Friday, May 30, 2008

No Time to Blog So Just a Blurb!

Whew; I've been busy busy busy rushing around to get ready to go out of town tomorrow.
And, along with my co-conspirator(s); I've been working on the family reunion. It's coming together!
More stories when we return from the wine festival (and, maybe, a few pictures, too!)
Mrs. B

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Few of Mrs. B's Quirky Interests Part Four

I've got to bet this one is going to surprise a few folks!

Bonnie and Clyde
Not that I endorse crime in any fashion, of course I do not. But, for whatever reason, these two people just interest the hell out of me.
I believe it all started in a quite morbid way, actually. One summer when I was probably nine or so, my sister Ann and I (while visiting with my Father and step-mom for the summer) would routinely peddle our (borrowed) bikes to the drug store to buy candy and stuff. Of course, we'd browse around, too; and, one of the best browsing sections were the magazines. One day, I spotted some magazine, probably "True Crime" or something like that, with a picture of these real old-fashioned looking people on the cover and the heading "Bonnie and Clyde! Their death pictures are inside!"

Wow! I knew, of course, who they were in general; my Father had (probably still has) this cool album by Flat and Scruggs with songs they wrote for (or songs they wrote that were simply used in) the movie (like "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "A Picture of Bonnie"). I listened to that a lot (especially after seeing THE DEATH PICTURES at that drug store!)
Anyway, yeah, sure enough, there were several pictures of Bonnie and Clyde alive; Bonnie posing with a cigar in her mouth with her foot up on their car and a gun in her hand looking like one tough cookie,
a few of Clyde goofing off, and, pictures of their bullet riddled bodies. Fairly graphic and quite a bit for a young kid to see (and I'm not including any here but you can do a Google and see all you want to).

Thus, I became interested. I, of course, watched the famous movie with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway (let me assure you, the REAL Bonnie and Clyde looked absolutely nothing like their glamorous portrayers). You judge for yourself!

Over the years, I'd read stuff here and there; the Internet certainly opened up a lot of Bonnie and Clyde fodder. And, the ex and I made a point of stopping at a casino in Nevada called Whiskey Pete's where they had the Bonnie and Clyde "death car" on display. Gee whiz, could they ever have possibly imagined that?

I think, though, the fact that I discovered a few years ago that shocked me just about more than anything else I'd seen or read was finding out how old they were when they were gunned down.

Anyone want to hazard a guess before reading further?
I can tell you, they look a lot older in their pictures (both alive and dead). Also, in the movie, they were depicted as much older.

Clyde was 24 and Bonnie was 23.

Here is a poem written by Ms. Bonnie Parker herself. Pretty damn good, I think:

The Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Bonnie Parker (1934)

You've read the story of Jesse James--
Of how he lived and died;
If you're still in need
Of something to read
Here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang.
I'm sure you all have read
How they rob and steal
And those who squeal
Are usually found dying or dead.

There's lots of untruths to these write-ups;
They're not so ruthless as that;
Their nature is raw;
They hate the law--
The stool pigeons, spotters, and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers;
They say they are heartless and mean;
But I say this with pride,
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.

But the laws fooled around,
Kept taking him down
And locking him up in a cell,
Till he said to me, "I'll never be free,
So I'll meet a few of them in hell."

The road was so dimly lighted;
There were no highway signs to guide;
But they made up their minds
If all roads were blind,
They wouldn't give up till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer;
Sometimes you can hardly see;
But it's fight, man to man,
And do all you can,
For they know they can never be free.

From heart-break some people have suffered;
From weariness some people have died;
But take it all in all,
Our troubles are small
Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas,
And they have no clue or guide;
If they can't find a fiend,
They just wipe their slate clean
And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.

There's two crimes committed in America
Not accredited to the Barrow mob;
They had no hand
In the kidnap demand,
Nor the Kansas City Depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy:
"I wish old Clyde would get jumped;
In these awful hard times
We'd make a few dimes
If five or six cops would get bumped."

The police haven't got the report yet,
But Clyde called me up today;
He said, "Don't start any fights--
We aren't working nights--
We're joining the NRA."

From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
Is known as the Great Divide,
Where the women are kin,
And the men are men,
And they won't "stool" on Bonnie and Clyde.

If they try to act like citizens
And rent them a nice little flat,
About the third night
They're invited to fight
By a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat.

They don't think they're too smart or desperate,
They know that the law always wins;
They've been shot at before,
But they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.

Some day they'll go down together;
They'll bury them side by side;
To few it'll be grief--
To the law a relief--
But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.

She sure seemed to know what was coming down the pike, didn't she? They were gunned down in May of 1934. And, they were not buried side by side, either.

Mrs. B




Sunday, May 25, 2008

A New Irish Pub

Yesterday, the B's were out and about trying to accomplish a few things. In essence, we did not end up doing 1/2 of what we wanted to because we couldn't find some items we wished to buy (a structure-thing to hang our "porch" swing on and a tall wrought-iron bistro table to go with the two chairs I bought back in 2000 (I obviously did not require a table at that point)).
We did manage to buy a few cigars to stock up Mr. B's new humidor (an early Father's Day gift from Mrs. B) and to buy some liquor essentials.

Mr. B had heard from one of his new customers that there is now an Irish pub in or near Brier Creek (which is an absolutely huge outdoor mall about 10 minutes away from our house).

We decided to try and find it and finally did; not actually IN Brier Creek but across the road in BriarDALE.

Well, we HAD to check it out, having found it and all, so, we went in and had a few pints; me, Strong Bow, he, Bell's Two-Hearted Ale (as an aside, we were tickled to see that Bell's (from Michigan) was on the "import" list along with the English and Irish beers; guess the Irish figure Michigan is its own country!)

The place is called Trali http://www.traliirishpub.com/.

It was empty at the time we were there (2:30 or so on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend). We sat in the bar; the wait-staff were real friendly. Another funny thing, the keg ran out on my Strong Bow, then, when Mr. B ordered another Bell's, the keg ran out on HIM. They nicely, both times, brought us in essence a half-pint each to "make up" for the not full glass (although it certainly wasn't missing 8 ounces of brew).
After helping the wait-staff with their crossword puzzle (the subject of my new poll), we decided to try an appetizer. We had the potato-cod cakes with "fresh" (as opposed to "stale") tarter sauce. I am being cynical, but, in actuality,the cakes were yummy and the tarter sauce was "fresh"!

So, although (as my brother has beaten into me), we'd PREFER to patronize Durham establishments, sometimes, it's just too far to drive into Durham (ha ha; can you believe me, a former LA resident, is complaining about a 20 minute drive?) to go to the Joyce or the other Irish pub there (Bull McCabe, I think). This place is fun and new and the prices are reasonable. And, as an added bonus, it is completely smoke-free (unlike the James Joyce, where, after being inside there 15 minutes, one feels like they've been smoking a pack a day, even if they aren't smoking at all).

And, they have imported beer.

From Michigan!

Mrs. B


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Morning

1. We watched "Sweeney Todd" last night (the flick with Johnny Depp). TERRIBLE! God, why did we bother? It was like he was reprising his Edward Scissorhand role twenty-odd years later except Edward has gone a tad bonkers. Seriously, the character in "Todd" did resemble Edward Scissorhands; even down to the crazy hair (except it's got a streak of white in it and now he's using razors instead of scissors). Bring back Cap'n Jack Sparrow!

2. We had our first "issue" last night of neighbors being noisy late into the night. They were obviously having a BBQ or something but they were sitting outside well past 11 yammering on and being quite loud; plus, the music kept increasing in volume. Mr. B finally shouted at them to turn the music down. After a few mumbled apologizes, they did; they kept up the talking and giggling and girl-shrieking for another 1/2 hour or so, though. I told Mr. B that he should get up early the next morning and "get them back" by mowing our backyard.

3. Our next door neighbor must have had the same thought because HE was out mowing HIS yard before 8 this morning. So much for sleeping in.

4. So, the Indy 500 is tomorrow. Last year, we were there for it. I have to admit I'm cool being in front of a TV this year; it's a fun thing to do a few times in your life, but, it really is a hassle. Anyway, North Carolina isn't much into IRL (Nasty-Car being their venue of choice); there is hardly anything in the paper about it and we can't figure out what time the race starts; we have seen both noon and 1:00 reported.
5. I think one of the best news stories I saw this past week was about a lost parrot who was able to tell someone its home address so he got back home. The rest of the news has been either depressing and sad or irritating.


7. My allergies are wrecking havoc on me. Seriously, it's been AWFUL this season. Now, I've got "the itchies". Everything itches!

8. We're about two months out from the big family reunion which will be held here at our house August 2nd. My cousin's wife and I are full-bore into planning/implementation and have received a lot of help from our siblings/cousins. It's gonna be something!

9. But, before that, the B's will be headed to the wine festival next weekend in Tanglewood and then Puerto Vallarta in June. Can't wait!

10. Today is "futz around the house" day, so, I'd best get to it!

Mrs. B

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Hardwood Floor Saga...VICTORY

The current crappy-ass residue covered wood floors in our house

We got a call this afternoon from KB...they are going to completely replace our floor!

Woo hoo! Woo hoo! Woo hoo!

Of course, the process will be a pain in the you-know-what, but, hey, we've won and we'll deal with the disruption.
Frankly, we're surprised this was the outcome.
A few weeks ago, yet another KB supervisor came by with Keith (the guy that has been so helpful) and those jerk-wads from JJ Nelson.
The "supervisor", a quite youngish man, said, "Well, frankly Mr. B, I don't really think the floors are all that awful. I mean, I walk into your home, and, it's a lovely home and the floors are not so bad that they take away from the beauty of your environment". Or, some such crap.
Not to mention, he completely paid ME no never mind; meaning, he didn't even acknowlege my presence.
Beep.
Wrong answer.
The fact HE didn't think it looked bad was irrelevant to all that we've gone through, plus, and not a small aside, HE didn't pay for the floors (the last time I checked, anyway).
Obviously, someone else agreed and they'll be getting rid of these smeary residue covered pieces of crap.
I can't begin to tell you how happy I am about this. This whole floor issue has been such a thorn in our sides.

Like with yanking out a thorn, it won't be all pleasant, but, the end result will ultimately be much more pleasant.
Mrs. B

A Few of Mrs. B's Quirky Interests Part Three

And, speaking of The Tarot...

Mr. B commented on my last post that I should hang up a shingle and offer both Astrological chart casting and the reading of Tarot cards. Not a bad idea! I used to say (after I quit my HR job) that one thing I thought would be "fun" to do would be to travel around Europe, hang out in pubs and such, and read the Tarot for folks.



The Sacred Rose Tarot Deck (this is the one I use)


Almost 10 years ago, one of my friends in Colorado Springs taught me how to read Tarot cards. She got me going on the basics and, me being me, I bought several books and my own deck of Tarot cards and off I went. For a period of about three years, I read my own cards on a very frequent basis and, from time to time, did readings for family and friends. My favorite spread to do is the Celtic Cross, although, there are many others that can be used.






The Celtic Cross Spread


If some people get freaked out by Astrology, then, they tend to really get creeped out by the Tarot. I think it's unwarranted, though, because the Tarot is not meant to be a prediction of the future (as some readers would have you believe) but, rather, a guide to help you mull over different aspects of a problem. A visual aid, if you will. Especially if one is using the Celtic Cross because there are a lot of aspects to this spread; a look into the past, the present, the people and things that are influencing the question/issue/problem and, possible outcomes. Unlike an Astrological chart which is, in essence, basic information about a person based on when and where they were born (although if you get into looking at the various "houses", it can get much more detailed), a Tarot reading requires that there be a question, issue or problem that the inquirer is concerned about. A good reader would never attempt to say, "This or that is definitely (or definitely not) going to happen". Rather, laying out the cards, explaining what they mean in the context of their position (The Tower, for example, a very strong card meaning upheaval and change has a completely different meaning if it's in a past position versus a present or future one)


The Tower

and their location relative to other cards in the spread is similar to laying out the bits and pieces of the problem itself (how did it come about, what's going on now, who is involved, what are different solutions). For some, it is easier to find the answer to their question, issue or problem by approaching it from a completely new angle.

That's all there really is to it.

Some people find themselves identifying with one or more particular cards from the Tarot (and, obviously, this could change based on what is going on in that person's life). They may find that card continually popping up in their spreads. Another very fascinating aspect of this which I have personally seen (having done a lot of readings on myself) is how a certain card might show up in a (potential for the future) position, then, over time, it moves into a present position, and then, finally into a past position.

Always a nice card to get in your spread!

So, yeah, I can read Tarot cards. I don't think, though, that I'd be terribly interested to do a reading on a person I knew nothing about. I've found that, as a reader, it helps to know at least a little bit about the person and their character to do a reading for them. The cards make more sense/are easier to interpret if you have some idea of the context of what is going on.

But, I don't know; you'll have to ask someone I've done a reading for and see what they think!

"My" card

Mrs. B














Monday, May 19, 2008

A Few of Mrs. B's Quirky Interests Part Two

Betcha thought I forgot about this "series", huh? Nah, never!

Astrology
I am NOT referring to the crappy daily blurbs in the local newspaper. Those things are a bunch of hooey (and, if you pay attention, on any given day, they are almost all the same, or, they rotate them; meaning, you might see Virgo's Monday horoscope pop up for Leo on Friday).

No, I actually read quite a bit about this, I mean in-depth, and, taught myself to cast charts. I did my own first (of course) and what it told me about me was amazingly spot on. Pretty creepy, actually. There's so much to this that it really deserves its own entry. Suffice it to say; it's really interesting stuff.

One other thing; you may not actually be the sign you think you are. Say what? Well, most people look at the little blurbs in the paper and see where their b-day falls within the provided date ranges and assume they are that sign. However, that may not be the case if you are born on what they refer to as "The Cusp" (either the very beginning or the tail-end of any sign's date range).

In order to determine what sign you are for certain, all it takes is the knowledge of your birth date, what time you were born, and WHERE you were born. Depending on the year and the location, someone who thinks they are an Aries, might, in actuality be a Taurus.
Mr. B is a fantastic example of this. His b-day is August 22nd. All standard date ranges would indicate he's a Leo. Well, anyone who knows Mr. B might right away think, "Hey, he doesn't seem like a Leo to ME!" (Leo's typically being bombastic, larger than life, gregarious, in the spot-light (and WANT to be there), childish, tend to pout if they don't get attention, etc.)

Does that sound like Mr. B to you?
So, I looked him up in my table and, lo and behold, on the year he was born, the time and the place, VIRGO is actually his sun sign.

Virgos; calm, analytical, a bit shy, reserved, can be "loners", etc.

Another very interesting thing about astrology is discovering what your moon sign is. This is the sign that is closely related to how you feel about YOURSELF, your emotional state, your important character traits (which may not always be what you show to the world (which is your sun sign)).

I discovered that my moon sign is Capricorn, which is a much more stable, practical, detail-oriented, responsible, dependable, etc. sign than my sun sign, the happy go lucky big oaf and big mouthed Sagittarius (although I do certainly embodied many of Sagittarius's traits, such as love of travel and devotion to family and friends).


Anyway, if you go beyond the boring crap in the paper or the silly things you find on the web, there's a lot to astrology.

If you wanna know more, let me know. You might be able to talk me into casting your chart!

Mrs. B

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Anniversary Dinner


We ate at our favorite Durham restaurant, Magnolia Grill. As usual, we had a wonderful time and the food, wine and service were fantastic.
Here is a link to Magnolia Grill's website if you want to check out their interesting and flavorful menu (which changes every day). http://www.magnoliagrill.net/

Here we are; both still able to fit into our wedding clothes (woo hoo) and both of us with considerably less hair than 2005!

Mrs. B


Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. B!

Three years ago today, Ms. H became Mrs. B in a private ceremony on Charleston South Carolina's Folly Beach. I know I've posted this before, but, it seems an apt thing to re-post today. And, hey, it's even raining today!

Mrs. B

May 16th, 2005

We ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then went off to find our wedding site on nearby Folly Beach. It really is a good thing that we went to search for it prior to the ceremony as it wasn’t exactly easy to find. But, find it we did, after a few minutes of searching and back-tracking. We parked and walked the short trail to the beach itself; I took several pictures of the general area while Mark walked about (he ended up in several of the shots; there are a few where he looks quite pensive; hopefully not thinking about running away!) At that point in time, the weather was quite fine although there was the ominous threat of thunderclouds hanging in the sky.

Mark strolls along Folly Beach the morning of our Wedding Day

After we satisfied ourselves that the location would do perfectly well for our wedding ceremony, we headed back towards Charleston (via a gas station) to look for a place to get flowers for my hair. We tried one place near to the hotel but they were closed. With a bit of trepidation that we might not find one open, we headed back towards Folly Beach via Calhoun St. and found an open florist shop. We went in and managed to order a few orchids; the owner needed about 15 minutes to do them up so we walked down to a Starbucks and each had a caramel frozen coffee drink (mine light, Mark’s fully loaded!) We walked back to the florist and the flowers were ready; beautiful pure white orchids with vivid purple centers. So delicate; but, we were assured that they would last quite some time before they wilted.

As we were paying for the flowers, a small collie dog came bounding into the room; pretty active given she looked sort of aged; as the owner rang up our sale, the dog started to bark furiously; turns out she doesn’t like the sound of the cash register, also turns out her name was... Amy!

We went back to The Vendue Inn and relaxed for a few hours. At this point, I was actually starting to get a tad unsettled and nervous. So, Mark poured me a glass of red wine and assured me that all would be okay. I felt a bit calmer after that; enough so that I could read a bit while he checked email and, then, showered and got ready. He left me about 1:30; book in hand, headed up to The Rooftop Bar to hang out for 2 ½ hours while my transformation was in process.

Juliet Jones arrived and began working on my hair. She chattered pretty much non-stop, which was likely a very good thing since it had started to pour down rain; thunder, lightening, the whole nine yards. Since she kept talking, it was easy for me to be distracted; it was a pleasant, light-hearted conversation about various subjects; I’m grateful that she was so gregarious. As was Leslie Moore, the make-up artist, who arrived around 2:45 just as Juliet was finishing up with my hair. Between the two of them, I hardly noticed the deluge that was going on outside my window.

My elaborate Wedding Day hair!

Upstairs in The Rooftop Bar, Mark and his fellow patrons, the waitress and the bartender, were all keeping an eye on the Weather Channel. They all assured Mark that the storm would indeed blow off shore as the Weather Channel was reporting. Around 3:00, Mark called me to tell me this (he was worried that I’d be freaking out about the storm; he had no way of knowing, of course, that the beautification ladies were doing their best to keep me completely oblivious to the storm).

After Mark called, Leslie finished up my make-up and helped me get into my dress. After she left, I called Mark to tell him I was done but got his voice mail. I will admit to having one brief moment of panic; what if he left? What if he got hit by a car (how this would happen atop The Rooftop Bar, I have no clue), but, within a few minutes, I heard him coming into the door to our room and sighed a sigh of relief.

He seemed quite pleased with my appearance; I felt a bit shy about everything; my nerves came back full force and it was time to hit the bathroom one more time before leaving.

Thank God that I did; while in there, I happened to notice that my dress had one of those ink-tags in it; you know, the ones that explode when they get wet and spread a hideous ink stain over the garment which cannot be removed. A deterrent for would be dress-thieves, I suppose. Well, since we were about to head out into a rain storm…I shuddered to think of the disaster I had just escaped.

But, no scissors! So, Mark had to cut the tag out with a pair of nail clippers.

With that drama behind us, we left the room and went down to await our car. The rain was still coming down hard so we borrowed a large umbrella from The Vendue Inn.

Off we went!

The short drive to Folly Island was probably the worst part (if I can even say we had a worst part) of our wedding day. I say this as, there was a lot of traffic in Charleston, tons of tourists walking across the street willy-nilly, plus the rain; it all combined to make it a harrowing drive. Then, as we approached the access road leading to the island, there was a TON of stopped traffic; people weaving in and out, changing lanes, etc. Once we got onto Folly Beach Road, the traffic came to a dead stop and I started to get antsy thinking about the people that would be waiting for us at the wedding site (a look at the clock told me it was 4;45 and another look at the traffic indicated we’d not make it there in 15 minutes).

So, I called Mary Ann from A Charleston Beach Wedding to inform her we were stuck on Folly Beach Road. She said, “Oh yes, I came through there about 20 minutes ago and it was a mad house!” She told me that, further on up the road, the road itself was flooded (GREAT) and that was causing the delay. She asked for me to call her once we got onto the island itself and she’d leave the house to meet us.

Right about that point in time, a purple PT Cruiser pulled out in front of us; but for the grace of God, we would have been in a wreck on our wedding day.

As it was, we weren’t, but, all of this wasn’t doing much to calm my somewhat frazzled nerves!

We got to the point where the road was flooded (not so bad as the traffic piling up behind it) and made quick time from there. I called Mary Ann back; she said, “Okay, I’ll gather up my things and meet you!” I hung up wondering, “What about the officiant and the photographer?” I started to get paranoid; were we supposed to arrange for an officiant? No, I couldn’t imagine we’d pay almost $500 and have to also coordinate our own officiant! But, as I was starting to get worked up, so, anything made sense, even things that really don’t make sense at all. Mark maintained his cool, and did his best to keep me calm and collected.

We pulled up to the wedding site (with me breathing a prayer of thanks to the wedding God that a) we’d had the sense to go out previously in the morning and locate the spot and b) there weren’t a ton of cars in the parking lot) and parked. As we got out and looked towards the ocean, it was apparent that there was no rain anywhere near in sight; a very positive sign! A few minutes later, Mary Ann pulled up. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn (by observation, not by being informed) that she was IT; the coordinator, the florist, the officiant AND the photographer.

Mary Ann can best be described as “beachy-funky granola-crunchy’; she’d fit in perfectly in either Carrboro (or Santa Cruz, CA) and, as far as I know, might use a pen name (she said she was a writer, on top of many other things) such as “Willow” or “Storm”. In any case, she DID have a very calming affect on me; her kind face put me instantly at ease.

My bouquet was comprised of all white flowers; lilies, roses, carnations, with a splash of purple freesia (my request, as purple is Mark’s favorite color). They were quite lovely, and very fragrant. Mark’s boutonnière had a white rose and purple freesia.

My Bouquet

We walked the short, sandy path to the beach; Mary Ann asked Mark where he wanted to stand. We moved a bit closer to the water’s edge, we faced the water, she faced us, and began the ceremony.

I knew from pre-reading it that it would be a short; I thought maybe 15 minutes. Boy, was I wrong! Within 5 minutes we were exchanging rings and the deed was done; barely enough time to work up a good cry!

But, the speed of the act in no way took away from its power and impact. To some degree, it was surreal. But, I took away from it a few vivid memories.

The wind was blowing slightly and I could see and hear the waves lapping against the sand. Mark and I alternatively looked at one another, then at Mary Ann, who, even though she was definitely present, it didn’t feel as if she was really there. There was no one else on the beach at first (although a lone surfer-dude did amble onto the beach about mid-way through the ceremony; he had the good grace to lay down on the sand far enough away as to not be intrusive) so, it truly felt as though we were alone in the sight of God and nature; just the two of us making a commitment to one another that was stronger than any commitment we’d ever made before in our lives. The words of the vows fit in perfectly with the surroundings, and, even more importantly, our intent.

As we exchanged our rings, the sun came out to shine on us; and, I’d dare anyone one of you reading this to challenge our belief that God, or a spirit, or whatever or whomever, was smiling on us that day.

The rings slid on easily, we had our first kiss as man and wife, and, we were married; Mr. and Mrs. Mark B.

The B's on their Wedding Day


After pictures, we walked back to her car (after being congratulated by a few people that had wandered onto the beach and witnessed the photography session, as well as the surfer-dude) and took care of the necessary paperwork.

After a hug and farewells, Mary Ann got into her car and drove away and we headed back to the BMW. Luckily, we’d had the forethought to take a hand towel from The Vendue Inn to wipe off our sandy feet. Since Mark left he shoes on, I had the towel to myself!

Off we went back to Charleston; as we were leaving Folly Island, Mark spotted a painted sign on a billboard that read, “Amy, will you marry me?” Another appropriately perfect sign, we felt, that our marriage was meant to be!

"The" Sign!

When we got back to The Vendue Inn, Mark carried me over the threshold into our room. He plunked me onto the bed and promptly took a picture of me.

The newly made Mrs. B!

We had just enough time to freshen up before our horse-drawn carriage was set to pick us up outside of the hotel.

We went downstairs and the carriage was already there. Unfortunately, it was raining again (thank God not a downpour but a steady mist) so we were not able to put the top to the carriage down. But, it was romantic all the same being drawn through the streets of Charleston’s historic district, holding hands, holding my bouquet, with the smiles and waves from people on the street warming us up inside. It’s amazing how happy people are to see other people happy!

In all honesty, though, I have to admit to being somewhat in a daze during that ride! I recall the driver talking pretty much nonstop about this and that about Charleston; some of it stuck, but not much.

He dropped us off at 7:00 pm for our dinner RSVP at S.N.O.B (Slightly North of Broad) where we were shown to a prime table towards the back of the restaurant. Mark had had the forethought to request this table when he made the dinner RSVP several weeks prior; we thought we were getting the same table we sat at last May, but, we got the table directly across from it. No matter, it was cozier, anyway, and still offered a wonderful view of the goings-on in both the open kitchen and the rest of the restaurant.

No sooner had we sat down than the server came over, and, upon spotting my bouquet, she said, “You look very nice this evening…is this your wedding day?” We smiled and said yes, and, within a few minutes, we were brought complimentary flutes of champagne. A very nice touch!We really took our time at our wedding dinner; after the champagne, we had martinis, then ordered and split an appetizer (goat cheese and pesto crostini), a salad (caramelized pear with walnuts, bleu cheese and field greens) and then our main entrées; Mark had salmon, I had grouper. Mark ordered a ½ bottle of a very unique and tasty Zinfandel, and we finished it all off with sharing a decadent key lime tart with passion fruit.

At Our Wedding Dinner

After dinner, we strolled back to The Vendue Inn (a mere five minutes away) and, upon entering our room, discovered a bottle of champagne chilling on ice, compliments of the hotel! Mark had already put our own bottle of champagne on ice (the sister bottle to the one we drank on the night he proposed), so, we saved the hotel’s gift for the next night.

When I took off my wedding dress, I discovered that I’d never cut the price tags out, so, I got married advertising (or soliciting?) a price!

Mark turned on the fireplace, poured the champagne, and…the stage goes dark…


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Victory...But Is The War Won Yet?

As you all know, we've been having a time of it with our former tenants (the old bat, her son, and the daughter in law). I've not written anything lately because we've been going back and forth with them (via our lawyer) about this situation. Our lawyer sent them a letter towards the end of March demanding payment and threatening litigation if they did not pay up. The dumb-ass daughter in law (in my opinion, she's the one behind the whole fiasco) wrote back (in the guise of being the old bat) throwing up all these excuses, complaints, denials, etc. It was pretty laughable, actually, especially as, at the end of the letter, she asked for a copy of the lease because she'd "misplaced" hers. So, she was making all of these assertions and she didn't even have this legal document in front of her.

The lawyer sent another letter basically telling them none of "her" points were valid, she still owed the money, and that she had one last chance to pay it or she would be sued. And, oh, by the way; the price tag will continue to rise due to legal fees, court costs, etc.

Well, this morning the lawyer phoned Mr. B to say the old bat HERSELF called him. She said there was no way she could afford to pay us the lump sum amount because she was on a fixed income. But, she said she would be able to pay us $X amount per month until it was paid off.

The best part was she admitted she had done something wrong.

So, we've agreed to this and of course she'll be charged interest and any further legal fees required in order to draw up a legal and binding document requiring her to pay us $X per month.

I think this is a victory; we can't be sure until we actually start receiving consistent monthly payments, but, even if she signs this and doesn't pay, we've got an admission of wrong-doing which would only help us if we eventually did end up having to sue the pants off the old bat.

But, I will put on my optimist's cap today and be thankful. And, also, be glad that both Mr. B and I have the kahonies to stand up for what is right (we've got our parents to thank for instilling that in us!)

Mrs. B




Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Some Great Undies: An Endorsement From Mrs. B



Ok, guys, you probably won't care about this (and if you do, well, keep it to yourself, please)!

I was at Chico's lingerie store, Soma, last week with mom. We were looking at all of the pretty things and I was looking in particular for something they call "Vanishing Edge". Well, they had a huge display of the stuff right up front. The sales person (who, I have say, was one of those "annoying" ones who hover around; she almost lost my business) told us they were TO DIE for, everyone was buying them, etc. And, of course, they were on sale.

So, I decided to try 'em out and buy a few undies and camis.

Thankfully, the woman told me to buy one size up for certain styles because they run small.

I did.

I tried a pair out Saturday under a pair of white shorts. At first, I was really upset because they DID seem REALLY small; and, even though it was a size up, I was thinking they were not going to fit.

But, I persisted, and, damn, if there was no line, you couldn't even tell I had anything on, which was the point.
Not only was nothing visible, after awhile, I realized I couldn't even FEEL them. So, almost like wearing nothing
Today I'm wearing another style (boy shorts) which usually bunch up and look up crap under anything. Yet again, you can't see them and I can't feel them and they are staying right in place.

So, ladies, I'd highly recommend you try these out. They are not really cheap, but, there's always a sale going on or buy so many get so many free. And, oh, they are MACHINE WASHABLE, too!

Mrs. B




Redneck Love Poem

Courtesy of my pal, Col. George from Alabama. I thought this was worth a post!


Mrs. B


Redneck Love Poem


Susie Lee done fell in love
She planned to marry Joe
She was so happy 'bout it all
She told her Pappy so

Pappy told her, Susie gal
You'll have to find another
I'd just as soon yo' ma don't know
But Joe is yo' half brother

So Susie put aside her Joe
And planned to marry Will
But after telling Pappy this
He said there's trouble still

You can't marry Will my gal
And please don't tell yo' mother
But Will and Joe and several mo'
I know is yo' half brother

But mama knew and said my child
Just do what makes yo' happy
Marry Will or marry Joe
You ain't no kin to Pappy




Monday, May 12, 2008

Our First Bulls Game of the Season: Crappy Weather As Usual

I've been going to Durham Bulls games on a regular basis now for four years. For the past three, we've been season ticket holders. Last night was our first game. Well, technically, our first game would have been April 12th but due to Mr. B's crazy work schedule, we couldn't go. Mr. B did go to a game with dad the following week (mom, Lucy and I were gallivanting about in the mid-west). But, OUR first game was last night.

And, true to form, the weather sucked.

Four years ago, I went to the first home game of the season with my brother. It was mid-April and FREEZING outside. I mean, it was so cold, I think there was ice floating around in my beer.

The next year the weather wasn't much better. And, that particular season, we had a ton of rain delayed games or cancelled games.

The following year (last year), our first game was supposed to be April 21st but we were in FL so we scheduled it for the first part of May. It was so cold, our toes were numb for hours after we left (and we didn't stick around past the 4th or 5th inning because we were out in Diamond View where the wind was fierce).

Last night, we were in our regular seats (under cover) BUT it poured down rain about 1/2 hour before game time. Luckily, we were still at home and knew not to go down there yet. By the time we got there, it had stopped raining but the seats were all wet, it was damp and chilly and the wind was blowing.

We made it until the sixth and decided to give it up. I mean, I'd only drank 1/2 of my beer at that point!

To me, baseball is not a sport meant to be watched while your knees are knocking together and your teeth are chattering and you have no interest what-so-ever in your beer.

Oh, and they lost.

So, for whatever reason, true to our own little tradition, the weather sucked on our first game of the season.
Our next game is this coming Sunday and I'm praying for 85 degrees, baby!

Mrs. B

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cork and Pork Festival

Cork and Pork Logo

Yesterday was Rock of Ages Winery 2nd annual Cork and Pork festival. Rock of Ages is a fairly new winery out near Hurdle Mills (about a 45 minute drive from our house). We stumbled on it quite by accident last year and discovered that their wines are actually more than decent. Even the semi-sweet ones (using the muscadine grape). Anyway, we decided to attend this festival since it seemed like a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon; listening to music, drinking wine, eating BBQ (although we never got around to eating BBQ).

Scenic, huh?

We spent some time talking to the owner, Kevin, who explained to us the ins and outs of opening up a winery and how, if you want to have wine available on the day you open, you typically have to use someone else's grapes and make the wine somewhere else. Which is what he did (using Chatham Hill, which explained the mystery of why Chatham Hill Winery was on the label of his 2005 Merlot and Shiraz).

Mr. B

At the festival, Kevin introduces new releases; this year, it was another release of Cork and Pork, a semi-sweet red which was concocted to specially go with their BBQ sauce. Also introduced this year was a semi-dry Riesling and another semi-sweet red called Bushy Fork Red. Knowing that we planned on buying a supply of wine (we want to share it at our family reunion in August), we sampled quite a few of the wines available.
Mrs. B

Even though I don't usually like sweet wine, the Busy Fork Red went down refreshingly smooth in yesterday's afternoon heat. Judging from the crazy dancing antics of two of the ladies sitting in front of us, they'd been helping themselves to a lot of vino throughout the day! They were really amusing to watch.

Crazy Dancin' Fool Ladies

Most people, though (like us) opted to stay sitting on their butts (and not shaking them). It was a perfect day weather-wise for sitting outside and sipping wine and the winery is quite lovely.

Biker People w/ Winery in Background

We listened to both of the bands, Pizazz and The Castaways; before finally leaving around 4:00 or so. We ended up buying a case of wine, too (which we will do our very best to hold onto until August!)

Our Bounty!

Unfortunately, we didn't eat any BBQ; we had a cheese and cracker plate and MEANT to go back to get BBQ, but, satisfied ourselves with more wine.

But, hey, we can always go back to the winery and buy some of that sauce as it is yummy. And more wine too, of course!

Mrs. B

Friday, May 9, 2008

Does Microsoft Hearts CHEAT?

This is really a rhetorical question because I am convinced that the program (Hearts card game) by Microsoft DOES in fact cheat.

I first noticed it on XP. But, I've REALLY noticed it on Vista. Here is what I mean.

I've played X amount of games. The game keeps track of overall stats. Whenever I go over a 38% win rate (which isn't really all that hot but it's respectable) the program starts to gain up on me and kick my ass. I mean, seriously. I get dealt hands that NO ONE could do anything with. I will lose over and over again; then, once I drop back down to 37%, I will start to win again (I'll be dealt hands that any idiot could shoot the moon with).

This has happened over and over again. I cannot get past 38%!

I looked this up on Google and someone said, "Well, I don't think it is cheating, rather, like with "real" people, once one person starts to get ahead, the computer might attempt to "gang up on you".
Ok, this is true. If you are playing with REAL people that are half-way respectable, they will, in likelihood, "gang up on you" if you are out ahead.

But, this is NOT what happens with the program. No, not at all. First off, "real people" can't deal you particular rotten hands over and over and over again. And, "real people" won't allow someone else to shoot the moon just to get YOU (not in my experience, anyway). But, the program continually allows one of the other players to shoot the moon (whilst I sit by unable to stop them and watch my opponents throw the Ace of Hearts or something on someone trying to shoot the moon...I mean...DUH!)

Obviously, this blog entry is meant to be somewhat mindless. A ramble, a rant. Man, this pisses me off, though, which is why I am writing about it.

I played one game this afternoon and just hit 38% AGAIN. Any guesses as to who will NOT win the next game?

Mrs. B

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good Fortune Smiled On Us Today

I took Lucy to the vet today for her heart worm re-check. You might recall earlier this year, she was diagnosed with heart worm (pretty unusual given she didn't have it a year ago and she's so young). So, we had her treated (a pretty aggressive procedure involving arsenic) and she had to stay "calm" for about six weeks. You can imagine what THAT was like! Plus, all of this was going on in the midst of poor Clyde's illness, surgury and eventual death.

Anyway, as you probably surmised by the title of this entry, SHE IS CLEAN! No more bad wormies in our pooch.

Needless to say, "mom" is terribly relieved, as I am sure "dad" will be once he gets the good news!

Mrs. B

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Few of Mrs. B's Quirky Interests Part One

Ok, so, we all have some interests/hobbies life activities that we like to do/participate in/might even be experts in. Most of us who know one another know the "usual" stuff about each other. For instance, anyone who knows Mrs. B even a little bit knows that I used to be a Human Resources Director, I love cats, I'm beginning to learn about and love dogs, I dabble in the stock market/investments, I'm into cooking and wine, traveling, reading, watching movies and improving my golf game.
But, what are some of my quirkier interests/hobbies/things I know a lot about? Here are a few!

Tudor England History
I may not know EVERYTHING about this period of time, but, I know a heck of a lot. I first got into this in 1980 after a trip to England with my Father and step-mom. I have COUNTLESS books, both non-fiction and fiction, covering the more interesting characters of this era.

Do you know the end of this little ditty? "Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded..."?
And, who was this in reference to?


Titanic
No, not that sappy movie with Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet (although I don't think the movie stank as much as some people do). My ex husband got me this terrific coffee table book about this ill-fated "Ship of Dreams". I think why I am so interested in this is not just the grandeur and splendor of the ship itself, but, all of the probing thoughts that go along with what happened, why it happened, and what would have been different had this happened in our time. Do you think the men would have stepped aside and let all of the women and children into the life boats first? Can you imagine what it would have been like to be a woman getting into a life boat and leaving your beloved behind? Do you think the "steerage" class would have stood by and let all the rich folk live while they perished? Well, things are definitely different on cruise ships now; although there are different "classes", it doesn't extend to whether they live or die because, thanks to Titanic, there are now always sufficient life boats on board. I can tell you going on my honeymoon with Mr. B on the Queen Mary II was like stepping back into the past. QMII is from the Cunard/White Star line, just like Titanic. Was I worried? Nah, lightening (or icebergs) NEVER strike twice (or are struck) twice, right?

What was the final song the band played on deck of Titanic before she slipped under seas?

Mrs. B

Monday, May 5, 2008

What the Heck People Search On?

So, I noticed today while on Yahoo's home page (why I did I not notice this before since it's always there?) the ten top "searches".
This morning, I was highly amused to see these as the top ten because some of them are so, well, completely out of the blue (not all, but, in contex of the rest of the list, it cracked me up!):
01. Mariah Carey (I guess because she supposedly got married to some Rap dude)
02. Gwyneth Paltrow (Why? Who knows!)
03. Kentucky Derby Odds (A bit late for this one; hint: don't bet on the filly)
04. Barbara Walters (I suppose because she's recently disclosed having an affair; WHO CARES!)
05. Made of Honor (I think this is some new movie with the dude that plays "Dr. Dreamy" on Grey's Anatomy)
06. Tom Cruise (Again, why?)
07. Quiet Riot (Cum On Feel the Noise, Girls, Rock Your Boys; yeah, that's a real song but why are they in the news?)
08. Jose Canesco (Must be a ball player)
09. Sistine Chapel (Huh?)
10. Strawberry Recipes (Are you reading this, Mr. B?)
And, now, a few hours later:
01. Scarlett Johansson (Again, I think she's either engaged or got married)
02. Gretchen Wilson (Have no idea who this is)
03. Tom Hanks (HIM again?)
04. Myanmar (This I understand)
05. Microsoft and Yahoo (Not all seekers are idiots)
06. Dark Night Trailer (Lookie Loos wanting to see a dead Heath Ledger as The Joker)
07. Clay Aiken (HIM again?)
08. National Teacher Day (A good thing, but, with the likes of Clay Aiken?)
09. Ethanol Fuel (Must be the same folks that searched on Microsoft and Yahoo)
10. Pittsburg Penguins (Maybe they are doing well? We saw them play the Hurricanes; nasty fans).
Mrs. B

Road Trip to Springfield Missouri: The End

Note: I'm gonna combine days four and five since they were spent basically driving!
A fairly uneventful day full of driving and eating at fast food today for us! Although, we did take advantage of the "free" breakfast at La Quinta this morning ("free" because I'm sure they jack up the room rates somewhat to accommodate for some of the cost of providing it). But, it wasn't bad at all, in fact, it was a lot better than I thought it would be; they even had sausage gravy and biscuits (but I had my eye on a waffle with blueberry syrup; don't ask me why since usually I never go in for such sweetie stuff!)
As we were walking down the hallway towards the elevator to go to breakfast, we could hear Lucy whimpering in the room; I guess she might have been worried that we were going to leave her again all day. When we got back (and I brought her a small muffin as a treat (and her only food until we got to Nashville)) she was quiet.
Not so the jerks in the room next to us last night! At around 12:30 am, both mom and I were awakened by either their TV or clock radio BLARING. I could hear voices murmuring in the background and it kept on and on so it was obviously intentional. After a few minutes, I called down to the front desk to complain. The guy who answered the phone wanted me to go check and make sure of the room number. What? Frankly, I think he could have figured out (or should have known) what room I was talking about. But, out in my PJs I went; #220. A few minutes later, the noise softened considerably (but I could still slightly hear it; so, the walls at La Quinta are none too thick, it seems). Thank God they weren't going at it over there; that is REALLY annoying to listen to when you're trying to get some shut-eye.
So, we left Springfield just before 8:00 am local time. Basically, we drove, drove, drove. We stopped to let Lucy do her thing (make mental note to self: ALWAYS check poop bags for holes before using (you can infer what happened by this note, right?)) We ate lunch at a Taco Bell somewhere in Kentucky. Yum, Taco Bell! Since Mr. B isn't a huge fan, it's nice to eat there when I get the chance! Anyway, we probably ended up eating too much because later on we didn't feel like going out to the restaurant we'd planned on going to in Nashville.
We pulled into The Red Roof Inn in Nashville (same one we stayed at on our way to Springfield) at 4:40 pm; having driven 488 miles. A dull day license plate-wise, only picked up two (both sort of far away, CO and NV).
The room we got this time, #108, was on the OTHER side of the building and a lot quieter BUT there is a lot of airplane noise at this place so I'd probably not ever stay here again.
As noted earlier, we were too tired to get gussied up for The Plantation House so we opted for Arby's (we were BAD). Now it's (only) 8:30 pm; we've both talked to husbands and we're gonna hit the hay soon; 5:45 am will come early.
Final Day
We left Nashville at 7:00 am (needed to get going earlier since we lost an hour). A long but uneventful day driving; both of us, I think, were ready to be home (and out of the car). Lucy seems fine with this routine, however!
Today was the day when all license plates count in an attempt to get all 50. Alas, we failed miserably, coming in with only 37. At least we got South Dakota today; was surprised, too, to get New Mexico.
After driving 511 miles, we arrived back at mom and dad's at 4:25 pm. After a quick restroom break for me, I jumped back into the car and Lucy and I got to our house less than an hour later. We walked into the house; where's Mark? His car was in the garage but no sign of him. As we were standing in the kitchen, his head popped up from the couch in the family room and Lucy started barking, startled. It startled me, too, but I think he was the most startled of all!
Anyway, home again; glad to be here but certainly real happy we took this road trip! I think we should make an annual trek somewhere with Grammy, what do you think, Lucy?
Mrs. B
“Very Pet Friendly and Great "Free" Breakfast”
La Quinta Inn Springfield South (4 out of 5 Star
Apr 21, 2008

My mom, dog Lucy and I traveled to Springfield, MO for the sole purpose of visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum/home in nearby Mansfield (we might have stayed IN Mansfield but it appeared to be a REAL small town and I was concerned about finding a place that would accept my dog). We were there two nights and I booked it by calling La Quinta's 800 number (you need to add this option to your selection above; it is not the same thing as booking directly with the property).So, I found out that La Quinta accepts pets (and doesn't charge a fee for them like some motels/hotels). I would have liked a bit of a cheaper rate (we paid $79+ tax which was an AARP rate) but, the room was larger than the Red Roof Inn was stayed at in Nashville and the beds (queen-sized) were real comfortable. The bathroom was so-so; a weird latch on the door. But, it served its purpose.The room was clean and we didn't notice anything out of order anywhere in the motel EXCEPT the elevator always smelled a bit like cat urine. There must have been one unhappy cat in that elevator at one point in time (and I sure wouldn't have wanted to get the room it was in!)Reception was friendly; they even greeted my dog. There was some weird charge of $1.50 per day for using the safe which I was told we could have removed when we checked out (which I did; the whole thing made no sense to me at all). The motel was convenient to many restaurants and this huge Bass Pro place. My mom and I drove into "downtown" Springfield for breakfast and dinner one day; very nice places, both (see separate reviews).Back to La Quinta. There was a nice grassy area to walk dogs; too bad not all of the guests were responsible enough to pick up after their dogs (I, of course, always do).Our room was quiet enough however the 2nd night of our stay, the folks in the room turned their TV or radio on REALLY REALLY loud around 12:30 am. I called the front desk; the guy who was there asked me to go make sure what room it was so that he wouldn't disturb the wrong people. I did think he could have figured out what room it was without making me go out into the hall in my PJs to check, but, they DID turn the radio down so that's all that matters (so, the walls might be a tad thin but I never ding a property for rude guests).We partook of the "free" breakfast on the morning we left. I was impressed; they even had biscuits and sausage gravy (I opted for a waffle, though). The girl that was working the breakfast area was very diligent about keeping things stocked.When we checked out, we asked reception to split the bill between two different credit cards and they did so with no issues.All in all, I liked this place well enough. I doubt I'll ever be back in Springfield, MO, but, if for some reason I am (and especially if I have a pet with me), I'd certainly stay there again.
“Fine for Our Purpose”
Red Roof Inn Nashville Airport
Apr 20, 2008

My mom, my dog and I traveled from Durham, NC to Springfield, MO. We stopped in Nashville because it was roughly 1/2 way. I usually try to stay at Red Roof Inns when I take my dog because they are pet friendly. I picked this particular motel (near the airport) because it was just off I-40, which is the route we were traveling. The motel was fine; they'd refurbished the rooms so they were fairly modern. We took a double room, non-smoking. Actually, we stayed there twice, on the way to Springfield and then a few day later on the way home.I am a Redi Card member so that is how I booked the rooms; directly with the Redi Card folks. We got decent rates (around $47/night + taxes). The room(s) were fine, comfortable, clean, etc. However, I'd definitely suggest asking for a room behind the office (on that side of the building); a lot less noise (we stayed on the office side the first time, on the other side the 2nd time).We really like their coffee machine in the office! It makes lattes, mochas, etc. Yum.Having said all of this, I doubt I'd stay at this particular motel again. NOT that there was anything wrong with it (other than the walking area for dogs wasn't the best; sort of sloping landscape which was a bit difficult to manage) but mostly because of the airport noise. The motel seems to be located directly under the flight patterns.But, there were a lot of restaurants, gas stations, etc., nearby, so, it's convenient from that regard.
This TripAdvisor Member:
Liked — Pet friendly, convenient to the interstate, lots of restaurants, etc., near by
Disliked — The only thing we didn't like was we could hear airplanes all of the time; very loud