Well, we are thiiiiiiiiis close to being totally packed. We are going to get a few hours down the road tonight and stop on the other side of Nashville. That will give us some extra time tomorrow afternoon so that we can stop in Birmingham for a little while and visit a friend of mine.
If you've been paying attention to my sidebar, you might be under the impression that I've stopped updating my books on LibraryThing. No, I'm still diligently entering in all my books read. It's just that lately I have been reading next to nothing. Bookwise, at any rate. I manage to stay on top of my Newsweek subscription and read the newspaper almost daily, but books just haven't been happening for me. In fact, this represents my total of books read so far in 2009:
And it's not like I don't have a stack of great books waiting in the wings! I do! I just seem to have lost my reading mojo. I wonder if there is a form of Viagra for bookworms.
Oh, what to blog today? This was a pretty quiet day. I did get a lot done on my indexing project, but that doesn't really make for good blogging. Mike has a swim clinic in Alabama this weekend, and I need to start getting us ready for our trip. Fortunately it's a fairly quick trip, and we don't need any fancy clothes, so it should be pretty simple to pull it all together. I just need to get this index off my desk first!
Think of Fort Knox and you think of security, right? Why, Fort Knox's very reputation is built on security! Well, things just got a little safer in these here parts now that the International Headquarters of Gnomeland Security (IHOGS) is open for business:
This neighborhood is going to get a lot more boring when certain people move out this summer.
Well, poo, I have some funny neighborhood pictures to share, but my camera is downstairs in my purse, and I'm going to use my injured toe as an excuse not to go down and get it tonight. Tomorrow though, I promise!
Hurt toe aside, this has been a really nice weekend. For one thing, we didn't have to go ANYWHERE yesterday, which was a pleasant change from our usual hustle. Today Annabelle and I capped off the weekend with a trip up to Louisville, where we watched the Louisville Youth Orchestra perform (amazing!), met new friends, got some help from her bassoon teacher on her solo for the upcoming band concert, and grabbed Vietnamese food for supper. Delightful! (Or as Annabelle would say, adorable!)
That's Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. And it's how I am spending my day today, although in my case the C stands for Chocolate. My toe is really bugging me, especially because it's keeping me from getting to the million and one things I need to do. I've gathered my latest freelance project, some volunteer work, a few books and magazines, my laptop, 2 phones, and the TV remote controls around me and have taken to my bed for the day.
Remember how I fixed up my porch to be a proper nursery for all the baby robins I was looking forward to having this year? And then how excited I got about having the starlings nesting in the vent above my sink? Well, it would appear that the starlings have scared off the robins. I did catch a starling pilfering nesting material from the robin nest one day, so I can't really blame the robins for moving on to greener pastures.
The other day I noticed that I've got a robin nest in one of the bushes in front of my house. I checked while I was out with the dog this morning, and sure enough the nest was full of fuzzy, beaky heads. I miss being able to peek out my kitchen window and watch the babies like I did last year, so when I went inside, I tried to figure out if I could see the nest through one of my living room windows. It turns out I can't, and to add injury to insult, I kicked the couch by accident on my way to the window, and I'm pretty sure I broke my toe. That's a bummer--no baby birds to watch AND a purple toe.
Tonight I was at a shopping center in E'town when I noticed a starling flying out of a hole in a metal street-light pole. On a hunch I stuck my camera in the hole and snapped a pic. Sure enough--babies!
I came to E'town earlier today for a farewell luncheon for the executive board of the international group (membership chair here!). Then I came back in the late afternoon to take Annabelle to youth orchestra rehearsal. I am blogging from my phone while I wait for her, as I am trying to curb the amount of time I spend on the computer in the evening. Seems the best way for me to do that is not to turn it on in the first place. Sure, I could log on "just for a minute," but it never seems to work out that way. I'm weak. First I blog. Then I check the weather forecast. Then before I know it, it's 2 hours later and I'm googling to find out whatever happened to the first kid who played Chris on "The Partridge Family." (What did happen to him anyway?)
Now that prom is over, we have a temporary lull in activities, so we're just not generating much new blog fodder ("blodder"?). That's OK though because I have lots of little things I've collected over time but wound up being too busy to post. Like this, for example (click for a closer look):
I must admit those Gators know how to end a campus tour on an impressive note!
I'm just not ready to let go of the good feelings from last night's prom! Mike went stag and wound up having such a great time with his friends. I can't decide whether these 2 pictures are "international men of mystery" or--to quote Georgette from The Mary Tyler Moore Show--"the top of a gay wedding cake":
Here are some goofy-fun pics I stole from Mike's MySpace page:
There were a couple of heartwarming moments last night as well. Parents were invited in from 9 to 9:30 to watch the crowning of the king and queen and to share a dance with their kids. I took Annabelle along with me, and she was thrilled when Mike asked her to dance:
You might want to grab a hankie for this next part. We have a dear friend who is waging an exhausting battle against a brain tumor. His daughter is a senior and asked her mom to please make sure he came for the parents' part of the festivities. Not only did he show up, but he stood up from his wheelchair and joined her for the dance:
There has been so much sadness in the past few months. It was amazing to see this family share such a happy moment on what turned out to be a truly magical evening.
Tonight is the FKHS prom! Mike chose watermelon pink for his vest and tie:
He and his friends gathered down the street at our neighbors' house, where they were besieged by the paparazzi:
Guys AND dolls:
They left in several cars to have dinner at a Japanese steakhouse in E'town and will return for the prom itself at the Fort Knox Leaders' Club at 8:00. Annabelle and I are going to walk over (no car, remember? mine is in use this evening) at 9:00 to watch the crowning of the king and queen.
Remember the nifty coat I bought for cheap at Goodwill? I was curious about the coat's age, so I wrote to the Harris Tweed company to see if I could get any info. A nice lady named Mary wrote me back asking for a photo of the label. I sent the picture, and today she told me that the cloth was woven in April 1987 for Clansman Co Ltd. I think it's kind of neat to be able to find out stuff like this!
This is spirit week at the high school, and today was rock star day. Can you tell who Mike is supposed to represent?
Speaking of rock stars, Mike found out today that he's an alternate for this year's Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program. So the good news is that he's not out of the running, but the bad news is that if he does wind up getting a spot, it could happen anytime between early May and mid-June when the program starts, which still kind of leaves him unsure of his summer plans. So keep fingers crossed for a speedy and positive outcome!
I went to Pilates again this afternoon, and this time we did something new: the jump board. The title of this post is my best attempt at describing it and obviously it leaves something to be desired, so watch this video instead:
Fred and I were delighted to discover more high jinks down the street yesterday! I can't help but feel a little ashamed that it has never occurred to me to decorate somebody's yard like this:
Spam?! I love it!
We all went up to Louisville this afternoon to have lunch at Lynne's Paradise Cafe before dropping Fred off at the airport and taking Annabelle to her bassoon lesson at the University of Louisville. While Annabelle was at her lesson, I got a phone call from Fred: "Don't leave Louisville without me." Through a series of airline snafus, Fred gets an extra night here at home, so yay!
Better late than never! As you may recall, I was sick as a dog when Fred was home for Presidents' Day weekend, and we wound up canceling our plans to go up to Louisville for an overnight in a fancy-pants hotel. Well, we declared yesterday to be the day for cashing in the raincheck. I didn't announce it here in advance, because much as I like you folks, I have a tough time announcing to the Internet: "Attention, world! My children will be home alone tonight."
Fred and I checked in to 21C, which is "a 90-room hotel dedicated to world class luxuries, Southern-style hospitality and contemporary art from living artists." Penguins feature prominently throughout (and on the outside of) the hotel:
and there are lots of special touches like this:
The hotel also features an art museum, and Fred and I had fun wandering around admiring the exhibits, such as this one. You can read more about "Text Rain" here, but basically it was a screen with projected letters falling like raindrops. The letters stopped momentarily when they reached a person on the screen:
This piece of art caught our eye:
Here's Fred dodging a falling piano:
We had a great time on our date night and have spent today taking care of mundane chores like hitting the commissary and bathing the dog. Tomorrow we'll enjoy Fred's blueberry pancakes for breakfast and then head back up to Louisville so Annabelle can have a bassoon lesson before we drop Fred off at the airport.
Today was a nice, normal day. Any day that starts without me having to go out in the cold with the dog is a good day, so it was nice to have Fred here to take over morning dog duty (doody!). The kids went to school, and Fred and I spent most of the day running errands. We also went out to lunch and enjoyed the beautiful weather by walking the dog around the field behind our house. This afternoon, we took Annabelle to E'town for her youth orchestra rehearsal and had supper at Panera along the way.
The past couple of days have been obscenely cold, especially for those of us who had gotten used to the Florida warmth last week. Right now it's still only 37 degrees, but it's sunny and doesn't seem to be too windy, and I can hear the Knox Hills gardening crew out there doing the first lawn mowing of the year.
I've got a double-Louisville day ahead of me. I'm going up in a little while for my Pilates class (yay!) and to hit Whole Foods. Then I'll come home, clean house, get Annabelle to and from her musical theater class, and cook supper (blueberry muffins and fruit salad). Then it's back to Louisville, this time to the airport to pick up Fred (yay!). He'll be here until Sunday for his spring break.
A couple days ago, I told you about how I pimped our back porch to make it a hatchery for baby robins. Well, today I discovered that I have more birds (starlings, I think) nesting in the vent that is just above my kitchen window:
I've seen a bird fly out of that area on occasion, but I always thought it was one of the robins, since the nest is directly adjacent to that window. Today, however, I walked into the kitchen to find our cat Eddie practically sitting in the sink to look out the window, and he was watching something intently. It was a bird but not a robin, and I could clearly hear yet another bird rustling around in the box over the sink. I grabbed my cell phone and snapped a couple of quick pics:
Before too long, the second bird came out of the hole, and they flew away together. I'm pretty sure they're making a nest in what I think is my stove vent, which makes me oddly happy. I just wish I had some way of watching them!
We're home! The trip was a complete success--we got everything done that we set out to do--and there were no major fires to put out along the way. Sure feels good to be home though!
I was also happy to see that Mama Bird is back. (If you don't know who Mama Bird is, go check the archives from this time last year.) When I saw signs of spring approaching, I went back and forth with myself over whether to remove the nest and try to dissuade the robins from using my back porch as a maternity ward or whether to embrace it and make the porch into the best place for baby birds that I possibly could. If you recall from last year, the problem was that eventually the babies outgrew the nest, and somebody invariably wound up going overboard (and I would wind up taking that somebody to the wildlife rehabilitator). Wildlife experts swear that mother birds will continue to care for grounded babies, but my back porch backs up to an alley rather than a grassy yard, so leaving the poor little dudes just wasn't an option. In the end, I decided to welcome the birds back and baby-bird proof my back porch. A couple weeks ago, Annabelle helped me staple screening over the lattice sides to keep babies from falling off the porch, and when we have actual babies, I'll put a knee-high piece of plywood across the steps. I see that Mama Bird has been doing some home improvements as well (those leaves weren't there when we left for Florida):
Well, Mike is off in Deltona taking the ACT, and Annabelle and I are packing our stuff. I'll pick him up around 1:00 and then head north to Alabama to spend the night with Fred's parents. Next time you hear from me, we'll be back in Kentucky.
After a final Bellini's supper (hot roast beef and cheese, hold the onions, please!), we came home to watch Adam Sandler's The Waterboy, which was filmed in part here at Stetson and in Orlando. My dad and Jenny and Jeff were lucky enough to be extras, so we paused the DVD to take pics of their film debuts.
Dad popped up in a couple of spots around campus, like this one where he and another fellow are seen through a window walking past the fountain:
and this one where he cruises past Adam Sandler and Fairusa Balk on his way into the Carlton Union Building:
And Jenny and Jeff cheered their hearts out as part of the crowd scene in the Citrus Bowl:
Now it's time to go to bed early (for us), as Mike has to get up at the crack of dawn to take the ACT before we drive 8 hours to Alabama. (Never let it be said that I don't know how to plan a super-fun vacation.) I checked the weather forecast for Fort Knox next Monday though (high of 42 degrees with rain and snow--oh, joy), and leaving Florida does NOT sound like a good idea right now.
This has been a crazy-busy trip! Today we made our fourth college visit in as many days, this one to UF in Gainesville. Here's a couple of pictures though from the few minutes we spent at the beach before our tour of Eckerd College the other day: