Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

So.... today is Rachel's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Rachel! We celebrated with a quick trip to Memphis. Wednesday night, we stayed at The Madison, had dinner at Grill 83 (tiny crab cakes, corn pudding, foie gras BLT, fried quail egg - yum, yum), and spent some time up on The Madison's rooftop patio.

The evening was cool, and there was a breeze blowing. It was really nice.

On Thursday, after watching the Ducks at the Peabody and before entertaining angels (see yesterday's post), we hung out at Beale Street.

A. Schwab's is an old mercantile which sells all manner of crazy stuff, including fun hats. Rachel would try one on,

then I'd find one,

then Rachel,

then me...

Across the street is a fun little store called Strange Cargo. First Rachel found a pair of sunglasses,

then I tried a pair,

then Rachel,

then me...

Happy Birthday, Rachel! I had a great time. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Peabody "March"

So.... I met RachelBaby in Memphis to celebrate her Birthday a few days early. We stayed at The Madison, a nice boutique hotel (more about that later), but found ourselves with two interesting experiences involving The Peabody Hotel.

Our first (and more famous) is the march of the Peabody Ducks from the rooftop, to the elevator, out of the elevator, through the hotel lobby, and into the fountain.

I had seen the march of the ducks years ago, but I had forgotten how excited people of all ages get about these ducks. People were pushing, squatting, leaning, and crawling on the floor, vying for a better vantage point. Oh, and don't think Rachel and I didn't strong arm our way past some old ladies to get our spots!

We were walking up Beale (our feet weren't even a foot off the ground, much less ten) past the touristy, cordoned off section of the street and were headed up to Main when we saw this statue of The King.
I had already snapped a shot of Rachel, when a "wanderer" offered to take our photo. We begrudgingly agreed - I was sure that he was going to run off with my camera, but he didn't. He made sure we liked the photo, and then he asked if we could help him. I said, "You took a picture - I'll give you a dollar." He said that he didn't want money - he wanted some help to feed his family. We happily told him that we'd buy him and his family some food; after I asked if he knew where a grocery store was, He replied that there was one a couple of blocks away. I encouraged him to lead the way (making sure we stayed on the main, busy streets).
As we were walking, he told us of his family and his recent problems with homelessness and unemployment (It looks like he could get work as a photographer - his picture was better than most of mine). As we drew closer to our destination, I realized that we were going to the convenience store across from the Peabody (hence our second Peabody "march" of the day). He explained that he wasn't going into the store with us because the owners would be mean to him and throw him out, "It's really bad in Memphis, especially in this part of town." I realized what he meant: they don't want panhandlers outside of the Peabody. He continued, "There's a big problem with prejudice here, rich versus poor." I replied, "Don't worry, we're not rich." (I don't think he thought I was as funny as I did).
We arrived at the store, and we asked him what items he wanted or needed. At that point he started to change his mind; "I'd rather have money for the shelter, than for you to spend your money here." I told him we would give him groceries, not cash; he hesitantly agreed, "anything you can do. " The convenience store's selection was rather limited, but we got him some food and drinks. He said his thanks and hurried off down 2nd street.

I don't know if this guy was telling us the truth or not - I hope for he and his family's sake, he was lying. I don't want to be taken advantage of, but I'd hate to miss an opportunity to meet a real need.
These situations tend to be hard ones. In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says,
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink."
Hebrews 13:2 reads,
"Don't neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it."
(I really like the fact that the Holman Christian Standard uses the word hospitality). Hopefully, we did what we were supposed to do in this situation.

Dear, Mr. Wanderer, whether you're a panhandler (hoping for cash), a homeless dad, an angel, or Jesus, please enjoy the Cheetos, Poptarts, and Powerade.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Welcome.... Mary Margaret

So.... just got an email from a college/med school buddy of mine, Daniel Fore, letting me know that he and his wife, Mary Evelyn, just had their second baby, Mary Margaret.
Born 7/22/08 @ 1428 hrs. Weighing in @ 8lbs, 2oz and lying 20" long. Lots of dark hair. C-section went great, Mev and Margaret doing well. Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes.

Congratulations to Daniel, Mev, and big sister Evie!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family Fun

So.... if you didn't know, the family took a vacation earlier this summer to Destin. For some, this was their first trip to Florida; my folks hadn't been to the beach in about 30 years.

Please enjoy the obligatory khaki and white shirt on the beach family photo!

Rebecca (sister in law), Gabe (brother), Kaitlin (sister),
Ray (dad), Tyler (nephew), Me, Tricia (mom), & Hannah (niece).

Looking through the photos on my computer I saw a truly typical moment for our family: with my mom distracted, my dad sneaks up behind her to pinch and scare her.

Continuing to look at the pics, I noticed one of Tyler sneaking up on Kaitlin.

I guess it's just part of the Ward male DNA.

As I'm typing this, I'm reminded of the time at work, when I (wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around my neck) crawled around on the floor, hiding behind the half-wall of our office manager's office to scare her. Renee, however, just looked at me and laughed - not the typical response (of shrieking and shuddering) that Ward men expect to elicit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tricia!!!

So.... I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my Mom! Hope you're having a great day, Tricia! What? You're 35, right?

Tricia and Ray (my mom and dad)

A publicity photo from when my mom was on BayWatch

Only on very rare occasions will my mom or I "show our tail."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Misty Leigh!

So.... I want to wish a very happy birthday to Misty Leigh Williams, your former Miss Pulaski County, Wife to Saint Marty of Fitzjurls, and Mother to Mary Ford!

This photo was taken outside of Ben's Chili Bowl in DC a few years ago.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Travis!!!

So.... my good old #1 canine best friend turned 4 years old yesterday. Travis is such a good dog! RachelBaby was visiting last weekend, so we invited Donnie and Lori over for a birthday party.

We sang Happy Birthday, but Travis wouldn't blow out his candles.

Travis was way more interested in the Frosty Paws, frozen dog treats, that I, the crazy person that I am, bought for him (and tasted - kinda like wheat).

Travis devoured his ice cream. When he was done, he picked up the cup and carried it out of the kitchen. I almost fell on the floor because I thought he was taking it to the trash, but he turned into my room and hid the cup under my bed.

Then came time for fun with noise makers...

Rachel and Aaron

Donnie and Lori

Travis really liked the noise makers!

So, how many whistles can you put in your mouth?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paint Splatter

So.... have you ever accidentally ran over and exploded a can of paint as you were pulling into your craptastically messy carport. Well, I did last week. Good news: no yellow paint (former owner's old paint) on the car. Bad news: all over the car port.

Lazily, I thought, "I'll let it all dry in the not quite yet sweltering Arkansas summer and just peel it off when it dries."

It is latex after all!

Monday, July 7, 2008

By Special Request... Chagall Chicken Boobs

So.... if you look at the post from earlier today, Pursuing Pineapple celebrates the birth of Marc Chagall, my favorite artist. MJ, one of the blog's avid readers (I need to think of a name for you guys, like pineapple playmates... that's it!) - so, MJ, one of our Pineapple Playmates, tipped me off to the fact that it is Chagall's birthday today (Google's masthead is even Chagall-esque). I posted really quickly, but she commented that she would have preferred a different picture. I actually own the following two lithographs, which are wonderfully matted and framed and hang with two other Chagall lithographs in my dining room.

These are both from a book that document Chagall's work with The Met in NYC. Yeah, birds with boobs - that's my design aesthetic. Interestingly enough, last night I was having dinner with RachelBaby and Donnie and Lori, and we started joking about how I had my church over to my house the other night, and we're sure some eyes glazed and mouths dropped agape after viewing the art in my house: two sets of chicken boobs in the dining room, purple lady boobs in the hall, pink and blue lady boobs in the bathroom (fortunately, childcare was provided at the church that night). I mean come on, it's not that bad, at least there's an etching of Zaccheus in the Sycamore (actual title: Zacheus op de Vygeboom) in the entry hall. One time my mom commented on the picture with boobs in the bathroom, and I quipped, "at least they're naked women and not naked men."

Yes, I realize the pics don't show the wonderful matting and framing.

Happy Birthday, Marc Chagall!

So.... if you didn't know, Chagall is probably one of my favorite artists. He was a 20th century Russian born, Jewish artist who worked mostly in France. His work is fairly distinct (he does have elements of cubism and fauvism) in his portrayal of simple village life peppered with elements of Jewish symbolism. When discussing him with friends who can't quite remember Chagall, I usually say something to the effect, " you know he has people riding chickens, cows flying, and donkeys playing the fiddle."

I and the Village, Chagall's best known work is an oil on canvas painted in 1911 (pictured below).