melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
I'm a-leavin' on a jet plane (puddle-jumper, actually) for the wilds of Alabama and Arkansas and not-so-wilds of Tennessee for an extended weekend visit to my hometown of Hughes, Arkansas. It seems that the student body of the school district is so small that the district is being consolidated with Forrest City -- a community about thirty miles away -- and some of the locals began plotting an All Years' Reunion for the alumni of Hughes High School before the closing of our alma mater. While I didn't graduate from HHS due to our move to Germantown, TN, I did attend the school from kindergarten through ninth grade. Add to that, my church is celebrating its centennial. The congregation decided that they would take advantage of the influx of former residents and host a special service and luncheon to commemorate the occasion.

Well. Besides my yearly trip to visit my father and his family who live an hour or so north of my hometown, the only other reasons for going to Hughes have been funerals. While it's sad that the school is being shut down, a reunion will be a fun event and the centennial celebration even more so. How could I resist?

The RSVP list was posted this week and I'm positively giddy about who will be attending! Old school chums, my sixth grade teacher (whom I adored), my algebra teacher (who was a terror, but we respected and learned SO MUCH from her; also? she was my father's, his brothers', and his sisters' algebra teacher as well), a whole mess of my besties, so many of my folks' besties, and my dad, uncle, and aunt. Not that I necessarily needed it, but this will be a lovely closure of my childhood.

Also? I get to spend several days with Mom and Pete at the lake house. Yay!


Jul. 22nd, 2014 05:25 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Banjolele mouse)
How are you? I'm good, really good. My summer has been pretty full with a couple of business trips, ten days of vacation in the deep south with my family and friends, and miscellaneous weekend shenanigans.

Mom and Pete have moved in to the lake house (it's on a river, actually) full time and the changes they've made to the place since last summer are simply breath-taking. It was so nice having an actual dock to use for getting into and out of the boat. And relaxing with a book on the top deck of the dock under an umbrella was nearly heaven on earth. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, though: Mom came down with a terrible stomach bug which laid her low the first night I arrived. Pete caught it the next day and Aunt Trish the day after. I came down with the ick that evening. Luckily, it appeared to be of the 24-hour variety and I was back to nearly 100% by the time I needed to drive up to Memphis to see best friend, best friend's beau, and my dad. I even sneaked over to the Memphis house (which is on the market) for one last peek at my teenage-years home.

I got to see all of my siblings at the lake and Mom's brother and his girlfriend stopped in for a couple of days as they journeyed from Vicksburg, MS to Putnam Valley, NY. I believe that at one point we had twelve adults, three children, four dogs, and a cat in the house.

The weather was absolutely glorious with comfortably cool air temps -- especially for July! -- yet warm water temperature. We tubed and skied (I actually got up and skied for a little bit for the first time in probably 15 years) and drove the jetski (first time I'd ridden or driven the thing) and climbed up a 20 foot cliff to jump off a rock back into the water. We have no idea who put the rope there, but it seemed sturdy enough!

The trip was just the right amount of family time, and I can't wait to see everybody again at my aunt's cabin for Thanksgiving.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
Last Saturday we took off for a week of fun which was unlike any other vacation to my folks' house. For one, no one was home when we arrived. We expected this as Mom and Pete were down at their under construction lake house in NW Alabama and baby brother John was still in Knoxville to finish up summer school exams. With that knowledge, we took our time getting to the house and enjoyed a quiet evening and morning.

On Sunday morning we pulled out our bikes and explored the Wolf River Greenway which winds its way along Wolf River/Humphreys Boulevard only a few streets away from Mom's neighborhood. It was lovely under the cooling trees and we enjoyed ourselves immensely despite the 90F temps at 9:30am.

On Monday morning I got brave and rode further afield: all the way from Germantown to mid-town Memphis, as a matter of fact, via the Greater Memphis Greenline which encompasses the Wolf River Greenway and the Shelby Farms Greenline as well. The eastern end is absolutely gorgeous with scenic overlooks of the Wolf River and little "learning areas" about the aquifers, local flora and fauna, and history of the Wolf River. The section through Shelby Farms was also picturesque but that trail is in the open unlike the Wolf River's tunnel of trees. The Memphis Greenline proper picks up next to the prison (whee) and continues a straight, tree-lined path next to the north loop of I-240 for about six miles.

I set off at 9am when the temperature was a mere 80F. I took several breaks for shade/water/sunscreen break and made it to the end of the Greenline in mid-town at 11:30am. I'd ridden 17 miles at that point and there was no way I could make the round trip back to Mom's in the heat of the day. [ profile] zipmeister and John lived only a couple of miles away from the trail's end and John said I could crash at their place until Hubbyfink picked me up. After checking Googlemaps, I set off for their house and got to ride on some of the more frightening (because of high speed traffic) streets in mid-town.

The temperature had risen to near 100 degrees and I was in full sun at this point. I hadn't quite run out of water, but by the time I got to their neighborhood heat exhaustion was setting in. I got lost several times because I could no longer read the map correctly. Finally I realized that I should use the turn-by-turn directions and I made it to Scott & John's house, a mere two miles away from the trail's end, at noon. (They, of course, were starting to panic that something had happened to me since it shouldn't have taken 30 minutes to ride two miles.)

They plied me with water and I collapsed on their cool concrete floor. Hubbyfink brought me a change of clothes and I took a cool shower before we headed out for lunch and a bit of shopping with the guys. I made a full recovery and enjoyed my bragging rights to friends and family.

There are a few things I noticed during the two rides. Everybody was ~so~ friendly. Of the hundred or so bikers, joggers, and walkers I passed or overtook, all but a handful smiled, waved, or gave a verbal greeting. Welcome to the south. Also? It's ~so~ flat. That's great because there are few hills to climb and that sucks because there are few hills to coast down. I giggled when I saw warning signs for slippery switchbacks -- these signs are plentiful on the Mount Vernon Trail the farther south you go -- but the switchbacks on the Wolf River Greenway were gentle and mostly flat curves. Bless.

One of the more fun things to happen was meeting Cort of FIX MEMPHIS while shopping for a new saddle and lube for Scott's mountain bike at the Highland branch of Peddler Bike Shop. The clerk and I geeked about Memphis' burgeoning bicycle infrastructure and I mentioned I'd been keeping up with the growth via several blogs. He asked which ones I read and I rattled off several of the blogs in the "Memphis Area Blogs" sidebar. He put his hand out and introduced himself as one of the authors of the above blog. That was pretty damn cool.

More later...
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
I took an impromptu trip to Memphis for my great aunt's funeral which, despite the reason for the trip, was pretty enjoyable. [ profile] zipmeister retrieved me from the airport and spent most of Tuesday evening visiting with me, Mom, and Pete. Wednesday was Aunt Bernadine's memorial service in Arkansas and one couldn't ask for a more beautiful day in which to be in a cemetery. I saw a lot of family members whom I haven't seen since childhood and even met a few cousins who were born after we moved to Tennessee.

Family plot.
Family plot in Forrest City, AR.

The graveside service was brief and touching. The church dinner was filled with amazing food. As I posted to Facebook, there is nothing like a church dinner featuring fried chicken and fried okra made by good Christian women. Between the dinner and the celebration service, Mom, Mimi, and I drove around Hughes trying to remember who lived where and mourning the deterioration of the tiny farm community.

Papa and Gram
Papa and Gram's headstone.

The celebration of my great aunt's life was quite beautiful. We learned a lot about Aunt Bernie that even Mom didn't know. Family members shared amusing and touching anecdotes about her and most everyone left the service feeling peaceful.

Daddy B's window
My great-grandfather's (Daddy B) memorial window at Hughes United Methodist Church.

Mom suggested I ride home with Mimi so we'd have time to visit. I hardly ever get to spend much time with my sister and we both enjoyed the time together. Mom stopped to visit former coworkers when we reached downtown Memphis and Mimi and I continued on to her house in midtown where we held an impromptu happy hour on her front porch. After a couple glasses of wine (her) and a couple of wine coolers (me), I set to work doing a bit of maintenance on her bike while she and Mom strolled around the block with Bear on his tricycle.

Thursday was Mom's and my day to play and we shopped like we had money. She's lost a bit of weight and wanted some jeans and slacks that fit. She found the slacks (and I found some dresses and shirts) at Dress Barn and then she hit the jeans jackpot at Kohl's. Good gravy but my mom has legs that go all the way up. She strolled out the fitting room in a pair of jeans that took 35 years off; I swear that she looked like she did when I was a little kid. It took some cajoling and pushing until she finally saw in the mirror what I saw.

We got home in time to play a game of Scrabble -- I beat her like a baby seal -- before heading out to celebrate [ profile] beaznuts' birthday at his favorite sushi restaurant. My brother and I are seriously cheap drunks but we can, thankfully, hold our sushi.

The thunderstorms promised all week finally arrived Friday morning just in time for my departure. I'm normally a fairly calm flier, but while I donned my warpaint that morning, the Today show ran a story about the dangers of planes being struck by lightning. Fantastic. I phoned Hubbyfink to tell him I loved him, just in case, and sat back for the bumpy ride out. The plane made it safely to sunny Charlotte and arrived in drizzly Dulles on time.
melaniesuzanne: (Reverie by Alphonse Mucha)
I'm heading to Memphis this afternoon so I can attend my great aunt's funeral in Arkansas tomorrow. It's okay... she was 94 and had been in poor health and bedridden for a couple of years. I'm so glad that I got to see her when Hubbyfink and I decided on the spur of the moment to visit my dad's cousins and aunt and uncle when we were in Arkansas a few years ago. I'm going home to see family who I haven't seen since childhood.

More devastating, though, was finding out last night that [ profile] tirloch died yesterday afternoon. He was in good spirits at the SCA event he stewarded two and a half weeks ago and underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon two weeks ago. His family and a slew of friends descended upon [ profile] carthew's house last night to support her and get her through the first evening. I'm so sorry that I won't be around to help this week but I know Hubbyfink and our friends will be there for her.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
We spent the past week with my family in Germantown, TN; Cherokee, AL; and Greers Ferry, AR. It felt like we were constantly on the road, probably because we were. Arrived at Mom's house on the 2nd, spent the day at their lake house -- actually, more time was spent in the lake rather than the house -- in Alabama on the 3rd, and watched my brother [ profile] beaznuts nearly set his neighborhood ablaze by shooting fireworks in his side yard on the 4th. On Tuesday, Mimi took me to one of the import warehouses where she she scores the bits and pieces she uses for her jewelry business. Afterwards, I followed Mom on what seemed like a "Policewomen of Memphis" tour to get a hitch installed on the Highlander. Mom and I walked along the Wolf River on the Wolf River Greenway Wednesday morning. I was completely turned around and directionless; thank goodness I had my phone and the MapMyRun app. Aside from feeling lost, I thought it was such a neat trail! I can't wait until next summer when Hubbyfink and I take our bikes on that trail.

After cooling down and cleaning up, Hubbyfink and I headed into deepest, darkest Arkansas to my father's lake house in Greers Ferry which is located in the Ozarks. We spent the evening being eaten alive by bugs on the deck and watching sheet lightning beyond the mountains. After a hearty breakfast on Thursday, Daddy took us out on his boat. I'd wanted him to take us up to the dam, but the water on that side of the lake was way too choppy. After the boat ride, Hubbyfink and I took off to explore Heber Springs and got a good view at the dam from the overlook. I spent the rest of the afternoon unconscious trying to sleep off the chest cold which had plagued me all week. It didn't work.

The 'fink and I were up early on Friday and drove the 3.5 hours back to Memphis to meet up with [ profile] zipmeister, his boyfriend John, and our friend Jim for sushi lunch at Sekisue. Nom nom nom. Hubbyfink dropped me off at Mom's house so he could see any new offerings at Outdoors, Inc. and so Mom and I could meet up with Mimi for mani/pedis. After getting pretty toes and fingers, Mom and I met the 'fink and stepdad at Genghis Grill for some Mongolian BBQ goodness.

Sadly, there was no BBQ meal at the Germantown Commissary, a full-contact Scrabble game, much pool time, much visit time with [ profile] zipmeister, or much rest during this vacation. There was lots of yummy homemade BBQ, sister time, lake time, and couple time during this vacation. There were also pulled muscles, a wonky eardrum (mine, not the 'fink's), and an unceasing cough. We were pretty beat when we got home Saturday night.

Pictures. )

Didn't get much in the way of photos, but those sum up the trip.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
Hubbyfink and I spent last week in the company of family and friends in Germantown and Arkansas. There was many a cookout, lots of time spent splashing about in the pool, playing with nephews, and a couple cut-throat games of Scrabble. We spent a fair amount of time with [ profile] zipmeister. Mom and I spent an even fairer amount of time shopping. Johnny's twentieth birthday was last Tuesday and he enjoyed a pretty rocking party, complete with brand new ping pong table.

Last Thursday, we visited my dad in Arkansas for the day and then dropped in on relatives in my "hometown" of Heth (which is less a town and more a railroad crossing in the middle of absolutely nowhere). Hubbyfink met my 94-year-old great uncle Vance and great aunt Bernie and second cousins JoBelle, Bess, and Sid. I haven't seen any of them in about twenty, maybe twenty-five, years.

JoBelle now lives in my childhood home. Memory lane. )

[ profile] zipmeister, his boyfriend, a couple other friends, and my brother [ profile] beaznuts came over on our last night in town and we all stayed up very late playing Munchkin. My brother fell under Munchkin's spell and spent much of the following day searching for it in local comic book/game shops. Now he's trying to teach Mom and his wife how to play.

We got an extra day of visiting, thanks to the way the 4th of July fell on the calendar, and I am grateful for that. It still wasn't enough time with loved ones, but that's what "next time" is for.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
Having a great visit thus far even though both Hubbyfink and I are are burnt to respective crisps thanks to extended soaking in the pool this morning. Mom bought a ping pong table this afternoon (she woke up with a craving for one... I usually wake up simply craving doughnuts) and Johnny spent this evening soundly spanking all of us at table tennis. Good times.

Oh! I saw my first honest to goodness cake wreck this afternoon: a "burger" cake complete with bread crust "fries" and a tiny bowl of red frosting "ketchup". I felt my stomach do a lazy flipflop while I snapped photos of the cake.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
It's been a lovely visit. Mom and I got lots of quality time together and not all of it was spent harvesting our Farmville crops. I even got to spend a fair amount of time with the siblings. We're all usually so rushed during these visits. I'm not sure what made the difference this time.

[ profile] beaz and Melinda's baby still hasn't arrived, but he's dropped since Friday night. She's been carrying him really high and didn't look all that pregnant, to be honest. Tonight, she looked oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-pop-at-any-moment pregnant. Funny what a couple of days will do. She's still scheduled for induction Tuesday morning.

Mom and I forced Pete and [ profile] zipmeister to go see Starry Nights. Too bad everybody else in Memphis had the same idea. Good thing we took Zippy's Ford Focus hybrid; we might have otherwise run out of gas while sitting on Walnut Grove for 2.5 hours just to get into the park. Yeah, we should've bailed. We're a stubborn bunch. I refuse to say whether or not the wait was worth the display.

It's been tough, but I've kept up with my schoolwork while out of town. Mom's cats have been just as helpful blocking the light on my still lifes as mine are. Good kitties.

What a day

Nov. 25th, 2009 01:20 am
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
On the phone at 8am for a conference call with the Indians, then got assigned a hot project (completely unrelated to India) which needed to be completed before I left town. Nine hours later I handed the nearly-finished document to my boss so that he could finish futzing with the last Visio drawing which wouldn't copy correctly into the document. He didn't mind; he was thrilled that I had surpassed his expectations of what could be turned around in a day.

Logged off work, raced upstairs and jumped in the shower. Forty-five minutes later, Hubbyfink dropped me off at Dulles. Huh. The security area has been moved downstairs; I wonder when that happened. Was very thankful to travel on Tuesday and not the Wednesday before T-day because the line was LOOOOONG but people were fairly cheerful. Both flights left on time and both flights arrived early. I didn't have to share my seat on either flight and, thus, had the window seat the whole time. Saw many amazing things in the air tonight which related mostly to FedEx planes. The coolest was landing simultaneously with a FedEx plane in Memphis. I figured with my 11:30pm CT arrival, we'd be mingling in the air during the peak of the sort.

Mom, Pete, and the shelties retrieved me from the airport. The cats greeted me when I got home. In fact, Romulus set up housekeeping in my suitcase (he's currently warming the bed for me). Tomorrow Today [ profile] zipmeister will drag me out shopping for console games we can give to each other as belated birthday gifts (although, his birthday was the 24th so I'm only barely belated). Johnny should be home late tonight. I'll see Mimi, Chris and Bear on Thursday. No clue when I'll see [ profile] beaznuts and Melinda. Still no baby.

Okay. It's officially very, very late now. Time to fall down, go boom.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Left Memphis at 6:50 last night and got to Charlotte, NC with no problems. As soon as I deboarded, I heard the gate agent announce that the flight to Dulles was overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to give up their seats. I almost slept in Charlotte. )

Bear's birthday brunch was a LOT of fun. Mom and I made cheesy hashbrown casseroles and fruit salad in a watermelon boat topped with a turtle (I'll post a photo later). Bear got fun toys and lots of books. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves at the party and there was just the right amount of food.

Mom and I ran lots of errands after the party on Saturday but didn't sneak in our pedicures or trip to DSW until Sunday. I'm so glad that I chose to leave late on Sunday. It gave me what felt like a whole extra day to visit and play with my family. I'm excited about heading back in about three months to meet my next nephew.

In Memphis

Aug. 28th, 2009 11:28 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
Arrived Thursday at 8:55pm and was retrieved from the airport by Mom, [ profile] beaznuts and Mrs Beaz. Had planned on spending today goofing around with [ profile] zipmeister but Mom's car battery kicked the bucket and we spent an ungodly amount of time working on that today. We did manage to sneak in a trip to Sonic for lunch; Mom gave herself brainfreeze by drinking a strawberry limeade too fast. Zippy treated us to takeaway BBQ, sides, and 'nana pudding from the Germantown Commissary. Hubbyfink will be happy to know the Zippy did not, in fact, take me to either the Toyota or Mini dealerships. And even though I love Zippy's new car, I don't want one just like it.

Tomorrow is Bear's 1st birthday party brunch (his actual birthday was today) and I'll get to see him, mama Mimi and daddy Chris. Mom and I have to get up early to prep a couple of dishes and help Mimi with set-up. Afterwards, Mom and I will sneak in a trip to DSW and pedicures. I'm hoping to get some pool time, too. It's hot and muggy down here, even moreso than the heat and mugginess in Virginia.

Baby brother John is off at college (UT:Knoxville) and it's so weird not seeing or hearing him. I almost miss the near-constant thumping bass from his video games late at night.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
Graduation was grand. We hollered and cheered for Johnny when he walked across the stage. Bellevue Baptist Church, in which the ceremony was held, is frickin' hyooooge. Seriously. We walked in and the foyer looked like a fancy hotel complete with concierge desk and a bookstore/gift shop.


We all retired to the Exeter Chilli's for a celebratory dinner. I forgot, when I ordered my margarita, that this Chilli's is big on Happy Hour and that Happy Hour lasts long into the night. This means that for every margarita -- or beer, as Hubbyfink discovered -- one orders, two appear on the table. Three and a half margaritas later, I could barely see straight.

So drunk.

Of course, I'm now sporting these *spectacular* scrapes on my left shin and right knee plus bruising on my right bicep from falling off the curb en route to Mom's car. I was laid out flat and still don't know how I managed not to faceplant into the asphalt. In my defense, the sidewalk drops half a step about four inches from the curb and there's nothing marking that drop. Pete, who drank iced tea all night, nearly tumbled after me when he raced forward to try to catch me. Mom and Pete wanted to drag me back into the restaurant to complain but I (1) didn't want to make a scene and (2) was drunk. Instead, I crawled into the back of Mom's car after making sure I hadn't torn my dress and then had a little cry.

Hubbyfink forced advil and lots of water on me when we got back home and Pete found the hydrogen peroxide. My shin is stinging like nobody's business and the muscles in both legs ache. Hubbyfink is sleeping in the once and future guest room tonight so I can take over our bed in the den and kick my legs as much as I need during the night. This wound will make the pool interesting tomorrow.

On the bright side, I have four containers of Pancho's cheese dip for [ profile] courtney_d_h and myself and a spiffy little cloth cooler in which to transport those dips back to Virginia. Mmmm.... Pancho-y goodness.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
It looks like Hubbyfink and I will head back home a day early. The Sunset Symphony I'd planned on attending Saturday is no longer what it used to be and, since everybody else has already made plans for Saturday evening, there's no point in Hubbyfink and me hanging out alone. Mom is sad but understands; and she brightened up when I reminded her I'd be back in just three months for Bear's first birthday.

Plus, I miss my Margiekitten something fierce.

Today I got in the pool and the water felt like natural (cold!) spring water. I found an air mattress -- which I think is actually a sleeping/camping air mattress as opposed to a lounging/pool air mattress -- and used it to keep my body precariously perched just above the frigid water whilst baking my alabaster skin. Yes, I applied copious sunscreen. Pete has asked me on my next dip in the pool to dive down to the bottom and retrieve something which fell off the vacuum. I honestly don't think I'm up to that even if the air temp does hit the low 80s tomorrow.

[ profile] beaznuts, his wife, Hubbyfink, [ profile] zipmeister and I met up for dinner at Ya-ain (actually, it's "Rain", but the R is backwards), a "Sushi Bar and Bistro". Beaz and brother John RAVE about this place. I found it rather lackluster, to be honest. Everything I ate was either spicy hot or bland, the atmosphere was chaotic with the too-loud stereo system and the (numerous) large, flat screen TVs showing either the American Idol finals or a basketball game, and our server left MUCH to be desired. Give me [ profile] danabren's sushi joint any day of the week, and if they're busy I'll settle for Sekisue as a distant runner-up. The frozen custard afterwards (I've blanked on the place's name...) nearly made up for the disappointing sushi.

Tomorrow night is Johnny's graduation ceremony. I'm sure he's pumped, but I've seen so little of him lately that I don't know what's going through his head. I do know that he's getting excited about going to UT:Knoxville. He had signed on to play football for Lambuth, but has since decided that he really doesn't want to be a football hero and would rather rule the school on charm and good looks. I'm quite sure he'll be the BMoC in no time at all and not just because he's freakishly tall. ;)
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
I hear that my buddies at home had a frost warning last night. It's been downright chilly here in the mid-south since Saturday night. I'm so glad I brought a couple pairs of jeans and a sweater. We're supposed to be back in the mid-80s tomorrow or Thursday and both Hubbyfink and I are looking forward to the heat. It's been too chilly for him to hang out in the Florida room and read; that's his favorite thing to do when we visit and it was way too cold for that during our Christmas visit.

Last night Hubbyfink, [ profile] zipmeister and I helped [ profile] beaznuts move boxes from his storage unit to the new apartment. The apartment is gorgeous and has a similar layout to Hubbyfink's and my old apartment. Beaz and wife will live on the ground floor and overlook a lake full of wildlife. I got to work on my fear of duck teeth last night. There's a family of mallards with four puffy baby ducklings who live near the tree at the edge of the lake. They introduced themselves to us as we lazed on Beaz's patio. (Okay, [ profile] pirategirleee, baby ducks are pretty darn cute.) But then we heard a nasally honk from not too far away. A family of geese with seven poofy baby goslings waddled up and made a beeline for the patio, the parents hissing at us the whole time. We hissed back. Beaz ran inside for a moment and returned with a bag of Cheez-Its. Who knew that ducks and geese liked Cheez-Its? Those ducklings were adorable as they'd barrel down the yard for a cracker and then get startled away from a gosling which was twice their size.

I'm no longer afraid of duck teeth. Goose tongues, however, are a completely different matter. *shudder*.

Beaz's wife (his wife!) made us a thank-you dinner while Beaz forced us to watch "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Bachelorette". Now I understand what kind of people keep those shows on the air.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
Hubbyfink and I arrived safely at Mom's house a mere thirteen hours after leaving our own on Thursday. Friday was a mix of decorating the hall and sanctuary for brother [ profile] beaznuts' wedding, retrieving Aunt Trisha and then her luggage from the airport, making cucumber sandwiches for the reception, and attending the rehearsal dinner. Daddy was totally in his element playing host at the dinner and Hubbyfink and I enjoyed sitting across from him and Linda during that evening. We found out that they'll be in DC over July 4th weekend and have a room in a hotel which overlooks the Mall. I'll get to see the DC fireworks for the first time, and in complete comfort. :)

The wedding ceremony on Saturday was scheduled for 2pm, but we got to the church around 11am to finish prepping food for the reception and doing a million-and-one last-minutes. The ceremony was beautiful and there wasn't a dry eye on the groom's side of the church. Mom started crying as soon as Beaz and brother John (his best man) walked into the sanctuary. I got sniffly and teary-eyed during the vows. My step-brother's wife sweetly passed me a tissue and both Hubbyfink and [ profile] zipmeister gave me a tender squeeze. The reception seemed to fly by and, before we knew it, it was time to shower the happy couple in birdseed as they raced for the limo. They hid in the limo while a lot of guests left and then popped back out so the bride could retrieve her bag. Hubbyfink, Zippy, Zippy's boyfriend, and I spent a fair amount of time brushing and picking birdseed out of Beaz's hair. That boy had a LOT of product in his hair and the seed was practically glued in. Finally, the happy couple took off for a B&B in Mississippi in which they would spend their first married night. We family members changed back into our civvies and broke down the decorations in record time.

Today (Sunday) was the Baccalaureate for brother John's graduating class. It was incredibly weird to think that eighteen years ago, I sat in those same pews wearing a cap and gown feeling like the whole world was open and available to me. Johnny is so excited about graduating on Thursday. Since they don't have to be at school this week, he and three buddies took off this evening for an impromptu pre-graduation camping trip at my folks' property down on Pickwick Lake in Alabama. Hopefully, they'll be back in time to receive their diplomas.

In and around all the cermonial craziness this weekend, there have been shopping trips, snuggles with fat kitties and poofy Shelties, hang time with [ profile] zipmeister, and margaritas. It's getting late and I need to remember to write about Betta Fish Highlander (there can be only one!) and Hubbyfink's weird shoes. But it's midnight-thirty at home and I feel like we've been going pretty much non-stop since we arrived. G'night.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
I'm so glad we've stayed the extra day. The severe weather promised by the weather-guessers hasn't arrived but the wind's been very high and wind advisories throughout the state would have made crossing the full length of Tennessee in our lightweight car an unfun trip. So, instead of being blown about by Mother Nature, Hubbyfink and I viewed The Baroque World of Fernando Botero exhibit at the Brooks Museum. I read about the exhibit in last week's Memphis Flyer and then Mimi gave me two magnets based on paintings in the exhibit. It was obviously a sign.

Hubbyfink wasn't sure about what he was getting into, but once he saw the bronze "Rape of Europa" (caution: image is huge) in the front courtyard, his interest was piqued. I'm no art critic but I know what I like and there were several paintings and a few bronzes which I'd be happy to have live in my home. Hubbyfink was intrigued by Botero's corpulent figures. We're both kicking ourselves for not purchasing the exhibit book, especially since the museum forbade photography.

We were also delighted to discover a not-insignificant medieval art collection which contained pieces we'd never seen depicted. Hubbyfink spent a great deal of time examining a mid-fifteenth century German statue of Gabriel made of wood. The armour detail was absolutely stunning. Again, no photography allowed so we can't share the wonder of that statue with our history-loving friends. Poop. Hubbyfink suggested coming back with La Belle letterhead when next we visit...

We wandered through the neighborhoods of the historic Evergreen district to the west of Overton Park and then around the artsy Cooper-Young district looking at several 1920s bungalows I'd found in the real estate section of the Flyer earlier. Ah, bliss.

Now we're waiting for Mom and Aunt Trish to get back home so we can all go out for last-night-in-town sushi. Yay!
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
The Beasley-Cozad-Dangerfield-Danosky-Harris-Johnson Christmas eve celebration included a cameo by [ profile] zipmeister, who had pretty much recovered from his mysterious pain, which meant that we had eleven adults around the dining table with Zippy and Aunt Trish sharing a table a deux (Aunt Jan lost the coin toss) in the archway between the dining and formal living rooms. The only people missing were Johnny's girlfriend who had finally arrived at her sister's house in Ohio and [ profile] beaznut's girlfriend who was sharing Christmas eve dinner with her own family. Our plates were piled high with turkey and honeybaked ham, mashed potatoes and green beans, brother-in-law Chris' sausage-infused stuffing, and Aunt Trisha's cranberry-citrus-coconut salad. We finished dinner with pecan crumble, hot fudge pie, and vanilla ice cream.

The present-opening orgy started late this morning as we waited for the star of the show, Baby Bear, to arrive with his entourage. Beaz's girlfriend Melinda arrived as we filled our glasses with egg nog, Bellinis, or Bloody Marys and all gathered in the living room for the gift exchange. Mom had filled our stockings with all sorts of fun goodies and we kids managed to overfill Mom and Pete's stockings until they nearly burst! Hubbyfink picked up on the not-so-subtle hints and gave me "Left 4 Dead" for the 360. Whoo hoo! He also gave me a pink wireless 360 controller. I've never had my very own controller before. Everybody enjoyed their gifts and there was much gushing over the cuteness of Bear's presents.

Johnny left for Ohio around 2pm and my sister's family cleared out about an hour after that. Beaz and Melinda stuck around for another hour or so and then left for Melinda's parent's home to celebrate her birthday. Mom and I sneaked in a very polite Scrabble game before she and the aunts left to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". Pete, Hubbyfink and I have been vegging in front of the tube.

Tomorrow we trek over to Arkansas to visit my dad and his family. Saturday... we'll still be in Memphis. I need one more day with my family and Hubbyfink's agreeable. Work on Monday could suck, but we're going home Sunday. Yay!
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
Things are improving around the Mid-South Home for Disease & Decrepitude. Mom and I are both improving and neither of us has needed cold medicine since this morning. Little brother [ profile] beaznuts not only left his deathbed, but also went to work. His doctor gave him gooooood drugs. Aunt Trisha's still sniffly, but she's huddled under a blanket watching a movie with Mom downstairs. Somehow Hubbyfink, who manages to be patient zero for most illnesses, has remained unscathed through this round of colds. [ profile] zipmeister, however, is not doing so well.

Hubbyfink and I met Zippy, Jim, Becky, Andy and Carol at Huey's for lunch. Zippy had to leave the restaurant early because of severe abdominal pain. I had hoped he'd go to a minor medical place or call his doctor boyfriend or something and I called his cell on our drive back home to see how he was doing. His dad answered and said that he was being looked at by an emergency room doctor. Skip hasn't called back with an update; I'm trying not to bite off what tiny slivers of nails I have in worry. I want my best friend to be okay.


Dec. 22nd, 2008 01:20 am
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
We made to Germantown safely. Left Sterling at 7am ET Saturday and arrived at Mom's front door about 7:15pm CT Saturday. Hubbyfink was an absolute saint and drove most of the way while I dozed feverishly through nearly all of Virginia and a small portion of Tennessee. Ate at the Kingsport Sonic.

Pete's sister Jan is visiting from Australia. I haven't seen her since late 1990 when she and her kids visited for Christmas. [ profile] beaznuts and his girlfriend Melinda stopped by to visit about an hour after we got to Mom's. Poor Beaz was soo sick; he was much worse than Mom (who also has a cold) and me.

Today Mom, Aunt Jan, and I shopped. And shopped. And shopped some more. Hubbyfink found us at Dress Barn where I was buying a whole new wardrobe (I was, and still am, going through an I-hate-everything-I-brought-to-Memphis phase). We left Mom and Jan at Stein Mart and boogied back home with a surgical strike on Tarzhay and Backyard Burgers en route. [ profile] zipmeister showed up at Mom's house shortly after we got back home. Zippy was kind enough to arrange for us to see long-missed friends Andy and Carol. (Andy was our DM for D&D and the Toreador annoyance to my Malkavian in Vampire: the Masquerade back in the day). I don't think Hubbyfink's met Andy and Carol and I'm pretty sure I haven't seen them in about seven years. We went out to the Germantown Commissary and stuffed ourselves silly on barbecued pig and lemon icebox pie.

It's cold down here; I don't think it got above freezing today and it's supposed to be as cold tomorrow, but will be up in the 60s by week's end. I guess we just barely missed an ice storm back home. Yikes.

Baby brother John -- the football hero -- and his buddies have been playing Rock Band tonight and he was kind enough to let his middle-aged sister hang out and watch him and his friends play. They even let me sing a few songs and fistbumped me when I got 100%. Heh.

Tomorrow's schedule includes more shopping -- this time with [ profile] zipmeister so we can get each other's birthday-mas gifts -- and picking up Aunt Trisha from the airport. Things weren't going very nicely for her at home and we talked her into catching a last-minute flight up from Orlando. When she's here, every bed in the house will be taken. Heh. Plus, I'll finally get to see Mimi, Chris and Charlie Bear tomorrow. They were supposed to come over today, but Mimi was afraid of Bear catching Mom's and my colds. He hasn't been sick yet and she doesn't want his first cold to be during Christmas.

Hubbyfink's been asleep for a couple of hours now. Since I can't stop yawning, I should probably go join him.


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