Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In January, I Shall Rest

It was another busy weekend, as most are this time of year. Friday night we went to the Madison Academy game and for the first time in three years, the Mustangs lost in the playoffs. It was kind of expected and therefore not so devastating; but, it was a good game. They had a good run, but alas, all good things must come to and end. 

Saturday morning I left my house at 8:00 a.m. to run errands and knock some things off the to do list. I also had an ALANA meeting and this is where I shall pause to tell you three readers about this organization because we are in desperate need of some new faces so consider this my plea. ALANA is the Association of Ladies for Agape of North Alabama. This group of (old) women support Agape in various ways. They hold charity sales throughout the year to raise money and collect dues of a whole $10 a year. With the money that is raised, the ladies help support the foster children who are supported by Agape. They provide money for such things as a spring (or Easter) outfit, a Thanksgiving turkey, they help pay for the foster family retreat in the fall and also provide money for school supplies. If other needs arise, they address those as they come up and try to help the foster families out as much and as often as possible. I'm not sure how many members there are in total, but there is a core group of about 20 or so women and the average age is surely close to 75 (if you throw out me and my friend Leah). The ladies meet about four times a year on Saturday mornings for about an hour and food is provided at the meetings. Here is my plea - this group is in desperate need of some new and younger faces! If you are interested in getting involved in this great group, then please get in touch with me either by emailing me or leaving a comment with your contact information in this post. OK, that's it for the public service announcement for today. 

After the ALANA Meeting I had a little time to kill before picking up my produce basket for the week. So, instead of going home for 30 minutes, I went by and volunteered to sort baskets. There were actually a lot of volunteers that day so the sorting went quickly and I was able to get my basket and head home. Once home I changed clothes, sat down for about 15 minutes and then drove three houses down the street to pick up my cousins Anna and Randy for a basketball game. My cousin Tyler (Anna's brother) is the assistant coach at Shorter University and they were playing in a tournament at UAH. So, a bunch of us went to support him. The game was actually really good and we had a great time cheering on the Hawks. 

When the game was over, we went to Mellow Mushroom for dinner and then I finally headed home for the night. Anna, Randy, Tyler and Autumn went to see a movie; but, since I had been home for all of 15 minutes that day I opted to go home and stay home. It was a good thing to because I think I was asleep by 7:30 p.m. 

It was a busy, busy Saturday and I've got to tell you, I'm ready for a weekend of rest which will no doubt happen in January, which will be here before we know it. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Night Out in Nashville

Well, I never found the post I lost. That is seriously one of life's great mysteries. So, I'll try to recreate it as best I can. 

So, earlier this year when I wrote this post, I mentioned it was the last concert of 2015, but apparently I was a liar because as luck would have it, the concert gods had one more show in store for me. the Sunday after the Foo Fighters show, I was having dinner with my cousins and some friends of ours (Russell and Cindy) were over as well. Lauren and I were telling Russell about our Foo Fighter's experience and somehow it triggered him to tell us all about Tab Benoit and what a great show he puts on. Tab is from Louisiana and sings a Cajun/Zydeco type of music and Russell was pretty fired up when he was talking about the show he had been to. The next thing I knew, Russell was looking up the dates for upcoming shows and then we were all buying tickets. 

The show was last Tuesday and there ended up being 13 of us who went up to see it. The show was held at City Winery in downtown Nashville which is a very nice venue. I had never heard of it before buying my ticket to the show and was very impressed with the place. I rode up with my cousins Jan, Benny, Anna and Randy and because of rush hour and a couple of accidents, we arrived a little after 6:30. The seats are such that you are actually seated at a table and you can dine before the show, which is why we arrived early. I think everyone was happy with the meals they ordered. I had the steak which came with a cauliflower and mushroom puree and asparagus, all of which was delicious.  

The opening act, who's name I cannot remember to save my life, came on stage about 7:30 and played for 45 minutes or so. He was actually quite good and I enjoyed listening to him. Tab took the stage around 9:00 p.m. and seriously, the folks in the crowd went a little nuts. It was rather humorous. Tab can play the guitar like nobody's business and doesn't have a bad voice to boot. That particular night was hi birthday and I'm here to tell you the man was three sheets to the wind (or drunk for those of you who are not familiar with the expression). He ended up doing a whole lot more talking than singing and playing which basically amounted to us getting a stand-up show in conjunction with the concert. I couldn't tell you the last time I laughed that hard. I don't know if he always talks that much, but he sure talked that night and it was hilarious. 

The stand-up show/concert ended around 11:00 p.m. at which point we discovered that one of the couples who came with us paid for everyone's meals, which was an incredibly nice gesture and took everyone by surprise. We collected the truck from valet parking and then headed back south. Most of us stayed awake for about 45 minutes of the drive before nodding off to sleep. Big thanks to my cousin Benny for driving all us sleepyheads home through the night. It was a very fun night and a great way to end the 2015 concert season! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Lost Post

Well, I wrote a post earlier today and now I can't find it. I don't know if I deleted it or what, but at any rate, it has vanished. Such is life sometimes. So, I'll just say, have a good weekend everyone and maybe next week I can pull it together and not lose the posts I've written.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Galaxy of Lights

It's hard to believe it, but Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is just around the corner. I've finally managed to knock a dent in my Christmas list. Thank goodness.

Typically, I don't do anything Christmas related until after Thanksgiving, but this past Sunday night I made an exception. My cousins and I and a couple of friends went to the Galaxy of Lights at the Botanical Garden for one of the walking nights. Every year I say I'm going to go on a walking night and never end up making it. They have a couple of nights were dogs are welcome - maybe one year I'll be brave and take Pippa to enjoy the holiday spirit. I've participated in the Fun Run the last couple of years and have enjoyed it so much. Walking the Galaxy of Lights is so much better than driving. You definitely get a better perspective and are able to take it all in so much more I think.

The gates opened at 5:30 p.m. and I think we all got there around 6:00 or 6:15. Since I'm a member, I got a ticket for a free hot chocolate and a cookie, but I gave it to my cousin Anna because she had mentioned hoping there was some hot chocolate and she's pregnant. So, we'll be treating her with special care for the next few months, starting with hot chocolate.

We had a great time walking, talking about baby names from A to Z and other things and just enjoying each other's company. The night was cold, but not freezing and so it was perfect for a night walk to enjoy the lights and sounds of the season.

I'll be doing the Fun Run again this year on December 1, but there are a few more walking nights before then. This Friday, November 20 thru Monday, November 23 are the last walking nights. November 23 is a dog night so if you're not a dog fan, I wouldn't recommend going that night. After these last few walking nights, the driving nights start.

Galaxy of Lights is so fun and festive and has become one of my favorite activities of the Christmas season. Check it out if you have a chance!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Here's What's Been Happening

Hello and thanks for stopping by. We are halfway through the month of November and I've only posted three times (including this post). Now that my final is over (still waiting on my grade) I hope to have a little more time to spend on writing about the mundane happenings of my life. I'm sure you're thrilled. Let's start with this past weekend. 

Friday night I had plans to go to the MA football game with my dad and on Thursday night I got a call from someone offering me tickets to a play for the same night. I turned down the play tickets since football was already planned. Then, on Friday, my dad sent a text saying he was sick and wouldn't be able to make it to the game which left me with nothing to do because I wasn't going to go to a football game by myself. Normally having nothing to do wouldn't be that big of a deal; in fact, it often is a welcome change. However, since I had been at home every night that week studying, I was itching to get out of the house. So, I called back the friend who had offered the play tickets, but the tickets were, as I suspected, already taken. Then, I thought about going to a movie because I haven't been to see a movie in months and there are quite a few out and more coming that I want to see right now. So, I text my cousin Jan to see if she wanted to go, but she was planning to decorate her Christmas tree that night so she invited me over to decorate it with her and I accepted because like I said, I just needed to get out of the house after a week at home. 

So, after work, I had an appointment and then I ate some dinner and watched the news about the terrible attacks on Paris, and then I headed over to Jan's. We spent the next three hours or so decorating and talking and watching episodes of Homeland from this season which she recorded for me on her DVR. For the record, I like to watch Homeland without any interruption or disruption, so I really don't know what is going on as well as I would if I was watching it at home by myself, but hey, I'm getting to see the season as it's taking place and I can go back and catch the little details next September when the season is released on Blu-Ray. For now, I'm just grateful I don't have to wait a year to find out what's going on in the world of crazy Carrie Mathison. 

Saturday was a day of running here there and yonder, or at least the morning was. I started the morning by going to Sam's Club as they were having a pre-black Friday sale and had a lot of really good deals. I have been tossing around the idea of getting a new phone for a few months now. The one I have is about two-years old and has been hit with the two-year curse. It's on the fritz from time to time and when I was at the Botanical Garden a few weeks ago, I had 80% battery and while I was taking photos, the phone just died and shut off. So, needless to say, a new phone is on my agenda. However, paying $200 for a new phone isn't what I want to do right now. So, I had seen that this mega-sale at Sam's had a Samsung Galaxy S6 for 96 cents if you renew your contract for two  years. Well, I've been with Sprint for 10 years or more and don't plan on changing. So, yes, I'm okay with renewing for another two years if it saves me $199.04 on a new phone. Now, ever since I've had a smart phone, I've had a HTC, so changing brands makes me a little nervous, but everyone who has the Galaxy really seems to like it so hopefully it will work out for me as well. 

Sam's opened at 7:00 a.m. for the mega-sale and I pulled into the parking lot about five minutes til and y'all, I totally underestimated how many people would be there. I am not kidding when I say they were lined up all the way down the side of the building. I wasn't even sure I would make it in to get a phone there were so many people there. I got in line and the poor man behind me had no idea what was going on and asked me why there were so many people there; apparently he must be a business club member and has access to the early hours. I made it into the store a few minutes after 7:00 (they were only letting a few people in at a time) and got into the phone line. I didn't have much time to wait because I had a hair appointment at 8:00 and the line seemed to be crawling at a snail's pace. When I was about five people from the front, I sent a text to my hairdresser and told him I was going to be a few minutes late. The salon is close to Sam's and there was no way I was giving up my spot in line when I was so close. He said it was no problem and not to rush. I made it to the front, and got my slip to get my phone. They were providing people with reservations and making appointments for activation later that day or within the next three days. So, on Monday evening, I'll stop by Sam's and pick up my phone and get it activated. I'm hoping they can switch over contacts, as well so I don't have to make an extra stop by the Sprint store later this week. 

After I got my phone reservation, I went to the salon. As luck would have it, the 8:30 appointment showed up at 8:00 so Jeff was able to just switch us out which worked for everyone. I'm pretty sire that will never happen again. After my haircut, I stopped by Wal-Mart and Publix to knock out the weekly grocery shopping and then drove out to the YMCA in Madison to meet my friend Lauren for Zumba. I finally made it home for the day around 12:30 where I plopped on the couch and watched football for the rest of the day. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Last Stretch of the Semester

Hello party people! I've been scarce the last few days and it's likely to be the case this week as well. I've been busy as a bee but with nothing very exciting to report. I've mostly been busy with school work. In fact, I had to miss the first round of the high school football playoffs last week because of school. The game was moved from Friday to Thursday because of forecasted thunderstorms on Friday and I had a live class session that night. Thankfully MA won without me having to be there to pull them through. 

I'm finished with me mini-class, but have my final in my other class this week and so, I've been studying and reading and studying and reading and I don't know if there's much more room left in my brain for information. My final is on Thursday of this week and I've cleared my evenings from all the fun things I had planned in order to read and re-read and re-read again. I've got an A in the class right now and I really don't want to lose it. 

After my final this week, I have two more chapter quizzes (the final oddly enough doesn't include the last two chapters) and then I have my group project yet to go which I'm certain will be a disaster. My group doesn't seem to work too well together based on last week's exercise. So, fingers crossed we will work out the kinks and get our project turned in on time and then, praise the Lord, I'll be done until January. I registered for classes last week and am taking seven hours next semester - two regular classes and one mini-class. Since I usually don't have too much going on in the winter months, I'm hoping it won't be too overwhelming. 

In other news, Christmas is right around the corner and I've done very little shopping which is extremely unusual as I am typically finished with all manner of Christmas shopping by now. For one, I have no idea what to get my mother; so, mother, if you're reading this a list would be nice. Mother is the hardest to buy for because, unfortunately, she doesn't do anything or have any hobbies because of her illness. I've gotten her one thing so far and that's it. So, mother, send a list! I've bought a few things for my dad, but most of the items on his list are things that could possibly be on sale Black Friday. So, I want to read the sale papers and see what I can find before making any purchases. Then there's Justin and I have no idea what he wants so I have yet to buy him anything. We drew names for Parker Christmas, but now some people are not coming and others cannot remember who's name they drew and so I have a feeling there might be some rearranging of the names and so I don't want to buy anything just yet in case I have to redraw. I have purchases my gift for the favorite things brunch this year and really, that's about it. I really need to step up my game. Thankfully, there's Amazon for all the things I need to order but don't want to leave my house for. 

As for me, the one thing I want this year is for my favorite chair of all-time to be re-upholstered, but I haven't heard back from Santa on the decision. I did go by the fabric store this weekend and picked up some samples and wrote down pricing, etc. I've got so many samples to chose from I don't know how I'll ever decide, that is if I get to decide. The re-upholstering is rather expensive so I'm waiting to see what Santa's offer is. At any rate, it may take a while for me to determine which fabric choice to go with. 

Well, I guess that's it for this rainy Monday. I don't know about you. but I'm tired of rainy Mondays. Here's to hoping the rest of the week is crisp, cool, and sunny!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hallowen 2015

I realize it's November, but I have yet to talk about Halloween. This year's Halloween was full of fun from morning til night.

I woke up early on Halloween morning and headed down to Goodyear downtown as I had an oil change scheduled for 7:00 a.m. I stayed at the store while they changed the oil and balanced and rotated my tires. I clipped coupons, watched the news, played candy crush, and read the latest Southern Living while waiting for my vehicle to be serviced. Also while there, I got to see the folks running in the Sppoktacular 5K run by in their various Halloween costumes which was rather entertaining. I had anticipated the time at Goodyear to be about and hour, but it was more like an hour and a half.

I was supposed to meet my friend Lauren M. at the Botanical Garden at 9:00 a.m. and had planned on going to the grocery store before. However, since the time at Goodyear took longer than expected, there wasn't enough time for the grocery store. So, I ran by CVS and got some of their brand of Airborne (which is way cheaper and seems to work just as well) since I was almost out and then I went to the Garden.

Lauren M. was running late so I had a few minutes to spare before she arrived and I perused the gift shop. If y'all have never been to the gift shop at the Botanical Garden, I highly recommend it and if you are a member, you get 10% off. They seriously have so many cute things there. Lauren M. arrived and we walked around the garden for about an hour and checked out all the scarecrows on the scarecrow trail. It was the last day of the exhibit so they weren't as put together as they probably were on the first day, but still, it was fun.

After the garden, Lauren M. and I parted ways and I finally made it to the grocery store and got the things I needed to make taco soup and potato soup for Halloween night. My cousin Lauren L. was hosting her annual Halloween party that night and I was in charge of games and cooking the two pots of soup. I spent the afternoon making soups and then showered and got myself ready for the big party.

I had decided some time ago to dress up as Mary Poppins. Mary has always been one of my favorite characters and I've always loved the movie and since I already had most of the items to create the costume, that's what I settled on. I think it turned out quite nicely.

I went over to Lauren L.'s early to get the soups warmed up and help her with any last minute things and soon enough the other guests began to arrive. We had a fun night eating yummy foods, talking and hanging out with each other. Some of us enjoyed scaring trick-or-treaters half to death. It was all a lot of fun, except for the rain - it was the second straight year for loads of rain on Halloween.

Around 8:00 p.m. I decided to call it a night. After my dad of working in the yard and then being up all day without a nap on Saturday, I was ready for the bed. So, I gathered my belongings and was soon on my way home where I promptly set my clocks back an hour (thank you Lord for the extra hour of sleep) and called it a night.

Halloween 2015 was a fun-filled day and I'm already thinking about what I'll be for Halloween 2016!

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Much Needed Day In The Sun

This past Friday I took the day off work to get some yard work done around the house. Saturdays are the only day of the week that I really have to get things done (since church is on Sunday) and for the past five or so Saturdays I had been helping my dad do things to get ready for and have the garage sale which left no time for the things I wanted to get done around my own house. So, I decided to take a day off from work so I could maybe get some things accomplished for myself. 

Thursday night my brother and I traded vehicles. He has a truck and I needed to haul gravel and mulch so he dropped his truck at my house and took my car with him. I got up bright and early on Friday morning and was at C.T. Garvin Feed and Seed at 7:00 a.m. when their doors opened. I bought a scoop of gravel and was back home before 7:30 a.m. I parked the truck and went to put the tailgate down and couldn't for the life of me get it to budge. The next thing I knew half of the handle had broken off in my hand. I don't even know my own strength, people. So, I called my brother and asked if there was a trick to getting the tailgate down to which he replied no and then I had to confess I had torn the handle. I then jumped in the bed of the truck and started scooping gravel and tossing it into my "driveway". After 30 minutes or so my neighbor Jeff came out and gave the tailgate a try (you could still lift the part of the handle that didn't break) and he couldn't get it to budge either. Then my cousin Randy drove by and stopped and to make the story a little shorter, Randy had to take the back panel off the tailgate to manual move the gears to get the tailgate down. 

I finished up the gravel and then headed back to Garvin to get a scoop of mulch. Well, actually I made a detour to Advanced Auto Parts first. I inquired about a tailgate handle for my brother's truck. There was one in town that they could have at the Five Points location within a couple of hours. It was $115. I almost had a heart attack; but, since I had broken the handle, I forked over the money. I then got my mulch and in the meantime Randy had looked up online the pricing for the tailgate handle. He found one for $30 (with shipping). So, I went back to Advanced Auto and got a refund and then went home and ordered the part at the lower price. 

I had to put the tailgate up when I got mulch so the mulch wouldn't go flying out the back and once again couldn't get the tailgate down. Randy stopped by again and again took the back panel off to get the tailgate down, but not before breaking the other part of the handle first. 

I spent the rest of the day raking leaves, putting mulch in my four flower beds, trimming shrubs, pulling weeds and mowing grass. When all was said and done, I had worked from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. with a break here and there for food an beverage. I was covered in dirt and dust and surely smelled terrible. The yard, however, looked great. I was so proud of myself and all the hard work I put in. I've always had someone help me do these things (mulch, gravel, shrubs) and this was the first time I had knocked it all out by myself. It was a super proud moment. 

After I was done with all the work, I drove out to the Infiniti dealership where my brother works to trade vehicles with him. I'm sure I was the homeliest looking person to ever step foot in there. When I got home, I showered and got ready for the football game and laid down for a few minutes; but, not for long lest I fall asleep and miss the game. I was beyond tired by the time that evening rolled around; but, it was worth it. I'm so glad to have gotten all the yard work done and to spend some time away from the office and in the sun soaking up some vitamin D from sun rays rather than capsules. Winter is coming, and we are ready at the Parker house.