Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh The Thunder and Rain

We had a thunderstorm this afternoon. I love thunderstorms! I could also see flashes of lightning while I was sitting in the living room so I opened the front door and just watched and listened to the down pour through the storm door. I only had the radio on in the house so I turned it real low. I watched the way the rain drops make circles in the puddles they land in. And how pretty it looks when the water drips off the bare trees. And I listened to the thunder and thought how maybe it's God's stomach growling... And I thought about how the lightning reminds me of a camera flash. I just took a deep breath and stopped to enjoy it. Usually I just curse the rain and hope it stops soon. But today, it felt refreshing, and I knew it was watering the trees, and who doesn't like trees? Anyway, I'd encourage you to stop and enjoy it next time it rains. And wear your golashes if you have to go anywhere!
<3 Hilabee

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Wal-Mart.

Out here there are not just Wal-Marts and Targets. There are Super Wal-Marts and Super Targets. These “Supers” are regular Wal-Marts and Targets that have groceries in addition to all the other regular junk they carry. They have produce, meat, dairy, everything. And they tend to be less expensive than other grocery stores. But I have discovered that I hate them. And here’s why:
1. They do not have baggers. Never underestimate the value of your neighborhood grocery store bag-boy or girl. They expedite the bagging process and get you out of the store in a jiffy. They don’t have baggers at the “Supers.” The cashier has to scan, sort, and bag all your groceries as well as countless other things you picked up that you don’t really need from the non-grocery area of the store (because Wal-Marts and Targets are prime impulse-buy territory). Side note: I once had a checker at Super Target and her name was AquaNetta. No joke. Anyway, needless to say, when you are one-stop shopping in one of these “Supers,” the number of items in your cart can be quite high. So, mathematically, increased number of items to purchase – a bag boy or girl = you waiting for 20 minutes while the checker scans/bags your items. And people behind you become impatient. And they huff and puff and go to other lines. (I’m guilty of this.)
2. They suck at line-management. This is especially bad at Wal-Marts. There are 500 people in line at 3 check stands. Do they open any more check stands? No. And because of the lack of baggers, the lines move slower than a snails pace. I think more time was spent actually waiting in line than collecting my items for purchase.

Recently, I discovered that there is a standard Wal-Mart grocery store near our house. It’s a Wal-Mart. But it’s just a grocery store. It’s missing what makes it “Wal-Mart” in the first place: all the junk that regular Wal-Marts sell. Anywho, I decided to go see if it was any better than the “Supers,” and to my surprise, it was much less crowded with shorter lines. When I had finished my shopping and was walking up to find a check out line, a checker was standing by her check stand waiting for someone to check. She said “Hey! Over here!” And so I went over there and she proceeded to unload my groceries from my cart. When I went around to help her, she said “no, no, I got this, you stay over there.” I thought, “wow, how nice!” Then she checked and bagged all my groceries (still no baggers here, but it wasn’t so bad with the shorter lines) and get this: she tied the handles of all my bags for me. Without me asking her to. This is something that I do anyway when I load my bags into my trunk to keep stuff from rolling out of the bags. I told her that was very nice of her because I was going to do it outside, and she said it’s so cold outside she likes to do it so people don’t have to. (<:-0!!!!!  my look of astonishment) She even chatted with me the entire time she was bagging my groceries, saying that even though tying the bag handles lowers her check times, she doesn’t care because it helps people. What a nice girl! I almost want to write a letter. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Birmingham Zoo

I made a trip out to the Birmingham Zoo last week, and invited Ashley and her two little ones, Summer (2 yrs) and Dylan (7 months). It was only in the mid 20’s that day, but it was sunny (and half-price admission day- what a bargain!) so we all bundled up and headed over there.
Because the majority of the animal enclosures are outdoors and the day was so frigid, I’d say 75% of the outdoor enclosures had no animals in them. Some of the larger animals (lions, tigers, and pigs, oh my! I bet you thought I was going to say bears…) were still out for us to see. Of course the animals with indoor enclosures were there too. Indoor animals included reptiles, small predators, and smaller monkeys. Summer said she wanted to see a tiger the most, so we went to find a tiger and this guy is what we found:

Isn’t he noble?


Beautiful!?!? It had been so long since I had been to a zoo and seen a tiger up close, I had forgotten how large and powerful (and did I mention beautiful?) they are.

And then, in another area of the zoo, we found this guy:

He was just as interesting to watch, and I could have stayed there all day.

We also found some cheeky little zebras that were horsing around (a-hardy-har-har!) and kicking up dust and play-bucking:

We especially enjoyed watching the squirrel monkeys, and I was so mesmerized by them that I forgot to take pictures of them. :-(
Squirrel monkeys are smaller than most monkeys, they are about the size of a small cat I’d say, and are so interesting to watch! They play, jumping on each other, from branch to branch, pulling each other’s tails, digging in the dirt, it was crazy! They were native in Costa Rica when I was there on a family vacation a few years ago, and they were just as silly as I’d remembered.
Then there was this guy, just wandering around the zoo, and I had to wonder, what keeps him from running away???

Anyway, they were also doing a lot of construction so Ashley and I agreed that we will make another trip over there in the spring before schools let out for the summer so it’s not too hot/crowded.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Oh yes, it's coming. Dont even know which teams are going yet, but I'm looking forward to it. (I'm secretly wishing it will be the Chargers and the Saints, since my Packers blew it in OT last weekend.)
Last night I suggested to Steve that we have Super Bowl at our house, and have the guys from his office over with their repective spouses/significant others/children. He agreed it was a good idea.
Thinking it would be fun to have people over, now today I'm realizing what this Super Bowl party could entail. Now, since I would like to invite all these people into our home, I figure I also have to feed and entertain them, I guesssssss... ;-) But I've never entertained except for helping my mom and stepmom from time to time. Heck, I own one platter. Now that I'm thinking about it, if everyone comes, it could include as many as 15-20 people. Now I'm thinking, "what are people going to eat off of?" [We're going to have to be paper-platin' it, which I figure is ok for an afternoon of football-watching] Then, "what am I going to serve?" [Could do pizza and wings, but that's liable to get very expensive very quickly not to mention a little dicey with Super Bowl Sunday being one of the highest grossing days for the pizza industry. (I worked pizza for a couple years...)] So, I could throw together a shmorgasport (sp? lol) of food and hope it turns out yummy, but then I thought, "what am I going to serve all this food on?" [Hence, the realization that I own one platter.] So, If I do end up serving home-made food, I'll probably have to invest in a couple more serving dishes. (Darn!)

Anyone have good ideas for yummy football food that is easy to prepare and can feed alot of people?

More blog posts to come, I promise! :-)

<3 Hilabee

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! Steve and I did. New Years Eve we went out with Sgt Morgan and his wife, Ashley, and Gunnery Sgt ("Gunny") to a bar to see a country band play. Ashley and I were sad there was no room for line dancing. We were even more sad when one of the band members told us there aren't anymore places in the Birmingham area to even go line dancing. :-(
I am officially (to Social Security) a Mrs. and got my name changed! I went to the Social Security office last week and thinking I would have to wait all day, I got there at about 8:45 am, 15 mins after they opened. I walked in, checked in, sat down, my number was called, and I walked out of the building at approximately 9:07 am. Yes, it took me less than 30 mins to take care of business at Social Security! Woo hoo! Since I was in downtown Birmingham I decided to go check out a year-round farmers market not too far away. I drove over there and began noticing I was in a very rough area of town and pulled into the driveway of the market, turned around and drove home. I didn't even stop the car, lol.
Anyone wanna send me some warm weather and some in N out? Air mail, Fed Ex, Next Day Air, please. :-)
It's only in the upper 20's today, and we aren't going to see the warmer side of 40 degrees for at least a week.