Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Today is Halloween, although most of you will probably read this on Thursday, thus the title of the post. I carved my pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern on Tuesday night and once again, instead of using one of the pasterns that I have always loved, I just free handed it. I think it turned out really cute.

This week at work we began our two-week United Way campaign and we held a costume contest on Halloween. I was once again the organizer of the contest and was really surprised at the low turn out. We only have six contestants. Well, really nine, but there was a group of two that competed as one and a group of three that competed as one. The winner was a girl who dressed as a jelly fish. She wore all white and had a clear umbrella with "tentacles" taped to it made of clear bubble wrap. she looked really cute. She was also one of the winners last year when she dressed up as Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials. Another winner was a lady who works in the cafeteria who said she was Oprah undercover. Her hair looked exactly like Oprah's from a few years ago. Wonder if Oprah's Andre came down and did it for her?

After work, I stopped by Goga and then came home to hand out some treats to the neighborhood ghost and goblins. No, for those of you wondering, I did not go to church. If there's one trait I inherited from my mom, it was stay home on Halloween. I had a total of 10 trick-or-treaters this year - nine kids and one adult. Yes, you read that correctly, one adult in an Auburn swetshirt and her face was painted like a tiger. It was very...odd. I have a lot of candy left over; hopefully my co-workers will quickly gobble it up.

In conjunction with Halloween, this past Sunday was the Family Fun Fest at Mayfair. I have been the past couple of years with Jackie and the kids and it is always a fun time. The Fun Fest was from 3:00 - 5:00 and I arrived around 4:15 because I was watching a movie and too lazy to get off the sofa. I met them all at the trunk-or-treat area as they were wrapping up. We stood by Jackie's parents' truck and watched all the little ones come by. One of my favorite costumes was a homemade recycle truck. It was adorable!


Ashlyn and her friends

The front of the recycle truck

The back of the recycle truck

My 2012 Jack-O-Lantern

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Avett Brothers - Show #3 for 2012

Saturday night, Jackie, my cousin Alexandra, and I went to see The Avett Brothers in concert at the VBC. It was the third time this year that Jackie and I had seen them play. The first was on St. Patrick's Day in Birmingham, the second was at Midtown Music in Atlanta, and the third was this past weekend here in Huntsville. Of the three, I think this show was the best.

The tickets for the concert went on sale the day Jackie and I left for Midtown Music; so, before we hit the road, I stopped by the box office and bought our tickets. The third seat was originally meant for my brother who had actually never heard of The Avett Brothers. I burned some CDs for him and after listening to them he decided he wasn't too keen on going to the show with us and so I asked Alexandra to go in his place and she agreed.

Since Jackie and Alexandra live less than a mile from each other, they rode together and stopped by and picked me up. We left my house about 7:20ish for the 8:00 show - that's the joy of living close to downtown and also to seeing a show in your hometown as opposed to some other city. We had really great seats for this show - we were in the lower bowl in the section closest to the stage. I'm sure I've mentioned before that Jackie and I feel we are now too old for general admission and aren't big fans of the floor seats like we were when we were in our 20s.

We found mingled about found our seats a few minutes before the show was supposed to start. On our way to our seats, we saw lots of folks in Halloween costumes - there was a Peter Pan, a Spiderman, and a Man in the Moon, who we originally thought was a banana. There were others dressed up as well, but these three I remember the most. I don't know if the band arrived to the VBC late or what, but the roadies were still setting up instruments and whatnot when it was time for the show to start. So, we chatted with each other and the folks around us while waiting on the band to come out. The couple sitting beside me were also 35 and he liked to high five, which cracked me up because I like to high five as well and so, we high fived for being 35 - why not?! They were married (for how long I'm not sure) with four children and Jackie commented that they probably needed a night out on the town. There was a lady in front of us that let me pile my coat, purse, etc. in the seat next to her because she was there by herself as her friend was a no show. She was probably in her 50s and I think she was more excited about the show than we were. She told us in advance that she would be dancing and she was not lying. I took a photo of her in all her dancing glory. I don't even think she noticed the flash going off.

The show finally started about 8:15 or so and they played for a solid two and half hours. It was a phenomenal show. As I said, I think this one was the best one I've seen; Jackie thinks the show she saw in Tuscaloosa last year was her favorite to date. The set list was great, they played pretty much all of my favorites, including "If It's the Beaches", and a lot of stuff off the new album. There was a guy on the floor in front of us who really got into every song that was played. He sang along (I imagine at the top of his lungs) and made a lot of emotional arm gestures while singing each song. I think he may have even pleaded on his knees at one point. It was rather interesting to say the least. There were also two girls in their 20s on the row in front of us (we were on the second row) who sang along to every song and squealed like teenagers quite often. I just love people watching.

For the encore, they sang "Forever and Ever Amen" (I'm assuming that's the name of the song) by Randy Travis, which was a real shocker to us and also to that guy who I mentioned was getting into every song. When they started with the Randy Travis song, he just kind of put his head in his hands and shook his head back and forth. I guess he was wanting a different song. They also played "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise" and then ended on "Buffalo Gals" but changed the words to Alabama Gals, which worked really well and was quite hilarious. When it was announced the show would be in the arena, I was a little skeptical as I felt like the Concert Hall would have been a better venue for this band, but I it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and the sound was really great I thought. Huntsville was the last stop on the tour as The Avett Brothers are taking a break until they play again on December 31 in Greensboro, NC, so if you live in that area or are headed that way for New Year's Eve, check them out.

Alexandra ran into a friend of hers on her way out and I saw one of my customers from a distance. You just never know who you will run into at a concert. There were a lot of people from our class at church who also went to the show. We walked back to the car and I was safely dropped off around 11:00 p.m. It was such a fun girls' night out and I'm thankful we had the opportunity to spend some time together and listen to a great band!

Alexandra took this photo with my camera -
It turned out really well!

At the end of the show

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rainbow Omega Dinner

I've got so many things to write about this week, which is really great news for those of you who like to stop by and have something at least somewhat interesting to read about. I'll start with an event from the end of last week, the annual Rainbow Omega fundraising dinner.

I've written about Rainbow Omega many times in the past, but, in case you are new or need a refresher, Rainbow Omega is an organization that provides assisted living to the mentally challenged. It is a wonderful organization and a very worthy cause. Jackie's cousin, the beloved Little Mickey, lives at Rainbow Omega which makes it all the more special to my family and hers as Little Mickey holds a special place in all of our hearts.

This year the dinner was once again at the Davidson Center at the US Space and Rocket Center and the speaker this year was Bobby Bowden. Jackie's dad bought a table and along with Jackie and her dad were her mom and step-dad, our friends Christa and Jason and my dad and me. I met my dad there at about 6:45 - the dinner started at 7:00 - and was surprised to find him waiting on me when I got there since he is usually always running behind schedule. We went in and spoke to the folks we knew and soon after, the opening prayer was said and we began eating. The dinner was salad, chicken with a creamy sauce that had mushrooms in it and small potatoes - both yellow and purple; and, it was all delicious! Dessert was raspberry cheesecake which was also quite good.

After dinner, Coach Bowden got up to speak to us and my dad and I were both looking forward to hearing him speak. We were both, however, quite disappointed. I guess I was expecting some great motivational speech that would make me want to jump up and try to conquer the world, but that couldn't have been further from what we actually heard. Coach Bowden's speech was a rambling of a bunch of different stories, some of which made no sense and some which took a good 15 minutes to make sense. He had a couple of good points, but other than that, I was not impressed. In fact, the longer he spoke the more I had to resist the urge to look at my watch. Then, instead of signing autographs, and mingling with folks after the dinner, he bolted out of there as fast as he could, another move which I found to be kind of strange. I realize the man is on a schedule, but would it really hurt him to stick around for a few minutes?

After Coach Bowden's speech, Stentson Carpenter, the founder, got on stage and gave his appeal for donations. I don't know what it was about Mr. Carpenter's speech this year but for some reason it touched my heart more than usual and when he asked people to double their donations, that's exactly what I did. The crowd was much slimmer this year than it has been in years' past which is a sure sign of just how bad the economy has gotten here in the North Alabama area. Last year, for example almost half the room was filled with tables and this year there was maybe one fourth of the room full if that. Still, they were able to raise what I hope to be a large chunk of money for this great cause. This is one of my favorite nights of the year and hope the organizers are able to continue to hold this event. Mr. Carpenter alluded to the fact that he hopes the dinner will be possible to have in the future which is another indication that support was way down. So, here's to hoping the dinners will continue for many years to come so that funds can be raised for this great cause. For more information about Rainbow Omega, click here.

Me and Little Mickey - it's a little blurry, but still a good photo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our 10th Dogiversary

Today, Sunday, October 28, 2012, is mine and The Tide’s 10th Dogiversary! It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since I picked her up from the Pitt County Animal Shelter in Greenville, North Carolina; but, indeed it has.

As you may have read on Friday, The Tide is scheduled for surgery this Thursday. She has a torn ACL and the surgery will repair the joint so that she can use her leg again. She will stay at the vet’s office for a few days before returning home the following Monday. For a $50 dog from the animal shelter, she sure has cost me (and my family) a lot of money. Including the time she was fixed, the surgery this week will be number four - getting fixed, two hip surgeries and now the ACL.

In addition to the surgeries, she has eaten holes in walls, carpet, linoleum, baseboards, peed on many a carpet, eaten many books, socks, and various other assortments of belongings. She has caused a Christmas tree to topple over and ripped holes in more fitted sheets than I care to count.

Through it all, though, she has been a good guard dog and a loyal companion. She follows me around no matter where I go or for how long I’m going to be away from my spot on the couch. She loves to chase birds and squirrels and barks at every person and animal and delivery truck that passes in front of our house.

It turned out to be a costly decision when I got The Tide 10 years ago, but it was also one of the best. I can’t imagine life without her and I hope the good Lord blesses us with a few more years together. Happy Dogiversary, The Tide, you’re the best friend a gal could ever have!

Friday, October 26, 2012

You Can Call Me Crazy If You Want

I didn't have a chance to post yesterday afternoon because I took a half day off from work to take my child, the Tide, to the vet. Then, last night was the annual Rainbow Omega fundraising dinner so to say it was a busy afternoon and evening is an understatement.

As you probably read a few days ago, The Tide came in from outside on Sunday night and let out a yelp and has since been hobbling around on three legs. I originally thought I might have hit her leg with the door as I was shutting it behind her, but have since come to the conclusion that was not the case. For one, I never felt her body hit the door and for two, she's been hobbling for far too long for it to be a scrape from the door. I had originally scheduled an appointment for her for Saturday but by Tuesday morning decided I needed to change it to as soon as I could get her there and so Thursday afternoon was the date.

The appointment was at 4:00 but because of the amount of hours we are required to take off this quarter, I went ahead and took a half day. Around 3:20 we headed out for the vet and by 3:45 were inside a room waiting on Dr. Johns. Dr. Johns is very familiar with The Tide since he was one of the two doctor's who operated on her hips nine years ago. He looked around her paw area first and then started examining the knee. She was tensed up and he thought he felt something but needed to know definitively and so he gave her a sedative that knocked her out within a matter of minutes. After she was out like a light, he was able to maneuver the knee with a lot more ease and even I could see that it was popping out of place where it was supposed to be still. Long story short, my child has a torn ACL. She's telling people it's an old football injury.

Dr. John's recommended surgery and we discussed the details of the surgery and if he thought it would be beneficial for her as this type of injury will not heal on its own. The injury was most likely caused from degeneration over the past few years and if I had to guess she probably uses this joint more than most dogs because of her bad hips. I asked about a payment plan because the surgery is quite costly and I don't want to drain my savings account nor do I want to stop saving for vacation next year. As it turns out, there is a credit option called Care Credit which can be used for large expenses like this and it works like a credit card where you charge the amount and then you have either six or 12 months to pay it off with no interest. Not only do vet's offices take this Care Credit, but a lot of eye doctors and dentists take it as well - who knew? So, I filled out the application and turned it in while waiting on The Tide to start waking up from the reversal shot they gave her.

The Tide and I headed back out front to the reception area so I could pay the day's bill and also set up the Care Credit and schedule the surgery. She was still woozy from the sedative and couldn't sit up and ended up laying down with all four legs sprawled out. A little boy that was there with his dog asked me if she was tired. The lady that usually handles the Care Credit applications was not there yesterday and the girl who tried to do it ran into some technical difficulty that no one could seem to help her with so they are supposed to call me on Friday to get it all set up. The surgery is scheduled for this coming Thursday, November 1 and she has to be there by 9:00 a.m. So, I will drop her off at 8:00 and then head on in to work.

I know a lot of you probably think I am crazy for paying for my dog to have surgery and that's okay I don't mind. The Tide is like my child though and I think she's still got a few good years in her and there is no way I could just let her hobble around till the end of her days or go ahead and put her down. So, for me, this is the right answer. Granted, I'm not thrilled for the expense, but for those of you who have kids I know you would spare no expense for your child and since The Tide is my child, you can kind of see where I'm coming from. At any rate, I don't really care what people think because to me, it's worth it and that's all that really matters. So, The Tide will be going under the knife for the fourth time in her life (counting when she was fixed) on Thursday and she would appreciate your prayers, some TLC, and of course, any treats you are willing to send her way.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Good Deed...

I told you a few days ago that a co-worker of mine is without her car at the moment and so I have been picking her up in the mornings for the last two weeks -although I did get a break yesterday thanks to a dentist appointment. Anyway, here we are on the second week of this arrangement and it is already getting on my nerves. As Erika reminded me, "No good deed goes unpunished," and then she said, "That's why I don't do them." I will speak up for Erika and say that she does a lot of good deeds.

Last Friday W took the day off from work and I think I made mention that she didn't make any arrangements with me for this week before she went home on Thursday. I guess she just assumed I was going to be at her beck and call. Seriously, her attitude in this whole ordeal is almost as if T and I should cater to her needs rather than help her out around our own lives. It feels like she thinks we owe her a ride or something. I really can't even explain it correctly.

Sunday night, miracle of miracles, W called to make sure I could pick her up. I agreed and then when I got to her place on Monday morning she wasn't ready and so I had to wait on her for about three minutes, which isn't that much time in the grand scheme of things, but I'm on a schedule and doing her a favor so it would be nice if she was ready on time. I'm a stickler for on time - just ask Tony. Monday afternoon W asked T, "Now what days can you not take me home?" which we thought was a strange way of wording things. How about asking, "Would it be possible for you to take me home this week? Or even, "Can you give me a ride home this week? Again, it's as if we should cater to her needs. It's a very bizarre situation. It's not that she doesn't thank us, because she does say thank you. She is just a strange person in general and the way she has gone about this whole thing has been quite odd, and she gets mad or upset with us when we ask about her car as if it's our fault it's not working. Again, I can't really even explain it.

So, Monday morning W told me she had a plan for her car (thank you, Lord!). She sings in various and sundry choirs around town and apparently one of the choirs for which she sings took up a donation to help pay for the expenses of having her car repaired. This is the same choir that arranged for her car to be towed - I swear I don't think she even knows where her car is at the moment. Anyway, the choir took up a donation and instead of paying around $1,000 to have her car repaired she only has to pay about $200. These savings on top of the fact that she hasn't bought gas in two months would leave one to believe she might have a little extra spending money to contribute to my own gas which I am using to come pick her up every day; but, no, she still hasn't offered me one red cent for going 12 minutes out of my way to come pick her up every morning. I mean, wouldn't common courtesy lead you to offer money to someone giving you a ride. Heck, I even give Jackie money when we use her car to drive to Tuscaloosa for a football game. Yet, with this woman, it's like the thought hasn't even crossed her mind. It's completely mind-boggling to me. Maybe I should just present her with a gas bill at the end of my picking her up, which I hope to be next week. 

On Wednesday morning I wasn't my usual chipper self and she asked if I was okay, that I seemed tired. What I wanted to say was I'm tired of picking you up for work but instead just told her I had woken up in a bad mood. Truth be told I just didn't feel like talking the whole car ride in. Then she made comment about how low the gas prices were getting and that she couldn't wait to get her car back so she could take advantage of the low gas prices. I wanted to say, you can take advantage of them right now if you want to pay for me to fill up; but, again, I was nice and didn't say what was on my mind.

Really, it's not the worst situation I've ever been in, it's just a frustrating one and one I'd rather not have to deal with every day. I know it's got to be annoying for her not to have a car. I'm very thankful to be able to borrow a car from one family member or another when I have to put Blue in the shop, which as you well know is more often than not. In fact, she may have to go in soon because the heater is having issues again - that's a story for another time. Count your blessings, people, count your blessings!

So, for now, I'll just grin and bear it and hopefully within two weeks time I'll be back to riding by myself in the mornings and yelling at all the other cars on the road.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ladies Night Out Costume Party 2012

Monday night was the annual Ladies' Night Out costume party which was once again hosted by Janice J. at her home. Janice puts on a great spectacle of Halloween displays. It's very festive and the perfect location to have our annual party. Last year she had it at the church building and it just didn't have the same ambiance as it does when she has it at her home.

I had no idea what I wanted to be this year and didn't put too much thought into it until last week at which point I decided to be a Mummy. I needed a new fitted sheet for my bed anyway because The Tide had scratched yet another hole in the one on the bed and so I bought a cheap microfiber sheet set and tore the flat sheet and pillow cases to use to wrap myself as a mummy Jackie came over after work to wrap me up and she did a good job on my upper body but the legs fell down before she even left the house. We got a good laugh out of that. She had to go so I re-wrapped my legs and then my arms came unraveled. I was riding with my friends Janet and Deborah and so when I got to Janet's house I asked them to help re-wrap me again because again my legs had fallen down. Suffice it to say that this wasn't the best costume idea I had ever come up with. I did ask Janice to take my picture before it all came unraveled for good. It wasn't long after this that I ended up just taking it all off.

I'm a Mummy...kind of

This year there were not as many folks who dressed up as in years past. Pam, who always comes up with a good costume dressed up as a mother spider and had an orange web covered over her torso with little spiders on it.

Deborah came as a butterfly catcher. I liked her costume the best.

Some that I did not get photos of included Marilyn, who came as a black-eyed pea. She painted a black eye on her face and then wore a sign with a P that had black polka dots. Peggy was a self portrait - she held up and empty picture frame in front of her face. Three girls came as S'mores - one was a Hershey's bar, one a marshmallow and one a graham cracker. One girl came as a banana and another dressed up as a Goth girl.
One of the most interesting moments of the night was when a surprise visitor showed up. The person who wore a flannel shirt and some sweatpants and a terrible looking mask. After looking at the mask for a while, some people got a little creeped out. It was probably a good 15 or 20 minutes before the person revealed who she was. Everyone guessed and only one person got it right and how she guessed correctly I will never know. The person was Jan, the mother of my friends Shelley and Kimberly! She attends a different church and so it was a complete surprise to me when she took the mask off.

The mini pumpkin cheesecakes were quite good and I even had a few left over to bring to work. Here is a link to the recipe. One can of pumpkin and one package of Oreos will make three batches. Very good and super easy to make!

I also announced to the ladies that I will be handing over the reins to someone else as I will soon be placing membership at Mayfair (more on this later). Next month will be my last hoorah as leader of the Ladies' Night Out group at Chase Park and after almost 10 years at the helm, I'm glad for the break. I will still get together with the ladies when they meet each month, but I won't have the pressure of coming up with an activity or buying a hostess gift or buying gifts for the winners of the game. I'll just get to go and have fun and not worry about anything and that, my friends, sounds like a good time indeed. 

Pam, the spider mom, won the grand prize. Deborah, the butterfly catcher, won the second prize, and Christina, the Goth girl won the third prize, although she ended up giving it to me since I have never received a vote in all the years I have been hosting the costume contest. I liked the prizes so I gratefully accepted.
So, it was another successful year at the Ladies' Night Out costume party. I look forward to being with these girls next year and seeing what kind of crazy costumes they come up with.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Rest of the Weekend

Friday night my dad had to attend the rehearsal dinner for a wedding he conducted on Saturday and so Justin went with me to the Madison Academy game. We got there about 30 minutes before kickoff and were happy to see that the jumbotron was finally working – eight weeks into the season.

Vanderbilt got a new jumbotron this year and Dr. Flatt, one of the MA boosters was able to secure MA getting the old one. It was quite interesting to see replays of a high school game on a jumbotron. Of course, the whole night long the announcer made comments about the jumbotron and to say we were sick of hearing about it by night’s end is an understatement. I will say it’s a nice addition to the end zone and I’m glad they finally got it working. It also has new speakers on it which makes the sound 100 times better than it was before and it greatly needed to be improved. (I had a picture of this but I apparently deleted it from my phone.)

Saturday after the Liz Hurley run, I went by Goga and did my daily shaking. Goga count for last week – I went four days and saunaed three days. After this week I will get measured and will be posting my results, or lack thereof, here on the blog for you to see.

After Goga, I came home, napped, and then spent the rest of the day cleaning and watching football. For the first time in weeks I didn’t have anything planned or anyone coming over and I had been looking forward to having the day all to myself. Sometimes a girl just needs some solitude. As it turned out, I enjoyed it just as much as I thought I would. I was really thankful to just be able to sit and not do anything if I didn’t want.

Sunday was church and then afterwards I enjoyed a potluck lunch in honor of our friends Jason and Christa. I cannot remember if I mentioned this or not, but back in April of this year, Jason and Christa’s house was hit by a tornado and so they have spent the last few months rebuilding. They spent the night in their house for the first time last night. Their class at church held the potluck lunch and also put together a money tree for them so they could buy things that were lost in the storm.

After lunch, I did my weekly grocery shopping and then took my obligatory Sunday afternoon nap, which was interrupted by a couple of ladies from Jackson Way Baptist going door to door to let folks know about the Trunk or Treat they are having on Halloween night.

I went to church again on Sunday night and then when I got home realized I somehow lost my fitbug. I guess it fell off of the pants I was wearing somewhere at church. I went ahead and ordered another one though because in the one and half weeks I had it, I amassed a lot of points for our work fitness program and I want to make sure I’m able to keep getting those points. Someone may turn it in, but I’m assuming it’s a lost cause and I look forward to getting my new one.

Then after letting The Tide out, as she was coming in, I apparently closed the door too quickly and somehow hit The Tide’s leg. She spent the rest of night hobbling around on three legs. Needless to say, my guilty conscience was working overtime. Hopefully she will be back to normal soon because I cannot afford another vet bill in the midst of Christmas present buying season.

The rest of the night I made mini pumpkin cheesecakes for the Ladies’ Night Out costume party. I’m typing this up on Sunday, so, I’ll let you know later in the week how they turned out; and that, dear friends, was my weekend.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

9th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run

Saturday was one of my favorite events of the fall season, the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run. This was the fourth year I participated in the event and as in years passed it was an enjoyable time.

The women’s race started at 9:00 a.m. and I left the house around 8:30 and parked in a neighborhood across the street from the back of Huntsville Middle School which is where the race started and ended. As is always the case, there were thousands of people milling about. The registration ended at 6,000 runners and I have no doubt that number was reached.

A month or so ago I had asked Jackie if she wanted to get pink tutus to wear at the race and so I found a lady on Etsy who agreed to make them for us. The lady emailed us when they were ready and I was so excited to wear it for the race. Jackie ended up not doing the race the year but I went ahead and wore mine anyway because you know I never miss an opportunity to make a fool of myself. I was not the only one in a tutu though; there were lots of gals wearing them and even one man! Before the race started, I ran into a friend I had not seen in a long while and I asked her to take a picture of me in my tutu.

The race started at 9:03 and we were off. There are a lot of people who walk this 5K and I was one of them. The women’s race is actually more casual than most of the races in town and a lot of husbands walk with their wives and people bring their dogs along as well. I think it would probably be best if they did a competitive 5K at the early time and then a 5K walk at the 9:00 a.m. time, but no one asked me.

There were lots of spectators along the way cheering us on and of course, lots and lots of pink. One house had a plethora of pink balloons staked in the yard which I though looked really cool. Since I don’t own a fanny pack and didn’t have anyone waiting on me, I had to carry my phone and keys in my hands and so I took a couple of pictures along the way.

I finished in less than an hour and immediately sought out the pizza table because at that point I was exceptionally hungry. I grabbed a piece of pizza and a water and was on my way back to the car. On my way back a girls stopped and asked me if she could take a picture of me in my tutu and I agreed. Who knows, it may be posted on someone else’s blog. There wasn’t much pomp and circumstance for me this year since I did it alone, but it was still fun nonetheless. I look forward to doing it again next year!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Random Tidbits

I don't have any particular story to tell today so I will just go with some random tidbits because everyone seems to like that.

A couple of weeks ago I was extremely thirsty for many days in a row and started drinking a lot of water. I drink water some while at work, but one 20 ounce bottle will usually last me a couple or sometimes three days. Since my very thirsty week, I have been drinking a liter of water a day.

The car of a co-worker (W) broke down, close to two months ago - I'm not sure of the exact date as I wasn't aware of when it happened. Our boss, who lives in Arab, was driving the co-worker, who lives in Huntsville, home in the evenings. Somehow another co-worker (T) and I were volunteered to give W a ride. Long story short, W was lent a car for a couple of weeks and so this week is the first week that T and I have had to deal with giving W a ride. T and I are getting a little frustrated with W because W doesn't seem to know anything about what's going on with her car. She doesn't know what all is wrong with it, how much it is going to cost to repair, or when ti will be repaired, etc. She just assumes, we think, that T and I will give her a ride from now until the end of time. I'm here to tell you, that's not going to happen. W also has not offered me or T any gas money, not that she lives that far away from either of us, but we both have to go out of our way to pick her up or bring her home. It's pretty apparent that W is nonchalant about the whole thing and never makes any arrangements and pretty much just assumes that I will pick her up in the morning and T will take her home. If this behavior keeps up, I may just leave her one morning - but then my guilty conscience would drive me nuts. I shall definitely keep you all posted on how this situation turns out.

My Christmas shopping is still a work in progress. I have finished up the shopping for some people and am still stumped on what to get others. This has been one of the most difficult Christmas shopping seasons I've ever had.

The Fitbug is amassing me some major points in our health program at work. I may or may not have discovered ways to earn some steps while not necessarily walking. I'll never tell.

Goga update - I've completed two and a half weeks of Goga. Here's my breakdown to date:
Week One: October 1-6 - Went five times, saunaed four times
Week Two: October 8-13 - Went four times, saunaed twice
Week Three: So far I've been three times, saunaed twice
I would also like to point out that my Aunt Linda is participating in her free Goga week at the Hampton Cove location and she emailed me yesterday and said the Goga had helped with her back pain, which is very exciting! She said she would probably join after her free week. If anyone goes and decides to join at the location at the corner of Airport and Whitesburg, please be sure and mention me, Natasha P., as referring you. If I have five friends join then I get a free month. I'll be measured again on October 29 and will post the results for you to see. Please try to control your excitement until then.

I want to give a shout out to Tony, who I've inundated with emails for the past week since the USADA Reasoned Decision was released. I think we are both still in shock from everything we have read and are still reading and have absorbed so much information in the past week it may take the rest of the year to fully process it all. My only statement is this - I still love cycling!

That's it for today. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood

This past Sunday evening, my mom and I went to see the Fantasy Playhouse production of "The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood," and y'all it was quite hilarious. This past weekend was the opening weekend of the production and the season and they could not have started with a better show. Of all the Fantasy productions I have seen, this was hands down one of the best.

The show is, in fact, about Robin Hood, a story which I think we all know fairly well. However, this production added in quite a few modern day quips and just some general laughs as well. The play was perfectly cast as each person played their role superbly well. Each line was delivered in a timely manner and all the jokes were well timed. One of my favorite parts was when Robin Hood was thrown in jail and his punishment was to listen to "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" until he went insane. That gave me one of the biggest laughs of the night. Plus, I really love that song. All the kids were adorable, one of the little boys reminded me a bit of Justin as a child. Every time I see a little boy with glasses I think of Justin at that age. The merry men used wooden spoons as their weapons and that gave me a good laugh as well. In the end, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham have a competition for the hand of the Maid Marian and as you would suspect, the play ends well for Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men.

Our tickets were originally for the 1:30 show, but since the church where my parents' attend were having lunch and then afternoon service right after the morning service, I changed the tickets to the 5:00 show. There were not very many people there at all and we were the only two people sitting on the floor. There was a couple, probably may parents' age, sitting over to our right and they were quite strange if my mom and I do say so ourselves. The lady laughed extremely loudly -and you know that's saying something coming from me, as I laugh loudly as well. Her laughs actually seemed forced though and there was more than one occasion where she was the only person in the playhouse laughing. At the end of the show when the actors were coming out to take a bow, she yelled at the top of her lungs. To be honest, I was kind of embarrassed for her because she was making quite a spectacle of herself and the focus shifted onto her from the actual performers. It was kind of strange, to say the least. We had a really fun time though and that's what matters.

The production continues this upcoming weekend with performances at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, and 1:30 and 5:00 on both Saturday and Sunday. All performances are the at the VBC Playhouse and the ticket price is $14. The performance lasts a little under two hours, with one intermission. You can order tickets online here or call the box office at 256-539-6829. Tickets are also currently on sale for their yearly production of A Christmas Carol, which is by far one of the best things to see in Huntsville at Christmas time. Those performances are December 7-9 and 13-16. So, go to their site and check it out and if you are able, buy a ticket and support these great community productions

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saturday Morning Baking Class

So, as mentioned previously, we had some superbly delicious rolls at the widow's dinner hosted by my class at church, and after eating these rolls decided I must know how to make them and so I got in touch with the lady who prepared all the food for the dinner. Her name is Christy, and she and her husband live at and run Shannon's House of Compassion, which is a ministry of Mayfair Church of Christ. Shannon's House is a ministry which provides a place to stay, free of charge, to family members who have loved ones staying at the hospital for extended periods of time. If you live more than 25 miles outside of Huntsville and have a loved one in the hospital here, then you can stay at Shannon's House at no cost. Christy and her husband prepare breakfast for those that are staying at the house and if they are cooking dinner that night, the families are welcome to eat dinner there as well. It's a really great ministry.

Shannon's House is located close by the hospital and the entire house has been renovated and it is gorgeous! Erika and I were in awe at all the loveliness of this home. the house was purchased by Mayfair and the furniture was paid for by the church as well (thanks to a special contribution). All the dishes were donated by a long time friend of my family's, Peggy, and a shower was held at the church to stock the house with all the other essential items. They have in the past year or so added a garden out back with a water fountain in memory of a young girl who died in a car accident and there is some lovely furniture out back made by Mennonites. It is really such a cozy and comfortable place and I'm sure that Christy and her husband make it feel like home to all the people who stay there. They have a web site in case you want to take a look and feel free to pass the information along to anyone who may need to make use of Shannon's House. The web site link is here. On the Saturday we learned how to make rolls, there were no guests staying so we had the house all to ourselves.

On to the roll making.... when I mentioned on the blog last week that I was going to learn to make these, Erika left a comment saying she would like to come along as well. So, I asked Christy if Erika could come and she said it would be just fine. After much emailing, we finally decided on the time of 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. I arrived a few minutes before Erika and when Erika arrived, we got right to work. The recipe was super easy to make - a lot easier than either one of us realized it was going to be -and it only took about 15 minutes, or maybe less to mix up a batch of dough. Christy had made a batch the night before so it had already risen and when she pulled it out, it was like the magic of television. She showed us how to pinch off the rolls and told us the best type of pans to use and also showed us how to roll out the dough and make cinnamon rolls. We made three pans - one pan of regular rolls, one of cinnamon, and one mixed - and after 30 minutes of instruction we were done with our lesson. Yes, it is truly that simple.

We tried to help clean up but Christy said her motto is if you clean up she won't have you back and so she refused to let us help clean up - which, quite honestly, was a-okay by me. I took home the regular and cinnamon rolls and Erika took home the mixed pan. I cooked the cinnamon rolls that evening for me and Justin - he had two, I had one, and saved one for breakfast the next morning. I also cooked the rolls and kept two but sent the rest home with Justin. Christy also sent us home with some amazing caramel corn and I may just have to ask her for that recipe as well. It was a fun morning and now I have a great recipe in my arsenal.

Erika adding in the yeast

Stirring up the bread

Adding in some oil

Kneading the dough

The finished product

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fast Paced Weekend

The day has gotten away from me today and I have yet to post anything. The slow October blogging continues. Truth be told my weekend felt like it was non stop and by the time Sunday night rolled around all I wanted to do was just sit in front of the TV and not think about much of anything. So, without further adieu, here is a brief recap from the weekend - well, actually we are going to start with Thursday night.

So, on Thursday night, my dad fried fish for our family (him, my mom, me and my brother) and also Jackie and the kids. It had been a while since we had all been together and it was the first time Jackie had seen Justin since his return to the free world. The fish was delicious. I could have eaten it all night long, but I didn't. While at dinner, one of the stories my dad told us was about a funeral he had attended earlier in the week. A man in my parents' neighborhood had passed away and there were some musical instruments played at his service. My dad was telling us how nice the music was and was telling us what kind of instruments there were, including "one of those big guitars that stands up on a stick", otherwise known as a cello. I think it goes without saying that this was one of the biggest laughs of the night and I will never look at a cello the same again.

Friday night my dad and I went to the Madison Academy game and the Mustangs proceeded to beat Westminster by some outrageous score - I can't even remember what the final was. We really thought Westminster would play MA closer, but that was not the case. I bought a burger and a popcorn at the concession stand and was planning for a popcorn too but I was a dollar short. At half time I asked my dad to buy me some nachos. I felt like I was eight years old again.

Saturday morning I got up around 6:15 or so and started on some house work - laundry, vacuuming, mopping, etc. Then I took a shower and went to a bread making lesson. I mentioned last week how yummy the rolls were at the widow's dinner and the lady that made them graciously let me and Erika crash her house and taught us everything she knows. The rolls were super easy to make and I cannot wait to wow the family with these at Thanksgiving. I'll have a more in depth post on this (hopefully) tomorrow.

After the roll making, I had about an hour to kill and went back home for another round of laundry and some dusting - so exciting. At 11:30 I had a hair appointment at which I had red highlights put into my hair. I would like to point out that the only person to notice this was Jackie. I'm not sure if this means we spend too much time together or if it means other people noticed and didn't want to say anything but I for one think they are awesome. I will also say that my mom noticed after I asked her if she noticed anything different and then shoved my head in front of her eyeballs.

Saturday afternoon Jackie and Troy (Ashlyn was at a party) and my brother came by and Justin grilled some burgers for us. I mixed the meat with some heavy cream, Worcestershire and Montreal steak seasoning and I'm hear to tell you they turned out fantastic. They were by far the best burgers I have had in a while. We watched the Alabama game and Jackie and Troy left a little before 4:00 to pick up Ashlyn from her party. Justin stayed for the whole game and I fell asleep in the fourth quarter because I was quite tired and let's face it, the game wasn't very exciting.

Sunday morning was church, then I headed over to where my parent's worship and had lunch - a plateful of my granddad's chicken and dumplings (yum!). After lunch, they had an afternoon service and I stayed for that and then made the weekly Publix stop and then home for a one hour nap before I went back over the mountain to pick my mom up for a play. We saw "The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood" presented by Fantasy Playhouse and y'all, it was hilarious. It was by far one of the best productions they have ever done. We laughed quite a lot. (Perhaps more on this later in the week)

After the play I took mother back home and then went home myself where I ate some dinner and then watched a little television before going to bed. It was such a fast paced weekend that I kind of felt like I needed to return to work on Monday just to rest. I still think weekends should be three days long. Of course, my friend Myrtle says that would just means you would have more to do and I guess she's probably right.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fired Up on a Friday

I think I mentioned a while back that the newspaper called me and offered me the Wednesday and Friday editions free for six months. I suppose this was some kind of ploy to get me accustomed to receiving the paper three days a week instead of just one (Sunday). So, for the past few weeks, I've been enjoying the paper on these extra two days. Wednesday's paper has the Publix ad and Friday's now has the Go Magazine so both extra days have a little something to offer me.

This past Wednesday when I walked out my front door I noticed that there was no newspaper. I figured the delivery was late (it seems to get later and later these days) and assumed it would be waiting for me when I got home that afternoon. Wednesday afternoon when I got home I guess all thoughts of newspaper had vanished from my mind and I didn't realize that I still had not received a newspaper. In fact, I didn't realize it until the next day when I got to work and saw the newspaper stand in front of work and that's when it hit me that I never got a paper on Wednesday.

Fast forward to today, Friday, the other day I'm supposed to receive a newspaper. When I walked out this morning, I once again didn't think about not having a newspaper. It was raining and I was in a hurry to just get in the car and get to work. When I approached the entrance to work and once again saw the newspaper stand that was when it hit me that for the second time in a row, I did not have a newspaper. So, I called the Huntsville Times circulation department (which happens to be stored in my phone for occasions like this) and waited until someone picked up.

As soon as I gave my information to the person on the phone, they told me my account had been cancelled. "By whom?" I asked. "For non-payment," was the reply. Then I inquired how in the world my account could be canceled for non-payment when I have a draft taken out of my checking account on a monthly basis. I was put on hold while the lady went to talk to her supervisor. When she came back on she said the supervisor had credited the last month and that the service would start back up on Sunday but they needed my bank account information. I asked why they needed the bank account information when they've had it for six years. How could it just magically disappear? I then asked to speak with the supervisor.

The supervisor told me the same thing - that they no longer had my account information and that the service would start back up on Sunday and they would need my information again. I asked if they could send someone out today to deliver a paper - the answer was no; there' no way we can send someone out today. She also tried to tell me it was my bank's fault that the draft did not go through. How can that be? The bank has nothing to do with a draft that the newspaper controls. I'm willing to bet that when the Times became ancient history and this new organization took things over my account, and probably several others, were lost in the shuffle. I also asked why a notice wasn't sent - I got no legitimate answer, just that I was given a grace period of a month. Oh, thanks for giving me a grace period for a cancellation that I didn't even know had occurred. Long story short, at this point I was so frustrated that I told them I did not want to renew, that they didn't care about their customers and that I could save myself a lot of heartache and hassle if I just go and buy a Sunday paper at the store - and with that, I hung up and I am not kidding when I tell you that my co-workers cheered and clapped. I guess I'm not the only one frustrated with the newspaper right now.

About 10 minutes later, the lady I talked to called back - from a Colorado phone number. I had just told my co-workers that there was no way the people I was talking to were in Alabama because they all sounded like Yankees. Clearly, all the local people in the circulation department were given the heave-ho on September 30. She admitted that the cancellation was there fault, that her manager was able to see some things that she wasn't able to see and that, miracle of miracles, they would be sending someone out to deliver a newspaper today. She then asked for my account information so she could reactivate the account, to which I replied, "I told you I don't want to renew my subscription." She said, "I thought that was because we couldn't deliver a newspaper today." I said, "No, it's because I'm just frustrated with you." She then said she would give me a month free and that would run out on November 14 and I would need to call them prior to November 14 and provide account information if I want to keep receiving the newspaper.

Truth be told, I probably will call back at some point in the next week or so to give them my account information because I'm lazy and I'd rather my Sunday coupons be delivered to my front yard rather than me having to remember to go somewhere and pick up a newspaper each week. Not to mention that Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I will want to see all the ads for the Black Friday sales. Needless to say, my Friday got off to a roaring start and my blood pressure was sky high by the time I got off the phone with the newspaper. Hopefully none of the rest of you have had to deal with a situation like this. If I were grading this new outfit that has taken over the Times and the two other papers in the state, I would give them a F at this point. I'll now be accepting bets as to how much longer they will be in business.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Fitbug

The posts just keep getting better and better around these parts - please bear with me through this boring stretch of writing.

So, as mentioned many times before, we have a fitness program at work which allows us to accumulate points and when we reach certain levels we receive discounts on our health insurance. The name of the program is Vitality. Maybe from here on out I can just say Vitality and y'all will know what I'm talking about instead of me having to explain it each time. Anyway, one of the ways to earn points is by purchasing a Fitbug device which is basically just a pedometer and then each night you can upload your daily data to the Fitbug web site and then receive points.

Up until recently, if you wanted a Fitbug you had to pay $50 for it and I wasn't really willing to pay that; but, a few weeks ago when I was shopping around the Vitality Mall, I happened to notice that the Fitbug is now available for purchase with points, meaning you don't pay anything so long as you have enough points to purchase it. I'm at the highest level (Platinum) meaning I receive the largest insurance discount and it also allows me the best discount in the Vitality Mall. So, for me, the Fitbug was under 3,000 points and so I went ahead and got one with some points even though I was saving points for something else.

From what I hear, the Fitbug is a super easy way to earn points. As long as you hit 10,000 steps a day, then you will earn 10 points that day and you get an extra 15 points for the first day of the week that you hit 10,000 steps. Really, that's about four miles. I don't know how many miles a day is average, but I'm thinking four miles a day just walking around doing whatever it is we do should be achievable. Plus using it at Goga should help a whole heck of a lot.

The first day I used it was Wednesday and I hit over 10,000 steps. the exact number was, I think, 10,351, then I set it down and stopped counting because it was getting annoying. The first two hours of Thursday I've managed to accumulate 2,295 steps, so I'm about one fourth of the way to the daily goal and I've still got a lot of awake time in front of me. I'm looking forward to using the Fitbug and seeing how many steps I walk each day and more importantly looking forward to earning points towards my insurance discount.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I've Got Nothing

I have been racking my brain on an off today (Tuesday) trying to think of something even remotely interesting to tell you about. I've come up with a whole lot of nothing. I don't even have a list of favorites right now. Please do not be envious of this fabulous life of mine.

I will say that I tried a new yogurt today. It's called Yoplait Fruiplait and although I've only had it once, so far it's in the running to the closest thing I've had to French yogurt since Dannon discontinued their French Yogurt (a sad, sad day!). The Yoplait Fruiplait has a ton of fruit in it and was quite yummy. If you are a yogurt lover then I would recommend you try it. There's a coupon in the yellow Publix flyer for $2 off two packages of four that expires on Friday (October 12) so run!

I've started my Christmas shopping and have put a small dent in my list. Oddly enough I'm having a hard time deciding what to get some people, which is an unusual situation for me, but I am quite happy with the few things I have bought thus far and will hopefully find the perfect gift for everyone on my list.

Jackie and I are going to see The Avett Brothers at the VBC later this month and if you are keeping track, then, yes, this is the third time we will be seeing them this year. At this point it's like we are groupies or something. Only we don't stalk the band bus, well, except for that one time.

In other news I decorated for Halloween a couple of weekends ago and with the exception of buying candy and carving a jack-o-lantern, I am all ready for trick-or-treaters. I hate that Halloween is on a Wednesday this year because I like to be home when the ghosts and goblins come around and of course Wednesday is church night. I may go to the 6:00 service at one of the churches close to my house so I can be home by 7:00 to pass out candy.

Today (Wednesday) is the one year mark of my current job. As you may recall, I was laid off last year, but only out of work for a week as my company transferred me to another division. The gal I work with brought me a 12-pack of Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash as an anniversary gift. I was going to bake her some brownies, but she is on a diet. So, I didn't do anything. I meant to buy some flowers at Target last night, but then it slipped my mind when I got sucked into on-sale work out clothes.

Speaking of Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, it's only available around the holidays and I spotted it at Publix a few weeks ago in two-liter form and bought one. Last year I never found the cans and I went to many a store. So, I'm pretty pumped that G found the cans and bought them for me. An awesome surprise if I do say so myself. She lies in Marshall County, so maybe they don't sell out as quickly there - although this was the last pack.

Well, I suppose this is all the boring news I have for today. Fingers crossed my posts will get much better because I don't see how they could get much worse! Happy Hump Day!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Perfect Fall Weekend

I haven't much felt like writing the past few days and I guess the feeling is in the air because a lot of the blogs I check in on daily are also not being updated as often as they usually are - I guess we can call it the fall funk or something like that. In reality, I've been busy but not with anything that would be of great interest to you which makes writing more difficult than it is on most days. Alas, I shall do my best to come up with a post for you today and the rest of the week. Keep your fingers crossed it works out.

I suppose I'll start by giving you a Goga update. Of the six days Goga is open, I went five times and used the sauna four of the five times and drank the water and salty concoction all five times. I'll be going tonight (Monday) with Jackie and her mom and our friend Kim and while there I am planning to buy some of the bath salts that are supposed to be good for your skin. Without going into extreme detail about my bath, I'll let you know how the bath salts work out. Plans are to Goga another five times this week, using the sauna four times. I skip the sauna on Wednesday because I'm pretty sure my fellow church-goers would prefer me not be hot and sweaty during Bible class.

As for this past weekend, it wasn't very exciting. Friday night my dad actually came out to a football game with me which is kind of unusual these days as he doesn't leave the house much - he's turning into a hermit of sorts. We went to see Pisgah and New Hope at New Hope. Before the game we ran into Tommy Ragland who is the current probate judge of Madison County and is up for re-election come November. Please allow me to take this moment to ask you to please vote for him if you live in Madison County. My parents have known him since high school or longer and he is a very nice man. So, please consider voting for him for re-election. This has been a Public Service Announcement. Thank you.

The game itself was exceptionally boring as New Hope put a beating on Pisgah and we left before it was over. As we were leaving, Judge Marth Lynn Sherrod's daughter and another guy were outside the gate passing out literature for Judge Sherrod's re-election ('tis the season, people). The daughter asked us to vote for her mom and my dad said, "Is she a Republican or a Democrat?" And the daughter said, "She's a Christian!" Seriously, this was the highlight of my evening. Maybe you had to be there but it was quite an interesting moment. My dad said he really liked that answer and might vote for her. He asked me if I knew anything about her - I did not and still don't. It was just a funny moment.

Saturday I cleaned house, went to Goga and the grocery store and made some chili - a really thrilling day. Jackie and I met up at church that evening to work on preparations for a dinner our class hosted for the widows of the church. There were quite a few people who showed up to help and there wasn't that much to do so after about 30 minutes when all the "prep work" was done, we left and just hung out at my house for a little while. We also ate some of the chili I made earlier in the day - we live on the edge!

Sunday morning after church I went home to nap and then went back up to church around 3:00 to help with the final preparations for the dinner. Well, there really wasn't that much to do - again - and so we all just kind of sat around and did nothing until it was time to put food one plates and put the plates in the warmer.
The dinner was after church service, starting at 6:00 p.m. and we served ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, cranberry salad and homemade rolls that were out of this world good. I have since been in touch with the lady that did all the food and asked her for the recipe for the rolls. She is actually going to teach me how to make them and I am pretty excited about this because those rolls - well, they were a little slice of heaven if I do say so myself. Dessert was strawberry, chocolate, or apple spcie cake, all made by the preacher's wife. I had strawberry and it was delicious. My Aunt Linda and her friend Saundra (a new reader I might add) came to the dinner and I think they had a nice time. Everyone seemed to have an enjoyable evening - I know I did. The dinner ended a little after 7:00 and I helped clean up for a while and then left about 7:45.

The rest of the night was spent watching shows on the DVR and generally doing a whole lot of nothing. I think I managed to get at least two more loads of laundry done. The weather turned cool this weekend which was awesome. Someone also had an outdoor fire in our neighborhood and it smelled so delightful. I turned off the air and opened the windows and just enjoyed the cool crisp air. It was a great weekend, until Auburn lost to Arkansas at which point it became a perfect fall weekend! Hope you all had a nice weekend as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I'm Goga-ing

Last month I told you about trying Goga and every single person I have encountered at Goga has lost inches and pounds and so I decided that I would give Goga a try for a month and see how it works for me. I signed up for one month this past Monday night, October 1 and my goal is to Goga at least four times a week, more if possible, and then let you in on my results. So far, I have been every night this week. I skipped the sauna on Wednesday night because I didn't want to be sweaty and sticky at church.

The ladies that work at the Goga studios are kind enough to take measurements for you when you sign up. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will share those with you here and then when I am measured again in a month, I will let you know my new measurements so you can see my progress. Jackie also was kind enough to take some really lovely photos of me being measured as well as a "before" photo. I'm wearing some really sexy clothes. Please don't be jealous.

Jackie signed up for 12 sessions for $20. Since she is only able to come on Monday nights, she didn't want to pay $49 for a month. This way, she will be able to come on Monday nights for the next three months or so. She was measured as well and although she is not sharing her measurements with you, I will report on her total inches lost after one month. The difference will be that a) I am bigger than her and will lose more inches (per the girl that works at Goga) and b) I will be Goga-ing more than once a week whereas she will only be Goga-ing once a week.

My measurements (taken on October 01, 2012) are as follows:
Neck: 14.5 inches
Bust: 43 inches
Upper Abs: 39 inches
Waist: 42 inches
Lower Abs: 53 inches
Hips: 52 inches
Left Thigh: 30.75 inches
Right Thigh: 29.75 inches
Left Arm: 15.25 inches
Right Arm: 15 inches
Total Inches: 334.25

I'm really excited about getting this experiment underway. Check back in one month from now to see how many (if any) inches have Goga-ed away!

The "Before" Photo
So Sexy!

 Getting Measured

Measuring the Lower Abs, or is that the Hips?

Measuring my Arms

Jackie getting measured - she looks like she's trying not to smile.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Weekend Birthday Party Number Two

After having Troy's spend the night birthday party on Friday night, Jackie managed to get a few hours of sleep in preparation for round number two - Ashlyn's party on Saturday. I headed over around 6:00 or so and stopped to pick up a bag of ice on the way since Jackie was out.

Can I just take a moment to say I don't know how the Sonic in Hampton Cove stays open? Jackie has been by there when they've been out of ice cream and I stopped there to get  a bag of ice, because we all like the ice from there, and wouldn't you know it, their ice machine was broken. I mean, really? The food at that Sonic isn't great either. There will never be another Sonic as great as the one in Five Points, which apparently is never going to reopen because it's been closed for over a year. Moving on...

Ashlyn had three friends over and they were all eating pizza and chicken wings when I arrived. Ashlyn looked super cute in a white dress with blue leggings and Jackie had braided her hair and it looked adorable. Next up was birthday cake. Ashlyn had picked out a cake from Publix that had a cute topper which Jackie washed off and pinned to Ashlyn's head so she could wear it as a crown.

Jackie came up with the most fantastic idea for a party game - she bought a One Direction (the hot new boy band) poster and taped it to the wall. Then she put lipstick on the girls, blindfolded them and had them walk up to it and smooch it. It was a new twist on Pin the Tail on the Donkey and it was hilarious. By the time the night was over, the girls had put on more lipstick and kissed that poster all over - it was covered in lipstick. The girls also did some dancing and squealing and y'all they were so much louder than the boys were the night before. Jackie and I did not recall being that loud when we were kids but our moms will have to verify that for us.

When we were kids, we would tie-dye t-shirts at Jackie's birthday parties and Jackie carried on the tradition at Ashlyn's party. We rolled up and put rubber-bands around the shirts, laid down some plastic in the garage, brought the girls out and set them loose on tie-dyeing. Jackie had bought these kits which came with bottles so there were eight different colors for the girls to choose from for their shirts. It probably goes without saying that they got a little crazy with adding color.

After tie-dyeing, Ashlyn opened her presents. She got a shirt and a pair of jeans from me, a shirt from her friend Claire, a gift card from Target from Maddie, and some nail polish, hair highlighters and other such girly things from her extremely hyper friend Rachel. While she was opening gifts, Maddie's dad came to pick her up - she was not staying over because she had a sore throat (I think this is what she said).

Next on the agenda was nail painting. Jackie painted all the girls nails with this really cool polish that formed a wave pattern on the nail. It turned out really cool and I actually ended up buying some of this polish for myself because I thought it was pretty awesome. Hopefully I can do my nails without polishing all over my fingers.

I left soon after the nail polishing was complete. I told Jackie I should have brought my things to stay the night because I was having so much fun - maybe next year! After I left the girls made s'mores and I'm sure had a ton of more fun. Jackie said Rachel woke her up at 1:30 a.m. wanting to go home because she missed her mom but Jackie got her settled in on the couch and she fell back asleep.

It was such a fun birthday weekend for the kids. I hope they enjoyed their parties as much as Jackie and I did!

 Blowing out the candles on the cake

 Blindfolding Ashlyn for her turn at kissing the One Direction poster

 Ashlyn kissing the One Direction poster

 Tie-dyeing T-shirts

 Opening presents

Painted fingernails

Monday, October 1, 2012

Let's Get Our Candy Corn On!

Last week both of Jackie's kids had birthdays; troy turned 10 and Ashlyn turned nine - time flies people! The kids had spend the night parties for a small group of friends - Troy had two friends spend the night on Friday and Ashlyn had two friends spend the night on Saturday. A lot of people told Jackie she was crazy for doing two parties in one weekend but I think it was pretty smart - at least she got it all over with in one shebang.

I headed over to Jackie's around 6:00 on Friday and first made a stop by my parents' house to drop some things off. I arrived at Troy's party around 6:30 or so and Troy and his friend Dalton were playing video games. they were waiting on one more friend, Brant, to arrive. Brant was coming from baseball practice and so was running a little late. While waiting on Brant, Troy opened his gift from me - jeans and a shirt - and was less than thrilled with the selection. Needless to say, boys aren't really into getting clothes as a gift when they are 10 years old. Finally Brant arrived and the boys settled in at the dinner table for pizza and cheese sticks.

After eating dinner, the boys had a competition of putting together miniature Lego sets that Jackie had bought. Troy, the Lego expert, finished first. After that, Troy opened his presents from his friends. He got a Lego set from Dalton and a Target gift card and a set of Nerf balls from Brant. Next up was birthday cake - Jackie got Troy's cake from Cakes, Etc. and as always it was delicious. It had a screen print of The Last Airbender Avatar something another - in other words, something with which I am not very familiar. We sang "Happy Birthday" and I attempted to get a photo of Troy blowing out his candles. I had to ask him to act it out for me because I missed the whole thing the first time around.

The boys played with light sabers and all the other gadgets in Troy's room. I heard Troy telling the other boys about putting together a gingerbread house. Jackie had bought a kit and was kind of hoping not to have to get it out but as soon as we heard him telling the others about it we knew it would be next up on the agenda. Next thing we knew Troy came running into the room and said, "Let's get our candy corn on" and it gave me quite the laugh. Jackie got the kit out and she and the boys got to work on putting it together.

It was about this time that I decided to go on home for the night. I had some things I wanted to get done around the house and wanted to go ahead and get started on that.

After I left, the boys finished up the gingerbread house, and then roasted marshmallows for s'mores around the fire pit. Jackie said they all went to bed around 11:00 (if I remember correctly. It was a fun night with some fun people and I think Troy enjoyed it too!

Putting together Lego sets

The boys and their finished Lego sets

Opening presents

 The finished Gingerbread House