Thursday, June 30, 2011

a perfect birthday dinner

We were at the beach on my birthday and you know how much I love the sun and the beach. . .so you know that it was the perfect way to spend my birthday!! I was at the pool bright and early and read for a couple of hours. Then we went in and took a shower and drove up to the original oyster house for lunch. One of my favorite desserts is peanut butter pie and I never order dessert in a restaurant but since it was my birthday . ..guess what? I did!! The waitress and Mark sang happy birthday. Look at that pie - it is so tall!! Mark even ate a few bites - he liked the chocolate crust. We went back out to the beach in the afternoon and then I rented "The King's Speech" and watched it in our bedroom while the rest of the group prepared supper - I felt so spoiled!!

They prepared a wonderful dinner. We had a shrimp boil. The potatoes and corn were grown in the garden of one of Vivia's friends. George added the spice and it was spicy! It was good. Our lips were burning and we kept laughing because they were burning so much!!

Mark had purchased an ice cream cake from publix and so we had our cake and ice cream all in one. It was actually very good! Vivia and Alice both had presents for me and they all worked so hard to make my birthday special . . .and it worked!! What a special day!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fish Four different ways!!

When we are at the beach, we cook some of our meals in the condo. Mark and George get in that kitchen and whip up some amazing food. I'm not a huge fan of fish but there is something about fish that was caught on the same day that you cook and eat it. It tastes really good. Mark and George caught speckled trout and flounder . . .but to catch it they set their alarms for midnight and went outside and walked down the pier and fished until about 3:00 a.m. They told us that they saw some pretty amazing things at that time of night . . .evidently there were "cougars" walking on the beach and families with small children and mamas with babies . . walking on the beach in the middle of the night!!

So this year we ate fresh fish several times. Mark and George are our fish "chefs." Mark packed his deep fryer so he was ready!! Glenn registered for this same fryer and he and Lauren received one from Mr. and Mrs. McKay as a wedding gift . . .and Mark just had to have one of his own!!

I am not sure what they are doing in this picture. I said, "Let me take a picture of the cooks" and they posed this way!! They had been drinking cold beverages :-)

The fish on the right are my favorite. Mark uses potato flakes (like you use to make instant mashed potatoes - yes, you read that right!!) instead of cornmeal. Oh my goodness - they are the best fried fish EVER!! I'm usually a "one small piece of fish for me, please" kind of girl but I can actually eat several pieces of the fish cooked this way!!

Isn't this amazing? We had fried fish and baked whole flounder and broiled fish. We also had a delicious salad and cheese grits. There is not a restaurant in town that can prepare and serve a meal more tasty than this one!! Good job, guys!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Roosters, Chickens and Goats oh my!

Glenn and Lauren have been telling us about this amazing flea market in Mobile. They love going there on the weekends. They've been buying their fresh produce from some farmers who have booths at the flea market. We needed to spend the night in Mobile after the wedding/reception/dinner/play day so we stayed at the nice Hampton Inn. On Sunday morning, Mark and I got up and got dressed and went to the lobby for breakfast. Mark loves breakfast and rarely gets a cooked breakfast (he eats raisin bran almost every day of his life!). He really loves waffles . . .and yes, there was a waffle iron in the lobby of the Hampton Inn. Mark made a waffle and when he came to the table . . .he had not only a waffle, but an omelette on top of his waffle . . .with syrup. He said it was good but since I'm not a breakfast in the morning kind of person (I'm happy with a grilled cheese sandwich!) it did not look appealing to me. He said it was delicious. (by the way, I do like breakfast for dinner!! . . .and I did eat some sausage and part of an omelette and some fruit at the hotel - proud of myself!) Then Glenn and Lauren picked us up and drove us to the flea market. It was indeed a unique place. I would like to go back and explore some more! Here is one of the buildings (yes, I said one of the buildings - there are multiple buildings). There were some interesting folks walking around . . .glad I had the camera! There were booths with t-shirts and booths with purses and booths with glasses (both drinking and reading). There were booths with dog clothes and cat carriers. There was this one really large booth (I can't believe I didn't take a picture of it!!) of something that I really love - books!! There were really tall shelves filled with books and just enough space to wind around. It was really cool. We kept walking and came to some really interesting stuff . . . There were booths with live animals . . .look at the price tag - $15.00 each. I didn't ask but I've been wondering . . .do you think these are being sold to be eaten . . .for lunch . . . or do you think they are being sold as pets?????

Look at this one!! He is actually somewhat cute! He is probably thinking, "get me out of here!!"

This was the most unusual. There were goats for sale. Once again, I'm wondering if they were for sale for pet purposes or what???? They were kind of sad tied up in the back of this truck. I guess they weren't sad but it made me sad! It was really hot that day. Yes . . .if you are wondering . . .all those little black pellets are exactly what they look like they are.

What an interesting way to spend our last morning of vacation! We loved spending time with Glenn and Lauren and walking through the flea market. Lauren and I even let the guy selling some kind of natural "straight from Africa" butter for the skin spread some on our arm. They dropped us at the hotel and we started our drive home. The flea market was fun!


We left the reception and went back to the hotel and showered and changed clothes (no way could we stay that sweaty!!). Glenn and Lauren and the rest of the gang had to stay until the bride and groom left which was around 5:30 (and it is a 30 minute drive back to the area of Mobile where they live). All of them (not sure how many!!) grabbed a quick shower also. Mark and I wanted to take all of them to dinner and we wanted to go somewhere "Mobile" . . .so this is where we met them. The Shed . . .has been on food network!!

Such a cool restaurant. Lights hanging from the ceiling. All sorts of things like bicycles and ventriloquist dummies hanging from the ceiling - really!! Here is our group - on the right - Levi and Mark and Kaylor and Jerel and on the left is Lauren and Glenn and Jamie's girlfriend (I have to find out her name!) and Jamie. There was a band on the stage and they kept warming up and then they left!

Look at all those tags . . .they were on almost every surface!! Yes, those are rolls of paper towels on the table . . . brown paper towels . . .no napkins in this place!

Look at this table. It is a red door. I LOVE it! I want one. Of course, I don't have a place to put it.

Look at all the stuff hanging from the ceiling!!

I think the cow was one of my favorite things. I have no idea whose signatures are all over the cow but he is cool.

Can you believe that I have made it this far into a post about a restaurant and haven't talked about the food yet???? The restaurant was just so interesting. The food was good. I have a BBQ Pork Baked Potato. The problem is that we have a Saw's BBQ restaurant right down the street from the church and their BBQ Pork Baker is so phenomenal . . that this restaurant didn't have a chance!! I tasted Mark's beans (I always say that I'm a baked bean connoisseur because I love baked beans!). They were good. The BBQ Pork on my potato was tasty and tender. Lauren and Mark both got brisket. Lauren was excited to be in a restaurant where they served brisket. That is the kind of BBQ that she grew up eating. (I always laugh when I read about folks in other parts of the country . . .they say they are having a barbecue . . .and they cook hamburgers and hotdogs . . .Not barbecue).

The Shed was a fun place to gather and eat and we enjoyed the food and the fellowship AND even more importantly, we were able to eat and get to the theater on time!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm going to be mad if we drove all this way and miss the wedding

Mark is always on time. Come hell or high water . . .he is on time. We drove over to Mobile after spending a week in Orange Beach. Our hotel room wasn't ready so we drove to a nearby restaurant and had lunch and then we were able to check in. The hotel (Hampton Inn on Providence) was really nice and clean and the folks working at the desk were so nice and helpful!! (they are not paying me to say that!!) We were afraid that we wouldn't be able to check in before the wedding so we had showered, etc. at the condo in Orange Beach and we were ready to change in the hotel lobby bathroom if necessary. I'm glad we didn't have to do that!!

Lauren, our sweet daughter-in-law, called and said that she and Levi would like to go with us to the wedding. This was exciting to me because I want a close relationship with her so for her to initiate riding together made me feel really good!! Glenn was already at Bellingrath Gardens since he was in the wedding. Levi was staying with them. Well, evidently Levi had bought a new book and wouldn't stop reading. They were supposed to meet us at the hotel around one. Mark was in the car . . .it was cranked and ready to go . . .air conditioner on high . . .and they weren't there. Lauren and I were texting and she was telling me that Levi was making them late. You have to understand what I told you earlier. Mark is NEVER late. He kept saying, "Glenn said the wedding was only going to last about 10 minutes. If we drove all the way over here and got a hotel room and miss the wedding . . . " He never would finish the sentence. For some reason (maybe because I had an ativan earlier for motion sickness) I was calm and collected. I kept trying to get him to calm down. They rolled into the parking lot at 1:10 and Mark literally pulled his car in behind theirs in the parking lot WAITING! We've been married a long time and I knew he was irritated but I didn't want them to know (they know now because we laughed about it later). I was chattering up a storm. I said things like, "Hey Levi. How was teaching this year? Are you going to teach at the same school next year? Do you have a girlfriend?" As we got closer to Bellingrath Gardens, Mark relaxed a little but not much. As a matter of fact, we whirled into the parking lot and everyone jumped out of the car and took off at a trot. I have short legs and am overweight . . .and was huffing and puffing behind. Sweet Jerel slowed down and walked with me!!

So we walked all the way to the back of the gardens . . .and there were about 12 chairs in the shade . . .and there were people sitting in them already. You can tell by the lighting in this photo that we were in direct sunlight. We were thrilled to be able to sit with some of our favorite folks (who didn't make us late after all). As a matter of fact, if we had been any earlier we would have just been standing out in the heat!! Look at all those big sunglasses! You can see part of the gorgeous house (that unbelievable house was a fishing camp originally!! - Mark loved that fact) behind them.

I handed the camera to Jerel and said, "take our picture for proof that we were here" or something equally as stupid!! We are only glowing at this point. We clean up pretty nice, don't we?

We had front row seats. The bride and groom were on one side of this fountain and we were on the other side!!

This wedding was very different from any other wedding that I have ever attended. We are very active in our church and try hard to walk the walk (of course, we fail miserably multiple times a day but keep asking for forgiveness and keep trying again) and most of our friends live pretty much the same way we do. All that said, everyone we know has been married by a minister . . .there has been a prayer . . . .usually a blessing of the rings . . .Scott is a Christian - grew up in a great youth group in a United Methodist Church in North Alabama . . .went to Wesley at Auburn. I don't know the story but all I know is that Brittany isn't "religious." She didn't want anything even remotely religious in the wedding ceremony. The ceremony was performed by a judge. No prayers. No blessing. Different. At the end of the wedding, instead of prayers they made wishes. First the bride and groom threw pennies into the fountain. (I think this photo is cool because the camera was fast enough to catch the drops of water - I told you that we were sitting really close!!)

Then each bridesmaid came from one side and met a groomsman in the middle and they each threw a penny into the fountain. I'm so proud of Glenn. . . just because!! (I get to say that because I'm his momma right?) Look at the rest of this picture - it was a gorgeous day and a gorgeous venue. Look at the blue sky and the water beyond.

After the wedding was over, we were invited to walk over to the white tent for the reception but we were so hot that we walked over to the shade and we walked around for a few minutes admiring the location. I leaned over one of the ponds of water and took this picture and I love how you can see the shadow of the trees. The water looks so blue and the lily pad (or water plant?) looks so green.

This is the front of the home (the fishing camp!!). We didn't go in the house. I would love to go back and tour it also. I'll be they decorate inside the house for Christmas like they decorate the gardens. I'll have to google that and see!! You can see the Spanish moss hanging in the trees. Beautiful.
These are the stairs from the wedding site (we were at the top for the wedding) and there is a fountain running between the stairs all the way down to the lake. So peaceful and so wonderfully shady!!

Mark was able to relax at the reception and he enjoyed hanging out with all of the young adults and we weren't late and everything was good!!

It was a lovely wedding and I know something very important. God was there even though HIS name was never mentioned. Isn't that amazing? He and His creation - such a gorgeous place - are truly amazing!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I've never sweated this much in nice clothes . . .

Yes, I said those words to a total stranger. I looked at her and said, "I've never sweated (surely I said perspired . . but I don't think so) this much in nice clothes before." This total stranger who probably thought I was nuts said in a thick southern drawl, "Are you not from the south?" I think I just turned and walked away! It was a hot but lovely reception. Once again, I'm going out of order. I'm posting about the reception before the wedding.

After our week at the beach (which I will post about at some point), Mark and I drove over to Mobile for Scott and Brittany's wedding. Scott (or as Mark calls him - Scottie) is one of Glenn's friends from Auburn and he was a groomsman in Glenn's wedding. Scott's undergrad degree is some sort of fancy forestry something or other and he is working on his Master's (maybe finished?) while his bride is in school to be a Veterinarian. They are living in Illinois (is that right?) so I guess they had forgotten HOW HOT it is in June in Alabama. The wedding and reception were both outside. The location was lovely - Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, AL. I had never been there (isn't it crazy that we don't go see the tourist attractions in our own state?) but had heard about it all my life. I actually remember my mother asking my daddy if we could go (we didn't). I would love to go back when it is cooler. A Mobilian (is that what you call them?) told me that they have a gorgeous walk through display at Christmas. That sounds like a good time to go.

It was truly lovely. The centerpieces on the tables at the reception were all very natural - pine cones, rocks and grasses. They just filled tall glass vases with the items.
The beer was iced down in the cutest pirot boat. I love it . . .and I want one. Wonder how much one would cost . . .and where would I store it? Do you see the owl over on the right? They also had lots of owls and birds sitting all around. Everything was very outdoorsy. I personally didn't drink any alcohol at this wedding because it was just too hot. My fellow travelling companion thought the ice cold beer was very cooling but I knew that if I drank a cup of wine that I would be even hotter. But guess what they had? (and I don't have a picture of it because I was too busy standing in line . . .not once but twice) They had a sno cone machine - a real one where they were sending the ice through a big tube. I had two sno cones and was a little embarrassed when I got in line for the second time. I did have pina colada flavored sno cones :-)

The part of the reception might need some explaining. Both bride and groom volunteered at the raptor rehabilitation center in Auburn. They had these gorgeous hawks that they released at the reception. I desperately need a better lens for my camera but if you look closely you can see that both bride and groom have on those giant black gloves that bird handlers use. Kind of a unique look with a bridal gown but what a cool thing to do.

This picture is totally blurry - I was just taking constant pictures trying to get a good one. You can see the two birds in flight and if you look closely you can see Scott's big gloves.

Well you can certainly tell how hot it was by looking at this picture of me. If you look closely, I'm sure that you can see sweat (no, I wasn't "dewing" . . .I was sweating like a P.I.G. - that is what my friend Susan used to say!) on my face. During the wedding, sweat dripped off of my face onto the wedding program and smeared the ink! It felt like raindrops on the back of my neck!

We are out from under the tent and standing in the shade where there was a little breeze. I am amazed at how spoiled we have all become. We are just so used to air conditioning. It was 95 or 97 degrees when we pulled into the parking lot for the wedding. The wedding was at the far back of the property so we walked for at least 10 minutes to get back there. It was much cooler in the shade when the breeze was blowing!! I don't mind being hot on the beach or if I'm dressed in yucky clothes. Once again . . .dry clean only dress. Silly me.

Doesn't Mark look like a happy man? He is surrounded by Kaylor, Levi, Lauren and Glenn.

Glenn and Lauren wanted a picture with Scott and Brittany. I was amazed at how cool the bride and groom seemed to look. They were all smiles and of course, they should be smiling - such a special day!

Here is a good picture of my two guys. I love these guys!!

Remember I told you that Scott is some kind of forestry? Look at the groom's cake. It is a tree stump. Look at the stand under the wedding cake. It is a piece of a tree! I love how they wrote on the tree as if Scott had carved their names into a tree. Even the wedding cake had a few "tree leaves" around the base.

A cute picture of our own newlyweds. In July, they will celebrate their 6th month anniversary! I can't believe it.

I am not sure what Kaylor is saying to Scott . . .but it looks as if it is serious! Looks like Kaylor is giving advice to Scott, doesn't it?

The bride and groom did all of the traditional dances - their first dance, etc. But no one else was dancing. Finally right before Mark and I left, they got out on the dance floor. They started the cupid shuffle as we were leaving. We love watching them do that dance! I think I need to learn it. They ALL know it! Jerel, Kaylor and Levi are on the dance floor ready to go!!

Remember I earlier told you about the long walk from the parking lot? Well, I looked up and saw this guy and believe you me, I hopped on that golf cart and RODE back up to the parking lot. Mark hopped in the front with the driver and talked to him a lot! Are you surprised? Evidently, they were running these shuttles earlier but we had missed it! Oh - I forgot to tell you that as we were walking down the long path to the wedding, I looked down at my feet. I had forgotten to change my shoes. I had on brown flip flops with my pink dress. I ended up being glad . . .after we trudged down a gravel path for ten minutes. In reality, the day wasn't about me or my shoes and if anyone noticed . . .they probably didn't know me!!

It was truly a lovely reception . . .even though it was hot. Mark said it was "one for the record books" . . .I think he was talking about the heat :-) The food looked lovely (I didn't eat any - just way too hot to eat). Actually, I take that back. Mark had a fried corn nugget (or whatever you call them) and I ate it off his plate!! I did enjoy those two sno cones (though Mark ate part of the first one!)

It was so good to spend some time with Glenn and Lauren and their friends (whom we love like our own!) Sometimes it is good being a middle-aged mom!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I've always wanted to have my picture taken . . .

I haven't blogged in so long (actually it really hasn't been that long!!). We didn't have internet service at the beach last week . . .I did manage to connect on "Pat's" wireless a few times (I have no idea who "Pat" is . . .). I'm actually using the most recent pictures first . . so for a few posts, I guess I'll be moving backwards. On Saturday night, we went to the Joe Jefferson Playhouse in Mobile to see Jesus Christ Superstar. Jerel (remember Jerel from previous posts? - he sang at Glenn and Lauren's wedding . . .he fell asleep in our backyard . . .) was Jesus. I took pictures without my flash and "through" the folks in front of us. We had third row seats so at least there weren't too many heads in front of us.

This photo was taken near the beginning and Jesus was talking with his disciples.

Jesus had to wear a really wild wig.

I got kind of choked up when they were beating Jesus.

. . .and when they placed Jesus on the cross.

I was once again amazed at the depth of feeling when I saw "Jesus" on the cross. I was at a play yet somewhere inside of me I could feel a deep sorrow . . . I was reading a review on and the actor who portrayed Judas said, "Audiences will leave the theater thinking about their own personal relationship with God, Murrell said. “It’s a beautiful piece, and once you experience it, it’s hard to get (it) out of your head and heart,” he said." I must admit that I agree. I've been singing the lyrics (in my head of course!) all week and thinking repeatedly about the man named Jesus . . .the Jesus that I try to follow . . .the Jesus that I love.

Please don't take this the wrong way . . .but I actually said, "I've always wanted to have my picture taken with Jesus." We were so proud of Jerel.

We were excited that Glenn and Lauren were able to go with us (along with Kaylor and Levi and Jamie and his girlfriend).

The venue is such a cool place. It is right in the middle of a neighborhood. We parked in a lot that was a couple of blocks from the theater. We walked down the sidewalk . . and talked to a guy cutting his grass . . .and waved at a woman looking out her window.

I love attending plays . . .and don't get to do it very often . . .it was a good night!! (I know this is not a well written post . . .I should have written down my thoughts when we got back to the hotel but we were soooo tired!! I was moved by the play, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Glenn and Lauren and the rest of the crew, I enjoyed walking through the night back to the car, I was and still am amazed that my son is a grown man who lives in another city and has already learned his way all around town . . .and he is grown up and married. . .lots of musings from this middle-aged mom)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm back!!

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. Hopefully, I'll have a post a day this week so that I can catch up!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Goin' to the Sonnet House and gonna get married

I loaded these pictures days ago and forgot to blog about them. . . or maybe I just haven't had time!! If you read the last post . . .you know about Holly and James. Their wedding was a couple of weeks ago at the Sonnet House which was about a 30 minute drive . . .maybe 40 minutes from our house. We had never been to the Sonnet House before and it was such a nice surprise. Now if you are a photographer (like one might be reading my blog!! hahaha! . . .if you are, let me know!!), you will notice that the lighting is different in the first couple of pictures than in the next ones. That would be because I actually took this one as we were leaving :-) The wedding was at six o'clock . . .that means formal . . .but it was 97 degrees and the wedding was outside . . .so that means more casual. Mark didn't wear a suit and as soon as we got out of the car, he saw other men in suits and was slightly irritated. I told him to get over it. Not really . . .well maybe. Anyway there were men in all sorts of clothing - golf shirts, shirts with no ties, shirts with ties, sports coats and suits. It was hot . . .and I wore a dry clean only dress . . . mistake!! I digress . . .it was a lovely location for a beautiful wedding.
Here is a picture from the back of the house and you can see the sun glinting over us (is glinting a word?). The groom and groomsmen wore khaki suits and they looked very nice (you can see a couple of them in the aisle). All of the guests were standing up next to the house in the shade and the wedding director finally came and told us that we all had to sit down.
This was the view from my seat. Sorry for the heads. I just wasn't quite tall enough. Look at that blue sky. It was truly a gorgeous day for a wedding . . .just a tad bit warm.
This was the view to my left. I love this old barn. I thought about walking down there and peaking in but I'm going to be honest . . .as soon as the wedding was over, all of the guests headed for the air conditioning!! Look at that pretty white wreath on the barn. Such lovely details. I really do want to know what was in the barn. I'm curious like that. Sometimes gets me into trouble.
Mark and I both thought this tree was pretty spectacular. Of course, he did not use that word. He said something like "cool tree" but I knew what he meant. I never speak for Mark. Oh well, he doesn't read my blog. This picture does not show the sheer magnitude of this tree. It was huge and old and beautiful. I want to hang paper lanterns from the branches and have a picnic under this tree (without mosquitoes please).
Here is our glimpse of Holly as she is coming down the aisle. It was kind of neat to be outside and to be able to snap some pictures during the wedding. Holly was a lovely bride. I assume that is her daddy with her. I didn't meet him. I did meet her mother and she was very nice.
The wedding ceremony was very short. Thank you Holly and James. Did y'all do that on purpose since the wedding was outside? The bridesmaid's dresses were cute. Two of the bridesmaids were twins and one of twins was pregnant and her dress was a little different from everyone else's but they all looked nice. Once again - sorry for the heads in front of me. I was snapping photos during the wedding (which made me feel like I was breaking all sorts of rules) but I could not stand up. That would have been really rude!!
After the kiss, the minister introduced Holly and James Hunt . . .or maybe Mr. and Mrs. James Hunt? Holly was certainly glowing.
This photo is of their first dance as a married couple. How funny that I caught the man in the background wiping the sweat . . .I told you it was hot!
We are so happy for Holly and James. We are already missing her. She has moved to another state so we won't even get to see her at church. Thank goodness for email and facebook. We can still keep in touch!!!