Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day Two Retreat Notes

Holt remembers my Adam & Eve arm & a leg joke from the senior retreat. He and Haley misunderstand a question, answering that Wal-Mart only has one “L”. I joke “unless you’re talking about the store where you buy walls.”


...Lynn Taylor = Muffin

...Mickey Taylor = Smoothie…that’s what they eat.

...Denise “Little Mrs D” Hanson

...Mrs. Braswell = Speedy…she beats me at potato washing.

...guess this makes me “The Mole” with all the note-taking I’m doing.

Mrs. Switzer discovers a scary-looking clown, that had terrified the girls the last time the retreat was in Gulf Shores. The clown is hidden downstairs, but it mysteriously makes it’s way back upstairs to the postcard table. We decide the clown will wander around the house the rest of the week.

...On the beach Sarah “saved Christy’s life” by deflecting an errant Frisbee “with this hand!” During skit practice I bore Alyssa, Kara, & Russ with why the stripe on a football only goes halfway around. Denise says “Alyssa tells me someone is messing with her shoestrings” in front of her daughter, knowing full well that it’s me.

...At skit practice I soon realize that a hilarious script is only a small part of the production. Mrs. Switzer has been taking notes, and Mrs. Landrum storyboarding. Young Laura seems to have the entire 37 pages memorized, and she sits the co-directors’ side, taking notes and making suggestions. Cindy asks the students for input, which they gladly give. It’s amazing the ideas that pour in, from surprising sources. A Georgia Tech line is cut, and several look for my reaction. Fine by me…I hadn’t written the line, and I wasn’t my favorite, anyway. Instead of the laugh-a-minute, it’s turning out to be a laugh-a-second. Or not.

...I wash the lunch lettuce. Denise slices 5-1/2 tomatoes, then is called away. As I finish the last one, Lynn arrives and thanks me for my service. I dutifully respond “you’re most welcome” before confessing the truth. After cold-cut sandwiches for lunch, we wash potatoes for dinner.

...A thought: We never have Kool-Aide to drink, so everyone thinks they’re safe. But everyone is encouraged to refill empty watebottles from the coolers filled with Gator-Aide and lemonaide…which come from mixes. No one ever worries about them!

...More skit practice. Just when I doubt Alyssa can match Holt’s hilarious role, she personalizes the part, and cracks me up even more. Later I’ll advise Holt to make an Isaac the Love Boat bartender point. Kara and Sarah are also great, with surprisingly superb performances from several more, like young Zack.

...At dinner I man the beverages: sweet tea or lemonade. Haley requests an “Arnold Palmer.” Later in the week more and more kids (& adults) will do the same. The desserts are quite the upgrade…in addition to the homemade brownees, cookies, and rice krispy treats, we have huge cakes: coconut, chocolate, and banana crème. Later it’s key lime pie and chocolate crème pie.

...The girl’s daily sign-up sheet expects MANY girls to trek to the beach: the notebook paper is numbered front and back…66 girls can check in or out. I mess with the boy’s list, of course…signing in and out every time I forget my jacket.

...Go downstairs to check the locks, and it’s a whole other world. Holt and several other boys are styling their hair. Kevin has his shoes arranged on top of the armoire - something I would do. When I compliment him on it, he announces that he’s wearing his green Sambas tomorrow.

...Mrs. Bellerjeau noticed that on the large glass-top dining table, there’s a small spider smashed on the top of the stone podium beneath the glass. She and Mrs. Braswell are marvelously creating the beautiful banners that will be displayed during the Spring Expedition.

Day One Retreat Notes

...I ride with Mr. Bailey, pulling the trailer in his pickup.

...First stop: at the Woodstock QuickTrip. I panic…where is my wallet? Oh, there it is. Lee spots an owl perched on the Bells Ferry Exit sign. Mrs. D would be proud.

...Second stop after 145 miles, in LaGrange.

...Third stop: Before Montgomery for more gas…150 miles. We hear Jason Bourne got car sick. Who was the driver?

...Fourth Stop: Greenville, AL at the Bates House of Turkey, for an early lunch. Mr Bailey eats a forkful of potato salad…while passing a semi!

Signs you’re in Lower Alabama

…live armadillos scampering about.

…An old Ford Maverick made into a hot rod. Actually cool.

…Looking up we spy buzzards circling, and a casino blimp.

…if anyone needs furniture, there’s plenty standing beside the road.

We exit at mile 37 as the vans finish lunch at the mile 89 rest stop. With the huge lead, we consider how many holes we can get in. DJ’s Diner must be a swingin place…they have karaoke Sundays at 4 pm. They can’t get too wild…across the street there’s the Pope’s BP station. Not to be outdone, I spy PaPa Murphys Pizza in Foley. Don’t know if I’d get my hair cut next to a vegetable stand, at a salon called Tangles. Also passed the happy Shack Hippie Boutique. Do hippies frequent broutiques? The go cart track and Waterland roller coaster were also tempting. Not driving on a seven hour trip makes for plenty of boring notes.

...We do decide we have time to order po’boys at Bubba’s Oyster Bar, then determine time is sort, so we wolf down the early supper quickly. We unload the luggage, then walk down the driveway to welcome the caravan, holding shovels. Our efforts are greatly appreciated…especially the shovels we wave, and the pirate hat I wear.

...I’m too stuffed to eat much at the group dinner, which of course is my favorite…BBQ brisquit. Mallory has a good idea, wearing a wrist brace while she eats, so she doesn’t hurt herself. Haley gets a potato chip salad. I have a big time serving dinner, next to Mrs. Switzer.

...Mrs. Smith and Hanson, Mr. Taylor and Bailey, and I practice the Angel Skit. We all needs lots of practice. That night at bedtime, Julie & Denise inadvertently said back to back lines, including “I have a headache”. Lee and I lug our “tiny” duffles up a spiral staircase to our upstairs room. We share the third floor with a wild bunch: Michael, Caleb, Matthew, & Jason. I have to get on Caleb when I hear he

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Days

Several left work early on Friday. Those going up 85 and 316 had it rough. I left at 4:55 and it took just a little longer than usual, about an hour and fifteen minutes. Stopped at Kroger and rented Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, then decided to get Ceil a dozen roses while there. Elizabeth, the long-time Kroger flower girl, set me up.

Will had gone to the Flight game, and later I took A & M over to the Normans to play in the snow. I should’ve played, but watched the Opening Ceremonies with Becky. It was late when we went home, but the surface streets weren’t too bad.

Saturday Will went to the GA/SC basketball game in Athens. Ceil was mixing meatloaf for next week’s retreat, when the large ceramic bowl slipped out of her hands and shattered, ruining all the meatloaf. She wasn’t doing well after that. We ate at The Bridge Mexican in Roswell, where the manager remembered us. C had forgotten her glasses, so she bought a pair at the dollar store. Got some Valentine treats at Target & the little French bakery in Roswell.

While shopping I saw a nice road Braves cap at TJMaxx for four dollars, but they didn’t have my size. Saturday & Sunday I went around to three other stores looking, but couldn’t find a big one. They did have the BP caps for seven bucks, but I didn’t like them. The East Cobb store had Falcon & UGA jerseys on the clearance rack, at various prices. I don’t like Matt Ryan’s number two, but I did buy a $3.00 white Joey Harrington jersey. May go back and get a black or red one. Saw David Norman & showed him, so he got a Ryan jersey. Lots of Vick jerseys, but I didn’t get one.

Yesterday C took A & M to see some new movie, based on a book that Anna had read.

Reading a GT book, I didn’t realize that back in Bill Curry’s playing days, football players (& all students) had class on Saturday mornings before games. At the beginning of the year Hewitt didn’t want to talk about having a team good enough to go deep into the NCAA tourney. It’s not the team, it’s the coaching.

Working hard all this week, then off next week.

Does Damon only want a one year deal now? Why not take the Tigers offer?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Uncle John

If Furman Bisher were still writing, he would've written a column about my Uncle John dying. John started the Atlanta Steeplechase in 1966. Every time Bisher mentioned the steeplechase, he mentioned my uncle. Saw lots of relatives at the funeral that I hadn’t seen in a long time. My cousin Becca married a fellow named Peter Buck, who used to go to the SPdL FLC. They go to Buckhead Church now. He looked familiar, as he used to work out in the AM with Scot Wright, as I did. About my age. Becca gave a tremendous testimony, and her brother Gus was also quite personable. A 13 year-old grandson, a student at the Heiskell School, had the crowd in stitches.

Spoke with the Peachtree Presbyterian minister, Steve Huntley. He said he’d tell Mark & Marnie Crumpler hello. One of my nephews plays on the same home school football team as several of Will’s friends.

Ceil has been especially overwhelmed these last couple of days. She always takes a break from school on the weekend, then every Monday figures out what work needs to be done, usually by Wednesday. The kids also find other stuff to do besides homework on the weekends, then are slammed on Monday & Tuesday. Now that Matthew is taking guitar lessons he needs to practice...something else that can be done on the weekend.

Anna’s friend Molly’s mom has gone back to work as a nurse. Since their dad travels, they get an adult to sleep over when she pulls an all night shift. Ceil filled in Monday night. Anna sleeps over all the time, and Will sometimes sleeps over with Molly’s brother Spencer. Matthew stayed too, so I worked late, then cleaned up the downstairs.

So Tuesday Ceil is drove straight to Living Science in Woodstock, then north for Matthew’s guitar lesson, then back, then to John’s Creek for a dentist appointment. Will’s ball practice was cancelled, so she had a break. I went home on time to take Anna to ballet. I was gone most of the day as well, at the funeral in Buckhead, then delivering a check for work.

Will is looking forward to the new Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. I'd probably only go if I needed to. He likes the commando movies, and movies like Pelham 921. Anna missed a sleepover when she was sick where her friends were going to see Leap Year.

When I was a kid I was afraid of dogs. We never had pets because I was allergic. We moved next to a huge german shepherd, that once chased me across the yard. After that I always took the long way to my friend's house. We’re sitting Annie, whose owner says she's afraid of herself. She's real sweet, and will quietly and gently approach, wanting to be petted. Speedle, the golden retriever we used to have, was much more outgoing, which would be overwhelming for a small child.

Monday, February 08, 2010

KidStuf > LS Skit

One of the better Kidstuf’s, I thought. A Taylor Swift song, Monty Python song, silly Lion King puppet show, a working volcano, and a Karate Kid/Peter Cetera ending. That’s what I would’ve made the Living Science skit like, if it were just me. I had wanted to re-write that very Taylor Swift song for our skit. My favorite line was “I’m sure that was funny, for the five people who got it.” Matthew said I was one of the 5 people to get the Monty Python song. I suppose that song spawned the “Spamalot” Broadway musical. I liked the vocal range comment as well. My tall friend David Hurt ran the handheld camera right next to the stage, at least in our Kidstuf. Yesterday Matthew said he wanted to keep going to Kidstuf next year as a 6th grader, even though technically it’s for K-5 kids.

From time to time at NP these two funny guys make videos to show before the service, usually to make a point about something like parking, the offering, turning off cell phones, saving seats, etc. Yesterday they had a video about how the best thing about the Super Bowl was playing outside before the game. The two guys invited a neighbor to play…Jerome Bettis. The Bus dominated.

Wasn’t that crazy about the speaker at NP yesterday. Ceil had heard of him before.

Pulled for the Colts, but no big deal. Missed the Tebow commercial.

Once showed up with shaving creme on my face, in a bathrobe, with pajama pants, houseshoes, and a teddy bear at 7:25 am for a rescheduled 8 am Mighty Mite game. Usually they didn’t start games until 9 or 10, but they needed to add an early game one week. Just did it to be funny.

Tuesday I’m going to John Wayt Jr’s funeral at Peachtree Presbyterian. He was my grandmother’s nephew. My freshman year at Tech I lived at his house in Sandy Springs, not far north of where the Marsh’s lived. He was 82. Graduated from North Fulton, he grew up on Stratford Road, up the road from my grandmother (who lived across the street from Mr. Key). Uncle John was the one Ed Dodd modeled his comic strip character Mark Trail after. His four children went to Westminster. Two live in Atlanta, one in Richmond, and the other in Rhode Island.

Went to the big home-school rivalry basketball game Saturday night. All three kids enjoyed it, with lots of their friends there. Matthew sat in Willis Norman’s lap. The good guys won.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Flight Flies Past Crown

Flight opened the game by reeling off 21 straight points, then cruised to another victory over Crown, on Senior Night in Sandy Springs. Keon alternated shooting long-range jumpers with driving, scooping lay-ups to the scoring with 26, and DJ played an all-around brilliant game, adding 17 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, a blocked shot, and 3 drawn charges.

Connor had the hot hand in the first quarter, nailing two three-pointers. He was also fouled attempting another three, and he made Crown pay, sinking all three foul shots. Keon added seven points. DJ, Chris, and Michael all blocked shots in one two-minute sequence. Up 21-2, I wondered if the Flight coaches would for once open the floodgates and let the boys go for the century mark.

Crown battled back, going on a 21-7 run of their own. Isaac was literally hurled off the court. Shaken, he and Connor missed foul shots. DJ drew a charge, but missed on the next possession. Isaac grabbed a rebound, but let the ball roll off his foot.

With the lead down to five points, Flight grabbed the momentum back, finishing the half with a 10-2 run. DJ drew another charge, denying Crown a basket. After a DJ rebound, Flight held the ball for the last shot. After passing the ball around up top for over twenty seconds, Isaac passed in to a cutting DJ, who made the shot with five seconds left. Flight led 38-24 at the half.

As the third quarter opened, Flight suffered four straight blows. Point guard Chris, a key player for Flight, went down with a painful ankle injury. He was helped off the court and would not return. On the next possession Keon was called for a five-second violation, giving the ball back to Crown. Soon thereafter Connor was whistled for his fourth foul, only 1:31 into the half. That sent him to the bench for the rest of the quarter. Michael swung his arms wildly, leading to a Crown three-point play. Joe subbed in for Michael, rocking black Jordans. Crown took full advantage of the substitutions, out-scoring Flight 14-7, cutting the lead to seven points...45-38.

Jonathan came off the bench to replace Connor. How he would perform would play a big part determing whether Flight could hold on. He played like a champ, making a basket, stealing the ball, and grabbing a rebound. Keon made an amazing left-handed scoop-lay-up while being fouled, then converted the foul shot. DJ scored off a rebound, then stole the ball on the next possession and threw long to Keon for a lay-up. Isaac scored off a rebound, then passed into the corner for a Keon three.

Flight had scored nine straight, forcing a Crown time-out with 1:21 left in the third. Up 54-38, the Flight crowd roared. Will led…the tomahawk chop? DJ would score off another rebound, making it an eleven point run. The quarter ended at 56-42. Crown couldn’t put much of a dent in the lead in the fourth quarter, but they did outscore Flight 13-10.

DJ added several exclamation points, assisting three Keon baskets, twice for two-pointers and one long pass to the corner for a three. Joel entered the game and grabbed a quick rebound. The crowd chanted Jo-el Nor-man! Then DJ stole the ball and drove the court, with a wide open path to the basket. I wondered…would he go for the dunk? No…he passed to his right to Joel, for the lay-up. A big smile from Joel, and the crowd went wild. Up 21 points, DJ was pulled from the game. Flight outscored Crown 9-3 to end the game.


Keon…26 points, 3 rebounds, one assist & steal
DJ……17 points, 13 boards, 7 assists, 4 steals, block
Connor: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6-8 free throws
Isaac…7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
Chris…4 points, 2 boards, one assist, steal, & block
Michael…3 points, 4 rebounds, one assist & block
Jonathan…2 points, 2 rebounds, one block
Joel…2 points, 2 rebounds
Jordan & Joe also played.

Huge crowd at the game. Willis painted his face. Katelyn gave Sarah a backrub. Garrison chatted, but kept his attention on the game. Grace and Rhiannon hugged. Will wore his great-grandfather’s hat. Alyssa wondered why. Her sister Elizabeth was all smiles. Christy and her mom danced after the game. Lucy pounded my fist and marveled at the tall players. Her dad Lee looked good, weighing several pounds less than the last time I saw him. The Kellars mixed with Lynn and the Switzers. The Massey sisters snapped pictures. Coach O'Donnell had revovered from his Thursday scrimmage. And where was David Norman?

Jennalynne arrived during a timeout and hugged Lisa, while Heidi and Libby lined up for their hugs. Heidi got her hug, but then play resumed, so Libby was left hanging. Charles and Wesley exuded cool. After leading Justin backstage, David Bartlett is still driving around trying to get home. Kara kept it low key, making a statement in her BARONS warmup. Isaac recounted his technical foul. Mr. Cahill rocked his iPod. I stepped on a brownee. Anna laughed too hard at some dancing girls. Becky held down the consession stand. DJ's mom looked on. Superstar Jonathan Blair made an appearance, but couldn't dunk. Smilin' Jose hoised jump-shots at the side basket, with a crowd of people standing underneath, not paying attention. I could go on and on. Who did I forget, besides Jordan?

Friday, February 05, 2010

More Grumpiness

Will is going to be at the bowling alley from 9:30 – 11:30 Saturday, helping out with his class. Not much on tap for the weekend. May go back to Decatur again.

I wonder if someone read my blog post to my parents, regarding driving 2000 miles with six in a minivan. Yesterday my dad wasn’t as excited about the trip, quoting my exact words from the blog. The trip would be fun, but taxing, and expensive. He probably did like me, start figuring out the logistics, and where all the luggage would go.

I’d hate to go without Ceil and Anna, but that would make the trip more viable. It would be next to impossible to fit in a Royals or Cardinals game, but perhaps we could make a quick run up the Gateway Arch.

Got hacked at a coworker today, who continually doesn’t respond quick enough, waiting for others to do their work. Later, when the Ogre dumped another of their missed assignments on me, I made sure he knew it wasn’t the first time today. He was already aware. Looks like we have hit the annual review season.

The Absent-Minded Professor

I came into several old pair of scissors when I bought my grandfather’s house…along with tons of other stuff, both useful and not. I kept a pair at my desk at work. Since it had been my grandfather’s, I taped MURPHY on one of the blades.

Steve Apostle was always borrowing the scissors. Eventually they disappeared. Months later I was in Steve’s office when the need arose for scissors. “I have some!” he proudly exclaimed. He opened his desk drawer, pulled out a pair, and handed them to me. Sure enough, MURPHY was still taped to the side. I used the scissors, and handed them back to Steve.

Years later Steve was cleaning out his office, preparing to move back to Florida. He walked out and came up to my desk, and handed me the scissors. “I don’t know how these wound up in my desk!” he said. It was all I could do to not burst out laughing.

Perhaps I’ll save this story to tell at his retirement.

Who Was the Snitch?

My dad is good about thinking things through. He had been interested in going up to Will’s baseball tourney in Omaha, because he could combine it with visiting relatives in northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa. I told him Ceil, Anna, Matthew, and I would be interested in going. When would we ever have the chance to drive through St. Louis and Kansas City, and see historic Rosenblatt Stadium? But thinking about it, I realized how tough and expensive the logistics would be…six people driving two thousand miles in a Honda Odyssey.

I mentioned such in my blog, using a particular phrase. Talking to dad a day or two later, his enthusiasm about the trip had waned, and he used the exact same phrase that I had put on my blog. Had someone read the blog and reported my thoughts to my parents?

Still, I’d like to take the trip.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Grouchy Old Man Am I

Will’s school team has 43 games scheduled, weather permitting. He has school conflicts with 10-22 of them, maybe more. It may not be worth the money. His June trip to Omaha isn’t far from where my aunt lives in NW Missouri, so my dad is talking about us all going out for the week. We’d have six in his Honda Odyssey…a thousand miles. Would be an adventure.

Moved desks today. Nine people directly behind me, that I can hear. Ten people to the left of me. My buddy Brad is just to the left of me, and behind him is the Ogre’s office. Soon there will be eight to ten more people facing me.

Am I beginning to sound like those Rowland’s Office guys? Actually, they had a positive article yesterday, defending the likes of Lonnie Smith, Bobby Cox, etc. I wanted to check who wrote that one, and what the comments said.

Did the Freund’s move? Donna’s Facebook says she lives in Alpharetta.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Bridge Mexican Gourmet

Saturday Ceil and I went to the Dekalb Farmers Market, then ate at The Bridge Mexican Gourmet in Roswell. It had been getting good comments from AJC readers, so we tried it out. It’s in a small shopping center on 120 north of the DQ and south of Stoney River, next to another Mexican place, near a tattoo parlor, Infinity Insurance, a Laundromat, and a sewing machine repair store. I didn’t think it was as good as Nuevo Laredo Cantina, but it’s a lot closer and no wait. Don’t know if the owner waited on us, but she chatted with us more than 99% of other waiters do. She and the other waitresses were American…don’t know about the cook. Don’t know if Ceil will want to go back…she probably didn’t like the considerable cleavage shown by the otherwise conservatively dressed waitresses.

Candy sang at North Point. I was late to the service, thinking Ceil wanted me to stay home with a sick Anna. Hacked me off that no one saved me a seat, since most every other week I’m the one awkwardly saving seats for late-arriving friends. Did I say I hate saving seats? The one way I can minister to people, who've done so much more for me than me for them. Funny, God.

Good message by Andy, about verses I think about a lot. Of course, he injected thoughts I’d never considered. Wasn’t surprising that later Sunday afternoon I got stressed out, after a sermon that hit close to home.

Saw 2012 last night…pretty good, my kind of movie. Love John Cusack and Amanda Peet. Their second movie together, at least. Perhaps they’re the new Hanks/Ryan.

I had left to run errands and see the LONG movie before Ceil left a message on my cell, that Susan Coley was coming over for pancakes with Houston and Haviland. Susan always helps Ceil work to be organized…they just don’t see each other enough. Houston is a lot like Matthew…I’m sure they played Legos and created skits the whole time. Anna had been sick all weekend, finally recovering enough for a study/sleepover at Molly’s Sunday night…so Haviland didn’t have Anna to play with.

Will slept over at the Normans Friday night and went to the Saturday night Flight game…they lost at the buzzer.

Busy Friday and Monday at work. Got plenty to do Tuesday as well.