Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's just like, it's just like a mini... MALL!

On our way back from the beach on Sunday, we took a detour to Montgomery to visit the Flea Market. If you haven't seen this video, you must stop and watch it now before proceeding! I promise you, you will not regret the 2 minutes it takes to watch this actual commercial.

Mmkay, are we all caught up and singing the jingle to ourselves now? Good.

We girls had no idea what to expect when we pulled up to the store in a very run-down area of Montgomery. We didn't want to offend the store people and customers, or make a spectacle of ourselves. Mary Anna had called earlier that afternoon to get directions and make sure they were open since it was Memorial Day, and the owner, Sammy Stephens sang to her over the phone! This was a good sign we felt.

We entered the Montgomery Flea Market trepidatiously and wandered around the booths that were all enclosed with bars and chicken wire before making our way over to the side of the flea market with furniture about which Sammy Stephens boasts. Down the stairs comes the owner himself in a 3 piece suit, and he shakes each of our hands and introduces himself to us individually. We still aren't sure how to react until he begins to sing the mini mall rap to us, and so we throw caution to the wind and sing along with him! Here is a man who is in the midst of his 15 minutes of fame and loving it.

He has his segment from when he was on the Ellen Degeneres show looped and playing on a big screen, he has T-shirts for sale, and offered to sign them for us. He called Sarah Scott and sang to her on her voicemail since she wasn't on the trip with us, and for the ultimate flea market experience, we filmed our very own Montgomery Flea Market video in front of the store with Sammy. This guy is a cult icon right now- even the Montgomery police pulled up while we were out front and quoted the store's jingle over their car's loudspeaker, while Sammy beamed with pride. The store is apparently inundated with fans like us who are stopping in to see if this guy is for real or not, and the owner plays the part to a tea. He has a Flea Market remix version coming out on cd, and will be making more television appearances soon so stay tuned. And of course he is loving all the free publicity that people like me are giving him by posting the video to our myspace pages and blogs.

As much fun as our trip to the beach was this past weekend, the detour through Montgomery was definitely a highlight of the trip!

"I-Hop called, they want their roach back"

We're back from the beach from what I daresay was my favorite beach trip yet. A lot of it has to do with having more time to spend in the sand and not being as rushed ("we felt rushed")

There are too many stories to tell in one post, so let me begin with the breakfast fiasco. We drove through the night, which is definitely the way to do it by the way, and rolled into Navarre Beach around 6:30 am on Friday morning. After driving for a while down 98, the main road on the beach, we found an I-Hop, which sounded like heaven to us.
The 9 of us sat at our large table in the center of the restaurant. I wasn't hungry at all, having purchased and eaten some Soft Batch cookies from a gas station at 3 am (I must have been lonely), but I knew I'd be hungry once we got on the beach, so in true Bradley fashion I was planning on eating anyways. After everyone had ordered drinks, we spotted what must have been the biggest roach I have ever seen in a restaurant before. We tried not to cause too much of a commotion as we squirmed and watched the bug crawl across the wall and down the back of a nearby booth. I don't do bugs, so I ran down to the other end of the table and took another seat, still grossly fascinated with the roach, albeit from a safe distance. That Ain't Right, we exclaimed so I quickly snapped a picture, knowing this would be great blog material.
We told our waitress, and she blamed the big bug on it being Florida, and not the Dirty I-Hop, which is what we were all thinking, and then squashed the bug with a napkin in a blase fashion (perhaps this happens on a regular basis?). Our group looks at each other deciding what we should do, and while I was planning on walking out right then, the group decides to stay and eat anyways. I however, decided not to force myself to eat breakfast after all, and managed to choke down some orange juice and coffee, but spent the entire meal glancing around the restaurant, just sure I was going to spot another roach.
As we're getting ready to leave, the next topic for discussion becomes whether or not we should change into our swimsuits here, or try to check in early at the condo and change there. Mary Anna defiantly declares, I am NOT changing in this bathroom.
So wait a minute, I say smirking, let me get this straight. You'll eat the food, but you won't change in the bathroom?! How does that work?
Luckily, we were able to get into the condo early, so we made the right choice to move on!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Look like lesbians!

Saturday night, the 9 of us took our time getting ready after our day at the beach. We all got cutsied-up and headed over to nearby Pensecola for dinner and a night out. Upon arriving at Pegleg Pete's at 9pm, we are told that it's a 2 1/2 hour wait. Obviously, that's not going to work for 9 hungry girls, so we called another restauant we had spotted and headed over there where the wait was between 30 and 45 minutes.

To kill time before we're seated we head upstairs to the balcony bar and order drinks. The bartender is cute and young, so we ask him where some nearby places would be good to go after dinner.
Well, he says, pausing, that depends. What are you here for?
Confused, we tell him that we're just here on vacation and are looking for someplace fun with people our age and maybe a place where we can dance.
So, you're not here for the Gay Pride weekend? He asks.
Are you serious? I ask him.
Do we look like lesbians?! Mary Anna asks him incredulously.
Well, he replied, when you see a big group of girls together...
and he trailed off. We realized how hilarious the situation was, and upon learning of the ensuing festival, we noticed lesbians everywhere, many of them in polo shirts and plaid board shorts, the apparent required dress code. The quote for the evening coined by Amy when taking pictures was, "Look like lesbians!"

I overheard the bartender telling the 3 middle-aged men sitting next to us about our apparent ignorance of the Pensacola Pride party, and I heard one of them say, yeah right, like they didn't know. So I turned around and told them that we were not prideful yet, but that's why we were in Pensacola- to work on it this weekend. They laughed and got a big kick out of that. Turns out one of them was a music producer from Nashville and had a niece a few years behind me in school. There's always a Nashville connection!

In desperate need to prove our "straight pride" we 9 flirted shamelessly with our adorable server named Forrest. He was young- only 23- and so I jokingly said,

that's OK, we like 'em young cause they're easier to train!
He quipped back without missing a beat, Oh, I am so obedient to you.
Let me tell you... having a cute guy tell a group of women that he's obedient to them is just hot, and that's all I'm gonna say! Lisa & Melissa took a roommate pic with Forrest and told him, you're going on our refrigerator. (And if anyone out there is handy with the photoshop, I wouldn't mind having one with me and Forrest too!)
After dinner we walked next door to a club that had loud music playing and upon seeing the clientele we opted to go back to Navarre Beach and skip the dance club. A woman hollered after us as we were leaving, "it's gay tonight!" gleefully. Once in the car I declared, someone put in Justin Timberlake- I'm in need of some testosterone STAT!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Beach Bound, Baby!

I could not be any happier right now- I just finished my second helping of Cold Stone ice cream in 2 days, and tomorrow at this time I will be laying on the beach! The anticipation is killing me, but I have less than an hour to go in the work day before I run home to do some last-minute packing, catch a few zzz's and meet the girls at our rendezvous point tonight.

This year Spring Break 07 includes 9 lovely ladies- Mary Anna, Lana, Siebe, Lisa, Melissa, Rhonda Lu, Mandy, Amy, and myself. (My, how our group has grown exponentially! From 2, to 5, to 8, to 9!) We are squeezing ourselves and all our luggage into 2 vehicles tonight and off we will go, blaring the Spring Break 07 mix, no doubt. The Diva will, of course, not be blogging or checking her email and other forms of online communication for a few days, so she wishes you a wonderful long, Memorial day weekend. Hope it is momentous and memorable for you!

This is your Diva with a Destination, signing off!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

oh happy day

I had the funniest dialogue with myself this morning that I thought I'd share with you all. I am sitting in my car this morning, the sun is shining, I have on a very cute outfit- if I do say so myself- and I do, I was sipping my mocha-infused coffee I brought from home, I had my sun roof open, was munching on a pastry that my roommate brought me from Panera, listening to U2's Where the streets have no name on the radio- and I was in the best mood! I thought to myself,
What a beautiful morning! Could this day get any better?
And for a fleeting second I was sublimely happy. That is, until I answered my own question. Yes, I thought, there is a way this day could be better- if I were on my way to somewhere Other than work.
And I deflated instantly. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

Monday, May 14, 2007

no room for a pea in the POD

Last night I left 1400 Devens Dr. for the last time. After living in a home for 12 years, you get sort of attached! But the move was successful- we have finally transported my parents, the 2 dogs, and all their stuff from Brentwood to Franklin! I was sort of the cheerleader/taskmaster of the move, dubbing myself the "Box Nazi" when it came to clearly affixing brightly colored labels in the top right corner to each side of a box. I did whatever I could for mom & dad to make things run more smoothly, and one of my duties came in handy on Monday, the closing day.

The POD people (portable on demand storage- a brilliant invention) called my cell with a strange request. They had my cell number listed as the primary contact number. A lady identifies herself as a POD employee and says, your neighbor called us and said that her cat is in your POD and would like us to partially unpack the POD to try and locate the animal. My first instinct is to laugh, but then the confusion sets in. Wait. Which neighbor, I asked her? From Devens Dr. or Southhampton?

There is a complex system in place with these PODs and the details of moving where timing is everything. The former owners of the house mom and dad were moving into also had a POD. Theirs had to be picked up on Sunday, our POD would be transferred from the Brentwood house to the Franklin house sometime on Monday, we would unload the POD Monday night after the closings, and then the POD people would come and pick up the POD on Tuesday in time for the moving truck to be able to fit into the driveway on Tuesday morning.

So obviously, there was no way this lady's cat was in our storage unit. The unit had only been there for a few hours if that, plus my dad is the Master Packer, and I am his little protegee. He packed that POD tighter and more efficiently than anyone at that storage place has ever seen I'll bet. There was no way a cat was squeezing in anywhere. Plus, the storage unit has been locked, again, preventing the possibility of a stray animal making its way into the unit.

The lady on the phone tells me it's a neighbor on Southhampton who has called, and when I ask if she's sure if it was our POD in question, and not the previous owners', the POD lady assures me the neighbor has written down our POD's storage ID number and called in. Fine, I say. I'll call her, but I promise you, there is no way there is a cat in our storage unit!!

I laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but am nervous as the phone rings because I don't want things to start off badly for mom & dad and their new neighbor. I don't know what she will say to me when I tell her confidently that her pet is not inside our POD. She sounds frazzled when she answers. I tell her who I am, and that my parents are her new neighbors. She has already realized her mistake though by the time I call her- it is the former owners' POD that is in question, and she is frantically trying to get in touch with them to find her black cat which may or may not be inside the POD. The rub here is that these people are not unloading their POD immediately- they're building a house, leaving their stuff in the POD and living in an apartment in the meantime. Again, I hate to laugh at the ridiculous nature of this story, because I do feel bad for the lady and her cat, but I giggled as soon as I hung up with her.

I have no further update on poor little Benjamin (Laura saw signs posted in the neighborhood yesterday- what an odd name for a Cat, don't you think?) but if that Cat is indeed in there, he will need all 9 of his lives saved up to survive this situation!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lead us not into temptation

This is something I'm currently wrestling with. So how do we deal with spiritual warfare? We grab our "sword." Here are some verses on dealing with temptation:

Matthew 4:1 [ The Temptation of Jesus ] Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Luke 22:40 On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

So what does this teach us?
  • God does not tempt us; temptation comes from Satan
  • I can pray to avoid temptation, or I can pray for God to help me deal with it when temptations arise
  • Jesus came & lived the perfect life- and if He was tempted during His life on earth, so will we.
  • God tells us to watch- meaning we have to be ready for it to come.
  • God doesn't say He won't let us be tempted- but He does say He won't let anything be thrown at us that we can't handle with His grace and mercy.

Sometimes I just need a reminder. Especially "on reaching the place."

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Joy of Moving

Yep, it's about that time. Time for the Bradleys to make their arduous trek across town to the new digs in Franklin. Before that can happen though (just one week from today) we still have a lot of possessions to pack. Dad assembled a ramp on our deck stairs to shoot boxes down so we wouldn't have to walk the boxes down a second flight of stairs. This weekend, the ramp became known as "the Floom" and we took turns being the "Floomer" ie. the person who knelt at the top the deck and announced what was in the box so dad would know how heavy the box was and the fragility of the contents inside, and then sent the box flying down the floom one by one. Once during the process Saturday afternoon me, mom, and Laura all wound up outside on the deck at the same time.

"What's everyone doing?" I think I asked.
"Floom draws a crowd," dad replied. I don't know why this was so funny, but it became an oft- quoted phrase for the rest of the weekend, and I imagine the rest of this week as well.

Saturday morning was the dreaded yard sale. Thankfully we got rid of a lot of stuff, mostly old furniture before the rain came and shut us down around 1:30. I detest yard sales with every fiber of my being, but I sucked it up and made the best of a bad situation.
"I'm in sales," I said to my mom. "And one thing I've learned is this. The point at the end of the day is not how much of a discount did you have to give, it's whether or not you made the sale. So I can do this."

And I did just that. I got $10 for something a man only wanted to pay $8 for, and got a few other good sales too. Anyways- the point of a yard sale is not to make money, it's to get rid of junk, and at least most of the big stuff is gone.

That said, if any of you out there want your very own exercise equipment, you just let me know, cause that stuff wasn't going anywhere!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Don't worry, B.McNeel's happy

May first was Laura's 23rd birthday. We celebrated by driving out to the Boro and let Laura open her presents at the apartment, then all 5 of us headed to downtown Murfreesboro and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at this quaint little restaurant on the square. The name of this fantastic dining establishment is B. McNeel's. From the front of the place, it looks pretty non-descript, and is likely one of those places you'd pass right by without noticing unless you were looking for it. Once inside however, the shiny hardwood floors and white table linens made for an elegant setting. The host offered us a place on the patio so we took advantage of the gorgeous spring evening. The walled in patio was covered with ivy, and all the trees were decorated with white lights. As it got darker the servers lit the candle votives on the table. The whole patio had amazing ambiance. B. McNeel's has an extensive wine and martini list (and even have blue cheese stuffed olives, which is Laura's mark of a good restaurant!). For dinner I had the Parmesan stuffed eggplant, Mom had the chicken Marsala, George & Dad both got the red snapper (I don't even know 'er) (sadly, yes, that joke was made, and not by me I might add!), and the birthday girl got the blue cheese stuffed fillet. The variety of tastes and prices on the menu was excellent, and the dishes came with inventive side items like snow peas, new Orleans potato casserole, and spinach. I supposed I'd describe the menu as ecceletic southern food, and it does change with the seasons. B.McNeel's is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely dinner, and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who frequents the 'Boro for dining.

After dinner we enjoyed some pink and green Shrek birthday cake prepared by yours truly, and watched the backwards episode of Seinfeld- one of my favorite episodes ever!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Confederacy of Dunces

April is behind us, and the book club that Mary Anna founded for our friends at the beginning of the year is still going strong! Each month we meet at someone's place, the hostess provides food and directs the discussion, then afterwards we vote on next month's book and choose a new hostess. It's been a great way to get us all reading more, and reading things we wouldn't necessarily read on our own. So far we've read:

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
The Kiterunner by Khaled Hosseini
Best American Short Stories 2001 various authors, edited by Barbara Kingsolver

Last Thursday Lana hosted and we discussed the collection of short stories that we had read for April's book of choice. Amid the drastically differing opinions on each story, we had some great conversation and I think we each appreciated the stories more having heard why different people loved or hated a particular story. Afterwards, Lana procured the list of possible choices for May's book choice. She began to read the first title then decided it was too much of an effort to read the list, so she handed it over to me. I read aloud: "fiction. The Confederacy of Dunkas." I paused. Why did that not make sense to me? Oh. It would be because the word was Dunces, not Dunkas. Duh. And the laughter began, and the irony was too much for us to handle. We've now decided that our new book club group will be known as the Confederacy of Dunces, and I'm not only the president, I'm also a client.

By the way, in case you're reading along with us, May's book will be The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls.