Saturday, September 24, 2011

Adventuring in Jackson

This past week, Clay and I had TWO great adventures I thought I'd share!

First of all, we went to see a touring production of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby. When I heard that Peter Pan would be playing in town, I knew it would be a perfect choice to serve as one of Clay's first big musical theatre shows. I invited my sister and her 8-year-old son to come along and bought our tickets.

We had a filling dinner at Sal and Mookie's pre-show, then arrived at Thalia Mara Hall just in time to take our seats as the lights dimmed. I had worried about Cathy Rigby in the role, but I had no need. She did a fine job and from our seats, her slight build and posture were easily believable as that of a boy.

The two little guys we brought with us loved the show, often commenting on specific characters, effects, and set pieces. Clay got scared a few times by the pirates and the crocodile, but a hug or two seemed to solve the problem.

During intermission, we trotted down to overlook the orchestra pit, where we pointed out the different instruments and waved to the musicians. (They seemed delighted to see us, by the way. I was amazed that we were the only ones taking advantage of such an educational opportunity.)

All four of us enjoyed the show, and I'm so glad we got the chance to attend! Kessler is bringing Beauty and the Beast to Jackson as their next production, which might also be worth checking out.

On Thursday night, I packed up little man and a picnic dinner and headed for Symphony at Sunset, an annual open-air concert held at The Cedars in Fondren. It was an absolutely gorgeous night, and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The orchestra played a selection of songs celebrating America, and the decor matched the stars-and-stripes theme. (Though I do wish they'd allow the musicians to wear slightly more casual clothing for outdoor concerts. We're all lounging around in jeans and flip flops, blankets spread out on the grass, and the musicians are up there in the same white button-ups and black slacks as always. I would have loved to have seen them in white T-shirts and black shorts, or even jeans and those cute black T-shirts with the tuxedo fronts on them!)

At any rate, Clay again got to see the musicians and the instruments (this time from an even closer vantage point). They also provided glow sticks for the kids and offered star-shaped iced cookies (from Campbell's! Yum!) and ice cream.

Clay did a great job paying attention for the first half of the concert. We left for home shortly after intermission so as to get little people into bed.

On both occasions, I was very proud of his behavior as an audience member! He seemed very interested in what was going on (particularly during Peter Pan), and I think he really enjoyed himself at both events! That's my boy!

Tremendous!

I got the chance to see the movie The Help a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. You may recall that I read the book this movie is based on a while back. Also, they filmed a few of the scenes here in Jackson, Miss., where the book/movie is set.

Even without all of that, though, I think I would have loved this movie. First of all, it was expertly cast. There wasn't a weak link in the ensemble. You may be aware of my love for Viola Davis. She doesn't disappoint here in her role as Aibileen Clark. Emma Stone, who plays Skeeter Phelan, is pitch perfect. Minny, played by Octavia Spencer, made me laugh and laugh. I could go on and on, but let's just say that each character is interesting, and leave it at that.

In addition, growing up in the Jackson area made watching this movie very special for me. I recognized some of the locations, some of the clothes, and many of the characters. And as a native Mississippian, I can tell you that the film is very true to Southern life in many ways.

Not only that, the story is engaging and uplifting. This one is a MUST-SEE!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Clay the adventurer!

We've been having lots of adventures lately! First of all, we went by the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science to see their Frogs! exhibit. We saw giant, ugly looking brown toads (They were super-still.); tiny, neon-colored poisonous dart frogs; and measured how far we could hop in relation to various amphibians.

Even though it was a hot day, Clay and I still hit the trail system out back. Of course, he picked the next-to-longest trail they had! We had a good time exploring and looking for lizards, but for our next visit, I may wear hiking boots!!

We also went by the Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza. They hold it each year at the Trademart. Clay got to practice shooting a bow and arrow (several times), we sampled fudge and deer sausage, and we even heard wild turkey calls! The people at the booths gave him tons of free stuff (tote bags, wildlife posters, candy, etc.), and before we left, we even got to try zip-lining!! (That's him in the ziplining safety gear.)

In August, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus also came to town. We've not missed a single one of their performances in Jackson. The show was fun, with acrobats, clowns, and trained horses, elephants, and even camels! This year, they had a new act - the ring of terror. Three motorcyclists drove at dizzying speeds in a metal cage. Just when you though it was safe to look, they sent a woman in a sparkly costume in the cage to stand in the center, while the motorcycles whizzed all around her. Yikes!

Cly had such fun. We bought him a box of popcorn, and he was sticking his little arm ALLLLLL the way in it to get the last kernels before the night was over. On the way out, we also picked up a mug for him that looks like an elephant! Not too practical for drinking, but he's enjoyed playing with it!

Today, we visited the Mississippi Petrified Forest. I hadn't been since I was a kid, and WOW. There's a short and fun nature walk which takes you through the park. You can see the petrified logs in the same places that ancient floods washed them, centuries ago. After that portion of the visit, you can explore a small (but really cool) geological museum featuring fossils, more petrified wood, and precious stones. (They even have some giant shark jaws!) After that, we flumed for gems. (Think panning for gold.) We found obsidian, amethyst and more the little bags of dirt we purchased at the gift shop. And how could I fail to mention the gift shop?! Jewelry, polished stones, even slabs of petrified wood were all on offer.

Admission is $7 for adults, and preschoolers are free! (Fluming is $4 per bag of goodies.) They are open nearly every day of the year, and they even have a pavillion you can rent out for gatherings. (This place would be PERFECT for a little boy's birthday party!) I just cannot recommend it highly enough. We so enjoyed our visit!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Update on My 101

It's been MONTHS! Shame on me! BUT, even though I haven't been posting it here, I have been making progress! See below!!

101 things to do in 1001 days

Learn to juggle
Take a martial arts class
Make a will
Make a living will
Train to run 3 miles without stopping
Try a yoga or pilates class
Go to the Lauren Rogers Museum
Learn to play at least one song on the guitar (or, sheesh, just PRACTICE once in a while)
Write a food article and get it published
Write at least one poem or short story
Plant an herb garden
Make fresh pesto with basil I grew
Drink wine in California
Eat salsa in San Antonio
Treasure hunt on Highway 49
Host a New Year’s open house party
Visit the famous fried chicken place in Lorman
Go the fall flower show/festival in Crystal Springs
Learn more about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict
Give blood
Learn to play the harmonica
Get my piano tuned
Buy sheet music for a song I like and learn to play it on the piano
Learn to do a passable waltz
Go ice skating
Attain APR accreditation - Woo hoo! This one is done! It was a long haul, but it was worth it!
Read at least 3 current books on my profession
Take a road tour through the Mississippi Delta
Enroll in a Millsaps Enrichment class of my choosing
Take Clay to Disney World
Celebrate my birthday in style
Boil/steam a live lobster
Go to a rodeo
Host a formal tea, like at the Savoy
Write a letter to the editor of my local newspaper
Perform in at least one stage production
Attend at least one college alumni event
Get back in touch with some of my college professors
Book a session with a personal trainer
Learn more about how to maximize Adobe Photoshop
Plan a surprise party for someone
Replace at least three outdated light fixtures in my house
Plant some vegetables and keep them alive long enough to harvest them - We did this over the summer! Tons of cherry tomatoes!
Plan and take at least one “destination trip” in honor of a holiday (Salem at Halloween, Plymouth Rock at Thanksgiving, etc.)
Stop cussing. Seriously STOP.
Renew my passport - Check and check. We are ready for Rome!
Spend an entire day in complete silence (This one is going to be very difficult.)
Check out a library book, read it, and leave a note in it for the next reader
Attend one religious service of a faith other than my own, just to observe
Start buying more goods that are made in America
Find a professional mentor
Act as a mentor to someone who needs me
Take Clay fruit picking at a local farm
Make something yummy with what we pick - We went blueberry picking in May, and we made blueberry streusel muffins. YUM.
Take Clay to the Petrified Forest
Buy him a bag of shiny tumbled rocks
Take Clay to Rocky Springs
Take Mom to the opera
Rent a boat and go deep sea fishing with dad
Do a “Godfather Week” at the house, where we eat Italian food and watch the Godfather series (once Clay goes to bed. Eeek!)
Go camping
Have an indulgent breakfast in bed
Have my eyes checked (Dear Lord, I’m getting old.)
Take a weekend trip alone. COMPELTELY ALONE.
Win a bet
Look up more shadow puppet instructions and expand my repertoire (Dog, deer, dinosaur, rabbit, and bird are getting kinda old.)
Throw a tapas and wine party
Go on a picnic (Because you can never have too many.)
Toast the sunset
Go see an author read from his/her work
Fly a kite
Ride a horse
Go see a fortune teller or psychic
Ride a train
Find the perfect swimsuit - The one I bought for my trip to Orange Beach was pretty dang awesome. I got tons of compliments on it. Too bad that when I went online to buy it in every color it came in, it was nearly sold out. :(
Have a facial
Move more of my bills/notices over to electronic or auto-draft
Clean out/shred as necessary in ALL of my old files (Gulp.)
Add money to a parking meter about to run out
Repair the back yard arbor
Whittle something
Kiss a new baby - My sweet best friend had a new arrival in July! Baby love!!
Throw a Mediterranean party with grilled lamb, veggies, tzatziki, the whole nine
Start a personal, meaningful family tradition at Easter
Photograph a sunrise
Go to Pepsi Pops
Go to a ceramic painting shop and paint something cool
Take a family trip to the wildlife preserve in Louisiana
Learn how to change my own oil in my car
Learn how to check and flush/fill fluids in my car
Learn the basics of how my car works
Get a book on constellations
Try to identify at least five of them in the sky
Write a love letter
Surprise someone
Put Christmas decorations on the outside of the house
Have sandal heels re-tapped or CHUCK THEM
Make a care package for someone
Buy something hand made
Visit a place that’s rumored to be haunted
Tape and edit a video to create a FINISHED PRODUCT

Start date: February 16, 2011
End date: November 13, 2013