Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Color Run - Huntsville - 2014

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I did The Color Run on Saturday morning and so, I am here to tell you all about it.

I have wanted to do a Color Run for quite a while and almost signed up for one in Nashville last year, but it was on a Sunday and just didn't work with my schedule. So, when I found out from a co-worker that The Color Run was FINALLY coming to Huntsville, I signed up the first day that entries were taken. I was looking so froward to it. The Color Run is nicknamed "The Happiest 5K on the Planet" and it it not a timed race so you can, walk, skip, hop or run, whatever strikes your fancy. The point of it all is to get people moving and have fun! Throughout the race, there are color stations where people will toss corn starched color on you and by the end of the race, the point is to be covered in color.

The start line opened at 9:00 a.m. and I arrived downtown about 8:30 or so. I left my phone in the car because the information sheet said that the color could get in your phone and if you were to bring your phone, put it in a plastic baggie. I wish I had brought it to take some pre-race photos and then bagged it up for the race; but, alas, I left it in the car the whole time.

After a quick bathroom break at Publix (thanks, Publix!) I made my way to the start line, but not before taking in the crowds and all the crazy people out and about. Most everyone was wearing white so that their color would show up once the race was over, but a lot of people also had crazy colored wigs or tutus or socks to accompany their outfits. I did not. I thought about wearing my pink tutu, but then decided against it because I didn't want to get color all over it.

Since I had never done one of these runs before, I really didn't know what to expect. So, I was taken off guard when I realized that not everyone starts at the same time. The let a few hundred or so people go and then hold the line for another five minutes or so. I am guessing this is so there won't be a backlog at the color stations. I had forgotten to eat that morning and so I was really hungry and wishing 1,000 times over that I had remembered to grab a granola bar and also praying I wouldn't pass out from low blood sugar and also wishing that my group would get to the start line quickly.

I don't know what time I made it across the start line but it had to be 9:30 or 9:45. I was so glad to finally be on my way. The way they do it makes sense thought because y'all, there were so many people. I'm quite sure there were more people at this race than the Liz Hurley Race and there are 5,000 or so at that race. There were people who clearly never do any sort of races and there were plenty of people walking. The craziest thing of all was that despite there being so many people there I did not see one person I knew which is nuts because I typically always run into one or two people who I know.

The race was fun. I know it would have been a lot more fun if I had been doing it with a group of friends and also if I had been feeling better. I almost didn't go that morning because of how bad I felt, but powered through and I'm glad I did. I know one thing, I need to add some more cardio to my routine. I get plenty of strength conditioning with JD the PT, but I have got to get back to walking more because I was so ready for those three miles to be over. The color stations were great, although there was a backlog of people at each color station so you had to wait your turn to go though and get "splashed". The poor people who were throwing color on people were covered head to toe in color. I felt so bad for them.

When I got home, I sprayed my shirt with vinegar and ironed it which is what you were supposed to do to keep the color on it. Sadly, after I washed it, all the color came out. I was hoping the color would stay in; but I guess I will be able to wear that shirt for the next Color Run.

Long story short, I'm really glad I did the race and if it comes to Huntsville again, I will definitely do it again. Although, I will probably try to recruit some friends to join me so it will be that much more fun. If The Color Run comes to your area, be sure and sign up. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Errands, Decorating, and the Return of Sinus Problems

It's Monday and I'm home from work because I haven't been feeling well. I started feeling bad Friday morning when I woke up with a scratchy throat and a lot of congestion and things just got worse from there. Thankfully, I had a refill on some antibiotics that were prescribed to not me, but Pippa. Yes, that's right folks, I'm taking my dog's medicine. The first time I got it filled the pharmacist told me the next time I wasn't feeling well I could have it filled and take it myself and that is exactly what I did. I picked it up on Saturday and began taking it that evening. While I'm feeling better than I was, I didn't sleep a wink Sunday night thanks to a late afternoon Clariton D. So, the combination of no sleep and not feeling 100% was enough for me to stay home and take it easy.

Does anyone else feel incredibly guilty when they take a sick day? I mean, we have sick days for times like this but I think our American work ethic makes us feel guilty when we use them. At least this is how it is for me and also my friend Meri. We've had this conversation numerous times. At any rate, I have done absolutely nothing today and am looking forward to feeling better so I can get back to work and also because I'm headed to Gatlinburg this weekend and I definitely want to feel better for that.

Friday after work, I ran some errands and got quite a bit accomplished before I made it home. The first stop was the eye doctor where I picked up both my glasses and contacts. I think these glasses are going to work this go around and hopefully I won't have to return to the doctor for the fifth week in a row. After that, I went out to Bridge Street to pick up my race packet for The Color Run. At this point in the day I wasn't even sure if I would make it to The Color Run because of how bad I was feeling.

I then went by Party City to buy some paper Halloween lanterns I had seen on their web site. They are super cute and I have them hanging in various places in the house. The next stop was Target where I picked up a Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks to soothe my aching throat as well as some cough drops and Gummy Airborne. It is here where I will say that I'm a firm believe in Airborne. Right now is the first time in six months I've had any sinus issues and I've been taking Airborne everyday. It could be psychological, but I really believe it has helped. After grabbing some dinner, I headed home for the night and basically bedded down and watched some TV.

Saturday morning was The Color Run which I think I'll write about in a separate post because I need something else to write about this week. For now, I'll say that despite my feeling bad, it was still fun. That afternoon I made a quick trip to Publix to pick up a few groceries and some prescriptions, including the aforementioned antibiotic.

Since I'm going to be out of town this coming weekend, I decided to go ahead and bring out the Halloween decorations. I had bought some pumpkins for the front porch on Friday morning before work so I had set those out when I got home that evening. The inside stuff I knocked out pretty quickly and it looks rather festive if I do say so myself.

Sunday morning, I visited my old church for Friend's Day. I was invited by my friend Pat and I never told her for sure that I was coming so she was surprised, It was really great to see all the familiar faces of people I have known and loved my whole life. We had a pot luck after class and that was also good. The Chase Park folks really know how to cook.

I came home after church and finished up the laundry and cleaning. I didn't go to evening service because I was just not feeling like leaving the house again and had a lot of congestion and didn't want to leave the comfort of the couch, which leads us to today and I think I've already described how that's going.

With any luck, the congestion and headache and general feeling of "ick" will be gone soon and I'll be back to normal. Here's to good health and a better rest of the week for me and you!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soon, I Shall Be Called Spider Woman

Does anyone else have a spider problem because I feel like half the spiders in North Alabama have taken up residence on the front side of my house. Thank the good Lord these spiders have stayed outside because I loathe spiders and don't deal with them or any other kind of bug in a composed fashion. I suppose the monthly visit from the bug man keeps the spiders outside, I don't know. At any rate, they have taken over the front of my house. 

Every morning and most evenings, the spiders have weaved ginormous webs and they typically span from one side of my house to the porch and there's not just one or even two, there's generally three or four or even five giant webs. I don't know if it's the time of year or really what the deal is, but lately I have knocked down more spider webs than I care to count and I'm terrified one is going to get on me and bite me. This is especially my fear when I'm mowing in the front which is why I have not mowed along the side of my house in a sweet forever. There are enormous bushes between my house and Charlie's house and I just know there are spiders there and they are going to land on my and bit me and I'll die a spider kind of death just because I was mowing the grass.  I have an active imagination. Long story short, I'm ready for the spiders to leave because I don't think they are planning on spelling out any words to save a pig. 

My shrubs also need to be trimmed up and I suspect this has lent a hand to the massive spider population. I don't have any hedge trimmers though nor have I ever even trimmed a hedge so I probably need my dad to tell me how to do this and get it done, but then I'm terrified I'll get bitten so it's kind of a Catch-22. I have envisioned myself in long sleeves with the sleeves duct-taped down so no spider can crawl up my sleeve. The aforementioned bushes also need to have some work done to them. I asked Charlie last year if I could cut them down and he said yes, only I know no one with a chain saw which has prevented me from doing anything about them. I need to be more persistent in trying to find someone though because I really hate those bushes and want them gone! 

In other bug news... I mentioned that I had a no good terrible day on Monday. Well, when I got home from Bible study Monday night I was laying on the couch watching TV when all of a sudden I noticed something had caught Pippa's eye. That something, my friends, was a giant roach crawling up the wall. I have seen one of these once before inside the kitchen and another time on the porch. They are giant and gross and pretty much scare the poo out of me. 

I immediately jumped up, ran through the bedrooms, put on a pair of shoes and was out the front door. I ran across the street to Jeff's house and knocked on his door, interrupting his late night movie. I explained the situation, told him I was terrified and would he please come and get it? Bless his heart, Jeff is the best neighbor of all time, y'all! He came on over and got that roach (after much laughing) while I stood on the porch. He was kind enough to take the dead rodent back to his house so I wouldn't be fearful of its coming back alive and crawling out of the garbage or the toilet (I wanted to flush it). 

Generally speaking, I don't really have a lot of bugs because I have the bug man come once a month, but occasionally one or two will slip through the cracks but they are usually small. This thing was HUGE. I am so grateful to Jeff for coming to the rescue. I really do have the best neighbor in the world, y'all! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's The Fall of the Year 2014

Monday at 9:29 p.m. marked the official start of Fall for 2014 and I couldn't be happier that the season has arrived. I'm ready to put long hot summer days behind me and bring out the sweaters and boots. The weather has cooled off a little bit which is nice, but I'm ready for crisp breezy afternoons which will hopefully arrive soon. To be honest, I'm ready for the clock to fall back an hour as well. This is the time of year when I get up before the sun and I hate that it's pitch black when my alarm clock goes off. I'm ready for a sliver of sun to shine through the windows when I get up each day. 

I got to church really early Sunday night and was going to send off a barrage of random tweets but instead, I decided to write all my random thoughts down and put them in a blog post because for some strange reason a lot of you love it when I just ramble on about nothing in particular. 

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a great experience at the Publix pharmacy and so, I shall elaborate on that. After church Sunday morning, I stopped by to pick up groceries and some medicine that the ortho doctor had called in for my knee. When they rang up the medicine it was $64 and I said, thanks but no thanks. I told them to hold on to it and I would search the world wide web to see if I could find a coupon. That afternoon, I searched and found a coupon that would allow me to get the medicine for only $4. I went back to Publix before church that evening and as I was walking by the pharmacy counter to grab some vitamins I had forgotten that afternoon, the tech recognized me (kudos to her for that) and asked me what I wanted to do about the medicine. I told her I had found a coupon and was there to turn it in. When I gave her the coupon, it was missing a code that apparently didn't print out; but, the pharmacist was kind enough to look it up for me using The Google and I was able to get my medicine for $4 which is a heck of a lot better than $64. The folks there were so nice and helpful and it was just a great overall experience. The prescription, by the way, was for Celebrex. I'm sure I'll be dancing and doing yoga just like the old people on those Celebrex commercials in no time. 

Speaking of Publix, I don't recall if I ever mentioned this, but a few months ago, I went to my mailbox and had a surprise package from my friend Erika. She had sent me a "I Heart Publix" t-shirt and y'all I do, truly love Publix. The shirt made me laugh and I love it! Erika knows me very well!

After leaving Publix Sunday afternoon, I was stopped at the intersection of Whitesburg and Airport and there was a woman standing on the corner. No, not that kind of woman! This corner is known for protesters and so I was fully expecting this woman to have some kind of political sign. Instead, the woman (who was wearing a glittery purple mask to conceal her identity I assume) was holding up a sign that said, "YOU MATTER". I applaud this woman because you know what? You do matter and how awesome of her to spread some good cheer. It reminded me of Kid President. I think he would have enjoyed this woman and her sign as well. 

In other random news, the new season of Downton Abbey started in the UK this past Sunday which means there are only 15 more weeks until it will air here in the US. For the record, I do not care to rush through these next 15 weeks as this is the most wonderful time of the year (Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas); but, still, I am excited about the new season! 

As of Monday, there were only 100 days left in 2014 which means by the time you read this there will be less than 100 days left in the current year. Seriously, how and why does time pass so quickly? 

So far one of the best parts of my week has been planning out a play list for our upcoming road trip with my cousins Anna and Lauren. The three of us are going to a Pearl Jam concert in Memphis in about three weeks. Neither of them are PJ fans, but since the two folks who were originally supposed to go backed out for various reasons, these two cousins of mine graciously decided to step in. I'm looking forward to a fun road trip and anxious to see how our road trip play list comes out because there were a wide range of songs and artists requested. 

Thus began the first week of the Fall of the Year 2014! I have no doubt the remainder of the season has lots of good things in store.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It Was The Last Weekend of Summer

I had every intention of posting something yesterday, but I seriously had a horrible no good day. I feel like if it could have gone wrong it did go wrong, starting with the fact that my I couldn't see a thing out of my new glasses and had to leave work to go back to the eye doctor. As it turns out, the doctor changed my contacts to correct my astigmatism, but did not change my glasses to reflect the astigmatism and so I couldn't see much at all with the glasses on. In fact, I could see better out of my glasses that were eight years old. My new glasses were sent off to have the lenses replaced and I'm hoping against hope that this time they might be right. September has been a month fraught with eye problems; at least I can see out of the contacts. Let's just hope they ordered the right ones.  

Anyway, by the time I got home from work, I was just over the day, but I still had Bible study that evening which was actually great as I love all the women who come and it's nice to share our thought and prayer requests with one another. When I got home from Bible study. the last thing I wanted to do was write a post. I had a splitting headache from the chaos of the day and so I just watched a little TV and called it a night. 
Last weekend was really not very eventful which was perfectly okay by me because I feel like I've got so much going on in October I can hardly keep up with it all. Madison Academy was playing away Friday night and since we didn't feel like driving an hour and half out of town to see another slaughter, my dad and I took the night off from high school football. I had made big plans to mow the grass on Friday night, but by the time I got home, my blood sugar was feeling off and I just didn't have the energy to fight my lawnmower. So, I postponed the mowing until Saturday. 

Instead, I took a brief nap and then spent the rest of the evening watching "The Roosevelts, An Intimate Portrait." This was a 14-hour series that aired last week on PBS and was produced by Ken Burns, who, as you probably know, if famous for his very lengthy documentaries. I think most people probably groan when they hear Ken Burns' name. I do not because I am a nerd. I am here to announce that I watched all 14 hours of "The Roosevelts" over the weekend and my goodness, I enjoyed every single minute of it. I found it to be extremely interesting and insightful and I really can't recommend it enough. Although my Papa would have been a young boy when FDR was in office, I often wished he was still around so I could ask him what he remembered of the FDR administration. I'm sure he would have been able to recall something his father would have said or been able to tell me something about the times. Sadly, these are things we don't often think to ask when our loved ones are here with us. At any rate, I was engrossed with the documentary and even dreamed about the Roosevelts all weekend.If you get a chance, especially if you are a lover of history, try to see this series. I really cannot say enough good things about it. 

On Saturday morning, I was up way earlier than I wanted to be (5:30 a.m.) thanks to my internal alarm. I made the most of it by knocking out some laundry and cleaning and made some muffins for breakfast. Around 9:00 a.m. I changed into my yard working clothes and tackled the yard. I'm sure my late sleeping neighbors were thrilled. I spent an hour and a half or so working on the yard. Pippa spent most of the time outside with me. She is actually good as far as staying away from the mower, whereas The Tide would just stand in front of it and bark. I let The Pip back inside and then she came back out and then back inside. After finishing up, I went inside and cooled off before taking a shower and some Benedryl as the grass tends to mess with my sinuses. Soon after, I noticed that two muffin tops were missing and upon further evaluation I noticed that not only were two muffin tops missing, but so were two whole muffins. Apparently Pippa decided to help herself on those trips in the house while I was outside mowing. She's no fool, y'all. The remainder of Saturday was spent napping and watching football and the aforementioned "The Roosevelts". 

Sunday was nothing out of the ordinary, but I did have a great experience at the Publix pharmacy which I think I will save for tomorrow's post because I've typed way more than I ever thought I would about a weekend that involved a whole lot of nothing. It was however, relaxing and enjoyable and really that's all that matters. Hope yours was good too!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sometimes Life Is Uninteresting

I wish I had something very exciting to write about today; but, alas, I do not. The weekdays are rather boring and routine which doesn't provide great blogging material. This morning I went to the eye doctor for the third week in a row. The doctor and I had some trouble getting my prescription right. After eight years of the same prescription, I knew there would be a big change this go around and I was right. The first shot at my new prescription was unsuccessful, but we got it right on the second visit and on the third visit, I finally got to order some new glasses and contacts. Needless to say, I'm a wee bit poorer this afternoon than I was this morning. 

Thursday afternoon I head to see the orthopedist. I have probably mentioned at some point that I've been having trouble with my left knee. Back in July, I was working out with my favorite trainer Josh and went to do a squat and ended up yelling out in pain because of my knee. I've been hoping against hope that the pain would miraculously disappear but it has not and so I'm off to the orthopedist this week. I have no idea what he's going to tell me but I fear it won't be good. Mostly I've just got my fingers crossed for a diagnosis because knowing the problem is a lot better than not knowing. 
Speaking of my favorite trainer Josh, he has a blog and I promised him an eternity ago that I would share it with you all and I have failed to do that...until now! So, when you get a chance, check out JD the PT and leave him a comment or two. 

In other completely random news, people keep mentioning the fall weather and I think they've all gone mad. The last time I checked, fall weather was temperatures in the 60s, not the 80s. When there's a briskness in the air and I need a sweatshirt at a football game then, my friends, fall has arrived. Until then, we're continuing to experience a mild summer. If I'm sweating under the heat of the sun, it's not fall. 

I saw on the world wide web today that Birmingham is getting Alabama's first Trader Joe's. I'm jealous. That's all. 

Usually by this time of the year I am deep into my Christmas shopping and close to being done or at least I know most of what I'm getting everyone. This year, not so much. I'm struggling with trying to find some Christmas cheer in which to get going on the presents. I have bought a handful of things, but am not nearly as far along as I would like to be. Oddly enough, I'm almost finished with my mom's Christmas and she is the one who I usually have the most difficult time buying for. This year, however, I'm treating her to dinner and a James Taylor concert in Nashville and so that is taking up the majority of her Christmas allotment. We are both looking forward to spending some time together and enjoying a good show. 

I'm still on the lookout for a Diet Coke with my name on it so if you see a "Natasha" bottle, grab it for me. 

That's all the rambling I'm going to do for now. Have a good Wednesday evening and/or Thursday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Redbook L'Oreal House Party

Recently, I was selected to host a House Party for Redbook and L'Oreal. The party was this past Monday night, and nine of my favorite friends were in attendance for a night of food, fun and laughter. 

The party started at 6:00 p.m. and we kicked things off with, what else, food. I cooked a plethora of snack foods including a cheese ball, chicken ball, spinach dip, tea cakes and other goodies. The food was good if I do say so myself and I think everyone enjoyed it. 

During the party, two brave souls sampled the L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Eye Smoother. Erika and Leah agreed to let me take before and after pictures of their eyes. Sadly, I didn't get an after photo of Leah. I did, however, give the product a try myself the next night and have posted a before and after of me and Erika here. I'm not sure if you can tell or not, but the product works well. I even had some people text me the next day saying they tried it at home and that it worked and they liked it. 

During the party we all also received a full sized lip balm as well as more samples from L'Oreal which included shampoo and conditioner, and Revitalift Miracle Blur for the face. One of the best things we all received was a free one-year subscription to Redbook. I also sent the girls home with cards to give a friend for a subscription. Since I had a few cards left over, I also sent a subscription to my mom and my Aunt Linda. I think everyone will really enjoy the magazine. 

I actually have two free subscriptions left to pass out. So, if you are interested in a free one-year Redbook subscription, leave a comment and let me know and I'll see about sending one your way. If I get more than two comments requesting a subscription, I'll use random,org, otherwise, I'll contact you to get your mailing information. 

The Redbook L'Oreal House Party was a super fun night for me and my friends. A big thanks to all the sponsors, House Party, Redbook and L'Oreal for providing us with a fun excuse to get together and have some fun! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Slightest Hint of Fall

A cold front supposedly rolled through Northern Alabama on Thursday night/Friday morning and I was excited to wear jeans to the football game on Friday night. It's the little things, y'all. I left work early Friday to take The Pip to the vet as it was time for her annual shots. There is one girl at the front desk who always remembers Pippa and I really like that about this vet's office (although there are other things I'm not keen about). Pippa is "affectionately" known as "Wild Child" by the doctor that we see. She was very skittish when I took her in this time. I think she is afraid I'm going to leave her there. Clearly boarding her there during my trip to Hawaii was a very traumatizing experience because she hid behind me each time the doctor or his assistant came into the room. 

I had Dr. C. look at her paws which have been red and on which she has been gnawing. The last time I had her nails trimmed the girl told me she though The Pip probably had some allergy problems and it turned out to be true. She was put on Prednisone for the week to clear up the allergies and then she goes on Benedryl. I paid the outrageous bill (thanks to buying a years supply of heartworm medicine) and we were on our way. 

My dad came around 6: 15 p.m. or so to pick me up for the Friday night MA game; but, alas, the aforementioned "cold front" that came through wasn't so cold and I was back in shorts for another warm Friday night at the stadium. The game was supremely boring as MA was up 50-0 at the half and we left after the homecoming queen was announced. Sadly, the gal we were rooting for didn't win. 

On Saturday morning, I was up bright and early to start the day and the cleaning of the house. I had an appointment to take my car to the dealership at 9:15 a.m. The week before, I had taken the car in to be diagnosed and the result was that the left wheel bearing needed to be replaced. So, the part was ordered and I took it in to be repaired. I caught a ride home thanks to Billy and the shuttle service offered by the dealership. I watched some football and did some more cleaning before finding out the car would be ready around 2:00 p.m. Billy picked me up and took me back to the dealership to pick up my car. 
Before leaving, I went and checked in with Justin who was working. Sadly, they weren't selling many cars. I'm guessing football Saturdays in the South is not a good time for car salesmen.

I made it back home an hour or so before the Alabama kick-off and spend the rest of the evening watching football and tending to The Pip. Prednisone makes her kind of lethargic and mopey. So she wasn't too wild and rambunctious over the weekend. That evening, I did open the windows of the house for a while. My neighbors had an outdoor fire, I had football on TV and there was a slight breeze in the air. It was the slightest hint of fall, a tease of the good weather to come. 

Sunday morning was the usual trip to church and then the grocery store and then home for lunch and I did some cooking in the afternoon for a get together I'm hosting Monday night. That afternoon, I rode back to church with Paul and Leah for the Huddles kick-off for the 2014-15 school year. Huddles is a program we have at church with the youth kids. Since our youth group is so large, designated adults are Huddles leaders to help develop closer relationships with the kids and help to insure that no kids fall through the cracks. I'm a 9th grade leader and Paul and Leah have 11th grade. This is my first year helping out and I think it's going to be a lot of fun and and interesting experience. Huddles meets once a month for a time of fellowship and a devotional. I'm looking forward to seeing what this year brings.

Needless to say, it was a rather busy weekend as most fall weekends are. I'm definitely looking forward to cooler weather and bringing our the long sleeve shirts, hot chocolate, and cider. There's no better time of year!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

And The Winner Is...

I'm a day late posting the winner; so, I guess I should say sorry about that. Hopefully it was worth the wait for Comment #2, Candy, who is the winner of the most recent book giveaway. Congrats, Candy! I know your JC will love this book!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Tour of LST 235

This past Saturday morning, my dad and I ventured over to Decatur to tour LST 325, a Navy boat that landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II. The boat is the only operational vehicle remaining from WWII; there are other vehicles from this time period around, but they are non-operational. The boat was docked in Ingalls Harbor in Decatur from Thursday, September 4 - Tuesday, September 9.

The tours began at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and we arrived around 8:40 a.m. There were already quite a few folks in line when we got there. A gentleman who served in WWII on a battleship was in line behind us. He served the country in the waters of the northern Pacific ocean and never actually saw battle, which I'd say was very good luck for him. 

The folks working on the boat actually started letting us in a few minutes before nine. The cost was $10 for adults and $5 for children, all of which go to the restoration of the boat, which is now called a memorial. The lower deck where we entered had various radios, equipment and uniforms used by soldiers on display. They also had a Jeep from the era which also happened to be used on the show MASH. They had replicas of the sand tables which the soldiers studied so they would know the lay of the land without (in theory) needing a map. Along the railing as you entered as well as in other places throughout the boat were pictures of the boat in action and sailors who served, I thought all of these were very interesting. 

The other decks included the places where the sailors would have slept and also the barracks where the army guys would have slept if the boat was transporting them somewhere. We walked past the kitchen and the captains quarters and also the wheelhouse. The tour lasted about an hour, maybe a little less and covered all decks of the ship. We even got to try our hand at what it would be like to work one of the guns on the top deck. There were lots of people in line to get in when we wrapped up our tour. I was glad to see so many people come out to see this old war boat. It was a very interesting tour and it was great that we were able to experience this little bit of American history before it left the shores of Northern Alabama. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Tervis Tumbler

I have to share with y'all a story of great customer service. It has to do with y very first and favorite Tervis Tumbler. Tervis is a brand of double walled tumblers that I'm sure you've seen in stores and in the hands of your friends and family members. They keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold and they are just generally all around great. They also come with a lifetime warranty. If your Tervis stops working, gets a crack, etc. they will replace it free of charge. 

I purchased my first Tervis at the 93rd PGA Championship in Atlanta back in 2011. It was the only souvenir I purchased from the tournament and I have used that Tervis more times than I can count. A few months ago, I noticed that there was water between the two walls of my tumbler. I  was so sad about ti because it is my favorite Tervis and has great memories for me and I didn't want to have to throw it out. I knew about the lifetime warranty, but didn't want a replacement, I wanted a new tumbler with the PGA Championship logo in it. 

Finally, last month, I contacted Tervis to see if they could take the emblem out of my Tervis and put it in a new one and what do you know, they could! I filled out a return form, mailed it to them in a bubble envelope and about three weeks later, my new and improved Tervis arrived in the mail. They were able to take out the emblem and put it in a new tumbler and I didn't have to pay one penny. 

I'm so glad to have my favorite Tervis back in action looking as good as new. If you have ever thought about purchasing a Tervis but were concerned about paying a high price for the tumbler, do it. The customer service alone if worth the price. I have been and will continue to be a repeat customer. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Desperate Diva Diaries

~~ This Giveaway is now Closed ~~

Today's book review is of a delightful book for the tween in your life. It's the first book in a series called "The Desperate Diva Diaries" . This particular book is subtitiled: "Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship, and Fashion Disasters!" It is written by Angie Spady and illustrated by Channing Everidge. Here's a blurb about the book and series...

"Meet Catie Conrad – a typical tween Christian girl with, oh, the weight of the world on her shoulders. And if it isn’t bad enough – no one seems to understand the social pressures of being the greatest at everything, donning the latest fashion and carrying the trendiest technology Catie’s dad is about to uproot her and her family to an Indian reservation during spring break for his job. Throw in a school dance, a major art contest and an arch nemesis known only as Miranda Maroni and there’s bound to be an epic meltdown of biblical proportions. Or, maybe not.

The first book in a new series titled "Desperate Diva Diaries," "Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship, and Fashion Disasters," chronicles both the small triumphs and general mishaps of sixth-grade Christian want-to-be diva Catie Conrad. While her Christian journalist father is often a co-conspirator to making Catie’s life interesting with mission trips and church projects, Catie never ceases to realize God’s hand in all situations."

There are so many things I love about this book. First, it's written like a diary, which is perfect for tween girls. At the beginning of the book, Catie is not even remotely thrilled about receiving a diary from her dad; but, as you might expect, by the end of the book, she really is enjoying writing in the diary, even though she may not say it in so many words. I also love that in addition to the actual words of the diary, there are also great illustrations. It seriously looks like something you might actually see in a young girls' diary. I love also that there is humor throughout the pages. As someone who loves to laugh and deals with most of life in some form of laughter, I can truly appreciate Catie's humor, especially when it is a little sarcastic. What I love most though, is that no matter the situation Catie encounters, she always sees that God is helping/has helped her through the situation through the love and support of her family, friends, and teachers. She knows God is watching over her and will get her through her difficult middle school dramas. 

"The Desperate Diva Diaries" is perfect for the tween girl in your life. I know a few tween gals who I think would love this book. I have no doubt I would have loved it as a pre-teen girl. It's so great that someone has written a book geared towards young girls which helps them understand God's hand is on every aspect of our lives. If you are interested in receiving a copy of this book, simply leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will be opened until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 12 and the winner will be announced on Saturday, September 13. 

Thanks for reading and good luck! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

And The Winner Is...

Congrats to Margaret Stabler on her win of the Graham Blanchard book "Your Core". Please contact me at thechroniclesofnat@gmail.com to claim your winnings. Thanks to Margaret and my cousin Chris who entered the giveaway. I think I'll give Chris my copy of the book just because I'm quite sure this was his first ever time to stop by the blog. Thanks to the five or so people who stop by the read my words. Have a great weekend

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer Home Improvement

I mentioned a month or so ago that my neighbor's friend had accidentally backed into the fence between my house and hers. As a result, he contacted his insurance company and they came out to estimate the damage and gave me a nice settlement and because of this, I was able to finally have the fencing in the back of my house repaired as well as the fencing that had been hit by the truck and also have the fencing at the front of the backyard replaced. I'm so happy with the results and I wanted to share them with you.

Here are photos of the fencing at the back of my property before, during, and after the repairs. This fencing was actually damaged when my shed blew away last year and I haven't had a chance to repair it. Rick, who did the repairs, put a gate in at the back and straightened up the bent fencing. I've wanted a gate at the back since I first moved in. This makes it so much easier for mowing the small part of my yard behind the fence in the back alley and allows me to go visit the neighbors back there without having to jump the fence or walk around the block to get to their homes. I am so happy with the way this turned out.

These next set of pictures are of the fencing at gate at the front of my backyard. When we redid the house nine years ago, we put white vinyl fencing in which looked nice at first; but, after years of use and dogs jumping on it and lawnmowers running into it, it looked terrible. There were numerous spokes missing and my friend Pat had her husband Dave put a piece of plywood on the fencing so Pippa wouldn't get out. It was just awful looking. Rick took down the old vinyl fencing and put up some black aluminum fencing that looks similar to wrought iron. The result was great. The fencing looks so great and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

I also mentioned on the blog a while back how my mailbox had toppled over and I had attempted to repair it. My attempts, however, where not so successful and the mailbox finally met its demise. Rick was kind enough to put up a new mailbox for me as well which is much, much sturdier than its predecessor.

That's it for the summer home repairs. I'm so thankful that Rick had some time to take care of these things for me and get my property looking good again. There's no telling what the next home improvement project will be.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Weekend Involved No Labor

Hope you all enjoyed the Labor Day Weekend. I don't know about you, but I was very grateful for the extra day. I'm sure I've said it before but it would be so great if we just had one three-day weekend a month. If I were to ever own a business, I think that's what we would do. Goodness knows we could all use an extra break every now and then. 

Friday after work, I had a little over an hour at home before I headed out again. I picked my brother up from work and we went to the football game at Madison Academy. It was an extremely boring game as MA was leading 28-0 at the half and it was at that point we left. My brother was not conversational in the least and I was bored and so we hit the road. We went back to my house where my granddad soon picked up my brother and took him back home. 

Saturday morning I was up bright and early for a haircut appointment. After my haircut, I took Pippa down to the dog wash so I could give her a bath and she could get her nails trimmed. Her nails seem to grow super fast and she had not had a bath in quite some time so she was overdue. The rest of the day I stayed in from the hot sun and watched football. I cannot believe it is already football season. It sure doesn't seem like it. 

Sunday was the usual church-going activities and Sunday evening I met up with some friends for dinner downtown. I had the Shrimp and Grits at Below the Radar and they were delightful. 

Monday I met up with my dad, aunt and cousins for some putt-putt at Southern Adventures. We got there when they opened and got started soon after and it was blazing hot outside. We managed to get all 18 holes played in a little over an hour and every one of us got a hole in one at some point on the course. My dad was the champion this year (we did the same thing last year), and I finished fifth. The only reason I didn't finish last was because my cousin Brittany had gone inside with her baby who was being eaten up by the mosquitoes. If she had kept on playing, I probably would have finished last which is probably where I finished in last year's tourney. Oh well, someone has to drag up the end of the line. 

After playing putt-putt, I took my sweaty and no-doubt stinky self to Publix to pick up a few groceries and then went home to cook a couple of things for a cookout at the home of my friends, Paul and Leah. I made a cake and a pasta salad which I then proceeded to drop all over the kitchen floor. Let me tell you something folks, Italian dressing is no fun to clean up off of hardwood floors. I made another pasta salad and this time didn't drop it. 

I went to the cookout around 4:00 p.m. and enjoyed visiting with everyone. I got back home around 7:30 p.m. and watched the last college football game of the weekend between Louisville and Miami before turning in for the night to get ready for another work week.