Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little Lola

It's been quite some time since I posted anything about my baby.  Here's what Lola's been up to this week...

This is a photo of my home office. While I work, she drags toys and bones into the office. 

Cast of Characters from left to right (names as Lola knows them):  Mouse in Overalls, Lola (of course), Minnie, Curvy Bone, Ellie, Orange Bone, Piglet, Wiggle Bone, Pink Bone, (another) Wiggle Bone & Wiener Dog...


This past weekend, she was sitting like a statue.  She didn't move for several minutes.  While I think she might have been stoned on Sudafed for her allergies, I still thought she looked cute...


And that is what spoiled Lola has been up to!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Les Miserables

I love Les Miserables.  I have seen it twice in Dallas, on Broadway in New York City and in the West End of London.  I often listened to the entire soundtrack as I drove between Lubbock and Nocona because there was no radio reception and that was way before the time of ipods.  It was an easy CD to keep in my CD changer and it would keep me alert with all the singing along that I did (my poor dog Macy had to listen!). 

If that wasn't enough, I recently had a friend move to a street called Bastille and I cannot drive to her house without singing to myself "...Do you hear the people sing?  Singing a song of angry men.  It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again!".  Total dork, I know!

Anyway, I'm super excited that the teaser trailer for the new movie adaptation has been released. 



I think it's going to be phenomenal.  Just look at this lineup:

Tom Hooper (of The King's Speech) is the Director.
Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean.  Let me repeat... Hugh as Jean Valjean!!!!!
Russell Crowe as Javert.
Anne Hathaway as Fantine.

I'm not feeling the casting of Cosette and Marius as much...Amanda Seyfried I can live with, but I'm not sure about Eddie Redmayne as Marius.  He seems kind of wimpy to pull off Marius.  But can we just discuss Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier and Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier?  Brilliant!

I cannot wait to see Les Miserables when it hits the movie theatre this Christmas!  But that is a long time away.  I'm not really psyched up about any summer movie release?  Do you know of something good coming out soon?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Can't Get Enough of Ryan Star

Ryan Star was in Dallas on Monday night.  Woo-hoo!  Of course I headed down to Deep Ellum to see him. 

My friend Abby thinks that he always looks angry when he sings...
I say it's intensity


But he is really the nicest guy you'll ever meet, and I was happy that I snapped a photo of him looking like it...

It was a great show.  I finally got to hear him sing one of the songs I've always wanted to hear him sing live.  I got a few hugs after the show and we discussed his going back into the studio to turn out a new record soon, his coming back to Dallas with his full band next time, and what he is reading now and reading next. 

He also mentioned that he knows I come to all his Dallas shows and how very appreciative he is.  Nicest.  Guy.  Ever!  Hope that doesn't ruin his Rock Star image.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The trip home...

Our short little road trip came to a close on Tuesday.  We woke up to a foggy morning on the Mississippi...


We didn't head back via the same route we traveled on Saturday though.  We drove north a bit and headed towards Vicksburg.  On the way to Vicksburg, we took a little off the beaten path stop by the Windsor Ruins outside of Port Gibson, MS. 

Windsor Ruins was formerly known as Windsor Plantation.  It was a 2600 acre plantation.  The home was completed in 1861.  Sadly the owner who built the home died only a couple of weeks after the completion at the age of 34 (kicking the bucket not long after building a grand house seemed to be a constant theme among these grand homes).  The home survived the civil war and was occupied by both Union and Confederate troops.  Mark Twain even stayed at the home and used the roof observatory to look out at the Mississippi River.  Then a guest at a dinner party was careless with his cigar (or cigarette) and burned the whole place down on February 17, 1890! 

This is Windsor Ruins today...





The plans and all photos of the home burned in the home, so it was unknown what the structure actually looked like until 1991, when historians found a sketch that a Ohio Union soldier had drawn of the home.  Now it is believed that it looked like this...

After that brief stop, we traveled on up to Vicksburg for a tour of the battlefield.  There are lots of monuments along the various battlefields...

This area has undergone some work recently.  Lots of trees were cleared from this area so that it resembles how it did during the battle for Vicksburg...



This is the only structure on the battlefield that was standing during the battle...

They showed this photo of the home during the battle.  Look at all those Union troops dug in around the house!  Can you even imagine if you lived there?!?  Lucky for them I guess, that they were Yankee sympathizers...


The Illinois monument...
From inside looking out at the battlefield...

We saw the remains of the USS Cairo Gunboat.  The Cairo was an ironclad gunboat that was sunk by Confederate underwater mines on the Yazoo River on December 12, 1862.  The gunboat was discovered and brought up in the 1960's.  It was preserved as much as possible...




Inside the museum they had lots of items that were discovered on board the boat.  It was pretty interesting.

Very close to the Cairo was the cemetery at Vicksburg.  It is the largest burial place of Union soldiers in the country...

After leaving the park in Vicksburg, we had lunch and then headed home, thus ending our road trip.  If you like seeing various parts of the country and old homes, I'd highly recommend Natchez!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday in Natchez

So a week ago, I was on my second full day of my Natchez tour of homes.  We started the day's tour with Monmouth.  Monmouth has been turned into a hotel and restaurant, so it only offers tours at 10 a.m.


Monmouth had Zuber paper in the entry hall...
Aside from it's beauty, another thing that I love about the Zuber murals is that he often depicted places that he had never actually been.  So he just used his imagination.  In one house (Rosalie, I think), the Zuber paper was of scenes from India.  But Zuber had never been to India, and in his imagination, there were pyramids in India.  Here in Monmouth's murals, Zuber painted scenes of America, but he had also never been here.
Boston Harbor complete with it's moss covered trees...
And Niagara Falls with sailboats bobbing around...
Obviously, two things you'd never really see!

Here is a Waterford Chandelier that was originally a gasolier...

After our tour of Monmouth, we drove by a couple of other homes that you can tour, but not on the days we were visiting.  Linden...

Auburn...

Then we went for our tour of Dunleith...


It is also now a hotel...





More Zuber in the dining room...
In the dining room, they had not converted one of the lights, so it was still a gasolier.  Boy, those don't put out much light!
After Dunleith, we took a lunch break at a little dive called The Malt Shop....


The next (and last) house was Longwood.  Longwood is the largest octagonal house in America. 

The mansion was designed in 1859 and begun in 1860. 


It was being built by Philadelphia craftsmen, but when the Civil War began, they dropped their tools and hightailed it North.  Thus, the house is only finished on the basement level. 

They don't allow photos in the finished portion, but they do once you get upstairs in the unfinished portions...

These were some of the tools that the workers left when they fled.  They also had original crates where things were shipped in for the house.  Here are some of the other artifacts that are on display...
See that round thing with the sunken hole in the middle (to the left of the trunk)?  That was the female bathtub.  Women would apparently sit on the edge, while water was poured over them.  See that actual tub to the right of the trunk?  That is the man's tub.  They got to take a "normal bath".  Lisa and I were both pretty sure that we'd rather have the man's tub to the ladies tub.

If you watch "True Blood" on HBO, you probably recognize this house.  I heard that it was filmed for the show and texted my friend Billy a photo of it and got this response, "That was Bill Compton's place after he became the king of Mississippi."

After our home tours ended, we decided to hit up the shops.  We had heard and read lots about the shops.  It was a fairly disappointing thing though.  Not too many cute shops.  We did stop in an antique shop where I found a nice selection of Old Paris Porcelain (all iphone pics though).  I got really excited about taking home a piece...until I priced it.

I don't even know how much this piece cost...

This piece was $1200...

I thought I'd set my sights a little lower and so I priced that little bread plate you see resting on the other plates in the lower right side.  Yeah, but it was $295!

The craziest thing is that we were in that shop for about 10 minutes.  We went into silver rooms that had merchandise that made the Old Paris look cheap by comparison.  The whole time we were in there, we didn't see one sales person.  As time went on, Lisa and I became convinced we were about to walk in and find someone that had been knocked in the head and robbed.  Finally, we decided to just get the heck out of there.  Once we were pulling away, some lady came and stuck her head out the door.  She was lucky it was us in there and not someone who would have loaded their purses and ran. 

Then we decided to head across the bridge to Vidalia, Louisiana to take some photos of Natchez from across the river...


For Dinner, we went to Cotton Alley Cafe.  The food was good, but I have never been inside a restaurant that I wanted to redecorate so badly!  I mean, it was all I could think about!
Maybe it was because the inside totally didn't match the cute, quaint, freshness that the outside conveyed. 

The view from our hotel room on our last night in Natchez...
The next day we headed home, but don't worry, I made plenty of stops along the way. Stay tuned...

 

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