Thursday, January 31, 2008

glad to know...

The Culprit (on top-Sam) and her Accomplis (on bottom-Molly)
So glad to know that I am getting my carpets cleaned b/c during my dinner tonight, one of the cats (Sam) knocked over my 20 oz. glass of milk and it spilled all over the carpet in the bedroom. I have to tried to soak it all up with almost an entire roll of paper towels but I don't think even that will cure the odor that I am sure will appear in the next day or so. Now, the question is, can we make it until the carpet cleaning without getting sick from the smell of spilt, spoiled milk?!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So excited!

Never have I been more excited to speak with someone from Sears! Today, I scheduled our whole house to have the air ducts and all of the carpets cleaned and deodorized! I am so pumped about this! We got a great deal and they are coming on my day off (president's day-Feb. 18). This means that we have exactly two weekends to get the office cleaned out and as much of the stuff on the floor (furniture, boxes, extra chairs) removed so that everything is spic and span and ready to have baby stuff moved in!!!!! I am really pumped. I had told Jesse that I wasn't going to move any baby stuff into the nursery/office until we had the carpets cleaned and then this deal came along (see your most recent Valpak coupon envelope). Having this done will make me feel much better about bringing Cecilia home because I know she will be coming into a much cleaner and less pet-hairy house.

Speaking of pet hair...this reminds me that one of my high school friends had her twins today! (a bit tangential I know but bear with me) She already has one child who is 14 months old..."Jake". She had a boy and a girl today...named "Sam" and "Molly". These are the names of my cats!!!! My cats now have namesakes! these three children, my cats are all siblings too! Can you believe the uncanniness of that?!

Also...I went to get the car tag yesterday. I failed to mention that I got it personalized! I have never had a personalized tag before, so this was a fun addition to the new car. You all know that Jesse and I are HUGE Auburn fans! Well, I got an Auburn University tag and it says: "BBTGR"---Baby Tiger!!!!!!!!!! I love it! Right now, I have a temporary tag, but in 6-8 short weeks (just in time for Cecilia's arrival) I will have the actual tag for the new van! All I have to say about that is WAR EAGLE!!!!

A Surprisingly Pleasant Experience

Pleasant Experience #1:
Yesterday, I went to get the tag for our new van. I arrived at the DMV, knowing that I would have to wait for a significant amount of time considering it was one of the last days of the month. I only had to wait for about 10 minutes! Then I got the counter and the woman was surprisingly helpful, pleasant and easy to understand. Who knew that competent people actually worked at the DMV?! I did find out that we never need to buy a car in the month that we renew again. At first, they tried to charge me for a renewal and for a new tag (double the price). When the attendant noticed this, she called over her supervisor and reversed the charges, eliminating the additional fee. Apparently, she had to issue us an old tag and then issue us a renewal (new stickers for this year). Whatever-she got rid of the extra fee, that was all I cared about.

I then travelled home and let the dogs out and headed to the other side of town for Lamaze class. I knew that I would be early, but was trying to avoid traffic, so I stopped by my favorite bakery...Savages.

Pleasant Experience #2:
When I walked into Savages, I was greated by a friendly woman behind the counter. I was shocked! Savages is known for having the most incredible pastries and cakes but for having HORRIBLE customer service. She was incredibly nice, helped me to choose some breakfast food, carried on a normal conversation and then she rang up my total (which was correct for once-there have been many times that they ring it up incorrectly and then throw a fit when you want them to fix it). I was shocked!!! I almost told the girl that this was my "most pleasant experience at Savages yet". Instead of telling her, which might actually discourage the pleasantries or make her feel like she had been rude in the past, I just took my food and left with a smile on my face.

I then travelled to Mrs. Sallye's house, where I waited the remainder of the hour prior to Lamaze.

Pleasant Experience #3:
At Lamaze, Jesse and I experienced his first two viewings of actual births (in video format). I really expected him to run out of the room and vomit since he has such a weak stomach. However, he grimaced and ACTUALLY WATCHED THE VIDEOS! He asked wonderful questions, showing his concern for my recent discomfort. He even participated in the class discussion on labor and warning signs (he knew his material since we had done our reading!).

Overall, the day was very long but I had three pleasant experiences in one day! That is unusual!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Keep them in your prayers

Yesterday, I was told that the son of a well-known radio show host had accidentally drowned in their family pool. The 2 1/2 year old son of Rick Burgess (from the Rick & Bubba show) was unable to be revived after being found in the family pool on Saturday night. When I heard this, I was saddened and when I listened to the radio this morning, I was in tears. Regardless of socioeconomic status or of what this child's father does for a living, I am deeply saddened by their loss. We hear of things like this happening on the news but rarely do we ever think it would happen to someone we know.

This tragedy, along with the one that happened to my friend Andrea, are wakeup calls to us as a community. Please increase your vigilance in all surroundings-becoming more self aware and aware of those around you. Please keep these two families in your prayers.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


R.I.P. Jesse's Car

Well, the day we all knew was coming finally arrived yesterday. Apparently, while he was driving down the highway, his car decided that it was going to die. It totally stopped working and he had to have it towed to our house. We knew that we would be shopping for a new car in the next couple of months, but we were definitly hoping to wait at least until we got our tax refund. Last night, we came home and did some research on the internet to look at cars/minivans that we were interested in. We found several at local dealerships (within 5 miles of our house) and decided that we would go look at them today. Unbeknownst to us, the websites for these two large car dealerships were not accurate. Jesse called it the "bait and switch" because once we arrived, the sales people conveniently knew NOTHING about what was on their website. After about 2 hours of dealing with complete moron sales people, we went to Carmax in Hoover. We had seen several vans that we were interested in and magically, their website was accurate. They were completely organized and when we decided on the van, options, price, payment, etc that we wanted, all it took was a few clicks on the computer and it was ordered! The salesman was knowledgeable and did not pressure us at all. He actually encouraged us to look around at all the options before making a decision. We ended up choosing a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan that is fully loaded (minus the leather) and it should be here from Nashville by Wednesday! We got a great deal and I am looking forward to going in and signing the paperwork so we can bring it home. As long as it it is ok when it gets to Hoover from Nashville-it will be ours!!! We are really excited and hope to get some good use our of this car! Look at all the features it has:

2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 4D Pass Ext Van
All Grand Caravan Models typically include the following standard features:*
•Drivetrain, FWD
•Speed Control
•Fuel Tank, 20.0 Gal Cap
•Battery, 500-cca
•Braking System, Anti-Lock
•Moldings, Body Side
•Lights, Cargo Comp't, Liftgate & Reading
•Cup Holders, F&R
•Power Outlets, F&R
•Floor Mats, F&R
•Console, Floor w/Storage
•Stabilizer Bar, Front
•Wiper/Washer, Intermittent Rear Window
•Spare Tire, Limited Use
•Steering, Power
•Brakes, Power F&R Disc
•Defroster, Rear Window
•Steering Wheel, Tilt
•W/S Wipers, Variable Intermittent
•Restraint System, Dual Front Air Bag
•Seat Trim, Cloth
•Cargo Nets, (3)
•Garage Door Opener
•Steering Wheel Touch Controls
•Traction Control
•Alternator, 160-Amp
•Axle Ratio, 3.43
•Towing Cap, 3800-lb Max (When Properly Equipped)
•Wheels, Aluminum
•Headlamp Control, Automatic-Off
•Mirrors, Dual Heated Power & Dual Illuminated Visor Vanity
•Doors, Dual Power Sliding
•Fog Lights, Front
•Steering Wheel, Leather-Wrapped
•Console, Overhead
•Light, Overhead Ashtray/Cup Holder
•Windows, Power
•Door Locks, Power
•Seat Adjuster, Power Driver's
•Trip Computer
•Seating, 7-Passenger, (4) Bucket & (1) 3-Passenger Split Fol
•Air Conditioning, Tri-Zone Manual
•Transmission, 4 Speed Automatic
•Quick Order Pkg
•Seating, 7-Passenger
•Tires, P215/65R16 LBL
•Radio, AM/FM Stereo w/CD & Cassette
•Roof Rails w/Crossbars
•Entry System, Illuminated Keyless Remote Control
•Engine: V6, 3.8 Liter
•Glass, Sunscreen
•Seats, (1) 3-Passenger Split Folding Rear Bench
•Seats, (4) Bucket

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2 years!

Well, I can't believe it! Tomorrow, Monday, January 14, 2008, is our 2 year wedding anniversary. Time has flown and it is hard to believe that it has already been 2 years since we got married. We have had a tumultuous past 24 months and I am hoping that our coming years will bring more happiness and fewer surprises. I am also looking forward to going out for our special dinner together. We have gone back and forth on where we should go but I am sure that with the wide variety of places that are available in Birmingham, we will be able to find one that both of us are desiring of. My grandparents sent us a check to pay for our dinner, which was greatly appreciated since our budget is tight (in preparation for Cecilia).

I know that I usually don't get mushy but I would just like to say that I am so grateful for having found such a wonderful spouse. Yes, we may have our arguments and we may not agree on everything, but who doesn't experience those same things? I am just going to enjoy him and continue to be thankful for what he is to me. In fact, we will reach another milestone next month-having been together for 8 years. In this day and time, that is pretty amazing! Hopefully, the next 8 will be just as great as the first! Now....what's for dinner??!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

An update regarding the last post

Here is the most recent update from my mom about the situation posted in the last blog. And yes-it did really happen and yes-I do know the girl it happened to. Please read the following for more information.


I've had calls and emails from women with whom I have not had the pleasure of knowing personally. The subjects?
1) "Did this really happen here?"
2)"Is this another hoax email or just a new urban myth we all hear, during holidays, re: the man under the car who attacks women returning to their vehicle after spending their day or night feverous gift-buying @ the Gaggaria, Brookwood, Summit, et al?"
3)"Since I called the Homewood Police, they have no record of it, deny it happened, or, it's a ruse; so, I am calling you ((yours truly)) to ask if it is a real person?"

[[I will enclose an intra-office memo between the Chief and the Mayor, indicating their efforts to get to the bottom of the whole email thing. In addition to that statement, you will see that they have worked w/ the B'ham PD, who had also received the email someway, somehow (thanks to you who've passed it along w/ best of intentions, wouldn't you agree)? By the way, great work spreading the word -- even reaching as far as our ACIPCO friends -- and you wouldn't believe where else: Florida &Tennessee--former B'ham residents who still visit!]]

Both assigned a detective, from the aforementioned PDs, tracking the original & personal email of warning and awareness, to the mother, Dana, to ask about the "validity" of the email because the respective depts had no records!! She told them she'd neither confirm nor deny the incident -- because she had been asked by her daughter and the B'ham PD detectives not to publicize her name just yet. Various reasons were then provided to said depts upon their intrusion.It seems a bit like an attempt to censor/silence/suppress, in my opinion.

OK; here are your answers, ladies:
YES, it DID happen, just as relayed to you. And, guess what? The very real victim (SURVIVOR), Dana's daughter, HAS A D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T SURNAME (!) than her mother,since her mother had remarried! Hence, her true last name is not listed in police reports in either city; ERGO, SHE WOULDN'T SHOW UP ON ANY REPORTS, though she did call Homewood first and was referred to the proper jurisdiction: B'ham PD! Now, is that clear?!?

And, NO; I refuse to reveal her last name. Does this seem relevant to event or email? Any less a crime? Good God in Heaven, please hear this! Andrea,as all rape victims usually are, will be dragged through this horrible event again while defending her good name in court after the guys are apprehended.

Therefore, if someone is still dubious about the truth, you feel free to call me: Sylvia @ 942.3320. I will be happy to answer your questions and clear your doubts. I spoke w/ both Chief Dowd and Mayor McCulley this afternoon (Thurs, Jan 10, 2008) after the office email was passed along to my husband (those of you know our Mr Allen) who fired off a letter to both city officials and alerted me in the meantime. He received a prompt,defensive reply from our mayor. After my discussion w/ the interested and patient officials, we came to the conclusion that whether or not something of this urgent nature is true, citizens have the right to know what's going on in our area and HOW TO PROTECT OURSELVES if said criminal activity does indeed happen-- be it mythical, hypothetical, factual! The police chief was of the opinion that there would be "panic". (Has anyone seen women running amok, hysterically screaming, anywhere? Do let me know; wanna watch the mayhem). The mayor questioned the method of informing citizens. I made several suggestions and he is to meet w/ Dodd tomorrow to discuss strategy for their dilemma. I warned McCulley, who was very polite, that I will be following this matter of notification (I ask you to join me) to make sure this is not "put on the back-burner." He said he understood and had my phone number, as do you, since I offered to brainstorm w/ whomever.(Suggestions welcome -- anyone? Anyone?)

With your help, maybe even continuing to pass this on to someone you left off your initial "Send" list, will raise awareness.

So,BRAVA, friends! Knowledge is power. To those of you who passed the warning along with best of intentions, I hope I have answered these important & logical feedback questions. You still have my number; call, by all means. Anyone?

You are very responsible young women of whom I am very proud -- whether I know you or not. You have cared & been an angel to someone by being PROACTIVE! The victim and mother are appreciative, as well.


And, read on, if you're interested in the above-mentioned exchanges, including city officials.
NOTE: I have deleted personal email addresses including full names & their places of employment since I don't have everyone's permission to pass along. I left the HOMEWOOD employees' & council members' emails. And,YES;still makes it all legitimate!

-----Original Message-----

From: Phil DoddSent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 11:16 AMTo: Barry McCulley; Allan Trippe; Allan Trippe (; Allyn Krall; Allyn Krall; Anthony Smith; David Hooks; Ginger Busby; Ginger Busby (; J J Bischoff (; J.J. Bischoff; Jackie Langlow; Jackie Langlow; Joe Falconer; Sam Brasseale; Sam Brasseale; Scott McBrayer; Scott Mcbrayer (; Smith, Anthony (Tony); Thomas HamnerCc: Tim Ross;; Lori Dooley; Kent Baker; Ken Atkinson; Bob Copus; Chuck Moore; Dan Smith; Dennis Shepard

Subject: Rape/kidnapping email

As this email continues to circulate I am getting numerous calls and email. We have not taken any report concerning this case, the Birmingham Police have not received a report of this incident, although they are now in contact with the person who sent the original email and are trying to get to the bottom of it. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has not had a report, neither has Hoover, Mountain Brook or Vestavia Police. We also contacted the Rape response center mentioned in the original email and they have no knowledge of the incident, a check of local Fire Departments also reveals no calls of this nature during the time period in question. I do want to stress that this does not mean that the incident did not occur, but it does mean, that if it did it was not reported to any Police Agency that we have been in contact with.

If you receive this email or phone calls concerning it please pass on what I have discovered so far. As I stated the Birmingham Police are following up to try determine the nature of this incident.

Thank you,

Phillip Dodd
Chief of Police
1833 29TH Avenue South
Homewood, Alabama 35209
FAX 205.877.8648

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A warning for all

The following post is a copy of an email sent to me about one of my childhood friends, Andrea. I am posting her mother's account of the story from Sunday night-January 6, 2008. Please take this information to heart and stay safe! I grew up with Andrea and can't imagine that anything like this would ever happen to someone I know.

My dear old friends,
That event we fear the most concerning our daughters happened to Andrea on Sunday. She went to K-Mart on Green Springs at about 5:00pm. After leaving, she stopped at the gas station there on Green Springs. She was kidnapped, and for the next 5 hours was raped and robbed and generally terrorized. There were 3 black men and they were very clever. She did not know where they took her as they drove around in circles and made her lie down so she could not see. They wiped most of the prints off the car, but the police a got a few anyway. Also, they did not wear condoms, so there is DNA evidence should they be caught. The police think they will be able to catch them. From Andrea’s description of their clothing and the way they talked the police believe they are gang members and seem to know a lot about them. I hope so.

She was able to convince them to release her at about 11:00pm. What a miracle that was. She said she just kept praying and begging. She was not cooperative at first, but learned quickly that not fighting them might save her life. She had hoped at one point to be able to jump from the car, but her doors lock automatically (some safety feature!) when she turns on the car and she couldn't unlock the door without them hearing it. She does not know where they let her go. They got out of the car and told her to count to 30 before she looked up. She did. She immediately got into the front seat and started the car. She didn’t have a clue where she was, so she drove around and around for some time (she’s not sure how long – maybe 30 minutes or so) until she found her way out to Green Springs again. She drove home and called the police. They were with her all night going over the details and filing reports. They called the paramedics and they did a rape kit. She didn’t call me until Monday morning early. The detectives were still with her trying to trace any calls from her cell phone – the animals had taken everything she had.

She is grateful to be alive and believes God was watching over her no matter how terrible this is. She went to the Rape Crisis Center and they gave her a physical, the morning after pill and drew blood to test for diseases. We will go from there. I’ve been looking for apartments all day to find somewhere she can move to immediately. Of course, these animals know where she lives and since she called the police (she promised them she wouldn’t if they let her go) they may try to find her to shut her up. Kidnapping, rape and robbery will get them at least 20 years. She is terrified, of course. I am just so glad she is alive!

Oh, and Sunday was her birthday. I told her that God gave me a gift on that day 28 years ago and He gave her to me again on Sunday.

Please tell your girls what happened TO SOMEBODY THEY KNOW. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Sylvia, if I hear of your or Sharron Lancaster getting gas on Green Springs I am going to come over there and take your keys away.

Please keep Andrea in your prayers.


This much I know.....

Well....I learned a valuable lesson tonight-I stink at shooting BB's. Apparently, it takes a rocket scientist to teach me how to load, cock and shoot the new BB gun that mom got us for Christmas. Jesse was laughing at me the whole time! So here is the situation:
We had just finished eating dinner and I took the plates to the kitchen. When I was returning to the living room, I noticed that that dreaded possum had returned and was dining on a snack of cat food. I yelled at Jesse, "go get the BB gun....go get the BB gun!" He told me that he didn't know where it was and told me to go get it. So, I did. I brought it down to him and told him to load it. Then I got Kramer and took him outside to chase the possum while Jesse got the thing loaded. Jesse handed it to me and told me to go outside and take a shot at something plastic so that I could get practice at shooting it. (having only shot a gun one time in my life and being knocked over by it-I was hesitant) I took it outside but I couldn't bring myself to shoot it for fear of falling down or being arrested for shooting a gun inside the city limits. I went back inside and Jesse unloaded it and shot it once for me to hear that it was the tiniest sound ever. I took it back outside and tried to shoot it-with the safety on-and found out that the BB's just fall out of the end when you do that! I took it back inside and Jesse again reloaded it and told me that it was ready to shoot. I then took one shot at the plastic planter on our front porch. God only knows where the BB went b/c I heard it richochet off the planter and it went into the leaves. I only hope I am a better shot when it comes to shooting the possum! I don't intend to kill the possum, just warn it to stay away from my cats' food. I guess I need to take some lessons or something...I am sure it was a sight to see a 6 month pregnant woman in her front yard shooting a BB gun at a planter and wincing at the sound. Where is the country girl in me when I need her?!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Wii had so much fun!

Last night, Jesse and I went to dinner with our friends, Paul & Sandy Dangel. We ate at Cozumel Mexican Restaurant in Pelham and then headed to their house for some video gaming. Now, I have played on the Nintendo Wii system before, but haven't ever had this much fun with it! We played a game called Dance Dance Revolution. It was so hard! At first all you think you have to do is touch your foot on the correct arrow as the music plays and the arrows flash on the screen---it is much more difficult than that! After we had played for a couple of hours, we found out that Jesse was the best player out of the 4 of us. We were all surprised! He got so into the game that he even rolled up his pants legs so that he could improve his performance. This was probably the most fun I have had in a while. I think that we should get one of these game systems for our anniversary instead of going out to a really nice meal.

BTW-I can't believe that on January 14, we will have been married for 2 years! It seems like time has flown since that day...and in February, we will have been together for 8 years!!! Sounds like we a got a good thing goin on, if you know what I mean!