Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Discounted Pedicures, Oh Yeah!

Last week, we had some students from Virginia College in Huntsville come and give free 10 minute massages at work and you'd better believe I went straight away to partake in that free relaxation. I'm sure it was good practice for the students and it was fun to have a break that was more than just running the bathroom. 

The students (or maybe instructor) brought with them some brochures that listed the prices for massages by the students. After all, the students have to practice what they learn and some poor soul has to be their guinea pig. The prices for massage therapy services were half of what they are at other places in town and so I made a note to schedule one some time in the near future. Let me assure you that when I do schedule that massage, I will properly review it here on the blog so you will know whether or not to go yourself. 

Friday night after mowing the lawn, I was thinking that I needed to take off my old toenail polish and slap a fresh coat of lacquer on there, and I do mean slap because if you know anything about the way I paint my toenails, then you know I do not even bother with staying in "the lines". For whatever reason, I thought about the students at Virginia College and how the massage therapy services were so affordable and I wondered if they might offer pedicures as well and so I got on The Google to see if I could find out. 

Sure enough, Virginia College does offer cosmetology services, including manicures, pedicures, polish change, make-up and hair services too. I looked up the price list and was pleasantly surprised to see that a pedicure was only $15 and a manicure and pedicure was only $20. I saw that they opened at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and wondered if they took walk-ins or only appointments. So, even though it was 9:30 in the evening, I decided to call in hopes that the answering machine might say whether or not walk-ins were welcome on Saturdays. To my surprise, someone answered the phone - I later found out they have night classes and so someone is there while the night classes are taking place to answer the phone. I found out that during the week (Tuesday-Friday) they take appointments and walk-ins and on Saturdays it is walk-ins only. So, I decided I would arrive there first thing when they opened so I wouldn't run the risk of having to wait a long time for a pedicure. I was, in fact, the first person to arrive for a nail treatment on Saturday. I registered at the desk and about 5-10 minutes later one of the female students came to collect me from the lobby (which was nice with really comfortable chairs) for my pedicure and manicure. 

The girl's name was Jamie and she only had four months left in the program. She is a single mom of two kids, the oldest of which attends the same school as Troy. We talked about Virginia College and the services they offer there. She said that Saturday is a make-up day for the students to get in the required hours for the week if they didn't get them completed Tuesday-Friday. If the students didn't have a real-live human to work on then they worked on mannequins to pass the time. While I was there, no one else came in for a pedicure, but there were a few people in for hair services and one other girl was getting a manicure. Jamie told me that the guys who are in school there also have to get cosmetology degrees and licences because in Alabama a barber licence is no longer offered. So, the guys who just want to barber still have to learn make-up and nails. I find this to be rather funny. I don't think the guys are too fired up about it. 

Jamie did a really great job on my toes and then we moved over to the manicure table. She did fairly well on my finger nails, but the toes were definitely better. She also cut me loose before my nails were completely dry and so they were messed up before I even got to my car. This is really my only complaint about the day. I knew they weren't completely dry but had really already decided to take the paint off when I got home because it wasn't as nice looking as I would have liked, but still a way better job than I could have done on my own. No doubt about that! 

All in all, it was a really good experience. Jamie was really nice and the other students I met were nice too. One of the teachers was there and she inspected my toes. I'm sure she has to make sure that the students are doing a good job; not sure if they get graded each time they perform a service. I would advise that if you go, take your own polish. I meant to do this myself, but then left without it and they did not have a rack of colors to pick from, instead I told her a shade of color I was interested in and she brought a few over for me to peruse through. Also, they do not use cuticle cutters. I'm assuming this is because they do not have the proper equipment for sterilization. All of the tools Jamie used were disposable. So, the next time I go, I will take my own color and my cuticle cutters. Not sure if the students are allowed to use cuticle cutters brought in by a client, but it's worth a shot. Here is a link to the cosmetology school services and here is a link to the price list. The next time you are in need of a manicure or pedicure, or some other such service, give Virginia College a try. I think you will be pleased. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Last July Weekend of 2014

This past weekend was really great; it was a good combination of being busy and also having some downtime. Friday, I got home from work around 5:00 p.m. or so and an hour or so later one of the nurses (Galen) from my chiropractor's office came over. She is such a nice lady and has always been my favorite nurse from the office. She is a dog lover and when I told her about The Pip's bad experience at the kennel while I was in Hawaii, she said to let her know the next time I was headed out of town and she would keep Pippa for me. So, a couple of weeks ago, I asked her about keeping Pippa while I go to the PGA Championship. She agreed and this past Friday, she stopped by to meet The Pip and get acquainted. 

We visited with Galen about 30 minutes or so out in the backyard. There was a nice breeze blowing and it wasn't too hot and it was really an enjoyable evening. Galen will gather up Pippa and take her home with her (Galen) where Pippa will be Galen's old dog Hooch. I'm hoping they will get along okay. Galen is like me and doesn't mind a dog sleeping beside her and so The Pip will be very spoiled by getting to sleep in a real bed instead of in a crate at the kennel. I'm very thankful that Galen has agreed to watch after Pippa. It's so very nice of her and I think it will work out a lot better than the kennel did earlier this year. 

After Galen left, I mowed the lawn. It had been two weeks since I had mowed and it took a long while and a lot of patience to get the mower up and running well. I finished everything up by 8:00 p.m. and spent the rest of the night working on laundry and watching the Tour (which is over now and it seems weird to go home and have nothing to watch). 

Saturday morning, I was up early, as always. I went and got a pedicure early that morning because I had a big wedding to go to in the evening and my toes needed a make-over. I'll write more about this later because I went to a new place and I want to share about it with you. After the pedicure, I went by the mall to look for a white shirt, which I found and then got a car wash because I was in desperate need of one. Not only is it once again sap season at my house, but I had, earlier in the week, backed into a puddle of dirty water which splashed all over the backside of my car. I'm surprised no one wrote "wash me" in the window. 

After heading back home, I did some cleaning and laundry and then got ready for the big wedding. My friend Margaret Anne was getting married that evening to the dashing Grayson Tucker, who is one of the youth ministers at our church. Margaret Anne's mom went to high school with my parents and my family has known hers for many years so I was happy to be able to witness her big day and celebrate with her. 

It was undoubtedly the largest wedding I have ever been too with probably close to 700 people in attendance. The reception was at the Davidson Center at the Space and Rocket Center and I rode with my cousins Chris and Amy to the reception. Dinner was beef tips, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and salad and it was all good. Chris and Amy and I stood at one of the bar tables to eat, but if we had braved the long width of the Davidson Center, I think we would have been able to find a table to sit at as I have since heard various people had spots open at their tables. 

The reception was lovely. There was lots of food and dancing and merriment, which is just what the happy couple wanted. Chris and I did not break out our dancing shoes. Although Chris teased about breaking out the train line like he had done at my cousin Anna's wedding earlier this summer. Just when Chris asked us if we were ready to go, they announced the cutting of the cake and so I ran to the cake table to grab a piece before we made our exit. 

After we left the reception, we hit up the 31 Flavors of Baskin Robbins and Chris and Amy enjoyed ice cream and I enjoyed their company. They dropped me off at my car and then I headed home to enjoy the remainder of the evening with The Pip. 

Sunday after worship I had a teacher's meeting where we found out who would be in our classes for the next year. I've got two of the youngest Parker cousins, Indigo and Greer in my class for the next year so when they come on Wednesday nights I'll be able to impress upon their young minds.Ha! I'm actually looking forward to a new group of kids. The ones we have had this year have been a handful. 

So, it was a really great weekend, hard to believe it was the last one of July. Only one more weekend before the kids around here start back to school. Next thing you know summer will be in the history books. 
Before I get close today, I want to remind everyone about the giveaway this week. Enter yourself, your friends and your family members! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Start the Week With a Double Giveaway

~~ This Giveaway is Now Closed ~~

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I want to start off the week with a book giveaway - actually, two giveaways! Thanks to the wonderful team at Shelton Interactive, I'm able to offer these giveaways to you this week. I have not read either of these books so I cannot give you a first hand account of either one, but they may appeal to you or someone you know. So, please share the link with your friends. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post indicating which book you would be interested in. I'm going to run the giveaway through Thursday, July 31 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announce Friday, August 1 - wow, August already! Some information on each of the books is listed below. Thanks for reading and good luck! 

Winning is in every racer’s blood. They continually push themselves to the edge, physically and emotionally, in pursuit of the checkered flag and a visit to Victory Lane. It is the racer’s way.

We too are racers in the middle of the greatest race known to mankind: life. We want to live in a way that, when we reach our finish line, we can be proud of what we've accomplished. We want to be an example for our family and friends. And if we are a follower of Christ, we want to hear the words “well done my good and faithful servant.”

In The Race, Motor Racing Outreach leaders Billy Mauldin and Kyle Froman share the lessons they've learned in the pits and among the NASCAR community to help others with their personal mission—preparing for it, receiving it, and then living faithfully on mission.

Billy Mauldin is the president and CEO of Motor Racing Outreach, and has served as chaplain for various racing series including the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing series, American Motorcycle Association and the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series. A lifelong resident of Charlotte, N.C., Mauldin is married to Julie and father of Thor, Titan, Roxy and Daisy. Kyle Froman is the director of development at Motor Racing Outreach, overseeing a network of 40 associate chaplains as well as external donor and relational development. Froman currently lives in Spring Hill, Tenn., and is married to Michelle, with two boys, Micah and Kaleb. Darrell Waltrip is the winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ races and a three-time champion. He currently serves as the lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was recently inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and is the author of several books.

Wedding planning has spawned a major industry. The average cost of the occasion now exceeds $25,000, and societal pressure to create the “perfect day” is so strong that even Christian couples forget what God originally intended for the sacred marriage ceremony.

While paying attention to the good fun that follows that special proposal (the dress, the flowers, the cake, the gatherings, etc.), A Christ-Centered Wedding first serves as a guide to believers who want their wedding to portray the relationship of Christ with the church and to reflect the gospel to all in attendance.

From the start, this thoughtful book looks to the Creator of weddings for guidance in planning by emphasizing the sacrificial love of the Savior more than the modern world’s idealistic view of romantic love. There are chapters filled with practical information about everything from pre-marital counseling and choosing a wedding location to other resources   like a planning checklist and timeline, music suggestions, guidance on potential issues of conflict, a listing of traditional financial responsibilities, sample vows, and other great ideas from couples who have successfully put together a Christ-centered wedding.

Linda Strode is a pastor's wife and has been involved in multiple aspects of wedding planning over the years. She survived the bridesmaid fashion horrors of the 70’s and 80’s and has quite a few photo souvenirs to prove it. Linda and her husband, Tom, live in Fredericksburg, Va.
Catherine Parks writes from home in Nashville, Tenn., where she lives with her husband, Erik, and their two young children. She has sung some terribly cheesy songs in weddings over the years, and gave one of the worst rehearsal dinner speeches in history to her college roommate. She blogs at www.catherinestrodeparkscom.

Friday, July 25, 2014

And The Winner Is,,,

Congrats to Erika who left the first comment in the recent giveaway post. She will receive a copy of "Notes from a Blue Bike" by Tsh Oxenreider. Congrats Erika!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just Singing and Resting

As far as weekends go, this past one wasn't the most adventurous I've ever had. In fact, it was very uneventful, but that's okay because it had been a while since I've had a Saturday where I had nothing on the calendar and I was just looking forward to staying in and being lazy. 

Friday night, there was a singing at Lincoln Church of Christ and I have no doubt I've told of my love of singing on this here blog before and so I made the one mile trip over to Lincoln to sing some old fashioned gospel hymns with the over 60 crowd. Actually, I wasn't the youngest person there, as there were some children in attendance as well; however, I'm sure their parents forced them to come whereas I was there of my own free will. One of the kids that was there was Troy's friend Georgia. They go to school together and Georgia also attends Mayfair with us. She is such a sweet little girl and she came over and gave me a hug and said hello. Touched my heart, y'all. The kids love me! 

I met Erika and her mom there and sat with them and we proceeded to sing for the next two hours. Let me tell you something about Friday night singings - they are great. The people sing out so loudly and I find it to be rather impressive. The thing I dislike about these gatherings of the saints is that the majority of the songs that are chosen are slow and I am a fan of the fast song. Also, some of the songs are from the vault and even I don't know them which is really saying something because I know A LOT of hymns. 

After the singing was over, we feasted on a plethora of church finger foods, all of which were yummy. Erika made some delicious rice krispy treats. Sometimes I forget how good those are! We sat at a table with a guy we used to go to church with at Memorial Parkway/Chase Park and another lady who formerly went to Lincoln but now attends Mayfair. The company was even better than the food and we all had a nice time visiting with one another. There were quite a few other people there who I knew, including a couple of ladies who work at the voting polls with me. I headed home close to 10:00, watched the rest of the day's stage of the Tour and then went to bed. 

On Saturday morning, I was up at 6:00 to watch, what else, the Tour. It was a big mountain stage, the last day in the Alps, and it did not disappoint. The rest of the day was spent watching shows from the DVR, eating and napping. Like I said, it was rather unproductive, but I was totally okay with that. I was glad to have a day where there was nothing on the agenda and all I needed to was take it easy. 

Sunday was the usual - church and a trip to the grocery store. We had a softball game at 6:00 which I did not dress out for because I've been having some trouble with my knee - I know, if it's not one thing it's another. The other team didn't show up so we got our second win of the season! The team ended up practicing which was probably a good thing. After the hour was up, the team ended up scrimmaging a team we had played a few weeks ago because their opponent didn't show up either. In fact, at least three teams didn't show up last night which kind of blows my mind. Did they all just decide they were tired of the softball season and throw in the proverbial towel? I stayed for the first practice but then left because I had some things I needed to do at home before the start of the week. We have make-up games the next two weeks (provided it doesn't rain) and I'm hoping my knee is better so I can play. 

So, it was a much needed low-key weekend in the midst of all the craziness of summer. Here's to hoping your weekend was good too!

Not my best picture, but still hilarious.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Notes from a Blue Bike

~~ This Giveaway Is Now Closed ~~

Today I am sharing with you a review of "Notes from a Blue Bike" by Tsh Oxenreider which was released earlier this year. Admittedly, the title was what first drew me to the book because as you probably know, I love all things bicycle related. However, the book, which is subtitled, "The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World" is really about so much more than the author's blue bike. 

In today's society, where we are constantly going here and there and caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, it is rare that we actually slow down to catch our breath, let alone attempt to slow down the pace of life. Even I, being single and having no children or husband to shuttle around and look after, often find myself exhausted from the week's activities; so, I can only imagine how those of your with families feel by week's end. 

In "Notes from a Blue Bike", Oxenreider tells the story of how she and her husband decided to intentionally slow down amidst the chaos of every day life. The author and her husband had been living overseas and then all of a sudden found themselves unexpectedly living back in The States. Having been used to a slower paced life while living in Turkey, the commotion of Austin, Texas, was quite a transition for them and their family. The Oxenreider's found themselves, in short, unhappy with their lifestyle and they longed for the more relaxed life they had experienced while living overseas. 

The family ended up moving to Bend, Oregon (also home to US Cyclist Chris Horner, just saying, y'all!), hoping that a smaller town might cure the problems of hurrying here, there and yonder, but as it turns out, it wasn't the city that was the problem. The Oxenreider family suffered the same hectic lifestyle in Bend that they had in Oregon. It was when Tsh took a trip to visit friends in Virginia that she outlined a map to her family's blueprint for a less chaotic and more intentional way of living. 

The book is very well written and really reads closer to a novel than a biography of sorts. Mrs. Oxenreider's story telling flows easily through the pages of the book, making it an easy read. By no means is this a "how to" book on changing your lifestyle or for creating an intentional life for your own family, it's just the story of how the Oxenreiders were able to do this for their own family which may in turn help or inspire you to make changes for your family. 

More about the author: Tsh Oxenreider is the founder of (previously Simple Mom) a popular community blog dedicated to the art and science of simple living. She's the author of "Organized Simplicity" and "One Bite at a Time", a regular contributor to (in), an advocate for Compassion International, and a top-ranked podcaster. A graduate of the Univeristy of Texas, Tsh currently lives in Bend, Oregon with her family.

The nice folks at Shelton Interactive have arranged for me to provide a copy of "Notes from a Blue Bike" to one lucky reader. If you are interested in a copy of this book, just leave a note in the comments section of this post. The contest will run through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, and the winner will be announced on Friday, July 25. Thanks for reading, and good luck! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Working Those Polls

Tuesday was the primary election run-off and it was quite possibly the most boring day of my life. Usually I don’t mind working the polls, for the most part there is a steady stream of people coming in; but, this past Tuesday was the slowest I think it has ever been. My precinct voted 55 people. Yes, you read that right. That’s an average of 4.6  people per hour that the polls were open.

We started the morning at 6:00 a.m. as always. I got up at my normal time of 5:00 a.m. and was ready to go by 5:45 a.m. I was having a craving for Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins (aka donut holes) and so I sped to Dunkin and bought some and made it to the precinct at exactly 6:00 a.m.

We got the last minute things set up and took the oath of office and signed all the papers we needed to sign and at 7:00 a.m. we opened the polls. It was almost an hour before we saw our first voter. By the time we had voted 12 people, the old lady working the books where people sign in had already messed up by letting a voter slip out the door without signing. I don’t even understand how this can happen. It’s not like there were hundreds of people lined up waiting to sign in. The most voters we had come in at one time was three people. So, how do you miss something like this? It’s not difficult to pay attention. These people I work with at the polls, all they care about it talking amongst themselves and to the people who come in, not about doing the job right and it annoys me to no end.

The day was spent listening to all the other workers talk about healthcare, surgeries, doctors, insurance, the cost of going to a pro-sports event, mailboxes, and a lot of other mundane things. I think we discussed the fate of Mullins Restaurant at least 10 times. I just wanted to find a little corner and take a nap. It was such a boring day.

We closed the polls at 7:00 p.m. and thankfully I had staged everything for a quick close and wrapped up the paperwork and I was home by 7:15 p.m. where I finished watching Monday’s stage of the Tour. Tuesday was a rest day at the Tour so that worked out quite well for my TV watching schedule.

Anyway, I’m proud to be an American, and I love that we have the freedom to vote, it’s just that some days are a little more interesting than others and some days you just sit and watch the clock for 12 hours longing for quitting time. Unfortunately, this past Tuesday was the latter. Here’s to hoping the election in August will be much more eventful. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm So Vein(y)

Sunday after the cookout, I went to church and the grocery store and pretty much came home and crashed. The Pip was still worn out from Saturday’s festivities and was very keen to sleep which was just fine by me.
Sunday evening I cleaned up a little and got ready for Monday night as I was hosting our women’s Bible study group. I figured I might as well get it all knocked out in one weekend I guess. Actually, I don’t think I realized I had planned both things until about a week before; but, it worked out well because the house was already straightened up and I had plenty of drinks, etc. left over from Saturday to use Monday night. We were having a salad bar on Monday and so I chopped up toppings and grated cheese and cooked bacon and put everything in dishes and wrapped it up until serving time.

Monday I headed back to work and after work I had an appointment at the Crestwood Vein Center. I don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but a month or so ago, we had a doctor from the vein center come out to work and you could sign up to have him look at your legs if you thought you were having problems. He looked at my legs and scheduled me for an ultrasound of my veins and that appointment took place yesterday.

As it turns out, and was not a surprise, I have a few veins that are varicose and not working properly which is causing discomfort and swelling. My main large veins are a-okay though which was good news. So, now, I have to wait 90 days (per the insurance) and treat with walking, elevating my feet at night and compression stockings (which the doctor said not to even bother getting) and I will then go back for another ultrasound which will be in October.

After the ultrasound in October confirms there is not much change in my veins, I will get a treatment for my veins to get them working again. It’s a quick procedure where they run a catheter up your vein and it gets them working properly. It’s noninvasive and you can drive yourself to and from the appointment. So, I’m pretty excited about getting these veins taken care of so my legs will feel young again. I shall certainly keep you posted on how these next appointments go. I’m sure you can hardly wait!

After my appointment, I went home and got everything ready for the salad bar. The girls started coming over about 6:30 p.m. and we had a nice time fellowshipping, eating, and studying together. We wrapped things up a little before 9:00 p.m. and I watched some of the day’s stage of the tour before retiring for the night.

Like I said, things have been busy lately, seems like I’ve always got one thing or another going on; some of them more random than others. Hope you are staying busy as well!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Cookout for 30

Hello readers! Hope you all are doing well. I’ve been busy as of late which has led to a lack of blogging so I’d figure I’d better get something posted soon before my Aunt Linda disowns me. Today is Tuesday, and I’m working the polls for the primary run-off and there’s sure to be a post about the day soon. Today, however, I’ll start with a recap of the weekend because it was rather eventful.

Friday after work, I went home and got the yard work done. I did the weed eating, mowing, and straightened up. I got finished with everything about 8:00 p.m. and showered and was in my pajama’s by 8:30 p.m. I watched the day’s stage of le Tour de France and then went to bed.

On Saturday morning, I was up early straightening, cleaning, and watching an hour of the Tour before I left to go get a haircut. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but haircut time is one of my favorite times because I love my hairdresser so much and Saturday did not disappoint. He was as fun as always.

I stopped by Star Market on the way home and bought about nine pounds of hamburger meat. I was having a cookout for my class later that day and was serving hamburgers and hot dogs. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon watching the tour and getting things ready for the cookout.

Jackie came over around 4:30 p.m. and helped me with some last minute things and our friend Jonathan arrived soon after with his grill so he could help me cook the burgers and hot dogs. We managed to get all the food cooked a little before 6:00 p.m. which was when the cookout was scheduled to start. Oddly enough, everyone seemed to arrive at the exact same time and we were underway a few minutes after starting time.

There were 30 people (including children and one baby) who came to the cookout. It was a really fun night getting to spend time with these friends. A lot of the guys played ball with the kids and Pippa and the rest of us talked and enjoyed each other’s company.

About 9:30 people started heading out and Jackie stayed later to help me clean up. Poor Pippa was worn out and by the time Jackie left and I had washed my face, I found that she had pulled back the covers on the bed and curled up and was sleeping.

I’m very thankful to have such a great group of friends, who I really consider family, from church. Mayfair has been a real blessing to me and I look forward to spending a lot more time with these good people. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: Get to Know: Apostle Paul

Today I’ve got a book review for you. This one is a kids’ book called Get to Know: Apostle Paul and is written by Nancy I. Sanders. It’s a full color biography for kids about Paul, one of my favorite characters in the Bible.

The book is a little over 100 pages long, but the print is large and the pictures are colorful, making it appealing to children. Peppered throughout the book are tidbits of information that fall into one of the following categories: Bible Hero, Eyewitness Account, Did You Know and Word Bank.

The Bible Hero tidbit tells information about a hero from the Bible that was present during a story about Paul. The Eyewitness Account portion gives an eyewitness account with scripture of something related to Paul’s story. The Did You Know Section has an interesting fact and the Word Bank presents vocabulary related to the story.

The book starts at the beginning of Paul’s life as a boy named Saul and continues through Paul’s writing letters while imprisoned in Rome. The books has maps of Paul’s missionary journeys and also has photographs of what the areas Paul visited look like today.

The one thing I did not like about this book was that although it mentions Paul was called Saul as a boy, it never describes how or why his name was changed to Paul while on the road to Damascus. I imagine this was probably to cut down on any confusion it may cause children, but this is one of the most important things that happened in Paul’s life and I feel like it should have been mentioned.

Other than the lack of mentioning Paul’s name change, everything else in the book seems to be on key. I think it is an interesting way to teach children about Paul, especially since it has so many pictures and colors which attract the mind of children. Obviously, using the Bible is the best way to teach your kiddos about Paul, but this book would be a good supplement and adds historical context as well which can make biblical characters seem more realistic.

Get to Know: Apostle Paul is available for around $7 and can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Monday Concerts in the Park

This past Monday evening, I finally made it out to Concerts in the Park for the first time this year. I have, of course, been in years past but had yet to make it out this summer. For one, I have Bible study every other Monday and night and then I guess my nights off from Bible study have also been busy with one activity or another. Jackie and I had planned on going a couple of weeks ago, but that particular day we both had exhausting days at work and decided not to go which worked out well because it ended up being rained out that night. 

Anyway, this past Monday, we finally got it together and made it out to the park. My dad came out too which was nice because he doesn't venture out much these days, or so it seems. My dad and I made it to the park about 6:15 and Jackie and the kids got there soon after. We set up at "our spot" which is under a magnolia tree and the weather was actually quite nice and it was comfortable and pleasant sitting outside. Our friends Paul and Leah and Leah's dad Kit also joined us and as it happened, Paul's parents sat close to us as well. 

Jackie brought food for her and the kids and Leah brought us sandwiches and a lot of other goodies and we even had watermelon from Paul's mom Lynn. My dad and I lucked out because we didn't bring anything but we ate really well. So, thanks to everyone for feeding us! I actually wasn't that hungry before the concert because I had participated in a wedding shower at work at the end of the day and indulged in goodies there. I took cash with me in case I wanted to get something from the food trucks but my friends were super generous in taking care of us for the night.

We all had a really nice evening talking and catching up. My dad and Paul talked about Madison Academy football quite a bit which was just fine with both of them I'm sure. At one point during the show, the chair Troy was sitting in broke and he fell through to the ground. Thankfully he was not injured and so it provided us with quite a few laughs. 

The Huntsville Concert Band played first and they treated us to quite a bit of John Phillip Sousa due to it being close to the Fourth of July. I am actually a lover of John Phillip Sousa and was pretty fired up when they started playing Stars and Stripes Forever. It will certainly get you in a patriotic mood. The second band that played was Rocket City Brass and they were just kind of mediocre, but still there were children dancing and everyone seemed to be having a really nice time. 

The concert ended around 8:00 p.m. and we all packed up our belongings and made a stop by Paul and Leah's Five Points Farm before heading our separate ways. Concerts in the Park only lasts a few more weeks and I hope to go the Monday nights we don't have Bible study, especially the last week when the US Army Material Command Band plays. If you have a chance, check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Concerts in the Park Schedule for the Remainder of 2014
July 14: JED Eye, Radio X
July 21: Unknown Lyric, .45 Surprise
July 28: Disc Oasis, Groove
August 4: The US Army Material Command Band 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

All Because of a Softball Injury

Allow me to apologize for the lack of blogging this week. My only excuse is it's July which means it's time for le Tour and so when I get home in the evenings the only thing I want to do is watch the action from earlier in the day. So, bear with me this month if I'm not as apt to blog as I am in, say, October.

I'm sure you've all been wondering how my leg is doing, and even if you haven't been, I'm going to share anyway. As you may or may not recall, I suffered a softball injury about four and a half weeks ago. It was June 8 to be exact. I was playing second base and fell and scraped up my leg twice in the same spot that particular evening. The cuts were deep, a lot deeper than I realized, and my leg was not heeling as quickly as I would have liked.

A week after the injury, my leg was looking rather disgusting and some of the ladies in my Bible study group were concerned about it. My ankle also started swelling which was concerning as well and so I went to the doctor to have it checked out. I ended up getting a Tetanus shot, a prescription for antibiotic cream and instructions to change the bandage three times a day.

The wound got a little better throughout that week, but over the weekend, my friend Caley looked at it and said the redness around the wound still indicated there might be some infection. So, I called the doctor and he called in an oral antibiotic. He had told me the previous week to let him know if the wound wasn't clearing up well and he would call one in without me having to come in to the office and he did just that which was nice.

Fast forward to about a week and a half into the antibiotic cycle which just so happened to be July 4. I woke up with red spots on my arms and legs. I thought it might be some bug bites since I had mowed the lawn the night before, but throughout the day, the break out seemed to increase.

By Saturday, there were even more spots and they were itchy and I thought I might have measles, mumps, or Ruebella I ended up at the QuickCare Clinic because I was so itchy and concerned about the blemishes. As it turns out, I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and had to have a steroid shot. I got a steroid pack as well, but only took half a dose on Sunday and Monday and then it was all cleared up and so I abandoned the steroids because they make me a little nuts.

So, the injury is better, I'm nursing the area with Vitamin E Oil to help the skin heal and reduce scarring and I'm also all better from the allergic reaction. It's been a long road and I'm glad to almost have it all behind me. Clearly being 37 and playing softball might not have been the best decision of my life.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

On The Fourth of July

I hope everyone had a great holiday celebrating the birthday of this great country in which we live. I, for one, was just happy to have a day off from work - thanks, America!

I guess you could say my holiday started early, on Thursday, as we ended up cancelling my weight class at the gym. None of us were really in the mood to go, including our instructor and so it worked out well for everyone involved. I actually needed to mow the lawn and I knew it was going to be a long evening working in the yard, so I didn't want to get too late of a start.

I also got to leave work early, about 3:30 p.m. since there was hardly anyone there and since things were so slow and I had gotten done most of the things I needed to get done, I decided to call it a day early. Thus, I was able to get started on the yard early too. I guess I started on the yard about 5:30 p.m. and two and a half hours later, I was finally done.

Friday I did some cleaning and laundry and a lot of reading. I had started "Gone Girl" well over a year ago and didn't get very far at all, but then Jackie read it recently and said it was a must read and so this past week I picked it up again and read the whole darn thing. It was so stinking good. Clearly I was not in a reading mood when I first gave it a go. Anyway, the majority of the day was spent reading.

My parents had a gathering of people at their house at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and I headed there way a few minutes before that with macaroni and cheese in hand. It was a nice gathering of people and it was a fun afternoon. Jackie and the kids came too and we spent a lot of time listening to my dad tell crazy stories, which is one of my favorite things in the world. My dad definitely has a gift for telling stories.

About 8:30 p.m., Jackie and then kids and I headed into town and drove to the top of the parking garage where Jackie works to watch the fireworks at the Space and Rocket Center. We didn't have the greatest view in the world, but what was cool was that we could see fireworks from various places around the city as they were being shot off by people at their homes. There were so many fireworks going off at different times that it sounded what I imagine the streets of Kabul sound like. I'm weird, I know, but it totally sounded like gun shots going off in different parts of town.

After the Space and Rocket Center fireworks were complete, we drove to Joe Davis Stadium to try and catch the fireworks after the Stars game, but we got there too late and didn't see the first one. Oh well, you can't win it all.

Overall, it was a good holiday and I was blessed to spend it with people I love, the only one missing was my brother who was out selling cars. Hopefully he got a lot sales that day. Hope yours was good as well!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Brother, The Salesman

I owe you a story about visiting my brother at work and so here I am to pay my dues. For those of you who don't know, and that's probably most of you, my brother, Justin, works at Landers McClarty Nissan in Huntsville as a car salesman. He's been at that job for about two months now and he loves it. My brother, like my dad, is a natural born salesman and I have no doubt he will make a nice career for himself selling cars if he so chooses to stay in this profession.

Justin called me on Friday and asked if he could set up an appointment for me to come out on Saturday to look at new cars. They were having a big sale for current Nissan owners and he felt like thy could get me in a brand new car for the same, or close to the same, payment I currently have. I had no desire for a new car, but I told him I would come out. I didn't have anything going on Saturday and I thought it would be fun to visit Justin at work.

So, I went Saturday afternoon, got signed in and was given a coupon for a low priced oil change, waited while he finished up with the customer to whom he had just sold a car and chatted with the Nissan representative who was there for the sale.

When Justin finished up, we went out for a test drive of a 2014 Rogue. It was a platinum gray and had a grey interior. It also had a rear view camera and a rack on top which was about the only difference in my car and this one. It did, of course, drive better than mine, as it should since it was brand new. It was also a lot quieter than mine because it had some kind of new fancy transmission that Justin gave me the spill on.

When we got back from the test drive, he went to see what kind of deal he could give me. It really wasn't terribly, but it was about $75-$80 more than I currently pay and even he told me it was a bad deal. So, I left in the car I came in and I was okay with that because I like my car and am not ready to let it go anyway. I kind of get attached to my cars.

On Sunday, Justin called me and asked me to call him back. When I finally got in touch with him, he let me know he had spoken with a different sales manager and had gotten me a better deal. This time he had me within $40 of my current payment and said he would pay the difference if I would just buy the car. You see, each sales person was paired up with someone for the month of June and the top salesman of the pair would win $500. It was just a little tempting, but not too much because the loan would have been for six years and I should have mine paid off in three or so I just didn't want to sign up for more payment for more years. I really did want to help my brother and my heartstrings felt a little tugged on and sad, but in the end, I made the right decision and maybe one day in the future I will be able to buy a new car from my baby brother.

While we are on the topic, I do just want to let you all know how super proud I am of my brother. It's no secret that he has had his fair share of issues with addiction and incarceration and just generally being someone who causes us more heartache than happiness. He has done such a great job pulling himself together these last nine months. I pray and I ask that you pray that he is able to continue taking it one day at a time and that he will make the right choices. I was so proud to see him at his job on Saturday, y'all. It truly warmed my heart.

One last thing, a shamless plug, if you are in the market for a new or used car, go by and see my brother Justin at Landers McClarty Nissan in Huntsville. Tell him his sister Nat sent you.