Monday, April 25, 2016

Duran Duran Weekend!

But first, Lucas and I decided at the last minute to head up to my parent's lake cabin since Dean was having a men's golfing weekend (they don't sew or knit, so I guess golfing was an acceptable substitute), and Drew brought his girlfriend over from Auburn. The weather was nice enough for some boating, but too cold for swimming...I mean, I COULD have gone swimming because I can handle ice water, you know, but I CHOSE not to go swimming!

And Camille turns out to be a good poker player, so she taught us how to play Tripoly after dinner...

Which involves lots of coins if you don't have poker chips...which end up on the floor if you're playing on a picnic table and raking them in, of course.

So Lucas and I headed back home at sunrise Sunday so he could do homework and I could re-pack for New Orleans. Unfortunately, I was holding Drew's keys while he was on the Seadoo, and those came home with me - DOH! (Thanks Mimi and Jim, for taking Drew and Camille back to Auburn!) Don't worry, I overnighted the keys to him today, though he still has to go back and get his car at some point. See how I can mess up any nice little vacation? At any rate, I set my self-loathing aside for the Duran Duran concert. Here's the view from my room - nice!

And the hotel (Hyatt House next to the Superdome, by the way - great place!) had just opened a bar with food, so this is my dinner before the concert, along with a great view.

Now there was an opener for the opener called Bag Raiders, and they had cool funky music, so I'll remember to check them out sometime. Then Chic with Nile Rodgers played, and this is THE Chic who made Le Freak in the 70's - remember that one? Well, they let a bunch of people come up on stage for a disco party, and the first thing you'll notice is how most of the women have purses - so silly. But the second thing you should notice is the blonde to the left of Nile (black guy on microphone singing with guitar and long dreds). His background singer picked that woman out to come up, probably because of her implied dance talent given the hair and outfit. So later Simon Le Bon also picked her out and motioned for her to rush the stage, but Security wouldn't let her. (Note to self - dye hair very blond and wear short shorts for next concert...or just always buy a good seat.)

Are you ready for a million pictures of Simon Le Bon?! Because I was VERY CLOSE to him! The arena is pretty small and I was on row 5, so I actually made eye contact with the guitarist. Sadly, Simon didn't see me grinning and waving.

The lady next to me had seen them 4 times already (!) and knew that Simon had lost his voice the previous night, and you could definitely tell he was sicky-poo.

He was coughing between lines, and by the end he was expectorating (sorry, I don't have a better term) at the back of the stage - God bless him for still going!

Here's a sample of Hungry Like the Wolf. Ever see Whiplash? "Were you rushing, or dragging?" I think we have a little rushing here...

He was also doing signals with his backup singers about whether he'd sing certain lines or they should - poor fella!

Somebody behind me shouted, "Simon, are you okay?" He didn't answer back.

But he totally rocked otherwise - here's the new one, Pressure Off. I have to watch this multiple times because the film on the screen is entertaining too.

Complete with tons of confetti that sprayed from under the stage - nice!

Here's a pitiful attempt at a selfie.

And this was Save a Prayer dedicated to Prince as the encore...along with Rio, of course.

So overall a fantastic show other than Simon being sicky-poo, and I can die happy now that I was so close to them on stage without having to rush past Security and stand on chairs 10 rows back. Wish you could've been there, Tracey!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monkey Bars and Cashew Chicken

But first, don't ever move a bird's nest, no matter what the guy with the video on YouTube tells you. We had a cardinal's nest with these 3 babies right next to a window that was getting replaced, so I decided I would save them from certain destruction by moving them just a few yards to another lemon tree. The parents even watched me do it (with Lucas standing guard with a broom in case of attack).

Apparently Mom and Dad took that as their cue to have a date night, because they disappeared for 2 whole days...which were cold, rainy days, so I buried these poor babies on Thursday. And would you believe the Dad had the nerve to show up about 4 hours after the burial?! He landed on the back porch, no less, and hopped over to the back door like he was going to knock and ask me where they were. Becky, it made me think about you and your rescued kittens...except you didn't kill yours! And when I came in all sad from burying them, CBS News was doing a story about a Sandy Hook survivor talking about his best friend who was killed, so I just became a blubbering idiot. This was the one bright spot of Thursday.

Now for the weekend, I decided to get out and enjoy the weather, so this pic of Drew gave me some inspiration.

Lucas and I biked to a nearby park, which is apparently the only public park in Mobile with monkey bars, because I'm sure they're unsafe and responsible for several deaths, so we're lucky just to have these 8, honestly...though I probably scared the mothers and little children when I walked up pulling on my Tough Mudder gloves.

And it really is all in the legs when you're doing this!

And finally, the Pioneer Woman Cashew Chicken - tada! It involves sherry, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Delicious! Lucas very cleverly said the sauce tasted similar to the Beef with Snow Peas we had the other night - the boy's got a taste for sherry! Oh, the one glitch was that I forgot to actually pour the soy sauce mixture INTO the chicken until Jim mentioned I had an extra bowl sitting there. I was just going to serve it with sherry and the cornstarch slurry, and even mentioned that there wasn't very much sauce as I was getting ready to plate it. Luckily I dumped it in and heated it up and it all tasted fine.

At least there were no fingertips sliced in the making of the dish - that's always my ultimate goal. Hope you had a great weekend and didn't kill any small animals!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

Had to post this before I forgot: I was seeing a 10-yr-old patient the other day and commented on his Minecraft T-shirt. He said, "I guess your grandson must play Minecraft if you know what it is." I was too stunned to speak for a minute, and his mother said, "Son, you're not scoring any points with the doctor making comments like that." I told him that my SON had played Minecraft, but I also had a 19-year-old, so I was certainly old enough to be a grandmother (didn't want him to fee bad, you know; I do care about children's feelings). But that made me realize that it's been several years since I got comments like, "You look too young to be a doctor," which occurred almost every day when I was a fellow and just starting practice. Once, an older father even came out of the exam room when I was finished seeing his son and yelled at my nurse, "When is the DOCTOR going to come in?" Oh well, may as well cancel the Meaningful Beauty subscription....

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Official Tough Mudder Pictures!

Oh how sweet - we look like Little House on the Prairie! This is the Hero Carry, and Drew toted me down the hill, then Dean toted me back up. I didn't tote anybody because of the crick in my neck. Oh yeah, did I mention I did this with a crick in my neck? The only time it really hurt was when I jumped off a wall that was higher than I thought, didn't stick the landing, and was propelled forward onto all fours...luckily into nice soft sawdust, but still gave the neck a yank.

Funnest obstacle ever: Block Ness Monster. Hang on while it rotates and carries you over.

Oh wait, wasn't I supposed to sit up at the top and swing my legs around so I could land on my feet? (Yes, I crashed into the water with my mouth open and nearly choked to death, but when I surfaced, some guy standing nearby yelled, "Dude, that was AWESOME!")

Drew demonstrates proper technique.

And this would be Shock Therapy. Run as fast as you can through dangling wires with 10,000 volts of electricity. Drew assured me it wasn't the voltage that would kill you, it was the amps...because why would they kill paying customers?

After taking about 4 shocks and jumping haybales in ankle-deep mud, I went down...

And apparently took a shock to the head, thus the jutting tongue. I have no recollection of that.

That could explain the incessant jerking movements that have plagued me ever since. No, I'm just kidding about that. But I'm not kidding about THIS:

That's the back of my left leg, which I apparently threw over walls so violently that I sustained massive hematomas. (Note to self: Next time stop the aspirin one week prior to event.) I have bruises on both kneecaps, right hipbone (which makes sense if I was lying on that while throwing the left leg over), left lower rib, and right armpit. Too bad they don't have pictures from the walls or Everest, where you run up a quarter pipe and either leap or get pulled to safety - I chose the latter.

So enough about my late-in-life athleticism....let's talk about cooking. I cooked this last night:

Pioneer Woman Beef with Snow Peas - Asian flavored with sherry (I'll use less next time), soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger. YUM! Not as good as the Orange Chicken, but much less work. So I'm recovering from Tough Mudder by having a busy call week, but what I'm REALLY looking forward to is the Duran Duran concert in New Orleans next Sunday!!!

Is anybody else going? Now if you're one of my sewing buddies, we can share a room, as Dean attended a Duran Duran concert with me in Pensacola years ago, and was NOT a fan. My sister and I rushed the stage for Save a Prayer at the end, and when we turned around to scout out our husbands, they were SITTING at the rear of the auditorium checking their watches. Anyway, let me know if you're interested, seriously! Did I mention that with every purchase, you get their latest Paper Gods CD mailed to you for free? I KNEW that might change your mind....

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Survive the Tough Mudder

But first, I went to St Louis for a work meeting, which was comprised completely of pediatric educators. So do you see the red bottle on the table in front of me? That would be a Budweiser which a pediatric neurologist brought in...and this was the very first meeting of the conference at noon, so it's not like it's the last day and this is an evening meeting....and would THAT even be okay? I was just stunned, but nobody said anything as far as I know.

Secondly, my sister went to Galena, IL for a visit and very kindly stopped in the LYS and bought me some yarn! This is a hand-painted mohair-wool mix - can't wait to pick out a sweater pattern for it! And did she buy me a vintage coat pattern too?

No - it's a notebook - how clever!!!

And so, on Saturday, we traveled to Milton, FL, for my first and Dean's and Drew's second Tough Mudder. They have funny signs.

So here I am all marked up and rarin' to go.

The boys had numbers written on their arms, but mine were covered with sleeves, so it had to go on my head.

And here's the after shot.

No action pics yet, though I'm hoping they'll post some eventually, and if you want to see what we did, just go to YouTube and google "2016 Florida Tough Mudder." People have started uploading their GoPro videos today, but I didn't want to share someone's personal video here without permission.

Let me just say that in 4 hours, I ran 10.5 miles, did 21 obstacles without backing down, and took 4-5 electrical shocks at the end. And obstacle-wise, I did require a leg-up to clear the 10 and 20-foot walls, but I did the "Liberator" wall that you climb using 2 pegs you put in holes all by myself! And I was a big girl and leaped off the 15-foot King of Swingers, even managing to grab the T-bar, until I lost my grip about halfway through the swing and fell into the water. Also I did the Arctic Enema icebath with no coaxing or whining. That's why I was so happy in this pic:

I highly recommend it - it's kind of like recess when you were a kid, if you grew up in the country surrounded by red clay and rednecks. It was totally fun and I didn't hate a single minute of it, though I did get a little tired climbing up sandy mountains in the glaring sun. They had plenty of hydration stations and bananas, and there was always more nice cool mud when you started getting hot.

Now today, I feel like I've been run over by a truck, and I have matching purple bruises over the backs of my legs from climbing over the walls, but doing that empowered me to hang up the blinds in Lucas's room instead of waiting for Dean to get home and do it. (Climbed up a 20-foot wall, I can CERTAINLY climb up a stupid ladder.) You go, girl!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Two Spring Breaks

Drew the college student's Spring Break happened first, and he and some friends stayed at the beach a few days (with loose supervision by Dean, who was repairing wood decking...certainly not spying or anything...but when you've got college students at the beach, somebody needs to keep a bit of an eye, in my opinion), then spent a couple of days in Mobile. To overcome any boredom, I took them downtown to eat and wander around the waterfront. And WHO KNEW we had a waterfront, what with all the industrial-ness and trains and such?! Behold the Austal plant where they make the famous Littoral ship. There are 2 on the other side there.

And here's the corner of the lovely Convention Center, which blocks the view of the river, thus my lack of knowledge of our waterway until I attended an event where they actually let you walk out the back and enjoy the water views. Trust me, watching a huge cargo ship get turned around by tugboats is fascinating stuff!

I believe this is Bienville, who had something to do with the founding Mobile, but as I'm not a native Mobilian, I'm not sure terribly sure about that. Drew did do a little research on all this fascinating port-business, and I believe we're the 9th largest port in the nation, and the largest one handling coal exports.

I didn't get a pic of GulfQuest, which is our new maritime museum, but it was quite lovely inside, though we didn't fork over the $18 per person to tour anything but the gift shop and lobby. Well-appointed gift shop, though!

While we were doing this, Dean was wrapping up repairs at the beach, and as a reward for his supervisory time there, God granted him a full rainbow, from one end...

to the other, and note the double rainbow on this side - amazing!

So then Drew's break was over, and Lucas's started a couple of weeks later. We went to Cabo San Lucas (sorry, Drew!). This is an excellent restaurant named Toro, and if you look just to the right of the lady behind Dean, those lights are a cruise ship heading out. Neat!

I had asked Drew to ask his girlfriend what a good contemporary nail color was, since I'm nail polish-challenged, and she recommended either pink or mint blue, which I'd never heard of, but the lady in CVS had. (Brief aside: did you know that on Saturdays if you shop in the Beauty section, they give you some free goodies like bubble bath, etc., in a nice gift bag?!) These are mint blue toesies in the rocky sand of the Pacific Ocean.

And these are the same toesies at the pool near the swim-up bar - oh, garcon!

This was a wacky piece of art that I would love to recreate in actual fabric. These are tiles in a mosaic pattern to make a dress. I guess you could buy it, but you certainly couldn't wear it.

So we did a little dune-buggying through the desert and out to the ocean, though you had to pay for any pictures with that outfit - boo. Lucas kindly photo-shopped Drew into our ocean pic. This looks like a good Christmas card photo candidate...

And the next day we went zip-lining, though they also made you leave your camera, so the only pics I have are the ride there...

and prior to catching a line.

Now one thing that was cool about Cabo are all the types of cacti there are, so I took some pics of the purple cactus...

the bushy cactus...

and the wormy cactus. Sorry I don't have official names. I did learn from our dune-buggy guide that only one species of cactus has water that's safe to drink. The rest have toxins and what-not, so no drinky!

Something else I learned that was quite devastating is that knitting needles are not allowed on flights from Mexico! WHAT??? Also no nail clippers or tiny scissors....and no golf balls! What are people thinking?!

OH, and so we make it safely back to the US, and we land in Houston to catch our connection to Mobile, and who should walk up but my sewing buddy, Becky! Her family was coming back from a West Coast spring break, and one of Lucas's classmates was also returning from a Grand Canyon spring break. Made the rest of the trip go by much faster.

Next post, I hope to have some pics of my knitted mesh sweater which I finally did get around to working on when I got my needles back, and also a Tough Mudder update, since that's next Saturday - yikes!!! Back to training....