Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Super Day To See The Saints Play

On Sunday, I got to see my Saints play right here close to home, as they took on the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. I took Jim, Andrew, and Matthew along to the game. We left home bright and early to meet up with my brother Ted and his Colts fan friends for some tailgating. I had reserved a spot in a lot near Ted's, and we were surprised to find some friendly faces when we got there. The Webers, the Juds, and some other friends who attended Purdue with David were the only other ones in the lot when we arrived. Crazy that of all the lots around the stadium, we ended up right beside them.
Once Ted arrived, we walked over to his lot for some tailgate food and fun. Our assignment was dessert, and Darci sent some awesome cookies that she made to show support for my team. Who Dat! 

Matthew found a friend for some football tossing.
It was good to see Evan, who was in town from Chicago. We posed for a group photo before we went to our respective corners. :)

Matthew and I were supporting our favorite quarterback in our matching jerseys. We left the others in the tailgate lot and went on in to the stadium when the doors opened. I always like to get inside and watch the warm ups before the crowd arrives.
There was a cool breeze (Brees!), and a little chill in the air, but the roof was open!
Matthew and I walked down to the rail to watch the teams warm up and look for our guy.
While we were waiting, a nice man on the field walked up to us and asked where we were from, and how we came to be Saints fans. We told him we have been fans of his QB since his days at Purdue. He asked me if I had a camera, and pulled off his ring and put in on Matthew's finger. He told him to close his hand and put it right by his face while I took a picture of him wearing a Super Bowl ring! So cool. We figured out that he was the team pilot. A Super Bowl Champion pilot.

Matthew had a magazine that he hoped to get signed by Drew Brees. While we were standing there watching and waiting, a photographer came over and said hello, and that he was with the Saints. He said he wasn't sure Drew would be able to come over, but gave Matthew a card with Drew's photo and some fun facts.

Matthew learned that Drew's favorite subject was history, and that his favorite food is country fried steak. Good to know.
There's our Drew, shaking hands with Andrew Luck.
Warming up. Or is that a prayer? Lord, in your mercy… :)
We walked around to the other side of the stadium, and ran into the ring hat guy, who I wrote about in this post from 2013. He remembered me from our communication after the game in St. Louis. I am so sorry I didn't get a photo of us together, but we were in a hurry to try to see Drew as he left the field. We did see him, but he was on the other side of the tunnel by the time we got there. Such a good guy to sign for the kids. Matthew did not get a signature, but we do have several already. :)
Jim and Andrew came into the stadium in time to see the Saints take the field in uniform.
Matthew and Andrew.
Here's our guy all suited up and ready to go.

Benjamin Watson is one of Jim's favorites.
Ready for the pre-game huddle.
You can watch the huddle here. "Start fast, finish strong, hit 'em in the mouth all day long."
Matthew held the sign I made. Strangely, it never made it on the jumbotron. Lol. I did hold it up quite a bit during the game. Who Dat!
The Colts inflated this big red-eyed horse and flew the remote controlled blimp prior to the team intros.
Here come the Colts.
Drew and backup quarterback, Luke McCown stand side by side for the national anthem. If you haven't see the Verizon commercial starring Luke McCown, it's worth a watch. Very cute. "I bet if they just had the chance, some of those backups would really shine." Luke did have the chance to shine, later in the game, when the Saints faked a field goal and he threw a pass to Ben Watson that set up the Saints' second touchdown of the game.
"O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
Captains walk out for the coin toss.
The toss. Saints win the toss and choose to receive. Let's go!
I put my camera down during the game so I can maintain focus, hold my beads, and close my eyes when necessary. When I opened my eyes after one such play, grabbed Matthew's arm and asked what happened, he said, "Granny, you didn't see? Drew threw a 47 yard pass to Brandin Cooks!" Keeping my eyes closed obviously helped. Lol.

We did run into some cousins at halftime. Matthew, Carter, and Riley had fun visiting in the concourse. 
The Saints started strong, but the Colts made it a game.
Thankfully, the last play was one of my favorites: taking a knee in the victory formation. Whoooo Dat!!
Final score: Saints 27 Colts 21.
Proud of our Boilermaker.
Our post-game celebration photo. So happy.
We met up with Ted and crew for a bit after the game, though they were, understandably, a little less jovial than we were. By the time we dropped Andrew and Matthew off back at the farm, the sun was setting. And it was good.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Marking a Birthday

On Friday, we drove to Louisville, met up with Adam and Courtney, and headed south through the winding roads of Kentucky to the little town of Loretto. It was an absolutely beautiful fall day for our tour of Maker's Mark Distillery, which Courtney had planned as part of Adam's Golden Birthday celebration.

Carol came along, too, so that she could meet up with Barry later in the afternoon, and she took this photo of our group before we started the tour. Isn't that tree gorgeous?
Courtney made friends with the distillery cat,
whose name was Whisky Jean.

We learned that the distillery was built by the Samuels family, and that Margie Samuels is responsible for some of the unique features of the business, including bottle's shape, the label, and the trademark red wax dipped bottle. The property looks more like a quaint village than a manufacturing facility, with many attractive architectural features. The bright blue sky made a beautiful backdrop.
The shutters have cut-outs in the shape of the Maker's Mark bottle.

It was interesting to see the bottling line. The bottles are rinsed in a shot of their own bourbon to sterilize before being filled.
They are capped and labeled, and then each is hand dipped in their trademark red wax. Every single bottle. Hand dipped. Wow.
 Of course, there are different ways of dipping. :)
The 'dippers' are clad in protective sleeves, aprons, and eye protection, and they rotate jobs every 30 minutes, so no one spends all day dipping.
After the bottling room, we found another pretty tree and I took a photo of Jim and his sister Carol.
 The 5-story still even has the red bottle shutters on the tower.
In the warehouse, where we saw barrels and barrels of bourbon, we also immediately noticed the beautiful glass ceiling. Courtney said it reminds her of the Children's Museum glass sculpture, which we knew was a creation of Dale Chihuly. Sure enough, our guide soon told us that is was a Chihuly creation, commissioned to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the distillery.
 So beautiful.
It is called The Spirit of the Maker. It is tricky to photograph, especially when the narrow passage is filled with a tour group, so I found a photo here to show it a little better.
Nest stop, the tasting room.

After the tasting, we moved to the gift shop, where you can dip your own bottle. But first, we have to get suited up in protective gear.
We receive our instructions.
And dip away.
The birthday boy, dipping his commemorative golden birthday bottle of bourbon.

One last photo in front of the barrels before leaving to drive back through the hills to Louisville.
We met up with Barry on the way back, and he and Carol headed for Texas.

We were joined by a few of Adam and Courtney's friends, and enjoyed dinner at Eddie Merlot's.
 Happy Birthday, dear Adam.
Happy Birthday to you! He blew out his candle, then shared the cheesecake with the whole table.
Chellsey and Courtney enjoyed their own (huge) dessert. (They also shared.)

The birthday dinner group. 
Jim, Susan, Darci, Andrew, George.
Chellsey, Courtney, Adam, Kyle.
Jim and I headed home, while the rest of the group continued the birthday extravaganza at Fourth Street Live. A very merry birthday indeed.