Saturday, August 30, 2008

Funny Story

Yesterday, my friend Heather and her little boy, Ryan, came over so that Ryan and Zachary could play. Heather and I were sitting in the kitchen chatting and she said, "oh I have an Elvis story that you will appreciate".

She told me that Ryan's old babysitter is an Elvis fan and she would play Elvis music for him and taught him that Elvis was the King.They were in church not too long ago and the minister was talking about God and Jesus being the King of Kings and the ultimate King and Ryan turned to his mom and said out loud so that the entire congregation could hear, "Mom, that is so not true. Elvis was the real King." My friend Heather thought she would die but everyone got a good laugh out of it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Kerry!

Today is my sister, Kerry's, birthday and I just wanted to wish her a very big

Kerry, you are a wonderful sister, friend and confidante. I love the relationship that we have and only wish we lived closer together! We have so much fun when we are together and you are the best sister that any girl could have. I am so lucky to be able to say that you are my sister.

Happy Birthday and I love you!

Just One of My Pet Peeves

Okay, this is just one of my pet peeves. Why do companies make appointments, give you a between this time and that time (which is usually a 4 hour span) and then not get there during that time?

We had an appointment with DirectTV on Monday. When I scheduled it, the man told me it was for 4:00 pm but come to find out it was for anytime between 4-8 pm. The guy came at about 8:30. Obviously he couldn't do the job he needed to do because it was dark out and he would have been in our bedroom till midnight. So he resheduled us the next day for between 4-8 although he said he would come to us first. I thought that meant he would be here at 4:00. Do you know what time he got here? 5:45 and was here till almost 9. Do these guys not have lives?

This morning I am supposed to have a new washing machine and dryer delivered from Best Buy. They called last night to say it would be between 9:30 and 11:30 am. It is now 11:52 and they are still not here. To say I'm excited about getting this washing machine and dryer is an understatement. I have been dealing with a washing machine that will not stay balanced for a couple of years now but it is so bad now that you think it is going to bounce its way right down the stairs. The dryer works when it wants to. Haven't figured it out yet. Sometimes it dries, sometimes it doesn't.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grace's First Day of School

Grace's first day of school was August 21, 2008. She is in Mrs. Flott's class again this year but instead of it being a multi-age class with kindergartners and first graders, it is K, 1st and 2nd grade. So, more than likely Grace will have Mrs. Flott again next year. Enrollment is down this year due to all the renovations going on with housing so there are only 18 children in the class and I think all but 4 were in Grace's class last year. So, it was all very familiar to her which definitely helped to ease some of the first day jitters.

Grace with Mrs. Flot

Grace with Ms. Sessoms

Grace with friends from last year

Zachary and I had lunch with Grace her first day

Okay, can I just say that it took me forever to do those Elvis week posts! I guess because of all the pictures. Hopefully now, I can stay current and keep everyone up to date. Grace started school this past Thursday, August 21, so I will work on that post next. But now, I'm off to her school for a parent/teacher orientation.

Evis Week - Day 4 - August 17, 2008 Going Home

Sunday was the day I was to return home. I had a flight out of Memphis at 11:00 am and was supposed to arrive back home a little after 4 pm. My sister and Karen took me to the airport at 9:00 only to find out that my flight had been cancelled and I had been re-booked on a 5:05 pm flight. I tried everything I could to get on an earlier flight and even tried to get re-booked on a flight out of Huntsville so that at least I could spend the day with Kerry and Karen in the car rather than at the airport. But they just wouldn't work with me. So, after we said our goodbye's, I went through security and instead of going to my gate, I went to the shopping area and looked in every store they had at the airport. After all, I had about 7 hours to waste. After I looked at everything in the Elvis shop (but didn't buy anything), bought Dave some Corky's BBQ sauce and the kids a little happy in the bookstore, I made my way to my gate.

Obviously I was the first one there and just found a good spot to camp out on where I could read one of my new Elvis books and people watch. And that is what I did...all day long.

My 5:05 flight was late in leaving which meant it was late arriving to Atlanta. I had not quite an hour to make my connection as it was and now that we were landing 30 minutes late and directed to a gate that had not been vacated yet, we made a circle and went back around. At this point I think I had maybe 25 minutes to make my connection. The pilot made an announcement to let those with connections of an hour or less off first. I was making my way down the aisle, someone told me my flight had been delayed. Instead of leaving at 8:20 it was now leaving at 10:30 pm. I thought "great!". I knew that I would make my connection but that Dave was going to hate this because he was picking me up. Then the guy yelled out to me that it had been delayed but only until 9:09. That was a little better. At least I didn't have to run through the Atlanta airport.

When I arrived at my gate, the sign said 9:09. Then 9:20. Then 9:35. Then 9:55. I kept calling Dave giving him updates. At first we didn't have a plane, then we had a plane but no crew; then we had a crew but the air conditioner didn't work. It it wasn't one thing, it was another. Finally we boarded. The pilot assured us that even though it was hot now, once we got in the air the air conditioner would work. So, we are all gearing up to take off when the plane just shuts down....completely. Now picture a small plane on its way to Jacksonville, NC where one of the largest Marine Corps bases is located. There were lots of marines and other military on board. One guy behind me yelled out, "better now than at 35,000 feet!". It seemed that someone from the outside had cut the power to the plane and because of that, the pilot had to resubmit a bunch of paperwork which took forever. Finally when that was done and we were ready to back out of the gate, the person that was supposed to pull the walkway away had left the gate area so we were still attached to it and couldn't leave. At this point, it was humorous. I actually got tickled at one point in the air and the guy next to me looked at me like I was crazy. I told him that I was supposed to have been home over 7 hours ago.

Finally, we landed safely. Dave was at the airport with Grace and Zachary sound asleep waiting on me. I hated that Elvis Week had come to an end but it was good to get home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Elvis Week - Day 3 - August 16, 2008

On Saturday morning we went to Sun Studio, known at the birthplace of Rock-n-Roll. We got there shortly before they opened and only a few people were waiting to get in but about the time they opened up, a huge bus load of people came for a tour that they had scheduled. We went in and bought our tickets and had about a 40 minute wait for our tour to start. That just gave us time to shop and I just had to buy a Sun Studio t-shirt!

The employees at Sun Studio are fantastic. They do a great job with the tours and just make it all so interesting! They had lots of pictures and artifacts displayed, not only of Elvis but of others who had recorded here such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, B.B. King, the Howling Wolf, Little Milton, and Jackie Brenston. Sun Studio is still an active recording studio so at 6:00 p.m. they kick everyone out and lock the doors and it becomes a recording studio again. Many famous musicians have recorded there because they know that this is the place where it all began.

We were able to hear the recording that Elvis first made there in 1953 when he claimed he wanted to record a song for his Mother's birthday. It was a year later when Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, asked Elvis to come back in the studio to record. That is when Elvis recorded "That's Allright Mama" with Scotty Moore and Bill Black. On July 7, 1954 Dewey Phillips played "That's Allright Mama" on the air and people went crazy. He had so many request calls that he played it 14 more times that night. Elvis became an overnight sensation. He went on to record many songs in this small studio but it was "That's Allright" that started it all.

We were able to see the actual recording studio where Elvis and so many others have recorded. We saw the spot where Elvis stood and the microphone that he used. Here are a few pictures of us with the mike.

Over the past decade, hundreds of current recording artists have honored the memories of what started here at Sun Studio. People like Ringo Starr, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Matchbox 20, and U2 have recorded here. Touring Sun Studio was one of the highlights of my trip!

After we left Sun Studio, we went to Neely's for lunch and had more delicious barbecue! The portion sizes were huge and no one could finish their meal. One thing we did notice though was that there was not a single reference to Elvis in there and we mentioned it to the hostess when she checked us out. We told her you can't have a restaurant in Memphis and not have a little picture of Elvis somewhere. She told us she would definitely pass the information along to Mr. and Mrs. Neely. I will be curious to see the next time I go if they have added a picture or poster of Elvis. We'll see....

We had a little time before heading to our 2:00 performance of From Broadway to Memphis so we went to downtown to Lansky's for a little while. Lansky Brothers is where Elvis shopped in the early days. They supplied Elvis with his flashy early clothes (the Hi-Boy collar shirts, the peg-legged pants, the Pink/Black combinations) and his famous Gold Lame' jacket for his early hip-swiveling performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. As Elvis spread the word, calls from around the world began pouring in. Everyone wanted to dress like Elvis! I got to meet the Mr. Lansky who is 81 years old and still comes to the shop at least once a day. He was such a delight! We also talked to Mr. Lansky's son, Hal and his wife who was very, very nice (although not an Elvis fan but we decided to not hold it against her!).

Picture of Elvis with Mr. Lansky

Mr. Lansky and me!

We went to the 2:00 matinee performance of From Broadway to Memphis and enjoyed it very much. We all thought it was too short though and wanted more! We thought Leah Hocking and Austin Miller did a fantastic job and loved hearing the Memphis Symphony Orchestra playing while watching Elvis on the big screen. The orchestra did a fantastic job along with the director they brought in from New York.

After the show was over, we headed back downtown to Lansky's - we weren't finished shopping. We had 7:00 reservations at EP Delta Kitchen for dinner and to see Donnie Edwards, and Elvis Impersonator or Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) as they liked to be called. None of us are fans of ETA's and we were all a little apprehensive about seeing him, but, much to our surprise, he put on a fabulous show. We all enjoyed it and it was over too soon as well. His voice was amazing. He sounded so much like Elvis that if you closed your eyes, you might have thought that you were actually listening to Elvis. We talked to him afterwards and he seemed like a really nice guy who just acted like himself and didn't try to act like Elvis while we were talking to him.

After we left EP Delta Kitchen we headed over to the plaza where we spent a couple of hours basically just watching Elvis on the screen in one of the shops. We also walked over to Graceland and had our picture made in front of the gates like we did back in 1978. Around midnight or 1:00 we headed back to the hotel and started talking about next year's trip!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Elvis Week - Day 2 - August 15, 2008

Friday morning we went to Malco's Studio on the Square, an old movie theater on Court Street, for a screening of the new Graceland tour DVD. It was fabulous! We all thoroughly enjoyed it and I will most definitely add it to my DVD collection. In the lobby of the theater were lots of old movie posters. Here are a couple of pictures from that morning at the theater.

After the screening, we went to Marlowe's for some delicious Memphis BBQ and mmmmmm, it was good!

With our tummies full, we headed to Graceland. Our tickets for the tour were for 2:30 pm so we browsed in the shops for a little while then decided to go through Sincerely Elvis before our tour. Located in Sincerely Elvis, Elvis Jumpsuits All Access is the largest exhibit of Elvis’s iconic costumes ever assembled, featuring 56 of Elvis’s stage outfits from the major concert era of his career. In this exhibit one can see the evolution of Elvis’s stage costumes through the years, from the simple, two-piece karate-inspired suites to the famed jumpsuits with elaborate rhinestones and matching capes.

This was the jumpsuit that Elvis was going to wear on the tour that he was about to begin at the time he passed away.

For more information on Elvis's jumpsuits, click here:

After touring Sincerely Elvis, we got in line for the trolley ride over to Graceland. I was very excited. I thought that I had been to Graceland before but when we went in 1978, it was not open for tours. After talking with my parents and sister, we realized that I had never gone with them; I had just seen pictures so I felt like I had gone.

Once we got off the trolley, the tour guide gave us a little spiel before going into the house and once we went in, it was an audio self-guided tour that you could really take at your own pace except that it was very crowded so you kind of got pushed along anyway. The first thing you saw when entering the house was a picture of Lisa Marie as a little girl, the big sweeping staircase and beautiful chandelier.

On the right is the living room and music room. I love these two rooms. I've seen pictures of Elvis sitting on the couch in this room with his foot propped up on the coffee table and playing the guitar.

To the left is the dining room where the table is set with china that was used by Elvis and his family. At the end of the dining room is where they would put a Christmas tree each year.

Straight back past the staircase is Elvis's parents' bedroom.
At the base of the stairs is a portrait of Elvis when he was younger.

Off the dining room is the kitchen.

This is the Jungle Room where Elvis actually recorded the album "Jungle Room". By 1976 it was impossible for RCA to get Elvis Presley back into the studio. It had only been 11 months since he had been in a studio to record the incredible Today-album and according to bass singer Larry Strickland studio work wasn't among his favorite things anymore. "He had already recorded so many things", says Strickland. So in order to get yet another album, Felton Jarvis arranged to get RCA's mobile recording unit and had it installed in Presley's basement the "Jungle Room", hence the title of this album. Even though the acoustics of the room were limited, the sound quality of the recordings is equal or even better than what had been recorded at the Stax studio's 2½ years earlier.

We were also able to tour the TV room where Elvis shot the screen out of the television because Robert Goulet was on and the pool room.

After touring the inside of the house we walked out to the back and saw some of the grounds and then into the building which was his original business office.

Part of the tour includes Elvis's racquetball court which includes a sitting area and piano and floor to ceiling displays of gold records, awards and the famous jumpsuit from the Aloha Special.
On the morning that Elvis died, he played raquetball with his cousin Billy Smith and his wife and then they went into the sitting area where Elvis played the piano for the last time.

Also, a highlight of the mansion tour is Elvis's trophy building, which houses his enormous collection of gold records and awards, along with an extensive display of career mementos, stage costumes, jewelry, photographs, and much more.

The mansion portion of the tour ends with a quiet visit to the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest. This is a beautiful area and it's amazing to see all the floral tributes. As my sister said, "it really brings home how much this man is still loved today....the tributes are made with love and to see them line the after the other....from all over the's overwhelming.......".

At the end of our tour, we went around to the front of the house to get more pictures.

After taking the trolley back to the plaza, we shopped some more and toured the rest of the exhibits, the first being Elvis's Car Museum where you stroll down a tree-lined street with a drive-in theater and see over 33 vehicles owned by Elvis. Highlights include his famous Pink Cadillac, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Stutz Blackhawks, a 1975 Dino Ferrari, a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, the red MG from Blue Hawaii and more. We also saw some of his favorite motorized toys, including a go-cart, dune buggy, motorized three-wheelers and a pedal car.
When you first walk in to the Car Mseum, there is a modern-day tribute to Elvis's passion for cars - a special exhibit of two official 1998 race cars with Elvis-themed designs: the Elvis NASCAR that was driven by racing star Rusty Wallace and Elvis NHRA "funny car" that was driven by John Force.

Next were Elvis's custom jets, the Lisa Marie and his small Lockheed Jet Star.

Last but not least was Private Presley, a special limited-time exhibit which celebrates Elvis's service to his country in honor of the anniversary of his induction to the Army in 1958. Special artifacts include Elvis’s army fatigues, dress uniforms and other items from Elvis’ army service. I have an uncle (my Mom's brother, Tulon) who served in the Army with Elvis. There are some pictures in this exhibit that show Elvis with other soldiers, one of whom looks just like my Uncle. My sister is going to try and find out from Graceland Archives if they have the names of the men in the pictures so we can try to find out if it is him or not.

One of my favorite DVDs is Elvis's '68 Special so of course I loved the '68 Special Exhibit where we got to see some of the outfits Elvis wore during the '68 Special, a script and a timeline of significant historical events occurring in the U.S. at that tme.

By this time, it was raining pretty hard again, so we snagged a table at the Rock 'n Roll Cafe and had dinner there. We had two great waitresses - they were exhausted but very friendly. After dinner we looked around in a couple of more shops then headed over to get in line for the vigil. By the time we got in line, the rain had pretty much stopped; we felt a drop or two every now and then, but it was no big deal. We got in line around 9:30 pm and got finished a little after 1:00 am. We all signed the wall that evening which was really neat. If you've never been to Graceland, the driveway is up hill so as we were standing in line for the vigil, we were standing on an incline. My back was absolutely killing me and I was able to sit down for a few minutes when we got to the area where you pick up the trolley and then we kept going.

My sister and Karen did the vigil last year and they told me about it and how amazing it was but until you actually see it in person and experience it for yourself, really no words can do it justice. It was worth the delayed flight, putting up with the crowds and the back pain to experience the vigil firsthand.

After the vigil, we walked back down the driveway and out the gates onto the street and there were so many people just gathered in the street. Several had set up street memorials and when we saw those, we were just like "wow". These were actual paintings on the street that people had done while we were in line for the vigil.