Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Five Months Later

Well, I can't say as I intended to take a 5 month leave of absence from the old blog here. I have just not been inspired to write much and have been using Facebook and Twitter instead of writing posting anything here. I think I'm going to try to make a bit of a balance between the two for a bit.

Today was a special day for me as a Daddy. Back in March my wife Amy and I traveled to China and adopted a baby girl (one year old) who was born with clubbed feet (they were literally turned backwards when she was born). During her first year of life she was taken in by an American-run foster home called Swallows Nest in Zhaungzhou, Henan Province, China. They saw her through surgery and corrective casting to fix her feet. She wears a brace at night to keep her feet from turning, and she gets therapy every 2 weeks from Cobb County, GA. She had therapy today and though we've seen her walk a few steps and then fall to her knees, we were amazed to see this...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reunion

I guess that since I attended my 20th Anniversary High School Reunion last night, I am officially getting old. I still have a year and a half before I hit 40, but it is beginning to catch up with me. Here are some pictures of my fellow aging friends.











Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Photo Hunt - Flags

Atop Lookout Mountain, Tennessee at Rock City. You can see 7 states from this vantage point; GA, TN, AL, SC, NC, VA and KY.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Saturday Photo Hunt - Advertisement

I love these paintings on old brik stores. These are in Acworth, GA.




Sunday, May 31, 2009

Food

Wow! It has been a long time since I have had anything to say (or at least write). Food is the topic of the day. Amy and I have started watching some of the non-cooking programming on the Food Network like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Unwrapped. Last night it was a show on hamburgers that included a Fuddruckers offering for about $250 that comes out as about 30 pounds of a single sandwich. You have to slice it like a cake, disgusting in an awesome way!

Today it was Guy Fiore doing a pair of shows on Barbecue. This is a very touchy subject because it is a very regional item. The regional nature is a major part of why Darden restaurants did not really succeed with a chain of BBQ Sports bars called Smokey Bones. The first show was specifically on Memphis BBQ. Memphis is pretty much accepted to be the home of BBQ, yet we were surprised that they featured 4 or 5 restaurants and did not mention Rendezvous or Interstate. We have heard of Rendezvous more than any other in Memphis. For the benefit of Jeff, who lives there, I will mention the restaurants they featured and see if he has any input on them... Leonard's (where they serve the sandwich with coleslaw ON the sandwich), Tom's (where they work fast and you order by picking a particular bag from a pile, and they serve a bologna-BBQ sandwich with dry rub the kicker here is the original owner was Greek and the dry rub is a Greek/Mediterranean spice blend), Marlowe's (which is near Graceland and started as an Italian restaurant and then became more BBQ, but they serve pasta as a side with their BBQ), and Cozy Corner (which features BBQ Cornish Hens).

Lunch today.

We returned to a local restaurant today that we've visited in the past, but we did not know that the ownership changed about 2 years ago. It is a family-run Italian joint called Bergamo (www.bergamopizza.com) . This was a FANTASTIC lunch. We went in and ordered a kid's meal for LynnMarie while we looked over the menu. LM got a chicken finger and fries meal, but they altered the meat to a nugget form as all the food is prepped to order the chicken was cut , breaded and fried specifically for our baby.

I went simple, ordering a calzone, the Bergamo, which came with pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, sausage and green pepper. I subbed out onions for the green pepper and it came with a home made marinara. All the sauces are made from scratch here. Amy ordered tortellini but on the waitress' recommendation they subbed the marinara sauce for a Gorgonzola cream sauce. It rocked! We got a Greek salad to share and discovered our baby does NOT like feta cheese, and they served the meal with their fresh-baked foccacia bread, which they topped with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, yummy!

We will definitely be returning to Bergamo and will take any out of town guests there to sample what we enjoyed.

Last Night

We joined some friends for a new experience last night, Korean BBQ. The wife in this couple is half Korean and they like this kind of food a lot. It is a different experience as all the meats are cooked at/in your table. They bring over a fire/heat source which fits into the center of the table, lay a grill over top of it and entree by entree they cook the meats. We had chicken, pork, beef, and squid. A large assortment of side dishes filled the table along with a rice cake soup. The extras included white rice, leaf lettuce, sheets of rice cake, two kinds of kim shi and a variety of greens, sprouts and similar add-ons. The eating is one by making wraps of the meat and extras on the lettuce or on the sliced sheets of rice cake. It was tasty, but expensive. We had a good time and certainly enjoyed the company, but it is not likely to be something to eat again, dinner for 4 adults and three kids under 3 was right at $100. Ouch. For that much we'll go to a Brazilian BBQ and fill our guts with yummy meats.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

BJ's Wholesale Club

I'd never been inside a BJ's club before this afternoon. Amy and I are looking for cost-cutting tools and we used to be members of Sam's Club, but it expired a few months back. So we got a mailer offering a free 60 day membership to BJ's which is also about 8 miles closer to us than the nearest Sam's. This BJ's is about 4 miles from the house, next to our SuperTarget and it has gas.

I looked at the membership offerings online, and got a better offer when I got there. Instead of the $45 annual fee, they charged us $30 and they tacked the 60 days free on to the new membership giving us 14 months for $30. Pretty good I thought as Sam's was $35 for 12 months last I looked, maybe higher now.

We were given the monthly coupon book and a new member coupon book and we went a browsing. Our goal was to check pricing and see what the place would hold. We took advantage of several offers including a free bag of bananas (3lb), and a free 37oz box of Cheerios for buying a 228 ct box of Pampers that is the same as the one Tante Toma got LynnMarie as a shower gift.

We also picked up some cheese (shredded and block) which got us free Ritz crackers, my shampoo with a coupon, some condiments, some Weight Watchers deserts with a coupon, cat litter, and the baby-feeding bonus, a gallon of milk for $1.99! On the way out we filled the Honda at $1.84 a gallon, which saved us over a dollar on the tank compared to the regular gas stations.

On the way home we got 6 beautiful Florida tomatos from the roadside stand for $5 and picked up the newspaper on the way home. Now we're relaxing. Baby is taking a nap, the Phillies finished a sweep of the NL East leading Marlins and life is good except for Jeff Gordon getting 56 laps back by the halfway point at Talladega today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday TV

Most Tuesday nights I am working or catching up on other shows from the DVR, especially since we returned from China. The only thing I have to catch up on now is Chuck, and the DVR is down to about 20% full!

I had the day off yesterday and I began with watching 24. Granted, it's a Monday show, but I watched it on Tuesday.

24 - Jack Bauer has always had a good bit in common with John McClain, Bruce Willis' character in the Die Hard franchise. This week it really kicked in with the elements of "how can this guy keep standing after the physical toll his body has taken?"

We now know for certain that Jonas and Starkwood are NOT the end of the mega-conspiracy to usurp our government which NO ONE has a clue about. Tony is back to being a bad guy, now responsible for killing many FBI agents. Jack caught on, but of course his nerve agent exposure kicked in right as he was about to take Tony down. What's more? In the preview for next week we see Jack running around like he has zero physical problems again! The storyline is better than a few of the more recent seasons, but I'm about ready for it to end.

American Idol - We're still at 7 after last weeks Judge's Save, but we drop two tonight. Tonight we will likely see the departure of Lil (who the judges have been openly working against for over a month despite her trying to and sometimes actually doing what they have told her) and probably Anoop.

Lil - opened the night, a major strike against her. Only Adam and Danny can open a show and be guaranteed to be safe.

Kris - made Disco night bearable by making a disco song Santana-like. Good move.

Danny - nothing out of the ordinary or unique at all, but solid.

Adam - Takes the BeeGees in a totally different direction and it seems to work. I like the rock Adam better.

Matt - I like this guy. He may be channelling Timberlake too much, but I like his style.

Allison - the most OVER-rated performer this year. She's bettter than the skunk-haired nurse from last year, but she is not the talent they think she is and I can't look at her fake red hair.

Anoop - Last to perform and did a song I did not recognize. I won't miss him or his desire to be an R&B singer. V-103 in Atlanta would never play him.


Biggest Loser - From 6 to 5 and Kristin is gone!

Kristin has had so much more camera time than anyone else and Amy and I were tired of listening to her. Congrats on being the biggest woman ever on the show. She got SO very annoying at the end of the episode repeatedly telling Mike that he is "taking the easy way out to win the show" by eliminating her. Well, DUH! Ultimately it is a game to be won. His only real threats are Kristin and Tara, and Tara is a freaking machine! So yeah for the kid who has lost more than any other contestant in the history of the show and to his dad for helping him. I just hope that when they get home they can help brother Max who is left as the only big guy in the family.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Photo Tour - L.A. and 90210

My Cousin Hope and LynnMarie. Hope has a 90210 address and she drove us around while we waited for our flight to Atlanta.




The Regency Beverly Wilshire (where Pretty Woman took place).

The Beverly Hills Hotel

The Roxy and The Rainbow Room

The Whiskey A Go Go


Mann's Chinese Theater

The Capital Records Building


The Hollywood Sign


Monday, April 06, 2009

Wow

So it's been over two weeks since I posted anything here. Well, we were pretty busy the first week as we were still in China and then getting home. I wrote about t he experience as far as getting to Los Angeles over on the family blog and I have pictures to post from that point on.

We arrived in Atlanta at midnight last Saturday/Sunday. We worked on adjusting to the time change while sleeping through the NASCAR race with Amy's parents.

Monday they went home and I went back to work, for an hour. My foot had inflamed again to the point I could barely fit it in my shoe and I could not stand on it for 7.5 hours. I left and called the podiatrist for help in the form of steroids he called in for me. Tuesday was more like the same, another day missed at work.

Wednesday I made it to work, left at 1:30 to see the internist and returned at 2:30 to complete my shift. Based on the duration and harshness of my cough, she said it fit a CDC alert she had seen and about 5 other patients she has diagnosed with Whooping Cough. Yes, it is back. One of the symptoms includes coughing so much you vomit, which explains my China experiences.

We went to trivia Wednesday night to introduce the baby. I ate about half my entree and then said goodbye to it the way it came in.

I went to work Thursday morning only to discover shortly before lunch that my blood sugar had massively spiked, to over 500mg/l. (under 150 is typical). I went on break, shot up insulin and called Amy to take me home. By 5:30 or so we had it back to 150 mg/l.

Friday I returned to work and completed my first shift since returning to China.

Saturday I felt great early on. General strength was back. I had to run an errand at 10:30 for the store and I hit a Wendy's drive-thru for a jr. bacon cheeseburger on the way back. At 1:20 I went on break and I threw up the Wendy's. I ate my break food and finished my shift. I came home and cleaned the room my mom is using while she is here in Atlanta this week. I went downstairs to have dinner with Amy and immediately threw it up.

Since 8pm Friday I have kept my food down including the comfort food of mom's fried flounder and mac & cheese last night. LynnMarie LOVED the noodles and the corn side dish.

The cough is finally subsiding after a 6 day antibiotic pack and some strong cough suppressants. Now the shift is back to my feet and my inability to walk much. The podiatrist says gout. Amy and my mom want to hear my internist's opinion so we have a call in to her. We also have baby girl LynnMarie's first pediatric appointment this morning which will be a family affair.

So as it is, I have today and tomorrow off and I think I am out of sick days for the year now. Pray for my foot to heal so I can get back to life like normal, working, loving and caring for my baby and hopefully going to the gym.

Oh yes and yesterday was a mixed bag of emotions for sports as Jeff Gordon won his first race in over a year. Yeah! But the Phillies started an undependable hack for their first pitcher as World Series champions and he gave up 3 home runs in less than two innings including one to a kid who had NEVER been at bat in a Major League Baseball game in his life!

Final score Braves 4, Phillies 1. Mark Bradley of the atlanta paper (www.ajc.com) asked this morning why no bandwagon support for the Braves after one game. My answer, they know Brett Meyers is a hack who should be serving burritos at Taco Bell.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reality is Love

For about 60 hours now I have been a father. My world has changed for sure. We first heard about our daughter in late November and on Monday morning we got to meet her, hold her, and make her ours forever.

We left Atlanta for China on Wednesday morning of last week, arriving in China on Thursday. We spent Friday and Saturday touring in Beijing seeing Tianemin Square, The Forbidden Palace and I got to climb the Great Wall of China. Once in a lifetime opportunities for most people.

On Sunday we flew from Beijing to Zhoungzhou (pronounced Jung Jo) the capital of the Henan province. I slept surprisingly well Sunday night knowing that at 9am on Monday we would meet and receive our LynnMarie.

The entire experience has been wonderful. God placed a perfect baby in our family. She was born with special medical needs, but the care she received in her forst 12 months has done wonders already and her prognosis for a normal life is excellent.

LynnMarie was assigned to a specific orphanage in ths province, but with her medical conditions, she was allowed to go to the care of an American woman who is here to teach nursing but has starated a foster home for special needs orphans. This afternoon we met this lady and visited the two apartments she uses for the babies/children. It was an awesome experience seeing the heart of a woman and dthe hand of God working through her. Her kids have needs including heart defects, missing limbs, spina bifida, deafness and even an albino litle boy who will be going to a forever family in the USA pretty soon.

The greatest thing is these kids are cared for and are truly LOVED. Several nannies are emplyed full-time to care for the children and there is an American college student working as an intern at this time. It was a great hope for us that we would be able to meet our Angel in the flesh and see the environment in which LynnMarie was cared for and loved. The nanny's faces lit up as soon as they saw LynnMarie with us and though parting once again had to be bittersweet, they know the love they gave her will be continued forever.

I have a minor issue with downloading pictures from my camera to our laptop, but as soon as it is resolved, photos will be coming!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lifechange

I did not realize that it has been 11 days since I last took the time to write anything here. It is roughly 6pm on Saturday March 14, 2009 and I am less than a day and a half from becoming a father.

I am sitting in a hotel room in Beijing, China. Somewhere to the Northeast of here, in another province I guestimate to be 500 miles away there is a baby girl in a state-run orphanage who has had a major change to her life this week and is about to have an even bigger one.

Two and a half years ago Amy and I began a journey of days that has now become a journey of hours and miles. Yesterday was the first birthday of Lu Chun Ai, whose parents abandoned her for multiple reasons ranging from the fact she is a girl to her badly mis-shapen feet. She was placed in an orphanage with man other children left to the care of the Chinese government.

An angel came in to her life and removed her from that orphanage and placed her in a small foster home where she would be loved on by multiple nannies every day and where arrangements were made to heal her sweet feet and her tiny fingers.

I knew nothing of this precious child before late November. Two days before Thanksgiving I learned that she existed. One day before Thanksgiving I saw her face and was able to read about her life. Five days later I decided with Amy that we wanted this little girl to have parents again and that we wanted the job.

A whirlwind of anticipation has ensued. there were lots of initials for events in the adoption process that came on certain days and each one brought us a step closer and closer to holding this baby.

Two days before Christmas we received a pre-approval (PA) from China. About three weeks later we got our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from China which means they agreed that we would become Lu Chun Ai's parents. Next came the Travel Approval (TA) which was the final hurdle to clear and the point at which we could start making travel arrangements.

The reality of the past 30 months and the energy of the past 15 weeks is really hitting home. I am about to achieve one of the biggest things any man can do in his life, become a daddy. I will be responsible (as part of a two-person team) for the care and guidance of another human being. I will have my heart melt when I hear a tiny voice say "Daddy." I will have my heart break when she tests me with her actions and words. I will rejoice over the milestones of her life. I will cherish the Cinderella moments that Steven Curtis Chapman sings about with his daughters.

The past two days have been a vacation. My lifechange is looming. Like any other lifechange it is entirely voluntary, but it is powerful how huge an event this is. For me it ranks only with two others in my life, giving my heart to Jesus and sharing my heart and life in marriage with Amy.

There is so much about what I am about to do that I know nothing about. For these things I ask for your prayers and guidance and support. I will make mistakes. I will need help, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not. Ultimately I know the correct outcome will happen. God's hand will guarantee it, but it is still a scary prospect, but it is one I have chosen to create for my life and to face in every minute of every day.

Lu Chun Ai, prepare to experience lifechange like none you have known. Prepare to feel love in a way you have never known. Prepare to become LynnMarie ChunAi Christopher Atlanta, GA.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Great Adventure

I haven't written or posted much here in the past month or so. I haven't been too inspired to write, but I've had a lot on my mind. It's almost 11:30pm right now and that means I am 175 hours away from rolling down a runway at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, heading to Newark and then onward to Beijing.

In about 10 days the actual reality that I will be a dad will become true. I always knew this day would come. I never planned or expected that my first child would be adopted or that the child would be from China or that the child would be a girl. I always expected I would be the father of boys. The men in my family have a tendency to father boys, ,about 70% going back 3 generations. I will have a princess to call me daddy. I will be worried about her growing up, protective of her when she begins dating, encouraging of her as she learns and grows and becomes a woman I will be proud of.

I know I have a lot to learn in this process, but it is the greatest adventure I will ever do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brevity

A friend posted about haveing a lot to say (on her blog) but not having the time to say it. That got me thinking about the concept of brevity. Here are a few related quotes.

Good things, when short, are twice as good. ~Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom


It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men say in whole books - what other men do not say in whole books. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols


Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet


The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson


My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop. ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Flashback

Yes boys and girls, we're setting the Wayback Machine for the 1980s and its a video (or more) each week here at Valtool's Box. Since Mark Lee, the awesome guitar dude in Third Day mentioned John Mellancamp/Cougar/Cougar-Mellancamp today, we'll go with the man from the heartland.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Ipod/mp3 Shuffle Meme

I was tagged by Frigga at http://www.anyapples.blogspot.com/ and here's the deal. Take your ipod or mp3 player. Set it on shuffle. Use the songs that randomly play as the answers to these questions. Here are the questions and my answers.

How would you describe yourself? Eyes on the Sky (Von Ra)

What do you like in a member of the opposite sex? Urban (Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba)

How do you feel today? Knowing Me, Knowing You (ABBA)

What is your life's purpose? Fad of the Land (Newsboys)

What's your motto? Father, Spirit, Jesus (Casting Crowns)

What do your friends think of you? Does Anybody Hear Her (Casting Crowns)

What do your parents think of you? In Me (Casting Crowns)

What do you think about very often? Between You and Me (DC Talk)

What is 2 + 2? He (Jars of Clay)

What do you think of your best friend? Cloud of Witnesses (Mark Schultz)

What is your life story? Running Just To Catch Myself (Mark Schultz)

What do you want to be when you grow up? No Signal (tobymac)

What do you think when you see the person you like? Lifesong (Casting Crowns)

What will you dance to at your wedding? Higher (Creed)

What will they play at your funeral? Loved You All Along (Von Ra)

What is your hobby/interest? Lord You Are (Mark Schultz)

What is your biggest fear? Rockstar (Third Day)

What is your biggest secret? Let My Words Be Few (Rebecca St. James)

What do you want right now? Scene Six : Home (Dream Theater - Scenes from a Memory)

What do you think of your friends? Jesus Is Just Alright (DC Talk)

What will you post this as? Im Not That Girl (Wicked Cast Recording)

What time is it? Ignition (tobymac)

Since I have no idea who if anyone reads my blog, I tag anyone who reads this blog to do this meme and then come back and let me know you did it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Flashback

Tonight Amy and I were watching a movie and I heard a song I recognized but could not remember the name or the artist. So I checked the credits and went to Youtube. This wouldn't qualify for my 80's blog, which I have not done anything with in over a month, so I am putting it here. From 1979, Blondie with "Dreaming."

Monday, February 09, 2009

Date Night

Last night Amy and I enjoyed are last major date night as childless parents. We attended the WinterJam concert as guests of Tour Pastor Tony Nolan who is also about to become the father of a Chinese princess. Here's a taste of what we enjoyed.... tobymac.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Have you Ever Meme

Taken from Frigga at www.anyapples.blogspot.com

1. Have you ever been on TV?
Yes, barely. There was a news report from the tailgate at a Jimmy Buffett concert in orlando I went to back in the 90's. The stock footage they shot included me playing congas with our Parrothead club band in the parking lot.

2. Have you ever sung in public?
Yes, I've done karaoke on 3 occasions that I remember and I sang the lead in a church production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown back in '95.

3. Have you ever dyed your hair blond?
No, but I did get frosted highlights once, back around 2000. Was going for a Sugar Ray look.

4. Have you ever eaten frogs' legs?
No.

5. Have you ever received a present that you really hated?
Hate is a strong word. I've definitely received some I don't care about. I remember getting an Allman Brothers Band album when I was about 11 years old.

6. Have you ever walked into a lamp post?
No.

7. Have you ever fallen or stumbled in front of others?
Sure, but everyone does. No big deal unless you do something to make it memorable.

8. Have you ever done volunteer work?
Lots. With the Parrotheads of Central Florida we did river clean-ups and adopt a highway plus events for tornado victims in FL and the Make-a-Wish foundation and the AMerican Cancer Society Relay for life. Recently I have raised money for Relay or Life and the Juvenille Diabetes Walk for a Cure through my work, selling pictures I have taken and organizing charity poker tournaments. I have served at a soup kitchen and done construction at youth outreach camps in Tn. I have been a volunteer leader/counselor for Younglife and for my churches.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

99




This number 99 is the jersey of Wayne Gretsky. He is called "The Great One." Today is a 99 day.

Before work we had an appointment to meet our likely pediatrician. He is VERY positive about LynnMarie's current and future health.

I went to work. It was pretty much dead. Photo was a wasteland, but we had some vendor deliveries and stock issues to address.

After work I went straight to the gym. I spent 35 minutes on the eliptical (down from my regular 55) and burned just over 400 calories. I then moved to a number of the weight machines, all the time listening to music on my mp3 player. I was particularly motivate and moved when I heard songs by Burlap to Cashmere, DC Talk and tobymac. The last thing I heard was tobymac singing "Whatever I gotta be, I be for you."

That lyric struck me in two ways, as I want that to be my motivation regarding my God and my family.

As for 99. Let me say aome more. This morning I took my oral meds and after the meeting with the doctor I had a chicken breakfast burrito from Chick-fil-a. At work I had some natural almonds through my shift and lunch was a baked chicken breast and some corn. I had taken no insulin since last night and when I got home I checked my blood sugar level to find it at a very awesome 99!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ten on Tuesday #21

My 10 Favorite Articles of Clothing
1. Mike Schmidt 1980 throwback Phillies jersey.
2. Atlanta Thrashers Home Jersey.
3. UCF Polo - received this Christmas.
4. Hard Rock Cafe Denim Jacket (London) bought in 1994.
5. My "work" socks. I buy Starter brand black athletic socks, great comfort for being on your feet all day.
6. PokerStars polo shirt - it was free from the site.
7. UCF t-shirt that says "Mess with one Knight, mess with all 45,000."
8. Black denim shorts. They have finally worn out after 8 or more years.
9. WHTQ 96.5 FM baseball jersey from when I interned with the station back in '99-'00.
10. Autographed Debbie Gibson "Dare 2 Dream" t-shirt, only worn once, it's another 10+ year throwback.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Dream Theater - The Spirit Carries On

Catching Up

I noticed today that I have barely done a thing here in the past month. I used to post about 25-35 times a month and so far I'm at 7 or 8 right now.

So what's up? Most of you know about our international adoption and it is coming VERY close to being complete. We started the journey about 27 months ago and suddenly (in the past 2 months) we have found ourselves about 7 weeks away from being in CHINA, bringing home an awesome baby girl. It's kind of like being 7 and a half months pregnant. Very soon, I am going to be a daddy.

Facebook is kicking in a bit. My 20th HS reunion is now just 6 months away. In addition to about 150 or so HS friends on Facebook, I have recently added 4 more family members and last night I started finding old Parrothead friends from Orlando, Dennis & Betsy, Lou & Pat, JT, T Scott, Laurie, & Doc. Some of them may be her ein Atlanta later this year for an Atlanta Parrothead club meeting.



If not for the Parrotheads and their concert for tornado relief back in '98, I would have never met Vaughn Rhea and his band and family. I know where he is, but have not been in touch with him since the band played at a Tower Records here in Atlanta to promote the release of the Soundtrack to the TV show Smallville back around '02 I think. He's a great guy and a great husband and dad to Jordan, Jacob, and Olivia.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When Love Takes You In

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ten on Tuesday #20

Ten Favorite Sports Moments
1. 1980 - The Phillies beat the Royals to win the World Series. Tug McGraw says "You gotta believe!"
2. 2008 - The Phillies beat the Rays to win the World Series after a two-day delay to finish game 4.
3. Tiger Woods wins anything.
4. Georgia Tech owns Georgia in the 3rd quarter and breaks a way-to-long losing streak by defeating the dogs between the hedges, 2008.
5. I attend my first professional hockey game and see the Atlanta Thrashers beat the New Jersey Devils in December 2006.
6. Cal Ripkin, Jr. breaks the Iron-man record by playing in 2131 consecutive scheduled games, beating Lou Gehrig's record of 2130. The game was stopped when it became official and Ripkin was recognized before play resumed. I cried.
7. UCF enters the Conference USA in 2005 and hosts the innaugural Championship game and plays in the school's first ever bowl game.
8. At age 40, Randy Johnson pitches a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves. 2004.
9. Clint Bowyer finishes the 2005 Daytona 500 UPSIDE DOWN AND ON FIRE!
10. George Steinbrenner fires Joe Torre, who is then hired by the LA Dodgers who leads them to the NL Championship series in the same year that the Yankees don't even make the playoffs, 2008.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Not So Magic Kingdom

I was previewing any news and special info for our visit to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on Thursday and I found the following scheduled closings...



* Mickey's PhilharMagic : Closed for Refurbishment [January 18, 2009 to January 31, 2009]
* Splash Mountain®: Closed for Refurbishment [January 13, 2009 to January 18, 2009]
* The Hall Of Presidents: Closed for Refurbishment [January 13, 2009 to January 31, 2009]

The Mickey thing I have never heard of, but it closes after we will have been there.
Splash Mountain is fun, but I don't like getting wet while clothed and it will be cool weather on Thursday.
Hall of Presidents is closing 7 days before until 11 days after the inauguration.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Cold Winter's Night



Jack is Back!

Horay for the American TV audience! Tonight was the return of 24 and the return of Jack Bauer, the man who got blackjack with only one card!

I totally forgot that Jeanine Garafalo was to be on this season. She has lost weight but she still annoys me to Hell and back. I have a hard time separating her politics from her art. From what we saw in the first two hours tonight, I fully expect she'll be the one to blow things for Jack by worrying about loved ones and leaking to the world what is going on behind closed doors at the FBI.

Aside from that, I like the idea of having Jack face a former friend as a new nemesis. I liked the pick-up on the assassin's shoes outside the Columbia building, and the female FBI agent he is paired with is hot, nice freckles!

American Idol starts this week. We are watching the Biggest Loser, and we are already behind almost 3 hours from last week needing to watch DVR'd ER, Grey's, and Private Practice.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Orlando Skyline c. 1999



The skyline has changed a great deal in the past 10 years. This shot was taken from aboard the Blockbuster Video blimp!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

LynnMarie in Video

We received a tip from someone who had recently been to the Henan Province and we found this video on YouTube. This is my daughter!