Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Special Screening: The Return of the King

Last night was the third and final night of the three week special screening of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and of course Erika and I were there. There wasn’t quite as much commotion as there was last week; although it did feel like we were watching the movie in a hospital ward rather than a theater. There were two people a couple of rows behind us that were coughing as though they had been infected with the Spanish flu. I think the old man had some popcorn go down the wrong way and that’s what set off his coughing, but the girl sounded like she was sick. It was less than pleasant and more than distracting. I coughed on purpose just for good measure, which gave me and Erika a chuckle.

Both Erika and I had had bad days and to be honest I really wasn’t in the mood to go, but I wanted to be a trooper and finish up what I had set out to do and I also didn’t want to leave Erika hanging. There were three people in front of me to get my ticket (Erika had already gotten hers) but only one person was paying for all three, and it seemed to take forever. Then, when we went inside, the concession stand line was long and so I went and got our seats while Erika got her treats. Randall and Janice were MIA this week because they are on business travel in Washington. When Erika got to the seats, I went down and got my treats and then we settled in for a long night of movie watching. Return of the King is definitely the longest of the three extended versions at four hours and 10 minutes.

After I sat down, a rather large gentleman sat down on the row in front of us and bless him, I really don’t know how he fit into the seat or how he was even remotely comfortable. As you may know, if you have been to H18, the seats are a bit snug so I really can’t imagine that the man was comfortable. About 30 minutes or so into the movie this same man whipped out his bright, bright phone to silence it (I think) but while it was out he checked this app and that app and I almost threw some popcorn and told him to put it away. Before I could do that, he did put it away and there wasn’t any other trouble out of him the rest of the night; at least not that I can remember. His daughter, however, slurped her soda through her straw rather loudly.

Apparently it was come late to the movies night and Erika and I didn’t get the memo because it seems like there were about 20 or so people who drug in after the film started and of course walked up and down the stairs trying to find seats. A couple of men (including popcorn cougher man) stood on the aisle watching the movie for at least a couple of minutes and I almost hollered, “Find a seat, man!” but I refrained.

Also during the movie we had another theater mishap. It wasn’t the lights in the film room this time, but some lady over the intercom. I don’t know what was up with that. H18 is always full of surprises. I mean, there was that time I caught that couple having sex in the bathroom after all.

The movie was just as wonderful as we knew it would be. The theater seemed more crowded this week so I don’t know if more people had heard about the showing or if Return of the King is just the favorite of that many more people. After watching last’s night’s showing, I still think The Two Towers might be my favorite. Gosh, I just don’t know. There are a lot of great scenes in Return of the King too. My favorite, ever since I first saw the films is when the beacons are lit. It gives me such a sense of hope. I tear up and get chills every time. I also like it when the Witch-king of Angmar sets loose his army at Minas Morgul – the sound there has always impressed me – that is until H18. For some reason the sound at H18 just isn’t great (maybe because it’s an old theater) and does not do this scene justice. The best I ever saw it was in Nashville on the IMAX screen – the sound there was amazing. Anyway, I of course also love the speech Aragorn gives prior to the battle at the Black Gates. Ah, the battle scenes – I love them. Sometimes I think I was meant to be a boy because I sure do love a good battle scene.

The movie ended about 10 minutes after 11:00 and I was ready to hit the bed. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow last night. I did have to take three bathroom breaks last night – two of which were 20 minutes apart. That’s what happens when you get the medium Diet Coke. I didn’t bring a contraband Diet Coke because I had a coupon for a free soda at the concession stand.

It was a great night at the movies and it put me in a better mood than I was in prior to it starting; and, in case you were wondering, Frodo took that ring all the way to the fiery pits of Mount Doom. He does it every time. What a trooper!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Friday Night Continued

I’m sure you couldn’t sleep last night wondering what the other excitement was from Friday evening. Erika guessed it would be something from the neighborhood, and while that usually is the case, it was something entirely different this past Friday and in fact something that hasn’t happened since The Tide was a wee little pup.

After Jackie and the kids left on Friday, I had the beginnings of a headache and so I took some Aleve and lay on the couch to watch television for a bit and of course ended up falling asleep. An hour or so later I woke up and The Tide and I moved on to the bedroom and I did not let her out for the bathroom beforehand. The bed only had fitted sheets on it since I had taken the flat sheets off because The Tide rolled around in those after her bath. So, rather than put all new sheets on the bed, I just threw some blankets over us and called it a night.

About 1:20 in the morning, The Tide jumped up and wouldn’t lie back down and was acting kind of strange. When I patted the bed and told her to lie down, I noticed the bed was soaking wet… she had peed the bed people! She has not done this since she was just a few months old. Well, actually, let me rephrase that, last week there was a very small wet spot on the bed and I determined she must have had a leak, if you will; but, as far as popping a squat and letting it rip – it’s been a long while.

I jumped up and said, what the heck is going on here, why did you pee in the bed? I let her outside in case she needed to go some more and stripped the bed of sheets and mattress pad. When we got settled back in, I put my baby blanket to my face (yes, I still sleep with my baby blanket – perhaps that’s a post for another day) only to discover that it also was covered in pee. I was less than thrilled as you can imagine. So, I got up again and put it in the wash along with the sheets. A few months ago I had someone crochet a small baby blanket for me to take with me on my trip so that I could have the feel of my blanket with me on my trip without the fear of leaving it behind in France. What can I say? I love my blanket. So, I pulled it out and slept with it and it worked just fine.

The mattress pad was old and needed to be replaced so I didn’t feel too bad when I threw it out the next morning, although sleeping without it has been quite an adjustment. Honestly I need a new mattress. The one I’m sleeping on I’ve had since I was sixteen and it was my great-grandmother’s and I have no idea how long she slept on it before I started sleeping on it. It is ripped in places and my back always aches when I get up in the morning. So, at some point this year I plan to replace it.

As far as The Tide is concerned, I honestly think she must have peed in her sleep. I mean, it’s not like her to just pop a squat somewhere in the house and she always will wake me up if she needs to go during the night so I really just think it was an accident. Hey, she’s just preparing me for the day I have children wet the bed. She was only trying to be considerate.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday Night Fun

This past Friday, Jackie and the kids came over for dinner. I grilled burgers, made coleslaw and deviled eggs and Jackie brought some really good baked beans as well as some Mountain Dew Cake that our friend Christa sent along.

It had been a while since I have seen the kids. Most of the time I spend with Jackie is when the kids are at their dad’s and since we are going to different churches now I don’t get to see the kids as often as I did before. I was really glad they were able to come over for a visit.

I put the burgers on the grill not long after they arrived and Troy put in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie while Jackie, Ashlyn and I manned the grill, or should I say womanned the grill? Once the burgers were done we all settled into our spots in front of the TV and ate. It was fine meal if I do say so myself. I love a good burger and I’ve gotten a lot better with grilling burgers than when I first started.

I also need to give a shout out to my friend Pat’s husband Dave right now since he fixed my grill top for me. It sure made grilling a lot easier than before. Last year during the tornado that came through Five Points, the wind knocked the grill top off and bent the handle which eventually came off completely. I have been using oven mitts to take the grill top off and on while grilling and thanks to Dave repairing the handle, I no longer have to do that.

While we had been outside grilling, The Tide had rolled around in the mud and grass and was pretty nasty by the time we came inside. She needed a bath before she rolled around outside and needed one 10 times more at this point. So, I recruited the kids to help me bathe The Tide. I gave them each a t-shirt to put on so their clothes wouldn’t get too wet and we set to work on getting The Tide clean. I think she was wondering what the heck was going on because she’s never had three people bathing her at one time. We got The Tide all good and clean and let the water and dirt and dog hair drain from the tub. I always put a small strainer across the drain to catch the dog hair so as not to clog up the drain and the kids found all the dog hair it caught to be quite fascinating.

After the bath time was over, we finished watching the movie and there were kids jumping around and talking loud and a dog barking and pretty much total chaos which caused me and Jackie to laugh. Troy also kept me entertained with all the questions he asked like, “Why is this room always messy?” He was talking about my spare bedroom which indeed never seems to stay straightened. I told him, “I wish I had the answer to that.” He also asked me, “Why did you give me mom that mug that has the ‘H’ word on it? You know, THAT MUG.” I have laughed and laughed at this because the expression on his face was as humorous as his question. I couldn’t remember what mug he was talking about and Jackie knew the mug, but couldn’t remember what it said. We asked Troy but he said he didn’t know what it said, just that it had the “H” word on it.

We had a really fun evening and I hope we are able to do it again sometime soon. After the gang left, there was some more excitement, but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to hear all about that. Have a great Monday!

Here are the kids before I gave them some shirts to put on.
They were "gaurding The Tide to make sure she didn't jump out of the water.

The Tide looks a little frightened.
Jackie took these photos with her phone and she isn't sure why the eyes always turn out this way.

Ashlyn and me lathering up The Tide.

Are we having fun or what? Well, The Tide might not be.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Have No Title for This Post

Close to a month ago, I planned a surprise baby shower for a co-worker of mine. He and his wife are expecting their first baby. For a long while Robert didn’t tell anyone that his wife was pregnant - just me, his boss and a handful of other folks. When the cat was finally let out of the bag, if you will, I decided to plan a surprise baby shower. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Robert started feeling bad on Wednesday and was out of work yesterday. Yesterday afternoon he said he was feeling better and would probably come in today; but this morning, he sent another email saying he wasn’t feeling up to par and wasn’t coming in but might come in later in the afternoon. So, I had to call him, spoil the surprise and tell him to come in for an hour or so around 9:00 so that we could celebrate the upcoming birth of his first born child. He said he would try to come in. Thankfully he showed up and we were able to celebrate with him because I’m here to tell you we would have partied without him if he had stayed home.

I went out after work Wednesday to run a couple of errands. I wanted to pick up the Velo News Tour de France preview and I needed to stop by Hobby Lobby for some small gift bags for the Ladies’ Night Out group. As I was walking through the store, I noticed they were already beginning to put out Christmas items. Christmas is still six months away – six months from tomorrow actually – and they are already putting out Christmas supplies. I just don’t get it. I have never understood the philosophy of putting out holiday decorations months in advance of the actual holiday. I really think it takes away from the holiday spirit. I wish stores would wait until after Thanksgiving to start selling Christmas merchandise. This is one of the too many to count things I love about Williams Sonoma. They don’t start selling holiday items until the next holiday has passed. For example, their wonderful hot chocolate cannot be purchased until the day after Thanksgiving. However, I will say this, in the case of Hobby Lobby it ends up working out great for me because by the time I am ready to buy Christmas items (late November, early December) they are already on sale.

Earlier this week, I bought my tickets to the PGA Championship. My dad and I are headed over to Atlanta to watch on Thursday and Friday, August 11-12. My dad is actually a volunteer and has completed his volunteer hours but also receives a shirt and food passes and other things like that. I haven’t been to a golf tournament in a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a PGA Tournament, only Senior PGA; so, I’m looking forward to it. To my knowledge, this is the last trip I have planned for the year, but you never know when something else might unexpectedly pop up.

I don’t really have much planned for the weekend, but for some reason it feels like I do. Jackie’s coming over tonight and we are grilling out burgers and tomorrow night I’m having dinner at the home of some of my favorite people, the Riddicks. I want to try and see a movie this weekend because there are a lot out that I want to see, but I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to squeeze one in. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week Two

I’ve been sitting here for a minute or two trying to think of something intriguing to write about. Then I remembered this blog was about what’s going on in my life and had to toss that idea out the window. Instead, I’ll just blab on for a bit about my upcoming trip which you are probably sick of hearing about.

Last Friday my dad and I made some plans for the week he will be joining me in France. I’m really looking forward to his coming over and am just thrilled that he will get to experience Europe. I’m pretty sure he never imagined traveling overseas and I’m really glad we will get to experience this trip together. He arrives on Monday, July 25 and as it turns out a lot of things in France are closed on Mondays. So, we are going to play that day by ear. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday will be spent in the city of Paris and we plan to hit the highlights such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc. We also have planned a boat trip on the Seine, a trip to the catacombs, and an evening at the Moulin Rouge.

On Tuesday, we will head to London and will try to squeeze in a tour of Buckingham Palace (it will be open for the summer), the London Eye, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. We plan to go to the organ concert at Westminster Abbey that evening and of course we want to eat some fish and chips while we are there.

Thursday we are headed to Normandy and have arranged for a guided tour. We will take the train from Paris that morning and arrive in Carentan (yes, this was also the title of one of the Band of Brothers episodes – I’m probably the only one who knows that.) about two hours later. My dad contacted a man named Ellwood who runs a tour over there. He was recommended in one of the books we have and we looked him up and thought he was quite a character. Unfortunately, Ellwood isn’t available but one of his associates (Allan Bryson) will be giving us our tour. I am really looking forward to this as I am a history buff and love hearing about WWII in particular. This trip will be an all day adventure and we will return to Paris later that night.

Friday we are headed to Versailles which I am thrilled about. Versailles was the palace of Louis XVI, the Sun King as he is known in France. I have wanted to go here ever since I began studying French and French history in ninth grade. So, this visit will be a dream come true for me.

We come back home on Sunday the 31st and leave Paris at 9:20 that morning so there won’t be time for doing much of anything the morning we leave. I’m heading out in only 23 days! It will be here in the blink of an eye! I’ve been planning this trip for so long and it’s so hard to believe the time is so fast approaching. As mentioned, I plan to take a computer with me and will blog as much as I can. I hope you’ll stop in and see what I’ve been up to each day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Special Screening: The Two Towers

Last night was the second of three special screenings of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Last week’s screening was The Fellowship of the Ring, this week, The Two Towers, and next week will obviously be The Return of the King. As mentioned last week, the movies have been remastered for Blu-Ray and the extended versions will be released on Blu-Ray next week. I have all the extended versions on DVD and love them. If you’ve never seen the extended versions, you should try to rent them or buy them because they make the movies that much more wonderful.

Erika joined me for last night’s viewing of The Two Towers. I didn’t think to tell her about the screenings and she didn’t know about it until she read about it here last week. So, she asked if she could come along and I was happy to say yes. I honestly didn’t know she was a Lord of the Rings fan. I met her at the theater at about 20 minutes before 7:00. We got our tickets and I got myself a large popcorn and I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate almost all of it. Our friends Randall and Janice were there once again and we sat with them and settled in for a long night of movie watching.

I think I mentioned last week that each of the extended versions is around three and a half hours long. I can’t remember which one if the longest of the three, but if it’s not The Two Towers, then it’s a close second because it was about three hours and 45 minutes long. In other words, it was almost 11:00 p.m. when the movie let out.

If I had to pick a favorite of the three movies, I really don’t think I could do it. Most people love Return of the King the most, and really, I probably do too; but, The Two Towers has some of my favorite scenes in it and while most people like it the least I often wonder if it might not be my favorite. I think I know the most lines from The Two Towers and it was hard not to recite each one while sitting in the theater last night. My favorite scenes were even better on the big screen and each one gave me chills. For example, I have always loved since the first time I saw it when Legolas grabs the reigns of that horse as the horse in running and in slow motion hoists himself onto the horse – it’s just not the same on the TV screen. I think my most favorite shot in all three movies is when Aragorn is thought to be dead but then he opens those double doors and walks through looking like he’s been to hell and back. I think that’s the sexiest scene out of all the scenes in the movie and I’ve been known to rewind it and play it again. It was great to see it on the big screen once again. Then, of course, there’s one of the scenes that makes me laugh the most and was often a source of laughter for me and Tony when we were dating. When Gollum, Frodo and Sam are walking to Mordor and Sam is fixing a stew of coneys and he mentions it sure would be good to have some taters, and Gollum says, “What’s taters?” And then Sam says, “PO-TA—TOES. Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” LOVE IT! Makes me laugh every time. I really don’t even have the time or the words to get started on how great those battle scenes at Helms Deep are! The Two Towers – it’s a classic! Obviously I enjoyed the movie and so did Erika. She had never seen the extended versions (the horror!) and so a lot of the scenes were new to her.

The night at the theater was interesting as well. Right as the movie was starting, a guy on the row in front of us must have gotten a phone call or something because with his Smartphone lit up he jumped over the row of seats in front of him to get out to the aisle and take his call. When he landed on the “platform” in front of the seat he jumped over, he made the loudest noise and when he came back minutes later and jumped over them again, it was again loud. The girls behind us would “whisper” from time to time and I put whisper in quotation marks because it was the loudest whispering I have ever heard. It was if they were having a conversation at the lunch table. Then, about half way through the movie someone went in to the room where the movie projector was and turned on a light. Now, that might not seem all that odd, but this light was BRIGHT! I mean, you could see the faces and features of nearly everyone in the theater. The light went off a few seconds later and then back on and then back off and then on for two or three straight minutes and then off for the rest of the movie. It was rather interesting to say the least. I mean, did the person going into that room seriously not realize that he or she was lighting up the whole theater? Maybe they just didn’t care. Also during the movie someone had apparently brought in canned drinks. Look, I’m not going to knock anyone for sneaking in food or drinks, I do it all the time; but, the empty cans were not strategically placed and someone kicked them two or three times and made a racket so loud it caused Erika and me to chuckle.

Despite all the chaos at ghetto Hollywood 18, we still had a good night at the movies. I did take a bathroom break last night – with about an hour to go, I got up for the lone bathroom break of the night. I think I could have skipped it if I had wanted to, but as I told Erika last night, I really needed to stretch my legs. There were people in the seat in front of me, Erika to my right and Randall to my left and I don’t think any of them wanted to hold my legs in their lap while I stretched out for a bit. So, I took the opportunity to get up and stretch out and I was glad I did.

There’s one more opportunity to take in a special screening of Lord of the Rings. Next Tuesday, June 28 Hollywood 18 will be showing The Return of the King at 7:00 p.m. Erika and I will be there and I’ll be back here on Wednesday to report all the odd things that take place during the showing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father’s Day Luncheon

Well, after the Saturday Cooking Extravaganza, the time for eating came on Sunday after church. As mentioned, I had mixed up the icing for the cake when I got home on Saturday. So, Sunday morning, I loaded up my icing, buttermilk and corn meal and headed to church. Once I arrived at church, I put the icing and buttermilk in the fridge and hoped I wouldn’t forget afterwards. Thankfully, I didn’t.

When church was over, I headed to my parents’ house. My dad had timed the meatloaf per my instructions. I took it out and put ketchup on top and put the cornbread pan in the oven to warm up the oil. I also put the potatoes in the oven to warm and the green beans on the stove for the same purpose and plugged in the fry daddy to fry up the okra. I mixed up the cornbread and got the okra cooking and then had to set the table since my brother was concerned with his own plans, which apparently didn’t include helping (frustrating). What made me chuckle is that he had told my mom that he was going to call me and see if he needed to bring anything… he never called. Then when I asked him to set the table he said he had to go somewhere to pick up some supplies he had left at his last job site and would be back when lunch was done. I was less than pleased because I really could have used some help; but, that’s how it goes when you can’t rely on your only sibling.

Despite the fact I was flying solo, I managed to set the table, prepare everyone’s drinks, and get all the food on the table in a timely manner. I was even the first one to sit down! We started eating about 12:15 (I love it when a plan comes together) and by 1:00 I was cleaning up and washing dishes yet again. That’s how it goes.

I think everyone enjoyed the meal. I know my granddad Ben did. He had three helpings of okra and said, “This is the best meal I’ve eaten since I’ve been sick”. Now he’s been sick on and off for almost three years. So, that’s a long time to wait for a “best meal”. Not sure if he meant that long or not, but it made me laugh all the same.

While I was cleaning up, my dad got a call and had to go out to the hospital to be with the family of a man from church who is sick. The work of a preacher is never done I suppose. Some folks had cake but most people just took theirs to go and we all went our separate ways.

I meant to take my camera with me to get a picture of every thing but didn’t do it and also didn’t take one with my camera. Oh well – there’s always next year!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday’s Cooking Extravaganza

For the past few years on Father’s Day, I cook a big Father’s Day feat for the family. The meal always consists of meatloaf, and the side items vary from year-to-year. This year’s meal was planned to have the side items of coleslaw, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, green beans, and fried okra, and dessert was to be strawberry cake. As I do every Friday, I went to the grocery store and I got all the items I needed to cook this year’s meal.

On Saturday morning, I went to the gym, ran a couple of errands and then planned to start cooking. I ran into a small obstacle in that while I was out running those errands, I started feeling bad. I was either hungry or it was the beginnings of a migraine or both because my vision became spotty. So, I cut the errands short, grabbed a bite to eat and headed home. Once home, I gobbled up that food, took some medicine for the oncoming headache, took a bath, and took a nap. Needless to say, at this point, I was already behind schedule as far as the cooking was concerned.

After napping for about an hour, I got up and grabbed the bag of potatoes from my pantry to start peeling them. However, after pulling out three potatoes, I realized that the whole bag was bad… and I only bought the bag a couple of weeks ago. So, I put on some shoes and went down to Star Market to get a five pound bag of Yukon Gold – my favorite. When I got home, I peeled and cut up the whole five pounds of potatoes and put them on the stove to cook. At the same time, I was cooking the green beans which I had broken up earlier that morning.

While the potatoes and beans were cooking, I made the deviled eggs from the eggs I had boiled that morning, and after that was done, I took a quick break and sat down on the couch to enjoy a couple of deviled eggs (I made some extra) a cold Diet Sunkist. You thought I was going to say Diet Coke didn’t you?

Just as I was enjoying my snack, I noticed it was getting awfully dark outside and the wind was picking up. I got up and went out the back door to get a blanket off the fence line that was hanging out to dry. I brought it in and put it in the dryer and turned on the TV to see what was going on with the weather. Just as I turned the channel to 48, the power went out. This was the first time since the big storms that my power has gone out. A lot of other people in the city have lost power at various times because the system is still fragile, but I have been lucky so far, until Saturday that is. I also want to take this moment to say how awful the “weather people” have been at predicting the weather this past week. It rained when they said it wouldn’t and all day when they said a few hours and there was no indication of rain for Saturday on their pretty maps and radars. Moving on…

Since the power was out and I couldn’t do any cooking, I went ahead and did what I could around the house. Saturday is my house cleaning day anyway and since I was already behind schedule I used the power outage time to do the dusting and cleaned up the kitchen and other things like that. I also turned the eyes of the stove off as soon as the power went out. One of the things I remember most from the out power outage in April was the constant warning of “check your stove and make sure it’s off” since the power went off right during dinner time. I work with a girl who apparently didn’t hear or heed that warning because when her power came back on, so did her stove top.

Finally, after about three and a half hours without power, I couldn’t take the sitting around any longer. So, I packed up all the groceries, some pots and pans and utensils, along with the green beans and potatoes from the stovetop as well as The Tide, and went to my parents’ house to continue the cooking there. At this point it was about 6:00 p.m. I got to their house and got everything unloaded and was back to work cooking a little after 6:30 p.m. and I proceeded to cook for the next two and half hours. I mixed the meatloaf. I finished cooking and creamed the potatoes. I finished cooking the green beans. I made the coleslaw. I cut up and breaded the okra.

I had forgotten to bring my vegetable oil and my parents’ were out. So, my dad made a run to the store and also stopped by Sonic for him a banana split and me a strawberry milkshake. Once he was back, I mixed up the cake and put it in the bake. I planned to mix up the icing while it was baking, but realized I had left the powdered sugar at home. So, I decided to mix it up when I got home and bring it back on Sunday to ice the cake. The cake would have to cool anyway so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

About 9:00, I had cleaned up the kitchen, stored everything away and given my dad instructions on putting the meatloaf in the oven the next day. We loaded up the car with the leftover supplies and The Tide and we headed back home. Thankfully the power was back on (it had come on around 7:30p.m.) and I was able to mix up the icing before watching a little TV and then going to bed. Needless to say, it was the most adventurous day I’ve ever had in regards to cooking.

Friday, June 17, 2011

On My Mind

It’s Friday – my favorite day of the week – I know I’ve mentioned that numerous times before, but it’s worth saying again. We finally got some rain last night. We actually got some on Wednesday night too, but last night’s rain was more significant. There was thunder and lightening and a great amount of rain, which we desperately needed. I’m pretty sure the weather man didn’t say anything about getting rain last night so I was quite surprised when I woke up to thunder and lightening around 1:00 this morning. Hopefully we will get some more rain soon. We very much need it.

This Sunday is Father’s Day and time for my annual meatloaf luncheon. I cook meatloaf every year on Father’s Day and I’m really looking forward to it this year. I think my dad and I are about the only ones in the family who actually like meatloaf so we only have it one time a year. I might need to add it to the menu more often.

I took the last of my antibiotics last night and also returned to the gym for the first time in two weeks. I did a lot of coughing, but it was actually less than I expected, if that makes any sense. My heart rate went through the roof though and stayed over 170 (which is too high) for most of the class. Hopefully when I go back to class in the morning my heart rate won’t be as high, but it may take another week or so for it to get back to normal. The coughing didn’t help. Jackie has recently been taking hot yoga classes and I’m hoping to join her soon. They have a start up special of $20 for 10 classes. I’ve just got to figure out when I can fit it in to my schedule because I really want to give it a try. Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

Tonight I’m going over to my parents’ house so that my dad and I can plan out our week in France. There are some things on the agenda already (Versailles and a trip to London), but for the most part we haven’t decided what we are going to do each day. We want to map out our agenda as best we can and perhaps go ahead and buy some of our tickets, etc.

Yesterday I called Sprint about adding international service to my phone for one month and wouldn’t you know it, my phone (the HTC EVO 4G) will not work in France because Europe uses different towers than we use in the States. Basically the only option they gave me was to add a line with a different phone and then have some outrageous cancellation fee once the line needed to be terminated. In other words, Sprint was absolutely no help to me. I contacted my friend Kimberly who lived in Malaysia for six months and asked her what she did. She and her husband bought pre-paid cell phones and also used Skype and Magic Jack. If she makes it down to Huntsville before I leave, she is going to let me use her Magic Jack. I am taking my computer and I think most all of the hotels I’m staying in have internet service so I will at least be able to email folks and let them know I arrived safely (I’m talking to you, mother); but, it’s still frustrating not being able to use my phone and check twitter for updates and be able to email people while on the go. I will probably feel like I’m living in the 1990s or something – scary!

I guess that about wraps things up for today. I did want to mention my friend Sara and her Etsy shop. I think I mentioned previously that she was planning to open up an Etsy shop to see her lovely sewn items, but never followed up with giving you the link. She’s got some really great things in her store, including baby blankets, tissue holders, bookmarks, crayon rolls, etc. So, be sure and check it out and remember to stop by the store the next time you are looking to purchase something homemade. Here’s the link.

Have a great weekend, ya’ll!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saturday at Lowe(ll) Mill

This past Saturday, Jackie and I made plans and went to Lowe Mill. She had asked me earlier in the week about going and I told her if I felt better I would come along. I was ready to get out and do something different come Saturday and so off to Lowe Mill we went. Jackie had called it Lowell Mill in her emails to me, thus the title of this post.

Jackie’s cousin, Scott, was the reason we ended up on this little adventure. There was going to be a bike ride scavenger hunt starting at Lowe Mill and he asked us to meet up with him there. He rode his bike up to Lowe and sent us a text saying it was going to be an easy ride and we should bring our bikes; but, we didn’t. We opted to skip out on the bike ride scavenger hunt and thought Scott was going to skip out on it as well. We were actually under the impression we would be sitting around watching the teams come in, but that didn’t happen either since the scavenger hunt ended somewhere completely different from Lowe Mill.

Anyway, since neither of us had been there before, we decided to look around for a bit and see what we could see. A lot of the stores and such were closed, but the third floor was open and so we traipsed up there to take a look around. On the third floor is where all the art studios are. Various artists rent space and then work and sell their art out of the space. It was very interesting to say the least. There were lots of crazy pieces of art and in Jackie’s words, “It doesn’t even feel like we’re in Huntsville,” and it didn’t. Maybe more like San Francisco or something.

After we took a look around, we went back outside and found a spot on the grassy knoll to sit on and shoot the breeze. Scott came over with an air horn and about scared the pee out of me since I didn’t know he was right behind me when he blew the horn. After we had been sitting around for 30 minutes or so, we noticed the participants in the bike ride were all gone, including Scott, who as mentioned we thought was staying behind with us. Turns out he ended up going on the ride anyway.

A few minutes later, our friend Maria showed up and the three of us left and went to do what we do best… eat. We went to Po Boy factory and ate up on some seafood and had some of the worst service I have ever had there. One poor girl had a whole side of the restaurant to wait on and she was really lagging behind. But, we had a good time and enjoyed the time we had to spend catching up.

Lowe(ll) Mill has all kinds of activities throughout the week and on the weekend and is a very interesting place. If you live in the Huntsville area you might want to check it out some time. Here’s the link. Oh, and by the way, Scott also referred to it as Lowell Mill. Must run in the family.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special Screening: The Fellowship of the Ring

Last night, Hollywood 18 here in Huntsville had a special screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings and of course, I went! I’m not sure that I’ve ever mentioned it here before, but The Lord of the Rings is one of my most favorite movie series. I watch these movies every six months or so and I would almost venture to say I’ve seen them over 100 times. Maybe not; maybe closer to 50 times – at any rate, I’ve watched them quite a few times.

When Jackie and I went to see Something Borrowed a few weeks ago, I saw in the commercials leading up to the movie that H18 was going to have these special screenings on Tuesday, June 14 (Fellowship), June 21 (Two Towers) and June 28 (Return of the King), and immediately made plans to attend. It’s not every day you get to see your favorite movies on the big screen. Even though I saw each of these in the theater two or three times each, that was 10 years ago, and it may be another 10, or never before it happens again.

On the way to the theater, I stopped at Firehouse Subs to get a sandwich to sneak in along with my contraband Diet Coke. I also got a small popcorn. Hey, I was hungry and it’s hard to watch a movie without popcorn. I went into the theater to find a seat and just as I was about to plop down, someone called out my name. It was Janice J. from church. She and her husband Randall (you know him as Manchester United, Tony) were there and they invited me to come up and sit with them, which I did. I was a little disappointed in the theater selection at H18. I was hoping they would put it on one of the larger screens, but instead they showed it in one of the smaller rooms. In all honestly, I would have loved it if these had been shown at Rave (better seats, more leg room, bigger screens, etc.) but Rave doesn’t usually have these types of special screenings.

Peter Jackson (Director/Writer/Producer) introduced the film. The extended versions of the films have been remastered for Blu-Ray, which I suppose was the reason for the special screenings. Each of the screenings are of the extended versions, which is great because these are the versions I own on DVD and have come to know and love. This was also the first time the extended versions have been shown in theaters.

Each of the extended versions is about three and a half hours long; so, I knew I was in for a long night of movie watching. There were no previews and the Peter Jackson speech lasted only a few minutes. So, the movie started close to 7:00 and it was over around 10:30. Admittedly, I got very squirmy in my seat and was also very tired. I have been taking one Tylenol PM at night to help me sleep since the prednisone I am currently taking makes me not want to sleep. I took one with me and popped it in about 8:00 as has become my routine this past week, and that certainly didn’t help matters. Surprisingly, I didn’t get up to go to the bathroom one time – this will shock those of you who know me and my small bladder personally. Aside from my fatigue, it was a great night. Next week, I’ll be off all medications (hopefully) and expect to not be so tired. I might even try to get in a small nap before I go.

If you love The Lord of the Rings trilogy as much as I do, you should definitely come out to see the next two movies. The cost of the ticket is $12.50 because it is a special event, but to me, it was totally worth it just to see it all on the big screen one more time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I've Got The Internet

Well, I’m sure you are all wondering about how the internet installation went this past Saturday and so I’m here to tell you, it went just fine. My appointment was scheduled for 10 am – noon, but surprisingly, the installation man (Scott) arrived about 30 minutes early. That’s right folks, 30 minutes early. I could hardly believe it!

I showed Scott where the internet connection was to go and he asked me if I needed a cable outlet there (yes) and so he had to go down the street to get a drill bit from another Knology worker since he didn’t know an outlet needed to be installed. For the record, Knology didn’t ask me, and I honestly didn’t think about it until that morning. So, Scott left for about 15 minutes or so and came back with the borrowed drill bit and go to work.

While working in the back bedroom, Scott got a little frightened because of the give in the floor. I meant to warn him before hand that the floor back there is rotting and would feel soft and then I didn’t and so he was in for a fright when he stepped on the floor – I’m sure he felt like it was going to fall through. I know I feel that way and this guy was a lot bigger than me. (For the record, the floor is going to be replaced this fall along with the floor joists, and sub floor.)

After about an hour or so, Scott had finished the internet installation and had my computer up and running. He gave me a receipt for the modem and was on his way. He was supposed to take a payment from me too, but he told me he doesn’t like to do the paperwork, so it would just be on my bill. Works for me.

When he left, I got out my netbook and tried to get online but had problems. I sent a text to my pal David to see if he could help me with the issue of not being able to get online. A few hours later, the internet wasn’t working on any of the computers and come to find out, the service was out in the area. Around 5:00 p.m., I called Knology again and a nice guy named Daniel helped me get everything working. So, I am now officially a member of the 21st century and have internet service at my home.

I really haven’t used it all that much – I looked up a recipe I couldn’t find and was making for Sunday lunch and then yesterday I looked up the Saturday Night Live skit where Andy Samberg portrays Mark Wahlberg in “Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals.” It makes me laugh every time I watch it. That has been he extent of my internet usage. I still haven’t joined facebook for all you people (Sara and Candy) waiting on a friend request and doubt I will until I get a printer since the reason I might join is for couponing purposes, well, that and stalking people.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Movie Review: Bridesmaids

So, as mentioned last Friday, Jackie and I took in a showing of Bridesmaids over the weekend. I had heard all kinds of great things about this movie and was really anxious to see it. One comment I heard (I think on the Today show) was that this was like The Hangover for women.

As far as chick flicks go, this movie was far from anything you are used to seeing. In fact the only thing this movie had in common with other chick flicks is that there are a lot of girls in the movie and in the end a guy and girl fall in love, and that’s about it.

The premise of the movie is that Lillian is getting married and asks her childhood best friend, Annie to be her maid of honor. At the engagement party, Annie meets all the other bridesmaids, including Helen who is Lillian’s newest “best friend” and a total witch. Needless to say, the craziness starts when Annie gives a speech and then Helen gives a speech and they end up passing the microphone back and forth in competition with one another over who loves Lillian the most. Things just go downhill from that point on as Helen and Annie are in constant competition with one another over details and party planning and the affection of Lillian.

There’s a trip to Vegas in the works for a bachelorette weekend and Annie, who has a fear of flying ends up wasted because she takes a couple of pills and downs a scotch to relax. In her wasted state, Annie ends up getting arrested and the plane makes an emergency landing to escort the girls off the plane.

When Annie arranges for the girls to go to lunch (Brazilian food) and dress shopping, the day turns into a complete disaster when all the girls get food poisoning and end up in the bathroom of the bridal shop. I won’t go into more details here because this scene was so disgusting I had to shut my eyes. It was way more than I could handle.

The bridal shower is another disaster as Annie totally looses her mind in a scene that had me laughing so hard I’m surprised I didn’t pee myself.

In between all the bridal showers and parties, Annie meets a cop, Nathan Rhodes, who pulls her over because she is swerving, and although not drunk, her taillights are not working and he starts to write her a ticket. In the end, he doesn’t give her the ticket and wouldn’t you know it they eventually spend some time together and by the end of the movie it’s a happily ever after for those two. I guess I gave a little bit away there, but that is the one predictable part of the movie. Nathan is played by Chris O’Dowd, who is totally worth the $9 to go see the movie. He is the yummiest man I’ve seen on the big screen in some time. Absolutely dreamy, girls! Absolutely dreamy!

Overall, this was a pretty good movie. I did a lot of laughing in between all the times I was in absolute shock and I also did some crying at the end when Annie and Nathan had their big screen kiss. I can’t help it; those types of scenes make a sap out of me and then cause me to get down in the dumps about my own non-existent romantic life. It didn’t help that I found a lot of (perhaps way too many) commonalities between myself and Annie.

So, was the movie worth $9, maybe? It all depends on the type of movie you like. Most people might want to wait for this one to come out on DVD or the $1 movies. I would also caution you – this movie is rated R and not for the faint of heart. You have to have a strong stomach and a carefree attitude to view this one because it is raunchy and lewd and crude in many parts. In other words, I don’t think this one is for my dear friend Erika.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Ramblings

This week has been rather uneventful due to my having bronchitis. Today I am finally feeling a wee bit better although still not 100%. I was supposed to go to the Diana singing tonight as mentioned in a previous post, but am instead staying home to continue recuperating from my illness. I don’t think I could sing for very long and would cough through most of the songs if I went, which can be annoying.

Tomorrow is the big day as I am getting internet service installed at my house so there may be a rare Saturday post this weekend or maybe not; I don’t want to make any promises I might not keep. Either way, I will finally be a full fledged member of the 21st century. I’ve got to do some cleaning and some rearranging of items on my desk tonight before the installation man comes tomorrow.

This weekend, Jackie and I are going to see the movie Bridesmaids. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this movie (even from guys!) and am really looking forward to seeing it. Kristin Wiig alone is hilarious so I’m sure I will love it.

I’m having problems with my car, Blue, again. The brake lights on the fender are not working which can be a bit of a problem. It seems that the light in the back windshield is working fine but the ones on the fender aren’t working at all. My dad and I took it to Goodyear on Monday while I was home sick but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. So, when I go on my trip next month, I’ll be leaving it with my regular repair guy to see if he can find the source of the problem and get it fixed up for me.

I guess that’s all the news for today, which really isn’t much of anything but I didn’t want to head into the weekend without saying hello. Hopefully next week things will get back to normal around here. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fishing...And Where I've Been

Hello readers – I’m sorry for my absence, but I have been out sick. I went to the doctor yesterday and found out I have bronchitis. I am feeling all kinds of bad and the prednisone the doctor put me on is now keeping me up at night so life isn’t really grand right now. I’m at work for now but am soon returning home due to the fact that I feel more than miserable. Before I leave, however, I wanted to update you with the weekend fishing activities.

Saturday morning I got up around 4:00 a.m. to go fishing with my dad and brother. We were supposed to meet up at my parents’ house to head out to the river. When I got there, my brother was readying the rods and reels and my dad was…sleeping. Apparently he forgot to set his alarm clock; either that or he turned it off. At any rate, our 5:00 a.m. departure time turned into almost 6:00 a.m. or maybe a little after. I’m not really sure what time we ended up leaving. Needless to say the frozen Gatorade was unfrozen by the time we got on the river.

We went to the Guntersville Dam to do our fishing. My dad had been there with a friend a couple of times earlier in the week to check out the spot and had caught 45 one day and only 15 or so the next. My dad baited my hook for me and had to cast the reel a few times before I got the hang of it. I caught a fish after about 30 minutes or so and before my dad took it off the hook, he snapped my picture.

Me and my first catch of the day.

Both my brother and dad were kind enough to bait my hook and take off the fish I caught without complaint. I caught four keepers and another four or five that had to be thrown back because they were girls or babies. I think my brother caught eight keepers, including one crappie. My dad caught about 11 or so. Overall I suppose it was a successful day. Sadly, no one took a picture of my dad's catches.

Justin and his crappie.

After a couple of hours on the water I started feeling terrible and had t be let off at the bank. My dad and brother fished another 30 minutes or an hour I really don’t know and then they picked me up and we headed home. Once I got to my house, I had a fever and felt terrible the rest of the weekend and in fact still do feel terrible, which is why I’m about to go home.

Feeling terrible on the bank

In regards to the fishing though, a good time was had by all until I started feeling bad. I really appreciate my dad and brother putting up with my girlish ways and baiting the hook and taking off the fish. Maybe the next time I will feel better and might even bait my own hook…might.

I may or may not be back with you tomorrow, it all depends on how I feel. I hope you all are experiencing good health and happiness.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photos From My Phone

It’s Friday – my favorite day of the work week and probably yours too. I actually think Friday is my overall favorite day of the week. I usually am able to leave work earlier than normal; I get my grocery shopping done and am able to catch up on some of the shows I have stored in the DVR. As of now, I don’t have any big plans for the evening. There are a couple of movies opening this weekend that I would like to see, but haven’t decided yet if I want to venture out to the theater and fight the opening night crowds. Tomorrow I think my dad and I are making an early morning fishing trip which should definitely be interesting and then tomorrow evening is Ashlyn’s dance recital, which is always a lot of fun.

Since I don’t have much to write about today, I thought I might show you some pictures from my phone; but then I realized that I had already shared almost every single one of them. A few are too gruesome too share (post surgical foot for example). I did, however come across a couple I thought were rather funny.

The first is a photo of The Tide sitting on top of “her chair” looking out the front door as best she can considering it is closed. When The Tide hears something outside that she wants to check out, she will often sit on top of the chair to get a better look. This happens most often when the door is closed. I guess she looks in the gap between the blinds in the door and the window in the door. She will move her head around to get the best angle and it never ceases to crack me up.

The second photo is of my dad and my parents’ new dog, Scout. I haven’t written much about Scout since he came into the family, but he is quite a character. He’s very mischievous and is always up to something. He likes to be the center of attention at all times and is less than thrilled when he’s put in his play pen when other people are in the room. Scout and my dad have become big buddies – in other words, Scout is my dad’s dog and my mom gets to participate in Scout’s life every now and then (right, Mother?). Scout loves to sleep on my dad’s chest, which is also quite a hilarious sight and even funnier knowing that not too many years ago my dad said he would never have an inside dog. Oh how the times have changed.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Try to stay cool if you can!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Singing On Fridays

Last Friday night, Erika and I grabbed some dinner at Zaxby’s (salads – very good!) and then headed downtown to the Randolph Avenue church of Christ for a Friday night singing. Most folks probably know we C of C’ers love to sing and about once a month or so, some folks from the area churches will get together and sing on Friday nights – also known as “Area Wide Singing”.

I had asked Erika earlier in the week if she wanted to go since I knew she sometimes went to the area wide singings and she readily agreed to come with me. This was my first time to attended a singing maybe ever, or at least in a long, long time. Our friends Janet and Deborah were also there and we saw a few other familiar faces as well.

The Randolph Avenue C of C is the oldest in Huntsville. I snapped a picture of the historical marker as we were walking in. Here’s what it says, “Organized as a Christian church, this is the original congregation of what is now the church of Christ in Huntsville. A gospel meeting was held in the courthouse in 1883, conducted by James A. Harding, evangelist and founder of Harding College and David Lipscomb College. This meeting marked the beginning of the church in this community and resulted in the donation of $1,800 for the purchase of the lot. In late 1886, 100,000 bricks were delivered to this site and construction began. The first gospel meeting was held in November 1889, at which time many new members were added to the church. In 1900, members began referring to themselves as the church of Christ.” Interesting information there.

The church is really a beautiful building and Erika and I agreed that it would be a lovely place to have a wedding, not that either of us are planning one any time soon. The stained glass is original, except for a few pieces that have been replaced, and the building in general has a lot of character and is really quaint and lovely, not to mention it’s been around for over 100 years!

As for the singing, it was great. The acoustics in the old building were wonderful. Most of the songs I knew and some I didn’t. Some of the song leaders were great and others just okay, but overall, it was a wonderful night of singing. We even got some treats afterwards – chocolate chip cookies and coke – it was like VBS all over again.

If you like singing, then you should know that the semi-annual Diana Singing is coming up the weekend of June 10-11. I have only been to the Diana singing once before, but am planning on going with the aforementioned Janet and Deborah and possibly Erika unless she goes with her mamma. About 4,000 people or so attend. I don’t remember it being that many people, but I guess it was. You can find out more information about the Diana singing here, and if you don’t have plans for next Friday, then come on out to the boondocks to sing some church hymns. It’s sure to be an uplifting time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It Was a Great Day For The Post

My favorite part of the day is when I get home in the evenings and open up the mailbox. I guess I’m a little old fashioned in that I love snail mail. Granted, most of the time, there’s nothing but junk mail in there, but more often than not, the mailbox is full of wonderful surprises.

I sign up for as many free samples as I can find and I often forget that I’ve signed up for this one or that one and it’s always a nice surprise to open up the mailbox and find a sample of this or that inside. Sometimes there are cards from friends or family members, mostly around holidays or birthdays, and sometimes there are thank you notes for gifts given at showers or whatnot.

I’m also addicted to shopping online – mostly I just peruse the sights and don’t buy much, but lately I’ve been buying a few things for my upcoming trip and so the mailbox sometimes will contain goodies such as an eye mask for sleeping on the plane or European electrical outlet adapters (coming soon).

Yesterday, however, none of those things were in the mailbox, and it was still a great day for the post – one of the best in a while I would venture to say. I opened up the mailbox expecting to find not much of anything, but instead found a small package from Custom Getaways, the company I’ll be traveling with for le Tour and the icing on the cake was my Fiesta Bowl tickets renewal form.

The package from Custom contained our daily itinerary and a flash drive which contains all the information I ever needed for our trip. The flash drive is reusable – so, I’ve already gotten my first souvenir from my big trip. I looked over all the information and I am even more excited now than before. This is going to be such an amazing time! I just hope I meet some nice people to hang out with and I also hope I don’t freeze up when I see someone I want to meet like I did at the Harry Connick, Jr. concert.

As for the Fiesta Bowl tickets – I don’t think I ever blogged about the tickets I bought last year. I had intended to, but never got around to it. The short story is that I put my name on the waiting list and once selected from the list, I ordered Fiesta Bowl and National Championship tickets. My dad and I split the cost, sold all the tickets on eBay and split the profits – about $1,000 each. Not too shabby. So, this year, I got a ticket renewal form and today, I renewed my two tickets for the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. I doubt we will make but a small fraction of the money we made last year should we sell these tickets, but at least we’ve got them and the longer we are on the list the better our seats will be in the years to come.

So, needless to say, it was an exciting day for the post at my house. I don’t know if yesterday can be topped any time soon.