russell Erskine, one is named Jeffrey

I had some other photos to share, but I can't get them to load in the correct position. None of them had ghosts though. Guess it wasn't a good night for capturing orbs on film.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

UNA vs. Delta State

Sorry for the lack of posts at the end of last week. It was a busy week for me, not only because of work, but because I had something going on every night as well. So, I’ll pick up where I left off and let you know the rest of the events from the week, starting with s trip to Florence last Thursday night.

My dad, brother and I went over to the UNA vs. Delta State game on Thursday. UNA usually has one home Thursday night game each season and for the past few years, I’ve tried to make it over there but for one reason or another it has never worked out. So, this year, finally, all the stars aligned and I was able to go. UNA is where my dad went to school and Florence is where my mom’s family is from so needless to say, Florence holds a special place in all of our hearts.

We left Huntsville about 3:30 and headed west. After a stop for gas in Rogersville, we met an old friend of my dad’s at Demo’s and had a delicious dinner. Demo’s only has locations in Tennessee and Florence and they have the best homemade salad dressings. Justin and I felt like we were small kids again when at dinner because my dad and Keith were engrossed in conversation and Justin and I just sat there. The only difference between now and 20 years ago was that we had phones and sent texts to each other.

After dinner, we made our way to the stadium to get tickets and make our way inside. Keith had one extra ticket and so we only had to buy two. We ended up buying two off a guy who had two extras and paid only $5 each for them, a good deal if I do say so myself.

Justin and I sat with my dad and Keith for a little while before making our way over to our seats. We ended up next to a lady who talked non-stop and was kind of on the crazy side. She told us she hollered a lot and that was not an exaggeration and even when Justin and I were trying to have a conversation she would talk over us and expect us to answer her. It was kind of strange to say the least.

A few minutes after the game started, my dad sent us a text and said there were seats open next to him and Keith; so, we left the crazy lady and went up to sit with them. As we walked off, the crazy lady said something to us. I didn’t hear what it was, but Justin said she was insulted that we had left her.

Once we got up to where my dad and Keith were, we ended up sitting behind a lady who did a lot of complaining. This was quite funny to us because she had on a shirt that said something about the attitude of Christ. I told my dad and Justin if she had the attitude of Christ, then I must be doing pretty well.

The game was really good, despite the fact that UNA lost in overtime. UNA, my dad’s alma mater was ranked number one and Delta State was ranked number two. After the game, we made our way to the car and back to Huntsville. I was dropped off about midnight, which made for an exhausting Friday. Hopefully we can do it again next year, only with a UNA win.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Rat Pack: A Review

Sorry for the late post today. I started writing this morning but then had to stop in order to get ready for work and I haven't been posting at work this week since I'm on a new job. So, today's post is late, which means many of you will be reading it on Thursday. At any rate, let's begin...

Last night Jackie and I went out to Merrimack Hall to see a performance of Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show. About three years ago, Broadway Theater League hosted a performance of he Rat Pack Show and I loved it and was anxious to see how this one compared. I met Jackie out front at 7:15 and we soon found our seats and settled in for the show which was supposed to start at 7:30 but actually started a few minutes after.

The guys came out singing, as expected, and they were quite good. The first act of the night was by the guy who played Joey Bishop. He told a lot of jokes, all of which were quite funny. Jackie and I laughed quite a bit during his performance. My face actually hurt a little bit from laughing so much.

After Joey, was Dean Martin, who looked a lot like Will Ferrell, a fact that Jackie pointed out.Once she noticed the resemblance, it was obvious and made us laugh almost every time we looked at him.He was quite tall, like Will Ferrell and also a lot of his motions were similar to Will's (yes, we are on a first name basis). He had a good voice but didn't look much like Dean Martin (clearly since he looked like Will Ferrell).

Sammy Davis, Jr. came out next and the guy had the glasses and some of the moves and even the voice was pretty spot on, but overall, I thought he looked more like an Asian Sammy Davis, Jr. than a black Jewish Sammy Davis, Jr. I think the man just had light colored skin, but his eyes had an Asian flare about them. Plus he was a little pudgy around the middle and call me crazy, but I've never seen the real Sammy Davis, Jr. with any pudge.

After a brief intermission, the guy playing old Blue yes came out to sing. He had a good voice but his mouth made some weird motions which was kind of distracting if you looked too closely. He also didn't look much like Frank, but as I said he had a good voice, which I guess is the point.

The foursome came out on stage again and had a few more jokes and a few more songs. Overall the show was really great. As I said, we laughed quite a bit and the singing was good and as a result, we were quite entertained. The show was similar to the one BTL did a few years back, except that show had actors that looked much more like the folks they were playing on stage. In fact, the Frank in that show looked so much like the real Frank it was scary and his voice was also so spot on you probably wouldn't have known the difference if you had closed your eyes.

Merrimack Hall is a great place to watch shows. If you've never been before, be sure and check out the other shows they've got in the line-up for the rest of the season. You might find something to your liking.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First Day Back

Yesterday was my first week back to work after having been laid off and out of work for one week. One week is a blessing, some folks are out of work for months or even years; so, I’m definitely not complaining.

I was actually a little nervous/excited about going back. I’m working in the dame building, but with a completely different group of people so in reality it’s not much different than going to a completely new place except in this case I know where all the toilets are located. I got in at 8:00 and called a friend (Brenda) to help me carry in all of my junk. As you may recall from my cubicle posts (one and two), I like to have a lot of personal items around. I didn’t bring back everything; in fact, I threw some things out and just kept the items I liked the best or that meant the most.

After getting a new badge with the same terrible photo as before (I was really hoping for a new photo), my new boss was called to come collect me and show me where I would be sitting. I was most nervous about my new office location because in all my years of working, I’ve never had to share a spot with anyone. Well, now that I think about it, when I was a GA and intern I did, but since then I have not and I really prefer it that way. However, in the new division for which I’m working, I know a lot of people share cubicles and that had me worried. Thankfully, luckily, however you want to look at it, I was blessed to be placed in an empty cubicle and do not have to share with anyone. I sure hope it stays that way for a long, long time.

I spent the first hour or so cleaning up the cubicle which apparently has been empty for a while because it was quite dusty. Brenda brought my box ‘o things over and I set it all up and it looks quite like a home away from home. The rest of the morning was spent meeting people, asking a few questions, and having IT come and set me up with a temporary computer, which wouldn’t accept my password late in the day, let’s hope it works when I get in this morning. The rest of my time I spent reading through less than interesting procedures and processes and trying to stay awake. A lot of what I read I was familiar with, but this division does things a lot differently than what I am used to so there will be a bit of a learning curve.

Overall, it was a good day and I feel truly blessed to have been given this opportunity when so many people are still without work. Keep those folks in your prayers. Hope everyone has a really great Tuesday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Alabama Homecoming 2011

Me and Justin on the porch of the Theta house,
where we have spent many hours of our life.

This past Saturday my brother Justin and I went to the Alabama vs. Vanderbilt game and we had a really good time if I do say so myself.

We left Huntsville at noon and headed south to Tuscaloosa, arriving about 2:45. We parked in a free parking spot which is at least one mile, maybe two from the stadium and started walking. On our walk, we stopped off at a convenient store so I could get some Tylenol for a headache that I felt coming on, and with the heat, I knew it wouldn’t subside any time soon. In fact, I still have a remnant of it now as I type (on Sunday night).

We then made a beeline for the Kappa Alpha Theta house and a lunch. On the way down, I told Justin how much I hoped they would be serving what we know as the Theta Meal, fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and rolls. Since it was homecoming weekend, I had a pretty good feeling that the Theta Meal would indeed me the menu for the day and when we walked in the door and smelled the fried chicken, I could have burst in to tears from excitement. It was my favorite meal in college and no doubt the reason I gained some weight. I loaded up my plate and took in all the deliciousness that Terry and the rest of the kitchen staff had prepared and ate way too much, but it was so darn good.

The Theta Meal - So Good!

Justin enjoying a glass of sweet tea!

Speaking of Terry, he has worked at the Theta house since I was in school and is such a nice guy! He always remembers my name and has gone from being a skinny young boy to a grown man. His house was destroyed in the Tuscaloosa tornado back in April but all of his family is safe and I am so thankful for that. As he told Justin and I on Saturday, they build houses everyday but you can’t rebuild a life.

After stuffing our faces, we lingered on the front porch until the band came by on their way to the stadium, after which, we made our way inside. I took a bathroom break (imagine that) before the game got started and made it to my seat in time for the teams to come out on the field.

The band coming by the Theta house

The game was good, of course, as Alabama won and we had a nice time together. In the third quarter I got a stadium dog and Justin tracked down a guy to get me a bottled Diet Coke, which after taking the first sip I realized was expired. I have really got to start looking at the date first.

After the game was over, we made the trek back to the car which took us about 30 minutes to walk. We got back to Huntsville around 12:30 a.m. or so and I made it home by 1:00 a.m. A big thanks to my granddad, Bill, for giving us the tickets and for letting The Tide out for a bathroom break while we were gone, and a big thank you to my baby brother for letting me join him on a fun day.

Before Kick Off

Justin, enjoying the game

Justin on the porch of the Theta house

Sister and Brother at the game

Friday, October 7, 2011

Last Day of Leisure

Happy Friday, folks! Today is my last day of living in the lap of luxury. I will be starting my new job on Monday and I am really looking forward to it as I am about to go stir crazy here at home. I’ve been out to lunch with my Aunt Linda and Jackie and today am going to lunch with my friend Pat but other than that and going to the gym, I haven’t gotten out much and there’s only so much laying around a girl can do. So, I’m looking forward to Monday and getting back into a daily routine. Thanks once again for your prayers, I feel truly blessed to have been awarded a new job so quickly.

I wish I had something really exciting to tell you about, but as I said, there hasn’t been much going on this week in the form of excitement. I’ve spent the week reading the third book in the Stieg Larssen series and still have quite a way to go (it’s the longest one), watching TV, and that’s really about it.

Tonight I head out to Randolph for their game against Plainview which will most likely be a massacre. I’m praying that it will be a running game so the game will go by somewhat quickly. I thought their concession stand wasn't the greatest, you may remember from last year, but I did remember that I changed my mind a bit on the second trip there because they have Five Guys burgers and so I’ll be munching on one of those for dinner.

Tomorrow Justin and I are headed to Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s game against Vanderbilt. It’s homecoming so undoubtedly I will run into someone I have no desire to speak with but will grin and bear it. The temperature for Saturday is predicted to be 86, which means closer to 100 with a heat index of 127. I swear, Tuscaloosa is the hottest city on earth. I hope to not get as hot and close to passing out as I did at the Penn State game last year, but I’m not making any promises. Thankfully, the game starts at 6:00 so once the sun goes down the heat index will probably break to a cool 97. I’m not even joking here people, Tuscaloosa is always so stinkin’ hot. I don’t get it. I’m sure we will have a good time and my mouth is already watering just thinking about one of those Bryant Denny dogs! Love ‘em.

Well, that’s about it for today I guess. Sorry it wasn’t more interesting. I’m about to head out for morning spin class and then I’m going to hose down my car which has so much sap on it right now that one of my windshield wipers won’t work. I will be so glad when that Hackberry tree in my front yard sheds its leaves and stops sapping everywhere. A word to the wise, do not ever plant a Hackberry tree. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Tummy – A Review

Have you Huntsvillians heard of Happy Tummy? It’s a restaurant/sandwich shop located inside Lowe Mill (or Lowell Mill if you are Jackie and her cousin Scott). A while back Living Social had a Happy Tummy offer and I took them up on it and grabbed some food from there one Saturday afternoon. The food was great and then Groupon had an offer for Happy Tummy a month or so ago and I bought one of those. Jackie and I ate there yesterday using my Groupon and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it in case you are interested in stopping by sometime.

Jackie came by a little before 11:30 and we headed out to Happy Tummy only to discover they don’t open until noon and considering I live about seven minutes from Lowe Mill, we had a little time on our hands and so we decided to stop by Ayers Market and check out the pumpkins and other items. We each made a purchase and then drove back on over to Happy Tummy. There were quite a few people waiting for the doors to open, which is always a good sign that a place is well liked.

Jackie opted for the Salmon Burger which she had had once before and I got the Diablito sandwich which had turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno cream cheese and was on toasted jalapeno cheddar Fred Bread. Fred Bread is made in Huntsville and sold and various places in town in case you didn’t know.

Both of our sandwiches were really great as was the one I had gotten the first time I went which was a wrap of some sort. The sandwiches come with chips as well and there are a variety of drinks available to quench your thirst. Jackie and I got a bottled water, a Diet Coke, two sandwiches and two bags of chips and our total was $13.50. My Groupon was for $12 so we had to fork over $1.50; we both thought the prices were quite reasonable and well worth the money as everything at Happy Tummy is made with fresh ingredients and very yummy – it makes for a happy tummy indeed.

The next time you are around the Lowe Mill area at lunch time, give Happy Tummy a try. They are open from 12-6 Wednesday – Thursday, 12-8 Friday, and 12-6 on Saturday. To find out more about them, click here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Party Time at Pump It Up

This past Sunday was Troy and Ashlyn’s birthday party. He turned nine and she eight the last week of September. Jackie arranged for their birthday party to be at Pump It Up, which is a place that has large inflatables for the kids and adults to bounce around on and it was a lot of fun.

The party started at 2:30 and I got there a little bit after. I wasn’t exactly sure where it was and drove like a granny down Leeman Ferry until I found it. There were kids running around everywhere, but it wasn’t total chaos as one might expect. There was a large inflatable slide, obstacle course type thing and two bounce houses that had basketball goals in them. One of these deflated during the party. I think one of the kids unplugged it when they were running behind it. Needless to say it was kind of strange, but surprisingly didn’t cause a lot of panic as you might expect.

I climbed up and went down the slide a few times and after that someone got the great idea that we should start racing in the obstacle course (there were two sides). So, we spent most of the rest of the afternoon racing kids and adults through the obstacle course. I think we each thought we had injured ourselves at one point or another. Inflatable obstacle courses should be left to children. Those things are tough – in other words, don’t expect to see me on Survivor any time soon.

After the fun with the inflatables, it was time for birthday cake and presents. Troy had a chocolate cake with Harry Potter on it and Ashlyn’s cake was a flower and was white. The chocolate cake was the better of the two this year I think. The kids opened their presents and got lots of nice gifts.

After the opening of the presents, it was time for the party to end. All the children were handed over to their parents and we all went our separate ways. It was a fun afternoon.

Ashlyn's Cake

Troy's Cake

The deflating bounce house

Tim and Dalton playing air hockey

Jackie and Jan about to race the obstacle course.

The birthday girl

The birthday boy

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Back In The Saddle

I know some of you are probably wondering how things went yesterday and so today I’ll give you another update and then tomorrow we will move on to a fun topic – Troy and Ashlyn’s birthday party.

Yesterday morning I had my interview with the other division at the company from which I was laid off. The interview lasted only about 15 minutes and was basically just a brief formality as I was offered the job during the interview. HR got in touch with me later in the day to give me all the details and I formally accepted the job. HR and I are in the process of completing all the paperwork and what have you and once that is all complete, I will be able to start work. It may be as soon as Thursday or it may be next week depending on how long it takes everything to work out.

So, today and tomorrow I’m going to enjoy a few days off. I’m having lunch with my Aunt Linda today and afterwards plan to come home and decorate for Halloween. That was actually my plan for yesterday but I was lazy and didn’t get it done. Tomorrow I am having lunch with my dad. I plan to clear out the DVR and do some reading as well. Basically, I’m just going to do a lot of nothing in particular without the stress of worrying about a job.

I wanted to send a big THANK YOU to all of you who remembered me in your prayers during the past few days. It really meant a lot to me to know you were praying on my behalf. Thanks also for your kind comments. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways and I am very pleased with how things have worked out in this situation. The economy in our great country continues to decline and I feel very blessed and fortunate to have been awarded this opportunity. Thanks again for everything !

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Morning Update

Hi readers! Hope everyone is doing well this Monday morning and enjoyed the weekend of cool fall weather. I thought I would give you all an update on the events from Friday and let you know how I am doing.

Layoffs had been rumored for a couple of weeks and I felt pretty confident that I would be one of the people to be let go this time. Work has been really slow for a while and while I always get paranoid that I will be let go during a layoff, this time I had an overwhelming feeling that it would be me and obviously I was right.

I got into work around 7:15 and by 7:45 I was given the news, packed up my things and was out the door by 8:15; a quick morning to say the least. I spent the rest of the day emailing people about being a reference for me, applying for jobs and talking to recruiters. For some strange reason I am not yet worried, although maybe I should be.

I have been praying for a long time that the Lord would bless me with the privilege of keeping my job for as long as I need it and the way I see, the Lord is telling me I don’t need that particular job anymore. Obviously, I need a job, just not that one. So, I feel like my faith has given me a sense of calm that I haven’t had in the past when I’ve been in this situation.

On a positive note, the company from which I was laid off has given me an opportunity to interview for another position in a different division. The position is a lower one than the position I was just in, but if I am offered the position, I will definitely take it because unfortunately my bills don’t stop just because I am without employment, and as I’m sure you may have guessed, with my trip to France, repairs on my car, dental work, and a home repair all in this calendar year, my savings account has been drained.

I’ve also been asked about doing some baking by a friend of Jackie’s mom Jan. (Thanks, Christa!) I hope to take her up on the offer and hopefully I can make a little money doing that. I’m still writing for the newspaper as well, which is not much, but still something.

So, I ask for your continued prayers as I go for my interview this morning and if that’s not what God has in mind for me, then I ask for your prayers that the Lord will bless me with new employment quickly because I think we all know there are few jobs out there and a lot of people who need them.

Matthew 6:25-34 tell us, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Very comforting verses in this time of uncertainty. I know that I am more valuable than the birds of the air and as long as I put my trust in God, everything will turn out okay.

Thanks for your continued prayers and I will keep you posted on how things are going. Have a great Monday!