Saturday morning I got up wanting to get outside and play. So Heather and I loaded Hershey up and went out to Lake Harris. I hadn't been out there in years, and I'm still not sure that we were exactly where I remembered going to before. The main thing was just to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.
The university ski team uses Lake Harris to practice. I can remember back in college going out there and watching them do stunts and tricks. Nobody was out there on Saturday when we arrived though.
I also remember one time some friends and I went hiking through the woods to this huge natural whirlpool. I thought that was where we were headed Saturday. But I was wrong. I think that might have been at Lake Nicol, which is still very close.
Heather pointed out a trail that she had been on before, and we started out. We could look out over the lake from high above on the cliffs.
The trail was fairly rocky, and very hilly. Hershey was all excited to begin with, but she tuckered out on all those hills, and her enthusiasm over being included in our adventure soon wore off.
When we got to the bottom at the creek, she found a puddle and plopped herself down into it.
This was the back side of another small dam.
And then we followed the creek.
I thought this was going to be the whirlpool. But it wasn't. That will be another day's venture.
Hershey got hot and had to find her a shade to sit under.
We stayed for a while and played in the water. But we eventually had to head back to the car. And guess who was too tired to walk back? Yup. Hershey. She'd make a few very slow steps and stop. And then another couple of even slower steps and stop. So I carried a wet dog most of the way back to the car. At least up the hills anyway. She was pooped!
Our friend Ben Judd got married Saturday night and we went to the wedding and to the party after. I don't think Hershey even knew we had left the house!
Last night we decided to visit one of Tuscaloosa's best kept secrets... Nick's in the Sticks.
Nick's is one of those hole in the wall concrete block buildings that you find in every town that has been there forever because they are good at what they do. Nothing fancy... there's no need for anything like that. Just good food, pure and simple.
The walls are covered with old photos of Alabama football players and the ceiling is covered with dollar bills that people have signed and dated. The tables are formica and show years and years of wear. They pack folks in, and we were lucky to grab the last empty table in the house, so we didn't have to wait.
Nick's has great big ole hamburgers that get all messy and drip juices everywhere, and they serve them up with french fries or homemade onion rings. They've also go a mean hamburger steak. But the thing that always keeps me coming back is the filet.
Last night I was starving when I got there. So we ordered onion rings to start with, then moved on to our salads. I really do wish I had gotten pictures. They serve the salad with no dressing, and then give you one of those old round servers with 3 bowls all around it. You can have French, Ranch/Blue Cheese mixed, or Thousand Island. Pass em around.
Then our waiter brought our steaks. They were cooked to a perfect medium rare, and were falling apart in your mouth tender. I had to make myself eat mine slow so that I could enjoy it as long as possible.
I tried to take pictures, ya'll. I really did. But Heather wouldn't let me. She was embarrassed. So you'll just have to visualize it all in your head.
Next time I'll have to leave her at home so I can share it all with you.
Just wanted to let ya'll know I'm still here. This has been a busy, busy week, and I just haven't had time to stop and post anything.
We're a bit short staffed at work, and I'm kinda playing a dual role. That began on Monday. Our village idiot was sent packing, much to the joy of everyone who works here. Both jobs still have to be done though, and that has made life pretty chaotic for me. But even though it's hectic, it's a good thing.
But anyway... enough excuses.
Our nephew, Mitch, who is 11, stayed with us from Monday morning til Tuesday afternoon this week. We had a great time. We fished on the Wii, ate Mexican Monday night, ate chocolate ice cream, and played with Hershey. His mom got off of work at lunch Tuesday and had planned to pick him up after she went to get her hair done.
Heather told Mitch that his mom has at the beauty shop, and to make sure he gave her a compliment when she came in.
So. When B came in the door, Mitch said, "You look like Margaret off of M*A*S*H!"
B did not take that as a compliment.
I thought it was hilarious.
Hope ya'll are having a great week. Tomorrow is Friday!!!!!!
I woke up Friday morning about to starve to death. SO all morning I ate. I couldn't get enough and nothing satisfied me. I even left the office mid-morning and made a trip to Publix for bananas and Dole fruit bar popsicles. I ate the bananas, but after lunch, I realized that I was miserable and that we were going to eat Hokkaido for supper, so I left the popsicles alone.
I told ya'll on Friday that Sharee and Ethan were coming to visit. They got to the house around noon and Heather entertained them until I got home.
I came in the door with my groceries that were leftover from the trip to Publix, and had a package to open. Then Sharee had to open her birthday presents from us. Then I had to change clothes, all the while Ethan is telling me to hurry up. And then finally we were on our way to eat.
We ordered a whole lot of sushi, and then ordered from the grill as well. I love sushi for breakfast, so I wanted to make sure that if Ethan and Sharee took a liking to it, that I'd still have plenty to take home. And I did. Ethan had one piece and decided he'd rather have his fish fried... and that he'd really rather just stick with fried catfish.
Heather slipped away during dinner and told one of the waitresses that Sharee was celebrating her birthday. Now if it had been my birthday, we may have had a problem. I'm a complete party pooper when it comes to singing in a restaurant. But Sharee was a good sport. And she got free ice cream, and her picture taken wearing a Japanese dunce cap.
Then we shopped. And shopped. For over 2 hours. I had bought 9:30pm movie tickets to make sure we had plenty of time and weren't rushed. We had plenty of time.
Harry Potter was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I wanted more. I felt like it left me hanging in the end. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that halfway through the movie, I remembered the grocery bag that was still sitting on the kitchen cabinet. And the popsicles that were melting in that bag. Maybe that had me a little bit distracted.
We got home, unwound, tried to refreeze the popsicles, and got in bed around 2am. (yeah! 2am!)
Saturday morning we went over to campus to the Bryant Museum. I hadn't been there in years, and although a lot was the same, so much had changed or been added. We spent a good part of the morning there, watching videos, looking at trophies, seeing the replica of Coach Bryant's office, and visiting the giftshop.
It was very cool. Even Ethan, who has had his mind poisoned by his Daddy and is an Auburn fan, enjoyed himself. We left there with "Yeah Alabama" in our ears and Tide Pride in our hearts.
It was such a nice day, that we decided to spend a little time on campus. We went around the quad and then walked around over at the Ferguson Center. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather.
Saturday night I fixed us a low country boil for supper. We had shrimp, crab legs, potatoes, conecuh sausage, corn on the cob, and onions. We all made pigs of ourselves! It was soooo good.
I didn't have any newspaper to dump it all on, but we did have those colored bowls that Heather got from Dollar General last year for $1 each! So we just dumped everything into about a dozen or so bowls and dug in.
Sunday I ended up coming in to the office for a while. When I got home last night, the DirectTV guy had been by to upgrade us to high definition. I had asked that they use the same pole, or at least try to use the same holes, and I had thought that I would be home when the guy arrived, but instead of getting there between 8am and 12pm as told to me on the phone, he actually got there about 2pm. And I was at the office. So when I got home, this is what I found...
Yes. That is a bare pole on the side of the house where the old dish once lived. And the new dish is mounted ON THE ROOF! THROUGH THE SHINGLES! WIRES ARE EVERYWHERE!
But the picture on the TV is incredible. I walked in the den last night and thought Hank Hill was in there with me. And Heather has been overly impressed with the maps on the Weather Channel. So I guess I'll try to paint over those wires and make the best of it. Let's just hope the roof doesn't leak.
Happy Blogoversary to Leigh over at Bloggeritaville. She's giving away stuff all week to celebrate, so make sure you go by and visit with her. You can follow the link from here on my page.
My sister, Sharee, and my nephew, Ethan, are on their way from south Alabama to Tuscaloosa to spend the weekend with us. Sharee's birthday was yesterday, so they decided to get out of town and hit the road.
She called the other night and wanted to know if we could do sushi at the house one night while they were here. I told her I didn't even know they liked sushi. Well, they don't know... they've never tried it. So I decided that home would not be the best venue for a first-time sushi experience. It's fun and all, but lets face it, I am no sushi chef and it is sooo much better in a restaurant.
So we are going to Hokkaido for dinner. It's a hibachi-style place, and I thought it would be entertaining for Ethan. Heather and I usually just sit at a regular table. I don't think you can talk as well at the grill, and I'm usually kind of picky on who else I eat supper with. But tonight I think we'll go for the whole experience. And we can order sushi and have other options as well. My mouth is already watering for that rice with shrimp sauce... mmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!
Then, it will be time for the main event. HARRY POTTER!!!!
I went ahead and ordered my tickets just in case they sold out. I'm ready.
I don't know what we are doing tomorrow. Maybe the Bryant Museum. Heather and Sharee may shop. Adam reminded me yesterday that there's a boat auction in town in the morning. Or we may go to Tannehill for Trade Days. I'm kinda thinking low country boil for supper....maybe with some friends too. I have a new cooker that has never been used. It needs to be broken in.
Yesterday marked day number 6 since I had George removed from my arm.
I went home yesterday afternoon determined to convince Heather that the stitches had been in my arm long enough. I was afraid that they were about to become a permanent part of me.
She and Jessica had just come in from Birmingham. Heather had a doctor's appointment at the ARC Clinic (that went very well, by the way) and then they had shopped, had lunch at Tavern on the Summit, shopped some more, had their nails painted all different colors at the MAC store, shopped some more, and then made their way back to Tuscaloosa.
Poor things were tired.
But Heather loves anything medically gross, and Jessica, who seemed just as excited about pulling things out of my arm as Heather, volunteered to help.
They obviously were not as tired as they let on to be.
So I sat down on the sofa and braced myself. And it was a good thing that I did because Heather at that point announced to us all that my arm may have gotten to the stinky stage.
Whoa. Put the brakes on. Nobody told me anything about stitches being stinky. Furthermore, I do not stink. In fact, I put quite a significant amount of value on good hygiene. I have bathed at least twice a day for the past 6 days. My arm did not stink, and I made sure I let them both know that.
So we moved on.
Jessica held the flashlight and narrated what was going on for me since I wasn't about to watch. At one point she told me that I was half-way done though. Yeah!!!!Then just about that time Heather announced the removal of stitch #2. I had 7. And Jessica is a teacher. 2 is not half-way to 7, Jessica.
It pulled quite a bit, and managed to suffer through the process, but I think I must have ended up being possessed by some foreign being. Look at my eyes.... hisssssss!
Now I am stitchless, although I do have steri-strips on there for a couple more days.
Everybody at work has been commenting on my arm today.
Hope ya'll have a good day, and I hope you are getting some of this good rain. We sure do need all we can get of it.
This morning I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Tuscaloosa's new amphitheater.
I expected to burn up since I had on a coat and tie, but there was a nice breeze blowing and it was very comfortable in the shade of the Hugh Thomas Bridge.
The amphitheater will seat 7,000 people and is expected to be open in time for the first football game of 2010.
There's been a bit of controversy around town lately concerning the existance of an amphitheater in Tuscaloosa. A guy named Mark Booth started a website called "Stop the Amp" in an attempt to gather support against the construction. However, the last time I checked, the poll on that website showed over 80% of voters were in support of having an amphitheater here in town. I think Mr Booth really wanted to run against our mayor in the upcoming election, but his hopes got kinda squashed.
So anyway, I'm pretty excited about this. It's really going to be something nice for Tuscaloosa.
Ya'll will have to come check us out when it opens!
We had a really great weekend. Of course, it was busy, but that's the only way we know.
We made a trip to Lowe's Friday night, in anticipation of doing some work outside Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I ended up having to go in to the office for a while Saturday, and when I got home, the heat had kicked in outside, so we didn't get anything done work-wise.
We did go up to Jasper to see Heather's Uncle Jim and Aunt Debbie. They are such awesome people, and are so good to us. Jim has always been like a father to Heather, so we really enjoyed sitting out with them catching up on things.
We left Jasper headed to Mitchell Mountain near Berry, Alabama for a reunion of some of Heather's folks. This was the first of such reunions for me, but I'm usually at home in just about any crowd, so I wasn't worried about going.
All I can say is wow.
David and Sherry Mitchell hosted us all at their place. I have no idea how Sherry keeps that yard looking like it does. It was simply amazing, and they were so nice to share their home with everybody. We ate barbeque, chicken with white bbq sauce, potato salad, slaw, pasta salad, and then for dessert, we had banana pudding (the one from Southern Living with the Nutter Butters), southern praline cake, and some sort of chocolate brownie cool whip layer thing. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm!!!!
Then we stopped back by Chris and Jessica's on the way home, and they gave us Monkey Bread to take with us! Folks are not helping our diets.... which evidently are non-existent.
Yesterday I did get some work done around the house. I got all the windows washed on the outside, the front porch washed down, and the garage cleaned out and washed.
Then we went to Sam's and I bought a new TV. So now we are all high definition at our house! I liked to have never got it set-up. I had to call the Sam's help line for assistance. But it's all working great, and Heather is picking up another cord today so that I can hook the Wii up to it this afternoon.
So that's about it for the weekend from our house.
Hope you all had a good weekend yourselves, and I hope ya'll have a great week!
Last night, Keith and Susan Whitley brought supper over to the house to us. Susan works with Heather, and Keith is CEO of a cancer center here in Tuscaloosa. They came over about 6pm with Mollie, their long-haired dachsund. Hershey wasn't too sure if she wanted to be friends or not.
Susan had called Heather earlier in the day yesterday and was worried that the food would not be good. Evidently, she doesn't cook very often. She even went as far as to call FIG (Food Is Good), a local restaurant here in town, to tell them that if the food she was bringing us was not fit to eat, then we would be calling for something else and that she would pick up the tab.
Of course we would never have done that, but it didn't matter anyway because the food was delicious. She brought chicken spaghetti, an awesome salad with grapes and strawberries and cranberries and nuts all mixed in with balsamic dressing, garlic cheese rolls and oatmeal raisin cookies. She also brought REAL Milo's Tea! We never get the real stuff anymore. We have to get it with Splenda.
So once again, we gorged ourselves. It was all so so good. Sorry I didn't get pictures. I'm gonna have to do better on that. I just love food and get all carried away and forget.
We are truly blessed to have so many great friends.
Thanks for all the comments and well wishes on my freakishly gross arm thing.
As it turns out, I didn't have a ganglian cyst. I don't know where I got that from. I may have made it up. Who knows?
It was actually a lipoma. Again, I turned to Wikipedia for an explanation. A lipoma is a benign tumor made up of fatty tissue. Approximately 1 percent of the population has a lipoma. Leave it to me to be in that 1 percent.
I'll just tell ya'll, Dr. Laubenthal is an awesome guy. I've had doctors in the past that are just basically doing their job and could care less about the person that they are taking care of. Not so with Dr. L. He takes his time and makes you feel like you are the only patient he has. You can tell that he genuinely cares about you and what he is doing.
And his office is ultimately cool. He played baseball for Alabama in college, so a lot of the office is themed around sports. The exam rooms all have names like "Coleman Coliseum" or "Bryant Denny Stadium."
His other passion is super heroes. And that is the theme for the rest of the office. For example, the room I was in today had a larger than life size mural on one wall of Spiderman swinging from building to building. The shelves in that room are covered in action figures that he has collected. There's a batman light on one wall, and a US map indicating where the forces of good and evil reside hanging on another wall. Very entertaining.
Dr. L is also a very snappy dresser, and he is the one who introduced me to Robert Graham shirts. So we talked a lot about those today. Look them up here... http://www.robertgrahamshirts.com. Very cool stuff!
So Dr. Laubenthal told me that anything as large as what he took out of my arm needed to be named. So I have named it George, because it was indeed a curious thing.
I didn't see what he was doing to me. I told him I didn't want to watch. But when he took George out, he asked if I wanted to see it.
It was gross. That's all I'm gonna say about it. Just gross. And I thought about saying, "Hey! Can I get a picture with my phone for my blog?" But I decided against that. So no pics.
I have 7 stitches. Didn't hurt a bit. He gave Heather a scalpel and told her that she could take them out in 8 days. He did say that it was a wise decision not to hit it with a Bible. He said that would have been quite painful.
WARNING! This may be a little gross to some of ya'll. I know it is to me.
Ok. So for years I've had this thing on my arm. Just beside my elbow. It started off as a small knot, but through the years has grown to about the size of a quarter.
I actually had my doctor, Jeff Laubenthal, look at it about a year ago. He said it is a ganglian cyst. It's benign.... not really much to worry about.
I looked up ganglian cysts on Wikipedia. They are also called Bible bumps. Wanna know why? Because people used to get rid of them by whacking them with a Bible or other thick book! I can tell you now that's not going to happen here. No way, Jose'!
But it freaks out Heather. And honestly, as you can see, it really is kinda gross looking.
So Heather has been trying to get me to have it removed. In fact, she called me at the office earlier to remind me to call and make an appointment.
So since I'm not getting rid of it with the Bible, I called the doctor's office, expecting to get an appointment in the next couple of weeks or so.
It's at 7:30 tomorrow morning. They had a cancellation. Joy!
Ya'll, I have a very weak stomach and don't handle things like this well. I asked some questions, and basically have determined that I will be awake while Dr. Laubenthal is cutting this thing out. Kinda makes me queasy just thinking about it. I may pass out and bust my head open and then I'll really be in a fine mess.
Stay tuned.... If I can use my arm after he gets done cutting things out of it, I'll let ya'll know how it goes.
I didn't get to post this weekend, so Happy Belated 4th of July!
We ended up going down to Orange Beach. A week later than we planned, but we made it. Along with everybody else in the southern United States, it seemed.
It was a very spontaneous trip. I wasn't even sure that Heather would be up for riding that far, since she was only a week out of having surgery. But she assured me that she would be fine, and she was.
My father in law, Terry, and my brother in law, Hess, had planned to go down for a work day. We've all been trying get down there together since March, but schedules just haven't worked out for us. So when Heather and I heard that Terry was going down last Wednesday, and Hess last Thursday, we decided to go as well so that I could help out where I could.
I'm not the handiest person in the world. But I'm a pretty good gopher, and I can handle most tasks if I have a little guidance.
So we headed down Thursday after I got off work.
Friday was our work day. We replaced part of the floor in the bathroom, built a handrail for the new steps at the back door, and then replaced a section of floor in the kitchen. (Terry's chair had gone through the floor and dumped him in the corner on Wednesday afternoon!) We still have to lay new tile in the bathroom and kitchen, but at least we are back on solid flooring!
Hess and I also got the grass cut on both lots, and we caught Heather cutting back the shrubs. We sent her back inside though, and I cleaned up her trimmings.
Terry took us all out to eat seafood Friday night, and then he and Hess left Saturday morning. Terry headed home, and Hess headed to Lake Martin to join his wife and kids at his in-laws'.
Heather and I hit the beach. With every everybody else. It was packed!
I had my new backpack beach chairs, so we were able to pack efficiently and ended up with just a cooler in my hands. Heather had her tabloids and I had grabbed a new book at Publix, so we were content out there long enough for both of us to get nice and crispy.
We ate at Flippers at Bear Point Saturday night, and they had home-made ice cream for dessert! I do love me some ice cream. It was treat!
We knew we wanted to watch some fireworks. We are only about a mile from the Wharf, and we knew they would be shooting fireworks there, but we couldn't find anything that told us what time. Gulf Shores was having fireworks out in the Gulf at 9pm. So at first, we figured that would be our best choice. But then we couldn't figure out where to park to see them.
Little Big Town and Montgomery Gentry were scheduled to play at the Wharf. So I decided that maybe we should just grab some tickets and spend the rest of the evening there. And that is what we did.
I didn't really know much about either bands. But after they started playing, I knew most of the songs.
It was a great night. A breeze was blowing, the music was great, and everybody was in the spirit of the evening. We had a great time.
All the Who's in Whoville were out as well... The fireworks started around 10:30pm, and were the perfect ending to our day.
Sunday morning we got out and walked around the neighborhood and over to the marina. The sun was already beating down on our burned shoulders though, so we didn't stay out too long. We packed up, cleaned up, loaded up, and started for home.
Until we got to Canal Road. And the traffic was awful.
Normally, I take the toll bridge and the beach express and avoid the main beach traffic. But Mama had phoned that morning to tell me that the birds are pecking big holes in Daddy's tomatoes, and that he wanted me to go by Al's and pick him up some rubber snakes. So we ended up heading over to the main road, and the traffic got worse from there.
We got those snakes though. All colors. I wish I had taken a picture, but I forgot. Sorry. Use your imagination.
After about an hour or so in traffic, I pulled into Papa Rocco's in attempt to find a source of strength to deal with the traffic. After a half of a Chicken Club pizza and half of a Seafood Primavera pizza, we were back in full force.
It was at this point, that Heather made the suggestion that we by-pass the traffic and take the Fort Morgan ferry over to Dauphin Island. Neither of us had been out that way in years, so we decided to invoke our sense of adventure and come back home that way.
Now let me just say something here. I didn't know you could ride that ferry as a pedestrian only. I thought you had to be in a car. But Heather said that when they were growing up, Sue would take them to Fort Morgan all the time to ride the ferry over to Dauphin Island and back. I had never thought about that. You learn something new every day.
We ended up waiting about an hour to get on the ferry. Not a bad wait though.
After we got all lined up, with cars in front, behind, and beside us, I asked Heather if she had cash. (I had spent most of mine on $6 frosty beverages the night before at the Wharf.) She had none. So I got out and looked at the fee schedule, and we needed $20.50 to cross. I started rummaging through my pockets and the car, and finally came up with 16 bucks. Not gonna do it. And there we are all boxed in. Well I started to worry. I mean, how embarrassing is this gonna be??? So we walked over to the snack bar hoping for an ATM. No luck. Heather was picking out her popsicle when I pointed out the "Cash Only" sign. Well if we haven't got enough to pay for the ferry, we certainly aren't going to be buying ice cream.
So we walked back to the car, and Heather found the attendant to ask what forms of payment they accepted. Praise the Lord, they took VISA! So we were in the clear. But in the future, I will try to be more prepared for the adventure.
We went back and got popsicles from the snack bar and wandered around. Then we loaded up on the ferry and were off to Fort Gaines and Dauphin Island.
We stopped at Mama's and picked up Hershey, and visited with my sister and nephew as well. We ate some barbeque and fried apple pies, and then finally headed for Tuscaloosa.
Needless to say, we slept well last night. It wears us out, but it's so good to get away. On the way home, we were already figuring out the next weekend to go back.