Monthly Archives: July 2010

Snow Crab & Jumbo Boiled Shrimp

You look like you need plans for this evening.  If I’m right, and if you are in Memphis, and if you often find yourself searching for Tuesday night plans that make you smile, look no further, for the flyer below explains everything you need to know. Mmm hmmm.

$10.95 on Tuesday nights?!? Have I fainted and gone to seafood heaven?! Sounds like a winner to me! Hope to see some of your pretty faces at Cajun Catfish Company on the Tuesdays to come!

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Sixteen Hours Worth of Good Music

Jax and I took this past Friday off work to join my family in Destin, Florida for the weekend, and our eight-hour car rides (to and from) sounded something like this:

Beach Bound:

1)      The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
2)      Lucero – Lucero
3)      The Beatles – Abbey Road
4)      Cake – Prolonging the Magic
5)      Wilco – A Ghost is Born

Homeward Bound:

1)      Mason Jennings – Bonnaroo, This Tent, 06/14/08
2)      The Avett Brothers – The Gleam
3)      The Beatles – Abbey Road (it never gets old)
4)      Gomez – Liquid Skin
5)      Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
6)      The Doors – The Doors
7)      The Doors – Strange Days

During the majority of the drive, the music served more as background noise than the main event, although we occasionally ceased our chatter to sing a few lines, discuss the meaning of certain lyrics, or marvel over how moving good music can be.

As I flipped through my CD case considering our next round of tunes, a thought occurred to me. Where on God’s green earth have all of my CDs vanished off to? While my collection has grown over the years, it seems that a few essentials have somehow dropped off along the way. Handfuls of them have no doubt ended up in various college roommates’ hands, as is inevitable when living in close quarters. I also tend to be overly generous with my CDs, lending them out without considering the logistics of the return. All of that on top of the fact that I have a knack for disorganization makes for a thinner CD case. So if you have any of my albums, let’s swap!

 

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My Bucket List

You all know about bucket lists, those dreamy compilations of travels, skills, desires, and accomplishments you hope to achieve before you meet your Maker. In fact, most of you have probably created your own, or at least daydreamed about its contents.  I have been compiling my list for a couple years now, and I don’t think it will ever be complete. I am constantly coming up with new additions, but here’s the most up-to-date version for your viewing pleasure, and maybe even to get a few ideas to include in your collection!

  1. Buy an around-the-world plane ticket (and use it!)
  2. Live in New Zealand (even if just for a brief amount of time)
  3. Be on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization (or work for one, I’m flexible)
  4. Learn to surf (preferably somewhere tropical, but I’m not picky)
  5. Learn to ballroom dance properly
  6. Become a freelance writer of sorts
  7. Attend Oktoberfest in Munich
  8. Visit Greece
  9. Shower in a waterfall
  10. Grow an herb garden
  11. Spend a day at a Nazi concentration camp
  12. Hike in the Grand Canyons
  13. Visit all 50 of the United States
  14. Earn a Masters degree
  15. See the pyramids of Giza, Egypt
  16. Go on a cruise
  17. Take an extended road trip across the country
  18. Take part in a missions trip
  19. Visit every capital city in Europe
  20. Attend South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX
  21. Run a half marathon in another country
  22. Volunteer abroad for a significant amount of time
  23. Camp on the beach
  24. Set foot on each of the seven continents (although, admittedly, Antarctica might be a bit difficult)
  25. Climb a mountain (not of epic porportions – not trying to take on Everest here!)
  26. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  27. Attend a game of the World Cup
  28. Visit Canada
  29. Start a profitable, location-independent business doing what I love
  30. Marry the love of my life
  31. Live in another country for  longer than a month
  32. Visit Hawaii
  33. Ride in a hot air balloon
  34. Go sky driving
  35. Zipline through the jungle
  36. Watch a live rocket launch
  37. View the Northern Lights (the Aurora Borealis)
  38. Visit the Parthenon in Greece
  39. Run along the Great Wall of China
  40. Go to Machu Picchu, Peru
  41. Spend time in Salzburg, Austria
  42. Island hop in the Caribbean
  43. Buy a home
  44. Read the Bible from cover to cover
  45. Have children
  46. Have grandchildren (many, many years down the road)
  47. Adopt a child (perhaps literally, otherwise through a sponsorship organization)
  48. Go snow skiing in Colorado
  49. Go snow shoeing
  50. Learn how to play bridge
  51. Become a better cook
  52. Plant a flower garden
  53. Watch every movie that has won an Academy Award for Best Picture
  54. Adopt a dog from a shelter
  55. Get a professional massage
  56. Complete a PhD degree
  57. Become a ten gallon blood donor
  58. Write and publish a book
  59. Go on an African safari
  60. Ride an elephant
  61. Stand astride the Prime Meridian
  62. Go snowboarding
  63. Go horseback riding on the beach
  64. Learn to speak French fluently (or any language, really)
  65. Climb up the Statue of Liberty
  66. Scuba in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia
  67. Save a life
  68. Teach English in a foreign country
  69. Go back to Disney World
  70. Donate plasma
  71. Stand in New York’s Times Square (and also visit the site of the fallen Twin Towers)
  72. Swim in the Dead Sea
  73. Get baptized in the Jordan River
  74. Eat lobster in Maine
  75. Go spelunking
  76. Learn how to play the piano
  77. Take an etymology class
  78. Learn to play the fiddle
  79. Go to Israel
  80. Donate my hair to Locks of Love

And on and on and on. This only scratches the surface. What can I say, I have big dreams. I want to see the world and experience as much as I can in the days I am gifted.

P.S.  I’d love to hear some of the fun things included on your bucket list, feel free to share!

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And the Word of the Day is…

During my Monday morning drop-in to the Pioneer Woman’s domain, one of my favorite slivers of the web, I proceeded with my usual catch up and click around, when lo and behold, I noticed that her word of the day is:

How thrilling! How positively exciting! Did she select that word specifically for me?!? If you are in the dark as to why this would tickle me so, please allow me to direct you to this insight for expanation. What a beautiful beginning to this already wonderful day. I just love days when everything makes sense!

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Fourth of July Fun

My friends and I made full use of our four-day Fourth of July weekend, with the highlight being our whitewater rafting adventure. We traversed across the state Friday after work, rolled up to our Ocoee cabin late in the evening, and climbed into our bunks to get a few hours of rest in preparation for the next day. Mere and I awoke early (on vacation, mind you!!) and went for a pleasant 3-mile run through the gorgeous mountainous landscape, which provided us with a healthy dose of hill work (and the leeway to eat everything in sight for the rest of the day).

We then met up with our 28 man/woman crew to kick off our whitewater rafting experience, which was absolutely thrilling. For a more detailed account of the rapids, adrenaline, and excitement, click here. That post includes a slew of rafting pictures, but you can never have too many of those, so here’s another for good measure:

After we were forced to retreat from the river, we reconvened at our campsite to recuperate and eat our specially prepared sack lunches (thanks, Tina!).

Then a few of my girls and I jumped around and cheered about how much fun whitewater rafting is, and how great our friends are, and how we love weekends at the Ocoee River, and how thankful we are for the freedom that Fourth of July represents, and how much we love our lives:

After we had jumped off every available surface, we headed back out to the water for the floating portion of our trip, which was infinitely more relaxing than the whitewater rafting part, but fun just the same. We sprawled across our individual inner tubes, linked arms, and chatted our way downstream. Think lazy river, but with better scenery.

The next morning, a few of us went to my dear Minda’s dad’s house, where he cooked us delectable blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes. These were no ordinary pancakes, no sir – they were massive, and delicious, and perfect. We had a delightful visit and can’t wait to make our way back and spend more time with them. P.S. I’m promised an authentic home cooked Italian meal upon my return, and I will be taking up this offer.

 After being sufficiently stuffed, we headed on to Nashville, where we spent the day and into the evening poolside, then it was off to ooh and aah over Nashville’s impressive firework display (ranked among the best in the country, I’m told). The next day, we ate a delicious meal at Genghis Grill (now open in Cordova and coming soon to Germantown!), which is an interactive build-your-own Mongolian Stir Fry restaurant. From there, we wandered around Nashville for a bit before reluctantly heading back home. Fortunately, our car ride was filled with laughter over the events and memories of the weekend, so the time flew by!

Thanks to all who made this weekend extraordinary!

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Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting is insanely fun. I’ve canoed and floated and skied and tubed and kayaked, but never have I whitewater rafted. Until this past weekend, that is, when Jax and I were lucky enough to hit the Ocoee River with twenty-eight of our thrill-seeking friends. I’ll share insight into the entirety of our Fourth of July weekend later, but for now I want to dedicate a post specifically to whitewater rafting, because IT IS AWESOME!

Here’s our Ocoee crew, geared up and ready to attack the river:

Whitewater Rafting

We divided into groups  of five or six, then paired up with a guide and went through some basic paddling and safety drills. My group got lucky and had an awesome guide, whom we dubbed Stan the Man. From the start, we clarified that we wanted a “wild, not mild” ride, and he surely delivered. We rafted the Middle River, which is five miles of continuous Class III and Class IV rapids with ominous (and aptly descriptive) names like Grumpy’s Ledge, Broken Nose, Diamond Splitter, and Hell’s Hole.

For clarification purposes, Wikipedia breaks it down like so:

CLASS III – Medium to moderately difficult rapids with high irregular waves, narrow channels, rocks and holes; some maneuvering required.
CLASS IV – Difficult to very difficult; long turbulent rapids with powerful waves and holes, many obstacles requiring precise maneuvering

Stan the Man did everything he could to give us a thrilling, adrenaline-pumped experience; we surfed and spun our way through the turbulence, purposely crashing the raft headfirst into rocks and projecting into the water, pulling moves with names like Dump Truck and Dukes of Hazzard. We laughed and cheered the entire way (boomshakalaka) and weren’t even close to being ready for the ride to be over.

Here are some hilarious action shots as we make our way through Double Trouble:

Interesting fact: The Ocoee River was the site of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Competition and ranks as one of America’s Top Ten Rivers. And I love it. And I want to go back next year. And the year after that, forever and always.

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