Monday, September 12, 2011

Joe PA..PA...Party!

***Author's Note 8/31/2012  I am leaving this post in tact, changing no words about it.  But at the very mention of Joe Paterno, I must offer my prayers to all the victims in the Sandusky crimes, to all the innocent football players whose football careers will be marred by association with this program, and to all the residents of Happy Valley who simply love football and now question every truth they believed about Penn State University and its "respected" leaders.***

Joe in Paterno...the Penn State Head Football coach.  Saturday 9/10/11 (cool date, huh?) saw Bama play and whoop up on Penn State.  The Morrises had our usual back-porch viewing party.  This one was pretty low key in terms of food and revelrie.  Here are some highlights:
Bobby hates...HATES my taking pictures of him.  And a family picture?  No way!
Well, that is until you throw in BFF and chief trouble-maker Matt.  Just look at those lovebirds!

Below is Matt's mom, Vicki and Matt's youngest, Maddox.  Caroline wanted to hold the baby.  Maddox doesn't look so sure about that prospect!

Speaking of Caroline, I just have to pat myself on the back when it comes to her apparel.  Yes, I totally made her dress all by myself!  I found the pattern idea here...
Check out these besties!  Aren't they cute?
I asked Bobby if he was getting that old familiar feeling while holding Maddox?  He said, "Um not so much!"
Whoa...who invited this clown? Kidding!  He's my brother-in-law and we love him!
Well, that's a wrap for this game.  Final score 27-11.  Roll Tide Roll!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seventy Times Seven

Today's post title was also today's Gospel in church. Through the parable of the Unmerciful
Servant (Matthew 18:21-35), we are taught to forgive our enemies "Seventy times seven" times. Today is and may forever be a painful reminder of whom the US considers an enemy. Can our country ever truly forgive the hatred responsible for so many thousands of deaths which occurred on or as a result of that fateful day?
Today my priest compared 9/11/2001 to Good Friday in the following ways: all who perished on 9/11 were crucified. The American Dream, Freedom, Christianity, Liberty; all of these tenets the victims enjoyed so openly became their "crime" in the eyes of radical terrorists and the appointed sentence was death.  Though they did not die on a cross, I think it is no coincidence that a cross was found at the site. 
No, we do not expect the 9/11 victims to return to Earth alive as Jesus did. However, we cannot let the victims die in vain.  It is okay to disagree with another's lifestyle but we must approach all situations with a forgiving heart.  In the Parable, the King forgave his servant only to learn that the same servant denied forgiveness to another.  So the King handed down a terrible sentence to the unforgiving servant.  
The Apostle Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive someone seven times? (As in, "Shouldn't I learn a lesson and just stop forgiving, since I'm only going to be wronged again?") But Jesus gave a likely unexpected answer and said "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times." If we cannot accomplish this, then we should expect to be punished as severely as the unforgiving servant. Jesus said "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-22, 35)
A view of today's 10th Anniversary opening of the WTC Memorial (source)
On a smaller scale, I'm challenging myself--and also all readers--to think about my enemies.  Who are they? The poor economy? The downed real estate market? Unexpected divorce? Infertility? A friend/relative/coworker who doesn't share our own ideals?  A political figure we didn't vote for? Am I capable of forgiving that person?
I think children are our best examples.  They are so naturally forgiving, and it's a good thing since Rob and Caroline have me for a mommy.  I have my flaws.  I gossip.  I put off until tomorrow what should be done today.  I occasionally plan grocery lists in church...I know God forgives me, but He expects me to forgive others, too.
Forgiveness is the best way to keep 9/11/2001 from being a total tragedy.  Because our quest for Freedom, Liberty, Prosperity, etc., could not be forgiven by others, more than 2,000 lives were lost.  I owe it to these two kids above to show them how a Christian truly lives...They will never know life before 9/11.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Men Love Tools

I'm not sure how well I have documented, but we love entertaining during the fall.  On Saturdays, we have become the go-to house for our circle of friends.  I love that it can be as casual or fancy as we want it to be -- that that decision is usually based on the ferociousness of the opponent. By the way, is ferociousness a word?
Not the best picture of my porch...this is last year's Iron Bowl
We have a TV outside on our covered porch, and the TV has been moved from one rickety baker's rack to another.  Finally, Bobby decided he wanted something more permanent.  "I want to build something," he announced.  (Insert screeching tires sound here.)  Bobby doesn' things.  "Okay..." I cautiously reply.
If this isn't the look of deternination, I don't know what is!
Well, I am so proud of Handy Bobby when he came up with this finished product below...(Warning, all photos were taken with Bobby's iPhone as he sent me pictures of his work to prove he actually built it himself.)
There's a power saw...On.My.Porch!  This could get scary...
Bobby even went to Lowe's and purchased some lumber (above) and plywood (below).
He had been taking these pictures unbeknownst to me.  I was out of town.  It was at this point that he finally alerted me to his goings on and said via text message "Oh, you're gonna blog about this."  Yep, Bobby, I am!

So at this point, once I knew what was going on, I started barking orders making requests.  Perhaps this is why he did not first tell me what he was doing.  I simply asked that he make it functional.  I didn't just want a pile of scrap lumber on my porch forever.
I have storage shelves!
He put a beautiful couple of coats of stain on it.  Also if you look closely, there are casters on the bottom!

...and Ta-Da!  His finished product is actually very sturdy and nice looking!  There is hidden storage in the back, and it is on wheels / casters for easy mobility. 
It's a little big, but I am very proud of Bobby for building (and finishing) it!  I am thinking of painting something on the front...maybe stenciling our family monogram?  Suggestions?

It's going to be a great football season!  Roll Tide!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sightseeing in Portsmouth, NH

Like I said yesterday, I ended up with an extra day in Portsmouth, NH.  Sunday we were supposed to go home, but all travel to and from the Northeast was shut down.  It would turn out that Irene went west into Vermont once it got close to us.  However, Portsmouth was prepared just in case.  The entire town shut down.  Late Sunday afternoon, we became stir-crazy in our hotel room. It was still pretty windy, but the rain was down to a drizzle, so we took a walk.

*Again, all pics in this post were taken using an iPhone 3.  Please forgive unreliable quality.

We stumbled onto the home office (below).  Not what we expected, but still cool to see...

As is typically the case after any display of Mother Nature's wrath, the day after is beautiful. On Monday, Aug 29th, mom and I had a scheduled flight home in the evening. So we took advantage of the day to really explore the town and it's beauty.

We took a Harbor Cruise from the Piscataqua River into Portsmouth Harbor.  OMG, I am so glad we did, too!  It was amazing!  Let me say yet again that I love New England!
Historic Fort Constitution in New Castle, NH
Whaleback Lighthouse in Kittery, Maine
The lighthouse above is one of many lighthouses that were also used as lookout points protecting the Harbor from enemies throughout history.  Our tour guide / ship captain told the story of how when the lighthouse was manned, a person would go out there for 2 weeks before being relieved.  However, during bad weather or frozen water, his shift would sometimes last a month or longer before someone could navigate out to trade shifts. 
Wood Island Lifesaving Station in Kittery, Maine
The United States Lifesaving Service (above) was established in 1871 to aid those in danger at sea. The sole purpose of a lifesaving station was to send men and boats out, usually smack in the middle of a horrifying storm, to save the lives of those whose ships were in distress. Their motto was “You have to go out, but you don't have to come back”. In 1915, the Lifesaving Service was merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and was re-named the United States Coast Guard. (source)

These waters are the home of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, built in 1800.  It is one of the oldest still-operating shipyards in the country.
But what's even cooler is the neighboring Naval and Marine Corps prison.  It's knows as the "Alcatraz of the East" and I can see why!  It's quite erie in appearance and I'm certain it must be haunted.

It operated from 1901 until 1975 and now it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  There was never a successful escape from here.  One reason why no one ever escaped would surely be because of the rule stating if a prisoner escaped, the guard on duty would have to serve out the rest of that prisoner's sentence.  We heard a story about a young guard who successfully fought violently to prevent an escape.  The guard received a nasty cut on his lip which eventually scarred noticeably.  He was still considered handsome, though.  He was Humphrey Bogart!
A look at the Sheridan Portsmouth Harbourside Hotel from the Piscataqua River
Portsmouth, NH waterfront businesses
Home of William Whipple (signer of the Declaration of Independence)
It was time to pack up and head back to Boston-Logan airport.  However, there was time for one more sight to see...for those of you who don't know, I'm proud of my Italian heritage. And look at this lovely sitting bench we found just outside our hotel:

And, with no further ado, it was time to head back to the South!  I love Alabama with my whole heart, but don't worry, New England.  I'll see you again someday!  For sure!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to Portsmouth, NH

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Portsmouth, NH.  You may know that I have been doing some work for my mom who is an independent sales rep for Heinemann publications -- a resource company for K-12 teachers.  Heinemann is based in Portsmouth and they flew all the reps and sub-reps (me) up to their home office for a national sales meeting. 

The original schedule allowed for very little sightseeing.  We flew in Thursday afternoon, had meetings all day Friday and Saturday, and would depart Sunday afternoon after a debriefing meeting in the morning.  More on that schedule later. So one morning Mom and I woke up way too early and took a walk around town looking at the sights.  Let me say for the first of many times, I am now in love with New England!  Oh, wow, it was gorgeous!

*all of the following pictures were taken on my iPhone 3, so forgive the unreliable quality

Look at those brick facades in the background! I swoon...Mom and I could both stand to have some extra geography lessons.  We were strolling across the Piscataqua River when we saw this sign below:
Maine?  Really?  We had no idea!  We were just in Boston, MA when we flew in!  Someone get me an atlas, stat!  The image below is a view of the town as we walked back to the still, my heart!

Okay, like I said, we were there to work.  We sat in the ballroom of the Sheraton Harborside Hotel all day listening to presentations on the latest upcoming products, the greatest selling tips, etc.  However, on Friday night, we were treated to a company lobster bake in Rye, NH (a neighboring town).  Here was the view as soon as we got off the bus:

PS: for those of you who know me -- there were also land-meat and vegetarian options!

Back to meetings, but not before we had some serious discussions about the weather.  You see, there was this little problem brewing fast:
I don't know if that's exactly where we were (remember my geography struggles).  But it's close and you should get the point.  Airports were closing, cancelling everyone's return iteneraries.  We learned that we would not fly home until at least Monday, I packed light.  I don't have enough underwear.  Kidding! Kind of...

Side note; I know Hurricane Irene did serious damage in some places and is the cause for several deaths.  A hurricane is never a laughing matter, and my prayers are with everyone affected.  However, since we ended up unscathed, I am able to be a little more lighthearted.  As it would turn out, we did get a day of sightseeing, after all!

So tune in tomorrow and I will show you why I really, really love New England now!