Saturday, June 29, 2013

When in Rome...Take Meaningful Romantic Photos!

Greetings Everyone,
Between shows in Rome and Rockmart, I was able to take a quick trip across the street to Shorter University, formerly known as Shorter College, our Alma Mater.  Not only did we go to college there, but we also met each other during our freshman year, dated the next few years, and then got married during spring break of our senior year in 2002. 

Shorter University - where Lindsay and I met and was educated in all things biologically related. 
Now, I know you are all wondering the same thing...exactly how did we meet?  I'm glad you asked.  I will tell you.  Lindsay and I met in the usual way - she saw me sitting at a table eating during lunch and thought I was quite handsome and decided to sit down (at least I'M pretty sure that was why she sat down).  We asked the usual questions, "What is your major?", "Where are you from?", etc.  Come to find out, she was from near Augusta as was I, so, being the trusting person that she was, she later asked if I could drop her off at her exit the next time I went home and then pick up her on the way back so that she wouldn't have to drive thru Atlanta traffic.  On the way we talked about our skating skills (of which I later learned were a tad bit over-exaggerated on her part, but that's another story) and listened to some Bon Jovi.  She thought my name was Michael the whole trip home (she admitted this later).  Good thing for her I introduced myself to her dad before she did - saving her extreme embarrassment and awkwardness. 

Now fast forward.  After getting back to college Lindsay pursued me and we eventually went on a date to a skating rink.  This was the start of a college tradition - almost every week we went to the skating ring for our date (along with DQ after church on Sunday nights), and Lindsay eventually learned how to skate properly - and she still has the scars to prove how much work she put into impressing me with her skating skills. 

I officially asked Lindsay out at about 2am on October 14th 1998 after talking to her for hours trying to get up the courage.  The previous few hours were spent at the spot in the photo below - although the stairs use to go down all the way - evidently some renovations have taken place since our college experience. 

I remember talking a LOT about my dog Rusty - who was the best dog ever - a collie - just like Lassie, only better. 
Then, at 2am sharp, I asked her out at the steps of her dorm and she answered, "I thought you'd never ask."  I knew she couldn't resist me...

"I thought you'd never front of my 2am"
Yep, that those steps are where we officially started dating.  Over the next few years we did a lot of skating and even more studying and lab work - mostly in the following building - Rome Hall.  I still look back and think about how much I hated dissecting a cat in that building for weeks and weeks and weeks.  That was when I decided that Lindsay is the doctor in the family - not me.  Disgusting stuff.  I did, however, enjoy the owl pellets, shark dissections, and fruit fly experiments. 

Rome Hall - where all the science geeks hung out.  Lots of 4 hour long labs AFTER classes were over.  I'm just thankful I'm still alive after a semester or two of Organic Chemistry Labs - not a favorite of mine. 
Now, as far as proposing - that was done at the end of the building above (Rome Hall).  I had it all planned out - I would take Lindsay to the end of the building looking out over the city of Rome and propose - at which time she would be extremely excited and happy.  It pretty much went just as I planned.  She said "yes" and I must say, it was the best decision of her life...I mean, the best decision of my life to ask her...and also the best decision of her life. 

The bushes have grown up since we were there.  She said "yes" to my marriage proposal right on that porch. 
Specifically right here...minus the plants.
The view is a little smaller now thanks to all the trees getting so big.  Back then you could see out over Rome.  It was very romantic...just like me. 
And that my friends are some of the meaningful spots from Lindsay and my college years - there were many  more as well, but I didn't have time to visit all of them - like the skating rink where Lindsay destroyed her knees trying to impress me, the church where we got married and served as youth pastor the last two years of college, the weight room where we got buff, the lake where we went roller blading, or the theater where we watched Armageddon.  Those will have to be saved for another blog. 

Oh, but no blog about Shorter would be complete without a picture of MY dorm - Roberts.  I was too afraid to go in when I visited last week as I didn't want to smell the smell of a guy's dorm.  It is not a pretty thing.  But I did spend 4 years in this building - and several times I had to climb through the window of the second floor balconey to get to my room, which was beside the main room, because my roommates had left our room and locked the door while I was in the shower - so, yes, I was climbing through the window wearing just a towel.  But that is also a story for another blog. 

This was where I spent my early, early mornings after Lindsay and I got back from skating.  Curfew was at 2am on the weekends.  So, after sitting on the steps of Hazel (Lindsay's dorm) I would walk back to Roberts and play video games until the very wee hours of the morning (and by video games, I mean either wrestling or Resident Evil). 

My room was to the left of the doors on the second floor balcony. 
I remember this being green several times over the years...and filled with bubbles...
And there you have it - some special memories from my time at Shorter and my visit there between shows last week.  It's always a treat to get to go back to Rome where I met my sweetheart. 

Until next time,

Friday, June 28, 2013

Our Little Readers and Random Summer Reading Tidbits!

Greetings Everyone,
The summer has reached the half-way point as far as the Vacation Reading Program is concerned and now it's mostly out of town shows - in Lexington, SC, York County, SC, and then Savannah to finish up the summer show season.  However, the main emphasis of this blog post is to share with everyone the following photo of two very excited kids who finished their summer reading logs and are now ready to start over on their own as well as use the many prizes that they received.  Reagan actually wants to use all of her free treats, free putt-putt games, and free bowling coupons all at once - so it will be a busy day tomorrow!

Yes, that is an official Brave bow and arrow that Reagan is sporting - one can never be to prepared on a trip to the library. 
 Not only does Reagan like to read for the Summer Reading Program, she just LOVES to read period.  This was her the same morning - I snuck in and took this pic before she realized I was there.  She was reading a library book she had checked out on weather.  Right now at this very moment, her interest include weather, the rock cycle, and tarantulas - although that could change at any moment. 
Fascinated by the weather and what causes it. 
For example, after coming home from gymnastics the day before - something else that both kids are enjoying very much, there was a rainbow in the sky.  What does one do when one sees a rainbow in the sky?  Well, you check out a book on rainbows the next day at the library of course. 

Seeing a rainbow = trip to the library for rainbow books.
See the kid WAY in the back in the glowing green shirt climbing up the wall?  Yep, he's ours. 
And here is Reagan standing on the balance beam.
Now then, on to the summer reading tidbits I mentioned previously.  We had some GREAT shows over the last few days - in Cedartown, Rockmart, Rome, Villa Rica, Winder, and then back here in Augusta and Lincolnton.  Huge crowds at several of the places, including this shot from Winder which was BEFORE it got packed!
Standing room only at Winder - these kids and parents in the front row arrived hours early for their seats!
While in the Rome area, one must always stop in Cave Spring for a little antique and fudge shopping.  While I didn't find any antiques, I did find some Rocky Road fudge for my wife Lindsay.

One of Lindsay's favorite things - fudge.

Of course, the difficult part for me is not buying Lindsay fudge - it's remembering to get it out the car during shows and at night when checking into the hotel.  This fudge made it out the car and into the hotel room on the first day, and then ran into some trouble as I left it in the car during two shows the next day - thankfully it was still edible - or at least Lindsay ate it anyways - so all turned out well in the end. 

After my first day of shows in the Rome area I went over to the movie theater in town and watched two movies back to back!   The main reason I did this - the large Coke Icee included free refills, so it was only right to watch the first movie (Superman) and then get a refill and watch a second movie (World War Z).  I know what you are thinking - how were the movies - they were both okay - not great, but not horrible either.  The Coke Icee and Coke Icee Refill receive two thumbs WAY up however.  On the way to the second movie, I did catch a glimpse of the new Pixar movie that will be coming out in a few weeks - my little boy is terribly excited about it.

May have to take Grady to the midnight premiere...if they have one for a kids movie.

And now this blog needs to come to an end as it's getting late and there are snakes to be fed and baby carrots to be handed out to hissing cockroaches, giant millipedes, and not-quite-so-giant millipedes. 

I shall leave everyone with a few actions shots at the Rockmart Library, including one of their Zombie Gnome who was caught investigating my stock escape trick.  I think he will have no trouble getting his little head out of there!

Our brave and strong volunteers! 
Getting 280+ kids quiet after the snake comes out! 
Zombie Gnome Sighting!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Camden County Library Record Crowds and Other Random Summer Reading Thoughts!

Hello Everyone!  The summer reading tour is in full swing and the show is really starting to come together nicely now that it has been audience tested 27 times at the time of this blog post.  Wednesday's show at the Camden County Library was GREAT as always and it also had a record breaking crowd - some of which showed up an hour early to get a front row (or near the front row!) seat for the magic. 

These folks in the front row were the hardcore magic fans! 
Record crowds were also seen in Harlem, Henry County, and several others!  And after the first two weeks of June shows, June of 2014 has already been booked for the first two weeks!!! 

However, there was one memorable twist at the Camden County Library show that no one knew about until now.  When I arrived to set up one of the first things that I always do is open up my critter cage (where the snake appears during the show) and take out all the animals and put them in their places for the show.

Here is what the cage looks like between shows - lots of animals inside!

Now then, as I opened up said cage and got ready to remove animals, I noticed that the tarantula's container was not only empty, but was also wide open.  The two halves of the round ball he is in were completely apart! 

Tarantula container but no tarantula...unless you notice the top right corner...
My first thought was that she was probably squished by the snakes who are quite heavy.  However, upon further inspection, I could see something above all the other critters on the back wall of the cage.  Lo and behold it was the tarantula - safe and sound and out of harm's way!!!

Of course there is nothing like looking into a dark space and seeing THIS:

Safely on the wall waiting for me to find her...
Thankfully she was cooperative and went easily back into her container and the show was able to go on without a hitch!  On a side note, not only did the tarantula get out, but a few days earlier the hissing cockroach had escaped from his container...twice.  Both times he was also found sitting quietly on the wall.  The morning of the tarantula escape both snakes also decided it was time for their monthly bathroom break - so they got new pillow cases between shows - and the new cases are a jungle theme - thanks Wal-mart!!!

Unrelated to this, I was also able to see some great decorations over the past few days - some of which allowed me to do my show without my backdrop as the decor was perfect for the theme and my show.

Great decorations - and it was all done by a teen volunteer at the Swainsboro Library!
Over at the Sardis Libary I was able to pick up a free book of what I thought was "Dracula" but upon further inspection was "Dracula" along with several other classic vampire stories by famous authors - including Edgar Allan Poe!  The cost was 25 cents, but, as I mentioned, I was told to take it - which I did!  Along with my book, I also discovered this guy hanging out on one of the shelves - most of you will probably recognize him immediately!

It's Hagrid!!!
 There are so many other things that I could write about just from the last few days, but I'd better end this as I have to get up bright and early to head to shows tomorrow.  I will leave you with a photo of Sarah the tarantula and one of my scorpions - both of whom were glad to be home after being out of town for two days of shows.  They even seemed happy for me to hold them - and didn't appear in any hurry to get off my hand when I was putting them into their cages for some well-deserved downtime. 

These two were being very sweet and least as cuddly as a scorpion and tarantula can be!

Until next time - have a magical day!


P.S.  Here's a few photos from the Camden County Library that one of the parents in attendance sent in!  Enjoy!