Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Hustle and Bustle

The past few days have been crazy for me and I'm sure they have for you as well. I've been trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and have had a million other things going on as well. I guess not really a million, but it sure seems like it. 

Sunday night at church we had a special Thanksgiving service and afterwards I headed over to my friend Kristen's house (along with some other friends) to make Christmas sweatshirts. We are all participating in the Galaxy of Lights Fun Run this coming Tuesday and I thought it would be fun for us to make a tacky Christmas sweatshirt to wear. Kristen and I ordered iron-ons with our name on them and the other girls made reindeer shirts. They all turned out cute/tacky and I'm looking forward to us wearing them when we go to the Fun Run. 

Monday after work, I had a doctor's appointment. I mentioned a while back about my appointment with the vein doctor. I went to my second ultrasound on Monday so they could prove to the insurance that I have some varicose veins and that I need to have them repaired. It will probably be early next year before I do anything about it, if I do. I think I want to, but the thought of wearing stockings for two weeks is less than appealing. So, we'll see. 

After my doctor's appointment, I went by my cousin Lauren's house to pick up my bag of yearbooks that I had left at her house. I ended up talking to her for about 30 minutes or so. Then, I went by the home of Paul and Leah to have dinner. Leah's parents and brother are in town from Texas and she had a lot of leftovers from a wedding Paul was in this past weekend and so we all ate some delicious food and enjoyed some fellowship. I had grand plans of starting some cooking on Monday, but after stuffing my belly at Paul and Leah's. cooking was the last thing I wanted to do. 

Tuesday after work, I went by Hobby Lobby where I ran into none other than Paul and Leah and her parents and they invited me over for dinner again. I grabbed the things I needed (I am making a Christmas tutu for the Fun Run) and then swung by Publix to get a handful of items for a pie I have decided I want to make. As much as I wanted to go by Paul and Leah's for dinner, I knew I should be disciplined and go home instead and so I sent her a text and said I was going to be responsible and go home and get some things crossed off my list. I did just that and started some of my cooking for Thanksgiving. 

That brings us to Wednesday, which is currently today, but probably isn't today by the time you read this. For the past few years, I have gone to a movie on the eve of Thanksgiving and that is exactly what I did this year too. After work, I caught the 4:30 p.m. showing of Mockingjay Part I. I have so been looking forward to this movie and it did not disappoint. My cousin Jan met me there so we could both have some down time before finishing up our cooking. 

I went home after the movie and got a big chunk of cooking done so that there wouldn't be much left for Thursday. This year we are having a larger group than normal for Thanksgiving and I think we are all looking forward to a good meal and a good time together. Hope you and your family have a great day as well! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

It Wiped Us Out

Y'all, this past weekend was exhausting and really I don't know why because I feel like I accomplished absolutely nothing. I didn't even get the sheets changed on my bed which is usually the first thing I do on Saturdays. I'm usually a very good planner, but had a lot of oddly times activities going on Saturday and so mostly I just felt like I was running around like a crazy person all day. 

I got up around 6:00 a.m. and started some laundry, ate some breakfast, cleaned the kitchen and spent the next few hours doing something. I know I watched some TV, but I feel like I also did some straightening or putting things away but for the life of me couldn't even tell you what that was. I had an appointment for an oil change at the Goodyear downtown at 10:00 a.m. and so about 10 minutes til, I headed out the door.

The oil change took about an hour and I used that time to clip and sort coupons and plan out my shopping trip to Publix. After the oil change, I had about 45 minutes - an hour to kill before I had to pick up my produce basket for the week. I didn't want to go to the grocery store until after I got my basket so I could see what was inside and determine what I might or might not need to add to the grocery store list. 

So, I went by the new Wal-Mart to pick up a sweatshirt and some fabric paint because some friends and I were planning to decorate sweatshirts on Sunday night for next week's Galaxy of Lights Fun Run. Have I lost you yet? While on the way to Wal-Mart, I decided to get a car wash, but as I arrived at the wash, I remembered it was supposed to rain on Sunday and so I decided against a clean car and drove on to Wal-Mart instead. 

I picked up the things I needed and some things I didn't and then made my way to pick up my produce basket. This week's basket was kind of disappointing I thought. Two whole things of celery (which I will be lucky to eat before it goes bad), cranberries, garlic, sweet potatoes (only three, but they were huge), one pound of green beans, one pound of brussels sprouts, a few oranges, a few apples, mushrooms, a pineapple, and a few bananas. I'll probably eat the majority of the items, but for some reason, I was a wee bit disappointed. 

After I got my basket, I headed to Publix and spent about an hour there spending way more money than I ever intended. I left with two shopping carts of groceries by the time they got it bagged up. I blame this on the fact that I needed stuff for Thanksgiving and also because Publix had the best sale ad ever this week and it was hard to pass up some things which I know will be used and will carry me through the Christmas season. With all the in-ad savings and my coupons, I saved $110 and really, despite the fact I came out of the store with two carts and spent more money than I intended, the price was surprisingly reasonable. 

By the time I got home, unloaded the groceries and put away the cold stuff, it was nearly 2:00 p.m. and time for me to shower and change into some decent looking clothes because Pippa and I had plans to have our Christmas card picture made at Green Mountain. We left the house around 3:15 p.m. to meet my friend Kristen at 3:45 p.m. for our photos. She had a shoot before us which was running a little late so we walked around until about 4:00 p.m. when she wrapped up with the other family. The park closed at 4:30 p;.m. so we didn't have a lot of time; but, in those 30 minutes, Kristen managed to take over 400 photos of me and my insane dog who was being anything but cooperative. There were so many people and so many other dogs roaming around that Pippa wouldn't sit or look at Kristen when her name was called or really do anything at all that we wanted. When the park closed, we finally gave up and hoped there might be one good photo in the hundreds that were taken. 

Of course, as soon as we got into the car to go home, Pippa laid down in the back seat and went to sleep. Heaven forbid she be that calm for picture taking! Since she had rolled around in the leaves all afternoon and had been playing outside quite a bit lately, I decided to stop by the dog wash on the way home, but the wash was booked until closing time. So, The Pip just got her nails trimmed and we scheduled the bath for the next day. 

When we got home, it was close to 5:30 p.m. and we were both worn out! I changed clothes, laid down on the couch and more or less fell asleep immediately. Pippa laid beside me and also fell asleep. I think I got up around 8:30 p.m. and changed out some laundry and then crawled in the bed and slept the rest of the night. Like I said, I didn't really accomplish much, but for some reason, I was worn out and Pippa was too and it made for a very quiet evening in Five Points.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Love The Winter Weather

Well, in case you missed it, the whole country has been under a massive freeze this week. Some of us are lucky enough to thaw out over the weekend and next week before the next round hits. Others of us, however, aren't so lucky. When I lived in Niagara Falls a long, long time ago, I saw my fair share of snow. I cannot even imagine the amount of snow they have right now. I wish I could see my old apartment building. I'd love to know how tall the snow was at my former home.

Here in Alabama w haven't had any snow, but we've had quite a chill. One day this week it was colder in Huntsville than it was in Alaska. That doesn't even remotely make sense. It's like we skipped fall all together. Admittedly I love the cooler weather. I'm a big fan of sweaters and coats and hats and gloves and scarves and all the other fun accessories that come this time of year.

The bad things about it being cold outside is that it is steaming hot at work. I'm tempted to buy a portable air conditioner it's so stinkin' hot! I (and others) have emailed the head maintenance man asking for him to turn down the heat; but alas, our pleas fall on deaf ears. Today, I wore a short sleeve shirt under my sweater and cost and early in the morning, I had already shed the sweater and despite the fact I was in short sleeves, I was still hot.

I don't know if it's the combination of cold outside and sweltering hot inside, but something had got a lot of folks at the office coughing and hacking and not feeling well, myself included. I stopped by the Quick Care after work on Wednesday because I had a sore throat and wanted to nip it before it got worse. I also want to make sure I'm 100% well before my surgery lest it be cancelled. As it stands now, it's scheduled at a perfect time and I want to do everything I can to make sure it happens when it's scheduled. I got a shot of antibiotics and oral antibiotics and hopefully I'm well on the way to feeling better.

Soon it will be December and I have not even had pictures taken for my Christmas card. My cousin (who usually takes our photos) has been busy getting married and setting up a new home and our schedules haven't meshed. So, this weekend, my friend Kristen is going to take photos for us. Fingers crossed we have at least one that's Christmas card worthy.

I've got a full weekend of random activities planned, including shopping for Thanksgiving and maybe even getting a head start on cooking. Speaking of which, we are having a little Thanksgiving potluck at work on Friday and I'm looking forward to enjoying some delicious food with my work family. It will be a great way to kick off the weekend and the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friends, Family, Volunteering and Wrapping

After my adventures at the hospital on Friday morning and a trip to the movies on Friday afternoon, I spent Friday evening at my friend Leah's house. She cooked us a delicious dinner of salmon, and roasted sweet potatoes and a salad. The plan for the night was to wrap presents, but I was to lazy to haul all my stuff over to her house. So, I worked on homemade gift tags while Leah wrapped her presents and we watched one of my favorites, "Meet Me In Saint Louis." Before the movie was over, I started dozing off; so, i left Leah with the movie and took my very tired self home and straight to bed. I think the craziness of the day had caught up with me.

Saturday morning, I was up early and started on the laundry and the cleaning. Erika and I had signed up to volunteer for Plentiful Produce and had to be there at 11:00 a.m. Besides the two of us, there was the gal who runs the co-op and two other ladies. We got all the baskets sorted by 11:30 a.m. and since pick up is at noon, we had about 30 minutes to kill before folks started coming to get their baskets. So we made small talk and enjoyed the company.

All the baskets were picked up by 12:30 p.m. and we were done for the day. We also got a little extra something in our baskets for helping. I chose an extra head of cauliflower and an extra bag of spinach. I made cauliflower soup which was actually very good, I had never had it before and was pleased with how it turned out. I also got a fun surprise from Erika before we got started with our volunteering. She had ordered a best costume prize for our Downton party and it didn't arrive in time for our soiree. So, she brought it to me on Saturday and it was a Downton t-shirt which I love and can't wait to wear.

After we were finished with Plentiful Produce, I went to Publix to pick up a few things and then headed back home where I spent the rest of the day finishing up chores around the house and watched a lot of football. I also managed to wrap about half of my Christmas presents which was a big relief. For some reason, wrapping has been on my agenda/mind for weeks now and so I was glad to get at least some of that accomplished.

Sunday was a miserable rainy day, I'll make no qualms about it. After church, my cousin Alexandra had a bridal tea and so I stopped by there to drop off a gift and visit with friends and family. Before I left, it looked like she had gotten a lot of great gifts. I was pleased to see how many people came out on such a yucky day and was glad she got some nice things.

Sunday evening I had dinner at the home of my cousins Jan and Benny which was a nice way to end the weekend and get ready for the week ahead. As much as I enjoy the weekends, they never seem to be long enough, but I'm sure everyone feels that way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One Down, One to Go

Well, the first Parker knee surgery of 2014 is complete! My dad had his right knee operated on this past Friday and so far I think he is doing great. He had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and my cousin Jessica "drove" him to the hospital. By "drove" I mean she rode with him as he drove to the hospital. He had to have a responsible adult there to make sure he had a ride home and she was nominated to be the responsible adult. 

I got to the hospital about 6:30 a.m. after first making a stop at Hardee's for some sausage biscuits for the handful of people I knew were coming. When I arrived, I went back and saw my dad, talked to the doctor and stayed until a slew of church members came back at which point I took my leave because it was a wee bit crowded. The gave him his sleepy drugs not long after the church folks stopped by. My mother, unfortunately was relying on my unreliable brother and didn't make it to the hospital until after my dad had gone to surgery. 

In addition to the folks from the church where my dad preaches, our good friend Naaman and my friend Leah also came to sit with us at the hospital. The surgery lasted about 45 minutes and I talked to the doctor when he came out because my mom was off talking to Naaman somewhere. Every time I talked to the doctor I felt like a very responsible adult. When the surgery was over, most everyone left except for Naaman who stayed with us to the end. His wife Cheryl came by and so did my mom's dad. 

We got called to the back around 10:00 a.m. where my dad, bless him, asked the same questions over and over again - it was the drugs. We got him home and I picked up some Five Guys for everyone and then took my leave. Since I had the day off, I took advantage of it and went to see a movie. I chose Interstellar, and I'm here to tell you, I thought it was terrible so please don't waste your money. 

My dad was actually walking around the day of his surgery. The next day he had pain and soreness, but on Sunday, he drove himself to church and on Monday he drove himself to therapy. When he got to therapy, he could bend his knee 115% whereas most people can only bend it 90%. So, now, I've got to try and match or beat that when I have my surgery because isn't everything in life a competition? 
So, we're one knee surgery down and one more to go. My dad is doing great and I'm thankful for that and I'm hopeful my recovery will be as easy as his is going. Here's to hoping. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

I recently had the opportunity to review Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary by General Editor: Ronald F. Youngblood, Contributors: F. F. Bruce and R. K. Harrison. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and sadly, I'm just now getting around to posting about it. I didn't have a good Bible Dictionary; so, when I saw this was going to be one of the books available for October through Booklook Bloggers, I jumped on it. I was excited for it to arrive and am so glad I chose this book to review. It will definitely be a resource I will use many times throughout my life. 

This dictionary is so great, y'all! At over 1200 pages, this dictionary is packed full of great information that will no doubt be a great resource in your personal Bible study. With over 7,000 words described in the book, there are in-depth definitions for each word which will help you formulate a better understanding of what you are studying. There are definitions for not only words, but also descriptions of people and places which is especially helpful for minor characters in your study. 

In addition to the definitions, there are also plenty of visual aids, including over 500 full color pictures. Most pages have at least one picture  that corresponds to a word listed on the page. There are also a plethora of maps, of which I am a big fan as I like to know how close the cities are that I'm studying about. There are also outlines of each book of the Bible and timelines and genealogy charts. 

This book seriously has it all. If you are looking for a go-to resource, I would definitely recommend this book. It has so much great information, it's hard to believe you would need anything else. 
The book retails for just under $35 on Amazon and would make a great gift for the Bible scholar on your Christmas list. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On Friday and Saturday

I guess I'm going a bit backwards in my storytelling this week. I've never claimed to be normal. Really, I don't think there's a whole lot more to tell, but I suppose I'll get wordy and make a post of it anyway. 

Friday at work, we had our annual United Way Campaign close-out with the prize drawings. Despite putting way too many tickets in the box for an up close parking space, my name was only drawn once - for the month of June. So, when it's hot outside I'll have a closer walk to my car, for one month anyway. Still, it was fun to see whose names were drawn for the various prizes and I like to scream and make a fool of myself when the name of someone I know is drawn. It makes for a fun time. 

After work, I went home and watched some TV before my dad and brother showed up so that we could all go to the football game. It was the first round of the playoffs and the first cold night of football I've had this season. It had been cold the week before, but I was at a Halloween party; so, for me, it was the first cold game of the season. I was hoping since it was the playoffs MA might have some semblance of competition to play against, but I was wrong. It was yet another blowout. Justin and I were ready to go at the half, but we stuck it out because my dad wasn't quite ready to go. We finally left with a few minutes remaining in the fourth when the score was 56-0. We made an obligatory run by Krispy Kreme and then parted ways for the night. 

Saturday morning, my dad and brother came by around 8:00 a.m. with hedge trimmers in hand. I believe I mentioned in my spider post that the hedges were a wee bit out of control. So, the two menfolk trimmed the hedges and I cleaned up the loose branches, etc. and carted them to the road. It took just about an hour to get everything done and my goodness it looks a ton better now. I completed what I thought would be the last mowing of the season the previous Saturday, but now I'm thinking I may mow one more time to get the leaves up...or not. Time will only tell. 

When the yard work was complete, I took some time to cool off, clean up a little, change clothes and was then picked up by Leah and we went to MA for the Southern Tradition Market. They had lots of cute items this year and if money grew on trees, I would have come home with way too many things. Instead I came home with a small tray and matching canister which I certainly didn't need, but bought anyway. Before leaving, we made a run by the cafeteria because I wanted a lunchroom cinnamon roll which are delicious and usually sold at Southern Tradition. However, I was disappointed because this year, although the menu stated cinnamon roll, all they had were cinnamon raisin biscuits. No thanks. So, I bought a piece of someone's homemade cheesecake instead and it was divine. 

Leah dropped me off back at home and I ate some lunch and then proceeded to take a nap...for three hours. Seriously, I did not intend to sleep that long but I guess I was tired and it was probably for the best since the Alabama game last late into the night. 

Around 5:30 p.m., I headed to my Aunt Linda's house for dinner and to watch the Alabama-LSU game. We celebrated my cousin Chris' birthday with BBQ from Moe's and a birthday cookie. I watched the first half of the game there and then left to go home at halftime, as did everyone else. It was getting late and I think we all wanted to be home when the game was over. I tried not to get too vested in the game, but by the fourth quarter I was yelling at the TV. Alabama managed to literally squeak out a victory, which was the icing on the cake to a busy but fun day. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The First Christmas Gift of 2014

I'm starting with a post about the second half of my weekend rather than the first half because that's the thing that's easiest to write about and I need easy today because my brain isn't functioning on full steam today.You'll find out why in this post.

A couple of months ago, I got an email about advanced ticket sales for James Taylor in Nashville and immediately thought that it would be a good show to attend with my mother. I felt like at some point I had heard her mention that she would like to see him in concert. So, I sent her an email asking her if she would like to go and if so, then I would take her as the main part of her Christmas present. She said she would and so I bought two tickets for the show, which was this past Sunday, November 9.

I picked mother up for our adventure a little before 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. When I got there, she, my dad and my brother were all in the driveway - it looked like some folks were happy to get rid of mother for a few hours, I joked. We headed north and the first stop on our agenda was The Cheesecake Factory. Mother wanted to eat there and so I had looked up earlier in the week where it was. I knew there was one at Green Hills Mall, but wasn't sure if that was the only one. According to their web site there is one in Franklin but I'm here to tell you it was no where to be found and when I put it in my GPS it didn't come up. The only one it showed was the one at Green Hills, so we got back on the interstate and headed to Green Hills Mall.

By the time we got there, everyone else had to. It looked like we might never get in there were so many people standing about. We got out name on the list and in the meantime, we picked out and bought slices of cheesecake to take home with us. I had noticed a Carrabba's within walking distance and so I looked it up on my phone, called and found they had no line. So, we made another change of plans and went there to eat so we wouldn't have to wait. It worked out really well because we had a great meal and still got a piece of cheesecake.

After dinner we headed to Bridgestone Arena and found a good parking spot that really couldn't have worked out any better in my opinion. Our only concern was that mother's wheelchair battery might not last the night. Some cobble surfaces cause the battery to drain faster than normal and she was losing juice; but, we managed to make it inside and find our seats with no problem.

The seats were great. We were close to the stage and elevated above the row in front of us. I don't think we could have asked for a better location. We got settled in and people watched until time for the show to start. Start time was slated for 8:00 p.m. and it got started a few minuted after that. The majority of the crowd was around my parents' age I would say and so thankfully, they were the type that preferred to sit throughout the show rather than stand the whole time.

James Taylor was really quite humorous and we often laughed at his commentary throughout the night. For someone like me who mostly attends rock-and-roll shows, it was definitely more subdued than I'm used to and that caused me to chuckle to myself a time or two. Mr. Taylor and his band played for three hours and it was really a great show. He played a lot of his hits and also some new songs (which sound like the old songs, he said and it's true). It was just an overall great show. Mother really enjoyed it too which is great.

We got back to the van at 11:13 p.m. after some concern about the battery dying on the way, we thankfully made it with enough juice to get mother into the car and buckled in. We got on the interstate and made one stop for gas in Franklin before finishing the journey home. I think I pulled into my parents' driveway about 1:30 a.m. and was home and in bed 20 minutes after that.I was up at 5:00 a.m. for work and did my best to function on about three hours of sleep. Needless to say, I was glad to see 4:00 p.m. roll around so I could go on home and sleep.

I'm glad mother and I got to spend this time together and have this memory. It was a great way to kick of Christmas giving for 2014!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The 2014 Mid-Term Elections From The Poll

I had every intention of writing a post yesterday and posting it to the blog when I got home but then 815 people decided to come vote and I was busy from the time the doors opened until we closed and then some. I think it may have been the busiest and most insane day I've ever had at the polls, y'all! By the time I got home I just wanted to shut my brain down and go to sleep. 

Per usual, I got to my polling location at 6:00 a.m. I served as inspector for this election as well. I think the inspector torch may have permanently been passed on to me which is just fine. I'm happy to serve and happy for the little bump in pay as well. I think I was the last one to the poll even though I got there at 6:00 and had woken up 20 minutes earlier than I had intended. All the folks that work with me are old enough to be my grandparents and so I suspect they are up this early every day. We put the finishing touches on setting things up and took the poll worker's oath and had about 20 minutes to sit and enjoy breakfast before the madness began. 

At 7:00 a.m., when the polls officially opened, we had a line of about 10-12 people and when the doors opened, the line kept getting longer. People were fired up to vote. I had wanted to do two sets of books (clerks and voters list), but my top lieutenant  (if you will) wasn't keen on that idea. So, I gave in on that one, but will not give in at the next general election because I think two books would have served us well. I've also got to come up with a better flow of traffic because it was often crowded and chaotic and the check-in and sign-in tables. It was good for me to see how things went so I can work to create a better plan for the next go-around. We were only given five voting booths, one of which we couldn't use because it had a set of short and long legs and therefore wouldn't stand up. So, we set up three additional tables with chairs for people to sit at and vote. I was concerned that people might complain about it because as you are probably aware some folks are super secretive about their ballots. However, it worked out great and people were thankful for a place to sit and fill out their ballots. 

In addition to the masses of people coming in to vote, we had a new law to follow this go around which made the day even more insane that usual. In the past, if someone was registered in our precinct but had moved to a new address, we asked them to fill out an update form and let them vote. This time, as a result of a law suit that was filed in Mobile County, we had to send those people to what was now their correct precinct where they would be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. In turn, I had people sent to me who had moved into my precinct who came to vote provisional. The problem with provisional ballots is that they have to be approved by one of three members of the Board of Registrars and getting one of these three on the phone on election day was a nightmare. It's always hard to get one of them on the phone on election day but this time because of the new provisional law, it was 100 times worse. I had one gentleman wait a little over an hour before I finally was able to get someone on the phone to approve him to vote. I heard of another precinct who had someone wait two hours and 15 minutes. It was nuts! I spent 75% of my day on the phone and probably 90% of that time was dialing and redialing because the line was busy. 

I think my favorite part of this election day was when a young man born in 1918 came in to vote. He was legally blind and his caregiver brought him to vote. Apparently he must have had differing political views than the caregiver or he didn't trust her because he asked for me to help him with his ballot. First, he had to vote a provisional because even though he had a card and a letter from the Madison County Board of Registrars stating that his precinct was #03, he was not on the Madison County voters list. This is still a complete mystery to me. At any rate, once he was approved to vote, he told me in a very loud voice (he yelled rather than talked because I'm sure he is hard of hearing) to just vote a straight Republican ticket. Then I read each of the amendments to him to which he would reply (very loudly) if he thought it was good or bad and to vote yes or no. I filled out his ballot for him and placed it in the ballot box and he was on his way. I got such a kick out of him and was so proud to see someone his age get out and vote. Ya'll know how passionate I am about exercising our right to vote and it just made me so proud to be able to help this man. 

There were lots of other interesting and exhausting things that happened throughout the day and I probably couldn't recall them all if I tried. We had a man yell at us and call us liars and said the news station lied because he came to our precinct to vote but was registered at another precinct. We had another man make a loud and long announcement thanking us poll workers for our service, making it possible for him to vote. The man whose lone duty was to watch the voting machine let more than one person slip out the door before realizing the machine had rejected the ballot because of an over vote or some other such circumstance.  We had 19 people mark a ballot incorrectly such that they had to be given a new one.  

We were so busy throughout the day that we barely even had time to eat lunch. I had made potato soup and taco soup for my Bible study group on Monday night and made enough so that I could bring it for our lunch on Tuesday. Ruby, the lady who cooks for the church where we vote, made us some coleslaw and tea and she ate some soup too. We finally managed to eat in shifts, each getting about a 15 minute break. It was just a crazy day, y'all. 

Overall, most of the workers pulled their weight. At the end of the night, we pulled out the ballots with a write in and spent the next 45 minuted filling out the write in forms and closing up shop. I think I was the fourth person the courthouse and would have been home about 8:15 except that I had to track down someone from the probate judge's office to get a work excuse. Usually a sheriff's deputy brings one by, but I guess everyone else's day was just as nuts as mine so no one brought one by In fact, we usually get visited by a deputy three or four times during the day and only had one visit this go around. 

I finally made it home at about 20 minutes until 9:00 p.m. and was so glad to walk into my house, change into my pajamas and promptly crawl into my bed. I love our country and I love the freedom we have to get out and vote and choose our leaders and I feel so blessed and thankful to be able to watch the process each time and election rolls around and at the end of the night, that always trumps my exhaustion

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Halloween Recap

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween! I absolutely cannot believe that we have reached November. This year has flown by so quickly! I was able to celebrate Halloween two nights in a row this year and had a great time both nights! 

Thursday night, Erika hosted Candy and I for our Second Annual Downton Abbey Costume Party. Our friend (and Candy's sister) Kendra moved to Nashville a few weeks ago and so she was unable to make the party. We had also invited my friend Leah but she couldn't make it either; so, it was a small, quaint group but we still had fun! 

Erika and Candy both dressed as housemaids this year and I stuck with my Dowager Countess outfit, although next year I'm leaning towards Ms. Patmore. Erika cooked a delicious meal of potato soup and some hot ham roll-ups. She also made brownies which believe it or not we never even cut. She decorated the table so nicely with little vases of flowers that held our name cards. She also printed out some Downton games for us to play. We had one that determined your Downton name (mine was Lady Jo McKinley of Madison) and we also had a quiz which Candy won. The prize was a Starbucks Huntsville mug that was super cute. Last, but not least, Erika printed out Downton paper dolls for us which were hilarious and gave us quite a laugh. It was such a fun night visiting with these friends of mine. 

On Halloween night, I went over to my cousins' Lauren and Jon Mark's house for a Halloween soiree. This year most of us dressed up and the costumes were really amazing. We snacked on delicious food throughout the night and greeted trick-or-treaters as they came to the door. It was absolutely freezing outside and I was glad I wasn't out roaming the streets for candy. 

Halloween is also my cousin Cecelia's birthday, so, Lauren had a cake ordered to celebrate. Since Lauren is pregnant, the cake also served as a gender-reveal cake. When we cut into it, the icing in between the layers was blue - they are having a boy! Their three-year old was pulling for a baby sister, but I think he'll be pleased as punch to have a brother. 

I finally ventured back home around 9:00 p.m. and promptly changed into PJs and climbed under the covers. I believe I mentioned it was freezing out. I think it was the coldest Halloween of my life. I do not recall one being so cold. 

It was a fun night with family and friends and I'm already looking forward to next year's gathering!