Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Date Night..

Over the past few years, Donna and I have made it a priority to have a date night every couple of weeks. With me being out of town, Josh being home, and several church events, we hadn't been in a while. So, last Friday night, we went out.

We went to our favorite Paducah restaurant (Red Lobster). It is as you know Lobsterfest right now which cemented my desire to go. I got a lobster tail, crab legs, and shrimp scampi platter that was really good. Afterwards, we split a Chocolate Wave. It did make me miss Josh. Whenver he was with us, he and I would split one. We would both eat as quickly as we could so that the other wouldn't eat more than their share.

We usually try to run any errands that need running after we eat out. Donna needed to get some walking shoes. Shoe Carnival was having a buy one get one half price sale so we went there. After quickly purusing the men's aisles, I left while she looked. The area around the Shoe Carnival used to have several stores I liked to visit. I could go to Circuit City or Office Max. I could even clothes shop at Goody's. However, these are all gone now. I ended up going to Gander Mountain.

If you know anything about me, you know how out of place I am at Gander Mountain. It's like a polar bear in the Sahara. I am not an outdoorsman. I have nothing against those who enjoy hunting, fishing and camping. I have several relatives who are avid sportsmen and I live in one of the best waterfowl hunting areas around (Ballard County). I am always intrigued by the varied amount of equipment there. I looked at the different kinds of bait which reminded me of Hank Hill and his disdain for "cheater bait". Hank's a staunch worm man. I made it around to the plethora of camping equipment. I was looking at the video section (on how to track down the "Big Buck") when one of the employees spoke to me. I started to protect that I was "just looking" but he remarked about my UK2K shirt I had one. This started a 15 minute converstation about UK basketball past and present. I finally dragged myself away just in time as Donna was getting ready to check out at Shoe Carnival.

On the way home, we stopped at the Dollar General Store. We'd been unable to find any cheap two-liter sodas so we knew we could get them for 1.25 there. Turned out they were on sale and we got several for 1.00 apiece. We finally got home in time to check out a little NCAA tourney action. It was an excellent date night.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blue Orleans...

What a year it's been for UK fans! Never in my wildest dreams did I believe we'd do so well. We lost several players and had to bring in a whole new group. We had four new starters (three of them freshmen). Coach Cal has done a great job in getting this team to play as a unit and they have great chemistry.

For the first time in several years, I went to a couple of games. First, I went with Josh to see Ole Miss at UK. The UK students are allowed to buy tickets for 5 a piece. Since the team is now so popular, not all of the students who want tickets can get them. you go and wait in line then they draw for who gets the chance to buy them and who doesn't. Josh hadn't gotten drawn. I wanted to see a game and of course see him so went. UK won by double digits and we had a great time.

Later, Jonathan and I went. We went to see UK try and avenge one of its losses (to South Carolina). UK won by 20. Jonathan ended up getting to hang out with his brother and get a taste of UK life. We really had fun there too.

I figured I'd seen all the UK games I'd get to see in person this year. We bounced around the idea of possibly going to the Milwaukee "pod", but hadn't really seriously planned it. I found out on "Selection Sunday" that UK had been placed in the New Orleans pod. When I got home from church Sunday night, I (just for fun I thought) checked out the ticket prices. They were pretty reasonable for lower arena seats (100 apiece for corner 20 rows up). This was also spring break week for UK and WKCTC. I talked with Donna and decided to go for it! I got a couple of tickets to UK's first round game with East Tennessee State. I tried to get Josh to go with us, but he'd promised his friend Cory King to take him to Lexington that Thursday.

We decided to drive to Memphis Wednesday, go to church there, and then drive the rest of the way Thursday. We thought about getting tickets for Saturday. Jonathan wanted to get back for the singing at our congregation Friday night. I also wanted to go to the annual Leadership Conference at Briensburg church of Christ on Saturday, so we passed.

We left Wednesday afternoon and got to Memphis with no problem. We actually stayed at Horn Lake Mississippi since it was right off of I-55 (our main route to New Orleans). It was only 20 minutes to Memphis. We stayed at the Drury Inn there. Drury's (as I've mentioned before) is one of my favorite places to stay (my only beef with them is there aren't enough of them around). They've now added a light dinner to their ammenities. We had egg rolls, wings, baked potatoes and salad.

We went to Bible Study that night at Getwell church of Christ. They publish an excellent Christian periodical called the Spiritual Sword. I've been there numerous times and everyone there is very friendly and hospitable. The preacher there is Gary Colley who is a an excellent preacher and teacher. It seemed like he'd only been teaching for a few minutes when we ran out of time. We got to talk a little basketball of course before and after services. We went back to the hotel to rest up for the drive the next day.

Our drive went fine. We drove about six hours stopping only once for gas. You drive to the end of I-55 and then head East on I-10. We got there faster than I thought we would. Our hotel (Drury Inn and Suites of course) very graciously allowed us to check in early. It's a very nice hotel. It was about 6 blocked from the stadium. Parking was right outside in a lot saving walking through a parking garage labyrinth. I'd had reserved a suite (it was only a little more expensive then a regular room. Our room was fabulous! Two flat screen TV with HD and plenty of room. We threw our stuff down and went to find food.

I had wanted to get a Po' Boy sandwich (what we'd call a sub around here). I'd found several recommended ones online. We went for Mike Sergio's which was a short walk away. I wanted to try a fried shrimp po boy. As we waited to get our food, the owner started talking basketball of course. He had a UK helmet prominently displayed on his counter with Coach Cal's signature on it. He said Coach Cal and his family had been in several hours earlier. I guess it was possible since there was a Hilton Hotel right next door. We took our food back to the room. The sandwich was better than I even hoped. We enjoyed watching games and especially Murray State pulling out a last minute win.

About 5:15pm, we headed for the game. The game was to be played at the New Orleans Arena (home of the New Orleans Hornets). It's right behind the Superdome and only six blocks away. We of course were subjected to many scalpers along the way plus all sorts of celebratory posters and images of the recent New Orleans Super Bowl win. We got in and took our seats. They were as good as I'd hoped and we had a great view. However, the gym only ended up being about half full. I was a bit disappionted in the turnout. Most of the fans there were UK fans though. UK started off a bit slow but then got hot. Patrick Patterson scored on numerous inside moves and Eric Bledsoe hit seven threes. UK lead by as much as 40 before winning 100-71. We ended up staying for half of the Texas/Wake Forest game. We talked with several Texas fans sitting around us. We got back to the room and saw Texas lose on a last minute shot. Made us glad we weren't at the arena.

The next morning, my goal was to go to the Cafe Du Monde for beignets. If you don't know that those are, they are a cross between a doughnut and a funnel cake. I walked a mile to get there and get some to take back to the room. I took the way back to the hotel that allowed me to take the Riverwalk and see the Mississippi River. I got back and Jonathan and I enjoyed the beignets thoroughly.

We left and headed back. We only stopped once (to gas up and grab lunch). Jonathan subjected me to some of his music and I subjected him to Dave Ramsey. We had a lot of fun. As a lady at church tells me "You made another memory".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Walkin' in Memphis

Being a Denver Nuggets fan, I don't get many opportunities to see them in person. They do play the Memphis Grizzlies a couple of times a year so I finally took advantage of that and found a date they would be in Memphis.

My brother Kevin and his family live in Memphis. He's a Grizzlies fan so I checked with him to see if wanted to go. He was all for it and said he'd get the tickets. The game was last Saturday so I drove up Saturday morning. I listened to the first half of the UK-UT game. I listened to the UT network. It was funny to hear them complain about Wayne Chism being beat up under the basket. I thought "well, what's good for the goose.." I went to my brother's and saw the 2nd half. UK really cranked up the heat and blew UT out in the end.

Kevin's wife Kim and daughter Kristen were not going to be there that night, so we had the run of the place. My sister Jody came down to watch Zach so we could go the ballgame. We played some Wii basketball and I pretty well stank at it. My brother pulled out an old Intellivision game console with his games. I ended playing one of my favorite archive games - Burgertime. We let Zach decide where to eat and he chose Dyer's downtown (more on that later).

We drove downtown and parked. We walked to the restaurant down to Beale Street. This of course led me sing "Walkin' in Memphis". We stopped and grabbed the last table at Dyer's. Dyer's is a hambuger place on Beale. They are supposed to have excellent burgers. Their claim to fame is the grease they use to fry the burgers. It's supposed to be the same grease used since 1912 (a special blend). They just filter it out each night and reuse it. My triple burger and fries did not disappoint, they were excellent! Zach and Jody headed for their house and Kevin and I went to the FedEx Forum.

Kevin had gotten us club seats and they were great! We had our own private section with concessions and even areas with padded chairs to relex in. We even had our own bathrooms just for Club level patrons. The game didn't start off well. Memphis played well and Denver played rotten defense. Memphis let all of the first half. Denver finally rallied to tie the game at the end of the third quarter. In the 4th quarter, JR Smith went off. He was hitting three pointers like mad. Denver got out to a 24 point lead and ended up winning easily. I forced my brother into the tradition I have of never leaving a game til the end. We went back to my brother's house. We ended up playing Intellivision Baseball til late and then went to bed.

I got up that next morning and my brother surprised me with bacon and eggs. I left about 9 to head for Getwell church of Christ. I enjoyed worship there and hearing Brother Gary Colley speak. Afterwards, I headed for home. I listened to the exciting UK-MIss State game. I almost drove off the road when Cousins hit the putback with .1 seconds to go to force OT. I hated not seeing it on TV, but I had a thourougly enjoyable time in Memphis.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Steak 'n Shake

Friday night, Donna and I decided to go out. First, I went to Kohl's and she went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. She bought some new curtains. I bought a new pair of ASICS running shoes for 39.99. I also had to buy a new winter coat (my good one somehow traveled to Lexington with someone else). I got a 100.00 coat for 30.00.

We went to eat dinner at Steak 'n Shake. It's the first time we've been there in years. We used to go a lot when the boys were younger but quit for some reason. Donna and I discussed it a bit and couldn't remember why. I'm thinking it's that their service got slow (see IHOP - Paducah). I can report that the experience this time was fine. They have a 3.99 menu with multiple items on it. I got a triple steakburger and fries for 3.99. Donna had a single with fries. I was planning to get a milk shake. However, there was a delectable looking Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae on the menu, so I tried that. It was great. A couple of soft chocolate chip cookies with ice cream and fudge sauce and only 2.99! Primeau. Donna had a Butterfinger milk shake that she really liked too.

Our waitress was very enthusiastic and attentive. The food came out reasonably fast and was really good. Donna got on me once for wolfing it down so fast. The manager even asked what I thought of the sundae when I left.

Steak 'n Shake is now back in the first tier of restaurants for the Yancy's.