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.


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


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.



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.


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.

Why I Try Not to Over-Edit My Blog Posts

At the risk of sounding like Popeye the Sailor Man, I am what I am. What I am is a blogger who isn't perfect, among other things (all of which could still be followed by "who isn't perfect" - just to be clear). When I write my posts for my blog I break a lot of grammar rules. No, really. A lot.

I should admit to you that under different circumstances, I am actually a little obsessive about proper grammar. For instance, in high school and college I was the one to whom all my friends turned to edit their papers before turning them in. I could spot a misplaced (or missing) comma a mile away, and I have crazy spelling skills (most of the time). I loved essay assignments because I was good at writing. Really good. Crazy good. My brother tried to bribe me into writing his college papers for him when I was still in the ninth grade (I should say my brother is really smart, he is just more of a math and science person than a writer).

When I write a blog, though, the rules go out the window. Why? I am so glad you asked. I write a blog as though I am having a conversation with the reader. I have too many commas (I often use them to suggest a pause, as if I were talking out loud), I use parentheses far too often, I use hyphens like they are going out of style, and some of my sentences are total fragments. All of my former English teachers would be shocked and appalled. But I don't always use perfect grammar when I sit down to talk to a friend. I try to do so at work, but not when talking to a friend. And I treat my blog as if it is just that, me sitting down to talk to my friends and tell them about what I'm thinking. You may not like it, and that's okay. It works for me.

That's why I try not to over-edit what I write on my blog. If I go back and read through it enough, I will start wanting to change things. I don't really want to change things, though, because, in a sense, it would dilute my personality. You wouldn't really know the real me because you would not be reading it the way I would say it. And then it's not a conversation, not with the real me anyway. I may have my faults, but I prefer the real me to the edited me. I have no filter in day to day conversation, why would I have one on my blog?

What about you? Do you treat your blog like a conversation? Or is it slightly more formal? I don't think there is a "right way" and a "wrong way" in this case, I just want to know what you think. Lay it on me.

Additional Posts

Only one of my BlogHer posts has been featured, but I have written three so far (I'm not complaining, I know I am REALLY lucky to have been chosen). I realize I probably should have clued you in to each of the posts, since you are my original audience. Sorry about that. I have decided to post each of those three posts to The Soap Box tonight. Well, two of them. The one I will not post was an extension of the Waffles vs. Spaghetti post and is mostly repetitive and, therefore, really unnecessary.

I plan to have original posts (as in new material that has not yet been posted to The Soap Box or BlogHer) later in the weekend. Plan. Not promise. Not guarantee. Plan. It is still football season, after all.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ego Boost

I'm sorry I didn't post anything last night. I, instead, posted to BlogHer. For those of you who missed it the first time I talked about it, BlogHer is an online blogging community for female bloggers, or bloggers who blog about things that females would be interested in. I chose to post to BlogHer because my post was about my blogging and so it just seemed to make more sense.

I wrote about why I, against the advice of many professional bloggers, try not to over-edit my blogs. The bottom line is that I throw the grammar rules out the window, because I write like I am having a conversation with you, not like I'm writing a paper or an article. I like it that way, and if I edit too much you won't be getting to know the real me. I don't talk like an English professor.

Anyway, I'm telling you this because this morning I got an email. I had to go straight to BlogHer to make sure it wasn't a mistake, that they didn't send it to the wrong person. My post from last night was on the BlogHer homepage. If you don't blog, or if you blog, but aren't a part of this type of blogging community, I can't really explain why I was so elated, but I was. Not elated. Ecstatic. I almost had a mild coronary. It totally made my Thursday. MAJOR SCORE!

So, I'm sorry that I was absent from The Soap Box last night. My gut told me to write on BlogHer. I did. It was awesome. You may not care (you may not even care that I didn't post yesterday, but I'm going to pretend that you do because that makes me feel better), but it was kind of an epic thing for me. So roll your eyes, shake your head, and then give me your best sarcastic "yay!" and let me have my moment.

Thank you.

Unrelated side note: Major graduated from obedience class tonight. They gave him a diploma. I put it on the fridge. They also gave him a small bag of treats. He couldn't care less about the diploma.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Things I Learned from Beauty and the Beast

I love movies. I Love Disney movies. I LOVE Disney Princess movies. Beauty and the Beast tops my favorites list for several reasons. The fact that she loves to read and is a brunette are the least of those. I also love it because it taught me many things, important things. Such as:

1. It's okay to be a bookworm. Even Disney Princesses are bookworms.

2. It is okay to stand your ground and be a little stubborn sometimes, even if it means you have to stand up to a real beast.

3. Sometimes, the most popular guy in town is a total jerk face. A tool. A butthead.

4. It's okay if the whole town thinks you are weird. It means you stand out. Own it. Enjoy the spotlight.

5. It's okay to talk to yourself a little, but you should probably be worried when the furniture starts to answer you.

6. No matter how crazy your family is, there is always someone out there who is crazier (like a beast who talks to a candle, a clock, and a teapot for company).

7. There is nothing like having your own personal library.

8. You are not always going to like what you see in the mirror.

9. It is really better to tidy up the whole house and put things away rather than to make one room (or wing) "forbidden" and try to hide the mess.

10. The more you love someone, the more attractive they become to you.

It's a great movie. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Cradle List

I have recently started watching "How I Met Your Mother", and you know what? It's funny. I like it. I like that reruns are on just about every day of the week so I can catch up. One of my favorite lines so far is when Marshall, while making fun of Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris - What's up, Doogie Howser?!) for being well, basically a man whore, says "I have a list of the women I've slept with. It's called my marriage license." His wife immediately gives him a high five. It may sound lame to you, but I promise I cracked up. It was funny. Hilarious even.

Anyway, when I was watching it earlier tonight, the two married characters on the show (Marshall and Lily) were talking about having children. And while they are not getting pregnant as fast as they had hoped, they talked about a concept that helped them realize that it is totally okay that it is not happening right away: the cradle list. Instead of a bucket list, which is a list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket" (Thank you, Morgan Freeman), a cradle list is a list of things you want to do before you have kids.

My husband and I don't have kids yet. We have a dog, and for now that's enough. We definitely want kids in the future, but we've only been married for about 18 months and we are still really enjoying just being married to each other. When we heard this concept, though, we started thinking, "What's on our cradle list?" We know that we probably won't finish the entire list before we have children, and that's okay. We certainly aren't going to put off having children for a long time, just to finish the list, but there are things that we want to do.

So what are some of the things on our list? Traveling, mostly. To travel while it is still just the two of us and the arrangements are simple. No car seats, no strollers, no diaper bags. Simple. We want to go to tropical islands and foreign countries, and (in my husband's case) all of the Major League Ballparks (good luck with that). We want to go to Vegas, tour Europe, and maybe learn how to ski in Mont Tremblant (or anywhere, really), but not all in the same vacation, of course.

What about you? Do you have a cradle list? A bucket list? Or do you have a list of things you want to do with your kids before they are grown? Whatever is on your list, I want to know.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wanted: New Sofa

The sofa and love seat in my living room are beige. Well, they were beige once upon a time. Now they are dirty. We have tried steam cleaning. All it did was make us shudder.

I should explain. It's not that we picked up a sofa off the side of the road and expected it to last forever. Trust me. I have standards. It was a hand-me-down from my family. My parents "donated" this couch and love seat to me when I moved into my first college apartment. I was thrilled to have them, even though they are basically hideous (beige/brown floral print circa 1971. No, really). Why? Did I forget to mention they were free. They were "donated" because my mom (step-mom, who I dropped the "step" from long ago) realized the truth about their lack of aesthetic value. She couldn't wait to get rid of them, I'm pretty sure. They had long ago been sent to the basement, where my friends and I would hang out, and were replaced by several different pieces in the den.

This couch has survived my parents, four children and all of their friends, a college apartment, several pets, my first post college apartment, and now my first house. The slipcovers are not a huge improvement on the look of the couch, but again, free is a really powerful concept. I am not in a big hurry to buy a new couch, because the fact that they are less than beautiful doesn't really bother me. What is starting to bother me, though, is the springs. Certain spots in the couch will spontaneously attack you when the spring finally comes back to life. It's startling and it doesn't feel fantastic. My dog growls at the couch when it happens.

So, as a recap, our current sofa/love seat combo is old, ugly, dirty, and now the support is almost non-existent, and the springs groan and pop back to life in the most inconvenient times and locations. We need something new. It is not imperative that we have it tomorrow, but it is time to start the process. To research brands and fabrics, colors and styles, sectionals vs. sofas, etc. Here is the kicker, though: I have no decorating skills. Zero. I have tried, really. And since I will be buying something new, I want it to look nice and help set the color scheme of the room (which I am still working on, even though we have been here since February. Don't judge me.), I need help. My walls are beige, my carpet is sort of beige, so I am thinking some color other than beige might be good.

What do you think? Color ideas? Sectional or sofa? Fabric preferences (like anything that I can clean pretty easily)? No, really, any help you could offer would be great, even if it is just from your own experience and has nothing to do with my actual situation (for example, if you once had a sectional that you just hated and you can tell me why, it might help me!). HELP!

Related Side Note: Since my couch is so old, not many people would want it, but if you know of any person/service/group who might want it, let me know.

Unrelated Side Note: My husband just thanked me for doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, even though it was way past my turn this week. I really, really love him.

Second Unrelated Side Note: If you have been trying to comment and are having trouble, I am sorry. I am not sure why some people can comment with ease and others cannot. I am working on it, though, so keep trying!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Randomness Part 3

Once again, the channels keep changing in my brain and I don't seem to have the remote. I don't want to leave ya'll (yes, "ya'll" is something I say) hanging, so tonight is a perfect night for a little taste of my randomness. Organized chaos. That's my life.

1. Tonight was obedience class night. Next week is the last class. Major is doing well, and did even better when our teacher introduced us to the "command collar". I had never seen one before, but he responded SO MUCH better to it than the the slip collar. It was like night and day. And it's humane. Excellent.

2. Brett Favre is in some seriously hot water. He refuses to comment, but the story says that there is evidence that he was having an affair, or at least being COMPLETELY inappropriate with a woman other than his wife while he was with the Jets. Oh, Brett. This is why you should have STAYED RETIRED AND GONE HOME! Even IF it is bogus, the fall out from this will be horrendous.

3. After I post this I am going to go to bed early. I do not feel my best and I really, REALLY don't have time to get sick. I have a ton of stuff to do this weekend. I think I can still nip this in the bud. Wish me luck.

4. So, I think BlogHer is amazing. I joined the site just a few weeks ago and I totally love being a part of it. For those of you who don't know, BlogHer is a community of bloggers who are women, or blog about things that matter to women. It's addictive.

5. My dog is asleep on the floor. He is snoring and dreaming. How can I tell he is dreaming? He is moving his legs like he is chasing something, so he is either having a seizure or dreaming about chasing something. I choose to believe the latter. What is funny about this is that a moment ago, my husband muted the TV and Major immediately opened his eyes in a very "I was watching that" fashion. He totally belongs in this family.

6. Why is it that at the beginning of the week I feel like I will NEVER have enough time to get things done, but at the end of the week it seems like the days dragged on forever?

7. Tina Fey is funny. I don't always love her shows/movies on the whole, but she is funny.

8. I don't know why, but I feel a strong urge to make an apple cake this weekend. I can't explain it, but I feel compelled. I will use the recipe that my step-mom uses. I hope mine will measure up.

9. Wicked is in less than two and half weeks! Too much rock for one hand! (If you get that reference, we can SO be friends).

10. I want to learn German. I want it to be my third language. I speak English (duh) and Spanish. I want to also speak German. I think it would make me feel closer to my ancestors. If you would like to help, or have suggestions for classes, programs, etc, let me know. I will be all over it like white on rice.

That is all for now. Peace out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nothing Like A Good Makeover

So you might notice that things suddenly look a little different around here. Why the change? Well, I should start at the beginning.

I started blogging a few months ago. I didn't do a lot of research about blogging, I just had some things to say and I wanted to say them. I found a free blog hosting site, setup a few visual elements and started typing. I chose a name that represented what my blog would be for me, a soap box to get up on whenever I felt like it. I still like it that way, just so we are clear.

I should point out, for those of you who may not know me, this may be the only thing I have ever done that was not preceded by a wave of research into the best way to do it, the best providers (in this case, platforms), and advice from both experts and consumers (long time bloggers and people who love to read them). I just did it. I never just do something. I mean, I have been impulsive before, but not when it comes to long term commitment things. I think about things. I ponder them. I over-analyze...a lot.

Well, I recently joined a blogging community (BlogHer) that is just overflowing with fantastic bloggers who have an entire library of articles about how to be a better blogger. I should have read these articles before I got started. I should have done research like I usually do.

What does this have to do with the site makeover? Everything. It turns out that a dark background with light text is actually harder on the eyes than a light background with dark text. I had never thought of that. The great people at BlogHer have though, and they say it is a mistake many bloggers make. I certainly did. After all, I don't want all of you wonderful people to strain your eyes on my account!

Anyway, I thought that was good advice, and also a perfect excuse to make some aesthetic changes that I was leaning toward in the first place. So come on over and have a look. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Holiday Candy Disappointment

I am about to shock you. Are you ready?

I don't like chocolate. Not even a little bit. It is not a mental decision, it has nothing to do with willpower, and it is not something I have to convince myself of. I don't like it. I don't like how it tastes.

This means that Halloween candy (or for that matter any holiday candy) disappoints me. I want no part of it. This can be both good and bad.

It's good because I am never tempted to steal a piece of candy from the holiday stash. Between trick-or-treaters, I never sneak a treat. Not one.

On the other hand, it means that there is no little pick me up wrapped in foil or plastic wrap waiting for me in that bowl. There is a little rush of happiness for everyone else, but for me? Disappointment. Displeasure. Disgust.

I am thinking about this now, because every time I go to the store, every end cap is dominated by bite sized chocolate bars. I tend to roll my eyes. But now I am wondering, what about the kids who don't like chocolate? Do they even enjoy Halloween? I am not sure, because I actually liked chocolate when I was a kid. It didn't start to disgust me until my college years. It lost its appeal and I could not, for the life of me, remember what was ever so great about it.

So, if you have a kid who dislikes chocolate, tell me what they love about Halloween. I want to know. Also, I am trying to pick out a few decent non-chocolate options for trick-or-treaters this Halloween. Ideas are always appreciated.

Monday, October 4, 2010

When Athletics and Academics Don't Mix

But really, really should.

So, normally, when I write about football, the topic is usually my own beloved bulldogs. This week, however, I am turning the spotlight on someone else. They may not appreciate it, but it has to be done. Has to. Must.

You see, this weekend, the University of Tennessee Volunteers were playing Louisiana State University in Tiger Stadium. It's loud, it's hostile, it's legendary. Now, lucky for the Vols, the Tigers are not having the best year ever. The Vols, well, to put it nicely that last few years in Knoxville have been the personification of "Oh, how the mighty have fallen." To beat LSU, even in their current state (especially since they are ranked -too high in my opinion, at least for their current level of play) would have been a huge morale boost for the Vols.

And they came close. Oh, so, so close.

The clock had run out, the team was celebrating, they had held the Tigers at the one yard line. It was over. Derek Dooley was being lifted up by his team, they did it.

And then, the cameras cut to the official, who was reviewing the play. Wait, what can this mean? What penalty could possibly have occurred? Holding? Offsides?

No. Too many men on the field.


A quick replay shows that as a few players ran off, a few more ran on. And then some of the players who had run off, ran back on. Thirteen players had participated in the last play. They had to replay the down.

No clock, only eleven players on each side of the ball, try again. LSU scores and NOW it's over. The Vols are devastated. All because they couldn't count to eleven. Or, at least, didn't know that they were supposed to stop once they got there.

It's not really ALL their fault. That shade of orange suffocates the brain. Or so I have heard. I would never say such a thing.

Take this to heart, kids, never take the little things for granted, like the importance of counting.

Sort of Unrelated Side Note: I did attend Mississippi State vs. Alcorn State this weekend. We won. The game was at 11 AM. I didn't wear sunscreen, because the thought to do so did not even occur to me until the end of the first quarter. Too late. Luckily, even though much of me turned red, most of it turned a decent shade of tan later. My nose, however, is still a slightly unattractive shade of pink. You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. Oh, well. I might have been dumb enough to leave the sunscreen behind, but at least I can count to eleven.