DISCLAIMER

"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, January 5, 2015

NOVEMBER- and DECEMBERINGings

A couple months of fun and frolic leading up to the new year:

Weds., Nov. 5 - We went to a sneak-peek of Interstellar in IMAX with our friends, Casey and Wayne tonight.  What a tremendous film and an awe-inspiring experience!
Thursday, Nov. 6 - We drove down to down to Chattanooga today to catch a show by O/A/R at Track 29.  We had a tasty dinner and good beer beforehand at The Blind Squirrel. We scored a cheap room at the accompanying Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel as well. We had the honor of meeting lead singer, Marc Roberge (second from right) out front of the venue while waiting on our friend, Deb, to arrive. We three and another friend of Deb's were able to get front row for the show since the place was only about half full since it was a weeknight, but it was a great show nonetheless and as usual with this awesome live band.
"She's as sweet as..Tupelo Honey" - Van Morrison.
Friday, Nov. 7 - We slept in  peacefully late, and  then got up for a great brunch at the new-to-Chattanooga location of Tupelo Honey Cafe, an Asheville-based favorite restaurant of ours.  This bustling new locale was just as good as the original.

Saturday, Nov. 15 - We had a great day of fun activities with an early showing of Birdman at Opry Mills. This was our viewing start of the Oscars season, and it's a little spacey of a film, but well-acted.   There could definitely be some nominations come from this one.   It was then on to the always-delicious O'Sake Sushi for an early dinner after that, and before another Nashville Predators game where we came from behind to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1. We met our friends, Chris and Tarryn, and Danny and Brenda, between periods outside our sweet 200 level seats.  We all went for hot victory doughnuts after the game at the nearby downtown Krispy Kreme.  By the way, a lot of the this fun day was funded by the sale of some of the Titans season tickets that I won earlier in the year.  We haven't been to game yet this year (mostly because they stink), but the tickets have all been used by someone who got a good under-face-value deal on them from me.

Tuesday, Nov. 18 - My friend Mike and I drove up to Indianapolis today and met Ashlee (who had been working in nearby Kentucky) to watch our beloved Duke Blue Devils take on the Michigan State Spartans in an early-season Top 25 college basketball clash in the Champions Classic.  Duke scored a solid victory over a talented MSU team. We also got the chance to finally meet our friend, Jared, who lives in Indy and is an MSU graduate.  Jared has played in our fantasy football league for 15 years and joined as a complete stranger.  We've been Facebook friends for a little while now, so we knew what he looked like, but it was great to finally meet him in person.  The second game of the night was UK vs. Kansas which we didn't stick around for the entire game.  Good thing too because it became a blow-out for UK and their fans were numerous and loud.  We drove home the next day with a stop in Louisville where we met Ashlee again for lunch at the Bluegrass Brewing Company. (Editor's note:  Three of these four made it to the Final Four this season.  Sorry, Kansas. And our Duke boys went on to win their fifth National Championship!!)
Weds., Nov. 26 - Saturday, Nov. 29:  We've started a new Thanksgiving tradition of spending the holiday on the beach somewhere.  Last year it was on the East Coast south of St. Augustine, and this year it was Destin on the Gulf.  Ashlee and her mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece and a couple of their family friends drove down the Saturday before, but I worked a few days and then flew down via Southwest Airlines on one of their newest routes to Pensacola.  Ashlee picked me up and delivered me back to the sweet house they had rented just a few blocks off the beach.  The weather was mild and we enjoyed our time here with some good food, some nice long walks on the beach, and just hanging out and relaxing.

On our last  full day at the beach, we decided to take another helicopter ride.  We've been kind of addicted to these since our first two rides these past couple years.  Our 10-year-old niece, Ella, was brave enough to go with us and had a great time.  It was one of the best flights we've taken so far with our great pilot doing his best to get this most out of this little whirlybird.
A real unexpected treat while flying in the helicopter was spotting this pod of dolphins just off the beach.  What a thrill!
Below is a few seconds of the thrilling ride we took up and down the beaches of Destin, Florida.


Saturday, Nov. 29 - We drove back from the beach with Ashlee's mom, Evelyn, and split up the long drive with an overnight stop in Birmingham.   Our first stop in town was a late lunch/early dinner at the delicious Edgar's Bakery.   We could have easily made the drive in one day, but we were also spending the night to catch our favorite live band, Augustana, playing at The Workplay Theatre downtown.  We got a room a mile or so away at the beautiful and historic Tutwiler Hotel (a Hilton property now - points scored, check!).  Getting to and from the venue from the hotel was an interesting experience since our cabbie who picked us up had only been driving in Birmingham for two days and we had to help navigate him with our phones(?).  Cabs were non-existent after the show also and after hearing it would be a 20-minute wait when we called one, the owner of the venue himself (Tom, I think is his name) offered to drop us off, clearly miffed that his city would strand out-of-towners like this who took the time to come to his venue and whom I am sure he would like to come back.  And we will if the opportunity arises, it's a solid venue with a good beer list, nice sight lines and great acoustics.  After sleeping in, we had a great brunch late the next morning at Another Broken Egg Cafe.  It was so mild temperature-wise, we were even able to sit outside and enjoy our delicious breakfasts.  Not bad for the last day of November!
We got front row for the Augustana show thanks to a fairly sparse crowd for a Saturday night. The impressive English band, Scars on 45, opened and we really enjoyed their short set.  Dan Layus, the lead singer, founder and heart of Augustana gave another brilliant performance in our fourth time seeing him and his band this year.  Photo by Ashlee.


Saturday, December 13-We decided to throw a sort-of last minute Christmas Party and a nice large crowd of friends showed up for some great food prepared by Ashlee, lots of tasty libations and even a three-group gingerbread-house-decorating contest that kind of "wild" to say the least.  Let's just say some people (Wayne Hutton) will do anything to get a win.


Sunday, December 14 - We finally attended a Titans game this year despite having won season tickets and we still never sat in the seats we won, but we did get to see the cool banner of us (right) that has hung in the stadium all year.  Instead, we sat with our good friend, Wayne, in his season-ticket seats and Ashlee even joined in the fun of "Titans Clause" by being Mrs. Titans Clause this year.  These two were the hit of the day with tons of folks wanting pictures with them including the stadium staff who took them to the front of the line for the hilarious mock "Gameday" program cover (above left).  The game was another loss for the woeful Titans, but we had fun nonetheless.  Thanks to our friend, Bethany, for coming along as well.

Friday, Dec. 19 - We had an excellent dinner at Lockeland Table in East Nashville with our friends, John and Monique.  We moved on for drinks afterward at the very cool modern speakeasy, Bar No. 308.

Saturday, Dec. 20 - Afters stopping by our friend, Carolyn's annual Christmas party in Nashville, we headed over to the Mercy Lounge to catch Augustana play again (yep, that's the 5th time seeing them this year and a new record for us). Scars on 45 was the solid opener again and despite missing their female co-lead singer, Aimee, of the quintet, they still sounded great. The crowd was much bigger than the recent Saturday-night show we saw in Birmingham.  It was homecoming show for Augustana since they now all reside in Nashville.

Sunday, December 21 - We continued our research for the upcoming Oscars season with a viewing of "Wild" starring Reese Witherspoon. It was a solid film and followed the book closely, but Witherspoon was only decent at best in her leading role in our opinion.  We don't see them handing her the statue for this performance. Beforehand, to kill some time between another great dinner at Nama Sushi, we stopped for a couple drinks at Craft Brewed and The Sutler Saloon, a couple of cool new places now open on 8th Avenue.

Wednesday, Dec. 31 - Well, we are off to New Orleans today to ring in the new year.  See our next blog entry for the full details.


COLLAGE UPDATE

Welcome # 16 - 2014 was a fantastic year!!


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