Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Glædelig jul

Gelukkig Kerstfeest

Hyvää Joulua

Joyeux Noël

Frohe Weihnachten

Καλά Χριστούγεννα

חג מולד שמח

Buon Natale

メリークリスマス

圣诞节快乐

С Рождеством

Feliz Navidad

Nadolig Llawen

To everyone all around the world, no matter how you say it, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Week of Awesome

That's what next week will be, well, really Saturday-Saturday.

As you probably know, this Saturday is Christmas. It is the celebration of the birthday of my Lord and Savior. It's a big deal, in case you haven't noticed. But the fun and celebration doesn't stop there.

Next week, I turn twenty-five. I will officially be a quarter of century old. Boo that. I don't want to think of it like that. So I won't. Scarlett O'Hara really had the right idea about how to deal with unpleasant things, "I won't think about that today, I'll think about that tomorrow." I won't think about the whole quarter of a century aspect. I will think of it as simply another birthday celebration. So yay me. It's my day.

New Year's Eve. Need I say more?

New Year's Day. I sincerely hope this day is a day entirely of celebration. You see, my beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs will be playing in the Gator Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines. GO STATE! A win would really set a nice tone for 2011. I'm just sayin'.

So, if there is a bit of radio silence on my end next week, just know that I have good reasons. I will do my best, though.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

And GO STATE!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sick as a Dog

I love my dog. He is a handful, but he is also incredibly affectionate and loving. He is very protective and possessive of my husband and me. We love him. He is part of our family.

Unfortunately, this morning he woke up with quite the cough. A deep hacking cough. The kind that sounds like a sick duck quacking when you are a room away. He sounded terrible. And we could tell he was exhausted, so he probably didn't sleep well. I took him to the vet this morning and they saw him as quickly as possible. I have to say that he really doesn't like being on the examination table and tries to escape it, but today he just lowered his head into me and stood there, too tired to fight it.

The vet worked his magic and looked up at me and with complete confidence told me my dog had contracted bronchitis. Super. Major was given a couple of shots to help soothe his cough and I was given some medicines for him to take at home (I love our vet. Major boarded there over the weekend because we had to make a quick trip out of town and he couldn't join us. Our vet admitted that it was possible that Major picked something up from another dog while in their office and didn't charge me for the visit, the tests, or the medicines. I love people who still care about good customer service!). I was relieved when the shot stopped his cough immediately. The vet did warn me that "it might make him a little drunk." He wasn't kidding. By the time we got home, Major was three sheets to the wind.

He stumbled around the house and then went out to the yard. He would almost sit down, but about the time his tail touched the ground he would stand back up and look around like someone had just touched him from behind. He couldn't stand up straight. He would stand and start leaning one way or the other and just keep leaning until he had to catch himself before falling down. If he hadn't been so ill, it would have been really funny. Oh, who am I kidding, it was hilarious! I couldn't quit giggling. He eventually gave up and just flopped down on the ground.

I know how terrible he feels because he won't even play with his chew toys. He just stares at them from across the room. I hope his meds knock this out before Christmas. I mean, I know he doesn't really know what day it is, but I do, so I hope he feels better. We'll see.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Weekend Before Christmas

(Humor me).

Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through my space
Decorations were up and presents were in a hiding place
A few gifts left to buy and a few more to wrap
Time was growing short and I said "Oh, crap!"

I had errands to run and a lot of things to do
Places to go, and things to bake, too.
My list is full and so is my heart,
The chance to see family and friends is the best part!

I love the parties, the visits, the cards full of love,
These are things I can't get enough of.
Never an ounce of stress is ever on my mind,
I just keep telling myself that all the time.

Christmas is almost here and I can hardly wait,
After all, I'm a Christian, it's an important date!
I hope you enjoy the holiday, and get the rest you've been needing.
Merry Christmas to all and to all happy reading!

(Thanks for reading my blog this year!)
(I will be posting next week, but a little more sporadically.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Traditions?

I was thinking today about the Christmas traditions I enjoy the most. The list is long, because this is my favorite time of year. I started to wonder, though, what are some other traditions from around the world? What are some interesting Christmas facts? For instance, I read something today that suggested that the word "wassail" is derived from the Norse "ves heil" which means something like "good health". It refers to a Norse custom of going around and toasting your to all of your neighbors' good health. Also, apparently Christmas caroling in England is sometimes (or once was, I'm not sure how old the info was) called wassailing because of this.

These are things that fascinate me. I love learning about other cultures, customs, and traditions. I'm riveted.

My current blog platform has a really cool feature that tells me where in the world people are viewing my blog. It just gives me the country, of course, nothing Big Brother style creepy. I have had the distinct privilege to be read by people all across Europe, in the Pacific, and even parts of Africa. I don't know if they come regularly, or if they happen to stumble upon me. I don't know if they are natives of those places, or just happen to be traveling there. But, if you are one of those people and are willing to do so, would you comment and tell me about some of your Christmas traditions (if you celebrate it, of course)? What do you do to celebrate? Or what are some historical fun facts that relate to your place of origin? I am aware that sometimes it is difficult to comment on my page because the system gets picky. Please forgive me if you try and can't get through. I would love to know what you have to share.

Also, how to do you say "Merry Christmas" in your language? It's not a silly question, I know that my blog has been translated into other languages (another cool feature of my blog platform) so not everyone who reads it is reading it in English.

Also, if you are from the United States and just have some fun facts, traditions, or tidbits to share, please, join in the fun!

Please share. If you don't I might sing Christmas carols. And nobody really wants that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Randomness Part 5

It's time for my random tidbits of information! Buckle up.

1. The roof of the dome where the Minnesota Vikings play collapsed during a snow storm, moving their game against Giants to Detroit. Is collapsed really the proper word when the roof is made of a type of fabric. If it's made of fabric, is it really a roof. I think the argument could be made that it isn't so much a roof as it is a crazy expensive tarp. Still, the video of the snow pouring onto the field is pretty cool stuff.

2. A principal at a middle school in Memphis, TN has found a great way to convince his students to wear their pants at an appropriate height. If their pants are too saggy/baggy, he pulls them up as far as necessary to keep them from dragging the ground. He calls it being Urkeled, and has posters of the Family Matters character posted around the school as a warning. Excellent.

3. The official engagement photos of William and Kate have been released. One of them is almost an exact copy of one of the engagement photos of Charles and Diana. On the one hand, that is a sweet way to honor William's parents; on the other hand, are they trying to sabotage this relationship? Kate already has Diana's ring. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and a fitting tribute, but does nobody remember how that marriage ended? I'm just saying.

4. I'm still cheering Kate on. Brunette princess named Catherine (even if she spells it wrong)? Yes, please.

5. How do you get Kate from Catherine? Why not Cate? Or Katherine? Or why not Kathryn and go by Kathryn? I like that last option best, of course.

6. Brett Favre didn't start tonight. As one of my friends pointed out, the last time that happened, I was only six years old. That is all I'm going to say about that tonight.

7. We had snow flurries where I live yesterday. We are predicted to have sleet/snow/ice on Wednesday morning. This means two things: 1 - it is way too cold here, and 2 - Wednesday morning every person in the metro area will completely forget how to drive and it will undoubtedly take me at least twice as long to get to work as it normally does.

8. It's hard to not be in a good mood when you are listening to your favorite Christmas songs.

That is all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do Not Use The Elevators

On Friday I was in my office working peacefully when the fire alarm began to go off. Our building has a history of false alarms, so before I began to make sure all of my fellow employees were exiting the office in an orderly fashion (it is part of my job), I called the main desk of the building. I was informed that the alarm had gone off as a side effect of a pipe bursting in one of the elevator shafts and they were working on the problem, but that it was not necessary to exit the building. I was relieved and began to let my colleagues know. I was relieved. I personally didn't want to walk down the stairs. I work on the 29th floor.

A few minutes later, I got a call from the main desk. The water was causing some circuits to short. Sparks were involved and they were evacuating the building as a precaution until they could get everything under control. They made it clear that everyone was to stay off all the elevators, because both sets were involved in the incident. Twelve total elevators. All of them rendered useless and dangerous. Super. I gathered my co-workers and we began our descent. Again, I work on the 29th floor. THE TWENTY-NINTH FLOOR, PEOPLE. That's a LOT of stairs. A LOT.

And I was in heels.

Lord, help me.

I will be the first to admit that I'm not in the best shape of my life, but when we got to the bottom, I wasn't out of breath. That is a miracle in and of itself. My knees were a bit wobbly, though. A bit might be a euphemism. I was like a weeble. And my feet were not happy.

We had been standing out in the cold for about ten minutes when they came out and told us that the problem had been solved and we could all return to our offices, via the elevators. So we did. I returned to my desk and went back to work for the last couple of hours of the day. When it came time to go home, I stood and my legs were like jello. Okay, so I'm out of shape. I knew that already. The real trouble had yet to come.

This morning (Saturday) when I awoke, I noticed a general discomfort in my legs. I stretched. It didn't go well. I stood. It didn't go well, either. I was betrayed by my own limbs. I'm hoping tomorrow goes a little better.

One can only hope.

Stupid high rise.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Bad Driver

You know who you are.

I would like to point out to you that just because you drive a very large, very tall, very dirty piece of crap vehicle, does not mean that you can use it like a tank on the road. Just because you don't care if your car gets totaled, doesn't mean the rest of us are itching to be in the same situation. If you are just a bad driver, who passed a driver's test and then instantly forgot all rules of the road, let me remind you. Let's start simple, shall we?

1. You can't take your half out of the middle. Stay in your lane. Either lane. But you only get to pick ONE!

2. When you need to turn, USE A BLINKER.

3. If you get within 50 feet of your turn and are not yet in the lane you need to be in, don't expect me slam on brakes for you. As the old saying goes, a failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

4. If you are about to miss your exit, as in you have actually started to pass the exit, and I have legally and comfortably taken the exit it is NOT OKAY FOR YOU TO SUDDENLY JERK ACROSS THE MEDIAN, COME INTO MY LANE, AND RUN ME OFF THE ROAD.

5. If your radio is up so loud that you can't hear me blast the horn as I have to employ defensive driving techniques to avoid a collision or going off the shoulder of the road, it is TOO LOUD. You're not cool. You're a moron who needs to have your license revoked.

6. Put your cell phone down. I don't care if you are texting, talking, or what have you. Multitasking is obviously not your strong point. Let it go. You need to pay attention and have both hands on the wheel. Driving is clearly a difficult task for you. Focus.

7. The local highway is not Gran Turismo 5. Try not to kill anyone.

8. If any of this is too difficult for you to grasp, call a cab. Can't afford a cab, take a bus. Just stop getting behind the wheel. Someone is going to get hurt.

I don't say any of this to hurt your feelings. I'm saying it because I don't want to get killed on the way home because you never check your mirrors and think the median is fun to jump over. Either go back to driver's ed, or sell your car and walk.

Sincerely,

Me

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Three Cheers for Science

Well, actually, there are more than three.

I read a blog post recently on BlogHer about an incredible woman. Her name is Darlene Cavalier. She is a scientist, who is also a professional cheerleader. And she's not cheering for just anything, she's cheering for science.

Excuse me? What?

That's right, folks. I know the perplexed look on your face because it was on mine, too, when I first read this post by Mia Mercado (many thanks to Mia!). I was intrigued, but mostly by a sense of skepticism that yearned to fed. Science cheerleaders, you say? How exactly does that work? Who is even watching these cheerleaders?

It turns out, the answer is that a lot of people are watching them (if you want to join them, take a peek at Mia's post, because she includes a video clip). And after reading the article, I feel like cheering them on. You see, Darlene started off wanting to basically make science easier to understand and help scientific concepts appeal to the masses, feeling that this would lead to better conversation about scientific discoveries. She used her experience as a 76ers Cheerleader and her wealth of science knowledge to create something that I am fairly confident nobody had ever seen before.

I think the best part of it all is that her fellow science cheerleaders are BOTH professional cheerleaders and scientists. Scientists by day, cheerleaders by night. It all sounds like a Disney Channel special, doesn't it? But it's true. And while the idea was to actually make the concepts easier to understand and remember for adults, the program is actually a huge hit with little girls. They see the cheerleaders as proof that girls can have both beauty and brains. You can be a jock and a nerd. You can be athletic and a bookworm. You can be a scientist AND a cheerleader. I don't care how we get that message across to kids, that being smart is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as we get it to them.

So thanks, Darlene Cavalier, for thinking outside the box!
And thanks, Mia Mercado, for spotlighting the science cheerleaders!

2-4-6-8, Who do we appreciate? The Science Cheerleaders, that's who.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Cheers

Is the name of the Christmas Album from the a cappella group Straight No Chaser. And you know what? It is just terrific. You know I love Christmas music, y'know, because I told you, but this is just superb. There are traditional tunes, some new tunes, and some traditional tunes that, well, are going to sound new.

I'm not telling you to buy the CD. I'm telling you that I bought the CD and it is fabulous. Nobody asked me to say that. Nobody affiliated with the group even knows who I am. I don't care. I love the CD. It makes me laugh, it makes me want to celebrate. In short, it puts me in the Christmas spirit. Not that the impending holiday isn't already brightening my days, it just never hurts to get a little extra boost of enthusiasm.

Now, Straight No Chaser isn't new. In fact, they were a college group and have had many reincarnations at said college (I can't remember exactly which one, but I want to say Indiana? Yes, I checked. It's Indiana. Thank you internet.), but this CD was made by the guys who made it all famous. Famous, you say? Yep. Just check YouTube.

No, really. Check it out. You won't be disappointed. They make me smile.

That is all.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Challenge of Listening

I'm a Christian. I pray. I talk to God. Especially when I am struggling internally with something. Sometimes He answers. I mean, I've never heard the big booming voice from the sky, or seen a burning bush, but sometimes He makes things pretty clear. Other times? Not so much.

I have trouble sometimes tuning out the world and just listening for what He has to say. I know if you don't share my faith all of this sounds crazy, but it's all true. It is hard to quiet the fears and anxieties of my heart and force myself to just listen.

The hardest part of listening? The patience. I'm getting better, but, unfortunately, patience is not a virtue of which I am in abundance. I try, but I'm still a work in progress.

I've been thinking about this lately because I've really been praying about something. The question was a two parter. The first part? God threw me a bone and made that answer incredibly clear. The other part? I got nothing.

Hello? Is this thing on? Any day now.

Maybe he has been giving me the answer and I just don't see it.

God, I'm an idiot. Can you spell it out for me?

Does anybody else ever have this problem?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Decoration Progress Update

So before Thanksgiving I wrote a post about possibly putting our Christmas decorations up early. I didn't want to wait too long to put them up and get my household into the Christmas spirit and we had a lot of commitments away from the house. Well, we didn't decorate early. It just seemed wrong. So when did we get it done?

Uhm, about that. We haven't yet. I mean, we turned in all the old Christmas lights we had for a discount on new LED lights at Home Depot, so we are set for lights. We got all the decorations out of the attic and have decided how to decorate everything (it is our first Christmas in our house). My shopping (and wrapping) is mostly done. Christmas music has been playing in my car (and my head) for days and days. But my house? Not so much.

I feel like all is not right with my world. My Christmas angels are still in their boxes (yes, I put them back in their original packaging every year, I'm clumsy and they are breakable). Our stockings are not yet hung by the fire with care. And don't even get me started on the tree. Well, maybe you should, actually, because I haven't even started yet! I have my work cut out for me over the next few days.

How did this happen? How did I go from debating whether or not to put up the decorations before Thanksgiving to still not having made progress at the end of the December 1st? Where did the time go? I mean, I know last night I got distracted and allowed myself to spend a lot of time playing on youtube. But what about the other days? I mean, I know I have done other things besides go to work, come home, walk and feed the dog, and do laundry. Haven't I?

Ok. Maybe not.

Luckily, in our little neighborhood, I'm not the only one who is not yet glowing with holiday celebration. Only one other house in the subdivision is fully decorated. Overachiever. Way to make the rest of us look bad.

I vow that major progress will have been made by the time the SEC Football Championship game airs on Saturday. It may not be done by then, but it will be well on its way. It will. It will. It will.

Maybe.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The low tonight in my little corner of the South? 29 degrees Fahrenheit. TWENTY-NINE people. That is just crazy. This morning, on my way to work, it was SNOWING. Okay, it was mostly sleet and it melted as soon as it touched anything, BUT STILL! Freaking freezing is what it is.

If you live in a place where it is regularly colder than this at this time of year, I'm sorry. And also, I'm never coming to visit.

I told you I would complain when it actually got cold enough to use the fireplace. I warned you. I did.

Anyway, having been such a frigid day, I settled in tonight in my sweats and watched Glee (side note: next week is a Christmas episode and since I just declared yesterday how much I adore Christmas music, you can only imagine my excitement.), and then, since Good Wife (good show) was not on due to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (like we need MORE women on TV in their undies) I pulled up my computer to write this post. In the midst of doing so I decided I was ridiculously low on Christmas music. I paused to look some up on youtube. What? My CDs were in the car, and IT'S COLD OUT THERE!

Anyway, I went to youtube and looked up my fave Christmas songs and something happened. I was distracted. First, it was the Glee version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside", which is one of my favorite holiday tunes EVER. Then, it was one member of the Glee cast singing Disney tunes. Then it was the actual Disney Tunes (including an entirely underrated Duck Tales theme song - FANTABULOUS! "Duck Tales, oooohh ooooh!" And did I mention the Gummi Bears? AMAZING!). Why did I just tell you all this? Because I have been writing this post for an hour.

And what have we learned? That it is cold, I love Disney, and I am really easily distracted. All in all, it was a good night.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In My Day, We Were Just Nerds

I'm a geek. A dork. A nerd. These are all labels I am familiar with, and not at all opposed to. I must say, what's the harm in being a geek? I'm never expected to be the coolest person in the room, so no pressure. I am not expected to do well in the spotlight (low expectations increase the chance of me being impressive - I'm just playing the odds). I'm driven to do better academically, because it is expected of me and I don't want to disappoint. I'm not just okay with it, I own it.

Being the nerd that I am, I have been called all the old names, but it was over this Thanksgiving holiday that my dear sweet little nephews brought to my attention the new label. What is this new moniker for my people? Too school for cool.

Seriously?

It's true. Apparently, gone are the days of simple, one syllable insults, or even the wordplay style "double e" scorn (don't get it? Think geek and dweeb, each word has a double e in the middle). Why can't things ever just stay simple?

Besides, I can't be too school for cool if I'm no longer in school, right? Eh, I'll just stick with nerd.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Wait On This All Year

I wait for this all year. That time after Thanksgiving when it is time to play Christmas music. It's time to break out all of my favorite holiday music, the radio joins in my conspiracy and I can't help but feel just a little bit merrier when I get in my car and hear my favorite songs of the season.

I know it is this totally dorky thing that I love, but I do love it. Christmas music brightens my days. I mean, it might just be because Christmas, since I am a Christian, is the celebration of the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to be reminded of that is a wonderful and powerful thing that I wouldn't trade anything (or everything) in the world for it. Also, though, Christmas music is just jolly. Even the sad songs, like "Blue Christmas" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas". They may have sad undertones that could make you cry if you are far away from your loved ones during the holidays, but they can also cheer you up. They help remind you that you are still loved, even if you can't walk in to the same room as your family and smell the familiar smells of asparagus casserole and a Douglas Fir. You know you are just as much in their hearts as they are in yours.

And if you will be with loved ones, the angelic ringing of silver bells in the background of each jovial and celebrating song only adds to your merry, if not a little stressed, attitude. It's hard not to be in a good mood. At least, it is if you are already done with shopping.

I love to find just the right gift for people, but I really don't like to shop in large crowds. And as you well know, this is the busiest shopping season of the year. I start early, and hope to get done early each year, so that I can avoid the largest crowds. What can I say, I like to listen to my Christmas music in my car on the way home from work, and in the comfort of my own home. I don't like it being piped into a store's stereo system while I have to say "Excuse me, I'm sorry," as I bump elbows with people up and down each aisle. Pass.

But other than the shopping craziness, I LOVE this time of year. I love the music, I love the smiles on everyone's faces, I love the decorations, the recipes, the very reason for the celebration. Christmas is EASILY my favorite holiday of the entire year. I rejoice in its meaning. I revel in its wonder. Just fabulous.

P.S. It is slightly, possibly, maybe just a little bit, that my especially jovial attitude today may be bolstered by the fact that my beloved Bulldogs are bringing home the Egg Bowl Trophy. GO STATE! But I really do love Christmas.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I know Thanksgiving isn't until Thursday, but as you can imagine, things get a little busy around the holidays. There are family members to greet, meals to cook, catching up to do. It's crazy. To prepare myself for said craziness, I will be taking a vacation from posting until next week.

I will return.

I will miss you dearly.

I will be back soon.

And I will probably have more stories to tell upon my return!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Real Princess

Sort of.

Pretty soon, Prince William will wed Kate Middleton. She is not from royalty. They met in college. It's like a modern day fairy tale. He even gave her his late mother's engagement ring. A honkin' sapphire surrounded by some pretty sweet diamonds.

I live in the United States. Why do I care? Because I love a good royalty story. Plus, I'm hoping their marriage goes better than that of his parents. Anyway, having been paying attention I learned a couple of things over the last few days. Things that kind of ruin the whole fairy tale aspect. Like, she doesn't get to be a Princess until Charles (that's not a typo) takes the throne. Until then, she could end up being the Duchess of Cambridge (which isn't half bad, but still not a princess!), or she could be (am I'm not completely clear on why this is) Princess William of Wales. She doesn't even get to be Princess Kate. What a rip off. Disney would NOT stand for this!

Oh, well. I don't know much about her, but I hope she makes it to Princess Kate someday. 'Cause I like the idea of a new princess. And if it can't be me, at least it will be a pretty brunette. Represent.

Oh, there are also rumors that their wedding will be at Westminster Abbey. Who thinks that will be the kind of crazy, media flooded, once in a lifetime shindig you don't want to miss?

*raises hand*

Anybody else?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It Just Warms My Heart

Nothing can make your heart grow three sizes like the sight of an adorable puppy in front of the fire!

Ok, maybe I'm a little biased.

Also, it's been a slow news day in my life today.

That is all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is next week. How crazy is that? I feel like this year has just flown by. It's crazy, but it's true. So, in the spirit of things, I am thinking about all the things I am thankful for this year. This is not a comprehensive list, of course, but here are some of the things I thought about:

1. That God forgives me for the mistakes I make and He loves me for who I am.

2. My loving husband.

3. My family.

4. My friends.

5. My dog. His very nature of "I love you and I'm so glad to see you!" even if you have only been out of the room for five minutes brightens my days.

6. That I have a creative outlet in this blog, even if I am talking to myself sometimes.

7. My house. And the fact that I can afford it. I'm very thankful for that.

8. That my Bulldogs are totally bowl eligible!

9. That I will have a chance to spend some holiday time with my family. It may be that I see my side of the family for Thanksgiving, and my husband's side for Christmas this year, but I feel so blessed that I get to be with family for the holidays at all. So many people don't have that opportunity.

10. That nobody seems to mind my glaring typos. Seriously. I have gone back and read some of my old posts. My brain gets ahead of my typing sometimes. I sometimes have my husband sort of proofread for me, but sometimes I don't. And I'm sorry. But I'm thankful you haven't abandoned me because of it.

11. I am thankful for you, my readers. Whether you are friends and family who have known me for years, or if you don't know me at all, I love to know that you are reading. When I sign in and see my page has been viewed not just from my own backyard, but also from other countries, I get all warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks ya'll.

12. I'm also thankful for great holiday traditions that give me fun things to look forward to all year long.

Again, this is not a comprehensive list, but it is a few of the things for which I am thankful. Happy Thanksgiving....next week!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tails of Hope

This post is a little different than some of my others. It is about a specific program. I was not paid to write this post. I was not even asked to write this post. I want to write it.

So I have told you before that we adopted our dog through a rescue program. Well, we could not be more thrilled with having him around. He is a member of the family now. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of dogs out there who need a home.

Ginger, from Tails of Hope Dog Rescue in Memphis, TN was responsible for bringing him into our lives. She does a wonderful job of caring for and preparing these animals to find their forever home. The animals are spayed or neutered, they are de-wormed, they are given their shots, and they are put in foster homes so they get used to being around other people and animals (sometimes this also means they may have some experience with crates and potty training). If you are ever interested in seeing what kind of dogs they have that are available for adoption they post pictures of them on Petfinder, just search for Tails of Hope Dog Rescue in Memphis in the search box on the left hand side of the page under Animal Welfare groups.

Also, I don't believe there are pictures up of them yet on that site, but I talked with Ginger yesterday and she said they currently have 10 Boxer mix puppies! She has an album of pictures on the Facebook site (you can also help name the puppies!). They are only about 3 weeks old, so they cannot be adopted immediately, but they are super adorable. And, I promise, they have more than just Boxers. They are a non-breed specific rescue, so they try to find homes for all breeds of dogs.

Of course, to ensure a good match between a family and a dog there is a process. I saw Major's pictures and his short bio on Petfinder and thought he was just adorable, and the breed we wanted, but I wanted to know more. I emailed her using the links available and she was quick to respond and answered all of my questions. We even talked on the phone a couple of times so that she could answer more questions for me. Then, when I was a bit more confident, I filled out the required application. She immediately got back to me. Before we adopted him, though, we had to set up a play date. That way, we could have a chance to meet the dog, face to face, and see if we even got along with him. Would he be too big? Would he play too rough? Would he be so shy that he wouldn't even want to play? So we set it up and we met him. And, of course, he was perfect. For us, anyway. After the play date, which lasted a while, we had the option to take some time and talk it over (my husband and I), or we could adopt him right then and there. We knew he was for us, and adopted him on the spot, but I like that Tails of Hope gives you the option, so you never feel pressured. Adopting a dog is a long commitment. The life of the dog, in fact. You better know whether or not you are ready and if this is the right fit for you.

Tails of Hope Dog Rescue is how Major came into our lives. For that I will be forever grateful. Ginger is fantastic and I am so glad she was there to answer all my questions. I could not have been more pleased with the process.

So if you are in the Memphis area and would like to adopt a friend, or if you know someone who fits that description, tell them about Tails of Hope. You can like them on Facebook, you can donate to help cover vet costs, and you can help by not ever buying puppies from puppy mills!

You know I usually don't "push" things on my site. I sometimes talk about the things I like, but I don't try to get anyone else to buy them. This is no different. I am not doing this to ask you to do anything. I just wanted to tell you about this wonderful organization that helped me find my newest family member.

Thanks.

Do you have any "tails" of hope to share?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Veterans, Active Military, and Military Families

Thank you.

They are a simple couple of words that don't seem to convey the overwhelming gratitude I have for what you have done and still do.

For veterans, you have given so much already. I sincerely hope you don't think you have been forgotten. You have left your families behind for months at a time to travel thousands of miles away to unfamiliar and unfriendly places and you never asked for thanks. It was just a job that you did. But it is so much more than that. Thank you.

For Active Military, you continue to dedicate your life to serving this great nation, no matter the petty political arguments or the strength of the dollar. Though you certainly have your own feelings and opinions, it makes no difference the political party in power in the House, the Senate, or even the White House. You have a job to do and you do it. Thank you.

For the families, the love and support your provide to your loved ones in uniform is, I am sure, what helps them, for lack of a better term, soldier on. You stay at home while your soldier travels halfway across the world. If it is your spouse, then you have to be both parents while they are away. If it is your child, you heart breaks every time they leave because it has always been your job to worry about them. If it is your sibling, you watch your childhood playmate risk their life. But you don't complain. It may break your heart, but you handle it with grace and pride. Thank you.

Thank you. It doesn't seem like enough, but it is the best thing I can say to convey my gratitude. Thank you. And God Bless.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That Jillian Michaels, She's A Funny Gal

So I have blogged before about my quest to get in shape. You know, other than round. Well, my routine got a little bland, and my schedule got a little full, and I began to slack off. So I decided the answer was to change things up. What could I do to make it more fun? To make it different? To make it more effective?

My answer was to buy a Jillian Michaels DVD workout. I mean, I've seen her in action on her show. I've read one of her books. She seemed like just the ticket. She yells like a sports coach, and I kinda respond to that...as long as it is not somebody I know (meaning my husband, siblings, parents, etc can't do it, because then I get defensive and yell back). So I found one of her DVD programs that only takes about half an hour a day, thinking that I could probably handle her hard core crazy workouts for a quick 30 min. She has you use weights. There is a beginner level and an advanced level that you can move up to after you get used to it. Sounds simple enough.

It's all a lie. I mean, she doesn't yell as much, but I'm not going to complain about that. What she does do, is put you in some serious pain. It's not that bad while you are doing it, mostly. It starts off simple and slow. So much so, in fact, that I began to question whether it was going to do anything for me. And then she started throwing me curve balls. And sometimes when she started a new circuit activity I just had to laugh. She's got to be kidding me. I can't do THAT. Has she lost her freakin' mind? No really, this must be a joke. It all looks simple. Deceptively so. If I did everything individually it probably would be completely doable. But all at once? Haha, no.

The upside? I got my husband to do it with me. It helps to have a teammate. Misery loves company. I didn't feel nearly as bad when he started to have the same reaction as I did. "What?! Is this a joke?!" At least I wasn't alone. And I'm still not. We have both been sore for two days now. It hurts to get up out of my chair at the office. He thinks he may have pulled a muscle. We are a pair to beat a full house. But we are not quitting! We are going to try again just as soon as we have full range of motion back.

Another reason I don't feel bad about the workout being rough is that one of the two "back-ups" she has in the video doesn't make it all the way through without some serious struggles either. The girl actually stops moving at one point when Jillian is distracted and pointing something out using the other demonstrator. I noticed. I didn't blame her. Even Jillian is glistening with sweat when it's all over. All three of them were, really.

So, as soon as my legs have fully recovered, I'm trying again. I think this could be a much more effective workout than I anticipated. That is, if she doesn't kill me first.

Help me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh, Mario. You Take Me Back

When I was little, my siblings often had to babysit me. I was the youngest by a few years and you can imagine they were not always thrilled about doing so. I don't blame them. I wouldn't have wanted to have a smarty-pants little sister always tagging along with me and my friends, either. I get it. I mean, I was adorable and not at all annoying, and always completely fun be around, but whatever.

Stop rolling your eyes.

And laughing.

Anyway, one of my sisters had a boyfriend who had a fantastic back-up plan. He had a Super Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. It was perfect. I mean, I vaguely remember playing Frogger and Pong on the Atari, but a Super Nintendo, that was a whole new ball game. I was kept occupied for quite some time and they could hang out in peace. To clarify, my other sister also had a boyfriend with the video game hookup at his house (he is now her husband, by the way), but he also had a younger brother (who was a few years my senior) who played those games a lot and when I played with him, he totally kicked my butt all the time, making the whole experience less awesome. With the Super Nintendo, though, I could play by myself. It didn't matter if I used all my lives and had to start over. Nobody was there to judge me or sigh loudly because I was holding up the game.

Over time, Mario and I got close. We were tight. Total buddies. And then? Sega Saturn. Playstation. N64. I had other options. And my friends started to get them, too. And eventually, my sister broke up with Super Nintendo boyfriend. I think I was sadder than her. He was always really nice to me. That aside, it would be a while before I played Super Mario Bros. again.

Recently, we got the Wii version of Super Mario Bros. It is the same characters I remember, with simple adjustments and updates. It was great. We have had a blast playing it. It brings back memories. Lots and lots of memories.

Does that scare you a little bit, sis?

It probably should.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sure Paula Can Cook, But Can She Dance?

So this weekend my husband and a close friend of ours celebrated their respective birthdays. To celebrate he and his wife, who is also a very close friend of ours, came to visit us. We were just elated to have them stay with us. We did fun and silly things. We ate at our favorite places, we played video games, we went bowling. It was just oodles of fun. No, really. Oodles.

On Saturday, we took a road trip to Tunica, MS. Now, Tunica is a small town on the Mississippi River, but just outside of it there is a collection of casinos that makes Tunica one of the largest gaming centers in the U.S. I mean, it's not Vegas or Atlantic City, but if you live in the South and are too cheap to spring for a plane ticket, it does the trick. Also, they have a Paula Deen Buffet, ya'll. And boy are they proud of it. The first sign we saw from the highway was a large sign bearing her likeness, posing the question, "Ya'll Hungry?" And we were. We stopped in and had lunch. I have never seen so much food in all my life. And that's saying something. No, really. That buffet could feed a small country. Actually, it wouldn't even have to be that small. And I won't lie, some of the dishes I think my family has a better recipe for, although, she does do some things right. Like apple cobbler. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

After lunch, we hung around and played a few games in the casino. I jumped from table to table in an attempt to find Lady Luck, and an air conditioning vent. It wasn't that it was hot, it's just that there is no "no smoking" rule in the casinos and the smell of cigarette smoke gives me the almost uncontrollable urge to yak. Luckily, the crowd was thin enough for me to find a pretty good spot near whatever I wanted to play. It was a good time.

For dinner, we headed down to the river and boarded the Tunica Queen for a riverboat dinner cruise. The cruise involves a two hour cruise on the Tunica Queen, travelling up and down the river and enjoying dinner and dancing. The dinner was delicious. But even better, was the chef. Harpo.

Harpo is not just any chef. He's a dancing chef. Oh, the dancing. He danced while he served us. And I'm not talking a sway side to side as he carved. No. Harpo DANCED while he served us. And after dinner? He hit the dance floor again. I can't really describe the spectacle, but I will just have to tell you if you are ever in the area, you really should go see it for yourself. Because there are no words. Seriously, if Paula showed up to her buffet and broke it down like Harpo, it would be a worldwide attraction in an instant.

After dinner, we headed back over to the casino. This time, though, it was considerably more crowded. The Miss Mississippi Pageant was in town and had just finished up. All of the attendees and the contestants had been unleashed upon the town. There was enough hairspray in that place to be a fire hazard. And that was just the attendees. I, of course, don't mean to offend any of the pageant contestants...oh who am I kidding? They are tall and beautiful and are all beauty queens already. They don't need coddling. That's right. I'm not tall. I'm not slathered in pounds of stage make-up (I don't even put on regular make-up if I don't feel like it). If you put me in four inch heels and a floor length dress and told me to march across the stage I would totally bust it. But I'm not jealous. Or bitter. But I do totally want a tiara. Dare to dream.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that we had a good time. How could we not? We played, we cruised, we snickered at pageant queens. It was good stuff. Don't judge me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November is Full of Birthday Celebration Madness

So I haven't posted anything in a couple of days and I wanted you to know that I have not abandoned you. My husband has a birthday this weekend. He is turning 25. It's kind of a big deal. We also have a couple of friends visiting. One of them has a birthday this weekend. It's a double celebration. It's pretty awesome, is what it is. Anyway, I'm gonna get back to the festivities. I just wanted to let you know that I am alive and that I will return when the weekend of multiple birthday celebrations has ended.

On the other hand, when the weekend is over and Monday rolls around, one of my nephews is having a birthday. I helped change his diapers, ya'll. He's in double digits. It is entirely possible I will die of heartbreak on Monday when I realize I can't freeze time and stop him from getting any older (and by him, I might mean me. Maybe. Just a little.). My father-in-law is also celebrating a birthday on Monday. It's birthday celebration madness. Happy Birthday to all my loved ones with November birthdays!

And seriously, we need to start figuring out how to stop this whole aging thing. I *might* be having a birthday next month that I could stand to skip. Who is with me? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Holidays

It's November. The holiday season is upon us. Stores start having massive sales (Black Friday, anyone?), people start testing out their holiday recipes, the weather is turning colder. I love it.

I love the holidays. I always have. The lights, nights by the fire, the decorations, I love it all. I know it is just early November and Thanksgiving isn't here yet, but for me, the holidays are practically here.

My husband and I trade off which family gets which major holiday each year. One family gets us for Thanksgiving, the other for Christmas, the next year we rotate. So Thanksgiving often serves as a Christmas with one family or the other. This year, my family gets the Thanksgiving/early Christmas and my in-laws get Christmas. This means that I have to prepare for Christmas for my family a little earlier so that I can hand over as many gifts at Thanksgiving as I can. I mean, I love them, and I know they will wait until Christmas to open my gifts, but a girl has to be mindful of shipping charges. I'm just saying.

Anyway, in order to get the shopping done, the gifts wrapped, etc, I need to be in the holiday spirit. Growing up, we decorated our house for Christmas after Thanksgiving (and took it all down on Dec. 26th - if not Christmas afternoon, we were nothing if not efficient), and I never questioned that schedule. Not once. I stuck by it. I didn't even bring out the Christmas CDs until the day after Thanksgiving. I just didn't. It was wrong. Now, though, I am thinking that I might break that tradition. I am both intrigued and horrified at my desire to decorate early. It just isn't done. But I won't have time to decorate during the Thanksgiving holidays, and I don't want to be late decorating and then only get to enjoy everything for a couple of weeks.

I am still torn, though. It is an inner debate. Do I decorate early to be able to enjoy my decorations longer? Do I get out my Christmas music to get myself in the mood for holiday shopping and gift wrapping? Does that mean that by the time Christmas actually gets here that I will be so sick of all things Christmas (except the religious aspect, of course) that I will despise every last rendition of "Jingle Bells" that the local radio stations will play? I just don't know. On the other hand, if I wait and decorate a few days later (possibly up to a week, I mean, I work and I have other stuff to do), and then don't get to enjoy the music and the decorations as long, will I feel slighted when it is all over? Or will I feel like I did right by sticking by the family schedule? I know my family won't think less of me for decorating early, I'm just not used to it. It's amazing what a schedule/routine can do to you. It becomes hard to step outside of said routine.

Oh, well. I have a few more days to battle out my inner debate. I mean, it's only the 3rd of November, I have time. Any thoughts? When do you decorate? Do you do the family shuffle during the holidays? Do you get sick of "Jingle Bells" every year?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Want My Sticker

I voted this morning. It never crossed my mind not to do so. I'm an American. It's Election Day. It is not just my right (and my privilege), but also my duty as a citizen of these here United States. Plus, it is my firm belief that if you don't vote, you don't get to complain. And the odds of me staying tight lipped about something are pretty much slim to none. So I voted. Now, whatever happens, I can voice my opinion and have grounds to do so. I can celebrate, I can pitch a fit, whatever. I voted.

I voted, but I didn't get my sticker. My inner child wants my sticker. My outer adult wants my badge of honor. I earned it. It's mine, dang it. I got up earlier than normal. I drove to my polling location in the rain. I took the time to research candidates; their background, their stances, their beliefs. And then I voted. I want my sticker. Now it's too late. Boo that.

It is too late to get my badge of honor now. I voted approximately 13 hours ago. The polls are closed. I am currently writing this post, watching the election results, and working on cleaning more rooms of my house. Oh well. I know I voted. My poll volunteers have record of me. I don't really NEED my sticker. I just wanted one.

No, I don't need a sticker. I have a blog. I have an entire post. I VOTED.

Unrelated Side Note: Earlier today, Nick Bell, a member of the MSU Football, team passed away. It was only a few weeks ago they discovered he had a tumor in his brain. He was immediately operated on. He returned to the sidelines, wearing his sweats, to cheer on his team. Unfortunately, the tumor had metastasized and he returned to the hospital. He passed away this afternoon. My thoughts and prayers are going out to his family and the MSU football family.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Feeling of Accomplishment

I spent most of this evening cleaning my house. I am not done. Not even close. I still have a small feeling of accomplishment, though, because I at least made a dent in the to-do list.

I love football season, but it means that my weekend schedule is a little crazy. I am not always home on the weekend and when I get home on Sunday, which is generally my cleaning day, I am so exhausted from all the cheering and the road trip that I can't bring myself to clean all afternoon. So I do little things during the week, but by the time I finish the list, I have to start all over again. I feel like I never get anything accomplished. It really kills my work ethic. I mean, if as soon as I finish the loads of laundry, new loads have already piled up, what is the point? So I have to revel in my small accomplishments when I can. I have to remember that feeling, so that when I realize that my list is never ending, it's okay, because there is a point. That point being that I like a clean house and don't want to live in a sty.

I also need to remember that eventually football season will end and I will be home more often and I can go back to my schedule of full house cleaning on Sundays. It helps me start each week off right. When I come home on a Monday and things are already clean, I breathe a little easier. Of course, when that happens I will miss the insanity of football season. That's the cycle. The vicious, vicious cycle.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Mason Dixon Line

It's time for a little lesson in U.S. History. Sit down. Take notes. Get educated.

I know what you're thinking. You're looking at this asking what credentials give me the right to teach you any history. None, actually. I don't teach history. I don't teach anything. I'm not a teacher. I'm certainly not a historian. I don't have a degree in history of any kind. What I did have were two excellent history teachers in high school. My tenth grade history teacher made it fun. She told us the untold stories that weren't in our history books. She read to us out of books like Lies My Teacher Told Me and One Night Stands in American History. That last one isn't exactly what you think. I also had an AP US History teacher in the eleventh grade who was small, but fiery and just a little bit scary. She reminds me of the character "Hetty" from NCIS Los Angeles. She does.

Thanks to those two ladies (and the other great teachers I had along the way) I am quite well versed in the history of these here United States. And thanks to the History Channel, I learn more and more little tidbits all the time. It is one of my favorite channels. I don't care if I'm a geek. The History Channel is fascinating. I'm still not sorry, though, for all the times I made fun of my big brother for thinking the same thing when I was younger. Back then the History Channel was much less diverse in it's programming. Every show was about the SAME thing: World War II. It's not that WWII wasn't something worth learning. I would never say such a thing. For Shame. It's just that, there are so many other events to learn about in history, why focus on only one? But, as usual, I digress.

Today we will be discussing (and by discussing I mean that I will type and you will read, because that how this works) the Mason Dixon Line.

Did you know the creation of the Mason Dixon Line has absolutely NOTHING TO DO with the division between North and South? Not a thing. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. The Mason Dixon Line, for the most part, runs along the southern border of Pennsylvania (it also dips down the western border of Delaware). So? In 1861, Maryland (south of the Mason Dixon Line) became a "border state", meaning it was a slave state that did not secede when the Confederacy did. So the Mason Dixon Line was drawn to separate slave states and non slave states, right? WRONG.

The Mason Dixon Line was "drawn" because of a completely different fight. Approximately a century BEFORE the Civil War. Didn't see that one coming, did you? The line is named for the two surveyors (just called scientists back then, by the way) from England, who were sent to settle a disagreement over the city of Philadelphia.

The original Maryland charter placed part of its border IN Philadelphia. The Penn Family (you know, of PENNsylvania - just in case you missed it) was none too happy about this. Philadelphia was theirs, and they would have none of this Maryland nonsense. In 1681, when the disagreement arose, they took the problem to King Charles II. The King's answer was to give Delaware (originally part of Maryland) to Pennsylvania, as a satellite colony, and to give Philadelphia to Maryland. Again, William Penn wasn't happy. He had already decided that Philadelphia would be his colony's capital! Outrage! This border dispute continued. In fact, in 1732 a war over it broke out, known as Cresap's War. The result? The offended parties went back to the King. He came up with a new solution and sent two scientists, Mason and Dixon, to enforce it.

Mason and Dixon surveyed the land the drew the line, based on the stipulations they were given. (I should add here that the timeline here is quite drawn out. It took a while to get from England to the colonies, and it took much longer to survey land). The two scientists used crown stones, which were actually created in England and then shipped to the colonies, at five mile intervals to mark the line. One side of the stones had the Calvert Family (Maryland) crest, and one side had the Penn Family crest. This line was created sometime in the 1760s.

So, there you have it. It may have become famous for other reasons, but that is the real origin of the Mason Dixon Line. I just didn't want you to be uninformed.

I got an excellent public school education, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Dog Toy from Heaven

My dog is super cute. He is adorable and sweet. He is affectionate and playful. A little too playful. He plays rough with his toys. Not just rough. ROUGH. He has destroyed almost everything we have given him. Almost. What makes it worse is that, to him, everything is a toy.

So far he has destroyed:

- 5 plush dog toys

- 4 rubber chew toys

- 3 dog beds

- 2 blankets

- 2 tug ropes

- 1 plastic crate bottom

...and a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding on the partridge thing (not so much on the tree) (on the upside, he has - knock on wood - never destroyed anything that wasn't "his"). He has steak knives for teeth. He means well, he just doesn't understand that the point of the blanket is to be a soft place to lay, not a threat to the house that must be eradicated, but playfully. And to be fair, some of the aforementioned destruction was the result of stomach troubles....that were the result of eating an "indestructible" dog toy. (Side note: they have since removed the word "indestructible" from the toy package. I saw it the other day in Petco.)

Based on his talents, I was starting to worry that either we would never find a toy we could trust him with, or that we would go broke trying to entertain him. And then...a miracle happened. I found the EXTREME KONG. This is made of thicker rubber than the regular Kong toy and comes in fewer shapes/sizes/types. The XXL EXTREME KONG is the exact toy for which I (and my wallet) had been searching. Thank you, Kong company, for not sucking at making toys for aggressive chewers. I love it. It has restored my faith in dog toys.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coming Attractions

So, sometime later this week, maybe even this weekend (just not today, because, frankly, I don't feel like it today) The Soap Box will be getting a new page. A few of you have asked me about the blogs I like to read. I am answering the question by creating an entire section of this site dedicated to the answer. I will add more sites/blogs as I come across ones that I like. That is really all I have to say tonight. That is my teaser for you.

Goodnight.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Weekend of Awesome

So, my husband and I traveled down to Starkville, MS this weekend to see the MSU Bulldogs take on the UAB Blazers for Homecoming. The festivities did not disappoint. First, we got to have dinner on Friday night with some great friends. On Saturday, I got to sleep in and then, not only did we have great pre-game food, but we got to hang out with more great friends, including one we haven't seen in almost two years. Then, we started the game off with a C17 flyover to cap off the Star Spangled Banner. It was time to get down to business.

The game was, well, ugly. Don't get me wrong, we won and I cheered until my voice was almost inaudible. It was still ugly. We did not establish what I consider a "comfortable" lead. We fell behind. We came back. It was an emotional roller coaster. We pulled it out in the end, though, and came away with the W.

Then we met up with more friends before leaving campus. We talked for a while and had a good time. Then we went back and hung out with most of our pre-game crowd and had even more fun....and food. It was good all around. Even if the game was ugly, the experience was excellent.

Plus, every time I go to a game I get to see some of the wonderful people who work for the MSU Athletic Ticket Office that I miss. I actually was a student worker there once upon a time and they are such great people. It's nice to get to see them again.

Then, we came home on Sunday morning, got a couple of household chores done, and got ready to go see Wicked. It was great. We got all dolled up, went to dinner, and headed to the show. The main parking lot was pretty full, so we parked just a couple of blocks up and walked over. It wasn't too far and it was cool out, so it was a nice walk.

When the lights went down and the curtain went up, magic happened. The actors were great, the orchestra was excellent, and I had a great time. My husband enjoyed it, too. Since I have seen the show and it happens to be one of my favorites, every now and then I would look over at him to see if he was enjoying the show. He was. He laughed along with everyone and when the lights came up he told me I was right, and that it was a good show. He was not as thrilled as the young lady sitting a couple of seats over who immediately asked if they could see it again, or if they could go to New York and see it there. I had to smile. Excellent.

Of course, upon leaving the theater, we found it was pouring down rain. Did I mention the main lot was full and we parked a couple of blocks away? Super. Then we got back to the deck and the doors were closed. Even though they weren't supposed to close for another hour. Luckily, we found someone who knew the code to the side door and let us in. Upon getting home, and getting ready for bed, the storm worsened and we actually lost power for several hours. It came back on in the middle of the night and woke us up, actually. At least it came back on.

All in all, the weekend was still fantastic. I still got to see the Bulldogs play. I still got to see Wicked, which was just as fabulous as I remembered it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even walking back in the rain and losing power. It was totally worth it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Randomness Part 4

A few things:

1. I know it's not actually Halloween yet, but it is coming soon and I wanted to share this with you. I was in Gordman's a few weeks ago and saw this. I laughed. It still makes me giggle. I didn't buy it, because, well, I keep my Halloween decorating on the minimalist side (but I tend to ALL OUT for Christmas).


2. I love my fireplace. I can't wait until it is cold enough to use it. I love the sound of it. I love the heat. I love the urge to get in my sweats and read a book while basking in its glow.

3. When it is actually cold enough to use my fireplace I will complain about how cold it is.

4. At least I'm honest.

5. I think Pink jerseys for any sport or any team are wrong. Unless your team color is actually pink, it's a no-go. I stand firm on this.

6. I think the Extreme Kong dog toy might be the only toy my dog can't destroy. We ought to buy stock.

7. I am making an apple cake for the festivities this weekend. Whenever I make an apple cake, I think about my mom and the "Hanukkah Bush" tradition she started. It's a short story, but I think it's cute. And it always makes me smile. Remind me to tell you sometime. Closer to the actual holiday.

8. I need to get my butt in gear in the Christmas shopping department. Of course, to do that I need to know what the people in my life would actually like to have for Christmas this year. AHEM.

9. The countdown to Wicked continues! So close!

10. My dog snores. A lot.

That is all.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dear ESPN


We need to talk about this whole espnW idea. I think the fact that you are acknowledging that women watch sports, too, is fantastic. Fantastic, if not seriously late. Epically late. Not fashionably late, not a little bit late. Late. Crazy late. Call your mother and let her know you're okay because you missed curfew by several decades, late. But, y'know, better late than never, right?

An ESPN especially for women? Uhm. I already have an ESPN channel/magazine/website. It's called ESPN (and ESPNU). So what will be different about a new ESPN brand? Because if all I get is spelling bees, cheerleading competitions (no offense, those girls are in crazy athletic shape), sunrise yoga, and commercials for pink jerseys for teams whose color ISN'T PINK, I'm gonna be SUPER PISSED. And offended. Also, if you use this to condescend to me and act like I don't know sports, IT'S ON, because THEM'S FIGHTING WORDS.

I have heard the argument that since I already watch ESPN, I'm not the target audience for this new brand. Let's think about that tactic for a second. If you create a new brand to expand your female audience and it alienates your current female audience, how successful could it really be?

I love ESPN. Despite its shortcomings, including the fact that they repeatedly confuse Mississippi State and Ole Miss (seriously? THIS IS YOUR JOB) and that Jesse Palmer can't seem to remember during the live broadcast that MSU is not Memphis, and Cam Newton plays for Auburn, who did not play Memphis this year. It's okay. It's hard, but I'm trying to let it go. Why? Because ESPN fulfills my insatiable need for access to information regarding my alma mater and the status of other schools (because, frankly, college sports are the only ones that do it for me) around the country. So why the new brand? What is really going to change? I'm uncertain about how I feel about this. And I'm not the only one.

Sarah (who writes several awesome sports centered blogs) read several blogs regarding this new brand upon learning the news. She read each argument and is still in "wait and see" mode.
Me? I don't know where I stand. Should I be excited? Should I be outraged? Should I apply for a job? I don't know.
I tend to agree. I don't know how to feel. I mean, as previously stated, if the subject matter is second rate I'm going to riot. However, if the new brand is used to provide better role models for girls who want to be involved in sports, or sports media that could be good. I mean, girls need some kind of organization to be on their side in sports and media. Oh, wait. There is already an Association of Women in Sports Media. Still, I suppose a few more role models in sports is probably a good thing. I just don't know how you are going to pull it off. I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Best of luck.

Don't screw it up.

If you would like my input, you know where to find me.

Sincerely,

Me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Totally Wicked

So remember a few weeks ago when I told you that my husband (God, I love that man) got us tickets to see Wicked? I thought I'd never make it, but it's finally here! This weekend is Wicked weekend! And you know what else? It's also Mississippi State's Homecoming. It's gonna be a fun-filled weekend that is jam-packed with awesomeness. It's going to be FANTASTIC!

But like anything you wait expectantly for, the time leading up to it seems to drag on, so this will probably be a long week. I can make it! I will power through!

And then?

I will tailgate like a Champion and get Galinda-fied! But not at the same time. That would be weird. And it would probably hurt my feet.

I can't wait. The countdown has begun. Come on, weekend!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gator on a Stick

As has become a ritual of sorts around here, it is time for the weekend recap. And by weekend, I, of course, mean MSU football. I have my priorities, after all.

This weekend my very own, near and dear to my heart Bulldogs took on the University of Florida Gators. In Florida. Where the Bulldogs have not come away victorious since 1965. That's not a typo. We have not won against the Gators when playing on their turf since 1965. Let me say it again, for emphasis, 1965. If there was such a thing as capitalized numbers I would put on the Caps Lock. 1965. I was nervous.

Now, the Gators are not exactly the team they once were. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Don't think I didn't see that helmet-to-helmet hit, either. I did. Two words for you, kid: "Anger Management." There is a difference between a tackle and a potential for killing someone. Take it down a notch. But I digress.

We fought long, and we fought hard. And I almost had a mild heart attack when the second string kicker missed what would have been a game tying field goal in the last few seconds of the game. I think our entire neighborhood heard us celebrate. The streak was broken. Glorious.

And then? We were ranked, for the first time in 9 years, in the BCS poll. BONUS! We are now number 24 in the country. Heck yes.

HAIL STATE!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Dreamed a Dream

Nobody is paying me to write this post.

I got a Dyson today. I have wanted a Dyson for a really long time. They are a dream come true for people with pets and allergies (ME!). It didn't disappoint. I love it. I love it and all of it's sale price glory (that is still a bit steep for a vacuum cleaner, but I stopped being cheap for long enough to actually check out with it. That in and of itself was a big step, believe me).

As soon as we got home, we used it on the living room floor. It is scary how much our old vacuum was missing. I think an entire dog came up out of the carpet. My whole house smells different...because of the vacuum cleaner. And it's not like my carpet was that ridiculously dirty before. We vacuumed regularly. REGULARLY. But the Dyson proved that our old vacuum cleaner wasn't cutting it. And then, things got even better.

We steam cleaned the living room. I am a little in love with how clean it is right now. It's borderline amazing. This week, I'm going to use our new steam mop to tackle our tile and wood floors, too. I may be a geek, but I'm a geek with a clean house!

It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Slicker Than Owl Shit and Other Colorful Southern Sayings

I grew up in the South. I was born in Mississippi, lived for a brief few years in Florida when I was young, moved to Alabama as an teenager, came back to Mississippi for college, moved to Tennessee afterward, and now I've circled back to Mississippi again. Don't get me wrong, I have lived other places for short periods. I have traveled to other parts of the world a few times, and I have loved and appreciated beauty beyond my own backyard, but there is something about the South that always calls me back home. My roots are here, my family is here, and down here I don't stick out like a sore thumb. Most of the time.

In the South, we learn there is always more than one way to do things. There is the proper way, usually taught diligently by a loving parent or grandparent who is determined that you should know the proper etiquette. This is generally the way you do things in church (I was, after all, raised in a Christian family and still stick to my faith, though, I assure you, I am not perfect in it, nor am I a perfect example of it) or at a wedding, or any place that consists of people other than your closest of friends, lest they think you are a complete hooligan. Then, there is the "normal" way. The way most people tend to do things. Then, there is the "country bumpkin" way of doing things. This last way is generally a great deal less proper than the first two, usually involves colorful (sometimes profane) phrases, and is infinitely more entertaining. I assure you I am schooled in all of the above, but the third way is just more fun. Especially when it comes to language.

In the South, the we "bumpkins" tend to be particularly descriptive. I fall into this category because, though I moved around a bit, I was born in the boondocks. It's in my blood. Where are the boondocks exactly? Start heading South, keep going until the pavement turns to gravel and the road is barely wide enough for two cars. Hang a right. Continue until the road gets even smaller and the gravel gives way to a dirt road, complete with deep ruts that a sedan dare not attempt to conquer. That's the boondocks. But I digress.

Before trying to explain something so obviously nuanced and intricate (note the facetiousness), perhaps I should simply illustrate our eloquence.

Proper way to say "It's cold.": "My gracious, it's chilly!"

"Normal" way to say "It's cold.": "It is so cold. I can hardly feel my nose."

And, finally, the entirely eloquent country bumpkin way to say "It's cold.": "It's as cold as a well digger's ass in the Klondike out there!" Or, even, "It's as cold as a witches tit in a brass bra in Wichita in the winter time!"

I will give you a moment to recover from you extreme laughter, or complete horror.

Ready? Excellent.

Of course, we have equally articulate sayings about topics other than the weather. For instance, if something is quite slippery, it is "Slicker than owl shit." Just how slick is that? Well, in the words of my own father, "Pretty damn slick."

And if something is EXTREMELY rich and thick, it can be described as "three feet up a bull's ass." Ponder that for a moment.

We also have important words of wisdom to pass along to all who may need guidance in this world. And by guidance, I, of course, mean a huge old fashioned reality check. Precious, timeless gems like "Well, if you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough," and "the only place you will find sympathy around here is in the dictionary."

And while you all know that someone who is caught off guard, and looks a little nervous looks like "a deer in the headlights", they can also be "as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin' chairs."

I have no earthly idea where these things originated, but when using a few of these quips in front of people who are not at all accustomed to my way of life, I have been met with more than few quizzical looks followed by "Excuse me?"

You should try it sometime. It's fun.

Of course, don't be fooled by the prim and proper way of saying things in these parts either. That little old lady from who you got directions back to the highway? When she said, "Bless your heart, I know you must be road weary," what she really MEANT was, "You look like hell. Please get off my property before people start to think we know each other."

I am sure there are other sayings from around the country, or even the world, which are equally hysterical and I assure you, I would LOVE to know them. Please pass them on.