Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cruising on the Tennessee River

I'm quite sure I've mentioned at one time or another that I participate in a Bible study with a great group of girlfriends from my Bible school class. We typically get together every other Monday night and have a time of study, fellowship and prayer. We decided to take the summer off from our in-depth studies in an effort to have more time together to get to know one another better in a more casual setting which works out great since a lot of people travel or have other things going on during the summer months. 

The family of one of the girls in our class (Julie) has a yacht, or a large boat, or a large vessel (however you want to term it) and early last month, we were supposed to get together for a sunset cruise on the Tennessee River. However, the weather didn't really participate with us and the cruise was cancelled at the last minute. We were all really bummed about the cancellation, especially my dad who was coming along with us to keep Julie's dad company. 

This past Monday night, the weather held up and we finally were able to go out on the yacht. I took a group of five (including myself) over to the Marina and a few others met us there. Julie and her family and some family friends also joined us, in all we had about 15 people and one dog (not Pippa). We left the boat slip about 7:00 p.m. and cruised along the river on what was basically a perfect evening. The weather wasn't too hot, there was no humidity in the air and the breeze from riding on a boat was fantastic. We enjoyed some snack foods that everyone brought and had a short devotional and prayer and just had a really great evening enjoying each other's company and relaxing on the river together. As far as Monday nights go, this one was top notch! Everyone had a great time and I think we all wished we could spend every Monday night on the yacht! 

In other news, it's July 1 and we are officially halfway through 2015! Seriously, where does the time go? 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Third Yard Sale

Well folks, I participated in yet another yard sale this past weekend; only this time it was at my own house. I think I mentioned that after the yard sale at my grandmother's house at the beginning of the month, we brought most all of my things and some of my grandmother's things back to my house to see if we could sell them in my neck of the woods. We planned for June 27 and I was more than anxious to clean all those boxes out of my guest bedroom. 

Friday after work I went over to my parents' house to pick up some tables to use and while I was there, my dad and I ended up cleaning out the closet in his office. It was completely a last minute decision but it worked out to be a good decision as the items from the closet brought $48.50 on Saturday morning. One of the items from the closet was a Keebler picnic basket which had not been unpacked since we moved to Birmingham in 1994. I opened it up and inside was a bag of Keebler snacks that expired in 1986. I cannot make this stuff up, y'all!

My co-worker and friend Maria also decided to participate. Both of her parents recently passed away and she has been cleaning out their house and had quite a few items she wanted to try to sell. She came over on Friday night and we unloaded her car and for the next four hours we worked on pricing her items and getting things organized for Saturday morning. 

I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. which is what time I normally get up each day so it wasn't that big of a deal. For whatever reason (nerves, excitement, etc.) I ended up waking up at 4:30 a.m. and just decided to go ahead and get up and start getting things ready. I loaded up Pippa and my signs and we set out to tape up the signs on this intersection and that. I also made a stop by Dunkin' Doughnuts to get some breakfast for the gang. 

Pip and I soon made it back to the house and I began to set up tables and drag things out from the bedroom. Rain was forecast for Saturday morning and I had been praying all week that the rain would hold off for our yard sale. It rained all throughout Friday night, but for the most part the rain stayed away on Saturday morning. It drizzled on occasion and drops of water sometimes fell from the trees, but all in all it was mostly dry. Prayer works, people! 

We had quite a few people stop by - probably three or four times as many as showed up at the sale at my grandmother's house. A little before noon it looked like the rain was coming in again and so we started packing things away. I kept a lot of the nicer items that I thought might sell as we have at least one more sale to go this year. We are planning on a sale at my parents' house this fall and then I'm done for a while, y'all! My cousin Jessica and I packed up the things we were tired of dealing with and took them down to The Saving Way Thrift Store. 

When it was all said and done, I made $107, my grandmother made $39, Maria made $59, and as mentioned the haul from the closet in my dad's office brought in $48.50. Not bad for a few hours worth of hosting a yard sale. It was a fun, exhausting and adventurous morning and I'm glad to be done with yard sales for a little while. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cancelled in the Park

The 2015 season of Concerts in the Park kicked off at the beginning of June with a really great group called Unknown Lyric. I had big plans to go but all my friends backed out on me and I didn't want to look like a loser sitting by myself so I didn't go. That particular night it rained and the concert got pushed back by 30 minuted because of a quick rain shower that passed through. 

The next week I had other plans which got cancelled because of rain and was going to head down to the park instead, but the concert got cancelled too...and it never rained downtown. The third week I was in Boston, in a coat in the middle of June and that was just fine by me. 

Finally, this past Monday, I made it to the park for the concert. This particular night was the one I was looking forward to the most because it was military night and the US Army Materiel Command Band was playing and there were going to be fireworks after the concert. I met my dad at the park, we set up our chairs and went and got some dinner from the food trucks. 

As soon as we got our food, and sat down in our chairs, a lady from the Arts Council came onto the stage and said that the National Weather Service has issued a thunderstorm warning and that it was supposed to rain at the park in the next 15 minutes and so everyone needed to pack up and head home in the interest of safety. Y'all, I was so disappointed!

Instead of leaving, my dad and I just sat in our seats and ate our dinner and talked about this, that and the other. We actually ended up sitting there talking until about 8:30 p.m. That's right folks, we sat under a tree, in the park, in the nice cool summer night and not one drop of rain fell in the park. The concert was cancelled for no reason at all, but at least I got in some good conversation and quality time with my daddy. 

Around 8:30 p.m. we parted ways and about 15 minutes after I got home as I was cleaning up yet another mess made by Pippa, the doorbell rang. It was my dad and he had lost his phone and wanted to know if it was in the chair he had been sitting in. It wasn't. So, we headed back to the park with my big lantern in tow to look for the phone. Thankfully, I spotted it right away, without the help of the lantern I might add. Just call me eagle eye! 

Concerts in the Park supposedly continues on Monday nights through July and August. Maybe one day this summer I'll make it to the park and the show won't get cancelled. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Father's Day 2015

I'm sure you know this past Sunday was Father's Day and as we do each year, we gathered at my parents' house for a meal cooked by yours truly. I made my meatloaf, at the request of my dad, who only gets meatloaf once a year on Father's Day because no one else likes it. We also had macaroni and cheese, green beans, coleslaw, rolls, and two pies - chocolate and raspberry cream.

I spent Saturday preparing most of the dishes and finished up on Sunday morning and then after church on Sunday afternoon. When I got to my parents' house, my dad had invited some visitors to eat with us which was fine because I somehow end up making more than we ever need. I told my brother it's like the five loaves and two fishes, we always seems to have enough for whoever gets invited.

The couple was an African-American couple and I only point this out because in the wake of last week's shootings in Charleston, it seemed that much more meaningful that my family opened their home to these people, strangers, and fellow Christians and it made me even more thankful to have the dad that I have.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal and I think everyone had a full belly and there was still food left over. It was a nice afternoon celebrating a great daddy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Much Needed Rest

I can more or less sum up the majority of my weekend in one sentence. I watched four movies and rested. Really, I did a little bit more than that, but just a little more, not a lot, as I was exhausted from the previous week and didn't want to do much of anything. 

Friday I intended to leave work at 4:00 p.m., but as luck would have it I didn't end up leaving until a little after five. I picked up something for dinner, and got two movies from Redbox and then went home. I ate the dinner, popped in one of the movies and immediately started falling asleep. That's how tired I was, people. So, I paused the movie and slept for a little over an hour before waking up and actually making it through the movie without dozing off. It wasn't that the movie was bad, I was just tired. In fact all four movies I rented were great. 

Saturday morning I was supposed to have a haircut, but I had received a text from my hairdresser on Friday night saying he was sick and wouldn't be at work and that I should call and reschedule. I was super bummed about it, but also understood because no one wants to work when they are sick and I also didn't want to get whatever kind of sickness he had. So, I called in as soon as they opened to reschedule, knowing there was no way I would get in any time soon. I was right, there were no appointments available for the next month or so and so I ended up scheduling something for June 30 with my hairdresser's wife. 

I still got an early start to my day, going to Target first thing to get a lampshade. Last week, I brought home a lamp from my grandparents' house and I decided to use it in my den in place of the one I've used for the last nine and a half years; but, it didn't have a shade so that was needed. I wanted a black shade, but couldn't find one so I settled on grey. It's still got the plastic on it because I can't decide for sure if I love it. It looks fine but I think I was so set on black that the grey is taking me some time to adjust. It's growing on me though and I like it a little more each day. 

After Target, I went to Publix and knocked out the grocery shopping for the week. It was Father's Day weekend which meant that I would be cooking meatloaf and the fixings so I had to make sure I had all the things I needed for the meal. I also returned the two movies I had rented on Friday and got two more. Then I went home for the rest of the day where I enjoyed the air conditioning, watched those two movies, and cooked for the Father's Day luncheon. I also spent some time cursing Ticketmaster that morning. Dolly Parton is playing at The Ryman on July 30 and my cousin Lauren loves Dolly. The tickets went on sale at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and since Lauren wasn't going to be near a computer, I told her I would try and get tickets for her. I tried two computers and the Ticketmaster ap and never made it past the first screen. Here's the thing that drives me nuts (among many other things), the people who really want to go to these types of shows can never get tickets because of people who are buying tickets only to resale them. On Saturday afternoon, there were already a ton of tickets listed on eBay for $700 each. Ticketmaster is such a racket. It makes me want to start my own ticket company! 

So, that was my Friday and Saturday. Like I said, not very eventful, but so worth the laziness. I've been running on non-stop/empty for weeks now and really needed some down time and I am beyond thankful that I got it this past weekend. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Boston and Beyond

My last day in Boston was Tuesday and we once again got an early start and headed into our customer site at 8:00 a.m. My flight was leaving at 2:40 p.m. so one of my customers arranged a cab to pick me up at noon. The traffic in Boston is ridiculous so everyone said it would be best to leave at noon to make sure I got to the airport with plenty of time remaining.

The cab ride was uneventful. The driver talked a lot and asked a lot of questions and kept referring to his girlfriend (or maybe wife) as his sweetheart which made me smile to myself. I got the the airport about 12:30 and had thankfully already printed out my boarding passes so I basically just had to jump in the ever-growing line to get into the terminal. It took about 30-45 minutes to get through security, after which I went straight to the Legal Sea Foods located in the terminal for some lunch. I had clam chowder and a lobster roll and it was all delicious.

I spent the next little while returning a few calls and browsing through my phone and finally it was time to board the plane. I was so lucky because on both flights home I had the exit row. On the flight from Boston to Atlanta I was on the row where the seat in front of me was a good four feet away and it was grand. I sat next to Cliff, the CFO of Boston Mutual and he told me about the endurance race he just finished and then told me about how he came to know Jesus. We spent most of the flight talking about faith. Well, he mostly talked and I occasionally got a word in which made me laugh because Cliff mentioned multiple times he was not a people person but he could have fooled me. We also talked about math. Cliff loves math and math is/was my favorite subject in school and so we had some common ground there on which to have a conversation. Cliff was visiting his mom and step-dad in Atlanta and so after the plane landed, we parted ways.

I had a bit of a layover in Atlanta so I walked around and watched people and called my dad and the next thing I knew it was time to board the plane. On this flight, not only did I have the exit row, but the middle seat was empty as well so there was lots of room to spread out. I spoke to the gentleman sitting next to me and we started talking and ended up talking from take off to touch down. His name was Melvin Adams and he once played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Harlem Globetrotters. He was coming to Huntsville to put on a basketball camp and he also works as a motivational speaker. He had me laughing the whole flight home. It was great. We are now Twitter and Instagram buddies and I hope our paths cross again some day because I really enjoyed talking with him. I finally made it home a little before 8:00 p.m. where I basically went to straight to bed and to sleep. I will never for the life of me understand why travelling is so exhausting.

The next day I had a different customer in house and went in to to work at my normal time of 6:30 a.m. and by the time the day was over (work and then dinner with the customer), it was 10:00 p.m. My clock was literally chiming 10:00 p.m. when I walked in. So, again ti was straight to bed for me. I don't think Pippa enjoyed me much last week.

The rest of the week was somewhat normal, work, gym, sleep and back to work. I think it was one of the busiest work weeks I've ever had and I'm very much looking forward to a somewhat more normal week this next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

While In Boston

Monday morning in Boston I woke up, got ready for the day, ate some breakfast and headed out the door. My co-worker Andy and I drove the one mile or so up the road to our customer site to begin our work day. It was raining outside and Andy was kind enough to pick me up under the portico at the hotel and drop me off at the front door of our customer site.

We spent the day working and having meetings with various people who we work with on a daily basis but from a distance. It was refreshing to meet all the people we talk to on the phone so often. I think it makes a huge difference to put a face with a name and I was so glad to meet people who I've talked to for years but had no idea what they looked like in person.

Our customer took us out to lunch at a local spot and Andy and I both had the Lobster Roll, or should I say Lobstah Roll, which was really good. We enjoyed visiting with our customers on a casual environment and getting to know them a little better. After lunch we had more meetings and Andy did some more work on his project and around 4:30 p.m. we called it a day. We were planning to leave at 5:00 p.m., but we had plans to go to the Red Sox game and our customer told us we should probably hit the road.

So, we went back to the hotel and changed clothes and then went to the train station so we could catch the train/subway into the city. It was Andy's first time on a train or subway and he was really excited. What can I say? He's young. It took us a good hour or longer to get to our subway stop because of the vast number of people trying to get to the game. The trains were running slow and we were often stopped on the tracks not moving at all which was supremely annoying considering there were hundreds of people on each car and I was starting to feel claustrophobic.

We finally made it to Fenway Park, bought some tickets on the first base line under the upper deck (it was raining and we wanted to stay dry) and walked around outside the park for while before going in. We finally went in and I was planning to get a hot dog and soda, but Andy decided to buy a whole pizza for us to split and so I just went with it because at this point I was ready to sit down and start watching the game. We made our way to our seats and practically needed a third seat for our gigantic pizza.

The game was fun, the atmosphere was more fun. The weather was cold. I had on a coat and a beanie and by the time the game was over, I was freezing. The Sox played the Braves and despite a rally in the bottom of the ninth, the Sox lost (their seventh loss in a row). We still had a great time and I'm so glad we were able to catch a game while in town.

After the game, we made our way to the train station which was backed up to the street to get in. They apparently haven't caught on to the DC method of just let everyone in on game night. After waiting in line to get into the station, we finally made it onto a train and began the long journey back to our car. We made it back to the hotel around midnight where I promptly went to sleep. It was a productive day and a fun night!