Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Simple Life in Cooperstown,NY

We are sleeping in at Wake Robin Cottage this morning.  Tommy and Sallie are still asleep and I just woke up.  We lost two more yesterday but every game we play better.  We aren't giving the games away but we aren't making the hits we need too.  Rob has been very busy in left and right field.  We are really having fun.  We had a game at 8:30 and one at 1:30.  In between games I took the Mortons and Emily to our house to have lunch and veg out.  It is funny that our little cottage is one of the bigger places to hang out.  It was in the 50's when we woke up yesterday, gorgeous weather all day.

The fields are completely surrounded by green wooden fences and the seating is to the sides the dugouts like a long bowling alley.  So it is pretty hard to see the games.  There is this high ledge around the box so you have to stand up, lean out or stack plastic chairs to be able to see out.  So we do a little of all of those.  No siblings are fighting (with people not in their family) and are enjoying playing together.

We went to the baseball Hall of Fame last night and it was very interesting.  Pretty simple but very interesting.  The boys really didn't want to walk around with their parents at all.  I think they were enjoying their freedom and didn't want us impeding it.  Rob has been like this the whole time in Cooperstown.  Not rude but wants to keep us at arm's length.

They have gobs of people working at this complex.  Mostly senior citizens and college age students.  They have a bunch of rules about where to walk, where to stand, and where to be.  These college age students will just yell at you with no hesitation if you fall out of line.  I have not personally been yelled at but have observed these kids keeping the parents in line.  The guy who owns this place runs a tight ship and we know it.  He is not into pleasing the parents but keeping everything running as it should.  Pretty refreshing since in the deep south you often times want to be this way but never can get away with it.

The big boys are all getting along so well and meeting new people from all over the country.  I will take more pictures today, I left my stinking memory card at our cottage yesterday.  Clara got to see the exhibit about the women in baseball yesterday and she was really excited.

I don't understand the no air conditioning thing up here.  I am sorry even though I would only use my central air maybe a couple of months I would have it up here.  The only rooms that are cool are the bedrooms because of the window units.  The rest of the rooms are pretty muggy and the windows are always open.  They don't have any ceiling fans either, I just think it would get old but I guess it is what you get used to.

The food up here is definitely hit or miss.  Pizza or Italian is the best bet always.  There is one restaurant TJ's downtown that is good with other things but most places are just average.  That is ok, once again kind of like Disney.  The country side is gorgeous and tons of dairy farms.  The lady Alana who lives below us is always at home.  It is kind of comical.  I don't know if she is a homebody or doesn't trust us.

We might go to some antique shops today along this county road, they look interesting.  We are missing Middle School Registration tonight, and none of us are sad about it.  Too much reality and we are still in our time warp.  This has been such a fun and relaxing trip.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Waking up at Wake Robin Cottage

[slideshow]We moved into our Wake Robin Cottage.  It is a cute old little house that kind of reminds me of my grandmothers house.  It was window units in the bedrooms and creaky wood floors.  We love it.  Alana and Dave (the owners) live below us in the basement.  Alana was outside last night in her nightgown visiting when we got home last night.

This is beautiful country, rolling hills surrounded by mountains.   It really is rural but not really country.  We checked the boys in this morning and it really is like the Disney World of Baseball.  So clean and organized, a well oiled machine.  They all have the same jersey but some are red and the others blue.  There are 103 teams here from 30 states and Canada.  After we got them settled they ran off to trade pins with other players, like at Disney World.

We went to downtown Cooperstown for lunch and this weekend is Hall of Fame induction weekend so there was a large crowd for Cooperstown.  The street was full but no one in a hurry.  Former players were on the sidewalk signing autographs.  Some you had to pay up to $100.00 for Robin Yount and Ricky Henderson.  Clara and Lewis bought baseball cards from one of the Negro league players from Detroit, Pedro Sierra.  He was so gracious.  It really was a little bitty town filled with die-hard fans.  The women were definitely in the minority.  We came  back to our cottage and relaxed with the Youngbloods.  Clara and Sallie have been playing bandanna Grams.  We had the opening ceremonies tonight and it was amazing.  The guy who owns the organization was the mc.  He honored a former player who was killed in Afghanistan and told us stories about former players and team.  He told us about a team that lost all their games and got mercy ruled all the game.  This team had a pizza party on the last night and when the coach asked to describe their team in one word they said: wonderful, good, terrific, and joy.  Love that story and thought we could be a joy team.  Then they had three skydivers that landed on the field: they had on baseball uniforms, had smoke streaming from their suits and they were all in their 60's at least.  Then all the teams proceeded in and it was amazing.  All they sweet boys 12 year old boys with every color and size, and even a couple of girls.  The umpires came out to Darth Vader's theme.

They then went into some skills competitions on the different fields.  The fields are interesting because you can't see through the fence anywhere.  The parents sit to the right or left of their team's dugouts and that is it.  Brian said that was for crazy parents who yell at the umpires.  They have strict rules of conduct: if a player is caught with his hat sideways or shirt outtucked or pants not up at the knee then they get suspended for 2 games.  They only are guaranteed 7 games.  I love this old school stuff.  Tomorrow the games are at 11:00 and 4:30, our first one will be on the website, cooperstowndreamspark.com.  Rob is number 14 and the team name is Oak Mountain Eagles.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Slurpies and Chocolate

We are on our way to Cooperstown by way of Hershey, PA today.  We just stopped and got the kids their first Slurpies.  We have walked many a mile in our new shoes in the last two days.  Everyone but Brian got new shoes for this trip.  Clara had outgrown the ones I bought in June; she now wears an eight in women.   I bought mine so Sallie can teach me to run on this trip, I will let you know how that turns out.  Rob and Lewis bought shoes at the Foot Locker in DC the first night we were there.

We went to the National Museum of Natural History the first night; the kids liked it pretty well.  This museum has not really been updated that much, the kids are so used to museums that are interactive that it wasn’t as interesting to them.  I don’t even mean electronic or anything just something they can participate in.  Lewis’s obsession of this trip and this summer has been sharks.  He wanted to know if there were any “Shark stores” in Washington DC.  I said we would see.  When we were leaving the ocean part, the ocean store was closed but we spied a stuffed shark trapped in a long plastic column.  So I told him that we would find one at the big gift shop.  We went to find it and they said that item had been discontinued; we told the lady we saw one upstairs.  She just looked at me and then I asked if we could buy one of those even though the store was closed.  She looked at me again and then said it will take me 10 minutes to get it.  I said wonderful.  She went and got it and while she was gone we found a pocket guide to sharks.  Just in case we need to identify and sharks on our trip.

We walked to all the monuments, the kids loved them.  I was interested to see the WWII memorial because I had never seen it.  There were all these interns/young folks playing softball in the Mall area.  They looked so carefree and so YOUNG!!  Clara retrieved an errant ball and threw it back to the guys, they said, “nice throw” and looked impressed.  We went back to the shopping mall where we caught the Metro and had a late supper.  Hagen Daz had 50% off customer appreciation day, we took full advantage.

Yesterday we went to see the White House just from the outside; we didn’t have tickets to get in.  We saw all the fire trucks in DC at this one building across from the white house and there was smoke billowing out of the top.  Watched that awhile and then got lunch.  We then went on the Capitol tour; this had changed dramatically since I was last there.  The security is very tight and you have to be approved for a tour and you have to stay with your tour guide the whole time.  We loved this, probably our favorite thing.  It made me a little sad though, because of the changes 9/11 made there.  One of my dad’s best friends Sonny Montgomery used to be in Congress for years and this was the first time I had been there since he passed away.   The statues from the States were fascinating.  All the statues of the men from the Deep South were very handsome.  Longer hair and chiseled features.

We then walked to the Modern Art Museum and that was pretty lost on the boys.  Clara and I enjoyed it though, and it was not crowded like everywhere else.   We then went to the Air and Space Museum and the kids liked that.  It was interesting the evolution of commercial flight, I was right; flying was better when I was a kid.  We went to the Museum of American History and then had added some more interactive exhibits.  My favorite part was the inauguration dresses of the President’s wives.  The boys like the transportation part.

We have just left Hershey, PA.  What a neat place.  We went through the museum first and I am glad we did.  It was fascinating learning about Milton Hershey’s life and passion for philanthropy.  He donated $60 million in 1918 to a charitable trust.  The trust set up a school for orphan boys.  The school is still open and serves children from all over the country.  They come from homes where the average income is $13,000 and they need educational opportunities.  Once they are selected for the school EVERYTHING is covered for them.  They have healthcare, clothing, travel expenses, food and lodging.  Their families never pay a dime.  They have house parents and there is a waiting list for people wanting to teach there.  This trust owns 71% of stock in Hershey’s so they have plenty of funds.  They do no fundraising and can’t advertise (because of a stipulation of the trust).   What an inspiration!! Anyone can apply, they take preK to 12th grade and they often take siblings together.

While we were there we went to Chocolate World where they had a mini tour/ride that the kids loved and then we were dumped into the mass of people.   It was packed so we picked out our souvenirs and got back on the road.  That is where we are now.  I tell you now that I know all those wonderful things about the Hershey school it makes me feel more justified in buying that chocolate!!![slideshow]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make Way for Ducklings

We left Birmingham around lunch time and arrived in Bristol at 7:30 their time.  We had a good trip up there and stopped on the way in some part of Tennesse at a Phillips 66 .  The restrooms were outside and my kids were so fascinated by all the stray cats.  I had forgotten what city kids they were.  I grew up with my grandmother on my Dad’s side always having a herd of “stray cats” that she fed.  Same way at this Phillips 66, a cat of every color and a huge box full of cat food.

We continued on to Bristol, TN (always reminds me of Sarah Palin’s daughter).  We checked in to the Hampton Inn and the lady at the front desk recommended The Brooklyn Café.  The outside looked kind of hookey but when we got in it seemed like a nice place.  Very over decorated but nice.  We realized pretty quickly that it was going to be a long night, there were several couples but only one server/hostess/bartender.  We were glad to support a local restaurant though, the whole town seemed almost shut down.  At one point I stepped outside to call my parents and found a Hampton Inn key on the ground, I picked it up thinking it was ours.  Brian said no, and so I looked around with it and everyone in the place was staying at the Hampton Inn except for one table.  The server/hostess/bartender’s mother must work the desk at night at the Hampton Inn.

They didn’t have a kids menu there, so Lewis ordered cheese sticks  By the time she took our order they were out of them.  She came out and said, “He says he has run out of cheese.”  I felt like that episode of Sesame Street where Grover is the waiter and the little man keeps ordering things and Grover goes back to the chef, then comes out saying, “The chef says we are out of that.”  The décor was very much like Grover’s restaurant too.   We finished our meal up and one of our fellow Hampton Inn residents asked the server about her many hats and she told us that her husband was the chef.  They had been pretty slow since the recession and she was it mostly.  We were glad we had helped them out, even though the kids were a little tramautized by the duckling on the menu.   Lewis thought it was special though, when we were leaving he asked, “Is this like somewhere you would sit ( referring to the outdoor concrete seating) if you were on your honeymoon?”

The whole time we were eating across the street (about an hour and half)there was a huge and contiuous line at the gas pumps.  They were selling gas for 1.98 a gallon and everyone in town wanted in.  They had someone directing traffic too.  Then we went to find ice cream and in the same parking lot of the TCBY the same thing was going on at a gas station there.   Different brands, we were in the middle of gas wars.  We felt like we were in a time warp.  I got so tickled because Rob saw a baseball card shop and said “Look at that Baseball Card shop.”  Rob said, “But it is closed.”  Clara said, “No it is not there are people in there jumping around in there, why are they doing that in a baseball card shop?”  I looked and then told Clara, “That is a Karate studio.”  I got so tickled I had tears streaming down my face.  Clara said, “Mom you look so weird when you laugh that hard.”

We got a great night sleep and ate breakfast with one of our fellow Brooklynites and loaded up.  Brian forgot to check out, never happens with Mr. Fuller, so it was funny.  This part of the country is very pretty, I have never driven though this part of the country.

We should be in Washington, DC early afternoon.   I just finished a historical fiction book about a woman who was a courier between the mob and JFK,  so I am in a historical frame of mind.  Loving life on the lam!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Hugs and Kisses sock

I found a sock in the sock drawer that I was waiting to find the match for.  It is pink and sparkly and says hugs and kisses on it.  I just realized tonight that I didn't have to find the match anymore, no one could fit into it if I did.  It was a toddler sock and Clara wears a size 7 1/2 women's shoe.  It made me sad, so I stuck it back in my drawer.

Lewis got his haircut today.  He hates getting his hair cut, I mean hates it.  He loves Mr. Gary but hates the whole process.  I think mainly he hates the hair that gets all over him.  He always has to take off his shirt when he gets done.  Maybe he will outgrow it by the time he is a teenager.

I got my hair colored and cut today.  Went back to my natural color minus the gray, dark brown.  I feel more like myself.  We are starting to get ready for our Cooperstown/Washington DC trip.  Rob is playing with some friends at the Field of Dreams park in Cooperstown, NY.  We will stay up there for a week and we will go to DC on the way up and back.  Yes we are driving, hopefully it will be manageable since we are breaking it up.  We are really looking forward to it.  Lewis and Clara will have buddies who are going too, and we are staying with some of our best friends in a house.

I called a friend this morning and told her I had two pork tenderloins in the pack I defrosted and did they want some for dinner.  She said sure and I did the pork and boiled some corn.  She brought bread, asian slaw, and banana puddin.  We had a good shared meal.  I always cook too much so we should do this more often.

Rob survived his first day of double football days.  He got his spirit pack with the team shorts etc.  I ordered him a youth Large but they didn't order any youth sizes so he ended up with an adult small.   They are a little big.  They come down below his knees, as my friend Whitney said, "At least they aren't capris."  Big in the waist but at least they don't fall down.

Monday, July 12, 2010

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

We are enjoying summer so much.  We had a long weekend in Canton last weekend and I got to see all my nieces and nephews.  Henry had his 3 year old birthday party and the theme was water.

[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="Ebony and Ivory"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_138" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="Parks-handsome little nephew"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_134" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="The Whole Montgomery clan"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_133" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="Elizabeth and Ruthie in a watery ballpit"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_132" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="Fearless Ruthie"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_131" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="Lots of nieces and nephews except for the kid in the red "][/caption]

I finally got my roof finished.  The crew who put it in were interesting.  They made the biggest mess I had ever seen.  They did get all the nails up when we were out-of-town but they left a caulk gun hanging in the tree, a pack of cigs in the yard, and their trailer in my driveway.  I had to call the contractor to get them to come get the huge trailer.  All and all the roof looks great, I am glad it is over with though.

We went to see Despicable Me today.  It was so cute, We decided Rob was Margo, Clara was Edith and Lewis was Agnes.  When you see the movie you will understand.  I am now watching a documentary called  "A Small Act."  It is about a man from Kenya who went to Harvard and was sponsored every month with $15 from a woman kindergarten teacher from Sweden.  He created a foundation that provides scholarships to secondary students in Kenya and he works the UN.  Hilde (the teacher) was a Holocaust survivor and was saved from Germany by the Swedish government and she wanted to give back.  Great story, very inspiring.

Several young adults from our church have  started an orphanage (sozochildren.org) in Uganda.  They are such amazing young people.  Last night they were in a sports bar in Uganda when a bomb went off, all of their lives were spared by the grace of God.  To read the story http://www.foundationonrock.blogspot.com I wept as I read it.  These are children of mothers who I see at church all the time.  It reminded me that God really has the whole world in His hands and that terrorist are pure evil.

Back to suburbia, Rob is starting back at football tomorrow and twice a day.  I am working on framing some artwork of the kid's and found great deals at Old Time Pottery.    After a little spray paint they are perfect.  Sorry this is so scattered, my kids have been stealing my boyfriend Mac (laptop) and using it to play Toontown.  They are a little obsessed.  Better post next time I promise.

[caption id="attachment_184" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Can you believe this is a CVS?"][/caption]

This CVS is in Madison, MS.  It is so crazy looking I had to take a picture of it.  This town requires that business not have tall signs and controls the appearance of all businesses.  I wondered if the CVS people did this to make fun of the restrictions.  Basically you can't tell what most business are from the street.  The Walgreens was the same way, crazy to me.