Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why you did not hear a "Tweet" from me on Sunday...

Well this weekend has been full of fun things! The ballgame Saturday against North Texas went very much in our favor...53 - 7. ahem - ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!
But also this weekend I was not tweeting or blogging or facebook-ing or writing - sadly I was a bit MIA or at least very sporadically you might have seen some updates. The game was not the culprit.
A woman that I know well is about to welcome her first granddaughter this Friday. Being the first granddaughter of course they are going all out.
The nursery is being done in the cutest pink, green, & brown ladybug - flower- snail design. It is simple & sweet. Absolutely precious. Anyway, Sharon commissioned me to do a few paintings from the quilt that will be on the bed. So I worked diligently on Sunday to finish everything up. All I lack is the ribbon that we are using to hang the canvases with - I will be purchasing it today & stapling it to the wooden frames.
Anyway - check out the quilt & paintings - So CUTE!
The Quilt & Paintings:
The paintings are 12 x 24 & 8 x 10 for the little ones! I cannot wait to see them with their ribbons for hanging. It was such a fun task. The simplicity of the designs made it something I could easily freehand but also allow for a sweet innocence with their non-over-the-top design.
Anyway, I should be back to normal on the social/networks as of today... ;o)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okay so do I say 10 Hail Mary's when I walk in or order a Bloody Mary???

Yes weird title for this entry I know but um, even more weird reason for the entry.

I have been traveling on business in Pittsburgh for most of this week. Pittsburgh is like the land of National Chain Restaurants. It is a land where for some reason they feel independently owned restaurants are passe and chains rule... seriously. I asked a gentleman for a good steakhouse he answered "Oh! There is this great place that cooks to order, its the um, Golden Corral. We also have an Outback." Okay look nothing really major against either place, but I was looking for something with more of a cultural setting. Then a young lady came swooping in and said "Cultural. Hmmm, something unique to Pittsburgh that serves steaks. Oh 'Brew Works' in Lawrenceville on the city's edge. Try there." So we did.

Its full name is The Church Brew Works. No Church is not a last name or area, it means Church - Brewery. An old, old church - it was built in 1901. Since then it has been turned into a Brewery and Restaurant. Yes - you eat, drink & be merry amongst the pews, stained glass and confessionals.
Actually the confessionals lead into the kitchen. You eat on church pews. The altar now houses the main brewhouse containers. Yes, the pulpit has been replaced by beer. The most amazing thing is that we learned that just abou everything from the original church has been reconstructed in order to be functional today. The bar is made from the planks of some of the old pews, the tables on the dining side feature 'benches' (shortened pews), the choir chairs are around free standing tables. The rose window on the front of the building shines above the pipes of the old organ. There are elaborate stained glass windows everywhere and if you could see the hand painted cathedral ceilings that are braced by tall columns... oh so gorgeous.

It was a surreal experience. I had this internal turmoil over feeling if this was not the coolest - weirdest atmosphere ever & then it tied with a weird feeling of 'is this sacrilege?' To be honest the battle has yet to be complete, but I will say it in no way makes fun or desecrates anything, really. If anything it allowed an amazing architectural structure to be kept. In a city like Pittsburgh where more often than not you see beautiful architecture with boarded windows and signs for lease or demolish, it is nice that this was preserved.

As for personal feelings on how it is being used, well, it could be worse. ;o) It is definitely worth seeing at least once if you are ever in the area. Check out the website: and enjoy the pics I took - sorry they were with my cell phone - I was not prepared for it to be what it would be like. Oh and by the way - yeah did not order a Bloody Mary, but did silently wonder about those Hail Marys........ ;o)

Friday, September 11, 2009

A day that was once just a day...

I was on Facebook early this morning looking up someone's address and was pleasantly surprised by the number of status messages that were intented to remind everyone that today is September 11. I had already made a note to myself last night to remember today to find some sort of reflection....

My mind drifted back to the year before the terrorist attacks. You see September 11 had just been a date in a calendar. Nothing special about it for most people, unless your birthday fell on it or anniversary or maybe some other event you personally experienced. It had been a date that had singular meanings for singular individuals. It was just a day.

Then there came September 11, 2001. I myself was actually laying in bed thinking about getting up for work (I worked at a women's gym during that time) I did not have to be in until 1 p.m. The house was quiet, Bear & Bubbles were in the bed with me, Marcus was in class, my cell phone rings and a very good friend of mine from New York is on the other end of the phone saying "They crashed a plane into my building". Now his reference to my is relative to the fact that he loved the towers. He is a true New Yorker and saw them not only as these large hulking skyscrapers, but as a window to the heart of his home. He had been telling me for the past year how when I finally got up to New York we would go to the observation floor and from there I would see, I would understand why New York is so special. On the phone that morning he was telling me to cut on the television. I did and saw the first plane's damage and then the second. We spoke for a few moments more then he & I both decided to hang up and check on our families - his in the midst of the nightmare - mine far enough away but still a worry on my mind.
At this time the world saw it as some freak set of accidents and then in minutes everything changed. The reports came in, the television showed live footage of death. It was like being in some weird movie and you wondered where is the hero, the Superman, the Wolverine, the Captain America who would sweep in and clean it up, save the lives - restore peace. At first it seemed like the hero had forgotten his lines, that he had missed his cue... but then amidst the chaos you saw the emblems, the lights, and later would hear their stories. The television began to talk of planes in other locations - the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. Their heros again appeared to be MIA but later we would learn of their dramatic and heartwrenching turn of events.

You see many, many people died as those planes crashed; as the walls crumbled to the ground, people chose to die on their own terms by leaping from windows, some were crushed beneath in subways, some as they raced to save lives lost their own...the screen in my living room showed foggy scenes of debris, chaos, the injured, the dead, the lost and the terrified. I cried for people I would never have met, for children yet to be born & those just new to this world, I cried for brothers & sisters, for grandparents & parents. My heart physically ached for those who I will never get to even pass by on a street one day. So many of us still sat watching this 'movie' waiting for those superheroes to appear and it took hours, days for many of us to recognize their presence.

The superheroes emerged in suits made to prevent burns and in dark navy blue uniforms. They appeared in scrubs and lab coats, they came as civilian volunteers, they searched a field to find destruction that would later lead them to the superheroes that helped derail an even greater destruction had the terrorist made their original destination. The heroes became the people at home far away who wrote letters, sent money, and found faith. There are those heroes who answered the call to arms and left this land that had been dealt a blow to search out for the villains who had held the weapons in their hands. These heroes are the people of the United States that banded together to say "this is our country, this is our land - we fight for what is ours, we protect our own, and we will do whatever it takes to make you remember who we are". There are so many people who are were the superheroes on that once insignificant day. They watched as loved ones died, as friends trudged into sure death in order to help those left behind.
Those heroes are what keep that day fresh in my mind. The media now feels that the pictures from that day are too intense for us to relive. That it will make the wound hurt even more. Well, those scenes are probably the most honest thing the media has every played for the public. They do show a gut wrenching horrible day, but that does not mean the day does not deserve to be remembered in every way possible. If anything it makes seeing them again even more important. Their are many children who were not yet born that day that need to know their country's history. I was taught of the sacrifices of wars that we fought hundreds of years before my birth while in school, I saw paintings of battlefields - bayonets headed towards people who I am sure were comrades or brothers or sisters on an open field - they even had an audience back then to watch as the battles raged... But because they have been painted in a glorified form (they were lucky I guess to not have television) it is acceptable to see them and to remember them. We have forgotten that those wars were not beautiful, they were not civil, they were acts of death towards women, men, & children. This was an act of war from an evil we did not truly understand until that day. So these pictures make us remember, make us sad, but they should also makes us proud - proud that these people are not forgotten, that their lives that were taken so senselessly have meaning, that they are superheroes who fought through the fear and tried desperately to make those last moments count... from stories of cell phone calls, from fighting hijackers, from being the first into the fires... these people who sacrificed their time, their strength, and for many their lives they are the heroes of our nation.

For the rest of us, blessed to continue with our lives we have a debt to pay... a debt that does not really have an end amount...we owe it to them to continue to better ourselves, to build business here on this land that they died for, to search for those villains who would take even more lives from us and dispell them from our midst, we owe it to them to remember -- to see their pictures and shed a tear but behind the tear have resolve to continue to prove that this nation is the best one, that it is a nation of survivors and of people who know that freedom has a price one that we pay over and over in our minds whenever we see the glorified paintings from hundreds of years prior or the footage on a television screen that is so fresh we can still feel the pain... I will never forget that September 11 is a day that once was just a calendar date because the day that it became one of significance is a day that reminds me that everything can change in an instant. So live life with deeper meaning, push yourself to become something you are proud to stand up for, speak up when it means something to you, be a shoulder for a friend, and remember to thank those around you who protect you, who make living in this country on this planet worth fighting for: parents, spouses, siblings, friends, the firemen, the policemen, the soldiers. Thank you - My mind boggles at the amazing things that you do every day.
President Bush said it best when he said "America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for Freedom and opportunity in the world and no one can keep that light from shining. Today our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature and we responded with the very best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring of/for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could... we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world, good night and God bless America."
I am proud to be from Camden, Alabama; a Southerner; an American...I won't forget...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mickey Mouse, Big AL & Nascar....

OME! Our end of summer has been crazy fun times. We went to Orlando to stay at Mickey Mouse's house for a week with my brother Eric, his girlfriend Mindy, her daughter Hannah, & his twin boys Coy & Colton. 8 days in Disney World with one little girl who has never been...she is 6. Hannah was like a breath of fresh air on this trip. I have never been to Disney with a child who is seeing it all for the first time and taking everything in... her eyes were wide & excited for about 18 hours per day. (that 18 hours is not an exaggeration, we were going nonstop for the first 4 days). The boys had been there once before - when Marcus & I got married - but there were so many things that they had not been able to ride due to the wedding festivities. We did everything. (again a literal statement... we did everything that was not under refurbishment) Marcus & I enjoyed time with the boys & Hannah. We see Nina's four quite often but rarely get the one on one time we did on this trip with Eric's crew. They are growing up so fast and are absolutely adorable. I truly enjoyed hearing "Aunt Courtney look at this! Aunt Courtney can we do this? Aunt Courtney did you see that? Aunt Courtney can we ride it again?" every 45 seconds from 3 directions. They make me smile.

Then after returning from Orlando we had a weekend to just lay around and sleep but after that...well this weekend brought on College Football openers. We had planned to just stay around the house to watch the game unless tickets were magically found. Well on Thursday not only did Alabama/Virginia Tech tickets appear but also a bunch of Nascar Race tickets appeared. It just so happens that the game was in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and by coincidence the PepBoys night race was in Atlanta too.... Yep so quickly we packed on Thursday night and we loaded up the car: Me, Marcus, my mom & my dad. We were off to the races! (and the game ;o) ) Nina's house played hotel for us this weekend and with Labor Day we were able to really stretch out the weekend. Good thing too, because 3 a.m. was an early bedtime for our crew of 10. Craziness.

It turned into a wonderful getaway, Alabama gave us a great close game against Virginia Tech (final score 34-24) and the night race provided a different kind of entertainment.

We also snuck in some shopping & were able to catch Jon's team the WOLVERINES play as well. Whew! What a weekend. Well for us it was merely the opening to the Fall, the beginning of crazy weekends and fun times with friends & family...