"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Some, some summertime is here!

Saturday, June 2 - So, there's no replacing the amazing Mabel, but the next best thing is not a new kitten BUT TWO NEW KITTENS!!  Holy crap, I hope this works out OK!   Meet Doris Lemon (being held by me) and Byron Finch (posing for the camera) who we adopted from the Chattanooga Humane Society (the same place where we got Mabel 17+ years ago).  I gave the OK for Doris, but Ashlee in her wisdom (hmm?) decided to go for two instead of one.  Her reasoning is actually pretty solid.  We figure they can play with each other and maybe not harass 15-year-old Ms. Bea in the house too much.  We shall see, I guess.  I do have to admit they are both great little cats.  Doris is a little purr-factory and Byron does have markings similar to Mabel and a very sweet personality.  I think we will be better for it in the long run, and their cuteness and cuddlyness sure takes a lot of the sting out of losing our precious Mabel.
We saw an amazingly good show from Fitz and the Tantrums tonight at the new venue, The Signal, in Chattanooga.  Great sight lines and excellent acoustics make this place an easy choice to come back to whenever we can.  We've seen these guys before and love them, but never from this close up.  Their energy and positive vibes are quite enjoyable.  The confetti storm during their closing number, "The Walker," was a hoot!  They had a great opener also: a young band called Spirit Animal with a very unique sound and style.  Before the show, we had a tasty dinner at the fairly new Edley's Bar-b-cue in North Chatt.  We've actually never been to an Edley's before even though it started in Nashville and has three locations there.
Tweeting the love for Chatt-town
Sunday, June 3 -  We visited the new American Draft beer hall set up in a rail car at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo today with our friend, Chris.  It is such a neat place with an excellent selection of craft beer that you pour yourself.  What a cool concept.  We will definitely be back to see place again and again!   Beforehand, we liked Edley's Bar-b-cue so much from last night that we went again for an excellent brunch.  
Wednesday, June 6 - We went to see the Broadway musical, Waitress tonight at TPAC in downtown Nashville with Ashlee's mom, Evelyn.  It was better than any of us thought it would be with great songs, hilarious comedy and a good story all around.

Fun photo op before the show tonight.

Tuesday, June 12 - We attended the SOLD OUT show of Al Stewart at The City Winery in downtown Nashville tonight.   Ashlee hadn't really ever heard of him, but was a good sport to  go for my sake and enjoyed the show.  Honestly, I only knew a few of his songs including his biggest hit "Year of the Cat" which came out way back in 1976.  His show was very good, and  at 72 years old, this living legend Scottish folk balladeer, is amazingly spry and sharp in voice and guitar playing dexterity.  It was an acoustic show, but his accompaniment by  an amazing musician named, Dave Nachmanoff , who played flute, harmonica, bongos and sax throughout the night.  On his signature "Year of the Cat" song, the memorably cool piano part was played by his opener, Nashville native singer/songwriter, Jude Johstone, who is very talented despite her original songs as an opener that were a bit of downer.  We had a tasty dinner as well during the show and this was our first time sitting in balcony seats which were nice and roomy with a great view of the stage.

Thursday, June 14 - Our friend, Bethany, bought us dinner tonight at our local Speedy Burrito followed by some great homemade Mexican ice cream for dessert a few doors down at Adelita's (our first visit), and in turn we treated her to a showing of Oceans 8 at the Roxy Theaters with their awesome recliner seats.  The movie was well-done and enjoyable.
Saturday, June 23 - We went and checked out the hilarious Tag movie tonight at the Roxy Theaters here in Lebanon.  We laughed our butts off as we kicked back in the recliner chairs to enjoy this amazingly true and funny story.  
Thursday, June 28 - We saw the entertaining Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom tonight in the recliners at our local Roxy Theaters.  A pretty good sequel if we do say so ourselves.

Thursday, May 31, 2018


May 28, 2018 - After over 17 years together, we lost our beloved Mabel. today.  We will miss you so much, beautiful girl. Thanks to our cat-sitter and friend, Anjie, for this amazing portrait  shot of "Baby Mabes"  

She was a beauty from the start with big curious eyes, a strong personality and a loving heart that liked to cuddle...once she accepted us, of course.  We got her from the Chattanooga Humane Society and was the first real decision we made as a married couple.  Ashlee had her eyes on a pure white kitten, but Mabel came bounding out of a group of kittens with a "take me home, now!" look on her face and the rest is history.
Mabel loved sitting in boxes and even riding in boxes.  She would stay in a box as you dragged it around on the floor at dizzying speeds...yet, pretty much hated car rides of any kind.
Cuddling was her specialty.  

More box time.  Mabel led a pretty great life.  The two biggest "scares"over our time with her was the time she passed out after smelling some weed killer out on the patio and being accidentally locked in a closet for 3 plus days while we were at Bonnaroo.  Sorry about that, baby.  

My favorite picture of them all.  Did I mention she didn't like riding in cars??  Man, if looks could kill!

She fought oral cancer for almost 6 months as we tried  expensive chemo treatments in Knoxville and Chattanooga (she was a trooper about being in the car then).  When she started to lose her balance and ability to eat, we knew it was time to make a very hard decision...the hardest we've ever had to make as a married couple.

Mabel loved us equally, but I know Ashlee misses her snuggles very much since our other two cats are not into it very much.

I have always loved how mystical this picture looks.  She's so very serious and concentrating on something.

Mabel was even a local award winner although the subject matter could have been a bit embarrassing...but not to her!

Mabel's best friend was Ms. Bea who showed up as a stray many years ago and slowly became the best of buddies.  The quilt they are laying on was made by my dearly departed mother, so this picture is of immense value to me.  And, yes, I am sure "The Nore" would frown on cats laying on her quilt she made for me! 

Mabel's biggest enemy was Zippy.  Another stray that she never really got used to not matter how hard he tried to be friends.

Some toleration of Zippy occurred later on, especially if there was a mutual interest...like watching it rain.

Good lord she was cute!

We love you, Mable, and miss you so much.  Thank you for your love and attention for all those years.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Yes, you MAY continue to have fun in 2018

Friday, May 4 - This bathroom poster tells it all...we saw Andrew McMahon in the Wildnerness  tonight in a sold out show with several other excellent guest musicians for nearly 3 hours of incredible music at the brand new venue, The Cowan, at the new Top Golf Live in downtown Nashville on a stage with a hilarious and very creative Mr. Rogers Neighborhood theme.    Beforehand, we had a tremendously tasty dinner at Butcher and Bee in nearby East Nashville.

Thursday, May 10 - We attended the Opening Night of the 2018 Nashville Film Festival at the Regal Hollywood 27 Theaters and were thrilled to see Steven Tyler walk right past us shortly after we arrived.  He was there to promote the documentary/concert film Out on a Limb which focuses on him and his recent endeavors into country music while living here in Nashville.

After watching the SOLD OUT film which we thought was pretty good (we could have used more documentary about the ultra-interesting Tyler and less concert footage), we got an additional treat of Tyler not only answering questions from the audience, but also performing four songs with his new Americana-based solo band, Loving Mary, who are tremendous.  They opened with their original song, "We're All Somebody from Somewhere" and closed with the Aerosmith classic, "Walk this Way."  What a great night, and a great deal, as we got all this for mere $25 each.  Thanks, NAFF!
Friday, May 11 - We went over to the far side of Nashville tonight along with Ashlee's mom, Evelyn, to check out "Hoppy Hour"at the Cheekwood Botantical Garden to see the new giant glowing bunnies art exhibit by Amanda Parer called "Intrude."  It was perfect weather for a stroll through the beautiful grounds with low humidity and clear skies.  The exhibit has traveled world-wide and while the nine giant bunnies are cool to look out, their overall message is a bit more ominous as the artists' home country of Australia struggles with an overpopulation of rabbits.

Wednesday, May 16 - We continued our attendance of the Nashville Film Festival tonight with a Tennessee Premier screening of  Leave No Trace starring Ben Foster.  No stars in attendance, nor the director, but a beautiful film nonetheless.  We stopped by Brothers Burger Joint in Berry Hill near the theaters for a tasty dinner beforehand.
Thursday, May 17 - It was another amazing night at the Nashville Film Festival for us.  Unfortunately, we had two conflicting films we wanted to see tonight.  The first was the Michael Franti written-and-directed music documentary, Stay Human.  This was the Southern U.S. premiere of the film.  We got there in time (despite iffy weather and terrible traffic) to see Michael out in front of the Hollywood 27 Theaters and Ashlee even got a selfie with him and I got to shake his hand!  Still one of the sweetest guys we've ever encountered!  His feature started at 6:30 and we had tickets to it, so we slipped in to take in a little of it before our other film started at 7 PM.  What little we saw of the film was beautiful and stirring.   We can't wait to buy it or rent it ASAP to see the entire piece.  

Even though we couldn't stay for his whole documentary film, Michael Franti did serenade us in the movie theater before it started with a beautiful acoustic version of his hit, "(Say Hey) I Love You."  What a treat!  

Our conflicting film we wanted to see was the festival's special presentation of the documentary, All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records directed by, Tom's boy, Colin Hanks, who was in attendance.  We love him in the sit-com, "Life in Pieces," and couldn't pass up the chance to see him in person.  It was a tough call, but we have met Michael Franti before, so we made the difficult choice hoping for the best.  We are so happy we did!  Colin sat two rows behind us during the film.  The documentary was well-done and fascinating, and Ashlee even got a selfie with Colin as well after the Q and A session after the film.  He seemed humbled and pleased by the audience's reaction to his film which was a 7-year endeavor for him.
Colin Hanks talks with the media before the screening of his new documentary here in Nashville.
Friday, May 18 -  We finished off our week of NAFF with the Tennessee premiere showing of Hot Summer Nights with today's Hollywood "it-boy," Timothee Chalamais.  The movie was OK, but definitely not our favorite of the festival.  The highlight of the night was dinner beforehand at Vui's Kitchen in nearby Berry Hill.  The food was simply outstanding!

Saturday, May 19 -  Hooray!! It's our 17th Wedding Anniversary!  We took advantage of the good weather and our pool to make it a rare stay-home celebration.  We did wander into downtown Nashville so Ashlee could take advantage of "Yoga and Mimosas" on the roof-top of Acme Feed and Seed with our friend, Ali (who saved me from having to do yoga, thanks, girlie!).  I did meet up with them afterwards up on the roof for a libation.

We walked back over the Cumberland River to our parked car after the yoga and mimosas and listened to the waters make music on the pedestrian bridge.  Very cool and this also shows what a beautiful day it was.  We hopped back in the car and headed to brunch at Fort Louise in East Nashville.  What a quaint little place and the food was top-notch!

Our last stop before heading back to the pool to drift the afternoon away was to check out the new Mewsic Kitty Cafe, a unique adoption agency where you can interact with the felines before making your choice.  We visited a similar place in NYC a couple years back (March 2015) called the Meow Parlour.  The cats here were adorable including this big lazy who let us give her some belly rubs while sprawled out on the table in front of us .  We weren't in the market for a new cat, we just like to hang out with them!

As I mentioned, the rest of the day we lounged in and out of the pool, had  a few libations and some great stakes and grilled corn for dinner.  A nice and relaxing way to spend an anniversary day!
Saturday, May 26 - We headed up to Clarksville tonight for a visit to Beachaven Winery for their weekly summertime "Jazz on the Lawn" with our friends, Wendy and Charly.  We haven't been here in several years and my last visit (pre-blog) was not a good one as I mixed cold medicine and wine for a pretty bad result.  No bad mojo tonight, however, the weather was perfect, the crowd was cool and the band was pretty good with a lot of good cover songs (none of which were jazz).  
Monday, May 28 -  While I try to keep this blog as upbeat and as positive as I can, today was one of the toughest days in our life together as we had to say goodbye to our oldest cat, Mabel, due to oral cancer.  See her full tribute in the next blog post...

Monday, April 30, 2018

Birthday RAMPAGE Month!

It's less than a month until my birthday...let the RAMPAGE begin!!

Thursday, March 27 - We went to see Ready Player One at the Opry Mills IMAX  tonight with our buddy, Wayne.  It was a fantastic film that we just might go see again! 
Saturday, March 31 - We spent a good part of  the sunny and beautiful last day of March today buying a new car.  Welcome, "PK Subaru" (Go Preds) to the family!!  We had to have a new car and Ashlee did a great job researching several makes and models until we landed on this  2018 Outback after a lot of deliberation.  We love the color, the gas mileage, the all-wheel-drive,  the safety and all the whistles and bells.  We look forward to taking him on his first road trip later this month down to New Orleans (or just Birmingham - see below).

Instead of burning up the road in our new car, we drove PK straight home and enjoyed the rest of the beautiful day and evening in our back yard sipping wine by the fire admiring our new purchase.
Sunday, April 1- We decided to indulge in a boozy Easter brunch today at Tansuo, a relatively new high-end Chinese Restaurant over off 12th Avenue in Nashville.  We came for the bottomless mimosas which were tasty, but we were floored at how good the food was too.  Above in the foreground is the pork belly fried rice (my personal favorite) and behind it was the tasty and creative General Tso's Bubble Waffle, a unique take on chicken and waffles.  We also had some tasty bao buns, dumplings and wontons from their serving carts.  We must come back to this place!

We hit the movie theater next and saw the somewhat sweet, but overly depressing film, The Leisure Seeker at the recliner theater at the Green Hills Mall.

We ended the Sunday fun-day by checking out the newly refurbished Noelle Hotel in downtown Nashville and its brand new  open-air rooftop bar, Rare Bird, which just opened this weekend.  The outside seating was closed due to some rain earlier in the day, but we were able to a get a couple seats at the heated bar and enjoyed some libations, house-made chips and a nice cheese plate.  The views are outstanding here and we will try and come back to enjoy the outdoor seating soon.
Saturday, April 7 -  We celebrated Ashlee's mom, Evelyn, and her 79th birthday today with a party at her house with lots of friends and family in attendance.  Despite several medical set-backs, "Evie-baby" rolls on and is able to live at home again which is very important to her.  
Overall it was a nice long weekend in Chattanooga with tasty meals (and a few libations...you know...dealing with family and stuff) at Heaven and Ale Brewing, the Frothy Monkey and the Breu Haus.

Friday,  April 13 - We went and saw the late showing of (Cock) Blockers tonight at our local Roxy 10 Theaters with the recliners seats.  It was hilarious from start to finish.  Thanks again, MoviePass!!
Wednesday, April 18 - Congratulations to Ashlee for winning her first (and our first, collectively) HQ Trivia game last night.  Granted, she only won 55 cents, but given the fact the game started with over 1.7 million players and she answered 12 questions in a row to win along with about 9900 other people is still pretty darn good!  I flamed out on Question # 11 and gave the wrong advice on Question # 12, so this win was all hers!

Friday, April 20 -  My birthday didn't go as originally planned since our nephew, Matt, and his fiancee' Sherrae, decided to get married today down in Chattanooga (4/20 get it...yeah, they like to smoke pot..) which we were obligated to attend and then while driving back we got to listen to the Preds lose at home in the first round of the playoffs to Colorado extending the series another game back in Denver.  Tomorrow will be a better day...I PROMISE!
Hey, what else do serve at a 4/20 wedding?  We brought these as kind of a joke and they were gone in 10 minutes!  

All grumpiness and joking aside, it was a beautiful day for a wedding and the couple picked a pretty spot at the base of Lookout Mountain in Rising Fawn, GA, at the take-off and landing strip for hang gliders.  We wish Matt and Sherae (and baby, Phayden) the best of luck and all the best for a happy future together
Saturday, April 21 - My "official" birthday celebration started today down in Murfreesboro with an early lunch (and beer) at The Green Dragon Pub and Brewery, a few more beers at Mayday Brewing, and then a couple hours at the Flashback Arcade playing the classic arcade game (and my all-time favorite), Rampage, plus many more.
We followed playing Rampage by watching Rampage, the movie based on the game and starring the always-great, Dwayne Johnson, back in Lebanon in recliners at the Roxy Theaters.  It was a hoot and a holler to say the least.  We ended the evening back at our place sitting around the patio and the fire pit laughing and enjoying life deep into the night.  Thanks to my great friends Craig, Alison, Wayne, Danny, Brenda, Nate, Ginny, Bethany, and, of course, my true love, Ashlee, for hanging with me and giving me such a fun and memorable day.  
Sunday, April 22 -  The birthday celebration continued today with a delicious brunch at City Tap in downtown Nashville.  Thanks to more of our friends, Doug, Charly and Wendy, for joining us today.  The weather was rainy so most of us headed to catch a movie next over at Opry Mills.  We caught a showing of the new Amy Shumer comedy, I Feel Pretty.  It was a pretty good flick.   Afterwards, along with just Wendy and Charly, we went to the SOLD OUT show of Billy Gardell (of Mike and Molly fame) at Zanies Comedy Club as part of the Nashville Comedy Festival.  He was great as were both of his openers.

We ended the evening a few doors down at Cilantro Mexican Grill noshing, travel planning and watching the Predators finally take the Round 1 series against Colorado with a resounding 5-0 beat down in Denver.  On to Round Two!!  What an absolutely great weekend with my friends to celebrate this old man getting even older.  Thank you, everyone, for attending and sharing in the fun and helping stay as young as I can (at least in my mind)! 

We closed out the month with a long weekend trip to New Orleans to finally get a chance to attend the always-enticing Jazz Fest and Heritage Festival.

Friday, April 27 - We were going to drive down to NOLA in our new Subaru Outback and then Ashlee had the brilliant idea that since we were going through Birmingham anyway, why not just ride the inexpensive Amtrak Crescent Train (like we did back on New Years 2014/15) and take away some of the stress (and danger) of driving another 5 hours.
What a great idea!  We kicked back and relaxed and let Amtrak do the driving as we imbibed in some adult beverages, made friends with our seat-mates and gazed in wonder at the beauty passing by like this sunset on Lake Pontchartain as we made our way in to New Orleans.
We decided that once we  had checked in to our nice hotel, the Marriott Metairie at Lakeway, we would just turn in early and prepare for a long day tomorrow in the Crescent City.

Saturday, April 28 - The music and festival didn't start until 11 AM, so we had time for a leisurely breakfast near our hotel in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie (that "Metry" dawlin') at Russell's Marina Grill.  The food was amazing starting off with these sweet potato beignets 
After breakfast, we Ubered over to the Horse Racing Track and Fairgrounds where the The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is held.    It was easy to get in and the festival is laid out really well.  We were very impressed.  Lots of shade, plenty of great food and not real long lines either.  The first new-to-us band we checked out was Tracksuit Wedding out of Denver who were terrific.    We sought out a little of that plentiful shade next in the Economy Hall Tent with the Paulin Brothers Brass Band who were terrific.  We met up there with our friends, Danny and Brenda, who have been to the festival before.
Our next new-to-us band we discovered was, Sweet Cecelia, from Cecelia, Louisiana, a couple hours west of New Orleans.  This lovely and talented Cajun trio and their band are terrific and their cover of The Zombies classic hit "Time of the Season"  (sang completely in French) was very cool.
There were several colorful and joyous New Orleans krewe parades going on throughout the day.  How these folks stand marching and dancing in the heat in this amazing costumes is beyond me.   Before heading to the main stage to close out the evening, we grabbed some food from the numerous vendors.  It's New Orleans, so, of course, it was all delicious.  My cup of  shrimp  and okra gumbo was so good, I went back for another one!
The main stage area was already packed and Bonnie Raitt was already playing on stage when we arrived.  We moved up into some grandstands for a better view of the closer, Sir Rod Stewart (subbing for the ailing Aretha Franklin) who put on a great show.
I had to steal this shot from NOLA.com because it really shows the energy and showmanship of Sir Rod during the show.  Not bad for 73 years FOREVER YOUNG!   (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)
Since the festival is in the city limits and their are noise ordinances, it's over by 7 PM every night.  Not a bad thing for us aging folks I guess!  We walked back to the French Quarter and along the way took in the unique beauty that is New Orleans.  We also bought Jello-shots from some ladies selling them in front of their house (ahhh, N'AWLINS!) 
When got to the French Quarter, we headed over to the historic Golden Lantern Bar and met up with Ryan, a friend and past neighbor of Ashlee's mom in Chattanooga, who is living down here now.  After that we headed over to the famous Clover Grill and had huge cheeseburgers steamed under a hub-cap  (don't think about it, just go with it).  We closed out the night afterwards since we had a pretty early wake-up call tomorrow.
Sunday, April 29 - The train back to Birmingham leaves at the bright and early time of 7 AM so we upgraded our ride home to a "roomette"  that allowed us to do some snoozing on the way north.  The upgrade also included free breakfast and lunch (what a deal!).  The drive back home was smooth and uneventful.  Just the way you want it.  We will DEFINITELY be doing this trip again.  It's just too easy, too fun and New Orleans and the Jazz Fest are just too awesome!
Another scenic stop for the Amtrak Crescent...Roll Tide....no, not really...