Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fish story

Highway 31-W between Fort Knox and Louisville is not what you would call a scenic route. It has little to distinguish itself unless one counts the numerous roadside crosses, which often lead me to wonder whether the people around here are exceptionally religious, exceptionally bad drivers, or some combination of both. Just south of Louisville, the Dixie Highway runs through what one might charitably call a "wide spot in the road," the southern end of Valley Station, which looks like this:

This little oasis has been in the news lately because of controversy surrounding this particular establishment:

Pepper Tackle, or epper ackle if you believe the sign, has stirred things up good. The city of Louisville is trying to force Norman Pepper to remove this giant catfish that adorns his property (and that the city says is an illegal second sign):

Mr. Pepper says no way and has filed suit to save his fish.

Some of the commentary in the local news has me cracking up. The appeal prepared by Pepper's attorney, for example, says that the giant fish is not a sign and has as its sole purpose "the glorification of a species of fish . . . which Pepper holds in great esteem." I hold catfish in great esteem too, especially breaded and deep fried.

I think comedian Jeff Caldwell said it best: "[T]he muffler shops and massage parlors were complaining that the catfish ruined the aesthetics of Dixie Highway." Frankly, there's hardly a property along that whole strip that wouldn't be vastly improved by the addition of an enormous fish. I silently cheer for the giant catfish every time I drive by and hope for victory for Mr. Pepper.

Can we get a recount?

Well, no surprise. "Zits" lost to the fancy pigs. I swear, I think the whole thing was fixed. Thanks though to everybody who supported the cause and especially to those who pointed out ways I can get my "Zits" fix online!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Broadway baby

Yesterday was a terrific day for Annabelle. For the past 7 weeks, she has been going up to Louisville each Saturday afternoon for a 4-hour "Broadway Boot Camp," run by Music Theatre Louisville.

Annabelle has wanted to get into theater for some time now, but hard as it might be to imagine, Fort Knox is not exactly a hotbed of cultural activity. She did take a couple of drama workshops through Youth Services, but those tended to be geared towards younger kids and more about self-expression than learning how to do a particular show.

This boot camp has been a truly wonderful experience for her. They worked a lot on audition skills--in fact, her homework for the first week was to put together her resume! They also worked on musical numbers from shows such as "42nd Street," "Oliver," and "Hello, Dolly," which will be part of MTL's lineup this summer.

They have been pretty strict about keeping parents away from the rehearsals. I have enjoyed my weekly shopping afternoons in Louisville, but I have been dying to see how everthing would turn out.

Yesterday afternoon, family and friends were invited back for the second half of the session to attend an "open rehearsal." It was truly a rehearsal rather than a polished performance, but it was fascinating to watch. The kids would run through a number (or maybe even part of a number), and then the teacher would stop them to give constructive criticism, and they would do it again. It was neat to watch them apply the advice and make the piece better right in front of our eyes.

Annabelle really got into the performance. She seemed so calm and confident up there on the stage! It was truly hard to believe that this was the same kid who cried through most of the first-grade show.

I sat back and enjoyed the experience rather than trying to catch it through my camera. We are, however, going to receive a DVD of the show in a few weeks, and I will post some video clips from that when I get it.

Meanwhile, Annabelle is more enthusiastic than ever before about musical theater and can't wait for the summer session of Boot Camp to begin!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Vote, vote, vote!

The comic-strip election in the Louisville Courier-Journal is still going on for one more week. "Zits," the hysterically funny strip about the perils of parenting (or being) a teen, and "Pearls Before Swine," the strip that I personally don't care for and would probably say unkind things about except that some people whose opinions I respect assure me that is is funny, have been running neck and neck for the past couple of weeks. We're coming up on the end this week though, so please make it a point of voting regularly for "Zits." I will think of you fondly every day when I enjoy my daily dose of "Zits" along with my Cheerios.

Adventures with Jenny

Sigh . . . it seems so dull and lonely without Jenny here. We did have a great visit though. We had a Kentucky-themed goody-bag waiting for her when she arrived on Thursday (my sister, she loves a goody-bag!):

You may recall that Jenny visited last winter hoping to see snow, but the snow waited until she left before putting in an appearance. She had better luck this year, with Saturday turning out to be our snowiest day this winter.

She and Annabelle even had a brief snowball fight:

The snow and the visit both melted away too quickly though, and we put her on her homebound flight this afternoon. Only 4 more months until we get to go to Florida for more fun and games:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Up, up, up past the Jellicle moon . . .

I don't mean to denigrate the sadness felt by people whose pets die unexpectedly. I have to say though that there is a special kind of anguish suffered by those who watch beloved animals gradually fade away and who have to make the decision to help their companion out of this world. That is the kind of grief my family seems to specialize in.

Seventeen years ago, my parents and sister adopted a kitten from the local animal shelter. This kitten grew into a cat who came with her fair share of challenges, but my parents provided her with a better home than she could have hoped for with anybody else. Celia had been declining for some time now, and my parents--Mom, especially--had been tormented over when to say that enough was enough. Last Saturday was enough.

Anybody who saw Celia painfully hobbling around lately would hardly believe that this was the same cat who could once do this:

or this:

or this:

Farewell, Celia.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy birthday, Goozle!*

My little sister is having a birthday today! Jenny and I agreed not to exchange gifts for our birthdays this year and instead went in halvsies on a plane ticket for her to come up on Thursday for a long weekend.

Jenny and I have been making plans for the past few weeks. So far all of our plans revolve around food. We'll go out for a birthday lunch on Thursday after I pick her up at the airport. We have to do fondue one night, and we have at least 2 more opportunities to have lunch in Louisville (once while Annabelle is at her theater class on Saturday and once before Jenny catches her flight home on Monday). Maybe we can pick up Thai one night, too. We're also fond of spinach dip and layer dip, so I suppose I should pick up the necessary ingredients.

Happy birthday, Jenny! Can't wait to see ya!


*Note to people Jenny works with: We called her Goozle when she was little. You should call her Goozle, too.

**The awesome set of wheels was called a Wee Wheeler, but Jenny called it a Wee Weasel. My friends and I broke it trying to ride it down the big hill in front of our house in Georgia. Sorry about that, Jen.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The party continues

My actual birthday weekend turned out to be kind of a tough time for celebrating--the kids were gone for a lot of it, and on Sunday Fred came down with some horrible disease that laid him out flat and even kept him home from work on Monday (which, for Fred, means REALLY sick). Even though I knew it had been a tough weekend, by Sunday night I couldn't help but feel a little deflated that my 40th birthday had been such a non-event. So yesterday was Bonnie's Birthday: Part II.

We went up to Louisville to have supper at the Hard Rock Cafe. Every time we travel, we make a point of hitting any Hard Rocks we come across, but we had never been to this one in the entire year and a half we have lived here. I had 2 Bahama Mamas with my meal, and it was goooooooood.

When we got home, I was banished upstairs while there was much scurrying around downstairs. Finally, Annabelle made me close my eyes and led me by the hand (while Mike tried to move the hatrack into my path) into the dining room, which had been redecorated in honor of the occasion:

They sang "Happy Birthday" to me, and we had ice-cream cake and presents. Annabelle made me a Bonnie Puppet Pal, in the tradition of the Potter Puppet Pals she enjoys watching on YouTube:

(It's me in my grub suit!)

Here I am with the kids:

It was a very nice celebration, and NOW my birthday is over.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I'm being taunted by a bird. For the past couple of weeks, we have had this amazing woodpecker hanging out in our neighborhood. I've been trying to get his picture, but he keeps eluding me. The other day, he showed up just outside my office window and sat there for several minutes laughing his cartoonish cackle. I grabbed my camera, but I was shooting at a weird angle through glass and a screen and without flash, and the results weren't very good:

I hope I'll have another chance to get his picture in the berry tree.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy birthday to me!

20-20. Nope, it's not my vision. It's my age. As in "Yesterday I was 20-19, but today I'm 20-20, and next year I'll be 20-21." I think it sounds nicer than the F word, don't you?

I don't really have any big plans for the day. Mike is at a swim meet in Versailles (which is pronounced just like it's spelled here in 'tucky), and Annabelle has a theater class in Louisville this afternoon. On top of all that, Fred is nursing a nasty cold, so I don't know that there will be much partying going on. I do, however, have a bottle of wine I brought back over from Germany last summer, and I WILL be opening that sucker.

I've been thinking a lot about previous birthdays lately. Some of them--like the original one--I don't remember at all:

Come to think of it, I don't remember my first birthday either:

One of the first birthdays that I do remember well is my fifth. I had a ballerina-themed party at my Grandma Jernigan's house. Guests included a couple of friends and my cousins--Laura and Danny are in the high chairs, and Julie is on the right in the shockingly short purple jumper:

One reason that birthday stands out in my memory is that my Grandma Whitecar had a puzzle made out of that picture and gave it to me for the sixth birthday. I still have that puzzle!

My best birthday party ever would have to be the one I had when I turned 7. Along with my cousins (Julie is in the green dress, Danny is the little guy in the yellow shirt, and Laura is the blondie in the lower right-hand corner) and my sister (who is being held by, I think, a girl I bit on a different occasion--but she really deserved it), I also had most of my second-grade classmates as guests. (See the boy in the darker yellow shirt? His name was Patrick, and he was my boyfriend.) I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz that year, so that was the theme of the party. My mom made a kick-ass cake, and my parents put a lot of planning into party games and activities:

When I turned 8, I asked for a bridle for my birthday. Never mind that I didn't have a horse! I figured if I got a bridle, I wouldn't be without a horse for long. Yeah . . . that didn't quite go as I had planned. I was excited to get that bridle though:

One of my most disappointing birthdays--and one I'm grateful to have no photographic evidence of--was my sixteenth. That's the day I flunked my drivers license test. How humiliating! I went back a week later and got the same tester. At the end of the test, he sat there in the passenger's seat of my parents' blue Plymouth Reliant and totalled my points and totalled them again. I will never forget his words: "Well, Miss Boyd . . . according to this, you passed. . . . But I still don't think you're that hot."

By and large though, I have definitely had way more good birthdays than bad.

Happy birthday to all the cool people who share my special day, especially my cousin Ally, my friend Beth, and my friend Sibylle's son Konstantin. Aquarians rule!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snow tastes good!

That's what Ginger thinks anyway:

We finally, FINALLY, got a little snow last night. The weather has been wicked cold lately, but no snow up until now.

The other day our windchill was 1. ONE?! What kind of stupid temperature is that?! I thought maybe we had switched to Centigrade and nobody told me.

Compared to a windchill of 1, 25 feels downright balmy.