Friday, November 27, 2009

Our CMA Experience - Part II

We got up the following day at 7:00am, left the room by 8:00, went thru McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast, and were on our way. Bruce was driving and the GPS system was in place. Nashville, here we come. All the country radio stations were talking about the CMA's that night. They were all playing music from artists who were nominated. It was great! We first drove straight to the Grand Ole Opry and Opry Mills Mall. We wanted to look in the gift shop at the Grand Ole Opry but only ended up purchasing something for my mother-in-law for Christmas. Then we went to the mall and wondered if we would really be able to walk the whole thing because it looks HUGE from the outside. We parked at Dave & Buster's and went in through their entrance. We didn't stop in there at that time but continued on and began checking out the stores in the mall. We are actually pretty quick shoppers. If a store doesn't look appealing to us, we don't go in. Shoe stores look appealing to B1 and me, sports stores to Bruce, and a handful of other stores to all of us. Anyway, about 1/3 of the way through, I noticed a little stand in the middle of the walkway called "Gigi's Cupcakes." Basically they were gourmet cupcakes in many different flavors with a LOT of icing on them. All 3 of us are suckers for icing. B1 and I bought one, intending to share it. Before we walked away from the stand, we had purchased 2. We each gave Bruce a small bite of ours and he declared that he needed one as well! Funny. But they were really good!

OK, so we did actually finish walking around the entire loop of the mall and it didn’t take all that long, maybe 1.5 hours. We ended up in Dave & Buster’s and ate a nice meal there as well as playing some games. We then headed to downtown Nashville. I think by now it was about 3:00pm. We found a good place to park for $10.00 which was only about 2-3 blocks away from the Sonnet Center, where the award show was to be held. Our plan was to just casually walk around downtown Nashville, looking for some souvenir stands or shops. We walked towards the Sonnet Center and noticed a big crowd of people hovering around outside. There was also a tent set up. I asked Bruce what was going on and he said he was sure it was the red carpet area. Cool! So we walked up, stretched our necks, and saw what we could see. People were already pretty deep as many had been there since about noon. B1 and I decided it would be cool to stay and watch people arrive. We had heard a few big names who had supposedly already arrived. I don’t know what they would be doing there so early?!? But anyway, Bruce wanted to walk around and I wanted to stay at the red carpet. B1 was torn. She went with him for a little while but then came back to stand with me. We really didn’t see much. You knew when people arrived because the crowd went a little crazy. But then again, there were television crews there and they were telling the crowd to whoop and holler for the cameras.

The red carpet area was big. I mean the part we didn’t even see was big. We could see a long white tent where, after the stars got dropped off (most of the time by a limo driver), they went into. There was a car parked just outside the tent that the stars were signing as they got dropped off. They ended up giving this car away for some type of charity I believe. We moved around from place to place to try to get a better view of things. It was neat just to people watch. At this point of the day, we were all dressed in jeans, warm shirts, and jackets. Many of the people, however, were dressed for the show already. Some of those women had to be cold! Sleeveless and sometimes even strapless dresses were popular. Guys wore anything from jeans to tuxedos. Hair, make-up, and jewelry were definitely paid attention to while preparing to go to the show!

Around 5:45pm, B1 and I decided we needed to go back to our van and get ready for the show. We weren’t sure where we were going to change and as it came down to it, we just changed in the van, with one of us holding a blanket up to shield the other. Rednecks are we! We had both purchased a new pair of shoes (of course) earlier in the day for the big event. She wore black pants, a colorful short-sleeved shirt, and her new shoes. She had also straightened her hair that morning. I also wore black pants, new shoes, and a red and black long-sleeved dressy top. Bruce opted to remain in his jeans! We tried not to claim him! LOL.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our CMA Experience - Part I

I am trying to compose a post about our CMA trip earlier this month. The post is getting to be a bit long, so I've decided to split it up into parts. Here is the first:

Bruce, B1, and I attended the CMA Award Ceremony on 11/11/09. Attending an award show is something I've always wanted to do (a "bucket list" entry, if you will) and back in September, when the nominations came out and I realized the show was going to be on a day we had off school, my mind began turning. I then realized that the following day (11/12) was a day I didn't have to be at school until 12:00 noon because I had parent/teacher conferences until 8:00 that night. So that gave me an extra 4 hours to work with. This all came together in my head in about 10 seconds and I then said to Bruce "let's go!" He said "really?" And the following day, he was on the net trying to get tickets, which of course he did.

We left on the evening of 11/10 around 6:30pm. I drove that entire evening. We stopped in Okawville to get dinner in a DQ drive-thru and then quickly stopped at a convenient store to get some sunflower seeds (my favorite snack to eat while driving). B1 was my navigator in the passenger seat while Bruce sat in the back and did some schoolwork, sudoku puzzles, etc. It was dark and we were listening to music on whatever country radio stations we could find. We were having a good time. We stopped at a rest area which I hadn't remembered seeing in the past so we could go potty, throw away some trash, and get a drink. Back on the road.....Bruce decided to sleep and B1 and I were chatting away. Pretty soon, we come to the river that you cross over to go into the next state. As we approached the middle of the bridge, I looked up and saw a sign that said "Missouri state line." What? Missouri? That's not right. We're supposed to be entering Kentucky. Huh? For a second, I seriously thought maybe the highway department had made a mistake here. Now Bruce is waking up because B1 and I are confused and he hears us talking. Next thing we see is a sign that says "Welcome to Missouri." Yep, we were totally in the wrong place. Gees.

I remember seeing the sign that said "I-24 to Nashville.....2 miles." I don't remember seeing anything else about I-24. I knew that in that part of Illinois (about 50 miles from the southern border), some interstate ends and another begins. But the deal is that if you are traveling NORTH, then I-24 ends. If you are traveling SOUTH, it begins. But I-57 keeps going too…..into Missouri! I assumed the interstate we were on ended and I-24 began and I was just fine; there was no other option; we were on the right road. Wrong. So now we get out the GPS (which I, a self-proclaimed map aficionado, certainly didn't think I would need because we have made this drive (to Florida and other parts of Tennessee) many times). I was hoping it would give us a route to take to cut across part of Missouri and put us back on I-24 in northern Kentucky. No such luck. It said that the shortest way to go would be to go back 52 miles and get on the right interstate. Oh great. So that's 104 miles round trip and if you drive 70 mph, it's basically 1.5 hours wasted. Bruce wasn't real happy. I wasn't either really but I kind of thought it was funny. I wish I could have a picture of the look on my face when I saw the Missouri state line. What the?????? I guess this explains why I didn’t remember that particular rest area from previous trips and why some of the towns we passed didn’t sound familiar to me at all!

And on second thought, I should have pulled out the real map (the paper one!) and checked because the following day when I did so, I did see a road we may have been able to take to cut us across over to where we needed to be (after I made the mistake). Live and learn I guess. If you have a GPS, use it.....even if you don't think you need to!

OK, so we only made it as far as Paducah, KY that night. By that time, both Bruce and B1 were sleeping and I was getting tired. It was almost 11:30. I made an executive decision on my own to get off the interstate and drive to a hotel. Bruce woke up and questioned my decision but I stood firm and told him that we were all tired and it would be good to sleep and just get up a bit earlier the following day. So we stayed at an Econolodge for $64 and it was clean and fine.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Crazy Scheduling!

It's been 2 weeks again, and things aren't going to get any better. Here's why:

11/3: Chaperone fan bus to Springfield, IL for 3pm Super-sectional soccer game, which we won in OT!

11/5: Take dog to doctor at 4pm (she has been squealing loudly in pain when we try to pick her up, not normal), then take B2 to basketball workout at 6pm in Edwardsville, sit in the school and do my own schoolwork during her workout since I have no errands to run at any stores right now.

11/6: Chaperone charter fan bus to Naperville for State soccer semi-final. Leave at 7am and probably get back about 10pm. Preparing for a sub can sometimes be a lot of work!

11/8: Girls sing in church, pitching lessons at 4pm, take B1 to basketball workout thing in Belleville (because Bruce has a Khoury League meeting) from 6-7:30. While she is there, run errands in the strip mall across the street.

11/9: Take B2 to gymnastics from 5-6 and then basketball practice from 6-8, get dinner somewhere in there.

11/10: Taking personal day from school to go on B2's field trip to the Magic House and Spaghetti Factory. As soon as Bruce gets home from basketball, leave to head to Nashville (me, him, and B1).

11/11: Arrive in Nashville sometime in the morning, spend the day "stalking" the stars and attend the CMA Awards that night, then drive a couple hours towards home.

11/12: Finish driving home and be at school by 12:00 for parent/teacher conferences until 8pm.

11/13: Parent/teacher conferences during the regular school day hours, after school, go ASAP to Carlyle for a weekend of scrapbooking! Michelle and I are renting a hotel room for 2 nights and we are gonna try to get a lot done. It's a big gathering in a large-size conference center adjacent to the hotel!

11/14: Leave scrapbooking for B2's basketball game in Highland at 4pm, return to scrapbooking.

11/15: More scrapbooking until late afternoon, then home to beging another week.

So I guess I will be back sometime after 11/15 with another post!