Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So long, 2008! It's been real!

When I was little, Daddy's great-aunt Sallie lived next door to us, and I can remember her talking about how time just flies by. Back then, it sure didn't seem that way to me. I though that must be how "old people" thought and talked. Times creeped by for me back then. Well maybe it's because I'm getting older myself, but this year has seemed to have flown by so fast that I don't even know if I can remember all that happened. A lot of it is just a blur!

I know you all have your own memories of this past year, but here are just a few of mine....

Heather and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary in April; in May, we spent a wonderful, relaxing week in Jamaica with Chris & Jessica Sentell; Alabama went to the SEC Championship ranked #1 and undefeated and then on to the Sugar Bowl; I began a great new job with the City of Tuscaloosa in August; we were fortunate enough to spend more time than ever in Orange Beach; I lost my wedding band in Orange Beach trying to get a monster crab out of a trap. (I got a new one, though.); we learned to be thankful for the health of our parents and to appreciate them a little bit more; I ate a whole lot of sushi this past year, and the more I eat it the more I love it!

This next year promises to be just as exciting as 2008. I will celebrate my 20 year reunion with old friends from dear old Jackson Academy; hopefully, our Bama team will have another winning season; I plan to spend as much if not more time enjoying friends and family; we already have the first beach trip of the year in the planning stage and possibly a DC trip being planned as well. Add our everyday craziness that just comes to us randomly, and it should be a heck of a ride!

So hang in there, folks. Maybe I won't run out of things to write about.

Happy New Year, ya'll.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And I would be remiss if I did not give you the chance to read this classic one more time...again

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Friday, December 19, 2008

HO HO HO!!!!

We had our office Christmas party today. This being my first Christmas here, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. We had to bring a gift for "Dirty Santa", which I normally do not like to play. I actually said so several times, but was informed that if I showed up this morning without a gift, that one would be provided for me. So I decided, "What the heck, when in Rome, what's good for the goose, etc. etc. etc."

We ordered lunch from McAlister's, which turned out to be a great idea, and so much easier than bringing a dish. Somehow, dishes don't always make it back home with me. It may have something to do with that monster in my car that keeps devouring things. I lose more stuff in that car!

So we ate our lunch and enjoyed some good fellowshiping. It is audit time at the City of Tuscaloosa, so the auditors joined us. They have been here nearly a month, and will probably be with us til February, so in the meantime, we take them in as a part of us. Then after lunch, it was Santa time. You all know the drill, so I won't bore you with those details. I ended up with this Alabama trivet that I really like a lot.

So maybe my view has changed on the Dirty Santa. Or maybe I just got lucky today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Blue Angels are Coming!

You may remember me writing this summer about our attempt to see the Blue Angels in Pensacola. Well, guess what? They are coming to Tuscaloosa! The mayor announced this morning that Tuscaloosa has been selected as one of 36 cities that will host the Angels in 2009. Over 300 cities applied, so this is a great accomplishment.

Adding to the excitement of hosting the Navy's Blue Angels’ air show, Tuscaloosa has also been selected to host the U.S. Army Golden Knights. The Golden Knights are parachute teams that travel the world to perform in aerial demonstrations and competitions. The Golden Knights, formed in 1959, will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2009.

The dates will be April 4th & 5th at the Tuscaloosa Airport, so mark your calendars. I am planning to be there for the show. Maybe this time we won't wind up in the middle of a flood!

Paws to Celebrate

A book with recipes is called a cookbook.

A book with recipes that's illustrated with colorful, comical critters, and that includes section names like Lick Your Chops and Desserts to Drool For, is called a hoot.

But that's not the only reason to fetch ''Paws to Celebrate,'' compiled by members of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary. The book benefits the humane society, and includes about 525 recipes from auxiliary members, Birmingham-area chefs and veterinarians and nationally-known celebrities.

''The love of cooking and love of animals comes together,'' says cookbook co-chairwoman Jamie Preston.

The book's Top Dog section includes recipes from animal-loving celebrities such as Betty White, Doris Day and Tippi Hedren, whose recipe, ''Marnie's Red Velvet Cake,'' alludes to her role in the 1964 Alfred Hitchcock film ''Marnie.'' Johnnie Mickens, grandmother to NBA star Charles Barkley, contributed recipes as well, as did former Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and Cherry Starr, wife of NFL notable Bart Starr.

You'll find recipes from Birmingham area restaurants, too, such as Bottega, Ocean, Cobb Lane, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Iz Catering, Satterfield's and the Bright Star. Birmingham-area veterinarians contributed recipes as well.

There's a pet-food recipe section, too, called Critter Cuisine, and a Heart to Heart section addressing pet care.

The catalyst for the cookbook was, appropriately enough, the auxiliary's monthly luncheons, where food is prepared by, and for, members.

''We have glorious lunches,'' says cookbook co-chairwoman Gail Batchelor. ''Everybody says, 'I want that recipe.''

Which, more than a year ago, prompted auxiliary member Rita Wood to say, ''Somebody needs to do a cookbook.'' To which Batchelor replied, ''I'll do it.''

It's done, and debuts Thursday at the humane society's Fur Art's Sake gallery opening and holiday open house. And the hope, humane society supporters say, is that folks will seriously buy into the idea of a cookbook that's fun.

''It costs us $150,000 a month to run the shelter,'' says humane society spokeswoman Victoria Arrand. ''Those dollars have to come from somewhere.''
''Paws to Celebrate,''$25, is available at the humane society gift shop at 300 Snow Drive in Homewood, or ($5 shipping and handling applies). For information, 397-8531, or (click on Visit the GBHS Virtual Gift Shop).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Home Depot Giveaway!

This is the One Project Closer December Giveaway!

This month, the nice folks at Home Depot are giving TWO lucky OPC readers a $100 holiday gift card delivered just in time to wrap up your holiday shopping before the big day!

Home Depot gift cards are a fun and easy gift idea for the do-it-herself-ers and handymen on the gift lists.This year THD has 17 holiday gift card styles to choose from including the duct tape model in the background on the right (it even FEELS like duct tape), and one of Santa in his workshop (our personal fav).

Having trouble deciding between a Black & Deck Alligator Electric Lopper, the Makita 7.25″ Circular Saw, or the Dewalt 10.0 Amp Reciprocating Saw for the DIYer in your life? You could throw this $100 card in their stocking and let them decide, or buy something for them & keep a little for yourself.

Go here to enter, and please, say you saw it on my blog!

If I win, I'm gonna get a jump start on that hall bathroom remolding project Heather wants to do. It will be awesome!

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer!!

Wow. What a season! Who would have thought that the Tide would have come as far as they have this year. It has definately been a fun ride. You know, I have been truly moved this year by the overwhelming atmosphere in Bryant Denny Stadium before, during, and after the games. The Million Dollar Band and the folks who run the videos on the Jumbotron just do an outstanding job. Every week, when the crowd is worked up into a frenzy, and Nick leads our team out onto that field while the band is playing "Yea Alabama," I can't help but get chills down my spine and my eyes get all teary. Saturday's game against Florida was a little bit sickening, but I am still proud of our guys in Crimson. I can't wait til January 2nd in New Orleans!

All last week I kept meaning to post my pictures from the Iron Bowl, but never got around to it. So here they are. It was a rainy, messy day. The Quad was a big ole mud bog. But we sloshed through it and had a ball anyway. Our guys played great, and it was so nice to be able to scream Rammer Jammer at the top of our lungs over and over and over. I almost cried.

Libby, Chris, me, & Julie on the Quad

Julie & Heather

The Girls

Told ya'll it was muddy!

After the victory!

Derrick, Hen, & me after the game

This guy kinda freaked me out a little.

Lance & me

Big D, Little D, & Lance

Me & Heather

Thumbs Up, Bama!

Roll Tide, ya'll!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nifty, nifty, Connie's 50!!!

Let me back up a week or so. November 21st was my cousin Connie's 50th birthday. She had been announcing its arrival for over a year. Some people may dread the Big 5-0, but not Connie; she was sooo excited. So her husband, Steve, and her mom and sisters decided to throw her a surprise party. Now one would think that she might have been expecting it.... no way!!!! She was so surprised. Her mom and sister, Monica, took her out for breakfast, then Target, then Starbucks, while the rest of us arrived and got everything ready. Then about 1:30pm, they came back home and we were waiting. She didn't have a clue! We had the house all decorated, and the sisters brought great food because in our family, we love to eat.

So Happy Birthday, Connie. May you have 50 more!!!

Thanksgiving Day

Heather and I had a busy Thanksgiving this year. We usually try to plan and spend some time with both sides of the families, but the Alabama Auburn massacre threw a wrench into our plans this time. Not that we really minded. We got up early, got home late, and managed to get everybody squeezed in. Plus we got to eat twice!!!

We left Thursday morning around 6:30am and headed down to Jackson. When we got there, Daddy was cooking bacon-wrapped catfish filets and bacon-wrapped wild turkey breast on the grill for us to snack on before the feast. It was soooo good! We helped them get everything finalized before the masses began arriving, and once everybody started getting there, it was a steady stream of folks in and out all day. We really are blessed to have such a large and fun family. We had 43 for lunch, but that's really only less than half of us. If you count us all up from my Mammaw down, there are over 120 of us!

The Cousins

Lunch was great, of course. At one point I was teetering on that fine line between being full and being miserable, but a piece of my cousin Alice's egg custard pushed me right on over. We had emptied all of the furniture out of the breakfast room and kitchen to make room for banquet tables. We ended up with a table for appetizers and snacks, 2 long tables of food, and a big dessert table. Fat kids love some food!

There's a story we all love to tell at Thanksgiving and I think you all might enjoy it too....

Mama does not make dressing. She never has in her life. My Daddy, on the other hand, makes some of the best dressing you will ever eat. So he always makes the dressing and Mama focuses on other things. Well, one year, Daddy had mixed up the dressing in big dish pans and was getting ready to pour it into dishes to bake it. Mama was spraying the pans with Pam so that they wouldn't stick, and then handing them down to be filled. As they were nearing the end of the dish pans and all the dressing was ready for the oven, Daddy noticed that the dressing was foaming. He pointed this out to Mama, and about the same time they realized what was wrong. Instead of using Pam, Mama had sprayed all those pans with oven cleaner! Of course she just started crying, but Daddy told her to start making more cornbread. Everything had to be thrown out. I guess if we had eaten it it would have been really bad. But we get a laugh out of it every year since!

We got some great pictures this year, and enjoyed catching up with everybody. I can't wait til Christmas when we do it all again!

We left Jackson and headed for Demopolis. Of course, we had to eat again! We also got to visit with my sister-in-law from Memphis and her boys. And we got to play with Jane Wiley and Austin, my Heather's brother Hess's kids.

We got home around 10:30 Thursday night. We were pooped, but looking forward to Iron Bowl festivities beginning on Friday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I don't know about ya'll, but sometimes I wonder how two people can be as busy as Heather and I are. Between both of our jobs, Heather teaching nursing students on Tuesdays at UAB, our various committee and board meetings, Alabama football on the weekends, and trying to keep in touch with family and friends, it seems we barely have time to sleep and eat. So this morning, I thought I'd take a few minutes and forget about all of that other "life stuff" and think about all the reasons I have to be thankful.

First and foremost, I am so extremely thankful for our families. God has blessed me from the beginning with a family that is loving, supportive, and generous. Having been adopted at the age of 6 weeks, I have always known that my life could have been so different, and I have always tried to keep that in perspective and be thankful. When Heather and I met and started dating, her family took me under their wing and accepted me as one of their own. I could not ever have asked for better in-laws. I am as close to them as I am my own family. We are especially thankful this year for them, because we almost lost my father-in-law, Terry, this year to a ruptured abdominal aneurism. By all medical laws, Terry should not be with us this Thanksgiving. His doctors and nurses have stressed that his recovery was not by their hands, but only the result of God and our prayers. He is the rock in that family, and I think that whole ordeal has reminded us to cherish and appreciate our parents more than ever before.

Every day I grow to be more thankful for Heather. It is amazing to look back at our lives and see how the sometimes crazy paths that we have led ended up making everything fall into place for us to be together. She has a full time job keeping me in line sometimes, but she hangs in there with me. We have fun together, and I really don't know what I would do without her.

I am also thankful that we have good jobs. So many people in this area are looking for jobs lately, but hopefully, UAB Health Systems and the City of Tuscaloosa will be around for the long haul, and we are blessed to work for people who care about us and want the best for us.

I have always been thankful for my friends. Many people have come and gone throughout my years of growing up and school, and now in our "settling down" stage, I appreciate those friends that have been there through thick and thin. There are always those who you think will be friends forever, but who, for whatever reason, tend to fade away through life's twists and turns. And then there are those who have always been there and who keep on being there, and who will always be there. Those friends are much fewer in number, but those are the ones who are the most treasured.

We will travel tomorrow. We did our baking yesterday and last night. We are heading down to my parents' house in Jackson, AL in the morning where we'll be getting together with Mama's side of the family, the Gibbs. Mama was one of 9 kids, so there will be a pile of us, and I am looking forward to seeing all the aunts and uncles and cousins. We are all just a little bit crazy, and we all have so much fun together. Then tomorrow afternoon, we will head back north to Demopolis to visit with Heather's family. Her brothers, Heath and Hess will be there with their families, and her brother Coroy and his family will be down from Memphis, so that should be fun. We also get to eat Thanksgiving in 2 places!!!

Friday afternoon we will start setting up our tailgate on the Quad for the Iron Bowl. If the rain cooperates, we will get the tents set up, the TV going, and will hang out with our friends and watch football all afternoon. Of course we will eat and drink more as well. Hershey will get to go on Friday. She loves the Quad.

Saturday will be ROLL TIDE ROLL day. We're all looking forward to that. Should be another long busy day of Alabama football. We Love It!!!!! I even have new red pants with elephants all over them to wear for the game.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Thankgiving, and I hope the next year brings you all more blessings than you can count.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stitches are Gone!

I got my stitches out! It only took about 2 minutes and I didn't even feel it. I was very jumpy though. Dr. Bill was home sick, but his assistant took care of it for me. I was really afraid that it would hurt. I've never really had an abundance of stitches in my life. And, as bad as this whole thing has hurt, I was not looking forward to any more unfortableness.

So I asked, "Is this going to hurt?"

She replied, "I don't know. Let's find out. I bet it doesn't hurt me at all."

(I told ya'll those girls try to mess with my head.)

So then she starts to put that 'mirror on a stick' thing in my mouth to look at it, and I literally almost jumped out of the chair. She laughed at me. Then she proceeded to remove the stitches.

The gum was still a little puffy and red, so she got Dr. Smith to come in and look at it. Now, I know Walt Smith and think he's a great guy. Nothing to be afraid of. But when he came in and spoke, I was still so rattled that I started spouting nonsense.....

"Hey, Walt. How 'bout that ball Crimson Tide games how's that working for ya?'

He just looked at me. I laughed at myself and passed it off as a momentary loss of good sense. Which I guess is what it was.

I'm done 'til Dr. McIllwain sees me Monday. More to come.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soap n Stuff

I want to share with ya'll a secret that Heather and I have discovered. We are the best of friends with Adam and Katie Benefield from Greensboro, AL. Adam owns TNT Custom T-Shirts (205-750-0690) here in Tuscaloosa, and Katie has Serenade Handmade Soaps that she operates out of their home. Heather and I, as well as a multitude of our friends, have been using her soaps for a couple of years now, and I don't think we will ever buy soap from the store again. Katie also has homemade lotions, lipbalms, and bath stuff. My favorite soaps are her Man Soap, her Bamboo Teak and her Spicy Lime. Heather tends to like the Camomile Pear and the Coconut Lemongrass. (Actually, I don't think there's anything Katie makes that Heather doesn't love!) We like to go down and visit them because when you walk in the door to their house, you can smell a mixture of all her soaps and I'll tell you, it smells sooo good!

Check her out sometime when you get a chance. You won't regret it!

Tooth Implant Update

This has been a rough week for me and this tooth situation. I am such a wuss when it comes to taking any kind of prescription pain meds, and after a day or so on the Lortab, I had to switch to Advil and Aleve and Tylenol during the day and just take the hard stuff when I knew I could lay down and go to sleep. I did get Dr. Bill to call me in an antibiotic, and I think that helped profusely. I get my stitches out this afternoon, and I will tell you that I am sooo ready for that to happen! It's like I have a wad of thread wrapped around my gums. Sounds great, huh? Anyway.... maybe phase one of this ordeal will be over soon. I hope so. It's wearing me out.

More to come.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I was watching the Alabama - LSU game Saturday night when I lost a crown off of my back left bottom tooth (#18 for you dental folks). So I called Dr. Bill and let him know. I was off of work yesterday for Veteran's Day, so I schedule an appointment with his office to have a temporary replacement put in my mouth.

Those girls at Dr. Bill's office are really a hoot. But I never know if they are being serious or just trying to mess with my head. So when they looked at my x-ray and started talking about how bad that tooth was, I really didn't pay much attention. The Dr. Bill came in and basically said the same thing. Evidently, the tooth had cracked into 3 pieces. Not a good thing. It had to come out.

This cartoon is kinda funny. Except for the fact that it is close to being the truth. Evidently a tooth doesn't come out very easily. At one point, after I was sure my jaw was about to break, I held up my hand and asked for a progress report. Dr. Bill compared it to a pecan that has been cracked but has pieces of it stuck in the hull. You have to keep digging until you get it all out! He almost had the first half completely out at that point. After a little more pushing and tugging, the rest of it all came out and we were done with that part. Then it all had to be closed up with stitches so I could go home.

All afternoon I took pain meds and slept. Today I look like a chipmunk on one side of my face.

This will be the first of several posts. Next Tuesday, I will go back to Dr. Bill's to get my stitches out. Then on the 24th, I will see Dr. McIllwain for a consult on having an implant put in where the tooth used to be. This process will probably take 7 or 8 months.

More to come...

Monday, November 10, 2008

So, What is Alabama Football?

SO WHAT IS ALABAMA FOOTBALL? -from Leigh @ Bloggeritaville, author unknown

It is Wallace Wade.

It is Bear Bryant.

It is Gene Stallings.

It is this man in charge.

It is not Bobby Bowden, Phil Fulmer or Dennis Franchione.

It is the Rose Bowl.

It is hearing Keith Jackson call an Alabama game.

It is watching George Teague running down Lamar Thomas in the 1993 Sugar Bowl then rewinding it and watching it again.

It is hearing the first notes of Sweet Home Alabama .

It is the desire to beat Auburn at any competitive event that exists.

It is a houndstooth hat.

It is being 'Dixie 's Football Pride'

It is having enough pride to fight for your school but having enough class not to.

It is cheering the same amount for a first down on second and 6 as on fourth and 1.

It is watching Cornelius Bennett give Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein a concussion on that October day in Birmingham in 1986.

It is determining who you are going to date & marry by which team they swear allegiance to.

It is beating Florida in the SEC title when everyone said the game in 'The Swamp' was a fluke.

It is watching The Bear on the Jumbotron before a game in Bryant-Denny Stadium and almost seeing him leaning against the goalpost in the end zone.

It is right behind God and family.

It is spending a day at The Bryant Museum and still not seeing everything.

It is cool crisp autumn Saturdays where you can smell football in the air and feel it whenever there is a slight breeze.

It is watching The Bear get number 315 against Auburn .

It is watching The Bear get number 323 against Illinois .

It is hearing Paul Kennedy do the play-by-play when Van Tiffin kicked the 52-yard field goal against Auburn in 1985.

It is remembering the feeling of the upper deck at legion field rumbling due to feet stomping.

It is knowing how many days until the start of a season year around.

It is driving down Colonial Drive to see Bryant-Denny Stadium not the sorority girls.

It is getting chills up and down your entire body whenever you hear anything about the 1993 Sugar Bowl and the pride you feel because that night tradition ruled.

It is hearing The Bear's voice and having all the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up because you know no matter what it was he said, it was something special.

It is hearing The Million Dollar Band play 'Yea Alabama' and knowing it just does not get any better.

It is imagining hearing Penn State Quarterback Chuck Fusina ask Alabama linebacker Barry Krauss 'How close is it?' and hearing Krauss say 'About an inch, you'd better pass' right before fourth down during The Goal Line Stand in the 1979 Sugar Bowl.

It is almost coming to tears whenever Alabama loses to Auburn or Tennessee .

It is The Kick. It is The Goal Line Stand. It is The Desperation Block.

It is purposely not wearing any clothes with the colors orange and blue.

It is the Third Saturday in October.

It is not needing an alarm clock on game days, you sit bolt upright in the bed long before the alarm goes off because you know that it is a gameday, you can sleep after the bowl game.

It is walking into a stadium and knowing Alabama will win the game no matter who they are playing because is just the way it is supposed to be.

It is the saying 'Offense wins games, Defense wins national titles.'

It is the Bear Bryant 'A'.

It is getting to the stadium hours before the game just to be there.

It is walking into another team's stadium and having those fans hate you because you are from Alabama.

It is the pride that a father has when he brings his children to a game so they may cherish the tradition.

It is the hit by Roman Harper in the 2005 against Tennessee that meant everything.

It is beating LSU in Baton Rouge.

It is hearing the crunch as a linebacker dressed in crimson and white hits a running back dressed in orange and blue.

It is the pride you take in being every team's rival.

It is pulling for any team that is playing Auburn.

It is pulling for any team that is playing Tennessee.

It is singing Rammer Jammer period.

It is wishing both teams could lose when Auburn plays Tennessee.

It is knowing that the SEC Championship is a birthright.

It is being respected and feared at the same time.

It is holding up four fingers at the end of the third quarter.

It is not caring about a Heisman Trophy.

It is knowing what 'Mama Called' means.

It is whipping Auburn 31-7 in Jordan-Hare Stadium when nobody picked you to win.

It is NOT 'The Jungle'.

It is 'The Catch.'

It is having 21 Southeastern Conference Titles.

It is having 12 National Titles.

It is more than I can ever mention in this list.

It is class.

It is tradition.

It is Alabama Football.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I have done my civic duty for the day. I waited in line for an hour and a half this morning to cast my vote. The lines were long, but everyone was in good spirits. I voted at the Phelps Center, and the poll workers were doing an excellent job getting everyone taken care of. I personally am supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin, but I encourage you to get out and vote regardless of who you support.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rocky Top

(I am experiencing technical difficulties with getting some of my pictures uploaded.
I will add them as soon as the problem is resolved.)

I am thoroughly enjoying Alabama football this year. That's not to say that I haven't enjoyed it in years past, but this year has been great so far. Maybe it's because we have done so poorly in the last several years and we are finally back on top of things. Regardless, it's a lot of fun.

A month or so ago, Mark Tyner, whose family sits beside us at Bryant-Denny, called and asked if I was interested in making the drive to Knoxville for the Tennessee game. We had no idea that Alabama would be playing well and that Tennessee would be so awful. I told Mark that I wanted to go and we got our tickets. The last time I had been to a game at Neyland Stadium was when I was in college, more than 10 years ago. So I was excited to be going back.

We left Friday morning about 11am. It was rainy and messy and pretty much stayed that way all day, but our Bama spirit kept us upbeat and persistent. Mark had a new GPS and was trying it out for the first time on a long trip. For some reason he called it Agnes. So the entire time we were gone, we were at the mercy of Agnes and just hoped she took us where we needed to go. And she did.

Our first stop was outside of Gadsden, where we ate at the Waffle House. We thought that would be easy and quick. I guess it was, although Mark's hash browns had onions in them and we had to wait for awhile for the waitress to come back to our table so he could tell her. It would seem that they had some Waffle House VIP coming in for a visit and our waitress had to make sure she had cleaned the bathrooms and windexed the front door before he arrived. We heard her telling the other waitresses all about it. While we were waiting her to finish the bathrooms so we could pay, we met an older man from Florida who was heading to the game as well. He struck up a conversation with us and I began to wonder if we would ever get back on the road. Eventually, we were able to get out of the Waffle House and back on track.

We made a detour outside of Chattanooga and took the back roads into Gatlinburg. It looked like the leaves were trying to change, but the weather was so dreary, we really couldn't tell a whole lot about them. We got into Gatlinburg about 6pm. Mark was determined to make it from Tuscaloosa to Gatlinburg on one tank of gas, and when we pulled in to the motel, his gas gauge said "0 miles to empty." We settled in and decided to get out and find some dinner. Guess who didn't take a jacket. Yup... that would be me. I had a polar-fleece vest, but nothing with sleeves. The weather Friday night in Gatlinburg was cold and wet. We found a TGIFriday's across the street from our motel and decided it sounded like a good place to grab some supper. After we ate, we walked up and down the street, looked in some shops, and basically just took in the sights and sounds. There were quite a few people dressed in crimson and white like we were, and we got several Roll Tide's.

The next morning, we got some breakfast and walked around in Gatlinburg some more. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we could see that the leaves were indeed turning colors. I think that by next week, the leaves will be at their peak. My goodness they were pretty! We shopped a little more and then headed to Knoxville for the game.

It took a while to find parking. I forget sometimes how spoiled we are to have a regular parking spot for Tuscaloosa gamedays. We ended up parking at the First Baptist Church and walking to the stadium. I would estimate the distance to be about as far as from Tuscaloosa City Hall to Bryant Denny. Not terribly far. At one point, though, it seemed that we had dead-ended at a chain-link fence and a railroad track. Then we noticed people walking through the weeds and through a hole cut in the fence and then into the woods. I figured there was safety in numbers so we followed and came out at a large parking lot at the edge of the stadium. Mark said he wasn't going back that way after the game in the dark (but we did! in numbers!).

We were heading to find Chris and Jessica outside our gate, when we realized that the team was about to arrive and unload. So we waited with several hundred other Bama fans, and whooped and hollered and cheered on the boys in crimson. Then we found Chris and Jessica. Jessica had discovered that the band was coming through just outside our gate, so we waited outside and cheered on our Million Dollar Band. After all that pep-squadding, we were hungry, so we decided to go on into the stadium and get some hotdogs.

The drinks at Neyland Stadium were the same size as the ones at Bryant Denny. The only difference was they were $2 cheaper! Yep, we pay $6 for a drink in Tuscaloosa! The hotdogs were the same price though, and are better in Tuscaloosa. They put everything on them for you at home.

The stadium was full, but definitely not packed. I remembered being very crowded when I was there before, but not this time. We spread out and had plenty of room.

Of course by the time we got into the stadium we were already sick of "Rocky Top." That situation did not improve until the 4th quarter. I'll admit that I was a bit worried at first about us winning the game. Tennessee seemed fired up and ready for us, and they started off playing well. But then the Tide rose up and put poor old Smokey back in his doghouse! It was a great game, and by the 4th quarter the Tennessee fans were streaming out of the stadium. The Tide won the game 29-9 and the Million Dollar Band did what they do best....Rammer Jammer! I tried to get a picture of the scoreboard, but wouldn't you know it, they reset the scores when the game was over.

So the big question after the game has been what will happen to Phil Fulmer, aka Fat Phil, aka Dr. Donut? Only time will tell.

We got home around 6 pm Sunday night. I really could have used a holiday on Monday.

UPDATE!!! Phil Fulmer Will Step Down!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catching Up

I haven't written in weeks, and I am sorry. I've actually sat down several times to post something, but just haven't felt "inspired". So I thought I'd take a minute and catch you all up on why you haven't heard from me. Most of this will be old news to a lot of you, but maybe you won't be too bored with it.

To start with, I changed jobs. I no longer work in public accounting. Instead, I have taken a position with the City of Tuscaloosa as Accounting Manager in the Finance Department. The choice to change was not a personal one. It was strictly a career move. I started August 18th, and so far everything is going well. There is so much to learn, but everyone has been very nice and very helpful. I have very little free time during the day though, so there hasn't been much time for blogging.

Also, my father-in-law, Terry, had an abdominal aneurism that ruptured about 3 weeks ago. Long story short, he was flown here from Demopolis and should not have lived. The doctors and nurses have all said that he is a miracle. He stayed in the hopital nearly 2 weeks before going home. But he is steadily recovering and regaining his strength. We are shooting to get him back to Bryant-Denny Stadium by the Auburn game.

Heather has started teaching on Tuesdays up at the hospital. I think she instructs the nursing students who are doing their clinicals. The extra day has really thrown our household schedule into chaos. Add to that, the fact that she is traveling to Demopolis on Thursdays to visit, and also that it is Bama football season, and you can imagine how crazy our lives are.

So that's it in a nutshell. Short and sweet. We're just running around like crazy folks. Eventually I will get around to posting our football stories.

Until then.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

70th Birthday Weekend

(sorry about the pictures in this one.)
(we forgot to take the camera with us, and had to use my phone.)

My dad turned 70 this past Saturday. So, after the baby shower on Friday night, we loaded up Saturday morning and headed down to Jackson. We had previously discussed birthday plans, and has intended to go to Ezell's for supper, but Daddy ate at Ezell's earlier in the week, so Saturday morning we awoke to my sister phoning us to say that we were going over to Silas to east at Bimbo's.

Man! What a weekend full of firsts for me! First the baby shower thing, and now Bimbo's. I had no idea what Bimbo's would be like. But if it lived up to its name, the experience should be memorable. (Bimbo's used to be call Petrimalli's, and was an awesome pizza place, but changed owners several years ago).

We got to Jackson shortly after lunch. Mama had cooked a ham, so we had a sandwich and Daddy opened his birthday present from us. We got him new binoculars. Thanks to Chris Sentell, for helping me pick them out. Daddy really liked them and carried them with us the rest of the weekend.
Mama, Daddy, Heather and I left mid afternoon to head to Bimbo's. We had some things we wanted to see before we went to eat. My cousin, Barney Lawry, has a camp down the road from our house that Daddy wanted me to see. It really was very nice. He has tons of ducks out there. They must have thought that we were going to feed them, because they followed us everywhere.

We left Barney's, and headed on to our next stop. Years ago, when I was small, we had a camp on the Alabama River in a small community called West Bend. We went up there most weekends, and my parents were friends with all of the neighbors. I have lots of fond memories of going to the camp. Since we were going to be in the general vicinity, we decided to ride over and see if it had changed. I was surprised at how closely I remembered some things. So much was just as I had it pictured in my mind. The camp is still stained red with black shutters, just as it used to be. And all the trees around were still there, although larger. But some things have changed as well, of course. The old firepit that Daddy and Mr. Earl King built between our camps is not there anymore. It has been replaced with an updated pavilion with a metal roof. And the tetherball poll that stood in the King's yard is gone as well. Tetherball games were a part of our regular routine back then. I think that I was really too small to play the game as it was supposed to be played, but the King kids always helped me out (and mostly let me win). We reminisced about how the river used to get so high that we would drive in by boat and get out level with the deck. We also remembered the time my cousin, Charity, fell off of that deck into the yard. I'm pretty sure she got hurt, but I can't remember exactly how badly. I do remember that one time the King girls had made a tent out of beach towels and a boat trailor. I tried to use it as a hammock, and sailed through the towel and onto the ground. Mama and Daddy had to take me back into town to get my head stitched up. The old slough has grown up and gotten grassy, and I'm not sure if the boat ramp that Daddy built could even be used anymore, but for the most part, things are as I remembered them. The new owners had everything neat and clean, just as Daddy also always did.

After the trip to the camp, we still had some time to kill. So we rode out to the Army Corps of Engineers campground just across the river from Coffeeville. Our friends, Johnny and Patsy Counselman have been spending a lot of time over there in their camper, and Mama and Daddy wanted to see the campground. It really is a nice place over there, and we are lucky to have it available for public use. There were a lot of people camping, and very few spaces were available. It's hard to keep something like that a secret. We got out and walked around a little, and watched the river for a little bit.
Then we rode down to Bobby's Fish Camp, where Daddy had eaten Thursday night with some of the men that he used to work with at the REA. They knew about his birthday, and planned the outing with him to celebrate. I had heard of Bobby's Fish Camp for years, but had never actually seen it. So, there was ANOTHER first for me!

Finally, we made it to Bimbo's. It hadn't changed much from when it was Petrimalli's. My sister and her family got there soon after we did, and everybody ordered the crawfish tails, except for Mama and me. Mama got a pizza. I got catfish. The food was great! We ate and ate, and everybody had food left over. The waitress brought Daddy a piece of cheesecake with strawberries for his birthday. Daddy opened his gift from Sharee (a sign for the cabin that said "Welcome to the Nut House"). Then we wrapped things up and headed home.

After riding all afternoon, and eating so much at Bimbo's we were all worn out. But we had a great day, and I think Daddy had a happy 70th birthday. That's what it was all about anyway.