Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where is the world is Hula?

Oh, my gosh! Oh, my goodness! Bless my soul! Bust my buttons!! Crack my knuckles! And pinch my pinkie toe!!! I’m headed out of the country in a few weeks. Teen Angel and I are headed out for an adventure, and I’m so excited that I have to work really hard at focusing on work and chores and all that other stuff that gets in the way of daydreaming 24/7. I can barely contain my excitement (or the money flowing out of my wallet at a rapid pace.) Anyhoo…I thought that instead of just blurting out where we’re going, I’d let you guess for a few hours. Go ahead, give it your best shot. Fire away. I can’t wait to hear your guesses, and the three of you out there who already know?  Just jump up and down in blog silence for me, okay?

The answer? Friday. And in the meantime, I’ll be digging around in the attic to see if the mice have eaten any holes in our luggage since we last used it.

Seriously. Somebody pinch me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Better Than the ice Cream man (Slightly)

When I was diddling around at the state park the other day taking pictures, I ended up squatted in the grass along the bank of a creek, trying to get just the right angle on a shot.  And that’s when I noticed that right in front of me were several dragonflies zipping around and landing on the plant life near the water.  Be still my heart!  Y’all know how I love dragonflies, and those little suckers can be difficult to photograph well because they don’t stay still for long.  But there they were, sitting just as pretty as you please right in front of my eyes, as if they were posing.  I could hardly contain myself.  I started snapping away and couldn’t stop.  And that’s how I missed about thirty minutes of the family reunion.  Woops.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

IHeart Faces Photo Challenge-"A Touch of Whimsy"

An oldie but goodie.  Still one of my favorite prom pictures ever.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Photo Friday Challenge-"Wilderness"

I just love it when I stumble upon something like this when it's completely unexpected.  This sat feet away from a narrow two lane road and was hidden except for the sound of the rushing water which caused me to stop and find the source.  Thank goodness I had my window rolled down.  I would have hated to have missed it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why I Love Summer

Shortly after I burned up the blender making milk shakes for Teen Angel’s post wisdom tooth extraction last night, I looked out the patio doors and saw the beginnings of what I thought might be a beautiful sunset in the making. I’ve been too busy to chase sunsets in recent weeks. The upside to that is that I haven’t had any chigger bites this summer since I haven’t been sitting in the weeds. The downside is that I’ve missed some really pretty sunsets.

I grabbed my camera, slid on my ratty old flip flops sitting by the back door and hopped on the golf cart. I zipped to the back of the subdivision where a lovely little lake sits on private property. It’s a great place to take pictures, and the owner doesn’t mind if you park along the edge and take in the view. I laughed when I pulled in because one of my neighbors had already beaten me there. She stops there regularly for sunset pictures, and posts beautiful photos on Facebook all of the time.

“You got here at just the right time,” she shouted. “Good,” I replied and got into position. The neighborhood dogs jumped and splashed around us while Shirley and I clicked away and chatted, without looking away from our viewfinders, about family and work. A gorgeous sunset blazed across the sky, wowing us with its oranges and purples. “Look at it!” “Ooh, isn’t it great?” “It’s better than I expected!” And on and on until the sky faded into a blue that turned to dusk very quickly. The show was better than we had anticipated.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy photographing sunsets and trying to catch that perfect shot while the light rapidly changes. It was great to share it with someone who feels the same. When it finally got too dark to shoot, Shirley pedaled her bicycle along the golf cart’s headlights, while we headed home and chatted some more. As I waved goodbye and drove through the breeze, I saw the flashes of fireflies and heard the musical sound of children’s laughter in the night air.

At home, Hubby and the dog were in the front yard, so they hopped on and we rode around the subdivision for a little while, enjoying the break from the day’s busy-ness. Again, there was laughter from neighborhood kids, and I was taken back to a time some forty years ago when I ran barefoot through cool grass with a jar full of lightning bugs and played games like tag and hide and seek until bedtime. Memories of evenings spent chasing cousins, eating watermelon or twirling hot sparklers. And falling asleep with the knowledge that tomorrow would bring another day of delicious vacation.

It was a wonderful time-out in a hectic day. It probably lasted only about forty minutes, but it seemed like a couple of hours. I went inside the house feeling very satisfied with life and a little disappointed that this grownup couldn’t stay up late because of work the next day. For just a little while last night I forgot about chores that needed to be done and simply enjoyed the beauty of a sinking sun, warm breezes and the simple sounds of carefree children at play. It is the song of summer, and it plays in my heart like a fine concerto.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Somewhere in Southern Illinois

Last weekend, we had a family reunion at a state park in southern Illinois.  It was great to see daddy's family, including some of my 10,362 cousins, and it was also great to visit a park I haven't been to since I was a kid.  It's a beautiful peaceful place that makes you ponder the native Americans and others who walked across that land many many years ago, and I couldn't help but admire the artwork Mother Nature had on display.  It has a natural spring and lots of rock formations that have been there for centuries.  It was a good reminder of the beauty that sits in my backyard and that I sometimes forget is there.  This really is a pretty part of our nation.  Note to self:  Go back during a wetter season to take pictures of the waterfall in action.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A few Final Thoughts on the Race

I wish I had been wearing some kind of device that recorded and transcribed my thoughts while I was running Saturday. When you’re pounding the streets for thirteen long miles there are all kinds of thoughts that run through your head, some of them valid and some a bit silly. It takes a lot of mental strength to focus intensely on one goal for that long, and honestly your mind travels to crazy places because you’re tryin’ real hard to forget how tired your body is getting or how much farther you have to go. I can’t remember everything that rolled through my noggin’, but I remember enough to recognize that it would be some interesting reading. I also remember thinking about halfway though it that my thoughts or the thoughts of any of the runners for that matter would be an interesting real time play by play activity for spectators if there was some kind of dictation process that posted those thoughts to the web as they occurred. Like I said, I don’t remember a lot of what crossed my mind, but I do remember these little nuggets:

Mile 1 when I saw a runner’s t-shirt that said This Seemed like a Good Idea 3 Months Ago: “Amen Sister.”

Mile 2 when the rain clouds and that first big breeze came along, counteracting the humidity: “THANK YOU, Jesus!” And that was a sincere prayer of thanksgiving on my part that I repeated for about three blocks.

Mile 3 when I saw the spectator sign that said Worst Parade Ever: “I hope I’m in front of the horses.”

Mile 3 in front of the photographer: “Smile as if you’re actually enjoying this, Hula. People will see this on the web later.”

Mile 3: “Ooh, the new Train song. Isn’t that snappy?”

Mile 4: “I’d rather be eating a sausage biscuit and watching Celebrity Rehab.”

Mile 5: “I hate this frickin’ hill!”

Mile 6: “Gotta pee, gotta pee, gotta pee.”

Mile 6: “Gatorade looks like pee.”

Mile 7: “I don’t care what my finish time is.”

Mile 8: “I don’t want a bad finish time.”

Mile 9: “Was that a dog or an elephant that dropped that turd?”

Mile 10 as I passed the cheerleaders positioned on the route: “They are just too #$%@ cheery.”

Mile 10: “Did that senior citizen just pass me? Seriously?”

Mile 11 as I very wearily passed a little girl waving at the runners from her stroller: “Aw, crap, that makes me want to cry.”

Mile 11: “I think this headband looks dumb.”

Mile 12 as a road crew member warned me a bad storm was about ten minutes away: “Does he seriously think I’m leaving the course now? I will die of a lightning strike before I quit. Bury me with my Asics on.”

A few minutes later: “Or did he tell me that to try to speed me up? Yeah, I got nothin’ left. It ain’t gettin’ any faster than this.”

Mile 13 when I saw the finish line clock a couple of blocks away: “Go to the light, Hula. Go to the light.”

At the finish line: “GIVE me that medal ‘cause I have earned it, dang it.” And then “I am so eatin’ a big old piece of cake today.”

And I did. Italian cream with cream cheese frosting. Perhaps, if someone had been waving that in front of my nose throughout the course, I might have finished faster. I WILL work for food.

Monday, June 20, 2011

And Because I Don't Want to Give up Cake

People sometimes ask me why I run, especially if they’ve seen me slogging through wet streets on a 30 degree day or dragging down the block during weather that is hotter than a welder’s belly button. Heck, sometimes I ask MYSELF why I do it. To put it simply, I run because I can. It fulfills a need in my life, even if I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the sport. In a twisted, grueling way it makes me better. Even when it’s 100 degrees outside and I feel as if my skin is melting off my body and I can think of much easier ways to spend my lunch hour than mangling my feet.

I like to joke that I’m really more of a trotter than a runner since I’m so slow, but I call myself a runner because I fully believe that to become something you have to first declare it so in order to believe you can do it. Then you have to make a plan and follow through. Sometimes it takes a while to get where you want to be. I appear to be on the ten year plan for making a mediocre runner.

I have been running for three and a half years. I started one winter when I looked up and decided that middle age was biting me in the butt. I needed to drop about five pounds that had crept up on me and was likely to attract their friends, ten pounds and fifteen pounds, in the years to come, leaving me with more friends on my hips than I could easily shed. More importantly, I needed to keep my blood pressure and other vitals under control and maintain as much muscle as possible. It’s amazing how quickly the body can start to slide downhill after age forty if you’re not vigilant. High blood pressure, stroke and diabetes run in mama’s and daddy’s families, so it seemed really important to keep things in check. I’m not obsessive about weight and nutrition, but I do think it’s important to be disciplined in those things throughout your life in order to live a long healthy life. It’s also easier to love five pounds here or there than to drop thirty pounds at a time.

A few years ago, I realized I had let work and motherhood take over my life to the point that I had no time for taking care of myself. Stress had left me tired, achy and lethargic. Something had to give. My first move was to change jobs, and as soon as I had settled into the new job, I decided to clean up my diet and exercise. While I’ve never struggled with my weight, I have had more than my share of convenience store burritos and red velvet cake cross these lips, and with a genetic inclination toward heart disease, I probably have more gunk in my arteries than I’d like. And let’s face it, if you don’t get your arse moving, your heart just sits there and gums up. And THEN, I got an invitation to a class reunion, and let’s face it, nothing is more motivating than a class reunion. I looked at my daily schedule, decided I could use my lunch hour for exercise time and started moving.

I started out by walking, but that was soon boring, and I found myself wanting to move faster. I started adding spurts of jogging into my walks and before I knew it I was running the entire stretch. I was hooked. I started feeling better, I had more energy and when I went to the doctor for my annual checkup, my blood pressure was 119/78. Score. Never one to be satisfied for long, I decided to try a 5k, showed up at the local park one Saturday morning and surprised myself by running the entire race without having to walk any of it (despite the fact that I pulled a beginners boo boo and started off way too fast). I worked harder, got a little faster and found a great deal of satisfaction in each new goal I reached.

Some days are good, some not so good. I can run six miles on one day and feel great and then struggle to get through three the next. A lot of it has to do with hydration, nutrition and rest, but even on my worst running days, I feel good that I’ve gotten out there and tried really hard to slap middle age around a little. Now, here’s the thing; I am not fast. As daddy says, I am as slow as an eight day itch. I have never been particularly athletic and probably never will be. I don’t think I’ll ever be very fast either. Without getting too scientific let’s just say my body just doesn’t seem to be naturally acclimated to athletic excellence. At a 5k I usually fall somewhere in the middle of my age category. Once in a blue moon, I’ll win a second or third place medal in my age division, and that’s usually when the crowd is a little thin. I’ve been at the back of the pack in the two half marathons that I’ve done, and the competitive part of me gets very frustrated that I’m not faster. VERY frustrated. The day the seventy year old man with the six pack abs and legs of steel went flying by me at a race made me want to bang my head into the closest tree (right after banging HIS head into the closest tree out of jealousy). I know that if I did some speed work and got a running partner I could probably up my pace, but that requires a bigger commitment than I am willing to make right now, so I will continue to do my best and live with the results that I earn. I am okay with being somewhere in the middle because my health is very good for someone my age, and that’s the big reason I’m out there pounding the pavement.

Also, I find a great deal of inspiration in being where I’m at when running a race. I’m sure it’s great to be chasing the lead, but where I’m at I’m surrounded by people who are like me. They aren’t racing anyone but themselves. They are middle aged mothers who are new to racing, overweight folks trying to get healthy, senior citizens shuffling on bad feet and knees and many others who are just trying to DO IT. They are trying to prove to themselves that they CAN. They can cross the finish line and do what 95% of the people in American don’t do, and that’s to push their body past its current limitations, despite the discomfort, and meet a goal. At the half marathon this past weekend, the last racer running through the chute was a woman who finished a good thirty minutes after everyone else in the middle of a storm. The conditions were horrible during her last couple of miles, but she didn’t quit. It’s folks like her who inspire me, and there are a lot of them at each race.

And the really cool thing? The people who finish first are excited to see the folks who finish last. That’s the thing about running and racing. The people involved, no matter how fast, understand that everyone in that particular sport is reaching for a personal goal. It can be as difficult as setting a new personal record or as simple as crossing the finish line without passing out. Everyone on that course knows the mental strength and courage it takes to stand at that starting line with the crowd and push yourself to the finish line. We’ve all had days when we had a bad performance and fought the urge to puke. Runners are supportive of each other and encouraging. Many times, someone far faster than me has urged me on as I shuffled down the street. That’s why one of my favorite things to do is to run back up the course after I’ve finished and to run the last block or so with a newbie who is struggling to get to the line and needs that last bit of encouragement. (It helps you to forget how miserable you feel if someone is hollering encouraging words next to you.) It’s just great to watch someone’s face as he crosses that finish line for the very first time.

When it comes to running, I’m neither good nor swift. I AM persistent. I plan to do it as long as I enjoy it and I am physically able. I’m not particularly good at it, but it makes me feel good, both physically and spiritually, and that my friends, is worth sweating in the heat and wiping a runny nose in the cold. Flaws and all, I am a runner. I run because I can.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Run, Forrest, Run!

What a fulfilling weekend.  The Iron Mom half marathon was Saturday, and I finished it.  I wasn't the fastest kid on the block, but I wasn't the slowest either.  Definitely back of the pack, but  I did okay, which was a dadgum miracle.  You see, I didn't get to train at all in May.  We were supposed to have the race on Mother's Day weekend.  Get it?  Iron Mom?  And then our community flooded, and all of the barricades they needed were in use on flooded roads and people were struggling.  And part of the Greenway Trail they planned to use for the race was washed out.  So they bumped it to Father's Day weekend, which immediately made me groan.  First of all, June in western Kentucky is often hot and extremely humid.  Secondly, I knew my training time in May would be very limited with our trip to New York and all of Teen Angel's graduation festivities.  You can count on one hand the number of times I ran in May, and when I tried to run it was in the upper 90's, which meant long runs were impossible unless I wanted to get up at 3:30am, and THAT was not happening.  Long story short, I was very ready in May but not ready at all in June.  But daddy always said to finish what ya' start, and bailing just isn't within this stubborn body, so I ran about five miles last Tuesday and had a little talk with myself, getting myself in the right frame of mind.  I decided to grit it out, run the race, walk a little if I needed to and just do the best I could.
It's been hot here, and I was extremely worried about the heat yesterday morning and had Hubby stationed at four stops along the route with Smart Water and Gatorade in case the race organizers had not planned well enough for the 800 people registered.  In the end, the heat wasn't an issue.  It started out very humid but then lightly rained on us throughout the thirteen miles (thank you, Jesus!) and actually came a downpour not too long after I crossed the finish line.  I wouldn't have gotten too wet except I waited to run the last block with a couple of friends who were behind me, like the lady in the middle of this picture.  She's my neighbor  and goes to my church.  M.'s been thumbing her nose at her numerical age for years, and I just love her.  She wanted to run her first half marathon this year and started training with the lady on the left, P., who is relatively new to running and goes to my church, too.  

They ran together most of the race in the same vicinity as me, and we saw each other throughout the race.  It was a wonderful inspiration to me to see them reach their goal.  I consider it a privilege to know these ladies and to go to church with them.  It is folks like that who keep me reaching for new goals.
I'd like to run the race again next year, and hopefully, my training will work out better.  I'd like to be faster and stronger next year.  Much faster.  I could have shaved a good fifteen minutes off my time if I'd trained well in May.  I want to, as the race organizers said in their materials.....Run Like a Mother!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Don't waste it, Hula. It's a gift."

This is the scene at the edge of our backyard just about every morning when I wake up, and please pardon the fuzziness of this photo as that area is a tad beyond the reach of my 200mm lens. 

Sometimes there are two deer.  Sometimes there are as many as five.  It is a peaceful and calm scene, and the dog and I usually silently stare at the deer for a few minutes before going about our business of waking up way before we want to and while the rest of our family sleeps.  And while I find 5:45am to be an unsavory hour, this moment is one of my favorites of the day.  It's as if God is whispering, "Good morning," in my ear.  It just makes me feel darn lucky to awake to another day.  It also makes me feel obligated to use the day responsibly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Word of the Day-"Hack"


Pronunciation: /hak/

Origin: 1150–1200; Middle English hacken; compare Old English tōhaccian to hack to pieces; cognate with Dutch hakken, German hacken

Synonyms:  1. mangle, haggle.

Definition: cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows (often followed by up or down ): to hack meat; to hack down trees.

2.  to break up the surface of (the ground).

3.  to clear (a road, path, etc.) by cutting away vines, trees, brush, or the like: They hacked a trail through the jungle.

4.  to damage or injure by crude, harsh, or insensitive treatment; mutilate; mangle: The editor hacked the story to bits.

Used in a sentence: “Hula’s irresistible urge to hack off her bangs with the kitchen scissors every month is fueled by either her failure to schedule regular appointments at the hair dresser or her love of crooked bangs.”

Perhaps, this is why Hula’s hair dresser does not always claim Hula as a customer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How much can you get for breaking and entering?

So, today I had to drop off a package at the home of a business associate. He told me if no one was home to just open the unlocked front door and put it on the foyer table. Oh, and that I shouldn’t mind the dog as he was all bark and no bite. I’ve been to his house before and whipped in there in a hurry mid-afternoon to find that no one was home. The front door was locked, so I sauntered around to the back to leave the package in a place where it wouldn’t get wet from the impending rain. When I got to the backyard, the garage door was up, so I just placed the package on the step by the back door inside the garage. And he was right; the dog got up out of his crate, gave me one big sniff and proceeded to lick my hand. The cat on top of the SUV barely blinked at me. I went back to work and sent my associate an email letting him know that he didn’t need to look for any of my toes and fingers in his garage tonight as neither his dog in the crate nor the cat cared that I was on the premises. And he sent me back a message saying thanks, but he doesn’t have a dog in a crate. Or a cat.

And that’s how I met his neighbor a block away in a very similar looking house when I frantically drove back there to fess up for traipsing through his garage and to apologize. And wouldn’t you know, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Don’t I know you? Aren’t you that lady who works for the power company?” Aye, yi, yi. Fortunately, he had a good sense of humor.

If anyone comes looking for me, I’ll be the one in the black dress with the brown paper bag over my head.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

iheart Faces Photo Challenge-"Bright and Vivid"

Yes, the dress is bright, but her personality is even brighter.  She's as vivid as they come.

For the rest of the entries go to the iheart Faces website.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Really Big Shew

The CMT video awards were fun, fun, fun. Hubby and I had a great time. It was definitely worth the speedy trip to Nashville after work Wednesday and staying up way too late even though I had to rise at the butt crack of dawn and be at work at 7 o’clock the next morning. We saw some excellent performances by big name country artists, ogled at some celebrities and had a grand old time just watching people. Our seats were in the nosebleed section, but I negotiated with an usher for better seats, and we ended up having a bird’s eye view (with binoculars) of celebrity row, where the stars and their spouses or dates sat. We’d definitely do it again. In fact, I’d love to go back to Nashville this weekend for more of the CMA Fan Fest concerts at LP Field, but I have a family reunion to attend. I think Hubby and I could spend every weekend diddling around in downtown Nashville. We just love hanging around on Broadway, listening to some music at places like Tootsies and soaking up the atmosphere. While our stay in Nash Vegas was brief this time, a good time was had by all. But then again, when do the Hula-gen’s not have a good time?

An awards show is a little different from a regular concert in that it doesn’t have the same kind of nonstop intensity that a concert can have. There are commercial breaks, constant movement in the multiple staging areas and occasional instructions from the stage manager on what audience members should be doing. There’s a lot to watch at all times. Here was the set-up for the CMT’s:

The main stage is where the country stars and their bands performed. The small round stage is where bands and award nominees were announced. That square stage is where Kid Rock did a lot of his emceeing and where the winners were announced. For example, Shania Twain stood on the round stage to cue to the taped announcement of Male Video of the Year nominees and then ran (very carefully) to the square stage during the tape to be in place for the announcement of the winner. Once a winner was announced, said winner would run from the celebrity seating to the square stage to pick up his award. You can’t see it in the photo, but behind celebrity row is a multi-story platform that held the house band that played musical stings coming in and out of commercial breaks. They were waaay up there.

We had a great time looking down on the stars and picking them out of the crowd. “Ooh, there’s Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman,” and “Hey, that chick from Little Big Town has HUGE hair,” or “I think that couple is fighting.” Like I said, great people watching. Let me just say, there is no nose pickin’ when you’re in the VIP section, ‘cause the whole arena can see you.

Some general observations:

Things we loved:

-Kid Rock. He’s a hoot.

-There were a lot of great performances, but we really liked Rascal Flatts’ I Will Stand by You, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crowe’s duet and Sugarland’s Stand Up. The young girls in front of us were all about Jason Aldean’s performance at the end of the show. Goodness, that was a lot of screaming.

Things you didn’t see at home:

-All of the scene changing and running around during the show and the commercial breaks. During the break before Sugarland’s song, the people on the floor near the stages were handed flags and told very specifically when to start waving them during the Sugarland song and when to stop. They weren’t supposed to wave them before the first chorus and they were to immediately stop after the song and keep them down for the rest of the show. Well, they sell beer at the arena, and given the presence of alcohol and human nature, there were some folks who couldn’t or wouldn’t follow instructions. The stage manager probably lost 782 hairs off his head Wednesday night over those dadgum flags because he had to keep telling them, firmly, “Thank you for your enthusiasm and participation, but you must put down your flags NOW.” This went on way after the Sugarland segment. It was quite funny. It reminded me of those repetitive messages at the shuttle stands at DisneyWorld, “Stand BEHIND the yellow lines.”

-The panties someone threw on the stage at Kid Rock. Y'all caught a glimpse of them on the televised version, but let me tell ya’, they were large and orange and they stayed on stage for a quite a while. Really large. Really orange.

-The beer in Kid Rock’s hand. You could see it a couple of times on TV, but they kept it off camera most of the time. He appeared to keep it under control. We were proud of his restraint as restraint is not one of his strengths.

-Ironically, we missed the moment that had everyone at home talking, Shania Twain’s big fall. She bit the dust coming out of the tunnel and into the crowd, and it happened before she became visible to those of us on our side of the arena. It’s no wonder she took a tumble. Her heels were HIGH. In fact, every woman who appeared on stage had heels that were four and five inches tall. The lady in Lady Antebellum was wearing heels that were so high her feet were almost vertical. And she danced around like she was barefoot. All I can say is that she must have younger arches than me.


-I had no idea who Luke Bryan was before we got there. He is hot, hot, hot.

-I’m just gonna say this out loud, Nicole Kidman is better looking in pictures than she is in real life, and that’s my catty comment for the day. Well, maybe my second. Meow!

Not so surprising:

-That we all saw Sheryl Crowe’s underwear. That skirt was shorter than my attention span. I don’t know how she thought she was going to gracefully slide off that stool without showing something. Her panties were not large and orange, but thank goodness, she was wearing some.

-Joe Don Rooney is as hot as I thought he would be.

-That Justin Beiber won an award. It’s fan chosen, for goodness sakes. Every teenage girl in America has been logging in and voting for him daily since March. He was very cute, though, in that teen idol way.

-Joe Don Rooney is as hot as I thought he would be. Did I already say that?

Things I Wish I’d Known:

That you could take pictures inside the arena during that show. I didn’t take my camera in even though I had it in the car. 99% of the time you cannot take photos during a show like that, and we had to be in the arena before they closed all outside access at 6:30pm. We had a small window of opportunity to get downtown, get parked, walk to Broadway, eat a quick dinner at Margaritaville and get into the arena. I was afraid to take my camera, get turned away with it, have to take it back to the car and not have time to get back to the arena before the doors closed. Big mistake on my part. Cameras were allowed, and I could have gotten some great shots with my telephoto lens. Pffft.

-How to get in on the lottery for standing next to the stages during the show. Notice those folks were dressed mostly in black? That’s to keep them from being a distraction during the camera shots. I was standing in the guest services office when the usher led them through there on their way to the floor. I was dressed in black pants and a black top, and I was sorely tempted to just fall in line behind them and see if I could slide right in unnoticed. But then I would have had to call Hubby on the third level and tell him where I was, and let’s just say he had the keys to the car and it’s a long walk home from Nashville.


-If you are a country music fan, the CMA festival is a great vacation opportunity. The four day ticket gets you into daily concerts where you will see many, many top name performers, you get access to the stars at the autograph parties, and it’s a way to see many of them up close and personal. Plus, there are a lot of fun things to do in Nashville. Bring lots of deodorant. It can be sticky in this part of the country in June.

-At Bridgestone Arena (and sometimes other arenas), do not be afraid to ask if better seating is available if you don’t like your seats. Some upgrades can cost money, but those sneaky little ushers are often carrying same price tickets they will swap for yours. They won’t necessarily tell you this though.

-If you’re in town, you must stop by the Ryman Auditorium. It’s a great place to see a show because it’s so intimate, but it’s also neat to tour during the daytime because of the history of that building.

-Bring comfortable shoes. You will see a lot of women walking around in sundresses and cowboy boots, and while that’s a cute look for all the Taylor Swift wannabes, their feet hurt at the end of the day if those boots aren’t broken in well. It’s a casual town, and you don’t want to be overdressed at Jack’s BBQ so don’t overdress, either.

-The tickets for the November CMA awards are on sale now.

Photo Friday Challenge-"Shade"

A couple in Central Park.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Lieu of Having the Energy to Blog

Tomorrow, details on our visit to the CMT awards in Nashville.  In the meantime, here's a glimpse into the world of my own little extreme couponer...Teen Angel.  This her latest haul that she sent me a picture of this afternoon.  $120 worth of stuff for about $50. 

The items:

1 bottle fabric softener
1 bottle detergent
1 bottle multi purpose cleaner
1 dijon mustard
1 package cream cheese
3 Proglide razors
4 bottles ketchup
2 rolls of paper towels
1 package of drink mix
1 container slaw dressing
2 packs of hot dogs
2 bottles of body wash
1 package disenfecting wipes
2 boxes of tampons
1 package of Always
4 boxes of Suddenly Salad
1 box frozen breadsticks
1 package Magic Erasers
1 bottle dishwashing liquid
5 packs of Kool-Aid
2 sticks deodorant
1 bottle Tobasco sauce
4 boxes margarine
2 bags croutons
2 bottles of vitamins

This is what happens when you let your child watch TLC.  I find this all very amusing since this is the same child who just a few years ago was absolutely humiliated when I pulled a coupon out of my purse in a public place. 

I am relieved to know that I'll never have to worry about her going hungry when she leaves home.  And she won't need to buy any tampons until 2014.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hula Goes Country

The County Music Television awards to be exact.  Hubby and I have tickets to the live broadcast of the show in Nashville tomorrow night.  Weee!  I can't wait.  It should be lots of fun, even if it is too hot to wear my red cowboy boots.  But look who's hosting the show...Kid Rock!  It certainly won't be dull, now will it?

Monday, June 6, 2011

iheart Faces Photo Challenge-"From A Distance"

Another one from New York City.  Somebody stop me!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

One of the most fun things to photograph in New York City.  Thanks goodness for digital cameras.  Otherwise, I would have run out of film on day 2.