Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Good Time In The Gateway City Part 2

Welcome back. As this post begins, I want to take you back to Saturday July 22. Paula and I are spending a long weekend with our friends in St. Louis. 

Our plans for the day changed direction with the discovery of what a wonder the is when we attended the show at the Fox Theater on Thursday

As we were standing in the lobby that night, Patty found out from one of the staff volunteers that there are tours on Saturday mornings. We decided that we wanted to learn more about this magnificent link to the past.  

On Saturday morning, about 9:30 we headed back toward downtown St. Louis. Once again, at my suggestion, we stopped by the Stage Left diner before hand. This time it was for breakfast.

At first it was nice because the place was not crowded at all as it had been on Thursday evening. But that was about the only thing that was better about this 2nd visit.  

The morning sun shining through the window blinds caused a bit of a problem for us to the point where we had to switch our table after ordering.

The breakfast food was a little lower on the food quality scale than had been our dinner the other night. We probably won't be going back there again. 

After we finished breakfast we headed over to the Fox Theater box office to buy our tour tickets. 
Once we got them, we entered the lobby through the same doors as Thursday. 

As part of a very large group the four of us stood in the lobby awaiting the start of the tour. As I looked around I noticed something about the lobby that was different than when we were there on Thursday. It's not something you'd see in a theater built in this day and age of tight budgets and high construction costs. Here's a video to show you what I mean. 
A little after 10:30, we were given a very enthusiastic greeting by a woman who was in charge of the theater tours. She welcomed us to the...
A name she told us was exclusive to this facility in St. Louis. It was obvious that she was very proud of what we were about to see as she explained some of the theater's history and plugged the upcoming season of Broadway shows.
She went on to say that our tour would start shortly but first she wanted to show us something that no one else on any previous tour had seen. 

We were led to our right into what I would call the extended vestibule of the theater through a series of archways to a small split level room with tables, a piano, and bar. 

The tour director announced that this was "Curtain Call", the brand new Fox Theater lounge. It had been created at the cost of $1 million dollars.  

I'll have more on this new addition and the entire theater tour in my next post focusing exclusively on The Fox Theater. 

Our theater tour lasted about 2 1/2 hours and most of that was spent walking or standing. So after we were finished I was pretty tired. 

All of us were hungry so Mark and Patty suggested that we go to a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch.  We drove through downtown St. Louis to Rosalita's Cantina. 
Mark did a good job getting through the traffic created by crew from the water department working on a near by water main break. We got a parking spot just steps from the door. 

I had my usual Mexican dish, chicken fajitas. Paula had a taco salad. Neither of us finished our entire entree. We took them back to the town house to have for supper. 

At the start of our Saturday our afternoon plans included something I had requested to do. 

Some time after our first visit to St. Louis, last September, I found out that there is an IKEA store there. Other than Atlanta the St. Louis store the one the furniture franchise store  that's even remotely close t to those of us who live in Kentucky. I've heard so much both pro and con about IKEA that I want to experience one for myself. 
That was our plan for Saturday afternoon. 

I knew that IKEA stores were big and it took a long time to walk through one. But it wasn't until we passed the St. Louis store a couple of times on our journey around the city that I realized exactly how big this one really was. 

Because the theater tour had me on my feet for so long, I was really tired. While at lunch, I withdrew my request to go to IKEA and suggested we just go back to the town house and chill. 

We had been with the Quigley's for two days and had not done the one thing we really enjoy; playing cards. 

Ponytail Canasta around the kitchen table is the number 1 activity of choice for the four of us whenever we hang together. Rather than explain how to play here's a link to the rules: How To Play Ponytail Canasta

For this visit we divided into our usual teams, the guys against the ladies. While we played we listened to music on my I-pod. I had created a playlist for us but we also listened to some special requests. 

We played two games over the course of the afternoon and evening. Stopping only to warm up the leftover Mexican food for our supper. 

Mark & I weren't so lucky in our second game. We got "skunked". 

Our St. Louis Saturday came to a close about 10 when we all said "good night" so we could get up early in the morning. 

Sunday in Missouri started for us by doing something we hadn't done in a while, going to church. 

Mark & Patty had recently started attended First Baptist Church of Arnold. It's about 7 miles north west of where they live in Fenton. We went to the 9:30 service the 2nd of 3 held each Sunday morning. 

It's a large church with a very big worship center and a gym (aka family life center), a "banquet hall" and lots more. It's what I call a "Mega" church. The main auditorium was set up with all the modern electronics necessary for the "Smart phone" world we live in now; including broadcasting over the internet.

Here's a bird's eye view of the worship center. We were sitting in the 2nd row right in front of the pulpit. 

When we walked into the sanctuary the first thing I noticed was the giant screens on either side. A timer counting down the time before the service would begin was running on both of them. 

We found our seats and were greeted by the Senior Assistant Pastor of the church. 

With about 2 minutes to go on the timer the screens switched to show a video produced in the style of the "first look" segments you see if you arrive extra early to a movie these days. 

It did a quick run down of what was happening at the church over the next few weeks. It was an interesting way of making the announcements. 
After a short song service, a song by the choir and full orchestra and the collection of the offering the crowded platform was cleared leaving just the preacher. 

The pastor, Ken Qualls, preached about a sermon about the word "Nothing" in the Bible. This day's message was about "Fishing for souls". 

Part of his message in regard to developing relationships with non-Christians outside of church was something that Mark has been talking about for the last few years. I can understand why he is drawn to that church. 

One of Paula's best friends from work grew up in St. Louis. This friend absolutely loves Imo's pizza; a local restaurant franchise. When she found out that Paula was going to St. Louis for the weekend she asked my wife to bring back a large Imo's pizza for her. 

So after church Mark and I went to Imo's Pizza to pick up her pizza and get ourselves some lunch. We each got a 12 inch pizza to split with our wives along with the "to go" pizza. 

It was the first time any of us had ever had Imo's. Although I'm not usually a "thin crust" guy, I liked it. The unique thing about this pizza is that Imo's uses a special blended cheese called "Provell". A mixture of cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheese. It's very popular in local St. Louis cuisine.  

Shortly after we finished eating lunch, we packed up and I loaded our suitcases and other stuff into our car. 

At about 12:30 we went with Mark & Patty (in separate vehicles) to an open house close to interstate that would be the first leg on our trip home. 

Mark had found the house was for sale online and wanted us to go look at it with them before we headed back to Kentucky. 

We looked through the house and they really liked it. They even engaged in some conversation with some of the very friendly neighbors. Patty really appreciated the fact that it was less than 10 minutes from where their daughter, son-in-law, and grand daughters live. 

Once we finished our tour of the potential future Quigley homestead we said "good-bye" to our hosts. We thanked them for a fun weekend and generous hospitality. 

We followed them out of the housing development to Telegraph Road and then on to highway 255. Soon we quickly crossed over the Mississippi into Illinois. 

Our weekend with the Quigley's was over and the longest pizza delivery I've ever made had begun. 

We had a smooth trip home making a brief stop in Evansville to fill up with gas and get some supper from Arby's. We arrived back home around 7. As always, it was good to get away and good to get back home again. 

Thank you for reading part 2 of my account of our weekend in St. Louis with our friends. I realize that this post was more of a journal than anything else. But I really wanted to make a record of the great time we had. 

My next post will be published soon. I will shine the spotlight on and share more details about our experiences at the Fabulous Fox Theater. I promise it will be worth coming back to read about this great venue. See you then.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Good Time In The Gateway City Part 1

Hello again everyone. I haven't posted in over a week for a couple of reasons. 

One of them is something we all have experienced. My laptop's hard drive decided that it no longer wanted to work. So data backup and weighing my options on what to do going forward (repair or replace) became a top priority. 

The other reason for not posting was that my wife and I took a mini-vacation this past weekend. Our time there hanging with our friends and exploring the city, is enough to require a 2 post series to write about all the details I want to share with you. 

It was a trip that had its origin 6 months ago. Here's the story of our mid-July trip to St. Louis, MO. 

Back in January, I was watching NBC's Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Two of his guests were Steve Martin & Martin Short. 
The show was a rerun from October 2016. 
They were promoting their national tour.
I thought it would be fun to go see them if they were coming to our area. 

I looked their touring schedule and sure enough they were coming to Nashville in early spring. Then I saw a date in mid-summer in St. Louis.
 This got my attention for several reasons. I will expound on most of them later. For this post I want to explain one reason. 

My friend, Mark, who lives in St. Louis, and I are both very big Steve Martin fans. As a matter of fact, one of the very first things we connected on was talking about the "Wild and Crazy" guy's stand up comedy. 

I couldn't think of anyone else I would rather have with me when going to see Martin in person, than Mark. We hadn't seen the Quigley's, since September of last year. 

I got in touch with him and we decided that the Martin/Short show would be a part of a weekend visit with them.

Six months later, on Thursday July 20, we made the 5 hour drive to the "Gateway to the west" reuniting with our good friends. 

Shortly after we arrived and unpacked the car it was time to go pick up Patty at the downtown hospital where she works. From there we would head to the theater on North Grand Boulevard. 

We purposely arrived a couple of hours before showtime. We planned on enjoying dinner at the diner right next to The Fox Theater. It's appropriately named the Stage Left Diner. 
At first I found the diner's name rather strange because if you face it from the street it's the to the right of The Fox. But as I would learn a little later, in perspective to the theater it's actually on "stage left". 

It's a nice little place that's decorated in a retro style. But it's not over the top like a Johnny Rockets. 

The menu is typical diner fare based mostly on burgers and fries. They also offer tater tots. 

The four of us ordered a variety of dishes. I got a Swiss mushroom burger and fries. 

I must say that, at best the food was average or below. It wasn't bad for what it was. The place is probably more of a convenience for theater patrons than anything else. 

But the best thing about it was the company. Even though it had been nearly 9 months since we'd seen Mark & Patty, after only a few minutes it seemed like it was only yesterday.  
The main problem with the diner was the volume of the music they played. I can't say it was "background" music because it really interfered with our conversation. As a matter of fact it even made it hard to communicate with our waiter. I'm still not sure of his name. 

After we ate it was time to head on over to the Fox Theater. 
I had a real excitement about getting to see Steve Martin live. I had my ticket in hand as I headed toward the multiple doorways. I chose one that was being held open by a very welcoming door man. 

He was so upbeat and friendly with his greetings that I decided that I needed to get a selfie with him. 
 Upon entering the front doors I had no idea the wonder I was about to encounter. It was an overwhelming sight. I started taking pictures and shooting video. 

After looking around and taking lots of pictures we made our way up the 3 sets of winding stairs to our place seats in the 
upper balcony. We were 3 stories above the stage just a few rows from the top of the seating area. This was our view of the stage. 

The show was 2 hours long with no intermission. It was very entertaining. You could tell that a lot of the material was scripted but it didn't matter. This was Steve Martin and Martin Short. The Steep Canyon Rangers music also added to the quality of the show. 

Now it may seem that I've written a lot about the theater and the show but there's a lot more. I will devote an entire post to the details of the show and The "Fabulous Fox" in the near future. 

By the time the show started at little after 7:30 we were ready to have a good time. 
The show ended about 9:30 and we headed back to Mark & Patty's town house for the night. They were gracious enough to allow us to stay with them during our visit. 

Shortly after getting home we said "good night." Although we'd been in St. Louis for a few hours it was already enough to make for a great weekend. and it would only get better as the days went along. 

The next day, unfortunately, Patty had to work again. So it was just Mark, Paula and me for most of the day. 

Mark was gracious enough to make us a delicious breakfast of bacon & eggs with toast. 

After breakfast we had to decide what we wanted to do for the day. The area was in the grasp of a mid western summer heat wave (triple digit temperatures) whatever we decided we knew it was going to have to be indoors. So at my suggestion we headed to the West County Mall. I wanted to go to the Lego store.

Now, I know you are probably saying yourself, "He's on vacation. Why go to a Lego store?"

The answer to that is that the store was only 10 minutes from the Quigley's town house. The drive there and back was less than 1/3 of the time it takes for me even to get to the Lego Store in Nashville. Knowing that, I almost had to go. 

Also, I wanted to get the new kit that's only available to VIP members before August. 
I also got a special "with purchase" kit too. 
We also went to the "Go!" toy and games store just across from the Lego store. I got a surprise for my granddaughter that I'll give her one day soon. 

We enjoyed a snack in the food court and then headed out. 

Mark & Patty were still looking for a house to buy while we were there. Mark was prudent in keeping an eye on what, over the last few months, had proven to be a very fast moving real estate market. 

He found a house that they might be interested in that was on the way back to their town house. From the mall we drove by the house and looked around at the exterior. He would have to set up an appointment with their agent to see the inside later. 

Patty got home from work a little after 5. We enjoyed a nice dinner of rotisserie chicken and veggies. 

Our evening outing was a trip across town to a nationally famous St. Louis landmark.  

Ted Drewes' custard stand is a very popular ice cream stop for both St. Louis visitors and residents as well. 

As the sign pictured above says, it's famous for its "concretes". These treats are soft ice cream with candy or other treats mixed in. They have been served by Ted Drewes in St. Louis since 1929. That's about 60 years before DQ served their first Blizzard. 

The other unique thing about the place was that it was once part of the famous Route 66. The one that inspired the Pixar movie, Cars. 

Here's a shot of me and the rest of my Drewes crew in front of the sign. 
I tried one mixed with cookie dough while I was there. Here's a link to my You Tube video I made. Ron @ Ted Drewes In St. Louis

On the way back to Fenton we drove down Grivois Road most of the way. We drove close to some land that's part of Grant's Farm. Its the 280 acre ancestral home of the famous Busch family. A big part of it is a large game preserve. 

I got excited because from the road I could see buffalo grazing on the land along with deer and horses. Although they were a safe distance away and behind a fence, it seemed kind of strange to see them so close to the road. They got my attention.

Although it wasn't in our plans for this trip, next time we go to St. Louis, Grant's farm it will be on my agenda. 

The end of the 2nd day of our trip was spent back at the town house playing a couple of games of Quirkle. It's a shape/color matching game played with individual game pieces.

Although I came in last in both games (Mark & Paula each won one), I had a good time playing. 

So that's where I'll end "part 1" of this series. Next time I will start with how we spend our Saturday and Sunday before we headed back home. 

Remember, I'll have a special post with more details about the Fox Theater  and the show we saw there coming up as well. 

Thanks for taking the time to read about our trip. There's a lot more to come so come back and I'll meet you in St. Louis.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Introducing "Stripes"

Today's post is going to announce an addition to our Kentucky family menagerie.  

At the start of the month, between our 4 family households our "pack of pets" included: a saltwater tank full of fish, 2 cats, and 3 dogs. 

A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law, Theresa, added another cat to our stable. 

She had a cat named Penny up until a couple of years ago. Penny was a very unique and peculiar kitty who really liked me. 

Unfortunately, Penny crossed the "Rainbow Bridge" due to health issues. 

A couple of months ago Theresa started talking about wanting to have a pet again. This time she was going to get herself a dog. But those plans changed a couple of Saturdays ago. 

Now I am telling this story from memory so I may get some of the details wrong but the spirit of the story is there. 

Theresa was with some friends at their horse barn after having attended a competitive equestrian event. 

While taking care of the horses, they heard a loud squall from within one of the stalls, which was obviously from an animal. 

One of Theresa's friends discovered a small grey tabby kitten struggling to stay afloat in one of the water troughs. 

He fished him out, saving his life. From what I understand no one knew where the cat came from; they could only guess. 

Although I don't remember the exact series of events that led to it,  Theresa decided to bring the rescued kitten home. 

So our family now has a new feline in the lineup. It is my pleasure to introduce you to him. This is Stripes. 

It was about a week after Theresa brought the kitten home that I got the chance to go by and meet him for myself. 
From the moment I picked him up he was purring and friendly. He was very playful too. here's a link to the video I shot. 

Stripes Plays With Shoe Strings

As you can see he's a very loving and playful kitten. No one is sure how old he is but he's pretty young. 

Since we lost our cat, Lil Bit, a few years ago Paula and I have decided that we would not get another cat. 

But I have always told her that if we ever did decide to get another one; I wanted a nice friendly gray tabby cat. That's exactly the type of cat Stripes is. 

Although I've only met him once, it's a good thing that he's already part of our pet family. Because if I had come across him at the local Humane Society facility I don't know if I could have resisted taking him home with me. I guess I'll just have to settle for stopping by to play and visit with him every once in a while. 

Welcome to the family, Stripes. 


Saturday, July 15, 2017

"Be Our Guest" Times Three

It's been a couple of years since I've spent any time listening country music on a daily basis. But for about 15 years our local country station was the first button on my car radio. I still like it but just don't listen to it that much anymore. 

When I was an avid listener to country, I noticed that one of the keys to having a hit that got air play was a song with a "3 in 1" theme. 

These types of songs take a premise, often the song title, and use it in 3 different contexts, one verse for each. Here are links to some of these types of songs on You Tube:

"Don't Take The Girl" by Tim Mcgraw

I'm Already Taken By Steve Warnier 

Good As I Once Was By Toby Keith

Although a lot of the 3 for 1 songs are decent I always thought they were a bit of a creative hack; an easy formula, if you will.  

But sometimes a "hack" makes sense. In this case the "3 in 1" works for this post. 

It is based on the phrase, "Be Our Guest".

Over the last month there have been 3 ways this theme has come into play for me. 

Now I've already written about being a guest for an evening at Bowling Green ballpark courtesy of my sister-in-law. So that doesn't figure in this post. Here are the details of 3 other recent "Be Our Guest" experiences. 

The first one involves Walt Disney World but not for me directly. Back in the middle of June, my niece, Teejai, made her first trip to Orlando to visit WDW, with her friend, Melanie and her family. 

During her last 2 visits to Kentucky I have encouraged my niece to take a trip to WDW as soon as she can. She's a big fan of Disney, especially Stitch. It was her dream to go to the Magic Kingdom and meet him. 

When the opportunity came up for her to go in June. I did everything I could to help her make that dream come true. 

Now a trip to Walt Disney World is a big investment for anyone; be it an entire family or just an individual. Because I encouraged her to make the decision to go so strongly I kind of felt "responsible" for her having a good time. I was telling her to "go for it". So I felt like I was inviting her to "Be My Guest" at the place where dreams come true.   

Being an experienced WDW visitor, I offered Teejai and "Mel" assistance with their plans before they left and while they were there. 

I gave them access to some of the Disney based websites and apps I have subscriptions to so they could use them. I gave them Fast Pass strategies as well.  

I wanted to share with them all my knowledge and "insider tips" to help their time in the parks be the best it could be.   

Although I tried not to be too pushy or intrusive in their vacation, there were probably times that I gave them more info than they wanted to know.  

I'm sure my daily communications through phone calls and text messages (a lot of them initiated by me) seemed rather excessive at times. But the reality that she was actually there made me want to be there right by her side. Keeping in contact with her through our phones was the closest I could get.  

Her text telling me that the Magic Kingdom fireworks made her cry means along with me she's now a fan of "The World" for life. 

Unfortunately, she missed her chance to meet Stitch by 5 minutes. But the pictures she sent me, proves she had a great time. 

And in a way she did have an encounter with Stitch. 

My 2nd recent "Be Our Guest" experience was an invitation from our kids during the the July 4th holiday week. 

On the night of July 3rd James and Brandi invited us to their first backyard cookout and fireworks display. 

The unique thing about this occasion is that it is the first "party" type event that James & Brandi hosted at their new house. 

Without going into great details, hosting this type of event is only natural for both of them. They are both family oriented and very social. It's practically in their DNA. 

There were quite a few guests there too. There were members both sides of their families, some friends, and neighbors. it's always fun to meet new people and watch the kids running around having a good time. 

They had a couple of canopies set up in their backyard with a table under one of them. Everyone was asked to bring their own chairs. We took our rocking lawn chairs.  

I took a bag of Lay's "Sausage & Gravy" flavored potato chips. I had mentioned to James a week or so earlier that I thought he might like them; so I took a bag for him to try. They caught the attention of a few other people at the picnic and soon they were just about gone. I also took a batch of my double fudge dark chocolate brownies. They were very well received and nearly all of them were devoured too.  

The hit of the day (other than the fireworks show) was the burgers and hot dogs cooked on James' new grill. It is double sided. One side is for charcoal or wood chips and the other uses propane. 

A small team of helpers assisted him in making the perfect cheeseburger. But it was my son who was very proud of is first big venture using his new cooking appliance. 

Once a bit of darkness set in it was time to start the fireworks show. Here are a couple of videos to share some of the highlights of the backyard show. If you notice some fireworks off to the right, it's another display that was going off in the distance. A bit of a bonus for us. 

Here's another fireworks video that's too long to display on this blog. The link will take you to my You Tube Channel. 

The Conner's Backyard Fireworks

The evening ended with the release of about a dozen flaming lanterns one-by-one into the sky. This was mainly for the enjoyment of the kids. 

I couldn't help but bring up the video of the song "I See The Light" from Disney's Tangled on my phone so it accompanied my granddaughter's lantern release. 

Paula and I had a good time at the first Conner family picnic. I thank James & Brandi for inviting us to be their guest. I look forward to the July 4th picnic and fireworks becoming a tradition in the years to come.

The 3rd event that fits the "Be Our Guest" happened at our house on Sunday July 9. It was the conclusion of Paula's birthday celebration combined with a favorite family meal. 

We invited our kids, grandkids and my sister- in-law, Theresa to our house for a late Sunday afternoon get together. Our dinner included: the steaks on the grill (marinated in my special mixture for a couple of days and grilled on the copper grill sheets you see advertised on TV),Paula's homemade mashed potatoes, Southern style green beans, Velveeta Mac & cheese (only kind some of my family members will eat) and Mrs. Shubert's dinner rolls.

For dessert we had a triple chocolate cake with chocolate peanut butter icing in the middle and dark chocolate on the top. It was good but a little too rich for me. I probably won't make something with that much chocolate in the future. 

I must tell you this kind of gathering at our house is one of the joys of my life. I just love having everyone around and seeing their interaction. I know that no family is perfect; but for the most part my family really gets along. 

After we enjoyed our dinner it was time for the other reason that we were all together. It was time to give Paula her birthday gift. 

This year we all went in on one gift that is a really good fit for her at this time in her life. 

Here is a link to my You Tube video of her opening the gift. The banter in the background is family members talking about also recording the scene and my daughter-in-law and son playing a game of Monopoly together on their phones.   

Paula Opens Her Birthday Present

Here is a close up of the Family Heart pendant we gave her. 
The jewels on the right are the birthstones in order of the chronological birthdays of all our immediate family members: Aria, Michael, Brandi, Paula, Theresa, Heather, Me, James and Gabriel. The big stone in the upper left is December, for our wedding anniversary. 

So there you have my trio of "Be Our Guest" themed events. I enjoyed them all and just had to share them with you. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I will invite you back again soon. When I do I will be introducing you to the newest pet member of the family along with his story of how he twist of fate brought him to us. Also I will be sending out notification on Facebook of a special video version of the "Latest In Lego". Til then...See Ya! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

RHFactors Digest #4

It's only been a couple of weeks since my last digest post but I have enough different things to write about that it's time for another one.

First up are a couple of additions to one of my posts from a couple a weeks ago which was about changes here in "the grove". 
The first change is not within our city limits but it does effect our area. 

After a couple of years of construction, a new exit has been opened on I-65 8 miles south of Smiths Grove. 

The shots of the signs and on ramp were taken while the road was still closed. But last week's ribbon cutting officially opened the new highway between the interstate and the Kentucky Transpark, an industrial zone just a mile or two away on county road 68/80. 

The exit was built to give factory employees and 18 wheelers delivering to the industries within the park, easier access. 

The 2nd additional change is, literally, closer to home. A house is being built just a few yards to the left the back corner of our property. 
Another house near by doesn't really bother us. It's just that from what we've heard this may be the first of a few new buildings in our neighborhood. We really like having an open lot next to us. It helps keep the peace the on our relatively quiet street. The open lots within the area that's bordered by our street and the county highway is zoned residential. Hopefully not all of them will be developed.  

Last weekend my wife and I watched a critically acclaimed autobiographical film from last summer that got Meryl Streep her 20th Oscar nomination. 
Simon Helberg (Howard Walowitz on Big Bang Theory) and Hugh Grant co-star and are very good as well. 

The film is entertaining in and of itself. But I enjoyed it more because I knew some of the history behind the woman it was about. 

If you ever decide to watch Florence Foster Jenkins, I highly recommending watching this report from an August 2016 edition of CBS Sunday Morning before you do. 

July 1st was my darling wife's birthday. I made the day special by taking her to Nashville. The steady downpour of rain made the drive down 65 a bit difficult but we got there just fine. 

Our first stop was the Rita's Italian Ice shop in Nolensville. I had to treat her, it was her birthday. 

Next it was a trek down Old Hickory Blvd to route 100 and Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theater.  

We were there to see the play, Sister Act. 
We have been going to this venue for almost as long as I have lived here in Kentucky. I was a bit skeptical about this visit because over the last couple of years, the quality of the experience, especially the food on the buffet, had diminished. 

But in January of this year, the original owners retired and new ownership took over.

Because we enjoyed "Sister Act" when we saw it on the "big stage" in Louisville a few years ago we went back for this special dinner theater production.

I was pretty optimistic about our return almost from the moment we arrived. We got to park in the ADA spaces just steps from the front door. Then we got to sit on the middle level of the dinning room. Our table had very comfortable seats and a great view of the stage floor. 

Our waiter was a guy named Adam. He's been with the theater as long as we've been going. He's my favorite Chaffin's actor. But on this night he was part of the wait staff. 

The buffet turned out to be much improved. Other than the vegetables, which were rather bland, everything was delicious. 

The play, which included 18 actors, was an amazing production. There were several excellent singers including the woman who is the new co-owner. 

We had a wonderful evening. It would be safe to say that we will be returning to Chaffin's, which is much improved in it's 51st season. 

Now, I can't write about our evening in Nashville without mentioning our drive home.

We left the theater parking lot about 11 o'clock. As we drove onto I-65 from I-40 there was a bumper to bumper traffic back up due to some kind of emergency near the Trinity Lane exit. 

I didn't see exactly what problem was because when we passed by, we were in the lane farthest away from the scene. 

Relieved that we had finally gotten through the backup we saw a flashing message board warning us that just 20 miles up the road the highway was completely closed. 

Not wanting to get stuck again, Paula found us an alternate route, by way of 31W, that allowed us to bypass the section of the highway that was closed and get back on just 50 miles from home. 

We got home about 1 AM. Turns out that the highway was closed due to a fuel tanker spill. I'm glad we took that detour because I know someone who didn't. They got caught up in the backed up traffic and were stuck on the highway for 11 hours. 

In the past I have been to see our local minor league baseball team, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, play plenty of times. But over the last few years I've only been to a game or two at the most. 

I have watched a game from nearly every area of the ballpark. I have even been in the local radio station's broadcast booth for an inning. But there was one place in the stadium I hadn't experienced yet; the stadium suites. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Theresa, I got to do that this past week. 

On the night of July 6, we were in the Houchen's suite #3 on the 2nd level of the ballpark. 

It was a very comfortable air conditioned room with a sink, a small cooler, a table with stools, and a counter with stools windows facing the field. In this picture is our friend from church, Sylvia. 
 The door on the left leads to the seating area. 4 rows of seats gives a great view of the field to about 20 people. On this night the home team was set to take on the Dayton Dragons. 

Here's a shot taken from my seat at the start of the game.
To give you perspective here's a shot of our suite I took while standing on the 3rd base side of the park's concourse. The seats are circled in red. 
Even though a lot of rain came through earlier in the day, it was a great night for a ballgame. The clouds at sunset were beautiful. 

My sister-in-law was the host for the night. In addition to me, in our suite were ladies from her Bible Study group, some friends, and a couple of her neighbors. 

One of the special privileges of being in a suite is that you get a special visit from one of the Hot Rod's mascot, Roscoe. 
The game was relatively short at 2 Hours 25 minutes. There were 20 strikeouts and 11 hits between the two teams. The Hot Rods won 2-1 on a pair of solo homers. 

The evening allowed Theresa to cross something off her personal bucket list. I want to thank her for a very nice return to the BG ballpark. 

A few days after the game, my sister in law got an unexpected addition to her household. I'll have more details on that in a future post soon.

So there you have my 4 "digest" post for this year and my 2nd post of July. 

I wanted to take the time before I wrap things up to mention my progress in reguard to reaching my posting goal for the year. 

With the start of July, 2017 is half over (the "official" halfway point was 12 o'clock on July 2nd). Including this one I have published 46 posts so far this year for a total of 913 since April 2008.  

As stated back in January, I want to reach the 1000 mark by the end of 2017. To do that I have to put up 83 posts between now and December 31st. 

To do that I have to double the pace I've set for the year so far. I think I'm up to the challenge. So get ready to come back twice as often as you have been. Post 1000 is in within striking distance. See you next time everyone.