Birmingham and Back Home

We went to lunch at the historic Bright Star Restaurant, hung out and visited, ran errands, watched part of the World Series, talked politics, and tried to solve all the world’s problems.  🙂  On our last morning, Adrienne and Bill’s daughter Ashton met us for breakfast before we left town. I had not seen her since she was maybe 12 years old. She is smart, clever, funny, friendly, and beautiful…I was so happy to get to catch up with her!

After saying our goodbyes, we drove on to Shreveport to spend the night in another hotel/casino. This one smelled much better and the room was lots nicer!  We had a good dinner and were treated to a free drink each. 🙂  We did better gambling, too; well, Rich did.  I lost my $20 fairly quickly but he managed to win some the first night and then went back again the next morning and won a little more so he covered the cost of the room for us.  🙂  It was a much shorter drive back to Dallas from Shreveport.  All was well at home and the kitties didn’t seem to miss us too much.  🙂

Road Trip to Birmingham AL

Our friends Adrienne and Bill live in Birmingham and we have started a tradition of getting together every fall.  We’ve been to their house once before, they’ve been to Dallas to stay with us, and last year we met in Hot Springs, AR.  We discussed going somewhere else this year but could never decide upon a location so we thought we would go back to see them at home. They are great friends that we have lots in common with, and always enjoy our time together so much! Because of the tornado and loss of power, we weren’t sure if we would have to postpone our trip…but once the electricity was back on, we decided we would keep our plans.

I  did my Tuesday volunteer work till 1 PM and then we headed out. We can’t take a really long day of driving any more so we planned to overnight in Vicksburg before going on to Birmingham. We made reservations at a casino/hotel because Rich thought it would be fun to gamble a little. 🙂 By the time we got there, only one restaurant was still open in the casino and it was not very good. The casino reeked of cigarette smoke, to the extent that even an ex-smoker like Rich thought it was overpowering. Needless to say, we did not dilly dally for long.  We quickly lost $20 each and went back to our hotel room for the night.

 

The next day we drove on to Birmingham, arriving around 4 PM. We had dinner and hung out and caught up on everyone’s news.  The following day we had tickets to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice so we got up early and made the trip from Birmingham to Montgomery.  The Legacy Museum traces the history of African American people from slavery and lynching through Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement and to mass incarceration and police shootings today.  We were not permitted to take photos inside so I have none to share here. It was very interesting and emotionally exhausting to learn lots of information we were not necessarily taught in school, to see photos and documents and videos of this country’s very questionable and terroristic history toward African Americans. I basically cried my way through the exhibits, all the while wondering how difficult it must be for Black people to walk through the museum and know what has been done to their people.

From there we drove to the Memorial for Peace and Justice, which commemorates the over 4000 people who have been identified as lynching victims in the US from the 1800s up until 1950.  1950!! Can you imagine? I just cannot fathom the hate and cruelty that white people have inflicted on people of color for years and years and years in this country.  What could make you hate someone so much, merely for the color of his or her skin? I could hardly stand walking through the monument and seeing the names of those who were killed. Yet I think it is so important and I wish every white person would go.

 

For more information about the Legacy Museum, go here. And for the Memorial for Peace and Justice, here.

Tornado

We were having a nice, quiet evening at home when both of our phones started going off with a weather alert.  Honestly, I didn’t think anything of it at first, but since we were advised to “take shelter,” we decided to check the TV news. Sure enough, a tornado had touched down near Love Field and was heading in our general direction! I moved some pillows and blankets to our bedroom closet, along with a flashlight and phone chargers, and we continued to monitor the TV.  At some point we lost our electricity so we tried to keep up with the news on our phones.  The tornado touched down several miles from us and we never did have any issues other than loss of electricity, but it did quite a bit of damage not far from our house. Several schools were destroyed so I was very grateful it happened at night and not during the school day. We had partial power back the next morning and then full power later that day.  There was no loss of life and no major injuries but there are people in Dallas who lost their homes and several businesses were leveled, including our favorite gardening store.  Rich is still getting used to the idea that we now live in “tornado alley.”  🙂 72771986_10214915282571999_283730294102556672_nI had just bought these big, thick candles. Ajax is monitoring the situation.

Mississippi in the House

My friend Susan came through for a quick overnight and then again on her way back home.  We always have lots to discuss and I keep encouraging her to retire so we can visit more often!  We’ve known each other for lots of years and have seen each other through the ups and downs of life….I’m grateful for her friendship and for all the support she has shown me over time. 73206242_10214857889217201_245254336387481600_n

Proud Gigi

One of Aidan’s teachers sent this note home to his parents. Needless to say, we are all quite proud of this kid. He struggles academically with a learning disability but he still likes school, does his work, and has a happy attitude. I don’t think we could ask for more! Thanks to this kind teacher for recognizing Aidan and for supporting him. Having teachers in the family, I know that it’s often a stressful, difficult job, so it means a lot for one to take the time and energy to acknowledge one of her students.

Oh, and he got his driver’s license!

Five Days of Babysitting

Sarah and Miles went to California for their 18th wedding anniversary so Gigi and Grandpa were on duty with the kids. I am not used to the “getting up early/fixing lunches/getting everyone ready and out the door in time” schedule any more but I have to pat myself on the back and say I did pretty well.  Beck even told me, “Gigi, you are really good at getting me to school on time!” I took Jack to PreK on Thursday and told his teacher that she could use my phone number between then and Monday if she needed to reach someone, because we had the kids. She looked at me a little puzzled and said, “Oh, don’t bring him on Monday! We don’t have school!”  What?! 🙂  She informed me that their preschool and “all of RISD” were off Monday for “Fair Day.”  “All of RISD” also meant Elle. Beck goes to a private school so I had no idea about his schedule. I texted Sarah and said, “Hey, did you know at least two of your kids don’t have school on Monday?!”  She was just as surprised as I was. LOL When I picked Beck up, I asked if they were off and the teacher told me no, they would be at school. Poor Beck was a little bummed about that.

We stayed really busy including soccer practice for Elle, play practice for Beck, soccer games for all three, gym class for Jack, Rack-o, Sushi Go, favorite TV shows, looking under a microscope that was Sarah’s when she was a kid, making pesto with Grandpa, dog walking, swimming, 7-11 snacks after school, homework, chores, Beck lost a tooth, Elle had a “lazy day of fun” on her day off from school including Starbucks strawberry acai lemonade and bagel bites in bed, hanging out and chit-chatting, telling jokes and riddles, reading books, snuggling in bed and singing songs, and getting the house cleaned up for Mommy and Daddy.  It was all good and we love these kids to pieces. At the same time, I can see why 65 year olds don’t have small children.  🙂