Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Kids on the Block in Concert

Y'all, I saw New Kids on the Block in concert this week and it was fabulous. I'm not even sure I have the words to describe how great it was, but I will certainly give it my best shot. 

A few months ago I received an email that NKOTB was coming to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. My friends Candy and Kendra had seen them a couple of years ago when they were in Nashville and at that time I had no idea they were even touring. C and K kept talking about how great the show was; so. when I saw they were coming to Nashville, I asked them if they wanted to go. Long story short, we bought tickets. There were five of us who got tickets... me, Candy, Kendra, out friend Amy and Kendra's roommate Courtney. 

We have been so excited about this show ever since we got tickets and finally this Wednesday the day arrived! Candy came to my house a little before 3:00 p.m. and we hit the road pretty soon after she arrived. We made one stop at the Elkton exit to pick up Amy who lives around the corner from that exit and then we made our way to Nashville. There was a lot of traffic (of course) as people were getting off work and lanes were merging because of construction, but we managed to get parked around 5:30 p.m. I paid for the parking spot and did not get a receipt so then I had to call a customer service number which no one answered and then emailed a lady whose information I found online and another long story short, she confirmed we would not be towed for the night which was a great comfort to me. 

We ate dinner at one of my favorite Nashville spots, Demos' (they seriously have the best 1000 Island dressing of all time) and were done with plenty of time to walk the three tenths of a mile to the arena. We met Kendra and Courtney at the concert. They were supposed to have met us for dinner but were stuck in traffic and couldn't make it. So, while we were eating, Kendra managed to exchange our tickets for handicapped seats. Kendra, Candy and Courtney are all little people and so the handicapped seats make it much easier for them to see the show since no one is directly in front of the handicapped row. The seats were really great and I think we were all pleased with our location. 

The concert got off to a late start (not surprising) and Nelly opened the show for about 30 minutes or so. Y'all, I had no idea there were so many Nelly fans in the world. I feel like everyone but me was singing along and waving arms in the air like they just didn't care. I actually went and got a coffee during his performance because it wasn't doing much for me. I'm not a fan by any stretch of the imagination. The second act was TLC and they did a good job. I only knew about three of their songs, two of which were Scrubs and Waterfalls because who doesn't know those songs? 

Finally a little after 9:00 p.m. NKOTB came on the stage and the place went even wilder than it had for Nelly and TLC. I've been to a lot of concerts in my time on this earth, but I think this one contained the most screaming of any other concert I've ever intended. I thought my eardrums might explode before the night was over. NKOTB sang for around two hours and had two or three outfit changes. The stage, which was the length of the arena,  moved up and down in various sections and there were lots of pyrotechnics, streamers, confetti, etc. Their choreography was even more fantastic than it was the last time I saw them 26 years ago. They had so much energy and got the crowd involved. They went into the crowd and danced with people, brought people up on stage, etc. The atmosphere was electric and really just so, so much fun! Carrie Underwood was also there as a member of the audience! She had requested them to sing a song and they sang it for her and they showed her and her friends on the screens in the arena. It was such a fun night. I was surprised at how great the show was. I thought it would be okay but had no idea I would leave there blown away by how much fun the night was. I would go see them again in a heartbeat. I'm ranking this one in my top 10 concerts - it was that good. I know, I can hardly believe it either!  

When the show was over, we walked back to the car and as promised, there was no ticket or boot on the car so we were good to go. We hit the open road, dropped Amy off in Elkton, and made it back to Huntsville by 1:15 a.m. on Thursday. Another successful trip to a Nashville concert and so worth the trip. Can't wait for the next NKOTB show. Feeling like a 12 year old is fun! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Long Weekend

I don't know about the rest of you, but I was beyond thankful to have a three day weekend this past week. I needed the extra day for so many reasons and could have used another one as well. There's always something to do when you are a homeowner, there's no doubt about it. 

I kicked off the weekend on Friday by going to an area wide singing at the Randolph church. It started at 7:00 p.m. and went until nine and it was very enjoyable, as it always is. The building at Randolph is perfect for singing. It's an older building and the ceiling was built for acoustical purposes because there were probably no microphones long ago when the structure was built. So, it makes for a great night of singing. I saw lots of familiar faces although I don't know names. The same folks seem to make the circuit each week and they are all over 70 I think. I need to recruit some younger people to start attending these singings! When it was over, there were snacks, but I was tired and ready to hit the road, so I ventured the two miles back home and went to bed. 

Saturday was a long busy day. I got so much accomplished that morning and afternoon that the evening felt like a complete failure. I got up around 6:00 a.m. and immediately got dressed and went to the shed in the backyard to clean and purge and price. Three hours (and many spider encounters) later, I had a car load of stuff priced and loaded up in my car to take to my grandmother's house for the garage sale. I couldn't take it right away though because she wasn't out of the bed yet and she didn't want to get up; so, I told her I would come later that afternoon. 

I did some laundry and watched a little TV and then headed a few blocks away to help someone move from their apartment. The girl is acquainted with someone from my Bible school class and we are trying to encourage her to come to church and so a group of us went over to her apartment to help her load up a POD to move her things to a house she just bought. There were so many of us that there was only about an hour's worth of work, but I think it made a good impression on the girl and hopefully she will visit us at church some time soon. 

When I was done with that task, it was time for my grandmother to be up so I was able to take the treasures from the shed over to her house. I dropped off those things and visited for a few minutes and then was off to my next task of mowing the grass. I didn't mow the previous weekend so there was no getting around it this time. I knocked it out in about an hour and thankfully it was't dreadfully hot. The next item on the list was to give Pippa a bath. She had stubbornly stood in front of me as I swept out the shed so she was rather dirty and she hadn't had a bath in some time. So, we ventured down to the pet store in Five Points and she was properly cleaned. This final task of the day was completed at 2:30 p.m. and it was then that I finally got myself cleaned up and then laid down for a nap. I was rather worn out to say the least. 

To say it was an eventful Saturday is putting it mildly. I think it was the busiest I've been in quite some time, but it felt good to get a lot of things done to kick off the holiday weekend! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Purging and Pricing

I think I mentioned in my last post that my grandmother is having a garage sale in the coming weeks. We are thinking the first weekend in June but it could get pushed depending on what my cousin and I have going on. Right now, however, I'm planning on June 6.

Swinging by my grandmother's last Friday and rummaging through her things apparently inspired me to purge my own house and add to her upcoming sale. I clean out my closets every few months and donate to the thrift store, but it's been a while since I really dug through the piles of books and random other objects I have lying around my house that haven't been touched or used in years. If something has a layer of dust on it from being in the top of a closet, then chances are it needs to go. So, I've spent some time this week purging my closets and dressers and other nooks and crannies of my home. I've worked a total of about four or five hours and already have five boxes of junk (um, treasures) to sell. I'm pretty excited about the possibility of making some extra cash. 

I've got lots of books and DVDs as well as some board games and other random objects to get rid of including a rice cooker I've used once and a hot chocolate pot from Williams Sonoma that has never been used. It was a gift from and ex so it's departure should have happened years ago. I kept thinking I might use it; but, alas, no, it's heading to the sale. Thankfully, I've had the good sense to price things as I box them up so I don't have to go back and do it later. I've also got a TV to sell. I had donated it to the church where my dad preaches but their insurance won't let them use it if it's not bolted down so it's going in the sale too. The sad thing is that despite all the stuff I'm getting rid of, I still have a ton more stuff that I could probably ditch and never miss. First world problems, my friends. 

This coming Saturday I'm planning to purge and price the shed in the backyard. I had every intention of going through all the boxes when I first moved everything back into the shed, but was lazy and didn't do it. I did throw some things out, but there's a lot more to go through including one storage bin that I'm pretty sure has most of my college dorm room decorations in it still. So, my big plan for Saturday is to go through everything and purge and price and purge and price and hopefully have a lot less junk at the end of the day than I did at the beginning. 

I'll be sure to let you all know how the garage sale goes. I'm actually pretty excited about it. It's been a sweet forever since I've had a garage sale and I'm looking forward to making some money and doing some serious people watching. It's sure to make for a fun adventure! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Food Trucks, Meetings, a Cookout and a Housewarming

I've had a busy week this week and haven't had a lot of time for blogging. So, I'll try to finish up the week with at least one, and maybe two posts before heading into the holiday weekend. 

The weekend kicked off with a visit to my grandmother's house. She is having a garage sale in the coming weeks and wanted all of the family to go through the sale items in case there was anything we wanted. I took two very old plates and an old candy dish that had been my great grandmothers as well as some crocheted pieces and two crocheted blankets. There were also two chairs that belonged to my cousin's other grandmother that I loved and have since committed to buy because I can't get them out of my head. They will probably go in my shed for a while because I have no where to put them, but I didn't want to regret letting them go so I've claimed them as my own. 

Last Friday was the second food truck rally of the food truck "season" and I ventured out with my friend Christy. She had never been before and so she wasn't sure exactly what the night would hold. As expected, there were thousands of people out and about. After I got a tea from Piper and Leaf, we decided to stand in line at the Food Fighters bus for some brisket nachos. Getting to the window to place our order didn't take too terribly long (maybe 20 minutes), but actually getting our food was a different story. I feel like we waited for an hour to get our order, but in all honesty, I didn't time it so I have no idea how long it actually took. Thankfully the company was great and the wait gave Christy and I time to catch up as we haven't seen each other in a few weeks. 

The food was worth the wait as the nachos were very yummy and satisfying. We found a spot on the steps leading up to the YMCA and sat there to eat. While we were eating and talking a very drunk or high guy came over and interrupted our conversation. We were polite and obliged him in conversation for a bit and were grateful when he finally decided to move on to something (or someone) else. When I got home, I watched the season finale of Grimm and y'all, it was so good. If you are not watching this show, then please catch up over the summer. I think it's available on Amazon Prime (not sure about Netflix) and it is definitely worth watching. I watched season one right before season two started and have been a huge fan ever since. 

Saturday morning I met a friend for breakfast and then went to the ALANA meeting for the spring quarter. ALANA is the Ladies Association of Agape of North Alabama and I serve as the liaison between the group and the Agape Board. The meeting this month was held at Chase Park which is where I formerly went to church. They have built a new auditorium and it was the first time I have gotten to see it and it is absolutely gorgeous. I should have taken a picture of it. I was seriously so impressed and actually very surprised that it was so nice. I also snooped around opening all the doors in the new annex to see what was behind each one and in the process set off the building alarm. In my defense, one of the doors that should have been locked was not. 

On Sunday after church, my class had a cookout and devotional time on Monte Sano mountain. It was the first time I had been there in a long while even though it's all of six miles from my house. We had a great afternoon together eating and fellowshipping and planning activities for this year. That evening, there was a housewarming party for my friend (and one of our children's ministers) Matt. He just bought his first house and is in need of everything and so a party was in order. Matt received a lot of bath towels and a few kitchen items and gift cards. The house is in South Huntsville and is very cute. 

As I was leaving, my friends Margaret Anne and Grayson invited me over to watch Game of Thrones and just as we were leaving a torrential downpour came and we got drenched. It did not, however, put a damper on our viewing party. I left when the show was over and immediately went to bed when I got home. It was an eventful and fun weekend! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pippa and the Fence

I made a decision on the fence. You may recall my plight that I recently wrote about which was that Pippa was escaping under the fence in my backyard. I got a couple of quotes for privacy fences and a quote for Dog Watch, the underground dog fence. While the privacy fence would have been very nice and I think I would have really enjoy it, the price was high and I didn't want to get a loan for a fence. So, I went with Dog Watch which was still expensive but a lot less expensive than the privacy fence.

I had scheduled the fence installation for Wednesday, May 6 at noon and my dad was kind enough to go over to my house and wait for them until I could get there about 2:30 p.m. As I was leaving work around 2:00 p.m., I noticed a text from my dad that said the fence people still had not shown up. So, I called them and long story short, after confirming the Wednesday appointment, the guy put it in his calendar as Thursday which was extremely frustrating and annoying. Alas, we are all human and make mistakes. He apologized profusely and offered to knock the price down a little (which ended up being a whole $49 - a disappointing discount to say the least). 

Finally, they were able to come out on Thursday, May 7, and install the line and then on Monday, May 11 they came over and installed the transmitter inside the house thanks to my great cousin-in-law who was able to come over and let them in and hang out until they were finished with the installation. That afternoon the guy came to start working with/training Pippa. The training was all of about 20 minutes which was a little odd. I guess I expected it to take longer. During this "training" session, Pip ran into the line, got shocked, and jumped about five feet off the ground. Seriously, I've never seen a dog jump so high in my life. Unfortunately when she jumped, she jumped back into the line and got shocked more. This was rather traumatizing to say the least - for both me and her. 

We then moved to the front yard where she got shocked a couple of times. After each shock, the plan is to get her to the middle of the yard and reassure her. At this point, after being shocked a few times, the poor dog was stiff as a board and wouldn't move. I finally got her to go back inside and I finished up the paperwork with the fence guy and when I went back in she was no where to be found. I finally found her curled up in a ball on the guest bed. 

The next couple of days we walked inside of the white flags which are there for training until she gets used to hearing the beep that goes off before the shock zone. If the flags were on my right, she stayed on my left and vice versa. She didn't want to have anything to do with the flags. It basically got to the point where she didn't want to go outside at all and when I got the shock collar out to put on her, she would run away from me. Bless her! 

Thursday afternoon, the guy came back to evaluate her progress and we worked with her in the front yard some and she ran into the fence and then ran back to the porch and hid behind a chair. So, the fence is doing it's job. After the trainer guy left, I let her out back without the leash and she stayed as close to the house as possible but then started venturing out into the yard some. I think she will get livelier the more she gets used to having the fence there. Her behavior is completely normal according to the fence people and he said it would take a couple of weeks or so before she's back to her old back yard ways. In the next few days, I'll start taking flags up a few at a time and I'll be anxious to see how things go once all the flags are gone. Surely she will get to a point where when she hears the beep she'll turn around, that is the point after all. 

Needless to say, it's been quite a shocking adventure, but at least she won't be sneaking out under the fence any time soon. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Agape Night At My Spirited Art

This past Monday night My Spirited Art hosted a benefit night for Agape of North Alabama. For those of you who may not be familiar with My Spirited Art, it's a studio here in Huntsville where you can go and paint a picture in about two hours for around $35. It's a great idea for a girls night out and they also do kids birthday parties and summer camps and all kinds of fun things. I have had this on my to-do list forever but have never taken the time to actually go and do it. So, when I found out that Agape was having a benefit paint night, I knew I would finally buckle down and go. 

The girls at the Agape office were having a hard time deciding what painting to chose for our class and they let me pick a few that I liked and then they chose from those (board member perk, I guess we'll call it). As luck would have it, they chose the one I liked the most out of the three I picked. It was called, "Redbuds in Bloom". I signed up the first day we possibly could and let others know about the night. We were hoping to sell out the night because the more people we had to participate, the more money Agape would get. 

The class started at 6:30 p.m. and was relatively full. I never got a final count, but I know there were 25 people signed up early in the day on Monday and we had some walk-ins as well (including my dad) and so I'd venture to say there were about 30 people there. Agape ended up earning 30% of the profits from the night and came away with about $315 which was such a fun way for our organization to receive a donation. 

We spent the next two hours or so painting. After the first hour, we got a short break so our canvases could dry a little before we put more paint on them. During the break some folks got an ice cream or a snack from the local vendors in the shopping center. We reconvened at 7:45 p.m. and finished up our paintings. It was so interesting to see how each painting turned out. We all received the same instruction, but each painting was so unique to the individual painting it. My dad, for example, wanted red leaves instead of pink and purple; other people made a large walkway between their trees; some trees were skinny and others were thick - such variety from our little group. 

This was such a fun night! A lot of the girls from my Bible study were there as well as a lot of people I didn't know and one person who came just because she liked the painting we picked! I had a blast and I think everyone else did too. I look forward to going again soon!

My dad and my friend Lauren

My painting about midway through 

Our instructor, Brandi 

My finished painting

My dad working hard

My dad's finished painting

My dad and Lauren with their finished works of art. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

Well, this past weekend was mother's day weekend which meant I spent the majority of the weekend cooking and getting ready for Sunday's lunch which was eaten in 30 minutes - the plight of women for centuries I suppose. Also, the baby birds, Huey, Dewey and Louie turned one week old. I imagine they'll be flying the coup soon. 

Friday after work I made my grocery store run and picked up everything I needed for Sunday's lunch. When I got home from the store, Pippa has torn the top of my favorite chair and pulled a lot of the stuffing out. I've had this beloved chair for either 10 or 11 years. My parents got it for me for Christmas in either 2003 or 2004, I can't remember which. It's a "chair and a half" and is super comfy and everyone loves it - including Pippa I guess. She sits on top of the chair and looks out the window during the day. I noticed when I got back from vacation that the top of the chair had a small rip in it and I then had a premonition that this day would come. I had been putting a blanket on top of the chair for Pip to sit on during the day, but the blanket would inevitably fall off during the day. In hindsight, I should have gone ahead and bought a slip cover for the chair; but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. So, I gave her a "whoopin" as we like to say in my family and put her in "time out" for the next couple of hours lest I kill her. When she came out of time out, she wouldn't have anything to do with me which was humorous considering she was the one in trouble. 

Saturday morning, I was up by 6:00 a.m. and immediately started cooking. I cooked and cleaned and did some laundry and even got in a TV show or two before I left to go pick up my produce basket for the week. After I got my basket, I went by Bed Bath and Beyond and bought a slip cover for my poor old chair. The slip cover is a solid gray and I washed it as soon as I got home and put it on the chair that evening. It's not the best looking thing in the world. In fact, I hate slipcovers, but, it will do for now since the top of the chair is split open with stuffing poking out of it. For Christmas I'm asking for that chair to be re-upholstered or a new chair, we'll have to see which is the more affordable option. Saturday afternoon I did some more cooking and then mowed the grass and then did more cooking and laundry, etc. They say a woman's work is never done and they are right, whoever they are. 

Sunday morning, I was up at 5:30 a.m. for the last of the cooking and chopping and then off to church before going back home, loading up all the food and taking it over to my parents' house. When I got to their house, I came with hot food, ready to be eaten; but, my brother had chosen this time to take my mother to Lowe's to get her some bulbs as her gift. So, we had to wait about an hour before we could begin eating. In the meantime, my dad called my grandmother and asked her to come over because he didn't realize he was supposed to invite her. My cousins Jessica and Nathan (who live with my grandmother) and my aunt Sandra also came which was great because we had a lot of food and I wanted it to be eaten. While we were waiting on everyone to show up, my dad ate a roll and proclaimed them, "the best you've ever made," to which I replied, "I didn't make those," and then we laughed hysterically. They were the Rhodes rolls that are frozen and have to rise before you bake them. Apparently they were a big hit though because everyone loved them. Note to self: Rhodes rolls for Thanksgiving is way easier than making them from scratch! 

When lunch wad done, my brother was kind enough to clean up the dishes. I'll say this about my brother, that kid doesn't mind cleaning up some dishes and for that I will forever be grateful. The two of us visited with our parents for a little while and then we loaded up the dishes and The Pip and headed out. I dropped my brother off at his place of living and then headed home where I napped and spent the rest of the evening being lazy because after three days of cooking and waking up with an enormous headache on Sunday, all I wanted to do was lie on the couch and do a whole lot of nothing and so that is exactly what I did. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jay Leno In Huntsville

Last Thursday night, I ventured out with my parents to see Jay Leno at the Huntsville Hospital Foundation benefit. My dad bought our tickets back a few months ago and I had been looking forward to it for a long time. The show started at 8:30 p.m. which may seem late, but they had a dinner beforehand which we did not attend. 

My parents picked me up about 8:00 p.m. and we drove the five minutes to the VBC where the traffic was beyond ridiculous. All the handicapped spots up front were taken, which was not surprising and so my dad dropped me and my mom off and went to the parking garage across the street where it took him close to 30 minutes to get in and get parked. Apparently there was only one line open to get in the garage and thousands of people trying to park. We made it in just as the show was getting underway. 

We had great seats, but as soon as we got settled, we realized we couldn't hear a thing. The audio system was terrible. In a city full of engineers, you'd think the VBC would be able to find someone who could set up a decent sound system. The volume was bad and the microphone kept popping. Only pockets of people were laughing and those pockets varied throughout the night. I never saw anyone in the upper sections laughing. We were downstairs and no one in our section was laughing; most people were just checking their phones. I read and heard that even people sitting on the floor (who paid large sums of money to be there) couldn't hear.

In addition to the terrible sound system, Mr. Leno was also holding a microphone and he held it down low, far away from his mouth most of the time. If he needed a microphone to hold, you'd think they could have put a lapel mic on his jacket and just given him a dead mic to hold. Call me crazy, but that seems logical. Mr. Leno also talked fast at times and seemed to mumble at other times, neither of which helped the situation. 

My mother went to guest services at least twice and they told her "the engineers are working on it," but the sound never got better. It was so bad that for the one hour Mr. Leno spoke, I could hear the talking, etc. from the concession stand area behind us over what Mr. Leno was saying. I caught maybe five jokes. It was very disappointing. 

Mr. Leno ended his routine right at 9:30 p.m. but first he auctioned off a few trips to California for a personal tour of his garage (where he collects motorcycles and cars) that went for $7,000 a pop after which there was a mass exodus to the parking garage where not all the exits were open and so we had to wait in the car until the traffic thinned out before making our getaway. Needless to say, it was a very disappointing experience for something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Hopefully The Huntsville Hospital Foundation and the VBC will take the negative feedback and improve on it for whoever they bring in next year.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Second Weekend In May

It's the first full week of May which is, as always, hard to believe. I feel like I have a lot to do this month, and then not all at the same time. There are a few things going on this month that I'm really looking forward to and I'll be sure to write about them afterwards because I have no doubt that each event will be packed with fun. As for now, all I've got to write about it the weekend which really isn't saying a whole lot. 

Friday after work, I got the last of the fence quotes, which happened to be the highest one and I wanted to laugh in the guy's face and ask him if they ever got any business, but I didn't. Once he left, I made a quick run to the gas station to fill up the canister for the lawnmower and then mowed the grass. After the yard work was complete, my cousin-in-law, Randy came over. I think I mentioned that my cousin Anna and her husband Randy moved in a few houses down and across the street. Well, Anna was at the beach for the weekend and so Randy and I hung out and split a frozen pizza. It was a super exciting Friday night. Actually, we had a lot of fun talking and telling stories. 

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early for a haircut appointment at 8:00 a.m. and when I finished at the salon, I went by the Botanical Garden which didn't open until 9:00 a.m. and so the gates were still closed when I got there. So, I pulled over in a school parking lot and checked my various social media accounts and played some Words With Friends and while I was there, two other cars pulled into the same parking lot and were checking their phones. I don't know if they were also waiting on the garden to open, but either way, it made me laugh that we were all in that parking lot to check our phones - better than checking it on the road, though! I finally made it to the garden where I picked up four passes that I won on Twitter earlier in the week. I'm planning to take some friends to see the Lego exhibit they have right now and the Butterfly House is open so it's a great time to visit the garden! 

When I finished up at the garden, I swung by my friend and trainer Josh's house to pick him up for an early morning screening of The Avengers: Age of Ultron which was fantastic. I really liked it and found myself holding my breath on more than one occasion and may have even said, "oh, no!" at one point. It really was good and I definitely recommend it. I dropped Josh back off at his house after the movie, picked up some lunch and went home where I stayed for the remainder of the day. I did some cleaning and washing and caught up on some TV and just had a generally lazy afternoon and evening which was just perfect. 

Sunday morning when I took Pip outside, I peeked into the bird's next I discovered a couple of weeks ago and found that the three eggs were in the process of hatching and by the time I got my phone and took a picture, all three baby birds had emerged from their eggs. I've been peeking in on them each day and am excited to watch them grow. It's like having a science experiment right outside of your back door. I have decided to call them Huey, Dewey and Louie - it's fitting. That evening, we had our last Huddles of the year which was held at a home in Arab. I rode with some of the other leaders which was nice because I was not keen on driving that far away. It was a nice evening and the host grilled hot dogs and we got to spend a fun time together before the summer starts. We'll take the summer off from Huddles and when we meet up again all our little ninth graders will be tenth graders. It's going to be a lot of fun to continue to watch these kids grow up over the next few years. 

So, that pretty much sums up the weekend. It was a good mixture of being on the run and laziness, just as it should be.