Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marching Madness

An unexpected call on Friday night from Joyce and Julie was the beginning of another fun-filled weekend! My mom and I met up with them at a local bar/restaurant downtown Belleville called Castletown Goeghegan. My mom had never been there, and loved their homemade fish and chips! As we were eating we were entertained with some great Irish music. After we left Goeghegan's my mom and had some last minute prep to do for a trip the next day to EIU to watch the marching band competition.

Our trip to EIU for the marching band competition was a lot of fun! We packed up the car around 10 a.m. and off we went! We decided to stop in Effingham on the way up to go to Walmart to see if we could find some stadium fold up seats (they were out of them in Belleville). They had a ton of them in Effingham, so we bought 2 of them and some other snacks and we were on our way to EIU. As we were approching the Charleston exit, we saw the sign for the Tuscola outlet mall and I remembered the awesome Amishland bakery, furniture store, etc that was next to the outlet mall. So we decided to drive a little more north so we could get the awesome cinnamon rolls that are as big as your head from the Amish place. We get to the Amishland shop and to our dismay the bakery has closed down!!! It was a fun trip up to the shops even though there were no cinnamon rolls.

On our way back down to Charleston it starts to pour down! My mom and I decided to just park on the street and use this time to eat lunch, while the band competition was on a "rain break." They decided to move the competition indoors to the field house, then it stopped raining and decided to move it back over to the stadium outside! After an 1 1/2 hour rain delay, the competition was back on! We saw over 20 bands perform including Granite City and Belleville West. Both did an outstanding job!

After the competition was over around 10:30 p.m., we went to a restaurant called Boxa on the recommendation of Tracie, my student teacher. She was right, their grinders are awesome! My mom and I both had the Southwestern Chicken grinders on the recommendation of the manager, who said it was their #1 seller for 10 years!! The hot sandwich was great, since we had been sitting out in the cold and damp air all afternoon and night! After the hot meal, we were back on the road to go home!! We arrived home around 2:00 a.m. and it was time for bed! Also, a big thank you to Cassie who watched Gabby and Roxie for the evening.

After sleeping in this morning, Cassie dropped over to give back the keys and told me the dogs were well behaved for her. After Cassie left, I went to JoAnn's and got some fabric for the back of my Neptune quilt and eyed up some more Christmas fabric, but I refrained! I also was inspired for some more quilt patterns from some of the flag designs from the color guard teams. Those might be my next quilts! After JoAnn's it was time for dinner and The Amazing Race and Brothers & Sisters!!! Hope the week is as much fun as the weekend was!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No Money, No Problem!

This weekend has been an absolute blast - and the best part it was all FREE!  Starting with Thursday night,  my friend Cassie invited me to go to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) concert on Art Hill.  This is a free concert put on every year the day before the Forest Park Balloon Race.  We met up with one of Cassie's co-workers, Jen, who was kind enough to volunteer her husband to drive us downtown and into the crowded park!  Thanks Cody!  Turns out Jen and I know some mutual people as well - small world!  At the concert, we met up with Carla, Mike (faux parents) and, Jon (fauxbro - see It's Only One Mile) and sat at the top of Art Hill and enjoyed a fabulous evening of great music for free.  We all brought a picnic style dinner with lots of wine and NUTELLA (which I'm now a little obessed with!)  The backdrop for the whole concert was gorgeous.  They had the SLSO set up right in front of the lake, so as you looked out you could see the boats on the lake and the fountains, just beatutiful!  Also, the SLSO played one of my favorite tunes - Buglar's Holiday!  It couldn't get better than this, could it?  YES! - they ended the concert with FIREWORKS!

A change of original plans for Friday night allowed me to go to the Forest Park Balloon Glow for the 1st time!  My mom and I decided to hop on the MetroLink (there was NO WAY we were parking over there!) to the Central West End stop and walked the 20 minutes into the Central Ball Fields where the Balloon Glow was taking place!  This event was packed with people and dozens of hot air balloons!  It was really great though, because the balloon teams didn't care if you came right up to them and their equiptmet to take pictures or even touch their stuff!  My mom and I must have been there for a few hours just watching all the balloon get inflated then they did the balloon glow for an hour and a half.  It was great weather and a clear sky and another great free event!

During the ride home from the balloon glow, I received a text from Brad, saying that they were having a bonfire!  This night just got even better!  Got home, let the dogs out, and then headed over to the Behrmann's for a good old fashion bonfire!  An old fellow music friend from high school was there, Bill, who I haven't seen forever!  It was great seeing him and hearing his stories from his travels in Spain. Now that he's back in the area, maybe I convince him to play BINGO with me again some night!  Another reason I love Behrmann bonfires (besides the great company) they have the best snacks!  Mama Behrmann made some delicious homemade salsa and she let me try some of their homegrown tomatoes, which were delish!  During the bonfire, I found out the Belleville West Marching Band preview show wasn't at 8:30 a.m. the next morning as I had previously thought.  That was just the beginning of their clinic, and the real run thru was to be around 11:00 a.m.  I was sooo glad Clare told me this, because I didn't get home until 1:30 a.m., and wasn't about to be up at 8:30 a.m.!

So 10 a.m. Saturday morning roles around, and it's time to get ready to leave for the Belleville West Marching Maroons preview show!  This will be the 1st time I've seen the West band perform this year!  My mom and I arrive in time to meet up with the Behrmann's and watch the last 30 min of the open clinic and then see the full show!  Since the stands were open, I went up to the very top with Cassie, Jackie, and Tyrone, to watch the show and get the "expert" critque, since Jackie and Tyrone work with the group! The show looks great, sounds really full, and I think they will get better and better each week! Go Marching Maroons!  Can't wait to see you next week at the Eastern competition!

The original plan was to head to Edwardsville after the BW preview show to watch their marching competition, but we decided that due to a chance of rain on Sun, we'd better go to the Scott Air Force Base Air Show now, and not on Sun.  After waiting in a long line to get into the base, a long line to get to parking, and a long line to ride the shuttle in, we finally made it to the air field!  This year, the Canadian Snowbirds were there was the finale act.  They are a nine-person precision air team and they were fantastic.  Also, before they went on, they had a heritage flight take place which was really neat to see all the airplanes thru the years.  I'm glad we went yesterday, because it did rain today!

All in all, it has been a great FREE weekend!  As I'm writing this, I'm exhausted from all the fun!  I think today will also be a FREE day - just relaxing and doing stuff around the house!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Treasures From Travels

The other night I met up with my traveling theater friend, Ruth. We decided to go to this cafe in Edwardsville to eat horseshoes, which I had never had, but had seen on the food network before. Holy schnikey! These things were huge! My student teacher, Tracie, warned me to only get the ponyshoe, but I didn't listen and went for the gusto. There was no way I was making it thru this whole thing. Anyway, it was delish, the part I ate, next time - ponyshoe! Ruth was kind enough to bring me back some awesome stuff from Dubai and some other cool places!
Here are some pics of the cool stuff I was lucky enough to get!

After catching up and hearing all the latest theater gossip, I had to head back to school for Open House night. NO ONE ever comes and sees me, but I have to go sit there every year and wait anxiously that this might be the year, just to be let down (yet again) that no one cares about the speech lady. Oh well!

Has anyone not watched Glee yet? It's hilarious, witty, musically awesome, and the best new show of the year! WATCH IT NOW! SERIOUSLY - Stop reading this and go watch it online if you haven't seen it! You'll love it! Then we can all be Gleeks together!